Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wing Finger

What was once the only thing
Has transformed into everything
Even you...
Even you...

I sat in the dimly lit room without windows. I stared at the milk colored walls, the paper covered table, the plainly labeled boxes of medical supplies. The young resident neurologist sniffed and sighed and asked me another question. I stuttered my thoughts through tired lips, twisting words, reasoning, reciting...this is what happens. Every two seconds I thought of something else to tell him. Half of those things never got told. They didn't really matter. What mattered was the image on his computer screen. My spine, discs angular and beautiful, a column of uneven lines, a white and dark pattern. The spinal cord itself was stained, small splotches, patches, dark little places in the midst of gleaming bright white. The resident flipped through images, the successive MRI's of my spine and then of my brain. The brain was completely clear, but for a few older lesions. I have a very pretty brain.

We are growing at the speed of light
Every single piece is synchronised
Even you...
Even you...

I've been waiting for the results of a certain test. Dr. Melanson ordered the test after putting together all of my symptoms at our first appointment a few weeks ago. She thought that there was a possibility that I could have Devic's Syndrome. With the myelitis and optical neuritis, it's understandable.

I started researching Devic's in the meantime, reading everything I could, throwing my energy into this new idea. The trouble is that it's not an easier's actually much worse than MS, with fewer treatments and no preventative therapies at all. I think that I just became so enveloped by the thought of it because it was something different. Something other than what I've been living with for so long. The results of the test came back negative. This is a wonderful thing, that I just have plain old MS. Plain old MS. I should be joyous that I do not have some degenerative disease that most definitely ends in blindness... But that evening after I found out the results, as I stood in the kitchen making supper, I became completely paralyzed with disappointment and frustration. It seems so silly now. It seems ridiculous. But I just wanted a different answer. I wanted there to be a fluke, Dr. Melanson walking in and saying, "You really don't have any of this. You're just a beautifully dramatic hypochondriac."

Teradactyls, abandoned pianos, your stepdad's bongo drums, the snails that live inside aquariums


What was once the only thing
Has transformed into everything
Even you...

- lyrics from Wing Finger by Chad Vangaalen from the album Skelliconnection

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

shortworkday shortmix

Charlyn, Angel of Kensington - Jason Collett
Page's Instrumental - Hope For Agoldensummer
Night and Day - Billie Holiday
Wing Finger - Chad VanGaalen
Lost Verses - Sun Kil Moon
Foothills of my Mind - John Vanderslice
Blame it on the Tetons - Modest Mouse
Teree La Sebin - Amadou & Mariam

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday Afternoon Adventure

He stood, fingers inches away from dangling cigarette, cigarette dangling from open lips, hanging jaw, eyes wide, eye brows raised, breath floating up through the cold air. He stood staring at me. Me - Flowing red leather jacket, jeans, lovely woven cap, new snowboots, all of me jumped up and disappeared into the black Rumpke recycling dumpster. Then I popped up, holding the top flap covering of said dumpster with my head as I dug through stacks of newspapers, bags of cans and bottles, boxes, boxes, and more boxes. Moments later I emerged victorious, holding the side of the dumpster for balance with one gloved hand and thrusting my tiny white United Healthcare Insurance Card into the air with the other. My audience stood staring still, across the parking lot. They stood and said not a word, heads turned and tilted - frozen in the moment. They did not surround me with thunderous applause carrying me back to my Honda Civic on their shoulders. No, I crawled out on my own, placed my prodigal card in my wallet. And then I drove away.

Album of the Day:

Cellar Door by John Vanderslice

Friday, January 09, 2009

Papa Guac - Birthday of the Big Dog

Birthday salute to the man who introduced me to the Beatles, Otis Redding, Burt Bachrach, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Chicago, The Doobie Brothers, The Eagles, America (the Band), Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Letterman, The Beach Boys, The Mamas and the Papas, Antonio Carlos Jobim, John Williams, Henry Mancini, Bert Kampfert, Paul Mauriet, Bud Shank, Chuck mangione, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Herbie Mann, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Carla Thomas, James Brown, The Temptations, the Four Tops, Wilson Pickett, The Irish Tenors, The Boston Pops, Mannheim Steamroller, the Canadian Brass, The Brothers Cazimero, Krispy Kreme Donuts, White Castle, Steak 'n' Shake French Fries, Ollie's Barbecue, Colby-jack cheese, German Chocolate Cake, Pancakes, Crackerjacks, Beernuts, Coca Cola, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Amos Bronson Alcott, Emily Dickinson, L.M. Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Ozzie Smith, Bear Bryant, Jesse James, The Pony Express, Buffalo Bill Cody, Billy the Kid, The Grand Canyon, Old Faithful, the Sears Tower, Wall Drugstore, Star Wars, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Lawrence of Arabia, Amadeus, The Pink Panther, Singing in the Rain, The Music Man, The Mighty Wurlitzer, The Fox Theatre, The Alabama Theatre, New Salem, St. Louis, the majority of the 50 States, part of Canada, and so much more....

