Archive for the 'daily life' Category


“You can just step into the room on the right…”

“Um…If you don’t mind, I’d prefer to recline for this.” I was already sweating in anticipation.

 “Oh, sure. Not a problem.” He scooted a recliner over. I managed to plop into it and swooshed the chair into a nearby wall. Lovely.

I closed my eyes and lay back as he pulled me closer. I like to think good thoughts when I do this. Because I hate this. So I thought of sex. Really. Why not? Sweet. Comforting. Pleasant. A silly little grin spread across my face. I was in a good place.

I heard a female voice nearby. Older. “Ron, can I help you in any way?”

“No thanks, I’m fine”, said “Ron”. Great. He must be a newbie. Practically a virgin, probably. I’ve never had much use for virgins, sorry. Certainly not when I’m tense and vulnerable. My happy place was starting to float out and away from me. I made a fist.

The rubber tourniquet around my arm was tied tight. Snug. “Just a little coldness here, sorry”, Ron alerted me, as he swabbed the nasty alcohol across my arm. At least he’s polite, I thought. Manners count. Then, the prick. Sweet Jesus, I hate that prick. Did you know that for many heroin users, the kick becomes not the drug, but the needle? Sick. Sick, sick, sick. Today, I’m just not up to this. I suck in my breath and try not to squirm. My feet start to do flutter kicks and my back arches. I swear the needle feels like it’s penetrating deeper. What if Ron-the-novice accidentally pierces the other side of my vein? Will my blood leak out into my body, filling it until I resemble a giant tick? Mom!!!!! Sigh. Dear Mom the nurse was so good with us for these kinds of things. At least if Roz were here, there’d be the traditional pack of m&m’s dropped into my paws at the end of this torture.

This is taking far too long. I’m not sure how many tubes of my red juice are required, but I can feel a jerk each time one is removed and another replaced. It’s probably because it’s been at least three years since my last lab work. I can’t even remember the name of my former primary care doctor when asked. “You need to make a gyn appointment. This is not good when you have a history of ovarian cancer in the family.”, she said as politely as she could. “And you’ve never had a mammogram? You need one.” I know, I know. This  is bad. How is it that I can be so meticulous with the kiddo’s medical care and not my own?

Thank God I didn’t bring the kiddo. The other day when I took her with me for my physical, the good doctor could barely get past her outstretched arms that blocked access to me to check my vitals. My guardian angel. It’s sweet. Only, it’s supposed to be the other way around. I don’t need nobody around to protect me. No sir. I cool.

“Are you going to cut my Mommy open?!?!”, she’d demanded. I gently informed my sweet charge that this was not the place for slicing and gutting. I add that I am not under threat or in pain. She was relentless and defensive for the duration of the check-up. I can’t take such theater today.

Finally, I can feel the needle exit and a wad of gauze replacing it. “Let’s have your other arm”, Ron sings. My eyes snap open. Other arm? Holy shit. I’ve never seen this before. They want more? Vampires!

 I look up at Ron, petrified, eyes bulging incredulously. He laughs and guides my slackened other arm over to the punctured one, and presses my fingers against the gauze. Phew. I relax and sit up. “Gonna be ok?”, Ron asks.  I nod and actually stand up, barely giving him a chance to slap a band-aid on. I turn to book out of the place. This experience is almost forgotten, already.

“Whoaaa..not so fast”, the needle man called, holding up his arm. Jesus God! What the fuck now?

“After the pain, comes the humiliation”, Ron announced. “O.k., this is getting twisted”, I think, until Ron holds up the faintly familiar collection jar with my name on it.

“Oh, that. I’d forgotten about that”, I say as I follow Ron to the water closet. I did forget, too. I forgot to hold it this morning when I got up! Five minutes and more than a couple of knocks on the door later, and I’m still bone dry. After running my hands under a stream of cold water three times, I give up. For the first time in ages, I could really use a beer right now. Instead, I march over to another attendant and order a double shot of water.

Someone else has taken my place in the loo. So I’m led to the other lavratory, the one for the general public. Fine. This time, I perform. My cup doth not run over, but I’ve collected an adequate amount. Only now, I have to deliver it clear across a room full of people I’ve never met! Considerably less private. I cup my vessel surreptitiously behind my purse and skulk back over to the lab. Piss smuggler. Then I whisk the thing quickly over to attendant and stammer a quick ‘bye!. Finally, it’s over.

