Tiny Plastic Houses
Tiny Plastic Houses
Tiny Plastic Houses
Tiny Plastic Houses
Tiny Plastic Houses
Tiny Plastic Houses

Mae & Miranda’s ALS Ice Bucket Kung Fu Challenge

The girls and I were challenged.

I knew it would happen eventually and they both knew what it was about, but our challenge came in bright and early Wednesday morning, the day both Mae & I were out sick. You see, our GS troop was challenged by my friend Jackie’s youngest. Mae and I thought long and hard about how we wanted this to go down.

First it was decided that anyone who still felt sick at the time of filming was to be left out for the moment. (That dropped me to the curb…) Then, I shot Mae the “badly dubbed Kung Fu” premise and she was sold. So it was on to them making signs so their intent was fairly clear, me filming each scene from multiple angles (cuz we were using the trusty iPhone), and then everything was handed over to mom for editing and dad for voice over.

Within 45 minutes, start to finish, we had one heck of an old-skool, Kung-fu style challenge video.

They in turn challenged me (is this a double challenge since I was ready challenged as part of the troop) & their grandmother. I promise to take care fo both challenges once I’m over this ick. :)

Kenny Rogers, Amazons, Jungle Hide-outs…

This song is stuck in my head for the past two days…

Until a night or two past, I’d not heard it since I was a small child when this and other songs like it were staples on the dark, cold rides to work with my dad. I still remember this vintage and sort playing on the radio in my dad’s pick-up as we made the trek from Union Star to St. Joseph.

These were the days of playing with the urchins who lived in the trailer court behind dad’s shop and begging to be given leave of the “phoney bologna” sandwiches we’d packed to get something special from the lunch truck (colloquially: Roach Coach) or ice cream man. The hours of reading books on the back steps and getting lost in worlds I could only imagine and times long forgotten or helping clean the dusty shelves of product for pocket change that I immediately spent on silly trinkets and sodas. Days of pretending I was an Amazon as I shot my re-curve out the back door, hitting the target across the old dirt drive found there… the feeling of intense pride at the fact that I was all the way in the back door and still could hit the center. Making a hide out in the bushes around the side and watching people as the passed unannounced. The long days of youth that are never completely forgotten…

Still, even if the memories are strong, I’d really like my head space back, Kenny… If you please. Don’t forget to turn the lock.

Originally Posted 2012-08-15 via Facebook

Horrifying Abuse of Power


This. THIS right here is why I’m terrified of law enforcement officers. TERRIFIED. Because all it takes is one insecure, over-powered asshole’s power trip to hurt, maim, disfigure, or kill… and very rarely is there any true retribution when it does.

I can say, based on my few relatively brief and fairly benign dealings with the law alone that my healthy respect for the horrors they can bestow upon another human being taints a lot of what I publicly do and say… and that is a sad thing in America with it’s Land of the Free/Home of the Brave/Free Speech mantra.

I mean, fuck, my kids are so afraid of ANY POLICE OFFICER that they immediately start “becoming invisible,” warning others to steer clear, and reiterating that you cannot trust the officers when they see them… and they’ve only had one real dealing with them in their 9-years of life. ONE!

I’m not saying every cop is a bad cop. I’m not saying every interaction goes sideways… But it happens too often. TOO OFTEN!

Such betrayal and pain at the hands of someone touted to protect. What a disgusting police state we’ve become.

And don’t get me started on the justice system as a whole.

/RANT

Ancient History: Slickery Wicket 1994

I was, by nature, a tricky sort growing up. I suppose it stems from all those abandonment and boundary issues I harbor being fed by a healthy dose of conflict avoidance and general neglect. Of course I could just simply be a bad egg; A naughty. But I see myself as simply a smart kid in a really stupid situation. I grew up just wanting to be exactly what everyone wanted me to be. So maybe I could slide into place wherever I fit at the moment with relative ease.

Growing up wrapped in a chameleon’s cloak only saves you from a very particular set of things and, eventually, you’re found out or you tire of the charade and run from it. It certainly doesn’t leave you feeling very secure in the relationships you build for yourself. How could it? Those people don’t really know you! So, you spend a lot of time with the selves you’ve created and you find that most of them, you really have very little in common with.

