Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another Word For Random

I actually looked for another word for "random" and found a few choices, my favorite of which were "fluky", "fortuitous" and "inadvertent". 
Yep, that's me...inadvertent.
  • Running just a tad late this morning, I told my boss that I had to stop for drugs and "couldn't find my guy".  You would think that he would have laughed at that.  Sure, it's one of the oldest items in my bag of lame humor tricks, but usually, a nerd-girl referencing her 'dealer' packs enough of a visual punch to generate at least a chuckle.
  • I seriously, seriously stopped for drugs.  At Walgreens.
  • If you're not eating Tangy Carolina BBQ potato chips for breakfast, then what the hell are you doing with your life?
  • Psychoterrestrial Hypothesis?  Really?  The things people send me...
  • Should I?  Or Shouldn't I?  Should I?  Or Shouldn't I?  Oh, these things to ponder...on the one hand, to remain as "fluky" as possible, I say, No, don't.  That way, when stuff happens, I can simply say, "wow, that's odd" and not worry about it, don't be disappointed, etc..  If I do, and something happens, then I have to assume some level of responsibility.  Or if it doesn't work, then I get to walk around all bummed out and questioning the direction of my life for the next several years. 
  • What?  Too dramatic?
  • Depressing and whiny people?  Meh, I don't have much time for 'em.  I'm kinda busy.
  • I took Friday off from work.  Please don't tell my children.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I Friggin' HEART You, Man!

We were moving from Duluth, MN to Mobile, AL and one of my daughter's friends wrote her a gigantic farewell note on a huge card, saying "I F*$&ing HEART you, girl!"

It always stuck in my head.

I can picture that kid saying something like that out loud--she was hilarious. She and my daughter used to serenade me with hairbrush microphone versions of Justin Timberlake songs--a manic, comic duo. For her, I invented Back Seat CD Roulette because at the time I was driving a sort of sporty sedan, and for lack of storage, always had bunches of CD's floating around in the back seat--I would just grab them from there when I wanted something. Every time this girl got in the car, she would jokingly complain that there was no room for people in the back because of all of the CD's. I, in turn, would fret about people sitting on my CD's and breaking them. The rule (the only rule) to Back Seat CD Roulette was, if you were a kid and you climbed into the back seat of my car sat on one of my CD's, you had to pass it up to me and I would immediately play that CD. Didn't matter what it was, you had to pass it to me. My goal was to get them to be careful with my stuff--I knew that they would rather move a CD that they didn't want to hear than sit on it.

And that is how Charlotte Fabini met Van Morrison.

In exchange for "I F*&$ing HEART you, girl!", my daughter very sentimentally gave her friend her guitar. Her first guitar. Granted, it was a piece of sh*t guitar, but don't give your guitar to just anybody, right?

You said good friends are hard to come by
I laughed and bought you a beer, it's too corny to cry**

I friggin' HEART you, man!

And THAT is my big love sentiment for the day...when two people who spend their time together in some "thing" that is impossible to understand, you can only enjoy. When they realize that they don't want it to ever, ever end. It's crazy, but it's good crazy. In the grand scheme of things, this thing they have amounts to the rarest of planetary alignment--two souls who met again for the first time, and yet....who wants to be serious? I friggin' HEART you, man!

Anybody else got a thing like that? Mine is like some kind of funny life preserver, designed to protect me from ever feeling too crappy. Feeling doubtful about life in general? Just expose yourself to Person A, and somehow your heart is magically healed, your perspective perfectly adjusted. It's a beautiful thing.

