Thursday, March 29, 2007

T & A

Yesterday, I went with a couple of friends up to a local hot spring for a little skinny dipping. Unfortunately, prior to beginning the hike up to the springs, I deliberately turned off the part of my brain that runs the constant mental commentary that makes this here blog possible. So, I actually have very little to say about the experience except that it was great fun, and that I have finally succeeded in achieving one of my ultimate goals in life: to be naked, outdoors, and in public.

The only thing left to do is to skydive. Naked. Outdoors. And in public.

Maybe I'd even do a tandem.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Tickled as I Vibrate

A couple of weeks ago I was finally able to wean myself off a prescription drug I'd been taking for almost 7 years. And for the past couple of years now, I've been experiencing some minor stomach irritation, particularly in the morning. A little nausea after breakfast, you know, but nothing serious. One of the inactive ingredients of that pill is a titanium alloy, which you'd think could cause some stomach irritation, but I'd never been able to rule it in as the cause for my stomach troubles.

Back in 2003, I noticed I had lost the ability to drink coffee of any sort without experiencing some incredible abdominal discomfort. But two weekends ago when I had brunch with my friend Tina, I decided to take a leap of faith and order a Mexican mocha, which I thoroughly enjoyed with no stomach trouble whatsoever. At the time, I figured the quiche I ate along with my mocha had acted as a buffer. But then on Wednesday, I decided to throw caution to the wind and order a mocha with whip from the local coffee shop at work. And boy did it taste good. Damn. I did the same thing yesterday, still anticipating some minor gastrointestinal aches, but nothing.

Today, I'm officially an addict. I've had a mocha, a latte, and an Americano, not to mention my morning cup of tea. I feel like coffee's become my new crank. In fact, not even the massive blisters I'm getting from my new Marc by Marc Jacobs 4" heels could bring me down from this high. I've gotten so much done today. My office is spotless. My socks have been pressed. And the naps! They've receded! I don't even feel the urge to crawl into that dusty space above my cabinets in my office and curl up for a siesta. What's wrong with me!?!

Coffee, that's what.

I'm in love.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My Brain, the Gynecologist

I think about my brain a lot, which is truly giving meaning to the phrase functional organ, because it is one that can think about itself. My liver can't do that. Of course, it can clean itself out when I've drank too much and produce factor-8 to keep itself from bleeding to death, so it's successful in serving it's own purpose. This proves my theory that even though our organs are here to serve us as a whole, they are not in fact, entirely altruistic. In that, I digress.

The other day I was thinking about how strange it is, the female anatomy, and why there's so much skin down there. It's like a whole bunch of...skin...down there. Now that my genitals have been defrocked, there is little to be left to the imagination. It's almost irritating how I don't have to guess anything anymore. Like, I kinda miss sitting there thinking I wonder what my vulva is doing right now. Maybe she's getting a nose job like I said she should. Naaaaah. She never listens. And the other day I actually caught my labia scheming to rob the Washington Mutual Bank on west 11th street! I had to put the kibosh on that. I was so exhausted exposing their conspiratorial plan that I had to go outside and take a nap under my car. I should be thankful, because before the grass was mowed, I wouldn't have had any idea as to what those two were up to. Thank me please, you grateful WaMu customers.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Afternoon Delight

On Monday, I went to Brazil. Yes girls, I did that to my body. Actually, I told the aesthetician, Maggie, pointedly, "screw Brazil, let's go all the way to Antarctica." I believe my salon calls it "The Fully Monty." (Picture my eyes rolling as I see that on my charge receipt.)

Picture me lying there with my knees pulled up to my chin, each rip of the paper making me wish I had syphoned some gas out of my car to sedate myself with, followed by Maggie's Boston accent saying, "when I first finished beauty school, I decided I was going to wax my entire bawdy." When I asked her for the best way to avoid crotch rash, she handed me a piece of 50-grit sandpaper disguised as a cleverly packaged "buffing cloth," and some concentrated nitric acid, and said to exfoliate daily using gentle circular motion. Yeah, lemme see you try this, lady.

