.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Letters to Nowhere

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Gooood Morning 4 AM

Insomnia: Almost everyone will experience it at one time or another in their lives. Mine began shortly after puberty.

I have what’s known as Primary Chronic Insomnia. The reason it’s considered “primary” is because I do not have a single consistent underlying medical cause of my insomnia. Insomnia can be caused by chronic pain, aging, shift work, anxiety etc. That is considered either short-term insomnia or secondary chronic insomnia.

So what made me think about it tonight? Well besides the fact it’s 4 AM and I’m awake you mean? I was looking up a number for a doctor in Atlanta a few days ago and found a company that recruits “Clinical Trial Volunteers”.

When I lived in Florida, a decade ago, I was part of several sleep studies. It’s like selling your blood, only you sleep instead. Depending on the study they try to rule out things like depression, temporary stress or anxiety, insomnia caused by the normal tide like changes in hormones in *ehem* women. (Off topic, but do you know why the call it Premenstrual Syndrome? Cuz Mad Cow Disease was already taken... yah yeah.. Everyone’s a critic. Anyway)

They hook you up to enough wires, electrodes, monitors, and harnesses to, in theory, lasso the fricken SUN. And then.. and then... they want you to sleep. HA And not just once, but many times. The good news, they pay you for your time, travel, and inconvenience.

The bad news? Depending on what kind of study you “volunteer” for, they may use unproven and/or new and/or controversial “therapy” to check the impact it has on you and your sleep. It may be sleep aides, drugs, learned behavior, or anything else that you signed on for.

I did learn how to direct my dreams, to an extent, to avoid nightmares; I did learn that Vaseline will remove all that left over adhesive. And for the first time I heard the words “Miss Clover, Your brain waves are, well... They are atypical (read that: fubar'ed)”

I spend more time in REM sleep than most, when I do sleep. I spend very little time in the recharge state (I’ve forgotten what it’s called) So long story very short, I seem to need less sleep than the average person, and when I can/do sleep I dream more often, and longer than the “average person”.

Which is good in some respects since my performance at work doesn’t usually suffer when I’m having one of my insomnia binges. But... It leaves me with hours, and hours, to kill until sunrise.

You want to see my hero?

Do you want to see a person you can respect? My cousin has beaten breast cancer once before at the age of 28.

She is battling it again, two years later.

We grew up as sisters, two months to the day apart in age. She's the older.. hmphf Barely!

In our teen years we grew apart, our families somewhat drifting due to divorce, remarriage and life in general. She is (for you regulars) Chris' sister.

Young, beautiful, a survivor, and not one to give in, ever. She, Tasha, is my hero.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Hair Care & PC Repair..

Yes, sir we can shave your palms AND clean your porn virus off your computer.

Only in Georgia

Friday, August 25, 2006

Jesus has a coach whistle

I've read in books that in years past people would go to funerals for the entertainment value. I never understood that before.

I do now.

I went to a funeral this past week for a family member that I barely knew. I was there more for my mother than anything else. The last two years haven'’t been kind to her. She'’s lost her father, son, brother in law, father in law, and now a brother.

My sister,who I've not seen since the funeral of my brother, was there. She'’s been battling drugs and alcohol and I'’m glad to say has been clean 8 months. (Insert applause)

She and I were on a pew right behind the immediate family, but down on the far end away from our aunts, mother and grandmother.

Beside us was a largish black woman we didn'’t know. A few minutes into the service she leaned over and asked if the deceased was our uncle. We replied yes and sat back to watch the service.

Jessica, my sister leaned over "“Do you know her?"” she whispered to me
Me: No, I don'’t...
Jessica: “She'’s the only black person here. Maybe she'’s just here for appearances, you know so our family doesn'’t look racist
Me: (rolling my eyes) What you think the pastor just called 1-800-rent-a-black?
Jessica: Hey, I'm not racist. I've got a colored TV

I hate to admit it but I was choking back giggles.

I really think it was more stress and the knowledge that the last time I saw a casket my brother was in it that led to our sarcastic banter. That and the fact we'’d not seen each other since he died and she entered rehab.

They started to sing...

Jessica: Do they think they can sing?
Me: It'’s Karaoke Church... helps improve attendance

OK... At this point I saw a well dressed 50-60 year old woman RUN from the middle aisle down to the front... I had a brief moment when I thought she was staff and there was a problem. THEN she turned, and ran between the coffin and the immediately family, at the end of the pew she rounded the corner. She was in stocking feet, with her hands up beside her face in the classic "put your hands up"” pose. She wasn'’t staff.

Jessica: .. UH.. did a woman just run by us? Did I really see a streaker at a funeral?
Me: Yeah, she was book'’n too.
(The service had started and the pastor was talking about how the church could change your life)
Me: Join the church lose 10 pounds! Or maybe she's in trouble with God and has to do laps.

