Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I love loud music.

I love loud music. I don't even care what it is. It blocks out the thoughts. 

The doubts. 
The voices. 
The hurt. 

It blocks out it all.... with it's steady stream of bass and lyrics and distraction. It's beauty in it's simplest form. 

Mind altering.
Thought blocking. 
In it's pounding rhythm. 

But then it stops. 
The ringing begins. 

The ringing doesn't block out the thought. 
The hurt. 
The heartache. 
The what-ifs and what-the-fucks. 

It's free reign. Open season. Every damn thing I didn't want to hear. 

Didn't want to think. 
Thunders in the ringing silence. 

I love loud music. I just can't live there. 

Although I would try. If I could. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

FINE. I wrote my damn paper.

I really wasn't feeling writing a 3-4 page paper on the connection and utilization of exercise to mood modification. In fact, I managed to write many many more pages than that in pointless blog posts before I got around to writing my paper. But, I finally managed to do it.

What gave me that push I needed?

I decided to write my paper as if it were a blog.

World of academia? Meet blogging. While I am sure you have more than a passing acquaintanceship, please understand: this seems to be the only style of writing I can manage any more.

Plus? It's slightly less boring.

I can't, however, be held accountable for the boring nature of the topic. Sorry.

(I do what I can.)

Below is what I actually submitted. I'm curious to see how this works out.

Right now, I am sitting at my desk. It’s Thursday on what feels like day 11 of a 10 day work week. One hour left to go of the working day, one more day until the weekend, but five more days until the winter break. I have yoga tonight but it means finding something productive to do after work while waiting for yoga to begin. It also means not getting home until after 8:00. When, if I just left work on time, I could be at home - glass of wine in hand and on my couch in my pjs - by 4:00.

I’m tired, it’s been a long week, and I would like nothing more than to collapse in a heap on my couch. And, to be fair, I may still decide to do so. However, I know if I stuck it out and made myself go to yoga? I’d be feeling better by the time I made it home. Even if it is 4 hours later than I would have liked. I’ll have more energy, less tension, and generally be in a better frame of mind. Not to mention the calories it will save me from not drinking wine for those four additional hours as well. Overall? Huge win for me. Should be a no brainer, right?

It’s just never that easy it seems. Clearly, if it were, the world at large (pun totally intended) would be thinner, less stressed, and healthier all the way around. We would all make the healthier choice and all live better lives for it. But most of us don’t. Because, often times, the healthier choice is not the easier choice. And it’s not that the harder option is just too hard, but more so that we lack the energy to undertake the harder option. Even if the end result is going to be an increased level of energy. It’s a hell of a catch-22, really.

And honestly, the whole idea of using exercise as a mode to achieve a better mood - if we are defining mood by an absence or decrease of the tense-tired state - is fraught with catch-22s. If I am already tired, I am certainly less likely to undertake any physical activity. Even the thought of prolonged physical activity tires me on an already too-tired day. And tension? Nothing says “let’s get physical” like a tension headache. Although I know, in the logical part of my brain that isn’t impacted by the length of my work week or the fatigue my body is feeling, that exercise is exactly the thing that will work to relieve both ailments.

I’ve always used exercise as a tool for weight loss. Period. Unfortunately, I have always had weight to lose and, therefore, have undertaken any number and variety of exercise programs. Walking. Jogging. (which was a very short lived attempt.) Lifting. Aerobics. Step-aerobics. Tae-Bo. Pilates. Truly, the list goes on and on. And, since I have always used exercise as a means of weight loss, I have always felt it necessary to push myself to the point of near exhaustion in order to feel like I was giving it my best effort. This even, at one time, resulted in a daily exercise regimen that was almost two hours in length. Obviously with the demands of real life, that was not a regimen I could maintain; when it fell apart, it fell entirely apart. It was always all or nothing for me.

Trying to reframe my preconceived notions about exercise is difficult. Truly, it has been harder than I would have expected. Although, I suppose, on many levels, anything that challenges our understanding and perceptions is uncomfortable, at the very least. For me, it goes something like this: “Ughhhh, I’m so tired. Tired and stressed - because, really, when am I not? All I want is down time, comfort food, and a beverage or two. But…. *insert new uncomfortable way of thinking here*…. I know that even 30 minutes of yoga or a brisk walk would make me feel better. And be better for me. And I need things that are better for me. My clothes have been fitting a bit too tightly recently anyway - even the clothes that are not meant to be tight. Well, then, if I’m going to commit to doing 30 minutes, I should at least commit to 60 minutes. There’s not much caloric-burning gain in only 30 minutes. Okay, an even hour it will be. I can do this. I will do this. I will feel better for having done it.”

(by the end of the work day)

“Ughhhhh, I really don’t have the energy to do 60 minutes of anything. Where’s the couch?”

When really? 30 minutes would definitely be adequate for the mood improving benefits to be felt. But instead, I get in my head that I have to put forth more than what is necessary; and I therefore end up opting out of doing it all together. It’s clearly a fault in my logic, but it’s also how my brain is wired to process the concept of exercise.

(Too many years - nay, decades - of dieting, clearly.)

What I need to do is reframe my ideas about exercise and its uses. I know the benefit to mood enhancement that I feel - that’s not something that I struggle to understand. And really, I experience that post-exercise glow more so from doing less strenuous forms of activity, so a simple walk or a few moments of yoga is more than adequate - it’s ideal. Moving forward, I would like to incorporate a daily ritual of movement - not necessarily exercise. Exercise can be done in addition - and should be, if we are to be mindful of the too-tight clothing - but I need to separate the concepts of daily activity for appropriate stress reduction and exercise for weight loss. If I can incorporate both in appropriate use and measure - and yes, make the harder but healthier choice - then surely my overall health would improve in more than one way.

For the record? It’s 4:45 already. An hour and 45 minutes past when I could have left work, but only another 45 minutes until I can head to yoga. I’ll just have a smaller glass of wine when I get home at 8:00 and find my couch still waiting for me.

All things in moderation, after all.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Where's *my* gay knight in shining gold lamé?

This past week I saw a repeat of the Glee “Madonna” episode.

Wait, let me back up, as I feel this needs clarification: I am not a Gleek. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the show - its fun and I do enjoy it. But, I’m not super into it. I’m not terribly aware of all the current issues with each character and who is with whom or wants to be with someone else. Basically, if it’s on and I come across it, I watch it. I try to figure out when it is in the timeline of the show based on if the blond cheer leader is pregnant, who the teacher guy is with, and/or if the brunette “hot music geek” is currently crushing on, with, or broken up with the male “hot music geek/quarterback”.

Okay, back to the rest of my story….

The Madonna episode?



And really? I am now in love with Kurt. LOVE. It’s serious people. Like, I want him to be my (totally fictional pretend) gay bff. Because I love him. And really? I’ve never had a gay bff and that is a damn tragedy. I? Should have a gbff.

He’s snarky. He’s catty. But he’s also kind. He falls into completely impossible love. (and speaks so eloquently about it, it makes my heart ache.) ((yes, I am aware he’s a fictional character and the writers are the eloquent ones, but just suspend reality a bit with me, won’t you??)) And he would so honestly tell me if my butt looks too big in any given outfit and how much sparkle is too much sparkle. Plus, he sings. I dig that. In my head? I can *totally* sing. And since this gbff relationship will only exist in my head, it’s a perfect match.

(it’s the little look right around 2:53 that sold me, just so you know….)

Don’t get me wrong - I have gay friends. I am a big big fan of the gays. I’ve just never had a gay bff. I fear there is something inherent in me that makes me not suitable hag material and that breaks my gay-loving heart. I have friends that are hags and I am so jealous. Super jealous. I want to steal their gbffs away and go trash talking over some martinis.

I do believe I have figured out the issue though - I like guys. In fact, I prefer them to women - I mean, in the obvious way, but also as friends. I love my guy friends and a lot of my friends are guys. But they are straight and they dig me too - because I am the girl friend that is “just one of the guys”. I’ve got a lot of tomboy in me. I want to play poker. I want to watch football. I talk shit. I drink and eat like a guy. Basically, short of peeing standing up and the fact that I have all those nice soft curvy parts - oh, and the smelling nice thing - I’m kind of a dude.

I am thinking that most gay men don’t dig on tomboys… even those that are also fabulous snarky bitches. Because that? I clearly am.

Okay, so actually? listening to that is *kinda* like listening to myself. Maybe instead of being a tomboy I actually have a gayboy inside me? Which, would then explain all the obvious reasons that I like boys too.

Hmmm…. this is getting confusing.

I’m pretty sure if I had a gbff though? He could totally make sense of this.

(which really? brings this post full circle.)

“I think you’re 14 and you’re an idiot. You took a roofie from a priest. Look at your life. Look at your choices.”

