New writing project

I've had a silly idea rolling around in my head for awhile now for a writing project- pretty much since the day I filled out one of those inane "surveys" on Myspace in a bit of an imaginative and certainly odd manner, just for shits n' giggles. In said "survey," I responded to the pointless questions in the guise of a future Empressof the World, as promised her by a computer program. The name of this program will be the name of the blog for this new writing project. The co-worker I mentioned in my previous blog will be my co-Empress, and we will each write one post per week, journal-style, in character. I don't want to give too many details away, but suffice it to say, if we can pull this off it promises to be madly amusing, if you have the same sort of twisted and somewhat dry sense of humor that we do.

I'm hoping to have the new blog up and running in a week or so, and will post a link to it here when it is.

P.S. - If anyone is interested in joining the new blog as a Future Emperor or Empress of the World, do please let me know! It would be a simple one post a week per character, which should gie enough time to come up with fun shit...

Rambleblog: Foodstuffs and poetry

This will be a random blog, about whatever pops into my head, or is stuck in my head. Not much point to it, really, other than to get into the habit of writing more often.

I'll ask forgiveness in advance for any discombubulated and/or incoherent thoughts, any ramblings that lead to nowhere from nowhere, and any sarcasm that simply falls flat rather than being witty; I took a Melatonin pill to help me sleep last night, and am still a wee bit fuzzy from it.

There; see? That was a run-on sentence. Bad dragling, bad. And I'm not altogether sure of the punctuation of "There; see?" Should it have been a dash rather than a semi-colon? Should I feel bad that it's a fragment, especially since it was used right after that run-on? Should I just give in and go to Starbucks now?


I've been bitterly good the last week or so- I've made salad a staple of my diet, I've been walking almost daily (jogging, even, here and there), and I've attempted to avoid caffiene altogether. I did have a two-day falling out with the diet last Thursday and Friday. Friday was a co-worker's last day, and Thursday being the roughest day of the week, the boss ordered pizza, which can really only truly be appreciated with soda or beer- and while we would all very much have appreciated a cold one, soda had to suffice. Then it was burgers the next day, with fries; more soda. My stomach complained Saturday morning and it was back to the blandish stuff.

Ohh- there, see? (I'm trying different punctuation for that one now.) It's "BlandISH" now, instead of straight-up "bland." I'm converting, slowly. I still want chocolate. Damnit.

And in the end, said co-worker decided to pass up the $16 an hour (just for trianing!) job she was going to, so that she could move back up to this lil' hick town from the big city to help take care of her very ill younger brother. He has Mono, and it's one of those horror-story cases; it hit him harder than anyone I've personally herad of, and much harded than t hit me when I got it a year and a half or so ago. He has so little energy, and is so weak, that he can barely take a shower without falling down. He is fed meals and medications by his family (including the co-worker) and when not attempting the should-be-simple acts of washing, eating and drinking, he sits, or lies down, all day, too out of it to move. His neck is swollen and lumpy, and he has contracted Bronchitis, but nothing beyond medications can be done for it because of the swelling. The swelling makes it hard for him to swallow, and breathe. His temperature has been a steady 102.4ish for weeks, and last Thursday spiked up to 103.something, promting my co-worker to break down crying at the news. He has an ear infection in his right ear, as well. On top of all that, he may also have caught pneumonia, which, with such a very weakend immune system right now, could kill him.

The job my co-worker gave up would have had her working 16-hour days, far from her brother. When she explained her brother's situation, her new employers were entrirely unsympathetic, and when she asked to at least be able to go to him if he was taklen to the hospital again, they said, and I quote, "No. Wer'e looking for someone with more motivation than that."

It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly heartless people can be. So, my co-worker is still here, and her brotehr is still not doing well at all. We're happy she's sticking around, and in the end she is as well, but the sting of such a heartless rejection due to a desired of someone "more motiviated" has all of us here in our deparment angry and a bit shocked.

Her little brother could die. Anytime. And they wanted someone "more motivated" than a person who actually gives a damn about things like that. It makes me sick.

That aside, her going-away pizza bash that turned into just a "Thursday Sucks" bash was fun, and divinely flavorful. It was almost worth the angry tummy two days later. Almost. Round Table Pizza, like Starbucks, is evil.

Quick: Allow me to interrupt myself to bring you a quick version of Animal Planet that just took place in the twenty-gallon fish tank here at work. In said tank I have one Senegal Bichir named Little Foot, one Tirger Barb, nameless, and one albino Tiger Barb, also nameless. I also have a Betta vase with Betta (named Frost) in the tank, but since there's the glassof the vase between Frost and the other fish, he has no part in the little drama that unfolded.

I've had Little Foot for a little over a year now, the Barbs for a couple of months. The Barbs were, until today, the only fish I could keep with LF that he didn't try to eat. Bichirs are carnivorous, and will try to eat anything they can fit in their mouths, including parts of other fish that, as a whole, are too big to eat. They even take on Bettas, hence Frost being in his own vase in the tank; he can still flare at the other fish and "chase" them around and around the cure of the vase, but no damage can be done.

