Wednesday, March 29, 2006


This is one of those days when working in this sunlight room where the soft warm spring breezes through the windows bring the music of chimes, wind and bird song and make it difficult for me to sit here. Silver white branches at the tips of the trees beckon me outside and away from this computer. Cars, buses, trucks and people rush by in the streets below and the cotton cloud patchwork blue sky make me ache to run down and hitch a ride on a motorcycle or bike.

Here there is a phone people call to entice me with the latest telemarketing can't-miss buy or another company wanting my opinion about radio shows and television sitcoms I don't want to watch. Outside I can lose myself in the scents and sounds and feel of the sun warm on my skin and the fresh breeze whisking away the cobwebs and stresses that lie in wait here ready to remind me of responsibility, work, bills, money and the endless demands on my time and attention that I wish I could ignore.

The Evil One told me many times he wants to be a hobo. Ever time I see someone walk by outside with a backpack on their back, I know what the Evil One means. Right now, I want to be a hobo, too.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Just when I get comfortable...

...all hell breaks loose -- or a reasonable facsimile of hell.

Yesterday was difficult enough without my father having to go to the hospital, after dismissing two EMS vans, because he had a heart attack. It could have been worse. The last time this happened he was in the hospital for more than a week and had one of the valves replaced in his heart. The valve had exploded and he was drowning in his own blood. They don't seem to know what is wrong, except that he didn't have a myocardial infarction, which is medical speak for damage to the muscle of the heart. The problem is that he has a stent in one of the arteries and a prosthetic mechanical valve in his heart and blood tests won't show if there is damage to the valve or he has had a blockage of the stent. The fact that his color was bad, he had trouble staying conscious, and his heart was beating wildly irregularly should have clued them in that the valve or the stent were involved and the only way to tell what was going on was to do an echocardiogram, but what do I know? I'm not a cardiologist nor do I work for the VA hospital in Chillicothe. I guess more than two decades of typing up medical dictation and continually researching what I type up so I can be completely accurate hasn't helped me to understand anything, nor do the literally tens of thousands of abnormal and normal blood test results that have passed beneath my fast fingers and onto my screen.

To top all that off, the day shift nurses won't give me any information because I'm not my father's next-of-kin. Being a couple thousand miles away doesn't help when I threaten them either because they can't see my face or feel the anger and frustration rolling in waves off me. I had to call my father, who didn't know the name of the VA doctor and couldn't pronounce it if he did because the guy is Indian, to tell him to sign the forms so they can talk to me. I had much better luck with the male nurse on duty last night.

Here I am sending down roots and decorating my apartment, buying furniture, making plans for the future here and my family is falling apart back home, making me wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea for me to move back to Ohio if only to make sure things are done right and the rest of the family doesn't forget to give the right medical information to the people who need to know. The rest of the are pretty much hopeless and they forget the important stuff that I deal with every day.

Then again...maybe it's time they figured all this out for themselves. Meanwhile, back at Casa Victoriana, I'm having trouble focusing on work and resisting the urge to get on a plane and fly back to there kick butts and take names.

Every time I get comfortable something like this happens. Well, it could have been worse.

And I was looking forward to painting the woodwork and trim and finding just the right stencil to use as a border in the living room this weekend.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Shameless promotion

I have a new blog -- no surprise there -- but the content is unexpurgated and unapologetically Carlinesque. Wanna peek?

Read at your own risk.

Lazy Saturdays

Sometimes I need a break. Time to relax, rewind, unwind, and recuperate from a busy and demanding week. Yesterday was that day. In fact, I didn't even change out of my Victoria's Secret gown. Instead, I lounged around on my new sofa, watched one hour of television, and read a great deal -- between naps, of course.

I jockeyed back and forth between Historical Deception and Asking For Trouble -- basically between a heavy meal of meat and junk food. I'm still plowing through Egypt and finding much I didn't know and some things I did know. Always an interesting proposition. The junk food, however, was quite tasty and went very well with the fat free orange sherbet that failed to last as long as the laughs and tears.

Asking For Trouble is the basis for last year's The Wedding Date with Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney. The movie bombed but it wouldn't have if the director had stuck faithfully to the book. He threw out anything that wasn't Hollywood enough: a heroine obsessed with her "wobbly bits" and fearing that everyone, including her hired date, saw her as desperate; an escort who wasn't a hooker; the reason for needing an escort in the first place; her friends' collusion and help/harm; and everything good about the book. The bride became a self-absorbed, vapid blonde who sees herself as the center of the universe instead of a confused, naive girl doing what everyone expected of her. Gone was the mystery, the suspense, the absolutely hilarity of Elizabeth Young's dialogue and convoluted situations. All this in favor of a less than satisfying, much less than mediocre piece of tripe that had little worth watching outside of Mulroney's cynical smile and six-pack abs and Messing's dithering and ill-timed spasms. It worked for Will & Grace certainly does not translate well to the big screen. It makes Messing seem a one-note wonder. The book, as always, was far better.

My one hour of TV was taken up by George Carlin's You Are All Diseased. As always, he made wonderful and salient points with his careful rapier-point wit and intelligence. Nothing and no one was spared, not even soccer moms and involved fathers who believe their children are all geniuses warranting special treatment and unfettered attention.

Reminds me of Arthur Miller's plays, specifically, The Man With All The Luck, All My Sons, and Death of a Salesman. The fathers in all three plays had the same problem: giving too much to one or two sons and ignoring the others, thereby ruining the sons who got all the attention and making certain the ignored sons lived productive and rich lives. Puts a whole new spin on the way things are done today when parents have been shamed and forced into living their lives for their children and forgetting they also have lives to live, lives they put on hold for children who have become the conspicuous and stellarly spectacular consumers of today who let nothing and no one stand in their way to gather material possessions.

I don't mean that parents should ignore their children, but rather provide guidance and support and let their children become independent, productive individuals ready to fly the nest and build nests of their own. It is definitely time to take another look at Miller's plays, not only because of the human truths they portray in such vivid and uncomplicated language, but also because there are some lessons that have been forgotten and ignored.

Now it's time for me to tuck in and do the chores I left undone yesterday so I can face the work week with a clean plate and a healthy appetite.