Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Our Romantic First Anniversary Fairy Tale

How many times have you been invited to a 50th anniversary party?

Not many.

So I can totally see why we heteros think we have the market cornered on being married. But I digress into sarcasm and politics, my apologies. It's just too close to November not to point out that our gay friends ought to have the exact same rights we do - relationships are hard and credit is due to those who stick together through the shitstorms despite their Ps or Vs.

Anyway, happy anniverary to my stinky winky boo boo. I can't believe it's only been a year since our own special day.

This is not exactly how I thought today might be. I assumed there'd be champagne and NC-17ing. Turns out there will be a doctor's appointment and possibly ice cream because we are rock stars and life is bizarre.
I have no gift for my hubs because I haven't worked in a month. I made $24 in the past 40 days.
I can't speak, which might be a gift to him in itself, but in truth I know he's worried. If I could, though, I'd tell you about my husband.
He's worked 32 of the last 35 days to make sure our bills are covered and he's done our shopping and errands too. On at least a dozen of those nights he's rubbed my sore muscles to calm down their spasms. He's been my voice, calling insurance companies and clinics and speaking  up for me because he knows I can't speak for myself right now.
He's also called me a tard roughly 112 times. He beatboxes when I stutter and sometimes when he bursts out laughing he says he can't help it, it's just my face that's funny right now.
He's my Prince Charming, really, and I love him stupid. We belong together.
I bet he's also looking forward to another 49 years or so with me, I'm quite a catch.
Cheers, baby! I'll buy you an ice cream cone!
Actually, you'll have to buy it. Next year, though, when I can speak and work and shit, the ice cream is totally on me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Karma's a Buh-buh-buh-buh-buh-BITCH

Once I scared the shit out of a girl with Tourette's and then when she flipped out I laughed but it was an accident.

And my laughter wasn't the mean kind, it was the 'WOW - this is uncomfortable' kind, but that kind isn't very easy to stop once it starts. Or any kinder.

She worked at a coffee house nearby and one summer night I was sitting outside with my boyfriend when we noticed a mouse scurrying beneath the tables. The girl came outside to bus tables and I helpfully told her to watch out for the mouse.

I did NOT know she was terrified of mice and cannot be held accountable for that part.

Fear must escalate her tics horribly because she ran inside and hid in the back room, but we could hear the intermittent honks and expletives from outside, each one more violent and bizarre than the last.

The poor girl, I felt awful for her. But I also couldn't stop awkwardly laughing so we left and I forgot about it.

Except now I get it.

When I open my mouth now, it's like I'm no longer controlling what comes out. I get stuck on the same sound over and over again, the stutter. Or my pitch is weird or my volume is way softer or louder than I intend.

On Saturday my mom took me to get a haircut and I spotted a guy with two dogs as we walked in. I got super excited, which now means I point frantically. Not sure it's an effective way to communicate, but I've been reduced to the point and grunt for simplicity's sake.

Anyway, so I pointed enthusiastically and accidentally yelled pu-pu-pu-pu-PUPPY and the guy looked up and smiled understandably. He absolutely thought I was retarded. Without question.

I talk all the time, it's how I express myself - also known as I'm a woman - and suddenly I have been neutered at the mouth.

I believe this is called karma.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


These are just a few that the camera picks up
20 years later. When I look I count 44. On that arm.
You know what's funny?

The perspective that eventually comes regarding your teenage years.

You know what's not funny?

Being a teenager.

I got an order for a book yesterday that made me cry. It came from a girl with whom I shared freshman nerd English. She wrote a sweet card and even included an adorable homemade pendant.

She could have been my friend all those years ago but I never knew it. I wouldn't have guessed it.

I was in honors English but aside from that and art class I was pretty useless. This girl was in all the accelerated classes and she was popular in that smart girl kind of way. We had different friends.

We had very different seats in the commons.

Assigned, really, although we wouldn't have admitted we were following rules set by classes past.

I was a freshman when computers still meant Oregon Trail in the media center at school. There was no Google.

