Friday, December 07, 2007

Run-on Sentences and Running Feet

The foot doc's office called today to tell me that the paperwork has been filled out for me to get a handicapped placard for the car, and to advise that I should make an appointment for a fitting of the ankle braces he will be making for me [and I will be getting] in January or sometime thereafter.

It's been five years [I still think it was four, I guess I lost a year in there somewheres] since my accident. I had wrestled with the idea of getting a parking permit but then decided that a medic alert bracelet was the way to go. After I started falling more often, the p.c. doc advised a cane rather than a placard. Things were bad then with the walking and falling but not nearly as bad as they are now. The chirodoc was willing to sign for an accessible parking permit back then but legally chirodocs aren't allowed to. So off I went with Benjamin Copernicus Galileo [the name of my cane] and some inane determination to only use it when the weather sucked.

I started falling even more-- and I am now more prone to falling to the right, since the vertigo makes my world spin to the left in the direction of the brain damage which caused the vertigo-- and have succeeded in wrecking the right ankle the last two times to the point where my slow since the accident pace became even slower and really painful. Interestingly enough, when I am walking the dog on a lead, I don't fall nearly as much. I have taken some tumbles with the cane and an almost equal number without. I don't tell the docs that the dog helps me stay upright because it sounds stupid and made up.

At any rate, I wound up being sent to the foot doctor. The foot doctor turned out to be a foot surgeon, a fellow of foot surgery, with feet x-ray machines and buzzy machines in his offices. Everyone else there was walking out with orthopedic shoes so I figured I too would wind up with the special shoes and an admonishment to lose weight. Not so.

While the vertigo and falling to the right has made the right foot "worse" [it used to be the stronger of the two], the foot surgeon informed me that my feet were fucked since day one, that they "are totally turned in," and here is the left foot brace, the right one isn't in but the office will call you, and I'm making you customized ones for January. Oh and by the way, you may need an operation on your right foot say in March or April and you may not. To tighten up the ligaments is what he told me. Whatever.

The first snow/ice storm of the season showed up. My difficulty walking around from parking lots to buildings safely prompted me to yield to the idea of a handicapped parking permit, especially since I do not care to break the right foot. And I've spent several days home being unwilling to brave the ice even with one brace and a cane. Odd how societal judgments and the judgments of those who should know better have coalesced into a brief feeling of "o.m.g., I'm taking advantage of the sys-tem" because now I really need the placard. I suspect with the fatigue issues that it might have been a good idea before. Before when I gave more of a shit about what other people thought. As I continue in the punking out of my brain and body, I am much less inclined to consider the ignorance and stupidity of others when making decisions that effect my well-being. This is my life that I am living, Briella [brilliant brain a bit sideways] and body doing a slow tap dance edging slowly toward mortality, my pain. My fucked up feet.

I don't seem to be pigeon-toed or anything and I don't know the name of this condition which he has firmly indicated I've always lived with during this lifetime. He also stated that losing weight will not help this one. I am relieved that there actually is something demonstrably "wrong" which is now worthy of treatment with these braces [the right one not being in yet and the customized ones not made yet]. And glad that I get to go to doctors even when I don't want to. Cuz lots of people in the world got stuff wrong with them and they don't get to go to a doctor.

The foot surgeon asked me what brought me here and I looked at him. "My feet." People don't usually go to a foot doc because their ambulation is just ducky. None of the fellow sufferers in the waiting room looked like they were training for the Olympics Sprinting Team. I didn't look like it either, though I certainly was the youngest specimen there. The thing is though, I never liked running. I never ran well. The kids in school used to make fun of the way I ran. My fastest run [when forced to run like during gym class] was and remains rather slow and tedious. Well, now I know why. My feet are fucked.

So the first couple of nights after learning about my fucked feet, I sat on the recliner looking at the two monstrosities which nature or genetics had gifted me with. Periodically I would mutter, "You two feet are fucked." As a sense of rationality returned to invade this really morass demonstration of self-pity, I realized that the fucked feet of today look the same as the feet I've had my whole life. So really I could just stop that. I did.

The other spot of news is that after ?two or ?three years of putting up with the stupid moronic VESID people [O.V.R. in other places] my third and current VESID overlord-- oh, I mean vocational rehabilitation counselor-- has finally relented and has agreed to refer me to the local R.C.I.L. for job handling/ job coaching rather than continually trying to force me to go to the other local agency which is merely a cover for sending people to work in the sheltered workshop after not being able to "find" them a "job" that "they can do."

This latter accomplishment was not without pain. I had to tell the VESID overlord [the more accurate term for all of them in this particular region, sorry] what "job" I wanted to do. I made up five or seven possibilities off the top of my head so she wrote the Individualized Employment Plan for the lowest paying one-- "Animal Care Worker."

I met with a job handler from R.C.I.L. this week and I was immediately comforted-- so much so in fact that after she mentioned that what I tell the R.C.I.L. folks they cannot tell VESID, I looked at her and said simply, "They suck." Because they do.

The first VESID overlord and her boss had both tried to convince me to go to the cover agency for the sheltered workshop, telling me that this is what would be best for me and claiming that the R.C.I.L. job coaches had a waiting list. The second overlord was relatively useless and aside from the meeting with the first overlord, him, and someone from the rehab hospital who was there to advocate for me, I have no memories of him other than that his hand takes on the role of a limp fish when shaking it. And he had almost non-existent eye contact.

He was also willing to go along with whatever overlord #1 had recommended, including the idea of where I should go to get job services. I know that working in a sheltered workshop, making slave wages because by law they are allowed to pay much less than the minimum wage for their lousy piecework "opportunities," is decidedly not in my best interest. And the job handler told me there is not or has there ever been a waiting list for job-related services at R.C.I.L. What I am conveying in this post is that from my sitting down point, the VESID folks have been rather reckless with reality.

We went over many forms and I had the opportunity to correct some of the written nonsense that the VESID office had sent over. One of those things is the notation that I might possibly have balance problems with a question mark. The first overseer had thought this because I walked into a column outside of her stupid little cubicle several years ago now when I really wasn't thinking very clearly and my t.bi.-related vision and perceptual problems were worser. I do not have an inner ear problem and thus no balance problem. I have an unsteadiness in my fucked up feet. I did remember to ask the job handler nicely to please attempt to have the VESID idiots fix that little gem to reflect the medical truth. Rather pedantic on my part I know. It is what it is and I am what I am.

Another thing was the claim that VESID wants me to follow along on several jobs-- follow alongs are job trials to see what I might like doing-- when in fact that was my idea, not theirs. The job handler told me that the purpose of the job trials is to see what I might like to do and be able to do. Now I suspect that having to come up with a definitive list of "what I want to do" was just another stall tactic. The third overlord had told me if I didn't know what I wanted to do, there would be a round of vocational testing [but alas, no vocational counseling connected to the testing] and quite frankly, I've had enough bloody testing. Since telling her what companies I want to work for wasn't sufficient, I had had to make up some occupations. Another exercise in futility.

I informed the job handler that I've been accepted into the state 55 b/c program and that if the Thruway would hire me as a toll collector, that is my first choice. That sort of job would actually be sufficient to pay the bills. Also, since "old learning is better than new learning" per the neuropsych doc I think I could do well there. I was a part-time per diem toll collector before the accident and I suspect I might have some success there if I can get in under the 55 b/c thingy and work within the accommodations that I will need.

Second choice is doing anything at the O.M.R.D.D. offices. There are some truly dedicated human beings working there. I'd done serious incidents investigations at the last fuckhole and that was the part of the job that I was best at and enjoyed the most. It was job handler's turn to be surprised I guess. The VESID overlords hadn't bothered to note any of my skills or any of my specific work-related accomplishments before the accident.

There were some other choices in there and other ideas being kicked around. One of the things that I now have courtesy of the traumatic brain injury is that in conversation I can be somewhat of a motor mouth, hopping around topics with no perceived organizational schemata. It's called random chaotic style. It doesn't bother me nearly as much as it seems to bother others. I think of it as part of my innate brain-damaged charm. If I can't have grace and flowing words, then by golly I can have random chaotic style. It is much worse in unstructured settings. At least I've managed to get the cursing under fairly tight control. The meeting with the job handler I think was supposed to be a bit more structured but I just wasn't able to respond well to her attempts at structure. The meeting took an hour and a half as a result. The next meeting [topic: resume] is scheduled for earlier in the afternoon.

sapphoq on life

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Finding Common Ground

The things you learn in maturity aren't simple things such acquiring information & skills. You learn not to engage in self destructive behavior. You learn not to burn up energy in anxiety. You discover how to manage your tensions. You learn that self pity & resentment are among the most toxic of drugs. You find that the world loves talent but pays off on character. You come to understand that most people are neither for you nor against you: they are thinking about themselves. You learn that no matter how much you try to please, some people in this world are not going to love you - a lesson that is at first troubling & then really quite relaxing.