(it’s like he was listening in my office or something.)

((for real.))

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I suck at making Christmas lists. (and 9 other things you may or may not know about me.)

1. I suck at making Christmas lists. That’s not to say that there’s not stuff that I wouldn’t like or even want at any given moment but when put on the spot with the heavily loaded “what do you want for Christmas this year?” (I’m sorry, you’re not dressed like a fat man in a red suit and I am not on your lap) I always come up short for answers.

The problem is, I’m just not a fan of “stuff”. Stuff clutters up my house. Stuff is the, well, stuff, that I am tripping over and trying to find a place for it to collect dust for a fair amount of time. I don’t like stuff. I don’t want dvds. I don’t want cds. I don’t want games. I just won’t use them and while the thought is nice, I have enough dust collectors, thank you very much.

I do like books, but I rarely know what I want until I want it. I like jewelry, but I like to buy pieces that I want. I like clothes, but really? Clothes are tough. Half the stuff rarely fits me and usually makes me look large and in charge. (Which, I am, however, I prefer reality-defying clothes. Find me some of them and you can buy as much as you’d like.)

What do I want for Christmas? More time for myself. A vacation. Money to pay down some of my debt. A new tattoo… or two… or three.

(Hard to wrap that kind of stuff, I know.)

So, I guess lacking any other ideas, go with the old standby: liquor and wine.

2. I really am not a fan of phone calls. I prefer email conversations. Hell, even a text message will do if it needs to be a constant back and forth. But a phone call? *ugh* How incredibly arcane. I don’t know why that is or when it got to be that point - I literally used to live with the phone glued to my ear as a teenager - just ask my mom, she’d love to tell you all about it, I have no doubt. But now? Again, *ugh*.

I think, in part, I owe this disdain to my ADD tendencies. I can multi-task through an email or text conversation. Phone conversation? You’re going to expect me to actually devote that entire time to just you. I mean, really? That’s asking for a lot. Including, but not limited to, having to turn down my too-loud music in the car and not sing along at the top of my lungs. Whatever you need to say? Can’t really be that important, right? Drop me a text.

(If I’m making time to talk to you on the phone? You’re welcome. And, you must be pretty awesome.)

3. I have ADD.

(Yes, my last entry just mentioned that - I don’t have short term memory problems.)

((Well, I do, but not *that* short.))

I was never diagnosed with ADD - and it’s certainly not ADHD because there’s not a damn thing about me that’s even remotely high energy - but I have managed to learn to live in my world of organized-chaos and I only survive by “multi-tasking”…. which is what I affectionately call my inability to focus on any one thing longer than a few moments without being distracted by something else.

(I have literally checked my email 3 times and my phone twice in the time I have been typing this - as well as taking a few moments to completely zone out to some Drowning Pool.)

((I am scared to think of what I could accomplish with some Adderall in my system.))

(((Seriously, just checked my phone, FB, and email again… what was I saying?)))

4. Whenever I walk down an empty hallway? I walk in the middle. And I have the insane urge to turn cartwheels and flips the entire length of the hall. I probably can’t do cartwheels any longer and I wasn’t ever able to do flips, yet, in my head? I’m freaking Mary Lou Retton. (or Keri Strug, take your pick.) Either way? cartwheel, flip, flip, double flip, stick the landing. 10.0 10.0 10.0 10.0 and 9.2 (the German judges are a bunch of haters.)

Fortunately (for myself and whatever unfortunate person would find my crumbled form in the middle of the hallway), I have fought this urge.

5. I have a love/hate relationship with food. I love it. I hate that I love it. I am powerless in its grips.

For real, you guys. It’s a sickness.

I love to eat. I fight the urge to eat almost constantly. Because, if I didn’t? I could be a hair under 600 pounds within the year.

For real.

One medical condition that makes my metabolism slow as shit running uphill and another that saps my energy on a daily basis…. you add an obscene influx of food to that combination?

Six. Hundred. Pounds.

(Someday they will remove me from my house on a forklift and none of you will be surprised as you’ve now been forewarned.)

((clearly I won’t be doing any cartwheels at that point.))

6. I like the idea of horoscopes. Not so much the “Today you will be surprised by a voice from the past. Beware of drafts, your health is at risk.” type of stuff, but more so the descriptions of the various signs. I fit many of the typical “Libra” traits and characteristics. A disproportionate number of my friends are Libras and Virgos. I have had some crazy chemistry with Leos. I just believe there is *something* to it. Although, who knows, maybe it’s just me trying to make sense out of a senseless world. Nothing wrong with that.

I will admit though - when I want to understand someone better or I am curious about them in general? I check out their sign. It can be very enlightening. Seriously.

7. Speaking of making sense out of a senseless world, I don’t buy in to organized religion. I don’t have any problem with people who do…. as long as they’re not selling their particular brand of religion my way. I’m not buying it. In fact, I’m not even in the market. Hell, I’m not even window shopping, so stop with the hard sell.

I’m not a Christian. Sorry, if that’s a problem, but it’s not for me. I dig JC. I’m sure he was a really good person with the most excellent intentions and love for his fellow man. However, I don’t follow him. Doesn’t make me a bad person - just as I don’t believe others who do follow him are inherently “good” - but it is part of who I am. I’m sure there will be, could be, likely should be, some sort of lengthy discourse on this - because believe me, I’ve come up against some interesting questions when I’ve had conversations with people about my beliefs, but…. that’s a blog post all it’s own.

8. I do, however, believe in reincarnation. So, yes, I also believe in an afterlife… it’s just not the Judeo-Christian version of it.

But, again, a blog for another time.

9. I love David Boreanez.

And Paul Rudd.

And Ed Robertson.


The absolutely most ironic/funny/perplexing thing to me is that I have - all my life - fallen for the blue-eyed blonds and redheads. Always. My husband? As Irish looking and freckled as they come.

Crazy, right?


10. I love what I do. But I don’t see myself doing it forever. Which, given the massive amount of student loans I racked up in reaching this point, might seem a little ill-advised. But, I just don’t. I don’t actually ever see myself doing any one thing for very long. I am a bit of a nomad - if not in actual domicile, then certainly in spirit. And I think if it were a viable option, I’d actually be a bit of a nomad in every way.

(Oh, or maybe more of a gypsy. Gypsies are all mystical and cast curses and stuff, right? Yeah, then I want to be a gypsy.)

((No mere nomad for this girl!))

I’ll do this for awhile though. Max out my post-grad education as quickly as possible, pay off my loans as I can, then pursue my PhD.

(yeah, you read that right: the foul-mouthed, inappropriate, gypsy-misfit is going to be a PhD, what of it?)

In my wildest dreams? Like, my when-I-hit-the-lottery dreams? I’d finish my PhD and open a therapeutic retreat for people with MS and their families. Make it all about holistic and spiritual health. On the beach, of course, because that’s my therapy right there.

(I know. My wildest, when-I-hit-the-lottery, dreams could use some work. I mean, really, how lame am I??)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

10 years later.

(I wrote this post on July 1st of this year and never published it.... I think it's just time to let it out.... and let it go.)

"Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive."
~Josephine Hart

There are always a handful of moments in life that you will never forget... even if you'd rather that you could. One of those such moments happened for me on July 1st, 2000.

Anytime I think of that day, I stumble into the open hole of a wound that, somehow, hasn't healed entirely. Even in 10 years time, it amazes me that there is still a fresh bloom of blood to be found... sometimes just a trickle... other times, a full gush.

How can words, spoken not in hate or anger but simply in ignorance, be so damaging?

I've actually spoken about this day with very few people over the years. It's always been on a need-to-know basis... as in, "you want to know why I'm so scarred? flawed? insecure? easily-hurt? Okay, here..." Of course, it’s just a piece of the story.... my story.... and the thing is, it's not a tragic story nor is this the biggest chapter. I wasn't physically harmed. I wasn't even maliciously accosted. Some may read this and not understand the big deal... but... I'm not writing for those people. I guess I’m not writing this for anyone really.... but maybe someone needs to hear it.

(or read it, as it were.)

((or maybe I just need to write it.))

July 1, 2000 was the day I realized that I wouldn't be able to remain married to my first husband. I knew it with 100% certainty. We had only been married a little over a year earlier. We married young. We loved each other, but something wasn't right - we were both deeply unhappy... and neither of us knew why.

We were in our bedroom and packing to go to New York for the wedding of a friend of his from high school. As I was gathering clothes and such together, I was relating a story about one of my high school friends, to whom I had just spoken the previous night.

The story was centered around his experiences in online dating - a rather novel concept at that time. He had met a girl online and had spoken to her on a daily basis over a few weeks - emails, phone calls, etc. He had gotten to know her well, really liked her, and the feeling was mutual; they decided to meet.

