Thursday, April 26, 2012

Not who I am

Honestly, I'm not a whiner in real life, in person. I save it all for here. If this blog is all you know of me, you're not getting an accurate picture. I appear significantly less pathetic in three-dimensional encounters.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Where did my words go?

From time to time, I check in on the activity log that tells me how many people have accessed this blog and how they got here. Most come via a Google search for a picture. I hope they stay for the thoughts, but I doubt that they do.

Once in awhile, I check to see what post it is that attracts a lot of attention. Apparently, my post titled 45 Mercy Street gets a ton of hits, so today I went back and re-read it, along with a few others.

I've come to the devastating realization that while deep in the throes of SSRIs, painkillers, and other mood-altering substances, I'm a much, much better writer and a more pensive and insightful person in general. Has being relatively normal made me shallow and mundane? I would love to write the way I did in 2007 and 2008, but the thoughts and words don't come to me that way anymore. It's as if the medications made it possible for me to access a part of my brain that is otherwise shuttered--perhaps to protect me from the Hydra of moods that comes with that access.

I want to be a better writer. I want my words to flow the way they used to. I feel expressively stunted. Perhaps I need to back away from Twitter (although, that's a good idea for a lot of other reasons).

I'll work on that. In the meantime, take a minute to read or re-read my post, 45 Mercy Street. You can find it here. The discussion in the comments is worthwhile, too.

I also like this post.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Slogging through the past

I have a feeling that menopause is going to suck just as much as everything that came before it for me in the past few years. I'm getting that sense quite strongly.

Over the past week, I've spent some quality time reading parts of my blog that are very connected to how I feel right now. Some things in my life have improved tremendously, while others haven't changed at all.

After reading it all and thinking about my thought processes, frankly, I'm surprised I'm not dead yet. I really thought I would have killed myself by now, and even a year ago, I didn't expect to be here still. Every day still starts with that same conversation I've been having since 2005, and this has not changed. The conversation with myself always begins the same way: "Is it today? Is this the day? Can I stop yet? No?"

I'm not sure what that means--why I'm still here. It's probably because I still have a lot of things to finish so that no one else has to sort through my clutter or pay my bills. I'm not procrastinating, though. I work on those things a little bit (sometimes more) every day.

I offer no guarantees of my survival once my affairs are in order. And really, does it matter? No, I have no evidence that it does. If menopause turns out to be really awful (as it's shaping up to be), I can't even promise I'll stay long enough to make it through the clutter and the debt.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Focusing on the inane

Between the stages of painting the bedroom, doing laundry, furniture shopping, and generally getting things done this past weekend, I also went to Costco. I have a very predictable shopping list when I go, and I'm rarely prone to make impulse purchases.

Yesterday, however, while waiting for a traffic jam of carts to clear near baked goods, I glanced at the refrigerator case to my right and saw big pink bags of Ohana's organic udon noodles. I love udon, but had never seen a precooked, al-dente version like this. The noodles were only about six dollars, so I tossed a package into my cart.

I really like miso soup, and Dr. Oz is always going on about how healthy it is for you, but for me, it's something I consume much like I do tea. the broth has no substance, so it's not very filling. It ends up being something I make as an afternoon pick-me-up when I'm trying to persuade myself that this will be a better choice than a brownie.

Today I put a serving-size package of noodles (I hope that's one serving) into my lunch bag, along with a tiny Tupperware container of red miso paste and a tablespoon of dried, chopped up wakame (seaweed).

Here is the soup I made in the microwave in my office in less than five minutes. It's quite delicious and substantial. Thank you for your patience in indulging me while I describe what I ate for lunch.

May Voirrey's 5-minute udon miso soup with wakame flakes

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I've been trying out new music lately, and apparently, so has NPR. It seems we've landed on some of the same things.

Here's a link to listen to the song Dark Blue Sky from the EP, The Light Opera by Ghosts I've Met.

