Saturday, October 31, 2009

Samhain

Some say Samhain is tonight. Others say next weekend.
Sounds like a week long party to me.

It might be New Year or it could be Old Year.
The end of one cycle and the beginning of another.
Either way, the Celts mark the occasion.
Just not with a pole in autumn. The pole is for May.

I probably should have gotten an afternoon job by now, but I've been busy. And if I'm not going to the shrink twice a week, I don't need an afternoon job at all.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tigers and Lambs

I was looking for this video today because I'm trying to relate to another person's point of view. Experiencing another's perspectives can be tricky because we have to step outside of ourselves to do it. It's hard to step outside of yourself when the only way you can experience and understand the world is through your Self. We're so informed by our own perspectives that accepting another's point of view as valid is kind of like being in an Alternate Reality. If you can finally stand in that alternate reality (which is smack dab in that other person's moccasins), you might be able to pull your head out from up your ass long enough to learn something.

Specifically, I'm currently pondering the reasons why a certain individual will not talk to me. Meanwhile, Punch shared this observation in the comments following a post about Vampires over at Termites of Sin.
Polan (sic) ...taking care of kindred spirits is well within your skill level. I'm not avoiding you I just don't want to piss you off. I'm a lit fuse and you live in a powder keg. Why would i not avoid you? (just saying)
Point taken.

Now, I don't know Punch in real life and am never likely to have that experience since he is hell and gone in Florida. Nevertheless, his assessment of a virtual situation can be directly applied to Real Life and may accurately reflect the perspective of a certain individual who won't talk to me.

I can totally understand why said individual objected to my actions. From where I sat at the time, I was simply managing a situation here in my own Private Idaho. Whatever I said or did was essential to my process, and if it's one thing I've learned to respect even when I don't understand, it's my dang process. Occasionally, during the process, this part of my character is in charge, and she has been known to burn bridges. Actually, she tosses hand grenades and takes no prisoners. It may be picturesque, but it's not pretty.




It's like Sally Bold says. It's just the way I am. Like in The Tao of Pooh. I'm not a tiger by any means, but sometimes I imagine that a person might feel like he's been hit by Hurricane Trish. While I respect this perspective, an occasional storm is no reason to forget about going to the beach. Half the time, once the clean up is complete, the beach is better than it was in the first place.

In the midst of all this personal reflection, this clip came up and turned my thinking in a different direction. This scene scared the bejesus out of me the first time I saw it. It still does.



Brian and the Baron would have been on the first train to Auschwitz because they were homos. Teabaggers hold posters of Barack Obama with a Hitler mustache while their patron saints Rush, Glenn and Sarah would happily exterminate all the oddwads, queers and weirdos they can round up. Which means, to use the psychological vernacular, that Teabaggers are projecting their own xenophobic impulses onto Barack Obama. Their fears have nothing to do with Health Care or Big Government. They are reacting to the hate swelling in their own hearts. And they are following leaders who would cheerfully exterminate anyone who doesn't look and think like themselves. Seen in this light, Rush et al are not simply loud mouths to be ridiculed. They are threats to humanity who really need to pull their heads out from their asses.

How many of us would they stuff into the oven?

But enough about social upheaval - back to the issue of the moment at Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters on Central Park West.

I get it that I willfully stuck a flame to his powder keg and the resulting explosion left us both singed and shaken. Explosions can be destructive and disturbing. Sometimes, though, destruction is necessary like when lightening strikes the forest. The fire clears away the underbrush that chokes and stifles new growth. It lets in the sunshine and fresh air. Explosions can be scary, but sometimes they light up the sky. The results are often be brilliant.

I've never been so afraid of getting hurt that I won't take a risk. Maybe fools do rush in - but every now and then, the possibilities are worth taking a leap of faith.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Getting Back on the Horse

If there is one simple reason why I didn't marry The Man from San Antone it's that his family had a pervasive attitude that I could not reconcile: Without Me You're Nothing. I couldn't see any way for me to comfortably have children in that environment. So I ran off to New York City to marry Buzz Kill instead which was the right decision even though the marriage to Buzz Kill ended badly.

At the moment, it seems to me that my shrink also thinks: Without Me You're Nothing.

