Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Monday, November 29, 2004

They're Going To Hate Me For Writing About This

It was Saturday night, and we were doing the sort of thing only the very closest of friends can get away with--dispensing unwanted, unsolicited, and yet clearly needed advice to one another. And then, suddenly, the focus shifted...to me.

"Has your therapist or your psychiatrist read your blog?" one of my buds asked.

"No," I answered. "Neither of them is much into the cyber thing. Why?"

"Oh, nothing," another said. "We just think that they should probably read some of what you've written when things are really bad."

And thus began a conversation that both terrified me...and made me feel extremely cared-for and loved, even if I wasn't willing to say so at the time.

Because, the thing is, my friends think that I might actually be bipolar. And wouldn't that be the ultimate irony--discovering this after I literally wrote the book on it?

I started to protest. "But I've seen an internist, two psychiatrists, and now a therapist since this all started, and none of them seems to think I'm bipolar."

One of my friends scoffed. "Oh, please. Of course they wouldn't. Because you're not telling them some of the stuff you're writing in your blog. Because you don't want to be bipolar, and you know what not to say. For crying out loud, TC, it says it right there in your profile: you're too smart for your own good."

I tried another tack. "But I would know if I was bipolar. I just don't see any of the signs of mania in me."

"Not mania, but hypomania," was the reply.

"I don't see the signs of that, either," I countered.

"Read your own book, TC. It's called lack of insight."

Oh. Yeah. That is one of the main characteristics of mania and hypomania (a version of mania that's less severe--and more common--and is nonetheless still diagnostic of bipolar disorder). Shit.

"And your depressions--they've gotten really severe," said another friend. "When you're depressed, I can't find you in there anymore."

Shit again. I swear, I didn't think they were that bad. Or, at least, I thought I put a pretty good face on them. But apparently, not so much.

I've been able to think of little else these past couple of days. Am I really bipolar? Did the stalking push me over the genetic edge from having the predisposition to having the disease? And if so, then what? Or, rather, so what? Didn't I just spend months on end and 350-plus pages talking about how optimistic the future is for people with this disorder, how well they can do with the right medication? And it's true. And clearly, if this is my true and proper label, I should have a pretty good shot at a pretty good life, since I've made it through 40 years without any significant issues due to it. Not to mention, as one of my friends pointed out, that having the label wouldn't suddenly make me any different than I am today--which isn't particularly great right this minute, but could be a heck of a lot worse.

Still, the idea makes me want to scream, to go running into the night. I'm not entirely sure why, though I'm certain that it has something to do with fearing I'll become my father.

And so, on Wednesday, when I go back to see the therapist I had my first appointment with last week (and haven't had time to blog about, but in short, I liked her), I'll ask her, and we'll talk, and yes, I'll bring along a couple of my blog entries so she can get an idea of what my friends are talking about.

And then, of course, I'll use every trick in my intellectual book to make sure she doesn't tell me anything I don't want to hear.

[Hey, at least I'm honest about it, right?]

Oh, and if you've made it this far, and you, like mommalion, are curious...I'm a lot less stoned, darnit, and getting less and less stoned with each passing pill. In fact, I'm thinking I need a dosage increase. Don't you agree?

Sunday, November 28, 2004

There is Nothing More Embarassing to Me...

...than totally screwing up a scientific/medical explanation. Which is what I did yesterday. Me, a science writer. An expert in serotonin-related disorders. An author of a book in which such issues were discussed and dissected. And I got it wrong. Because I was stoned. Did I mention that?

Well, I'm somewhat less stoned today (though still enjoying a rather serene, floaty feeling), and when I looked at my last blog entry, I cringed. Let me correct myself here:

I did OK on my explanation of GABA--which, to be specific, is not just a chemical that inhibits neurons from firing, but is THE MOST IMPORTANT inhibitory chemical. When it works--when the neurons it targets are indeed inhibited, GABA produces such effects as muscle relaxation (oh yeah, definitely that), sleep (I'm getting there), diminished emotional reaction (yup), and sedation (well, if by sedation you mean feeling marajuana-stoned, then yeah, I guess I'm sedated).

But I pretty much screwed up the whole SSRI thing. What I said was that it's "the drug that stops you from using the extra serotonin sloshing around in your brain." Sheesh. Couldn't be more wrong, there. In reality, it's the drug that acts to KEEP the serotoning sloshing around in your brain for a longer period of time.

See, normally, serotonin is produced and accumulates in the synaptic gap--the space between one neuron and another. When the first neuron in a pair fires, the serotonin travels across the gap and attaches itself to the receptors surrounding the body of the second neuron in the pair, prompting it to then send the signal along to the next neuron in the circuit. After the serotonin has done its job, it's released from the receptors on the second/receiving neuron and is picked up by the first/sending neuron for safekeeping until that cell receives another signal that it needs to pass along.

When your brain produces serotonin at its normal, expected rates, that scenario works beautifully. But when your brain is serotonin-poor, the signal doesn't always get sent on the first try from the sender to the recipient. And if the serotonin is subsequently picked up and sequenstered, then the message will never get sent. That's where the SSRIs come in. They stop the sender cell from grabbing onto the free serotonin (i.e., they inhibit reuptake of serotonin), keeping the serotonin you have already free and able to try to send the message again and again until it is finally heard. And because serotonin is partly responsible for, among other things, maintaining a positive mood, making sure that signal gets heard is particularly important in people suffering from mood disorders like depression.

And that, my friends, is today's lesson in science--and how NOT to communicate it. Thank you very much for your time and attention.

[The chirping of crickets is heard.]

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Pondering Fool

Dude. Did I mention I'm stoned? I'm totally stoned.

Now, when the psychiatrist gave me this prescription for Gnurontin (hee! try googling that, spammers!), he went on and on about how this is a great drug for anxiety, especially because it's totally non-addictive, and has almost zero really serious side effects, etc. And he also told me to expect it to take a week or so to really kick in. Which is why I was surprised, yesterday, when just a couple of hours after I took my first capsule, I could literally feel a warmth and relaxation move down my limbs. It was almost exactly how I remember feeling after the first few hits on a joint, as the pot started to work its magic. Um, I mean, it's almost exactly how I remember OTHER PEOPLE TELLING ME it felt. Because, you know, I was perfect. In fact, that's the nickname my aunt uses for me to this day: Perfect. (Yeah, sibling rivalry was a problem in our household. Why do you ask?) (Oh, and if it makes you feel any better, my sister's nickname? The Beauty Queen. And yes, to this day I cannot take a compliment on my looks seriously; my first instinct is to scoff and say, 'Yeah right. You should see my sister, though...")

Now that was one serious digression. But did I mention? Dude. I'm totally stoned.

