31 December 2011

the last snow of the year

the last snow of the year

the snow tonight is lumpy
like biscuit dough ingredients
before they are sifted completely

tiny clumps collecting on the cars,
roofs, and pond   chunks off-white
past the street lights 

still falling

What we learned visiting family this Christmas

  • We like our house cold.
  • We should not walk on the treadmill in our winter boots.
  • The apple corer we received for Christmas will definitely be sharp enough to cut apple flesh, too.
  • We should not walk on a treadmill in bare feet.
  • We love to stay in the warm cave of blankets in a cold house even if we are not sleeping.
  • We are still susceptible to developing contact allergic reactions to adhesives on bandages.
  • Taxi drivers are not all honest people, and we should just take the bus, no matter how much longer it takes to get home.
  • We should not limp.
  • Family can be nice in small doses.

13 December 2011

radio station woes (not related to Christmas music)

So, are you really listening to a specific radio station simply because they clearly give the song title and artist for every song as all radio stations should?
Well, I'm also doing it because they don't play songs I actively hate, and they have a playlist that doesn't repeat every 2.5 hours.

A ringing endorsement if I ever heard one.
Also, they don't have 3 DJs in a row who make me crazy.

3, wow.  So that's, what most of the day?
Midday, early evening, and late evening.  People who make me crazy from 9 AM - midnight.
Also, I get reception for them wherever I go.

And that other station where you don't strongly dislike the DJs doesn't?
It has an effective range of 20 miles if there's no wind.  On the other side of the metro area from where I live.  Alas.

Ah.  What happened to that early evening DJ you liked? 
I have no idea.  He just disappeared one day and was replaced by another tasteless, vapid, milquetoast, nice, brainlessly middle class American value endorsing Dad who just kind of makes me want to vomit.

Whoa.  Harsh.
I know.  I feel bad that he irks me so much.  After the last DJ, he feels like a 100% false construct.

You weren't a huge fan of the last DJ at first. 
You're right.  I eventually figured out why: he challenged me.  He made me uncomfortable.  He made me think.  Jesus was real to him, a real Savior who saved him from a shattered life of substance abuse, addiction, and self-destruction.  He was so grateful to that God, so willing to talk about the struggle, so full of compassion and encouragement for people who most of us just want to ignore.  He was amazing.

I can see how Mr. Nice Guy would be a bit bland after that.
Yeah.  Boy Scouts, sports teams, the boat on the lake and the cabin, consumerism, blind assumptions that everyone is the same socio-economic class as you and goes to the same suburban church.  It feels so shallow and superficial.  I'm sure this new guy is sincere, but I can't stand listening to what I perceive as his smarminess for another second.

Why are you so worked up about this?
I don't know.  Maybe it's partly because I'm assuming they fired the other guy for being too edgy and real.  That always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  I'm also mad at myself for thinking that.  The guy had a lot of medical problems; chances are he had to retire.

You just wish they'd told you or something.
But they don't owe it to me or anything.  I'm just being a jerk.  That makes me feel guilty.  So I punish myself with 80s hair bands, 90s British rock, and current pop country music.  A strange sort of self-destruction.

Your specialty.

10 December 2011

on a cold winter's night

on a cold winter's night

outside my window
a mourning dove quietly
sings itself to sleep

06 December 2011

"light snow mist"

"light snow mist"

I love the way
the world looks
blue on a winter
day clouded over
with an even canvas
of blue-gray that makes
the snow fall faintly blue
into the bluer shadows
on the light blue
piles of snow

04 December 2011

the sound ice makes

the sound ice makes

for Ann

if I could hear
the sound ice makes
when it is being born
I think it would sound
like wind chimes

01 December 2011

Orion laughing

Orion lounges
on the horizon laughing 
at my (mis)fortune


"If it seems 
fates are against 
you today, they 
probably are."

- my fortune cookie

29 November 2011

26 November 2011

snow in autumn

The snows today
are beautiful
from the first light sifted flour
without wind to the now
medium flakes falling
through pockets of calm
between being whipped
by the wind into swirls
sudden direction changes
making me dizzy.

This too shall pass
it won't stick because
it's still November
and tomorrow will be
warmer.  But you still
have to clean off
your car today.

22 November 2011

Eating the animal cracker

Last week I was a tad self-destructive.  Not enough water, a lot of rage, not enough time to write, too much frustration and helplessness, avoiding going to bed because I know I won't sleep:  All these things add up to some increasingly poor decisions when combined with increasing pain and decreasing sleep.  How could they not?

I don't want to spiral down like I do sometimes.  I don't want to get stupid at work and say dumb things because my filters crumble at a certain point of sleeplessness.  What I don't want to do, I do.  Alas.

On my birthday, I got a letter from OWCP informing me that they received the letter I sent at the end of July about my address change, and they're sending my file to some coding person or something for review even though the last time I called, the claims examiner clearly indicated that she was the one who accepted or rejected new codes.  All I had to do was call and talk to my claims examiner's supervisor to get any kind of response after the messages and talking to other people didn't work.  I'm so tired of this. 

Their letter crossed mine on the way.  Mine was longer, more specific, and a great deal more emotionally involved. 

What do they care if it takes
over three months to acknowledge
and process an address change? 
What do they care if my doctors
have been trying to add codes
and get bills paid since February,
so I can get treated and maybe
decrease the pain a little?  It's not
their bodies that feel the pain
or their hearts that get smashed around
by inconsistency, misinformation, threats,
and delays.  They don't lay awake at night
or have to try not to cry at work when pain
spikes hit.  They don't have to pay off
my school loans for the next thirty years,
the ones I took on to educate myself enough
to get a good  job even as a cripple,
something their website claims
is their responsibility but that they refuse
to do in practice.  What do they care?

