Category Archives: men

Blaine The Dane – QEPD

Just shy of one year ago, a very dear and special person passed away. his friendship was deeply (profoundly even) important to me, he was kind, and gracious, and patient with me. I was reminded of his passing, and the flood of sadness at knowing that would not hear his voice again, just made my heart feel heavy. again.

He was living in New Orleans when Katrina happened, he called me a couple of days after the storm hit from his cell, the one which I had tried repeatedly to reach him on. I answered, breathing into the phone with anticipation; “Blaine, please tell me you are Blaine and that you are OK” He answered; “Darlin’, I am OK. It is hell here, but I am alive.”. He told me how awful it was and asked me to call others that were important to him, people who I did not really know, but had met and knew how to get a hold of… There was such an honor in being that kind of person to him.

I wrote him a letter last year, shortly after I found out he had passed away from brain cancer. Here is an excerpt of that letter.

My dear Blaine,

I always told you that you helped me in ways that would be eternal. Now that your body has passed away, the truth of that hits home, and hits hard.

I was recently broken up with one of the most vile and worst of the boyfriends in my life… I was broken but managed to talk myself into going to Long Wong’s in Tempe to hear The Revenants play… alone. Not anything I normally did, and everything I was told I should never do.

You were sitting outside on the patio with mutual friends. You heard them ask me about the ex. They went inside to see what was going on. You stayed and talked to me and told me what I needed to know about being in a relationship with addicts and how to handle it now that I had broken up with him.

I recall thinking that you were trying to work me, and you probably were. The light from the streetlight reflected on your long, dark, thick hair. I was pretty broken that night, when I arrived. You were extremely kind and I decided to give you a chance. We spent quite some time together after that, hanging out at your casita talking about having ties to the rise of Phoenix; Denton, Texas; music; astrology… and even a little about your vile ex… and my vile ex. And in those moments, where we would sit and talk, a wonderful friendship began. That is, until you decided to move to New Orleans because you didn’t want to cut your hair. I’m not quite sure how you managed it, but before you left Arizona, you helped me regain a sense of worth that I had handed vile ex boyfriend on a silver platter. Merely in you appreciating me for who I was, was I able to regain the knowledge that I was a good person. Those early years between us seemed a diversion. We had sex , drank a lot of your cold brewed coffee and talked.

I always marveled that you were such a wonder… You were the first to present me with a clean sexual history on paper, I was struck by that… it seemed so gracious. You also once introduced me to your friends as your lover, you were the first man to do that. I was floored. I’m not sure why, but it was undeniably true. You had the smoothest skin 😉 I’d ever seen, I still marvel at that. Making love to you was straight raw sex… but it was transformative for me. You helped me get past some perceptions about my body and shifted the way I confronted men as well as myself and how I felt about sex. You allowed me to relax and have fun. You were a catalyst in returning me to me.

We stayed in touch by email when you moved away and when I moved out of the country. We would use ICQ to chat between Latin America and NOLA. You were the first man to send me a picture of themselves naked, and I think you were disappointed by how I was not charmed by that.There was the other video (not of you) that still shocks me, and has me deeply concerned about a horse. You seemed surprised that I even watched it.

I was able to swing a visit to New Orleans and stay with you for a few days on my way to a friend’s wedding. I was still living overseas and there was something that felt very grown up in going to visit you, even though I was in my late 20’s at that time. That trip changed me so much. It was there that I became aware that you called me darlin’. It was that trip when I felt like the sexiest and most desirable woman in all of New Orleans. You took me to dinner and fed me jambalaya, later you took me to see the Blind Boys of Alabama. I wore a slip, no bra and no panties. We walked around the French Quarter and you gave me a tour of the city at dusk and into the night. You introduced me to your friends as we walked along the street. I”Of course, darlin’ you’re beautiful.” I think that walking around town with you while I was wearing nothing but a black slip was one of the most wonderful moments in my life as a female. I felt beautiful in a way I had never felt before. You may have been the first male to tell me that and that I believed truly meant it.

We went back to your place and made love… and I laughed. You had to stop and tell me how weird it was for you and I told you that I was laughing, not at you, but just at sex as it was a funny thing to do and it felt good and most of all because I was happy. You looked at me and said that you could handle that, smiled, cupped your hand around my neck and kissed me.

You took me to a graveyard near your home and we talked about death and life as we wandered and sat on the mausoleums, that was so perfect. You told me that you had identified the time and date you’d die. You wouldn’t tell me though, you said that it shouldn’t matter and I realize that was right. You called me darlin’ that whole trip (and never stopped).

I never had “intentions” about my relationship with you. It just was. I never thought of you as a boyfriend or even as marriageable. We enjoyed each other.

