Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Until then, I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy Hanukkah. May you be surrounded by love and peace. And again, thank you to each and every one of you who reads this blog and a very special, heartfelt word of gratitude to all who sent such lovely words and thoughts in these recent challenging days. You are lovely people.
Monday, December 22, 2008
That WASH-FM all Christmas, all the time radio station? Hell on earth right now. Christmas songs make me blubber like nobody's business.
I'm still very tired - and it's a exhaustion of the soul as well as the body. This is harder than when my brother died. I can't exactly say why. Each death is different. Each death carries with it a particular burden and particular memories.
Just a month ago, my sister told me she always thought of me as one of her kids, since she was old enough to be my mother. And maybe that is part of it. After our mother died, my sister Mary was the closest thing I had to a mother.
And losing that all over again is devastating.
Here I go again. Damn waterworks.
I am trying to embrace the holidays or whatever it is I'm *supposed* to do around this time. I put up my twinkle lights on the balcony yesterday, just before the wind kicked up and the temperature dropped. But my heart still isn't in it. I drove my best friend to the airport today, and I'm feeling suddenly very alone in a suburb bustling with last minute shoppers and general holiday mania.
I haven't bought a single present for anyone. My Christmas cards are stamped, but haven't been addressed.
I just feel empty. My own mortality weighs heavy on my mind.
This, too, shall pass. I know that. My logical mind knows that.
This. Shall. Pass.
Or, at least, it will lessen.
The loss never really goes away. It just gets buried a little deeper as each calendar page turns. Right now, I need the page to turn to the new year. And new hope.
And, on a very practical mental health note for this evening, I would love for the freaks upstairs to stop humping on the living room floor. They're giving my last nerve rug burns.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Did I spend enough time talking to her? Telling her I loved her?
Was there more I could have done to make her last years more enjoyable?
Should I have stopped being a coward about back pain and made sure I drove up to New Jersey to see her?
The first year I lived in Maryland, I drove up to New Jersey as often as I could. I had a 1989 Ford Escort station wagon with no air conditioning, and I drove up and down I-95 with my left arm dangling out the window the whole way. I did this enough times that year to actually permanently cook my left arm into a darker pigment than the right arm. It's very attractive. But, honestly, it was worth it. I had a community of family there. And then, when she was still vibrant and able, Mary was at the center of it.
Mary was fun. She took me on my first motorcycle ride (right before she had a horrific accident - that was when I was a little kid.) She had a Triumph Spitfire sports car, and I believe she left the transmission (or the engine itself) somewhere on a New Jersey highway shortly after purchasing it. At one point, she headed west and lived in a valley outside of L.A. for a while. She drank Tab obsessively and smoked (much to everyone's dismay) Benson & Hedges menthols by the carton.
Mary came to visit me when I lived in Russia. She came over with our sister Barb, and we had a blast. Of course, that was in 1990, and some Central Asian guys on Red Square thought my sisters - with their Jersey uniforms of floral leggings and bright t-shirts - were hookers. I laughed my ass off. Looking for souvenirs in Izmailovsky Park, Mary chose the most bizarre and unlikely thing possible - a real dead squirrel, stuffed, posed, and glued onto a tree branch. Some sort of snap binder clip had been inserted into its paws, and it clutched a pack of cigarettes and stared with wild glass eyes. She carried it home in this awful Pepto pink box. I have no idea how the hell she got it through U.S. Customs.
Several years ago, while vacuuming, Mary bumped the shelf where she displayed her Muscovite squirrel. All the fur fell off in one fell swoop.
Naked dead varmint? Not so cute. Citizen Squirrel was finally given the Hefty bag salute and removed from the premises.
After Mom died, Mary had the unenviable task of handling the estate. There wasn't much to the estate. Mom had nine kids. We were like a constant plague of locusts. But it was a mess nonetheless. That was back in 2001. Springtime.
In the wake of 9/11, when the airlines were desperate to get passengers back in the air, United had a frequent flyer mileage reward sale. From my old days of flying back and forth between DC and Uzbekistan/Kazakhstan/YouNameAStan, I had a pile of miles. With the sale, I had enough to buy tickets for myself and Mary to Thailand.
I have great affection for Thailand, and I thought my sister would really dig it. She did. I booked a fabulous hotel in Phuket (a hotel that later would be swept away in the devastating 2004 tsunami) for $28 a night. We ate and slept like royalty and shopped like there was no tomorrow. I have incredibly fond memories of that trip, despite my sister permanently burning the tops of her feet because of her refusal to apply sunscreen to them on a very sunny beach, and despite my mugging at knifepoint in a Bangkok market. I remember coming back to the hotel from the market, after dealing with the police, $800 lighter in my pocket (I was buying textiles.) I'd made my sister see the hotel doctor about her feet while I was
I staggered back into the room, wallet empty, shopping bags unused, and my sister asked, "What the hell happened?!?"
I shrugged. "I got mugged. Lost everything I had."
My sister responded. "Jesus Christ, what should we do?"
My answer, "Fuck it. Let's order room service."
And we did. And we laughed. And I have this awesome photo of my sister, hepped up on pain killers for her feet, holding the vented lid to her room service plate over her face like some twisted carnival mask. It's in my office at work. I put it on the shelf across from my desk so I can see her goofy, plated face every day when I sit down.
Mary would travel with me to the Yucatan Peninsula, too, back in 2003 or 2004. I can't quite remember the year tonight. Forgive me for my lapses - I'm not firing on all cylinders. That year, I was going to travel alone to the Mexican coastal town of Tulum (a relatively short drive from Chichen Itza) for my birthday. However, I suffered a little mishap two days before I was supposed to fly...
I was scheduled for a colonoscopy. My mom had colon cancer, so I thought it was wise to start early with preventative checks.
I did the miserable two days of prep for the procedure, finishing up with that wretched morning-of-the-camera-up-the-rump fiesta that leaves you running for the bathroom and wishing for sweet death. As I waited for the tummy rumblings, I laced my hiking boots in preparation of packing them up for the Mexico trip. When nature not only called, but screamed my name, I bolted from the sofa, knocking one boot off onto the floor.
