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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Pixel Mine Life

I’m up against another big, BIG day here in the Pixel Mines. The good news is that:
  1. I slept through the night! 
  2. This MAY be the last fat, stress monster work day as the book MUST go to press tomorrow – the grande event is Monday night. Client cutting things a big close, you say? Yes but her relationship with her printer is tight. She has total faith that Paula will pull this off. And she will.
Meantime, between Photoshop and Illustrator labors, I managed to finally finish Robbie Robertson's memoir Testimony. Man ‘o’ man, that was a hard read. Just to be clear, I wasn't a big Band fan back in the day. Sure. I was real keen on their BIG hits – The Weight, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and Up On Cripple Creek but I can't for the life of me, bring ANY other tunes to mind. That and, when I first saw The Last Waltz, hearing though I was, I was all... Meh. 

Yeah, it was awesome but everyone and their motherfucking bestie was all THIS IS THE GREATEST CONCERT MOVIE OF ALL TIME!!!!!! I was not so blown away. I know – heresy! To my mind, Stop Making Sense was/IS TOTALLY the best. OK Awesome; I Fuckin' Shot That! – The Beastie Boys 2006 concert film was pretty sweet too. Yup, I was deaf by then but it was a beat heavy show – I could feel it.

How would I feel about The Last Waltz now? Would Robertson's guitar chops knock me sideways? Would Levon's voice turn me into a pool of melted butter? Would seeing the flick on a TV better than the late '70s, 13" B&W that I watched it on, make a difference? I bet it would.

BUT I can’t. The Band’s final hurrah is frozen in my mind on a tiny, grainy screened, wicked low fi set. That simple twist of fate made reading his beautifully written memoir hard.
I'm curious – how many things can I mourn all at the same time? 
Reading a murder mystery now – feels safer, less triggery.

NOW, back into the, possibly shark infested but probably not, Pixel Pool. Coffee’s made, I have a cookie, I’m ready to ROCK!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Chaos and Cookies

I’ve known a bunch of folk who’ve said they work better under pressure. Me? Not so much. I can function while in a squeezed up state but I don’t like it – nope, not a bit.

Woke at 1AM with the absolute knowledge that I had to jump on a new, big, wicked time sensitive design/layout job RIGHT THAT VERY MINUTE. So I did. At 2AM I shot an email with questions to the client, figuring I was stuck in WTF-do-I do-NOWville until 9 or so when, ya know, normal people, get into work. Moments later, I got answers. Apparently she couldn’t sleep either.

At least it wasn’t politics or health insurance fears disturbing my sleep, eh?

I'm a study of a man in chaos in search of frenzy.
~ Oscar Levant

I’ve got yur frenzy right here, Oscar.

The law of centrifugal force seems to be as true for the human condition as it is for the Newtonian mechanics. The faster our lives spin, the more things tend to fly apart.
~ Richard Paul Evans, Lost December

“That's your solution? Have a cookie?' Astrid asked.
 'No, my solution is to run down to the beach and hide out until this is all over,' Sam said. 'But a cookie never hurts.”
~ Michael Grant, Gone

Yup, I’m with Sam. Today’s a cookie kind of a day.
“but there was nothing I could do to dim the supernovae exploding inside my brain, an endless chain of intra cranial firecrackers”
~ John Green

The problem is that those of us who are lucky enough to do work that we love are sometimes cursed with too damn much of it.
~ Terry Gross, All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians, and Artists

TRUTH! While I’d rather be painting raccoon headed nudes, I do, very much, like my current gig. I'd quit kvetching but...emmm...that's not how I roll. Dig?

His head .. it exploded. As if someone had scooped out his brains and put a hand grenade in his skull.
~ Stephen King, I Am the Doorway 

 Sometimes it feels like this.
The benefit of carrying the entire world on your shoulders was that you didn’t have to stare it in the face.
~ Rhian J. Martin, A Different Familiar

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.
~ Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

Normally I miss deadlines like a storm trooper misses Jedi.
~ Patrick Rothfuss, Unfettered

My wretched passions were acute, smarting, from my continual, sickly irritability I had hysterical impulses, with tears and convulsions. I had no resource except reading, that is, there was nothing in my surroundings which I could respect and which attracted me. I was overwhelmed with depression, too; I had an hysterical craving for incongruity and for contrast, and so I took to vice.
~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I've taken to vice with far less provocation. Frankly, I think Fyo's being a bit emo.