-- John W. Gardner


excerpts from my own posts at http://pagannation.com :

Well, okay.
There are a bunch of things here that I don't know or can only guess at and perhaps we agree on some of those?

I don't know how person X is as a mother.
Person B has seen person X with her kids.
My fellow wingnut friend C for whom I feel some affection has not observed Person X with her kids.
I will rely on the observations made by Person B-- that Person X is a good mother to her kids.
And yes, I have to agree it is a low blow to any mother to be accused of poor parenting or things similar or worse.

I don't know how many screws loose any of us have.
Is having one big screw loose worse than having two or three little ones loose? What proportion of big screws to little screws determine the severity of the rattling around of a brain?

Even if any or some or two or all of us do have screws loose, is that germane to the original argument?
Is my not being entirely sure of the original argument an indication of too much caffeine [actually caffeine calms me down] or too little caffeine or
an indication of my own brain injury gone awry from fatigue or
perhaps that I've just stumbled into this forum haphazardly?

I don't remember getting born.
A bunch of other people assure me that I was born.
On earth.
So if they are lying, is there a chance that I am a martian viking transplant?
How do I know?
What are my sources?
How valid are they?
Can they overcome my innate strangeness and sense of otherness?

Or, maybe you think I am a whack shack and in that respect as bad as Alan Webster or should be committed or a funny farm escapee or
any number of things.

Here I have to admit that vingnut, whack shack, mental derangement, screws loose, schizo, hallucinating... are just words to me and rather devoid of meaning or threat.

And if you were to tell me that I need "mental help" of some sort, since you aren't my medical doctor I am free to discount that conclusion while admitting that my posting is off the wall.

Yet if you began calling me a Untied [spelling on purpose] Statsian version of Alan Webster [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article787073.ece], I am free to examine the evidence and conclude that there really isn't any evidence for me being an Alan Webster [http://www.guardian.co.uk/crime/article/0,,1793469,00.html] in the making.

As Nathaniel Branden would say [badly paraphrased here] what other people think about me today can never be as important to me as what I know to be true about me.

What I am trying to convey here is that as long as PersonX knows he is not as sick as despised scumbag, not as bad as despised scumbag, not like despised scumbag; and there is no legal evidence that he has ever done things similar to the things despised scumbag has done [shudder],

isn't it more important that PersonY and crew know that he is not despised scumbag, as bad as despised scumbag, or like despised scumbag in respect to that sort of stuff?

This is a forum. It is a lively forum and there are some exciting people here yet it is a forum. Whatever mix of people on this forum may like me, hate me, think ill of me, wish me well, don't have many thoughts about me at all, it is still just a forum.

The sun will more than likely rise and set somewhere in the world at some time tomorrow, my dog will still wish for me to take her for a walk and spend time with her, there will still be laundry to do and bills to pay and frogs for me to feed, and so on.

Marian Zimmer Bradley said, "The world will go on as it will, and not as you or I would have it."

Bowing out now,
spike q. whack shack


***

To practice self-assertiveness is to live authentically, to speak and act from your innermost thoughts and feelings, as a way of life-allowing for the obvious fact that there may be circumstances in which you wisely choose not to do so-for example, when confronted by a hold-up man.

— Nathaniel Branden


My self-respect is not based on how well I defend myself in a public forum
*or on whether or not I choose to defend myself at any given time in a public forum or in real f2f life
*or on people choosing to think less of me because of my choices in this matter.

I don't operate under the same rules or shoulds as you do.
Different strokes for different folks.


Of course it is always acceptable for someone to choose to defend themselves, their reputation, their character, their abilities, their family members...

The operative word here for me is "choice."

There are times when I may deliberately choose not to defend myself. When I choose thusly, it is an active conscious choice. In my own case, my level of self-respect does not dictate my actions or my choices when it comes to arguments and disagreements.

For example, lets' say you or someone here accuses me of being as bad as despised scumbag or a pedohead or another Alan Webster [http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/legal/article752141.ece] or really sick in the head, demented, needing medication, or any other thing. My choice to defend myself or not will be based on several factors.

When I choose to defend myself, my self-respect is not one of the determinants in making that conscious deliberate choice.
When I choose not to defend myself, it is not a sign that my own self-respect is sinking or not existing at a good enough level.

I appreciate that self-respect may be one of the factors for others when they decide to defend their character. It just doesn't weigh when I have to pick which battles I will fight, that's all...

spike

I am a viking vingnut or is that a wiking wingnut
or maybe a ...

***

Of course it is always acceptable for someone to choose to defend themselves, their reputation, their character, their abilities, their family members...

The operative word here for me is "choice."

There are times when I may deliberately choose not to defend myself. When I choose thusly, it is an active conscious choice. In my own case, my level of self-respect does not dictate my actions or my choices when it comes to arguments and disagreements.

For example, lets' say you or someone here accuses me of being as bad as despised scumbag or a pedohead or another Alan Webster [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Webster] or really sick in the head, demented, needing medication, or any other thing. My choice to defend myself or not will be based on several factors.

When I choose to defend myself, my self-respect is not one of the determinants in making that conscious deliberate choice.
When I choose not to defend myself, it is not a sign that my own self-respect is sinking or not existing at a good enough level.

I appreciate that self-respect may be one of the factors for others when they decide to defend their character. It just doesn't weigh [in] when I have to pick which battles I will fight, that's all.

spike

***

My intention was not to call into question Person X's ability to parent and nurture her children.
Nor was my intention to smear or besmirch anyone's character in any way.

Actually, my intention was to find a tiny bit of common ground with you rather than to concentrate on our differences.

Perhaps you or anyone may wish to ask Friend C why she said the things she said. Or not as you choose.

It is not for me to speculate upon the actions of another. For me to guess would be mental masturbation. My brain is battered enough from thinking my way through everyday life.

I endeavor not to engage in sorting people into categories such as [opposing camps]. Usually, I will take people at their word unless there is a preponderance of credible evidence to the contrary.

...The rest of my post did have something to do with all of the name-calling, character assassination, labeling on the parts of many of us here regardless of "sides" and alliances-- and other thoughts and observations that flitted through my head at the time that I was typing it.

As always, you or anyone is free to disregard or to place my name on the iggy collection.

If it don't apply, let it fly.

Kyrra,
spike

***

Your balls don't itch?
I was just about to suggest athlete's foot cream...I don't see why that wouldn't help itching in damp places.

I will duck now.
spike

***

No. I'm saying [that if] you stick your feet on your balls often enough they can suffer from fungus.

Okay now I am really ducking.

spike

***

Warm coffee salve applied to the balls will relieve the itch temporarily.

I read that in a book somewhere.

spike

***


Regarding Person Z's chocolate balls.
No actual balls were harmed in the creation of this treat.
Had they been harmed, we would have told you so...

Actually, his balls are like fluffy bunnies.
They reproduce, however not on this plane.
The chocolate balls have reproduced themselves on an astral parallel plane of existence, thus we are free to offer you Person Z's chocolate balls for loving and gushing without impinging upon the immoral scrutinies of anyone observing us for fear of us becoming a mob of thinkers and doers--

On the second day of solstice, my lover gave to me
two chocolate balls and a...

spike q. chocolate freak

***

Oh goody an assassination.
Two tickets for front row seats please and some popcorn heavily buttered.

Two-four-six-eight!
Who do we assassinate?

Oh what's that? Yuck, no thanks. I don't eat hot dogs and I don't allow my dog to either.

spike

***

Quote: Spike, you have been assassinated!

I have resurrected myself with the help of a holy pot of coffee poured onto my smoldering remains.

*Ta-da*
Never better.
Wow. More muscles even.
And I'm thinner and blonder.

Walking along in the woods by the coliseum, my dog brings back a limb-- looks like a right forearm-- of--
oh no it couldn't be!-- Person R!

Crap! Hey everyone, Person R has been assassinated!
Oh what to do, what to do.

Doggie, put down that limb!

spike


Quote:
Here's how it works:

I just assassinated you! You are now dead. Or you can resurrect yourself and assassinate someone else. All you have to do is just post in the assassination forum this entire post...

