Friday, June 30, 2006

Step Forward, Step Back

Mom's not doing very well today. I guess yesterday was too much for her. Today she's mostly sleeping, being given a lot of morphine, and waiting for the doctor to show up, which, as of this writing, he hasn't yet done. I sat up there for a couple of hours and read the paper and knitted and listened to her heavy breathing, which reminded me horribly of my father's last days. My father died 6 years ago today.

Damn, and this morning I was really hoping to be able to blog about something other than my mother's health. This morning I was in a good mood and planning to get a lot done and thinking Mom was finally getting better and now I'm just tired and cranky and I think I'm going to take a nap. I had a pointless fight with one of my brothers and stomped out of the hospital and still, still, the doctor hasn't called and we still don't have the pathology reports on the cancer for Mom, which means, since we're going into a 4 day holiday weekend, that we won't get them until probably next Wednesday, which means that it's four more days in limbo.

This is the tenth day of this hospitalization; ten days of Mom watch, ten days in which I have accomplished absolutely nothing, and the hold button on my life is beginning to buzz really loudly and turn an alarming shade of red. I love my family but I want a break from them. I have other things I need to be doing, but every time I think I can do something, anything, besides sit at the hospital, it turns out I can't, and the constant low lying thrum of worry is wearing me right down to the bone.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Well, my mom is definitely recovering, because she's getting cranky and threatening to do odd cantankerous things. In fact she's already starting to cause trouble: this morning when I got there I noticed she was no longer attached to the respirator, although it was still making noise (it bubbles soothingly, kind of like one of those Zen water gardens from Walgreens, only slightly less tacky.) "Oh good," I said encouragingly, "You're off the respirator!"
"I took it off." she snapped. "I don't like it."
"Uh, Mom? Did the nurses or the doctor say you could do that?"
"I don't think they even notice." said my mother defiantly. "Besides, I can put it back on if I hear them coming."

She's also got this strange vaguely PlaySkool looking plastic contraption with some water and a little blue ball in it that she's supposed to suck air out of and then blow back into, 15 times an hour. She hates it. She says it's too hard, and there's nothing wrong with her lungs, and it's a ridiculous thing anyway. I suggested that maybe it was to strengthen her abdominal muscles and that probably the doctors and the nurses knew what they were doing and perhaps she could consider following instructions. She paid me no mind, as usual. "I think I'll hide it." she said cheerfully. "They'll never think to look for it if I hide it in the bed."

She's chased one doctor off forever, and she's absolutely refusing to let anyone else look at her, or try to fix anything else. "He just wants his name on my bill," she growled. "That quack." I explained what the doctor told me about her carotid artery, and how that should be fixed, and how that was a minor outpatient procedure where they didn't even have to cut her open.
"I know," she said. "Ernestine used to have to get it done all the time. I figured that eventually I'd have to do it too. But not here. Not now."
"But Mom," I said reasonably, "You're in the hospital now. Why not get it all over with, get it all done at once?" And then I told her the story about my car, and how the mechanic told me I needed to get this thingie fixed that was leaking some chemical on the clutch and how if I didn't get it fixed it would get worse, but I didn't get it fixed and then lo and behold three or four years later I did in fact have to replace the whole clutch and it cost me $1300 where if I'd just done it right off it would have only cost me like $300. My mother listened to this story in silence.
"See?" I said hopefully, "There's a lot to be said for doing things when they come up, all at once."
"Your car hasn't died yet, has it?" she said.

Oh great. Mom is back, and what a lovely mixed blessing that's going to be. My heart goes out to the hospital staff. We're going to have to sprinkle some major flowers and chocolates around there.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Mostly Good News!!

It was a long day - for one thing, the surgery ended up being delayed two hours, and those were two hours I spent with my mom in the small and unexciting pre-op room, desperately making conversation on matters that were not of great import. For the most part.

But look, I'll cut to the chase, because my brother is here and it's beer drinkin' time. There was no diverticulitis after all. There was only one tumor, a big ole mother of a tumor, about the size of a softball, in her upper colon, in fact obstructing it, that had been causing all the issues. That tumor is gone, along with some of her colon and some of her bowel, but not enough for a colostomy bag, so all good, all good. The liver seemed healthy - more really excellent good news. They took some of the lymph to biopsy it: that outlook is not as good but we shall see. There's another, brand new problem: it looks like she had a small stroke in one eye a couple days ago and so now they would like to clean out her carotid artery. This is complicated by the fact that the doctor they sent to announce it is a doctor my mother hates passionately, and so they had a big fight and he stomped out. But enough of this.

Here is the gist: she's out of surgery. She's recovering well. The beautiful gardenia from Drinking Liberally came and I read her the card and she insisted on sniffing the gardenia and she was really touched. And she's doing better. She's doing way, way, way the fuck better, even if she doesn't feel it yet, and I know that it's because of all the vooodoooo that you do, in other words, the many good lights and prayers that have flooded her way. So thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, and I owe you way more than one, because suddenly it's looking as if in a month or so I will be arguing with my mother over whether we can plant that gardenia in the same place where I have always wanted to take out that wretched holly that's never done well. And I cannot imagine anything better.

love to you all

Monday, June 26, 2006

Thanks and Tomorrow

I haven't been answering the comments, not because I don't want to (do you have any idea how choked up it makes me to see 9 and 10 comments on a post of mine?) but because I just can't: y'all are too kind and sweet and thoughtful and I get all kind of teared up. I'm avoiding choked uppedness like the plague just now because once it starts I can tell it's going to be hard to stop, so I read your comments and sniffle a little and then I just can't answer them. Except like this, in post form, to tell you how much I appreciate it, and how welcome it is, and how incredibly thoughtful and sweet y'all are. I really, really do genuinely appreciate all the kind thoughts and love and the prayers that I know are flowing our way right now.

We need them. Keep them coming, because tomorrow is the surgery.

Tomorrow is the surgery and here, right now, in the name of catharsis or honesty or some such thing, is where I say the things that are never supposed to be said out loud. I was in there today and this mean idiot LPN (we're batting a great average at St. Joe's - we have encountered uncounted but deeply appreciated wonderful, smart, and dedicated people and only the one mean dumb one, which is amazing and breaks every law of averages and of human resources) gave my mom another release to sign, a consent to surgery. "She's done that already," I said, "A week ago, when we decided on this." The mean LPN sniffed nastily. "Still need to do it." she said, and thrust it under my mother's nose even though I was holding my hand out to read it.

