Thursday, July 31, 2008


  • I made an appointment for Echo's ultrasound. I asked what they would find out from the ultrasound. The person on the other end of the phone wouldn't tell me anything, I think, because she was afraid of saying something that would either get my hopes up or down. Thing is, I wasn't asking what the specific results would be. I wanted to know the purpose of the ultrasound. I want to avoid paying $260 for someone to tell me that my cat has a mass in her lung. I know. I know my cat has a mass. I saw it with my own two eyes. I have the x-ray in my hand. I paid two vets to say, "your cat has a giant mass in her lung." If they're just going to say "your cat has a mass in her lung," I'd rather just move on to the biopsy.
  • I realized that the money I'm going to use for the ultrasound is the same money I was planning on using to buy my textbooks. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to pay for two courses worth of textbooks and an ultrasound. I am sure, however, that the library has the textbooks I need. If I must, I will spend my days at work and at class and my nights in the library until I can afford the books.
  • I ate two peanut butter cookies and a bunch of chocolate to stuff my feelings. Get! Get out feelings. Go back down to the pit of my stomach where you belong.
  • I plan on eating half of a pizza for dinner, to stuff my feelings. And a creamee. A vanilla creamee with chocolate shots (or sprinkles, if you must). Then I'm going to sit in the air-conditioned movie theater and watch the new X-files movie while secretly wishing that Mulder and Scully would totally do it. And by "do it" I mean "have sex."
  • When I get home from the theater, I'm going to harass my sick cat by shoving an eye dropper full of antibiotic into her mouth. After that, I'll try to coax her into the bedroom so she will hop onto the bed and lay, nestled against my chest and purr. And then, of course, I'll get depressed when she opts to stay in her bed in the hallway, instead. I'll get into bed, sans cat, and A.J. and I will watch Dr. Who. I'll fall asleep, as usual, with my head in his lap.

Morning Text Message Conversation

Me: Eeeewww...I feel all farty.

A.J.: Join the sister is the founding member...I'm chairman.

Me: Oh yeah, well I'm the frackin' el presidente, beeotch!

A.J.: Nerd.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I started going to the gym a few months ago. Not to lose weight. Not to train for anything spectacular. Not to firm up my butt ( firm up my butt) or tighten my abs ( tighten my abs).

I went to the gym to get strong. Like, the girl who can do a pull-up strong.

I have always been pretty athletic. In middle school and junior high I played on three basketball teams, three soccer teams, two softball teams and a baseball team...every year. In high school, I played basketball and soccer. Of course, while I was busy being a drug addict, I didn't do much of anything, but when I got clean, I started going to the gym and jogging. I was a landscaper for years, doing heavy lifting and stuff, and most recently, I did Aikido.

I am tall...5'9" and I weigh in at around 135 pounds, which is considered a healthy weight for my height.

But, despite being in decent shape, I can't do a single pull-up. And a few months ago, I couldn't do a single push-up.

So I started going to the gym. I go every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Monday, I work my chest, shoulders and triceps. On Wednesday I do legs and abs. On Friday I do my back, biceps and forearms.

For the first couple of months I did girl push-ups...y'know, the kind where your knees are on the ground? Eventually, I could kinda do one., I did SIX!!!

Now, if I could just do one pull-up...

E.C. Update

So, E.C. has been doing much much better since I started her on her Clavamox. She started eating on Monday morning, to my relief.

By Tuesday morning she was pushing E.M. out of the way to get to the tuna fish in her bowl. She's still not eating normally, but she's eating something. The vet said the Clavamox can make them feel icky, so that could explain things...that, and she didn't eat for days. I feel gross and don't want to eat when I miss one meal.

By Tuesday evening, she was laying on her side. This might not seem like a big deal, but it is. Believe me. All weekend she just sat on all fours with her head hanging in front of her. It's a relief to see this:

She is still really lethargic (hasn't moved from that bed in days, except to eat) and she still won't let me pet her (seems like getting touched bothers her), but she's better.

