Saturday, December 29, 2012

Drawings of Food in Snow

Success/Failure
Like pretty much everyone in this country, I don't enjoy doing things I'm not very good at. I don't mean to say that I avoid doing things that are challenging for me because I do like a certain amount of challenge. But I don't like, say, hmm. I'm sitting here trying to think of things I don't enjoy doing but so far I've come up with "working in sales because I'm really bad at dealing with strangers/customers" and that doesn't feel like it conveys what I mean. I thought about saying "wood burning" but I don't know how to do that and I don't want to say "I don't like doing things that I don't know how to do" because, who knows, maybe if I learned I'd enjoy it.

Ooh! OK, here's one! I don't like to paint because I'm really bad at it. I don't have the fine motor skills required or the necessary instincts or whatever. But! And this is the point of this whole mess, I do really like drawing even though I'm not very good at it. The goofy drawings I sometimes do with computer paint programs are fun and are meant to be comical rather than works of art. The pencil drawings I do are meant to charm the people I love. I know they aren't very good and I'm fine with that. I do wish I were better but I just have zero sense of depth perception and so cannot figure out perspective. Start with a cross and draw a circle out in the distance. Use graph paper. No, I think I'm too impatient to even learn to understand and get the whole perspective thing. Kudos to all of those who are awesome artists because you have skills I admire and appreciate.

I just find it funny that I delight in drawing - especially the drawing I do by hand rather than with computer programs - when I'm not very good at it. It's interesting (to me only, I'm sure) because I'm a decent cook but I don't really enjoy it that much. Yesterday I made scrambled eggs and went all out. I sauteed mushrooms, cut up some cilantro, grated cheese, the whole bit. If I am going to cook, I like to use a lot of ingredients and do complicated things (not that my eggs were complicated but I certainly dirtied a lot of pans and things making my breakfast). Hunter and I texted about my breakfast and about cooking in general (because we are a pair of 80 year old women) and I told him "I can cook - I began learning when I was twelve - but I'm not a creative cook, I just follow recipes." And that's true. OK, I did figure out that adding thyme to scrambled eggs is awesome but, for the most part, I'm just able to follow directions and not screw things up. Hunter, who can kill and clean a deer all by his lonesome, caters weddings in his spare time and - again, old ladies - frequently tells me about what he had for dinner, which frequently consists of things he just thought would taste good.

You will never hear me say that I made myself something that included some white wine in the sauce unless the recipe calls for it. Hunter will throw in the white wine because it makes sense to him. Hmm. I wonder if Hunter and his missus would be willing to adopt a 32 year old daughter and an almost four year old guinea pig. That would be awesome and I bet the vitamin deficiencies I think I might be suffering from would disappear. Seriously, I bought some apples the other day because I think my hair is coming out from lack of eating fruits and vegetables. I know, right? Isn't that just awful? I'm working on fixing that, hence the cooking of breakfast rather than eating ice cream. 

Snow
It is truly Winter here in Columbus. I think most people forget that Winter officially starts December 22 but no matter because we have lovely cold temperatures and really pretty, if inconvenient, snow. Said snow is falling as I type. It's Saturday so I don't have to worry about driving in it to and from work but I still hope it goes away because I want to drive to the laundromat before I end up with fifteen loads like last time. Maybe it will melt, maybe it won't. Meh, not that big a deal really. More annoying is the fact that my neighborhood doesn't seem to believe in putting up signs to mark the handicapped spots. Sure, there are outlines on the ground, but if the ground is covered in snow...

I never would have thought about this if not for my neighbor. She uses the handicapped spot and has been known to get me when someone is parked there who shouldn't be because she knows I'll knock on doors or put notes on windshields. This time we couldn't really blame anybody because they simply could not see the paint on the ground. Neighbor said she'd talk to the head of maintenance and, in the mean time, I made this:

Paper, electrical tape, magic marker, and a wooden post hammered into the ground. Back off lawbreakers. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Thank You from an Asshole

I think I've proven what an asshole I am. Not just because of how irreverent I am or whatever but because I realized that I throw tantrums that would put a toddler to shame (I mean, come on, put your 3 or 4 year old up against me? I'd totally win).

But I still manage to have friends. The Laundress expressed her condolences regarding the death of my Viking. She doesn't know me beyond this blog so she can be forgiven for 'liking' the asshole that I am. But the others who have been so kind to me, including Teacher, who has known me my entire life, they have no way out.

Some of you just truly like me and care about me. My broads, my Hunter, Kara, my BFF. They all care about me even though I'm batshit insane, even though I have treated them badly, even though I'm me. They all wrap me in the warmth of their love, their care, and their thoughts.

I've known since I was what we now call a 'tween' that I am a very lucky girl. I've known for the last ten years that I'm lucky because people care about me and love me regardless of who and what I am. You know, I called Tits recently and said to her "I really appreciate the fact that you are my friend. I mean, I'm bipolar, I'm an atheist, and I own a gun; I'm a trifecta of scary". She started laughing. I was so sincere but she laughed at "trifecta of scary" and frankly, I can't blame her (though I don't think her take of "trinity of darkness" was much better). But that is why she and I are friends. I can be totally sincere and outline these reasons why others might be afraid of me and she'll just start laughing hilariously and make me joke on my own sincerity. Fucking cunt.

There is a lot wrong with me, so much. There is a lot wrong with us all. I know I have it better than most but part of why I can say that I have it better than most is because I always have people who love and care for me and who will be there for me.

I have Hunter, my best friend, who can make me laugh and calm me down.

I have BFF, who once kicked the couch and said "wake up and help me eat these tater tots!" and who now has an adorable little tater tot that I CANNOT wait to meet.

I have Teacher, who always has a book to recommend and who will talk to me via video so that I can see him and his beautiful wife and children.

I have my Broads, who will take me out for fried food and drinks and listen to my ridiculous woes.

I have Mark, who knows me through Cassie, who knows me through my ex and yet is still there with a kind word.

Jeremy and Laura, the fucking wackiest couple I know and the couple I most want to shoot with.

Upstairs Kid.

Powerful woman.

Work friends.

So many friends.

I have Kara, who will bring a bottle of wine to my mom's gatherings to get me through them and who keeps a blog that I love.

I have Health Nut, I have BFF's sister and mother. I have so many wonderful and lovely people that I love
so much and who, for some unknown reason, love me.

I am beyond fortunate, beyond grateful, beyond in debt to all the love and loveliness shown to me. And so here I am, cracking my knee as I bow down in the gratitude that only a bad ass Sho Gun can, saying thank you, to all of you.

I don't celebrate religious holidays because I'm an atheist, but I am not a terrible person who does not know gratitude. I wish I could be one of those people who could name you all but I'm not that great. All of you, and you know who you are, you are important to me and I'm so thankful to you for being there for me.

Thank you.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

On being an asshole

I pride myself on being pretty self aware but every so often I have a moment where I start to wonder if I might not fall somewhere on that autism spectrum that people are always talking about. And I'm not making fun of autism; sometimes I think there must be something very wrong with me.

Sometimes I upset people. Do you know what they don't do when I upset them? They don't tell me to go fuck myself or say hurtful things. Of course they don't, why would they? But I do. I've told my favorite people in the world to get fucked when they've said something that upset me. I've said hurtful things to them. Upset me and I apparently throw a tantrum.

I never realized how upsetting this must be for my friends and loved ones. It's like with my swearing. I swear all the fucking time and it is just second nature to me. If you say "fuck" or "cunt" or anything like that, it doesn't faze me one bit. So if I say "fuck" or "cunt" I don't necessarily register that it might upset someone. I say hurtful things or tell my friends to get fucked because it is my knee jerk reaction when I get upset. I don't mean it; I never mean it. But I forgot that my words actually can and do hurt people.

And what the fuck? I'm 32 years old and only now I am realizing that I'm a big baby who pitches fits? How do you make it three decades without realizing that you don't behave like a normal person? Sometimes I'm really stunned that I do have friends based on the way I act. J told me about my volatility over a year ago and it was quite surprising to me. Now I'm realizing that I'm pretty much an asshole without meaning to be. How's that for self awareness? My friends have to walk on eggshells with me because I might just explode.

I really am a child. I wouldn't want to be friends with me. I'd better reign this shit in. And maybe work on my swearing while I'm at it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ammy

I know it is ridiculous seeing as she passed on December 15th and I chose not to go to her funeral. But it still hurts so much. I know her story, how she met my Pop and came to the States to marry him. Pop used to call for her and the neighbors would say "how sweet! They've been married so long but he still calls 'oh love! oh love!'" He wasn't calling "oh love", he was calling "Olaf!" the name she had when he met her. He used to also say "lowel". I can't explain how to say it unless you are here to hear me. But he was calling for "Lal", the short hand for Lalla, the name she took legally when she came to this country. Lalla is the nickname for Olaf in Iceland apparently.