Okay, I can't tell you who assassinated me, or I'll lose! So, I have chosen to resurrect myself and assassinate you!

GAME ON!!!

***

I don't believe that our government has proven itself to be adept at keeping very many secrets secret.

Nope, I don't believe that Bush "ordered" 9/11, plotted it, caused it, was in cahoots on it, or any other thing.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/1227842.html

http://www.debunking911.com/

http://www.daylightatheism.org/2006/05/loose-marbles-i.html


***

I do not believe that President Bush is a puppet of the Religious Right. There are many assumptions about his specific religious beliefs floating around

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A24634-2004Sep15.html

however, I am personally appalled at some of his policies. There is some evidence for the idea that the agendas of the Religious Right are being pushed through the Senate and Congress in the form of various laws.

http://www.theocracywatch.org/
The folks at Theocracy Watch are based from Cornell U.

Call me reactionary or a crackpot or any other name if you will, I care not.

Bottom line for me is I don't particularly care for what is happening to this country in terms of religiosity and how that effects policy-making.

We disagree on this last I am sure and I for one agree to disagree peaceably.

spike

***

Yep, well-versed on that aspect.
And opinionated too.

I don't happen to believe that Bush is anyone's pawn.
I do believe that the preponderance of evidence points toward the founding fathers [signers of the declaration of independence] were deists rather than christians

and that furthermore, even if the United States was founded as a christian nation, it does not naturally follow that it should remain so today.

spike

***

I like fluffy bunnies coated with shake-n-bake and barbequed.

spike
a wiking wingnut
_________________________
I am a viking vingnut or is that a wiking wingnut
or maybe a ...

***

...am I growing on you like a fungus?

I hear that coffee is a great anti-fungal...

spike q. fungus

Fungi rule. Pictures of fungi altered make great backgrounds for e-stationary.

***

Okay, I am not a fungus then.
A mold?

I must be a mold.

That's it! I'm a mold.

[spike goes wandering off in the direction of coffee and happy pills]

***


sapphoq on life

Thursday, November 15, 2007

On Poetry, Writing, and stuff like that

I started writing poetry in fourth grade.
It wasn't until high school that I began experimenting with prose poems
without rhyming words at the end.

Although I like to play with words using internal rhyming,
alliteration, and other stuff like that, I am lousy when it comes to traditional rhyme and meter schemes. Consequently, almost all of my poetry is written in the style of prose poetry.

Even with a rhyming dictionary such as the one that can be found at:
http://www.rhymezone.com/, my attempts at rhyming are un-good!

Here is my latest endeavor-- the beginning of a prose poem:

The kitten ran out into the street, then stopped halfway.
He strutted up to me, staring at 60 pounds of blond
fur trying to hide behind my legs.
"Oh, what a cute kitten!" I said to the woman on the curb
as I dragged the scared dog out from her hiding place.
"You want him?" she asked.
"He's going to the pound in an hour along with his
two brothers and one sister."

Rhyming used to be much more popular and in my opinion, people used to be better at it. Some rhymed poetry has become classic.

Roses are red,
violets are blue.
Sugar is sweet,
and so are you.


There are other variations out there.
Roger Miller wrote this one:

They say roses are red
And violets are purple,
Sugar is sweet
And so is maple surple.


Here are a couple more that I've heard:

Roses are blue,
violets are red.
If you believe this,
you're sick in the head.

Roses are red.
Violets are bluish.
My audience has all fled
cuz at rhyming I'm newish.

Violets are blue
and roses are red.
I'm 'llergic to them it's true,
so I'll have the fake ones instead.

My dad is a big fan of Shel Silverman, thus as a kid I got to hear dad's renditions of many of his songs and verses.
Dad would recite random ditties such as
"I never saw a purple cow. I never hope to see one. But I can tell you this right now-- I'd rather see than be one."
And the ultra-risque "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Pull down your britches and slide on the ice."
He would sing out, "There's a dead skunk in the middle of the road" whenever there was one and he knew all the words to fun songs like "I don't want a pickle, I just want to ride my motor-sickle. And I don't want to die. I just want to ride my motorcy------cle."
He too liked the sound of words.
I never read anything he wrote though and I wonder now if he himself has written anything.
I shall have to ask him about that.

I remember when I got older that dad had a subscription to Omni right along with his subscription to Playboy.
I counted myself lucky because I was able to read both.
I never did tell my mother about the Playboy articles. She wouldn't have appreciated it.
Dad also was interested in psychology, an interest which I share. He allowed me free reign to his own book collection, much as my maternal grandmother did. I read what I wanted there and there was no judgement about material being "too old" for me.
Things I didn't understand he explained in ways that I understood.

My mother sold me on Robert Lewis Stevenson and I spent lots of time reading his stuff.
My mother didn't break out into spontaneous song or verses but she did encourage me to write my own poems.
And she knew that Saturday was Library Day as far as I was concerned.

Many Saturdays I walked the couple miles to the library where I would search the aisles for books to check out. I always walked to and from the library, although the buses were available and I knew how to use them. On one such walk, my younger friend Richard and I threw ice cream cones off a bridge and one landed inside a police cruiser. On others, Richard or Grace and I stopped at the local greasy pizza spot for slices or bought cherries off the vendor on the corner. If no friends were around to go with me, I went alone. I loved the library. I can still see the outside of our neighborhood branch, the blue aluminum-looking framed windows, the take out desk, the houses and stores and streets along the way.

I enjoyed the school library also. We had a one-legged librarian-- she had bone cancer and used crutches rather than a fake leg, I don't know why-- who taught me how to find books in the library, was willing to allow some classmates and I access to the Life magazine issue with the pictures of embryos and fetuses, and always listened to what we had to say. I remember going through reading binges-- one month I read all of the biographies of scientists in the library. I also went through binges of fiction from other countries, mysteries, and series. I was a serious child. Words were everything to me. I was a word nerd.

Those trips to the library, along with helping the one-legged elementary school librarian shelve books, parents who fostered my love of words all contributed to my desire to have my stuff published. I've had lots of stuff published now and yet I can still remember the first acceptance letter, and getting a copy of the first zine with my words in it.


sapphoq the word nerd on life

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Kessler Institute


Kessler Institute is a rehab in West Orange, New Jersey. I had read the founder's biography several years before I actually got to go there to visit a friend of a friend. Kessler has an excellent reputation for dealing with folks with spinal cord and brain trauma.

My friend Jeannie had a friend named Brian who got into a bad smash-up which caused him to become a wheelchair user. He was rehabbing at Kessler. Jeannie and I went to pick him up one Saturday and took him to a park in Montclair to hang out for the afternoon.

That evening we returned and I believe I remember seven or eight of us visiting with Brian in his room. He had the bed closest to the door and the bed by the window facing West Orange Avenue was unoccupied. Visiting hours were over at eight. A bit before that-- must have been in the summer cuz the sun was still up when I did this-- I threw my car keys at Jeannie who was too young to have a driver's license and persuaded her to go pick up some pizza and some beer. She was reluctant. I was not a force to be reckoned with. I was already high I think. In those days, nothing interfered with my desire to get stoned. I remember Jeannie climbing out the window and down the fire escape which dropped to the front of Kessler and the winding driveway.

Some time later, Jeannie came back with the pizza and the beer. [And the car intact. She had not been stopped]. We were all partying, sucking down the beer and the pizza. I remember a blue haze in Brian's room from the marijuana smoke. The announcement was made for visitors to leave. A nurse came through to check the rooms for stray visitors, got to Brian's room, opened the door, took one look at all of us kids having a party, closed the door very tightly, and fled. We didn't get kicked out and nothing was ever said to Brian by the staff.

In my youthful stupidity, I imagined that the nurse and Kessler must have thought that a head-spinal injury patient drinking, drugging, and eating pizza with a gang of kids in his room was somehow good for his morale. I didn't know anything about brain injury and very little about spinal injuries. I don't know why the nurse didn't kick us all out that night. Never been able to figure that one out.


sapphoq on life

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The 1812

Back when I was drinking heavily and living in Louisiana,
I had acquired a pretty thick accent.
On my way up nawth one time to visit the relateds,
I stopped in a bar in South Carolina called "The 1812."
I got drunker than drunk and proceeded to
loudly inform everyone there that they were
all just a bunch of "d*mn southern yankees."

sapphoq on life

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Flat


One time I lived in a flat on the bottom floor of an old rambling house. There was one room there which I found to be creepy and so I used it for storage.

