Dangerous Hobbies

9 01 2012

I’m held up in my house right now. Waiting for 2012 to end because of some freak virus that turns us all into flesh eating zombies.  I’ve got gas masks and non-perishable food and a kerosene heater. Okay, not really. I’m just fucking with you. Actually, I’m lounging on the couch in my jammies. Waiting for the fridge fairies to make me dinner.  And if the fridge fairies don’t show up, maybe I can con the dog into making me some dinner. But she says she’s on strike. She says it’s not part of her job description as Guard Dog. Goddamn unions.  Who’s gonna make me dinner?

I posted a blog for the first time in months. One of my New Year’s resolutions. You know get a hobby and actually practice the one’s I already know how to do. The wife got me a screen printing kit for t-shirts and a glass bead making kit. I’m warming up to those. I might actually have to put something together. Gifts should already be preassembled. It would cut down on gift returns.

Anyway the whole blog thing didn’t go very well. I can’t write about work due to HIPAA. That’s like 50% of my life. So I wrote about my friends who have been struggling to pay their heat bill this winter. Naturally I bitched about the corporate conglomeration that turned off their heat. Bitched some more about how they were a monopoly. Fuck them. Fuck them hard. Two days later that corporate conglomeration was following me on Twitter. Hmmmm. Creepy.  I don’t have any money. Can’t afford  to get sued. And I would like to continue to heat my house this winter.  At first I changed the company’s name and all the tags.  You know, writer’s integrity. Have to support the truth. Then I started thinking about the snow and freezing pipes. I’m a pussy.  I deleted the  blog.

Bead making is looking really good right now.


Hidden Agenda

22 01 2010

My viola professor in college always talked about his housemate. A good looking 30-something year old man with a same-sex roommate can only mean one thing. I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t just come out and say it. It was obvious. Everyone knew. Perfectly manicured nails and effeminate gestures. Why pretend otherwise? Because it was 1994, and we lived in Western Michigan. It would be another 3 years before Ellen came out of the closet and before the lesbian scene on Xena Warrior Princess. And 10 years before we would be all deemed lepers and have same sex marriage and domestic partnerships banned in the state of Michigan.

Back then I didn’t understand that it was different being out at work verses being out with friends at college. When you get into a profession, there’s more to lose. You want to be respected by your coworkers and trusted by your clients. If you’re perceived as being gay that can will negatively effect people’s perceptions of you and your work.

When I started at the hospital in 1999, I wasn’t out. At first I was the young professional with the 3-tone spiky hair and the hole in my nose. I didn’t start wearing my nose piercing for another 5 years. I was young enough that having a roommate wasn’t a red flag for queerness. And for my patients, I was whatever they needed me to be—that conservative Christian nurse administering to their needs.

But when my “roommate” died, I had difficulty explaining it to my coworkers. I was devastated. I couldn’t even call into to work, because I would start bawling as soon as I tried to explain. My friend called in for me.

“They’re asking what’s the relationship.” She held her hand over the phone and looked at me. The amount of time off allowed for bereavement depended on the relationship to the deceased. “Roommate” was not a listed relationship.  I shrugged and waved my hands in the air.

“She’ll have to explain that,” she said.

It was 2 weeks before I returned to work. I’m sure some people guessed, but it was never really discussed. Only a couple of my coworkers really knew. And after that there was really no point in telling everyone that I was gay, because I wasn’t with anyone anymore.

I let my hair grow out, and started wearing it in a conservative old lady bun. People treat you differently when you have long hair. Men hold open doors and give you their numbers. I blended in. I kept my next relationship to myself. I even had roommates that were just roommates.

In 2004, one of my coworkers asked me to sign a petition banning same sex marriage. She didn’t ask me just once. She asked me twice—like she had forgotten that I refused the first time. Either it was a witch hunt and she had found me, or I blended in that well. Around that same time I had protested at the Kent County Court house to allow for gay marriage. Between the Lines had interviewed me at the protest and put my picture in their paper.

I sent my boss an e-mail telling her how uncomfortable I had been with the situation. Work is not the place for anyone’s political forum. A week later, we were all required to attend a mandatory meeting on the zero tolerance harassment policy. I was surprised to find that sexual orientation was included. Wow, I was protected.

Once you have established yourself in a certain way, as a certain type of person, it’s difficult to change. In 2005 I had a private commitment ceremony with my girlfriend. I decided that I would wear my titanium wedding band to work. If my coworkers asked, I would tell them. Nobody asked. I continued on as before.  When my ex-girlfriend died in 2006, I took a day off work for my deceased “friend.” I remember Val asked me, “But you weren’t as close to this friend as your other one?” I couldn’t really answer, because we weren’t that close anymore, but we had been the same amount of close at one time.

I spent 36 hours every week for 10 years with my coworkers, but there was always this barrier. I never realized the amount of stress it created by not being out. Energy that could have been used making friendships was used to maintain the self-ostracizing/self-censoring glass bubble. Toward the end many people knew, and I was able to talk more—mostly because of my Facebook status. I might have pretended at work, but I wasn’t going to pretend elsewhere. And I think if I would have trusted them enough to give them a chance, it might have been different.

