Wednesday, November 23, 2011


It's been a rough week. Very, very rough.

I woke up on Friday with a sore throat, feeling slightly congested. I was irritated. A cold? The flu? Why? And why now? My BFF, the Archaeogoddess, is here, in our tiny hometown. For the first time in four years, we are on the same continent, just minutes from each other, and I have big plans to spend a lot of time with her. As much as I can manage. I want to grasp every moment I possibly can. I want to chat with her husband. And I desperately want to meet her baby daughter. It is agony to have your best friend have her first baby when she is so far away. So, I resolved...I just would not get sick. That's all there was to it.

Bring on the tea, and the rest. Think positive.

Useless. Of course.

Saturday I felt worse and by Sunday, I knew it was Strep at best, though I began to suspect it might be worse. I knew I had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday, so I thought I'd suck it up and hold out until then. One of the big disadvantages of small town life is the lack of an Urgent Care facility. Basically, if you can't get an appointment with a doctor if you need one quickly, your only other choice is the Emergency Room. I've been told time and again not to wait too long before making this choice. Doing so puts me in a bad place. My pain levels grow, my exhaustion deepens, and my immune system, always wrong, always misfiring, will completely go haywire.

Monday was horrible. I had a fever. I also had an afternoon planned with the Archaeogoddess her husband and Spawn. But, besides the risk to the sixth month old baby, The Archaeogoddess' brother has just recently had chemo, and though he is now cancer free, his immune system isn't in great shape. I can't justify the risk of that exposure, so I cancelled. And then I hung up the phone and cried. I sobbed and hurt so much. I hadn't felt like that since...well....since the god awful break up with the EG. Maybe not even then. I just felt so angry and hopeless, and so completely and utterly sad.

Being chronically sick has robbed me of so much, and now it's stealing the few precious hours I have to be in the same room with the person I love most in the world, after the Midget. I got home that day from having to accompany my cousin and her daughter to the dentist (long, long story) and took a short rest and woke up and realized that waiting just the 18 short hours to the following morning's appointment was a bad idea. My chest started hurting and I was coughing up green mucus. I could not wait.

At the ER, I was lectured about waiting and diagnosed with bronchitis and a sinus infection. I was given high dose antibiotics, a pain shot and a higher script for prednisone for the week. I went home dejectedly, and a little giddy from the pain shot, and called the Archaeogoddess and told her I'd have to put off the visit, and what with Thanksgiving and all, I might not be able to see her until Saturday.

This morning's doctor's appointment was for my disability paperwork. My doctor wanted to see me before he filled it out, to really get a clear idea of my physical state as it applies to tasks... It was entertaining to hear him complain about the hoops that someone who is sick has to jump through to get the help they need. And then he said something to me that he'd never said before. He looked me in the face and said "In my opinion, you have a profound level of disability."

Profound: a : characterized by intensity of feeling or quality
b : all encompassing : complete <profound sleep> <profound deafness>

I know this. I know that I am unable to do more than the simplest tasks without exhaustion, pain and weakness. Grocery shopping requires two days of rest beforehand, and at least three days of recovery afterwards. Some days, simply showering takes all the energy I have. This has been my reality for quite some time now. And yet...hearing it from a doctor in that definite, declarative fashion was like a kick in the stomach. It literally took my breath away. This is real. I am disabled. A vindication of sorts after years of begging doctors to just figure out what's wrong. And a deep sense of loss.

When I remember the person I was before all this hurts. I miss my old life, my old self, in a physically painful manner. I miss my friends, I miss having a social life. I miss hiking and camping. I miss working, and feeling like I did something that mattered. I miss being able to clean my house from top to bottom in one day. This is what being sick has taken from me.

I know, though, that I am blessed in so many ways. I have so many amazing people in my life who love me. I have my beautiful, fantastic daughter. I am not homeless. I can see and hear, and walk (as long as it's not too far, doesn't have anything to do with stairs and hills and I can rest when I'm done) and talk. It could be worse. But, that knowledge doesn't really make it easier to be sick.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the food, the family. I love the sense of tradition in our family on that day, being together, laughing and enjoying each other's company without the stress of Christmas and all it's commercial burdens. I usually cook the vast majority of the meal. This year, however, I am making only stuffing and rolls. I won't be up early in the morning to get the turkey in the oven. I won't be cutting and peeling sweet potatoes or mashing regular spuds. And I'm pissed because I love doing those things, but I just can't. If I want to have a fighting chance at being able to have a party for the Archaeogoddess on Saturday, I have to rest and conserve energy. I have to accept the reality of sitting on the couch with my heating pad while others cook.

I am so sad. I feel hollowed out and bereft.

Tomorrow, I'll get up, get dressed and smile. I'll go to my sister's house and enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with her and my niece and my daughter. I'll remind myself of all that I have to be thankful for, and look forward to seeing my BFF this weekend. I'll breathe in and out. But, tonight, I feel profoundly alone, profoundly sad, and profoundly bereft.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A New Anthem

You know how you meet some people and you think they should come with a warning label, up front? I'm probably one of those people. To people who know me well, the fact that I'm a bitch is just sort of how things are...just a part of me. Like the big hair and even bigger ass.

People who don't like me say it like it's a bad thing, and maybe it is. But, I'm a fiercely loyal bitch, so if I love you, I'm in your corner 100% and even though I'm likely to say something like, "You know, you're nice to the point of stupidity..." I'm also going to give you the shirt off my back if you need it and cook you a warm meal.

I'm loving this song right now. It's cheesy and sort of gimmicky, but definitely catchy, and really fun.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Crazy With Anger

I live in a small town. A very small town...actually a collection of small towns referred to by residents and former residents as "The County." Yes, we capitalize it because it's a proper name, you see.

One of the benefits of living in a small town is that you are always running into people you know. This means people stop their cars in the middle of the street to chat, that we say "Hi" and give hugs in grocery markets. It also means if your battery dies or you have a flat tire, if you wait a few minutes someone you know will be along and you can get some help. It also means you see your ex a lot...or your ex's ex.

I try to think of myself as an essentially good person. I don't always succeed in thinking of myself that way, but I usually do. I try not to hurt people, and when I do hurt someone, it's usually unintentional, though I must admit to having a wee vindictive streak. This streak usually manifests itself in mostly harmless ways. I giggle when something bad happens to someone I don't like. Okay...I'll be honest. There are only three people in this world I actively dislike. The EG, her current wife, and the midget's former stepmother. And, unfortunately, they all still live in my county. Sightings have become rare because we just don't move in the same circles. The EG and her wife no longer have children attending the same school as my nieces, and I don't go out to the bars, where the midget's former stepmother hangs out.

However, because those sightings have become so rare, when they do, I kinda go crazy with anger. Thankfully, the more recent sightings have been while we're both in separate cars, I have managed to avoid any kind of major incident. I really don't need a criminal record at this point, and frankly, I'm pretty sure they could all take me. It's not exactly a difficult thing to do...I'm sort of fragile these days.

It's just....I don't wanna be that person. The crazy with anger person. I really need to believe that, deep down, I'm a good person. And good people don't go around assaulting other people, no matter how much provocation one might have endured.

I was listening to music tonight, as I usually do when I'm troubled by something, and I've got Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood by Nina Simone on repeat. And this is what's resonating with me tonight:

I'm just a soul whose intentions are good,
Oh, Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood.

So, yeah, while I may lunge out my window and offer a less than appropriate hand gesture, or spew epithets in their general direction, it's not as though I'm actively sabotaging them, or sending them envelopes full of Anthrax, and that's gotta count for something, right?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Owl, Hoot-Hoot

When I was a wee girl...not yet the fabulous Queen of the Universe you know and love, I had a stuffed owl that went by the inventive name Hoot-Hoot. The thing was basically an oval cylinder made from brown shag carpeting, stuffed with newspaper, and it's bottom was made from cardboard. This thing was ugly. I've searched the internet to see if I could find anything that even vaguely resembled it. This is the closest I've come....only mine was much, much uglier, and uniformly brown.

I don't know where it came from or when I got it. I only know that I loved it intensely and it was my steadfast and constant companion for quite awhile. I don't know what made it so appealing. It was made from carpeting, stuffed with newspaper, so it wasn't especially soft or cuddly. In fact, it was quite rough and pokey. But, I loved it nonetheless. I spent hours smoothing the shag away from the glass eyes, touching the felt that made up it's beak...hugging it and loving it and carrying it places.

