Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Gender: yes, please.

Life has been so full of petty annoyances lately that I do not even know where to begin, so I just won't. I know that doesn't make for good blog reading, but do you really want to hear about how I had to work late and the neighbor was pissed that Ruby was barking and how I got a $163 bill from the radiologists for my chest CT scan and how I'm worried that I'm going to get two more big bills like that for my sternum CT scan and my shoulder MRI and that maybe this new health insurance company isn't all it's cracked up to be and how my dentist called today and left a message on my machine saying that they day I had my teeth cleaned my dental insurance wasn't in effect and how I have to go get fitted for some brace I have to wear after my shoulder surgery but I don't know when I'm going to do it because work is overloading me lately and I just found out that not enough taxes are being taken out of my paycheck and I owe the government nearly $500 this year and I had to go to Wal-Mart to get a baby gate to keep the dogs penned in the kitchen while we're at work and they were all out of the size I wanted so I had to buy this monstrosity that cost a lot and doesn't fit the doorway that well and I tried to log onto my healthcare provider's website to see if my surgery is even covered but it wouldn't let me for some unknown reason and I forgot to give the dude at work $3 for the Girl Scout cookies I ordered and I couldn't pick up the photos I was supposed to pick up today since this is they last day they're free because I had to work for twelve hours today and...and...and...and I keep waking up at night *this close* to puking and I have to swallow and take deep breaths and sit up and I'm all scared that the surgery is going to tighten some tendon in some agonizing way that is going to suck a whole lot and...


I am trying to resign myself to the fact that things are just going to be cruddy for the next two months or so. But of course the part of me that has positive energy is rebelling mightily against this. How can I resign myself to suck! I want to fight it! But alas. I am going to be right-arm-less for at least four weeks after the surgery, and possibly more. In addition to the past two weeks of minimal usage and maximal pain. Nine more days 'till the knife.

I want to go outside and scream DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT really loud, but apparently the next door neighbor came over here twice while I was working late to yell at M about Ruby barking, since Ruby won't come inside for M, just for me, and I really don't want to piss that guy off anymore than he is already pissed off.

...grumble grumble grumble...

I know this blog has become a bitch-fest over the past few weeks. I expect that to continue as long as I can type, which will be...nine more days or so. Then there will probably be some silence while I recover, and then hopefully I will resume a more normal tone that does not include endless complaining and moaning and woe-is-me angst about the way shit's going.

I meant to write about this a hundred years ago but I never did. I've never identified myself by gender on this blog. There are three or four readers who know what gender I am...but the rest of you are guessing. Some of you are certain I'm female. Some of you are certain I'm male. Am I a boy? Am I a girl? Am I a girl in a boy's body, or a boy in a girl's body? I'm not keeping it secret to jerk anyone's chain. When I started blogging, I decided I wanted to be genderless, to be dealt with as, simply, a human being with ideas and emotions and opinions. I didn't want anyone to stereotype me according to whether they thought my characteristics were feminine or masculine. I wondered if people would ascribe a gender to me...for a while, no one did, but eventually it happened. You know I've dated both men and women. I'm with a man now. I support gay rights and advocate for complete equality. I love dogs. My dogs have genders, but they're first and foremost dogs. I have a gender, but I'm first and foremost a human. One story I've posted on my writing blog is from the point of view of a female; the other is from the point of view of a male. You know what my eye looks like. You know I know how to spackle and that I like to ski, skate and wakeboard. I don't wear makeup or go to the bathroom in groups. I studied Bruce Lee's JKD for three years. I shop at thrift stores and buy used books. I am kind to animals and softhearted to a fault. I love flowers. I'm an occasional insomniac and I can't remember the last time I cried or had a night in which I didn't dream something utterly bizarre. I like to cook.

One of the exercises I do sometimes with writing is to write a story and then go back and switch the gender of the main character and see if the resulting person is more interesting because he or she acts in ways that seem to contrast with the gender I originally assigned to them when I conceived them in my head. I sometimes flip back through my posts here and read them as if the writer, me, were the other gender than the one I am.

