Monday, December 30, 2013

I Remember Everything. And I Forget Everything.

With me, there's no middle ground. I either have conscious recollection of every minute detail of every event which took place and impressed me somehow or, conversely, I have zero memory of something ever having happened. It's a really thin wire, too.

For example, I remember Crush calling me just to chew the fat (!!!) late on a Saturday afternoon in the fall of 1994 after I'd been at a pumpkin patch with my then 2-year old nephew, Jake, who called all of the pumpkins "balls." I was chilled and wearing requisite grunge-era flannel, and extremely surprised that he called. I'm quizzical but not stupid, yet probably misconstrued his intent. He was probably just bored, though I can't imagine someone with such a fabulously exciting life ever being bored. Here's where I don't remember anything further...I think I was so nervously excited that he was on the other end of the phone that I lost all of my marbles. Darn it, anyway!

I remember the first time I was at his apartment. He was wearing a Mekons t-shirt, was barefoot and gave me a glass of iced tea. I wasn't really hip as to who the Mekons were at the time, but Crush mentioned Jon Langford being a transplanted Welshman living and working in Chicago. As fate would have it, Jon and I would cross paths and meet up several times some 15 years later. I was at Crush's apartment (this was before we collaborated, let's say) and have no idea what we talked about for like 3 hours, but I can tell you visually the exact layout of his bachelor pad.



The same could be said of every interaction I had with Guy. This is where nothing is foggy, and I remember everything he ever said to me. This is where things just don't add up. Either Guy is just really out of touch with his emotions or is a sadistic asshole, I'm not sure. I remember the first time he buzzed my desk to say he was leaving for the night, and when he hung up, said, "Love ya!" after which I almost fainted. I assumed he forgot with whom he was on the phone, but in hindsight, no, it was on purpose. I've played and replayed every sweet nothing Guy ever threw at me, and his words are just not consistent with the way he behaved. He continuously attempted to push 100% of the affection as being wanted by or solicited by me, as being what Guy thought I wanted, so he went along with the game.


Trouble is, I didn't initiate half of what did happen between us over the last few years. I didn't say, "Tell me I looked beautiful tonight," He said, "You looked beautiful tonight." I haven't the seductress charms to woo Guy to the point where he couldn't stop himself. He did that on his own. I didn't force him to kiss me or encourage him to moan in delight when we'd hold one another. (He nearly purred. It was extraordinary.) Trust that I remember every "I love you" as to when and where they took place. It's the why I can't suss out. If he didn't love me, and he wasn't trying to sleep with me (darn it, anyway!), why'd he tell me he did so many times? And the reason for the abrupt switcheroo to being all distant and formal and cold around me? What's that all about? No, being busy is not flying as an excuse. Someone flicked a switch and Guy stopped loving me. And I'm having a hard time reconciling with that.

I in no way want Crush, on the extremely off-chance he's interested in me, to think I'm on the rebound or he's sloppy seconds. I wanted to meet him because he impressed me. I wanted to get to know him because he was interesting and smart. It wasn't just that he was one of the most physically beautiful creatures upon whom I'd ever laid my eyes. His co-host radio show counter-critic was likewise as smart and interesting, just not exactly my type, though I appreciated all the rides home in his Land Rover to my apartment in the Gold Coast after I'd whine enough about not being able to hail a cab near the Merchandise Mart at midnight or whenever, and those guys were too nice than to let the cute intern stand outside alone downtown for any length of time.

I'm still radio silent on Guy, and Crush has been radio silent since Christmas Day. I'm sure Crush is enjoying a vacation somewhere fabulous with someone exotic.

Me? If I find you to be an interesting or compelling person, I  will more than likely attempt every avenue to get to know you. Comforting thought, no?



Saturday, December 28, 2013

Twisted Christmas

Still in the cloistered infirmary of my germ-ridden room, I feel like talking about things and I don't feel like talking about things. I feel like I should be online shopping, but I don't feel like it and shouldn't spend the money. IF I do start online shopping, it'll be after I take my Ambien, and then next week, all kinds of crazy shit will show up at the house that I don't remember ordering.

Hurry, before I start coughing again.

Onto other subjects:



I want to gush about the crush, but maybe that's not such a good idea yet, chiefly because I don't know at all where I might stand in the frame of his life (at least he's not married--that, in itself, is an achievement for me). It's a really long shot that started 20 years ago that's always sparked a twinkle in me when I'd reminisce, or we'd run into one another virtually, when we'd exchange flirtatious banter or he'd compliment me on my writing, or when I'd tell people he taught me more about writing than any professor in college ever taught me.  Let's just leave it as he's incredibly talented, funny, charming and keeps getting more and more adorable the older he gets. He's also smarter than I am. The only frame of time reference I'll share is that I was overcome with jealousy when he showed up at the first Twisted Christmas with a girl, which shouldn't have bothered me since I was engaged to Craig, but bugged me anyway. Had he been really bolder, I'm pretty sure I would've called off my wedding. Seriously. Still, I have no idea if he's attached, or if he thinks I'm as cute as I imagined he thought I was when we were a lot younger. I don't even know his orientation for sure, to be honest. Then there's the fact we live most of the way across the country from one another, which is a further complication.



The last blog he read was "The Gift of Bipolar Disorder" which I wrote over the summer, and my fear is that I scared him away from wanting to be friends with me. It's an unwarranted fear, I understand, but it's real. For as normalized and de-stigmatized we're all trying to make mental health, sometimes I wonder if I have too many battle scars to be worth it, even though I know I am worth it. Completely. Bipolarity is a fact of my life, but I try not to let it control every action in which I engage. Much like drinking, I just try my best to keep it under control.



I promise myself I won't hope for anything.

You know what happens when I get my hopes up about things. That's my inner Charlie Brown talking. I should be more positive. Ok, I'm positive things probably won't materialize. There we go.

