Monday, August 31, 2009

This one is for Sophie I.T.M.

I stepped outside into the cool night air before getting ready for bed tonight, looked up, and saw a wonderous sight. The moon is bright orange--a result of the fires in California.

For a better look, click on the picture.


Put me out of my misery. If I can't have the me that worked so well for so long, I'm not interested in making do with this bland, colorless, unappealing version.

Fuck it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Godspeed, Ted

You're going to be missed. Your friends, supporters, and even your opponents came forward to say that you were larger than life, passionate, and committed. You never stopped fighting the good fight--many good fights--continuing on even when you were starting to fight the illness that eventually took your life.

I'm glad you never became president. If you had, you never would have been able to flourish with your imperfections. Some of your most important work never would have become reality. Despite your own privileged upbringing, you were always able to champion the cause of the average, working-class American, including the most downtrodden among us.

I was never what one would call a Kennedy fan or supporter, but I had a deep appreciation for the issues you were willing to take on as if each was a personal burden. If ever I had had the opportunity to meet you, I would have thanked you personally for your legislative work that made my life a bit easier to live. It wasn't limited to just one thing, either. I appreciated your ability to see the bigger picture and future impact when choosing your Congressional battles, particularly in your tenacious and hard-fought work to establish mental health care parity. It was an unpopular issue that you defended fearlessly and for that, you have my deepest gratitude.

Now, let the sails billow with a late summer wind heading toward the horizon.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Every victory has a taste that's bittersweet.
--Mark Knopfler, Dire Straits

This really should have been included in the post titled, Well said. It's quite suited to accompany Kaye Redfield Jamison's quote about being a lesser version of herself once she became stable.

The song, On Every Street, is the first song on my iPod's "Sleep" playlist. The entire second half of the song is a four-chord phrase that repeats and builds from something spare until it becomes a lush blend of four instruments played to their potential. It is stunning.

And then it's over.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sometimes it feels bad

I am unliked by those who know me.
I am unpopular.
I am insignificant.

I fully understand why. This is not among the mysteries in my life.

I am the leftover piece, the piece that never fits. There is no right place in the wrong context.

Alone is a state of being.
Alone is an empty feeling, a jar filled with gravel.

Sometimes, the pain in my heart is almost unbearable. With whom do I share these thoughts? Well, nobody. Jolie is far away and beset with deep troubles. Frank has no comfort to give right now. Joanna appears to have bowed out entirely.

That's the entire roster.

I am on my own. Blogging can't address every difficulty in my life. People can't, either.

I'm quitting therapy. It's useless in my situation. This is a bit of a bipolar slide, but being sad is much more acceptable socially than the churning storms of a mixed state.

There is no hope. The box of hope has gone missing.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Well said

This Saturday night, the Brainucopia is full of feelings, thoughts, and ponderings. I was looking for a quote that could describe how I feel about Facebook, somewhat believing that would be an impossible task. Turns out I was wrong.

We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them, and so we go lonely, side by side but not together, unable to know our fellows and unknown by them.
— W. Somerset Maugham

Somewhere amidst the many quotes I found about all sorts of fascinating things, words uttered by people far more clever than I will ever be, was this one. It's near and dear to my heart not only because of who said it, but because she did such an astounding job of describing my life when she wrote about her own.

"I compare myself with my former self, not with others. Not only that, I tend to compare my current self with the best I have been, which is when I have been mildly manic. When I am my present "normal" self, I am far removed from when I have been my liveliest, most productive, most intense, most outgoing and effervescent. In short, for myself, I am a hard act to follow."
— Kaye Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

What I had really hoped to find was a quote about illness, the unknown, and uncertainty. Or, perhaps one about whether it's better to know or not know. Maybe one about a situation appearing to be headed from bad to worse. Thinking about it all made me wonder if I might derive any sense of relief from being able to say, "It was never bipolar disorder. My behavioral health was wrongly accused of offenses that were actually rooted in something much more socially acceptable but with far more terrible consequences in the end."

That's a lot to think about when you think about it.

Photo by me, last week.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dilemmas of anonymous blogging

I just read this article on CNN online: The coming-out stories of anonymous bloggers.

