I like books.


I live in a small town and enjoy writing about the inhabitants. I spend most of my time perusing through used book stores looking for that one great book that I don't have; consequently, I have rooms filled with books. I am a book addict.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I had surgery Wed. I should have known things weren't going to go well. From the beginning, I had problems. They couldn't start an IV, so they do a subclavian which is an IV in my neck, I should have said, hold up, but I so wanted the belly thing to go away, so they start to put me to sleep and the doctor and the anesthesiologists and my pulmonologists are arguing about the Razorbacks, what the fuck! I'm not in Arkansas. So, I feel the medicine, say it is so good, hear laughter and when I wake up, I hear no laughter, but male voices, loud and demanding, She's not breathing, folks. Get that tube back down and I feel this huge scraping on my throat and I try to gag but don't have the energy and then someone looks into my eyes, a woman, someone I can trust and she said, you are getting transferred to ICU, you are having a little trouble breathing. I don't want you afraid, I'm your nurse. A man yells, B/P 230/180, I know this is not good, and another man, one with gray hair, I can trust, tells me he is giving me something to drop my blood pressure. The woman wipes my tears and says don't try to breathe and I hear the ambu bag that she is squeezing and I don't feel the air and I think they are not giving me oxygen and I try to tell her but then I feel the pulse ox monitor on my finger and I was a nurse and know if I wasn't getting oxygen, it would beep and it hasn't beeped, so I try and relax and then they knock me out.
I wake a few hours later, but I think it's days later, I hear the ventilator and the same nurse says, you're awake. Here's what has happened, you couldn't breathe. Your lungs are in bad shape, but you know that and you are going to have to get weaned off the ventilator. Right now, it's breathing for you, but later we will match your breaths with the vents. So, began my twelve hour ordeal of making my lungs work. It took all of that time and reruns of the Adams Family to get me from zero respirations of my own, to eighteen. I finally did it and they took the tube out and I spent a few more hours on the heart monitor and then they moved me to my room, where, my son and husband were both waiting anxiously.
The end result, my stomach problems are fixed, I'm probably not going to like the dietary restrictions, but I don't have the pain, it's gone. Today, I'm weak and feeling icky, but tonight, I am starting on vitamins. I hope to make it to class tomorrow. I hate set backs. I hate when things don't go as planned, but I am happy that in spite of set backs and wrong outcomes, I am still sitting here blogging and able to sit and not fall off my chair. So, she lives another day.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My life updated and still sorry.

And so, it's time, yes time. I am doing it, having that pesky ulcer fixed. It's been over a year and since they found it, they have scheduled me time and time again to have it removed but I have either been busy, or my lungs were messed up or I was taking those pesky drugs to force that coccido back into remission, but alas, my gut hurts so much. Pain anytime it is empty and i can't eat all the time, and even though I try, I am gaining weight from all the food. It's so bad that I am even drinking milk and mylanta trying to stop the burning. So, Thursday of last week, they looked at it one more time to see if we can wait for the holidays and nope, almost to the bleeding stage and the ones in my upper small intestine are spreading. I suppose they are like fucking roaches, once you get them, they keep on reproducing. Anyway, as it stands now, I am going to lose a slice of my lower stomack about the size of a sixteenth pie cut, and about four or five inches from my small intestine. You now, after my hysterectomy, I thought, alas, no more removable parts. Everything from here on out is needed and can not be removed unless, well, there are parts to replace them like my heart, well, bad heart, new heart, bad liver, new liver, but I was so wrong. Nope, you can still have things removed. CAse in point. Stomachs, don't need them, so they can chop them out, same with intestines, up to a point, then they have to do the entire rerouting of the digestive track and that isn't pretty. So, to avoid having a colostomy and a feeding tube, they are going to start the whacking early. The doctor says that this should remedy the problem. I'm hoping that he is right. In the least, no more pain. So, the day, Wedensday. I am going to have it lappy which is laser through tiny holes in my abdomen. And, should only be laid up a day or two or three or maybe until next Monday. I'm psyced cause we all know what surgery means, good drugs. Yep, good drugs and anesthesia. I can't wait. I'm hoping for a young anesthesiologists, cause they know, and they make it slow, and they make it rememorable. yes, I want slow and to remember. I want to go far out man, groovy, and way cool, and dig it. Yeah. I'm an old hippy with too many memories of the good old days when drugs were safe and addictions low and now, well, you have to be so careful. DON'T DO DRUGS. Cause that would be so wrong and so bad and can do bad things to your chromosomes and you could have five headed kids and green haired puppies. Okay, I'm rambling, I'll stop now.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Who's keeping score?

