Posts Tagged ‘LGBT’

Rebel Girl! Riot Grrl nostalgia show

This is coming up tomorrow and you’re all welcome to come! I’ll be reading some fun, fiery rants and giving away a few zines and vintage “riot grrl outer space” buttons.
I believe there will be accordion-playing as well!
riot grrl nostalgia reading
The National Queer Arts Festival & San Francisco in Exile Present:
REBEL GIRL: a riot grrl nostalgia show
Thursday, June 11th
The Garage
975 Howard, San Francisco
Show at 7:30; Doors at 7pm
Tickets: $10-20
Buy Tickets on-line!!: www.brownpapertickets.com
More details about the performance and the performers are at:
http://www.queerculturalcenter.org/Pages/QFest09/Rebel.html
All Star, All Grrrl Cast!:
Gina de Vries
Chan Dynasty
Melissa Gira Grant
Liz Henry
Nomy Lamm
Zuleikha Mahmood
Melodie Younce
Join the National Queer Arts Festival and San Francisco in Exile for a
Riot Grrrl Revival — where you can once again dress in your leopard
print thrift store finery, scrawl SLUT across your midriff, toss that
Huggy Bear 7″ on the turntable, and make a fanzine extolling the
virtues of veganism + vibrators. It’s Revolution Grrrl-Style, Now! –
with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Past and present zinestars and
grrrl revolutionaries will tell wax nostalgic about the old days, and
let you know what they’ve been up to recently. Zines and cupcakes will
be available for purchase.

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Riot Grrl Nostalgia show

There was a good crowd at the Center for Sex & Culture last night last week for the riot grrl SFinX reading. Here’s my notes!

Carol Queen read an intro for Gina de Vries.

Gina wrote Curve mag’s “Hey Baby” column. In 97 she was called “jarringly precocious” by Time Magazine.
Carol (interrupting herself): I did not know that. That is AWESOME! When I was jarringly precocious Time magazine never noticed! There was a photo… gina what were you wearing in it?
Gina: Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society
Carol: How old were you?
Gina: 14
*everyone cracks up*
*more intro*

Gina: There will be cupcakes at intermission. chocolate bergamot… Homemade! I made them! *audience cheers*

Gina read a memoir piece in 2 parts. The first part was about when she was 14 and bought her leopard print mini skirt. “It was the sluttiest thing i’d ever bought.”

Her deep friendship with a very serious queer femme riot grrl, Lila. We talked about veganism, bands, racism, and pornography. (They had class differences. Lila and a lot of the other girls were richer.) Making mix tapes and trading them. Gina read “The Persistent Desire”. Traded zines with every girl I met and hundreds of others through the mail. Starstruck at meeting Kate Bornstein. The overwhelming joy of finally being taken seriously as a queer girl.

“Dykes and fags! Working together! Biphobia sucks! Transgender revolution! Fuck shit UP!” *cheers*
We were so earnest…

Melissa Gira reading from draft of Girl Out of Order … i liked best the bit about how she would work until she passed out, and the process of taking photos of cartoons on tv with a disposable camera, getting them developed at the drugstore, carefully scanning them with a sort of squeegee scanner into the huge, beige, computer at her friend’s parents’ house, then printing it out, cutting it up into bits, writing on it, and pasting it with rubber cement into a zine.

The dangers of the postal service. Sending naked photos of herself. “Parents, lock up your stamps!”

A bunch about sex. Playing out age play with her boyfriend. Pretending to be a virgin (in one of the best asides of the night Melissa added, “Of course it had only been having sex for 4 months”)

Celeste Chan – Riot Grrl was before my time but i was inspired by it, read Sassy, checked Bikini Kill albums out from the library, watched the Yo Yo gang, moved to Olympia in 2000, I imagined it all fantastic and full of fierce eyed women, like it was dyke march every day….*cheers from audience* Instead, it was like getting too close to a dream best friend. You see their flaws. Huggy Bear, Bratmobile, Bikini Kill, thrifting… loved the ethos of diy and you can do anything. It was one of the very few subcultures dealing with violence against women, homophobia, fatphobia and the masculinist nature of punk culture. Addressing competition and jealousy that women are socialized into. It was great. Bring back riot grrrl!!!!!

Zuleikha Mahmoud. Femme shark. ***FEMME SHARKS!!!!!**** yell from audience. Omar and the lesbians band. Going on tour with Mangos with Chili. *cheers*

I, like Celeste, was a little too young. Was in hard core rural Pennsylvania. It didn’t quite make it there. That was the only thing that helped me imagine another life. When I was a little kid I was a strong feminist and I didn’t have a word for it. Then I started going to the library and the librarians had a really intense stockpile of feminist books.

