Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Contest FAIL

I was "filming" to enter a contest for which there was a $300 prize (I've never entered anything but poetry contests, a few of which I won). I was getting ready to create the movie by "splicing" the vids that were strung together, when it occured to me to read the small print on the contest...

And, of course, it ended last December!

Well, that eliminated the work of cutting up all the separate videos and so I stopped making nice-nice for the competition, and made this version, mostly for Fred and my enjoyment. The music is by Yoga Tribe, "Bombay to Santa Fe."

Please ignore the scratchy sound of my voice... I've been a little under the weather. [insane cackling from the STILL-IN-BLEEPING-WITHDRAWAL moi]

Some observations: 

The cats are -- in age order, descending -- Marmy Fluffy Butt, Dobby the Inimitable, and Buddy the Kitten.  There are times we cave, completely, to Feline Antics.

You might need to pause the oh-so-stellar vid to see that Marmy continues to scare the shit out of Buddy, particularly today, since she tried to kill him just minutes before this chef-d'oeuvre was created.

Dobby is clearly a Feline-to-Human Ambassador (and he's a bit more like his old self -- he has been very depressed since we lost Sammy last July -- me, too);

And, lastly, ummmm... This is clearly not Marlinspike Hall.  It's one of the out-buildings on The Manor Property.  Yeah, that's it!  It's a crowded, cramped, and cramp-inducing, badly constucted renovation of Ye Olde Haddock Barn[e]. [insane cackling from the STILL-IN-BLEEPING-WITHDRAWAL moi]

As all the TV chefs say at some point in their famous lives, "Today I have made for you a lovely marinated bit of fluffy video... Please enjoy!"

The Forgotten Draft: It Was Scribbled Back In May

Monday surely was a wonderful day.  I will remember it, draw upon it, make it a point de repère

If you missed my wonderful Monday because, possibly, you were busy enjoying your own wonderful day, allow me to summarize:  Due to violent spasms, mostly in my left leg, oddly enough, I took BOTH tizanidine and baclofen around 2 AM, something that is not advisable and that I'd never done before.  Normally, I sleep in discrete increments of 45 to 90 minutes, after which my body and mind like to take a break from all that restorative good stuff and thrash around for a bit, maybe bake some bread, do a load of towels, or scrub an already clean floor.  However, after downing a double dose of muscle relaxants -- Oh, Sweet Oblivion!  I slept for 8 hours, uninterrupted.  You'd have thought I had undergone both a complete body and personality transplant.  Pain?  Who cared?  I could deal with it -- I could do anything.

("I can do it;  I can do anything!":  Words for which I am famous, having once sat upright while still asleep and made the announcement in a strong, loud voice, after which I laid back down and resumed snoring.  I was in the middle of my first semester in grad school and feeling rather... challenged.)

You know how the story goes.  Monday came, Monday went.  Monday night?  Sleepless.  Jerking leg.  Having already baked, washed, and scrubbed, I settled for distraction and finished off one mediocre mystery novel and started another.  Tuesday proved difficult.  The spasms shifted gears, ignoring the musical rules of tempo and the physical limitations of gravity -- while the regular pain battled my best intentions and asserted its coarse familiarity. 

I picked a fight with Fred over one of the Militant Existential Feminist Lesbians and badmouthed a Straight Uncontemplative Non-Feminist Woman he likes a lot.  He was disgustingly kind and accepting in response.  Grrrr.  I was shorttempered with Buddy the Kitten, spraying him in the face with The Dread Yellow Water Bottle when he bit down on a data wire --completely forgetting to try "No!" first.  He responded by licking my nose, curling up on my chest, and purring.  Grrrr.  I fired off a snotty email to my half-sister who promptly replied with some nonsense about neverending love.  Grrrr.  What?  Will no one let me pitch a fit, and help to fuel it with an in-kind donation?  Are they all, prepubescent felines included, going to ignore and squelch my Maladaptive Sick Behaviors?  Grrrr.

But as more and more people are saying, "at the end of the day," we made it through... 

