Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nausea and Me - A...Ummm...Story?

So in the last post, I said "I was going to tell the whole saga in big detail, even going back in time to all the problems I've had with motion sickness and general stomach sickness my whole life. Since I was a child. And I was going to call it "Nausea and Me: A... Umm... Story?" But I will spare you that and you're welcome."

Well, eff you guys, I'm doing it. And I'm sorry.

I'm doing it because I remembered very vividly a story from my childhood that is critical to this whole thing. And it's very dramatic. I guess you could call it a near-death experience. And I'm doing it because I feel particularly dizzy today. The motion sickness is reminiscent of the motion sickness I felt during the near-death experience. Teaser? Yes.

Also, when I tell stories like these, while they seem normal to me, because, well, I lived them, to others they're like "*crickets* Ummmm, well. Huh." Which shocks me each time because I totally forget, each time, that most people didn't have a childhood like mine. I guess. In my life, I've been truly afraid for my life at least three times. Wait, four. I don't know. And these aren't roller coaster stories or even driving off the road or being a few cars behind an almost accident. That's sort of normal. No, mine are... well, you'll see.

Holy crap, what a build-up.

Oh and always there's some detail that I've forgotten until I actually say it, that sounds effed up even to me. And that's shocking too. Because I'm like, huh, wow, I get how that would be a weird way to act now that I'm a parent myself. Moms don't normally do that, do they? I mean, they shouldn't do that, right? Right.

As far as parenting goes, this video kind of represents what I do really really well. I follow people around who seem to know what they're doing and then do it (frequently going overboard at the time). Cause I know (know) that what I grew up with is not the way to go. It's from the movie Point of No Return (which, I know, I know, is a lame version of a French movie, blah blah blah), but the scene starting at 3:20 has always stuck with me. A true aha moment for me.

Oh, this in no way relates to Phebe. And for that I am sorry too. I'm going to go try to get the history for my plot of land to see if it could've been her property at one point. That would be cool and like, cosmic, or something. I'm pretty sure this whole project is cosmic regardless. It's just my living on her land would push it over the edge.

Without further ado, Nausea and Me:

When I was very young (starting at around 4 or 5) until my teenage years, I used to get violently ill a couple of times a year. Usually Easter and Christmas. I would spend hours and hours puking. Eventually, of course, dry heaving. Until I passed out from exhaustion. I just couldn't stop. Specifically, it would last about 4 hours. Usually it was catalyzed by too much chocolate, but not always. That was what it was blamed on. I recently discovered that this phenomenon has a name. Who knew, you know? Cyclic vomiting syndrome. Like the whole Asperger's thing, just knowing the name for this and knowing that maybe other people have experienced it helps. And as GI Joe says, "Knowing is half the battle." Or something. I never watched that show.

Like I said, it continued into high school but by college, as far as I can remember, it pretty much went away. Either that or I confused the consequences of my stupid binge drinking in college with the CVS. Possible. Anyway, I stopped drinking at 23 and haven't experienced any CVS days since then either. Until I got pregnant, of course. Holy God, did I get sick. Not hospitalized-level sick, though, and for that I was extremely thankful.

The good thing (the only good thing) about morning sickness was that there was always going to be an end to it. One way or another. What I have now is this vague, yet nearly constant motion sickness. And the accompanying tightness in the stomach. Nearly constant. And there's no end in sight. It may possibly be related to colds and/or congestion and, since my daughter just started Kindergarden and my son is two, if there is an end in sight for this uninterrupted sequence of colds we're all experiencing, it's years away. Makes morning sickness seem like a walk in the goddamned park. Oh, and there's fatigue. Heavy fatigue.

I hope my fancy NYC doctor finds something (while at the same time I'm terrified he'll find something). I just want relief.

I still haven't told you about the near-death thing. Maybe it's not that big a deal. Anyway, we used to be wealthy, I guess. My dad was a successful surgeon/proctologist in Florida during the decade when Katie Couric's husband died of colon cancer so everyone started getting colonoscopies. Are you done giggling over the proctologist thing? Can we move on?

Where this money is now a days is a mystery to me, but, it is true that we thought we were wealthy. And my dad liked to sail. And he's kind of got delusions of grandeur about a lot of things. Well, now he's just insane due to the drink, but he always was, let's just say, overextending himself. So he thought he could captain a sailboat by himself, with minimal experience, in the Bahamas during hurricane season (because then, boat rentals are like super cheap!).