When I was 16, I held the best job a slippery girl such as myself could hold. I was an actress in a haunted house. To this day, it is the best job I have ever, will ever hold.

NitroCola
A typical night at that time went something like this:
  • 5:15 pm – Rush home;  Wash volleyball practice from my flesh.
  • 5:40 pm – Paint my face white. My eyes black. My lips rust. Curl my hair. (Think low-rent calivera without the pretty flowers and scroll work and you’d be kinda close.) Throw on a hoodie. Grab a pair of gloves.
  • 6:00 pm – Score a ride with Kelly, my best friend at the time, in her magical Root Beer Float Boat (Brown LTD)
  • 6:30 pm – Convenience Store for supplies (2-3 Nitro Colas each + Mini Thins sometimes + Smokes all the time)
  • 6:45 pm – Pick ups as necessary for those who were not lucky enough to have already gotten a ride.
  • 7:00 pm – Meet friendlies on site and start our night of debauchery.

We would spend our nights making teenagers run screaming for mercy, children cry, and grown men pee themselves in front of their wives and/or girlfriends. It really was the best job ever! ;D

It was here I met my first real boyfriend. He was the first person I can remember actually, really, talking to me about what I really thought, who I really was, what I really wanted… Talked to me long enough to get past the subterfuge. (Of course he did this while I was in costume, go figure; Probably the only way it could have been done, really. I was a hidden sort. )H-16Smokes

He was poor. Poorer than us, by any account. Big, tall, strong… coarse. All new things for me in the world of boys. I was also tall, and big, and highly spirited. I did not fit in, even with my own people, so it was nice to have someone around taller than me for a change. Taller and slightly more able, when he wasn’t fucked up in one way or another, and pretty fucking quick on the uptake to boot. (Always a bonus when it comes to partners in crime.)

At first, I was embarrassed that he liked me… or that I thought he liked me. It wasn’t the liking that embarrassed me, it was the thought that I believed in the possibility and then telling myself I was an idiot. It was a joke or I was being used… because that was par for the course with someone like me. So, of course when I fell into the plate glass window known as love, I fell very hard. So hard, in fact, that I have been pulling shards of him out from under my skin ever since… even today.

We were completely awkward together. He was, of course, more experienced than I with all those sordid, sticky details that need not be mentioned. However, both of us lost our virginity the same night. (A story that is written in the annals of time and nowhere else… at this point. Maybe I’ll update you if I ever write a teenage love story.)

I can remember sneaking him into my bedroom several times over those years of on-again/off-again love affair that was us. One in particular that sticks in my mind is Queen17the first Christmas after we started dating. I sneaked him into my bedroom that night. My mom had to work Christmas, I believe, and she had taken to yelling up at me in the early morning hours just before she left to give orders for the day: What I was supposed to do. Things she needed from me. Those sorts of things… This holiday was no exception and as I lie there sound asleep, most certainly naked, in the arms of my young paramour. I heard the downstairs door open. My eyelids flipped up like rolled paper shades slipping from the hands of a child. My arms flailed, my legs bucked — I couldn’t get loose. He would not let go of me! I had to slip out from below. I caught her before she made it the full way up, thankfully, and Christmas was saved.

Still, lying there like that, with him, holding me so tightly… It was the safest I have ever felt before or since. I’m not kidding. There have been many times when I’ve sought that feeling from others, even him in various stages of our lives… but that youth and innocence wrapped in his need to have somebody that was all his appealed to my need to be somebody’s someone. Time has a way of erasing the possibility of those sorts of moments and recollection changes everything… But following that, he had to do an awful lot to push me away. Of course, he did do an awful lot, including making me feel like he didn’t want me any longer after I’d given away pieces of myself I can never get back. Breaking my heart. Hurting me physically. Emotionally. Leaving me behind while my ties were still binding…

These bits and pieces of information are things that have been suspected for the past 20 years by involved parties and now I’ve confirmed the suspicions, so that should cause a wave in the kiddie pool… And, no, I’m not romanticizing this here. We were horrible for each other. He was a high school drop out and I was the high-IQ kid who figured out exactly how to work the high school system. His father was volatile at times reacting badly to the stress of his disease and family life. Mine was fairly absent not reacting much to my exploits. His mother was permissive and mine was seeking herself in the wake of a divorce… and both were gone a lot. Being a product of those who raised us, we were definitely no Snow White & Prince Charming. :/

Sid & Nancy

I have often said, when questioned or when pondering the relationship at that time in our lives, we were the Midwest’s Sid & Nancy, with less notoriety, less money, and far less cool! Damn, we were batshit crazy!