Today, despite having been heartliy fed at his usual time in the morning, LF decided the Albino Barb was just too much temptation to pass up. The tank went, in a matter of seconds, from being calm and serene to similar to the scene of a shark attack. LF grabbed the Barb by the belly and hung on, shaking it wildly from side to side in the intervals wherein the Barb was not trying to shake HIM wildly from side to side. The Barb is just big enough that LF can't eat it whole, but he was determined to get that belly flesh. And so a morbid aquatic dance ensued.

The above-mentioned co-worker and I watched, horrified, fascinated, entranced, as the battle raged. We called to our boss, "Dude! Come check this out!" I wondered if I should try to break it up, but well, how do you break up a fish fight? On top of that, I think the only reason LF finally went after the Barb was because the other Barb continually picks on it, and it's therefore a little smaller and weaker. Maybe the temptation to end it's daily struggle with it's non-albino cousin was too much. Maybe the Barb bubbled something offenseive to LF, like "Dick-nose" or something (Bichir nostirls stick out in two tiny short tubes - kinda like thick whiskers, only they stick outof the front of the face, rather than the side where whiskers normally would be on a fish). I don't know.

The scuffle lasted all of about four or five minutes, until LF finally gave up on that tempting belly flesh and let go, or the Barb managed to break free. The Barb, although shaken and probably scared poo-less, is fine. No blood, no squished belly from LF's jaws, nuthin'. And so far, LF's leaving it alone now. In fact, things seem perfectly tranquil again.

And so ends - unless there will be a round two - the Animal Planet special brought to you by the dragling's fish tank.

Now, before that morbid bit of watery ballet, where was I? Ah, yes. Salad, pizza, and Mono. If you have a few spare moments, it would be beyond cool if you could maybe say a quick prayer, light a candle, send positive healing vibes, whatever, fro my co-worker's little brother. He needs it.

Salad. Yes. Well. I'm learning. I'm trying different ingeredients, and have decided that aside form the usual lettuce, I greatly enjoy these things in a salad: Grilled chicken. Shredded mozzerella cheese, or a very small amount of crumbled feta. Corn (that's the German-influence kicking in). Chopped black olives. Baby spinach. Cucumber slices. On the rare occasion (becuase of that damn stomach-thing) bell peppers - green, red and yellow. Again only occasionally to keep my insides from hating me, chopped tomatoes.

I'm still experimenting. If anyone has any super kick-ass salad recipes, please do share.

Once I can get a little electric grill, I'd like to try grilling various veggies, possibly stuffing them with all kinds of yummy stuff (mostly more veggies, but I'm going to get away with as much white meat as I can). Patrick from the wonderful blog Blowing Shit Up With Gas suggested I try more raw foods, and that sounds like a good idea; it's not a fad diet where you cut out things that supposedly you don't need (but actually you do, just in smaller amounts), just a sensible one. So'll try it, starting with much more fruit, and the nice summer dinner of veggies and cottage cheese. Those are just what I can think of off the top of my head, aside from veggies and fruits fro snacks, but I'm sure I'll find more combos on the Net.

I've just realized, right now, that this is turning into a smal novella, but I don't really want to stop rambling. I suppose I could at least change the subject, yes?


New. Subject. *Thinks* *Waits* *Opens a dictionary*

Inner-directed: adj: Directed in thought and action by one's own scale of thought values as opposed to external norms.

Well, that just about sums up my ramble-blogs. Let's try somethig different. Here's a poem I wrote quite some time ago - one of my favorites actually:


Leave the window open to the bedroom,
Dare the rain to come inside,
Step out into the dripping night,
Wrapped in velvet and lace-
An enticing cover to draw the eye-
Huddle head down through the dark
To favorite back alley café.
Hungry eyes shimmer under charcoal lids.

Step past the lighted candle walk,
Around the drunk man singing softly to himself,
Through the wooden cob-webbed doorway into
Softly back lit gothic den:
Round tables clad in velvet black as night
‘Round which souls sit with thoughts blacker,
Candles pooling ‘round vases with white roses, red,
Sparkle of liquid in glasses cupped in black nailed hands,
Rustle of paper: poetry, songs, callings-out without speaking,
Tinkle of laughter, low, real, hidden behind lace-gloved hand.
Teeth flash in a shy smile behind charcoal lips.
Sit, quiet, at empty table, and ponder the single rose petal by still hand.

Sweet dark lyrical agony flows from lips flirting with the mic-
Tale of woe and self, pain and love and misunderstandings,
Cry for some sort of acceptance, hidden behind need to be untouchable.
Haze of smoke, soft, blueish-grey, hovers like mist around nodding heads.
Tremble in the voice now –it’s the person inside shaking- at the end,
At the last of it, and
A traitor tear escaping rouged lid,
Making the face turn away, the shoulders hunch,
Hands digging into pockets and boots shuffling, shy, off of the stage.
Scattered shattered sympathetic applause.