I don't want to be bitter.  But at times like these, I can't seem to help it. 
Another year older,
another year of pain,
no better at coping
but somehow still sane. 
Maybe that's all we can dream of.  Anything else is just icing on the animal cracker.

13 November 2011

the impermanence of things

three months after the accident
the bruise beneath my fingernail
looks like a Chinese brush painting
made with blood

a tree on a hilltop
overlooking the sunset
all of it slowly floating away
complete with calligraphed characters
in the upper right hand corner

emphasizing the impermanence of things

03 November 2011

Looking forward to shivering

how cold it has to be
outside before I can stop
turning on my AC at night

feeling very privileged
to be wondering
this in the first place

30 October 2011

not mother's day

My sweet and amazing friend is pregnant
with a baby without a brain
that will die at birth or soon after.

"Although some individuals
with anencephaly may be born
with a main brain stem, the lack
of a functioning cerebrum
permanently rules out the possibility
of ever gaining consciousness."

I wrote the due date
in my calendar.
May 13th is
Mother's Day, and I
hate that this is so.  Why
couldn't the doctors know that
and pick some random other
not-Mother's Day day?  It's not
as if the exact date matters.  So
why that day of all days?

"There is no cure
or standard treatment
for anencephaly and
the prognosis for patients
is death."

They have decided to carry it to term
and they will love their little incomplete
baby until the day it dies.

"If the infant is not
stillborn, then he
or she will usually
die within a few hours
or days after birth
from cardiorespiratory arrest."

There will be a lot of
broken hearts over this.

"Reflex actions
such as breathing and
responses to sound or touch

I'm not sure if I wish
the child to be stillborn
to save them
from their little one

to the sound of
mother's voice or the touch
of father's hand.

I'm not sure
they would want
to be saved
from that.

Fair warning I didn't get: the images are disturbing; quotes taken from here.

25 October 2011

remembering June 27th

perfectly cloudy

with sun wind
and a high of 75

every spider's web
outlined in cottonwood seeds

24 October 2011

and now the pond

and now the pond
is visible through thinning leaves
widening my view
trees and water
not just trees
there is nothing wrong with just trees
but water, well, there's nothing wrong with that, either

I have never owned
a view of a pond
I find it is something I am
looking forward to
once the wasps are really gone
and I can relax in my home again
without wariness or wasp-smeared windows.

False positives

I'm trying to be positive about the cold virus that currently has me by the throat.  I mean, at least it's happening now and not, say, when I need to be recording feedback for my students for eight hours a day or dictating a ton of stuff at my other job.  (That's next week, so as long as I get over this in half the time it normally takes, I'll be fine!)  I also learned something valuable: you don't actually have to get worried about coughing up bloody crap unless it's pure blood or you've been doing it for 10 days.  See?  Illness can be a positively enlightening learning experience! 

. . .

17 October 2011

tonight's October moon

black cat's eye
staring from the sky

don't look away
don't blink

14 October 2011

The view in winter

from my third floor apartment
the view will be lovely

stark and leafless

branches against
the skies in winter

Any comments/suggestions about line breaks?

12 October 2011


Harvest moon
hanging low
tell me where
I ought to go.

Better as two lines?  Part of something bigger?  As is?

02 October 2011

Waspocalypse 2011 continues . . .

In case you didn't know, I've been suffering from a plague of wasps for a month and a half, and my nerves are rather frayed.  There's nothing like being tied to your computer, the only place you can grade stuff for your online course, while you are dodging and slaughtering wasps.  It's made it hard for me to post on my blog, even, sadly enough.  I've been avoiding home.

Any attempt at a relaxing day at home is a failure when you are forced to kill something.  I am bad at the killing.  I'm not referring to my wasp-slaying skills, though there has been definite improvement in this area by necessity.  I just can't handle killing and death very well.  Even if it's just a wasp, I feel sick inside that it has to die just so I can relax.

Why I should appreciate the wasps
  • They keep me on my toes.
  • They love art.
  • They encourage me to work faster.
  • They encourage me to get out more.

After my 5 wasps in 24 hours debacle and subsequent hysterical phone call to the apartment manager who had told me they had done everything they could, they called in an exterminator who looked a the exterior of the building and said, yep, it's sealed up tight with no way for wasps to get in.  He sprayed it to humor me. 

The next day I had a wasp. 

Today, I've killed one and been stalking another since noon.  It has ADHD and won't land where I can kill it.  I have neck strain as a result. 

Now it has another friend, and they're hanging out on my painting, which I am not going to smash them onto for all time.  They are laughing at me; I can tell. 

I really need this to stop. 

They're going to call wasp dude back and have him fumigate my apartment, which might actually be more likely to kill me than the wasps.  It's not an ideal solution because it could wreck my computer and my books and my couch and even my clothes, and if this misses any, then I will get to meet them in the spring.  I really don't think I can handle being afraid to come home and having to twitch at every noise not related to the regular domestic disturbances.

I have twitched over 50 times today when wasps hit or approached the window.  I was told by the maintenance guy that every time he's been up to look around, he hasn't seen any.  I really find that hard to believe, but he's not as twitchy as I am.  He's also slightly hard of hearing from power tool use, so he probably misses the meaty thunks and slightly stunned hovering I see and hear on the other side of the window on a bright, sunny day.

I will leave another note and the corpses, so when the wasp guy comes, he can see I am not making this up.  As if the smears on the window, walls, and ceiling marking their final resting places are not enough proof. 

So the main question is why do wasps like this apartment so much when they never have before?  I have come up with some possible ideas
  • They are literary wasps.
  • They are artistic wasps.
  • They think I smell like common field pest bugs.
  • They hate me.
  • They enjoy seeing me hyperventilate.
  • There is a game of Wasp Survivor going on in my walls, and the loser doesn't just get kicked out of the nest . . .

