Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Beth does not die: the Good News and Bad News of the Trip

Linda was supposed to write this post saying something like “Elizabeth is indisposed” which makes me sound like the queen or Lady El of Isle of Pontendorf. So I insisted before she comes to take me away again. Okay, our shopping trip was a success:

Good News: Cheryl got a corset! And looks fab, like FAB! In fact, we ALL got new corsets! Mine is combo of PCV, lace and velvet. Linda was SO hot in hers we forced her to go out in the store and put back a t-shirt. On the way over a married guy’s head swiveled fast enough to get him the big elbow in the side from the wife, plus a couple 18 to 19 year old guys started hanging around our change room (consider this this picture the intro to the upcoming Yuri post) (We aren’t trolling for guys, it is just guys walking into things are a good judge of ‘how hot’ are you!).

Bad News: We forgot to take a picture at the change room.

Good News: We found REI, even though the weather was AWFUL. (REI is a sporting goods co-op which has many floors, an indoor climbing wall, a mountain bike trail to test your bike on and hires knowledgeable and friendly staff.

Bad News: We got sucked into the REI ‘helpful’ vortex where you are sent to every person in the store who is SO helpful but getting something as simple as GLOVES takes two hours and yet, you don’t get the gloves; “I’m certain they will be here by next week, if you just want to head upstairs…” It was a “Chotto Matte” moment and I never wanted to kill such friendly people so bad in my life.

Good News: We came the day OF the Victoria Secret Semi Annual Sale.

Bad News: People at Victoria Secret seem at times to be hired by the ‘attitude meter’ as the ones who tell you ‘this isn’t the section for you.” Or who told Cheryl and Linda when I told them I wanted something “Really Trashy” in the panties and were looking in X-small that “The large bins are over there.” At the same time, I was being denied sleep-shirts and being told, “The pink line is in the room behind you.” - yeah, but see, I’m not actually 19-23 and if I was, I don’t want to PAY to have “I WANT TO GIVE LOVE” in bling across the ASS of my jogger bottom . Nor a giant bling rhinestone heart on the back of my hoodie. Odd that. I did however find a very New Orleans thong with velvet, lace and a little bit of satin – it was very Alphonse Mucha, if Alphonse Mucha made thongs panties with only 4 inches of material.

Good News: We shopped until we DROPPED.

Bad News: That in my case was literal. The weather was poor (ice and snow) and I was in VERY bad shape leaving Seattle. However we had to make it to Cheryl’s house 90+ miles away or call an ambulence (On the US side, this is EXPENSIVE!).

Good news: Um, I didn’t end up going to a hospital because I didn’t have insurance.

Bad news: Only because I didn’t tell Linda or especially Cheryl how much blood I had lost, or how many systems had shut down.

Good news: I am back home.

Bad news: Well, I had two possible ways I was going to die (and I came within a breath of saying, “We have to go to the hospital or I am going to die” a couple times, and a couple times of Cheryl simply calling the ambulance because she thought the same), and I was incapacitated for about 20 hours. It looks like I will lose today and tomorrow and I really hope I don’t have to go to the hospital over here in Canada. So I am going to try to rest (after writing this..).

Good news: I AM alive, and though on oxygen for all the time, I am converting again (meaning I don’t have blue hands)! Woot! And my fever is gone and I don’t hear voices anymore, or are delirious.

Bad news: I did not get ALL the postcards I wanted to done and posted. I am VERY sorry.

Good news: er..

Bad news: Linda has come for me because my hands ARE blue again. I will try to get her to approve comments, so please let me know how things are (you are my line to the outside world!). And she can read the comments to me in the hospital bed until I am back at...er...my crappy yet almost stable health condition? I hope you had a great holiday time and I learned, Yes, I can go on a trip with my concentrator; just NEVER do it again like this (break all the rules a little (amount of sleep time, amount of rest time, etc), every single day), because ‘how much difference can it make?’)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

UTI fun! We head to the big city for lingerie. Go catboys!

Okay, today was supposed to be the start of the new exciting adventure where the innocent small town girls go off
with wide innocent eyes to the BIG metropolis in order to get steamy hot panties, bras, lingerie, negligee’s and the other essentials of life (like…..bikini’s?).

However, in a medication review it turned out that our doctor had messed up the doses so we were short and thus I spent my time and energy in a waiting room of women with UTI’s (All the doctor’s clinics are closed, and have been since Dec. 23rd – everyone is at home, today is the first day that walk in’s or any clinic is open and having HETERO sex is a common cause of a urinary tract infection – thus I had an almost 2 hour wait as women went into the consult room, came out, went to bathroom, aide got cup o pee, person got prescription and walked out looking much happier). See, just ONE of the dangers of the spreading threat of heterosexuality that you aren’t warned about! I don’t have a problem with ‘the hetero’, I think I have a friend who is ‘a hetero’. I just don’t ask or talk about my sex life so if they are one of ‘those hetero’, you know, the ones with their parades like Thanksgiving Day or July Fourth, New Years with rampant hetero displays, I don’t bring it up. I ask, “Hey, you see that k.d. lang concert?” or “Did you buy a full size wall pic of Angeline Jolie?”, you know, non-sexual questions.