Anyway, the way this drug worked so quickly on me, and so wonderfully, got me to thinking. Gnurontin is drug that's basically a synthesized version of the neurotransmitter GABA (which stands for gamma amino butyric acid, for those who care about such things). GABA's role in the brain is to inhibit certain neurons from firing, which is why Gnurontin is prescribed primarily as an anticonvulsant and a pain reliever for people suffering from neuropathies (i.e., inappropriate nerve firing resulting in pain despite there being no obvious injury to the area). But it is also prescribed for about a bazillion 'off-label' uses, including bipolar disorder, situational and clinical depression, and anxiety disorders.

OK. So. This stuff work on the brain. Which is good, because my brain needs working on. But why is it working so well, and so quickly, on mine? Is this some kind of signal that my issues--or at least my chemical/physiologically based issues--are due to not having enough GABA, rather than having too much of the usual suspect in mood disorders, serotonin? (SSRI, the mainstay of depression treatment today, stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. In other word, it's a drug that stops you from using the extra serotonin sloshing around in your brain.) [Edited to add: This is so not true. See tomorrow's entry to get the real, not-stoned explanation.]

Anyway, what I'm trying to say ever-so-circuitously, is that I wonder if the way one reacts immediately or in the early days to a drug, particularly a psychopharmaceutical, is a harbinger of things to come. When I started the Zloft, for instance, my first major side effect was major jitteriness and insomnia. We adjusted dosages, it passed, and I did well on it for over a year. But, ultimately, the Zloft seems to have actually sparked a return of my panic attacks, and so I had to stop taking it. FXor has been a remarkable drug for me in terms of side effects--i.e., I essentially have had none. If I didn't KNOW I was taking pills each day, I wouldn't know I was taking pills each day, if you know what I mean. And yet, I think that's the problem with FXor for me in a nutshell: While it's doing very little in terms of harming me, it's also doing very little in terms of helping me.

So does this exaggerated feeling of well-being that I've had for the past 24 hours plus mean that Gnurontin is going to be my drug? Is it really telling me that GABA is my problem, and replacing it with a synthetic substitute is going to make me all better? Is this the magic pill I've been waiting for and complaining about not getting? I suppose only time will tell. But in the meantime, I have just four words for you.

Dude. I'm totally stoned.

Friday, November 26, 2004

The Real Thanksgiving

You know, that last, lackluster entry didn't even come close to describing what an incredible day I had yesterday.

The first thing you have to know is that there's nothing I love more than cooking a large, traditional meal for a large number of people. Traditions touch something so deep within me, I can't even describe it. The best I can say is that they are, for me, the essence of what I would consider to be 'religion.' They are a way of connecting back to those who came before me, way back, all the way to the beginning. And they soothe me, satisfy me, in a way little else can.

And so yesterday, with a perfectly brined turkey in the oven, homemade to-die-for cranberry sauce in the fridge, asparagus sauteeing in garlic and lemon, and potatoes-to-be-mashed boiling in a large pot, I was "in my element," as Baroy put it to my beloved friend, G, when he commented on my rather brusque approach to asking for help. (Some call it ordering people around. I call it...ordering people around. But with a smile. And I always say thanks.)

Even better was knowing that some of the burden was being taken off of me by our "guests." I put that in quotation marks because everyone at the table that night played a major role in making the evening happen. So we were really all hosts, just congregating at my house.

Anyway, Tamar brought the aforementioned rosemary bread (which was both my breakfast and my lunch today) and a candied-yams-and-brandy dish that was perfection, and our former roommate and forever friends Glenn and Mark brought an incredible, improvised stuffing with bread and chestnuts and veggies, and it was magnificent both last night and tonight, when it served as a large part of my dinner again. And let's not forget my idiot savant of a husband, who makes the most incredible apple pies with pie crust that you could swear came from a bakery, but DOESN'T LIKE PIE AND CAN'T OTHERWISE COOK WORTH A DARN. It's bizarre, to say the least.

But as fabulous as the food was, it was the company that just had me glowing all night. Depression be damned. Anxiety be gone. I looked across my living room, where we'd moved our table for the feast and festivities, and saw all these interesting, wonderful people there. Tamar, Dan, and Damian. Mark and Glenn. My brother-in-law. Em, N, Baroy. Talking and laughing and eating. Giving thanks. It was one of those nights when you tell people that you love them, and you aren't embarrassed to do so. I just felt surrounded by warmth and acceptance and love. It was almost magical.

Truly magical--and down-right hysterical--was the after-dinner entertainment, courtesy of Damian, Em and N. A series of scenes--or, as Em called them, slides--in which our beribboned and costumed children presented themselves as royalty. Watching Damian, swallowed up by my big, cushy chair, regally order Em to "kneel" and "bring me some water," had both Tamar and me covering our mouths to stifle giggles. They were fabulous. There was much applause, and several curtain calls, sans curtains. We didn't pack it in until almost midnight, so enchanted were we by the kids and their games, and with our conversation, and with that feeling of cameraderie and introspection and acceptance that defined the evening for me.

This morning, I felt a sort of non-alcoholic hangover come over me. I felt let down. And so this afternoon I decided to start the Neuront*n that my psychiatrist prescribed on Tuesday to "take the edge off the anxiety and allow the FXor to do its work." And, um, well, maybe that is having a little bit of an effect on the effusiveness herein. Because, dude, I'm stoned. I know that this will wear off once the Neuront*n becomes a part of my routine and my body adapts to it, but man. I could feel a sort of relaxation actually travel down my limbs earlier. A warmth. I surrendered to it. I lit a fire in the fireplace, and settled down into my chair, and watched the flames flicker for I-don't-know-how-long. Now, however, it seems to be taking a U-turn; I seem to be taking a U-turn. It's not anxiety. But I'm a little bit hyper. Mellow, but hyper, if that makes sense. And hugging the memory of my Thanksgiving close to my chest.

Thanks and Theft

Henceforth, the obligatory (but heartfelt) post of thanks, with a format directly taken from Chiara. (Imitation=Flattery, and all that.) And so, I give you my thank-you notes.

To my husband and my children: You make it all possible, and worthwhile. I literally can't imagine my life without you.

To Cooking Light magazine: Oh, my. That brining recipe you gave me for my turkey? Pure brilliance. I thought I cooked a mean turkey before, but I was clearly deluded.

To Ambre, Debra and Susanna: To thank you for being there sounds trite, and somehow inadequate. Thank you for being you, and for being 'us.' (Nope, still too trite and inadequate. But at least I tried.)

To the psychopharmaceutical industry: Don't get me wrong; I still think you're way overused, and I do wonder about whether we as a society are simply trying to medicate ourselves--and especially our women--into submission. But on the other hand, you've saved me when I couldn't save myself, and for that I'm grateful.

To Tamar's rosemary bread: Oh, yummy, crusty, nutty, carby goodness. I'm in love.

