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The Optimistic Pessimist

Mood: Wake and Ache
Drinking: Tea Time

I have no idea, really, whether the glass is half full or half empty. Seems to me that it’s changing all the time, so it’s difficult to accurately gauge that sorta thing.

Boy would probably say that my glass is half empty. And he’d be right, half the time.

I do tend to see the darker side of Sears. The monsters in the closet, beneath the bed, outside the window. But I have a soft spot for fluffy bunnies, too, so I don’t fit in the box quite so easily.

I have this thing, a superstition, really, that if I can imagine the worst possible outcome, then it won’t happen. When I drop Boy off at the airport, I imagine his plane will crash. When I leave the LeeLoo at home in the morning, I imagine she’ll be dognapped. When I’m riding my motorcycle, Shirley, I imagine a semi will blow a red light and smash us to pieces. Set me up with any situation, and I’ll take all of two seconds to think of the worst that could happen.

In this way, I’m protecting us all. Because if I think it, I’ll jinx it, and it won’t come true. Twisted logic, I know, but it works for me.

My superstitions don’t run the usual course of black cats and broken mirrors and listing ladders. Mine are much more violent than seven years of bad luck. But so far, my imagination has kept me and mine out of trouble.

So it’s not really a half-finished glass. I imagine the nightmare because I want the dream. And usually reality lands safely somewhere in between. I guess I’ve learned, over the years, that if you own up to all the terrible things that could happen to you, every single day, then you’re happier in the end because they *don’t* happen. So you’re grateful. You’re aware of what you have.

You don’t take your life for granted.

You don’t believe me? Here’s a recent example…When I broke my wrist in February, out in the sand dunes at Pismo Beach, I spent much of the agonizingly bumpy ride to the hospital imagining horrible things. Amputation. A shrivelly, withered appendage. Floppy, useless fingers. I covered them all.

So here we are, 6 months later, freshly discharged from therapy, and my wrist is decidedly not what it used to be. It works, but it’s not quite right. When I make a fist, it looks a little funny. My flailing hand gestures are much less eloquent, a little more robotic. I can’t get enough extension to ride a bicycle painlessly or pump out a pushup. And compared to my fully-functional right wrist, my left looks like a gimp. BUT. It’s not withered or useless or amputated. So! Bonus for me! It’s no dream, but it’s not a nightmare, either. So I’m celebrating in the middle ground somewhere in between.

Whatever works, right?

-Lo, who always thought a lucky rabbit foot wasn’t really so lucky for the rabbit.

I can help the next in line.

Mood: Coma White
Drinking: Dry as a Bone

And that’s how it goes. Months of muteness. Complete creative silence. And then a one-two punch and your voice is back and louder than ever.

The ball was given a good shove and set off rolling the weekend before last when Patti the Photographer stepped off the plane from Chicago, cameras in hand. We launched a three-day marathon photo shoot with a cinepoem shoot sandwiched right there in the middle (in the Gypsy Baron room at the Archbishop’s Mansion).

Patti worked her ass off and got a lot of really, really great shots (thank you!!!), which have now been handed off to K so we can get Book Two moving, already.

And before we lost any steam or momentum or caffeine-fueled hyperactivity, we squeezed in one more cinepoem shoot this past weekend at The Hotel Utah Saloon here in SF. Thanks to all my gorgeous volunteers, you know who you are, and the rest of the world will, too, as soon as we roll credits.

I had lots of fun at both shoots–got to wear fancy dresses and wig out in a china doll bob of flamboyant red. It’s always liberating to play the vamp.

M and I start editing the first cinepoem (Pretty.Good.Girl.) next week, after Mem Day is behind us. And as soon as Pretty is in the can, we’ll start working on the Utah cinepoem (Alter Ego). I’m really excited about both of them, and I’ll introduce them to the Internet as soon as humanly possible.

Meanwhile, S has been location scouting up Mendocino way, so I think the crew and I will head up there this summer before M has to leave us for San Diego.

So. All is not silent on the western front. You watch. You wait. You’ll see.

-Lo, who loves her surgery scar.

I’d Give My Wrist a Little Twist

Mood: Mild with a chance of showers
Drinking: Black tea, with ice and sugar

You know how you go through life, oblivious to everything unless it means something to you? Like you never noticed how many sky blue Celicas there were in the world until you, yourself, owned a sky blue Celica. You never noticed how cute brown Boxer dogs were until you, yourself, knew a brown Boxer. You never noticed insert your own example here.

The same is true, I am discovering, of injuries. I never really noticed my fellow un-whole humans on the train or sidewalk or checkout line until I was sporting a broken wrist, a surgery scar, and a nifty fiberglass cast. Now I see the injured everywhere. The guy on the skateboard last night who had no legs. The man across the train with the crippled hand. The blind girl waiting at the bus stop. So many of us who are obviously, externally, “not right”.