She firmly believes that I need to be in therapy twice per week to be emotionally stable. I've come to believe that is bullshit because even though she is a great therapist and I would never have gotten where I am today without her consistent support -- I'm the one who does the work of therapy. Most likely, I would have been okay if I had dropped down to one session per week a long time ago.

When I think of all the money that I've spent out of pocket to be in therapy, I have to remind myself that if I'd have traveled the world and the seven seas, I'd have driven everyone around me crazy. And truly, up until I got divorced, the depressions were crushing, but I don't blame the marriage. Even if therapy and a shit load of psychotropics were the main reasons I was able to stay married for so long, I'm glad I did because it was the best thing for Velvet.

It's not like Buzz Kill was abusive or anything. He's profoundly annoying, but he wasn't a bad husband except for all the financial irresponsibility that precipitated the divorce. He's paying me on time now, though, so who knows? Maybe we'll be friends again some day.

Since people play out all the issues they have in the larger world in therapy, I can't blame my therapist because I completely bought into the idea that it was best for me to see her twice a week. I'm not even sure I can blame her for not listening to me about not being able to afford that much therapy until I hadn't paid her for six months.

I can, however, be pissed because she seems to believe that without her, I'm a quivering, insecure mass of emotional goo.

Everyone is a quivering, insecure mass of emotional goo occasionally. And I was such a vibrating mass of unacknowledged rage that I was stymied. Hell, I wouldn't have gone to grad school at all if my therapist hadn't convinced me to register because my mother was against me spending the tuition money on myself. She said that I was putting my needs ahead of Velvet's - which is an express ticket to eternal damnation in my mother's book. Eventually, my mother saw that Velvet would actually benefit as a result me going to grad school, but she was opposed to it at the time. If it weren't for therapy, I would have surely followed my mother's instructions, resented the hell out of it and made everyone within 100 yards miserable.

Nevertheless, I am the one who went to class and got the degree. I am the one who has had a million and three conversations with my mother. Actually, my mother deserves a bit of credit, too, because some people get entrenched in their bullshit and never recognize the validity of other people's perspectives. Over the years I've come to see that as much as my mother might want to duct tape my mouth shut her own self, she'll protect and defend me like a Rottweiler.

And even though my therapist was immensely helpful with parenting, I'm still the one who dealt with Velvet. My therapist has never laid eyes on Velvet, although she did recommend Velvet's therapist and that man has been invaluable.

You know, when somebody makes a statement that her therapist isn't the one who parents her child although her therapist recommended the child's therapist - we can safely say there has been enough damn therapy in that house.

Thank G*d that I have no debts beyond my student loan and mortgage except to my therapist (and The Man from San Antone is taking care of that). Even if Buzz Kill and I had put all the thousands that went to my therapy into a sensible retirement account - most likely we'd have gotten screwed out of the retirement funds like so many responsible Americans.

At least I have all this self-actualization and individuation to show for that vast sum. The best news, though, is that after my session on Monday, I ran into my former riding instructor. I hadn't seen her since before my shoulder surgery - and while I was recuperating, the stable where I took lessons on West 89th Street closed down.



She'll be teaching out on Long Island very soon, and I'm going to dust off my helmet and start riding again. As it happened, until I took riding lessons, I thought that my mind was completely severed from my body so that I effectively had no mind-body connection. Not so. Through riding, I began to see that my mind and body are so acutely connected that I couldn't tolerate it. Riding changed all that.

Well, riding and The Ashley Madison Experiment - but since I don't discuss sex on the blog, that will have to remain another story.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Drunken! Careening! Writers!

I had hoped to find a simple way to copy this flyer and post it here, but that technical ability aludes me this morning. I'm excited, though, and hope anyone who happens to be in the East Village on November 19 will stop by. Drunken! Careening! Writers! is always fun.

November 2009 Our Sixth Year!

Drunken! Careening! Writers!

Thursday, Nov. 19

KGB Bar

85 E. 4th St.

"Girls Girls Girls!"

Angela Himsel, Nairne Holtz & P.E. Nolan with your hostess, Kathleen Warnock


Angela Himsel is an award winning columnist for Zeek online. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in the New York Times, the Jewish Week, the Forward and other publications. She is currently working on a novel called, "God on the Couch."

