Tuesday, May 31, 2005

of all things memorial

what a weekend. possibly the very nicest, most loving, least self-conscious and unjudgmental uncle i could have ever possibly had passed away sunday night. after recuperating from a heart transplant in a cleveland hospital for eight months, my uncle pete flew home strapped in a gurney in a tiny hospital plane to a chicagoland nursing home this last thursday night. upon receiving news that my dad was hospitalized, his wife [and my dad's favorite little sister] kay then came to the hospital friday. in the intensive care unit family room, she told me about the horrifying ride in this itty-bitty jet with a giggle and her signature pursed upper lip.

pete was hilarious, welcoming all the guys with a warm, rollicking handshake. every girl was "his girlfriend" and he'd tuck one or two under each outstretched arm and exclaim, "god bless america!" to everyone he offered a drink, a hug, and acceptance -- he was actually albanian, allegedly quasi-literate, and spoke an albanian-greek patois so he knew from being judged, lemme tell ya. at two in the morning, he drove my very young mom to the hospital [albeit the wrong hospital] when she was pregnant with me and her water broke. after my parents' divorce, he was always ready with a kind word and a warm message for us to pass along to her. he didn't ask about her the way the others from my dad's side did [as though she were dead or in a coma or something] but acknowledged her thriving existence.

my father is doing okay. he is experiencing a frustrating aphasia, and he gets downright pissed off at himself because he can't get what he wants to say to form into words. this means that, though the verbal tics are still in tact, all the "y'knows" and "what-nots" are the steel links to a flimsy chain of nonsensical garble about lighthouses, landscaping, dogs and garbage cans.

for me, what is even more frustrating is the friggin' volume in the i.c.u. isn't that supposed to be a quiet place? here i am leaning over on my dad's bed, supported by both locked arms with my ear to his dry, trembling lips, trying to parse his growly whispers. just when i think i can finally extrude some meaning from the mumbling over the roar of the arctic a/c, so begins one of several loud talking, nasal nurses, speaking with what seems to me to be a most untherapeutic and cacophonous volume. someone tell me: are nurses trained to speak this way!? when they command my dad to push and pull them and hold up fingers, you can see his large brown eyes roll like, "jesus christ, lady." when i visit today, i'm bringing my hearing aid, dammit.

we learned that he finds words better when he focuses on one point, so we tried to coach him to keep his eyes open. amidst all the talk of burger kings and parameters with half-mast eyes, he affixes his gaze on my face and asks the only lucid question of the day, "why don't you come over any more?"

Friday, May 27, 2005


well, i sat at my desk last night to make good on my promise to write, when i got a call from my sister. my dad was found unconscious at home and was taken to one hospital and then to another for emergency brain surgery. because he has a titanium valve in his heart, he takes a blood thinner. well, apparently, he was rushing around doing things [even though he should be resting since he just had his gall bladder removed and was sliced in half only a short time ago] and apparently banged his head.

a little bump on the head + blood thinners =
hematoma = blood clot on the brain

i went to the hospital to meet up with dad's wife, my sisters, my aunt kay [such a pretty lady, i forget], my sweet cousin valerie, and rick who, never one to surprise anyone, was fast asleep on the couch. rick is powerless against the indominable force of a couch; he succumbs to sweet slumber instantaneously.

to make a long story short, the surgery was successful and it doesn't look like there is any brain damage. he is not, however, back on the the blood thinner [would make it hard for the hematoma to heal] so he's still in critical condition. they need to monitor him closely to make sure he doesn't suffer a stroke because his valve gets jacked up.

my little sister reports that he's drifting in and out of sedation and capable of opening his eyes and moving his hands and feet. he's tried to rip the ventilator out [he hates having it] and has been trying to get up and move around, so they've had to restrain him a bit.

for my sisters and me, humor is a soothing salve in times like this. my dad was a hairstylist by trade and is still a salon owner, a european native, and also a leo. as a result of all variables mentioned, he's always nattily dressed, outfitted with jewelry, and of course, expertly coiffed. he's always had a sort of long, wavy, perfectly tinted 'do with nary a spot of grey or baldness to be seen. now, his head is obviously shaved and outfitted with a head cap much like the kind newborn babies get. when we went in to see him after surgery, my sister nicole says, "when he wakes up, he's gonna be so pissed about his hair."