It starts like this:
By John D. SutterCNN

(CNN) -- Blog fans in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, saw PittGirl as their masked superhero -- a comedian and local commentator who jibed the mayor without reserve and ranted freely about her hatred of pigeons.

Virginia Montanez says she was fired because she revealed her identity as a local blogger.

But despite her effort to keep her real name secret, people started to figure out who PittGirl was.

Feeling pressure to take control of her identity before someone else outed her, PittGirl on Wednesday posted pictures of herself on her blog and introduced readers to her real-world self: Virginia Montanez, a 35-year-old married mother of two who worked in the nonprofit sector.

"My friends and family call me Ginny," she wrote on her blog. "But you can continue to call me Your Majesty, because I've grown accustomed."

On Thursday morning, Montanez was fired from her job because of her online persona, she said.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Staycation, day, oh, I don't know

Note: I am on vacation; therefore, there is no proofreading at this time.

The to-do list was long. It's still long. I haven't accomplished much. My intentions were good, but frankly, I'm tired. Much more tired than I thought.

I'm ready to go to the island with Jolie. Our island. It's our plan. We're going to go to an island where we will be the only inhabitants. We will not have to take meds because nobody else will be there--there won't be any need to be anyone other than who nature intended us to be.

We understand each other. We don't offend each other. Much. If we do, it's no big deal. We've learned not to take things personally.

When I told Frank about the island, his immediate concerns were pragmatic: "How will you get supplies?" I said we'd have them airlifted and dropped from planes. "Well, what if you get sick of each other and one of you kills the other?" I replied, "We probably had it coming."

Frank got quiet and asked, "Can I come visit?"


The other day I interrupted Jolie's peaceful retreat from civilization with a phone call. My loneliness was getting the best of me. the boredom was even worse.

"Jolie, I always thought I would be a world traveler. The bad thing about FaceBook is that I'm finding out that everyone I ever knew has traveled extensively while I've been driving in circles."

I don't think Jolie can really empathize here. She's already covered, like, half the planet. I tried to explain that I was supposed to be a world traveler. It was my plan and I thought it was my destiny. I had already been to South America twice--without my parents--by the time I was 18. Now I'm on vacation and I've put 14 miles on my car since August 7. There is no travel now or in my future.

Jolie asked me if I have a passport. Oh, great, now I'm going to really look like a loser.

"No, Jolie, I do not have a passport. The one I got in 1976 expired in 1981, and I haven't had any need for a new one."

"But what about when we go to our island?"

"Jolie, if we're the only ones there, we won't need passports. It's not like there's going to be any immigration or TSA people waiting for us."

She thought about that and said, "Well, there could be processing en route."

Good point.

"Here's the thing. I thought about getting a passport in case I needed to flee the country or something--especially during the Bush years. I filled out all of the paperwork, but I hated how my picture came out. I went to a different place and got my picture taken again, but I didn't like that one, either. I put the passport application aside and when it was almost ready to expire, I got my photos retaken. They weren't any better than the previous ones, so I threw them away and shredded the application. That's why I don't have a passport."

This vacation, I had a budget of $50 for the entire two weeks. That kind of puts the whole passport issue into perspective.

On a related note, I've been taken aback by the number of people who suggested camping as a vacation activity. Oh my god, why do people camp? I can't think of anything worse for a vacation, except for ending up on that show, "Locked Up Abroad." Camping? Seriously? Outside? Where there is either no bathroom or one I would have to hike to in the dark when I wake up in the middle of the night? Plumbing. Without 21st Century plumbing and electricity, trust me, it won't be a vacation.

Frank will only travel to countries where English is the first language. I will only travel to places with good plumbing and modern bathrooms.

Perhaps this explains a lot about why we don't travel.

My brain is off

It appears that my brain has no thoughts to process, or else, it's not trying very hard.

However, the word of the week is: parasthesia.

Yes, I think my brain has locked up. Hmm. Didn't see that coming.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Better late than never

When I graduated from college, I had to move back to my parents' house. Having paid for my college education myself, I was absolutely broke. It took a year, but in January 1985, I packed up my stuff and moved into my first apartment. I had a roommate, and it was she who had invited me to live with her since her roommate at the time (her sister) was about to get married.
Our apartment was in the center of town, above the Army-Navy store. Just around the corner was the storefront gallery of a local artist whose work I loved. I used to stand on the sidewalk and wish that I would someday be able to afford one of the watercolors or lithographs on display in the window--many of which depicted Doylestown streetscapes.