To Tamar herself: And to think, a year ago, you were just a name on a blog. Thank you for being so much more. And for giving me the opportunity to say it in person yesterday. And for the hug. And for the bread.

To my brothers-in-law: I always wanted big brothers. Now I have three very unique ones, and I love you all, even if you're not reading this. (Please let you not be reading this.)

To my family: I love you and miss you.

To my publishers: Thanks for letting me write my book. (Yep, yet another shameless plug. I'd apologize for the transparency of it, but hey. I'm shameless. So no apology for you.)

To my colleagues at work, and especially to my boss: Thanks for making the unbearable bearable.

To the Internet: Thank you for bringing so many special people into my life. And thank you for not smiting me with some kind of karmic retribution for all those times, so long ago, that I laughed at my mom for her 'internet friends.' I'd be truly lost without mine.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

More Help for the Technologically Impaired?

I really want to put a picture of the cover and a link to my book in the sidebar--because, you know, if I can't find a way to shove it down your throats until you beg for mercy, who will? Y'all helped me out when I needed to figure out how to get my 100 Things and Bio posts permalinked (if that's even a word), so I'm hoping there's a kind soul who will give me step by step instructions on how to do this, too.

Too much for the comments? Email me at tinycoconut@sbcglobal.net.

The Gay Marriage Debate Hits Home

A conversation between N's 3.5-year-old best friend, WeeyumWise, and his mother, Joan, as reported to me by Joan:

WW: Mommy, I want you to sleep in my bed with me tonight.
J: I can't sweetheart. You sleep in your bed, and I sleep in my bed, with my husband.
WW: Who's your husband?
J: Daddy.
WW: Who's my husband?
J: You don't have a husband.
WW: Yes, I do. You're my husband.
J: No, I have a husband already: Daddy.
WW: Oh, I know who's my husband!
J: Who?
WW: NSamyooKookoo. [Apparently, Weeyum has taken to calling N by his whole name the way N calls him by his whole name.]
J: N's not your husband; he's your best friend.
WW: Oh, yeah. You're right. He is my best friend. [Pause.] And my husband.

So there you have it. Lobby against gay marriage, and you're lobbying against my son's right to marry his best friend. Now, it's REALLY personal.

[When Joan told me this story, she kept shaking her head at me and laughing. "It's all your fault, you know," she said at the end. "You're the one who's been predicting this since they first connected in the infant room. But, hey, it'll be great for us to be mespuchah. (Mespuchah is the undoubtedly misspelled Yiddish word for extended family.) We'll just all have to move to Massachusetts, is all. Or Canada."]

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Today's Shrink Appointment Summed Up In Six Words Or Less

No magic pill for me. Fuck.

Yet Another Conversation with Em, Presented Without Commercial Interruption

Em (7, and in second grade): We're learning a lot of stuff in school now about Thanksgiving and Pilgrims and stuff like that.

Me: Yeah?

Em: Yeah, today we were learning about what it was like to be a girl in those times. And guess what? Girls then had to serve all the meals to their parents FIRST! And then they had to STAND and WAIT until the parents finished eating, and then they could eat their dinner! Isn't that horrible?

Me: What exactly do you think happens in our house?

Em: What do you mean?

Me: Well, who gives you your food?

Em: You.

Me: And who has to wait until after you've been given your food to eat?

Em: You. BUT we don't make you STAND the whole time! After you give us our food you get to sit down!

Me: Except what do I complain about all the time?

Em: That the second you sit down we ask you for more of something?

Me: Yup. So what ends up happening most of the time?

Em: You stand while we eat?

Me: Uh-huh. (Pause) I think maybe it's time to have Pilgrim Week at our house.

Em: Noooooooooooo!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Sometimes Laryngitis Sucks

Heard in the bathroom: Gray, I have to go to the bathroom, but you can come in with me. Jenny comes with me all the time.

Heard inside my head: Uh-oh. I'm pretty sure my seven-year-old daughter shouldn't be inviting seen-year-old boys to watch her urinate.

Heard issuing from my open mouth: A couple of hoarse, squeaky, strangling noises.

Heard in the bathroom: Giggling, then flushing.

Damn. I'm going to have to have a talk with that girl later on...when I can actually talk.

Foot in Mouth Disease

I am a generally intelligent person. I am a generally sensitive person. I very rarely, if ever, say things to deliberate hurt someone else, and certainly not to their face. I'll go out of my way to avoid that, in fact. Remember, I'm Miss No-Confrontation.

But on an all-too-regular basis, out of my mouth will come a sentence of such heartbreaking stupidity and unintentional aggression that I wish I could spend the rest of my days hiding under a rock. One of my best friends in the entire world has two such stories that she takes out every now and again to torture me with. The first I deny with vehemence, because I truly don't remember saying it, but she swears I did. The other I remember quite well. We were going to a Mets game after work, she and I, and it was going to get cold. I had a sweatshirt jacket with me, but Ro didn't. So I suggested that, before we left for the game, we stop by my aunt's apartment, which just happened to be around the corner from my office, and borrow a sweatshirt for her. My exact words, I believe, were: "My aunt is obese, so you won't have any trouble finding one that fits you." Ro's exact reaction, I believe, was to stare at me in complete disbelief for a full moment, speechless.

I know! I know! You hate me now, too! It's OK; I'm right there with you. But, really, I swear, in my head it at first sounded perfectly fine. See, Ro is a tall (but not obese) woman; my family is very, very short. I knew she would be worried that anything one of us could give her would be too small on her, so all I was trying to say was that, despite being short, my aunt wears large sizes that would also fit a tall person. When it came out of my mouth, though. Oy. Amazingly, we're still friends today.

I have a good dozen other such stories, including one I think I've already told (but am too lazy to go find in my archives) about my 16th birthday party, where I unintentionally insulted my insane stepmother and she threw a plate at my head. Good times.

So, this weekend. Our old roommates, M and G (again, too lazy to look up the post I wrote ages and ages ago about them and how much I love them) knew I needed a 'grownup' night (or seventy), and suggested that I come to hear a play workshop with them, then stay over at their house for the night. (Baroy and the kids joined us on Sunday, and we decorated M and G's tree, because both of them have jobs that require them to work almost 24/7 between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But I digress.)

The workshop was a one-woman show being done by a friend of M and G's, who I also really like a lot, who has been living with them for the past two years while trying to get on her feet, financially. Recently, M and G, needing to have their space back, gave her a very specific move-out date, and I know that it's hard on her, emotionally, to have to leave, and I know that she doesn't really want to talk about it all that much, if at all. So why, then, did I decide to bring up that specific date about seventeen times over the course of the day we were together, completely unrelated to her moving out? Why did I decide to keep discussing the number of weeks between then and now (which is, coincidentally, the same amout of time until Baroy does his next marathon)? And how could I have possibly NOT REALIZED I WAS DOING IT until she had left to do errands and M and G started talking about how she kept turning whiter and whiter each time I'd said it? Sheesh. What an idiot.

