Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Moar Etsy Fun!

Christmastime is fast approaching and I am getting far too few damned sales on my Etsy account.  It's nowhere NEAR as lucrative as my pre-2008 eBay venture was.  All I really ask isf or it to pay for itself.  That's not too much to ask, right?  The crafting and collecting in truth are great therapy for me but I need to sell on Etsy to justify further production.

Here are some new listings.  Freya Ann is my model and she is quite patient with me.  Most importantly she lets me know I am on track creatively.  She likes my stuff and so you may, too. Here's a link.  Check it out...!


Hand knotted chain with new and vintage beads.

Hand knotted copper wire chain and freshwater 'blister' pearls.
Christmas spider tree ornament...  New and vintage beads.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Google seems to keep track of everything! This came up randomly today.  I shot this eight years ago on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. There are quite a few red tailed hawks in the city and they thrive on rats, squirrels, pigeons and seagulls....

Cool Vintage Stuff and More

I'm back in PA and outta Brooklyn.  No more midnight dumpster diving.  Now I have an Etsy account.  This will just be a quick note to let you know.  There are beaded spiders, vintage jewelry and other cool stuff.  All on the cheap and great unique items for gift giving.  Check it out!

Here is a link.  Seriously.  Take a look and you may be pleasantly surprised.  :)


Friday, August 13, 2010

"Am I Pretty..?"

"Do you think I'm pretty..?"

It's a question that seems to cause my BF no end of consternation. I don't ask it often but apparently often enough. His reply aside from "Yes. Of course!" consists also of "Why do you ALWAYS ask me that?"

The other day I was flirted with. Not a big deal you would think but in reality to me it was. I was taking a late night walk through Williamsburg. I passed one of the many pubs and a group of people were standing just outside. Amongst them was a tall good looking bouncer. I just happened to glance at him as he looked at me and smiled. I instinctively smiled back. He then smiled more broadly and winked. Just the briefest exchange there but it did wonders for my self ego that night.

I live in a run down building in a run down part of the neighborhood. I've gotten used to somewhat enduring the attentions of all sorts of unsavories while living here. Indigents, junkies, what-have-you. For some reason also every third shifty overweight immigrant thinks its OK to approach any American woman like they're in a singles bar. I can't tell you how many times I've heard almost the exact phrase "Excuse me Miss. Do you have a minute just to talk with me?" I swear they must teach these guys this somewhere. Really. Not much better or perhaps worse is the more direct "Hey Mommie!" from the riff-raff loitering on the street corner. In a class all of its owns, though, is being curb-crawled late at night by pervert Hassids. They assume that since I'm a white woman out at night in a predominantly non-white neighborhood I must be a prostitute. They slow down their cars and try to call out the widow to you. Let me tell you none of this crap does much good for my self esteem.

Environmental factors aside, this need of mine to be reassured of my attractiveness stems from an insecurity. Now, I am 40 years old and this insecurity doesn't drive me to destructive behaviors like it did when I was younger. But it still drives me to seek reassurance. Aside from the occasional innocent flirt with a more than acceptable stranger it is generally BF who gives me this reassurance. So I turn to him and ask again, though I asked him just a week ago "Am I pretty..?"

Sunday, August 8, 2010

This Condition...

I suffer depression. I don't mean I'm depressed just for now about something specific. I suffer clinical depression. Actually my official diagnosis is Schizoaffective Disorder. That means I am both schizophrenic AND bipolar. I've been in therapy for depression since I was 16 years old but wasn't fully diagnosed until I was in my early twenties.

This condition is relevant in that it dictates my life. I've been hospitalized twice for it just in the past year. In my life time I've had nine or so hospital stays varying from two weeks to two months. I've been in hospitals in Wisconsin, Philadelphia and New York City.

I don't generally discuss my illness with people because of the stigma attached to mental health issues but it takes up such a big part of my life I want to learn to be open about it. Most people when I tell them say something like "You seem fine to me!" but they just don't get how it works. I have good days and bad days. When I go out with someone or to a social function it takes a lot of effort to put on a good face for it.

Depression alone wasn't the worst thing. I've been in and out of therapy for years. I knew I was in deep do-do though when at age 19 I started having other symptoms. This was during my college years and for a while the illness was masked by all the drinking and drugging I was doing. I was self medicating. Then things got bad enough that I couldn't ignore it. I started having hallucinations and thats when things started to get scary.

