30 September 2006

Cheryl Grapples Depression to a 2-2 Tie

We've come to a truce, at least temporarily, my depression and me. "Impasse" might actually be the better term. Neither one of us is strong enough right now to obliterate the other so we retreat to our respective corners and plot strategy.

At least this weekend is better than the last one. Today is a perfect day...for doing the bare minimum of laundry, recycling, cleaning out the fridge and taking the garbage out. And for laying about on the couch soaking the cool dampness in through my skin. And for catching up with a few blogs.

Max Julian is over in Africa, God love him, and was given and accepted a Ugandan name. I envy him and am very happy he's able to experience this. I wish I could say I've been keeping up with thefreeslave in recent months but I never changed the feed in my Google sidebar when he moved to Wordpress so I haven't known there were new posts in a couple of months and I've lacked the motivation to wonder why.

Jean is considering career options and reliving 'high' school all over again at You Are There. Please go visit her and help me convince her to write this all in a book?

Kristin over at Go, go, Bimbo! is exploring the racism inherent in her grandmother's language
and life and its impact on her family. This is one I've made mental notes on because I sense a post is in there for me somewhere.

I don't know what Cap'n Dyke is up to. I think I need to go make sure Google hasn't dropped another feed on me. I can't imagine th'Cap'n bein' so quiet fer so long, what wit' All Hallow's Eve a few, short weeks away. Perhaps she's all wrapped up with her Office Espionage Kit.

So, there is a cease-fire in the battle for my soul. I'm feeling a little better. Had some bloodwork drawn yesterday and will see my family doctor on Monday morning for the results and a discussion of my options regarding my depression. I wish I could just naturally be a person who doesn't give a fuck what people think or how I come off to others. Unfortunately, that's not the way I was made or formed. Since I wasn't born with an overabundance of
courage and had none intentionally instilled in me during my formative years, I have to search for it now. It is difficult.

But I had the energy to wake at a reasonable hour, go get my prescriptions filled and a bite to
eat, pick up smokes and strip the bed. I have four (4!) loads of clothes in need of laundering. I might have to split that up into 2 today (plus the load of sheets) and 2 tomorrow. Maybe I'll actually go get some wings tomorrow and enjoy the Eagles' game with wings and a beer while I wash. It's not quite whistling while I work but wings and a beer are a start.

And I'm actually starting to feel sexy again. Mmmmm. Nice. I missed it.

I think I've come to some understanding of what precipitated my most recent slide into darkness but I have to formulate those thoughts more before I can blog about them, if I feel I can share them at all.

It's enough this weekend to be (mostly) awake, getting (a few) things done and reading some of my favorite folks online. One step at a time....

(Update: "A pox upon me for a clumsy lout." How could I neglect to stop by at my favorite donjon of hedonistic bacchanalia, Hedonistic PleasureSeeker? Seems her latest adventure fell through for the evening so she's staying in and grooming. Of course, she's doing so in the most saporous manner. Enjoy!)

tags: depression / life / personal growth / self-awareness

For Jean

It may be a little late for her black hole fetish...she's now moved on to career choices. But still, how could I resist this?:

What did the astronaut say just before her mission to a black hole?

"I have a date with density."

Random bad joke courtesy of Simian Farmer.

tags: astronomy / black holes / humor / life

Former US Representative from Florida, Mark Foley

Also here, from the New York Times. Somebody'd better lock up the guns.

Oh, and I found out about it thanks to Debra Haffner's blog. I hope the Rev. Haffner can forgive my unChristian act of casting a stone, though it wasn't the first one. And for hoping Ken Mehlman doesn't get one uninterrupted hour's sleep between now and Nov. 7th.

tags: abuse / pederasty / pedophilia / Republican Congress / sex / sexual abuse / sexual predator / US House of Representtives / US Politics

I feel a post about my life coming on.

Be afraid.

24 September 2006

You Know it's Bad When I'm not Even Interested in Sex

Yep, this is a tough one, this slump.

I remember wondering, when I first started to sink into this black hole
last winter, if it wasn't partly Seasonal Affective Disorder. I sure hope not because fall is here (historically, my favorite time of year though there's been no joy in the season for me so far) and I'm so low already I hate to think of how bad I'll feel when I'm sunlight deprived on top of it. I haven't even felt like sex for almost two weeks. Highly unusual for me.

Maybe this is something I might have to consider lifelong medication for. I hadn't wanted to
think about that so far. For me, anti-depressants are something I'd always seen myself using for a finite period of time. I hadn't considered that I might need to stay on them for the long-term, like my Corgard. I'm starting to wonder, though, if I shouldn't have always been on meds and it's only the deeper inner appreciation and involvement that has brought a chemical problem to the surface, a problem that has always existed and might persist for my lifetime.

The weather matches my mood....very gloomy here in the Greater Philadalphia area this afternoon...showers off and on, possible thunderstorms or tornadoes this evening. Even my usual lighting doesn't seem to lift the veil. The living room seems so dark.

I blew off going to Jersey to watch the Eagles game with my mom this afternoon. Not that an outing such as that would be so invigorating and stimulating but at least it would have been an outing. Instead, I've chosen to further depress my few readers here, listening to A Prairie Home Companion on NPR. I will watch the Eagles' game today, alone. No wings and beer...well, I almost always have beer here if I want it, I just don't often want it lately. This is all I feel I have the energy for today.

At least I've managed a few words here and have a couple of political things I might get around to saying at NOP. It's as productive as I'm capable of being right now.

Maybe the Eagles won't completely suck this weekend and I'll be in a little better frame of mind this evening...

