Saturday, November 24, 2007

i think i've watched all the tv i can reasonably bear.

so...i am going to venture forth today. the sky is grey but it's still sunny and i want to be outside. i'll get a cup of coffee. maybe i'll sit in a dark theater for hours. or maybe i'll slowly walk around a mall and shop for holiday cards. or maybe i'll buy a book and find a bar to sit in and read for a few hours.

then i'll come back home and (gasp) write. (maybe even something for Bitch.) yeah...write. i haven't written anything worthwhile in ages. well, at least it's a goal.

still haven't left the house. it took me 45 minutes to get ready, then i tried on a pair of cute new jeans i bought just before the surgery and guess what? the fuckers don't fit! after just one week!! i'm depressed. there is this roll of extra belly just above my scar and it won't fucking go away. so now i'm back up a dress size - when one week ago i was on my way to being down two!!

it's vain, i know, but i want to cry. fucking agatha.]

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

giving thanks for catering service

but i'm in no shape to cook a whole freaking dinner. my solution? get someone else to cook it for me.

i cannot say enough about not cooking. (isn't that what being a feminist means during the holidays? the expectation NOT to cook?) why get all hot and sweaty and tired (and smelling like stuffing) when you're about to have people over? i used to watch my mother ramp up into a fine resentful boil every thanksgiving afternoon so that, by the time guests arrived, she was completely off her rocker. it wasn't pretty so i decided early on to save myself all that hassle.

i love having friends over and feeding them - i just hate cooking. i hate the timing, the rush, the uncertainty, and the inability to snatch victory from the jaws of culinary defeat.

so i ordered a dinner for 6. the friends are bringing wine, dessert and side dishes, i'm 'doing' the rest.

thanks, fox & obel. you're the best.

(happy thanksgiving to everyone. don't pig out too hard.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

When people describe Something (war, architecture or poverty) as a ‘scar across the landscape’, I don’t think they mean that Something (war, architecture or poverty) was black, scabby, bruised and held together with bloodstained strips of adhesive.

I’ve been looking at my scar, my wound, for the past three days. I take a little silver hand mirror and put it on the sink. Then I pull up my shirt, pull down my pants and, holding up my belly a little, I lightly touch the bruised skin above the scar. It looks like my skin has turned into a smashed plum. The scar slashes across the top of my pudenda; it’s about 3 or 4 inches long. The scar is the ugliest, grossest thing I’ve ever seen on my body.

A few days before the surgery, I thought of the virginal way I think about my body. By ‘virginal’ I mean that I hold my body aggressively to myself. Thinking of my body as ‘virgin’ has nothing to do with sex or chastity. I don’t know how to explain it; I just think of my body as mine. It is inviolate; it is whole; it is the same as it has always been; it has all its original parts; it is not shared by anyone or anything. No flag has been planted on it, by marriage or motherhood.

But this surgery, as minor as it was, has changed my body’s landscape.
Where there was previously nothing, now there waves a tiny white flag with a red cross on it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

after the knife

it's day 3 in Room 1471 and i'm waiting to fart.
actually, i just did.

why this preoccupation with farting? because when you've had your guts cut into and rearranged, making sure your bowels are in working order is pretty damn important. so in addition to waking me up every two hours to check on my pain, they've also been asking me if i've farted, yet. and so, yes, i have. at 6.07 am, i have farted and my bowels are in good working order.

a word to the ladies of chicago: if you need work done, or need to have a baby, the new Prentice is the place to have it. i have a single room, a flat screen tv, access to my internet, a great view of the MCA and the lake and the nurses here are so super nice. the floors are hardwood, the walls are (wait, another fart) also wood and you'd think you were in a cute boutique hotel rather than a hospital.

being a patient is so alarming. the weakness is a surprise. realizing how vulnerable your body is - but also how resilient - is amazing. the day of my surgery, just 8 hours later, i could barely move my legs to the side of the bed. it took all my strength to lift my head from my pillow. but this morning, i've been up since 5, i've changed into my own gown and robe, washed up, peed (and farted!), walked around a bit, been examined and made my bed.

of course, the pain meds help, too. oh, the meds. i love you. you are my friend.

and i love my friends. they came en masse yesterday to visit and we had to close the door, we got a little loud. thank you, friends, and thank you to folks who've been emailing me their best wishes. they've been gratefully appreciated.

ok, i guess i should tell someone i've farted.

Monday, November 12, 2007

before the knife

i had a session with my therapist last friday.
how perfect, before entering the great beyond, to see that my current issues could all be set at the feet of my childhood church upbringing. it's good to get all this out in the open before potentially shuffling off this mortal coil.

