Schroedinger's Dreams

I have a chronic disease. Don't ask me what it is, I don't know. It comes in irregularly-timed cycles, and when it comes, I am incapacitated. I sleep more than half the day; I lose feeling of certain parts of my body, one at at time; I lose control of my legs and collapse unpredictably; I am dizzy all the time. It has been like this for one year now. They cannot tell me what it is. Therefore, they cannot cure it.

On this past Friday, the 18th of July, 2003, I went to see a new doctor, one who actually listened to me and believed the words I said. She ran a battery of tests on me (9 vials of blood, baby!). I think the nurses felt bad about making me go through it. I was ecstatic that somebody in the medical profession was doing something about this instead of treating me like a hysterical woman. The two front-runners for "why she's sick and bitching all the time" are chronic fatigue syndrom and Lyme disease. One is treatable, one is not.

My dreams and plans for the future are currently stuck in an indeterminate quantum state. If this is Lyme disease, then they can treat it, and I should be fine, few or even no lingering effects from what I lovingly call "the sickness." I can still pursue my goals of being an actor, a costume designer, a super-techie, a biotech researcher, a novelist, and/or a poet. If it is chronic fatigue syndrome, and it doesn't get any better, I can rule out being a researcher, and I will likely have to look at being a novelist as a twenty-year goal, not a ten year goal (as the time I project it will take me to finish a novel will go from 4-5 years to something more like 10). If it is chronic fatigue syndrome, even if it does get better, all theater-related careers are out. I know nobody in theater who does not at least occasionally pull 15-hour days, and when you're fixing the leading lady's bodice, it has to get done by opening night, come hell or high water. And you may ask me, is that really so hard? Well, honey, just writing this sad little piece has just about exhausted me for the night.

Just until Friday, I just keep saying, just until Friday.
How did Schroedinger's cat ever deal with it?

You sleep 8 hours a day. You work 8 hours a day. You are supposed to relax for 8 hours a day, and the 8 hours break unto:

You spend 1 hour having lunch.

You spend 1 hour getting up and having breakfast.

You spend 1 hour going to your work.

Your boss wants you to stay a couple of minutes to talk with you about your job for tomorrow: that's another hour.

You spend 1 hour going to your home.

You spend 4 hours of quality time with your kids.

Your neighbor comes and chats with you for half an hour.

Your husband / wife wants to have sex for at least an hour.

You watch television for two hours. One of them is just advertisement.

You wash your teeth three times a day.

You spend half an hour taking a dump.

You spend 1 hour reading a book.

You spend 2 hours surfing the web and writing for .

You take half an hour for a nap.

Your parents call you and speak with you half an hour over the phone.

Your friends call you to have a drink: that's one hour getting dressed and bathed, one hour getting there, one hour with your friends, one hour to find a cab and go home.

That adds for a total of 37 hours and fifteen minutes for a whole day !!!!


Schroedinger's cat never had to deal with this because it never existed. Never was such a device. Never was the cat dead or alive. It never dreamt anything. Schroedinger dreamt the cat. We've dreamt the cat all these years. We can dream the cat out of the trap, we can dream its liberty from the prison of indetermination.

Project Chenoweth, Interim Progress Report

First, a bit of background

Project initiation, January, 2003:

The review committee was already seated round a semicircular table when I came into the room. I hopped onto my perch, settled my feathers, and prepared to face the music.

"Evilrooster. Hello." The greying man sat like the keystone in the arch of my interrogators.

Must remain calm. I let my gaze start with him, then sweep back and forth across the entire panel. "Hello, gentlemen." Some nod, some don't.

I can see the chairman mentally tick off "social preliminaries" from his unwritten agenda, and brace myself. It's publish or perish in the barnyard, and these guys will decide which.

"We have read your account of Project Beowulf, It is intriguing, to say the least. You claim to have crossbred a pig and a chicken, yes? With the chicken as the mother, despite its claims to be a rooster? And your experiment produced..."

"A rabbit."

"Just so. A rabbit. And you have the documentary evidence for all this."

"Yes. Birth certificates, marriage certificate, Consular Report of Birth. It's all in the paper."

