Monthly Archives: April 2004

freaky friday…

Oh my God, Steve! On your recommendation, I started Augusten Burroughs’s Running With Scissors this morning on Bart. It’s now 2:30am, and I just finished it. Each chapter is more horrifyingly unbelievable than the last. I wonder if he and Chuck Pahlaniuk know each other. Except that these stories are supposedly true. I have my doubts. I guess it’s possible that so many disturbingly weird things could happen in one house in the course of 5 years to a kid who just happens to have an active imagination as well as a compulsive need to write everything down. But regardless of my skepticism, I’ll concede that Burroughs is one hell of a storyteller. Mark and Tomi, this has to be the next reading assignment of the Twisted Scribblers Book Club.

the last days…


End Cowell Street Sign 

Funny street sign (near Michael’s office) or Prophecy? After last night’s American Idol results show, I don’t know if he/it can last another season. The 3 best singers got the smallest number of votes. The worst singers, the most. When oh when will they stop voting for that dreadful John Stevens? I’m so sad that Jennifer Hudson is gone. A big voice and a big heart. Well, I guess it’s to be expected, when you’ve got people like my dad voting for Jasmine because he likes the flower in her hair vs. people like me who don’t even bother to vote. But I’m crazy. That’s been established. What’s everyone else’s problem?

the continuing saga…

After the puncturation of my eye on Friday, it seemed to be healing great until 6am this morning. Then, BLAM! Searing, ripping pain. So I went to the eye doctor this afternoon, and wouldn’t you know, he thinks it’s coming along just fine and looks good. Well, that’s fine for him to say, but it hurts! So am I crazy? I think maybe I’m crazy. I don’t know anymore. I told Michael to let me know if he catches me stabbing myself in the eye — just in case it’s a psychological thing that I am doing to myself without knowing it. Like maybe I have multiple personalities and the BAD BETH is stabbing my eye and the GOOD BETH can’t figure out what’s going on. OR maybe it is healing like it’s supposed to. WHO KNOWS? Certainly not me.

One thing that I do know is that I’m NOT shelling out $300 to see Madonna’s concert this time around. In fact, don’t cry for me, Mrs. Ritchie, but the truth is I never really loved you after all. So there. I had a whole big essay I was going to post here on the subject, but this EYE THING just trumps everything else, so that, as well as my treatise on the ULTIMATE MEANING OF THE UNIVERSE will have to wait.

things I’ve loved…

Since Friday’s eye-stabbing, this depression descended… poured on me like thick tar… tears and tears and tears… medicine for a ragged eye? Limp… lethargic… I languish on the sofa watching movies and weeping. Through the blur, a couple of things that have made me smile:

1) The movie, Northfork, which is stark, stunning, and surreal. Read Roger Ebert’s review and then rent this film.

2) Fantasia Barrino’s rendition of “Summertime” on American Idol this week.

Well, as I’m always reminding Michael, “a couple” means two. So those are the two things that have brought smiles through the tears this weekend. Just too woolly (weary) to think of anything else right now.

there’s no place like…

…Kaiser Eye Care. You thought I was going to say, “home?” Well, that’s true. We’ve been home for 6 days, back to work, and back to American Idol. I’ve finally posted the photos from our trip:

But in under 2 hours, I’ll be at Kaiser Eye Care again having anterior stromal micropuncture to finally fix this defective eye! Blessings, prayers, and pagan rituals appreciated.

still alive…

Typing from Bady’s dial-up connection in Turners Falls, MA. The drive here on Thursday was nice, although we got lost in town and drove past their house twice. Rachel is an awesome cook! After Diane’s Major Lasagne and Rachel’s Fantastic Fritattas and Perfect Peanut Sauce, I may never need to eat again.

Rachel’s daughters, 5-year old Mamou and 2-year old Dina, are even cuter than Uncle Edward’s cocker spaniels. AND they don’t jump up and lick our faces!

Yesterday, we all took a walk to the convenience store and counted Easter Egg trees in people’s yards. Last night, we had a Star Trek marathon and have decided to start speaking only in mythological metaphors like the Tamarians.

This afternoon, we will leave here to drive back to New Jersey. Tomorrow morning, we fly back to the West Coast.

My eye has started acting up again, but I think it will last long enough to make the drive back. I have an appointment with Dr. Hamilton on Monday morning.

hot shots…

Just got back from the shooting range with Michael and his Uncle Edward. We shot at baby animals with a .22 rifle and made them spin; then we shot holes into defenseless paper targets with a .22 handgun. We are bringing home the remains as proof of our savagery.