"I don't like number four." said my mother and started to refuse to sign it, which was the cue for mean dumb bitch to get snifty, so I took it and read it. Number four is the thing that says, "We the surgeons and we the hospital have your permission to do whatever surgical shit we find necessary once we actually get right up inside you and really get an idea of just what the fuck is going on in there." Which is another one of these gray area things that are understandable from both points of view: i.e., it's like your mechanic discovering, when he starts to take apart your car to replace the spark plugs, that the head gasket is shot. In mechanic world, he is then supposed to call you and say, hey, there's something else wrong with your car, and it's going to cost you approximately $600 more than we originally said. In mechanic terms, of course, this is called The Norm. In an interesting side note to that, my mother's name is Norma, and we have often called her The Norm, or, occasionally in my father's case, just Norm. Mostly everyone calls her Tucky and has since she was a small child for reasons she has shrouded with secrecy, but I digress. At any rate, the mechanic analogy breaks down here, because the surgeon can't just call me up and say, "So, do we have your permission to put in a new head gasket or would you rather we just did the spark plugs and you can try to talk your old boyfriend into putting in a new head gasket for free?" In a perfect world, you see, you could then say, "Well, I'd rather keep my gallbladder, thanks, so just do the original work." But you can't say that, in surgery.

No, the surgeon has to just go ahead, hell for leather, into the breach and so on, since opening up a human again for further repairs is far more problematic than opening up an 87 Honda, which I explained to my mother, along with the fact that this was just another CYA document, of which there are so many. My mother had never heard the term CYA (it means Cover Your Ass) until a week or two ago when we got launched into this new world we are currently inhabiting and it charmed her, as changes to the language usually do. She was thrilled a couple of years ago when my daughter explained "24/7" and she told all her Deerfield retirement community friends who were dutifully impressed with my mother's hip and happening grasp of the latest slang, especially since she then started trying to slip it in wherever possible, which was difficult since my mother's lifestyle doesn't really accomodate "24/7" except, of course, in terms of peeing.

But anyhow, the surgeon just going ahead is exactly what my mother does not want, because she believes that too much energy is put into keeping old people alive. She says she is damned if she wants some kind of surgery that will keep her alive but miserable and in pain for an extra couple of months. She says, "That's what happened to Jack - that operation was supposed to only be a couple of hours and it ended up being five hours long and they gave him a bag at the end of it and then he died 8 months later and I don't want that."

None of us want that. I am no doubt going to some kind of unfilial hell - I know I shouldn't think or hope or gods forbid say this, but I am - for hoping, as I am right now, that if, when they open her up tomorrow, it turns out that she is eaten away inside with cancer, that she dies on the operating table. I would rather she died tomorrow than go on for a few months in constant drifting pain like she's been in for the past couple of months. These haven't been good months. This is not what you would call fucking goddamn quality of life, constant pain and nausea and dizziness and bloody diarrhea. The last two or three weeks have been essentially unmitigated hell, for her and for all of us who love her. I love her terribly, utterly, awfully and because I love her so much I do not want her to go through any of that kind of soulless living hell, that kind of slow cancer dying that my father went through. Among other things, I don't know if I can take it. If this is just a dress rehearsal, if this is just the prelude to slow, agonizing months of dying - I don't know. I just don't know if I can stand or take it or anything else at all. I wouldn't let a dog of mine go through what my father did six years, six long years, ago, and when I think of it, and think of my mother facing that, well, I guess I'm damned myself, because then I pray that she just gently, quietly dies.

I know, it's still very possible that she'll be fine after all this, and please oh gods, oh all you gods (because I'm not a monotheist at heart - I always think, well hell, if one god is a good thing than 12 or so is clearly far better) please let that be so, and let us go back to our driving around and our rum and cokes at 5:00 pm and our amicable wrangling over the rose bushes for another 10 or 15 or even, gods, 20 years, but if it isn't so, and if we're going from this to slow death, to wasting illness, to the terrible kindness of hospice, than please, please, just let her go.

The Rains

Well, the rains came and broke the drought and I thought that magically, mysteriously, in a moment of particular grace given to the gardener, my mother would get better. She hasn't. She stays the same, the hospital room stays the same (although the flowers look better, since yesterday I brought over a fishbowl & some marbles from Michaels Crafts and my brother commandeered some of those weirdly shaped hospital scissors and my mother deftly recut all the flowers and arranged them in the fishbowl until they looked like actual, you know, flowers as opposed to a random bouquet of roadside weeds shoved into a coke bottle by a six year old. Which goes to show that if you own the florist shop across from the hospital your living is assured regardless of your skill set or lack thereof.)

I'm the same too. It's kind of like a week long hangover: I'm spaced out, out of it - I'm all metaphors relating to the word out, except for the good ones like out and about or out of the closet. Of course this may have something to do with the fact that I'm spicing up my lengthy metaphorical hangover with doses of actual hangover just to break the monotony. It's getting harder and harder to drag myself to the hospital. I want to see Mom, and I think she wants to see me, but it feels so weird, and there she is all hooked up to tubes, with nurses bustling in and out, and no good news and if I'm out of it, well, hell, she's so out there she's approaching the second planet of Alpha Centauri. It's not a fun planet, that one, not a party place. It's dark and gray and drab and there are no bright colors: everything is muted and occasionally a machine or three will beep.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Back and Forth

This is where my mom is, on the seventh floor. Oddly enough, I didn't know there was a cross on top until after I took and then downloaded this picture. It's called St. Joseph's, though, which is something I've been wondering about: why are there so many hospitals called St. Josephs? I can only think, offhand, of two St. Josephs - Jesus' stepfather, who I think was a carpenter, and Joseph of Arimathea, who brought the Holy Grail to Britain. But then I'm not all that up on my saints. There is a statue of the Virgin in a niche on each floor by the elevators, though, or at least the ones I've glimpsed on my way from 1 to 7 and back again. She's wearing a different colored robe in each one, which is kind of nice.

I'm getting tired of going to the hospital and I wish my mother was getting better. You would think, with all that blood going in, and the antibiotics, and the big plastic bag of what looks like milk but is some kind of perfect liquid nutrition, that she would be feeling a bit more chipper. But she isn't. She's tired and vague and sick, and all our jokes just bring forth a smile. At least the view from her room, at right, is good, although the place was built in 1974 and is showing it's age: my mom's window is scratched and dull and apparently held in place by duct tape. And yesterday the smoke alarm went off, which may have been my fault, because I was standing quite close to the alarm pull thing and possibly I bumped it, but I don't think I did. My brothers think I did. Still, it didn't faze anyone and there was no fire drill. The nurses sighed and shook their heads and called somebody to turn it off. Which is a little unnerving, but then nobody ever does believe fire alarms.