"Mmm-hm. So I see." He does not open the copy of my paper, lying on the table in front of him. I can see the creases along the spine, and know he has already been through it.

The combined gaze of the review committee is starting to unnerve me. I try to seem unruffled, watching them back. Then something snaps inside me - my nerve breaks, perhaps, and I find myself blurting out, "What do you think?"

"Well, evilrooster, we think it is a well-written exposition of the experiment. Our only concern..." He seems nonplussed, and glances round the committee for a moment before continuing. "Well, the results are so extraordinary. I mean a pig and a chicken. A rabbit!" He shakes his head. "I'm worried that it's another cold fusion. I think we all are. That's the one thing your paper doesn't touch on."

"Cold fusion?" An odd way to put it...the "fusion" that produced the EasterBunny was not exactly, um, cold. Or did he mean physics? I hadn't planned for physics questions. How does cold fusion relate to barnyard crossbreeding?



"We would like so see some evidence of repeatability. What if you bred again? Do you think you'd get another rabbit?"

Does he know what he's asking? Still, the rule on the farm is that you're in the periodical or you're in the pot. "You want me to repeat the experiment. Breed them again."


Interim progress report, 21 July 2003:

Well, I'm pregnant.

We went to the hospital this morning for the "booking appointment", a one-stop shop where the nurses and midwives get to peer inside me, interrogate me, and take samples of bodily fluids for later analysis. The EasterBunny was particularly intrigued to see the baby in mama's tummy (he waved eh-oh when it moved its hand randomly). Scans of the scan will be on our website soon.

Chenoweth (a family name, probably destined to become the middle name when the baby is born) has a head 23mm wide, meaning that it is about 13 weeks and two days old (my calculations put it at 13 weeks and one day). Due date is therefore January 24, 2004. This means, of course, that that is the one day when it is guaranteed not to be born.

No information on gender, or for that matter, species.

Well, I'm off to beard the dragon in its lair - or, less poetically, to take the NCLEX test for my RN licensure. I'm pretty sure I'll do well, but I'm scared out of my gourd nevertheless - there's a lot riding on this test. If I don't pass, I'll have to pay another $200.- test fee and wait 3 months to retake it, neither of which my finances would support right now. I NEED a job (I have ca. $50.- for the rest of the month, and I've got 2 kids, and my utility bills aren't paid yet, never mind my land payment).

Wish me luck, for I need it greatly...


I got to the testing center at 9:20 for my 10:00 appointment, and started the test at 9:35. At 10:05 my computer shut off. I hadn't been keeping track of how many questions I had answered, so I was rather taken aback. You see, in the NCLEX, you answer anywhere from 75 to 265 questions, depending on how many questions of a certain difficulty level you get right. However, having the computer shut off at 75 doesn't NECESSARILY mean you've passed - it can also shut off if you've missed too many and have proven yourself irredeemably stupid. In other words, there's NO way to tell how you've done til you get the results. AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!

So now, instead of being terrified of the test, I'm a nervous wreck waiting for the results... *sigh*

I am quite disappointed at the moment. If I were in a comic strip, I'd have that inverted triangle of thick black scribbles in my thought balloon.

I was thinking about the RIAA and how terrible and litigious it is, and that the only truly indie music released nowadays is only the stuff that hasn't been touched by the RIAA. Their ridiculous war against file sharing systems smacks, to me at least, of the Church of $cientology's war against USENET in 1994-95. They're just going about it all wrong, bumbling and lurching forward, ham-fistedly attempting to squash anything that disagrees with them, like a villain in a Hannah-Barbera cartoon.

A few days ago, I came across this, which pops up a window and lets you know if the recording you're thinking about buying is affiliated in any way with the RIAA. So I decided to run a few CDs at through it, just to see. I checked a few Cranes and Ani DiFranco CDs, and, to my horrific dismay, found that both are affiliated with the RIAA. I was thoroughly nonplussed. How am I supposed to boycott the RIAA if my favourite bands are members, even if only by their distribution deals? (As is the case with both Righteous Babe (Ani's label) and Instinct Records (Cranes)).

