Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Snowboarding: People Who Try to Play Football In a...

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Snowboarding: People Who Try to Play Football In a...: No one knows I'm awake now. If they did, my computer would be confiscated. The twelve-year-old girl in the next bed, is a) a heavy sleeper a...

Snowboarding: People Who Try to Play Football In and Around Ski Resorts

No one knows I'm awake now. If they did, my computer would be confiscated. The twelve-year-old girl in the next bed, is a) a heavy sleeper and b) not a snitch, so unless someone randomly decides to look in on us, I'm safe for at least the next few moments.

Today I went snowboarding in Utah. Snowboarding is a strenuous activity that demands greater muscular or cardiovascular strength than I now possess, thanks to mononucleosis and the resulting removal of my spleen.  Both the doctor who removed my spleen and the one who was treating my mononucleosis finally gave me clearance to get onto an airplane and to snowboard. I actually had clearance to snowboard one day earlier than I had clearance to get onto a plane full of people. Planes are overcrowded and germ-infested capsules in which the too many people in them are breathing the same air. I wore a mask, which  offered only partial protection, though arguably  better than no protection at all. It was the rough equivalent of having protected sex with a person known to be HIV-positive. If you're going to do anything so stupid, you would be even stupider not to avail yourself of what limited protection was available, knowing still that you weren't exactly placing yourself in a danger-free zone. While I have nothing to gain at this point from having sex, protected or otherwise, with someone who is HIV-positive, I do have something to gain from getting on a germ-infested aircraft.

Visualize. The Pacific Coast - the central Pacific California coastline, to be more specific, is where I was.  Mountains are there, but not mountains with snow on them. If I were to snowboard, I would need to travel to mountains covered with snow. While there were mountains closer to where I was  than the Rocky Mountains, no one closely acquainted with me, or at least no one willing to take me along, was planning a trip there. On the other hand, acquaintances willing to tolerate the inconvenience of toting me along with their luggage were planning a trip to the Rocky Mountains. They didn't plan a car trip. Were I to travel with them,  my only option was to climb aboard a germ-infested aircraft. I placed a mask over my mouth and nose, said a couple of quick prayers, and boarded, looking at as few people as possible in the process. i did make eye contact with the flight crew as I boarded, hoping that it would reduce the chances they might think I was a terrorist. It helped just a bit that I was not the only person on the flight wearing a mask. PseudoAunt, too, had a mask on her face. Whenver Pseudoaunt wears a mask, her husband, PseudoUncle, wears one as well just as a display of solidarity. Anyhow, on that flight there were three of us instead of just I loooking like either freaks or terrorists.

Today I snowboarded. I was probably physically capable of succesfully completing one-and-one-half snowboarding runs. The quandary is that snowboarding runs don't come in halves. You either do a complete run or you don't. My policy in snowboarding as well as in life is to always round up to the next highest number. I went on the second run, capable or not. I made it down the run successfully. 

There ended the extent of my success. I was virtually immobilized. My legs could not move. My hands could not unclasp my snowboard from my boots. I was standing in a major foot trafic thoroughfare. Other snowboarders and skiers were not pleased at having to walk around me. One guy didn't bother; he just sort of ploughed right over me as though we were playing football, he on the defesive line and I on the offensive line, as though it was his job to disable me in order to get to the quarterback before the ball was released. Had it been a game of football, he would have been given credit for the sack. Since it wasn't a game of football, he gets credit merely for being a complete @$$hole. Depite knowing that he had knocked down another human - one who weighed approximately one-third what he weighed, he did not stop to help me up. He turned and glared at me briefly, but that was the extent of his acknowledgement of the situation.

Perhaps he actually did me a favor, though. Before, people who weren't cursing me  walked past as though they didn't notice me. Once I was on the ground, it was more difficult not to notice me, although some still pulled off the feat successfully. Perhaps it's insensitive of me to make such an analogy, but it all reminded me slightly of the little girl who was run over in China, while peope stepped over and around her and walked past her, seemingly oblivious. Was this it? Really, God? Would I die either from hypothermia or from being trampled between the lodge and the bottom of a downhill run at a ski resort in Utah? It seemed incredulous, yet at the same time was seeming eerily likely.

Finally, to my defense came a man with two boys several years younger than I but close in size to me. He saw me on the ground and paused. "Are you hurt?" he asked as he knellt beside me.

"I don't think so," I answered with my near-frozen lips through my ski mask the best I was able to manage.

"I don't want to move you or get you up until we're sure," he stated.

He whistled loudly. Soon an amployee of the resort appeared, followed by another employee who was some sort of first reponder or paramedic. The paramedic guy asked what happened. The guy with the two boys explained about the other guy's defensive lineman maneuver flattening me. The paramedic guy unclasped my boot from the snowboard and asked me if I could move my ankle.  I moved it the best I could in its frozen state, apparently satisfying him. "Did you hit your head?' he asked.

"Not very hard if I did," I answered him.

He started asking me all the questions anyone is asked when a head injury is suspected. The answers came to me with ease but were still difficult to articulate through my frozen lips. The paramedic man asked if he could remove my ski mask. I gave my OK, and he carefully removed it from my head.  At that point, the man with the two boys recognized me. "I know you," he announced, pulling off his own ski mask.