I am respectful, I am understanding of religious differences. I know much of my family "“speak in tongues"” when hit by the power of God. I'’ve come to expect a lot. But, no one in my family ever felt the need to do laps.

(ten minutes or so later) I can hear my sisters stomach growl
Jessica: I'’m starving
Me: Yeah me too, we didn'’t have breakfast

(The pastor has moved on to: God will provide him a new home, he'’s not sick anymore, God has provided him with ...)
Me: I wish God would provide a chicken leg.. One chicken leg and I'’ll convert right here and now!
Jessica: I prefer wings

Jessica: You know we are SOO going to hell.
Me: I'’m driving the train

Bout this time the runner makes her SECOND lap. Now she has another woman running with her.

Jessica looks at me, lips quivering, eyebrows raised.
Me: You know, support group, helps maintain weight loss.
Jessica: I didn'’t know Jesus wore a coach whistle
Me: Now you know why the church is so big. It has to be for 6 laps to be a mile.

I had a vision of heaven and hordes of angels running in circles, Jesus tweeting his whistle and crying out "“Faster.. We have keep the planet turning. They’ve already had to add one day every four years. Run! Run!"

The pastor was saying "I called Andy to see if he wanted to have lunch with me. He couldn'’t make it. But he'’s lunching with the LORD now. I would have liked another Bar-B-Que dinner with Andy but.. "

Me: You KNOW you are in the south when the word Bar-B-Que is IN the funeral service.

The pastor moved on.. "I wish Andy was here, I wish he was in this room"

Jessica: He is here. I can see him. He'’s the one in the box.
Even I cringed.. but at this point I grabbed a handful of tissues to laugh behind. It WAS funny, if a bit over the top.

The Runner and friend made the THRID circuit of the church.

Jessica: I can't join this church. I can't run that far.
Me: Now you know why she's so slim

The pastor is preaching and we are back to "God has provided" "God has given him a new home, new clothes, new shoes.."

Me: I bet they're running shoes
Jessica loses it. I handed her my tissues. She's silently cracking up behind them. I'm trying to keep my composure as the guy in front of us gawks at the runners. I swear he was 1/2 owl. I think his head did a full 180 degree turn to watch.

We somehow made it through the service without being struck by lightening. But! But COME ON! You can't expect a RUNNER at a funeral and me to be able to resist saying SOMETHING. I was expecting a baton to show up any time.

It was.. unique..

Dear Chris

They didn't have any about Jesus teaching PE, or screw legs, or half brothers, or buffing mud. Uh.. I mean.. jeeze.. Everyone needs at least one of those, right?


Dear Chris

They didn't have any about Jesus teaching PE, or screw legs, or half brothers, or buffing mud. Uh.. I mean.. jeeze.. Everyone needs at least one of those, right?


Thank you for making a hard day something that made me ALMOST spray fricken hashbrowns out of my nose.

(If your name isn't Chris and/or you have NO damn CLUE what I'm talking about..

Give me a few days.. I'm trying to think of how to go about phrasing something that was so serious and painful in the past (the funeral of my brother), that when it occurred again (this time my uncle's funeral) that the only way my sister and I could deal with it was occasional banter and sarcasm, carefully kept quiet enough no one else could hear.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

More proof...

My (male) cousin came over tonight. We highlighted my newly blonde hair. While he was here I made coffee.

As he went in to get his second cup he noticed the carton of half and half on the counter. "Where was the cream?", he asked.

In the 'fridge.. behind the MILK, I replied.

Then we laughed!

Friday, August 18, 2006


Hiss or Yawn?
Originally uploaded by red clover.
Someone I know took the time to explain to my son that he is a "bastard" .

He asked me about it tonight.

"Mom, am I a, you know that bast.. , word?"



Well, that word is a bit ... well.. the word is a bit ... wrong now. Usually now it just means a mean, or bad person, it's used the same way idiot is (Idiot is a word my son knows I frown on)

"But am I a bast.. You know that word"

Technically yes. A long time ago that word had more meaning. There was a time that divorce was illegal; if a man or woman married a bad person, someone that beat them up, or did other ugly things, there was nothing they could do. You were married forever, until you died.

Back then it was a big deal if you were born when your mom and dad weren't married. Do you remember the movie "The Seven samurai"? Do you remember me explaining why that girl's father wanted to kill her after she'd been alone with a man?


It was almost that serious a long time ago if you where born and your mom and dad weren't married. Now it's pretty common for a lot of reasons. Does it make you bad, or not as important, or any different than anyone else? No, son it doesn't.

A word is just a name. James, Mom, Dad, God, or Devil. They are all just words. Words that people assume mean something.. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't.