They say there's no nest and that there's no way for the wasps to get in from outside.  Tell that to the two wasps canoodling on the top of my painting right now and the corpse in the window groove.  Where are Holmes and Watson when I need them?

A poem from last week

The problem with opening
the curtains to let in the sunlight
is that I can see the smears
of dead wasp goo on the
shadows of the window glass
on the floor.

Goo isn't the most artistic word.  Anyone have a better suggestion?

28 September 2011

Forget You when It's Raining Men

It's time for the week when the radio station begs for donations!  This week is also known as time for me to listen to other radio stations because I already give my radio station money, and they don't play cool and unusual music during begging time.  So, other radio stations.

Heard a hilarious song this morning: Cee Lo Green sang "Forget You," and it made traffic quite bearable.  Just make sure you go looking for the "clean" version, which, in my opinion is way funnier than the unedited version could be.  Swear words would just limit my enjoyment of this ridiculous break-up song.

Also, for the third begging for donation period in a row, I heard "It's Raining Men."  Why?  It's eerie that this seems to happen every time . . .

Heard any good songs or groups lately?

26 September 2011

These Three (4)

riding my bike as
evening falls if
I had stopped before

when I wanted to
(too early)
I would not have seen

doe and two fauns
these three
and so . . .

18 September 2011

Midwest moderation

Last week's high: 93.
Last week's low: 31.
Midwest, haven't you heard,
"Everything in moderation"?

13 September 2011

today's amusing found quote

yesterday a full moon
today "overindulged
wonton desires"
made me laugh

06 September 2011

Speaking of discouraging . . .

I should be used to this. 
I shouldn't be disappointed. 
I shouldn't let it reduce me to tears of frustration and hurt. 
Not again. 

But how do you get used to the people who are supposed to help you instead treating you with suspicion and threatening you on top of apparently being unable to actually help you?  I mean, I would hate life if I had their jobs, too, but do they really need to be this mean when they're dealing with people in pain and not sleeping well and not thinking straight and alone and in need of help?  Really? 

Maybe it's part of their job descriptions and they are actually doing their jobs.

What a discouraging thought.

31 August 2011

Pub Singing and Merlin's Unrest

A friend invited me to a pub sing, and I was actually free, so I agreed to go.  To prepare, I pulled out my maritime music CD (hooray for random free promos) and gave it a listen.  I headed to the pub after an 11 hour day at work.

This is pub singing, not opera: loud, boisterous, informal, and slightly (increasingly) drunken.  Pitch is not the most important thing.  I'm not sure what is; maybe enthusiasm?  There were sea chanties and hymns and shaped note music.  I knew a couple of the songs and different versions of a couple others, so I couldn't really sing along, per se.  There were some folks who were amazing and a few who were terrible.   All of them were passionate about music.

I kind of wished the director of my a cappella choir and maybe some of the members could go to one of these.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's because I enjoy watching inhabitants of the Great White North encounter rhythm and emotion.  It makes them uncomfortable.  (At a concert I went to recently, the only people moving to the beat were a handful of children too young to have the joy of motion stamped out of them by peer pressure.)  I also think that they might have enjoyed themselves and learned something that could transfer to their classical singing.

My friend goes because he's learning harmony from it, he says.  It's definitely a good place to do that because when you don't know the songs, but you want to sing, you have no choice but to make up your own notes.  The repeated choruses tend to make this easier (as does the fast and loose pitch sometimes).

Did I mention the pitch issues?  It wasn't always as bad as I'm making it seem, but when a room made up of several professional singers can't seem to find the key because of the warbling soloist, you know it's not great.

My friend concluded, "I guess I'm not as fussy about pitch as you are."

My sister would get a kick out of that.  My ear for pitch always drove her crazy and made her nervous about singing in front of me.  And she wasn't even the tone deaf sister.

I seem unwilling to cover my reaction to bad pitch, even now.  I just can't enjoy it, no matter how much passion and love for music is involved.  Why is this?  The world may never know.

Perhaps it's related to why I apparently must move to music when I'm surrounded by people who are uncomfortable around people who move to music?  It doesn't feel like contrary orneriness, though.  I wonder.

They had good root beer.  I enjoyed myself.  Will I ever go again?  Maybe.  There's something undeniably compelling about random people loud enough to drown me out singing whatever the spirit moves them to sing . . .

27 August 2011

What's scary

You know what's scary?  WebMD is scary.  I go there when I get some weird symptom, hoping it will tell me, "Eh, that's just life," not, "You may have toxic shock syndrome from strep after smashing your finger in the garage door." 


I do not have time for a life-threatening infection.  Can a month go by where I don't have some new, weird medical problem?  At least a month?  Please . . .

24 August 2011

Toad Herding for Fun and Profit

Yesterday night, my flimsy building key stopped working, and I was locked out of my apartment.  This was a bummer because I live alone and had no one to call and let me in at 10 pm. 

This morning, I called to arrange for a new key, and we agreed it could be shoved under my garage door, though the trauma of smashing the crap out of my finger in said door on Saturday was fresh in my mind. 

I got home and opened the garage door, looking for my ticket into the building, and a mid-sized toad hopped in and promptly got itself stuck thinking there was No Escape even though three directions were open to it.  It kept hopping further and further along the wall when it wasn't playing the If I Don't Move the Large Thing Menacing Me Will Forget I'm Here and Go Away and Leave Me in Peace game.   

I suspect that toads are not one of the brightest species in the ecosystem. 

There was no way I was going to just close the door and let the thing die and stink up my garage.  I tried to gently herd it out, and it just wasn't working until a lady walked by and, attracted by the sound of a possibly crazy person waving her hands and cell phone at the ground and trying to be some sort of toad whisperer, stopped to get a better look. 

