Whew

I’m feeling so much better today. Even if I did get woken up at a quarter after 5 in the morning by a dog jumping and making “mrph mrph” noises at the back door. I appreciate his efforts to bark quietly, but they didn’t really work. The Butcher did not take him for a walk this morning, so he’s been moping around all day, waiting for the Butcher to return.

I have, too, because, when he gets here, I’m going to take a shower! And it is going to be awesome.

Anyway, because I was feeling so much better today and the dog hadn’t had a walk, I thought I would walk him around the yard. This was a mistake. Almost a falling-down mistake. But I made it back in the house, so that’s good.

I’ve been a reading fool and I got a piece on Sleepy John Estes written for October. My brain is so happy to be working again.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll work some on the Nashville book.

Maybe I Will Nap Today

I don’t feel like I’m in any pain, but man, I’m grouchy. Not just on my own behalf, but, if you need someone to write you a good “How fucking dare you?!” letter, I’m your writer.

I did set up my follow-up appointment, though, so I’m feeling semi-accomplished. I just can’t find anything in the paperwork about whether I’m supposed to leave this bandage on until then or encourage it to come off as it starts to curl. I turn to advice from you, Internet, because I am too grouchy to call my doctor.

No matter what time I go to bed, I keep waking up at 1:15 and then again at 5:30. Every night. I keep listening to hear if there’s a sound or something at that time, but it appears to be rather quiet.

I also resent the fuck out of having this much time off and just not being up for writing.

Oh, it just occurred to me that I’m waking up at 5:30 because the Butcher is taking the dog to the park.

Well, at least that much makes sense.

Day One of Being Alone

I read a book–Sara Harvey’s Music City, which made me cry. And I watched the dog sleep. And I decided that I’m just not up for doing an index on Project X. I still feel woozy and tired, but I’m trying really hard not to nap, because I’m tired of waking up in the middle of the night.

I’m bummed that my parents are gone. Which, yes, I know, is weird. But it was nice to be spoiled and nice to feel like just remaining alive was good enough for them. I just feel like we’re all so fragile.

You’d think that having a week off would be awesome, but the truth is that, since I don’t feel up for anything, it’s just kind of blah. I finished this book and now I kind of want to go to bed.

Yep, That Sucked

I have been unwell. So, I’m cold-turkey-ing the pain killers, in hopes that I will then be able to poop or throw up or both.

So far, there hasn’t been a lot of pain, more like just an intense feeling of “yep, your boob is right there.”

But I think I’m going to try to take a shower again today. Maybe wash my hair.

Unwise

I took a very brief shower yesterday. It was a mistake. So, I am never taking off this bra again. Seriously, I’m just going to live in it. I should have showered in it. Or had someone stand in the shower with me and just hold that boob all Janet Jackson style.

I feel like I’m off the pain scale in some way. Like I’m not in much actual pain, but the discomfort and the swelling are breaking my heart. I just want to feel like myself. Though definitely, showering with that boob having to even briefly support its own weight was like a 4 or 5 on the pain scale, which was alarming considering I’d been having almost no pain since the surgery.

So, in general, the painkillers keep the pain at a 0 or a 1, but on the just feeling weird and uncomfortable and not like myself scale, I’m sitting at a 5 all day.

But my house is crammed full of food. The Professor sent us a big box of ridiculousness that even included chocolate cakes and a note that made both me and my mom cry. And then C. showed up with a lasagna his wife made that was so huge that he wouldn’t let me lift it because he was fairly certain that the dish was over my weight limit. We ate it for dinner and it was ridiculously awesome.

I just feel bad for my parents because I need a lot of minor help–I have trouble getting up from places and the pain killers make me wobbly when I’m up and I can’t really hold coherent conversations and they’ve already mowed and mopped and trimmed trees. I’m sure it’s got to be boring as fuck for them.

But I’m glad they’re here.

It Was Fine (Gross Medical Things to Follow)

The worst part was the part at the Breast Center. They put a guide wire in my boob and, apparently, I still had a huge, deep bruise from the biopsy, because they all walked over to make … Let me back up. They put the wire in you boob by having you sit in a chair while they put you in the mammogram machine, so you can’t move or see anything happening. And they took my glasses off, so I really couldn’t see anything. So, they have me in the machine and they all go over to check and see if they like the placement of the wire and I’m like “Um, something is dripping on me.”