So now I’m writing a book about slutty muslim girls. To reflect myself and the girls I love. A novel. I could read that or, *cries of “BOTH!!!” from audience* AND, I was going to read a piece about the first pride i went to, 2005 in new york.

“Jess is on her way over… she was going to bring her bass to teach me how to play. “I’ll teach you some fingering” and then we laughed but she said she really earnestly wanted to start a band with me. I hope to god she also wants to fuck me. I ran around my apartment hiding all the mainstream shit. The beauty mags and nikes. (phone call with friend) What’s up bachaim. (Farsi for “baby, dear friend”) (explanation of girl coming over) “Text me if you lose your lesbian virginity.” “Inshallah”. God, I wanted her, as much as I wanted shoes or drugs, as much as I wanted to move out when I lived with my parents. (she comes over) “Take your shoes off this is an asian house.” Jess eats a banana. DO THEY KISS OR WHAT OMG I CAN’T WAIT you will have to read the book when Zuleikha finishes it. (Note my subtle implication that she WILL FINISH IT DAMMIT… because it rocks)
2nd story from Zuleikha. First pride march. The night before. Homophobe violence. racism. a fight. I knew the parade was corporate but wasn’t prepared to have Macy’s celebrating my gayness or whatever!
Emotional moment of a parent filming their kid in the parade proudly…

(break) (cupcakes!) A bunch of us stand around and bond on how back then we learned how to do menstrual extraction and were all ready to start smuggling RU-486.

Then me

I talked about my zines and how I started identifying with riot grrl stuff, and showed a folder of a jillion letters, April – June 94, from all over the country. Then read some bits of the Slut Manifesto, which got a lot of laughs. (omg, i must find a better home for that manifesto.) I edited out a lot of the long ranty bits, warning everyone that during edits I’d say “Rant rant rant”. I had not timed it and have no idea how long I read, am hoping not too long. I enjoyed reading it so much. It was tempting to edit the hell out of it and also go back in time and argue with myself. Still I felt a sudden wave of affection for my fierce little self of years ago. Carol asked me if I had written in in irony or not. In retrospect, sure, there was plenty of irony in there but I also meant everything.

This was the first reading I’ve done since disabled again where I felt like I had a reasonable amount of energy and verve. Now, I can pull it off even when I feel like shit and have to fake it, but it feels so great to get a little of my mojo back. whew! and to feel connected with people. I don’t think I’ve ever read to, how should i put this, such the right target audience for anything i’ve read out loud. (though the capitol punishment story at years-ago-SFinX was similar!) how nice was that!!! and my riot grrl stuff does not really get integrated with the other bits of my life, very often. (though i do feel like blogging and even working with blogher are my continuation of all that.)

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarsinha – growing up in (amherst?) – ad in the back of MRR – “I love janes addiction, i cut myself, write me” and getting a ton of letters. riot grrl wrote to her and had gone through MRR to write to every girl who had an ad. Leah was touched… parents didn’t let her out of the house… (next town over might as well have been on the moon.) Moved to NY – then was like “oh, crap, i’m really poor” also tough being mixed race punk in ny… met unsuitable guy way older – blew him off – “some guy who looked like freddy kruger at the bookstore wanted to fuck me” crazy guys breathing on you and trying line after line… 13th street squat getting busted. mystical hippie earth firsters trying to hold down a chapter in midtown manhattan where there pretty much wasn’t an ecosystem left anywhere… She was 19… admired an older 24 yr old woman who was so tough and had been living in squats for 10 years but who would not talk with her… Cops, a tank, assault rifles, it felt like us or them, 500 bodies, no matter how much we blieved in non-violent resistence… dragged off one by one… The guy was a brilliant storyteller… the way people are who have been on the street or in prison since they were kids… he was bi and assumed she was… (I forget what funny queer punk tshirt he had on but it made me laugh) took off their shirts on wall street… fucking in another squat with the guy… not really quite feeling it as sexual … though enjoyable… “like the promise of some day having a body” (I loved that description of sex)

I forget who it was (Leah?) saying something hilarious about west coast queer punk girls being all tra la about it but NYC punk girls being all like FUCK YOU I HATE WOMEN.