I had never heard of cutting, but I'd heard of crazy. That was obviously it.

I loved writing even then but I channeled my generic teen angst into dark poetry about heroin use and alarmed the teacher enough to warrant counseling. Not that I'd ever seen heroin. I grew up in Eden Prairie, Minnesota between a strip mall and a pond. We didn't even have black people then except the few we shipped in for the football team.

I cut my limbs to shreds and landed myself in a hospital for wayward teens. I thought I was crazy and I believed nobody else could possibly understand me, in that way that only a teenager can ever feel.

Until you get a card from a girl twenty years later and realize someone else did understand it.

I made my own peace with it over the years, theses scars that follow me forever. Sometimes I wish I could have them lasered off. Sometimes I'm willing to admit that I shouldn't.

They remind me that sometimes what you think is going crazy is just a textbook reaction to a common type of abuse or event. You just haven't read that textbook yet.

You're only fifteen, honey. It's OK to not know everything.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gullible's Travels

Someday perhaps I will learn not to believe the crap that people say to me.

There's a faulty wire inside me somewhere that controls my inner fool. Or maybe it's my tenth grade edumacation kicking in and they covered gullibility junior year while I was smoking pot under the bridge.

"I'll mail you a check!" - says the girl who rear-ended me a month ago. Apparently she's found no time between the Caribbean vacations and the Boundary Waters expeditions to pay for her fender bender. And I thought I was being nice by not reporting her to insurance over a hundred bucks.

"I'll read your book and give you feedback!" - says the bestselling writer David Thorne at BEA. The same David Thorne who doesn't respond to requests for an address at which to deliver said book. I think it's definitely because I have a cat and we all know he's not a cat person. Or maybe he's busy, being a bestselling writer and all. Whatev.

"I totally love you. Let's just put all this stuff on your credit card." - says awesome cro-magnon ex.

"Your book outline is amazing and we can't wait to have you on board with us!" - says 'publishing' girl until she realizes I don't have several thousand dollars to spend on her 'services'. Or any dollars.

"You won a $500 Best Buy gift card!" - says every spam text I excitedly cheer before providing my contact information to fraudulent hucksters everywhere.

"This job will be..................! You'll be doing................................... and in return you'll get..................." - says every boss ever. You know what? I haven't had an actual job description with - you know - expectations, since 1999. Nor has a single 'in return' actually manifested. Ever.

"I know what I'm doing, I'm a doctor." - says every doctor ever. Well, maybe not out loud, but they seems to thinks that medical schooling means they know some shit. Like how I should see a 'mental health professional' since I CAN'T SPEAK.

I'd say my life is bullshit but you'll probably tell me it's not. And of course, I'll believe you.

I'm gullible like that.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Outbreak at the 868

The virus is spreading, it's definitely the apocalypse. Now the neighbor's cat is getting retarded too.

She kept biting herself and the first neurologist said hormones. The second one said she needs a shrink. Now she's wearing the cone of shame and she gets stuck when she runs into things and everyone's given up on her.

But she doesn't st-st-st-stutter horribly so she should really suck it up in my opinion.

The other night my mother-in-law asked if it's OK to laugh at me right now. She was very polite so I said yes.

Actually, I said yuh...yuh...yuh...YES.

Yesterday I hiccuped - or possibly just opened my mouth to speak - and a sound bleated forth unlike any I've ever made before. It sounded a bit like a seal. It startled me and the neighbor peed herself when she heard it.

Mark deserves big ups in the caretaking department right now, but I cannot tell a lie. He likes this whole TRICIA CAN'T TALK thing. He's devised shorthand for us in which I grunt and point and he continually tells me not to tire myself out trying to talk. He's very caring like that.

He tries to read my mind and fill in the blanks in my speech. You know, just to be helpful.

Me: Wuh....wuh...wuh...?
Mark (grinning): Wanna fool around?
Me: Nuh...nuh...nuh...NO.

Me: Wuh...wuh...wuh...?
Mark (compassionately): You want to take a nap? Good idea, I'll just play video games while you sleep. You just rest, honey.