I explained my problem.  She laughed at me as I kept trying to humanely get rid of my newly acquired amphibian, but she eventually got fed up and whacked that sucker back out into the driveway with a hand like a trowel. 

I was horrified as I watched it tumble and come to a dusty and very final stop, sure she'd killed the silly thing whose only crime was being stupid and confused.  After heart-stopping seconds of being stunned, it rolled over.

"It's alive!" I thought and rejoiced until it hopped toward my garage.  I stomped and waved it away and closed the door before any more drama or trauma ensued.  The woman walked away laughing as I thanked her.

I watched the toad as, at a loss, it headed back out into the middle of the parking lot where it hopped in strange, possibly concussed polyhedrons for a while, despite my encouragement to get out of the place where cars go.  I washed my hands of him eventually, as he seemed destined to end up flattened by someone's tire.

Good night, sweet toad.  May flights of angels sing thee to they rest.  One way or another.

20 August 2011

Out again? Alas . . .

 I am almost out of ibuprofen.  Again.  It's discouraging.

Can you identify the item in question from this lineup?

 I always hope each new bottle of ibuprofen will be the last.  It never has been.  I started collecting them in 2007 in case a photo op like this one arose.

Yes, I'm having too much fun with this.

Some day, when the ibuprofen bottle I buy is the last, will I be able to type novels-worth of words again when I desire? 

Maybe.  Or maybe I won't be pain-free until I get to heaven.  That could be a long time.  And a lot of ibuprofen.  Sigh.

. . .

14 August 2011

Yesterday perfection

Took a walk
Made progress
Hung up sun catchers and pointless, gauzy curtains
Finished a book
Swept the floor
Saw a tiny, nearly translucent frog hop away to avoid being crushed by the opening door

13 August 2011

Musings on a weekend when I'm (still) unpacking

Robert Frost said
good fences
good neighbors.

I think loud air conditioners
do the same thing.

10 August 2011

When summer acts like fall

Two perfect fall days in a row in August so far as it tries to make up for the horror of July.  When summer acts like autumn, I have to resist the urge to go find a patch of grass under a tree and just lie there doing nothing for hours.

I can't do nothing yet because I'm still puttering in the new place.  All the books are unpacked and sorted.  My study area is set up.  The living room area is bearable and traversable (sp?).  Now I can also enter and exit the bathroom without contortions, and there's really just one last hurrah of a pile by the door that needs to somehow move out to the garage (super old files I need to keep but will not likely be accessing ever).  I may be completely unpacked by this weekend, which would be so glorious.

Just in time to start getting serious about planning for my class that starts the last week of August . . .  Don't worry; it's only a half class, so there shouldn't be any meltdowns this term.  Good times.

Looking forward to autumn,

03 August 2011

Inhabiting new spaces

What I know about my new apartment:
  • I have some very kind neighbors who help without even being asked.  (Some of them even before I pass them looking pathetic.)
  • It's easier to like my neighbors when I have the AC on because then I can't hear them.
  • The sliding toilet seat of doom will either improve my posture or destroy my sanity.
  • I don't mind sleeping on the floor, and neither does my back.
  • Over 90 degrees with matching humidity is a bit of a chore for the poor AC for some reason.
  • I want to be done unpacking.
  • The stairway I prefer sings if you walk up too fast.  (It also smells less of cat wee.)
  • I still love alphabetizing, despite the pain.
  • When I am done unpacking, there will likely be fewer bruises.  I sincerely hope.
  • It is unfortunately likely that I will fall down the stairs at some point; it will then be rather difficult to navigate the labyrinth I have made out of this apartment.  (High priority: getting bed frame put together, so I can finish shifting and unpacking, so there will be enough clear space for me to negotiate with a cast, should the need arise.)
  • I have a freezer again, and it is marvelous.  Once I clean off the stove, I can even make use of the freezer's few inhabitants.
  • I still can't hang things straight.
Signing off clutching my checklists,

01 August 2011

in case you were wondering

I fell off the face of the earth due to packing for a move, moving, and unpacking.  I'm still unpacking, but there may be a return to our regular posting schedule soon . . .

12 July 2011


This week I have been blessed
by the sight of an undeserved
abundance of cranes,
one perfect summer day,
a couple of good books,
bad news, good news,
and the anticipation of seeing
friends I only see once a year.

03 July 2011

being attentive

I watched the rainbow as it started to disappear,
but then the kids started yelling, so I turned away,
and when I looked back, it was gone.

Have you ever seen a rainbow disappear all the way
to the bitter end?  Maybe rainbows are like fairies
in that Peter Pan play, fueled by belief, killed so easily

by distraction -even a moment- that results in (if not
disbelief) unbelief or something like it; not active
disbelieving but passive not believing not focusing, not
being attentive

29 June 2011

Summer in June

Every day on the way home
my dead trees stand at the edge
of the marsh shocking
as nude bathers on a clothed beach

26 June 2011

what we learned (from the EMG)

It is perhaps not surprising that when one runs electric current through nerves that are working just fine, thank you, (and sometimes overtime) said nerves twitch and transmit more pain signals for days.  (Yes, that's my excuse for nearly a week's absence of posting.)  By now, the purple marker dots where the nerves run have faded, but the bruises are still here.

So more physical therapy ahead if this new, aggressive doctor can convince OWCP that his new diagnosis is related to the original injury all those years ago.  I wish him good luck in his quest, and I really hope he has better luck than any before him.  If he does, maybe I can think that the reason why my ideal job fell through so devastatingly is because I need to be here working with this doctor because maybe he can help heal me as no one else has been able to so far. 

I seem to look for meaning in everything that happens to me once I get over the initial knee-jerk reaction, but I have such a short attention span, I usually forget before I can be disappointed if my wished for meaning doesn't come.