Nomy Lamm – old spoken word stuff from 93 – but here instead is stuff that i didn’t read in public at the time. “the ain’t” was my band and this was our song. sing with me… (we sing the bass line) … easy target… piece about living with her best friend who she was in love with. Their messy house and the junk food and fruit flies! Stuff about jealousy, about punk scene hierarchies and how could we have this movement and still have that and so many things being about conforming or conventional attractiveness. (She and another woman whose name I did not catch but who played bass did a song – Nomy played the accordion)

A whole lot of us went to Chow afterwards. I was not sure if I was at the grownup table or the butch table. we talked about Steven’s anarchist anthropologist book and i forget what all else, some about the readings, i went over and talked a bit with everybody else… I think they were going to Rebel Girl at the Rickshaw Stop.

tonight hazelbroom and I were gossipping on IM about all this and we were just listing off 90s dykey zine people and telling funny stories. I told her how I wished I had met Stephanie Kulick who I traded zines with and then later saw Mark’s page about her and realized she was likely a major kindred spirit right down to her woman symbol necklace matching my woman symbol earring which I lost in the ballerina pie fight.

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Riot grrl zine nostalgia

Hey! I nearly forgot to blog about it. I’m reading tomorrow night for SFinX for the Rebel Girl event. I like how there will be cupcakes. Come on by and I’ll give you a VINTAGE RIOT GRRL ZINE and a hot pink riot grrrlz outer space pin if I can find them.

Also, check out this link. ahahah! cover: hot pink

dude zomg also my illustrated reprint of SCUM Manifesto was in a special exhibit at Duke:
Word of a Woman: 40 Years of Feminist Publishing.

“S.C.U.M. Manifesto, reprinted by Lizzard Amazon, Riot Grrrlz Outerspace, 1993. From the Sarah Dyer Zine Collection. Valerie Solanas’ Society for Cutting Up Men (S.C.U.M.) Manifesto is the most famous of the late 1960′s radical feminist manifestos. Third wave feminists republished this and other seminal second wave manifestos in order to spread the message to a new generation of women.”

yayyy!

Anyway here’s the event details for tomorrow night.

Saturday, 8/23, 7:30
San Francisco in eXile presents
REBEL GIRL: a riot grrrl nostalgia show

Saturday, August 23rd
7pm doors, 7:30 show
Center for Sex & Culture, 1519 Mission Street, San Francisco
$10-20 sliding scale (nobody turned away)
[CSC can accept VISA, Mastercard, and Discover]

Featuring:
CELESTE CHAN
GINA DE VRIES
MELISSA GIRA
….errrrrr LIZZARD AMAZON
LEAH LAKSHMI PIEPZNA-SAMARASINHA
NOMY LAMM
ZULEIKA MAHMOOD

Curated by Gina de Vries.

It’s Revolution Grrrl-Style, Now! — with tongue firmly planted in
cheek. Past and present zinestars and grrrl revolutionaries will tell
stories of old, and let you know what they’ve been up to recently.
Zines and cupcakes will be available for purchase.

Also, see the adorable press we got in the Guardian here!:

http://www.sfbg.com/entry.php?entry_id=6963&catid=85&volume_id=317&issue_id=392&volume_num=42&issue_num=47&l=1#SATURDAY_23

Also, if you’re broke, you can get in for free by helping folks with
disabilities get in the elevator, or handling the door. You will also
get free cupcakes for doing this. Email me at queershoulder@gmail.com
for details.

Also, these are some of the fabulous zines that will be available:
*Stick and Stones, by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
*Letters from the war years: some notes on love and struggle in times
of war, by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
*The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Partner Abuse in Activist
Communities, edited by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
*Slut Utopia, by Lizzard Henry
*Riot Grrrlz Outer Space, by Lizzard Henry
*The Illustrated SCUM Manifesto, by Lizzard Henry
*the wombs and the browns, by Zuleikha Mahmoud
*letters forged by the daughter putting on her scarf in the masjid
parking lot, by Zuleikha Mahmoud
*… AND MORE!!

You better come see us!

xox,
g.

– queershoulder.livejournal.com /// sfinx.org

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CISWY reading in Seattle, this weekend!


Liz Reading at Queer Open Mic
Originally uploaded by Liz.

I am road tripping up to Seattle this week! If you are there please come see me at this event ! I would love to see you all and would love the support. April 25, 8pm, Annex Theatre, 1100 East Pike Street.

You will hear me say the word “Lezzie” in a Texas accent. Also, I promise to wear leather pants.

Can I Sit W/You reading

Tickets are priced at $5 and $12, which means you can choose how much to donate.

