Monthly Archives: June 2012

Up or Down?

I realized this morning as I was tearing around my house cleaning that I might be swinging back to hypomania. I’m really not sure what to make of it, really. I know I’ve been spending more money, but that’s also happenstance — I was going to buy the things I bought anyways. That several things I wished to purchase piled up on this week is just luck of the draw. What what about the sudden strong urge to DO that sprung up yesterday? I sort of hurt myself sewing, for example — why did I ‘need’ to sit down and sew for an hour when I was already exhausted!?

Ah well… at least I can hope that splurt of must do means that I will be slacking the rest of the weekend… I hope. I don’t have the internal means to keep doing things like that!


DBT Week 9

Anyone who publishes a therapy workbook in Comic Sans should be dragged into the street, drawn and quartered extra slowly …

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moment

This week’s photo challenge is to capture a fleeting moment in the style of street photography. I’m very uncomfortable with …

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“Conscience Clause” Gone AMOK — Rape Victim Denied Morning After Pill By Prison Guard | RH Reality Check Assaulted twice: once by the rapist, again by the prison guard who confiscated the victim’s second “morning after pill” dose, forcing a possible unwanted rape pregnancy on the victim. Disgusting.

Copyright 2012 Laura P. Schulman all rights reserved

The Drowned Girl

OK, one more post to mark the end of Bowie week (see last post) before I get back on track with the walking posts.

But I think I can also probably be forgiven for the digression from my Camino preparations given that we are currently enjoying a very British summertime spate of hail and flash-flooding which makes the prospect of long-distance walking just a little unappealing right now.

Anyway, this shot was taken at sunset in Vietnam in January with a great little waterproof sports camera that Tiff gave me as a Christmas present and which I spent about an hour with waist-deep in the sea one evening trying to capture the contrast between the colours underwater and over the waves as the fading sun reflected on the sea’s surface.

And thinking of the Bowie theme, it bought to mind a bit of an obscure one – The Drowned Girl – which featured on the 1982 EP Baal, comprised of songs written for Bertolt Brecht’s play of the same name. A little macabre perhaps, but I don’t think Brecht was particularly renowned for his jollity…

Once she had drowned and started her slow descent
Down the streams to where the great rivers broaden
Oh, the opal sky shone most magnificent
As if it was acting as her body’s guardian
Wreck and duck weed slowly increased her weight
By clasping her in their slimy grip
Through her limbs, the cold blooded fishes played
Creatures and plant life kept on, thus obstructing her last trip

And the sky that same evening grew dark as smoke
And its stars through the night kept the brightness still soaring
But it quickly grew clear when dawn now broke
To see that she got one further morning
Once her pallid trunk had rotted beyond repair
It happened quite slowly that she gently slipped from God’s thoughts
First with her face, then her hands, right at the last with her hair
Leaving those corpse-choked rivers just one more corpse

Filed under: Camino Countdown Tagged: David Bowie, Photograph, Travel, Vietnam, Walking

Not Rain, But Another Kind of Storm

Or, at least, very little and absolutely no thunderstorms here. I’d be grumpier, but it’s almost chilly today by comparison (and I get to go blow a load on yarn and other craft materials, so that always is happy-making!).

I’m also amused by the decision out  of the United States yesterday on the subject of healthcare — welcome to the rest of the industrialized world! I love seeing the right-wingers insisting they’re going to move to Canada in protest; it shows just oblivious many Americans are to the workings of the rest of the world. I admit that I need to do more reading about the minutae of the ruling and the actual bill itself — what is included and covered by the new insuragnce/tax? As I commented to a friend yesterday about life and care in the United Kingdom:

‘I pay a small national insurance tax here. In turn, I get healthcare, cheap prescriptions, and reasonably priced dentistry. Is it a good deal? Hells yeah. I know what’s ‘wrong’ with my brain and have treatment (couldn’t afford it stateside), I can breathe, and I gave birth to a healthy child without going broke (at home like I wanted, with two midwives in attendance). I can see my doctor pretty much as soon as I need to about anything. Gyno? Covered, no problems and with plenty of reminders to be timely about that shizz.’