Dr. C- asked me, 'why can't you make yourself vulnerable to your partners?'

i shrugged. 'well, i don't really see that they have their shit together; if they don't have their shit together, then how can they help me?'

she said, 'harsh.'

i said, 'true. but i didn't have any really good models of male competence when i was growing up.' i explained briefly about growing up in a very hierarchical environment. 'my dad's church was filled with men in positions of power who were so stupid, so incompetent i just felt...contemptuous of them. i thought that if i showed how extremely competent and talented i was, then their whole thinking about women's natural inferiority would be exposed as bogus. it made me hyper competitive against them. my thinking was - is - you don't make yourself vulnerable to an opponent.'

'interesting.' she wrote something down.

and so i told her the story of taking one of my dad's classes on hermeneutics when i was in college. i was the only woman and the rest of the students were seminary students or young ministers with churches already under their charge. halfway through the class, my father said the men in the class came to him and said my presence made them uncomfortable and could he tell me not to come to class anymore.

'how did that make you feel?'

'angry,' i said. 'they couldn't even tell me to my face; they had to go to my dad and have him deliver the message. fucking infuriated me.'

'and your father? how did you feel about his asking you to stop going to the class?'
'angry. i was his daughter. and he asked me to take a back seat to spare the feelings of men he knew were second rate.'
'he didn't defend you, take up for you.'
'no, he didn't.'

she wrote in her notebook again.

at the end of the session, Dr. C- gave me my instructions for the next session (after i am suitably mobile again.) apparently, it's all about examining messages i received about myself by the time i was 10, making myself open to accept help from friends (as practice) and inviting B- to thanksgiving dinner.

yeah. i might have to fail that assignment.
anyway, cross your fingers for me. i should be back home on the weekend and the next 5 weeks will be full of drug-addled reflections and new therapeutic revelations.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Hail, the Conquered Hero - Dick Cavett - Opinion - New York Times Blog

i tried to come up with something snarky about this but i just can't.
dick cavett's sophisticated whiteness might be too much for me.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

there may be some residual hostility...

Roomie and I stood at our kitchen counter going through our morning vitamin/pill ritual.

"So," I said. "I had this dream last night."
She turned around. "I had *crazy* dreams last night, too! But - you first."

"So I'm living in New York - "
"Just you?"
"Just me."
"And was this after the cocktail party?" Roomie makes fun of me and my dreams because, in them, I am always at a party. I cannot help that my subconscious makes me out to be Holly Golightly.

"Yes," I said. "And then Al Pacino stopped by to say hello." Yes, celebrities often made an appearance in my dreams. "Anyway, I'm living in New York. My sister and her family are coming out for a visit. They are bringing with them a Filipino surfer guy and his sister. Who are these people? I have no idea. But, apparently, I have a big enough apartment for all of them.

"Anyway, they arrive and the Filipino surfer dude says to me, 'Hey, I think I know someone who knows you and he's going to be here in New York for a thing and it would be great to see him, so is it ok if he stops by so we can play XBox?'"

Roomie interrupts. "I love how the guys in your dreams all talk like girls."
"They do, don't they?"
"They're so chatty."
"So I like my guys girly. Anyway, I say to Filipino surfer guy 'I can't think of who I know that you know but ok. Whatever.'

"The guy comes by, I open the door and GUESS who it is? It's B-! I'm like, 'What the fuck?!' He's all like, 'What the fuck?!' and all I can think of is how totally random my life is, how it's filled with these crazy, weird coincidences that make me nuts.

"My sister and her family go sightseeing and I'm left in the apartment with Filipino surfer guy and B-. B-, of course, is quiet. I'm just hanging out at the back of the apartment wondering how the hell this just happened. Then, suddenly, a masked intruder breaks into the apartment and KILLS B-! He shoots him in the head! I'm all 'What the hell? They killed B-!' Filipino surfer guy is totally traumatized and he's like, 'That was totally unneccessary and harsh!'

"My sister and her husband get back from sightseeing and are absolutely horrified. All they can say is how glad they were the kids weren't home to see this. Filipino surfer guy and I are sitting on the curb, smoking cigarettes while we watch the crime scene team do their thing and roll out B-'s body under a sheet. Heh."

Roomie said, "And you laugh. You are so twisted. I shudder at the thought of whatever psychotic break you'll have when you're tanked up on pain meds after your surgery."

I ignored her. "Anyway, Filipino surfer guy is really broken up about it and he's like, 'But guys were a thing. How are you?' And I have to admit that there's shock that this crazy random crap keeps happening to me, but I'm not that broken up about it. And then it's like that skit at the Second City Show, where the guy tries to cry but can't? Yeah, I'm like that. I'm unh-unh, trying to cry and I got nothin'. And that's when I wake up."

