Essays. Meanderings and mutterings. Lots of photos of our cat. Counting coup on fifty years existence.
I wish someone would just ask the question. My answer would be a simple, "Yes, I am gay. Thanks for asking."
I can actually understand the impulse not to have to bring up the difficult subject, to leave it to someone else, and feel virtuous about hypothetical honesty. But any desire based on the spontaneous actions of someone else doing as wished is doomed before it starts.
I would never ask a friend that sort of question. I often already pretty much know, and figure it's really none of my business unless they want to tell me. Sexual orientation in particular - unless I want to have a sexual relationship with that person, I have no right to ask. Internal speculation is one thing, confronting them with my theory is quite another. And if I am wrong, it is a bit of an insult to a woman to imply a certain Unprettiness (for lack of a better word), or call a man a sissy - in essence. Not that being gay IS that kind of difference, but if I ask that question, that is what I imply I am reading in them.
So, I wait for the subtle coming out, ready with an "I get it." "My partner... she... " Yes, I understand, I'm safe to talk with. Really, that's all that's needed. Not coded or elided, just the correct pronoun, and the same old stories of dealing with intimate relationships with other human beings. Direct is good, but it's hard to have an intelligent answer to "I'm gay." Yes, well, that's nice dear, seems a trifle lame. Rather like meeting someone famous, and having nothing more to say than, "Oh, I love your work!" Then they say "thank you" and the conversation necessarily falters.
Ok, there was the time I told Stephen King to get out of my way, and he did, but I wasn't trying to chat with him, he was simply standing in my path.
Whole load of nothing today. Got Moby his wheatgrass, which brings joy, and regurgitation - but in a good way. Slept late, moved slowly, nibbled, sauntered one errand. And we talked about what brings us pleasure. Mostly time together, doing the crossword, watching a film or decent series - catching up on Mad Men today, walking side by side, in step, as we have always done. He's taken to rubbing my back as I perch at the keyboard here, a useful kindness. Both of us love watching Moby chase hard, capturing the end of the rope with a rolling tackle or balletic leap. Or when he walks on us in bed. I love giving a kitty massage, stroking his soft glossy fur from nose to tail, and then he curls around my hand, or stretches out exposing his belly to be included, obviously, blissfully relaxed.
Pleasures come in smaller sizes. Hand lotion that is mild, and odorless, but works.* Good beer drunk from a goblet. Hot salsa over fried eggs. Well fitting shoes. Beach towels for everyday. A couple of rice bowls** that feel good in my hand. A car*** all-paid-for, still solid and reliable. The smell of beeswax candles. A nut mix**** with Brazils and macadamias. A hot deep bath.
Writing has become a huge pleasure, in no small part because you read my words. After a lifetime of feeling disregarded, voiceless, to have a small but responsive readership is no small blessing. To have one person at home who listens is more than I could have imagined hoping for.
I allow myself more comfortable, and hopefully more flattering, clothes than I once did. Chocolate is to be savored, not anguished over. I take photos of myself to allow myself to look at myself. When it's cold, I brave it, and feel tough and capable, indulging in mild self congratulations.
I have a few unflattering joys - that I will admit to. Squeezing zits, and other bodily picking. Occasionally seeing life avenge me without any action on my part. Lulling the assumptive into thinking I am conservative, old fashioned, sweet or a little dim. Then giving them a hint that they just might be wrong.
My superlatives are for the people whose lives have become part of mine, who share my life with me. D, who holds me when I am tired or cold, angry or scared. And all of you who give my ideas consideration. And Moby, whose tail goes up when I talk to him.
**From Oriental Food Market
****The Nutty Guys
Subjects included politics (no arguments,) U2s descent into mediocrity, health insurance nightmares, school, the poor guy killed in the shopping mob today, and that K has never seen Young Frankenstein. The arrowroot cookies went over well.
And sure enough, there are just enough leftovers for lunches this weekend for the two of us. Including D's most delicious chili & my cranberry sauce. Not to be eaten together, mind.
We are snuggled beneath the red wool blanket watching The Kumars at No 42, Moby at our feet looking very relaxed.
Which do you like better: Cooking at your house, or going elsewhere?
We usually see D's family on the day, and celebrate on the Friday with friends who need a break from the family by then. I love anything that involves not driving, especially on a holiday.
What kind of stuffing?
Bread from a box, and I don't really eat it.
Sweet potato or pumpkin pie?
Twice baked whipped yams over pineapple - cinnamon. allspice and nutmeg. Bought pumpkin pie. One is part of the meal, the other a dessert.
Do you believe that turkey leftovers are a curse, or the point of the whole thing?
I am so used to cooking for two, I rarely have more than I need for a few days of lunches.
Which side dish would provoke a riot if it was left off the menu?
