NaNoPaintMo Wrapup

BAM. So what do you think? November wouldn’t all fit on the dining room table, so I left off the NSFW paintings and a couple of bonus paintings.

I think it was a rousing success. I even made a Facebook page here.

I have some commissions I really need to get around to, but I’ve been fruitlessly fighting neuropathy and paresthesia and doctors to get answers. I think it’s time to find a new primary care; this one told me today that he’s not saying he doesn’t believe me, but it’s probably just anxiety so here, double up on your Klonopin and go home, April, jeez.

I hate this year.

But I painted this today.

Here’s Anathema, acrylic on 16×20 canvas.

A Girl’s Best Friend

When Felicia opened the front door that morning, there was a dog sitting on her front steps, a medium sized brown and white dog with short hair and a pointed tail that he whacked good-naturedly on the top step as he cocked his head and stared her down.

Felicia had never owned a dog in her life, but she promptly stepped aside to let this one inside. From then on they were fast friends. Felicia named him Wallace.

Anywhere one went, the other was right behind, and it was a blessing that Hank, the grocery store owner, had known Felicia since she was a little girl, because he believed her when she promised him that Wallace would never be so rude as to shit on the grocery store floor or bite a fellow patron. True to her word, Wallace did neither.

Felicia was not so lucky when she tried to bring Wallace to her next doctor visit. She had no idea that Dr. Vargas had been bitten as a small child by a dog bearing an eerie resemblance to Wallace. She also had no idea that contamination of the bite caused an infection which was the reason that Dr. Vargas always and only wore pants to hide the prosthetic leg that he attached to his stump each and every morning before coming to the office.

No amount of pleading and weeping and promises was going to make Dr. Vargas change his mind, so for the first time in just over four months, Felicia and Wallace spent nearly an hour and a half apart. Wallace was a good boy, so Felicia left him in her car with all of the windows down. The weather was nice enough that the only pain she felt at doing so was leaving her other half.

When the interminably long appointment was finally over, Felicia dashed out the door, and Wallace leaped from the car. They bounded toward each other and met with a crash that any onlooker might have cringed from, but their mutual joy in reuniting kept them from hurting each other or themselves.

Felicia drove them straight home and rewarded her best friend with a handful of his favorite treats.


She then retired to the couch where she spent the next forty minutes on the phone trying to find a doctor that would allow her dog in the exam room with her for checkups. Dr. Breakham was most obliging.

Remembering Goodbyes

Valery watched as a fly made its way to the top of the large picture window. Once at the top, it descended, flying, hitting the glass a million times a second, bashing its small body against the unforgiving barrier between it and freedom. 

She turned from the window and picked up a 1984 issue of Family Circle from the table next to her. She decided to turn right to the beauty personality quiz, to learn what hairstyle would have been right for her twenty-some years ago. 

Before she could begin, Anthony stepped out of the office with the doctor. Valery flipped the magazine closed and replaced it on the table as she rose to greet him. The look in his eyes was telling. She braced herself for the worst. 

“It’s not helping, hon. The cancer’s got worse since I started chemo,” Anthony’s eyes began to glaze with a film of tears. 

Valery quickly glanced to the doctor for confirmation, and his expression was grave. She turned back to her husband and reached for his hand. “Let’s go, then.”

He nodded, and followed her to the car. “Where are we going?”

“Do you remember when we were kids, we went on that picnic in the park? We always said we’d go back, but we never did?”

Valery stopped by a deli to pick up some sandwiches. Pastrami for him, and turkey for her. They spent a few hours forgetting current events and reminiscing about the statue that used to stand just there, the one they’d eaten under all those years ago. 

Valery cried, remembering that day. She sat in silence for a few more minutes, regaining her composure before bidding Anthony’s grave farewell. She knew he would have appreciated what she’d done as he lay there, beneath the statue, at last. 

Did I follow all the rules? I do believe I did. But I’ll have you know it hurt to delete the bit about the twitching fly and the bit about the fabulous bathroom facelifts. Welcome back, Ms Rose!

Testing, Testing One Two

She opened her eyes to familiar surroundings: late afternoon in her own bedroom. The light was streaming in through the crack in the blinds; that must have been what woke her. She cocked her head as an unfamiliar sound tickled her eardrums. Some kind of soft whirring, like the air conditioner was on, but this early in the year, the air conditioner wasn’t on. Maybe it was a neighbor doing something weird in his garage.

She flipped the covers to the other side of the bed and swung her legs to the floor. That nap hadn’t been an entirely good idea, she thought. Her head felt logy and somehow swampy. Damp and confusing. She put her elbows on her knees and rested her forehead in her palms for just a moment. Then, taking a deep breath, she rolled her head around on her neck to get the kinks out of try to bring herself to some semblance of life. It worked well enough for her to stand up and walk around the bed.

She rested her hand on the doorknob for a second, feeling something strange. She couldn’t tell if it was in her head or if it was real life. The whirring had turned into a buzzing in the back of her head, and the doorknob seemed to vibrate like some small animal. She loosened her grip enough to pull her fingers away, but they were still cramped into the shape of the handle.

A quick massage brought her fingers back to life, and she tugged the dark and faded blazer from the end of her bed and pulled it on over the tank top she’d fallen asleep wearing. She’d worn the blazer to work for so many years it was a comfort when a day just wasn’t going well. Comfort would be a pretty good thing to have right now.