However, when he met her, he said knew immediately that he couldn't date her: she was overweight. Not cut-you-from-your-bedroom-and-remove-you-via-forklift big.... just, overweight. Maybe kinda big. He liked skinny girls, waif-ish even, he explained. And he was really disappointed because he really liked her.

(um, as a sidebar, I just feel it necessary to point out that he was not waif-ish himself.)

((at. all.))

I was baffled by this. I didn't understand why he would throw away a potential relationship, when there was such a good personal connection, simply based on a physical first impression. I was disappointed for him, but also kind of disappointed in him. I wouldn't have thought this friend to be shallow like that... or judgmental.

My husband, not at all understanding what he was about to do, interjected, "Well, I mean, I can understand that. If I saw you just walking down the street, I probably wouldn't even notice you. I wouldn't be attracted to you."

(yes, I remember it verbatim.)

I also remember, quite clearly, that I walked over to my closet - my back to him - trying to process what he had just said to me.

This, from the man that had, four years earlier, sought out my number from a mutual friend after seeing me walk through a grocery store, just once.

(I was smaller then.)

This, from the man who had promised to love me above all others, for better or for worse.

(how was the “worse” a simple matter of weight??)


I don't remember much else in the moments immediately following that comment.

I remember crying - tears silently streaming - as I "searched" for something in the closet - until he left the room.

I remember sitting right down in that closet and crying a little more until I could get myself together.

I remember a very very silent car ride to NY.

I remember a very long and not at all enjoyable weekend.

I remember wondering how many of these strangers at this wedding were looking at me…. and if any of them were actually seeing me…. or if I was simply invisible.

(I remember "Hope Floats" being on HBO as we were getting ready to leave the hotel the next morning and having a crying, physical breakdown like nothing I had ever experienced before.)

((yeah, "Hope Floats"...))

I did talk to him about it.... eventually. My trying to explain to him why the comment hurt me was the hardest.... because I didn't really understand why it cut me so deeply. I knew I had gained weight since he and I met. I had health problems and I was trying to lose weight - working my ass off, actually - but it was slow in coming, as it always is. But I wasn't going to, in the meantime, let myself go to hell. I always did my hair, always wore make-up, always dressed nicely.... but it seemed he didn't see me anymore.

I think, looking back on it now - and having 10 years to still wonder why this hurts me to this day - he hit upon an insecurity that I didn't even know I had.... and given the ones that I was aware of, I didn't expect that there would be more hiding like that.

I want people to see me.... to see the real me.... and I sometimes worry that no one does. I think that's part of the reason I put myself out there so bluntly. "Here I am world! Take me or leave me!"

(but really? I want them to take me.)

((don't we all?))

I thought, given that he married me, that he did see me.... and therefore, even in less than perfect times, I saw myself in him.... even if I didn't love me, he loved me.

And who was I if he didn't see me anymore?

And, to be fair, he didn't make the comment to say that he didn't love me.... he meant that he loved me despite how I looked.... which I guess was a good and honest thing to say.... but not what I was needing to hear. And not how I heard it.

"There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature. A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with."
~Harry Crews

Some days, I’m still waiting for this to scar over.

Other days, I am really am okay if the world just wants to leave me.

Fuck them.

"You used to be so audacious. People would stop to watch you come down the street. You think you've lost that. I can still see it."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dream a little dream....

Had the strangest dream last night. Not bad-strange, but nice-strange..... and a bit melancholy.

I'm at the shore, watching a pick up baseball game, sitting off to the side and just past third base, next to a car that is too nice to actually be mine, but is, and squinting in the warm sun. Suddenly a foul ball whizzes by my head.... and I'm not worried, just amused. But then other balls start being lobbed at me by a guy standing up by the dugout and I realize it's an old friend of mine. Laughing, I catch some, dodge others, and taunt him to come get me.

Next thing I know, I'm back in a beach house, going from room to room - aware of hearing him in other rooms, and knowing he's coming to get me. We're playing some childish game that's a combination of hide 'n seek and pulling pranks on one another. While he's in a room, I try to tape the door shut with duct tape (because what can't you do with duct tape??), but he hears the telltale rip of it coming off the roll and comes at the door before I get any more than the top sealed.

I squeal and laugh and take off up a flight of stairs, throwing myself into the first closet I see - climbing over a vacuum and a box to hide in the back, just peeking out of the crack of the slightly open door.

As I am in there, heart pounding with the excitement of potentially being discovered, I hear him laughing, running up the stairs. In that moment of pure joyful intoxication, I suddenly realize: this friend died years ago. In my dream, I flash to what are, apparently, dream-life memories - flowers on a headstone.... flowers laid in the dirt next to third base.... a baseball hat....

I walk out of the closet to an empty and silent room, turn and descend a different set of steps to a kitchen, where I hop up and sit on a granite counter top, waiting.

Pete walks in, laughing and talking with two other men I don't know. I smile, looking at a face that is older than the teenager I knew, and yet, every bit as youthful and exuberant. He smiles back and the three of them stop talking. He's holding a baseball glove and a hat in his hands, his hair longish, his face tan, but with the traces of wrinkles and smile lines around his mouth and eyes. I am comforted and happy, but I don't get off the counter - just smile back.

He tells me something that I don't remember. Perhaps it's small talk? I just keep watching his eyes and I don't talk. Then he tells me that he left me a message - two messages actually - but I won't get them until after thanksgiving, which I think is odd and sad because it's summer and thanksgiving is so far away and I am anxious to know what he wanted me to know.

Then I wake up.

It's the first time Pete has visited me since the year after he died - which was many years ago.... plus the more than 10 years before his death that had passed since I last saw him in person. It was nice to see him again.

Do I actually believe the spirit of my dead friend came to me in my dream? Yes. Is it wildly ego-centric of me to think that he'd take time out of his busy afterlife just to seek out his high school girlfriend to play hide 'n seek and lob some baseballs my way? Clearly. But I still feel it. I don't care if that makes me crazy. It may actually be one of the more minor ways I'm crazy anyway.

He looked good. He looked healthy. And he looked happy.

It was good to see him.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Anyone have a zippo? A flint?? Come on - even two sticks I can rub together??!

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." ~Albert Schweitzer

I'm all about self-exploration.

(get your mind out of the gutter.... I didn't mean it that way....)

When you spend as much time living in your own head as I do, it becomes a pretty common way to pass the time. Self-assessment. Self-evaluation. Self-exploration.

(but only when I have a few moments to myself...)

((okay, that time I meant it that way))

I've come to understand something about myself which, while not a huge earth shattering revelation, is something that sincerely holds true and explains a lot about me.

I am a hot mess, people.

Wait, no, that wasn't the revelation.

(although, quite true)

I am a care-giver.... a nurturer.... a source of comfort.... for many people. I realize that sort of flies in the face of my snarky don't-mess-with-me-lest-my-claws-to-come-out attitude, but it is, in fact, the truth. It's in my nature to care for people and offer them care. Despite other impressions to the contrary, I am one of the nicest, kindest, people I know.


No, seriously.

(oh stop rolling your eyes!!)

((fine, I can also be one of the most evil, manipulative, and destructive people I know - so don't cross me))

But with great power comes great responsibility and all, right? So I choose to use that power for good. I genuinely do care for people. And all that caring? is way draining on my own personal reserves. Reserves of strength and light and resiliency. I give it all away.... because I have to. It may sound corny, but it's what I believe I was built to do. Be the support, the strength, the comfort, the light, the what-ever-you-need-let-me-try-to-ease-your-burden-person.

(and it's exhausting)

The great cosmic irony here is that I don't know how to let other people be a source of comfort for me. And that's the great revelation. I suck at being cared for. In fact, I rather don't like it, because I am super resistant to letting people in. Not because there's something wrong with them or there's something wrong with me or I'm damaged goods or something.

(although I suspect that there is and I am)

((just sayin))

But I just don't know how to. On one hand? I am an open book. Sharing and over-sharing every little bit of me that I feel compelled to put on display. Including everything in this blog, the things which have yet to make it past the editing stage, and the things that have yet to be written. Things that need to be said. Things that need to be shared. Even if it's just sharing to the no one and/or everyone who does and/or does not read this. I just need it out there.

Because really? As a counselor, that's what I ask others to do. I ask them to share. I ask them to open their wounds to me so that I can help heal them. I ask for their dirty laundry so I can help get the stains out. I ask them to do any number of things which would make a good counseling analogy - though I lack any more at the moment.

And I take what they give me. I try to offer comfort in return. That's really all there is to what I do. Figure out what people need. Try to help them get it. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Every once in awhile though, I will meet someone who, unbeknownst to me, bypasses all my layers of inner armor and gets right to the heart of where that comfort-giver dwells.... and gives me comfort. They re-light my inner fire and replenish my spirit. I am stronger and better for having them in my life. Trouble is - I really don't know how or why they were able to bypass that armor. And usually they don't either. And sometimes, they don't really want the responsibility of being my fire-bearer. Because they are not the caregiver. Or the nurturer. Or the comforter.

