Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Catch-up

Wow. It has been a really long time. I've had a whole lot on my plate this past month. School just ended for the semester and I am 99% sure I got A's in both of my classes.

I've also been having a whole bunch of health problems. I had that cotton wool spot in my eye a while ago and the doctor got me an MRA (sort of like an MRI but it looks at your blood vessels instead of your tissue). I really didn't expect them to find anything; they didn't order the test because they were worried...they ordered it because it seemed like the only time in the near future that insurance would be willing to cover it. We have a history of cerebral aneurysm in my family, so that, combined with the eye spot and some minor headaches I've been having convinced my insurane company that I needed to have my head inspected.

So, it turns out I have two small aneurysms. They're really little...nothing to be worried about yet. But, they're there...and considering that my mother nearly died when an aneurysm ruptured on her brain stem ten years ago, it's something we definitely want to keep an eye on.

Here're some pictures of my head:


The arrow is pointing to one of the aneurysms. The other picture doesn't show anything specific, but I just thought it was freakin' sweet.

I had a CT Angiogram today and it will allow us to see more detail and hopefully get a better idea of how to proceed.

Oh! And thanks to your votes, I'm now in 3rd place in the "My Favorite Toy" contest. I didn't know this, but you're allowed to vote more than once. So, if you have a second, click on the "vote" button below (there's supposed to be a picture there, but for some reason, it's not embedding correctly :().


What's Your Favorite Toy?
Brickfish
Vote Share Details



Saturday, December 6, 2008

I need a little help...

Help me win some college money. Click on the "vote" button and check out my entry in the Brickfish "My Favorite Toy" scholarship contest. Every vote counts!


What's Your Favorite Toy?
Brickfish
Vote Share Details



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Eyes are gross and Halloweeny, right?

So it's Halloween and that means that I have to do something festive like give out candy or carve pumpkins or something. Except I don't have time for all of that, so I'm going to post a gross picture of an eye. At least, most people seem to think it's gross. I think it is astoundingly cool.

Check this out:


That is my eye!!!...or really my optic nerve.

Notice the little white spot...looks kinda fuzzy? That's Mr. Fuzzle. He's a cotton wool spot, or a nerve-fiber layer infarct. It's often a symptom of diabetes, HIV and hypertension; three things that I have been tested for and that I'm sure I don't have.I started having weird spots in my vision the other day and I paid a visit to the ophthalmologist. He did all sorts of cool tests and dilated my pupils, which I've never had done before. One of the tests showed two little blind spots in my left eye, besides the normal big-arse blind spot. Upon closer inspection, the doc noticed Mr. Fuzzle.

I need to go to another specialist (I'm kinda confused about this. I thought that the specialist was sorta an "end of the line" thing...) next Friday so they can decide if this is really weird and whether or not I should get some blood work done. I guess most healthy, young adults don't get these...though mine is an isolated one and they usually occur in bunches when some horrible disease is underlying.

Anyway, that's my addition to this crazy holiday. I'll be donning my costume in less than an hour and heading over to a friend's house to see her son's costume and her decorations. Then, it's off to volunteer at the co-op for an hour and then on to Friendly's to have sundaes with J and my friend Franky.

What are you doing tonight?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oh hai!

Remember me? I'm that chick who used to post a lot.

I've been insanely busy with schoolwork and work and conferences and weddings and such. Also, after going to my academic/nerdy conference, I got a renewed interest in my other blog, which I've been ignoring in favor of this one until recently. So, I'm going to attempt to devote equal time to both...but it's going to mean less posting (at least this semester).

So, AJ and I don't have social lives...we spend most of our "free time" doing homework and eating and sleeping. If we could sacrifice one of those things in order to have friends and stuff, we probably would. But, we obviously can't stop sleeping or eating, and if we stopped doing homework, what would be the point of being in college?

Given that we have no social lives, we didn't make any plans for Halloween, and consequently, didn't come up with any costume ideas. And then we signed up to do our member work at the local co-op and the only day available was Halloween.

The co-op does a themed costume thingy each year and this year's theme is movie/TV characters (really specific, huh?). So, yesterday, I raced around town and put together some costumes for me and AJ.

I tried mine on last night and I must say that while totally awesome, my costume is a huge badge of nerdy, dorky, geeky weirdness.

Pictures to follow...for now, you'll have to be content with the runner up for the nerdy, dorky, geeky weirdness prize: my costume from a few years ago.




Thursday, October 9, 2008

She looks like a little lion...

It's been an insane semester so far and it's about to get crazzzzzzzier!

This weekend I'll be driving to Connecticut to attend my cousin's wedding. I'll be visiting my mom and dad as well, which will be nice, since I see them like, twice a year. Then, on Sunday, I'm meeting a couple from England. The woman writes a blog that I've been reading for a year or so and they're heading to the same nerd conference that I'm going to on Tuesday. Sunday night, AJ's mom will be in town (from Florida!) so more visiting of parents will take place.
Then, next week, I'll be in Cleveland for a conference.
So, busy weekend, busy week...lots of packing and planning ahead. Somewhere in all of that, I have to read a couple of chapters from my biology and geology textbooks, do a couple of lab reports and study for a test next Monday.

I did a test shoot with this photographer this past Monday. He was super fun to work with and he's obviously really talented. I can't wait to get some pictures back from him!
Also, this past weekend, EM got her hair cut. Here's a before:



And here're a few afters:
Everyone always says she looks like a little lion, but I think it's closer to rat, don't you?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Confession

Last night, I laid in bed with my eyes closed and pet EM, pretending she was EC. She wasn't meowing or anything and with her long soft fur, she felt almost exactly like EC.

It's not that I don't love EM. I do. A lot. It's just that for a minute, I felt like EC was still alive.

It made me realize that another person's presence is a very personal thing - constructed by my own brain; neurons firing, cells communicating.

For a few seconds, there was no difference between EC's presence and absence. No difference between life and death.

And then I opened my eyes.

I'm still here, right?

This morning, as I was leaving my office, I walked past the guy whose office is next to mine. I looked him in the eye and said "good morning." He made eye contact for a second, then looked away and walked past me as if I weren't there. We don't speak or anything, so I don't see what I could have done to get such a nasty blow-off.

In class, I had a few minutes to kill before the start of class so I turned to the girl next to me and asked, "did you read the chapter for this stuff?" She seriously didn't flinch at all...didn't look over to see if I was addressing her. She just stared straight ahead. I wrote "I think that girl just ignored me" on my notebook to make myself feel less awkward. At least the notebook listened.

What the hell is going on around here? I'm starting to think that I'm either invisible or that I look like I'm a total freak and that people are purposely ignoring me.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Your shining face

So, I promised an update on the 19th about the not washing my face with soap thing. It's been 10 days. I have washed my face twice with soap in the last 10 days. My face looks fine.

I think soap is a ploy to get people to buy more soap.

I went to a wedding this past weekend in the Berkshires. It was really really amazing...a very non-traditional Jewish wedding with some tradition thrown in. The bride was my best friend from high school and she looked absolutely stunning!



AJ and I stayed at his friend's house, which happened to be only a couple of minutes away from the wedding. We had the most amazing breakfasts ever on Saturday and Sunday, both at the Roadside Diner. The diner uses food from the local farm, Gould Farm, so all the ingredients were fresh and local. I don't know if they were organic. The sausage was AMAZING. I've never had anything like it in my life. I would absolutely drive the 4 hours just to spend one night in the Berkshires so that I could eat that sausage again.

School has started and is in full swing, so you'll probably be hearing less from me than you did all summer. I'll do my best, though, to keep posting regularly.

Friday, September 19, 2008

New 'do

I got a haircut yesterday. It was the first time I've had one in almost two years.