**Indigo Girls--Joking

Monday, May 24, 2010

Before My Whining Permit Is Rescinded

There are those mornings when you wake up gripping a pillow, making a face and muttering "Oh G*d..." and a few other profanities through gritted teeth, while you lay there,  unable to move.
This would be considered a good start to my day if I wasn't sleeping alone....
...but I guess it proves that who ever said there was a fine line between pleasure and pain was absolutely correct.
Just as pleasure colors your entire day, so does pain.  If you wake up the right way (muttering profanities through gritted teeth), you're in a good mood all day.  Just sayin'.
I've made an art form of ignoring physical pain--you know, ala Jesse Ventura, "I ain't got time to bleed"?  Comes down to a choice, really.  Are you going to get up and on with your life, or lie around?  I know that there are occasions in which I have gone over the top on the "I'm FINE!" thing and get a bit martyr-y, but honestly, if I made a big deal out of every time I felt discomfort, the way some people do, it would be all that I talk about.  That's the funny thing about spines and spinal fluid--when they don't do what they are designed to do, something is going to feel less than optimum, most days.  My this hurts or my that hurts--hell, it's always something, but, I just don't have time for this crap.  I really don't.  And on the days when pain insists that I make the time, it pisses me off.
Today is colored by a rather insistent pain.  More insistent than my cat demanding to be fed at 5AM.  It started Friday, moved through Saturday, had me on my ass on Sunday and today, in lieu of vicodin, I'm trying to beat it back with a stick.  I think it might be rather blissful to have a petite Filipino woman walking on my back right now, but alas, I'm fresh out.  I wonder where one would find such a thing in Minneapolis? 
Wait...don't answer that.
The worst thing, or maybe it's the best thing, about having any kind of enduring pain is that everyone else's lame excuses become extremely annoying:  "What's that?  You say you're tired?  Tired?  Seriously?  Big Effing Deal...I can barely walk to the kitchen right now, so unless you just got done running a marathon, shut the hell up."  Every time my phone rings, I look at it, see who is calling and depending on the level of lame excuses I've heard from them lately, think "Screw you," and don't answer, because I know they're just calling to bitch about their pain-free lives.  So stupid.  I can't even listen to their voice mails without getting pissed off.
And....I really don't want to become one of those bitter, angry people, which is why I usually just ignore whatever is bugging my body.  I guess I feel like I'll be the better person if I lie and tell you that I'm not in pain than I would be if I told you I was.  Then again, everybody else is doing it, so why not?  When not being a whiner stops serving me well, why not go completely in the other direction?
Blech...that is all.  Oh, and if anyone can recommend a petite Filipino woman who wouldn't mind walking on my back for a half hour, please let me know.  Or, if you can hook me up with that other, better way to wake up....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spent The Night In A Tent

You know how when you were a kid and if you or a friend had a camping tent you would BEG your parents to let you put it up in the yard so you could sleep in it? Only you didn't actually sleep because some neighborhood boy and his best friend, in the interest of being obnoxious, decided that it would be an absolute scream (literally) to sneak around in the middle of the night and mess with you?

Ah, memories....

OK, I'm back. Last night was nothing like that, anyway. I was just having an ADD moment. Yes, we were in a tent, but no, we didn't giggle and talk about boys and then have the sh*t scared out of us by somebody's older brother.

I do not know why the whole idea of writing concert reviews is so painful a process for me that I would rather flash-back to Junior High School sleepovers. I just never quite understood why anyone ever cared about the set list or what the guitarist was wearing or how many times the drummer looked up and smiled. I figure that is their job, and if they are good at their job then all of those things will work nicely together somehow. BoDeans are good at their job. I consider that a given, which is why if I write about going to a BoDeans concert, I'll usually focus on something other than, "Gee, they're a really good show," because that kind of talk bores the crap out of me. If they were not at least that good, they'd be playing for free somewhere and probably nobody would go to the trouble of setting up a giant circus tent that holds a couple thousand people drunken Catholics, just so they could play there.

Having said all of that, I will say that watching Kurt play Fadeaway is always a lot of fun. You know he's played it 70 kajillion times and could probably do it in his sleep, but it still seems to be fun to him. I guess if it ever got to the point where these guys didn't appear to be having a good time doing this, that would be the day they should retire, right?

So let's talk about the stuff that was interesting above the expected....

Speaking of drunken Catholics, this was a fund-raiser for a local Catholic school. I walked up to the bar and asked if their water and pop were in bottles or on tap like the beer, and the guy said to me, "You know...I'm going to have to check on that, because the be honest, I haven't served pop or water to anyone yet tonight--it's been all beer and wine." This was at about 9:30, and the party started 3 hours before that, so you know this crowd was lit. (Yeah, I beer, Shelly? Nah...I had one early, but I was driving, so just the one...)

I often joke to my friends, when out at events like this one, that you can tell which people don't get out much--you can see the people for whom going to a live music event is an extreme novelty. They're giddy and goofy, God love 'em. They don't know how to stand in a crowd of people (ahem...personal space), they don't know how to control their drinking, and they appear genuinely stunned by how fun it is to see good musicians perform. I almost feel bad for them--I mean, I like live music a lot, and I try to get out as much as I can. It is a much more joyful thing to me to be on hand when someone is sharing their gift/love/talent than it is to do almost anything else. I happen to believe that people who allow watching someone perform fall to a back burner behind "What's on TV" or any number of other things are missing out, big time. When they finally do get to an event, it is because of a circumstance like this one, where a good band is asked to play at something right in their neighborhood. The would have probably gone to the fundraiser if there was no band playing and it was just a silent auction or something, so, happy accident. You hope that some, after having a great time, would make the connection and venture outside of their yard to go see that same band or someone like them play when it isn't a convenient event that they would have attended anyway.

There are some good aspects to seeing shows surrounded by people who never get out to shows. For one thing, they are definitely enthusiastic. Of course, the flip side to that is that they are...uh....enthusiastic. Like, climb up on the stage, enthusiastic. For the record, I think people who climb up on a stage during a concert are huge assholes--just my opinion. It takes a special kind of Look At Me to want to do that--not the good kind, but the kind that makes you believe that the people who paid money to see someone else should look at you instead. Ick. Go away.

