Saturday, May 20, 2006

My head is exploding...

...with heat and fire. I pray I am having a soy toxicity problem and not going through menopause, although the latter seems more likely. I don't like this feeling at all and I certainly don't want to end up crazy or turning into a screaming, raving, moody *itch like my mother did when she went through this. She made our lives hell for YEARS.

On top of all this the lower half of my body swishes when I walk because it's swollen to Hindenburg proportions with fluid retention and now that it's draining I'm going to the bathroom every 30-60 minutes. Hard to do anything or even watch a movie or write or work or paint or anything when I have to keep stopping for another drain break.

I feel like Archie Bunker when he told Edith, "If you're gonna have a change of life, you gotta do it right now. I'm gonna give you just 30 seconds!" At least I wouldn't feel like my head was exploding from sudden surges of heat and turning red and pulsing to my heartbeat. That's it, just 30 seconds, then CHANGE!

Foreign dreams

This morning's news is reminiscent of the furor over WMDs in Iraq with conflicting stories about whether Iran is or is not going to require Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians to wear colored bands to denote them from Iranian Muslims. Some news services are refusing to run the story, considering it a hot potato that could land them in boiling soup. It's an easy problem to solve. Get a copy of the new Iranian law currently making the rounds in Parliament and read it. With a politically surprising leader like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has scored major points in the international community with his letter to President Bush on May 8, a letter Bush has yet to answer, anything is possible.

When I woke this morning I was thinking more of a friend's pain and his question to me last night than of politics.

He called and sounded depressed. He was. Earlier this week a friend died and he accidentally discovered his girlfriend had been having an affair with his friend while she was with him. He told me their relationship was rocky enough and he was part of the problem, and if he had known of her infidelity he would have ended things and saved them both a lot of pain and grief. Then he asked me something I have pondered many times, "Is it better to just live alone?"

I'll admit that there have been times I have wondered the same thing, especially when love has me on the ropes and it seems my only options are remaining alone or futilely chasing after love.

My answer to him was no. We all need other people to survive. We need the touch and presence and sound and fury of other people, of at least one other person, to make our lives worthwhile. We need to be touched. Babies sicken and die without the soothing sound of a voice and the gentle touch of other people. We all need to be loved, to be seen, to be known.

There are worse things than being alone. Living with someone who never touches you and who you never touch is worse. In fact, that kind of relationship attacks the immune system and the body as well as the mind and heart and soul so that the person dies by inches every single day. Being alone is almost as devastating at times, forcing people to seek comfort elsewhere -- anywhere.

Is it any wonder that studies have shown people living alone, especially the elderly, who have a pet they can stroke and talk to and hold and love show the effects in lowered blood pressure and stress and increased health? For some, plants are the answer, but a plant cannot touch you and certainly cannot speak or bark or whistle or sing or purr. Makes sense when you think about little old ladies living with cats and/or dogs; they need the companionship to live.

It's not just about the science, it's about people. We all need other people, other living beings to recognize us, to acknowledge us, to be present in our lives. Maybe that's why some people choose to stay in toxic and dysfunctional relationships; the alternative is being alone without the sound of another's voice or the touch of another's hand. Why else would we strive so hard to connect with other people?

A human can go for weeks without food, days without water and only minutes without air. Without touch we can live years, but each moment is full of a painful longing we fill with shopping, food, mindless hours of television, surfing the Internet, sleep and the body failing by inches, the heart and soul dying slowly like a baby never touched, a plant or animal never fed or watered. We are not meant to be alone.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Celebrities put their pants on one leg at a time

I spent 1.5 hours on the phone with a singer/songwriter/musician tonight and it was a pleasure. He has such a great sense of humor and a decidedly wry sense of the absurd. He's also older than I thought and yet he does not seem his age; he seems much younger. This is one of the pleasures of interviewing someone, seeing life from another viewpoint, through another's eyes for a few moments. What's really amazing is that we are very much alike and we both share the same dream -- to have enough money to spend the rest of our lives traveling the world and writing -- him writing music and me writing words. It looks a lot like I've made a new friend, someone else for me to learn from.

One of the things I tell writers all the time is to cut to the chase and get to the heart of the action in the first page. Thinking over one of my novels, I've decided to cut out the prologue and filter the information in smaller bites throughout the story. I also need to beef up some of the characterization on one of the main characters, bring him into the story sooner, give him more of a stake in things and muddy the waters early on. I'll probably end up with a 100,000-word story, but that's not a bad thing in this day and time.

The Evil One has always told me he wants to grow up to be a bum. He said it again yesterday when he hugged me just before we went our separate ways. That gave me an idea about a story, bolstered by my conversation with MJ today. He said he would like to be a millionaire bum, someone people wouldn't look twice at, someone people would label as a bum at first glance and discount him.

I've been researching romance novels and am going to take an old friend's advice to write paranormals, but also mainstream women's fiction, too. The creative juices are flowing and it takes all my energy to stick to my regular job instead of sitting in front of my laptop and writing all day and most of the night. I didn't realize how much I have missed writing, creating, living in those worlds until I bought this laptop and let me fingers do the talking. All the roads converge at this point and there is nothing but horizon to the end of the world. I am traveling that road and I won't be traveling it alone. Thank the gods for good company and good friends, old and new.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


I feel guilty right now because I'm so happy about how the birthday picnic turned out today. I feel guilty because it wasn't about me today; it was about the Evil One. It is his birthday today. But the smile on his face and the look of pleasure and happiness, not to mention all the times he has thanked me in person, by email and by IM, make me happy.

