Sunday, February 26, 2006

These are examples of my newest enthusiasm, miniature art. The one on top is a pen and ink/watercolor piece called "Spring Landscape", and is only 1.3x1.4 inches in size. The second one, pen and ink on Bristol paper, is titled "Exemplar" (what used to be called a sampler), and is 1.2x.6 inches in size.

I have no idea why I develop these small obsessions. I'm never happier, though, than when I've discovered something new to obsess over. I suppose it's a way to distract myself from the down and dirty, nitty gritty of my medical condition, etc. John told me today I was getting quite "artsy-fartsy"; I know he meant well, but sometimes I do wonder if it's all just pretense...perhaps it would be more honest if I just stuck my head under the pillow, refused to bathe, and wailed "woe is me" all day and night. But then again, I suppose you could do the same. We're all in the same boat, in this existence.

Back to do more art.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Okay, here's mine

It says I'm quiet and reserved. Hee hee.

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have low extroversion.
You are quiet and reserved in most social situations.
A low key, laid back lifestyle is important to you.
You tend to bond slowly, over time, with one or two people.


You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.


You have low agreeableness.
Your self interest comes first, and others come later, if at all.
In general, you feel that people are not to be trusted.
And you're skeptical that anyone else really feels differently.


You have medium neuroticism.
You're generally cool and collected, but sometimes you do panic.
Little worries or problems can consume you, draining your energy.
Your life is pretty smooth, but there's a few emotional bumps you'd like to get rid of.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is medium.
You are generally broad minded when it come to new things.
But if something crosses a moral line, there's no way you'll approve of it.
You are suspicious of anything too wacky, though you do still consider creativity a virtue.

Okay, just one more

Your World View

You are a fairly broadminded romantic and reasonably content.
You value kindness and try to live by your ideals.
You have strong need for security, which may be either emotional or material.

You respect truth and are flexible.
You like people, and they can readily make friends with you.
You are not very adventurous, but this does not bother you.

This is kind of fun

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have medium extroversion.
You're not the life of the party, but you do show up for the party.
Sometimes you are full of energy and open to new social experiences.
But you also need to hibernate and enjoy your "down time."


You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.


You have medium agreeableness.
You're generally a friendly and trusting person.
But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.


You have low neuroticism.
You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.
Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.
Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is high.
In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.
You'll try almost anything interesting, and you're constantly pushing your own limits.
A great connoisseir of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

It's been a while since I posted...I think. I've been kind of obsessing about art, without doing a lot...but here's something I finished for Art Squared Theme Week.

Still wondering why I can't just enjoy my continued remission. I read somewhere that that's not the correct term; that 'remission' is properly used only to refer to lymphoma...or something. Words, words, words. Anyway, I just can't seem to take any pleasure in it; nor can I seem to get my anxiety to abate. I think it's because I feel I deserve this cancer, and that my karmic status depends upon my suffering. That's a habit of mind that's so hard to break. And now that I'm not working, which involved doing things that were constantly of help to people, I can't help feeling the balance is shifting even more...God! happy, well, and just doing things for my own pleasure! This can't go on.

Friday, February 10, 2006

have to have the last word

Yes, Mr. Zen is adorable!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Thank you, Carrie...

...for making that clear. No, I did not lock my children in closets, although sometimes I felt like that was the only way to keep them from behavior that would lead to their demise (demises? sorry, I'm obsessed with grammar).

For those of you who'd like to know what the hell Carrie is talking about, go here: Sounds like a wonderful organization, does it not? Trouble is, they're just as dogmatic as the people on the other side of the question, who believe that all psychiatric illness is caused by "brain disorders". Nothing's ever that simple.

Oh, and thanks, Carrie, for the compliment about my limerick. Just its mention in the same paragraph as the piece de resistance of the genre is the ultimate encomium.

(Mr. Zen above. Isn't he cute?)


limericks and closets

I have to say that your limerick flows much better than "there once was a man from Nantucket" even if it isn't nearly as catchy and beautifully explicit. I also felt it necessary to note, for anyone reading this, that in fact, May did NOT lock her children in closets. (It did kind of sound like you were admitting to something May so I thought I'd "get your back"). This is of course only assuming that that woman we met at NARPA wasn't right. This lovely, peach of a woman who May and I met, told us that psychiatric illness is always the result of abuse. God I loved that. Hey May, I'm coming over to kick your ass right now.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


After the serious post of this morning, I'm in the mood for a little levity...