And I tripped over that frigging boot.
And broke cleanly in half the big joint that holds the big left toe to the angry left foot.
I spent my birthday that year hopping around in a big fuzzy black bootie.
But through the wonders of travel insurance, I was able to reschedule for Christmas, and Mary wanted to come along. We met up in Newark, ready for a Christmas week of sun, surf, and Mayan ruins.
Well, we got the Mayan ruins.
But we also got a freak weather front that brought temperatures in the 60s, rather than the 80s and 90s, and with it, a plague of small black flies. I still went snorkeling (for five or six minutes at a time before I would come out of the water shivering and blue) and my sister still enjoyed the beach. It's just that I started to appreciate my sister as a smoker; her menthols kept the damn flies away.
Flies or no flies, we had a blast.
But it was on that trip that I noticed my sister was faltering. She took spills, including one spectacular fall on a tile floor that made my stomach lurch and fear that our trip was over.
It turned out, my sister had MS.
Amazingly, she self-diagnosed her MS, watching some home shopping channel charity event. Every symptom they described, she had. She went to her doctor, they scheduled some brain scans and discovered fast-moving lesions. Not a good sign. And Mary's health was already compromised: diabetes, smoking, and constant pain from injuries she sustained in a horrific car accident wherein she was struck from behind at stop light by a moron reading architectural plans as he sped down the street on a military facility. Mary had been a volunteer EMT, and some of the guys who responded to her accident knew her. They thought she was dead. But Mary was tenacious. She survived. But she had to have knee replacement surgery, and things were never the same for her.
We thought we were going to lose her a couple of years ago, when she became horribly sick and spent weeks and weeks in the hospital. I kept trying to mentally prepare myself, but that's almost a joke. No matter how well prepared you think you are, you never really are. She struggled back from that illness, but she was fading.
This year, she spent months in the hospital, and every single time I spoke to her, all she wanted was to go back home. I think she knew her time was very limited.
And now she is gone. Like my mother. Like my brother Ed. I was going to a doctor's appointment en route to work today when I got the call. And I cried. And I cried. And I cried. Between meetings today, I would stop and cry. When people were nice to me, I had to then go shut my door and cry. I've had a mule-kick headache since noon.
Nothing seems quite right today. Music on the radio. Laughter in the hallway. Stopping at the pharmacy to pick something up. It feels wrong to be doing anything "normal" - whatever that really means. I feel like I should have just curled up on the sofa and slept. But that's not right, either.
Life does continue, whether we feel it's rhythm acutely or muffled through grief. Life continues. And those of us still here have to tell the stories of those who are not.
My sister is no longer here. But I am.
What is that line from "Shawshank Redemption"?
"Get busy living, or get busy dying."
I guess I better get busy living. For you, Mary, I will get busy living.
Be at peace, Mary. No more pain. No more limitations.
Be at peace.
July 21, 1946 - December 10, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Speaking of big circles...
I decorated a new wreath for the door last night. I gave myself a limit of $15 for the wreath and all the bits and bobs to put on it. I'm proud to say, I came in under the wire at $11.
And here she is:
And there she shall stay, gracing the entrance to Chez Merde, until the first week in January. If it would just stop raining long enough for me to loop the twinkle lights around the balcony, I'd have my tiny white light show going, too. Right now, though, my fingers wouldn't stay warm (or dry) enough for me to finish it all. Maybe this next weekend...
To my friends in the United States, I hope you had a lovely Turkey Day. I was fortunate to be with great friends and have a great feast. (And none of us had to cook! Huzzah!)
I will aim to post more over December, but I have several deadlines this month, and my brain will be drained until just before Christmas.
Cheers to you all from rainy Maryland.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
P.S. If you don't understand why that's funny, it's okay. It's a total Star Wars geek thing.
Here's a snippet that's a little less obscure, but just as silly and twisted:
Now, I need to go to the MoCo Library website and reserve a copy of Carrie Fisher's newest book, her memoir "Wishful Drinking." I think I'm glad I was a naive child when Star Wars first came out. The 70s were much more innocent if you were completely oblivious to everything around you, and you didn't know Princess Leia was just a coked up celebu-spawn teenager banging Han Solo somewhere behind the craft services table.
Good times, good times...
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
My friend Ben made a comment on this photo over on Facebook yesterday. I hadn't thought about it in a while, but it made me laugh today. And, dear lord, I needed a laugh today. Hell, in this economy, I bet you can, too.
So, for the amusement and horror of those who need a little lift, I'm resurrecting an oldie, but gawdawfulie: the Merujo Carpet.
If you missed it when I first posted it back in 2005, this fugly carpet was custom-woven for me as a surprise gift from an Uzbek government official several years ago. He had snapped an atrocious photo of me the previous summer when he was visiting the 'States. I recall the day of that photo being somewhere near 100F, and I tend to melt in our humid DC swamp-swelter. This Uzbek gent handed off this wretched, hot, sweaty summer day photo of me to some carpet weavers (who are probably still in therapy.) Months later, lo and behold, a nightmare was born! I look like the Pillsbury Doughboy's ruddy maiden aunt, with frizzy hair pulled up so tight, I appear to have a high-and-tight Marine haircut.
So, for those who missed it before - and for those who can never turn away from a car wreck, here it is. The single ugliest thing I will ever own. Remarkably, it makes the actual me look good in comparison:
Just remember, when you are having a bad day, hopefully no one has immortalized you in loosely woven wool.
Loosely woven wool designed to be walked upon.
And frighten children.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
For me, it's not because of chemo. It's because of general health, age, finances, unattractiveness, the inability to find anyone whom I love and who desires me...
Adoption isn't an option, either, between the health and finances, too.
I know I'm not alone in feeling this. I know there are women everywhere who feel this emptiness, too. When I see my friends - happy with their partners and families - I get that feeling of basic existential failure very acutely. No matter how smart I am, as a human animal, I am a failure. Totally irrelevant.
