Wednesday, September 30, 2009


When the going gets tough, May gets busy trying not to think so much, and certainly not to feel so much. That leaves me in a visual world, so I get my camera out and try only to see.

Monday, September 28, 2009

a good reason to call it a night

I had a terrible day. Terrible. Things kept going wrong. I can survive that, but I'm not so good at survivng the things that happen as a direct result of someone intending to make me feel bad.

Two of those in one day. Three, really.

Why do I insist on surviving? Not even I know the answer.

In all of my 500+ posts, I've never come out and said what my plan is if I decide to call it a life. Apparently, if you articulate something like that, you can go to jail. Ha! I would claim it was an artistic expression of creative writing.

My plan requires certain conditions. See, I wouldn't want to die in my house or in my car because that would be unpleasant for Frank. I wouldn't ever wreck the car because that would be a waste of a perfectly good car. I would never jump in front of a car because I couldn't possibly risk damage to someone's vehicle or safety. Why make the day miserable for someone who was innocently driving along?

I hate guns and I won't have one in my home, so that's out. I don't want to look gruesome, and my goal these days is to get out of pain, so no hanging, shooting, or cutting.

This is what I came up with. It would need to be very, very cold outside. I would deeply sedate myself to the point of overdose and then go outside and lie down on the ground. I would probably spread out a plastic tarp and lie on top of that so I wouldn't stick to the ground and it would be a lot easier to move my body after the fact.

Giving this further thought, I would probably tape a note to the door telling Frank not to come outside, but to just call the police.

The cold weather and cold ground are key to this plan. Use medication to slow the heart rate, and then utilize nature to induce hypothermia. Use a tarp, don't make a mess, be considerate.

No need to squirm. It's going to be 85 degrees tomorrow.

That's so Frank

Frank is the greatest admirer of his own home improvement projects. His latest might push me over the edge.

Our house has an internal bathroom--it's located in the exact center of the house. The room is extremely small, a condition made more obvious because the location means it is windowless and dark if the light isn't switched on. The bathroom itself was hideously ugly when we bought the house. The ceramic tile on the walls was a mustard-gold speckle on an off-white background. The toilet was gold and had a plastic tank. The sink was old, faux ceramic with glittery gold streaks blended among brown swirls. The vanity was stapled together and listing to one side. The walls may have been white at one time, and they were embellished with a pink floral Victorian-themed wallpaper border along the top edge. The floor was covered with roll-out vinyl faux tile that had become torn and curled up at the edges of the room. Apparently, no one had remembered to buy the adhesive. (That is not our bathroom in the picture, although the glow looks familiar.)

I designed an extensive makeover that included soft gold paint on the walls, a new, nearly silent fan, new light fixture, new power-flush toilet, a gorgeous wood vanity with a sink that sort of swoops forward, and the floor is 12-inch travertine marble tiles. We couldn't afford to swap out the wall tile, the shower surround or the gold tub, but once the room was painted and we installed a sage-green shower curtain, a green painted cabinet, and sage green towels, everything worked together incredibly well. The room is sophisticated and attractive despite its small size. But it's dark.

Maybe what happened next is really my fault. I commented that I wished there were a way to brighten up the shower area because it was really too dark for activities like leg shaving (which I only need to do about five times a year, anyway). I said, "Wouldn't it be awesome to have a skylight in here?"

This put in motion a four-year odyssey of Frank relentlessly researching skylights and calcuating the ways one could be installed, given several structural challenges. Eventually, we decided that a sun tunnel would be the way to go. Of course, which one to buy required another two years of research. Frank debated the pros and cons of different sizes and tube finishes--merely silvery or full-on mirrored?

I weighed in with my opinion: "Buy the biggest one that will fit between the ceiling joists." And so he did, but only after concluding that the skylight would fit only over the tub, above the end opposite the faucet. It would be like having an overhead light in the otherwise dimly lit shower.