They are just them.

And I am just me.

And something about them sparks off of something about me.... and, for a moment, that inner fire is rekindled.

But then they leave....

(and they always do)

....because they are rubbed raw by my need to feel that spark.

And this ability? To somehow cut through all my crap and feed some sort of primal need that I don't even know how to access?


And rare.

That's not to say that the love of my friends and family isn't brilliant and beautiful - because it is. And I value it greatly.

But it doesn't comfort me.... it doesn't nurture me.... it doesn't rekindle my fire.

And that's not their fault.

Something is clearly wrong with my ignitor switch.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I found myself having a conversation the other day with one of my former students about how I have never smoked pot.

(That's right: never.)

I know, given my proclivity for excess and indulgence and *occasional* drunkenness, that this may seem, I don't know, contrary to my very nature. Let me clarify now - I have actually never done a single drug in my life.

(That's right: never.)

This is a conversation I have repeated more times than I can count - with family, friends, and, apparently, former students.

(because I'm responsible like that.)

((or completely irresponsible, whichever way you want to look at it.))

I am considering having it printed on a business card. The very very short version of this conversation?

I have enough addictions, people.

I have no problem with smoking pot, nor with people who do. I have friends and family that do and I don't judge - whatever works and doesn't negatively impact someone's life, doesn't concern me. Are they using it responsibly? Great. Not driving while impaired? Perfect. Self-medicating? Well, clearly I'm on board.

It's just a choice I have made. And I don't feel badly about that.

Here's the thing: I'm afraid I would like drugs. Too much. I have enough things that I like too much. I simply don't have time to maintain any more habits. Period.

However, with MS, I have gone on a number of medications in the last few years for any number of symptoms - brought about by the crazy effects of having my brain eaten away. Pre-MS, I was always very hesitant to take medicine. I just didn't like the idea of it. Now? Sign me up. Where's my prescription card? Because seriously? If I need it, I'll take it. Just please let me feel better.

For the last 10 months or so, I've been taking Xanax on a daily basis. Very low dosage - lowest possible, in fact - and only twice a day, along with my other meds. The Xanax was introduced as a way to keep me from having pointless emotional breakdowns, angry outbursts, and sleepless anxiety-ridden nights. Or, you know, having them less frequently anyway. As a bonus side-effect, it seemed it helped lessen my twitching - which was simply the icing on the medication cake.

But, I am aware of the slippery slope that medications like Xanax represent. It's a double edged sword. On one hand, your body gets used to it and, occasionally, you end up needing it in higher doses to achieve the same effects. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, you feel so "back to normal" that you think you don't need the medication anymore and you simply stop taking it. It's hard to maintain a balance somewhere in the middle.

Right now, I am at the point - for not the first time - where I am wondering if I can go without it. You know, without completely losing my shit. Because I have tried before. And yes, I completely lost my shit. The most recent time, I made it almost a week without taking it.... and spent most of that week twitching and crying over nothing.

(it wasn't pretty.)

Again though, I am wondering....

The hormones I am on do seem to be helping. I haven't had a crying fit in I don't know how long. Most of my days are calm and even occasionally happy. Maybe I don't need the Xanax....?

So, for the last two days, I only took one in the morning and skipped my second dose in the early evening. Today, I thought I would go without it. However, I only made it until about 11:00. Which was, approximately, 20 minutes or so after Chris left to go golfing and I was left with Callie.

Callie, who was playing with her "Lazy Town" radio. While watching "Fresh Beat Band".


You try listening to these two gems. At. The. Same. Time.

It was not a great day. F-you, Fresh Beat Band. Stop mocking me.

On a separate, but not unrelated note? I do believe in the use of medical marijuana.

Just sayin.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Today I am grateful for....

  • Fridays
  • casual Fridays
  • warm comfy sweaters
  • jeans
  • jeans that fit comfortably without being all tight and cutting at my waist
  • slippers that look enough like shoes to wear on casual Fridays
  • caffeine
  • cookies
  • good tunes on Pandora
  • awesome friends
  • fun plans with awesome friends
  • having something to look forward to
  • knowing things will work out for the best how they're meant to
  • good memories
  • a quick happy hour beverage
  • home
  • my pjs
  • take out


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

If a picture is worth a thousand words...

....how many words is a picture of pictures worth?

Answer: more than you know.

(because really? sometimes this is all that gets me through the day.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This isn't an amusing post. But you need to read it anyway.

Today was a rough day.

Sometimes they all feel like rough days..... but then something comes along that puts all the other PITA stuffs into perspective.

I have students whose parents are alcoholics. Girls who have babies. Girls who have elected to not have their babies. Boys who are pushing themselves to their breaking point physically for athletic dreams. Students with sick parents. Students who are sick themselves. Drugs and alcohol are not uncommon for any and every group.

There is hurt everywhere. And it's so hard to not feel that hurt.

But this week, a boy in a neighboring district reached his breaking point and chose to take his own life rather than continue being bullied. A tenth grade girl in my caseload was in the same vo-tech shop as he was - and she came to me in tears today.

I sat there, watching her heart break.... my heart breaking right along with her. I didn't know this young man.... I barely knew the girl sitting before me.... and yet, I did know him.... and I did know her.

And the next thing I knew, I was crying too.

I was crying for her. I was crying for him. I was crying for his family. I was crying for every person who has ever felt like their only solution was a permanent solution. But I was crying for myself as well. I was crying for that dark place.... that dark place that some don't ever escape.

It's so hard. The darkness. You can't see anything. Not even yourself. And it's silent, that darkness. Silent and oppressive. You don't speak out because you think no one is there in the darkness to hear you - you would hear them if they were, right? But you hear no one in the darkness. You are alone. Utterly and completely alone in the silent darkness. You don't reach out - who would be there to take your hand? You are alone. Drowning in the darkness. Silent in your suffering. Unable to see. Unable to speak. Eventually, unable to feel.

I've been there, in that darkness. It's a sad place, but it's eventually not even a scary place.... because, no matter how sensory deprived.... it becomes.... familiar. But I've also seen the gaping hole that has been left in others' lives when someone has decided that they are unable to escape that darkness. When you're in that darkness? You don't understand the void that your death would mean for others. That, for someone else, you may be taking away their light. Light you couldn't even see yourself.

If you find yourself in that darkness, reach out your hand.... call out for help.... and when others hear your cries, they will reach out as well, from their spot in the dark.... and as we are all reaching out, we will all realize that none of us are ever truly alone in that darkness. No one needs to suffer in silence. No one needs to feel alone.

And no matter what the circumstances? No problem is so permanent that it requires a permanent solution. Problems are temporary. Love is abundant. Help is out there.

You are loved.

You would be missed.

Please reach out your hand.

You are not alone.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Placebo? I think no.

I thought it about time for an MS update on here. Surprisingly, there has been very little worthwhile MS material to discuss. Although, it's occurred to me now, that that lack of trouble? is worth posting about.

(It shouldn't be all about me bitching all the time, right?)

Roughly three months ago, I began participating in a drug trial through the hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. (you may recall the ridiculous nature of the cognitive tests... yeah, they're still just as fun.) Any time you participate in a drug study, there's no real way to know if you will be given the active meds or a placebo. However, since any drug is accompanied by side effects, it's usually not too hard to figure out which group you fall into.

I am not in the control group.

Meaning, I am about 98.64% certain that I am taking the active meds. The active meds, in this study, are a form of estrogen. I'm also taking my Copaxone, (which is my daily shot - a drug therapy that is meant to slow down the progression of the damage that MS does to the central nervous system) but I have now added 4 little 2mg pills of Estriol to my daily regimen of meds and supplements.

(I mean, what's 4 more pills in a pile of oh so many??)

Obviously, I can't, with 100% certainty, confirm that I am on the active meds, but, I mean... come on now.... they're hormones. The women reading this will understand right away that when your body is adjusting to hormones, there are some obvious signs. The men reading this will simply have to be grateful that I am not going to describe in any sort of detail what those signs are.

(you're welcome.)

But also? I actually feel pretty good.... in that, I feel almost normal most days. Which, though not anything to throw a parade over, after so many months and months of feeling like I was losing my mind.... normal is a welcome reprieve. I haven't had an uncontrollable crying fit since sometime mid summer. (I have cried over known circumstances.... I'm still more emotional than I would like, but not irrationally so.) And a lot of days I can pick my daughter up off the floor without feeling like she weighs three times her actual 36lbs.

Most days, I am tired, but it is normal tired. Not fall-down-and-cry physical exhaustion. Some days, I am irritable - most notably, more so since the introduction of the additional hormones - but not irrationally irritable. I mean, hey, I haven't felt the need to stab someone in who knows how long! And, by comparison, hormonally irritable doesn't seem that bad.