Some days are harder than others. What can I say?
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Tell me what's wrong with this Google Ad I just saw on the Huffington Post:
In just TWO WEEKS this woman lost not only twelve pounds, but all the pigment in her skin!!!
Stop the presses! Somebody call Ripley's!!
How difficult would have been to find photos of different headless women of the same race? And maybe two women who actually were in the range of being twelve pounds apart? Because these ladies aren't twelve pounds apart, kids.
Man, Google has some really dumb advertisers...
Going to try to get some more sleep now, and over the weekend, I hope the muse will be mainlining caffeine.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
I'm taking a moment away from the fever couch to send you off again to my friend Spencer's blog. The final entry in his pre-election "Not Spencer" guest blogger series was posted today, and it's a treat. It's a new song by Michael Penn called "The Count of Pennsylvania" and MP wrote this especially for Spencer's blog. Cool, huh?
So, c'mon over to Chez Spencer and "get in on the landslide!"
Remember the D. and J. that the clairvoyant mentioned to me? My mom didn't want me to stress over D. and J. being invited to a recognition ceremony in Nevada for mom's dad.
What was in the envelope? A note from D. - a man I haven't seen or communicated with since I was a kid - saying, "Hey, my wife and I are coming out to Nevada for this event. Hope to see you there!"
Okay, back to the sofa. I've turned from being feverish to having chills. Yet I still have to go for the cortisone shoulder shot today. (Ugh!)
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Yesterday morning, I splurged big time on a reflexology foot massage for my birthday. Friday was my flex day from work, and I figured I needed to do something good for myself at some point - especially after so much "oooh my back" grumbling and groaning like an old crone.
The therapist who did the massage is a 60-something woman from Europe named M. She was funny, full of life, and did a fantastic job with the tootsie kneading. Halfway through the massage she stops and says to me, "I hope I won't offend you with this, but I feel you'll be quite receptive to this..." She told me she was a clairvoyant years ago overseas, and had provided services for members of a royal family. She stopped working as a clairvoyant when she found she was being bothered by "voices" all the time. "I had no private life," she said in explanation. So, she fled the voices, moved to the 'States and took massage therapy courses.
She told me she had occasionally received messages for other massage clients, but she never felt they would be receptive to anything she had to say. She said to me, "Who is GNH? Whose initials are GNH?" I inhaled sharply. Those were my mother's initials. She really disliked her given name, and, before marrying my father, she used her initials all the time. When I told M. those were Mom's initials, she said, "I see planes all around her. Airplanes? Does that make sense?"
Can you say "whoa, freaky!"?!?!
She said, "Your mother doesn't want you to worry about the light in your dining room. You worry too much about it, and there will be no fire. Don't worry about the electrics at all." My brother Mike who came to see me earlier this month would be able to tell you - my landlord has not repaired/replaced a chandelier in my dining room for a year, despite there being scorch marks all around it. Just last night, I was staring at it, very annoyed to still have it vexing me.
Then she asked me "Who are B. and E.?" (My sisters in Illinois - keep in mind she used full first names.) "How about M.? Your mother says M. has been having a very difficult time, and she watching over her." M. is my sister who has had very serious, life-threatening medical problems for months now.
I was just blown away.
But it continues -- she said to me, "Your mother says to not be concerned that D. and J. have been invited to the event in.... ummm... Nevada." D. and J. are my mother's unpleasant relatives by marriage - people we cannot stand. Trust me, there are good reasons for our dislike. Last week, I received a letter from an organization in Nevada, inviting me to attend a ceremony next year in Nevada, honoring my mother's father for his scholarly work in mapping and water research in the state. They didn't have the names of my other siblings for the letter, but they included D. and J. in the invite. I had just written to my siblings last week, saying it would be an utter shame if only those nasty cretins were able to show up for the event.
Apparently, Mom wants me to just fuhget abouddit.
Holy crap, people! Seriously!
Then, M. asked if there was another "G" out there, connected to airplanes. "Possibly a brother?" she asked. I told her about Mom's brother, G. who vanished in the Pacific in 1943, flying his Douglas dive bomber in bad weather.
She also had a message for me from an old boss in Moscow, too, who died from a brain-eating disease. The man was a mountain of charisma, but had no moral compass. He slept with a baker's dozen of my coworkers - always when his wife was on official travel. M. had a lovely dog - a black & white australian sheepdog. The woman this morning asked me if I knew "an M." (here, she offered up a couple of names, one of them a bit exotic and right on target) "with a border collie or sheepdog, black & white... he wants to apologize for all his bad behavior and asks if you would pass the word to others who knew him, just how sorry he is."
I know some may not believe in such things, but my rational mind cannot find any explanation for her revelations. I had never met M. before. I told her nothing about the family. I had never been to the little spa before. She told me the warmth and light that came with the messages was amazing, and, if I ever wanted to come back for another massage, she'd be happy to pass on any other messages she received.
I guess I need to figure out where I'm going to get $40 a month to go in for a massage!!
So, if all this wasn't strange enough, M. had said something about "pink roses, pink roses... I have a very strong image of pink roses, and maybe a lily... oh, and there's baby's breath, but one stem is bad, you'll have to throw that away."
And so comes today's floral coda to this tale...
This afternoon, two dear friends had flowers delivered to me for my birthday. The arrangement was a wonderfully wild mix of stunning flowers and colors. And, in the heart of the bunch, what did I find?
Bright pink roses and a brilliant yellow lily.
And, in the baby's breath, one stem that had seen better days.
Folks, I don't know what to say. Even if you don't believe, it's pretty wild. And if you do, it's nice to know there are folks out there, watching out for us. :)
Thursday, October 30, 2008
For most of my friends and family, it will come as no surprise to hear that I am supporting Barack Obama's campaign to become the next president of the United States. My reasons for this decision are myriad.
I know we desperately need a clear, clean, and definitive break with the national leadership that has misguided our country for the past eight years.
