Saturday, June 25, 2011

If I Only Had a Brain.

Unbeknownst to me, I will be stepping on a plane with storms and tornadoes in its path. When I land, my father-in-law will tell me he watched my flight path online, and that the Captain was forced to fly over states to the north in order to avoid the bad weather. That explains the turbulence, I guess.

Monday afternoon I sit with my father, tell him I love him, and lip read his soundless words, "I love you." I kiss him on the forehead and tell him to wait for me. I'll be back in 36 hours.

The Boy drives me to the airport, and as we say good-bye, I cry. I don't like flying, and this is the first time we'll be apart since well before moving in together. The Juggernaut, whose wedding I'm attending tomorrow, is like a brother to me, and this is the only thing that can justify my trip away right now. His wedding party is very small, and my visit is very short which limits who I will get to see in a city I lived in for more than a decade. I don't care. If my father dies while I'm leisurely hanging out playing Catch Up, I will never forgive myself. If it happens while I'm at this particular wedding, and ONLY this wedding, I can accept it.

The Juggernaut doesn't know this line of reasoning behind the ultra-short itinerary, but it confirms his theory that I am a Pod Person, not born from or in need of human beings. I doubt he's alone in that theory. But being with The Boy has changed all that. The Fucker. It's like when the Wizard gave the Tin Man a heart. Only this Tin Man was happy without one. Probably happier WITH one, but pretty happy without one, too.

My journey through airport security is comical. Unaware of procedure, I do like the others and remove my shoes, empty my bags into tubs, and send them through the conveyor belt. I see the kid viewing my x-rayed bin of crap scrunch his face and call over a co-worker. When they call over two more guards I feel like this might be fun.
"Are you confused by my syringes?"
"No." I'm suddenly glad I'm not smuggling contraband.

My shit passes, and I realize an announcer  is telling everyone lined up for the metal detector to remove anything that may set it off. I am pleased that my practice with MRIs has taught me how to dress without wearing any metal, but I walk through and set the alarm off anyway. I forget I'm wearing the Lady of Loreto, Protect my Flight Talisman the Juggernaut gave me years ago hoping I'd visit him during his 18 month stay in Phoenix. This is a bad sign. But I take my window seat just behind the plane's wing and realize I'm about to do something I've never done when I'm scared shitless. I'm about to fall asleep. Apparently I'm not as petrified as I thought. I make it through take off just long enough to be in awe of the beauty of traveling this fast, at this upward angle, through the sky and over the ground. The turbulence that wakes me 90 minutes later and lasts through the rest of the flight should have me shitting myself, but instead I'm at inexplicable peace. Somewhere between being loved by The Boy and my MS diagnosis, the Cowardly Lion had found a little bravery. Cool.

I walk through O'Hare to meet my in-laws who are so excited to see me, they don't care that it's midnight, but as I step through the doors that release me into Chicagoland, I am Donkey Punched by the Wicked Witch of the Midwest: A heat and humidity so foul I step right back into the airport. It's midnight, Chicago. What the fuck, you dirty, nasty Whore? Bitch, this is why I left you. I head back out to hunt down my in-laws, and by the time I spot them, I can barely feel my skin. People with MS don't process heat very well. The relatively decent stride I had in the air conditioned airport is disappearing. So much for showing people that I may be "sick," but I'm okay. No 42 year old who walks like an 82 year old looks okay.

I miss The Boy terribly, but being with his parents makes me feel like he's nearby. I miss our zoo of pets too, but their German Shorthair Pointer immediately decides I am her new best friend and this also helps. I sleep through the night - a first since I don't know when - with the dog guarding my door. I don't deserve the love, but I'll take it.

Tuesday morning we breakfast at a bar where my father-in-law is always treated like Royalty. The temporary abandonment of my doctor imposed diet flew out the window at 1AM that morning when I sucked down a plate of chicken wings and ranch dressing. I'm here for a wedding dammit, and I intend to eat and drink like me and my liver are healthy so I order a Hefeweizen - a Go To beer when it's too Goddamn hot outside for a stout - and the bar's owner brings us samples of new beers he's just purchased. My doctors are going to be so mad when my next round of blood work shows them what I have been up to.

While paying the bill, the bar's owner presents me with an unopened bottle of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout with 7.5% alcohol, a gift for me to consume sometime in the next 21 hours before I'm back at the airport. The in-laws must have told him of my love for Guinness. I'm feeling very taken care of.

