Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dammit, It's Snowing, And That's Not All

Yesterday was terribly windy. I don't mind the occasional breezy day, but this was different. It was the kind of wind that brought down a neighbor's tree. It put my teeth on edge, made the dogs nervous, blew debris all over the place.

Truth is I've been in a bad mood for a couple of days. I was having a long conversation with someone on twitter in direct messages, which are private, not out in the open. It was a very interesting conversation and in direct message mode, I can see both sides of the conversation. I was invested in it. It meant something to me. But day before yesterday it vanished, all one hundred and forty seven of those messages just vanished. Not just his side of the conversation, but my side too. Poof! Gone! It made me mad. It made me paranoid. It made me sad.

Then today I struggled with a chapter of the new book. It was a difficult bit of writing. I gave the chapter a title and saved it. Then went to do laundry only to find that the dryer is dead. Totally fucking dead. This after I'd washed a load of sheets. It's snowing so there is no hanging wet sheets on the line to dry outside. And I blame the new kids.

Then when I got back to edit the story, it was gone. I know this makes no sense since blogger auto-saves constantly. But this is the second time this has happened to me with short stories and I will no longer write fiction on blogger. Bummer!

For some bizarre reason I woke up at 5:45 this morning, if you can call that morning. For most of my life that would have been called late night, and I'd be going to bed, but no. I tried to go back to sleep, but it wasn't possible for some strange reason. I've been pissed off all day and the snow is starting to accumulate. If it keeps this up, I'll have to shovel front and back because the new kids are moving the first of May and they no longer give a shit.

I'm too ticked off to tweet.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Blackbird



Words dark as a blackbird's wings fall like a stone and are gone
All their meaning lost in an instant
Vanished as if never spoken
Never to be spoken again
And all the feelings contained in the words
Lost forever, not even a feather remains
Only the black stone where once beat
Blood red and full of passion
Something resembling
A heart

Lust

I've been unfaithful to you.  I know it comes as no shock to you and perhaps it's too late for apologies.  You may have already packed and left by now.  I can't say I didn't mean to...  I can't say it meant nothing... We both know too well, by now, that every act has consequences.  "It just happened" isn't good enough, but it just happened...  I don't want to lose you; you mean too much to me.  But so does he... It started as flirtation.  Isn't that how it always starts?  It's harmless, you say to yourself.  It's just talk.  Nothing can come of it.  It's Spring, it's just the season. And then comes summer and you're in deeper.  It's just a place I go when I want to get away, but the crowd's a lot of fun, and the conversation's hot and interesting, and then he appeared.  It was a shock to see him there.  I didn't expect it to make me feel this way.  It was all very innocent at first and then... I started writing little stories to keep his interest and now it's turning into a book.  I know it embarrasses you.  It embarrasses me too, but I'm in too deep to stop.  I'll try to keep these feelings out of sight and hidden away, but you know how it goes when you try to keep a secret... Sometimes things just spill over into the the other parts of your life...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Orgasm

Things You Might Not Know About Me

I began riding horses when I was six.  We had friends who had a dairy farm just north of Salt Lake.  When the adults got together the kids went riding. We rode bareback with simple rope halters.  In the morning after milking, we herded the cows back to pasture.  In the late afternoon we rounded them up and herded them back to the barn.  We helped with milking in the days long before milking machines.  I would sit on a stool and lean my forehead into the fragrant warmth of a cow who seemed grateful to have her udder emptied.  I was proud of my strong hands and the feeling of competence I got knowing that my help was welcome and praised.  Barn cats would line up to get a squirt straight from the teat.

I learned to ski when I was six and I got very good at it.  There was never a ski season that I didn't sprain a knee or ankle getting in one last run on a dying day.

 I played softball at school when I was seven, eight, nine.  I was the pitcher on my team and my best friend, Mary Dorsche was the first baseman.  We vied for home-run champ honors at bat.  She lived on a horse farm down the road and across the highway to town from our house in Redmond, Oregon.  After school and on the weekends we took turns riding horses and practiced pitching and batting.  I was a grubby little jock.  And then hormones flooded my little body making nipples tender and swollen, making pubic hair sprout.  And in the space of a couple of months I could no longer slide into home-plate on my belly.  Mary and I were now in a race to a freakishly early puberty.  But gone was the wild freedom of our fearless athleticism on the playground.

Throughout my long life I have kept riding horses. I had a girlfriend who ran the Equestrian Classes for the University of Utah.  She always had at least thirty or so well behaved horses for classes.  I taught beginning western riding and took kids out on trail rides up Corner Canyon in Draper, Utah.  Now and then we would take a group on an overnight camp-out carrying provisions on pack horses.  We crewed in the Park City Ride and Tie.  I crewed for Terry on National Endurance Races.  We would begin the very early morning with a joint and a beer.  Now that's the breakfast of champions!

In my early fifties I was helping a male friend condition his polo ponies during the winter months and very early spring.  In exchange for this help he taught me to play polo.  There is hardly anything more exhilarating than galloping down a polo field on a great horse, reigns in left hand and polo mallet in the other, leaning far forward and making contact with the ball to out maneuver an opponent.

I wrecked my knees skiing.  In my late forties I had to have my anterior cruciate repaired and gave up downhill skiing.  But in all my long life of riding horses, I had only one fall, landing on my tailbone in winter on the frozen ground.  It was the final insult to my sacrum.  I have suffered back pain ever since, but I can't blame it all on that fall.  And if I had the chance to ride a great horse on a good trail, I'd fly like the wind grinning from ear to ear.   Only one of my friends shared my love of the wild ride, the power of well conditioned horseflesh between my legs, the feel of strength and competence I felt in my skill as a rider.

