Around The Horn: Examining the US through the lens of Ferguson

Devonte Hart as captured by photographer Johnny Nguyen. Can I trust this image, or is some news network trying to swing my feelings?

Devonte Hart as captured by photographer Johnny Nguyen. Can I trust this image, or is some news network trying to swing my feelings?

The Ferguson decision came pretty close to my doorstep. I live fairly close to where the Oakland protestors took over the 580 freeway, so I spent an interesting two nights listening to the world outside my window. The next morning(s), the streets were cleared of the broken glass and burnt out garbage bins. And I wondered: were the protests fruitful? Is anything going to change? I feel I don’t know enough of anything to know right or wrong anymore: I don’t trust the media (who controls it anyway?) and the Internet is a rabbit’s hole of personal opinions and surmission.

SAF Seeking… New Home

My home... For now.

My home… For now.

Well, the condo has been rented.

My pride and joy, the fact that I was able to purchase a small tiny home in the SF Bay Area ALL BY MYSELF on a non-profit theater maker’s income, is… rented.

Granted, the lease won’t begin until March 2015 which is when my baby’s due date is. As a single mom-to-be, I’ve decided to move back in with my parents directly after giving birth and staying there at least 6 months if not more. That way, I have someone who will help me with post-partum and daycare and I don’t have to commute in order to drop off the baby. It’s not something one wants to do in this old age, but one of the great things about being a daughter of filipino immigrants is that my entire ginormous family is here in one area and willing to help raise my child with me.

SAF Seeking… Perfection in imperfection

This is a cleft lip.

And this is a cleft lip.

Hello! I see you too!

Hello! I see you too!

And this? Yup, cleft lip.

Good morning America!

Good morning America!

My daughter will be born with one. Possibly a cleft palate as well (see below) but the sonogram can’t confirm that although it is still a possibility for which I should brace and prepare myself.

If you look inside his mouth, you can see that the palate is split, therefore a 'cleft' palate.

If you look inside his mouth, you can see that the palate is split, therefore a ‘cleft’ palate.

SAF seeking… The meaning of ‘Defect’

Celebrate or cry? (Btw: this is not my sonogram.)

Celebrate or cry? (Btw: this is not my sonogram.)

“We found…”

Not exactly the words you want to hear when you’re already having an unplanned pregnancy as a soon-to-be single mom.

My best friend had excitedly accompanied me to the 20 week sonogram. Life was looking good. I was finally over the first trimester of constant headaches and nausea. I had a little bit more energy. And I was slowly beginning to accept the decision to have a child at this point in my life.

SAF Seeking… Escape from hormonal hell

"Taking over the world, one pregnant woman at a time."

“Taking over the world, one pregnant woman at a time.”

So this is how man conquered woman. I see. You want to control a woman, take away birth control.

Seriously y’all. (Hobby Lobby take note.)

Because for the the years I was child-free, I had some modicum of control over my body. The moment I chose to be pregnant (notice that I chose the word ‘chose’), I have never been so sucker-punched and betrayed by my own body on a regular basis. For the first four months of pregnancy, I fought constant blinding headaches, a persistent disinterest in eating, and an all-consuming need to sleep. And contrary to outside perception, I WAS NOT BEING LAZY. I was fighting my body every step of the way.

Around the Horn: Weird Family Advice

That's my dad!!!!

That’s my dad!!!!

My dad -to me- is the king of quotes. Not that he quotes anyone in particular, but he deposits little adages here and there in such meme-worthy bite-sized-ness that he is nothing but a series of Jack Handy advice quips. My mom screams out the same advice repeatedly so she represents a broken record to me.

The more bizarre (and yet I somewhat do take into consideration years down the line) advice I’ve received from them include:

SAF Seeking… Acceptance

I'm baaaaaaaaack!!!!

I’m baaaaaaaaack!!!!

Well, apparently it wasn’t a miscarriage.

I was sick a couple of weeks ago and since work wouldn’t allow me to come into the office (although I had a tower of stuff to do that was time-sensitive and no one else to do it), I decided to go to the doctor and get swabbed for strep throat which was making the rounds in Oakland. Hey, while I’m at the doctor’s, I should just go toddle off to the OB/GYN and make sure all that miscarriage stuff is cleared out of me just in case.

So imagine my surprise after being gagged with a strep swab and then poked by an ultra sound wand and a chuckle of “Well, you’re still pregnant.”
-”No I’m not.”
-”Yes you are.”
-”No I’m not.”
-”Look at the monitor.”

SAF Seeking… A reason to believe in a god


“His organs are shutting down.”

I stare at the text. It’s 830am and I’m packing to get on the road for a 6pm go-time of a long-anticipated wedding way up in the California foothills.

Leonardo is dying. It’s been just a little over a year since his Stage IV cancer was diagnosed. Honestly, I thought he was going to beat it. He increased his positivity and prayer and looked on no side that boded ill. If you doubted him, you were against him and he was going to prove you wrong.

SAF Seeking… The Path Not Taken

No, not spam and eggs... SPERM and eggs!!

No, not spam and eggs… SPERM and eggs!!

I had braced myself for a hit. A slap. I opened my eyes. He had sat there staring forward out the front window shield, his hand lightly resting on the driver’s wheel while his mouth hung slack-jawed. It was 10pm at night and we had been sitting in his parked car outside the Fox Theatre in Oakland.

That’s how I remember him when I uttered “I’m pregnant,” to him as fast as I could before my courage waned and before he had to get back on stage.

We agreed to talk about it later when he had time to think about it.



SAF seeking… One small step

Is this coat not sexy?!?

Is this coat not sexy?!?

“I don’t know what to do with all this.” He motions to my furry coat, complete with sheep fur collar and cuffs. (I thought I was a vision in fluffiness; apparently I was a ball of cock-block.)

“But I’m cold,” I retorted as I looked around his room. (Hmm, he has a large collection of horror films.)

“I’ll keep you warm,” he protests.

“How?!?” I asked incredulously, pulling my warm coat closer around me. (Stupid rent-controlled SF apartments- they’re always drafty!)

“Just take it off.” I reluctantly remove my coat. He comes forward and gives me a full-body hug. It’s soft and warm. “Feel warm?”

I nod.

SAF seeking… anger management

Where are the angels?

Where are the angels?

“Heaven has a new angel.”

“It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.”

“At least they died doing what they love.”

These are sayings that suck. They SUCK. They especially suck when you lose your partner and people say this to cheer you up.

My best guy friend just lost his wife. Poof! One minute she’s riding her bike in front of him, next minute he’s giving her CPR. Two days later he’s delaying pulling the plug on life support because he still wants to hold her hand even if her pupils are fixed and her brain has no activity. Heart attack. She had just turned 40.

SAF Seeking… A #YesAllWomen moment

Just another day in the Tenderloin.

Just another day in the Tenderloin.

I’m at a party with an old friend who is telling a funny story.

He goes, “So we’re picking up a friend who’s staying at the Hilton in the Tenderloin….” (The Tenderloin is a historically harder neighborhood in San Francisco that has a high number of homeless and drug users, mixed in with the touristy stuff of downtown.) “And there’s this homeless guy, and he doesn’t have his back to us or anything, he’s doing it while face the street..” My friend inhales as his eyes get wet with excitement, “He’s MASTURBATING! Like full frontal! Not even trying to hide it?!?!”

Guffaws of laughter and disbelief from the crowd.