Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Think I'm Not as Smart as I Thunk

I am envious.

Wikipedia describes envy as a malicious resentment in which the envious wishes to take a perceived asset or strength from another, but I’m really fairly benevolent. You can have your strength, too – I just want to get mine. I’m not envious of your house, your car, your salary or your tits. I’m envious of your brain.

My mom always told me I was smart but the fact that it took me thirty-six years to figure out I’m not is alarming in light of the landslide of evidence that has been mounting in favor of a dummy verdict.

It started at age three, when I raced outside hollering at my mother to come quick because there was a wild animal loose in the house. She saw the terror in my eyes and asked me what it was, needing to know what to sort of weapon to brandish upon reentering the house.

"It’s a hippopotamus!" I yelled breathlessly.

It was a chipmunk.

My parents had one black friend when I was a kid because I think it’s required but also in their defense there were only three in Minnesota at the time. Our black friend Tony was a pretty dark-skinned fella and I adored him, probably because I knew how big my ass would later become and I could sense the appreciation I’d later experience from his other black friends.

Toney played softball with my dad. And all the other pasty computer programmers of the early 80s.

In shorts.

Yet when the team turned around to trot out to the field, I’d ask my mom where Tony went…because I could not differentiate him from the others if he was not facing me. I like to believe it’s because my heart was open and didn’t see race or creed, but my mother probably just wondered if I was mildly retarded.

Then there was the time I was holding the cat. Stroking her as she purred on my lap, I felt a lump.

"OH MY GAWD, IT’S A TUMOR!" I shrieked in dismay at the idea of losing her to a valiant but tragic battle with cancer. I imagined bottlefeeding her during her nauseous post-chemo days, petting her gently as she wasted away.

But then I was shown the other seven tumors, which are apparently also known in the medical community as nipples.

Now you might be thinking that these are simply the cute stories of any precocious child and you could possibly be right.

Except that the nipple thing happened about this summer.

So, yeah, I’m envious.

I’m envious, all right.

I’m envious of the people whose brains make them sackloads of money. Whose brains invent modern conveniences and cure terrible ailments. I’m envious of those whose brains challenge the way the next generation thinks and I’m envious of those whose brains know the difference between a chipmunk and a hippo.

But mostly I’m envious of those whose brains have brought them further in life than my nipple brain has gotten me.

And I’m envious of those who figured out a little earlier than I did that of course your mother tells you that you’re smart.

Her only shot at getting you out of her basement is if you’re smart enough to get past all the hippos, black people and tumors on your way out.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Fake Dreams

When I win the Powerball, I will not buy a maserati...or Fiji.

I will buy a compound.

A compound where my family and friends can live. A compound where work is shared, where food is shared and where love is shared. Where our families and friends can live together free of the financial burdens of daily life.

That's what I will buy.

Because you know what? That's really all I want out of life.

A peaceful existence with more happiness than unhappiness.

An existence where everyone shares with one another.

A life with ample time for the important things. Time with family and friends, time to volunteer, time to embrace life.

And someone else to handle the financials, because frankly, money is ugly and in the wrong hands it's just evil.

Today I earned $13 and I decided to walk to the store and buy a Powerball ticket. Someone has to win, right?

I know my dreams are naive, but without them, what do I have? Right now, more than anything, I need hope. And if a two-dollar lottery ticket provides it, well, I guess that was worth the two bucks. It gives me one night.

One night to lie in bed dreaming of a day where the bill collectors are satisfied. Where I can afford whatever treatment I need for whatever the hell is going on with my body. Where I can believe in the idea of a happier, less-stressed family.

Tomorrow I will face my reality. For tonight, just let me believe.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Go Ask Alice

I found a grandma!

Well, she's not my grandma, she's my grandma's sister. Also, I didn't find her, my dad did.

My grandmother has a long history of cutting people out of her life over various perceived infractions. Her version of why I was no longer allowed to come visit after age eleven? I brought an extra suitcase and I didn't share well with my brother. Also 'I sprayed hairspray in the bathroom and it wafted up the stairs nearly choking Grandpa'. That's a direct quote from her excision letter to me.

My version of why I was no longer allowed too visit?

Eventually one becomes old enough to figure out what's appropriate and what's not. The last time I stayed with my grandparents, I argued back about sharing a bathtub with my cousin. Being that we were now sprouting pubes and boobs, it seems perhaps we oughtn't be bathing together anymore...under grandma's watch.

