Fast-Forward to Showtime!

It is a stressful and moderately sleepless period of time for me. It always is before a show.

My official job title is Music Director. Any and all things musically related go through me. This includes the winter and spring musicals. In fact, the explicit purpose of hiring me was 1.) To serve as a musical director for all productions and 2.) To fulfill a Keystone Stars Requirement.

Since, my duties have expanded exponentially. I am a substitute for general education. I have taken all things surrounding fine arts. I am partially a drama teacher. I do some office jockeying. And now, I’ve taken on graphic media and design.

I wish I could post my latest masterpiece, but I’d out myself so fast. It would be one thing if someone else stumbled upon this, as it is. There is still a considerable shadow of a doubt. There are dozens of programs like mine in the city. I could be anyone. Even as I watch Lulu and Em bounce off of each other, there is still no overlap. Not yet, and hopefully I won’t ever have to worry about it.

And this flash in my mind is among the scattered puzzle pieces that leaves a hint: At this point, so what if anyone made the connection? Puh. Yeah, I’m so sure that will be my thought while I’m watching my life go up in flames.

I spent my entire Monday night slaving over that program. I spent all of Tuesday fiddling with the format, stapling the prints, and making handwritten corrections on all 100 copies. Meanwhile, I was lugging a stapler the size of a tripod with me, and two hundred pages of paper.

My mind and my body should be spent.

My hands and my arms hurt like hell. I’m sucking down Ibuprofin and benzos. And yet, I find myself taking on more, and more projects!

In fact, in the last week, I’ve taken on more than I have in the last six months.

I interviewed for a second job on Friday. That went amazingly well. A new grocery store chain is opening up, and I wanted to try to get in on the ground floor. I have a cumulative three years in retail, two and a half in two competing grocery stores. I know my way up, down, and sideways – from registers to stock to pricing. I never thought it would amount to anything, because I’ve always been at the bottom of the food chain. But, this manager wanted me bad. “I could use a person with your experience and education.” Who knew?

I am now officially a Sunday School teacher again. My aunt is having surgery and passed the torch.

I’ve been marketing for a second-hand shop.

And today, I’ve taken on advising and web administration of a fledgling music site of a friend.

Hypomania? Again?

Atypical at best. Overly ambitious. Check. Social. Check. Sexual. Check. Sleepless? No. I was so done last night that I apologized to C.S. for checking out so early.

I can’t make heads or tails of it. And I’m anxious at the thought of exploiting this.

Also, I want to offer my profound apologies to anyone or anything I’ve neglected. And an explanation to go along with it.

In Bricked, I detailed how Tallulah, my Blackberry Curve 9300, took a dive. It required me to completely wipe the device and reinstall.

What a pain in my thumbs! I’ve had to reinstall all of my apps. Everything was going fine until I went to install the Gmail app. Apparently, they stopped offering it in October!

What’s the problem? – you may ask. Well, I lead a double-life of sorts. More like a triple-life really. I have two personal emails and a work email that have always been hooked up to Tallulah. Lulu was through the Gmail App. It made everything very accessible and clean. Now, I’ve had to hook Lulu up to Tallulah, and divert it to a different folder with different alerts. (I get a lot of emails in a day).

In hooking it up to my device, I have only received new emails since Sunday evening. I have a lot of loose ends. Apologies if you are currently under the rug. I’ll get it taken care of throughout the rest of the week.

High School Never Ends: Unfair Game

Sing it again!

Four years you think for sure
That’s all you’ve got to endure
All the total dicks
All the stuck up chicks
So superficial, so immature
Then when you graduate
You take a look around and you say HEY WAIT!
This is the same as where I just came from!
I thought it was over!
Aww that’s just great!

I had theorized for years that high school was boot camp for life. Some people are assigned to the hot zone, and others end up behind a desk. And most of the time, just like in the military, you don’t end up in the place you signed up for. Usually, the place you end up wasn’t quite as bad as training.

I was mistaken.

High school is actually the kiddie pool for life.

When I was in high school, all I wanted was to graduate and get the eff out of there. In fact, I wanted out so badly that I dropped out at 17, entered the pilot cyber-charter school, and finished out 11th grade that way. The only reason I was coaxed back to my high school was the fact that I could enroll in five music classes and only needed one gym. It was way better than the option of a purely academic senior year.

I missed a record amount of days that year. A whopping sixty-two, when the fail limit was twenty-one. I missed almost three times the maximum amount. I actually missed one day over half of the school year.

(It was a miracle I graduated at all).

Yes, I had a severe case of senioritis. It was more than that. The whole ordeal of high school made me ill. It was a jungle of mini-adults, preying on one another in the attempt to establish social superiority. All for what? To be openly adored and envied by many and secretly despised by everyone that was trampled?

I was easy prey, far down the food chain of the high school food chain. Don’t be mistaken. I was not at the very bottom. I created a new breed of outcast and made it fashionable. It was a fabulous alternative to being hated for being a poser. I flaunted my flaws in hilarious self-loathing. It was quite a show to behold. Best of all, I helped push it so far from popular culture that it was enticing. A geeky, intelligent rebel? Who knew?!