Unfortunately, my penchant for carrying it with me everywhere is what led us to part ways. I left it behind on a beach one night. I know we returned briefly to look for it, to no avail. I was devastated. Hoot-Hoot was one of a kind, obviously (because who else would want such a hideously uncomfortable stuffed toy?) and my family was poor, so when my sister or I broke or lost even the most treasured possessions, there were never replacements. This meant we took care of our toys and kept track of them far better than the midget and her cousins do. My nieces, nephews and daughter have so many more daughter less so than her cousins, but even the midget is spoiled silly. I can honestly say that I never had even a fraction of the sheer amount of "stuff" the midget has.

Hoot-Hoot has not been a part of my life for 30 years, but a loss like that one is not one that's easily forgotten. I've told many people about my awful beloved owl over the years. And even though I still miss the thing as an adult, it never occurred to me to try and replace Hoot-Hoot. After all, it was entirely unique, and the adult Queen of the Universe has no real need for such a thing, even if I could find one. And frankly, if I'm going to spend any money on myself for an item that's not a necessary or practical item, it's likely to be a book. It's exceedingly rare for me to buy myself "things." All of the knick knacks or ornamental items I own are gifts from other people, with the exception of a single cobalt blue vase I bought myself back when the EG used to give me flowers often.

While perusing the Build a Bear website with my cousins, talking about gifts for the kids, I came across an owl. An adorable orange owl with multicolored polka dots. I immediately went into a coveting mode. However, since I'm still waiting for financial aid and my disablility claim to come through, there is no money for such things, even if I were inclined to spend the money on myself.

Tonight, though, my cousin came home from a trip to the Bay Area, and brought me the stuffed owl. I squeed and hugged it to my chest like a small child. Yes, it's an item now owned by little girls everywhere, so it's not unique like Hoot-Hoot was, but that doesn't make it less wonderful. She even had the sound thingy put in it, so that when you press it's tummy it hoots. I'm absolutely in love with this owl. And even more in love with my family. I am reminded, once again, how lucky I am to be surrounded by people who love me...not just my family, but my biofamily, and my best friend as well. It's a lot more than that sad little three year old girl who loved an ugly owl ever imagined she'd have in her life.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Fat Girl

I'm sure every one's seen this photo making it's way around Facebook, along with a story about being a mermaid versus a whale. My older sister shared it today, as did something like 180,000 other people. The woman in the picture is a French model by the name of Tara Lynn. I love this photo...not just because she's gorgeous, but also because she's fearless. She isn't asking you to be okay with her body. This is not a woman who is asking for your acceptance. She doesn't even look it's crossed her mind that she somehow needs your acceptance.

I am, and, except for a brief period in my late teens, always have been, overweight, fat...whatever you want to call it. I'm also pale white, and freckled, with big, frizzy hair. I cannot say that loving who I saw in the mirror came easily for me. Don't get me wrong. I definitely had my days when I knew I looked good, but there has always been a little asterisk by that "I look good" feeling. It's always been, "I look good, but..." As in, I look good, but I could lose some weight. I look good, but I wish my hair was straight. I look good, if only it weren't for those damn freckles.

I spent my teenage years hiding my body inside of large baggy clothes. I didn't start wearing tank tops until I was in my 20s because I didn't want people to see that my shoulders were freckled. I look back at the pictures of myself then, and I think, why did hide myself? Even now, in my mid 30s, I wish I could look the way I did back then...and I hated how I looked back then.

Being a "woman of size" (blech, what an ugly term that is) I've had more than my fair share of ugly comments about my body. And though I try at this point in my life to not internalize what other people think about me, it isn't easy. Hell, even when the comment isn't about me, I get upset when someone is disparaged because of their weight. For instance, I'm a fanatic liberal who can't even begin to comprehend ever casting my vote for a conservative, but the last few weeks, as speculation about New Jersey governor Chris Christie's potential for a run at the presidency was hotly debated, I steamed at the sheer number of articles and opinion pieces that said he was simply too fat to be president. Too fat to be president? How is that even possible? I mean, I know there's an age limit, but I'm damn sure there isn't a weight limit. And in this country, with all the issues that are weighing us down (pardon the pun), how the fuck can we even justify asking questions about a man's weight? I won't elect him because he's a conservative douche bag, but these idiots talking about his weight minimize the real issues and just keep stuffing the same bullshit down the throats of fat people everywhere.

Basically, in our society, it's okay to hate someone because they're fat. And the hatred is rampant. I can honestly say that I feel more disenfranchised because I'm fat than I do because I'm bisexual, and straddling that fence is no picnic, let me tell you. I don't understand why there is so much hatred. I hear the health card, and I get it. Yep, there are lots of health conditions that are related to being overweight. But, if it was genuine concern for health, there wouldn't be such venomous hatred being spewed every where you look. Something about fat people sets others on edge for a reason I have yet to comprehend.

On the flip side, you have fat girls who call all thin women sticks, and toothpicks and other uncomplimentary terms. As though those are the only two views...either you can despise the fatties, or you can despise the skinnies. As a fat girl, I know that feeling when you look at a thin woman, the epitome of what our society deems to be beautiful, and you hate her because you can't look like her. I've said mean things about skinny girls, demeaned them as though that makes my fatness somehow more acceptable. Take the term "real woman" as an example. How many fat girls have you heard say something like, why don't we see images of "real women" in the magazines and on our televisions screens. As though somehow being a size 4 makes a woman less real than one who is a size 18.

I've wondered, whilst reading or listening to particularly venomous hatred of us fatties what causes it. I mean, when a bunch of fat girls are talking about skinny women and calling them "skeletons" and saying they need to eat a sandwich, we know that deep down, those girls hate the skinny girl because she has what they do not, which is the ideal body type...basically, the want to be her, and since they cannot, better to heap abuse upon her in order to make themselves feel better about who they are. I often wonder if the fat hatred comes from that same place...not because these people want to be fat, but because somewhere inside themselves they don't like who they are, so it's far easier to take that anger and disgust and throw it on me, the fat girl in the next booth at a restaurant eating the exact same meal you're eating. After all, I'm fat, and you are smaller than I am, so that makes you a better person.

I wish I could simply tell myself to ignore the fat hatred, or rather I wish I could make myself actually ignore the fat hatred. I've tried...believe me, I've tried. For awhile I was doing the HNT pictures and that did help with my self confidence a bit, and reminded me that simply being fat wasn't enough of a reason to hate myself, that being fat doesn't make me less human, less deserving of love and acceptance.

My sincere hope, and I feel it isn't too far fetched of an ideal, is that the discourse on appearance, fat or thin, will someday become less volatile, and less filled with hatred. Our bodies, whether they are thin or fat, simply don't deserve the level of vitriol we spew at them. And it says something about us as a culture that even the way we discuss something like weight is so polarizing. Tolerance, a term that has been so overused and misused that it almost has no meaning anymore, doesn't exist in our society. Freedom is the rallying cry for so many, but what it's come to mean is freedom only for those who look and think like me.

Friday, September 30, 2011

My Music

A million years ago, when the midget was a mere babe in arms, and the EG (from now on, the exgirlfriend will simply be referred to as EG)and I had just started dating (for lack of a better term), we were young, and energetic, and my body hadn't yet betrayed me. We were able to stay up all night talking, listening to music and still handle the rigors of baby duty the next day. We also went on road trips...sometimes for the day, and sometimes longer. Music was always always a big part of that. The latest cd from whatever indie artist we were obsessed with at the time in the cd player, and often we were on our way to show, or back from a show.

Whatever. It was always about the music back then. In many ways, I'm still that way. I'm a notorious dictator when it comes to the music in my car, or any car I'm driving. I try to drive as much as possible just to be able to be the one who controls the stereo. Even if I have similar music tastes as the other people in the car, I want my music, not their version of the same songs.

I was big into mix tapes, and then cds, back in the day before my iPod came into my life. There's not a radio station out there that plays what I love. I've even tried building a station on Pandora to hear new stuff that might interest me. But, either I'm just really, really picky, or I somehow short circuit Pandora's algorithms when I type in Waylon Jennings, Eminem, Melissa Ferrick, Ani Difranco, Britney Spears, Nine Inch Nails, The Eagles, The Mamas and The Papas, New Kids on the Block (yes, I hear you laughing) etc... Once, in my late teens/early twenties my entire cd book was stolen out of the car and I was sooo pissed. Because you know whoever stole it, flipped through it, went Huh? and dumped in the trash somewhere.

