Monday, August 31, 2009

An excellent weekend

Several things went well this weekend, and I shall explore those several things in list form, as is my wont.

1. Vote for Equality canvassed voters in very close proximity to the Station Fire and nobody (a) caught fire or (b) breathed in enough smoke to do damage.

2. I made cookies that were so delicious that I made them again. Chocolate cookies with cinnamon, white chocolate chips, and dried cranberries. I feel a shade ill after eating untold quantities of cookies and dough, but way more relaxed than I have been in ages.

3. All of my laundry is done and put neatly away, as are all of my DVDs.

4. The cramped bromeliad has been repotted in a larger and less disposable pot, with real potting soil.

5. Nikolai has been bathed and had (some of) his nails clipped and seems not to have resented it too much, though it was rather harrowing at the time for all concerned.

6. I spoke at length with friends I had not contacted in far too long.

7. I spent a great deal of time with a rather delightful young man who still lacks a code name. Suggestions from the studio audience?

A few things went less well, including the abrupt cessation of my bathtub drain to function as such, and the failure on my part to contact a few other friends the details of whose lives are sadly unknown to me at present. I intend to remedy this last by next weekend at the latest, so if you feel I have neglected you of late, please don't hesitate to demand my time (I'm thinking of A New Car! in particular, but there are others...)!

A closing thought: several acquaintances on the east coast are now heralding the approach of Autumn on the intertubes. I wish we had that season here! Please send dead leaves, thunderstorms, and Edgar Allan Poe by express mail so that I may simulate my favorite season in this blistering desert.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thoughts on being "home"

I am in my parents' house, lying on the bunk bed that my sister and I used to share many years ago, in the room that was once ours, then was just mine, and now is sometimes mine and sometimes a storage room. The floor is littered with my luggage, clean laundry, and discarded formalwear from last night's wedding, plus a few cardboard boxes that didn't get the message that, right now, the room isn't for storage. One of the boxes has a chandelier in it, but not one I've ever seen before. It's odd.

Being in this room causes problems for me. It's dusty; I sneeze all the time, and my eyes run and itch. It's full of things that were mine and had meaning but now aren't and don't. It reminds my body of very unhealthy parts of my life, and so when I'm in it I can't sleep at all and I can't stop eating. I want to tear this room out and make it over again, get rid of everything in it and make it entirely not-mine or entirely mine, not this musty memory of a me that was closeted, depressed, and compulsively peeling the paint off of these walls. At least my parents have had it painted, so that tangible reminder is gone, but the color is the same, and I can still feel the sting under my fingernails from when a sharper chip would get lodged there and draw a little blood.

My father is an ally in laying siege to the fortress of the past. He wants to un-me the room, to make it something else. My mother is a formidable opponent, desperately seeking to change nothing about it, to pretend that I still live in it, that I am still the child she was raising then. That I still need her to take care of me.

I can't win the remodeling fight. As things stand now, I don't have the heart, when she lives with this room daily and I don't, to demand change that would hurt her and only occasionally help me. There is one thing, though, that may give me the energy to take steps: I may need to live in this room again.

I had a long talk with my father today. He isn't doing very well with Mom's illness. She isn't either, of course, but she won't discuss it. Or anything else, for that matter. She goes through her daily routines (crossword, work, shopping at the thrift shop or the historical society, dinner, bed), but she doesn't seem to care much about them. She certainly doesn't care about anything outside of the routine; absolutely nothing sparks her interest, intellectually or emotionally. She doesn't call her friends or answer their emails unless Dad nags her. She doesn't talk to the family. When she's home, all she does is sit and run her fingers endlessly through her hair, sometimes reading, occasionally eating something, but usually just sitting.

If things get worse, if either Mom or Dad just can't handle things, I may be coming back here. I don't have explicit plans to do that. I don't want things to get worse. I would rather not uproot my own life. But I am keeping myself open to the possibility of this little green box being my room again, for at least a few months. If that happens, and again that's a big if, I am going to do something about the way the room makes me feel and behave. Starting with getting rid of this damn bunk bed. I mean, really, who has a bunk bed anymore?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Looking for something to do this Fall?

Operation Rescue, a group that bills itself as "the leading pro-life Christian activist organization in the nation," and that recently made headlines by buying George Tiller's clinic after his brutal murder, is running a campaign they call 40 days for life. Their campaign seems to involve a lot of standing around Planned Parenthood clinics and aggressively praying at people, plus presumably brandishing those oh-so-convincing photographs of aborted fetuses. If you have any spare time or money, Bitch Ph.D. has a few suggestions about how to use them to help your local clinic deal with this "Christian" menace. I've linked above to OR's page for their LA women's "health" protest location (remember John McCain and his women's health scare quotes? That was a high point in American electoral politics. Please note that my use of them here is ironic.), Family Planning Associates near Wilshire and Vermont. FPA could probably use some escorts for women attempting to use their services during the 40 days.