But that was a snap shot of me 20 years ago. I suppose this part of is the easy part… Journaling about who I am, why I am, how I am. Sharing secrets. Airing out the room.

Aren’t you privileged to know just that much more about me. :/

Nobody’s Perfect… So Why am I Expected to be?


 

It made me cry the first time I watched it…

But society being what it is, it didn’t change the fact that I still put my make-up on every day, struggle into uncomfortable clothes, and head into the world where I will be judged more for what’s between my legs and what I look like than for who I am or what I do.

Just Can’t Have Anything Nice…

Visible Hollie

Visible Hollie

Hurt myself again.. and yes, I can still feel!

Sunday night, as I lay sleeping, a horrible pain sprouted from deep within my lower right abdomen. This ache was so painful that it woke me from my sleep with a cry. It felt mean and ripping… like someone had shoved a dull knife into my guts and left it protruding to fester and bleed. I tried ibuprofen. I tried changing positions. I tried massage. I visited the doctor. I tried RX pain meds. Nothing seemed to help. The pain just kept getting worse.

I tried going to work to see if it would go away on it’s own. It didn’t. I visited with the doctor hoping for some miracle cure. She had none. I even consulted friends for anecdotes and tidbits of advice… Still, nothing seemed to help. Work just made the pain unbearable. The doctor was waiting to see which direction this was going to go in order to order the proper tests. And friends, well, it’s sumer, they’re busy and most of them just weren’t available… Eventually, after a few things progressed, tests were ordered. Tables were laid on. Scans were taken.

After 2 nights of no sleep, a day and a half of extreme pain, and convincing myself that either my appendix was ready to burst or some mean ovarian cyst was rearing it’s ugly head,  I now know exactly what I did to myself. I strained / partially tore my Large Right Rectus Abdominis. That’s right. I literally “shredded” my abs… And I’m still not even sure how! :P

[Find a little more info here: Rectus Abdominis Muscle Injury from LiveStrong ]

The doctor has prescribed rest, first and foremost — That means no work until Monday and bowing out of a lot of the holiday festivities for the next few weeks. I’ve been letting my newly purchased heating pad make sweet love to my achy abs 3 times per day, also doctor’s orders, and have been taking a cocktail of prescription pain killers, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories that the doctor felt were best for my particular problem.

Of course, all this resting has left me with a lot of creative time on my hands. So I’ve been messing around with a few ideas I’ve been pondeirng but haven’t really had time for until now. I purchased some canvases, pens, pencils, and paints and have been really putting a few things down on paper as I think.

Of course, I’ve also been busy puttering with some electronic graphics (including those on this page!) and have been helping a friend set up his own private web server (from a distance).

And I guess that’s all. Here are a few images from my scan on Tuesday that I thought were interesting.

My pelvis and abdomen via CT Scan Note the metal link in my left pelvis.

My pelvis and abdomen via CT Scan
Note the metal link in my left pelvis.

An animated GIF of my CT scan going from chest to legs

An animated GIF of my CT scan going from chest to legs then back again

Working Wounded?

Welcome to the “Working Wounded.”

Wait… What?!

If you truly understood, you’d know that I have been the “Working Dead” for the past 8 years! The only time I felt truly good was when my body had purged these drugs that are trying to prevent THE REAL DISEASE from rearing its ugly head — And even that ended with me losing control of half of my body and an astronomical amount of IV steroids being pumped into my system followed by losing 35 pounds of water weight in less than 20 hours and a stay in the local hospital! The rest of the time has been plagued with me oftentimes puking, shitting, or floating down a river of snot on my way through a work day. There is no welcome wagon for me, sweetie — I’m the grizzled hardcore who’s been here a lot longer than you.

Welcome to the world of the Chronically Ill!

