Ignoring the Old Lady

Yes, I’m angry.

I have every right to be angry. This whole month would have been easier if anyone, especially my doctors and my nurses, had listened when I said I was lightheaded and feeling as though I was going to pass out.

I wasn’t getting enough oxygen. On Sunday, my oxygen saturation was 89 percent. Yes, I do expect medical professionals to respond when I complain that I’m too dizzy to drive. Two weeks ago, the nurse wrote a note telling my boss I didn’t have to work, but she didn’t investigate why I couldn’t stand upright without feeling like I was blacking out.

I’m angry.

I wandered about in my pajamas, struggling to think clearly for two weeks, not feeling well at all, wondering if I was going to die.

I didn’t have to feel that way. I’m pretty sure it was the pyridium, but the urologist and her nurses didn’t respond to my complaints. They didn’t even call me back when I called them.

I’m tired. I feel like I could sleep for a week. I’m going to go sleep for a week.

Thank you for listening, jules

When You Can't Even Write Well Enough to Entertain Yourself

Well, I didn’t die on the OR yesterday. Yay! In fact, I already feel the difference the surgery was intended to fix. That kidney stone is gone. Yay!

Have you ever felt that, still in pain from a surgery yet feeling that the underlying pain has vanished?


A friend of mine, an avid nonfiction reader, recommended a book called The Gift of Pain by Paul Brand and Philip Yancey. A while back, I picked it up from the library and it sat on the table next to the couch for a while.

I have to admit, I couldn’t even begin to read this book while I was in so much pain. I just couldn’t. I still haven’t read past the first page in the introduction. And I looked at the cover. It’s not a very good cover.

Yes, we do judge a book by its cover. We do. We always will.

But now that I’m feeling a bit better, maybe I should read it now, do you think? I had a friend mess up a knee surgery once because she felt so good after they discharged her that she went outside and did a lot of gardening. On her knees. It would be appropriate for me to read about pain since I just spent the last sixteen days in the most pain I’ve ever felt. I think that’s true. I’ve had trouble with my back when I was younger, but did it ever last this long? No. Did I think I could die from it? No.

I need to tell you that I’m still loopy. From the anesthesia? From the two doses of hydrocodone I took yesterday as I wandered about my house after they discharged me? I don’t know which, but this morning, I almost poured cranberry juice into the base of my Nutribullet blender. That would have been bad. I also did some things, forgot, and went back to do them later only to find that they were finished. I wish all housecleaning went that way. But now, I forget what those things were that I had already finished. I forgot the feed the dog at all. I fed the cats twice because they're better at staring me into understanding. This morning, I told Nick to put the recyclables back into the fridge when he was done with them. I meant the milk. Plus, I wanted him to bring the bin back up to the house from the curb. Words got tangled in my mouth. After Mike and Nick left for work and school, I walked into the kitchen and wondered what I’d come there to find. At least I wasn’t so loopy that I couldn’t go back to the couch and remember what it was that I had forgotten. I needed breakfast. That was what I forgot. Seriously.

I kept losing time. By the time I made breakfast, it was somehow noon. Then it was three in the afternoon and Nick was home. Then, it was six and Mike was home. I’m not sure what I did all that time, but the cats and the dog are all inside and there aren’t any strange messes around the house.

I did manage to make dinner in the slow cooker almost by myself. Chicken noodle soup. Mike seasoned it when he got home because I forgot. But at least I didn’t burn down the house with my slow cooker.

There are days when a woman is supposed to lie on the couch and watch Netflix instead of organizing anything. But it was a little boring. Time was strange.

Before, as I waited in pain for my surgery, time crawled on its belly. Now, it’s bolting forward like a horse race. And I’m just watching it and trying to remember to do very little until I’m done being loopy.

That’s the reason why post-op patients should be supervised for twenty four hours after a surgery.

I’m glad I didn’t try to drive. Adding potatoes to the grocery list on the white board instead of lemons is a minor mistake. Losing time and making poor decisions in a car could be fatal. Even zoned out, I knew this much, so I didn’t go anywhere today. Not even during that afternoon hour when I actually felt good, as long as I wasn't moving. Don’t drive drunk, not even when an anesthesiologist did it to you.