Sometimes it teaches me things, sometimes it doesn't.


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Ex-purrr-amenting with light

Mmmm, alcohol.

I put a sheet of blue tissue paper over my big-ass 500-watt light to get this effect. My drink is on the right. M's is on the left. :)

Yesterday I took Ruby to the adopt-a-thon for HART and they had the most gorgeous cat there. Her name is Desi and she weighs about six pounds--she's an itty bitty thing, but her whiskers are enormous. Check her out:

Ain't she purdy?

My daffodils are about to bloom. They are goofy. Don't they know it's February? It was like fourteen degrees last night.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Blah blah, poopie day, blah.

My ma had her ear surgery today. They took out her stapes and put in a fake one. Technology! Wow! I went to see her tonight after she got home. She was dizzy, but slowly getting her bearings back. Apparently to do this operation, the eardrum must be punctured. The one time I did that, it was pretty agonizing, unsettling, and all around suckey, so I feel bad for her. My dad had to help her sit up. She was very quiet. She could only hear out the other ear, so I just kind of sat there holding her hand. My poor mumsy. I hope she heals quickly and as painlessly as possible.

We are being geared up at work for a massive project that's going to take up most of spring and early summer. My favorite time of year. When I really, really want to sit at my desk looking out at the wonderful weather but unable to go play in it. All it's doing is fueling my drive to go pro with the photo thing. Great American Dream and all that shit. I'd sure like to be my own boss. I've been doing some freelance stuff for a local arts and culture site in exchange for visible credit and some promotion and free advertising. I meet with that guy about the calendar gig next week.

I saw a pigeon get hit by a bus today. A coworker and I walked to the library at lunch and on our walk back to the office, a bus and a pigeon entered an intersection at the same time. I saw the interlocking pieces of fate moving together and couldn't stop them. The moving bus, the moving pigeon...the hollow *thwack* as the pigeon bounced off the windshield, the slow-motion of the feathers flying in all directions. As the bus moved by, it blocked my view of the pigeon. I looked at the street after it had gone, expecting to see a bloody pulp, but the pigeon flew up, confused, and landed on the side of the street holding its wing at an odd angle. It crawled under a trash can and got laughed at by the group of people standing at the intersection's corner waiting for other busses. I didn't know if I should go try to help it or not. It flew after it got hit, and maybe my trying to pick it up would scare it back into the street to get hit again...I just kept walking, but I don't know, maybe I should have tried to bring it home and nurse it back to health. I felt bad for it. I mean, my shoulder hurts, but at least I didn't get hit by a bus.

Remember that drama I was bitching about a while ago involving my lower lip and the continual biting thereof? Later in the afternoon I managed to chomp the shit out of it while I was talking to my boss about the stupid president (more on that in a minute). Blood everywhere. I had to go in the bathroom and spit out mouthful after mouthful of it. It is now so disgustingly and painfully swollen that it's difficult to talk and very difficult to eat. I grossed out everyone around me when it happened, so hey, at least that's something. I looked it up and have inexpertly diagnosed myself as having this monstrosity. Fits the bill exactly. This has been going on for like a month.

I wonder if I could convince them to do surgery on this while I'm knocked out for my shoulder surgery. Nuthin' like killing two birds with one stone...

Okay, that was a bad analogy, in light of the pigeon thing.

Anyway, on to the stupid president, who was in town for a fundraiser for Mike DeWine, and for whom the highway was shut down just before rush hour. AAAAAUURGH, why can't they have these stupid fundraisers in the middle of the night? As if we don't have enough of a traffic problem in this town. It was bumper to bumper the whole twenty-mile stretch from downtown where I work to my house, so I had to take the long-ass way around to get home. I did get the opportunity to give the president the double-finger salute from my office window though. I was within a hundred yards of the dude as he drove by, since the road he was on goes directly around our building. Of course, I don't know which black SUV with the tinted windows he was in, or if he was in one of the twelve thousand cop cars, the two ambulances, or the hearse that travels with his retinue (yes, the president's retinue includes two ambulances and a hearse, who knew? Insert lame Dick Cheney shooting joke here if you want), so I made sure to give them all the bird.

