Posts Tagged ‘parade’

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.

I will turn into a wheely snowbird

The sun today baked me into more cheerfulness and mobility. I walked and sat up a lot more. I helped a little with cleaning the hot tub (which Zond-7’s nephew Monkey MindWind did very nicely!) and I did some excellent Discardia in the kitchen with Minnie.

It was awful yesterday to realize that I had not left the house or gotten up from bed really except to take Moomin to school and pick him up. Yesterday was a low point as I could barely walk at all. I was back in the wheelchair in the house. I had some emotions around that. I felt slow, creaky, painful, weepy, spaced-out, and got into a mindset where all I could think of to do was to escape as hard as I could into thinking, reading, writing, getting out of my body. I think it was stress, and exhaustion, but mostly it was the cold, rainy weather coming back this weekend and persisting all week. Hands, toes, knees, back, and my terribly painful leg-on-fire. I laid in bed trying not to cry, and finally took some Vicodin. I can’t cope with doing all the things Moomin expects, like sitting next to him while he has his bath. (Cold, wet, stiff, bending over, unable to pay attention). But, we have both been enjoying spending extra time instead, lying in bed reading and talking about all sorts of things.

Today it was warm again, and I expanded in the sun, uncoiling myself from bed, extending in all directions… Ungrumpified.

I feel intensely grateful that I have my marvellous chair, that it is so light and small and wonderful.

This might seem odd, but I cried when I saw this:

After thinking about it for a while, I realized what it was I was feeling. I thought of my early days of Usenet and of the philosophy that “on the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” People would say things (and in fact, I recall writing things) about how great it was that women could hide that they were women, so that they could get treated without prejudice; it “leveled the playing field”. Oh, joy, we can all just pretend to be men – what a great solution! (Not.) And I certainly have read people saying how great it is that on the internet you don’t have to show that you are disabled. Fine… if that is what you feel like doing. But, on both counts, what I feel is a strong current of wanting to Be Myself, perhaps also an odd thing for someone writing under a (tissue-thin) veil of pseudonymity. As I cried looking at the picture of the GimpGirl community women in Second Life, I realized what I felt was pride, the sort of pride I felt at Gay Pride Parades; I was proud and filled with love for the women with the wheely avatars and the ones with white-tip canes, and the way they presented, at their self-expression. I know that most able bodied people imagine that given half a chance to present as “normal” or able like them, we would all jump at it. And they would not understand that it is just part of our concept of self and part of our reality.

In any case, I had a nice day with people, and a nice time with S. last night, and Monkey MindWind is around, but I am still a little lonely and melancholy. It is nothing against my friends but I realize I only get to hang out with other disabled people online and that is a problem. I looked for support or social groups or something last year, but never found anything. Instead, reading other disabled bloggers has been something I lean on very hard.

Warm and cozy with my electric blanket

I’ve been under here for a while and it feels like I just can’t get warm! Maybe a hot bath.

I went shopping for presents. While I was at it I got myself Book 2 of The Orphan’s Tales. Now I have two… TWO very juicy books to read that will blow my mind and absorb me completely. This one, plus Blood in the Fruit. This year I did not do much for holiday prep. But I’m having people over and will cook. Friday/Saturday I’ll make cookies and maybe pie.

Rook’s parents are coming for a few days! Full of medical advice which I appreciate but which I am going to ask them to put a lid on it in front of Moomin and that I am super happy for their advice and recommendations and referrals to the friends of old medical school colleagues but that there is to be NO TALK OF NEUROLOGY in front of Moomin…

I also prepared myself with things to say, like “I’d like to change the subject” and “I’m not going to talk about that now, thanks.” It is usually easy to deflect things away from me by asking about their work or interests so I’m keeping that in mind.

And if they want to do lots of things, they can… but I can’t and won’t. I can go out, obviously, but I am pretty hard assed about going out to places *on my own terms* and with a lot of control over how and when and being-able-to-leave if I need to. Could I go to Monterey? Yes I could… especially with lots of Vicodin or something… and I love to go there… but 2 hours in a small car with 5 people would be unpleasant and would hurt my legs, and then the crowds, being bumped and tripped over, and having to cope with what everyone else wants to do, eating and shopping and all that. So if I went there, I’d plan to go on a weekday when it might be less crowded… Not on the Saturday before Christmas… and probably with an overnight stay.

