FtB Mothers Day Anthology: Mothers and Mom.

Mothers Day has utterly confounded me as far back as I can remember. During my childhood years, spent unhappily suffocating in lily-white, middle-class, conservative suburbia, I was continually struck by the jarring disparities between mothers I met in public, at school, at friends’ homes and, especially, those that dominated TV screens and supermarket magazines in the 1970s and ’80s, and the woman I knew as “Mom.” For better and for worse, Mom shared next to nothing with mothers. The contrast was so striking in fact, it occurred to me on more than one occasion that I might be born from another species altogether.

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Valentines for NYC.

Whether you buy into Valentine$ Day or not, sometimes something happens to come along on this date that unexpectedly hits you right in the feelz. It happened to me today, reading love letters to New York from New Yorkers in the New York Daily News. Some are from celebrities; some from everyday people. Below, you can read one in rhythm and rhyme from Darryl McDaniels, aka D.M.C. of Run-D.M.C., one from J.W. Cortés, an “actor, philanthropist, [and] MTA police officer” I never heard of, and one from me.

As many of you can likely attest, you don’t have to live here to love New York City.

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Happy Election Armageddon Day! + UPDATE, + MOAR UPDATEZ.

I hope you’re hunkered down and staying safe, today and in the days to come.

Here at Death to Squirrels Central™, it’s as if a massive blizzard or Cat 5 hurricane had been predicted: we were already sort of well-stocked with staples and essentials due to COVID, but we’re now very well-stocked. We’re also charging all devices, checking flashlights/putting out candles and just generally being extra-EXTRA-paranoid. We have no fucking idea what today may bring – and neither does anyone else.

I have heard a few sharp and contentious-sounding conversations outside my window on Hudson Street this morning, which would not be unusual generally, but is highly unusual on a morning weekday. Then again, the water in my building is shut off to fix a drain pipe or something, so it could just be a couple of my pissed-off neighbors yelling at the super and the plumber. That would be totally normal.

Fuck. I just heard more yelling. What was I saying about extra-EXTRA-paranoid? Yeah. I think it might be klonopin o’clock.

I will NOT be hoping or praying for you (because hope is not a plan and nothing fails like prayer). But for whatever it’s worth I will be thinking and worrying about you, good people of the lefty persuasion (godless or not).

Remember, Iris loves you! Unless of course she doesn’t!

__________

UPDATE 1:

This just in:

New York Daily News "Breaking News" header, including black and red "Daily News" logo and "NYDAILYNEWS.COM"NYC Election Day: Long lines, lots of voters, plenty of angst across the five boroughs

Lines outside some city polling locations already came with a long wait within three hours of the 6 a.m. start opening, with the sites open until 9 p.m.

Read the Latest

Where’s that klonopin?

__________

UPDATE 2:

I clicked the link to Read the Latest:

Voters wore masks and observed social distancing in the year of pandemic and a presidential race pitting President Trump against ex-Vice President Joe Biden.

Voters who wear masks and observe social distancing are almost certainly not Trump voters. So, you know, that’s good.

Also: klonopin achieved.

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Nobody loves me, I’m gonna eat some worms. 👿

I am auctioning off an interview at Death to Squirrels. Bidding starts at ONE DOLLAR, closes in less than three hours (6pm EDT), and nobody wants to talk to me! *sniff* Waaaaah!

You can bid either in the auction thread comments or via email if you prefer: send your bid to irisvpluym [at] gmail [dot] com, with “Iris Interview” in the subject line, and I will post a corresponding comment on the thread that reads “Anonymous bid for $____” along with the timestamp on your email. You know: in case there’s a last minute bidding war! 😂

C’mon, I promise you have nothing to fear from talking to me. Unless you’re a squirrel.

 

CARNIVAL of CURIOSITY: Interview with Iris!

Freethought Blogs - Carnival of Curiosity - INTERVIEW WITH IRIS! - September Fundraiser HELP US PAY OFF OUR LEGAL FEES
and
WIN AN INTERVIEW WITH MEEEEE!

That’s right: you can interview me, or I will interview YOU for #deathtosquirrels – winner’s choice.

NO SUBJECT OFF LIMITS!

Promote yourself or your business! Make me embarrass myself – forever! On the goddamn internet! Either way I will post our interview here, and you can post it wherever you desire.

But before we get to that, I want to tell you a quick story about what “free” speech really costs.

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Chadwick Boseman, Rest In Power. Also, I need you to lie for me.

Good afternoon, beloved readers. First, I want to tell you some things. Then I am going to ask you to lie for me, and to get every adult under age 50 you care about to lie their asses off for you, too.

My heart is heavy today. I awoke to news of the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, at age 43, from colon cancer.

FORTY THREE.

Chadwick BosemanChadwick Aaron Boseman
November 29, 1976 – August 28, 2020
__________

Whether or not you’re a fan of Black Panther and the Marvel Universe movies, or of Boseman’s portrayals of iconic Black historical figures like Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and James Brown, this man – by all accounts a kind person and talented beyond measure – has left our world too soon. And he is gone because of a preventable disease.