But I digress.


My dad's uncle, my grandmother's sister. Her husband gave my father his first sip of beer as a kid. That likely means my dad snitched it when Uncle Pete wasn't looking, but again - perception.

I don't know if Alice even knows who I am but I desperately want to meet her. I have a distinctly grandmother shaped hole in my life and I'm fairly certain an afternoon at the feet of a family elder hearing stories would be amazing salve.

But is it fair to do that to an 80-year-old woman?

To spring myself on her in the name of seeking history when really I might just be seeking warmth and affection and the clasp of a papery hand?

It's out of my control anyhow, as meeting her would require a long-ass drive. I have to wonder, though, if my grandmother shaped hole hurts this much, what must my dad's mother shaped hole feel like?

Maybe it hurts enough that seeking history from an aunt and her stories is just what the doctor ordered. And maybe it's his daughter's hand he'll clasp on the way.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

No time to chat, my makeup artist is busy working on me. Gotta look my best today for the family.

Whaddya think, is blood red my color?

Anyway, today I'm grateful for family, friends, green bean casserole and that Gabby's claw wasn't a quarter inch lower.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I used to write a gratitude post every Monday, thinking that coming up with ten reasons to be grateful each week would help my attitude. After two years of it, I ran out of original ideas so I quit.

But maybe it's time to think a little harder, because as we all know, someone somewhere wants what WE have. For someone, somewhere, my life would be enough.

So in honor of my shitty attitude, I've decided to resurrect my gratitude list for the day. Behold, the top ten things for which I'm thankful right now.

10. I've lost over thirty pounds from my mystery illness, which means I can now wear my sweatpants underneath my jeans. For a freeze baby like myself, this is quite exciting, and it also means I can stave off buying new pants until spring.

9. While being interviewed by the long-term-disability investigator, I peeked at her instructions, which included such gems as 'don't say low-class, say low income' and had a checkbox to suggest surveillance. I'm thankful for anyone spying on me, because at least I'm making someone's job easy. My tail is probably getting plenty of extra naps these days.

8. I'm thankful to Groupon, for introducing me to my acupuncturist. She's an angel, even as she stuffs my face full of needles every week. And when she thought she forgot to remove a needle from my chest, she called me to make sure. Western medicine people, THAT'S how you care for a patient.

7. I'm grateful for my chauffeurs. As much as it sucks having to rely on everyone for rides, at least it's not the bus. Last time I rode the bus, a homeless man hit on me while peeing his pants. So Mom, Leslie and Mark, I salute you.

6. Speaking of not driving, I'm grateful for all the gas money I've saved. Comes in handy since I haven't been paid in a month.

5. Speaking of not being paid in a month, I'm grateful for the Cub gift card my employer sent as a Thanksgiving gift. My family will be thankful as well, since it's purchasing my contribution to the Thanksgiving meal tomorrow.

4. I'm grateful for the insanely hot water our showerhead generates. Without a bathtub to soak my sore muscles, the removable showerhead has become a good friend. Because of my sore muscles. Don't be a perv.

3. I'm thankful for my feeders. You know who you are. Without you, even my sweatpants AND jeans would fall off, and while I'm not complaining about weight loss, you'd probably be complaining if I were pantsless.

2. I'm grateful to all nine of you who have read my book. While it turns out I may have overestimated the interest in my writing, I'm thankful that all the extra boxes of books make temporary end tables around our home.

And the number one reason I'm thankful today?

1. I'm thankful that I haven't forgotten how to be thankful. Sometimes when things suck, it's hard to remember how to be grateful, but even in the dark times, there are rays of light to cling to and reach for. I'm going to keep reaching.


Friday, November 16, 2012

My Grizzly Bear

Once upon a time I started dating a very good looking man with a nicely kempt goatee.

Then we got married and he grew a raggedy beard that I detested - that his mother, my mother, Leslie and every other female who weighed in detested.

I begged.

I pleaded.

I batted my eyes (does that work for anyone?).

And finally, I bartered.

Out came the piercing above my lip. I loved it. Mark found it unattractive. To my mind, it was a fair trade. I didn't love it enough to make it worth being unattractive to my husband. So I took it out and he shaved.

My piercing healed but look what's back.

