Saturday, July 31, 2010

After a bit of a health breakdown, I'm back up to normalcy again.
First the ears were lavaged with the scary-looking syringe, by the nice folks and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center.  It is so amusing to me that gay culture has advanced to such a degree that I can go to an all-gay hospital and get my earwax/deafness problem addressed.  It's good to be a lesbian in Los Angeles.  And now I am no longer Helen Keller.

Then, of course, in the usual way that things go from better to bad to worse to horrible to awesome to hilariously ridic and back down to broken, I ran out of Ativan for two days and was all sorts of out of sorts.  Luckily I didn't end up in the ER this time, as I avoided espresso shots (multiple and singular) and wikipedia surveillance articles, I had my hands full with sleep lost over auditory hallucinations of circus music (later figured out to be the neighbor's windchimes), mixed with fears of gang shootings.  I pulled myself off the mattress, threw water on my face and went to the psychiatrist, who wrote me extra refills on the anti-anxiety meds, and told me that my fears of walking at night in Echo Park were very real, that gangs were not funny, that I was right to feel that danger did lurk in my neighborhood at night.

And for the first time he asked me about my plans for the future, as if I had a future beyond being a mental patient.  I told him about featherless, and he seemed very surprised and pleased.  He mentioned work or school, neither of which I really feel quite ready for (well, school I can't afford, I'm about to default on my loans already, and work....who would give me a job, if they aren't hiring my more sane and qualified friends)

But productivity.  I told him about the novel I'm working on, and about how I'm thinking of taking a writing workshop to help focus and drive accountability in the text.  Basically to kick myself in the ass to work on this book.

Then I went home and slept, renewed my prescriptions,  slept even more, and finally the Ativan and Topamax and Abilify on my system evened me out and I felt better, normal, functional.

I had realized, earlier that day, lying on the bed next to my sleeping girlfriend. Waiting and wanting my anti-anxiety medication, all the anxious worried came back.  My fears that after, essentially, being out of normal society for three years, not working, not being in school, just focusing on my disorder, taking medication, going to therapy....that I had lost fundamental skills and functioning that I would not be able to gain back.  Sure, I have a lovely and supportive group of friends, I am not totally isolated, and they have helped me keep from becoming an alcoholic recluse.  Katie has been integral to my healing and regaining functioning.  But it just takes the lack, the absence of one or two of these little white pills, and the whole fragile structure falls to pieces.  I feel like it would be irresponsible for me to commit to something like a full-time job, knowing that I could fall apart at any moment, that my stability is so fragile.

But, regaining confidence after being out of the loop so long, it is difficult.  It has been a long, gradual process, for a long time I would never think of going to a bar, or a club, or an art event outside of CalArts.  Now I feel more comfortable doing these things.  The long trajectory from the pit of isolation in post-graduation psychosis in North Hollywood to now, where things are moving up and coming together, it is a journey, and it is not yet over,  I have a long way to go.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My attempt at Katie's Dulce de Leche cake came out looking more like this:
Yet was quite delicious  Not a crumb remained the next morning, when I awoke from my drunken stupor.  Yes, I overindulged a bit in the vodka department, too much stress over too many commitments, a day spent cooking from dawn till dusk, washing sink after sink of dishes, the tension of entertaining when one must put on the bright face of happy house.  We are happy here, in the happy house, and it is true, we are.

But there are those moments when I drop my lipstick and take an extra Lorazepam just to make it through the party.  Perhaps we have been entertaining overmuch.  It is the mania, and it is the hypomania.  Bipolar disorder plays tricks, it plays the trick of , "I'm normal," and the trick of, 'If I take my pills I'm just like everyone else and everything will be normal."  And in many ways, on many levels, I act like and have the capacities of a normal 33 year old woman.  Who hasn't worked in three years.  And who hears voices on the north side of the apartment.  Who will clean the apartment loyally and not leave it until 3 pm each day.  Who thinks her mail is being stolen when it doesn't show up.  Who checks the mail seven times a day. Who takes five pills a day.  Who is a lesbian.  Who has paranoid delusions.  There are many reasons that I am and am not quite as others.

I am working on an novel and it is difficult as always.  Featherless is coming along more successfully.  We are quite excited for August's lineup of poets, which will be announced at the beginning of the month.  There is talk of a combined reality institute and featherless happening, a date has not yet been set for this, it is in the very nebulous planning stages.  I am finding that I really enjoy setting up and holding events.  It is exciting  to watch each one take shape, as we gather the writers and the bartender and door people and frantically run around the day off with veggie trays and then in a warm wash of light it all comes together, in Brenda's beautiful Wordspace.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's the day of Katie's birthday party today.  I am preparing myself to make this cake.
Dulce de Leche with Caramel Buttercream, which, as I am more of a savory cook than a baking cook, will be a bit of an adventure, but I will do it for the wuzh.  Actual results will, assuredly, vary widely from this picture.

A week ago I stuck two Q-tips in my ears, trying to clean them....not, as I thought later might have been a subconscious stop the little voices that I hear when on the north side of the house.  Either way, I was deaf for a few days.  My hearing has gradually come back, assisted by an "earwax removal kit" that I got at Walgreens.  This is all very gross and probably not blogworthy.  But I have been half-deaf lately, and fearing for my hearing.  This affects how loudly I speak, too.  I do not know if  I am whispering or shouting.