I just saw a mixed media collaged Artist Trading Card on a website:

It reminded me of a limerick I wrote about ten years ago, and I thought I share it with you.

There once was a whore named Drusilla,
Who slept with a big feather pilla.
One morn she awoke
With a pig in a poke,
And she sniffed, "I'd prefer a chinchilla".

Great poetry, baby!

I chose life

There's an anonymous poem floating around the internet, primarily on blogs, that goes something like this:

fuck the poets of the past, my friends.
there are no beautiful suicides
just cold corpses with shit in their pants
& the end of the gifts.

I don't know why this hit me right now...I guess it's just because I've been thinking about my kids today. In case you're a stranger who just happened upon this blog, I should explain that both my kids, my 28-year-old daughter and my 25-year-old son, are heroin addicts. They aren't doing well.

It's so easy to blame someone else for your own behavior. And of course, sometimes others have a huge hand in the behavior of children--the fathers who molest, the mothers who lock their kids in closets--but at some point it becomes necessary to leave the blame behind and move forward on your own steam. There's no future in blame; Mom and Dad and Uncle Joe can't go back and undo the past, and they can't live your life for you now.

At some point, most children--and we are all somebody's children--start to see that it's not as simple as they once thought it was; that their parents did not, for the most part, do what they did with the intention of torturing or screwing up their kids. It becomes possible to forgive, and at the same time, impossible to continue to attribute responsibility for their lives to their parents. Most children.

There's a movie called "The Hours", starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman as, respectively, a contemporary woman who is dealing with the final days of her dying ex-husband; a depressed housewife from, perhaps, the 1950s; and Virginia Woolf. The three women are tied together both thematically and by various plot elements.

I strongly identified with the story of the depressed housewife--not because I'm a bird in a gilded cage, like the housewife in the movie--stuck in a marriage that offers her no fulfillment--but because she makes a terrible choice--the same choice I have made in life. She chooses to leave her family, including her very young son, rather than committing suicide. When confronted at the end of the movie, she does not try to make excuses; she simply says, "I chose life". That's what I did too--I chose life.

I often beat up on myself for deciding at various times to cut myself off from my children, spend less time with them than might be expected, deny their wish to live with me. The fact is, those choices were a matter of survival. I was not willing to allow myself to stay in situations I could not handle, and which might ultimately have destroyed me. I chose life.

Sometimes over the years, when people asked me where I lived, I would be tempted to reply, "Between a rock and a hard place". I wish my actions had not been so painful for my children. I wish I had not had to make such hard, hard choices. And most of all, now that I have Stage IV breast cancer, I wish there could be some kind of reconciliation before I die.

But that's not under my control. I have to live with my choices. I hope that someday, my kids will be able to accept responsibility for their own lives, and live with their own choices. And I hope, for their sakes, they will be able to forgive.


Monday, February 06, 2006

My own personal psychoses

Okay, May needs to stop encouraging the rest of us to take these tests. When I took the Freudian one, it told me I could not control myself sexually, and that "fidelity" was not in my vocabulary. It also told me that I was heavily into the latency stage-- can you make up your mind? I can't really be both. Hey, you can't trust a word he said anyway. It was all about cocaine and women's ankles for him. Talk about sexual issues. Anyway, I am quite faithful-- for example, I'm currently obsessed with monkey-people and can't seem to pull myself away from them. The president says we must be very concerned about the proliferation of human-animal hybrids. I believe him. If this does not make sense, you haven't read my blog.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Okay, I promised I'd leave the personality test stuff alone...and I'm not going to give you the gory details, but SimilarMinds sent the results of a compatibility test John and I took, and suggested I could post a link to "enable people to compare their scores" to ours. I'm not sure why they'd want to, but what the hey.

I asked John if, after two very happy years, he was afraid this test would tell us we were incompatible, and we'd have to break up. I was glad to hear him laugh.

