June 30, 2006

dear jp/p.


jamesy drinks beer.
Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
i've written and written every day. your silence is driving me crazy. and so, i ask publicly: where are you?

this is my SOS. please call. write. anything.
you know how much i love you.
ox. of course.
Posted by bananie at 1:32 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 29, 2006

at least the dog is losing weight.


uneven.
Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
mental health update, because you really want to know:

as of today, i am 100 per cent off effexor, which i have been wholly on for three years. you know, the drug that my witty little shrink said is a lot like heroin to quit.

so far, it doesn't feel so bad as a missed dose, which is all about the vertigo and huge headaches. i've got the mighty prozac to withstand such withdrawals, and the mighty helen to bring me chocolate and egg salad.
and so,thus far, i simply feel uneven, imbalanced, back, back, forth forth. that was an aaliyah song wasn't it? circa 1994?

my mental health recovery is a rigorous regimen of conditioning. i have a fabulous new therapist named melissa (and if you're reading this, i hope i sound less crazy than i do in your office) who puts me through a thorough workout every week. i've never been asked to look so honestly into the proverbial abyss; right now it's simply daunting. however, her waiting room keeps me coming back, with its appealing zen painting thingee, and a bowl full of tiny magnets, which resemble magnetic fruity pebbles. i'm tempted to steal them (i've even concocted a plan to pull it off...) but that would probably not be good for patient/therapist rapport.

note to self: ask melissa, in a meaningful way, where i can get my hands on my very own fruity pebble magnets. also find out if they come in that really great bowl, or if i have to supply my own.

right. what was i talking about? OH! withdrawals. along with the emotional seesaw, there is also the absentmindedness. i'm going off on more tangents than usual, and i keep losing my keys or one of the dogs.

my good doctor insists that all of this is normal, and will get easier soon. for the timebeing, he has extended my leave of absence from work (i can't IMAGINE trying to solve someone's problems right now), and so here i am. the newly svelte moe is lying at my feet, and the eggs are boiling for the salad that helen is about to make.

as the kids say: it's all good.
right?
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June 28, 2006

i shot rachel.


"she's kicking!"
Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
our nextdoor neighbor, of rachel and hot kenny fame, is having a little girl in september. i have the privelege of being her official belloy photographer, and i am ridiculously overjoyed at the opportunity to be chronicler.

please take a peek at what we've done so far right over here.

and if you need a photographer-in-training, i need the experience. drop me a line!
Posted by bananie at 12:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 24, 2006

the great weight debate.

i've not brought up the subject of weight in a long time. i used to journal quite regularly over at my friend, constance's website, FINDINGbalance, back in 2002. it was during that time of my life that i was, for the first time, looking at my body for what it was: something to be loved and taken care of. through those journals (some of which are found in my abbreviated portfolio on this site), i explored the process of caring for my fitness and diet as worship, and i took quite literally the biblical charge that one's body is a temple.

i've gone back and forth since that preparatory period of my life. i know that i was trying to be authentic in all areas of my being, and staring down the demons of my history with anorexia--and overall physical self hate--was just one piece of the puzzle. exposing that intimate part of myself gave way to looking at even more intimate issues, including my sexuality, and exposing them to the light.

meanwhile, since 2002, my weight has yo-yo'ed like nobody's business. in 2002, i was able to bring myself from the edge of moderate obesity (5'6", 186 lbs) down to a passable 165. and then i went to ireland, where my diet consisted largely of bread and guinness. i gained all the weight back, but i was in a happy place, and so it didn't worry me all too much.

when i began the journey of coming out, and soon after falling in love, i lost a LOT of weight, without even trying. i ate when i could, but mostly had no appetite, and it was only a matter of time before the immense stress i was experiencing manifested itself in the form of an ulcer. naturally, this complicated my diet and fitness, and by fall 2003, i had dropped down to about 145 lbs, which is an acceptable weight, theoretically; only i had lost nearly 40 pounds in four months.

i took great solace in my new body: it may not have worked very well, but it looked nice. and as the rest of my world was in spiritual and psychological upheaval, at least i had the creature comfort of a body that was beginning to attract "pretty girl" attention. i thought nothing about the balance i'd spent a long time to create, and simply lived on my steady diet of cigarettes and coffee. working at starbucks, of course, helped.

fast forward to 2006. the existential stress i went through during 2003-2004 has diminished considerably. i'm living in a fabulous home, full of love and joy (and dogs). i can eat again. i work a squishy ass job where i sit all day. since my embarrassing accident (see entry: RICE) in november 2004, i've had a weak ankle that has made my life all the more sedentary. and so the pounds have come back. my cholesterol is higher than it should be, and my fabulous ass jeans no longer fit.