I still have some aches and pains. I recognize that when I hit a certain point and continue to push past it, the aches and pains get worse. The MS is still there, lurking, and waiting for me to slip up and allow it a reason to remind me that it could take me down at a moment's notice. But, for the most part, the hormones seem to keep it on a shorter leash.

Why is that?

I'm so glad you asked. :-)

The only time, in nature, that science has seen MS go into a type of "remission" is when women who have MS are pregnant. Something in the hormones that the body produces in pregnancy - most likely the same hormones that prevent the body's immune system from attacking the developing fetus as a foreign body - stop the immune system from attacking it's own central nervous system. In some cases, MRIs have even revealed that lesions have shrunk in size during the remission - a process that rarely occurs on it's own. (MS can strip myelin faster than a body can repair it - which means once there's scar tissue, it usually lasts.) MS is a degenerative disease, which basically means that it just continues to get worse. Except in pregnant women.

(This also sort of explains why, in men, the disease ravages their CNS so much more quickly - they have so little of the hormones to begin with, you know, being boys and all.)

((Of course, they do have the whole peeing standing up thing going for them.... but, it's hardly a wash, really.))

So what is the study, well, studying? It's a two year long research program that's being conducted on volunteers across the country who have MS. The study is looking to establish two things: concrete evidence that the hormones increase the daily functionality of an MS patient and decrease relapses, perhaps evidence that the hormones can heal or shrink the pre-existing lesions, and - hopefully - show that there is not an increased breast and/or uterine cancer risk with the hormone. (Which, clearly, would somewhat offset the beneficial aspects of the meds. Just sayin.)

But, long story somewhat shorter? I feel *almost* like myself a lot of the time. Which is nice. I had almost forgotten what that person felt like. I definitely forgot what it felt like to feel simple joy at the simple things in life. I'm still not back to what I would have been pre-MS.... and I likely never will be.... I may always feel the need to stab on occasion, it happens.... but, I'm getting there. In some ways, the darkness is subsiding a bit. A little more light is filtering through. And I'm feeling a little more hopeful.... most days, anyway.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I have a problem.

Okay, so here's something you don't know about me. (which, given my penchant for over sharing, there's probably not much you wouldn't know.)

I have a serious addiction. And that addiction has a name: Ed Robertson.

Ed is the guitarist and singer for the band Barenaked Ladies. (Yes, I realize some of you reading this may not even know who that band is.) ((No, I do not care.)) And, while they are my favorite band of ever, really? Ed is just the yummiest thing since.... well, since Paul Rudd.... although he pre-dated my Paul Rudd addiction.... so he's basically the yummiest thing since boys stopped having cooties.

I heart him.

I heart him BAD.

I realize he's not the typical love-muffin stud most women would swoon over. But me?


Yeah. It's bad, people.

How bad? Well, today in a vo-tech meeting, a counselor from another district walked in and I almost stopped breathing.

I shit you not - he looked just like Ed.

So much so, I don't even know what his name was. I know I was introduced, but in my head all I could hear playing was a looped track of every BNL song ever, all overlapping one another, all overlapped by my inner fan-girl squealing with delight.

(Let's just bear in mind that this was not actually Ed, kay? Cause clearly I am sick.)

Turns out, he sat right next to me at the conference table, which, while that might sound good, actually made it very hard to come up with reasons to turn to my right to gaze at him with a lovesick look that I am sure was freaking him out. Not to mention, I was so jazzed at his mere presence (again, NOT ED), that I could have slid off my chair.


It's bad.

So, as I am daydreaming about if he plays the guitar or not and how I am going to whisk him away from his wife (yes, I saw he was wearing a wedding ring... which, since clearly my own ring wasn't stopping my fantasies, why would his? Come on, people. Keep up.) and what our beautiful dark haired, greenish-blueish eyed children are going to look like (my husband looks nothing like this, btw.) ((sorry honey, but you already know what's up.)), I notice something that - again - took my breath away. Just not in a good way.

You guys? He was wearing a W. W. J. D. bracelet.


Yeah. I am pretty sure, should he consider what Jesus would do, that he was not going to let me climb in his lap mid-meeting and make mad use of that fabulous leather swivel chair he was sitting in.

However, despite my disappointment - deep, deep, disappointment - a plan began to hatch in my mind. It involved me getting a job in his school, coming up with pointless questions just so I could go ask him, not really listen to his answers as I stare deep into his eyes, and then - after an appropriate amount of time - jump his ass and convert him to the godless heathen that I am.

I mean, it could totally happen.



(or, not-Ed. Whatever.)

Friday, October 8, 2010

I might be dead soon. So you should probably be nice to me while you can.

You know how they say some animals can predict when people are going to die?

Yeah, well my lab is following me around so closely that I have literally stopped short a few times only to have her halfway up my ass before I even knew what was going on. (as I type, she is laying on my feet.)

This is a dog who, in prior times, could only be roused from her vigorous laying around by the sound of the refrigerator door opening or the smell of take out. Occasionally she could be tempted by her rope, but only if it was accompanied by the words, "wanna play catch?" and a look that told tales of hours worth of fetching a slobber covered rope.

Of course, that was all prior to her losing our other dog and then becoming too old to want to rouse herself for much of anything. For the most part, we'd just be bringing the people foods to her out of sympathy and knowledge that - at 11 plus - her dog-days were numbered anyway, so how bad could some extra pizza crusts be?

However, recently, she has been glued to my side in a borderline obnoxious way. And it's not even just when I go to the kitchen - which I could sort of understand/forgive. No. She follows me to the bathroom, to Callie's room, to basically anywhere I go.

I shower, she waits on the bathmat.

I pee, she lays on the tile.

I get dressed, she lays in front of my bureau.

I type pointless blogs, she keeps my feet warm.

(which would actually be kinda nice except for the fact that every time I have to get up to refill my drink, I have to do this ninja like gravity-defying step over her sprawled out form.)

((which she then gets up from to follow me into the kitchen in time to get in the way of the refrigerator door opening at all.))

I am pretty sure she's trying to tell me something.

Either I'm going soon or she is. And while she is the older of us, I am probably the unhealthier. In fact, I'd take some over/under bets on it being my liver, despite the pre-existing holes in my brain. Not that I know if you can actually make over/under bets on something that isn't technically numerical in value. It's sort of a fuzzy subject for me, as I've been drinking since before I started writing this. (But really, that should skew the odds drastically, no?)

Although, with as close as she has been following me? I could be the first ever recorded death by dog-enima.

Just sayin.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This post is for everyone who thinks my life is all glamour and rainbows. (In other words, there's really no one who should be reading this.)

I stink.

No, seriously. Not in a "wow, I really suck" kinda way. But in a "wow, I am really offending myself with the stench that is sort of surrounding me a in a cloud of funk" kinda way.

I stayed home sick today. Did all the things you do when you're home sick: laid in bed, watched daytime tv, napped, woke up, watched more daytime tv, got out of bed, looked for food, and planted myself on the couch.

I also did none of the things you wouldn't do when you're home sick: like, shower, brush my hair, brush my teeth, get changed. (btw? there are too many conflicting negatives in that opening sentence. I am confused.)

Another bad MS day, you ask?


Psh.... MS I can handle. MS is my bitch by now. In fact, MS is played out.

You guys? I have a serious fucking phlegm filled head cold. AND I AM ABOUT FED UP WITH IT.

I have been sick for almost two weeks. It started with laryngitis, which really? Not funny when you talk as much as I do. Then there was the cough. Then the phlegm. Oh for the love of all things holy, the phlegm..... And now it just won't go away.

I haven't slept in days because I can't stop coughing. And I can't stop blowing my nose. And I can't breathe. But really? Why stop there?

Now, the issue has become my nose.... it won't. stop. running. And yet? It's constantly clogged. But now it hurts from all the blowing. So I switched to tissues with "lotion". Which means my nose is slightly less angry-red-looking, but feels like it's slimy all the time. (Okay, slimier than the snot dripping orifice it has become.)

And better yet?? I have this let's-not-jump-right-to-calling-it-OCD thing about washing my hands. It's not a germ thing. It's a my-hands-don't-feel-clean-if-they-feel-like-there's-ick-on-them thing. And tissues - with lotion - that are immediately overwhelmed by phlegm at first blow? Leave my hands with that not-so-fresh-feeling. So now I am going through paper towels almost as fast as tissues and my hands are drier than usual.

So yeah, I burned a sick day for this. A phlegm filled day of not-showering, offending myself, nose-blowing, and hand-washing.

My life is truly a cabaret.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I am exhausted. And on my second drink. And exhausted. (this post likely won't make any sense.)