I feel better but am still quite unwell with the bronchitis. Not wheezing as much. Not as many coughing fits. I was supposed to drum this weekend, but I had to bow out. I can't cough, cover my mouth and play at the same time. And I don't want my unholy, diseased spores floating about the sanctuary. That'd be icky. And demonic!

Don't even bother asking if Guy's checked in to see how I'm doing, medically or otherwise. He hasn't. He probably won't. And that has to be ok. It's been really hard resisting the urge to text him with bits of goings-on, or thoughts I'm having, or sentiments towards him. I'm staying radio silent. 

I feel like doing something, but I also feel like doing nothing. Today, I took a 4 hour nap sitting completely upright in bed with my laptop on my lap, never moving. I still have that damn research paper over my head, now due New Year's Eve. I'll start working on it tomorrow, scout's honor. I guess if I were hard-pressed to choose a mood, it'd be that of fatigue or malaise (which are really the same thing). 

Prepping for an incredibly boring New Year's Eve, as has been the case the last few years. I have Luke this year, and Ma's not going out so we have to include her in our plans. Maybe we can go out to dinner and go home and play "Apples to Apples" before we toast with sparkling grape juice (give me a break!) at midnight and wistfully wish we were with a special someone. Last year, my mom and I watched "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," had some snacks, toasted and went to bed. It was the first time I'd seen the movie, ever, which is surprising since I live in the cuckoo's nest, but it's easily now in my Top 5 favorite films. 

I should be looking up syllabi at school and ordering books, but I don't feel like doing that either, nor do I know if my courses are even up yet. (Malaise, hi.) 

Until I get some God's honest energy, I'll amuse myself with unrealistic thoughts of the crush. (He may need a pseudonym if anything interesting transpires.) He uses words like "mawkishness!" Swoon!









Thursday, December 26, 2013

Das Boot in Dose Socks Up Der Ass

The kids all had a good Christmas, that's what matters in the end, right? Luke and my nephew are happy clams, especially Luke, whose room now looks like freakin' NASA control-central. Turned out he didn't have to go to his dad's on Christmas (they celebrated on the 23rd) at all, and isn't going to De Kalb until Friday (as I wrestle with that day of the week it is in the first place...you should've seen how confused I was at the doctor on Monday (??)).

I spent Christmas Eve chiefly alone at home, sequestered in illness. I missed out on seeing the extended Miklasz cousins and kids and the hilarity that always ensues, as well as church, though I gave P'Dave a heads up and he said he would keep me in healing prayers. My mom managed not to have too bad a panic tirade, but mind you, I was asleep a lot of this Christmas.



My Christmas, on a scale of 1-10, probably weighed in at a -11. I think it was Friday when I was smoking and noticed that it hurt a little to inhale. Same throughout the weekend, but I started coughing a little more during drumming Saturday night. Sunday night, wheezing despite my inhaler was irritating. But by Monday, I had a 102 fever, was wheezing like crazy and had probably one of THE most painful coughs ever, my inhaler still not doing jack. Despite having a research paper I needed to turn at midnight (read: begin, write a draft and turn it in by midnight), I hadn't wrapped gifts yet, was supposed to run Ma on errands, and all sorts of other happy holiday hoo-hah, I went to family practice at 11:15 Monday morning, diagnosed with asthmatic bronchitis. (Or as it says in the computer chart, "bronchitis with bronchiospasms.") Tell me about it! Instead of going straight to the pharmacy to get the antibiotic, steroids and extra inhaler, I figured I'd wait to go until it was after my 2:15 shrink appointment, so I could pick up all 5 (!) Rx's I needed in one trip. By then, my fever was too high to drive myself. My mom had to take me, which she was thrilled about. The fever didn't completely break until Christmas night.

Anyway, dosed up on every imaginable medication to relieve my agony, emailed my professor, and went straight to bed. A hot toddy would've hit the spot...I have some legitimate, rather urgent business to take care of with school via PDF file paperwork signing and scanning back, and, while I usually have no issues with this, I can't find the file on my flash drive and I managed to turn the scanner settings into either Russian or Greek. I think it's Greek, because if it were Russian, I'd be able to pick out enough to reset the bloody thing back to English. Another project to shelf until I can enlist Luke's help. (Not that he reads Greek either, but he's tech savvy.)

Socks, socks, and more socks were the overall theme of my holiday gifts. I do collect socks, but most of them are thin and meant for spring or summer. I got a crap-ton of fuzzy warm socks, a pair of knit Union Jack socks my cousin bought me in Shanghai of all places, Ninja socks--with little ninjas on them...all so cool. Luke bought me a very beautiful purse he picked out himself at "Feed the Starving Children," a charity event with which he volunteers a few times  year at school, packing boxes of things to send overseas. In return, they sell some of their handmade goods to us here as a co-op. I thought Luke was very thoughtful and it really is pretty.  Tea and an infuser from Jake, and KISS Pez Dispensers from my brother (of course). A good haul, no?



(Wow, Pandora just shuffled a duet of "Crazy Love" between Van Morrison and Ray Charles....this is really good! But I digress.)

What'd I get from Guy, you might ask? A curt, short email about how he's been busy, he's still busy, and he foresees being busy at great length for some time in the future. It was a quick "Sorry you fell on the ice and hit your head, Luke should walk you around, I have a sinus infection I think, work, work, more work, then taking time off in January to do things with my sisters. Hope the bronchitis clears up soon!" ALL of which I took to mean, "I'm not invested in maintaining our friendship AT ALL, but I'll still call you like every 3 weeks for 10 minutes on my way home from work to see how you're doing and catch the latest scoop on all of your girlfriends."