I lost Pop when I was 12 or 13. I remember that day. I had on these linen pants with stripes. My mom's friend picked Teacher and me up from school and we wanted to know why. We wanted to know why she was bringing us to Ammy's house. Mom's friend gave us ambiguous answers. But we got to Ammy's house and I saw Mom on the couch and I knew. I remember wanting to run away. I don't know where but I wanted to just run away from it so that it couldn't be real.

Today I don't even want to run because I'm no longer a child and I know I can't. Ammy isn't anywhere. She isn't going to make me sugar cookies, she isn't going to mend my baby dolls after the dogs rip them apart, she isn't going to make cookie bars, crab cakes, crepes, or anything that Teacher enjoyed so much. She isn't going to do any of those things ever again.

I truly am happy that she is at peace. But, selfishly, I fucking hate that I don't have her anymore.I actually apologized to someone today. They told me, upon hearing the news of Ammy's death, that their daughter was going to be sad. I basically said "Tell your daughter to talk to me about sad". I apologized because I finally realized, after all these years, that I never owned Ammy. She wasn't just mine and many people loved her. And I'm glad for that, I truly am.

I just find it hard to accept that other people got to have her without asking. Because she was MY Ammy. She was mine. And now she is gone and I don't have her anymore.

Mental

What happened at Sandy Hook, in Newtown, Connecticut was, obviously, a tragedy. We now need to discuss things like gun control and better treatment of mental illness. One of my concerns, a concern shared by many, is the further stigmatization of mental illness. Below is a quote from a friend on Facebook, responding to another friend's post (he gave me his permission to post it here):

"What scares me is that mental health is not an isolated incident. People with mental health problems are driving cars, flying planes, etc. This is just as dangerous as a nut with a gun. I am just a big fan of individual rights. I think we should do more to get rid of the illegal guns first. However I am also a firm believer that we should have more responsibilities associated with the rights we do have..."

I read this and thought, what the fuck? So I messaged him and all but begged him to understand that mental health problems do not automatically lead to mass murders. I told him about how I'm bipolar but that I'm not about to take my gun and shoot up a room full of people. I read his post as saying "we have all kinds of mentally ill people doing dangerous things all the time and that scares me". I took it to mean that he thought mentally ill people were ticking time bombs. 

I'm glad that I messaged him because he told me what he really meant and let me know that he did not believe that every person with a mental illness was a criminal or should be quarantined. In fact, he has a history of mental illness in his family. He explained that his fear was the untreated, those who are beyond help.

But what if he meant everything that he said in that post as a sweeping generalization? There are people who already think that those with mental health issues are "nut jobs" and dangerous. There are those who will now fear that any mental illness will lead to a tragedy on scale with what happened at Sandy Hook. I am uncomfortable telling people I work with that I'm bipolar because I don't want to be judged or discriminated against, as I once was. I only tell those that I'm close to. And I worry now that even those that I love will look at me differently because of what may play out in the media. 

The young man who did this, the young man who took those lives, those of children and adults, may have been mentally ill. Maybe that is what led to his crime. But that does not mean that every person with a mental illness is at risk for doing the same. I've said this over and over again; the worst thing to happen to the mentally ill is the label "mental illness". It isn't some nebulous emotional problem. It is a sickness or a physical disorder just like diabetes or multiple sclerosis. It happens in the brain, not in an aura or some unknown entity. If I had brain cancer you wouldn't look at me like a weirdo. In fact, you know, MS is a central nervous system disorder, which includes the brain. Well, bipolar is all about the brain and its neurotransmitters. It isn't that I'm crazy and hysterical. Hysteria, for those who live in caves and don't know, means "wandering uterus" and was attributed to women who had problems back in the day. The stigma of being different, whether because of mental issues or physical issues, has been alive and well for centuries. This latest travesty may give fodder to those who look at us askance, who look at us with the fear of the ignorant. 

I worry that I will have to go further into hiding due to my disorder because of it, because I don't want people to worry that I'll lose my shit and kill people. I get mad, I get frustrated, I get really upset. And I own a hand gun. But do you know what I do when I get really upset? I cry and I draw cartoons making fun of things. That is what I do. I don't take it out on people, not on the innocent or those who pissed me off. OK, well, maybe I treat the people who pissed me off with a bad attitude but that isn't like I stabbed them. I have zero interest in hurting people, not emotionally or physically. 

Take my gun away, tell me I can't use it. That's fine. But don't take it away because I'm bipolar, take it because you don't want anyone, mentally ill or mentally well, to have one. Because yes, I am "mentally ill" but I am not a criminal. My heart breaks for those who lost their lives and I know this post is selfish with my fear for myself, but I don't want this tragedy to extend any further than it already has.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Selfish or Taking Care of Myself - Feel Free to Judge

Tomorrow is the funeral. I was supposed to get on a plane yesterday and fly to Philadelphia, meet my mom, and drive to Delaware to bury Ammy. I canceled after talking to my mom and letting her know that I couldn't go through with it. "It's going to be closed casket*" she said, as though that would help. "I'll still know it's her in there" I responded.

There are multiple reasons why I chose not to go. One of them is that I really didn't want to watch a box that contained Ammy be carted out and placed in a hole where she'd be buried. I don't have a problem with funerals or anything - I mean no, I don't like them but they don't creep me out like hospitals or horses - but I always feel uncomfortable and like I'm not in the moment and so am being rude or disrespectful. I also don't really like to grieve in front of too many people or weep too much. My very sweet neighbor took care of me the day it happened. Tits and Golden Rod talked to me on the phone. Hunter was very kind. Everyone was very kind. But I don't want to prolong the grieving and draw it out like some martyr. I also don't want to make this such a big deal that this is what I remember about Ammy. One of my strongest memories about her husband is the sandy colored linen suit I wore to the viewing. My cousin making fun of the food and saying something akin to "well, now I know never to come to the Hunter's Den again."

I don't want to remember the funeral. I don't want to remember the parts after she died. I want to remember the last time I saw her, how happy she was to tell Teacher that she was on Facebook because I took a picture of her and posted it. I want to remember when we went to Disney World years ago, when my cousin was about seven, and Ammy was willing to push her around in the wheel chair we'd gotten for her old lady behind. I want to remember all the wonderful things about her while she was alive.

And yeah, OK, I also just flat out didn't want to go. I didn't want to get on a plane again, I didn't want to board the pig again, I didn't want to come home to a filthy apartment again. If I'd gone, I would have had to leave work at 2PM, stop at a grocery store for veggies, rush home, throw clothes into a suitcase, grab the pig, go to the vet, and then drive to the airport. I would have been cranky the entire time and not of any help to my mother. I felt sick with anxiety until I canceled my plans.

Yes, I feel guilty for not being there to support my mother but she will have others and sometimes I really just need to do what is best for me. If I had gone, I would not have been allowed to grieve appropriately for me and I would have walked away annoyed and resentful. I would have been filled with anger. I probably would have said really inappropriate and impulsive things to people. Not because I'm horrible but because I can't always do well under stress.

Some people think I should have gone to be there for my mother. Others think I should have gone so as not to regret NOT going. Well, I need to support myself and I know I won't regret it. I said my goodbye and, actually, I saw her grave years ago. When I was in Delaware by myself, after mom moved to Arizona, I visited my grandfather and then, very disturbingly, saw a grave with Ammy's name on it. I broke down and wept because I wasn't expecting to see that. Sure, she'd just bought a plot but still, a bit creepy when you aren't expecting it. So I got that shock out of the way about six or seven years ago and I've said goodbye in person and I've wept. Now all I want is to take the day tomorrow, the day of her funeral, and, in my own way, mourn and remember my beloved grandmother.

Anyone and everyone can and will think what they want. But my not attending this funeral does not make me a bad person, it just makes me a very flawed one; which is to say, it makes me human.

*Almost forgot the footnote about the closed casket. Yesterday, whilst talking to someone, they asked if it would be a closed casket. Here is how the conversation went. Her: "Is it going to be an open casket?" Me: "I assume so. I mean, she didn't die fighting a dragon, she died in bed, so why a closed casket?" That is what came across my mind, "she didn't die fighting a dragon." Not "she didn't die in an accident" or "she didn't die of a disfiguring disease." No, "she didn't die fighting a dragon." What the fuck is wrong with me?"

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Personal Tragedy

It almost feels wrong to be crying for myself when such a horrific event has taken place but no matter what goes on in the world, we still have our own lives.

Viking died tonight. My mother called me. I heard her ring tone and sort of knew. She told me that it was over, that Viking had passed 10 minutes earlier. I was the first she wanted to tell because she knew how upset I was.

I knew it would be today. Today is my niece's fourth birthday. Viking used to tell me that she knew when my birthday was because it was the same day her mother died, December 9th. I was born December 8th but I guess my great grandmother died on December 9th and it was so close that she got it confused. Well, Viking died on December 15th and when it happened, it was already December 16th where my niece lives.

