Saturday, December 22, 2007

I Need Zoo Keepers

As you may know, I'm a bit....highstrung, shall we say. I'm also a magnet for madness and mayhem. Cassidy comes by her drama queen title naturally. So, while tonight's happenings are not really a surprise, it's just all a bit much given that it's Christmas time and my house is in it's usual state of messiness and chaos and I have eighteen thousand things to do tomorrow.

So, at twelve thirty, I decide that it's time to feed the rats and go to bed. So, I feed my boys and the foster boys and the bitey boys, then I head into Cass's room to feed my girls and the foster girls. The first thing I notice when I go in Cass's room is that Cera (the three-legged wonder dog) is, as usual, sitting at attention trying to get her tongue bitten for the eighteen thousandth time. Then I notice that the board that sits atop the foster girls cage preventing them from opening the cage and escaping is on the floor and one of the fosters is on top of, rather than inside of, the cage. I do a quick headcount and come up with seven foster girls, but no, that's not right....there's eight foster girls. Math isn't my strong suit, but ten times later with the same result and it's clear that only seven girls are left in the cage. So, I do the frantic search around the cage, around Cass's room and find nothing.

I head back out to the living room to decide what to do and what do I see but Rainbow, the fat white kitten inside the snake's enclosure. Wait...yup that's what I said, inside the snake's enclosure. The dumb cat had broken through the screen top and was sitting on the snake's hidey log. At this point, I about lost my shit, because what the hell am I going to put the snake in at twelve at night that will keep him safe from the cats and dogs and keep him from escaping and wandering into the nearest rat cage and getting eaten. I awaken Jamie and share the dilemma with her, and she remembers we have another terrarium on the porch.

Now, it's about thirty degrees outside, and it rained all last week, so when I go out to the porch to drain the six inches of rain water from the terrarium, what do I discover but that the lid is frozen in place. And I'm proud to say that I neither screamed nor cried when I made this thrilling discovery, but instead send Jamie out to do the dirty work. She brings it back in and I finally get it cleaned out and set up to house the snake.

So, now it's one thirty in the morning and I'm wide awake trying to figure out what to do about the missing rat. Assuming it hasn't already been eaten by Cera, it isn't going to last long what with the two dogs and four cats that live in this house. And I have to be up at my aunt's house at eight in the morning to wrap my neices' Christmas presents since we're doing presents tomorrow, but I have to take my cousin, her baby's daddy and my soon to be former sister in law down my friend Ron's tattoo studio by ten so they can all get tattoos and we can get back in time for dinner and presents. Oh, and the festivities are not only going to be attended by my soon to be former sister in law, but also my brother's new girlfriend, a Jewish girl, who I'm sure is perfectly nice though I've yet to meet her, but since my brother and his wife are still, after all, technically married and both in attendance it's bound to be a bit awkward...

And somehow, in amidst all this, I've got to find out from my sister and my other sister in law whether they think we should get a small gift of some kind for the new girlfriend. What is the gift etiquette, exactly, for your brother's Jewish girlfriend while his wife is also in attendance?

I'm hoping like hell to have the energy to attend the annual holiday party thrown by my dear friend Darcee, because while none of my friends is a poster child for sanity, they definitely have the edge this year over all the family insanity.

I think the little rat is on her own...

****Edited at 5:30 am to add that luckily for the little rat, though unluckily for me, the insomnia that has plagued me this past week has continued and I located and caught the little rodent and returned her to her cage with her sisters.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

This Is a Pain In The...Well, Everywhere

Update on the state of my health. So, I had an appointment with a rheumatologist at Stanford. I met with the rheumatologist who said he didn't think I had Lupus, and that I had Fibromyalgia. This was good news as Fibro, while painful and incurable, doesn't destroy internal organs. However, I got a phone call a few days ago saying that my test results indicated lots of inflammation, an indicator of Lupus.

So, they've decided that they're going to treat the Fibromyalgia, and keep testing me for Lupus. So I'm in this weird half limbo place that I really hate, because I'm no good with suspense. I need to know things. But no, I get to have blood drawn every three months and visit the rheumatologist every six months. This is in addition to regular appointments with my regular doctor, my endocronologist, my shrink and my therapist. These are my new friends that I see way more often than I see my real friends.

The last few days have been hell. I've got this crappy cold that will not go away and it's just sapping all of my energy. I'm in pain, I'm exhausted. I cleaned two rat cages today and it took all of the energy I had not to cry and stop in the middle.

All I can say today is hallelujah for pain pills.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wait...Is This How It's Supposed To Feel?

Thirty feels a bit like a rip-off, I have to say. Certainly not what I imagined 30 would feel like when I was a kid. Thirty was sort of the "it" age for being an adult. And whatever I am, I don't feel like an adult.

There are times when I alone with my little monkey and I think to myself...geez, does anyone know that I'm responsible for a whole other person? It's insane to make decisions about someone else's life when I'm such a mess.

I literally don't feel any different inside now than I did when I was 18. Maybe a little sadder, but that's not really true, because eighteen year old me was an even bigger mess than thirty year old me. At least now I can look up from the middle of a wallow in self pity and say, "Come now, Laura, aren't we feeling a bit more sorry for ourselves than is strictly necessary?"

And in case you're wondering, yes I do talk to myself in pretty much exactly that way. As though there are a group of me and we're all kind of laughing at the others. And if that revelation's not enough to get me put in a nut house...

But, seriously. At what point am I going to feel like a grown up? You know I've paid rent and had a car payment and all of that for years. I've changed diapers and sat up in the middle of the night with a sick child puking all over me and every damn dry cloth in the house. I've even made meatloaf...on purpose. I've done all this stuff that signifies grown up, and I still feel like I'm teetering around in my mom's heels and at any minute someone's going to figure out I'm just a kid playing dress up.

I mean, okay, the average life expectancy is 76. Thirty is pretty damn close to halfway there, and I still don't feel grown up. Or is it a third...crap, why wasn't I ever any good at math?

My point is, when do you finally say, yeah, okay I'm a grown up and I've got this whole life thing figured out. How old am I going to be before I finally get that feeling?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

War on Words

As a writer, I spend alot of time thinking about words. Words as symbols, since that's the basis of all language. Words have power, and depending on how they are used the power invoked by a single word can shake you to your core.

War is one of the words I've been thinking about alot lately. It should evoke fear, anger, outrage and despair. But it doesn't. We toss the word around so freely, throw war around the way we throw just any other word around.