Nairne Holtz is the author of The Skin Beneath (Insomniac, 2007), which won the Alice B. Lesbian Debut Fiction Award and was a finalist for Quebec's McAuslan First Book Prize. She has recently published a second book, This One's Going to Last Forever (Insomniac, 2009). She has also reviewed over a hundred Canadian lesbian books on her website: http://www.nairneholtz.com/

Tricia's alter ego, PENolan, came to life at KGB a couple of years ago because a stipulation in her divorce settlement requires that she write under a pseudonym. Having done her duty as a Wife and Mother, Tricia now divides her time between doing the Hokey Pokey with her students in a privileged Upper West Side preschool and emerging as a writer. That process includes her blog, Menopausal Stoners, and reading for Drunken! Careening! Writers! She is currently working on The Menopausal Stoners Guide to Parenting as well as a memoir that explains how a Nice Girl from Texas found her Self in the Looney Bin and decided to get divorced and integrate healthy sexuality into her life, not necessarily in that order.

More Cool Gals: Penny Penniworth & Wonder Woman!
Hip, hip, hooray! Penny's been extended! Playwright & DCW fave Chris Weikel's off-Broadway debut, Penny Penniworth at Emerging Artists Theatre, is being directed by another DCW fave, Mark Finley, and features June DCW reader Christopher Borg, and Jamie Heinlein in the title role, and the awesome cast is rounded out by Ellen Reilly and Jason O'Connell. The Times loved it, and so do the audiences, and now you have another week to catch this hit:

The extension runs through Nov. 8 at TADA Theater, 15 W. 28th St., 2nd Floor (betw B'way & 5th Ave.) And because he loves us, EAT Artistic Director Paul Adams is offering a discount on tickets to DCW fans: If you use discount code US when you order your seats, you can purchase a ticket for $25, a discount of $10 from the regular price of $35! There is also, as befits an offering made to DCW fans, a bar in the theatre lobby, and a special Penny drink, "The Havasnort" for your potable pleasure.Order tickets here: Brown Paper Tickets or via phone at (800) 838-3006.

Also at EAT this fall is another DCW fave (who presented a developmental reading from this show behind our very podium) is Elizabeth Whitney's Wonder Woman! A Cabaret of Heroic Proportions! (originally presented by TOSOS Theatre, and a sellout hit this last may at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival), written & performed by Elizabeth Whitney, Directed by Peter Michael Marino
also at TADA Theatre. Tickets are $20, and available online at Brown Paper Tickets or at the box office 30 minutes before the show.


Wow! What a month! And in December, you have our annual holiday tradition to look forward to: readings from "Best Lesbian Erotica 2010," the first edition that I've edited!
So that's the news from this corner of the literary biosphere, housed in the friendly confines of KGB, where the drinks are lovely and the girls & boys are relatively cheap.

Klaatu barada nikto,
Kathleen W.

Drunken! Careening! Writers! is a reading series based on the proposition that readings should be by 1) good writers; 2) who read their work well; and 3) something in it makes people laugh (nervous laughter counts). And 15 minutes tops.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Step in the Right Direction

My therapist finally believed me when I told her that I totally cannot afford to come to therapy twice a week anymore.

I've been telling her that for months.
Years, now that I think about it.
But until recently I've always found the money. And in point of fact, I believe it was necessary for me to go to therapy twice a week until I was successfully off my meds. Going off psychotropic medication can be tricky.

It's a pretty big deal because I've been going twice a week since 1996 unless my therapist was out of town. If I was out of town, I called in for a phone session. March 1996 is when I got locked up in the looney bin for suicidal tendencies (Stonerdate 03.29.09). I didn't take meds before I that incident, but I had been in therapy off and on for a couple of years. Once I got out, it was clear that therapy was as necessary to my treatment as the medicine. And I was so heavily medicated for about a year that I could barely wake up - but that was just as well since I might have done some damage if I got agitated. Then I spent the several years at a fairly high dose of Depakote as well as an antidepressant which is typical for people who have been diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder.