Oh, my amazing inlaws! I’ve never been able to keep up with them and their giant ambitious energy and plans. They’re 70-something and they don’t slow down!

Last night Zond-7 and I spent the night at his new place. I like his roommates a lot. Resolution, to bring them some good stuff like fancy coffee and cheese and maybe bake some bread to contribute something back into their warm householdiness. They were so super awesome and share their food (and their nice coffee!) I held their baby, Beowulf, this morning for a bit. He’s sort of bouncy and squirmy and jolly like my nephew Mr. Pants! They should totally have a playdate.

It is a little rough to feel like I have a million errands, but I have to do like one errand per day. Maybe 2. I keep cancelling and moving appointments, as I realize I have to keep my pace of life a bit slower than usual, for now.

Stuff I need to do:

– neurologist for prescrip, forms, orthotist referral
– Moomin’s class party (Rook could, but I want to make a rare appearance)
– wheelchair store at least twice; once tomorrow, once next week
– shop for turkey, xmas dinner stuff
– make giant tin of cookies
– would like to make pies but maybe will buy them to save energy
– faxing things
– more phone calls (bah)
– set up orthotist appt?
– make sure COBRA is in place for early January (Rook is doing this part)
– make CDs for people for more presents

Yesterday, did Moomin’s class holiday party, set out food and helped with “activities” etc and stuffed folders for the teacher. I got my wheelchair handles chopped off at the Chair Store which took forever but was awesome and so worth it and also nice of them to just do on the spot right away. Then off to SF where I lounged on the EFF office couch and then went to see Golden Compass which I liked very much without a ton of criticism (unusual for me with movies especially movies based on books) and to the wine tasting party where I actually had fun (also rare for an office party that’s not even my office) and met some awesome nerds, R. and S. Everyone was a bit tipsy. including me.

I blame general holiday good cheer for my untactful behaviors. Also did not quite mean to be so heinous when I greeted that dude with the purple hair by saying “Hey! I remember you! We made out once, at that street fair or parade or whatever it was! With some really hot chick!” unfortunately right in front of his girlfriend. I might as well get that “I fucked your boyfriend” tshirt I’ve always wanted.

Sorry to be a bit dull on-blog but this is one of those entries just so that I know what the hell I’m up to, without a lot of zing or inspiration to it. That last bit above spiced it up a little, at least.

Zond-7 and I had such a nice time… Bliss… We got up reasonably early and had coffee with computers in bed. His new place is in that stage where you only have a suitcase full of stuff and so feel curiously free. All the junk and bills and clothes and things that need maintaining are left behind in the old apartment. A bunch of it will stay behind, like molting.

Also, the visit with in-laws is going fine. Everyone naps (they are old!) and putters around. We had fun in the toy store, had lunch without my feeling grilled about medical issues or anything, so I’m wildly optimistic that things will continue to be lovely. Rook is puttering with his dad outside. I’ve wrapped presents for everyone! I got Rook a g____b___ and some h_____ f______ ____z____ and Zond-7 a _uz__ __th____ and Minnie some you-know-whats (as usual).

Brief update of beautiful pride weekend

My leg hurts. what else is new?!

I had a fantastic beautiful time at the dyke march & it was overwhelming – the rumbly motorcycles revving for an hour beforehand! the everyone!

I love pride weekend and it’s weirdly important to me…

Leeann and i took a cab from her house. It was comforting to have someone to go with and she had a plan to go hang out with some friends of hers. i could not deal with going up their steps so waited below for them all to come out; we ran into gina and aranyamei and a gajillion other people! sarah pushed me up the hill into the grass. windy but splendid to look out over the crowds. then as we all went down the hill gina stuck to me and we got separated from everyone else somehow… just stood with mouth open looking at dykes on bikes and their absolute splendor. it is really one of the best sights of my life somehow. all their great jackets and sparkly bikes and fierceness. powerful women! sisterhood! the march itself is chaotic, informal, swarm-ish, thronged. I got very lost in it. In retrospect, I wish I had laid down in the grass for a while before the march so that I could have been less exhausted & hurty & scattered.