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Another weird feminist dystopia

I’m reading an odd and charming feminist post-apocalypse novel, “Cry Wolf” by Aileen La Tourette. The world has ended (maybe) and climate changed. A village or maybe city-sized group of young people is headed by a lone oldster, Curie, from the time before the disaster. The book opens with a classroom scene, Curie thinking bitterly that the youngsters are half witted ignorant monkeys, all too obedient and peaceful, unable to share any of her memories or cultural experience, since she (or she and her former collaborators, or some other governing body I haven’t yet figured out) decided to teach only conformity and non-aggression, & no “cultural baggage”, nothing about the world before. She set it all up that way with her fellow activists, but she despises the results. Curie is a lonely, lying cult leader, not a Repository of Knowledge apocalypse survivor.

‘The sea. A long letter. A love letter,’ she said softly, thinking of the morgue-world all the while, with its sheets of dry-ice smoke rising from the naked blue forms. There were no clothes to spare for the dead. ‘The sky, the sea’s mirror — or is it the other way round? Who can say? Or is the sea the sky’s own unsigned letter?
… But they didn’t notice the limitations. Nature’s blunt and abbreviated needs were all they knew; and their own.
‘Rain, with its blue shine,’ she instructed them. ‘Rain, with its blue tune,’ she dared. Would such a metaphor mean anything to them?

There are M-others, and Potters (who are, I think, hermaphrodites) – a reference to the culturally important graveyard or Potter’s Field.

And behind all these spinning thoughts and images, she had the dolorous notion that had begun the process of repression and masking: that the skip or space in their title, M-other, was precisely the space of a strangled sob, a catch in the throat.

So far, the best scene has been the Festival and its description of the religious groups. The religion is based on the Body. There are cults of every body part – Toenails, Hands, Feet, Brains, Hearts, Fallopians – all with their ritual garb and dances.

With them, running behind, came the Feet, the babies of the body. If the hands were its prodigies, the feet were its clowns, its holy fools, wriggly and silly and utterly serious. They were universal pets. They had poignancy, orphaned at the extremity of the body, far from the brain, often out in the cold. But they were cheerful and fertile, with their two sets of quintuplet toes, the plump, cherubic babies’ hands.

Like I said, odd and charming.

I’m enjoying the setup and the weird structure of the book, which so far goes like this:

- classroom scene, with Curie’s speech about Blue
- Mutants!
- Global climate change
- the bitter, lonely inner thoughts of Curie
- Sexual tension of Curie (and everyone, but especially and her best pupil Sophie)
- The festival with the cult dancers and the orgy in the river. Don’t miss the sexy hermaphrodite sex scenes. Here there be “fringe”. Tentacles?
- Telepathy!
- Curie begins to tell a mythical version of the past to Sophie.
- Curie’s mother was one of the women of Greenham Common

(Zond-7 explained to me about Greenham Common and told me that I would enjoy reading about it; it was a feminist or women’s anti-war anti-nuclear-missile camp or commune that lasted for many years, and here is a link so I can go read about it later: Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp.)

- That sort of lesbian feminist novel Thing where it is all about The Personal and about a clearly real group of activist women Processing their Shit, so you are dying to know what the real story is, and you think of your own little incestuous groups & their complicated interpersonal dynamics so difficult to explain

- Curie explains about Scheherazade, and a new section of the book begins, which looks like it will be told from the points of view of the other 4 women of Curie’s activist group who maybe survived the apocalypse and who helped her set up this utopian society

That’s where I stopped.

I really like to write a reaction in mid-book.

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Reflections on family relationships and acceptance

My parents were here and I have been doing a million things. I’m so tired that I’m a little bit emotionally flat.

Physically: I’ve been walking around, but I don’t feel very confident to do more than go from my car to a cafe table. So, when I am out of the house, mostly using the wheelchair.

I’m doing some writing, thinking about translation, looking over old stuff, and wondering where to take it. Probably there will be a series of translation posts over on Composite.

I read Blood in the Fruit which continued the magnificence of the Marq’ssan cycle. Though I babbled all weekend about it, nothing coherent is coming so far. Certainly not tonight… exhaustion is total. But it’s good, and you should read the entire series if you like staring hard complex truths in the face and coming out okay (yet not unscathed).

Got along sort of okay with my parents. I tried hard to not be a jerk. A lot of the time with them I was also exhausted and withdrawn. But on the last 2 days I perked up a little and talked with my them about books or politics and with my mom also about cooking, the brands of things that are best, listened to her Fashion Ideas for me which admittedly didn’t make me completely puke but which I still couldn’t deal with (i.e. that I must go to Ch1co’s or Barf-me-T4lbot’s to buy “fancy jeans” which would fit me “right” and which leg straightness style were exhaustively described). I dyed her red streak and I demonstrated how to make sugar face scrub with lemon and olive oil… I CAN HAS GIRLY SKILLZ.