I’m out at my new job.  I talk about my partner instead of my roommate. I didn’t want it to be like it was at my old job. Wondering if people knew or not. Waiting for people to find out.  Not being able to talk about my life. Not being able to explain that I need time off because my partner is seriously ill or dead. And honestly, I feel more relaxed even though I’m caring for patients that are more acutely and critically ill.

It amazes me how accepting people are even from more conservative backgrounds. Really, no one gives a shit. When you finally show who you really are, you find that people like or dislike you just the same. You also find that you’re not the only one.  

As far as my patients go, I tell them what they want to hear. I’m married to my chef husband, Jack.

Is Gary Dop God?

15 11 2009

The Michigan lottery was just hanging out on the corner of Butternut and 144th with their trailer of lotto cash. The bills were part of a large sheet of perforated cardboard. Each rectangle was worth $1000. It was on a first come first serve basis. Magically, I was the first to arrive and emptied the trailer except for a few bills. I took the sheets rather than trying to separate the bills. It seemed the only logical thing to do.  Before I could count my $1000 pieces of cardboard, I woke up.  

But if you look up dreams about money, it’s never about money. Freudian thought views money as a symbol for excrement. Isn’t it obvious that a pile of cash is really just a pile of shit? I most certainly wouldn’t want to spend it or pay my bills. It’s really that I have a problem with anal fixation, and I’m mentally damaged from strict toilet training as a child. What the fuck? Everything is about sex or shit with Freud.

I played the lotto on Friday the 13th. I didn’t win. This isn’t some happy fairy story. But Jacks won $20 on a scratch off. Maybe her luck was my luck by proximity. Really, I have been more fortunate lately. In September, I was offered and accepted a new job in ICU/TU when the odds of finding a new job in this economy are 5%. I’m not sure who came up with that number, but it makes a good story. The 1st day that I worked  in ICU on my own, I had a seriously critically ill patient on a ventilator with an ART line, CVP line and about 7 IV solutions all working to keep this patient alive. I would not have been surprised if this patient had died, but the patient lived that night and the next night. My new boss sent an e-mail congratulating me on my good work! Me, who was scared shitless to work in ICU.

Last week I received an acceptance letter from Vagabondage Press. They accepted “The Key Collector” for The Battered Suitcase for the Spring 2010 issue. http://www.vagabondagepress.com/  <INSERT COMMERCIAL HERE.>

It’s not just me either. Some of my MFA buddies have reported prize nominations and acceptances for their writings. My MFA buddies say that this new fortune should be attributed to Gary Dop. http://www.garydop.com/index.html Gary Dop is God, they say. He is also a University of Nebraska MFA graduate. It’s rumored that his poetry gets published every month. In fact, he might even get paid to write.  So they follow the Commandments of Dop, hoping that they too can receive publishing blessings. #1 Send out multiple submissions. #2 Snail mail has a better chance of being accepted than e-mail. #3 Keep sending out multiple submissions. Okay, so I don’t really know the commandments, because I don’t believe in Gary Dop. I believe that he exists. I just don’t believe in his supernatural powers. And then I took his name in vain. Gary Dop Damn it! My MFA buddies chastised me. Maybe if I believed in Gary Dop, I’d win the lotto. Maybe I could make a Gary Dop shrine and pray to his mother. Maybe I could hang a painting of him over my bed, so he could look down upon me while I sleep peacefully in my bed and dream about winning the lotto and getting published.



Slavery Ads on C-List

3 10 2009

Ads copied, pasted & altered (except for original spelling errors)from C-List (green font denotes name change to protect the allegedly guilty):

In Need of Line Cooks (Lizard Room/The PapSmear HouseLounge)

Located downtown on the corner of  Slavery & Indentured  Servitude.
Must be open to work
3pm-11:30pm Monday-Saturday.
Must being willing to learn to roll sushi.
Must be able to handle the stress of two restuarants from one kitchen.
Will get a set schedule.

Please don’t call or stop in! Email resumes to fuckmeintheasslounge@slavery.com


  • Location: Lizard Room/The Papsmear House Lounge
  • Compensation: 7.40
  • This is a part-time job.
Entry Level Management (30-40 hours/wk)
Starting Position – Lead Night Cook
Full Time
Paid Vacation
Demostrates Leadership Skills
Great Work Ethic – Role Model
Works well within a team environment
Great at cost control
Great at food quality
Career minded in the food industry
Compensation: $8.50-$8.75/hr.


The Lizard Room wants a line cook to handle the stress of making food for 2 restaurants, roll sushi, and maintain a flexible schedule (be available 6 days a week, but not necessarily work or get paid) for $7.40 with no benefits. Notice they can’t even spell restaurant correctly in their ad.  $7.40 is minimum wage. The dishwasher is making the same amount by spraying dirty dishes and running them through a machine. I’m not suggesting that the dishwasher get paid less, but should the line cook only be getting the same for work that is more difficult? You could probably make just as much or more working at McDonald’s or holding one of those cardboard signs that advertise Eat at Joes or Going out of Business.