The flat on the second floor and the flat on the third floor were mirrors of mine i.e. the layout of rooms was nearly identical.

Turns out a guy in the flat on the top floor in that room [before I lived in that house in my flat] had dropped some acid, painted the room red and black and then killed himself.


sapphoq on life

Colors in Nature


I took a collage class once that my friend Ernie was teaching.
He was an excellent teacher and I learned much from him.
Ernie made an interesting claim when we were talking about
the color wheel, that certain colors do not appear together in
nature like purple and yellow, orange and blue...these colors
were in opposition or non-complementary on the color wheel.
I couldn't leave that one alone. I went home and looked through
a ton of magazines and found flowers and insects where those
colors do indeed exist side by side. I cut them up and turned them
into a collage.
Ernie laughed and laughed.

sapphoq on life

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I remember the muppets

You Are Animal

A complete lunatic, you're operating on 100% animal instincts.
You thrive on uncontrolled energy, and you're downright scary.
But you sure can beat a good drum.
"Kill! Kill!"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Red

My aunt has two cats, Tiger and Red. It may be that husband and I will stand to inherit one or both of them after
my aunt dies if no one else steps forward for them. Tiger is older. Red is younger. Both are female. Both are
overweight. But this is not really about Tiger and Red, or even about cats.

His name was Red. He had no other. He had a red curly fro and green eyes and coffee-color skin. He was chunky.
He has a sidekick whose name was Slim. Slim was very very dark and very slender. I can still see Red in his tan
shorts and a sleeveless tanktop that read, "Good ass is hard to find." And Slim in blue jean shorts that went down
to his knees and a red tee shirt that had no motto.

I was nineteen, naive and a virgin. Shirley was my party buddy from work. We were both working in a mall
restaurant. I was assigned to the pizza station. Shirley was to train me. I was there for the summer. Shirley
was on welfare and not reporting her income. I had dreams unfulfilled. Shirley had a kid. She was not naive in
the least. She was poor and doing the best she knew how. It was with Shirley that I sprinkled marijuana on some
of the pizza slices, heated them up, and sold them to unsuspecting customers. It was through Shirley that I learned
how different my life was from the lives of those who were stuck.

Shirley and I decided to sell reefer in the city. We met Red and Slim in Brandeis Park. We'd gone there in my
daddy's car to sell reefer. We took Shirley's preschool-aged daughter with us. Shirley didn't ever have a sitter.
Years later, I would be left to wonder what became of her daughter. I hope she escaped her mother's world. That is
something I may never know.

Brandeis Park was small, several blocks off of Broadway and Central Park. Brandeis Park had trees and benches.
The park was full of pushers and gang bangers. I didn't know that. I was a stupid white girl with too many dreams
and not enough reality. My dad would have given me any money I asked for. I was not there out of financial
necessity. I was attending college. I hardly studied and I was getting 4.0s in almost all of my classes. I was an
addict even then. I suspected but didn't know that for sure. It was summer vacation. I had a future for the taking.
I didn't know what I had so through the years I threw it away. What I did that summer was an indication that all
was not right with me. And so this stupid white girl and her worldly friend met two guys in the park.

Shirley and I got to be-- friends isn't quite the right word, associates-- with Red and Slim. Red [and sometimes
Slim] took us to the local Steak n Brew restaurant for steaks and brew. Red always paid. He wouldn't take a dime.
Shirley and I would dig in. I'd been to fancier restaurants but I forgot that when we went out to dinner with Red.
Red played the big shot with his wad of bills and I let it be so. I was deaf to any warning bells going off in my
head. I was afraid of getting busted, of daddy finding out where I was taking his car. Not of anything else.

One Saturday afternoon there was a raid on the park. I didn't know that many of the people selling were packing
heroin. I didn't know the nickname of Brandeis Park-- heroin alley. I didn't know about the pimps and prostitutes
either. Two huge blue buses pulled up along the side street and a ton of cops busted out of them. We stuffed the
marijuana joints we'd been hawking down the lining of Shirley's little girl's box of crackers. Red, Slim, Shirley,
her child, and I headed for the little bar across the busy street. The little bar was in the middle of the block.
We watched the action over our drinks. I think I was drinking something fruity. After the buses left, we went back
to the park. A woman came up to Red crying. "They took my man away." There were still customers waiting for our
return.

Shirley had warned me never to go to Red's apartment without her. I didn't fully comprehend her warning. I was a
stupid white girl, playing at the game of grown-ups and ill-equipped for life on the streets. I knew nothing.
I went into the city alone one Friday. I met up with Red. "The dasheki is at my apartment," he told me. I went
with him. We walked the ten blocks to his rooming house. A man behind a wooden split door nodded as Red and I
walked in.

Down the hallway to the left was Red's room. It was a disgusting room. The paint was old and greasy. A mattress
to the right against the wall shared with the hallway. One window to the left. I ran out of the door naked but
Red pulled me back in. If the man behind the wooden split door heard my scream, he ignored it.

Red raped me. I thought he was going to kill me. This was not the promised, "I will get you a nice apartment in
the City" guy. This was a man who was hell-bent on taking from me something that wasn't his to take. With "You're
gonna miss my lovin'..." playing from his cheap boombox in the background. I don't remember coming the first time.
"Two more times," he told me. I faked them.

Afterwards sitting on the bed, Red apologized. Said he had to do it. Said he didn't think he would ever see me
again and he was sorry for that. Insisted upon walking me to my car because the streets were dangerous. Gave me
the dasheki though.

I drove home numb and became hysterical later. I woke my dad up finally. "I been fucked," I kept yelling. Finally
he asked me, "Where were you tonight?" The story came out through my hot tears. The next day, he sent me and my
step-mother shopping. I never could talk to her. Too bad now I think. She knew some things my dad didn't.

My dad had contacted his lawyer and was advised that pressing charges would do no good because of the dealing. A
rapist got away with it that time. Did he ever get caught? How many other women? I never found out and never went
looking for the information. With my photogenic memory of places, I know I can find the rooming house, Brandeis
Park, and Red [if he is still around the area there] if I choose to go looking. I don't choose so today. What will
I say to him? Shall I tell him I'm sorry that I held a resentment towards him in good A.A. fashion and beg his
forgiveness? Ask him how he's been, if he ever went to prison, got religion, got recovery? Tell him to fuck off?

When things calmed down a bit, my dad would start in on me over breakfast. "About what you did this summer..." I
learned to sleep late. He endorsed the movie, "Looking for Mr. Goodbar." I was horrified when I did see the movie
years later. School started up again and I went to the library. It was in the stacks that I discovered research
that told me that 50% of families blame the victim for the rape. My dad was blaming me for being raped by a black
guy. He didn't want me to have black friends. I kept my black friends. I knew that rape was not about color or
sex. It was about power. I wasn't able to bring myself to see a gynocologist until a year and half after the rape.
She offered me legal uppers. I left shaken and bitching about the drug-pushing doctors. I didn't know that my
addiction was robbing me of my free will. It would be several more years until I was freed. And years before I
could take on the mantle of my own power.

I think I may have tried to put on Red's dasheki but found myself unable to wear it. Who could wear a gift like
that? Years later, I found the Take Back the Night marches in Albany and defiantly walked through the streets
at night with other survivors of rape, sexual abuse, incest. I became more than a statistic, more than my history.
It was a struggle. I fought violently for the right to be. And today I am.

Within the current menagerie, there is one red kitten. He is ever curious, bold, and sure of who he is. Husband
would have wanted to name him "George" after all the red cats in his family. I wanted him to be his own cat. I
listened to his sould and named him Twinkle. With the twinkling of stars comes a wish and a promise and maybe even
riches. If we do inherit my aunt's cats, Red will become Ruby. Ruby for the richness of living, of being able to
love in spite of trauma, for the warrior that I have become.

sapphoq on life

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The First Cutting

Disclaimer: Those who are looking for scholarly essays on the witch's holidays based on ancient, historical resources are encouraged to look elsewhere. There are thoughts and memories only. No gnosis. No, not even that.

Some folks in the witching world are celebrating Lugh's Day [as I call it] or Lughnassad or Lammas. At least one group of pagans has gone off to the local park for a picnic and a swim over the weekend. Some other folk got together and had games and such dedicated to Lugh. I didn't. One druid of my acquaintance broadly insists that August 1 is the first day of autumn. Not here.