I need to work out a way to buy CDs only from Canada and the UK. The shipping would be awful, no doubt. It's not like I buy CDs all that often, anyway, it's just that... I don't know. I dispise the RIAA for being such greedy pricks and refusing to listen to reason, just like their net.kook predecessors, and I am very hesitant to put even more money into their pockets. But, there's a new Cranes live album out as of last month, and I don't have it yet... Talk about a moral dilemma, eh?

And generally my generation
wouldn't be caught dead working for The Man
and generally I agree with them
trouble is you gotta have yourself an alternate plan

Ani DiFranco, "Not a Pretty Girl"


That's the best way to describe this weekend - we more or less took the weekend off we were too depressed to want to work or build fences so instead Saturday I helped paint a very small bedroom and then Sunday literally spent all day on the side of a pond fishing, which we ended the day at catching one large-mouth bass and 24 sunfish and bluegill which were cleaned and will be eaten at a later date.

Well it all has to do with our alpacas which always end up being a large chunk of change to repair or deal with in the end.
Here's a list of what happened:

  • Sweet Liberty: female, reabsorbed her cria unknown possibility
  • Lula: female, possibly reabsorbed her cria from possible trauma from another young male
  • Heather: female, recently gave birth and won't/can't get pregnant, unknown why
  • Lujoso: male, one of our newest super studs dislocated/displaced his shoulder. He was shipped here from Oregon recently and is gorgeous and is prize winning he's one of our more valuable males. Lujoso's currently on a three hour route to Ohio State University to be examined and treated. He had accumulated a large 'water bubble' on his shoulder overnight so I hope it's nothing super serious to where he can't come home today. I'll let you all know what happens when I get word.

Well so alpacas are a pain cause their pregnant for 11 months which is a very long time, losing a year of pregnancy is a tragedy to any farm. And Lujoso, well he was playing I think and that's how he hurt himself, males after some time are to be separated because they start fighting amongst one another, we on the day we took off were going to make some fence runs for the boys - guess that's our sign not to take anymore time away from the farm.

Final thought: Dammit! I can't win!

No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful.
Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful.

HE called me neurotic.

I hate to admit it, but he was right. He immediately apologized, realized that it was a bad choice of words. But he was right. I've known this about myself for years.

So, kids, once more unto the breech. Thank god I've started therapy, because even I'm getting fed up with myself.

ALL in all, Sunday had been a good day. Let's not forget that, and in fact, that is somewhat at the center of my current (daily) problem. It was a good day. We saw They Might Be Giants at the WXPN festival. This is probably the first concert where I was actually giddy as a five year old. The first time I saw R.E.M. I was in shock; when I saw Paul Westerberg, I was awestruck. When I saw Radiohead, I was completely blown away. But I was never giddy. Giddy is the feeling of a five year old on Christmas morning. Giddy is a weird feeling. Like you're head is filled with helium.

So I was giddy, bouncing up and down to "Birdhouse in Your Soul" and "Dr. Worm" and whatnot. It was great. There's something very strange about jumping up and down with a smile on your face while you sing along to a line like at the top of this w/u. It was honestly the most fun concert I've been to.

Fun is like crack--a very short-lived high.

BUT I can't just have fun. Always, in the back of my mind, I keep thinking, "There must be some sort of intrinsic value which will eventually lead me to aquiring material goods." Maybe not quite as wordy as that--maybe more like, "Can I use this for something?" in my misguided hopes of being a writer / musician / complete bullshit artist. Nothing is done purely for fun.

And in part, that's my upbringing. Basically, I was raised to believe that, in the end, the things I enjoy will ultimately hurt me. It's a sort of reverse masochism--all pleasure is painful. All things which are fun will basically result in my damnation. All pleasure is reflected in a deadly sin. Food? Makes you fat, will probably kill you. Especially chocolate. TV? Nothing but sex and violence, poorly written. Anyway, watching tv is lazy. Go do something with yourself. Sex? AIDS, syph, pregnancy, herpes, warts. Feeling good about yourself? Hon, you're deluding yourself--you are not special, you are not interesting, you are not brilliant. No, you're arrogant, foolish, a bore to be around.