Down the rum brought by the bronzed bare-chested one,
Tuck the petal between the breasts in a rush of sentiment,
Stand, shakily,
And move through murmurs and perfumes, glances and drinks and fanciful dress,
Weave up to the stage, face the mic and the music and the minds silent waiting,
Deep breath, and speak the words
In a calm rage of emotion, demanding and explaining, yearning,
Reaching for another mind to feel the heat
The need for all this fancy fairy-tale pretending:
All the leather, the lace, the spikes and chains
The black
The mourning of the state of love, the fate of love,
The way of life chosen in light of life’s ways.
Head down,
Eyes down, charcoal lidded,
Tease with the tongue over charcoal lips,
Lean into the candle light, casting shadows charcoal over black lace and white skin.
Pause, applause, turn away and step down,
Walk back through the murmurs and nods and perfume,
Sit at empty table and keep hands in lap to hide the trembling.
Softly smile, and smell the rose-crush sifting up,
A remembrance of innocence, a memory,
A waking up.

Listen to the fabric of voices, some timid, some softly commanding, at ease.
Sip rum and let eyes go unfocussed, seeing bright oval of dancing candle flame.
Smile sweetly at the kind sad eyed one in black turtleneck sitting near,
Watching, answering the call for a like-mind, waiting
For some hidden meaning, some reason or justification
For the charcoal shading covering the blushing red of lips,
Smudging the life-glow of eyes full of life,
Pooling in the shadows of curves, which move, shift with the shrugging of shoulders,
Too shy to speak.
Charcoal smile, keep the mystery.

Give him once last velvet glance,
Inhale- rose, body heat, perfume and rum and paper, velvet and leather and lace-
Rise and turn and walk away, slowly, out the wooden cob-webby door
Into the rain, past the drunken man weeping, singing to himself,
Along low-burned candles and pooled, rain-channeling wax.

Escape back into storm-cooled house, set aside the finery, the fantasy,
Slip into something softer- white and lace and innocence-
Stand at the open window looking out, feeling the breeze, the rain,
Call out to the kind sad eyed one in a silent plea,
A culmination of the fantasy.
Slip into bed in a resigned acceptance, of aloneness, of quiet,
And dream all those dreams
Those visions, that poetry,
And say all those things you couldn’t say
At the mic, at the table, to the drunk man singing in the alley, to the kind sad eyed man
Sitting patient and knowing at your table.
Sing, and feel anew the heat,
The need for all the leather, the lace, the spikes and chains,
The reaching for another mind,
To dance this dance,
To speak this dark need,
Cover all the things that show too much in a sweet, smudged irony:
Know that, caught up in the words you couldn’t speak,
All those kind sad eyed ones won’t be surprised
To see you, smudged, again, tomorrow night.

And with that, I bid you a fuzzy-brained adieu.

Haiku for the lettuce-fueled brain

Caffiene osmosis,
(Or the lack thereof, it seems)
Leaves no blog but this.

This translates, roughly, to: "I want chocolate, damnit. "

The triumphs of the carnal

"The work of art is born of the intelligence's refusal to reason the conrete. It marks the triumphs of the carnal."

I can't remember who said that, or of what status of import, mysticism, or controversy they may have had in history, if any. However this is, by far, my favorite quote. It is exactly how I feel about art as a way of communication more primitive and honest than words spoken or written.

I have decided to have it tattooed on my right arm, in the open space on the underside or my forearm, on a parchment scroll. The placement is specific in that it is the arm with the fish on it (which also symbolizes art to me) and so would be the most appropriate spot for it. I'd explain in greater dteail the symbolism of the fish = art, but we'd be here all day, as I'd then have to explain the snake on my left arm in relation to the fish, how they coincide, etc. I'll spare you, this time.

I had planned on the coloration of the snake being my next tattoo session, whenever that may be, but I think I'll actually get the scroll done before that. It should be less expensive than the snake-coloring, as well, so hopefully I'll be able to have it done sooner. I'll post a picture of it whenever it IS done, and in that blog go into further detail about the meanings of my arm tattoos.

Cross your fingers that I can manage to save up for the scroll relatively soon; it's been far too long since I've had any ink done, and I'm ready to start gnawing on sharpies to get my fix. Kidding. Sorta.

A quick note on restroom etiquette

Now, most people already know this simple bit of common sense, but it seems to have bypassed someone at mywork. Hence, just in case this is not nearly as common knowledge as I (ass)umed it was, let me divulge a helpful tidbit:

If, while in a public restroom (such as at work), you see that a stall door is CLOSED, and it happens to be one of those larger stalls where you cannot see the occupant's feet through the huge gap under the door, DO NOT assume that since you can't see feet, they're not there; DO NOT OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR.