The eye seems to be doing fine. We drove up to Whittinsville, MA yesterday. Had delicious lasagne with Uncle Edward and his wife Diane. The dogs are cute and all over us. Pictures to come.

Later today, we drive to Turners Falls to visit Michael’s sister and family. The weather is perfect, and tuna and egg salad sandwiches are in the works.

news from the arctic…

Writing from Tenafly, New Jersey. We were supposed to be driving to Boston today, but my eye has decided to relapse! Monday morning, I woke up with biting corneal pain again. Michael’s mom, Judy, called her opthalmologist yesterday. Unfortunately, he wasn’t available, so I got an appointment with his associate, Dr. Clancy. Dr. Clancy took a cursory look and couldn’t find anything wrong. Even when Michael and I asked him to look again. So I spent the day yesterday in pain with watering eye and running nose trying to convince myself that I wasn’t crazy.

This morning, instead of driving to Boston, we called and made an appointment with the more senior doctor, Dr. Stabile. He not only located the problem, but drew me a picture of where a NEW EROSION has formed and prescribed antibiotic drops that I am to use every 2 hours. I’m not thrilled about this fouled up cornea, but at least I have proof of sanity (at least where eye pain is concerned.)

If all goes well today, we will attempt the drive tomorrow.

The weather here is actually pretty pleasant today. Yesterday, however, was horrendously cold and windy. But Michael and his mom have been taking good care of me. Last night, Judy cooked a really delicious Passover seder dinner for us. (I have often wondered why Christians don’t celebrate Passover.) And Sunday night the three of us went to see “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” I’ll have more on that later.

Heat-Seeking Device Seeking… Heat!

The Bay Area weather today was gorgeous! Warm, sunny, flowers in bloom, allergies flared up all over the place. Fortunately, I’m not a sufferer (as many of my friends are), so for me the day was perfect. Had Peking duck with our accountants in Chinatown. Then met Red for chocolate cake and iced coffee at Just Desserts. But the experience was bitter sweet. Tonight, Michael and I get on a plane for the rain, snow, and freezing temperatures of the East Coast. Question: Is there a way for a body that is so sensitive to cold to find peace?

I feel like I go through my days constantly obsessed with 2 things: food and heat. The food thing is way too complex and freaky to deal with right now. Especially after having succumbed to the biggest fit of gluttony since… oh… last Saturday at Red’s house. (Yeah, it’s a pattern.) But the heat thing is more manageable since, for the moment, I’m fairly warm.

So, a typical day goes like this: I relinquish the intense warmth of my bed for the cold floors, walls, surfaces of this house around 8:30AM. Put the kettle on and enjoy washing last night’s dishes… Mmmmm… hot water. Have my tea (more hot water) and then jump in the shower! As environmentally conscious as I am, I often can’t bring myself to leave the tub until the hot water runs out. But it’s okay, because now with my super-short haircut, I get to use the blow dryer every day. HEAT!! Then, get dressed, wrap up, sweaters, scarf, gloves, jacket, and off into the cold cold day.

For the rest of the day, I’m pretty much resigned to being cold. It’s cold outside. Cold at the office. Cold wherever I end up going. Then, I come home at night to a cold, cold house again, and I don’t get warm until it’s time for bed — around 12am. And interestingly, night is when I am at my most depressed.

Depressed and cold. Not accepting the cold. Hating it. Wanting to be warm. The obsession with wanting things different than they are and the disillusionment from knowing that nothing is permanent. Any little bit of heat I find each day (as with any other kind of pleasure) is temporary. Of course, you can argue that unpleasant things are also temporary, and isn’t that a cause for relief?

But it’s the whole attachment/aversion cycle, isn’t it? Unpleasant situations always seem to last too long, while pleasant situations don’t last long enough. Push/Pull Push/Pull. The will gets tired finally, gives up. As well it should, finally understanding the utter fultility of the struggle. Depression sets in then. Depression as the bleakness, the absolute hopelessness that precedes… Enlightenment!?!?!?! (I haven’t a clue!)

So anyway, we’re leaving for the airport in 10 minutes. I’ve put on my comfy overalls and have a couple of new books to read on the plane. It’s maple syrup season in Western Massachussetts, Toscannini’s ice cream in Boston, and hot dogs and roasted nuts on the streets of New York City. I’m ready, I think.