It caught on. This was before emos existed, during the time of goths. I was neither. Sure, I was adorned with black clothes covered in pins. But, I was determined to give a permanent home on the social ladder to every kid that didn’t quite fit the mould. I wanted to challenge every social norm, and show everyone that different was actually better.

Just that alone put me in the line of fire. But what could they possibly gossip about that I hadn’t already broadcasted myself? I was poor as hell! My family was an absolute wreck! It was clear to see that I was a fat band geek. My wild eyes glared at the cliques behind thick lenses. Plainly said, I was a crazy freakshow!

I lied. I smiled when people gossiped about me. I’m too poor to afford new clothes every school year. I’m a whore, because I have sex. I see a crazy doctor and take crazy meds. My mother is a drunk, my brother is a tard, and my father is crazier than me. I don’t actually have friends, I have followers and worshippers. I acted like I fed on it, and turned to preach to my flock to do the same.

Truthfully, I felt like less than garbage. There was a drop of truth in every story. I felt ugly and ostracized. I didn’t like people’s perceptions of me, but I knew I never would. I should at least put on a show! Turn your own self-loathing and insecurities into something inspirational to some and controversial for most. It worked for Howard Stern, right?

Every jock, priss, prom queen, cheerleader, dancer and intellectual took their own shots at me. We were so far removed toward the end that it didn’t really affect me anymore. The shots from the artists, thespians, and fellow musicians hurt the most. You would think there would be at least a little bit of camaraderie. I suppose it is every (wo)man for themselves in the urban jungle.

I didn’t even plan on walking at graduation. My plan was to finish finals and disappear into the ether. But, parents get what parents want. I walked across that stage decorated with honors, and extreme gratitude that all of that was behind me.

Today, I learned that it is still exists, maybe even more so, right ahead of me.

A Dangerous Game

The night before last, I had this dream that was absolutely horrific.  Stay with me if you can.  This is a little long.

The dream was like a video game. It started out with me receiving instructions from someone. They said that I’d have a delivery in the mail. It was a very precious item that many people would be after me for. Namely a woman. I don’t remember her name.

Next thing I knew, I was either in a large apartment complex or a bad motel. I’m not sure. I’m thinking bad motel, because I don’t recall seeing any of my belongings there. It was a tiny place where the living room and the kitchen shared the same open space. Everything was drab and kind of nondescript. There was an antique style armchair – dark wood and burgundy velour fabric. That was about all that could fit into that tiny room. Right across from the door was a huge, open closet, with only a lone hanger on the rack. It looked extremely lived in. The TV was one of those old style TV’s that had a wire clothes hanger for an antenna. (Those don’t even function as televisions anymore). That was against the wall between the two doors.

I was standing there, peeking out of the glass side door that led to a huge wooden patio that was completely enclosed. It was an entire floor up, and the stairs leading down were precariously steep. Beyond that, all I could see were trees, mostly palm trees. In the very far distance, I saw what might have been a coast line, but it was misty. I couldn’t really see a whole lot.

Then, the doorbell rang. I let the heavy drape, maybe yellowish with green palm trees embroidered into them. It was dark in the room, and the room didn’t have any other windows but the big, glass, sliding door. I carefully edged my way to the front door and asked who it was. He said it was the delivery man. I told him that I didn’t want the package, but he insisted. There was no return address. I unlatched the chain on the door, unbolted it, and opened it. I saw outside to notice that the motel was in an L shape, with the black iron railings and only two exits to the parking lot that existed within the L, one on each end. He wheeled in a huge box, and practically vanished.

A huge box, great. Now everyone in the area has seen it. But that was probably the point. I opened the box to find it filled with peanuts. Tons and tons of white packing peanuts. I dumped the box out, realizing that the dolly was a ruse. Even the delivery guy was in on it. At the bottom, I find some kind of metal item. It was symbolic of something, but I can’t quite remember what it looked like. Maybe a metallic cross. It looked old and worn. It was larger than my palm, but not too large to carry in a fist. I clenched it in my fist, and headed for the patio.

I practically jumped down the stairs. I knew that someone set me up, and that they probably watched the whole thing go down. I hit the cement, and I began running through the trees.

I knew there was someone on my tail. I came out of the trees and onto a beach. I turned around, and I saw her in the distance. She had jet black, shiny hair, and dark eye makeup. She wore all black and had two thugs with her that were looking for me. I went into a crowd of beach goers. They were all just kind of laying there, soaking up the sun, despite the mist that surrounded the coast line area. Nobody seemed to mind me running through the area, kicking up sand. I was hoping to get to the mist before she noticed me. Or else, she wouldn’t be foolish enough to shoot into a crowd.

I’m going to guess what came next was a warning shot. I wasn’t hit, but it was a single fire from a handgun. I kept running for the mist. And now, she was hot on my tail. Her thugs stayed behind, probably to guard any area that I could use to get out. I ran, and my legs turned to jello and my body was heavy. My lungs ached with every gasp. She continued to fire at me with the pistol. I got into the mist and ran down the shore. I still couldn’t see the water because the fog was so dense.