My second teacher celebrated the Solstices and Equinoxes as the major holidays and hardly gave a passing nod to the other four. Not quite a newbie some years ago, I was amazed to discover during my brief exposure to a witch temple of sorts that I was out of step when it came to holidays. I don't much care now. I still hold the Solstices and Equinoxes as the major days and consider them to be the astronomical marking of each new season. It was only through a flurry of stints in public witch circles that I began to grudgingly acknowledge Sam Hain, Bridhe's Birthday, Belta[i]ne, and Lugh's Day.

Oh, I don't have anything against Lugh. I'm sure he was a grand fellow and very skilled at all that he undertook. I like Bridhe well enough. And Hallowe'en costumes are pretty cool as is fertility rites superimposed upon the driving of cattle through fire to get rid of their fleas and stuff. And I am sorry that the English weather by all accounts is rather crappy. Damn the potato famine too. Yet, I don't live in England or anywheres near there and I am no druid.

I am the grandchild of two dead farmers. My grands bought their farm in their retirement years and worked hard to gain a living out of the cows and the land. My grandmother had quite the green thumb. Anything she planted grew. She planted by the moon.
She kept a faithful record of daily temperatures for many years. My grandfather was a dour man who kept making me promise him never to become a farmer. He wore a green cap and had two tractors and a red truck. Grandma understood what I was becoming. Grandpa consoled my fancy for candy and other sweets while fighting his own madness and his tobacco habit. He managed to quit smoking.

In addition to the cows, two dogs, chickens, geese, and barn cats, my grands raised hay. They had hay fields, including one which got infested with pumpkins along the southern edge after my grandfather had dumped pumpkin seeds on a manure pile there. My grands would watch the weather carefully and when there was three days lined up without rain, they would go out toward the end of July or early August and take the first cutting. After cutting, the hay laid down for three days-- and provided the weather co-operated by being dry-- then it was baled and thrown into the creaky ol' black hay wagon, then taken to the barn where it was then transported to the top room.

It was hard sweaty work for two older people, one of them prone to severe untreated depressions. My grandmother could run circles around both my grandfather and the hired kid from down the road when it came to working. A couple of years before he died though, my grandpa had two heart attacks in succession. The second was worse than the first, as is typical. Damage was severe. The cardio doc wanted my grandfather to not lift, not work the farm, not drive the tractors. By April, grandpa was doing all of that and more daily. When he died, it was cancer that took him. His heart remained loyal 'til the end.


My own heart is not into this artificiality of picnics and games. The
artificiality of celebrating Lugh's Day or Lughnassad or Lammas hurt. I stopped doing it. The First Cutting is what has meaning for me, the grandchild of two dead farmers. The first cutting of my memory was the first yield, the first harvesting of the hay. The first cutting prepares the way for the second cutting.

And so in my life, I gather the first fruits of my own endeavors this year and I wonder. I take the dog over to the creek and we watch first and second year bullfrogs dart into the water, swim under rocks, pop out to lay on top of one, sit quietly by a frog hole, test out their voices. The dog wades right in. I hold myself back in wonder and in awe. A slinky blue dragonfly hovers over the weeds growing in a clump by the shoreline. A few birds trill loudly to each other from trees farther away. The natural flow and ebbing of life's tides; the cycles of grow, green, brown, die, begin again; it just keeps going.

I used to be a go-getter. I am no longer. Now I am content to sit by a creek watching and waiting. I gather my thoughts to myself like stray children and I wonder-- will the rain hold off for three days for me this year? Or will my own hay field grow moldy and damp under the onslaught of the summer rains?

spike

Saturday, July 28, 2007

9/23/05 Mabon Thoughts of a Heretic

A bit early for this perhaps but nevertheless...


Nathaniel Branden, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem. Bantam, New York 1994. p.8

"But if I lack respect for and enjoyment of who I am, I have very little to give --except my unfilled needs. In my emotional impoverishment, I tend to see other people essentially as sources of approval or disapproval. I do not appreciate them for who they are in their own right. I see only what they can or cannot do for me."

Armando Favazza, PsychoBible- Behavior, Religion and the Holy Book. Pitchstone Publishing, Charlottesville, Va, 2004. pp. 227-228.

That self-mutililation may be a morbid type of self-help is not such a far-fetched idea...Consider the Hamadsha, a group of Islamic, Sufi healers in Morocco...Then they dance and slash their heads. This is the moment that the sick participants have awaited. They step forward, dip bread or sugar cubes in the freely flowing blood, and eat the miraculous food in the belief that the power of healing resides in the healers' blood...here the therapists mutililate themselves to benefit the patients...'

"...At another level, however, the symbolism of the behavior suggests something profound, something that is embedded in elemental experiences of healing, salvation, and social orderliness. Without understanding why or how, some self-mutililators seem to tap into these experiences unconscioulsy, intuitively seeking to heal themselves and to restore order to their disordered minds and lives...'

"In shamanisn...the healing of illness and reversal of misfortunes are affected by the shaman's personal contact with the spirit world."

Issac Bonewits, Real Magic. Weiser Books, Boston, 1971. pp148-149, 159.

"...general prayers...Passages are then read from various books...Thus the deity in effect replies to the prayers just offered...sermon...basket...resumes his dialogue with the god, presenting him with gifts, especially bread and wine...'

"The priest now identifies himself with the god by repeating the incantation that turns the bread and wine into the body and blood of the god...If you are a Catholic, this is a literal change...if you are a Prostestant, this is a symbolic change. Somewhere there is a very important difference between these two terms; you can tell because millions of men, women, and children were maimed, mutiliated, and murdered over it...'

"Now the congregation and the priest consume the now tangible god, believing that in doing so they will absorb his power and characteristics....The minister tells the people that their prayers will be granted, that the god is with them, and then dismisses them."

"Note the pattern so far: Supplication-Introduction, Reply from the Deity (or personified group-mind), Identification of Participants with the Deity (same note), Statement of Requests and Statement of Success."

Image

Take the passage by Nathaniel Branden and substitute the word "god" or "higher power" or deity of your choice where it says other people. Thus you now have a description of an impaired relationship with divinity:

"But if I lack respect for and enjoyment of who I am, I have very little to give-- except my unfulfilled needs. In my emotional impoverishment, I tend to see...' [insert the deity or deities of my choice here] '...as [a source or] sources of approval or disapproval. I do not appreciate [him or her or] them for who [he or she is, or] they are in [his or her or] their own right. I see only what [he or she or] they can or cannot do for me."

How we grown out of that sort of relationship with divinity? Or have we clung fast to it because it is the only thing we have ever known? What is a good [Pagan, Christian, Polytheist, Monotheist, Duodeist, regular Deist, Nontheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Moslem, Spiritualist ...] to do? How can we grow away from our old notions and mature into something better?

At the risk of offending everyone, I'd much rather believe in the flying spaghetti monster or in the olden Hebrew god who made the world and then flat-left it than base my self-esteem on my idea of whether or not I am looked upon with favor by any god or goddess. If I believe in the flying spaghetti monster or in nothing or in the impersonal forces of nature which are indifferent to my pleas, my life becomes simpler. I don't have to get hung up on whether or not I am going to heaven or the summerlands or the flying spaghetti spaceship in the sky when I die. I can concentrate on the here and now, squeezing whatever joy I can out of each day-- and not forgetting to share the joy. Can I have joy without a personal relationship with the olden ones of my pagan roots? You betcha. Can I have morality without religion? Sure I can. And it is unencumbered by a belief in the twist of fate, no coincidences, the frozen chosen, or being 'right where I'm supposed to be.' Why then should I believe?

Why then magic? Why then the cycle of prayers, reading/singing/sounding instruments, meditation, gathering energy, sending, cakes and ale, grounding the circle? Why not just skip the whole deal?

There is freedom when walking the [somewhat modified] path of my spiritual ancestors. There is power too. This mantel of power I will not deny. Because I am not afraid of my separateness--my intrinsic aloneness--I do not fall into the error of believing that individualism must be dammed in favor of the new agey "we" of the cosmic soul. Because I embrace who I am, I am no longer a frightened child calling in the dark praying to whoever cares to answer. I no longer have to hide behind the great collective "we." I have grown up.

Because I have freedom from religion, I can freely choose how to conduct my life without regard to whose god is the right one. And I don't have to fear scientific knowledge. I can truly embrace life as being sacred. And I can truly celebrate diversity.

I am a Pagan. I am a Solitary Hedge Witch. These words are visceral. They are words of power because they hit me in the gut. These words sprang forth from my innermost being when I first began to re-claim all that I am.