The stylist/barber guy (what do you call them these days?) thinned out my hair A LOT. At the end, he swept up a capybarra-sized pile of my hair. I was all like, "ooh! that's a lot of hair!" and he was like "don't freak out!" Except I wasn't freaking out...I was totally psyched to have that crap off of my head. He could have taken more.

Seriously folks...he took off (as in thinned out...he left it the same length) about 1/3 of my hair, and this is what I have left:



Totally crazy, huh? (That's not my boob...it's my giant pectoral muscle...my boobs are totally not that perky)

That sign behind me in the picture? It says "clean." Part of a set that I got at the Christmas Tree Shops. Speaking of, I'm doing a little experiment with the idea of "clean." For the last three days, I haven't been washing my face with soap. Instead, I've been using warm water and just scrubbing with my hands and drying with a towel. I'm an oily person. My hair gets oily in a day - my face gets oily a little after I wash it. Not using soap is, to me, not something to take lightly.

But...

So far, so good. My skin isn't oilier than usual and it looks kinda glowy. I'll give it a few more days and let you know what happens.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Stuff...and more stuff...the update edition

My father visited this weekend and I got to spend some time with my family, which was really really nice. Sometimes I forget how much I love those weird drunk, racist freaks.*

I'm enjoying my geology class so much that I'm thinking of switching my major from biology to geology. It would really mess up my whole 3-year plan. But I am so into geology right now that I don't really care.

My birthday is coming up in a week. I dropped hints all weekend to my father, hoping he'd remember and offer to take me shopping for some winter clothing while he was in town. He didn't pick up on the hints. In fact, I'm not even sure he knows my birthday is coming up. And he definitely doesn't know how old I am...



At my family party on Saturday night, I asked my 12 year-old cousin if he remembered the time my ex spun him around on the swing until he threw up. "Yeah," he said, "he was a jerk." A little shocked, I said, "yeah...he was." My cousin's follow-up? "Then why did you go out with him?" Zing.



*Okay...not ALL of my family are drunks...or freaks...and only one is significantly racist... In fact, most of my family members are outgoing, sweet, kind people. Or cute kids. Here's the money shot from this weekend:






These are my 2nd cousins and one of my first cousins. This was
just before a game of SPUD, which I won. Because I'm awesome.
And like to throw balls at little kids.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We will return

to your regularly scheduled blogging, after we figure out how to balance all the following each day:

- 8 hours of work
- 3 hours of class
- 4 hours of homework
- 1 hour of eating
- 1 hour of transportation via bicycle/foot
- 7 hours of sleeping

Somewhere in there, I'll find time to do some blogging...be patient with me!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mr. Pedie

I woke up at six this morning; an hour earlier than usual. Not by chance, no, but because I had to. It was still pretty dark and I don't know about you, but nothing about the dark makes me want to hop out of bed and skip to the shower or anything like that.

I emerged from my bed like Dracula - arms crossed over my chest, body unmoving, feet planted on the bed and serving as an axis of rotation. Only when completely vertical did I open my eyes. Since my mattress is now on the floor, thanks to my recent poverty and a certain friend who really needed her bed frame back (the bitch!!!), I literally stepped out of bed.

The vibrations created by my first footsteps apparently also woke up one of our resident house centipedes, though he did more of a snake-like wiggle than a Dracula maneuver. He, with all his gross little legs and his silvery body and his side-to-side undulations, shot out from under AJ's bureau and charged at me, full-speed. EM, good for nothing, watched on as if she were in a 3D movie - batting at the bug while remaining several feet away from it.

I let out a shriek, grabbed the nearest crossword puzzle (thankfully I never throw them out unless they're 100% finished and have 30 at my disposal) and slammed it down on Mr. Pedie. I slowly lifted the paper and BAM, Mr. Pedie went dashing back toward the bureau, hoping to escape with at least 99 limbs still intact. But I was too quick for him, in my adrenaline-induced panic, and caught him again, making sure to slam on every square inch of the newspaper.

After ensuring Mr. Pedie's death (HA! I almost wrote "full death" which is redundant, eh?) I left him, exposed, on the floor while I got dressed. No sense in making two trips to the bathroom, right?

It was then that EM decided to take more than just a lazy swat's interest in Mr. Pedie. She circled the smooshed carcass and just as she was about to give him a little nibble, I realized that I didn't want my cat breathing centipede breath on me. So I swatted her lightly with my shirt.

Apparently, EM was also pretty terrified of Mr. Pedie, because when the the shirt touched her, that little stinker jumped straight up in the air - so high that I could have pet her without bending over (and I'm tall for a woman).

At some point during all of this, AJ looked up groggily from his pillow and asked me what was going on.

He missed a lot of excitement, but he got to sleep until seven, lucky bastard.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Shwork Bullets

(Schwork = school + work)
  • First day of classes. Two, hour-long courses, back-to-back, from 10 a.m. to noon.

  • Geology professor is hawt. Not in a Harrison Ford sort of way...more of a Chase Crawford but kinda rugged way. But he's my age, which is such a turn-off. And I'm not single. And he's my professor, so I'm not allowed to look at him as if he were a single, hot, young man...which he is.

  • Guy sitting next to me in my geology class is wearing a dinosaur tee shirt. I silently judge him and then realize that not only do I own three or four dinosaur tee shirts, but that I'm devoting my entire academic career to studying dinosaurs.

  • Pretty sure my geology teacher thinks I'm hot. Oh, no...he's looking at the giant pair of breasts right next to my face. Hey, get your boobies away from me! I know the lecture hall is cramped, but if I leaned back, I'd be using your cleavage as a neck brace. Yikes...these freshman girls are kinda ho-in' it up this year.

  • Co-worker (note, not "boss") reached all-time levels of horribleness today when she gave me and another co-worker crap about watching a 3 minute YouTube video by asking "don't you two have any other work to do?" Screw you, B.

  • Plus, she spent twenty minutes this morning talking politics with our soon-to-be boss. Bet you can't guess which political figure she was talking about. I'll give you a hint. It rhymes with "Marah Walin."

  • Realizing that this new school/work schedule is less than ideal: Work from 7 am to 10 am. Class from 10 am to 12 pm. Work from 12 pm to 4:30 pm. Every other day. Two days a week attend lab from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Sleep. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. Burn. Candle. At. Both. Ends.

  • Guy in Geology class puts his bare feet up on the chair next to me. This is kinda a hippie town, but WTF??? And they're 18 year-old boy feet. *shiver*

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow...

I cross through the dark apartment, hearing only the sound of EM's claws scratching on the hard wood floors. Somewhere in the hall, she is playing with her crinkle ball. She is nearly hysterical - the scratching sounds increase to frantic and suddenly she is quiet. I know that she has won and that the crinkle ball is clenched in her jaws, her paw still batting at it as if it might put up a fight. I smile.

I find AJ on the porch. He has tried to patch the hole in his bicycle tire. His tools are spread out on the dry wood deck and he is covered in grease. I watch him remove the tire from the rim with a flat and hooked piece of plastic. He holds up the tube to show me the tear. It is not fixable. He will need a new tube.

I have many tears. Many times I have tried to patch them, but, like AJ's tire, they always seem to let the air out. Like AJ and his tire, I have the right tools to find the sources of those leaks, but often I feel powerless to fix them. Unlike AJ's tire, I can't just go to the store and purchase a new me. A shiny, undamaged me.

I am filled with anger and envy. I compare myself to everyone around me. I find ways to cut down people who threaten me - but I don't do it to their faces...I just hate them from a distance while pretending everything is okay.

I don't want to feel this way. I don't want to compete with the rest of the world or feel like I'm not enough. I have a decent life - a great boyfriend, a decent job, the opportunity to do what I've always wanted to do.