In the early 1990s they closed Corner Canyon and developed the land my friend's riding stable was located on, forcing her to move to Greenriver. I miss her and her great horses.  Now I only dream of riding.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Who, Me?

Once in awhile things get wacky on twitter.  I was recently called a "rich bitch ex-fashion model who has no right to call (myself) a progressive."  Aside from the fact that I have never been rich, the statement shows the bias so many have against women who were able to support themselves by their looks.  I suppose if I were telling everyone I'd made my living as a high priced hooker, they might not feel quite the same way.  But still, it is probably true that women with the certain set of appearance qualifications to make a modest living modeling are not exactly beloved by the rest of the population.  Certain assumptions are made about us.  I'd like to dispel a few of them now:

1. All models are anorexic
No, most models are born with the genetic goods and eat like pigs. We come from families where almost every member of the clan is tall and thin throughout all their lives.  It's in the bones, not the diet.

2. All models are narcissists
Quite the contrary.  All the models I knew were deeply insecure and none of them felt "beautiful."  It's one thing to be told you're beautiful all your life; it's quite another to see yourself as beautiful.  We were a bunch of women who knew we were tall enough, thin enough, but beautiful?  Maybe passably pretty, but certainly not beautiful.  And no amount of reassurance and constant bookings can make a woman see herself as a beauty.

3. All models are rich bitchs
Some models marry rich men, but most do not.  And the few who do, don't generally marry nice guys, since nice guys aren't usually brave enough to ask a model out.  Few models make enough over their life as a model to save for retirement.  Most models have self-esteem problems just like most women in this culture.  Modeling is an expensive and usually short-lived career: they have to keep up with trends in fashion and look the part; they have to buy a new shoe wardrobe each season; they have to purchase the exact undergarments the people who hire them want them to wear to fittings and in shows; all models are contract labor, which means they pay for all the things an employer would pay for any employee.  Models need a tax accountant; they pay their agents 15% of their bookings; they have to keep a portfolio updated; they have to get a new headshot or model's card made ever year or as often as they change anything in their appearances, such as haircut or color.  As to the bitch part of that statement? I suspect that models are no more or less likely to be bitches than women in the general population.

Any questions?

Things Have Changed

I began blogging as a political writer.  In the beginning that's all I wrote about in this space.  Once I began getting awards for my blog, I had to write pieces that were more personal, since so often awards come with conditions, and those conditions are often of a very personal nature.  And yes, I do believe that the personal is political, but telling you about the minute details of my daily life led me to writing about the interior monologue of an aging solitary woman.  Some of you found that interesting.  Some of you stopped dropping by, probably disappointed that I was no longer sticking to the script.

I am in many respects a diarist.  I write about what's happening in my daily life.  And in truth, nothing much is happening.  I shop for groceries, do the laundry, clean the house, feed the dogs, but other than these mundane matters, I don't do much but think and read and watch the news and write about the politics of our time.  And for a long while that was enough.  I began to be part of a larger blogging community; I visited most of you daily and left a comment.  Then Twitter happened.  And what had been the maim focus of my blog (politics) was satisfied in a far more immediate form on twitter.  I began to gain a following there, and the conversation there is in the minute, moment by moment, following political events as they happen.  During the healthcare debate over this past year those of us on twitter spent days doing little else but watching events unfold on CSpan and talking about it.  It was in this time that I lost most of you.  There are very few of you who got the twitter bug quite in the same way it infected me.  For an isolated person twitter gives me the illusion that I'm part of a very large community.  I had no idea how starved I was for this sense of community, this passionate and immediate camaraderie.

Then I committed the sin of writing a couple of chapters of a new work that is an examination of eroticism.  I have a stat-counter like all of you.  And though traffic has remained relatively steady, comments ceased altogether.  There seemed to be a stunned silence.  I'm not entirely sure why.  As one of a group of female writers who seemed pretty fearless in talking about the most intimate aspects of our lives, I thought I was in the company of women who could say anything and get away with it.  But it seems I crossed some invisible line and delved into forbidden territory.  I have removed the offending stories from this blog and put them where they really belong ~ in the short story blog.

But things have changed for me.  I now spend most of my day tweeting my life away.  The reason I don't make the rounds of blogs with the consistency I once did, is that twitter satisfies my need for a community of like minded politicos.  Twitter is raucous and outrageous and immediately satisfying.  The character limitations was at first a challenge for this long winded broad, but now seems perfect.  At first I thought it was impossible to say anything meaningful in 140 characters, but now I see it as the art of getting to the point.

There will be times when what I find on twitter makes the blog a place to more fully express my passion about this or that issue.  This is not the end of my blog; this is just the beginning of a different phase of my writing life.

To those of you I offended enough to make the silent statement of dropping me, of no long following me, I apologize.  To those of you who kept reading, even if you felt unwilling to comment, I say gird your loins, it's going to be a new, and in my opinion intersting, journey into uncharted waters.  If you enjoyed the erotica despite yourself, you'll be able to find it in the short story blog.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Madame Z, You Were Right

I can't remember if it was the day before I went in the hospital or the day I got out, but I got a call from the female part of the New Kids.  I'm not a nice sick person, ask Bambie.  Some people are patient and kind even when their sick. I'm almost never that way (sick or well) and this probably accounts for the small number of friends who still speak to me. If you put your foot in your mouth in my presence, I'm likely to point it out to you.  Nice people will probably pretend they didn't notice, and go right on with the civil conversation and reasonable tone of voice.  Not me.