When my 24th birthday came a few months later, my roommate was waiting for me as soon as I woke up. She handed me a heavy cardboard tube and said, "You can't even imagine..."

She was right.

The tube held a lithograph of David Frame's print, Dance. Frame had pencil-signed the print and written a birthday message along the bottom of the paper. I was astounded.

Dance by David L. Frame, 1976

I knew how much this print cost, and I couldn't imagine how my roommate, a college student, had been able to buy it. She told me that she stopped in to take a look at the lithograph a few days before. She asked the man who was sitting there reading a magazine if the gallery had anything small she could see. They didn't. He asked her why it had to be small and she said, "Because I know that I can't afford anything big."

My roommate went on to chat with this guy for quite some time. She explained that she was shopping for a birthday gift for me, that we were newly on our own, both totally broke, and that I loved art and was generally interesting. She told him that I traveled overseas without my parents--twice--as a teen and that I spent my senior year in Chile. She also explained that I had just graduated with a degree in communications/broadcasting/journalism, but I hadn't yet broken into the field. She also said that I had a nice collection of coffee-table art books, but that I had never been able to buy a "real" piece of art. In fact, I didn't have one thing to hang on the wall of our apartment.

She mentioned that she was standing in this gallery because I absolutely loved David Frame's work. The man asked her which subjects I liked and she pointed to Dance. She said that I was so taken with the print, that I had stopped in several times just to look at it.

The man said that in order to show her some things I might like, he needed to know how much she could afford to spend on this gift. She told him, and it was about half of the selling price of Dance.

And then it happened. David Frame introduced himself as the artist, saying that being the artist qualified him to be flexible in his pricing.

I never had the money to get the lithograph framed. Something always came up, or I was in the process of moving, or sending money to my parents, or needing a car, or paying for graduate school, or something. Every year around my birthday, I would take the picture out of the tube and just look at it before tucking it away for another year.

This went on for too many years. This year, I decided that I wanted to spend some money on something that wasn't medical or pharmaceutical in nature. One Saturday afternoon, I took the tube out of its storage spot and headed out to, of all places, Hobby Lobby. I had a coupon.

There is something about this picture. The framing technician unrolled the print and weighted the corners with little sandbags. After a day full of baby pictures, ten-dollar posters, memorabilia and the other things people want to frame, he was stunned to be looking at, as he said it, "the real deal."

I gave him the short version of the story of how I got the print and what I knew about the artist. He stepped aside to take a call, and gradually, a small group of people gathered around the Frame print. Everyone was taken with it, and everyone had questions. I love this picture and I was glad to be able to tell about it. The framing shop manager came over and asked if I needed help. I said, no, I was waiting for the other framer to finish his call. The manager immediately fell in love with the print and asked me a lot of questions about the artist and about Bucks County.

Then he asked me why it had taken me 24 years to get the picture framed. I explained about finances, grad school, life, and my recent medical expenses, as well as the financial realities of my choice to work with refugees. I said, "I still can't afford this, but enough is enough. It's time."

When my framing tech came back, his boss called him aside and talked with him briefly. The tech came over and said, "My boss wants me to do this job for you for half price, no strings attached."

And so it is that I finally have this large, gorgeous picture prominently displayed in my little house. It looks perfect.

David Frame's bio/obituary.

View some of David Frame's art by collection

Sometimes I copy myself

Vacation, day seven. As planned, there has been ironing, cleaning, painting, picture hanging, a new roof, trips to the vet, grocery shopping, obscene amounts of TV and Internet, lundry, weight gain, watering the garden, fixing a few mechanical things, etc.

I bought a copy of "O" magazine and I have been able to concentrate enough to read three articles. The Suze Orman column always makes me feel like a loser of epic proportions.

