Thursday, September 30, 2004

A strange influence rediscovered.

At the aforementioned gathering, I got to get reacquainted with the biggest influence of my formidable teen years. Ivan was my uncle by marriage, married to my aunt Jeanie for well over 15 years before they divorced. He is only 11 years older than I. When my father decided to bail, and the rest of my mother's family decided to treat me like an emotional kicking post, Ivan and Jeanie were the only ones who tried to shelter and protect me. More so Ivan, he was the great guide. In more ways than one. Ivan had three great passions: sex, drugs, and music. The sexual aspect was not the vanilla kind either. He liked porn, and thought sexuality was to be explored openly with no shame, no matter what you were into. He was also the county connection for pot. He smoked my first joint with me, goddess knows how old I was. As for music, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, and Black Sabbath was what he introduced me to. Did he make sexual advances toward me? Sure he did, starting at about 13ish. However, there was no shame implied when he touched me. It was not so much him trying to take advantage. It was more like he understood the curiosity teenage girls felt, and was offering me a safe place to explore it. I never accepted his offers. It felt like I would have ceased to be his special, favorite one if I had. He talked to me about all the things he had done, and answered every possible question I with candor and humor. I never felt any shame with him. He and Jeanie were in an open relationship their whole marriage, so my relationship with him never felt wrong. I was no one's favorite but theirs, in a family where being the favorite was a survival tool.
Years later, in my early 20's, Jeanie decided she wanted a child. He didn't, and told her that if she got pregnant, the marriage was over. She didn't and it was. I saw less and less of him from that point on. It annoyed me that he wanted to be a "father" figure to me, but not to his own flesh and blood. He moved in with another woman as sexually freaky as he was, and they are still together. They had a son of their own. He started down a path of stronger drugs and stranger, cruder sexual tastes. I was trying to be an adult. Ivan never met John to my knowledge, and probably would have been shocked to know I lost my virginity at 24, to the man I married. As a widow and a single woman, the lessons I learned from Ivan about sexual independence and shamelessness have indeed carried me through some tough times relearning how to relate to my own sexuality. I will always be grateful to him for that.
I saw Ivan for the first time in about 5 years at the funeral. He was looking every second of his 44 years. I was getting complements on how I had not aged. I saw him across the room and he started at seeing me. I jumped at seeing him as well. I walked over and he did what he always did: motioned for me to sit on his knee. He looked at his wife and said," I was hoping to see my baby and here she is." For one more time I was the favorite. It soothed so much pain from Angel's death for me to hear him say that. We talked for several hours about what we had done with our lives. He hadn't even known about John's death; I didn't know he had fathered another child. It was an oasis in a stormy time, and I am so grateful.


The funeral is over finally. I am grateful. Normally I tell you details of my adventures, but this one would hurt to much to share a direct hit with you. It is too soon, too raw. I will say this: I now understand the story of sleeping beauty. Angel looked like the teenage princess she was becoming. Tall, with wild dark brown hair and ice blue eyes that were the very example of what the color should look like. Her grandfather's eyes: neither of her parents eyes were blue. The fact that they were closed forever was the closest thing to a travesty I will probably ever come. You could see the disability still. Her left hand was still bent at an awkward angle. She never could lie straight, so she was placed in her coffin lying on her back with her legs folded to the side. Despite that, she was beautiful. Her parents often worried about that, about how they could protect her. She was helpless in a wheelchair, and yet she was stunning. The fact that she was not alive, never able to achieve all that promise, eats at me even now.
And the aggravation of the service is almost beyond description. The United Baptist service the night before was an insult. How any preacher could sand beside her coffin and preach about sin and hellfire was beyond me. She had never experienced the former, so she would never see the latter. All the preacher did was tell us all we were going to burn if we didn't use her death as a warning. The only warning I got from it was not to snore, horse laugh, and snarl in disgust all at once, and too noticeably. The actual funeral service was much better. Yes, there was the usual Christian propaganda, but it was humanely short. The service actually reflected her personality, who she was. A former teacher of hers shared how Angel was in the first class she ever taught after she graduated from college later in life. And, after teaching her a year, Angel inspired her to specialize in teaching special education for the rest of her career. That was what truly needed to be said, how Angel had influenced us all. I went to her casket to say goodbye, slipped off my pinky garnet ring and placed it in her hand for the journey. And all I could do was walk away.
An aside now. To give credit where it was due, my extended family actually behaved like adults. I was both astounded and relieved. Usually, this bunch use family gatherings to pretty much try to slash each other to emotional (and sometimes physical) ribbons. They may not have talked to one another, but at least they didn't fight. Kudos.