Thursday, May 26, 2005

lemme 'splain...

my sincerest apologies for having left a nerve precariously dangling in my last post. i will now commence rapid-fire posting to alleviate any confusion, concern, or annoyance on the part of anyone. hopefully, you will find my topics benign and possibly enjoyable! here goes...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

post ≠ pissed

this is my brain trying to figure out how to post what i need to post.

there have been so many things swirling in my head about which i could be posting -- i've just had a hard time determining what to post about first!

i am also wanting to make sure i attack each issue without offending anyone [me? hamhanded? naw!] or doocing myself either. and no, dina: that's not "douch" [or "douche"]. i know others who also share my perverse and cruel thirst for taunting those who commit grievous spelling errors.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

how i love the comments

i've just added haloscan commenting. 'bout time, eh? the good news is that all previous comments are not lost -- just click on the posts under stuff i said before [scroll down and look on the right side] to see what was written on the old blogger comments.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

my kinda town, chicago is

new york, new york... it's a urine-filled town!

i'm back from my weekend trip to new york city. i had much fun hanging out with my gothamite friends, neither of whom are over five feet tall. at 5'2.5", i felt like an amazon. it's amazing how different circumstances change your perception of things.

there was a time when my singlehood was gnawed off from coupledom, painfully new and raw, that i visited new york city and fell in love with it. bear in mind that i was there with a performance group and staying in a posh hotel in midtown with all expenses paid. everything was available, open late, easily accessible. people moving briskly without being frantic gets my seal of approval. brio, efficiency, zeal for achievement in the people was captivating. i could so live here, i thought.

having gone without the responsibility of shielding the young eyes of 15 midwestern teens from that which they may not appreciate on a very pricey trip, i see new york differently.

manhattan does not support life. it's trying to tell us it's inhabitable and no one is listening, not even conan o'brien whom we saw out to breakfast. it's trying to tell us to get the hell off already. for one, there is an extreme paucity of nature. cement as far as the eye can see. i didn't notice this before because i was there in november, but unless you're going to gorgeous central park, you see no grass. you see sickly trees. the pansies and begonias planted in front of chi-chi apartment buildings are hating their lives, street spray speckling their wilted petals.

i thought about chicago streets: even closer to the loop, i remembered there are usually very small plots of grass that flank the sidewalks under trees. i asked my friends, "dude. where do dogs take a gang?" sunday morning, i was witness to a dozen or more small breeds defying their natural instinct to poop on a soft, absorbent surface. you could tell they weren't real pumped about hunching to crap on the sidewalk, surrounded by a forest of legs. the owners weren't real pumped about hunching over to pick them up either, leaving an indelible skid mark. we walked to get breakfast, and every 3 feet, a squirt of some kind of urine splashed the pollock-esque pavement. mingled with the jus d'ordure curbside, the stench was breathtaking.

i realize that the zeal for achievement is due to the fact that everything [with the exception of gauzy skirts in soho] is so prohibitively expensive, you gotta bust your ass to pretend to survive, only to be surrounded by asphalt, piss, and garbage. there's no comfort of any kind there -- living space is an oxymoron. apartment dwelling, even in my friend's very cute place in a nice building, squeezes you out like toothpaste into the street where the drive to consume is overwhelming, but you can't afford to buy anything anyway, so you just feel empty.

the anonymity is overwhelming. there are so many people there that, unless you look like a vision of perfection or try damned hard to work that singles scene, finding a mate just seems improbable. who will remember you? someone just like you is going to walk by in sixty seconds.