They’re all, “Yep. It should stop in a second.” The nurse starts walking back over to me. “It’s still dripping,” I say. And it was blood! From where they had to go through that bruise. They made me look at the ceiling while they put pressure on it.

It didn’t hurt or anything but it was weird, because the drips felt cool. I would have thought anything that came right out of me would have been warm, but I guess not.

Then they put me in a wheelchair and rolled me to the surgical prep. I will say that the brief time that wire was in my boob was the most horrible time of the whole day. They want you to take good deep breaths.  But every time I breathed out deeply, I could feel that fucker. And sometimes, like once every couple of minutes, it just hurt like hell. You aren’t aware of just how much you move, just a little, in any given moment until you’re trying to hold really, really still.  It felt kind of like the pain of maybe scraping a metal file against your teeth? it wasn’t the worst pain I’ve ever been in, but it was definitely among the most uncomfortable pains. And I think part of it was that it was not predictable.

The people in surgical prep were as awesome as the breast people. They had trouble finding a vein to put an IV in so I tried to get them excited about the prospect of having a journal article about a woman who lives to 40 with no veins. They laughed. The anesthesia staff was really good, too. They took a long time with me talking about my medicines and my previous history. They said I was a prime candidate for feeling nauseous after surgery because I’m a young woman in good health who doesn’t smoke. I offered to take up smoking real quick if they wanted to hold off on the surgery for an hour or so. They declined as then they’d have to fill out the paperwork about how they talked to me about the importance of quitting.

Then I went to sleep and I dreamed that I was still in surgical prep but that someone was going to bring me some Mexican rice in a minute and then I woke up and it was done. And it felt so good to have that wire out of my body that it took me a moment to realize that I did feel a little nauseous and a little in pain–which they promptly cleared up.

I’m not allowed to drive for a week or to lift anything over 15 pounds. My boob is pretty swollen and I have to wear a bra all the time. But I will say this–I wish I’d worn a bra all the time after the initial biopsy, because it was easier to sleep. I thought for sure I’d wake up at some point because the boob would shift and there’d be pain, but no.

Anyway, the pain meds are kicking in and I’m not sure I can remain coherent. Chatty, yes. Coherent, no.

Two Boots Pizza

I went there for lunch and it was fairly busy. There was only one guy in the place at one point. Otherwise, it was all women, just shooting the shit about how to season cast iron and whether you could make a fish have sex with a kernel of corn (obviously not).

It was strange, but nice.

A Whole Family of Crows Chattered and Flew on My Walk

The Butcher has a theory that my parents are much happier if, when they come to our house, they have things to complain about. In that spirit, I did the most half-assed job of cleaning the bathroom ever seen in the history of half-assed jobs of cleaning a bathroom. You’re not going to get MRSA in there, but the bathroom is totally traveling back through time and giving someone’s grandma shin splints.

I haven’t sent out any of my afghans yet, because I wanted to wait to show them to my mom. But it’s on my list of things to do.

I have an almost final version of Project X in my purse. Lindsey has found the most delightfully creepy fonts. I think. They’re not trying too hard to be creepy, but they are awesome.

And I sold a story! “Zilpha Murrell and the Third Harpe’s Head,” which is a story about the time the mother of the famous land pirate, John Murrell, had the little-known third brother of the infamous land pirates, the Harpe Brothers, in her whore house. One might assume that this third Harpe is actually Samuel Mason, somehow escaped from death, but I didn’t have that in mind when I wrote it.

I have two more stories about Harpes and their heads, so maybe someday I’ll sell those.

Anyway, I’m nervous as fuck, but feeling like things are happening, so somehow it’s less stressful. I have things to do this evening–eat a big meal, make sure my parents know what’s going on and when they need to be places, get everyone to sign the living will, take out my ten-thousand earrings, bathe in the special soap, show my mom my boob in its current state so that she can recognize what’s not right when she sees it again tomorrow. If anything.

I swear, the second they’re like “Stop taking all over-the-counter pain medications,” is the moment your head is like “But couldn’t we have a head-ache? Wouldn’t that be groovy?” But I will soldier on.

Sunny

It’s a beautiful day out. Not at all as unbearable as they made it sound like it was going to be. I had lunch with nm, who has the ability to listen to you flounder on about something and then say “So, it’s x?” and you’re like “Yes, god, that’s exactly it. X is indeed what’s going on.”

My parents arrive tomorrow. I suppose I should clean the bathroom. The evil, evil bathroom.