(Cartoon courtesy of "Li'l Adult" by Greg Fiering...click on it to read it.)

tags: depression / football / life / life sucks but it beats the alternative

The Strange Way my Mind Works

In the future, when the face of the average American is one of a person of color, a bi- or miltiracial person, how will we represent historical figures? With whiteface? Or will we alter the impression of history to fit our present-day biases? Will we prefer to see only those people who look like ourselves? Or will we then, finally, be able to open ourselves to one another?

tags: race / racism

New Slump

Well, it's happened again. Another slump is upon me.

My cervical mucus tells me I'm not quite midway through my cycle. Gotta keep track of these things now that we're counting down. I'm also curious to see if my slumps occur in a cyclical manner. Consider it a science experiment.

I haven't felt much like writing or even reading others' words. I blew off kayaking today and vegged in front of the tv all afternoon, mostly nodding off. Now the Lunesta's kicking in. I had been trying to cut back but feel I've slept so poorly in the last week I need to go to sleep and stay asleep for a good while so I took two.

I've screwed things up in my life recently...hopefully nothing major or irreversible...and don't know why. I feel as if I'm punishing myself but don't know why. I think I need to call my therapist for an appointment next week, if she's got anything. I wonder if I need to start back on the Wellbutrin or up the Lexapro. I'm becoming dependent on pills but I need something to smooth the way for a bit. It sometimes feels as if the path is tilted against me. I feel as if I am sinking donward. I feel as if my life has never been this low.

Needless to say, this explains my recent abscence, both from my blogs and others'. No offense.

No freaking out, either...I'm smart enough to recognize when I need immediate help and I have no plans of doing anything stupid. There are now two hospitals in my immediate surroundings to which I cannot go if there's any possibility I might have to get, or be made, naked.

Time to let the chemicals take over. Hopefully, I'll be able to post something tomorrow.

tags: depression / life / pharmaceuticals

22 September 2006

Still Alive

It's been a very busy week. I've spent a lot of time at THAC*, orienting to my new work environment. Although this is a new job at a new place for me, I'm already done with my orientation. The hospital is within the same health system as my last employer and policies and procedures are very similar, many of them used system-wide. My preceptor has been extremely bored this week and claims I'm the easiest orientee she's ever had. No, she didn't mean in that way.

I already know many of the medics who bring patients to us via ambulance and have seen many familiar faces from my old hospital. That's very nice...it's kind of a connect with some old friends without having to deal with the chronic burnout and chaos of the last place.

I'm happy here so far and haven't bumped into any personality yet which really bristles. That's a big positive.

I'm spending the day with a former colleague today, working on a project that will soon be moving forward at my old place, because that's just the kind of wonderful person I am. I'm under no obligation to do this but want to see that project implemented in as positive a way as possible, so I'll help out. Then tomorrow it's off to kayak at the Jersey shore, though I've decided to stay home tonight and sleep until I wake up then catch the afternoon rather than the morning tide. Yeah.

I have decided that working day shift is not for me. Next week I begin my usual shift. Though it will be five days a week, it's only eight hours a day so I expect to catch up on many of the great blogs I've been missing out on the last few weeks and offer up my own scathingly witty commentary here once again.

Happy weekend, folks!

tags: bitchy / life / nursing / work

19 September 2006


I'm sharing two very intimate things with you tonight. Don't be shocked and I hope you'll still like me after you see them.

Look right, in the sidebar just below my blogroll. You'll see two new buttons. You may click them but only if you promise to be gentle with me.

I found a wonderful site tonight courtesy of Kristin at go, go, bimbo! It's called LibraryThing. It's down right now and thank God for that or I'd be working twelve hours tomorrow on zero sleep! It's wonderful! I didn't have time to play around with it more fully anyway because I wasted so much time entering books into my library. I indulged my OCD to the extent of tracking down the
edition of the book when I first read it! Ahhhhh, I feel better now! It seems to be like a Technorati for books and book people, I guess, with a little MySpace thrown in.

It has a great search engine for compiling your library. You can tag your books. I'm just starting to get the hang of tagging. I think it has a way to chat. You can access other people's libraries and get recommendations for books similar to yours. I bet there are forums as well but I don't recall.

Like books? Check it out!

Thanks, Kristin!

The other sliver of myself I'm sharing with you is my Amazon.com Wish List. See the little gift? Ain't it cute? I'm not expecting anyone to actually buy me anything from it though Christmas is coming, Mike and Jen! Really, it's just to give you an idea about the things I'm planning on getting in the future. Don't bother. Really. Unless, of course, you're related to me.

Remember the ground rules...no audible or legible sneering at this little peek into the psyche of Cheryl's formative years and ongoing reformation.

Work in progress, remember?

tags: books / consumerism / geek / literature / library / life / nerd / word nerd

Aye, Maties!


Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day, all!

Fer sure, there's a party goin' on aboard the mighty Cap'n Dyke's ship t'day! Join in, me hearties! But if ye go, be prepar'd to fling the lingo or ye might be walkin' th'plank, Matey!

tags: fun / humor / Maureen O'Hara / talk like a pirate

17 September 2006

More Reflection on Race in America (along with a smattering of garden-variety ephemera)

Apologies in advance, this is going to be long. It's crystalized a bunch of different themes which have been scampering around my brain over the last few days. Sorry.

Wow, life's been busy with the new job and all. I'm also stumping for a local congressional candidate and haven't had a day fully to myself since Tuesday, with another one not expected until Friday. This working five days a week is going to be a bitch!

A friend from my old place of employ called this morning having lost her wallet and in a bind. I met up with her to bail her out until payday. I've been there. I lost my wallet once and had it stolen once last year, the second occasion three days before a three-week roadtrip. I traveled 7,000 miles on one credit card. And no MAC card. It was no small feat!

