Somewhere between Bell's Palsy and death

And then, there's Mother

Thursday, December 04, 2008
No one had to die on Thanksgiving … this year

I know y’all have been waiting for a recap of the anticipated Holiday o’ Horror, and believe me, it’s not that I’ve decided not share. Frankly, there just isn’t anything to tell—it went really well. Mother didn’t stop talking from the time I picked her up until probably the next day, which is either endearing or annoying, depending on who you are; and Baby Brudder did exactly what I figured he’d do and blew out early (HE said it was because work had a server crash, but *I* know it was because he didn’t want to deal, although waiting until AFTER chow would’ve been slightly more polite. On the other hand, though, if you’re going to be twitchy, it’s better to get the hell out of dodge before you turn into a spectacle), but it was eerily normal. I even peeled potatoes, ferchrissake.

It’s the AFTER that’s been a drag.

Friday, after I woke up at ass o’clock to cover the yahoos shopping Black Friday—and I don’t care who you are or how much money you think you’re saying: If you’re up at ass o’clock to shop, you’re a yahoo—helped Girlie texturize the walls of the restaurant and tried like hell to ignore the headache and clogged sinuses that were threatening my well-being, Mother and I went to dinner. That’s when it started:

Yollie said that she really IS your mother, too, because she gave birth to you ... What was she saying when she called you her daughter? Because I kinda took it to heart ... Do you think you’ll call her ‘Mom’ when I’m gone?

Before y’all ask, no, there really is no way discuss this with or placate her. I’ve tried, but she doesn’t get that the two of them are very different people to me, and it’s not a matter of who’s more important. They’re just different. So here I try and do a good thing, and once again it bites me in the ass. Fabulous. I did, however, get a great picture of the three of us ... that I’m expressly forbidden to post. But trust me, it’s something I’ll keep close always.

On to happier business, this weekend is shaping up to be filled with all kinds of tomfoolery, starting with my sister’s arrival Friday; she and I are either going to hole ourselves up away from the rest of the world and drink ourselves stupid or go out and wreak havoc on the unsuspecting, then Saturday is the next Bang-Bang “Drink for ...” extravaganza, for which I plan on getting all hot and gorgeous (AND find a skirt that doesn’t make me look like I’m 3 feet tall). You’re invited if you’re in the area. Ann and Ben said so.

Posted by Broad4:29 AM
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Get out yer longjohns, folks, because Hell HAS frozen over

Tomorrow—or today, whichever you want to call it at this point—as y’all gorge yourselves on everything that’s wonderful about the holidays, I’ll be doing the same, only unlike you, I might well be balled up in the corner with the first bottle of whatever I can find. See, while y’all enjoy your family, *I’ll* be spending Thanksgiving with BOTH MY MOTHERS.



I know, I know: What a blessing to be amongst those who love me, etc. etc. I get it. But people, complete bizarreness of my situation aside, think about it—TWO MOTHERS. Not a mother and a stepmother, or a mother and a mother-in-law; those are your run-of-the-mill dynamics. I will have TWO MOTHERS who love to—what else?—MOTHER in the same house, mothers who will either fawn all over me or point out every flaw I have as if I don’t know what they are. And if Mother’s in one of her moods, I’ll be inflicting her on completely unsuspecting people. I mean, she seemed in decent spirits when I talked to her earlier, but that was hours ago—who knows WHAT will happen between then and when we’re supposed to get there that’ll set her off!??

I’m a little freaked out here, people. Please send alcohol.

Posted by Broad5:57 AM
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Nothing like waking up to DOOM

Well, I WAS in a decent frame of mind until I logged onto Facebook (where I spend another fairly big chunk of time) and found one of my pals/colleagues posted THIS bit of horseshit: Lookit.

When it comes to the paper, I don’t even know where they think they can cut us anymore, but I can tell you one of myriad ways in which they monumentally fucked it up: Outsourcing our circ to our MAIN COMPETITION. From what I understand, the TRIB is the one that not only prints us but handles our delivery. So, if the Trib’s going to handle our circ, do you REALLY think it’s going to give a Goddamn about what delivery problems the Sun-Times News Group’s having over its own issues!?? Think about that. Yeah, I’ve heard our upper brass goes to Cyrus et al all the time, and Cyrus et al talks about how they’re going to “present these issues sternly” when they re-up the contract or whatever, but again I ask you: With the newspaper industry and all its issues these days, do you really think the Trib cares? Was there a clause in the contract stipulating that as long as the Trib doesn’t ACTIVELY pursue STNG’s subscribers, instead just not doing anything and letting the subscribers get pissed off enough that they cancel, it’s cool? I mean, what!?? It’s stunning to me that these people are letting us die on the vine. And sure, more cuts sort of means more for me, but I don’t WANT more at the expense of other, much better reporters. Never have.