While I still listen to nearly everything I listened to in the early days of life with the midget and the EG, I obviously don't get to live shows very often. And this sucks, since some of the artists I love (Melissa Ferrick and Abandon Theory to name a few) are very independent artists whose music you won't hear on the radio or see on TV, so you would usually hear new music at their shows, and that's where you'll buy the cd for 10 or 15 bucks. These days, (since I'm a broke-ass bitch) I don't get to shows, and even if I did, I can't afford the cds. Most of what I listen to now I "borrow" from the internet. I dislike doing this for indie artists because the only way they can make money to keep playing the music I love is for me and their other fans to buy the music, and go to the shows. I don't feel guilty for downloading an old Nine Inch Nails album I used to have, but either lost or destroyed somewhere along the way, but I feel mucho guilt when it's someone whose very artistic career depends on the cds they sell. Trent Reznor will still be able to play and make music if me and a hundred others download his albums...Abandon Theory may not.

Anyway...I had a point back before my tangent, at least I think I did... I miss going to shows, or being able to buy new music. And an eensy little part of me misses having someone in the house who can play music. Not enough to ever date a musician again, but still...just a little. I guess I miss the spontaneity and the freedom of being young and healthy. It's been said before, by people a lot older than I, but youth really is wasted on the young. I would love to have a word or two with my younger self about squandering all those possibility filled days on the couch back in my younger years. Had I known I was going to run out of fuel so not to focus too much on what I might have done, I suppose.

So, I don't know that I have a point, except to introduce the reason why I'm posting yet another video. I spent part of today cruising YouTube for music, and found this. It's live, which is pretty much the only way to listen to Melissa Ferrick, because even though she's an accomplished studio musician, there is something about her energy that doesn't translate. It may be why she never achieved widespread fame, despite an early recording contract with a "real" record label. It's called I'm Gonna Break Your Heart and it's emotionality is rough, but that's one of the things I love most about her music. I'd love to see her play again, but the closest she usually comes is San Francisco, a three hour drive away, and I doubt that anytime she's there I'll magically have the energy to drive all that way, then stand in line at whatever club she's playing, and then stand through the show, even supposing I could come up with the money to make it happen. However, should you find out she's in your city, you should go and see her play. She's sheer genius...brilliantly talented, fantastically educated, and not too hard on the eyes...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Music Friday

I've been updating my playlists on my iPod, and every time I do that, I run into a song or three or twelve that I really love that I haven't heard in a long time, and they get stuck on repeat. Today, it's a Fiona Apple reminds me to like who I am.

Hope all my peeps out there have a beautiful weekend.

Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine

If there was a better way to go then it would find me
I can't help it, the road just rolls out behind me
Be kind to me, or treat me mean
I'll make the most of it, I'm an extraordinary machine

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Still Miss Her....

Not the exgirlfriend, if that's what you though when you saw the title. I miss this girl:

It's been over two years since she went missing. Unfortunately her loss got overshadowed by the break up with the exgirlfriend. While I wouldn't so much as throw a cup of water on the exgirlfriend if she were on fire, I'd give nearly anything to have Cera back.

There are some losses you never get over.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Video Thursday

I love Adele. Love her voice, love her music...she's beautiful. And this song "Rolling in the Deep"'s phenomenal. I had it on constant repeat for a while, and it's still in my top ten most played on my iPod. I just never get tired of it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Ellwood...Cute, But Dumb as a Rock

We went on a family camping trip over Labor Day weekend. I left most of the dogs at home to be fed and let out by my sister one night, and a cousin the rest of the time. Ellwood, however, is sort of special needs. In addition to needing his food prepared specially, he also can't be left outside in the heat for extended periods of time. Boston Terriers, like Pugs, are brachycephalic, which is a big, fancy word that means they have squished in faces which make it a lot harder for them to regulate air temperature.

Most dogs have long snouts and those snouts serve to cool hot air or warm cold air as the dog breathes in. Bostons, with their flatter faces can't regulate their air temperatures as easily, which means that they overheat very quickly if left out in the heat for an extended period of time.

Plus...Ellwood is really, really dumb, so he just cannot be left to his own devices. It doesn't take much to confused Ellwood, and he's easily distracted...unless there is food involved, at which point he becomes overly focused. So, rather than add the burden of caring for Ellwood to the already overworked dogsitter's list, I took him with me.

I'd like to write about the great weekend we had, and all of Ellwood's cuteness as he was loved on and petted and kissed by the little ones, but there is one defining moment of the camping experience that I simply cannot get past. On our first night there, as I was sitting in a camp chair with Ellwood on my lap...out of nowhere, the dog POOPED. ON. MY. LAP!! No warning, nothing. He was just sitting there calmly,watching the others put up a tent, and then there was a great big dog turd on my lap.

I love my dogs, I do...but poop? Excrement? On my lap? Really? Oh, idiot....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Too Safe?

When it comes to your child's safety, can you be too safe? I've pondered this idea for awhile now, especially since so much has changed since the midget was little, so just the last 7-12 years, basically. When the midget was little, babies were supposed to sleep on their sides to prevent SIDS, but now they're on their backs again. Back-facing car seat until 20 pounds, and front-facing after that. The midget was in a front facing car seat at about four or five months, whereas now that's not legal or safe until a year of age. So, apparently the midget was unsafe for about 8 months. Horrible parent, aren't I?

And then, when she was 4, and well over the legal 40 pound limit, I stopped struggling with the car seat in the back of our tiny Hyundai. And now, the law says she wasn't safe until she was 4' 9" and 80 pounds. I was reminded of all this thanks to a fantastic rant by my beloved Archaeogoddess on the difficulties of car seats. And, because I'd just finished reading this I thought it was an interesting question, can our kids be too safe?

When I was growing up, we didn't have seat belts half the time, let alone car seats. Our moms put us on our tummies to sleep. Stranger danger was a newish concept, and the dangers of pedophiles were talked about only in cheesy after school specials, and yet, most of us grew up more or less okay.

When my oldest niece was born, I remember thinking that her mother was going to suffocate her because she was obsessed with safety. I held the child once in her baby days because I couldn't handle all the instructions--"Don't kiss the baby! We're too concerned about germs!" "Hold her like this, not like that!"--and on and on. I remember thinking, "Ya know, I've had one of these, and she's still alive and sound...that's her over there, remember?"

Not coincidentally, my oldest niece was plagued with colds and bronchitis that led to so many ear infections that she had tubes put in at the age of two. Her growth was also delayed due to her many illnesses. You see, when you don't expose a baby to germs, their immune systems don't get the strength they need that comes with the experience of fighting off small infections. Said niece, though I love her dearly, is also the most spoiled and willful of all the children, and that's saying something. She is a victim (for lack of a better term) of helicopter parenting.

Helicopter parenting, so common today, is my deepest fear for the children of the midget's generation. They are protected from everything, even the dangers of accepting their own failures...there are no longer winners and losers in games or competitions for the sake of saving the feelings of these precious little darlings, and I get it, I do. I know I hated it when the midget was sad because she didn't win at a game, or another kid didn't like her, but that's life. You aren't going to always be the winner, and not everyone is always going to like you, and that's easier to handle it when you learn how to deal with it an early age. It's very difficult to reach the age of 18 or 21 or whenever Mommy finally cuts the apron strings, if you don't know how to deal with all of those things. If you've always been protected, you don't learn how to protect yourself.

I am not saying put your kid alone in room with glass shards to keep them from leaving and fill their bottle with codeine cough syrup rather than springing for a babysitter. (That's what duct tape is for). Nor should you ignore the common sense stuff...vaccinate, use seat belts and car seats, and for the love of god, don't put their names on their backpacks and sweatshirts to make it that much easier for strangers to gain their trust. But, at the same time...let them get kisses from aunties, even if they catch a cold, let them skin their knees and feel the sorrows of coming in last. This world is not always safe and soft and protecting, and we aren't always going to be there to catch them, so they need to learn how to protect themselves.

Because, after the end you are not raising a child. You are raising a person who will one day be a responsible adult, one that must stand on her own two feet, without the training wheels, without the bubble wrap, and without Mommy's sheltering embrace.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Where the hell have I been?