I want a president prepared to talk to all world leaders without immediately invoking the specter of George W. Bush and his ignorance.
I think it would be fantastic to have someone in office who understands what is is to be an ordinary American (as opposed to an admiral's son married to an heiress) and has the outstanding education, serious smarts, and actual critical understanding of both our multicultural nation and our constitution to lead us with grace, decency, strength, and humility.
I sincerely and firmly believe our presidential choice should not be guided exclusively by our personal beliefs, but also by the behavior and judgment demonstrated by the candidates and their key advisors in this race. And that's where John McCain completely lost me in this election. He lost me with the choice of Sarah Palin. Completely. Utterly.
Today, I am honored to be a guest blogger on my friend Spencer's insightful and politically-relevant blog, A Rubber Door. I invite you to read my post there, Wasilly Season, and learn more about why I feel judgment counts, and why the Sarah Palin veep choice was the biggest and most glaring example of John McCain's lack of good judgment in this race.
I would highly recommend you read the posts from Spencer's other guest bloggers while you're there. (And Spencer's own stuff, too!) It makes for some good reading.
American friends, please vote. Please, please, please.
And, hey - very honestly - if you disagree with my views, I invite you to express your opinions here or over in the comment section after my post on Spencer's page. I'm more than happy to defend my position through reasonable discourse. I know by simply being myself and making my views clear, I will offend a few family members and at least a couple of deeply conservative friends.
So be it.
To those family members and friends I say this - over the past few months, I've put up with anti-Obama, falsehood-ridden forwarded e-mails from you and had to read about how I "drank the No-bama kool-aid", and I'm tired of it. Frankly, it's about time you heard what I believe in.
(And P.S. Anyone wishing to engage in debate and thinking of bringing up the lame Bill Ayers argument has to first explain to me how Obama is a bigger "pal" of terrorists than the uber-Republican Annenbergs who funded that whole educational project. Trust me, your local grant guru, funders know exactly who the advisors are on projects they bankroll!)
Thanks for reading. I'll be curious to read your response to my guest blogging entry. And thanks to Spencer for giving me the chance to share my perspective.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Courtesy of FARK, I just read these links from Pat "Knows the Mind of God" Robertson's CBN website. Kids, did you know that people who celebrate Halloween "either are unaware of its roots, or are intentionally promoting a world where evil is lauded and viewed as an ultimate power"??? According to CBN, that's the situation. Halloween is going to eat our immortal souls!!
I better make sure all my Wiccan friends know they're totally screwed. I bet they had no idea!
Much to their dismay, some of the Pat Robertson Christians have had to come to terms with "the simple reality that in today’s Western culture it is nearly impossible to 'avoid' Halloween." (Oh, the horror!) CBN even has an online "Halloween Resource" page. Yeah. For real. Sad, huh?
So, just how does a "true" Christian deal with Halloween? Why, by handing out scripture in the form of cute little Gospel tracts rather than that hellspawn Snickers snack bar! Or hey - you could get a GREAT reputation as the Official Neighborhood Crazy Cat Lady™ with this suggestion: "...consider designing your own tracts or attaching scripture messages to the treats." Riiiight. My mom would have been introducing these treats to Mr. Hefty Bag or taking them to the ER for an x-ray.
Still looking for the right Christian option for the hell-o-day? How about these surely tasty treats: "Scripture Candy, from the makers of Fish Mints™ contain wrappers that have scriptural text. Also, EvangeCandy, 'the only candy with color-coded Gospels on every wrapper' are fun for children."
Hooray! What child doesn't love some good color-coded Gospel messages on Halloween? I'm sure the Jewish, Muslim, & Hindi kids in your 'hood will be thrilled! As will their parents! Good work, Sister Christian!
And I'm sorry, but no candy should be called "FishMints." That's just so wrong. On so many levels. "Mmmm, baby - your breath smells just like a tuna sandwich from Quiznos!" Okay, wrong fish probably (and I kept it clean, you'll note), but still. BAD PRODUCT NAME.
The Sasquatch just reminded me that his church used to have a haunted house on Halloween. Most of the churches in my hometown did the same thing. Has that tradition died in the face of obnoxiously strident evangelical Christianity? I hope the hell not.
I miss the Halloween of my childhood. And I hate to see smug people who think they have the golden ticket into heaven trying to paint it as evil. Don't appreciate Wicca being described in those same ignorant terms, either. I like to think Jesus would have told these guys to lighten the hell up.
From one lapsed cafeteria Catholic to all my Halloween-loving friends - have a blast! Let your kids have a blast, if you've got 'em! Make a fun costume. Put on some horns at work (I will!) and don't let the puckered sphincter crowd get you down. They all need to go back and watch Oh God! with George Burns, honestly. I always loved God saying he made all these faiths, all these beliefs, and he really didn't give a fig how you addressed him/interacted with him. A most sensible view of religion and spirituality, I think. From Hollywood. Go figure.
To my Wiccan friends, I wish you a good Samhain. To the moms and dads and kids getting ready to assemble costumes, knock on doors, and hope for something other than Sweet Tarts in your plastic pumpkin - have fun! Revel! To the young, horny singles planning on wearing overpriced rentals, drinking to excess, and waking up in a strange place on November 1st: don't throw up on the rental. And carry condoms. And enough money for a cab. (You'll thank me later.)
As for me, I'll be the one in Lafayette Park at lunchtime on Halloween, celebrating my birthday a few hours early. You won't be able to miss me - I'll be the huge chick, waving at the White House, wearing my little red devil horns and a name tag reading "HELLO I'm Dick Cheney's Sister." One last parting shot at the Satan Spawn at 1600 Penn.
Feel free to join me. I have a plastic pitchfork waiting for you.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sleep will be had tonight!
As of this afternoon, back surgery has been deemed "too risky" by the orthopedic surgeon. At least for a loooong time to come. I start epidural steroid injections, though, probably next week. Plus a cortisone injection into my shoulder. Yes, fun with needles. Can't beat it.
For now, a bit of relief comes from a Target pharmacy Rx bottle.