I came to a grassy area and darted out of the mist and toward a parking lot. It was close to the shore. Not close enough, because she managed to graze me with a bullet. She had to have been running out by then. I busted in the window of a car door with my elbow (impossibility), got in, cranked it up, and sped off (complete impossibility).

I drove to the local grocery store to talk to Jay. (I don’t know why). I knew that he’d figure it out. But this store didn’t exist in my hometown. It was in this beach town, probably somewhere in Florida. Palm trees grew wild. But it was misty like northern beaches. I don’t know. I ran into the store, and I was convinced that she wouldn’t follow me in. There were security cameras and people everywhere.

Inside, the grocery store was identical to the one here. I stood by the bakery and talked to Jay. I showed him the relic, and he was clueless. He had no idea what I should have been doing, or what I could do to hide or get away. He did tell me one thing. This was a video game. If it was similar to Grand Theft Auto, then I wouldn’t die. I’d wake up at the local hospital or in my own bed at home, whichever was closer.

That was when I saw her and her thugs down the aisle. She lifted a rocket launcher. I stood there, wide-eyed, as Jay calmly stood is ground. She fired and I squeezed my eyes shut.

I woke up in the armchair back at the motel. Now, my family was there. I was so happy to see T.D. I had no idea what happened, but I was glad that it was over. Until someone called on the phone. I answered my Blackberry and it was the same man who gave me the instructions in the first scenario. Great, here we go again.

“We don’t have much time. You will find a package that contains a group of items. Try not to be suspicious, but hide them. And do everything you can to keep her from finding them.”

Her? The black-haired woman?

The doorbell rang. C.S. and my dad already seemed to have known. They coaxed T.D. outside with the box and instructed me to answer the door to distract her.

I opened the door, and it wasn’t the black-haired woman at all. It was a dark blonde woman. She was about my height (short), and much more stout than I am. She acted as if I was supposed to know her and invited herself in. She disregarded me entirely and surveyed the scene. T.D., C.S., and Dad were all back inside now, wrestling around as if that was what they were doing the whole time.

“Lovely,” she grumbled. “I shall require you to make accommodations.”

“Of course,” I answered, pretending that I had a clue as to what was going on. I pointed to the one bedroom door in the very back. She huffed her way down there.

I ran out of the door, and suddenly, the outside changed. It wasn’t outside anymore. I was in an upscale hotel. I ran down the hall, trying to find something I could use to distract her. I saw a spa, and ran in to make her an appointment. Through the mist, I saw her lying on a table, wrapped in white towels, with the whole spa get-up. She had the green mask on her face, and cucumbers on her eyes. She lifted a cucumber for just a second to see me and she said snootily, “Oh, I’ve already taken care of it. Don’t worry about lifting a precious finger.”

This was my opportunity. I knew I needed to hide the contents somewhere else. I jumped down the patio stairs again, and found several freshly dug patches of dirt. I used my hands to sift through it. It wasn’t really packed down. I uncovered these shining relics. One was a silver ornate, ceremonial knife, and the other was gold. One looked like a small scepter with a ball of onyx in the center. There were other tarnished gold relics buried with them that I couldn’t describe. Maybe crosses or other religious symbols? They were ornate, but encrusted with gunk.

I heard her voice in the distance and attempted to bury them even deeper. They were in too shallow of a hole, but I didn’t have a shovel. I clawed at the dirt with my hands, threw everything in the hole, and tried to cover it back up. There wasn’t enough dirt. It was still too shallow. And I started to panic.

End Dream.

I didn’t have enough time to sit down and do a dream analysis on it.  That’s what I’m working out right now, because after the chain of events yesterday, I need some answers.

Unfair Game – Part One

The time stamps don’t lie. I watched the time race by in the bottom right-hand corner of the grey bar on my monitor. 10:39PM: “C.S., are you awake?” No answer.

My intention? To reconcile my email and produce an update. My email has been hovering at around 45 unread. My posts have become sporadic on Pendulum. I do have an audience, whether I want to acknowledge it while writing my posts or not.

Note: I do not acknowledge my audience, because I am continuing with the original premise of a monologue. This is purely in the sense that I am not writing to an audience, but more performing for an audience.

One thing led to another. The devil is in the details. I glanced at the little clock: 1:06AM. At that rate, I would’ve only gotten seven hours of sleep. I bargained with myself. I could probably extend that out another half an hour.

1:42AM: I’ll be done in a couple of minutes and I could muster six and a half hours. I can be okay on that little sleep. I’ll make it up.

2:17AM: I’m right in the middle of something (different)! I’ll cut this short and go straight to bed.

2:50AM: Finally done. Wait! No! I still have to post on Pendulum!

3:16AM: Done. For real this time.

3:23AM, as I lay my head on the pillow: I’ll sleep in for however long my body tells me I need.

Less than five hours later, the alarm on my Blackberry went off. The universe is funny in the way that if I needed to get up, it would have been a struggle. The touchpad on my Blackberry was frozen. It only allowed me to snooze it for 5 minutes. After a drowsy battle, I managed to turn it off.

8:31AM: I am gently awoken with Breathe Me by Sia. C.S. was blasting it, anxiously asking himself, and likely me, where his belt had gone off to this time. The eternal struggle.

