cramps! who invented them?

fooey on that person, whoever it was. i mean, what is the purpose of cramps? what is their reason? is it about fitness? am i building hidden muscle power in some secret velvet place? my body is doing something fabulous & necessary and kind of clever, after all; purging and renewing its very cells! why should this not be a fun time filled with wonder and the delicate crystal song of new electrons dancing?

i read somewhere once that our bodies do not retain sense-memory of pain. we just can't do it. you know those little orgasm after-shocks that rock you an hour after a Good One? no such physiological equivalent for ouches. once the pain is gone, it is GONE. perhaps this is how women come to give birth to more than one child. (hee hee.) more relevant to my own experience, perhaps this is why each month i sing the same broken lament: in the face of sudden & always somehow surprising crampage, i mourn my absentmindedness and demand of myself the IMMEDIATE development of better pain management skills.

i imagine it needn't be that hard. i imagine it would simply require greater attention paid to the dosage/schedule/timing of the soup of random chemicals i ingest for two days every month.

i'm talkin the good stuff. ibuprofen, acitometophen, aspirin, naproxin sodium. sometimes combined in strange and intoxitating ways with that kick-starter, caffeine, by the people at MIDOL or EXCEDRIN (yeah daddy, talk those sweet chemical compounds to me.)

now, normally i'm not a huge supporter of the medical/industrial complex in general. i much prefer unadvertized and organic substances that can be plucked from the fertile earth and swallowed, smoked, steeped and sipped, or used as a fabulous conditioning rinse, depending.

but once a month, like many other Good Witches In The West with extremely low pain thresholds, i take my meds. i pop them when i feel the twinge, then languish in agony until it's gone. and in that moment, that's my only thought. not, 'fight the power' or 'affordable healthcare for all' or 'the earth is our mother, she has all i need,' but 'GET THE PAIN GONE.'

and then once it's gone, because i am a dunderhead, i forget i'm supposed to be in pain at all and go gallavanting around living my ordinary life of constant discovery and joy in everything. until WHAM-O, back it comes and i'm like, "oh, that's right, my period just started. my uterus is doing stuff, huh? i should've probably taken another one of those little pills like twenty minutes ago, and then i wouldn't be curling slowly into a fetal ball right now."

o, cruel attention span, thou art mine own worst enemy.

grumble grumble.


time for another yummy recipe

...from the bodycare kitchen.

this one is called "sweet & smooth moisturizing scrub" or something like that, and you use it in the shower. it is for when you want your body to feel like butta, baby.

materials: about 1/4 to 1/2 cup each sugar, bath oil/vegetable oil, and milk (soy & cow are both fine.) and some honey of course. all the alchemy can take place inside 2 cups or even better, one cup and a clean jelly jar or something with a wide screw cap.

1 . put the milk in a cup. heat in microwave for about 30 seconds.
2 . add a dollop of honey, swoosh it around with your finger, and then taste it. yummy? good.
3 . put the sugar in the jally jar, then add about vegetable or cosmetic oil until it's oozed and mixed all through the sugar. are you gonna use extra light olive? jojoba? sweet almond? it's up to you. you can add scented lotion and/or a few drops of essential oil if you'd like to smell like lavender or oranges or vanilla or chocolate. or whatever.
now you're ready for the fun part.

1. prepare your skin. get in the shower & soap up, shave, do whatever shower business you habitually do.
2 . when you're squeaky clean, turn the water off, or direct it toward the shower wall. (nah, i take that back. turn it off. save the planet.)
3 . add the milk/honey stuff to the sugar/oil goop and mix well. use your fingers to stir if you're in cups, or shake them up in the lidded jar together.
4 . quick, before the sugar melts... scrub the mixture up and down your arms! your legs! your belly and back! your bootie and knees and thighs and heels! drip it over your shoulders and scrub it into your elbows!
5. if you're in a real hard-core exfoliating mood, some saint ives apricot scrub at this point can really drive the point home. go over your skin again and imagine yourself at some high-priced SoHo day spa being massaged all deep up in your tissue and then spending an hour thinking shallow thoughts while wrapped in banana leaves with cucumbers on your eyes.
6. imagine this for like thirty seconds, breathing deep, but don't get too far into this fantasy becase you're not in a spa, you in fact are standing in a tub with a lot of oily sugar-milk running down your legs. be careful! please don't slip and break your head.
7. in fact, turn the water back on now, hot, and rinse off. you've had your moment of relaxation for today, and wasn't that fun? now it's time to clean out the tub and get your soft & fragrant butt to work. in a private act of revolution, use a soft cloth to massage your skin as the water pulses down.
8 . pour liquid soap down around your feet and do a [careful] shimmy-shuffle suds-generating dance to restore the traction to your shower floor. (what? is there no liquid soap in your shower? what do i have to say to get you to get some dr. bronners?)
9 . oh, man. that was good. get dressed and walk around all day feeling like a malted milkshake.


