Thursday, July 28, 2005

More Goings On

Beany and Slick did this cuddly thing on the bed ONE time and we caught it with the camera! We call it, "Love in the Afternoon."

Picked up Beany's ashes yesterday. There isn't much left when you cremate a 6.5 lb. cat, it turns out. They are in a box in the kitchen right now and I am avoiding looking at the box for the most part. Still quite sad.

Delia is so big. She wiped her face yesterday! When we were cleaning up after lunch. I thought she just wanted to suck on the baby-wipe but first she wiped her face and smiled, and then stuffed it in her mouth. She also used crayons to make little marks on her menu (we were at a restaurant having lunch with Julianna, as I don't normally provide menus at home) before stuffing them in her mouth.

The chickens are getting bigger -- growing in their big-chicken feathers. We think the frizzled one may be a rooster, but the other big dark one may also be too. So they will go back to Amy if that's the case. Can't have roosters in town. Nor do we want to.

Sidingwalla Kenny has thus far failed to turn up except Monday. He called today to say he'd be here tomorrow. Evidently one of his kids broke an ankle, no news yet as to which kid. So when I said, "Home stretch," those of you with experience in these contractor-related matters thought to yourselves, "Only three more months!"

Not much else new. I have not been running like I should, in part because I'm so lazy and it's been bloody hot out, but also because I've been holding out for a time I could go without the baby because it's so much easier -- but I need to stop doing that. All that does is make it easy to put it off until it's too late. I have been doing good at the swimming, got about 25 laps in and would have gone longer but ran out of time. Plus was delayed by three clueless walrus-sized individuals who mistook "lap swim" to mean, "getting from one end of the pool to the other any way we feel like it, slowly and with much chatting." One of them actually got in my face because I failed to adquately kiss her ass about where in the pool she was supposed to "swim." She had tried to rearrange everything after the lifeguard came over and posted signs and told everyone to circle swim: "Well, we're really slow so we'll just stay over here and you guys can have the other two lanes."

Yeah, because this medium lane is really for slow people. It just says medium to keep all the other slow people who aren't you out of the lane. Wink, wink.

I saw the three of them in the locker room afterward. Turns out the one who got in my face is one of those super-entitled people who bosses everyone around and is pushy and confrontational to get her way. The other two were really passive and not a one of the three of them was any too bright. I'm going back to the pool tonight, and if she's there, well, it won't be any damn fun, that's all.

Well, back to the salt mines.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Life Going On

I'll pick up Beany's ashes tomorrow.

Although I am unspeakably sad, and a bit bewildered that the world can go on without Beany in it -- (to give myself a little credit, I felt this same way when my Grandmother died, so it's not like I'm unable to connect to humans -- just in case you were worried) I'm not crying constantly anymore, only about once a day, usually right when I go to bed and there's nothing to distract me from that awful moment of losing him, of his limp body on the table and no life left in him at all. It just doesn't seem like it could happen, let alone did happen.

I guess that's the thing about death. You can't wrap your head around it. No wonder people go a little batty when people they love die. It's incomprehensible.

I finished the bulk of his memory book, it's mostly just a glorified photo album with captions and stories about him. Well, how he came to me, the great Wintertime Adventure of '96, and how he died. Other stories will come about and I will further embellish the book when I have time, hopefully this week.

Other than that, things are normal. Our sidingwalla Kenny has been here, we have a gloriously brick-red front door, and the gutters are painted, and the patio roof is half done. Some siding to be put on the side and back of the house. Home stretch.

Delia drinks through a straw! And ate with a stubby little toddler fork today! Sure, it was about three noodles out of an entire meal, but it's a start!

She played in the pool twice today in addition to her shower. I think we have a waterbaby on our hands.