Of course, there is still a giant tumor in her lung...that probably isn't going anywhere. And we still don't know if that's what's causing her to feel ill. So, I have to schedule a biopsy and ultrasound ($400- whooopie!!!!).

Maybe this thing is benign...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


From the Ben and Jerry's factory tour!


A.C. and A.J.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

E.C. is Sick

So E. C. is really really sick.

Let me start at the beginning of this week.

E.C. hurt her leg. I took her to the vet. She got some Buprenorphin for the pain and she sat around for the next two days looking really stoned and sitting in the same spot being really lethargic. Well, she never really got more active. Instead, she continued to be lethargic and she wasn't eating well. On Friday we took her to the emergency vet service because she started throwing up. A lot. I mean, what looked like her body weight in bile. They gave her I.V. fluids and we went home, hoping the fluids would help and that everything else would subside. After a full day of not eating at all on Saturday, we took her back to the emergency vet. They gave her more fluids, some kitty Pepto Bismol and did blood tests, thyroid tests and took x-rays.
Her blood tests came back okay, except for some liver level which was 3 times the normal level. That, the vet said, could be explained by infection, inflammation, or other things. Not too conclusive. He gave me so meClavamox, which is an oral antibiotic, for E.C. to take. If she's not eating by Monday morning (it's 7:30 p.m. on Sunday as I write), I may have to take her back and have her hospitalized. So far, I've spent about $900 on E.C. this past week.

Anyway, the real zinger is this: the vet said that he was concerned about E.C.'s x-rays (posted below). It looks like she has a "mass" in her lung (maybe lung area....I dunno, I heard the word "mass" and I kinda freaked out). He thinks I should have it looked at more closely with an ultrasound or biopsy. He couldn't give me any more than that, but he said that it could be cancer and he didn't bother to sugar-coat it. this point, my cat won't eat, she looks like hell, and she may be brewing a nice little malignant tumor (not so little). I feel utterly powerless. I can't really do anything but provide the care she needs, and I'm worried that if she needs much more, I won't be able to afford it.

She's such a sweet little pooper. I hate to see her uncomfortable. I'm not ready for her to get really wasn't part of my plan.

E.C.'s x-rays. The "mass" is circled in red.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Morning Conversation

Me: I always liked Eva. I think I actually used to kinda have a girl-crush on her. She's just so tiny and petite and cute. And she's really nice.

A.J.: She's always kinda freaked me out. She's all like (*does crazy exaggerated jazz hands*) booga booga blah blah AAAAAAAAAH! It's like, every time I have a conversation with her, I expect her to just start tap dancing.

Good Night

It's getting dark out and A.J. and I are retiring for the night in the same fashion that we have for the last year or so we've been together; we climb into bed and put on an episode of some television show we're addicted to.

A breeze leads the gauzy curtains in a dance and the star mobile hanging from the ceiling turns slowly in circles. The sheets are cool against my skin and soft on my bare feet; they feel like spring air on a perfect day - the kind where the air is elusive and so well matched to the temperature of my skin that I just don't notice it's there until the wind reminds me.

The cats hop onto the bed and settle into their favorite places.

E.M. curls up at my feet, facing the door like a little guardian gargoyle. Her face is so flat that from the side, all I can see of her face is the glassy orb of her right eye. She turns to me and lazily winks at me. I hear this is a sign of trust and love. I blink back.

E.C. leaps gracefully over my body to the narrow space between me and A.J. She lowers her body slowly to the bed and begins her usual grooming routine, starting with her little bulgy tummy. The pink pads of her feet match her tiny pink nose. I interrupt her grooming by stroking the back of her head. She leans back and pushes into my hand, purring loudly. I curl up around her, putting my head on A.J.'s belly. The television lulls me to sleep and I sleep soundly; a solid, warm human body next to me and two tiny goddesses at my side.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The God Post

That Girl has asked me about my belief/lack of belief in a god and rather than write a post-worthy comment, I think I'll just write a post.

