Tuesday 28 August 2007


Excuses-- something that I think about quite a bit and guard against. Making excuses can be confused with that amotivational stuff that I fight with due to the t.b.i.

Do I make explanations for myself out in public? Usually, I consider things as "need to know info." The casual human being I meet in a store does not have to know that I have mild expressive aphasia. My talking is too soft but understandable even if I miss a word and find a similar one to stick in there instead. The jogger that appears down the street does not need to know that I might see him as having two heads, two necks, four arms, two trunks somehow connected to one waist like a morphed out hydra. [The double vision in one eye thing].

It is important for me to know when I am tired and to pace myself so my energy is more even.
And important for me to know when taking time for healing turns into a convenient sort of laziness and unwillingness to extend myself and get out there and job-hunt [again]. Maybe I can't do what I used to do. Maybe I can do something. Even if it is part-time, "something" is better than sitting home crying about my unlucky break and all of that. Taking risks is risky.
And yes, I have used my own t.b.i. as an excuse not to take risks because I am afraid.

The c-t scans and the m.r.i.s don't always show the extent of the damage. Mine showed the specific damage in the left frontal-temporal lobe but not the stretching of the axons that were part of the more diffuse damage. No way am I allowing radiation to be shot into my head [PET or SPECT scans] even if some insurance company would like to spend that kind of money.

The hyperreflexia and double vision in one eye,
the refusal of my eye muscles to move unless forced,
the inability of my eyes to work together or with my brain,
the borderline hearing loss [which has now cleared up],
the difficulty navigating on uneven ground,
the true photophobia,
the objective vertigo [not dizziness, not a balance problem--
the room slides to the left],
the pervasive lack of ability to multi-task;
all are things I live with daily.

I don't get to add those things up in an attempt to justify quitting. I don't get to whine about things being harder for me than the average person even if sometimes they might be.

I am alive and I shouldn't be. My car was rammed into a house at a high speed. I opened the one door that wasn't stuck and let myself out of that car. The last neurodoc didn't understand why I "walk so well" as he put it. My hyperreflexia is very high on the spastic scale. I'm glad he wasn't checking me out in the emergency room. Else I might not be walking today. I walked because no one told me that I shouldn't be able to.

I was lazy before my t.b.i. That didn't go away. I got another crack at life. Maybe I can do it a bit better this time. I hope so. I've got to try. And that means attempting to blend in whenever possible and being as productive as I can be in whatever form it takes. It means not blaming others for my problems. It means being able to see my self as a sacred human being, not as my symptoms or my labels. It means ignoring those who tell me that I am not able to. I can wallow in my self-pity or I can turn my excuses into determination to get back up again and get going. I have to keep striving. I am part of this society, a citizen of the world, and I intend to make my contributions to the society that I live in.

sapphoq healing tbi

Sunday 26 August 2007

Friday on the island

I woke up to a hazy day and a dog who was quite unwilling to take a walk for fear that we were going home and
leaving her behind. She'd seen the Bean bags and suitcases and assumed the worst. I dragged her to the tennis
courts and back.

We made the eight o'clock and headed up route one for Freeport. Once there, we ate at Stickey Buns [overpriced
but delicious] and then we browsed a few stores. I got a pair of fuzzy socks for lounging around in. We walked
around Beans too, neither one of us purchasing anything there. The L.L. Bean's staff are trained to ask everyone
they walk into how they "are." What if I told them the truth?

The truth is husband's oldest sister asked us the other day if we wouldn't want to go with her mother to some rock
city in Jordan or somewheres in October on a tour. Not having the money to drop, we said no. Does it dawn on
these people ever that we have not had an easy time of this for the past three and a half years or so since my car
accident? I'm on disability. I've got no job. My prospects are thin. Running Sores is not exactly telling
anyone that I was golden. I'm being pressured to work full-time and I don't even know if I can manage a part-time
unless I wind up working for myself. I interviewed for an aide position at a t.b.i. day program and possibly even
to sub as a kitchen helper or at a group home. Dude claimed I have to be able to lift for their group homes. I
know they got some where no, one does not need to lift. No dice. I can't even get an interview for delivering
newspapers or working at a store for cripes sakes. Where are we supposed to pull this money from to go on such
a trip in October? Out of our asses? I'm too old to be a prostitute.

After escaping the clutches of Freeport, husband drove us down to Portland so we could eat lunch [overpriced but
delicious] and go to the comics shop. Then a run to the supermarket for him and the Goodwill for me and back to
the island on the two o'clock boat.