Once we met up again we marched mostly with the queer sex workers. they had excellent chants. hey! hos! 2 4 6 8 i get paid to gyrate! we’re here, we’re queer, we’re whores! 2 4 6 8 how do you know your stripper’s straight?

Being flirty and sleazy with s. and g. was so hot!

dinner w/ Leeann and gina and Leeanne’s nice friend who lent me his beret. heavenly noodles, so exhausted & freezing I fell asleep a little bit against the wall as we waited in the hallway to get a table at the citrus club. I liked the friend, but was mildly annoyed he tagged along all through the march because it was like, I was not there to pay attention to guys no matter how nice they are, because it is the DYKE MARCH.

We had funny conversations… about all sorts of things. I was saying that i am not anyone’s girlfriend until I have a toothbrush at their house. No. A vibrator at their house. Leanne looked at me in her particular way and went, “You know! That’s TRUE!” In my world I believe it might be!

I thought a bunch about relationships and what they mean to me, about emotional intimacy and expectations and vulnerability…

And also how I said to someone else lately, I forget who, that what I like out of life is to have solid amiable relationships and lots of lovers and I am a junkie of the new and like people who also are; and I don’t like to be bored. I like people who are a little bit wild and a little bit stable and bourgeois. I like the sense of “well, we can do anything we can think of.” I like collaborating and wild plans and creating things. i like being mostly endogamous, but not entirely. i like being known and appreciated and having a lot of other people to know and appreciate; social roles maybe; feeling included. I like to be romantic with friends as well as with lovers. Also, I like assuming trust with people first off, though this can be a painful way to be.

We also talked about something that I was calling reverse compersion like how hard it is to break up with one person or have a relationship on the rocks and sustain another newer relationship that has not had time to develop (with fascinating examples from our far distant pasts). This was so interesting to think about. Like what room a person can be capable of, what emotions, the difficulty of rewriting emotional maps.

Moomin stayed with JB and had an amazing time watching godzilla movies and playing video games. it was awesome to come back to their house and collapse into my computer, lying on my side. Also jb is very good at putting my leg in traction. i wish i had asked him to do it again this morning. Also, his bed is huge and comfy with an extremely warm puffy quilt, so Moomin and I fit in it and I slept incredibly well, waking up just a bit sore and stiff in my back and shoulders from all the wheeling for the march. (Actually the pain kept waking me up from maybe 6am to 8am until finally i got up and took massive amounts of tylenol and celebrex.) We lounged around having cappucino, went out for brunch, were very silly doing things like inventing 5-pronged swivel-mounted hummingbirds with bigger fuel tanks. It was especially nice to see Moomin bonding so nicely with jb because Moomin doesn’t warm up very easily to people (adults or children).

It was nice also be poised to be already up in the city and not have to get ready and drive for an hour just to be there. as a tradeoff i had an enormous staircase to deal with, but that wasn’t too bad, and there was a handrail.

Then – part of my goal for today was to relax and not do any work of any kind. The other main thing was that I wanted to hang with Moomin and do something super nice and special. So we went to the game store and the comic book store on Divisadero and spent almost 3 hours just hanging around. Plus I bought us stuff. He looked at every single heroclix and heroscape package and read all the boxes and information about them but did not really need to buy it. And what he really liked was for me to listen and pay close attention while he talked about each character and what he thought of them, and what he knew of other related characters and stories. So I did that for a long time and as usual his stories were great.

We almost bought the green lantern heroclix set because it had tomar-re and arisia and that first dude who gave the ring to hal jordan AND the FLYING SQUIRREL GREEN LANTERN!!! ZOMG!