Clearly my husband does not give one tiny crap about my opinion. And yes, it's only an opinion, but c'mon people. Have you kissed one of these before? It's gross. Imagine burying your face in....well...just imagine.

He told me it's for Locks of Love, which is a blatant lie and I told him nobody wants that hair anyhow, to which he replied that black people need wigs too.

To which I replied that no black person wants his nappy face pubes on their head!

Then he told me I have turkey tits, but that I shouldn't be offended because it's a line from a movie. Being a newlywed is simply magical.

So I told him I'd take a poll. How many people would have to say shave before he did?


He picked a number he knew I'd never hit. 10,000 people haven't ever read ANYTHING I've posted and I'm sure today will be no different.

But can we pretend it's Make-A-Wish or something?

Tell your friends! Tell your friends' friends! Stop the growth of this beast - it's only November! I cannot stomach the idea of what this will look like by January!

Weigh in below. Shall I attempt to get 10,000 votes against the beard? Or shall I simply withhold all eee eee, err err, eee eee, err errr until he shaves? I just a snobby bitch with turkey tits who needs to shut the shut up?

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Holiday Pimp

If you're going to buy Chrismahannakwanzakah gifts, they might as well be amazing and made by indie artists, right?


The annual pimp post.

First up, Delphine French. She made me this amazing tree of life. Also, she can bend like Gumby. That's not at all relevant to her jewelry, but it makes me smile to see her pictures. And hate her a little bit. But mostly just smile. Check out her site HERE and order a fantastic hand-crafted pendant for your lady. Or yourself. Or your cat.

The Tree of Life Delphine made for me

Delphine, in a tree, loving life

Next stop on your shopping list is at TJ Lubrano's Etsy shop. Here you can fall in love with her and realize just how badly you need a custom commission from her. TJ's whimsical take on life is just what you need on your wall to make you smile during the shittiest of days.

My brother hired TJ to paint their wedding day for his wife Reena. With just a handful of pictures to work from, TJ created a magical piece that captured personal elements in every inch of the canvas.

One of TJ's sketches

The finished painting

Check out Caroline's pop top jewelry, AJ's book about unexpected fatherhood, Jac's alt country CD that you can't NOT sing along with, or Matt's very UN-muppetlike Vegas Series of upcycled hooker cards.

Support indie arts.

A gift is more meaningful when it has personal connections and besides, we indies are broke. Wouldn't you rather give your money to a worthy cause such as us than to line Taylor Swift or 50-Shades-Lady's pocket?

Oh, yeah, did I forget to mention? I have a book, too. You should buy a copy for a friend. Or loved one. But not your grandma. Or anyone at church, probably. But buy copies for your cool friends who say fuck and think farts are funny.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Can't Take Me Out

I just wanted to be nice to Leslie.

She plays so many roles in my life right now. Therapist, chauffeur, chef, angry assertive voice with doctors and insurance companies, and most of all, she's just my friend.

The orange-haired woman, we'll call her Nellie, lives in the hood but we don't know each other. She's walked by with her dog two or three times and I've stooped to pet him. I did tell her one day it's my neighbor's favorite kind of dog, but that's the extent of our chit-chat.

I always tell Leslie and she's always sad she didn't get to see the dog.

Yesterday I went for a little walk around the neighborhood and as I headed home, I spied Nellie almost a block ahead. I can't really run, per se. It looks a bit more like a zombie shuffle on fast-forward. But I sped up hoping to catch up.

I wouldn't.

All I could think of was Leslie.

"H-h-h-h-h-h-ey!!!!" I shouted "C-cc-c-comere!"

After she pissed herself she turned back toward me hesitantly.

When I'm trying to communicate rapidly, everything goes downhill. I need to speak slowly or it's almost unintelligible still, despite the improvement at most times.

"Mu-mu-mu-mu-mu-my frienlezzleeeeehomenow! Let m-m-m-m-ee get hu-her! Sssshhhshshshshhhsheeee wannnnaseeeeeee duh-duh-dog."

Is possibly what came out of my mouth. Much louder than intended.

"Ss-sh-shee loooves b-b-b-beagles," I implored.

"It's a basset hound." Nellie corrected.

What the hellever. It was kind of dog Leslie wanted to see.

As I coaxed her to our house as shown on the map, Nellie said to me sweetly. "You have the cutest little stutter. I was telling my mom that the last time we walked by. It's so cute."