And they're right. Thanks to food, I'm now fat. Thanks to tv, books, all sorts of sedentary activity, I'm pretty lazy. Thanks to sex, I have an STD. Not a deadly one, but one which is incurable, of unknown duration, and which has seriously damaged my sex life. Call it karma, call it cause and effect. Pride? Arrogance? Heh--look at my record collection. Look at my disdain for people who shop at Wal-mart OR Nordstroms. And I haven't even touched on the ills that American-style mass consumption has wreaked upon the world.

And thanks to, well, I'm not sure which sin, I pass all my problems off onto other things, like tv, food, sex, Wal-mart.

Ah, and here's the worst part. See, if I believed in a heaven and hell, or reincarnation, or enlightenment, if I had any religion, I could look at all this and say that self-denial will at least lead to something better later on. Though, really, even that is just chasing pleasure again--it's simply a delayed pleasure. Pleasure on someone else's terms. And giving up power is a weird type of pleasure. But that's not what I'm here to dwell on. See, I don't believe in any of those things. I don't believe that if I give up pleasure here, I'll get it in some next life or next state of existence or non-existence. This--right now--is all we have. I wouldn't say I'm an atheist, seeing as how I never make up my mind about anything at all. Fairly atheistic, but not full-on. But I know I don't believe in any of that--heaven, nirvana, whatever.

"Ah," you say, "so then why worry about pleasure? It's not like you'll get punished by some deity, right?"

Neurosis doesn't work that easily. You can throw logic at me all you want, but my walls are thick, and high. I will counter every argument.

And so you pick up your toys and go home. But before you do, wait. Let me explain. I don't know why I'm like this. I don't know why I am consumed with self-doubt and self-loathing. Maybe I never got over being friendless and constantly beat up from the time I was six until I entered college. Maybe I never got over my father's death. Maybe I have a chemical imbalance. But when I look at things I enjoy, I keep thinking, "What's the point?" What will I get out of it? There must be some sort of intrinsic value, some sort of eventual monetary/material outcome. Because fun doesn't exist on its own. Fun as fun is a waste of time and resources. Life is meant to be a fight. Life is meant to be survival; everything must be about survival.

But when you're white and middle class and suburban (and even that state is somewhat unnatural for me, having started out as a poor, Irish Catholic, urban widow-and-orphan type), you're not worried about survival anymore. That's been taken care of by mom and dad. I know if I lost my job, if something were to go wrong, I have a safety net. Which, of course, is what everyone strives for, really. I'm a fool for having that upset me. When you're in this state, you're supposed to be able to sit back and have fun. You're supposed to do things simply for the enjoyment that it brings.

I can't do that.

I'm a failure of Maslow's Hierarchy. I am a coward. And I'm scared, because I've lost the point to it all.

AND I know you're all bored. "Oh great--more angsty bullshit. I got over that shit years ago." Fine. But I haven't. And if I don't write about it, then I'm afraid what I would do. I'm afraid of keeping everything just inside my head--because those thoughts have started drifting in again.

And I'm sure some of you wouldn't mind that at all. But I hope some of you would. I know at least one of you would.

AND the forgotten, eighth deadly sin? Acedia--acute depression.

My letter of resignation is in my notebook. I haven't signed it yet. It's odd that I can't sign it until my boss is here and I can give it to her. Perhaps tomorrow isn't the best time to do it, she's got meetings all day and won't be free to get all sentimental.

Maybe that's a good thing.

She's already thrown me a farewell party, a whole farewell day really. She's known I am leaving almost as long as I have, and yet it's still hard giving her this letter. It's much easier contemplating writing out about 40 thank you cards for the rather overwhelming 'goodbye' fund they collected.

And then there is the simple anticlimactic fact that my last day isn't for 5 weeks, and that the mylar balloons they gave me on Friday will be deflated and defunct well before I am gone.

It's so strange. Much stranger than just knowing that I'm leaving. People have given me things, my boss has made a speech. I wish I could just up and disappear. She needs to say goodbye in a way that expresses her appreciation, even as I just want to fade discreetly into the woodwork. I don't like being noticed for this kind of thing, there's no merit in just leaving. It isn't anything I've earned or done, but rather an absence of earning and doing. *sigh*

Eight years and a half is a period! What is life going to be like after?

