Wednesday, December 9, 2009

B-4, I-2, B-9. BINGO!

B-4, when they had me prone on the CAT scan table, face down, I was jacked up like one of the Borg from Star Trek with an oxygen hose shoved up my nose (oxygen rocks by the way), a mass of intravenous  ports dangling from my right arm, a grabby synchopated blood pressure cuff  on my left arm, and a giant hollow needle imbedded in my back.  I had one moment of babbling panic that was handily and swiftly shut down by The Most Beautiful Nurse Danielle who administered the relaxation "candy" straight into one of my ports. 

In spite of all this, and when all was said and done, I had the (proudly) demented wherewithal to actually ask to see the tissue they had harvested from my, now, pet resident abdominal tumor.  After all, Dr. Hunky Italian Radiologist had done the trick of threading that needle through some of the densest musculature on any human full of raw nerve endings and actual kidneys and spines and such.  I thought I should see, maybe take a picture.  The tech nurse, who by now was relieved that I didn't turn out to B-1 of those who end up screaming or moaning or thrashing during this amazingly freaky procedure, happily held a small bottle in front of my face where I-2 could see floating in clear liquid, a tiny little orange accordianed tube of flesh.  A miniature Cheeto.  We had gotten all stabby with the tumor and it yielded up its cheesy greasy secrets.

Jump cut: 

I O-1 big bit of information - What did those Pathology Goblins discover when they put the Cheeto to the test?  A rare and weird thing called a Spindle Cell Schwannoma.  I knew it had to be something Abby Normal and possibly the result of an alien abduction. I don't mess around...

But in the game of life and survival, I contend that B-9 is the sweetest ball of all to drop out of the cage. Benign. Benign. Benign.  As in not malignant. Not going to kill me.  Just a slow-growing unwelcome claustrophobia-making relative sitting on the couch guzzling vittles and farting.


Next:  The guys who do liver transplants - Will they break out the Ginsus and give me a scar to brag on like that scene in Jaws? Will they fondle my innards and yank this critter out? Will Medicare let them?  Will they return anyone's calls?  Stay tuned...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pollyanna, Biopsies, and The Glad Game

Admitting something here that will forever brand me as the biggest cupcake in the history of cupcakes. An admission that will be tattooed forever across my forehead in florid illuminated script: “Pollyanna dork-a-saurus”

I love the movie Pollyanna starring Hayley Mills.

I said it.  I am a big pink icing-slathered jimmy-festooned cupcake dork-a-saurus. But that’s beside the point.  See, in the movie Pollyanna spoke of a game she played with her missionary parents when the going got rough in some deep dark non-Christian place where they were converting the heathens to proper British religiosity.  Like the time she got crutches instead of a fancy baby doll for her birthday…Must’ve sucked out loud mightily, but they just turned it around by using “The Glad Game” – They were glad they didn’t need the crutches, they were glad the crutches were there in case someone needed them, glad that they were such sturdy well-made crutches and so on.  This helped Pollyanna to put things into perspective, even though it still bit the big one that the baby doll didn’t make it to her little girl arms. With my anger issues, I’d have thrown those crutches on the community bonfire in the middle of the pagan third-world village they were there to save.  Then I would’ve personally loaded my parents into the big, black cauldron for the village matrons to season up and braise into Missionary Stew. For Pollyanna, a vision of spunky grace and good will, a little positive thinking goes a long way.  Thank god, she is a role model for me.

“The Glad Game,” although we don’t know it at the time, is the one pastime my Mom and I naturally employ when things seem tinged with overwhelming melancholy or danger or fear.  As tough as I think I am, sometimes it is all just too crazy to muster up the usual snarky survival techniques, and reverting to the “game” with Mom is a saving grace.

Wouldn’t you know it would be raining…
I’m glad it is, less traffic.

I hate hospitals…
I am glad this one has that gorgeous player piano in the lobby.
Yeah, and I am glad the ceilings are nice and high and the Christmas tree is pretty…and everyone is smiling.  I’m glad.

What in the name of the Inquisition is all that?
You should be glad that all those needles and tubes are packaged perfectly sterile and your nurse is opening them up in front of you…
Yes, I am glad everything is nice and sharp and clean.
Damn, I am glad my nurse is really good at what she does. That didn’t hurt at all!

Oh great here comes Doc, it’s time…
Be glad he is on time and so handsome too!
I am glad he didn’t dumb it down either.  I am glad he respects me.  This is going to hurt…but I am glad he could get to the tumor through my back. I am glad he looks nice and buff so pushing that giant core drill needle through my back won’t be hard for him.

Every time you punch through, pain is shooting down my leg…Glad you are stabbing my freaky growth/mass/tumor.  Glad you keep stabbing it. Glad you don’t mind if I cry a little.

We’re almost done.
I am glad we’re almost done.  I am glad you could get more tissue in the biopsy than you thought.  I am glad this is over. Glad for reality altering meds in my system to help me accept this puncture invasion of mind and body.

Glad this step in the journey is done.

Damn, I am so glad to see breakfast and pie.  And Mom.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nurse Ratched: Agent of the Combine

Nurse Ratched is alive and well.  Remember her from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest?  The ever-handy cheat sheet literary shortcut, Cliff's Notes, describes to a T one such "nurse" with whom I have locked horns for the last few days.  She evidentally graduated summa cum-laude from the Nurse Ratched Memorial School of Medical Protocol & Discipline.

I have been her personal McMurphy.

Cliff's:  "Nurse Ratched is ...a scheming, manipulative agent of the Combine ..."

With orders from Dr. Norma Popsiclehands to move my case along with all possible speed because of the potential DANGER inherent in having a MASS in my ABDOMEN around my VENA CAVA, Ms. Biopsy Coordinator at the Big Christian Hospital to which I was referred was not impressed with that one iota.  No sense of urgency will interefere with her carefully wrought power structure in Radiology.  She dug in her heels in a "we see shit like this everyday" way and immediately thumped the book on protocol. 

When she requested that I hand deliver my CAT scan films to her to "speed up the process," I complied like a bunny on steroids.  Sliding into a seat next to me in the waiting room at Radiology, she launched into the boilerplate litany of instructions and conditions with a measured low-toned patronizingly saccharine voice. She was smiling the whole time, hoping, I am sure, for a dull, shocky, freaked out lamb who will just deliver herself unquestioningly into the hands of the people who "know best"  but clearly studying me for any hint of rebellion, any hint of McMurphy in there screwing up her dictates.  Looking directly into her eyes, I sensed a Ratched-esque dictator complex.  It was ON, in a big way.

She:  When scheduled you will  arrive two hours early, do your paperwork, change into a gown and we will run an IV.  Bring a list of all medications you are taking. We will be taking blood at that time to run tests.

Me:  Since you will be jamming a really large long needle into my stomach, you're going to  put me out right?

She:  (Her face adopting the rigor of the realization that I am not lamb-like.)  No, you will receive local anesthetic and something to relax you.  You will need to be able to respond to direction.  Doctor will  come to speak with you and at that time it is my suggestion you ask for your relaxation meds then otherwise he will assume you will not need any.  He's the boss and he'll determine how much.  The nurses will administer per his orders. So be nice to them, they've got the candy.  Please have a driver to bring you home who is over 18 years of age since there may be instructions.  But first, Doctor will look at your films and approve or disapprove your biopsy. He will look at them Monday....

Me:  But it's Friday.  Just after lunch. You know this is urgent. Can he look at them today please and can we schedule the biopsy for this weekend or Monday?

She:  No, he cannot.  He will look at the films Monday and after he approves or disapproves them, we will make your appointment at that time.

Me:  For Tuesday right?

She:  I can't guarantee that...

Me:  (Breathing somewhat faster now) What constitutes an approval?

She:  There are two criteria - is it large enough and can he get to it.