She told me that my former co-workers comment on how much they miss me. As well they should...I am a very witty, funny person. I just wish they could have appreciated that a little more while I was working there. I hope to maintain some of the contacts I've made because I really do like a lot of the peeps I used to work with. I expect I might even come to enjoy some of those who rubbed me the wrong way more if I'm not spending 36 hours a week in their presence.

While we were discussing my new job, I remarked that I had noticed a difference in the clientelle...the patients seem happier at my new place. Former co-worker woman told me that's because I was no longer in "the ghetto." What she didn't realize was that I'd always worked in "the ghetto" (Camden in NJ and Reading, PA prior to my last job) and had never encountered so many miserable patients and staff as at the place we'd worked together.

When she heard that part of my work history, my former co-worker said, "Oh, that explains it. You were just accidentally put into white skin." She's black, btw, this work friend. I took it as a great compliment when she said that. Not that I try to "be black" but I try to understand and empathize with people from all the cultures I come across, including the many black and Hispanic patients I've cared for over 22 years in inner cities. It was very complimentary to me that she thinks I relate well across those racial lines, well enough that she can feel comfortable being herself with me.


I managed to cruise the Internets a bit last evening after passing out leaflets and generally talking up my candidate at four different community functions yesterday. It was hard for me to get myself out of the car for the first one. Believe it or not, I'm fairly social phobic. Going off solo to an event where I don't know anyone is something that can paralyze me with silly doubts and fears. I had to finish listening to Car Talk on NPR and smoke a couple cigarettes before I could finally say, "Get yer chicken ass out of the car, Cheryl, and go do what you've said you would do!"

I was a pro by the fourth event. I even managed to not take it personally when the third event turned out to be attended by a very different sort of crowd than those who would likely support my candidate. I shoulda known by the Jag and the SUVs in the parking lot.

The first several places I cruised were firmly involved in race or racism in some way. My homepage is AOL. I've been a member since 1993 and still get a lot of mail there. I also read some of the headline stories they post, including some of the fluff, I'll admit. The lead story last evening was about a pair of twins who are singers/performers/songwriters receiving a less than grand welcome from the community to which they've just moved. The girls are lovely...14 years old, blonde, blue-eyed. They're also white supremacists.

They are sprung from and raised in a family that espouses white separatism, sports swastikas and moves from a particular area because it's "not white enough" anymore. The name of their group is Prussian Blue. Feel free to Google it but I'm not going to link it here. I don't really want my site in any way related to a white supremacist site.

Here is the link to the ABC News story on the family. It was a community in northwestern Montana which expressed their concern about exposing their community to racist elements and individuals. Given what I saw of Montana on my trip out west last year and the reputation that state and its neighbor, Idaho, has that surprised me. I guess there are decent people everywhere in the world, huh?

I was struck by a particular statement in the article, spoken by the mother about the girls:

"They hope to help fellow whites come to understand that love for one's race is a beautiful gift that we should celebrate."
Well, how could anyone argue with that, hmmm? Yes, it seems to me that this should be a goal for everyone...to help those of their race feel better about themselves and to see the beauty within themselves and the prescious uniqueness of their race's particular genetic expression. Hell, we could try something revolutionary and encourage others to see and believe the beauty that is in them, despite their differences from our "Us." What a concept.

I've mentioned that I fell in love with the Bajan culture when I was in Barbados this summer, remember that? I did come to love it, too. Not because I met a young Bajan man and had a torrid, four-day affair but because I was able to talk with Sean about his island and its culture. I conversed with the Bajan man who took me sailing about local and world/US politics, the local culture. Barbadians are really very traditional people. Believe it or not, underneath my sex-positiveness and feminism and dyke-ishness, I'm a very traditional person. I respect traditions and rituals and cultures. All of them.

Somehow last evening I wound up being treated to videos of an incredible young djembe drummer. In researching a bit I discovered that djembe is:
...a skin covered hand drum shaped like a large goblet and is meant to be played with bare hands. It is a member of the membranophone family of musical instruments: a frame or shell (in the djembe's case it is a shell) covered by a membrane or drumhead made of one of many products, usually rawhide. The djembe originated in West Africa, where it became an integral part of the area's music and tradition.
Gotta love Wikipedia.

The drummer I happened upon yesterday was Isaiah Chevrier, who is four years old. Isaiah was born in America but lives in Africa now and is learning traditional djembe drumming in Bamako, Mali in West Africa. The child is amazing. I've provided a video clip here. If you'd like to see more, click on the clip and it should take you to YouTube where you can find more of Isaiah, his two year-old brother and other djembe drummers.

(Here is a link to more videos on YouTube on djembe drummers. Here is the link to Rootsy Records and a little info on Isaiah's parents, Jeremy Chevrier and Tewah Simbo and their endeavors.)

I love to learn about other cultures though, for some reason, my interest seems pretty much confined to all the continents but Asia. For a reason I can't fathom, Asia hasn't sparked my curiosity yet. Africa, though, yes. Africa is interesting. As I've become an NPR junkie and an evening/night person, I've learned a great deal more about Africa and African politics. The BBC has pretty in-depth coverage of the subject and I find it very intriguing. Though the violent struggles upset me greatly, the history of African cultures is fascinating.

And the music. I've always been attracted to the music. Whether it's drumming or Moroccan chanting or the incredible harmony of South African choruses, I've always found myself drawn to it. I remember, many years ago, the original World Cafe on WXPN. Back in 1990 or '91, it was truly a world music program, primarily but not exclusively focused on African traditions.

And the art of African cultures. And the history. Like the Lemba tribe in South Africa which claimed descent from a lost tribe of Isreal and was found to be genetically related to modern Jews. The morass that was Apartheid. The conflicts between tribes. The simplicity and complexity of modern African life. It's all fascinating to me.