Saturday, September 25, 2004


I just got back from seeing the latest John Water's flick A Dirty Shame. If you are prudish, please do us all a favor and either see this movie to be cured, or do not read further. The fact that a John Water's flick got a NC17 rating surprised me, until tonight. This is Water's raunchiest, filthiest, funniest movie in years people. It tells the story of Sylvia (Tracy Ullman), a completely frigid housewife in Baltimore (its a Water's flick..Go figure on Baltimore). She gets a head injury from a passing lawn mower handle and her life changes for the horny better. Basically she goes completely horn dog beserk. This movie is no where near subtle, and the concept of innuendo does not exist. The imagery is blantant and obvious, genital trees and all. That said, this movie was hilarious. If you are a fan of movies such as Porky's or Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, this is your movie. John Water's casting is always central to the success of his pictures; sometimes its downright bizarre. Chris Isaak plays Vaughn, Sylvia's long suffering husband. Selma Blair is Caprice, or otherwise known as Ursula Udders ( if you have seen any adds for this movie you will understand), their daughter under house arrest for public indecency. Finally, Johnny Knoxville, of Jackass fame, as Ray Ray, the mechanic/leader of the sex addicts of the neighborhood. The cameos are what Water's is best known for, look for David Hasselhoff, Ricky Lake, and Patricia Hearst. Hearst has been in 5 of Water's films now, and she gets stranger in each additional one. The Baltimore neighborhood of Hartford Road is a real neighborhood, and used for the first time in a Water's flick. John Water's does so much research for his films: all the fetishes the sex addicts have really do exist. My favorite was the Bears (large hairy sub culture for gay men for those who don't know).
What I think made this movie great is not only the over the top sex. John Water's is fearless. For him to make this kind of movie in today's political climate takes balls. The audience was still laughing as the credits rolled. If that doesn't testify to the humor of a movie I don't know what will. It is currently showing at the Kentucky Theatre in Lexington, KY. Get the courage up to go see it..I dare you.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Hopelessly romantic lyrics from an unknown aussie band to lighten the mood....

"I'm awake
You sleep on and on
When you wake my head is resting on your shoulder
I'm breathing you in
I'm breathing you in

Don't get up I'm in heaven
Close your eyes it's only half past seven
The day's as small as the window
And I'm an inside-outted pillow

Breathing in my, my sleepy girl
Breathing in my, my sleepy girl

What's that over there?
It's nothing at all
We lie awake and listen to the birds in my aviary
I'm breathing you in
I'm breathing you in

Don't get up I'm in heaven
Close your eyes it's only - eleven
The day's as small as the window
And I'm an inside-outted pillow

I'm breathing you in

Breathing in my, my sleepy girl"

A story with no good ending.

Angel Maynard

INEZ - Angel Maynard, 12. Survived by Dad, Raymond Maynard. Services, 1 pm Sun., chapel of Phelps & Son Funeral Home. Visit, after 5 pm Fri., all day Sat. Until time of services on Sun., funeral home. Visit
Published in the Lexington Herald-Leader on 9/24/2004

"I've been around the world I've seen it and I've lived it friend
I've been around the world and now it's time for me to rest
I've been around the world I've seen it yes I've lived it
I've been around the world and now it's time for me to go

Do you believe that love is God [or Goddess], or do you feel the reverse
Do you believe a blessing is the absence of a curse
Do you believe you have no choice but let your life play out
Did you cut your own belief just to spite your doubt"
--Andrea Lewis/Chris Jonat--

A family existed once. Tish met Raymond almost 25 years ago. Her sister Carla married Raymond's nephew Ivan. Tish lived a wild, restless life; Raymond had been married and had three grown sons. They naturally fell together, I really can't remember how. When was about 1983 or so. He was at least 20 years older than she. Her overriding want and desire in life was a child. Nothing else would make her happy. In 1990 she had a tubal pregnancy/miscarriage, but it proved she could have children. In 1991, Tish became pregnant again. Trouble started at once, she had placenta previa. This condition is where the placenta detaches and slides between the baby and birth canal. Tish fought it but also didn't take care of herself as she should have: she smoked like a freight train and didn't eat (she never did, she never crossed over 100lbs till she was pregnant). She held it together till December 30, 1991. Tish was flown to Huntington, WV from Prestonsburg hospital. We got there in time to see doctors rush by the waiting room with a extremely small incubator. They kept telling Raymond to pick a name, the baby would not live through the night. She did make it through the night, and Raymond named her Angel Dawn Maynard.
Angel was 1 pound, 12 ounces at birth, and was three months premature. She was born with one kidney. After four months in the hospital Angel came home. And for a year I helped care for her. She had colic, and her one kidney started having problems right away. Tish rose to the occasion of difficult motherhood with a grace and skill we never thought possible. Raymond was a dynamo as well, which was surprising. He had heart problems and had suffered a few heart attacks. They kept medicine times straight, doctors appointments organized, never a misstep. Except...We knew something wasn't right with Angel. She wasn't developing normally. Tish finally took her to a neurologist and found out--cerebral palsy. Tish cried and forged forward anyway. This child was the one she had prayed for and nothing would stop her. Except.....
Tish was never one to take care of herself, as I mentioned before. She smoked at least 2 packs a day since she was about 11. In 1997 it caught up with her, lung cancer. She fought it, took care of Angel and Raymond. In October 1999, the cancer spread to her brain. And she lost the fight. The 20 yr older fragile husband and even more fragile child outlived her. Angel was the only reason Raymond kept living. She continued to grow weaker through the following years. Angel's stomach was eventually almost removed totally, as was her gall bladder. She could talk barely, but never walked. She had broken bones from the osteoporosis caused by the stomach problems. The final straw was her one kidney failed, and because of the cerebral palsy, she was not eligible to be put on a waiting list. Angel endured dialysis. This past month, Raymond was forced into putting her into a nursing home: he had grown overwhelmed. And he had been threatened with having her taken from him by the state. He visited her almost daily. Last weekend, the nursing home called in Hospice. The dialysis was no good, her kidney had failed permanently. Angel was given two weeks to live last weekend. She lasted till yesterday, 4 days.
I was sitting at my desk yesterday morning when my mother called to tell me Angel had passed away. I had helped take care of her off and on for so long. She was the flower girl at my wedding, my sister/matron of honor carried her down the isle. She laughed at everything. She adored my husband John totally and missed him after he died terribly. This child was my cousin, but her mother was raised as my sister and she as my niece. And now I must go to Eastern Kentucky to see her buried beside her mother. And, to see if Raymond survives the funeral. There were two reasons he went on, and the second one has been taken as well.
I wanted to share their story with you, at least a fraction of it. permanently, Raymond, and especially Angel have inspired me, exasperated me and broken my heart. I love them all three.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Have an emotional crisis..Improve your running!