Me:  Fine, I can tell you how big it is, my paperwork from the ultrasound and the CT scan tell you how big it is,  and that it is right there under my rib cage...easy access.  It's a no-brainer. Can't he just throw those x-rays up on the light wall and look today and do me Monday at the latest?

Cliff's:   Ratched tends to get real put out if something keeps her outfit from running like a smooth, accurate, precision-made machine. The slightest thing messy or out of kilter or in the way ties her into a little white knot of tight-smiled fury.

She:  (Here she steels her jaw, but still smiling with a set of little chicklet teeth gritting like a skeleton.) I will be presenting your films to him Monday...

Me: You would let me wait an entire weekend about this when time may mean the difference? That's cruel and unusual, don't you think? Where is he?  May I please speak with him now...

She:  He's in a procedure right now and cannot be disturbed...

Me:  I'll wait.

She:  He will not be free for the rest of the afternoon.  I can guarantee he will not have one spare moment...his schedule is full.  He's the boss you know.

Me:   Holy hell woman!  Hey! I don't care if you and Doctor have a suite at the Bohemian and plan to complete the kama sutra all night long, I'm the one with the tumor! That makes me the boss!  You pretentsious unyielding cruelly controlling bitch!

Cliff's: The name Ratched is also a pun of "ratchet," which is a both a verb and a noun for a device that uses a twisting motion to tighten bolts into place. Like a ratchet wrench she keeps her patients 'adjusted,' but like a ratchet, a gear in the Combine, she is herself mechanically enmeshed.

With that utterance, and the sour closed-down look on her officious face, I knew it was over with this crew.  And sure enough, Doctor had not even blown his nose in the direction of my films by Monday afternoon, and Ms. Biopsy Coordinator had someone else begin communicating with me, Ms. Biopsy Coordinator 2, who informed me that they could only pencil in an appointment for me in another week. And that was only IF Doctor approves.

SFX:  Cars crash, metal on metal screeeeeeeeeeeeeeech, crump! Horn blares and doesn't stop...

Jump cut:  Dr. Norma and her office administrator, The Amazing Carmen, have me reporting to another hospital at 6 a.m. tomorrow, the day before Thanksgiving, where they had the time, the compassion and the wherewithal to help me out. 

McMurphy put the sink through the window this time.  The Chief just laughs.

All These Things I've Done -The Killers

Friday, November 20, 2009

Krispy Kreme Donut, Stargate, Lady Parts and Gort

The CAT scan is going to have to buy me dinner before our next date.   When we locked eyes yesterday in the radiology wing, I was taken by his smooth rounded dimensions.  Soft and enticing yet technical and commanding - a nice combination in a piece of nuclear machinery.  Never mind that he looks a lot like the progeny of some sordid one-night stand between a giant glossy tanned Krispy Kreme donut and Stargate, it was his serene solidarity and his sliding table that captivated me.  Staring at the ceiling, his one Gort-like laser eye caught me in its glance and told to me to take a deep breath and hold it.  

I was prone on his platform in no time.  We moved as one...

He sees right through me, though, and is holding out with just banana (barium chalk) flavored cocktails and a little (hypodermic) needling before our relationship fully develops...

Gag!  That's enough florid prose.  Fabio, that's a wrap! I am even icking my own self out!

CAT scan saw my inter-intestinal  interloper clear as a bell and even clearer when they pushed the plunger down on the "contrast" dye from a remote glassed-in booth location.  (Don't even think about the implications of that visual...Disconcerted even me with all my hail-fellow-well-met defense mechanism bravado and sick sense of humor.)  Did you know that you can feel contrast dye as is travels from your arm to your extremities?  It went right down, I kid you not, to my "lady parts" and gave me a little provocative nudge!  I honestly thought if had gotten any warmer down there, I was going to embarrass myself with a little vocalization.  But I controlled the urge.  No yodeling in Radiology.  Or cell phones. Says so on the wall.  Radiation. Wonder if my credit cards are all stripped now....hmmmmm.

The space invader?   It's a beaut!  First impressions are always iffy, and this is no exception.  The tumor is actually anterior, meaning toward my back in  position more near little Miss Kidney and big ol Mr. Vena Cava.  In fact, the thing is encroaching on Vena Cava's space like a stinking lumpy hygiene-challenged homeless person pressing right up next to you in a crowded subway car in the tunnel!   All my other organs are organized just fine.   I knew that!  I am perfect!

There's the phone.  Next step:  (Mystery Science Theater reveal riff - duhn-duhn-DUHN!) 


We're going to stab it guided by CAT scan, yank out some cells, and chart the course from there.  Today.  All quick like and before I can obsess with what's going on.

Knock, knock?  Who's there? Mr. Good Drugs.  Well, howdy-do! Come right on in! Can I get you something?

As my son says, "It's just a big zit Mom.  They'll pop it and it's all great from there!"  Coolio. 

I woke up this morning anxious.  My plan was to shower, drop the kids at school, drive down to the Medical Center and sit outside the surgeon's entrance with a sign: "Have tumor, will amuse you while you slice it out! First come, first served."  I am told by Dr. Norma Popsiclehands, who called me this morning at the butt-crack of dawn, this is not the best strategy.  She's got some others up her sleeve, so I'll curb my renegade  impatience just this once.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Evicting My Alien Evil Twin

I have a stowaway.

I don’t know when the stealthy little "mass" bastard burrowed its way into its current warm, gurgling, whooshing hammock below decks, (With ultra-sound exams you can hear your flippin’ AORTA working! So cool!) but it’s cruising for an undignified eviction by force even if I have to dig it out myself. It’s kind of dark and cozy and moist in there under my rib cage protected by my overhanging right breast. That perky gal is affectionately known as the “party boob,” (because the kids never nursed on it) so this calculating invader played it strategically on the down low, hanging out with that complete loser The Appendix to scam free rent next to one of the funnest body parts ever. Also, the opportunistic little freak has apparently lurked there like a squatter amongst some of the hardest working most under sung digestive organs in my tummy gorging itself by proximity and growing for a long time into a strange, large hard-to-identify object, called a “mass” by Dr. Norma Popsiclehands.

Well, it got greedy, got fatter than Jabba the Hutt, and blew its cover. Fat bastard.

It’s a big ass “mass” about 4 inches long, 3 inches wide and 3 inches thick crowding its neighbors, spleen, liver, gall bladder, intestines and such, to the point they are protesting by sending large amounts of food undigested back up and overboard. Usually projectile style in the car and in front of people. This thug of a “mass,” ok it IS a tumor thank you Governor Arnold, has now messed its nest, has got to go, and I will tolerate no whining about it. I turn deaf ears to “Come on, Christmas is coming…” or “Tough love doesn’t include carving me out at Thanksgiving, you bitch!”

As soon as someone can sharpen a scalpel, drug me up and roll me unconscious, naked and drooling into an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, it’s gone!

Of course, I have pondered deeply what the hell this thing could actually be and to distract myself from some of the more mind-blowingly alarming freakishly terrifying Google fueled possibilities have determined for my personal amusement that it has to be something rare and unique and really gross to the squeamish. Although there will be more, undoubtedly, I have two ideas what it could be –

1. An alien. Only I think I’d have remembered if some crusty barnacle infested Easter egg had spewed forth a multi-jointed egg- laying orifice-invading spider thing on my face, but I don’t. Must’ve been sleeping in my car at the time and those aliens have methods by which to erase unpleasant memories, so it is a possibility that I am harboring an alien life form in my gut. I just hope we can arrange a better way for it to hatch than the movie. Dr. Surgeon Guy better step back when he takes his first slice. I remember teeth and some squealing. Eeew.