Okay, I got the meds with literally no time to spare, was raced to the boat and have a rough crossing which helped induce a grand mal, then ended up with a mild case of frostbite. So far, I have to believe things will look up tomorrow because one thing that helplessness induces is fear. I am vulnerable, very vulnerable, I sit there waiting for the boat to dock for 10 minutes and I get frostbite. I am afraid, but I am going anyway.

Monday is when I visit Victoria Secret for the sale. Ironically, stripped panties must have a big following in Japan because my wheelchair girl figurine has them, and so Linda bought ME some. Which was sort of odd, but here is another anime girl doing what I will be doing tomorrow, trying on jeans. Since Linda took off my jeans two days ago without unbuttoning them, we are PRETTY sure, I am now two sizes smaller. Wow, would have thought I could drop from a 16 to a 6 in just 12 short months! I call it the Elizabeth wonder diet, and all you have to do is have massive amounts of radiation given to your thyroid to make it go wonky and have a fluctuating blood pressure, and you too can look like me. Yes, your hair may fall out, but no pain, no GAIN. There is a book in the lobby for $24.95, called, From Healthy to Thin: the new diet Revolution. Yes I will be doing signings.

Anyway, I have to head out in the morning so off I go. I will be cuddling up to Linda in the non-infectious and lowest STD phenomenon which is sweeping the nation, true love. Well, also bisexual and lesbian pairings. Woo hoo! We shop together, we sleep together, we buy provocative clothes for each other, and we get to kiss in public now (legally!). Hope you have a good night, and wish us luck, tomorrow I am searching for corsets, and stuff at Hot Topic clearance sale and then on to Tall Girl for jeans.

Then probably more postcards – I just did all the lesbian postcards, and the gay cat boy ones. Can you tell? I don’t think it has changed my worldview at all (we NEED more gay catboys – okay lets start with catboys and THEN move on to gay cat boys nibbling each other’s ears! And catgirls.....ohhhhhh.....yum yum!). Nite!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Lesbian Sleepover III: talk about fantasies and arousal

Yes, yes, all the guys are going, “AHHHHH, my EYES!” because it said ‘lesbian’ and now you are three seconds in and already in a gender bender crisis. “It said…Lesbian….” They mutter. Have no worries, as we are sort of playing a game, to see how many women are in these pictures. But also to talk about fantasies (this could be useful, since these are social and cultural fantasies, in which boy or girl it does really matter. Honest!). So is it a guy or girl, or two guys? And since that is a social fantasy: the wounded warrior and the supporting, helpful…um…nurse?

Most of this is going to be about the Uke (the more feminine and usually smaller one) rather than the Seme (the more aggressive one). Why? Well, because Seme’s are guys, and tend to act like typical guys whether they are interested in a guy or girl. Sort of “That pretty.....me want!” Along with the hands in the pocket stance, the "I don't talk about stuff" and the whole, “What, me have emotions? I don’t THINK SO!” But of course they do, which is what wooing and relationships are all about.

Uke’s are interesting. Like this couple here. What is going on and who is the Uke? Is it a girl or guy with silver hair? Okay, now use your thumb to cover the arm muscle and ask yourself again. Yes, Uke’s are usually not that muscular. Indeed, much of the pictures or interplay with Uke’s and Seme’s is about sensuality, the Seme wants…well, probably sex, or something and the Uke wants…intimacy, someone who will be part of their life. Okay, my thought with the hand behind the head and the forearm is that the Seme (whose eyes are on the prize…as it were), is about to lay the Uke on the ground and is sheltering the head and the shoulder while the Uke’s holds on for support.

And here, we have another pairing. With flowers none the less, but yes, probably two guys. Again because of the muscles. Though they are cat boys and are kind of cute. Okay before we go on, we need to let the guys know something: women don’t actually think about the ‘equipment’ as much as say: “Does he really care about me?”, “Does he even notice me?”, “Why isn’t he more attentive?”, “I am trying to do what makes him happy, does he notice?” If you are femme, you can replace ‘he’ with your stoic butch partner.

Now, what is it that makes a Uke….a Uke; they could be a girl, but they aren’t (well that is debated depending on the picture!). Yet they aren’t drag queens. But they have a lot of the childlike innocence and openness that makes them attractive. They show tenderness, they show emotion, excitability, and are willing to share it. They have more feminine mannerism: elbows close to the body, less muscle tone, the cut of the fringe/bands, the cuts of the clothes but unlike most teenage girls, they seem to be unaware of the effect their nature has on others. They are open to being hurt, they desire to be cared for but don’t need to wait for it. They think they are JUST FINE, which of course, brings out that effect, the need to protect and watch over them, because they don’t realize how innocent they are (I am reminded of a female relation who at 17 was going to get a one way ticket to LA, since “That’s what Marylin Monroe did” – and I had to explain that a man who would say he was a film maker WOULD notice her right off the bus....but he wasn’t taking her to a ‘regular studio – but did she believe me? Of course not. I think her parents might have locked her in her room, she really was FAR too innocent for L.A.). So here we have two friends.
Boy/boy, or boy/girl? What does it matter, one is the typical guy who pretends that he is ‘tolerating’ the enthusiasm of the long haired one, who has the garland in the hair and has brought some flowers along. But you can see, by not pushing the other away (“Get OFF me!”), the guy is a friend, is fine with this person, in fact, might have some feelings for them.