I know my regular readers are down to checking once a week or so to see if I've written (well, those who don't have a blogroll which tells them when I've done so), but since you are regular readers, then this doesn't surprise you. I'm a flaky bastard on a good day, and since good days haven't been too numerous around here, lately, mostly what I've done is deal with the midget's insulin pump start and look at pictures of cute puppies on my computer. bring you (all five or six of you) up to speed, the midget is on an insulin pump now, and I love that thing more than...well, there are no words to tell you howm\ much I love that damn thing. It looks like a pager (you remember pagers, right?) and it's attached to my kid, or else I'd dry hump the damn thing I love it so much. It has made such a difference in the way we handle her diabetes, and it's only been on her body for two weeks, and I'm not yet as savvy about its software as I will be at some point. First and foremost, I only poke a needle in to the midget's skin once every three days (well, less if a site fails or we have some other issue, but usually three days). I don't give her long acting insulin any more, which is fantastic because the long acting insulin burns. We are also able to tell, at any given moment, just how much insulin is active in her system...and since we know how much one unit of insulin brings her blood sugar down, we've avoided numerous low blood sugars. It's brilliant!

The diabetes care isn't the reason I haven't been blogging, well, not the main reason. If the midget didn't have diabetes that requires my attention, I might have used the little energy I had for blogging, but then, I might not have. When I feel like crap, I only do what I have to do and these days, the only thing that falls under that heading is taking care of the midget. As parents everywhere will tell you, parenting is a full time don't get to take time off even when your body is screaming for you to do so. So, the midget got taken care of, but very little else got done. It's been a pretty bad summer, which means all my lovely plans of spending nearly every day at the pool were vanquished. We had a few pool days,and even one water park (I prayed for death the next day) but, summer's over and I can safely say we didn't spend even a quarter of it at the pool. Or the lake. And the one day we did make it to the lake, I felt to crappy to even try to swim.

I've been fighting a very nasty chest pain off and on since March. The CT scan done before I got my gall bladder removed showed fluid around my heart, which was goodish, since I'd had several EKGs and knew I wasn't having a heart attack. But, obviously, fluid around the heart is bad. It's not terrible, but definitely not good...and my regular doctor, who while not anyone's vote for sweetheart of the year, is good enough, at least, to know when he doesn't know something. So, off the cardiologist I went. The cardiologist ordered another ECG (different from an EKG) and said that in his opinion, the inflammation, and resulting fluid, he saw were text book examples of Lupus. He also said that at this time, there is no need for surgery (Yay!) but that he wants me to go back to the rheumatologist and get started on treatment, which, since I'm already on high doses of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories)which are clearly having no effect on the inflammation, will be steroids. I've taken short courses of steroids in the past, and while I hate them, they are preferable to any long term, lasting damage to my heart.

I so meant to write a longer, more entertaining post, but I've run out of energy, and if I don't just put this up now, it'll go into the huge pile of drafts I've already got and it will never be done. So, pretend I said something funny...

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Happy Sunday!

One of my new favorite songs The midget's father's new girl played it for me yesterday, and I laughed and laughed and laughed. I don't ever genuinely wish bad things for people, really I don't...

Saturday, July 02, 2011

I'm Not Even Breastfeeding....

...and yet I feel compelled to jump into the fray. Because it's a big deal, apparently, this whole breastfeeding/formula fracas.

That's right...I haven't posted anything in over a month, and rather than write about something relevant to my know, like about how I have pericardial effusion (fancy-schmancy term for fluid around the heart), and am now waiting to see a cardiologist. Instead, I'm going to write about this breastfeeding stuff.

When I was breastfeeding, the internet was still in it's fairly early days, and hardly anyone had blogs or got all their medical information online. Now everyone has a blog, and half of us diagnose ourselves via WebMD before we even make our doctor's appointments.

I was 22 when I had the midget. Young enough that I wasn't really prepared to be a mom, but old enough that no one saw me and went "Oh Em Gee, babies having babies!" Or whatever judgmental thing people say about teen moms. I was pretty big into the natural stuff, natural childbirth, breastfeeding. I figured I would have a baby the old fashioned way and feed her the old fashioned way.

I went ahead with the natural childbirth, but only because I got to the hospital four hours before the midget passed through my birth canal. About 30 seconds into pushing, I turned to the midget's father and said "I don't want to do this anymore." It didn't help that during the hours leading up to the pushing stage the midget's father would look at the monitor and say, "Oh, you're having a contraction, and it's a big one!" And I was shit, Asshole. Because being in labor makes you say stuff like that. And frankly, being me makes you say stuff like that.

So, there I was set to breastfeed this child. I'd read a couple of books, so I totally knew how to do it, right? Wrong. First of all, the midget had low blood sugar at birth and so she needed to be fed...and even if we had been able to manage that whole breast feeding thing, the first couple of days after the birth, a woman's body only produces colostrum, which isn't high in sugar. So, she had formula, and they brought a breast pump in for me to use. Only this was nearly 12 years ago, so it was huge, not one of these cute "comfortable" pumps. It was a monstrosity. But we got through it and by the time she left the hospital her blood sugar was fine and we were breastfeeding sort of. We got through it, especially once my milk came in and we both got the hang of it...only...

I hated breastfeeding. It was "icky." I was 22 and breasts were for fun, not for producing dairy products. But, I persevered. I figured we'd get to a point where I was having those beautiful bonding moments mentioned in every book I read. But it never happened. Every day that I breastfed the midget, I hated it. I was grumpy, and uncomfortable. I had a nasty case of the baby blues, which I still haven't really ever talked about with anyone. I've alluded to it with a few friends, but it was dark. I imagined driving away and leaving my baby with somebody, anybody, sometimes even nobody, as long as I could leave...and that was on good days. I can't bring myself to type the thoughts that went through my mind on bad days. Some day, maybe with therapy...but not now.

Needless to say, the postpartum depression didn't help the breastfeeding challenge. Which is why, when I read this little article tonight, I got furious. When the midget's doctor decided to switch her to soy formula because she was lactose intolerant and that meant no more breast milk, I was thrilled...and I felt like the worst mother in the world. What was wrong with me that I didn't love breastfeeding? Didn't I love my kid?

I just don't get articles like the one I linked to above. How does choosing to feed your child something that is perfectly healthy and formulated perfectly for infant nutrition wrong? Yes, I get it that breastfeeding imparts natural immunities and I'm sure there are women right now judging me and blaming the midget's Type 1 diabetes on her not being breastfed (despite there being no link between formula or breast milk and Type 1 neither is to blame for diabetes, though not breastfeeding does seem to be linked to obesity rates in older children which can lead to type 2 diabetes). But I agonized over hating breastfeeding. I hated that I hated it...that and my not infrequent wish that the squalling midget was far, far away and I was a footloose woman with lots of freedom made me insecure about my parenting for years.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the postpartum depression disappeared not long after I stopped breastfeeding. Once I had no choice but to bottle feed the midget, I could enjoy her feeding times (well, except for the smell of that god-awful soy formula...blech), and because I didn't feel like a walking dairy, I didn't resent her as much. But I couldn't admit to other people that I was glad not to have to breastfeed anymore, because I knew how they'd judge me.

Since then, my most beloved Archaeogoddess has had a child, and we've discussed breastfeeding, including the fact that I hated it. She found an article that showed that there may be a hormonal imbalance that causes some women to dislike breastfeeding. See, because in the natural order of things, breastfeeding is supposed to trigger a hormonal response that causes mother/infant bonding. I was clearly a freak because that didn't happen for me. Or so I thought. And, frankly, the Archaeogoddess is the first person I ever told about my dislike of breastfeeding that didn't automatically think "Bad Mother." Of course, the Archaeogoddess is my go-to person any time I need to talk about something that could potentially cause someone to judge me. Because she doesn't. She doesn't look at me and think "Bad Mother" because I hated breastfeeding...she thought, huh, that's different, maybe there's a reason for that...and it's one of the eight gazillion reasons I'm blessed to have her as my best friend.

Mental illness issues are difficult, but when you don't have someone like the Archaeogoddess in your corner, not judging you it's even worse. I know I'm lucky...I cannot imagine how many women read articles like the one I linked to above and think, what the fuck is wrong with me, and I should just keep my damn mouth shut about hating breastfeeding, or even the idea of it, and unlike me, they don't have a best friend who will simply say, "OK" when being presented with clear evidence that according to the La Leche League their best friend is THE. WORST. MOTHER. EVER.