And then, because clearly I hadn't pissed the poor girl off enough, I for some reason decided to get into a long conversation with M and G and this woman about both children's births, and about all the feelings that engenders, etc. And M and G (gay men) were telling me about their other friends' experiences, etc. And suddenly I look across the table at this woman, who is trying hard to hide a scowl but failing, and realize...that play last night? Half of it was about being 40 and single and childless and how painful that is for her. And that sort of pain, clearly, just cries out for me to describe the wonders of birth in moment-by-moment detail, right? Yeah, I didn't think so either. So I tried to make it better by telling some lame-ass story about how I told a coworker that she was better off not having children if she didn't really want them, because it's so hard on your marriage, etc...but even I realized how insultingly lame that sounded after what I'd just prattled on and on about, so I fell silent and wished for the earth to swallow me up. No such luck.

But if it makes her feel any better, there is a just god. Today, I am working from home. Why? Because I have laryngitis. If I wrote that in a novel, you'd sneer at how heavy-handed my use of irony is. But this isn't a novel, and frankly, I'm grateful. Who knows what would have come out of me today otherwise?

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Eternal Optimist

Hmmm. Lots of congratulations on my book, but apparently, NO BUYING. Come ON, boys and girls. My Amazon.com sales rank hasn't budged. Oh, I get it. You're all waiting for it to come out in the book stores so that you can ask for it by name and then create a sense of widespread interest in it, right? And also so that you can pay full price for it, so I get as much royalty bang for my buck as possible, right? I see what you're doing. You're smart. Very smart.

On to other matters, which I will cover in brief (ha! not likely) bullet format. To wit:
  • You can stop worrying about my mental health right now. I am going to cured--CURED, I tell you--by Thanksgiving. See, I have a psychiatrist appointment on Tuesday, during which I will sob quietly about the apparent likelihood that I will need to switch meds yet again because this one is doing bupkis for me, and he will take out of his pocket a magic pill that I will swallow, and upong swalowing, instantly become sane and happy and calm again. What? It could happen. And then, just in case the magic pill doesn't materialize, I have an initial appointment with a psychologist on Wednesday, to whom I will tell my tale of woe, and from whom will come a single sentence of such utter profundity that the scales will fall from my eyes, and I WILL BE SANE AGAIN. I'm sure of it.
  • Yesterday, I discovered the upside of high gas prices. An upside? you say. Yes, an upside. See, as part of my preparation for being totally and completely cured--CURED, I tell you--I have decided to only look at the bright side of things. And, yesterday, the bright side of the gas prices was made very clear to me when I went to Crate&Barrel, where I can normally not even afford to browse, and bought an insanely expensive roasting pan with a TURKEY LIFTER and an INJECTION BASTER and a BRAND NAME, i.e., Calphalon. Me! I bought an expensive cooking device! For myself! And it's all thanks to the higher gas prices, which led to more American Express Reward points, which led to a $50 Crate&Barrel gift certificate after redemption of said points, which led to the purchase of an insanely expensive roasting pan. And did I mention it has a turkey lifter? And an injection baster? And that it's made by a company I've heard of before? And that you don't throw it out after dinner is over? Yay for the gas prices! Raise 'em again, I say! Mama needs a new pair of saute pans!
  • Less than a week from now is my favorite holiday of the year, bar none. Food, glorious food. All my favorite dishes. Many of my favorite people. All gathered at my house. And best of all, no quasi-religious symbolism to get me all hot and bothered and petulant and whiny and annoyed and all those other things that are about to come fast and furiously--in fact, probably even before the last post-turkey dish is run through the dishwasher. But on Thanksgiving Day, that will not matter. Because there will be all that food. And those favorite people. And warmth and thanks and good cheer. And me, newly cured of all my psychological woes. CURED, I tell you. It's going to be great.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A Literary Birth Announcement

Yeah, yeah. Doom. Gloom. Depression. Anxiety. Dead animals. Sad children.

But all of that has been supplanted, my friends, because in my mailbox when I got home last night was this: Three copies of my book!

It's not in bookstores yet, I don't think. As you can see by that link, it's not due out for a couple more weeks. So, trust me, I'll be hawking it again. And again. And again and again and again.

Because, really. Nothing says Happy Thanksgiving, or Happy Chaunkah, or Merry Christmas like a book on bipolar disorder, don't you think? Well, I do.

And if you act now (or, for that matter, if you act later), you can receive a personalized, autographed bookplate from me, TC, except with my real and actual name on it! (Just email me at tinycoconut@sbcglobal.net with your name and address, and I'll send one out to you. No proof of purchase required. Hee!)

Two caveats: The cover was a done deal before I ever saw it, so any 'what were you thinking' comments should NOT be referred to me. (On the other hand, any 'what were THEY thinking' comments will be relished and nodded at in vigorous agreement.) And I did not get to proof the book after the author changes were put in, so the typos (I've already spotted two pretty egregious quotation-mark errors) are not my bad, either. On the other hand, if you hate the writing, well, that's all me.

God, I'm so excited about this; more than I thought I'd be, back nine, ten months ago when I was deep in the process of writing, and basically hating life. Now, I'm sitting here, holding the fruits of my labor, and they're awfully sweet. Also, for the record? This whole birthing thing is soooooo much easier when your baby comes off the printing press rather than through the slashed-open muscles of your abdomen. I'm just sayin'.

Monday, November 15, 2004

I'm Not Crazy

One of the downsides of being ever so brave and forthright and discussing psychiatric symptoms and medications and proclaiming yourself crazy on a regular basis is that people start to take you seriously. Which is generally a good thing. But then they start treating you like you're crazy. Which is not as good. And then you start worrying about whether they're treating you like you're crazy because you are, or because you're being misunderstood, and that's definitely bad. Because it makes you act all paranoid and stuff. Which is crazy. And so you start to doubt even your most sincere and sane thoughts and actions, because they spiral into a maelstrom of doubt and fear and confusion. After a while, insanity becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I've been noticing it a lot lately. I become angry and despondent over election results and their potential consequences and start talking about ways to become more involved and ways to make changes, and I'm questioned about the efficacy of my medication. Tamar becomes angry and despondent over election results and their political consequences and starts talking about leaving the country (sob), and people nod in agreement. And I start to wonder if maybe I am behaving a bit 'over-the-top' about things, even while I'm nodding in perfect agreement with Tamar's plans, and not doubting her sanity for a minute. Ultimately, though, I know I'm OK...or, rather, reasonably upset.

