Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

OKay, here's the lowdown.

I am in a bitchy mood. I am in a bitchy PLACE in my life. I have good things and I have bad things, and mostly, things are semi-normal, but I am not, in particular, feeling particularly patient or friendly. I am feeling moody and short and like I would prefer to be left alone.


Well, Mars is in Aquarius, if that means anything to ya. If it doesn't, then I'll give you that last week I spent 4 days in bed because I was fighting off the flu. I wasn't sick in the URI sense, but I had bone-crushing fatigue and muscle aches. Then my PMS began, and I don't know if it's because of that or the flu, or the combo, but I have had the worst night-sweats.... I wake up wet and hot and gross and feel like I haven't slept at all. It's disgusting.
And new to this particular PMS cycle, I seem to have inherited Sassy's PMS "Don't Touch Me!" Phobia ( she just cannot STAND it when her hormones are raging). Mine is slightly different, as it looks like "Everything Itches and Don't Even LOOK At Me, Oh My GOD, Shut Up, Shut Up, Shut UPPPPPP!!!!"

I'm not saying that gives me a license to be mean, or rude, or anything like that. I'm just saying this:
If I have been mean or rude or short with you, I sincerely apologize.
If you leave me alone for another week or so I would likely be more fit company for man or beast.
Right now, I would choose a glass of cold orange juice and a rerun of "America's Next Top Model" over any of my loved ones, friends or family. Unfortunately this includes any incidents that might require me to be of service, even those in which you are bleeding out the side of your head. I am feeling THAT mean and crappy.
Knowing all this, PLEASE do not take it personally if I am rude, mean, or short. I promise to make it up to you later.
I really, really do.
I will call you all back and suchlike then. I promise. I do love you, I do.
I really, really will, and I really, really do.
Again: do NOT take it personally!

Thank you. That is all.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

.Awake when I should be sleeping...

But that's pretty normal for me for the past year or so. I hate hot weather so badly that when summer rolls around I sleep during the day, almost instinctively. (I know I've complained a million and seven times that I think I have SAD in the reverse, andI'm SERIOUS. I'm not exaggerating the misery and sleeplessness that it inflicts. Every shrink agrees, but no one has a solution. THIS summer I have to come up with one. I'm already scheming...a pool? Tinted windows on my car. Ceiling fan? Tv in my bedroom so I can hole up in there with the window unit cranked high?) Then last summer I met Anthony, who's exactly 12 hours ahead of our time zone, so I was up all night, talking with him.

I've been breaking the habit lately, but today was irritatingly hot. I actually got up at the crack of dawn to go to the DWV to renew/change my license in CA, and all was well til I failed my written test. No, really. But here's an example question:

You may legally park your car:
a.) At the corner of an intersection
b.) Across a sidewalk if you are partially in a driveway
c.) In a bicycle lane if there is no sign forbidding it.

You'll never guess what the answer was. Well, I didn't, at least. I know a.) is absolutely insane, and while I got a ticket once for b.), it was in a certain neighborhood and they had strict rules about all kinds of crazy things. C.) to me seemed just as insane as a.), because that looks like trouble waiting to happen. So, I answered b.).
Of course, the correct answer was c.). Why? I don't know, it just is.
And the whole fuckin' test is full of ridiculous questions like that. Jeannie took it once and it asked her this question:

If you are at a four way stop and there is a police car, a fire truck and a mail truck at the other intersections, which of you has the right of way?
a.) the police car
b.) the fire truck
c.) the mail truck

Oh, go ahead and take a stab. I said, "the fire truck, of course." Jeannie said no. "The police car?" No. "Oh come on, not the stupid mail truck." Yup. Why? "Well, the question didn't say any of them had their sirens on. And neither sleet nor rain nor....."
My response: That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
Her response: I got that question wrong, too, those fuckers.

Luckily you're allowed to take the test 3 times. It's just as well, because IL had put a stop on my license renewal. Why? Because I didn't pass the IL smog test. Because I was living in LA at the time. So I had to call the State Office of Transportation and let them know: I don't live there any more, you idiots. Luckily they were nice about it and all it took was a change in the computer and by Thursday I should be able to take the test again and get my CA license in hand. It's too bad I can't retake the picture, because it really sucked.

So I took a nap in the afternoon meaning to wake up just two hours later and actually slept 5. Sad, but true.