We did this for years. And mostly without incident. We would rent a sailboat for a week, island hop, and come back home tan and with tons of contraband shells as souvenirs. It was mostly a lot of fun. Until one year when it wasn't.

One year, we experienced a sort of a perfect storm type of scenario. Kind of all of a sudden, the engine died. And while my dad is pretty good at motoring a boat and also sailing in open waters with good wind, he is not good at sailing exclusively to move around. So we were out in the open when we started seeing ominous clouds. And when he radioed the rental place to get them to come out to get us, they told us there was a tropical storm moving through and they couldn't get to us until the next day.

He managed to get us into a very very shallow cove (uninhabited, of course) and we spent hours trying to anchor. That's difficult to do without a motor. As I'm typing this, of course, I'm wondering why we didn't take our dinghy (which did have a little motor) and take us kids and one of the moms (we went with another woman and her son) onto shore. I guess because it was uninhabited? And maybe we thought it would be ok, that once the anchor stuck it would be fine? In any case, we did think the anchor stuck and then we prepared to wait it out. With life vests.

Only, the anchor, of course, wasn't stuck. And, only, another sailboat thought that our little cove would be a good place to wait out the storm too. And while they may have been actually anchored, we were not, and of course we made straight for them when the worst of the storm was upon us. It's kind of a goddamned miracle that the boats didn't crash and capsize.

What was I doing while all this was going on, you ask? Why, I was down in the cabin puking my effing guts up. Over and over and over, for hours. And hours. I was dangerously dehydrated by the end of it. To be fair, it wasn't just me down there, it was me and my brother who is one year younger than me. I'm guessing I was about 10. Everyone else was on deck helping out/screaming with fear/sobbing/singing spirituals (true, that). My mom came down to help my brother and me periodically, but mostly we were on our own.

So eventually that day ended and the sun came out the next day and the water was still. And the rental company came to tow us back to the main island. And we checked into a hotel (which I believe my dad was against for some reason- money, I guess?) and I finally ate and slept and regained my strength. I remember the relief of checking into that hotel like it was yesterday. Safety. Land. Nourishment.

So that's my story. Oh, here's the questionable parenting part. And for once, I think, it originates with my dad (although, my mom went along). We went back the next year and the next year after that. I don't believe I wanted to, but, we did.

I'm sorry for the build-up and for the potential let-down on your part. And for the digression away from the main point of this blog. I find these kinds of posts cathartic, though. I've never been very vocal and this is a great way for me to get a lot of these things out.

Sorry. Until later...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day Trip to NYC - Part 1 (?)

Hi! Last week I took a day trip to NYC (all by myself! I know!) and I thought I'd write it up. With visual aids! Well, only a few. I don't have an iphone or anything, just a simple cell phone I can't upload the pictures from, and so instead, I'm going to only show you the interesting museum things I saw by using someone else's pictures and then I'm going to describe all the other stuff. Ahhh, it's better that way. What's that? I should be able to do a better blog? I should be able to upload pictures, ya dork you? Oh yea? Well, that's just mean. Leave me alone. How much do those internet phones cost, anyway? And do I really need to google things wherever I am? No. I don't. See? I survived the day in New York, and you know why? Cause I brought a map. So there.

Alright. What? What was I talking about? Oh, yea! Yay me!

I wrote all this down on the train ride home. It's pretty disjointed and I'll do my best. So here it is. A few thoughts.

1. Dude, wtf was those Sex and the City sluts' problem? Or, conversely, what is my celibate (as far as I know. Jeesh, now I don't want to think about it) sister who lives in Brooklyn's problem? Or Liz Lemmon's? There are tons of handsome men walking around Manhattan. Tons. Do I have low standards? Possibly. I just don't understand how Miranda ended up with Schteve (who I like btw) with all the hotties walking around. Are they all gay? Like one out of every ten men - doable. Oh, no, I think I just answered my own question there. Here's the thing, though. I don't find gay men doable. And I have pretty good gaydar. I think. Anyway, I stand by my one in ten men. Shut it.

Why so many doable men? It could be that I'm a slut. Well, in my imagination only. I have not officially been a slut in 15 years. Oh, the other thing is it may be that I have not been around many people, as a stay at home mom, for the last five years. And those men that I have been around tend to be dressed like douchebags. Go Jersey. Oh, and at one of the museums? A bus of West Point cadets. Duuuuuude. Don't get me started. Uniforms.