Instead we bought the Marvel board game, which looks nifty, sort of storytelling/rpg-like, with character cards for playing a team of superheroes plus a villain. The player whose turn it is plays their superhero team and the villain is the person to their left. The incredibly cute guy in Gamescape explained to us how it starts off with minor crimes which all tie together until there is a horrible catastrophe! It sounded good! I got the new Roborally for myself (20% off) and the triangular version of Blockus. At Comix Experience, Moomin freaked out with happiness at the row of spectrum books. We decided on the compliation of Aquaman & the 2nd volume of Green Lantern. Also some small Avengers & other books. They did not have the big hardback planet hulk book 8-( We spent a long time just looking at things in the store. Then I got him a green lantern t-shirt that actually fit him! Slightly big! And I fit in it too (a bit small) He recited Green Lantern’s oath for us!

I was trying to be nice by not dragging him to Pride parade plus I did not feel capable of doing another giant march in a crowd or even with putting up with a crowd. We would have had to depend on cabs. Anyway i wanted to be Good Mom today. at least in some dimension.

So, off to golden gate park for the giant ultimate team cardboard box fortress battle, which meant i only had to wheel like 3 blocks and then could lie on the grass in the shade, drinking soda while other people exerted themselves. I refilled the kids’ water guns about 20 million times and sent them out on super sneaky commando squirting raids as the grownups threw each other to the ground & floundered around dramatically on the cardboard box forts. The speeches at the beginning – robots vs. wizards – were silly – tackling and pinning very hot – box mayhem impressive.

I keep being really flirty with people when I like them; it feels normal, I don’t mean anything bad by it to anyone; my motives are entirely nice; it’s hot; it makes me feel good and happy; good chemistry is not to be taken for granted and does not always last so you should run with it when it’s there. While it was pointed out to me that my hitting on everyone might be offensive or perturbing to some people I replied only half-flippantly that the more the merrier and perhaps the principles of chaos and dilution would reassure everyone that I am mostly harmless. Also I just don’t really understand that mindset and I get impatient. Yes I try to respect people’s boundaries and stuff. But yeah I am also an alien and I don’t get it.

This weekend was just what i needed – a ton of friends, feeling surrounded by niceness, being a not-so-bad parent and spending time with Moomin, and yet getting to feel free and freewheeling and like my own person. I have been so emotionally unsettled. I did not run around trying to get laid or anything as I have to say, I typically would have. For one I am too exhausted and had too much going on and could not, say, run around clubbing or whatever post-dyke-march. For two I am too emotional and waffly so I needed the solidity of friends around me. (Even if I”m making out with them all the time… I hope you can see the difference.)

At the same time I was super happy that Rook is off in Seattle having his own fun and freewheeling time. I don’t mean to be down on myself by saying that I wanted him to have a break from me. I needed a break from my own intensity. How much more so for him — all my ups and downs and stress and mobility problems have been a huge stress on him. So I thought of him a lot this weekend and hoped he was having a fantastic time. I hesitated to call him – we don’t really have long phone conversations, and a short one would just be like “hi, having fun?” “Yup. Okay i’m going back to my game now.” Then also I was like, “Hmmm, just in case he is having some kind of fun date with anyone in Seattle, I will show some delicacy and not interrupt it.”

What would help me feel better?

Concluded last night that I needed to read some disability blogs and history and find all that Independent Living stuff that used to help me so much 10 years ago. A little ass kicking culture and as betsyl put it, “turn-based ranting” would be very helpful.

Things like this free online ADA course, and a bunch of stuff about the 1977 sit-in at the SF Federal Building, which I knew about but didn’t know the fascinating crucial bit that the Black Panthers fed all 150 protesters, the whole time! And that after like 10 days, the Mayor declared an Emergency Housing situation and made the city go in and bring beds and blankets. And all the protesters laughing at the idea that they could be starved out or made so uncomfortable they’d leave. “We’ve had surgeries and endured hospitals and abuse and you think we can’t sleep on your office floor?” Inspiring and beautiful. I’ll think of them next time I go up a sidewalk cut or grab a bathroom handrail. Wheelchair Dancer‘s post led me to some amazing links. Maybe I’ll run into her around town, as it sounds like she’s in the area!