Blah. I was getting ready to go to bed, which necessitates letting each of the dogs out one at a time so they walk on the mudpit of the backyard rather than wrestling in it, but the neighbors' Aikita was running loose and all my dogs went apeshit...blah...dog baths, blah...

I have nothing more to say, this day sucked. Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow will be better.

Words you do not want to hear at work

"You, my friend, have just walked into a hornet nest."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I get to go under the knife on March 9th. I take back what I said about not caring if I have to have surgery; my right arm will be strapped to my body for four to six weeks after. Dangit! How am I gonna drive my stick-shift, or take pictures, or do anything? Grrr.

Oh well, I am not the first person in the world to be right-armless, and I won't be the last. I was in a snit yesterday when I came home from the doctor's office, but I am acclimating myself to the idea. The pain is better today, so that is helping my mood.

Yesterday was the third anniversary of the day M and I met, and so my great plan was to surprise him with some goodies (a bottle of Chianti, some hazelnut chocolate thingies, and a Nerds rope--nothing like a touch of crass to set off the elegant) and a yummy dinner out at Taj Mahal, our favorite Indian restaurant. But he had to work overtime, so I was all aloooowne when I got back from the doctor and very sad. We went out to dinner anyway when he got home, even though it was late. I was all Percocet-ed out since I'd had to clean mud from twelve dog feet, which necessitated much shoulder movement, and I ordered the Punjabi curry which turned out to be veeerry spicy but I couldn't really feel the heat because of the Percocet. I brought the leftovers to eat at work today. We'll see if it turns my mouth inside out now that I have nothing to dull the heat.

All right. I'm off to proofread the bio of some dude with a funny name for a health and wellness website, and to eat.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Some more Ow.

Apologies for the lack of posting lately. What is there to say but Ow, shit, this really hurts?
Here is my right shoulder. The orthopedic doctor said the ball of the ball and socket is too high. Perhaps that is what causes my angst. Or perhaps it is something in this region:
Which, I guess that is my shoulders viewed from above my head, but I don't know how that works. I guess that thing in the middle is my spine, and the black circle is my open throat as I was breathing. I don't know.

Tomorrow I go to get these read and to find out what course of action regarding the de-agonizing of my shoulder is in order.

I can't wait. I don't care if it's surgery, as long as it makes this stop hurting.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Some whining, and also some food porn

Grr, ow. :(

Had the dreaded MRI and CT scan this morning. The CT scan wasn't dreaded, actually, just the MRI. I had to get up at 4:30 a.m., too! (whine, whine, whine, I know...) But, it's over with, and I was able to convince my freaking-out mind not to tell my body to start screaming and pounding on the inside of that little tube they stuff you in. I could only have pounded with my left hand, anyway.

I see the doctor Tuesday to get the results.

My life has become pretty basic this week. It involves eating, sleeping, and trying to find ways to sit, stand, and lay down that do not cause extreme pain. I've got this harness thing on that helps, but it digs into my armpits something fierce, so it's sort of an exchange of one kind of pain for another. Mostly I would just like to put this pain down for like, five minutes, so I can regather my wits and face the inevitable rest of it. It would also be easier to bear if the muscles in my neck would stop seizing up. Either something is messed up in there too, or it's just a reaction to the way I have to constantly hold myself to cause the least pain. I never realized you use the muscles in your neck and chest to sit up from a lying-down position. All those muscles around where my clavicle separated from my sternum scream at me every time I try to sit up. I've taken to rolling over on my left side and sort of oozing up. It makes me look extremely cool.