NPR has two new items in First Listen, and both are lovely. Here's the link for an advance listen of Broken Little Hearts, the new album by Norah Jones. For a limited time, you can listen to the entire thing. The actual release date isn't until May 1.

When I was on the NPR Music website, I came across another First Listen, this one from Sarah Jaffe, called The Body Wins. It was that title that caught my attention. I had no idea what to expect, but I liked everything I heard. That one is set for release next week.

Enjoy your listening experience!

Thinking back a couple of weeks

Last night as I was falling asleep, I was thinking about the last time I felt a little more positive about the world. It was when I was in Philadelphia recently. It wasn't the change of scenery so much as the change of situation.

I was with people all day, every day. I had worthwhile things to contribute to the conversations. People listened and asked questions. I felt worthwhile.

There was also a bit of that elusive thing I crave but seldom have: Willing company. I spent time with two cousins, both of my brothers with their families, and my friend, Mick, who drove up from Maryland just to go out to dinner with me and hang out for awhile. I had more social interaction in four days than I have had at home in six months.

I felt better. The brainucopia may be full most of the time, but it still gets really lonely spending so much time having both sides of most conversations within the confines of my own head.

I need the companionship of real, in-person, three-dimensional people. Not that Frank isn't real people, but he's not really a confidant or very interested in talking about much beyond home improvement, the dog, and life as a government employee. In his favor, he may be the only person on the planet who seems able to tolerate spending time with me every day (but that may be because he doesn't hear or register most of what I say. I suspect it's a coping mechanism).

Just sharing

Since I've given up sharing the inane minutia of my day on Facebook, I thought I'd take a moment here, in a place that's always all about me, to mention how I spent my weekend.

Frank and I finally painted our bedroom, nearly eight years after moving into our house. Here's a picture of paint drying and Frank watching it happen. (That may not be a totally true description). The beautiful wall colors really point out how hideous the 1984-era furniture is.

The other two walls are a light grayish lavender color that is hard to describe. It's Behr's Smoked Oyster. This color is Behr's Wine Frost, and I will guarantee you that neither color looks remotely correct on a computer monitor.

I'd like to mention that when it comes to painting, I excel at this task. I don't like it, but I am meticulous in the preparation, the cleaning, and the taping. I have a selection of expensive brushes, each meant for a specific painting purpose, along with foam brushes and carefully selected rollers in varying naps. My paint application techniques are meticulous and methodical. Alas, Frank likes to paint and thinks he's an adequate painter, but he isn't particularly wed to the idea of perfectionism on this front. He finds me to be anal and unreasonable in my level of perfectionism. We don't work well together as painters.

In an unrelated project, For nearly six years, I've been looking for a piece of furniture for the dining room. When I was single and interesting, I used to love antiques shopping, estate sales, yard sales, and auctions. I furnished my entire living space in the shabby chic style, and it was very pretty. I've seen magazine spreads that didn't do it as well.

Now that I live with a man in a 1950's ranch house, the shabby chic thing doesn't work on many levels. I've been phasing it out since we moved in. One thing that really wasn't working for me was an antique chifforobe that stored Tupperware on one side and kitchen linens in the drawers. A former roommate bought it at a yard sale and painted it with latex paint. She left it behind when she moved, and I always hoped to refinish it, but never got around to it. I desperately want to give it away, but Frank is determined we're going to use it.

I looked high and low and for eight years to find something to replace it in the dining room. The problem is the space is very specific in what it can accommodate, which is much smaller than any manufactured sideboard or buffet I've found anywhere. I needed something 40 inches wide and no more than 15 inches deep, preferably 36-40 inches high, and it had to be affordable and work well with the rest of the furniture in the dining-living area. It was my furniture grail.

Well, today, I found it while looking for bedroom furniture. I had wandered into the dining-living room area of the furniture store (having totally struck out in the bedroom department), when I found a large selection of cabinets from Jaipur, India made from repurposed wood. What a coincidence. The other large pieces in the room are from Jaipur. We bought them from a store that sells Oriental rugs that had imported some furniture on one of their shipping crates, and filled extra space with furniture they didn't really want or need or generally carry in their store (we got this furniture so cheap, it still boggles my mind). Anyway, we wandered into that area of the store, and there it was: The cabinet I had been searching for. Wood, perfect. Style, perfect. Size, spot-on exactly perfect. Price, very good. I could pay cash.