Have I creeped everyone out yet? Yea? OK, great! Let's move on.

2. Taking a 180 degree turn, I shall now make you concerned for me. Well. What do you have to say now? Alright, no more talking to an imaginary audience. Jeesh.

Anyway, I was in the city for a doctor's appointment. Not just any doctor, but a fancy super Manhattan specialist doctor. To see about this dizziness and weakness I've been experiencing for the last nine months or so. I do not have Meniere's disease, as it turns out. (On a sad note, no more diuretic! So back up a pant size in about a week, is my guess.) But I may have something more serious wrong with me. Or not. Too early to say. I just scheduled an MRI for three weeks from now. Oh, and they're testing me for Lyme's disease. The doctor was great, though. I'm so glad I went. Even if it did take about two and a half hours to get there. Upper East side, of course! Only the best for me. Well, this time anyway.

Oh, I was going to tell the whole saga in big detail, even going back in time to all the problems I've had with motion sickness and general stomach sickness my whole life. Since I was a child. And I was going to call it "Nausea and Me: A... Umm... Story?" But I will spare you that and you're welcome.

3. Museums and How This Relates in Any Way to Phebe - Before I Veer Off on a Tangent Again.

I wrote in an earlier post how people in earlier times have done without power, etc etc for ages, sometimes with great sophistication. Or some such. Anyway, I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Neue Gallery and I now want to junk punch the me that wrote that. Or slap me. Slap me sounds classier.

On this trip I tried to focus on Phebe's time period, which generally spans the 18th century. At the Met I saw this painting by John Singleton Copley and just love it. It was painted in 1782, nine years before Phebe died.

At the Met in the American Wing they have period rooms. How I never knew this before is beyond me, really. But I didn't. So I found the rooms from her time period and a few were much fancier, grander estates than Phebe's little world. One, though, reminds me a great deal of Marlpit Hall here in Middletown. Same woodwork, roughly. And I'm glad to have that nearby, as a whole house too. Something about period rooms is sad to me. I know it's good that they're saved, but they were designed to be part of a whole. Here's a picture and here's the link to more pictures of the room.

I know it's not her time period, at all, but I saw a John Singer Sargent painting from 1882 that I also fell in love with. Just in love. I've been a big big fan of his for a long time, but I'd never seen this or maybe it had never stood out to me. I think I love every single thing about this painting. So glad to have stumbled across it in the open storage section of the American Wing.

Moving out of the Met but staying in Phebe's time period, I then went to the Neue Galerie and saw the Messerschmidt exhibit. Good God. If you can, you should go. It'll be there until January and then it moves to the Louvre. If you're lucky enough to see it in the Louvre, then eff you, I hate you. Anyway. I have never seen a more alive inanimate object in my life. These were sculpted in the 1770's. He made a series of 69 busts during a period of quasi-madness at that time, after having had a very successful career as a court sculptor. They're self-portraits with his face set in various extreme expressions. Only about 40 busts still exist, and they're other-worldly. So modern and yet at the same time, so basically human and universal. Hard to explain. So I'll stop. Phebe's time period, too. That's important.

And below is a detail of a lithograph that I found by Matthias Rudolph Toma in 1839 showing some busts from the series.

Insane, right? God, human beings can be so goddamned fascinating sometimes.

4. Saw a Celebrity and tons of Celebrity Look-a-Likes
As I was walking around after lunch, I realized to myself that I had not seen any celebrities on this trip. Which was weird. Now, for most people? Probably not weird. But for me? Well, you see, I have a very very broad definition of the term "celebrity." For instance, once in South Carolina this past summer (we were on a family vacation), I saw this guy in Starbucks, and nearly freaked the fuck out. I like got all nervous, made sure not to look at him directly, you know, the celebrity thing. Only, I'll ask, do you know who he is? Yea? Neither did I. But I knew I had seen him on TV. That was it. Like I said, my definition of celebrity is anyone I recognize from the television or from the movies, whether, even, I know their name or not. (His name, btw is Mitch Rouse and he appeared on a Reno 911 episode I had seen once and it turns out he used to write for Strangers with Candy (squeeee!).)

Sure, this picture is huge.