Ordered silly tshirt with flaming wheelchair, after a while cruising around really funny snarky ones with the familiar blue sign flipping off the “walkies”(!!) and great slogans… I would love the “It’s a miracle! I can walk!” one or “If you stare long enough I might do a trick” if only it was in better typography and on a dark shirt.

I have a Plan for tomorrow and for the week!

You know what this kind of talk means, right? It means I felt crappy yesterday and today and am seeking desperately for answers and solutions and strategies and Things to Do.

Physical therapy! Done it all day long! Walking around! And I’m vowing to swim first thing in the morning. And I’m going to go hang around the rehab shop and also will call all my doctors.

Rook was like “want to play a game and have some fun together” and I stared at him in disbelief. Instead, he held my leg in traction for a while, which was heavenly. I want to cry just thinking about it, and beg him to come do it again. TRACTION OH YEAH BABY!!! DO ME!

After those romantic 5 minutes while he looked up my skirt and I admonished him to pull harder, he then helped me clean up all the papers and things on the floor and do the laundry. And he changed my sheets. Now that’s romantic!

All the papers and things are now up high, where I can get at them and sort through them. It’s a big relief.

I still have a horrible lingering cough, so really should go on another round of prednisone… which might also be super nice for my back.

Moody retrospective

parade 92
Originally uploaded by Liz.

i drove to oakland today and had a fine time hanging out. I sort of wanted to be in the wheelchair because of hurting, and in it, i can get around easier. It hurts a lot to get up and down from chairs and i stupidly kept getting on the floor. But didn’t want to be in the chair, because I didn’t want to… i dunno… something… I just didn’t. I thought of how nice it would be to go to a cafe in SF on the way home with Moomin, but I didn’t do that either because I realized I might be at some kind of breaking point. And the thought of going to a new place seemed daunting; exhausting. Would I be able to get into the bathroom, would I have to get up and down, would I ask for help to get the chair out of my trunk and put it in again, all that sort of thing. So I did not. I went to E.’s 11th birthday party and went in the chair. I still got up and down a stupid amount and exhausted myself further. Around a lot of kids somehow it’s hard not to. I laid down on the couch for a while, which helped. So although I had a good time today… a beautiful day… under the surface I was also brooding a lot about what to do every step of the way. If I get up do i take the cane or do i try to walk without it and just limp? I dont’ know what’s best. I am trying to graduate from crutches to the cane. And then sometimes think “oh fuck it… i refuse to put any weight on this fucking leg.” and go back to the crutches for a while.

Pain made me cranky today, too.

Here is a photo of me from 1992. I was roller-skating nearly naked down Market Street and I had the most glorious wonderful free feeling you can ever imagine. Not only at the pride parade painfully ecstatic to be there but also feeling physically very powerful and relatively healthy. My asthma was under control.

I had spent much of 90 and 91 becoming increasingly unhealthy with chronic bronchitis. And some kind of hell was happening which was probably either a cyst or PID or kidney infection or some combination and which kept getting all sorts of contradictory diagnoses but I had weird trouble walking or doing stairs for some of that time (aside from the severe asthmatic interludes). And then it all started to get better. I had good jobs and was writing a lot.

A rare photo of D. who hates to have her photo taken because of her family history which I suppose I should not talk about so I won’t but it is something of a phobia. If she did not have to look directly at the camera then it would be okay. It is not nice to talk about people’s phobias… I hate it when people figure out mine and want to ask questions or tease me. Anyway, it’s funny to see old photos of her sometimes in the background and just recognize the way she stands or a particular arm movement from far away.

Anyway I was putting this photo to show my baseline of when i used to be not disabled but as I typed this I realized that there were so many times before when I was and it was destroying my life because I didn’t know how to cope or what to do. When me and M. first moved to Berkeley in 1991 and I couldnt manage the stairs in Pax House and we were in the attic! Oh, my god! the hell of peeing in a bucket and crying… because i couldn’t make it to the bathroom, which was down a flight of stairs. And we were so poor I also remember crying because I wished i could have some fruit juice. M. trying desperately to support us. The only way i got health care was through the ER at Alta Bates. We were 22.