This is boring. Am I boring you too?

Aw, shit.

I am. Sorry.

Thank you for listening, jules

Because It Hurts

I have to tell you that it’s difficult to read all this stuff on Twitter about how Kavanaugh, the nominee for the Supreme Court, allegedly raped multiple women. I sit at home in an altered pain-state that a kidney stone and a stent has created. It’s surreal. I’m dissipating, diffusing, dissolving as we speak. Pain alters time and space. One bright spot of pain dissipates throughout an entire life over thirty-five years. I keep trying to tell myself that it’s only a metaphor, right? It’s not happening now. It’s some caustic karmic metaphor for all these arguments about why she didn’t report it thirty-five years ago to make it better for women that came after her.

The #MeToo movement is a powerful thing. It is going to take down some people, but not without a fight, not without comments like ‘What were you wearing?’ or ‘All teenage boys do that.’

She didn’t report the incidents because of comments like this, because she knew people would say it wasn’t really rape if she’d actually had a drink at the party with the guy first. She didn’t report the incidents because her lawyer said she couldn’t prove anything in a court of law. She didn’t report them because a manager told her she’d never work in the business again if she did. She didn’t report because the African American guy who could have backed her up said he was in enough trouble as it was and he really needed his job and she knew he was right. She didn’t report because she’d had a couple of drinks and she knew this was an unwritten invitation to rape. Don’t dignify it by calling it unwanted sex. She didn’t report the assault because she’d worn a skirt and pink lipstick. She didn’t report because he told her he’d get her in trouble if she told anyone and she knew he would do it. She didn’t report because he was her boss, the guy she was supposed to report the incidents to.

Did you read this article about Amber Wyatt who did report her rape? This is the answer to that question of why others didn’t report until thirty-five years later. There are death threats against Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. This is the answer to the question of why she didn’t report sooner.

I can’t sit here for very much longer today. I’m floating away.

I’m floating away on the argument that even if she did report, it probably won’t matter. The men are likely to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court anyway, even if he did rape multiple women.

And it hurts. Everything fucking hurts.

Thank you for listening, jules

Practicing for a Role on the Walking Dead

Today, I could play a walk-on on the Walking Dead, you know, the crowds of gray people, shuffling about, reaching their hands through chain link fencing, seeing but with no light in their eyes. I think my kidney stone is moving about, trying, despite my too-narrow stent, to plow its way out.

Yes, I played a zombie on the phone today too. Someone from my family called while I was resting and wanted to know how I was feeling. Like shit, or rather crap, I wanted to say. I know I was supposed to perk up, to say I was fine, to assure her I was ready and able, still cheerful despite everything.

I wasn’t. I let the conversation fall on its face. I couldn’t carry it. I couldn’t take responsibility. The best I could do was ask a question that diverted attention from my gray tone and hope she talked for a little longer before she realized I was simply holding the phone and panting on the other side.

I needed to lie down.

Why couldn’t I say I needed to lie down?

Oh right. I did say I needed to lie down. I said I had to walk upstairs because the call was crackling on my one bar from my comfortable place in my bed. I said I didn’t have much energy, that I felt a constant need to lie down even when I was reclined on my couch.

And still she talked. Worse, she asked questions I felt too exhausted to answer. No, I had no idea about the tests they would run on me after the surgery to make sure they took out all the pieces. No, I had no plan to demand that they analyze the pieces of my kidney stone after they’d already told me they would analyze the pieces. And no, I had no idea whose kidney stones, among the family kidney stones, were bigger and more damaging.

There are roles people play in any family. Mine is to comply, to entertain, to remain cheerful despite all evidence to the contrary. I’m fifty-seven years old and my family still expects me to smooth over every conversation.

Fuck that shit. I am the walking dead.

Thank you for listening, jules

Pray for Me, Honey, I Feel Like Shit

Will you pray for me? I’m afraid I’m going to die next Tuesday.

My doctor’s office is ignoring me. I’m trying to do what they told me to do, take an antibiotic a week before my surgery, but they haven’t called it into the pharmacy and haven’t called me back when I called them about it. How confident do I feel knowing that these people don’t even return my phone calls, don’t facilitate what they said I needed to do in order to be safe for my surgery?

