Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dear 2009:

Please find a bunch of dicks, dip them in ketchup, and eat them. Then go fuck yourself with a hammer. I am moving on to 2010, whom I hope to make out with frequently.

Goodbye forever,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Through the generosity and connections of one of my closest cousins...

...yesterday I did a phone intake with a researcher at Johns Hopkins who specializes in microbiology and autoimmune disorders.

Besides the fact she was a superb listener and provided valuable and practical information, she herself has MS. While this latter part saddens me, of course, my interaction with her marks the first time I've worked with a clinician who also has a chronic, incurable illness and one that presents very similarly to mine, to boot.

As such, there was a shorthand to our nearly two hour conversation. She understood aspects that elude even my favorite doctors and massage therapists. (Side note: I've tried acupuncture and yoga, as well, and both increased the dizziness; in the former case, to near incapacitation.)

Her treatment is going quite well and her symptoms remain symptoms, obviously, and this sucks, but I'm glad for her advancement and grateful for her openness.

Life is different on this side of the membrane.

Monday, December 28, 2009

You know the great thing about those who don't acknowledge illness or death?

They have managed to inoculate themselves and now their bodies will remain impervious to deterioration and they'll achieve immortality. Because that's totally how life works.

Have fun brushing the sand off your heads, dumbfucks.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Is it bad if you want to take a break from your...

...grief-induced, even-more-tenacious-than-usual behavior and just get super-drunk and listen to Wilco all day? How about tomorrow, too?

And what if you can almost never drink because of your health? Does this heighten or lessen the need?

Friday, December 25, 2009


[Yesterday: Helena, me, Ellie.]

On Thanksgiving, I felt flayed then bathed in acid. Yesterday was hard, obviously, but my oft-noted best family ever was delightful and a bit of joy seeped through the cracks and three of my exes, with whom I'm still very close friends, called or wrote to let me know they were thinking of me. My family and I made a large donation to a cause TJ believed in and he gave me decades of memories.

I'm figuring this out as I go, but I know, irrefutably, he would want me and all of his loved ones to revel in life's random pockets of happiness.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

To everyone spending their first round of holidays...

...without a loved one, extra hugs and cookies to you. Especially to those who come together in their loss.

And immeasurable good wishes to all my loved ones for their ceaseless kindness and humor. Though you haven't done it to be thanked, I will never be able to thank you enough. And while I know you know this, I love you more than I can express.

To crib the Mountain Goats lyric, "I am gonna make it through this year/ if it kills me."

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and warm wishes to those don't.

Peace to all.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I finished nine tenths of my holiday shopping before Thanksgiving because...

...this year I wanted to circumvent the tinsel, ho-ho-ho-ing, etc.

However, I did purchase and display one ornament for Christmastime. (See above.) Even better? I was with out with my folks when I discovered said trinket and it was at Mom's urging I bought instead of contemplated it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Because it's a fitting way to contrast the shortest day of the year and herald a new season:

One of the photos TJ sent me from this past spring's trip to Italy, a frieze of bunnies eating grapes at an ancient Roman theatre museum in Verona. He said that above the rabbits were dolphins and that the accompanying placard detailed how Romans believed the latter represented the soul's trip to the sea. TJ said there was no description of what the bunnies symbolized and deduced, "...general coolness, I presume."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's inadvertently and somewhat mordantly hilarious that...

...for the time being, TJ's death has, against my will, turned me into a morning person.

My sleep has improved from where it was at, say, week #2, but at week #10 it's still nowhere near what it was when he was alive. And I'm prone to nightmares at the best of times.

Among the many characteristics we shared was circadian rhythm: both of us were night owls and shunned early morning unless we had to wrangle with it, i.e. when he'd rise before dawn to climb or ski or I'd do so when I hadn't finished a piece the night before and had to awake at 5:00 a.m. to polish it for an NYC-based publication that wanted it by noon EST. (If my health continues to improve and I take on deadlines at the rate at which I did during '04 to '07, then I imagine I'll find myself in the latter groove again. Which would, of course, thrill me.)