The dog was happy to see me and I was happy to see her. Husband's cousin had arrived on island and stopped by to
talk to me. I like her well enough. We click and she doesn't roll her eyes in horror at the thought of surfing
the net or having a computer art program. One of the great things about her is that she is not afraid of the words
traumatic brain injury. [The rest of husband's family dwells on my back injuries which by far is the least of my
troubles at the moment. My father didn't even tell his side of the family that I'd had a car accident]. Cousin
happened to mention the same trip to Jordan. She and her husband will also be going. Mother-in-law has been
complaining about 8-12K she needs for roof work to be done on this cottage in the spring of '08. Bloody hell, why
not go to Jordan?

Mother-in-law has been having stream-of-consciousness over-idealized monologues about her perfect life lately. The
topic over dinner [chicken for me, salmon for them, stringbeans, corn on the cob, and tomato slices for all] was her
very own perfect diet and she eats salt and butter and still manages to keep her weight the same. That along with
the idyllic farm that her mum grew up on and that she visited. I was not having an easy time of things. I cannot
seem to lose weight and barely manage to stay around the same weight. And she has a perfect life and a perfect
upbringing and a perfect everything and perfect trips to England and one other exotic location every year.

I am tired of having to start at the bottom with the job thing. I have been told over and over how smart I am, how
much talent I have and I know these things. The tragedy is that I have not been able to sell myself into a position
of money. It's always start at the bottom, work my way up. My working experience seems always to count for naught.
So with the last job, starting at the bottom once again, I worked my way up and then along comes a moron who had to
get high before driving and there went my well-paying career. I hated it anyway. But this? An insult to my life
once again. I am tired of having to pay for what other people do. I am angry. Seething. In a rage over it and
I cannot find my way home.

After the meeting tonight was reading, computer time, this bitchy synopsis, listening to the neighbor's drunken kids
peel up and down the road, and bed.


Friday 24 August 2007

Manifesto # 50

The colors ran out of her;
all the colors that she had loved
and all the colors that she had hated.
She was dead.
Deader than the fluffy bunnies that bloodily
littered her crabgrass-infested lawn.
Deader than Live Journal after the fanfic fest.
Deader than the internet and all of its' bright promises.

She had woke up one morning and found herself dead
and then wondered what to do with the rest of her life.

blue space goddess

Tuesday 21 August 2007


My aunt has two cats, Tiger and Red. It may be that husband and I will stand to inherit one or both of them after
my aunt dies if no one else steps forward for them. Tiger is older. Red is younger. Both are female. Both are
overweight. But this is not really about Tiger and Red, or even about cats.

His name was Red. He had no other. He had a red curly fro and green eyes and coffee-color skin. He was chunky.
He has a sidekick whose name was Slim. Slim was very very dark and very slender. I can still see Red in his tan
shorts and a sleeveless tanktop that read, "Good ass is hard to find." And Slim in blue jean shorts that went down
to his knees and a red tee shirt that had no motto.

I was nineteen, naive and a virgin. Shirley was my party buddy from work. We were both working in a mall
restaurant. I was assigned to the pizza station. Shirley was to train me. I was there for the summer. Shirley
was on welfare and not reporting her income. I had dreams unfulfilled. Shirley had a kid. She was not naive in
the least. She was poor and doing the best she knew how. It was with Shirley that I sprinkled marijuana on some
of the pizza slices, heated them up, and sold them to unsuspecting customers. It was through Shirley that I learned
how different my life was from the lives of those who were stuck.

Shirley and I decided to sell reefer in the city. We met Red and Slim in Brandeis Park. We'd gone there in my
daddy's car to sell reefer. We took Shirley's preschool-aged daughter with us. Shirley didn't ever have a sitter.
Years later, I would be left to wonder what became of her daughter. I hope she escaped her mother's world. That is
something I may never know.

Brandeis Park was small, several blocks off of Broadway and Central Park. Brandeis Park had trees and benches.
The park was full of pushers and gang bangers. I didn't know that. I was a stupid white girl with too many dreams
and not enough reality. My dad would have given me any money I asked for. I was not there out of financial
necessity. I was attending college. I hardly studied and I was getting 4.0s in almost all of my classes. I was an
addict even then. I suspected but didn't know that for sure. It was summer vacation. I had a future for the taking.
I didn't know what I had so through the years I threw it away. What I did that summer was an indication that all
was not right with me. And so this stupid white girl and her worldly friend met two guys in the park.