Must hold down couch now, feeling a bit unwell, think it was some questionable blueberries a friend brought over. The season was so wet that they mold up fast, they were not questionable on Saturday but by now have gotten a bit mushy. I ate a few this morning. Nobody else had any and nobody else is having troubles so I think that must have been it. Argh.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Heavy Sighs

All day, heavy sighs and bouts of weeping. I suppose this is normal. I know he was "just a cat" but those of you who understand how I feel, I don't need to explain it to, and those who don't, I couldn't explain it in a million years.

I can't believe I'll never dish him up some canned food at night or listen to him yowl for no good reason in the wee hours. He won't head-butt me or try to bite my nose. I won't get to pick him up and ruffle his leopard-spotty belly, or make fun of him for having Saggy Belly Fur.

I also won't have to shove a pill down his throat or clean up barf, but I'd do it every day if it would bring him back.

But it won't, and I'll just keep heaving the sighs and feeling the Beany-shaped hole in my chest until enough time goes by to make the sadness fade away.

I'll get his ashes on Tuesday. I plan to bury them under something in the yard, we have a lot of things to plant, a hydrangea maybe. Something he'd have liked to lay under and keep his eye on doings in the yard. The yard I was looking forward to letting him wander in once we got it fenced. He'd have been safe and would have been able to bask in the sun and mutter at the birds again.

The title to the previous post, Digging a Ditch, is a Dave Matthews Band song.

Run to your dreaming when you're alone
Unplug the TV and turn off your phone
Get heavy on with digging your ditch
Cause I'm

Digging a ditch where madness gives a bit
Digging a ditch where silence lives
Digging a ditch for when I'm old
Digging this ditch my story's told

Where all these troubles weigh down on me will rise
Run to your dreaming when you're alone
Where all these questions spinning round my head will
die, will die, will die

Run to your dreaming when you're alone
Unplug the TV and turn off your phone
Get heavy on with digging your ditch
Cause I'm

Digging a ditch where madness gives a bit
Digging a ditch where silence lives
Digging a ditch for when I'm through
Digging this ditch I'm digging for you

Where all these worries wear down on me will rise
Where all these habits pull heavy at my heart will die

Run to your dreaming when you're alone
Not what you should be or what you've become
Just get heavy on with digging your ditch
Cause I'm

Digging a ditch where madness gives a bit
Digging a ditch where silence lives
Where all these disappointments that grow angry out of me will rise
Will die, will die, will die

Run to your dreaming when you're alone
Unplug the TV and turn off your phone
Get heavy on with digging your ditch

I used to listen to this song a lot when I was really stressed out, around the time I quit my job, I was really anxious and depressed, and it made me feel better somehow.

Here's another:
Barenaked Ladies, "Light Up My Room"

A Hydro-field cuts through my neighborhood
Somehow that always just made me feel good
I can put a spare bulb in my hand
And light up my yard

Late at night when the wires in the walls
Sing in tune with the din of the falls
I'm conducting it all while I sleep
To light this whole town

If you question what I would do
To get over and be with you
Lift you up over everything
To light up my room

There's a shopping cart in the ravine
The foam on the creek is like pop and ice cream
A field full of tires that is always on fire
To light my way home

There are luxuries we can't afford
But in our house we never get bored
We can dance to the radio station
That plays in our teeth

If you question what I would do
To get over and be with you
Lift you up over everything
To light up my room

A Hydro-field cuts through my neighborhood
Somehow that always just made me feel good
I can put a spare bulb in my hand
And light up my yard

Light up my yard
Lights in my yard
Light up my yard

The lyrics don't seem to pertain to anything specific but it's just the best song... It's my Digging A Ditch for right now.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Digging a Ditch

Today started out pretty normal. It didn't end up that way.

This post will suck in places. It's about the finest cat that ever drew a kitty breath, in my eyes anyway. Beany. He entered my life late one July night in 1989, a frightened stray on a busy street. I sat on the steps of my building waiting for his people to find him but they never came, and he was so clearly desperate that I took him in. He was young, he was stripey, he was Beany.