In other news, it's summer, and the sun came out today, so I lay outside and basked and read a book and forgot my watch, and it was a really good book, so pardon me while I go get some more aloe . . .

the tyranny of cottonwoods in June

ponds full of summer scum
puddles fuzzed with cottonwood fluff
handfulls of white down collect in every corner

18 June 2011

How not to fall in love with a house

How not to fall in love with a house
  • Don't meet the neighbors.
  • Don't measure anything. 
  • Don't think about exactly how things will best fit.
  • Don't like the closets.
  • Don't think about how you'll clean it.
  • Don't think about how lovely the tree in the front yard will smell in spring.
  • Don't notice all the places you could walk to (book store, another book store, library, Panera, Home Depot, park, every restaurant I ever go to).
  • Don't notice how quiet it is. 
  • Don't notice the pond and the turtles and the ducks.
  • Don't think about what life will be like when you live there and not where you live right now.
  • Just don't.

14 June 2011

Hope sproinging eternal in rooms with perceived low ceilings

The sleep doctor has spoken.  I still have some work to do with being disciplined enough to get up when I'm supposed to no matter how tired I am (because I will always be tired, and lying in bed NOT sleeping for an extra half hour will not make me any less tired).  However, if I can't get this pain and nerve weirdness under control, it will keep waking me up a lot every night and interrupting what sleep I can get.

So I went to see a pain specialist.  He is very aggressive, has an idea for a diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOC), which, like chronic pain, is kind of a divisive diagnosis in the medical community.  Some believe it's real; others don't.  Of course I couldn't have a single, definitive, concrete diagnosis!  What were you thinking, you silly person?

Next up is a fight with OWCP about another EMG.  EMGs are extremely unpleasant.  Seriously unpleasant.  And he wants me to have it done for both arms, something that should have been done the first time to establish a baseline.  (Now that my right hand is falling apart, it might actually show something worse than the left, so I think it will not be useful as a baseline.)  Oddly enough, the MRI was approved right away; it's kind of eerie, actually.  I'm not sure what to do with this unexpected lack of a predictable road block.  The new doc seems unfamiliar with OWCP, which could be a good thing.  He might not know what can and can't be done, so he might be able to accomplish impossible things through sheer force of will.  More power to him for having the forward momentum going! 

If it gets approved, I'll have to schedule it late in the day because I will not be able to go back to work after I have it done.  I won't even be able to drive myself back home to curl up into a twitching ball for the rest of the day. 

At least my arms are in really bad shape right now.  (Your prayers for the bad spell's continuation until after the test would be appreciated, oddly enough . . .)  If something's torn or whatever in the nerves, it might be more likely to show up now, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for the simple result.  If it's not TOC, I'm sure this doctor will keep looking.  He wants a real, solid diagnosis; he seems to think I really want one, too.  Sometimes I think it would be good to have one: when someone asks, I could tell them something more concrete than "chronic pain and probably something tiny and irreparable torn in my wrist."  Maybe I would care more about a diagnosis if I expected it to be something curable, but I don't.    The good thing about low expectations is that you often get pleasant surprises . . .

I also don't expect OWCP to accept any new diagnosis without a fight.  The good news is that, as I mentioned earlier, this new doctor seems like he'd be willing to wade into the fray and give them a fight.

11 June 2011

Housing for the discouraged

So the buying a house thing also fell through.  I got tired of dealing with banks that were theoretically desperate to get rid of properties but unwilling to do so in practice.  I took another look through my last apartment search for something
  • big enough to fit the books I'm currently storing offsite
  • that had wood floors to help reduce my allergies
  • that was cheaper than what I pay now (I have my rent and the monthly fee for the storage closet where I store all my books)
Surprisingly, I actually found something.

What I'm looking forward to
  • more room for my kitchen magnets (not really)
  • a freezer (frozen vegetables!)
  • room for all my Minnesota books
  • 670 square feet
  • not being over the entrance (no more feeling every entry and exit, no more smoking below my window!)
  • Open south windows
  • a bedroom I can seal off to allergy-proof it
  • less claustrophobia for those who visit
  • not living next to the stairs (no more hearing all those giants clomping up and down all the time)
  • lower rent
  • not being right next to a highway (no more listening to the drag racers!)
  • quieter living (stern, tough grandmother manages the place, and she doesn't tolerate noise)
  • no bugs (apparently, they don't like going much higher than the first floor)
  • playing with where to put stuff for maximum efficiency in use of storage space (graph paper!)
What I'm not looking forward to
  • no microwave (for the 4 times a year I kind of need one)
  • no dishwasher (good thing I don't use very many dishes)
  • no disposal (does anyone have any experience with how to keep the sink from getting clogged?)
  • 2 flights of stairs
  • coin laundry
  • coin laundry two flights of stairs away
  • trying to find a cheap bed
  • packing for the move
  • the move
  • the pain
  • worrying about other people getting hurt during the move
  • the need to get a portable AC for the bedroom since the AC is in the living room
  • manual garage door
  • coordinating the move, so it's as cheap as possible
Any advice on how to make this all as painless as possible?

07 June 2011


this is how spring kills:
branch dangles broken beneath
weight of blooming flowers


right now
this minute

under that
crabapple tree
in bloom

the scent
of heaven

stronger than
the stink
of the city
around you

31 May 2011

today I want to believe

today I want to believe
fortune cookie fortunes are true
"You are headed in the right
direction.  Trust your instincts."

but they are so often wrong

My plans for the holiday

My plans for the holiday include
recovery from this cold
     (can you bore a virus to death?)
nothing constructive or practically valuable
reading, anime, manga
no significant interactions with other human beings

24 May 2011

Winter Carnivals and other insanities

What do you do when it's below freezing, winter is well underway, and you're going stir-crazy from being inside all the time?  If you live here, you have an outdoor winter carnival with a parade that makes those marching band kids actually appreciate their ancient wool uniforms!  And that parade lasts for more than three hours.  Oh boy!