Homemade cranberry sauce. But only in me. And I'm the one who makes it.
What do you wish you had that would make preparing Thanksgiving dinner easier?
Enough pots and pans and bowls not to have to cook and do dishes at the same time.
Do you get up at the crack of dawn to have dinner ready in the early afternoon, or do you eat at your normal dinner hour?
Ha. Hahahahahahahahahahaha. We eat when we feel like it and food is ready. I sleep in on my day off if I can sleep, and I bloody well don't get up early to COOK. (Is it clear by now I get no enjoyment from cooking?)
If you go to somebody else’s house, what’s your favorite dish to bring?
Homemade cranberry sauce.
What do you wish your guests wouldn’t bring to your house?
Does your usual mix of guests result in drama, or is it a group you’re happy to see?
Our friends are good people, they discuss and laugh, have never seen a real blow up. Ok, well, one person - but she's apparently out of the loop with everyone else as well as with me these days. The in-laws are nicely boring. Oh, wait, it was Thanksgiving when his dad uttered the immortal words.
"Ten minutes in the Bishop's office. Make us happy. We'll pay for the marriage license."
So we left the room to talk, decided yes we could do getting married if done this simply. We were happy living together, committed to a life together, figured it couldn't hurt. It has been helpful to have the legal benefits.
What’s your absolute favorite thing on the menu?
If anyone makes a pecan pie.
What are you thankful for this year?
Getting to share my life with D.
Share one family tradition
When we realize we didn't eat enough of his mom's cooking, or rather I didn't, and we didn't get enough groceries the week before because I worked long hours, and nothing is open, and I'm hungry.
Do you have turkey, ham, or both?
Turkey, and for our turn, often chili.
Name your fave thing about Thanksgiving.
Having the day off.
What is your least favorite dish at Thanksgiving?
Dry white turkey meat. And I don't eat potato salad that's been sitting at room temp for hours.
Do you kill your own turkey?
No, but if I had to, lived on a farm sort of thing, it would be a very difficult task that I would do for the sake of integrity.
What do you drink with your Thanksgiving feast?
Tea, but not with the Mormon in-laws - which makes me a little crazy. Used to be cola - but I don't drink that anymore. So, water mostly. D likes ginger ale.
Has there ever been a feud during your Thanksgiving?
Long ago I worked on the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade, got home about noon frozen solid. The future ex got in a snit that I was not making turkey, and ignoring Thanksgiving. My Canadian family didn't recognize the holiday except by watching the parade. Should have been a clue, but I was young and foolish.
What kind of veggies do you have with Thanksgiving?
I'm pretty much good with anything green available, steamed. D has been doing miracles sautéing peppers lately, so anything that doesn't wind up in the chili...
Do you have appetizers before your Thanksgiving meal?
Nuts. I love nuts.
How many people attend your Thanksgiving(s)?
There will be six today at the in-laws. Tomorrow, five here. Unless there are California friends in town we haven't heard from yet.
Have you ever missed a Thanksgiving?
Every one until 1990. Spent that with friends the day before being sent off to Saudi Arabia for Gulf War I. Been celebrating with D ever since. This is a newish holiday for me.
Do you eat Thanksgiving leftovers?
Not throwing it away until it turns green.
Do you ever play games at Thanksgiving?
Arkam Horror, Illuminati New World Order, Scrabble, Apples to Apples.
Do any animals attend Thanksgiving dinner? If so, do they get Thanksgiving scraps?
Moby will be here. He likes turkey. If I cook turkey, he gets some whenever he asks all day long. He gets full fast.
Baked turkey or fried turkey?
Roast a turkey roll, or tofurky (which is much better than it sounds, and moist to boot.) Deep fried turkey is dangerous, don't you watch Timewarp?
Do you eat gizzards?
I used to like the heart, but none of the rest.
Do you like whipped cream on your pumpkin pie?
No. I don't like whipped cream. Or milk in any form.
Is your Thanksgiving formal, or do you just do whatever?
Informal, sometimes in the extreme.
Is your Christmas tree set up before or after Thanksgiving?
AFTER. Way too soon for a tree today. Week before Christmas, or Christmas Eve, then leave it up until Epiphany. Otherwise I'm sick of it by Christmas Day.
This post was way to much work. Still, I'm that grateful for all of you.
I'm ready to fall asleep.
Four days off in a row, thanks to Thanksgiving. More tomorrow.
I wrote an essay about this long ago. Here it is, warts and all.