I am devastated, obviously, but for me. I know it is for the best. She's at peace now, without the pain and the confusion. She is no longer suffering. But I just wasn't ready for it. And I'm so sorry for my mom. She got off the phone with me quickly. "I have to go because I can tell that you are going to lose it and if you lose it I will too." My poor mother, who has never been good at telling me the bad news, so bad in fact, that she used to make Teacher tell me. This time she had to tell me and it was the worst news thus far.

I called my cousin to let her know and she was incredibly sweet, asking if I had someone who could come stay with me. She and her brother weren't as close with Viking because of where they lived. But she was so kind that I was touched.

I ended up going to my neighbor's apartment. She is a grandmother and we are friendly and she was so nice and hugged me and sat and talked with me. Her little granddaughter had a card and a stuffed reindeer she wanted to give me. They were the best thing for me. Neighbor and I talked and reminisced about our grandmothers and it calmed me so much.

I knew this was coming. I felt in my bones that it would be today. But I also thought I'd handle it better. I was wrong. 

One of the things Neighbor and I talked about was the things we wanted from our grandmothers after they passed. The one thing I'd like is a sewing box that I grew up seeing. But, as I told Neighbor, if I don't get anything, I'll still walk away with more than most because I've kept a journal for 22 years and so I have my memories. I remember Viking teaching me to sew, setting up the dining room table so that Teacher and I could do our homework, bringing out coin wrappers and Pop's jar of change so we could roll them, letting me help polish her silver. I have my memories. To me, they are the most important.

I am going to miss her always. But I will always carry her with me. And part of me is going to engage in the fantasy that there is something after this life. So I like to think that my Pop is combing his hair and getting into his military uniform so that he looks his best as he greets his wife for the first time int 9 years.

I love you Ammy, my Viking. I always will. Thank you for being a part of my life. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut

How do you look at a child, a five year old, a seven year old, a ten year old, and shoot that child? How do you go on to shoot 19 more children?

What happened in Connecticut today is among the most disturbing and horrific events to have occurred in this country. Maybe we don't know exactly what has happened but the idea that a young man would walk into an elementary school, with kids aged five through ten, and open fire on these innocent human beings is just sickening. It doesn't make sense and we, as humans, want things to make sense.

Mental illness? OK, well, how did he get the guns? It is easy enough to acquire a weapon in this country; I know, I have one. It took me three times to fill out the paperwork correctly and then a fifteen minute Brady check and I was allowed to walk out with a 9mm Beretta. I own my weapon for one reason, target shooting. I don't imagine a person when I pull the trigger. I don't think about someone or something that has pissed me off. All I think about is getting better at aiming and hitting my target. I can't imagine aiming at a child or multiple children and continuing to pull that trigger.

My heart goes out to the families of the victims, both the children and the adults. My heart goes out to the community. To those related to the trigger man because people who are related to killers end up being ostracized even though they may have had no idea.

It is a tremendous tragedy and nothing I can say can encapsulate the horror. But my heart goes out to them all, those who lost their lives today, those who lost their loved ones, those who have suffered this sort of thing in the past. I am a firm believer in being allowed to own weapons but I also believe in regulation. And I abhor knowing that the U.S. is rife with this sort of incident. The Portland Mall. The man who shot up a salon. Aurora, Colorado. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Our country is known for this sort of thing. Sure, we don't have civil war or suicide bombers but are we so much better?

It's tragic and upsetting. And there is not one damn thing anyone can say.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Giving

OMG, did you watch the CNN Heroes Awards? I made a joke to someone about how there was this America Gives awards show or something on my birthday so my plans were set. I thought it was funny and didn't care. Well, I ended up taping the CNN version and I'm watching it today and all I can think is "holy shit!" There are some great people in this world. A little girl with brain cancer felt bad because the other kids getting treated had to stay in the hospital while she got to go home so she made Joy Jars. Another little kid took it upon himself at the age of seven to start raising money for his town's food bank. A woman started a school for girls in Afghanistan. My god! There really is a lot of greatness in this world. We just don't see it.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Birthday/Dorkdom

OK, I'm so giddy right now that I would think I was manic if I hadn't been taking my meds. I'll explain that in a moment. First...

I'm 32! Today is my birthday and I'm a great big girl and it is my fucking new year! Yea! And Whoo Hoo! And fireworks and the rest of it.

Everyone kept asking me what I was going to do, what my plans were, and all I had to offer was chores because I've been celebrating since the week of Thanksgiving. And actually, yesterday was really awesome. I got to work to find a "Happy Birthday!" banner and some balloons in my cubie (OK, one semi full balloon and one abortion of a balloon). Then I was treated to lunch, was given 24 cupcakes and a card, and received flowers. The flowers were the best because they were the funniest. I was up towards the front of the office and ran into the office assistant cum receptionist who thought I'd seen her email. She told me I had flowers and my knee jerk response was "who the fuck is sending me flowers?" To hear me would have been to think someone had insulted me. So I go to reception and get the flowers. I open the card and read "Happy birthday, baby" and think "who the fuck is calling me 'baby'"? It was my mother, of course. I didn't see it coming because she'd already given me my presents.

So I take my bouquet back to my cubie and I run into some people, including Tits who says "who sent you flowers, your mom?" I respond with "why do you think my mom? Maybe I have numerous male suitors." Her retort? "Uhm, because your mom emailed me yesterday asking about florists?" Sold out. "How does my mom know you?" "Uhm, remember you were going to spend Thanksgiving with my family..." Oh, right. So yeah, my mom sent me flowers and I couldn't lie and say they were from one of my many admirers.

Yeah, yesterday was awesome. On Thursday I received gifts from Stalker, one of which was "The Dark Knight Rises" or whatever the last Batman movie was called. And here is where the giddiness kicks in... did you know that the whole sentencing trial and death/exile of the rich was based on 18th century France? I did! I knew that! I read a biography of Catherine the Great and I'm almost done The Scarlet Pimpernel and so I know. I know! And my poor mother, who tried to call me earlier but had to leave a voice mail singing me Happy Birthday, had to suffer my calling her back and explaining it to her even though she never saw the movie and had no idea what I was talking about.

I am, if nothing else, a huge dork. But I had a great fucking birthday, complete with talking to Teacher on video chat last night and one of the owners of the beer and wine store giving me a hug and a free bottle of wine when I just stopped in to say "hi." I think 32 is going to rock.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stuff, Nonsense, and New Year

Horrors
You know the brother I don't ever talk about because we have no relationship? I think I've mentioned before that his wife has synovial sarcoma, a very rare form of soft tissue cancer that strikes younger people. She was diagnosed about three years ago, I believe, and she had her right leg, below the knee, amputated three years ago around Christmas. Then she underwent chemotherapy and she had good results only to have the cancer come back. She then did a clinical trial and had good results, only to have the cancer come back. Then she had surgery, in which they broke her ribs to get to the tumor(s) and had good results, only to have it come back.

When I visited my mom for Thanksgiving, she told me that Brother told her that SIL was no longer talking about treatment and that he was afraid to talk to her because he didn't want her to push back even more. You wonder why someone would do that, give up and not want to continue treatment, but think about it. She has never felt ill save for how the treatments have made her feel. And after all the pain and sickness of said treatment, she's had good results only to have the cancer come back. At what point would you give up and not want to undergo it anymore? How many times could you deal with being teased, undergoing grueling treatment, getting good results, only to be defeated yet again? SIL lasted three years.

I received an email from my mom last night stating that SIL's tumors are back, one the size of a baseball. She needs surgery, chemo, or an experimental treatment but they have to test her to see what her body can withstand. We've always known that her chances of seeing 40 were slim and we are up against it now. We aren't close but my heart breaks because she is so young. I think she is 33 or 34 at the oldest and she's led a clean life; she's been a vegetarian ever since I knew her (and she's been with my brother since I was about 16), she doesn't smoke or drink. She's so young and her life might be over.

Brother and I have never gotten along and don't have a a relationship but my heart breaks for him as well because I don't know what he'll do if he loses her. It's tragic.

Lighter Side
I received a card from Shared Solutions (makers of my DMT) today. I thought maybe it was a birthday card since I'll be 32 on Saturday and my work sends me a card every year, but I was wrong. Oh, it was a happy anniversary card, but it was literally a card congratulating me on having taken my drug for a year. It suggested that I celebrate my one year commitment by going out for a fun night on the town or staying in and watching my favorite movie or show. I looked at it and thought "are you fucking kidding me?" Who celebrates their year anniversary of taking a medication? I think Birdy was the one who said "does Hallmark make a card for this?" It cracked my shit up.

32
So yes! My birthday is on Saturday and I'll be 32! This will be my first birthday truly alone as J and I hung out last year. I went to AZ for Thanksgiving and my mom totally caved and gave me my birthday presents. My best friend gave me my presents this week. As noted above, my company already sent me my birthday card. So all the fun birthday stuff is out of the way and, since Teacher is in the U.A.E. (which is turning 41 this year), he will not be calling me and saying "hey, I was listening to the radio and they mentioned that John Lennon died 32 years ago and that reminded me that it is your birthday." Cause he will only have known me for 32 years and John Lennon for exactly zero years.

