Thursday, August 26, 2010

tremors...and trips into the twilight...

Yesterday I awoke to the worst sensation of...well to be honest...I don't know what. Shaking so bad that even lining my eyebrows was a task best left to someone else, and unhinged by an uncontrollable anxiety that flooded over me, I barely made it out the door in time for my first class of the semester. I got there fine enough. Comm 1010...covered the syllabus...sent them on their merry student way. Class over... but the anxious shakes were not.

While I couldn't come up with any truly concrete reason for my distraction...deep inside I knew it had something to do with my dad. I've always felt close to God and when I have these kind of emotional tremors it's fairly wise to listen. Too far away to do much about anything troubling me, I did the next best thing...I used my cell phone. Calling mom and dad yielded no answer. Calling sister Mel reaped the same. Calling sis Jen...I finally got through to someone.

I told Jen about my feelings and she seemed to think that they were completely valid. She let me know that things that morning weren't good for they so often aren't these days...and that sister LeAnn was on her way down from Wyoming. Or course knowing that...really didn't help much at all. Most everyone in the family knows that a visit from LeAnn is never pleasant.

Through all of this I have worried most about my mother. Don't get me wrong...I love my dad...but he is disappearing into the void and our mother is the one that has to witness this 24/7. Our family has always been one to downplay illness of any kind...which makes this time that much more difficult. It's so much easier to say everything is fine than to admit that the proverbial "shit has hit the fan".

I hate not being close enough to simply drop by my parents house and check in myself. I hate having my guts twisted up in so many knots as to challenge a boy scout. I hate breakdowns in the communication channel...which plague my denial prone family. But, most of all, I hate Alzheimer's! I can't stand this sneaky, villainous, thief in the night that steals my father from me.

The day draws to a close. I eat something, hoping that it will ease my mind, and find myself at home. I do the only thing I can...I ride. My bike and me cruising along the river pathway at dusk. The chill night air surrounds me in it's cleansing breath. Miles sweep away...and sunlight dwindles. Soon I find myself racing against the encroaching darkness. My surroundings transform as I pedal faster. The shadows become living things that press in around me. I'm unafraid and under the spell of my own intense concentration. Then it muse. I open myself to it and soon I'm home.

I write and Steadfast and True unfolds it's pages to me. Chapter one almost done!

Sara Jade Woodhouse

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Somewhere over the rainbow...

Watching a loved one lose their mind is never a pretty sight...but sometimes it makes for an interesting adventure. One that, hopefully, you take only seldom. Tripping down the rabbit hole has its advantages...and coming late to the tea party makes for interesting conversation.

When I set out to take my father on an errand, I was decidedly unprepared for the men in the white van. I'm still trying to figure out how (as my father puts it) they are able to videotape so completely our surroundings, edit it all together with what they want us to see, and get them projected onto the windows of my car so quickly. One thing is for certain...we have to lose them before we head back home.

Who needs LSD?

The painful loss of my father this way causes me to pray for filmmakers of comedic expertise. Drop my father into Who Framed Roger Rabbit...or Get Smart. Let the villains be of the Pink Panther variety, or like those from some Mike Myers film. Easily defeated by Allen "Powers". Here's hoping the Almighty Cecil B DeMille will hear my prayers!

Dearest Cecile in Hollywood
Hear my prayer
Let my Father have the best of agents
Keep him safe according to SAG
Help him remember his lines
And let his stunt double take the fall
Give him his due credit
And ensure him top billing
Hold his place at the Oscars
Have his limo waiting early
Let Leno give him his due
And Letterman too
And forgive me that rhyme
Help him to know our love
To feel our hope
To hear our applause
To see our smiles
And carry him through
To the rolling of the credits
This I pray in the names of
CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, Warner Bros,
Paramount, Miramax, Universal
And all other major, independent,
Commercially viable, and artistically valid

Sara Jade Woodhouse

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mirror Mirror and *%&)in# Father Time...

Having spent the majority of my life trapped inside a persona most definitely "non-grata", I feel especially robbed by time at this juncture in my life. How, you may ask, can I go from the top of the world yesterday to the hairy armpit of hell today?

Swimsuit shopping!

I have promised my daughter, for years, that someday I would swim WITH her. Traditionally I would recline in the shade and watch her attempt to entertain herself, at the ripe old age of ten, while gliding through the water like a dolphin. My excuse is valid! Pre-surgery complications abound when attempting to "pass" with only the thinnest amount of spandex between you and the world. So, in my later years I have beached myself. Evolved into a desert creature that still longs to return someday to my watery home.

Our last swimming expedition was at my friend, and previous student, Nicole's house. This time I got so far as to dip my oh-so-white stumps into the lukewarm liquid. Staring into the reflective depths, I could feel it's ebb and flow...the steady pull each time a wave washed over my calves. I ached to be wet! Sensing the gravitas of my situation, my friend suggested that we both swim with Kira next time.

What was she doing? Thank God my daughter didn't hear that!

"Yes you should!"

