“I wouldn’t drink anything called Moland.”


I’m still trying to pass this damn kidney stone.  I’ve not fought one this stubborn since my first, when I was 18 and in the Army.  I had surgery to extract it, then had a stent installed.  I remember my roommate telling me I looked like I was in pain all the time.  That’s when the pain became conscious, and it explained why I was peeing blood.

I didn’t become alarmed until the pain overwhelmed me.  Invincible youth.  I was living in an apartment with my husband, who was away for training.  I low-crawled to the next apartment and beat on the door.  Two sleepy men opened the door, then looked down at me and called an ambulance.

I also recall I took a bath just before that, because I knew I needed medical intervention, and I was all sweaty and gross.  The paramedics kept trying to give me oxygen while I fought them to quit messing with me, I was in pain, dammit.  Finally, they figured out I was a soldier and took me to William Beaumont Army Medical Center, where I had the surgery.

While being assessed in the emergency room, they gave me a morphine drip to help with the pain.  It didn’t work.  It just added hurling to the party.  I remember a nurse putting a tiny kidney-shaped basin under my chin to catch it; only I looked at it, then puked on the floor.  I wanted to ask her if she was kidding first, but couldn’t speak.

I’d never heard of a kidney stone and thought for sure I was dying.  It was the first time I had surgery and turned out to be quite an adventure.  My mom said it was from eating meat, candy and drinking Mt. Dew.  I figured she was right; she was almost always right.  I didn’t realize it would continue plaguing me long after I stopped, though.  Sigh.


I still ate in the mess hall, even after moving off-post.  I wish I still had access to one.  My unit was attached to the International dining hall.  It was awesome.  There were TV’s all over the place, usually on MTV.  The salad bar was divine.  And I got to eat with Japanese Air Force members, and soldiers from the United Arab Emirates.  When we ran PT, the Islamic call to prayer blasted over the quad.  It was my favorite unit.

I observed UAB officers prefer driving Mustang’s in custom painted neon colors, exclusively.  You could tell which units were American by what was in the parking lot.  The GI Cadillac back then was the Nissan Sentra.  There were over twenty in various colors parked outside our barracks alone.  I was friends with a guy who was a prince of some sort.  It was a cultural mishmash of awesome.  I miss it.

I miss living in the desert, too.  Today, I awoke to rain, followed by hail, and then snow.  It’s still snowing.  I’m tired of this damn stone and want to get back to my life.  At least I’ve done a lot of thinking about my novel.  The last time I was in Denver, I saw a homeless man on the street outside my hotel.  (I still say, “hi” to strangers I encounter briefly.  In Sioux Falls, it’s rude to walk past someone without acknowledging them.)   We made eye contact, and I recognized him from somewhere.  Probably the Army.

I could tell he recognized me, as well.  But we just stared as he walked on.  I’ve been thinking about him since.  I can’t remember where we met before, so I’m going to include him in my novel with an imagined life.  I’m trying to reason with my ambition since I read a lot of epic serial stories.  Part of me wants to write one, but Logic thinks it’s adorable.  Logic is mean sometimes.  Heh.  I’m off to practice cussing during another wave of pain.  (I’m an ace swearer when pain is the motivation.)  😂

“It’ll be like a permanent road trip.”

open road

I’m doing better.  I think I lost a few friends, but I’m not sure. 😔 I decided since it’s outside my control, I’m not going to obsess over it.  It hurts every time, happens often, and I rarely understand why.  At least I learned something in the process.  I think forcing myself to practice my drums triggered my brain to stop spiraling down.  I’m almost positive playing music releases whatever hormone(s) I need to start regaining homeostasis.

The hard part is doing it.  It’s like swimming in a pool full of peanut butter.  At first, I have to keep stopping to give myself a pep talk just to gain an inch.  It’s like trying to read while sitting in front of Mick Fleetwood while he’s doing a drum solo.  I seriously think people living with mental illness would shine at using The Force.  Sometimes, just focusing enough to complete a simple task is like lifting a spaceship out of a swamp with your mind.

But when the clouds clear, I’m intensely aware of how a chemical imbalance can completely alter my perception.  I remember what I was thinking only days ago, but today those same thoughts seem extreme, and black and white.  When I’m not having an episode of depression, the difference in how I think is astonishing.  I find it disturbing.  I probably read too much speculative fiction, but it seems like mind controlling drugs are inevitable.  I only wonder how tailored to the individual they’d need to be to have any predictable effect.

I’m preparing for a road trip.  I’ll probably hit the road this weekend and begin ticking off locations on my bucket list.  I’ve never driven for more than five hours in a row, so it’ll be a challenge.  I have made it to Minneapolis and back in a single day.  Same with Des Moines, so I’m not too worried.  I haven’t broken 3k miles on this car yet.  It’s the last car I’ll ever own, so I’m going to drive the shit out of it until it dies.  I have an appointment to get a new battery and tune up Friday.  I’m taking a laptop so that I can write on the road.