The woman who watched my children, well when they were too young for day care, her name was Barbara and she was a grandmother and a retired school teacher, she was also my neighbor. She and I became friends the moment I moved into the house next to her. She had a little dog that loved my children and would bark and bark until my children and I went outside and she would waddle over to the fence and try to stick her nose through so the kids would pet her, they, my kids were one and two. Before her, one of my ex husband’s nieces had watched them, and while she was good to the kids and a good child care provider, she married a man that I just couldn’t trust, so, in came Barbara.

I had known her for a few months and a couple of times she had watched the children for me while I ran to the store, or while I paid bills, and my children loved her. So, one day she and I were talking and I asked her if she would watch them while I worked and she jumped at the offer. That’s how it happened and soon, she moved in with me, into the extra bedroom and she and I and my children became a family.

Barbara was a horrible cook, yep, she knew how to make a couple of things but over all, I did all the cooking, I also did all the laundry, because she just couldn’t carry the baskets of clothes to the wash room. Really I did everything but I didn’t care, as long as she doted on my babies and that she did all day and up until they went to bed and even then, she would get up and go peak in on them.

Her moving in with me gave me a lot of freedom to run, and I did do that, for a while. So, I would get off work at eleven and call and tell her that I was going out and did she mind and she would say of course not, go and have fun, your young and so, only on the weekends, I would go run and play with my friend K.C. that’s how I got by with so much bar time, only gay bars, well there were a few times we went to straight bars and fought over the men. I usually won but sometimes, he won and that would just piss me off to no end. K.C. liked red necks, go figure. He said that rednecks are one step above ballet slippers and two steps behind cross dressing, he was pretty much right on that one, or the red necks we met in Bakersfield California.

One night, we were at a bar called the Red Rooster, I know, there is a Red Rooster in every town and they play country music and the place smells like new boots and back in those days, high karate cologne. So, we go to this bar and K.C. bought a new cowboy hat and boots and we practiced doing a line dance that was pretty much all the rage with the red necks and we were out there dancing around and around and he was twirling me and waltzing me and no one on the floor could dance like us and then it happened, he dipped me and his eyes looked at me and he smiled and I looked at him and smiled and we both looked at the man next to us and we both lost our minds. Oh my was that man pretty. K.C. almost dropped me and I wanted to kick him and we both began to stutter and it was all so juvenile and the man asked me to dance and I dropped K.C. like a hot potato and went straight to the dirty dancing and K.C. was pissed, oh was he pissed. I still have it, I thought. So we go back to the table and he buys me a drink and joins us and we are talking and K.C. is putting on his charm and it is so gay and I’m giving him the look that I always gave him when we were among red necks that meant for him to pull in the gayness and exhibit some studliness, and he was so overwhelmed with this man’s beauty as was I, that he just didn’t pull back and soon he was fanning with his cowboy hat, and I’m rolling my eyes, and so I as carefully as I could unbuttoned the top button and reveal a little cleavage, that was a certain eye pleaser and for sure I was going to up the fanning flame and then K.C. pulls out all his artillery and begins talking about head, yes he did and how there is nothing like good head. Well, there you go, I will not talk about head on the first drink, or dance, but I am not trashy like my flaming, fanning, friend, and so I am out of my league because Mr. Good-looking-redneck-stud is intrigued and loses his senses when someone begins discussing the art of a good blow job, and since I am not jumping in on that one, K.C. hits a home run. Later, when K.C. came back to the bar, he sits down and says, what did I miss and I look at him and say, was it good, and he says, nope, my dear, I just saved you from a boring asshole, and I say, hey, don’t talk like that, you know that I’m not into assholes and he says, exactly. He bought me a drink, we toasted, we finished our drink and decided to go to the gay bar, the music was so much better, plus, the men there could at least dance and had better clothes and were not so easy, well, they were easy, but not like the men in the straight bar.

And then I knew

Delagar’s post about her daughter’s new books, the ones about puberty and such, well it got me to thinking about my own lack of education in that area. I had older sisters and they were never given the talk, or so they say. My mother never gave me the talk and when I was around eight or maybe nine, all three of my older sisters became “expecting” as my mother so careful called it, in fact, when one of my older sisters said pregnant, my mother shushed her. So, because I was so nosy and wanted to know what it was that was making my sisters so big and round and all the talk about new babies, I went to the library and looked up pregnant, and after reading all of that, began to search each of the words that I had read, like fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, and even menstruation and that is how I learned about the birds and the bees, right there at the table in front of the encyclopedias on a huge oak table that smelled faintly of Murphy’s oil.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

So he said.