But nights, individually and collectively, were our thing. So that I now awake at 5:30 a.m., as I said, against my will, just feels fucked up and wrong. Also, if you have a chronic illness and a limited number of "good" hours in any given day, it's a little odd when you sometimes use them up by noon and find yourself nearly blacking out from exhaustion, napping, starting the second part of your day at 3:00 p.m. and often falling into fitful sleep by 7:30 p.m., awaking every few hours, then starting the whole thing all over again at 5:30 a.m.

On the flip side, and defying logic or scientific explanation, my remission is now in week #6. As I've explained a number of times throughout the years and as TJ was one of the few to truly understand, I am never asymptomatic. I always have what feels like a powerful flu and the other symptoms persist uninterrupted; it's a question of degree. But for the past six weeks, I've walked without cane or crutches for the first time since the four month remission ended in January. And, of course, I'm delighted.

Still wish he were here to walk with me, though.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Re gay marriage and an oversimplified piece in the Huffington Post:

A Facebook friend of mine who is intelligent and informed but who continues to skewer Obama from the left posted this brief Huffington Post piece that links to a lengthier, more nuanced feature in the Advocate:

It launched a debate in response, with most participants writing as knowledgeable, fully-functioning adults. So kudos to all for that.

My response, below:

"Second what [redacted] wrote. Read the full piece in the Advocate. Obama supports the Domestic Partner's Benefit Act. Furthermore, 48% of those who voted for president in '08 didn't vote for him, and it's a fair assumption that out of those 48%, 90% hates him w/ the force of a meteor shower and the other 10% literally wants him dead. If Obama moves too far to the left too soon, the Democrats will, flat out, blow the mid-terms and we will saddle him w/ a Republican House and Senate. Thereby curtailing any chance of accomplishing *any* of our goals.

Re gay marriage, I've been volunteering time and money to the cause since 1994. The best hope for gay marriage on a nationwide level is for a test case to make its way before the U.S. Supreme Court, akin to Brown vs. Board of Education. And, as w/ Brown vs. Board of Education, a significant portion of the country won't be ready and will vociferously resist but each passing generation will eventually become acclimated and, eventually, wonder how the country could ever have lived otherwise.

Gay marriage, not just domestic partnership, will one day be the law of the land, but to underscore my point, I sincerely doubt it will be enacted through statewide referendums, DOJ administrative rulings, et al. Putting the rights of a minority group up to a vote or before a single administrative official is a wobbly strategy at best. And in order for there to sit a U.S. Supreme Court who will enact permanent, binding legislation guaranteeing that gays have 100% equality under federal law, there needs to be a president who will appoint such judges and a Congress who will confirm them.

I believe that president is Obama. I respect that many others here don't. But who, exactly, do you think can accomplish more of our goals in the next eight years? B/c I don't think it's Mike Huckabee or Tim Pawlenty or Bobby Jindal."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Because Facebook doesn't enact legislation or unseat amoral officials:

If you'd like to write to Senator Lieberman and explain your disdain for his actions regarding the Senate version of the health care bill and, also, that you will be donating to his opponent at election time, you can do so here:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

May your dreidl always spin!

On my Facebook page, I wished a Happy Hanukkah on its second day, but between my sorrow and empathy for the loved ones of the Mt. Hood climbers, spending some much-needed goof-off time with my own loved ones, and getting my H1N1 vaccine, I inadvertently neglected to mention the Festival of Lights here and I feel like a jackass.

I've pasted my Facebook Hanukkah greeting below as it was met w/ great cheer from my Jewish friends:

"We used to call this 'the Jew Room'"--Tim Conway as aging TV star, Bucky Bright, referring to the writers' room in season #2 of "30 Rock". Hoping my treasured friends, colleagues, and neighbors are enjoying a festive, restorative and happy Hanukkah! Much love and many hugs, Litsa

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Please keep the climbers, living and dead; their loved ones; and the SAR crews in your thoughts, all:

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you probably already know that three experienced climbers were due back from Oregon's highest peak, Mt. Hood, on Friday afternoon.

Tragically, one was discovered dead last night and two remain missing.

As I said, please keep all involved in your thoughts.