I'm writing and talking about myself, I suppose, because I'm getting close to my limit on Being Alone and Lonely. I'm done maligning Anthony for all his sins- it's done, and it's gone, and best to let it go. As the saying goes, "things without remedy should be without regard; what's done is done".
I want to meet someone new, but as you can imagine, I'm a little skittish on it. I don't feel up to anything serious, really, but if I don't get some male attention and affections soon, I will surely be in a bad mood. I've noticed that the longer THAT kinds of deprivation goes on, the more likely I am to jump into something ill-conceived, like Mr. Asshole.

Been thinking about this alot, and talking to my shrink about it. She seems to think I need more to do with my creative life and then I won't feel so , erm, um, lonely and....libidinous? She's probably right. And it's not like I'm thinking internet dating is oh-so-ideal at this point. I'm curious to look, but hesitant to get enthusiastic. I'm 0 for 3 from the past year, all of them men I got to know over the internet....and yet, what else is there? How does one date at 38 without the internet? A question I pose to anyone reading this and thinks they have some options.

Well, and on other fronts, I have other things to focus on, like, well, um, a JOB, I guess. Not surpisingly, no call back from Swanky Rehab. That's just fine with me....MOCA is hiring. So is the Skirball Cultural Center, all in positions in public education, of which I have SIX YEARS of experience!! If they don't at least call me for an interview, I may just go and tear my hair out on their premises.

I've been thinking ALOT about getting my Masters - in ANYTHING, since it appears to be the Path to $$. It's just the woooooork ( ::whining::). All the papers and presentations and wooooork. There's this small, all-girls Catholic college of a fine reputation ( and as it turns out, very similar to where I graduated from, which was also a small, private all-girls Catholic college at one time, and is still of fine reputation) in Santa Monica. They're offering an M. A. in Humanities that you can parcel out and get on the weekends.....of course, doing it that way takes 5 years. ( I suppose you could speed it up at any time and go straight through one year and get it over with...).
The thing is, I don't want to stay here for 5 years, that's for sure, even though I'm almost certain this is the program that would be best suited for me in terms of my capabilites ( with the illness and all) and my future plans ( Humanities is general enough to get you into anything else of a Ph.D should you want it and into almost any job I would be interested in anywhere). And I could probably get the State to shell out for it....but ugh. LA for another 2-5? I don't know. I just don't KNOW.

I mean, I'm at the point when I'm on vacation and it's time to go back to LA, while I DO go "whew, this place is a flippin' cow town ( no matter where I am), I need to get back to a metropolis", once I get on the plane and once I see the lights of LA and we start to land, I start to get anxious and cry. That's what happened last time, after Christmas. Of course I had the flu and all the rest, but UGH, is that a good sign???

I'm used to LA in a general sense by now, though, ( don't have the feeling that I can't feel the ground under my feet anymore, like I did for the first few years I lived here) and have found my ways to cope, more or less. I take advantage of the good things ( the fact that it IS a metropolis full of a never-ending supply of interesting adventures and great cheap clothes and free things and strange opportunitites). I try to ignore and hide from the bad things ( like the weather and the crazies and traffic and all that rot). But man, I hate this place. I always have, and I think I always might. It's one of those places you just revel in for about a month and then you snap out of it and go, "I gotta get out of here." I always hoped I'd get successful enough to be able to LEAVE and only come back for work. Alas.....

But I ramble. I'm rambling. "Lord I was born a...."( who sang that? Lynyrd Skynrd? How do you spell Lynyrd Skynrd? Lynrd Skynrd. Lynyrd Skynyrd. OOOOkay, I gotta go to bed. Getting slap happy). Have I mentioned it was 92 today in March? It's hot and I can't sleep. Grumble, grumble....alas....

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Oh. My. God. I have never seen such a fluffy, New Age hand-holding, pillow-fluffing rehab like that in my LIFE. THAT'S rehab? That's how to get people off heroin and crack?


I admit I'm old-school when it comes to thinking about addiction and treatment, and definitely, I believe in alternative methods beyond the 12 Steps should those be neccessary. And hey, if I could afford a $38,000 a month stay in this place, it would be a pretty nice place to detox. As opposed to the places where the po' folk have to get straight. Ahem. But I'll save my Marxist rant for later...

So yes, I'm a bit of a "get your shit together and quit whining" kind of gal when it comes to sobriety. Believe or not. I just think you have to do the work, and that addicts have clever little manipulatons and all manner of "you're not gonna make me" issues going on that require some metaphorical butt-kicking. Which isn't to say that they don't deserve a nice place to sleep or a pool or yoga and personal on-to-one therapy, or that I don't understand that they need compassion and tenderness while they're developing tools to deal with pain and life in general. I do.