What do I believe? Do I believe? Are all the gods one god and all the goddesses one goddess? Are there more than two? Are there less than two? Why does this matter to you? How I work with power and spiritual principles is within the sacristy of my own life. Shall I profane it by spelling out my spiritual or religious beliefs or non-beliefs? What does it matter who or what I gather energy from? It is not the who, it is the how. It is focused intent. It is healing. Witches didn't used to be afraid of pissing into bottles or of offering their own blood. They knew something that our sanitized society and modern how to be a witch books no longer care to acknowledge. In the healing, blood must be spilled.

In the healing, blood must be spilled. People who cut feel the pain of the universe keenly. In western society, people who cut are looked upon as pariahs and social outcasts. People who cut need "treatment" where very often the professional helpers do not believe that people who cut can truly "get well." The best the professional helpers can hope for is that their cutting patients can "age out of their personality disorders." The professional helpers all participate in professional supervision sessions lest they catch the 'craziness' of their cutting customers. If the cutting is the letting of blood, then is there not a holy act in the release? In our society, cutters are unhappy traumatized people who need "treatment." In other societies with other expectations, cutters are holy people and healers.

In the Moroccan society, Shamans cut their own heads open. The afflicted partake of the sacred offering of blood by mixing it with the staff or the sweetness of life. Bread has been called the staff of life. The holy man Jesus is called the bread of life. Jewish people offer each other sugar cubes during their new year as a symbol of the sweetness of life that is possible. Isaiah in the hebrew bible tells us, "By his stripes we are healed." [KJV]. Wounds caused by whipping bleed. Some modern day celebrants of easter in Spain beat on drums until their hands bleed. Others flagellate themselves in religious estacy. Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in blood transfusions. There is indeed power in the blood. Cutters and people of faith all acknowledge this power in different ways. But it is there, whether we embrace it or deny it.

Catholics and Protestants unite with a tangible god in partaking of communion. The body and blood of their god is [or is like] the bread and wine is [or is like] the cakes and ale of the Witches is like dipping bread and sugar cubes into bleeding heads of shamans. Vodoun practitioners refer to loa possession as "riding the head."

Learning to navigate through this life with true power is the challenge I present to you today. Remember though, that all revolutions are bloody. It is indeed a bloody gauntlet that I throw down before all of us, regardless of anyone's creed or non-creed.

May we all put on the mantel of power and embrace ourselves in our aloneness. Only by embracing our aloneness can we truly find each other without merging into nothingness.

-spike q

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Horses

My first horse was a rocking horse. It was set upon springs attached to a metal frame. The horse was made out of some kind of plastic stuff-- a golden painted coat with blond mane and tail. It had reins too, leather ones attached to c-rings round the sides of its head. The rocking horse was set up in the kitchen off to one side and I spent quite some time "riding" it and repeating words like "Hi ho Silver" while I was at it.

My parents had an old black-and-white Dodge with a red interior. I didn't mind sitting in the back because there was a handle from a broom back there. I would straddle it and balance on the armrest and "ride" while [usually it was] my mother drove. I remember "riding" my makeshift horse as my mother was speeding up a hill in Jersey City. Nowadays I suppose she would get pulled over because I was quite the obstruction in her rearview mirror.

When I was in junior high school, my dad bought two horses. His was a wild black thing named Domino. My horse was named Spain. She was brown and very easy to ride. She responded to voice commands and knee commands as well as to the reins. Spain and I spent many pleasant hours in the [reservation] woods behind Turtle Back Zoo. There was a gaggle of kids around the stables and I became friends with at least one or two of them. Off we would go on the horses down the road to the trails. After a good ride to the waterfalls, we took the horses to MacDonald's. One of us would run in and the horses were treated to those high-sodium fried burgers which I am quite sure were no better for them than they are for us.

After a few years of bliss, the horses were traded in for downhill ski equipment. I had several wild winters on the slopes of New Jersey, New York, and Vermont. I got lessons but was a bit of a reckless one screaming, "To your left," or "To your right," as I went bombing down some mountain or other out of control and somewhat stoned. Some ski bum in Vernon Valley taught me how to ski backwards down the mountain. The ski patrol let us be. I don't know why. Skiing backwards is very similar to ice skating backwards, only on a downhill slant. I was able to jump moguls by time I moved down south.

Once I moved back north, it was cross-country skiing in the same woods that I hiked in the summers that stole my heart away. The only money involved was gas to get there and back. The added advantage was that I could take whatever dog or dogs owned me at the time. I have two sets of xc skis. Now I also have snowshoes and much prefer them because I get to break through really deep snow.

These years later, I still remember Spain with a fondness. I had many drunken and high times on the slopes but it is that gentle brown horse that shines in my memory.

sapphoq on life

Monday, June 25, 2007

Two Lovers *triggering; suicide*

A co-worker who I hardly knew at one of the last jobs came in one night and proceeded to tell me [who she hardly knew] that she wasn't "going to be around much longer." She was rather vague about the reasons behind her statement. On the surface, she wasn't crying and didn't appear to be hallucinating and wasn't making statements about offing herself.

I told her anyway about some counseling place I was going to at that time and gave her the phone number. She took the paper and put it in her pocket.

The next night I was scheduled to work with her, she didn't show. Neither did a married man who was supposed to be working somewheres else for the same company. Cops went to his apartment. They found both of them dead in there. He'd shot her and then shot himself. Or maybe it was the other way around. Regardless, they were both dead.


Love sucks sometimes.
spike q.

Motorcycle

My dad used to race in motocross but I don't remember that cuz it was before I was born. He used to sing a lot of Shel Silverstein songs to me. One of them went, "I don't want a pickle. I just wanna ride my motor-sickle..."

It was my mother's brother-in-law who gave me my first ride on a motorcycle. He had a burgundy red Honda and it had a bit of gold on the bodywork. That I remember. He had boots. I remember that too. He took me about six blocks and then back to his house again in a large rectangular route. It was fascinating and I loved it.

sapphoq on life

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Friends


We are alone.
That is truth.
Even those of us with headmates or remnants or fragments,
they are alone in their own skins too.
My friend Junior from Baton Rouge had headmates.
He told me about alone.
And I understood as much as a bastardized singleton could.

He was explaining his system to me, told me one of his headmates did the laundry.
"Cool," I said. I hated doing laundry.
He shook his Junior head. "No, not really."

I didn't have any headmates, remnants, or fragments.
Or if I did, they were all lazy bastards who refused to do laundry
or much of anything else.

I force myself to do stuff, have been since the major depression tried to swallow me many years ago.
Sometimes I get sick of it but I notice that I am mostly better off.
I forced myself to shower.
I forced myself to do laundry, go to work, walk the dog, find a routine, exercise, call my parents, pretend to be interested,
pretend to be social, eat something other than junk food.
And even after those things became a regime,
I forced myself to do more things.
I didn't want my problems to show.

The "forcing myself to do stuff" is actually part of what was responsible for incorrect V-codes diagnoses until 3 years ago
when the Major Depression turned into "Severe."
V-codes. Those words in the D.S.M. that meant, "You are a bit of a mess but you will get over it cuz you are nermal."
Or, "Your pain is not the pain of metal hell." Whatever.
I knew I had Major Depression.
The V-codes kept me off of the nutwards, even when suicidal.
I suppose that could be a good thing.
From what I know of the nutwards anyways.

I went to visit a friend in the local in-patient mental hell unit of the local hospital
years ago. [I've been to visit more than one friend, but it is this one friend and a
particular visit that I am speaking of].
Some of us were hanging out in her room [open door policy, always] with the
closet but no hangers [too dangerous] and the sealed windows [not just for
climate control].
The bed was locked. Someone unlocked it.
I sat on the bed and someone else made it go way up
and then way down. Way up, way down. Over and over.
It was fun. We were laughing but not insanely.
The M.H.T.A. [pronounced ma-ha-ta] came in.
Without looking at me at all, he said,
"Don't play with your bed." He locked it.
"But Mister," I said. "It isn't my bed. I am in the emergency room waiting
for a bed." He left, never looking at me or anyone else in the room.

The model patient on the unit was allowed to go downstairs unescorted to the gift shop
or to the cafeteria. No one there was allowed to drink caffeinated coffee.
The staff on that unit would have banished the full moon if they could have.