And now with this pissing in my oatmeal, I have to pick up MOTHER in full-on jerk mode to get a new winter coat after she had to sleep on the couch last night because her landlord didn’t fix the roof properly, and it was banging against the side of her crib all night. (whimper)

Posted by Broad5:07 PM
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
God may not want me to shoot myself after all

Preliminary results from the colonoscopy: Two little baby polyps that the doctor said he would be surprised to find cancer in, a blood vessel that may or may not rupture but wouldn’t cause issues if it did and ...

a. whole. lot. of. nothing. else.

So what does Mother choose to focus on after he gives us the big news (and after I hug him for figuratively pulling me away from the shotgun)? “Now, what about this blood vessel!??” Of COURSE she does.

But no matter, because it seems like the Pimp is just about thawed out. If it’s not, at least I have my downstairs neighbor’s Camry in which to tool around, and I love me the Camry. As far as realistic dream cars go, that’s my car. Ima get me one one day.

[UPDATE: We have lift-off! After a few tries and few pumps of the gas pedal, the Pimp is back in action. The idle is a little kludgy, but I’m guessing that’s due to watery gas maybe. I have a bottle of Heet all ready to go—that is, if my gas door wasn’t frozen shut ...]

Posted by Broad6:46 PM
There’s a joke about unlodging jammed objects somewhere

Tomorrow is Mother’s last test to determine what, if anything, is wrong with her (physically, anyway, since we already know the mental part). And except for an annoying call a little earlier, she’s been a million times better than she was a month ago, and like I said a few days ago, that’s been a fantastic turn of events—definitely easier on me, anyway. And she’s actually been pretty zen about the test itself, which is a miracle considering.

But now—and this just hit me in the last hour, so I’m not processing anything at the moment—I’m the one that’s freaked out about what it might find. Googling colon cancer just now didn’t help; turns out that some of the symptoms she’s been having are in fact indicative of colon cancer. Not going to tell HER that, of course, but ... then again, her doctor said her lower stomach didn’t feel lumpy or hard, and that was a good sign, and nobody’s talked about her being anemic. Still, I’ve spent so much time focusing on her mental health (which, make no mistake, I was absolutely correct to do so) that I haven’t really thought about what a cancer diagnosis would mean. Selective thinking at its finest, right? But here it is, and I don’t like it one bit, especially the part about how it would affect me. Yeah, no need to pile on about how shitty it is of me to think that way; the Catholic guilt and I already have that covered, thanks.

The test’s at 9 a.m. Don’t know how much we’ll know immediately after.

Posted by Broad4:25 AM
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Car butt-warmer seats, nothin’

Has anyone invented butt warmers for the toilet (that don’t involve yarn, naturally)? Because it ain’t right that I should be freezing my ass off INSIDE MY CRIB. Good Christ. Glad my outdoor assignment was canceled today (for lack of snow instead of appendage-freezing-off weather, of all things); now, I can throw myself into such intellectual pursuits as laundry and oven-cleaning, and maybe some Crap TV at Girlie’s later if I can be persuaded to go outside.

Everything seems to be back in order after hell week—Mother’s settled in, and after sleeping most the day Friday, I don’t feel quite as beaten down anymore. Chatting with my pal Laura was also somewhat helpful: She lost her mom a little more than a year, I think, before Dad died, and her dad, God love him, isn’t much further along than Mother in the grieving process (though he IS much more responsible for his own health and can take care of his own doctors’ appointments). So anyway, Laura has three sisters and a brother, and her dad has started mentally noting what they call “grieving points,” wherein her dad reports to each of them who’s paid the most attention to their mom’s tomb for the week (i.e.: “Your sister left the most beautiful arrangement and stayed x amount of time"). The object, apparently, is that all the siblings are then supposed to top the others’ efforts. Fortunately, all five them have sick senses of humor, so they’re well aware of what their dad is doing and can laugh heartily about it. That right there is what I wish I had the most; I mean, I can tell people how ridiculous some of the shit is that goes on with Mother and me, but it feels like all I’m doing is being an ungrateful cunt, and that includes to those who either have met her or have known her as long as they’ve known me. With siblings—or even Dad himself—at least there’s someone who knows exACTly how it is, and you don’t feel like you have to defend yourself when you’re frustrated. And you know, I had no intention of turning this into another “Woe is me” diatribe, so pardon me while I go suck it up ...