It's been two weeks since I left Valley Forge.

(There, I can say it now: Valley. Forge. or VF. or VFMA.)

((I am sure there are many less polite names for it as well.))

For as much as I bitched about it - and believe me, I did way more bitching in real life than I did on here - I managed to never mention the school by name.

(seriously, go back and look. I'll wait.)


And now that I can mention it, I can say: I miss it.

I mean, I knew I would. I knew I would miss my guys and my coworkers - you may or may not have gathered that from my last post - but I didn't realize quite how much.

(hint: it's a lot.)

I guess I expected that some of the blow of being separated from my work family would be softened by getting to know my new work family. Problem is, they don't feel much like family. ("they" being the new school.... who will just be refered to as "not Valley Forge".... or NVF, for short.) And even if they were, I am clearly the misfit foster child.

Because seriously? I do *not* fit in.

I always knew I was a little outspoken. Maybe a little too honest. Never really had a filter. Definitely too snarky. And generally a little bit of the rule-breaker, boundry-pusher, I-don't-give-a-shit-what-your-policy-is-if-I-don't-think-it's-in-the-best-interest-of-my-student type of employee. The thing is: that worked out okay at VF.

I had my own little band of misfits who - apparently - understood the misfit in me as well. I didn't have to explain myself. (most of the time.) I didn't have to apologize. (okay, I chose to a few times though.) And I could drop the f-bomb in front of my boss. (who would then drop it in return. (true story.))

Where else do you find that?

(second hint: not at a public school.)

The thing is: I am a damn good counselor. I work hard. I go the extra mile. (or ten or ten thousand - whatever it takes.) I care.

But I am also a snarky, foul-mouthed, rule-breaking bitch.

(I say that in the best way possible.)

I can't help it! I can't be appropriate! I can't be professional! I'm just not effective that way.... think Carrot Top without the props....



No one should have to think of Carrot Top.

But really, it's who I am. I know it's unconventional, but unconventional doesn't mean ineffective. For me, it's quite the opposite.

And yet, they have me tucked away in this little cell of an old-school office.

(for real.)

And is that a "motivational" poster hanging on the wall....?


Why yes, yes it is.


(this place needs so much work.)

I'm still feeling pretty out of my element here. Not professionally - I can handle whatever shit they want to throw my way - but I have met very few of my coworkers. I get the feeling with the structure of the day here, I probably won't interact with many of them.

Which kind of sucks.

(Although, who knows, maybe they're all tools anyway.)

((and do they even speak "snark"?? Doubtful. They're too busy being all professional and such.))

My immediate coworkers - meaning the other counselors (because those are the only people I know) - are nice enough, but no one really seems to get me. I'm actually not sure why there were so many people at VF who did.... huh.... weird. But, it does make me miss the relationships I had there even more.

Maybe I am just way too unprofessional for the public system. Which means I have to either put up a better professional front.... or I have to bring the entire system down to my level.

Yeah, clearly I will be going with the latter.

On a lighter note though, I made some uber-girly ghetto curtains:

(and got rid of the motivational poster.... because really? don't insult me with your perky wholesome optimism.)

Plus, I tacked up a shit ton of pictures and clippings and things that generally make me feel a little more at home:


(this place still needs a lot of work.)

((it needs some cadets.... and misfit coworkers....))

But, in the meantime, I did happen to overhear one of the counselors sling a well timed jab at the administrative assistant and she replied with a quick "you dirty whore..."

I collapsed in a fit of giggles. Like the consummate professional I am.

(who knows, maybe there's hope for NVF after all.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I wish I had something funny to say.

So, I'm sitting here and I can't stop this wretched leaking from the eyes.

(What the fuck eyes, knock. it. off. You're making the nose get in on the action too and that is just.... well, gross.)

In two days I leave the job I've been at for the last two years. And as much as I thought I wanted to leave? As much as I know I have to leave? As much as I know I am making the right choice? Wow. I never thought it would be so hard.

You know how you like to think that without you things would just fall apart and people would feel your absence like a palpable ache in their chest even though you know that's not going to be the case and in actuality you're the only one who's hurting?

Oh, just me then?

Believe me, I have left jobs that I have worked at for much longer than 2 years. I closed a business that I still have dreams about and awake with pangs of displacement that feel like I left something crucial behind while packing for a permanent vacation. But this place.... these last two years.... to say they have been the most intense of my life might be an overstatement... but not by much.

The unfortunate thing is that all my emotions about this place and these people are mixed up with all the emotions and reality of coming to terms with MS. Never will I be able to think about these last two years without the one being inextricably entwined with the other. And never will I be rid of the MS. It's just a big old pile of good and bad and happy and sad and funny and painful memories.... all balled up together.

Two years ago, I walked into this place without a diagnosis. MS was just a possible cause for some unexpected, and conveniently being ignored, MRI results. No, I was not sick. I was sinking my teeth into my first "real" counseling position and it was a challenge. The boys were needy, the parents were demanding and occasionally irrational, many of my coworkers were just as green as me. I was challenged. I didn't falter. I thrived.

However, I couldn't live in feigned ignorance forever. And the diagnosis came. Followed in swift fashion by the medications. And supplements. And symptoms. And side effects. And emotions. And insanity. And fear.

But the boys were just as needy, the parents just as out of touch with reality, and the coworkers had become friends. In some ways, a needed lifeline. To sanity. To strength. To humor. To perseverance. Because no matter how I was feeling? The days marched on. And I was needed, so I was there. I came to need all of them as much as they needed me. Maybe more. Probably more. I'm the one with the palpable ache, after all.

(seriously eyes, give it a rest! do you have any idea how hard it is to type in the dark and while crying?)

((answer: really hard.))

Now, two years later, I am leaving this place.... a changed person. A stronger person. A weaker person. A better counselor. (Actually, a damn good counselor.) A needier person. A snarkier person. A more real person. A scared and sad person. I am leaving all that forged me into this changed person and trying out the fit at a new place. Without support. Untethered. Unneeded. Afraid.

There are so many goodbyes I need to say. So many things I can't say without coming completely unglued. So little time to say them in, if I could.

So I will say them here, anonymously, and hope they find the people meant to see them.

I will miss you.
I will always love you.
I hope I am wrong.
I am so proud of you. (No, more proud than you realize.)
I will never forget you.
Thank you.
I will miss you.
Thank you.
You are stronger than you know.
I'm sorry.
We had fun, didn't we?
Good luck.
Your hug? made the whole year worthwhile.
Thank you.
I'm sorry we didn't have more time.
You always made me smile.
"What the fuck, Doyle?"
I wish things were different.
This is not the end.
Thank you.
I will miss you.
I will miss you.
I will miss you.

I will miss you.

I guess it's time to see how this new me fits - MS and all - in a new environment. But I will never forget the place and people that helped me figure out what this new MS version of me meant.

(not that I am 100% clear on that yet either... it's an ongoing process I suppose.)

((but it's time anyway.))

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sometimes one morning can be like a metaphor for my whole life.

hmmmm.... maybe I should wear a dress today. It's nice to look nice every once in a awhile. How are my legs...? Oh, yeah, going to need to shave.

Okay, legs shaved, yay me! Better moisturize.... hairy legs? bad. dry scaly legs? not much better.

Okay, legs moisturized, yay me! Let's go for the black dress. Black is slimming. Slimming is good.

Yay black dress! Let's go check this out in the mirror..... wait a.... wait.... what?

what. the. fuck.

I am not four months pregnant. The last time I wore this dress, I am pretty sure I didn't *look* four months pregnant. Why do I look four months pregnant?!??

(Sidenote, because I feel the need to clarify: This was not a "gee, the way this dress is all empire waisted makes it look like a maternity dress." This was a "the way this dress is clinging to my bloated midsection makes me look FOUR MONTHS PREGNANT!!!")

((Note to self: Invest in some spanx. Soon. Like, now.))

Okay, new outfit..... shit..... what am I going to wear? What doesn't make me look pregnant? Let's start with black pants then. Black is slimming. In theory. Slimming is still good. In theory.

Dammit! These underwear do *not* go with pants....

hmmmm.... okay, cute little black and white top with a black crop sweater...... whoaaaaaa..... too much cleavage. Cute little black and white top *with* a black camisole *and* a black crop sweater..... a black camisole that apparently can double as a sports bra...... ugh. Uni-boob. I might as well have an ass crack coming up out of the top of the schizophrenic camisole.

But.... I do like this sweater....

So, what can I wear with this bla.... wait, what's this thread here...? AAAAGGGHHHH! No! Stop unraveling!!! SHIT!!!! Stop pulling the thread!!!

Okay.... no time to sew the sweater..... or would that be knit the sweater....? darn the sweater....? Fuck it, if I don't know which it is, I don't know how to fix it..... unless.....