But let's be realistic here. Is it okay that someone in rehab can leave any time they want with a "sober companion" ( that would be me) to go shopping? That the "program assistant" picks up their dishes, puts them in the dishwasher, sets places for dinner, has a 3 page list of neating up things to do in each room of the facility so that the clients don't have to see any messiness? Is it okay that if I have to take them on an outing, and one of them has to use the restroom that I should trust that this person isn't going to sneak a taste if he/she can, and I should let them go alone??

These and a few other issues were brought to the fore today when I went to my interview at Swanky Rehab. I knew it was going to challenge my "grrr!" response that I get when I'm surrounded by privilige and sheltered wealth ( I mean, I bought $30 shoes today and I'm freaking out about the cost. ). But I tried to think of it in terms of this place perhaps being an alternative way of approaching rehab and forget the fact that people are paying through the nose to not have to really feel the pain of their lives, as they've helped create them, sink to the bottom of the barrell.

I was told today by the woman who would be my immediate supervisor that cleaning up was very important because "any kind of mess stresses the clients out. We want them to be calm. We want them not to worry in any way about those sorts of things. Besides, many of our clients have become accustomed to living with maids and such, and we wouldn't want to disrupt the flow of that lifestyle for them. It would be very stressful."

Um, sure. And obviously, living with maids at your beck and call has been working so well that you're spending all your money on blow? So continuing this pattern is going to heal them. Hmmm.

I was told today that if I was to take a group to an outing, I needn't worry about any member going off unsupervised to the restroom and possibly getting the hook up, because, "most of our clients are older, you know, adults. They're not younger adults in their 20s who are more prone to impulsive behavior like trying to get alcohol, etc."

Right. Because being out of his 20s has worked so well for someone like Scott Weiland. Or Robert Downey, Jr. (You know, the kind of people who have $38,000 to spend on rehab). And addicts: definitely using their best judgement and not impulse-control deficient in any way. At least not past the age of 25. Of course.

"H ( the president) likes everything to be perfect. Really perfect. All the time. So we are cleaning alot. We really want it to be like a spa. Comfortable. A hotel like atmosphere."

Okay, you're paying big money to stay, I get it. Food better be good and they had better have 1500 thread-count sheets, KWIM? But perfectionism and controlling, not at ALL something an addict needs to get the fuck over. Nope. Learning to tolerate distress, or change or failings in self or others that fall short of unrealistic expectations? Nope. By all means, let them continue on that path and continue to torture their family and friends with their lack of humility and tolerance. This is getting better ALL THE TIME!!

"Listen, you will never see more entitlement issues than you see here. But I swear to you, it's not as bad as you think. We do encourage clients to take responsibility and fully engage in treatment. " ( This said to me by co-pres, C, after I made my philosophical issues known-dipolmatically, of course). FINALLY, some insight! Entitlement issues! Taking responsibility!! Treatment plans! Oh my golly!

Synopsis: I remain skeptical. I remain cycnical. (I was telling my therapist J about this tonight and she laughed her head off at the idea that an addict got to leave rehab whenever he/she wanted. ). It could work for some people. I was informed that the majority of their clients were there for stress and burnout ( very popular terms around in LA, whereas the po' folk get to call it "depression" and go to the mental health clinic. Rich people get to go the spa. And if you're addicted to drugs and poor, you get to suck it up and detox cold in a state facility and then go to AA. Rich folks get to get Enya, massage, slow-med released detox, yoga, and some sorry fool like me picking up their Diet Coke cans. There. My Marxist outburst....I've been holding it in all day....). That their clients were very high functioning. (All I wanted to say was "OF COURSE they're high functioning! They don't have to do much TO function, because everything is taken care of for them!! " ). That they just needed rest and therapy and good healing.

Ya know, many a time in my past, when I've been sick, I've longed for a place like this, the old style sanatorium-style places where you're on a "rest cure" and there are green grounds to roam and art to make and doctors who care and therapists who aren't overloaded and the atmosphere is peaceful and calm. So I'm not against it. I'm not.

What I'm balking against is the fact that most of these people are likely in need of something more akin to some reality-therapy on the order of: you are rich and unhappy. You have lost touch with who you are and your connection to others in an authentic way. You are often bored and lonely and sad. And you feel entitled to happiness and reward, whether or not you have earned it. You use drugs to entertain yourself and numb yourself to the meaninglessness you feel and it has gotten out of hand and now your body and your mind are exhausted and your attitude needs retooling. You will get out of bed the same time every day. You will eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at specific times, and you will eat real food. You will go to therapy and you will go to groups and you will work to keep this facility up to speed because you need to learn responsibility and consequences. You will have chores. You will get a sense of accomplishment from them because they are simple things that you have lost touch with, and it will allow you to regain humility and respect for all things. Because your actions have proven to be untrustworthy, you will be supervised at all times and your visitors will be searched. You will learn to be grateful for privilges restored to you, as they will mirror in metaphor the trust you need to re-earn with the people in your life that your addiction has hurt. You will go to bed at the same time every day, and thank god you're not dead from your indulgences and this disease.