The female part of the New Kids called to tell me they would be moving in April or May. This means they will no longer be making the slightest effort to help out, since they now have no incentive to stay on my good side.  They were trying to at least stay out of my way before, since there have been problems from the start.  I should have listened to Madam Z who left a comment to my post about the New Kids when they first moved in.  Here is her comment in full:
Madam Z said...
Hmmm...they're both writers and they have two dogs. This does not bode well for the continued cleanliness of the house. But for now, everything is adorable and I'm happy for you.
I was happy to have the New Kids move into the main house.  I thought that would allow me to concentrate on my little part of this little slice of a moderately good life.  I also thought that their both being writers we'd understand each other.  Oh dream on, ancient one.

I don't know why I always assume that an adult male will know how to screw in a lightbulb. When I grew up men were either taught things by their fathers or they learned how to do things during their time in the Military.  Those were the days.  Now it seems men don't even know how to empty an ashtray or take out the garbage.  This particular one doesn't seem to know how to use a rake either.  I blame their parents, but that doesn't get them off the hook entirely.  If no one taught you how to empty an ashtray and you are the only smoker in your household, pick up the ashtray that looks like a bristling porcupine, so overstuffed with brown butts it is, and walk the ten feet to the garbage can outside, lift the lid, and dump the goddamned contents in the trash.  How hard can it be?  I know six year olds who could handle a chore that simple.

The female part of the New Kids had unfortunate timing in calling me either they day I went into the hospital or the day I got home.  Neither day was very pleasant for me.  But hearing that they were going to move after only staying here a couple of months really pissed me off.  What is it with young people who move every few months?  My guess is they bit off more than they can chew, economically speaking.  And I think they thought they could leave their two dogs outside all the time they were gone and their dogs would behave themselves and not piss off the neighbors.  If you have an untrained border collie who doesn't get much attention, it will find some fairly negative and destructive way to complain.

Yesterday when I got home from my doctor appointment I checked the mail before heading back to my cottage.  There was a gas bill.  Since I did not have them put the utilities in their names (just in case) I was curious to see if they paid the past month's bill.  They had not.  I was already pissed off and not feeling very good, physically.  Then when I walked through the gate into the back of the property, I noticed the three ashtrays lined up on the side of the grill all stuffed with butts.  Torque that temper a little tighter.

I needed to change my sheets and do laundry so I opened the door to the laundry room to discover that the door to their house was open.  Hot air was blasting out of their house, since the laundry room isn't terribly well insulated and airtight.  I find this after discovering that they didn't pay last month's gas bill.  I snap!  No one is home so I just walk in and turn down the thermostat which is set at 70 degrees on day that's sunny and balmy.  I'm sure their dogs, barking from one of the bedrooms upstairs, are hot. Heat rises and it's hot downstairs.  I'm guessing they might have windows cracked upstairs and the sucking sound is gas being wasted.  I object to this on so many levels, but is it really any of my business?  It is now.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pain in the Postpartum Ward (not for the squeamish)

Once the ER decided to admit me to the hospital it was determined I'd be going into "overflow." I was wheeled into the "Postpartum Ward" and down the hall, far, far away from the nurses station.  I later learned the four elderly patients in the Postpartum ward were there so we could have private rooms.  I didn't ask for a private room, nor did I care whether or not I had one.  There were two things I did care about;  I needed to stay on my bipolar drugs and I needed the nurses to stay ahead of the pain.  And here might be the clues to some of the very bad care I got there.

I'm allergic to narcotics.  In order for me to be able to take a narcotic, it's introduction into my system must be preceded by a good anti-nausea drug.  If not given an anti-nausea drug, I vomit until the narcotic is out of my system.  That's just the way I roll. This in itself should alert the nurses administering my pain medication that if I'm screaming in pain, I'm not faking it so I can get more narcotics. I am not fond of narcotics.

Once taken out of the ER and into the Postpartum Ward nurses would give me a pill for anti-nausea and within seconds of my swallowing the pill they would inject the Dilaudid directly into the IV port.  So the narcotic would hit my system immediately while the anti-nausea drug had to be digested.  In my opinion this is a very bad policy since it cause unnecessary vomiting.  In the ER they injected the anti-nausea drug into my IV port prior to injecting the Dilaudid.  So when I was wheeled onto the Postpartum Ward I wasn't in pain.  This gave me a moment's lucidity to notice my surroundings.  I had a private room.  I hadn't asked for a private room, so I asked about that.  Why a private room?  I was told that the hospital was making an effort to turn every room into a private room.  Nice, fine, but now I have questions about billing.  Will I be charged for a private room I didn't request?  Is that a cockroach crawling across the dirty squares of the acoustical tile ceiling above my bed?  I checked the drawers in the bedside chest.  In the old days, there would have been a little stainless steel kidney shaped pan to vomit in.  There would also be a cheap tooth brush, a small tube of toothpaste, and a low-rent comb.  All three drawers were empty.  I asked for something to vomit into and was given a big pink plastic tub (much like the tub I use at home to scrub floors with).  There was no washcloth, no towel in the bathroom.  Since I'd come into the ER dehydrated as well as having an abscess in my colon there was a little container in the toilet to capture urine so my "output" could be measured and charted.  Several times the nurses neglected to measure my "output" resulting in the shocking experience of sitting on the toilet and finding myself actually sitting in my own urine. I just dumped the "output" into the toilet water and then replaced the empty container so I could pee.  Best medical care in the world, my ass.

There were times during my two night / two day stay when I was in such excruciating pain I was delirious and screaming for help.  I pushed the call button, waited a few minutes, pushed the call button again and eventually had a nurse answer the call with something like mild annoyance, saying "What do you need?"  "I'm in terrible pain."  " You aren't due for another shot for an hour."  "Somethings very wrong.  If you gave me the right dose of  painkiller I would be able to make it through to the next shot."  "Sorry.  Just try and relax."  And then speaker would click off.