It was inevitable. The meds have quit working. Finis. I have cried off and on all day. Finally got to the doctors to get an Effexor sample month to see if the damn shit even worked. No dice, I have to pay for a prescription, with three bucks to my name till Friday. So a long, exhausting week looms in front of me. I cried, the heaving, sobbing kind of crying, all the way up Rose St. To home. Sat and sobbed and felt my mind race. I decided to call Dan. He took pity I suppose and offered to pay my copay. I was so miserable I accepted. I had to go run. HAD TO. I ran what seemed like Mt. Everest on Saturday (see earlier post), and took two days off. So I got my snivelling ass out the door. Sniffled and shuffled up the street for warm up. Then I had an epiphany: let me see if I can out run the crying, just leave it behind. So at the end of my warm up I tore up Maxwell St. I decided I would see how long I could run in one stretch. As I got around Woodland to High Street I looked down at the watch: two minutes. I walked a minute so I didn't injure, then did it again. By the time I had gotten to 16 minutes, I had ran 4/2 minute circuits...A record. I took pity on my knees and stopped to cool down. I had put all that emotional pain into my body and made it MOVE. Damn I would nuke my 5k personal best if I was a basket case every race. I am now exhausted, but finally calm. This net month is going to be Bedlam as I change over the meds. Trust me you will hear all about it.

Bright memories

I got up 9 years ago today and had flowers waiting for me by the bedside. He had gotten up to fix breakfast. All the food for that night was sitting around the kitchen. We both went out for our normal day: he to work, me to school. We both got back around 4:30, and started packing up the car. Got that done, then got dressed. He was in a white shirt and black jeans, I was in a long black velvet dress, with my hair up. We got to Woodland Park and started setting up the table for the food and gifts. Everyone brought food. We helped Tina, the priestess, set up the altar. We all gathered, about 20 of us, in a circle. He and I joined hands. We pledged that, for a year and a day, we would live as man and wife. We would then gather again and either separate, or pledge our lives together forever. Tina bound our hands together. We ran toward the end of the circle, and leapt over the broom, without unclasping our hands. It was done. We then ate and celebrated, inviting some of the local hippy kids to join our meal (they had stood there to watch). It had been a glorious day, really too warm for my dress. My friend Morgan made a picture album, that she said she would give to us later.
A year and a day later, we were on the beach in Tybee Island, GA. Alone except for seagulls. We pledged forever. And at that moment forever seemed possible.
PS Morgan gave me that album, almost 7 years after the ceremony, the day after he died.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Quote Alert!!!

"Something inside is telling me that
I've got your secret. Are you still listening?
Fear is the lock, and laughter
the key to your heart"
-crosby, stills, nash, and young-

A bad football game and a sore ass don't mix

I went to Richmond, KY for the weekend for some family bonding and the Eastern Kentucky/Western Kentucky football game/bloodbath. Got up Saturday morning to go for a rare morning run, in the country no less. My mom and stepdad live in the wilds of Waco, KY. I was going to run the main road-too many dogs and cars. So I headed to this (I thought) little, safe, backroad. This road ended up kicking my ass; it had a 35% climb in some spots. Thus, my ass muscles are very sore, and it took nothing sexual to get them that way. Later that night, I was at the battle of the Bluegrass, EKU vs WKU. It was no coincidence that EKU's ass was hurting after that game as well. They got it kicked. Badly. 21-8. We left before EKU even got a touchdown in the Fourth Quarter. Lots of sloppy passing, lots of interceptions. Nuff said.
My visits with the parental units are normally range from emotionally traumatic to just exhausting. This one was pleasant, fun, and non threatening. For the first time in many moons, I enjoyed time with the folks.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Gone for the weekend

I've decided to go to the parental unit's house this weekend. There is college football to be watched, and yardsales to search through. I will be back Sunday with all the details .

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Bar audience participation

Strokin' {feel free to sign along..or answer the questions}

When I start makin´ love
I don´t just make love...
I be strokin´
That´s what I be doin´, huh
I be strokin´

I stroke it to the east
And I stroke it to the west
And I stroke it to the woman that I love the best
I be strokin´

Let me ask you somethin´...
What time of the day do you like to make love
Have you ever made love just before breakfast
Have you ever made love while you watched the late, late show
Well, let me ask you this
Have you ever made love on a couch
Well, let me ask you this
Have you ever made love on the back seat of a car
I remember one time I made love on the back seat of a car
And the police came and shined his light on me, and I said:
´I´m strokin´, that´s what I´m doin´, I be strokin´´

I stroke it to the east
And I stroke it to the west
And I stroke it to the woman that I love the best
I be strokin´