Okay, this is a classic example, the Uke is in the river, and is focused on something, is it catching fish. I look at those hips and I am thinking “GIRL!” even though they are both wearing the same uniforms. But what is the guy doing? He is concerned only with protecting the Uke, the arm to make sure they don’t fall in the river, the eyes on them, to protect them. See, the Uke hasn’t ASKED to be protected, but the way all the emotions show on the face, the non-realization how innocent they are to the boy brings out his desire to protect them.

Okay, Qwen is back and you can vote if you think this picture says boy or girl. Currently it is two votes to one. The thing is that Qwen has that, Oh, I’ll just wander down to the store and get something to eat somthing (which isn’t phallic looking AT ALL, no, no!). And then when the Seme chastises Qwen, there is the arms behind the back, the ‘I’m SORRY, I didn’t know.” Girlie!

Okay, this is one of my favorite pictures: the wooing. I believe Qwen is being natural and honest here. She/he has pulled back, because is he for real? Does he want me really, or does he just want to use me? Also there is a HUGE cultural stereotype here, which is being wooed, being the center of attention – be that guy or girl, this is the start of a LOT of sexual fantasies. Qwen is cautious but wants to believe, I think (Again, if a guy, why cover the breasts?).

Here is a look that I think almost anyone in any relationship knows. Qwen is in bed and looking, waiting. She/he is waiting for the Seme, no, not for sex but just to not be alone. To give the Seme a hug from behind in the bed and feel the warmth against her/his face. Or to be enveloped in the hug of the Seme. What Qwen is looking for, desiring is COMFORT. At least that is my opinion (box down below to disagree – if you think Qwen is like, “I’m ready for it, where is he!”). I am trying to show that Yaoi is about sensuality, is about social fantasy, is less about the actually equipment (or at least the ones I read) than about the emotions. And that is a look I have had on my face after a bad day. I want to be held.

This is the other favorite picture: Qwen asking, ‘Is he the one?’ Okay, they have the same sort of hair but it obvious that Qwen is rather more femme, from hair clip to skirt and fluffy hems. The thing about Uke’s is that they know, I think, that they don’t dress typically (they go to the special Uke clothing store, which must only be in Japan! There is a new manga, it is on my Amazon wish list, and in it the main character is asked by a girl; “Why do you dress like a goth loli girl?” The answer: “Because I look cute!”). But I think Qwen and other Uke’s care about how they look, and want to look their best, and what pleases THEM, or the person in their life, even if that isn’t traditional. The reason I like THIS picture so much is that while the Seme is just, a guy. There is such a mix of emotions on Qwen’s face: Does he want me to be part of his life? Is he the one? Does he mean it? Does he really care about it? Hope, hesitancy, vulnerability and a knowledge that they might be hurt, but to hope anyway.

Well this picture sort of speaks for itself. The Seme (who looks about eight times LARGER than Qwen! But hey, I knew a 6’8” guy and a 4’11” girl who got married) is being tender, or at least a touch to Qwen. Is Qwen being seductive covering the breasts and groin again, knowingly or not?

Okay, there is NO question is this picture that Qwen is NOT all innocent. Qwen is being ‘attentive’ to the Seme and it is obvious that the Seme is loving it. Again, looking at the body and thinking, “Guy? Really? Need to learn to draw better!” But the point is that this is also a social fantasy, it is about arousal and why LOTS of women like reading these stories. Because what does it matter if it is a guy or girl at this point. And hey, maybe lots of guys like them too.

Okay, here we have Qwen in dress up, which is what I tend to call it, I think some call it cross dressing. But for me, when you look at Qwen’s nature, how is this different than when I dressed as the naughty schoolgirl for the photoshoot and the little girl asked what I was doing (“Playing Dress up!”). It is a persona. And here Qwen is the confident Yukaza woman with full obi and bound breasts (breasts Qwen?). But what is Yaoi without some cross dressing really?

Okay final scene from the series called ‘No Money’ and here the Seme and Uke are bound together and surrounded by keys…if they want to free themselves. Qwen is in Edwardian women’s clothes and the Seme in men’s. Qwen isn’t dressing up, but just dressing at Qwen. They both look content as the people they are, and while Qwen seems to be asking with the eyes, “What do you want to do?”, they both seem fine as who they are and with each other as part of their lives. So Qwen’s risk worked out and it seemed that he was the one.

