Follow by Email

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stomach Detox: A New Beginning

Suffice it to say that the detox stomach gave me a slight reprieve. Just long enough to dry up the 58 day streak I was running so I start at Go all over again. All puns intended.

Maybe the Nuns Were Right

Where I was a kid, there was a convent every few blocks. Usually affiliated with the local Catholic school and church. The nuns from said convents were a vigilante group, roaming the sidewalks and terrorizing small children. Among the things they'd launch on you for was being shy or selfish. "Shyness is selfishness!" they'd blast at your shocked little face. I was never shy so I didn't personally get that one, but I got lots of others- making faces, being rude, rolling eyes, being less than spit-shined... and I was a Protestant, so beneath contempt anyway. One of my Catholic friends stuttered, so they yelled at her for not speaking straight and for being shy. "If all you think about is yourself you'll go crazy!" they bellowed. They may have had a point. But is it because you're self-obsessed that you go nuts or is it because you're already nuts that you're self-obsessed?


I don't have time to monkey around with blogspot. For some reason it won't let me blog in paragraphs and lumps it all into one passage. If anyone knows how to correct this, please leave a comment. I've tried all the buttons on the posting page to no avail and have no time for this shit. Thanks!

You Know They Won't Win

For the last 2 nights I've been watching the old mini-series of The Stand, Stephen King's opus of the great battle of good and evil. It's been years since I last saw it and it still holds up, even if it's a bit uneven in acting. Humans are always in a battle of good and evil somehow, because we all perceive ourselves as right, no matter whether that's true or not. The soundtrack of The Stand stood out to me this time. Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" is eerily applicable to a friend who's in a personal Hell. And one of my favorite songs ever opens the series- BOC's "Don't Fear the Reaper": I never noticed before that in the middle of the exodus, the musician character sits on a car hood singing this old song that we sang on my block as children... "Hate your next door neighbor but don't forget to say Grace" stuck with me. I hope it sticks with everyone who hears it. Peace and freedom shouldn't be too much to ask in 2011 CE.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Westward Ho!! (who you callin a ho?)

Things are getting down to the survival essentials in here. The end is in sight. Allelujah. However, somewhere along the way today I really wrecked my arm socket. Won't be using my right arm any more today. Instead of today being the down day, it'll be tomorrow. Which will give me time to think out whatever I've got left to do and then go at it Friday. Stevil reached and cleared out the top cabinet shelves today, bless him. There are a few things left to do but most can't be done 'til Friday or Saturday anyhow. A giant Thank You to all the volunteers who are helping me in the Westward Ho. Mike, Barry, Lise, Chris, Paul, Cam, Nancy, Brian, Jeff, Ellen, Christian, Barb, you're good people and great friends. This move is going to be a party. I can't wait!

Oh Sure

The weather predictors are saying we may have up to a foot of snow on Friday. The Push is starting to drag me down. I'm tired, tired, tired. Everything hurts. And so, to reset my head, I go back to what restores me. Nothing restores me like vestiges of my proud Viking heritage: aaaah, that's better. Back to work.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Can't Blame the Opiates for Everything

While packing I've come to realize that some of the clumsiness is just how I am now, not because of the opiates. There must be nerve damage in my right arm, as I drop pens, paper, pencils and eyeglasses- anything lightweight all the time. My hand just opens. And for a former basketball player, it pisses me off to not hit the wastebasket after all these years. I've been typing with my left hand for 3 years now, since my right hand fingers won't do what they're told. I was blaming it on the drugs, but it's apparent it's not the drugs now. Dammit.


It's weird to not blog as usual. At 3 points yesterday while packing and sorting I had the call of the blog, but don't even remember what it was all about today. It's tough to sit and think when lists and incidentals keep running thru your head. Soon as I wake up I start organizing what to do. The friggin details about everything- all the "gotta have" stuff, because the move is Saturday and Friday is the last time I have an aide until next week and I'll have to survive until then...yadda yadda. It's all a red hemorrhoid. Thank gods my aide is a trooper. My ears are ringing, my back is shot and I've got so far to go. Boohoo. When it's over I'll be so much better off than now. Stress is one of those things you can't really get a grip on. It isn't ever the same deal twice, so ya have to adapt to whatever stress you're in. You'd think with all the moves I've done in my life I'd have it down to a science but it's always different because life changes. I've never moved as a gimp before. It's entirely different. Ya can't run around or leave things to chance. Everything
has to be done and done thoroughly. Ya have to leave a lot to faith- whatever you physically can't do still has to be done. Again I use the Hendrickson family motto: I Fly By Mine Ass.

And so it goes. I'll be back...

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Very Gimpy Move

There isn't a lot of time for writing this week. I'm in The Push. Which as a gimp, means tedious hours of doing many small feats until it's all done. I started to organize and pack as soon as I woke up this morning because Friday will be here in a blink and there's still much to do. Before inheriting my gimpdom, I was 5'10". Now I'm 5'8", have to steady myself with one arm and have a hard time reaching up since dislocating my right arm last year. The cabinet above my fridge is the day's real challenge. I expect to be laid up tomorrow but that's okay as long as I get enough done today. My aide will be here tomorrow, I pray, and as long as I have things organized for her everything will be fine. Packing as a gimp is a totally different deal. There's no way you can organize things as you did back in the able days. You have to have faith it'll all work out, give up your control issues and do what you can. The more you try to control the crazier you'll get. Do what you can, take breaks, stay mindful of what still needs doing and be practical. Don't panic, it won't help. Move slowly but steadily. Try to work within your limits. It's a lot to keep in mind when you're sorting and packing. I find that continual swearing helps. So blogging will be sporadic this week. I'm sure that Sunday when it's all over I'll sit at this desk and 'puter in the new place and have plenty to say. But til then, the issue is getting a very gimpy move done. Wish me luck.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What, No Gravy??!

This may sound freakish, but if I could I'd be dancing right now. 8 weeks and 2 days it took, but today for the first time in weeks I didn't spend the entire morning in and out of the lavatory. Dunno what did it. Maybe it was just time. But I recklessly ate a cup of soup last night and prepared for hell to pay, and nothing.... So my official personal best for the Bart Brinkerhoff Gravy Ass Olympics is 58 days. I really hope that's over now. And as I watch friends and family twist and turn in shitstorms, I'm personally happier than I've been in maybe 20 years. Now I understand my Dad's take on life- to enjoy, privately if necessary, every little victory or joy to its fullest. There are times when you stand somewhat alone in happiness. It's cruel to be euphoric when someone next to you is suffering. Enjoy it anyway, and keep it to yourself. It's a smile on your face nobody will understand and I think it makes you kinder somehow. Of course, now I've just announced to the world that I'm happy in the midst of suffering. Well, I ain't Buddha. I've always enjoyed irony, too. It's never lost on me. It's glaringly sunny today. The sky is that light blue of broadcloth shirts. A fine Spring day in New England. I can't help feeling that good things are coming. Still waiting for the eastern glow...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reclaiming Eargasms

A lot of the music I listen to should be played loud. Headphones have been a blessing in my life since 1973 and today's headphones are light years better than they used to be. The earbuds in the old Walkmans can't hold a candle. Since my hearing's returned I'm an audio junkie. I've been listening to a BBC radio series about David Bowie's life here:

(there's only 1 day left to listen to pt 1)

and love the sound quality in Bowie's music. But even listening to the voices speak is luscious to the ears.

Which made me think, "When was the last time I just sat and listened to things?" I'm pretty sure it was 1998. It's a luxury that I had no time for, for years. Only in the last year or so have I shut everything else down and only listened. It's a rare pleasure again, and to hear the same music I loved on good equipment- I've regressed into a second adolescence. If possible, I'm an even more avid fan of all the same musicians and have the same wild fervor for some new bands, which surprises me. Like Mumford and Sons:

And this took about 20 years off me; The Nobs at MSG that magic night I saw them with a couple of friends. It's not much to look at but the sound put me right back in the audience and the feeling of that incredible experience:

Put some headphones on and close your eyes. I double dog dare ya.

The Electric Laughing Opiate Withdrawal

Reviewing the mid- & early February posts of when I went cold turkey, then listened to reasonable people and did the step-downs. What a long strange trip it was.

I remember writing these posts, remember sitting here concentrating in order to type. I have some short films in my head of incidents that I've been debating whether to include. I didn't put any of these things in my daily blogging, just accumulated the wildest parts for later evaluation. The Mercury in Aries took over. But I don't remember any of living thru them. Much of the time I was stepped out of myself, just like being on acid; there was little of reality recognizable around me to me. But it was all hilarious; I remember that. Not to my friends and family, they were horrified. It was just a laugh riot to me. I've heard that when you go cold turkey you react as you do when smashed; however you act when pie-eyed is how you'll be when detoxing. I happen to be a laugher. So watching my left leg kick my right leg out from under me was funny. Falling face first again and again was hysterical. Watching my arms and legs do things independent of my control was fascinating and hilarious. Those were real events and I had the bruises to show for them. But I had no idea, of course, that I was hallucinating when I was. It seemed perfectly normal that my husband, dead for 16+ years, materialized and followed me out of the bathroom. I don't remember what I said to him. He was total reassurance to me, that everything was gonna be okay and I should just go to sleep. With my life, I don't know what to think of it. When I write about it for the book, maybe I'll explore it further. For now I'd rather not think too hard on it. The whole thing was like tripping, and not a bad trip. I'm just grateful and glad it's over and opiates are out of my life.

Among the good things I'm fortunate to have restored now are my energy and focus. I still get tired pretty quickly in comparison to when I was healthier but it's nothing like the zombie walk on fentanyl and oxy. I never got anything done on that shit- it was always day after day of slow progress. Neither my brain nor body could sustain focused action for long. That's gone. I don't think I could handle this move if I was still using that crapola.

