My youngest sister called me Monday. She was told she had one year to live if she didn’t stop drinking. Her liver is damaged and she is taking pills to fight the DTs. She also told me she’s going into detox on Friday and the tribal rehab center said they can probably get her admitted in about 2 months. So she has to tough it out that long and try to stay sober. She’s been told she has jaundice but it’s not the biggest health concern she has right now. She’s 33 years old.

She was crying and coughing while trying to tell me this. Sad to say it wasn’t a shock. I’ve seen what alcohol can do and we have a family history of alcoholism.  I consider myself darned lucky I don’t have the same problem. If I did I might already be dead. A friend told me the average life expectancy of a Native person is 52. That’s in a First World country in the 21st century.

I’m trying to find something encouraging to tell her. So far the best I can do is remind her that doctors can be wrong, that she could get better and live way beyond the diagnosis. I also promised to drive her to rehab when she gets the calll. I’m the only one she can ask, our dad can’t make the drive and our sister has a toddler but frankly doesn’t want to be bothered. I’m trying to stay calm and rational.  Not giving into anxiety or at least the appearance of doing so is my way of dealing. If I freak out. it will give her permission to do so and possibly convince her she really is doomed. So I’m giving drama the hard stare and keeping it in its place. It is what I do.

I’ve had practice holding up in lousy circumstances these past 9 months. There has been some drama but not as much as there could have been. Bear has had his rants and fits and I’ve listened.  I sympathize and then release it,  let his words and rage flow over me but not allowing them to sink in. The anger I can resist but the hurt stings me as well. Since most of my empathy has been used up I’m sorry to admit there’s a limited amount I could spare my sister. But I still kept the drama from running wild so that’s good. I do what I can and try not to let it run dry, to protect myself because there’s nobody to hold me up if I fall.

As I said before I found comfort of sorts in hockey and my Wings just lost, we’re out of the playoffs now. I am bummed but it’s all right. There’s next year. Heck there’s next week.  In the words of Journey, don’t stop believing and don’t stop moving. It will be all right.

memorial race 2015

This marks the 20th anniversary of the OKC bombing. It’s an emotional time here every year but this year seemed especially heavy with meaning and symbolism. Last week a kind of reunion was held downtown and there’s been news stories including a Storycorps episode on NPR that caused a lump in my throat. It was an interview with two of the youngest survivors, young men in their early 20’s and how their lives and the lives of their families still bear scars from that terrible day.  http://storycorps.org/listen/phuong-nguyen-and-christopher-nguyen-150417/

With all this emotion hanging over us I felt I had to do the race this year. Although Jerry’s death has no relation to the bombing it is the Race to Remember and he’d expect me to do it, know I would want to so I did. I wanted to do the half again but there’s no way I could manage it, I haven’t trained for it. I signed up for the 5K and that’s what I did.

There’s nothing really new or novel to report about the race itself. It ran smoothly, started on time, no issue with rain this year. A few interesting little facts–The race sold out; 11,000 people ran/walked the half and 5,000 did the 5K. 60% were women. I took a few pictures too.

the start my bib Giant cherry limeade. I want. Don’t know her name but this lady is a true badass.


Bear asked if we could go to BN tonight. He had handed me a copy of a contract with a school near Guangzhou and wanted to talk about it.

I had a pretzel and he drank some herbal tea,  the first tea he’s had in nearly 3 months. He explained that the contract could be negotiated, like salary,  and other things like getting a Z visa could be clarified. He was going to talk to a foreign teacher, another American,  about his experience there and emailed the recruiter about the visa and schedule. He added that he was 50% positive he would accept.  He didn’t want to take the first good offer that came along and he has another interview tonight.

He wanted my opinion on whether he should take a job now or wait til August when there will be more opportunities and possibly better salaries. While I would like him to wait, to stay here long as possible I know he wants out. Now. I am selfish to want this but he will be gone for over a year, maybe two so I know his time at home won’t last long. Even though we sometimes get on each other’s nerves and we both want to leave it was difficult to say he should take a job now instead of waiting another four months.

He said if he does accept a job he will start right away,  which means a month from now, give or take a couple weeks. It’s likely he could be in China working by the first of June. He will give his notice at work after his paperwork is sent in and being processed.  He wants to have at least a week off before he goes.

He’s even helped me with starting a job search. He helped update my resume and loaded it on monster.  Unfortunately he had one of my references’ last name down as “hamburger” when I couldn’t remember her name. It came to me and he changed it. He also updated my LinkedIn profile and seemed surprised I even had a profile. I know my job search will be rockier than his and not as fast but I hope to be ready to move when my lease runs out in August. I can’t see staying on longer, not just in this apartment but this town and in the same job. Yesterday another girl announced she put in her notice at work. That’s two people in one week and though they may be unrelated events it doesn’t look good.

I want to go visit Bear for Christmas in China but I don’t know if I will have enough vacation time and the money. I hope I can, I don’t want to imagine him alone at Christmas and I want him to know he can depend on me. It would be an amazing trip and to see where he lives and have an idea of what his life is like. If there is a way I will go. I know Jerry would be proud of him, want to be there and want me to be there.


At the courthouse with my son. He’s applying for a new passport.

Selling the car is on hold for now. I plan to but not right now. Easter Sunday was different. We went to the cemetery and visited,  more or less. Then we came home and had Chinese food.

Bear told the graves of his ancestors he plans to go back to China and does not plan to return for a couple of years. Then I told them I was planning on moving as well,  not so far but to Seattle. I think they took it well since nothing happened. No flashes of lightning or cracks of thunder just a little drizzle. We said a rosary for Jerry and had not one but two cars drive by slowly to see what Papist business we were up to.

Bear’s app is being processed;  he should receive his new passport in 3-4 weeks.  He’s applying for jobs now and I got him to promise to help me with my resume. Hopefully we’ll both be blowing this pop stand soon.

Car trouble

Trying to sell Jerry’s car is turning into a real pain in the tuckus. After last night’s wait and disappointment with the battery jump I figured today would be easier since I would be calling during normal daylight hours. Nope.

It is almost as if Jerry and my Aunt Donnie don’t want me to sell this car. I feel like they are tag-teaming me here.

I called AAA again, got another jump and had the battery, alternator and starter checked. Only the battery didn’t pass, besides sitting so long it’s old it wouldn’t hold a charge once the motor is turned off. So I had a choice– buy one of their batteries for $140 or get towed and buy a cheaper battery. The AAA battery is guaranteed 3 years and the dude would install it on site. But for better or worse I decided on the tow.

He called a tow truck and wished me well before driving away. I asked the tow truck driver if he could drop me off at home after leaving my car but he said no. He had another call in the other direction so I bid my car a temporary goodbye. I followed later, with Bear and saw why they didn’t answer when I called; they closed an hour earlier. I left the keys in the car with a note and Bear went slightly ballistic. He thought I should have got the $140 battery. I expected a long tirade but he just shuddered and got quiet. His dad used to do the same thing when he was stressed or anxious.

Tomorrow morning I’ll go to the garage,  really the Wal-Mart auto center,  and get the battery installed. Then I will have to figure out how to move two cars by myself. Bear doesn’t drive and there’s no one I can count on so this will be solely on me and I hope it won’t be expensive.