 It wasn’t that long ago that I saw a dishwasher position posted on C-List for minimum wage. They wanted them to be able to pass a drug test. WTF? If I was working in a hot, stinky dish room, getting paid $7.40 an hour, I would have to take drugs just so I wouldn’t kill myself.

 The Lizard room menu features sushi rolls ranging from $6-8 per roll with the most expensive rolls being $16-18. The poor little line cook in the back has to work almost 3 hours to pay for one of those top dollar rolls that s/he made.  You will also find on the menu Asian fusion cuisine and signature martinis for $12.  They have a fancy website featuring a half naked chick, and advertise being the premier college bar. I always thought that independent businesses treated their employees better than the corporate conglomerations.

In the second C-List add you can manage a Family Restaurant for $1 more/hr—that is if you meet their high quality standards.  

 There are other independent restaurants that pay a little more. Take SuckMyDick  Restaurant  for instance—an upscale establishment that makes all their food from scratch. For $9/hr you can have keys to the restaurant, open the restaurant, prep, clean, maintenance equipment, be on-call without pay, create your own recipes for daily features,  cook food for catering or in house parties while simultaneously getting slammed by the lunch/dinner rushes, and fix the toilet. Benefits? Zero. You can smoke pot and expand your culinary skills, but other than that . . . No paid vacation. If you take any time off, you just don’t get paid. If you’re sick, you have to bring in a doctor’s note even though they don’t offer health insurance. It doesn’t matter that you work full-time. Oh and that day that you requested off a month ago—well, you have to work. Sorry.  But you say that you have formal chef training and a Culinary Arts degree. That’s nice. You still only get $9/hr.

 This isn’t the glamorous life of  the iron chefs on food network with their pretentious dishes. This is real life. Artists don’t get paid.

So when you go out to eat and order your pita bread with hummus and your grass fed filet mignon, remember the one who cooked it to order and arranged it nicely on your plate. Your expensive little dinner is probably more than what they make in a day. And when looking at the unemployment rate in Michigan also consider those people who are working, but getting paid minimum wage without benefits. Go to school, get an education! Some of these people have gone to school and do have an education. And even if they don’t have a degree, doesn’t everyone deserve to get paid what they are worth? If someone wants to work and pay their bills, they should have the opportunity to do so. $7.40/hr does not equal life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It equals slave labor. You could make more prostituting yourself out on C-List—only the authorities have been  cracking down on that sort of thing.

You suck.

29 08 2009

I don’t think I have ever received so many rejections in my life. And they are so passive. I would feel better if they just punched me in the face or kicked me in the ass. Glimmer Train rejected “The Key Collector.” Only they don’t even use the term rejection. It just states “complete.” Meaning they have looked at my shit, and they don’t want it, but thank you anyway.  No letter about how much I suck or why I suck or how I could suck less. Or maybe I need to suck more or suck at something else. 


I have never been rejected by any colleges/universities that I applied to–graduate or undergraduate. Until 2004, I had never been denied a job that I applied for. Now that job applications are mostly on-line, you get these pre-canned messages. “Better qualified candidates were selected”. Or you just don’t hear back at all. And you’re damn lucky to get an interview. I even signed up as a volunteer at the literacy center. You think I’ve heard back from them? I can’t even give my services away.

Naked Moms & Notes on being even more pathetic

28 08 2009

Goddamn it. Mom wants to be my Facebook friend. WTF? She’s not the most computer literate person. But I’m sure one thing will lead to another, and she’ll find my irreverent blog. Fucking A. So much for getting myself out there.

Any suggestions? I can’t not friend my own mother. I’m sorry you gave birth to me, but you can’t be my Facebook friend. Letting Mom read my stuff is like being naked. It’s not cool to be naked in front of your mom. Not cool at all.

Speaking of nakedness and mothers–not to be confused with naked mothers. Mom’s been wearing this rather thin, worn night gown. She needs a new one. It’s so thin she wears a robe over it. She says they don’t have nightgowns anymore only pjs. I find this hard to believe. Anyway . . .I ask her what’s wrong with pjs. She says that she wears a nightgown because Dad likes easy access. I can’t believe my mother is saying shit like this. My mother who doesn’t like to discuss sex, religion or politics.

On another note –the bitching about work note–I applied for the ICU/TU position again. Never got an interview the last time. That’s pathetic. Not being able to even get an interview with the organization I currently work for. Please hire me. I’m pathetic and poor. I can be cute too if you just give me a chance. Smart? We’ll have to work on smart.

Changed my cover letter. Cited specific examples of how awesome I was the last time I worked on their floor. If this doesn’t work, I may have to resort to a fictional resume or maybe a creative non-fiction with a disclaimer. *Certain facts were embellished. *Certain events were manufactured. *References may be manufactured for aesthetic reasons.

Protected: Flexible

20 08 2009

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