A recipe for you Dad - On your 61st Birthday

Guacamole - from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

1/3 cup finely diced white onion or scallion, including some of the greens
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 to 2 serrano chiles, finely diced
3 large avocados, preferably Haas
Juice of 1 or 2 limes

Set aside a few tablespoons of the onion, cilantro, and tomato for garnish. Grind or chop the remaining onion, cilantro, and chile with 1/2 teaspoon of salt to make a rough paste. Peel and mash the avocado with a fork. Add the onion mixture and tomatoes and seanson with lime juice and salt to taste.

If you're not serving the guac right away, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to keep it from browning. To serve, heap the guacamole into a bowl and garnish with reserved onion, cilantro, and tomato.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


She had me walk in a line, toe to heel, toe to heel. I had to lift up my pant legs, they were so wide. It was the same as I tiptoed across the room and walked only upon my heels. My huge pants just seemed to get in the way. James later said that it looked really funny, but it got the job done. I sat through many other tests today, simple ones, touching my finger to my nose with my eyes closed, pushing my legs and arms against the doctor's strong grip. She is my new neurologist, a specialist at the Waddell Center at the University of Cincinnati Hospital. The interview today was really encouraging. She asked me several questions that none of my other doctors had ever asked me before and ordered some tests (bloodwork) that I had never heard of. We'll schedule the new round of MRI's next week. Maybe Dr. Melanson will be able to tell me something new. Maybe she will just help James and I manage my symptoms so that I can have a more comfortable life. Either way, I'm very happy and excited about the future.

Album of the day:

You Forgot It In People - Broken Social Scene

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Wednesday Morning

Snow falling. A slight billowing sheen twisting around me as I ventured out to the car this morning. I clutched my lunch, my purse, my snow boots to my chest. There was not enough snow to warrant the actual use of boots. It was nothing more than a scene of winter beauty. An impression of winter. Maybe as the day progresses it will become something more substantial. I would love that.


Soundtrack for today:

April - Sun Kil Moon

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Soup Mix - The Birthday of the Kirsten - Lady

My friend Kirsten is celebrating her 30th birthday today.

She's actually not a puppet, but a real girl. This is just Lil' Kirsten (or Lil' Keeks), her birthday fingerpuppet (which she will receive on Saturday. Hurrah!)

In honor of this momentous occasion, I give you the Soup mix, which is actually one of my favorite mixes that James ever made for me. It will be coupled with our new favorite soup, a spinach and quinoa bit of loveliness which is a variation of a soup featured in the January Vegetarian Times.

The Soup Mix

Oceanside - Akron/Family
Dragonfly - Low
Basin Street Blues - Miles Davis
Who Needs Forever? Astrud Gilberto
Stars and Sons - Broken Social Scene
The Song is You - Charlie Parker
But Not For Me - Chet Baker
Poughkeepsie - Over the Rhine
Dylan Part II - Akron/Family
Tears - Django Reinhardt
In A Sentimental Mood - Duke Ellington & John Coltrane
Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars) - Astrud Gilberto
When It Hits My Blood - John Vanderslice
What I Don't Believe - The Minus 5
Fruit Tree - Nick Drake
Another Song For a Blue Guitar - Red House Painters

Spinach and Quinoa Soup

1 Tbs olive oil or 1 Tbs butter
1 1/2 medium sweet onion diced
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tomato chopped
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatos with basil, garlic, and oregano
2 large handfuls of spinach
1 small handful of parsley (optional)

Heat olive oil or butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Stir in broth, salt, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and spinach leaves (and parsley) simmer 5 minutes, uncovered, until spinach and quinoa are tender. Season with pepper if desired. Serve immediately.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Heartless Bastards @ the Northside Tavern - Dec 2008

The Heartless Bastards @ the Northside Tavern

Halfway through the show, our friend Dietrik yells "Erica (the lead singer) I want to have your babies!!!!" Doesn't matter that we're standing right in front of her. He later does a handstand on an enormous bulls eye in the street in front of the Northside Tavarn. Beauty beauty beauty for our first real show in Cincinnati.