Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" Book Discussion

So I had planned for several weeks to write a really nice review of this book, because as pretty much every reviewer on the internets will tell you, it is a fantastic, unique work of considerable significance. Life has gotten in the way of blogging (again). Long story short: my marriage is good (shocking!), kids are healthy, though our 2.75 year-old DS seems to be stuttering lately (as he says defiant, funny things like "Don't tell me what to do!") and DH and I are mildly concerned about it (but not yet concerned enough to get him evaluated), our almost 9-month old DD just started walking and none of us were at all prepared for the wonderful havoc of a fully mobile baby. And things haven't quite gotten back on track for me work-wise ever since our babysitter quit last month to get married at age 20, and her replacement who we have fallen in love with just told me today that she has another job offer and is confused about what she wants to do... Argh! How does anyone actually work in Podunkville when there is no reliable childcare!!?? But enough whining from me... let's talk about what we all came here for... The true story of the HeLa cells and all of the crazybad fucked up shit that Mrs. Lacks' family has had to go through for years.

No worries if you haven't read it/read all of it. Here's my take on it. Everyone should read it. And if you can't read it, wait until Alan Ball produces an HBO special about it in a few years. But please do learn Henrietta Lacks' story.

There are a few things in this book that are going to stay with me for a long time. Namely, Elsie Lacks' horrible story. I think the author buried the lead/lede with Elsie's story, telling it towards the end of the book, concerning what happened to Henrietta Lacks' eldest child who had mental disabilities, and was institutionalized, tortured, and experimented on in an asylum in Maryland in the 1950s. I'm getting choked up typing this. I actually had a nightmare about the Night Doctors, and am convinced that 'urban legend' sprang from a place of truth.

The other thing that will stay with me is the book's epilogue. It boggles my mind the total helplessness of people who have had & in the future will continue to have parts of their bodies used by others for profit, probably unbeknownst to them. Who's to say some of your tissues aren't being used right now in ways you wouldn't approve of? And yet the law provides you no remedy. There is no guarantee that there will not be future families left in the same sad situation as the Lacks family.

What about this book resonated with you? If you didn't like it, feel free to say why - I won't hate on you.

Monday, June 14, 2010


1. The first episode of True Blood Season 3 rocked my world!!! Especially Sheriff Eric Northman's first scene.... yum.... and Pam was so hilarious.

2. Skeletor and Bill Clinton are getting divorced. She is in in-patient rehab halfway across the country, and he plans to drop the bomb on her when she gets back. Now that's the ultimate dick move, particularly the part about letting everyone else in town know before he tells her.

3. Remember our friend who is the father of 3, whose alcoholic wife is divorcing him, and I spoke with the girls' Guardian ad Litem on his behalf? The Judge has awarded him primary residential custody and has ordered his ex-wife to pay child support and attend a substance abuse evaluation. I'm so happy!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Sorry for the disappearing act. We were out of town. For work and play. With the kids. It kind of sucked logistically, but at the same time it was so nice to escape Podunkville, eat good food, and meet up with some cool mofos. Part of the suckiness was a huge fight we had in front of the kids - just like a bunch of assholes. Then we neglected to make up in front of them, which my reading of "Nurture Shock" (in time for the upcoming book discussion of it on Ask Moxie) tells me is what can really screw kids up. So that royally sucked.

A strange thing happened on our last day in the big city. I met someone. A man. A married man with kids. A man who, if it had been a mere 9 years ago and had he also been single, I strongly suspect I would have had a relationship with. And it freaked my shit right the fuck out. Nothing happened. Rest assured, Hush ain't no cheater, so everyone calm down! Nothing was even said. It was all just crazywild VIBE stuff. My DH and his wife were there the whole time. I probably shouldn't say anything more. I am going to avoid this person like the plague, and I doubt our paths will ever cross again... I know other women in relationships have experienced one-off things like this, and I believe the best policy is open communication with my husband about the attraction, coupled with total avoidance. Thank the lawd for therapy!

Relatedly, DH seems to have gotten scared about counseling in the last 2 weeks, and has been slowly retreating from it. I think he is afraid of finally opening the can of worms he needs to open. Childhood pain stuff. However, he claims he is trying to schedule his next appointment. I say "no TRY, just DO." (In my best Yoda voice). The counselor doesn't want to see me alone again, nor us both together again, until he has had the chance to meet 1-on-1 with DH. To further annoy/confound me, DH is also not reading either of the books the counselor recommended: "Getting the Love You Want" by Harville Hendrix, and John Gottman's "The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work." Both of which we own, and I have already read several times like a self-help dweeb that I am. So I am hoping DH comes around. I think he will.

But all is not so bad because... drumroll please... the TRUE BLOOD season 3 premiere is this Sunday on HBO (6pm my time, yipee!). Is it kind of sad that I am looking so forward to a freaking TV show? Like the people on it are long lost friends? Nah. ;)