I think it must be horribly frustrating to be an African-American individual in America and feel and have a desire to claim Africa as your heritage. But which part? Africa is a big continent. Where do you belong? Which part is yours?

I am predominantly German, with a little Scots-Irish thrown in for fun. I have the luxury of knowing the genetic and historical make-up of my family. One distant family member did the geneologic research long ago to trace one antecedent's emigration from Hanover, Germany to South Jersey in 1853. Hey, it's not Mayfloweresque but it's a history. My father is from Pennsylvania coal country, Northumberland County. I can lay claim to an Anglo-Saxon history and a Pennsylvania German culture. I'll leave the drunken Irishmen in my family out for the time being.

All of this is done with absolutely no effort on my part. It's my family history. It's my birthright. It's something the vast majority of African-Americans don't have. They can look in the mirror and see features that are clearly African but which African? Nigerian? Kenyan? Kikuyu? Xhosa? (Here is the Wikipedia list of African tribes, if you'd like to learn more.) It would be like knowing I was European but having no idea if I was Italian or Swedish or Czech. With my (formerly) dark brown hair and hazel eyes, I look much more like a mutt than an Aryan. Very few Africans are afforded this small but crucial aspect of their identity. No wonder they're pissed about it.

I remember seeing a show on PBS last year about African genetic heritage. Apparently, there are new tests available which can pinpoint ones genetic markers to African regions and, in some cases, to particular African tribes. One can also discover whether one has European or Asian genetic makeup or a mish-mash of any or all of them. I hope I can find a link to that program because it really was fascinating. I was able to find the program. It aired in February of this year...so much for my memory. It's entitled African-American Lives, and was hosted by Henry Louis Gates, who is chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard.

So, if reparations are due the descendents of African slaves, how's this as a proposal...give them their history back. If a test is available to tell someone which part or tribe of Africa they descended from, let's get all that want it that blood test and let them know who they are! They can do with the information what they wish, though I'd hope they would want to further explore their heritage and incororate that into their identity. Bottom line is they deserve to know who they are and where they are from and to have the option of learning more, if the technology exists. It does. It's the decent thing to do.

In the meantime, since this idea isn't very likely to gain a wide audience, maybe we could all just take a little effort to look inside ourselves to learn about what's beautiful in there. While we're at it, we could encourage and help others to do the same. And we can try looking for what is good and beautiful in others while we're at it. Wouldn't it be grand if we could all come to celebrate what is different about us as well as what it the same?

tags: Africa / culture / djembe / drumming / life / race / racism

14 September 2006

New Job, Blue Job

Well, I'm officially a member of the nursing team at THAC*. I started nursing orientation yesterday and have spent the past two days largely glued to a less-than-ideally-comfortable chair struggling to keep awake. I had wondered whether taking the 3-11 position was the right choice but after getting in to orientation at 8 AM for two days, I think I realize I am not a day shift person. Too rebellious and off-kilter, I think. Or just too loud-mouthed.

Anywho, everyone I've met so far seems very pleasant and relatively happy. I hope this is someplace I can be happy to be a nurse again for a while, until I figure out what I want to do next. I wish I could say I was excited about the job but I'm really very ambivalent about it. My last place of employ left a really bitter taste in my mouth. I realized today that the reason my ex-hospital wore me down so much is because so many of the nurses there are burnt out! It's so infectious! God, I had started to hate the withered husk I'd become as a nurse there. Nope, time to move on.

I'm trying hard not to focus on how provincial this hospital seems to me. I'm a snob about great health care, I hate to say. When I graduated nursing school, and got done taking the summer off and spending every spare moment on a beach at the Jersey shore with my 4 year-old, I never even considered applying at any of the several community hospitals within a reasonable drive from my home. Not me...I went to the two regional referral hospitals in the poorest city in South Jersey.

The first one, the Catholic hospital, wanted to place me in Labor and Delivery. I wasn't comfortable with moving directly from nursing school to a specialty area, whether I'd passed my boards already or not. It disturbed me that they would want me to work in a specialty area with absolutely no experience in health care outside of nursing school. Mmm, no thanks.

The second place had an open position on a Gyn-Gyn Obcology floor. This unit happened to be the 'overflow' unit for the hospital as well. We also housed the VIP rooms. This meant we took patients from other areas of the hospital and other specialties so I had exposure to geriatrics, diabetes, all types of female abdominal surgery, mastectomies and thoracic surgery, pulmonary and adolescent patients...you name it, we got it if it wasn't a monitored, very young or critically ill patient. And the patient population was about 95% female.

Does that sound like the perfect nursing unit or what?

Guess which job I took.

So I've run the gauntlet of three inner-city hospitals over the past 22 years (really, three in the past five years) and now I find myself smack in the middle of lower-middle to middle-class, tree-lined suburbia.

And everybody's smiling.

It's scaring me.

I'm sure to find some other nasty, odd, snarky, crude, brutally honest, cynical, raunchy, bombastic, sarcastic bitches in the ER tomorrow.

God, I hope so. I require the company of a few of my kind!

So, it's back in tomorrow 'days' to meet the crew, 'days' next week then the drudgery of five evening shifts a week begins.

In the community hospital.

Where everybody smiles.

Lord, help me.

[Oh yeah...I found out today that the hostile shift manager (not the passive-aggressive one, thank God!) is taking a job at my hospital (which is in the same health system as my last place of employ) as a bed coordinator. Wish me luck!]

tags: bitchy / blues / depression / life / melancholy / nursing / self-awareness /

12 September 2006

How I Spent my 9-11

I went to the beach.

I was at my mom's shore place. I made sure the flag got hung (and made sure it was down and stowed properly before I headed home today.