After the boys leave each day I wait behind a minute, and ask her if there's anything I can bring her the next day. There are many things, you see, that must be kept secret from the males, such as the existence and location of the floral foam in her garage. She wants to rearrange some of her flowers into a basket, which idea I applaud heartily, since it means she's noticing things, and that's good. She also asked if I could bring her some bacitracin. "Mom," I said, "You're in a hospital. I bet they have some antibiotic ointment around here." "No," she said, "If you go buy a new tube at Wal Mart it will only be $2 but if they bring it up they'll charge me $50." "No they won't," I say patiently. "These nurses are your friends. I bet they'll give you a few little foil packets of it for free." She has a stubborn look on her face and I know I'm not going to win this one. "Then they might find out where I'm going to put it." she said and that was that. I have to get some antibiotic ointment and a plastic lined basket and the floral foam and a pair of good scissors or pruning shears and take them over to St. Joes.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Roller Coaster

The killer is that you don't know where you stand. Yesterday, Mom looked better. This morning, she looked and sounded much worse, and our hearts ran cold, and my brothers and I went out to lunch, silently. This afternoon, she was almost up again to yesterday's level and we joked and were almost okay again. And so you don't know. It's the uncertainty that is killing. It's all uncertainty. I forced her into the hospital; did I do right? Wrong? I think it was a good thing, but I don't know. Sometimes I feel like I'm being wildly overdramatic, like I should have stood back, like it was all just PMS run amok or something. On the other hand, there she is, and the hospital certainly seems to think I did the right thing.

I talked to the doctor today. "We're giving her some blood," he says reassuringly, "Because her hemoglobin was just so low."
"She had a full blood transfusion 12 days ago," I say, "How could that all be gone?"
He shuffles some papers loudly enough that I hear them as I head up Victoria Drive. "Really?" he says and I think, yeah, asshole, like I'm faking my mother's blood transfusions to confuse you.
"Yes," I say politely, "On Friday, June 9." It's hard to remember dates and drive and I'm also thinking about how I'm about to kill a whole bunch of people by trying this stunt.
"Oh yes," he says, and then he says, "Well, that's nothing. We have patients who need 6 units of blood every 2 hours! She's doing fine!"
This reassures me brilliantly until I repeat it to my mother who says, smart and mathematical as always, "That's impossible. It took 7 hours for them to put 2 units of blood into me yesterday, and they're talking about putting in another one. 6 units of blood would take 42 hours at least."
I try to say, that well, those people needed much more blood than you, because they're so much sicker, but it doesn't fly. My mother is really good at figures and she knows that I'm not. My daughter is, and the two of them have laughed at me about it since my daughter was six or so. "Skipped a generation," they say, smirking, and they torment me with word problems and geometry. Stupid math, damn.

The holding pattern is damn near intolerable. In a week, you see, she will either start to get better, or she will start to get worse. Which one? It's a fucking crap shoot. No one knows, yet. So we're circling, holding, saying some things and keeping a lot of others silent. I, personally, am coping with this by utilizing the time honored strategies of caffeine and alcohol and nicotine abuse, coupled with tremendous cel phone abuse (Brain Tumors R' Us) and just, I don't know, being tired all the time. And not eating. It's very hard to eat right now, somehow. Which, because I am shallow, I am seeing as a terrible silver lining to this whole goddamn thing. Dude, I lost 40 pounds when my father died. Fucked up, huh? I'm thinking other shallow shit, too, like I can't get my hair done, because I don't dare make an appointment, and so on. Don't worry, I had lunch today and now I'm eating toast and besides, I can live indefinitely on PBR, black coffee and cigarettes. And I could seriously stand to lose 40 pounds.

More flip shit but you know, we are all coping as best we can. One of my brothers is cracking orders, one is cracking jokes. It's all control - some little control in what is essentially an uncontrollable, unbearable, intolerable situation. And there are some people who think I'm funny, but I'm nowhere near and never will be as funny as my brothers in full on spate. So we leave my mother, who is hooked up to a beeping five bag bearing drip thing which is keeping her alive, laughing helplessly. We crack jokes. She's thin. She's pale. She has a beeping thing, and we crack jokes about that. We joke with the nurses, who love us.

We don't know what to do with ourselves, here. We're all just, you know, in a holding pattern, waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

So, Updates

I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for all the support and kindness and emails and good vibes that are flooding my way right now. They are deeply, deeply appreciated and I am overcome with gratitude. You are all so very kind and sweet and thoughtful, and this means so much to me that I am kind of at a loss for words. Thank you, is all I can say, thank you, and it's working, because Mom is looking much better now, 24 hours in.

She's up at St. Joes on the 7th floor, happily getting to know all the nurses: inquiring after their children, learning their life stories and so on. She's getting blood, a lot of blood, and antibiotics and intravenous nutrition, and some pain killers that she says she doesn't want, but she's getting them anyway, thanks to one of those sotto voce conversations I had with the nurse. She was so thin and gray and kind of empty looking, like a camping air mattress that has had it, and now she's gently inflating again, back up to human levels. It's great to watch. I took a bunch of books over there today, mostly from this very very sweet thread, and only half of them were summarily rejected (she really is done with mysteries; she wasn't kidding,) which is a brilliant batting average for books taken to my mother.

Both my brothers are in town; this morning we were all crammed into her hospital room, laughing at each other and it was kind of oddly festive. Than my mom said we made her tired, but in a good way, and so we wandered off to lunch. We went back this evening, following a brief and hilarious interlude in which all four of us (me, my daughter and my two brothers) were standing in the hospital lobby holding open cel phones. "Could be a Wired cover," commented my older brother, and my younger one said, "More like Loser Magazine, Inc."

My cousin came by the hospital, which was a really good thing, since he's a lawyer and he looked over her paperwork, figured out what was missing, commandeered a notary and a couple of witnesses and got the Living Will and the Medical Power of Attorney (that would be me) all done up and notarized and witnessed and proper and correctly filed in with all of her other multitudinous records. It was good to see him; we all went out afterwards for what started out to be just beers and ended up being dinner.

I'm tired, though, very very tired. Tomorrow is another day. Mom's on a strict clear liquid diet along with all the intravenous nutrition in case they have to operate on her suddenly - hopefully they won't have to, but it's good they're ready if they have to be. It's a strange little vortex of time we're all in here - hurry up, worry, wait. Go, go, stop. Run, run, wait. Everyone's here, which feels like Christmas or something, but it's not really celebratory, and we're all keeping our phones right there next to us. There's nothing more really to be done, but we're all worried. It's weird. It's oddly timeless and at the same time I'm intensely aware of each passing moment.

The other day I said to a friend of mine that this whole thing, this birth/life/aging/death thing sucked and was unfair, awful, wrong and shouldn't be this way, that death was just too much, shouldn't happen. And she said, "Oh honey, it's already nearly impossible to get a parking space. Imagine if noone died." Which is hilarious and darkly funny and terribly, terribly true on some very deep levels.

Thanks again for all your thoughts and kind wishes. They are so deeply appreciated, I can't tell you how much.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


It's dry. There is no rain. The ground is dry, and harsh, and the water from the hose just pools on top of dust. It's sere, dry, the grass is turning yellow and I have hopeless, endless dreams of refugee camps and starving, lonely children.

My mother is in the hospital. I took her there today. We're (huh. And by we, I mean me, and my brothers, and possibly some amorphous kind of nice doctor bot who hasn't yet materialized) hoping that some time in the hospital before her operation will get her healthy enough to withstand surgery. And/or, if what's going wrong inside her has suddenly gone much wronger, which we all suspect, but do not say, then the hospital will deal with it.

She lost two pounds yesterday, in blood, and sorrow.