2. My Siamese twin. I always knew I had a twin and my parents just gave her away and lied about it or something. Like that cat that “went to a good home out on a farm.” But, no, this tumor could be my, here it comes, reabsorbed twin! No really! They have found “tumors” in people that included rudimentary teeth, rib bones, hair (ick!) and arms and legs! Somehow before birth in attached twins, one twin totally dominates in the womb and can completely digest the other weaker twin who then encapsulates and rides along unbeknownst to its sister host until it starts getting fat like mine, or talks, or bites or styles its hair or something. I can now blame every bad behavior I have ever had on my evil mind-controlling twin who has resided beneath my right rib cage all this time! Eeeew.

Are you squeamed yet?

That said, it now time to go drink my first dose of barium. Mmmmm barium. Banana flavored. At least it’s not up the wazoo. I get a CAT scan tomorrow, with the added bonus of a demon IV drip of “contrast” which makes me puke. Small price to pay. I wouldn’t want to miss this opportunity to dazzle the medical and scientific world with my alien, or my reabsorbed twin.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dam Beavers, Clogged Stream of Consciousness

It just isn't natural for some of us to concentrate for too long on any one thing. The torrents of thoughts that blaze through my attention window are not currently yielding up any one thing to deconstruct, to delve into. Something that will hold my attention. So here is an un-throttled blurt of everything for the next five minutes. No promises it’ll be anything.

Brace yourself -

Dogs really resisted being washed this morning but Janie settled down once she felt the cool water streaming down her glossy black back. She stood with dignity as I sudsed up her tail and butt but I could tell she was slightly humiliated...
So glad the doc found my heart to be beating strong and well...

Glasses clinking in the kitchen, daughter talking baby talk to wet pom dog who is wheezing just to scare us into never bathing her again ...

Sip of wine, notice I am having a power surge/hot for November day, 77 degrees but a freakishly gorgeous day...

Kids whipping the dogs into a frenzy and I am uncharacteristically calm about it...not the usual stfu...

Daughter going to park…"no boys!"

About time for meds, rigid neck shaky arm...

Tick tick tick pom nails need trimming...

The light outside is blazing through the moss making it look golden...

Stop looking at me with mind control eyes Bella...

Haven't seen the report card yet from excuse after another...she was absent the day they came out – swine flu but it's been a few days...

Strange last night when the sleepover just imploded ...meeting Tori outside of the apt complex at 11 pm in order to follow her home on her bike was other worldly...I thought it would be booze, boys, porno on the computer behavior that would break up the sleepover...her friend's two report card F’s did it...the Mom sent Tori home after freaking her out with her yelling...

Wish this mess would jog loose something to write about...

Bella wants on lap while wet...pats and punches with her little gold-tipped paws...I relent and she's on my lap sundress making comfy hammock...

Ultrasound in the morning looking for stones or something present in my liver area...feel it but doesn't hurt - yet...

Like my fretting is going to stop it but why are all these girl children and babies being thrown to the wind? ...watching news is a bad habit that I should turn heart just aches with every report...

Laughed with E (I hate myself for this) when that poor sausage maker guy ripped out all of his plumbing totally copping to maybe creating the stink in that Cleveland neighborhood...when all along it was the smell of the disposable women a serial killer stuffed into every orifice of his evil house. poor sausage guy...there was a nouveau Sweeney Todd style opportunity there of you ask me....think E may have thought me truly mad when I couldn't stop laughing at that...

Tired again, sleepy but the sheer impact of the sun streaming in won't let me sleep, feels like radiation. maybe it is....

Blogging on BlogSpot and Open Salon now...that fork in the road has perhaps stomp hobbled me...

Shaking the trees an nothing's falling out...

Can't go to church no way. Too angry. Too much potential for lightning…kids should go if they want...

Why the fuck do all these women in other countries allow their ass wipe brain impaired men to dominate and abuse them? Women literally make the human race, literally from conception to death. These men are just homicidal mutilating and heartless sperm donors...I hate those retards. Screw condoms, I say give women in these countries, and here, baseball bats and AK's to keep the monkey men away so things can get's our fault we don't stage a gender coup....

Think I'll start creating a contract for kids...they must flush !

Wet dog creating a really disconcerting humidity on my lap but she's happy, dreaming of sleeping while wet on my lap...

M is sick...D's cough sounds like a bull walrus...

Crew money...candy sale....debt...debt...more debt…pills… down.


Ding! 5 minutes. G'damn.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To Sleep Perchance to Dream

Recently I gave the Sandman his walking papers. He’s too old school anymore and his technique is just a big fat epic fail annoying. When I have to manually pry my sandy eyelids apart upon waking, it’s gross. Feels like kitty litter dust mixed with school  paste imbedded in my tearducts. Besides, Ol’ Sandy’s too busy these days to hang out, rub my back, and wait for me to roll over and catch the next shuttle-bubble to La-La land. And Bella, the Pomeranian Who Must Be Obeyed, creeps him out with her mind control melting chocolate M&M gaze.

Yes. My bitches My pets share my sleeping quarters with me. Bad “sleep hygiene” according to the experts. Unsavory according to people who don’t like pets. But they’re warm and twitchy, fun to watch when they dream of rabbits, and they will tag-team tear a new one in anyone breaking in, so I consider them to be added security if I get to sleep, ever.

What about the sheep you say? The sheep are plain fluffy and ineffectual with their vacant googley-eyed stares and incessant ruminant cud chewing. And my personal flock ‘o drunken surly well-armed Irish sheep just flip me off when I demand a little fence jumping. “Count this, bitch!”

The Tooth Fairy, I hear, is branching out into consulting on the merits of REM sleep. But she’s avoiding me since my dental habits don’t allow for lost teeth. Here it is though -  I’d trade the odd tooth quarter under my pillow for one stretch of uninterrupted blissful coma-style sleep. So, Tooth Fairy, bring it! (Just beware of Janie, the Frothing Grey Muzzled Labrador, who sleeps at my feet. She’ll eat your face off.)

Sleep stalks me, rings my doorbell and runs away.

Like sex, if it didn’t feel so good, we wouldn’t do it. I crave it at times. I invite it with bribes of good sleep hygiene, like a small glass of pinot grigio, a warm bath, clean, cool sheets, a good zombifying read like the Health Care Bill, and even Ambien. But three a.m. and I am up, awake and annoyed. I walk from one dark window in the house to another looking out at the moon and the Spanish moss undulating.  I listen to my favorite sounds ever: Owls hooting, the distant rumble and roar of the night train, the world asleep and exhaling, inhaling. I do like the sensations of the night walking. I will cop to that.

But when those pleasures are spent, as pleasures often are, I hit the cold blue light of the laptop. Google dishes up a bunch of articles on sleep disorders. They all lead to various forms of insanity explaining a whole hell of a lot.

Monophasic sleep best describes your thing. You get sleep eight to ten hours straight in one or two aesthetically pleasing art-worthy positions and, wrapped like a gift to this earth in fresh matching organized bedclothes, wake up smiling, refreshed and stretching to the sounds of coffee percolating and birdies chirping. Woodland creatures are, indeed, laying out your neatly pressed and fashionable clothes for what undoubtedly will be a STELLAR day in the neighborhood. From lights out to sun up, your consciousness rises and falls gently in wavelengths, but you stay just under that peak of being awake in full. You have circadian rhythm, Daddy-O!

Polyphasic sleep best describes my thing. Ninety minutes of so-called sleep, then wide awake, over and over again, day or night. By day, I get to nod off sitting up.  "Look Mommy at the funny lady sleeping in her car!" Or I get to discover, with a jerk and a start, that I have slumped over and drooled into my touchpad and there are several regimented small square impressions on my forehead from the keyboard. If I get to bed, I do my signature “levitate and spin” maneuver topped off with a dozen or so rotations of the pillow to “the cool side” while waiting for the sleep to get it’s lazy ass off the couch and help me out here. I wake up tangled in the bedclothes like a big sloppy burrito, cranky and wanting to go back to sleep but can’t. Got no rhythm, white girl!

