Friday, July 31, 2009

Taking A Day Off

Well, I'm sort of taking a day off. I woke up limp as a dishrag. I can't quite get my brain working, so editing is out of the question. I miss visiting you all and if my brain comes back online today that's what I'll be doing. Until then I'm just going to lie in my bed and drift in and out of sleep.

I have an appointment with my doctor Monday at 10:00. I've got a feeling the heart rhythm drugs aren't working as well as they did to control the a-fib. If I had money to wager with, I'd wager that I have an ablation in my future.

PS, if you're bored and came here looking for a little entertainment, might I direct you to the novel, Maggy, or the short stories, or maybe a bit of poetry? Don't forget to leave a comment. They are every so helpful to the creative writer.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

According to the Mayan Astrological Calendar

Crystal Moon day 14
Year of the White Electric Wizard

kin 155: Blue Crystal Eagle
I Dedicate in order to Create
Universalizing Mind
I seal the Output of Vision
With the Crystal tone of Cooperation
I am guided by the power of Accomplishment
I am a galactic activation portal enter me.

Day Out of Time
Blue Electric Night

This is my Mayan astrological sign or description. In the West there are two of me, twinned. In the East I am a monkey. Yes, I am mischievous, hopefully in a good way. And in the humdrum world of psychiatry I am a fine specimen of a woman with bipolar disorder.

It was the crow that led me on this search. And I do admit to wanting to live in the day out of time until it becomes Blue Electric Night in the Universal Mind with an Output of Vision Guided by the Power of Accomplishment toward the inner Galactic Activation Portal. But I'm a bit uncomfortable with the idea of being entered. This could be my fatal flaw.

Sculpt Your Arms While You Improve Your Handjob Skills

I found the link to this on twitter. See? Twitter isn't just a waste of time.

If the Birthers Don't Get You The Deathers Will Try

ConnecticutMan1 has written this about the Deathers. Wednesday night was the first I'd heard of the Deathers. Oh those crazy wingnuts! If they can't get you with one lie they'll try to scare you with another. There is no way to stop them, but they are quite entertaining. My suggestion is to do your best to humiliate them on twitter.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why? You ask why?

Thanks PZ, I didn't know I wanted this, but now that I have it, I have to post it.
Randal, can you do this? Why do I pick on you? Because all the girls know you? Because I can? To steal a phrase, that's why.

I Woke Up This Morning...

Well, waking up at all could be considered a good start. I let the dogs out and went to the bathroom to pee. As I sat down I felt my legs disconect (in my brain) from my hips. I swear it felt neurological. My legs were useless, like long dangling flipper things, completely useless. When I got over the shock and after I finished peeing, I had to use my arms to get my feet under me. Then I had to use my arms to work my way hand over hand from piece of furniture to piece of furniture to get back to bed. Fuck! Dead legs are a real drag. And I mean that literally.

I was concerned, but it was too early to do anything about it, like call my doctor's office. So I grabbed my sleep mask and tried to still the screaming going on in my mind, and eventually went back to sleep for a second or two. Usually the dogs leave me alone until I open the door and let them back in, but not this morning. Roscoe the big yellow lab positioned himself under the window closest to my bed, and Marley positioned herself under the kitchen window . Roscoe whined like a baby and Marley barked nonstop. I gave up after half an hour of trying to ignore them and found that my legs were working again. Whew! I was so scared for a second I had goosebumps.

There were a lot of things going through my mind during the hour or so I lay there with my eyes closed, blacked-out by my sleep mask. I have a friend with MS, so MS was on my mind. I also considered that it was just a reaction to stress, just a momentary blip on the radar screen of my addled mind. I checked gingerly to see if my legs would propel me to the door to let the dogs in. They did. So now I will need to call my doctor's office and check out this new symptom that is the collection of symptoms that could just be a transient hysterical paralysis, or some other non-serious momentary psychosomatic bit of flotsam from the weird constellation of my many little health issues.

Meet The Birthers in Congress


Reuters, AP, Handout photos

Clockwise from top left, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.; Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla.; Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif.; Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif.

Are they kidding? I wonder how many of these idiots are members of the very special, secret family at the C Street "Church?" Let me check. I'll get back to you on that.

Please Sign This

We Want the Public Option dot Com

Add Your Voice, Make Your Choice

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Exiled to Canada Because of Healthcare Needs

Stolen from Sherry.

Catching Up

I've been missing in action again. You may not even have noticed, but if you have, I apologize. I'm posting the last two chapters of the novel, Maggy. Then I need to practice writing a query letter. One of the good things about twitter is that there are a bunch of literary agents on twitter; I'm following several of them. And it seems the big hurdle for most writers seeking an agent is learning the art of the query letter. So I'll soon start practicing my query letter writing. Seems to be part pitch, part bio, part appeal to the ego of the agent. I can write a novel, a short story, a poem, but a pitch? We'll see.

Yesterday I had atrial fibrillation and hinky blood pressure. In the past I didn't feel the atrial fibrillation, but yesterday it put me down like an old dog. I was ashen and exhausted, and completely uninspired. It was one more day in a month of extremely high temperatures, so as well as sick, I was limp from the heat. I promised my neighbor that if I woke up today with hinky blood pressure and the stuttering pulse, I'd call my doctor. Well, I seem fine today, but still called my doctor's office to let her know about yesterday's episode. I see her in a couple of weeks anyway. I think the stress of having three girlfriends who are so seriously ill has stressed me to the limit. It's as if I can't bear the fact that I am going to be left alone, alive and very old. Some would say this is better than the alternative, but I'm not so sure. It was always my plan to exit early. Yet here I am older than I ever imagined I'd be.

I'm going to be following the healthcare debate very carefully. I wish to god I were very very rich so I could contribute several million to anyone who could defeat Orin Hatch. That old prissy prick needs to retire. He is as right-wing as one gets, and completely in the pocket of the insurance industry. Harry Reid needs to go too. Harry is about as spineless as they come. I think Harry's problem is that he's a Mormon, and as a Mormon he ought to be a republican. He reminds me of Joey Leiberman. He's straddling the fence of his religious values and his political affiliation and it's giving him a wedgie. So I'd pump some money into bringing down Harry as well. Then there are the "blue dog democrats." I'd start going after them with my discretionary millions. Boy is it fun to dream those kind of dreams. How nice it would be to have the money to influence the outcome of political races. United Healthcare is going to be going full-out to fight the possibility of a public option. Do not let those criminals change the debate. United Healthcare and it's "think tank" the Lewin Group is still rich enough to pour hundreds of millions into fighting a public option. Do not let them influence you. Please write and call your elected representatives to let them know where you stand on the healthcare debate. Sorry if that sounds like a lecture, but this is important. I have medicare, you should too. It's the best medical coverage I ever had, and I used to pay $1,000 a month to United Healthcare for shitty coverage.

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Daily Twitterscope

Others may be quite certain that you are lost in space today -- and they might be right. But it's probably more correct to say that you are detoured, for you really do know where you are and where you are going. You're not, however, aware of how you're going to get there. Don't pay too much heed of anyone who judges you too harshly now. Let your wounds heal on their own schedule. You'll still have time to reach your destination. Get your complete Cosmic Profile

I'm fairly sure there are those who KNOW that I am lost in space everyday, but compared to many of my "sane" friends I am incredibly grounded. Yes, it's probably true that dingbats attract dingbats, but I swear I know some of the nuttiest people who are thought to be completely normal, whereas I am known, especially by myself, to be nuts. I do avoid relationships with other mental patients. I have enough problems with my sane friends. But at least one of my sane friends (Z) has eight, yes, that's 8 friends who are bipolar. That qualifies her for the loony bin to my way of thinking. I have met a couple of her other bipolar friends, and I wouldn't let them in my house if they knocked on my door and asked for a drink of water. Heartless? Maybe. But what is it that would make a fragile woman surround herself with so many people who obviously need help? Yes, some of us can be quite charming for minutes on end, but her other bipolar friends, with the exception of me, are non-compliant bipolar patients who refuse to take their meds and who engage in shrink-shopping--looking for a therapist who will give them a kinder, gentler diagnosis.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Respect For Authority

I don't have it. The first authorities are always parents. The worse they are, the less likely their spawn will be able to respect authority.