A word about the Postpartum Ward: Changes in the insurance industry have probably made the Postpartum Ward obsolete.  These days you might as well have your baby in a turnip patch, because once that baby is out of your womb the hospital will be under pressure to get you home as fast as possible.  If you have postpartum problems they are more than likely going to be considered "a pre-existing condition," and you'll be given a pill to get you through it.  Hopefully you won't kill hubby and the five children you already have.  But since there is no postpartum care these days that requires an entire ward, the hospital has a ward it isn't using.  So, lucky me; I was "overflow" and sent to the Postpartum Ward, where the rooms at the far end of the ward were private rooms, probably reserved for the lucky wives of wealthy men who could afford a private room to keep their batty wives in until the "baby blues" were over.

My second night I had a pain crisis at shift change.  I don't know if the day nurse had given me a dose of dilaudid before she left, but the poor night nurse had to face a screaming, sobbing me, hanging doubled over on the medical device from which my IV bags were hanging, to show up in front of the nurses station.  The aid was reading a book with his feet propped up on a chair.  I was upset that I was in so much pain, but I was also worried that they weren't giving me my bipolar medications in accurate doses or on time. To the night nurses credit, she did not snap back at me.  She remained calm as I screamed at her, tears of pain and frustration running down my face.  I had a major melt down that I believe was entirely unnecessary, avoidable, and detrimental to my health.  Had they controlled my pain, none of that would have happened.  But I think that went in my medical record in a way that allowed then to consider my cries of pain as the ravings of a drug seeking lunatic.

I survived the night; the next morning I was feeling better.  The antibiotics and flagyl were working and the night nurse had kept my pain under control.  But with the arrival of my clear liquid diet (more on that in another piece) came the new Day Nurse.  Let's call her Bambie.  First time I noticed her in my room was when she came in to take my vitals.  I had MSNBC on the tube.  Nancy Pelosi was being interviewed.  Bambie wrinkled her lovely nose and said, "Who is she?"  I said, "That's Nancy Pelosi."  She asked, "What does she do?"  I said, "She's the Speaker of the House."  She asked, "What's that?"
While I was pondering whether or not to attempt to educate Bambie on the workings of the United States Congress, a tall, thin, redheaded, freckled faced man walked into my room.  He said, "Hi, I'm Chris Rock from Risk Assessment.  How are we treating you?"  I burst out laughing and asked for his businness card.  While I was glancing at his card I saw Bambie take my medical history and covertly, but not very expertly, draw Chris Rock's attention to the malady listed top of the page.  She pointed to it with one hand as she held it with the other.  They both raised their eyebrows at the same times as if they were saying, "Well, that explains a lot."  I said, "Bambie, what is that paper in your hand and why are you showing it to him?"
"It's just your medical record."
"Is bipolar listed at the top of that page?"
Silence
Chris Rock says, "Why would that matter?"
"It might make you think, 'No need to take her seriously, she's just crazy.'  If you want to know why I'm in the hospital, ask me!  If you want permission to take a peek at my medical records ask me; you're in my room (My volume is rising). And you, Bambie, you have just broken the law. You have shown someone my medical records without my permission,  That, you stupid bitch, is against the law.  Get the fuck out of my room."  They both stand in stunned silence.

I stand up.  Once again I say, "Get the fuck out of my room!"  This time I add, "Both of you!"  Neither of them moves, but they do look at each other and then back at me.  "If you don't leave my room instantly I'm ripping this god damn IV port out of my arm and calling a cab."  I start peeling the tape off my arm.  Chris Rock says, "That will really hurt."  I say, "I don't give a shit."  Get out of my way.  By now Bambie is backing out of my room.  But Chris Rock is holding steady.  I advance on him, and the last thing he says before he backs out of my room is, "Insurance won't pay if you leave before you're discharged."  That was the only helpful thing he said.  I shouted "Where is my doctor?  Call him now."

I called the hospital operator and ask for the hospital Ombudsman.  She asks "what's that?"  But then puts me through to a number.  The phone rings about five times and then a mans voice answers.  I say "Is this the Ombudsman?"  He says, "What's that?"  I ask, "Is this Chris Rock?"  

I grab my the thingy my IV bags are hanging from and start stomping down the hall to go outside and have a smoke.  Up ahead of me I see Bambie coming out of a room and I call out, "Run Bambie. Run!"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Referred Pain

Tuesday was the day it dawned on me that something I thought of as referred pain from my back was a whole new problem.  For awhile now my friend up the street has been telling me I didn't look good.  She'd say things like, "You don't look like yourself." And yes, I did have deep bruised looking circles under my eyes; back pain can wear you out.  But Tuesday the back pain turned into gut pain.  Every step hurt my gut.  I found myself holding my breath or breathing like a woman in labor.  I had a doctor appointment scheduled for Thursday, and I thought I should just take it easy and wait for my appointment with her, but by 5 PM I was in a whole new kind of agony and feeling like I had a fever as well as unbearable gut pain. I have gall stones that have never hurt me, but I thought maybe it was the gall stones finally come to really do me harm.  Since I'd spent the day on twitter I threw the question out there and several people chimed in with questions and suggestions but eventually all the advise was saying "Get thee to an ER, STAT!"

I'm one of those cold blooded people with an abnormally low body temperature. 98.6 is a fever for me.  I took my temperature and it was 99.7.  I waited a half an hour and it was 100.1.  Just before I called my neighbor to ask her what she thought I should do, my gut started to hurt so bad I was doubled over with agonizing pain.  She heard the panic in my voice and said, "grab you purse; I'm coming to get you."  I'd been taking 800mgs of Ibuprofen to deal with the pain but forgot that it should have lowered my temperature as well.  When we got to the closest ER, which is the old St Marks Hospital where my grandfather had been Chief of Staff and is now the new Salt Lake Regional Hospital, the pain had started to localize to the lower part of my gut on the right side.  My friend said, "That's where your appendix is" so when we got inside the ER I was sure that was going to be the diagnosis.  On the way to the ER in her car I was gripping my hands together and holding my breath trying to cope with the pain.  When we got inside my friend noticed that I'd burst a blood vessel in the middle finger of my left hand; the finger was a deep blue/purple and the bruise was spreading.