The in-laws drive me to my pre-wedding destination, the home of a friend who has just had a baby and won't be at the wedding. A confirmation from Mama, the name we call each other, that her apartment has central air seals the deal. I'm given Mom and Dad Hugs and Kisses of Love good-bye and then greeted with Dear Friend I Have Missed You hellos. So this is what it feels like to be human. Good thing the Boy gave me that Heart.

We make our way into the apartment and upon seeing her baby, I start to cry. Apparently having a Heart turns you into a Pussy. She is beautiful and perfect and precious, and the first time she smiles at me, and I'm in love. I want to eat her feet. We are joined by Mama's husband and The Smiths, a couple we all met while working at the bar together. I get more love, good stories, and before I know it it's time to say good-bye again. I've always been good at Good-Byes, but they're starting to get to me, and I pretend that I'm just dreading the walk outside. As I walk down their hallway towards the door, I use the wall for support. I tell them to think of me whenever they see the dirty hand prints I've left there, and they laugh.

The Smiths drive me to the restaurant where the Juggernaut and his Lovely and Amazing Lady are to be married. They kindly walk me across the street because the Chicago heat now has me walking like an 82 year old who has pooped herself, and they place me directly into the loving arms of the Juggernaut himself. Unfortunately, all I see are chairs set up for an outdoor wedding. The Wicked Witch of the Midwest has just spread a frothy layer of icing on the Fuck Cake and placed my hand on its third rail. The Juggernaut sees this, assures me it's a short ceremony, and tells me the reception will take place indoors. Saves me the need of saying, "Gotta go, just saw the Bat Signal."

I sneak away to the bathroom to change into one of the few dresses I own. I bought it for a wedding 11 years ago and have worn it to everyone's wedding but my own ever since. I choose to wear it AGAIN because it travels well at the bottom of a bag full of medical supplies and is long enough to make shaving my legs completely unnecessary. The problem is that it's not covering my bra well, a result of having lost some weight. I am the Whore of Babylon at my brother's wedding.

While everyone mingles outside I sadly make my way through the restaurant and run into one of the Juggernaut's college friends, Terra, Earth Goddess of Motherhood. She lights up when she sees me, hugs and kisses me to death, and when I show her the sadness of my whorish ways, she drops what she is doing, takes me to the bathroom, and fixes me with double stick tape. I can't remember what it's actually called, but I'm calling it Whore Be Gone.

Everyone is mingling outside, but the thought of going back out there before it's absolutely necessary gives me the full body sensation of Not Fucking Tempting At All. I'd rather put my fist through my own teeth. I sit at the bar and have whiskey.

The Juggernaut spots me and takes the time to tell me how good it is to see me here tonight and at this weight again. For the rest of the night, he will be the only one who brings it up. Either no one notices, or they've noticed and are afraid it's a weight loss due to illness. As his Lovely and Amazing Bride walks by us, he grabs her waist, pulls her close and kisses her. The look on his face at that precise moment is heavenly and blissful and pure joy. I am thankful to have seen it. After she leaves, I smile at him and call him Juggernaut. There is a slight pause, and then I see him recall the incident 17 years earlier that placed the word on my tongue - the moment where I grabbed the secret nickname I have for him. He laughs hard and hugs me, I assume, for the trip down memory lane before he is forced to leave me for other guests. I'm a happy girl.

To avoid the pitying looks I'm getting while I try to walk, I'm staying seated right where I am until the ceremony begins. Over the course of the next hour, I will feel like I'm my own receiving line. First the father of the groom, whom I've only met once, long, long ago, will approach me and our Catch Up will end with an invitation for me and The Boy to come see him in Oregon so he can take us Ice and Sturgeon Fishing. His spot is immediately filled by the Juggernaut's childhood friend and his wife. For the life of me, I've never known why their faces light up when they see me, but it always makes me feel good. I really don't deserve this much attention. Certainly the Juggernaut has paid them all to be kind to the Neurotic New York Bitch. We are joined by the Bruiser, yet another college friend of his who I met early on. The Bruiser developed a habit of play roughing-me-up for the duration of our time together. He doesn't do it anymore, but if I had to guess, it's because he thinks I've become too fragile. I like to think I can still kick some ass, I'd just need a long nap afterwards. He doesn't know it, but it's because of him that I have made the decision to come to the wedding.

The Bruiser is a frequent flyer so I contacted him last month to see if he knew of any creative ways to get me out to Chicago cheaply. It was so late in the game the price of a ticket was cost prohibitive, but he said, "You have to go. We'll get you there." I explained that it really depended on my father and filled him in a little, but after that conversation I decided that I could handle being away If It Happened as long as I were away for just enough time to see the Juggernaut get hitched. No extra visiting time, just the wedding.