I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m getting better. I have the potential and the power to be well. And I hope that getting well doesn’t mean losing this newfound sight. This more compassionate way of moving through the world. This realization of how much pain a person can carry around while the world walks on by, unaware.

My cast is long gone, and I gave away the wrist brace. I’m walking around with a naked wrist because it’s the best way to get better. I have a therapist who sees me twice a week to talk skulls (we both have collections) and massage my tired tendons and fit me with new “torture devices” that force my pinky finger to bend and my fist to clench and my wrist to leeeean just a little further each time. I’m learning new words like “pronation” and “supination” and I’ve found that 58 degrees of flexion is better, but not as good as 80.

My broken bones are healed, but my scars have memory, and they slow me down. I am so much better than I was a few weeks ago, and a few weeks from now I’ll bend even further. But it’s slow. It’s progress measured by small pressures and incremental degrees.

I can’t ride my motorcycle yet, but I can open a pickle jar. I can’t twist a doorknob, but I can button my own jeans again. I can’t hold my left hand out for change at the cash register, but I can hold Boy’s hand without wincing. Progress.

This whole unexpected interlude has been wonderfully and awfully strange. I’ve been amazed a thousand times over at the complexity of the body, at the domino effect of this injury. And though I’d never willingly choose to go through all this again, I’ve discovered things I never would have otherwise. No real surprise there–that’s how life always seems to work, yes?

And even though I feel like I lost a few months since February, even though I’m barely getting back to normal, I have high hopes and big plans of catching up.

So in the spirit of catching up, we’ve got two new cinepoems on the calendar. We’re shooting one this weekend and another the next, both in really cool new locations. And I’ve been buried in details for a photo shoot for Book #2, also this weekend. The talented and lovely Patti Monaghen is flying out from Chicago with her camera, just for me. The blank pages are filling up. Stay tuned…

-Lo, who always looks forward to the hot wax part of therapy.

The Sun’ll Come Out…

Mood: Anticipating
Drinking: Diet Coke


The cast is coming off and I’ll get to start flexing the new robot arm. Sure, it’ll be scaly and mummified, but it will be free. I’ll be a two-hand girl once more.

Meanwhile, all you PC people can rejoice. My kick-ass friend and wizard EO has transformed the cinepoems to Windows Media movies, and kick-ass friend #2, CB, has uploaded them all to the Cinepoems page. So go, feast your eyes. And rest assured that there are not one but TWO new cinepoems in the works and on the calendar for later this month and next month, too.

I have to go pick the scales from my arm. Nasty, yes, but oh-so-satisfying.

-Lo, who used to know all the words to all the Annie songs.

Two-Hand Fluke

Mood: Itchy, Scratchy!
Drinking: Stale Tea

Things I have only recently discovered you really need two working hands to accomplish with any measure of success:

1. Ponytailing one’s own hair. Or anyone else’s, really.
2. Walking one’s dog past a growly Rottweiler. (Or, let’s face it, a growly teacup poodle.)
3. Typing with some semblance of speed.
4. Buttoning one’s own jeans.
5. Assembling two-piece earrings. (The ones with hooks are A-OK.)
6. Opening jars of pickles. Or bottles of water. Or jars of jam. Or anything requiring any variation of the hold-and-twist maneuver.
7. Talking on the cell whilst typing.
8. Talking on the cell whilst driving.
9. Talking on the cell whilst walking the dog.
10. Talking on the cell whilst doing anything other than talking on the cell.
11. Shaving the armpit that belongs to the arm that still works.
12. Socks. Socks are bitches.
13. Tights. See above re: socks.
14. Tying one’s shoes.
15. Zipping any damn zipper.
16. Drying one’s back.
17. Applying fingernail polish to all 10 fingers.
18. Making a sandwich.
19. Flat-ironing hair.
20. Curling hair.
21. Doing much of anything at all to make hair even remotely attractive.
22. We aren’t even going to discuss one-handed bra handling.
23. Pouring liquid from a container which does not have a handle.
24. Sweeping.
25. Shoveling.
26. Scooping.
27. Digging.
28. Clapping.
29. Squeezing.
30. Waltzing.
31. Swimming.
32. Bicycling.
33. Motorcycling. (Alas, Shirley has been dust-covered!!)
34. Eyebrow tweezing.
35. Nose blowing.
36. Putting change away speedily at checkout counter while other customers huff impatiently behind you.
37. Eating a burrito, sans fork.
38. Peeling a banana.
39. Carrying popcorn, milk duds, AND soda into movie theater. (Without spillage!)
40. Flipping the double bird.
41. Giving two thumbs up.
42. Throwing both hands in the air and waving them about as if one doesn’t even care.

And I could go on, but it’s just getting ridiculous.

Mark this date down and circle it twice: Thursday, April 6th, 2006. The day the cast comes OFF!