No, no, no, no, no, nope, no, not that either, that’s a thing? No, no, no, no

I spent my morning getting registered at the hospital. I’m apparently in pretty good shape for a woman my age, which is a weird fact to consider. But I was all “no, no, no, no” to all the questions. Have I had this? Have I had that?

They took blood and piss and gave me special soap. And the paperwork for a living will.

I’m now drinking a throwback Mountain Dew and it is delicious.

Richard Finnelson, Wait a Second

I spent the afternoon cleaning the house and rereading the two chapters–“Chapter 1: We Arrived and were Promptly Kidnapped” and “Chapter 2: The Battle of Buchanan’s Station or The Night We Unexpectedly Weren’t All Slaughtered in Our Beds”–and I’m pleased. It did mean spending a little more time rifling through the war papers devoted to the Indians. And I realized that I had fundamentally misunderstood something. I thought Richard Finnelson and Joseph Deraque were interviewed together here and that information was sent on to Governor Blount. Thus the stories that Finnelson and Deraque weren’t believed about the attack and offered to throw themselves in jail and that they then might have even fought at the battle.

But in rereading yesterday, I realized Governor Blount personally took Finnelson’s testimony. In Knoxville. And then he sent Finnelson to Philadelphia to talk to the War Secretary. I repeat, he sent Finnelson, an Indian, to the Capitol. Before the battle. Then they send Demonbreun after the battle with further updates.

So, in order of “Who can we trust with these papers and important testimony?” It went 1. Richard Finnelson and 2. Timothy Demonbreun. Trailing far behind appears to be our friend, Joseph Deraque. Granted, he did just spend all summer as a Spanish agent, but still.

The next chapter is about land pirates–the Harpes, Tom Mason, John Murrell and the Mystic Clan (and did I tell you this appears to be mostly made up?! Which is perfect for the book)–and Isaac Motherfucking Rape Cult Franklin, who resented being compared to land pirates, but when you’re slicing people along the belly, filling them full of rocks, and then throwing them in the swamp, what the hell kind of comparison do you expect people to make?

And yes, yesterday morning, I couldn’t even stand the thought of looking at it. I’m on a rollercoaster of emotions. And I’m ready to just be back to my normal self.

I Feel Okay, But Not Okay

I can’t concentrate to read or write, really. Which is bumming me out. I have two thoughts–I don’t want to start anything before I see if I die on Thursday and Holy shit, what if I die on Thursday and my Nashville book isn’t done?

Both thoughts then send me on this spiral of “I could die on Thursday. Better go ahead and listen to so Old Crow Medicine Show until I’m really fucking Kurt-Vonnegut-level depressed at the state of the world.”

So, instead, I’ve just been crocheting like a motherfucker, which just lets my mind dwell on counting a lot and not thinking about death.

So, I have two observations about that–it sure is easier to learn to do the broomstick lace stitch on Red Heart Yarn (I think because the strands stay so distinct from each other?) and with three loops per stitch, not five.

Ha, you know, I kind of feel like I’m in some kind of perpetual waiting room. Not doing anything, so I’m not busy when I need to go do something.

Anyway, that’s my life lately. But Thursday is the day. So, there it is.

Noisy Bra

Okay, I admit, since the biopsy, I have been wearing my most comfortable bra like some kind of durable shield against trauma and breast-related ow-ies. But, finally, it was just disgusting. A bra is not made to be worn for twelve days straight. Some of which involved bleeding.

So, I’ve been going through my regular rotation of regular bras again and, today, I am wearing one that makes noises. I don’t remember it ever making noises before, though, so… I don’t know. But it creaks and groans when I stand up or sit down, like a bridge bearing enormous weight might scream as iron strains against iron.

I’m kind of curious/embarrassed to know if anyone else has noticed. But, seriously, how could they not? And what is making the noises? Is it the boning rubbing against the cloth? Is it about to give way? is it going to hurt when it gives way?

I once, when I first started working here, was standing in the production manager’s office in front of the big glass window and there was a mighty pop and then I felt a pain right under my boob. I looked down, and then put my hand where the pain was, and I was bleeding. I thought, “My god, I’ve been shot by a sniper, at work. How weird is that? Do those fools not know Planned Parenthood isn’t in this building anymore?”

But then I didn’t see a bullet hole in the window.

And I realized that the underwire on my bra had snapped and I hadn’t been shot so much as stabbed.