Hunter, my best friend, had his birthday in June and it sucked. Leading up to it, I was trying to convince him that it was going to be awesome because it was his Birthday!!! and birthdays are awesome. They are your day, when people wish you well and lavish attention on you. He commented that his birthdays usually sucked and that made me realize that my last couple haven't been that great. But I still look forward to it every year, including this one, even though I didn't do my usual two to three month warm up of "my birthday is coming up soon" nonsense. Part of it isn't my fault. Mom was born June 1st and spent years having her day rolled into Memorial Day weekend and she hated it (I think you can tell how much she hated it by the bold, italics, and underlining). So when her youngest was born on December 8th, she made the decision that not one damned person was going to think that it was at all OK to put the birthday with Christmas. Decorations were never put up until December 9th and if anyone asked if they could give me both presents at once she let them know it would be fine and she'd do the same for their child. Later in life I would do the same. "Do you mind if I give you your birthday and Christmas presents together" they would ask. "Not at all, I'll do the same," I would reply. "But my birthday is in April," my gentle interlocutor would respond. "Yeah?"

I grew up thinking we all made a big damned deal out of our birthdays and it was until a few years ago when I asked Mom if my brothers did the same that she explained it to me. Part of it is just me though. Mouse, a very good friend of mine, was born on December 6th. Every year that I was in Delaware and I knew her, we would just treat the week like we owned that shit. We'd even toast a kid she'd taught back in the day when she was a kindergarten teacher whose birthday was December 7th (she threw a record once, as part of a performance, and I think he got hit). We were insufferable. But we rejoiced because it was OUR new year, OUR birthday. So even if I have had a few bad ones, I still look forward to it like most kids look forward to Christmas. It gives me a good out, as well, when people ask if I'm revved up or ready for the holiday season because I can say"I don't do celebrate the holidays". When they ask about it or press me, I can say "I was born in December and so that is my holiday."

It is, after all, a Catholic Feast Day (Day of the Immaculate Conception in case you were wondering. Tits thought she was telling me something new when she learned that from her mom. Her response was akin to "I'm sure Simply, my atheist friend, will be terribly interested to know that."

So happy birthday to me and long live the Wu-Tang and all of that.

I know why zebras have stripes, do you?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 - This Will be a Long One

The Good
I flew to Arizona at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning before the holiday. Got up at 3:19 a.m. terrified that I'd miss my flight. Made it and it was non stop, thank goodness, and then just dived into all that is a week long vacation with my mom.

When we got to mom's house, she and my Viking's aid teased me. "There are your presents Simply! I got this one at the flee market" said my mom. "No," said Ruthie, "don't you remember? This was what you picked up at the garage sale." So I figured it was a joke because mom had made a huge deal about not giving me my presents early even if I would see her. I opened the first and found an adorable, small, purple purse. I've been looking for a smaller purse but unable to actually purchase one. Mom bought it with the same thinking I had. "Simply always carries a big brief case and you don't want to bring that in with you to happy hour." So she got me a purse that I can transfer the necessary shit to (wallet, phone) and I love it.

She also got me a Kindle Fire. I was so excited by this that I hugged her. Mine is not an affectionate family so that spontaneous hug really shows how happy I was about this. I've been toying around with the idea of an e-reader and I just couldn't bring myself to buy one. Mom thought it was because of the cost but it was really more of a feeling that I would be betraying books in their real form. I will always own certain books, I will always reread The Westing Game, and I will always buy certain books. Dog earring, underlining, and the rest of it just cannot be replaced. Mom asked a number of people about whether she should give me her iPad mini or the Kindle and most people said "keep the iPad. You have an iPhone so you already know how to use it." But Teacher, my brother who has the best insight, told mom "Simply has a weird thing about Apple products and you know she reads ALL THE FUCKING TIME" so Mom gave me the Kindle. Teacher was right. OK, I have an Apple computer, which I'm using now, and I have two iPods and I love them. But I'm not huge on the company. But I DO read all the time so Teacher made the perfect call. Funny that she had to get an opinion from someone in Abu Dhabi to know what to do but Teacher and I are only 16 months apart and we had some good times. He knows little things about me that no one else does just because of our relationship.

Viking bought me a pair of running shoes. She'd asked Mom to write me a check for my birthday but I dragged Mom to a Sports Authority and when I found a pair I liked, Mom said "do you want Viking to buy you these for your birthday?" Viking was pleased. Actually, she told me that I was welcome but I think she was happy that she was able to give me an actual present rather than a check.

The celebration didn't stop there. Mom and I drove the four hours to Laughlin, NV, to gamble, stopping at Wikiup because I love that place. It is a tiny little town and if I lived there I'd probably impale myself on a cactus. But passing through is fun. I bought crappy souvenirs and post cards before moving on. In Laughlin, I gambled Mom's money, had a top notch meal, and a spa treatment that involved a brutal deep tissue massage. The best parts were probably the trip back and forth, the four hour drive to and fro. On the way we listened to this mix tape that my family recorded off of records in the late 80's. On the way back, we listened to Michael Jackson's Number One Hits.

So I spent time with my mom and the Viking, I saw my uncle, who I haven't seen in awhile, for Thanksgiving, and got to visit with some friends. That was awesome. I maybe saw my uncle a few years ago and seeing Kara and Laura is always fun. It was also fun to see my mom and her cousin fight. All in all, not bad.

The Bad
OK, some of it was bad. I've been telling people that it was 80% awesome and 20% traumatic. It's just hard seeing Viking so frail and elderly. She's cranky and doesn't eat and has mobility issues (though she appears to be able to walk better some times and says "Oh, I can do it when I want to"). They are talking about hospice care and doctors have basically told my mom "look, she's 90 years old. There isn't a lot you can really do unless you can convince her to stop aging and start getting younger". So that was shitty.

It's also shitty to watch my mother deal with it. It's one thing when it is your grandmother, but seeing your mom deal with her own mom is rough. And Viking was never really very nice to mom to begin with. Now she's super nasty to my mother, who does everything for her. I told my mom I was glad I wasn't going to be the one to take care of her. I don't think I have it in me.

Back to Reality
Returned to work and things are as usual. Except we are getting an ice machine in the office because people want their fucking ice and all the other offices have one. I don't understand it myself but whatev. I just wonder sometimes at how much people bitch and want things. Yes, it would be nice to have a decent break room but really, we are here to work, not to wash our dishes and make iced tea and store our groceries. Every so often someone suggests that we get a dishwasher but that isn't going to keep assholes from leaving their dishes in the sink. I know, I used to work somewhere with a dishwasher and we still threw out cups and dishes at the end of the day. Also, who is going to load and unload? We already have the administrative support team cleaning out the refrigerators (two, because we need them).

That's just me being a curmudgeon. I have a massage scheduled for 3:30 and will be leaving work in about one hour and 15 minutes. Then I'm going to an impromptu happy hour. Sunday I'm going with Tits to the casino and on Monday afternoon I'm flying to New York. So I'm actually pretty happy just now. Just ticked because they had to turn the water off.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Early Bird

I woke up at 5:23 this morning, only either 23 or 8 minutes later than I'd planned. It was practice for tomorrow when I have to get up at 4 a.m. to get my shit together and get to the airport for my 6 a.m. flight.

I used to get up early - well, I still kind of do, but I mean, earlier than I had to so that I could unwind and chill and maybe get a few things done before work or school. I think when I was in high school I would actually watch the morning news. So far I've showered, gathered trash from the kitchen, living room, and bathroom*, washed my dishes, and wiped down my counters. I've also come up with a mental list that I will put into my NEW! SHINY! smart phone so that I remember to do all that needs to be done today.

I have to take Johan to the vet at 4PM to drop him off. I have to pick up a prescription at the grocery store. I have to sort my clothes and pack them for Arizona (yes, embarrassingly, I will be bringing dirty laundry... I haven't told my mom yet). I have to organize my medications to make sure I bring enough of all of them with me since I'll be gone for a week. I'm flying Southwest (squee!) so I can check my clothes and pack a smaller carry on, one that just has my work laptop, my phone, my journal, wallet, and things I want to read. I want to have everything packed and sitting either by my door or in the trunk of my car by the time I go to bed at 9.

I'm actually feeling pretty good. I have that deep seated regret, of course, that always comes with a trip like this. Nothing to do with my mother and everything to do with being in her house (or anyone's house) and not being alone. But it will be good for me. I'll be distracted. I won't be sitting around all alone pining for my prince charming** or feeling loserly while everyone else is at family gatherings.*** I'll take better care of myself just because I'll be occupied and I tend to eat better when I'm traveling for pleasure (traveling for work I just drink too much and eat whatever is on hand). And I'll even get some laundry done.