By paying very close attention, my staff and I were able to determine that I am not Bi-Polar. I feel my feelings more intensely than most people, no doubt, but that's because I process emotions like a three or four year old. I react to an environmental trigger (therapy-speak for "shit happens"), and if I get depressed - and I used to get suicidal so I was awfully depressed - my neurochemistry changed. Once the chemistry changed, then it appeared as if I was Bi-Polar or Manic or whatever the DSM-V likes to call it. When your mental state is determined by your neurochemistry, you even out the chemistry and the moods stay stable. That's not what happens when your mood fucks up your chemistry. You can try to keep the chemistry steady, but reaction to environmental triggers is the main determinant. Then you have to adjust the medication to stabilize a mood which might be considered a bit out of control.

During the months I was phasing off the Depakote, I was emotionally raw. As I understand the process, a person takes this kind of medicine to coat feelings so that they are not overwhelming. When a person can tolerate his/her feelings, then s/he can being to deal with the underlying issues that trigger depressions and stuff. Last year sometime, I decided I wanted my feelings back. I can't remember when I decided. I just decided. And it was overwhelming at first - not only for me but for the people closest to me.

It's done now. To tell the truth, I'm pretty tired of going to therapy all the time, but having only one appointment with her in my date book each week feels like a mighty big step. A good step, but a mighty big one.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Little Civil Disobedience

JD over at This Tumbleweed Life has this clip posted from Billionaires for Wealthcare. As it happens, it's up over at Have a Really Great Day too, and who knows where else.



This group appeared at an Insurance Industry event. The Washington Post says:

The protesters interrupted a presentation by Republican pollster Bill McInturff, whose work for AHIP on the series of early-90s "Harry and Louise" anti-health-care reform commercials has been called by Advertising Age "among the best conceived and executed public affairs advertising programs in history."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Walk in the Park

It's been very, very quiet here at HQ.
I think I'm finally settling in to life without Velvet in the apartment.

Velvet was sick last weekend which was the first time he has been sick away from home unless you count the trips to the emergency room from Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp. He lived.

I have to say that my buddy Woody from The Well-Armed Lamb has been helpful through this transition. Woody was a college professor for a long time and can speak about the freshman experience with authority. Woody can also speak with authority on the topic of pissing people off with panache which is a skill I'd like to cultivate. I don't have a particular agenda, it's just that I often hold back on expressing my true opinion about many things because I don't want to make a scene. While the ability to keep the peace is also a good skill to cultivate, every now and then holding your tongue creates a false impression that you actually agree with someone who is sadly full of shit.

Yesterday morning I blew off yoga class because I chose to indulge in one of my favorite activities: Wake & Bake (sorry, Mom). I rarely ever got to wake and bake when Velvet was home because it's not the sort of behavior a mother should encourage around the house. Actually, I hardly ever got high at all when Velvet was home on account of (1) it undermines my parental authority and (2) the kids might need a grown up to manage a tricky situation and I prefer to be sober in tricky situations unless my lawyer, The Man from San Antone, is on hand.

With Velvet five hours away and certainly asleep until noon, there was little chance of trouble from that quarter, so I hit the bong and got ready to reconnoiter in the neighborhood. There was, in truth, plenty of time to straighten up a bit then go to yoga, but yoga is problematic enough when you're sober especially standing on your head. I can manage to balance upside down okay, but with the shoulder issues I wind up crooked. I'm sorry to say that it's like finding Tigger in yoga class. In fact, my inner Tigger was in charge of everything yesterday morning.


I wanted to get more exercise than a high person gets wandering around Whole Foods, so I decided I'd go for a walk in the park then wander around Whole Foods putting together a care package for Velvet.

For years and years, I walked a mile or two in the park several mornings per week. When Velvet was a baby, I even took hand weights along to pump up my heart rate. The loop around the soccer fields is perfect for a short, brisk walk. Unfortunately, I've avoided that loop in the fall for the last few years because somebody I used to know used to coach soccer in those very fields every Saturday morning.

I figured that I should be able to walk in the park in my own neighborhood. It's a free country, after all, and he may not coach soccer anymore. Even if I ran into him, I should be able to say "nice to see you," and go along my merry way. I wouldn't have been so worried except that he apparently buys into the idea that I'm maniacal and made a big deal about my bad behavior when, in fact, his was just as bad or worse. Part of me wants to confront and correct that situation.