Anyway, I was thinking that my trip to NYC wasn't going to be the perfect trip, when I saw her. Upper East Side and for just a second, I swear to effin gah, I saw her. Her being Kathryn Erbe. Of Law & Order: Criminal Intent fame. See? Just then, I had researched who she was a few days ago and then immediately I forgot her name and just now had to imdb her. Again. That's how famous she is. But you know what? Mission fucking accomplished. Take that, Dubya.

Again with the huge picture

Before I leave the celebrity topic, I should mention that I also saw tons of celebrity look-alikes. The list of look-alikes includes, but is not limited to, the following: Sarah Jessica Parker, Olivia Newton-John (Is it Olivia Newton now?), Stephenie Meyer, Cindy Sherman and Kal Penn. It might possibly be because I go to this website too much. Oh, and shut it, I totally saw Kathryn Erbe. Which I remembered this time and did not even have to scroll back up to remember how to spell, thank you very much.

5. Dean and Deluca and People Watching in General in Manhattan
I ate lunch at the Dean and Deluca near the Met, which was great. First of all, the whole area is great for people watching. Tons of craziness. And tons of money. So, you know, tons of plastic surgery, big sunglasses, impossible high heels and lots of fur coats. I also saw two women in flip-flops, though. It was like 55 degrees that day. WTF?

Oh and I also saw a few chic women with all natural gray hair, like myself. Only, as I said, they were chic. Which my dandruff and size 10 mom jeans will ensure I will never be, but still, it was nice to see it. I can probably fit into a size 8 mom jean right now on account of the diuretics. But still.

One of the things I've always noticed, when I've gone to New York, is that New Yorkers like to talk loudly about personal things. Like that slut Samantha on SATC. I kid. Anyway, I heard this fantastic thing as I was sitting in Dean and Deluca and it really stuck with me. Let me describe the situation a little, first. The guy talking was a black guy in dreadlocks (long) and like a cool scarf and cool sunglasses (inside, natch). He was speaking to his girlfriend (?), an older-ish woman with dyed, big blonde hair, and high nasaly voice and big sunglasses. Oh and lots of plastic surgery. They were the weirdest couple. I sat next to them for roughly 20 minutes. At one point the guy says, (are you ready?) "Personally, I'm happy with just cereal for breakfast."


6. Train Ride Home
You know in the first section, how I was talking about all the doable dudes in NYC? Know when that changed? At Penn Station, in the NJ Transit section, that's when. Two things from the train ride home. First, there was a loud-talker in my train car and at one point he said, to the person on the other end of the cell phone, "And Jesus said, 'You shall know them by the fruit that they bear.'" And I thought, OMG, is he talking to my brother? Or my mom?

The second thing from the train ride home is, Jeezbus Christie, do I have to take my kids to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas extravaganza? The way it's presented around here in NJ is that it's mandatory. It seems really lame. I'm not doing it. Eff you, NJ.

OK, that's it. A lot, right? It's no Bloggess at Blogher 2010, but it was still great. I heart NY, it seems. Even if this trip involves being warned that I could possibly have a tumor, albeit benign, in my head. To be fair, it was one among a list of possibilities. I heart NY and good, however frightening, health care.

Also, I don't care what my husband says, my daughter is going to college in NYC in 13 years, if only I can come visit all the time and be all skeevy about the men in Manhattan. And on that note... laters.

Friday, November 19, 2010

To Cleanse the Palate

So I'm working on a massive post about my trip to Manhattan (Upper East Side! Holla!) yesterday, but it's going to take a while. And while I was writing it, this happened:

Peter Genovese wrote about highways again in the Star Ledger and I am confused. First of all, what does the title mean? No idea. And then, why does one need to write about a highway at all? I mean, I get writing about construction updates, or funding scandals, or accidents, or what have you, but a lifestyle piece about a highway? Don't understand. But then, I'm finding, I don't understand about 95% of things having to do with my life here in NJ.

Had to get that off my chest. And a few sarcastic italics there for which I am sorry.

Also? RE my trip to the famous #6 on his previous list of awesome things in NJ? I did finally go there last week and it was as depressing as I thought it would be. No pictures though. None needed, really, as this photo does complete justice to the "historic marker". See what I did there? I went all out sarcastic quotations. Yay me.

I don't like ranting. Sorry. But sometimes I can't control myself. On account of the lameness.

Until next time and my NYC post will be rant free. 95%. Promise.