Damn! There it was. My daughter's extraordinary sense of hearing, turned on I believe only when she truly wants it, had captured the suggestion and turned it into a full tilt plea. But, what was even more miraculous was the assent I felt leaving my lips before I could seal them up and stop it's irreversible course. The promise was out. And I...was doomed.

With only a few weeks left of the summer break, the time seemed to rush in on me too quickly. Our last chance weekend is here. And tomorrow...barring the end of the world...I will join my daughter in the pool. Today...we shopped.

I have decided that Super Target has installed the worst possible torture device for women. TWO mirrors, positioned just right, allowing you to see with perfect clarity...your entire backside. A sight I NEVER want to see again. If I could have successfully determined a swimsuit fit by trying them on over my street clothes...I hate you Super Target!

I hate you Father Time as well! For cursing me with 40+ years of testosterone poisoning. I will most likely never have hips. Which means that I will also never have a figure. What I a back. A back that runs from my neck to my thighs! After trying on two swimsuits...I was done. Using the very valid excuse of getting Kira back to my ex...I pulled my daughter past the checkout stands and out into the parking lot. Once we were in the car and ready to pull out, my daughter said...

"I'm sorry."

"Sorry for what?" I replied.

"I'm sorry about the swimsuit."

People have asked me before if I would change anything about my past. If I could live it all over again would I, knowing what I know now, have done anything different. Do I wish that I had transitioned at an earlier age? Do I regret not having estrogen at work in my body sooner? There is a part of me that screams...

"Of course!"

But, just now, as I sit in the car with my lovely child sitting next to me...and the sun setting behind golden clouds tinged answer is a resounding...


Sara Jade Woodhouse

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

CAUTION...awestruck views...flirtatious almost beaus...and life ahead...

Standing aloft amid the weaving colors of blue, red, purple and yellow I gaze at mountains thrust up from the earth. I flood my senses with wonder and inhale the essence of God. My daughter is with me, and there's naught a sound but mother earth herself. I have forgotten mistrust, delusion, deception, and all other conflicts of life.

I wish for time to stop. Just for today...just for now...I never want to leave this moment. But, I know that is impossible. That wishing for that very thing will in fact destroy what makes this moment so. The sun descends and the mountains reclaim their own. My daughter and I begin our slow drive back to the valley. Hunger the only thing that makes the leaving tolerable.

Whole Foods, our haunt as of late, greets us as we make our way to the "hot bar". Northern Ireland serves us up his usual pleasant banter. I wonder if he will ever make that leap and ask me out. Perhaps "he's just not that into me". But the old fashioned me can't bring herself to make that move myself. So, we chat...we laugh...we exchange smiles and's over. Our foreplay of conversation...which never seems to lead to the actual fornication of talk.

This day is done.

I'm up to page 9 of Steadfast and True: the Autobiography. Things are about to get truly sad and this is one chapter of my strange life that I would rather not revisit. But, I will...if not for me...for her.

Sara Jade Woodhouse

Sunday, August 15, 2010

2 a.m. travels and lifes little O's...

It's 2 o'clock in the morning and traveling South on I-15, frustrated at myself for being so forgetful, I am cruising once again into the abyss of cultural absence that is Utah County. I finished a two day stay here not two hours earlier, and now, speeding back, I can't help but re-live it all.

Time with my family these days is fraught with the taint of sadness. Watching helpless as our patriarch slips away from us is infuriating, frustrating, and just plain hard. What little time we thought we had is now just dust from a shattered hourglass blown away by a wind that we can neither control nor reason with. When helplessness consumes you, it's hard not to turn on each other...or turn to each other. Hoping for more of the latter, you soon simply learn to press on.

There are moments of clarity. But, mixed with all the fear of losing, they are so hard to hang onto. So, you do the only thing the moment you have.

A day goes by, and then another. I spend most of the last day surrounded by the modern day equivalent of Universal Zetetic Societies (have fun looking that one up). After hours of etching the pristine, and not-so-pristine, bodies of my hometown with temporary art; and listening to the myriad of ignorant exchanges like:

"Don't forget to give HIM the money."

"Tell HIM thank you."


"Ask HIM how much the little ones are."

et al

I am both physically and spiritually spent. Patience is a virtue. That phrase is bandied about more often as an excuse than anything else. I know I'm not the most attractive female around (not by a long shot), and my boobs are not what anyone would refer to as spectacular, but it's not hard to see that I have eye shadow, lipstick, blush, mascara, and two little bumps on my chest that DO NOT resemble pecs in any way, shape, or form. So, the ignorance of proofs that are so obvious as to be seen by the naked eye is well...Flat-Earthers unite!

Then it happens, those moments my therapist liked to call the "orgasims of life". One child looks at their parent as though they must have made a mistake. Another looks around trying to find who they wanted them to thank and for what. A man running the booth next to mine says:

"You ladies look like you could use a snickerdoodle."

A mother tells her cute little boy to thank HER for the which he responds:

"Thank you Sara."

in the cutest little voice on the planet!