Oftentimes, crappy public restroom locks magically don't actually lock, making for a seriously embarassing (get that BARE ASS in there?!?!) and aggravating confrontation.

If you must ASSume, ASSume that if a door is closed, that's because there is someone using that stall.

Fucking. Duh.

I hate, hate, HATE stupid people. I enjoy being walked in on while doing my business even less.

Seriously- what the fuck is wrong with people? I mean, I'm no genuis, but DAMN- it seems I'm a FUCK of a lot smarter than the your average bear, and week by week, mindboggling amazing stupidity sighting after another, it seems wither I'm gettin ga lot smarter (and I don't feel like I am) or people in general are getting stupider and stupider. I seriously worry for the long-term survival of the human race.

Furry-footed wonderfulness

This just made my whole year. Hell, my whole next two-and-a-half years!

I cannot begin to describe how incredibly, wonderfully exciting this is to me. This is THE STORY that made me who I am as far as my love of all things fantasy, of other worlds, other possibilities, other ways of life. This is THE STORY that mad e alittle girl laugh, cry, and want to hear the whole thing over again. And again. And again. (Thanks mom!)

I've got a grin on my face right now that would be very hard=pressed indeed to be erased by anything for a while. Go ogn world- give me your best shot. I've got my favorite story of all time to look forward to, directed by my favorite director; I can handle anything you've got to throw at me.

Ok, the hobbit-geeking is over with. For now. :o)

Diet karma

So I cheated on my Gastritis diet today, and boy did Karma, Justice, the Universe, or whatever you wanna call it, come swooping down to smack me for it! I was happily munching away on peanut M&M's, as a sort of treat for having started up my walking routine again this weekend. A mere four or five brightly-colored chocolate lovelies into it, I felt an... odd... sensation in one of my left molars- the same one I had a root canal in last fall/winter and which is still in need of a crown. I felt around a bit, poking and prodding and something definately didn't feel right around the older metal filling ringing the edge of the root canal.

On a side note of interest and to explain the "older" in that last sentence- it turns out that a "filling" I got when I was a mere six or seven years old was in fact an unfinished root canal that the dentist called a filling and never spoke of again. It was supposed to have been finished within two weeks, a month tops, or the tooth could very well, and probably would, rot out totally and possibly take the teeth to either side with it. Over the years I've had several other dentists mention that it looked like an unfinished root canal, but Mama Wren and I both laughed it off, as the dentist who did the filling called it a filling, and in all the times I went back to him in years afterward, never mentioned it again. I'd never had any problems with it, but when I started up with a new dentist last year, he said that whether it was a filling or unfinished root canal, the root had died and it definately needed a root canal now. So I had it done, and only the main center part of the old metal filling was taken out; the edge of it ringing the tooth was left and after the root canal it was filled in with nice new tooth-colored stuff.

It turns out it WAS an unfinished root canal; when the new dentist broke through the metal filling, he found - get this- COTTON inside my tooth. It was still white, still dry and still fluffy (I saw it as they pulled it out of my tooth.) I got SO damn lucky- had that "filling" not held, the cotton would have rotted and there goes at least one tooth, if not more. Hell, if the root had rotted, I'd have lost teeth. Needless to say, I really want to find that old dentist and give him a peice of my boot - er, um... I mean, mind. Yeah.

Anywho. So the older metal part of the "filling" didn't feel quite right, and upon examining it further in the bathroom mirror, I dislodged two or three small chips of tooth from under it. Once they were gone it felt right again only, well, somehw less... there. On the left side of that tooth I now have a small ridge of tooth sticking up above the gumline, and from that point (and in a bit) it's a small metal "wall" molded perfectly from the inside of that tooth.

This is the first time (I think) that I've ever chipped a tooth, and when I called my dentist they said it was common with root canals before the crown is put on, and to avoid eating anything hard and crunchy (No shit! Really?!?) I've been putting off getting the crown due to the cost, but now I have to just buckle down and do it; I don't want to lose more of the tooth if I can avoid it. I found out what the crown will cost after insurance: $500-something. Ouch, and it has to be paid up front because my dentist doesn't have the equipment to do billing (or I'd have gotten the crown done by now and would just be making payments on it.)

But there is a bit of a break (ha, ha! Oh gods, I kill me!) in this- since I chipped a bit of the tooth, the receptionist said I could have the first part of the crowning procedure - something about building up and strengthening - done separately from the rest of the procedure, so I'd have two different, smaller payments for two different appointments. That will make it a little easier to do, but I'm still cringing a bit. Glad I'm starting to eat a lot of salad now; it's cheap.