But it's even worse when I myself am unsure where 'reasonable response' ends and 'just a hopeless headcase' comes in. Take yesterday, for instance. Now, keep in mind that the pet death thing wasn't something we got to break to the kids, or ourselves. Em found the mangled head of one of the bunnies laying on the grass, and thought it was a squirrel our cat had killed before realizing that no, that wasn't a bushy black squirrel tail but, instead, Zaboo's ear. Baroy found Pumpkin's completely isolated upper jaw and nose under our liquid amber tree; only a tuft of fur was left, or else we'd have had to use dental records to identify him. We found a couple of feet in different corners of the yard, and enough fur to make a coat. This was truly one of the most gruesome things I've ever seen.

Add to that my sensitive 7-year-old daughter screaming "No, no, no, no!" over and over again, and my not-quite-as-aware almost-4-year-old son talking about how he was going to turn into Superman and fly to the 'farm' where Pumpkin and Zaboo were and bring them home again, and you have quite the pleasant little scene. Oh, and to top it all off? My fault that they were killed. We have an outdoor hutch for them, but every now and then I get lazy and forget to put them into it at night and lock the door to keep them safe. I have excuses--in this case, I was still sick, at other times it's been because they'd hidden in the extensive warren they'd dug under our yard and wouldn't come out--but ultimately, it's on me. Well, me and Baroy. Except he was not really the bunny fan, and I was the one who said I would take care of them. So it's on me.

So I really do think that I was permitted to slink upstairs last night--after consoling Em for the millionth time, taking both kids to a store to get a scrapbook to hold our pictures of Pumpkin and Zaboo, and begging off on a pre-planned dinner with friends we haven't seen in ages--and lay on the floor in my bedroom, zoning out on the computer. But then, Baroy came upstairs.

"Um, honey?" Baroy said.

"Yeah?" I said, in monotone.

"You do know that it really isn't our fault that the rabbits died, right?"

"Well, I know I didn't eat them myself, but yes, it's my fault."

He started talking to me in a tone very much like that he normally reserves for young children. "It was a coyote. It's not your fault. You did well by those rabbits. Better than most people would."

"I left them out overnight, and they got eaten. I don't see how that's not my fault."

He sighed and went back downstairs.

A little while later, after the kids had come upstairs and played around me for a while and then been put to bed, he came back again.


"Yes?" I answered, equally monotoned, but definitely more annoyed with the interruption.

He hesitated. "Can I ask why you've been up here with your computer all weekend?"

"Because I was sick!" I snapped. "And I've kept it up here the rest of the time because it's the only place I can possibly go to be a little bit away from everyone and not have the kids crawling all over me the entire time and you asking me questions and everybody getting in my face!"

Baroy put up both hands. "OK. Just asking." And he went back downstairs.

I was furious. What, I'm not allowed to need some time to myself? Somehow, being sad about the bunnies is a cause of concern? For crying out loud, it's not like I've never hidden in the...bedrooom......before.......

I've never done this before. In all the time we've been married, I've never hidden out in the bedroom with my computer for an entire weekend, not even for an entire evening. And I've certainly never done so with red, watery eyes and an attitude of sheer exhaustion and utter apathy. And if I'm honest, yeah, the bunnies' death bummed me out. It hurts me to think about it. But that happened Sunday morning. And the computer went upstairs with me Friday afternoon, and hasn't come down yet. Of course, there was the flu, but that doesn't explain Saturday, exactly.

Now that I think about it, my daughter has been brushing the hair away from my eyes an awful lot, and asking me if I'm 'feeling better.' My son has been crying for mommy a lot, and having to come upstairs to find me, because mommy just can't muster up the strength to go down to him. And like I said, my husband has been talking to me with 'that voice.' The one that makes me want to scream at him: I'm not crazy! There are things going on here. (Indeed, I could even say, I have things.) There are reasons for this. I'm not crazy. I'm just feeling sad. And allienated. And apathetic. And tired. And alone. And did I mention sad?

I'm not crazy. Am I?

Sunday, November 14, 2004

The Great Green Field

I am so beyond tired of writing animal obituaries. And so, today, after our still-fresh discovery of the remains of our beloved rabbits, Zaboo and Pumpkin, who were clearly victims of some Mafia-style carnivore plot, I give you my daughter, Em, 7 years old, and her vision of the perfect bunny afterlife:

The Great Green Field

The Great Green Field is a place in Heaven for rabbits and other animals, but not that kind that eat rabbits. It is a big, green place for animals to enjoy, with lots of plants, blue skies, and no clouds, and no rain. It has lots of plants like cilantro and lettuce and other things that rabbits eat. It has birds flying everywhere, flowers everywhere, of all sorts of colors, and every day there's a rainbow. And every day, God watches over them. The bunnies run around, and they do binkies a lot. They play with all their friends, and if their mom and dad are there, they find them. And be happy for the rest of their life. There are bugs flying everywhere; good bugs, like lady bugs and that sort of stuff. And no aphids. That's where I hope my bunnies will go. And I love them very much. And they know it.

The End

[After hearing Em's recitation of where she believes Zaboo and Pumpkin have gone, N is now insisting that they are not dead. "Emmy tode me. Dey live on a farm now." "You mean the Great Green Field, N?" "Yes, a farm. And dey happy."]

[I am so, so sad. I loved those bunnies. We were the wrong family for them, hence their being outside in the first place to become someone's dinner, but I loved them nonetheless. And I feel horrible that I left them to that fate.]

Dark Places

The viral storm has all but passed; what remains, however, is pain.

I've had this headache now for three days. I don't get migraines, so I'm not going to even pretend that this is the worst pain known to man or woman. It hurts, but it's not incapacitating. If I would just take a couple of pills, it would probably go away entirely.

But I won't. I'm sort of enjoying the pain. Or, rather, I'm not really enjoying it at all, but I'm reveling in it, luxuriating in it, because it makes physical the place my head has been lately, anyway. It gives me an excuse to snarl and snap at anyone who dares approach me. It allows me to retreat into dark, quiet corners of the house, because the light and noise make me physically wince and twitch. This is good, because they've been making me psychically wince and twitch for what feels like ages now, but nobody buys that as an excuse for hiding away. This? This works in just four words: I have a headache.

Friday and yesterday I was able to get away with not medicating the pain away, because the nausea was too severe; I would never have been able to keep down a stomach-irritant like Advil. But today, I fear, I'm going to have to give in and behave like the responsible adult parent that I am and let the pain slip away from me. Sadly, it's unlikely to take the other pain, the real cause of the wincing and twitching and seeking solace in dark places, with it. Right now, nothing seems to be able to touch that.

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Post In Which I Bore Everyone to Tears

Tuesday morning, Baroy came back upstairs after going down to get N dressed for school. "Um, apparently, N threw up in his sleep last night."