There. That’s better.

So Friday night I covered my alma mater’s MLK Jr. celebration, which featured King’s youngest daughter, Bernice. And once again, it was an assignment that there was no way in hell it could be given the treatment it deserved in 8 to 10, which is what I’m typically writing these days. The reporter chick from the competition and I just looked at each other like, “Fuck. Where do you even start?” Just amazing, and timely to something my sister and I have been talking about the past few weeks, but I’ll talk about that later since I think it’s been two hours since I sprayed the crap out of the oven and therefore should probably clean it before I stick my cauliflower thingy in to cook.

Posted by Broad6:00 PM
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Why is there a fork in my ass?

Well, nothing like finding out the desk (or a certain person on it) is talking smack about me.

I’d explain the context if I didn’t think it would bust out the person who told me anything was said, but I will say this: I may eat, breathe and shit the paper as my full-time gig, but technically I don’t work for it anymore. Therefore, I don’t have any sort of power to decide to scratch any story at my capricious whims. As such, if I’ve covered something that I don’t think merits space, I call the person in charge and run it by them; if they agree, I don’t file, and if they don’t, I pull something out of my ass.



I had hoped a mid-afternoon shower and once-over with the loofah would be enough to restore my will to live, but alas, it wasn’t. My last two days have been spent hauling Mother around to her first two tests, the endoscopy and, because the doctor discovered her duodenum is narrow, an Upper GI series this morning. The running-around alone would be enough to make someone crazy, but add to it the following things:

-- Mother calling me at ass o’clock Tuesday morning, yelling that we have to leave RIGHT NOW because they can get her in earlier (and not really believing her because of past histrionics);

-- having to run her errandssit with her because she’d been sedated and might be woozy all day (she wasn’t); and

-- smushing myself into two chairs trying to sleep while waiting THREE FUCKING HOURS for this test today as a crazy Asian old guy yelled at his son and a bunch of snotty little kids ran around screaming and being snotty;

and you would be as useless as I was today when I got home. Seriously, I conducted an interview and then just sat in front of my computer in a fog all afternoon because I’m so worn out. About the only thing good in all this is that switching Mother’s meds last week has kept her relatively calm. If she’d have been on Defcon Mother, someone would’ve been dead by now.

I threw “narrow duodenum” into the Google monster, and everything that came up first had to do with duodenal ulcers (of which I had one, like, 13 years ago, and it sucked). Seeing that Upper GIs are used to find ulcers, we may have a diagnostic winner. We’ll find out tomorrow morning.

Posted by Broad4:36 AM
Friday, January 04, 2008
And I’m not the only one

The paper beat me to it yesterday (or rather Wednesday, since that’s when the following was written):

Clay should admit Gary has crime woes

January 3, 2008

A mayor should be the top cheerleader for his or her city, whether it’s Olga Velazquez pitching a lakeshore park in Portage or Jon Costas backing bus service in Valparaiso.

In Gary, Mayor Rudy Clay needs to put down the rose-colored glasses and make the reduction of crime and violence his No. 1 priority. That can’t happen until Clay admits Gary is infested with thugs and gangbangers who find it easy to kill.

In comments about Gary’s homicide rate in today’s Post-Tribune, Clay dismisses Gary’s ills and blames domestic disputes as the main source of violent deaths in his city. That’s an irresponsible comment.

Take a close look at the names of the 71 people who died violent deaths in Gary last year. Most are young men in their 20s whose killers acquired guns too easily.

Meanwhile, homicides are dropping in the nation’s largest cities. New York City recorded 484 slayings as of Dec. 25—down 17 percent from last year and the lowest since record-keeping began in 1963.

Chicago marked its lowest total since 1965 with 435 killings through Dec. 26. A Chicago official hailed its tough stance on gangs, guns and drugs.

Yet, in Gary, the mayor doesn’t even recognize there’s a crime problem. It’s all domestics, family disputes, says his honor.

So, while other cities take hard looks at crime and make strides forward, Gary struts out a bunch of politically connected auxiliary police officers with no policing expertise. They should be assigned to parades.

There is real science that exists to analyze and fight crime. Other cities do have a clue; they are stopping the violence. Gary—again—is getting left behind on its far-too-deadly streets. Before change can occur, there must be an awareness, not an excuse.

Meanwhile, I take Mother to the brain garage today. Let’s hope the doc can come up with the right cocktail so that maybe, just maybe, I can leave County of Lake for a little r and r every so often.