Back to old poetry tomorrow!
Big Five Test Results
Extroversion (46%) medium which suggests you average somewhere in between being assertive and social and being withdrawn and solitary.
Accommodation (56%) moderately high which suggests you are, at times, overly kind natured, trusting, and helpful at the expense of your own individual development (martyr complex).
Orderliness (30%) low which suggests you are overly flexible, random, scattered, and fun seeking at the expense too often of structure, reliability, work ethic, and long term accomplishment.
Emotional Stability (54%) medium which suggests you average somewhere in between being calm and resilient and being anxious and reactive.
Inquisitiveness (64%) moderately high which suggests you are intellectual, curious, imaginative but possibly not very practical.
Take Free Big Five Personality Test
personality tests by

Okay, this is the last one, I promise. (Anyone still here?) Reasonably accurate, except for the part about being fun seeking.

My idea of fun is going to and voting on kitties for several hours (while others are at Super Bowl parties, like right now). Pathetic, huh?

Hmmm! Unfortunately, this report doesn't tell you the averages...I scored much lower than average on the paranoia scale (average was 49%) and the greatest variation from average was not, in fact, in the schizoid area (average was 53%), but in the antisocial (average was 47%, so I was 11 percentage points more antisocial than average). My thousands of dear friends will be surprised.

Am I boring you? I can't stop.

Take the tests. You'll see what I mean.

Okay. About that Freudian test.

Thing's cool, isn't it? Apparently, I managed to continue surviving despite my lack of anal self-control and my need to defy authority. I happened to have a great job and the perfect boss for most of the past eight years; I worked as a disability advocate, primarily on the state level, where the need to defy authority was part of the job. I also had pretty indulgent bosses, who knew that they shouldn't totally squash my tendency to fly off the handle and offend people. I did learn a little diplomacy over the years.

Got to take more of those tests.
Freudian Inventory Results
Oral (40%) you appear to have a good balance of independence and interdependence knowing when to accept help and when to do things on your own.
Anal (33%) you appear to be overly lacking in self control and organization, and possibly have a compulsive need to defy authority. If you are too scatterbrained, you will not develop much as a person as you will habitually switch paths before you ever learn anything.
Phallic (43%) you appear to have a good balance of sexual awareness and sexual composure.
Latency (60%) you appear to have a good balance of abstract knowledge seeking and practicality, dealing with real world responsibilities while still cultivating your abstract and creative faculties and interests.
Genital (63%) you appear to have a progressive and openminded outlook on life unbeholden to regressive forces like traditional authority and convention.
Take Free Freudian Inventory Test
personality tests by

Friday, February 03, 2006

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow...

If you're lucky.

I said I'd post another poem "tomorrow", on the 23rd, I believe. Well, I...just didn't. That's because my six-month scan was approaching, along with brain/sinus scans...and to be blunt, I was freaked.

I don't know why I didn't think that would happen. I guess I tend to think of myself as obligated to be superhuman, in some way. Sometimes I really do feel acceptance of physical death, and truly believe that we are part of the cycle of life...but that doesn't prevent me from experiencing and displaying a very human survival instinct.

Anyway, the news was better than good. My scans were normal, showing the same area of "uptake" on the PET scan as before, and my oncologist said that the way this appears on the scan suggests that it is bone healing, rather than active malignancy. I asked him what he thought he would see if the same area that was biopsied nine months ago was biopsied now, and he said that it was entirely possible that no cancer cells would be found at all. That doesn't mean I'm cured, but it's certainly a good sign!

Right now I don't feel like dwelling on all this, except to comment that I have a certain amount of "survivor's guilt"--as if there were a finite amount of "health" to go around, and I'm taking it away from someone more worthy. Not rational, but a real feeling nonetheless.

If I keep talking about this, I'll just intellectualize, as Rocky the Flying Squirrel says, "And now, here's something you'll really like!" I don't actually know if you'll like it--it's another old poem--but it gets me out of my navel-gazing state.

This one is a sort of ecstatic song of praise.

Errant ways give way
before you. You are even
closer than the sun.
Moon and glancing stars
are clay before you, one
whose holy carriage
gives back, clear and hard,
the word that leaves me wordless:
in Goddess' fire born.

Praise be to the lord of questions;
praise unto the god of mirth;
praise to your unceasing quest,
dark night before your second birth.
Song will rise above the answers,
heaven flame into the earth.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

May and John at their Handfasting. Doesn't she look beautiful? Posted by Picasa