Soon my reception line fills with The Spice Boys and their WaGs. Juggernaut Spice, Arsenal Spice, Bar Spice, and Pretty Boy Spice lived together in the Den of Iniquity for a few years. Glorious times, indeed. You'd never think any of them would settle down, but here they are. After tonight's wedding, there's only one left and he is here with his fiance. How times change. I love these boys with all my heart and am thrilled to see them. I ask about their babies and pets and homes and lives and then Pretty Boy Spice unknowingly makes my day. If he had been on my right, by my ear that was robbed of some hearing ability during my last MS relapse, I never would have heard him say it.

"All the cool kids are inside. Barnum's holding Court." No, that's not my real last name. And seriously? Do these people remember what I was like? I'm an abrasive cunt. I'm a mean, little girl. And I'm in heaven. I've never cared for attention before, but I can't deny how good this feels, and I am eating it up like a hick on a Slim Jim. Someone as nasty as I have been does not deserve this, but I'll take it.

The Stage Manager calls 5 minutes, and I start to make my way outside. I will handle the 15 minutes outdoors even if I lose all feeling in my body. I have to stop after 10 feet. This isn't going to be easy. That's when an arm reaches out for me to grab. It's the Juggernaut's little cousin who is no longer little. We hug and kiss and hello all the way to the open seat he spots for me. The Wedding Officiant asks us to thank the bride and groom's parents for making it possible for us all to be together then asks for a moment of silence for those who are no longer with us. When they mention his grandmother, the only one on the list that I personally knew, I start to cry. Again. I was just thinking of her last week when I came across her last Chanukah gift to me. The consoling hand on my shoulder belongs to one of her daughters, the Juggernaut's aunt, who is seated next to me. Didn't notice her there before. I kiss her bald, chemotherapied head, and we lean against each other long enough to compose ourselves.

I dry my face and reprimand myself for not ever having the balls to stand before a room of people the way this wonderful Officiant does. The Juggernaut officiated my wedding with The Boy, and I feel like if I'd been a bolder, braver person who wasn't an asshole, I could have returned the favor.

The vows come. When a bride and groom say For Better or For Worse, they may or may not know what they are getting themselves into. But the Juggernaut knows. His Lovely and Amazing bride has recently been diagnosed with MS. He knows what he is promising her. I cry again. Not because I'm scared for her. I cry because he loves her this much. It's fucking beautiful.

The I Do's are done, and I'd race everyone to the door inside if I could. That's when the arm of the man who married Terra, Earth Goddess of Motherhood, magically appears for me to hold. Clearly the Juggernaut has paid his guests to love me and walk me all night.

I take my seat and am approached by random members of The Family, the one that took me in like one of their own. Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Bar Mitvahs. Originally the Juggernaut brought me home on special occasions because my own family was so far away. Eventually, I was just expected there.

We eat, we drink, we make merry. I happen to be seated at a table with Bar and Arsenal Spice, the two people I know who will most appreciate my special bottle of Guinness. We secretly open it and pour it into our now empty wine glasses. And it is Good. Very Fucking Good.

The evening is not winding down, but it's been a long day for me, and I will not last much longer. As I begin the process of saying my Good-Byes again, I spot the man who built a cabin often used in The Family. It was loaned out to tonight's wedding couple and me and The Boy over New Year's Eve some years ago. I thanked him for the use of it because it was in that home where The Boy and I announced our engagement to the Juggernaut and his Lovely and Amazing Lady. He said he already knew and was proud it happened there.

I say good-bye to the Juggernaut's Grandfather and there is mention of a trip to Alaska with him, myself, and The Boy. Even if it's the last time it's ever discussed, I like that we spoke about it. I say good-bye to the man who has videotaped the evening. He is a friend, who has also just had a baby, and I ask him to give my love to his wife and to please eat his baby's feet for me. I spot the only other Pod Person in the room. He will be about three hours away from our home next month and hopes The Boy and I can make a trip out to see him.

As I step into cruel Chicago air again The Bruiser's arm suddenly appears before me. He takes me to the edge of the restaurant premises where he leads me to the arm of my girlfriend who is housing me tonight and driving me to the airport tomorrow. Not 5 feet later, my other arm is held up by Pretty Boy Spice. I hate leaving so much love so soon, but if I'm not horizontal within the next 15, my Central Nervous System will surely self destruct.

I step into her home which she has been air conditioning for me all day. I call The Boy to tell him I love him and miss him and upon hearing my girlfriend's voice saying good night, he thanks her for taking care of me tonight and she tells him it is her pleasure. Cell phones are good like that. If only he could have seen the care I've received for the past 24 hours.

