of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax

Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings

Today has been absolute insanity.

First, because of the way buses run, I had to be up a little bit after six this morning to go through my morning routine and wake up somewhat before I left the apartment. It’s always good to be a little bit awake when playing Frogger on Armstrong Mill Road to get to the inbound bus stop. But crossing at 8:15am is easier than crossing at 8:45am. We shan’t discuss crossing at 5pm!

And of course the bus was late. Even after being on time all the way along the route, the driver somehow managed to fall back five minutes late on the last half of the loop. I always have anxiety when I go to therapy anyway — the clinic itself sucks — late buses don’t help that at all. But I had a good book to read along the trip, so that helped.

Then I get to the clinic, and the lights are off and the door is locked. Generally this isn’t a problem, as I’m the first appointment. But usually the hallway door is open, and I can at least go in and sit down. Not this time. The place was locked down tight. So I made a phone call and found out they’d “moved next door”. Isn’t that something someone should have told me during my reminder call yesterday?

So I go in, sign in, and sit down. Then I can hear someone in the back saying she doesn’t know who I am and that there’s no information on me anywhere — and my therapist hasn’t gotten to the clinic yet. The anxiety that landed on me outside the other building settled in on top of me. I refrained from going outside and bashing my head against the brick wall.

Good thing, too, because my therapist came in shortly after that, and around the same time, I got to an intense part of my book, so I had plenty to keep me busy.

Once we got into the back, my therapist said this was her first day in this building, too — she even had to ask where her office was! The bad thing was that she didn’t have my records or her computer. She had to dig pens and notepaper out of her bag. And we never really got to talk about anything I’d gone in there to talk about, and I’d been trying to get in to see her since the middle of May. Just more of the usual crap that clinic shovels out on a daily basis.

She had plenty to tell me, though. Two things in particular.

1. The cost of generic Ritalin has skyrocketed. She didn’t even know until patients started calling or coming in and telling her about it. Here in Lexington, it’s gone from $4 for 30 10mg pills to $126. So, we’re switching me over to Vyvanse. The problem with that is, there’s not a generic (yet), and I have to qualify for their prescription assistance program — but my cost could still be $30 a month, which I can’t afford (that’s about what I pay for all of my medications combined; there’s no way I can pay that for one medication). The other problem with that is that it takes at least two months to go through the approval process. I have one week of Ritalin left.

Now, the part about this whole Ritalin thing that sucks, I found out when I got home is that apparently there’s another “shortage” on, like there was earlier in the year, like their was last year and the year before. This page says most of the issue is “supply constraints” or “due to delay in obtaining raw materials”. I would pull my hair out by the roots, but it’s taken too long to grow it this long.

Personally, I feel it’s Big Pharma being greedy assholes.

2. “It’s very probable” that clinic will be closing its doors soon — as in, I made an appointment to see my therapist again in October, but if the clinic closes, then I won’t be seeing her again. We actually cried together. She said the clinic doesn’t want their workers telling people what’s going on, but she said she and a handful of other therapists agree that their patients need to know. I mean, really — you’re a mental health service. You have to disclose this kind of thing so we can look and get referrals and get set up elsewhere. My first choice is to go back to Comprehensive Care, but I can’t get medications there. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it, I guess. My therapist gave me enough prescriptions to get me through until the first of March, so I’m good there. (except for the whole Ritalin part) And we’ll deal with the whole Vyvanse thing when we get there.

3. She said they were all pledging to do follow-ups and so forth and said she definitely would be in touch one way or another. I told her to find me on Facebook if I don’t see her in October. I can’t stand the thought of not seeing her again. She’s been my angel (one of my angles) these last three years. We both cried; it was awful.

I left and walked up to the bus stop and got ready for the long trip (an hour) to Wal-Mart. See, that’s the thing with Lextran. It takes you just about anywhere, but it takes forever to get there. An hour to the clinic, an hour to Wal-Mart, an hour home. And people wonder why, when I have therapy, I’m gone all day and need a nap when I get home! I read another good chunk of my book, of course, and had my mp3 player to keep me company; I learned years ago (2005?) never to get on the bus without an mp3 player; it keeps you saner. In 2010, I added my Kindle to that equation. (Wow – I’ve had my Kindle almost three years! Time certainly flies.)