Posted a while ago, but more poignant now than ever. It was on the last mix CD I gave Guy, incidentally:


Now you're all aware of how patient, kind, and unselfish I've been towards Guy (as he said himself) over the last few years. But I'm too accommodating. I'm too nice. I'm too patient. I think I'm just waiting for the train to run me over with a "HE'S NOT THE ONE FOR YOU" chugga-chugging over me. But Guy keeps me dangling--with just enough to keep thinking--one more "I love you'--that he'll cave into my arms finally forever. All that goofy crap about being able to practice when I graduate in any of the United States, whether overtly or unconsciously suggesting I pack up and follow him to wherever he decides to retire (WITH HIS WIFE).

I had to see him last week Thursday because of the leg edema from the Risperdal bad reaction (which is resolved, thank you, water pill) and he looked cute and smelled like Guy and hugged me tightly, but it was work time, so I could take no more than my allotted 15 minutes to discuss not only my medical problem but also the personal life of my best girlfriend, which he asks about every time I see him, because her life is apparently much more interesting than mine, which is probably pretty obvious in my random in-train-commute texts to and from downtown at school every day.



I told him I never wanted our friendship to become one of those "have-dinner-twice-a-year" reunions. That I wanted to see him more frequently. Look at friends I have like Kate, whom I talk to all the time but haven't physically seen for 20 years? Or other friends I have who've been friends forever whom I rarely see, like BMF. They have excuses of distance. Guy's just on his own agenda and can squeeze me in, I think, when he needs his ego stroked.



So into the attic went his Christmas presents. There'll be no "Twelve Days of Christmas" like he surprised me with last year-12 gifts, one for each day gradually getting nicer. But it's not so much about the gifts as the time. I told him all I wanted this year was an afternoon to walk through the Art Institute of Chicago with him sometime this winter and look at art together. An afternoon, that's all. I wish Guy was as interested  in being around me as I was to him when we were at Balderdash & Verities.

I'm not mad at him, I'm sad for us. Yes, it'll take me a while to totally get over, because-JESUS-read this blog and it's wrought with Guy bashing, bickering, swooning and romanticism better than any story I could've ever concocted on my own and took up like 400 entries. I still love Guy and will always be a little bit in love with him, but I deserve better....more.....insert cliche here. All true. A 57-year old Irish Catholic married doctor isn't going to be my superman. So slowly I'll begin to let go, my kind of cracked heart will solidify again and I'm sure I'll hear from him from time to time when it's convenient for him to catch up. But the waiting around breathlessly for the next text, phone call or email is a colossal waste of my energy.

I thought about sending him this someecard but decided it was too snarky:


Guy has a huge imprint on my heart that will always belong to him, but being hung up on a maybe just isn't healthy. It isn't productive. "There are other fish in the sea." Interesting Andrea fact: I have never eaten a fish in my entire life. Swear to God. But I digress, again. Either love will come unexpectedly from any direction or it may never come again at all. Such is the game. No, I'm not the eat a bag of chips/gallon of ice cream kind of girl....I do retail therapy (which'll have to wait until my next grad stipend), and eat tater tots and get loaded (with..tots, of course, nothing else, naturally!) with Meg a few times.

Some decent dough is anticipated plunking into the lap of the Offbeat Drummer in the next year, and if it does, I'm taking Luke (JUST LUKE) on  proper vacation--somewhere warm if it's chilly in Chicago; or, if we have to wait until this summer, somewhere cool. Maybe reconnect with some old friends I haven't seen since college, especially the ones who were a year older than I was and had their 20-year reunion this past fall, mine next year.

Until then, I have orthodontia for Luke, school, a grant writing internship, my band and my friends and family to tend to.

Pass the beer--here comes the tear...though it's not half as bad I expected it to be. So maybe just an empty shot glass.

I need more tea with honey. Friends who comment, or anyone else out there, please tell me I'm making the right decision in letting go of this man. I really did (do) love him with every dust mite in my room.





Sunday, December 22, 2013

Oui/Non: The Flaming Lips' Frontman, Wayne Coyne

It's been a while since I've done a shallow "Oui//Non" purely subjective take on what a celebrity looks like. Because I'm shallow and all. No, really.

I met Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips while working at Q101 in Chicago in 1994. He and his posse came into the studio to perform on the radio show I was co-producing, "Sound Opinions," hosted by the Sun-Times rock critic Jim DeRogatis and the Chicago Reader's Bill Wyman.

I had my journal with me that night, as I fielded calls from newbie fans who were all into "She Don't Use Jelly," their breakout hit. Specifically, I analyzed every member of the band. Mind you, this is before I actually got to know Wayne way, way later. He had brightly dyed orange hair and I described him in the journal as "Nice, but acts like a total rock star." Not so far from the true, actually, though age has mellowed Coyne into a sweet, attentive, insightful whose quirky charm is totally endearing. I've said it before: He's one of the nicest people I've ever met and he's always gone over and above for my son. That night at Q`101, I also met Steven Drozd, who I wrote in my journal as being "nice and cute," and he still is, and I love the man. 

(I'm chiefly doing this entry for my friend Veronica, who is suddenly mad crushing on Wayne.) 

Wayne, darling, you have aged spectacularly. I mean, holy shit. 

Here's the non Wayne, with the orange hair, circa 1993-19994: Non, Wayne:


Still a catchy tune. The hair, though, Wayne? 

Contrast that with present day Wayne Coyne, who is universally absolutely gorgeous. 



Oui, Oui  Mr. Coyne. 

Braviissimo! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Little People

So Risperdal, the antipsychotic (the second of two) that my psychiatrist put me on hasn't exactly worked out. I've gained 20+ lbs in a month. My chicken legs are puffed up. My AAA narrow feet are puffed up & it's hard to put shoes on. I get winded going up and down the stairs. I have like 4 chins. It kept me asleep for exactly one night through, but has been nothing short of a nightmare since then.