Like the t-shirt about tattoos says, "Of course it's painful." It is. Very. So what? I'm gonna live however many more years being pathetic because of pain? No. I've got Me back. Fuck the pain. It is not the boss of Me. I'll ignore it til I can't and when I can't I'll curse it and rest. But it and its minions don't rule my life and never will again.

It was worth every minute.

It's All Happening Part Deux

The lease is signed, if everyone shows up this'll be the easiest move of my life, and considering there's still 7 days left I'm ahead of myself in packing some things and behind in others. But what's left to pack is a trifling. And even how I get there first and the beer list and pizzas are sorted. Thanks go to Cam, Stevil and especially Alicia for doing so much to get me outta here.

My friend Joe is coming by on his lunch break for the last Saturday he'll be able to do that. When I move it's the end of another era. He and I have been cohorts in projects and schemes for years. I'll miss our Saturday bitch sessions.

It'll probably take 2 months to settle in. In April my fosterdaughter's coming for a weekend (and I'll have to get permission for her dog, cuz he's over 30 pounds) and by the end of May the place should be squared away. I've decided to take the whole summer off from any other projects and get the book done. 3 months of solid work should do it. I'll still blog here and keep up with what's going on- I'm not going to a convent- but all my other hours will go to the book. It's time. Wayne's books are publishing starting April 7th -see the first chapter of book 1 at
and Michael's tremendous and important biography won't be far behind.

Elsewhere, the wars against everything and everyone rage on.

Friday, March 25, 2011

This is Why I Blog

Because life is so busy and so much keeps happening, I lose sight of what just happened and where I've gotten in the last 8 weeks.

The post linked beneath was one I sent around to all my friends and family during the second wave of detox, when concentrating was hard; I only recall it at all by reading this blog. It'll be in Gimp's Guide:

I'm very, very happy to know where I am now compared to then, 6 short weeks ago.

I get by with a little help from my friends.

8 Weeks After Detox

So I hadn't planned on blogging anymore today b/c I'm just too damn busy. But on prompting that I should say something about 8 weeks later, here I am.

Well, I'm very happy to be done with the drugs and the hell involving it all. Including never having a mandatory dr visit again. The pain is just unreal and it gets expressed in a nonstop stream of curses ("You goddamned son of a bitch fucking fuck scumbag bastard shitfucker", was I believe the last sentence I spoke) as I try to go about life's business. This is not conducive to serenity, but it works to blow off steam. Especially since I'll be outta here in one week and I intend to pay back my neighbors for their years of kindness and consideration, so the louder I get, the happier I get. It works for me.

Part of not getting so happy is the damned stomach issues. I google "stomach detox issues" and I get my own blog. Lotsa help there. Meanwhile, 3 hours in and out of the bathroom every morning does nothing for one's demeanor. Imodium, you say? Might as well flush it straight down the loo and not have the additional pain it causes.

So while I'm proud and happy to be opiate-free, it's a mixed bag at the other end.

Today also marks 2 weeks since my brother's death. If I write about that right now I'll cry and there's no time for that today. If I'm less pissy tonight I'll post something.

Everybody, just hang in and keep the faith. I swear the Great Leap Forward is coming, it just won't look as we were thinking.

This Deserves Its Own Post

Yes, I'm old. But I really like GaGa. And she's released a funkier, "country" version of "Born This Way" that I like much better than the original disco:

P.S. All proceeds from this version go to anti-bullying campaigns. Go buy it. ;)

Freedom and equality to all. Amen.

That Early Spring Morning Look

Once Mother Nature stops really torturing, beautiful things start happening. This particular morning reminds me of when we all moved into a house in Guilford 15 years ago. It's cold & has a soggyness to it, but it's pure Spring out there. There's just a little fog, the sky is that blue-lavender you only see in Spring.

It's going into my last week in this apartment. There isn't anything huge to do, just a series of small things that I'm stressing out over. The last week is always The Push. At least my back isn't as bad as it was yesterday but my stomach is in total uproar. Both the apt. manager and my aide are arriving at 1. Which is stressing me, because how am I gonna set my aide up for the
day to do all that needs doing, and read and sign and ask questions of the manager, whose time is beyond booked? I've never seen how one little thing can screw up plans so well as since I started dealing in "services". Any time you have no choice it's an opportunity to grow your patience, but this is ridiculous.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is Mercury Retrograde?

The lease signing was put off until tomorrow. That's fine, as long as I'm moving next Saturday. But with everything lately, there have been postponements and delays. Makes for worries, which I try not to do.

Also, several people from the past have turned up recently.

This smells of Mercury being retro. I haven't looked it up, but I bet it is. Airport problems, there's usually a plane crash or train wreck, miscommunication, all Mercury's fault for going backwards. ;)

Really, I'm half-glad it was put off. I'm tired and pain can get to me if I get worn down so it's best to take a day off and relax. There's always tomorrow to pillage and plunder- and if there isn't then it doesn't matter anyway.

Adam & Eve on a Raft and Wreck 'Em

The detox stomach goes on. I tried some soup yesterday and it ran thru me like a train. For the time being it seems I'm only able to digest certain things.

Right now, the detox stomach will accept the following: scrambled eggs and toast (as in the title), a plain sandwich of meat or cheese, meat or cheese by itself, some ice cream, baked goods (the sweets craving goes on) and chocolates. It seems I've developed a sensitivity to soft dairy as well, so cottage cheese is iffy and ice cream can only be eaten with a diphenhydramine chaser. Even the 1/2 & 1/2 in my coffee makes me phlegmatic. Can't drink milk at all, which sucks. Or any fruit juice. Thank you Paula for the multi-vitamins or I'd have almost no incoming vitas at all. Who knows how long this will go on. I hope it's not permanent. I miss fruits and veggies. And summer is coming; it'll be really sad if I can't eat fruits or salads when it's produce season. Damned opiates.

Since I can't pack things much today I'm organizing what still has to be done. Lists, lists...

The manager of the new apartment will be here at noon and I'll sign the lease. I can't wait for this to be over and to be outta here. I got used to this place but I never liked it. In fact, I cried to have to move here. But it'll all be history as of next Saturday.

Damn, Sam

For a change, and because I need more pressure, I thought I'd wreck my back. Well, that's not true. It just happened. Today's new hellapain is pretty amazing and if I were watching a demo where pain showed off, I'd applaud this. Shit. I'm managing to sit for now, but not long.

How perfect is it that an air traffic controller would fall asleep or get locked out at Reagan airport?

Tornadoes in Western PA. I got some email to send.

6 fuel storage tanks exploded and burned at Miami's airport. Nobody hurt, but lots of jet fuel lost.

And, we got NO SNOW. Ha! So there!

OK, I gotta go lie back down & stretch my back. Later.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Very Short Evening

It's 5 p.m. DSFT. I've been up and doing since 4, awake since 2 and will be in bed for the day-night at 6. Darling Stevil packed the pix (at last they're packed!) off the walls and various bits and bobs laying around. It's getting done.

Friggin ass Heartless John Boehner (that's pronounced boo-kay) is making a gripe about Obama okaying the US joining the "allied forces" over Libya. Shut up and sit down, Heartless John. We know you just want a shot at running in 2012. Forget it, even your own side thinks you're an asshole. And that goes far from a party who'd put Palin out there. Like you really care about anything but your hair.

It's threatening to snow and the forecast says a few inches of white. Well, fine. But it better be gone and dry by next Saturday. I'm not having it. Knock it off with the cold and snow already. Don't make me say it twice.

The Very Long Day

Since it's almost 9 hours into my day and I've been packing, organizing and trashing stuff for about 4 now. I'm tired. And the day has only begun.

News this morning that Liz Taylor has died and a bus station in Jerusalem was bombed. Stevil, who's heading here to help me pack and have lunch, has done a lovely tribute to La Liz:

We all gotta go sometime. She did a lot of good work. She's fine. Farewell, Liz.

If I have any strength or colliding brain cells I'll be back.

Sing to the Morning Light

Mother Nature is a teaser in the Spring. Some days fairly burst with new life and smells and some days go back to February's doomish glare. But it'll all settle down by May. And there will be lilacs and tulips...

This is Go Time. I'm getting that racehorse feeling. I want it done and over with.

Up With the Cows

I've been awake since 2 a.m. and finally gave up trying to go back to sleep. Just a couple of miles away, cows and farmers are starting the day, too. In the middle of the night silence of downtown I still remember the morning mooing when I worked on Foster's farm. Those cows would get restless waiting for us to get things done and put out some cranky wake up moos. To my ears. it's the best morning music there is.

The snow that fell is all but gone. That's Spring; we'll probably get more before it gives up.

It's pretty painful today, I must say. Though people say what I'm taking (Aleve and diphenhydramine) are so little pain management I may as well throw 'em at my head, if I don't take them I Really feel it. Staying this side of white hot pain is all I ask anymore. If it gets that painful I can't ignore it, or even pretend to ignore it.

Around the world, Syrians are still in the streets. Qaddafi says he's going to fight to the end. Libyan rebels are holding their own and looking to take Tripoli, since "allied forces" have intervened to help them. The situation in Japan gets no better. Radiation is in everything. They tell people to wear masks but that's obviously a gesture, maybe to keep from inhaling cement dust and other particles from the earthquake damage. But from radiation? Ya gotta be kidding me.

And finally, my thought for the day; Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can't Become Management.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh, Joy.

Just got the call from the VNA that I won't have an aide today. Which means whatever gets done gets done by me and nothing outside the apartment will get done. I'm sorry my regular is sick but they're supposed to be a professional agency and they should have people available. Why can't they keep people? Because they treat these women like dishwater. So because they treat the workers like crap, the people who need help don't get help and the agency loses money because they don't get to bill. Anyone see what's wrong in that picture? Just a little disfunction.

Brains! Where are Brains?!

There is no down time from here on. Today I'll be running my aide all over the place getting things done. And Friday we'll face the closet, together.