Let me ask you something...
How long has it been since you made love, huh?
Did you make love yesterday
Did you make love last week
Did you make love last year
Or maybe it might be that you plannin´ on makin´ love tonight
But just remember, when you start making love
You make it hard, long, soft, short
And be strokin´
I be strokin´

I stroke it to the east
And I stroke it to the west
And I stroke it to the woman that I love the best, huh
I be strokin´

Now when I start making love to my woman
I don´t stop until I know she´s sas-ified
And I can always tell when she gets sas-ified
´Cause when she gets sas-fied she start calling my name
She´d say: ´Clarence Carter, Clarence Carter, Clarence Carter
Clarence Carter, ooooh shit, Clarence Carter´
The other night I was strokin´ my woman
And it got so good to her, you know what she told me
Let me tell you what she told me, she said:
´Stroke it Clarence Carter, but don´t stroke so fast
If my stuff ain´t tight enough, you can stick it up my...´ WOO!

I be strokin´ Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
I be strokin´

I stroke it to the east
And I stroke it to the west
And I stroke it to the woman that I love the best, huh
I be strokin´
I be strokin´ Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
I be strokin´, Yeah!
I be strokin´

I stroke it to the north
I stroke it to the south
I stroke it everywhere
I even stroke it with my... WOO!

I be strokin´
I be strokin´ Ha! Ha!
I be strokin´

--Clarence Carter---

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Z's adventures in birth control

Now a lot of men will probably not relate to this next section. It is a known fact that all birth control methods are not for everyone. But what happens when NONE of them work for you? I am one such woman.
The problem is this: I have depression related to hormones. My PMS mood swings have made Sybil look well adjusted. Add birth control related hormones on top of that and you have a bezerker. I'm maxed out on Wellbutrin, and I'm still getting mood swings from the hormones. Now, this being said, I decided to try Nuva Ring. It looks like a plastic ring that you insert and leave in for three weeks, then take out. So this is my last shot at hormone based birth control. I slipped it in and didn't feel it...Until the rash developed. Then depression reared its ugly head again. So the past week I have been trying to work, run and get through the anniversary of my husbands death, all the while trying to fight the urge to kill and scratch my crotch at the same time. Ever tried running either with an angry itch, or alternatively, slipping and sliding on itch cream? That made the 5k a unique experience, and a surprise I did so well considering. So, it is Tuesday and the swelling is still there, the depression is worse. So I had to remove the nuva ring......
My friends, this is a procedure I will spare you the details of. Let me give you an illustration: ever watch nature shows where some vet has to cover his whole arm with a sleeve to insert it up to the shoulder in some poor cows birth canal? It is a similar feeling, or at least it seemed so. But the confounded thing is out. Now I get the joy of another period two weeks after the last one, and am once again in the lurch with BC...Not that I'm covered over in offers where birth control would be needed lol. But at least now I can run without having one hand down my running shorts, causing a public (or pubic) disturbance....

Happy Birthday Samantha (baby sis) Sept. 15, 1973

"So you're a little bit older and a lot less bolder
Than you used to be
So you used to shake 'em down
But now you stop and think about your dignity
So now sweet sixteen's turned thirty-one
You get to feelin' weary when the work days done
Well all you got to do is get up and into your kicks
If you're in a fix
Come back baby
Rock and roll never forgets
You better get yourself a partner
Go down to the concert or the local bar
Check the local newspapers
Chances are you won't have to go too far
Yeah the rafters will be ringing cause the beat's so strong
The crowd will be swaying and singing along
And all you got to do is get in into the mix
If you need a fix
Come back baby
Rock and roll never forgets
Oh the bands still playing it loud and lean
Listen to the guitar player making it scream
All you got to do is just make that scene tonight
Heh tonight

Well now sweet sixteen's turned thirty-one
Feel a little tired feeling under the gun
Well all Chuck's children are out there playing his licks
Get into your kicks
Come back baby
Rock 'n Roll never forgets
Said you can come back baby
Rock 'n Roll never forgets"

--Bob Seger ( she sang this to me two years ago with malicious glee..hah my turn)--

Existential Funk

The definition of Existential Funk: the state of being where you wonder why the hell are you even alive, and everything you do feels like a waste of time. I go into these funks about twice a year, usually fall and spring. My skin crawls thinking about how I am working myself to death trying to make something out of my life, and it all feels like a lost cause. Work sucks, relationships suck. I am deep in a hole and cannot dig my way out. These are the times that try my patience. It is during these times that I sit down and do some serious magic work.
I don't know which is worse: the feeling of frustration that I can't make my life go where I want it, or the impotence of trying to make it go and hitting a wall. Today made me realize that I had once again reached this biannual event. I am pouring my heart out into work that does not satisfy me. And yet, this art project I have to do has me questioning that I even have any artistic talent in the first goddamn place. A meaningful relationship? You have got to be kidding. I have men coming onto me and I simply cannot say yes. I want company and sex and love, and yet when at least sex is offered I freeze. I withdraw into my little fantasy world and stay there all weekend. I screw up at work, I come home and my run sucks (first run back since the race). And now I have to face drawing out a sculpture project that I feel is going to look like something made in 2nd grade. I feel like I can't measure up anyway else, much less a decent human being. It had come down to the bare essentials of Why the fuck do I even bother?!!!!.
Now I know on an unemotional, realistic level, that I have accomplished things. I made my husband happy at the end of his life. I am now the closest thing to an athlete I've ever been in my life. My job has prestige and recognition. And yet, an Existential funk is not rational. It is an emotional 4 alarm fire. I did this in December, and it ended up propelling me into running and the good job in the first place. It also resulted in my reuniting with Dan...Two out of three aint bad I guess. Deep down I know I am a good person (I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and darn it people like me :P). But at this point I'm not deep down. I'm shallow and wallowing in it.
I usually think this is my Patroness Hecate's way of kicking my ass into action. It sucks.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