I was not raised in any religion. My father was raised Lutheran (I think), though he is an atheist. My mother was raised in the Baptist denomination though she identifies as agnostic (but for that brief time when she was on her death bed). Anyway, my parents never forced religion on me nor hid religion from me. They allowed me to go to church with friends and taught me to respect other peoples' right to believe what they wanted.

I was desperate to find something to believe in as a child. I wanted the world to have magic...I wanted there to be more than what I could see. I wanted romance and mystery and something to make me feel okay about the world. When I was 11, I started reading Clan of the Cave Bear. The spirituality in the book intrigued me, especially since much of it had to do with nature; something I felt connected to. I started to read about Wicca, which was the closest thing I could find. Herbs became more than just plants; they were carriers of energy. I spent a lot of time on a swing in my back yard, enjoying the life around me (and of course, thanking the tree for letting me hang from it). But there was something about it...about the sky gods and the moon mother that I just couldn't swallow and I gave up on Wicca because I felt I had to take a religion in it's entirety...and I just couldn't swallow everything Wicca was feeding me.

I went to my first CCD class in seventh grade with my friend Sarah. The class was on abortion and the teacher spoke for an hour, showing pictures of tiny fetuses and passing around little tiny fetus dolls. She explained that all life was special to God. When I got home, I proudly showed my mother my new pin, the one with two tiny feet, and exclaimed that I was never going to have an abortion and that abortions were wrong. I could see in my mother's eyes that she disagreed, but she let me go back to CCD the week after that. I eventually stopped going because I couldn't swallow all that Catholicism was feeding me.

When I got sober, I was told I had to believe in a higher power. I struggled with it. I had never believed in a being that was all-knowing and all-seeing and loving or vengeful or whatever. But AA told me I could define my own higher power, that I didn't have to swallow any religion, so I tried to find something religious and fit it into the empty hole in my life.

Eventually, I stopped trying so hard. And eventually, I became okay with my non-belief.

I do not believe in God or gods or a Mother. I believe that my life came about because it did. I do not have a purpose. There is nothing I am supposed to do in my time here on Earth. That does not mean I do not care about what I do with my life. I do. I want to get the most out of it; enjoy the people I meet, have a goal and work toward it, go about living in a way that makes me and the people around me feel good.

My life, without God, is beautiful. Those things I wanted as a child - the world to have magic, for there to be more than what I could see, the romance and mystery and something to make me feel okay about the world - I have those things. There are things going on in the world that I can't explain or see and that I don't understand...they hold mystery. And I take comfort in knowing that I, like everything around me, am only a small part of an entire world of things and that, like all those things, I will pass. When I am hurting, I find comfort in the vastness of the world around me. A bird or a breeze or a sunset settle my nerves and bring me back to a place of humility and peace. I find, in the world around me, all the things that I wanted from religion and from a god.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend Fun

I had a great weekend with my father, once A.J. and I stopped having a blowout fight over absolutely freaking nothing. We spent Friday night at my aunt's house with my dad, his cousin and my cousin and her kids. My aunt lives in a rural upper-middle class town and her house is gorgeous. It was made from lumber that came from a really old house and was totally rebuilt, so it has exposed beams and beautiful wood floors and it smells old, but in a good way. My aunt is not only a great interior decorator, but also an awesome gardener and her yard is beautifully landscaped with big, wild gardens, stone walls and a small fountain and bird bath here or there. The stones that make up the stone walls have little fossils embedded in them and seeing as fossils are my love and hobby and dream, I had a blast studying them closely and showing off my fossil knowledge to my father, who I'm eventually going to hit up for some tuition money.

We had drinks (when I say we, I mean everyone but me) and dinner and played Apples to Apples, which is, hands-down, the best game evah. I won (that's not important, but I really want it recorded somewhere).

I really don't visit my family much, though my aunt lives within 30 minutes from my home and my cousins within 10. I think I'm going to make an effort to do it more often.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Random bullets of recent happenings...