Tomorrow friends are helping with packing and Thursday I sign the lease. It all happens so fast, after almost 2 years of waiting. I'm getting a little overwhelmed, but then I think, "Just put all the shit in boxes and worry about everything later." I am again, the Girl of a Thousand Lists. But none of the items are what to wear or who to kiss.

And I seem pretty brainless this morning. I hate doing things with no brain because whatever I do will come back to bite my ass later. Absolutely frightening. Oh Goddess Caffeina save us.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Need and Greed

We all need things. But an insatiable need is greed. So where does that come from? Why are there some needs that are a hole of fear that can't be filled?

I may well be wrong, but at core I think humans have 3 emotional settings. Love, fear and grief. And the 3 dance around and interweave with each other. Out of that and depending on the amount or lack of each of those present come all the other things- everything else, even joy. Even total self-awareness, insanity and humor. And so does greed.

My greediness came out with my husband. I could not have him enough. If I could've discorporated and lived inside his brain I wouldn't have had enough. So I understand the feeling of not ever having enough. But I don't understand having it about material possessions.

Really, if you're able to eat, sleep, work, play and do what you do somewhat comfortably, you already have enough. Why do you have to have more? What sick Reagan-era yuppie told us we should "have it all" anyway? Lifestyles of the rich and famous?

And then too, there are those who think having it all is Enlightenment. Is that spiritual greed?

It's complex. Each of us is complex. I hope, in a future world, that people will figure this all out and work rationally together.

For right now, it's a snowy spring day in a sleepy town.


There's much to get happy about this morning. Yemeni Generals have joined the People. Syria, too, is rising up. Qaddafi's compound was bombed to ruins last night. I have mixed feelings about that, but if it keeps his oppression of the People at bay, mazel tov.

I heard from my friend in Japan; she and all her loved ones are okay for now. That was a relief.

And I sent out the call for help in moving yesterday and so far nobody's said no, which is nothing less than a miracle. I haven't heard back from about half of those I emailed, but it grows more into a party and less of a move all the time. I'm blessed with a lot of friends, good people who are always willing to give help. I'm humbled at the spirit of volunteerism here. Vermont is an amazing place because of the folks who live here. I'm so lucky to live among them.

And, it's snowing. The kind of snow that looks like it means business. It's March; hard to call. March is a Loki month. Bastid.

The Tribal Urge 2

Crappy sleep night due to mountain trolls upstairs dragging clubs and throwing boulders. They are not of my tribe but I won't be under them much longer. And at the new house, everyone is side-by-side on the same level. I like that.

So as I sat up staring and thinking "Why do we all get so pissed off with other tribes?" and "Why do we get pissed off when one of our guys tries to be nice to the other tribe?" and "Why does thinking about this make my ears go flat?" it became obvious. People are different and think different things and unless you hang only with your own tribe (and even if you do) there will be wars. Why? Because people are insane. It gets a little better with each generation speaking more truth, but as a species we're all pretty fucked in the squash.

Craziness breeds craziness. Here and there a few will escape it. But more won't. And so it goes.

Again, as the sun refuses to come up at this hour, I look at a purple twilight sky and wonder if there's any reason to hope. Will humans ever get to compassion before conflict? Is that too much to ask?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Read the News Today... oh boy.

It's all out of hand. Khaddafi/Qaddafi/Gaddafi, however they're spelling it this decade, and his sons are old style tyrants. This ain't gonna be good for anyone.

Another miracle in Japan, though- 2 more people found alive. Of course that doesn't really make up for the radiation in the food and water systems.

Both Obama and Hilary look ten years older from the last 2 years. Obama's so gaunt his temples are caving like Lincoln's did. It worries me.

Yemen's officials are resigning over the gummit's abuse of the protesters there. That's a half-point for our side.

And today it's officially Spring. The moon was amazing for the last few nights.
Here's a gallery of photos, including moonshots:

Then there's Keith Emerson's song for Japan:
Be careful, it's a slippery world.

The Fuse

In the Way Back Machine the other day I remembered Tommy thinking Jackson Browne's The Pretender album was about the old doo-wop song and thinking, "God, he's old." I was 18 then, so he was 29, just around the time I stopped listening to pop culture and retreated into my world of married life, Broadway, the Met and politics while working at the Childe or on sabbatical from it.

But back to the album. Music was so important to me that there were categories and ways and means of how to get it in those days. Prog came above all; I would do pretty much anything to go to a concert and would spend my own money on all forms of Prog. I like many kinds of music though, and so Jackson Browne or The Cars or The Eagles were on the "probably never see live but will ask for the album for Xmas" category. That Xmas, Billy gave me The Pretender. And I played it til the grooves were worn when my Dad died the next year. A lot of JB's music is grief. His wife had killed herself the year before Pretender came out. It's also way mellow-seventies southwest mellifluousness. You can tune it out and dismiss it as muzak but if you listen to his words they'll catch you offguard. Which is what brings me to The Fuse:

A Bustle in the Hedgerow

Well, so much for the stomach being sorted out. I've been up since 4:30 and spent much of the time since staring at the shower curtain, if you get my drift. Back to one sandwich and a few crackers a day. I'd have thought by now it would be straightening out.

It's down to 2 weeks and today several things need to happen. My friend Ellen is coming for a couple of hours to help pack. The pix and paintings have to be safely wrapped and packed. I also need to compose and send a general "Help!" email for the move itself. And I never got to the closet, still. There's no end of things to do.

It's quiet as a tomb in the building this morning. And cold outside.

Amending at 8:05 a.m. DSFT. I'm in Stomach Hell. Am begging off doing anything but sending the email and going back to bed. Over one fucking plain turkey sandwich. Jesus Christ Almighty do I hate opiates. And I lose another day of getting things done. Great.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Town Meeting Day

Today was our town's Representative Town Meeting, where the budget and various other issues are voted on. I miss being a TM Rep. 100-something of our town's most interested people showed up to do their duties. 8 hours and 25 articles later, it's all over til next time. It's always memorable. There's a blow-by-blow account at

When emailing a Rep, I suddenly realized I'm leaving my beloved District 3. I damn nearly cried. I've served from this District. I know the people and the Legislator here. I do love this place. But it's time to look at greener pastures, quite literally. And who knows what troubles I can start in a whole new District. I have 2 good friends over there already...

The Great Success of the day was that I ate twice. I woke up so hungry I couldn't not eat. Throwing caution to the wind, I ate a turkey sandwich. It stayed. 8 hours later I was hungry again so I made another sandwich. I feel very full. Kind of urpy. But nothing is acting up badly. Maybe the detox stomach hell is over? Not pushing it. No fruits or veggies are getting near me for a while yet. One day out of 7 weeks isn't a trend. We'll see.

I'm going to sign off for the day and go watch the LOTR til I drop from exhaustion.


Everyone's going through things. Big changes. Deaths, wars, natural disasters, relocations. I think (or maybe just hope) that people are starting to realize we're all in this La Brea Tarpit together and maybe if we stop struggling and cooperate we'll survive. The only way to do it is together; we won't survive each other if we stay self-centered. Maybe that's why I hate capitalism so much. The dog eat dog nature of the capitalist model is anathema to the philosophies and religions I was raised with. The love of money is the root of all evil. Anyone remember that? Or how about "what you do to the least of my brothers you do also to me"?

We need change. It won't be overnight and there will always be greedy scum who have no scruples. But that's why we need rules. To keep things fair for everyone. The rules have always been in favor of the rich and that needs to change. Get ready. It's coming.

Morning Becomes Electric

Since the damn early DST change, I've been off in waking time. Some mornings up at 7, some at 5. And at either time, it's still dark and you have to turn on lights to see anything. So we're pointlessly burning energy. This is stupid. Stupid stupid stupid. I don't know anyone who isn't complaining and it's worse for the farmers. Cows don't give a shit about DST. But the milk pickup stays at the same time, so everyone has to suffer.

Yesterday I spent 5 hours on the phone changing my services over. Got good deals, for the most part. Today is pack the pictures day. And then hit the closet. And then collapse.

Though I'm avoiding the news, I was happy to see Obama finally pipe up about Libya. There is so much suffering going on around our little planet. Too much to ponder for long. It's both horrifying and maddening.

This morning is silent. I love the morning quiet. A few early birds, a distant laugh...

Yuck. Forgot the sugar in my coffee. Okay, gotta go restart the day.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Springtime in the Harmony

This is my last beginning-of-spring in this place. In 2 weeks I'll be moved to the new place. And I will have roses in the summer. And a wall of bookcases for my companions thru life. 7 weeks detoxed, and it almost hit 60' today. It's all good, even when it's not.

Last night was the first really loud night in the Harmony. If that isn't a surer sign of Spring than even skunk, nothing is. Humans move and make mating calls to the season. Along with the birdsong today was random singing by duos and individuals and just a few minutes ago, the first blatt of a Harley going down E St. Our small New England town is coming back to life. And I'm glad I'm going to the burbs.

The melatonin seems to be working fine. Considering everything (I leave out all my friends' personal Hells from this blog), I'm chill. If it weren't for the awful stomach which I'm starting to think is a permanent thing I'd be great. I can handle it. Dealing with pain is all mind over matter. But the stomach thing, really annoying. There's a good side to that, too. I'll be a skinny old lady and that'll slow the disease's progression. So I may stay outta that wheelchair more. I already have been.

Though it was never my intention to end up hating opiates, I do now. It's as though 4 years of my life were wasted. And I never even got high. I was just slowed to a crawl. A stupid, memoryless crawl.

Spoke with my grieving SIL. She's doing okay. I got her to laugh a bit and we cried, too. The funeral went perfectly- the entire choir came to sing him off. Nice. The burial won't happen til the summer, probably, so maybe by then we can all get there. That would make me rest easier.