I still have this stent in my ureter, that tube between my kidney and my bladder. I still have a kidney stone that’s 1.5 centimeters in at least one direction, but I’m thinking about skipping out on this doctor and finding someone else to do the surgery, someone who calls back when I call to arrange what they told me to do to be safe before my surgery.

I still feel like a corn dog. Did I tell you I feel like a corn dog?

I feel puffy inside my skin. And a little meaty inside that. And then there’s that little wooden stick that gets jammed into the puckered end of the hot dog and holds it straight when what it really feels like doing is flopping back and forth in the hot grease as it cooks. Every time I bend over to pick up a noodle that I dropped, every time I reach up to get a glass out of the cabinet, every time I simply put one elbow over my head to stretch after lying on the couch for three hours, I feel that corn dog stick jammed up inside me.

I feel like crap. I went to the dog park for a half hour with Teddy today and I felt as though I was driving drunk. I remember those days before.DUI when I’d get into my car completely plastered to drive home. Yes, I admit it. Yes, I was one of those people back in the 1980s who drove twenty miles an hour under the speed limit because I knew my reaction time was closer to what was happening that way. I never had an accident. I never killed anyone.


Seriously, that was back when everyone drove drunk after going out. We all tried to sober up, but we drove home anyway. We drove drunk. It’s a wonder anyone near a bar survived anyone driving home in the 80s.

But I made it to the park alive today. And I didn’t have to drive under the speed limit either.

Then, when I walked, slowly, to the fenced-in area where a pack of Teddy’s friends waited, I could feel the corn dog stick moving about inside me, keeping me from flopping around.

I also felt like a half-inflated water balloon.

I look like I’m a little pregnant. My ankles aren’t fluffy, but my gut is a big bloated mess.

I bought a new mumu from Amazon three days ago. It was really hard to sit upright and choose a loose dress that wouldn’t make me look homeless, but I did it even though it hurt. I found something I thought I might like and pressed that buy-it-now button. Then, I reclined on the couch until it arrived.

Late last night, some car drove too fast up the driveway and dropped it in front of the garage where Mike could drive over it on the way to work. Thankfully, he rescued it from his car and brought it inside for me. This dress is beautiful. It’s embarrassing to wear it around the house with my ugly slippers. It’s the ultimate in fat-girl fashion. I wish I’d bought a dress like this years ago. I feel like such a pretty corn dog. It’s a twirly dress, loose, flowy, and soft.

The problem was that my pretty new dress smelled like a Bandaid. I tried to wear it anyway, hoping the smell would dissipate, but I kept thinking about an episode of House in which a couple of kids were poisoned by wearing jeans they’d bought off a truck without washing them first.

You know House. They almost died before anyone figured it out.

So, I washed my new mumu, but the care instructions required hand-washing and line drying. Shit. Couldn’t I have bought a cotton version of my beautiful new mumu so all I had to do was throw it into the laundry with the towels and underwear?

Even with my broken finger…. Remember I broke my finger at Wild Waves? Yeah, I think I rebroke it the other night. I woke up in the night wrestling with my comforter and felt a little snap and a sting and my pinky finger decided to go all blue and green again.

But who has time to worry about a broken finger with the corn dog stick?

So, even with my broken finger, even with a corn dog stick stuck inside me, I decided to wash my new mumu.

By hand.

I already felt like I was half-way through a House episode because of my rebroken finger, my kidney stone the size of a finger to the first knuckle, and the corn dog stick I could feel inside me every time I moved. I needed to wash that Bandaid poison out of my mumu so I didn’t add poisoning to the mix.

Then, I imagined wearing that dress to my surgery, this flowy pretty black dress with a scoop neck and three-quarter sleeves.

And I felt ridiculous.

I am either stuck wearing something really pretty that begs for new shoes or wearing my faded blue and white mumu that only really looks right over a bathing suit at the lake.

And I’m not even sure I want to show up to this soiree. Remember? I’m not thrilled to put my life into the hands of people who won’t even return my phone calls. You know what I mean? If you’re going to get really drunk, you want to be with people who will take your keys and drive you home, people who make sure you’re tucked into bed on your side in case you throw up in your sleep.