I live as lawlessly as I dare, given that I live in a paternalistic, authoritarian, theocratic state. I live at odds with the culture around me and have learned, usually, to live quietly and as invisibly as possible, and to find the other rebels in my neck of the woods. Amazing how many of us there are. Repressive theocracy breeds quiet but passionate rebels.

I do believe we have a great set of rights and obligations set forth in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But we have a bunch of stupid state and federal laws and statutes that are unconstitutional. Drug laws, for instance. We tolerate a homegrown terrorist organization that escalates from intimidation to murders in the name of protecting a zygote. Potential life trumps the living person. The right-to-lifers are always pro death penalty. And they always claim to be driven by some religious zeal. I've known a lot of people who claim to be christian, but I have known very few who truly lived up to the dogma. Judge not, is a big one. Covetousness is another difficult test for christians. Love thy (strange) neighbor is another problem. There is something in there about the poor, the disabled, the elderly too, I'm sure.

I've done my time searching for a religious fit for myself. Couldn't be done. It started when I was in my teens and ended in my fifties. The best I did was find a congregation and a pastor who spoke to me in many ways that satisfied something in my heart that was mostly about having a sense of community. They were welcoming and kind, generous and accepting. And the pastor was smart. He was an intellectual, an academician, an author, an activist. And yet, a kind and modest man. He walked the walk. It was a predominantly black Baptist church.

The first draw for me was walking past the open front doors on a warm spring day and hearing the sound of a great band and a swinging gospel choir. Hot damn. I'm coming back. Great entertainment for a $5 contribution every sunday at a civilized hour? You can't beat that. Women wearing nice dresses and hats. Oh yes, I could do that. I loved it. It had nothing at all to do with faith or belief. It had everything to do with the collective spirit of those people, the personality of the preacher, the humor in his sermons, the great music, all that kept me coming back. And then I hooked up with one of the nicer looking older bachelors of the congregation.

We became a couple. And then it seemed as if I had an obligation to believe in the dogma. I wrestled with that. The man was a catch. He looked like Morgan Freeman. He was a retired homicide detective. First black homicide detective in Salt Lake. But even retired, he was still a man who represented The Law. He followed The Rules. (Didn't mean I had to) He believed The Dogma. And in order to keep going out with this sexy man I eventually had to choose or admit how damn shallow was my faith in anything or anyone.

I did get baptized. But in my interview with the pastor, I said I believed anything was possible and that no religion was THE ONE TRUE religion. He let me skate on that, but talked obliquely about the foolish belief that Christ is not the One True Savior in next Sunday's sermon. Even so, even with the disclaimer, they dunked me. It didn't change a thing in me. I was still the same old skeptic. Still the same old pot smoking sinner. Still the passionate supporter of a woman's right to chose, an opponent of the death penalty, the same woman who just couldn't learn to honor her father and her mother.

When the bachelor asked me to marry him and move to Mesquite, Nevada, I bailed. No more church either. It felt like a package deal.

One of the things I learned during that period of time was that white men, even those not in a uniform of authority, find the sight of a black man with a white woman an affront to the laws of nature. And some white men are so insecure that a badge gives them license to commit all kinds of legal and moral offenses just because they wear a badge and carry a gun. So respect for authority does not come easily to those of us who have been abused by authority young and then observed authority break laws every day of our lives. But I'd love to live in a culture where we were all treated equally under the law, and our differences respected. Until then, I'll keep my skepticism and do my smoking at home with the windows closed. And I've given up dating.

I do think it's nice that our first black president has invited his friend the academic, and the cop who arrested this small, elderly black man on the porch of his own home to the White House for a beer. And I'm glad he called the behavior of the policeman who arrested his friend "stupid." It has started the conversation going again. Racism is still an issue in this country. Racial profiling is tolerated in every police force in the country. We are a nation of bigots even if unconscious of that bigotry. You probably learned it early at home or in church. Just saying. I guess if you respect the authority that taught you your bigotry and claimed it was your birthright, you just fall in line. And if the Jesus in your picture books is blond and blue eyed, I guess you think he's yours alone.

But if you know that authority isn't right about everything, then you just might turn into a questioning rebel.

It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing

"Doo wah doo wah doo wah doo wah doo wah. Makes no difference if it's cool or hot." This song is featured in chapter 20 of the novel, Maggy. It's called "Dancing at the Club."

Saturday, July 25, 2009

One More Friend Hits The Wall

One of my informally adopted daughters is terribly ill. In the past week she has been admitted twice to the emergency room at the University Hospital. Neither time did she tell me that she was in trouble. Now that she's home and starting to recover, she called to let me know that there was a problem, but now it's fixed. For the time being. She has Cushing's Disease. It isn't really curable, but it can be treated. Unfortunately, the treatments are drastic and require constant monitoring. She's had so many serious surgeries, that scar tissue is now a problem. Stress is a factor in Cushing's and she has been going through a difficult divorce. I am sick with grief and worry. But there is nothing I can do. She won't let me do anything. I feel so helpless and useless.

Z is having problems with her daughter in law. Z's youngest son, his "wife" and her toddler and their infant had moved into Z's house to take care of her. But the daughter in law does not help. Yesterday when I called Z, she was doing laundry and cleaning the refrigerator. I asked her why she was out of bed and doing these things. She said she couldn't take the mess any longer. The fridge was stinking and she was in need of clean clothes. She also said the kitchen floor was so dirty she couldn't stand it. Today she tells me they are moving out soon. That was not the commitment they made with her. This is a drastic change of plans.

I feel useless and furious, and terribly scared. There are so few people I'm really close to, and these are two of the most important to me. I can't go to Z's house and muscle my way in to clean and do laundry. So to deal with my fear and worry I'll clean my own house.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Saturday Song

The Novel Is Back Online

There are forty nine chapters in the novel Maggy. I now have thirty eight posted and will finish the rest of them today. I'm not sure why it's taken so long to repost them. Probably has something to do with the disappointment that Amazon didn't pick it as one of the finalist is their Breakthrough Novel Contest. I really need to toughen up when it comes to rejection. Otherwise I'll stop trying. I believe that this book is well written and worth reading. I know some of you have read it and left comments. And it's your comments that lead me to the conclusion that this book has several universal themes running through it. Most pointedly, it's the difficult relationship between mother and daughter that seems to strike a chord with a lot of you.

If you are new to my blog since I took it off the site, last January, the book will be new to you. I hope you will read it and leave comments. They are the bread crumbs that lead a writer to the final edit. It was the comments from MrMacrum, who left such sensitive and honest notes on every chapter he read, that made him the prefect editor for me. He was kind enough to do a very close edit on the first three chapters, which made up the bulk of my submission package. Thank you again, MrMacrum. I used every suggestion you made.