Um, what?

I grabbed Leslie to shnoogle the beagle-I-mean-basset-hound and smiled politely through the rest of the exchange. It wasn't until after she'd left that it hit me.

The way she'd spoken to me.


She thinks I'm retarded. I really am not ready for lots of interaction with strangers. I still scare them a little.

Halloween is over, but I'm still a little BOO.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Women Drivers

So I stopped driving once I lost my depth perception and my sensory judgment. The doctor never ordered me to cease, I just figured anyone on the highway would be appreciative of my decision.

I didn't drive at all for a couple of months and now I'm slowly getting back into it. Like riding a bike, it's all coming back to me.
In MY opinion.

I think I'm OK on back roads during off times, but I still think it would be highly unsafe to get me on 94 at high speed. But how do I know when I'm ready?

If Mark had his say, my license would be permanently revoked. Leslie's judgment was a bit less harsh though she wouldn't ride with me, either, if we trekked further than Robert Street.

And yet.

Was I ever a good driver? Let's face it, I have a vagina.

One Christmas Eve I brought my underage brother out in a blizzard to teach him to drive. Suffice to say a call was placed to our dad shortly afterward inquiring how to get a car unstuck from a snowbank. Hypothetically.

I totaled my old boyfriend's car, crashed a roomie's car and sideswiped my boss' Durango along a concrete post. The day - the very day - I bought my Matrix, I pulled into a parking spot and crunched the underside of the bumper. Turns out the Matrix sits lower than my Ford Escape did.

Call me sexist all you want and I realize there are exceptions to the rule, Danica Patrick (she's probably reading this, you know), but it's true.

We women? NOT the best drivers anyway, so does it really matter if I'm on the road, too?

The other night, as Mark and I stood there watching, our neighbor across the street came tearing down Ottawa in her tiny little hatchback. Clearly late for something, she peeled into her driveway doing about 20 and hit the curb so hard I'm fairly certain her infant now suffers shaken baby syndrome. Husband came out, hopped in the driver's seat, and backed out smoothly.

I'm SO ready. Gimme the keys.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Don't I Get a Vote?

Yesterday we were afforded the luxury of voting.

I say luxury because I'm learning that having a voice isn't a given. It's not a right. It's not assumed.

On Monday my brain was determined faulty by my doctor, and I don't get a vote. My friend Leslie drove me to the polls clinic, but she didn't get a vote, either. I was told I was only bringing her for attention. Never mind that NONE OF YOU want me on the highway right now, or that it's suggested to bring someone along to any serious appointment to be a second set of ears.

I just want attention.

For three months I've been home with headaches and muscles spasms and sleeping fifteen hours a day. I've had trouble with vision and balance and overstimulation and mental function. I've been a different person.

I just want attention.

I'm gaining a lot from this, you know. Every day I pore through the stacks of get-well cards and the bouquets of flowers. The throngs of vistors and people stopping by to offer well-wishes. The monetary gain. Benefit dinners, silent auctions. If my muscles didn't hurt I'd roll around naked in all the money we're making from my imaginary illness.

Short-term disability equals a fraction of my salary and we're barely paying bills. I sit at home by myself most days fighting insurance paperwork and my own body.

But I just want attention.

Based on an MMPI and an hour of time spent with me, this doctor looked me in the face on Monday and told me this. I'm mentally ill and I just want attention. His official diagnosis? Somatoform Disorder NOS.

I didn't even get a vote.

I just got to sit there while he clarified all the negative personality traits he'd already put into writing. Everything from my disheveled hair (to which I argue this - what do YOU get for $14.99 at Cost Cutters?) to my shallow relationships, manipulative and selfish tendencies and my paranoia that the world is out to get me.


Would've been nice to have a vote on THAT ballot.

I'd have voted that nobody gets to diagnose me based on a personality test and one hour of my time. This guy didn't even read my charts. And also his socks didn't match his sweater vest during our first appointment so who the hell is he to judge?

But the election is over and I didn't get to vote. I'm moving jurisdictions.

Somewhere democratic, with sunshine and rainbows and shrinks that don't cut you off every time you try to speak. And I'm bringing my chiropractor and acupuncturist with me - they work with their patients and they listen.

And I'm not telling you where because the paparazzi cannot know about this cry for attention.
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