Frank took off from work two days this week. I thought it was to do something vacationy with me, but as it turns out, he took this time so we could paint the living room, dining room, hallway, and anything else we can accomplish. I told Frank I could do the painting alone, but he was quite uncomfortable with that idea. And this is where I let my email tell it. I told it all to Jolie who may or may not even be reading my messages since she feels pretty unwell herself these days. Here's what I told her:

Anyway...I wanted to do this myself during my vacation time. Frank would have none of it. He insisted that he knows exactly what we should do, he wants to spackle a certain way(?), and he knows how to paint, blah, bah, blah... Here's the thing. I don't like to paint, but I am very, very good at it. I'm experienced, careful, detailed, and my technique is nearly flawless. I know a lot of good tricks and my prep work is excellent. I'm slow, but the end result looks very professional. Frank is not a very good painter. He doesn't listen to anything I say, he thinks I overthink the whole process, and he says his way is just fine. I don't know why Frank doesn't trust me to paint. It's not a life-or-death, no-going-back process, you know?

Here's how today went:
We didn't prime even though we're going over semigloss paint that had approximately 100 matte spackle spots. "This is good paint going over off-white walls. We don't need to prime."
Frank painted the ceiling a few weeks ago, so he knew exactly where all of the rollers were. The first one we tried to use still had water in it. I said, "did you leave this standing upright to dry?" "Uh, I don't remember. Maybe not. It felt dry so I put it away in the big plastic bag with the others." That meant that not only hadn't the water drained, but it had no way to completely dry out.

When Frank painted the ceiling, there were about 10 little shiny spots showing where he hadn't completely covered with the paint. When we were painting today, the same thing was happening. First he said it wasn't but it was obvious. So, he said he didn't understand why this was happening. I asked if uses the V pattern when he paints. He assured me he does. I watched him, and he doesn't.

I don't know if you've done any painting, but here's what you're supposed to do: Paint a "V about three feet wide. Using horizontal strokes, paint from the top of the V to the bottom so you're left with a squarish rectangle. Then, paint over the square with vertical strokes. It's done this way because it ensures total coverage of each wall section in all directions. It's not rocket science--the directions are printed on the can label. So, there are little, shiny white spots showing through the wall paint. I also told Frank that this show-through happens if the roller has any flat spots. Guess what--the roller wasn't stored standing up, either. Why, why, why doesn't he believe what I tell him???

I noticed today that he hit some spots on the ceiling. He told me it's not a problem because he has to touch up the spots he missed with the ceiling paint anyway.

More fun on Friday. Maybe I'll just take myself out to a movie.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I wonder if the Duggars know?

Observation from the couch:
Discovery Channel is running ads for birth control during "18 kids and counting."
Break free from the pack with NuvaRing.
Never has a motto had such a rich double entendre.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Frank, buddy, just breathe

He expresses his stress and frets openly--maybe that's why he's healthier than I am.

Last Saturday, we found out that our big, fat tabby cat (we'll call him Jake because that's his name) has diabetes--in a major scary way. A cat's normal glucose level tops out at 120; at 140 they go on insulin. Jake's blood sugar was 500. Frank had to learn how to give insulin injections the same day. He wasn't comfortable with the prospect at all.

Every day, Jake gets two injections. Each day this week, Jake got more irritated with Frank, and Frank got more filled with anxiety.

I had told Frank weeks ago that a group of women from work were going to come over on Sunday at noon to work on a special project--so he would have all of Saturday to do any home improvement work and Sunday he could relax and we could get our stuff done. Somehow, this became Frank planning to paint the living room and dining room on Sunday. Don't ask.

The vet called and said Jake needed to come back in on Saturday for a half-day of glucose tolerance monitoring. Drop him off at 7:30.

Mid-week, Frank's arm started to hurt terribly and given enough use, it would go numb. I told him this was nerve pain--and I should know. I explained that considering the things that made it worse, he likely had the start of thoracic outlet syndrome. My advice was to do a series of specific exercises each day, take some of my diclofenac (sounds like a Canadian city), ice it in the evening, and breathe deeply because stress only makes it worse. He ignored everything I said, and instead whimpered every time he tried to write, pick up a cat, or fill a glass with water. He'd collapse into unconsciousness if he had my troubles.

Friday afternoon, it occurred to Frank that my people were coming over on Sunday. Although I had told him that information at least a dozen times, he was taken aback--he swore I had said Saturday. They never come on Saturday. Duh.