Ah, how can we leave this section without another beautiful Uke, just resting (or waiting for Mr. Seme, or Ms. Seme to come into their life!). Doing dress up - hey, if they want to be a shrine maiden, fine, they make a FINE shrine maiden.

Okay, here is a picture I put in because I thought it would show that Uke’s sometimes know EXACTLY what they are doing. And that Yaoi is about desire, about knowing the other person. However, that digressed into the “Girl or Guy.” Because I was pointing out the Seme was in more ‘female’ wear, the pony-tail, the caprice pants, the lace top while the Uke is in a yoga top. When one person goes, “Because the Uke is a girl.” And another goes, “No, they are BOTH girls, look at that pony tail, this is a lesbian couple!” (No, but in the next couple posts will be a complete YURI post – yes, the pure and innocence of girl/girl love, or those accidents where they bump into each other and get ALL tangled up!).

New Uke, who is very sad and lonely, and I notice that the wings make a heart. Also seems to favor pink. I am not sure if this picture is supposed to be before or after the next picture. Is it about failure or the fear of failure?

Okay, THIS Uke is definitely seducing here. Seme is....a guy, as he just sort of lies there. Sheesh! While the Uke seems particularly hesitant, vulnerable, but also calculated (you don’t get all those ribbons color coordinated without a bit of calculation!). But yes, this is Yaoi so that is supposed to be two boys. Of course, cast your vote. Does the Uke get the guy (and quite honestly if THIS is what he is like in bed is he WORTH getting?).

Okay, another favorite picture, with a new Uke, yes, two guys, supposedly. Now, all we have is a sheet and a bit of gauze and yet there is one overwhelming social fantasy and image here: BRIDE. Yes, the big fantasy of intimacy, of relationships. To me this Uke knows they are delicate, that they are vulnerable and have been looking for that one person; to keep your wishes, your hopes, your goals, to protect them and you as you reach for them. The Uke has a look of hope, vulnerability, fear and wonder all mixed into one (which is what makes Laura Croft so hot?). Sorry, when straight women were asked who they would be with of the same sex, Jolie and Laura Croft won big time. Because she is sensual, yes, but also because she is strong, she is protective, she is the one, perhaps. Anyway, the Seme is already in protective, “Mine!” mode. There are flowers, there is a bride, there is a protective husband, there is love, does it REALLY matter if they are guys or a guy and a girl?

Okay, now into femme land and more dress up or cross dressing. Here is the same artist and world, there are other pictures of this boy with yellow hair but his ‘friends’ have obviously given him a wig and a bit of a gender make-over while asleep. OR while awake, as for example, in the series Hana-Yumi, the Xmas dance between the all boys school and all girls school is short in the girl department so money is offered for boys who will be girls (this happens SO often in Manga land – and sometimes at tween girls sleepovers where who is bride and who is groom gets switched around often). So while there is a look of shock it isn’t horror but more like, “I look THIS good!” or “What am I going to do now, my parents are coming this afternoon.”

Which brings us to Princess Princess by the gender bending writing of Family Complex, and the Intersex Romance of Day of Revolution. Is this Yaoi? Well, in an all boys school the most pretty are voted as “Princesses” and here are dressed in Mucha style, and live as girls for guys to not go insane until summer break. The two on the right kiss each other and share a room so is it Yaoi? I can’t say (YES!!!!).

But the next picture shows the Uke very clearly, here is a person without wig, with no adornment except thin eyebrows and a women’s kimono and yet this is also very clearly a……Uke! Confident in who they are.

Which leads to the kimono and falling leaves picture. There are two votes that one is a girl, one a Uke, and one that both are Uke. What I point out is that there are no rings, no bracelets, no make-up, nothing except maybe a wig and hair ribbons matching the Obi, which matches the Kimono. And two girls, two uke….two people who are enjoying the blossoms and catching them and thinking of that and not much else. The kimono say they are both under 21 and unmarried. They aren’t saying, “Oh how vulnerable I am, come and help me!” but I think any guy who is attracted would feel that soon. Would find their open emotions refreshing, and while the Uke or many females find the minimal communication to be a sign the person doesn’t like them, it is the opposite and then, comes the realization, “Oh, they LIKE me…….they like me?” This is romance.

And how can’t we finish without our Snow Uke, who currently is 1 person saying “Completely a girl, are you blind!” and two thinking, “Guy, but a Uke!” Yes, I know that is a skirt and leggings and fur on the boots. They have something warm to wear outside, and seem happy, seem eager to look to the future and whatever adventure might come. Do they look a little innocent, or rather do they look like they DON’T think they are innocent and thus even I feel the need to jump in and protect them from wandering down dark alleys. Anyway, I hope this little exploration of the possibilities of arousal with the Uke and Yaoi has been of interest if not, um, stimulating. And I hope it chased away the post Xmas blues. And more updates on the sleepover and a YURI themed one up ahead (yes, go ahead, hide the children!).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Still Kicking: winter won't beat me!

