"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day



Today is my blogiversary. I started this thing last year during NYC's Transit Strike, as none of my patients could get to the hospital for their appointments. Oh, the memories. Thank you for giving me a place to express myself somewhat freely, and to discuss with the blogosphere the wonderings of my heart. Now on to other stuff....
I have discovered over the past few months of reading and movie and TV watching that I may be every writer's dream. I am moved in all the right places, to the appropriate anger, joy, sadness, etc. I am affected and carry that with me for days. I tell others about it and recommend that they see/read whatever it was. Sometimes I insist and will purchase for them a copy of it. And as I am always reading at least 2 books, its a vast array of knowledge and emotion we're talking about here.

And now the run-down of the stuff I think you should be reading. I am currently reading Barack Obama's first book, Dreams from My Father, and have found myself struck by the person he is and by what amazing things may occur if he is elected president. I've also enjoyed the fact that he freely speaks of having used drugs in his youth, but wonder how this fact will effect him on election day. We don't tend to reward people's honesty with votes. I'm also half-way through with A People's History of the United States (in the 1960s to be exact). I started this one in the summer and have been neglecting it for a while. It's very interesting to look at the history of this country from the perspective of some many different people. But it's also pretty intense and leaves me rather angry with whatever group of oppressors they are talking about that day. And I'm re-reading Blue Like Jazz. I don't normally confess to reading anything existential, or at all religion-based unless it's controversial. I'm very hard core as I was told by my book club last week. But this book is just so amazing. It has the potential to change the way readers think of God and their relationship with God and other human beings. It has an honesty I have not found before. And for this reason I am able to overlook the typos and fact-checking errors. No small feat, I assure you. Not that there are alot, but just that, as I said before, I'm hard core.
Happy Holidays to everyone! And safe travels. If you're one of the million or so people flying out of LaGuardia tomorrow afternoon, come and find me. I'll be at the American Airlines Terminal, most assuredly waiting hours for my delayed flight.



Today is my 28th birthday. I am very big on birthdays, anniversaries, other milestones. I, however, do not age so well. I am really intimidated by the numbers. And being that I have always been the over-achiever everywhere I've been, I'm used to be the youngest (or at least one of the youngest) person at my job, or school, or whatever it is that I happen to be doing at that moment. But now that I am quickly approaching 30 (Noooooo!), I don't think that will be the case any more. How does one adjust to such things? I'm told that once you turn 30, 30 no longer matters. I hope that's true.

The scariest part about 28 is that this year includes my 10-year high school reunion. I've kept in touch with maybe 5 people I went to high school with, and I've only seen or spoken to one of them within the last few years. So I struggle to decide whether it's worth the trip. Through the insidious
MySpace, I've gotten back in touch with a few friends from elementary, junior high and high school who I would actually like to see, but wow...a whole weekend with Calallen High. I don't know what to expect from that. I was not unpopular in high school, but I was not popular either. I was a pretty intense student, and was friendly with kids from all of the cliques, including a couple of football players and at least one girl from the dance team (both major enemies of all those in band). Due to this intermingling, I was known as neutral space between the punks and the jocks. I was Switzerland. But as you probably can tell if you if you've read any of this, I am no longer so neutral any more. I'm not sure how that will work. I'm hoping that the my new exotic locale will overrule the fact that I am a Blue sitting deep in Red Country.



Over the past few weeks, my friends and I have had several discussions of Hell. It seems heavy, but they're mostly in jest. But then my friend Joe put up on his blog a story about Carlton Pearson and what is called the gospel of inclusion, stating essentially that there is no hell that is separate from this earth. That the ways of man have created a hell on earth. He tells the story of sitting with his healthy, well-fed family watching the news and seeing pictures of children starving to death in countries abroad. He and God have a conversation about this, Dr. Pearson stating that he cannot understand how a loving God could subject people to such lives as these, and then condemn them to Hell because they have not heard the message of Jesus. God's answer to him was that these people would not be sent to Hell because they were already there. And they too would be given a home in Heaven and an escape from the hell that man has created for itself.