Also she kept going “I was GOING to do XYZ for you… but looks like you already have done it.” Which was satisfying. We also all went to the bookstore and next-door-cafe, and the beach. Pi11ar Po1nt has an extremely accessible path! I had remembered it as more difficult. But gravel was minimal and the dirt packed & hard, very easy to wheel down. Then, a short somewhat difficult slope and the beach right there. I crutched down it. Up was harder. I found both up & down to be very scary and next time it would be better if I hung onto a person’s arm on one side, like a handrail. It was a little hard to be at the beach and not be able to run about and dig and climb on the rocks.

At one point we were at the cafe and my parents both were telling me perhaps pointedly of other people’s terrible divorces and how dumb they were and how divorce was a stupid idea and bad for everyone and meant that people were idiots, and divorce only justifiable if someone were like being BEATEN. I listened to this for a while and then reminded them gently that I HAD A FIRST MARRIAGE WHICH I LEFT IN A DIVORCE KTHXBAI. So then my mom shifted to talking about how sometimes people have disgusting affairs that ruin their lives and how dumb it is and how she for example would never and how pointless it would be and how she can’t even imagine why a person would either have an affair or leave their marriage for some silly attraction that would probably be over soon anyway. (Subtle!) I listened to that too and then said something like “Well, I completely disagree with that way of thinking, fundamentally, on many levels, and don’t think that having one relationship puts limits on other human relationships people can have, and I’ve always thought that and still do.”

Then we talked about other things real quick!

Then Zond-7 came over for dinner. Jo’s kids were also here and the Acrobat came over to tell us about his bridge made of popsicle sticks that he made at his management training seminar and brought us the bridge made of popsicle sticks that he made the week AFTER the management seminar when he got home, to bring his vision to life, and we tested the bridge with half gallon juice bottles, and the kids put on costumes and made a Clothing Shop at which we were forced to buy things. So, everything was lively and cheerful.

E. complained to me that she could not get on the internet because her parents wouldn’t give her the password! Just as I was going O rly no really srsly and exchanging warning looks with Zond-7 as we realized we could not teach this child how to hack (it is best learned from other children who have no grown up morals) Jo came back and it was revealed that actually this is not all the way true and it is just that the wifi station has a password. Well call me gullible! I gave her the first Runaways comic books anyway and then Zond-7 later told me stories of how he and some other 12 year olds social-engineered a 12 digit password at some demo by each watching for 4 of the digits as the grown-up typed them in.

Anyway about poly things and family, I do not want to be closeted but I also feel a bit more temperate in being in-your-face. I hope it will just become sort of accepted over time and that no one makes a big deal.

One thing that was a big huge deal for me and made me cry was that my parents used to be super super homophobic and they did not acknowledge my relationship with my ex-girlfriend Misha when we lived together and moved to CA together. (Actually, we made each other marriage certificates, which I think of without saying anything whenever people ask me how many times I have been married. Maybe I should make her a really cool and sentimental divorce certificate several years too late.) And then for years my mom would go “Who? ” in a totally fake, fake way whenever I talked about what Misha was up to (which was frequently lovely news to be proud of). And then we had some fairly hideous fights (me and my mom) when she would say things about “gay people” being disgusting or … when I would mention other friends being pregnant … she would say things like “that’s disgusting, how could anyone DO that to an innocent child” (i.e. be queer and raise a child.) This is over 15 years, please realize. Then in the last couple of years my mom has been much more mellow about gayness and seems to have relented. Progressing from “well I don’t see whose business of anyone’s it is as long as they keep it quiet” to asking me how Dr. B or Misha are doing. Not exactly going to PFLAG meetings, but major progress, meaning a major relief to me. Well when I mentioned Misha’s pregnancy and how there was a cool wiki with pictures my mom instantly was all excited and happy and demanded to see the wiki and leave congratulations on it and she referred to their little yoohoo as “another grandbaby”. That was the part that made me cry with relief and happiness. What happened there? Isn’t that amazing?

I don’t require that a person realize that when they are hating-queers to me it is like they are stabbing me personally since they are talking about ME. It is quite a relief when that finally eases up.

I have often wondered at my own motives and worried that it was wrong for me to establish a relationship with my parents again after twice being thrown out of the family and then the years of painful semi-inclusion and tension. And in some ways for years it has felt like a mistake-ridden compromise that might be more painful to me than it is worth. But in the long run I think it’s good (and it would also of course have been horribly painful to keep my distance and to know how much it would be paining them if I had.) Also, I felt (and still somewhat feel) that it is just a matter of time before some other Outing (like poly relationships, or blogs that are certainly easy enough to find once my anonymity was unfixably broached) would mean another confrontation, and being thrown out again. I understand it must be hard to find yourself a parent to someone like me (not because of queerness so much as because of annoying relentless uncompromising unquiet passionate uppityness, set permanently on public broadcast turned up to 11.) On my end, I think I have learned to throttle myself down a little bit when around them. (I was very interested to see Zond-7 do that same kind of muting around his family and how well it worked, and it struck me as being a very kind thing, difficult to do with sincerity, but not impossible.)