That is what they need. Not me to fluff their pillows.

Maybe the Betty Ford Center is hiring. Good gravy.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Okay, a brief update: went to job interview ( "receptionist for dance studio". Interview with rehab place not untill Wed.), and it was stupid. $10 an hour to effectively be an office manager, trudge through a 45 min commute and work 36hrs a week with no benefits. I said straight to her, "I was under the impression this was a part time job. This is not a part time job, other than it is less than 40 hrs a week. I am not prepared at this time to work for you 6 days a week. I will happily work for you 3-4 days a week and split the job with an another employee. Here are my references." The other girl they interviewed ( at the same time?!?!?) said the same. They said, "we'll let you know." I thought, "oooh, I'll be waiting...." Pft.

Still, am going to try to scrape up the $51.61 to pay on cell phone bill to try and keep things on track... and I am DEFINITELY on the hunt for new interview shoes. Still. I SHALL prevail, dammit!!!!

Livin' La Vida Loca ( everybody sing!!)....whooo!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Stopping in for a quick news break:
I suppose I could have written sooner, but it was taking all I had to get through the days......been feeling totally awful all this week. Read on...

As of now-- Down, but not out. Hope returning.
However, Tuesday was rotten, bad as Monday ( Oscar weekend, totally normal. Caught cold from Kit, PMS began. Crying, obsessing, lamenting non-stop set in). Wed., Therapist J and I had to discuss whether or not I need different therapist ( just don't seem to be in synch ) but she'll stick around til we find someone new, or whatever ( adjunct therapists? EMDR? WHO KNOWS???). Of course, maybe that conversation could have waited, but NOOOOO, it came up for Jessica THEN. Exhausting conversation, and I went and ate a little food with Jeanna to recoupe and get a hug.
Then spent most of Thursday trying just to hang out and not think about ANYTHING at all. Remarkably, that was the best strategy yet, but there wasn't anything good on tv to distract me. Mom called and managed to keep me occupied with tales from her loathsome job, cheer me on. Ended up watching "Places In the Heart" and cried. Why, not sure, because it is the crappiest, most maudlin movie ever, but perhaps it was a testament to how lonely and sad I was.

Today is better. Still feel wobbly, trying not to think about Issues ( capital *I*) in too much depth. PMS almost gone. Cycle started. Hanging in there, still hanging, not on solid ground, but better than swinging around from days prior. Sheesh.

In other news:

Job interview tomorrow, had no decent, plain "take me seriously" shoes, so I went looking, only found "take me seriously, but I swear I have better style than this" shoes. Had to buy them instead. $24!!! Groan. Bought Joannie $1 bunny ears which she loved and promptly fell asleep in. Jeannie having a yard sale of epic porportions, Irv bitching up a storm, I'm thinking of re-organizing my shoes in Steri-lite boxes, but I'm not sure the dollar store will let me buy 20 of them at a time. Prolly have to run to Hollyweird tomorrow to make a payment for Jeannie's gas bill, which should be an adventure. Melrose and Vine. Not a neighborhood I want to be in, but it won't be after dark. Supposed to go to MOCA with some friends tomorrow night for an opening of feminist art. Not sure I am in the mood for that, but it's an excuse to get the hell out of the house.

**Speaking of, I really gotta see when that Magritte show at LACMA is ending for I will kick myself for missing it. They had a Klimt one last year and DID I MANAGE TO GO DOWN THERE TO SEE ONE OF MY FAVORITE ARTISTS OF ALL TIME??? I think you can probably gues the answer there, by my tone. **

Other than that my house is remarkably clean and laundry caught up on. Angel seems to be settling down into Solo Cat Comfort. I still dont have a new driver's liscence, because I need to obtain a CA Rules of the Road, as their testing is considerably harder than it is in other states. Hard to believe, I know, since everyone so widely disregards the actual rules and drives like maniacs. But what do I know....

Well, I hope this has provided a break of some sort for you, whether it be realaxaton or just psychotic. That's all for now. Tune in tomorrow ( or when I get motivated to write again).....