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 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


(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 just stop.

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

AJ: could just kill yourself.

*long silence*

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


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.



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 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 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 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


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 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.

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 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 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) 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.


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.