So now I will take the time to post the last twelve chapters. Sorry for my absence at your place lately. I have been pulled away from the blog this summer. At some point I will return to it as if it were my full time job. And then you'll wish I'd find something to do besides bug you with impertinent, cheeky comments.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday Matinee Movie

Public Enemies is the movies today. I'm amazed how long it's been since Nick and I've had a Matinee Movie date. Z's situation has so completely taken over the time I would have spent with anyone else. So Nick and I missed my birthday. We were going to do lunch and a movie. There are several new restaurants in my neighborhood. A couple of them are getting rave reviews. Soon that will be on the agenda. But today it's just a matinee. The thing I'm looking forward to more than anything is conversation with Nick and the air conditioned theater. It's really hot in Salt Lake. It's going to get up to 100 today. On my porch it'll be 125.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Let This Be A Warning To You

My friend Z is doing amazingly well, considering. She is complying with her oncologists. But now that the radiation is burning her throat, and the chemo is making her queazy, the doctors are prescribing drugs that will alleaviate these problems. But Z doesn't believe in Western medicine and when it came time to sign up for Medicare she assumed that she would never get sick enough to ever need the part A, B and D of Medicare coverage. Now she needs them all and the enrollment period won't come around again until November. It is part D that would have paid for her drugs. It is part D that would make a drug that costs $150 at most $3.50. I audibly gasped when she told me that she didn't have part D. I couldn't help myself. I said, "But you need part D." She was furious and shouted, "Don't tell me what I should have done. That doesn't help me now." And of course she's right. Now that it's too late, it doesn't help to tell her what she should have done.

If you're healthy, you never think you're going to need insurance and prescription drug coverage. And if you're young you never think your going to get ill. But everyone needs insurance. That is why the healthcare debate is so terribly important. We need a public option. Please call your Congressional Representative and lobby for a public option for healthcare. We need you healthy. We need you paying attention to the issues that will make a difference in all our lives.

We are not allowed to drive a car without insurance and we don't think twice about that. But we are so careless when it comes to insurance for our own health. It should be mandatory that everyone is covered with health insurance.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I've quit procrastinating. Yes, you heard that right. I didn't put off quitting procrastinating until tomorrow though I could have. Technically I did finish on time if you live in the mountain time zone like I do. I actually posted the first three chapters of the novel, Maggy. The rest of the chapters are ready to go up, but I'll put them up later.

I Cut My Hair All By Myself

Yesterday when I got home from picking Z up, I wet my head and cut my hair. It took fifteen minutes to go from shoulder length to short. It's going to take a little snip here and snip there, but for the most part I'm happy with it, and I saved myself at least $40.00. So now all I have to do in the morning (11:00 AM for me) is wet my head and finger comb it.

I have to grocery shop and do laundry today. Then I swear I'm going to edit two chapters of the novel and start posting it again. I know you've heard that before, but this time I mean it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Healing in the Time of Z

Z is chipper and upbeat. I picked her up at 12:30 at Huntsman. She'd just had two hours of chemo and she's chipper. She likes my Pucci top and asked me to take her shopping soon. I'm almost dumb struck. This is something I would never have predicted, but she has nothing but good things to say about her new internist, and the lovely people who are taking her through this Western medicine miracle. Maybe it's all the good vibes you send her way, but whatever it is, it's working.

She is wanting outings. She is looking ahead, toward winter and travel. She talks about the lovely view from the Huntsman rotunda, the cool breeze coming down the canyon on another hot day. I savor every second I spend with her, but today was one of the best. She wanted to stop at a little Mexican drive-through and pick up a cheese enchilada, a side of beans, and a flan. Wow! I got take-out too. Yes, I love cheap Mexican food. I take her home to eat her lunch and off I go to run some errands. Everything is nice today. It's all good. Is this me talking?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

This Always Reminds Me of My First Love, My Last Love

He used to play this as an exercise, a practice piece, and it was always gorgeous. Watch the fingering. It's quite erotic to me.

Sundays were often spent doing nothing but practice for Tom and slow domesticity for me.
I think he has a new love. I hope so. He's happiest with an audience of one.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Yes, You Heard It Here; It's All About Me

Two of my very close girlfriends are dying. One fast, one slow. Yes, I know, we're all dying slowly, but MS isn't the usual slow kind of death the rest of us are experiencing, it's a slow agonizing loss of everything but the clear thinking functioning brain that notices all the rest of the profound loss that's taking place quite rapidly. Her diagnosis was the first blow. I was able to help her in small ways in the beginning, since I had gone through the disability hoops and knew the ropes. Trust me, it gave me no pleasure to be this particular kind of help to her. Yes, I'm glad there was something I could do for her, but her diagnosis was an agonizing death sentence with a long time locked up and waiting. It wasn't long after this diagnosis, her loss of the ability to work anymore, that her only child, her son, was stabbed to death in a downtown park. He was going to be her rock, her caregiver. He and his lovely wife were going to make her final long demise less painful. His death was not the first nail in her coffin, it was close to a stake in her heart. I don't know how she survived that loss, but she has always been one very tough cookie.

She was Salt Lake's own version of "The Devil Wears Prada." She was the fashion coordinator at Nordstrom when we were Salt Lake's version of the Fashion Police. It was her great taste and exacting standards that scared us all half to death and kept us always on our toes. I was her assistant. It was her direction and fabulous taste the determined my choices. She did the decision making on all the really big fashion shows. She hired temporary help to pull the clothes and accessories for those gigantic shows and extra help with the fittings. And then there were the terrifying rehearsals at 5 AM. And because of her, my modeling career took off in my late forties and into my mid fifties. Who would have ever imagined that there would be a market for old models? But it was a time of enormous change in the fashion industry. We hired plus-sized models, we hired petite models. It had never been done before. We were trail blazers, pioneers in the fashion industry. And she was our leader. This probably bores you silly if you aren't a fashionista, but it was our lives. Even if what you do is essentially silly, if you do it really well, it can be quite spectacular.

I called her today. It's been a couple of years since her diagnosis of MS, maybe more. And when she got the diagnosis, she'd been ill for a long time. So how long does it take for MS to kill you? When we talked today, she said she was no longer able to walk without a walker. She takes handfuls of drugs to keep her from having spasms and cramping and uncontrolled twitching. Not fun drugs. Not like the good old days, when we partied at the New Yorker. Not like the time she visited Tom and me in Santa Barbara. We were the only two women working at Nordstrom who didn't hide our cigarette smoking. We wore red lipstick and ran in high heels as effortlessly as breathing. Now breathing isn't effortless for her and it has nothing at all to do with smoking.

Z on the other hand never was a cigarette smoker. She didn't care about fashion. She lived for her children and lived the clean and very wholesome life of a woman with a real spiritual belief. I can hear you thinking "What did she ever see in you?" I realize I have made light of her need to believe in homeopathy and Chinese Herbs and acupuncture and a very pure vegetarianism to treat her symptoms for years. But I was desperate for her to fight fiercely to live. So now she's finally given in and like a very good patient is going for her radiation treatments and chemo therapy. But her odds are not good. If I had her cancer, I'd be putting notes on the very good jewelry and nice pieces of furniture so there'd be no bickering about who gets what when I'm gone.

The bottom line for me is that I never was a girl to surround myself with lots of close friends. I could hardly stand anybody. But I grew to love these two women who seem to have nothing in common. Without them I'll be lost. I cannot even imagine a life without them. We had all taken it for granted that I'd die first. Be careful what you take for granted. You may not get what you expected. But what you do get will test you. It will hurt so much you'll think it just might kill you. But it won't. That's the problem. You might end up the last one standing.

Man Walks On Moon (Deadwood Style)

Oh, if only the story had been reported this way: Deadwood Style.

Thanks Sitenoise, thanks. I need all the laughs I can get.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Simple Gifts in Honor Of Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite Dies Today

This may be the last serious broadcast journalist. It was at the end of his on air career that networks started demanding that the news had to make money. No longer would we get the news we needed to know, now we would get the news we wanted to know.

It's Too Damn Hot

An hour ago it was 123 degrees in the sun on my porch. The temperature in the house is holding at 83, but to me that's starting to feel hot. There isn't a bit of moisture in the air. So the swamp-cooler is doing it's job, but barely. I've just resorted to turning on the outside water, waiting the couple of minutes it takes to flush out the hot water from the hose and soaking the swamp-cooler pads to get a little extra cool moist air in the house. But damn, it's hot. 99 in the shade at 4 PM. It will be this way for weeks at least. Could be this way a month or more. I guess this is payback for that long, cool, wet Spring.