Got to Wal-Mart, did my shopping. Got a text from Josh saying they’d be there shortly. They were meeting me to hang out while I finished and then taking me home. We have such rich, busy social lives! And of course Micah had to be with me in my buggy and not his parents’. Since my child seat was full of stuff, I just dumped him in the buggy with all the food. Which he didn’t mind at all. It meant he got to practice stacking and made cool towers with my Noxema, instant tea, and a can of gooshy food. He was so proud!

Then he wanted to go back into his parents’ buggy, which was fine, and he had more room over there anyway. By the time we got around to the frozen foods, though, he was getting bored, and it was getting on toward his naptime. Mandi left us to go find herself a bag of chips, and Josh and I were talking, and next thing I knew, Micah was face-first on the floor. I keep hearing the sound he made when he landed, and I keep trying to forget it.

He’s fine, though. He’s fine!

He got a nice goose egg on his forehead and a fat lip, and we got a package of popsicles so we could give him one to soothe his mouth. And I still feel like absolute shit about the whole thing even though it’s been ten hours. Everybody keeps telling me that they do stuff like that, and since I have two grown boys, I should know this myself, and I do know this myself. But I still feel like shit.

In the checkout line, I was telling Josh and Mandi to make sure Micah got some Tylenol when they got home, and Micah nodded his head, “Yes.” We laughed. Josh said, “Do you need Tylenol, Micah?” And he nodded his head yes again. He is so rotten.

So while I was sitting here doing Internet things — ie, writing group and writing this post — I managed to find the prescription assistance application form I need, and Preston printed it out for me. I got it filled out, and am going to fax it to the clinic in the morning.

Speaking of which, I asked to get Micah early tomorrow, and I have a ton of things to get done before he gets here. It’s midnight. I should probably get to bed!

It’s been a long time since I’ve really given any kind of update, and I do apologize for that. It’s been a long, insane year. A lot’s happened. I promise not to be gone so long between now and next time.

how not to be a christmas asshole

December 03, 2012

the juggernaut cometh: Or:  How Not To Be A Christmas Asshole!

Allow me to explain. See, the thing is, I am a Jew who hates Christmas, and not for any of the reasons you are thinking, either. I do not hate Christmas because I am bitter that people are celebrating a holiday I do not celebrate; nor do I hate Christmas because the good cheer of others brings me to rage. I do not even hate Christmas because Christmas music drives me crazy, although, to be fair, like anyone who has ever worked retail during the holiday season, it really fucking does.

No, internet. No. The reason I am a Jew who hates Christmas? Is because every year, WITHOUT FAIL, someone I had previously thought to be a rational, understanding, and worthwhile human being proves themselves be a GIGANTIC ASSHOLE because of Christmas. And before you go, “Oh, I bet you mean those intense right-wing conservative Christians, I’m not one of those people, I can skip this post,” lemme stop you, because no, I don’t. In fact, I find conservative Christians easier to handle during the Christmas season than almost anyone else, because at least you know what you’re dealing with. The people I am talking about are not die-hard Christians; in fact, a disproportionate number of them, over the years, have been atheists. Others were people who were raised with Christmas, but not necessarily with any church; still others were people who believed in the tenants of Christianity in theory but not in practice; still others were—uh, I believe the term is “Christmas and Easter” Christians? But the thing is, come Christmas, they’ve all got one thing in common, and that thing is this:

They all think they know more about why I don’t celebrate Christmas than I do.

So. In my view, there are three variations on the theme of Being An Asshole To People You Know Who Don’t Celebrate Christmas. Let’s lay ‘em out, nice and simple-like.

Option A: “But Christmas is a secular holiday!” 