One saving grace from what they say about sleep though, and this is supposedly the pay-off so before you turn me in to the thought police,  I'm not going to do anything crazy because of my sleep disorder:

I dream when I sleep. Huge panoramic well-plotted coherent dreams of epic proportions and in wide-screen Technicolor. And I remember them.  That is apparently the sign that I am receiving quality restorative sleep only it's on my own different-drummer terms.

I may be different, but I sure can entertain myself!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Soccer. Sock Her.

Jostling for position in Women's Soccer can lead to uncomfortable contact - an elbow to the boob, a kick to the crotch (which my kid calls a C.P. -you figure it out!), a hand on the butt, shirt tugging, and even the occasional pantsing leaving the shorts down around the ankles. Better hope you're wearing the nice underwear with no holes in them on days like those! All of these things, if the referee is watching closely enough, could net out a yellow card penalty.  

Another area of physical contact is during a full-on breakaway when defenders run shoulder to shoulder with strikers. They nudge and bump roller derby style trying to snake a foot in to take the ball. Obvious tripping and hands-on pushing will, again, catch the referee's eye if carried to the extreme and someone's going to be picking splinters out of her butt from sitting the bench.

I am  not a whiny soccer mom who screeches from the sidelines at refs who prefer to "play on" when the rough stuff turns up on the field.  Get up. Get on with it. Unless you are bleeding or broke something.  It's the nature of the beast. 

But when does this contact become assault? 

Watching Women's College Soccer has become habit for Tori and me lately because she is playing Varsity Soccer as a freshman at Boone High School.  She is good at the game.  Apparently college scouts begin to observe potential players in their freshman year of high school and begin the four year long odyssey of recruiting.  They ain't messin' around! 

Although she wants to be the next Anna Wintour and edit Vogue, she looked at me all solemn one night after a lengthy discussion of why sports scholarships are gifts from God, and said "I want to keep my options open, so ok."  Score a scholarship and Tori will, when all is said and done, play college soccer.

Then I see this -

Tori or any of her team mates are tough enough to take the normal, even rough play shots that are part of the game. Soccer is a contact sport.  If you don't like playing a contact sport, swim or play tennis.  But don't come crying to coach when you get a little manhandled every once in a while.

However, this kind of assault and battery deserves a special look.  Why wasn't this woman escorted off the field in handcuffs by local police?  How was she allowed to continue playing after the first blatant assault she doled out?  The disturbing expression on her face as she delivered the pain and mayhem was especially horrifying.  Had my daughter been the target of Ms. Lambert's violent and extremely dangerous attentions to the degree seen in that game, after controlling with every ounce of my being the overwhelming urge to bitch slap the thug skank myself, our next field of battle would be in court. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fear of Flashing

Say cheese!

Kids, dogs, furniture, vehicles, and foliage – anything really – is not safe from molestation when someone is trying to take my picture. Close up. Personal. Nothing puts me on edge quite like formal portraits. Of me. The term “headshot” means getting capped by someone with an Italian surname has a particular resonance to me, and it doesn’t mean a pretty airbrushed photo-shopped depiction of my face.

Try to get me to hold still for a photo? Brace yourself for the most pain-in-the-ass self-conscious flurry of bad behavior excuses. Frequently all you will capture is part of my image shielded by someone, their face contorted in mid- “what th’? as my death grip clutch-and-shove technique maneuvers them into a blocking position. I get comfy only when I know just my eyes show or a profile or just the outline of my departing atoms are revealed to be exiting, cartoon-like, out of frame. Exit stage left!

I can sometimes avoid it (like a big sissy) by allowing that I could “break the camera” with my super-destructo kinetic ability to melt lenses. Or by telling the shutterbug why bother? With my obvious vampiric tendencies, no image would show up anyway. Or by taking the camera like a diva auteur and announcing “I TAKE the pictures here. I don’t pose for them!” Or even by “directing” myself right out of the shot – “Now you stand here, turn sideways, hand on his shoulder, tuck in the bra strap hon, spinach in tooth sweetie, not too smiley dear!” And I’ll be over here about 100 yards away cringing having a lovely glass of wine…

Native Americans, Aboriginal Australians and paparazzi- fatigued celebrities (Hugh Laurie and Kiera Knightley for instance) think photographs have the ability to steal bits of the soul. I am down with that in a way. Some candid photos of me involved in various activities give me no angina.

It’s the portraits where my eyes are looking straight into the articulating iris of the camera. They feel intimate, raw, unguarded and way too revealing. I feel my soul becoming slightly opaque, stretched out, flattened.

And yet, I sat still recently for a dear friend who photographs everything he can see with bare eyes. Ill with the swine flu, unmade up, unprepared, I allowed some soul stealing anyway. No, I did not break his camera, nor did my image escape being captured. They say to conquer your fears you must confront them.  Here goes.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Even More Spoor at the Door (Still Stalling)

Seems I have been far more prolific, and probably even more annoying, leaving comments on my favorite Bloggers' sites than I thought!  Look what I found -

~  The agony is so very well shared, my Sistah! I found myself standing in line at the Dollar Store to purchase 3 artificial flowers for my daughter's Halloween hippy costume and a Fanta Orange drink for my son. 10 people ahead of me, one befuddled non-English speaking clerk who couldn't make the credit card thingie work, and I began to melt down...The lady in front of us heard me start to lose it. "This is the last stop. I can't do this anymore. Everyone is well beyond violating my personal space. Is that a hot flash? I am really losing it!" By all that is kind and merciful, she let me go ahead of her BECAUSE she was RETURNING items to the DOLLAR STORE. With that, she bought herself on more day breathing on this earth!

~  That kitten has him throughly mesmerized. Notice how he cheerfully provides a secure high perch for that dominant feline. Cheeky kitty! You know when they stare at us they’re just plotting to eat us eventually.

You wrote:  "I even think I saw a slimy, green troll abandon his makeshift lair and dive back into the drain hole."      I don't want to unduly alarm you, Jessica, but I think he saw you naked.

Re:  Really Drunken Guy in Mini-Mart Video:  Actually looks like he is attempting some kind of extreme yoga moves…When I have overindulged, I just give up at the point where I go to brush something off of my shoulder, and it’s the floor.

~  And then I farted.The ultimate punctuation. I am in awe.

~  I feel so evil and neurotic when I SLAM THE LID DOWN on some irritatingly happy person humming/whistling away a tune of their own making nearby. I try to tell myself that it is cruel to furiously nuke someone's evidentally self-amusing comforting habit and for a time employ supernatural self-control...and then they get louder, or change the tune to something like "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head." Or both. Hide the sharp implements. Maybe it's a tall chick thing...

~  So thrilled to finally earn a spot on a Weirdo Watchlist. So many have paid mere lip service to that in the past. Now it's official!

~  I turned the Monster Mash into a mini-virus amongst my other fellow Weirdos. Thanks to you, I gained some street cred with it. Not so fluffy anymore.

You wrote: “The Pope is a cannibal and eats kittens.”   I knew he had something really feline going on. Gives a whole new perspective to what all those backwoods inbred...dumbasses used to call us: Cat-lickers.

~ Remember, lift with your legs! Moving is fraught with ouch potential. And, if anything positive can come from this hellish economic situation, I'd say families, like yours, are knitting themselves together again in a solid front against the onslaught of modern life. Good on you! The Poochie pies just make me giggle...perma-smiles on all, awake or sleeping.

~  I didn’t think this stuff went on any more except amongst the way-out wacky Windsors. These people actually have an ancestor named “Albrecht der Bär.” He was a bear. They passed the privilege of being “der Bär” down through the line. And they admit proudly to being descended from Catherine the Great! I know you know what Catherine the Great was famous for, besides being apparently “great.” No wonder the Princess thinks nothing of wearing rollers in her portrait…Too isolated a gene pool to pull up sane in the 21st century.