Stage dancers and other silliness aside, I got to witness a 5 foot tall woman threaten to duke it out with a 5'6" women who made the mistake of standing in front of her, blocking her view. The taller of the two took the high road. Then there was a woman who, for some reason ended up standing on the opposite side of me as her friend was standing, so she kept leaning over to talk to her, right in front of me. (Move, maybe? Just sayin'.) We can't forget the two in front of me who kept saying, "Oh, I bet this is going to be a good one!" right before every song--you could tell that they had probably heard very few of these songs before, but they loved all of them. They were cute. And, as usual, I ended up standing behind some dude with a very thick neck who danced like....well, like a guy with a very thick neck. That would be the muscle-y dude moving awkwardly back and forth, for those of you who forgot to open your Shelly Thesaurus before reading.

In other words, I think the story on the floor was equally as entertaining as the story on the stage. Which is why I suck at writing concert reviews.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ready, Set, Random (Way-Mega Random)

  • Yesterday, I gave my daughter all kinds of crap about her back "hurting" just all of a sudden while she was sitting in the passenger seat of the car.  Nobody's back just starts hurting without you doing something first, right?  Today, it happened to me while I was sitting at my desk.  Karma...such a bitch.
  • We got a new boss--this is his first full week hanging out with us--and he very innocently asked our opinions on a thing.  I'm not sure he was ready for that, but, trial by fire seems to work.  Thank G*d he's here, though, because the place was starting to turn into the Wild, Wild West.
  • New boss has scheduled individual meetings with every one of us.  Everyone else's meetings are 30-45 minutes.  Mine?  Hour and a half.  F*ck.  If I accidentally become unemployed in this mess, keep me in mind, would ya?  Thanks.
  • And wouldn't you just know that he would schedule that meeting on a Friday?  Now I have to dress appropriately on a Friday.  I suppose this means I can't bring in the traditional 12-pack of Stella tomorrow, either.
  • Last Saturday, I attended a high school softball tournament, THEN fed the homeless (!!!), THEN went to Cats.  Somehow, I managed to wear almost the same outfit for all three of those things.  That would indicate that I was mostly overdressed for the first two.  However, just as my friend and I strolled up to the theatre that evening, two bus-loads of kids in Prom clothing pulled up and walked in behind us--hair done, brightly colored full-length dresses, perfect make-up, tuxedos--the whole bit.  Most of the grown-ups in the lobby agreed that it was one of the cutest things they had ever seen.
  • I know I used the words, "Freaking Cats" or some variation thereof on twitter, when describing my Saturday.  I wasn't making reference to the level of performance or anything, I was just way-mega tired from the crazy day.  Way-Mega.  (You like Way-Mega?  It's a new thing I'm working on...).  Every fuzzball on stage sang and danced their little Gotta-Be-Teeny-To-Fit-In-The-Costume butts off.  Not that any of them had any butts to lose.  One question?  Is the music a humorously bad synthesizer rendition on purpose, specially recorded for the touring company?  Just curious, cuz that was "Not Good".  Not Good with little chance of recovery.  Very nearly Way-Mega.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Name That's Particular

Pretend for just one moment that I did not go to see Cats on Saturday night, because I actually wrote most of this in the shower sometime Friday morning--I just haven't been able to relax anywhere near a keyboard that doesn't fit in my pocket since last week, and when there is a lot of typing to be done, the "smart" phone isn't "smart" so much as it is "aggravating".

Not that I wouldn't have typed this entire thing in my phone if I'd had more than 15 minutes of down time, but, I haven't. I'm thinking maybe Saturday, between the hours of 6pm and Midnight, I'll have a little relaxation. Then again, since I'm thinking so hard about the possibility of relaxation happening at a particular time, it probably won't be relaxing. I suppose all I can really do is plan to drink on Saturday, and hopefully the relaxation will follow.

For most of my life, I have lived in a home with two cats. Two appears to be the correct number. Sometimes, there has been only one, sometimes three, but for the long stretches of time, there are two. Always two.

This started off when I was very young, with a cat named Rusty--an ornery old brute who, I seemed to recall, frightened one of my younger brothers enough so that the cat was able to chase them out of a room when they were a toddler--the child was genuinely scared of that cat.

Not without good reason.

Rusty was a tom cat who rarely lost a fight, though he come home with plenty of battle wound in the short time I knew him. I'm sure that someone living his lifestyle wasn't around for very long. His co-cat was a pure white homebody that I think was named Snowball, though I don't think I was even in first grade at the time we knew them, so I don't remember much about either.

Later, we met a cat named Rama who was named after the King of Siam, and since she was Siamese, it seemed appropriate. Rama's roommate was a boy named Sam, who had an official name of "Sambo" but I never called him that because he was black, and in my mind that just seemed inappropriate. I'm sure that was about the same time period in which I asked my father to stop using the "N" word at the dinner table.