But now, it's just to damn hot for anything.

Morning's Not For Me

I wake up like a person who needs to know how to do everything again for the first time. Like walk. I stagger and weave in the morning as I make my way to the crapper. My brain doesn't work and usually actually hurts. My eyes won't focus. I've tried to write a brief answer to a comment on the blog before I've been up at least an hour and my fingers just do not work. Like little clubs with no memory of the keyboard. I hate mornings. I always have.

My mother claimed I was born a night person. She was always a morning person, so this was just one more way in which I was defective. But her assertion that fresh out of the womb I wanted to sleep in and stay up all night rings very true. I've had jobs that required 5 AM call times. The best thing for me to do was sleep most of the prior day, then just wake up in the late evening and then my call time would be at a reasonable hour, still part of the night.

I was an assistant to the fashion coordinator at Nordstrom in Salt Lake and Nordstrom likes to have very early morning meetings for management. I can remember driving down Emigration canyon road at 6 AM and not gaining consciousness until pulling into the parking garage. I call this sleep driving. I was completely on autopilot during all those early morning drives down that narrow, steep, winding canyon road. I know I drove the road asleep and speeding.

Now some jackass is calling me every morning at 8:01. This would be great if I really needed a wake-up call, but it's torture since I stayed up till 3 Am the night before. That is my normal bedtime. I know it's wrong to the rest of you that I have the luxury of living my life according to my own biorhythms, but that's the only good thing about being disabled--that and Medicare coverage.

So today I plan to make some phone calls. I will reregister with the Do Not Call Registry. That won't stop this asshole, but it's a start. I'm getting too many solicitations everyday and it isn't all that much fun fucking with the poor schmucks who need that work. The Diabetes Association has stopped calling me, but the person who is calling me is, I'm pretty sure the person who first called me for the Diabetes Association and got the angry bear that is me in the morning and decided it was fun to wake me up. Now I'll start disconnecting my phone at night.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Poem For JoJo and Scarlet

We are sisters under the skin
We are not just invisible women
We are members of a tribe of knife wielding women
Fierce in our understanding of trust and what it doesn't mean
Betrayal becomes the thing we do to keep from ever being left again
Or vulnerable or lost or used again and tossed away like a used condom
Like the scalpel, like the stirrups, like the old man looking who says
"Mind if I give it a go?"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Responding to a Tisking

Darkblack darling, I didn't buy rum at the Utah State Liquor store today because I'm well stocked in rum. I also have odd things like a fifth of Pernod, a couple of inches left in a bottle of Wild Turkey Liqueur regifted to me by a man who obviously didn't think much of me because he obviously hated it. I offered him a glass every time I saw him. (I had a girlfriend in my modeling group of friends who was an alcoholic. She is probably the one who consumed the better part of this vile concoction when I ran out of everything else.) The only use I've ever found for it is in a barbeque sauce. I have things like vermouth for Martinis and Schnapps for hot chocolate. I have Sweet n Sour for Whiskey Sours. I have cocktail onions for Gibsons. I have olives for Martinis. I make a great Dirty Martini or a great Dry Martini. I can make a very fine Old Fashioned. I even have the right glasses for most things. But in the olden days when I drank, I liked my George Dickle neat. I liked my Laphroaig neat. I liked my Bombay Saphire Martinis straight up with two olives. And the best Old Fashioned I ever had was served to me in the bar of the Miramir hotel on the ocean side as you're driving into Santa Barbara from LA just before you get to Montecito.

I was trained by a mixologist named Bill Bailey. I was replacing him. He was retiring as head bartender at a little French restaurant and great piano bar in, of all places, Springfield, Mo. He was an exacting teacher. I could free pour a jigger of anything without measuring it. And I memorized his recipes. I still have my jigger, though I still don't need to use it. I have a shaker, a pourer, a waiter's pal, I can open a bottle of wine the old fashioned way. So when you come to visit me, know that I'll mix you a very nice cocktail or share a very good smoke. One could say I'm an enabler. I like to think of myself as hospitable. So when are you coming?

My Girlfriend Knows How To Do Lunch My Way

First we got the little dogs together for some exhausting sex. I keep trying to take pictures of this fun, but they are so athletic in their amore that all I get is a brown and black blur. They are now developing a new language of love--songs that are increasingly multi-tonal. I need to find out how to use the video camera part of my big fancy digital camera. One of the very funny things they do is whirl in a circle attached to one another's ears. Then Marley grabs one of her many bedraggled Mr Doodies and cuddles him as Segundo humps her from behind. Their special threesome. Then Marley chases him around the yard at breakneck speed until he gives up and hides in the vinca for a minute. When he reappears she runs at him full speed and tackles him. You can actually hear it when she knocks the wind out of him. If he seems to be slowing down, she throws herself down, spreads her legs and rolls her eyes at him. This never fails to work. I'm taking notes.

My friend T. brings the hubby's really good weed and we get very blasted before we leave on our appointed rounds. She tosses back a couple of beers and we're on our way. First stop is The Grove Market where we are looking for Roland's Pineapple chili sauce. No luck, but they're willing to order it for us. Then we hit the Utah State Liquor Store where I buy bourbon, gin and vodka. I don't drink, but I am a very good hostess. Then we head for the Utah State Wine Store where I buy a bottle of Rainwater Madeira, and a bottle of Sandman medium dry sherry. I am now stocked for the rest of the year. Probably several years in the Sherry department. I keep beer in my fridge for her, as her husband is a controlling prick (my words not hers) and counts her empties. I tell her to start counting the pipes he sucks away of the real expensive smoke, but she thinks it's all so petty, she won't tell him to go fuck himself with the beer counting. She may drink a lot of beer, but she always looks and sounds quite sober, but exceptionally fun and funny. So I keep beer here for her, and she brings Segundo over for sex with Marley. Works for me.

Our last stop before the restaurant was the smoke shop by the American Legion Hall. I buy the occasional carton of Carlton Menthol 100s there. Only good smoke shops carry them. They are expensive but very satisfying. While she sits in the car and has another beer, I stand in front of the smoke shop and smoke. Then we're off to La Macarena Cafe in Ivy Place shopping mall. It's the only Mexican restaurant I ever want to go to. The food is great and inexpensive. There is never another gringo in the place. Everyone in the place is speaking Spanish. The TV is on a Mexican soap opera. I feel like I'm on vacation. Oh there are some very well reviewed Mexican restaurants in town, but they're full of white people eating very expensive Americanized Mexican food. Fuck that! I want the food Mexicans love. So it's always La Macarena for us. So far we have kept La Macarena a secret, but if I have Salt Lake readers I've blown that now. We eat a leisurely late lunch. I always have the combo with two Chiles Riellenos, beans, rice, and guacamole. We pound back their chips and salsa. The chips are made there and taste like no other. The salsa is fresh and hot. Ummm. T. drinks a beer, I drink ice cold water. We eat until we're about to bust and then we come home about 5:00, and I plop down on my bed for some serious news watching. I taped CSpan's coverage of the Sotomayor hearings. First Pat, then Keith, then Rachel, then a peaceful evening of CSpan and the remote in my hand. I think I'm turning into a guy. Oh, I forgot. I'd be watching porno this evening if I were a guy living alone, doing what I rally want to do.

Sorry, no photos. I forgot to take my camera. Next time. I promise.