How do you do it? Can it be done? Is it possible to live in a world where we're constantly told we need more more more and still feel content? How do you even begin to love yourself, regardless of what everyone else is doing? At what point is it "only human" to feel this way? Is it possible to transcend that?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Look what I found!



It's a bat! A really sick one, at that. It was outside the entrance to my gym. Thinking I'd be helpful in case, y'know, the bat was rabid or just needed to be put down, I told the people at the front desk about it.

"Oh! He's still there, huh? He was there yesterday, too!" was the response I got.

Um, yeah, he's still there...dying of fright or white nose disease or rabies.
By the time I got done pumping iron and doing one pullup(!) they had done something with the poor little critter. I hope he's either free and healthy or out of his misery.

Hooters

Hooters is creepy.

Well, at least the patrons at Hooters are creepy.

On Friday, AJ and I took AJ's developmentally disabled client (HS) to eat at Hooters. HS has been asking AJ to take him there for months now. He desperately wants a girlfriend, which is sad, because HS is disabled enough to not function well in this world without help, but he's not disabled enough to not want a normal life.

And just so y'all don't get all, how could you do that??? It's so inappropriate!!!, I'll just have you know that HS is a 30 year-old man who holds a job, travels around as he pleases on the bus and is allowed to spend his money in any fashion he desires. He lives at home, with his mother, but she treats him like an adult. So, Hooters was his choice and we were happy to oblige.

HS wore his "I love boobies" tee shirt and his pink baseball cap with his own handwritten words; "lookin' for love and ladies." He was so excited that he was literally vibrating when we got out of the car. We walked in, past tables and tables of gross starey (yeah, I know, spell-check...this isn't a word) men who were all looking at my boobs because hey, even if you aren't in a uniform, apparently just walking into Hooters means you've signed up to be ogled.

The food looked so fucking gross, but it tasted really good?!? WTF??? And the wings? Not great. I am really suspicious of food that looks fake and tastes good. I'm pretty sure they inject the flavor into food like that.

Our waitress's name was Crystal. She called HS "hon" and he practically melted. After she left he asked, "Do you think you could get a girlfriend here at Hooters?" We answered truthfully with a big "no," and while HS looked disappointed, it didn't stifle his enthusiasm at all. He left the restaurant still vibrating and with a pack of Hooters playing cards in his pocket.

Even with the crappy food and unwanted stares from the most redneck dudes I've ever seen, I've got to say that I had a really good time. Which is a good thing, since FS is counting the days until we can go again.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's not fair!

AJ took his client to the county fair this morning and we had this text/picture message conversation:

AJ: 'Sup pink chicken?



Me: I'm so jealous! I freakin' love the fair. I love the petting zoo. Can you pet something for me?

AJ: I pet this giant pumpkin for u.



Me: Aw shucks. Thanks, buddy.

AJ: Hey buddy if u come to the fair i'll give u a boner.



*Just to clear up any confusion, we both call each other "Buddy." Kinda weird, I know.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday Reaches Record Levels of Awesomeness

I forget my wallet at home. FAIL. But then that means that AJ has to stop by my office, which is awesome, because I love him. I get to meet one of his clients (AJ is a respite worker) who apparently doesn't like me much. I begin the day being hated by a profoundly retarded man.

The gym is busier than usual. I recognize a man who was my statistics professor five years ago. I introduce myself again and he apologizes - he doesn't remember me. How did you do in the class? he asks. I tell him I had a final grade of 101%. Awkward silence ensues. He finally asks how he could possibly forget such a great grade. Who knows? But I wasn't lying - I did pass with a 101.

On the bike ride back to my office, I swerve to avoid some pedestrians and nearly run into a car head-on. It is a police cruiser.

While changing in the bathroom, I hear someone enter the stall next to me and start to pee. Then they fart. I assume they'll want to hide out until I exit, so I hurry. I am wrong. It is my supervisor and she leaves the stall just as I leave mine. She then chastises me for not wearing a helmet when biking.

I talk to AJ and he reminds me of plans we have this Friday. We are taking his other client, not the one who hates me, to Hooters for dinner.

Life is awesome.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Conversations

(After just getting out of the car on the way to the market)

AJ: I think it should be illegal for deer to be on the highway.

Me: Um....and how would you even begin to enforce that???

AJ: Flame Throwers.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

(In the car on the way home from the market)

Me: I just wish I could stop comparing myself to everyone else. Y'know? Just stop the thoughts. How is that possible, though?

AJ: Well, I think you do it like you'd stop doing anything else...you just stop.

Me: But stopping actions is different than stopping thoughts. I don't think you can just stop your thoughts from occurring.

AJ: Well...you could just kill yourself.

*long silence*

AJ: That was supposed to be funny. Is that what they mean by "fail whale?"

Icky

I'm having a really icky day. Really really icky. Like I want to tear off my skin and not live in it for a while. Angry. Resentful.

I spent the weekend in New Hampshire with my closest friends from high school. I haven't spent any significant amount of time with them for almost ten years. Nothing has changed. I haven't felt so happy, content and healthy in a very long time. Those girls - they don't just make me feel comfortable with myself; they make me feel better about myself. Unique, interesting and lovable.

And then I had to come home.

I have no close female friends here, but for one friend who hasn't really bothered to call or stop by for weeks now. I don't even really have many close male friends. I just don't have close friends. In fact, my closest friend is AJ and while I want things to be that way, I don't want him to be my only close friend - that just puts too much pressure on him and on our relationship. It's not healthy.

It's getting harder and harder to meet people, the older I get. I have less time, am more isolated physically from my peers.

This is hard...feeling lonely like this and missing the girls I just spent the weekend with. I need a posse. I need women.

Dear MIA,

I'm sorry that you've been having a hard time. When you said "I couldn't even muster up the energy to call you," I knew you must be really depressed. I mean, I'm your closest friend, right? Right?

Did you know that during the last two weeks, I had to make a decision about whether or not to have something killed? Something that I loved dearly? Did you know that AJ and I have been going through some rough spots and that I really needed a friend? Did you know that I've been feeling entirely alone in this town and that I've been questioning the quality of the friendships I've made?

No, you didn't. Because you didn't bother to call me. Not even once. Even after I bumped into you in the grocery store and told you that I was having a hard time.

I understand depression. I've been through it. And I'm talking "clinical" depression...not just feeling blue. So, I understand that you're probably feeling hopeless and like everything's pointless...and that it's hard to motivate yourself to do anything. I get it...I really do.

But here's the thing: I need reliable friends. And while I love you, I'm a human being and I can't give give give and not receive. I just don't work that way. So, I can understand that you might not be able to call because you're going through a hard time, but you need to understand that I don't want friends who aren't there for me when I'm having a hard time.

Love,

AC

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dear Tiny Young Thing,

I know you came to my blog by googling "im 14 and i eat okay but i still can't get my abs to indent." And I'm sorry that you didn't find any advice on how to get your abs to "indent,"...whatever that means.

But I will offer you this: stomachs aren't supposed to be concave. They hold your guts and your abdominal muscles, which, when strong, generally tend to make your belly a bit convex.

Kudos to you if you're overweight or unhealthy and want to do something about it. But, if you're just trying to get your belly to do this:


then I suggest that you quit while you're ahead. And alive.

EM the Hutt

AJ is a huge movie fan and often, because he has time off during the day, he takes himself to the movies. Yesterday, he saw Star Wars: Clone Wars.

AJ: I saw Star Wars. It was awesome.

Me: Really? I thought it was going to suck.

AJ: Well, it wasn't that great. But it was kinda cool. Jabba the Hutt has a son. They call him "Stinky." Stinky the Hutt. He looks just like EM.

Me: Really? (I say "really" about everything...like I just can't believe anything AJ ever says.)