Let's see.  That brings this fascinating LifeLog to Tuesday night.  I had a major CRPS shift, going from shrunken, blue, burning, freezing cold... to swollen, red, throbbing, burning hot.  Before the pain became so bad, years ago, we used to entertain ourselves by watching my right foot change colors, and considered its temperature variations a potential boon for all those camping trips we were going to take one day.

I consider the Red Phase to be an anachronism, simply because that is how CRPS initially presented itself, back in 2002.  The slow shift to the Blue Phase was accomplished over years, and my new ability to rapidly cycle between them is... well, new.  And by "rapidly," I mean a range from mere minutes to a course of several hours. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Update on the Jump Off

i cannot tolerate the taste of coffee.
i keep forgetting to take the rest of my medications.
i drop things. incessantly. it's about to drive moi crazy.
i cannot keep up my end of conversations.
suddenly, two out of three felines are afflicted with the dread klingon dirty butt syndrome (dkdbs).
more cow bell!
oh, didn't i tell youse guys? i love christopher walken.
doesn't ANYONE (beyond her grandparents and uncle) remember caylee marie anthony?
i'm sorry but arpad don't-make-me-say-"corroborate" vass wasn't in the least bit "sympathetic" as a witness!
i lost my sympathy the first time i heard his simpering giggle.
and if they make the jury sniff "dead air"? uh-huh, it's all over. (the jury is gonna resent the heck out of that!)
how is it that i went roughly 7 hours almost withdrawal symptom free, then got hit with the godawful leg seizures in the eighth hour? whywhywhy?
buddy the kitten has been seeking reassurance of our love today --
he has been repeatedly shooed away when we are enjoying The Dobster
and apparently, he is shaken to his kitten core by that.
i am the very definition of "bloated."

that's about all that's fit to note.

oh, and my vision is permanently blurry.
also -- i mopped the entire manor this morning (and you know how big marlinspike hall is!) (i did it during the above-referenced 7 hours.)

and when i say "bloated," i mean BLOATED.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

REPOST: El beso de la mujer arana

[maybe that should read "gush of sentiment" warning.]

hi, folks!  it's sunday morning... wait!  no, it is now sunday afternoon, and nadal is closing in on federer, hooray!  i can only hope that people understand clay-court genius... the french do, of course.  they totally get how it can make even an all-time great look awkward and late-swinging...

yes, looking stupid is the gift to any challenger of a truly great clay court specialist... and that's a more accurate description of what the french "totally get."  even if voltaire felt he had to reside in switzerland in order to survive his own shenanigans...

my tired and weird commentary?  it's not just a visual effect of methadone withdrawal that brought me to the point of reposting this blog entry of april 2009.  [if you're not a regular of this blog, i am in my 42nd hour of the GreatJumpOff...].

nope... i have a referring reference, a citing cite!  late yesterday afternoon, when i thought i'd experienced the worst of the worst of withdrawal (oh my god, it's five-all third set... rafa?  helllllooooo, rafffffaaaaaa?  it's love-40 on nadal's serve.  choke city, it's choke city.  okay, okay, now it's 15-40.  like that's any comfort.... because federer is now gonna serve a break up at 6-5... crap.  he's wily, that federer.  does anyone else think he has bulked up a bit?  no, i am NOT starting an unfounded steroid accusation.  ohmygod what a beautiful drop shot by rafa!)  ummmmm, right.  ummmmm, well, god damn it all, as we go into a FOURTH SET, as the elder mcinroe announces that nadal "has become predictable," i have developed a new withdrawal symptom:  fever???  who knew that withdrawal would provoke fever above 101?  (if you're not a regular of this blog, i am in my third year of experiencing daily fevers, though they are characterized as generally being BELOW 101...)

shoot, who knows?  maybe federer is behind this latest spike?

i wouldn't put it past him.  he's thinking:  "drat!  that inveterate (better than invertebrate!) blogger at elle est belle la seine la seine elle est belle is badmouthing me once again.  i must raise my level of play against this clay-court specialist!"

but... i will not be deterred from my story.  yesterday, yesterday afternoon, i watched Presumed Innocent.  no, not because of harrison ford, you numbnut, you!


