Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I haven't had the energy to blog lately.  I also don't have anything interesting to blog about.  I know I could write another installment of the 'search' story or finally start writing the bio's I said I would write once a month, but both of those things take too much time and effort.  But, here are a few things that have happened recently:

1)  Had lunch with a friend who's a psychiatrist.  One of his latest clients is 28 years old and has 12 children, most with different fathers.  She likes being pregnant is her excuse.  Obviously.

2)  Left the windows of my new car open yesterday during the severe thunderstorms.  My ass was soaking wet by the time I got to work today and the car feels like a steam room.

3)  Just finished Baby, I Don't Care, a biography of Robert Mitchum.  Man, he sure could be a prick now and then.

4)  Have been just a little disappointed in Six Feet Under this year.  It's no longer groundbreaking and has even become more than a little soap opera-y.  HBO is also replaying Season I right now, which isn't the best idea because the difference between this season and the first is staggering.

5)  Can't believe it, but I now officially like some hip hop and rap.  I mean, I always liked the old school stuff and the Beastie Boys, but lately I've gotten into the Black Eyed Peas, DMX, Nelly and Outkast.  I wonder if it finally grew on me because I've just been around it so much or if there is such a lack of decent new music that I've had to learn to like something, and it sure as hell wasn't going to be Brittany Spears or any of that shit.

6)  Speaking of new music, or music that's new to me anyway, I finally got to listen to two of Belle and Sebastian's song.  No, I can't remember which two.  They were both live, though.  One was passable.  The other one was atrociously bad. The singer might as well of gotten up and sang "Oh, I take my self too seriously.  I'm trying to be cute.  I try to be different, but somehow my whole genre just ends up wearing all the same clothes, watching the same movies, and reading the same books.  Even our journal entries are similar.  I have a tendency toward manic depression, and I really, really like black, having a bluish pallor, and my cats.  I am sexually stunted."  Wait maybe that's what he was singing.  No, probably not.  Sorry to those that really like 'em.  Maybe I just heard the wrong two songs.   but doubt it seriously 
7)  Also listened to the flaming Lips for the first time.  I loved it.

8)  Must thank Tom for letting me stay in his humble abode a few weekends back.  I always thank him, and this time I forgot.  I got lots of good used books and lots of cool clothes at a Goodwill in North Raleigh, which is the second best Goodwill I know of.  The best, believe it our not, is in the middle of Amish farm country in PA where I got a beautiful pair of Via Spiga pumps which were never worn, and still had the price sticker on them from the department store marked $145, for $2.50.

9)  Will be having tea with Ed on Friday.  That's always fun.

10)  I can't think of anything for #10, so I'll give you a new word:  Macaronic, which means, "adj -- of verse, mixing Latin with non-Latin words."

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

At the end of my street there's a house that's occupied by a senior citizen who used to be a farmer.  He still has a huge garden, and every year he puts out signs advertising "Melons,"  "Cantaloupes," and "Tomatos" (sic).  He gets his grandson from Matthews and his mentally-challenged son to run the operation.  The items are all delicious and dirt cheap.  I love having this on my block, for the convenience of it all. 

Anyway, the grandson, who looks just like a 12-year-old version of Spanky from the Little Rascals, has a new Jack Russell terrier puppy named Gigi.  I love this little puppy and always end up playing with her for 15 minutes or more.  Today, while in the midst of a puppy-play frenzy, I told Spanky in my cutesy-wutsey puppy-love voice that I was going to steal the puppy.

Spanky slowly sidled up to me and said in the most grown-up voice he could muster, "No, ma'am,  You're not."  He then squared off to face me as if ready to fight.  Not the reaction I was expecting.  I told him I was only joking, that it was just an expression, and he backed off.  For the remainder of my time there, he kissed my ass.  It was his way of apologizing, I suppose. 

I was kinda sad.  Not because of the misunderstanding, but because I knew I could have taken his chubby old Spanky ass down and probably got the retarded uncle to hold him for me 'cause he's likes me.  Ah, what coulda been.  I don't seem to have any kind of fun anymore. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Yesterday was my first day with the autistic child.  Another veteran ABA therapist and I worked with her for a few hours.  We both came into the session just hoping to teach the child a little compliance, like sitting in the chair.  What we got was yet another example of the ABA program and how it works. 
She not only sat in her chair right away, she imitated us by placing blocks in a bucket, touching an object we chose with her finger,  and banging a toy hammer.  This was a child who, other than hugs and requests for milk (which is more than a lot of autistic children can do, but still not a lot) never had interaction with other people.  She would scream constantly when picked up for a bath or to leave the room, etc.  She still screams.  As a matter of fact she screamed the entire two hours, except when left to play alone on her breaks, but she performed simple tasks for the very first time.  The therapist must make no reaction at all, neither physical or verbal, to the screaming.  She must learn that is will not get her what she wants.  It is a difficult job, but one that's just so special because ABA cuts throught the awful fog that is autism.