So, enough babble. Here are the before and after pictures.
The antique, latex-painted chifforobe

Now in that spot, the Jaipur cabinet and Haitian wall art made from repurposed steel
Now that I'm finished with that, I must get back to putting the bedroom back together and finding a home for my collection of vintage Mason jars (as seen on top of the chifforobe) and all of my dishtowels and table linens.

We really need to have a yard sale.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I repeat myself, yes, I know

I don't just repeat myself verbally, I keep going over the same issues with myself. That would be great if I were repeating positive things, but mostly, I feel...bad. Apart from that, though, if you were to interact with me in person lately, you'd think I was nothing less than chipper, alert, and animated. It's not really how I feel at all.

I am struggling with loneliness in a way I haven't for quite some time. It's not that I can't entertain myself or be at ease in my own company. I'm very good at that. It's more that I feel isolated and uninvited into the rest of society. Mostly, I feel ignored and invisible.

I'm not a person other people choose to spend time with. I used to think that the people I knew just thought I was too busy, but eventually it became evident that my personality is repellent, no matter how interesting I try to be, and no matter how hard I work on polishing my social skills.

I can honestly say, without any exaggeration whatsoever, that there is not one person I can think of that I could call for no reason other than simply to chat. I used to do that with Jolie, but she's so busy, and frankly, has always said that she's content in her day-to-day isolation. I don't want to talk with someone who takes my call because he or she feels obliged or that it's an act of kindness.

I have no one to talk to. Sure, I can blah-blah-blog all I want, but that is not a conversation. That is me dumping out the Brainucopia because there's no other way to process that information. Maybe someone will read it, maybe they won't. Mostly, they'll stop by to copy the pictures and then rush off. It's unlikely anyone will stop to chat.

I've been withdrawing more and more since summer. I can't take the rejection. No, not the rejection. It's the fact that I'm not seen or heard. That's an accomplishment given my size and the fact that I'm quite chatty when I'm around people. I keep reminding myself that nobody cares what I read in the Atlantic or on Jezebel, or on my Nook, or on the funny sign the homeless guy at the corner was holding, or why social conservatives make me so angry, or what I puzzle over when I don't get the joke on my New Yorker page-a-day calendar, or the interesting news story I saw on CNN, or the excellent point Jon Stewart made while causing me to spit water out my nose, or even the latest home improvement projects going on at my address.

A week ago, I stopped taking my verapamil. It prevents angina episodes. I don't care. Maybe I'll have a heart attack and die and then I can stop torturing myself by wondering why I'm such a social pariah. And why nobody hears anything I say.

Really, nobody listens, even when I provide clues and disclaimers like, "Hey, this is important," or, "Something we need to keep in mind is..." or, "Please make sure you do/don't do XYZ thing...", or after the fact, "But I explained this to you/asked you to/specifically requested/emailed/texted/etc."

Communication from me seems to go into the ether. It is not heard, retained, or found to be of any relevance or importance by anyone except for me. This leads me to conclude it's because I am not worth the effort of the listening or tuning in.

I'm frustrated. I'm getting angrier every day, but mostly, this is making me terribly sad. I don't see the point of participating in humanity if I have to do it almost entirely in isolation.

I've never felt more irrelevant in the bigger picture of the world, and I have to admit that as a result, I'm putting in less and less effort each day. I've abandoned my work-related blogs, my work overall is a phone-in performance, I don't call the girl I'm supposed to be mentoring (she doesn't call me, either, because I bore the bejeezus out of her, I'm sure), and really, I'm not going to try to be awesome if nobody gives a shit.