Blood red spurts pump a beadline of rubies across the front of her dark green gown, draws a line across her light green duckbill mask, across her forehead and her pale blue puffy paper hat. Perhaps a glistening spot on her glasses as well, harder to see, she squints her eyes to check. She adroitly drops a clamp in the surgeon's right hand, then holds taut a black silk length of suture for the left, then repeats the process. Hands over suture scissors, takes each clamp, unclamping each at his subtle signal- as he ties down each dark thread. She is intent, focused, watching, waiting. The tension eases as Dr. Goode mumbles,
A Mumble of surgeons, she thinks. The proper collective noun. I don't hear them anymore, I simply watch and come to expect. And when I am wrong? Snippy breed they can be, even the best, even the most even tempered, professional. A Grumble of nurses? An even more apt collective noun. And perhaps a whine of scrub techs. She sighs, and lets her internal monologue unfold.
She lays down her hand to hold back tissue, he shifts her hand a smidge. The fat is warm and slippery through the doubled gloves, the fascia rubbery, smoother, denser. How did I manage to change so much, she wonders. I couldn't tolerate being barefoot in mom's garden after I spotted the first worm of the season, just in case I might step on it. She smiles at her former squeamishness. She lifts her right foot up and wiggles it, then the left foot, not moving her upper body, certainly not her hand. Or oatmeal, I used to retch cleaning out the pan, her smile broadens, unseen, under the concealing, protective mask. I hated that slimy cereal sticking to the aluminum pot with the copper lid, she remembers it was also perfect for popcorn. And she thinks, I wouldn't eat an egg with a smear of red, or if the white wasn't charred. She tries to remember what process beat the queasiness out of her, leaving her with an iron stomach- at least as far as external stimuli went. Perhaps education, fascination at the skill. But it was before she'd seen surgery close up, she was sure.
An itch slinks across her nose, threatens to cause a drip inside the mask. She ignores it until it slinks away in embarrassment. She passes a blue filament of suture, eyelash size needle almost visible on the Castro holder. Admires the red line of spray, drying now, looks over to the circulating nurse, gestures with her head and looks crosseyed at the blur on her lens.
"Yup, I'll get it," murmurs Barb, as she slips off her stool, and grabs a small towel, wets it, and stands behind her, head cocked.
"Oh, yeah, go ahead." The surgeon stops working for a minute to allow the clean up.
"You got it on your face, just a sec." Barb wipes the spots of blood from Anne's face, and glasses. "That ok?"
Anne squints again. "Thanks, much better."
"Any on me?" Dr. Goode grins. "Nice shot though?"
"Nope. You're fine, Greg." Barb adjusts Anne's specs, backs off to her corner, her book. It's going to be a while.
She watches the deft, careful line of minute thread marching around the artery, suctions away the slowly pooling blood, tiny amounts that make it hard to see his work. Her mind drifts in the silence, in the concentration.
She dreams about throwing small pots on a wheel, off the hump. Pile of grey clay spinning under her hands, water in a sponge smoothing a small section on top, to be coaxed and pushed and firmly instructed. The deep pleasure of feeling growth in mud, first a bump, dimple, a column, and then opening into a small bowl. She can live in that experience, practice in her mind. Even there, though, she can also feel when it goes wrong, and it falls out too wide, too thin, starts to oscillate and fly off.
My back hurts, she thinks. Can't think that, won't help, do-ya do-ya want my love?c'mon now! do-ya... arrrghghg. The radio had been playing on the last case. Hours of dopey pop, songs she'd hated the first time around, heard way too many times since, forced to hear again too many days in here. Now she had that piece of sugar in her head, popcorn behind a tooth, and it was not coming out. She hums "The World's Address" to clear it out, it usually worked. But not this time, damn song kept insinuating itself into her head. But asking for music here would not help. There were far worse songs. That's the way, uh huh, uh huh I like it uh..... see? She breathes slowly, shifting her hand as instructed, passes a rubber shod clamp.
I hold a life in my hands, where did I learn courage? She marvels at the change in herself, at how far she has come from the frightened, shy, little girl who so wanted to just disappear, to... well she had to admit, there was a kind of disappearing going on here. What I do matters, she realizes, but it also doesn't show, it's hard to explain her responsibilities, and she largely prefers not to.
"Follow me please."
She holds the tiny suture gently taut, alert to change in pressure, watching him work his way around, the layer of tissue being sewn, keeping her head out of the light. His loupes made it difficult to tell where he is looking, except that there is only one place for him to look right now. He moves his head in a strange rather birdlike motion, his focus on the very very small right in front of him, his peripheral vision uncertain. It always strikes her as funny.