Once I'm unpacked, it's full-speed ahead with Gimp's Guide. I have so much material, this will be a writing summer. What I've posted here is about a quarter of it. I've been upclose and personal in several gimps' stories now for years. From before I became one myself. There are things to say.

Hidden Treasures

Birds are chirping, the snow is fading and my windows are open. This morning I looked down on a roof that had until this week, held at least a foot of snow since December. Now that the snow's gone, earthly belongings appear that weren't there last fall.

So far, I spy 3 cordless telephones, a pair of men's hiking boots, an umbrella, half a dozen CDs, a large scallop shell, a full plastic grocery bag, some long painted sticks, a potted plant and various small household items. I assume these all flew out of windows over the winter. And that humans, my neighbors, threw them out the windows over the winter.

As hard and long as this winter has been, I didn't throw anything out the window. Maybe I'm missing something.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Ongoing Detox Stomach Issues

Tomorrow will be 7 weeks since the detox began. Things are really, physically better than in a long time. That is, I'm sure, because a) I ignore the pain and b) I must be 40 lbs lighter because I've been unable to keep food in my system for 7 weeks. I need new clothes. I still can't do the whole PT routine yet- not at that level of pain ignorance yet, either. It takes time to get used to it. I'm just learning as I go how to do it. There's no guidebook for this, nobody will friggin talk in society about it. Pain Management is just another guise of medication administration. Nobody's sticking a needle in my spine after they ran electric needles into the sciatic nerve on my good leg and ruined that forever.

Really, there's no reason or time to piss and moan and I've been doing too much of that lately anyway. 16 days to moving day. I'm so glad we started packing early. Everything's a process. Guess I couldn't pack the longboat in 2 hours anymore.

Sorry Seems to Be a Useless Word

I can't forgive myself for not getting to my brother's funeral. This is the second time I didn't make it to a family funeral and it just sucks. Yes, I know there was nothing to be done. Rationally I can handle it. It's the cloying clawing feeling that I let him down. Even though he told me himself he didn't expect me there unless it was summer. Even though our very last conversation was the best I could ever hope for in saying goodbye without saying goodbye. I feel awful for not being there for his widow and son. They haven't said they're hurt but I'm sure they are. I've said I am sorry a few times but it's a useless inadequate word. I've been in their position and have some hard feelings of my own over those times.

Billy and Mac and I are going to pay for his grave marker, whatever they decide on doing there. He's being buried in her family's plot. But that's just a token gesture to me. God almighty I can't stand guilt. It's the worst thing ever. And I don't have a clue of how to work thru it at all. I've avoided guilt like the plague all my life. Oy.


Between the comforting Chinese Porridge and the melatonin, and I guess some subsiding of the stress and hell of the last week, I slept like a puppy. Woke up to an entirely fogged-in downtown, which is only possible when Spring is here. So though the calendar says it isn't Spring til Sunday, it is. And I expect we'll be needing the air conditioners by May.

Then I did the stupidest of things- watched CNN first thing this morning. It's all bad. So just for today, I'm gonna take care of my own business and not the world's.

While I've been busy, I did manage to see that my old grammar school's (I was only there a half-year, so it doesn't really count but it's the only way I remember it) rival, PS 22, has an incredible music teacher. And their chorus has worldwide fame. Caught the story in the Guardian, natch. So I went to see their YouTubia and found this:

And this:
A little dose of hope in the morning is good.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Here's St. Patrick's prayer, somewhat modernized;

May the Strength of God pilot us.
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us.
May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Host of God guard us.
Against the snares of the evil ones.
Against temptations of the world.

Not bad ideas, if you interpret it for yourself.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Noives

Amid the chaos that rules the times in both the world and my own life, I'm searching for something to help me stick together. These are seriously shaky days and it seems that the lack of opiates also has left some exposed nerves. Of course, the short script for alprazalam ran out long ago. So I'm exploring other things.

Chamomile? Not with "gravy ass", as Bart Brinkerhoff used to call it. Nor most of the sedating herbs, as they tend to have a laxative effect when made into decoction. Next.

Marijuana? Would probably be perfect, and might help my stomach, but it's still (unbelievably) illegal here.

Alcohol? I tried. I can't keep it down. For even ten minutes.

Melatonin. I've used it before as a sleep aid without problem, and studies are saying in small doses it is an anti-anxietal. Today is the first trial. Since you need to take everything with food when your stomach empties this quickly (in the hope of slowing things down), I've just taken it with some Chinese Porridge my new friend Jean made for me. (That was delicious, thanks Jean!!) I'll report back on how it goes. I have to find something to bring my stress level down. I don't want to shake. Or feel my heart pound. And I'm really disgusted with myself for being such a wuss. 7 weeks ago I was a Valkyrie. Now I'm pathetic. If I've gone thru all I've recently gone thru just to become a ball of nerves, I'll be Sohohoho Pissed Off.

Ah, anger. My personal redeemer. I'll be okay now.

It's Like DeathEaters are Abroad!

I took a couple days off from the news, and am horrified at everything. The incomprehensible tragedy in Japan, and the Fukoshima 50, still in there. The situation in Libya. The brave people in the mideast continue fighting, gods bless them all.

Death is everywhere this week. Smiley Culture died during a police raid on his home:

Joe Morello, jazz impresario whose flawless drumming led The Dave Brubeck Quartet, has also died:

Oh, and the UK gummit is now censoring books:

Are there enough prayers? Is any god still listening? These "interesting times" have taken a swerve into horrifying.

Dammit. Owsley, Too.

After much aggro with Comcast this morning, I finally got to read the news and see that Owsley "Bear" Stanley, one of the coolest guys to ever walk the earth, is dead from a car crash. That's just wrong. If anyone should've lived forever, it was Owsley.

Now I can believe the End Is Near.

Starting Over

My newly-widowed SIL is feeling lost. I sent her a copy of Auden's poem. It's hard to cover the whole range of what you go thru when your spouse dies, but Auden captures all the initial emotions. It's the post-funeral time, when everyone goes back to their lives, when the rest hits you. The silence. The space where someone always was and isn't anymore.

Since I couldn't be there for the funeral, I've decided to be there for her as much as possible when everyone goes back to their lives. Her son is leaving for the west coast tomorrow. It'll be just her and the dog. I remember what that was like. Even without the flattening grief, it's damn hard to start over after 25 years, or 5 years, of one relationship. With the grief, it's a friggin daunting challenge. She does have her health and she's pretty young- 46, I think. And Hell, she dealt with my brother for 25 years. She has inner resources.

My moving date is April 2. I can't get everything packed, switched and arranged in 10 days. More to the point, I won't. It's insanity to expect me to. They've kept me on a hook for 2 years; they can wait an extra week. Between detox and Tommy's death it's a wonder I'm not in a rubber room, so really everyone can have all the friggin fits they want and I'll just smile. Life is a short and dangerous thing. I'm saving my knicker-twists for the important things and bureaucracy isn't one of them.

So with Spring, we commence to start over.

Today would've been my Mom's 87th birthday. We miss ya, Ma.

And of course, it's snowing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


It occurred to me while writing to a friend that This Was The One. With all the deaths Billy and I have gone thru, we've kept it together. This was the one that punched through all the wall we had left. I'm shaking and crying today. He's shaking. The earth is shaking.

I hope we all can regroup and recover.

Thanks, MTR & JC.

In the Dark

It's 6:24 a.m. and I see lights on in all the apartment houses and stores around the Harmony. Can someone tell me how "Springing forward" this early saves energy? The whole deal is yet another Bush stupidity that we're stuck living with.

Today is my brother Tommy's funeral and neither of his remaining siblings will be there. I can't get there and Billy isn't going. There's a guilt I'll carry forever.

I'm really not up to writing about anything. So much has gone on in the last couple of weeks and I got nothing left, even to comment.

Hang in there, everyone.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Snow? Are Ya Kidding Me?

It's trying hard... there's a misty steady mix coming down. It better not be planning on sticking.

The Far Side of Detox

In the 7th week of kicking the opiates now. Most things are fine. My memory is recovering, there's no more dancing legs or bad sleep, really everything is pretty good except for the digestive tract which still isn't happy. And even with doing the PT I'm still weak. Along with the return of better circulation and sensation, I feel how weak my muscles get. So there's work to do. Like that's new.

The pain is sometimes breath-taking but that's all just mind over matter. Getting out of bed brought up the old internal dialogue of "Holy crap everything hurts." But so what? Pain is only as big as you allow it to be; if you give it a throne it'll rule you. If you acknowledge it without attaching emotion, it loses power. The only thing that pisses me off is how exhausted I am, but with Tommy's death and all the stress around that, I can't gauge anything by itself right now.

It's great to be clearer-headed now; it's beyond happiness to be free of the meds. The freedom is what I think I love most- no schedules, no issues, no "have-to"s and no side effects. I take an Aleve and 2 benadryl in the morning, and the same at night. And I have a life, under my control and on my terms, again.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Sunday Table

Whenever there's a death in the family, my mind's eye goes back to the dining room of my grandmother's house. There, everyone's alive, arguing, eating, laughing. Everyone. Nana, Uncle Bert, Ma, Poppa, Uncle Les, Aunt Rose, the Van Keuran sisters, Johnny, Tommy, Billy... all of us in Sunday clothes. There's plenty of mopery and miserableness, but we're all alive.

Having that keen a memory is a blessing and curse. I'm blessed to have had them all, and cursed to have lost them all but one already. I've tried to die many times in my life- almost all the time til I was 30, in some way or other- and can't, it seems. I'm afraid I'll be the one who lives to 94. And I think of Nana, and all her losses- she lost everyone, including 3 infant children. She outlived everyone. Jesus how do you do it?

I don't have answers. I remember her as very strong willed, quick-tempered and stubborn, with an incisive blue eye like QE2; but I also remember her laughter. And I guess that's all you get in life. Hints. Make of it what you will. Or, in my family, Do What Thou Wilt. ;)

Peace to you this Sunday. Call your family.