So, I'm writing a novel, well it's more like a collection of short stories about characters I have known. Mingled in with each of these stories, will be other stories, kind of like a story within a story. Not a frame story and a story, but different. Anyway, I am writing about my first gay friend, or first openly gay friend. When he came out of the closet, it wasn't a good time, it was during the early eighties and most gay men were targets for all kinds of shit because of aides. Even in California, tolerance was at an all time low, and so, when he came out of the closet to me, I asked him to keep it quiet but he just couldn't do it. One day, I'm sitting in the cafeteria drinking nasty hospital coffee and I hear him long before I see him. I sipped the bad coffee and watched the door and here he came all 6'6" prissing past the tables of shocked visitors and hopsital staff. "Girl," he yelled. I looked at him and just shook my head. It was the first time that I ever saw a man wearing makeup and so much makeup and his nails were so lee press on pink and he had freshly pierced ears with little butterflies pressed into his swollen lobes and lipstick so bright it made his teeth look whitter than snow and he had bangles and rings and necklaces and his hair, yes, it was teased and puffed up. "Well, here I am," he said. "I see," I said. "You like?" he asked. "I'm at a loss for words," I said. He sat down and daintily sipped his coffee. And after the shock of seeing a man with so much make up and with so much flamboyancy, I found my friend, and we started talking and then I liked his eyeliner and his blush and his lipstick and his hair product and all his gold and silver and rhinestones and even his new walk, it was catching, made me more aware of how my hips moved. That was the beginning of my friend allowing me to see him, really see him and not that person he had tried to be. His favorite line, "Girrrrrrrl, let's go gettem." And we did, some nights all night long and other nights we chose to sit in the parking lot and smoke our liquor and watch the show from the parking lot. When my friend and I moved from San Diego to El Paso and he abandoned me for a cute little hispanic with a gold tooth and left Texas to wonder aimlessly around Mexico, he had tested positive. I asked him to stay, get the best treatment but he said that he was going where booze and living were cheap. So, he and I parted company and until he died, we semi kept in touch. The last time we talked he said, "You know, every man I ever took from you, I did to keep him from hurting you." That was what we did, we fought over straight or supposedly straight men. I thanked him and told him, "Well, if you must know, all the men you took from me, well, they were men I didn't want." He laughed, "Bitch," he said. I laughed and then we said our goodbyes and a few months later, his little number with the gold tooth called and said, "K.C. wanted me to call you and let you know he was gone." I thanked him and cried. This collection of short stories about K.C. will be hard, harder than writing about Betsy. K. C. was just so fucking funny. He gave my children salamandar eggs from a river and we put them in a tank and watched as they developed and one day, I came home and my little swimming things were now land things and were running around my apartment. We liked to never have caught all six of them and then we took them back to the river and turned them loose by the bank and he said, "I wish life were that easy. You know, if you don't fit somewhere, you could be gathered up with others and taken to the place where you do fit, like here and that new place was perfect right from the beginning, no surprises, just perfect. That's all I want a place where I fit."

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Conversation in Zelda's House

Me: No tea.
Mr. Zelda: hmmm
Me: I need tea, I done gave up the coffee, need tea.
Mr. Zelda: You just replaced one caffiene for another.
Me: So.
Mr. Zelda: You ain't gonna cook.
Me: No tea, no energy, no food.
Mr. Zelda: I guess I'll go to the store.
Me: Wake me up when you get home and fix tea.
Mr. Zelda: Anything else.
Me: Good fruit.
Mr. Zelda: What if the fruit is bad?
Me: Better find a fucking apple tree.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The first time.

Twenty minutes the baby lived and then he died. His skull empty, except for a large amount of fluid, and the tiny brain stem that had developed, nothing else worked, no frontal lobes, or temporal lobes or parietal or occipital, only the brain stem, breathe in and breathe out, the brain stem said, lubdub, lubdub and on and on for as long as the baby could live, kept alive, given fluids, kept warm, touched and nurtured, but then, what?

I went to her room, it was dark and her eyes were swollen and her husband was asleep. “I took a picture,” I said.

“Why?” she asked.
“You might want it someday,” I said.
I put the envelope with the picture that I had taken on her night stand, the envelope sealed.
“Did he suffer?” she asked.
“No,” I said, “he went peacefully and quickly.”

How could I tell her he was thirsty and cold, that he wanted milk, that he wanted to feel, how could I tell her he died in a crib in the corner of the nursery, alone, away from view, give the one new nursing graduate who sat by his side and touched his tiny fingers.