She likes the silence. No one being pompous about politics, no football, no home repairs. In a pinch, she would start up the latter two subjects to prevent the first. She knew when he was finished with the artery, Dr. Goode would talk with her about pottery, or Monty Python and The Holy Grail, or books she had actually read, or might really be interested in reading. He could be very funny, but not many of the nurses or techs knew that. She didn't quite know how to feel about this, she liked a sense of some distance from the docs. They were good enough folks, all in all, really, but they were, in a very real sense, in charge. They were different, and not entirely to be trusted, not personally, not with my personal feelings, she thought. Oh, I know if I were sick or injured, they'd be fine, admirable, but I don't want to say, get drunk around them, she judges. She decides this is probably a bit unfair. Nevertheless, she keeps, always some semblance of distance. Any nurse who marries a doctor loses my good opinion of her intelligence, she says to herself. And a man who marries a doctor? Oh, much the same, she thinks. Although I wonder if a man would marry a female surgeon for the same kinds of reasons? I wonder if that might not even up the power differential? Her thoughts dithered on in this fashion as the hands of the clock crept.
Then she has a small epiphany, I layered on my courage, experience by experience, like I learned this job well. Not one event, she thinks, all of them together. I remember, and I hoard and try to fit into my whole life what I remember, and she wonders why this seems so rare. Maybe it's not, but she feels rare, and peculiar.
"I know what you want, you want to be an Anonymous Angel." Moira told her last week, apropos of nothing obvious, which is much of what she loves about her friend. The phrase, the assessment, warms her, she feels her stomach unclench, recognizing it as a great, and truth filled, compliment, impossible to refuse. So she takes it in and treasures it in her heart, just like the BVM is said to do.
The artery was sewn, the length of cloth tape looped and threaded through the red rubber tubing, clamped at the end released, and the blood stays inside where it belongs, a tight seal. Deep breaths all around. Anesthesiologist pokes his head over the drapes.
"Yeah." Dr. Goode feels the pulse thoughtfully. "Say another 15, I'll be done here."
And very quietly, she begins to hum.
"Spam, spam, spam, spam....."
And Greg joins in.
"Lovely spam, wonderful spam...."
Barbara shakes her head, bemused behind her mask.
The Old State House in Boston on the 4th of July, readied for the reading of the Declaration of Independence. We made it every year we were there.
From being the star-body. sneetch, resource person, lunch body, general helper, I had to relieve a scrub tech who became suddenly very ill. She went home, I got to scrub in all day. This is the real perk of this job for me, I get to keep up my scrubbing in skills, not just circulate around the room.
A Good Day.
He spoke of his Baptist faith, and asked me what I was.
Not wanting to give offense, not wanting to even answer, and never fast with my mouth under pressure, I said "Nothing."
"If you ever want to stop being nothing, you come to my church!" and gave me a card and a patronizing smile with condescending pat on my shoulder.
That's not what I meant, of course. With a lot of thought, I stopped being an apologist for the church given to me as a child, and figured all institutionalized regulations of spirituality were prone to the same limitations that estranged me from such codified definitions of the ineffable. I have never found any experience to change that basic understanding. Eastern religions seem to have more practical methods on how to experience how life works. But I will never call myself a Buddhist, for instance, because that involves accepting their dogma and ceremonies. The deep set gender divisiveness of even formal Taoism further alienates me from the idea of actual conversion.
Religious folks tell me I can't cherry-pick, faith is not a buffet. I can too. Why not? As long as I don't profess to be just one Thing, I can eclectically chose the universal ideas that fit and reject those that seem tied to their cultures.
The older I get, the more sure that I have found my way. Not that there is a path, nor that it brings me any comfort, but I am at ease with my life as it is, knowing it will end, and that is all and enough. If the stories and comforts get others through, who am I to challenge that. I have, after all, nothing more than my understanding as proof. I can hardly pin people down and demand that they define god, what can god do, not do, what is the nature of your god? Record every one, make them all listen to each other's answers and ask them to question their shared faith that probably isn't shared at all. Wouldn't change anything.
I'm not a hostile atheist, no worshipper of orthodox science. Not a matter of belief, after all. I read the data, the results of experiments, learn it, accept it as the best understanding now, and wait for more data with an open mind. I work in medicine, I know bloody well we have not got everything figured out, and eloquent arguments were long made promoting spontaneous generation*. Facts are often not discernible by reasoning and eloquence, they often inelegantly bugger up everything previously understood to be true. I love the process, gather more data, try again, and again, try to duplicate a result. A Book that says, it is written, it will always be, feels like a dead end to me. Justification not to change, in the fearful.
Religion has to be an evolutionary advantage, which I love for irony's sake. It keeps the mean and lazy from criminality in many cases. It demands obedience from those who would undermine a society. It gives glamour and aspiration to the best of us. Unfortunately, it gives corrupt leaders the entitlement to wage war and indulge bigotry, and the ignorant and disadvantaged are more than willing to relieve their distress by attacking scape-goats.
And it leaves a few of us out in the cold, disillusioned and resigned, unable to see the magic once the man behind the curtain is glimpsed. Still wanting to live a good life, be kind to those around me, gaze into the liminal spaces, see everyday miracles everywhere.