The War For Peace

There. I've said it. In this age of irony does it even matter?

But that's what I think I want. I want us all to stop accepting violence from any government, period. No more goddamn wars. Stop it, grow the fuck up. This is insanity and you asses are out of hand. We don't have to accept it and nobody likes it so what the fuck are we doing? What are we waiting for?

Look, we can all be grown ups and mind our own damn business and everyone will prosper or we can all keep blowing shit and each other up and see which one is better. Oh, right, we've already done the blowing up part. So how about we try some fucking peace? Are we all morons? Thousands of years of "civilisation" and this is the best we can do?

Or are we scaredycats?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

For My Brothers and Sisters in the Fight

Whether in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt or Libya, our brothers and sisters are fighting to be free right now.

This oldie is for them all:

Book 2: A Gimp's Guide to Death

I think, after all these deaths and funerals, I could write a book. Because there are certain things that are going to happen. Maybe not in any certain order, but they all do. And the very first chapter would be:

It's Always a Shitstorm, so Expect It.
This would be a general summation of lowering expectations. The best laid plans, etc. With examples.

Chapter 2 would be:
Special Effects, Meltdowns and True Colors
This would be subcategorized into situations where humans show their humanity, or lack thereof.

3 would be:
Beware the Profiteers. Nuff said for now.

4 would be:
What To Do in the First 24 Hours. The Practical Triage of CYAs of it.

The Arrangements. A big chapter, because there is so much to do.

The Day. No 2 funerals are alike. At all.

Post-Funeral Section
Dead Spouse Syndrome. Oh yes, it exists.

Family Dynamics After a Death. With examples of changes with the deaths of family members.

Surviving Survivorhood: Taking Care of Your Own Mind, Body and Spirit.

Well, like that. People should know what to expect; nobody warns you. But somebody should, in a cheap-enough book so you aren't totally knocked out by what happens.

And yes, I will explore some funeral styles, including Viking style.

Time Out

This afternoon I really needed to escape. My balance really isn't all that great still and when someone leans on me it gets precarious.

So I screwed around with the sound on my computer while getting my Zep reloaded. And damn, compared to the systems and headphones we used to have, this is magic. I have all kindsa doodads in this machine to play with in levels and sound. Great distraction, and keeps me from answering the phone or door so I get space. Headspace and real space.

I can't deal with anymore reality or conversation or interaction today. I need time alone. I ain't going anywhere. I'll be back, just give me some space to adapt...

Can't Prove It By Me

Late last night I had a conversation with my brother and SIL in NJ. Somehow we got to the "They" everyone always uses (a running theme these days in convos). Who are "They"? "They" are the people who tell us things that we're supposed to believe. In the context of our conversation, it came up as the official declaration "They"'ve made that we're all living longer. Which made my brother pipe up with, "What? Bullshit. Look what happened just today." Our brother was 62. Our eldest brother was 58. Pat , who may as well have been family since I was 4, was 53. Seth was 41. My husband was 36. And let's not go thru the dozens of friends who first died in Vietnam; then from drugs and car crashes; and then in their 20s, 30s and 40s during the AIDS epidemic while Reagan smiled. There is no huge population of Baby Boomers left. I want to see real statistics. Because from my vantage point, of all My Guys that I came up with and have loved in my 50+ years, only Billy, Little Eddie, Armando and Stevil remain. If you go back to before 1988, it's only Billy and Little Eddie still standing. So I say Bullshit, too.

Back 2 generations, my one grandmother was 94 at death. But the other three had died in the 1920s and 30s, all before they were 50. My mother's English fostermother and father managed til they were 69 and 84, respectively. Both my parents died at 72. My older brothers' father died, I think, at 59. And my stepfather died exactly one week after his 70th birthday. Six weeks after quitting work, to the day.

Where is all this healthy old age we're being told we're living til? What "Golden Years"? Where's the stress on Social Security? Everyone's dead! And they all had paid in for decades of working. Where'd you put all the money, Reagan? Oh, that's right- you borrowed from it. And then Clinton replaced it. And then the Bush Regime spent every cent and borrowed a lot more on top of it. That's where it went. But don't even try to tell me SS is a financial burden or that there are too many Baby Boomers. Nobody has lived to a ripe old age in my family since 1966.

"They" lie.

Meanwhile Back in Detox ..

It's officially 6 full weeks of detoxing now. Though I'm sleeping well it's never long enough. Food is still a big issue and as I see myself slimming I'm also feeling kinda weak. It's probably not enough to take a multi and eat a sandwich and a few crackers a day but that's all I can manage. It'll just have to be enough until my digestive system calms down. On the whole, though, I put my body thru a lot and it's just gonna take time to do what it does. In all the other stress I don't have time to worry.

Still no date set for my move. Packing is coming along and I think everything could be done in 2 days now, if need be.

My SIL will be going to make the arrangements this morning and the rest of the family will need to be told, which I'll do for her. She's worn out. We've all been crying. And she's got my nephew coming home. It's a terrible feeling to not be with your family when someone dies. I wish I could go, but it's impossible. Tommy wasn't expecting I could make the trip so I don't have guilt, at least.

Life can be a real bitch sometimes.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Plumed Horses

Spoke with my brother Billy. We get by with grim humor in these times. Now that it's down to the 2 of us, we're gonna make plans to razz the last one standing from beyond. It's how we get thru these. What else to do when you're the last of a big family? Accept your dinosaur status and prepare for extinction? No. You spit in the eye of death.

As a family, we always drank whiskey at a death. Today, a friend brought me a bottle of Black Velvet. She had no way of knowing that was Tommy's favorite. I don't know if I'll crack the bottle. But I kinda like it sitting here in front of me. Maybe I'll make a tantine with Billy for it.

When we first started dealing with Tommy dying, he and I set up a code for him to let me know he'd made it over and all was well. "If it's allowed." He said. We were kidding, but I'm sure I'll have my ear tuned to hear that code for as long as I live.

Let the funeral march begin, bring out the black-plumed horses...

And Then There Were Two

My brother Tommy died this morning. I just got off the phone with his widow. I'm stunned and can't really believe it yet. We've been expecting it. But you never really believe it when it finally happens.

When I was a little girl, Tommy was adored by the other kids on my block. I'd watch from the bay windows as they all crowded around him, burning with jealousy. And run to the stairs when he came in the house to reclaim him as mine.

After his Army hitch, he was never the same. He was, to my mind, like Syd Barrett without the fame. He played 24 musical instruments. He had a resonant bass baritone. But his mental illness kept him from ever getting anywhere big with all his talents. Life with Tommy wasn't always easy. But he was my brother and I loved him.

His widow and son are making the arrangements. His son is flying in from the west coast, away from the floods and fires there, to see his Dad a last time. I won't be going; but Billy and Mac will. Right now about all I can do is sit here and keep breathing.

For you, Tommy. With love.

Tunisia Rises Up

The story of what's been happening in Tunisia started with a street vendor who couldn't take anymore. I have no words.

Those Poor People

As every morning, I checked the Guardian UK to see what's up in the world. And I saw the videos they had of the earthquakes and tsunamis hitting Japan. I can hardly take in what's been going on around the Pacific- New Zealand and Australia, and now this.

We now watch live while people's homes, lives and businesses are swept away. There is a report of a boat with 100 people onboard being swallowed in the 10 meter high waves. In one of the videos, a huge whirlpool slowly draws in what looks like a recreational boat, helplessly caught in the spiral. In another, whole buildings and farms are engulfed in the waves.

Still pictures are easier to stomach, to me:

There's no sure count on the death toll in this.

And I've just seen on CNN that a tsunami warning has been issued for Hawaii and the west coast of the US, as part of a general warning to 20 countries. Waves of 3-6 feet are expected to hit Hawaii in about a half-hour. Shores are being evacuated to at least a half-mile inland.

I want to know where the deep-sea drilling is going on out there.


It has rained, it is raining, it will rain. The gods better not be screwing with us; if it snows more after this anything could happen. Rain means Spring; rain means the giant gray humps will go away; rain means goodbye long winter.

This is the time of year when I'd stop on my walk to work to watch the Whetstone at its finest, the way it must have been back in the day when there were mills along it. A double falls at a 75' turn, the first crashes onto the second, which thunders into the canal that passes into the Connecticut River. It's a once a year affair, with ions floating, roaring water, the earth underfoot vibrating and beautiful nature at its wildest.

If you're in town, stop for a few minutes and lose yourself. If you're not in town, you'll have to imagine.

Coffee's good on a morning like this.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Tribal Urge

Every time I meet and recognize a tribesperson I'm happy to my ass. There has to be something hardwired in us about that. We know when we meet a tribeperson. Instantly connected, no censoring or bullshit, total communication. It's a great thing in life, and probably goes back to survival instincts. It rings something deep in me.

While that's all wonderful, where there's your tribe, there are other tribes. And they all feel for their tribes how you feel about yours.

So, how to make the leap from my tribe to the Tribe of Humankind? That's my pondering for the rest of this dreary day. How do I get to where I care as much for my "enemy" as I do for my tribe? Because until I do, ain't nothing gonna get better for the world. That's just the truth.

3/11 I just came across this address from a spiritual leader about the fighting among the tribes in Libya. Translation is in the descriptor box.

Bring on the Mud!

As we Vermonters slowly sink into Mud Season while the cursed snow keeps trying, everyone I've talked with today is going nuts. Not enough light, the gray-white-stick viewscape is draining the life out of us. But I swear, just the very beginning of buds are coming out on the trees, and the turkey vultures are back. Westy said he saw chipmunks and several people have noted robins. God almighty its been winter for 5 months. I like winter, but this is ridiculous. We're almost there; everyone eat chocolate, listen to the Pogues and we'll be okay.