I stopped taking the drug more or less over the weekend and talked to my psychiatrist yesterday, who okay'd it, understanding that I couldn't handle the fluid retention weight gain and I felt and looked like shit. I'm a tiny-boned, little but tall woman. The excess fluid I'm retaining makes me look like an elephant. I'm disgusted getting dressed and having to buy bigger clothes every week. I'm heavier now with fluid retention than when I was just slothingly fat from being a pig 5 years ago. I'm not over-eating. All I had to eat today was a banana, and that was at 6:30 this morning.

What's worse? I told Guy on the phone last night what was going on, and he told me I need to be on Lasix (a water pill) and a potassium supplement. He told me to go to my family practice to obtain these Rx's, though he's still my cardiologist of record. He wouldn't prescribe anything over the phone. So fine, I made an appointment with them to be seen this morning, which I was. I spent nearly 3 hours there today waiting for doctors to consult doctors, to have blood drawn from my shitty little invisible veins. The "student doctor" who saw me first said no problem, we'll give me Lasix (the water pill) and potassium and to elevate my legs when I sleep, and the weight will come off really quickly though I'll have to pee every 10 minutes. Fine. I'm on break and at home. I can wizz at will. The "student doctor" looked at my leg edema (swelling) and agreed that it was severe. She just needed her supervisor to decide on the dose. I felt hopeful.

Finally, the resident (relegated to Medicaid, I don't get to see a real family doctor) came in, evaluated me and once she realized I have POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), which dramatically lowers my blood pressure, though I'm used to it and don't fucking faint like a goddamn pussy, and run a higher than normal pulse rate, pushed me back onto Guy for the decision making. She consulted HER supervisor, who wouldn't prescribe me the Lasix. Nobody seems to comprehend that with my extremely unique chemistry, I can have a blood pressure of 70/40 and function just fine, though 90/60 is my baseline. Today, I was 128/78, which for me is HIGH. Fluid is not only engulfing and swelling my tissues, it's hard on my heart. But pay no mind to that. I was *told* they called Guy in the office, who was "seeing a patient," and didn't take Family Practice's call, even knowing I was the patient. HE'S THE ONE WHO FUCKING TOLD ME TO GO THERE.

When the resident told me to go home after essentially waiting 2 hours for something to be done, someone to help me, I walked into my house whereupon my mother hearing the story of the morning, nearly had a stroke. See, she used to work for a physician as I did, and when another doctor calls, the doctor takes the call. I'd left Guy text messages and a voicemail on his cell, after the resident endured my explanation as to why it's ill-advised that I go into Balderdash & Verities for a proper appointment. She called B&V & Guy was busy seeing patients. Now, I don't know if the message from Family Practice was just taken as a message, or whether Guy was notified in his exam room that I was downstairs emergently, but I called Guy on the private line for the office during lunch hours. The phone was answered by the Henchwoman, who was polite and put me right through to Guy, for which I'm grateful.

Guy was glib and busy and snooty on the phone, citing he'd not checked his messages since 8am and had office hours, blah blah blah, which leads me to believe the call from Family Practice wasn't patched through when they called. He was acting like "GUY AT WORK." GUY AT WORK, unless he's sweet on you, acts like kind of a dick. Yes, I understand he has a packed schedule the next 2 days (he's not meeting Meg and I, by the way) but this is ME we're talking about. Not to over-inflate my ego (all of me is over-inflated), but Jesus, you bumped me to fucking Family Practice, they didn't help me. I paged my goddamn gastroenterologist at 10:30 last night, who never returned my call. My psychiatrist can't make heads nor tails of a case where a cardiac patient has THIS much of a reaction to an antipsychotic.


Guy said he'd try to squeeze me in later today (it's 5 pm) or tomorrow sometime, and someone would call me, the two in charge being THEM. I have no problem with that. I'm a BIG girl. I can be civil and polite (not trespassing) and react to them as a patient of the esteemed Guy, just like anyone else. I'd come in with a book, since he's perpetually late. He asked me on the phone if I was more comfortable going to a different cardiologist, and no, I don't want to. Guy has been on my cardiac team since I was diagnosed (after suffering for 20 years) with POTS, and is responsible for my beta blockers. There is no need to see him for checkups for my condition, and he just refills my pills every 6 months. But now, now, now something is seriously wrong, and he's dismissive. Making an appointment with a new cardiologist, not knowing if they accept Medicaid, having to regale my medical history and cardiac malady seems senseless when GUY COULD'VE CALLED IN THE WATER PILL YESTERDAY.

Despite ceasing the Risperdal, I continue to swell at a rapid rate.

Guy's office just called and an uninterested third party scheduled me to see Guy at noon tomorrow. I'll be sure to show up nice & TOTALLY SWOLLEN for my appointment. Until then, I'll share a Christmas dinner with Meg and wedge uncomfortably because I can't cross my fucking legs, which I shaved today for the first time in 3 weeks. (It's winter.) We'll enjoy a meal and festivities and try and forget that our lives are disintegrating.

I'm not going on any more, or any different psych meds. I don't care how goddamn loony I get. I just want to get back to the slim, sexy vixen I was before everyone & their uncle started adjusting my doses and medications. It's a dumbars struggle, to keep me stable enough to survive the rigors of graduate school, without losing my marbles altogether. For now, I'd be satisfied with being able to tie my shoes. Fuck....I'd be happy to see my goddamn ankles.

Unless you're a psych patient, I don't care if you're a medical professional or a psychology specialist, you DO NOT GET IT unless you've walked this road. The bipolar support group in which I participate assure me that the weight will come off once the Risperdal is out of my system and I take Lasix, but until then, I'm the fat cohort of the slim friend crowd, which does a huge number on my self-image, which is bad enough without being 100 lbs heavier than I was when I turned 40.  It pretty much just sucks.