i wanna get my kicks... on interstate 85

i was struck by the desire today to go road tripping. it'll be fun! we'll bring cameras, take photos, and blog all the way across the country. maybe we'll even make a film out of it! and surely there'll be enough adventuresome occurences happening in some top-down, radio-blaring world of my imagination to make a novel happen sometime along the way, right?

two things must happen for this public relations/literary feat to be possible:
1. i must have a laptop.
2. either i or my husband -- preferably both of us -- must become a licensed driver. (this is high on the list, i swear. we're leaving nyc and so have no choice)

also in the corner of my imagination that is planning this mythological excursion, there is this third as-yet-unrealized fact: as we're barreling down the nation's highways and byways in my mind's eye, i'm always pregnant.

i can just *see* it.

now i recognize that there's lots of doctors visits and exercise and sensible eating and things like that that're supposed to accompany pregnancy in real life, so i understand this whole gestate-on-the-road idea is largely a flight of fancy. but think about it: wouldn't a huge cross-country road trip be a *fun* way to spend part of your last nine months as a free person? i figure when i get pregnant (NOT that i'm trying, but then again neither do i have a license yet so it's all in divine time) we can start selling off all our stuff and/or sublet our apartment for a year, and then spend five months or so driving around having our last hurrah, celebrating our freedom before we enter our indentured servitude to a screaming tyrant who doesn't speak our language.

you may be sensing a certain reluctance around this issue. thing is, i'm conflicted. i think children are endless sources of wonder and beauty, but infants... man. i am overwhelmed & frightened by the completeness of their need. i can hardly remember to feed MYSELF dinner... i'm supposed to be responsible for the care and nurturing of a helpless being who can't even say thank you or ask properly for the tittie when it's hungry? eek.

on the other hand, my family lives in phoenix and my mother has declared that my first child must be born out there. (some kind of family tradition thing i was told, although HER mother traveled out to see HER when WE were born. she's like, uhm, no. i'm parked in the desert to stay. yall have to come hang out with ME.) grossly unfair, true, but at the same time it gives our road trip a quantifiable, reachable destination with long rest at the end. in addition, my sister is a massage therapist and doula (birth assistant), adding fuel to the give-birth-in-AZ fire.

yeah, i think ending up seven months pregnant to be coddled and cared for by my family in the desert is a damn fine idea. a damn fine idea indeed. now if only i can find an ob-gyn and a nutritionist to come along for the ride...


oh man.

oh man. i have good news to share but it's not really public yet. so i'll put it here, so i can have the illusion of sharing, but since it's in this forum that i'm sure no one will ever see, it remains a secret. oh, i'm so clever.

so here goes: we got a book deal.

our pet project bullshit or fertilizer will be coming out in spring 2003 in a pocket-sized hardcover version published by andrews mcmeel, purveyers of fine gift books, journals, calenders and comics collections. euphemistically renamed, of course, perhaps "BS" or something with asterisks artfully placed. illustrations and book design (and the book design credit for yours truly!) will remain intact, and wow. how real-life is that?

hee hee.


grin and bear it

i have got to start writing over here in this thing [i have decided], if i'm going to presume to call it a blog. these intermittent essay things hardly qualify.