Today I had to fight, her, and the surgeon, and the surgeon's unbearably perky peach topped assistant, to explain exactly what was going on, to override her stoic midwestern self and her Victorian decorum and to say, bluntly and out loud, for which she may never forgive me, that she's shitting huge gouts of blood and jesus, sweet christ, this isn't okay. And so they listened to me, and noted the fact that she can hardly stand up, and to the hospital we went. With a stop at her house to gather robes with Neiman Marcus labels and that godawful dog, stashed temporarily at my mom's friend the groomer.

Finally, finally, when her objections had been worn down, and they weren't as loud as they should have been, which scared me, she turned to me and became 7 years old and said, "I am sickie. I am a sickie girl." and I said, "Yes sweetheart, you are." and my heart stopped and the world whirled on by in shades of dust and heat and dryness and weird numerolgoy, because in 9 days it will be the anniversary of my father's death, and in 15 days it will be her 79th birthday, and anyway, I took hold of her elbow and walked her gently to the hot and steaming car and said, yes, darling, sit back, it's all gonna be okay.

Then we went to the hospital, and sat in the emergency room with a couple of wiggers and their attendant police officers. I was worried, because modern social phenomena and the ever increasing spectrum of the American poor are some of the things I do my damndest to shield my mother from, but she didn't notice. She isn't noticing, much.

Finally they came and took her upstairs, and then I went to the gift shop, for in all our packing we hadn't thought to get her a book. The gift shop had hardly any books, which I think is criminal, although it did have a rack of used books, mostly kids' generic mysteries (six 11 year olds meet a pharaoh in the Mystery of the Pyramids!) and, god help us and I kid you not, two volumes of Principles of Accounting and one of Basic Fortran. I got her the latest Ann Tyler and then they took her off for more X rays and CAT scans and I spent some quality time with the nurse detailing her medical history and reiterating her Do Not Resuscitate order and her Living Will and her No Heroic Measures (I kind of love that. Heroic Measures? Does that mean I have a choice of Agamemnon slaying for me? Leonidas on a hill at Thermopylae? On came the 500? I mean, what the fuck heroic measures?) paperwork, and then, you know, I left.

And met my friend and then my brother at the Westville and talked to my other brother and to my daughter and dear god, she had better get better soon, because otherwise I'll be sitting right there next to her with cirrhosis and lung cancer.

Jesus. Or, as I said, praying today, "Hello, God? I don't really believe in you, but, um, if you're there. . . Blessed Virgin Mary? Holy Mother? St. Isidore? Uh, indifferent Shinto Nature Spirits? I need some help, okay? I need a little help, here."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Tests Indicate You Need More Tests

My mother is deep in the claws of the medical establishment now. I spent the afternoon meeting with a surgeon - and my mom, of course - and the news is just not so good, but on the other hand, it's not so bad, because nothing is conclusive and nothing can or will be known until next Tuesday, when this nice doctor, who looked a little like my cousin P and was wearing a yellow Ralph Lauren shirt and cowboy boots, takes out several large chunks of my mother's colon. That's when we find out if it's spread past the colon: if it has, well, that's the worst case scenario. If it hasn't, then it's just major abdominal surgery and a week or more in the hospital, which is not a cakewalk by any means but is still way, way, WAY fucking better than the alternative at the other end of the scale. I envision this scale as a slider, like the volume control on Winamp or WMP, and at the left is the best case scenario and at the right is the worst (evil is always at the right end of the scale, you know.)

The slider moved more to the right today. There's another mass in there and one of her kidneys is doing something strange, although that may be normal, because the surgeon seemed to downplay it. You would think that if one of your kidneys suddenly decided to pick up stakes and migrate to a whole new place in your body, turning itself upside down in the process, that it would be worrisome, but he kind of laughed it off. I have no idea. Perhaps kidneys do this all the time? I'm still not entirely clear on where the colon is, let alone the kidneys, although I'm fairly sure that they're all in the middle section and not, as far as I know, in your ankles. It worried my mother though, and who can blame her? If internal organs start making those kinds of decisions, who knows where it will end? With your lungs in your ass, no doubt, and your liver taking up residence in your elbow.

So we go back to this doctor on Wednesday for a pre op physical and more tests, there are always more tests. And then we go to Meet The Anesthesiologist, which seems a bit odd, but what the hell. The way they talked about it, it almost sounds like there will be wine and cheese, but somehow I doubt it. My mom is on some heavy duty antibiotics already, and she can't drink with them. The obligatory Scotch & Ensure jokes were made. She also can't take any kind of pain medication, which is more of a problem, since she's in some fairly bad, fairly constant pain at this point. And then she has to go on clear liquids for two days and all the rest of the pre operation ritual; it is tough and fucking miserable.

It is all fucking miserable, and the waiting rooms have nothing to read but Parenting and American Baby magazine, which both my mother and I are light years past, and 2 year old copies of Town and Country, and some hideous magazine for execuchicks called Pink. And something called Organic Life, which explained how the stuffing in my sofa is toxic and killing us all and I should immediately replace it with an all organic sofa made by happy elves in an enchanted forest, which will only set me back five grand. Sweet weeping Jesus on a pogostick. The world is a funny place.

I'm adding something now, a few hours later - if any of this sounds flip, or callous, or any of that, well, fuck you, I'm dancing as fast as I can. I'm actually devastated and kind of freaking out. All I can do is try my hardest to laugh, and you know, colon cancer, that's some funny shit. Funny as hell. Funny as pain. Funny as death. I know on a rational level that it's way too early to flip out, but on a sub rational level, on the mammal brain level, rest assured that I am freaking in every way possible. I'm praying. I ask that you do too.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Haunted House

haunted house3
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
Last night after the party, I made the same idiotic mistake that I often make leaving North Asheville and put my poor friend S (who was driving, thank the gods) on 26 going the wrong direction. We didn't figure this out for a while but finally we ended up on Weaverville Highway heading back towards Asheville and around a bend in the road was this terrifying illuminated spooky house. So I took pictures of the fabulous creepiness, most of which are suitably blurry and scary and ghostly and unreal. I am here to report that it is totally fun to scramble around on the side of the road in your party clothes at 1 in the morning taking pictures of a haunted house.

And today, of course I'm hungover (it was an awesome party,) although not as badly as I richly deserve, and I'm hoping that those weeds I was slithering around in to get these shots weren't poison ivy. I also think I've eaten more food in the last 24 hours than I usually consume in a week. Why is it that hangovers make you hungry? Why do they make you crave greasy oily salty food? My veganism, never particularly strong or inspired, went all to hell and back today, because damn, oh my people, there are times when Burgermeister is the shizznit, as I say even though my children keep assuring me that I am much too old to keep it gangsta.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Dream Images

I've been dreaming a lot lately. This mornng I woke up from a dream of A with a bag of potato chips.
"What flavor are they?" I asked
"They're new," she said, "Pomegranate Watermelon Russian Dressing."
"Yuck," I said, "They sound horrible."
"They are." she said.