"You're Will," I answered him.

"You're that little gitl who stays with Scott and Jillian. Alexis, isn't it?'

"Yes," I answered. He was, if my understanding of extended family non-relationships was correct, my PseudoFirstCousin, Once Removed.

The paramedic and another who joined him were confirming before helping me to my feel that I was merely cold and weak, not injured. They checked my neck, back, hips, and legs before concluding that a stretcher would not be needed.  When they helped me to my feet, my knees collapsed as they caught me. While they debated the merits of a stretcher, Will lifted me over his shoulder, grabbed my snowboard with one hand, and told the boys with him to bring my poles. He carried me into the lodge, where he spotted my PseudoAunt.  "I think I found something that belongs to you.," he called out to her.

PseudoAunt and Mother of the Boy who is a Friend jumped up. "What happened?' they demanded in unison.

Will explained about the defensive lineman who had run directly over me in his attempt to get to the imaginary quarterback. 

"Were you OK before then?' PseudoAunt asked.

"Not exactly," I explained. "I couldn't walk and I couldn't unlatch my snowboard.  I was standing in traffic and people were getting impatient."

""So the idiot just knocked you down  instead of walking around you," concluded the Mother of the Boy who is my Friend.

"Basically," agreed Will.

"So ARE you OK?" PseudoAunt asked.

"I don't think I'm injured," I told her. "I'm just cold and stiff and tired."

An employee moved a leather-covered lounge chair next to the area where Pseudoaunt, Mother of the Friend who is a Boy, and now Will were seated. Will had given the boys with him, his sons, money to get food. They were at the concession counter. The employee motioned for me to sit on the lounge chair.

"May I touch her?" he asked all the adults at the table.

"You're her mother on this trip," PsuedoAunt said to Mother of the Boy who is a Friend.

"Touch her where?" asked Mother of the Boy who is a Friend.

"Arms and legs. Head. Maybe neck and back just a bit," he answered as PseudoAunt  explained to Boy's Mother that the man is a physical therapist who moonlights as a massage therpist at the resort.

"Go ahead," she answered him.

The physical therapist moved my arms and legs at their joints, moved my head a bit, and moved my neck.

He commented on my lack of muscle tone. PseudoAunt told him of my recent instance of mono and my splenectomy. He asked if my doctor cleared me for strenuous physical activity. "There's the doctor who operated on her right there," PseudoAunt non-answered, pointing as Dr. Kent, who had removed my spleen,  walked toward us. Another employee approached with a blanket, which physical therapist put atop and around me. PseudoAunt and Will explained what happened.

Dr. Kent lifted my shirt and lightly probed the scar area  and the spot where my spleen had been while I pretended it was all happening to someone else. "No problems here," he announced. "It's probably about time to gather everyone and head back home." I assumed he meant to the condos. Surely he didn't think we should all go back to California just because a jerk had pretended to be a steamroller, and I had the misfortune to be in his  path.

"I just ordered food,"  W ill told him.

"We could probably eat first, then head back to the condos," Dr. Kent announced. "No sense in wasting perfectly good food." He looked down at me. "You OK with that?"

"Sure," I answered him.

The physical therapist continued to manipulate  my arms and legs, allowing me to experience what it is like to be a marionette,  as everyone else with me ate the food that PseudoFirstCousinOnceRemoved Will had ordered.

As the food was finished, Will picked me up and lifted me onto PseudoUncle's back for a ride to the car. The snowboards, poles, and snow clothing made it back to the cars. I fell asleep probably before we made it out of the parking lot. I woke up when Mother of the Boy who is my Friend was easing me into a warm jacuzzi tub in the condo. She helped me to shampoo my hair, helped me out of the tub, helped me to dry off, and helped me to get into my pajamas. I slept for about five hours.

Thus ended my resoundingly successful  first day of snowboarding for this season. I've been banned from making an appearance tomorrow, but I should be back on the slopes by Monday.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Live Coverage of Mitt Romney on the Campaign Trail...

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Live Coverage of Mitt Romney on the Campaign Trail...: I'm watching C-Span right now because I'm bored. They're showing Mitt Romney in Iowa. It is seriously less exciting than watching the blank ...

Live Coverage of Mitt Romney on the Campaign Trail

I'm watching C-Span right now because I'm bored. They're showing Mitt Romney in Iowa. It is seriously less exciting than watching the blank screen on the local cable's community access channel. Gosh, I hope he doesn't get elected. I don't think I could stand four years of this.

I've left the somewhat sunny clime of California's central coast for a temporary vacation in Utah County. I would not have come except that one cannot ski or snowboard without cold weather and snow. One thing my hometown lacks is snow. I'll enjoy the snow while I'm here, although there is no snow on the ground. The resorts have man-made snow, so we can enjoy winter sports despite mother nature's lack of cooperation. We may get to see snow fall in a few days. Regardless, it's a very short vacation for me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Announcing the Birth of John Vincent Luis

John Vincent Luis (two middle names; I'm not supposed to use last names here unless I go to the trouble of manufacturing fake ones) was born today, December 21, 2011, at 1:04 p.m. PST, to Vincent and Rachelle in front of an audience of I don't know how many, but it was definitely in double figures. Should there be any question as to whom this boy was born to, many witnesses are available to clear the matter up. John Vincent Luis, who will be called John, weighed in at  7 lbs, 1 oz., and  measured 21 inches in length. John has a respectable amount of dark hair and is dark-eyed. He's still a bit pink but appears to be slightly fairer-skinned than his older sister, Leah, who is now three-and-one-half.