I think my mom will enjoy herself too and that is important to me even if she still isn't going to give me my birthday presents early and I'm going to be right freaking there. For some reason it kills her that I open them as soon as I get them rather than wait for my birthday. And yet she likes to recount the story of a very small Simply going downstairs one Easter morn and opening all the Easter baskets and picking and choosing what she wanted. Of course I'm going to open a present the minute I get it.

But so I'm off for a day at work featuring a few errands and an order in lunch followed by a whirlwind of errands and chores. Wish me luck!

*I did too take out my garbage the other day! I just had a few bits and pieces here and there and I try to make sure I take it out before an extended trip.

**Not that I actually have a prince charming, exactly, but you know, pining for that Hallmark romance that I sometimes yearn for when I'm deep in the rabbit hole. 

***Well, I wouldn't have been alone, alone. Tits invited me to spend the day with her family and that was plan A until the spontaneous trip to see my mother and go to the casino happened on Friday.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Super Posty

I know, right? I go from silence to posting almost non stop in no time.

I just really don't want to clean. It's gotten to the point where I'm literally considering just packing dirty clothes so that I can do my laundry at my mom's house rather than go to the laundromat before Wednesday morning. I bagged up a bunch of trash but that just means I now have two full garbage bags sitting around that need to be taken to the dumpster. I've eaten precisely one bagel with cream cheese and am seriously considering ordering in for dinner just because I cannot be bothered.

I have a feeling that my complexion is taking on the same hue as my couch seeing as I sleep there these days (yes, again) and spend most of my time away from work there.

And this all bothers me so little that it is almost meta. I know I should be doing more. I know I should be making sure that I live in a clean home with clean sheets and clothes. I know I should treat myself well and that living in a filthy home isn't good for me.

But god damn it, I have cable and internet and my job is killing me and J turned into a psycho and so what does it really matter? So what if I slowly turn into the garbage pile from Fraggle Rock (right? I have no idea why that came to me but it did). Maybe if I was dating I'd care a little more. If I were the sort to entertain I would definitely scrub the hair dye from ALL OVER the bathroom and make sure my place smelled pretty. But I live alone with a guinea pig and so I'm becoming more and more like his little ass and it really doesn't bother me.

The fact that it doesn't bother me does though. I need to find my pep or vim or vigor or whatever it is because I really don't want to die from falling over one of my obstacle courses and have an article written up in the paper about how messy my home was. And I don't want my family to have to root through a bunch of crap to sort out whether there is anything worth saving.

I'm basically saying that I need to figure shit out and find the energy to clean my home in case I die. That is seriously fucked up.

I rule at procrastination

Kara has been updating her blog and I am doing everything to keep from cleaning my filthy apartment (empty soda cans, used needles, a pizza box from god knows when, various dishes, chip pieces on the carpet, clothing everywhere, weird assortment of large, empty boxes). So I ripped this off from her and am doing it here.

*******************************************

"This is from some blogger Crappy Day Present thing, and while I'm not participating in that, I actually like the prompts enough to fill them out. So, read and learn people, read and learn about how fabulous I am." - That's from Kara.

What is your dream job?
That person who works for a literary agent who's sole job is to read manuscripts and see if they're good or pieces of crap. I want to be paid to read. <-- also from Kara but it is my dream job as well.

If you had 1,000,000 dollars to give away, how would you do it?
NPR, Planned Parenthood, animal shelters, local school systems, and school systems back in DE. Oh, and I'd just randomly give strangers envelopes with $1,000 in them cause that would be awesome.

Under what circumstances would you adopt a child?
Kids are not my thing. If I ever had one, I would adopt a child in the US (which I understand is really hard if you aren't a celebrity). I guess maybe if my country came to me and said that it was really needed, because of Sandy or whatever, then I'd do it.

Why were you given your name?

My mom and Dad were certain I'd be their third son so when Vincent was born with an innie and not an outtie, it took five days to think what to call me. My mom had been at a bridal shower or something recently and there was a cute, cross eyed flower girl who was dainty and feminine and so she named me what she did. I have always hated my name, since I was very small. I've gone by Cat for the last five years and most people just assume that my name is Catherine or Cathleen.

What was the last national park you visited?
Grand Canyon a really long time ago?

What was the first thing you learned to cook?
Scrambled eggs - ditto I think

What book can you read over and over again?
The Westing Game. I've read it about six times since the sixth grade.

What makes you feel young?
When I look in the mirror and I am not wearing my glasses. Sometimes I just look like I'm 16. Life also makes me feel young but not in the way you want. I usually just feel like an idiotic teenager playing at being a grown up.

Did you ever work at an on campus job? What was it?
I worked in the mail room and in the computer lab. I always wanted to work in a mail room so I got that life goal out of the way pretty early on.

If you needed someone to act as a character reference for you who would you chose?
Hunter. Not only is he my best friend but he has all sorts of things in his background that would make him seem trustworthy (20 years of military service, he's an ordained minister, been married forever to the same woman, etc)

What was the first concert you went to see?

Wu-Tang Clan opening for Rage Against the Machine in the late 90's. No joke. My brothers took me.

Who is someone from your past that you are sorry you lost track of?
Myself before high school.

If you could see 24 hours into the future what would you do with this ability?
Play the lottery.

If you had it to do over again what would you study in school?

Criminal Justice or else I'd follow through with going to graduate school and I'd work towards being a forensic psychiatrist.

What do you know how to say in a foreign language?

"where is the shoe store, what time is it, where is the library" in Spanish
"Do you want to go outside" in Lithuanian
"Sorry, I don't understand, thank you for the meal, and shut up bitch" in Icelandic
"Shit" in Greek.
 
What is your all time favorite joke?

No idea.

What was your first paying job?
Movie theatre. I was an usher, a snack counter girl, and a ticket booth girl.

What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?

Ostrich.

What in your life is more important than money?
My health.

When was the first time you saw the ocean?
Before I can even remember. There are pictures of me at the beach as a little girl. I grew up in Pennsylvania and Delaware so the Atlantic was close by. Saw the Pacific in 1998 or 1999 for the first time when I went to San Francisco. Saw the Indian when I went with my mom to St. Lucia.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Where have I been?

At home and at work, crying once a day at minimum. I needed to get my water pump fixed in my car and I'd saved up so I took the car into the mechanic last Saturday. They accidentally called J rather than me. Then J called me and screamed at me and asked why I kept giving his number out since my pharmacies and now my mechanic were calling him. I tried to tell him that I didn't give his number out but he wouldn't listen and would just say "you're a horrible fucking liar." Then Verizon called me because he wanted to separate our accounts. He actually went so far as to change his number.

So that was awesome.

Later in the week, the medical director for an organization within my company sent me an utterly disrespectful, condescending, and insulting email. And I was not allowed to respond. My boss called the guy and he had my back but he correctly pointed out that since I am applying for a transfer within the company, pissing off the medical director would not be a good idea.

Oh, and J thinks I gave his number to my pharmacies? The funny thing is that I've been struggling to get my Copaxone for a week and a half. I finally got it but the idea that I would be spending my time giving his number out randomly is just so bizarre and kind of ironic seeing as I was having trouble getting my own damned medicine.

Thursday was the last day at work for a friend of mine. I'd planned on taking her for happy hour and not only did she not show up, nor did anyone else who was invited. I felt pathetic and I wonder if anyone would ever think to invite me out if I didn't organize it. I mean, Tits is great. She and I went to a casino the other week and had a blast. But these other people I've known for years and I don't know if they would ever think of me the way I think of them.

So you know, I've been having a little pity party. But! I talked with my mom last night and we arranged it and I'm flying to Arizona on Wednesday and we are going to drive to Laughlin. I'll get home on Tuesday. I think I need this. If for no other reason? I need to stop feeling so sorry for myself. I have a great life. Why am I whining?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Too Soon? Probably Too Soon for the Sensitive

Umbrella or no?*
Hell of a storm, eh? I've looked at so many pictures of the affected areas and I'm in shock. Even with Katrina, I'm still just stunned at what I've seen. Seeing the financial district of New York flooded with water, seeing the boardwalk torn all to hell, aerial shots showing neighborhoods flooded, houses swept into the ocean; it just seems unreal. As I've looked at the pictures, I've had the following thoughts:
  • What must it have sounded like when it was happening? 
  • What must it have felt like when the walls/house/windows shook? 
  • I hope I never have to deal with a flooded home or a swamped car... ever. 
  • When the ocean barrels in like that, do sea creatures end up in urban areas? Not necessarily sharks or dolphins but oceanic fish, crabs, starfish, etc? It would be kind of neat if they showed sharks laying in the middle of Wall Street but then, I like sharks and don't want them dead.
  • I cannot wait for people to start busting out with their stories of how they were affected and/or are related to this experience. For instance, I could say "oh my! I lived in Delaware FIVE years ago! I could have been there!" You know people are going to do that; they coopt any crisis in any way they can. 
I actually looked at the pictures so much that when Tits and I ran to the grocery store at lunch, I was looking around like I'd see flooding. I told her and we started joking about the devastation our area had suffered. We saw a total of one bent over power line and one car accident (which had been pulled into an apartment complex but you know, we used it). "It's soooo deserted!" we cried when we entered the Kroger parking lot. "Do you think the people who owned these cars made it?" we asked. When we were leaving, Tits saw this guy who was walking in circles around his van. "His whole family died" she said. "And his sister's kids. She made it but she's not talking to him because she wanted to leave AC but he wouldn't let her."