I actually missed it all in real time. John had been in remission a year at that point, but had severe nerve damage to his feet and still needed a lot of attention. I was working nights at the Wyndham Reach resort, and came home that morning at 7:30. I cooked breakfast for John, then went to bed at 8:30. Through the day I kept being woken up by John shuffling around the house. He was so restless, which was unlike him. But he didn't call for me, so I went back to sleep. I didn't hear the TV: he had a cord less headset for the TV so I couldn't hear it. Finally, at about 3:30 pm, I had taken all I could of him thumping around the house. I yelled from the loft and asked him what was wrong. His answer I will never forget. It was in a tone of complete matter of fact. He said, "Two airplanes hit the World Trade Center, and they fell down."
I bolted straight up out of bed, and scrambled down the ladder to where he was. John was sitting there, eyes glazed over, deathly pale. I jerked the earphone cord out of the jack, and sat down to see. And I saw the bodies falling, the paper flying all over the site. The planes vaporizing on impact. The Pentagon burning. People on TV asking if anyone had seen their particular member of their family. John grew up in New Haven, CT. He had spent every waking moment he could sneak away from home in New York City. He kept repeating," Where are they going to put all the people who live there, who work there?" He kept repeating this. I ended up calling his doctor to ask what I should do, since he was obviously in shock. Dr. Krathan told me to monitor his vital signs to make sure he didn't get weak, and that was all I could do. Meanwhile, Key West was in chaos. Key West is mostly naval base. We heard jets scrambling above us. I was off that day, but was put on call, since more than a third of our employees either were trapped on the locked down base, or were active members called to duty. I ended up able to stay home with him, a good thing. He was so unstable. I finally got him to eat at 6:30 that night. I turned off the main news channels. I told him to order the silliest movie on pay per view, which turned out to be Flesh Gordon. I then got into the stash of pre-rolled Cuban dope we had to help his nausea, and we smoked two of them. We got so goofy that we were giggling shadows on the wall by late that night. And he was able to sleep.
This is the real reason I remember it so well. At almost that precise day, John had a year to live. It turned out to be a rough year; we moved back to Kentucky to be near both of our families. We knew that the Gleevec keeping him alive would not work forever, so the best thing I knew to do was get him to better medical care. I knew he would need it eventually. And he did. From that March to July, he slowly went out of remission. I was supporting us with two jobs. Our marriage had turned into an affectionate companionship; We had not been lovers for awhile. John's funeral was Sept. 12, 2002. I continue to be haunted by that last year, wondering if I had done all I could do. If I had made his last years worth living. If I had destroyed his faith in me by allowing him to be placed on life support. Had he forgiven me for all the mistakes I had made, real or imagined. I guess I sometimes feel guilty that I keep him a year longer than those families in NYC and DC had a chance to keep their families. Which was better: to have a long goodbye, to see your love die slowly, or to see them die in a flash of fire and crumbling buildings? I will never be able to have an answer to these questions. The only thing I knew was that in a time of trouble I did my best. That could also be said of all the families who faced horrendous loss that year. I feel honored and blessed to be in their company.

The 5k and how I did

I remember the old A-Team character Hannibal, and his favorite saying, "I love it when a plan comes together". That's what I thought at the end of this mornings Race for the Cure. The last 5k didn't go as I had hoped. I bonked 15 minutes into it, and limped the rest of the way, with Dan walking beside me. I rushed, didn't drink enough, and was nervous. Last night I went to bed late, as I usually do on Saturday nights. Woke up at 5:30 am, normal time. I drank a gallon of water last night, and 40 ounces of water. Walked downtown to the race area in a leisurely pace. The only fear I had was my left leg; somehow yesterday at work I sat awkwardly and my whole left leg wanted to cramp. I tried to stretch before I left, and I stretched at the site. My leg would not budge. The sign from the Goddess that it was going to be a good day was massage therapists doing pre race massages. Found one who absolutely gave me the once over. He loosened up the left leg then rubbed the rest of me. The leg was still gimpy but usable at the start.
I started out extremely slow. I was going to treat this like any workout run/walk. At minute 5 I started to run 1 minute, walk 1 minute. I changed this from the last 5 k, when I was running 1.5 minutes and walking 30 seconds. It was too much. For this race, I was surprised that I kept up the 1/1 all the way to the finishline. I wasn't tired, I was thirsty but that was to be expected. I actually passed people instead of them passing me. I finished strong and proud. I was strong enough to come home, shower and go back to farmers market afterwards. Now how I feel later is up for grabs.....
First 5k time...50:42
Second 5k time 46:27