The baby's father, Vincent, actually delivered the baby, then handed John to his father while he cut the umbilical cord. The baby was then handed to his mother, and then to his grandmother, who didn't choose to witness the birth but made it into the room just in time to see the first Apgar scoring take place. For the record, John's  Apgar scores were 8-10. Auntie Jillian also entered shortly after John's birth.

Mother, father, and baby have been left alone to savor the moment. The other participants have moved on to the Party House in Vnice Beach and are in full celebretory mode.

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: The Birth of a Baby in Front of an Audience of Th...

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: The Birth of a Baby in Front of an Audience of Th...: My parents are gone for at least the day. My Pseudo-Aunt's sister-in-law, Rachelle, is in labor. In earlier times, French queens used to ha...

The Birth of a Baby in Front of an Audience of Thousands; Why Not Just Broadcast the Blessed Event on Youtube? Polygamy Implications of Being Left Behind

My parents are gone for at least the day. My Pseudo-Aunt's sister-in-law, Rachelle,  is in labor. In earlier times, French queens used to have to give birth in front of entire audiences to certify the succession. You'd think this kid is 16th Century French royalty in the making from the number of people attending the birth, Other than the mother-to-be and whatever non MD personnel the hospital happens to provide, everyone in there will be an MD either from the family or from the extendd family or, like my dad, almost part of the family. My dad is the baby's father's Godfather; that's the rationale for his invitation to the big event.

You know the saying that too many cooks spoil the broth? I'm concerned that too many doctors could get in the way of delivering this baby. I'll give you the head count to the best of my knowledge. There could be others who have received last-minute invitations since I was most recently updated. Here it goes: 1. Vincent, the baby's father, who probably should be there; some would say he wasn't holding up his end of the bargain were he not present, since he had no issues with being present for the conception; 2. the baby's father's father; OK, I'd find this one just a tad awkward, but if Rachelle is good with it, it's fine with me; he is, after all, an OBGYN, and who knows when a second opinion will be required. 3. the baby's dad's brother, Gerard; whatever floats Rachelle's boat, I'd say; this is jumping way ahead on things, but were I to marry my current friend who is a boy (I'm not allowed to have a boyfriend yet), he can forget about dragging his little brother Bryson into the delivery room for my big event even if Bryson (currently a 2-year-old who still sleeps in Pull-Ups, so it's difficult to fathom at this time) is a world-renowned OBGYN specializing in whatever form of high-risk pregnancy I happen to have; you're staying the hell out of my birthing room, Bryson! Get it through your thick skull now so you're accustomed to the idea if and when the time ever comes; 4. the baby's dad's younger brother Timothy, who is a freaking medical school student; he's barely qualified to insert an IV, but maybe it would be  considered discrimination to keep him out; 5. Scott, my Pseudo-Uncle, the baby's father's brother-in-law; he's at least an MD;  his current count is seventeen births at which he has been present; for some reason unknown he obviously wants to pad his numbers; professionally it's not doing him that much good, as he's an internist with pulmonology emphasis- in-training; 6. John, my dad, the baby's father's godfather; he's an MD  and primarily a research physician; OB isn't a particular specialty of his, though, in his mind, no sub-specialty of medicine is beyond his scope of specialization; (he says he likes to assist in the birth  of a baby at least once every year around Christmas to remind him of the miracle of Jesus' birth; I say he knows the beer will be flowing freely once this baby is out, and my dad has never been known to walk away from a good party; 7. Kent, Scott's brother, is an MD with a specialization in, I think, general surgery; let's see, if his closest link is that he's Scott's brother, that makes him the baby's dad's sister's husband's brother; pretty close connection, huh? (by the way Dr. Kent, father of Jared, boy who is my friend: what I said about Bryson applies to you as well, times two; 8. Brett, Scott's brother, same relation to baby's father and baby as Kent, same right to be there, which would be just about zero in my book; 9. Cousin Peter, a neuro-ophthalmologist, baby's father's cousin; at least he's a blood relative, however remote, and he has bona fide privileges at the hospital where the blessed event is currently taking place; besides, you never know when a neonate will be in need of a board-certified neuro-ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon ( I certainly hope not anytime soon); 10; Dr. Quo, the OBGYN of record.