I get the judging thing, I do...there are times when I see parents giving their tiny monsters everything they want and never saying no, and never disciplining and I think they are the worst parents in the world...or the parents who do just about anything that's going to have a long term impact on a child's ability to function in society, I totally judge them. But judging a parent because they give their child a perfectly healthy substitute for something I choose to feed my kid? No fucking way. And frankly, since I get people evaluating the midget's general diet all the time now (because you know, they are experts on Type 1 diabetes, and they are sure that my kid can't have that diet soda I just gave her, or that candy I just gave her), I almost think I'm more sensitive about the breastfeeding issue now than I was then.

Yes, in a perfect world, every baby would have breast milk, and mothers who have an aversion to breastfeeding could buy or get breast milk donated to them easily. But, we don't live in a perfect world, and there are plenty of mothers who have to choose between their antidepressants and breastfeeding, or other medications and breastfeeding, and they shouldn't be judged for that. It isn't as though they are depriving their child of adequate nutrition. So, shut the fuck up about it. It isn't any one's business what nutritionally sound food you are giving your child. I mean, fine, if you know someone who is filling their kid's bottle with vodka, go ahead and get involved, but even if you think formula is the last thing that would ever cross your baby's lips, it's not your fucking business what that other mother is feeding her kid, or why. Let's focus on the babies who are getting nothing to eat, or the mothers who are watering down formula because they can't afford enough formula, but let's educate them, not judge them, or even better, if you are breastfeeding and you think it's essential for all babies to get breast milk, make yourself part of the solution, find someone in your community raising an infant that's addicted to crack, or a mother who has HIV, and can't breastfeed, and donate your breast milk. And don't go around thinking that the ability to produce milk makes you a better mother than I am...any fucking mammal can produce breast milk, so doing so doesn't make you a good parent, any more than it makes an alley cat a good mother.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Shhh...I'm trying to hear something...

I'm not big into mysticism, and while I've said things like, "These things happen for a reason" I don't actually mean that I think there's someone or something out there with a plan. Nor do I think that Tarot cards or runes or the I Ching know some secret we don't. However, I do think things like Tarot cards can be useful for understanding things your subconscious is trying to tell you. It can be a useful way to meditate.

On a related note, I had an episode this week that, were I of the mystic mind, I'd say was an indication that the universe was trying to send me a message. For some reason, I had an urge to find a friend of mine from my carnie days. (Long story that I'll go into at some point, but the short of it is, at the age of 12, my biomom took my sister and I out on the road with the carnival for a year and a half.) Through the magic that is Facebook, I found her through her brother as she's since married and changed her name. Ironically, she'd just had a conversation with that same brother about me, well, about us. Said friend and I had an unfortunate habit if curling our bangs about six inches off our foreheads. Hey, it was the '90s. Quit judging me!

So, after an evening spent in fond reminiscence, fell asleep last night going over the happier memories of that period in my life. (Yeah, there are ugly memories, I was after all, a 12 year old in a very shady adult world, but let's not focus on that, shall we?) Then today I spent the day doing a time consuming errand that led to any even more time consuming errand. In the car, on the way there, I heard a song I haven't heard in years. And I mean....maybe 15 years or so. This song was one I listened to obsessively at the time. I wore out a cassette tape listening to the song.

It's all connected, but there are a million tiny coincidences every day that don't throw up this flag, this feeling of connectedness. I feel like my subconscious mind is trying to tell me something. Why is this significant right now? What am I trying to remind myself? Is there something about that time in my life that applies to my life today? Is it just that I'm getting old and that's what we do when we're old, is remember when we were young? No...I'm not that old damn it. I just feel like...I'm missing something here...

And for your listening enjoyment (actually I mean mine, I admit it) here's the song. You probably have never heard it, or if you did, you likely don't remember it, but I loved this song. It's by a girl group from the very early '90s called The Cover Girls. Enjoy, and don't mind me...I'll just be in the corner over here, humming this song and taking a stroll down memory lane.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blog for Mental Health Day.

I logged into Twitter today to see so many of my Twitter peeps (Yes, I have peeps...and no, I don't care what you say, I'm not too white to have peeps or say that I have peeps) linking to blog posts about mental health. Apparently, today is blogging for mental health day. Thank God for the Twitter, or I'd never have any fucking idea what day it is.

I found this oddly appropriate as I'm desperately trying to hold off an imminent panic attack, and as it turns out, since I only take my atavan when I'm having a panic attack, I didn't know I was out of them. calming drugs for me, and I have to get through this one on my own. It's not the end of the world, I've done it before, many, many times. But expecting to be able to reach for relief only to find it's not there is disconcerting to say the least.

I've talked before about my bipolar disorder, how the highs make me chatty, keep me up, can aggravate me or turn me into someone who snaps over every little thing, and the lows keep me locked into myself, too sad, too miserable to talk about it. It sucks and I hate it...but given a choice, I'd take bipolar over the anxiety disorder any fucking day of the week.

Anxiety disorder makes me...well, it makes me anxious..but it's so much more. I feel like I can't breathe, my clothes, my skin are too tight, and are suffocating me. My heart pounds, my brain (never really all that slow or rational to begin with) races at lightening speeds with every paranoid thought you can imagine. I've seen numerous therapists and a couple of shrinks, and the general consensus seems to be that the anxiety is a holdover from a childhood so awful that I spend everyday in a state of anxiety, and, as it turns out, these responses become habituated in your brain chemistry, so now...even though I haven't had the cause for the anxiety in over 20 years, even though the main perpetrator in my childhood nightmare is dead and buried, I still get these bursts of panic.

I've tried everything...meditation, exercise, biofeedback, medication...nothing works. Nothing has managed to put a stop to the panic attacks. I take a medication that makes me so that I'm not so anxious I can't leave my house most of the time, but for these burst of adrenalin that kick off the panic? Nothing works because there isn't a pattern or a trigger (though sometimes thinking too much a panic attack can induce one). Most of my panic attacks occur in the middle of the night. I'm either suffering from insomnia and find myself freaking out...or, far worse, I wake up from a dead sleep in the grips of a panic attack. In those moments, the only thing that helps is the atavan. Otherwise, I doom myself to an hour or more of panic...and it sucks, my friends.

By far, the worst panic attacks are the ones that happen in front of other people. My brain just plays the same thought over and over..."What will people think of me?" I've avoided large gatherings for years just to avoid the chance that it might happen in front of other people. Because, I'm already the crazy bad would it be to be even crazier? Even though the people I'm usually around are family or beloved friends, the idea that they would see me that way? Terrifying. Worse still? That those I love would know just how screwed up I am. Used to be I only talked about this with the exgirlfriend...and occasionally my beloved Archaeogoddess.

In recent years I've been trying to be more open...talking about it here, making jokes about it, because that's how I handle things. And, frankly, the fear monster doesn't seem so bad if you can laugh at it.

I know how hard it is for me to talk about, and I'm one of those people who has no problems discussing just about anything else. Pelvic exam post, anyone? So, if it's hard for me? How much harder for other know, people who have filters?

It's time we take the stigma off of mental health. Just like with my Fibro, Grave's and various other illnesses, I didn't ask for this. I didn't make my brain betray me in the worst possible ways. It's time that we stop looking the other way when people we love are in trouble because we don't want to embarrass them. And it's time for us to stop being so damn uncomfortable with mental illness that we write off friends and loved ones who self-medicate as attention seeking addicts. Mental illness affects not just the one who's affects everyone around me. And pretending like it doesn't can lead to tragedy.

I'm blogging for mental health today. How about you?

Mental Health Blog Party Badge

And for the record...that panic attack I was talking about? Just writing about it helped so much...maybe I'll try to remember that the next time I wake up feeling like I'm going to crawl out of my skin.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Let's Not Focus on the Negative, Shall We?

Blurgh...blah, blah, blah...I had emergency gall bladder surgery followed by over six hours in which various and sundry nurses poked needles into my body trying to replace the IV which had fallen out, meaning I had no pain relief for six hours following surgery. Some 30 pokes with a needle later, a man showed up and put a PICC line in my arm. For those of you not familiar with this sort of thing...he cut a hole in my upper right arm on the inside...found one of my very uncooperative veins, and inserted a long tube that delivered saline and whatever meds the nurses saw fit to give me directly to my heart. So, finally, after six agonizing (worse than when I pushed the midget out of my girlie parts, without medication, and a bit longer as well), the PICC line guy walked in after the chest Xray that showed whether he had gotten the line in the right place and said, "Well, I have good news and bad news........(long pause in which I briefly considered quick and painless ways to kill myself without the three people in the room with me stopping me) The good news is there is no bad news." I thought my sister (who held my hair while I vomited from the pain and handed me cold cloths and kept the world updated and tried really hard not to cry herself) was going to launch herself over my bed and murder him. Finally they gave me the drugs and I cried with joy. Did I mention that my kid witnessed me vomiting from pain? Yeah, awesome.