I recall that in Phoenix, we spent a New Years together. We had dinner and you ordered soft shell crab. I seem to recall that we went to a party and got bored and went to just get naked and enjoy each other. You looked so handsome in your suit, and you were extra gentlemanly to me.

I’d gotten married and when I told you, you said that you’d miss having sex with me, but that I was forever your darlin’. I came to visit you again after that, and stayed with you but in separate beds this time. You showed me the shaker shop and your love of good wood. We were friends, and I knew that would never go away.

I was one of the first people you called after Katrina devastated New Orleans… to tell me you were ok. You’d call a every once in a while and I’d call you. You’d share your relationship horror stories and I’d ask about my sons astrological chart (it was not done by you, but it was done with software you’d written. So it felt right) or we would talk about how New Orleans was still trying to recover. Or we would talk about guns and how much you hated liberals.

Oh my dear Blaine, when you called to tell me about your tumor. I was devastated. Stage 4 is never ever good. I asked if they thought it had been the tumor that had caused the constant ear infections 15 years prior. You said you hadn’t thought of that. I think it was, but it is in my nature to find some form of survivor guilt about you. I don’t want you dead, but you went ahead and did it anyway. So you leave me here, all the richer for having had you in my life.

I miss knowing that hearing you call me darlin’ is a phone call away. It was always so genuine.

I really do miss you.

Love you forever,

Your Darlin’

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Being vulnerable

So, one of the blogs I often enjoy reading, did that thing that I dread most and brought up bullfighting.

They referenced this article and had their post begin with:

Bulls 3, Tormentors 0.

Tormentors.

...sigh...

So, I left this comment: I am a bullfighter’s daughter. I feel for all of those men and their families. The bulls did what they were bred to do.

But after all these years, I still get sick to my stomach when I reply to these things and/or bring up my familial ties to bullfights.

I still so vividly recall one day after bullfighting came up in my college English class and people were saying so many things that I knew to be incorrect that I spoke up and corrected them. After class, a woman in her 50’s that was in the class with me came up to me and said “You and your family disgust me”, she then spat on me (my feet, actually) and left before I could have replied. Admittedly, I was pretty speechless.

I can understand why people hate bullfighting, it is so in your face with forces of nature that humans tend to ignore. But, I am so lucky to have seen a very different side (through my father and our bull ranch where we raised fighting bulls), one that is so much more impassioned with things like respect and admiration between two very different animals (the human and the bovine).

I think that if there is a good side to being subjected to the vitriol of those who loathe bullfights… I know what it is like to be bullied (isn’t that an interesting phrase to use here). In my case, I did not choose bullfighting, it is what my father loves with an immense passion. I love my father, I have to include that in our relationship, I have had to come to peace with it, to dig deep and find out why and strangely enough it is through that process that I have learned that every time I want to react strongly to something I know that  I also need to dig deeper (hard to remember, but it is there), to know that there is always more to the story. I have to be gentle, I have to love and most of all… I have to learn how to forgive. It is sure hard when people spit at you though.

 

 My father with my son.

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Bullfights give me heartburn and a bunch of discombobulated thoughts

I imagine that when one is the child of any parent involved in something that requires spectators (think;  athletes, actors, rodeo clowns, what have you) you grow up attending a lot of those spectator events.

Holy mother of god, I am betting that they attend a ton of those said events. But in a very integral way… you are on the field, on the set, in the barrel.

My life was spent much like this.

And by this, I mean THIS:
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I look bored. Dear lord, I probably was… at the point the picture was taken anyway.

See, while I grew up watching my father bullfight, it was so much a part of our lives (at least until my brother was almost killed and my mom stopped going – more below) that I think I thought of it as if all kids my age were forced to attend these things.

Not all bullfights were boring though, the one in the picture of me above was actually pretty heart-stopping.   All of us kids at the bullfights, played while the bulls were being fought,  it was pretty normal in that respect. This day, however, would prove to be somewhat different. My brother would fall in to the bull-ring.

See, my mother, brother ,and I would always sit at the barrera. Those are the front row seats… which are right at the callejon or that alley way  in between the two red walls in the ring (in the picture below),  it goes all the way around allowing for the people working the bullfight to move to different places to help the men that are actually inside the ring.

photo from: http://noputhyfooting.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/where-to-watch-a-bullfight-from-passage-from-death-in-the-afternoon/

My brother happened to fall in to the callejon just as the bull had jumped into it. Picture something like this, but with a real chubby 4-year-old running in front of the bull.