Notably absent from the birthing room is the baby's paternal grandmother, a pediatric registered nurse practicioner. She elected not to be present because watching someone else close to her suffer would bother her too much. She said after she witnessed one contraction, she would grab the  OBGYN of record by the collar of her lab coat or scrubs and scream, "What's the problem, bitch? Didn't they teach you how to do a C-section in med school?!?!?" Yep. I think she made the right choice in keeping out, although I may want her in the room when I have my first child.  Besides, someone has to watch the  new baby's already existing sibling. The new baby's sibling has a couple of cousins on the scene who are very young and in need of supervision as well, so my mom is there at the baby's parents' house helping the baby's grandmother. Additionally, that will allow the baby's grandmother to go to the hospital to see the baby  immediately once it has made its appearance. Jillian is there, too, along with the other children's mother. Jillian is still in a weakened state and probably creates more work than she actually does, but the children love her.

The baby has been reported in advance to be a boy. With the precision of today's ultrasound technology, I'd place my bet in favor of the accuracy of the gender prediction. My ultrasound from before I was born made me look like an extra-terretrial creature. (My rude cousins from Utah say I  still look like an extraterrrestrial creature, but that's another topic for another day's blog.) In this baby's ultrasound, you could see that he has Cuban coloring  and looks somewhat like his paternal grandmother. He could do worse in the looks department. She's very pretty.

This place where I am now reminds me of what the polygamous cults must have been like after the Short Creek raids in the 1950's, when they rounded up all the menfolk and took 'em off to jail,  and left just the women in charge of a million children. Jared and my brother Matthew are the only males present who are ten or older. They're like the polygamous equivalent to The Lost Boys. If I were slightly more able-bodied, I'd be expected to chop the firewood and plough the back forty, but being a recovering surgery patient has to be good for something. I lie on the sofa  and play peek-a-boo with babies who crawl or toddle over to me. That's the extent of my contributio to the labor pool. That, and reminding The  Lost Boys to put the toilet seat down.

Timmy is keeping us updated by texting. Rachelle is fully dilated and is now  just beginning to push.  Unless this baby is a freaking behemoth, it should be out  any second. Rachelle only pushed for five minutes with her first baby, and that baby was almost a nine-pounder. This baby should be at least a pound smaller because it's just a bit early.

I'll let you know when I hear more, but word is that Grandma has already arrived at the hospital to scrub up and be handed the baby after its Mommy and Daddy have first held it. Him, that is.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: I'm Not the Reincarnated Billy Mays; My Informerci...

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: I'm Not the Reincarnated Billy Mays; My Informerci...: My infomercial was not the resounding success I had hoped it might be. It appears as though I may have to find my bliss in the form of a cal...

I'm Not the Reincarnated Billy Mays; My Informercial Sucked; I Had Another PTSD Flashback Last Night

My infomercial was not the resounding success I had hoped it might be. It appears as though I may have to find my bliss in the form of a calling in life elsewhere. I think the informercial was viewed by a grand total of  six readers. My talent in writing informercials is obviously not as great as I had hoped it would be, even allowing for my neophyte status. Some people have what it takes to sell things, whether in person or over the Internet, while others do not. I should have remembered my prior experience with selling things before I jumped headfirst into the blog version of the informercial business.

In the two years I attended Catholic school, I was forced to take up sales as a hobby. Catholic schools run on shoestring budgets and rely on various fundrainsing campaigns to provide even some of the necessities for running their school. My parents refused to make it their problem by  taking our over-priced loot to work and guilting their co-workers into buying the stuff, so Matthew and I had to sell the merchandise ourselves. Even in my day it wasn't safe to send kindergartners and second graders out to go door-to-door through neighborhoods, so my parents took turns walking with us, but they wouldn't approach the doors with us. They stood back as we walked up, either individually or together, depending upon what approach we were trying at the time. People would routinely buy things from my brother but had no trouble whatsoever turning me down. Sometimes he would ring a doorbell of a home where I had just walked away empty-handed,, and the lady of the house would buy three or four items from him. He was sometimes in contention for the top prizes. Maybe it was my scruffy little ragamuffin look that did me in. I looked so undernourished, and had curly hair that went in all directions. They probably felt like they'd already donated to the Salvation Army or to the poor in some other capacity, where my brother had the solid middle class look about him. The people probably felt they were contributing to a solid middle-class organization when they made purchases from him.

There were incentives attached to these sales campaigns. Limousine trips to pizza parlors with game rooms often went to the top sellers. I remember my brother being a participant in the pizza parlour/ limo thing more  than once. There were miscellanous items from which one could choose if he or she sold a certain number of items. Matthew earned various sporting equipment and a CD by the group that recorded the song "Who Let the Dogs Out?". The very minimal prize, the one to those who sold just enough to pacify the parent-teacher organization moguls, was usually a movie in the cafeteria with popcorn and soda. Almost every  time I was the only child in my class who did not sell enough items and therefore  get to watch the movie and partake of the popcorn and soda. More than once I was the only child in the entire school. After the final fundraiser of the year, the minimum prize was always a pool party at the attached  high school's Olympic-sized pool. I missed that part in kindergarten. When I was in second grade, after my Uncle Ralph heard abiut my being the only child in school to miss the previous moive/popcorn/soda party, he bought enough of my greeting card packages that I was allowed to attend the pool party that year.  It made my Uncle Ralph angry because I was the rehearsal pianist for all the school choirs my kindergarten year and was the actual accompanist for the choirs my second grade years, for which the school compensated me in no way, yet they routinely denied me the basic fundraising incentive parties because of my handicap when it came to selling things.