Shirley and I got to be-- friends isn't quite the right word, associates-- with Red and Slim. Red [and sometimes
Slim] took us to the local Steak n Brew restaurant for steaks and brew. Red always paid. He wouldn't take a dime.
Shirley and I would dig in. I'd been to fancier restaurants but I forgot that when we went out to dinner with Red.
Red played the big shot with his wad of bills and I let it be so. I was deaf to any warning bells going off in my
head. I was afraid of getting busted, of daddy finding out where I was taking his car. Not of anything else.

One Saturday afternoon there was a raid on the park. I didn't know that many of the people selling were packing
heroin. I didn't know the nickname of Brandeis Park-- heroin alley. I didn't know about the pimps and prostitutes
either. Two huge blue buses pulled up along the side street and a ton of cops busted out of them. We stuffed the
marijuana joints we'd been hawking down the lining of Shirley's little girl's box of crackers. Red, Slim, Shirley,
her child, and I headed for the little bar across the busy street. The little bar was in the middle of the block.
We watched the action over our drinks. I think I was drinking something fruity. After the buses left, we went back
to the park. A woman came up to Red crying. "They took my man away." There were still customers waiting for our

Shirley had warned me never to go to Red's apartment without her. I didn't fully comprehend her warning. I was a
stupid white girl, playing at the game of grown-ups and ill-equipped for life on the streets. I knew nothing.
I went into the city alone one Friday. I met up with Red. "The dasheki is at my apartment," he told me. I went
with him. We walked the ten blocks to his rooming house. A man behind a wooden split door nodded as Red and I
walked in.

Down the hallway to the left was Red's room. It was a disgusting room. The paint was old and greasy. A mattress
to the right against the wall shared with the hallway. One window to the left. I ran out of the door naked but
Red pulled me back in. If the man behind the wooden split door heard my scream, he ignored it.

Red raped me. I thought he was going to kill me. This was not the promised, "I will get you a nice apartment in
the City" guy. This was a man who was hell-bent on taking from me something that wasn't his to take. With "You're
gonna miss my lovin'..." playing from his cheap boombox in the background. I don't remember coming the first time.
"Two more times," he told me. I faked them.

Afterwards sitting on the bed, Red apologized. Said he had to do it. Said he didn't think he would ever see me
again and he was sorry for that. Insisted upon walking me to my car because the streets were dangerous. Gave me
the dasheki though.

I drove home numb and became hysterical later. I woke my dad up finally. "I been fucked," I kept yelling. Finally
he asked me, "Where were you tonight?" The story came out through my hot tears. The next day, he sent me and my
step-mother shopping. I never could talk to her. Too bad now I think. She knew some things my dad didn't.

My dad had contacted his lawyer and was advised that pressing charges would do no good because of the dealing. A
rapist got away with it that time. Did he ever get caught? How many other women? I never found out and never went
looking for the information. With my photogenic memory of places, I know I can find the rooming house, Brandeis
Park, and Red [if he is still around the area there] if I choose to go looking. I don't choose so today. What will
I say to him? Shall I tell him I'm sorry that I held a resentment towards him in good A.A. fashion and beg his
forgiveness? Ask him how he's been, if he ever went to prison, got religion, got recovery? Tell him to fuck off?

When things calmed down a bit, my dad would start in on me over breakfast. "About what you did this summer..." I
learned to sleep late. He endorsed the movie, "Looking for Mr. Goodbar." I was horrified when I did see the movie
years later. School started up again and I went to the library. It was in the stacks that I discovered research
that told me that 50% of families blame the victim for the rape. My dad was blaming me for being raped by a black
guy. He didn't want me to have black friends. I kept my black friends. I knew that rape was not about color or
sex. It was about power. I wasn't able to bring myself to see a gynocologist until a year and half after the rape.
She offered me legal uppers. I left shaken and bitching about the drug-pushing doctors. I didn't know that my
addiction was robbing me of my free will. It would be several more years until I was freed. And years before I
could take on the mantle of my own power.

I think I may have tried to put on Red's dasheki but found myself unable to wear it. Who could wear a gift like
that? Years later, I found the Take Back the Night marches in Albany and defiantly walked through the streets
at night with other survivors of rape, sexual abuse, incest. I became more than a statistic, more than my history.
It was a struggle. I fought violently for the right to be. And today I am.