So, I’m kind of afraid of Tuesday.

Thank you for listening, jules

Accidentally Running a Bed and Breakfast

I'm at that point when I really need to sit in my quiet house when I'm not at work and do some work, you know, writing, editing, going through piles of papers I should probably throw out, but now that our house guests have gone, all my friends want to catch up with me. They've asked me to

  • go to the movies
  • get pedicures together
  • have lunch
  • meet for coffee
  • get together and talk about books

That sounds fun, right?

I'm trying not to be crabby about it, but lately I've been dreaming that cretins have been breaking into my house and wrecking my stuff. I've been dreaming of people who walk around behind me and never stop talking. Whenever I need time alone, I always dream that people are running rampant through my house.

So, even with my best friends, doing stuff I love, I'm not quite enthusiastic yet.

I need a retreat. I need a week off from work, a week off from obligations, a week off from talking and from listening.

Finally, I got a job that features my best characteristic, talking with people, and now all I want to do is crawl into a hole and stay quiet for a long while.

It's solitude that I needed but didn't get during my vacation. I knew I needed it. I wanted it. I had planned that whole week as a chance to sit in front of the computer while Mike and Nick played video games. I didn't ask our friends to come visit. It turns out that Mike didn't even ask our friends to come visit. They just announced their visit. They weren't bad house guests. We just weren't in a good position to host.

When we first moved to the Pacific Northwest, a raft of friends came to stay at our house. A week after I moved here, our best friends Jim and Caroline arrived. I was still living out of a suitcase. The movers hadn't delivered my stuff yet. Still, we all explored Seattle and the mountains as if we were tourists. I was a such a new transplant that I was a tourist. I had no idea where I had moved, really, what the place was like. Besides Mike, I only knew one person and I really didn't like that guy. I knew it would be a while until I connected the way I did with Jim and Caroline. So, we had a great time with them, an incredible time.

After that, more people came to visit. For every friend that came, it became a little less fun. I didn't know exactly why at first. It was supposed to be fun. We were missed by our friends. We were not alone out here. Five, six, seven groups of people came to visit within the first year.

Then, a guy called and said he was coming out, Lyle. Mike wasn't good at saying no. We knew Lyle from GE, where we used to work together two years before we moved. And so Lyle showed up. We picked him up from the airport. Lyle was picky. He didn't like what we cooked for him. He was snarky. I felt insulted. He complained about our guest room. He expected us to take off from our jobs during difficult projects. He complained about the car we loaned him for those couple of days we couldn't possibly take off from our jobs. We carpooled together so he could drive the car. He brought it back with a new scar on the bumper. He said nothing about what happened. He stayed for ten days. Ten. The night before he left, he talked about coming back for a second trip. Mike and I whispered in the kitchen over a raft of dirty dishes while Lyle sat in front of the TV in the living room. How could we discourage him from coming back?

Early the next morning, we finally brought Lyle back to the airport. As we watched him walk down to the terminal, we waved at him, then both of us sighed at the same time. I looked at Mike. He looked at me.

Mike said, "Thank God he's gone. It didn't seem like you and Lyle were all that good friends. You were about to take his head off there at the end."

"What do you mean, friends?"

"I didn't know you were friends with him at GE."

"Me? I wasn't friends with him. I thought you were friends with him."

"I was never friends with that jackass."

Yeah, I need a retreat. But I'm willing to pay for it.

Thank you for listening, jules


When Life and House Guests Collide

My vacation is over. Let's see. I may have broken my finger, but somehow we were too busy for me to get an x-ray until our guests left. I'll find out tomorrow.

Teddy, the dog got sick and we still went to see the Space Needle and Pike Market. Mike dropped him off early in the morning after he hadn't eaten for two days. The poor guy had to see the vet on his own and we picked him up on our way home afterward. I felt like a heel when the vet called to ask how he was doing.

Then finally, when Nick got sick, I excused myself from going on the day's excursion so I could make him tea and soup and both of us could hang out on the couch with Teddy to watch stupid stuff on TV.