The first person I talked to about my hallucinations was my therapist. I told her straight out that I'd started seeing things and hearing voices. She reacted with such alarm exclaiming "Do you want me to call an ambulance??" that it got me even MORE scared. No I didn't want an ambulance but I did want help. She then referred me to a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist I was referred to put me on mega doses of both lithium and stellazine. Both are antipsychotics but even the combination of the two didn't much staunch the issue. On top of that the side effects were God awful. I was on medication for nearly two years before I had my first complete break down. Because of the ideation the illness causes I stopped taking the meds but continued the drugging. Around this time too even my roommates noticed there was a problem mostly probably because I had stopped going to classes or going out at all except to take long drives "To clear my head." Since I was getting worse you could say the psychiatrist wasn't very good.

During the blizzard of 1993 I decided to just take off. I wanted to go on a 'Vision Quest'. I packed some clothes and my cat into my twenty year old Volvo station wagon and headed first to Pennsylvania where I stayed in my Grandmothers spare room for about a week. My Mother and I had some crazy arguments during that week and when she threatened to take me to a doctor by force I decided to leave. She gave me an ultimatum. Either I would go peacefully to the doctor or she would have me committed. With that I left the next day.

I headed west to the Appalachian mountains then headed South. I would pull into rest stops or parking lots to sleep in the car at night. I had to keep the engine running while I slept because it was March and in the middle of a blizzard. I zigzagged my way during the week that followed down to Texas. I ate nothing but cheese and bread and drank bottled water. I got gas money along the way by stopping at pawn shops and pawning jewelry. $40 here $80 there goes a long way when your not spending it on much. From Texas I zigzagged up to Colorado.

From Colorado I made my way towards Utah. I somehow even in my delusional state realized the I wasn't going to be able to cross the desert I encountered on less than half a tank of gas. I decided to head back to Rhode Island where I'd been attending school and pretend nothing had happened.

I was so sick by the time I got to Wisconsin that at 4 am a state trooper found me in my car parked on the side of the highway under an over pass. I was barely coherent. He took me to the station where they discovered that there'd been a missing person report out on me. From the station they transported me to the psych ward of the nearest hospital.

Because of the missing person report they were able to contact my family. My Dad flew out to Wisconsin and stayed for the entire 15 days that I was in that hospital. When I was released he took me home. We flew out of Chicago bringing the cat but leaving the car. He took me straight to the hospital in Philadelphia where he'd already made arrangements for me to be treated.

I spent the next couple of years in and out of the hospital with my doctor trying to find the right medication 'cocktail' for me. Finally he tried Prolyxin. It was supposed to be a temporary stop-gap for people who are severely psychotic. It worked so well for me that I stayed on it for fifteen years. At one point the Doc even called me a 'poster child for mental health' I was doing so well. In those fifteen years I got married got a decent job and had a child. I was on track living a healthy normal life on the Prolyxin until I started having neurological side effects.

I developed a numbness in my extremities because of the Prolyxin. To keep this from becoming permanent or getting worse I was taken off of it. That put us right back to the drawing board as far as meds. To top this off my marriage was failing. The stress of getting separated from but continuously harassed by my husband was apparently too much for the new meds. I had another breakdown, the first in fifteen years. This then caused me to lose my job.

This last breakdown occurred in 2005. It is now 2010 and I was hospitalized several times in Philadelphia and twice more since moving to New York City. I haven't been able to work in that time and am in the process of applying for SSDI. I've been waiting on social security since March of 2009 and am told it could be until past march of 2011 before I get approved for disability payments. Meanwhile I live on next to nothing but the charity of my BF and my family.

As you see not only do I suffer clinical depression but I also do have plenty to cause situational depression. I try to fight it but it does its damnedest to rule my life. I'm not seeing a therapist these days but I do go to a psychiatrist several times a month. They have me on Abilify and Zoloft now which helps but not quite enough. I'm hoping though that once I start getting the SSDI payments I'll then have one less thing to be depressed about.

So there it is. You now know my Dirty Little Secret. I hope we can still be friends now that you know I'm quite actually 'certifiably insane'. Don't worry though. Its not contagious and the voices are mostly friendly. At least I got lucky THAT way.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tooth Troubles

When I was living in Smalltown Pennsylvania and even after I'd moved to the city of Philadelphia I'd always gone to the same dentist. He was awesome. He even became a family friend playing racquetball with my Dad and such. From the time I was eight and onward he got me through four years of braces, broken teeth from playing kick-ball at school, all my fillings and having two impacted wisdom teeth surgically removed. His awesomeness was so great he even went so far as to dismiss an assistant for being brusque with me because I'm resistant to novocaine.