~  The "fall back" is a religious plot that Dan Brown has yet to capture in one of his conspiracy books. On "fall back" Sunday, the clergy gets to see who will walk into church an hour early, look befuddled, then having nowhere to go, just sit and doze. The clergy clap their smooth little hands with muted glee, sidle up to we befuddled ones like smiling trap-door spiders,and hit us up for money. Or your first-born.That is why I am a pagan.

~  What woman gives birth to, raises and allows her son to be a dickhead manipulative malignantly narcissistic buttwipe like Munch? Is it nature or nurture? How could any woman in her right mind stand back, serve the beers and sandwiches, and allow her son to be schooled at the knee of her troglodyte "man" to learn how to "keep women in their place" by "lettin' em keep guessin'," or by "keepin' her away from distractions that don't cater to my needs?"
Don't let her feel pretty.
Don't let her feel intelligent.
Don't let her speak unless spoken to.
Don't ever loosen the chokehold.
And how the hell do the Munches out there weasel their way in to perfectly wonderful smart and capable women's lives later on?  Touched a nerve, dear.

~  Warning slutty teenagers to beware of condoms with (little paper) messages stapled RIGHT THROUGH THEM as distributed by Planned Parenthood may have been THE BEST MESSAGE to come out of that event. Totally. Way to trump an entire international organization, Jenny!

~  Our bodies, having absorbed a crapload of salt and preservatives from fast food, specifically those devil fries, will be dug up by erstwhile archaeologists in 2000 years and they will marvel at our outstanding skill at mummification. “Look, the colon in this one looks like it was functioning just yesterday!” Ancient Egyptian mummy makers are spinning in their sarcophagi wishing they’d have had quarter pounders and big macs to pre-enbalm their subjects! It’d been a whole lot less work.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More Spoor (A Stalling Tactic)

I have been a bad bad girl and have been off on a "flit" spreading the porky viral load to South Florida and back.  Fresh stories are a brewin' but until I can spit them out, here're some of the scent markings comments I made on other people's blogs.  Hey! No frowns there! Just sit back and relax!  Enjoy the azure blue sky.

(Oh! And CAUTION if you don't like bad words and feel as though you must "correct" me, stop now!  I use them.  My friends use them.  And, incidentally, so do you!  Glass houses and pots calling kettles etc.  So bite me!) 

~  The principal could've amped his street cred exponentially if he had simply called the girl's phone to see from where the ringtone emerged. And, if she could've actually sent texts on her phone from the wedgie-place, THAT would've impressed me too. And finally, I will never borrow someone's cell phone again!

~  It's when the bag of cat shit ends up in the freezer and is mistaken at holiday time for Aunt Polly's pecan log cookies, THAT'S when the chickens come home to roost.

~  Process. I write to give voice to things I would've said to people had they been listening, or even acting like they were listening. That way, if they are interested, they can get back to what I was saying at their leisure. Of course I will have already moved on by then.

~  You got to tell that inner dialogue of yours to lighten up! When my mobius loop of self- loathing fires up, I wrestle it down into a full nelson headlock and kick its frickin' ass. If you get tired, I am sure Sweets will tag in and gladly dole out the harsh on your behalf as well. With every subsequent beat down, that little whispering hissing asshole negativity demon is learning that it is unpleasant getting jacked up by me and is limping off to do something related but less hazardous. Like sell used cars. Or politics. (Hope I made you laugh!)

(This one came back to me)  Linnnn: Christ on a biscuit, no wonder Willy Wonka left the Oompa-Loompa birthing room out of the tour. Can you imagine the fucking mayhem those little brats would have wreaked in there? That fat German kid probably would have eaten all that shit too, even though the taco meat probably smelled like rotting bird diarrhea, and then the Oompa-Loompas would have inflicted massive loompadeath on that obese fuck.

~  Oh did I tell you about the kid who barfed on his phone as he was walking right next to me? I screamed and ran.

~  ...the kindness of strangers. She probably was the Queen of the Underworld and with one simple hand gesture kept the goblins and gremlins and Tupperware Ladies from descending on your ass in the dark of the night. Must've been the pink dress. And she didn't make you guess her name in some fell game of cat and mouse. Damn, you were lucky!

~ Born in the wings of a theatre, (kinda, my Mom was an actor), I learned never to throw a hat on the bed, whistle backstage or utter the name of Shakespeare's "M" play before a performance of any kind. Those little nuggets of "magical thinking" (I like that description by the way, very fairies and unicorns) became my OCD touchstones even when not anywhere near the theatre.

~  The Boy Cousins wanted to marry me at first. I am told I was ok with that until after lunch they lured me out on a sandbar in the middle of a river in Missouri in my new red cowgirl boots. I sunk up to my waist in the sand/mud as the boy cousins ran gleefully away. At dusk my Uncle Bob found and liberated me, leaving my red boots behind in the vacuum grip of the mud. And I had peed my pants at least twice during the hours that went by. Life metaphors a'poppin'!

~  From my experience with Soccer Leagues, the BigWig tends to be a paralegal in real life!

~  Taking a wrecking ball to the hell-spawn igneous monolith of a 4 year long perniciously evil writer’s block was the first reason. And, attached like a sucking lamprey to that, the need to drive a stake through the heart of the parasitic oppression (read Douchebag) who once called my writing fluffy, frivolous and not significant. Second: To supplant the Dreaded Annual Holiday Letter which never manifested until Groundhog Day after several rounds of excruciating self-inflicted guilt. Well, the gaining of jiggling holiday poundage was in there too. “It” (my blog) is more than what I expected, however. It seems to be saving my heretofore sucker-punched, lost and wandering soul. And even though AdSense banned me for innocently checking out every one of the ads with which they initially festooned my blog like some vomitous pinata,(no clickeee no clickeee) I am not writing for money (yet), I am writing for love.

~  Flowers! Full tank! Cupcakes! All the while juggling his very own ass that was handed to him! Tim is strangely angelic. And nimble with that ass juggling.

~  I have seen the pig and he are us. Hi! High on Tamaflu I am making no sense but actually did, in fact, receive the Swine Flu diagnosis. And, yes, Jessica you will shit yourself if you have it…it’s part of the package. In fact, I was driving by Atlanta thinking “this is where Jessica lives” while puking in a McDonalds bag at 70 mph. Stay home. Assume horizontal.

~  (Sound FX: Tires screeching, the “crump” of metal on metal, horn stuck on beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.)

~  Your pups are the spittin' images of my first two dogs - Cody and Bill. They actively babysat my kids leading many to say that they were raised by wolves. So be it. I know of no better foster parents than those dogs. Kept the babies nice and clean and always afforded a soft landing when toddling. I am usually a tremendous smart ass when commenting, but I want to thank you for sharing your sweet buddies so I could properly remember my two devoted companions who lived to ripe old ages, passed on and come to me now in my dreams, smiling.

~  Since, in a diabolically patient post WWII revenge plot, my 12 yr old Japanese rice-burner tried to kill me by refusing to disengage cruise control at 70 miles an hour, and I had to stand on the brakes before it plowed into the front window of the Quickee Mart in Port Charlotte Florida potentially killing several stinking homeless men and a collection of Mexican migrant workers,I, like you, broke and desperate needed a new "reliable" non-homicidal vehicle. So Ursula, the PT Cruiser, came into my life - only 2000 miles on her and she was cheap. I could tell it was messing with her self-esteem when I first glimpsed her slumping like some emo teen in the lot. All because she hit a bear while being driven by the car dealer's buddy. Had to have that car. So I have a new-ish cheap car with something most people would find repulsive - bear fur permanently inbedded in secret places. I am so fucking weird I find that fascinating! In short, like I am capable of that: The dealers have secrets to ferret out, and one of those shady bear-killing bastards may have a new "reliable" vehicle for you with maybe just one small skeleton in its closet.