AJ: Yeah...come see. *pulls up this picture of the Huttlet on Google:

Me: Holy crap! That does look like EM. Almost exactly like her...but on a bad day.

And then the MS Paint party ensued.*



Pretty close, huh?

*I would say we had a Photoshop party, but AJ and I are too poor to buy Photoshop, so we use the ghetto-ass Paint program instead. Which sucks. It's like having boxed wine instead of a fancy Cabernet. Like Brittany Spears instead of, well, someone classy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Come here baby."

I woke myself up by saying that to AJ last night. I don't know what led up to it or if I'd said anything else prior to that, but I definitely said it and then I was very obviously about to be doin' it but I wasn't awake enough to know if I wanted to be doin' it. So, instead of waking my own ass up a little more and either doin' it or not, I just half acted like I wanted to do it and half acted like I was being forced to do it against my will.

Confusing, I'm sure, for AJ, who quite clearly knew he wanted to be doin' it.

And then I realized that it was 3 in the morning and I wanted to be sleeping. And AJ got fed up with my Jekyll & Hyde routine and he gave up and went to sleep.

And wouldn't you know, I was all like, hey....why don't you want to do me???

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm not good at writing titles. I should quit.

Holy crap...I have written this post a bazillion times and erased it just as many times. I am having one of those days where I want to quit everything because I'm no good at anything so what's the use?

I go through this a lot. I start things that I want to do, like blogging, college, weight training, painting...and then I quit halfway through because I realize I won't ever be the best at it. I mean, why do something if someone else is going to do it better, right? Right. Yeesh...what an attitude to have.

There was a woman at the gym today who had amazing legs. I want her legs. I won't ever have her legs. I'm going to quit working out.

I read a blog post today that made me laugh out loud. I want to write like that. I can't write like that. I'm going to quit blogging.

I read about some new research in paleontology. I want to do research. I'll never finish school. I should quit school.

I'm not actually serious about quitting anything...I'm just sayin' that that's how I feel about everything.

Anyway...the original post wasn't even about quitting stuff; it was about how AJ has a big fat resentment towards me and how that scares me and it was also a big defense of myself and an explanation of how I'm the most understanding person on the planet, which I'm NOT (because someone else is more understanding than I am - I should quit being understanding).

And then I decided that I don't want to write about personal stuff between me and AJ because, even if he never sees this blog, it's our stuff. So I decided to post a picture of a liger, because apparently, they aren't just something Napoleon Dynamite created.


Photo by Bill Dow, feature in National Geographic

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

GreeblePix Photo Contest

Here's my photo for the GreeblePix photo contest:



This is EM, napping on our couch in the living room. I love the way her eyes convey pure relaxation and contentment. If I could feel that way, all of the time, I'd be enlightened.

Capturing the Storm

I've been I've been trying for months now to take a picture of lightning. There have been thunderstorms almost every day this summer and I've had plenty of chances, but I haven't been successful. And then, last night, I finally did it.

Sort of.

I captured lightning, but not a lightning bolt:



Not bad for a little point-and-shoot camera.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Just one more...

I found this picture of me and EC and I just have to post it. It may be the only time I ever post a full-on picture of my face and I may take it down after a while, because I'm TERRIFIED that my mother or coworkers will find this blog and recognize me and then I will lose my job and my mother will have another aneurysm and I will fall into a huge abyss of black nothingness where I will float forever in a state of limbo and will be stuck with my own thoughts for all of freaking eternity....GAH!

But it's too darn cute and perfect to leave in the Pictures folder on my desktop.


*NO, I am NOT naked...you just can't see the strap of my tank top. Pervert.

On Baldness...

I'm not talking male pattern baldness here. I'm talking about head-shaving.

Six years ago, while I watched my dorm mate Ryan shave my other dorm mate Tyler's head, I decided that I, too, wanted to sport a 1/4'' 'do. Nobody would do it for me, not even the guys, so I did it myself. I took Ryan's clippers into the bathroom and ran those suckers over my lumpy skull until all of my hair was heaped in the sink. All of that thick, brown, frizzy hair.

It was SO liberating...for like, ten minutes.

And then I realized that I looked like a tiny starving poor child, with my pale freckly skin and bald head. Some people tried to tell me I looked like Sinead O'Connor...and I did...in that we both had shaved heads. The similarities ended there.

I don't know why I'm writing about this. Maybe it's because I've been obsessed with getting a haircut lately. It could be because after really crappy stuff happens, like cats dying or breakups, I always want to chop off my hair.

Whatever it is, I'm curious...would you ever shave your head?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ouchie...

We put EC to sleep yesterday. It was really really hard. I've never had to make that decision before; all of my pets have died in quick, terrible ways. My dog, Slash, was hit by a truck and my cat, Freya, was attacked and killed by a pitbull. I watched my parents put their cat, Sam, to sleep when I was 10, but I didn't have to make that decision.



The night before we had EC put down was long and horrible. EC slept in our room, which is something she hadn't done all month. All night I kept waking up and reaching over and petting her; not that she wanted to be touched...it was more for my own comfort. I had a dream about her during the few hours that I did get to sleep. The morning was awful. AJ and I sat with her on the couch in the living room. I curled my body around her and buried my face in her fur. She smelled so sweet - almost like the milk and honey smell that babies have. I breathed hot air onto her skin, hoping that the warmth would comfort her.



Driving to the vet was an unreal experience. AJ held my hand the whole way and I just sorta sank into myself. I don't remember a lot of it...I think I shut down a bit at that point.

They sedated EC before giving her the injection. The sedative made her so relaxed that it seemed like she was dead even before they gave her the overdose of barbiturates. She was so little, wrapped up in the towel they put over my lap.

I told her she was a good girl and I thanked her for being in my life and teaching me to love unconditionally. She really did. There was not one thing about her that I didn't love. I would have cleaned up barf and crap and hand-fed her forever if I had to.

After she died, AJ and I left and rather than going home, where her presence would be missed the most, we went to AJ's "heaven" and picked a huge batch of blackberries. Then, we went out for lunch and rode our bikes to the beach.



I've been keeping busy and staying away from the house, in order to avoid feeling horrible. Having AJ with me has been such a blessing - I know he loved EC as much as I did and having someone to share the grief and pain with has been so helpful and healing.



I wanted to make the day that EC died a beautiful day. I didn't want to sit around and cry and feel depressed. I wanted to touch and taste and see and feel everything good about the day and have good memories. I don't believe EC wanted much of anything - she was, after all, a cat - but I know that when I go, I want people to celebrate my life and to understand that theirs is important and all too brief. I wanted to enjoy a day in my life for EC.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bad News...

We're euthanizing EC tomorrow. She's just deteriorating and the vet said at the rate she's losing weight, she'll starve to death. She sits in one spot all day and the smell of food causes her to vomit. She doesn't want to eat or be touched and she barely looks up when I talk to her. It's the right thing to do. The decision wasn't difficult to make, given her condition.

The worst part is knowing that she won't be here this weekend and having to make it through today, knowing what will happen tomorrow.

The love I have for EC is simple. I love her flaws - how she can be a mega bitch when she's jealous, how she ignores me if she's upset with me, how she claims my pillow at night as if she pays the rent. I love her quirks - how she licks herself if you touch that spot on her chest, how she falls off the bed when she grooms herself. I love the good stuff - how she resembles a teddy bear when she's playing, how she says goodbye to me by the front door every morning, how she snuggles up with me when I'm in bed or trying to do homework. There's nothing about her that I don't love. I am going to miss her immensely.

Thanks for all your support throughout this, blog world. It means a whole hell of a lot to me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My interview is posted!