Apparently, the other part of me wants to run away because when I got close enough to the fields to start recognizing folks, I thought I recognized him and hurried down a grassy little hill to the running trail which is partially obscured. Then I darted into the trees down a path that went over to the duck pond where I could continue on in peace. The risk of seeing him was an exhilarating rush and my heart rate went up, for sure, but I had enough fun for one morning. I went on home and made myself some coffee and put off going to Whole Foods until Sunday.

It's a shame to give another person dominion over parts of Central Park on the off-chance that an unpleasant confrontation might result - especially when that person might not even be there or recognize me if he were. Nevertheless, one of my guiding mantras is, "Don't start shit, won't be none," which brings us back to the problem of going along to get along, or giving someone the impression that I concur with his assessment of a situation when the truth is that I decided to let him believe what he wanted to believe. He was so angry, defensive and suspicious back then that no other point of view existed.

I never figured out if his attitude was situational or if that is his general nature. In The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff talks about recognizing and working with our general natures. There is nothing inherently Good or Bad about somebody's general nature, but certain individuals use cleverness (Rabbit), complaining (Eeyore) and knowledge (Owl) to dominate others which makes them a drag. Wise individuals, like Pooh, understand this simple truth and live accordingly. Hoff explains:

The wise know their limitations; the foolish do not. To demonstrate what we mean, we can think of no one better than Tigger, who doesn't know his limitations. Oh, excuse me, He says he does now. Well, let's recall how he was forced to recognize one of them anyway . . . (Hoff, 1983, p. 44).

Hoff references the time Tigger told Roo, "Climbing trees is what Tiggers do best," and the two of them climb so high into a tree they can't get down. A commotion subsequently builds around their rescue, further illustrating the difficulties surrounding not knowing your own limitations.

This morning, I'm thinking that while I may have been silly yesterday in the park, at least I recognized my limitations before I accidentally raised a ruckus. That's progress for a Tigger. I'm also thinking there is a good bit of Rabbit in that soccer coach. Eeyore and Owl, too. Those characters frequently get aggravated by Tigger's bounce to the point where one day, Rabbit concocts a plan wherein some of the friends will ditch Tigger in an unknown part of the forest so that when they return for him, he will be a Small and Sorry Tigger who bounces no more. As it happens, Tigger never gets lost at all. Rabbit does and is found by ". . . a Tigger who bounced, if he bounced at all, in just the beautiful way a Tigger ought to bounce" (p. 63).

If there's a single lesson in The Tao of Pooh, it's to trust our inner natures. I knew I was going to get stuck and wisely bounced over to the duck pond. Certainly there are aspects to all of our characters that need to be addressed as we work toward Usefulness and Happiness - but nobody needs to get uptight about the whole thing. Or angry, defensive and suspicious either.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day Exercise

I'm stretching on my pilates ball this morning as I gear up to face the world. It's crowded and unpleasant out there no matter how you slice it.

This is not a photo of me or my ball. My ball is green and my arms will never look like this woman's, but I can balance like this. Mostly I hang out on my back with my arms wide to open my heart and just breathe.

This song popped into my head. Actually, Dear Mr. Fantasy popped into my head, but I didn't feel like paying iTunes $0.99 to download that song. Back when I still had my good alimony, I downloaded lots of songs from iTunes. I already had this one.



I can't say that I've listened to any new music in years unless somebody else introduced me to it. Mostly, that somebody has been Velvet and nothing I've heard from his iPod has convinced me that I need to hear more. Now that I'll be driving to Tree Hugger University and back every so often, I may start listening to the radio again - but I doubt anything as long as this song is on the radio anymore unless it's on a station like Pirate Radio. If there is radio like that out there that I can get in my car without spending any money, I wish somebody would tell me about it.

The thing that got my attention about this song today is that it seems as pertinent to the socio-economic climate as it was back in 1972.

I'm not suggesting that all us old hippy types need to take it to the streets, but if everything revolves around PR and propaganda, progressives should have a campaign too. We could send money to kids who feels like piling into the National Mall in Washington DC. It would be great if they had pitchforks like a mob of unruly peasants looking for aristocrats to lead to the guillotine. An armed progressive militia would be a nice addition. It never seems to occur to Cracker Teabaggers that some progressives have guns of their own and know how to shoot. I would never suggest shooting Crackers or Teabaggers because most likely they have more ammunition stored in their homes than progressives, but a Menopausal Stoners Militia could be a disturbing concept whose time has come.