Amen, mah bruthas and sistahs! Bring on the drugs!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Yeah I've been pretty quiet lately. Had company all last week in the form of my wonderful brother Air Jordan. But, by the last days of his visit, my back pain had become so bad, I was sobbing, hyperventilating, and violently ill. After a brief respite from pain over the weekend, the stabbing sensations were back, with a vengence. I assume, somewhere in my spine, there is a tiny Bruce Willis, battling Teutonic baddies. Yippee kai yay, messed up vertebrae!
The pain has grown so bad this week, I can't function properly by about 4 p.m. each day. My thought processes start to shut down and I can't focus. I'm seeing an orthopedic surgeon again - hopefully, tomorrow afternoon - to discuss steroid injections to relieve some of the agony. I'm going to beg my physical therapy doc tomorrow morning (at 6:15 - eek) to call the ortho guy in advance and tell him I'm not a drug-seeker. I desperately need some sleep and some freedom from this misery, and I am not above begging for pain meds.
Seriously, I was having trouble stringing words together appropriately on the way home tonight. I think the Sasquatch initially thought I was being a dumb-ass until I told him the pain was messing with my brain. Not good for someone who needs her brain for her paycheck.
More when I can sit a bit longer.
I know, I know - bring back the funny. Dudes, I'm *SO* trying!
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
I saw stars, actually said, "Oh god, not good. Wow oh wow oh wow, not good..." several times, I think, and almost passed out. Now, I have a big old bump on my forehead, and I think it's bruising. Plus, my bad eye hurts, and I can feel pain all the way down to my shoulder (yes, the broken one, of course.)
I have no idea what I was thinking when I cleaned my own clock. I should put rubber bumpers on everything around me. Seriously.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Eh, screw it. I suck at Zen.
I'm nursing a cold, and I really needed to spend today cleaning my apartment, as my brother, Air Jordan, is flying in next weekend, but I woke up to an apartment with no power. We had dramatic thunderstorms all night, but ironically the power didn't fail until a couple of hours after the rain moved through.
When the power still wasn't back at noon, I gave up. Knowing that my life will be seriously local for a long time to come, I decided to take a "final for now" super short road trip. It was also a bit of a test drive to see how much travel time my back can handle.I took my camera, got in the car, and drove about 50 miles north-ish to Westminster, Maryland. It's near the Maryland/Pennsylvania border, not far from Gettysburg. There were a handful of autumn festivals scheduled in town, plus (and please, remember, I'm a middle-aged fat woman) a rubber stamp show. Good day for snapping a few photos. I have taken so few in recent months.
I figured the skies in Westminster would be overcast and grey, like they were here in Bethesda. The Sasquatch told me that would offer really ideal conditions for outdoor photos - no bright, direct sunlight.
The skies stayed grey for a while, but then the heavens opened up. (Much like my power steering.) I ended up a drowned rat driving home in the misty dark, but I got a few cool photos (and a lot of lousy ones) of rural Maryland as autumn entered the scene...
Hope you enjoyed a little rural America. It was nice to get away for a few hours. Power's back on here at home (obviously), although Comcast is running some insanely loud generator directly outside my bedroom window, so I imagine tonight will be spent curled up on the La-Z-Boy in the living room...
Enough for tonight. My spine is telling me it's Sofa Time. (It's a little like Hammer Time, without the parachute pants and the flat top 'do.)
Remind me, next time, and I'll tell you more about the "concerned citizen" (aka Mr. Total Tool) who decided tonight that I had no right to take a photo of a neon sign on Rockville Pike, then screamed at me, and attempted to take my camera away from me. Bad move, Mr. Tool.
And it was all because I took this photo:
(I think it's possible Mr. Tool has one of those hot metal rods up his ass, too.)
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
One year ago today, as I was heading off to a Thomas Dolby concert, a SUV-driving bonehead on a cell phone plowed into me, setting of a chain of wacky car accident hijinks that has left me pretty wussy 12 months on. Twice now, I have encountered the first woman who hit me. Both times were at the machine at the condo office where you add money to your laundry card. Each time, she has refused to acknowledge me as I sway on my cane, waiting for her to add value to her card. And, each time, I've had to fight the urge to curse her and grab her skull in an attempt to Vulcan mind-meld her into feeling my back pain.
Not being a Vulcan, I fear this attempt would fail, and I would be facing some sort of assault charge.
But hey, a girl can dream, no?
Making tasty lemonade out of bitter lemons, I celebrated today's momentous anniversary by going to the 9:30 Club with the Sasquatch to hear the astoundingly fine Booker T. and M.G.'s. Damn, damn, damn, these men are not just legends. They are still kicking serious musical ass, just like they did back in the day:
There were dancing girls tonight, too, but only the two women Eddie Floyd pulled out of the audience to share the stage with him when he came on as the band's special guest.
God, it was great. Really, really great.
And youngin's - if you don't know who Booker T. and the M.G.'s are, go pick up a greatest hits CD. You're going to realize you know who they are even if you don't know who they are.
Great night. Thanks, Squatchito - this totally rocked! Maybe my concert-car accident curse is now ended.
I have two domain names I've owned since the days of my self-employment. For a while I wanted to hold onto them, thinking I might be able to make a go of things with my little businesses. Clearly, that's not happening.
I forgot that they auto-renewed with Go Daddy today. Sure, it's not much money for a year for most people - thirty-some-odd bucks. Unfortunately, that loss of thirty-some-odd bucks now leaves me with $4 in my bank account until next Friday. Can you say "majorly screwed"? I can. I can also say, "Hey, moron! You should have gotten rid of these domains last year!" I have no excuse except for the absentmindedness that comes from stress (serious about that.) Plus, I was still hopeful about doing something then.
But hey - I have $7 in my purse and four Lean Pockets in the freezer. Not the ideal healthy eating plan. Eh, what can you do?
Can anyone recommend a good service/website for selling domains?
Thanks to anyone with skinny!