I know my new robot arm won’t be completely functional by then but damn! It will feel so good to straighten out my elbow.

-Lo, who does, indeed, enjoy cheese with her whine.

Cyborg Relations

Mood: Bed-bound
Drinking: Done for the day

I come to you a different girl, for I am now part metal.

No. Seriously.

The surgery on my twice-broken wrist was a week ago this past Tuesday. I’ve never had surgery before, and I can’t say that I recommend it. From the anesthesia that makes you throw up to the “dissolvable” stitches to the yards of bloody gauze and complete loss of dignity, it’s all rather unpleasant.

The good news is that my bones are on the mend, thanks to a very impressive bit of metal that now lives under my skin. On the x-ray, it looks like a robot arm. Or a garden rake. Or possibly a toothbrush. I plan to get a wallet-size print of the film so I can carry around constant proof of my cyborg innards.

Meanwhile, I’m still a one-handed typist, Boy is still struggling with the finer points of ponytail making, and at least three of my girlfriends have had to help me re-button my pants after a visit to the loo. The silver lining: All my ubergoth arm warmers are getting a second life as sexy cast covers.

In more exciting happenings, M and I are almost finished with Alice is my middle name, the newest cinepoem. She may even debut as soon as tomorrow. Hold your breath.

-Lo, whose left arm still says “yes” in bright blue marker — they scribbled on me for surgery, but now I’m castified and can’t scrub it off.

Brokedown Girl

Mood: Ever-changing
Drinking: Water to melt the vicodin

I was twelve the first time it happened.

Like millions of other twelve-year-old girls, I dreamed of owning a horse of my very own. I would have even accepted a pony. What I got was a donkey.

His name was Jackie. He lived for years on the farm of some unfamiliar relatives. I ended up at their house, along with my family, for one of those generic end-of-the-year holiday celebrations that bring all the unfamiliar relatives together, the overly-attentive uncles, awkward cousins, and busybody aunts with their sweet corn casseroles and green jello desserts.

Being the loner tomboy type of twelve-year-old girl, I wandered out to the barn to inspect the herd of lumpy sheep and long-eared goats and hide from a blue-haired and frightening great aunt. And that’s where I met Jackie the donkey, lumpy and long-eared and bored out of his fuzzy little burro brain.

Somehow I convinced my dad that Jackie wouldn’t be as much of a “hayburner” as a horse would be. He was smaller, for one thing. Almost pony-ish. And somehow my dad convinced our cousin-twice-removed Martin to part with his much-ignored donkey in exchange for two tens and a five.

And that’s how it happened, the first time I broke my arm. Because donkeys are really nothing at all like horses, and Jackie had no intention of making my equine dreams come true.

I’d try to gallop off into the sunset and he’d plant his tiny hooves, do a little fancy bunny hop with his back legs, lower his stubby neck and whoop! Off I’d slide, right between those rabbit ears. Which was great fun, in and of itself.

Yep, it was all fun and donkey games until the day our friend Nathan wanted to pony up and ride double. I hopped on first and my mom hefted Nathan’s bulky bottom up into the air. He had barely touched down when Jackie decided he’d had enough and showed us all a new trick ? a very fine impersonation of a real bucking bronco.

Nathan flew right back off the way he came and immediately set off howling.

I hung on for a few more seconds before sliding off Jackie’s other side and slamming my shoulder into the ground much harder than I ever thought possible.

My first broken bone was just a cracked humerus requiring only a sling and the indignity of wearing button-up flowered pajama shirts to school. My mom took over pigtail duty and I remember only a few aspirin and a quietly persistent achiness.

This second time around isn’t nearly as cute. Boy isn’t very skilled at ponytails, although he does try hard. And I’ve got more than one bottle of doctor-prescribed painkillers and plenty of pain to kill.

There was no bucking burro, either. Just me and a four-wheeled ATV and an unfortunately placed sand dune.

Here’s how it happened: Boy, LeeLoo, and I went down to Pismo the weekend before last to meet up with my sister, her just-home-from-Iraq husband, and their marshmallow of a hound dog, Yoda.

The plan involved a lot of food, fun, and four-wheeling on the Oceano dunes. It did NOT involve me snapping my left wrist in an unnatural manner whilst hitting a mogul kind of, um, fast and hard.

But here I am, a one handed typist, with my ulna and radius bones broken at the wrist joint.

Tomorrow I’m going in for surgery to become part bionic woman as they insert a metal plate to hold my wrist together. I’m hoping this means future fun times in airport security lines!

In the meantime I’m trying to come up with a good technique for covering the keyboard with just five fingers. Oh, and I’ve got a skull and roses sling on order. No pajama shirts this time.

Wish me luck, internet!

-Lo, who got not only riding lessons, but an actual horse out of the last broken bone mishap. Wonder what I’m gonna win this time?