There are many images within and from each of us; a person who has it all together, a person who feels inadequate, a lonely person, a frustrated one who also might be the life of the party. This is a disability blog, but it is also a human blog. I don’t think the two are exclusive, if anything one manages to highlight the other. So these are the parts of me I am going to talk about: the caregiver, the supporter, the actively suicidal person.

Here is a picture going out to a particular person and vet, but also to every person with animals or loves them, or who is lonely, or who just likes breasts! The thing is, for some people this time of year is all about family and being too busy to read a blog. And for some, like myself, though my family (biological) has probably made me cry at least two to three times a day for the past week; I will not be seeing or hearing from any of them. I did call earlier, but the calls are screened. So lets just say, not a joyful event right now. And you know what, I got showered yesterday but couldn’t get out of the house today or yesterday, I wither. Frustration. But I sit at my computer and I try to send positive messages to people. I try. But also today, and yesterday, I needed to be there for friends and more than friends, real family, the kind that matter (non-biological ones). Relationships hit bumps, and the more stress, the more bumps – and right now it seems to be a pressure cooker of stress. So it took 60% of yesterday and 90% of today being there, talking, working so we are all together, on the same side so that happiness can....and one day WILL bloom.

Also, the medications to help Linda’s illness turned out to produce some almost emergency side effects. She is getting them out of her system and I have been playing the role of Primary Caregiver. Which is a switch for me, and one that I will be paying for in pain now and tomorrow. But this is Linda, and I would do anything for Linda. Linda is sick, so Linda needs me. Nothing else matters.

Oh yes, the suicidal. Well, the problem is this, I have been passively suicidal for some time now. I have given many things away, I have finished projects, I have made sure the life insurance is up to date, I have given instructions on my cremation and burial and I have said, about five times a week, “I want to die.” Now that has gone up to about 10 times a day. So not exactly “But..but..there were no signs!” The thing is I have no hope: what I see before me is a harsh and painful death over a short period of time OR an elongated death which is even more painful and which now, housebound, I serve no purpose, I have no purpose, I have no hope. No hope. My Goal is Hawaii by May. I started to work toward that. Linda did not. She said, “Yeah Hawaii.” But we are in the usual medical vortex of issues ill people face: financial, time, medications, doctors, specialist, etc. Also, the concentrator that is supposed to be here.....where is it? And I am honestly tired, like bone tired, burnt out tired. I just want to lie down and be ill. I want the pain to stop. And yesterday, after Linda had a pout, I decided that this was as good a time as any and attempted to induce the stress or strain to stop my heart and lungs. Which also included removing my pain meds and letting them leave my body. I was only partially successful (some stopping breathing and pain of interesting magnitude; now back on pain meds, body still doesn't seem to know!).

Now, deep down, I WANT to live, the problem is I am spending 6+ hours a day fighting everything from financial issues to medical ones. I am tired. And these aren’t even issues that would help me live longer or improve my quality of life. This is just the regular rain of shit!

So what changed? I realized a few hours after waking up that Linda’s responses were off, not like Linda, but atypical, that indeed, she was sick, very sick and needed help. Linda needed me. And that even the pout was probably a reaction to the pain she was feeling, and not being able to treat. Once I found that out I worked for seven or eight hours to care for Linda, to find out the source of the problem (medication reaction) and to take care of her as best possible. Somewhere along there, a tiny sliver of reflected hope showed up. Sort of like sunlight reflecting off a wall as seen from a darkened jail cell. And maybe tomorrow I will be able to move into the type of hope that will change things; change viewpoints. For example I want to be part of the BC race series. I have to give them the money NOW (because Xmas week is the time people have lots of extra money!). So no $100, no racing wheelchair, no races. I honestly don’t know if I will be able to do a single race. But if I sign up, I am signing up for a future; a future where I am alive to do races, where I do them, whether it is a good idea or not! I want to do that; I want to sign up for hope; tomorrow will tell me if I can.

I have in many ways, lost my way. When I lie in the dark, in the pain, I do not know what to think of or remember, what to dream about in the future to help me make it another day. Many days, I feel already dead, that anything spent or given or even left for me to drink or eat is a waste because I am DEAD, the critical moment just hasn’t happened yet. I don’t think that is the type of thinking that is going to keep me going until the summer, do you? This is a HARD winter.

I guess for me and all those for whom this winter is not a pleasant one, I will not start singing about “tomorrow, tomorrow….” Or about sunshine and raindrops. I will say that life is sometimes like eating a bowl of ashes for breakfast. And you eat it EVERY day. Because one, you are too damn ornery to give in just because your life happens to be sad, pathetic or crapped on from a high place. And second, because I believe, even if I can’t remember it now, that there is something I want. Something I will fight for, will fight to live for. I am not a dog. I am not a possession. I am free, and I will live to die free.

People live in a world where there is very little belief. So I ask you to questions, “What would you be willing to die for?”