I guess I’m just a little fearful about whether we’re about to replicate that with this noisy thing.

WTF, Mom?

My mom called last night to chat and she announced that she and my dad have all kinds of plans for what we’re going to do while they’re here and how it’s her goal to get me up and cooking as quickly as possible. Because “you will be fine.”

I need my parents, my mom especially, here for two reasons–to drive me home from the procedure and to help me tend the wound if/when it’s in an awkward spot. I don’t need firm reassurance or to be rehabbed. Plus, the Butcher is a good cook, he just doesn’t do it very often.

I’m trying to be patient, because I’m sure they’re freaking the fuck out in their own ways, but my dad is the bossy one. My mom is the one who’s kind and understanding. I can’t live in a world where the poles have flipped.

Living Ahistorically

Last night, Nashville had a community meeting about whether Ferguson could happen here. Over at Pith, I already went into how what was a weird question, because it has happened here.

But this morning on my walk, I thought of a better way to illustrate the problem. We live in a city where white people ask a question that rests on an unspoken question, “Do we have that kind of despair over racial inequity here?”

We live in a city where people my age have living parents who were banned from whole swathes of the city, who were beaten and poisoned and arrested for trying to make that different. Those people my age are trying to raise children in this city–a city that would treat their parents that way.

The people who treated their parents that way, some of them, are still alive. Their children and grandchildren still live here.

And yet, it always seems like we want to move ahead as if the past doesn’t weigh on us. At least, some of the past. We pick the weights we want to bear and it seems like Nashville’s long history of what we do to black people is a weight most white people are constantly surprised to find still exists.

Won’t You Stay and Keep Anna Lee Company?

It’s weird to think about how we’re all just a shaky collection of agreed-upon stories. I was reading the other day about a study where researchers convinced college students that they’d been molested (licked in an unfriendly manner and not let go) by Pluto while at one of the Disney themeparks, even though it hadn’t actually happened. They were able to convince a sizable minority of the people participating in the study to remember it happening.

They made it real for them.

I sometimes wonder how much of my own life is fake, misremembered or misconstrued events that take on meaning to me, or things that seemed trivial at the time that become oversized in importance later. How often do I think something was a turning point in retrospect but, at the time, if there was a curve, it was so gradual as to be unnoticeable.

I’ve been staring at “The Oath of the Thirty-Three Orientals” for three days now. Nothing I’ve read of the landing of the thirty-three easterners would indicate that they should have landed at a place with a building and yet, if you look at the painting, you see that many of them are standing in the shadow of some rectangle with, maybe, a steeple of some sort? perhaps a church? Something casts a shadow.

That’s how I feel about the past–that I’m trying to determine what’s there based on where and when I’m in the dark.

The Red Baby Afghan!!! Of Doom!!! Or Something!!!

I took this picture so that you could see how I covered up my fuck-up with the lace part pulling way in compared to the half-double-crochet part. I didn't have enough yarn to do a frilly border, but what I did was to go around once with a single crochet, but when I hit the lace, I did a triple crochet, which built out that part. Then I did a simple triple-crochet/chain-one border on top of that. The sides are not quite square (though I may be able to pull them squarer when blocking) but the gap isn't glaringly obvious.

I took this picture so that you could see how I covered up my fuck-up with the lace part pulling way in compared to the half-double-crochet part. I didn’t have enough yarn to do a frilly border, but what I did was to go around once with a single crochet, but when I hit the lace, I did a triple crochet, which built out that part. Then I did a simple triple-crochet/chain-one border on top of that. The sides are not quite square (though I may be able to pull them squarer when blocking) but the gap isn’t glaringly obvious.

They Pray and Rob Churches

I find this terrifying. The police in Ferguson have apparently robbed a church. After making public shows of praying before press conferences and praying before nights of violence.

We’re all told that, if we just do what the police want, we won’t be harmed. But how can you figure out what someone wants when he tells you to go one way and his partner tells you to go another and they arrest you for not following orders? How can you figure out what they want when you’re not resisting and they say “stop resisting?” When they pray like they’re Christians but aren’t afraid or ashamed of entering a church to steal from it so that the church cannot do the work it’s obligated to do?

I am scared to death for the people in Ferguson. People who pray in public and then rob churches… I mean, what can you even say? These aren’t people who act by a moral code. But they’re armed and state sanctioned.