Had a great meeting with our new Vt Workers Center organizer. She's fabulous. She has several edges. I can talk straight with her and she gets everything. We're gonna do good works.

Life amazes me, nearly every day.

Snow. Still. Snowing.

Will this winter end already? I don't want to see any more flakes, not even one. I'm done. Stop with the snow and start raining.

At least I woke up to good news- the friend who was in the car crash is fine and will be home soon. Scared the hell out of us all, but it's gonna be all right. The heart lifts. Of course, still no word about my brother in PA.

But I talked to my other SIL last night and we laughed as we did way back in the early 80s. I swear there's nothing like hilarity to heal the soul. And she's so goofy she cracks me up. Slept like a baby after that, and I bet she did, too. I even slept til 7!

Busy day ahead, still packing and I have a lunchdate with a woman from the Vermont Workers Center. Life goes on. I just wish the friggin snow would end.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Helmet Slips

Thru a lot of the last 6 weeks, I've kept my sense of humor, even getting back to almost normal. But some harsh realities have set in on this dark cold day, and I'm having a hard time right now. So I thought, "Time to write."

Somehow, my brother's imminent death didn't sink in til now. And I don't want to feel all this. We're at peace and good; we've been preparing for over a year. But I'm so not ready. I'm so tired and stressed right now. God. It'll leave just Billy and me, out of everyone.

A betrayal of friendship has me completely sick. I can't even talk about it.

The sand devils of hell that everyone around me is standing in scare me. There's nothing I can do to help them.

Mostly, I'm just getting back the whole range of feelings again. It's been years since I felt this heavy in heart. I'd completely forgotten what it was like. Now I know why Billy wants to keep his rose-colored glasses. The other side of the belly laugh is the heavy heart.

Grief comes out in as many ways as love.

Guess it's back to headphones and Zep til this passes.

I'll Take the Pain & Keep My Brain, Thanks

Nearly six weeks thru detox and still detoxing. Or as my old friend at
puts it, "oxycleaned". Hahaha!

The effects of detoxing are still on, though not as severe. Food doesn't make me hurl anymore and I've actually been trying to encourage my appetite by simmering onions and wine. It smells good but I can't get my face to actually eat regular food. It's still slices of cheese or RB, some yogurt or cottage cheese and crackers here and there. Aside from the stomach issues, the nose and sinuses are a real mess. But all in all, it's so much better than what I've been living in for the last 4 years.

The pain is full force. I only take an Aleve twice a day now. It takes the edge off, but not a lot. I'm working on not making obnoxious noises as I go about my biz. Nobody, including me, wants to hear grunts and groans.

All I care about and am focused on is getting my brain back. I read every night and in the morning work on recalling what I read the night before. No, I don't have any plan or guidance in this. My doc dismissed me with a short script for alprazalam and the suggestion of imodium, so I'm winging the rest as best I can. Obviously she doesn't know much about detox. Anyway, reading at night and recalling in the morning is how I got thru school; it should work to restimulate the old pathways.

The biggest and best of all of it is to laugh again. Really laugh, belly laugh, to the point of crying. That's something I haven't been able to do in years. The opiates dulled my humor with everything else. It's a wonder I have friends left after these years! But I guess that's what we have friends for, to get down the road no matter what may be in it, and let us go thru what we have to. I can't wait to hang and laugh with everyone again. I'm throwing a helluva housewarming party when I get moved.

Oh My My

Could be the Spring feeling in the air, could be me getting back to normal. Could be looking at Marcus Mumford over and over again. Could be weeks of staring at Robert Plant and Greg Lake.

It's nice to be alive again. ;)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Developing Empathy

Some people have told me that you can't be truly kind to others unless you've suffered and know what it's like. Well there's a flip side to that. If you've suffered a lot of abuse, it beats you down to the point of only expecting more and turning a jaded eye to others' suffering. Which accounts for the state of the world.

But if we're to make any headway in getting along on this rock in the universe, our best tool is to teach and develop empathy and compassion. It is, I'm convinced, the only way.

It turned around for me when I started getting disabled. I could go outta my mind over all I couldn't do or I could look at it as simple loss and let myself grieve. So I gave myself some slack and from there it got easier to cut slack for others. Most of my life I was a hardass; ask anyone who worked in my kitchens. It took a lot to soften my eyes. I was raised in an every-man-for-himself household. Which I brought to school and later the workplace, and I was a vicious competitor. All that seems selfish and petty to me now. What did it prove and where did it get me? Certainly no better. So there's a regret I can point at- I should've been taking a minute to help the fellow grunt who burned or cut themselves instead of just barking out what he should do and who takes over what for how long.

All it really takes is a moment of thought about the load the grunt next to you is carrying. It's a start. At some point today, look at a coworker or someone you don't know well and wonder how they're doing. Don't be afraid to soften your eyes; we're all suffering. It's easier with practice.

Spoilage Happens

When someone leaks a surprise and it turns out a disappointment rather than a joy, it's spoiled. When someone tells you the book or movie ending after you've said you're going to it or gettting it. There's a lot of spoilage in life. My first really important one, at about ten, was the true rumor that the Disney people had driven the lemmings off the cliff for the drama of it. Walt was my childhood hero. I loved his art, his colors. His characters. He was already dead a few years when I heard the story. But it forever spoiled Disney and all its magic for me. It was never the same.

There are people who pride themselves on being Spoilers. I know a couple. They have to know you to get a good spoil in. Like saying you'll hate Pan's Labyrinth because they know how you cringe at meaningful violence. Slashers you sit thru but cruelty hits you in the gut. People have to know you well to spoil at that level. Usually older family members.

But there are also those who can't keep their mouths shut and will sum up anything with a, "It's (insert crappy adjective here). You'll see," just to piss on your parade. Doesn't matter what it is you're excited about or planning. Whether a party or a purchase, an impending birth or new home. They have something to say. They are the True Spoilers. They get their jollies by being know- it- alls who go around sticking a pin in any balloon they see.

Watch out for the Spoilers. They're a strange breed who steal joy whenever they can. It's a vampiric energy tactic. And they're everywhere.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mysteries Solved

Most urgent, my friend was indeed in a car crash. His car was totaled but he's gonna be okay. That's all that matters to me. We can't lose the mayor of frembling. And I can bet safe that he'll have a billion stories and much more to tell.

Not so urgent but was still a mystery is that my ol'pal the Cheese Snob gifted me the sub I was wondering about- to Saveur magazine. Thanks, Princess!!

Now do we all get to live happily at least thru a night?

Hey Look! More F'in Snow!!

If I don't go completely insane before Mud Season gets here, I never will. The upstate news station said last night we'd "only get 3-6 inches" down here. A couple years back we had a St. Pat's blizzard, so you never know when it'll be done, at least until May.

It could probably be anything at the moment, but this snow's jumping on my last nerve. I'm waiting to hear about my brother any day and now this news about my friend. Why did they ever stop making Rorer 714s?


I awoke to 3 rather rambling and unclear emails from the wife of a friend. Apparently he was in a car crash but I don't know the extent of the injuries. It's bad enough that she's emailing me. All I can do is wait and see what happens. It isn't in the news; I looked at all the papers in their area, and it would've happened yesterday. So I don't know what to think. Except worry. I'm praying he's not gone. But that would've made the papers...

At the back of my brain is an insistant voice saying this all isn't true. I'm not even sure I should be putting this in my blog. And for the first time in my life I'm hoping this is all a sick and jealous joke Because I really don't want to lose that friend or any part of him. He is, at heart, a good guy. A tribesman. I'm sick to my stomach. Not that that's news.

Jesus Christ do I hate waiting for news.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Like Simile As Metaphor

There was one other time in my life when drugs, well mostly one drug, ruled my life. That was the acid era. You'd smoke a joint to raise your head, but pot was just the amplifier. LSD changed my life, nearly ended any hope of sanity and then made me get sane.

Acid was cheap, a whole night's entertainment for 2 bucks. It made everything beautiful, wonderous, hilarious and genius. Among the artsy crowd, it brought out fresh insights and different views that inspired us. I made some remarkable art and wrote poems and songs during that time. Played music with people. Acid was a requirement for any big concert and for most music events. When I was tripping I was hyper-alive, every sense magnified, including humor.

The day after tripping a lot (I took one hit a day, but to trip I took at least 3; my tolerance was high after 2 years) I'd look at what I'd made and examine the experience. It was all so good, life. Tripping made the mundane parts of life- work, sleep, food, where you lived- less important and very funny. Somehow it made my college work better. I actually understood Probability & Stats by tripping and took the final without book or calculator without a problem. And there was a lot of speed in blotter in the late 70s. Sometimes the speed would keep you up for 2 days and you'd have to find valium to bring you down. But it was all good.

One time I asked my dealer why he didn't trip anymore and he said "too many bad trips". I'd never had a bad trip. But I did, on 5 drops of liquid on a sugar cube. And that was the end of acid for me. I lived in the middle of nowhere for 2 years and thought a lot. Got my shit together.

I've been working on this post because I know there's something key common to what happened then and what's just happened. But I can't find it. It's a needle in a LES squat.

I'm Bitchless

There is nothing, really, to bitch about today. In my inbox were 2 YT vids, one of ELP at High Voltage which was fab, and one of Zep at Madison Square the night I was there in 77. You can't bitch at that. Waking up to great tunes from people rocks.

It's a late winter/early spring morning in New England. Gray and damp, dark. It's in the 40s, and the old snow is giving up the ghost- once the edge comes up from the ground, it's a slow melt. We'll still get cold nights and maybe more snow here and there, but it's mostly over, hallelujah amen. We've made it thru another winter. Now it'll be ice, mud and flood.

I'm gonna finish up a couple of things and start sorting out the closet and bathroom today. Brian called asking for the dimensions of the bookcase he's going to build in my new apartment. The turkey vultures are circling; spring is coming.