So next Tuesday morning I go in for the "rebuilding and strengthening" of that tooth in preparation for the actual crown. Oh, joy. Just the way I like to start my day- a good, rough wrassling with sharp dental tools that smell like burnt bone and smoke, and that horrid droll-sucker thingy that somehow manages to suck up as little drool as possible, leaving you with a mouth full of foul-tasting saliva and the maddening urge to kill. I can't wait.

Damn peanut M&M's. I'm power walking four miles today, not just three, just to make those four ro five bits of candy worth it.

Stupidity oughtta hurt

Here's the scene:

It's 3:30 p.m. and I'm about to sit down at work to type some legal documents into one of the ad taking sytems to be published in Monday's paper. One particular legal is huge- nay, enormous - and in instances of enormous documents we have asked clients to send the documents to us via e-mail. The formats are simple: PDFs for camera-ready documents which we are not to format or adjust in any way (we love these) and Microsoft Word documents for text files that need to be formatted to our newspaper's Public Notices (legals) style (Helvetica, 6 point.)

This document is 4 pages long, and luckily we were given the choice of PDF or Word document, meaning if we liked the way they didi it we'd just use the PDF, but if it looked like it could use some work we'd use the Word document. The PDF was crap- it was the wrong font, the wrong size, and had a whole helluva lot of extra spaces between lines that were'nt necessary and would just bump up the price if they remained (aren't we nice to take those spaces out for the client and save them money?) So, the Word document it would be. I prepared to open, format, copy, and paste into the ad program, thinking it would be a breeze, a task which would take all of maybe three minutes.

I opened the document. I clicked. I groaned. I almost beat my head against my keayboard, but thought better of it at the last second.

While the document was indeed a Word document, there was no text in it whatsoever- it was one great big, huge, ugly picture box- with the PDF inside. In otherwords, it could not be changed.

Now, what I want to know is which genius decided to, after typing up the document in Word, print out the file, scan it back into the computer, save it as a PDF and put it into another Word document?!? I mean, really- how big a mental leap is it to... oh, say... send the original damn Word file?!? Was the request for a PDF in camera-ready instances too much for their tiny brain to handle?

What makes the situation worse is that we have these lovely text conversion programs at work which convert images (like, say, PDFs) into text, so it could have been easily fixed. Except for the fact that when they scanned in the printed out text, it was a bad scan- fuzzy, which translated to pixelated, which translates in the end to just plain crap. The text conversion programs are good, but not good enough to realize that the word "COUNTY" with blurry fuzzy edges is actually the word "COUNTY," not "(.'OV/V1'J", or some such.

What this means is that tomorrow we will have to contact the client and try to explain that we need the original word document, then explain how the word document they sent was useless because it held only an image box with the PDF in it and no actual, legitimate text, and then explain to them why again (because I can almost guarantee they won't get it the first time we explain it), or- we'll have to type up the whole damn thing ourselves. I have another "or" however, which while perfectly logical, will not happen (alas): we could simple run the PDFs as they are, big as they are, no matter the cost to the client, and simply bump up the Public notices section in Monday's paper from the usual page and a half to five and a half pages, and watch the Publisher have a mental breakdown.

Seriously now, stupidity oughtta hurt. I mean an actual physical pain in the head, sharp and pounding. If this were the case, whenever someone did something phenomenally stupid (like printing out text, scanning it back in, saving it as an image and putting the image inot a brad spankin' new text document) this hirrendous agony would explode in their head - sort of like a shock collar for dogs, but worse.
Hell, with the decline in simple common sense these days, if stupidity did hurt like that, a good half the population of the United States would be gone. They'd have simply had a thought one day, and died, their body unable to handle the pain. Maybe their heads would even have exploded. That would be kinda cool, actually, in a morbid way.

Such a situation would certainly be cuase to celebrate eductaion and ot hold it much dearer than we as a society do now. Colleges would be packed- hell, they'd be the nation's leading industry. People woudl attend colleges and take community classesa all their lives simply to get smarter, at first to avoid head trauma and then, once the intelligence really takes effect, to learn for learning's sake. Because really, learnign new things can be thrilling- like this weird adventure where you don;t know what comes next, but you want to know, so you forge ahead, turn another page, and there it is- Nirvana.

Humans wuld be so damn smart then. Really smart, not smart as in "wev'e discovered ways to combine phone and internet service, movies and vidoes, songs and song downloading, faxes, texts and personal day planners, calculators, conversion charts, and arcade games into one paper-thin device, but... well, we still haven't come up with a transparent toaster so that you can see when your toast is about to go past 'toast' to 'black smoking stuff'."

God, I wish I was God.

EDIT: Please forgiv ethe typos,.I was fixing them, but I have to actually work now...

