Thank you for your compassion

No thanks to me (my brother is a physicians assistant) we now have a visiting nurse, Home Health Aid, an Occupational Therapist, a Physical Therapist, and soon, a social worker. At least he's clean and exercised. I want to thank everyone for their forbearance and kindness; I don't like dumping bad news on my friends, but you all did yeoman's work under the circumstances.

I love you all very much.

Disaster Diaries:

My dad fell again. Which is not unusual, except he'd soiled himself in the process. He says he can't stand and when he falls he can rarely drag himself back up on his wheelchair or wherever he's fallen from, so cleanup is a major operation.

Then my mother fell, in the bathroom, in the middle of shuttling feces-covered towels from linen closet to the washing machine, and it occurred to me then: I am all alone in this, I am surrounded by people who are, at best, no longer able-bodied. If something happens, it's just as probable that it'll happen to both of my parents (and I'm terrified to consider what something would be), and I'm Johnnie-on-the-spot.

This has been the situation for years now, since I moved in, but it's become alive to me tonight. I am spending the latter part of my middle age taking care of my parents (mostly because they were never able to save for retirement) and I'm doing this circus act without a net.

Got two pleasant lesbian EMTs over to at least help me get my mom on her feet and my dad, well, stable. He refused to be carried to the shower to clean off, even though his buttocks were streaked with shit. They still are; this is an issue that I can't help out with without his minimal cooperation, and he demands to be left alone. My mother later told me that he's "half-way to Alzheimers". This is only the beginning.

I used to have friends, watch movies, attend the theater, hang at music clubs. I had at least hope of love. I had a career. Gone, all gone.

I have to get out of here. I don't know how but I do. This is killing me.

Disaster Diaries: A Non-Informative Update

I think it's over.

I've come to find that science is less like accounting and more like film: you need more luck, juice, connections, and track record than I am every going to amass. It might be that I'll have to give up on this and concentrate on something in the order of middle-management at Target. This tears a huge hunk out of my heart.

I have pretty much stopped looking for even a steady boyfriend at this point. I think time has run out on that.

I'd be happy to move out of Freehold to a place of my own but that isn't going to happen for, it appears, years. This depends on a job that allows me to pay for the car and some credit debt AND rent and that might involve section 8 housing. In any case, my parents are far enough along that they won't be around for so much longer; I might be able to buy the house from them at a reasonable price.

The reason you haven't heard from me, folks, is that most of my days are like this now; I grieve and struggle and I'm afraid for the future. The present is, aside from a tutoring job in the evenings (more of a hobby with a stipend), spent looking for a job and reading political blogs. I have nothing useful or interesting or even worthwhile saying.

Please be patient with me. This particular rough patch appears to be going longer than I anticipated. I'm hoping against hope that there will be a time when my life is back to normal. Until then, as they say in these circles, reports will be sporadic.


Only Connect: Mournful September, Packed with Civil Holidays

      On Labor Day I should've put a red carnation in my lapel and posted the lyrics to the Internationale; but I have to tell you that, as beautiful as the song is, there are dicey moments (especially when Alistair Hulett exhorts the soldiers to frag their commanding officers than continue to be the tools of The Oppressor ); I did wear a red shirt and read some union-politics on line (check alicublog for a better treatment than I could've produced), but my heart wasn't completely in it, not laboring at anything at the moment; and, face it, its stirring for the first two verses but its a song that doesn't cry out to be exhausted of every note. But I did not let the moment pass without meditation.

      I observed The Day Of Unspeakable Criminal Action Against Manhattan, the Pentagon, and But For The Brave Actions of Hero-Passengers-and-Flight-Attendants Might Have Been The Capitol Building But Was Instead Rural Pennsylvania by limiting my intake of media, NOT telling war stories of an event I was miles away from, and treating this part of our history the way I usually do the rest of history (VE day, VJ day, Armistice Day, Pearl Harbor Day, the explosion at the Murrah Building, the deaths in Bataan of force-marched soldiers, the deaths in Dresden and Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the sinking of the Cole, the sinking of the Sheffield, the battle of the Somme, the battle at Gettysburg, Sherman's March, the battle of Trenton . . .): I buy the paper poppy for my car steering wheel, pause a silent moment, and then move on.

     But, as my Gardnerian fans know (and you know who you are), I believe there is an observance that pushes very few buttons, and, if pushed, ought to induce the correct discomfort in the correct people. I don't know exactly when women were given the right to vote, but I'm gonna sing about it today. Its a pretty song, you'll like it, even if you can't dance to it (politcal music was like that then):

Bread and Roses

As we go marching, marching
In the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens,
A thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched by all the radiance
That a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing:
"Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!"