In addition to stretching on my pilates ball, I like to do arm curls with my great granddaddy's 1912 Remington. One of my favorite Mother role models is Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in The Terminator. My arms will never look like hers either, but all moms need to be a bad ass sometimes.

Actually, if I'm like any Mom in a movie, it's probably the Katleen Turner character in Serial Mom, Beverly Sutphin:

I've always related to Kathleen Turner and, as it happens, it seems like her body and mine have similar tendencies. No matter what shape Kathleen Turner is in, though, she evidently knows exactly what to do with her body which is a good thing. Sadly, I believe that when she was appearing on Broadway in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf, Kathleen Turner was described as a bovine drunk. Maybe she wasn't a bovine drunk at the time, but somebody said she had hit on the plumber while wearing a dressing gown and holding a bottle of booze. I admire Kathleen Turner and that is undoubtedly a vicious rumor. Nevertheless, it's an alarming picture that carries the warning, "Don't let this happen to you," which is why I'll keep doing arm curls with the shotgun. There will be no Bovine Drunks in the Menopausal Stoners Militia. Other kinds of drunks, for sure - just not bovine ones.

But back to Traffic, Steve Winwood and The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. I don't know what The Low Spark of High-Heeled boys means. With the inclination and a dead line, a person could write an English paper about it, but the more pertinent message is in the main verse:

The percentage you're paying is too high priced
While you're living beyond all your means
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he's made on your dreams . . .

If you had just a minute to breathe
and they granted you one final wish

Would you ask for something like another chance?
(Winwood/Capaldi)

Good words to ponder on a morning when we're supposed to be celebrating the discoveries and accomplishments of the bloodthirsty marauder Christopher Columbus.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Eyes on the Prize

Some people wonder what the heck Obama did to get the Nobel Prize. This level of positive participation and enthusiasm for the process provides a thorough explanation:



I'm not being facetious about this video. Looks to me like it's a very respectful, light hearted way to spread the good word about the health care reform. It also looks to me like exactly the kind of thing that scares the bejesus out of KKK types and Crackers. They already believe there's a monkey in the White House. Rappers cannot be far behind.

Certainly I'm not the only one who noticed a similarity between this airline and this rap group:


Could be that Obama's socialist government bailed out Northwest Airlines to bring Rap and R&B performers to the capital by the jet load.




Now, I don't know if the Nobel prize committee would choose a peace prize winner just to watch Conservative Christian Right Wing Republican Straight White Amercian Males choke on the morning talk shows. If he got it for causing a quantum shift in the matrix, then a look at the speech to middle school students at the Star Party on the White House lawn provides an another illustration of America's New Attitude.



Never mind that the "moon bombing" itself made for exceedingly anticlimactic TV. Note the earnest speech urging kids to study science and, just as importantly, the big black scientist from the Franklin Institute, Derrick Pitts. The Star Party at made the White House look like an episode of the Cosby show. Of course conservatives like those at Red State would feel compelled say, "I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news. There is no way Barack Obama earned it in the nominations period." (see Drinking Liberally in New Milford). Say what you will about Obama and the Prize, the NASCARs hate this shit.

Maybe the Nobel Prize for Obama will lead to more Democratic congressmen telling Republican hate mongers to "stick it up your ass" as Ike Skelton did on Thursday morning. Huffpo says:
Akin, a member of the Armed Services Committee, had spoken before Skelton, saying the hate crimes measure was "poisonous enough in fact that we refuse to be blackmailed into voting for a piece of social agenda that has no place in this bill." Skelton, in his on-mike reply, said he wanted "to remind my fellow Missourian" that the Senate had voted for the defense bill, with the hate crimes provision, by a vote of 87-7. (Article with video of Ike).
If I'm correct about the sequence, this comment occurred some time before the announcement that Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize and I doubt old Ike had advance notice. Ergo: one event can have nothing to do with the other. Nevertheless, if an Obama Peace Prize gives Democrats some balls - that can only be a good thing.