I would love to hear from my friends back in the States with mental health issues on how this is going to specifically effect them. I would like to think more people are going to be able to get diagnosis and care so that they can have a better quality of life. Most of you reading here probably know what a difference medicines and therapies can make between getting by and living, so knowing that more people could be helped to live and do and not be demonized would be nice to hear.

I’m also bemusedly wondering if this wonderful step towards modernization of American society will somehow trigger a second Civil War. That was apparently bandied around t’Internets yesterday, and I admit — some of the right wing response is frightening. Going militia because society is actually chipping in to take care of each other? How very ‘Christian’, but then, most people I’ve seen who beat their chests and Bibles don’t know a thing about Christianity (other than thinking their loud professions will be enough to add stars to their crowns, and turning off those who might consider coming to the flock). That’s not a jab on Christians entirely — you see it with any sort of zealot irregardless of their flavour of ‘right’.  It just happens that a lot of American right-wingers profess to being Christian, else it would not even merit mentioning! And I won’t even blame them for their narrow-mindedness specifically — many were raised to listen and believe in things unquestioningly, so it is not a surprise that many soak up bigotry and hatred and greed when they are fed it as the correct and ‘patriotic’ way to be.

So I guess we shall see, and hope for the best. And in the meantime, if any of my friends Stateside can tell me more about how this will benefit themselves, I would love to hear about it. :)



stranded on a mountain

today i remembered why i never leave the house.

when i leave the house, something bad always seems to happen.  drama.  money is lost.  something gets broken. it’s safer (and cheaper) just to stay home, sweat out the heat, and play video games.  i’ve been able to make a lot of progress on earning trophies on the PlayStation Network.

i woke up today and tried to estimate how miserable the heat would be.  went through my usual morning ritual of closing all windows, pulling blinds, and turning on the swamp cooler.  it was mild, about 92 at 11am, and the weather report said it’d get up to 105.  no monsoon clouds to take the edge off either.  ugh.

i was about to doze off again when a friend from back home texted me a funny quote:

I bet if porn was completely pulled from the internet, there would only be one website left, and it would be called “bring back porn”


so in texting back and forth, i was describing the heat, and getting away to the mountains to escape for a few hours, when a burst of motivation struck me.  i looked at the boys (my dogs) and said, let’s get the hell out of this heat!

i took a quick lukewarm shower, even though only the cold water knob was turned on.  i was envisioning the cool breeze, green forest, plants, flowers, and otherwise non-barren-wasteland ecology.  it’s going to be a really lovely day, i thought.  just in time to miss the hottest part of the day, too.


i got us packed in a jiffy.  the boys were excited when they saw the hiking shoes and camelbak come out.  last week we went for a 3 hour hike, although i figured we’d go up a bit higher this time to reach even cooler weather.  got some gas and a redbull to help maintain my motivational state and headed toward the mountain.

by the time we reached the base of the mountain, i was singing along to music and happy to be doing anything, really.  i saw the sign that said it was about 25 miles to the point where we were headed.  another 35 minutes or so, and we’d be surrounded by lush, verdant flora.

cruising around the twists and turns, we passed a couple of the campgrounds at the lowest altitude.  it was still way too hot there.  we had a ways to go.

i was headed toward a concave curve along the mountain, when i heard a strange metallic crunch and felt my rear driver side tire kind of sink.  thankfully the traffic was already slowing for the curve, and there was a pullout at this particular location.  i started pulling over to the side, thinking i had a flat tire.

i felt a second metallic crunch, and then i only felt metal on the pavement.  i saw my wheel rolling straight on, as if i hadn’t turned.

holy balls.

fortunately it was headed mountain side and i figured i’d have no problem retrieving it.  i just knew i had to get to a stop quickly and safely if i wanted to salvage the housing on my brake.

by the time we were still, i was shaking.  two cars pulled over immediately to offer help.  no one had cell service and no one knew what to do.  i didn’t have AAA.  no local family.  XBF told me he didn’t want me to tell him about anything stressful (that’s another story for later).  friends were out of town.  i was going to have to stick this one out on my own.