My Mirapex, for restless leg syndrome, has run out as of the 14th, and since I'm on such a heavy dose of Valium, I haven't had the sensation of creepy crawlies up my legs as I try to sleep. (The student doctor couldn't believe I take 40 mg of Valium and 10 mg of Ambien every night to try and get to sleep.) I'm fine with eliminating as many meds and doses as I can; in fact, when I swelled up like a blowfish this weekend, sneezed uncontrollably and was all stuffed up, my mom put up a stink that I was going to Walgreens for some Benadryl. "Great. More drugs!" she said. But my eyelids were swelling shut. I've been out of Lomotil, the diarrhea pill, for a week. I hesitate calling in a refill because the gastro will want to see me, and I don't want him to see me in the condition I'm in. He's a DOCTOR. I'm THAT embarrassed.

And I'm going to let guy feel my legs up medically tomorrow? Jesus Christ. It is a mad world. Let it suck me in. Luke is oblivious and uninterested. So fucking what? 











Monday, December 16, 2013

You Must Miss Me. Sure, You Do. How Could You Not?

Seriously, one mammoth paper every few days is about as much as I can intellectually/mentally handle without going cuckoo, so the last paper due will have to wait until tomorrow, so that by the time I go out for my Christmas with Meg! on Wednesday night, I can be free-wheeling until I have to go back to school on January 6th. Of course, I have to touch base with my new internship supervisor before the holidays, but that ain't happening today. This last paper is hard, and a pain in the ass, but I'm still well within my accommodation to take my time with it for another few days. I think I have until Thursday, as a matter of fact. Reserachy research, over which I picked a shitty topic and can't compose a single lucid thought. Friday's 15 page paper in 4 hours was a manic triumph (if I don't fail it) and yesterday's 6-pager in about 2 hours was reasonable (note: I had done most of the background work on it).

(Attn Pandora: You are STILL GROSSLY OVERESTIMATING my interest in Johnny Cash.)



I woke up last night at 1:30 am and stayed up until 5:30 am, slept another hour and a half and then had to take Luke to school. He said my driving left something to be desired, and I almost ran over Pastor Dave in the parking lot, but I got the sprite to school on time IN my duckie footie jammies and promptly went back to sleep until 12:30 pm. I did NOT awaken refreshed. I was downtrodden after a couple of days of mania (I got a 15-page paper done in 4 hours on Friday, and another major one done yesterday afternoon, leaving one more paper to write.) I guess I'm mixed-mooding, because today I feel rather depressive whereas I had a ton of energy this weekend. I even managed to take Luke Christmas shopping last night after dinner.

Last night was a trip. Very was taking requests of 4-line glibs to turn into songs, and she did one about a remark I made about trying to be like a cheetah but ending up like a spraying skunk. I talked to Rob for a while on the Isle of Wight, who was "chipper" despite having a long night himself, and someone from the medical practice was on the blog at midnight watching the "Go Tell It on the Mountain" video (I have a reasonable guess who it was, which cracks me up). I think he really would've enjoyed this one better--definitely on my top 5 favorite versions of, well, anything:


If I laid down now, I could sleep another 4 hours at least. But I have my ever-caring mother asking me, "What's WRONG with you?" I said, "I'm exhausted." She argued that she thought the Risperdal I was put on 2 months ago was supposed to regulate my sleep patterns. Well, guess what? Not only did it not work, the side effects I'm dealing with are debilitating. I'm puffed up like a blowfish. Even my skinny little narrow feet are swollen to the point I fear I have gone into congestive heart failure, which'd be a Guy issue to manage, but I don't want to bother him with my medical problems (uh, though he is my doctor). Frankly, I'd rather snuggle.

I don't see the psychiatrist until next Monday. In the meantime, I'm tapering myself off the Risperdal. I also am lowering the dose of the original antipsychotic, Geodon, to twice instead of 3 times a day and when I wake up, am flying full-force into yoga, because this is just ridiculous. I'd rather be skinny and crazy than heavy and stable. The trade off is worth it to me. Aren't you glad? Consider it a public service.



Fast forward 3 hours. I napped from 4:30-6:00 and awakened to have a bowl of chili & some tea w/my mom, who didn't bitch at me, other than to say she was "surprised" I woke up to eat dinner. I was a little off the time/space continuum when I woke up, but I did pull myself together. I'm so stuffed up and itchy I feel like my mom's got a secret poinsettia somewhere in the house, to which I'm deathly allergic.

I hope Guy can be coerced to come out and meet Meg and I on Wednesday night. I'll bring along his Christmas presents just in case and no, I hardly feel he'll be remotely ready with whatever it is he is or isn't getting me this year. I told him all I wanted in the first place was a day at Chicago's Art Institute with him sometime this winter. I want to walk around looking at art with him. Sigh. I miss him SO much.


 I'd be remiss not to mention BMF's really beautiful Christmas gift which arrived the other day. It was on  leather cord, which was kind of a choker and plus won't hold up well in the shower, so I put this gorgeous sterling OM pendant next to my late Gram's cross on my dad's gold chain. I'm out being bi-religious, ack! It's really purdy, BMF. Well played. Thanks again. I love you.


Speaking of Hinduism, my newly Lutheran confirmed son was listening to the George Harrison early takes CD with me in the car Christmas shopping last night, and he really seemed to get into this one, which is admittedly a funky favorite, "Awaiting On You All":



Luke asked me WHY there were early takes of songs and why they didn't just auto-tune everyone and overdub all the music so it sounded perfect on the first take. Silly boy doesn't understand artists--real musicians who played on real instrument with their real voices had to go through dozens of takes to get a song "just right." There was no such thing as auto-tune when George Harrison was making "All Things Must Pass," and even though it'd been invented before he died, he insisted on doing all of his recording on analog, not digitally, and seeing where things went from there. Good stuff.



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Today's Christmas Post--"Go Tell It On the Mountain"

One of my favorite Christmas songs....this version just RULES.