Eight or nine months after all of the components were purchased, Frank finally installed the skylight. It is pretty fabulous. The entire room is illuminated and bathed in a soft, sunny glow. In the tub itself, there is actual sun glare on the porcelain. Of course, Frank scrubbed the tub after finishing the installation specifically to garner this result. He's very proud of his work, I can tell. I keep finding him in the bathroom, just standing there, looking up at the ceiling and admiring the installation.

For five years, I have always made a point of closing the shower curtain before leaving the bathroom in the morning. When I lived alone, this wasn't a big issue for me, but Frank likes the way it looks, and he really is his mother's son in so many ways. I have learned to conform to the shower curtain arrangement.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I found the shower curtain pushed into the center of the rod every time I entered the bathroom. I push it the length of the rod, I come back and it's clumped at the center. It's like living with a defiant ghost who has fixated on sage green crinkly satin.

"Frank, what's up with the shower curtain? Are you still gluing or something in there?"

Frank looked at me and blinked. "Nooo. The curtain is too dark. It hides the light. Maybe we should get glass doors instead."

His words struck fear into my heart. I grew up with sliding glass shower doors in a house that had water so hard it would knock on your head when you took a shower. Glass doors were a nightmare to clean, and although cleaning chemicals have evolved since then, I can't imagine cleaning the glass is that much easier. Minerals are an economic anchor in this state and that is reflected in the water.

I glanced in the bathroom. The door was not only wide open, but pushed as far open as the laws of physics would allow. The hallway was bathed in the soft light spilling from the bathroom. "Frank, the shower curtain is not inhibiting the light. It's like a sunny day in there. You could tan or get caught up on your daily dose of vitamin D just by going in there to pee. Stop it with the shower curtain."

Today I noticed the Bed, Bath & Beyond flyer was opened on the kitchen counter. Shower curtains. Pale, floaty fabric shower curtains. They do not match the color scheme. They do not afford much privacy.

Frank. The skylight is lovely and the bathroom is great just the way it is. Back away from the 20% off coupon. Now.

It's that time

Now entering the danger zone known as fall. Cooling weather, shorter days, more work, fitful sleep, and dark, dark mornings.

Every year, I am sure I won't survive it. This year is no exception. I've been told I'm resilient.

Maybe so. Time will tell.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Me duelen los pies. Pasé diez horas en pie después de una semana de dias de trabajo de 12 o 14 horas.

Necesito una copa de vino y un día de sueño.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No title

Longing for something
Wishing to see true beauty
My eyes need a rest.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My thoughts exactly

Dear God
Hope you got the letter and...
I pray you can make it better down here
I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer
But all the people that you made in your image
See them starving on their feet
Cause they don't get enough to eat
From God

I can't believe in you

Dear God
Sorry to disturb you but...
I feel that I should be heard loud and clear
We all need a big reduction
In the amount of tears
And all the people that you made in your image
See them fighting in the street
Cause they can't make opinions meet about God

I can't believe in you

Did you make disease
and the diamond blue?
Did you make mankind
after we made you?
And the devil too?

Dear God,
Don't know if you noticed but...
Your name is on a lot of quotes in this book
And as crazy humans wrote it
you should take a look
And all the people that you made in your image
Still believeing that junk is true
Well I know it ain't and so do you, dear God

I can't believe in
I don't believe in
I won't believe in heaven and hell
no saints no sinners no devil as well
no pearly gate no thorny crown
you're always letting us humans down
the wars you bring
the babes you drown
those lost at sea and never found
and it's all the same the whole world round
the hurt I see helps to compound
That Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
is just somebody's unholy hoax

And if you're up there you'd perceive
That my heart's here upon my sleeve

If there's one thing I don't believe in...
It's you, dear God.

--Andy Partridge, XTC

Clarity at post #500

It came to me in the car. Suddenly, the future was no longer dark and hazy. What I needed to do seemed so clear and so doable. I just needed a plan--a real one, not a collection of abstract thoughts and possibilities.

The plan formulated itself in my brain before I finished my commute. Clarity. The plan, the things I need to do, no longer overwhelm me.