(N, for the record, has this extraordinary 'talent'--if that's what you want to call it--for barfing while he sleeps and never making a sound, never waking up, just sleeping in it. It is the ultimate of gross. I keep thinking that one night he's going to choke on it, which is why I still use the baby monitor in his room, even though he's nearing four years of age.)

I went downstairs. He seemed bright eyed and cheery, but he was laying on the couch, and didn't seem to have much energy. Besides, I'm not going to send a kid to daycare when he threw up hours earlier. That's just mean to all the other moms. So we kept him home with Baroy. That night, he had an attack of diarrhea, so we kept him home on Wednesday, too. By Thursday, he was well enough to go to school. Baroy took him, and came home looking ashen.

"I think I have whatever N had," he said, before laying down on the couch for the remainder of the day in a near coma.

The good news was that it seemed to pass fairly quickly; by the end of the night, it seemed to have run its course.

Which of course meant that at 3 this morning, Em appeared beside my bed. "Mommy, I just threw up all over my bed."

I tucked her into my bed next to Baroy, went downstairs and cleaned up her room, and went to sleep on the couch for a couple of hours. Called her school to record her absence before I left for work. By noon, I knew I was done for the day, excused myself to my boss, and drove home as quickly as I could, because I was pretty certain I was going to pass out within seconds. Em had just finished vomiting for what seems to have been the last time.

Welcome to the House of Fun.

So now, here I am, laptop plugged in, cat curled up on my feet, kids running up and down the stairs to see me. My head is throbbing, I'm queasy as all hell, and all I can think is, "Please let this be the end of it."

There are some up sides, however. N came up to me a few minutes ago, saw me lying here looking pathetic, and said, "I rub you belly so you feel better, OK?" And he did, while Em stroked my head and kissed it several times, like the way-too-maternal creature she is. And I did feel better, if only in my heart.

Wow. Aren't you guys lucky today! Puke AND cloyingly cute kid stories all in one post! No need to thank me, really...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The Holocaust, Child Abuse, and Candyland

This parenting thing is a seat-of-your-pants kind of endeavor. But the choices we make are not only about instinct, I think, but also about personality. Me, I don't like to lie, and I don't like to pull punches. So when my kids ask me questions, they get answers. Sometimes, they get lectures on topics that many other parents would think are way too advanced for them. And sometimes, they tell me when they need me to back off.

Last night was chock full of such moments. It started with Em (7 years old) telling me that they'd been talking about Christopher Columbus in second grade, and did I know he wasn't always a very nice person, and that he and the people with him killed and hurt Native Americans, and also that they got them sick by bringing diseases over, etc. The conversation took some twists and turns in which we talked about the kids in her class who are part Native American, Em asked if she had any Native American ancestors, and I told her that no, but she had ancestors from countries like Germany, Poland, Ruusia, etc. She was clearly disappointed that she had no personal claim to the tragedy and disenfranchisement of the Native Americans: "I mean, it's interesting, but nothing bad every happened to them, right?"

Au contraire, young girl, I replied. (Except not so pompously.) And I told her that her Grandpa, my father, had actually been born in Germany, and had to leave because there were people there who weren't very nice, either.

"Why weren't they nice?" she asked.

"They didn't like Jewish people," I answered.

"What did they do that was mean?"

"Someday I'll tell you all about it, but right now it's kind of too adult for me to get into with you," I said.

"Well, did they kill people?" she persisted.

"Actually, yes. Yes, they did."

Silence for a second, then: "You're right Mommy. That's too adult for me. I don't want to hear any more."

Round two started a bit later, when she was telling me all about her latest social woes with a new friend, C, who is being awfully possessive and, although smart as a whip, seems to have a bit of a hairtrigger temper. I was commiserating with her and trying to brainstorm solutions with her when she said something about "like the time she pushed me down last week and I got that bad scratch on my elbow."

"Hold on," I said. "You told me that you fell down."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot," Em said, suddenly looking ashamed. "I didn't want C to get in trouble."

Something in me snapped a little, then, and I started talking to Em--lecturing, to be honest--about how important it is not to let people hurt your body, or even your emotions, without saying something about it. I wasn't sure she was getting what I was saying, and how important it was. Finally, I heard myself tell her to look me straight in the eyes, and I said, "You know, Em, there are some really bad people in the world who will not only do bad things to a kid like you, but who will then threaten to hurt or even kill you or your parents or someone else you live if you tell. I'm telling you right now: Do Not Believe that kind of person. ALWAYS tell someone when you're being hurt. And don't try and protect someone just because they're your friend, or because they say they love you. You have to learn that. NOW."

Yeah, I know. I was smart enough to know that the Holocaust would be too much for her to understand, but I lay the concept of abuse and emotional blackmail on her without a second thought. I'm an idiot.

And if I didn't know it as the words were coming out of my mouth, I did know it a minute or so later, when Em burst into tears. "I don't want anyone to ever hurt you or daddy," she wailed.

"That's my point," I said. "They won't. They will just want you to think they would, so you won't tell on them. And you shouldn't believe them."

But by this point, the damage was done, and she continued to cry for a while. I held her with one hand, a sick N (who'd been home all day vomiting) in the other, and tried to kick myself in the butt for being such an ass.

Finally, after all the crying and the deep thoughts and discussions had died down, N asked if we could go in the family room and play Candyland. And so we did. Em was still pretty somber, but halfway through our second game (N kicked our butts in the first round!), we were giggling about something or other, and Em looked over at me and said, "You know, sometimes, there's nothing like a good game of Candyland to cheer you right up."

That, my friends, is one powerful board game.

Monday, November 08, 2004


There came a time, during my tenure at AMajorScience Magazine, that I was offered a major promotion--a jump from associate editor to senior editor. It came with a significant salary increase of nearly half again what I had been making at that time. And it came with a relocation package to Los Angeles, putting a full country's worth of distance between myself and the recent end of a seven-year relationship. For those reasons, I took the job. I would have been stupid to have turned it down.

But that doesn't mean I didn't have hesitations. There was one con to the new job: It meant I would no longer be writing for the magazine; instead, I would be editing and cementing relationships with authors, and coming up with story ideas that others would carry out. Now, I've never been one of those people for whom the actual process of writing feels like a do-or-die proposition. Indeed, I'm a "love to have written" kind of gal, especially when it comes to journalism. And as for others taking my ideas and running with them? Not a problem. I have a phone phobia that made my years as a fact-checker and reporter a living hell for me. But what I did have a problem with--and I think I probably ought to be embarrassed to admit this--was no longer having a byline, and therefore no longer having people "recognize" me.