OK, that was pretty sick. But keep in mind, I wasn't actually making fun of the storm or storm victims; I was making fun of my own dumb ass for thinking I was going to see ruin in my area because I'd been looking at pictures. Never let me see a movie with any realistic scenes of people being able to fly because this bitch? she'll probably try it. And, in case your wondering, my area was very lucky. It was chilly, rainy, and windy last night and this morning we had some bad wind with sleet, making the ride to work scary, but the worst of it was over by 8AM and, in my area at least, it was nothing. Systems were down at work because a lot of them are maintained in our NYC office but things were righted for the most part and this allowed me to get around the web filters so I could check my Facebook to make sure my east coasts friends and loved ones were OK. So far I'm only worried about one person who I texted last night. She responded then but I've not heard from her today. 

*I would just like to reiterate that I am not at all making fun of this tremendous tragedy. I know I am irreverent and what have you but I'm not only sincerely sorry for the suffering of so many people, I'm also very worried about a few that I know. Sandy is not just a few images on the screen for me, even if I was lucky enough to escape from it. But humor is a part of me, morbid, inappropriate humor, and so I exercise it. It is what keeps me sane on my bad days, what allows me to remind myself of how lucky I am no matter what because I know it can only get worse. Maybe you had to have been there, maybe you'd have to be me, but this particular joking around was funny to me and I had fun with it. But never once did I think that I was anything but lucky as hell to have been in my office today working, not under water or without electricity, or mourning my dead.

Dress it up
Every year that I think about dressing up for Halloween, I want to go as a cat. but I leave it too late and so never manage to get the ears and tail. This year I was thinking cat or Valley Girl. Wonder Woman and I went to Target to get costume stuff yesterday and pickings they were slim. I was going to go as punk rock but the top I bought didn't work out. So I'm going as Seattle Girl 1993 or, for you kids, Grunge Girl. Seems simplistic and like I phoned it in but I'm going to put real effort into it.

Wait, dressing up? I thought you had to pay $5 to dress up Simply, what gives? My manager leaned on me to participate in the fucking holiday shit this year. Evidently I'm in a leadership role these days and so he wants me to give my positivity and whatev to help morale. So I figure, OK, do a good job, continue to lead and mentor and whatever, and maybe one day I'll get a raise and promotion. Plus, I'm trying to be more positive in my life anyway and it is just $5 and I do want the office to have a party if they want it. So if I have to pay $5 to dress like shit and be comfortable, OK, I'll do that.

But next year I'm being a god damned cat.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cause the last post was getting on my nerves

Hmm
Someone was parked in my complex with one of those organ donor license plates. It was also a vanity plate with the text "DED GRL". Kind of freaked me out. I don't think I can donate anymore so when I updated my license I said "nah" to the "do you still want to be a donor question" because who wants my organs?

But I can give blood. My company did a blood drive this morning and I was one of the first. The techs were hilarious, smoking in the parking lot before the start and joking around during the whole process. The really funny part was the crossing of my fingers, hoping I could donate. I missed the last one because my RBC had dropped to an abnormal low after I'd had so much blood taken to figure out what was wrong with me. All I can say is that the Red Cross folks today were thumbs up.

But seriously, DED GRL with an organ donor plate? Soooo many questions. A woman at work has a vanity plate of RAD TECH and when I asked her, she said it was a long story. I didn't push her because it used to be her brother's jeep and so I assume, horribly, that her brother was either training to be a radiology technologist or was one and he's since died. I might be gossipy and snarky and a "I NEED TO KNOW ALL" but I do have a modicum of tact.

Funny what the world throws at you with bumper stickers, decals, tee shirts, and vanity plates. If I'm rocking one of my rad MS shirts like the hippo one that says "You know you're jealous, you don't even have one sclerosis and here I have multiple", you know, you can ask me and I'll just say "I have multiple sclerosis, it sucks, but you gotta have fun with it". But I don't have the balls to ask DED GRL about her donor plate because I don't know if I have it in me to hear the story. I will, eventually, ask my friend about RAD TECH because she is a Broad and so we are tight. But it is hard to start that conversation because you don't want to overstep your bounds.

Election
I got cable on Sunday. Some dude from Insight came to my door on Friday and offered me a great deal. For $15 more a month, I get wifi (so can use more than one computer at a time) and cable TV. This is how you get me; come to my house, tell me what you have, and sign me up on the spot. I'm paying a fair price and get TV (and FOOTBALL!!!!!) and wireless internet which is rad. Yet I didn't watch the debate last night. If it had been on earlier, I would have, but I was tired. That and I already know who I'm voting for and only have about three locals to research to decide who to vote for in my county elections. I'm not voting for Romney or Obama, regardless of the fact that I know one of those two will win. I agree more with Gary Johnson and so I've colored in his little oval. And, OK, if you hate politics, skip the next paragraph.

You know, there are, actually, more than two candidates. I'm voting for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. He isn't going to win but I have a weird loyalty to what the United States of America was meant to be and so I like to pretend and hope that all votes count. If either Romney or Obama had convinced me, even a little, I would have put my vote with them. I voted for Obama last time, and I don't regret it, though I do regret voting for Obama in the Primary because I did so only because I thought "this country will vote for any color of a man rather than a woman". I truly hope Hillary runs next term. I hate that people just vote down party lines. I have an absentee ballot because I can and I don't know where I will be during the actual day. I'm all over the place. Libertarian, Republican, Democrat, Green Party. I don't care about the party, I care about policy, and I actually research it. 

I've said it before and will say it forever unless things change: I do not agree with all the policies of my country but I consider myself lucky to have been born as a U.S. citizen. I take it seriously and I will rip you to shreds if you don't vote. "Well, I don't complain so I don't vote." No, you do fucking complain, you just don't realize that there are so many things that you complain about that are directly tied to politics. So I do my research and try to pick the candidate that I most agree with. I'd like for every vote count. I'd like this country to take voting as seriously as those where you can be killed for voting. Especially women, since I am a woman. Who fought and died for your right to NOT vote? That's right, girls, women fought and actually died for the right to vote. You don't? Really? Get in the kitchen and turn in your degree  because you've become complacent and think shit is just handed to you. Women literally died fighting for this right. Thank you for showing them that you care so much for their sacrifice. Do you realize that we still make less than men? Just asking.

Happy Fucking Holidays
I just found out that my company is planning on cancelling all Holiday Parties this year. I don't attend. I have not attended in the last four years due to my atheism and my whole "yeah, yeah, I know you think it is meaningless and non-religious but if that is so why are we having this fucking party at this time of year?"  So I don't attend but I'm pissed off anyway. My company did a survey of one office recently and the results were bad. We recently had a blog from our CEO that basically said "the beatings will continue until moral improves".  What's more, my division, one that comprises at least 400 employees, just sat through a 90-120 minute long presentation about where we are going and how we each matter. But fuck us, right? Fuck all of us. Maybe you enjoy the holiday party, maybe you've already put two months into the planning as directed by the higher ups but that doesn't matter. We just pretend we give a shit about you.

Like I said, I don't go to the party. If it was in the evening with an open bar, yeah, I'd totally compromise my principles. But I've worked here for almost five years and these are my friends, my family, and they enjoy it. They've had a lot of changes and now they have little to look forward to. Unless, of course, the offset of the holiday party cost goes into raises and bonuses but FAT FUCKING CHANCE OF THAT I say.

Last One
I'm really enjoying the tech wars these days.  I like how google and amazon and apple are all trying to come out with the thinnest, smallest tablet. I don't know why, but I find it kind of hilarious how people want fifty inch televisions in their living rooms but also want cracker sized smart phones/tablets/what have you. Super duper thin so that if you drop it, it'll crash all over into a gazillion pieces. I don't want to watch a television program or a movie on something the size of an index card. I don't want to have to bubble wrap my phone or iPod if I want to take it with me somewhere. I just think it is really, really ridiculous but I love watching it unfold.

That's it. I started this the other day, mainly because I'm tired of seeing my bruised up legs.

Perhaps this is punishment for honest feedback. "We want you to feel like you are part of the company, that you all have a huge part of what we do... but fuck you, work harder and ask for less."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I fucking hate MS

Disclaimer: Only because I am paranoid I'm saying this: Yes, I know I'm lucky. I know that there are a lot of people who deal with a lot worse. I know a disturbing amount of people who have or who are dealing with worse. I get that. But you know what? We all have our moments so unless you are living my exact life, I don't want to hear it.