Fortunately as I was getting ready to leave home with my neighbor I grabbed all my prescription drugs because I knew I wouldn't be able to remember them all.  I'm on a lot of prescription drugs.  Don't do it. Do not lecture me on the horrors of pharmaceuticals.  I'm bipolar. Without those drugs I'd be dead, a suicide. It is the leading cause of death among those of us with bipolar disorder.  Then there is the atrial fibrillation.  That's another three drugs including the Warfarin.  There is a blood pressure drug, a baby aspirin, and a double dose of a statin drug for my high cholesterol which is genetic and can't be controlled with diet.  Let me think, is there anything else?  Well, yes, yes there is. There is the diazepam I take for the occasional panic attack or chronic anxiety. I take three 800mg Ibuprofen a day, I take one of either of two drugs for the kind of headaches I get.  Then there is the Triazolam I take when I can't get to sleep.  I know it 's a lot of drugs, but all my seven doctors have my list of RXs and the pharmacy checks for drug interactions whenever anything gets called in, so get off my back about it.  Are you a doctor?  Well then do not lecture me.  In the olden days I'd have died in my teens or twenties.  I think I'm a fucking medical miracle, and I do not abuse any of these drugs.  My doctors would know very fast.  I never exceed dosage and I don't use the diazepam every day.  In fact some months I don't use it at all. I'm a very compliant patient.  I know my life depends on it.

We waited in the empty ER waiting room for fifteen minutes before they came and got me (very fast by any ER standards).  By now I'm moaning and doubled over.  They took my vital signs and my fever was starting to come down.  But it sure didn't feel like it to me.  They drew blood and took a urine sample.  It was only minutes when the ER doc on call came in and told me they needed to do a CT scan of my gut.  I thought "groovy" until they brought in the quart of lime green liquid I was supposed to guzzle.  I have no idea what it is because by now I'm delirious with pain and unable to actually track a conversation.  I do know it was vile tasting and as I was drinking it I thought I might vomit.  Once in the CT room they inject a dye in the IV line taped to my arm.  I don't even remember when they inserted the IV line I was in such pain.  But it was in the crook of my left arm, the only half way decent vein I have (I've been told a million times by lab techs who have to draw blood from me that I have terrible veins; they are tiny and they roll).  I've had lab techs try over and over to insert a needle into one of my veins and fail over and over.  That I don't remember the nurse in the ER inserting an IV port in my arm amazes me; it's usually such a trauma. Not for me so much as it is for the frustrated lab tech.

When they come with the results of the CT scan, I'm fully expecting them to say it's either my gallbladder or my appendix.  But no, it's my colon.  I have an abscess and diverticulitis or diverticulosis.  I'm still not sure what's the difference, but I do know that the pain is killing me.  The pain is unbearable.

While we wait for the surgeon to arrive and decide if they're going to drain the abscess or take nine inches off my colon, they ask me if I'm allergic to anything.  I tell them I'm allergic to two things: Celebrex and all narcotics. They ask me what happens if I'm given a narcotic.  I say I start vomiting and don't stop until the drug is out of my system.  (This has probably saved me from heroin addiction). I tell them that the only way I can take a narcotic is if I'm given an anti-nausea drug first and that the anti-nausea drug has to last as long as the narcotic.  So they inject an anti-nausea drug into the IV port; then they inject Dilaudid.  Even with the anti-nausea drug on board I still get nauseated, my mouth fills with saliva like it does just before you puke, but I do not start vomiting.

At this point it's clear they're going to admit me to the hospital.  The surgeon says they'll treat me with Levaquin, Flagyl and IV fluids since I am severely dehydrated, and then depending on how that goes, they will or will not either drain it or remove it.  (Honestly, I've never been big on water since it doesn't have caffein in it).  Juices and soft drinks are okay, but really they're mostly too sweet.  So I drink coffee in the morning and tea the rest of the day.  Some of you may judge me, but I drink really good coffee and very good tea.  What I lack in variety, I make up for in quality.  At least I think so.  Interestingly no one's giving me a lecture on my dehydration except my neighbor who always asks me if I've had any water whenever she sees me.  So what water I drink is mainly to placate her or take my handfull of pills with. If I were outside working in the yard I'd get thirsty for water.  There are plenty of things I could do that would make me sweat and crave water.  But during the winter and being so reclusive and all, it just slips my mind most of the time.

At this point, while we're waiting to find out what room they're putting me in, I ask if I can go outside and have a smoke.  The Dilaudid has taken the edge off the pain and that reminds me that my nicotine level is low.  A nurse volunteers to take me out to the smoking area.  Turns out she was jonesing for a smoke too.  See, there are very many medical professionals who smoke cigarettes.  I know this in part because Ms M works in the University Hospital ER. A lot of EMTs smoke too.  It's stressful work.

When we go back inside they've decided where to put me.  I'm going to "overflow" which turns out to be a section of the maternity ward that is no longer needed.  It's called the Postpartum Ward.

(to be continued)

Every Time We Say Goodbye

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pain: Part 2. Renovation Begins

I'm now in so much back pain that every step hurts.  Each step sends an intensified jolt of pain into my lower back and, oddly, to my gut as well.  I have gall stones that have been asymptomatic so far, but now I'm wondering if this pain could be related.  I have a doctor appointment Thursday.  I'm making notes and writing down questions.