Those of you who believe in the teachings of your church no doubt think me wrong. So, if you've stopped by recently on the recommendation of a mad priest, this is my Full Disclosure Statement. Please take conflicting arguments to your own bog, feel free to leave a post saying, "I've got my response over at my site." Treat my viewpoint here as you would if I voiced it in my own home, as I would be of your thoughts in your own home. Disagree at length elsewhere, please. Thank you.
*Abiogenesis is another matter. Messy stuff, life.
Black cloud cat shining in the sun.
Parental supervision is not always all it's cracked up to be. After a Christmas Eve multiple trauma-fest, where Dad was uninjured driving the truck on the ice covered road, but mom, teens and younger children on inner tubes who had been tied by ropes to the truck (they were enjoying the ride, until it all went wrong) were subsequently sent by helicopter and ambulances to my hospital and children's hospital.
Pretty is not a virtue. Pretty is simply pretty on the outside, a trait to look at, but not take home and attempt to make use of. Pretty people can be smart or dumb or mean or pleasant. A good book can have a good cover. Pretty should be neither trusted nor dismissed. Like shiny.
A few drops of eucalyptus in the laundry kills dust mites and that stale-sweat smell.
Eggs in a carton left evenly distributed reduce the risk of dropping the whole dozen.
Cheap detergent isn't a bargain, it's mostly water.
Most people make more work for themselves because they don't know why they are doing a job a particular way. So they get caught on the 'how to do', and cannot imagine a different method because they don't really understand the why.
My most popular page, by search, seems to be this one.
If This ends, I am officially in love with the new president.
It was a strange day, not bad. Many rooms finished early, and much tidying, stocking and cleaning was done - lucky since next week is going to be wicked busy. And there was a therapy ball. Bored nurses & techs with a hallway, an armboard pad, and a red ball.
As for me and my bloogonym, and those of you who don't feel like trying to search the site in futility, there is an explanation.
But, for those of you who are new, a sampling that may explain where the hell I'm coming from.
I come from the Army. Sort of. D and I got to know each other in the context of our activation to Gulf War I
Wow, not as much there as I thought.
Dale once asked about the courtship, and I've been looking through the old posts. It's there, in hints and bits, but not all together. Not up to it today, but soon. A story worth the telling.
One tiny, irrelevant victory. I can now about tuck my hair behind my ears.
It's always the little things.
Labels: Self portrait
Ok, so I left his comfy bed up on the tree after I finished vacuuming. It's only an occasional preferred place, anyway. And I've never seen him in the bed when it's up there. He's still lounging there now. Taking a bath.
Nearly broke my toe again as he zig zagged when it looked like he was just going to bolt. I avoided stepping on him at the risk of my bones. Cat had a plan, I didn't read it right, gotta laugh. After I stopped yelping in pain.
Today, Boing-boing lists links all about Jonestown, one about the likelihood that Jim Jones was involved with the CIA. Certainly that the story as originally reported had numerous gaps and misrepresentations. I'm riveted, a sense of "I knew something was wrong." My brother had no idea the effect that story had on me or our parents at the time. His experience of the Children of God in Europe and Japan was of a series of loosely affiliated communes without a charismatic leader of any kind, a christian life without dogma. Where does the truth lie?
Eighteen years ago today, both D and I were activated to join our National Guard Unit to visit Saudi Arabia for six months for Gulf War I. This is how we got to know each other. We have always considered it the beginning of our relationship - though we'd known each other, chatting intermittently at Drills at least a year before.
Strange how the big events touch lives in such personal ways.
A crossword compiler bought a casa in Oslo and painted it ecru. With a complete collection of the works of Elia Kazan, an oast oven, and a jai alai court. E'er e'en an iota of an era, it would be o'er. A ruptured aorta, and fractured ulna ended the idyll with an impenetrable quip in four parts.
For all that the Boston Public Library, or at least the old part, is lovely and inviting, I never used it as a place to borrow books. We met there, used the restrooms, used the wifi, enjoyed the art, but the stacks and catalogue were impenetrable. I bought more books in that town than ever before in my life. Good bookstores, give 'em that.
I started blooging over on a mac site back in 2004 that proved unwieldy. Moira got me onto Blooger, which for all it's many drawbacks, worked most of the time pretty well. But those early posts, intended as once a month essays to learn mysef to write gooder, turned into weekly struggles to master my own language in clearly written form. Working through my own strong preferences and difficult journeys. It's been a long ride through a dark tunnel.
The photos from those early years, the beginning of our time in Boston, went to a Mac photo page for our friends. A way to stay connected, to entertain, to share such an interesting place. The page is gone, but the photos are still here, still wanting to be gazed upon, still wanting to tell their stories.