That night, was the first callous, one of many that I developed to help me get thorough those rough times when babies died, or mothers died, or both died and those emotions of happiness soon became immense sadness. That callous, though, was one that I never forgot. Like the first sweet kiss, I will forever remember how I felt when that baby drew its last breath

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Moving On.

If you must know, in another life, I was a nurse. I worked in labor and delivery, and when I needed extra money, I worked for an agency that supplied nurses to short staffed hospitals, or for home health, and one time, I was given a contract with the state of California to go around to the migrant farm worker’s homes and vaccinate their children, sorta do a well baby check up on all the babies and small children. Plus, we had things to pass out, like soap, how arrogant of the state to assume the migrant farmers were not clean.

The man who was driving us down one farm road to another and to another until all I saw was miles and miles of farm land filled with tall stalks of corn, or tomatos or whatever else that particular piece of land was growing. We ran out of roads and started down tractor roads and then we were driving on a levee and right in the middle of a huge and I mean miles and miles of corn was a tree, a big truck, and a small house. They were waiting on us, someone told them and they were ready.

Five families, I learned, lived in this house, they were somehow all related. There was a large living room with two sofas, a kitchen, and two bedrooms; each bedroom, held one family and the living room was divided between three families. The younger families got the bedrooms, the older used the living room. It made sense.

I never learned their names, but knew that one man spoke broken English and he told me that at night, they bring out sleeping bags, for the floor, and the two older women slept on the sofas, while he, and the other men, slept on the floor next to their wives, the third couple slept together on a roll away bed that was folded neatly and was covered with a blanket and had things sitting on it, like it was a table. There were four older children who also slept in sleeping bags, only one girl of the four and she, her father said sleeps at the foot of the sofa by her mama.

The younger couples had younger children, and one of the women was pregnant. She had not been to the doctor. I put my stethoscope up to her abdomen and heard the rapid beat of the soon to be neonate, probably in a day or so. The baby was in place, she had dropped. This was her third baby and she said she knew what to do when the pains came, but, she was there alone with the other small children, the rest of the adults and older children worked the fields, they had no phone.

It’s not true, you know, what they say about how they live in filth. The floor was so clean you could have eaten off of it, and the kitchen was spotless, not one dish out of place. Even the porch was scrubbed down clean.

I asked through a translator when did the children go to school, and they lied and said that the older children go during the week. I knew they were lying, they looked away from me, and I didn’t see any evidence of school, no notebooks, nor school books, not even one pencil in sight.

It was time for me to check the children. No lice, no sores, and I gave them their shots to keep them from getting measles, mumps, and chickenpox. They drank the polio vaccine and I gave them their first of three hepatitis shots, and while the children screamed, the mothers and fathers were all touching their babies’ arms and legs and holding them and soothing them in their language.

I hated leaving them, and hoped that I got to come back. I worried about the young woman about to give birth. The man who spoke English invited me back for a party on Sunday afternoon, I smiled and said if I could find my way back, and he said he would meet me at the crossroads and lead me back, for me to bring my family. I couldn’t tell if he was being nice or if he really wanted me to come for food. I wrote my name and phone number down and told them where I worked and told them to bring the young woman there when she began her labor.

It was the next afternoon, I was coming out of the nurse’s lounge and a man came running toward, me, “Senora,” he yelled and pointed behind him at his wife, the young woman from the migrant camp, being pushed by an ER nurse.

Nine pounds that baby weighed, and she did fine, and the entire migrant farmers from that house stood in the waiting room, now I was obligated to go for Sunday dinner, I had, after all, delivered one of their own, and to honor me, they gave the baby my name. That Sunday, my children, my friend K.C. and I met one of the migrant farmers at the cross roads and followed his truck back to their place. My towheaded children played with the migrant farmer’s children and in spite of the language barrier, they were able to do what children do best, play.

They buried the pig in a pit, that is what they did, and when it was cooked, they lifted it out and we ate ground roasted pig, and had tamales, and fried cactus, and refried beans, and potatoes, and home made tortillas’, and when we were finished, the young man played his guitar and they sang and I didn’t understand a word, but I felt the music and it was happy and I hated for the day to end, but it did end. Before I left, I gave them clothes that my friends and I had collected, and a portable crib, and I found a sling so she could keep the baby next to her, and plenty of diapers and I hated to go, but I did, and the next time I went to the migrant farm house to give shots, a new group lived there, and my old friends had moved on, they, my guide said, were up north picking peaches.