Our picnic lunch in the park today was perfect. The sky was a perfect Colorado blue without a hint of a cloud anywhere. The temperature was warm with a refreshing breeze under a warm caress of sun. The birds were singing brightly. The park was quiet with a few little kids playing on the monkey bars, slides and swings and in the sand with their mothers.

I arrived well before the Evil One and unpacked my basket and bag, setting out the spicy Mexican chicken salad I made that morning, fresh strawberries, the cheesecake and his gift bag. I had to stop and calm myself because I was so excited I was trembling and out of breath. He arrived at 11, coming down the hill with two bottles of water in his hands and a big smile. I wished him a happy birthday and we chatted briefly. Then I made the mistake of giving him a choice. "Would you like to eat first or open your gifts?"

"I suppose I'll just get the gifts out of the way first." He had a happy little boy grin on his face while he worked his way through the tissue grass screening the gifts from above.

He loved everything and we dug into the salad while he eyed the beautiful birthday cheesecake between bites and laughing and talking. He even had a second helping of the salad and pronounced it very good. Not bad for an Atkins recipe and well worth the effort.

See? There I go again. I didn't put all this together because it was a chore or because I wanted praise or thanks. I put it all together because I wanted to celebrate the Evil One's birth and hopefully make him feel special, and yet I am smiling and happy because he was glad. It was like a gift for me, too -- spending time together, sharing a meal and seeing him happy, smiling and teasing.

All of this makes me wonder if sometimes we give the people we care about gifts because we receive the gift of sharing their happiness and knowing that for a moment we touched their hearts and their lives. It seems a little selfish to think of myself at a time when I want someone else to feel special, but there it is.

Just knowing he had a good time and will enjoy and use the gifts I chose is indeed a gift I can share. So, I will have to face the fact that I am indeed selfish and I enjoy the pleasure of the people around me. Bite me! I'm selfish.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Would you?

I'm settling in with my soy fresh fruit and lemon juice smoothie and it just occurred to me as I checked the beautiful cheesecake in the fridge that I wouldn't have made the cheesecake just for myself, partly because I would probably end up eating the whole thing and pack on most of the weight I have lost and partly because there's no need to make something like that for me since I live alone. I could justify making it for my landlady and Nel across the hall, but Nel doesn't like desserts and I'm sure the landlady would not forgive me either for taunting her with something that would increase her weight and hip size. I needed someone special, something special as a reason.

I'm curious. How often do I do that? For that matter, how many things do you do for others that you wouldn't do for just yourself, even if you aren't single and don't live alone?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Baking day

My arms are sore but my heart is light. I'm happy.

After a whole lot of work and effort (and people did this all the time before electricity), I just took the birthday cheesecake out of the oven and put it immediately into the fridge (as directed). There it will stay for 24 hours before I take it out of the pan and it looks beautiful. I used real infused vanilla for the sour cream topping and fresh squeeze lemon juice for the cake. If this turns out the way I hope (and it should) I'm going to play around with the recipe a little and see if I can come up with a new twist, or at least one that is as good as I remember this one being.

Ground almonds in the crust and almond extract in the sour cream icing? Macadamia nuts? Chocolate? So many different things to do and try and make. All I need now are a lot more friends who love cheesecake who have birthdays, anniversaries and parties coming up.

Know anyone?

Wet mornings and warm thoughts

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers on the list, and all the women who mother children.

My best friend from high school emailed me this morning with Mother's Day wishes for me since, as she said, it's doubtful my kids would do anything. She's right about that, especially now that my oldest, David Scott, has joined the enclave in South Carolina with his brothers and half brother. I'm sure he won't forget to celebrate his father's wife though; she wouldn't have it any other way.

Honestly though, I didn't think about it being Mother's Day today. All I thought about was getting up to check my Doctor Who download so I could watch Rise of the Cybermen. I had a little glitch when I deleted the download from my queue and couldn't find the downloaded episode at first. I started writing to the Evil One to see if he would be nice enough to just send me the downloaded file he downloaded yesterday evening and then I decided to use my brain and not panic. I found the file and settled comfortably in bed to watch the episode, which was far too short for my taste.

The creator of the cybermen is John Lubic, played ably by Roger Lloyd Pack who says he based the character of Lubic on Donald Rumsfeld, "...a power-hungry mad person who believes he is completely right and has a lot of control[.]" Pack looked familiar to me, but he would since he also played Bartemius Crouch, Sr. in last year's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Yes, I am definitely addicted to Doctor Who and I have finally gotten over my dislike of David Tennant, the latest incarnation of The Doctor, and his over-the-top melodramatic acting style (which has calmed down a lot) and that tongue thing from the HP movie. He's actually quite appealing. Interesting though to see the father and son dynamic from HP repeated in a sense in the latest Doctor Who episode as Tennant and Lumic square off as opponents once again, but this time the shoe is on the other foot.