Raúl Rafael Juliá y Arcelay (March 9, 1940 – October 24, 1994).  it still grieves me greatly to read "Raul Julia WAS an actor..." -- and not just because he was much more than a mere actor...
Humanitarian work

During his life, Juliá continued the work that was done by his parents during his childhood, cooperating with social and educational activities. Due to this, he was named to the New York Council for the Humanities. Among the targets of Juliá's charity work were initiatives directed towards youth. Concerned with rising levels of violence among teenagers, he sponsored script writing in high school students and supported young actions. In order to promote other Latin American performers, Juliá was an active member of the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) and co-founded Visiones Luminosas, an initiative to promote screenwriters. He continued to work in the NYSF, but performed without receiving a salary. In a similar fashion, Juliá cooperated with independent filmmakers in Puerto Rico by acting in their productions for free or receiving a low salary. This constant involvement with the Latin American community earned him a posthumous Hispanic Heritage Award. Juliá also promoted interracial integration, being a member of Racial Harmony and serving as the chairman of the Joseph Papp Celebrity Coalition for Racial Harmony.

As part of his work in The Hunger Project, Juliá donated food to a food bank once every month. He also promoted the program on television and radio and served as narrator in bilingual videos. Juliá opened slots in his schedule to participate in multiple benefit galas on behalf of the organization. Due to this work, the project gave him their Global Citizen Award. His involvement was also recognized in "Ending Hunger: An Idea Whose time Has Come". On March 24, 1992, Juliá received the Courage of Conscience Award. In 1994, the government of El Salvador recognized his activism for human rights, granting him the role of overseer in their general elections in representation of Freedom House. During his visit to the country, he visited the tomb of Romero, subsequently describing his experience in a piece published in Freedom Review.

In recognition, the National Endowment for the Hispanic Arts offers the Raúl Juliá Award for Excellence annually. In 2002, actress Sandra Bullock was presented with the award. She received it for her work as the executive producer of The George Lopez Show, which offered work and exposition for Hispanic talent. In 2003, Daniel Rodríguez won the first Raúl Juliá Global Citizen Award from the Puerto Rico Family Institute based in New York, receiving the recognition due to charity work.

The Raul Julia Micro Society, a charter school located inside Public School 3 was named in honor of Julia. The school is located in the Tremont neighborhood in the New York City borough of the Bronx.
The actor's training unit of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre was renamed the Raul Julia Training Unit.
The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA) honors outstanding entertainment personalities annually with their Raúl Juliá Award for Excellence. The award which recognizes individuals who have contributed to the growth and awareness of Latinos in the arts and media is awarded annually to many Hispanic and non-Hispanic personalities. Past winners include Cristina Saralegui (2010) and Sandra Bullock (2002).
In 2000, the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) renamed its Founders Award to the Raúl Juliá HOLA Founders Award.

that's right! proving once again that i am stronger than my addictions, yesterday afternoon, while watching
yesterday afternoon, i fell head over heels in love again... with raúl.  and i remembered, despite the incessant jerking of my legs, despite the nausea and other gastrointestinal difficulties, the yawns, the sweats -- i remembered that i had, once before, written a blog post about raúl juliá.

and without further ado (ha ha!) -- here it is (and CONGRATULATIONS, RAFA!!!!!!)[OKAY, so it is not all about raúl... so it is mostly about me and fred... what? did you think i was actually going to rise above incessant it's-all-about-me-itis?


It is happening too soon, this descent into pre-surgery panic. You would think that with each experience, each *survival*, I would build confidence instead of abject terror.

You'd be wrong.

I know that characterizing the result as "survival" is taking a grim view of things. It's just that none of these operations have provided the doctors (hence, me) with answers to the normal burning questions of life: Why can't we identify the organism that has produced all of this infection and explosive pus within my skeleton? Why does the Infectious Disease specialist say that there are "no antibiotics left to try"? Why is there air? Who keeps beating me to within an inch of my life every time I manage to doze off? Where did Fred put the cheesecake? How do we stop the spread of CRPS/RSD with each freaking surgery? Really, I am not kidding: Where did Fred stash the damn cheesecake? Never mind that the infection has apparently caused me to have blood sugars in the 300+ range... It's a zero-carb cheesecake. I swear.