That may sound melodramatic and maybe it is — but, you’re talking to someone who’s been pushing through a workday “wounded” for a lot longer than I let on. And this disease — You know the one that steals every ounce of energy I have, threatens many of my mental faculties, and destroys a good deal of my physical prowess, but leaves me looking pale and lovely for the world to see — The one I deal with every day yet no one recognizes because my chemo drugs don’t leave me hairless or green, just susceptible to every fucking illness that crosses my path? Yeah, that one. That robust, cunty bitch named MS gives me every right to look at insensitive people and say “WTF was that?”

But — I also know we all have to deal with our own hurts, problems, and ick and it’s really quite hard to step outside of our own bubble to view the world through clearer eyes. So I try, using a lot of restraint and understanding, to ignore the comments or insensitive remarks. Sometimes, I’ll try to convince myself that the other person is way worse off so that I don’t think the cruel thoughts lurking behind these tired eyes. Sometimes I actually start to believe it and buy into my mantra of “I really do have a very mild course of disease” so I can just smile through my day with a fake grin of delightful, happy, chubby-girl bliss.

Why? Because that’s what people want from me: A smile, a joke, a positive remark, and a push forward through the rest of their day… And they get it in abundance. No one likes to hang out with a downer, don’t you know?

But make no mistake: My days are not fun. I am sick more than I am well. I suffer through every fucking day so I can live some semblance of a life beyond what has been written on my god damned page. And this annoyance, this fire, this pissed off regime of disgust is what fuels this machine through everything I do. So maybe that unwatched pot ready to boil over feeling when you’re standing next to me in line or that car out of control sense you get from me when we talk isn’t so far off. Damaged people are dangerous because we know we can survive — The jury is still out on you.

photo 3 copy

But also understand, as a person, I am not mad at you. I’m not mad at the world. I’m not even mad at the people saying these things. I’m mad at me, my body the hand grenade, and whatever god you subscribe to — Or maybe fate… Let’s blame that bitch. Perhaps I can let my anger flow into every bad decision I ever made… because I’m sure one of those made me more susceptible than the next likely candidate to get this.

But what all of this ranting really boils down to is that in five minutes this anger will be gone, evaporated, pushed under that blanket of calm I carry every day and reneged. I’ll laugh. I’ll smile. I may even mean it…

But try as I might, I will never be well.

photo 2 copy 2

Till Me Under, Plant My Heart…

IMG_5235

Lately, for reasons I can’t define, I’ve been having a hard time dealing with a lot of loss I’ve experienced over the past few years. I try not to think on it a lot, but it’s still there watching from just off stage like a nervous stage mother — So much pressure to act natural and ever make a good impression.

Sometimes, if I slow down long enough, I am immediately dumped right into the middle of all the emotion I don’t share with the world: The sad stuff you feel depressingly stupid simply admitting, the moments where you feel so lost and alone, the unanswered grief, the empty time, the yearning that leads to nothing. All those moment when you realize that all there is, all you can really count on, is right in front of you — That this moment could be the penultimate of where you’ve been, where you’re going… And if that’s the case (which it most surely is) how much potential has been squandered? How much life has been left unlived. How much suffering and pain and loss have you experienced… all for… this?

I admit, I’m a worker bee. I do what I’m told, what is expected. I try not to dwell on things that can’t be changed. I try not to focus on all the things that are so much a part of me that must be denied in order to function. The things that must not be spoken, yet exist just the same. The ghosts of your past. The glimmers of futures that will never be. The shadows of dreams long since dead. Fallen cities lost in the pages of time. Each and every one.

It’s depressing and I try very hard to avoid it… but still, it sits waiting for me to stumble and fall into the hole I’ve dug. Still, I claw out and move on.

Is there any other way?

~Hollie

Vocal Coaching: Week 1

Last night was my first Vocal Coaching session. The coach was phenomenal, positive, nice, professional… and had pets! (Her big yellow dog was super sweet and friendly and her orange tabby curled up on my scarf for most of the session… How perfectly great is that?!)

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves… I will start at the beginning.