The latest information:

[Postscript two hours later: air search will resume today, but due to avalanche warnings, ground search will not. Snowfall is expected to lighten tonight and temperatures are predicted to edge upwards a bit.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Good grief", indeed:

When, for obvious reasons, you find yourself uncharacteristically wide awake at 5:45 a.m. and opt to watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on

Friday, December 11, 2009

To ____:

"You say you mean well
You don't know what you mean
Fucking ought to stay the hell away
from things you know nothing about..."

--Elliott Smith, "Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Because kneejerk thinking on the left is every bit as pernicious and irritating as it is on the right:

I feel like everybody purchased Audacity of Hope a year and a half ago, but only a few of us read it. Our president has stuck remarkably close to the plans he laid out for our nation. And might I remind the naysayers that Bill Clinton's first year was laden with Time Magazine's infamous "Incredible Shrinking President" cover and that by the end of his second term, each poll indicated a majority of Americans would, if possible, elect him to a third.

Should we have gone into Iraq? No. Would it be dangerously naive and naively dangerous to immediately pull out of Afghanistan? Even a cursory knowledge of history indicates, "Yes."

Regarding health care reform, will the final bill be perfect? No. Is it vastly superior to our current shameful system? Of course.

Again, as I've written of here and elsewhere: we elected a president, not Santa Claus. And I'm sorry if while we were all campaigning our asses off last year that you thought Barack Obama could slide down the chimney and make everything perfect. And within the first year. For fuck's sake, don't weaken our own side for the midterm elections and for the presidential race in 2012. Because I don't think you want to see what Mike Huckabee or someone like him will pull out of his ass when it comes to domestic and foreign policy and Supreme Court nominees.

Congratulations on your Nobel Peace Prize win and your meaningful, insightful acceptance speech today, Mr. President.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Happy birthday, TJ! You know how before each venture...

...I'd tell you, "Try and stay off the news this time"? With all the words at my disposal, I can't express how much I miss you. Jackass. Love always and then some, Litsa

[Above:] TJ w/ Jeff and Doug at their shared birthday Bifrost blowout at the Elysian, Dec 1, '08. (I didn't post this one last year as my BlackBerry takes crappy shots in dark bars, but it's hardly the point now.) A hilariously fun evening wherein Summer (Jeff's wife) made savory cupcakes topped w/ bacon and TJ, who suggested Summer fry the bacon at his place so as not to tip off Jeff (or was it so Jeff and Summer's place wouldn't reek of bacon? I can't recall) had vast quantities of foil-wrapped bacon leftover in his pack. Some of which ended up pleasing Doug and Anne's dog (waiting patiently outside) thoroughly. Also, as I teased TJ the next day, for being a highly intelligent group of individuals, it was sort of great that roughly a third of the evening's conversation revolved around the Elysian's seasonal-only Bifrost beer.

[Above, previous two photos:] TJ and I on his birthday last year at Top Pot. I was in a remissive phase then, so we met at my place, I gave him his smaller-sized gifts that would fit in his pack for our walk downtown, where, as the birthday boy, he insisted we see Disney's 3-D animated, Bolt. (I whispered to him midway, "Gee, do you think the dog and the girl get reunited?" and he teased me I was ruining the suspense.) We acted like total dorks and kept our 3-D glasses on after the film ended and, of course, realized that w/ my balance problems and his lack of peripheral vision in one eye, this was not really a plan.

Present-laden and Disney-fied, we walked back up to Top Pot for mochas and donuts. (I gave him his larger-sized gifts at our annual Christmas gift exchange, where, as previously noted he gave me the same gift the second year running: a trip to Manhattan to meet w/ one of the two agents interested in my novel. I.e. the most thoughtful and generous gift ever.)

These two pics were shot near the end of our day. He had to attend a meeting for work, then some friends were meeting him at Smith. I was supposed to rest then rendezvous w/ everyone. By that time, I was too sick and had to pass, but he emailed me when he got home and thanked me for a perfect day and said how much it meant to him that so many of his friends arrived at Smith and how lucky he felt in general. And I know he realized that we felt lucky, too.

Monday, December 07, 2009

His birthday is tomorrow and I spent most of last night poring over 20+ years of photos, et al. Have concluded I am neither a fan of mortality nor...