This is the turn into Park Street from the Green Line of the MBTA in Boston. I can still hear the shrieks and screetches of the wheels against the rails, the rinky-dink quality of the lurching car, announcing that I was nearly home.
I've not really been there since the town went LasVegas/Atlantic City kitsch. That's on the Canadian side, I have no recollection of the American side.
I've been there in the winter, but none of the ones where the falls froze and stopped. I was there the year they closed the falls to shore up the boulders that threatened the Maid of the Mist boats, and clambered over dry rocks where torrents usually reigned. I've been there in rain and sun, never saw it without a rainbow over the mists. I've been on the boat, in the heavy, borrowed raingear, in the spray and thunder. I've been in the Cave of the Winds behind the Horseshoe Falls, awed and humbled. Once, we even got in a helicopter for a flight over, one of those rare moments when I loved my dad, who also talked mom into going, and we were all glad. I loved the rapids above the falls, where the water feels ominous, and the moss grows on the rocks and the stunted trees await eventual doom.
I want to return. I want to take D. I want to share that experience of immensity and flow.
I make plain food for an undemanding clientele. D and me. We like spicy. We like simple. Our tastes are often dissimilar, a point of ... well not contention exactly, but distress in our years together. Moby's only strong food preference, since we can't get Trader Joe's cat food anymore, is for company. He doesn't eat if one of us is not here, and prefers us right in the room.
We are trying to be more attentive, enjoy our food more, eat more slowly, get better ingredients and eat a little less. It goes against the grain for both of us, but it feels important.
Now, if only I didn't mind shopping so much.
Here, Pot Luck is how food at parties is arranged. The per capita rate of crock pots is staggering. And I, for the most part, prefer not to eat food from a buffet of any kind. I don't trust the stuff. There was a spate of Hepatitis A several years ago here, a number of restaurants closed under suspicion. The CDC eventually figured out it wasn't the restaurants, it was the brought food - and children. Hep A vector is largely fecal-oral. Vaccinating children has abated the threat, but such shared food, cooked at home with young children, still don't mean they are washing their hands.
I hate to bring food, because I'm not much of a cook, don't enjoy cooking, and don't have the utensils to bring food from home. Often when I have tried, my offering is left untouched. I usually bring my own lunch when the bring-a-dish parties are planned at work. I do better with a whole meal at home, everything fresh, served hot, nothing to be ashamed of.
At this new place, there are a lot of cooks. Most don't have young children at home. On Tuesday, I was suddenly asked if I would like to bring something for the Burrito Bar, and I immediately thought of a new salsa in a jar that I like.
On Friday, mine was the only salsa, others brought meat in crock pots, salad, beans, but no other salsa. By the end of the day, my salsa vanished. I had a nourishing and tasty lunch of burritos. Felt strangely good about having brought the right thing, useful.
The salsa is marked as "hot," and it does have kick, but mostly it has a lot of flavor. I'd call it medium-hot, D calls it Extra-medium. (He cites the phrase from Scrubs.) Had some from our own jar on eggs this morning.
Dr. A hobbled in, with his story of a touch football game, and how he ruptured his achilles tendon, yesterday. Yes, he did his cases, and followed himself in his room, with his own surgery. We were just glad he let Dr. B do the procedure. Dr. B proposed putting him in a full body cast, assuming that compliant behaviour seemed highly unlikely.
I work in a weird situation. Surgery is just not like all the other jobs.
We were a little sad we couldn't do something special for him, no nail polish or temporary tattoos, no colostomy bag stuck on. Not even pre-recording him screaming in pain, to play after he was under anesthesia and freak out Dr. B when he made incision. Thought of it all too late.
On the other hand, I have been asked to prevent such shenanigans, and have. No one seriously objects when I say no as the nurse in the room.
And I personally put the Harley tattoo on the surgeon who would have been hurt if we hadn't done anything. All depends. I'm not into practical jokes at all. But for those I work with, it seems to be a way to provide a backward message of reassurance. That they'll be fine, it's not so bad, that they are liked and thought of, but not in a sentimental way. No one did any such thing when Dr. G had his last amputations - right before he died.
We are oddly superstitious, devotedly believing in Murphy's Law and it's OR corollaries. Never say the Q-word. Don't need to get out early. Have the code cart nearby if you get a bad feeling. Maybe the jokes are for luck. We who have been around a while know how bad it can go, and how fast. Having one of our own in that vulnerable position is not comfortable, and is better than being there ourselves. So we whistle past the graveyard, or honk our red noses.
I have begun the process of elimination. Cutting away the old dreams dangling, the habits of "one day I may" assumptions. Have been for a while, just recently awoke to the completion of the adjustment. Perhaps hearing Henry Rollins impassioned need to travel to difficult places and his urgent desire for approval and welcome.