Okay. So, first of all, let me be clear: it’s not that I disagree with this statement, exactly. Despite my Judaism, I am fully capable of comprehending the world around me even when said world is lathed in red and green, and yeah, dude, I see where you’re coming from with this. In the United States, where I live and where church and state are theoretically very separate, Christmas is a federal holiday. Every year there are Christmas parties, Christmas lights, Christmas movies, Christmas commercials, Christmas store displays, Christmas music, Christmas coffee cups at Starbucks, etc etc. As I child, I participated in Christmas activities at my public school; as an adult, I watch in bemused curiosity as conservative pundit after conservative pundit complains on my television about the loss of Christ from Christmas. I am not in any way under the impression that everybody who celebrates Christmas is doing so to exalt the birth of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because to think that I would have to be willfully missing about half of what goes on around this holiday. I’m not even of the impression that Christmas has always and forever throughout all of history been a day about Christ, because let’s be real, history is very clear on the fact that this celebration belonged to the pagans first.

If Christmas is a secular holiday for you, that is so great; rock on with your secular selves, and please (please) don’t feel obligated to believe in Christ on my account. Trim your tree and wrap your gifts and listen to that song about Mommy kissing Santa to your heart’s content, go over the hill and through the wood’s to grandmother’s house until the goddamn cows come home, get all up in that Christmas spirit. Seriously! Have fun! This is not sarcasm, I genuinely hope you have a merry, non-religious Christmas.

But the fact that this holiday is secular for you? Does not mean it has to be secular for me. And it isn’t secular for me; it never has been. It has always been the holiday that everyone else celebrated. It has always been the holiday that made me different, never mind that the holidays that actually make me different should really be my own, the ones I decide to interact with, the ones I chose to celebrate whether or not the general culture is. Christmas, in my experience, for me, is about Christianity, about things I don’t believe in, and about things I don’t feel comfortable participating in as a Jew. That’s not to say that this is true of all Jews, or of all people who subscribe to a faith that doesn’t do Christmas—it’s not! At all! But it’s always been that way for me, and that’s my call. I would never tell you that you can’t view Christmas as a secular holiday, the same way I would never tell a devout Christian that they couldn’t view it as a religious holiday, the same way I would never tell a non-Jew that they had to view, for example, Rosh Hashana as a holy day and celebrate it with me regardless of their own feelings or lack thereof about their own faith/traditions/desires.

The thing is, I most often encounter this argument from atheists who are planning on celebrating Christmas, and honestly, I kind of get it. I get that getting other people to acknowledge that Christmas is a secular holiday probably makes folks feel better about viewing it that way, and let me be clear—I don’t think those people are wrong! I don’t think Christmas is a religious holiday for everybody! If it’s secular for you, it’s secular for you—that’s it, no argument, no debate, no discussion. But if you need someone else’s acknowledgement of the secularity of Christman to justify your participating in it to yourself, guess what? That’s not my problem, and making it my problem makes you an asshole.

Option B: “Hello, my name is Bob and I am here to be your Christmas mentor.” 

So, True Life: I’ve Been A Jew On Christmas: a few years ago, I was dating this guy whose family celebrated Christmas, and I spent Christmas with them (this is one of the awesome things about being Jewish and dating gentiles: you can make your significant other do Thanksgiving with your family in exchange for your doing Christmas with theirs, because your family does not care where you are on Christmas unless it makes them late for their movie). I packed up my things and went on down to this dude’s parents’ home, whereupon these previously kind and respectful people began treating me like a very small child. “This is a Christmas cookie,” said his mother, holding up a piece of frosting-painted shortbread in the shape of a candy cane. “This is how we hang ornaments,” said his father, lifting a glass bauble with a hook on it and using said hook to attach said bauble to a tree branch.