While I was in college, there was Ripley, a calico who liked to wake me by jumping up on my dresser and rattling the large photograph that hung on the wall there. One day she got me out of bed very quickly by knocking the frame completely off the wall, shattering the glass--she had to come up with more creative ways to wake me after that. Ripley provided me with one of the many excuses I needed to miss class time while in college when, as a kitten, she smacked me right in the white of my eye with her claw. That was an impressive looking wound.

Ripley was named for the Sigourney Weaver character in Aliens. Yes, the sequel. 1986. She lived alone for a while, but eventually got a little buddy named Spencer, who came by that name because I happened to be reading Charlie Chaplin's autobiography at the time that I adopted him, and Spencer (the human) was brother to Charlie. Similarly, "Harry", or Harold, who came along later, was named for silent film star Harold Lloyd because I noticed that the cat and the actor both had the same expressions on their faces when they found themselves in precarious situations.

Clearly, I was all about the movies when I was in college.

We acquired Pookie in Williston, North Dakota, and she was a pure-bred Persian. "Pookie" was the only word that popped into my head while looking at a Persian kitten. I challenge any of you not to think "Pookie" when looking at a Perisan kitten. My daughter, who was 3 or 4 at the time, called her "Spookie" until she grasped the name completely. Pookie went to live with my mother at the end of my first marriage, and my mom liked to torture her in the same way she would all six of her children, that being to have us climb the crab-apple tree every Spring to be photographed among the pink blooms. Then, in the fall, when the leaves changed, we were sent back up the tree for the same purpose. In the fall, it wasn't so bad, but in the Spring, that tree was alive with bumblebees, and it was not the place I wanted to hang out--never got stung, though...

By the time we met Bailey, I was working on a bit of genealogy and so he was given an old family name--I believe that Bailey was the maiden name of the woman who married my great-grandfather ("Red") Carr before they left Ireland, but I will have to check on that to be sure...

Jack is most likely a distant relative to our former family cat Rama, as he is also a Siamese mix born in the same tiny town where my parents live, where Rama lived. What are the chances that there is not some connection? Jack even has a little kink in the end of his tail, just like Rama did, only less noticeable. So his family and my family go way back. His mother Zoe was a stray that literally followed my mother home--she and a friend like to get out and take walks in the evening, and for a while there, two tiny kitties would follow them on their walks around the perimeter of our little town. Eventually, even though she claims to not be a 'cat person', my mother brought both of them home. Jack has an uncle named Salem, a gorgeous black cat with the same beautiful head, who lives with my parents. Jack's sister, Fancy, lives there as well. Unlike Jack, Fancy is a teeny thing, but she has the same habit of following her people into the kitchen every time they move in that direction.

And why is Jack, Jack? Strictly because it was the least complicated thing. When he came home with us, the long car ride from Western North Dakota to Duluth, Minnesota was filled with cat-name discussion. Four kids, two grown-ups, and one kitten who HATES car rides, together in a car for 12 hours over the course of two days. As the name suggestions and general conversation sunk into the absurd, I ended the discussion by announcing that he would be called. "Jack".

"Just Jack".

His personality is nothing like the character of the same name on Will and Grace, but he's just as much fun. Napoleon. His name is the direct result of my daughter's AP European History studies, though he was almost named "Leopold" because we all enjoyed the movie The Young Victoria, in which King Leopold played prominently, and besides, how could you not like a name like Leopold? Vincenzo was another name that was in the running, just because Vincenzo is a cool name, but when we met this cat and spent just a little time with him, it was clear that he was Napoleon:

A wee strategist who was originally called "Tiny". You figure it out.

We are still getting to know this little boy, but it appears that his personality is a cross between the sweetness of Jack and the adventurer of Bailey. I think that with a brother and mentor like Jack, Napoleon will be a wonderful boy, since Jack is the dearest, most loving cat I have ever known. Napoleon was born at the Humane Society in Faribault, MN and won every heart in the place. Then he won ours. Truly a conqueror.

I know, I know....not a single Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat in the bunch....maybe someday.

Friday, May 14, 2010

We Are Not Friends

Have you ever worked with someone where they make it personal and you're just there doing your job and you say or do something related to doing the job and they act like you just ripped out their heart and threw it on the ground and stomped on it?
You're so lucky.
So....there was that thing last week, or, the week before or whenever-the-hell it was when I was involved in some kind of office mud slinging of which I barely did anything, just basically told someone that what they were doing was not their job and that we already have someone who's job it is to do that so "knock it off".  Seriously.  Nothing.  Honestly, I had forgotten all about it but found out today that that person was were telling my boss and my boss's boss that she and I were "fighting".
Oh honey....that's so cute the way you think that my day is any different based on whether or not you walk in the door.  I'm just here to do a job.  I'm not here to make enemies or friends, just to get money in exchange for doing a thing, in hopes that the better I do it, the more money I get.  Maybe I'm crazy, but I thought that is why we were all here.  It should be noted that I don't get to rely on cuteness or youth or bitchiness or whatever it is that you think you've got going on there, so I have to put in the work, and excuse me if sometimes when I'm putting in the work that I don't take the time to placate you by pretending you're something special.
We are not fighting.  To say that we're fighting implies that I spend my day worrying about how I'm making people feel by doing the stuff I'm getting paid to do.  Well, let's see now....if I spent my day doing that, how much work do you think I would get done?
I'm a good sport, though, so for your benefit, I will give this a minute of thought....hmmm....I get here at 7:30 in the morning, leave around 4:30pm, and, you pop into my thoughts...pretty much never, unless my job and your job happen to coincide, which isn't all that often. 
We're not friends. 
We don't hang out. 
I don't really care what you do in your off hours.  I couldn't imagine that you care what I do in mine.
The fact that you are telling people that we are "fighting" or whatever-the-hell it is that you are saying seems to indicate that you've spent all this time that I haven't been thinking about you, thinking about me.
I'd be flattered if it wasn't so annoying.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