Photo credit: http://torosennavarra.com/multa-de-300-euros-a-la-delegada-del-gobierno-y-de-100-a-la-meca/

It was heart wrenching. We ran to the barrera, watching my brother run as fast as he could from the bull that was not to far behind him. Other people seated around the ring reaching in trying to grab him and pull him to safety.  Almost like they were doing a “wave” at a stadium, but more life-threatening… screams from women, men shouting directions at each other… it was tense and full of that kind of energy. The men in the ring frantically running around the inside of the ring trying to figure out how to get the bull out and back in to the center sand, once they realized what else was going on. I can recall that experience so vividly, that my hands still shake and I get choked up as I type about it.

A gray-haired gentleman and his son (who must have been in his thirties) managed to catch my brother as I can recall watching as one of them held his chubby little arm and the other was holding on to his chubby little leg, raising him high and back into the stands.

I think my parents marriage might have really ended that day.

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Here is how my dad remembers that day

I didn’t come to hate bullfights, but I didn’t love them either. It was what my father did, and where I would get to hang out with all the kids of his friends…  and eat, seriously, in Ecuador bullfight food is awesome… I smell an empanada de morocho and I can be right back at those memories.

My better memories of being at them involves hanging out with him before the big game/performance. It is a more tense experience in some ways, a lot of decisions need to be made and a lot of things need to be observed. Essentially, you look at the bulls and often have a lottery of sorts to see who would draw which bull. Then there would be talk about who gets to go first (seniority – often based on first kill or first fight). It is still my favorite thing to experience. After this, and in cases where it is just a  tienta and no one should get hurt in a matter that requires major hospitalization, I like helping my dad out, passing him his swords and capes from the callejon, talking about the strengths and weakness the calf (no bulls here) may have.

Growing up though, during the actual bullfighting, eating and playing were the best part… of course, when my dad was in the ring I would often sit and watch.

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Other things I did when I was growing up was things like this – B.O.R.I.N.G. after the first day.

I remember a lot of playing and a lot of eating. It infiltrated my weekends as well as my weeks… The picture above is of my son… somehow wrangled into helping my dad practice, there was always a lot of practice.

I still remember a lot of bullfights, but not anywhere near the barrera… after that day,  anyway.

But none the less, it was how I grew up.

See, my father loves bullfighting. A lot. and by a lot, I seriously mean A LOT.  He has been doing this since he was little, there are pictures of him as a pre-teen making his little brothers pretend to be a bull while he mimics moving the cape.

And then there was college, where he managed to talk his brothers and friends into doing this with him:
DAD BULLFIGHT 12 31 1961

The thing is though, that between all the bullfights and the ranch we had where we raised fighting bulls… I managed to pick something of what he loves up.

I know a good fight when I see one, and while I can’t recite all the names of the passes, when they are mentioned to me, I have a pretty clear idea  what they are talking about. The same goes for the bull descriptions, bull afflictions, and other such terminology employed by those who live and breathe this stuff.

And I don’t really hate it… I mean, I get a huge gut wrench when I see the bull killed and often find myself praying for the bulls quick demise and I can’t even begin to describe what happens to me when I am watching my father bullfight (and I am not as scared for my dad’s safety as I am concerned about his doing well).

My dad insists I have the “gusano”.

I am not as convinced. Sometimes, talking about bullfights gives me a serious headache… trying to explain subtle nuances to those who are not in the know, trying not to get spit on  by those who abhor it, trying to let those who detest it get their anger out without being insulted, trying to catch the key pieces when I am around those who know far more than I… it is enough to literally give me heartburn.

I just can’t forsake something I grew up so intimately with. That in order to more fully understand I have tried to actually do something so I would get what it was about, to put the terminology and subtleties I understand into practice.

I am just at that point where I have given in and said, yes… this scary as shit thing that on occasion involves killing something is something I grew up with and I don’t think I would have it any other way… the good and the bad that it brought in to my life.

I have been in a ring with an itty bitty that managed to hurt me pretty darn bad (you don’t kill the itty bitty’s, you are actually there for other reasons).

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The bruise the calf I fought gave me. I am proud of it because it means I got in close.

Anyway, it is enough a part of my life that I had an essay accepted (it appears right after one by my father) for inclusion in this book:   Olé!: Capturing the Passion of Bullfighters and Aficionados

Go ahead, click on the link. It will take you to the amazon link. It is good, you should buy it!

And then you can visit the book on Facebook,  for awesome updates (like the book awards it has received) by clicking  HERE 

You can totally cheat all the rest of the totally amazing authors by not reading the whole thing, as it was intended, and just read some of my essay HERE

And you can read about the experience a friend of mine had at the same time I last got in the ring with my dad HERE 

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This is me, after I was in the ring, with the rancher who owns the cattle ranch of the calf I fought,  call him a ganadero

No still-photos seem to exist of me fighting, just video… sigh. I am going to say that everyone was too taken by my marked grace to think to even pick up a camera and take a shot.