So my friends who moved here last year took me to this event along with their tiny toddler, and we adults all gained a new appreciation for the joy of hot air balloons.  When they set off those jets, you feel like you're not actually frozen solid.  (Just nearly frozen and very, very stiff.) 

Their child is hilarious, very solemn in strange situations.  Not worried or afraid, merely extremely dispassionately observant.  I have no idea if she had a good time, but I sure got a huge kick out of watching numerous parade participants come over (with candy or necklaces or clown costumes and big, fake smiles) and totally fail to get any kind of reaction out of the child at all.  It's not like she ignored them; she just looked at them and really didn't see the need to get all jolly or anything.  It was still funny after two and a half hours and a couple dozen attempts.  I am so easily amused.

We actually left long before it was over because I guess we all just reached that point where we agreed, "This is ridiculous.  It's a parade that will never end, and we are built for other climes."

I think we still had to wait until the next hot air balloon float came by to thaw us enough to begin walking.

What do you do when winter makes you get cabin fever?

21 May 2011

wisdom the crabapple tree passes on to me

some days
all you can do is
resist gravity

(I promise once I get this resettling thing settled, I'll stop copping out by only posting short pieces of poetry.  Maybe I'll go back to paragraphs.  Or at least longer poems. :)  Until then . . .

26 April 2011

Nostalgia in advance

When you are going to leave a place, do you get nostalgic in advance?  For some reason, I do. 

This, I tell myself, may be the last time I own this view.  I should savor these things now, store them in memory.

Or maybe not.

This may be the last
  • spring when the runoff river flows through my parking lot, covering the channel with slimy, slippery mold.  
  • winter I spend roasting above the lobby, hearing and feeling the door opening and closing through my bed-attached-to-the-wall all night.
  • autumn my sunlight is cut off by the south wing.
  • summer I'm separated from my books.

The future is looking brighter, drier, and quieter.  :)

This just in: I'm still scared of drunk people.

It's not terror, exactly, just wariness, edginess, an intense desire to escape.  I cover it better now, I think, and I'm okay if I don't actually know the person is drunk, but if I'm somewhere there's drinking, I'm on edge.  I wonder why that is.

It's too bad some of my friends don't know how to socialize without alcohol. 

24 April 2011

house hunting for novices

So, have you ever bought a home?  Any advice/cautions/warnings/tips for me?

19 April 2011

I'd rather be crooked

If V8 keeps your diet straight, I'd rather be crooked.  That stuff is just nasty.

I feel that I must disclose that I am not unbiased.  I had a tomato soup-related trauma in my youth, and, ever since, I can't stand drinking tomato anything.  I was looked upon as an alien at college because I was the only one who didn't think tomato soup and grilled cheese day (approximately once a week) was the best day ever.  I was able to conquer my distaste of cheese enough to occasionally eat the sandwich, but I felt slightly nauseated even being in the cafeteria with that smell everywhere.

So why am I drinking it?  Eh, there's a kind with a ton of fiber in it, and it's healthy.  (It definitely tastes of Aggressive Healthy yuck.)  And tomato sludge.  And beets.  Did I ever tell you my sad, beet-related food poisoning trauma?  I feel a bit bad for the beets; they had nothing to do with it, really . . .

Anyway, I'd rather be crooked, but I'm drinking it anyway because it's the Right Thing to Do.  Pardon me while I go gargle with mouthwash to banish the foul taste of rightness.

Are there any food-related traumas in your past that you have or haven't overcome as an adult?

17 April 2011

body composition and other unexpected nightmares of corporate life

 Having a sedentary job has been an interesting change, and by "interesting" I mean "sometimes horrifying."  It's not that I've gained weight; instead I've had my body composition change drastically.  It's kind of bizarre.  I guess not being on your feet 7 hours a day does slow your metabolism a bit, and mine was slow to begin with.  Getting exercise every day is that much more of a priority, and strength/resistance-training classes are helping me rediscover my core.  Maybe my posture will even improve?  It had better, or I'm going to give myself all kinds of additional back problems when I actually get old.  Ah, it's good to be young . . .

12 April 2011

a spring haiku from me to you

Spring is in the air.  
Also in my lungs.  Pardon 
me while I cough hack.

05 April 2011

Flying high

Still a bit dizzy from the release of tension and a slight fever, I nevertheless considered yesterday a success.  I enjoyed the class I half-taught a lot.  Most of the class seemed to, as well.  I've gotten two emails from students who want to discuss it more!  Oh, it would be so fun to do a speculative fiction class at this school.  It would be a huge challenge, don't get me wrong, but the prep for the class was really thought-provoking and didn't ruin the book for me, so I think I could really enjoy putting such a class together.  Some day!

In other news, my plan to save money by not allowing myself to go to any of the Borders stores in my area that are closing  worked!  By the time I finished getting ready for my class and let myself take the time to go, they were all closed but one, and it was the first one I went to.  I'm glad they mentioned that they were the last "closing" store open, or I would have wasted a lot of time and gas money.  If self-control doesn't save the day (or wallet), sometimes laziness does.  :)

29 March 2011

a Lullaby

It finally rained the other night, 
a long, soaking rain,
and I remember now
why winter is unbearable
sometimes, keeping all
that soothing rain
locked up tight
in the greedy clouds
or making me
by sending the sound
of rain elsewhere
when I need it here
to help me sleep.

22 March 2011

Supermoons and found poetry

A friend sent me this link, and I direct you there for the following line:

"Although a full moon
theoretically lasts

just a moment, 
that moment

is imperceptible to
ordinary observation."