  • I woke up yesterday and my precious little E.C. was limping. Not limping, actually, but dragging her hind right leg. She couldn't really stand or lay down without an insane amount of effort and touching her was out of the question; she howled and rolled around in pain. Not three weeks ago, I had to bring her to the vet because she looked drunk and couldn't walk straight. The vet didn't know what was wrong but assumed it was an inner ear thing. So, I thought her new problem might have something to do with that...or the fact that she has a heart murmur and might've had a stroke. I turned out that she tore her ACL, so now she's at home, all doped up on painkillers. What a cute little stoner:

  • My father is coming up for a visit this weekend. I can't wait to see him. He's a great guy. I didn't always feel that way. When I was young, my father was intensely scary and angry all the time. He an my mother fought constantly, yelling and throwing shoes and yelling some more. They finally decided, when I was 15, to get a divorce, which was sort of a blessing. Then my mom had an aneurysm and when she recovered, she decided that God (something she'd never believed in before) had kept her alive to keep the family together. And that's when my father decided to tell her that he's gay. She wasn't too happy with him; guess it was the whole lying to her for 13 years thing. father is no longer scary and angry all the time. In fact, all of his good qualities have come out, as well, and he's fantastic to be around; smart, funny, level-headed and fun. I try to understand that being gay and coming out in this country is not's hard to remember that, though, when you live in one of the most liberal states. So, I don't blame him for "lying"...I truly believe that while he must have known he was gay, there was also a part of him that just wouldn't allow it to be's sad. In this country, I bet there are a lot of angry, abusive men who live lies because the majority of this country makes it not okay for them to be who they are. Thanks to the support and love my family showed to my father, my brother also felt comfortable enough to come out to us.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kiddo...

I wasn't very nice to you when we were kids. I never let you kiss me goodnight, even though you tried tirelessly...your kisses were too sloppy.

I purposely tortured Tiger (that love-worn little stuffed animal) in front of you to make you cry.

I didn't ever let you hang out with me and my friends and I let you know, whenever you did, that you weren't welcome.

I pushed you and pulled your hair and hit you and called you names.

I gave you your first cocaine and I stole your pot and cigarettes when we were in high school.

I did all those things to you and you still turned out to be a great kid. Well, maybe you're not a kid anymore. Happy 24th kiddo...I love you with all my heart and I wish I hadn't spent so much time acting like I didn't. You rock.

Someone has a twisted sense of humor...

I suppose this isn't as funny to you as it is to me if you believe in some sort of afterlife.

Also seen in town: a funeral home called "Ready."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Yeah, your kids are cute...

but check this out:, you probably still think your kids are cuter...and I probably won't argue. But doesn't this just make you wanna squeeze her little face and belly?


I promise to wash the mildew out from the corners of the wall/tub before I take more pictures in the bathroom. *sigh* It's just so's an apartment. I don't want to invest too much time or money in it; I already spend a fortune just to sleep in it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Doin' it...

When I was 13, my best friend at the time lost her virginity. She arrived at school one morning looking like a fiery hell beast had shown up in the middle of the night and annihilated everything she loved. She looked like shit. And I knew, because I had learned that sex and anything related made people feel terrible, that she had had sex with her boyfriend.

A week later, she asked me to come with her so she could buy a pregnancy test. When we got to the store, she asked me if I would buy the pregnancy test and I said "sure, but if you can't buy one yourself, you probably shouldn't be having sex." I was that girl (not
That Girl!). The one who said "Oh my gawd, Joe McIntyre is so hot Iwannahavehisbabies!" while feeling absolutely NO attraction to Joe McIntyre whatsoever. I didn't wanna do anyone.

I don't actually know where I'm going with this post.

Anyway, while we're on the subject of doin' it, check out this phallic mushroom that I photographed last night:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I quit drinking and doing drugs on February 3rd, 2002. When I first quit, I was 19 and I thought my life was over. I lived in a college dorm and was the only one who didn't drink. I had never legally sat on a bar stool and downed a margarita (though I had sat on a bar stool and downed a margarita).