Update on the Broomstick Lace Baby Blanket

Though I settled on three rows of broomstick lace as a decorative element, I ended up doing about seven rows just to get the three rows right. That shit is hard! Well, no, doing it is relatively easy once you get the hang of it. But trying to figure out where you’ve fucked up and how to rectify it? That’s hard as shit. I just kept tearing out and redoing until it worked, though I can’t say why it finally worked when it did.

And now I’m in this situation where the half-double crochet part is wider than the broomstick lace part, which, duh, now in retrospect, of course it would be. And I’m not quite sure how to fix it. Blocking will help some, but I think the other important thing I’m going to do is to put a really ruffly border on it, so the shorter rows aren’t as noticeable.

Still in love with that red, though.

It’s Going to Hit 100 This Weekend

Which means, if I procure a shower curtain, I can block the Kool-aid afghan out in the back yard. I really hope it doesn’t run.

I have done my first row of broomstick lace on the red afghan. I really, really like it. I’m going to do three rows. I love the color of this yarn, but I’m not really digging the yarn. It’s a little too stringy, too cotton-feeling, even though it’s mostly acrylic, wool, and nylon. So, I’m glad I got something lovely, but, eh, now I know I don’t like that.

I finished a draft of this year’s October thing. It’s not really scary. It’s just weird and funny. And it doesn’t take up all thirty-one days, but I’m hoping I might have something special on the 31st, just for y’all.

So, well, fuck. I guess I’m about wrapping up everything I need to have wrapped up before the surgery. I wish that made me feel better, but it kind of doesn’t.

Ferguson, Continued

I think the thing I find most interesting about this is just watching how the racial attitudes I grew up surrounded by and the racial assumptions of the power structures in those places sound to outsiders.

In a way, the dynamic is very similar to how abusers talk about the people they abuse–there’s always a long list of wrong-doings, and, as we talked about, often those accusations are true. Brown appears to have robbed a convenience store. He had been smoking pot, apparently. Neither of those things being punishable by death.

And, for sure, being angry that a confrontation between the police and an unarmed kid lead to that kid’s death doesn’t justify a quasi-military invasion and occupation of your neighborhood.

But I grew up in towns where it was just assumed that black people, except the “good” ones, were more dangerous than white people (even the “trash”) and that they had to be constantly surveilled by the police if and when they were around because, well, “you know how they are.” And everyone nods along, with rare exceptions.

I can see this same attitude in the Ferguson and county police, who keep trying to trigger the “and everyone nods along” portion of the event. Everything they’ve released is about trying to show that Brown is not “one of the good ones,” and therefore, whatever happens to him, it’s not really important for “good” people to bother themselves with.

That they cannot force this dynamic to play out with this individual seems to have caused them to try to escalate things in Ferguson so that they can try to trigger it at a community level–these are all “bad” ones because they’re outside when they’re told not to be, because they don’t respect the authority of the police, etc.–so that they can be vindicated in their treatment of the community and therefore of Brown.

They are afraid, that much is obvious. And that makes me worried more people are going to end up dead by the time this is over.

The Best Way Out is Always Through

I have been thinking to myself a lot “the way out is through,” and I got to wondering who said it originally. And there, in a pile of inspirational quotes, was “The best way out is always through” attributed to motherfucking Robert Frost.

If you know Robert Frost, you know why I say “motherfucking Robert Frost.”

Robert Frost is like king of the pithy quotes that, when taken out of context, seem, yes, inspirational and wise. You know Robert Frost only two lines at a time, you think Robert Frost is some sweet old New England farmer handing out gentle wisdom while leaning on his hoe, overlooking his lovingly tended garden.

“Oh, Mr. Frost, I seem to be tangled up in your blackberries, which also may be a metaphor for my life!”

“I see that, girl. But just keep coming toward the sound of my voice. ‘The best way out is always through.'”

“I’m free! Oh, thank you, thank you, Mr. Frost.”

“I don’t have time for gratitude. I have to help this person trying to make a big life decision decide which path in a metaphorical woods he should take.”

That’s never how a Robert Frost poem goes in real life, though. They’re always sad, someone is always missing a connection with another person or about to.

And thus it is with “A Servant to Servants.”

I’m still going to think of that phrase, but it feels maybe a lot more honest and a little less inspirational to know that the speaker of the poem feels rather ambiguous about it. As you do, when you’re thinking about your crazy uncle locked in a cage in the barn.