i half heartedly began a new workout routine in may, and coincidentally, have gained another ten pounds. some of my weight gain is due to meds, but much of it is due to depression-style beer drinking.
(ps i'm enjoying a beer as i write this.) my weight is way out of balance, and i'm not sure how to get it back.

here, for the small world to read, is my fucked up thought process as of today: i know the solution to this imbalance: i must work out consistently. i must rein in the beer consumption, not to mention the nicotine. i must monitor my diet. blahblaheffingblah.

one must find balance even in the imbalanced times. of this much i am sure. i am painfully aware of my limits right now. remember? i was in the hospital only two weeks ago. my med cocktail has got me especially vulnerable to emotional ups and downs. i simply haven't the capability to commit myself to a strict regimen of any sort. the physical energy required to take on a full workout leaves me emotionally exhausted. all energy is being used to keep myself okay. and so, perfectionist me really needs to give herself a break. perfectionist me needs to say, "sweet girl, it's been a rough patch. relax. bring your mental health back to a balance, and we can tackle the external situation when you're ready."

naturally, there's the voice that calls bullshit on my thought process. my clothes don't fit, i'm ballooning to uncomfortable proportions, and i'm ridiculously self conscious in any social situation. i can't believe that after years of grappling with this whole body image thing, i'm still comparing myself to bodies i will never have. that's so nicole ritchie, right?

comments are wide open here. i would really, really love some voices outside of my own head to weigh in on this topic. where do you find that balance, and are you able to keep it? because i always come back to this question: if i never lose another pound, will i ever feel physically comfortable in my own skin?

right now, as i hide the curves as best i can, my answer is shit. i don't think so. and i want to be more than that.

Posted by bananie at 5:04 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 23, 2006

meet the fam.


our pack, i.e., we're keeping moe.
Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
lucy, moe, and charley wait ever so patiently for promised treats that were hovering over the camera. and yes, they were t-bone shaped.
Posted by bananie at 9:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

rock this house (in an indie/folk kinda way)

in accordance with my world famous procrastination, i have compiled a new itunes playlist, aptly titled "cleaning mix". naturally, the selection has taken a good hour, as it has to be just right if i am to be inspired into vacuuming a house full of moehair (sweaters anyone?), folding all the cats' laundry, and scrubbing the kitchen.

after many revisions, here is the final list, by artist only. you can guess the songs yourselves:

bananie's cleaning mix:

aimee mann
anna nalick
beck
black eyed peas
blackalicious
calexico
cat power
coldplay
damien rice
dar williams
david gray
death cab
eels
emiliana torrini
emilie simon
finn brothers
flaming lips
frou frou
gillian welch
gnarls barkley
gorillaz
imogen heap
jars of clay (sup flibbity)
justin timberlake
kanye west
keane
kt tunstall
modest mouse
my morning jacket
old crow medicine show
raconteurs
radiohead
sarah mclachlan
sixpence
stars
thom yorke (eraser bootleg-yum!)
unicorns
white stripes
yeahyeahyeahs

66 songs, 4.1 hours. now, to clean.
or maybe i should compile my "post cleaning" mix, so that i have something to listen to afterward? something with mellow sufjan or iron and wine? trespassers william anyone? oh the things to do.

i can't be alone in my soundtrack to everything obsession. what would you include in your cleaning mix?

Posted by bananie at 2:09 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 22, 2006

wait. what just happened?

it's been a slowish day, by all accounts. meeting with lovely advisor--who reads my blog!--and small conversation that makes me all the more sure that i'm supposed to be where i am today.

and then i took my funky belly down to halcyon, that lovely coffeeshop/bar downtown, where you can watch the crazies jaywalk, and the gay men decide between oilcan harry's (the hole in the wall) or next door: rain, the madonna-blasting martini bar. and then it was off to book people, where i purchased karen armstrong's the spiral staircase. this book has been chasing me for weeks now, and i finally gave in.

when helen came home from school, we found ourselves lounging on the big bed with lucy and charley and moe. the bed has become a little like a sardine can sleepover in grade school. smush, poke, stomp. only, the dogs lick your toes, and the gossip isn't so harsh.

i digress. moe has just learned to play, and no longer runs away from stuffie toys. and so we bought him a monkey (like you do) with ropey arms. he and charley play tug of war with it, and he LOVES to fetch the monkey and he brings that sucker back like a pro. and so that was the afternoon: throw, fetch, retrieve.