I got up about 9, having fallen asleep by 12:30 or 1:00 instead of the 4 or 5 AM is my usual of late at home. I did the dog thing, covered the couch (yes, the bitch has claimed it already...so glad I thought of covering it!), packed my beach bag and headed out. I stopped at my regular diner along the way for breakfast. I found out my usual waitress, Regina's, husband died in November. This is the first I've gotten to the diner this year. I'll have to get down there again to see Regina and deliver my condolences in person.

The breeze was a bit heavy but I don't let that deter me. Real beach people...the ones who are able to suck in that energy that is the sea and recharge their batteries...are not going to be put off by a little wind. Then I saw the Atlantic. I've never seen the sea so roiled outside of a very heavy hurricane or Nor'easter. I didn't know tha Hurricane Florence was wreaking havoc while cruising past the coast of Bermuda. Little damage was done, thankfully.

The ocean was a dark grey, with whitecaps visible hundreds of yards out. The waves had completely overwhelmed the rock jetty I usually park my chair and umbrella in front of. There were only a few feet of dry beach remaining. I assumed (rightly) it must be high tide.

The greyish-brown, foamy waves crashed into the shore and jetty with depth and power. The seafoam was rampant, with a chunk often breaking free after being deposited by a particularly fierce wave and scampering into oblivion as it abraded itself against the wet then dry sand. Sometimes groups of them would break free in massive seafoam suicide pacts, leaving trails in their wake like fluffy sea snails gone wild.

The waves came in at a 35 or 40% angle; usually they're pretty head on. The wind was probably at a steady 20-25 mph with gusts easily up to 30 or 40 mph. The wind and the waves came in from the north-northeast.

At first, I faced the sea. After only a few minutes, I knew I had to put my back to the north to alleviate the blown sand, the chill and the flapping of my towel in my face. I was much happier with the wind to my back. The umbrella was useless and never even tried. I was quite happy until a much larger than expected wave (obviously!) snuck up behind me, soaking the seat and half the towel, carried away my umbrella and water bottle (both retrieved) and christened my new beach bag. Chillll!

When the coast was clear as it was going to get, I broke city law and slipped my wet swimsuit (Yeah, right...I had dreams of swimming!) down (underneath my beach coverup sundress, of course) and was soon decked out in my (dry) shorts, lightweight, long-sleeved (dry) shirt and my favorite (though damp) Land's End Big Shirt. (God, I wish they still made that shirt!) I decided a trip down the beach was a good idea so I walked south, toward an inlet that is a NJ state park.

I looked at the sand as I walked, hoping the tumultuous sea might have washed up an unexpected or unusual specimen. What I met with, mostly, was tragic reminders of our presence on the beach, the detritus of human interaction with the sea. Bottle caps, crushed beer cans, empty bait containers, a spent firework rocket (not a good idea next to protected dunes, Dude!). I gathered up what I could as I walked along, looking for treasures I could enjoy.

I carried a plastic lid and container (not matching) and stuck bottle caps, plastic rings, spent lighters and fishing line inside the container. I had a fistful of spoons and sporks, the red-headed stepchildren. I could only manage one crushed can and one squashed bottle without involving my other hand.

And I wanted that free. I was on a search for treasure. I found small clam shells with holes naturally eroded at the top, pre-drilled for hanging. I found a large number of these in a fairly short period. I probably didn't walk more than a mile or two. I found bits of abalone, mussel and oyster shells and a lovely, marbled snail or gaudy nautilus shell. I found, to my delight bits of small conch or whelk shells, something I hadn't seen since my childhood. I came across the requisite partial horshoe crab carcass.

On my walk back, now walking fully into a now-constant 30-40 mph wind, my shirts (now fully dry) plastered against my torso, the sandpipers returned. They skirted the edge of the water as is their wont, rushing out to feast on any treats left by the tide, rushing back in as if afraid of getting their feathers wet. I love my little sandpipers and plovers. I was so glad to see them back.

I depositied my trash in the first appropriate containers that presented themselves. I had a pocketful of treasures of my own...eight clam shells with natural holes, a couple of scallop shells, an oyster and a lovely muscle. A tiny bit of abalone. I knew what I'd do with them by my walk back to retrieve my chair, bag and things. I will find some tough, appropriate material to use and would string them together in a tiny 9-11 wind chime. They'll probably break easily but it doesn't matter. The nautilus/snail shell has no hole. I hope I don't break it while drilling with my tiniest bit. I will hang it on my windchime tree.

Then, when the wind blows as it did yesterday, the shells will trinkle and remind me always that there can be beauty any day of the year, even the most sad. On the darkest day, there are still beauties to be found and appreciated.

I thought of all who suffered through or because of the events of five years ago every time I bent over to pick up a piece of trash or a piece of nature's beauty. I wished them well and godspeed.

tags: 9-11 / life

09 September 2006

Another Sensuous Evening

The pills are kicking in and I'm getting to bed at a more reasonable hour these days. Gone the days of staying up until 5, 6 or 7AM. Nope...in bed by 2, asleep in 30 minutes, that's my new motto!

But I couldn't hit the sack before I regaled you all with the tale of my evening, so you can eat your hearts out.

I'm in a second story apartment which means it gets hot up here. I've finally been able to turn the air off and open the windows again so I'm not eager to close up again. I have a near industrial-strength floor fan...greatest thing ever! After the sun's gone down on a beautiful day like we had in Philly suburbia, I leave the main door open to allow the cool, fresh air from the outside to be pulled up the stairwell and into my living room. Ahhhh, lovely.

Not only does the fan draw from the stairwell, it pulls fresh air in through the three open bedroom windows, deliciously cooling the room, my linens. I have sweet, earthy candles lit in both rooms to blend with the scent of moist fertility from the air in my creek hollow. There are crickets chirping and katydids calling and I can hear the trickle and flow of the stream if I don't have music on. Of course, I do have music on...Loreena McKennitt's The Book of Secrets.