Want to know what I sleep with every night? Want to know what I'm doing in school? Want to know if I have any regrets about going to college? Want to know my lifelong dream? You can find the answers over at over at But Why Mommy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Weekend Bliss

I post a lot about EC because she has somewhat overshadowed EM this past month; she's required so much attention. But, I do have an EM and she is gorgeous and strange and obnoxious and dirty.

This weekend, AJ and I spent a lot of time without plans. We let the weekend take us wherever it wanted to. We spent a day with my friend FA, went to the beach, cooked delicious Turkey burgers and watched movies. We made pancakes and went to the Unitarian church service and sat in the sun drinking coffee.

On Sunday, after an eventful morning, a thunderstorm lazily rolled into town. AJ and I got in bed, turned off the lights and watched the lightning with the cats. EC hates storms, so she huddled next to me, but EM, who is fearless and bold, sat on AJ's bureau like a little gargoyle. The light that came into the bedroom lit up her face in the most intense way (I know, you're probably asking "what face?" She has one, I swear...).



After the storm, AJ and I fell asleep. I dozed off, book in one hand, cat tucked under my arm. I'd take another rainy weekend, just to do that all over again.



**UPDATE**
I don't know why I capitalized the "T" in "Turkey burgers." It's not like we bought a brand of burgers or anything. I remember doing it, too...and really meaning it. They must've been AWESOME burgers.

Friday, August 8, 2008

ANTM Season 7

A few years ago, my friend Alison moved to New York City. She is a real city girl, born and raised in Chicago, and couldn't stand the small-town feel here. I had only ever been to NYC once at that point in my life (my father moved there a few years after Alison did, so I have spent a lot of time there since). After she settled in, Alison invited me to come down for the weekend. I was doing landscaping that summer and only working 3 or 4 days a week because it NEVER STOPS RAINING HERE and my boss didn't like getting wet. Suffice it to say, I didn't have enough money to get to NYC, but I REALLY wanted to go.

Alison, who is an intellectual property rights lawyer, offered to pay my way to the city on one condition: I had to go to the America's Next Top Model open call that was taking place in the city that Saturday.

Now, I do a little bit of modeling, but I'm no supermodel. And I certainly don't feel confident about my looks. I think I am unique looking and I'm tall, but not thin enough by the fashion industry's standards. They want girls my height to be a size 2. The only way I'll ever be a size 2 is if I have a long battle with cancer and my body wastes away.

Anyway, I wasn't thrilled about the open call, but it sounded interesting, if nothing else. While I didn't believe I had any chance of being cast and didn't even know if I would want to be on the show if I were cast, it was worth it to me to go in order to spend a weekend in the city. Plus, it was at 8 am...how long could it last?

The answer is: 7 hours. It was the most awful morning of my life (well, second most awful...waking up and wondering if my mother was still alive was the most awful). I got there a bit early. I skipped breakfast because it makes me feel gross to eat before 9 a.m. There was already a line of women stretching almost two city blocks from the hotel where the auditions were taking place. I somehow managed to get in line next to the only other white girl there (okay, this is an exaggeration, but there were significantly more black women there and where I live, only .2% of the population is black, so I felt extremely out-of-place). I chatted with some of the girls around me to pass the time, but the time was passing SLOWLY. Also, a bunch of men had gathered to take a look at all the girls, so there were lude comments flying around everywhere. I got sexually harassed at least 10 times that morning. I desperately wanted to get into the hotel, away from the pervs and get the fracking audition over with.

Getting inside the hotel wasn't any kind of saving grace. The people running the auditions didn't have a plan for organizing over a thousand women. They let us all through the doors and only after everyone was inside did they attempt to assign us numbers and seat us in order. Due to the lack of organization, I was forced to sit in a hotel conference room for hours with over one thousand hungry women. Did I mention that I was fracking starving?

After waiting in the hotel conference room for all of eternity, the finally started the call. They led me, along with a group of thirty other girls, into a little room and had us all line up against the wall while they panned the room with a camera to see how we looked on screen. Girls were screaming "We love you Tyra!!!!" and I wanted to barf. It was embarrassing. It made me hate young women. What the hell is wrong with us?

After enduring shrieks and squeals and sexy poses and a million other cringe-inducing things, I got escorted with the other non-qualifying women to the exit.

I stopped on the way back to Alison's apartment and got a huge bacon cheeseburger.

I won't ever do that again. Ever.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Text Message Converstion - Blockbuster

*before I launch into the conversation, you must know this bit of back story: AJ and I recently signed up for the Blockbuster version of Netflix.

AC: Have you seen "What about Bob?"

AJ: I think so. Why, is that the one with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus where he's a psychiatrist and Bill Murray is crazy?

AC: Yeah, I think so. I haven't seen it and Martha just told me I have to see it. Is it good?

AJ: Well I don't want to dispute Martha, but it doesn't stand out for me. But a lot of people love it. Put it on the que.

AC: Okie dokie :) I haven't even looked at the queue since we started it.

AJ: The what?

AC: The queue. It's not "que" it's "queue."

AJ: I don't understand.

AC: What don't you understand?

AJ: Sorry. I was just messin' around.

AC: Oh. Fart face.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Stupid Hair

Some good news: EC started licking food from my fingers, so I no longer have to force-feed her! She eats small amounts at a time, but she'll eat every hour or so if I offer her food. It's time-consuming, but much better than fighting with her. I really wanted to post a video of her eating from my hands, but she feels that she's not looking her best, and requested that I not.

Speaking of feeling kind of dumpy, today I've been obsessing about my hair. I usually don't do that; I've just resigned myself to trying to love it and knowing that nothing can be done to control it. I've got that really thick, wavy hair that people always ooh and aah over. But it sucks. Really. No fun hairstyles look good with thick, wavy hair and it is frizzier than a witch's tit (shut up...I know I got that wrong...it just came out and I like it and it's my blog).

There's really only a few instances in which I like my hair and those are as follows:

-when I picture myself with someone else's hair
-when it's wet
-when it's under a hat
-when a professional photographer has touched it up in Photoshop.

I'm fairly sure that the rest of the world only likes my hair when it is under a hat or Photoshopped, too. I recently did a little bit of modeling for a clothing company and the only photos they used from the entire shoot were ones in which I'm wearing a hat or where my head has been cropped out of the photo (I'm hoping this has to do with my hair and not my face).

I am considering getting a hair cut, but I'm afraid. I have zero self-control at the salon. I will walk out of there with a haircut that would look great on someone with straight hair, but I will look like Medusa on crack.

Plus, I'm going to be a bridesmaid in a few months and I want my hair long, to go with my princessy bridesmaid's dress:



Isn't it pretty? The bride let me pick any dress in the whole world (within reason)...how awesome is she?

Anyway, I might just work on trying to love my hair. AJ says he likes it best when it's messy and frizzy. I don't think he's lying; he likes a natural woman.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Best parody evah!

I've watched this at least 10 times and it still makes me belly-laugh. Enjoy:

Dear MK,

Sorry that I've practically stalked you for the last year or so. For all I know you may have gotten that email I sent last October and chose to ignore it. But, it's worth it to me to take my chances; perhaps you never received it at all. That email I sent you just hours ago? I'm really hoping you get that one and that you have the same reaction to it that you had to the one I wrote years ago; I hope it chokes you up.

Do you remember the day that we met? I do. I remember looking up at you, perched on top of the monkey bars and feeling intensely competitive. Your hair was long and curly, almost to your shoulders, and I thought you were the strangest-looking boy I'd ever seen. I must've looked like the strangest girl ever, with my bowl cut. In fact, I think our first conversation went something like this:

MK: When I first saw you, I thought you were a boy.

AC: That's okay. When I first saw you, I thought you were a girl.

Not a great start to a friendship, if you ask me. Well, it ended up being a great friendship; one that was monumentally important to me.