Carpe Vita

Floor cold
Tile gold
Scratch the surface and shiver-
Pale light reveals my night
And I whisper back to the whisper:
Take it
Seize it
Make it worth it;
I have only these years.
And despite my raging frustrations
I will face my darkest fear.
Reach up stretch up get up seize-
My senses are shattered
I pick up the pieces
And all I have left to hold on to are these:
It's all lies-
Every fucking thing they promised me
And now in my naked truth I see the smiles
Hiding flashing fangs in maddened grimaces-
I never knew till now that I was drained.
In this reeling darkened place
I smell the ink, paper, leather, glue
(It's only blood and flesh and bones)
And tremble in the shadow of the tomes;
Lost thing huddled
Small and befuddled
I fall open, defenseless,
Bloodied by what I always knew:
Life is what you make it-
Better seize it
Better take it,
Make and shift and mold and hold the truth to you, for
No one but you can make lies true.
Get up
Look up
Meet the eye
Dare, will, and look away
Walk away
Go away
And seize this life.
Escape the prison and spit on the tile-
It's only dust and piss anyway;
What did you expect?
Something you could understand?
Cry if you will
Scream if you will
Get it out and move on;
Don't dance with the masks,
But rip the face
(Don't shiver so- it was never real anyway, you know)
And shatter the backbone-
Then stand on your own two feet;
You know the way.
Blood and ink and skin and tome
I've opened my eyes to see
The darkness was only my own, and
These chains are just me holding me.
Reach up stretch up get up seize-
Shake the woodwork
Loose the leaves
And when I'm buried in the pages
Of my own reality
Let my blood be my ink and my skin tell the tale-
I've seen and I see and I
Think I've got it figured out:
Doesn't matter that they lied to me, cause
I believed and still believe it could have been-
Here's the kick: it could still be.
So, let's review, shall we?
Floor cold
Tile gold
Scratch the surface and shiver-
Pale light reveals my night
And I whisper back to the whisper:
Take it
Seize it
Make it worth it;
I have only these years.
And despite my raging frustrations
I will face my darkest fear.

Drawing line in the sand

I used to have an iron stomach.

I used to be able to eat gooey, fatty, indulgence coffee-shop foods for breakfast, along with a nice Chai Latte with a shot of espresso, pepper-riddled, salsa-covered, hot-sauce-injected burritos for lunch, and a huge juicy, greasy, fatty hamburger for dinner - with a milkshake, of course - if I so chose. I could drink soda till I thought my pee would be bubbly. I could eat chocolate without guilt - a whole damn box of it, just because. Garlic and Paprika were my special friends, and found their way into damn near everything that wasn't supposed to be sweet instead. Fried foods were ecstacy, fast food was heaven, caffiene was a neccesity of life. Grease aded the most mouth-watering flavor. Calories? Carbs? Sugar? Trans-Uberly-Bad-Fat? No problem, man. I could eat anything.

And then I woke up one morning about two and a half years ago and thought that I'd been poisoned. An old-fashioned poison, I figured, like the ones that made their notorious ways into classic tales of murder wherein death was not enough - the dying had to be as horrible and as painfull as humanly, anatomically possible. I was wildly nauseous, and by this point in my life when nausea strikes I generally know whether I'm going to actually throw up or not. I knew it was going to happen and ran to the bathroom, threw myself to the floor in front of The Porcelain God, moaned pitieously, and waited.

And waited, sweating, writhing, afraid to sit back on my heels for mere comfort in the fear of sudden-expulsion and bad aim. I shook. I gripped the sides of the bowl with slippery fingers. I laid my cheek on the seat, closed my eyes.

And waited.

And then it was gone. And then- the most agonizing pain I have ever felt - truly- ripped into my stomach. The real stomach, upper abdomen, right under the bottom of the sternum, not down low in the gut where most people feel their "stomach aches." It was not fire- it was razor blades, broken-glass-studded fists, fish hooks (hell - whaling harpoons!), slamming and ripping through me, sending a vertical line of agony down to my lower abdomen. It grew, festering, into a thundering cresendo of pain and I thought that this was It. The End. Death.

It lasted all of approximately three seconds, spiking to the worst point at about two and a half seconds only to whirl down into nothingness after that. The pain was gone, completely. The nausea was gone, completely.

I sat, still shaking, though less so, sweat drying to chill me, heartbeat slowing to a more sedate pace, and I was scared. The day before, I'd been fine. Really- not a thing in the world wrong with me. No nausea, no pain, not even the tiniest little bit. Throughout the night -and I can honestly say this, as I wake up disgustingly frequently every night - nothing. This did not gradually build up from a littel upset stomach- it came out of nowhere and hit me full force. After meekly crawling back to bed, it hit me again a few minutes later.

Again, into the bathroom, quick quick quick! Again, waiting and shaking and sweating. Again, doubled over in an intensity of agony that nothing else in my life compares to- not even the damn-near five hours straight under the needle working my backpiece at one point. Again, the toilet was left unvoilated, and again I wondered what was wrong.