Just another sign of the so-called corporate world’s mentality

I work for a rather large company that specializes in the insurance industry. Among the many benefits the company offered such as an onsite gym, 3 cafeteria’s , health insurance, and saving plans was a library. Oh, it’s still there but it has taken on a different form. Allow me to explain….

You see, this library, while it wasn’t very big, had a nice selection of some recent and older fiction books that an employee was able to check out, free of charge, at any time. In addition it had the usual plethora of self-help books and what seemed to be an infinite supply of books that dealt with matters in the business world.

Well, a while back, the powers that be recently declared that in order to focus on their “core” (their word, not mine) business, they would not be ordering any more new fiction books and would concentrate their catalogue on things central to the insurance industry. They tried to justify this as they always do. Cost savings. Being an avid reader, naturally I was disappointed but figured, Okay, it’s their company and they can do what they please with it. I have a hard time with the reasoning though because I just can’t imagine a billion dollar corporation sweating out a couple of hundred bucks every month in order to purchase new fiction. Little did I know.

I think it was last Thursday or Friday when I wandered into my little oasis here at work and was looking for a good read. Usually they have anywhere between 10 to 20 shelves stacked with older works of fiction and while the variety is not what you find at your local public library, it was good enough to suit my needs. I made my way up the steps and much to my chagrin was greeted by the following.

Each shelve was kinda roped off and taped around each section was a message that advised us patrons that:

“The (insert company name here) library is focusing on its core services and these books are no longer available for check out. Please do not remove them from the shelves. Please visit your local library for selections of this type. Thank you for your patronage.”

I made my way to the front desk and I asked what the logic was behind this idea. I mean, the books are there aren’t they? I was told that yes indeed, the books are there but they won’t be for long. I asked what their fate was going to be, were they going to be donated to a charitable organization or given to senior citizens or to local schools or just plain destroyed? Nobody seemed to know for sure but the staff thought the books might be sold off to the employees. I asked, “What if nobody wants to buy them, what if they just want to read them? What will happen to them then? Either nobody knew or nobody was telling…

Look, in the grand scheme of things, I realize that this little incident is a mere blip on the radar. It’s not like they're going to hold a book burning party or anything like that. They are, after all, still dedicated to keeping a wide variety of self-help and how to succeed at business books available for us avid readers. I can’t wait…

Somehow, my work place, not the most exciting place in the world to begin with, is a little duller than usual today.

There is a point as a parent when you first realize you see your progeny as a young adult instead of an older child. For me this has never been a transition, it has been a light bulb moment. The bulb may flicker on and off for a few more years but the realization of my child is now a man or a woman is sudden and the child-like moments that inevitably follow are sweet but temporary regressions.

My oldest son is a steady light now. My middle son has been flickering fiercely for a year or two, brighter and brighter. They are 22 and almost 20. The age of 19 or 20 seems to have been the time they grew up in my mind.

But my daughter is just approaching 16 and I am amazed to find that she has transitioned in my mind. I spent a few years thinking I would experience the legendary terrible teens with her but it never happened. I suppose it still could but somehow I don’t think so. Maybe it is because we are the same gender that I recognize the adult in her earlier; maybe girls mature as the other legend says more quickly than boys. I don’t know.

I told her I always wanted to have another woman living in the house (old fantasies of friendly, helpful nannies and lonely moments being the only stay-at-home-mom on the block when they were all young) and she said “well you got one now Sugar!” and I realized she is right. I do. It’s a lovely thing too.

My kids’ growing up doesn’t distress me. I love it. But if they move far away it will be difficult. That will be the real empty nest for me. I want to win the lottery and buy up 3 houses on my block, one for each of these lovely young adults.

Strep Throat: a Logbook of Discomfort

Tuesday, July 8:
Wife takes 19-month-old son to Babes in the Library, a sing-along program for toddlers, which has resumed after a four-week hiatus. Walk after work home the long way from the bus stop and stop at the St. Vincent de Paul store; score two big bags of Mega Bloks and Duplo for under 7 bucks. Make sure to wash them.