This time... It doesn't mean anything.

I WILL be having words with the ADULT that chose to tell my son this bullshit.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Arid to Arctic, and time with my daughter

As many of you know, I made a location change from the south of British Columbia to the Northwest Territories in March of 2006. This transition from arid to Arctic had a number of effects; the biggest of which was being two days drive from my family in the south. This in itself was difficult, as I have never been more than three hours from my family at any time since I left home at nineteen. Now, at the age of forty-two, I have this great distance to go to visit any of my siblings or parents.

My parents are getting on in years, and my father had a brush with death last year, due to an abdominal aortic aneurysm. So close that the doctor that performed emergency surgery greeted him in the recovery room with the words “ God! I’m so glad to see you alive!” Great bedside manner. His regular doctor informed me that, in the small town diagnostic center he goes to, they generally refer to him as Lazarus. So, being so far away is a challenge in that regard.

Also, I am the only male of the family to do chores around the yard (my two sisters aren’t called upon, although they are just as capable; don’t ask, it’s a guy thing. I also am the only one offered a drink in the evenings, after a good days work). I have a brother, but he can’t be around as much, as he lives his own life, for the most part.

The biggest challenge to me personally is being separated from my daughter. Her mother and I separated when she was just four. My visits with her have been sporadic, due to choice, I guess. I had a relationship shortly after the separation that I let preclude more regular visits. My fault, I know this. But now, at seventeen, she will soon be forging ahead with a new kind of life. Until she has kids of her own that I can shamelessly spoil and teach life lessons to, I’ll be a bit at a loss. Something I’ve missed. The love of my life will be bringing her son up, and that will help. But my daughter has expressed worry that I might forget her. God! I wish I could reassure her, but she has reasons to be worried, I expect. I don’t have a great record.


There HAVE been very good memories that have stuck in her mind and my own. There have been those precious times that we’ve played, traveled and enjoyed our time together. Those days where I had her visit; those days when we went to parks, and went on hikes. And a few times, a vacation.

I finally have a job that allows me to take a proper vacation. After attending college (at forty, no less; no better way to go through a mid-life crisis), I got this job in the city of Yellowknife. I accumulated a week’s vacation, and decided to drive home, visit my immediate family, and recreate a trip that my girl and I took seven years ago. The trip down was hellacious, due to the ostensible arthritis I developed. Upon arrival, I was at my old doctor’s office, getting some high-powered drugs to get me home. It delayed my leaving, although my immediate family was happy to have me there. But both my daughter and I were chomping at the bit to go.

We set out on August 12th, and took a similar route to the one we took to Alberta when she was ten. It was a lot of driving, but worth it. We set out to recreate some of the pictures that I took during the last trip. British Columbia has inland ferries on a number of the lakes and rivers throughout the province. We took the same ferries, and took pictures in the same locations. What a difference, though! She could actually look over the side of the boats. Before she couldn’t. We stopped at a waterfall that we just HAD to stop at when she was ten. Took pictures. And when we camped that night in Golden BC, I remembered to bring an axe for kindling, unlike last time.

The following day, we entered Jasper National Park. At the Athabasca Glacier, I took a picture of her at a marker that indicates where the glacier had been in 1844. The same as last time. Then we traveled onto the glacier itself. For those of you that are near Alberta, I highly recommend this tour. It’s awe-inspiring to stand on a three hundred meter thick sheet of ice, a kilometer across, and six kilometers long. Oh, and when you take a drink of the melt water off the ice, you find it so sweet and cold, it’ll hurt your mouth.

We camped at a very nice park in Grande Cache AB. The next day was a sixteen-hour dash to Yellowknife. The nice thing about this trip was that she could do some of the driving. I could have used that seven years ago!!

Now that we are in Yellowknife, we are doing the usual tourist things. We visited the territorial legislature, and explored the old part of town. Very colourful areas in Yellowknife. And, of course, we went to the dump! Yellowknife is one of the few areas in North America where you can take stuff OUT of the dump. I managed to get some useful items for the apartment while I’ve been here, and she’d like to take home some loot, too. She will get a chance to do her own exploring, as I am now back at work. She will be flying back home on the 20th.

I know it’s not so useful to have regrets, although they have a habit of creeping up on you. I am just so glad to have this time with my daughter. I have to take what I can get, now. Soon, she will start her final year in high school, then work for the summer following. Then, she has college plans.

I guess there is always time to make memories, so no need for regrets.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Move the MILK

What is it about men and boys? Does having a penis rob them of the ability to effectively look for things?


Son: Mom! Where's the jelly?
Me: In the 'fridge
Son: I don't see it
Me: Did you look behind the milk?

(silence).. then Son: Oh, here it is

I rest my case. My father does this, my brothers did this What's the deal!