As we go marching, marching,
We battle too, for men,
For they are women's children,
And we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated
From birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies:
Give us bread, but give us roses!

As we go marching, marching,
Unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing,
Their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty
Their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for,
But we fight for roses too!

As we go marching, marching,
We bring the greater days.
For the rising of the women
Means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idleness
That toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories:
Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!

Our lives shall not be sweated
From birth until life closes,
Hearts starve as well as bodies;
Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!

Disaster Diaries: Man, like the gen'rous vine supported lives

esc-x-text-mode, ok, right, now just remember to wrap a the end of

     My father just fell. Just walked in from the drive up to Montville, shuck my jeans and fall into my moist warm bed and there's this double whump! in the next room and I poke my head out and he's fallen and, say it with me, can't get up.

     He's going "Uh, maybe you can help me up, my damn legs, I just need . . .." and I'm hauling up on his arm and the full weight of him falls against me, first time thats happened and he feels like a living human being should intuitively feel, immovable, stuck to the bathroom tile, heavy as the stuff they use to shield nuclear reactors. And I catch myself and the top of his head in the mirror and in my head its OK I either call the police or I do something useful and I pull him up, five minutes of sisyfusarbeit and I reach out and pull the walker in he's got it, he's mobile and crabs slowly to his bed and rolls heavy as cadmium, heavy as thorium, heavy as if he were made of heavy, not normal water and I turn out the light. I'm shaking like a leaf, I'm finally outside my head and its terrifying, but its OK -- I was beginning to like it in there, better to get out.

     Do you know what I said to my therapist today? I said, in the middle of misdirective chitchat (its a BAD THING when Martin Buber comes up in the first ten minutes) I said "I hope he forgets everything, I hope he forgets my name, I hope he forgets Roger's name, his wife's name, everything past nineteen fifty three, I hope EVERYTHING'S GONE BECAUSE HE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO COPE WITH THE MASS OF FAILURE PULLING HIM DOWN!!!" And I looked away before I could see the shock in his face and I said, psudo-pious little scrap of garbage I am, "It would be a mitzvah".

     It's late. I'm going to bed with a book. Time enough to wear the hair shirt tomorrow.

luminous-room:~ $

(no subject)

      I address this to the Judeo-Christian-Islamic portion of my readership (if your still reading) Those of other persuasions are more than welcome and may muscle into the conversation at any time.

      In just about every painting or illuminated page I’ve seen (this includes Islamic texts and Jewish text, who are not permitted to fix G-d in an image but do, on occasion, depict G-d’s secret agents; See Graham, Billy, 2000 – Islamic angels, as I recall, had magnificent wings, barred brown and black like a hunting falcon. In every depiction I’ve seen (this includes the angels in Dogma) or heard (“City of Angels” although most angelic beings had Wim-Wenders wet-weather gear on, 10,000 Maniacs), the wings are just tacked onto the shoulder blades like some kind of afterthought – you were building a 1:10 model of a ’66 Corvette and you decided to raid your de Havilland Venom FB4 model to stick on just behind the doors and stick the landing gear straight onto the Chevy chassis . . like that. Is it only me or is there something not quite right about that?

      I put my finger on it when I remembered an article in Galaxy (ages and ages ago, at the Freehold Public Library) on hexapodal (six-legged) mythical creatures: centaurs (kinda like truncated caterpillars, all limbs pointing down or forward), Pegasus, or pegasi if there were vast herds of them in Paradise [more like a blowfly – the wings occur in the middle of the thorax), that sort of thing. And since I have a lot of time to think of these things currently, it occurs to me that angels, for those who believe in angels, are created creatures (as is humanity itself) with – gimme a sec – yeah, six limbs. Like a blowfly.

     Now, let me continue while I have the caffeine behind me and pushing and the place where I currently live (Freehold, NJ) is still faintly buoyed by the influence of Monmouth County’s Favorite Son . . . because I seem to remember that he, too, stuck wings on the shoulder blades of his angel-characters (and richly caparisoned in armor, as if to battle they must, even though if what they plan goes off there’s nary a shot necessary); one of them gets his wings shot off ina long enfilade of automatic gunfire, revealing two pink chicken-wing-stubs (on the back of the Hooters Hot Wings Atomic Dredge Flour, the two edible parts of the wings are the “drumettes” [place your hand on the opposite upper arm] and the “flappers” [place your hand about two inches above your wrist of the other arm – remember this anatomy). As I recall, this allowed the more ambitious of the angels (I’m hysterically suppressing the character’s name, or the actor’s) to then carry out his nefarious plan, since G-d, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, omni-benevolent(here defined as The Four Big O’s) is trapped inside a man in a vegetative state (we look back with Terri Schiavo eyes but the film only had Sunny von Bulow to go by). I'll deal with the constraints of the Four O’s later, but to the angels . . . .