Rook had a cold the whole time and so did Zond-7 (who slept for almost 2 whole days, freaking me out somewhat.) I keep getting the feeling of almost-a-cold.

The weekend was as low key on the surface as possible, most of the time, but very intense underneath the surface.

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Furry lady scary


Furry lady scary
Originally uploaded by Liz.

We had a great time at Queer Open Mic last night! ANd this morning SJ is over hanging out. We hit the cost plus for towels and a bathroom & raided the nasty cleaning fluid smelling yet awesome $avers thrift store — obtaining a mink with a clippy mouth. FURRIES!!! It has one eye. Pirate? Laser LED implant? Gleaming rhinestone? O readers help us! MINKY THE DEATH MINK.

Children are still in pajamas squalidly watching Chitty chitty yum yum while grownups snark at it with obscene glee. It’s like we’re drunk, but we’re not.

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Crosslinky thoughts

About intersections of disability, body image, gender, and family, I guest blogged over here on Body Impolitic: Our Big Old Crippled Crazy Bodies Are Political.

And there’s a flippant book review on FeministSF of a sort of feminist action-cryptography-mysticism-conspiracy-novel from 1988, The Eight by Katharine Neville, at The pleasure of retro.

I’m enjoying io9 a lot. It got an instant community of good commenters, and it’s got archives back to last October, so I haven’t been bored on the internet for a while now.

I have been working on walking quietly around the house, and my enormous detailed obsessive bundle of information about The Orphan’s Tales including a high level summary, a more detailed summary of In the Night Garden, and a glossary of characters and place names. (You can follow that link; no spoilers there, but the links from it can be spoilery.)

I’m having another quiet weekend mostly puttering in the house and resting and reading in bed. Saturday we had a Dragons game with action figures and a battle. Sunday I helped Moomin with his diorama and his book report on a book about a time machine and then in SF (dinner at Emmy’s with Zond-7 and then helplessly watching him melt down with stress for a while, then we Planned Things and both felt better.) Today was very relaxed with more reading and computing and then one of those very harmonious 2 hour long conversations over chicken tacos and while driving… about class, books, SF, Scalzi, Orphan’s Tales, Potter fanfic, our families, childhood memories, the nature of storytelling and anecdote. We’re all back in Deadwood now; Moomin is about to give us a practice session of his oral report on the time machine book. We have all watched a YouTube video with Korean breakdancers…. thus goes my life…

My only complaint is that it’s cold, rainy, my legs hurt, my knees are being horrible I think from the increased amount of walking on my less-spastic-but-weakened legs. Spring, please come!

OH… and I’m reading on Friday at Queer Open Mic at the Three Dollar Bill Cafe, in the LGBT Center in SF, with several other readers from Can I Sit With You? including international glam queen blogstar SJ of I, Asshole, and then the open mic itself, which is always entertaining and thought-provoking. If you’re around, do please come to it! And… buy the book, which make a very good present for older elementary school kids & up, if you don’t mind them reading some swears.

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Roller coaster of pain and meds

I’m on a weird roller coaster this week. I take the Lyrica at night, and it takes away some of the nerve pain, while making me feel kind of stoned. Also, the cramps or spasticity in my legs increases, which is a different kind of pain – or, I just notice it more because the other pain lessens. In the morning, I’m still groggy from the drug. My arms and legs feel weaker and I don’t have any energy or oomph in me, physically or mentally. By afternoon, I’m alert and feel a bit better. The nerve pain starts to zoom back up, but it’s really nice to feel mentally and emotionally more “myself”. Towards evening I am dying to take another pill to squash the nerve pain.

It’s really weird, like different bits of myself are awake at different times.

I am doing nothing but minimum of caring for kids, lying in bed, and idly reading. I can’t seem to focus much. I react, and think, but the thoughts don’t gather up into action or resolve.

It feels best to just keep my leg very warm under the electric blanket. Then the aching is so much better.

Yesterday I decreased the meds by half (with an okay from the doctor).

So, I tried to back out of all my work commitments for the next week. That is stressful in itself, but better than letting people down while trying to insist I can do things that I can’t manage.