Losing sleep is dangerous business. I rarely wake up in a haze and spend my day in that condition. This is where external factors are counted the most. An uneventful day could mean I’d likely lose steam in the early evening with a geriatric bedtime. An action-packed, stressful day that ends with me conquering something, could pave the way for euphoric hypomania. An emotionally charged day could beckon dysphoric hypomania.

A dangerous game, indeed. Any which way, the stack of cards is eventually going to clobber me.

It was business as usual at the Sunshine Estate. C.S. left in the van-buggy, the house was a frosty 65, and T.D. and I were enjoying our Cinnamon Toast Crunch, with the company of Spongebob. Today was the first day in awhile that I actually witnessed the mailman deliver. So, I was prompted to retrieve it. Besides, we were still waiting on yet another continuance for the lawsuit.

That’s exactly what was amongst Tuesday Trash Mail Day. Our lawyer already informed us that the plaintiff retained council. Hence, the continuance. What I saw was un-effing-believable.

“This is an official notification from the district magisterial court. This document notifies the party of an official continuance of the hearing from said date to the new date.”

Okay, okay, I knew that. And at the very bottom of the tri-folded paper it read, “This was granted at the request of (insert name here) Esq.”

The passenger of the other party’s vehicle and the lawyer have the same last name!!!

This is where it gets hairy. We are uncertain of the nature of the relationship between the owner of the vehicle (the plaintiff), the driver, and her passenger. Mind you, the occupants of the vehicle are nowhere on these court documents. The only place that they exist is in the police report, and a vague threat of personal injury suit.

The passenger and I attended the same high school, and I recognized him at the scene. We weren’t well acquainted – he was a sports player and I was a musician. Those social circles don’t provide a wealth of opportunity to cross paths. Nor would I have wanted to. He wasn’t a terrible guy. I had a reputation to keep.

I immediately discarded my breakfast and ran to my computer. It was time to do some investigative work. It was too unlikely to be coincidence – it’s not like the surname was Smith or Johnson.

I’m handy with a computer. I’m one of those people I fear. With a first name, surname, and a city, I can find out a lot about a person. I made the connection pretty easily. I found both a positive address match from census information and a genealogy match. They are father and son.

It gets worse. The plaintiff’s lawyer is also a commissioner in my municipality. FML!

Isn’t there some kind of law against this?!

Bipolar Inspirations

When I attempted to make the graphic media additions to the Original Graphic Media page, I made a discovery. It wasn’t practical to showcase my graphic media in a hidden page anymore. It had outgrown the tiny mention on Pendulum. It was time to build a new home for all of my graphic media.

A new home for Lulu's original graphic media

All of my graphic media will eventually be moved to the new site Bipolar Inspirations. As avid fans of Pendulum, you may have noticed many posts have graphic media associated with them. That will not change. However, if you have a longing to know the stories behind the pieces, Bipolar Inspirations may be exactly the place you’d like to visit.

Shameless self promotion alert: Don’t forget to hit the “Follow” button at the top!

Thanks to you all for following Pendulum! Posts will still remain frequent on Pendulum, but may be a little less frequent on Bipolar Inspirations.

As The Pendulum Swings

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my blog and the psychology of color.  We are all aware that colors around us alter our perceptions about the place, people, and situations we encounter.  I live in Pittsburgh, and I experience The Grey Season throughout months primarily between November and March.  Part of this is also known as Winter.  In The Grey Season, my perceptions are altered.  Everything is just more, well, blah, for lack of a better word.  It’s depressive but not necessarily depression.

Here’s a run-down of the psychology of color.

  • Black: considered to a serious color.  Usually is representative of any subject that is exclusively serious.  It usually revolves around death.  Invokes feelings of seriousness, gloomy, and despair.
  • White: considered to be a color of purity, cleanliness, and impartiality.  It can be thought of as a clean slate and new beginnings.  White bears no judgement.
  • Grey: thought to be a color that represents mediocrity.  It is not a moving color.  It is absolutely uninspiring.
  • Red: is considered to be a color that represents aggression and anger.  Think of the bullfighters holding the red drape.  The bull naturally feels aggression when seeing the color red.
  • Orange: is a vibrant color and typically represents change.  Orange is a color that is found most in the fall.  It is the color of pumpkins in the harvest, and leaves falling from trees.
  • Yellow: thought of as a joyful color.  Yellow is the color of the sun, and the light that it brings into this world.  The sun brings warmth, and is necessary for plants to grow.  It is considered a high energy color full of happiness.
  • Green: is thought of as an intelligent color.  Green is the color of money, but also the color of plants.  It is often representative of fertility and luck.
  • Blue: considered a color of serenity.  Blue occurs naturally in the world as the largest entities.  The sky is blue.  The oceans are blue.  Many people don’t realize that the water represents the fluidity of our emotions.  Blue water is calm water.  It is healing for the mind in nature.
  • Purple: is a regal color.  The robes of kings and queens were made from precious and rare indigo dye.  It represents wisdom, respect, and stimulates the brain for problem solving.
  • Brown: thought of as a stable color.  It is the color of the very earth we walk on.  It is reliable and constant.