We hang up promising to never spend another night away from each other, and I lie down thinking about the Glorious Day when The Juggernaut married the Lovely and Amazing Lady, about going back to see my father smile at me at least one more time, about hugging and squeezing the pets, and about returning to The Boy's arms. In a few hours I will be back on a plane as the Wizard takes me Home. I don't know about you, but it my case, as long as The Boy is there, there is no place like home.

I am even looking forward to being in awe of the beauty of traveling very fast, at an upward angle, up through the sky and over the ground.

Pageant of the Bizarre

I'll never lose affection
for people and things
that went before

Monday, June 20, 2011

You Put Your Weed in There...

I don't need to be awake at 5AM to believe it exists, and no person in their right mind should have to witness it. It's there, though. Trust me. You could argue that it's alright for a certain age to be up at that ungodly hour as long as it's because they haven't been to bed yet, but your argument would be invalid. Witnessing 5AM is like witnessing the supernatural powers of the Ark of the Covenant. It will make your face melt. Today I'm forced to see it.

For the first time in 2 and a half years, I'm headed to Chicago because the Juggernaut is getting married. Despite his being like a brother to me, my decision to go is last minute. I didn't think I could make the trip when Dad took a turn for the worse, but that was before I knew he could take an even worse turn for the worse. He won't know if I'm gone at this point, and I'll only be away for 36 hours. That's right. 36 hours.

Upon hearing this itinerary, the Juggernaut scolded me, pointing out that I haven't seen any of these people in years (save the ones who have visited us) and my day visit, most of which is wedding ceremony, does not leave catch up time with anyone who didn't make his tiny, 40-person wedding list. He called me Squirrelly. He's right, but I'm still hybernating so fuck it.

Packing for a trip this short, I knew I wouldn't need to check any baggage, but I AM there for a wedding and 2 nights, so I need more than a purse. Being a novice when it comes to flying, I've decided to pack everything I assume they'll want to sort through at the top of the knapsack I'm bringing. Unfortunately, as I pack, I realize this includes everything.

At the very top of the pile is my injection kit: Prefilled syringes, sharps container, needle clipper, thermometer to make sure the meds stay below 86F, ice pack, alcohol pads and band-aids. I originally hoped to jam weed into an empty syringe (MS gives me awful headaches that are only killed with the right blend of cannabinoids) but if I were caught, not only would I miss the wedding, I might set a precedent that would make it difficult for anyone to travel with their meds in the future, and I don't want to be That Douchebag.

Below that is my medicine/vitamin container which has 7 smaller containers - one for each day of the week - and these are broken down into 4 compartments. I'd love to take just the 32 pills I will need and leave the bulky, seven day box at home, but all my prescription labels are stuck to the box. Every time I see the doctor, they want an updated list of what I take and this is the easiest way to get it right. So the whole thing is travelling just below my syringes. I assume they'll want to look through it.

Below the meds and supplies, now 50% of the knapsack, are some items I doubt I will need, but you never know. Tampons, baby wipes, and glycerine suppositories. Shame goes out the window when you deal with a disease like Multiple Sclerosis, and I don't give a fuck if some $17/hour security guard sees my bathroom kit. I thought about jamming weed into one of the tampon plungers and glueing it back up or even hiding some in the suppository jar, but I really don't know how ballsy these guys are, and I don't want to miss this wedding.

I've got some necklaces I wear for good luck when I fly. All 3 other times. I was thinking of making and wearing an additional necklace that had weed jammed in a small plastic container and then embedding the container in resin, but I'm afraid I might poison myself trying to get rid of a headache. Oh the irony. It's also been 2 and a half years since I worked with resin, and I'm not sure my hands and eyes could even measure or mix it correctly.

The next layer down has things like the toothbrush, phone charger, and hair bands. I made a scrunchie last week with the intention of jamming a small bag of weed in it. They'd never notice a small hit of weed buried between layers of scrunchie fabric against my hair, would they? Fucking Hell. I'm not trying to smuggle heroin, I just don't want to be ill during my friend's wedding. But I can envision myself being pulled out of the line and questioned till my plane is long gone. That's when the 13 year old in me would come out to meet airline security.

"Intent to distribute? I assure you this is all for me..." I doubt my attitude would go over well.

At the very bottom of the bag are my clothes which fit in an 11" ziplock. The only bag they won't want to look through, but I'm not Brave Enough to tamper with. It's just a headache, right? An awful, pounding, nauseating headache. I'll survive. I'll eat lots of things I'm not supposed to eat, drink lots of things that will make my doctors mad, see a dear friend get married, and hope that someone at the festivities has an 80/20 Indica Sativa blend. It's the only thing that gets rid of the pain. A pain that would melt your face off.