Beany started getting really thin a couple of years ago, and we found that in addition to his thumpy heart murmur and his really bad teeth he also had hyperthyroid. So enter the Little White Pill, twice a day. This kept his thyroid from being so hyper, and he gained a little weight back though he was never so hale and hearty as before. We knew his kidneys were probably going bad a while ago, he drank so much water and peed gallons all the time. But he kept eating, and drinking, and we kept stuffing the pill down his throat. His quality of life seemed okay.

About a week ago he started looking a little peaky even for him, and by yesterday he was so thin he started to look actually emaciated. I could tell he was dehydrated, his skin tented up and didn't snap back when you pinched it. I wasn't having to fill the water glass so often for him. He wasn't eating that much, though he seriously grooved on the bbq chicken we had last night. I am so glad I gave him some, he scarfed it right down and laid down for a nap looking very satisfied.

I took him to the vet today and they found he'd lost more than a pound in less than a month -- and he didn't have a pound to spare. They kept him while they ran blood tests, and I went home to wait, and a couple of hours later I got the news that I knew all day that I would hear: there was nothing they could do, and I should seriously consider putting him to sleep because he was already that bad off.

So I cried a few more buckets to add to the ones I cried anticipatorily on the way home from dropping him off at the vet already, and Shannon came to watch Delia, and Julianna and I headed to the vet. We sat with him and he purred and purred and even was cuddly -- this from a cat that hated cuddling though he was affectionate -- and finally the vet came in with an assistant and it was over in two minutes.

My beautiful, beautiful cat is gone and I don't know what to do.

Sixteen years is a long life for a cat. There were times when he was all I had; I was estranged from nearly everyone in my family for some time. He was always there. I was so attached to him. He stuck with me through endless moves -- something like 13 -- and tolerated other cats and dogs in the household, though sometimes not that graciously. I got him when I was 21. I'm 37 now. I can't believe it. That I'm so old, that he's so gone.

I knew that I would be very, very sad when this day came. I didn't expect it to be so soon, so sudden, so sad.

Go sit in Grandma's lap, Beany. God needs a break. :)

I miss you.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


We have chickens. And they have us. Aren't they cute?

One of the darker ones has frizzly feathers. The darker ones are larger than the yellow ones. They are all just as stupid as can be, being chickens and all, but so very cute. My brother and his family have a flock and a few roosters are allowed to run free, and one of them (named Brewster) comes running when you call him. I mean he races to the door from wherever he is, with only brief interludes of getting stuck in the corner of the fence or whatever. I did say they were not smart, right?

Currently they live in a box in the office, pretty lush accomodations for chicks I must say, with lots of fluffy pine shavings and a heat lamp. Well, it's just a clip lamp like you would use in your garage or something, but it works just fine. We are quite vigilant that it stays put so that we have no fire hazard -- sister Amy's barn burned down completely owing to the heat lamp catching it on fire... It was a very old dried up tinderbox of a barn and it went up like flash paper. They lost all their baby chicks, ducklings and goslings. Rather than have to deal with the whole death issue, they told their 4-year-old son that the firemen took them home with them since there wasn't a barn to keep them in anymore. So when they got new ones he worried "Will the firemen come get them too?" Because they hadn't rebuilt the barn.

These chicks are from Amy's flock. Julianna drove an hour and a half each way to pick up four dollars worth of baby chicks... :) She loves them.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Slogging Along

Ran today completely solo for the first time ever. Note that there are so many milestones: ran in park with baby, ran in park with dog, ran out of park with dog. Now ran out of park with neither dog nor baby. Actually ran as described in the program, taking brisk 5-min. walk to start, then ran 90 sec, walked 90 sec, ran 3 minutes, walked 3 min., then repeated run/walk regime. Much shorter than dragging sorry ass on the long schlep to the park to run in cloistered shame. But park is shady... Ah well, it was early enough to not get roasted.