But, here we are...a week after surgery and my staples have been removed, and despite the nasty stomach bug that's putting me through the wringer at the moment...I'm mostly okay. I've lost 15 pounds, and I'm covered in bruises from the many failed IV attempts, but I'm okay...well as okay as I usually am.

I've got an appointment with the Stanford Rheumatology clinic on Monday, and I'm really looking forward to finding a decent plan of treatment for my arthritis, etc...

Anyway, the good happy stuff is what I want to focus on. See, for the last few years I have been rat free. When my last rat passed away a couple of years ago, I decided to simplify my life a bit, and be rat free. Then, my niece bought a couple of pet store rats and against my very strenuous objections, mated them. The resulting two litters were more than she could handle, and the midget and I had been discussing the possibility (okay the midget begged and pleaded and I considered) of getting more rats, and so now we're a rat home again.

We've got three precious little dumbo has curly rex hair, two are white and one has a light, champagne colored hood. They are only two months old and it's been ages since I've had little rats and had forgotten what charming little clowns baby rats are. This last week has been difficult, but it's helped to watch the sweet little babies bounce around...watching one build elaborate nests in a tube hammock while his brother busily dismantles's great fun.

So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce my new sweet boys.
On the left is Dre, a champagne hooded boy, in the middle is Buster, a rex PEW (pink-eyed white), and Cee Lo on the left is a sweet little PEW boy. They are so fun and so sweet, so while I really wish my niece had listened to me and not brought new rats in the world when the shelters are bulging with available babies, I am glad they're here.

Friday, April 08, 2011

I'm Late, I'm Late...

For a very important date...

Okay, I'm not late.

But I do have a date this week. Me...a date...a real life date. With a person I haven't even actually met in person, yet. It's not a big deal...just lunch to get acquainted and see if the interest we're feeling online translates into the real world.

I'm excited and nervous and terrified all at the same time. Which is just silly, because I am not looking for anything serious, I'm just looking for fun, a fling...someone to make me laugh and, and someone to have a conversation with about politics and religion and life and the world.

I've never been on an actual date. All of my previous romantic involvements were with people I'd known for a long time before we got involved, so I've never done the dating to get to know someone thing. And I'm not good at first time makes me very anxious to talk to people in real life. This date will involve taking a xanax, I'm sure. And I'll be obsessing about what to wear. What does one wear to a lunch date, anyway?

Aargh! Don't mind me, I'll just be hanging out in my closet freaking out!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Need Help

No big secret to anyone who's read so much as a single post here, right?

But, in reality, I do need help, actual physical help. I was never the world's greatest housekeeper, but since getting sick that's gotten much worse. I used to have regular cleaning binges, and if someone was coming for a visit, I could do the twenty minute clean and have my house be halfway know, as long as no one checked my closets or looked under the couch cushions.

The sicker I've gotten, the worse the arthritis and the worse the fatigue has gotten, the more sporadic my cleaning binges have become. Most of the time my house looks like a giant picked it up and shook it. There's crap everywhere, and laundry...dear god, don't get me started on the laundry.

The midget is a good kid, but she's a kid, and unfortunately has inherited my innate messiness and laziness. She takes advantage of the fact that I'm too tired to stay on her and push her to clean up after herself. She also takes advantage of the fact that my memory is a sieve these days and if I ground her in the morning I rarely remember that by mid afternoon.

When the midget's dad shows up to pick her up he makes it clear he disapproves of my slovenly nature. Of course, he isn't sick and taking care of a kid full time 24 hours a day, and even my four days a month minus the kid have shrunk down just a few hours once a week because the exgirlfriend has finally hurt the midget to the point that she refuses to see her at all. Which presents difficulties because, after all, the exgirlfriend is still living in the midget's father's house...the one his parents own.

Yeah, my kid isn't able to go visit her dad at the house her grandparents own. Awesome. few hours without the midget are spent sleeping, or doing homework, trying to get caught up on the things that are hard to do when a child, even one as old as the midget, is around. old habit of resting the entire first day she was gone, and housework or schoolwork on the second...that's out the know...along with my sanity...and my hopes for ever seeing her bedroom floor.

I know I need to ask for help. Ask my cousins, my mom. Any of them would be willing to put on gaiters and wade through my mess and help me clean it. But I CAN'T ASK FOR HELP. I don't know why. I only know that it's common amongst people who suffer from chronic illness. There are so many amorphic offers of help, but no concrete..."Let me do this." "I am willing to do this." And asking for help feel like such an imposition, to do the things I should be able to do, even if I never really liked doing it in the first place. And worse, it feels like it makes the illness more concrete, more real.

Which is, simply, ridiculous. But I excel at the ridiculous, don't I? It's my forte. Because, refusing to acknowledge it's effect on my life doesn't lessen the impact, it only compounds it, because I wait until hope comes in late, comes in after the mess has completely demoralized me.

My cousin, the one who I'm always helping with a paper, or childcare or organizing or sorting laundry...she finally made me a concrete offer to help me clean my living room and kitchen. I had her for an hour and the front of my house, the largest part of my home, is now clean...I am not embarrassed to have company, not afraid the midget's father is planning another called to Children's Services, rather than offering help himself.

I need help...and I need help asking for help...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I'm Baaaaack....

Disneyland was epic. The midget and I (along with the fam) had loads of fun, loads of bonding, and very little in the way of unhappiness. We drove home today. Yesterday? Some time after I woke up the last time at any rate.

We are mucho tired. Like beyond words tired...only I'm typing, so clearly I have words, they just don't make a lot of sense. I guess that's not really anything new, though.

While driving home this evening, once we finally in range of my usual radio station, we were listening to the radio and and the DJ told us about this story in which a woman hides various things (drugs and drug bags) inside her vagina. That part was nothing new if you've ever watched an episode of Locked Up Abroad, which being a NatGeo junkie, I totally have. What caught my attention was the $5.22 she was also carrying in her vagina. I mean...had the woman never heard of wallets, or even pockets for fuck sake? Of course, the DJ had it partially wrong...she actually had $51.22 up there.

I have some pretty big unanswered questions here, the biggest of which being whether or not that money will be returned to circulation. precisely do you come to the decision to stick not just dollar bills, but coins, in your vagina? And how the hell do you keep it there? And why the empty drug bags? I mean that has no value, does it? The drugs, the money that all has value, so it sorta makes sense you'd want to keep it close (I'd recommend a purse, but what do I know?), but the empty drug bags are basically just evidence against you so, I'd say...go ahead and not stick that in your vagina, if you must stick random items in your vagina.

I really want to talk to this woman. I mean, I want to know how you make the decision to stick these things in your vagina, and then how you go about making it all fit. 54 bags of heroin? Really? And even if you manage to cram it all in there, how do you make it stay? And who the hell would want to buy your vagina drugs? If nothing else, I want to give the woman a purse and explain to her how it works....

Friday, March 11, 2011

Effing Disneyland, Ya'll!!

I'm getting ready to depart for The Happiest Place on Earth. We're leaving early Sunday morning (4 am) and making the 8-10 hour drive to Anaheim. We'll be in Disneyland and California Adventure Park for five whole days. This trip has been six months in the planning and we cannot wait to get there and have fun.

All this Disneyland stuff has me remembering a Disneyland trip when I was just a wee little girl...probably 30 years ago, now. (When the fuck did I get so old?) It's a somewhat clouded memory, but one that made me deeply afraid of Winnie the Pooh for years. It wasn't until my kid was born that I started to be able to handle exposure to Pooh Bear. I was there, at the happiest place on earth, and out of nowhere this giant yellow bear comes at me with his arms stretched out, intending to devour me, no doubt. I took one look at that menacing beast, noticed that no one was making any kind of move to save me and hauled off and kicked Winnie the Pooh in the leg, and ran and hid behind my mom.