All of this is flying through my thoughts as I reach the end of Spanish Fork Main Street. On my way back to my parents house at 2:30 in morning to retrieve so many things I left behind. Then, suddenly, my repose is interrupted by the flashing blue and red lights of your local hometown police. I curse, a little bit, at the fact that I haven't yet been able to fix that broken headlight, and I brace for what is sure to come. The grand Salt Lake County police force has proven time and time again how much they share with that grand society of the faith is lacking.

The conversation, as best I can remember it, goes like this:

"How are you tonight?


Your front headlight is out.

Yeah, the fuse is burned out in the...little box...and I got all the way to Salt Lake and forgot that I left some stuff at my parents I got in the car and completely forgot that I left my drivers license at home. But, I have all this."

I hand him the insurance and registration. He asks me for my birth date.

"Just celebrated a birthday hey?


Okay, I'll be right back."

I wait in my car hoping that he won't give me a ticket for not having my license on hand. He isn't gone long it seems before he is back at my window.

"Okay. Well, I'm going to just give you warning tonight. But get that fixed okay.

Yes. I will.

Okay. I hope you don't mind my asking, and I'm not trying to be rude or anything, but on your drivers license it reads male...

Yeah. That's wrong...


I'm transitioning.

Okay. So you prefer...Ma'am...right?

Yes. I know. I need to get that changed.

I mean I got back there and I thought something was wrong because it didn't match up. I thought...she looks fine to me. So, you know.

Well thank you.

Well you look great.

Thank you.

Anyway, drive safe.

Thanks again."

So, sans make-up, hair a complete mess and exposing what I considered my dead-giveaway-receding-hairline, and no 2:30 in morning on the "backwoods" road between my hometown and Spanish Fork Utah; I am surprised by the kindness and complete acceptance of one of the finest peace officers I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Quite possibly the best "little death" I have ever had!

Sara Jade Woodhouse

Monday, August 9, 2010

15 more miles and counting...

Monday's. Universal in their application to all.

So, tonight I sit at my laptop with page six of my auto-biography staring back at me like some cavernous stretch of blank canvas. Waiting for me to splash my Jackson Pollock like thoughts and feelings across its emptiness. The problem is...I can't. I think about what needs to be written next and then it slips away from me like so much mercury in water. It isn't like history changes much. What happened...happened. It's just so very hard to bring to life...especially when it was so hard to live in the first place.

How does one begin to tell perhaps the saddest tale of their life? How do you put on paper all the fear, heartache, anger, and regret without it becoming emotional masterbation? Cheapened, exploited, and regurgitated like so much verbal drunkeness. Is there any way to put on paper that much of humanity? Or, are moments like these better left unsaid? Can they be left unsaid?

Cycled another 15 miles tonight. There's something about slipping along an empty stretch of road with nothing but the sound of your own tires wearing themselves out. It magically makes all things disappear, and you are alone with the wind and the sun and your thoughts. And then it hits you. Crashing in like the smell of stagnant sewer water evaporating in the summer heat. Really! I mean have you ever strolled past the 72nd stretch of the Jordan River Parkway? I want to know who's to blame for that assault on the senses! And, just like that, all those inspirations are vaporized. Replaced with the end of the day...the end of Monday.

Sara Jade Woodhouse

Sunday, August 8, 2010


It's almost 8 p.m. on Sunday and, after having played solitaire on my laptop for the...well I lost track of how many times actually, spitting organic cherry pits into my WalMart plastic cup, musing on just what the hell it is I think I'm doing, and not really coming up with any good answers to that question...I find myself here. Blogging.

What happened to my life? I find it hard to remember what I did on summer Sunday evenings when I was young...but I'm pretty sure it wasn't this. I seem to remember spending the time with someone other than myself. I'm almost certain that I had acquaintances at least. I'm sure I remember hearing voices other than my own...of course maybe I would be better off NOT musing anymore.

Youth and friendships are elusive things. You can't really pin them down, or bottle them up for later use, and before you know it both have moved past their expiration date. Remember when? Remember how we use to? I can't believe we did that. Everything was so much better when...

Cycled again this evening...made it 15 miles this time...still didn't find what I was looking for.

Sara Jade Woodhouse

Friday, August 6, 2010

Here we go...

Cycling. Traveled 12 miles tonight. What started as a quick bit of exercise...turned into something much more. It seemed as though I just wanted to keep pedaling...riding my bike into oblivion or something close to it. Cycling, it appears, like what some of us use to escape. Left to my thoughts...the wind and the road...gliding beneath me. A blur of pock marked pavement and cracks. For those of you who know might not wonder at this determined desire to...get away. For those of you who don't...well....

I'm not sure, exactly, why I decided to come home and begin typing this blog. I only know that it was the next thing I had to do. Keeping one's mind occupied is important during times like these. So, sitting at my miniature kitchen table in my more than miniature "house", clicking along over keys and letters and wondering all the while...why? I decide...why not?

This blog will be a "not-so-daily" conglomeration of thoughts, feelings, ideas, inspirations, frustrations, and just plain rantings as I plod through my first ever book An autobiography titled "Steadfast and True"...which should come as no surprise given the title of this blog.

For you brave souls who tend towards the voyeristic...


Sara Jade Woodhouse