The trouble with hysteria is that it's contagious.
~ Romain Gary, White Dog

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Under Pressure

It’s another Thursday morning where, when I first woke, I was positive it was Friday. Between MGH Land, tussling with my health insurance and a heavy workload, it’s been a long bloody week already.

BUT, while battling all the stress monsters, I’ve sparked a couple good, possibly outstanding, things to combat my rabid pressure levels.

There’s the Resiliency Training study that I mentioned yesterday. I still need to offload files from my computer so’s I can download the software for this but then I should be all set to begin.
An aside – why, oh WHY, can’t computers have endless capacity? Yes, there’s loads that I can delete or store on thumb drives but this requires being organized – NOT one of my superpowers.
Maybe more bettah than the group, I met with a wonderful aquatics instructor at the Y yesterday. I asked her – do you think, as a balance challenged deafie, I could take an H2O aerobics class and actually follow what’s happening/participate/get something out of it.

Oh yeah! We had a great chat. She teaches a water Thai Chi class which she feels would be primo for me. This’d help me with my balance (like PT only not clinical!) and mebbe it'll help me slow down and just BE. Also, she does something called “Core Class Challenge” which is about strengthening. I didn’t really understand more than that but getting stronger is always a good thing. So then, Tuesday’s the next Thai Chi class and Wednesday’s the next Core class. I’m in!

Another awesome thing – these classes are FREE with my Y membership. Wow! I’ll never be a hard body – why? CAKE, that’s why. And shut up, cake is therapeutic. IS TOO! – but I will be in better physical and mental health.

Afterward, I motored over to Manet Community Healh Center where the fabola Ken Moore’s been helping me sort out my insurance hassles.  He made phone calls, did some investigation and found out that this latest, wicked scary you-no-longer-qualify-for our-glorious-coverage letter was an error. I DO qualify and AM covered. Yea!

To cap off my big, I-accomplished-SO-DAMN-MUCH day, I took myself to Sparkle Boys for a late lunch/très early din-din. Yeah, Pinot Noir and popcorn is the perfect way to close a coupla hard days.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Results, etc.

So, I’m at Doc Plotkin’s yesterday, waiting to get the big news – do we slice open the bean this year or no . I was filling out the usual intake forms – a lot of these questions really bring out my fluorescent snark beast. Like:

Any new medical problems since last visit? If so, what are they?

Seems a benign, standard issue medico inquiry, right? Yeah, unless you’re me.

My reply?
Balance is worse
Shaking is worse
Husband is STILL dead
That The Amazing Bob is gone continues to be a big fucking deal. I’m sad, beyond tense and angry. I want him back, DAMMIT! Is this related to those pesky tumors? No and yes – isn't everything under the sun related in some way?

Do you have hearing problems?
In that I have none, yes. Having no hearing is a problem. Especially today when it just, flat out, breaks me that I can’t listen to Buffalo Ballet, and hear Cale’s sonorous voice and viola.
Probably TMI but, hey, THEY asked!

Do you have confusion or memory loss?
Do you have confusion or memory loss?

Did this question appear on the form twice, one right after the other, intentionally? Was this meant as a funny, a check on whether the patient’s paying attention or was it simply a glitch in the Matrix? I drew an arrow, calling it out, and wrote clever.

Do you experience fatigue?
Eh, sometimes. It’s my husband’s fault as he is STILL dead. Dammit.
Do you feel anxious?
In this age of Trump, who doesn’t?
The results, as anticipated – though two of the meningioma motherfuckers are larger, no surgery this year. YEA, huzzah, YEA!!! Why wait? Why not crack me open and scoop those homely, fat blobs out now? Because:
  •  it would hurt and knock me out of action for a couple months or so
  • Bast only knows what complications and other horseshit would come along for the recovery ride 
  • they’d need to shave ma tête and I just got a really good haircut

We wait. Who knows, by the time I’m nasty symptomatic, the tech may’ve advanced such that Star Trekkian devices can dissolve the ugly bastards without slicing me up. NASA, with the QDI LED technology, is on the path!