I live six miles from the airport, less than a mile from the main east coast north-south artery and a block off a well-traveled surface road yet I've seen red-tailed hawks, kingfishers, great blue herons. I've heard owls and racoons in the woods across the creek. And nightingales!

I took Sadie out for her walk a few minutes ago. The temperature is 72 degrees, barely a breath of wind. High, patchy clouds dot the sky around a moon just past the full. There is a partial ring of rainbow colors in the clouds just around the moon. Sadie was good and did not even dart off when Noel, an old Golden Retriever in the complex, barked that she was outside and was not to be approached!

I will now retire to my bed and a book, to cool sheets and mountains of soft pillows. I'll bring in the fan, turn it to low and point it to the ceiling. The soft breeze it stirs will kiss my skin as I sink, blissfully, beneath my cotton sheets and fluffy down comforter. I'll press the pillows against me, nuzzle in and fall off to sleep to the trickling of the stream water over smoothed rocks.

Envy me.

tags: senses / sensual / sensuous / sexy

08 September 2006

Friday Night Crawl and The Cult of the Penis

(Left: Nude Lesbians Making Coffee Following Orgasms c. 1955 Please note handy phallic hairdo.)

Well, I've managed to once again do what I do best which is put off until tomorrow what I could have done today. Looks like I'll be thinking about setting an alarm to get up and get my ass down to the shore at some reasonable hour tomorrow and maybe actually get out in my kayak or go to the beach! At least I could get the kayaks on the car and pack a bag tonight, if I ever get off the internets.

It sucks to have these bumpy periods when I get to feeling stuck. I'll have to start making note of any kind of rhythm to them...how much you want to bet it's related to these damned hormones! Sure, blame it all on the gonads!

Not The Gonads!

(Right: My Current Mood)

Anyway, I said, "Fuck it," this afternoon and decided to shit yet another evening away on the internets. I'm beginning to think I might have a problem here. But. But, there are so many interesting things out there! So, I decided I'd post about feminism (peripherally) and pene (penii? penises?) and other sex organs (Gonads) and voluptuous, sexy women (inclusive of all their luscious body parts) tonight and then I could feel as if I'd done something productive with my Friday night, after all.

After I created the fake Technorati "cult of the penis" tag for a previous post, I went off on a penis/cult tangent that was most

(Above: One of my favorites)

amusing. I was sorely disappointed at the dearth of "Cult of the Penis" sites out there. Although the two search phrases I chose elicited almost two million hits each, I'm sure that's primarily due to the presence of the word "penis" in each. One would think between all the seething, man-hating radical faminists and all the dude-loving gay guys out there there's be a lot more open reverance of the phallus on the internets.

I marveled that it happens (or is allowed) that castration shows up fairly early in a Google search for either "cult of the penis" or "penis cult." You'd think the guys would be a little more c
areful about that kind of protection, wouldn't you? With Bushie breathing down people's necks over everything from abortion to having friends in foreign places and with who knows which government agency archiving our phone records and internet search logs, you'd think some small-wienied GOPer would have wiped those castration sites offline by now. Somebody's head will roll, I'm sure!

I found a number of humorous pictures using the term "penis head." Here is a particular favorite. I'm saving the rest for future blogging opportunities.

I much preferred the image search I did a couple of months ago for "voluptuous women." Being the bitch I am, I require access to voluptuous women, or facsimiles thereof, on a regular basis. Since the internets is the only current outlet for that, I've ammassed an impressive mini 'collection.' I've sprinkled some of my favorites that you haven't seen before through the post for your viewing enjoyment.

One site I spent some time on in my "cult of the penis" search was Majikthise. I've somehow managed to find Lindsay on several occasions so I figured it was time to add her to my list of feminists in the sidebar. I don't dare add her to my Google Web Clips thingie or I might never get out of the house. I loved this post about the "Orgasm Cult." Oh yeah. Where do I sign up? Reading the comments, there was one thought that returned repeatedly to my mind..."Are there really people out
(That was traumatic...back to the women.)

there who don't know what a Pearl-type vibrator with clitoral stimulator looks like???" How can this have happened? We are not doing our jobs well enough.

What particularly drew me to the post was the mention of Senator Robert Menendez, of my lovely home state of New Jersey. Okay, second to the use of the phrase "orgasm cult." I love New Jersey and I miss its cesspool-like politics. At least we Jerseyans never elected an asshole of the grand proportions of my current statemates in Pennsylvania!

(Right: One of my favorite tramps.)

Reportedly, a researcher working on a film denouncing Bob Menendez once orchestrated a smear campaign against the wife of a New Hampshire gubernatorial candidate claiming that she was a member of a cult that "advocates adults and children have orgasms as a means to reaching inner peace." (If, by children, we're talking about teenagers or kids engaged in their own little activities then, again, where do I sign up?) Read the whole NJ story here.

Yes, I did the research and managed to come up with the original Portsmouth (NH) Herald
article here. Turns out Mrs Humphrey did belong to the American School of Orgonomy. I can't find "The American School of Orgonomy" on the internets but I've managed to find a college for it, located in, where else?...New Jersey. Have you ever craved a degree in orgasms? This is the place. (By the way, this is where you can sign up for the cult.)

Seems this science is the brainchild of one Wilhelm Reich, a Freudian psychiatrist and member of his inner circle.
(Above: Lesbian foreplay.)

Hmmm. Seems the orgasm creates a measurable emission of energy, orgone energy to be precise, which is "the trans-dimensional, subtle, energy matrix of the universe," according to Dr. Reich. Hey, he even experimented with Einstein!...on an orgone accumulator. (Kinky!)