And I haven't forgot what it's like to be
with Misadventure and her mates.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Our morning list of errands and obligations is done, and our evening set is not yet upon us. I find a magical span of time when I am not needed by anyone to do anything, and I make my escape to the pool.

It's been months since I've been in water doing the exercises I need to do, and it feels good. Rather than towel off, I lay in the sun for a few minutes to absorb some Vitamin D. There's enough wind to keep me cool before I become too warm. The view is stunning. Nothing but mountains and trees.

Regardless of all the crap going on in my head, in my body, in my family, in this country, in this world, I am at peace right here in this spot. And I am thankful to be in this head, in this body, in this family, in this country, and in this world.

I don't even care that I severely over-plucked my eyebrows today.

In Particular

Let it go.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

92.7 FM WLIR - Dare to be Different...

WLIR, Long Island Radio. It was like having a cool, older sister. She knew where to go, what to do, who to listen to, and how to dance. She danced a Fierce Fucking Dance.

Her reception was high maintenance and required dedicated commitment to constant radio dial repositioning and the reforming of pony tails of tin foil to her antennae, but I'd do it all over again for another chance to hear what she had say.

Her New Music First format came about during the summer before my Freshman year of high school, and it was my soundtrack for those four years. Sadly, she is gone now. After I graduated, a lawsuit of some sort forced her to change her call letters to WDRE. Her format changed, and after that she continued to change her style again and again until she was no more. I was lucky to have had access to her Glory Days while I was the right age to appreciate them.

She wasn't everybody's cup of tea, so her voice was very underground in The States. That just made her cooler. Those of us who looked up to her heard singles and bands months or years before they hit mainstream stations like WPLJ or Z100, her dorky cousins. Blech. I'm still feeling Bragging Rights for having known her. And if you were in a room full of strangers but met others who knew her, you had instant friends. Your common interests were immediately clear, and you knew you shared uncommon knowledge. You also knew they hated her cousins just as much as you did.

Over the years I have tried to track down songs she played for me. I never lost Duran Duran, The Clash, or David Bowie, but songs from Translator and Wide Boy Awake were only available on compilation CDs in the 90s. The singles that she, and only she played during that brief time in the 80s were much harder to find, and I have spent years hunting them down like they owed me money. Thanks to Napster and eBay, I was able to acquire just about everything I'd been looking for.

Today I'm shocked to be able to find most of them on the Blip.Fm search engine. It's been twenty five years since I tuned in to her crew of DJs  - Denis McNamara, Bob Waugh, Malibu Sue, Ben Manilla, Donna Donna The Prima Donna, and Larry the Duck - but I still play their music. Her music. And by the looks of the search results on Blip, some of you do too...

Runaway Boys
What's He Got
Messed Around
Cat People
Everywhere That I'm Not
Make a Circuit with Me
Kiss Me
Doot Doot
Echo Beach
Run Me Down
Wolfman Tap (I can't post this on anymore but I do have the MP3. Anyone care to let me know how to share it here?)
Red Guitar
Pills and Soap
Way of Life
The Killing Moon
To Look at You
Shoot You Down
Love & Pride
Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick
Cooky Pus
Taste of Your Tears
Jesus on the Payroll

And those who were seen dancing
were thought to be insane
by those who could not hear the music

Can I Get a Slice?

When you grow up in Manhattan, you come to expect certain things from your pizza: A sweet sauce, a crust so crispy and thin you're forced to fold it in half, and just enough grease sliding out from the bitten end that your paper plate becomes transparent. AND - a pie is cut into triangles, not squares. No, no. Shhh... Your argument is invalid.

When you leave the Metropolitan Area, you quickly learn that you will not be eating real pizza for awhile. I love and adore you, Chicago, I really do, but that is NOT pizza. It is a fabulous, delectable, and delicious Cheese Pie, but not pizza. Call it something else, and we can end this seventeen year debate, you and I.

My first month in Chi-town, my roommate, the Juggernaut as I like to call him, came home to find me on the phone discussing the merits of NY Style with a FedEx agent. I'd called them hoping to find a way to ship myself a pie from NYC, but in 1994 it just wasn't happening. But the agent and I had a lovely, thirty minute conversation about pizza. To this day, The Juggernaut likes to make fun of me for that desperate attempt to acquire a slice when I was surrounded with "pizza" in the land of Deep Dish. Whatever. He'll never understand. Unless he saw last night's Daily Show.

I Eat Cannibal

I talk about the cheese-to-sauce ratio 
right there