Tag Archive: family


I had to go in for a series of blood tests the other day.  Routine stuff, to check my cholesterol and for anemia and a few other things, but it  required fasting for 8 hours beforehand.  Also included was a glucose test, for diabetes.  Diabetes is what I consider the boogeyman hiding in my genetic history: my paternal grandfather had Type 2 Diabetes, and my father has it as well.  It’s a disease that scares me almost more than the family history of cancer.  Irrational, I know, but has everything to do with my equally irrational fear of needles.

The glucose test ensured that my time in the lab would be nearly 3 hours.  The initial blood draw itself seemed to take a really long time.  I don’t have the easiest veins for the techs to find, to begin with, and it seemed like a ridiculously large amount of blood was needed.  Four test tubes worth.  It took so long that the lab tech was able to discuss, in detail, unique aspects of the Georgia school system that I had never known, nor cared to know.  Talk about a captive audience!

Once the initial work was over, I had to consume that disgusting sugar drink to begin the glucose testing.  I’m not sure what flavor I was given, it tasted like pure sugar to me.  That was too much, even for my massive sweet tooth, to find very palatable.  Just glad that I didn’t get sick, as some people do.  While I waited out the 2 hours that needed to pass before I was to have more blood drawn, to check my body’s reaction to all of the sugar, the skies opened up in a heavy, constant downpour.  When I left the lab, I learned something interesting: Apparently, my phone’s navigation app doesn’t work in the rain.  It kept trying to say my location was in Malaysia, instead of Georgia, USA, and that therefore it couldn’t create a driving route to my destination. 😯

By the time I was finally able to go home, I was running on automatic pilot, with only a brief stop for fast food that didn’t quite seem to fill me up as much as it normally did.  I took care of my dog, refilled his water bowl, and headed back to bed.

Later that evening, when it was time for him to eat, I couldn’t find his food bowl.  Anywhere.  I noticed that his water dish was on the wrong side of the stand, but didn’t remember putting it there.

My husband and I searched the entire house, looking for his bowl.  Even ridiculous places, like the bathroom, and the refrigerator.  Still nothing.  We had a spare disposable aluminum tray, so that became the substitute food dish.  I wish I’d taken a photo of my dog’s face when I set it down in front of him.   The  improvised meal confused him.

The next day, it was time to refill his water again.  When I picked up his water dish, I noticed it seemed unusually heavy.  The food dish was nested beneath it.  It had been there all the time.  😳

It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was a full-time college student, making my way through classes on less than 3 hours of sleep and a handful of candy bars.  Not just surviving the day, but thriving.  I would often write my best papers during those times, especially for my philosophy class.

Now, I can’t function on little sleep and less food.  Or was it little food and less sleep?

I can’t be the only one who’s done crazy things while food or sleep-deprived.  Go ahead, tell me your best! Or would it be your worst?

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Another writing prompt from Ermilla’s Picture it and Write.  This one was actually the prompt from May 26, and I’ve been stubbornly trying to plug away at it ever since.  It was more difficult for me than the last.  I’m now a few weeks behind on the prompts.  Haven’t decided yet it if I’m going to try to catch up on every one, or skip ahead to the current one, after this.

“There it is.  That’s where she was born.”  The ocean breezes carried away her voice, since there was no one else to hear.  As she  took a tentative step forward, the planks of the old bridge shivered from the unexpected burden.

She was glad to be alone, and even happier that the old house was empty.  No telling how a homeowner might have reacted to a complete stranger knocking on their door, especially in a place as isolated as this.  At  the very least, they might have laughed in her face when she said, “Hey, my grandmother was born here, a hundred years ago.  Mind if I look around?”

Funny how the woman who had raised her could be such a mystery after her death.  Grandmother had never spoken of her family.  No one had even known that she had a brother until he sent a memorial wreath to her funeral.  Father had never asked about her past, saying that he’d understood from a young age that it was too painful for her to talk about.  There were  rumors of abandonment, after her mother remarried, but nothing that could be confirmed by documents.  Even the identity of Grandmother’s parents was suspect.  On her birth certificate, her father’s occupation was listed as a candy maker.  In the census records from the same time, he was listed as a gardener.

She peered into the window, through one of the tiny spots of glass not covered by cobwebs or dead bugs.  Nothing.  It was too dark to see inside.  She tried the door, and the knob spun uselessly in its seat before falling off into her hands.  There was no way in, short of breaking it down.

Back to the window.  As she tapped on the filthy glass, the debris appeared to swirl before her eyes, coalescing into images from her past.  Memories of her grandmother.  Her unyielding honesty, even if it meant paying a little more.  The way she cooked without measuring a single ingredient, yet somehow managing to pass on her recipes to anyone who truly wanted to learn.  To the very last, she had been a force of energy.  Even when she was fighting the cancer that had weakened her bones, leaving her so fragile that a small fall had resulted in a broken arm.  Arm in sling, she had still been able to outrace her sons and her grandchildren up and down the stairs, as they chased her in a desperate attempt to make her slow down and take care of herself instead of everyone else.

She turned away from the window.  Away from the house.  She no longer needed to seek the truth by going into the old building.  Everything that was important about her grandmother was inside her.  In her memories.

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On Valentine’s Day morning, I awoke to find a text message from my little brother on my phone.  He had proposed to his girlfriend the night before, and is now engaged to be married.  His message also included a little note about how he thought I would be sleeping (his time zone is five hours behind mine), so he wanted to send the text to make sure that I received the good news before he posted about it on Facebook.  It was definitely a bittersweet moment.

Don’t get me wrong, I really am happy for him.  His fiancée is great and I’m looking forward to the day I can call her my sister(in-law).  Yet… I couldn’t help feeling a little down, too.  It brought home to me just how much I’m missing out on by living so far away from my family.  Seeing the words in the text message wasn’t the same as hearing my brother’s happiness and excitement.  We weren’t particularly close growing up.  Our fights were so bad that our mother often said that she thought we would have killed each other, especially during our teen years.  But once we were no longer living together, we eventually matured into a very close bond.  He would often confide in me about his disastrous relationships, and I wish I could have heard how happy he was now that he knew he was finally in the right relationship.

This isn’t the first time this year I’ve felt this particular disconnect, and it’s not just my family that I feel like I’m losing.  Last month, I found out that a good friend of mine lost her mother — through Facebook! She lives in the same time zone as my brother, and since I’ve moved away, we’ve mainly communicated through Facebook.  With our constantly changing schedules, both of us have a hard time figuring out what would be a good time to call.  Even though she was able to write the message to me personally, I know it wasn’t the same for her as telling me over the phone, the words just wouldn’t flow the same way.   I could write and commiserate with her in text, but I didn’t really feel like I was there for her when she needed me.

After all, it’s the sharing of the moments of our lives, both the happy and the sad, that defines both our relationships and who we are as people.  Yet even though there are many miles between myself and my family and friends, it is always the time that gets in the way.  It’s the time that shortens communication and leaves so many things unsaid.  And it’s time — unlike distance — that cannot ever truly be crossed.