I shouldn't mock it. God knows I know how essential a good orgasm is to ones emotional well-being. I am unapologetically pro-orgasm! And maybe there's something to it, although this theory will never be my primary motivation for achieving climax. I guess it just struck my funny orgone, umm, bone.

Anyway, Christopher Lyon, the woeful opposition researcher, apparently swings from both sides of the plate. Governor Jeanne Shaheen was the beneficiary of the malefactor's malevolence in 2000. She was the Democratic governor of the state of New Hampshire from 1997 to 2003. She was defeated at the polls in her 2002 b
id for US Senate by John Sununu amid yet more political scandal:
In June 2004, former Republican consultant Allen Raymond pleaded guilty to jamming Democratic Party lines set up to get New Hampshire Democrats to the polls in 2002, an action that some (most notably, Smith) believe may have contributed to Shaheen's narrow loss.
Can one say Karma? I wonder what Chris Lyon was doing in 2002?...

(Whoops! How'd that get in here? Hey, the woman was governor
of a US state. That's sexy! On second thought, maybe not.)

Oh, I promised you gonads, didn't I? I have what feels like mittelschmerz-type pains in the area of my left ovary. That would put my period 2 weeks away...or tomorrow, who knows. God-damned gonads!

God, I was in a weird mood tonight!

tags: clitoris / cult of the penis / internets / orgasm / penis / sex / sexuality / US politics

(Left: Let's end with this, shall we?)

*****Click the God-damned pics, if you didn't! Sheesh!*****

The Clitorati

Jean started something over at You Are Here. She's put out a call for recipes for orgasm and showed us her own boat, floating on a sea of hot sauce. Sage responded beautifully with a tried and true, step-by-step kitchen table post about what rocks her world in a big "O" way. (Yeah, it's porn. Yeah, it's great!) Kristin offered her place up as the test kitchen, though I question her motivations.

I don't have a fabulous recipe to offer you, especially after Sage set the bar so damned high. But I have a tale to relate.

I've banned myself from Eros Blog. Damned shame, too, because I enjoyed it a lot. But I got myself caught up in a little comments war, got a little misunderstood, more than a little snarky and have left it behind forever.

Bacchus posted a picture of a broken sex doll. Well, I don't really know if the whole doll exists or if it's only the genetalia, thighs and buttocks as shown in the picture. I made a comment about the clitoris, wondering at the necessity of it for the purpose of the doll. (Bacchus rightly pointed out that many people have a strong visual aspect to their sexuality, which is true.)

The snark came in when a man (I make the assumption of youth here) felt the need to point out to me that a fake clit may be used for "practice," along with an admonition to remember that good sex is reciprocal. Hence, the snark.

Reading Sage's post has brought complete clarity to my argument in those comments...that "practicing" on clitoral stimulation was absolutely useless in the absence of immediate feedback from ones female partner. You've got to pay attention to the woman attached to the clit, folks! Otherwise, it's an exercise in futility.

Note what is the main ingredient found in Sage's recipe:

3 cups attention to reactions displayed verbally, facially, and physically; the attention should typically be silent except for the first few times running through the recipe
I rest my case. This ingredient is more prominent than the penis (which is ::gasp:: absent from the list of ingredients), more plentiful than the two hands, one tongue or two cups warm breath. It's the attention to a woman's response that makes the difference and that should be, in good sex (with the big "O" as a goal), preeminent. (Before you jump all over me, yes, there are other kinds of enjoyment in sex but this post and the cited posts on other blogs are related to women / clitorii / orgasms.)

The other thing that bothered me about the doll was the unreal prominence of the clit. C'mon. I've seen a lot of vulvas. That picture does not represent the vast majority of clits in the world (at least the world as I've known it, working in women's health care for 17 years). If you need a visual aspect to get your rocks off, why can't it be an accurate representation of what real women really look like?

So, Cheryl's recipe for orgasm, as giver or recipient...pay at least as much attention to the woman behind (or above or below or along side of) the clit you are addressing because that's where the clues are.

And...that's where the payoff is, too!

(Casual aside: I hope to muster the motivation to go to the shore today which means I'll be pretty much incomputicado for a few days. Back to work in less than a week...I need me some beach, yeah!)

tags: clitoris / cult of the penis / orgasm / recipes / sex / sexuality

07 September 2006

Tennessee Guerilla Women

Tennessee Guerilla Women has a plea up on their site. I don't know if things are going badly there or if they've just been depleting resources in a very busy election season but they could use a little help there.

The button to your left is linked to TGW's Paypal site, or you can wander on over there, enjoy the fabulous George Carlin video (which is, as usual, hilarious and dead-on) and click the Donate button from there.

Look at the work they've been doing there. And take a look at how positive things are for progressives this year. Lend a sister a hand, even if it's only in the form of a $5 or $10 tip.

I support them. I hope you'll consider it as well.

tags: feminism / internet / progressive politics / US Politics /women / women's rights

Exploring Race and Racism, III

Okay, there was this interesting post and comment thread over at I Shame the Matriarchy in which the Antiprincess begins the process of dissecting some racial issues.

This is something that's been on my mind a lot in recent years. I mean, as one comes to know herself better, how is it possible to avoid the privilege to which she has always been entitled solely due to the light pigmentation of her skin? I mean, if you're white and you're in therapy and you're making progress and you haven't gotten to the point where you can accept all the privileges you've always had just because you're white, hate to tell you, Honey, but you ain't done yet.

AP describes three scenarios which evoked for her her awareness of the privilege she's been granted by being born white. Yet she trivializes her experiences as insignificant, unimportant.