When I left you at the end of the first chapter in my pain saga, I had dug a utility trench, leveled an area for a gazebo, and then mixed the cement for the floor of the gazebo wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow.

 Once the garage had been emptied of all it's stored furniture and antique wood working tools, I started making measurements and drawings of what I wanted.  The garage itself is just 20 by 20.  But the ceiling/roof is made up of four triangles which make the interior space seen airy and bigger than it actually is.  The ceiling is pyramidal.  I love it.  The one thing I didn't remove from the garage the first couple of years was the army camp stove that sat in the west quadrant of the room and had a chimney that exited the roof in the west triangle.  And in the coldest days, the camp stove warmed the space in minutes once a crackling fire was going.  I could also use the flat top of the camp stove to heat water for coffee or tea, I could cook on it.  And in the beginning it was very helpful.  Plus I liked the primitive quality of it.  I liked waking up to stir the coals and stoke the fire and go back to bed to wait for the room to become toasty warm.

Once I had my drawings of the things I wanted to do to garage to turn it into a cottage, I had to find someone willing to do the construction and do it without permits.  The garage was so far at the back of the property and construction was not going to be the kind that neighbors or anyone driving by the property in the front would notice.  But I did need someone with good enough contacts that we could get the concrete guys to pour the foundation for the bathroom/solarium addition.  Amazingly I found two guy with just those qualifications.  What I didn't want to pay them for was the work I could do. So before the foundation could be poured, I did the digging out and leveling the earth.  More backbreaking hard labor.  I had to dig up the root system for a big wild yellow rose bush probably as old as the garage.  I was amazed at the rocks I found in my digging.  I found more slate as well as big chunks of coal buried in the hard clay dirt on the south side of the garage.  I found big round river rocks. I found blue glass bottles and shards of china.  I found ancient marbles that I have kept as trophies of that work.  This site must have been the old garbage dump for the main house in its early days.

While I was digging out the foundation for the extension, the two guys I hired were taking out the garage door and putting in a wall with a window.  They knocked out a door that would lead to the new room where only a window had existed.  They framed the interior, insulated, built a largish walk-in closet for my massive wardrobe and a small utility closet for the water heater.

So all the first spring and summer I dug and moved stones while the two guys worked inside.  At the end of that season I had the foundation poured for the extension and the interior was sheet-rocked and ready for the kitchen to go in.  The 400 sq ft interior was now not just a big square.  It was still open but for the two closets.  That fall I had the exterior cement block sides of the structure stuccoed.  I had a tool shed built along the exterior north wall and a deck built across the west wall that wraps around the cottage.  By the end of that season I had a toilet, tub, and sink in the bathroom portion of the addition.  Once that was in, I laid the tile floor myself.  I was very proud of all the labor I contributed to making the cottage not only livable but lovely.  I did all of this while still working as a model and department manager at Nordstroms.  I had never been in better shape.  I was muscled and strong.  I think the word is not just toned, but ripped.  I was stronger than I'd ever been and I was in my forties.  And I thought I was invincible.

All that first winter living in the cottage I woke up at 5 AM to stoke the fire and got back in bed for a delicious half hour of drifting in and out of sleep.  When I came home from work in the dark I chopped kindling.  I didn't have a fridge that first winter so I kept a cooler on the porch and kept milk, cheese, and eggs there.  I was living like a pioneer at home and a fashionista at work.  It was an intersting year.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Here

Here at the pulse where the blood brings a blush
Here at this tender spot
Here is the heat, the scent
Here the flesh awaits your
tongue
Here is where I want your
lips
Here at the beginning
Here

A Case of You

Friday, March 5, 2010

Black Rock 1992

After Santa Barbara
First photo shoot
I was forty eight
Location: Black Rock, Great Salt Lake
I like the strength of the gaze
The curvy body, the hair cut
I like the contrast of flesh and rock
The grainy quality of this proof
cropped from the original
I can't remember the photographer's name.

My Foolish Heart



For LBR

My Foolish Heart

The Talent

I've sealed myself away from love and ceased
To live with passion, hiding where once I wore
Cobalt silk and saffron, where once I stood
In hot white light and stayed up late to have
Martinis.  Eating mussels at the cool club with
The fashionista girls in full throated laughter
Heads thrown back, necks exposed, lips glistening red
We were the ones, the last of the smalltime superstars
In this cozy little world in the good times when money
Flowed like Champagne at midnight, and then one day
It flew apart, and one after another, life took us by the throat, the lovely
Pulsing throat, the long neck, exposed just when it all comes
crashing down, and one by one disappears to babies or booze,
One gets her PhD, another a divorce, one checks her bottom line
And makes a marriage deal worked out by lawyers in a conference room.
In agents terms we were the talent,
We seemed to have it all out there on the
Catwalk in the blinding light, bright women
With talent and brains and appetites flying
Smoking through the evening on the phone
As we drove to the next booking for a big
Show wielding a mascara brush in the dying light,
A flash of red lips and cobalt silk.
You see us in your rearview mirror gaining on you
As the sun sets just behind the island we flash by
We are laughing and oblivious to any danger
We lived on credit like the rest of you waiting
For the good times to return.
And then in resignation get on with living alone in a small house
Kept company, protected by three dogs
Existing only as a cyber link to an outer world I will never likely
Enter again with anything but words typed on a keyboard late at night
In anything but a naked face and beige at the grocery store or the bank

© 2010 Peggy Pendleton

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Few Thoughts On the Orgasm and Men

I've never been turned on by pornography.  I know plenty of women say they like it, but I have never seen porn that didn't embarrass me.  And more than one man has tried to share his love of the porn with me, believing that if he found just the right film, it would change my mind.  But no, all pornography does for me is make me dislike the men in the films and the man who wants me to watch that crap.  What turns me on happens between my ears, and I'm not speaking of the mouth orifice or throat.  If my brain is not engaged or is repulsed by the content of something I'm supposed to be watching, my clit will be repulsed too.