As you may have noticed, my banner changed.  The banner was a hand-crafted graphic of hand selected clocks.  Each clock represents a frame of mind.  And every clock represents the seconds that are passing in our lives, during this very moment.

As the Pendulum Swings is a term that represents a number of ideas and concepts.  First and foremost, it represents the swinging of a pendulum in relation to the nature of bipolar disorder.  For every swing in one direction, I experience a swing in the opposite direction.  Whether they are long swings, or short swings, the pendulum will never stop until I am dead.

As the Pendulum Swings is also a play off of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum”.  If you are interested, the link will take you to the entire text for your reading pleasure.  Poe’s writings have always resonated with me, even as a young teen.  There was something in there that seemed to describe my very nature.  I felt the title of my blog was an appropriate reference to this work.

And finally, As the Pendulum Swings represents the swinging of the pendulum as it ticks our lives away.  Each swing is a second we have either gained for ourselves, or forever lost in the folds of the fabric of time.  It is a constant reminder that we should be constantly aware of our precious mortality.  Our physical lives are actually not exclusively owned. Rather, they are on lease, and we cannot be sure when that lease will expire.  We may lose our mortal flesh, but our souls are ours to keep.

What will you gain today from your mortal seconds to assimilate into your undying soul?

Perfectionists Anonymous

We're all guilty of this at one point or another.

Hello, my name is Lulu. And I am a perfectionist.

I have at least six half-written posts ready to roll out. Each contains explanations of what has been going on in my life lately. Yes, I’m aware that nearly a week has elapsed since I posted anything.

Why don’t I release any of them? Because, they aren’t quite right. None of them are actually completed. And every time I read them, I deem that there are entirely too many non sequitur tangents, and start editing. Before you know it, I pulled the wrong thread and the whole thing unraveled! Well, sh*t!

At least I know that I’m getting closer to returning to my original condition. You see, I was born into this world as a perfectionist. It is one of those . . . (dropped the word. Thanks Lamictal!), neurotic tics in my very DNA, bred into one generation after another since the beginning of time.

During the big bang, a collection of cosmic dust got together and became determined on being perfect. In evolution, this was found as a specific enzyme that became a tiny molecule in long DNA sequences. From an amoeba, all the way through vertebrates, into the homo genus, it settled into my first line of ape ancestors 9 million years ago. This was the same ape you saw engaging in curious behavior of sorting leaves for no specific reason. Later, it was the caveman who etched, and then went back to attempt to re-etch cave drawings. Today, it’s a genetic line, mostly comprised of dark blonde Scottish women, that are consumed with the urge to perfect everything.

I hope you could find that as amusing as I did. That was exactly one of those sidebars I was describing. But, since I have deemed this a stream of consciousness post, I can write whatever pops out. Now, I want you to do something for me. Locate the little red X at the top right of your screen. If this gets to be a little too Woody Allen-esque or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, you have your option. Otherwise, note the comment section below.

Back on track, or thereabouts. This started earlier than I have memory. When I was four, I recall the need to conquer everything I hadn’t yet mastered, but I was aware of. My handwriting was always meticulous. That was until I learned that handwriting is not meant to be uniform and is unique to each person. Of course, this happened during the “I am Unique, Hear Me Roar!” phase all teenagers eventually go through. For me, it was more like the discovery of self-loathing in depression that causes complete defeat and perpetuates the cycle of self-loathing.

Here’s where I’m going.

I do not have OCD. Okay, maybe I have some tendencies, but it doesn’t cause me significant dysfunction. I do have a threshold for this. Eventually, I’ll get too frustrated, throw my hands up in the air, and scream, “F**k it!”, as I’m seen setting the proverbial (or actual) fire to the whole thing. (Note: I am not an arsonist. I think. Define arsonist.)

Joking!

That’s pretty much what happened to me. Bipolar disorder probably put the stop to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Before, I was obsessed with perfecting skills and creations. I actually remember my life before Bipolar Disorder! Granted, I was only eleven and younger, but it did exist!

Then, I became distracted with myself. My feelings, my consciousness, my cognition, and my world. It was all about me. I went around with the blow torch and sledgehammer and demolished everything. Because, if it came from me, then it was flawed in design from its origins. It was as flawed as I was.

And for a very long time, I went through a cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies through self-sabotage. I carry an inherent flaw. Time to get to the incinerator!

But, as years of treatment have ticked by and the medicine has coursed through my veins, I began a process of ecdysis (look it up, I’m not linking it, I’m busy). I don’t consider this a process of reversion. But, it is not synonymous with metamorphosis, because I am not coming out of the cocoon as a different being. It is something different entirely.

I am moving in a corkscrew fashion down a time line that is supposed to be linear. It is only linear in the sense that one can draw lines down the outside of the corkscrew to find a correlation between that snap shot and the next at the point of intersection in the corkscrew.

So, here I am. A whole month of bipolar of stability. The longest point in my treatment that I have experienced this. And if I were idly questioned, I’d remark that I hardly feel stable. My life is a hectic mess right now. But hey, when is anything hectic organized? Pristine chaos – HA! But, my emotions are solid, though they rattle. Is this what non-Dx people feel like?

Now, I’m busy, so I’m going to stop writing now. Have a lovely day.