We met in the after-school program. Our parents worked late. My parents were social workers and yours had much more interesting jobs; your mother was a geneticist and your father an architect. We were the oldest kids in the program and everyone looked up to us, especially our younger siblings. We weren't popular kids, but in the after-school program, we were the coolest.

One day, we sat in the cafeteria eating our 4:00 snacks (always the Goldfish crackers) and debated the existence of God with the other kids. You seemed brilliant and edgy and a little bit nerdy. I thought you were awesome.

You and I loved dinosaurs. Your mother bought you a copy of the Jurassic Park book and I bought one days later. At night, I would sit in bed under my blankets with a flashlight and that book, phone nearby. I would call you and we would talk about what Dr. Grant was doing or whether or not Dilophosaurus could really spit venom. We planned on making a movie out of the book, long before we ever heard of the actual movie. I wrote the book out word-for-word into scripts and photocopied them for our friends; the six or seven kids who were taking on the roles of thirty or so characters. When the movie came out, your parents took us to see it and we cried, actually cried with excitement, in the scene where the helicopter approaches the island. I still cry when I see it.

We had sleepovers up until we were thirteen and your parents stopped letting us sleep in the same bed. I would sleep on the couch in the rec room, right near your bedroom. Your house smelled like wood and musty carpet and old.

As we got older, we started talking about our love interests. We called them by their initials: DP, SH, AL, just in case someone overheard. You bought the same shoes as Allison and played that song, "Allison Road," over and over again. We joked that we would never have sex because we were so uncool, that we'd be holding up signs at age 80 that said "Please have sex with me." I don't remember if we decided to marry each other if nothing else worked out or if that was just in a movie I saw.

We had a strange relationship, MK. I sometimes think I had a crush on you, but don't remember feeling jealous, so maybe I just idolized you. I know for sure that I looked up to you and wanted to do everything that you did. And it annoyed you. I remember that day that your mother took us to see the Jurassic Park exhibit at the Boston Science Museum. You ordered the chicken nuggets for lunch and I ordered the same thing. You turned to your mom and said, "why do they always do the same things I do? I don't like it." She told you that you should be flattered.

And you should. You were a great friend and a great role model. You taught me that it was okay to be a bit weird, a bit smart, a bit different. You gave me self-confidence; something I'd been lacking and really needed. And even as an adult, you taught me that doing what I love is what matters.

When I wrote to you a few years ago, you wrote back "It's so good to hear from you. When I saw your letter, I cried because we were so close and it's such a shame we didn't keep in touch."

Let's keep in touch, MK. Friends like you make this life a big adventure.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

All you ever wanted to know about Mary Beth.

One day, as I was reading Backpacking Dad's blog, I saw a link to a blog I'd never visited, one that was holding a Great Interview Experiment. I'm pretty new to this corner of the blogosphere and in the hopes of meeting more bloggers and letting more bloggers get to know me, I signed up. And I'm really glad I did because I got a chance to get to know Mary Beth, whose blog I read regularly now. I interviewed Mary Beth and she replied with some great answers to my questions. You can read them below. My questions are bolded and Mary Beth's answers are in plain text.

Q. I am a nontraditional student and I find that there are all sorts of perks and problems that come along with it. After reading your blog, I think you're nontraditional as well. You live with your immediate family and aren't living out the "American Dream" (y'know… 2.5 kids, a house, 2.3 cars). I admire this quite a bit and it seems that you are very happy and content. I want to know more about what it's like. Do you find people treat you differently because you don't live with a spouse or have children? Tell all!

A. I am happy with my living arrangements. I am extremely introverted and the thought of meeting new people is difficult for me. I overcome it when I start new jobs (which I seem to do a lot), but I have to steel myself for it. So the thought of going to bars or other dating places has never appealed to me and I wind up being miserable and who wants to hang out with that. It's just so comfortable living with my sister who knows all my good and bad sides and knows exactly what to do to get me out of my funks. She also knows almost all my secrets (except where the bodies are buried) so I never have to pretend around her.

I think one of the biggest questions people have when they find out I don't have a spouse is whether or not I'm gay. Stephen Colbert has declared that the only way you are allowed to be a lesbian is if you were born on the island of Lesbos or if you attended Smith College. I would love to fall into the stereotype of graduates of Smith, but these damn cravings towards hot guys keep getting in the way. Sorry, folks, nothing to see here.

The only time I even miss having a mate is when I'm at large gatherings for work (which almost never happen and I try desperately to get out of going to when they do happen) because everyone is paired off with a boyfriend or spouse and I'm odd man out. Other than that, I'm pretty content.

Q. I think we all have a pivotal moment in our lives when we go from being insecure children to becoming fairly comfortable with who we are. When did this happen for you? Was there a specific event that spurred the change?

A.The first time I spent any significant time away from my family was when I went away for college. The first two months were miserable – I was homesick and I didn't know anyone there. However, Smith College is an all women's college which allows everyone to be relaxed without worrying about primping or competing for the opposite sex within the dorms or at classes (although, guys are allowed to attend classes there now). Luckily, there are three other colleges in the near vicinity (leaving out Mount Holyoke – also all female) which brought lots of testosterone up for the weekends.

Being on my own, having to do laundry without destroying everything, managing my money all helped me grow up a lot. I am a big believer of having kids go away for college. It doesn't have to be far – just outside of walking distance – because it forces the kids to start taking care of themselves.

Q. What is your favorite literary genre and what do you think it says about you?

A. I really like mysteries. I've always thought I'd be a detective in an alternative universe. I love solving puzzles so I always try to figure out who-dunnit before the end of the book (I rarely get the right person – I never said I was a good detective). There's so much ugliness in the world right now, I like reading something that ties up nicely in the end. I want a nice, neat ending with the good guy coming out on top. Oh, and I hate it when the author introduces someone at the end of the book as the killer. Bringing someone in, in the final act is just cheating.

I also love fantasy/sci-fi stories. The age old battle between good and evil, light and dark is always good for a saga. Although I'm well into adulthood with all its responsibilities and obligations that go with this state, I prefer to maintain a sense of wonder and believe that the elves and dragons do exist, even if not "here in the swamps of Jersey". And I KNOW the vampires are out there waiting for me whenever I have to take the garbage out after 10PM.

Q. What are some of your best memories?

A. I have always loved being near the water. We used to spend summers on LBI at my grandparent's house. By we, I mean my extended family on my mother's side – she and her three siblings, their spouses, and the 19 grandchildren. Now, my parents have a house there and we get to spend weekends there during the summer (growing up and having to go to a job every day really sucks sometimes) and there are a ton of happy memories down there.

Helen and I got to go to England last year which I loved. I think I was born on the wrong continent. But there was so much joy involved in every step of the trip – from standing in line to get our passports to when they actually arrived (can you say mug shot?) to the actual trip. And I got to do it all with my best friend.

Q. What are some of your worst?

A. The worst memory I have is getting a call from my sister to tell me my father had a heart attack. I was in the middle of getting evaluated by my literacy supervisor (back when I was teaching kindergarten) and I had to get out of the classroom and let her know what was happening without disrupting the class. My father is our Christopher Robin, our rock. He's who we all turn to when we have any problems because he's so calm and he knows how to fix everything. It was a scary few days but, after some surgery, he's doing okay. That was 5 years ago and he's still going strong.

Losing my maternal grandparents was very difficult as well. We lived within 20 minutes from their house so we saw them a lot. They were very important in my life – great role models. I lost my grandfather when I was 16 and my grandmother 10 years later. I miss them still and think of them, especially my grandmother, all the time.

Q. Personally, blogging has done so many positive things for me. For example, I now pay attention to every little thing I see and hear, in case I want to write about it. How has blogging changed your life?