And then the phone rang. It was the roofing company rep who had been at our house three weeks ago--at least. He wanted to let Frank know that the materials were being dropped off within the hour and a crew would be at the house--on the roof and working--at 8:00 Saturday morning. We, unfortunately, were going to be at the vet.

Frank called dog daycare (always busy on a summer Saturday) and after begging, they agreed to let Sparkle come and play. It was much easier to convince them once they understood that the alternative was to have a border collie in the house all day while a half-dozen Mexican men pounded on the top of the house loudly and relentlessly.

Frank was stressed anyway because Sparkle has arthritis and he was afraid she wouldn't fare well among the other dogs. It had been months since she was up to frolicking in daycare. Frank was truly starting to tizzy himself. He was too overwhelmed to spackle the bajillion nail pops running like vertebrae down the living room walls. He decided to do it on Saturday and still paint on Sunday.

On Friday night, we both went to bed much too late and slept very poorly. We were up by 5:00. I came into the dining room just in time to hear Frank breathing quickly and muttering that he just couldn't do it--it was all too much. He felt that the cat was angry with him for the shots. He had a headache. What if the dog was too arthritic for daycare? What if the roofers needed us to sign something before they could start? We had a big check from the mortgage company to deposit.

I thought he was going to work himself into some kind of a seizure.

Suddenly, I channeled every therapist I ever had, along with the physical therapists and a few editions of O, The Oprah Magazine. I told Frank to breathe. Calmly and in my smoothest voice possible, I heard myself explaining the technique and merits of diaphragmatic breathing. Frank gave me a doubting look that I took to mean he believed I was a hypocrite beyond description, but I had provided enough of a distraction that he wasn't turning in circles muttering to himself and describing how the world was coming to an end at casa de 5150.

In the end, we got the cat in the carrier, and I tried not to feel offended when Frank asked me multiple times if I was going to be OK holding that dog leash (implying I was going to sneeze and let the dog run off while I dug through my purse for a Kleenex). He was impressed that sometime in the last 12 hours, I had thought to print out stick-on labels reading "Jake Voirrey" on them to stick on the cat's OneTouch UltraMini glucose monitor kit and each accessory.

We went out to breakfast and sat on the breezy patio of a family-run business that only serves breakfast. It was lovely and Frank was starting to lighten up. He even took a few minutes to do some of the shoulder and arm stretches I had shown him so his arm wouldn't go numb. When we got home, there were, in fact, about a half-dozen Mexican men on our roof.

The rest of the day was noisy but relatively well-organized. At one point, I stretched out on the bed and dozed off. Frank had been talking to me nonstop from other rooms in the house, and I was already asleep for an hour when he figured it out. Standing at the foot of the bed, he said loudly (it was the only way--shingles were being hand-hammered onto the house at that point), "I can't believe you fell asleep under these conditions."

I opened one eye and replied, "Like you, I got up at 5:00, but right now, I'm feeling quite a bit better than you, my dear--so, take a lesson."

I got up and upon glancing at the computer, noticed that Frank had been watching Sparkle via the daycare's webcam. High-resolution webcam. She was fine. Absolutely fine.

At around 6:00 p.m., we headed out to retrieve the pets. Sparkle was first since daycare was about to close. We walked to the adjacent building and picked up the cat. He was fine, too, especially considering he had spent the day getting pricked with needles every hour on the hour. Frank was suddenly relieved to realize that the folks at the animal hospital had laundered Jake's faux-sheepskin cozy bed that was in the carrier. All that diabetes had made Jake pee in the crate on our way over--just one more thing to send Frank teetering on the edge.

Frank, you'd never make it as me. It took a major neurological event before I melted down in the face of stress, and even then, it was during a simultaneous helping of jabs that included financial crisis, my father dying, an oppressively difficult situation at work, being on the worst possible medication for me, and a bipolar volcano about to spew acid words, among other pressures.

The roof looks great, the pets are fine, and Frank finally relented, having decided I wasn't trying to get him to pop a hallucinogenic mood stabilizer, so he tried diclofenac for his pain and shoulder inflammation.

And we all slept soundly, soothed by our diaphragmatic breathing.