That handicap is still very much a part of me. If I continue through college and get through law school, I will not be one of those attorneys who advertises his or her 1-800 numbers between segments of TV judge show programs and Jerry Springer portions. Those lawyers whose commercials claim, "If you've been denied your Social Security benefits, , , '  or,  "If you've been injured in an accident and an insurance company want syou to settle, don't sign anything without first calling us," have something in the way of sales skills that I do not nor will I ever possess. I could not successfully sell Jello in  Utah  or eyedrops to troops stationed in Kuwait even on pay day. My law practice will be an utter failure if I have to sell my services to anyone. I'm not sure why I though my calling could be in making informercials. I'lll find something else. God alone knows what it might be.

I had another PTSD flashback - night terror last night. It makes me scared to go to sleep tonight.  Maybe I'll stay up all night trying to think of something I might be good at.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: My Own Infomercial, for Which I'm Not Even Being P...

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: My Own Infomercial, for Which I'm Not Even Being P...: If I were allowed, I would have done a video version of this infomercial, except that I don't yet have the product in hand, which would've s...

My Own Infomercial, for Which I'm Not Even Being Paid

If I were allowed, I would have done a video version of this infomercial, except that I don't yet have the product in hand, which would've somewhat diminished the infomercial video's effectivity.

Is your marriage or domestic partnership as strong as you believe it to be? Can your love withstand anythingARE YOU SURE? 

Many divorces and other broken relationships, while officially written off to the ubiquitous "irreconcilable differences," are truly irrevocably bifurcated (nice word, huh?) by the seldom discussed problem of  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . nighttime flatulence. Yes, that's right, faithful audience of five.  You may think the terms  of      ". . .  For better or worse, for richer  or poorer, in sickness and in health"  include "non-flatulent or flatulent," but many nocturnal gas-passers have learned otherwise  --  the hard way.

Many over-the-counter pharmaceuticals offer solutions to this problem, but how much Beano or Gas-X can one person consume, and do those products really work? A recent survey of those exiting family courts across the nation clearly indicates the limitations of over-the-counter and even prescription medical remedies for this problem.

DO NOT LET YOUR RELATIONSHIP GO DOWN THE TUBES BECAUSE OF WHAT IS COMING OUR OF YOUR (OR YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER'S) TUBE AT NIGHT!!!! A simple, affordable solution is available. For just 79.99 (single-bed size, though why do you really need this product if you're sleeping in a single bed?) or 89.99 (Queen/Deluxe-size), you can own the Better Marriage Blanket. 

The Better Marriage Blanket has the feel of a soft down comforter, but instead of goose feathers, this blanket uses NASA-quality technology (forget about the two exploded space shuttles or the astronaut Lisa Nowak, who drove all the way from Houston to Orlando in astronaut diapers armed with duct tape, pepper spray, a BB gun, and an apparent plan to kidnap and harm another astronaut who was a romantic rival; none of that is relevant) to embed the blanket with carbon and other materials capable of absorbing the odor of   flatulence produced by a ten-ton elephant.  You or your spouse may have grave issues with flatulence, but surely the gas produced by one party or the other in your relationship isn't any more odoriforous than that produced by the proverbial ponderous pachyderm?  If this prodcut can preserve an elephant's relationship, it CAN do the same for yours.

Think about it. $89.00 versus attorney's fees alone, never mind that for which your soon-to-be-vicious-ex-spouse (if it's a domestic living arrangement of which you are a part, there won't necessarily be legal fees, but the humiliation  of  airing one's [literally] dirty laundry  in front of a nationwide  audience on Judge Alex , The People's Court, Judge Judy, or Divorce Court  is probably worse than forking over actual cash) will take you to the cleaners.  $89.99 plus $14.99 in shipping and handling costs (there's an added ten bucks for international orders; my condolences to the cheese-cutting Aussies and their lovers out there) is a clear bargain in this conundrum. Save your relationship or your marriage. Stay off national TV or out of divorce court. Fork over the $89.99 plus postage and handling.  It may very well be the best investment you'll ever make.

I credit Becca for the inspiration provided for this infomercial.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: "As Seen on TV" Gifts, Including "The Bra Baby"

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: "As Seen on TV" Gifts, Including "The Bra Baby": Because of my recent bout with mono and subsequent related splenectomy, my trips to the mall have been effectively cutailled. As a result, m...

"As Seen on TV" Gifts, Including "The Bra Baby"

Because of my recent bout with mono and subsequent related splenectomy, my trips to the mall have been effectively cutailled. As a result, my loved ones will receive some truly choice gifts for Christmas this year.  Last year I had  very little shopping mall or department store time, but I had reasonable computer access. Since I only get to use my computer for an hour a day still (my doctor is a Nazi and my dad is a fascist, or vice versa), I have elected not to waste my precious computer hours in search iof the elusive perfect gift.
Doing so is not necessary, anyway -- not when there's the Home Shopping Network and all its competition. Did you know that dfor a love offering of something like $100, you can get a vial of water from the river Jordan signed personally by Paul Crouch of the Trinity Broadcasting Network. I don't know how much love one must offer to receive an autographed picture of the pink-haired Jan Crouch, Paul's supposedly beloved wife. (To the best of my knowledge gleaned through research before the Nazis and fascists struck, Paul and Jan are NOT divorced even though some Internet know-it-alls claimed otherwise.