Ah yes, there, that staple is holding nicely.... and you can almost not see the silvery glint.... I mean, if you didn't know it was there..... hmmmm..... does this solution make me clever and resourceful....? Or just white trash....? No time to worry about it, I need a new shirt.....

This shirt...? Maybe....? Let me just.... go.... look....


Does this overly blousey midsection make me look pregnant....?

Fuck it. I'm going to work.

(Seriously? It's like I shaved my legs for nothing people.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I like to feel pretty. Sue me.

So I am preparing to leave my current place of employment for another, less glamorous, position. Yes, yes, I know... what's so glamorous about a boys-only military school? Um, well, not much really. It perpetually smells like boy funk. And really? There's a fine coating of spit over every single floor, walkway, stairwell, etc. I won't even get started on the penis drawings in the bathroom.

(Wouldn't you think, being boys, they would draw, oh, I don't know.... boobs?)

Um, you'd be wrong. I call this piece "Penis in Water on Sidewalk." It's quite inspired, really. I'm just not sure what the thing above it is.... a turtle maybe? a beetle? Who knows. Maybe I don't want to know.

My point is, a school full of teenage boys = not so glamorous, I know. But.... it made me feel glamorous.

See? here's the thing. In a public school, there are an absurd number of teenage girls to make me feel simultaneously old/fat/wrinkly/incredibly smart. (hey, not everything about getting older is bad. just sayin.) Plus, there is a TON more faculty. The chances of my ranking among the "good-looking" of said faculty goes down the higher numbers I am competing with.

(yes, I said "competing".... this is my post, just let me explain.)

((I swear I have a point.))

At.... my current place of employment.... (I think I have avoided actually using their name anywhere on here previously and I'd like to continue in that vein.) I was pretty!! Or, at least, I was considered so.

How do I know?

Because I had to sit various boys down at different times throughout my first year there and explain what was appropriate, what was not, and that, though I may be nice, I will just as soon claw their eyes out if they didn't learn some respect.

(the talks went something like that anyway.)

By the second year, I only had to have one sit down.... but.... I have to say..... nothing better than using embarrassment as a learning tool. (You want to say what about me to your friends? Okay, say it to my face.) So, I would say my first year of numerous talks paid dividends in the second year.

However, only in a place that is so without female influence would I be considered a hot piece. (along with my few other female coworkers, some of whom I know endured inappropriate comments as well.) You see, in my head, this is what I look like:

In a female deprived environment? it was easier to go along with this delusion.

I will miss this delusion.

You see, in the real world - by comparison to the masses - this is more what I actually look like:

(that's right, you work it Rosie... I do that same thing to make it look like you can kinda-sorta-in-the-right-lighting see my cheekbones. RuPaul would be proud. Or appalled. Actually, I have no idea how he would feel, so never mind.)

So, now I'm heading back into a public school. Back into an environment that just begs to remind me of that awkward insecure teenager I was. Back into an environment where I have to rely solely on my charm, snark, intelligence, personality, talent....



I'll be fine.


(but, I will miss feeling pretty.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

MS is fucked up, you guys. Seriously.

(I am exhausting.)

Okay, so after bursting into tears not once but twice today (at work) over absolutely nothing, (which came shortly after comparing our office to a group of Power Rangers) I felt the need to apologize to our director:

Email: Sorry I am all basketcase-y today. I swear, my mood is swinging so wildly I should be medicated... oh, wait, I am... hmmm...

Know what’s helping though?


Yep, someday I will be emotionally stable, but I will weigh 600 lbs.

Yep, that's just the type of thing I should be sending over the work email servers. I figure when they collect enough evidence to fire me, I will sue for predjudice against crazy people and/or grossly obese people. You know, depending on how long this carries on for.

So then, I got home and the fun times just kept rolling.

First, I'm reading this story and thinking, "what. the. fuck. I never find treasures buried anywhere!" Of course, it then occured to me that not only do I not walk around with a metal detector, but I don't even own a metal detector. So I can't really bitch.

However, kudos to the guy who did. Now, not only can legitimately defend himself to his wife, who constantly bitches about his "hobby" to anyone who will listen, (yeah, I know, total leap of faith there that he's even married... but you know if he is, she's bitching... trust me.) but he also turned over his find to archeologists to allow the coins to be excavated in proper fashion.

My ass would have been digging that whole damn thing up and carrying the coins back in every available pocket.

Maybe that's why I don't find stuff. My karma is definitely not worthy of 350 pounds of ancient gold coins. I mean, I rarely even come across change on the sidewalks. And that should tell you something.

(I did step in some gum the other day though. True story.)

Next, I'm reading through some blogs that I follow, and I come to this one.... which is freaking hysterical.... perhaps a little more hysterical because of my retarded dog, but still, funny nonetheless. However, I doubt it is as funny as I was finding it to be.

I could not. stop. laughing.

Next thing I know, I am laughing so hard that I burst into tears.


Not like, "whew! that was funny!" tears running from your eyes, but like actual crying!

(I can't even go back and read it again.... because it will happen all over again....)

((but seriously..... so funny..... go read it.... but only after you're done reading this.... because it's so funny you won't want to come back here anymore.))

I had to look at my husband and explain that that is simply what today has been like. A roller coaster that no one in their right mind would ever choose to get on.

(Good thing I'm clearly not in my right mind.)


Monday, June 28, 2010

I think they're just fucking with me.


MS tests are weird, you guys. I don’t know any better way to put it than that. Apparently though, I am really good with words. Not so good with numbers. Let me set the scene for you.

I was down at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP from now on, because I will not be typing that more than I need to) for my initial screening to see if I would qualify for a drug trial. (long story short there, I qualify; I have MS. Yay? I dunno, let’s just call it a second opinion and move on.) Part of the initial visits is a battery of cognitive tests. The initial ones are just “practice” so that you are familiar with the format... helps eliminate the “learning curve”, so that the “real” test can be compared with future tests over the next two years.

Fine. Let’s do this.

First test: (I don’t remember any of the names of these, so mine will be the more appropriate descriptive names) “Put the pegs in the holes. Take the pegs out of the holes. Quickly!” So yeah, that was basically all that one was. And I didn’t drop any. Guess I passed.

Second test: “Remember a random list of words and repeat them back.” Dude, I owned this test. Seriously. 12 words, I remembered all but three. Second try? I got them all. You have 6 tries total and even if you get them all right, you keep doing it for six times. So then I was mixing it up for my own amusement... can I put them in a different order? Sure I can!


I rock. Bring it baby, I’m ready.

Third test: “Checkerboard mind-fuck.” You look at this grid pattern for 10 seconds. On this grid, are 7 black circles. After studying it for 10 seconds, you then have to duplicate the spacing using checkers and a blank grid.

Bam. All 7, right spots.

Do it 3 more times? Okay!



And done.

But then, they show you an alternate checkerboard. You sneaky bastards. Study that one for 10 seconds and do the same thing. A little harder this time, as I was consciously trying to forget what I had just committed to memory to remember something else that was similar enough to be confusing.

(that sentence is confusing.)

Still, got it right, first try and the second try. Next?

Replicate the first pattern, without looking at the original prompt.


Fuck. Way to go sneaky cognitive guys. And not funny, messing with the MS girl like that. I don’t know how many I got right. The examiner didn’t tell me. That must be in the instructions somewhere... “If they do well, offer praise. If they do poorly, just quietly put the test away and move on.”

Fourth test: “Chinese water torture.... but with numbers.” Okay, let me try to explain this. There’s this CD, with this annoyingly calm and monotone guy throwing a single digit number at me every 5 seconds. I’m supposed to listen to the number, add it to the previous number, and state the sum out loud, meanwhile bearing in mind the last number, because I will have to add that to the next number.

Sounds simple enough... right?

ACMG: Five....

ACMG: Three....

Me: Eight.

ACMG: Seven....

Me: Ten.

And so on and so on... for sixty numbers. I did okay for the first 30, but by the last 30 I was apparently misadding things and adding the second number to the sum of the last two numbers and all kinds of other things. It only made my brain hurt to a moderate degree.

Apparently that wasn’t the worst of the hell though.

Next, we were going to do the same thing, but with only a 2 second pause between the numbers.... again, for 60 numbers.

ACMG: Six....

ACMG: Two....

Me: Eight!

ACMG: (talking over me, how rude!) Seven....

Me: ....

ACMG: Five....

Me: Nine! No! Wait that wa...

ACMG: Six....

Me: Shit!

ACMG: Four....

Me: Ten!

ACMG: Two....

Me: .....

ACMG: Nine....

Me: Apricot!

ACMG: Three....

Me: ....

ACMG: Two....

Me: FIVE!!

ACMG: One....


ACMG: Seven....

Me: (hands over ears...)

ACMG: One....

Me: stop talking to me!!!!!