...some of my early '90s eyeliner choices.

At the reception for Christy and Mike's wedding, August 1993. Copious hair and piercings for each of us. (I'd taken out my additional earrings as I was maid of honor.)

At 26, this is what TJ wore to a betrothal wherein his date (we were both seeing each other among others at this point; you need a schematic to chart our history over the two plus decades) was in the wedding party. He'd donned a more formal ensemble for the ceremony, then jetted to his apartment to change for the reception. Three years ago at Uptown Espresso, he teasingly apologized to Christy for this consummate young dude maneuver and she found both the memory and the contrition funny. Then he confessed to her that a large swath of the revelers (myself included) had filled his pack w/ the remaining beers before heading to the Camlin Hotel's Cloud Room to get properly smashed. She'd long ago seen photos of the latter and laughed at acknowledgment of the former, which she'd already figured out.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The editors at TMZ are getting hard and/or wet just thinking about it:

I want to underscore I'm in no way comparing being gay to betraying one's partner.

That said, you know how there is National Coming Out Day? What if we enacted a Show of Hands Everyone Who is Fucking Someone They are not Supposed to be Fucking Day and got all this over with in one fell swoop?

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dear Montana Senator Baucus:

You understand, sir, that the position of U.S. Attorney is one of import and responsibility and that the determining criterion for your nominee should not and cannot be that you have stuck your penis in her vagina?

Towel off and mull it over.

Everyone with Functioning Cognitive Skills

[And, yes, he is a Democrat. Lest anyone think I don't play fair around these parts.]

Friday, December 04, 2009

Promise I'll return it in good condition:

Does anyone have an ether mask I can borrow until February 15th, at which point both of our birthdays (which we made a huge deal over), Christmas (ibid) and sundry holidays will be over?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

New York State Senator Diane Savino's erudite, wry and eminently logical defense of gay marriage:

I've long maintained that unless gays add plutonium to the mix, there is no way they are going to fuck up marriage to the degree straights have.

Here New York State Senator, Diane Savino, systematically dismantles the arguments against gay marriage and she makes me even prouder to be an American:

If you'd like to thank Senator Savino for her conviction, you can do so here:

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Pretty sure legendary WaPo editor, Ben Bradlee, just hurled his tumbler of scotch across the room:

I devour the best of contemporary lit and biography and historical tomes and classics with the same appetite with which I pounce on sundried tomato ravioli, but I'm not above the occasional copy of Star or US Weekly. (Indeed, as I confessed here long ago, I even had a subscription to the latter way back.)

But I just received a Washington Post "Breaking News Alert" stating, "Tiger Woods says he regrets transgressions" and like all sentient creatures, I can't help but think, Aren't we on the brink of enacting health care reform? And fighting two wars? And is our Bush-inherited economy still as reliable as a meth-head with a key to your house or did I miss a meeting?

Again, I know I'm not alone on this: I don't read the Washington Post or the New York Times, both of which I check several times a day, for gossip. Archaeologists typically consider division of labor as the launching point for human civilization: news organizations of all mediums, leave who's-fucking-who to the print and online tabs and, please, for the love of our current civilization, stick to your purpose and cover actual goddamned news.

[Postscript two hours later: WaPo just sent out another "Breaking News Alert" stating, "NIH authorizes use of first human embryonic stem cells under new policy." Which is substantive, actual news. Hooray! Also: maybe we control the world with our minds now.]

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

So, today makes eight weeks...

...since he died and while the shock has subsided, the pain has not. When I wrote a few weeks ago that I'd sever any limb to have him back, I wasn't dallying in metaphor. Furthermore, I'd make the incision myself. 1) It'd be worth it and 2) it would hurt less.

Everyone, including my shrink, tells me I'm holding up wonderfully under the circumstances. (I hadn't been in therapy for a year but made an appointment after he was confirmed dead and I resumed shortly after the "memorial".) As noted, I'm tenacious by nature, but an indescribably huge portion of the credit goes to my family and friends, particularly my mom, whose love and insight have been sheltering and spot-on.

We've just completed the first month, November, in which he was alive for no part and I now believe the ancient Greeks were wrong: the world is, indeed, quite flat.