For just a fraction of the cost of the water from the River Jordan, although actually how much I cannot remember, one can purchase a calendar from the Sisters of the Our Lady of the Angels Monastery  from the Eteernal World Television Network. Mother Angelica, Mother Superior of the group unless she died and I happened to miss it, is pictured on the cover. The monthly featured photos could be nude shots of the nuns for all I know. It might be worth your time to investigate.

Several jewelry channels feature quality  products, but if you don't act now, your chance to purchase them will be gone forever. For a brief time, one even had the chance to porchase he ring that originally belonged to princess Diana, that prince william gave to kate Middleton as an engagement ring. How they got Kate to give it up for such a reasonable price is a mystery, but I've learned never to look either  a gift horse or a gift ring  in the mouth.

One of the more curious features I came across on a shopping network was something called "The Bra Baby."  "The Bra Baby" is basically two semi-large wiffle balls, one fitting inside another, that will allow one to machine wash any bra from size 28AA  (NO LONGER MY SIZE!!!!!! I  wouldn't be so brazen as to state what my actual bra size is, and my current size is not exactly going to get me a job at Hooters anytime soon, anyway, but at least I've finally outgrown my 28AAs!!!!!!) to 44DD, although it offers the disclaimer that if the 44DD bra is padded, results cannot be guaranteed. Maybe this is a very stupid question to which everyone in the world but I already knows the answer, but why in hell would someone who wears a size 44DD bra chooose a padded bra to wear? Can't one have too much of a basically good thing?  Regardless, my mom says she's been machine washing bras sans "The Bra Baby" for many years without incident, so she encouraged me not to order that for her gift. Unfortunately, one does not always get to choose one's Christmas gifts, and one should be a gracious recipient of whatever gift one receives. So did I buy my mom "The Bra Baby" for Christmas? Time will tell, although if I did not get it for her, it's not because I'm concerned that it will damage her 44DDs.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Finals, Boys Who Are Friends, and Chastity Belts

I'm out of bed about half the time, but I'm taking my six finals this week, ready or not. I'm taking them in a dean's office so that I can take a break and rest on a sofa if necessary. I didn't take a break today, by the way. Tomorrow I have two finals, then one on Wednesday , then two on Thursday. Then I'm finished until January, at which time I will return to school full-time with no health restrictions. I'll only take eighteen units for the winter quarter. That's still not a pittance of a load, but it's lighter than what I've done this quarter.

My dad thinks I'm too young to have a boyfriend even though I'm seventeen. I'm trying to determine when he'll think I'm officially old enough for a boyfriend. I assume the age will be somewhere around the onset of menopause. He can think what he wants, though, because I turn eighteen in about fifty-one weeks, and could technically become not just someone's girlfriend but a bona fide slut at that time if I so desired. I won't, but from a legal standpoint, there would be little to nothing standing in my way.

Anyway, to keep an already-too-long-account from turning into even more of a saga, I'll attempt to cut to the chase. Because I'm not allowed to have a boyfriend, my friend who happens to be a boy is visiting later this week from Utah with his humongous family.  To make dwelling in a hotel slightly more comfortable for the remaining members (I've lost count; there are more than six of them but fewere than forty-eight) of his immediate family, or at least to deter the hotel staff from alerting the health department in regard to the number of humans inhabiting one or two rooms,  he will dwell with my family instead of in the hotel for the five days or so that they are here. My father has things arranged so that he, otherwise known as Jared, will sleep in the bedroom on the far side of my parents' room, while my room is on the nearer side. The alarm system in my parents' home is so sophisticated that if Jared were to pass a certain point in the hall just before reaching my parents' room, the klaxon wail of an alarm would sound, waking everyone within a quarter-mile radius,. I tried to tell my dad that Jared is a nice Mormon boy and that he and my mom need not worry about any impropriety between the two of us, but my dad's answer is that he, too, [my dad] was once a nice Mormon boy, and that nice Mormon boys have just has many hormones running amok in their systems as do any other boys. My parents aren't taking into account that I scarcely have the energy to talk to Jared, much less to engage in any sort of physical activity. Furthermore, the Epstein-Barr virus may still be present in my system. I wouldn't kiss my worst enemy. None of this ironclad evidence convinces my father in any way that he must be less vigilant than was Rapunzel's father. I gave my dad a link to a kinky web site that sells chastity belts. I did so jokingly, but facetiousness notwithstanding,  it was probably a mistake to have given him the link. It would not surprise me in the least to learn that a chastity belt  is already on a UPS truck headed in the direction of my house.