Then, just now, as I lay napping, I had a long involved dream in which M and I and some other people were rebels fighting off evil witches. The witches were spying on us at one point, from a convertible and a pink mountain bike, but one of our good witches shot an arrow at them. The one on the bike turned into a bird, a really cool bird that morphed as I watched it fly away, first pink chrome tubing, with the handlbars making wings with the pedals attached on their ends, and the body of the bike the body of the bird, and then getting more and more birdlike as it disappeared. At the end of the dream I was standing watch and I heard a strange rustling sound. It was a huge, huge flock of blackbirds, more than I have ever seen, coming quickly over the horizon. I was frightened but I went in to get my camera anyway: when I came back out they were gone and I woke up.

And They're Off

M & A, plus A's boyfriend J and M's friend S, took off in my car for Baltimore and the beach this morning. It makes me nervous as hell when both my children are out there in the great wild blue yonder, or at least I-81, in one car but A is a good driver, the car is running fine and so on and so forth, and I freak out too easily. I need to look at the silver lining, which is that I will now be alone for four days, ah, beautiful: in fact I am already planning a nap. And I'm planning on mowing the lawn and cleaning the house, sigh, but I think those will be post nap activities.

I'm a bit stressed out about the mom situation, because it seems like every test just leads to more questions with no definitive answers. Still, go ahead please and light a candle for her or say a little prayer or hold her in the light or, hell, sacrifice a white goat or something, would you? I tried to light a candle for her at the Basilica last night, but fuck the Catholics: the church was locked. I understand from a sensible logical standpoint all the horrid reasons why the cathedral is locked at 10:00 on Friday night, but from an emotional standpoint it sent me into a brief and dramatic meltdown which may or may not have had something to do with a long day, little food, and three quick after work beers.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

My Life in Notes

So I left this note on the kitchen table when I went off to work (work! Yes! me! Just today and tomorrow, though, I'm temping at a museum near the museum where I used to work, and it's very nice) and I came home to find, of course:

1. No A, and no car, and no money, so the gods only know if the car got an oil change

2. Dead mouse still in cabinet. Bleach spray still helpfully on kitchen table, although moved from when the arrow was pointing at it.

3. Dry plants.

4. Filthy bathroom.

This does not, somehow, even surprise me one iota. I called M and said, "There is still a dead mouse in the cabinet, goddamnit," and he said quickly, "A said she would clean it up!"
"She did not," I said, knowing full well that the odds of A cleaning up a dead mouse are roughly the same as the odds of the Israelis and Palestinians sitting down together tomorrow, having a good cry, and deciding to live together in happy love and harmony forever after.
"No Mom," he said, "I swear!"
"I don't care," I said, "You're dealing with this when you get home."

And he will, because obviously I am so tough. Eeeesh.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Contest, Y'all

Blogasheville is having a party and a contest and look at the comments, because I am nominated, and now I'm all verklempty. Plus, winning in the silver lining department: when I thought I had to drive to Delaware this weekend I also thought I wouldn't be able to go to this party and I was sort of edging up on telling them all that but hey, procrastination sometimes pays off, because now I can go and in fact have ever intention of going and YOUR task, loyal readers, is to vote for ME, MOI, ME although not, possibly, in the Blogger Least Likely to Make Money category because I don't really want to win that one, thanks very much - I got it last year. Not that it existed last year but if it had, you know - I would SO have won. So anyway, go forth and nominate. Nominate ME! Or, well, nominate somebody, anyway.

Well. . .

Apologies for last night's post. The Boat of Self Pity sailed out last night onto the Ocean of Despair, fueled by the Beer of Angst, and well, so, you know: great Drama resulted, all over the place. Things are not really that bad.

My mom came through the colonoscopy with flying colors but (there is always a but, you know) there is a large growth in her upper colon and the biopsy results aren't in yet. However, since the tumor is up high, it will be a fairly simple operation to get it the hell out of there, and that's good news, as is the fact that she won't need a colostomy bag or any of that horrible stuff, which she was dreading. The other good news is that she had a CT scan already, about a month ago, and it didn't show anything untoward, which I think (and I could be wrong, of course) that that means this probably isn't like super attack cancer. But we're still waiting for the biopsy results and the operation is a necessity and we're consulting with the surgeon on Monday afternoon, with the surgery to be schedule shortly thereafter, which means that no, I will not be going to the beach. That's okay, except I've always wanted to take pictures of Funland, the adorable little old amusement park at Rehoboth Beach, and again I won't be able to. Ah well, them's the breaks.

Meanwhile, bee! On flower! Bee! Flower! Flower! Bee! Blode and the Giant Bee!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Me, Taking Care

Tomorrow I'm taking my mother for a colonoscopy. This is a routine procedure, usually, although apparently horrible, but it is not so routine if, like my mother, you are 79 years old and have been shitting blood for some seven months. My mother is resolute, impervious, steely and determined to avoid doctors at all costs. That is why we didn't find out about the symptoms until recently. So tomorrow, colonoscopy.

I am worried about it and even more worried about the news it will bring.

I foolishly agreed to go to Rehoboth Beach next week, and now I am realizing that I probably cannot go, which is fine, because honestly I was kind of dreading it (my exhusband AND my exboyfriend AND his new, young, girlfriend will be there, to say nothing of a bunch of screaming kids and some people I have never liked, all in a 4 bedroom house.) Thank god for family though, because I have delegated my daughter to go up if I cannot, and chances are I can't. I almost certainly need to be here.

But somebody has to go up there, or at least to Baltimore, because my son needs to go up to see his father. My son starts high school next year; girls are knocking on the door; he's always out and about with friends and I worry and also, him being vegan is costing me a fucking fortune. He's going through enough peanut butter and orange juice a week to sustain a small country for several years. I worry about my daughter, too, who needs a job and her car fixed and a purpose in her life and I worry about these things, even over and above waking up at 4:00 a.m. and deeply considering the many ways I have failed my children utterly and then moving on from that to worrying about the world ending and what kind of life, I ask you, will my kids have then? They don't have enough leather and spikes for a post apocalyptic existence and Mad Max will eat them alive. I worry.

We're all worried. My brothers are worried about my mother, as I am, and they're asking if she's okay, and I don't have any answers yet. My mother is worried about her horrible little dog, who I hate. He will probably bite me tomorrow when I have to lure him out from under my mother's bed with cheese and then pick him up, eeesh. My mother turned down three or four volunteers today from her neighborhood who offered to take care of him: she told me this proudly. No, the dog is my job, because I'm family, and you should never accept a favor from anyone else. Jesus. Not only is he mean, but he smells horrific. But there's nothing for it. This is what I do.

So, I am taking care. Of creepy Barney, my mother's dog, of my mother, of my son, of my daughter, of my own obnoxious dog, who needs flea treatment and a heartworm test and a bath and a haircut and more walks. I am taking care of even, god help me, my freaked out semi-feral cat, who needs me to wake up at 3 every morning and entertain him. And then I'm taking care, or at least some care, of the bazillion plants around here that turn their little vegetative heads towards me every day and croak "Organic? Fuck organic! Spray us! Water us! Lean over us and sing creepy hippie songs!"