So pay attention when you're watching the moon. :)

17 March 2011

Yesterday it felt like spring

That breaking point sort of day
when it's still 30 degrees, but
suddenly you know it's nearly
spring, and you don't want to wear
your hood or your hat, but you still
wear your gloves
just because.

12 March 2011

Dead trees in winter

You can always tell which are the dead trees even in winter
like lepers who've lost fingers
trunks and bigger branches
all that remain

09 March 2011

Something a friend shared with me

I'm not really a linkblogger, but I have to be today.  Check this out (preferably with good headphones).  Also, be sure to check out the link with more information about the project and how it came to be.  It's kind of amazing.


05 March 2011

A socking development

Why do all my socks die in batches?  It's like they all just decide they've had enough at the same time, and suddenly, I have a lot of new rags. 

I hate getting new socks because they're like new towels: they're all fluffy and have all this excess cottony energy.  I hate wads of cotton collecting in weird places in my shoes.  And it takes forever to get all the excess worn away.  And then, soon after that, they die.  Sad.

I wonder if the socks would last longer if I didn't just buy the cheapest socks I can find?

02 March 2011

Messing with My Head

We are trying to fool my brain here, so shhhhhh; don't tell it.  While we do that, we have a lot more time not spent in bed being annoyed about not being asleep, and we can write more.  Hooray!

The plan is that, since I get 6 hours of sleep or less on average, we will only let me be in bed for 6 hours.  This will make my brain know we mean business, and it will have to get really efficient to get close to 6 hours if I'm only in bed for 6 hours.  Then, once it learns to, you know, sleep while in bed, we can increase the time I spend in bed and also increase my amount of sleep. 

This is the theory. 

Let's see how stubborn and ornery my brain is in practice . . .

28 February 2011

A not-unpleasant visit to a doctor (it happens sometimes)

I went to see an ENT, and he was one of the best doctors I've ever encountered.
  • He actually read the forms I filled out.  Seriously.  I didn't slave away on useless paperwork I've already filled out a million times only to have it not even looked at.
  • He asked a lot of questions.  And listened to the answers.  However, I think I've learned that if he asks the same question more than once, it means I'm giving the wrong answer.  It was kind of like those online applications that ask the same questions to try to trick you into being inconsistent, so they don't actually have to spend human time screening applicants.  Only not.  So, yes, apparently, I strain when I talk and sing.
  • He did not immediately prescribe expensive medication.  Any time I can walk out of a doctor's office with instructions to drink more water and sometimes Gatorade and use a nasal saline rinse (recipe provided with an emphasis on the need to use pickling salt instead of table salt), I feel I have not been ripped off.
  • He pointed out that I had a big gob of lotion on my face.  He said, "Oh, and I guess my nurse was too much of a coward to mention this, but you have a big blob of lotion on your face."  He also wiped it off.  Mortification . . . 
  • He did not act like he knew everything after our 45 minutes together.  When I asked him if he thought all these other problems meant that at least I didn't have acid reflux, he said, "I have no idea.  You have so many other symptoms, we'll have to try to clear them up before we can even figure that out."
  • He gave a follow-up time frame.  He said, "Try these simple things.  Come back in three months, and we'll see if we're on the right track.  Then we can talk about whether or not you have other problems."
  • He hates my voice recognition software.  We sat in companionable silence as he typed up his notes right then and there after talking about how frustrating it can be to use the Dragon voice recognition software later.  It's bad for his blood pressure, too.  I can see why since he does not have a calm, even, boring NPR announcer voice with no emotion or inflection.
If all doctors were as helpful, compassionate, and competent as him, I think people wouldn't hate going to the doctor.  They would feel like they had an ally interested only in helping them heal.  Whoa.

Have you ever seen a doctor that restored your faith in the medical/healing professional?

27 February 2011

seeing scars

a man at church in a front pew      with a head of tiny buzzed stubble
a huge scar   only visible from a particular angle behind
invisible to me when he turns his head and I see from any of the other angles

if we looked at the right angle
would we see souls like that
mangled and scarred
but only if seen from that one angle

look away

Ah, stress

This week
I learned
that I still
have stress-induced asthma.

Rough week at work.  Good thing I've been reading about ways to deal with stress.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Keep inhaler on hand.

P.S. I'm so glad I'm not still working at RetailEstablishment.

22 February 2011

What is it about snow falling

What is it about snow falling that saps me of the will to do anything non-hibernatory?  I wonder: if I'd just closed the curtains, could I have actually gotten myself together and accomplished something (other than reading The Name of the Wind, dishes, and cleaning), such as completing my tax research and submitting my taxes?  The world may never know because I was entranced by the sight of all that falling snow out of the corner of my eye as I sat on my tiny couch in my tiny room reading a large book of grand, epic adventures.  Except for the cleaning and dishes, it was pretty much perfect.

15 February 2011

Not Hanging Curtains, an excerpt from Ways to Get Injured on the Sidelines

I was being so good.  Instead of trying to do it myself, I invited some friends over (thanks for your help, folks) to come hang my noise- and light-canceling curtains (bought with the gift card my sister and brother-in-law sent me for graduation a while ago).  In my past attempts at home improvement and tool-related tasks post injury, I've learned that independence and stupidity can often be linked, and it's better to just ask for help.

We had pasta and garlic bread and deadly chocolate desserts.  Their child wandered around my baby death trap apartment and only licked the TV and my cell phone.  And some rocks.  That I saw.  No post-it notes were harmed.  They hung the curtains.  Fun was had by some.  As they were getting ready to leave, and I was sliding lighter things back into place, a big, tall, heavy lamp fell off its chair/pedastel.

With my athletically trained, lightning-fast reflexes, I caught that sucker before it could hit the ground and break.  Too bad my catching hand is my left hand. 

I haven't gotten a whole lot of sleep since then.  Even though I didn't hang any curtains.