What inspired me to engage in this ritualistic torture and pay to have it done??? Well, I guess the only thing I can say is that I've been very invigorated by the warm weather. That's it. And now the temperature is in the 50s again, and now my genitals will freeze until it warms up again. You know what I would do if put in that situation? I would grow hair.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Shifted Into First Gear

Gunny Boy,

This morning, Junior Soprano handed me a copy of last weeks Tri-County News. It's got a little spread about your funeral last week. I'd forgotten about the pagers - how all the firemen turned them on at the same time and they paged out for you to rest in peace.

Yesterday we held a mini-service for you at work. It was wonderful. Dr. Y and Dr. G were there. Dr. G noted some things about the way you worked that I would have yelled at you for, and would still love to have the chance to yell at you for. Your dad and Judy were there. They said little bro is very angry and that the kids still don't understand; they still expect you to walk in the door any minute. Other things are becoming ugly; people want your money...your car...your bike. I don't even know if it still even works. Why are they doing this? Do they just want those memories? Why would they do this over money? Judy said she remembered the day you came back from the middle East and I was there and we couldn't let go of each other. She asked me if they'd ever done anything to offend you. I told her that you were your dad. I wanted to tell her the truth but I didn't feel right about it. She asked me if you believed in god. I was honest but then I told her that I still felt you were hanging out because there's no way you'd miss all these cute girls fussing over you.

My mind is getting shallow with memories. There are too many to write down but too few to have enough to recall every day to get through this. I keep searching for them...but they are lost in the synapses and ganglia and lobes of my brain. I still remember the QRS complex and stirring the coffee and you laughing at my fascination with Angela Anaconda and taking a nap in the living room on that really hot day and the really bad omelet and your animal noises and the doggy scratch and how you used to say "issues," like "isss-yews," and the 2 closets you wrecked because you had so much stuff. How you'd line the kitchen counters with Dr. Pepper cans so I had no counter space and then when you finally rinsed them out you'd leave them upside-down in the sink so I'd have no sink space. How many tons of frozen pizza, chicken strips, taquitos and Fat Tire we consumed. How you hated tomatoes so much that if anything you ordered came with tomatoes, you (Mr. Nice Guy) would send it back. You were so picky.

I went to see you on Saturday, but your place wasn't marked and I couldn't differentiate all the new graves from each other. It was raining. I locked my keys in my car and had to walk all the way home from the cemetary and have Cheech drive me to pick up my car. I laughed at the irony and my bad luck. It made me regret not going to the burial, and then even worse yesterday when Judy told me I had been missed.

I miss you, Bob 2.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Photo Immersion Therapy...Part 8

Doing my best impersonation of Dicey Tillerman. 1985.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Gunny Boy, You Don't Know What You're Missing

Eddie Izzard, one of your favorite comedians...yeah, the trannie, dressed as a Jewish suburbanite in his own FX weekly called The Riches.

Yeah, like Desperate Housewives.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Photo Immersion Therapy...Part 7

Partners in crime. 1982.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Undertow

Today we spoke of you with fewer tears, but as I drove home tonight thinking of you in the ground beside my street, my chest tightened up. Then I started thinking about being in there with you, and I got scared.

I'm getting sick of holding onto the brave face. I welled up today when Surly-K asked me what you looked like on Saturday. She raised her eyebrows and pointed me towards the Kleenex. I kept it together, but I was a little resentful of her and her quick-yet-complete grief cycle. She knows how to do it, and spares no expense. But she's got it down to a science.

I went and saw Dr. Brainscan today. He told me that grief comes in three stages: denial (or disbelief), disorganization or confusion, and repair. During the second stage, he said there are five emotions to be felt: sadness, reconciliation, anger, acceptance, and recovery. He said people make mistakes in denying feeling the grief, and others stay too busy to really feel it. He said it's best if I make time every day to just 'sit' with you. I told him that I really didn't feel it necessary to feel anger. I said that anger is...ahem..."a manifestation of another negative emotion that I feel it is in my power to avoid bypassing." Blah, blah, blah...Gunny, I wish you were here to help me make fun of him. He never looks anyone in the eye; always to the left. He said I should have my thyroid checked because of my weight loss, lethargy, coldness, and confusion. I thought of when your doctor said the same thing to you and you had it checked. It was just as usual - turning you into a smartass. Then I thought Dr. Brainscan was wacko in giving me advice about death and my thyroid in the same sentence. Then he lobotomized me with a wire whisk and I had to take a nap in my trunk before I went back to work.