Tarnished and Golden Friday

Lulu Quirk #5 – extreme claustrophobia. Large crowds in tight spaces are the easiest way to set off a panic attack capable of anything. Black Friday might be the scariest day of the year. Every year, I reserve this day for hunkering down in the bunker and waiting it out, like people wait out a snow storm.

The Suit Strikes Again
The bad news started early that day. C.S. spoke with our lawyer. The plaintiff lawyered up, and now, the driver of the vehicle is claiming personal injury. (The owner and the driver are not the same person).

What bull! When I arrived on the scene, C.S. was sitting on the curb with and unfocused stare. His glasses had been lost, and no one even bothered to attempt to locate them! One leg was extended and swollen with bruising. It was clear he was hurt, and yet they let him just sit on the ground.

And she’s claiming personal injury!? Complete lies. When I arrived, she and her male friend (still not the owner) were jumping up and down in the attempt to get the convertible roof down. I saw her up close. There wasn’t a scratch on her. This lawsuit has become a circus.

I am not at liberty to discuss the next course of action. But, it wasn’t the most fabulous news of the morning.

Karmatic Vindication
The day was completely redeemed. Yeah, like all humans, especially women, I am petty. I don’t hold active grudges because that takes more effort than I have to give. But I will never forget someone who mistreated me. That includes all of the catty girls who treated me like I was some kind of outcast trash.

I was bullied and picked on. I was overweight. I wore glasses. I lived in a poor, completely dysfunctional family, in a bad neighborhood. My fashion was gothic, standard funeral dress to celebrate every miserable day of my teenage existence.

Eventually, I rebelled against social norms by challenging them at every turn. I started an extremely popular clique called, “The Anti-Clique”. I was an inspiration to all of the wonderful kids who were cast out. Kids with quirks, nerds, geeks, creeps, weirdos, goths, etc. Most everyone was welcome, with few exceptions. Some people were just beyond help. Eventually, I became a household name. I was practically a cult leader.

I was also particularly smart and incredibly talented. I was an honor student who was Chorus vice president and president. I was accepted into the very exclusive Select Chorus by audition. I was section leader in both classes and section leader in band. And I was also accepted into the extremely exclusive music technology pilot program.

I may as well have had a target on my back. Being in the public spotlight with massive support to mock conformity put me in a prime position for attack.

I have mostly forgotten all about it. When it comes up, it’s all rehashed, but with a certain amount of emotional detachment. I don’t really care about what happened. It gave me the drive to become the beautiful, vibrant, educated, and fulfilled woman I am today.

We had a late night. When C.S. and I were dating, we used go to restaurants for half-priced appetizers all of the time. We went to a local restaurant that is rarely ever crowded. When we arrived, we stood at the hostess table for quite awhile. I was becoming irritated. The only thing worse than bad service is inedible food.

But, when our hostess greeted us, I knew exactly why we had an extended wait. I immediately recognized her and I knew that she had seen me from afar. Likely, she ran around begging others to cover for her and came up empty.

Macy was one of those girls. This girl had been a snobby bitch since Kindergarten. We had neighborhood schools, all except for mine. And we were shipped to an adjacent community school. We were outsiders. No matter how nice I treated this girl, she always turned her nose up at me. Her mother even treated mine like dirt. Her mother was the PTA President.

We spent three years in Select Chorus in opposite sections. She was soprano and I was alto. We sat directly across the semi-circle from one another. She was nothing. Not a section leader, and never picked for solos or competitions. But, she’d stare at me with a permanent snarl on her face with her nose propped in the air.

There Macy stood, as a hostess / waitress at a local restaurant with an ass that she could rent as a billboard, and the color of an Oompa Loompa! She was so clearly embarrassed that she couldn’t even make eye contact with me! And once we were seated, she mumbled something about our waiter, and made a beeline for the kitchen!

Ha! Karma’s a bitch! and you could tell she was getting it three fold. I’m hardly arrogant. But I knew what it looked like on the outside. I’m in stylish clothes, thinner than in high school, with lovely skin and brilliant blonde hair. C.S. is gorgeous. (I can say that with confidence because he bears a strong resemblance to Robert Pattinson, or Edward Cullen from Twilight). And T.D. is beyond cute. And overall, we are a pretty happy family that appears as if we have money.

I texted a high school friend who texted me earlier in the week to ask if she was being catty over her pleasure in watching all of these other girls become wide and miserable. “Absolutely not!”, I answered, “You didn’t do it. They’re paying for all that they’ve done.” I had to dial this back to her and she laughed. I don’t usually bathe in other people’s misery, but in certain cases, I can’t resist. She assured me it was totally justified.

A little after midnight, I receieved a call from my friend. Excitedly, she asked, “Did you see Macy’s recent status?”

“No, we’re not FB friends. She’s private. What did she say?”

“Apparently, you must have given her a serious blow to her self esteem! Status: Goals for December: 1.) Get in shape, 2.) Get a second job, 3.) Be happier in life.”

And the smug laughter ensued.

I didn’t have to say a word. I didn’t even have to make eye contact. All I had to do was be myself.

Revenge is like a fine wine. It gets better when aged.