And Now, A Proper Eulogy

In January 1999, I was working at a radio station in Duluth, MN, and another announcer from across the hall (we had a few stations in that building) walked into the studio and asked if I was looking for a kitten. He told me about a listener who had called in because they found a box in the Duluth sky walk that had several long-haired black kittens in it, and the person who found the kittens was hoping that some of our other listeners would help find homes for the abandoned babies.

I had been thinking of adopting a kitten, and asked where I could see them--turns out that the guy who found them was restoring a tugboat on the Superior, WI side of the harbor, and he was keeping the kittens there on the boat.

Looking back, it seems entirely fitting that I first met that little fluff on a boat. He spent his whole life in pursuit of water. And adventure.

When I arrived at the tug, the sight was entirely too precious: Lightning fast kittens, all black with long hair, chasing each other around the deck. My toddler girls squealed in absolute delight. We met all of the siblings and were accepted by one, who consented to ride home with us in our car. We lived by his kind permission from that day forward.

Friends of mine have strong memories of my girls running around our apartment, chasing that little kitten, who barely filled an entire adult palm on the day we brought him home. He liked to hide in the box spring of my bed when he'd had enough of their antics, and it took a long, long time in his life before he stopped hiding when he got too much attention. Eventually, though, he tolerated us, and not only would he come out for the food, but he'd stay for the company, too. At heart, I guess he was always a bit of a wild animal--the domestication crap was not really his thing. Not really. He did play a neat little game of fetch for a short time in his youth, in which if you threw the ring that you'd peeled from a gallon of milk, he would catch it in his hands, put it in his mouth and walk it over to you. It was cool to watch.

Over the course of the years we had him, Bailey liked to ditch the family life every once in a while when the opportunity presented itself and head out on the open road. Of course, in our case, the "open road" was just the neighborhood around where our house was. He'd slip out when some kid left a door ajar, be gone for three days while we searched the neighborhood and hung up signs, then he would show up very early in the morning on the 4th day, not caring that my daughter had been beside herself the entire time (which meant that by default, so was I). Every time he took off, I spent the duration fearing the worst--that he'd been hit by a car, or killed by a bear, gotten into poison, or, even worse, that someone found him and decided to keep him.

Ultimately, it was my daughter's heartbreak that I could not bear. They had grown close, and he became her cat, as much as he was anybody's cat. Maddi was allowed special access to Bailey that none of the rest of us enjoyed--He declared her room was also his room, and of all of us, she was really the only one allowed to pick him up and hold him for any significant amount of time. He grudgingly accepted hugs from her that he would have killed to avoid from the rest of us. Every time he returned from a 3-day adventure, I would scoop him up, fresh from his pre-dawn arrival, scold him for making us worry, then immediately deposit him in Maddi's bed so that she would wake up to the sight of him, assured that he was OK. Probably the only times he allowed me to carry him for more than 30 seconds is when he saw that we were going to Maddi's room.

While Bailey's adventures in the great outdoors caused us the most grief, there was one indoor adventure that he had that also scared us, and that was when he was in the hospital for three days with an IV pumping fluids in one end and a catheter taking them out the other, all with a steady flow of antibiotics and tranquilizers. I visited him one time there, and due to the drugs he couldn't muster anything beyond a stare, but the look said it all--"This sucks." I agreed. That hospital visit cost more than a house payment. Actually, I think it was two house payments at that time. But he was Bailey--my daughter's one true love, and because of that, we did what we had to do to keep him alive, so that he could worry us to death for another six years after that.