A. Being an introvert, it takes me a long time to get to know people. Once the walls are down, though, you'd never believe it's the same person. I can be really LOUD when I get comfortable around people. By blogging, I'm getting to know all these fantastic people without actually having to face them. I'm hoping by the time I go to BlogHer next year, I will have bypassed the shy beginnings and I can just run up and jump into conversations with them. We'll see.

I do look at things differently. I find myself writing blog posts in my head while I'm in the shower, driving, just about anytime I can't actually write anything down. It also has me writing just about every day (this past week not-withstanding) which may actually get me closer to writing fiction. Does every English major dream of being an author? I dream some vivid dreams and wake up with storylines in my head. I once had one about a crack team of assassins and I woke up with the name of the organization and everything. I need to write these things down before I forget them because I think I've lost several novels due to stubbornly insisting on going back to sleep.

Q. You mentioned your faith in a post about His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. Did you grow up in a particular religion? Have you maintained that connection throughout your life?

A. I was baptized and confirmed an Episcopalian. I went to Catholic School for grades 8-12 and then taught in Catholic Schools for almost 9 years. I am a Christian who believes in Heaven and in God. I don't feel the need to go to church on Sundays or to take part in traditional prayer sessions. I prefer to find God in nature and in good deeds done by others.

Q. I feel there is a huge dichotomy in our culture: we are encouraged to be okay with who we are and love ourselves and at the same time, we are constantly bombarded with messages that we aren't okay and that we need to buy certain things in order to improve ourselves (make-up, fancy clothing, bigger cars, etc.). How do you deal with this dichotomy? Do you shun buying things, shop like a mad-woman, or fall somewhere in-between? How does it affect you spiritually?

A. I hate shopping for clothes. It's not because I'm not the perfect size six or anything. I just hate trying on things or wasting time in dressing rooms. I usually find something that works for me and buy it in different colors. This summer, I'm going with polo shirts and khakis or slightly dressier pants. I work in a construction office so, thank god, I don't need to worry about stockings or skirts or anything like that.

I come from a family of minimalists where make up is concerned. I rarely ever wear it because whenever I wear foundation, it feels like my pores are choking and clogging up. Same with blusher or eye-shadow. It's probably all in my head but I can't get rid of the claustrophobic feeling. I have an eyeliner pencil that I use once in a blue moon and some Bert's Bees lipstick. Other than that, I go au-naturale.

I am a glutton for books. Put me in a bookstore and I can spend a minor fortune in a matter of minutes. I love buying cook books, maps, fiction, sci-fi, mysteries, you name it. Also stationery stores. I love Staples, Office Max, etc. And gadgets like ipods and the iPhone? The Apple store is my Mecca.

I don't believe you need a bigger car to be happy. Helen has an SUV for when we move (which we do a lot – I think we have gypsy blood in us somewhere). I go for the smaller cars. My favorite car – my Geo Tracker with a soft top. The only problem with it was it had no pick-up. But that car was perfect for me – relaxed, laid back and you could park in any parking space going in head first. I never had to parallel park with that car. Now, I have a Saturn Ion which is a smaller, sporty car, with GREAT pickup. I put on good music (Bruuuuuce) and find myself doing 85 on the parkway without realizing it.

* THANK YOU MARY BETH!!!

I swear...

this blog isn't going to only be about my cat. Of course, I have been known to litter my blogs with cat posts because, well, my cats are awesome and part of my little family here.

EC took a turn for the worse over the weekend, but things are looking semi-up right now. When I took her in on Saturday morning, she hadn't eaten for two days (again) and had started peeing blood. She was in the litter box every ten minutes and throwing up every night. Because she was straining to pee, she was also crapping on herself. When we got to the vet, AJ was holding her in his lap and a woman sitting nearby asked "Oh! Is that a little kitten."

No, it's a dying cat, lady.

EC now weighs 6 pounds. She has lost 1/4 of her body weight in a month.

The vet said that this weekend would be a good indicator of how to proceed. If EC gets better, then we play things by ear. If not, we consider euthanizing her. She gave EC some anti-nausea stuff, sub-cutaneous fluids and an appetite stimulant. EC didn't react well to any of those things so last night, we started "assist feeding" her, which is a nice way of saying "we started to force food into her mouth."

I really really didn't want to force EC to eat, so AJ jumped right in and did it for me. A few hours later, EC was doing very well and hadn't thrown up. She even ate a bit on her own. Still, if we wait too long to feed her, she seems to forget that she wants to eat. So, as it stands, we have a cat that isn't sick enough to euthanize (yay!), but a cat that is still too sick to eat by herself. I just finished giving her another couple of syringes full of food, so she's sulking in the corner.

Here's AJ and EC, just after AJ "assisted" EC in eating:



Friday, August 1, 2008

Morning (with tiny little X-files spoiler in the post-script)

It's 5:00 a.m. I'm supposed to be sleeping in right now, but I'm obviously not. My eyes itch. I have eczema on the lids and though it stings like hell to scratch at them, it's worse not to.

I woke up to the familiar twinge of my bladder. After peeing, I got back in bed and huddled close to AJ. He groaned a bit and rolled onto his belly. In the dark, his shoulder looked pocked with sheet indents. I ran a hand over it. Smooth. It was his nautilus tattoo, penned into his skin with black ink, unfinished. I love those tattoos, the ones I call ammonites because I love fossils. I can picture him in my head, his big brown eyes and narrow face. High cheekbones, exaggerated nose and full lips. I picture him saying It's a NAUTILUS! with a look that could be mistaken for annoyance, but is definitely mostly love.



The sound of gravely litter and claws scratching plastic brings me back from my daydream. Seconds later, I hear the sound of vomiting. Cat vomiting. I hope it is CJ's cat. (CJ is AJ's sister and she lives with us). I haven't seen EC use the litter box in days and I assume it can't be her. I get up to check, just in case.

EC is on the carpet in the hallway and she's already vomited, but she's not done. Her skinny little body looks wasted. She throws up two more times while I run to the kitchen to get the paper towels and carpet cleaner. The carpet cleaner's smell is the worst. Because I only use it for cat vomit, it has taken on the identity of what cat puke smells like.

The vomit is easy to clean, but I realize that EC has also crapped. And it's not normal. It's haven't-eaten-in-a-day-and-barely-at-all-for-a-week crap. And it's everywhere. In the litter box. On the carpet. On the hardwood floor. On the cat.

I clean up what I can and then grab EC and hold her over the sink and wash her feet and legs and backside. I am sick of making my cat do things she doesn't want to do; take medicine that makes her sick, drag her to the vet's office, be touched. I offer her some food when I'm done, just in case (she stopped eating again yesterday and I am starting to get angry when she won't take food...but I know it's not really anger). She doesn't eat. I'm not surprised. I put the piece of crap from the litter box into a baggie, just in case the vet wants to test it. I will be dragging EC there in another 5 hours.

My eyes itch. I need to get a handle on the eczema again. I need to buy books for school and finish that book I started before I don't have time to read it. I need to clean out the fridge and throw away the week-old leftovers. I need to RSVP to my cousin's wedding invitation. I need to go to the gym, pay the dentist, fix my car, repair my credit.

But mostly, I need to get back in bed, curl myself up next to the gorgeous tattooed man sleeping there and let his soft breathing lull me back to sleep.

P.S. *spoiler warning* The X-files movie was fracking awful. Terrible. Cringe-inducing. Crap. That said, if you are unhealthily obsessed with seeing Mulder and Scully hook it up, then it's worth sitting through. They don't do it or anything, but they totally snog. And cuddle in bed. And Mulder gets nekkid from the waist up. Which isn't all that exciting. But he is hot.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Today...