Friday, September 19, 2008
I asked the Sasquatch if having Hitchens walk past you, scowling, is like walking under a ladder or passing a black cat. "No," the Squatch replied, "I think it means you're going to get drunk. Or waterboarded."
Yes, I'm posting at 5:50 in the morning. I'm supposed to be at physical therapy in 10 minutes, but I've been sick on and off all night, and I'm too wobbly to drive anywhere right now. The irony - the back and shoulder and all the stress creates a need for therapy, but the back and shoulder and all the stress has made me too sick to drive safely.
Queue Alanis Morrisette.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
For a minute or two, I found a relatively decent spot, leaning up against a pillar on M Street. The pillar was broad, and the cool stone felt so good on my spine. I have been trying to teach myself calming breathing techniques, although I forget to stop and breathe as often as I should. But on Monday, I tried my best to invoke some zen as I took in somewhat jagged cleansing breaths on a rush hour sidewalk.
My cell phone was in my pocket, and I pulled it out to call the Sasquatch to ask if he could drive me home. I could hear the "bees" buzzing around my head - a sure sign that I'm about to pass out. My hand was shaking as I held my phone, and I accidentally turned on the camera function. Looking up, I saw the most fascinating, fast-moving cloud formations passing overhead. To be honest, I wasn't sure if it was real weather or just my vision fuzzing out before fainting. From my spot leaning on the post, I clicked a photo. I'd forgotten that I had set the camera to "aqua" mode a few days before. This is what I saw. Click on the images - they're much cooler in larger format:
I switched the setting to sepia, and another cool image of the rapidly changing sky appeared:
Switching back to aqua, I caught the pavement beneath my feet:
And, before finally sliding down the column to a very uncomfortable, very lightheaded crouch, I caught these buildings at the corner of M & 15th:
I was so ill Monday night, I completely forgot I took these pictures until just now, when I received a message from a family member. Once again, I bumped the photo button, and my little gallery of images appeared. Not bad for a nearly unconscious, non-photographer!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I've been up all night. Every hour I've spent 15 minutes icing my back. My lower back is throbbing, and my left leg is numb. It's been numb since slightly before 5 o'clock yesterday evening. Out of the blue, it came on. I had felt some discomfort around 4. Even laughed with a colleague about how I had to stretch out over my desk to try to relieve some of the pressure. But that's happened before. Many times.
But it was different at 5. I shifted in my chair at work ever so slightly, and I screamed. The pain was so intense, I got dizzy. I almost blacked out. Thank god the Sasquatch could drive me home.
I'm cutting this short. This is all the time I can sit up. The computer is in the hall between the living room, bedroom, and bathroom. I really only sat down because right now I can't walk all the way (all of a few feet) without stopping to sit.
This is horrible. Very, very sincerely, I hope none of you ever has to experience this.
Right now, I wish I could mind-meld a la Spock with all the morons who have caused my accidents so they could understand what they've made me go through. And I wish this sensation - and lack of sensation - would just stop.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I went to (god help me) the Walmart website looking for these ridiculous things they sell called "Bubba Jugs." No, they are not enormous he-boobies. Bubba Jugs are huge drink containers. I thought it might be good to buy one so I could bring filtered water from home to drink all day rather than take a chance on DC tap water. (Sorry, tap water enthusiasts - I still remember when the sewage backed up in the DC system, thanks.)
In looking up "mugs" I came across the following atrocity - a four-foot tall inflatable indoor beer mug emblazoned with the words "THE PARTY'S HERE." Here's the description:
"This airblown beer mug with pretzel leaves no doubt that your partygoers have arrived at the right place. At four feet tall, this self-inflatable décor makes a fun statement. For indoor use only."
Uhnmmm... if this is a giant pretzel, I'm Paris Hilton:
I'm sorry, guys. But if someone has left behind a two-foot tall pile of feces, the par-tay is o-ver.
God bless Walmart. They're slashing prices and keeping America super-classy!
I was a little bit shaken up by this. To give you an idea of the strong, warm feelings he left with people, one of my co-workers at Major Non-Profit and TV Network With Its Own Theme Music also went to my high school and remembered him fondly, too. She had been the young, musically-talented actor-type freshman when he was a senior.
I hope he has found peace.
My friend Spencer had come across the Flickr mosaic post on Madame Tewkesbury's blog and posted his own. So, I finally decided to get my rump in gear and do it. BTW, small world that this is, the purveyor of Tewkeshness is a local friend of mine here. Spencer is a friend I met via the Internet. I decide to do this mosaic that one of them got from the other, and, in answering the last question, the ONLY photo on Flickr that features my Flickr name is... one of Spencer, his lovely spouse Kristen, the Sasquatch, Cynicsgirl, her husband the RadioCynic, and me. Go figure, eh?
1. melissa in a long beach diner, 2. New York Steak, 3. Patrick Dixon R.I.P., 4. Just an Orchid, 5. Damian Lewis, 6. Raspberry Seltzer, 7. Indigo & Aqua, 8. Sweet Cherry Pie, 9. storyteller, 10. Leapin' for Obama, 11. Hacia "El Paso de Jama", 12. MIchael Penn - WCL Philly 2007
I thought you should know what my search was for #10 on my list: hope - the thing I love most in life right now. That photo, of some deliriously rapturous random happy fat dude jumping for joy, next to an Obama "Hope" poster kinda said it all for me right now. "Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies." Thank you, Stephen King. Without hope, some days, I'm not sure how I get through.
Now, if you have a hankering to try this yourself (it's a neat way to see some very beautiful - and sometimes very strange - photos), here's the skinny:
- Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
- Using only the first page, pick an image. (You can arrange by “Most relevant,” “Most recent,” or “Most interesting.”)
- Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you?
12. Your flickr name?
Saturday, September 13, 2008
"It was either late 1973 or the beginning of 1974 when we had this sleepover. It was wintertime, I recall. My family had just moved out to Illinois late in the summer of 1973 (right after the end of taping in the White House) just before I started second grade. The slumber party was hosted by my new friend L., whose dad was a Republican congressman. I have no idea if the call that night was related to the Vietnam trip he'd just taken or a "please don't hurt me" call from Nixon, as L.'s father was one of very few Republicans in Congress to support any articles of impeachment. (Can you say... uncomfortable?) Nixon was very patient with us being goofy kids. Considering the shitstorm around him, I'm amazed by that in retrospect.