There is just an awful lot of care to be taken. I am moving carefully. I am busy. It's not so bad. But it's messy sometimes, this life and family thing.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Mourning the Loss of my Music

Well, it's official: I have totally lost my music. That #)$*%&#)@)ing million times damned SimpleTech USB hard drive has eaten all my music and all my pictures before May 25 and I am heartsick. I even tried a copy of this program with great hope in my heart but. . nope. Did nothing. In fact, clicking on that D drive not only didn't work, it froze and crashed my whole computer three times in a row and so I gave up. Now I guess I just have to figure out whether I try to return the damn thing to Circuit City or I mail it back to the manufactorer. And what about those rebates I never got around to sending for, since it broke so fucking fast? All my music, weep weep, a giant archive of peculiar and fabulous mp3s, and everything from my own collection that I had copied onto the computer - which is replaceable, but fuck, what a huge, enormous, weeping boil of a PITA. The only bright spot is that a) most of my photos are up on Flickr, so they're recoverable, and b) I did burn a CD of my random music in the beginning of January. Therefore, I only lost 6 months worth of music, but, of course, those WERE the 6 months that I had an emusic subscription and was really trolling around the internets for tunes. I don't even have a list of what I lost, but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 songs. I weep. And then I curse. And if I didn't want my money back, I'd like to disembowel and burn this incredible piece of shit drive.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Gross Physical Trivia

This morning I woke up without a hangover, which isn't really surprising, since I didn't drink last night (although that method is not, alas, infallible in my case) and mowed the lawn at that magic Sunday morning hour that is not late enough to be really hot but not early enough to terminally annoy the neighbors, a.k.a. 10:30 a.m. My lawnmower, which is red, has been surgically modified for extra danger: the plastic guard thing that's supposed to keep the outgoing chopped grass from flying out and killing you fell off, and I never bothered to replace it, especially since I noticed that since it's been gone the lawnmower clogs much less often. However, since it's been gone I have also often thought about the inevitability of getting blinded by the damn thing, and in particular about how particularly awful it would be to be blinded by a) thorns from the wild berries or b) poison ivy, both of which I mow over frequently.

Today, as it turned out, was that inevitable day when the lawnmower choked and spat something noxious into my left eye. I ignored it for a while, for I am macho, and then my machismo wavered in the face of actual pain so I came in and poured contact lens solution into my eye. Halfway through that procedure it occurred to me that I should have washed my hands, so I did, with soap, which really made it all a bit worse. Then I decided to take out my contact lenses and flush them down the toilet, and I did that, and put on my glasses, and spent the rest of the day with a left eye that kept going kind of strange and hurting and tearing up, at which point I would pour more contact lens solution into it. It's suprising that I don't have a long white patch of salt down the left side of my face, since I'm basically incapable of putting in eyedrops without pouring the whole bottle all over my head and hoping for the best.

All this is fine and good and I had gone over to my friend S's for a great dinner and in the process moved on from worrying about the fact that I was going out in public wearing my glasses, which are usually strictly for family consumption only, to worrying about how fetching I was going to look in a black pirate eye patch and could I get one with a skull and crossbones on it, when my eye started hurting much worse and tearing like crazy. I explained to the dinner party what was going on and went to rub my eye (exactly what you're not supposed to do, I know) and S's roommate N said, oh my god, look, it's out of there. And so it was. A pretty damn big hunk of grass had suddenly migrated OUT of my EYEBALL and onto the side of my nose. Ewwwwwwwww. In other words, for the last EIGHT or NINE HOURS, there has been a piece of grass (a honking big old piece too, hon, not one of your measly fragments, but a fucking CHUNK) rolling AROUND on my EYEBALL. This is just so gross and horrific, I had to share.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I'm Bored, So. .

I made a creepy little avatar me doll. What do you think? Accurate, or not?

He Who Shall Not Be Blogged About

I took this not so fabulous picture of the moon the other night. I clearly have not yet figured out the low light settings on the camera, but whatever, here is a picture of the moon, which we really like. Except for HWSNBBA, a.k.a. Young M, who I tried to show this picture to today.
"Look!" I said. "It is the moon."
"Mom," he said, "I don't care. The moon is boring. Nobody cares about the moon. The picture is boring. The only way I would want to see a picture of the moon was if it was exploding and then all the tides went crazy and there were tsunamis everywhere. Then I'd look at a picture of the moon."

Friday, June 09, 2006

Long Day

no trespassing 2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
My mom has to have a blood transfusion today. This sounds like a terrifying Buffy-esque procedure and actually, damn if it isn't, particularly if your ideas of hell are less along the Goth lines and more along the formica/carpet/unidentifiable sterile smells/Nurse Ratchet lines. I took her in this morning at 8:30 for the transfusion, which process had not been explained to her at all by the referring doctor. She thought it would be an in and out visit and she would feel fabulous immediately. "Like Keith Richards," I said. "Who is Keith Richards?" asked my mother.

We were wrong about the in and out. A transfusion is an all day thing. First off, at 8:30 in the morning they take some of your blood and then they send it off to the blood matching center and then you either wait, or leave and come back two hours later when they have gotten your blood delivered and then, you must stay all day in your lounge chair, having blood slowly, slowly added to your system. We left two tubes of her blood there and went for coffee by the pond near her house, which is where this duck with his blase attitude towards trespassing came into the picture. Then we went to BB Barnes, the fancy garden store my mother adores, and then, since she has been worrying over returning a garden umbrella to Pottery Barn, we did that, and dropped the dog off for dog daycare at the groomers and then we went back to the blood place.

The transfusion center is in the back of the Verlo Mattress Store, which usually boasts the Verlo Mattress Man, a guy dressed in a really horrible stained and ripped old mattress, standing out front and waving at cars. I think it's possible that the Verlo Mattress Man has the worst job in Asheville, and I also wonder if the marketing geniuses who came up with his job description have ever considered reupholstering him, because as it is he's the saddest, sleaziest, $5 by the hour love motel mattress I've ever seen. The blood center is also sad and kind of sleazy. It's way in the back, and it is staffed almost completely by women with thick country accents and big hair. It doesn't seem overwhelmingly clean. It smells unsettling: antiseptic but grungy, with a faint but definite aroma of old cigarettes and lost dreams, as if someone had turned a dive bar into a blood center. There is a central desk with a lot of industrial pink lounge chairs around it: the chairs have large numbers on their backs in peeling black electrical tape. My mother is in chair number 8, and she will be there all day. She has an Agatha Christie novel and her Ensure and some water, and maybe she can watch a movie, although all the movies they have there are children's movies.