On the topic of scare quotes, I'm developing an affection for the term "Christian." It's my new go-to word for people who pretend that their Christianity justifies violence, bigotry, and complete intentional ignorance of the world around them. It serves to distinguish "Christians" like Operation Rescue from Christians like the Evangelical Lutheran Church. This distinction is helping me get over my leftover Prop 8 instinctive nausea every time I hear the word Christian (as in, "Do you support the right to marry for gay and lesbian couples?" "I'm a Christian!"). I've also debated about broadening the distinction by hyphenating the word: Christ-ian. I like to think this punctuation emphasizes the fact that supposedly these people are followers of Christ, one of the most accepting, loving, forgiving people the world has ever (possibly) known. "Christian" versus Christ-ian, to me, neatly encapsulates the difference between people-who-make-me-want-to-vomit and people-who-make-me-tear-up-in-a-good-way.

As an atheist with no stake in how people personally relate to Jesus, I may be somewhat out of line in labeling Christians as "Christian" or Christ-ian, but to me it's about how you treat people in this world, not what you believe about a potential other world. And since this is just my personal blog read by about 2 people, I feel pretty safe in my sweeping generalizations.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A quick survey

Each time I fly east, another gay icon dies. Who will die this weekend while I am visiting my parents and going to a wedding?

I am hoping that it is NOT Betty White or Stephen Sondheim. I'd be okay with Larry Craig or Martina Navratilova. Or Patti LuPone. Just don't tell her I said that. She scares me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Two things that irritate me

There are many things that irritate me. Here are two I would like to focus on for the moment, though they don't necessarily have anything at all to do with my current life situation.

(1) The conflation of age and wealth. I have seen this from many sources over the years, and it smacks of two complementary shades of class privilege. I'm sure you've heard it, the assertion that maturity equates to fiscal stability, that a real grown-up has passed the "student" phase of life and can now support hirself. Sound familiar?

This both denigrates any poor adult, ignoring the possibility of existing as both mature and destitute, and assumes for "everyone" the luxury of having a student period of one's life in which money is in short supply but educational capital is being gained so it all balances out in the end. I can't stand this attitude. I am relatively poor, and will probably stay so even as I get older. I come from a fairly wealthy background, and I did/do have the luxury of trading in potential financial capital for educational, but I don't see it as something that I will then trade back for future financial prosperity. And I am far from the poorest adult in Los Angeles.

To return to a common refrain of mine, ride the bus. You'll see a lot of totally mature adults who still have to pinch pennies.

(2) Supervisors who are unwilling/unable to do the work of the people they supervise. I had a boss like this once in my library-worker days. She was (briefly) in charge of the entire library, but completely incapable of as simple a task as checking a book out to a patron. She didn't last long in that job, a fact for which I remain grateful, several years later.

This naked incompetence, however, pales in comparison to the boss who considers it beneath hir to do the work of hir underlings. You may have known such a boss. Ze sneers just a little at the things that you do all day. Ze thinks your work is probably not worth the time it takes to complete, but assigns it to you anyway to keep you busy. Ze is a foreman who never works a day on the assembly line, an executive chef who won't chop carrots, a bureaucrat so important ze can't possibly talk directly to someone who needs help with their insurance paperwork.

If you can't or you won't do it yourself, you have absolutely no right to tell anyone else how or when or even why to do it. Get your damn hands dirty. Work side by side with the people you direct and they will respect you a lot more.

I'm thinking of making a series out of posts about things that irritate me. There are so many. Stay tuned for (3) People who stand in the middle of the aisle at the front of the bus and (4) The constant smell of urine around Laurel Animal Hospital. That should do nicely for our next episode.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Things are looking up

Many positive things today. First CSA box, overflowing with lovely (local, organic, cooperatively grown, cheap-as-dirt) produce. Dinner with friends who may or may not have code names yet, but whose designations I have forgotten; I shall call them Bebop and Rocksteady, in honor of cowboys, cats, and one of the best cartoons of the 1980s. Long conversation with a friend I never see, code name BoD I believe. I really need to start remembering the code names I invent. Also, started re-watching the sixth season of Deep Space Nine, and it turns out that Major Kira's hair is back to the right color. Finally.

Most positive of all, however, was the conversation with parents. No medical news as such, but good news of other kinds, mostly psychological/psychiatric. I am feeling far better than I have of late, largely due to this news. Thanks to all who have put up with my moodiness and general intolerability; as morale improves, the floggings should let up.

Also, Slings and Arrows delights and amuses me. And makes me miss the theatuh. Can I please have two charming old British men to provide real-time comic relief and sing funny Shakespeare songs? Please?