Before I can achieve true freedom, there is some work to be done, some personal housekeeping. I can do it. I will do it.

My options will have no barriers.




I can see it so clearly.

I am ready now.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's not shiny--it's brilliant!

This is jewelry I would buy, but then I'd have to explain it to people who wouldn't understand anyway. But it is pretty awesome!

It's the Seratonin necklace from the Molecule Jewelry Collection.

Click here to see the full details.

Monday, September 14, 2009

But, but, but...

Wherein May screams...


When I forgo niceties so I can shell out $200 for a pair of tickets to a show I waited months to see, I expect to see the show in its entirety, not with the last half-hour (of a two-hour performance) omitted. ESPECIALLY WITHOUT EXPLANATION OR APOLOGY.

I thought Frank was going to cry, I really did. I can't remember the last time he looked so sad. The parts he had specifically wanted to see never happened.

Wow. Wow. Wow.


And that's all I can say without revealing too much about myself.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Whining email to Jolie

Many, many thoughts rolling around in my head. I'm coming to terms with some things, and that kind of transition is never easy.

  • I will never feel better. This is as good as it's going to get emotionally and physically. This is a disappointing substitution for wellness.
  • I am apparently incapable of experiencing happiness (although I still can appreciate some humor).
  • I struggle to be who I need to be.
  • I lead a painfully boring life, but I have neither the energy nor the means to change it.
  • My best work is behind me.
  • My best ideas have already come and gone.
  • My best days have passed.
  • I've done whatever it is I was going to do
  • My sense of compassion is shrinking a little more each day. It was my last redeeming personal trait.
  • I rarely do anything right or as well as it should be done.
  • I don't have much to offer anymore--I think I passed my "use by" date.
So, what I have left is the hard work of maintaining the appearance of worth. I have to work to pay off my debts and that means being cordial or possibly even pleasant toward people I can't stand. I need to sort through the physical clutter in my world so I can put my past away for good. Photos, boxes of papers, cards, notes, junk and all of the other things taking up space in my world need to be managed. I should really sell my bikes. Frank has waited long enough for me to come to terms with that part of my life.

My disengagement and need to clean up are the same at work as at home.

Sometimes I imagine leaving--just leaving--but not starting over. Not starting something new. It's more like wanting to downsize. Just me, bare necessities, living someplace isolated and needing only enough money to keep the car running and to have some food in the very small house. (I would call it a cottage, but that sounds pretentious.) Nobody would be able to find me or contact me. I think this is what my life needs to be.

If I can live in a situation where I have no expectations and no one has any expectations of me, that would be ideal (unless it's prison).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

ready to pop

So many thoughts...the Brainucopia is bloated but without the ability to push those thoughts into well-formed phrases. It's uncomfortable. Mental constipation.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


My mom has been safely delivered to the airport. Now it's all up to American Airlines to see her safely to Florida.

My husband said he is starting to understand a lot about my life before he met me. It wasn't that he didn't believe me; it was just that what I have described has been so foreign to him, it was too abstract for him to be able get any real grasp.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

I blog, therefore I am...what??