The old vague aspirations, to travel, to parachute, to go off adventuring, feel thin and pointless to me now. Wherever I go, there I am anyway. The thought of diarrhea in a strange country ruins the glow for me. Standing in the Hagia Sophia would mean steeping in the painful conflicts of two religions, neither of which comfort me, both of which consider me less valuable because I am female. Working on a trauma patient gives me plenty of adrenaline rush, while reinforcing the consequences of a thrill gone wrong.
I can't imagine throwing pots on a wheel again, without inflaming my back for little reason. I have too little need for approval to ever step on stage again. I worry that this will constrict my life, shrink and sadden me. I would like to think it forces me to turn what energy I have into a gushing stream, not an evaporating delta. The metaphor feels wrong, in some way.
Lost, groundless, this is new land. Too soon to start wrapping it all up, too late to be inventing it all, but the insistence on living well, consciously, lovingly forces me to look, to decide. I dither and delay.
D plays his Martin. Moby eats his food. I drink my tea.
Reading about them, therefore, fascinates me. I know, for instance, that they are convinced by their own tales. That they are profoundly lonely. That the double existence stretches them out of shape, leaving their lives thinned and scarred. Idealism leads them a merry dance away from honest connection. How does anyone trust, who is so knowingly untrustable?
Spies are simply the most unequivocal and professional of the betrayers. It's been a while since I've had to deal with such a deceptive person. Their faces give them away, when you know what to look for, or rather, what isn't there. LeCarré writes about that certain deadness in the eyes in Secret Pilgrim. Describes it beautifully.
And that is what we need to do with the irrational religious nutjobs. Take our ball and go home, refuse to play. Fine, marriage only between a man and a woman is the sole duty and responsibility of churches. With no legal status whatsoever. Civil Unions are the only legally recognized agreement between any two consenting adults, conferring the legal benefits and responsibilities previously given to married couples.
Of course, the idea will go down like the Equal Rights Amendment. A bit of legislation that might well have defused this before it got very far, through some nifty little loophole that those with twisty "legal" minds could use. Even having it so deeply buried did not stop the progress of women's rights. Stopping gay marriage isn't going to stop gay sex.
I was raised knowing the bible, not chapter and verse because Catholics don't tend to do that. And I never had a head for memorizing. But I know the stories and lessons, understood them. And there is that parable of the workers in the vineyard. If we choose to give the rights of marriage to anyone who wants them, that is not taking anything away from anyone else. If we, as a society, choose to be generous with liberty, it's small and evil to object.
Mustn't get my hopes too high that reason and intelligence will hold sway in this country. Especially since the California prop 8 slap in the face. Still, having a constitutional law professor leading the way, there is a chance.
If you've never seen Henry Rollins in full rant, it's an awesome experience. He's difficult and nuts and profoundly compassionate, a punk bodhisattva, who looks at anything and everything with a full, enraged and engaged heart. He talked about how he could not get in to see George W. Bush, despite many attempts. Somehow the idea of a White House Command Performance, for the new president, seems both possible, and rather inevitable. (Barak Obama apparently is a comic book fan, follows Conan the Barbarian & Spiderman. D is afraid the world really isn't ready for a president who reads Conan, but here we are anyway.)
Humans don't have to be apart from nature, if only there weren't so many of us. Invasive species that we are.
This cat makes me laugh aloud.
I don't think I have ever taken care of a woman over fifty that didn't have a wad of tissue in her hand coming into surgery. I expect it. Either to be given it apologetically, or remove it after anesthesia induction. As a nurse, I tend to discard my once used tissue. Less so at home when I have a cold, being the frugal child of a Depression child.
Today, we took a short walk, despite both feeling ill. On the way home, my nose started running again. No tissues in my pockets, so I sniffled and dealt. Almost to our door, I realized, I had a wad in my sleeve.
I have achieved middle age, no going back now.
And I have to ruefully admit, I am. The utter, word-defeating frustration at the slow stupidity, the callous disregard, the willful ignorance, the hateful self delusions, the hopeless immutability of the human condition. Even filtered through considered words written and scattered, you feel my hostility. As with most anger, it's fed from my fears. Inadequacy. Numerous weaknesses. My confident capabilities are swamped by my certain deficits.
I was raised on rage, and meek subservience, and as much as I avoid eating it anymore, it's in my cells, like the minerals in my bones and teeth from the water where I was born. I can choose, in times of quiet, to be gentle and kind, patient and appreciative, assertive and strong. When the speed increases, the pressure goes up, the learned civility slips from my grasp, and the core of crankiness shows - even if I don't actually express it. I unintentionally flash 'em, not even aware myself that I have become so exposed.
So what the hell do I do about this? I don't want to be this. I want to be kind and patient, but not if it means allowing myself to be stepped on. I have no middle path through the two. I know it exists, I just don't have a map for that way.
