Stupid head cold still here

I’ll be back soon. In the meantime there’s this:

Being sick is like this: sitting in bed, staring at Facebook, watching your feed and seeing that everyone but you is writing.
You’re doing the bare minimum to get by: billing, writing reports and checking on that one client that lies to you and his supervisors constantly. You have to check on him constantly. You’re billing like a mad woman to maintain the mortgage, car payment, and make healthy quarterly tax payments. Even though you feel like ass.
You drink some coffee and lemon echinacea throat coat tea just to push through. To kick the cold to the curb so you can go to a jazzercise class.
Next week you say. The weekly writing critique group will be back in full swing. You’ll get your pages ready for the group and push through. It’s ok to take a few days off you tell your workaholic brain even though the last time you did that was at the Fishtrap writing conference in July 2013. Still you watch the feed and despair. That one woman who keeps getting essay after essay published makes you mad. “Envy is stupid you tell yourself. It’s ok. You’re working on basically three books right now. Your time will come.”
You just don’t know when.

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The boyfriend/non-boyfriend still rents so much space in my head. I keep thinking I’m over him. I am over him in a lot of ways but in other ways he still lingers. It’s been 16 months since we last hung out. I can tell you about the last day we were together.

April 28, 2013 – about 8:30 pm

The distance was there.

I was sitting on the white/cream and gold flecked sofas with him.

I loved those sofas.

We weren’t touching.

We had been fighting about the house I had put an offer on.  He told me I was foolish for putting an offer on the first house I looked at.  I looked out the window past his eyes at the steakhouse across the street mid-argument. I didn’t care. I didn’t like that word foolish. I thought it was old timey and ridiculous.

I thought he was ridiculous.


Recently, I had back to back dreams about him on the same night.  I don’t remember what I was dreaming about. I never remembered my dreams.  The boyfriend/non-boyfriend remembered his dreams. We’d wake up in the morning whenever I spent the night at his house and he’d tell me some elaborate psychedelic like dream he had just had. The traffic would woosh by outside on Burnside. Motorcycles would rev their engines. He’d yell “Goddamn motorcycles. I hate those things.” It wouldn’t be until I owned my own house on a busy street that I would come to also dislike motorcycles: the constant engine revving and packs of them that would rip up my street at 11:30 pm on a hot Thursday night. My cat Billy would be in bed with me.  Her ears pinned back from the loudness.  I gave up on yelling at them.  They couldn’t hear me over their stupid engines.  It didn’t really seem to do any good. That lingering feeling of closeness was there when I woke up from the back to back dreams of him. I wanted to reach out and send him another text message that he would never ever never ever respond too.

I got up and made coffee, went about my day, listened to the motorcycles outside and didn’t yell.


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Parkinson’s and Depression: My Perspective

Originally posted on To Pursue Happiness:

It should be obvious from my blog posts that my husband’s Parkinson’s Disease is not a death sentence. It is a “shit-this-sucks!” sentence. The disease has slowed down Chris’s ability to move and, perhaps, to think.

But it is not a stopping or a slowing down of the love he feels from and to and with other human beings.

Chris was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease about 12 years ago. His first symptom was stiffness in one arm. It didn’t swing much when he walked. He seemed to have an ever-so-slight drag in his step. More symptoms, such as a mask-like visage and stooped posture, have appeared since the time of his diagnosis. The years have not been easy.

Chris still thinks he got a better deal with a Parkinson’s diagnosis than a diagnosis of A.L.S. or some other fast-acting kind of cancer. He thinks Parkinson’s is not the worst disease.

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Apartments of my youth.

I’m starting early work on an essay about all the apartments I lived in between (ages 6-22) 1983-1999. My parents divorced in 1983 and it was mostly apartment living with my mom and sister. We moved a lot and each apartment had a different feeling and flavor. I think there were seven altogether.

It’s rare for me to outline or even think an essay out. I usually start writing in the morning and see where it takes me.

I am not a planner.

After dorking around and writing other things most of the summer I finally opened up my work in progress, a 200 page manuscript about dating in Portland. I started what I think will be the opening chapter. I think. I never know.

Nothing new to really report. I’ll be consumed with playing hostess for my friend Erin who is visiting from California for the next three days so it might be super quiet for a bit.

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Smells like cheap

I’m in line for the free Flaming Lips concert at Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon.  It’s 3:21, a Sunday and hot. I’m actually standing up the Hawthorne Bridge. I’m waiting for my friend Kim who is running late because she took a nap. I’m somewhat annoyed with her mostly because I don’t want to go to this concert alone. I hate going to things alone: parties, book readings, restaurants. I also haven’t done anything fun lately. I’ve been working, writing and going to readings but I haven’t gone to the river, to the movies or concerts. I’ve been taking care of that cat.