She didn't want to sign the papers that said if anything bad happened she would go to the emergency room and I had to make her sign them by promising to highjack the ambulance if necessary. My mother says she will never go back to the ER, and this usually makes people laugh a little, but the large nurse was curt and unfriendly and said, "Well then honey, you ain't gonna get your blood today." So she signed. Nothing bad will happen - the large nurse unbent a little afterwards and said that they had never, ever had a problem. I hope she really is a nurse. I don't think she is. There are fake looking certificates, probably run off a MS Word template, on the walls, saying that these people are certified in something or other and I had this terrible vision of it being a one day AB Tech class in drawing and giving blood. I wouldn't be surprised.

So I left my mother there for the afternoon, without even the slim comfort of the Verlo Mattress Man (maybe he's only out on weekends?) but I think she will sleep. And maybe, this evening when I take her home and I have a rum and coke and she has a scotch and Ensure, she will feel better, like Keith Richards, who, as I told her, has eternal youth if not beauty because of all the blood of virgins he gets from a secret Swiss clinic. Which probably isn't behind a mattress store.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Anne Rice and Ellen Gilchrist: Separated at Birth?

I confess: I am reading Anne Rice. These things happen; what can I say? I am addicted to cheap paperbacks and Anne Rice is a cheap paperback drug like crack, or possibly crystal meth, or more possibly still, some incredibly cheap and grungy home made drug that is totally gross yet evilly addictive as hell. And I went to Downtown Books and News about a week ago and I've already read all the good stuff I got there - most notably, a Charles de Lint, Trader and Women Who Run With the Wolves, about which I will no doubt be waxing dreamy eyed in some post to come, since I think rereading it, along with my qigong practicing zen buddhist new age therapist, is kind of changing my life, or at least my brain state, which is after all the same thing. Anyway, back to the drug that is Anne Rice: specifically, I am reading Blackwood Farm and it's alarming me. Yesterday as I was lying around reading this unmitigated piece of crack literature I found myself thinking, "Hmm. This relationship doesn't ring true." No! What a sterling piece of insight! How utterly literary of me to note that something doesn't quite ring true in an Anne Rice novel.
The thing that's really alarming me about this book, though, is that it keeps reminding me of Ellen Gilchrist. I recently rediscovered Ellen Gilchrist, who is a "real" writer, and who I used to like, and I read The Courts of Love a month or so ago. It sounds uncannily like Anne Rice, in that both books involve disgustingly wealthy people in New Orleans and San Francisco doing whatever the hell they feel like, which in Anne Rices' case is, of course, drinking blood and talking in purple sentences to ghosts, and in Ellen Gilchrist's case is having children and talking about love and being sort of unrealistically happy and good, all of which is made possibly by giant goops of lovely luchre coming from apparently unending founts of filthy material goodness. Not that I'm biased against the rich or anything, although I am, of course, but what really gets me is that there's a serious, eerie similarity in the sentence structure. They are both fond of short choppy sentences and a lot of sort of repetitive declarations. They are both prone to having their characters fall into a strange kind of love at first sight, and then they are both absolutely delighted with the many, many possibilities afforded to one by giant wads of cash, and they dwell dreamily on interior design and architecture and just exactly how cool a house you can have if money is no object at all.

So I think they are the same person, or possibly they were separated at birth, or maybe that's just the way everyone from New Orleans writes. I can't believe that I'm the first person who has noticed this, but then it is very possible that Anne Rice and Ellen Gilchrist fans do not, in the ordinary way of things, overlap. I like the idea that they're the same person, since Anne Rice is, according to the internet anyway, utterly unhinged and Ellen Gilchrist, as far as I know, is one of those Southern women who always looks immaculate and goes about teaching at various universities and having lovely lunches (probably chicken salad, the kind with the grapes and almonds and just a tiny touch of dijon mustard, served on mesclun or watercress) with wealthy people. So I enjoy the idea that in secret she is crazy Anne Rice, writing about vampires and wigging out on Amazon. You never know. Read them both:Courts of Love excerpt here and Blackwood Farm excerpt here and see what you think.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Hee Hee, Popularity

I got an email from Consumating last night and since I had completely forgotten about them, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that 23 people like me and only 3 do not. Here I am, you can vote for me. Or not. I don't know what I ever did to those three people, but oh well, I guess you can't win all the time. Anyway I answered a couple of their questions in a cute and amusing way and now I am anxiously awaiting a date from Consumating. Given the fact that my fabulous profile, even if I forgot about it, has been up for months with no results, I suppose I shouldn't hold my breath.

In other news, trying to save money by buying two kinds of cheap ass coffee and mixing them instead of just biting the bullet and buying good coffee sucks donkey balls. The coffee I am drinking right now, an aromatic mixture of 8 O'Clock French Roast and Cafe Bustelo, is pretty much the nastiest coffee I've had since my old profession used to demand that I occasionally go to 8 a.m. PR Committee meetings at the chamber of commerce. At least no one here is trying to foist off stale doughnuts on me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Out of Town Visitors

Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
My friend D and her friend B have been here all weekend visiting from Baltimore, and in fact, soon they won't be visitors, because D has bought a house in Bat Cave and is changing her life, selling her fabulously weird artsified house near Fells Point and moving on down to the mountains. I'm delighted, because she is one of my best friends, and also she might get a llama when she moves to Bat Cave and then I can go over there and hang out with her llama, which will make me very happy, as for long years I have myself desired a llama and even cherished the thought of a small business called Felicity's Rent A Llama.

So since they are visiting, and A's friend B has also come down from Baltimore to visit, we did the obligatory out of town friends thing and all went up to the Grove Park Inn yesterday for $6 beers and that incredible, amazing sunset. It was fabulous as always. The main terrace is currently limited to restaurant patrons, and since the only way I could ever eat there is if five of us split an appetizer, we had to go over to the Sammons wing terrace. That was actually just fine and a new view to look at. I do love the Grove Park. More people should come to visit me so I can go there more often.

Day of the Beast

Today is the Day of the Beast and frankly, it's just kind of hard to decide how best to celebrate. I mean, should you crawl under your bed? Go to the movies? Get married? Get drunk? Play Slayer? Well, clearly, yeah, the Slayer is the way to go: something we can all get behind. Personally, I'm going to wear black. I know, that's a stretch. And you? It might be the end of the world!

So I wrote the above yesterday for BlogAsheville and I liked it so much, I brought it on over here. I must say that it all seems to be quite peaceful around here this morning: not even any Slayer playing, because that might wake up the kids and we don't want that. There is a dead mouse in the vegetable garden: maybe it's the leftovers of the Beast or something, although it's much more likely to be the leftovers of the Mr. Bill. In other news, Moonbird seems to have dedicated a photo to me and Zen's comment means that I love him more than ever. ;-) Pretty and odd - that's me. Or just pretty odd, that works too.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A War on Women

Yesterday I read this article, from that bastion of cutting edge journalism, Glamour magazine and was so saddened and outraged and infuriated and horrified and a host of other, less complimentary adjectives, that, like the angriest dog in the world, I could not speak, I could not move, I could only stand and growl. I'm starting to feel like my country is stumbling slowly into The Handmaid's Tale and there doesn't seem to be a good goddamn thing I can do about it. Bits and pieces of women's civil liberties are slowly chipped away: well, no, you can't have an abortion, well, no, you can't have birth control (scroll down), well, no, you're considered potentially pregnant whether you want kids or not, and then, of course, there's the old perennial: well, no, you can't make as much money as a man. Backwards, backwards, the right wing keeps spinning us backwards into a world that never existed in the first place, some kind of crazy Stepford village world where the male children are all cosseted and cared for by loving robots and girls are there only to be saintly mommies or evil whores locked up in pleasure palaces. I cannot, myself, somehow get behind any movement that denies basic human rights to over half the population, and yeah, I think birth control and abortion are extremely basic human rights: the right to control YOUR. OWN. FUCKING. BODY.