I had alerted Mama Wren by this time, and called in sick to work, and as this mysterious horror hit me over and over again every few minutes only to leave me shaken but fine in the times between, she called the doctor and managed to get me in that day. I dared not eat, or drink, and the hours spent waiting for that appointment were some of the most terrifying ones I've ever experienced. Neither of us had any clue what could be wrong, as neither of us had ever heard even so much as rumor-horror stories about this kind and level of pain and nausea, with the strange spiking of the pain shooting straight down, and as would later develop, at time straight out to either side of my stomach. I came to realize as I waited that the nausea I felt was different somehow than any other I'd felt- it wasn't the usual flu or cold nausea, or food poison nausea. To this day I cannot explain the difference in feeling; I just knew that this was not some run-of-the-mill stomach bug; something was very, very wrong with me. Poison or stomach cancer, or maybe my stomach was slowly turning itself inside-out, or melting, or some other horror even I coudl not dream up. Hell, maybe all those stories of aliens are true, and I was taken and implanted with some strange thing that was now slowly ripping it's way out of my body, the nutrients my human stomach could provied no longer needed.

I thought that I was dying, and more than anything else, I just wanted it to hurry up and be over with.

Later that day, my doctor poked and prodded and pushed and squeezed -all to my dismay - and asked questions about my diet and any medications I had been taking for an extended period of time. When I answered that yes, I did eat a lot of fast food, convenience food, snacks, fried foods, unhealthy foods, chocolate, that I drank soda and coffee on a daily basis and that I have been taking painkillers (with NSAIDs in them, it turns out) ever since I was eleven for arthritis, she shook her head, smiled sadly and pronouced that I had acute Gastritis.

For those who, like myself at the time, don't know what Gastritis is, let me break it down for you. Your stomach has a nice comfy lining in it which helps with all sorts of wonderful things, and while it is very much acid-resistant, it is not entirely so. Gastritis is a condition where the lining of your stomach becomes inflamed or irritated, or partially eaten away from more acid than it can reasonably handle. This can be caused by several things, but the most common cause is the bacteria Helicobacter pylori infecting the lining of the stomach. From

"Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium that causes chronic inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach (gastritis) in humans. This bacterium also is the most common cause of ulcers worldwide. H. pylori infection is most likely acquired by ingesting contaminated food and water and through person to person contact. In the United States, 30% of the adult population is infected. (50% of infected persons are infected by the age of 60.) The infection is more common in crowded living conditions with poor sanitation. In countries with poor sanitation, 90% of the adult population can be infected. Infected individuals usually carry the infection indefinitely unless they are treated with medications to eradicate the bacterium. One out of every six patients with H. pylori infection will develop ulcers of the duodenum or stomach. H. pylori also is associated with stomach cancer and a rare type of lymphocytic tumor of the stomach called MALT lymphoma."

The condition is greatly aggravated and prolonged by many things, the most common being a bad diet and long-term use of medication(s) known to be hard on the stomach.


Until that morning, I had an iron stomach, and ate accordingly: if it tasted good, it was fair game. Being a Cancer, I love food a bit more than usual, and more importantly, I view food not as a necessity but a grand, wonderful indulgence. It's heaven to bite into some wonderful flavor, and anything that didn't taste good, or at least not great, did not often make it's way to my plate. Salad? Yes - taco, please, or nothing. Low-fat? NO-fat? Gag me. I've always been pretty much ok with veggies, but still never ate the share I should have, I'm sure. I ate all the things you shouldn't, drank all the things you shouldn't, and thought that I would be alright because I was not overweight and all those horror stories you hear of people dying of heart-related problems ate a whole hell of a lot more fast food than I did (I was never huge on fast food, but it was a somewhat frequent quilty pleasure.)

I've had arthritis pain since I was ten or eleven- whenever it was around then that my 'growing pains' continued after I stopped growing and became centered in my knees and ankles rather than each whole leg, hip to toe. I've been taking painkillers for it since then, and although I'm sure I started with the more safe Tylenol, around my mid-teens I switched over to Aleve, then later to Ibuprofin, two very big NSAID-using medications. NSAIDs, as I'm sure everyone is sick to death of hearing, are horrible for your stomach, and if used over an extended period of time or frequently, can eat away the lining of your stomach. I, like Mama Wren, was taking painkillers several times a day, nearly everyday, year after year. Ouch.

After determining the cause of my sudden "ohmygodsIwanttoDIEkillmeNOW" pain and nausea, my doctor said something which will forever haunt my dreams: "Well, you'll just have to go on a bland diet."

Bland. Diet.

BLAND diet!?! Oh gods, what could I have possibly done in a past life to deserve such torture? No more fried food, no more greasy food, spicy food, oily food, I'd have to severely cut down my dairy intake (to like, the equivalent of one slice of cheese a freakin' day), cut out acidic foods and drinks, and quit caffiene, cold turkey. And that's just the short list. There are scores of foods I could no longer indulge in, including everyday spices and staples of any sane diet. Toast would be dry, or with a minimum of jam (no butter). Soups would be restricted to mainly brothy stuff, with as little actual food in it as possible, and never creamy. Meat- oh gods, where do I begin? I'll make a long story short and say that chicken, turkey, and white-fleshed fish is safe, in tiny amounts, on a very non-regular basis, and that all else is taboo. But salads are great - with ridiculously little to no dressing.