Okay, I will opt for radiant (and subsidizable) health, and choose a better poison: sugar free, artificially-flavored, highly concentrated, orange Jello. I just happened to whip some up in a Julia-Childlike moment around dawn. To splurge? Top with about a quarter cup of lowfat plain yogurt, and serve with large slice of cheesecake.

I am sitting here, all alone within Marlinspike Hall, with a creepy Mudd mask on my face and, therefore, little bits of Mudd everywhere. My shirt collar looks like a bad attempt at papier-mâché. This stuff should have been washed away about an hour ago, but I've been "stuck" -- about as dry and flaky as the crapola on my visage. Remember the subtly dropped reference to "abject terror"? Yeah, that.

Prior to one of the last surgeries, I wrote this:

How in heck am I going to be able to care for myself, much less keep The Manor neat as a pin? The Old Masters dusted and straight (not to mention the occasional Rubens or Velasquez restoration project on long weekends)? All the antique Blue Jasper Wedgwood plaques free of nasty cat fuzz? The lawns -- replete with a scale replica of Wimbledon courts 1-19 plus Centre Court, sans that awful poof of a retractable roof that's going up for next year -- deeply green and trim? Oh, and how in the world can I keep the black algae out of the moat without a daily brushing and correction of chlorine requirements? I mean, I doubt that I'll be able to sport SCUBA gear anytime soon.

The answer to everything, unfortunately, appears to be that poor Fred will do all that needs doing. I am consumed by guilt, all the while wishing I could consume his cheesecake.

I have been able to achieve total self-care since the last surgery. He hasn't had to help me with anything -- oh, that is not true! I forgot about the laundry. I can load the dirties into the washer and get that going, but my arms, hands, and shoulders aren't strong enough to lift the wet clothes and transfer them to the dryer. So he does that for me. Sometimes I cannot manage the finer movements needed for folding, too, so I have had to try to assume a nonchalant air while he folds and puts up laundry.

I can bathe myself and manage all the fascinating chores of hygiene. My chores are probably more complicated than your clean-up routine -- There is, for instance, some difficulty when your arms won't go exactly where you need them to be... when you involve that nasty red Hibiclens... when you cannot reach the hair on your head! I've found ways to get it all done and usually come out presentable -- but never remotely like the way I *can* look.

He says that I should ask him for more help. No. I don't want him washing me, dressing me, helping with hair, make-up. That would be my suicidal low.

He does all the shopping and errands: groceries, banking, and all the other stuff. He drives me to all appointments, and in what can only be described as insane traffic. Tête-de-Hergé-ens are notoriously bad drivers. About half grew up driving on the left side of the road, the other half on the right. It keeps things interesting.

Today, Fred has snared La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore and they've tramped off through the African savanna area of The Manor's grounds to deal with the Wimbledon-esque courts. He didn't exactly explain it to her, but he needs her natural, umm... girth -- to help drive the rollers that tamp down the grass courts.

I hope that the method behind his madness is to indoctrinate her to life as a responsible Manor-Mate. She needs to pitch in more often. She could stay busy just
with our new effort to replace all that crumbling medieval chinking between the stones and wood beams with space age latex-based polymer chinking -- the kind that people use on log homes. We embarked on this without exactly having the Captain's permission. I think the hope is that he won't really notice (though the fact that we won't be consuming so much dried peat and wood might tip him off). Living "green" is really nice, but living warm is even better. And the stuff comes in a variety of colors.

Okay... now my face has contracted into a weird leer. Gotta JUMP in the shower and scrape it off. Wash the head of curly and somewhat oily hair. Sit humbly on my shower chair, figuring how to get clothes on without breaking a bone.

I haven't showered in about a week. That does not mean that I am not clean -- I am -- I just haven't been able to stand long enough to get in the tub. More honestly, I have been scared, as I've managed to pass out a few times in recent weeks.


I'll leave you with this: Occasionally, and oddly enough, mostly at times when The Fredster and La Bonne et Belle Bianca are absent, I daydream and miss, viscerally, Raúl Juliá.

Doesn't everyone?