uncle tom stopped by around six, just like he always does, to bring moe out to the dog meeting. (he adores moe, but can't keep him, and so he helps out by making sure moe gets enough exercise.) helen and i were sitting on the porch when he arrived. "hey," he announced. "yeah, so, there's this guy, adam, who works at seattle's best, and i see him every day, and, well. yeah. so, he's interested in taking moe. he's gonna come by at 6:30 to meet him."

i looked at my feet. shit. you know, i've told myself over and over that i am not attached to that big lug of a dog. that we're doing a good thing by fostering him for now, and training him to live with other dogs, and with cats. but, we couldn't seriously think about keeping him in our condo, could we? even though the cats now rub between his legs with love, and even though he loves to play tug of war with charley. even though he's so well-behaved that you forget he's even in the house, until you step on him. and even then, he apologizes, like it was his fault.

shitshitshit. i'm so in love with this mutt. and as tom took moe off to romp, helen and i deliberated. "i'm so protective of him," she said. i nodded in agreement. "will this adam guy have enough time for him? will he be around other dogs? what if he moves to a place that doesn't allow dogs? he'll have to give him up to a shelter!" i nodded again. and so we stared at each other, shrugged our collective shoulders, and chased down tom to tell him our thought: WE'LL KEEP MOE! can you keep being uncle tom? we'll keep him with his pack of dogs, with his family. tom seemed pleased with our decision, though he did giggle at our crazy decision-making process. "well, should i call adam and tell him not to come?" he asked. but of course, adam arrived five seconds later.

tom was very much the diplomat as adam approached. "so, this is moe," he offered. "isn't he great? yeah, so, there's been a bit of a change in plans." he looked at helen and me. we looked at each other. i stammered (eloquently, of course), "i'm SO sorry, adam. we didn't know we could want to keep him until tom said you were coming and wanted to take him, and now we know that we have to keep him, and i'm really really sorry." adam, the lovely lanky college boy that he is, shrugged, and said, "it's cool." we stuck around as long as we could--it was so awkward for me that i kept randomly apologizing again--and then helen scooted off to a dharma talk, and i finally went inside and poured a large glass of wine.

holy shit, everybody: we're keeping moe! do you know what that means? i now have endless opportunities to take photos of him in compromising situations like this:

charley is way over the bath photos now.

pee ess: to my sister, eileen: you were right. we kept "peaches" (aka moe). of course we did. i'm a mccarthy.

EDIT: i was just chatting with our very pregnant nextdoor neighbor, rachel, and made the official announcement that we are moe's forever family. she jumped up and down and squealed, hugging me tight. and then she looked me in the eye, like only she can, and said quietly: "you know, all this time you and helen have been preparing to add another family member to your home. and here you are..."

who knew i'd end up having jim's baby. he always offered...joke's on me.

Posted by bananie at 6:57 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 21, 2006

what a day.

i'm sitting at opal divine's, our own little cheers, enjoying a local brew. at four o'clock, the day has already been full. here's the good news of the day: i'm going back to school. last year, i was accepted into st. edward's masters of liberal arts program, and i ended up needing to defer. this year, with the inspiration of helen going for her masters, coupled with my own feeling of academic stagnation, i'm ready. i'm ready to hit the ground running. i met with the director of the program today, and am getting ready to register for six hours this fall. can you believe it?

my mom called me in tears this morning. she had to put my beloved cat, pete, to sleep. i last saw him in january, when helen and i were in erie, and i knew it was probably the last time i'd see him. he was simply an old man, whose body decided it was time to shut down.

pete was my first cat. certainly, as a mccarthy (which is synonymous with "we have many cats"), i'd grown up with cats, but pete was mine from day one. on my thirteenth birthday, i picked up a stray kitten with lots of black fluff and white feets. i asked if i could have him. my father said no; my mother shrugged. and so i pulled my first teenage act of rebellion: i sat on the porch with the kitten on my lap, and refused to either put him down or attend my own birthday party until my father relented. of course, he did. (he always did.) i got my way. and i named the fluffball pete.

pete grew to be a huge ragdoll. i could flip him over my shoulder, and he'd sit there until i put him down. dad fell in love with him, and nicknamed him petya. together, my dad and pete created a fabulous and complicated game of "go fetch that milk ring", wherein my father would perch a milk ring on the top of the rocking chair, and pete would knock it down, and then my father would throw the milk ring up the stairs. pete would then fetch it and bring it back to the rocking chair. repeat, ad nauseum. you get the picture.