Roomie just stared at me. I smiled.

Then she said, "This was my dream. I'm waiting to pick you you up at work. You come out and you have a dead body with you. What the fuck? You sort of roll it on the ground in front of Corner Bakery and you say, "You have to help me get rid of the body." And you're dressed in high heels and looking girly and I'm still, What the fuck? Who is he? You keep telling me he's just some guy from a meeting; all I can see is this shock of white hair. But you, of course, can't lift him into the trunk. And there are people all around! No one notices this! Some firemen come by and wanna know if you need assistance and you’re waving at them and saying ‘Hi!’ and just flirting with everyone, pissing me off, and so I just get grr! And lift the dead guy over my shoulder and dump him in the trunk. He flips over and GUESS who it is?”

I was agog. “Who? Bill Clinton?”
“It was B-!”

To say that I laughed my ass off would not convey just how hilarious I thought this was.

Monday, November 05, 2007

2007 Haiku Festival

clearly, china just isn't exciting enough for jp.
you can drop a haiku over at his 2007 Haiku Festival.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

all work and no play...

while coming home on the bus one night last week i realized that my surgery is next week and my Need to Get Laid Clock is ticking and no frolic is in sight.

i'm a lasagna of tension about the upcoming date. the first layer is, of course, the celibacy frustration. then there's the tiny, hard wire of anxiety when i allow myself to think about the procedure for more than a few minutes. and laid on top of all that is some work stress. if last week made me bleed from my eyes, this next week might just make my head explode. our legislative agenda and government relations strategy won't write itself and i need to wrap up my desk so it won't fall into chaos by the time i return after the New Year.

letting go of work for this long is hard for me; Dr. C- asked what i think of work and my place in it and i told her that i am my best self at work. i am intuitive, quick, focused, funny, strong, supportive, assertive and i hit my targets. in short, it's at the office where i know what the fuck i'm doing. it's outside of work that my footing is less sure. clearly, there will be plenty of time to think about that while i'm on medical leave.

(did my parents love their work? maybe. before the showdown with his associate pastor, i believe my father loved his work. my mom, well - ok, she hated her coworkers and her job gave her a stroke. my parents might not be good models.)

sometimes i think that women who love our work almost exist in shadows. stories about us on television or in print make us out to be angry, dour, dysfunctional, bitter, unnatural, mannish or weird - even if we're running for President. teachers, doctors, do-gooders and artists get to love their work; after all, they're shaping minds, helping people, and creating shit. the rest of us, if we talk about our work, no matter our work, our stories are required to have a begrudging or sheepish quality; we work, you know, because we have to. we're only working, you know, to pay for what we really wanna do. if we all won the lotto, we'd stop working in a heartbeat and spend the rest of our time helping people and traveling the world.

i just wish i could hear more about women who not only love working but really like what they do. with all these articles over the past five years about 'opting out,' 'off ramping' or 'dropping out', you'd think not a single woman likes her work. wouldn't it be great to hear about women who are excited about their work, who find their work energizing and thrilling? wouldn't it be a welcome change to read an article about a woman who baldly says, 'I freaking love what I do. I'm fucking great at it and it makes my nipples tingle.' or maybe that's just me.

you know, this post was supposed to be about how pissed i am that i haven't had sex since labor day, and probably won't until after january 2008, but it turned out to be about work. huh.

Friday, November 02, 2007

a note to non profits everywhere:

is it too much to ask that your staff have the teeniest amount of professionalism??
it's unfair, i know. non profits operate in a stressful environment of lack. but great big baby jesus.

have some basic phone skills!
when you're tracking attendence for a policy meeting, have the location and date already arranged!
don't ask me if i'm coming and then act all cagey about where and when the meeting is!
know who it is you're talking to! no, i'm NOT the united way, the red cross or the girl scouts!
don't talk so fast i have no idea who you are or where you're coming from!
you're giving me a headache and i will hang up on you!

i know your mission is in the right place but do your employees know what the hell they're doing?

it's rare that i miss working in a corporate envirionment. but this day got on my last frakking nerve, man.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

action alert: tell springfield to take action on public transit!

from the good folks at the Center for Tax & Budget Accountability:

If Springfield does not pass legislation to increase transit funding, CTA and Pace will implement substantial service cuts and fare increases on November 4th.

Call your legislator...Today. You can impact the negotiations in Springfield by calling your legislator right now.

The Illinois House reconvenes today in anticipation of calling a vote on the mass transit bill tomorrow, Friday, Nov 2. Originally brought to the Illinois House floor on September 4, the bill garnered 61 votes (5 Republicans voted with the bill), but lacked 10 votes for a supermajority to override an anticipated veto from the governor.