Within the current menagerie, there is one red kitten. He is ever curious, bold, and sure of who he is. Husband
would have wanted to name him "George" after all the red cats in his family. I wanted him to be his own cat. I
listened to his sould and named him Twinkle. With the twinkling of stars comes a wish and a promise and maybe even
riches. If we do inherit my aunt's cats, Red will become Ruby. Ruby for the richness of living, of being able to
love in spite of trauma, for the warrior that I have become.

sapphoq on life

Sunday 19 August 2007

Maine-- Friday and part of Saturday

This morning, husband and I loaded doggie and a variety of suitcases into the car and we took off for Maine. We got here this afternoon. Husband's eldest sister came to pick us up. Dinner was a cream chicken dish, salad, and peaches and ice cream. Mother-in-law complained during dinner about one of her granddaughers. Granddaughter had moved far away with her lover and hadn't seen my mother-in-law in pretty near a year. Mother-in-law complained about the guests that granddaughter had invited along. Mother-in-law has something wrong with her I think and has probably had her whole life. Because she is rich though, she got to be eccentric rather than subjected to mental hell 'treatment.' That is a story for another time, After dinner was the island A.A. meeting and now a bit of reading before bedtime.The fire is going in the kitchen woodstove which makes things toasty. The skeeters are out full-force tonight and the autumn weather is slowly moving in. It was a relief to get back here after the meeting and away from the little bastards who are flying blood-suckers.The reason for coming up here has been moved from tomorrow Saturday to Sunday evening. And it has become a family of four plus whatever other flotsam plan to show up for lemonade and whatever alcohol will be available. I was a bit put out at first for the party being moved and us not being notified until Wednesday evening. In the end, I decided that it didn't matter to me. Husband was the one who had to take the extra day off of work when he still believed that the party was to be Saturday.We left this morning anyways. I do not enjoy the feeling of being held hostage to someone else's whims. Since this party has dissolved into something less than family, if I'd had my druthers, I woul have elected to come back up here some other week. My homegroup N.A. picnic is Saturday and so I am missing it this year for this non-party up here in Maine. It was supposed to be a big gathering with all the family and some sort of weird-ass christmas tree out front decorated for the occasion. None of that happened. It is what it is. Pretty island and the dog likes it-- two things right there.SaturdayCloudy day.I took the dog for a nice walk.Then husband and I went to the library.I was all set to download my mail to incredimail here at the library hotspot
and the stupid ucking puter will not connect.
it says the adapter is under control by another program.

Going to instructions windows from husband's computer it says
run system 32 root etc and the damn puter
cannot find it.

I will have to fix when I get home
hopefully without a high bloodpressure attack.
I hate my laptop.
husband's just a button connects.
mine doesn't..

Stupid party is tomorrow-- it turns out
just four of us "family" including motherinlaw--
if I knew that iIwoulda just
stayed home.

Meanwhile I am sure iIwill feel better but
I just dont know when,

On the plus side I finally finished and sent in
application for the state program to give me a job.
It is not definite that I will get one but at least
it is sent.

And when I get home I am going to apply to
Goodwill for a part-time job.
Maybe some other places too.

love yas,

Saturday 4 August 2007

Don't put those books on a chair...

Late afternoon husband and I went to a bookstore as we do almost every Friday. It is one of those bookstores with overstuffed chairs and couches distributed throughout so that way I don't have to stand in the aisles to read the books that I have no intention of buying. It also has a coffee bar and tables and cafe chairs.

Usually I go through the bookstore and meet husband at the cafe with my bunch of books and magazines to thumb through. Husband comes back with four books. We sit at the too small table. Husband goes up to get the drinks. I like rasberry-chocolate freezes and cherry-chocolate freezes. In the winter, I like hot chocolate with a shot of coffee in it. Husband likes caramel freezes. In the winter, he likes hot coffees. I usually snag an extra chair and pile the rejects on it. This has not been a problem in the more than ten years that I have been going to bookstores in this area.

A man in a brown suit made his way over to us. He stared at the 14 books and 5 magazines which I had gone through and which were in the reject pile on the chair. "It is against the rules to put the books on a chair," he told us seriously. "The chairs are for other customers to use."

"I don't see a crowd of customers waiting for that chair, but thanks for telling us that," I said. "Are you buying any of those books?" When I indicated that I wasn't, he said, "I have to put them back," and he walked off rather stiffly with an armful.

I don't mind following the rules if I know what they are and if they make some sort of sense. But that rule was (a). one I had never been confronted with before in my entire life of going to bookstores and (b). made no sense, especially given that there were no customers who required a chair. The bookstore was almost empty. There were four other customers in the cafe area; and three adolescent gamers sitting in the overstuffed chairs discussing the idea that the next president has to have both charisma and experience.