That being said, you know what sucks? Giving yourself a shot. Ever since they began, almost a year ago, I've thought "man I'm glad I'm not diabetic because I can't do this more than once a day." The shots, in themselves, are fine. It's the side effects. Whatev, some soreness, some itchiness, that's fine. But I get these awesome welts and then the phantom bruising and so, if you saw me and even if I had a rad as fuck body, you'd say "What the fuck girl?" I went to happy hour recently and just mentioned how if I even decided to start dating, I wouldn't know when to mention the MS. You know when it would have to be mentioned? Before I took my clothes off. Otherwise dude would be all "why do you have all these weird lumps? What is with these raised red welts? I have to go... uhm, early meeting."

Here is what I have to show the boys who come out to the yard:





Those are my thighs and my stomach. Sexy, aren't they? Nice big red welts and bruising to just make you go wild. What you can't see is the texture. Sure, my skin feels the same, but if you run your hand along my stomach, my thighs, or my arms in certain places, you'll feel these lovely lumps, like I have chewing gum under my skin. I'll give you a minute to clean up as I'm sure you just orgasmed.

I'm not in a big rush to date. I don't have any real desire to be in a relationshiop right now but one day I'm going to need sex. I so look forward to the converstation that I will have to have.

Thank you Multiple Sclerosis! Like my personality wasn't enough to keep the boys at bay.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Reading, a love story

It's Saturday, I'm home alone drinking like the cool kid that I am, and have just got finished cleaning and vacuuming my living room. Thus, I blog.

I was born in December of 1980. I was actually born the day John Lennon died (John Lennon, the Beatle? Yoko Ono? Come on kids, look it up, it was, obviously, before my time as well). It has only been in the last five years that people, upon learning of my birth date, have stopped asking me "did you know that that was the day Lennon died?" I used to respond with either "did you know that it was the ACTUAL FUCKING DAY?" or "really? Wow, in all these years NO ONE has ever mentioned it. Thanks!" It's only been in the last three years that Teacher has stopped calling me on my birthday, prefacing it with "they were talking about it being the anniversary of John Lennon's death and I remembered it was your birthday." He can be forgiven; he was born on August 11, 1979 and so spent most of his birthdays in a minivan during cross country summer vacations. Poor fuck.

We were wealthy when I was little. I don't remember most of it, just those flash bulb moments like coming down on Christmas morning to find that we'd each received our own stuffed Feival from the movie. We had pickle barrels full of He Men and Transformers. We each had our own and didn't have to share (though the boys had to share my Barbi dolls until they lost interest and we just played Teen Age Mutant Ninja Turtles). Something happened, my dad left, my mom, brothers and I moved in with our grandparents in Delaware and were poor. For a school year I slept in the same bed as my mother, a coat rack next the bed holding my clothes, a box of Barbi dolls under the nightstand. I took it in stride and assumed it was normal. I was bullied every day on the bus. That sucked. Hard.

I ended up being raised by a single mother who lied her way into jobs ("Oh yes, I can totally do that" and then copied off of others), got us scholarships to this weird little private school, and always did her best to make sure we were taken care of. She was ferociously protective. Our father died soon after I turned 10 and we lost others between then and my 14th birthday. I think she felt that if she didn't keep a close watch on us, if she didn't hold a tight reign, we'd suffer even more. So very controlling but not because she was awful but because she was awfully worried.

I went to private school from 5th through 8th grade. I was that kid who got all dolled up for picture day in 5th grade... never did that again. I wasn't an outstanding student. I got A's and in 8th grade my team won gold for our state and went to "Worlds" for Odyssey of the Mind but no one looked at me and thought "why is she not at Julliard? Why are we not putting her up a grade or two?" But that was the time when I first realized how much I liked to read and write and it was there that I first started serious vocabulary training, which is why I will drop terms like "verisimilitude" and "avuncular" and assume others know what the fuck I'm talking about. Teacher was a grade ahead of me and when he was done with a book for his English and Language Arts class, he'd give it to me to read. He was probably the only person who ever took it as a given that I was a big reader. In fact, when he returned to Abu Dhabi after his vacation home this August, he got my email about my name change and thus, my divorce, and after giving me the very obligatory "so sorry" in his most awesome fashion (dude included "blah blah blah" because he is someone who knows me and knows when there really isn't anything to say), he said something akin to "I know you are a voracious reader [he had the same vocabulary lessons and has a doctorate in education and a Masters in English education... I can drop words in his presence without fear of being looked at funny] and so you might like this book I'm reading." My man acknowledged my circumstances and went straight back to middle school, telling me what he was reading in 6th grade so that I could read it in between what I was reading in 5th grade.

That was random, but it tickled me to remember how Teacher would pass along books to me. Our mother read to all of us as children but we all took to it differently. Eldest isn't a reader, it's just not his thing. Teacher would like to read more but is too busy. I'm never too busy to read and I remember J getting annoyed because there would be times where I would do it obsessively. He'd want to talk or interact but I'd be stuck in a book and that was the only thing I wanted to do, read. There are times when I can't, where the only thing I can read is a blog post, not even an article in the news. Those are horrible times that make me angry and frustrated because god damn it, I like to fucking read. When I was undergoing optic neuritis, I made J promise he'd read to me if I lost my vision.

I think it probably has something to do with how I coped with trauma in my early years. I'm terribly unobservant but I can lose myself in a book and picture and hear everything. Maybe I escaped from life into fiction. Maybe I just like to read. Who knows. But libraries are awesome and dagnabbit, kids should read more and play video games less and get off my lawn and so on and so forth. Where IS that Ovaltine? 

I thought, as did most of my family, that I'd be a writer when I grew up. When I eventually got my ass into college after getting kicked out of home and dropping out of one school, I majored in English with this goal in mind. I figured wanting to be a writer was like wanting to be a rock star so I also majored in Psychology so that I'd have a career back up (ha!). I eventually learned that I just didn't have it in me to be an author so since then I've just read and made fun of poorly constructed emails that are sent to "Distribution" at work. Seriously, there are times when I wonder if our corporate staff gives a shit because some of these emails have the WORST and most GLARING typos and grammatical errors that I just think "did we do a proof read or did we just hit send?" Cause I totally use the Royal "we" whenever possible.

This was meant to be a little bio of me but it has really turned into a biography of my love of reading. I'm dedicating it to my little G. Face, my gorgeous niece who was born 28 years and 1 week after me, Teacher's daughter. I hope that she ends up loving to read as much as her daddy does and as much as her Fraenka does. I also dedicate it to Teacher, who has, after all, been a tremendous big brother.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Survey Says: Cat's Bad Choices in Places to Live!

Where The Fuck Do I Live
I'm sure I must have told you about how I have a habit of tuning shit out and then hear noise and think "are they partying or are they fighting?" And I must have told you how one morning I came out of my apartment on my way to work to find cops cordoning off a neighboring building. It turned out that my neighbor's then boyfriend had held a gun to her head and the cops were waiting for a search warrant to find the gun.

Tonight I stepped out and ran into a reporter and his colleague from NBC 10. They were looking for anyone who knew a former tenant in my building who is presently in a California jail for kidnapping and raping a 15 year old girl.

Where the fuck did I move to? I thought I was moving on up because I live in a fancy city code. Nope! Instead I get attempted assault with a deadly weapon, "honey, don't park over there because there aren't any lights and that is where they attack; here, I'll hold this spot for you" and, now, the knowledge that a former neighbor is a fucking rapist pedophile. What. The. Fuck. I wonder if my mother feels less ill at ease knowing I own a hand gun now that she knows that I evidently live in a somewhat upscale ghetto. Seriously, I live in Westerville, which was, a few years ago, one of the top ten small towns in which to live. I guess they didn't mean my zip code.

In Less Disturbing News
Ran yesterday and went for a 45 minute walk with Tits after work today. It was great fun because we laughed a lot. Highlights included taking a trail that began with some ramshackle house followed by grand houses with palatial yards. "You know they must *love* that neighbor with the fake deer in his yard" she said. They all have the same great view but they live by a guy in a shitty home with a trailer out front. Whatev. I like the guy in the shitty home with the trailer in his yard. He's my people and I hope he continues to be a thorn in the side of money. The other highlight was on our way back when some teenage girls yelled something at us. All Tits caught was the word "penis". I wish I knew what they'd said.

I find it interesting that I'm making more friends these days. It only took me five fucking years. Tits is 41 and a new nurse at work that I'm beginning to know is 33. Who knew I could make friends this late in the game? Well, friends around my age who do NOT move back to FUCKING Florida like a certain BFF I shan't name (but for whom I'm exceedingly happy).

Work Stuff
So. Remember how I flew to Texas to teach another division to do what I do? Well, their clinical director quit and her last day was mid week last week and the girl I trained quit and her last day is next Friday. The higher ups (two of them) in said division are flying out for a meeting with me and a few folks next Thursday so I'm wondering what that is going to be like. I'm assuming they'll tell me I get the wonderful joy of working for them again, you know, since my workload is so scant. Still, it should be interesting. Have I mentioned ClonazoPAM and how much I love it?