Once I moved to NYC I could no longer visit my small town dentist. At first, too, I didn't know anyone to recommend one to me so I had to fend for myself. Until recently, though I've had dental work done, I hadn't found a regular dentist that I really felt comfortable with.

Around two years ago I cracked two teeth. Rather, BF cracked two of my teeth for me. He was asleep and it was quite accidental but it happened none the less. We were in bed and just as I leaned forward to sit up he simultaneously swung his big beefy knee up to roll over. His knee connected with my jaw with a sudden "whack" jarring my teeth together. It was the front two left bicuspids that cracked.

The bottom tooth initially only dropped its filling then broke off at the base a year later (about a year ago) leaving a gap in my lower teeth and a root stump in my jaw. The top tooth dropped its filling shortly after the incident and then the outer cusp broke off just a few months ago. I was chomping on pretzel chips at the time. Now, because the two teeth were aligned I have a top to bottom gap in the left side of my smile. It's far enough back that its not all that noticeable but it makes me feel a bit like an inbred hayseed all the same.

Anyway, the bottom tooth, the one that broke clean off started giving trouble about a week ago. I started having what I called a "phantom toothache", a toothache where there is no tooth. A day or two later it started swelling and the pain grew to match the inflammation. It radiated up my jawline to my ear and along the side of the tongue. The entire underside of the tongue swelled up, too. There are parts of the tongue that I never knew existed until it all got puffy. I actually woke up the second morning to be like "What the HELL is in my MOUTH!?" only to realize after probing that it was part of my anatomy.

I knew I was looking at a trip to the dental clinic without an appointment hoping that they still take emergency walk-ins. I still go to the NYU School of Dentistry Dental Clinic. Its the first place I went to for dental care after moving to NYC because at first I had no health or dental coverage. I continued going there because I really didn't know where else to go. They take walk-in appointments and charge a blanket rate of $90 per visit no matter what you need done. The NYU Dental Clinic is where dental students get hands on experience. The experience for the patient, though, can be a bit barbaric. I've gone there for what turned out to be two root canals that graduated over time into extractions. That means that I had to go through the hell of two root canals even though the teeth ended up yanked anyway. I guess they were making sure I got my $90 worth.

The root canals several months previous to the extractions weren't a pretty scene. They gave me a double dose of novocaine before realizing I'm resistant to the stuff. Then for some reason they didn't share with me they decided against using gas for anesthesia. My mouth was numbed up just enough for me to feel like a slobbering idiot but not quite enough that I didn't feel the pain of the drilling. I let out with a "AUGH!" at one point so loud that it scared several people in the waiting room into leaving. The resident dentist's reaction "Please try not to do that..!" Such sympathy. It was awfully painful but after six months of festering abscessed molars I just wanted it DONE.

Of the two extractions they only did one at the clinic and referred the second to Bellevue Hospital after looking at my chart and realizing that I have a heart condition. At the clinic when they came at me with a tool that looked like a cross between a crowbar and a shoehorn I knew I was in for it. The resident took over though and popped it out with one deft maneuver. I felt it all the same. To be honest, that doesn't compare to the wrestling match the dentist had with the other tooth at Bellevue but at least HE knew how to use anesthesia. He actually had to climb up onto the side of the dentists chair I was in to try get leverage but ended up drilling it into pieces he could then take out with something that looked just like a set of pliers. It was not easy to hold still for but like I said at least the Bellevue dentist knew how to use anesthesia.

So I went to the clinic with my phantom toothache, not having anyplace else to go with it. I didn't know their afternoon hours didn't actually start until 6pm and arrived at 3:30. I signed in and waited. After an hour and a half I went out for a smoke went back in and waited some more. At 5:30 suddenly the waiting room started to fill up. At 6:00 my efforts were rewarded. I was the first one called in. My assigned student dentist was awesome. I now have a reason other than desperation to go to the clinic.