Active imagination

What I would actually like my vacation to look like:

You call this a vacation?

On my to-do list for the next two weeks (seriously):
  • dust and vacuum living room and dining room before painting
  • sand the dozens of spackle spots in said rooms
  • clear off the dining room table. Yikes.
  • paint living/dining
  • fix the vacuum cleaner
  • try to fix the ceramic tabletop fountain
  • rearrange powder room vanity
  • declutter and clean the bedroom because it's awful, awful, awful
  • iron about 300 pieces of clothing
  • sort 300 pieces of clothing for give away
  • work on two of the basement rooms. Possibly hopeless.
  • clean out the car
  • wash the car or get it washed
  • perform self-surgery to remove skin tag under left arm
  • maybe go to the art museum or the gardens
  • get my hair trimmed
  • dust and vacuum guest room in preparation for Mom's Labor Day visit
  • fertilize houseplants
  • think happy, peaceful, relaxing thoughts
  • learn to accept that BP and chronic pain have irrevocably changed my life and that's just the way it is and will always be
  • cook dinner most days to give Frank a break
  • do PT exercises
  • keep ironing
  • think of ways to not feel so sad all the time
  • try to banish suicide ideation
  • try to understand the origins of despair
  • go to the movies if I can find a movie that's not loud, violent, traumatizing, or depressing (note to self: skip "The Cove.")
  • spend some time outside in the sunshine just enjoying it (I'm so fat, I'm too embarrassed to go for a walk during daylight hours)
And that's my two-week vacation plan.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

blah blah blah

The talking too much thing really troubles me. Why can't I stop? I want to, but I think it's compulsive.

Two minutes of fame

Not my fame.

My favorite doctor, Dr. G, is going to be on the local 10:00 news on Friday. She emailed me today to let me know. It's in conjunction with a story on 20/20. Good for her! She's awesome and I hope that comes across in the interview.

In other happy news, our mortgage refinance finally went through. We closed on Monday. Hallelujah. It took four months, really sweating a few important situations that could have killed it, and a lot of paperwork. We got a 4.8% interest rate, and we're quite happy with that.

Why I am writing these things is anyone's guess. Nobody cares because it's all irrelevant to everyone except for Frank and I, and I do understand that. I told my Siamese cat, but she didn't express any interest. Perhaps if I had been juggling kitty treats while I spoke..

Such is the life of the mostly friendless.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The phantom itch has returned. It's driving me mad. The underside of my right arm is having a full-blown attack of nervous-system weirdness. It started a week ago, waking me from a sound sleep. The itch was deep in my right armpit, and I knew what it was before I had fully reached consciousness.

Scratching at my armpit wasn't going to help--I knew that--so I pressed on it, hard. That immediately caused deep, deep pain to substitute itself for the itch, and that's when I knew it was post-herpetic neuralgia dropping in for a new visit of indeterminate length.

Itching is a cruel trick the body plays on the mind.

This time around, it's not only the underside of my arm (from elbow to armpit) that is tormenting me. My scalp itches, as well. I pulled out the Nizoral shampoo, and after using it for a week, it occurred to me that there is nothing wrong with my scalp; it's another manifestation of phantom itch. It has also been accompanied by the sensation that a gnat or a hair (or many of either) is traipsing across my ankle. No. My arm. No. My face. No. My shin. No, no, no...the top of my foot.

Breathe deeeeeeply. Concentrate on not feeling these sensations. Close your eyes and dissociate from this experience. You are very, very good at this, May. Breathe. Relax. Think in a different direction.

Everytime I Google my symptoms new and old, I come up with Multiple Sclerosis. There's an unsettling thought.

Think a positive thought, May. There is the most delicious cool breeze blowing in the window.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

the truth is

I am sad.

restless, bored and swimming in the stream of consciousness

One more week until my two-week, unpaid vacation. I'm not going anywhere. Jolie was supposed to visit, but she needed to change her plans.

I told Frank that nobody likes me. Not my family, not my coworkers, not anyone who has had to endure more than a few hours around me. I'm obnoxious and boring and fat and odd and sad and generally the kind of person that nobody much cares to spend time with.