It's damn hot here. Not that humid but just damn hot. We have A/C. We rock! But I drive the Vanagator which has no A/C. So we don't go anywhere after 11am on days like these, if we can help it. I reserve the Mazda if I know we're driving somewhere far on a hot day, but it's hardly worth all the whining... Just kidding! But I'd whine too if I thought I'd be sitting on the slab inching along in a sweltering hotbox coming home from work on a hot afternoon. The freeway here is insane. By local standards.

Anyway the run was swell, after a fashion: I did not fall to the ground begging to die, despite having to run three whole minutes in a row, twice.

We have chickens. Four chicks, fluffy little balls of peeping wonderfulness, each capable of excreting every quarter-hour, not just on the floor of their pen but in the water dish and food dish as well. And presumably on each other though I have not witnessed this personally as of yet. However, I'm sure it won't be long before I do.

Our largest and least intellectual cat, Slick, has taken offense at the usurpage (is this a word?) of his throne room. The chicks live in the office for now, til they are old enough and we have a coop to put them in. Slick sits outside and tries to claw the door open, meowing piteously all the while. He has seen the chicks and would very much like to eat them, but we are so mean that we will not allow this.

In other news, I have read the new Harry Potter book and declare it to be quite absorbing. I only wish the last one was out already. I won't tell you who dies unless you request it.

Her Majesty is sleeping, a decently long nap for once. She's been so cranky... She's learned to trail a string behind her so that Slick will give chase, so we can count on her doing laps around the house at least twice a day, squealing in delight.

Yesterday she fouled her swimming pool. We will be using swim diapers from here on out, even in the wading pool at home. :)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Swim Swam Swum

Must be able to swim 36 laps of the pool in a row -- no clinging to side of pool gasping -- to do triathlon. Or else consider wearing a flotation device, causing self horror and shame. Like when you were the last kid on the block with training wheels. (Note: this never happened to me, I learned to ride a bike without them.) Or if you had to wear headgear to school. (That really did happen but not often.)

So in the pool I was accustomed to doing a few laps, then kicking a lap or two with a kickboard, etc. But yesterday I did 18 laps stopping only to drink a little water or de-fog my hateful goggles. I'm starting to think this Can Be Done. Ideally should swim another 10 or 12 laps in the pool to accomodate for open water conditions, so I will be working on 48 laps. Gaah!

Ran in park tonight. Uneventful. Feet are not happy with running but it's okay, they're not killing me, and oddly enough it gets better the farther I run in any given session -- they start out really sore and by the time I'm done they are down to a dull roar. Before I got orthotics they hurt much worse than this all the time, such that I would get home from work and not eat dinner because it meant getting up and walking into the kitchen. So I can take it.

Ran in park on Weds. too, which was eventful in that I took Hope, the smaller and more nervous of our two slothful hounds. She would bite if provoked, so I feel good about taking her when I'm alone out in the wooded park. Anyway Julianna reminded me at the last minute to take some bags for dog (dude!). So I took one. Yeah, I needed three. And I had one. Which I tied into a knot after the first squat on the way to the park. So imagine my delight when she did it again, in the street -- in the center of an intersection, no less -- and I had to untie the knot and scoop up yet more poop without getting any on my hands. I was even further delighted to find the park has no trash can. So I left it under a tree at the entrance to the park, and forgot to retrieve it on the way out because I was all preoccupied with running in public.

She did it one more time in the actual park, for good measure I suppose, but it was a tiny amount and off the path so I let it lie, having no bag handy.

I did fetch the offending bag home today, it was still where I had left it and none the worse for its 48 hours alone. I want to be a good dog-owner citizen, to make up for the fact that I use Wee Wee Pads in front of the litterbox...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I Should Charge for This

Ran this evening out where people could see me. Granted, it was at like 9pm in a burb hood where everybody is in front of the tv by 7 sharp, so the chances of anyone actually seeing me were not great, but nonetheless, I overcame my paralyzing self-consciousness and joggled my huge tracts of land out in front of God and country. Yay, me.