And as you might imagine, beyond my sadness at this tragic loss lies a fair amount of…well, RAGE. If you or people you love happen to live in the U.S. today, you are living in a country where this is true:

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Bad news day.

[CONTENT NOTE: racist police violence, f-bombs.]

I awoke today, as many did, to news of more widespread protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, a black man, by white police, and the murder of Breonna Taylor, a black woman, by white police, and the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man, by white racist thugs, and, and, and, and…

I want to say this here as unequivocally as I can (and have said before): I stand in solidarity with communities of color around the country and around the world, in opposition to state violence and murder, militarized policing, unprecedented mass imprisonment and surveillance, social and economic and environmental injustice, and imperial wars.

“Until we are all free, we are none of us free.”
Emma Lazarus

I also want to cosign Jacob Frey, the Democratic mayor of Minneapolis, who said this:

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I have become a global trendsetter/lifestyle guru/influencer!

[CONTENT NOTE: anti-LBGTQi bigotry and harassment; language most foul.]

You know, I really hate to toot my own horn, people. But it remains a simple fact that I was housebound, taking paranoia-level precautions against infection risk, gorging myself on Netflix, hoarding unconscionable amounts of toilet paper, following the news and shitting myself* long before damn near everyone** on the planet recently decided to live exactly as I do!

You might think that by now, I’d have some timely wisdom to impart to you, hard won over these past few years while I’ve been consigned to countless stretches of involuntary isolation. Maybe I’d be servin’ up some pithy, practical tips-’n-tricks to help you navigate these perilous, life-changing, life-threatening times within the context of a “healthcare system” deliberately designed to generate wealth, in direct opposition to health.

Alas, nope. I got nuthin’. Except:

WELCOME TO MY WORLD, EVERYONE.

Also: good luck with that.__________

*What?! No! I am not going to admit publicly on my blog to literally shitting myself after my (second) ileostomy reversal! I used that phrase only figuratively…yep.

**Oh, I am exquisitely aware that not “everyone” is following my groundbreaking life choices. Just look at these @$$holes popping up today in my morning news scan:

“People filled bars like one in Appleton, Wis., on Wednesday night after the state’s Supreme Court struck down the governor’s stay-at-home restrictions.” (William Glasheen/Post-Crescent/AP)

And by “people,” I think it’s fair to say that The Washington Post editors mean “white dudes” because of course they do. (And because of course they are.)

But there are @$$holes a lot closer to home, too. Take this @$$hole for instance, as seen through my fire escape:

“@$$hole on Hudson Street, 5.13.20”
©Iris Vander Pluym

Now you may have heard that every night at 7pm New Yorkers collectively gather at their windows to make an enormous racket, banging pots and whooping it up, just like when it’s midnight on New Years but waaaaay too cold to leave the apartment. In fact you may have actually heard the noise yourself, because that shit is motherfucking loud. The cacophonous chaos is my beloved city’s daily ritual in appreciation of nurses, doctors, first responders and essential workers of all kinds. No one else here may know what day it is, but we sure as shit know what time it is.

Apparently so does the @$$hole. (And his @$$hole friends, too, who stood on the near corner out of range of my shot). Right on cue at 7 last night, the Maskless Minion of Mindless Misery began waving around his “TRUMP 2020 – KEEP AMERICA GREAT” sign 40 feet from my window.

As the raucous din died down, thence began his spittle-flecked shouting of this message in every direction for all to hear, whilst shoving his sign at the faces of passing people and at the windows of passing vehicles. My neighbors were shouting back things like “Go home!” and “You don’t belong here!” This last, of course, is not only a reference to the infamously liberal borough of Manhattan as a whole, but to the West Village in particular – you know: home of the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the world’s undisputed epicenter of LGBTQi culture and civil rights activism before AIDS decimated the local population and then a monsoon of straight white rich yuppies and super-rich absentee “residents” flooded the neighborhood and drove real estate prices right through the fucking stratosphere.

But this being New York and all, the neighborhood still stubbornly maintains its gritty grip on queerness, which is precisely why the @$$hole brigade was here in the first place – and not pulling this shit in…oh, say, Brownsville. If this were not plainly obvious already, it became crystal clear once their feckless leader began taunting my neighbors with “SISSY BOYS!!!” and “LOSER SOY BOYS, ALL Y’ALL!!!” and “YEAH I’M NOT LIVING HERE WHERE THE SOY BOYS LIVE, LITTLE GIRL!!! LITTLE GIRLY MEN!!! NEIGHBORHOOD FULL OF GIRLY-GIRLS!!!” (I do apologize to readers, but the man was speaking entirely in all caps and with multiple, non-ironic exclamation points.)