I'm Going Out for a Fun Time

I have a lunch date with a girlfriend. I'm thrilled to be leaving my house for an afternoon of fun. I'm taking my camera so there will be photos later. I get to choose the restaurant. We're also hitting the smoke shop and the liquor store. No, Randal, not a stick up. Just shopping. I'll be back later and I'll fill you in on what I consider a real good time.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Z Is Feeling Better

Z had her first chemo treatment Monday. I was scheduled to pick her up at 2:30 but she called at 2:00 to tell me to pick her up at 4:30. Just as I was looking for my keys, she called again to tell me she wouldn't be finished until 5:30 and her youngest son would be off work and able to pick her up. She sounded very tired and very impatient.

This morning I called her when I got up to find out if there was a schedule for today that I needed to be ready for. She sounded strong and bright. She said she was feeling much better today. I am amazed and ask her a couple of questions about the chemo. She says, she loves her assigned nurse. Aside from being boring, it wasn't that bad. She says their old family friend J will take her to all her radiation treatments. And all she'll need me for is to pick her up from chemo, one day a week. I'm amazed and relieved and so happy to hear her feeling alive again.

Now I have a crashing stress release headache. I know, it doesn't sound fair, but I'm so relieved I've been giddy all day. I tweeted throughout the Sotomayer testimony today on CSpan. I have eaten sensibly so far, but there is still a bit of cake and plenty ice cream.

Dear Diabetes Association

You are now trying to raise money for your very fine association by calling people on the phone. I'm sure the Diabetes Association does great things with the money you raise, but you have some stupid little pissant who, after waking me up at 8:01 AM on last Thrusday morning, much to my displeasure, has decided to wake me up every morning at 8:01 AM. The number this immature cretin is calling from is 703-398-0004. I'm sure this kind of behavior from your telephone solicitors is not what you encourage nor condone. But since you've had the poor judgement to hire someone who is stupid enough to engage in this behavior, I will cease to contribute to the National Diabetes Association.

I have called the number back to have my number removed from your call list but have been informed that it may take up to a 30 days for my number to actually be removed from your call list. So every morning I get another wake-up call will be one more year I stop giving my $25 contribution to your organization. If it takes 30 days that's $750 you will not receive from me. If this childish asshole is doing this to anyone else besides me, you may be losing a great deal more than my $750.

I'm on the National Do Not Call Registry. I have never responded well to telephone solicitations. I respond especially poorly to ones that wake me up when I could sleep in just 30 minutes more. So stop calling me. I don't know the cost benefit ratio on phone calls versus mailings. But if a respected and worthy cause such as finding a cure for diabetes sends me a mailing with an envelope in which to send back my contribution, I am far more likely to respond with a contribution than I am if I'm awakened by some immature crank like the one calling me first thing every morning. I'm sure it's gratifying to know your call staff is getting to work right on time, but not everyone is thrilled to get an early call. And though I do not reach thousands of people every day, twitter does. I will be tweeting this message. It has not been a pleasure doing business with you. I will now start searching for a better charity to send my $750 to. Have a nice day.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fuck You Very Much, Republicans

Thanks Ghost! I needed this! I've been taping news shows and rewatching them. Twittering and watching CSpan. My rage is mounting as my diet deteriorates. It's a stress thing. I've missed you. I guess when I start wallowing in the very personal as I distract myself with obsessive news watching, you chose to take a vacation. Well, I'm still keeping an eye on Congress and it's making me crazy. That and other things. But I missed this song in my little messy world. I'm glad you're back. I haven't been getting out much.

The Miracle Stress Diet

I'm experiencing an amazing amount of stress for reasons you probably know better than you'd ever want to know and for that I apologize. But for some reason unknown to me my usual good eating habits have gone the way of my once good figure. But now, when I'm forgetting to eat anything before 4 PM, when I'm on my way home from Z's or am running errands, desperately trying to get them done and return home as fast as possible, I crave cake and ice cream. Yes, Doctor Zaius, I'm on the cake and ice cream diet and losing weight. Last night I made carrot cake and when I woke up this morning discovered that I had not just dreamed I ate half a quart of vanilla ice cream and half a warm carrot cake. Now I'll take a vitamin pill, a couple of fish oil capsules and finish off that cake while it's still fresh. The ice cream layered between slices of carrot cake makes the whole thing a healthy treat and not just debauchery. I've lost five pounds in three weeks on this diet. I do vary the type of cake and the flavor of ice cream. I highly recommend this diet. When I fall asleep it's like slipping into a nice warm coma on a cool night.

Watching The Sotomayor Hearings

I will be glued to CSpan today and for the next few days watching the Sotomayor confirmation hearings. I can remember all the past hearings of my adult life. There is very little is more compelling than these hearings. If you doubt this, find a way to go back in time to the hearings dominated by Anita Rice's testemony. I always have a hard time remembering Clarence Thomas's name because he was so over shadowed by Rice's testimony. I hated Arlin Spector . He was the chairman of that hearing. My hatred of Spector has cooled a bit over the years but not enough to forget how dismissive he was of Anita Rice, a woman who would have been a much better nominee than Thomas.

These hearings will be punctuated by my trips to Z's to take and pick her up from chemo. Yes, she has agreed to chemo. I would not have put money on the bet that she would go with the advise of Dr Ackerly. She hates him and thinks he's an arrogant asshole who doesn't care about her, the very individual, special, delicate her. No he cares about curing her cancer. That's what matters to me. I'm very happy that she has finally realized her life is on the line, and she is willing to really fight for it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Annie Lennox

I can't embed this clip so I'll just have to give you this link, precious.

TheMom Gives Prizes Again

I hardly think of myself as a real blogger right now. I've been terrible about visiting other bloggers since I've been a bit preoccupied. I apologize to all of you. I hope things will get better for my friend soon, but I'm afraid it may be awhile yet. So please bear with me while I provide transportation and fattening food and other little things to the woman who got me through my last psychosis. It's the least I can do.

When I started blogging I wrote mostly about politics. I'd still like to be writing about politics but my friend's battle with cancer is consuming all my attention and energy. I have been paying attention to the one issue that matters most to me, and that's the healthcare debate. If you haven't called your elected representatives, please do. If we'd had a public option for health care my friends cancer would have been caught much earlier giving her a must better chance at survival. Her doctor kept ordering tests several years ago when the doctor first suspected cancer, but the tests were so expensive, and my friend didn't have insurance. She worked for a small law firm that provided no health insurance and she didn't make enough money to buy private insurance, so now it may be too late. Please sign the petition that you see posted on my sideboard. And thank you for keeping me on your radar while I'm absent from your place. One of these days I'll be back to pestering you in your comments thread. Till then, put a little white light around my friend Z.

Thank you TheMom, also know as the Attentive Aphorist. You're a great friend yourself.

Candide, The Overture

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Little Something To Think About Sunday Morning

And I've always loved Liv Ullmann.

Whistling While We Work To The Old Folks Boogie

Cleaning at Z's

I'm off to carry my lovely little French canister vacuum cleaner to Z's to do some sprucing up of her small room. We'll clean the last closet, and reorganize her desk beside her bed. Children with children of their own can't seem get to these personal tasks.

I'll be back later and will either collapse onto my bed and drift into a dreamless sleep or write something or come visiting at your place. I will not be bringing my French vacuum cleaner to your place, so don't ask.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Because Sarah Silverman Told Me To

Sarah Silverman is one of the tweeters I follow on twitter. She just said this is the most beautiful song ever. Well, I can't let something like that go uninvestigated. You be the judge


These are the stones throughout my garden and yard. Every one of them was moved and placed by me. This is how I gave myself sciatica that lasted a year. This is why any work that requires using my back now hurts. Take vacuuming for instance. Raking leaves too. But these stones are reminders that I was once very strong and very determined. Like these stones, I'll be here for a long time.

This Is My Clean and Peaceful Street Any Day of the Week

This fire hydrant is directly across the street from my house, much to the delight of my dogs.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Quick Update

Dogs do talk in their way. There is a difference in their vocalizations. Happy is indeed different than a warning. And so much more. Yes, Darkblack is right. You heard it here.