i had another interesting dream last night, shall i share it? sure, phantom reader, i think i shall. but i want to disclaim first: i am not always having these violent and awful dreams, just now and then. perhaps i'm just more prone to write about them b/c while i'm having them i'm always halfway awake so i remember them quite vividly, straining as i am the whole time to stay asleep through such angst and discomfort. why, just the other day i had quite a pleasant dream about running into snoop on the street. he brought me up to his playhouse, full of beanbag chairs and bright green carpet, smoked me up lovely and gave me a pair of tiny cowrie shell earrings & a matching necklace. wasn't that sweet of him?

but last night, man. at first i was going around minding my own business and this woman (who might or might not have been my high school cheerleading coach) came up to me all frantic. "jamyla," she said. "you have GOT to do coco tonight in Fame on broadway. please please you'll save my life, i don't have anyone else."

well, far be it from me to disappoint a damsel in distress, particularly if that damsel in distress is offering me a job. but broadway? coco in fame? would i have to sing the body electric in front of hundreds of people? i started stretching immediately so that i would be in form, even though i was in the middle of a large cubicular office, in front of the microwave, warming up my cup o noodles for lunch.

so i sped out of the office and spent some time stressing out, running around this mall (yes, the office was in a mall) looking for costumes and the like. i spent so much time stressing that suddenly it was five minutes to call time. i had to call the damsel in distress / producer / cheerleading coach woman and tell her i was on the way, only a few blocks far and would catch a cab and be right there. i could hear her reassuring somebody 'she's coming, she's coming, but don't open the house yet' and i became even more stressed by proxy.

then i woke up briefly (couldn't handle the pressure) but it was too early and my body said to me, 'get thy ass back to sleep,' and so i did, but the stress didn't end. b/c this time me and pierre were eating a meal in this wonderful yellow-brick sun-splashed kitchen in some amazing loft with these two white people. and the guy was a serial killer and the girl refused to see this. and it was OBVIOUS, not only because when we entered the room he had her head down onto the cutting board and was slicing bits off of her ear. he also was insisting on doing ALL the slicing involved in the food preparation (a transparent ruse to gather all the knives), and being generally shifty-eyed. it was a tense and drawn-out meal to say the least.

we kept luring him into the other room so we could tell the woman what was going on but she just held pieces of paper towel up to her bleeding ear and looked blankly at us. pierre got into a fight with him and was swinging at him with a bat (i'd already 'washed the dishes' so i could drop all the knives behind the stove) and i assume that we escaped, because the last thing i remember before i woke up for real this time was being in the audience of a talk show while the host's mic went out.


my life is more fun when i'm sleeping

i had a lucid dream about a week ago; i really had no choice. at first i watched this woman get killed by her crazy fundamentalist husband in a really gruesome way because she'd been raped. (i think he shoved a screwdriver in her ear and made her cook dinner while she bled to death into her own lap)

needless to say, that level of violence and misogyny would never do so i went back to sleep and dreamed it again, becoming this vigilante character who helped her escape through all these trials and obstacles while her husband was outside in the back yard, obliviously planning her death.

i took her through an apartment building where all the floors were slanted uphill and at every floor there was a cosmetics counter giving out free samples of moisturizer and signature scents and blocking the elevator bank. then through a very flossy garden party that looked like something out of a wedding planning catalog. we manouvered graciously, nervously around bodyguards and people holding champaigne flutes and finally, i had to call her a cab on a cel phone i found among some rose bushes in the front yard.

it was a grand adventure, and quite a lot of fun.

and then, last night in my dream i had an assignment to write a ten-minute play and i had all these ideas and never wrote it. weeks passed in the dream with me thinking about this play i was going to write and talking ideas over with my husband and being all excited and not writing shit.

eventually it was two hours till due and i was not only scrambling to finish the writing, i was also acting out all the parts as i figured it out, videotaping myself, and simultaneously editing it into a short film because i hadn't had time to teach it to any actors and have them rehearse. so i went to this playwriting class/theatre festival with a half-finished short film and in the middle of it i had to jump up on stage and act out a missing chunk and then let the tape continue.

afterwards, people thought i was all avant-garde and fabulous and asked where they could buy the tape and see me perform and could i come speak at their school. i spent the rest of the dream meticulously writing down people's email addresses.

i have such a fascinating [to me] subconscious life. i need to go back to sleep so i can speak new theatre techniques to my adoring public.