Injuries stink. I recommend against them.

A chick who runs a local art-and-culture website called me the other day. Apparently she got my card from that coffee shop where my photos are on display, and she wanted me to do some photos for her site. I figured it would take my mind off the pain, so last night I gave it a whirl. I had to take Percocet within about two minutes of starting to work, but once that stuff kicked in, I was in my little photohappy trance, only I was dropping shit and knocking stuff over right and left (well, mostly left). Luckily, the camera sustained no injuries, since it was securely mounted on a tripod during the whole mad endeavor. I did manage to drop a big-ass 500 watt light, which, in some drug-addled fit of accidental coordination, I managed to catch with the side of my foot and sort of ease down to the floor.

Anyway, here are the pictures I took:

Mmm, carbohydrates.
Mmm, sugar.
Mmm, cheese and basil and tomato and eggplant...

The chick wanted a wine shot too, but the ones I took sucked, so I'm going to try that one again tomorrow or Saturday.

Okay. Tomorrow: I attempt to drive my car (which is a stick shift). Riding the bus with a harness and sling is getting old fast. Hopefully I shall be able to manipulate the gear shift without pulling over to go into a paroxysm of agony. Wheeeeee!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A super-sized sack of suck

I got my MRI and CT scan scheduled; gotta be at the hospital at a blaring 5:40 a.m. tomorrow. That'll be lots of fun. CT scan I don't mind, since I know what to expect after having so many on my lungs, but MRI, well, let's just say, J. Star is a tad claustrophobic.

This world is really set up to accommodate right-handed people.

This morning as I was attempting to gather my stuff to get off the bus, the driver tapped the brakes and pitched me into a pole in front of me. I had to grab it with my right hand to keep from falling over. Yeah, that hurt.

Lol, I don't really have a lot of news to report here. Things are pretty much just sucky. I came back to work yesterday for half a day. I've got this harness and sling getup going on that makes the pain bearable for multiple hours at a stretch, so that's keeping me sane. Once I took it off last night though it was as if all the pain that had been prevented during the day came through the whole joint in a big rush. I had to take The Drugs. Which make me fall into this kind of dizzy sleep-state that isn't all that great.

My sternum has this big lump on it where the clavicle came out. It is gross. It grosses me out.

K, well, I gotta go do work.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Well, poop.

So, I fell down. :(

I think it's really dumb that I can do black diamond slopes full of moguls with ZERO TROUBLE but the damn bunny slope is what gets me.

The orthopedic surgeon I saw today says that the x-rays showed my shoulder dislocated in two places--where my arm connects to the body and where my clavicle connects to my sternum. There is also some nerve damage going on. My grip is weak and it's difficult to hold a pen to write. M had to fill out the forms for me at the office. It's taking forever to type this. I have to get an MRI to determine what nerve damage has occurred in the part where my arm connects, and a CT scan to see what I fucked up around my sternum area. Glorious. Hopefully those two things will occur tomorrow--dude at the ortho office said he'd try to get them scheduled as soon as possible.

Woot. Wootie woot poop.

It was fun up until that happened, at least. We made great time driving up there. Had lots of fun on the slopes. There's a great run off to one side of the mountain called Tannenbaum that's full of spruce trees, and snow was falling softly and the lights were illuminating the flakes as they fell. At the top, where the lift drops you off, you're surrounded by these beautiful tall, thin spruces, making a sort of room all around you. It's so beautiful up there.