Thursday, December 12, 2013

This Is All I Have Time For Today. Er, Right Now.


He has a mustache ON his abdomen that just goes in the opposite direction of the one on his face.

The woman he's with is clearly laughing AT him, not WITH him. I'd watch her with that rope she's holding.

I have to ask myself if Guy wore clothes like this in the 70's. Please God, no.

Ok, I gotta go.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

"Rhythms" Remembers John Lennon

Stop handgun violence. 

Lobby your Congressional representatives for stricter gun laws in all 50 states.

John Lennon didn't have to be robbed of his life at age 40, nor did the world deserve to be robbed of one of the icons of rock music universally loved and respected for his commitment to peace and harmony among everyone. Thank you to Yoko Ono for her continued work towards spreading John's message of peace through preserving and presenting his music, art and writing.  

In memory of John Winston Ono Lennon

October 9, 1940-December 8, 1980



In the spirit of the Season:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

To clarify....

Inherently, Ms. Blog Stalker and her henchwoman aren't *bad* people. Especially the henchwoman--I always got along with her, though she took offense to me calling her "street smart" while I was "book smart," as if I was downplaying her. Quite the contrary, actually. Lots of me would prefer to have the wherewithal to be as strong and capable of making it on her own as the Henchwoman. She left the practice and moved briefly to Texas; which, as I mentioned previously, I only found out that she'd moved and returned from a grocery store checker who is a patient at the practice.

As a matter of fact, shortly before my tenure at the practice ended, Ms. BS was getting quite involved in a contemporary large church, volunteering a lot. She expressed interest in coming to one of my service during which I drummed. I was proud of her faith walk and how far she'd traveled. It gave her a sense of fulfillment that, apart from her work, brought her peace.

What made me so upset with Ms. BS in the first place was the nitpicking she subjected me to while I was at Balderdash & Verities. I received a poor work review, with Ms. BS under the influence of the senior doctor (at the time, he's since retired) citing that ALL of the doctors thought not only was I poor worker, but that each one of them had a problem with them personally regarding my demeanor or personality. It was suggested by Guy that I myself go and ask this question to each doctor (save for the one who planted this seed in Ms. BS's mind), and none of them had  problem with me. In fact, one of the doctors said I was the most interesting character who'd ever worked there (and no, it wasn't Guy). The most I was guilty of was being a bit on the chatty/dreamy side. When I asked if the other girls in the office would be subject to the same performance review, it didn't happen until approximately a year LATER, which was totally unfair and exclusive. I was being picked on, and I didn't appreciate it at all.

It's hard not to get daydreamy when you're mindlessly feeding papers into a fax machine, particularly if you're a creative mind. And as I said a loooong time ago, there was nothing creative about the position whatsoever. At its peak, it was a 5-doctor, 100 patient a day practice, with scant room  and I couldn't handle it. Them letting me go was the smartest, greatest thing they could've done, seeing as now I'm a successful graduate student halfway through a masters and en route to an eventual doctorate degree. Sometimes I wonder if I was only hired BECAUSE I already had a BA. But we'll never know.

It was mundane at times and not intellectual, too fast-paced for me, and made me physically ill under that much stress. It didn't help that Ms. BS noticed and picked on every mistake I made in data entry and had scheduled me at the front desk during Monday mornings and Thursday afternoons, their busiest times, and it was more anxiety that I could handle. Well aware that I had anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder, the company didn't accommodate me at all and, in fact, subjected me to a mandatory drug test under duress when I was having huge issues balancing my blood sugar, which still sometimes bothers me at school, but not half as much as it did at B&V.

As my physical condition deteriorated, I began taking more time off in the hospital as a patient, and I kept most of my bipolar symptoms to myself, though in hindsight, that wasn't smart and made me really sick. One day at lunchtime, when I weighed a scant 113 lbs on a 5'8" frame, able to only keep down baby food, Ms. BS walked through the lunch area and blurted out that she "wished she had the same disease as Andrea," so she "could be as skinny." That hurt me terribly. If any of them thought I enjoyed being so ill I was relegated to eating 2 jars of baby food a day, that, my friends, is balderdash. I endured numerous hospitalizations, tests, operations and procedures during 2010-20111.

What irritated me further was how much time the office staff at B&V spent ON WORK TIME, on the DOCTORS' dimes, reading my blogs, which yes, a lot of which were about my experiences there after I lost my job. Call it morbid curiosity, but the practice had to implement a "no personal internet usage" policy after I logged over 18 pages of proof from my tracker of IP visits from the practice over a several-month period, some open for as long as 7 hours at a time. I know I'm interesting, but not that interesting. I threatened to send them to the head doctor of the practice if they didn't leave me alone. At the time, the text exchanges were "Quit writing about us and we'll leave you alone." That's all well and good, but quit giving me reason to write about you. It was a vicious cycle.

They were all curious as to the hot skinny going on between myself and Guy, when there was nothing we were hiding. That, at times, unnerved him, because he veils in secrecy, but that's not how I conduct my life. The Henchwoman, in particular, threatened to go to Lady GuyGuy exposing the reported "affair" I was having with her husband, when Guy and I knew that was far from the truth. Hence, my second point of contention was being threatened.

After the dust settled finally, and I got rid of them (it helped to block their IP's at home from accessing "Rhythms," I had a sneaking suspicion they'd log back on to gauge my reaction to the death of Madame Guy, which they did, which I found an intrusion. Fast forward to this October. My ongoing friendship with Guy is none of their business. Ms. BS was just entering the wake as Meg and I were leaving, so no words were exchanged until I got the "Henchwoman and I want to meet you for lunch sometime" text, which I truly didn't believe was meant in good or kind spirit; thus, this whole bundle of shit blew up, culminating in them showing up on my property last weekend, with the Park Ridge Police shaking her away from my life, ideally forever, because I honestly don't have anything to say about her to her face other than, "Why did you treat me so disrespectfully and like a moron, and assign me tasks deliberately that you knew would exacerbate my mental condition?" In graduate school, I've obtained official, law-sanctioned accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which allow me to pace myself as my moods change. Had I even known about it when I was at B&V, I would've enacted my rights to better, fairer treatment.

If you go back and read my text exchanges with her, I was more than polite, quite smart, yet cheeky as I am wont to be. Like I said, no professional writer worth salt would  pass up material like that just thrown in one's lap. I'm quite content now to hang with my merry band of devotees and the occasional readership of Guy when he's pointed towards something interesting, but please, everyone else at Balderdash & Verities, leave me in peace to live my life, whether it includes Guy or not.

In all honesty, please don't try and contact me again. I wish you, Ms. BS and your henchwoman both the best of luck in your ventures and hope you hire some quality help to ease your workload, because I DO understand how frantic it is up there in front. I'm sure the electronic charting has helped immensely, but still, it's more than *this* bipolar bear can handle.

Best of luck.
The Offbeat Drummer


Friday, December 6, 2013

Massive Attack



A few hours ago, I was seething in anger.

It's probably subsided because I'm really tired.

Here's the deal:

I gave Guy and his family a mass card (a Catholic thing, where a priest will say a special mass for those departed into the stratosphere, and you pay a modest sum of money to do so). I put it in the proper receptacle at the wake before I paid Madame Guy my respects and visited with Guy. I signed the guest register as did Meg, with my name and home address.

Meg got an acknowledgment note from the family of Guy, none of them apart from Guy knowing who she was some time go. Madame Guy's been dead for almost 2 months... you'd think with the volume of offspring in that family, I'd have received word by now if they got it, or appreciated it. It was one of the things the family requested in lieu of flowers.

The mass was said for Guy's mother on Sunday, the 1st. That's when I realized I'd heard nothing from the Guy clan, which is bizarrely rude. How Meg got a note and I didn't just doesn't make sense, unless Guy was assigned to send notes to all the people who were his friends, and the other siblings to their friends, and so on.



He did mention getting BMF's mass card in the mail and to thank him for it, which I did, which was nice of BMF. BMF won't receive a note because there's no way in hell I'm giving Camp Guy his address. I think Guy thanked me verbally on the phone for my mass card, but it was an in-passing thought. Proper protocol and manners dictate that you send out notes, regardless.

I guess, in literally every respect of Guy's life the last few months, I've been grazed over. He wouldn't go out with Meg and I Monday night (part of which was celebrating my new grant writing internship for next semester at a local mental health agency). He let me know via text that he would be out of sight to me until I ended the "verbal war" with Ms. Blog Stalker, and to "drop him a note" when that happened. Jesus, the police said if she attempts to contact me again, or steps on my property, she'll be in jail.. I won already.  I emerged victorious. Besides, we can talk about a myriad of other things that don't involve Balderdash  & Verities whatsoever.

I understand it, I really do. Mom died. Putting houses on the market, estate bullshit to deal with, sibling rivalry.. Finding a new house and  remodeling some of the big house now, the holidays coming, work stress..3 week vacations, still; according to his phone calls, he and Lady GG have time to spend evenings with their other friends and cohorts. That's great, Guy, and while you asked me to be more spontaneous and invite you on  group gatherings,  I did just that and still got a kick in the head. Evidently, dinner or coffee after work one night cuts too deeply into his schedule, not that I was any more important than a dental appointment on the calendar, which I'm sure Lady GG manages for his free time. I'm tired of the concussions.

What I ended up giving him in a private card ( I probably said this already) was a pressed flower from my father's funeral. I think if he's going to keep acting this way, in denial and avoidance (his 2 glaring traits), when he and I have some legitimate business to handle in January, I might ask for it back to save for my grandchildren. It was a gesture of honest love towards Guy, though he hasn't remotely reciprocated, so I'm fooling myself, really.

My intention in telling him what went down with Ms. BS wasn't to get her in trouble at work. I could care less. But I did leave him a voicemail that his office staff was at my door at almost 10 pm on Saturday night ready to beat the shit of me. I found this information prudent. In any event, they're gone and I'd like to *not* be shot down for every single suggestion I provide to get together in some fashion with Guy.



I'm done suggesting. If he wants to see me, I'll see when I can pencil him in. As I told Meg, he's probably more relieved than anything that my pesky ass is out of his way for a while as he sulks and avoids all of his complicated and repressed thoughts and feelings.

God, I hate the holidays.                











Monday, December 2, 2013

You Didn't Stand By Me, No, Not At All.

...So tell me something I don't understand....
....You said you loved me, and that's a fact
And then you left me...said you felt trapped
Well, some things you can't explain away
But the heartache's hit me til' this day.

You didn't stand by me
Not not at all
You didn't stand by me
No way

All the times when we were close
I remember those things the most.
I seen all my dreams come tumbling down
I can't be happy without you around
So alone I keep the wolves at bay
And there's only one thing I can say.

You didn't stand by me
Not not at all
You didn't stand by me
No way

You must explain why this must be
Did you lie when you spoke to me?

You didn't stand by me.
No, not at all.....

Now I got a job, but it don't pay.
I need new clothes.
I need somewhere to stay.
But without all of these things I can do.
But without your love, I won't make it through.
But you don't understand my point of view.
I suppose there's nothing I can do...

You didn't stand by me
No not at all
You didn't stand by me
No way...