Before my son went on vacation he asked where his car charger for his game boy was. "In the car" I replied. He goes outside, comes back in three minutes and announces he can't find it.

Me: If I go out there and pick it up in the first 60 seconds you are standing in the corner.
Him: What about 65 seconds
Me: (evil eye) Let me rephrase that.. If I go out there and find it in the first 60 seconds you will be on Gameboy and Playstation restriction for a week.
Him: I'll be right back

(Five minutes later) Him: It's OK mom. I found it.
Me: I thought you would


Friday, August 11, 2006

The Gods Laugh

and laugh and laugh.. and here's the key.. I KNOW BETTER

I have a gay cousin.. he can't decorate a house.. he can't cut hair.. he can't even friken find me some queen friends I can hang out with..

BUT (insert Jaws music here)

He thinks I should "go" blonde..

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Common Sense Isn't that common

I work in at an insurance company. My company, like several others, has a website where "your" bank can check to make sure you have car insurance. It's the damnedest thing, but.. You know, if you total your car.. They still want their money.

I have been working the Technical Support email box this week. Oooohhh Let me tell you. If it wasn't for the fact my boss is a good friend, and a Christian and blushes if he hears the word "Damn"! Well lets just say I don't have Tourette's Syndrome... Yet.

One woman sent me six.. count 'em SIX emails in less than 3 minutes. And they were soooo feking helpful. Consisted of things like:

From: blahblah
To: Insurance Help

(no subject)
I cant log on help me

THE FRIKEN END.. No name, no I-work-for-so-and-so-bank, no my User Name is, Nothing!

The next one same thing: I've tried everything. (That was the whole email)

It's not even the I-have-no-email-etiquette that was driving me INSANE. But the fact there were SIX in 3 minutes. (insert the sound of teeth grinding)

My boss, the friend, and very devout Christian came by. I guess he saw the steam rising. He asked me what was going on. Without stopping to think I snapped out:

This heifer has sent me 6 useless emails back to back. It took JESUS three DAYS to come back from the dead and she can't give me FIVE MINUTES to type a response.

I thought about it the instant it was out of my mouth. He looked like he was going to pass out. He was really just fighting (and losing) not to laugh hysterically.

Drakkar Noir

They (whoever "they" are) say that the sense of smell is probably the strongest trigger of memory. I can agree with that.

My brother and my son were goofing around with a pair of gag glasses when I took this picture. Fast forward 2 months and a few days after that picture was taken and I was at my brother's funeral. He died of a drug overdose.

One of the few things I had of his was a bottle of Drakkar Noir he'd left at my house when he'd stayed the night at one time or another. In the months after his death I'd cry everytime I smelled it on some guy in the elevator. I'd tear up if I saw a bottle in the store.

However, it's been almost two years since he passed away. Now I smell it and think of him. Sometimes when I'm missing him .. it's crazy I know.. but I'll put it on and imagine the conversation we'd have if he were here. A lot has changed in two years; there's a lot I'd love to be able to talk to him about. Thankfully the way I remember him has changed too. It's no longer crushing, and staggeringly painful.

I can remember him, and imagine how he'd react to some of the things I've "talked" to him about over the last two years and it doesn't leave me an emotional wreck. The sense of loss is still large, but most of the brutally sharp edge of pain has dulled.

But there are still days when I see his old truck at mom's house and think "Hey! John's here!" and then sinkingly remember..


Who You'd Be Today.. Kenny Chesney

Sunny days seem to hurt the most.
I wear the pain like a heavy coat.
I feel you everywhere I go.
I see your smile, I see your face,
I hear you laughin' in the rain.
I still can't believe you're gone.

It ain't fair: you died too young,
Like the story that had just begun,
But death tore the pages all away.
God knows how I miss you,
All the hell I've been through,
Just knowin' no-one could take your place.
An' sometimes I wonder,
Who'd you be today?

Would you see the world? Would you chase your dreams?
Settle down with a family,
I wonder what would you name your babies?
Some days the sky's so blue,
I feel like I can talk to you,
An' I know it might sound crazy.

It ain't fair: you died too young,
Like the story that had just begun,
But death tore the pages all away.
God knows how I miss you,
All the hell I've been through,
Just knowin' no-one could take your place.
An' sometimes I wonder,
Who you'd be today?

Today, today, today.
Today, today, today.

Sunny days seem to hurt the most.
I wear the pain like a heavy coat.
The only thing that gives me hope,
Is I know I'll see you again some day.

Some day, some day, some day.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Even the most sweet and beloved of pets can be a bit disturbing when you wake up to this sight.

I swear I think she must have been sniffing my fricken eyelids at the exact time I woke up this morning.

I never realized how much like a tiger the average house cat can appear. I think I lost 5 years off my life.

Stupid Cat!