Every now and then, a teacher gives a student extra encouragement to help that student reach his/her potential. The whole idea of Hope and Change needs some help in order to avoid being mired in the bi-partisan greed which gives special interests and corporations control of congress.

Speaking of corporate control, check out the choppers on this ugly motherfucker:

Rick Berman is the boss of some DC public relations firm that specializes in spreading conservative propaganda such as the benefits of High Fructose Corn Syrup.

When I was a secretary for a public relations firm here in New York on West 57th Street, I learned that PR can be a sinister business. Part of the job is making simple, short videos for distribution as fluffy news pieces that are actually commercials. They are called Video News Releases, and we made one that appeared to be a spot about make-up tips for allergy suffers that promoted Alleract. A stylist made a small, seemingly innocent comment about getting rid of those red, puffy, watery eyes with a good allergy medication like Alleract. The same tactics are used to publicize messages like, "A little Alar on an apple or dolphin in the tuna never hurt anyone. How is an honest corporation supposed to do business with all this harassment?" The firm where I worked handled both the the Alar on your Apples and Dolphins in your Tuna accounts although I was only personally involved with the Chocolate Manufacturers of America who wanted you to know that white chocolate is nothing but Fat and Sugar, and that chocolate is much better for your teeth than gummy bears or raisins.

The executives in our office were somewhat less alarming than Rick Berman; nevertheless we secretaries found it necessary to duck out to the corner bar at 3:00 to fortify ourselves for the remainder of the afternoon.

Maybe awarding Obama the Nobel Peace Prize represents one PR campaign facing off against another, but propaganda is an integral component in the struggle between Good and Evil for the American soul. "Yes We Can," could finally overcome the national malaise Jimmy Carter described. Organizations like ActBlue and Firedog Lake make it easy for lazy-assed hippies like me to participate in the process without the aid of an iPhone.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

PMS

About half way through therapy yesterday, my shrink observed that I seemed irritable. Normally, I'm not a bit irritable because irritable is not theatrical. My feelings are theatrical so that I'm in thoroughly miserable, deliriously happy, totally fucking pissed off, etc. Sometimes I'm cranky because I'm tired or hungry - neutral, ordinary feelings go along with ordinary states of being. Generally irritable, where everyone I come into contact with becomes a burr under my saddle, is rare.

Since I was at therapy and talking with my shrink, nobody thought to look for a simple, obvious explanation. At therapy, you can nearly always find a connection to your mother. My therapist is of the opinion that I'm minimizing my anger at my mother for being a generally withholding individual. If my mother were more reliably generous, I could easily have turned to my family to pay my very large, outstanding therapy bill. When a person minimizes his/her anger, or intellectualizes his/her feelings in order to minimize the impact, it makes a person irritable, depressed, anxious, etc. My therapist did not suggest that I confront my mother or anything ridiculous like that. There's no reason for me to confront my mother to get the several thousand dollars I owe my therapist because The Man from San Antone will shortly be sending a cash infusion.

I would find this whole situation entertaining except that I'm the one who owes the money. Further, when I suggested that one way I could manage my current expenses on my current income was to drop down to one session per week, my therapist said what she always says - the reason I'm stable is because I come to therapy twice a week. If I were paying her regularly, I would definitely think that was financially motivated bullshit. Since I haven't paid her in months, I'm sure she honestly believes that her intervention is keeping me stable.

Last year when I was thinking about dropping down to one session per week, my mother pointed out that in some Christian denominations, the local preachers switch to new parishes every four years or so because after four years, the congregation has heard pretty much everything that preacher has to say. The same could apply to shrinks.

When I was on all the meds, I agreed that I needed to be in therapy twice a week because clearly I wasn't stable or I wouldn't be on all the meds. A lot of people take psychopharmaceuticals and don't go to therapy at all which in my view is irresponsible. The point of the meds is to coat your feelings so that they aren't overwhelming and you can actually deal with your issues (aka: bullshit, mishigas). Getting off the meds was a long process filled with mood swings and emotional outbursts which required continuous monitoring. However, I've been off all the meds for months and months now, and my emotional state has been within normal parameters for someone who had mastered the art of "Drama Queen" by kindergarten and went on to staggering emotional heights.

That I was irritable because I'm PMSing never entered anyone's mind.