I guess before that in TX I was healthy before the accident and before I developed the really bad asthma. I would ride my bike all over and I loved that feeling. Then the asthma and strange physical problems in my back and shoulder made it really hard to keep riding my bike and I couldn’t get to work or class sometimes. I had no idea what to do and doctor visits would result in nothing.

The allergist fiddled my inhalers every 6 weeks or so. steroids fixed me occasionally. finally, constant nebulizing kicked the asthma pretty well. i did quite a lot of nebulizer intal + albuterol + theophylline pills + antihistamines + some other inhaler maybe atrovent or something like that. But for years the bronchitis would come back and then i’d be messed up for maybe 6 weeks or until i got prednisone.

Odd bits of slang from Le Fanu

The other day I lost the book I was reading and had to read two other books in the middle & I’ve just (happily) found it again. So, back to Checkmate by Sheridan Le Fanu. The other two books were Dr. Wortle’s School and um… something else… dammit….

“Why didn’t ye fetch a line o’ the old author with you? asked the rider — meaning brandy.

A few lines later, “Would ye like a drop of the South-Sea mountain (gin)?” said the stranger, producing a flask from his pocket, which Paul Davies took with a great deal of goodwill…

I’d like to know the explanations for these! Is there a hill named Geneva in Southsea? What’s the line from the old author, something that rhymes with brandy… or what? It’s torture not to know.

Oh! and at breakfast I started reading a wonderful book from the Lakeside Press series of history books or really of original source material. Some German dude who travelled to the U.S. for the gala opening of the… of some railroad in the Northwest going through Minneapolis all the way to Portland. The railroad tycoon had borrowed something like 20 million dollars to build it and was losing money, so he threw a huge party and invited all the heads of state and investment bankers he could think of to take a trip out west for the ceremony. I’m only in the middle of the introduction to the book, but it’s already vastly amusing as random European bankers and diplomats and Counts and Countesses endure small-town parades & endless oratory about telegraphs and the Cornucopia of Wheat that the Railroad will Bring Forth all as they freak out quietly about how Indians might attack and they sip champagne & make fun of Minneapolis some more. Henry Villard is the tycoon – I just remembered. From what it said in the introduction he was a smart & fascinating dude. I have not gotten to anything about the German traveller yet.

Today I woke up very early, wrote a tiny bit, & then worked on teaching prep and paper organizing & grading. Until like, 2pm, which blew, but now I feel more prepared. The most creative writer in the class unfortunately had to drop, which bummed me out a bit today because I was looking forward to reading all their stuff and to being generally encouraging to an arty type of person with a little spark and poetry to them. Anyway, I’m prepared for class now. Then I hauled off with Moomin to drop him off at Hamster’s house. SuperT was out and so her fabulous mate took the kids for the day — he was hung over from St. Patrick’s drinking bout. Off to see Minnie briefly. Her pink skirt had me fooled – I thought it was a thrift store find from someone’s home ec class in 1964 but NO she had gone to a skirt-making class with the most pink and gnarly fabric EVER. It even has facing and that lace stuff on the inside hems. Jealous…. Then to Debbie’s which was nice as it always is. Gossip. Wisconny things. Books. I ate vast quantities of homemade bread and pizza. Caraja and I went off to work in a cafe in the Haight. Instead of writing, which I should have b/c it would have been relaxing, I messed around with vmware and ubuntu and parallels and reading all sorts of documentation and reading my work email too. (WTF?) Gave myself a headache… shouldn’t have… Caraja somewhat frazzled and dissatisfied with life, while I was completely fried, and I called xyzzy who also sounded like a fish gasping for the water of some kind of magical relaxation. Decided to go home. But really not quite home… I had to pick up Moomin from Mij’s house where he had gotten dropped off to hang out during the end of Rook’s Cthulhu game & their fancy dinner (lamb’s liver and fancy potatos and sole in cream sauce and god knows whatall else, cabbage and then dessert with strawberries and rhubarb.) I stopped off a couple of blocks away to say hi to Hamster’s mom SuperT because I haven’t seen her in a month or so and then I was all healed up by her warm amazingness. She’s been sick. We joked around like crazy…. She told me about birthday invites that say “No Parents” so you don’t have to feed like 4 times the amount of children you invite (and feed them with actual grownup food) and I was like “Yeah and plus it makes the child porn ring stuff way harder if the parents come” and she cracked up and was like “No man it’s like you get to put them to work in your factory rolling cigars. It teaches them to appreciate their life more.” Inappropriate remark contest! Her mom is here visiting and is very woo-woo austiny-seeming in a good way (as one would expect, knowing SuperT and her Earthy Elegant ways.)

