Dr. Ou is holding a jar of my urine up to the light. It must be your first water of the day, and she will know if it’s not. Mine is a deep, buttery yellow with tiny floating specks, like a Christmas snow globe. As she turns the jar this way and that, she tsks-tsks.

“Heavy! Too much fat dairy.”

She flips the jar over and back again and a droplet slicks down the side. Her eyes fix on the inch-high head of foam that’s formed in my little pot of gold. “Too much sugar!”

The other patients in the office–a skinny, balding man and three eager-looking women–are pretending to read old magazines from the coffee table.

“Too much sugar make diabetes if not careful,” Dr. Ou warns. I park my eyes in her black, feathered hair. We’re off to a great start. Read More >>



Margaret lives in Sweden, where there is socialized medicine and reindeer stroganoff, and the Northern Lights streak across the sky. She’s lived there for thirty years and has been trying to get her family to visit for just as long. Now she is dying, and we are coming.
Growing up, I thought that of all my mother’s siblings, Margaret and I were the most alike. Feisty, a little quirky, not quite five feet tall. This was my way of feeling more connected to my mother’s family, even if it was through someone else’s reflection. I too had been physically isolated, an Army brat living in Europe until I was eight, and then landing in Colorado, not particularly close to any relatives.
However, closeness can wear many hats. Maybe I don’t want to spend my two weeks vacation with relatives every year, but they are a part of me, fellow travelers in my genetic caravan. And there is a familiarity – a loyalty – unlike anything else. Read More >>

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