Bihar Arte!
    [Basque translation for "until tomorrow"]

Monday, December 5, 2011

Belated Birthday Party

i  had a short belated (one day late) birthday party yesterday. Even with it being short in duration, I still failed to remain awake for its entire duration. (no one complained, as though they inderstood.)Real college students attended. Most were from either the a capella group with which I'm affilliated or with related msical groups, although a few people from dorm rooms neighboring mine came as well. My parents fed the guests good food and sent them home with doggy bags. It was probably sort of like my parents were paying people to be my friends, but it was still nice, both of my parnts to host it and of someone to talk the attendees into showing up. After all, considering the location, at that very same time, there was probably at least one other party to which my guests could have gone which would have provided them not only with free food, but free booze as well. Yet they were kind enough to celebrate my birthday with me. I recognize a kind gesture when I see one. Thanks, everyone, even though you don't know my fake identity and can't read this blog.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Twins, Birthdays, Blood Baths, John Rosemond, and ...

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Twins, Birthdays, Blood Baths, John Rosemond, and ...: Yesterday was the first birthday I can recall spending away from my twin. Despite the fact that he's now seventeen as I am and not twenty-...

Twins, Birthdays, Blood Baths, John Rosemond, and Other Weighty Matters

Yesterday was the first birthday I can  recall spending away from my twin. Despite the fact that he's now seventeen as I am and not  twenty-one, and therefore has no legal access to alcohol, his friends do. I suspect he celebrated his half of our birthday in style. The closest we've come previously to being apart on our birthdays, other than attending separate classes on school days, was on the day we were born, when I was in the NICU and he was in one of those plexiglass bassinets in my mom's hospital room. Over the years we've had ideas for separate birthday parties, but my parents opted for very simple parties instead, where we each invited a couple of friends, but it was a single party. I think their idea was that friends would come and go in our lives, but we'd be permanent fixtures in the lives of one another and would always have one another on which to depend. The verdict is still out on whether their experiment in forced bonding worked, but we have evolved from being fairly serious enemies to being allies again.

When we were tiny, we were soulmates. We went to preschool in my mom's attempt to get us to socialize with other children, but we mostly avoided other children and just played with each other. I can remember the preschool staff trying hard to get me to go off with the girls while Matthew did boy things during free play, but in the end, it was a choice for them: they could have Matthew involved in the girls' free play, or I could play with Matthew and the other boys. It made very little difference, anyway, as we didn't interact with the other children anymore than we absolutely had to.

My mom was seriously ill a lot when we were little. She had Graves' Disease early on in our lives, but it was at first misdiagnosed, and the doctors thought she had a host of other problems. A symptom of  Graves' is emotional lability. It sometimes took very little to set my mom off in those days. She didn't beat me, but her screaming was enough to frighten me to the extent that I generally wanted her to know as little as possible of what I was doing so she would have no cause to be angry with me. Once in awhile I wanted  a cuddle with her in the rocking chair, but I didn't usually get it. If I sat on anyone's lap in the rocking chair during the day when my dad was at work, it would have been on my twin brother Matthew's lap. When my mom was home, which was most of the time except when she had doctor's appointments, she had neither time nor interest in most of what I was doing..  What time and energy she had she devoted to Matthew. If I needed parenting during the daytime in those years, it had to come from Matthew. It was a sad state of affairs when one two- or three-year-old had to be responsible for the well-being of another. Fortunately for Matthew, I was mostly somewhat self-sufficient, but there were times when I needed help.

On a day shortly after we had turned three (I believe it was the day immediately following our birthday, which would have made it December 3. I can remember wearing my brand-new pink corduroy overalls that had arrived in the mail from my aunt for my birthday on the previous day. Happy blood bath anniversary, Matthew!) I dropped and broke a glass in the kitchen of our home. Fearful of our mother's wrath, I tried to hurriedly pick up the pieces of the glass and to dispose of them where they would not be detected. While shoving one piece of glass deeply into the kitchen wastebasket, my wrist slid against another especially sharp piece of glass that I had already  buried in the day's waste. Blood immediately began spurting from the wound in my wrist. I wasn't sure whether I was more afraid of the actual wound, of my mother's anger if she learned of the broken glass, or of what might have been her even greater anger if I were unsuccessful at keeping her kitchen from becoming a bloody scene straight out of Helter Skelter. I even remember that my mom and I had disagreed about whether I should wear my new pink overalls that day. My mom had wanted me to save them so that they would be new for an event we were to attend the following day. I didn't wish to bring on additional trouble for myself by getting blood onto a dish towel, so I grabbed the paper napkins from the holder on the breakfast table and attempted to absorb the spurting blood from my wrist as I continued to pick up pieces of glass and to bury them in the wastebasket as fast as I  could, although more carefully than before.

After a few moments, Matthew wandered into the room. I don't know if he, too, possessed genuine fear of our mother's reaction, or if he simply empathized with me and feared I would be in trouble for the broken glass and the ensuing mess. All I know is that he didn't summon our mother. He handed me a roll of paper towels and told me to hold those on my arm while he finished cleaning the broken glass the best that a barely-three-year-old could. Once the glass he could see was removed and the blood that could be wiped away was (the blood on the floor rug wouldn't be eradicated by anything a three-year-old could do) he took me into the family room with a fresh roll of paper towels and a trash bag. He held me on his lap in the rocking chair while I soaked one paper towel after another with my blood, then tossed it in the general direction of the trash bag. By that time, Matthew was covered in blood as well.