The woman who helped me has an autistic son.  He's gone from severely autistic to moderately autistic in a little over a year.  He is three years old.  His speech is difficult to understand, so he communicates a lot with pictures.  The pictures have the word for the object spelled out underneath the image of the object or the action, and he taught himself to read this way.  He reads on a third grade level. 

He also loves numbers.  He can count by any increment you desire.  His favorite is to count in 8's and 16's.  He also likes to count backwards from 100 in increments, using division.  Remember he's only three.  I couldn't possibly do that now, and I'm 35.  He counts things in order to calm himself down.  He dreams about numbers, too.  His mother says he counts all night long in his sleep.  She will often hear him say number aloud in his sleep.   How sweet.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Land Of Tomas
Here I am back once again in the surreal land of Tomas.  I love Raleigh.  It is a true Southern city, unlike the freakin'  hole that is Charlotte.  Here the locals have maintained Southern hospitality and, as a relative newcomer, I can find my way around this place, so unlike Charlotte. 
For example, I had to go to four places this morning because I inadvertently left my food, cigs, and prescriptions back in Charlotte.  I had to go to CupAJoe (of course) for delicious, reasonably-priced coffee;  Harris Teeter, the big nice one here at Cameron Village; a little convenience shop here that sells the only brand of cigs I smoke, American Spirit; and Eckerd, for the Rx's I left behind. 
I had no trouble at all navigating my way around, and in Eckerd the pharmacist gave me a three-day supply of each of my two meds for free because, he said, "We need to be kind to our friends in Charlotte."  I told him that we needed the kindness and, I'm sorry, but he probably wouldn't get the same kind of wonderful service he'd just given me if he came down to Charlotte.  That made my day.
After reading some of Ed's favorite moments in movies, I decided to list five of mine.  This is all I have time for, and these are by no means in any order -- these are just the five I can think of right now.  I'll think about it some more and add a few later.
1)  The English Patient --  where she's hostessing a tea party and he shows up and takes her into a little side alcove for a little you-know-what in the middle of the party.
2)  The Life of Brian -- where Michael Palin places the Roman emperor or whatever with the speech defect, causing the audience to howl inb laughter, and he has no idea why they're howling.
3)  A Streetcar Named Desire -- Any scene where Marlon's wearing that little aptly-named wife-beater.
4)  My Man Godfrey -- The closing scene where Carole Lombard's character shows up and tells Godfrey they're getting married right then and there.
5)  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof  -- where Paul Newman's character is nastily telling Maggie that they'll never sleep together again and how much he hates her, but he shuts himself in the bathroom and becomes hypnotized by the scent of her on robe hanging on the back of the bathroom door.  He catches himself, gets disgusted, and throws the robe onto the floor only to become entangled in the chiffon-like material. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Dear David,

My friend Ed sent me a link to an article about your recent struggle with heart disease. As much as I am pleased to hear of your recovery, I can't help but wonder why you didn't have any cardiac trouble before. I mean, a man can't live on cocaine alone for a number of years and not have some type of physical deterioration, can he? No, he can't.

Speaking of physical deterioration, what's up with those ads from Hilfiger with you and Iman? You look like a fucking Ken doll. I have never seen a human being so totally airbrushed in my life (outside of men's magazines, I mean.) Did you give them permission to make you look all plasticky and rubbery and shit?

I should hope not, Dave, because I recently saw you on tour and you're one fine looking sexagenarian, with the emphasis on S - E - X. I mean, I'd do ya'. I do realize, however, that you like 'em a little darker than I usually am, but I have a kick-ass tan right now. I might even fall into the category of 'woman of color' for the next few months. So, let me know.

I don't know if it's the recent news of your blocked artery and the recent celebration of Pablo Neruda's centennial, but I dreamt last night that you ('you' in the dream meaning you during the shooting of TMWFTE) and I were majorly in lust and we couldn't find a place to 'be alone.' So to bide the time until we could get together, you read me some of Neruda's poetry, including some en espanol. I had no idea you could speak Spanish, Dave.

I also offered to drive you back to NYC, as you were going to take Greyhound to get back after your show here. That would be frigging 12-hour drive, my man, and I really hate driving, so that shows how much I dug you in the dream. As you must know, Neruda gets me every time. Well, that and the tongue in my ear.

I gotta go now, but take care of yourself. You're no spring chicken anymore, Dave.