“I grew up Jewish,” I refrained from saying to these people and the dozens like them who have come into my life over the years, “I did not grow up under a fucking rock.” I know what a goddamn Christmas cookie is. I know how to hang baubles on hooks from trees! That Christmas song you love so much? I’ve heard it. That Christmas movie you watch every year? I’ve seen it (and probably loved it, because while I hate Christmas, Christmas movies are often pretty boss). The Christmas shit that plays on the television does not skip my house because I am a devotee of the bagel and lox. The Christmas stuff on display in stores does not render itself invisible to me because I had a Bat Mitzvah. I’ve watched Christmas plays, I’ve read Christmas books, hell, I’ve written Christmas fanfiction: this holiday takes over the country in which I live for an entire month every year. I have fucking heard of it. Now, would I be pretty lost in, for example, a Christmas midnight mass? Yeah, probably, just like most non-Jews would probably be pretty fucking lost in a Kol Nidre service, because other people’s religious ceremonies are usually pretty incomprehensible to someone who has never experienced one. Do I need you to take me by the hand and guide me slowly through the magical Christmas wonderland, stopping to identify the mistletoe and explain what a wreath is? Hell fucking no I don’t. I am a fully grown adult human who has lived through twenty-two Christmas seasons—I’m really good, guys. I know this shit as well as anybody else does. Don’t talk down to me; don’t be an asshole.

Option C: “Oh, I’m so sad for you! You’re missing out on the most wonderful holiday known to man! Woe is you, your life is so terrible, how tragic you are with your lack of Christmas!” 

You know what? My favorite holiday is now and will always be Passover, and this is because of the fun my family and I have celebrating it every year. I’ve got fond childhood memories of running around my grandparent’s house during Seder, muffling my laughter as I tried to find the afikomen before my cousins via stealth. I will never eat a piece of matzo seasoned with margarine and salt without smiling around the memory of my mother teaching me to use a butter knife for the first time, of sitting across from her at our kitchen table, both of us chomping away at the first snack I ever made by myself. I haven’t had a Passover in years where I haven’t busted up laughing to think of this time my father made pepperoni matzo pizza when I was a teenager, and we watched it cook under the broiler until we realized at the same time how hilariously not Kosher it was and laughed so hard we burned it. I fucking love Passover, because I fucking love my memories of Passover. I fucking love Passover because my cumulative Passover experience is important to me.

However. I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, IN A MILLION YEARS, go up to one of my non-Jewish friends and say to them, “Wow, you know, you’re really missing out on not celebrating Passover, that’s so sad for you, I feel so sorry for you. You should really start celebrating Passover, because Passover is the best holiday ever, and if you disagree, you’re wrong.” Because I know, the way so many people who love Christmas seem not to know, that the reason I love Passover is unique to my personal experience of Passover. That my warm, fuzzy Passover feelings are tied up with my warm, fuzzy Passover memories. That the things that are good for me are not necessarily the things that are good for other people. That it would be weird and wrong and unfair to insist that people who have not lived my life feel the way I do about a given holiday.

You know what my memories of Christmas are? They’re waiting in line for Chinese food and going to see a movie. They’re going on a family vacation to avoid being treated oddly by friends and neighbors. They’re being turned to by my third grade teacher and told, “The rest of the kids are building gingerbread houses, but I guess you can build a gingerbread menorah,” in tones of great pity. They’re being turned to by my sixth grade teacher teacher and told, “Oh, but you’re Jewish, right? So you shouldn’t sing this Christmas song with us.” They’re having a coworker say, “I bet it pisses you off when people say Merry Christmas, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it? Come on, tell me the truth, it makes you mad, doesn’t it?” They’re the aforementioned Christmas cookie conversation. They’re going over to the house of my few Christian family members and awkwardly trying not to acknowledge the giant, deeply complicated, family-history-laden, yarmulke-wearing elephant in the room. They’re having people lower their voices and cast distressed looks in my direction while discussing their Christmas plans, as though Christmas is a beloved family member of mine that has recently died.

Is any of this to say that being someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas during the Christmas season is THE WORST AND MOST OPPRESSIVE THING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD AND IT HAS SCARRED ME FOR LIFE? Hell, no. Of course not. Being Jewish on Christmas has always been, for me, awkward and uncomfortable and unpleasant, but it’s never been oppressive or harmful. That’s not what I’m saying. That is not my point. My point is this: those warm, fond, fuzzy Christmas memories that folks are working off of? I don’t have those. My memories of Christmas are all awkward and uncomfortable and unpleasant, because that is what Christmas has always been for me. And the same way I would never expect someone who wasn’t Jewish to look forward to Passover with an impassioned glee, or pity someone didn’t look at Passover as the most wonderful time of the year, it is not cool for you to expect me to love Christmas because you do, or to pity me because I don’t share your feelings about it. That shit is your shit! It is not about me, and your making it about me makes you an asshole.