I’m estimating it’ll take me at least a year before I finish writing my novel.  Maybe longer.  I’m going to look around during the process.  I’m heading south and west first because I’ve had enough winter.  I want to take my cat along, but I’m still working out the logistics.  I had a lengthy discussion with M. yesterday.  I haven’t processed most of it yet.  He wants me to call him daily, but I despise talking on the phone.  I don’t like talking at all, to be honest.  But I agreed to do it anyway for him.  I’m excited to hit the road.  I’m off to plan.   ☮️

“My boyfriend said I got gonorrhea from riding the tractor in my bathing suit.”

2018 flag

Our Tired, Mangled Banner

Oh say can you see,
a nation on fire,
our children wailing,
bleeding and dying,
by the dawn’s early blight

What so proudly we’ve failed,
draped over caskets
of broken children,
terrified and haunted
at the twilight’s last scheming

Whose broad swipes and fake stars,
built a twisted curriculum
of betrayal and lies,
horror and powerlessness,
for their perilous fright

O’er the barricades we stared,
detached and indifferent,
eyes fixed and focused
on our god, Legal Tender,
while they’re gallantly screaming?

And the hateful red glare,
infecting the landscape
from sea to dying sea,
for sale to the highest bidder
for bombs bursting in air

Gave pain to our plight
fuel to our fright
hate to our bite
despair to our fight
that our flag will not bear

O say does that tired, mangled banner yet wave
over the fields of blood and conquest
where a nation took root in the entrails
of the indigenous, on the backs of the kidnapped
in this stolen land of the duped and home of the slaves?

by Unabashed Autist

“I feel like an out of work porn star.”

working woman

Today has been annoying, mostly.  At least I feel like I’ve accomplished something useful on this blog of late.  I worked myself free from a lot of things that were weighing me down emotionally.  Some may think I overshare by writing about hard things in my past.  From my perspective, I believe my understanding of the word privacy differs from that of most.  I’m not up to agonizing over the words at the moment, so that’ll have to suffice.

I hope nobody ever feels traumatized by my words.  I don’t think I’m blunt, but I’ve been told otherwise more than once.  For a long time, I couldn’t talk about those things.  I couldn’t say the word rape.  I didn’t talk about my ex-husband, and I fled the moment I thought someone was interested in me romantically.  I held back from any relationship because everyone dies, and I didn’t believe I could outlive someone I love again.

Things are different now.  I’m not even sure when it happened.  I don’t live under a rock anymore.  I shelter myself from news of the horrifying things going on in the world, but that’s out of self-preservation.  I guess I feel like I’ve healed.  Things that happened in the past no longer own me.  I usually celebrate everything positive.  Instead, I’m just going to listen to 24-Karat-Gold: Songs From the Vault by Stevie Nicks with my eyes closed, and think about the future.  Some victories are melancholic.

I haven’t gone to the office to work much this year.  I’m more productive working from home, but if I don’t go anywhere for too long, I start feeling like I can’t.  I’ve never allowed it to get to the point where I felt trapped in my home, but I’ve been close enough to see how it can happen.  It would be a steep fall downhill because it would mean no more running.  I don’t even want to pursue this hypothetically.  😂  I have a plan to prevent it.

It feels a little weird to tell my work partner all my secrets about running a software company.  But it’s the reason I’m his partner and not retired professionally, working some part-time job that allows me to use headphones.  There’s no need for him to repeat the trial and error I used to figure out my path.  He acts like he’s in awe of me for doing it, which is uncomfortable.  I told him it’s logical and lots of people do it.  Plus, I’m getting paid for escorting him into a meaner tax bracket.

In a few months, I plan on selling most of my interest to other employees.  I don’t think it’ll take him very long to integrate his new tools and develop confidence in his abilities.  I figure I’ll be itching to move on to something more fulfilling by summer.  The leader of the band I joined recently has been training me to become a “real drummer.”  He’s kind of an asshole about it, but whatever.  I can’t afford to turn down information.

I spent most of today at his studio where I set up a beat-to-shit drum kit precisely as instructed.  Then I tore it down, put everything carefully in these cases that look like giant hat boxes, and moved a foot in whatever direction he assigned, and set it up again.  Three times so far.  Then we left for the day, and tomorrow I’ll be back doing the same.

He said until I’ve done it 50 times, I’m not a drummer.  I’m a poser.  I said, “okay.”  See Alison grovel like a wannabe drummer.  I didn’t mention it’s the first time I’ve ever set up an acoustic kit.  I have to say, thinking before speaking is working for me.  I’m off to listen to Stevie Nicks.