Now, off to get me some antacid.

Everything I learned in Medical School – 37/40

I had wanted to be a physician for a long time, but what I did NOT want from my medical training was to get that obnoxious supreme ruler mindset that 96.8% of people with a MD or DO behind their name seem to learn (and I am being kind in my estimate).

I have no idea why I thought going to medical school in a third world country would save me from becoming a douche.

Because douchebag (hereafter DB) training started from day one!

Granted, a few of my professors were really awesome as was our dean, but some of the others… dear god, save us! I can tell you that from day one, I was being trained to believe that I knew it all (I knew I didn’t) and the DB professors did not like that I would challenge their inherent wisdom (half the time they would tell me I was wrong, only to correct me with the same exact thing I had just said). I am guessing that the professors that  I did admire appreciated my standing up for myself because I did catch them chuckling a few times when they were able to witness these exchanges. One even took me aside and said; “You know, they really are an asshole.”

Anyway.

This past weekend I happened to be at a scout camp-out where some parents worked their butt off and others spent too much time on their portable social telephone/mini-computer devices (yeah, I am talking about you!).

Now, thankfully this cub-scout group is a bit different from most… it is run by politically correct, granola-like, possibly confused liberal with strong libertarian tendencies… I mean we eat quinoa stews and talk about crap like no more need for gun-control (with a wee bit of the maybe thrown in). They all like the outdoors and gosh-darn it, they want to keep that!

One of the lead parents in the group is a physician life-long scout and he drives me crazy. At every single meeting I am reprimanded by him and treated like I am cub scout. He challenges parental participation, he interrupts discussion about personal healthcare issues (with a “you’re wrong, but…”).

At one point, I wanted to strangle him. But, I think I can remain content that he has absolutely made sure that I become one of those parents that sleeps while he is forced to watch after my kids and or prepare my meals or wash our collective dishes… because I thought I would strangle him when he started to get in to my whole vagina.

Let me explain. I was placed on bed-rest during my pregnancy. I received a cerclage to help protect my baby.

It was lunch time and the moms started talking about our pregnancies. One of them mentioned that her sister-in-law had experienced her bag of water coming out and I asked if she got a cerclage.  She looked confused, so I said “it is when they tie your cervix shut, and I had one and…”

The douchbag physician scout leader decides to say “Actually that is not true, there is a difference between the water and the cervix…”

Where upon I interrupted him and said “I know that. That wasn’t was I was going to say when you interrupted me.”

If looks could kill.

He said “Fine” and walked off.

I stared in disbelief that he would he not only interrupt a person who had not finished speaking, but would also tell them they are wrong before they finish making their topic statement.

He must have had a grudge about it because I kept getting snide remarks for the rest of the evening and finally at the camp-fire when kids were singing and people were talking and his wife who had not been on out hike and heard the ranger at the national park talk asked the most insanely stupid questions to see if the kids had been paying attention and asked a question that required complex inference that is way above the level of the kids present… so I answered.

He looked at me and said “Parents, let the kids answer”

I looked at him and said, they weren’t paying attention to this”.

He replied “They should have”.

The ranger actually never directly answered the question she had asked, there was way more information that had to be taken as a complex piece and theorized about in order to come to the conclusion that was need to answer the question.

So, I stood up and went to my tent because if I stayed and was the recipient of any more passive-aggressive douchbaggery I would probably turn very confrontational.

See, I deeply respect physicians but not if they carry their “I am a doctor, treat me like a god” attitude too far. Too far in this case was in to the scout troop.

He wonders why parents don’t do much, I am becoming even more convinced it is because of him.

I have pondered on if I should switch troops, but I like a lot of the parents there… he is just one in a group of many.

But boy howdy is he making the douchey doctor training I got come out in full force.

Psycho Nerds

Yes, psychonerds. If you have had one you know what I am referring to.

Definition: That socially inadequate guy at the party standing in the corner of the room pretending to be a hatstand and falling in love with the girl that is talking to just about anyone else but did say hello to him a while earlier.
A person who is intensely interested in a particular hobby, topic or person.
A person who is unaware that their behavior appears odd to others. If you told them so, they would not believe you. If you explained why, they would not understand. They think that innocent stalking is normal behavior that shows how much they love someone.

I had one. Have is actually more appropriate as they never ever leave you in their hearts. I wish I could love that way… so purely and unabashedly… but without the crazy actions that accompany said adoration.

Someday I should tell my tale of the Psychonerd.