  • I made an appointment for Echo's ultrasound. I asked what they would find out from the ultrasound. The person on the other end of the phone wouldn't tell me anything, I think, because she was afraid of saying something that would either get my hopes up or down. Thing is, I wasn't asking what the specific results would be. I wanted to know the purpose of the ultrasound. I want to avoid paying $260 for someone to tell me that my cat has a mass in her lung. I know. I know my cat has a mass. I saw it with my own two eyes. I have the x-ray in my hand. I paid two vets to say, "your cat has a giant mass in her lung." If they're just going to say "your cat has a mass in her lung," I'd rather just move on to the biopsy.
  • I realized that the money I'm going to use for the ultrasound is the same money I was planning on using to buy my textbooks. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to pay for two courses worth of textbooks and an ultrasound. I am sure, however, that the library has the textbooks I need. If I must, I will spend my days at work and at class and my nights in the library until I can afford the books.
  • I ate two peanut butter cookies and a bunch of chocolate to stuff my feelings. Get! Get out feelings. Go back down to the pit of my stomach where you belong.
  • I plan on eating half of a pizza for dinner, to stuff my feelings. And a creamee. A vanilla creamee with chocolate shots (or sprinkles, if you must). Then I'm going to sit in the air-conditioned movie theater and watch the new X-files movie while secretly wishing that Mulder and Scully would totally do it. And by "do it" I mean "have sex."
  • When I get home from the theater, I'm going to harass my sick cat by shoving an eye dropper full of antibiotic into her mouth. After that, I'll try to coax her into the bedroom so she will hop onto the bed and lay, nestled against my chest and purr. And then, of course, I'll get depressed when she opts to stay in her bed in the hallway, instead. I'll get into bed, sans cat, and A.J. and I will watch Dr. Who. I'll fall asleep, as usual, with my head in his lap.

Morning Text Message Conversation

Me: Eeeewww...I feel all farty.

A.J.: Join the club...my sister is the founding member...I'm chairman.

Me: Oh yeah, well I'm the frackin' el presidente, beeotch!

A.J.: Nerd.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Six

I started going to the gym a few months ago. Not to lose weight. Not to train for anything spectacular. Not to firm up my butt (okay...to firm up my butt) or tighten my abs (okay...to tighten my abs).

I went to the gym to get strong. Like, the girl who can do a pull-up strong.

I have always been pretty athletic. In middle school and junior high I played on three basketball teams, three soccer teams, two softball teams and a baseball team...every year. In high school, I played basketball and soccer. Of course, while I was busy being a drug addict, I didn't do much of anything, but when I got clean, I started going to the gym and jogging. I was a landscaper for years, doing heavy lifting and stuff, and most recently, I did Aikido.

I am tall...5'9" and I weigh in at around 135 pounds, which is considered a healthy weight for my height.

But, despite being in decent shape, I can't do a single pull-up. And a few months ago, I couldn't do a single push-up.

So I started going to the gym. I go every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Monday, I work my chest, shoulders and triceps. On Wednesday I do legs and abs. On Friday I do my back, biceps and forearms.

For the first couple of months I did girl push-ups...y'know, the kind where your knees are on the ground? Eventually, I could kinda do one.

Well...today, I did SIX!!!

Now, if I could just do one pull-up...

E.C. Update

So, E.C. has been doing much much better since I started her on her Clavamox. She started eating on Monday morning, to my relief.

By Tuesday morning she was pushing E.M. out of the way to get to the tuna fish in her bowl. She's still not eating normally, but she's eating something. The vet said the Clavamox can make them feel icky, so that could explain things...that, and she didn't eat for days. I feel gross and don't want to eat when I miss one meal.

By Tuesday evening, she was laying on her side. This might not seem like a big deal, but it is. Believe me. All weekend she just sat on all fours with her head hanging in front of her. It's a relief to see this:



She is still really lethargic (hasn't moved from that bed in days, except to eat) and she still won't let me pet her (seems like getting touched bothers her), but she's better.

Of course, there is still a giant tumor in her lung...that probably isn't going anywhere. And we still don't know if that's what's causing her to feel ill. So, I have to schedule a biopsy and ultrasound ($400- whooopie!!!!).

Maybe this thing is benign...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Greetings!

From the Ben and Jerry's factory tour!



Love,

A.C. and A.J.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

E.C. is Sick

So E. C. is really really sick.

Let me start at the beginning of this week.

E.C. hurt her leg. I took her to the vet. She got some Buprenorphin for the pain and she sat around for the next two days looking really stoned and sitting in the same spot being really lethargic. Well, she never really got more active. Instead, she continued to be lethargic and she wasn't eating well. On Friday we took her to the emergency vet service because she started throwing up. A lot. I mean, what looked like her body weight in bile. They gave her I.V. fluids and we went home, hoping the fluids would help and that everything else would subside. After a full day of not eating at all on Saturday, we took her back to the emergency vet. They gave her more fluids, some kitty Pepto Bismol and did blood tests, thyroid tests and took x-rays.
Her blood tests came back okay, except for some liver level which was 3 times the normal level. That, the vet said, could be explained by infection, inflammation, or other things. Not too conclusive. He gave me so meClavamox, which is an oral antibiotic, for E.C. to take. If she's not eating by Monday morning (it's 7:30 p.m. on Sunday as I write), I may have to take her back and have her hospitalized. So far, I've spent about $900 on E.C. this past week.

Anyway, the real zinger is this: the vet said that he was concerned about E.C.'s x-rays (posted below). It looks like she has a "mass" in her lung (maybe lung area....I dunno, I heard the word "mass" and I kinda freaked out). He thinks I should have it looked at more closely with an ultrasound or biopsy. He couldn't give me any more than that, but he said that it could be cancer and he didn't bother to sugar-coat it. So...at this point, my cat won't eat, she looks like hell, and she may be brewing a nice little malignant tumor (not so little). I feel utterly powerless. I can't really do anything but provide the care she needs, and I'm worried that if she needs much more, I won't be able to afford it.

She's such a sweet little pooper. I hate to see her uncomfortable. I'm not ready for her to get really sick...it wasn't part of my plan.



E.C.'s x-rays. The "mass" is circled in red.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Morning Conversation

Me: I always liked Eva. I think I actually used to kinda have a girl-crush on her. She's just so tiny and petite and cute. And she's really nice.

A.J.: She's always kinda freaked me out. She's all like (*does crazy exaggerated jazz hands*) booga booga blah blah AAAAAAAAAH! It's like, every time I have a conversation with her, I expect her to just start tap dancing.

Good Night

It's getting dark out and A.J. and I are retiring for the night in the same fashion that we have for the last year or so we've been together; we climb into bed and put on an episode of some television show we're addicted to.

A breeze leads the gauzy curtains in a dance and the star mobile hanging from the ceiling turns slowly in circles. The sheets are cool against my skin and soft on my bare feet; they feel like spring air on a perfect day - the kind where the air is elusive and so well matched to the temperature of my skin that I just don't notice it's there until the wind reminds me.

The cats hop onto the bed and settle into their favorite places.

E.M. curls up at my feet, facing the door like a little guardian gargoyle. Her face is so flat that from the side, all I can see of her face is the glassy orb of her right eye. She turns to me and lazily winks at me. I hear this is a sign of trust and love. I blink back.

E.C. leaps gracefully over my body to the narrow space between me and A.J. She lowers her body slowly to the bed and begins her usual grooming routine, starting with her little bulgy tummy. The pink pads of her feet match her tiny pink nose. I interrupt her grooming by stroking the back of her head. She leans back and pushes into my hand, purring loudly. I curl up around her, putting my head on A.J.'s belly. The television lulls me to sleep and I sleep soundly; a solid, warm human body next to me and two tiny goddesses at my side.