At this moment my mother walked in. All she saw was two bloody three-year-olds. To her credit, she didn't freak out at either of us for the heap of bloody paper towels on her family room floor or for our bloody clothing on her now bloody rocking chair. The blood itself freaked her out more than a bit, though, especially since she initially didn't even know the source of it. She didn't know how much blood was lost, or from which of her two three-year-olds it came, so she dialed 9-1-1. In the meantime she assessed the situation and found that a gash in my wrist had produced the blood she found all over us. She hadn't even seen her kitchen yet. She waited for the paramedics while she applied pressure to my lacerated wrist.

My mother would not have gone ballistic over a broken drinking glass. A bloody dish towel would have been the least of her concerns. Because the undiagnosed Graves' Disease caused her to have a heightened state of anger and/or hysteria over things that shouldn't have been terribly upsetting to a more stable person, I feared the worst from her when any little thing went awry. As it was, following one ambulance ride, a transfusion of blood from my dad and my Uncle Steve (who lived with us and had been at medical school when the accident happened but appeared in the ER shortly after being paged),  several internal and external stitches, and a night in the hospital,  everthing was fine. The blood probably would have  come out of the overalls, but my mother tossed them into the trash because she said that seeing me in them again would have brought back horrible memories of her tiny twins drenched in blood. She said that in a weird sort of way, it reminded her of pictures of Jackie Kennedy's pink suit covered with JFK's blood. (I believe she threw out the clothes Matthew had been wearing as well.) We made it through that particular crisis and many others, often just my twin brother and me, with parents somtimes never being any the wiser.

My mom's Graves' Disease was eventually diagnosed, and she calmed down. She went on to bigger and not necessarily better illnesses. After I donated bone marrow to her when she had leukemia, we bonded, and her favoritism of Matthew was no longer an issue. He didn't have to be my parent each day until my father returned from work anymore.

Along with the lack of need for Matthew to function as my caretaker came a slightly sad but inevitable side effect: we became the proverbial spar-like-cats-and-dogs brother and sister. It was a relatively even match, and therefore a somewhat fair ten-year-long battle. He was roughly twice my size, but my intellect, savvy, and level of meanness exceeded his roughly as much as his size exceeded mine. Our disagreements almost never became physical both because that was where our parents drew the line as well as because I was smart enough to know that I didn't stand a chance in a physical fight against my brother, but our parents went through ten years of  listening to and mediating disagreements about everything from what TV program to watch to what our dog should be named, to which of us got the bigger portion of ice cream. (It was Matthew. Matthew always managed to get more than his share of ice cream.) Syndicated newspaper parenting columnist John Rosemond, whose columns my mother reads primarily for the purpose of disagreeing with him, would have sent us both to our rooms for our formative years of the ages of six through sixteen, but my parents said they didn't go to the trouble of bringing children into the world so that we could function as decorations in the house's extra  bedrooms until we were old enough to leave home. Consequently, the disagreements continued and were experienced by the entire family.

My parents knew something that John Rosemond apparently doesn't, which is that if parents give as little attention as possible to sibling disputes, children eventually become bored with them, and move on to other things, with relationships intact. This is essentially what happened with my brother and me. The process was perhaps accelerated by trauma that I experienced. Matthew had to choose be on he side either of my attackers or on my side, and he concluded that blood is, indeed, thicker than water. After our experience with the broken glass, he knew this to be literally true. It's not that we'll never have another disagreement again for as long as we both live, but, generally speaking, we have a bond forged by shared experiences that began with our time together in utero. We're close enough, anyway, that it bothered me to spend my birthday for the first time away from my twin brother.

As we're growing up and our lives are taking us down different paths, it's unlikely that yesterday was the last birthday we'll ever spend apart. Still, I don't have to like it. Happy belated birthday, Matthew.

Surprise Post

My Dear Sweet Alexis,

You probably forgot that we have your info for this account and can post on it. Today seemed an especially appropriate day to do so.

Happy seventeenth to our little Lexus, who is, to us, much more like a Bentley.

You're growing up, even physically to some degree, which many of us, least of all you, ever thought would come. Many exciting things will happen to you in the upcoming years. Most will be good, and maybe a few will not, but all will combine to take you on a fantastic roller coaster ride.

Keep in mind that the worst is very likely over. If you exercise normal caution, nothing as bad as the things that have already happened to you in the past is likely to happen again. It can't be all good  (as much as I would love for it to be for you, it just can't; that's not how real life operates), but it can be mostly good, and you can take what you can learn from the times that aren't so great.

As you're growing physically and chronologically, the other university students will be more like you, and real friendships will come. Be patient.

In the meantime, you have Uncle Scott and me, who love you as parents do except that we're a hell of a lot more fun than parents.

I wish I could see you today, but we both have compromised immune systems and you're carrying around a virus from which I really need to stay away, so we'll have to settle for skyping. Uncle Scott will be there to wish you a happy birthday in person for both of us.

Have a happy seventeenth. A few years from now, you'll wonder into what black hole this birthday and the several that are soon to follow disappeared. As much as it feels like it now to you, you will not be young forever. Enjoy it while it lasts.

I love you so much.

Auntie J.