What else came out of yesterday’s annual? The good doc proposed that I sign up for this Harvard Med research study:
Resiliency Training for Patients with Neurofibromatosis 2
The purpose of this study is to test comparatively two group based interventions aimed at improving coping with stress and NF2 medical symptoms. Both interventions may also improve quality of life.
 Clunky wording that comes down to this – they’re looking to help folks deal with la vida loca that comes with this nasty-ass familial inheritance. Stress amelioration schemes.

In writing to the folks heading up the study, I let them know that, I’m no newbie to NF2 and my monster stress is also from the recent widow action as well as being a Dem living in the Orange Menace’s insane America. They seem to still want me to participate. Huh. This ought to be interesting.

In other stress reduction efforts, I’m gonna get back into the pool at the Y. Not the same as my Silica heaven, not by a long shot, but still soothing.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fear is a Man's Best Friend

I remember John Cale’s song Fear is a Man’s Best Friend (from the ’74 album Fear) as utterly riveting. Snippets of lyrics and his beautifully growly voice are in my mind this morning.
Standing waiting for a man to show
Wide eyed one eye fixed on the door
This waiting's killing me, it's wearing me down
Life and death are just things you do when you're bored
Say fear's a man's best friend
You add it up it brings you down
I seem to recall him brilliantly, defiantly scream/roaring out fear's a man's best friend. This was a significant part of why I was in mad, wild love with the tune. The man’s one of the best screamers in rock ’n’ roll.

Why’s this buzzing my brainpan this morning?

Eh, today’s my annual with the awesome Doc Plotkin, Super Neurologist. I’ll get the results of my recent bean MRI and whatever thoughts and advice he’s got to give. I’m not expecting horror show news – WE MUST CRACK OPEN YOUR SKULL NEXT WEEK – IT CAN’T WAIT! I don’t think I’m any more symptomatic than I was last year (when I got the it’s-not-time-yet-we’ll-wait-and-see verdict). It feels hard to know though. Is this or that ache or pain related to the ol' brain bulges? Do I tire more easily because of the crap I'm toting around in my head? Or is this just more of that stupid getting older shit?

Courtesy of the Patient Gateway site, I was able to read the lab’s MRI report. While one of the four tumors (four, count 'em four! eek-ish) that are rockin’ out up top is slightly larger (the right parietal parafalcine meningioma, just FYI and shit), it’s likely not enough to break out the long knives. Probably. I'll find out later this AM.

And, now Cale's muy poignant tune, I Keep A Close Watch, has joined the internal turntable queue.
Never win and never lose
There's nothing much to choose
Between the right and wrong
Nothing lost and nothing gained
Still things aren't quite the same
Between you and me

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
Ya gotta hear this one. Rilly!

Also too – Ship of Fools. It's a musical morning up in the grey matter.

Monday, October 16, 2017


Just woke from an incredibly vivid dream.

My dear friend Jenny and her husband – who live out in Phoenix – had moved here. They stopped in to say hello and let us know – Oh, by the way, we live two doors down now. SUCH a happy surprise! I was thrilled and flat out blown away.

When I stepped outside to watch all the move-in action, I got the next bit of wonder – they’d brought their entire house, the fruit trees from their backyard and this long row of six foot tall, Alice-in-Wonderland-ish flowers.

Apparently, shifting their home (and flora!) 2,600 miles across the country was cheaper than buying a crib here. Huh...OK. In DreamWorld, this made tremendous financial sense.

The next shocker was that here wasn’t Valhalla by the Sea. Our neighborhood looked more like the rolling hills around Hoosick Falls. We were at the top of tall slope with a gorgeous view of the undulating Arcadian landscape below.

Me without my sea?! Wouldn’t this be mega horror show-esque? No. It was unexpected but cool.

Every time I’m up that way, I fall in mad love with the countryside. Its rich, xtreme beauty dazzles me senseless. I’m forever fantasizing about living there, surrounded by the stunning views of endless mountains and trees.