It was one of those weeks, you know the kind of weeks I mean, when absolutely everything goes wrong and the house guests stay for a week anyway and expect to be entertained. My vacation is finally fucking over. Thankfully.

Thank you for listening, jules

Preparing for a Pill

This is Nick's first day of Senior year. It should have been an event, but it wasn't. Well, not really.

Can I complain?

Teddy is sick. The other day, I bought kitten food for Seth because he's gotten too skinny and we needed to fatten him up. In all the excitement of new kibbles, I gave two kibbles to Teddy which he gobbled down happily. Two. I'm talking about the lentil-sized kitten kibbles. Last night, he walked around the house, moaning, waking Nick up, and puking all over the carpet. Poor baby. I didn't wake up. I'm not sure why. He wouldn't even eat his cookie last night at bedtime. It's my fault, completely my fault.

Then, my pinky finger, for some unknown reason, feels like it's broken. I'm not sure if I hurt it last Friday at Wild Waves or if it's some autoimmune thing from missing a few doses of medicine. It's probably the medicine. But it still feels like it's broken.

That's not enough, right? 

Mike's back is bothering him from doing too much work around the house for the last couple of days. Plus, he's been too busy to do his normal exercise routine at the Y. So, he's hobbling around the house right now. You know, when people can't stand up quite straight and you can tell something is out of alignment. He looks like that.

We have house guests arriving this afternoon. We haven't even met our friend's wife yet. She could be nice, easygoing, wonderful. We could have a great time.

Or she could be a pill. We have no idea. We're preparing for a pill.

The house hasn't looked this good in a while. We all feel like shit, but the house looks pretty good.

Thank you for listening, jules

All Kinds of Karma

It's been a shitty couple of weeks. We have water now, but there are still a couple of half-empty jugs sitting in the bathrooms. Or you could say they're half-full but I'm not inclined. I just gave the neighbor a check for a few hundred dollars for the new pump even though the one we had was still under warranty but the people who installed it couldn't work on it for three or four weeks. Did I already tell you about that? Can you tell I'm still pissed? What good is a warranty if the people supporting it don't support it?

That was a Yelp moment. I like being able to tell my truth on Yelp and helping out gullible people who might have been tempted to use the crappy company who installed our dead/warrantied pump last year.

Then, I had to fight with Nick to get him to submit a change form to drop or change three shitty classes from his schedule. If he didn't choose them and doesn't want to take them, how can they be called electives?

And my stomach has been messed up for the past three days. Yeah, I know I shouldn't say it. Nobody wants to hear about this. Shit.

In the meantime, Mike got disgusted at the thought of giving another $500 to a plumber. this guy didn't really clear shit from the drain the first time he charged us $500 to spend fifteen minutes with a snake in the drain a month ago. Mike went to Home Depot, spent $25 on an extra-long snake, and rammed that thing through a great lump of shit clogging the drain. And now, we don't have shit and dish water backing into the utility sink any more. Yay Mike!

I called home this morning because it was my mother's birthday. My sister was there too and we all got on the phone in a three-way conversation. I started in on Nick's shitty schedule, the shitty warranty for the water pump, my digestive disorders, and finally the shit in the sink. At the point in the story I had worked up to one more form of sewage, my sister started giggling when I tried to tell  her how I felt. Shitty.

Yeah, I have to bleach the shit out of the shit that's left in the sink. My sister tried to sound sympathetic, she did, but she was mostly giggling as she tried, so it didn't work. Then, my mom started giggling and then I even snorted once, but I still felt like shit so it didn't make me feel better until later when I was on my way to work and began to think about it. Then, when I was late for work because construction blocked one lane of traffic to lay some pipes, it hit me. Were they sewage pipes? They probably were.

  • No water. Shitty water pump warranty.
  • Shitty senior schedule.
  • Sewage shit in the sink.
  • Shit brewing in my gut.
  • Shit to flow through the pipes that crossed the road where construction made me late for work. 

God, I must have looked like a lunatic as I passed that flagger laughing until my cheeks hurt. It was finally my turn to get past shit in the pipes.

Maybe I was a real shit in a previous life. Tell me, do you believe in karma?

