My Resolve is strong: ‘What I am endeavoring to correct in the latter part of 2012’


Well I missed the boat.  The huge Italian-piloted-playboy-of a captain’s-type of boat that is.  Because well I’m just not the glitzy “12 lido decks” sailing type.  

"Lido Deck"

I like the impermanance of the warm and sea-worn dinghy.  I love the sheer mystery that goes with the wind in my hair and the”throw caution to the wind”  feeling of, “Will I make it to shore?”  So I missed the boat on putting to paper my “wants” for 2012.  First of all, I wanted the world to continue.  I did not REALLY believe that those crazy Mayans correctly foretold of the end of our spastic little attention deficit planet.  They were probably like….tired of tip tapping all that crazy angular text into stone and were like….Um…bro, I’m DONE! this sh*t’s TIRING!!! Or maybe there’s a “mayan Calendar part deux” buried beneath a behemoth pyramid and the archeologist types will unearth it and will be like…”crap….sorry…you mad bro?”   Not to knock Mayan, because I’m pretty sure their my ancestors.  I’m Mexican and Irish, which officially makes me a “Mexi-gringa” and my grandmother’s family comes from The Tarahumara Tribe.  all you need to know is that they actually chase (yes still) deer and whatever they want to eat, on foot. They wear crazy little skirts.  AND THOSE ARE THE MEN!!   They live in high altitude cliff dwellings in Mexico’s  Copper Canyon to be exact) …and drink a beverage called Iskiate that makes ecstasy look like baby food. So I don’t diss the Mayans.  I’m not an ancestry buff but i’ve a feeling the corn meal doesn’t  fall too far from the huarache if you know what I mean.    But I’m glad they got it wrong.  VERY WRONG.  Because that means we all have more time to ignore Super-Pacs, not stand up for Women’s rights on contraception etc.,  I guess what I’m saying is…DOES IT TAKE THE IMPENDING END OF THE WORLD TO GET FIRED UP ABOUT THESE THINGS?! People…PEOPLE!!!! …..  Seriously.  If you’re gonna get fired up and change things…ahem…then these are some starting points.

I’m also endeavoring to figure out why young female children are hanging their entire tiny self esteems on the millions of mostly hardened YouTube Viewer’s opinions! Patt Morrison of KPCC devoted one of her radio shows to this question the other day.  I was lucky enough to have one of my comments read on the air by Patt, (I can’t tell you how exciting this was…) but my thoughts on this subject have not been entirely aired and I wish to explore this phenomena more fully here! You lucky readers!  Okay you four readers of mine, (you know who you are…)   Personally I don’t remember being wary of my self esteem as a child never mind manically  questioning  whether I was “pretty” or not.  Not much of a thought to tell you the truth.  Not until my next door neighbor, the evil Yvette Lopez,  told me that I got to borrow the ‘ugly Barbie’ because as she put it, ‘I was ‘ugly too.’  I remember being angry, and not really believing her.  I guess my parents had done some work there and made sure my  intrinsic self esteem was intact and somewhat unretractable in a way.  Some sort of positive verbal massaging of the spirit went on.  I do know that I did not own Barbies, either by the sheer prospect of borderline poverty or by ideal I know not.  I do know, however, I was the eager recipient of an occasional chicharone or  pan dulce whilst watching 1970’s basketball with my dad.  My mother had me busy with art projects.  As for Yvette?  I wanted to punch her lights out and began making mud pies to launch over the wall into her front yard.  Being resourceful, I enlisted my little brother and the offensive began.   Looking back, that was my first taste of justice and haven’t’ lost the thirst for it.  Today I’m wondering why America has been resting on it’s laurels with regard to women’s issues.  Not only are we on the razor’s edge of losing contraception rights, we are okay with so much misogyny in our media once again.  I wasn’t around for the 50’s and I was just a wee tot in the 60’s and all I know is that in the 70’s women’s issues were important. I felt it. I saw it.  Women were in a fight.  Gloria Steinem was a common visual on my parent’s magnavox. Cher might’ve been in a tiny deerskin bikini but she was a strong woman.   Women with caftans, flared pants large flowered prints were pissed and on guard.  They wanted to be respected for the women they were.  In the eighties the idea of ‘being an airhead’ or one’s entire self-esteem being soley based on looks still didn’t fly.  There was an enduring radar out there just daring any inkling of disrespect to waft within it’s general airspace.  How did things change so quickly? Now we have The Kardashians, The Bachelor, Jersey Shore’s women put out there as defacto role models for young girls.  Women in bikinis selling hamburgers.  Maybe the ladies on Hee Haw or Petty Coat Junction we’rent perfect but they certainly weren’t bouncing booze soaked ice cubes off the pecs of half naked guido boys! There was enough strong feminist vibe going on that even girls as young as I was knew that we weren’t to be messed with or disrespected and most of all? I had more than my looks to make me feel whole.