i couldn’t leave my dogs.  one of the ladies that stopped offered to stop at the ranger station to request help.  i estimated it was another 15-20 minutes from where we were.  it would have to do.

it felt like forever before the sheriff arrived.  it must have been a while because two women heading down the mountain stopped to pass on a message to me that the police had been notified, and would be heading down soon.

i spent the time retrieving my wheel from the small ravine it fell into.  NOT AN EASY TASK.  i drive a jeep wrangler that is lifted a couple of inches and has some decently big tires.  not to mention that, as luck would have it, we didn’t break down on the shady side of the mountain.  we were in a prime location to fry on pavement.  i almost fainted a couple of times as i heaved it uphill.  my entire front side turned black from the tire and wheel because i had to use my whole body to move to confounded thing up a steep and rocky terrain.

i finally got to the road and back in the car.  now my whole body was shaking.  i drank water and tried to cool off.  my poor dogs were panting even with the a/c on.  i tried to listen to the radio to pass the time but radio in this town seriously sucks.  besides, my fingers were shaking so badly it took me forever to change the stations.  i settled for crappy music and tried to manage the self-flagellating that was already starting.

finally i saw the sheriff’s SUV.  the lights came on as she slowed and pulled in behind us.  i cheered and the boys got excited, although they didn’t know for what.  the sheriff took a look at the place where my wheel used to be and concluded i would need to be towed for sure.  all i heard was dollar signs.  but, what choice did i have?

it was another hour before the tow truck arrived, although they had estimated it would take about 30 minutes.  living here, you have to just embrace the sweat.  don’t try to fight it.  you are going to melt like a fucking snowman in the middle of july.  by the time the tow truck arrived, i was swimming in it.  i waded out of my car to talk to the tow guy and the sheriff and come up with some plan.  we decided to tow Delilah (my Jeep) to the nearest tire store.  the sheriff would drive me and my dogs down, since the tow guy wasn’t allowed to have dogs in the truck.  by then it was nearly 4pm, so i’d probably need a ride home too.

for some reason, the tow truck driver didn’t have a jack nor tools to stick the tire back on temporarily.  sheriff to the rescue again!  she had whatever it was we needed and i watched my broken baby limp onto the tow truck.  i busied myself taking pictures of that whole process, and of the boys in the back of the sheriff’s car.  the back seat, although enclosed in a cage, was quite comfortable.  the sheriff’s a/c was on.  my boys were safe.  my little excursion was costing me a fortune but at least we were all okay.

on the way down i sent out an SOS text to three people: a friend, Satan Spawn, and XBF, although i was reluctant to sent one to him due to his moratorium on my stressful events.  meanwhile, Beautiful Disaster is texting me and we’re having a conversation about sitting in the back of a police car, among other things.  yes, he shot my dog.  but i needed some fucking support so give me a break.

no one responded to my text, so i called each person.  no answer.  of the three people i contacted, i only heard back from two during this whole mess: my friend, who turned out to be in oklahoma, and Satan Spawn, who called me after i had already hitched a ride from a stranger at the tire place.  radio silence from XBF, until about a half hour ago when he responded “if you’re looking to talk about us, then yes i’m busy. i’m studying.”

i’m starting to get really sick of that guy.

fortunately, a very kind retired airforce pilot gave me a ride home, all 25 minutes away from where we were.  it was going to be a hefty cab expense and i was glad to have the ride.  i had him drop us off at the university, so at least my boys could get some kind of walk today.

we finally arrived home, all exhausted, hot, panting, sweaty.  i walked straight into the bathroom, peeled off my dirty clothes and took another lukewarm shower to rinse off the day.  made a pb & j sandwich–two actually–and sat down for a relaxing evening destroying shit in Infamous 2.

Order Up!

So, click on the link below…. and you shall see the woman behind the curtain. :) you need a password though. (the secret word of the day is… billabong) Let me know if you have any problems.

Video 1

Abandon ye who enter here… or something like that….



this is what I feel like right now. I have taken 4 Ativan’s today, and could hear my seroquel calling my name. Yet, I resisted… I want to SLEEP! But I can’t. I am so fucking wound up. And I have been uber bitchy, but I’m just going to blame that on PMS.