Thank you for listening, jules

A Privileged White Doofus

In between reading for entertainment, I work on my education. See, I didn't receive much in the way of literature, sociology, or rhetoric in engineering school. I've had to do it by myself and now, I'm in a phase of reading literature on social justice. The most instructive, so far, is So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. I need to read it again so it'll really sink in. It's an important book. The book that was the most fun was Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell by W. Kamau Bell. There's nothing better than being educated by a comedian.

I've read quite a few books in the same vein by now. I feel compelled to keep reading. I'm not entirely sure what my questions about social justice are, really, but I'm only beginning to feel some answers. I usually let my need for particular books run its course. One time I read about twenty romance novels with barely a break for any other books in between. What the hell was that?

At least I understand one of my reasons. This trend of reading about social consciousness feels so compelling considering the way the underbelly of racism and xenophobia is so exposed in the United States right now. I can't tell you how many clips of racists yelling at people I've watched lately. How is it acceptable to behave this way?

Oh right, our president.

That isn't the only thing driving me. What do I still need to know?

For many years, I've lived in a racial vacuum. Where was the diversity, I wondered? My son's school system didn't even come close to being represented according to national populations of different races and religions. Why is that? What could I do from here? How could I do my part at easing racial inequities if I lived almost totally among the privileged whites?

As I read, I realized that I live in a segregated community, a privileged segregated community. I live in an institutionally racist system. Ugh.

And I, like the doofus that I am, tried to ask the one black friend I had what she thought about it. She hated it. She hated the question. I'm so sorry that I hurt her feelings. Even my earnestness was offensive.

That's the thing I'm still stuck on even after all my reading. I've always believed that asking questions helps make a way through difficulties. So, when I might offend someone by asking a question, I feel stuck. It's hard to even admit to you that I feel stuck. I'm so privileged. I know I am. But if we don't talk about it, how do we solve it? And if talking about it hurts our friends, then shouldn't we just shut up? I'm not good at shutting up. It's a conundrum, isn't it? Thankfully, there are many voices publishing books and maybe I can read my way through the problem.

I feel better equipped than I was, but I'm sure to be an idiot in the future, especially since there are so many ways for me to screw up when I open my mouth.

I listened to an African American poet speak a couple weeks ago and I loved her poem about a family reunion. But as I ran up to tell her so, I wondered if I was allowed to relate to her story, if there really was a similarity between hers and mine. Was I negating her black culture by relating? When I opened my mouth, I wanted to say I loved the part about the food and how people who hadn't seen each other for a year could settle right into gossip over a paper plate piled with three kinds of homemade pie. Instead, I stumbled over the words regarding our simple connection and pressed my knees together as if I had to pee.

It also stuck in my craw that African Americans were somehow excluded from the Women's Marches. Why? There are parallels between misogyny and racism, aren't there? Shouldn't we all fight inequality together? What happened there? I'm sure I read about it, but I'm not sure I really understand it.

Oh, I'm probably being a doofus just asking that question. The problem is that I'm probably being an idiot by writing about the books I've been reading to educate myself. But I want to ask what I should read next, what would finally nail the ideas deeply enough into my brain that I knew I could be kind in a conversation with an African American about race even if I couldn't possibly be cool.

I want to better understand this culture that exists right here in my country, a culture with which I have very little contact.

There's one more thing. I tutor children. It's a diverse group and it's my job to talk about brain development and language skills. Many of my students, kids whose English is as precise as my own, were born in other countries, China, Vietnam, India, and South and Central America. So when I'm trying to encourage them to listen for grammar or learn other languages, I often ask them if they speak any other languages and if English is a first or second language for them.

My point in asking is that if English is their native tongue, they can hear correct grammar without ever knowing what a gerund or a past participle is. It's more difficult if they learned English more recently.

And then, I wish them to continue to speak, read, and also write in their first language because of the effect on their brains. I tell them that I wasn't lucky enough to have learned a foreign language before I was twelve so that part of my brain does not light up the way it should. Theirs, on the other hand, allows them to pick up new languages much easier. Plus, multiple languages makes their career more attractive globally. Their parents love hearing that their children will be recruited more often with their added skills.

