Sunday, October 31, 2010


(yes, a creepy book cover for an upcoming release-- and it does not resemble my beautiful face, no matter what CL says...)

Friday, October 29, 2010


Ugh. CL's on deadline.  Between Floyd, Green Jello, and mad cackles about pigs and wolves, she is driving me INSANE.  At least it's her first real contract since surgery, so I can't really complain.  Chick-a-dee needs to find a way to pay those never-ending medical bills.
Seriously, though--  PIGS with WOLVES?  The girl has lost it...

p.s.  cool pic of her sister Lisa on Mt. Rainier, huh?  Her partner Kevin died over a year ago, and they made the climb to commemorate his amazing spirit.  CL loves this picture because it reminds her of the gift Kevin gave Lisa-- her smile.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

As you know,  humankind has left the taste of rancid squirrels in CL's mouth-- and believe me, I know the taste of squirrels-gone-bad.  You bury them for too long?  Well, let's just say your body can't digest the corpse without screaming, "get me outta here!" at 2 AM.
But, I, humankind's response to CL's disability?  Not warm-and-fuzzy.   You can imagine her response when she found a growth on my face.  Yep, it went something like this...


(blurry picture of growth above)

After the 20 second meltdown?  CL picked up the phone and called the vet.  She knew she could call any of her friends, and they would jump in and immediately help.  CL wanted to try the "independent route," first.  She knows that her friends are amazing-- but, finding a solution without always depending on friends gives them a break and reinforces CL's independence.  So, here's what happened when she called:

CL:  You know I'm disabled, in a wheelchair, living alone and with no reliable transportation.  Sugar is due for her annual check-up and shots, and I just noticed that she has a mole on her face that is rapidly growing and causing her discomfort.  Can you recommend a way to get her to your office?  Maybe you could do a home visit?
VET:  Let me check.
VET:  We don't do home visits,  we know someone who does-- but I know Sugar is a shy dog, and would prefer to be seen in our office by familiar people, so hold on and let me ask around...
(long pause)
VET:  Our office manager lives near you.  He can take Sugar for the appointment, and bring her back.  What day and time works best for you?

Seriously.  The vet office did not say "tough luck, find another vet."  They found a solution, and a complete stranger offered to help.  CL had stranger-danger worries, but I could have told her, "not a problem, chick-a-dee, the shyness is under control and the vet is a reliable, trusted entity."
Guess what?  I was right. As soon as the office manager arrived, CL introduced me, pointed to his car, and said the magic word: "Okay."  I jumped and settled in for the ride.  The vet kept CL informed during the day, and the ride home was uneventful.  The best news?  The growth was not malignant and I am in perfect health.
See?  No worries. They even refused to let CL pay for gas. I could have told her that humans were not all bad-- there are kind and trusting souls in this world, if you let down your guard and give them a chance.  
 After all, CL is the human who taught me this lesson in life.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


(Looking for warm-and-fuzzy?  Go here.  This long, angst-driven post is not for you...)

CL has been thinking a lot about life changes, poor medical care, people-in-need of social services, (mis)perceptions, beauty, sex and, well, LIFE in general. Many good things have happened, including new adventures and new strengths.   After speaking with her fabulous shrink about the Safeway and Whole Foods incidents, however,  CL has been "stewing" and "confused." 

Here was the conversation with her shrink:

Shrink:  So, how do people see you?
CL:  See me?
Shrink:  Yeah.  If you could describe yourself, and other's perceptions, what would you say?
CL:  I don't know.  I mean, I know the correct answer from my head, I can analyze their perceptions and my reactions all I want-- but I honestly can not define how I feel.  My heart is confused.
Shrink:  What do you mean?
CL:  Well, sometimes I feel invisible.  No one sees me.  They cut in line and ignore me, when I say "hey, I was here, first."  They try to run me over with their cars...they steal lights from the front of my house, so I can't use my wheelchair at night...they push me underwater, away from the rope, when I try to know...invisible...
Shrink:  They?
CL:  People.
Shrink:  What kind of people?
CL:  Arrogant,  self-entitled, I-would-call-them-pricks but I actually like the word "prick," know...PEOPLE.
Shrink:  Not all people.
CL:  Yeah, not all people.  Just 90% of the world who live in their bubbles, ignore people in need, treat me like I DID SOMETHING WRONG.
Shrink: Anger.
CL:  You think?
Shrink:  And sarcasm.
CL: Really?
Shrink: So,  the "F" word?
CL:  Frustration?
Shrink:  Yeah.  Frustration.  So, tell me, how would you describe yourself, in these situations?
CL:  Besides angry and sarcastic? Fuckin frustrated?
Shrink: Uh-huh.
CL: Confused.  I mean, what do you say to people, when they make assumptions about your life?  When they chose to see you, and not ignore your existence?  When they scream out of their car windows, "hey fat girl, get off your ass and WALK outta that chair!"
Shrink:  What?
CL:  Oh yeah.  When people see me?  They are pissed off.  They think I put myself in this chair, I caused the tumors, I'm spending their tax dollars on services not really needed by a cripple.  I mean, one of my neighbors actually called the paratransit authorities to COMPLAIN about the bus, and how it was a waste of tax dollars to pick me up and take me to my appointments.  These are people with kids.   They should set a compassionate example for their children. Can you believe these people in suburbia, living their self-entitled, egocentric lives?  I mean, WHO DOES THAT?
Shrink:  Huh. Maybe you should move to Berkeley? 
CL:  Right.  A whole other kind of self-entitlement ass comes with Berkeley.
Shrink:  True, do you feel like you have a target on your back?
CL:  A what?
Shrink: A target.
(long pause)
CL:  I don't like that word.  TARGET.  I don't like feeling as though someone has chosen me as a target for their rage. That's frightening.
Shrink:  Maybe, for the first time in your life, you are a visible minority. 
CL:  I'm a Jew in Walnut Creek, with a rare genetic disease.  Being a minority is nothing new.
Shrink:  The wheelchair is new.
CL: True.
Shrink:  People are making assumptions and treating you differently, because of how you move your hands and arms, use the chair, ask for help, try to swim, take the bus.  You're a visible minority, now.
CL: True.
Shrink: you feel like you are a target?
CL:  I don't know.