Sunday, January 29, 2006

My Hidden Agenda (hidden even to me!)

My mother is a lot like me. Though she doesn't let on, she's very sensitive, and I would guess is more hurt when others are hurt than when she is.

Over a year ago, she started walking on this little island in my hometown. It's kind of remote, very beautiful, and one can see Bald Eagles soaring over the river. But what interested her more, was an old homeless man (picture an aged Grizzly Adams) that lived between two concrete walls that used to be the foundation of a building. He had all his belongings with him, usually had tupperware containers with food, and almost always was sitting on a bench reading.

She was intrigued by him (as I would be). I cautioned her not to approach him or make contact with him. Not for safety reasons (though no larger than me, she's quite scrappy and, having no evidence, I'm quite sure she could hold her own in a fight), but out of respect for him. I told her he might think she pities him, an action that would horrify many homeless individuals (I feel I can say this only because I've worked closely, and built relationships with many homeless residents in St. Louis).

She abided by my suggestion. She went for her walks, past Rupert (we voted over email about what his name should be. Rupert won out over Oscar, Hal, and about five other names), and started suggesting little scenarios about him. Maybe he's a veteran? Maybe he's a brilliant scientist that's too brilliant to function in the world? (let me say, I think I may have fueled many of these theories).

Then she admitted that she'd said "hello" in passing...after all, it would be rude not to at least say "hello", right? I also suspect she'd had other conversations with him, she's quite crafty at creating small talk when she needs to (another skill we share).

Then I didn't hear about him for a while, until about a month ago.

For Christmas, she couldn't help herself, she took him a plate of Christmas cookies. He wasn't in his usual place, saying he'd been scared off by kids that threw rocks at him, as well as the police telling him he had to be off the island. The weather had been below zero degrees, and somehow he'd made it. Once they were engaged in chit-chat...the floodgates opened. Apparently he was quite wealthy and "they" were keeping the money from him...but his attorney is working on it...then he'll have money. There were several "theys" that fit into the equation. Having worked as a psychiatric nurse, I believe my mother got a clue as to how he came to be homeless. The same way many other homeless are homeless.

She seemed a little heartbroken. The thing that she held onto was that a well-dressed man in a nice car seemed to check on Rupert while she was there. She surmised it could have been his of "they". I asked about him today and she said she hasn't been back to the island, and she feels that she probably won't ever see him again.

I knew immediately why I suggested she keep her distance. I had my own Rupert, but his name was Nathan. Nathan was an old stringy veteran that had an elaborate camp set up behind the flood wall in the city. He was hospitable and loved by outreach workers. He required little, and helped others out that didn't have set-ups as nice as his (keep in mind, his set-up was still outside, made mostly of garbage...but still pretty comfortable in temperate weather). Nathan was murdered last summer. The police say by another homeless man...we (outreach workers) feel it was a group of young white teenagers...the same ones that beat and hospitalized another man we know.

My point is this. I've gotten a lot from my relationships with my homeless clients, but I also know that there are few "happy endings" among this population. I didn't want my mother, who's heart would ACHE if she knew he'd frozen to death or had been beaten by bored suburban kids (both very possible).

I guess I was trying to protect her. If she'd had her way, he'd be living in their guest room (or my old room), but it's more likely he's not doing very well, and will move around to different places, and never do any better. I guess I wanted her to keep her distance because I didn't want her to realize that.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I've Passed On My Gift

Ok, so not really a gift...but my PLAGUE!

I've been sick now for exactly 2 weeks. I've missed 5 of the last 9 work days (we had Martin Luther King, Jr. day off), am on my second round of antibiotics, my third box of Thera-Flu, finished seasons 1-4 of Sex and the City, caught up an all the soap operas I didn't watch to start with, and I'm not absolutely sure I'm going back to work tomorrow. I never in a million years thought my throat could hurt this bad.

So passing on the gift. The boyfriend has affectionately dubbed my illness as my plague...which he now has, and is now camped out on the couch watching Star Wars III (Wedding Crashers and Cinderella Man are on his docket for later tonight).

I'm feeling pretty guilty that he has it...but it makes me feel less guilty knowing I can return the favor of taking care of him. He started feeling under the weather on Thursday, so he worked from home and took care of me Thursday and Friday. That includes making meals, Thera-Flu, tea with lemon and honey, and told me I'm still outrageously cute and sexy (he's not a good liar...but I appreciate the effort).

So, I've just finished making dinner, earlier I picked up McDonald's for him (he thanks Santa for giving me the gift certificates), I made him tea, Thera-Flu, and he gets to watch whatever crap movies he chooses.

Just being able to walk around and stand at the stove for 30 minutes was a wonderful advancement, and work sounds so great. The people, my desk, reports, new protocols I need to finish writing, employee all never sounded so sweet.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

DO NOT See "Hostel"

Please, I beg of you...take this opportunity to learn from my mistake.

The boyfriend was really interested in seeing the movie "Hostel". It looked a little sketchy, but he's sat through enough movies of my choosing to warrant a little flexibility on my part.

The first 30 minutes was soft-core porn. He looks over and his eyes say, "I'm really sorry, this was a complete accident". I could see him out of the corner of my eye wriggling in his seat, very uncomfortable. Not only were there more fake boobs than I could ever hope to see in my lifetime...but young tourists were now being tortured for sport by creepy millionaires that paid for this privelege. Visually, it didn't leave a ton to the imagination.