So, onward to pick up Moomin. I started to get asthma right away from the rabbits in Mij’s house and had to leave. What a day of seeing people just a tiny bit! Moomin was playing with Mij’s great stuffed animal collection and came at me with a giant squid taller than he is, growling in a scary voice, “DEATH RAY TENTACLES, DEATH RAY TENTACLES!”. At home we hung out in bed reading almost to the end of Harry Potter.

The other day I had another inappropriate remark moment in the car with A.’s friend who I don’t know well at all. He was all like “And my last year of high school it was like everyone suddenly liked me. Even the jocks.” I blurted out, “Must have been all those blow jobs” and instead of anyone laughing, there was this awkward silence and someone finally went, “Um….. um?” and thinking quickly on how to rescue it I went, “It sure worked for me!” and finally got a laugh.

Back to Checkmate? Or back to the railroad adventure and observations on the quaint habits of rustic Americans? (I can tell it will be like the “Boost for Birdsburg!” people in Wodehouse, but more real.)

You see how it is with me, I get a weekend, I think of a day of down time in bed with books, and instead I worked a full day’s work, went on an hour long drive and visiting, drove some more, stupidly tried to work on real work, visited some more, visited some MORE… and now write this all down in order to “relax” and now I’ll go eat chocolate in the tub while I read a book that is as useless and frivolous as possible. Even normal pop culture would be useful as a social connection mechanism or way to be in touch with the zeitgeist I actually live in. I like old things best, or imaginary things, or things so new that no one understands them. Perhaps my mind has been carefully trained to enjoy things that are as useless as possible as a measure of class distinction and in order to fit me only for being a luxury good to be consumed by others who do actual useful things in the world. Plus, my boobs hurt. Am I pms-ing? Damn! Will I ever learn to do one thing at a time, at a reasonable human pace? Would I actually like to? Isn’t there time later for that, when I cut off all my hair and become a monk?

I was happy to see so many friends today but maybe tomorrow afternoon I’ll hole up in a dark den and see no one until I must. I’m not really complaining. It was a fabulous day.

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Fireworks, twice

parade and fireworks
Originally uploaded by Liz.

The parade and fireworks were great. But on the way home I walked into a pole and I think have a slight concussion… fuzzy-headed, dizzy, and very bruised. My head was sideways – looking at Moomin – and my temple and jaw went smack into a signpost. Something is not quite right about my jaw… walking seems to jar my whole head very horribly and it just feels all ‘wrong’… The other time I had a concussion for real, i blacked out and vomited, and I don’t feel that bad – but also, worse than “bumped my head”. i am not sure if I can chew. Rook and Moomin are going out to a party. so… i am a little unnerved at being alone.

***update ***
I feel a lot better, but still can’t chew, not even noodles. Custard & soup for me…

Companionship and geekitude

Today was bad-ass mamas coffee hour – I wrote for a while first, then went and talked books, held babies, heard a complicated story of property easements and meanie neighbors, everyone’s thanksgivings including dinner analysis and family interrelationships. Then went off to lunch with Debbie and had to leave all too soon. We talked about wikis and ideas and feminism and grants…

Moomin dances with his class in a Whale Dance on Saturday in the town parade. I can’t wait. What is the Whale Dance? We’re burning with curiosity. Demonstrations are not forthcoming. The Whale Dance happens when it happens.

Now I”m going to spend a little while cruising the Mediawiki plugins. Oh, they’re all so tempting! Which ones to use?

i love parades

Scientologist Float
Originally uploaded by Liz.