It's also a problem for me if too much is going on at one time in the actual in the flesh (not porn) sex department. For instance I'm not a fan of cunnilingus and especially not a fan of 69 though I should be since the numbers typed like that resemble my astrological sign, but it's too much stimulation for me and has never ever brought me to orgasm.  I could never come home from a stressful day and decompress with a little hot steamy 69 or really any sex.  I couldn't get my mind to shut off that fast and distraction is the enemy of the female orgasm or at least this female's orgasm.

This is not to say I haven't tried damn near everything that came my way, sexually speaking.  I've had so many lovers over this long life span that I can't count them.  Hell, I can't even remember half of them; that's how significant they were.  Nameless, faceless young or older men moved through my life in a way that left me unmoved and incapable of either remembering or sometimes preferring not to remember.  That's not to say there weren't some astounding standouts I'll never forget. Tom was such a man.  But his taste for porn turned me off and he isn't really a relationship guy.  In 1965 there was Nino Cerruti.  He was my favorite Italian lover.  God was he wonderful.  He was so wonderful I refused to continue seeing him.  That's how much love scares me.  But I'm not talking about love.  I'm talking about sex.  Not to say they're mutually exclusive; to the contrary, love might be the only way for some women to feel secure enough to relax enough for orgasm to happen.  I'm not one of those women.  I was sexually objectified too young, for too long, to put sex and love on equal footing.  Love had very little to do with it. But orgasmic sex with little effort on my part has always been my preferred way to go.  Too much need or too many expectations or too much fear and orgasm is impossible for me.

And then I gave up on men.  I was through with men.  Men tend to want to control me.  Men seem want to tell me what to do.  I'd rather they just do it and pay for it and not bother me with the details.  For a brief while I had an affair with a Salt Lake doctor who despite the fact that I not only found him repulsive and rather stupid, made the claim that if I'd just look him in the eyes as we were having sex he could guarantee the worlds best orgasm.  I know, I laughed too.  But I'm a wee bit evil and a good sport, so I let him have this test of his powers.  What I proved was that I can look a man in the eyes during sex and convincingly fake an orgasm.  And I'm not nice enough not to tell him afterwards.

There was a Sculptor in Costa Rica who made quite a nice gallant civilized effort to get me in his bed.  I knew he'd be wonderful in bed.  I found him sexually attractive in the extreme.  I spent the night at his house.  But I would not have sex with him and I would not sleep in his bed.  I knew I could fall in love with him.  I didn't want to fall in love with anyone.  Sometimes sex means a great deal.  Sometimes it means nothing or next to nothing.

It's been four years since I had the slightest interest in a man.  The last man to turn me on at all walked into my backyard to give me an estimate on a new roof for the little house.  I didn't really notice him all that much until he started calling me at night.  Then there were months of cheeky email chats.  He wanted to show me his house.  But it wasn't really his house he wanted to show me.  I stayed home and gave him shit about hitting on a woman a year older than his own mother.  This didn't seem to cool his ardor much until a real estate woman with lots of tats and piercings started hitting on him.  I was relieved.  I did find him very appealing.  But he was forty something and had his twelve year old daughter and twenty something son staying with him.  And I didn't want any complications or distractions in my life.  So I turned myself off.

Readers of my blog will remember my blooming romance with Cal and how badly it turned out. There was the idea of the very young Peggy and the very young Cal.  That memory was lovely until I invited him over for dinner. And the very old Peggy was not only not sexually attracted to the very old Cal she was mean to him, and told every little detail on the blog.   It was then I decided to stop thinking I'd ever have a sex life again.  I'm not looking for a companion.  I never want to live with a man again. That's never worked out well for me.  So I turned the sex spiggot off.  My clit might as well have dried up and blown away.  I even forgot where I'd put my vibrator.  I thought I might have thrown it away, that's how serious I was about not having an interest in sex anymore.  And then a man I don't know at all said something interesting to me on twitter and now I've found my vibrator and have used it enough to make the muscles of my inner thighs and my butt sore.  Don't let anybody tell you the female orgasm isn't good exercise.  It may not burn many calories but it sure can tone muscle.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Judith Blue Stories: #3. Black and Blue

Judith realized even before she decided to let him ride with her that Junior was useless.  He couldn't drive her car.  She always thought being able to drive anything was an asset in a man or a woman, but a man's inability to drive a car with a stick shift was pathetic.  Out of the blue she asks him, "How did you evade the draft?"  The moment the words are out of her mouth she realizes that her assumption may be all wrong.  Maybe his fondness for heroin is a habit brought back from Vietnam.  But he has a softness about him that does not speak to any kind of military service, and could a man make it through basic training without learning how to drive a stick shift?  She can always leave him in a truck stop men's room and take off without him if he becomes a problem.
"I drew number two in the first lottery."
"And yet, I'm betting you did not go."
"You would win that bet."
"Do you find it difficult to carry on a conversation?"
"Not with you.  Ask me anything."
"Tell me something.  Anything.  Make it true and then elaborate.  Kind of like telling a story.  That's right up your alley isn't it?  Verse?  Anything.  I'm having to do all the driving so you can do the talking."