I've read that if you feel like you're withering away emotionally, you should volunteer, or join an exercise class, or engage in some other feel-good activity. Been there, done that. Those things fill time and certainly are more positive and productive than, say, shopping endlessly or shooting up heroin, but they do nothing at all to quell loneliness. I'm a gregarious person, but it hasn't done shit to build up my social capital.

This post didn't at all explain what I wanted it to. Let's just go back to this: May has no one to talk to, not that it matters, because no one listens to anything she says, anyway.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Loneliness--Now that's tangible

I'm working on a post about loneliness in a socially networked age. If you're impatient for an update, read the story about Facebook in the new edition of The Atlantic. It made me cry because it was a painfully accurate description of me, my thought processes and my life. Go ahead--it will take you awhile. It's not a short article.

I'll still be here writing a long post about all of that.


I still think the concept of hope is bullshit. In case you were wondering. We get through on luck, anger, tenacity, and a lot of other more tangible ideas. Hope? Spare me.

Blow the whistle, drop the gates

May Voirrey is on the mood train, has just cleared the switching yard, and is headed for a tunnel. Clear the tracks and have your tickets ready.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My husband really doesn't listen

In 2000, I had surgery. Apart from my wisdom teeth, it was the only surgery I had ever had. It wasn't complicated, but the recovery was slow, painful, and with physical therapy, the whole process was incredibly expensive. The stress of figuring out bills that always seemed to be wrong and fighting with the medical provider made me swear I'd never pay to be sick again.

Of course, I later went on to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on my defective brain, which left me deeply in debt and struggling to hold onto everything in my life.

Along the way, I read that medical expenses are the number one reason people claim personal bankruptcy. I remember reading a story about people who had had to sell their homes after going through critical care. That's when I decided I would never do that.

I've always told Frank this. I've said it for years. I said, "What's the point of surviving cancer if it means coming out bankrupt, homeless, weak, and likely unemployed?"

This came up in conversation today when Frank said his sister refuses to have a colonoscopy. I told him that my 75-year-old mother has never had one and I don't plan to have one, either. Cancer doesn't run in my family. Frank was appalled. "So, what, you're never going to get a mammogram or go to the gynecologist, either?"

"That's right. No need."

Frank looked stunned. "You know, plenty of people get sick when there's no family history."

"I know that," I said, "but even if I were diagnosed with cancer, I wouldn't pursue treatment. We couldn't afford it."

"What? We have insurance."

I'm not sure Frank fully comprehends the cost of being sick. "Frank, we have a $1500 per-person deductible and after that we pay 20 percent of the billed costs, but not everything is covered. Twenty percent of hundreds of thousands of dollars is still more money than we have. I have $600 in savings. How much treatment do you think that would buy? That's not even a month's worth of prescription medication."

Frank raised his eyebrows. "That's ridiculous. So you would just walk away from treatment?"

"I wouldn't even pursue treatment to begin with. We would have to sell the house. So, great. Homeless and sick. Yeah, no, I wouldn't do that to you. And what if I didn't survive anyway? You'd be alone, homeless and in horrendous debt for a decision I made."

Frank tried to belabor the point, but that wasn't what annoyed me. It was that he reacted as though this were the first time I had ever voiced my opinion on this subject. Not even close. This was something I had said dozens of times over the last six years or so. Frank claims I've never mentioned it. I am convinced my words evaporate in the ether.

And this is my life. A person who speaks, who says things with conviction and careful consideration, but it doesn't matter.

Nobody is listening. I am white noise in the background, dismissed, discounted, and ignored.

This really bothers me, not because it's something that happens at home, but because in every facet of my life, it is the usual way of things and not the exception.

It's hard to know that I'm so irrelevant and my thoughts are so disregarded. Perhaps, though, I just don't have anything worthwhile to say, after all.

Nobody listens to me

Blah, blah, blah, blah. That's all that comes out of my mouth, I'm convinced of it. Nobody listens to me. Nobody retains anything I say. I can only conclude that nothing I say is worth remembering.