The joy of working in an old building is, well, there is no joy in that. Living in an old building may net you some charm factor, but old commercial buildings tend to crumble around you and let you watch the entropic dissolution. One thing that happens when your building has high historical significance is that a charitable foundation will step up every now and then to pay for some restoration work. They started a few years ago by patching the roof and upgrading the electric. This summer's project felt like a big, shiny gift, wrapped up in yellow-and-black caution tape and meant just for me. The world's oldest restrooms finally failed to the point that they couldn't pass any public code in any developed country. I have bathroom issues. I must have peace and quiet. I must have cleanliness. I must have functioning toilets. Without access to these things, I cannot tend to my own functions, and things being the way they are with my body, that's courting disaster. Imagine my delight upon walking into the ladies room only to see no stalls, no toilets, no sinks. Paper towel dispensers were still in place. Oddly, they had been replaced first, last winter, but the high-tech, motion-activated units looked woefully out of place among the vintage porcelain and under the light of the bare light bulb meant to illuminate the space. About two weeks ago, the restroom was re-opened (what I did in the meantime is a whole different post). It is bright, it is pristine, it is modern, and it was worth the wait. The room still holds the smell of ivory-colored oil based paint in the air. The new stalls align properly with the doors, and the doors lock. One week ago, I walked into a stall and was horrified to see that someone had boldly and broadly tagged the stall wall with a fat-tip marker. It wasn't even a proper tag, just a three-foot wide scrawled, jagged line. A custodian had tried to remove the marker, but the stall's paint was damaged in the process. I took this affront to decency and respect for property personally. Who would dare to do this? What would make someone come into the building (it is open to the public), use the restroom, and think, "You know, this clean and lovely space really needs to be defiled." I do not understand vandalism. Graffiti is one thing--in some cases, it passes as art. But tagging? Tagging is intended only to mar something for no practical or justifiable reason. Want to make your mark? Get a tattoo. My inner older-person-Republican reared her indignant head about this in the staff meeting room. A colleague--a social worker--said, "Taggers do that to show they're here." I wondered... if they wanted attention, why not dye their hair pink? My colleague, we'll call her Cheyenne, said, "No, it's about identity. It's like, it's like people who have blogs." She had my attention, albeit through narrowed eyes. I didn't like where this was going. I asked her to elaborate. Cheyenne said, "Yeah, people who keep blogs, what's that about? It's about being heard. It's about saying, 'hey, look at me--I exist, even if you don't care.' Bloggers do that because that's their platform for attention." "No, Cheyenne. Here's why it's not like that. I maintain four blogs and although each serves a different purpose, none serves to damage anything. Yes, I blog in a public forum, but nobody is forced to participate in my process. Tagging is a toddler's unfiltered rage channeled through a permanent marker in the hands of a belligerent adolescent. There is no meaningful expression, especially if the scrawl is illegible." Cheyenne looked...surprised. She tried again. "I mean, check it out, check it out, OK? Taggers want to be seen, they want to feel they have an identity. They're trying to establish self-esteem. Bloggers will write about anything they feel when they feel it because they want a reaction. The reaction gives them self-worth." "No, no. It is not a parallel expression. I have kept a journal since I was about 14. Three years ago, I put it online because I thought that sharing my words--or at least making them available--seemed like a way to maybe broaden the conversation going on in my head. It was never important to me to have anyone else read my blog. People do read it, though, and we sometimes have thoughtful discussions about the subject matter. I have to tell you, Cheyenne, I don't think any one of us is establishing our self-esteem or reveling in our identity--especially since we all use fake names. If you want to compare, writing requires thought; tagging does not. Blogging requires commitment; tagging requires a magic marker and a muscle spasm. Blogging may lead to thoughtful or thought-provoking discussion and building of community; tagging? I don't think so. And seriously, how god-awful small does someone need to be to gain self-esteem from destroying property and scrawling an unintelligible streak with a magic marker?" Cheyenne thought about that, and said, "Well, the people who do that are expressing themselves through rebellion." I had to get back to work and I spent the rest of the day still pretty sure that Cheyenne didn't understand my point any more than I had understood hers. I was also pretty sure that blogging didn't make me feel any more or less invisible than I felt before I started doing it. I think; therefore, I get a head full of thoughts. I think many thoughts, therefore I blog. There are not enough magic markers in the world to express everything that is spilling out of my head. When I think, I write. I write a blog. I write a blog and I don't deface anything in the process. Blogging doesn't reassure me of who I am; it helps me understand why I am who I am so I can do better next time. I blog; therefore, I evolve. And I know I'm here, even if nobody ever reads a word I write.


My mother is here. So far, low drama. She can barely walk and she has been scratching her shins bloody. I explained that she has sciatica because she lives almost constantly seated. The itching in her legs is a form of parasthesia caused by slow circulation. It is a vein problem--she knows that--but the best way to treat it is not a second surgery--it is movement.