Paradox, this has to come from the outside in, since anything from the inside will contaminate any response with bile. I have to soak in another sort of reality, let it seep in and dilute the poisons. I know this, but knowing it doesn't change it, isn't functional in itself. I can't find the end to pull.
Udge has a Nohari Window up, and it makes a sort of practical sense to me. Help me out here, please. How do I come across? Probably very differently from how I seem at work. But who knows? I obviously don't. If you feel you can, please add the darker words in too, please.
So far, very interesting. I was thinking that most of my life I was disregarded and dismissed and underestimated. I learned to be heard in the Army. Not ideal, but damned effective. Rather like never being allowed make-up when younger, then not being able to afford it. But I took a year of Theatrical Make-up (got A's.) I can do thick stage makeup well, I can go bare faced, but I don't have any skill (nor any interest at this point, but it wasn't always so) in subtle day time stuff. Perhaps in a Trauma Center, my tone is normal, but in anyplace smaller, it's too loud. And the only other volume I know is too quiet to be heard. I need a middle way, and I don't know how to do that.
A good five inches of snow on the car when I came out from work. But it's that fluffy, salty powder this state is (justly) famous for. Not like the substantial snow I grew up with, the stuff of forts and snowmen that sticks itself to cars with ice-glue.
Right outside work.
I am no longer utterly ashamed of my own country.
I have some hope for the value of intelligence and education to regain status in this society.
I won't have to cringe every time the president speaks.
I will sleep well tonight.
If McCain had won in 2000, I could have lived with that. He can be moderate, can be bipartisan, could well have been a decent president who wouldn't have let the rightwingnuts have stolen our civil liberties and hijacked our country. But something happened to him, age, greed, a sense of entitlement, political handlers, I don't know. But he's come completely off the rails and is running with a crackpot evangelical idiot. I feel sorry for him, which is not what any real leader needs.
This year, oh, Hilary Clinton would have gotten my vote, no question. But given this desperate end game, I think we needed the charismatic, unflappable, soaring eloquence of Barak Obama to inspire. Need. The war needs to be resolved, the economic crisis needs to start turning around, the disintegration of our constitution needs to be mended.
Kennedy never got around to a lot, but he got people thinking, sea changes, mind changes. No more stasis. No more looking back. Whatever Obama does or doesn't do, he is the first from the generation after Vietnam, and brings with him the dreams of his generation. That in itself is worth something, when you think about it. And the US presidents at their best are symbols of what we should be.
My heart goes out to him, soul to soul, for the loss of his grandmother. We are asking a lot of him, more than any human being should have to bear. But I don't feel sorry for him. I really think he will stand.
That is why he has my useless vote in this infra-red state.
Any thoughts as to how to figure out where it's all coming from?
These are all D's photos, from his trip to his friend's wedding. I've gone through and futzed with them, always necessary with such a non-pro digital camera. Still, I think he did very well indeed. Mostly non-identifying, these are the photos that won't be showing up anywhere near the official Wedding Album, but are exactly the edges I would have noticed as well, and makes me feel I was there.
But I am so glad such a good guy found a woman who appreciates him, and who is by all accounts very cool in her own right. Well, she picked the band who played middle-eastern music (so I am told.) T&A may have unfortunate initials, but I'm sure they get the humour of that as well. Good on them.
But this is California, and that orange blob is butter compound.
NO, M, Don't eat the the persimmon from the centerpiece!
One day is enough. It's been nearly two.
I miss D. Moby subdued, knows his dude is missing.
But D had a great time at the wedding, and got to laugh at M's navy stories that all start with "No shit, there I was... ." (His version of "Once upon a time... .") Great band. Bride and Groom happy together, love found after a long wait, much treasured. I'd loved to have been there, but at least I sent D to be with his friends. Mine too, but his first. K had to send Dave there by himself as well. Such is life, phases of lives. We do what we can.
Playing Snow Come Down by Lori Carson at the moment. (Thanks again Udge.)
Loving Start Wearing Purple by Gogol Bordello - a bit of gypsy punk. (The album tags this as "explicit", not sure why exactly. It's suggestive and raucous, but nothing too obvious, I thought.)
Funny, looks more like he's going to a funeral than a wedding. Or maybe a mob hit. D just sent me this, dressed for the wedding in San Diego, hanging out with Moira and C. So grim, so serious, which makes me laugh.
Took a bit of time and effort to get to see him properly, figure out defenses from humor from eccentricity meant teasing out meaning from non-meaning. Good we had six months away from our normal worlds. Because it's all real, all the complications and simplicities, nothing hidden, but much camouflaged. The more I watch the patterns, the more enamoured I am. After nearly eighteen years together, he still makes me laugh.