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The aftermath

Everyone left me alone with him. I eventually quit crying and just went into shock. I was numb. That wonderful nurse asked me to come to the hallway, saying that nothing would be done to him till I decided it. She then told me what I had to do legally, about signing paperwork and such. And I was getting ready to ask for a pen when she stopped me. She told me to go outside with the family, take time to regroup, and eat something because I would need the strength. Then I could do what was needful. We all went outside to stand in the heat. I looked down and noticed my wedding band. I could no longer wear it. I took it off and gave it to LJ's daughter Nicole, John's granddaughter and told her that was for her when she grew up. I called my grandmother, why I don't know now, on my cellphone. She was crying, and that shocked me. We went in, ate, and I went into the ICU to call a funeral home that was suggested to me. I called work and told them I would not be back for a few days. I walked into the ICU, and began filling out the forms. It didn't take long. I walked to where he was still lying, and touched his face. He was starting to grow cold.
We walked to Markey to gather his things, most importantly something for him to wear. I grabbed his favorite black Hawaiian shirt his mom gave him, a black pair of shorts, his sandals and his old beat up denim hat he had worn his whole illness. The shirt was misbuttoned, he did that a lot, and we decided to insist that was the way it was kept when they dressed him. I was so numb. We all went back to the new apartment, where I had not even unpacked anything. LJ and Charles offered to move boxes to a back room as Billy, Anne, Randy and myself drove to the funeral home.
This turned out to be the worst ordeal. We had no insurance to bury him. Before I could even think, Anne and Randy pulled out the credit card, then started to try to bargain them down. Billy and I were mortified ( pardon the pun). The got it down to 1500$ just to cremate him, put his obit in the paper and have a service. Getting that done, we went down to see him dressed before he was cremated. I understood then about shells, how people always talked about the body was a shell. That was not my husband on that table, it was his holding case. I touched him, he was icy and I freaked and went outside.
The net few days were a blur. I came home to a apartment totally unpacked. Billy and Randy proceeded to repair the whole place in the ensuing days. He died on a Monday, and the funeral was on a Wednesday. I found 5 joints of south florida's finest that we had stashed away, and we smoked it. Food poured in, cards poured in. We were sorting though pictures. It was just a blur. The funeral came. We played classical music. I had Patrick, the Asatru priest who had married us, do a Norse prayer of crossing over. LJ stood up and spoke. I was still numb. I gathered the box he was in and gave it to Billy to take to Connecticutt, to scatter later. It was done.

Day five and finally six..

That Sunday I agreed to go to mass with John's brother, sister and brother-in-law. The Newman center didn't fall down and I thought that was a good sign. We went back to the hospital for more bad news. John's heart had been permanently damaged by the infection. They were using all the meds they had to even keep him stable. He was in pain and heavily sedated; he barely was able to even acknowledge us as being there. I got all that were there together to tell them what the doctors had told me: if he didn't show improvement that night, taking him off life support and letting nature take its course was our only option. It was a sobering thought. We had turned on the TV in his ICU cubicle so he could be distracted from the pain by football at least. We sat around the waiting room talking about the what ifs, driving ourselves nuts. So we all went out to Billy's barbecue for dinner. That dinner turned out to be magical. We drank beer, ate like wolves, and I laughed so hard my sides ached. We talked about John, shared memories and dreams he had. It was a glorious meal. John had been a chef, so if there was any more fitting wake I couldn't think of one. We were still a little tipsy when we got back to the waiting room, to find out his heart had started worsening. John's sons slept in the waiting room, and I went in to talk to John. He was laying there bloated, bruised from needles. This was not the man I had married. I didn't even recognize him. There was so much to say, so I said it all and cried. I told him I was sorry for letting them put him on life support. I could say only that this was all up to him now to make the decisions. Then I walked out to go up to his room at Markey to sleep, where he had entered 2 months earlier never to leave.
The next morning I got up early to head down to the waiting room, and they took me straight back to the ICU. The nurse who had taken care of him the whole time was there to tell me the truth. His heart was beyond repair, all his organs were shutting down. It was time. The doctors got us all together for a meeting, told us there were no more options, and what had to be done. We went outside to regroup, then we all went back to the ICU. Most of the people he love were there: Anne and Randy, Billy, and his children LJ, Charles and Jocelyn. They left it up to me to tell him. The doctors had lightened up on the pain meds temporarily so he could hear us. I asked him if he wanted off the machines: he nodded yes strongly. I asked if he understood what that would do: once again he nodded his head. So it was time and he knew he was going to die. The nurse and doctors started the paper work. Anne wanted a priest to give him last rites, even though he hadn't practiced Catholicism since he was a child. To keep the peace I said yes. They upped his pain meds, unhooked the dialysis machine, and took out the respirator. The priest got there and tried to give him communion, and John fought him, twisting his head away to keep from eating the wafer. It took several minutes of struggle before I finally whispered in his ear that this was not for him but for Anne, so quit being stubborn. The last grin I ever saw from him: he relented and opened his mouth. Then, after the priest left, John started wheezing. It was close. I told the family I was doing a witchcraft death ceremony, no discussion. They didn't say a word. I started the ceremony, and gave him to Hecate. The ceremony ended, and he was going. It is a hard thing to watch someone die. He would stop breathing for several seconds, then gasp for air. It was maddening. I just wanted to scream at him for being stubborn to the very end. I wanted to put a pillow over his head to smother him. I took off my pentacle and pressed it into his heart. I kept it there till I realized that he was no longer breathing, and I couldn't feel his heart beating. Then I wailed. I didn't know what that was till that minute. I just wailed, a loud screaming sob.