~  "Oh nowhere. Just out to get cereal and play darts." Cereal turns out to be the lure I will employ to coax my freakishly recalcitrant spawn into the local CVS to receive the shot(s). I have the shot-giver, an old gal who is slow and gives those place-the-tip-of-needle-on-epidermis-and-push-in-slowly shots, training to increase her speed so I have at least a chance of subduing the one while the other gets darted. Otherwise all bets are off.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pearl Earring

The Courtyard by Marriott in Tifton, Georgia. I needed sleep. Don’t even remember dropping my bags, but I do remember one thing. I looked out the window. At a cemetery. Right there butted up against the hotel.

 Ah, the quiet. Yes.

Swine flu had evicted me from my elderly and virally susceptible parent’s home, and turned me out shivering and woozy onto the freeways of three states. Ursula, my Chrysler PT Cruiser, performed beautifully. She and I battled a constant drizzle, everlasting road construction, mother truckers and a razor blade volcanic-gates-of-hell canker sore painful Eustachian tube throat. I spiked and broke fevers in as many hours as we drove, soaking my clothes and car seat. The exhaustion pump was primed and the common sense of all my loved ones whispering in my ear compelled me to pull in and hunker down. So the Courtyard it was. How did I check in? Doesn’t matter. I locked the door twice and fell face first fully clothed into the cloud deck of five pillows and floated through “sleep’s dark and silent gate.”

The rest was a dream.

Eyes open. Standing at the sliding door in my underwear looking out at the dusky cemetery. Pine trees shed needles down on grey gravestones and a stocky boxy mausoleum. Purple clouds shrouded the bruised and bleeding sunset. A lady who looks like my Aunt, carried a rake and walked the long aisles between the graves. She looked up at me. I ducked away.

Eyes open. Pitch blackness, I stand holding the curtain aside. I look out over the cemetery. No detail. Nothing. Like someone held up black velvet over my eyes. Green lights streak through the blackness. No sound.

Eyes open: Something’s covering my face. Homespun. I recognize the weave, it is so close to my eyes, and backlit by candlelight. I hear a voice. She’s arguing with a man. “She has nothing to pay!” “Oh yes she does,” said he and I felt the cover jerked from my face; my earring snatched out of my earlobe; and the sting. “This’ll do just fine,” said he. “Leave the other,” said she, “She deserves somethin’ purty for when she rises up again on the last day. 'Sides, might be bad luck if'n you take th'other'n” The homespun shroud was tossed back over my face. I feel soft hands smooth out the cloth over my face.  The candlelight yields to blackness. I can’t move. Said she, “Let’s call her Pearl, since no one’s a claimin’ her.” Says he, sniffing and spitting, “Makes sense. That’s all she’s got to her name.”

Eyes open: Cool air slaps my face. I stand on the balcony overlooking the cemetery. My nightgown seems inadequate against the drizzle, the coolness. People stroll among the gravesites, long dresses, hats, parasols, men in black tails. A horse-drawn carriage draped in black clip-clops and stops. The carriage decants a pine box, plain and anonymous that is manhandled by the workman somewhat hastily into a yawning red clay hole. A preacher preaches. Dirt reigns down on the top of the box. The people fade away among the pines as the workman employs his shovel. He looks up. I duck away.

Eyes open: The alarm was bleating, the radio weather report was blaring, and television was telling me that 24 soldiers have perished in Afghanistan. My throat, my eyes, my legs all tried to unknot. Why still exhausted after 10 hours of sleep? Swine flu sure kicks ass. The CDC wasn’t kidding. I stumbled to the sink and I eventually got my act together for a whole new day of driving ever closer to home.

Checking out, the desk lady frowned and looked at me with concern in her eyes. I looked sick, grey and pasty, and I knew it. I said, “Don’t worry, I’ll be ok. Not far from here until home.”

She said, “Oh, I am sure you’ll be just fine but did you know you’re missing an earring?”

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Swine Before Pearls

I like entertaining the odd conspiracy theory now and again.  It is fun to debate the peculiar circumstances surrounding the JFK assassination, UFO sightings, and the existence of Sasquatch. My current curiosity revolves around this:  How in the hell did a Mexican pig get infected with a chicken virus, mix it up with a few other human flu viral strains, add a mutation or three designed to evade vaccine, and then deliver it to a human child at ground zero? 

I want to know who french-kissed that pig.

Or is it some kind of subtle grass roots mad-scientist style warfare introduced by those homicidal fanatic hater peckerheads who don't like us very much and want to weaken us where it counts?  The best and brightest generation, the kids we are depending upon to inherit this United States for us when we are aged, confused and ineffective, our adolescents and teens, are catching the worst of it. Some are dying. Obama just today declared this virus a National Emergency. Vaccine availabilities are lagging pitifully, some fear the danger that may be lurking in half-developed and possibly mercury contaminated vaccines and won't even get them when they are ready, ER's are bulging with misery.  I can hear the haters now, "Screw bringing down Wall Street, this virus is the bomb!"

The Emergency Room at Transylvania Hospital in Brevard, North Carolina didn't seem too crowded.  In fact it was kind of nifty since the windows facing out framed the heli-pad and we were treated to an exciting view of their emergency rescue 'copter humming-birding in and out.  In the waiting room with us were just a couple of people looking forlorn and uncomfortable wearing surgical masks.  I was one of them.  Seems the puking in my car was the big DING! that should've alerted me that something was indeed awry.  And in my usual state of blissful denial, I ignored the sore throat, cough, nausea and bone-snapping aches allowing that lotus-eater bliss that comes from regularly eating Aleve. (Angels sing!) When that stuff kicks in, the baseball bats raining down on my long bones and skull cease for at least 8 blessed hours.  Normal, un-cranky and even personable are descriptors for me at these times.

Truth be told, my kids were sniffly and complaining when I embarked on  my annual pilgimage to the cool serenity of the autumnal, on-fire-with-unbelieveable-color Appalachians.  My kids are always sniffly with something.  It's part and parcel of attending that giant infested petri dish we call High School.  But this was more.  After both their throats closed up in a red inflamed clench, and the fevers began their attack, they were Clinic-bound with their father.  After each receiving a swab up the nose, ("Mom I think they touched my brain!") and swabs in the throat ("Mom, I thought I was going to hurl all over the guy!"), tah-dah!  The cards they swiped with the kids' boogers revealed Swine Flu, or for the more scientifically inclined, H1N1. 

I like hi-nee.  Works for me.  Like something unwelcome up the wazoo!

"Mom, I have the Swine Flu!"

"No. You've got to be exaggerating. Can't be, my little drama queen exciteable one.  Princessa della Luna, put your Eagle Scout brother on..."

"Mom, it is H1N1 Swine Flu. I have it too. You better get checked."

"Ohhhhhhh... (Expletive deleted just this once. It was saltier than usual.)"

That's how my mother and I landed in the ER. 

And, yes, I have apparently french-kissed the pig.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Road Kill Fandango, Galahad and The Mother Truckers

When the flattened remnants of mangled road kill stood up and belly-danced before my watering eyes, I should’ve known something was up. In fact, it was my breakfast. I was going to puke, vomit, hurl, blow chow.  And right now. But, at hour three of a ten hour drive, I was running at 70 miles per hour in the fast lane boxed in by a giant blue truck with “Galahad - How’s my driving?” stenciled on the door and a lovely monolithic “Jersey” wall. The “Happy Halloween” pumpkin donut I had eaten along with a multi-vitamin and other daily morning nostrums I had taken before my solo drive to NC were clawing their way back up my throat like a chain gang of cranky hamsters. With tiny little blowtorches.