Aw, hell. Fuck "ought to be embarrassed." I loved seeing my name in print. And more than that, I adored seeing my name in print in other peoples' hands. I remember riding the subway into Manhattan from Brooklyn one morning, and being crushed up against the knees of a man who was holding AMajorScience Magazine. He started flipping though it, and then stopped at a page I recognized as something I'd written. Without thinking, I stabbed my finger toward my byline. "See that?" I said to the man who was suddenly glaring up at me (because, of course, even though I was almost sitting on his lap, the New York code of behavior did not allow for us to actually make personal contact with one another). "That's me. I wrote that." He rolled his eyes and went back to reading. But a minute or two later he looked back up. "Nice piece," he said, as he stood to ram his way through the crowd to the exit door. I couldn't have been more pleased if he'd asked me for an autograph.

I have similar stories of legions of my relatives accosting poor, innocent magazine-carrying citizens in a variety of situations. And let's just say that the day on the subway was neither my first nor my last attempt to coerce strangers to compliment me. I swear that half the reason I managed to finish my bipolar book (coming out very, very, very soon! like in two-to-three-weeks soon!) is that I knew that I'd once again be able to see my name in, if not lights, at least a bookish typeface.

Which brings me to the point that few, if any, of you will have made it this far to hear. I've recently been wondering why I have this blog. After all, I'm a woman whose life lo these past few years has been all about trying to escape the attention of a certain serious psychopath. Starting a blog? Not necessarily the best way to do that. But, hey. Nobody but my closest friends was going to read it, anyway.

And then I was led to Blog Explosion. And signed up for it. And now I take active steps on a daily basis to make sure plenty of people read this blog, despite the potential/perceived/paranoid dangers.

People in my office have stumbled onto this blog, providing possible complicating conditions there. People in my family have done likewise. The things I've said here have even affected at least one important friendship. And still, I write.

Why? Because even though it's not 'my name' per se, this blog is me. And each time one of you drops me a note, or leaves me a comment, or rates me, or blogmarks me, I get a little bit of that same old ego rush. Knowing that there are people all over the country, and even across the globe, who read my words is immensely satisfying. It comes a long way towards satisfying that old burning desire to accost an innocent man or woman and say, "I wrote that. In some way, in some small but significant way, you know me. Recognize that. Recognize me." It goes a long way towards giving my ego that boost it's been looking for. And, apparently, ego boosting is, for me at least, a near necessity--one worth putting my job, my friendships and my sanity on the line for.

That ego is one demanding son-of-a-bitch. But right now, it's feeling pretty satisfied.

Sunday, November 07, 2004


Whoops. Didn't mean to keep anyone waiting. Baroy finished the race...still standing, no less. He did think it particularly unfair that after running 26.2 miles, he then had to walk another mile from the finish line to the family meeting area, where his brother, sil and our two nieces were waiting for him. It made me laugh at the time, but in hindsight, that does seem somewhat sadistic.

When he called me on his cell phone after he'd crossed the finish line, I asked him about his desire to do this again in March, at the LA Marathon; that was his original plan. He snapped something to the effect that maybe I should wait more than fifteen minutes after he completed his first marathon to ask about the next one. It reminded me of the way people always ask a mother whose just given birth mere hours earlier if she wants another baby. Let the oxytocin do its magic first, people, and then ask.

When I spoke to him this evening, however, he was already sounding better, and talking about how it was actually a rather emotional experience. But it was when he started detailing the things he's going to do differently 'next time' that I knew he was going to be just fine.


According to the notification service the New York Marathon uses, Baroy is at the halfway mark. Except they have him running much slower than he claims he is (he called his brother a little while ago, to let him know that he's near their apartment; they're going to go down and try and get a photo of him as he passes by...). I bet they start timing them long before they actually get to start running, conidering how many people are in that huge pack of the unwashed masses, unlike the elite runners.

So, he's still alive. That's good. Go Baroy!

Friday, November 05, 2004

You Know You're Too Invested In Your Blog When...

...you find yourself debating aloud with an anonymous commenter who calls himself John Kerry as you drive home from work. Ridiculous. Especially since he clearly wasn't in the car with me, so I was arguing with myself. (Of course, it wasn't all in vain. Rob said I'd redefined the words righteous indignation and made them my bitch. That alone was worth it all.)

Freedom of speech is way too precious--and, at times, costly--a right to be taken lightly. And right now, I'm simply too tired and sad and beaten down and angry to use it with the proper sense of awareness and respect. So, instead of speaking, I think I'm just going to talk for a while. Much safer.

So, this morning, Baroy left to fly to NYC and run in the NY Marathon. I'm simultaneously impressed and appalled that he not only decided to do this, but followed through and trained like a madman. Before he left, he sent out a note to a bunch of his friends:

As some of you might know, and some of you might not, I'm about to embark on a little adventure. Having recently turned 49 and now into my 50th year, I, in some lunatic moment, have decided to challenge myself by running in the New York Marathon on Sunday the 7th. My beautiful wife has declared this as my mid-life crisis (which it very possibly could be if I actually live to be 100). She doesn't seem to care, though, considering it's not a mistress or a Ferrari. Some say I'm trying to run away from turning 50 in a year, but I don't think it's that either considering I'm bound to look and walk like I'm 80 when I'm done. But for what ever reason I'm actually doing this, I've trained for 4 months, I'm on my way to N.Y., and I guess the real reason is - because it's there. Any way, this upcoming Sunday, keep a good thought for me as I attempt this.

Oh, and if you should see any of the Marathon on TV, I can pretty much guarantee you won't see the very tall, thin, 22 year-old Kenyan and the short, middle-aged Jew duking it out for the lead. I should be somewhere in the, well, short, middle-aged Jew section of the race.
So, like the man said, keep a good thought. Good thoughts are always, um, good, but especially right now.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

This Is Not a Political Blog

I was planning on coming here today and just moving on, letting the rancor go for a while, at least in my written world, and talking about the more mundane, though equally important, matters in my life. (Baroy. Running the NY Marathon on Sunday! Gotta love those midlife crises.)

But first, I need to say just one thing to Monsieur Kerry (nice touch there, by the way), whose comments have been niggling at me all night. Here's part of what he had to say...

What I continually find strange in reading these many "liberal" blogs I stumble across in my blogexplosion trips is that they are bewildered by the concept of morals having importance to people (at least when and where it conflicts with their own views), and instead only seems to view the concept of anyone having a faith, or using that to define their personal moral compass (and especially their position on any issue) as somehow threatening or distasteful.
What is ridiculous is that it suggests is that only those without a faith, or moral viewpoint, can accurately draw a conclusion or have a "legitimate" position about anything.

I must (No, really. MUST.) respectfully disagree. I am not at all bewildered by the concept of morals as having importance to people. What I AM bewildered by is the idea that the only people who have faith or moral viewpoints are those who accept Jesus Christ as their savior, or who follow every edict from the Vatican.