      There’s something wrong. Really, this isjust perseveration brought on by the Concerta and the coffee, but . . . OK, I’m just gonna come out with it. We’ve (and I include myself, since I grew up with two more or less practicing Jews) all got it wrong. Except Wim Wenders, in the movie he stunt-cast Colombo in. But basically wrong.

      There is no musculature to flap those wings >There may not be room for muscular attachment if the wings were intended to flap, anyway. These angels are hexapods, like insects with vertebrate (nay, verily, primate) bodies. And I, an atheist (not the fun kind) say, rubbing the sand from my eyes, “What gives?!?!?”

      Now I’m positive there are explanations for this — the Major Western Faiths, schismatic as they are (present company included), must believe that the wingsare an allegorical analogy to the flight of birds and thus, like halation that looks like a little ring of neon tube floating in the air, a stupid thing to contemplate: “Look, snowball, that artwork on museum walls, those angels in the architecture, are allegorical figures that semiotically point to the operation of G-d’s grace in the world, so why don’t you run along and find a nice synagogue before I call the police and have your butt hauled out of St. Rose of Lima and into a psychiatric ward at CentraState?”

     OK, I’ll concede that point. Except . . . except I have it on some authority that angels are a kind of bird, because heaven is above us just over the Crystal Sphere of the Fixed Stars, as an allegorical device to indicate the quickness and effortlessness of both grace and wroth, swift as starlings, terrible as condors. And angels are a kind of linear combination of birds and humans, and angels and humans both created in the Image and Likeness of the Lord (men out of red clay, a shade of red called, in Hebrew, adom, and woman out of a kind of emergency C-section from Adam’s torso). If G-d was constrained by evolution to populate the Earth (and I so stipulate, sue me), we are left with two options: (1) the wings are there as 3-dimensional allegorical allusions and angels fly like Superman or Peter Max figures, or (2) we’ve all gotten the wings wrong.

     Let me take up an argument for Option 2: remember the Hooters anatomy I mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago?  Same with birds, practically all vertebrates but we're talking about something strange and legitimately terriffying here. Extend your arm, either one: imagine it extending out to the size of, say, an English Electric Canberra PR9 with the new long-span wing. Now imagine your body has grown as big as a 1950-aerial-theatre reconnaissance airplane, but instead of Avon 208 turbojets supplying 5103kg (11250 lb) static thrust, you are fledged with steel-grey hawks feathers (or dove’s feathers marked in Alice white); imagine further that you are now on the order of 20 meters tall, hight almost as long as your wingspan at full extension. You stand, you fold your wings before you like the robes of office that they are, your mouth is a flattened beak with teeth behind it, your eyes are carnivore forward, but your face is essentially a human face, with that aghast expression they all have in the Book of Kells . . . your humerus (“drumette”, and I remember that trip to Hooters, healthy young women in sports bras and gym shorts, you’d expect them to jog out of the restaurant at any minute for a fast game of jai-alai) bearing the brunt of flight load and elongated for extended periods of glide or to catch risers off of the Garden State Parkway, your hands and fingers attenuated to ailerons and elevons and articulated to make fine trim adjustments . . . .

      There. Four limbs. That oughta do it. Now why, when I try to rewrite Dogma in my head, does it still come out looking like Angels in America?

Always Connect #14

     There is a grammar to an embrace. Stick with me here, I promise not to be twee.
     During your next embrace, try to determine the center of gravity the two of you as a system make (without being too obvious): whether he's leaning into you or you're leaning into him. Both of these stances are fairly potent gestures; people in the therapy trade talk about "shouldering her/his burden for 45 minutes." If you find someone leaning into you, and you are of a mind to, you can acknowledge that by leaning back a bit, because he may be lierally (albeing not conciously) asking you to carry a bit of the weight for a few seconds. Of course, you can refuse ("nope, sweeteart, you have to carry this yourself, I'm overburdened as it is") by leaving the CoG straight in the middle. You have no obligation either way in situations like that.
     Somebody called me a "cuddle-slut" a couple of years back (he accompanied this with "virgin whore", which just sounds like its going for contradiction shock-value). I suppose I'd cop to that; I reach out and lean into more people than an adult should; thats probably symptomatic of something.
     More on this as it occurs to me.