The rhetorical heat had risen, though not nearly to the high voltage I prefer when I fuck with conservatives. That’s when I decided to contribute my $0.02 to the verbal volleys and began shouting “Run him over!” at the passing cars and buses, and whining loudly with bitter disappointment as they missed him. Up until this point during his one-man troll show he seemed to be enjoying the back-and-forth jabbing and jeering, but at that he shut up for a moment, lowered his sign and spun around in my direction. “RUN ME OVER, THAT’S NICE,” he harrumphed. Well if anyone would know about “nice” it would be this dude amirite?

There were many, many witty and original zingers like:

“YOU’RE LOSERS!!! LOSER!!! LOSER!!! LOSER!!! LOSER!!! LOSER!!! YOU’RE AAAAALLLLL LOSERS!!!”

“WINNING!!! ALWAYS WINNING!!!”

“LOSERS KEEP WALKING!!! WINNERS CAN STOP HERE AND SHAKE MY [ungloved] HAND!!!”

He did get awfully quiet when a large black man on a bicycle stopped to engage him. Gosh, I wonder why that is?

“Do something else,” I heard someone say. “We’re getting bored.”

As we all know, conservatives are nothing if not boring, and so I would soon turn my attention back to my current Netflix binge.

Today I learned via my upstairs neighbor that these tools also made an appearance at the liquor store around the corner. That’s right: my liquor store. Not to buy booze though, just to taunt the extremely essential worker running the register with more tedious and unoriginal anti-queer barbs. And one of the @$$holes got himself arrested for spitting on a woman who told him to put on a mask.

Good times.

My first thought was I’m so happy these particular people are doing exactly the right things to catch COVID-19. Obviously our world would be a far better place without them in it. Unfortunately, that’s not how the virus or conservatives work. They cannot help but do their worst damage to the most vulnerable and defenseless among us. Kovid Karrying Konservatives are bound to infect not just each other at their junior fascist circle jerks, but other people upon whom they inflict themselves, many of whom have no choice in the matter.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday Premonitions.

CONTENT NOTE: Graphic image. No, seriously: g-r-a-p-h-i-c. Contains a partial photographic image of an open wound with medical-level detail of a laparoscopic procedure; female frontal nudity.

__________

Hey, so whatcha doing Tuesday? Nothing nearly as fucking strange as I am, I’ll bet. As I mentioned in my last post, September kicks off Surgery Season here in New York City, and we’re about to kickoff on Tuesday with a laparoscopic exploration under anesthesia (“EUA”). At least two surgeons and possibly three will be having themselves a really close-up look-see at the tissues they would need to construct what radiation has destroyed – namely, a functioning colon as well as a sparkling new vagina. I call this aspiration “Plan A.”

My colorectal ladysurgeon is running the show, along with the gynecological oncology d00d, tho I’m not yet sure whether this mysterious”plastics” person I’ve heard so much about will also be in attendance. Regardless, there will no doubt be biopsies and good times galore. Which, ideally, I will sleep right through.

Back before my first surgery, i.e. the initial colon resection plus bonus ileostomy in February of 2018, I found myself working with my therapist, my original colorectal surgeon and his Physician Assistant to help me visualize exactly what would be done to me. I had started with some Google image searches, but what I found didn’t seem to line up with what had been explained to me. Also, most images I found, whether photos or drawings, were of men, and I was having a hard time relating those bodies to my own. I ended up creating this:

…wherein the dotted line represents the outline of an ostomy pouch, the oval is the stoma itself and the rest of the marks are incisions. It turned out not to be entirely accurate due to various issues and considerations during the operation, but for my “trying to get my head around this shit” purposes, it was close enough. As un-ugly as I could possibly conceive of it, anyway. I remember the night before the surgery lying in bed, running my hands over the soft, smooth, unblemished skin of my belly, and deeply grieving that it would never, ever feel like this again.

So now there’s this fuckin’ EUA on Tuesday. And I’ve had one before, performed by the very same colorectal ladysurgeon back in March when she gave me an(other) ileostomy. I already know what the recovery is like, and it isn’t terrible: it’s like the deep soreness from a couple hard punches to the gut, that gradually fades over a week or so.

Why, then, am I having so. much. anxiety. over this? Lard knows I’ve been through worse – a lot worse. And there is much worse to come, for sure.

Well, I have a theory. I think it’s because I’m terrified of what they will find, or more precisely, of what they will not find. That the radiation damage has kept right on blooming for all these months, and now there is not enough healthy tissue left to re-do a colon resection. That the blood supply to critical areas has deteriorated to the point where successful healing will be practically impossible. That Plan A gets scrapped. There is no Plan B, at least not one discussed in any detail, because Plan A is the only one with any potential for a good outcome. And it has been impressed upon me, many times, that we only have one shot at fixing this.

So I took to drawing again. Only this time I wasn’t trying to create anything approximating medical accuracy, although it would turn out to embody exactly that, at least in part. I made what envisioning this procedure feels like to me – if that even makes any fucking sense. And once again, I made it as un-ugly as I can possibly conceive of it.

Before you proceed, I just want to remind you again of the content note at the top of this post. I mean, this stuff is triggering to me, which is why I’m doing it in the first place: to help me process it in a healthy way.

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