"I was a scholarship student at the University of Arkansas, in Fayetteville.  I got married to keep me out of Vietnam and when that wasn't enough we got the child.  You read about that.  She thought the baby would get me a deferment,  Then they changed the rules again and went with the lottery, no deferments, no exemptions.  So when I came up with a two, I starved myself, fast, the hard way.  I had to get as close to death as possible.  They were taking everyone.  So I did some research and found how many calories I'd need to consume to stay alive but lose weight the fastest way possible. Along with the starvation diet, I took speed with my speed-freak wife and ran obsessively while she doodled the days away.  The day I got on the bus to Little Rock for my physical I was eighty nine pounds and I was speeding and on acid.  They didn't even bother to weigh me.  When I got off the bus I winked at a Sergeant and asked if I could suck his cock.  We all had to undress to get our vitals checked.  When I stripped for some reason I had an erection.  My heart rate and behavior was so alarming, they took me out of line, helped me get dressed and turned me loose.  I found the nearest cafe, bought a donut and a coke, and stepped in the phone booth outside to call my wife.  I shoved the donut in my mouth, started to dial and passed out.  I came to in the emergency ward on IV fluids."
"Any lasting health problems?"
"Not that I know of."

It's almost midnight but they're not far from Fort Collins, Colorado.  They've been snacking on the food Judith packed for herself when she left her lunch shift at the Beanery in Salt Lake. If Junior could drive her car they could have taken turns driving and not had to stop for the night.  Judith has a fondness for road trips.  But she can only drive so long without a relief driver.  She says, "We'll find a motel outside of Fort Collins.  You get your own room."
"I have a friend in Fort Collins.  A novelist.  James Crumley.  I'm sure he'll put us up."
"It's kind of late to call him don't you think?"
"Maybe your right.  I think he got married.  He teaches here."

She finds a Motel 6 just off the interstate and they pull into the parking lot.  And just as he's getting out of the car she says, "What's your real name?"
"Junior Lee Black"
"Is your first name really Junior?"
"It is now.  Why are you asking me about my name?"
"I don't know.  It's just that I've gone to school with you and worked with you and to everybody you're Junior.  But guys called Junior are usually guys with the misfortune to be named for their fathers."
"Why misfortune?"
"Because the men who insist their sons carry their names usually want their sons to be an extension of themselves.  It seems so narcissistic.  Is your father a dick?"
"No, he's a great guy."
"Does he know you do heroin?"
"Yea he does and he still loves me."
"Did you have a happy childhood?
"It was perfect."
"Then why are you such a fuck-up?"



Strange Episodes

 Leda And The Swan -- Wilton House
First I'll give you a description of what the first three or four of these episodes felt like:  At first it only happened if I'd been sitting at my typing chair or on the edge of my bed watching TV.  I'd stand up and feel an intense gathering of the muscles of my pelvic girdle.  The muscles would all bunch or begin to feel as if they were in a spasm or cramp.  It was instantaneous and though not exactly painful, it was the strangest sensation I've ever had.  Not exactly a cramp but a more like a muscle seizure, as if they were grabbing my hips tightly, so tightly that the next sensation I felt was the loss of mobility of my legs.  I felt my legs go useless and floppy.  I had to hold on to something just to stay upright.  I leaned on a desk or the back of a chair to hold myself upright while my legs were useless.  First the knees buckled and then my feet went floppy.  It wasn't just the muscles surrounding my hips and buttocks that were seized this way; it was the interior muscles as well as if my bladder and bowel were also in a gathered, spasmed state.  And in each case I felt I needed to head to the bathroom pronto, but had to help my legs by picking them up with my hands and helping them move forward.  My feet would flop out and then hold.  And within a few seconds my pelvic girdle would uncramp and my legs would come back online.

In the recent past I took a couple of falls.  Both falls were easy to explain.  When the first on happened I was trying to find out what was wrong with the clothes dryer (loaded with clothing fresh from the washing machine and so adding considerable weight to the dryer) so I muscled the dryer away from the back wall and then wedged myself around the side of the dryer to peer at the place where the vent hose attaches to the back of the dryer close to the floor.  It was a tight fit, me between the dryer and the short wall beside it.  I was both bending over and stretching to reach the back of the dryer when my feet lost contact with the floor and I tipped forward onto my head, neck, and shoulder.  Even to me, struggling to get my feet on the floor, it had a comic aspect.  Just tip me over and pour me out.  The other fall was my flight from the end of the movie Crazy Heart which was a kind of mad dash from my past.  I tripped and fell on my side, all the way down, from head to toe.  It knocked the wind out of my and I lay there stunned for a moment in the still dark theater.  I don't think the falling and the odd loss of the use of my legs and feet are related.  I don't think the falling was much more than clumsiness.  But I've been experiencing sever lower back pain.  This is nothing new, and it doesn't take much to tweak the muscles in my lower back.  I spent more than a year in the grip of sciatica in 2003.  Often the pain was so intense I could do nothing but weep and wait for the pain to lessen so I could climb the rest of the stairs.

But three days ago I was standing at the kitchen counter fixing myself a chicken sandwich and it happened.  I wish I'd watched the kitchen clock as it happened, so I'd know how long it lasts.  It's probably only seconds, but seems much longer since the sensation is so intense and goes through a very specific progression.  This time I was standing up.  This time I did lose control of my bladder, this time I realized whatever it is it's serious.  Leda keeps coming to mind.
                                
Leda and the Swan
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
    By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
    He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

    How can those terrified vague fingers push
    The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
    And how can body, laid in that white rush,
    But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

    A shudder in the loins engenders there
    The broken wall, the burning roof and tower[20]
    And Agamemnon dead.

                        Being so caught up,

    So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
    Did she put on his knowledge with his power
    Before the indifferent beak could let her drop? 

And Now for the Second Act: Ralph Lauren Spring 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dust Bowl Chic from Ralph Lauren

 This thrills me because I can put this together for about $30 from my favorite thrift store.  Half of it is at the back of my closet. Oh joy it's going to be an easy Spring.