Now that I think of it, I’m like this whenever I visit Ptown. Brattleboro  and the Isle of Skye too.

I think what I’ve got, what I come down with, is a bad case of sehnsucht. Was ist das? It’s a German word which, according to Google Translate means nostalgia, yearning, desire BUT the word carries WAY more freight than that.

C.S. Lewis defines it as the inconsolable longing in the heart for we know not what.
…that unnameable something, desire for which pierces us like a rapier at the smell of bonfire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, the title of The Well at the World’s End, the opening lines of Kubla Khan, the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves. (source)
Yup. I’m there.

Granted, and you can take this to the bank, if I moved to the wooded mountains of Vermont or Upstate New York, I’d be all painfully wistful for the ocean. Maybe, next dream, Jenny and John could move their house here to the coast?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

On the Road

On my spur of the moment leaf peeping quest, I got the whole way to Bennington where I had a wonderful visit with a dear friend. He's from way up in Plattsburgh and I hadn't seen him in eons. I’m thrilled to bits that Heath was up for the road trip. He’s tremendous – smart, warm, creative and compassionate. I wish we lived closer.

Here’s the thing about solo motoring – I have to drive (duh). This means my slack jawed gawking at the immense beauty along Route 2 in Massachusetts and 9 in Vermont was somewhat but not totally limited. Can't snap pics and drive at the same time. GodDAMN I need one of them self driving cars!

It was an absolutely brill day – sunny and warm. Foliage, up on the mountain, is mostly past peak but there’re still gorgeous russets, traffic-cone oranges and glow-in-the-dark yellows. Nature's really got her dazzling freak on.

On the way home today, I'll stop on Hogback Mountain and snap a pic or two. Or maybe I'll just buy some fudge, sit in the oversized Adirondack chair and stare at all the incredible pulchritudedness of the season.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Distraction Action Part ∞

Ghost Cat in a rare UNchimerical moment.
This could totally be Coco.
Yesterday, between work, obsessive checks for any possible good (or at least not horrific) news, I watched a lot of cute cat and octopi vids, read more of Robbie Robertson’s brill memoir, attempted to elliptical off the news-inspired fear and rage and cosseted our sweet Princess Coco all to hell and back.

The news I had attempted to duck?
  • I feel certain those same 69 heartless fuckers, as well as the rest of that heinously head-up-their-donor's-asses crew, are cheering on the Orange Menace’s bizarre, hateful, anything-to-erase-Obama deletion of healthcare. Yeah, this one's got me mega panicked.
It is by small steps of incremental meanness and viciousness that we lose our humanity. The Nazis, in the end, embodied the ascension of utter demonic inhumanity, but they didn’t get that way overnight. They got that way through, day after day, attacking and demonizing and urging the elimination of those they deemed their enemies.
And this has been going on here for some time.
Leave aside the fact that he presented no evidence for his charges. Do you think he could find Iran on a map? Do you think if you gave him three possible answers as to what the capital of Iran is, he’d get it right? If you Photoshopped the face of the Ayatollah Khomeini into a photo of ZZ Top, do you think he’d be able to tell you which of the four bearded guys wasn’t in the band?
Ennis House outside
Ennis House Interior
I feel as though I ought to send Mister Robertson a thank you note. He's surely sent my bean, if only for an hour here and there,  to other, better places.

 In the book, he mentions Frank Lloyd Wright’s wild, creepy Ennis House in LA. He and Dylan, on one of their tours, were staying at a house across the street.

Amongst other movies, Ennis House is featured in Bladerunner – one of my fave flicks of all time. Its exterior also appears as "The Mansion,” Angel (as Angelus), Spike, and Drusilla’s digs in one season of Buffy.

JAYzus, I SO want to visit this joint! It’s just been bought by a dude named Ron Burkle – what this means re: tours is unknown.

I can’t head out to visit Ennis House today but I can jump into Bix for a wee drive. Maybe I’ll engage in a little leaf peeping. Maybe I’ll motor up to the tippy top of Hogback Mountain, purchase some fudge and watch the sun make it’s way across the mountains and valleys below. That ought to keep my nerves calmed for a minute or two.