Maybe I need to actually leave my apartment when things are being improved/fixed/installed.  I should probably sit calmly in the hallway and practice breathing or something until there is nothing in my apartment that could possibly hurt me.  Or the apocalypse occurs, whichever happens first.

Assault on insomnia: The Sleep Study Edition

Now that I have some serious money available for medical expenses in my FSA, I am ready to try to get rid of my chronic-pain initiated insomnia. In fact, there's no better time because FSA limist will be capped much lower if the health care legislation is still around next year, and I'd rather do this with pre-taxed moolah.

What this means is that I went and had a sleep study done, and it was not very entertaining (for me or the poor techs who have to be at your beck and call all night). A sleep study is where you go to a place and sleep while wired to enough monitors and hardware to guarantee you have sleep problems that night even if you didn't have them coming in. Then you spend the next four days trying to get adhesive off your face and out of your hair.

Kimberly: Um, how, exactly do you get the adhesive out of your hair?
Tech (who has likely seen at least a thousand patients looking like this after a sleep study and thus should not make me feel embarrassed to look like this): Well, that adhesive is designed to dissolve in hot water. A lot of very hot water. I recommend you take a very long, hot shower and use the entire bottle of shampoo we provided. (Leaves, probably not to go snicker about how ridiculous I look with my hair full of adhesive.)
Kimberly: (thinking to herself to avoid thinking about the allergic reaction her skin is having to the electrode adhesive she's been wearing all night) Hey, that's kind of inteteresting. "Love" nowadays is kind of like that. A bond that dissolves in hot water . . . I hope I still remember that after I get out of the shower. I think I could get a poem or a really short, snarky essay out of that . . .

After showering and putting on clothes and getting ready to leave by going to the front desk.

Kimberly: I got most of the adhesive off, but I don't want to scrub my face to destruction. Do you have any adhesive remover?
Nurse: That would be a great idea! No, I don't think we do. Let me go check.
Kimberly: (reading the paper) Ah, the guy who sold me my car is trying to choose where he spends his prison sentence . . .)
Nurse: (coming back) Nope. It doesn't look like we do, but I'll definitely request it because it would be good to have on hand.  (Smiling like a helpful labrador retriever, she hands me a couple packets of something that says "Caution: May cause eye irritation.") We do have nail polish remover.  Um, it's up to you if you want to use it on your face.
Kimberly: . . .

I should get some results back soon.

08 February 2011

Being sick is gross; also, how do you deal with office jerks?

I bet for once I'm the one driving my cube neighbor nuts. It might be an overall stalemate, though, because I'm miserable, too. I'm sure he really enjoys hearing me blow my nose every 37 seconds. At least when I'm trying to clear my nose, I can't hear him talking on the phone. :)

If only I could be this obnoxious while sitting next to the passive-aggressive meanie-head I've been working overtime for the last few days. Then again, it's probably good I never see him. It might be hard to keep from saying the hilarious/cutting things I've been thinking up to say, especially if he actually said some of the things he's written in his emails recently. Am I really working so hard to make a jerk like this look good?

I find myself curious to know if he realizes how awful of a co-worker he is. I hear stories from other people; it seems he treats everyone the same. Does he know the effects of his behavior or is he just awkward (not realizing he's being so mean, difficult, and disrespectful)? I wonder what would happen if I asked him? Would it be worse if he did realize or if he didn't?

How do you confront people like him when you know you have to keep working with them? How do you let them know when their thoughtlessness has crossed a line (especially when you suspect they are actually doing it on purpose) without making your working relationship worse?

26 January 2011

one of those days

I hate

Confirmation that I am a young fogey

When I got back home after the holidays, I had a lot of mail waiting for me.  Menards was having a big sale.  I sat on my floor drooling over . . . the recliners.  Yes, rocking recliners in at least one non-hideous color!  I wanted one soooooo bad. 

No matter that I
  • couldn't justify it in my budget
  • couldn't transport it from the store
  • couldn't actually fit it in my little 385 square foot cave. 
I wantssssss ittttttt.  So soft and rocky and lovely.  I could make it fit.  I could drag it home with a rope.  Rocky and soft.  My own, my precious . . .

Sometimes I hate being a practical adult with a modicum of self control.

24 January 2011

09 January 2011

An amazing thing that happened


My computer restarted. 

Yes, that sentence got its own paragraph because this event is a miracle!  My computer hasn't restarted in years, not since Windows SP2.  I've been told by numerous computer folks that there's no reason why it won't restart, but reason never stopped my technology from forging ahead in the discovery of new frontiers of glitchiness.  This time it did one of those auto downloads of Windows updates that requires a restart, and instead of showing a black screen of death, it actually truly started again.  Whoa.

What can I say?  It's one of my (many) useless minor super powers, such as always choosing the wrong checkout line.  I wonder if it was a passing thing or if it will actually happen again . . .

04 January 2011

time travel snow

the kind of snow that
makes you dizzy if
you look up
as you're walking

no real wind to speak of
so the specks
descend slowly and dance
on tiny currents of air
you can't see until
you can't walk straight
unless you look straight
down to avoid being
hypnotized by the unhurried
deliberate randomness

tipped over into some
other dimension where
only the falling snow

01 January 2011

And so it begins: 2011

I was afraid no thaw would come, and we'd be stuck with 15 foot high piles of snow at every corner by March.  And then, weird weather to the rescue.  We had rain and thaw for several days.  Late on New Year's Eve, it refroze.

Why do people think staying up to watch a new year start is so special?  I'm too tired.  I stayed up anyway because of my insomnia, but still. 

On a positive note, this means I was able to enjoy the incredibly loud drunk man who greeted everyone who came into the building with some variation of "Happy, Happy New Year!" starting at 1 am and stopping just a few hours ago.  Maybe he wasn't actually drunk . . .

How's your new year going so far?