Monday, September 06, 2004

me a baby Posted by Hello

me very heavy Posted by Hello


"No one respects the flame
quite like the fool who's badly burned."
Pete Townshend

Day two three four...

The next day we found out what was wrong. An opportunistic infection had getting into his bloodstream from his own body. The same bacteria that causes urinary tract infections, Kleibsella. A common bug. The fact was, his immune system was gone. The infection had spread to his lungs. He had pneumonia. And his body could not fight it. There was fight in his mind, no question. He could barely talk, but tried anyway. His blood pressure was so unstable, the doctors put the heart catheter in his leg to his aorta. The choice was gone it had to be done. I sat with him about a half hour. He knew that he may never come out of the operating room. So it was then that we made plans: he wanted cremated, and taken to Charles Island in Long Island Sound to be scattered. There was fear in his eyes, but not panic. It was the fear of the unknown. So I kissed him and they took him back. He lived throughout the procedure.
The family started to gather. His sons were already there, since they lived in Lexington. His brother Billy was there in a few hours after the call. His wife stayed with their mother. John didn't want anyone there, at all. He was angry when they started arriving to see him. Especially his daughter, who had to scramble to get the money to come down. It was in this time that the diplomat in me had to emerge. John's ex wife Helen was there, the mother of two of his sons. There was a shitload of bad blood between her and John's family. I didn't care. I just wanted peace. So I began to juggle to accommodate everyone's wishes.
Later in the second day, after the catheter was inserted, his kidneys started to fail. They asked permission to put him on dialysis. We had agreed that he didn't want on life support. We were assured by the Hemoncologists that he just needed support to get the infection under control. The Pulmonary specialist was telling us he was in grave danger and we had to be prepared. So I went with optimism and said yes to the dialysis. It started and he started to become worse. He started talking to me in crazy sentences. He started to not recognize his sons. Another complication: he was suffering from carbon dioxide psychosis. He simply wasn't getting enough oxygen to survive. The big decision loomed: he needed the respirator. Once again we were told two different things: leukemia specialists told us it was temporary, pulmonary specialist who were in the trenches told me it was getting worse, prepare for it. John left the decision to me, and I made the optimistic decision. I allowed the respirator to be inserted. He would never be able to speak to me again after this. Right before they inserted the tube in his lungs, I was trying to kiss I'm on the forehead. He said ouch. I tried his cheek; he said ouch. So I got exasperated and whispered in his ear if I could kiss his pecker. He smiled and said "maybe later". We both laughed; well I laughed, he wheezed. And I never heard him speak again.
ICU day three loomed, it was Saturday. The family that was going to be there had arrived. John was livid too. He was still conscience, nodding his head and full facial expressions. His mom wanted to come down, and wanted me to ask him if she could. John almost chewed through is throat tube. He did not want her to see him like this. I told her, and she stayed at home. He started having heart trouble. The blood pressure would not stabilize, and his heart was starting to fail. The ICU doctors got me alone with John and asked the toughest question, about resuscitation. He couldn't talk anymore, and was in a lot of pain from the infection, the dialysis, the respirator. I told them what I thought was the right thing; that they should use drugs but not heart compression. When the drugs quit working, that was it. John looked at me and I could tell it was what he wanted.
Now outside the ICU was just as much fun. Family tensions were all there. I was trying to include them in all the decisions. His brother Billy was the strength in this. Billy supported me with every decision. We went out to eat every meal, and they never let me pay. I slept in the waiting room with everyone else waiting for family in ICU.
His family's attitude towards me was disturbing. When John married me, I was a trophy. Now I was Mother Teresa. It made me squirm. I didn't think I had done anything special except take my wedding vows seriously. I loved him; I took care of him. There was no other way to be in my mind. I wasn't doing anything special in my mind. Saturday ended by his heart going into arthymia, and the doctors pumping the drugs trying to stablize him.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

She's waiting

She's waiting for another love
She's waiting for another love

She's been waiting for another love,
Someone that she can show into her heart.
And when she finally finds a stronger love,
Your whole world's gonna fall apart.


You've been abusing her for far too long;
Think you're a king and she's your pawn.
Get ready now, 'cause pretty soon
She'll be gone and you'll be on your own.


I see the hunger burning in her eye;
Any fool could see there's something wrong.
You keep pretending not to care,
But I will hear you sing a different song.


Waiting for another lover,
Hoping for the time that she'll find another....

---Eric Clapton and Peter Robinson---

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Day one.