Saturday, July 12:
Wife notices that toddler doesn't quite seem himself; asks him if he has an owie. Toddler nods. Knowing that nodding doesn't necessarily indicate affirmative reply, wife asks where the owie is. Toddler points to tummy. Wife pokes toddler's tummy in various places, stopping when toddler cries out. Wife calls walk-in clinic.

Visit walk-in clinic with wife and toddler. Doctor asks some questions. Doctor shows stethoscope to toddler. Toddler is unaffected. Doctor listens to toddler through stethoscope. Toddler continues to be unaffected. Doctor attempts to peer into toddler's throat using tongue depressor. Toddler becomes very affected and strongly objects; doctor only gets a subsecond glance. Doctor pronounces toddler's throat very red. Doctor suggests Tempra for fever, prescribes amoxicillin if things get worse, and suggests toddler visit own pediatrician when possible.

Am amazed at doctor's skill. If the shutter of a camera had been open that long, the photograph wouldn't be blurry.

Monday, July 14:
Wife makes appointment with toddler's pediatrician. Toddler's pediatrician is on vacation. Wife makes appointment with pediatrician who shares office with toddler's pediatrician. Wife and toddler visit pediatrician's office, and find out that pediatrician who shares office with toddler's pediatrician is on vacation too. Replacement pediatrician diagnoses toddler with strep throat, despite toddler's continued opposition to having throat examined for any length of time. Replacement pediatrician prescribes amoxicillin. Wife reluctantly gets prescription filled.

Meanwhile, and curiously overlooked by replacement pediatrician, red spots have started appearing on toddler's hands, feet, and buttocks.

Wife calls and gives account of visit to pediatrician and diagnosis. Remember appointment to donate blood; call Canadian Blood Services, inform them that toddler has been diagnosed with strep throat, and ask if rescheduling is necessary. Rescheduling not necessary as long as donor feels fine.

Toddler takes medicine, mixed into applesauce.

Tuesday, July 15:
Feel fine. Donate blood. Feel fine afterwards too. Only junk at St. Vincent de Paul store today though.

Wednesday, July 16:
Still feel fine. Go to work.

In evening, become dizzy. Throat starts to hurt. Neck feels stiff. Tummy feels funny. Lose appetite. Feel shaky. Head doesn't feel good. Have trouble sleeping.

Thursday, July 17:
Call in to work sick. Throat hurts. Take a lot of Tylenol. Food is unappealing. Wife suggests visiting doctor. Don't feel like being bothered; throat hurts but doesn't feel sore enough to be strep throat. Sleep most of day.

Toddler is happy daddy is home. Wife and toddler and toddler's friends and their mothers meet for a play date at one of their houses. (Diagnosis of strep throat had been broadcast via email.) One of toddler's friends' mothers whose daughter catches everything remarks just how much the red spots look like hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Notice raised red spot on finger. Pick at it when bored but too weak to break skin.

Friday, July 18:
Call in to work sick again. Throat hurts more today. Rest of body is not so achy though. Still put off visiting doctor. Sleep a lot.

Toddler is happy daddy is home again. Wife remarks how toddler is back to acting like his old self.

Notice more red spots on hands, especially fingertips, which feel discernibly sore playing toy piano in impromptu ensemble with toddler on toy xylophone and wife on toy drum. And one red spot appears on sole of foot that sends a tiny shooting stab of pain up leg with each footstep.

Saturday, July 19:
Throat feels fine. Got haircut, look snappy. But fingertips still hurt when used. More spots appear on the soles of feet. Walking feels aggravatingly unpleasant. Research condition on Internet; Internet says infection is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges or stool. Have no appetite to lose at this point.

Sunday, July 20:
Many more spots appear on soles of feet. To walk is to step on little shards of glass, or just the points of upturned thumbtacks.

Monday, July 21:
Back at work. Am convinced soles of feet are on fire when walking. May still be contagious, but Internet says otherwise healthy adults should rarely be affected, if at all. An adult can get the virus and feel ill, although they wouldn't get the rash.

Thank goodness for Google!


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