Tuesday, July 06, 2004

My Mom Got The Good Stuff

Drugs are bad. Drugs are dangerous. Drugs make you do embarrassingly awful things. Just ask my 73-year-old mother.

See, my mom was given morphine quite often after her surgery, and she should have because her entire chest had been laid open during the surgery. Her breast plate was sawed off of her ribs and then wired back together. I think that's a good enough reason to take morphine. Still, she only took about half of what was offered, and she was still in another dimension most of the time I saw her. The morphine made her nod off quite frequently and hallucinate.

Just a few of the weird things my mother did while under the influence of the opioid dragon:

She told my sister that her pastor from 60 miles away had come to see her, which is true, but she also stated that she wore 'a hat' during their entire conversation. Mom doesn't own a hat.

Once when I came to see her, she was in such a deep sleep I hated to wake her up, so I didn't. She started to dream and I could tell by her body language, facial expressions and mouth movements that she was yelling at someone a whole lot. When she woke up, I asked her what she was dreaming about and she said she didn't know. About 20 minutes later, I was talking about her condition with her wonderful nurse, William, who looks just like this guy but with sandy hair. She yelled, "Oh, those kids! I was dreaming about some damn kids."

After Aaron and I had been gone for a couple of hours and came back to the ICU, she asked us where we'd been. We told her we went swimming for a while at my sister's. About five minutes later she asked, "Where'd you two go, to the doctor?" It was Sunday.

One time she quietly stated, "Every time I close my eyes, I see things." I think she thought the hospital staff might conclude that she was off her rocker if she said that too loudly.


Yesterday she was moved from ICU to a regular, private room where she got her catheter taken out, a phone, a TV and a hot meal. She got one thing, though, none of us expected -- morphine withdrawal.

My sister and her husband went in to see her after her move and found her in the beginnings of a temper tantrum akin to that of an ornery three-year-old. She started yelling that her bed was 'wrong' and they brought her the wrong dinner and they weren't treating her very nicely. As my sister was trying to take care of the problems that had popped up, my mother yelled the craziest thing yet, "I don't care if you spend all the money I have, just get me out of this hospital! NOW!"

Now some mothers are like that most of the time, my mother is not. As a matter of fact, she's the opposite of a person who would say things like that. She will try to maintain her composure and dignity to a ridiculous level, long past my I'm-going-to-lose-it-and-someone's-going-to-pay-so-get-the-hell-away-from-me-now point. She is Pennsylvania German, afterall.

Some of this behavior is caused by the body's reaction to the surgery -- all the paperwork suggests that it's completely normal to have highs and lows after a procedure like her's -- but I know drug withdrawal when I see it.

I talked to her today, Day 2 of no morphine, and she said she was glad to be more herself again and not to be acting so 'nutty.'

I just have one thing to say about all this: Where can I get a hold of some morhp -- no, wait a minute. That's not what I meant to say at all. I meant to say: Just Say No to drugs, all drugs, even the kind sweet, little Jamesian nurses brandish in ICU.

Friday, July 02, 2004

I've Been Away (Yet Again)

I've been in PA since last Friday and I will be here through Monday the 5th. My mom had to undergo a heart bypass on a somewhat emergency basis. She came through it today looking and feeling a lot better than I would have thought, having seen my father go through a similar procedure in the late '70s and again in 1999. As a matter of fact, he was like the third person ever to have a heart bypass in the US, way back in the day before they perfected the procedure and increased the comfort level for the patients. It was awful.

On the plus side of things, I've been staying at my sister's house/wannabe villa here in PA, and Aaron and I have been in 8th heaven. He's fishing all day, and I'm walking the dogs all over the property, ATVing, working out, swimming, hottubbing, sauna-ing, steamrooming, and I had a massage therapist come to the house and work on me for over an hour, which my brother-in-law gave to me as a gift. I've also been eating a whole lot of wild raspberries, which are so sweet they're unbelievable, wild black raspberries and blackberries which are growing all over the acreage here.

There is a pair of blue herons on my daily hike who are raising a family in the biggest damn nest I've ever seen. It's really what I'd imagine a freakin' pterodactyl's nest to look like. There are groundhogs, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, deer, swallows, coyotes (believe it or not, in PA!), foxes, and bobcats. The evidence of the everyday struggle for survival is everywhere -- bones, a fox pelt, a half-eaten field mouse, a deer's leg -- to remind me that even in this day and age Nature is still cycling and recycling and doing the same things she's been doing for thousands and thousands of years.

The bottom line is just this and nothing more: It is awful when we, as a family have to go through trials and worries and the like, but it's just so damn nice to have my sister's home and acreage in which to relax and get closer to nature. It makes things so much easier to handle for all of us.

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