Laugh if you want, but those fucking characters are huge and scary, especially when you're all of three feet tall. I couldn't even read a Winnie the Pooh book for years. It wasn't so much that I was scared of him (okay, I'm totally lying here...I was afraid of a fat yellow bear), especially as I got older and realized that there was nothing to be afraid of, that Pooh Bear wasn't an actual bear looking to devour little girls, that he'd much rather snack on honey than me, it was just that I couldn't get over that feeling of being intimidated by something so much bigger than I was.

I'm ready now...I want to get my picture taken with Mickey and Minnie, and Aurora from Sleeping Beauty. I'm going to be one pissed off camper if she isn't at the princess meet and greet. She's always been my favorite.

I haven't been to Disneyland in 15 years, and I've never taken the midget, so this trip is a really big deal for us. I'm not about to let anyone (not even some scary ass yellow bear) ruin it. The midget's been pretty sad lately...bullshit drama with the exgirlfriend who should be damn thankful that I'm a civilized woman and that it would hurt me more to punch her in the taco than it would hurt her. But that shit isn't going to interfere with us being happy at the Happiest motherfucking Place on the motherfucking Earth. I've kicked a six foot yellow bear with a gaping mouth and paws as big as my head. I'm hardly afraid to deliver the same treatment to some selfish bitch who isn't worthy of being spit on by the midget.

I'll be updating my Twitter stream but otherwise I'll be MIA here on the blog (Nothing unusual, right?). I'll be sure to put up a lengthy post complete with pictures.

As Aunt Becky of Mommy Wants Vodka has said...being sad is bullshit, and I'm totally hopping on her Bringing The Happy Back bandwagon. Because the midget and I have had a couple of shit years and Goddammit...ENOUGH IS FUCKING ENOUGH!! The midget and I are going immerse ourselves in the happy, happy, joy, joy that is the motherfucking Happiest Place on Earth, and we're going to bring that happy back and pound it firmly into our lives with a big fucking mallet. It's time to make 2011 my bitch, ya'll, and Disneyland is just the place to do it!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Use it

For my entire life I've been fascinated with putting words together. I love writing. I love playing with words to make prose and poetry. Putting the constant running of words in my head into print was always my outlet.

When I was 24, ten long years ago, I lost a beloved friend. I wrote a poem for him, and then, I was visited by the worst case of writer's block. I still have it. I've written only a handful of poems since then, and hardly any prose.

I started this blog in the hopes that I would write more, get more of what goes on in my brain into print. And it's been fitful, and part of that is knowing that my audience includes people I know in real life, and a very small portion of those people would love to find something here that can be twisted into something ugly and use it against me. Having that kind of censorship built into everything I write certainly doesn't help.

Thankfully, I found the sparkly, and awesome Aunt Becky's blog Mommy Wants Vodka. If you aren't reading her, and you're not a member of her loyal Prankster army, you're totally missing out. And as if sharing her twisted brain with the world wasn't enough, she's also the force behind the collaborative blogs Mushroom Printing and Band Back Together. The beauty of a collaborative blog is the variety of voices you find, and the sense of community. And for me, it's a place to publish things that I can't publish here, which gives me a freedom this blog hasn't given me.

I'm not giving up my blog. I am the Queen of the Universe, and nothing will ever change that, and in fact, I think getting to publish elsewhere what is unpublishable here will grant me the freedom to really explore the rest of my brain. So, while I will occasionally cross post things from my blog on one of the above blogs, for the most part the two worlds will remain separate, unless I find something there that absolutely must be shared.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Passed Out on the Bathroom Floor

I've made jokes about being passed out on the bathroom floor...I've been there a few times in the past. Mostly in the past when I could drink enough to get drunk. And it's a funny little anecdote or embarrassing story to tell when I've run out of stories about how I forget shit that I really should know, like fifty percent of the things my best friend tells me. I'm starting to think I should keep notes.

But I digress. (How unusual for me, right?)

Today I had the scariest fucking moment of my life. I thought it was last year when the midget was diagnosed, but I was totally fucking wrong. Today, when the midget passed out on the bathroom floor because of a nasty low blood sugar, that was pretty much it.

I've read about diabetic lows that result in black outs and seizures. I knew it would happen one day. It's impossible for a Type 1 diabetic with reasonable control of blood sugars to not experience a low blood sugar. Because no matter how precisely I count carbs and calculate insulin dosages, shit happens. Hormones play their fucked up little games, illness plays a part, exercise, rest, even temperature screws with insulin. I am not a machine, and I am not perfect. Unlike you and me, my daughter doesn't have a pancreas that does what it's supposed to do. I am her pancreas.

Let me repeat that for you: I am my daughter's pancreas.

Me...the woman who literally cannot remember ANYTHING! And I'm in charge of something as complex as regulating a hormone in my kid's body. Through math. This is a fucking joke, right? I have to keep my kid alive using math? Me? Seriously? This is someone's idea of a joke right?

I talked to her doctor...we went over what happened today, the carbs eaten and the insulin dispensed...and there's no clear mistake. There isn't something I can point to and say "Aha! Fucked up there, and I won't do it again." I spoke to some other Type 1 parents on an online group I'm a member of, and they each told me their story of how it happened to their kid, how bad they felt, and assured me that it wasn't my fault. The doctor assured me it wasn't my fault.

But I'm my kid's pancreas. My pancreas doesn't land me on the bathroom floor. Neither does yours.

I'm a shit pancreas.

It took hours tonight to convince the midget that she could sleep, that she would be safe, and that she shouldn't be afraid of the insulin shot I had to give her. She's finally sleeping now, and slept through the last blood sugar check...the blood sugar that told me I had to give more insulin, which means I won't sleep until we pass the three hour mark, the moment when the insulin peaks, and I can test her to make sure that the insulin didn't send her too low.

Fuck you, diabetes...fuck you...

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I think I mentioned that the my regular doc prescribed me some decent pain pills and referred me back to Stanford with some very real hopes of a definitive diagnosis, beyond the ones I already have, of course. So, for the last month or so I've been taking fairly high doses of narcotics, and yesterday I started getting panicked about addiction.

I've taken pain meds in the past and never had an issue, but what I'm taking now is higher dosages, and more frequent. Of course, my pain levels are significantly higher these days, as well...but that doesn't mean it's not a concern of mine, the possibility of narcotic abuse.

I spent some time on the phone today with my therapist, my doctor and a good deal of time on some internet forums I frequent for sufferers of chronic illness. My concern is becoming addicted...having an addiction, which of course, at this point I technically have. I have a physiological dependence on the narcotics at the moment. That became very clear to me today when I woke up in a pretty nasty state of withdrawal, because since I was panicking yesterday about addiction, I didn't take my pain meds. Which was a mistake. A big one.

I'm trying to readjust my thinking that being dependent on the narcotics right now is okay, that, yes my I have a physical addiction to them that would make it hard to stop cold turkey, but the same can be said of my antidepressants or mood stabilizers and I don't view that as a bad thing. In fact, the withdrawal from antidepressants is nearly as awful from narcotics. The difference, of course, is that you never hear about someone robbing banks or turning tricks to finance their antidepressant habit.

It's ironic, because I've labeled drug seeking in the past. I always laugh at that because there was a time when I did drugs...a very short time, long ago...but I did drugs. And my go to drug wasn't something that made me tired or loopy like narcotics was speed, aka meth. I loved speed. I loved the rush, the energy, the clarity...I loved everything about speed...until I didn't. Until one weekend when I pushed it too far and realized that there was an ugly side, and it would be easy as fuck to end up an addict, and that wouldn't be fun. That was the weekend that I could easily see myself becoming someone I just couldn't bear to inflict upon the people I love. So, I quit...just like that, no rehab, no detox...I just stopped. I did it again one other time after the midget was born, while she was at her dad's, and thought...yeah I don't really miss this...well, the kitchen got really, really clean and I kinda miss that, but coming down was hell, and a damn good reminder that I wasn't 19 anymore.

Even when I did drugs, even when I was younger and actually thought an evening of getting drunk was worth the hangover, it was always in the back of my mind that my DNA was heavily loaded towards addiction. Both bioparents are addicts, now recovered addicts, but addicts nonetheless...and they came by their tendency toward addiction honestly, via their shared Irish heritage. So, I was never an every day drinker or druggie. I was too scared. And once the midget came along...I won't say I never touched anything again, but it's been seven or eight years since I ingested an illegal substance and over four years since I drank enough to be drunk.