Seriously... that’s almost entirely how it went.... except the desire to yell out random words instead of numbers was just filled by deafening silence on my part because I didn’t want the woman conducting the test to think I had tourrettes as well as MS. But I did put my hands over my ears at one point... I couldn’t help myself... I needed to check for blood because I was sure this specific brand of torture was designed just for me... and it was working....

Fifth test: “Are-you-fucking-kidding-me-with-these-twelve-words-again??!?!?” No repeating this time... just me, remembering what they were....


HA!!! Take THAT evil cognitive tests master minds!!

(I am, at this point, beginning to drool and my eye was twitching... I’m pretty sure, anyway...)

Sixth test: “SERIOUSLY-with-the-checkers-again???!?!” Yeah... the first pattern, not the second, no prompts... I got 1 out of 7 right.... and I don’t have the faintest clue which one it was....

Seventh test: “Walk in a straight line as quickly as you can.”

....... ?

(Seems rather anticlimactic, doesn’t it?)

UPDATED: After the second battery of "test" tests, the clinicians keep telling me how well I am doing on these cognitive assessments. However, as I was leaving the hospital today, I made a wrong turn and got hopelessly lost. I think that begs to differ people.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Awkwardly Awesome.

One might think that, in order to plan and host your 15 year high school reunion, you'd have to fall into one of two categories in order to want to tackle such an undertaking:

1. Formerly mega-popular high school class president/cheerleader/prom queen

2. Formerly not mega-popular high school class president/cheerleader/prom queen, but now ridiculously successful and fabulous.

If so, one would be wrong. Case in point? I planned our 15 year high school reunion.

Yeah, that's right, me.

Who was I in high school? Basically no one... I'm pretty sure the invisible people don't get elected prom queen or class president... and really? I had all the grace of a drunken donkey. No one was making a cheerleader out of me.

Who am I now? Well.... that's actually a good question.

I still have the grace of a drunken donkey.... except I am actually drunk.... quite often anyway.... but now I blame all the tripping on the MS. I have one marriage under my belt and I'm now on my second. (though doing quite better with this one, thank you very much) One failed business under my belt as well - totally on to a second (personally fulfilling but poorly paying) career. I have an extra 40 pounds or so, a shit ton of debt and no assets to speak of, a neurological disease, but, a beautiful daughter....

Mix well, serve over ice...

(I mean, true, you have to add a splash of charm and a bit of snark in there... but that's the basic recipe.)

I was so shy in high school. I wanted to be cool. I wanted to be pretty. I wanted boys to fall all over themselves over me. I wanted to be smart. I wanted to be funny and charming and graceful. I wanted to be talented.

I was, instead, awkward, self-conscious, and completely unaware. I was smart, but not as naturally brilliant as some of my classmates. I was talented, but not like my incredibly naturally gifted friends. I was pretty, but not in the "guys falling all over themselves" kind of way. I was funny, but always afraid that people were laughing at me, not with me. I was as graceful as a drunken donkey. (but we already covered that...)

However, as each former classmate showed up, I found myself to be not at all self-conscious. I wasn't worried about the 40 extra pounds (or the fact that I was sweating like a whore in church (it was hot as hell you guys!)) as I hugged each one and met their spouse or significant other or children. I chatted with everyone I could, as much as I could, and really enjoyed the whole day that I had managed to pull together, with those who had managed to join me.

The thing was, as I sat among these people, so of whom I can't say I even knew in high school, I realized that none of us were who we were in high school... and, in some cases (maybe most? all?), I don't think we ever even were who we thought we were in high school. (confusing much? yes.) And as much as it mattered then? That was how much it didn't matter now.

I was having flashes of The Breakfast Club playing in my head. (because, really, it's a great movie.... and a welcome change from the Dora the Explorer episodes that seem to play there on a regular basis....)

And what did we learn from The Breakfast Club? That's right:

"Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain... and an athlete... and a basket case... and a princess... and a criminal...

Does that answer your question?... Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club."

And what *else* did we learn from The Breakfast Club? Right again:

The jocks and the bad boys always get the girls. The nerds are just badass writers.... and apparently drink a lot later in life.

Thanks for spending that saturday in detention with me you guys. I look forward to doing it again in 5 years.... or sooner.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I don't know why people even associate with me.

This is a transcript of an email conversation with a friend of mine, following one of my "I'm-trying-to-plan-a-15-year-class-reunion-will-you-cut-me-a-break-and-send-a-freaking-reply?!?!" emails.

Any identifying details will be protected.... because, really? I need to keep the friends I have. Especially those who let me email with them like this.... though I will never understand why.

Friend who will remain nameless (mostly because I doubt she would want to admit association with me):

You are totally killing me with this... ahhhhh.....

And, really: don't you miss me?

Ugh. I am SO put out right now…

A reunion... perfect place to display my newly acquired case of adult acne. Awesome. Maybe the sun will be shining brightly enough to illuminate my gray... or should I say "silver" hairs... as well as my pasty cellulite... I have to work myself up to even RSVP'ing.

We might be moving across the street from *yeah, like I’m going to out someone else on here* :) On *road which I will not be mentioning* ... keep your fingers crossed!


OMG I miss you so much!!! Did you delete your FB page???

What. The. Fuck.

Come back.

Okay, *same road that I won’t be mentioning, again*? Awesome, you're actually even closer! I approve. We can meet down by the bridge and drink under it. Because really? Isn't that where winos go? Under bridges? Or is that just trolls...? Meh, either way.

My adult acne will bond with yours. Seriously. Even my back is broken out. Which is lovely. It's like being a teenager again. Except without the fun stuff about being a teenager. Of course, at least now I can drink (legally) until I feel better about it.

AND, I have not only NOT lost any weight, but I apparently found about 5 pounds that someone else must have misplaced.

Yep, sounds like the perfect time for a reunion! ;-)

My dear sympathetic friend:

We (meaning those of us who try to make lightly of the fact that we can't wear tank tops & must keep our hair long enough to cover blemishes on our backs), call that: Bacne.

And, Yes - I have it: I even recruited some sort of a"tool" to try to pop them: doesn't work. Just makes me look like a meth head tweaker who has poison coming out of their pores all over.


Me (I swear to god, I wasn't drinking):

Damn. And I just cut my hair short again. No more tank tops for me. Clearly I do NOT think these things through enough.

In a separate, but somehow related, matter: I completely destroyed my va-jay-jay this morning.

You see, here's how it happened. I got a little over-zealous with the grooming the other day. The result? Crazy, insane, can't-stop-wanting-to-scratch-my-girlie-parts, itching whilst the hair grows back in. My solution? I'm going to try Nair. I mean, really? How much worse could it be?

So. Much. Worse.

Can you say chemical burns? Yeah. So while it left the little bits of hair completely intact, it inflamed everything else surrounding said hair. And still didn't solve the itchy-crotch problem.

So, cut to me in the shower, deciding that I would still shave to rid myself of the hair - again, because clearly I didn't learn the first time, but I seriously can't handle the hair growing back in!

Post shower? Looks like the crater pocked surface of the moon. You know, if the surface of the moon was red and swollen from chemical burns and the craters were filled with blood. BLOOD. Okay, so maybe it looked more like a completely unappetizing strawberry, sans those annoying seeds that always end up getting stuck in your teeth.

Wait, what was I talking about....?

Ugh, it's going to be a long day.

Friend (who is now wondering why she ever replied to me in the first place):

Soooo funny! But… wait; not funny at the same time. I think it's the power plant. Fa real.

Just a heads up: don't even bother trying that infomercial thing that allegedly just "sands" the hair off: it works good for a mustache: but, that's even debatable at this point. Certainly doesn't work on my chin hair: still need to pluck those bitchez.

I am so not hot.

What happened?

And, really: What pants are you wearing today? I am sitting here cracking up (mean, I know) at the thought of the discomfort you must be feeling at work. Hopefully you put a little baby powder ....or Neosporin on the strawberry moon :)

Me (because I take over-sharing to a whole new level):

In all my infinite wisdom? I wore light tan pants. I keep checking for little spots of blood. Which would be bad, clearly, as then I would have to tie my sweater around my waist backwards and try to convince my cadets that it's totally hip. Except I don't think people say "hip" anymore, so they will have no idea what I'm talking about.


I also wore really cute but uncomfortable shoes. Thinking, naturally, that the pain in my feet would distract me from the pain in my panties.

Epic. Fail.

*Post-Script: This email chain was like a month ago. All is well in the nether regions, so you can save your "get well" cards.... though I doubt Hallmark covers these sort of issues. Our class reunion is in two days and I have somehow managed to find another 5 or 7 (okay, fine, 10) pounds. I have a feeling it was hiding in the wine. I am now wondering if I can show up to the party in a burqa without raising too many questions. Hmmm....