Options were limited. I could not swing across 4 lanes thanks to Galahad who had me pinned. There would be no comfortable off-ramp and open door, no baptizing the side of the road with my steaming stomach contents while someone good-naturedly holds my hair and pats my back, no leisurely clean-up and no deep cleansing breaths. The pumpkin donut and the pills staged in the back of my throat setting up to blurt with volcanic velocity from my sealed lips, spraying hot chunks all over my lap and steering wheel at 70 miles per hour. I am the proud mother of necessity and had to think McGyver-quick of something inventive while not ramming my car into the wall. It was go-time and my midsection was flipping with intent, made even more immediate by the fact that Galahad the Truck was watching me…Actually the driver was, not the truck itself, but those guys are so attached to their vehicles they seem blended like centaurs of the highway. Metal and flesh Siamese Twins.

Split second timing critical, I darted my eyes to the back seat to see (Angels sing!) an abandoned McDonald’s bag left by my pig-like kids. Eyes back on the road, holding the steering wheel steady with my weaker left hand, I groped frantically with my right arm and caught the bag, whipped it up to my face and achieved sweet, sweet respite. Twice. Nice and neat. No besmirchment of my travel pod. Can I multi-task or what?

After dabbing my mouth with wet wipes, which I neurotically keep on hand as a card-carrying germ phobic, I gingerly rolled the bag down and placed it on the floorboard of the passenger side intending to make a “deposit” when I could finally find an off-ramp. Flat Shoals, Georgia coming right up. Congratulations Shoal-ians, you get my DNA. Right then, I looked up to see, much to my complete dismay, Galahad’s driver, still pacing me,  asking me in silent road sign language, “Are you ok?” I gave him an embarrassed “Ok” sign. To which he responded with three sharp toots of his air horn.

Sure beats having my hair held.

All the way to I-85, Galahad reintroduced himself in my rear view mirror, his shiny grinning grill and flashing headlights fixed in a perma-smile. He passed me on the left with a light toot, or gently, if gentle can be trucking trait, appeared in front of me inviting me to draft his slipstream to save gas. I knew it was him because he was transporting on his flat bed a huge mysterious lumpy cylindrical object, guy-wired down and cloaked in black visqueen flapping in the wind. It looked like a giant be-condomed penis, of all things. No mistaking Galahad the Guardian Road Angel, his payload called him out!

More than once, I think in cahoots with the CB fraternity of fellow good guy trucker guys, Galahad delivered disciplinary rolling road blocks to the madly erratic amphetamine befuddled or asleep at the wheel “mother truckers” out there who were, for sport, demonically scaring the shit out of chicks in small cars and grandma and grandpa in Winnebagos.

We parted ways as I veered off east toward the purple foothills of the Appalachians, waving a thumb’s up to Galahad. He shot back a prolonged blast from his horn and rumbled off west into a brilliant Fall sunset.

Thanks, dude, wherever you are.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blitz, Boo-yah, Spartacus and The Statue Man

Mr. Blitz and Dr. Boo-yah conspired mightily this muggy autumn to squash a pesky but potentially virulent insurrection at Boone High. After all, 'tis the season for school administrators to either exert the kind of pressure that makes diamonds out of worthless lumps of teenage coal, or missing the one pivotal opportunity, retreat to various offices and golf carts for the rest of the year to lick their wounds and plot for another day. There is no middle ground. One shot. Either dominate totally and very publicly or just watch the rag-tag parade slouch by until the next school year and they could begin again. Blitz and Boo-ya went for the Hail Mary this time, and the touchdown is a matter for the refs and the playback to decide.

The game deciding play? The Statue Man.

Most of high school is a swirling watercourse of sometimes toxic events, including lesbian bitch-slap fights, nut job tazings, jocks and cheerleaders, atomic wedgies for all (both literally and figuratively) and tangy smoke filled restrooms.  But once in a while, in the meandering flow, an odd eddy forms and the world just arranges itself around it. That would be The Statue Man.

An unassuming shaggy-haired white kid, he arrives at Boone football games trailed by a cadre of fans who know what he’s going to do. He is always accompanied by his cohort/cameraman. He strolls to a good spot, like the grassy knoll (that’s what they call it) near the bleachers and a crowd forms.

He freezes in place.

The scene unfolds under the disconcertingly constant gaze of the camera, and the intimidating stares of Mr. Blitz and Dr. Boo-yah, as he adopts whatever statue position is imposed upon him by passersby. Anyone who walks by is allowed to physically move The Statue Man's arms, legs, head, facial expression or clothes to suit their whims. They sometimes add or subtract clothing or props decorating him with found items. He transforms in just minutes, depending upon the mob energy surrounding him, from triumphant Poseidon, with arms and gaze flung heavenward, to abject slave kneeling with his shirt pulled up over his face. Until someone else decides to change his scene.  He's a life-size Gumby but without the green slanty head, and his monkey-cam co-conspirator is not Pokey.

The Statue Man maintains this act of supernaturally-disciplined all-consuming performance art throughout the length of an entire football game. Some brave ones, unconcerned with whether it's cool or not, actually join him and stand still for short blocks of time just for fun. One such pioneer dork says that he strikes poses gleaned from his Art History Class. Rodin’s The Thinker, for instance. Or Tutankhamen. Or the Sistine God. Or Dr. Evil. Whatever.

Think long on this: Post adolescents standing still. Contemplating art and society and metaphors and funny movies. Miraculous. Awe inspiring.

And yet The Statue Man goes against everything Public High School in the United States of America has adopted as appropriate behavior. No, a student cannot deviate from the norm by adopting disruptive behaviors or by promoting physical contact. What if someone touched him in a “bad way?” What if one of his actions offended someone’s religious/cultural/racial beliefs? What if he “shot a bird?” What if the kids got over stimulated and a fight broke out? Or a riot? Or, god help us, a LAWSUIT?

“Young man if you stand still one more time, you will be escorted from the premises.”

This was the decree issued by Blitz and Boo-yah at the conclusion of the game before Homecoming. It was all over Boone High that Blitz and Boo-yah had suppressed The Statue Man. That they didn’t want Homecoming to be spoiled in any way by an “incident” so they nipped it hard. This was the pivotal event this year to cement their dominance. Or so they thought.

The unassuming shaggy-haired kid arrived at the Homecoming football game as expected, followed by his posse and paparazzi. He confidently took his spot on the grassy knoll and froze. Mr. Blitz and Dr. Boo-yah circled like sharks in well-chummed waters working up the nuts to make good on their decree.

But a funny thing happened.

The Statue Man suddenly had a buddy. A kid froze right next to him and submitted to the manipulations of anyone passing by just as The Statue Man had. Then another joined. And another. Then 10. Then 20. A silent I AM SPARTACUS littered the grassy knoll with Statue Men and Women. They were not kids just pushing back at “The Man” from some anarchist-esque rebellious place. They had stepped over the line to assume the positions of grown-ups; men and women with opinions, causes, and, yes, passions.

Blitz and Boo-yah were at a crossroads.  Blitz, with strict authority, swiftly and commandingly took the lead. Scowling, he approached The Statue Man closely, invaded his personal space for just one intimidating moment. He brought his hands up, dug his heels into the ground for stability…and froze.

Blitz struck a pose.


"Let's see if they can keep us from standing still!"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mr. Sadistic Public School Bus Driver

I like having my kids hostage in the car for 20 minutes every morning. 

It makes me kind of happy to drive them to school after they re-appear at the front door, hangdog pissed and sweaty, because the Mr. Sadistic Public School Bus Driver, who never shows up at the same time window every day, gunned it, and sped away laughing while they sprinted vainly toward the wheeled yellow tube of doom.

How'd you know he was laughing?

I saw his teeth!

They could actually see the demonic glint of his perfect white teeth as he rolled by, air brakes huffing and squealing in delight. He stops patiently for the 300 pound teen mother down the way barrelling down the sidewalk in flip flops with her massively stuffed land yacht stroller. Not even sure if there is a baby in there.  He stops for the bespectacled kid with the bird nest hair and the inhaler. He even stops for the Emo stoners who slouch their way up to the bus at a glacially relaxed sub-warp speed.