I’ve got laundry going right now, and I’m jamming to the 80′s Alternative station on Slacker radio… Makes me wanna go to a club or something….

I had to put icy hot on my hand, because I’m having arthritic pain which just really sucks. I’m 40, not 400! I walked a mile and a half on the treadmill tonight and I really could have walked on and on… I know hypomania is creeping up, but I don’t want to see it. Because if I don’t look it in the face, it isn’t there, right?

It’s almost midnight, and it is 90*F out! Crazy shit!

I’ve got my meals planned out for the week. Just have to make my shopping list for tomorrow. I also entered a contest to go to Lollapalooza in Chicago… I hope I win because that would be so fucking awesome! I went in Dayton back in the 90′s and I saw Soundgarden, Violent Femmes, Metallica, and I don’t remember who else was there….

In Chicago, Black Sabbath is going to be there, Passion Pit; who I simply adore! FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE!!!! just to name a few… I’d drive that for free tickets and a free hotel room! Hell yeah!

I finally got the video uploaded, and now I’m just waiting for them to process it. It’s a pretty cheesy first video, I was nervous, and wow, I didn’t realize I had so many nervous ticks! But I promise the next one will be better. I will have notes to keep me on track.


Rape in the Military: ‘Invisible War,’ New Documentary, Exposes Assaults – ABC News Is anyone here surprised that rape is a routine happening to females in the military? It certainly isn’t to me. The conditions are perfect: an ironclad hierarchy where hazing of underlings is routine and even institutionalized, where “only the strong survive,” where women have to work twice as hard as their male counterparts to advance(or even be considered as viable prospects for advancement, and where “telling” might land you in a heap of trouble if the assailant is of superior rank. There have been notorious scandals like the “Tailhook” party referred to in the article. But for the most part, rape in the military rarely bubbles to the surface. I shudder to think what might go on in places like Iraq and Afghanistan where aggressive tension runs high, and for women on base there is no way out. This ain’t your mother’s episode of “Mash.” When I was in medical school, the psychology department ran an interesting experiment. They recruited a group of college men, to whom they administered a “propensity to rape” scale. In short, this was a series of questions that measured whether it was OK to force sex on a woman who said NO. It presented various scenarios in which the men were asked to rate on a five point scale whether they felt she “deserved” to be raped, or whether they felt justified in forcing her to have sex with them. After establishing a baseline, the researchers split the men into three groups. Group “a” watched a romantic and very explicitly erotic movie. Group “b” watched a movie in which there was explicit violence and also explicit sex. Group “c” watched a movie where there was explicit sexual violence. Then the men took the same “propensity to rape scale” test over again, and compared them with their first test outcomes. What do you think the results were? 1. Group “a” who watched romantic sex’s propensity to rape went down. They felt more connected with and protective of women. 2. Group “c” who watched films of sexual violence thought it was more OK to “take what they wanted” regardless of consent. 3. But it was group “b” WHO WATCHED FILMS THAT HAD BOTH EXPLICIT VIOLENCE AND EXPLICIT SEX WHO HAD THE HIGHEST PROPENSITY TO RAPE. That is to say: men who witness wholesale violence are more likely to transpose that violence onto sex, because rape is about violence, not sexual desire. This study makes it simple to understand why rape is so easily used as a weapon of war. We might ask, how can a man get aroused to penetrate some hapless woman, as is done all over the world in the course of warfare? Violence transposed on sex, is how. Likewise on US military bases, where there is often such an imbalance of power, it is easy to see where the studied aggression of trained warriors might overflow onto women of lesser rank or position, especially when the price of “telling” often spells loss of career for the woman. The article tells of mysteriously “lost” rape kits and any number of ruses for “exonerating” the assailant. I hope to see many more articles like this one shedding light on a topic that has kept military women in a type of slavery. Yes, they are free to quit or just not sign up. But that is like saying “well, she shouldn’t have been wearing that skimpy dress, she was just asking for it.” Oh, right: “she shouldn’t have signed up for that four-year hitch if she didn’t want to take what comes with it.” NOT. NO WAY. We must not accept this.

Copyright 2012 Laura P. Schulman all rights reserved