My dentist's name is Muhammad Muzammil Tareen Khan, Dr. Khan for short. He got me in the dentists chair and assessed the damage taking a digital xray. He made short work of numbing me up with extra novocaine so I really wouldn't feel any pain and got to work. It turns out that Dr. Khan was already a dentist in his native Pakistan. Once he came to the U.S. however he discovered that he had to attend dental school AGAIN in order to practice in the U.S. Kinda sucks for him but WAY cool for me.

It took Dr. Khan about forty minutes to gently pry the root stump out of my jaw. He wanted to avoid actual surgery because its more complicated and the recovery would be more painful. I felt no pain even though he had to twist and twist the root until the sinews holding it in let go. This he had to do with nothing but the top of the root to get a grasp on. He finally popped it out and showed the thing to me. As it turns out I'm of the %16 of the population that has double roots making his task all that much more impressive.

After our session was done Dr. Khan gave me his business card and told me to make an appointment with him for more comprehensive care. I agreed immediately. He has a sense of humor, he's gentle and he cares. Like I said he is awesome and now I have my very own New York City dentist.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Crazies...

There are a lot of crazy people in NYC. You see them everywhere. Having come from a different city I always wondered why New York was like that. I mean they're EVERYWHERE. I wondered why it's like that since Philadelphia isn't like that. You don't go there and become overwhelmed by the numbers of crazy and homeless people you see THERE because by and large you just don't see that many of them. But in New YORK City you see them and plenty of them. There's the relatively normally dressed ones that just act bizarrely like picking up old cigarette buts from the sidewalk then screaming at passers by "It's MINE!!" (I actually watched someone doing this repeatedly from across the street where I was waiting for my friend to come down from her apartment.) Then there are the ones dressed and smelling like a crazy homeless person that would have to be actors in some dystopian film if they weren't so real.

Not all of the crazies in NYC are homeless but there are a lot of that kind and they're the most obvious. There really is rampant vagrancy here. People, God knows how many, live on the streets here like its a viable option.They sleep in boxes under scaffolding on back streets. They sleep on the Metro. They shuffle from place to place with their swollen ankles and all their worldly belongings in oversized vinyl bags. The kind of plaid laundry bag you can buy at any of the ghetto 99 cent stores.

I have an acquaintance who's crazy and doesn't know it. BF doesn't like me hanging out with her. Never mind the fact that when she first moved into our building he encouraged me to befriend her. I knew she was a nut case from the first time I met her but all he saw was that she was skinny and well dressed. He initially bought into her stories of having been a ballerina and in pre-med school and of having worked at Bergdorf's. He thought she'd be a good influence on me. Now, though, he doesn't want her around at all. Its not that she's a bad influence though she tries to be trying constantly to get me to smoke weed with her. I've told her repeatedly that I've quit smoking that stuff but it hasn't sunk in yet. He doesn't like that but its her constant bizarre inappropriate behavior that is the real problem. It's the behavior of a truly insane person. Behavior I must say that isn't all that uncommon in this city.

I think his first clue was how I complained about her after every time I had any contact with her. And his advice to me about her has gone from "Just tell her "No!"" to "Tel her to "Get the FUCK AWAY FROM ME!"" Pretty drastic, sure, but this is about a woman who dresses like she works at Saks yet literally begs and borrows her way through her existence. She hasn't had a job since I've known her and isn't on assistance because she was too crazy to deal with her caseworker in any kind of a respectful fashion. She hasn't paid her rent in well over eight months and no one know for sure how she has avoided eviction thus far. She wears a wedding band because she is "Spiritually married" to a guy who is blissfully unaware of the fact. She's obviously delusional and is nothing more than an occasional drunken booty call to the guy she's having delusional romantic fantasies about. She just goes on and on about their spiritual bond to just about anyone who will sit and listen. Another thing she goes on about is how she hears the actual Voice of God speaking directly to her... Usually about the guy she's having delusional fantasies about.

I'm discussing this woman at length here because she makes me feel guilty. Just like walking past all the homeless crazies here in this city makes me feel guilty. I feel like there's something I should be DOING about it. But other than throwing a quarter into a cup what IS there to do...? I do what I can when she stops by asking for a can of food or a dollar for cigarettes here and there but aside from being crazy there's crazy like a fox and the opportunism inherent in the beggars lifestyle. She talks about faith in God but its the people who live in my building who keep her from starving no matter WHAT she might say about any of us. So I feel guilty, but I also feel used.

"Get a job!" is what people USED to say but that's not PC anymore. Now they're just not supposed to notice at all.

Custom Search