He had a disregard of most things, but his attitude was really too charming to be insulting. When he looked at you as if you were an idiot and he couldn't believe he got stuck here in this stupid house with these stupid people and that stupid dog and that stupid other cat, you laughed at his curmudgeonly ways. He was the one for whom it was written that "Dogs have owners, Cats have staff." Completely and unapologetically spoiled. If you were near a sink, kitchen or bath, he insisted that you turn the water on to an appropriate trickle so he could drink it--water bowls were for lower creatures like dogs, I guess--Bailey only drank from water that was moving. After his hospitalization, he required special food for the rest of his life, but he'd still hang out in the kitchen and climb your leg if you were de-boning the Thanksgiving turkey, the Easter ham, or even just the Sunday chicken. I suppose those things more closely resembled what he thought he should be eating--meat, not prescription kibble. I did not disagree--to see him catch his "prey" was quite an amazing thing--those hands! Just like with the milk ring game, he used his little paws to reach out and catch things, or take them from you. The only living thing I've ever seen that displayed that much entitlement to food I was holding in my hand was a seagull on Park Point in Duluth. Bailey and a seagull--two creatures who have attempted to take a cheeseburger right out of my hand as I raised it to my mouth to take a bite.
As I previously mentioned...he was a jerk. His insistence of independence and love of adventure broke our hearts, time and again. All we wanted to do was take care of him and make sure he was always safe. All he wanted to do was have fun, eat whatever the hell he wanted, go only where he wanted to go, and not have to deal with any stupid crap.

But...don't we all want that?

I suppose that is the hardest thing about all of this. You had to admire the guy. That great, free spirit, confined for our convenience--if he had ever complied with our wishes, he would not have been nearly as interesting. It is why I question if I even had the right to end that--I am all but certain that he would have preferred to battle with death on his own terms. If he could speak, I'm sure he would have told me to take him back up to the Congdon neighborhood in Duluth and let him go, down by the creek. He'd take his chances, like he had so many times before. Would our hearts be broken any less?

Monday, May 10, 2010

He Was A Jerk

Nobody ever says, "He was a jerk" after someone dies.  Or if they do, they are usually put in their place by some kind, church-going type.
We are here today to talk about Bailey, who died at the age of 12, in my arms, under the care of a veterinarian.
He was a jerk.
When I say "He was a jerk", I mean, he was classic cat, Talk To The Butt, Don't talk to me, or even look at me unless it is my idea, and for God's sake do NOT pick me up, ever.  With him, you had the distinct impression that he hated everyone.  Even on days when he decided that he would like to have his ears or face rubbed, he would find you, force himself upon you, use you for his purposes, then, when you wanted to cuddle after, he'd get all pissy and squirm away.
Bailey was openly angry toward his younger brother Jack, every day for the last six years.  Some might say that Jack is such a dope that even the most tolerant would have problems being his only playmate, and that's not entirely untrue.  While I always think of Jack's "Special" status as more of a purely innocent, doesn't-know-he's-dumb sort of thing, Bailey had nothing even remotely resembling patience for that animal.  We half expected that one day, Bailey would kill Jack in his sleep.
In fact, we all lived under the threat of Bailey killing us in our sleep.  He was just that kind of guy.  Only very rarely did he ever look at anyone with anything other than the look that said, "I f*cking hate you" and/or "I'm going to kill you."  Seriously.  He had a death look.  If you were waving cooked chicken, or even better, cooked ham (his all time favorite thing to eat) he wouldn't look interested so much as he'd convey that if you didn't give him some, he was going to scratch your face off.  If you were holding some of it in your hand, he would reach up, claws outstretched, and grab your hand with the full force he could muster to puncture your skin, so that you would drop the food.  Then in one swift movement, he'd let go of you and use the same paw to smack his brother across the face for even thinking that the ham on the floor was for anyone other than Lord Voldemort, uh, I mean Bailey.
Today, even in the throws of real agony, he never let his guard down, never let me see him sweat, so to speak. He could barely walk, but still he looked at me with the gaze that said "What the f*ck are you looking at?" He didn't once allow me to believe that those 12 years of wringing my hands over him--for all the times he escaped from the house, and any time he was under the weather--meant a thing to him at all.  

Before we left for the vet, I picked up his failing body and wrapped him in a blanket my daughter had made for him three years ago--he had no strength, but still he tried to squirm away--it was his instinct to keep his distance.

But it didn't matter.  We still got close--as close as he would allow.  I was surprised at my tears.  I'm still surprised as I sit here in the parking lot of the vet, crying.  And I want to tell him that holding him while he died was the shittiest thing I have ever had to do, and I may never forgive him for being such a fucking jerk about everything, right to the end.

In time, my emotions will mellow, and I will stop wondering if I did the right thing, even though I will never really know for sure.  Some other charming fuzzball will arrive on the scene, and Jack will be thrust into the unlikely roll of "boss by default" and the household will again become a light-hearted comedy in which we all laugh at silly ideas like the notion that your cat is going to kill you in your sleep.  Our house is made for laughter, which is why we laughed instead of cried when Bailey grabbed our hand to get food.  That audacity.  That brilliant "Fuck you ALL, because it's all about ME" attitude that he had.  I miss it already.  

Goodbye to you, Bailey--the most complicated of cats.  I'm sure you're up in heaven right now, congratulating yourself on my tears.  You're such a jerk.

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Please Hold All Comments About The Bad Haircut Until The Very End...

Say hello to my little friend.

Oh come on, seriously, what the hell else was I going to use for a caption?