I continue to be irrelevant in the part of the world I occupy. It's a disturbing reality.
Dear Google,
Whoever writes the algorithm for your "next blog" feature in Blogger is pushing a very, very hard-core, Christian agenda. I assure you, as an atheist, there is nothing in my writings that would indicate I have any interest in any god at all, yet whenever I hit the "next blog" tab up top, I am immediately taken to ultra-Christian bloggers' rantings and rapturings about Christ and other nonsense.

Either the code is very defective, or Google is pushing a very specific agenda. It's annoying. All of the blogs this "next blog" takes me to are either intensely Christian or all about Christian families and their miracle, (always white) toddlers.

I have tried logging in under my business accounts. I have tried clearing all my cookies. I have tried this while working from different  ISPs and unrelated IP addresses. It doesn't matter. It all comes back to Christ.

This feature really sucks. Please fix it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's not that intuitive

For the past six months, I've barely mentioned a thing about my weight or eating. Back when I was trying out acupuncture for pain the practitioner recommended that I look into something called "Intuitive Eating."

I looked into it and it sounded like "just eating" to me. Still, the idea is to not obsess over food and to listen to your body. Mine said, "Please, May, eat a lot more cheese and dessert." So, I listened and complied and gained ten pounds in six months.

And then something interesting happened. I felt physically uncomfortable with the weight. It wasn't a psychological thing--I actually felt blobby and slow and uncomfortable in my clothes. Begin part 2 of intuitive eating: Getting over whatever it was you felt you were being deprived of.

The idea is to not have a sense of deprivation and to not have a sense of guilt when you're not depriving yourself of what you want. You get to have it, and then you get over it.

I can't say I'm "over" cheese" or Tostitos black bean chips or ranch dressing, but I don't feel like I have to have any of those things.

Today, maybe with a lack of thoughtful planning or regard for possible consequences, I packed a healthy lunch: Lentil soup, whole grain crackers, an apple, and for an afternoon snack, prunes (yes, I actually like them, especially the lemon or orange infused type). I finished the soup and apple and was craving dessert, when I sat back and asked myself if I was actually hungry. Hadn't the apple given my brain the "sweet" signal indicated lunch was over?

The truth was, I wasn't actually hungry; I just wanted something fun to eat. I had one of the prunes and chewed it mindfully. Mindfulness is an important part of intuitive eating. It is not emotionally satisfying. Then again, neither is having to wear only clothes with an elastic waist.

Being fat makes me sad, and that's an inescapable fact that I'm quite mindful of. I'm trying to ease myself into normal eating patterns. I need to cut back from two glasses of red wine a day to one. One slice of low-fat Alpine Lace Swiss cheese with crackers daily instead of two. No more lunch dessert, but maybe a more substantial healthy lunch.

I can do this. Maybe. I really don't like to be sad. I think being really, really skinny will make me a much happier person.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Rumor has it that Kristen Wiig might be leaving Saturday Night Live. Oh, please, let it be true. I'd like a reason to stop going to bed early on Saturdays.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Boredom buster

Sometimes when I'm bored, I like to click on the "Next blog" button at the top of the page. I get really annoyed by people who remove this feature from their Blogger setup. Really annoyed. The workaround is to just go back two pages and start over from there.

Here is what I have learned from this activity. There are a lot--and I mean a lot--of people blogging about their supposedly adorable and more-interesting-than-any-other children. Yawn. Save it for grandma. Your kids aren't all that.

The second top topic that comes up in the algorithm for me is Jesus, God, Lord and Savior. I find this exceptionally ironic. Not only am I childless by choice, but I'm an avowed atheist. I simply have no interest in anything related to The Lord. Religion is all about social control and money. Why Blogger thinks these are the blogs I want to see just escapes me.

Jesus people do like to write about their Jesus-lovingness an awful lot, though. Even more than the people who write copious posts about their not-that-interesting toddlers.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Home again, home again, jiggety jog. Philadelphia was busy. I saw my brothers. It all turned out OK. Being home is good. The weather is better, and the west is cleaner and less congested. I needed a reminder of that.