Had I only been drinking, I think I would have gone on messing up for a VERY long time. But, I was also doing pills...any pills I could get my hands on: Vicodin, Oxycontin, Lorazepam, Tylenol-Codeine, Morphine, Xanax, Klonopin, Ritalin, Adderall. I smoked pot every hour of every day that I wasn't working or going to school. On weekends, I would trip on acid and mushrooms or take Ecstasy...or snort cocaine or heroin. My parents knew about the pot and they knew I was drinking, but they had no idea to what extent...and they certainly didn't know about the pills or the other "hard drugs."

Getting arrested prompted me to quit using and drinking. I was shoplifting and got caught. I couldn't believe that it was happening to me...I'd always been the nice girl, the girl that people's parents raved about, good in school and good at sports. How could I get arrested? Good people don't get arrested...

But I wasn't good. I was a liar. I stole things and I cheated and I didn't care about anyone but myself.

So I ended up in A.A., going to meetings every day for years. It kept me sober and clean and it allowed me to finish college and get a good job and then decide to go back to college.

I only go to meetings once a week now and I struggle with it, because I have been more or less brainwashed into thinking that I must make A.A. the most important thing in my life. A.A. is like an organized religion. You are indoctrinated into it and suddenly, it becomes The Truth. It becomes The Only Way. I do not like this. It doesn't jibe with my brain. When I don't see someone from A.A. for a while, they always ask how I'm doing, but it's loaded with accusation, as if my absence certainly means I've relapsed. I'm told that I must have a higher power and that if I don't pray, I won't stay sober. If I don't have a sponsor, I'll won't stay sober. If I don't work the steps, I won't stay sober.

I want to call BULLSHIT on all of that. I do not pray. I do not have a sponsor and I do not work the steps as they're laid out in the program. What I do, and I find it works, is try to act differently. I don't drink, do drugs, steal or cheat. I honestly examine my motives and my intentions and my actions and I decide to change them if they're unsatisfactory. I don't blame the rest of the world for my problems.

A.A. was all about making myself better. I am content to accept myself for the most part and change my actions. I can do this without a sponsor and without praying.

I don't hate A.A.. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to stop drinking. It works. What I don't like, however, is the exclusivity...the "we're right and any other way is wrong." I just don't think that's so...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Office Space

I am the youngest of all of the people in my office. My boss is 82 and my two other co-workers are in their 60's or older. I am 25.

One of my co-workers (we'll call her Nice) is the mother of a friend of mine (that's how I got a foot in the door). She is very sweet and is sorta a mother hen, while still maintaining a professional, respectful relationship with me.

The other co-worker (we'll call her Annoying) is a lot like my mother. She has all the same mannerisms as Mom and she even looks like her. I don't get along with her...not at all. She drives me crazy.

Today, Annoying asked Nice a question. Apparently, it was one that I could have answered easily, but I didn't answer it because I was not listening because Annoying did not ask me the question...and because of that, I tuned out the conversation to, y'know, get some blogging work done. So, after minutes of discussing said question, Nice turned to me and asked, "A.C., did you blah blah blah?" And I, tuning back in to the conversation, said "yes...I just did that."

Annoying, under her nasty coffee dragon breath, muttered nastily "Don't you listen???"


No, Annoying, I do not listen. Not when you've been talking for a million hours about something that you specifically addressed someone else about.

So, instead of letting her snide comment go, which I usually do, because I'm a pushover, I said "Annoying -- I don't generally answer questions that aren't addressed to me and when you specifically address someone else, I tune out because I have work to do."

Part of me wishes I had just jumped over the cubicle and onto her back while pulling her hair and yelling "I'M NOT LISTENING! I'M NOT LISTENING!," but she's, like, 73, and whenever I think about how much I don't like her I feel guilty because it sorta feels like I'm hatin' on my own mother.