Thankfully there is a group called G.A.T.E. (Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment) spearheaded by John Raatz, Jim Carrey and Eckhart Tolle

John Raatz, Eckhart Tolle and JIm Carrey : G.A.T.E.

…and they endeavor to change some of the tendencies in Hollywood that culminate in movies and shows that lower that self-esteem bar.  Basically GATE is trying to raise the bar making Hollywood responsible for what is conveyed in their productions.  Can we tell a good story that people want to see without all the gratuitous sex or stereotypical demography that we now use so wantonly? Can we make an impact without the gratuitous violence?  Can we merely allude to the violence in the story if it is a necessary part of the storytelling?  but not glorify it’s detail? Can we get past using sex and violence as cash cows? and raise our cinema arts to a new level?   Can we tell better stories? and can we tell stories that are more impactful and help us all get along on this tiny blue idiosyncratic planet?  I think so.  And if we do…succeed that is, in making Hollywood just a little less attention starved, we will we have an impact on young children.  We must do this because young kids  are starting to show signs of  the hyper sexualization and adult drama that they encounter everywhere in out society.  A ten year old asking the world if she’s pretty, an eleven year old worried that she’s ‘not hot’.  it’s worrisome.   Endeavor with me.  Eyes on the prize.

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The Trouble With Milk: 2010 in review – How loud were we?


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2010. That’s about 7 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 53 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 81 posts. There were 257 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 84mb. That’s about 5 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 9th with 66 views. The most popular post that day was “SOUNDS-WEST” The best music in Los Angeles .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were stumbleupon.com, facebook.com, webmail.aol.com, en.wordpress.com, and WordPress Dashboard.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for the trouble with milk, birth defects pictures, disney female characters, deadmau5, and disney male characters.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

“SOUNDS-WEST” The best music in Los Angeles October 2009
3 comments

2

NCLB and it’s effects on school ‘truancy.’ or…Pearls of Wisdom: “If our American life fails the child, it fails us all.” ~ Pearl S. Buck writer and sometime sha-woman.. March 2010
7 comments

3

Kettleman City – We need another Cesar Chavez. February 2010

4

Micachu and the Shapes: Bite your lip, get up and Dance. January 2010

5

How the Amelia Bedelia Books SHOULD be titled! October 2009

The Trouble With Milk is this shirt!!


TTWM Shirt "The Trouble With Milk" (featuring Glen Mangoo)

Be the first in on your block to wear this veritable statement of quixotic confusion. It features the illustrious Glen Mangoo, pouring his favorite beverage, milk. What’s it all about? it’s about livin’ large and showing your loyalty to TTWM. You like our posts about music, comedy, sociological issues and the basic fact that nothing is really what it seems, there’s always more to the story. So you’ve decided to dedicate $20.00 toward the ‘Im lookin’ fly in the hood’ cause? cool. just email chrissylong@me.com and we’ll get your order going. It takes 4 weeks to get it. (sorry we don’t control the brown-suits)…

We have tons of colors and a new shirt is in the works. Our new tagline is, “This blog is in Spanish when you’re not looking.” Why? because it is in Spanish when you’re not looking. Glad to have our logo against your naughty bits!

The team @ TTWM
find us on twitter “troublewithmilk”
ditto on Facebook “the trouble with milk”

So ‘This is Spinal Tap??!!” (“adventures in damage control medicine and ultimate spin.”)


I really don’t need my body anymore, it’s just causing me problems. I’m really upset that my brain decided to forshadow an “event” and create such a rush of agitation, bewilderment and commotion. I’m sure that neurologists, anesthesiologists, interns, and the like waited like hungry hyaena under faux gum tree cover just outside the Emergency Room at the ‘newly re-designed’ Huntington Memorial Hospital.   Swallowing their baded breath, eager to “figure out my brain mystery” and get a little piece of the ‘disaster pie,’ every kind of medical mortal, a few days ago, was invoked in my honor.