When I got back to the office, the MASTER DINOSAUR was sitting on my desk, staring at me. I remembered when I got back from Chicago and I told you how Dr. Frings had given him to me and about the married guy from Halifax and running in Millennium Park and loving Dali's "Coitus" and eating dinner under Suzy the T-Rex. Then I remembered the last time I called you in October to ask about Vitamin-G's gross rash and it turned out to be something entirely different. I still haven't taken your number out of my phone even though I am a little freaked that I may dial it on accident.

Yesterday as you laid in that box in front of the firetruck, I told GOB Jess that I expected you to push up the lid, sit up, and give us that grin that championed the phrase "shit-eatin'." He said it would be a really bad joke, but we got a little snicker. Funny how the loss of an old friend can bring together two old friends.

I posted your position today. As I was writing it up, I felt somehow sanctimonious. Making my demands..."Must be able to multitask while under pressure without direct supervision. Must be able to establish good rapport with patients of all types, as well as nurses, physicians, and other ED employees. Duties include phlebotomy and running chemistry and hematology samples in moderate complexity environment. Bilingual (English and Spanish) preferred." Implied was, "You'll never be our Beeker but if you can speak two languages maybe we'll settle for you. Our patients probably won't care but we sure as hell will." Here is the cruel reality of my part of this: I have to replace you. And I have to paint on a smile as I do it.

Here's where I move over into the anger phase of grief. At least I'm making progress.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Sober

We celebrated you today. There were 500 people there to honor your life. Some spoke, shared silly memories. I didn't. My memories are personal, intimate. How can I explain what you were to me to these people? How can I share the times we had? I didn't cry much. That was only for you and me.

They said they never saw you mad. But I have. Your lower lip would quiver, and my heart felt like it was going to break.

They are burying you now. I can't stand the thought of your body in the ground, cold, with the seasons changing all around it, not looking like you. How will you see without your glasses?

My heart hurts. I can't believe you're gone. I will never talk to you again. I will never see you again. I know I've said these things to you before but it was only in the heat of anger. It is difficult knowing that they are true, and neither of us has any choice about it.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Superman in a Box

Today, you don't look like you. I think you forgot your glasses. The last time I saw you, I told you that you looked like Kenny Loggins because your hair had grown out and you had that moustache and goatee. I remember because you thought I said Kenny Rogers. Today, your goatee was gone and your hair had been cut, probably because you look best as a Marine. Your dress blues were clean and pressed. The lipstick I got on them three years ago was gone. Your medals were neatly pinned, and you wore a dog tag bearing your daughter's name and birth date.

You've changed so much. I touched your hand, then stroked your hair. You didn't respond. I thought at any second you would wake up. I've told you how much I love your brown eyes and I know what a light sleeper you are. What was wrong with you?

I met your girl today. She presumed who I was, as I did her, and we fell into each other's arms. She is an Olympic hugger. She must have learned it from you. She said I was still #2 in your speed dial. I told her how I remember the day you and I were walking around the construction site and you got a call on your cell phone. You spoke briefly, then hung up. You said to me, "I met this great girl last night." Today, she seemed relieved to know it was me who was with you on that day, and that she and I could share one memory of you was an honor for me. We were regretful to meet under these circumstances, but thankful for being able to share this with each other. You would have married her, I know it.

I saw your mom. She was as young as I remember her. It's funny how she seemed readier to console me. I told her how sorry I was. She held me and reminded me of how much fun you were. We laughed when we remembered that time you and I deep-fried a turkey in her driveway and trailed peanut oil all the way from the garage down to the curb and how we tried to clean it up with cat litter but it was more mess than it was worth; the time we diapered your brother's dog, Wayne, as a joke; and when we stayed up all night at her house playing on the PS2 when we could have just gone back to our own apartment 4 blocks away.

I came home to more memories of you...photos of us in my scrapbook, "Fletch" on TV, GIR on my wall, the knit cap on my table, another sweatshirt in my closet. I remembered how you slept in my spare room for months, and when I felt sad or lonely, I could crawl in with you. I remembered when you first introduced Thisbe to catnip. She acted like she was a cat possessed.