We had Mrs. Porters here at the Treehouse, it was lovely.  Eleven ladies, much writing, we had just enough chairs.  I had regrets only that I could not project my voice enough, or, more specifically, I could not gauge if I was speaking loud enough, and many could not hear me, when it was my turn to read.  It was a hot night, here in Echo Park, and we had not yet installed the a/c, so everyone was drooping, in their chairs, arrayed in our small living room, listening and talking, to the pring of the bingo call.  The other regret, that the a/c was not installed sooner.

Yes, the heat wave, yes, the air conditioner turkey circus. (turkey circus is my new phrase for clusterfuck).  The heat wave has passed for the moment, it's a kind 73 as I write this. But it went up to 97 degrees and we found ourselves in Best Buy overextending the finances.  It was to be delivered yesterday, and then it was out of stock, and then a series of contradictory phone calls, I got my "outraged consumer" face on and we marched down to that blinding blue monolith only to be told it would be delivered next Friday.  Next friday.  Well.  I certainly hope it is steamy, nay, scorching in August, or else I really am going to feel like a turkey.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's 92 degrees in the evening today, a day spent in sweltering reminder of how housework can get away from you.  I wanted to go to Maxi Kim's talk at LACE, I really did.  I do regret missing it.

I awoke at ten, spent the morning dying my hair black and in ninja action at the laundromat.  Eluding attendants at launderland, yes, that's how I get my thrills these days, apparently, as I snuck in and stuck a twenty in the quarter machine. Slammed handfuls in my purse like Vegas and tip-toed out again.  At home, the laundry piled above the dresser by two feet, a teetering tower of panties and stank dresses.

It had to be done.  It just did.  And dear Katie, in an Ambien haze, was sleeping through the heat of the day.  I don't blame her, I wish I had as well.  But thanks to Wellbutrin and a slight hypomanic edge, I was running loads of laundry for the next six hours.

Yet now it's five-thirty, and there's still a load of towels and tablecloths on the floor, waiting to be taken down.

I skipped office hours today, and that is the other thing I feel guilty about.  Perhaps I can place them in the evening.

But our plan, the big plan for productivity, at the four day mark has had its successes and failures. Trying to throw down structure in floating stream of carefree summer willfulness, it's tough.   I've been pretty faithful to the office hours concept, and found that forcing myself to focus for two hours a day really increased my writing output.  I finished the essay for the Headcase Anthology (queer writers on mental illness), and have dived back into the novel, which may have two parts, may have four, I'm not even sure anymore.

But the heat, the dead heat, it kills everything.  I would love to go play tennis this evening, but it is still 92 degrees, and I have already broken a sweat just typing this.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

We are embarking on a plan today, a plan to be more productive.  I felt that I wasn't getting any writing done, except for bloggy bits, so K and I are going to try setting "office hours" (don't laugh) between 1-3 pm.  During this time we will shut off the internet, turn off phones, and focus solely on writing.  Every day.  There are other elements to this plan, scrawled on notebook paper the day before in a fit of midsummer mania.  At six pm we must do some sort of physical activity (tennis, walking, biking, etc). Upon waking (after coffee) she will search for jobs and I will read that manuscript. 

After a week we will assess its successes or failures and modify if needed.  It is an effort to impose structure in that we are both just floating along in this July heat, no jobs in sight, no accountability in sight either.

I feel a bit ridiculously life coach-y in that I was the one who drew up the plan, as if - I sure haven't successfully applied these rules to my own life, how can I apply them to someone else?  But as with free time management, once one passes the party funtime phase of it, the depression hits, and that can be insurmountable unless...or begins to work independently.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

So very much has gone on in the last few days, including the introduction of a new little bunny friend. Here is Katie with Trixie, the tiniest, cupcake-sized rabbit.  She has been getting to know uncle Giblets and the slightly more sinister aunt Nevada, while sequestered away in the rat's former condominium.
  And here is me with her as well, enjoying some hop-time.   Other than that, Katie and I have been busy with the organization of the next featherless, announcement to follow this entry.

It is 2:50 AM, and I have been struggling with blogger for several hours, this indicates the depths of my obsession with immediacy in self-expression/blogging as catharsis/excretion of to-do lists/it's something to do. And, in the end, at the very last late hours of the morning, it's all about finding something to do.  Free time management.  It's not quite a living.  But it will do.

I was on the phone with my father, and he said, "have you heard of this thing on the internet where you can write things and people can read them right away, takes away the paper and the middleman and the publisher, they can respond right away, it's called, I don't remember, it's the internet???"

"Yes, dad, it's called blogging.  I do that.  I don't know if it's the answer, but it helps with the shouting into the void."

What I didn't tell him is that I have..count'em...five blogs.  This is a little obscene.  Backed up against the corner, waving my hands in the air, I say, "I can explain!!"
  1. Neon and Concrete is this blog, where I started in 2006.
  2. andrea lambert is where I migrated my website and then got sucked into the tumbleverse.
  3. Surveillance : LA is the spycamera/surveillance photo project tumblr 
  4. Lez Cuisine is a food blog I do with Katie
  5. featherless is the blog for the featherless reading series
So, there you go.  Perhaps excessive, yes, but it keeps these idle hands out of the devils playpen.