Finally, the thing I have to say to people every year even though I really think it should be self-evident: guess what? I’m a fully grown adult! If I wanted to celebrate Christmas, then, by god, I would be celebrating Christmas. I know where to go to get Christmas things during the Christmas season, because it’s anywhere. I know what Christmas decorations look like, because they’re everywhere. I know how Christmas works, because I didn’t grow up under a rock. I know Christmas can be a secular holiday, because I have both observed and been told that a thousand times. I don’t celebrate Christmas because I do not want to, and you know what? This is my life, which makes that reason enough.

So: don’t be a Christmas Asshole, guys! I’m not going to be mad if you say Merry Christmas to me; I don’t care if you talk about Christmas in front of me; I’m not going to take offense if you invite me to a Christmas party. I don’t celebrate this holiday, but I am genuinely glad it brings you joy, and I wouldn’t deprive you of it for the world. But don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t try to put your Christmas shit on me, whether it’s religious or secular, whether you think I need teaching or not, even if—actually, especially if—you think my life would be richer for it. Your holiday is not my holiday, and your life is not my life, and asserting otherwise? Is being an asshole.

annual christmas rant

This post made its first appearance on my LiveJournal account years and years ago one afternoon when I was, rightly, pissed off. It’s reached an age where it probably needs some revision, but the sentiment remains the same, so here it is:

2:25 pm – Christmas Rant

Okay, so I’m sitting here on AIM chatting with a friend of mine about a week before Christmas, and everything was trundling along fine and dandy until we actually started chatting about Christmas. And honestly, I don’t know why this has given me the anxiety that it has, but it has – even though it shouldn’t have. Maybe because I’ve had too many things going on in my life all at once again. Or something.

But anyway.

My friend was running around in circles getting presents together, making baked goods, trying to get her house, her things and her life in some kind of sensible order. They were packing up and going to see family over the weekend or something. She started going on and on about how “deprived” I was because I wasn’t baking tons of cookies nor going to visit family over the holiday.

I don’t know. Maybe she was joking, but I sure didn’t take it that way. Came across more like cutting down than anything. I didn’t say anything to her, just let her go on until she ran out of steam – or maybe it was she had to get offline or something. But regardless, it all ended peacefully enough.

But what is it with people?

Sure, Christmas and Thanksgiving are “family holidays”; I get that. What I don’t get are the people who don’t or can’t understand is that my blood family haven’t gotten together for “family holidays” since some time in the early 1980’s. Preston and I don’t get together with his family for holidays because of how everyone works – and we don’t get together with Kathy and Ralph because of other scheduling conflicts.

Preston usually works Thanksgiving and Christmas; he didn’t work Christmas this year, but was on call; and he actually got called-in early Christmas morning, so he’ll get holiday pay for that. His parents both have to work to keep their heads above water. The four of us get together when we can, as best we can.

Kathy and Ralph have two boys and six grandchildren to worry with on holidays, and they all get together according to the schedule that best suites them – which usually means the night before the actual holiday. Given the hours and days Preston works, that knocks us right out.

The rest of my family? Well, aside from my Sandhi in North Carolina and her girls, they’ve not spoken to me in almost twelve years. So why bother?

If your family hasn’t gotten together in twenty years and nobody is speaking to anybody else, then why bother? Why stress yourself out over it? I’ve not in many, many years. And I don’t intend to start today just because one of my friends thinks that our “apartness” is wrong.

[[edited to add this in November 2011: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/727.html]]

annual christmas rant

This post made its first appearance on my LiveJournal account years and years ago one afternoon when I was, rightly, pissed off. It’s reached an age where it probably needs some revision, but the sentiment remains the same, so here it is:

2:25 pm – Christmas Rant

Okay, so I’m sitting here on AIM chatting with a friend of mine about a week before Christmas, and everything was trundling along fine and dandy until we actually started chatting about Christmas. And honestly, I don’t know why this has given me the anxiety that it has, but it has – even though it shouldn’t have. Maybe because I’ve had too many things going on in my life all at once again. Or something.

