Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Dobster and Sammy 2/5

Two observations:
  • You, gentle reader, still don't know with whom you are exchanging mental fluids. This, of course, is not your fault. The author assumes all fault.

Here on Etterbeek Lane, where I am curled up under a favorite handmade quilt, laptop balanced on one knee, we are five.

There is a man. He is 15 years older than me; He is my way better half. What shall we call him? I tend to call everybody "Fred," much like Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard calls everybody "Carl."

So, there is Fred.

There is me, the retired French prof -- and no, I will not apologize for using French in my own damn blog. Get over it. Suck it up! Boeuf bourguignon! Les Deux Magots! Jacques Cousteau and your mama!

Ah, but I am complicated. Worse still, I am in charge. MwaaaaHaaaHaaa!

So on occasion, I commune with Bianca Castafiore, and en revanche, au contraire, à l'inverse (Whoop Whoop Whoop! French alarm! Stop the insanity!) -- and, for her part, Bianca finds within me the wherewithal to sing the [same] sad song, one more time.

The rest is easy. Fred and I have three cats. Pictured above is Dobby (our little idiot) and Sam-I-Am. Dobby's mother, Marmy, is not particularly photogenic. Read: she thinks the camera may well siphon away her soul...

Oh God. I am a Crazy Cat Lady.

  • The last thought and observation for today -- because today has been somewhat long -- is an acknowledgement of my verbal chaos.

Sure, I'll 'fess up. My writing is a mess, and my neurological pathways merely torturous. Nonetheless, I choose to be defensive and unyielding at this point in our relationship.

Let me undress in the dark for a while.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Faust Before Coffee

For someone who loves language, to be reduced to a series of acronyms is beyond insulting. For the divine Bianca Castafiore -- such a fate would be a horror, although I suppose it would ultimately be recuperated as aria, as Italian air.

Me, I do not often wake "in the morning," but to claim some measure of normality, I will prepositionally use the phrase (precious, precious, much too precious).

I'm sorry about that. I cannot, however, allow you to touch my sentence.

Get the hell away from my sentence!

Du calme, du calme, ma chère...

When I wake in the morning, there is no thunder of trumpets in my brain announcing the triumphant news that I remain the inimitable Bianca Castafiore -- as in "(blow blow flap lips) congratulations! you remain (lip buzz) Bianca Castafiore (slowly slide the pitch)!"

No, when I wake, I make no sudden sound, no sudden movement, and pray that none are made on or around me. The cats that have kept me safely in the bed all scatter, willing to let me face the risks of our little pocket of weak gravity in their strong feline hope of kibble. Bianca, she would break into song, she would dance the mirror before her Bianca-face, singing "ah, je ris de me voir si belle dans ce miroir..."

It is a rare woman who can bring off Faust before coffee.

My right hand snakes toward the bedside table and snags first the red, white, and blue water bottle, and then the other (more amber) bottles of momentary import: of percocet, of ibuprofen.

There are days I need help taking the pills, and assistance drinking the water. But those days are rare. Mostly, I medicate myself by myself.

Not quite alone. There *are* those cats: Marmy, Dobby, and Sam-I-Am. Were my bed a raft out on the sea, those three would be... sharks, circling. They know from experience, though, that it will be a good half-hour before I budge, and they are kind. While we wait for the medicine to kick in, we gently pet, we purr. Yes, we vibrate!

Bianca Castafiore *only* sings L'air des bijoux of Marguerite from Gounod's Faust; She sings it loud and she sings it often. As she is not called on to sing a high C, we do not know if she can shatter glass. We do not know if *she* vibrates.

"Ah, je ris, de me voir si belle, dans ce miroir..." O! Marguerite! Beware! It is Méphistophélès who gives you jewels and a mirror! Infernal, insightful, so clever -- the devil. And there you are, decked out and loving what you see.
Looks can be deceiving. This post will bear the label of "The Acronyms." The acronyms to which I will usually be referring are:

SLE = Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
CRPS/RSD =Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
AVN = Avascular Necrosis
AI (times two: AI! AI!) = Adrenal Insufficiency & Aortic Insufficiency

Lupus is often treated with steroids, judiciously, it is hoped, as prolonged use of corticosteroids involves a good number of significant side effects. Somehow, I ended up on high doses of steroids over much too long a time. Not always for SLE. Sometimes for CHF. Sometimes for asthma.
As the kids say: Whatever.
It is possible, even probable, that treating my SLE in that manner resulted in a killer case of avascular necrosis, AVN. Don't suggest that to your average medico, though, as it will cause them to go dark and mutter something that sounds like "informedconsentinformedconsent..." and then they poop their pants.

AVN also serves as the acronym for an adult video organization. Porn. Not erotica. Pure unadulterated smut. The good stuff.

With AVN, the bones, in layman's terms, errr... well, they rot. They become necrotic.
(Yes, you genius! Exactly! As in necrosis. Very good. All of that Latin eventually pays off -- you can decipher much medical terminology thanks to the etymologies still swarming within the brain pan, that great bucket of os!)

It hurts quite a bit. Untreated, the involved joints eventually collapse. I had some joints replaced -- a few successfully -- a few badly. Then, when further treatment became impossible, my life was in large part subsumed by the pain of bone-on-bone. Bone-on-Bone like Stratford-on-Avon.

Ashton-under-Lyne. Bexhill-on-Sea. Stoke-on-Trent.
Where was I?
Tête de Hergé?

The arm that inches toward the water, the hand that pries the pills from their plastic home --they hurt more than I have the capacity to express.

The pain of AVN, though, pales next to the pain of CRPS/RSD.

There will be time for the packing and unpacking of these alphabets. For now, I am content to remember that first half hour, each minute that much closer to movement, to the chachacha of the hobble to the bathroom, the graceless kerplunk into the power chair.

Marmy, Dobby, and Sam-I-Am precede me and lead the way to good chow, good kibble, and mugs of snooty white liberal fair trade coffee, steaming. We are deceitful in our appearances; We hum as if we could sing; We smile as if we mean it; We feel so much more Bianca Castafiore now, and so much less a dumpy, dull, decrepit educator, retired.

"Ah, je ris de me voir si belle dans ce miroir..."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hello, I am Bianca Castafiore. You may kiss my hand.

It should feel momentous, the initial post, n'est-ce pas? But it doesn't. In so many ways, the Internet has worn me out.

I am Bianca Castafiore, diva and scourge, known but little loved by tintinologistes the world over.


As a defunct and decrepit former French professor, the life of the mind becomes a rather childlike experience, replete with rapt sessions of navel-gazing. In truth, I've become childish -- the claim of childlike is outrageous. I have too much respect for children to carry that farce any further. Other farces? Sure... But not that one.

I have no children. I have adults instead. And cats.

Every day, I try to learn but am in dire need of systematization -- otherwise, I am but a dilettante of learning, and hardly an academician, ex officio.

How long before any readership that I may cull will revolt when they see my penchant for the foreign phrase? Will they think me... affected? Somewhat... false? Well, darlings, whose blog is it, anyway?

I think I am getting the hang of this. Yes, this will do nicely.

In the several minutes from there to *here*, the ringing refrain of Whose Life Is It Anyway? clambered into my brain. I am trying to ignore it, for introducing anything somber in an initial post hardly seems very hospitable. Nonetheless, you, my as yet nonexistent readership, are forewarned that the theme of being trapped in a body is one that will resurface.

Freud has forever been on my Shit List, the perspicacious son-of-a-bitch.