When I felt, what the doctors now call a ‘thunder-clap’ headache, (no it’s not some sort of head swelling associated with a venereal disease, but an uncommon
sudden onset headache),
I was astounded, a bit frightened, and knew at the moment it struck that something was askew. Very badly askew.   This wasn’t just some sort of tension thing, nor was it ‘the worst migraine’ you could ever imagine, it was a lightening bolt to the brain, whom felt as though it had no recourse but to explode.

Holding my head in my hands and falling onto my bed, I told my husband through whispers, “something’s not right.” What an understatement that was.  I could see that, his face was white. He tucked me into our little Mini Cooper and off we went bumping and thumping along the ill-repaired 210 freeway. Once we arrived, the supposedly trained, ‘laymen looking’ triage team scanned my face and looked at me with suspicion. I was sure they were thinking,  “yah, right lady, headache…come to the emergency room…oh sure…you’re sick…riiiiight….ah ha…okay.” I peered at them through my hands and said, “I feel like i’m gonna die..”

Not a migraine, not the mommy!

After sitting in an intentionally uncomfortable chair, (they don’t want fakers to get comfy I would assume), I searched for a flat place to lay down, no dice. For some strange reason there is no place to do this in an E.R. (Which smacks of serious un-coolness as most people with real emergencies don’t want to;  or can’t be, upright for too long!)   The E.R. rats got me in semi-quickly (guess they thought better of their quick visual and sneering assessment when I threw up into one of their ash trays – I was thinking, “There! You see?”  Proven with vomit!

Surprisingly I quickly got a CT scan and then was sent out to wait, non-supine, I might add… to be called in for a lumbar puncture. Wait!? did they say, “lumbar puncture?” isn’t that a fancy way to spin a “SPINAL TAP?” ‘why yes, dear’ i heard my own voice say…There I was, a wikipedia-informed girl with a pounding headache that was making all information foggy, slow and sort of otherworldly.   I definitely heard, “Lumbar Puncture.
‘ My husband looked at me with his handsome dark eyes and grimaced and said, “well, honey, they have to rule out a ‘brain event,’ the CT scan is only 98% accurate, and we want to be 100% accurate.   That’s just great, I thought…you marry a guy whose employment history includes quality control and measurement analysis, and that’s what you get…”the quest for 100% accuracy.”    I should have been happy about his insistence in total quality management and accuracy, but I was so scared of the dreaded “spinal tap” that I would have been happy to roll the dice.

THIS is Spinal Tap!!!

I jauntily stepped toward the wheel chair, helped by a miniature Paula Abdul with a gold tooth and a starbucks cup in her hand,

Paula with Starbucks, not unlike the grimy coffee sucking intake technician in E.R.

and swung my bum into the canvas chair. I rolled to my torture room, where a bespectacled and bearded phlebotomist awaited my fresh blood filled arms. Being quiet and anti-compliant as my body has always been, it’s veins quietly rolled and shrank in horror as the phlebo’s large gauge needle approached it’s endolethium. I knew this wasn’t a good sign, it was obvious my body was not interested in having an I.V. inserted, nor was it happy about the impending lumbar puncture.   I had never had never joined my fellow birthing friends in accepting an epidural as an analgesic to the direct pain of childbirth, though they sang the praises of them.   I had a bad experience with epidural with my first and only one at Andrew’s birth. The tap itself didn’t hurt , but it was the medicine they sent through it was what really caused a strange effect on my body temporarily paralyzing me so that the baby had to be palpated out of me!  read: ‘squeezed’ out of me by nurses and doctors. But with this procedure, they are just drawing out some fluids.  what could be simpler? or less nefarious anyway? i reasoned.

My body was right. What started out routine was quickly seeming barbaric, as the 22 gauge needle went into the epidermis (the doctor gave me the ‘ol…’this is to help you not to feel pain’ routine) – but here’s the dichotomy; which the patient is usually too sick, woozy or plain slow to suss out…and that is that, THE DOCTOR IS STICKING A NEEDLE INTO YOU (WHICH IS PAINFUL RIGHT?) IN ORDER THAT YOU DON’T FEEL PAIN!! Well this conjecture is obvious, but as a person in pain or some sort of intractable position, you just don’t want to bone up to any critical thinking at a time like that.   The needle went into my back with a burn and i let out a quashed yelp.   The doctor was mid-diatribe of a blatant description of what his tools were doing to me during the procedure, and what they would be doing after the invasive procedure.  A larger needle has then entered into the crevice between my L3 and L4 vertebrae and was now ‘SUCKING’ fluid out of me! This wouldn’t sound so bad if it didn’t FEEL SO WRONG!

Pricked.