Me: Whoooo....whooo.....whooo....?
Mark: Who let the owl in here? Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Me: Fuh...fuh...fuh...
Mark (grinning): I know. Fuck me.

My brother hadn't heard me speak until yesterday and I only gave him a sentence. Brothers have one job in life, to mock mercilessly. I can't give him too much material.

And so it goes here in West Saint Paul. At this rate I'll be mute by September, but maybe I'll be back in single digit sizes. I'll tuh...tuh...tuh...tuh...TAKE it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


My book has been released to smashing reviews. The first email marketing campaign resulted in a .0000023 response rate. One guy bought a book online and one lady told me to take her off her mailing list.
I'm gonna roll around naked in my book money to celebrate.
Mental picture? You're welcome.
I've sold almost ten copies. That's double digits, yo.

The wild success of my first release is coming at a particularly convenient time, since I'm on leave from work.

And life.

So every dollar counts and ten books is more than nine. But more importantly, it's giving me something to focus on beside my haywire nervous system.

Imagine if Superman suddenly couldn't fly.

Er...tasteless example.

Imagine if the Twins suddenly couldn't pitch.

Also a bad example.

Let's try this - imagine if the one thing you did most was suddenly juuuust out of your reach.




This might sound like awesomeness to the rest of you and particularly my husband, but it makes it pretty hard to fight back with the doctors. I know the words to say but when I try to make them come out I sound like a deaf person with a profound stutter.

I haven't blogged much about it because for a while I was having trouble with my hand muscles, and typing. The hands are feeling good now, which makes communication a hell of a lot easier. Grunting and pointing only gets one so far. I've been poked and prodded and scanned and two different neurologists said I need the mental health department, not neuro.

Yesterday I gave in and defeatedly went to the psychologist they referred me too, and I was absolutely prepared to be angry and closed minded about it.

Until the shrink reviewed everything with my mom and wanted to know why the hell the neurologists sent me to her for all these physical symptoms.

I cannot explain the sense of weepy relief (and yes, validation) I felt when the shrink told me I need medical help, not psychiatric help. There are a lot of mental health issues in my extended family so the idea that my brain could be doing this as a shutdown mechanism is terrifying. I don't want to turn schizophrenic, and frankly if I do you can take me out back with a shotgun.

At any rate, the shrinky dink renewed my sense of fight and for that I am so, so grateful.

My friends love and feed me, my family has been chauffering me around town from appointment to appointment, and my husband is working seven days a week to keep things together here. I'm a very lucky girl. What happens to people who don't have advocates?

I'm trying to hold it together and remember that perspective* is important. So to all of you helping me through this, I love your guts.

And when I can talk again, I'll tell you so. Because although some people say silence is golden, I'm gonna go ahead and say it's bullshit.

*And also there are upsides to everything, such as losing twenty pounds in a month without a gym. Or leaving the house.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Top Ten Reasons to Buy My Book

10. My daughter needs to eat. She may be a cat but she still gets hungry.

9. It's a charitable write-off, I assume. Isn't supporting the mentally handicapped a tax deduction?

8. You will feel much smarter and more in control of your life after reading about mine.

7. You will need a shower afterward and frankly, that's a win-win for all of us.

6. You can feel smug about supporting indie arts.

5. Even if you hate it, you can crumple the pages and use them as a fire starter.

4. If you don't hate it, you might like it.

3. You might actually love it.

2. And laugh a lot and maybe even snort.

And the number one reason to buy my book?

1. So you can say you knew me when. And before you go thinking that sounds pretentious, I don't mean I'm assuming I'll be famous. I'm rather more assuming I'll be locked up. In a psych ward. Not jail. Just to be clear.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I'm for Sale

It's official. The limited first edition is now available.

Get your copy of Confessions, the book. For only $18 (includes mailing within US), you can learn everything you never needed to know about life, love, and the seven deadly sins. And butt plugs. It probably won't change your life but it probably will make you laugh. Also the proceeds go to a worthy cause.

What cause, you ask?