When I mentioned that walking around her housing complex once a day or doing some very easy stretches, she won't feel the tickling itch that drives her to gouge at her skin. She said she has no interest in stretching.

If you could see the carnage, you'd understand my concern. While she's here, I plan to do my best to convince her that she is a staph disaster waiting to happen.

Otherwise, we need to figure out some activities that don't require lots of walking or any shopping. As long as my mother doesn't work my nerves too much between now and Tuesday 5:00 p.m., we'll get through this OK. Here's hoping.

Friday, September 4, 2009

what to do

I've been trying to cut my daily 1200-1500 calorie load down to 900. It's easier said than done. I probably went over the 1500 today because I'm made of weak stuff. I had
about 1.5 cups of whole-wheat shredded wheat with soy milk,
an apple,
a Weight Watcher's macaroni and cheese entree (270 calories, 2 grams of fat),
a nectarine,
15 wheat thins,
a 100-calorie skinny bread,
a slice of cheddar cheese (possibly reduced fat),
a small glass of white wine, and
a square of Ghiradelli chocolate

Not so long ago, I used to spend three hours a day working out at the gym, in addition to riding my bike to work. Now I have to nap after watering the patio plants and the garden. Oh, how I wish I were joking about that.

I heard that some insurance companies are going to start charging a fat tax. If you're overweight, obese, if you smoke, you'll pay higher insurance premiums. I'll have no problem with that if Great West Now A Part of Cigna uses that money to provide me with a visiting personal trainer at least twice a week, and the services of a Skype-based nutritionist. Otherwise, they'll just piss me off for lumping me in with the people who eat 3,000 calories of fried, sugar-laden crap all day long. I'm not one of those people.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stripping away the rhetoric

Republicans get sick. Liberals get sick. Independents and politically unaffiliated persons get sick. Illness doesn't show any particular preference for one opinion over the other.

I lived a good piece of my adult life without adequate health care, and at least ten years of my life with very little money and no insurance at all. During one of those periods, I had a classic household accident wherein the palm of my left hand was impaled by a seven-inch Henkels chef's knife at a depth of about a quarter inch. It bled. A lot.

The wound hurt tremendously, but not only in my hand. The pain radiated through my fingers and up through my wrist. I could not bend my middle finger, and my ring finger no longer had full funcionality. Mostly, though, it hurt and bled a lot.

I did my best to clean the wound and close it with butterfly bandages (because you can't buy sutures unless you have a license). I took Ibuprofen and applied ice packs. I feared that my hand would never recover. The only consolation came from knowing I hadn't severed any body parts in the mishap. I had really needed a trip to the emergency room, but there was just no way I was could afford it. I couldn't even afford urgent care or a family doctor. The long-term outcome for me has been a left hand with occasional mild pain and one finger that will never completely bend to the full extent it should. No insurance, no money, no help when I needed it.

Since my current health odyssey began in 2003, I have often taken pause to think about how things would have progressed if I hadn't had medical insurance. Even crappy insurance, which was the case in the beginning. The deductibles are huge. The medications are expensive. The blood work needs to be done on a regular basis. Doctor appointments are not optional.

My husband works for the state, and we live in a state where mental health care parity is mandatory for any insurer doing business with the state or providing insurance to state employees. Millions of other people don't benefit from this safety net. Many insurers will do anything to get out paying claims, and even more to avoid paying for behavioral health expenses. Always the bastard stepchildren.

Within the shouting, confrontations, and misinformation being spread about changing America's health care system, there is a simple truth being missed: People are sick. People are sick with insignificant illnesses that they can't afford to tend to and those small problems are becoming big problems that cost everyone more money. Sometimes they cost the patients their lives and other lives are irrevocably impacted.

Tonight when I logged onto FaceBook, the same message appeared again and again on my new feed:

No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. We are only as strong as the weakest among us.

If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.

I shared this with my family members via email. They love me, but they are conservatives in a big way. I doubt they'll understand how close to home this issue actually has come.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


This CNN online headline caught my eye. Not that it isn't tragic, but...
FAA safety inspector dies as helicopter hits house