I continue to plow through and do my best but even though the anti anxiety medication doesn't make me forget what I have at my door. There are big things coming up, namely reaccredidation, which is something of a nightmare and one I'm not looking forward to. But those who need to seem to know and understand that this is no longer a one woman gig. I keep being told that there are exciting things in store for me and that my position is going to grow and change and so on and so forth. I had a good chat with my boss over instant messenger, one that assured me I wasn't going to have to go back to being a secretary, but I can only believe it and get excited when it actually happens. 'tis my nature.

Still, perhaps the tides are finally turning in my favor? After all, I got a bill from a medical center for just under $640 and, even though my health insurance company explained why I owed it, I didn't freak out and I've worked it out that I can pay $25 per month starting next month. So that is good.

What I do know for a fact is that I will make damned sure to have a diet Coke with me tomorrow morning. I had to settle for diet Pepsi and look how my day turned out! 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Eaten by Wild Alsations

Fucking Laundry
As many of you know (ha! like there are many of you who read this!), I'm a huge fan of Relentless Laundry and think you are out of your mind if you don't love the Laundress as well (her latest post is going to be one of her classics in years to come). I don't know why I mentioned that other than I'm fighting, tooth and nail, against having to do laundry.

We've talked about how much I hate doing laundry since I don't have my own machines. We've talked about it time and again. Now I have to drive across the street and pay out the asshole to do my stupid laundry. And I flat out just don't want to. But I desperately need to, and so I'm mad. I've been wearing truly inappropriate thongs and lacy bras to work because I've exhausted my supply of underpants. I don't care if that is TMI, fuck you, it's my blog. I even considered buying new underpants when I was buying stuff for my cousin just to put off the inevitable. I had yesterday off from work and planned to do laundry. I didn't.

So now I'm sitting here telling myself that once I get through this chapter I'll start sorting out my clothing and maybe take a shower. I'm doing a very good job of pretending like I'm going to function like a real and proper person today when I'll most likely end up spending the day in bed with my books and maybe some alcohol.

I think that is the problem with living on my own with no interest in dating anyone right now. I'm slowly - or actually, not so slowly - turning into one of those people. Before long I'll stop being embarrassed about the state of my apartment and invite a colleague over and she'll be embarrassed and talk to other coworkers. "My god, Cat lives in a nice apartment but it is filthy and there is this weird smell." If I did bring some guy back to my place, he'd be horrified by the state of my bed and sheets. Right now I have the following on my bed: junk mail, some real mail, a letter I need to send, my iPod, a plate that has crusted food on it, a notebook, a make up pouch, a bra, a brush, some miscellaneous clothing, my copaxone travel kit, a book, a hair clip, an insurance card, and a computer. I'm not making that up; I sleep in a bed that is half bed and half counter space. I think it comes from all those years of sleeping in a single bed and now that I have a queen, I still just cling to the edge and use that extra room for my crap. There should be two stuffed cows and two boxes of stationary on the bed as well, but evidently, I pushed them off during the night. I guess I do have my limits and my need for space.

So there we are. I'm turning into a disgusting person who, if found dead, will be exposed as a filthy, sad, and pathetic human being. I should probably right that. I'm beginning to actually look forward to doing my god damn laundry. Just as soon as I finish this chapter...

Updated
So I did my fucking laundry. I bitched about not wanting to do it on Facebook and Kara swooped in to remind me of my mom's cousin/neighbor and I saw my future and sucked it up and did all of my laundry. I have mad clean clothes now. But I realized a few things as I was folding the last few things.
  1. 98.9% of my clothing is absolute garbage. Clearly I do not give a shit about my appearance (awesome t-shirts exploiting MS are exceptions).
  2. Target towels suck. They unravel quickly and end up just stringy.
  3. When I decided a year or so ago to stop wearing color, I really stuck to my guns. Even my work out stuff is black and gray.
  4. I have far too much stuff, especially considering how much of it is garbage.
  5. I clearly have not gotten over my aversion to having anything around my neck as 99% of my t-shirts have their colors cut out. 
So laundry is done and so I was grown up and good. Of course, said laundry is in two baskets and one gym bag placed, with real genius, directly in the way of my front door. So I have mad clean stuff in my filthy apartment. I really am awesome.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This little piggy said aw fuck it

Reach Out and Feel Shitty... Then Do Something About It
I made it back from the desert with all of my teeth and without suffering from heat stroke so that is a plus. I spent my last night with Kara, drinking over $90 worth of wine (dude, the $90 was on two bottles of white that she said "we were going to drink anyway" but that she wasted on ME) and trying to get into my mom's neighbor's backyard in order to fuck with her (it's OK, that neighbor is my mom's cousin.) In the end, I settled for putting some rocks in front of her front door because Kara's husband got home and K suddenly decided to go into mom mode and was all "I do not endorse this plan whatsoever". I got the last laugh as the rocks freaked cousin/neighbor out so take THAT mom mode.

One of the things that was most unexpected whilst in Arizona: I called this girl I used to babysit. I call her my cousin and I think of her as such but we aren't related. She is 10 years younger than me and I met her when she was around 2. I used to babysit her when her mother and my uncle started dating and later married for a brief period. This girl loved me because I was a big girl and I was nice to her and you know how little girls are. I would color pictures for her and I taught her to read. I knew she'd had a baby and heard she'd had another, that she was living in a motel and not doing so well. So, after years of silence, I got her number and called her up.

She remembered me and she said it was good timing. She was going into a psych ward. She had her second baby on August 7th and was suffering from PPD, bipolar, and was abusing prescription drugs. I told her I'd do what I could for her and learned that my uncle and his girlfriend are a great support. We had a nice chat yesterday. She asked if I could send her some clothes. She's lost the baby weight so is swimming in her maternity gear and she didn't want to ask my uncle for anything because she felt like she'd already asked so much. So I went to Target today and bought her three long sleeve shirts, a t-shirt, a hoodie, a pair of jeans, and a pair of yoga pants. I wrote her a letter, apologizing if the taste didn't match but I'm 31 and she is 21 and I included the receipt so she could make exchanges. I quoted Winston Churchill who said "if you are going through hell, keep going." I told her I'd always be there for her.

I found her on facebook and there is a picture of her and she looks just like she always did (although she has a bunch of facial piercings now). My heart breaks because I wasn't there for so long. I'm trying to make up for it now. I feel like I'm throwing money at it but I'm going to write to her as well, let her know that I never stopped thinking about her, caring about her, loving her. Life can be a bitch. I'm the luckiest girl I know.

Better Stuff
Went to the bar with a new friend of mine, who I am going to call Tits, this evening. She's the temporary project specialist who has been hired to help me and another woman in the office. She's a little older than me (aren't all of my girlfriends older than me?) and she is from Illadelph and she is a fucking gem. She catches on quickly, she's right there asking for another assignment, and she works diligently. She's also a blast to hang out with. It is refreshing to have a friend from the old coast, someone who doesn't want to be all up in everyone's business and doesn't want to put her business all up in your face. We met up at la'dive and she made fun of me because I got there first and she found me with a beer as I was reading a book. Evidently she didn't realize what a total nerd I am.

So we sat over beer (mainly me, I had two tall, one short, she had one corona, letting me down) and appetizers. I think we had a good time but I did make a horribly inappropriate joke, which I felt bad about even though she told me not to because she thought it was funny and she'd let me know if I ever crossed a line (and I really believe that she would let me know... still, I need to get out of the habit of just saying "BAM! This is me!")

It was, I can say sincerely, fun for me. I have my broads and I've invited Tits to join the summit, but it has been a long time since I have hung out with an east coast girl and she is from Illy Philly, as I've said, which is just 45 minutes from where I grew up. I pick up her accent a bit if I hang out with her long enough, but I'm nuts about her because she is straight forward, has a good sense of humor, a great resume, and is a damned good worker. Actually, we had two resumes to look over. We interviewed her and both the other lady she supports and I knew, with zero hesitation, that the interviewing process could stop. As far as I can tell, we made the right choice.

So yeah, it was fun and I'm happy to have a new friend and blah blah blah.

Other Stuff
Manager, as in my old boss, is trying to recruit me to work for him in his new situation. I can't tell you how absurd that is. I received a text when I landed home from AZ asking if I had ever thought about moving to NJ. He needs someone who does what I do and he really wants to poach me. How he doesn't know how much I hated working for him I'll never work out. My present boss was a bit pissed about this but I let him know that I'd be a complete masochist if I chose to go work for that man again.

Still, it's flattering. One thing Manager always did was recognize my skill and ability. Yeah, he treated me like shit and played mind games, but he always spoke highly of me to others and when it came to my work, he was very complimentary because he knew I basically managed myself and had shit under control. So flattering and bewildering at the same time.

I'm out.