I don't know why Annoying thinks she can treat me like I'm an idiot. I'm not. She may be 3X my age, she may be wiser, she may have more life experience...but there's no excuse for her to treat me without respect. I get the feeling she feels justified in doing so because of our age differences.

Monday, July 7, 2008

On Nicknames

I just realized that my friend Midge used to call me A.C., so it seems fitting that I would choose it as my mystery blogger name (even if it's my first two initials). And just after I realized that, I also realized that Midge used to call me A.C. because it was short for "ass clown".

The Cardinal and Mary Oliver

I was horribly depressed this past winter. A.J. got a mystery illness in January that resulted in two E.R. visits and lasted for almost 3 whole months. He was totally unavailable emotionally and physically and the whole deal really tested our relationship.

On top of that, I was taking the hardest course I've ever taken in my life. The course was taught by a no bullshit math whiz. It was two courses rolled into one and moved at lightning speed over really difficult topics. At the same time, I was also working forty hours per week and taking another difficult course that demanded a lot of attention.

I was SO.FREAKING.TIRED. by the time April rolled around. My life had somehow unraveled itself and I was panicking. How the hell am I going to fix all this? What the hell am I doing, anyway?

So I was trucking along, in the aftermath of school and disease and difficult friendships, and one day, I heard a cardinal. And it changed everything (for a week).

As I was climbing the stairs to my porch, a bird song caught my attention. Above the noise of the street, the school kids playing soccer, the neighbors dog. I searched the trees surrounding the apartment building and soon spotted the songster. He was a brilliant red and each time he called out, he looked like he was putting every tiny bit of life and breath into it. Something about him, his music, snapped me right back into myself. I vowed to sit, each day, and listen to him sing for a few minutes before retiring for the night.

So I did...and in doing so, I got a little closer to myself. Y'see, before I started to hide out in a drug-induced coma-like lifestyle, I was a nature sitter. Every night, even in the winter, I'd wrap myself in a blanket and stare up at the stars. I took long walks by myself and sat, alone, on the lake shore. Nature was enough. I was enough when I was outdoors. I was small, insignificant and that was so reassuring.

But that got away from me. I was no longer longer insignificant and small. My problems loomed large and they consumed me and I stopped learning how to breathe and relax and shrug off the weight of living. And even when I stopped gettin' high, nothing was ever enough.

Somehow, though, for a brief time this spring, I got back to being a nature sitter. There's something incredibly beautiful and simple and sacred about the natural world and it resonates in me. I can't do it justice with words, but if I could, I'd write something like this:

Morning Poem
by Mary Oliver

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches ---
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead ---
if it's all you can do
to keep on trudging ---

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted ---

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

from Dream Work (1986)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Blurry Lines

"He went that way..." she says and points to her left. "He took off his ring and threw it on the ground."

I picture him, his large brows colliding with one another and tears rimming his eyes. He's hurt...I shoot a mental bullet at the bitch that did it to him.

He'll be at the library. That's where he always is, especially when he's upset.

I have been to the library before, have searched its vast clutter for him in the past. I've never been successful.

But there he is, just beyond the shelf filled with molding red-bound tomes, sitting with his elbows to his knees face to his hands, distraught.

I approach open-armed, feeling what I can only guess is the love and warmth a mother feels when she is consoling a hurt child. I want to embrace him and soak up his pain. Take it by the tail and swing it, like Atlas would, into the universe. Far far away.

He collapses under my hug, letting his face fall to my chest. For the first time, in any of my dreams, he gives himself up and becomes vulnerable. He kisses me.

I am so fucking in love with him. It's going to kill me. My heart is going to pound right out of my chest and I'll never catch my breath.

Suddenly asleep and awake intersect and I remember A.J. and I have to choose one or the other. I want to be good to A.J. more than anything.

And then I wake up. A.J. is asleep beside me. I do not have to choose...

I sit up and kick my feet over the edge of the bed and try to shake the dream from my head. But it stays with me and I feel guilty, all day...