I promised to die if another could be saved; so who am I to question how this is fulfilled? I am dying, I know that through donation of organs and skin and eyes, at my death many will benefit, but I still believe that if I take this to the end, someone else does not. Silly I know, but I have my needs. When you are where I am, you can make up what gets you through those nights.

The second is harder, “What would you be willing to live for?” Not myself, and recently, the pain and hurt and working every waking moment, and the pain, did I mention that, is wearing me down. Is it enough to live for others? I have to find something to live for. Right now, that is to watch the fourth season of Bones on DVD with Linda. I watched the third season, and it was good. Of course, soup night is always when they find the maggot corpse, but it was good. I want the fourth season, and I hope they release it soon.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stamp Oasis: We have fun playing with postcards!

I finished another weekend, or rather a brief weekend as Cheryl could only be here for a short period of time: 28 hours. Because of my disease, I am now too weak to move the boxes around myself, whether postcards or stickers, and thus too weak to do the Postcard Project alone. Besides, things are better with friends! With the help of Linda and then Cheryl I/we did 50 postcards in about 32 hours. I don’t know how. Seriously, with all the stages the postcards have to go through from addresses being made up to stamping and stickering, sometimes I feel like this: and I am going, “Spot? A little help? Spotter? Where’s the spotter? Ack! My neck!”

THIS week, all three of us were excited because we had NEW rubber stamps from Stamp Oasis, a few of which WE had ordered. Stamp Oasis which was a HUGE store in Las Vegas, totally dedicated to the highest quality of rubber stamps. However when scrapbooking and other crafts came in, the store went under in 2006. The online store finished 18 months ago and now getting any of their rubber stamps is very difficult. Here is the Floating Torii off of Miyajima which we saw ourselves in Japan on our great Dai-Boken! This is not a great stamping: this is a stamping by someone with hand control problems and it STILL looks beautiful. A complex stamp with hundreds of lines, a reflection in the water and I had an uneven pressure on it and THAT is what I got. And 'THAT' is why I love these stamps (they are disability friendly!), I have used one particular stamp from Stamp Oasis over 300 times, and it is just as clear now as the first time. I added a few to my wish list (which is both on my profile next to my picture – or just to the left on the blog in 'links' up from 'Zed at Amazon'). But also, for those who want to shop now, here is the link DIRECTLY to Stamp Oasis at KraftyatKrafts

Wow, that was VERY unsubtle of me wasn’t it? But I’m not sorry. You know why? Here is why: This is the Dryad from Stamp Oasis, available from that link above. COOL! (We have one now, so you have to choose another stamp for your immortality! Read on to understand.)

We had a person donate a couple rubber stamps (these ones at the link above which come with wooden handles for pressing). They arrived on Friday and that person for $10 or $20 is going to be making people happy for as long as I live. And beyond that maybe, as long at the project continues after I live. Making people happy and letting me do the inking and the heavy pushing. That’s pretty cool. Thanks for the rubber block stamps. Now we can impress people all over the world, again! That Stamp Oasis and other Wooden Rubber stamps will sit and be treasures, be thrown away, be passed down. Years, decades, scrapbooks; who knows where your gift to the postcard project will end up. Wouldn't it be interesting to see the inking of YOUR stamp it in some museum display on 'postcards at the turn of the millenium' somewhere in 40 or 50 years?

I did 50 postcards, I have only slept 5.5 hours in over two days. But 50, that's a pretty good number! Too bad my body is the sacrifice for the postcards. Pretty stupid right? Only to me it is like at PFLG when they were saying there were “too many letters” and I wanted to know: Okay, who do we kick out, the queer youth, the intersex individuals; which group do we leave behind to make things simple for ourselves? No person left behind, no postcards left behind. They are all going out and will be there, 131 postcards in 8 days. I hope they make a difference. But I can just help them on their way. Now, aside from that, the stamping part was full of “OMG! Try that in cobalt blue! WOW! Okay, try that in Burgundy!” Yes, we like making the postcards look as super and special as we can.

Oh, need to mention, some people have been having difficulties because on the universal wishlist because there are suppliers who don’t send to a P.O. box like I have (UPS won't deliver there). Cheryl has agreed to provide a street address. And while I COULD put it here and let her get spam, stalkers and to find she voted 18 times in an election, I think it is better if you email me (go to my profile, and hit email) or go to A Girl's Gotta Fly and hit Linda – you will go to HER profile which now has HER email so hit email. Let us know you need Cheryl’s address for a non-P.O. Box delivery and we will email you the address to give to the supplier right back. Cool?

Okay, what else did I do this weekend? Um, have no idea. I made cute stamps (Stamp Oasis again) of THIS guy. I mean, who DOESN’T need to get a postcard with this guy to cheer your day? I do! Also, it snowed, is melted, it iced, and it snowed again and is still snowing. Great fun. So I am snowbound. Sounds better than housebound right?