It started in the eighties, with the Reagan administration's War on drugs. It was meant to signify that finally the government was going to get serious about drugs and drug related crimes. That we were going to have a "take no prisoners" sort of mentality. Drugs were supposed to be as heinous as Nazis or something, I suppose. So, I like everyone else in my generation, I grew up thinking drugs were a serious problem. Which they are, especially when you think of the connection between drugs, poverty and crime. But, drugs all alone are hardly worthy of the term war.

And these days every where you turn, we're at war. Still waging a war on drugs, not to mention one on terror and one on crime and one on illiteracy. War no longer refers to the utter desolation of the human condition that causes us to kill and destroy each other. Any situation that calls for problem solving, the most basic of human abilities, we call a war, which should only ever refer to the most appalling of human conditions.

In The Fifth Element, a bad science fiction film starring a model and an action star, there is this scene where the perfect creature is learning about us, about human beings, and she comes across the word "war" and it shocks and disgusts her. To the point that she almost fails in her task to save the human race. And that's what that word should do. We should hear war and stop breathing. We should always remember that war means that people die. That people do the worst possible things to one another under the guise of fighting for their beliefs, or for the freedom of other people, or for their own freedoms.

As human beings, we should always remember what we are capable of, both good and bad, and we should never allow someone to diminish the power of our most basic symbols. Stop using this word to mean anything other than what it means: bloodshed, horror and desolation.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rats are cool...

So, check out this great video on you tube that shows just how fantastic rats can be. My rats have all mastered the fine art of looking pitiful for yogies. Who cares if other rats can climb ropes and do hurdles? Mine are cute!!!

And this video shows I'm not the only rat freak out there!!!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Your Modern History Lesson

Presenting the latter half of the 20th century in less than five minutes. Courtesy of Billy Joel.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I haven't talked much about my health, lately. Mostly, because there aren't any new developments and I don't have any new information, so what's the point in going over the same old stuff.

However, today I lost an opportunity to have lunch with Craig, of Craigorian Chant, due to my crappy health. I've had a rough weekend, tired and achy and tight, heavy chest. I suspect there is some sort of infection going on, which is usually what causes my body to do this. It's not bad enough to rush off to the ER, but I will be calling my GP tomorrow to have some blood work done.

I've gotten used to certain things, like that working is sort of just not going to happen for me right now. I know that when I do too much or get too little sleep I'm going to pay for it. What I hate, hate, hate is when out of nowhere I get waylaid and spend two or three days on the fucking couch rather than hanging out with friends.

I don't cry too much over the things I've lost, because I presume that I will one day work and hike again. I presume that camping and swimming and spending an hour out in the park will one day be possible without paying for it for a week.

However, losing something so simple and so essential as spending time with people I care about really fucking pisses me off. I don't see friends that often, being that my friends have scattered to the four corners of the world, so even though I thoughtfully stayed in the town where all of their parent's live so that I would see them when they were home for visits, I still don't see them anywhere near as much as I'd like. And when I have the opportunity to spend time with one of them, and can't because of this thing, this crappy illness, I get really fucking pissed.

And this isn't the first time it's happened. I've missed visits with lots of other friends. Grrr....but how do you fight something that you can't see or predict? Gah!! I just don't know.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It Hurts to Love Rats This Much

Literally. Physical pain here, people. I got a new tattoo...first in about three years or so. It's really cute...a couple of rats. On my chest. Yeah, I'm crazy, but that's a whole other post.

Also, I'm nursing a very sore finger right now, as I got a rather vicious bite from my project rat who is having some "issues" adjusting to life as a pet. He and his brother were scheduled to be put to sleep due to their aggression issues. Thumper, the more aggressive of the two, has a broken tail due to human mishandling. Flower, his timid brother has yet to show any signs of aggression. And really Thumper shows more fear than aggression. They'll take yogies from my hand, but then they run back and hide. I got bitten tonight for pushing socialization just a bit too far.

He's bitten me three other times, all of which were my fault. At the shelter I reached into his igloo to grab a cornered rat, never a good idea. And the two other times I forgot to wash my hands after handling my other boys, and since they are so fearful, he reacted out of fear. And he's fast, and I'm not.

I also noticed tonight that he has a slight list to the right, which I'm hoping I didn't really see, because that added to aggression usually indicates a pituitary tumor, and there's not a whole lot you can do for a pituitary tumor in a rat. Lots of other tumors can be removed, but a pituitary tumor is basically a death sentence. Which would be heartbreaking because he's had such a crappy life. He's only a year old, and he's spent the last 6 months being mishandled by shelter workers who know nothing about rats.

You know, I know a lot of people will say, eh, it's just a rat. But this is an animal that was born because of human intervention, and has spent it's whole life at the mercy of human whims. I don't cry when I watch animal shows and the weak baby elephant dies or something like that. That's nature, and nature does what it does for a reason. But, when humans get involved in animal breeding and keeping we are basically being god. You have the power of life and death over your pet, and to not choose life, and a good one at that is just sadistic.

And doing what I do, as far as dealing with rat rescues (and hopefully, someday, other animals) I hear the lamest excuses for not taking care of animals. My least favorite is "Oh, I'm just too busy, now." What the fuck is that all about? You know, I wasn't doing anything exciting before, so I got this here animal to liven up my life, but now things are looking up, so kick rocks little rattie (or kitty, or puppy.) Aargh. Animals aren't just play things. You would never have a child and then say, you know this whole parenting thing puts a crimp in my fabulous life style, so I'm taking her down to the orphanage. She's pretty cute, so I'm sure she'll get adopted. Okay, actually some people do that too...but they're not people I'm inviting over to Sunday dinner, ya know what I mean?

So, bottom line...if you get an animal, you are responsible for that animal for the rest of your life. You don't get an out just because you got a boyfriend, or had a kid, or fuck, I don't know, any of the eight million other excuses people make to rationalize their shitty behavior. If you aren't willing to guarantee that come hell or high water you and Fido are in it together, then get your fuzzy animal fix by volunteering at a local rescue or shelter, and let Fido go to someone who is willing to make that commitment.

Oh...and spay and neuter your damn pets.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Kids Today...

I feel sorry for the generation that is growing up today. The things they won't know, and the fact that as a society we're overprotecting our children. We want to make everything fair and safe and make all the kids feel good about themselves all the time. It sounds great, in theory, that no kid is going to feel bad, ever.

But the thing about kids is they don't stay kids. They become adults, and if adults know anything, we know that life simply isn't fair. Sometimes the idiot who has none of your brains and works half as hard as you do gets the promotion. Sometimes the one you love more than any other doesn't love you. And no matter what your mom may have told you, not everyone worth knowing is going to be interested in taking the time to know you. So, what happens to these kids who've been taught that everything should be fair and that they should always feel good about themselves?