after my father died, pete retired the game. he wouldn't chase the ring for anyone else.

i was out of the house by that time, and so my mother took on full custody of my big boy. over the last nine years, they have become inseparable. pete followed her every move, slept in her bed, and woke her up by six every morning. recently, he'd begun to lose a lot of weight. his thyroid was a mess. his kidneys began to shut down. his green eyes went sallow. but he didn't lose his appetite. or his sense of humor.

when he began to flinch when petted, however, my mom knew it was time. and this morning, she woke up knowing that today would be the day. she fed him his favorite canned breakfast, and called my aunt mary helen for conversation. "just talk to me," she told mh. "i need you to stay on the phone with me awhile." and so they chitchatted--mh no doubt gave her a detailed account of getting her ears pierced for her 90th birthday last week--and pete sprawled himself across my mother's lap, with head resting in her hand. soon after, my mother took him to the vet, and held him awhile, before handing him over. she told me that pete laid his head on her shoulder like a newborn baby, and nuzzled close. my mother said that she knew it was his way of saying thank you for the mercy. and then she let him go.

when she called me, i could hear the grief in her voice. i understand the loss well. she confessed, "letting him go was doubly hard because i have always associated pete with you." having him around was like having a little piece of me with her every day. and now he is gone. i told my mother i love her, so very, very much, and today i feel the love i have for her so strongly, and protectively. "just talking to you helps," she sighed. oh, mama. i'm so sorry he's gone. but i'm right here. i promise i'm not going anywhere.

goodnight, pete. rest well. may the milk rings abound in heaven. i'm sure you're running laps around my father's legs, much to his chagrin. no matter his manly grumbling, i know he's happy to see you.

old man.
pete mccarthy 1992-2006
Posted by bananie at 3:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 19, 2006

summer in the air

i must say this to the multitudes, as sufjan stevens' michigan goes round and round on the record player: i am so in love with this woman:

shy

we spent the day roaming the hill country backroads in the silver car, whom i have christened 'sylvia'. helen had a midterm this morning in san marcos (half hour drive from austin), and so i leisurely enjoyed the morning at a san marcos coffee shop as she worked her magic. and then we had lunch at rivendell, a hobbit house of a restaurant where they serve you elf rolls. then the drive. wimberley, dripping springs, and laughing laughing laughing. even a mandatory trip to target was a comical adventure. i tried on an isaac mizrahi bathing suit that was horribly wrong for my poor body, and then we bought dogfood and underwear. oh yeah, and bread.

and now, i'm eating eggs for dinner, which my schmelen has lovingly prepared (over hard, thank you), and she is wokking up some fake fish, which--as opposed to fake duck, which is clearly fuck-- we call ffffish. nasty.

ah love. you know the ingredients to a perfect monday.

Posted by bananie at 8:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

nonsense?

if you look to your left, you'll notice i've employed a little google adsense, and i hope you don't hate me for it. i've done my best not to make it annoying or distracting. also, everyone should download firefox; that's an easy fact.

so yes, i've sold out a bit, if selling out means, "i can use every penny i get right now, and maybe someday google will pay me for a tank of gas."

if you have any thoughts either way on the presence of ads on bananie, i'm happy to hear them.
my initial thought: bananie.com has become the place for depression and manic depression advertisers.

Posted by bananie at 8:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 18, 2006

meme

once posted "elsewhere", but i'm narcissistically inspired by the enthusiastic response over on jude's blog. so. for posterity, and because i really want to know:

01. Who are you?
02. Are we friends?
03. When and how did we meet?
04. Do/Did you have a crush on me?
05. Would you kiss me?
06. Describe me in one word.
07. What was your first impression?
08. Do you still think that way about me now?
09. What reminds you of me?
10. If you could give me anything what would it be?
11. How well do you know me?
12. When’s the last time you saw me?
13. Ever wanted to tell me something but couldn’t?
14. Are you going to put this on your blog/journal and see what I say about you?