OK! Shepherd's Harvest in 3-2-1 and GO!

I haven't been to a fairground since....well, it's been a while. And I'm not counting the State Fair because I haven't been to any barns on the State fairgrounds--not in at least 10 years. Wait a minute--not ever. I remember the children going to barns with friends of mine but for some reason I didn't go. And that was ten years ago. Before that, when I was in radio, yeah, you "do" the fair every year--no matter where you live. You have some booth or some building or the back of a van somewhere on the grounds and some live broadcast equipment that miraculously ONLY works during the fair, and not at any other time you need it to work, and you do an entire show just talking to people about what kind of bizzaro food they just ate or what's their favorite part of the fair. That's The Fair.

Anyway...Shepherd's Harvest, obviously there are sheep involved, so, Fairgrounds.

You know what's funny? I grew up in a very rural part of this country, in North Dakota, and today my city-raised 14 year old was warning me about where to step, like the whole idea of animals having bodily functions had just suddenly occurred to her. And the fact that she was nervous about reaching out an touching a sheep gave me pause--how odd that she would not know anything about touching a farm animal! We definitely had different teenage years. I didn't grow up on a farm, either, but I know what pre-sweater wool feels like--she just found out today, two months shy of her 15th birthday.

Washington County fairgrounds is small, and we blipped through everything like lightning. Some insanely gorgeous yarn over here, and, over there, goats milk soap, and here's some food vendors, and there's a guy shearing a sheep, and here are a few buildings filled with fuzzy buddies, and here are some dogs herding sheep, and in the middle of it all, a dude playing a mandolin (he was quite good) but, he was placed far enough to not get any interference from the hillbilly band that was playing in one of the quonsets, and YES, my child did ask me what the hell a quonset was.

Just a little slice of clean livin', that's what that was....

Long story VERY Whittled Down: Every time I tried to take a picture of a cute farm baby (talkin' sheep and goats, here...) they turned away from me and toward my daughter, who got ALL of the adorable baby pictures today. Case in Point:
The exact same animal, photographed by me at the top of the page, where he's all, "Nah, I'm just going to stand way over hear if you don't mind" but as soon as the kid raises her camera? "Hey! Hi! How ARE you? Let me come over to where you are so you can get a better shot!"


Also? I didn't hug any llamas. However, it is entirely possible that I will be snuggling with some alpaca soon, since I broke down and purchased The Most Ridiculously Soft Yarn I have ever felt in my entire life, from LGF Suri Alpacas. Yow.

Ran into fellow Blogger Lady Christina out there--just totally an accident, not like we planned it or anything. OK, that's actually bullshit--we planned.

As I type this, my house is filled with the scent of lavender, which is the most beautiful smell a house can smell like, which means exactly what you think it means, that being that I bought lavender soap from more than half of the people who offered it. Oh, and we came late to the fudge table and damn-it-all, they had nothing left but white chocolate praline. Never mind...happy accident that white chocolate praline. Too delicious to actually describe....but I have to try...white chocolate fudge on the top and the bottom, and in the middle caramel and praline.

I know, right?

OK, we can talk about Leopold's hair now.

No, I don't know if that's his actual name, but it seemed to fit. He startled me, I'm not gonna lie--looked a bit like a miniature giraffe in a Halloween wig and furry go-go boots. You probably think I'm just saying that because I'm angry that he didn't pose for me. You're right.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Surprised? Nope.