Apparently your brain immediately senses the loss in cerebral spinal fluid and momentarily turns in your cranium. It’s no longer floating correctly being bathed in cerebral spinal fluid! Your world spins, you want to wretch and there is hot lightening in your back along with a weird sucking ache from where the needle’s collection compartment is being changed quickly so as to draw at least 20cc from you. That’s alot of CSF and your brain can’t make it that fast. I was given oxygen (STAT, is what i heard through my Easy Rider floatation experience, where I heard my voice far far away from me, as I screamed and called for Steve my husband). It actually flashed through my mind that I might now know what torture actually is and how the Abu Gharib prisoners might have heard their own voices as experienced water-boarding!  I had been ‘outside’ of myself for a moment and it was shocking and strange. During my ‘out of body weirdness’ I heard the ER doc in a tight muted but still panic-stricken voice tell the Nurse’s assistant to get me ‘on the heart monitor’ and get me ‘oxygen STAT!’  I was back in my body as soon as they layed me down and gave me oxygen.  I can’t help think  that all of this would have been bearable had Nigel Tufnel been floating around there with me, telling me that ‘you can’t dust vomit,’ or ‘this one goes to eleven.’ with his longish cleft chin and seventies-like feathery- do.

"We've got armadillos in our trousers, it's really quite frightening."

That would have been the virtual WD-40 to the fix I was in, but we all know that reality bites and neither Mr. Tufnal, nor the effervescent, charmingly dim but hugely likable Mr. Derek Smalls couldn’t have soothed me at the time.

Le Show still rocks my boat, but Harry, Derek, or whatever incarnation he is in would have been a welcome distraction.

After resting for the predisignated time, signing oodles of paper, and drinking the prescribed amount of fluids, I was told the L.P. showed no cranial blood, so I wasn’t having a stroke, hemmorage, or an anyeurism.  I was happy.  My brain was happy.  I was put in a wheelchair and released me to the cloistered but cool confines of our Red Mini and into the loving hands of my hugely helpful husband Steve.

When I got home I layed down for an hour or so and felt pretty good, save for the headache!  Nackers! that’s what I started out with!  Well it wasn’t the nefarious sort, that blasted “Thunderclap” species.  I payed no mind.  The addage, ‘no pain no gain’ was somewhere on the tip of my tongue  as I washed a cereal bowl or two, so that the kids had some clean ones to choose from.   Placing the last bowl into my strange looking Ikea dish drainer, my spine started to course with lightening.  The electrical charge went all the way up to my head and my entire back, and  was seizing up quickly.   Even while laying down and not moving, the pain increased until it was unbearable. Soon any whispering wind through the window that caused me to slightly flinch caused the electrical shocks and tightness. I could not move. I spent the night taking ibuprophen hoping that this was just a stage and that the L.P. was in such a sensitive area that this must be one of the stages of ‘getting through it, to get better.” By the next morning, the birds were singing and I woke up with tears meandering down my cheeks.   ‘Back to E.R.” my mother said, who had kindly come to ‘watch me, handle  the house and ‘kid-stuff’ during the day while my husband went to work. Back in the glaringly fluorescent E.R., the gum chewing facebook updating certified technicians rambled about ‘what restaurant to get take-out from.  “Look, I’ll shave my chinstrap if you don’t like Zancou Chicken, one semi-bearded thrity-something male pleaded ‘  The elder of the flock gave a concerned look and sent out a scout apparently to retrieve a wheelchair for me.  I watied a few minutes until ‘chinstrap’ came back and announced that they were going to admit me and do a ‘blood patch.’  Once in the procedure room it was explained to me that the lumbar puncture had breached my dura and the resulting hole had not closed. furthermore, what seemed to be life-giving CSF was leaking out! I wondered if I’d soon be again listening to myself from far away and up above if everything leaked out!? My mind was racing, outstripping logical thought.   Soon I was prepped, shorn and put into one of those ridiculously cheery patterned gowns.  Mine had cherry fruits with small laughing faces on them.  Not a sign of luck.  I laid on the thin operating table ready for the procedure and the door opened once again.  I was staring right into the eyes of the host of “Man-vs.-Food.”

Dr. Ali...Your secret is out, you also host Man vs. Food!