I actually thought about that when I ran into Nixon in the lobby of the embassy in Moscow just a few months before he died. He was there privately as an advisor, and the embassy had been told by Washington to offer him no support. It felt very wrong. So, seeing him standing there, alone, in the lobby, I went over and asked him if I could help him. I found his car and driver and escorted him to his ride. He was very gracious (and looked very ill.)"
So, yeah, I ate chocolatey roaches and spoke to Tricky Dick himself. Strange world, eh?
The truth about my fabrication? Well... Justin was pretty much right. All the stories are true.
Wolfgang, the Armenian guy? The space aliens didn't appear outside his place of work, they appeared outside his apartment balcony. He had his wife take photos every time the UFOs appeared. He had a vast collection of shots of small white lights with his finger pointing to them. I had to sit through a presentation of all the blurry shots during a briefing on humanitarian aid in his city council office. He carried them around in his briefcase. It was pretty messed up.
I know, I kinda pulled a fast one there, but I realized some of the stories I have are so messed up, I couldn't think of something to make up that would sound more absurd. So, the visit to the Caucasus ended up with a wee fib in it.
The Sasquatch told me I was cheating, but hey - I did just say one of them wasn't *completely* true!
Just proof positive that real life beats fiction 99.9% of the time.
Justin, the coffee's on me. :)
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Yesterday the Sasquatch made a favicon for me, so now, when you visit here, you'll see my little one-eyed cartoon devil girl in the location bar next to the URL. Neat, huh? Also, very kindly, he is going to help me create an array of banner images for the site from my odd collection of photos, and, using code from the Tips for New Bloggers site, we'll set it up to rotate images. Whoo-hoo!
Speaking of images, I was tickled pink to find out that Bar Pilar on 14th Street has a photobooth!
$3 for a strip of four black & white photos! Mere minutes from my office! It's like Christmas for a photobooth freak! Can't wait to try it out.
Three bucks and a photobooth. That's all you need to entertain me. Yeah, I'm all about the lifestyles of the rich and famous, baby!
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
I'm not much of a meme'er these days. Several friends have sent memes around in recent weeks and I've promised to respond, but I never seem to get to them. Also, because of my strange ability to attract Crazy Ass Blog Stalkers (or CABS), I'm a little reluctant to share more personal information than I already spew forth out here. I can just imagine someone reaching out and saying, "You like Toblerone? I *love* Toblerone! I'm gonna send you a case! We should be sisters!"
However, in the interest of making sure my friends don't think I'm ignoring them, I've come up with a combination meme response. This meme has elements of several friendly tags I've gotten and yet provides would-be CABbieS (or should that be CABieS - like rabies?) with no useful information.
Below are five odd things you might not know about me.
Four of them are completely true.
Guess which one isn't:
1. As soon as I learned to walk, I started turning my toes under my feet and running on the tops of my toes. This made some of my siblings want to hurl. Somewhere, this bizarre form of conveyance is documented in an old family movie, in which I run through our yard in New Jersey, on the tops of my toes, carrying a very large dead fish and chasing my screaming relatives.
2. I have eaten chocolate covered cockroaches. They were in a lovely presentation box from Vietnam. My friend's father was a congressman, and he brought them back from a fact-finding trip to Southeast Asia in the waning days of the war. He bought them as a joke. He should not have left them in the kitchen for a slumber party of second grade girls to find.
They were like chocolate-covered Aplets or Cotlets.
Except they had exo-skeletons.
President Nixon called during that slumber party. Before we got my friend's dad on the phone, we passed it around and talked to him while we ate the roaches.
3. On a business trip to Armenia, I sneaked over the border into Turkey with an Armenian Orthodox priest, so we could get a closer look at Mt. Ararat. We did not see Noah's Ark.
Or a Yeti.
Or Leonard Nimoy.
But a city official in Yerevan did show me his massive UFO photo portfolio. He claimed they hovered outside the balcony of his office during city council meetings. His name was Wolfgang (the Armenian guy, not the alien.) Unusual name for an Armenian dude.
4. Two friends and I accidentally ended up as extras in a Soviet science fiction film called "The Blue-Green Alien" (working title, I assume.) We were lounging on a Black Sea beach when the film crew arrived and repeatedly filmed a man in a suit walking into the sea. Someone asked us to all look to the sky and point. We did, while saying things in English like, "You see anything? Nope? Me neither! I feel stupid!"
I am not thrilled that my (likely) one and only performance on the big screen was in a swimsuit.
Maybe I can find the filmmakers and have them pay for my therapy.
5. I once purchased the most gorgeous, enormous, sweet strawberries from a roadside berry patch in the outskirts of Moscow and brought them back to my office for everyone to enjoy. That night, I saw on the news that the patch where I bought the berries was the location of a Stalin-era mass grave. My supersized berries had been growing in Soylent Fucking Green.
I got to work the next day and dumped the berries as quickly as possible before they were all eaten by my unsuspecting colleagues.
I didn't eat strawberries for a loooong time after that.
Well, there you go. Enjoy. Leave a comment and tell me which story you think doesn't ring completely true.
This is fun.
And now, there is warm laundry in the dryer waiting for me. Aloha, mah peeps.
It was the same asshat who caused my last accident.
You should have seen the look on his face as he realized he almost got t-boned again.
He dropped his phone, rolled down the window and put his hands up. He yelled, "I'M SORRY! I'M SORRY! I'M SORRY! I SHOULD HAVE LEARNED MY LESSON!"
I have a strong feeling this guy is destined to learn his lesson Darwin Awards-style.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
You can visit my "channel" on Gabcast where, if you enjoy masochism, you can subscribe to my audio rambles.
I just can't borrow any more money from family or friends. I just can't.
I guess the car will go as far as the Metro station a mile from my place and just stay there during the day. It'll be a couple of months before I can afford to cover this repair.
Just so damn tired, really. Only up for an hour, and I want to go back to bed.
Will all this stop someday?
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
I don't know who you are, Constant Reader, but thank you very much for nominating me for blogging awards on both Divine Caroline and the Blogger's Choice Awards. I'm nominated in the "Neighborhood & World" category on Divine Caroline and in four categories in the Blogger's Choice Awards: Best Blog About Blogging, Best Blog About Stuff, Freakiest Blogger (I *think* that's a compliment), and the "Blogitzer" which is for the best writing on a blog.
Really, I'm very flattered. It's very kind that someone things this highly of my writing. I imagine I don't stand a snowball's chance in Hell, considering that Dooce is probably nominated in every category, but still, it's nice!
If you have a chance and the inclination, please consider voting for me. I have buttons up on the right for both the Divine Caroline and Blogger's Choice sites. The Divine Caroline "badge" was e-mailed to me this afternoon, which came as a pleasant surprise.
It would be kinda fun to win (and, hell, Divine Caroline comes with cash prizes), but honestly, just the friends I've made through this site make me feel like I've already won the best prize of all.
And now, to the sofa for a Coke Zero and something educational on basic cable.
(You didn't really think I'd be watching the Republican love fest tonight, did you?)
I settled in for a read as the Red Line headed down to Farragut North and flipped through the articles. Hurricane Gustav, check. Sarah Palin and her family circus, check. Medical trial ads, check. (I keep hoping to see one reading "Are you karma's bitch? We can help with free investigational drugs!" So far, no luck.)
But then, on page 28, there it was - the Blog Log. Pithy quotes from local bloggers about the day's events. There was a thoughtful quote about being a Red Cross volunteer in the aftermath of a hurricane... two thoughtful quotes about Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin... and then, this, circled in pink, just for you:
For the record, I was amused by the irony of the situation, not by someone going into rehab. Unless it's Amy Winehouse, I'm not going to be that mean! Eight posts over the holiday weekend, and this gets culled from the herd, of course.
Ah well, fame and infamy - sometimes, for fifteen minutes (or the length of someone's post-holiday commute), it's the same thing. I hope that, for every Metro traveler today who thought, "Jeez, what a jerk!" there was an equal number saying, "Yeah, I kinda thought the same thing..."
Another proud moment for me in the land of Internet randomness.
Monday, September 01, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
You know how it goes.
Just big boo-boo mistake, da? You kidnap opposition blogger, put gun to head, and, damn, it go off accidentally!
By the way, on ABC News this morning, Cindy McCain stated that Sarah Palin has a really good grasp of national security issues because Alaska is close to Russia.
I work three blocks from the White House. Does that mean I should understand what goes on inside Cheney's head?
God help us. Please, Democrats, don't screw the pooch on this election!
Yes, believe it or not, that blond god is Vincent D'onofrio.
This Vincent D'onofrio:
Wow, huh? Don't get me wrong, ah luvs me mah Vincent D'onofrio. It's just a pretty amazing change over time. Of course, Vincent holds the Guiness record for most weight gained by an actor for a film - 80+ lbs for "Full Metal Jacket." Private Pyle is one serious m-f'ing actor, kids.
But I digress...
I fell asleep on the end of the film and woke up to late night home shopping on Oxygen. Yes, "Adventures in Babysitting" was showing on Oxygen. 80s squeaky clean teen movie. Cute and family-friendly.
Unlike the home shopping Oxygen featured immediately following the fuzzy, funny fare.
Sex toys. Lots and lots of sex toys. Really expensive sex toys.
Until last night, I had no idea there were vibrators embedded with mp3 players. Or ones that light up with pretty LED lights. (I wasn't quite clear on that one - I mean, is it for use in very dark spaces, like one of those orange flashlights for directing aircraft?) The best one? (Your definition of "best" may vary.) It's an "Internet-ready" vibrator that can be remotely controlled by someone on the other side of the planet.
Can you imagine the nightmare of a vibrator hacker?
Not cool, man. Just not cool.
Of course, I watched with great fascination. Actually, I think it's pretty cool that it's a very straightforward show, presented with no titilation. The female hosts could be selling commemorative coins, they were so mellow. They were dressed like normal folks and it was clearly women-friendly. They even had segregated toll free ordering numbers specifically for men and for women. "Ladies," one of the hosts chirped, "When you call your toll-free number, there will be a woman at the end of the line to take your order." I noticed they didn't say anything about the men's toll-free number. I imagine there are women at the end of that line, too.
What amused me most is that the hosts are holding up dildos and vibrators that look exactly like veiny penises, yet they would say things like, "And you know where to put these, ladies." I'm like, wait - you have no problem holding up a wobbling, rubbery penis, but you can't actually use the terminology that might go along with the receiving end of these critters? Maybe there's some strange FCC late-night TV law against that. "You can show the enormous, anatomically accurate phallus, but don't use any words for the hoo-hah, okay?"
The strangest thing they showed? Jesus, it actually ooged me out. It's this device called "Aria's Pleaser." I am posting the most tasteful photo of it that I could find. Honestly, a still photo doesn't do this thing justice. It's a pink rubber sheath that looks like the lower half of a human head. It has a nose, a jaw... and a wide open mouth with a battery-operated tongue waving around inside. I stared at it as they turned on the tongue and was horrified. It looked like a birth defect rather than a sex toy. Some stop motion demon straight out of a Wes Craven film. I may actually need therapy.
And, because I'm not going there alone, here's a photo of this sucker (as it were):
Now, just imagine that tongue lolling around and making the whole thing move.
Good luck sleeping tonight, kids. If you have nightmares, blame Oxygen! That's what I'm doing!
(You can blame my mechanic for this post. If my car had been ready, I was going to drive up to the state fair in Timonium today. Instead, you get creepy sex toys and comparison photos of Vincent D'onofrio.)