As usual, the Deadwood City parade was fucking awesome. It had insanely great silly floats, puzzling floats, and ones that were sad and pathetic. Here you see the mind-boggling Scientology float, celebrating 150 years of something with an enormous birthday cake. On the back of the float was a 15-foot high mural of Highway 92, which also puzzled me. Is it the 150th anniversary of the highway itself? They were accompanied by a drill team of cheerful ladies with sunflower-patterned umbrellas – twirling, marching, opening & closing, waving… Just very WTF while also being properly parade-ish and cheerful.

The Brazilians were wearing the most excellent pants ever, blue with flowers. The ones who were wearing pants. Mostly… just spangles and feathers.

The local politicians did not disappoint. I love the dorkiness of them riding down the street in vintage Thunderbird convertibles, waving, bewildered and genial in their polo shirts and khakis.

At the very beginning of the parade we all wondered why the Grand Marshals had kermit the frog hats on. Moomin started laughing. “Oh!! I get it! ” “Uh-huh, you get it?” we asked, all skeptical… “Theyr’e in frog costumes because they’re MARSH-als, get it? MARSH… where frogs live.” Maybe he’s right! Or maybe there were just some frog hats lying around.

I’m so tired!

We walked over with Nadine & family for the third year in a row. She’s perfect to go with because we’re both hecklers who love to scream and hoot and wave. Last year she was a million months pregnant and this year Giddy is about to turn one and was standing up for the very first time! He stood up to see the Stanford Marching Band and managed to stay on his feet about 30 seconds.

She told me some stories about early ACT UP in SF in the 90s. I remember hearing bits and pieces of that stuff and reading about it. She and Virg were pretty involved. And Rafe is named after B. Thorne (his middle name is Thorne). So, afterwards at the bbq I got her to tell it all to me again & I took notes. Damn that’s some heavy information. Some of it is up on the web and some of it isn’t and the connections are not drawn well enough. I long to do some investigation and interviewing. And I’d like to fucking kill those fuckers with the swiss bank accounts but they’re mostly dead already. I will never think the same about PETA or about the medical marijuana people… for fuck’s sake at least put the money back into the community. Not that I care for PETA anyway. And the international dimension… I saw so clearly… so fucking devastating how individual greed, and evil, on what seemed like a small scale at first, became so corrupt that it had the effect of feeding into killing millions of people and how the white privilege /entitlement of people not so different from myself or people I know … lefty activists… people removed from me by only one degree of separation… how it contributed to the death of an entire African nation.

So, back to the Fourth of July.


The parade was great, Moomin appreciated it for the first time, we ate watermelon, kicked back, cheered for pearl harbor survivors and swat teams and belly dancers and 8 year old gymnasts and shriners in little cars with fezzes and marching bands and PFLAG and guatemalans and norwegians and the hundreds of beautifully costumed falun dafa marchers!

There were some really nice protesters of the war and Guantanamo prisoners. I signed their petition. Nade knew some of them, small world. Actually afterwards I remembered the red haired woman too when Nade described how her hair used to be in the early 90s, long and redder and tumbly but shaved completely on one side.

Then off to Rafe’s dad’s beautiful.. amazingly beautiful house… and perfect bbq food… and just chilling out in the breezy sunlight. Nade was reminiscing about the time we went on impulse to see the fireworks in Austin and found a spot just underneath, a tiny place for our blanket, and actual bits of embers were falling on us.

We saw cactus flowers half-open on the way home. Tonight I went to see if they were open. Yes! Stunning! I miss the southwest and the desert.

After the bbq we hung out at home for a while, then trekked out to pacific shores office park to Manny’s office. a picnic, part of project A II, and the first bit of a dumb movie called “The Day After Tomorrow”. I enjoyed its dumbness. Then up to the top floor to watch Deadwood’s incredible fireworks – really the best ever – and the longest show, perfectly timed. I prefer to be outside and down under the fireworks so that it’s really loud and a huge experience, with the explosions filling half the sky.

Possibly I overdid it for being only 2 weeks out of surgery! I’m wiped out.