The Clash
"Train in Vain"


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The People Vs. The Offbeat Drummer




From Wikipedia, regarding the First Amendment and the right to free speech:

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that comprise theBill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights was originally proposed as a measure to assuage Anti-Federalist opposition to Constitutional ratification. Initially, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress, and many of its provisions were interpreted more narrowly than they are today. Beginning with Gitlow v. New York (1925), the Supreme Court applied the First Amendment to states—a process known as incorporation—through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Court drew on Founding Father Thomas Jefferson's correspondence to call for "a wall of separation between church and State", though the precise boundary of this separation remains in dispute. Speech rights were expanded significantly in a series of 20th and 21st-century court decisions which protected various forms of political speech, anonymous speech, campaign financing, pornography, and school speech; these rulings also defined a series of exceptions to First Amendment protections. The Supreme Court overturned English common law precedent to increase the burden of proof for defamation and libel suits, most notably in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964). Commercial speech, however, is less protected by the First Amendment than political speech, and is therefore subject to greater regulation.
The Free Press Clause protects publication of information and opinions, and applies to a wide variety of media. In Near v. Minnesota (1931) and New York Times v. United States (1971), the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected against prior restraint—pre-publication censorship—in almost all cases. The Petition Clause protects the right to petition all branches and agencies of government for action. In addition to the right of assembly guaranteed by this clause, the Court has also ruled that the Amendment implicitly protects freedom of association.

Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one's opinions and ideas using one's body and property to anyone who is willing to receive them. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, as with libelslanderobscenitysedition (including, for example inciting ethnic hatred), copyright violation, revelation of information that is classified or otherwise.
The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in theInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that "[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice". Article 19 goes on to say that the exercise of these rights carries "special duties and responsibilities" and may "therefore be subject to certain restrictions" when necessary "[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals".[1][2]

Freedom of speech may be legally curtailed in some jurisdictions (including some religious legal systems) where it is found to cause religious or racial offence, such as by the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 in the United Kingdom.
Concepts of freedom of speech can be found in early human rights documents.[3] England’s Bill of Rights 1689 granted 'freedom of speech in Parliament' and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted during the French Revolution in 1789, specifically affirmed freedom of speech as an inalienable right.[4] The Declaration provides for freedom of expression in Article 11, which states that:
"The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law."[5]
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, states that:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."[6]
Today freedom of speech, or the freedom of expression, is recognized in international and regional human rights law. The right is enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.[7] Based on John Milton's arguments, freedom of speech is understood as a multi-faceted right that includes not only the right to express, or disseminate, information and ideas, but three further distinct aspects:
  1. the right to seek information and ideas;
  2. the right to receive information and ideas;
  3. the right to impart information and ideas
Jo Glanville, editor of the Index on Censorship, states that "the Internet has been a revolution for censorship as much as for free speech".[42]International, national and regional standards recognise that freedom of speech, as one form of freedom of expression, applies to any medium, including the Internet.[7] The Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 was the first major attempt by the United States Congress to regulatepornographic material on the Internet. In 1997, in the landmark cyberlaw case of Reno v. ACLU, the U.S. Supreme Court partially overturned the law.[43]Judge Stewart R. Dalzell, one of the three federal judges who in June 1996 declared parts of the CDA unconstitutional, in his opinion stated the following:[44]

Hold it right there, Offbeat Drummer! Wait, you own the rights to the photographs you were asked to take at Balderdash & Verities? Oh, OK!  No need to take it down. Carry on.......



"The Internet is a far more speech-enhancing medium than print, the village green, or the mails. Because it would necessarily affect the Internet itself, the CDA would necessarily reduce the speech available for adults on the medium. This is a constitutionally intolerable result. Some of the dialogue on the Internet surely tests the limits of conventional discourse. Speech on the Internet can be unfiltered, unpolished, and unconventional, even emotionally charged, sexually explicit, and vulgar – in a word, "indecent" in many communities. But we should expect such speech to occur in a medium in which citizens from all walks of life have a voice. We should also protect the autonomy that such a medium confers to ordinary people as well as media magnates. [...] My analysis does not deprive the Government of all means of protecting children from the dangers of Internet communication. The Government can continue to protect children from pornography on the Internet through vigorous enforcement of existing laws criminalizing obscenity and child pornography. [...] As we learned at the hearing, there is also a compelling need for public educations about the benefits and dangers of this new medium, and the Government can fill that role as well. In my view, our action today should only mean that Government’s permissible supervision of Internet contents stops at the traditional line of unprotected speech. [...] The absence of governmental regulation of Internet content has unquestionably produced a kind of chaos, but as one of the plaintiff’s experts put it with such resonance at the hearing: "What achieved success was the very chaos that the Internet is. The strength of the Internet is chaos." Just as the strength of the Internet is chaos, so that strength of our liberty depends upon the chaos and cacophony of the unfettered speech the First Amendment protects."[44]


The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Declaration of Principles adopted in 2003 makes specific reference to the importance of the right to freedom of expression for the "Information Society" in stating:
"We reaffirm, as an essential foundation of the Information society, and as outlined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Communication is a fundamental social process, a basic human need and the foundation of all social organisation. It is central to the Information Society. Everyone, everywhere should have the opportunity to participate and no one should be excluded from the benefits of the Information Society offers."[45]

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!  "This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Nothing slanderous--recorded and false or libelous--written and false. All wrote fact. Think that over before you engage a lawyer who'll laugh you out of his/her office with scant pretense. Ah, America!

Friday, November 29, 2013

"Rhythms" Remembers George Harrison

Twelve years ago today, the material world lost one of its greatest souls.....and paradise gained one.

George Harrison

February 25, 1943-November 29, 2001




Really Quickly....

I was informed yesterday that the entire front office staff at Balderdash & Verities has quit, and the only other 2 people who work in there are Ms. Blog Stalker and her henchwoman!  And they're kind of going crazy.

The Henchwoman's kind of camera-shy, so here's an insiders-only look into the world of Balderdash & Veritites:



What was that about karma? Why was the office decorated like a 1970's Thai restaurant?

Just had to share, because while it's stressful for the doctors, it's delicious payback towards those two women.

Stop.

(Update: It didn't stop there.)