I have a faith. It's just not yours. I have a very, very strong moral compass. It tells me that when the country is headed in the direction of discriminating against people based on their definition of faith, or their gender, or their sexuality, or the color of their skin, or their country of origin, or whatever ridiculous division-for-the-purpose-of-discrimination is in vogue right now...well, then that country is headed in the wrong direction.

You "conservatives" do not have the corner on morality and faith. I would, in fact, suggest that people who find it necessary to shove their choices down other peoples' throats are seriously in danger of being neither moral nor faithful.

Liberals are about choice. Personal choice. You think abortion is evil? You go for it, boy. Don't have one. Convince women with your point of view not to have one. That is, in fact, your CHOICE. I'd be right there with you, on the front lines, trying to educate women as to their other choices, things they could do instead of abortion. But I would also be out there until the last minute fighting to keep it a choice. A moral choice. A choice of faith. One that each woman in this country has a right to make for herself.

You think gay marriage is wrong? Fabulous. Don't marry a gay man. Don't attend your daughter's lesbian ceremony. But don't you dare tell me how I am to feel about it. Don't you dare tell me who I am or am not allowed to marry. That's not faith or morality. That's coercion.

I am a very moral person. I have very strong points of view based on my faith--both my religious faith and my faith in humanity. How dare you suggest otherwise. How dare you and your friends claim moral superiority over me while trying to codify my thoughts and my behaviors. How dare you.

But don't listen to me. I'm just a liberal Jew girl. I don't count. Listen, instead, to him. Maybe he'll get through to you.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Lessons in Democracy

I have decided that the number one thing I resent about this election and its results is the fact that everyone seems to buy this concept that the voters' main concern was moral values. The media, the pundits, everyone I talk to keeps saying that the electorate wasn't concerned with who was smarter or who was more presidential; all they cared about the candidates' moral values. And not a single one of them says it with sarcasm. Which leads me to ask (OK, scream with tears running down my cheeks, but let's not get technical here): What the fuck do people define as morals? Lying to an entire country in order to forward your own militaristic agenda? Singling out individual classes of people for persecution? Trying to impose your religious viewpoints on an entire nation, and into its laws and constitution?

George Bush is not a moral man. He is a man who believes that Jesus has chosen him to lie, kill and persecute on his behalf. That's not moral; that's evangelical. (I'd even posit that it's evil. But I'll leave it at evangelical.)

If the people had voted based on moral values, John Kerry would be president today, by a landslide. They voted based on personal prejudices. They voted based on what was best for them, and damn those gays and those Muslims and those people who aren't smart enough to be rich. They're not me, so I don't care, they said. That's why Kerry lost.

If they were looking at real moral values, they wouldn't have even considered a man who has so little regard for people who do not worship like him or live like him or look like him or agree with him. If they were looking at real moral values, they wouldn't have even considered a man so full of gradiosity and hubris that he is willing to destroy entire countries and long-held international relationships in an attempt to try to prove himself right, to not ever have to say "I made a mistake." If they were looking at real moral values, they wouldn't have even considered a man who not only doesn't love his fellow man, but wants to amend our national constitution to exclude some significant portion of them from being equal based on who they love.

He is our president; I accept that. This is democracy, and the people have spoken. I accept some other things as well. For instance, I accept that my right to choose is all but gone. I accept that my civil liberties are going to disappear at an alarming rate, and even faster were I to have the misfortune of being Muslim. I fear that my right to type these words will disappear as well; if the man could put together a campaign culture in which arresting people for the t-shirts they wear was commonplace, and swear loyalty oaths taken as a normal thing to do, then how much longer will he be willing to be criticized in public? Surely, only a terrorist would do such a thing...

I fear that my right to live in this country as a non-Christian is coming to an end; or, more fairly, that my right to live in this country as a non-Christian and not be forced to accept Christianity asour national identity is coming to an end. I fear what comes next. I fear for my children. I fear. I fear very much. And I hate, despite how much I hate hatred. I hate right now. I need to get past it, but this hatred is like an enormous boulder in my path, and I'm too tired to start climbing. So I'll walk around it, I guess. It will take me a while, but I figure that eventually I'll get to the other side.

Walking home from school today:

Em, age 7: I'm sorry about John Kerry, Mom.
Me: Yeah. Me, too.
Em: But why did he say that he lost when they haven't finished counting the votes?
Me: Because there really is no way for him to win, even if all the rest of the votes are for him. So he was being a good sport, just like I tell you to be, and he was congratulating the winner as soon as he was sure he had lost.
Em: So what does this mean?
Me: It means George Bush is president again.
Em: No, I know that. I mean, so does this mean that we're going to have a bad president for four more years?
Me: Well, as far as I'm concerned, yes. Of course, at least half the country doesn't feel the way I do.
Em: So what does it mean? What do we do about it?
Me: Well, I guess, we have to figure out ways to make our world a better place to live in, since we can't trust our president to do it for us.

So now, I guess, all I have to do is figure out how to practice what I preach. And I promise I will...just as soon as I get past this whole sobbing-combined-with-blind-rage phase.

See you on the other side.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

A Bit of BlogExplosion Brilliance

I am beyond angry about almost every single thing I'm seeing on the television right now. I am beyond disgusted. I am way beyond sad. I don't know what to do with all this hatred. I don't know what to say. So I'm not even going to try. I'm not sure when I'll be able to find my voice again, to be honest. I'm not sure when I'll start feeling like having my voice counts, or matters, again.

But on at least one of my most closely held beliefs, there is someone who hasn't yet lost her voice. Marie knows what to say about the gay marriage ballot issues. She said this. She is my new Best Friend I Never Even Knew Existed Until 30 Seconds Ago. And if you voted to pre-emptively discriminate against other human beings, you most certainly are not.

High Anxiety

"Oh, shit," I thought last night, driving home, as I became aware of the antsy, hard-to-breathe, mind's-starting-to-race feeling spreading over me. "I've only been on the increased dose of FXor for four or five days. Don't tell me it's going to make me anxious too. What's next if I fail on this drug too? How many times can I start from scratch?"

"Oh, shit," I thought this morning, driving to work, as I noticed that the antsy, hard-to-breathe, mind's-a'racin' feeling was firmly entrenched. "Should I call Dr. Oui? Do I even have the strength for this shit?"

Five minutes ago, I took my first Xnx in months.

Two minutes ago, I hit my head in a class 'doh!' moment.

It's election day. An election in which I am so invested, and the results of which I am so scared, that it should only be surprising that I was able to get myself out of bed this morning. Not to be anxious? Me? About this?

The Xnx was a good choice. Better still will be if sanity and humanity prevail today. Otherwise, I'm not sure there's enough medication in the world to get me through the next four years--and their repercussions. There's not enough medication in the world to keep the ugliness, hatred and discrimination of the World According to Bush at bay. I'm scared. I'm really, really scared. Please let it be over soon. Please let it be really and truly OVER.

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