Relax if you can, read something, enjoy a quiet Sunday. I'll be back.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Un Mot Finale

I've gotten some feedback about my stance on anti-depressants. I maintain they are too often prescribed. I stated in the original post that there are those who need them, but that is not 40% of the population, I'm quite sure, as one emailer said. For the rest of us who have good damn reason to be sad or mad and for whom it isn't a chemical imbalance, anti-depressants are life robbers. Docs don't draw blood and determine your chemicals are off. They ask if you're depressed and pull out the pad.

See it's like taking opiates for pain. If your pain receptors are on red alert, the opiates go saturate them and burn up on them. But if you're not in pain, the opiates don't have any particular place to go and you get high. In the case of anti-depressants, if you've got fine transmission going, it's gonna muck up something else. Like your ability to enjoy life. If you have no joy and no sorrow, is it life?

And that, as they say, is that.

Between the Wars, a Billy Song

I was a miner
I was a docker
I was a railway man Between the wars
I raised a family
In times of austerity
With sweat at the foundry Between the wars

I paid the union and as times got harder
I looked to the government to help the working man
And they brought prosperity down at the armoury
"We're arming for peace me boys"Between the wars

I kept the faith
and I kept voting
Not for the iron fist but for the helping hand
For theirs is a land with a wall around it
And mine is a faith in my fellow man
Theirs is a land of hope and glory
Mine is the green field and the factory floor

Theirs are the skies all dark with bombers
And mine is the peace we knew
Between the wars

Call up the craftsmen
Bring me the draughtsmen
Build me a path from cradle to grave
And I'll give my consent
To any government
That does not deny a man a living wage

Go find the young men never to fight again
Bring up the banners from the days gone by
Sweet moderation
Heart of this nation
Desert us not, we are
Between the Wars.

It Always Comes Down to the Condiments

The move has been pushed back and I'm glad because I always think I'm going to do more than I can. But slowly things are getting packed. One of the reasons I'm giving food away is because I've had a stocked freezer since the holidays and haven't been able to eat for 5 weeks. So it should be used.

There's always stuff to toss- the unused pickle juice, the mustard with almost nothing recognizable to it. But I'm a cook. I have condiments. I need them. I wouldn't be happy without them. 4 different hot sauces (one that's precious to me), 2 Chinese hot pepper pastes, fish sauce, Marmite, capers, chutneys, you name it I got it.. And it's like trying to pick among your finest jewels to decide their fates when you move. I hate that. I always regret something I toss.

The only thing I remember about a move when I was 6 was the argument over whether the ketchup was worth taking- which was the Only condiment in the house. It always comes down to the condiments.

Out of the Arms of Morpheus

I stopped the oxycodone early. 2.5 mgs is next to nothing so I went to nothing, yesterday. So far, so good. Just the tiniest bit of edginess, but nothing at all compared to all I've been thru. It's laughable. My BFF said the first week, when I went cold turkey, was like being in a plane crashing with nothing to do but watch. And I was the maniacally laughing pilot.

There's probably still some junk in my system; they all have half-lifes and after so many years there's still bits & iotas here and there. The nose is still insanely raw; the stomach still hates everything. But so what?

My PA brother called this morning very early; I wasn't even awake yet. But he's alive, with 20% of heart functioning. He didn't leave the # to call him back. Oy. Typical.

Ill let the rest of the family know he's still with us.

I had a great concert evening last night- my ears are still ringing from turning the volume to max in my headphones and my arms hurt from fistpumping and sit-dancing for hours on end.

And another Saveur magazine came. Still no idea who gifted it to me. ??? It's a real cook's mag. I love it. Thank you, Mystery Person.

Looks like rain today but I couldn't care less. I'm a happy camper.

Friday, March 4, 2011

This is Exactly It

A friend in California who shall remain nameless sent me some of his recording library. I'm stunned, because how could he know so perfectly what I may never have seen or heard and he only knows me about 5 months!? But we have a lot of shared interests, so...and if anyone would know and would own rare things, it's him.

Still, as incredible as it is- and there are 4 discs here that I can't believe I own now- it's the kindness, the caring, about just some other human, that really blows me away. The effort of a pretty busy guy with a family, who just happens to have a heart that didn't need awarding by the wizard.

So thanks, GB. For everything.

Yes, I Do

Somebody I used to work with once said something about how I "walk thru life in a warm shower of love." It pissed me off. Like I had it so great? Are ya kiddin me?

But these days, I do. I have some of the most amazing souls on the planet in my life. And really, always have had. I just never had that outside perspective before.

Gratitude changes more things than money ever will.

"Happy Places"

At least since the 80s, I've heard people talk about going to their "Happy Place". It never meant anything to me- what the hell's a "Happy Place"? Chuck E Cheese? Disneyland?

So I asked people what their HP was, and got a variety of answers- a garden, their childhood backyard, a bubble bath, a treehouse, their bedroom back home, a summer camp the whole family used to go to... lots of associations to their safest and free-est times. I couldn't relate to any of those and so assigned my HP to a New Year's waltzing with my husband on South Street pier for a while. But in light of how all that turned out, it's not a good place to ponder on. So I put it away. Who needs a Happy Place anyway?

Well about a month ago I did. And surprise, surprise, my Happy Place is Madison Square Garden. Of all places. I went there to see circuses and kiddie things with my Dad. And then the best times, the happiest and safest I ever felt in my life- at giant rock concerts- were there. The second Happy Place? Radio City Music Hall. The movies and shows there, and memories of very happy times, are there. There is no bad associated with either place. Pure joy.

Now I know why people want a Happy Place. If you don't have one, it'll appear when you need one. Kinda like a Patronus. It chases Dementors away. And makes you take life less seriously, which we all need to do.

Make Love, Not Anti-depressants

A lot of conversations in my circle lately have been about the lack of love and compassion in society these days. And the fact that almost everyone I know and love has been on anti-depressants; some for a short period, some for years. Some do chemically need them, I think. But I also think that what brings it all on for most people is a huge deficit of love and caring in our fellow humans these days.

Think about it- the governments are all spending zillions on wars we don't want, while taking away crucial services to humans in need. What's wrong with that picture? People on the street walk along attitudinally, as if they'll spit on you for glancing up to their eyes. Media mouths get on the air and spout hatred, cheering on violence and contempt for your fellow babies on this planet because they think something different than you. Much of pop music is focussed on money, sex- but not love- and anger. What happened to us? What the hell happened to us?

For one thing, having done the Cymbalta trip for 2 years (and not for depression, for nerve pain) I know how entirely self-obsessed drugs make a person. Which was compounded by the opiates. A society of zombies on pharmaceuticals makes for a culture of unengaged citizenry and selfish fearful interaction. Everybody's living in fear.

To all that, I say "No more." Stop the madness. Stop pumping drugs into people and watch what happens. We need to find our commonalities again. We're human. We're fragile. We need to be good to each other. We can heal from this, and be wiser.

"To stare into the night sky and ponder why there is something rather than nothing, to experience awe at a child's birth, to want the world to be transformed, to seek forgiveness for your own failure and stupidity, to feel the need for silence, to suppose that love has to be at the heart of things – these experiences are not the preserve of the religious.
In many such things, those of faith and those of none sit alongside each other as fellow travellers."- Giles Fraser

5 Weeks Later

Five weeks ago today- January 29th- I got supremely pissed off and decided to quit opiates after 4 years of daily use of both oxycodone and fentanyl. Because I'm the kind of stubborn bitch that does things like that. Today, I recall very little before February 24th. So 3+ weeks of my recent life are like memories of childhood. A scene here, a snapshot there. I'm glad I felt free to blog, because ti's the record I'll be using without commentary between, in the book. My head's clearing. Slowly.

My bod, on the other hand, is still pretty pissed at me. This is mostly de rigueur for detox, but it's also my own fault for the way I did it. Seriously, I never thought about the drugs I was doing. Never crossed my mind I was opiate addicted once. Or that getting off them would be a nightmare. A former junkie friend told me it's like having the flu for 3 months, and yes, it is like the flu for 2 weeks now. I don't really remember much before then except for falling often, a lot of lunatic laughing and hallucinations.

But I do feel immensely free. There are no schedules to keep, no worries about "drug runs" being on time, no terrible rashes from the fentanyl adhesive, no swelling from the oxy, no need to see my doctor or deal with that office. My life doesn't operate around my drugs. They're going and I get it all back. I'm laughing again. I'm making art. I'm writing like I haven't since college. I still love ELP! I've rediscovered Led Zep! I've rediscovered music in general!

It's been worth whatever hell I put myself and everyone else thru. Like I said, I'll keep making my apologies. It's practically a miracle I'm still alive. Guess Valhalla doesn't need my services yet. ;)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Ultimate Dinner Guests

When I began writing again in 2006, I did a couple of rounds of election questioning for a local website. One of my favorite questions, always, has been: "If you could have any 3 (or 4) people living or dead to dinner, who and why?" It's a good question, because it reveals the person, given they answer honestly.

But I've never asked myself that one. I'd be more obsessed over what to serve than who to pick, for one thing. So my mind zooms over to menu design and I don't get back to the original. But I've taken a very-needed down day and have entertained myself by staring into space and thinking useless things.

Starting with process of elimination, I narrowed it down to fairly modern times. I know I'd hate all the ancients if I actually met them so that threw a lot right out. I wouldn't want others there at all for some people- Leif Erikson or any of ELP or Zep or William Wallace or even JFK, for example- so there went out a bunch more. So who to mix?

Dorothy Parker in her 40s. Stephen Fry right now. Billy Bragg at whatever age he chooses (though he qualifies for the alone-withs, too). And my grandmother Nana. She was a social activist, a NYPD Captain in1922, a writer and poet, and had 6 children, of whom 3 died. That would be a table of conversation I'd love to hear.