But anyway.

My friend was running around in circles getting presents together, making baked goods, trying to get her house, her things and her life in some kind of sensible order. They were packing up and going to see family over the weekend or something. She started going on and on about how “deprived” I was because I wasn’t baking tons of cookies nor going to visit family over the holiday.

I don’t know. Maybe she was joking, but I sure didn’t take it that way. Came across more like cutting down than anything. I didn’t say anything to her, just let her go on until she ran out of steam – or maybe it was she had to get offline or something. But regardless, it all ended peacefully enough.

But what is it with people?

Sure, Christmas and Thanksgiving are “family holidays”; I get that. What I don’t get are the people who don’t or can’t understand is that my blood family haven’t gotten together for “family holidays” since some time in the early 1980’s. Preston and I don’t get together with his family for holidays because of how everyone works – and we don’t get together with Kathy and Ralph because of other scheduling conflicts.

Preston usually works Thanksgiving and Christmas; he didn’t work Christmas this year, but was on call; and he actually got called-in early Christmas morning, so he’ll get holiday pay for that. His parents both have to work to keep their heads above water. The four of us get together when we can, as best we can.

Kathy and Ralph have two boys and six grandchildren to worry with on holidays, and they all get together according to the schedule that best suites them – which usually means the night before the actual holiday. Given the hours and days Preston works, that knocks us right out.

The rest of my family? Well, aside from my Sandhi in North Carolina and her girls, they’ve not spoken to me in almost twelve years. So why bother?

If your family hasn’t gotten together in twenty years and nobody is speaking to anybody else, then why bother? Why stress yourself out over it? I’ve not in many, many years. And I don’t intend to start today just because one of my friends thinks that our “apartness” is wrong.

[[edited to add this in November 2011: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/727.html]]

annual christmas rant

I originally posted this many, many years ago on LiveJournal and bring it back out every year:

2:25 pm – Christmas Rant

Okay, so I’m sitting here on AIM chatting with a friend of mine about a week before Christmas, and everything was trundling along fine and dandy until we actually started chatting about Christmas. And honestly, I don’t know why this has given me the anxiety that it has, but it has – even though it shouldn’t have. Maybe because I’ve had too many things going on in my life all at once again. Or something.

But anyway.

My friend was running around in circles getting presents together, making baked goods, trying to get her house, her things and her life in some kind of sensible order. They were packing up and going to see family over the weekend or something. She started going on and on about how “deprived” I was because I wasn’t baking tons of cookies nor going to visit family over the holiday.

I don’t know. Maybe she was joking, but I sure didn’t take it that way. Came across more like cutting down than anything. I didn’t say anything to her, just let her go on until she ran out of steam – or maybe it was she had to get offline or something. But regardless, it all ended peacefully enough.

But what is it with people?

Sure, Christmas and Thanksgiving are “family holidays”; I get that. What I don’t get are the people who don’t or can’t understand is that my blood family haven’t gotten together for “family holidays” since some time in the early 1980’s. Preston and I don’t get together with his family for holidays because of how everyone works – and we don’t get together with Kathy and Ralph because of other scheduling conflicts.

Preston usually works Thanksgiving and Christmas; he didn’t work Christmas this year, but was on call; and he actually got called-in early Christmas morning, so he’ll get holiday pay for that. His parents both have to work to keep their heads above water. The four of us get together when we can, as best we can.

Kathy and Ralph have two boys and six grandchildren to worry with on holidays, and they all get together according to the schedule that best suites them – which usually means the night before the actual holiday. Given the hours and days Preston works, that knocks us right out.

The rest of my family? Well, aside from my Sandhi in North Carolina and her girls, they’ve not spoken to me in almost twelve years. So why bother?

If your family hasn’t gotten together in twenty years and nobody is speaking to anybody else, then why bother? Why stress yourself out over it? I’ve not in many, many years. And I don’t intend to start today just because one of my friends thinks that our “apartness” is wrong.