As a parent, I try really hard to keep two things in mind; first of all, my darling little drama queen only has one childhood, and I want her to have a good one, and second (and most important) the whole idea is not to raise a child, but to raise an adult. You know, they're kids for such a short time, so you don't want your seven year old worrying about her weight or something foolish like that, but you also need to prepare them for the world which isn't always a good and wonderful place. They need to be protected, but at the same time, aware that bad things can and do happen, and that, in fact, bad things will undoubtedly happen to them.

For some reason, there's this idea that it's important to protect kids from all the ugly in the world. But, if kids don't know about the ugly, we aren't going to be raising adults who want to change it and do better. Even the history we teach our young children is sanitized. It's no wonder that children today don't understand the importance of Martin Luther King them it's just a reason to stay home from school, play on their playstations and listen to their Ipods.

I worry especially about the message we are sending our little girls. If you've walked down the girl's aisle of a toy store recently, you'll get what I mean. All the toys out there are so materialistic...Barbie doesn't even have careers's all about fashion. The girls in Mean Girls aren't pathetic and stupid, they're role models because they're pretty and have nice clothes. And I think about how far women have come in the last few decades and I wonder if this isn't like thirty big steps backwards, to be raising girls who know alot about Paris Hilton and the latest trends, but knows nothing about things that matter like, poverty and war and Christ, a million fucking other issues that are so much more important than whether or not you have the right shoes.

My generation has been defined as apathetic to social issues, particularly following my parent's generation which fought so hard for social justice. And what will the next generation be? Self centered, self indulgent twits who are shell shocked because they grew up to discover that the world, in fact, does not revolve around them.

So...if you have kids or know kids...don't let them win every game they play. And don't give them everything they want, even if it means that someone won't like them. And if someone doesn't like them, don't call a big conference with the principal and the other kid's parents (unless, of course, some bullying or violence is occuring), teach your kid to accept it and move on with their lives. Remember, these kids are going to be running the world when we're adult diapers...we want them to give a shit about something besides themselves.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I Can't Sing

I used to dream about being a singer. Until I was 12 or so and discovered the record button on my stereo. Dream shattered. Anyone who's been stuck in a car with me for any length of time will tell you why. I couldn't carry a tune if you held a gun to my head. I'm like one of the funny rejects you see on American Idol, not just bad, but really, really bad.

That being said, I have a fairly good ear, and a deep abiding love for music and spoken word poetry. For the rest of my days I will sit in audiences and wish I could put my words into pleasing sounds. Really, I can't even recite poetry. Not good when you write poetry. I've got one of those voices that sort of grates and sounds always like I'm alot younger than I am and I have some kind of cold, and my mama should have taught me to blow my nose or something. It's truly wretched.

Fortunately for me, I've had the great fortune to have relationships with a couple of musicians, so even though I can't create music myself, (because in addition to having no voice, I've got no rhythm either, so playing an instrument's out as well) I get to be around it alot. Not that I'm always all that appreciative of the music in my life. In fact, I spend alot of time talking about the pitfalls of being a musician's girlfriend. Aside from the continuous Yoko jokes, there's the constant sense of being excluded from something. It's sort of like when you sit at a table with people much, much smarter than you. (Another common experience in my life.) While it's fascinating and certainly an enriching experience, when you are as dramatic as I am, and have an innate need to be the center of attention, it tends to make you feel about as useful as tits on a bull.

But, I can write. I can put words together in a way that sometimes make a person go, you know, I've never really heard someone say it like that before. I can, from time to time, put the jumble of thoughts in my mind into a form that other people find entertaining. So, you know, if 30 years on the planets teaches you nothing at all, it teaches you to find ways to use what you have to your advantage.

What's all this leading up might be asking yourself. Or if you're not, you don't know me all that well and aren't all that familiar with the long explanations I have for anything I do. Rationalizations really, that usually are way longer than whatever it was I was going to tell you. So, here's the thing. I've been making myself write, either taking little zygotes of ideas and trying to expand them, or going back over old journals and poems and rewriting and rewording, and I found this little, well not so little, poem/song thingy I wrote some years back that I really liked and decided to share with you all.

See, even when you know you can't do something...sometimes dreams don't go away....

Anyway, this here is called Anything But Fine, hope you enjoy it.

Anything But Fine

honey you know i was never much to look at
but lately i've been looking really bad
cause i've been staying up all night
thinking about that last fight we had
there's so much i should have said
so much that went unspoken
and i wish i could tell you now
cause i'm tired of being broken

and i know i never held your heart in my hands
though you know you always had mine
but i really think that if you had to leave
you could have left it behind
after everything we've been through
i can't believe you'd say goodbye
and i don't think i can live this way
this is anything but fine

it's a hard road to walk
when you're walking it alone
and everyday i become more weary
weary to the bone
there's so much i never told you
so many things i never said
now it's all driving me crazy
feeling trapped inside my head
and the path from you to me
is getting longer every day
and i have fallen oh so many times
along the way
don't think i'll ever find my way back
or that you'll find your way here
and all i seem to know anymore
are emptiness and fear

i've been so busy trying to remember
the girl i was before you came
driving down another lonely highway
realizing i'll never be the same
and every time i see you
and every time you call
i get closer to the truth
that we never really knew each other at all
and the road keeps stretching onward
and time keeps ticking by
and i still don't understand
why you ever let me say goodbye

yeah, i know i never held your heart in my hands
though we both know you always had mine
but baby when i left
i left my heart behind
and after everything you've been to me
i don't want to say goodbye
i won't do this anymore
cause this is anything but fine

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Still Scarlett

When I was about 12, I discovered what remains to this day my all time favorite love story, Gone With the Wind. And because I was 12, and no less dramatic than I am today, I desperately identified with Scarlett. The Scarlett who was not beautiful, but made people (especially men) overlook that. The Scarlett who was clever enough to manipulate people and situations to suit her. Who trusted only two women in her entire life, and who clawed and fought to survive.

And nevermind that she never took the time to figure out who she was, what she really wanted, what was best for her, or what would make her happy. I didn't understand the implications of her "I won't think about it now, I'll think about it later when I can stand it..." mentality. Those of you who know me well, know that's always been my M.O. Only, I think I've finally figured out what Scarlett never did...that later never comes. That some doors, once closed will never again open, and some opportunities don't come back around. And that actually, that can be okay. Because no mistake comes without at least the benefit of a lesson learned, or at least a fantastic story to tell at the bar when you meet up with old friends.

It's funny how sometimes you look back with the benefit that comes with hindsight and say, ah, I see now how I thought I was running towards something when I was really running as fast as I could in the other direction.

And of course, I'm still Scarlett, when I'd be smarter to be Melanie. I'm still more fiddledeedee than I'd care to let on, but with a bit of self awareness that would have been fabulous ten years ago. So, I guess the question is, did Scarlett figure it out in time, or is the habit of thinking about it "later" so ingrained that it's too late? Of course, it's not Scarlett I'm all that worried about...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Snake Poo...

We recently acquired a baby ball python. It's a beautiful thing, and ultra fun to watch. I feel slightly guilty feeding him, since he eats mice, the smaller cousin of our lovely ratties, but hey, snakes gotta eat, too...right? The process is slightly gruesome since, for a myriad of reasons, I am feeding frozen mice. You have to set the mouse on the counter for about an hour for it to defrost, then put it in a cup of hot water to bring the body temperature up to something that a snake will find appealing. I try to be furtive and hide my actions from the ratties so as not to disturb them...though since they're predators and just as likely to eat a mouse as the snake is, maybe they would just wonder where theirs was.

Now, when you have as many animals as I do, you sort of become immune to the ickiness of pet excrement. between vacuuming up rat droppings and cleaning litter boxes, feces really has little ick factor at this point. Except, that is, for snake feces. For those unfamiliar with snake poo, it may be the most disgusting thing I've ever seen/smelled in my life. This I would imagine has something to do with their extended digestion process...but geez...

Luckily for both me and the snake (whom we've named Sal-as in Salazar) this is an occurrence that happens only every three weeks or so. Because if this was a daily thing...he/she/it (don't know the sex yet, and we may never since sexing a snake involves either a blood test or something called "probing" which given snake anatomy sounds rather icky) might find itself looking for another home.

The addition of the snake is just yet another step in my quest to become a hermitess living in the woods since about half the people I know hate/fear the rats and the other half are deathly afraid of snakes. It kinda makes me laugh, though, because the python's a whopping 15 inches long at this point, and it's head is roughly the size of a quarter, but it still freaks people out.

I've got my eyes on a beautiful pink-toed tarantula (which is a strictly look and don't touch pet). Cassidy's father says if I get the tarantula he refuses to set foot in the house...hmmm...kind of a bonus I guess.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I consider myself a pretty optimistic chick. Despite occasionally indulging in pity parties...I tend to think that there's nothing so bad that it won't look better tomorrow...or you know, after a gin and tonic or two, but even my relentless optimism is fading in the light of this administrations repeated mistakes, missteps and flat out law breaking.

I've been telling myself, well...he's only got x number of years left, and then someone can come along and mop up his mess and we can move on with things. But now, I'm wondering if there is anyone capable of cleaning up after this man. And even supposing that one or two of his messes and mistakes are fixable, 4 years or 8 years or hell even 20 years isn't going to be enough time to fix stuff.

Take Iraq, for instance. We all want the soldiers home. But that means we have to evacuate not only our soldiers, but every American in Iraq and Afghanistan because without the military protection it's going to be open season. And ethically, can we leave behind any Iraqi or Afghan who gave us aid in the last years knowing that doing so is basically signing their death warrants. So, what's the other option? Our army stays in place and we keep bleeding resources into a country that doesn't want us there. Now, I'm no genius, but I'm not exactly stupid either, and I can't find a single answer that makes sense and no one else has proposed one either. Action or inaction, they're both bad choices, how do we decide which choice is the worst.

But, perhaps the worst thing the Bush administration has done is made the American people apathetic to the crimes, lies and other crap they've pulled. In previous administrations, people who broke laws or made mistakes that caused lives were shamed and screamed out of power, in this one, we accept it as a matter of course. There is no longer any power of public opinion. Bush and his pals are going to do what they want, how they want and they don't give a good god damn what anyone thinks. This is dangerous territory, folks. Public outcry is supposed to mean something in a democracy, and it just doesn't any more. What kind of message are we sending to the folks in Washington when we don't have the power as the people to stop our leaders from breaking our own laws? Furthermore, what message are we sending to the rest of the world? You know, all those other countries with whom we've been sharing our messages of "freedom" and "democracy" and "human rights?"

America's become a joke. The worst kind of joke, because the bullshit just goes on and on and there's no punchline in sight.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Too long...

It's been too long, I know. And perhaps no one's even reading any more, but whatever it is that occasionally grips me to regurgitate words for the world to see has suddenly seized me again. We'll see how long it lasts....


still, i am, fixated
full of breathless longing
and anticipation
holding my heart tight
between my teeth
it's been too long now
and wanting becomes my only focus
turned inward
on shades only i can see
my hand eternally held out to you

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Rats? What rats? I don't have any rats.....

Okay, it's been awhile. But I've been busy. What started as a single rat for Cassidy has ballooned into monumental proportions. Literally. We have taken in a total of 17 ratties. No, that's not a typo. Five of them were supposed to rehomed as they were rescues, but we've fallen in love with them and we decided to rehome only one. So currently, we have a total of 16 ratties.

I know you're all thinking I've lost my mind. And you're probably right. But there was a method to the madness. See, you'd be amazed at how many people get rats, and then decide they don't want them anymore and since our shelter doesn't take rats, and there are no rat rescues, what most often happens is that they take them to a pet store to be sold as "feeders." So, that's essentially like taking your kitten or puppy and deciding you don't want it anymore and feeding it to a snake.

Now, I don't have a problem with snakes. And snakes gotta eat, right. And sadly for rats, what snakes like to eat is rats. But, it seems like the ultimate betrayal to feed a pet to a predator. Especially in an enclosure which offers only one possible outcome for the rat.

Add that to the fact that I LOVE RATS and you have a recipe for madness. But it has to stop. So, in light of that, we rehomed one of the rescue girlies today. And I'm not allowed to go into the petstore anymore. And I'm not supposed to read the ads on craigslist from stupid people looking to rehome unwanted rats. Sigh.

So, I have to content myself with playing with my ratties, sewing warm and cozy hammocks for their cages, and cleaning and rearranging the cages. So, I should be able to fit this whole blogging thing back into my schedule.

Maybe I should change the name of the blog to Laura, Rattie Queen of the Universe...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Gotta Love Those Chicks

I'm a diehard Dixie Chicks fan. Have been for 10 years now. I've bought all their albums, seen them live, have the world tour dvd. But none of that prepared me for the power of the documentary "Shut Up and Sing." Yeah, I finally got to see it. The disadvantage of living in hickville is that they don't show movies like that up here. So, it's out on dvd. And Jamie and I finally rented it today. And OH MY FUCKING's amazing.

We're all familiar with the story, at least those of us who haven't lived under a rock for the last three years are familiar with the story. How America's sweethearts went from biggest selling country group to hated media targets over 11 words that every one seems to agree with these days. So, okay, you might think what else can be added to the experience of the media frenzy. But, oh, it's so much more.

First of all, it's a beautiful demonstration of free speech in America. And media hypocrisy in America. But, more than that, it's a demonstration of togetherness and sisterhood that has been so lacking in the American awareness since this idiot president took office. It shows the fear that we, as liberals and moderates, felt when speaking out against this huge right wing conservative spin machine. And it highlights the bravery of these women, who were willing to speak out, even knowing that continuing to do so would irreparably damage their careers.

And let's face it people, it takes balls to stand next to someone who is targeted by the crazy conservatives and say, yeah, we support our friend, our sister. And to do it so publicly when their careers and some might even suggest their safety were on the line. It's not like there were large groups of people agreeing with them. We that agreed were few and far between and it sure as hell wasn't our voices that were being heard.

So, if you haven't seen it, go out and see it. If you haven't heard their latest album, which is so achingly beautiful, go buy it. Bravery like that should be rewarded.

Call Me The Crazy Rat Lady

Okay, so we went back to the pet store looking for a larger cage for our three boys. Because, of course, a cage big enough for one rat is not a cage big enough for three rats. While the pet shop didn't have any larger cages, they did have two beautiful larger siamese rats. Rats that had been pets, but were now being sold as "feeders." Now, I like snakes. I even understand that snakes need food. But, I have a hard time with the idea of feeding pets to snakes. Plus, putting a rat into a snake's cage so the snake can kill the terrified creature seems unsporting to me. Now, in the wild, the rat has the chance to escape and it's more fair. However, in a terrarium, there is no escape, so even if the snake isn't hungry the rat has no where to go until the snake decides to make the rat lunch.

But, I digress. So, of course I bought the beautiful feeder boys. And they are huge. Two handers. They have been christened Niblet and Squish. And the names are self explanatory.

So, then, off we went to the feed store which carries larger cages and we bought a large two story cage, plus accessories, then headed home to set the boys up. Well, we soon realized that the larger cage would accomodate about 4 rats comfortably and the smaller cage would house two rats comfortably. So, Jamie and I spent tonight dismantling the cages and putting them together into one monster of a cage that stands nearly five feet tall. I made a bunch of hammocks, and Jamie and I made them a lovely rope ladder. And now the rats live in lovely rattie mansion. Which is perched atop Cera's crate, because that's the only place we have for it. Cera is not entirely unhappy with the situation because it gives her a legitimate reason to lay underneath the cage and stare in hunger.

So, five rats out of "hey, let's get Cassidy a rat.", I'm not going to the pet store anymore...we just don't have the room.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Rats Don't Like To Be Dirty...

Okay, so the thing about furbabies is that they don't allow you to wallow in your misery for any longer than they can possibly help.

Mr. Sprinkles, Dobby and Golem were hanging out with me on the couch last night. We were having a marvelous time, they were getting attention, I had my attention diverted. And luckily the fog in my brain is dissipating a bit. (Remember to take your pills next time, nitwit!!) Anyway, Dobby and Sprinkles moved to the crook of my arm and were chilling there and I was giving Golem my undivided attention. Suddenly, Sprinkles, who is the most vocal rat I've ever had suddenly stopped chittering happily and made what I can only describe as the ratty ick sound. I look down and Dobby has poohed on my arm. Now, anyone who has ever had rats or had much experience with them knows that this happens and that it really isn't that big of a deal. However, Sprinkles, like every other rat I've ever known, objects to other rats pellets. And he had accidentally squished a pellet between his paw and my arm. Now, hard little pellets that are easy to clean up quickly lose the ick factor, but squished pellets are different. Anyway, Sprinkles was totally grossed out by the rat pooh on his little paw, so he looked at it, then reached out and wiped all the pooh on my arm...little bugger.....

Anyway, so after much icking and laughing, I put the little buggers back in their cage and discovered that I was feeling quite a bit happier.

So, while I don't know that rat pooh is the next big thing in antidepressants, little ratty ick faces go along way towards dispelling one's gloom....

Friday, February 23, 2007

Okay...So No Pictures, Yet

But, I am offering an update. Dobby, a beautiful siamese rat, slightly older than Golem and Mr. Sprinkles has joined the melee. Despite being older and larger, Dobby is taking quite a bit of rodently abuse at the paws of Mr. Sprinkles. Whenever Dobby decides to leave the safety of the hammock for a much needed bit of broccoli or oyster, (yeah, okay, my rats eat better than I do) Mr. Sprinkles sits back and watches him intently, then as Dobby prepares to retreat to the hammock with his sustenance, Sprinkles leaps out of nowhere steals the tasty bit and runs off. Even if this means dropping whatever tasty treat Sprinkles already had in his hands.

Furthermore, Mr. Sprinkles has decided that, apparently, Dobby does not groom himself often or thoroughly enough. Now, Dobby is a clean rat, and if you know anything at all about rats, you know that even the most slovenly rats spend the greater part of their day grooming themselves. But, it's not enough for Sprinkles. He's taken to jumping on Dobby's head, holding him down and grooming him thoroughly and agressively and then sauntering off nonchalantly while Dobby stares after him in bafflment.

The cats have lost interest in the rats. Whether this is because they realize the ratties are "family" or that the food in their bowls is a lot easier to get at than the rats is open to debate. Cera, on the other hand, cannot let it go. Every time she comes back in from one of her jaunts, she runs straight to Cassidy's room only to discover, to her dismay, that the damn rats are still here. When the rats are out of their cage, she sits at the foot of whomever is holding the rat and licks her lips, much the way she does while waiting for a hot dog. She looks wolfishly cute while eyeing her new "brothers" and trying to figure out how to get them in her mouth.

Alright, I'm obsessed with my animals, it's true. But, in my defense, Cass is gone at school and Jamie's at work most of the day. I spend most of my time with the furbabies.

Friday, February 16, 2007

New Additions to the Family...

We've added to the insanity!! Golem and Mr. Sprinkles, two young male rats, have decided to adopt us. The decision was met with mixed reactions from current family members. Cera, the three-legged wonder dog, is decidedly unhappy with the additions. She has spent much of her time staring hungrily at their cage and whining at them. Fat cat sisters, Thelma and Louise, are quite certain that we've gotten them tasty treats, and can't understand why we aren't letting them be eaten.

As for the human contingent, we're all quite happy with their silly rodent antics. Cassidy thinks they are the funniest, cutest little things she's ever seen. Pretty amazing, since the child refused to even hold a rat a few months ago, and now she's letting them nestle in her hair. In theory, the rats are hers, however, she's having a hard time getting me and Jamie to let go of one long enough for her to hold it.

We've spent a couple of days decorating their cage with rat friendly toys...a hammock, and tunnels and a rock...all of which were found in and around the house. I'd forgotten what fun it was to provide interesting diversions for their little rodent selves.

If I can figure it out, I'll post pictures of the menagerie, soon.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sleep Has Eluded Me...So Here's Some Stuff That's Been On My Mind

Yeah, okay crappy title for a post, but that's what this is. It is, after all, 3:21 AM and despite all my numerous attempts to shut off my brain, it keeps on going. Sigh....

So, as mentioned in my previous post, I've been sick. Which means I've been sitting around watching movies. Nothing that would interest you, gentle reader. I've been watching brain candy, mindless fluff that requires little to no thought. For example: Phat Girlz. Yeah, okay, I know, not exactly art, but something that's been surprisingly thought provoking, especially in light of the recent developments that have led the fashion industry to consider imposing a ban on models under a BMI of 18, which is the cut off for the healthy mark.

Now, before I proceed: I want it known that I do not accept the BMI as the end all in weight advice. Mostly because this chart was developed not by nutritionists and doctors, but by health insurance companies to point out which individuals are more likely to be affected by weight related health issues. Also, the chart doesn't take into account frame size. What that means is that someone with teeny aristocratic bones is going to be told to weigh the same weight as the sturdy peasant type. Not exactly logical.

Alright, now that that's out of the way, for those of you who haven't seen it (which would encompass every reader I have, would be my guess) Phat Girlz is the fat chick's equivalent of Weird Science as far as geeks go. It's a fantasy in which all the sudden, the rules of the world are reversed (at least for these three girls) and suddenly the skinny girl is the ugly one and the fat girls are the goddesses. Basically, these girls meet a group of Nigerian doctors who, being from another culture, don't buy into the American need to starve our women to be beautiful. While it's completely unrealistic and unfairly bitter to the skinny women of the world, it makes some damn good points. Not the least of which is that not every woman is going to be a size 5. Not every woman meets that standard of beauty and we need to start addressing the way this unrealistic standard dictates the way we talk about ourselves and the way we feel about ourselves.

Okay, so before you start thinking...oh, this is just a fat girl (which I admittedly am) trying to justify why it's okay to be fat....let me post for you a portion of a recent e-mail from LQofU's best, and skinniest, friend, Erin the God (Archaeogoddess):
I'm also dismayed because I seem to be so very close to a size 10. I thought
i was a skinny stick thing. The sizes in the so-called normal sized section only
go up to a 14. The clothing industry has a very sick, narrow view of what is
normal. The normal size may go up to a 14, but it also goes down to a 2. If I
only just passed the BMI and am a size 8, that's three sizes below me that
are "normal" by clothing standards, but not by science. I just checked and I can
gain another 39 pounds before I hit "overweight". I bet if I gained those 39
pounds I wouldn't fit in "normal" sized pants.

So, it isn't just me, it isn't just the fat girls of the world who feel affronted by what's "normal" or accepted. Even my thinnest friend, the one that is constantly asked if she has an eating disorder, doesn't fit with the fashion industry's ideal of beauty. Because while the fashion industry may call "normal" sizes up to size 14, it isn't what they advertise as normal. The girls we are seen paraded on TV and in magazines are size 4, 2, or 0. Now, if Erin isn't thin enough to fit this ideal of "normal" the rest of us haven't a chance in hell.

Let me tell you something about me. At my thinnest, when I was a bulimic head case who dropped 40 pounds in a month and a half, and looked disgusting, with that alarming bobble-head effect where my head was way too large for my body, I was a size 12. I was literally killing myself to be thin and the closest I came was a 12. That's two whole sizes larger than Erin has ever been and 4 to 5 sizes larger than any model out there. What that means is that it will never be possible for me to be both healthy and "normal." And I'm not the only woman built the way that I am. And Erin's not the only woman built the way she and think of all the women in between.

And it's easy to say, just ignore it. Just accept yourself, just love yourself, blah, blah, blah... We would love to, I would love to. But women internalize this vision of beauty that is completely unattainable to us to a degree that we're never satisfied with ourselves. I've never met a woman (besides Erin) who said, "I don't want to lose any weight. I'm thin enough. I'm good enough." And even Erin, (who despite being my best friend, the other half of me in a lot of ways, still inspires that sick jealous feeling about half the time, who has been on the receiving end of ugly, bitter comments from me because I could not look at her and not see how much closer she was to "beautiful" than I was) has felt that her body wasn't good enough because she was "too thin." It's never just right, or good enough, or acceptable. There's always a betterness to strive for, and it's killing women and girls all over the world. It's sucking away our chances at happiness and self-acceptance. We can't be happy with what we see in the mirror because we're constantly being told how it's not acceptable, and what we can do to make ourselves better, prettier, thinner, younger, whatever.

Then, I look at my daughter. She's 7 fucking years old and already questions whether she's "thin enough." And she's going to have problems, she already has problems, because she's tall, and she's strong. There's hardly any fat on this child, but she's bigger than most of her female classmates, built like her Irish peasant mother, and German peasant father. She can already hit a softball farther than I ever could, she runs fast, she's athletic and healthy and so damn beautiful, and she doesn't fit in with what we think pretty little girls who are going to beautiful women should be. And there isn't a damn thing she can do about it. There are going to be boys who call her fat, or think she's too big and won't want to date her. There are going to be skinny girls who feel so insecure about themselves and call her names to make themselves feel better.

And all I can do is be one voice in her head that says, no, you are enough. You are tall enough and beautiful enough and smart enough and good enough. Not too much and not too little, but just enough. One voice, when there are hundreds booming at her everyday, on the TV on billboards, on magazine covers, on the covers of beauty products, in her classroom and on her playground that will be telling her you aren't enough, you will never be enough but buy this, or torture yourself in this way and maybe you'll get just a little closer to being enough.

So, what do we do? We can't stop wearing clothes. We can't stop looking at the world around us, the world that tells us how we aren't good enough. All we can do is try to protect ourselves and our sisters, and friends and daughters from this illness. Because it is a sickness. Looking at what you see in the mirror and trying to figure out how to make it something other than what it is sick. And how many women have died from this illness? More than we can count. I was so close to being one of those women at one time. I stood in my hallway at my parent's house while Erin screamed at me to stop killing myself, and all I could think, is why can't I look like her? That's not healthy.

I think the fashion industry's attempt to rein in the raging epidemic of "not good enough syndrome" by telling them they at least need to be healthy to walk down runways is a great start. But it isn't going to save lives, and it isn't going to make women feel better about about themselves. Not as long as we hold to only one ideal of beauty. As long as we are paying women 10,000 dollars a day to walk around and be "beautiful" there's only going to be one ideal of beauty. After all, if we're all beautiful, why does that one girl get $10,000.00 for being herself when the rest of us don't?

Beauty belongs in the eye of the beholder, not in the bank accounts of an industry.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Okay, so can someone explain to me why there are like 80 products out there that make it possible for 80 year old men to get hard-ons, and yet we still haven't found a cure for the common cold?

Yeah, so my darling little bundle of germs brought home germs from that germ infested wasteland also known as primary school. So, she was sick for awhile, and I felt fine, so I thought, hmmm...maybe I'm just not going to get this one. No such luck. And, of course I have to get it worse than she did, so while she was still running around like a maniac, I'm in misery on the couch, praying for either death or a mucous vacuum. (Now there's a nice mental image for ya, right? 'Cause who's going to empty that vacuum bag....yeeesh...)

Oh, and one tells you this, but if you ever get your thyroid taken out, say goodbye to all the good cold medications that make it possible for you to breathe from time to time. For some reason, anyone taking thyroid replacement therapy can't take anything with ephedrine. Good thing my meth days are over, right?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Some Thoughts on Feminism

women learn to be women
and men learn to be men
and I don't blame it all on you
but I don't want to be your friend

-Ani Difranco, Letter to a John

Okay, so call me a stereotype. Like every other pseudointellectual queer woman of my age, Ani Difranco is one of my heroes. I listen to her music nearly every day. I dissect her songs and poetry and see how it relates to my life and the world around me. I use her for inspiration in a lot of my writing. And while I don't blindly agree with everything she says, I feel indebted to her, in the same way that I feel indebted to Gloria Steinem and Andrea Dworkin, or Alice Paul and Lucy Burns.

Anyway, these lines from Letter to a John have been rolling around in my head for the last few days, lending themselves to all different interpretations of feminism. I've been thinking about what feminism means to me, and do I even know what it is anymore? As a woman who has a relationship with another woman, who is raising a female child who will someday be a woman, and as a woman who lives in a blatantly male dominated society, what are my thoughts and feelings on the feminist, and if I'm confused, how do women without my strident opinions feel?

I grew up in the 90's, a decade in which there was a huge backlash against the feminist movement. So many of the girls I knew casually in high school refused to even label themselves as feminists. (My closest friends, of course, always considered themselves feminists, even my male friends.) The term of the decade was "feminazi." As though the idea that women are people was so radical as to place it on the same level as "the Final Solution."

So many people I know believe that feminists hate and fear men. That all feminists are either openly or secretly lesbian. That if a feminist "found the right man" she'd stop complaining. I don't hate men. I do fear them. And with good reason, in my case, some might say. I've been exposed to my fair share of dominating, hurtful men. But, I've also had the wonderful good fortune to know amazingly kind and compassionate men. And I'm smart enough to know that men as a species can't be lumped into two categories, good guys and bad guys. And that's what I find frightening. That even the "good guys" the ones on "my side" aren't really on my side. They can't be. They aren't women, can't understand what it means to be a woman in this world, how it feels to fight against every idea of what "womanhood" means. That's like saying I understand what it means to be a black person because I sympathize with the fight blacks have against white oppression.

There is so little movement left in the feminist movement. We've stopped shouting and waving our flags and marching. Women are putting on "power suits" with "sensible pumps" and assuming the biggest battles are over. There are, to be sure, women talking about breaking through glass and marble ceilings. Women fighting for "equal pay" and all these things that people think of when they think of feminism.

But, I think all those things are distractions. They're beside the point. We've been lulled into complacency by the idea that because we can go out there and get jobs and live on our own, we're winning the fight. We go through life like the patriarchy isn't something that should frighten us. We assume that because our fathers and brothers and lovers and friends support our right to choose and our right to be equal that we've won the fight. But the basic issue of male domination of the entire world hasn't changed. Women are still second best at best. We're still in awe of a woman in power. Nancy Pelosi's recent ascent to speaker of the house proves that. It was met with jubilation, rather than disgust that it took so damn long. It's like the men are allowing us the leftovers of their great feast of power and we're just so damn happy to even be invited to the party that we aren't seeing that that we're basically still just sitting at the kids table.

Because even when we ascend to power, and maybe most especially when women ascend to power, they are supposed to be still be "feminine." Take Hilary Clinton for a great example. During her husband's presidency, a lot of people accused her of taking a much too powerful role. She was criticized for being "dowdy" and not wearing makeup and for wearing her sensible suits and shoes. And now, with her new and "improved" image, great hair, plenty of makeup, people are looking at her like...hmmm, a woman president? Not, hey, look at this amazingly competent democratic senator, perhaps that's the kind of leadership the White House needs. Gender is still the main identifying factor, here.

Which maybe wouldn't be such a big deal, except that along with gender come all those "traditional" gender roles. Women are softer, less aggressive. We are expected to compromise. We are the ones who have to choose between family and career. We're the ones who are criticized for working 60 hour weeks while the children are at home with nannies. A woman that has sex whenever she wants is still a slut. A woman with strong opinions is a bitch

And then I think about all the people I love most in my life, male and female. And I get it, why these people are the ones I can sit and talk with and not want to poke out my eye with a sharp stick. These are the people who don't buy into the traditional gender roles. Take, for example, my friend the Archaeogoddess, Erin C., she travels the world by herself. It simply doesn't occur to her that a "mere woman" doesn't usually travel to places like Israel or Jordan without companionship. Whereas I have another friend, a lesbian, but she still plays the traditional "girlfriend" role. Does the laundry, asks her girlfriend's opinion on everything and expects her girlfriend to pay for dinner. And while I love her, every time I talk to her about her relationship, I feel vaguely nauseated. It's a feeling of uneasiness that even lesbians can't shake the traditional gender stereotypes.

We won't have won equality until a woman runs for president, and we don't think, hey, a woman in the white house would be nice. We'll only have equality when we look at people and don't immediately say, she's a woman so she's this, or he's a man, so he's this. When we look at a political candidate and the only question is, is this person qualified? When we aren't surprised by a woman who buys her own home while still single. And yes, when women can march right alongside men into any battle that our foolish governments involve us in.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

R.I.P. Denny Doherty

It's a day of mourning here in the realm of LQofU. Denny Doherty passed away today leaving only Michelle Phillips as the surviving member of The Mamas and The Papas.

The Mamas and The Papas saw their heyday long before I came into this world, and yet have been one of my favorite groups for nearly all of my life. While they lack the political or poetic genius of most of my other favorite musicians, they have never failed to bring a bit of much needed peace to my world.

As some of you may know, my daughter is named for Mama Cass, which may tell you something about the importance of this group in my life.

Monday, January 15, 2007

For Your Consideration....

I used to write alot of poetry, as some of you know. I've gotten a few requests to post some poetry here, and I'm more than willing, but I've had a really hard time writing anything new for awhile. Like since John died. I wrote one poem for him, and then it was like a switch shut off in my head. But, I miss it. Putting words together for poetry and expression rather than just being up on my soap box. I miss it almost as much as I miss him. The big difference, here, though, is that I can have my poetry back. It just takes work.

So with that in mind I've taken this half idea I had awhile back and reworked it. Something I never had to do before, but being able to write again seems worth it. So, let me know what you think...or don't...whatever....

Closer To Acceptance

i was closer to beautiful way back then
or perhaps the my mirror was more forgiving
than the one through which i am currently living
i seem to remember
that my eyes were brighter
my hair was lighter
my face was much more interesting
these days i feel like an old motel
with neon lights spelling vacancy
or is it vagrancy
flashing behind my eyes
i keep trying to answer the whys
of all the women i have been
the truths behind my countless lies
i have blamed my past
and the dna responsible for my ass
leaned heavily on self-pitying crutches
lost myself in meth induced rushes
i have laid my head down in places
along side others with huge empty spaces
where their hearts should have been
i have filled the vortex between my thighs with men
thinking they would fill me full
and ease my emptiness
but now i see that it was just more of my bullshit
that i was camouflaging my ugliness
my selfishness
and my refusal of my goddess self
i was looking in the mirror
and believing that shiny lips
and round firm tits
said something about woman i could be
that's all over now
i am learning to embrace
the plainess of my face
the lines beneath my eyes
and the circumference of my thighs
i am reconstructing my concept of beauty
learning not to care when they look right through me
i am softer now
time has worn down my edges
i've talked myself down from all those ledges
and brought myself closer to acceptance

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Sorry for the lack of posts, but I went and took a mini vacation and my computer has decided that it too shall take a vacation. And it doesn't seem to be coming back anytime soon. I hate Windows.....

Alrighty, so I'm off to go and call some small town in India and ask them to help me fix my fucking computer. Hopefully I'll be able to post tonight about the one time I called tech support and they actually helped me....otherwise I'll be back down at my mom's house in the morning telling a funny story about how I threw the damn thing out the window...sigh...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Hi...How Are You?

It's the first thing we say to each other every time we see each other. The "how are you" is just part of the greeting. You don't even think about it, right? Because the immediate answer is "I'm fine and how are you." It's so ingrained into us that even when we learn a new language it's the way we say hello. Never mind that we can't translate the answer, because here's the thing, unless the person you're greeting is a close friend or family member, you don't really want an honest answer. You're looking for the fine, the good, the okay...or perhaps a joke of some sort, but not the truth. Now, when you ask your friends and family this question, you want at least a quasi-honest answer. Maybe you don't want the full details about Aunt Marge's explosive diarrhea last week, but you want to know...oh, you're not feeling good, or you broke up with so-and-so, great now I can tell you I really never liked him.

But, what do you when the person you're talking to has a chronic illness? Now, you love this person, presumably, if you count them amongst your friends or your family members. But, you know they're sick, they're not going to say fine. They're going to give you an honest answer. Probably. Because here's the thing. People with chronic illness love that you care enough to ask, but shit, it depresses us to think about it, why should we dump it on you? Especially when you already know, because you've talked to their mother or something recently and you know they aren't doing well. Or, well, you look at them and you can tell....damn, you feel like crap right now, don't you, 'cause you look like crap, let me just tell you. But, it gets a little tiring doesn't it? I mean, you call for some small talk or to vent about your day, and you make the familiar, Hi, how are ya? And they tell you. They do not say fine. They tell you how they are, which may or may not be as bad as yesterday, but clearly is not good. And you find yourself not wanting to talk to them, because the normal is gone. You think all she thinks about is her illness, or it's always about him.

Okay, so put yourselves in our shoes. Suppose you simply aren't well, haven't been well and don't expect to be doing well anytime in the near future. What do you do when someone you love wants to know how you are? You can lie, which most frequently gets you in trouble. Because someone's going to believe you and not realize you lied just so you wouldn't have to answer that question, then when they find out later you just said fine so they'd feel okay, their feelings are going to be hurt. You can tell the truth, or some abbreviated version of it, which seems simple and straightforward, right? Try again. Because for someone with chronic illness, nothing is simple and straightforward. (For example, a good day for LQofU doesn't resemble a good day for most people. For me, any day I manage to shower, get dressed and still accomplish one other thing is a fantastic day.) So, if I say "fine" I'm thinking, "Hey, there's no eminent ER trip here, so I'm doing pretty good." But, you might be thinking I just talked to her and she said she was fine and now I hear she's really sick.

Or maybe, just maybe you're tired of the subject. Maybe you really care about someone who is sick, but you miss the good old days when you didn't spend the better part of every conversation talking about their doctors and their medications and how crappy they feel. Maybe you think to yourself, I am so tired of hearing about this I could just scream. You know what? Me too. I'm tired of being the sick girl, the one who talks about the doctors and the pills, but right now that's all there is. I'm sick, I'm going to the doctor and I'm doing my best to be a mom and a girlfriend and not succeeding very well. I'm sick of the same four walls. I'm sick of going back and forth from my bed to my couch. I'm sick of not having a life outside this illness.

So, let's just make a pact....unless we rarely talk, don't ask me how I'm feeling all the time. I'm tired of talking about it. If I don't tell you some detail of my treatment or illness you find out from someone else, don't take it personally, because it isn't personal. And if you ask me, I might not be feeling well enough to laugh the question off, I might be feeling so crappy that all you're going to get is the icky truth.

Oh, and if by chance, I happen to say fine, when you do ask me...please don't think that means I'm all better and that everything's great. That's not my reality, okay? But, if I ask how are you...I want the truth....;-)