Luckily, and with the craft of someone used to being sensitive of disturbing images, I covered my eyes enough so that I'm not entirely scarred for life. This definitely ranks up there in the top five movies I wish I could take back seeing (1. American Psycho 2. Natural Born Killers 3. The Prince of Tides (odd, right? I have nightmares about the kids being traumatized) 4. Hostel 5. The Exorcist).

Many people walked out. It wasn't until the end that we realized it didn't say it was written or directed by Quentin Tarantino (the draw to get us there) said "Quentin Tarantino Presents".

So my basic assessment is that he talked to his 15-year-old nephew (perhaps a stoner that had really good drugs and was keeping them from Uncle Tarantino unless he did his evil bidding) and this is what said kid came up with. It was COMPLETELY out of the mind of a child. Boobs, torture, evil, boobs, blood, full frontal, boobs.

Side Note: My headshrinker jokingly suggested I wasn't allowed to see the movie. He even offered to write me a doctor's note. I really wish I'd taken that note...there isn't a doctor's prescription in the world to make me forget that worthless crap of a film.

Side Note 2: If you're a 15-year-old boy...go directly to your nearest theater with someone who can get you into an R-rated will LOVE it (and hopefully it won't contribute to any sort of delinquent or violent behavior)!

Monday, January 09, 2006

And So we Do Our Familiar Dance Again...

My mother and I have had a familiar pattern in our relationship for decades (that's slightly dramatic...I've only been alive for 3 decades...and the first 2 I was pretty much still under their influence). It begins with me getting a raspy cough, and for weeks she'll recommend I call my doctor.

Each time this happens, I wait for what may seem too long (it may seem too long because I end up with a respiratory infection). My reasoning is this:

1. I always feel like if I do my holistic bullshit remedies, that some day my body will catch on and respond.
2. I hate going to the doctor...mostly because it seems like a waste of time and co-pay.
3. In actuality, my doctor most likely wouldn't treat me for a mild cough that mother has diagnosed as an infection (perhaps if he realized her genius he would...but they've not met).

And so here we, with a temperature of 101, a fever, a cough, and chest pains. I called today because last night it finally caught up with took me down.

So yes, she was right, and she shall always be right in the future when this happens again (oh yes, it WILL happen again...probably many times again).

Despite the fact that I never follow her advice, I do appreciate her persistence, and that she gave me the complete collection of Sex and the City for least I have something fun to watch. I made it thru Season 2 today!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Fasting and Colonic Bark

I finished my second fast on Monday. I was off work and thought it would be a good time to not eat. I fasted with juice that I'd made the night before (apple, carrot, orange, and spinach). I have to admit, this fast felt harder than my last, which was three days (see old blog entry...probably last spring). Without my entire collection of Sex and the City, I'm not sure I'd have made it.

By evening I wanted to tear away whatever food the boyfriend had. He was very considerate and ate while I was in the office doing yoga, and didn't heat anything up so I didn't smell it. But I did walk in on him cutting some Dubliner cheese...the encounter went as if he were sorting crack rocks. I sighed in a disgusted manner and closed myself in the bathroom to get ready for bed (although I did follow-up and let him know he hadn't done anything wrong...I was STARVING...I can't be held accountable for my reactions to cheese!!).

I did make something interesting out of the apple and carrot pulp. The boyfriend fondly dubbed them the Colonic Bark. They consist of oatmeal, honey, pulp, sesame and sunflower seeds, and almonds. As much as I've been trying to talk them up and have friends at work try them...they taste horrible. They're pretty much ass on a cracker. I'm going to throw out the first batch and try again...I don't care how many times I said, "they kind of grow on ya"...they don't. They suck.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Play Misty For Me

I'm not sure, but whenever I'm home (by home, I mean at my parent's place in Iowa) I always want to see the movie "Play Misty For Me". I've seen it several times (although I must admit, it's usually to dodge watching "Funny Girl" with my mom...I cannot TELL you how many times she's tried to get me into that movie).

What do I love about it? For one, I love the characters. Clint Eastwood is young, although he still has the same body as he does now...and I know this because he wears tighty-whities in the movie...ouch...those were never sexy. Donna Mills plays his kind of bland girlfriend, with overly burned skin (raccoon eyes) and really bad hair. You almost want her to get cut up by the psycho a little bit. Ah yes, the psycho...flawlessly played by Jennifer Walters (to all the young people out there...she's now the mother on Arrested Development).

Bottom line, Clint has a one-night stand with the psycho, she keeps coming around and trying to be his girlfriend, and even though he's this "player", he's not assertive enough to tell her to get out with the trash. If some crazy person slit their wrists in my bathroom, I wouldn't let them stay over a couple days to recover.

But I digress...the main and newfound reason I love this movie is because the psycho (Evelyn) reminds me and the boyfriend of our cat, Luna. Though Luna is mostly made up of gristle and hate, when Evelyn was clawing her arms outside a cab, being sent away by our hero Clint, she was screaming, "But I LOVE you...please, I love you!!"

It took me all the way back to St. Louis, to the little snowball of loathing...that lady we call Luna (even though she's not much of a lady). She always finds that warm, special, sometimes annoying place on our laps and claws at our faces with her little clawless if to say, "But I love you!"