After I took my face-plant, I kept skiing for about two hours. It was at the bottom of a green circle slope (aka bunny hill)--I hit a small bump I didn't see because I was fiddling with my goggles as I skied, pushing them up off my face since I was at the bottom. My skis are less than two feet long (little trick skis) and the toe of one caught the snow as I was moving forward and down I went. It hurt like a futhermucker but it felt about the same as last year when I did this, and the diagnosis then was that I had just dislocated the shoulder and popped it back in, so I figured it was the same story this time. But as I kept going, it kept hurting worse, and I finally quit while M and my brother kept going for another hour or so. By the time the second day rolled around I knew there was no way in hell I was going to be able to get back out there. I hung out in the hotel while M and my bro went skiing. I read a Galen Rowell photography book and watched a really horrible movie called Rock Star. (Its sheer awfulness kept my mind intermittently off the pain.) We stopped at Lake Erie on the way home Sunday and I took a few pics, but holding a camera is rather excruciating, so I didn't get many.

The nerve damage thing scares me. I kind of still want to retain the ability to hold a camera. I guess I could learn to shoot with my left hand. But damn.

This is one of the pictures I took at Lake Erie. M creating a masterpiece in the sand and expressing my sentiments regarding this trip.

I've taken some percocet which seems only to be making me dizzy. The pain is still there, but I care a little less.

I'll try to get some more pics together to post later, along with news about whatever the tests show regarding my busted-ass arm. I can't drive and I'm in a shitload of pain, so work is sort of out for the moment, giving me some computer time. This is actually the first sick day I've taken from my job, so I've got a few saved up.

Kay. More later.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Special-needs dog

Ruby oh Ruby, you darling beast.

Seeing as M and I and one of my brothers (not the one with the crazy wife) are going skiing this weekend, I thought it prudent that I find alternate arrangements for Ruby while we were gone so that my brother's wife, who is dogsitting for us, would not rip her hair out in the third minute of being here with four dogs and all. So I sent an email to the network and someone volunteered to take Ruby for the weekend. I drove over there to drop her off tonight (the puking in the car, the horrid stench, every time--the most easily car-sickened dog I've ever known). Three hours later, the woman called me and said she couldn't get Ruby to come back in the house and she was barking her head off and it's twenty degrees out and what should she do? So I drove back over and got Ruby to go in their house. I left a tie-out so if it happens again they can just pull her back in...

Ruby. I cannot even imagine what that dog went through that fucked her up so much that she's so terrified of people. This woman I dropped her off with for the weekend, I got a good-animal feel from her too. Ruby has yet to be convinced. She still won't even come inside for M when I'm not home. For some reason or another, she has bonded exclusively with me and won't do anything for anybody else, or even let them touch her. But she can't get enough of me touching her. This is probably not good for her adoptability.

While I was back at the woman's house the second time, I got a good look at the dog she's currently fostering. It's a border collie mix and her right front leg is crooked as sin. I asked about it and the woman told me that the dog's leg had been broken and her previous owners (from whom she had been rescued) had set it by tying a stick to it and letting it heal that way. So now she was going to have to have surgery to re-break it and straighten it all out. The dog had also had a litter of ten pups, eight of whom died. I saw two of her puppies when I originally got Ruby--the woman who was taking care of Ruby had them. The were the most adorable little balls of round soggy puppy on earth. They were about six weeks old then.

Before I tackled special-needs Ruby, hearing that story about the dog's leg would have ripped my heart in half. But now that I'm really actually doing something for this dog that was in such a bad way, it doesn't hurt as much. I wonder if what I was feeling before was as much guilt and rage that I could do nothing as it was sympathy for the poor creatures who are abused and neglected. Because I still feel the sympathy, but it doesn't hurt as much because I know I'm doing something good to help an animal in need. My heart is just...bigger. And better.

So. On that note. M and the brother and I leave bright and early tomorrow morning for New York, where hopefully we will not freeze and will have some fun and won't break any of our parts. I'm bringing two cameras. Pics upon return.

Have a good weekend!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Oh the drama!