I suppose Mr. Sadistic Bus Driver thinks he is helping build character in my two unfairly and freakishly normal straight-A no rap sheet /criminal record, un-pregnant, non-knife-wielding sober pleasantly affable kids who do sports. Or, he knows I won't sue him and appear on Channel 6  all indignant and weepy in my nightgown complaining that, "Ah'm just doin' this here lawsuit so it don't happ'n to anyone else's kids. And for the money so' Ah kin donate some to Brother Bobby down there at church and have mah long awaited varicose vein surgery that those bastards at Medicaire won't cover!" Springer? Springer? Bueller?

I really try not to show the kids my oppositionally defiant tendencies with propped up power munching authority figures, but it is all I can do not to indulge out loud my current fantasy.  It would give me such pleasure to track that bus halfway to school, jack it, spin gravel into the face of the now duct-taped supine driver left on the side of the road on a fire ant hill and give all those kids the ride of their short tawdry little lives! That is after I give them my What the hell are you thinking? Cut the crap!  Quit being such dumbasses and wise up!  "talk".

Hey Mom you just ran over something.


No it was metallic.

Robot squirrel.


Going to the stylist this week and wonder what I should do.  My blog friends should weigh in so here're the choices -

Leave it long

Bring it up to medium length

or lop it OFF!

Update:  It stayed long per popular request.  Thank you for playing!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Halloweeny Cat

With the moon behind him
He’s as black as pitch.
He sits upon a gatepost
Watching for a witch!

His eyes like jack o’lanterns,
They have a yellow gleam.
He sees the ghosts and goblins
And hears the banshee scream!

Tonight he’s not a kitten,
Cute and soft and furry,
He’s a Halloweeny Cat
Big, and black, and SCARY!

I was enrolled in the Ft. Lauderdale Children’s Theater at age 7 for the very same reasons kids are medicated and given detention at school these days. I needed to work out some of my hyper headstrong ways. Seems I had manifested, according to the big fat sweaty mean penguins nuns a very annoying and rampant imagination and a compulsive need to command attention by disrupting class with outlandish outbursts talking, a lot. This needed curbing and direction. Although regular spankings time-outs were prescribed by the nuns, Mom decreed that theater was the solution.

The first assignment was to tape that poem carefully into my black and white Composition Book, decorate it with crayon drawings, memorize it and “act it out” for my seven year old peers in the class. It was written by one of the most talented drama teachers ever, Miss Nancy Yohe. “Picture it in your mind’s eye,” she told us, “Go there and feel the shivery thrill of HALLOWEEN! Whooooooo!” And she’d whoosh by our rapt little faces, a ghostly floating Isadora levitating on pointed toes.
Damn, if I didn’t go there then.

I go there still.

The moon holds me in its thrall.

The cat
a black hole punched into the air on the fence post,
arranges itself in stark silhouette be-rimmed by the ghastly cloud-riven orb.

Its yellow candle wick eyes, flickering, scan the skies for contrails of flitting witches, grey floating revenant tatters on the wind.

The cat turns her carved pumpkin eyes to me.

For I am the ghost of a goblin, screaming like a banshee in the midnight, and only now, on this twelfth toll of the bell, allowed to rend the tissue-thin veil separating our worlds.
I am the cat.

For one night I am the night and the nightmare.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Baby Tree, part 5

The Baby Tree

Nervous and amped up, Elizabeth paces checking out the window at intervals. Light shifts slowly, imperceptibly to blue.  She picks up the fallen magazine replacing it on the table. As she turns away, it is roughly pushed off the table again, a chest-rattling boom, boom, boom is heard in the attic and the cradle moving of its own accord scrapes right up to her in a threatening approach like a dog. She gasps and freezes. There is a soft knock at the door. Elizabeth carefully goes to the door and begins to open it peeking through the crack.


Ohhhhh.  Miss Louise told me about you, Fiona. Your babies…yes I understand. Charlotte, Abigail, and George? There are three? In the tree? Oh that’s where they are. (She sings) Rock a bye baby in the tree tops, when the wind blows…. Of course. You finally found them. Show me…

(As she tries to open the door wider to join the shadow woman, the door is abruptly pushed shut from behind her wrenching it from her hand. Lights flicker and dim. Elizabeth is then flung to the couch by invisible hands and she scoots across to get away.) Leave me alone! You have no control over this house. You are dead. And I am not afraid of you. (Items shake, scrape and scoot around while a low wail is heard phasing through the house. Elizabeth, trying to go out the door is caught in an invisible pair of hands, pulled backward and appears to be choking as though being strangled. Enter Louise flinging the front door open with a bang! She is holding a blue faded mildewed cloth bundle. )


That’s ENOUGH!   (All unnatural activity stops. Elizabeth is gasping and holding her throat.  Lights brighten slightly. She is followed by a somber Kevin holding the shreds of two small pink weather-worn cloth bundles tenderly in his hands. He goes to Elizabeth who is gasping for air.)


Beth. The babies. Fiona’s babies were wedged in a hollow in the tree. When I cut the branches, their…bones…fell out. Here they are… (Elizabeth cradles them and weeps)


(Looking up and around addressing the spirit) This doctor boy is right, I am sorry to say. We shoulda stopped you then. I’m stopping you NOW. John Wilson McCarthy, Fiona’s babies are coming in out of the cold and this here mama is going to love them, along with her own, to make up for you’re a killin’ ‘em. Fiona, darlin’, I am sorry. Rest now. (She pauses, takes a shuddering breath and wails in grief)  And I want my Georgie back. You had no right to put yourself on me after Fiona died, that was evil, but you’ll roast in hell for taking my baby Georgie from me and putting him with the others up high in the hollow in the apple tree. I could hear him cryin’ on the wind like he were flyin’ and couldn’t find himI've walked by that tree hundreds of times...(She wipes her nose on her sleeve and pulls what's left back together of her emotions.)  Say you’re sorry to St. Peter, Uncle John, and maybe save your soul, but go out of here! This is a house of life now. (Deflated)  As for my sorry self, I’m standing here in front of God ‘n everone with the bones of my baby boy in my hands, askin’ for forgiveness. I need forgiveness.  Georgie!

Light goes white and bright and the sound of pipes bursting throughout the house is heard. There’s a lot of water running. Then in cadence, the sound of several doors slamming and a wind blowing through and out. Lights return to natural. Kevin runs to the “main” water cut off and twists it shut.


My water broke.

(In a new father flurry of unnecessary kinetic activity-) It’s time? It’s TIME. Let’s get to the car. County is only 30 minutes away so we’ll make it.  (They go to the door where her maternity bag is packed and ready. Kevin, grabbing his physician’s bag and supporting his wife, turns to Miss Louise who is holding Georgie’s remains tenderly)


Miss Louise…


You go on now. Clock’s tickin.’ I’ll be here when you get back. Things need straightening up and it was my damn Uncle John what went through here like Grant went through Richmond. You like vegetable soup and bread? It’ll be waiting…And boy? I’m pleased to have met you and Elizabeth here…


You know Miss Louise, I can't say what really happened here but as a man of science, I am sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation…


(Putting her finger to his lips to shut him up she says warmly through a labor pain) Likewise Miss Louise. Likewise.

They go. A car starts and gravel spins.  Ms. Louise turns from the closed door and gently lays her son’s remains in the cradle. She gathers the pink bundles as well and lays them in carefully with her boy. She vigorously wipes her tears away and sniffs.


You’ve been together for so long, be a shame to separate you now. (She pulls the cradle over to the recliner and sits. She clears her throat…puts her hand tenderly on the cradle and rocks it.) Rock a bye baby, in the tree tops, when the wind blows, your cradle will rock…

Gradual fade to black.

The window is backlit by moonlight where the motionless silhouette of a woman in a brim hat and shawl is looking in.

The End