To see a full tally of the September 4 vote, go to

Key districts that stand to gain from the bill, but whose legislators were either not present or did not vote for the bill in September include, according to alphabetical order:

Patricia Bellock (R - Hinsdale)
Mark Beaubien (R - Barrington Hills)
Robert Biggins (R - Elmhurst)
Linda Chapa LaVia (D- Aurora)
Sandy Cole (R -Grayslake)
Jim Durkin (R - Western Springs)
Renee Kosel (R- New Lenox)
Carolyn Krause (R - Mount Prospect )
Patricia Lindner (R- Aurora )
Mike Fortner (R - West Chicago)

Karen May (D - Highland Park)
Michael McAuliffe (R - Chicago)
Kevin McCarthy (D - Orland Park)
James Meyer (R - Bollingbrook)
Ruth Munson (R-Elgin)
Joanne Osmond (R - Antioch )
Sandra Pihos (R - Glen Ellyn )
Robert Pritchard (R- Sycamore
Jim Sacia (R - Pecatonica)
Ed Sullivan (R - Mundelein)
Michael Tryon (R - Crystal Lake )

What you can do:
§ Call your State Representative TODAY to support SB572, House Amendment 10. To find your State Representative, go to the General Assembly website ( or go to

§ Thank her/him if s/he voted in September for the bill and encourage her/him to vote with the bill on Friday, Nov 2.

Without this bill:
1. Collar counties will not receive $116 million for road enhancements.

2. Pace will cut 46 weekday and 11 weekend routes and ALL Metra feeders, and raise fares by $.25; CTA will cut 36 routes raise fares by at least $.50 and $1 for peak rail services. Go to and for full information.

3. Cuts to ADA paratransit services (for seniors and individuals with disabilities) will match those listed above and fares will increase by at least $.50.

4. Additional fare increases and service cuts may occur in January 2008. At which point, it is expected that Metra will raise its fares by 5 or 10% in February 2008.

5. No new funds will be made available for transit systems outside of the Northeast region; and, 18 counties slated to receive transit funds for the first time will not.

6. Job Access Reverse Commute and New Freedom funds in the Northeast region may be jeopardized because CTA and Pace will not have available funds to meet match requirements.

How SB572 HAM 10 affect the Northeast region?
§ No fare increases.
§ For every $100 spent, twenty-five cents will be paid in sales tax in Chicago and fifty cents in the collar county.
§ In Chicago, for every $100,000 spent on real estate, $300 would go to the CTA.
Given that middle and low income individuals are much more likely to use mass transit, they will pay more under fare increases than tax increases. Take a look at the most recent Weekly Review

Will transit modernize or erode? All corners of the political spectrum unanimously support the bill. (See a list of endorsers: Both the Chicago Tribune and the Sun-Times have repeatedly voiced their support for the bill. Initially, brought to the floor for house vote on September 4, the bill received 61 votes in favor, including five Republicans. Without the full 71 votes needed to override an expected veto from the Governor, the bill was quickly set to postpone consideration. On Friday, November 2, the Illinois House will bring SB572 House Amendment 10 to the floor to determine the future of transit in Illinois.

So what's the hold up? While communities across Illinois will benefit from the bill's funding in the form of expanded resources for transit systems large and small, the governor and House Minority Leader have led the effort to develop a capital bill. The issue of a capital bill did not arise until the transit legislation was brought to the house floor on September 4. No one disagrees with the need for a capital bill for our roads, schools and transit system, particularly given that it has been seven years since our last state capital package. The real question is one of timing. By all accounts, there is currently not any real agreement about what should be in the capital bill and how it should be funded. Let's focus on transit today.

Support transit today. Call your legislator.
For further information, contact Dia Cirillo, policy director-workforce, at

Join a rally for mass transit on Monday, November 5th.

Go to or

rape *isn't* an inalienable right

Women incensed, disgusted by lack of sensitivity --

i will 'manfully' struggle through my outrage and disgust of this column (which reminds me of the Details mag article that asked if it was okay to 'demand' anal sex):

the questions cheryl lavin asks at the end of her column are so idiotic, it's no wonder our society responds to rape in really inappropriate ways.
when are we going to start shifting our attention away from the behavior of women and actually start holding men accountable for rape? (and for even thinking that buying a woman a drink or being invited into her room means blanket consent?)
is anyone else appalled that a woman who self-identifies as a rape counselor is actually telling victims to shoulder the burden of their own rape? (or maybe this is a part of rape counseling methodology, i don't know. someone clarify for me.)
when is the rhetorical use of the 'duke lacrosse case as example of the perfidy of lying non-raped women' going to die?

unfortunately, i am inarticulate in my upset. grrr.
(and if you read the comments, you will see that Ding got a little...pissed.)