[UPDATE: I now have in my hot little hands a scrip for Seroquel, which happens to be an ANTI-PSYCHOTIC. No, not for me, for Mother—Doc said it should “take the edge off” while helping her to gain weight, which is currently an issue since she’s down to 98 pounds. She’ll start taking it next week after she gets used to a higher dose of the other med she’s on. So, how bad is it that the fact that the med is an anti-psychotic is making me laugh just a little? Keep in mind that I’m going to hell for many other offenses.]

Posted by Broad4:18 PM
Friday, December 21, 2007
How does a week go

from scintillating and fun to absolute crap in the span of six, seven, maybe 10 minutes? For me, it’s picking up the phone when Mother calls for the second or third time and then reading this afterward: Lookit.

Jon articulates so, so well the minefield that is loving someone with chronic mental illness that that alone was enough to reduce me to tears. What he doesn’t cover, though, is the tremendous guilt that comes with needing that person to fulfill your needs as well. Not because he hasn’t felt it, because you can’t not feel like a total asshole for needing at least some of the time and be human. (You know, even if it’s just the whole “All the starving/war-ravaged/homeless/abused people in the world, and I’m fucked up over an unreturned gesture” kind of thing.) But Jon is with someone who recognizes that her illness can be all-consuming and therefore works just as hard as he does to give back. What do you do when the person can’t even fathom that you even have needs outside of food or money? Tell the person you need XYZ? You’ve already done that a thousand times. Set boundaries? You’ve tried that, too—it works until things are tolerable before it reverts back, usually worse than it was before. Cut the person off completely? You’ve done it with other people, achingly hard though it was. But with this person, others already beat you to it, so if you joined them, the person would be left with no one and, because they’re ill and can’t take care of themselves, their “hitting bottom” would in all likelihood be death.

What do you do? And how do you get through the day knowing full well that compromise such as Heather’s and Jon’s can happen because, as someone who’s sick yourself, you for the most part keep yourself from falling down the k-hole of self-absorption and despair for that very reason?

If you’re me, you shut down, becoming incredibly nasty toward someone who loves you and wincing every time the phone rings because you know that whatever she’s going to say is going to be ridiculous, but there’s also the remote possibility it won’t be, so you can’t completely ignore it even though you’d rather just hide under the bed. I suspect that’s not the best way to go, since the guilt is staggering.

Posted by Broad3:05 AM
Monday, December 10, 2007
Since I’m going to hell anyway (Pt. eleventy billion),

I most certainly did snicker to myself when the gastrointerologist informed Mother that not only would she have a lower GI to look for polyps, but an UPPER GI to look for ulcers, and she freaked out. Hey, it’s what she wants, right?

Posted by Broad10:42 PM
Thursday, November 22, 2007
My first orphan holiday (and I’m not even an orphan yet)

I probably should’ve written about this yesterday when I was all twitchy and emotional, but today marks the first time I go it alone on a holiday. Mother’s depression is out of remission* right now, so she has decided that today is “just another day” and would rather stay at home and think about the stomach cancer** she absolutely doesn’t have even though we’ve been invited to Poppy’s for dinner (we usually have reservations someplace). So, I’m going to Poppy’s, and then Anna’s, alone, which is awesome and I love that they’re including me, but dammit, my Mother’s still alive, and we should be celebrating together.

I do wish y’all a wonderful, artery-clogging feast, however, and I will make sure to have one as well.

Posted by Broad5:34 PM
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Anger management, Pt. 1

Mother called this morning in Defcon 5 panic because after the wicked storm we had last night, the power’s out in much of the town, and she has no air conditioning. She’s now staying at Chez Broad.

Please send either help or extra prayers that I don’t end up popping a cap in this woman’s ass.

Posted by Broad2:33 PM
Sunday, August 05, 2007

Could someone explain to me why Star Jones had to “come clean” about the fact that she had gastric bypass? Like, no one could figure out that with the amount of weight she lost, that’s what “medical intervention” meant? I mean, right?