I was on Facebook this morning, and WHAT A SHOCK!  It seems that all of a sudden they are importing my blogs again.  Remember when we said they'd probably do that?
I'm sure at some point they will be telling me that they also own the blogs, at which time I'll be busting knee caps and such, but for now, I can relax, safe in the knowledge that all of my blood relatives need look no further than their Home pages to continue their ongoing string of disappointment with my language and general demeanor.
Since we're talkin'....
HELL of a night Friday.  And a good thing I stole some swag off of that table at that bar because I think I love that place and was too drunk to remember where the hell it even was without the help of the stolen visual aids and I have no desire to go anywhere else to hear live music in this town ever again.
I mean, we absolutely MUST go to the BoDeans/Zellar thing, and, if you go, look for us--we'll be the ones yelling out Neil Diamond song titles to Mr. Zellar--because we're assholes like that.  Don't worry, though--I probably won't have recovered from my Saturday hangover enough to start drinking again by then so I probably won't smile at you or start a conversation or anything.  Perfectly safe.
By the way, I literally just noticed that my company is one of the platinum sponsors for this event...see how much I pay attention?  I hope I don't have to wear any logo gear or anything--mostly because I don't have any.  I have some theories about who might be behind that sponsorship, and because I'm an awful person, I'm going to guess that they had the company put up the 5K so that they wouldn't have to spend $50 on a pair of tickets.  Just a guess, though.  And, nicely done, I might add...
And I guess that sort of means that I'm on the clock when I tell you to attend.  So...attend.
Of course, the Fine Line, June 11, is the other live music thing happening--Justin Currie will be great, and, I haven't decided what, if any, song titles I will be yelling out for that show.  Neil Diamond songs are not entirely out of the question, however.
Anyway, back to Friday--that was so much fun!  And once again owing to the fact that my dear friend does not like empty glasses and/or bottles and I don't like them full, I was plenty schnockered.  We started off with luscious bar food at the Shamrock, then somebody's buddy called and said "Whatever you're doing, where-ever you are, you're not where it's at!" so we had to go where it was at, which is where she was at. 
And she was so right! 
Great room, unbelievable music, relaxed and smiling crowd, no pretentiousness.  Perfect. Place.  I mean, I was sending "I wish you were here!" drunken texts to random people soon after arriving, like all I could think to do to make it any better was to share it with the people I cherish. 
So, Friday night was a big, gooby, love-fest.  With shots of Patron.  And some "Touch my butt--don't I have a nice ass?"   And somebody doing push-ups on the floor of the bar, just to prove a point.  And a guy who looked like Elvis Costello that my friend thought would be perfect for me, but it seems he was married, so never mind.  And a security guard getting up to sing a song and knocking us all on our asses.  And I think I must have hugged that guy three times.  Fun.  Happy, Happy Fun.  With a really great horn section.  All nights out should be like that.  I could have done without the entire next day's worth of OMG I Think I Want To Die, but Friday night was excellent.
And no, I will not tell you where this place is.  Unless my company decides to become a platinum sponsor, then we'll talk.
Anyway....hello again, Facebook!  What a surprise you'd start importing my blogs again, just in time for reports of drunken silliness.  Who could have predicted that?  Oh yeah, I did...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Apparently I'm A Good Writer

Did I ever tell you about the time I was watching the American Music Awards and Madonna was on there and she was talking about Michael Jackson and she said some things that I thought sounded oddly familiar, so I went back in my archives to June 2009 and low and behold, that bitch stole my lines?

So nice to be tapped in to the better way of thinking.  What I mean by that is, I like Madonna, and when I say "that bitch stole my lines" it's not like I'm on the phone to a lawyer or anything--she made a barely memorable speech on the show that not a lot of people seem to care about that much anymore, BUT, all of the things she said were excellent.  (Of course they were!  That bitch stole my lines!)  The thing that makes me a little impressed with myself (and also makes me question the sanity of doing all of this writing for free) is, Madonna actually knew Michael Jackson, and obviously I did not, so the fact that I was able to take a stab in the dark and guess some things and come to the same conclusion as somebody with intimate knowledge of the situation is pretty damn good.

Yay me.

So that kind of "stealing", I don't mind.  It's really just another of those smirking, useless "I was right" moments that can never be proven or really even shared--you think yourself a little cooler than you actually are and try to remind yourself not to turn into one of those raving loonies that tries to make a name for themselves by asserting that "that bitch stole my lines" to anyone who will listen.

But the other kind of stealing...the kind where somebody takes your words and uses them not just for their personal gain but also to put you down?  Well, that's just flat-out bitchy.

Every so often, I commit the unforgivable sin of writing a grouchy email to someone who has pissed me off and then I hit "send" and the whole world tumbles around for a couple of days while I re-read what I wrote and think, "OK, how is this going to get me into trouble?"  

I did that exact thing on Thursday, as a matter of fact.  Yay me.

To me, those types of things are really just another blog post and I don't really do them if I have something to lose, I just feel the need to say, "Hey, you--yeah, you--the one being an absolute c-word.  Knock it off, you fucking psycho." Only, I don't actually use the c-word or even the f-word.  It's all a very carefully crafted "You are an awful person" which I cc all of the people who are my boss and/or their boss because I don't want someone claiming I said something that I didn't say--I want the proof to be out there.  Also, I stand by what I say and I sign my name to it, so, there are no secrets when something bothers me enough to take an action.  I'm not trying to beat somebody up in a back alley and claim I didn't do it--it's a public flogging all the way.  

Like that time I got my kid's middle school choir director fired.

I have nothing less than absolute faith in the power of the written word, and I have tremendous faith in my ability to change things by using the right words.  I do it all the time.  Like that time I got my kid's middle school choir director fired.  But ANYWAY...

Thursday, flinging virtual mud, Friday, she flings some back, later Friday, I fling a bigger gob of virtual mud and then somebody's boss gets involved and the party is over, but what happened was, when higher ups were questioning the effing psycho about what the hell she was doing, how did she justify herself?  She LIFTED lines from my bitchy emails and claimed the moral high ground!!

Damn!  That is cold!  HA!

But not to worry, as I said, I did CC all of the important people,so, they know all of her deep thinking was ghost written.  But pretty ballsy, right?  Good thing I have a sense of humor.

So let's review:  Two people coming to the same or similar conclusion at the same time?  Good.  One person coming to a conclusion and another person only agreeing with that conclusion when their ass is on the line?  Bad.  Any questions?