Instead I will just go to my doctor appointments and try to adjust to the meds. I’ll go to rehab, if I can drive or find someone to take me and decant me and the chair from the car & stuff me back in again.

The doctor wants me to increase the dosage steadily, which worries me. If I keep upping the dose every week, it’ll take me much longer to get used to it.

Already I notice I feel a bit more alert, and the tremor didn’t last more than 2 days. I am sort of stuttering, or unable to make words come out, sometimes, talking. That is uncomfortable but I figure that too might wear off.

Then, I am hoping I don’t have to be on this drug for too long. I wouldn’t have needed it for the pain I had a couple of weeks ago, which I could live with! And was living with!

There is a hard feeling of being a slacker, and giving up, just when I want to prove myself even more — the more I am in pain or disabled, the more I want to prove I can do anything and everything.

I also feel very out of control of things right now, and like I don’t know how to predict what is happening physically.

The Lyrica makes my arms and mid back weaker. That’s upsetting and difficult to face, and spikes up all the fears that I am having over the weird news that the spinal cord injury is so high up.

I worry about MS, I worry about work, I worry about daily life, about degenerative things, losing more arm function or strength, about driving with my leg like this. About whether the way I limp has hurt my injury further, and whether I’ve pushed myself too hard; about whether I am lying in bed too much and am not trying hard enough.

I’m really sorry I’m letting people down…

I hope I’m doing the right things.

Back to another mystery novel from the stack that Iris sent. It is about my mental speed right now & is very comforting. I liked the Peter Wimsey one, and the Michael Innes one called The Journeying Boy. But the Christianna Brand one, Green for Danger, was so poisonously sexist that I could barely stand to finish it; though so many of the characters were women and it was all set around nurses in a military hospital, none of the women ever talked to each other (or anyone else) about anything other than Catching a Man. I could slap Brand for the ending 2 pages which enraged me even through a warm layer of Lyrica.

That stuff, it’s like butter all around my leg nerves and the stripe of burning pain. When it starts to wear off, the return of the pain is super hard to bear, and I’m not sure that it’s not harder to have it come and go, than it is to just have it all the time. It’s like the ache of ice water, like my leg being filled up with ice and fire and needles pricking from the inside.

I stand up periodically hoping that it will help, and because I get sick of sitting and lying down. I can do it hanging onto a table or desk. I have to put a lot of weight on my arms, but that hurts too and feels scary. My right leg is noodly. I can move it, but it just folds up if weight goes on it. My left leg is not too great, but mostly can stay stiff. But if I try to bear weight on it while it’s bent, it also folds up.

That’s all. I have more to say about books, especially to make fun of the middle bits of Ga10m3 (which I liked much of) where happy collaborative love-commune space hippies conquer bad asteroidal pirates by the power of yelling loud. I cannot stop snickering and going “GAYome”. I think the author maybe will lose the “Make, Slashdot, and Wired” crowd he says is his imagined audience. I swear to god it’s like he’s describing Tiptree’s lesbian clone goat farm. But with the added hilarity of generations of hammock-weaving asteroidal villagers with no ambition to leave or travel — plus the space pirates. Join my blogome! Interstellar blogging will defeat the Empire! Our amazing microwave-radiating lolcats will drive you craaaaayzeeeeee!