I am off to sleep and I hope I sleep many, many hours, because my body is in very bad pain. I did however hand write every postcard, and selected every postcard (so if you think yours sucks – blame me!). If you WANT a postcard, and you haven’t gotten one yet, this is the Something for Nothing deal: you email me at mpshiel at hotmail.com with the title postcard and your name and address (and some interests if possible and orientation.....since I tend to assume everyone is gay...hope for the best right?). If you do that, in less than 10 days usually a postcard will be in your postal box. And they will keep randomly appearing as long as I stay alive (thus keep hoping I stay alive!).

I hope everyone had Xmas parties and good times. I can say that we had a pretty good time but I was a little punch drunk at 7:30 a.m. still working straight on postcards. I love the people. And the only way I can show it is the postcards. If I could, I would have this wondrous expanding joyful thing, a very Willy Wonka type thing to post. But I have postcards, and I try my best to do it with that.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oxygen concentrator, I try to go begging (again!), and Seattle!

I have recovered from my begging outing. Indeed this morning while in bed I said to Linda, “How about we go to Starbucks today for an apple cider?”

“Sounds great!” she said. Starbucks is right next to where I did my begging.

“Okay,” I said, “But when we get there, you go ahead, I have something to do and then will meet you inside.”

The light goes on in Linda’s head. “Oh no! Not a chance!” She said. Drat!

It turns out it is REALLY cold and that it is REALLY snowing, for instance it is –20, which is COLD for Victoria. Lene told me even as a person from Toronto (the ice age city) she doesn’t go out in –20. Here is a picture by Liliana Sanches (yes I wrote and asked permission), which shows that while snow is pretty, it is also something you don’t want certain parts exposed to. Pretty but zowie - defrosting that....

The exceptional news is that Blue Cross has approved the oxygen concentrator and the local supplier already has the fax of the approval and has ordered it and expects it here within a few days. It is the same model as I took to Japan and will fit in my backpack so I can use it while rolling. Linda had been playing telephone tag and I turned on the phone and there was Blue Cross with the message that yes, it had been approved and they ‘preferred we used the Canadian supplier.' The Canadian supplier called, the guy who gave the quote was on vacation but the tech guy was getting the stuff done. By the afternoon, there was a call to say the order was placed and the concentrator is coming from the US. Linda talks about it here.

We are fundraising now for the rest of the costs of going to the clinic and costs related to that (like hotel, etc) as I am now physically able to go! I really never thought this day would come, that I would be able to leave my home and be free to travel again, without the constant fear of my body suddenly de-compensating or blue lips and fingers (Well except now that 'instant frostbite' issue but we are working on that). Thank you for everyone who has helped, I really don’t know what to say. I feel in many ways that I have failed so many people in expressing my gratitude in the emotional, physical and financial ways people have reached out to someone they will never met. I have been sent hoodies and corsets, books and talking books, have been sent cookies and pumpkin loaf and the best foods from people's states. I have been sent love in dozens of forms. I am a lucky person to have met so many kind and generous people.

Now still, if you want the new 'in' look then get a sky and cloud blue colored Girl’s Gotta Fly bracelet ($2 donation. Warning: does not actually allow you to fly! However does on occasion give you the kick-ass attitude of EFM!), we mail them! Please read here. Or if you would like a copy of Zed signed by a limited edition author who will soon be permanently out of print, please buy a book and get a signiture and an odd and curiously obscene inscription which will be sent to you or the person or country of your choice. Yummy. Please see here for details. Yes we have the copies and yes, the obscene inscription may be optional (or extra depending on how detailed you want it!).

Ironically, while I was begging, I was next to the newsstand of Monday Magazine, which has a new issue in which the feature headline was Accessibility. Turns out the guy I talked to about the nails in front of my door told me that they hadn’t covered the story enough and apologized. I thought nothing of it. He did, and got a front page full spread four pages story (with an interview of me and a picture of me boxing - woo!). Here is the article. I would be curious to hear Lisa Moon’s comments on our life here in Accessible Paradise (‘as good, maybe better than most cities’ – well we are the worst province for accessible equipment, and as the journalist points out, since ALL the people interviewed who were disabled moved here FROM other cities for better accessibility saying we are ‘as good’ is pretty crap. Woo hoo, we’re dead last!).

I did have many physical effects left over from yesterday and some psychological ones. I felt in a lot of ways that I had let everyone down. My readers (on the other hand, doing crazy thing and then taking pictures is what my readers like!), David, Linda, and so many people who are going through a rough time. I am trying to do postcards today and I don’t have the capabilities to do the number I would like, there are more people out there who need postcards than I can physically do. I have been having problems with cognitive and micro seizures all day and it is Linda who has been trying to give me a “Lighten up” attitude. That I am not a big fat failure. Ironically, she is taller than me now, as she is in this picture. I had gone into that mind set where all I could see the stack of work I had not done, and the work I had done which had produced no immediate results. She took me away from that.