Therapy was much needed and mostly spent sobbing, wailing, and cursing. It was cathartic. And the conclusions we came to about my reaction to what is happening to my friend is completely normal. I am neither manic nor depressed. I am sad, terrified and very very pissed off.

Z may be running out of options for treatment. She has refused chemo so far. When she first saw Dr. Ackerly after he'd seen her medical records, he told her she had a 30% chance for a good outcome with immediate and aggressive treatment. She didn't like him and was thinking over her options. Now the latest estimate is a 10% chance for a good outcome. I think she's going to take her chances with a course of radiation and then trust her own instincts. How do I feel about this? See paragraph 2.

Ms M is on vacation and Roscoe sleeps at the foot of my bed for a few days. He is a comfort.

New Use for That One Lone Sock

We all have at least one. You do the laundry and when you empty the dryer find that somewhere along the way you have ended up with one lone sock. In the past I used them as dust rags. I would apply the oil or Pledge to the oak surface of my bookcase and that one lone sock with my hand inside it would become a very useful tool for awhile. When it was too dirty to use again, it was too dirty to wash. And since I would, in the past, have tossed it, it's loss didn't matter much. Well socks have gone up in price over the past couple of years, as my income has shrunk. But I now have a new use for that one lone sock.

I have never had a dog before who had anything but disdain for squeak toys. If they showed any interest at all it was to rip them to shreds in 2 or 3 seconds flat always seeming to be going for some big-dog gland-slam hall-of-fame demolition in the name of distain. Every big dog I've ever had loved to defuzz a tennis ball and then tear the remaining ball into 5 or 6 pieces just as fast. They destroyed Kongs, they destroyed any toy claiming to be indestructible. Sadly these toys do not come with a guarantee since they are very expensive. But Marley loves her squeak toys. Yes, she too loves the act of killing her Mr. Doody, but it takes her a couple of days. But once killed and gutted or missing his brain, emptied of his squeaker, he's no longer any fun and I have a mess of toy stuffing to clean up. So I am always on the look out for very inexpensive squeak toys. Today I hit the mother load. The All A Dollar store was stocked. I brought five of them home and then before throwing out the old useless well mauled discards, stuffed the remains in that one lonely sock and now it's Marley's favorite squeak toy. Ask her which is better: the stolen knot of a rawhide bone that Cyrus wasn't guarding well, or that old squeak toy stuffed in a knotted sock.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Why I love Dogs

Dogs listen, but the don't talk back. Dogs pay close attention and learn quickly to attune themselves to you. Any kindness shown a dog will be returned a thousand fold. Dogs take pleasure in the simplest things and express their joy in every gesture. Dogs love unconditionally. I've never had a dog whose love I lost or forgot. My days and nights with dogs have been peaceful and a comfort, fun and a joy. Dogs may not talk but they sure can express themselves.

I live with three dogs. Roscoe is Ms M's dog, but I'm the person he spends most days with. I'm his babysitter, nanna, the bossy old woman who lets him in at 7 AM when Ms. M goes to work. He takes his place across the foot of the bed (he is careful not to bother my feet) and we all go back to sleep. I sleep best when Roscoe is at the foot of the bed. He's a weighty, muscular presence. He snores gently.

When Ms M first got Roscoe he was a puppy. In the first two years of his life she had to move five times. Always because of Roscoe. He chewed up and spat out every single thing she owned including her mattress and DVD remote control. He never stopped barking when left alone, greatly annoying anyone within a block of his loud and pained voice. He was an escape artist. When he started chewing on her round oak table she came to see me again. I said yes again, and she and Roscoe moved in. The only reason it worked was that Roscoe was not alone anymore. Roscoe had finally become a member of a pack. And then there's the big fenced yard. Roscoe had never had a big fenced yard. Here with us, Roscoe had Geeky, wise old dog, attuned to my habits, the limits of my temper, the precise amount of foolishness I would tolerate. Geeky knew the ropes. I've always known that cats and dogs are amazingly psychic little mind readers, attune to subtle shifts and waverings. Geeky was a very good judge of character and I trusted his hunches about strangers. So I turned Roscoe over to Geeky to train in the world of this little universe, this roomy forest. They patrolled the fences. They shit in the vinca, not on the lawn and far from either house or the gazebo. They didn't bark at women pushing strollers, but they did bark at the mailman, the UPS truck, the dog walker, walking a dog luckier than they. I can tell that bark. It is like no other. Envy is in it's tone.

When Geeky died, Roscoe was five years old. He took over all Geeky's old odd jobs. And every other animal who's been introduced to the friends and family of pets here since Geeky's death has been protected and warned, gently bullied into good sense, taught the ropes by the newly promoted leader of the pack.

Roscoe's bigger than Geeky was and his power, when giving a warning to a strange man, is hard to ignore. So, even though I know Roscoe will not attack a man who listens to me (and follows my instructions to ignore Roscoe, look at me, not Roscoe, don't reach out your hand or try to pet him) it isn't always possible for a man to know that I really mean what I'm saying and know what I'm talking about, and so they look back at the barking overlarge male yellow lab giving the strange man the skunk eye while barking now and then as we cross the backyard to the little house. And as long as the man doesn't recognize that I am the real leader of the pack, Roscoe will always give him shit. But if a man is willing to follow my instructions, Roscoe settles down pretty quickly. I feel safe with Roscoe and he feels safe with me.

Cyrus the Elder joined our pack almost two years ago. We're giving him the best hospice care love can buy. He's now exceeding lifespan. And the past seems to be leaving him. He grows more glossy and confident by the day. His is a sweet old soul. And all the dogs respect him. And anyone who comes to my door unexpected by me is alerted by first the sound of his loud authoritative bark and then the sight of him rising up and leaning forward. He weighs roughly 170 pounds. It is my voice he responds to; he takes his cues from me. He has the hip dysplasia and arthritis an old Rottie is prone to, but his presence as he rises is impressive. I watch the intensity of his discomfort and adjust his pain medication. Half the time I forget to lock the door at night. If the "Beware of Dogs" sign and the locked gate hasn't stopped an intruder Cyrus will. And if anyone's ever cased this joint they've seen Roscoe on the job.

I feel secure with dogs. I feel loved and appreciated by the dogs I live with. There gentle presence is a comfort to me even on the very worst of days.

Now we have little Marley who is the comedian in this group. She is going through the adolescent phase of checking the boundaries of ranking in this pack. This is her first experience of a pack, taken from her family young and kept for almost a year in a kennel, taught nothing, kept for future breeding. Now she has been spayed, and now she is learning what all our expectations are. First off we won't be dominated by a charming little clown. We will play, we will indulge up to a point. We all have our own set of expectations. But Marley's smart. She's learning English and body language very fast.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Death Is An Inconsiderate Lover

It all results in tears
One kind word, one instance of incompetence
That receptionist, anyones disappointment
Spoken, written, imagined, remembered
I can't make my friend
Do the things I think
Will save her life

I must not show my complete disappointment
I'm not sure I can live without her
Last night the tree removal guy called

Words make me cry, like the word deadline
The tree guys were an hour late today and I was
Screaming by the time they got here
Only one hour late for tradesmen
That's not bad, yet I feel responsible
I could not take her
Feed her what she what wanted
She wants so little in the larger scheme of things

She wants the food she wants from the store she wants
Is that so hard? The tree guys were only an hour late
They worked fast and efficiently without damaging my roof
Or fence and their competence makes me cry
My sense of guilt makes me cry.
Why must I always be guilty?
Never quite good enough. Is it like my mother said?

I offered them fresh cold watermelon cut in bite sized pieces
Cold cokes and water and their thirst made me cry
In seconds the watermelon was gone and I feel so sorry
That they don't get better treatment from women like me
And why do I assume that?