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Big trips and school

Rook is on his way to Burning Man in his car alone full of days of preparation, reading, shopping, packing, and practicing the setting up of tents. I forgot to give him safety pins and a handkerchief for the back of his hat! And… also his hat is rather amazing; a bright blue straw cowboy hat with a chin strap. Even when hats are big enough to go on his head, they look weirdly out of proportion and you realize that he has a really enormous head and that something is out of whack. I think it is that the hat inside brims are big enough, but the hat itself has not been scaled correctly to be bigger on the outside. Someday I would like to find him a properly fitting hat. Anyway, I’m vicariously excited for him to have adventures at Burning Man, and a little mother-hennish feeling about him getting sunburned, chafed, sick, being at all miserable or uncomfortable, or taking too many drugs and not having emotional or practical backup; but actually he has a camp of people we’ve known for ages and also he can take great care of himself. A week ago I was also a bit worried he was not prepared, and maybe I would be semi-forced into a position of having to pull it all together for him, but then he totally went online and read tons of stuff and talked with people for advice and did all the prep. Huzzah!! I will miss him this week. We have barely talked all month really as he has been away a lot and I have been incredibly preoccupied with new love and relationship. We did have a conversation about domestic things. Here is our domestic negotiation about housework and responsibilities: do I act or feel too responsible for house things (yes) though things changed so massively when I went back to work (though, actually over the last few years i’ve been in grad school full time which is also Work and also wrote all the time, also Work though mostly unpaid) and when I became somewhat dramatically disabled in late March so for months – till June really – Rook did pretty much everything (with omissions that built up imho that I am still now dealing with). This because he came to tell me that he felt guilty for leaving the house in chaos and messy and dirty for his trip and perhaps I would help him clean and also i should call the maid service and schedule things. To which I was like Ummm then clean it…. I just cleaned it last week… for example in the last two weeks I have scrubbed things and cleared and decluttered and done endless laundry and recycling and trash. I went so far as to demonstrate where the bathroom cleaning supplies are and what I do to clean it. And in fact it is not that messy… (defensiveness! guilt!) and if he likes… HE could call the maid service and schedule things. To which he counterdefended that actually I am being too touchy about it all and over-responsible-feeling. He complimented my stuff. And I complimented him on his thoughtfulness about food-buying and cat-litter-box-cleaning. And he warned me that I need to rethink my role and that he wants to be careful to not fall into old patterns (both of us) that don’t apply so well now that I am working. I suggested that we do my trick of setting the kitchen timer for 10 or 15 minutes and all doing tidying-putting-away (NOT dishwashing or regular maintenance – but just picking up stuff). Then, it will feel more fair, and not be too onerous. Rook said the timer thing sounds annoying as sometimes he is not in the mood and has things to do. I said that I am NEVER in the mood and always have other things I must or should do and yet, I still find myself at 10pm picking shit up and putting it away and still stumbling over other people’s and my own shoes, toys, clothes, books, trash, etc. Zond-7 has said he will do dishes and trash when he is here… as well. I do not love the idea of an actual chore chart, but it might get tried. It seems easier to declare a brief and limited cleaning-time in the evening… perhaps before the administration of ice cream which often happens around 7:30 or 8. The timer and group participation might also help to relieve me of the responsiblity (which settles on me automatically unless I cultivate deliberate awareness, which I had without thinking till I hit age 30 and had a kid) of being aware of what needs to be done and the *constant undercurrent of putting things away* which is SO useful as a housewife but saps one’s creative energies. I would rather have a filthy house (with the minimum of being able to find keys, wallet, phone, and be able to walk in a clear path without stepping on my clean laundry) and get to think uninterruptedly of other things – dreamily – free in mind.

(And — the house IS somewhat nasty – but not unduly so – and did I mention (defensively) again that, if a toilet has been cleaned, toilet-cleaning stuff bought, or a floor swept, in the last year, and it was not by a hired housecleaner, who do you think has done it? Invariably, me. I mean it’s like once a month. But still, all me. I do not mind; I just want to know it’s appreciated.)

Meanwhile, Moomin’s school started on Monday and it was very exciting. the PTA had muffins and coffee. kids line up on the playground. The curb cuts on the way to school are SUCKY as I wrote to the city facilities person about months ago (and got no answer) and it is dangerous as I go the two blocks and three street-crossings in my wheelchair. I have to go most of the way in the street. A couple of the curbs I can hop in theory, but others I can’t as they are steep and dangerous.

Moomin came home with non-boring non-worksheety homework that is quite minimal… and a million forms we have to both read and sign or initial and that i must fill out. BLAH forms!

A nice mom talked with me today and also a nice dad. When the dad talked about Hell-CC the giant church-opololis on the hill i said my piece about how they are Eeeeevil and discriminate and also sneakily put in lots of religious indoctrination in children’s sports camps that they claim are not religious in focus. Because they’re Eeeeeeeevil. I did not stay quiet about what i think about it but also did not blame him or act snippy… I just SAID. The other mom is queer and nice and smiley and very science-and-writing geeky, and her kid is a huge nerd. Definitely someone i want to hang with!!!

Zond-7 might come, but likely not as he must take his cat to the vet and she will need comforting; he could bring her down on the train but that would not be very comforting. And I can’t go there or I could but it would be a haul with Moomin and also getting back down here for his school by 8:30. alas. So, likely Wednesday.

Last night I nipped up to the city for drinks with Skud and friends as she is going back to AU and on world travelling adventures… Xyzzy was there, and many other friends… I liked the bar a lot – it was very much like Austin bars. Zond-7 and I were over-sappily gazing at each other but I really can’t help it! I ahd fun talking with J. and yatima and then joked around like crazy with jong as we left… and there was indian pizza which Zond-7 heroically obtained… and we played a very pathetic embarrassing game of Galaga. I was really very tipsy on no food and half a mojito, the whole time we were there. I managed the Xtreme Stairs with pride. Oh, walking!

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