I am going to go back to work and do what I can as much as I can. Sometimes, like this evening during a prolonged respiratory difficulty (stopped breathing, got started, stopped, etc) I felt that I had done all I could, that it was time to go. I wanted to go. Linda did not want that. Linda has learned from Beth to fight for what she wants. So, what was I thinkin? I mean, there is so much left to see, with Linda beside me. I need to focus on how, in just a short time my concentrator will provide me with that better quality of life: Yes, you know it, Seattle and Victoria Secret after Xmas sale! Woo hoo! Oh yeah, panty shots a coming! Panty shots a coming!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Beth goes a Begging!

I went begging today. Yes, begging. And in sub-freezing weather, it snowed. I only lasted 20 minutes. I had the permission of the owner. And if you are offended because I am bringing down the image of the disabled or I am giving in to stereotype, then PLEASE point me in some direction where I CAN get a job in this town, or assistance that does accommodate me and give me dignity. I still have dignity here, I am just being blatantly open about how desperate I am.
The sign reads: “Need money Please for an oxygen Concentrator and medicine for kittens in the Japan Cat Project. Thank you and Happy Day.” I emailed with David and found out that his greatest need is for medicine, specifically for Revolution that they can’t get in Japan (an anti-parasite Treatment). If you have any or can get it in bulk to ship, please let me know, or David directly (email me and I’ll give you his email address). He says plainly that medical costs are a huge part of keeping the kittens, and that he also has to treat for Ringworm and cocydium but doesn’t know the best medicines. I put the concentrator on there because we are about to find out today or tomorrow if and how much Blue Cross will cover and will have about 3-4 days to come up with about $1000. That is causing some tension. I, of course, was raising the money for the kittens and was calling, “Save the Kittens.” A woman talked to me and as soon as she found out about the concentrator and how I can’t leave the house for long, she put in a fiver.

“You can use this as you want,” she said, “But I REALLY want you to have a better life.”

I said, “I understand, but I’m sort of wanting the KITTENS to have a better life.”

She left with a “For YOU” statement.

We made $8.76.
I was wearing two pairs of gloves, which I thought would work to keep out the cold even with my poor circulation. As you see, my ears are uncovered. My pain after 20 minutes outside was SO intense, I could not use my hands, I could barely move one thumb. Linda wheeled me into the store. And then out and back home, she had to put on the seat belt, I had my wrists and one thumb. The pain was unbelievable. I know I have a compromised circulation but really….?
I am not sure what to say, there was blood pools but otherwise no circulation in my fingertips or the sides of my fingers, this is FROSTBITE, and not a mild case of it, and it happened in just over 20 minutes.

I at this point, between the “Oh God, Oh God.” And “Look at my HANDS!” I was saying, “Okay, I’m going back tomorrow! Boy those panhandlers have it tough!” I think Linda pointed out they don’t have a disease which makes them have no circulation in their hands!
Linda says she brought a lukewarm bowl of water. My GOD THE PAIN! I screamed and screamed and I don’t know how long except I am hoarse now because all I could feel and see what a red haze of pain. It was bad. At this point, if anyone even TRIED to get me to go back out and pan-handle, I would take an AXE to them…when I could grip it again. I started to realize, “How am I going to wheel myself anywhere?” Going down and back to the Video Store takes longer than that – and this was TWO pairs of gloves, one a super-thermal. Nothing except saving Linda was worth that kind of pain again. Was I to be housebound for the rest of my time?
At this point I am just sobbing, because Linda keeps making me put my hands in the bowl and I can’t scream anymore, I am screamed out so I am sobbing. I begged, very cheerful, for 20 minutes. I screamed and sobbed and lost hand function for about 30 or more. Suck!

David told me that he has gathered 100 postcards for me already! Damn, I will have to work harder. With him going around like that, it just makes me want to help him – this was my genius idea last night as I went to bed. Turns out not so genius. So I will keep putting on DVD’s as I can and I will sell Zed (copies are in, please pay through Linda’s blog if you want one!). And $8.76 Canadian is going to David’s kittens (he has eight right now, he went up to Tokyo earlier this week to take two to new owners and two others went to foster owners so he ONLY has eight). I wish I knew how to help Linda and the Oxygen Concentrator, but I don’t. And so tomorrow I will come up with a plan on how to raise money for that. I know that Linda thinks I am stupid, and that maybe part of this begging is satire, but part of this is the genuine desperation I feel to help Linda and David cover costs. I know people in need, and I don’t know how to help them, I don’t know how to help myself. If it hadn’t been for Linda, I wouldn’t have been able to get home.

Maybe I am so desperate to help David and the kittens because I know they will live on and I will not. That if I save them, some shred of me lives on another 12 years in what I have done. Maybe I am so desperate because I am ashamed I don’t know how to help Linda raise money. That I am the thing in the house which must be fed and taken care of. And now, I am too disabled to beg, what kind of irony is that? I had my Dicken’s Cup and everything! If I could, I would be knocking on doors offering to sweep driveways or shovel walkways for $5, $10, $20. But I can’t.

Turns out I didn't raise much for David, but something, and that is better than not trying at all. Tomorrow the concentrator! And better gloves!