I had left the Markey Cancer center, just for one night. We had just rented a new apartment a block away so that we would have enough room for his sister to live with us-Mary was going to help us after the bone marrow transplant. He was not doing well. The Gleevec had only worked for a year, and he went out of remission in July 2002. The first round of chemo did not get him into remission again, a very bad sign. He had went through the nausea, the hair loss for nothing. So, in August he started another round of chemo. He was surprisingly upbeat, even after another bone marrow asperation ( a needle that looks like a finishing nail is hammered into the hipbone with no anesthesia, look it up it is horrible). So when the first of September rolled in I was optimistic but not hopeful. I had packed up the other apartment by myself, and had put all our worldly goods in the corner of the living room to be unpacked. He was unhappy about this, he always had so much guilt about me having to bear his burdens, which were nonesuch to me. So that Tuesday I went to the new apartment to start unpacking and go to the Dr.s the next morning. I talked to him the next morning, he felt icky but ok. So I went to the doctors, and was starting to his room at about noonish when the nurse called. His temperature had spiked to 104 in 2 hours and he was coughing badly. I ran from KY clinic to Markey and in his room were two of his doctors. There was no time to even ask questions, they began to roll him to ICU right as I got there. There I was once again helping him to ICU, with a doctor at each corner of the bed pushing. He was delirious, being combative, and I had to yell at him to be calm so he wouldn't rip out his Hickman catheter ( a catheter put into the aorta for injections). We got there, they made me wait outside. All I could think about was a tree limb almost falling on me that previous Sunday on the way home from a night shift at work. I was in a stupor an it almost hit me. Then I noticed the crows, a dozen of them, flying near me as I walked home. Death omens, both of them. It was to prepare me, I should have been prepared. Nothing could have done that.
The doctors got him set up. They came to ask me if they had permission to use life support. I told them I could not make that decision because he was conscience. His blood pressure was dipping, they were afraid they could not stabilize him. The doctors wanted to put a line into his leg to his heart to have an accurate blood pressure, but it could kill him. There was time to wait, they said, while they tried to find out what was wrong. So I said wait as long as they could hold out. I went into kiss him and he just looked at me and smiled. Smiled, after all the shit and pain and humiliation. I sat there with him and talked before he went to sleep. I walked out and started all the calls: to his sons in town, his daughter in Connecticut. Calls went to Florida to his sister and more calls to Connecticut to his other brother and sisters. Before I left to call he told me not to have anyone come down to see him. I just smirked, I knew better. His bunch were as stubborn as he was. I made the calls, and the plane tickets were bought the net hour. His brother Billy was on his way from new haven, his sister Ann and her husband from west palm beach. So I sat with his sons in the waiting room for the first night of sleep there waiting for news ok what was wrong and could it really be fixed.

Dying like you

I was checking up on my biker news yesterday at work when I learned of the death of Indian Larry. Larry Desmedt was a stuntman, wildman, chopper artisan, and blessed fool till August 30. He was doing his most famous stunt, standing on a moving cycle at speeds up to 65 mph, with no helmet. He had done this stunt thousands of times. The thousand and first he wrecked, sustaining massive Head injuries. He was with his friends filming a segment of "Great Biker Build-Off" for Discovery Channel, at The Liquid Steel Classic and Custom Bike Series in Charlotte, NC. He died of his injuries later that day. He was 55.
Now most people would roll their eyes when hearing of an accident like this. It could be said that he tempted fate, or that he was asking for it. He was. Indian Larry lived life not in nibbles, but in as much as he could bite off and chew. He was fierce and noble and free. He also was foolhardy and reckless. He lived every second of his life to the absolute fullest. How many others do? How many of us can actually say we have lived our lives with as much gusto as we can? I often think we have to live full throttle, next to death always, to really be able to feel alive. Could you actually imagine living such a full, rich life, then dying the same way? Dying doing the one thing you love the most?
In this week it will be the second anniversary of my husbands death. He would have been the same age as Indian Larry, and Larry reminded me a lot of John. My husband lived such a life. Not by tempting death, but by squeezing every once he could out of life. Even though he was not blessed (or cursed?) with a sudden death, he faced it without fear. Fear, the great destroyer, the one thing that sucks the life out of most of us. I include myself in this. Since John's death, fear has been a constant companion: fear of not being able to support myself, fear of not feeling love. Fear of failure. I am tired of fear. Fear has kept me with a man for the last several months that has robbed me of actually living my life to the fullest. NO MORE.
I swear, on this anniversary week of John's death, to live my life to the absolute fullest. I swear to push past the fear and do and experience as much life as I can choke on. I invite all who read this to join me in living life to the max, and to call me on it if I don't. I don't want to die with any regrets, and want to thank Larry for reminding me of that by not dying with any of his own.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Wiring Problems

I never thought I would paraphrase him, but here it goes:
Women and men are wired like cars.
The problem is,
women are wired like English sports cars,
men are wired like Ford Broncos.
Adam Corolla

I think my wiring is coming loose. The least thing throws me out of kilter these days. The hard cold truth has arrived: I need to change my depression meds, and this SUCKS. I am shaky and unsteady on my feet. I'm ready to cry at the slightest sweet toilet paper commercial on TV. Patience? Please, it was gone weeks ago. Now here comes the general wiring question: is all this turmoil coming from just fighting my personal mental illness, or is it just the way women are? Women seem to get tossed of kilter so much easier than men, starting in childhood. You pull the wrong wire loose, and we are screwy for life. Men don't seem to be this way. They get kicked and gouged by life, and just go on without a scratch. Is it a blessing of testosterone, on ambivilance?
Are they emotionally wired to do this, or culturally brought up not to care?
I feel like I might be stereotyping a bit: women are (supposedly) fragile, and men are (supposedly) tough. Yet men seem to go through childhood traumas without lasting damage. Women tend to be basket cases, and I am speaking from personal experience and observation here. Could women learn this emotional survival instinct? Or does it all break down to the old argument of nature versus nurture? I have seen men repeat patterns from childhood, but it doesn't seem to cause the life chaos that it does for women.
Or does it boil down to this: should we be taking better maintenance on the British sports cars, or encourage sophisticated wiring in the Ford Broncos?