Vocal_Week1

Notes from Week 1

Jason arrived home earlier than usual and, since I am the on-time police, I left when he got home to ensure I had enough time to find her house/studio. I made it there in 15 minutes… So, I got to sit there like some creeper in front of her house (on-street parking just off the Plaza) while people came in and out. Yay for me! :D (One soccer mom who was picking up her kid really did look at me like she was calling the cops. Right now. Seriously.)  Just as I was thinking I might head to the door, I got a text asking for me to come no earlier than 7:30 as she was taking her supper break just before. So I upheld my creeper status another 20 minutes or so and finally climbed the stairs up to her quaint cape cod. Upon entrance, I was greeted by the sweetest big yellow dog and, shortly after, a friendly orange tabby that matched. We all made fast friends. :)

The vocal coach herself was very nice, yet professional. She had a lovely East Coast accent with East Coast mannerisms. She looked exactly as I expected, down to the sweater. She was very knowledgeable and took seriously her job and what we were doing…  I really can’t find a single bad thing to say about her. She was just a lovely person.

After some short conversation it was down to business. She talked to me about the mechanisms behind types of singing, design and use of the vocal chords, what my (our) goals were, some helpful tips, and kind of what we’d be doing.

Finally, it was time to actually sing something, lol! She was going to check my range… I warned her I was very low today because my allergies were kicking in. (Thanks, Mold, you infamous bastard!) We started in and found that my vocal range was 3 octaves, my usable range (that which didn’t sound strained) was almost 2, and that my goal would be to get me usable for the entire 3 plus some, along with cleaning up my transitions and technique, and really harnessing my vocal power and endurance. She seemed impressed that I had such a large lower range and I told her anecdotes about poking fun at James Hetfield/Metallica and being told it wasn’t half bad, which we both thought was funny.

We set on doing various exercises and discussing/trying out breathing techniques and ways to increase range and power. She recorded the session, so I have a copy and I admit I sound better with her recording equipment than with mine… so that’s a bonus, lol. But I also sound very low… I hope that as the allergens clear, so will my vocal range, because I know I can do better than that on a good day! :D Anyway, all the exercises are on a convenient disc with my fumbling voice for comparison, so I can practice them. She said every other day was fine, every day was great… I figure I’ll probably end up doing them 1-2 times per day, just until I see results in what I’m producing.

At a certain point, she mentioned that people don’t always have the patience to try new technique… I told her, if I have the patience to teach myself to walk again, raise twin daughters, and work in a cave for 15 years when I miss outside so much, I have the patience to do this — And this is fun! :D

For next time, I’m to pick and start working up a song… It can be any song I desire, so long as I can bring copies of the lyric and the piece on a CD. I have no idea what I will choose or what even sounds good on me — But I will tell you this straight away: It will NOT be Black is the Color of My True Loves Hair! (Sorry Beverly, but I still, to this day, hate that song!)

Some I’m considering currently:

(Suggestions are welcome on this last part as I am just truly unsure what to pick!)

~H

Watch That First Step

photo(47)

So, I did it. I took the first step on a journey I’ve been mentally preparing for over the past 20 years:

I signed up for my first vocal coaching session as an adult…

In fact, I signed up for an entire months worth!

I suppose to some this seems so very sudden. Perhaps it even seems impulsive and part of it probably is. But what people don’t quite understand about me is that I’m not nearly so open with my own feelings as I might seem. Sure, sure, I accept you for you. I will share my stories and a drink. I often let things slip out that seem so private… But that’s the thing — I tend to be very bombastic about the things that are trivial, things that can’t really be changed, or things that don’t really affect any true future goals or secret desires. Those more fragile things are kept very close to the vest lest I out myself and tell everyone the things I’m truly afraid to fail at or invite criticism or competition to an already delicate construct.

Well, this is one of those things! As was previously discussed, I have an okay voice. Great some times, mediocre others, but always with the desire to perform. But, for all my bravado, I’ve been scared to actually ask someone who knows right form wrong, how I’m doing and what I can do to improve. The behind-the-back whispers of those close to me about my singing, either being good or bad, have struck me a little harder than they should have… Plus, I was afraid I might have lost any talent I had along with my youth. (Seriously — These gray hairs aren’t getting any shorter!)

So, tonight I will be meeting with a woman who is far too qualified to be working with the likes of me for my first session — And I’m sure it will be great…

But right now? I’m terribly nervous.

photo(48)

Wish me luck! :D
~H