Sweet. Relief.


just like a first grader!

That’s the mantra chirping ’round the house in these parts. It’s the kiddo’s “moving up” ceremony today. I’m not so sure she’s excited about being a first grader so much as she’s excited about summer off. We both gleefully tweet “…five more days…(or four more…or three more, and so on…)” and the other will finish, “and no more school!”, practically whipping our hands together and rubbing them maniacally. “And then, ” the kiddo adds, “We’ll be TOGETHER!” Ahhh. We’re just happier that way. Together, all of the time. For awhile longer.

First grade. She asked me what it was like last night in bed, and I didn’t know what to say. “It’s just…more, I guess”, said I.

I wasn’t crazy about first grade. It was a big switch from a tiny schoolhouse with grades k-6, to a big, big building that sheltered k-12. I had to ride the bus. I hated it. I remember, on one of the first days, seeing poor little T., who’d just started kindegarten, getting beat up outside the bus in the afternoon by Beth Disotoll, who was the same age and twice her size. The damned bus driver wouldn’t let me out of the bus so I could clock her one. Can you imagine the frustration of being stuck in a box behind a window, watching your kid sister getting thumped? I was seething. But anyone who bothered us inside the bus got theirs. I was a ferocious kid.

Anyway, on the first day of first grade, I ran to someone who I thought was good ol’ Jaime, my best pal at the old school, but wound up being someone else. I had to eat in a big cafeteria with kids I didn’t know, and without dear Mrs. Thoma, the lone cafeteria lady, who sat right next to me at lunchtime, coaching me to eat more, while wincing at the huge globs of mustard I’d pile on my hamburgers. It just wasn’t the same. It got better, but it was never the same.

I don’t think the kiddo has to worry about anything like that though. For at least one more year, the school will be in a tiny building that it shares with a Montessori school. She’ll still be in the highest grade level the school offers. And Mommy will still drive her to school. We can wait for the new school year, though. We’ve got stuff to do.

Have a happy summer, peeps.

it’s really April…

That’s what I say. My garden thinks so too. I don’t know about you guys, but here in northwest Connecticut, sun has been scarce. Rain, rain, rain. And then I looked at this. Ok, she lives in Oregon, but don’t they have a lot of rain, too? Well, at least I don’t have to haul water out. I recycle dish water…perfectly safe, and green. Probably good for the plants, too. And maybe a little eccentric of me. My neighbors take it all in stride. They think I’m brave and a little wierd for eating buffalo meat, but actually, it’s far superior in taste to beef.

My early planting of peas stuggle. There’s just no sun. They look so….leggy. I have only recently gotten my nasturtiams to sprout. And my catgrass. Finn will be pleased. And probably gack it up onto my nice big desk calendar, as usual. My cats like to lounge on paper. And there’s plenty in my house. I have spinach and a couple of tiny plumes of California poppies in the converted gas grill container I made. But not enough for the birds. All I wanna do these days is stare at my birds. Though I have spent a lot of time cleaning and polishing a website. Is anyone else out there just kind of floating around in a slow motion fog of, I don’t know….boredom? Like, you’re doing lots of stuff—tae bo! pilates! yoga! hiking!–and yet…feel not energized, but kind of ho-hum. Boredom sucks.

new breath

For the first time ever, in memory, my palms were sweating as my fingernails dug and scratched along their shallow planes. Not quite zen cool. “After awhile, they all start to look the same, ” my lawyer mused, as we sat on the bench outside of the clerk’s office in the lower area of the tiny courthouse. She was right. I’d thought I’d seen him at least three times out of the corner of my eye during the short walk to the aging courthouse.

I had been to court many times during the past two years; had  gotten used to it so much, and so accustomed to his late arrivals, that usually, I barely glanced around for him anymore. But today, my head darted up and around at any sound of a door opening and then shutting. Because today, if he didn’t show up, I had a near certain chance of winning all that I had been fighting for during these past two years, and finally ending the dread and tedium of appointments, terse words leveled at me from him in dimly lit hallways, and late night hours of anxiety and uncertainty over a future I couldn’t even begin to plan until this matter was resolved.