So, yeah. I love the pain meds. I love that it gives me some relief from the constant, unbearable pain. But, what I would love even more is a pain relief treatment that didn't mean a chemical dependence. I don't want to trade one set of problems for another. And there's a second side to having access to these pain meds that isn't very fun. When people know you have narcotics, they want them...not necessarily because they're in pain, but because they want to get high, so you constantly get people "jokingly" asking you for drugs...and I have a hard time telling anyone no, but I do it, and they still bug me. It's frustrating in the extreme. I get the drugs I get because I am in legitimate pain. And, yeah, I think this country's drug laws are stupid and that if people want to do drugs, the government doesn't really have the right to tell them no, but I get these drugs because I need them, and if I run out early, I don't get more, and being without pain meds when you need them is hell. So, giving them to someone who doesn't need them would be just plain stupid on my part...

And while I am prone to stupidity, I'm really trying to limit my stupidity to things that will eventually be amusing anecdotes...and sitting on the couch, crying in pain because I gave my drugs away...well...that just doesn't sound like it'll ever be that funny...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Baby, baby, baby...

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I don't like other people's children. I never have. I'm the girl who doesn't think your little darling throwing himself on the floor in the middle of the store to get that toy is cute. And I think you're a jerk for subjecting me to his screams and his dirty, snotty face.

So, I was always like that...I babysat a few times, and my BFF the Archaeogoddess had a little brother ten years younger that I saw from time to time, and I didn't have the desire to punch him. So, given that I didn't really like kids, I didn't really plan on having them. But, then...uh...whoops...and there was the midget. And she was awesome. But I knew a lot of that is that built in biology thing, that moms are sort of programmed to love their kids. Which is good, because she wasn't an easy baby, and I'm not a patient woman. But I learned. I learned when to walk away, undeniably the single most important lesson I learned as a new mom.

But falling in love with the midget didn't mean I fell in love with all kids. I was still one of those women who didn't really like other people's kids. And since I was youngish when the midget was born, it wasn't like my friends had kids or anything. So, I loved the midget...but that was it. I liked the midget and other people's kids were annoying and frequently smelly and rude.

Okay, so then...I had a niece, and then another one, and then another one, and then a pair of nephews. And I finally fell in love with kids, at least these kids. I love them because they're my babies as much as the midget is my baby. I comfort them when they skin their knees, put them on time out when they bop their cousins, and make sure they talk to their mommas with the respect a mom deserves. In return, I get sticky hugs, pre-chewed food in my hand and that beautiful feeling when I walk into a room and one of them shrieks delightedly, "Auntie Doda!"

I've got babies on the brain tonight, in part because my beloved Archaeogoddess is getting closer to her due date, and it's killing me more than ever to be so far away, because I'm already in love with that baby, and I want to be there to see her come into the world, but also because my youngest niece is coming to visit with the fam this weekend with her grandma. Because her momma, my baby cousin who has been in some pretty dark places, stopped taking the medication that makes her capable of functioning and she's back in the hospital, and I don't know for how long, but I'm so beyond thankful that she checked herself into the hospital and that she's getting the help she needs, because that baby needs a momma, and I'm not interested in losing one of my cousins.

I still don't know if I like kids, necessarily, but I do know that certain kids have the power to steal my heart. I know that I'm thankful that my youngest niece has the family she has to shield her and cocoon her now while her momma is going through the dark times again. I know that I love a baby who hasn't even been born yet, just as I love the midget and her cousins and I know that my life would be a sadder, darker place without the babies I love so much, and I know from my own struggles with the darkness, that there's no better incentive in the world to fight the depression than your children. So, while I'm thankful for my baby niece for her own precious little self, I'm beyond thankful that she is here to give her momma a damn good reason to fight and get through this, get the help and get better.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Just Another Manic Monday...erm...Tuesday...

Let’s talk mania, my friends. The flipside of my bipolar coin. When I was healthy, before walking was a tortuous task, I’d use my mania somewhat productively…clean something while listening to my iPod, do something, anything. I’d do anything to keep my mind from torturing myself…shop, talk, eat, have sex…anything.

But, now, with this body of mine that betrays me, with my responsibilities toward Cass, know I can’t just take off and do something crazy, even if my body cooperated. So now, I lay in bed at three in the morning, my mind racing, replaying conversations from years ago, thinking of all the things I’ve said, or should have said, or wish I hadn’t said.

I lay here in my bed, my brain racing, my body tensing slowly, insidiously, until every muscle is locked, every joint Is tensed and I’m nearly crying from the pain. So, I breathe, try to clear my mind, and relax minutely, and then before I know it, I’m tensed again…teeth grinding, every muscle locked in agony.

I hate it, I hate this. I hate going over and over the end of the relationship with the exgirlfriend, I hate replaying conversations with the midget’s father over and over. I hate remembering every hateful word anyone has ever said to me, but I do it. I dwell on fights I’ve had, I dwell on the ways I’ve hurt people or people have hurt me. I hate remembering every dirty horrible moment of my childhood, I hate remembering being scared and dirty and sad. But my brain won’t shut up. I can’t even read when I’m like this. Forming complete thoughts is nearly impossible. It makes me crazy. I just want it to stop.

In the past I’ve hurt myself, taken drugs, eaten everything I could get my hands on, just to spend an hour in the bathroom purging it from my body. I can’t do those things anymore, but I wish I could find a way to make it stop. I know hurting myself isn’t an option, but it makes it stop, makes my brain slow down so I can breathe, I can think and feel like myself again. I know I shouldn’t hurt myself…I know I shouldn’t, but I want to. So, instead I grabbed my laptop and I’m writing this…trying to reach out, trying to be out and open and honest so that maybe someone somewhere will read this and know that they aren’t alone, that it doesn’t just happen to them, and that each wretched manic night has an end, and it’s a reminder to myself that I am loved and deserving of that love, that people who love me will read this and understand me a little more.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oh, Finally....

It's been a million years since I wrote a blog post, and even longer since I actually published one. Between Christmas, New Year's and the holiday hang over blues and nasty inflammatory flare, the last thing I've wanted to do was try to come up with pithy and amusing anecdotes about my sad little life.

I had a doctor's appointment about a week ago, and he FINALLY fucking got it...that I'm actually, truly in pain, that there really and truly is wrong (thank you, for something finally showing up in the lab work) and he gave me drugs, and referred me back to Stanford's rheumatology clinic. Which is good for him because if he hadn't I was going to cut that motherfucker.

So, I'm trying to take the drugs as little as possible because, after all, I'm a mom to kid with Type 1 diabetes, and I'm a full time student. (Well, hello, spring semester, where the hell did you come from?) And I'm awaiting the late February rheumatology appointment rather impatiently. I would give just about anything to feel normal not have to psych myself up for five minutes just to endure the pain of standing not be so tired that getting dressed lays me out flat.

I want to talk about something The Bloggess put up the other day...about not being ashamed of mental illness, and "coming out" and letting others who are suffering know that it's okay to get help. I'm bipolar and it took me years to get properly diagnosed because I only ever sought treatment when I was so depressed that someone forced me to admit that I needed help. I'm damn lucky that the years of being prescribed antidepressants that were not intended to treat bipolar disorder didn't send me over the brink and land me in the hospital or worse. It's not that I didn't know that not being able to sleep and talking a million words a minute and spending the rent money on frivolous crap were abnormal, it's that being manic feels good...until it doesn't. I also have anxiety disorder and suffer from panic's why I'm awake right now, actually. I woke up in the middle of the night in a full blown panic attack, and though the Ativan has brought me down from the ledge, I have had so many nights when there were no drugs and I was too ashamed or scared to ask for help, and only the thought of what it would do the midget and the Archaeogoddess has kept me from hurting myself.

What prompted The Bloggess to "come out" was the breakdown and subsequent suicide of the husband of a fellow blogger. It's heartbreaking that it ever gets that far, that someone, for whatever reason, is too ashamed or frightened to seek help when something's not right. There's such a stigma attached to mental illness, and there fucking shouldn't be. My bipolar disorder is no less a disease than my Fibro, or my arthritis, but that doesn't mean other people accept it as such, or that I've always treated it as such.

My point? If something's wrong...get help. Staying quiet and suffering nobly is bullshit. And you aren't saving your family and friends by suffering in silence. Hiding that shit from them will hurt them and scare them far more than telling them and letting them help you. Trust me on this.

Come out. Get help.