This is disappointment mixed with a dash of terror
It should be me. I'd decline all but hospice care
Not because of cost or debt or obligation or estate
Is it because I've chased you death like a needy lover?
So now you strike my innocent friend. Is that how we play
This final game of longing and regret? Does it all end in disappointment?

Now This is A' Cappella

Thanks for sending this to me Scott. The first few seconds and tears start flowing. The opening is is a very moving sound. It makes me feel human again.

I'm starting to unravel. But I have an emergency therapy appointment tomorrow morning with my very generous therapist Fred who has given me his cell phone number in case I really need to talk and there is no one who can understand this pain, this fear, this rage. Thank you Fred.

Thanks to all of you who have looked in on me and left a kind word.

Anita, I'm sorry I disappointed you. You may have thought I was actually a better person than I am. I wish I had lived up to your expectation of me. But I'm just one very imperfect and frightened old woman. Please forgive me.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Time of Illness

I had two days off. No schedule for radiation, but
The tests for clotting factor went on as usual
Without me. I rested like a long distance runner
My drug fueled system humming along as if I ran
On chemicals alone. Did you know that Warfarin is
Rat poison? This is proof to Z that all medicine is poison
To me it means that someone found a really good use for
Rat poison. I take twice as much Warfarin as Z to keep me
From blowing a gasket, to keep my heart humming along
Like a clock that runs a bit too fast, but steady as she goes.
The bruises that cover my arms and legs don't bother me at all.

Z hemorrhaged again last night but refused to go to the hospital.
She determines that she just needs to cut back on the Warfarin
I ask her why and she says, "What can they do? All they can do is
Give me a transfusion." I wonder why that is such a bad idea. I want
Oxygen. I want oxygen rich blood. I think they might give her Oxygen
But keep my mouth shut. I took her fresh peach cobbler hot from the oven
Vanilla ice cream. She eats it as if she were a starving child and I choke back
The truth that the peaches were purchased at the grocery store and were only
99 cents a pound. I make up a perfectly plausible story about my neighbors friend
Drew who grows peaches in Southern Utah for peach brandy. He always has too many
Brings a bushel basket for the neighbor who passes plenty to me for fresh peach cobbler
Thankfully she doesn't ask about the ice cream. It is Bryer's All Natural, Natural vanilla
She eats it like a starving child. I took certified organic red potato soup, organic milk,
Watermelon cut into bite sized pieces and chilled. I know from having spent a lot of time
With Z that she does not get enough fluids to stay well hydrated. I liked the idea that when
She was in the hospital they pumped fluids into her veins. She says it made her swell. Well,
Yes, when the tissue is hydrated it plumps with pulsing life.

I'm a woman who takes a handful of pills every morning with her first mug of latte.
I don't do a lot of research on the drugs I take or study inserts for dire
Side effects.
Life has some nasty side effects. Life can kill you.
Don't we start dying from the moment we're born?
I took so many risks, still do, daring death to take me
Like a lover, who sees an opportunity when I sleep
I should be so lucky

So, the schedule is set for this week. Radiation every day
Clotting factor and food are on Z's agenda and mine
If all her radiation treatments are in the afternoon
I can take her, park the car and wait with a book
Patiently. I hope I live up to her expectations
I hope I don't disappoint her. Today it was peach
Cobbler and vanilla ice cream, tomorrow begins
The hard part, now that the tumor is bleeding
She's no longer just getting rid of the blood clots
In her lungs. Now the tumor is bleeding. Isn't that
A bad thing? I try not to show my extreme distress
I come home and take a handful of pills with my
Evening cup of Earl Grey Tea and smoke half a dozen
cigarettes. I resolve to keep on doing what I'm doing
As if it will protect me from her loss. What are the odds?

The Morning After the Party

Cyrus and Marly have a little conversation under the picnic table. Everything is cleaned and cleared and we survived the Fourth of July. Oh the joy of a peaceful Sunday in the back yard.

Marley tackles her boyfriend Segundo. She likes rough sex. Humm. Wonder how it is I end up with a little dog who plays rough with the boyfriend? She chases him, throws him down and has her way with him. Atta girl Marley.
My friend T who lives three houses away brings her Chihuahua, Seggie over to play with Marley and then he goes home and sleeps it off. Not Marley, she goes off to dog park with Ms M and Roscoe.

Oh to be a dog and live with me.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Party Prep

Ms M is having a Fourth of July party. I like this part of the party plans. The yard is picked up, the yard furniture arranged, the dogs snoozing in the late afternoon sun or investigating a spider. It's peaceful and pretty. I like the quiet before the fireworks or the crowds of festive drinkers. Cyrus needs to go out one last time before I give him his tranquilizer. The loud noises distress him terribly.

I will post a Do Not Disturb sign on my door and watch the Margaret Cho comedy special I taped on Showtime. That's what independence day means to me. Let the party begin!

Jazz on Saturday

Friday, July 3, 2009


Atmospheric pressure is the force per unit area that is applied perpendicularly to a surface by the surrounding gas.

Yesterday when I was getting dressed to go get Z for her first radiation treatment we had a downpour. It was the kind of thunderstorm with great crashing thunder that pours buckets of cold rain. It rained so hard when I walked to the car my sleeveless top and khaki skirt got soaked and I was wading in ankle deep water. As I went through the gate I realized that the basement was probably flooding just then.

Every intersection on the way to Z's neighborhood was a lake, and oncoming cars didn't slow down enough to keep from creating a wave of spray. I remember once in my distant past going through an intersection in a sports car and then hitting the breaks to slow for a car in front of me and my breaks didn't grab. I know wet roads are slick. Now standing water in an intersection makes me remember that experience and adds a bit of terror to my ride to pick up Z. As if there were not terror enough in this day. Yet oddly when I get a few blocks from her house the rain stops and there is no standing water in the intersections.

I left home early since it was the deluge. So, despite the heavy rain most of the way, I arrive at her house early. She's not thrilled that I'm there before she's dressed. And it is in the couple of moments of watching her slip into her pants and don her long sleeved T shirt that I notice how terribly thin she really is. She has always worn oversized clothes. Part of that is the length of her incredible legs--it's hard to find pants that fit her hips that are long enough. But most of it is body dysmorphia. Oh she knows she's thin, she's just never been quite comfortable with her body.

I'm apologetic about arriving early. It hasn't rained hard at her house, so she cannot fathom what I mean when I speak of the deluge downtown. Her house is just outside Salt Lake County. It's possible to drive through quickly moving storms and have them stay just over head, so as we head back to town and it starts pouring again, it's as if the storm has found its home and is staying put. But now we are on the upper East bench of Salt Lake heading toward the U of Utah where Huntsman Cancer Institute is located on the side of a small mountain. This rain is running in little streams toward my house down below. Again I think about my basement and my ears pop.

Atmospherics: effects intended to create a particular atmosphere or mood.

She wants me to wait in the little circle where patients are dropped off and picked up, but we're fifteen minutes early for her appointment. I'm jonesing for a cigarette and think its a bad idea to sit in my mommy mobile smoking a cigarette while the cancer patient's family members are waiting for their loved ones to come out after radiation or chemo. So I drive down the hill to the University Hospital and pull in the lower level of the parking lot. It's huge so I can find an uninhabited corner to park in for a couple of stolen moments. I stand outside my old Dodge Caravan watching scrub jays shit from the rafters where it splats on the concrete ramp below. I watch like a criminal afraid of getting caught. I hear children's voices and drop my cigarette and stamp it out. Half a cigarette and my nicotine level is now high enough that I can drive back to Huntsman and park in their lot. Once inside radiation is one level up.