Thnks Fr Th Crcs

I have a lot of things to be thankful for. Best of all, my family. Especially after this Thanksgiving.

I had originally forgotten that our presence was required for Thanksgiving dinner at the in-laws. I was reminded the moment I awoke. Ugh. There goes my plan to visit with my family and enjoy the rest of the day in a turkey coma.

I don’t loathe my in-laws. In fact, I love my MIL and FIL. However, to be frank, with the exception of my MIL, they are my step-in-laws. That includes all of the extended family, Nana, and Aunt N. Those two are some characters. But, in Italian families, everyone is kin no matter how they came about being so.

You know Lulu. Everything happens with a certain twist.

Family gatherings are awkward without MIL. She’s the link that solidifies me as part of the family. I’m not used to Italian families, honestly. They’re very affectionate, even physically so. Scottish families are not. We wave at each other from across a great expanse and smile.

We went to my family’s dinner, which is extremely relaxed and informal. To my parents, Thanksgiving is not really a celebratory holiday for them. It’s a ritualistic yearly event encouraging gluttony. In prior years, it was actually closer to Festivus.

Immediately following that dinner, we packed up the family and headed to the in-laws. Two Thanksgiving dinners was going to be a challenge. It was like (wo)man vs. food. And I’m in no shape for a challenge like that!

There are thirteen miles between our home and my in-laws. On the way there, C.S. talked to MIL. Apparently, FIL was at Market District to buy one of those hideously expensive, pre-cooked dinners! I was in shock! What an absolute waste of money! And next, how could they possibly afford to drop over $100 on something that could be prepared for half of that when they are so hard-up?

We arrived at Nana’s and called FIL to meet us up there. He told us that he’d have dinner in the oven and it would be ready in two hours. Two hours! Unfreakin’ believable. Over $100 on a meal you actually had to cook anyway?!

And what to do in that two hours? The house is not child-proof by any means. There is no cable and no toys for T.D. I could only imagine the disaster awaiting us.

So, we waited in the car, in 40 degree weather with the heater off. T.D. was peacefully slumbering with his parka on, in the car seat. C.S. tells me that he’s going to take more pictures of Sebastian (the totalled car) from the interior for to document the damages in the lawsuit.

Forty minutes elapsed. I was absolutely freezing my everything off, tingling from the cold. My husband called FIL back. “Ohhhh,” he slurred, “I was playing with the dogs. I’ll be up in a second.” FIL time runs on quite a different clock. Ten minutes later, he pulled into the driveway.

He stumbled out of the car with armloads of packaged, partially cooked food. I tended to T.D. I met my FIL in the kitchen and he gave me a wobbly hug. He quietly admitted to me, “I don’t know what happened. I was sitting there and I just fell asleep.”

C.S. stayed in the kitchen to help. FIL stood there, silent with his head hanging. It became clear that he had fallen asleep standing up! C.S. woke him and he said, “I took some pain pills earlier. I’m going to wake up with a cigarette in the smoking room.” He was never to be scene again.

I noted Nana was nowhere to be seen as well. Apparently, she had taken another of her infamous falls and went back to bed for the day. It was T.D. and I surfing the four channels available to find something, anything, for entertainment. It came down to Maury or Judge Judy.

Once everything was in the oven, we took T.D. outside to run around the vast property. It wasn’t without shenanigans. There had to be some entertainment to make the trip remotely worthwhile.

And it will stay like this until Christmas!

After, we joined FIL in the smoking room. T.D. found his favorite shows and sat in FIL’s lap for over an hour. And eventually, FIL passed back out, his head hanging backward with his mouth completely open. It was a sight to behold. I wanted to take a photo, but I figured as hilarious as it would be, it would likely be insulting.

When T.D. got up from FIL’s lap, FIL’s jeans were soaked with urine. It turned out that my son’s diaper leaked. And yet, FIL was absolutely oblivious. It actually looked as if FIL soiled himself! He groggily asked, “What happened here?, completely unphased.

C.S. and I joked about the absolute ridiculousness of the situation. Why the hell were here? What is the whole point of having to cook our own dinner? Who exactly are we supposed to be visiting here? Everyone here is unconscious but us!

We went back up to finish dinner. C.S. asked me for assistance in the kitchen, leaving T.D. in the living room entirely unsupervised. You know, I’ve been to every major holiday at my in-laws house for the last five years, and I still don’t know where the light switch is in the bathroom. How would I know where anything is in the kitchen! Everything was in bags, tucked away in drawers!

That is when I started to notice the address labels. There was one on the refrigerator and another on the cabinet. I looked some more and found more on the stove and the cabinet above it. They were littered throughout the kitchen! I began to play Where’s Waldo!

I returned to the living room to find absolute chaos. Life alert was activated. The phone was off the hook, beeping. Cabinets hung open with their contents strewn about the floor. And T.D. stood there repeatedly pressing the button the answering machine. I couldn’t help but laugh. What destruction! I was almost proud.

I rejoined my husband in the kitchen to ready the table. I said, “I found eight, beat that!” He laughed and asked, “Did you see the one on the toilet?!”I burst into hysterical laughter and exclaimed, “No!” He smiled devilishly and said, “I took pictures!”