I don't understand why the fundamentalists feel they must control everything and everyone. It's not in my lexicon to give one flying shit about anyone's sex life that doesn't involve me, my children or my dog: consenting adults, whatever turns you on, enjoy. The fundamentalists seem to think that if birth control is allowed, than we will all turn into wild raving sex beasts - and what, exactly, is wrong with that picture? Is it that these fundies think they won't be getting any, that without terror and intimidation they can't get laid, or off? Whatever happened to the Republicans accusing Democrats of being a nanny state, of intruding into the family? Because if you're telling me that every time I have sex than I have to have a baby to show for it, each and every time, than, motherfucker, you are SO seriously intruding into my family. Which, by the way, consists of a lot of people who are not biologically related to me; you would be all horrified. And, if that is the case, and sex must inevitably result in pregnancy, than who, in Jeebus' name, is going to provide for all these children, in this society where welfare has been cut and children's medical programs are struggling and dying and so on and so forth?

I am so angry and I hope you are too. Get angry. Speak up. Stand up. Be counted. We have to stop this and we have to stop it now, for all our sakes.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry.
I have not yet completely gotten the hang of the self timer, but on the other hand I think this may be the most accurate portrait of me ever done. Certainly it's how I feel most of the time!

Yesterday was another hangover loss - why, lord, is it that some times I can drink all night and be fine the next day and sometimes I can drink half the night and be sick as the proverbial dog for the entire next day? This article, via Metafilter of course, says that maybe I'm missing some vital acidy thing that breaks down alcohol, and possibly that is true. Except that I'm not East Asian, and I think that in my tangled family tree, the one thing we can all be pretty sure of is that there is no East Asian there at all. Unless, in 1550 or so, a stranded sailor from Singapore made his way through County Clare - or I guess it is just vaguely possible that some seafaring ancestor could have brought home an Asian bride, but it sure doesn't show up in the genotype (or wait, is that phenotype? The visible stuff, the magical genes that make my family tall and fish bellied pale) anywhere. Sometimes I wonder if all the Irish aren't allergic to alcohol, the way Native Americans are supposed to be. God knows I didn't have enough fun (I had some, but nowhere near enough)on Thursday night to warrant what I went through yesterday. I don't think there's enough fun in the universe to warrant that.
But, if I had to pick a day to lose, yesterday was okay since it rained all day anyway and everyone just wanted to sleep. Every time it rains the next morning is like a little voyage of discovery in the garden; the morning glories, blasted weed, are blooming and god, I wish they weren't so invasive, because they are so, so beautiful. It's like the god damned pernicious beer: love and hate, all the way. A few morning glories, like a few drinks, are a thing of beauty and a joy forever. Too many and they choke the hell out of the garden.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Angst and Humor

I'm kind of angst ridden again. My mother has to go in for a colonoscopy; the doctor thinks she might have colon cancer. I've just been reading all the websites on colon cancer I can find and wondering if I could conceivably sue her doctor for not sending her in for tests a month ago. Keep your fingers crossed, hold her in the light and all that good stuff, okay? It's possible that this isn't cancer but something far more easily treated, so let's all hope.

Meanwhile, in other news, I am angst ridden and I haven't even got a coherent reason for it. Yesterday I went to therapy and felt like I was getting nowhere, which may be because I was all embarrassed with myself for getting choked up in my last therapy session so this time I was determined to be cool and not whimper. I have a feeling that this is the wrong approach, you know, but what can one do? We talked at length about this dream I had a couple of days ago in which I had returned to 8th grade. It was a pretty cool dream, actually: I was sitting in an 8th grade classroom and explaining "Yeah, I'm 40, and I went through high school and college already, but I needed to just do 8th grade again." and everyone in the class was like, "Yeah, that makes sense." I love the logic of dreams. It's much better than the humor of dreams, which, as you know if you have ever tried to tell a dream world joke in waking life, is not translateable. You are laughing away, saying "And then, the bathtub cat and xlioermopismn! Ha ha ha ha!" to your friends who are looking at you with that mixture of pity and contempt that says they're calling the men in the white coats soon and suddenly you realize that hey, your joke from the other dimension has not travelled well. At that point of social doom there is little you can do, short of breaking out the drugs, to save yourself. So you might as well tell another joke quickly.

I know one joke. Everyone who knows me has heard this joke 10,000 times, because I learned it at age 19 and for some reason I have never forgotten it, unlike all the other myriad jokes I have heard in my life. My friends have all also heard the follow up to this joke, which is that once I told it at a party and was told, fairly nastily I thought, by a man that it was "okay for a girl joke." I have never figured out why it's a girl joke and so I've been bugging my friends and relatives about that for ages as well.

Here is my joke. Two aliens land their flying saucer in a remote and deserted part of rural America. (Actually, I usually say, in the desert, but this is writing and what is writing without adjectives? Clear, you say? Succinct? Cutting diamond edged prose? Shut UP.) There is nothing there but a gas station. The aliens walk up to the pumps and the first alien says to the gas pump: "Take us to your leader." (Does anyone else remember those Girl Scout TV ads where the alien comes up to the girl scouts sitting sadly on the stoop and says, Take us to your leader and the girl scouts say, We have no leader? No? Well, then.)
The gas pump doesn't say anything and the first alien turns to the second alien and says, "This guy is rude."
Then he says to the gas pump, a little more loudly, "Take us to your leader!" The gas pump doesn't say anything, so he turns to his friend again and says, "This guy is an asshole and I'm going to blow him away."
His friend says, "I wouldn't do that if I were you. He looks like a bad dude to me. I wouldn't mess with him."
The first alien, machismo threatened (I don't say that out loud either) says, "Well, the hell with him. I'm going to ask him politely one more time and if he doesn't answer I'm going to blow him away." So he looks at the gas pump and says "Take. Us. To. Your. Leader." and the gas pump doesn't say anything and so he pulls out his laser gun and zaps the pump.

200 yards away, they're picking themselves up out of the rubble and he asks his friend, "Damn. How did you know he was such a bad dude?"
And his friend says, "Anyone who can wrap his dick around him three times and stick it in his ear has got to be a pretty bad dude."

Commence now with the hearty laughter.