So what to do during vacation? I have well over a hundred items of clothing to iron before giving them away or donating them to charity. I cleaned out an entire drawer filled with belts. It shocks me that I had a 27-inch waist within this decade. And now I'm in plus sizes. 1X. Larger than extra large. Sometimes larger than that.

I have a gift card for Lands End, which is one of the places I get to use the My Virtual Model application. My model looks like Carnie Wilson before surgery. When you sign up for MVM, you enter all of your measurements, age, weight, hair and eye color, and a couple of other bits of personal data. Once you've created your model, you can "try on" clothes from a number of Websites.
I made some recent updates to my model, and just as she appeared on screen, Frank stopped and said, "Wow. that's amazing. It looks just like you. Even the hair is right, just a little long."

You have to give your model a name. I didn't want to name her May because it was too close for comfort, so I named her Bovinia. It seemed more fitting, somehow. That's Bovinia pictured here, in all her underwear-clad glory. She looks better than I do because she doesn't have virtual cellulite or virtual fat rolls.

So, I can't take Bovinia on any vacation adventures and that leaves me with me. Frank uses all of his vacation days to work on the house.

Sure, I could go to a museum, or to the library, or the public pool, or walk around the park, or to a movie (except they all seem to be stupid or depressing), but that's not the point. The point is, I spend every vacation alone, immersed in my own company. Even worse, I don't know who else I'd prefer to spend time with.

Here's the thing. I have secrets, and people with secrets have a hard time being in friendships. It's hard to be close to people when so much of yourself is not in the relationship.

May is deep inside her head today.

I wouldn't want to hang out with me, either.

12:40 wide awake

Dinner was too late and too weird. I tried to eat something that wasn't too damaging, but lately, food and my stomach are not on civil terms. This has to be medication related because I've never had indigestion like this.

I can't go to bed. Not only am I wide awake, but at this moment, I must stay in a vertical position.

I've been trying to think of ways to entertain myself, so I came up with personal associations based on flipping channels.
  1. Gum. I do not chew gum, ever. (Since about 1990)
  2. Extra! I got to chat with Jerry Penacoli many times when I was an intern at KYW in Philadelphia and he was an anchor.
  3. Chelsea Lately. No association--I just can't stand her.
  4. More to Love. I used to be friends with Emme's now-ex-husband. Well, Emme, too, but she was just starting her modeling career and going to massage school in case modeling didn't work out.
  5. Tenacious D. Oh, Ben Stiller. He has bipolar disorder, too.
  6. Tiffany-style lighting. I used to work in a lamp store. Horrid place, but I was really good at selling lighting.
  7. Honora Collection. Love it, but it's much less expensive at TJ Maxx or on
  8. MTV. I almost worked there. Four interviews later, I didn't get hired because of a hiring freeze at Viacom.
  9. Tempurpedic. I have a Tempurpedic pillow, but the physical therapist told me to stop using it.
  10. Say Anything. Made me fall in love with John Cusack. I love this movie. It's probably listed as a favorite in my profile (I'm not going to check). Best use of a boom box in a scene that has been saluted and parodied widely ever since (even the mop in the Swiffer Wet commercial...)
  11. Lost. They're on the beach. I was lost on the beach when I was four years old. Gone for hours and picked up by beach patrol when the beach emptied at the end of the day. I think I walked a good portion of the length of LBI. How is it that nobody who survived the plane crash ever lost any weight?? Hurley? Hello?
  12. Knife Show. (What kind of paid programming is this? And is it necessary to have a Southern twang in order to sell weaponry?) I accidentally stabbed myself in the palm of my hand in 1998. I didn't have insurance, so I didn't go to te ER. I have permanent nerve and tendon damage as a result. It's not bad, though.
  13. Nancy Grace. Saturday Night Live definitely got it right.

OK, time for Maalox and meds. Tomorrow we set about trying to stick sharp needles into a very large, easily pissed-off cat. A good night's sleep is in order.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


IHop for dinner at 9:30 at night...Perhaps not the wisest choice, but it was just that kind of day. It was a little unsettling eating pancakes while having a bottle of insulin sitting on the table under a cool pack. It's for the cat, but that's another story...the very one that had us eating pancakes for dinner way too late.