Property of Nana, who is afraid you're going to jack her toilet.

I looked and burst into the hardest laugh I had experienced. My legs turned to rubber and I fell to the floor. My stomach and sides ached, while I laughed so hard, I made no noise. I curled up and just shook like a Tickle Me Elmo.

Dinner was served. Nana came out of her bedroom wearing only her nightgown. Now, had I know this was casual dress, I would have stayed in my pajamas too! FIL came from downstairs and we all assembled at the tabled. Their family is extremely Catholic, so FIL mumbled through grace.

Nana doesn’t hear very well, so our conversations are very limited. This is despite the fact that I am a 5’1″ powerhouse of sound. I’ve been teased my entire life for having a loud voice. When I did solos, I did not need a microphone, even from a large auditorium. And yet, Nana cannot hear me. I looked over and FIL was practically asleep in his plate. C.S. and I exchanged hilarious glances across the table.

WTF?!?!

This why they call it a “Family Circus”..

This exercise was pointless. With one exception.

Napa Valley: 1985 - Aged 26 Years

A Happy Thanksgiving indeed!

Marginally Clear

Thanksgiving will hopefully be a day of thanks. It marks two weeks since the LEEP procedure. Since it falls on a holiday, my doctor’s office was kind enough to squeeze me in on Wednesday, Nov. 23. I’m sure the scheduling nurse I spoke with was aware that I’d have a Sword of Damocles hanging over my holiday table. It was kind of her to be so considerate. (Note to self: Be thankful for considerate, compassionate people).

The Healing Process

I was briefed after the surgery about care and restrictions. No worries – this is not going to get graphic. I’ll admit, it was not quite as I expected it. They likened it to a colposcopy with a biopsy. I know there is a huge difference between the two. One is a little snip and the other is more akin to taking a sizable section. Like trimming the hedges versus pruning a tree.

They under-exaggerate when they describe the more unpleasant parts of post-op care. I was in nearly constant, serious pain for the first four days. I would wake up in the morning in severe pain, because a full bladder likely pressed against the area. The more I moved, the more the pain increased.

Mothers will especially stand this next part. It is more akin to the physical sensations to about a week after labor and delivery. My bottom half was sore. It was pain like a T, across my hips through me, and into my back.

They don’t tell you the real story on a lot of it, although they are still defined within the parameters of “typical healing”. To sat the least, it was a lot more intense than I predicted.

The healing time takes longer than I predicted too. The doctors assured me that I’d be back on my feet, doing my daily activities in a few days. But, those activities are not to include any aerobic / strenuous activity. I haven’t been able to do any housework. No stairs, so I have to limit my use of them at home. It’s frustrating to leave something on a different floor.

I’m still not quite back to normal. I always feel like the doctors overreact when they give you restrictions. Possibly, it is because they know patients will not follow them to the letter. But, they weren’t kidding here. I’m moving better, but I am still in pain. I need extended time sitting. I’m tired.

The biggest thing they don’t tell you is the emotional rollercoaster that follows. I don’t know if it’s hormonal, but I have been completely out of whack. I described some of it in With This Pill. Manic Monday touched upon the subject in 2.5.

This is a conversation C.S. and I had on Friday.

I swear. A lot.

I thought I was on the cusp of a depressive episode. Mobility is difficult. It is irritating and frustrating to be at the mercy of others. I am a control freak. I like things done my way, and I like to be an active participant at all times. But right now, I feel like a useless invalid watching life pass as I’m bound immobile, as much as possible.

I feel useless. I can’t take charge of classes because I have to meet them in their classrooms. I must have children assist me in classes by passing out lyric sheets and retrieving items for me from across the room. I hate asking people for help. Then, I start to feel like an inconvenience, a burden, if you will.

Tomorrow’s Follow-up
I was under the impression that they were going to poke in there and assess my healing.  Then, they were going to report how much had to be excised, and what my chances of having more children is going to look like.  What they failed to mention is that tomorrow is also the delivery of the results from the sample they took.  What I thought was going to be a completely benign appointment turned malignant fast.

What the doctor is looking for is are Clear Margins.  Essentially, if the tissue they collected has both the cancerous cells and a margin surrounding it of healthy tissue, then we can be assured that all of the cancerous cells were excised.  However, if the margins are not clear, then cancerous cells still remain and pose a possible threat.

The course of action after that is typically to wait until the results from the follow up Pap smear come back.  If they are positive, then we visit colposcopy land to see how bad it is.  And, there is a possibility of yet another procedure.

You guessed it.  This poses a greater threat to my future pregnancies.  The more cervix that is removed, the higher the risk of miscarriage and pre-term labor.  I have a plan, but I need to get C.S. on board.  If the issue is forced, I want to make the Hail Mary pass in order to conceive another child before I would have another surgery.  We have two months to make a decision, because after that, it’s do or die.

I really do want another child, even if it’s not at a great time.  If I have to do it and take some risks, I’m willing to do that.  However, C.S. has not expressed a great deal of enthusiasm about another child.  I don’t want to come to blows over this.  But, if there is a serious disagreement, I know it’s going to turn into a serious problem.

One bridge at a time, Lulu.  One bridge at a time.