Okay, you have to be a food channel viewer to key into what I’m talking about here. My anesthesiologist was a carbon copy, I mean TWIN of  Adam Richman, the host of “Man-vs.-Food” an  amazingly funny show.   I should have taken this as a sign of good luck but I was shivering with fear and the comfort of a funny celebrity twin doing my procedure was no match for my tenuousness.  I soon found out that the “fix” to my ‘leaking cerebral spinal fluid problem’, was to go in the same way, and then pump in my own blood in hopes of it forming a “patch.”  This did not calm me.   I will admit,  “Man-vs.-Food-twin” was kind, explanatory, sweet, and explained the entire procedure to me. I figured I’d get the meat of the matter, and this answer would either soothe me or sink me.  I asked boldly whether this typically hurts as much as a lumbar pucture.  MVF – twin just grimaced (he looked even more like his long lost t.V. land twin. but sans ketchup, hot sauce or bits of pickle on the corner of his mouth. He offered,  “well, all I can say is that we’re going back into the same area. There!  I had my answer.  As I bared my precious L3 and L4 to him draping my torso over a padded stainless surgical steel tool tray, I squeezed the hand of a nurse that looked alot like my mother. I shivered, tried to stay still, and took a deep breath. I hardly felt the needle!  and MVF (Man-vs.-Food) injected the blood that he had drawn from my arm quietly into my back.

He finished the procedure, put a band aid type patch on my back, took off the surgical masking and came around to talk with me.   Beaded sweat permeated his brow, his side face area and upper lip were soaked. Was he worried? Was he running in circles as the needle was sucking up fluid? maybe he had been doing some Billy Blanks exercises in order to keep his ‘core’ toned, you know you gotta fit those into your everyday life! as Billy says…but my senses were thinking critically. He was nervous.

Over the next few days, at home I once again became an electrical pin cusion and proceeded to partial paralysis. This time in E.R. I was admitted, and MRI’s were ordered. I pictured myself  like a hot dog being stuffed into a cornbread wrap being heated up with magnets. This didn’t help,

Once at the MRI lab I invoked great joy in the  MRI technicians as they realized that the patient they were setting up and sliding into the machine was a latent  clausterphobe!  Imagine getting a patient on a gurney only to pull them out 30 seconds later crying, saying that they ‘just can’t do this’  because they felt like they were being entombed?  That was me.  I never would have known until that moment, but the fear is very real.  My husband expained to me that the MRI was open at the other end! (Stupidly noone had shown me the full architecture of the machine, nor does one have a vantage point when laying on a gurney so as to see that the machine is actually open on the other end).  Nevertheless, my husband  stood at the other end and stroked my forehead and hair until the test was done.  What a cool guy.  he represented a  way out if I absooutely had to get out.  It’s comforting to know that if you ‘freak out,’ for lack of a better term, that someone can rescue you.

The act of....MRI...it can be a claustrophobic event.

I spent the next two days doing tests and finally, amazingly…got the one brain MRI that peratained to the original problem and wasn’t just damage control. That MRI unequivocally ruled out any past brain event that might have been the reason for the ‘thunderclap’ / ‘sudden onset headaches’ FINALLY! but…even when you think you’ve got complete honesty and intractibility, you get spin. As great as the hospital staff was (demanor, care, manner, attentiveness, services..) once admitted, every good scenario seems to have it’s caveat. “Your brain is perfect!, the MRI shows a healthy brain!  the attending doctor said.- we, however cannot rule out this as a precursor to an upcoming event in the future, as this was an MRI without contrast.”  But we don’t forsee anything because your veins are all clear! There is no sign of mass or distress!

This is when it’s a good thing to be an optimist, or a non-critical thinker, or even just to be the type of person that ‘spin’ actually works on. I could be called a pessimist, but I think realist is a better description. It could still happen. It could happen to anyone for that matter.   I don’t want it to happen, but I am savvy enough to know that this hospital and it’s doctors were doing ‘damage control’ and ‘making me feel better about my situation. Neverheless they actually did seem to care, which is so rare these days.  To actually have that translated to you, whether you are a consumer, a patient, an employee…it takes a well trained and well selected group of people to translate this through their jobs.

I’m glad this hospital kept ‘spin’ to a min.  I can’t say they didn’t engage in a little bit of it, but they did it to keep me from worrying about something which none of us can control.   Forcing doctors to tell the unequivocal truth is important.   I do understand the semantics used about my MRI.  What can I do about it? what can anyone? Until then, no worries.  I have the choice to put those possiblities in the back of my mind and use them as experiences whose data might need to  access one day in a even life-threatening circumstance.    To the medical industry thanks for the care but don’t spin me…unless you’ve got Nigel, Derek, David and the gang standing down waiting to hang out with me.