I won't be able to remember you as my lab technician. You will always be my best friend. Thank you for being my family when I had none; for saving me from myself; for loving everyone for exactly who they are. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life for so long. Thank you for being my hero.

You'll never be anything less than that.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Beginning a Loss

Saturday, at 2 a.m., a very dear friend of mine was killed in a tragic accident outside of Eugene. He was a fireman, EMT, Marine Corps Sergeant, father, brother, son, fiance, and avid lover of fun. He had more friends than the dalai lama. He was my boyfriend of over a year, and best friend for years after that. About a year ago, I became his supervisor. Our boundaries had to change, and being the responsible adults we are, we distanced ourselves far from each other. Almost too far now that I think about it.

When I found out Saturday at about 9:30, I skipped over denial as my initial reaction and went straight to shock. And stayed there until Saturday evening, when good food and great company pulled me out of that darkness for a few hours. Ever since then, I've felt comforted by my memories of him, but the reality of this is yet to come. For me and my staff, and a great majority of my friends, he is a huge, irreplaceable loss. And this is just the beginning.

In the meantime, I try to keep something of him within arm's reach. I found one today on my idiotphone in an episode of our favorite show from a couple of years ago. He had just introduced me to a fabulous cartoon on Nickelodeon called "Invader Zim." He had copied some episodes for me onto a disc and I hadn't yet gotten around to watching them until one night when he and I were on the phone with each other. I was getting ready for bed. At that time I was in this phase of lulling myself to sleep to the politely un-creative sounds of my laptop, so I had my computer there with me. He asked me if I had the disk. I said I did, and popped it in. We decided to watch the legendary episode called, "Invasion of the Idiot Dog Brain." We spent almost 15 minutes trying to sync up the episode so it would start up at the same time on our computers without the sound confusing us while we talked. I love this episode to this day because GIR is just so fucking cute and completely ignores all of Zim's orders throughout the episode. But that night, I wasn't interested for some reason. At the end of the episode, I realized he was waking me up and I had snoozed throughout the entire thing. Ahhh, well. We moved on to "Germs."

I'm terrified of forgetting these old memories. I'm ashamed of the ones I know I've already lost...the jokes I can't remember how to tell...the animal noises he made that I know to not even try duplicating. My life would never be the way it is if not for him. There are so many things I would have, or would never have, done if I hadn't met him:

I never would have moved in with ex#5 (Turkey), who treated me so badly that I realized what an incredible person I am. And as a result, bought my house.

I never would have skydived. (Skydove-?)

I never would have quit smoking.

I never would have been to Crater Lake.

I never would have realized how much you miss someone when they are at war. You love them for their bravery and their willingness to fight for something they believe is right. Even when you believe the cause is wrong.

I never would have bought my car, Betty, and realized one can put just about as much trust in a good Japanese vehicle as she can in another human being.

I would most certainly have left Oregon.

I miss you, Gunny Boy. I miss the way you said "hi," and I miss that stupid smirk on your face whenever you would tell me a half-truth. I miss the way your butt was swallowed up in those medium-sized scrub pants that you wore only when the small-sized ones (which were too short) were unavailable. I miss the way you called me "little bunny," and every time I'd yell at you for it, you'd smile. I miss the way all my friends in Fall Creek fell for you. They all started out hating you for the past that you represented for me, but then they were all consumed by what you were.

I miss the way you took the words I'd say and make them into a game.

"That dude was such a crazy loon." I said one time, speaking like my grandmother.

"Isn't that the kind of boat with floaties on the sides?" You'd smirk, changing the topic of conversation.

"No. I think that's a
pontoon."

"Oh. But, I thought that was one of those big wave-type-things."

"No. I think you mean a
monsoon."

"Oh. Hmmm...I don't think so. That's supposed to be the monkey with the big red butt."

"Buddy, that's a baboon." On and on we'd go. Unfortunately, we both had vocabularies like underachieving kindergartners, so it didn't last for long. Poodle, I would give my dictionary, Wikipedia, and the Visual Thesaurus to be able to play that silly little ditty with you... just one last time.