The model patient had gone downstairs, and smuggled back
into the unit six cups of coffee. We all sat on the floor of my friend's room
drinking the forbidden caffeine. Ah, caffeine.
The ma-ha-ta never looked at anyone in the room when doing those pesky little room checks.
If we were all dancing naked, he wouldn't have noticed.
Just as long as we weren't playing with the bed.
I left. My friend stayed a few days longer.
She left. Life goes on.

She went back to her physically abusive husband several months later.
I couldn't watch. Walking away was difficult.
Not what I had envisioned at all.

And now here I am. I don't have the life I envisioned for myself before I became acquainted with
suicideology.
But it is a life. I'm not dead. And not among the walking dead.
That is a plus.
Furthermore, I want life. I like it, even love it.
A significant plus.

If I lived near any of you, I'd come and get you and we would ram all over,
eat in a diner here, go to a bookstore there. We would become acquainted with
each others' obsessions. Mine, in no particular order: frogs, rocks, e-mail addys,
frogs, Medscape, frogs, bookstores, frogs, court teevee.
Yours?
We would chat like old friends and remember not to feel threatened when falling
into periods of comfortable silence.

I do well with the cards dealt to me, something I hear.
Where is the winning hand?
Husband says gamblers are losing before they lay any money down.
Dad said he didn't pay for a college edumacation for me to wind up working in a stained glass factory.
I was doing the best I could, dammit.
I am tired of having to start over and start over and start over.
I march to the beat of a different drum. There's another one.
What the hell does that mean? What drum? Where?
I'm not marching anymore. I'm taking my sweet time.
If I walk too fast or don't think about walking when I walk, I fall over.
Not fun. Ah well. Walking is not automatic anymore.
But I just keep walking. I don't have to force myself to walk.
I like walking. I don't like falling much though.
When all has been said and done,
we mostly all do the best we can with what we got.

Not much of a comfort perhaps.
You said you don't have friends to hang with.
I haven't been sympathetic enough. I don't know how.
Smoothing things over, like frosting on a cake.
I have no patience for that.
I have easy distractAbility. Yeah. The thing that keeps me from
multi-tasking. Oh yeah, no friends. That's right.

My brain bursts with thoughts, all the time.
It keeps my mild expressive aphasia from being noticed.
No treatment for the racing thoughts please.
If I didn't have them, I would appear stupid.
I would fumble awkwardly for words. I wouldn't be able to
cover up, circumvent, work around. I can't exactly make my mouth say
the words in my head sometimes. So I substitute.
It works well enough. Most folks don't notice.

But what is the substitute for not having friends?
It is hard not to have friends to hang with.
Hard not to have people that can drop in and kick back.
chill, watch a movie, help in the garden, laugh at jokes.
But see, they leave, even when one has friends to hang with.
And we are once again left with the cruel reminder of Alone.

The drinking thing never found me friends--
I threw up a lot, no fun for anyone around me back then--
really though, in that condition it is hard to find friends.
Throwing up does nothing to endear one human being to another.
I would have settled for some fun acquaintances yanno,
back in those days. Alone used to be a cruel reminder
of Death. I was younger then. So much younger.
Not anymore. I need Alone. People too, yeah.
I also need Alone. As much as I need the rocks and computers,
frogs and Medscape, e-mail addys and bookstores and court teevee.

Now I do have some friends.
Ones who don't mind my random bursts of speech
and understand that my ways of thinking are different.
Ones who also are not afraid of Alone or Silence.
It took years.

spike: sapphoq on life

Friday, May 25, 2007

Who does he love?


I feel blessed because 'a friend' has nominated our address to receive the special holy handkerchief [on loan]. It came all the way from Oklahoma along with a sealed bible prophecy and instructions to sleep with them by bedside, send the handkerchief and prayer request and donations to the church the next day, and-- only after then please-- open the sealed bible prophecy.

Along with that, a certain guy named Jack T. has come out with a new cartoon tract called, "Fairy Tales?" In it, little Harry kills two classmates cuz they told him that the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny are lies. He goes to juvie hall and then later materializes on the F.B.I.'s most wanted list along with Osama Bin Laden. I won't spoil the ending for yas.

So I am indeed truly uh, blessed. I hope that the god of the gaps isn't too put out by me opening the special sealed bible prophecy before bedtime. Then again, they knew I was gonna do it.

I did the J-trip in high school during breaks from street drugs. "Lift Jesus higher." "Fill my cup Lord." And all of that. "Fill me up buttercup."
My buttercup Jesus turned into a field of dandelions from which I made some kick-ass wine.

Days gone by.
Some say the good ol days were better.
Not necessarily. Mine weren't.

That squeaky clean family of kids the high school gym teacher and her husband had-- one was institutionalized getting denutified and another went through a family 'exorcism.'

I s'pose they looked better on the outside.

To those of you who will tell me that Jesus loves me anyway and he wants me in heaven, read up: If Jesus wants me in heaven, I don't eat no lamb chops. Nice juicy steaks please, baked potatoes dripping with butter, broccoli, and loads of ice cream.

Or I ain't going.


sapphoq on life

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Brief Intro to my High School Memories


I hated high school. I wasn't especially fond of elementary school but high school really bit the fat one. In a last-ditch effort to indoctrinate and inoculate me, I was sent to an all-girls Roman Catholic High School.

Ninth grade: The last religion class before summer vacation.
Priest: What did you learn in this class?
sapphoq: I learned I don't want to be catholic anymore.

Tenth grade: Anytime when we could get away with it.

Peggy: Let's go steal some of those wafers from the chapel.
sapphoq: Okay.
Or alternately.
sapphoq: Let's go steal some of those wafers from the chapel.
Peggy: Okay.

Eleventh Grade: The night of the school play and a bottle of Boone's Farm Grape Wine.

sapphoq: (barfing fluently into toilet in upstairs girls' bathroom)
Clueless woman: Oh my god, someone's having an abortion.

Twelfth Grade: The first week of school.

Carolyn: (coughing up a lung) This isn't pot. This is oregano!

sapphoq: Oh. I been smoking it all summer.


sapphoq on life

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dawn 5/22/07


This morning I got up at 5:23 a.m., threw on some clothes, and waited impatiently for husband to finish his routine game of Civ III so he could follow me in the broken car down to the place where the car supposedly had an appointment "first thing." I got there. I could see the three mechanics inside the building. The one I had spoken with on the phone Sunday morning, so I thought, came out insisted that he hadn't been there on Sunday and he is "backed up" today. It left me scratching my eczema-filled scalp. I know who I had spoken to on Sunday. I've known the head mechanic for years, since before his dog was hit by an errant car whose driver was in a hurry to get away. I left my car there anyways.


I got dropped off back home and took Her Delightful Self for an early morning walk. There was little to no traffic. That was really nice. Just lots of birds chirping away, a couple of lone joggers, one or two people backing out of their driveways leaving for work I guess. The dog was Ecstatic With Happiness to be out so early with the dew still glistening on the grass and the sun like marmalade in a clear sky.

Yesterday, the water department was draining some of the fire hydrants. Ecstatic witnessed their gushing into rivulets pulsating down the dusty streets. There was none of that today, save for the one yard where the pool [must be nice] has been draining through a hose along the grassy boundary into a waiting sewer.

The news flashes pictures of Katrina and Kansas. The kitten, the youngest and most confident of the three felines in residence, pounces on his favorite green "mouse" and then stalks off to do battle with a spider plant whose only crime is also being green. Weather will be sunny today here but rainy again in Kansas. I had grieved long and hard for New Orleans after the rains came and the levees broke. I remember her bright shining like the sun. Years ago, I had walked somewhat stoned and drunkenly up and down her streets with some people who I used to call friends. She had captivated me then. New Orleans of the zoo with the white tiger, Bob Marley and the Whalers playing before the crowns at the Warehouse, glittering things discarded in the gutters the morning after. One morning, we sucked the heads out of crawfish and swizzled beers headed to the Blues Festival where we saw Z.Z. Top. Another, we had dropped acid. I freaked out cuz the youngest woman of the bunch was obviously pregnant. I wrecked her trip, I guess. Did she care about the stuff in her veins flooding the placenta barrier and bringing physical distortion or possible death to the developing fetus inside?

When death stalked those streets last year, I felt the death cries of the vodousaints rising up as one. The dikes have been patched. A shiny casino went up along the wetlands, once again defying the Earth our Mother to do her damnest. Wetlands are nature's defense against flooding. The French had build New Orleans on the wetlands years ago. We who have harnessed technology as our slave have not learned from that mistake. After Katrina, I wanted so to be part of the volunteer rescue effort. But I could not. Physically, I was in no condition to help. Knowing that, I wept bitter tears and stayed home. I convinced husband to send a pittance off to the Red Cross. I made a photolage on one of my blogs and wrote bad poetry. None of those things were enough.