This cycle is a bit different because I'm not on The Pill at the moment. I've been on it pretty much full time since Bradley recommended I get on the Pill when we met as Freshman at North Texas State University in Denton. It was a good idea. I went off The Pill to have Velvet and then when I was around forty for some years because I was concerned the Pill contributed to my depression. I was also taking a handful of medication at the time and thought one less pill was a good idea. Interestingly, as soon as Buzz Kill was in charge of birth control we practically stopped having sex all together. It's not that he didn't want to have sex. He would go for it, I'd ask if he had a condom, he hadn't gotten any, therefore nobody got any. We went around and around like this for ages.

I can't even remember when I went back on The Pill. Maybe after the fire when I thought Buzz Kill and I might be able to salvage our marriage.

**Note** On Memorial Day Weekend in 2003, our GE dishwasher spontaneously combusted. The event threw every dysfunction in our marriage starkly into the open because it's hard to sweep anything under the rug when the rug had to be sent out for industrial strength cleaning to remove smoke and soot. As it happened, in the ensuing legal action, Buzz Kill tried to claim this very rug was worth $25,000. He got the fellow from whom we bought said rug in Delhi to provide an appraisal stating that the rug was indeed valued at $25,000 - but anyone who has ever looked at Oriental Carpets knows that these rugs are outrageously marked up so stores can put them on sale for 75% off. Even at 75% off retail, merchants make a butt load of money. The fucking rugs are made by eight year olds in rural India, for crying out loud. I don't think we paid $1400 for it in the first place, but that didn't stop Buzz Kill from claiming we lost $25,000 on this rug. When GE's insurance adjuster toured our smoky apartment, he glanced at the list, looked around the apartment and said, "What Rug?" Indeed there was no rug in sight since it was at the dang cleaners. When the case finally got before the judge, we got zero for said rug and Buzz Kill looked like the turd he was. As it happened, I know none of this information first hand because when GE's insurance team came to the apartment, Buzz Kill made me wait in the laundry room in the basement of our building because he said I would undoubtedly make a random comment that would damage our case. I was furious but complied quietly, thinking he could fuck up this show all by himself. Which he did.

For a time, I believed Buzz Kill and I would find a way through the marital dysfunctions and be a relatively happy couple. That beautiful dream lasted about four months and must be when I got back on The Pill.

I stayed on The Pill during this time of No Man in my life because I'm a happier camper when I'm on The Pill. The Pill evens out my hormones - so does Evening Primrose Oil, as a matter of fact which I take religiously - so I don't get hormonally induced mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats or any of those other perimenopausal symptoms. Perhaps I'm not even in perimenopause given that my mother didn't experience The Change until she was 53, but everyone knows perimenopause can start when a woman is about 35 and last for decades. Jane Brody said it in the New York Times.

Further, when I'm on The Pill, I know my period will start at 10:30 on a Thursday and that it will be so incredibly light I barely notice it. No cramps and not a single blemish on my chinny chin chin. Some women suffer on The Pill, but for me The Pill relieves every inconvenience associated with "The Curse" so that it is no wonder that Conservative Christian Right Wing Republican Straight White American Males are secretly trying to take it away from women. My mother fully believes the Christians who picket abortion clinics ultimately want to make The Pill illegal so that women will be stuck at home raising kids again.

Don't get me wrong: I loved being a Stay At Home mom for years and years. But it was my choice to have Velvet exactly when I had him. If I'd have been pregnant at 18 and had to drop out of college because of morning sickness, life would have been very different.

I'm pretty sure Conservative Christians would march pregnant "welfare moms" to abortion clinics in droves if they could get away with it. The goal is to populate the world with more Crackers. Like we need more damn Crackers in this country.

I've taken care of my PMS with the traditional steak and chocolate cake remedy. If the PMS worsens, I'll use my own remedy of Valium, Pinot Noir, Ibuprofen and Weed with whatever dose and frequency seem necessary at the time.

For the record, I never use any substance besides Ibuprofen when I'm taking care of other people's children. With Velvet, however, a little relaxation therapy can be enormously beneficial - and of course, as a Menopausal Stoner, I always recommend weed for anyone who still likes to smoke it. I wish it came in vending machines.

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