The man in the brown suit had a fancy tag by which I took that he was some sort of mucky-muck manager. When he told us he had to put the books back, I couldn't figure out why he was telling us that. We were done with them. It appears to be the habit that most people leave stacks of unwanted books around. If he hates his job that much, he can always go get hired by the human servitude agency where I used to work and find out what real aggravation is. Those were some of my thoughts. I refrained from saying things that I really wanted to say since I don't like cops being called and I do want to go back there again sometime.

Rather baffling it was.

Thursday 2 August 2007

The First Cutting

Disclaimer: Those who are looking for scholarly essays on the witch's holidays based on ancient, historical resources are encouraged to look elsewhere. There are thoughts and memories only. No gnosis. No, not even that.

Some folks in the witching world are celebrating Lugh's Day [as I call it] or Lughnassad or Lammas. At least one group of pagans has gone off to the local park for a picnic and a swim over the weekend. Some other folk got together and had games and such dedicated to Lugh. I didn't. One druid of my acquaintance broadly insists that August 1 is the first day of autumn. Not here.

My second teacher celebrated the Solstices and Equinoxes as the major holidays and hardly gave a passing nod to the other four. Not quite a newbie some years ago, I was amazed to discover during my brief exposure to a witch temple of sorts that I was out of step when it came to holidays. I don't much care now. I still hold the Solstices and Equinoxes as the major days and consider them to be the astronomical marking of each new season. It was only through a flurry of stints in public witch circles that I began to grudgingly acknowledge Sam Hain, Bridhe's Birthday, Belta[i]ne, and Lugh's Day.

Oh, I don't have anything against Lugh. I'm sure he was a grand fellow and very skilled at all that he undertook. I like Bridhe well enough. And Hallowe'en costumes are pretty cool as is fertility rites superimposed upon the driving of cattle through fire to get rid of their fleas and stuff. And I am sorry that the English weather by all accounts is rather crappy. Damn the potato famine too. Yet, I don't live in England or anywheres near there and I am no druid.

I am the grandchild of two dead farmers. My grands bought their farm in their retirement years and worked hard to gain a living out of the cows and the land. My grandmother had quite the green thumb. Anything she planted grew. She planted by the moon.
She kept a faithful record of daily temperatures for many years. My grandfather was a dour man who kept making me promise him never to become a farmer. He wore a green cap and had two tractors and a red truck. Grandma understood what I was becoming. Grandpa consoled my fancy for candy and other sweets while fighting his own madness and his tobacco habit. He managed to quit smoking.

In addition to the cows, two dogs, chickens, geese, and barn cats, my grands raised hay. They had hay fields, including one which got infested with pumpkins along the southern edge after my grandfather had dumped pumpkin seeds on a manure pile there. My grands would watch the weather carefully and when there was three days lined up without rain, they would go out toward the end of July or early August and take the first cutting. After cutting, the hay laid down for three days-- and provided the weather co-operated by being dry-- then it was baled and thrown into the creaky ol' black hay wagon, then taken to the barn where it was then transported to the top room.

It was hard sweaty work for two older people, one of them prone to severe untreated depressions. My grandmother could run circles around both my grandfather and the hired kid from down the road when it came to working. A couple of years before he died though, my grandpa had two heart attacks in succession. The second was worse than the first, as is typical. Damage was severe. The cardio doc wanted my grandfather to not lift, not work the farm, not drive the tractors. By April, grandpa was doing all of that and more daily. When he died, it was cancer that took him. His heart remained loyal 'til the end.

My own heart is not into this artificiality of picnics and games. The
artificiality of celebrating Lugh's Day or Lughnassad or Lammas hurt. I stopped doing it. The First Cutting is what has meaning for me, the grandchild of two dead farmers. The first cutting of my memory was the first yield, the first harvesting of the hay. The first cutting prepares the way for the second cutting.

And so in my life, I gather the first fruits of my own endeavors this year and I wonder. I take the dog over to the creek and we watch first and second year bullfrogs dart into the water, swim under rocks, pop out to lay on top of one, sit quietly by a frog hole, test out their voices. The dog wades right in. I hold myself back in wonder and in awe. A slinky blue dragonfly hovers over the weeds growing in a clump by the shoreline. A few birds trill loudly to each other from trees farther away. The natural flow and ebbing of life's tides; the cycles of grow, green, brown, die, begin again; it just keeps going.

I used to be a go-getter. I am no longer. Now I am content to sit by a creek watching and waiting. I gather my thoughts to myself like stray children and I wonder-- will the rain hold off for three days for me this year? Or will my own hay field grow moldy and damp under the onslaught of the summer rains?