New Orleans was re-built with the sweat of illegal aliens. There are so many jobs there now. Jobs going begging. Not enough people willing to live in a zone where Katrina is bound to happen again, any year now. Maybe this year. Maybe next. Within the decade for sure. Thanks, army corps of engineers for the information. Taco stands replace steaming plates of red beans and rice. Spanish supplants Creole. The destruction of one culture and rising up of another. This is the way the world goes. Knowledge does not always make things easier to bear.

Construction crews all over the States have their share of illegals working on them. When in Illinois, I heard about locals not being able to get those usually higher-paying construction jobs. Better pay than the tire factory even. The bosses were hiring wetbacks at lower wages. More ummph for the buck. In a train cresting the Rockies, my dinner mates concluded that we "have to" provide prenatal care for those women who are bearing United States citizens in their wombs. The Senate is debating the annexation of Mexico and Texas this month. Newt Gingrich read the Mexican Immigration Laws and the mediacs jumped all over him, accusing him of discrimination. They didn't know. Mexico does not want illegal aliens crossing the border either. Unlike the United States, Mexico takes meaningful action against those who would flaunt her boundaries. Time spent in a Mexican prison is time spent courting death, Mexican style. We imperialistic Americans forget that we are subject to the laws of the territory that we travel in. Our "rights" to violate the earth, trample over her sacred lands destroying the delicate balance between flora and fauna stops at our sovereign borders. We citizens of the United States forget.

We have forgotten how to live. We have forgotten the sheer joy of movement, of a dog delighting in an early morning walk. We have forgotten how to live. Broken cars aside, life is rich and succulent like the juice of platanos dulces running down our chins. The kitten warrior is strangely silent, staring out an open window at paradisio. The dog, sated, sleeps on top of the coverlet with the lilac print on her back, feet in the air like some strange apparition. It seems I've forgotten my breakfast napkin. I do not get up from my chair.

sapphoq on life

Thursday, May 17, 2007

PAPER WASP NEST 5/17/07

During the first summer in our home together, husband and I discovered that our property was a magnet for bees and wasps and hornets. We had sweat bees that lived in the ground under some bushes in our backyard, white-faced hornets, huge bumble bees, and paper wasps. [And a dog who delighted in targeting bees mid-flight and then gulping them down live. I was never successful at breaking him of that habit and he never got stung.] There was also a huge growing paper wasp nest hanging off of a cellar window.

One day the following winter, my husband and I were outside together. There was maybe an inch of snow on the ground. I walked over to the paper wasp nest and kicked it. "Oh, good, there aren't any wasps in there looking to sting me." I said as the nest disintegrated into shreds. "You mean you didn't know?" husband asked, slightly paler than his usual skin color shade. "Nope."

Husband did not have such great luck. One day while mowing his mother's lawn, he managed to piss off a bunch of sweat bees who retaliated by stinging him. He thought that perhaps he had mowed over the entry to their ground nest. That may be why he decided that we needed kill off bee spray when a friend and I tore up the backyard bushes a few summers later. I filled up the resulting holes with rocks and one tree. Between the bee spray and the rocks, the little bastards never came back. We still do have some bees flying around but the paper wasps and the white-faced hornets and the sweat bees have pretty much left our yard alone now. I am glad for that and husband is ecstatic. Current dog does not attempt to eat the huge bumble bees which still visit our yard and that is a bonus as well.

In the local news here, there is some talk of "Colony Collapse Disease" which has to do with dead honey bees and apple trees. In the immediate area, it does not seem to be a problem however. I like local apples as well as anyone else here so that is a good thing.

Years ago, my cousins were keeping some bees. I got to go out to the hives in a goon suit and watch as one of my cousins scooped out some honey cells for us to eat. He gave me a glob to hold and a bee "hatched" in my gloved hand. Even that did not leave me terrified of bees. I did get stung by a hornet or something once and my instantaneous reaction was to slap the nasty thing off of my finger. I slapped it so hard, that the little horn-like stinger was left in my finger sans insect. I removed it. I had a scar there for a bit but it has now faded.


sapphoq on life

Sunday, May 06, 2007

INDIAN DOLLS 5/6/07

My step-grandmother used to go see relatives in Canada. She used to bring me back Indian dolls. They were made of plastic, with blinking eyes and black hair and leather outfits with little beads for decoration. A few of them came with papooses. One time she gave me a little wolf. I think it had a stand. I do not recall what its' "fur" was made of, though it felt smooth to the touch. I also remember a yellow travel cup which screwed into a small yellow plastic can. To use it, you slid the links up. There were three links. Also a blue travel cup which worked the same way. A zip change purse.

One time she took me with her to meet her nephew Benny and his wife and two sons. We went on a bus. It went through Scranton Pennsylvania, that I remember distinctly. The two kids spoke English, French, and Italian. They were both fluent in all three languages and played soccer. Soccer was big there. The family lived in the Canadian city Niagara Falls in a brick house on a corner with a little yard and we stayed for a week.

Years later, Bennie and his family went back to Italy to live and they all got killed there. "Volcano" may have been what I was told, only I don't believe that is what it really was now. My step-dad cried for many days for his cousin Benny.

sapphoq on life

Sunday, April 22, 2007

AIRPLANES 4/22/07


When I was a kid,
my dad took me on vacations. I had the first airplane ride of my memory with him...and the second, third, and fourth. Actually, my mother never ventured outside of New Jersey in my memory until I became an adult and she went to San Francisco on a sort of work convention. I don't know how she got there.

With my dad and wife number 2, I went to Expo '68, Bermuda, and Aruba and Curacao. He explained the workings of the wings, gave me chewing gum for the air pressure, and introduced me to Eastern Airlines version of food. We didn't know about terrorists blowing up airplanes back then. I don't remember if we knew about airplanes getting hijacked-- well if we did, they were getting hijacked from far away places to other far away places. We did know about the Bermuda triangle though and his rational explanations countered the rather irrational ones which were popular among the fearful maternal relations.

Flying became no big deal.

I do remember the seven suitcases that my dad and wife #2 packed for seven days in Bermuda and his willingness to pay the extra surcharges. The suitcases were full of clothes [not books, as husband's and mine tend toward] and there was no way possible that those clothes could be thinned out.

Here I sit in a fancy hotel in the financial district of San Francisco [my ex travel agent hates me and I hate her] with my singular pair of pants that zip off into shorts, two sets of undies, the zip-up outer shirt, the long-sleeve shirt and the short-sleeve shirt drip drying in the bathroom. Oh yes, and two out of three pairs of socks. These particular clothes supposedly dry within four hours. Some of them do. For the rest, there is always the blow dryer in the morning.

The two bathing suits and the nightshirt/cover up have not had to be washed yet. And I keep sending home the souvenirs. I've already mailed home one jacket [weather is too hot here], a bunch of rocks from Illinois, a railroad fan magazine, a couple of tee shirts from Lou's Diner in Chicago. I have one paperback acquired in Denver and another railroad fan magazine and the Amtrak hat and the scarf with the trains on it set aside for the next package home.

Big Ed told me "That doesn't sound like enough clothes" when I told him what I was planning to do about clothing. Every time I am lugging my singular suitcase and singular bag containing my c-pap machine, I am glad glad glad that I didn't take any more clothing than I did.

When I get to Phoenix, I can buy some nice cotton clothing for my five days there and then mail them back home too. And before I leave Sedona for the Phoenix airport, I will be mailing home my water sandals, bathing suits, and my supposedly dries in four hours clothes too. Now that is traveling light.

sapphoq on life

Saturday, April 14, 2007

ROCKING HORSE 4/14/07


I had a rocking horse. It was brown [plastic like material] and set with springs on a frame.
I liked it.


sapphoq on life

Monday, April 09, 2007

CEILINGS 4/9/07


My mother insisted that the living room ceiling be painted black. I have no idea why. She had a thing for "smoked glass" also and installed some of the stick-on variety.

All of the ceilings [except for that one] I have known have been painted white if they were painted.

We recently had the attic refinished and had a drop ceiling installed-- also white.

I've never known a ceiling fan in any of the places I have lived but that is about to change. I'm getting one installed on the front porch.

sapphoq on life