The Tricia's half of the rent cause, one of my husband's favorite charities.

Get yours...and feel free to spread the good word. This good word. Not the other one. Though you can spread that, too, if that's your thing. Just please pay me $18 first.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Anticlimax

My books delivered yesterday.

There were no balloons or flowers, no ticker-tape parade. No release party. 

Just a skid full of heavy boxes and an invoice.

But...but...but...WOW. It's still pretty damn cool to see a real live BOOK with my name on it.

Thank you to all of you for supporting and encouraging me through this process. You are my Spanx. I stand straighter and more confident because of you.

Stay tuned for details on how to secure your very own LIMITED. EDITION. COPY! I need to concoct Plan B. Plan A was to offer the books for sale at a rowdy release party so I'd have an excuse to celebrate with my friends. And - you know, see them. But my trucker mouth cost more than I anticipated. I had to choose between a book party and saying fuck, and I stand by my right to free speech. Except I guess it technically isn't free since it actually cost more to use a printer who allows F-bombs but let's not split hairs.

At any rate, once I muster the energy to change out of my sweaty pajamas and rejoin the world of the healthy, I'll let you know where to get a copy and we'll make our own damn party - and we'll swear if we want to.

Kickstarter Peeps: I'll be mailing you your copies! Big love for your pledge. I quite literally could not have done this without you.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Opinions...and the Second Ones

Today is supposed to be an amazing day.


Sun shining...

Company picnic...

My books are printed and shipped today! 

But I am at home awaiting a doctor's call. For more than two weeks now my body has been haywire and by haywire I mean scaring the everloving shit out of me.

My muscles are not cooperating, my speech is slurred and my jaw just hangs if I don't focus on keeping it closed. I'm sweating buckets when I'm not freezing and I am sleeping nearly as much as the cat. I can't drive right now because my depth perception is all hosed up and I get dizzy and I'm terrified I'll run off the road. Or over someone's kid.

I've been out of work for a week and my car is still stuck there from Monday when I tried. I tried very hard to go into the office and be productive. My emails were too confusing and I got disoriented and when I walked I was ping-ponging off the cubicles.

I'm getting retarded.

I'm serious...and I'm terrified.

My boss said my face looks like I had a little stroke (I didn't) and my friend says I walk like a zombie. Yesterday my husband told the neurologist I'm basically short bus right now.

When a coworker drove me to the emergency room last week because I was incoherent and stumbling and my eyes couldn't track right, they performed a CT scan. Looked good, so the doc said 'it could definitely be' depression. And a bladder infection.

Um, what? My bladder feels fine but thank you.

Followed up with my doctor who ordered an MRI and referred me to a neuro dude who informed me that my brain is healthy and normal. We spoke for fifteen or twenty minutes and he knocked on my knees and pulled my fingers. He then pronounced me free of any and all neurological problems. He told me that my 'issues aren't his business' and he suggested I 'call my psychiatrist'.

Um, what the EFFETY WHAT?

So the answer is a fistful of antibiotics and some motion sickness medication and a big fat dose of this is all in my head?

I have never felt so humiliated as I did yesterday when he said that so dismissively...and in front of my husband. It was the penultimate gift for any man, corroboration that his wife is indeed crazy. A lifetime of trump cards played out in front of me like a horror movie. "Well, I'm crazy so you must be right."

My hands and feet feel less numb today and I'm thankful to be able to type with less struggle than it was for a bit. I'm grateful for Mark, who has probably felt more like a PCA than a husband lately. And I'm thankful for the friends who are pushing me to push back to the doctors harder and advocate for myself.

I'm not convinced one can exclude all of the over 600 neurological disorders and the near hundred types of autoimmune disease based upon a quick scan of my MRI and a chat that wasn't even long enough to need a commercial break. I've had problems with my immune system my whole life. But I certainly appreciate his thorough review and obvious concern.

Second opinion, asshat.

Something is wrong and it needs to be fixed. I can't just call in sick to life for the next few weeks and hope I don't forget how to walk again.
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