I might as well become a vegetarian, I thought. Or hell, why not vegan?

I was dejected, depressed and angry. For the rest of my life, just to prevent the Gastritis from coming back and becoming chronic, I'd have to change my eating habits to such a degree that I'd almost not be the same person, because with the diet change would come excercise (get that heart pumping and you get all those good blood cells nice and ready to fight infections such as H. pylori and to heal any wounds, like inflamed, irritated, or eaten-away stomach lining) and daily vitamin and supplement changes as well to make up for those necessary things I'd no longer be getting from certain foods, not to mention changes to eliminate or at least lower stress.

Now, don't get me wrong- I'm all for getting healthy, but this was so very much not the way I'd have chosen to get started. Regardless, with such incredible pain and continuous nausea (even with medication it remained an every-few-minutes atrocity for the first three or four days) to convince me to be good, I actually made some big changes. I quit caffiene, totally, cold turkey, for the first time in my life. Yes, I say the first time- I've gone back to it and tried to quit several times since. I eventually came to like salad, even enjoy it, and the very thought of somethinggreasy or oily or processed made me feel gross. Within six weeks, the Gastritis was gone and I was a much healthier person.

And then I fooled myself into beliveing that I'd be ok to start eating some of those foridden foods again, so long as I indulged in moderation. But what started as nice treats every once in awhile very quickly returned to almost full-blown iron stomach eating. Almost. I did draw a line in the sand between me and the super bad stuff, but the line was as far out as I hall the balls to push it.

It was only a few short months until I noticed I was starting to feel that peculiar nausea again, only on a much smaller scale. It was like having an upset stomach when you know you've eaten something that you probably should have thrown away but it was close enough to the expriation date to not develop inot food poisoning. Just a gross, yucky low nausea, nowhere near enough to fear vomiting, but as soon as I felt it I knew it was the Gastritis returned. Along with it came that same pain, only on a much more tolerable level- instead of affecting me as no other pain has and having me stopped dead in my tracks no matter where I was or what I was doing and doubled over, crouched to the ground until it passed, it merley made me wince and writhe a bit. And so acute became chronic, and I went back on my *shudder* bland diet, and took the purple pill again for another two weeks, and told myself firmly that this time when it went away I'd stick to the diet.

Allow me to say, in retrospect, "Ha!" Although I drew the line a little closer this time, I once again succumbed to the temptation of "real food," and - once again - began to feel that odd nausea and slight pain. This would a process repeated a good half a dozen times between that first terrifying morning and now. I have tried to accept a life of serisouly-less-than-satifying eating habits, and have so far been unable. At the moment, I'm going through it again, and I hate it.

I hate this!

It depresses me, it angers me, it makes me want to cry, kick, scream, throw a tantrum, pound my fists against the wall, break something... or all of the above. I want to scream, "It isn't fair!" It isn't fair. I want to taste my food, damnit! I want to enjoy eating, not just do it to keep living. Damnit!

For breakfast this morning I had an apple (the thought of yet another bowl of not-so-thrilling cereal with rice milk rather than dairy made me want to throw said bowl at the wall) and as you can probably guess, it did not fill me up for long. Around mid-morning I ate three chocolate chip cookies. Just three of 'em. Mere minutes after the last bite, I started to hurt again. This has been the fastest reaction yet, and over the last week or so I've been pretty damn good about eating better, again. Not great, but damnit! Getting used to tasteless... excrement... takes time.
And patience. Both are in great demand with this; I need to get rid of it again before the lining of my stomach gets so bad I start to get ulcers, and when I can't enjoy something I have loved so much I have very little patience with the process of adjusting to what I don't like.

With this morning's fast reaction to three friggin' cookies, I know it's time to - finally - admit defeat. I'll draw the damn line so close I could blink across it, and finally make permanent the changes that have been in and out of my life for two and a half years. I'll eat bland stuff. I won't eat good-tasting stuff. I won't idulge in caffiene, no matter how sleepy I am or how my head pounds for the next week. Desert - except for fruit - will be a thing of the past, fondly remembered but never again experienced. Ever. Alcohol won't be a big probelm; I don't drink much anyway, although it would be nice to have two margaritas on the rare occasion that I do drink now instead of just one. The weather's warming up so I can once again start to get back into shape with daily walks or jogs.

In the end, really, this will be a good thing. A very, very good thing. It will get me healthy again, and fit, and feeling better about myself. I'll have more energy and I won't get sick as much. It's a good thing.

And I am going to hate every goddamn minute of it, and probably cry when I get home and throw away the last bag of fucking cookies.