Huntsman is a gorgeous facility. No expense has been spared on its marble floors, it's three soaring stories of pale blue glass so every interior space has a stunning view of the Salt Lake Valley. On a clear day you can see Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake and the Ocher Mountains behind the lake. But today, not so much. It's a steady rain up here. And every drop is headed for my basement which has no drain and a furnace with it's essential parts about half an inch above the damp concrete. Even with the furnace turned off for the summer if that control panel gets wet it has to be replaced. Once the washing machine overflowed it's drain and killed the furnace below. It cost several hundred dollars to replace the control panel.

I am the only person in the huge and luxurious waiting room in radiation. I walk to the reception desk and ask the attractive, middle aged brunette with an unidentifiable accent to please let Z know I'm waiting in the waiting room and not in my car out front. She smiles and says "Off Corze" and disappears for a couple of minutes. When she comes back I'm seated across the room in one of the tasteful chairs, thumbing through a Harper's Bazaar. She smiles at me when we make eye contact, so I figure all's well. An hour goes by. Z was scheduled for a half hour of radiation. And then another woman joins the brunette and they start closing the security gate at the reception desk. This alarms me. I put down the Harper's Bazaar and walk across the big open room. When I get to the desk, I say, "Is my friend Z still back there?" She says, "Yez, Zer ah schtill zeveral Pashunz boc dair," with a reassuring smile on her face. Somehow this does not feel right. I turn around to scan the rotunda and see Z leaning against the marble terrarium. I cannot see her face but it is impossible to miss that lean, old dancer's body and long light brown hair. Oh christ! I rush over apologizing. She is scowling ferociously and says, "What happened to you! I thought you were in a car wreck." I begin my explanation, and she waves my words away in a dismissive gesture with her arm. I keep trying to explain and then realize that nothing I can say will change the fact that she's been waiting where she said she'd be and I was not there. I hate myself.

When I start the car in the parking garage my windshield wipers are swiping like crazy on dry glass making an annoying scraping sound. She says in her newly breathy high pitched voice "For god's sake, shut those damn things off!" And I feel just like a stupid and irresponsible teenager. I have a moment's empathy for her youngest son. It only lasts a second. And then the rain is pouring and I have to turn the windshield wiper on again.

How Sane Do You Think I Am Twittascope?

My Twittascope: Gemini
Things slowly begin to come back into focus today, but it may take another day or two before you fully return to earth. But as the volume is lowered, you are tempted to turn it back up. When that doesn't work, a wave of fear or even desperation could provoke you to express feelings that might be better kept to yourself. There's no need to shock someone with your unconventional desires just so you can experience another adrenaline rush. Thursday, July 2, 2009

Jesus twittascope I'm a gemini, born in the year of the monkey. Cap that off with the fact that I'm bipolar and you have six of me living in here. What do you expect, balance? Get a grip! This is real life! I move from disaster to disaster throughout the day. So really, is this a reasonable request? I was raised to shock. Why do you think my mother taught me to smoke and mix cocktails at five years old? Snap out of it will you?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

To Whom It May Concern

If I have made radiation treatments seem terrifying to any of you I am sorry. I have been telling you about my friend's discovery that she has cancer and her reactions to the reality that she cannot treat this with "alternative modalities." She is a life long proponent and practitioner of naturopathy and homeopathy and Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture and magic water, and I have grown impatient, afraid, furious, and terrified that she would not act soon enough to avert her own premature death. It took coughing up a lot of blood to get her in the hospital. It frightened her youngest son who was the one to call the ambulance. My fear has never been that the medical professionals at Huntsman Cancer Institute would be unable to treat her cancer, but my fear was that she would fight them so hard that there would be no radiation, no chemo, no time to save her life. I did not doubt for a second that she could be saved. I feared she would refuse to be saved or wait too long. I feared she had more "faith" in the "alternative modalities" and no faith at all in western medicine. She has hated all but one of the doctor's she's seen so far. The only doctor she's liked was the doctor from India who treated her at St Marks Hospital where they took her when her lungs started hemorrhaging. I am grateful to that one doctor for earning her trust, for making her entertain the notion that western medicine might just work. It is not western medicine, nor radiation or chemotherapy that scares me. It is my friend's belief in "alternative modalities" and her revulsion toward western medicine that scares me. It is like "faith healing" at the expense of medical care, this acceptance of one approach at the expense of the more traditional that scares me. I have no faith "alternative modalities". I believe in science. I am sitting here typing because of science. I'm taking bipolar drugs, drugs to treat my heart arrhythmia, blood thinners to keep me from having to face the future that claimed every member of my mother's family--the slow crawl toward dementia and a nursing home. There is no one to take care of me. And with any luck there will be no need.

My therapist called me while I was gone this afternoon. I need help. I know that. I am on shaky ground, but I keep doing the things that keep me semi-sane. I have not skipped my meds yet. I'm not the one with cancer, but the one with cancer's reaction to her treatment is cause for worry for me. And worry isn't going away real soon. I'm venting on the blog. I've been a recluse for years and now I'm going out every day on one errand or another. It's probably good for me, but I'm hating driving in traffic and having to be nice where ever I go. However the biting my tongue is starting to take its toll on my personality. And apparently my running blog about this situation is starting to piss people off. Let me make this clear. This is me writing about the things that I care about or that interest or concern me. So in that sense, it is all about me. I'm sorry if that's offensive. I am many things, but saintly I am not! I can be a right vicious asshole as we all know. Ask Cal.

Email From An Old Friend


I know that with all the caring you already are giving in so many ways to Z the following may not be worth much to you. But I offer it anyway.

I remember the terror I felt, inside, when I first saw this huge machine that would soon be bombarding my body with killer radiation beams. It made a most unwelcome whirring sound as it rotated and zeroed in on the little red targets that had been painted on both sides of my throat.

It bothered (and frightened) me even more when I had to return years later for another bout with the
"terror rays."

I then read in some periodical that an individual should make make friends with the killer machine that can also heal. So I did. I went in to the room before a treatment and just sat on the bench that places you inside the maws of the monster. And I communicated with it.

Following treatments because easier as I let my mind wander n healing ways.

It worked for me.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Miles Davis, Blue in Green

Sublimation's a Bitch

I have held my tongue so long it's strangling me. I know that the area in my throat and chest that is effected by this tongue holding is the exact area that is strangling my friend. But today, while I waited for the phone call to go pick her up from her first day of prep for Radiation at Huntsman Cancer Institute, I have tried to put my house in order and this house keeping has seriously inconvenienced all the dogs. So I have shouted at dogs to move, go outside, shut up, stay! all day long. I finally took to using a water sprayer to surprise Marley in mid-bark at the kids playing in the yard across the alley.

I have stripped all dog beds or their coverings and washed them. I submerged Marley's bed in the bathtub and scrubbed it. It's been drying in the sun all day and is now a lot sweeter smelling than Marley herself. Tomorrow morning Marley gets another bath. I stripped my bed and washed sheets. And I did all this cleaning because I couldn't leave my phone for fear of missing Z's phone call.

When she called I had my clothes laid out to hop into so I would look respectable when I pulled up at Huntsman to pick her up. I wore a sleeveless white cotton blouse and a black cotton skirt. I wore earrings and a bracelet. I wore my good summer hat--it goes with everything. She was waiting in the circle at the entrance, and as I drove up the hill I saw her standing there dressed in a long sleeved brown top with matching brown pants. She is reed slender and this willowy frame from a distance has the look of the girl I first met at the U forty eight years ago in a room full of boys. I do not look like the girl I was. My hair is shorter and I weigh at least forty pounds more than I did as a reed thin girl. I look my age. But at a distance Z looks just like that willowy girl, that ballet dancing girl. And a lump forms in my chest as I think about the journey we both have taken to end up here now.

Tonight her sister-in-law is cooking for her. Tomorrow I pick her up at 3:30 to take her to Huntsman again for a half hour of treatment. She is feeling better all ready.

Marley on the other hand has her very long nose very seriously out of joint. At least I didn't kick her.