As I said, trivial, random, funny. Not at all political or important.
I particularly liked what Belledame, of Fetch me my axe, had to say:
it is unfortunate that there is this, how would you say, "walking on eggshells" thing that happens, i think. I wonder sometimes if this is a particularly American thing: everyone is so very anxious to be -good-; and don't understand it when people get irritated when they're -trying so hard;- and i think you know the truth is sometimes, esp. in these little political circles (not saying you, at all), people sort of let their own anxiety and other baggage, you know, wanting to get everything just right-- get in the way of just being with the other person.
I've long thought of wading into the waters of serious blogging about race but have, largley, held myself back. What right do I have to write about race. I was born a white female, have always been and will always be, a white female. I have no right to have a perspective about race and racism in this country.

But, I do.

I live here. Always have. I've worked 22 years as a nurse, always in inner city hospitals where the dominant culture was poor and, mostly, people of color (mainly African-American, Latina and Hispanic). I have tried to learn what I can about the cultural aspects of my patients and co-workers lives as they differ from mine.

I was raised working-class, without any luxuries but never too ashamed about my clothing (well, aside from my horrendous taste as a child/teenager/young adult and 10 years of fucking ugly corrective shoes). I was raised in a white family, first in neighborhoods where easily 50-60% of the population was people of color, then in "the sticks" with a minority population of about 11-13% during my formative years. Right in the ballpark of the national average at the time.

Yet the dominant culture was always mine, whether I was conscious of it or not, whether I wanted it to be that way or not, whether I facilitated that or not, that is the way it was.

I've often wondered why I chose to always work among poorer, often minority populations. Part of it was the caliber of nursing I wanted to practice. The two hospitals I originally applied to were both large tertiary care centers in South Jersey. I didn't even consider a community hospitals. I knew the "action" wouldn't be there and I need to be challenged to be happy. I wanted a cutting-edge environment in which to practice my craft. I found it in inner city hospitals. I can't even say that I consciously considered the racial or socioeconomic mix of patients in the places I've chosen to work (except that 19 years of Pidgin nurse's Spanish have languished and deteriorated from disuse over the past three years).

Well, I lie. When I moved back to the Philly area after a couple of years near Reading, I knew I could not work on the Main Line. I think I would have suffered meltdown in a matter of weeks among all those rich people with their overblown sense of themselves and their entitlement...just because of their money. Sorry, you don't move to the head of the line because you've got an estate planner, not when I've got a 60 year old black guy here with chest pain. You see, I'm just not that good at holding my tongue and not saying what's on my mind.

I guess that's what's surprised me about my relative reticence on the subject of race. I realize it's because I don't want to step on anybody's toes. I don't want to jump in and take over the conversation. But I think I might have some things to say about it, given 20+ years of working with patient populations largely comprised of members of racial minorities.

Pissing off the rich? The thought doesn't bother me a whit. My personal experience with people with large amounts of money has proven to me that those with money and attitude about it (pretty much) deserve what they might get from me. Be a rich asshole, I'll call you a rich asshole.

But how could I criticize people of color? Nah, gotta rein it in there, Cowgirl. I don't dare piss off the black folks.

I have largely come to have respect for the people of color I have known, especially those I've worked with and my friend, Tam. I have appreciated the opportunity to gaze a little bit into a world about which I would never otherwise have any knowledge. (I also now have a great fried chicken recipe, a fabulous Spanish arroz con las habas (rice and beans) recipe and we all know I can cook fish stuffed with Bajan spices like no white, American woman has a right to!)

I've tried to listen. I've tried to ask questions of genuine interest about their lives and culture and listened to/heard what they told me in answer.

Yet I still carry around this fear of judgment, especially if I should happen to disagree with a person of color's position, assertion, belief.

I understand where this comes from. What I need to learn is how to get beyond it. Or if it's right for me to want to/try to get beyond it?

Isn't that the only way for free and open discourse to take place?

tags: bigotry / class / culture / isms / power / privilege / race / racism

Advice Needed

Now that I'm starting a new work schedule next week, I've come to realize that my life is going to change drastically with a 5-day workweek, 3pm to 11pm.

I will never hear Fresh Air again!

All Things Considered.

Talk of the Nation will be interrupted with showering and dog-walking.

I can't live without my NPR!

So, I think it's time to break down and get one of those iPod or mp3 player thingies so I can download and listen to Fresh Air and Talk of the Nation whenever I want.

So, what do I get, folks? I know you can get these things downloaded to your cell phone or some such. Do I want to do that?

Or do I just get a good pair of Bose headphones and listen on the laptop?

I hate technology!

tags: NPR / pods / podcasts / technology

I Hate that I Love these Things!

Amber was the catalyst this time, though it doesn't take much. I just love taking rhetorical quizzes. I can waste time with the best of 'em, I tell ya!

Your 'Do You Want the Terrorists to Win' Score: 100%

You are a terrorist-loving, Bush-bashing, "blame America first"-crowd traitor. You are in league with evil-doers who hate our freedoms. By all counts you are a liberal, and as such cleary desire the terrorists to succeed and impose their harsh theocratic restrictions on us all. You are fit to be hung for treason! Luckily George Bush is tapping your internet connection and is now aware of your thought-crime. Have a nice day.... in Guantanamo!

Do You Want the Terrorists to Win?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

You Drink Republican Kool-Aid 0% of the Time!

Congratulations, you do not drink the Republican Kool-Aid. You haven't been brainwashed and are able to think for yourself rather than get your daily marching orders from the right-wing media. Mindless submission to our leader has no place in America. You, sir or ma'am, are a patriot.

Do You Drink Republican Kool-Aid?

Go ahead & try 'em.

I'll be sorely disappointed if anybody who frequents CmIB scores anything less than 100% Bush-hating, terrorist-aiding liberalism.

"Republican Kool-Aid!"


tags: blogging / quizzes

Locations of visitors to this page

  • *CmIB = Claiming my Inner Bitch
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