And it did get resolved. He never showed. I was so accustomed to his dramatic appearances at the very last minute, that I could barely breathe in front of the judge…I was as nervous as a bride at the altar, tensely half expecting that rare protester at the eleventh hour (the kind seen only in movies) to barge in and call the whole thing off. “I wasn’t expecting this when I woke up today,” I kept numbly repeating to my lawyer as we lunched afterward.

I felt happy for my lawyer, who’d been through a leave of absence during our association, and was now planning to transfer to juvenile court related matters in the near future. “I get so frustrated in seeing justice denied for you guys (meaning women, actually),” she sighed “that when I get home, I just want to pop someone.” I nodded. I could write a book upon what I feel are inequities and oversights that I saw routinely and dismissively leveled at women in situations similar to my own–women emerging from violent situations who seek to protect and rehabilitate their children— during these two years. Maybe I’ll at least write an article. Because if I ever hear that “a bad father is better than no father at all…”, anytime soon, I may feel like popping someone myself. I prefer a nice sharp pen to a fist.

I don’t know what else to say—I’m still a bit numb—except that I can breathe differently, feel lighter, and finally, complete. It’s just a piece of paper–nothing much else has changed—but I’ll take this paper, over and above any others.

great story

Yes, it is. I’m not sure I could do this. I’m no Scarlett O’Hara. Don’t know nuthin ’bout birthin’ no babies. Nu-uh. Technically, I didn’t even birth the kiddo. Unassisted, anyway. Not that I’m complaining.

I can’t yet bring myself to touch the worm the kiddo offers me when she goes “fishing” with the homemade fishing pole she made, the one with the six inch stick and hot pink line. She’s on her own. I probably could deliver a baby  if it came to that. But I’d make a lousy farmer. I was just remarking upon that yesterday as I took a stroll around the pond with my friend Bonnie on Mother’s day. My animals would largely be pets. I’m an excellent pet owner.

So much life abounds in the pond. It always makes my day when I spot the beaver. I like watching it swim. My eyes are too bad to spot the turtle heads, but Bonnie finds them for me. Another pair of sharp little eyes found tiny snails along the edge. Soon the dragonflies will come along. It’s time to get the microscope out to find the other tiny things living in the water.

I love living near a pond.


So amused that Mine That Bird won the Derby. Though I hadn’t money on him.

The kiddo and I frequent two librarys. The one in the town in which she attends school, and the one where we live. After our weekly fried dumpling and lo mein takeout (she’s going to turn into a dumpling, she really is), the kiddo decided we should go to the library—“we haven’t been to this one in awhile”. She was right. And I finally found E.B. White’s One Man’s Meat (mighty fine read, my friend), and Unaccustomed Earth (thanks, Fee). The kiddo found a worm on the sidewalk.

“I want to take him home!”, she declared.

“You can, but I’m not touching it.”

“You know, I collect worms. At school. When it’s raining. And it IS raining!”.

“Great. He can live in the garden.”

But he doesn’t live in the garden. After thorough inspection, the kiddo declared him dead. Then she wanted to cut him up. Gah!  Now he’s drying out in a little French jelly glass. I’ve wondered once in awhile what it would be like to have a boy. I think I know now.

there is no title.

But I’m thinking of the upcoming Kentucky Derby, which I try to watch every year. They’re underdogs, but don’t you just love names like Chocolate Candy and Mine That Bird? I’m rooting them.

The kiddo grabbed my peanut butter and jelly sandwich out of the bag in the back seat this morning on the way to school and decided to lick all of the jelly from it. I guess that’s nothing compared to what my Uncle Jim used to do to my mother and sibs back in the day. He’d sneak down late at night and take all of the meat—from at least five sandwiches–out of their lunchboxes. Grandma Leila switched to PB&J after that. Definitely a Russell-ism (mom’s maiden name). My father, often after a visit to my grandparents, or during a mild argument,  would invoke that–Russellism…or, “not the Russells! Of course not!“. I don’t think—with the exception of Grandma and one or two others—that they gave the impression of any expectation of royal treatment…but the clan certainly expected any quirks (and there were lots of them), and any mistakes or character flaws (they existed but were often denied), to be not forgiven—no, that wasn’t good enough—but overlooked. The quirks—you just had to live with them. Some fell in love with them. I have to think that’s one of my mother’s more loveable charms.

May 2018
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