Posted by bananie at 8:05 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

happy father's day.


happy father's day.
Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
perhaps i'll add more photos later today, if i am inspired to fire up the scanner, but here's a photo i saw for the first time only recently, when my cousin tom sent it via email. it's a strange feeling to see an image of your father as a young man for the first time, especially when you think you have seen them all before. the image is surreal; he's a stranger, a handsome young man, and my father. and there's my mother on his arm: everything was a beginning then. i wonder how they wondered their lives would be. and, of course, i wonder what it would be like to see my father now. as i am. as he would be.
Posted by bananie at 6:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 16, 2006

one tiny reason we love martini joe--

crappy video shot with my camera, but classic martini joe. here, he tells a story about diamonds:

oh, and for some reason, youtube defaulted to a dark shot of a blurry gregg. here's a better idea of joe in action:

watching joe tell a story
Posted by bananie at 2:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 15, 2006

why the system doesn't work, or: how i spent my weekend.


depression a la photoshop.
Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
when i lived in nashville, i saw a wonderful physician who went to my church. because i had no insurance, he was very gracious to see me for drastically reduced fees. (i, in turn, taught his daughter sunday school for awhile. heh.)

it was because of this amazing man that i was able to receive appropriate meds for my depression and anxiety. it was he who first suggested that i have type 2 bipolar (ie, all of the depression, and a wee bit of the mania).

i've been taking a steady dose of effexor xr for three years now, and it has done its job well, for the most part. however, the emotional toll of sitting bedside to a dying friend has thrown me a bit. the reserves i keep in place for pms and other fun grey days are used up. the panic attacks and overall existential dread have come back, and how!

my gp in austin does not feel she has the expertise to treat my depression, and so she will not adjust my meds. she has wanted me to see a psychiatrist for months now.

making an appointment with a psychiatrist in this town is unlike anything i've ever known, even with officially fantastic insurance. it goes a little something like this: you call the insurance, who have doctors employed to make assessments of what you need. they check in with their network of psychiatrists, and see how quickly they can fit you in. then, the insurance doctor calls you back with an appointment, and a phone number. your job is to call that number and confirm the appointment. only, when you talk to the actual psychiatrist's office, the receptionist tells you that psychiatrists do not allow insurance companies to make appointments, and that the appointment you were confirming is no longer available. however, there is an opening in two MONTHS. would that be convenient?

if you say, "no, that would not be convenient; i've rearranged my whole schedule for THIS particular appointment", the receptionist will tell you, "if you have an emergency, i suggest you call 911."

and. so. well. i had my second stay at a psychiatric hospital this past weekend, as a last resort. i really did not want to go. i simply needed to be under the careful treatment of a psychiatrist, and i could not get that help otherwise. the admitting doctor confirmed my decision, when she confessed, "if the system worked, i would definitely see you as an outpatient, and i would see you tomorrow. however, the system does not work, and there is no way i could possibly see you as an outpatient, unless you waited weeks."

after a weekend retreat in a bare room with puke green walls, and medieval locks on the windows, i checked myself out of the hospital, armed with a prescription for a higher dose of effexor, as well as two augmenting drugs. i'm taking a week's leave of absence from work in order to let the new meds make themselves at home in my brain. i'm trying to rest, trying not to worry about everything left undone.

of course, there is so much more left to be told of this story; stories of incompetent nurses and nicotine patches that didn't work. (smokers would rather commit suicide than willingly go to a nonsmoking psych hospital, i learned in "group".) stories of helen and vanessa sitting with me, even though i was drugged up and kept falling asleep.

i'm processing it all one moment at a time. the good news is this: i have a new therapist named melissa, whom i met yesterday, and already adore. when she asks hard questions and i can't look her in the eye, i can conveniently stare at the matching toe rings she sports on each foot. also, i was able to get an appointment with a psychiatrist who will be employed to make sure i don't have to go to the hospital (ever?) again.

for now, let my story be a lesson on how to make a fucked up system work for you.

pee ess: in the hospital, there are unlimited cartons of chocolate milk, all for you.
Posted by bananie at 12:55 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 13, 2006

what's this blog coming to?

as this little bloggy is celebrating her fourth birthday this year, you'd think the google searches that somehow find me would be a little closer to--hmm, i don't know--the words that are written around here?

wrong again, bananie. just today:
Lick strong man feet*
and
where can i find poetry on staying prayed up

*capital lick = googler's emphasis.

for googler #1, here you go:
barefoot on christmas
these are gregg's feet, and they do appear to be quite Lickable from here. oh, and he is a strong man.

meanwhile, googler #2, here you go.

onward...

Posted by bananie at 11:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 1, 2006

photos from nashville.

hello friends. i am too exhausted to tell the nashville story tonight, but please go see the pics i've put up on flickr. by clicking here, you can watch a lovely slideshow of a weekend with friends (including many of yourselves) and their growing offspring.

kisses for now.

Posted by bananie at 11:35 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack