Saturday, February 25, 2012

Statistically speaking

Looking at my blog statistics, the overwhelming predominant search that leads people to this blog is the combination of keywords, "shingles pain" and "marijuana." Well, I assume my experience with that is neither encouraging nor validating, since medical marijuana did absolutely nothing for my neuropathic pain.

Too bad, because as I'm currently getting through a flare, I would love to not have a forest fire burning on my back and along the side of my ribs.

Pot doesn't help me sleep, either, so that's a fairly useless drug all around in my case. My brain is weird, so very weird.

Oh, the second-most common search is an image search that lands people on my post called "Profusion," which was about lilacs. That one has me scratching my head.

Wide awake

It's almost 2:00 in the morning, and although I'd like to be sleeping right now, I'm not. My brain seems determined to overwhelm me with every unpleasant memory from my entire life, from childhood to middle age. I can't drift off, and I seem unable to turn off my brain.

People who fall asleep easily and stay asleep don't know how good they have it.

I would like to use this time productively, but I just became aware that my husband has programmed the thermostat to 58 degrees at night. Right now, sitting in front of the computer, I feel like I'm in an igloo. Frank, WTF? I can't sit here in the cold. I'll only be more miserable.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


In December I bought a Nook. The first week I had it, I entertained myself playing Angry Birds, Scrabble, Words with Friends, and doing crossword puzzles. Eventually, I bought some books and started reading.

I read all three books comprising The Hunger Games trilogy. I read them in the span of a week. That in and of itself is a review since I had all but given up on reading for quite some time. Actually, a few months ago, I read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Encouraged not only by the fact that I read Ishiguro's novel in a weekend, I decided it was time to forge ahead with my newly reborn attention span.

The Hunger Games kept me up late and found me reading on my lunch break. I don't actually take a proper lunch break, but for a week it was the highlight of my day.

Next, I delved into Wicked. Being a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz, particularly of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, I felt it was my duty to read the book that so many people had asked me if I had read. Well, that, and I have tickets to see the show later this year and I wanted to read the book before seeing the theatrical interpretation.

Wicked was a long haul. It challenged me as a reader, but eventually, it drew me in and I came to be truly fond of Elphaba, the so-called Wicked Witch of the West. This book also helped me discover the dictionary function that is built into the reading tools of the Nook. I used it often, as Gregory Maguire seems to have a real need to show off his extensive knowledge of obscure English vocabulary. Note from my college journalism classes: Don't use a twenty-dollar word when a five-dollar word will do. It's distracting and pretentious. Fortunately, the overall story was able to overcome the burden of the vocabulary.

A couple of weeks ago, Barnes & Noble recommended that I buy Damned by Chuck Palahniuk. I hit the buy button on the Nook and started reading moments after the download completed. This book immediately took over my life and held onto it the entire time I was reading the story. Whereas The Hunger Games was an action thriller with a touch of social commentary, Damned was an extended social commentary packaged as young adult fiction. The New York Times called it, "a book full of tastelessly hilarious gallows humor about a teenage girl in hell." I had no idea that Hell could be so entertaining.

But it was more than entertaining. Damned kept me thinking about the story, the satire, the heartbreak, life as a misfit, and the points Palahniuk was trying to make about how we live our lives in these modern times. It is also laugh-out-loud funny and has imagery vivid enough to thoroughly gross you out. My take-away was that I'm definitely going to Hell, and I'm eager for a sequel to this book. Loved it.

The newest book on my Nook is called Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Rides Again. So far, the title is the best thing about this book. I keep finding other things to do rather than read it. It takes a lot for a book to overcome my general lack of an attention span, and so far, Free-Range Knitter doesn't have it.

Once I find another engaging book, I'll take a break from blogging again. I think that's how this is going to work. The books distract me from the traffic jams of thoughts in my head, while the blog forces me to face them and tease them apart. That is an exhausting and often unpleasant exercise. Books are easier. Much easier.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Read "The Handmaid's Tale" Really.

The political and religious assault on American women is escalating. Following near-draconian measures against women's reproductive rights in other states such as Texas, Virginia has added a stupefying twist of degrading cruelty. A woman seeking an abortion will be forced to have an intravaginal ultrasound prior to terminating the pregnancy. I doubt these women will be "Allowed" to wear an iPod and a sleep mask through the procedure.

There is absolutely no medical necessity or reasoning for this. It's largely intended to humiliate the patient. You know--by having an object forced into her vagina against her will, like in a rape. Rape isn't about sex; it's about power, humiliation, and subjugation of the victim. Does the Republican Party (of men) who came up with this measure think that nobody sees through their punitive intentions?

I had an intravginal ultrasound a few years ago. It was very invasive, painful, and unpleasant--and I had a doctor and a tech who tried very hard to be gentle and comforting. Obviously, this wasn't in the cruel, Medieval state of Virginia.

I've read online comments (mostly from men) saying this ultrasound procedure is just no big deal. Obviously, they need to have a microphone-sized probed shoved up their asses a few times to really get an idea of what the procedure entails. It's intravaginal. That means the rather large probe (the one used on me was really big, anyway) is pushed up into the vagina as far as it can go. It hurts. A lot.

With the recent attempts at crippling women's access to birth control, Plan B contraception, and abortions, it appears that the evangelical Christian right is doing everything it possibly can to crush America's women under its heel until women learn some lesson--what? That we should be meek and quiet, never earn a salary comparable to a man's, or that we can't possibly be anything more than a hole that accepts penis and sperm and later ejects offspring?

These people are no different than any other radical extremist religious group that works tirelessly to make sure women live only to serve the whims and sexual desires of men. That's it.

We are heading down a road where the United States of America will be run by the Christian Taliban. Get your burqas ready, ladies. Our days as free persons are numbered. Before books are banned, though, do take a weekend to read Margaret Atwood's novel, "The Handmaid's Tale." It quite clearly describes what our future holds.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It's not great for me, either

I've been so irritable, indignant, confrontational, and downright bitchy the past few days, even I don't know how to take myself. The reason is simple: The shingles nerve in my back is terribly inflamed, and I just don't have the inner resources to manage that and be a nice person, too. It's like the tact and patience centers in my brain are being short-circuited by pain that I'm trying not to even talk about, let alone whine about.

It hurts, though, and it's making me into a judgmental, intolerant, humorless, snarky bitch.

Sorry, everyone.

They're just jealous others are having sex and they aren't

I'm really quite sick of the Catholic Council of Bishops trying to push social control on an entire population. Correction. I am sick of them demanding political influence specifically targeted at subjugating women.

Oh, they aren't alone and plenty of other religions push the same agenda, but I don't understand why these men think they have the right to force their political and religious agenda on the world's women.

What is the advantage of championing an agenda that fosters poverty while also overlooking the health concerns of half of the population?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The lonely place under the house

Here's the problem with the basement. No mater how hard I try to straighten up, declutter, and organize my parts of the basement, I don't seem to make any progress. In all fairness, I own a lot of teeny, tiny crafting supplies, and I hate to put them away. It's so tedious. Knitting would have been easier, but I have no aptitude for it (yarn, yes, aptitude, definitely not).

Today I spent hours trying to put together an area where I can craft and create. Heaven knows, writing hasn't been coming to me lately, so I need to do something productive. Yet, even after making a lot of progress on the project at hand, I still don't feel in a creative state of mind.

It's the basement. I get lonely down there. My mind wanders and I think dark, depressing thoughts. Did I mention I get lonely? There's some sort of heavy vibe downstairs that I can't adequately describe, nor can I escape it when I'm there. It's not a happy place, no matter how much I want it to be.

Is it the fault of the hideous knotty-pine paneling? The dark-brown-with-colorful-speckles flooring? The clutter? The Wii that reminds me I have no one to play with? The Pilates reformer and all of the fitness gear I feel uninspired to use? No, it's none of that.

I don't use the exercise equipment for the exact same reason I can't create when I'm down there: It's dark, depressing, and isolated.