one thing i didn't experience is rudeness of new yawkers. yes, they push on the subway before letting people off, but no one was loud, obnoxious and in-your-face. the natives seemed to keep to themselves, preserving a false sense of solitude, interacting with one another in the most efficient manner possible, minus all the pleasantries. it may be seen as brusque, but i still like that.

what i liked even more was coming home to my brilliant, gorgeous green yard, getting the car in our garage, parking in a parking lot and getting... chipotle! no, i'm not itching to get to the suburbs at all. chicago is the best possible mix of artificial and natural, urban and pastoral, fast-paced and friendly and i hope to stay as long as it will have me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

'cos beige lines... blow away!

rang-dang, diggity dang-dee dang, blow!

after proudly blazing through an entire year without sickness, exposing myself to health-compromising conditions [read "four to a hotel room"], at the apex of my travel-free season, i have managed to catch some cooties.

i judged my high school alma mater's dance team tryouts [75 hopefuls = 4.5 hour audition] and sat next to one of my former instructors, sniffling and sneezing. i should have known that walgreen's bag of snot rags on the floor was a little too close for comfort, and i probably should have kept a portion of the judges' chow [gummy bears and baked lays] to myself.

i thought the advil cold and sinus [non-drowsy formula, natch'] would save me, but packed with pseudoephedrine, i was cracked out all day. as someone who used to live on ripped fuel and the like, i never expected to feel so hyped, but my tolerance seems to be way down.

the result? laying in bed until 4:30a with mental diarrhea, feeling like i just snorted big rails of searing sahara sand. nasal passages aflame, i slept on the couch downstairs.

i don't have patience for this -- i'm going to new york to have fun this weekend, damnit.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

p.o.b + p.m.g = s.o.l.

oh, pat. a fine mess you got yourself into.

i giggle and squirm uncomfortably every time i hear that croaky, south dakota accent ["you are soo haat!"] on the voicemail. god, man -- what were you thinking?

last night, i watched dr. phil basically hand you your ass only to kiss it shamelessly at the very end. i sat on my couch by myself and laughed like a loon at your poor, down-trodden [but clearly surgically enhanced] expression. at one point, some scruffy young man soliciting for donations came to my door giving me a lengthy, mumbly spiel about contributing to his worthy cause. i could feel my teeth gritting as i politely held the door open. i felt like screaming, "can't you see i'm watching pat o'brien get reamed right now?!" and slamming the door in his face.

as i drove back from the y last night, i noticed the "the insider" billboard at the end of my street, plastered with your big smarmy mug. you look sheepish, almost penitent, as though you knew when the photo was taken what was to come.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

video killed the bdd star

sunday night, i shot an instructional video for a dance team with whom i've been working for several years. last night, i sat at the kitchen table and watched it, writing down what bouts of aphasia and tourette's syndrome casey should edit out. we taped the intro -- a shoulders-up shot -- at the end of the tape. casey let the tape roll as i sampled words to use, letting them roll around in my mouth before spitting them out with an eye-roll, an obscenity, and a twitch before finally settling on a sturdy script.

in my face's more serene depictions, i thought, "whoa -- that's totally my mom at my age." i see our resemblance more clearly than ever on that video. i also never got the courteney cox connection until then either. alas, our resemblance only exists in the follicular and mandibular region and not the corporal or financial. the freakiest is watching and thinking, "wow -- i really am n years old! how'd that happen?!"

have you ever watched yourself on video for a while? it gets mesmerizing, not in a narcissistic way, but because the person you feel you obviously know better than anyone else in the world becomes, in some respects, a stranger.

to see your own face in action in profile is new. watching the way your face works, the gesticulations with your hands is like meeting someone entirely new. you see parts of your body you never noticed and think, "hm. i never knew i looked like that." to see yourself as others do feels like finding something hidden in the back of the basement or tucked away in a deep drawer that you never knew was there. you don't really know what to do with it. you just wondered why you never noticed it under all that dust and cat litter in the crawlspace of your ego.