She thought she felt a presence lurking behind her and slowly turned her head to the left, but nothing unusual was in her field of vision. A shiver racked her body, and goosebumps followed. No; that nap had not been a good idea at all.

She rubbed her face with both hands, squinting her eyes and yawning afterwards. She felt a little more awake now, a little more herself. She shook off the odd sense of…was it doom? She shook her head in denial and reached for the doorknob again.

It wouldn’t turn, wouldn’t even wiggle. The buzzing in her head was louder now, more insistent. Her body felt more awake, but her brain was falling back asleep.


He peered into the monitor and blinked. She wasn’t supposed to be awake yet. He slapped the side of the machine twice, as if that could change the image. She shouldn’t be up and walking around. And yet, somehow, she was. He picked up the phone on the desk next to the computer and dialed his supervisor’s extension.

The doctor answered after half a ring.”What’s wrong?” he demanded.

“She’s awake,” Chuck answered. “Not just awake, but she’s out of bed. She knows she locked in. She’s already tried the door.”

Chuck heard the bang of the handset hitting the doctor’s desk and hung up his out phone gently. This was gonna be bad. The was gonna be real bad.

Thirty seconds later, he heard footsteps pounding out a quick rhythm in the hallway outside his office. He backed out of the way of the monitors just as the doctor slammed the door open and froze.

“She shouldn’t be up and walking around. There’s no way. There’s no way!” he yelled at the innocent monitor before turning to grab Chuck by the lapels of his rumpled lab coat. “What the fuck is going on here?”

Chuck knew better than to offer any kind of answer, knew that this temper tantrum would blow over soon enough, and the doctor would calm down and start taking notes and making phone calls, just as he always did.


She stepped back from the door, shaking her head in denial. The buzzing had mutated again; the humming purr inside her head was even more unsettling that the bees’ nest. She whipped around and something caught her attention. The corner of her Einstein poster was pulled up a bit from the wall. She took the four steps to it and tried to smooth it down, and as she did so, she felt something behind it. Her fingers snaked behind the poster and ripped it in half as she tore at it, only to discover a camera lens staring back at her.

“You bastards,” she whispered. “You dirty, dirty bastards.”



Sleep Study

Did I tell you about the ‘results’ from my sleep study? I don’t think so.

Well, my family practitioner originally sent the request in because of a lot of bad stuff. Night terrors, sleep paralysis, hallucinations, that kind of crap.

I saw the neurologist, told him the same story, and he agreed that I needed a sleep study.

I finally had it in August, and the neurologist left me a message a couple weeks later that I had some mild to moderate breathing difficulties; he didn’t mention that I laid awake for most of the night.

Today I got a call from the sleep lab and got all scheduled up for another sleep study with CPAP titration this Sunday.

Argh!! It’s not about my breathing! I can’t afford a CPAP machine anyway, so it doesn’t matter if he thinks I need one or not. Why is it not an issue that I can’t get to sleep in the first place?? But heaven forbid I’m able to go back to the neurologist without another sleep study.

Oh, and of course I have breathing difficulty. My adenoids are huge. I’m also on my third set, since they grew back after twice being removed. They’re stubborn little guys. I should just slap a breathing strip on my nose and tell him to titrate that.


I finally had my sleep study Tuesday night. It was fun explaining to Abby where I was going; I settled on ‘the doctor wants to make sure I sleep okay, so I have to spend the night at his office.’ She threw some toys in my bag to keep an eye on me that night, and I sent Ian a picture after I set them up in my room.
I tried to explain to Ian how frustrating the whole thing was before I went. It was one of those times when I couldn’t help but feel like my sleep would be different afterwards, even while knowing that was silly, that I’d have one night of either better or worse sleep and then back to life as usual. Like one day of a substitute teacher, or having one massage. It’s a bit of difference, but it doesn’t change the natural order of things.

So I went. I waited while the sleep tech set up another patient, texting Ian and watching Shark Week. She came in to set me up, and we chatted during the hour it took. Of course she’d read my info, and we spent about half that time talking about PCOS, which she also has. It’s good to know that pretty much none of the area doctors care about it; she’s seen a few different ones than I have, and the best advice she’d gotten was to ‘try to lose weight, but it probably won’t happen.’

It was interesting to meet someone who was treating her PCOS for her health, without treating the infertility aspect, as she as her husband hadn’t ever tried to conceive. She wrote down some vitamins she’d found online that had regulated her periods for the past two years, so I may look into that.

She got me all hooked up, and I called to tell Ian and Abby goodnight and went to bed.

The worst part was that I had to spend a certain amount of time on my back. I’m not a back sleeper, and the sleep tech had to come in and ask me to roll onto my back once. So I spent about half the night awake on my back, nothing to look at but a tiny red light ad a tiny green light.

When she came to get me up in the morning, she affirmed that I’d only just begun to fall into deep sleep shortly before. Fortunately, she also let me know that I’d only had occasional airway obstruction, not that I was worried about sleep apnea. It’s my brain screwing up my sleep, not my body. I did get a little better sleep than usual that day after I got home. And Wednesday’s three hours sufficed. But I’m still tired from last night.

I didn’t get a picture with all the wires on my head, so I’ll give you one of the supply storage.
Now to see when I go back to the neurologist, eh?