Had some broadband issues this week so I couldn’t fill y’all in about BUS DEMOLITION! weekend, but as always, it was a great time; only thing that bummed me out worth talking about is that my D-List celebrity BFF and his entourage never found us. But one daring soul in our group, Will, actually signed up to race in the amateur turn—until his roommate, Jeff, discovered that the car Will would be racing was HIS 2006 PORSCHE. Yeah, that got nixed pretty quickly, but it certainly would’ve been the classiest vehicle to ever have set foot on the track had it gone down. They made it from Boys Town to the track in 30 minutes, so there was no one that was going to beat that—not even the factory Mustang that took the win.  The afterparty, meanwhile, was 20+ strong, so even though the JB family compound is massive and set up like a barracks upstairs, that was still a lot of people. I swear, JB and his fam are the best hosts ever, and I can’t say it enough: It was so nice to be among people who appreciate and value my contributions to their universe. I don’t get that nearly as much as I should.

But! Things might be changing on that front, because you’ll never guess what Mother did! Ready? She signed up for Meals on Wheels ALL BY HERSELF! Without me even suggesting it! I KNOW! You have no idea how exciting this is for me; that’s least three days out of the week where I don’t have to worry about whether she’s got something to eat. [BACKSTORY: Because she doesn’t drive, one of the ways Mother makes sure to have human interaction is not having a lot of food in the house so that people will take her out. This is dangerous because a) she’s diabetic, and b) when her depression isn’t under control, she doesn’t eat and has dropped to 90 pounds more than once.] Even better, she did it before her shrink switched up her meds. So now, she’s getting back on track (at least for the moment; we have to see whether the new one works, but so far, she’s sleeping at night) AND took a step to be self-sufficient. I may just get me a life yet.

Posted by Broad4:43 PM
Monday, February 19, 2007
Something I forgot to mention last night

that reminded me of how, as much as Mother and I get on each other’s nerves, she really is an amazing creature: We were sitting at the VU Chorale show, and at the end, they sang F. Melius Christiansen’s “Praise to the Lord,” (yeah, I knew that one without looking at the program just now. Snerk.) And as we’re sitting there, I notice that not only is she singing along, but she’s singing the alto harmony part. Apparently, it was a song she used to sing with her church choir. I was just kinda like, “Huh. Look at you. That’s ... really pretty cool.”

Posted by Broad7:25 PM
Monday, December 04, 2006
The one where I tell y’all I need a G-D vacation right. NOW.

Or I need a good screwing, because between almost blowing off an assignment that didn’t end up being mine after all, hearing Mother complain that I was late picking her up because she’d been stuck in the house for more than 24 hours (it’s my responsibility to keep her entertained, you see) and getting the suspicion that my NYE plans are shot to hell, I’m in a fairly rotten mood these last couple days. I mean, like chewing metal nails rotten. Not even Tara’s Spawn Shower could wipe away the ick entirely, and it was pretty damn cute. (I told y’all Tara’s knocked up, right? Due in March. And Pop DID evenutally burst: A baby girl, 15 days late (yes, you may collectively groan). For our purposes, we shall call her Squeelie, and she’s perfect in every way. She farts flowers even, forealz.) Being broke until Friday doesn’t exactly help, either, and my gas door was frozen shut, so hope it warms up tomorrow or I don’t have to go anywhere for work, because I have no gas.

Also been dreaming about Dad a lot in the last few days, and it’s revolved around money. Wonder what the underlying issue is and why he’s coming to visit.

Posted by Broad2:03 AM
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It is the job of a good person to be honest. To be self-aware. To deliberately explore the fault lines of your character and try desperately to not inflict suffering in this strange, ghost-ridden world of worked and fabricated objects. Sometimes the jobs of writer and good person coincide. But more often they don’t. There are way more writers in the world than there are good people.

100 things
Info meme #1
Typelogic says I'm an INFP.
Check my weekly astrological groove here.

Give it to me, baby.

Pssst ... My birthday's Feb. 3, and I want this, and this, and this ...

The Make-Believe Oral Cancer Foundation (M-BOCF) is now accepting donations on my behalf. Won't you please help those of us who jump to hideous conclusions regarding our oral health and help me get a root canal or two!??:

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Broad said: Like I said, my feelings are complicated on the matter, so ... I’m interested, however, in Her Highness’ thoughts on… ...[go].

Caterina said: ARGH!!! Not to deny you your goddess-given right of reflections and wishing what might-have-beens, but this guy was straight up… ...[go].

Wholovesya? said: By the by, guess who was most nasty about the charitable giving?  The frigging church.  My church and my mom’s… ...[go].

Wholovesya? said: By the by, I’m not the only one I know.  I have friends who work at soup kitchens because they’re… ...[go].

Wholovesya? said: As you know, I was a voyeur to the beginning of this, and I was loving your comment!  I have… ...[go].

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Tagline by Ben F'in Mollin, talking about those times you wake up still drunk from the night before.


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