So about a week and a half ago, I was attempting to chew gum and talk to my boss simultaneously (and there are human beings on this planet who *should not* attempt to do things simultaneously, whether they be drive and talk on a cell phone, bathe and read, cook and watch the news, or chew gum and talk, all of which might result in disasters varying in intensity from a fiery hulking wreck on the highway to a sopping copy of a beloved Cintra Wilson book to burnt filo pastry) when I managed to chomp down on the inside of my bottom lip. I somehow carried out the rest of the conversation and then sat down at my desk singing profanities in my head and sucking on my wounded bit of flesh. It hurt, and it was swollen, and it made me grumpy, but I figured that it would get better within a day or two and I could forget it.

Wrong I was.

I *cannot* stop biting my lip now. Due I suppose to the way my mouth is formed, that slight bit of bumpy flesh is constantly managing to find its way between my teeth as they gnash down on a breakfast burrito or a homemade egg roll or some leftover meeting food I happened upon in the kitchen at work. The monstrosity of disgustingness that is currently the inside of my bottom lip is fantastic for nauseating anyone I want to repel, such as anyone attempting to give me work to do, but it is not so good for doing such things as talking and eating. Each morning when I wake up, I probe the blasted thing with my tongue to see if it's recovered during the night, and it usually has, but by the time I eat breakfast, I've mangled it into horridness again.

It is the unhealable wound. it is a giant blood blister of gut-wrenching wretchedness. I fear I shall be internally disfigured for life.

And on we go.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Tribute to a fine fluff of feathers

I went to refill my bird's food dish the other day and found her dead in the bottom of the cage...it seems that she became panicked in the night, which she sometimes did, and flailed around in her cage and broke her neck against the bars. Sad. My little nacho whore, little noisemaker, sweetly picky snuggler against fingertips and shirts, tormenter of dogs, early-morning squawker, lampshade-percher, beer bottle knocker-overer birdie.

I could never get a good photo of her, and earlier this week, I had *finally* managed to. She was perched on the lampshade in the living room, lit from below and cocking her head and looking at me in that "please give me a neckrub" way. I took twenty or so pictures, and one came out well.

I miss her little sounds. My kitchen seems colder and darker without her living on top of the fridge. I put a small TV up there, but it's surely not the same.

Last night I dreamed my brother shot a squirrel with a slingshot. I was looking at the squirrel's eye as it sat in the cherry tree in the backyard of my parents' neighbor's house. My brother pulled the band back and released the pellet. I saw the squirrel's eye grow wider for just a moment and then watched it fall from the tree, limp, for my brother's dog to devour. The squirrel was pregnant and the dog ate the fetuses too. I moved away from watching it, to take pictures of tulips, but there was so much pollen on my lense that all my pictures looked full of noise. I was trying to wipe the lense off when my alarm went off this morning.

On the bus, on the way to work, I became so wrapped up in a fantasy of all the things I'd take pictures of if I were invisible that I almost missed my stop downtown. Luckily, an elderly woman had pulled the "stop request" cord and the driver stopped on the corner where I needed to get off. The old woman had nearly gotten through the laborious process of getting off the bus before I realized where we were and hurried to stand up and run down the aisle and get off the bus. I heard the four Hindi men sitting around me laugh as I rushed.

Last night M and I watched "Born into Brothels," a documentary about the children of sex workers who live in the red-light district of Calcutta and the English woman who tries to teach them photography. It was very, very good, and at several times I had tears running down my face at the stark beauty and realism. I've read a lot of fiction set in India, A Fine Balance being one of my favorite books, and though you get visuals in your head of what destitute urban areas of a severely overpopulated region of the world might look like, you don't really fully understand the total claustrophobic overwhelmingness of it. Some of the documentary was actually filmed by the children it is about. The children are beyond poor, and the woman takes them to the zoo and to the beach. The scene where they go to the beach is amazing; they've obviously never been, and the sounds they make when they see the water stretching out in front of them had saltwater of a different kind coming out my eyes.

Anyway. Highly recommend it.

Weekend plans: go with mother and wheelchair-bound grandmother to a local mall; take pictures. Learn more PhotoShop. Get decent ski goggles and facemask for next weekend. Call that dude about the calendar. Play with Ruby and the other doggies.