And I'd make a big family dinner and liquor everyone up.

Brush With Fame: Summer, 93

Hell's Kitchen hosts a variety of things each year, one being the 9th Avenue Food Festival. And back in the summer of 93 I stopped in at my local hangout, Le Madeleine, to ask my friend who was bartending that afternoon if he wanted anything from the stalls. Further up the bar was sitting a man who looked very familiar. I happened to be both sunblind and hungover that day, and as he looked at me expressionlessly, I looked back at him. He had beautiful eyes. Sky blue, just like outdoors that day.

This went on as I waited to speak with my friend. He was so familiar. I knew that face. Was he someone I'd picked up at a bar and forgotten years ago? I looked at him; he looked at me. Finally I thought I'd say something, and so I went safe with, "Have you been to the Food Festival yet?" and he spoke, a soft English accent, "No, I wish I could." I went on to recommend a pastry stand if he got the chance and then we chatted briefly about bakery goods. Still couldn't place him, but there didn't seem any problem. A moment later, a couple of young women came up to him from a table and he was occupied.

My friend appeared and made a beeline to me at the end of the bar. "Do you see who's sitting at the bar?" he leaned over and stage whispered, eyebrows lifted and eyes bugging out. "Who?" I said, and looked back down the way. "Pete Townshend! He's here with his daughters...Don't you recognize him?" My mouth dropped open. Of course it was. His hair was short and gray (and way receded) and he was older, but it was freakin Pete Townshend, Guitar God. I'd had a chance to chat with Pete Townshend and it was about pastries.

Detox Stomach Part Deux

Not that I care because I don't really, but I'm still not eating normally. In the last month I tried to eat a normal meal twice and let's just say it doesn't work. I can eat a couple of slices of cheese or a few crackers, a Rollo here and there, but that's it. I'm taking the vitamins Paula gave me for Xmas. I drink tons of water and at least 2 coffees a day, but nothing stays in my system foodwise.

This isn't concerning me yet. I have plenty to burn before becoming cadaverous or even Kate Moss. But the continually rebelling belly is annoying just because you can't get away from it.

Thing is, I know that I'm sitting here with plenty of food- I've been giving food away for a week- that I can't eat. And all over this earth are people with no food who'd be so happy to have all I do. The irony alone makes me ill.

But it brings to mind 2 things this morning as I sip my coffee and stare out at an uncertain March day.

1. My mother saying, "Eat your food. There are starving children in China."

2. Robert Burns' Grace: "Some hae meat and cannae eat and some would eat that want it; but we hae meat and we can eat so let the Lord be thankit."

I'm learning a lot in all of this.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Fear is the Thing, Not the Pain

It occurred to me today that it isn't the pain itself, it's the fear of it, that makes me freak. Somehow in my nutty state I decided pain wasn't getting power over me anymore. So it became a fight against it. But today I realized it's the fear of it, and has been all along, not the pain itself, that is the issue. It started when I was trying to keep working, and would get to the 2 p.m. wall and have to sit. That advanced to being 1, then noon, then being almost unable to stand for more than a half-hour. That's when I left work. But over that 3 year period, every day I dreaded the point at which the pain would take me down and fear became my response to pain.

Eureka! It's not a fight; it's just fear! Fear is as immaterial as "safety". There's no room for them in disability. Not in reality; anything is a possible accident-causer so safety's an illusion to me now. And the same for fear. Useless wastes of energy to feed worry. I don't have the energy to feed anything that doesn't help me. So bye-bye fear of pain. Ya bastard.

It's All Happening

While on the phone this morning I did a short recap of the last month. So much has happened. So much hope has come around by the successes of my friends, by the news of my new apartment, by the progress on my book and by kicking the opiates, that I can hardly believe the change.

Riva's "Q-Bossy" made it to the station, Cam packed up my boxes of stemware, and I mostly stripped the Xmas tree. This has been a very productive day and it's not even 3 pm. It's all happening, and it's all good. Everything's gonna be okay. The move may be pushed back a week; they have to change a door, so that's even more time to do things right. I lost a lot in scaling down and moving here; my portfolio of 30 years disappeared with some really important things I'll never see again. But that won't happen again, and I think I'm moving to where I may stay the rest of my days. I've moved 26 times over my lifetime; maybe 27's the charm. ;)

Unending Detox! Ridiculous!

It's been 4 weeks and 4 days since this whole detox thing started. There have been many ups n downs about it but overall I'm just so damn tired. Thankfully I slept pretty solidly the past 2 nights. But it doesn't seem enough, and I have to keep functioning. This last step-down, to 2.5 mgs a day, has once again keyed off the detox cycle and I'm back in the lav half the morning, have itchies and am generally edgy... In the big pic it's not much. I can deal.

God I'm tired. But there's too much going on, I've been up since 6 and have a full day ahead. It's the last Heat Fund recipe for the radio show & Daryl oughta be here in an hour to pick up the load of Q-Bossy. Cam's coming by after her radio show to help pack my stemware carefully. Great Goddess Caffeinea, help me!

And still no word from the PA family about my brother.... oy.

Back @ 7:30 to add that I'm way dehydrated and drinking about a gallon of water a day. These little detox effects are annoying- the dryness that may also be winter; the nose situation; the face breaking out; it's all just a festival of beauty.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

And Another Thing & Then I'm Gointa Bed

Somehow, thru the last month, my old sense of humor came back. I was just reading the posts of the end of Jan/ beginning Feb. Though I blushed lot, I laughed my ass off at my complete out-theredness. In one post, I p.s.'d a progress report on my Mainiac lovebirds and said I was addicted to "watching Robert Plant's penis and the rest of him." Very nice. I remember almost none of that week, but it's pretty damn funny.

Pushing On

Packed 2 boxes in record time. There's an urgency behind getting things done when you're doing it while fighting pain. I push and get careless because I want accomplishment. But that's gonna be something to work on. My total standing time is now 5 minutes, down from the 9 minutes it was when I last checked. Something else to work on.

There's a lot of work. Interior questioning of how far to push myself. The very apparent weak shape my body's in, thanks to years of dragging my ass on junk. For now I'm merely going by how much pain I can take til it's bound to make me go ugly, then I stop. But I need to push further there, too, and keep my temperment in check.

My newly-racing mind is having a hard time slowing down to normal human speed to deal with others. More to keep in check. But it'll get better with practice. I can keep my mouth shut if I want, so that's a blessing.

Daily Mysteries

At least once a day these days, a mystery appears. Today's is a magazine called Saveur, a good mag about foods and such... but the subscription, a mystery. They didn't send me a card or announcement, I have no idea who is the sponsor of such a great surprise. I only know it's tagged to be a sub til Dec of 2011.

Mystery magazine subscriber, will you please enter and sign in?

And thanks!

Both Sides Now

I'm starting this blog ahead of time so I can track the progress. When I post I'll change the date to its current.

In wk 4 of detox (2/24), all the pain is back in glory hallelujah. I seem more concerned with getting comfort than anything else. Sleep is short periods- 3 or 4 hours at a time. I'm bored, distracted or sick of anything in short order. Can't concentrate to read- or draw- because pain flares if I'm at rest too long so I can't get to the zone. How the hell am I ever gonna deal with this without the bastard drugs? But with the bastard drugs I was a zombie! I don't even have a fully-operative brain yet, which became clear to me this morning. I'm far from detoxed; I thought the hand jitters were done. This is a much longer deal than I thought it would be and I don't have time for it. I'm moving in 4 weeks!

And pain is tiring. The drugs were tiring, too, but I didn't have a jumping person inside saying, "Hey, do something!" on the drugs. There's a volition to Do again, and while that's great, I'm not physically up for it. When my brain's running better I'll figure it out.

2/26 Twice in the last week the Fentanyl patches came to mind. Could I just slap a couple on and get a few days' relief as a break? The moment the pain subsided I'd be right back to it like the junkie I am at heart. So, nope, not an option. And I went thru Hell to get rid of it. Ain't doing that again. This has to be figured out and I can't do that yet, so it's just shut up and suffer time. I keep telling myself I'm better than my pain. I can fix this, given time. There are better ways, there have to be. I'll have my brain, and in my new place I'll have bookshelves and I can spend hours, days, poring over all the loves of my life that have been boxed and unshelved for 19 years. And I have the intertubes. I'll find it. I'm the most stubborn Highlander Viking around. I'll fix this.

2/28 Okay, the jitterbug legs are attacking. Stepping down to 5 mg seems to get bad at the 14 hour point...junkie shit lite. Itchy but not terribly itchy legs and arms. High annoyance over nothing. I could use a punching bag. Or drums. Drums would be better. Every new bit of this, every little twist, pisses me so off and fires up a blast furnace of hatred for opiates. When I started this things were so different; a totally different purpose. I was incensed that pain relief was being criminalized. I was quitting as protest. I could never launch a protest on those drugs. And the new Medicare insurance was giving me a hard time about the Fentanyl, so I said Screw It All. But my view has radically changed. I'll take the pain and keep my brain, if that's okay. But that's just my choice.

3/1 It's March!!! That alone is an accomplishment. And it's sunny and dry. It's still early, but I think I can function today. I had 7 whole hours of sleep, no leg dancing, no hellacious pains. This past month has been a trip, sometimes pretty literally. I'm back in Kansas, so to speak. As long as I can keep stress levels low, make steady progress in packing, keep my head, not get injured and keep up the PT, I should be able to handle this move. 25 days. Pain or no pain, it's happening. I'm not 100% clear- still a week of one-a-day to go- but the worst is over in kicking the drugs. Gotta stay focused on the good; gotta push myself.

Living in constant pain is a misery, but there are worse things. Like not being able to think straight, being in a dope haze, having no hope of things getting better. When you're drugged so heavily, you lose control of so much. Coming back isn't easy, either. But there's so much more of life if you can just live with the pain and not give it power.