I was so struck by this, because it was something I had never really thought of before. I've been known to say that my Hell is very small, because I cannot wrap my mind around people experiencing so much pain in life, only to be given no peace in death. And I know it is not for me to create my own rules, or to create my own version of God. But from what I know of God, God does not seek to punish and oppress, but to give people peace and freedom from pain and sorrow. And so it only makes sense that Heaven would be huge and would have room in it for everyone.

Yesterday I was reading the New York Times and came upon a story about the recent floods in Somalia. And I thought back to the gospel of inclusion. People who live in a land torn apart by war, who perpetually experience times of famine due to the alternating cycle of drought and flood. If this is not Hell, I cannot think what would be. I cannot comprehend a God that would not give these people peace and joy, full stomachs and safety.


The Great Equalizer.

This article gave me great joy. It's good to know I'm not alone in the love-hate relationship I have with my genormous bag. It's becoming a universal.



I have recently met someone who does not have a cellphone, only checks his e-mail like once a week. I know, it's shocking, especially in NYC. This person and I have been trying make plans for I think three weeks now, but have succeeded in missing each other probably twice daily during this time. And this has made me realize (that and the days I forget my phone at home) just how terrifically dependent my life is on technology. At one point, I had two phones, a pager, a blog and like 4 active e-mail addresses. It's simply out of control. But it also means that I am in fairly constant contact with most everyone I know. There's the friend with whom I have bi-weekly dinner dates. On the morning of, one of us will e-mail the other, discussing the prospect of dinner. Then the other will e-mail with a yes or no, and some possible locations. Then the other will e-mail these possible locations narrowed down, or added to. And this goes on for much of the day, until we have come to a decision. Because of cellphones, I am in constant contact with any number of friends who live thousands of miles away. It just takes a convenient call when on your way to or from somewhere to update on the week's (or day's, depending on who they are) happenings. It's great. Sometimes it's a quick call to tell me about the song that's on the radio. It's happened many times and I love it. I am someone who longs for connection to people, and this is the perfect time for someone such as myself. Text messages, e-mails, phone calls...all so convenient. As for this new friend, I don't know that it's going to work out, simply for the fact that I can never get in touch with him. It's a very 21st century, bourgeoise reason for a relationship to end.


Innovation and Inaction.

I was reading an article in the Times yesterday about a new program being put into place in Africa by the Clinton Foundation. This program will provide millions of children with medications to treat HIV. It was said in the article that there are over 2.3 million children in the world with HIV, and 2 million of those are in Africa. Most of these children, having contracted the virus at birth, will not see the age of 5.

In order to provide this life saving medication, the Clinton Foundation had to broker a deal with pharmaceutical companies in India, because their patent laws are lax and thus they can make generic a drug that was before only available in the much more expensive brand name form. This has become the norm in programs to provide HIV medications to people in developing countries, and while it is an amazing gift to these people, it is one of the many things in the world I cannot wrap my mind around. Why is it that millions of lives are not worth the millions of dollars pharmaceutical companies stand make off these medications? Why is it that we in the United States have had these medications for years before it even becomes a topic of discussion to send them to people abroad? In NYC, the mother-to-child transmission rate of HIV is less than 1% because there was a study of medication to prevent such infections about 10 years ago, and they found the medication so effective that they stopped the study and started giving it to every pregnant woman who was HIV positive. And yet 700,000 children will be infected with this terrible disease this year alone, in countries with fewer resouces, when it is well known what could stop this.

In the article, they speak of the fact that Thailand has chosen to break the patents of several drug companies, despite its own strict patent laws. "David Wilson, an official with Doctors Without Borders in Thailand, lauded the move. 'Thailand is demonstrating,' he said in an e-mailed statement, 'that the lives of patients have to come before the patents of drug companies.'" This, the last sentence of the article, made it very clear to me how much trouble the world is in, that something so seemingly simple has become a revolutionary act.