She’s slunk down to 8.5 pounds. Every day she stops eating a little less. The vet trips have increased. I’m working more to pay for the vet trips. The people around me in line are not irritating. Shrieking teenage girls and crying babies are my top pet peeves when it comes to being out in public. There’s a group of 25 year old guys ahead of me in line. I recognize one of them as one of the workers from the self serve frozen yogurt shop that I frequent in summer. Sometimes that self serve frozen yogurt shop is full of shrieking teenage girls and crying babies. I have to go to Ben and Jerrys across the street when that happens.

The Flaming Lips are playing at 5-ish.  I’m standing close to where I saw Barack Obama campaigning in 2008. I went to see Barack Obama with my friend Amy.

I think.

She was from Florida and was pregnant with her first kid, Sebastian. After he was born her brother starting calling him “Seabass” because it was easier to remember than Sebastian. I started calling him “Seabass” too because it was odd and funny.

I only know about the Flaming Lips from “B” the original non-boyfriend.  He was obsessed with them. When I met him in 2002 the only song I knew was the “Jelly” song which got considerable radio play in 1994.

He didn’t like that song very much.

He didn’t like a lot of things that much.

Kim’s not here yet but on her way. I grab an extra pass for Kim and one for me so we can get into the show. In line I make it to the front for bag check. I have my bike water bottle with me and I’m expecting to be told I will need to dump it out even though it’s 90 degrees. An African American woman with long locks barely checks my bag. I guess I don’t look like a terrorist.  She lets me keep my bottle full of water. This is Portland; not New York. When I was in New York City two months before in June I went to a German beer garden with my friend Maia and the bouncer made us dump out our water.  I was irrritated.

I walk around the grassy field in front of the stage that’s 1/3 of the way full.  I find a shady spot next to a blow up white bear that’s advertising “Bimbo” bread. There’s a whole bunch of white and green crap on the ground. I’m sitting in Canadian goose poop. “Oh well.”  It’s the only shady spot. I’m resigned to the sadness that’s been following me around for the past five days:

watching Lilly melt away to nothing, buying more cat food, tuna and anchovies to get her to eat.

throwing the leftover food that she barely touches into the compost bin on the side of my house

constantly running the dishwasher to get the stinky cat dishes clean

watching her condition

watching her on the couch looking out the window trying to figure out how she is feeling

Kim gets to the show and we chat for an hour before the show starts in the sun. She tells me about her 20 year old cat that was in a similar predicament as mine. She tells me everything she did to keep her alive. I wonder if I’m doing the same thing to keep Lilly alive. I think about my maternal grandparents and everything that my mom and my uncle did in their final weeks in January 2009 to keep them alive at Mercy Hospital in Portland, Maine. My grandmother had fallen in the shower at her Alzheimers Care facility and had a stroke. She was in the hospital with half her body frozen and slouched and the other half normal. She couldn’t speak. My grandfather was on another floor with pneumonia and hooked up to a set of machines to keep him alive.

I was in Portland, Maine for a week before I had to go back to Portland, Oregon. I left with guilt that they were both hanging on by a thread. Two weeks after I came back they were both gone. I was happy that I had gone to see them in their final days but distressed about the state they were in: the cold and frozen snow outside and the hospital.

The Flaming Lips come on stage and I sing along to the songs. I know most of the words. I look around at the twenty something’s who don’t know the words and just bob their heads in Portland fashion. They were little, little when “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” came out in 2002. Back when “B” and I were walking to Trader Joes in Hollywood. The old Trader Joes. The too tiny one where we had to stand in line with our frozen burritos and frozen juice bars. The old Trader Joes is now a Dollar Tree.

It smells like a Dollar Tree.

Like cheap.

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The day after

you put your cat to sleep on the bed you wake up in it’s a bizarre feeling.  Your eyes are a puffy mess from crying and that stupid headache on your upper right front lobe is there.  Lingering.

The other cat, the alive cat, Billy, wants to snuggle and roll around on your stomach.  You entertain this for a few minutes.  Yesterday she hung out in the office all day and slept.  She was no help.  She kept the house quiet.  A reminder that the other one had passed.

You pull the covers off, drag yourself into the kitchen to make coffee and make a plan for the day:

1. write for an hour at the laptop in the office

2. finish two billings that you think are due at noon

3. bike to your client at the grocery store in the afternoon

As soon as the coffee is ready and you sit down at your desk the goals for the day become a joke.  Her picture is on the desk.  Back when she was two and healthy and fat.  She looks at you with those meany eyes from the loft bed at the 34th/Stark carriage house.  She was the meaner of the two but she was still sweet:

1. waiting for you on the couch to come back from where ever you were

2. a constant low level purring if you touched her

On your bed yesterday the vet with the soft voice that you had never met before gave the first injection that filled her with painkillers and those eyes became vacant.  You held onto her and they were moving but nothing was going on.  “she’ll be very relaxed now and feeling good,” the vet said.

you looked at Lilly and she was there but not purring.  She was somewhere else – ready to leave and depart somewhere else:

to be with Rozita, Zack, grammie, grampa, Michael and Leenie.

The vet gave the second, the final injection in her foot.  The vet checked her heart.

“She’s gone.”

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Flaming Lips


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