And I read in Oluo's book that I may be offensive to people of color by asking. And sometimes I see that in their faces when I begin the conversation. I hate insulting children.

So, I need to learn this. I need to get it right. I need to stop being a privileged white doofus and learn to ask the right way.

Do you have any ideas for me? Or should I keep reading and shut the hell up?

Thank you for listening, jules

Turkey Legs and Corsets

We don't have running water at our house right now.

Yes, you can picture a counter full of dirty dishes, clean paper plates, cups, and plastic cutlery stacked on the counter next to them, collapsible jugs by each sink, toilets that require me to lift and tilt a forty pound jug of water to fill the tank after I use it. No laundry. No showers. No watering plants.

Mike took us to the YMCA yesterday as guests so we could shower. That seems like days ago. Last night, he drove the car to a friend's house to fill up six five-gallon jugs with water from a spigot. He'll go again tomorrow if the guy who installed the new water pump in the community well can't get the thing running again soon.

I'm sticky from the sunscreen we needed at The MidSummer Renaissance Faire in Bonney Lake today. I almost didn't want to go once I realized I would have to sleep in my sunscreen tonight and go to work tomorrow with it still tacky on the back of my neck even after I tried to sponge it off. I hate being sticky from sunscreen and sweat. My hair looks ... well, my hair looks like crap.

Ah, never mind my hair. It looks like crap most of the time anyway. Hell, it looks like crap all of the time. But at least it usually feels clean.

I feel like crap. I look like crap. My hair itches. I want my running water back.

There is some irony in the fact that we went to the renaissance faire today. The renaissance was a time when running water ran through creeks and rivers, when maybe once a week, people heated water for the tub and reused it until the last family member was clean, when a bowl was filled for your daily ablutions, when you peed in a chamber pot in the middle of the night and shared a pit toilet during the day. Think about the three-holed outhouse. Just think about that.

I don't want to live back in renaissance times, not even if I could be royalty. I don't want to have to wear corsets, layers of petticoats, and woolen underwear. I want running water, flushing toilets, sunscreen, and yes, I want my daily shower.

And one more thing: I think turkey legs have too many tendons running through them. Can't somebody do something about the tendons? But I do love the meat pies, the shops, and the shows.

Thank you for listening, jules

Here We Go


I skipped the detention protest on Saturday because I had to work for the first hour of it and after that, I was tired. I was tired. What kind of an excuse is that, I ask myself.

I was tired. I came home and went to bed, covering my whole head with my comforter.

Is that some kind of protest to protesting? Was my mind just too overwhelmed to consider one more moment in a crowd with signs and chanting? Did I wonder if it was all a little too surreal and whether I'd somehow landed myself in an alternate universe in which an overweight reality TV personality kept trying to ruin the country? Two years ago, if I wrote the story of this Presidency, everyone would have said it was obscenely fantastical.

And yet, this is were we live now. Everyone who runs a department in the executive branch believes that department should be dissolved. Our schools, the protection of our environment, our State department? All fizzling under anti-management. Our country sends toddlers to court by themselves, then puts them back into cages when they are done. Our country reverses clean air and clean water protections that are in our self-interest. Our country aligns itself with dictators and human rights violators and alienates peaceful democracies we'd worked with for decades.

I could go on and on, but it sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?

In the meantime, birds continue to sing. I remember that when my dad died, I wondered how the birds could continue to sing, but they did.

I wondered how I could laugh sometimes, but I did.

I wondered why the sun rose, why the sky was blue, why flowers bloomed, but they did.

I couldn't imagine my life being a peaceful one, but it was.

I think that's why I hid under my covers today instead of protesting. Like after my dad had died and I had wanted to wake up having forgotten the horrifying truth, today, I wanted to wake up after a nap with a clean slate, in an alternate universe, looking at a cheerful family with plans to make a nice dinner, clean up a little bit, and read my book.

I am the reason fascism can rise, aren't I? I am the reason, along with millions of other paralyzed people like me. I promise, I pinky-swear, that I will get back to protesting, writing letters, and contacting my representatives after I've built up endurance again.

Thank you for listening, jules