Forty days til the triathlon. Gaaah. What was I thinking?! And why wasn't I training more seriously til now? Clearly I am a total moron.

But, in forty days I'll be a moron triathlete, so there's that.

Rad Fae

I was just reading a blog linked to another blog I read... Two degrees of blog separation. Anyway it was well written and interesting, particularly the parts about the blogger's Radical Faerie thing. It's all about rites and rituals and being a gay guy at a festival wearing a dress and energy pathways and so forth. In a way I find it kind of laughable, but I'm sure he finds my spirituality laughable too, so no harm done. I actually felt pretty accepting of it, in a kind of snorting behind my hand way. :)

I think in a way I am kind of envious of the whole "my life is so different (and therefore more interesting) than everyone else's" thing since my life is in fact a lot like most people's, except for the whole gay thing, which has very little impact on my life other than I live with a woman and can't get married legally. I mean, I don't march in parades, I'm not particularly politically active, I don't do a lot of gay-specific things. I live in a burb and complain about my contractor. I don't sing opera, hike the Himalayas, etc etc.

But, there it is. I don't find my life boring, though at times I'd like to do some more exciting things -- travel, mostly -- and I don't feel more than the passing need to call attention to myself by doing/saying/wearing outrageous things for the most part. I guess it could be worse.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Cheap Thrills

Let me just say: Oregon fireworks SUCK. No wonder everybody sneaks across the state line to Washington to buy them off the reservation or at the numerous fireworks stands and tents. Which take credit cards and are even labeled, "Illegal Fireworks (in Oregon)."

In Oregon, if it shoots into the air is is not permitted to explode, and if it explodes, it is not permitted to shoot into the air. This means that for nearly my entire life, lo these many, many years, I have been under the impression that fireworks were just spinny flashy things on the ground, or fountains of sparks, or things that popped or whistled. But not both.

We were told that this neighborhood sounds like a practice range on the Fourth, and they were not kidding. We sat in the back yard last night at dusk and tonight also, and were rewarded with free fireworks displays in nearly every direction, courtesy our neighbors. We may have a party next year and invite our similarly cheapskate friends over -- you don't have to drive anywhere (other than to our house of course), no parking woes, no sitting around surrounded by beer-swilling loudmouths, and no waiting in endless lines to pee or buy a snack. We have two bathrooms! And rarely drink anything stronger than French roast.

Delia obliged us by sleeping through the whole thing despite the fact that our neighbors two houses down shot off tons of loud fireworks in this direction (down the street rather than the other way which would have been on the curve and at someone's house). We have a HEPA filter and both bathroom fans going full bore to dampen the noise a bit which helps I think. Plus she is a heavy sleeper at night, and the siding guy has been hammering on the house for a month so she's kind of over the whole loud noise thing. :)

Let's see if it works, I tried to upload an image rather than go through Picasa which has become an albatross around my neck these days. It tries to take over the whole computer I swear... "May I detect some media for you?" Bugger off....

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Quality of Life

First of all: RIP, Lumpy. Our beloved, belumped goldfish has shuffled off this mortal coil. He had that godawful tumor, and it just kept getting bigger, and finally yesterday it sort of exploded. And then we found him in Acute Piscine Distress there in the tank, sort of folded over a spear of whatever that plant is we have growing in there, and shortly thereafter he ceased movement altogether and expired.

He was a happy fish, despite his challenges, and we will miss him.

Once we have boiled his gravel and rinsed his plants, we will find a new resident for his tank. Life goes on.

In other life, comma, quality of, comma, not otherwise specified issues: one of the cats, the most geriatric of all, Beany (age 16), has decided that the area directly in front of the litterbox is where all the really cool cats pee.

I have to say I don't quite agree with him, and were he a younger and more manually dexterous cat I would have pressed the roll of paper towels and the bottle of Stink-B-Gone into his hairy little paws and made him clean up the mess. Which naturally pooled beneath the laundry machines, necessitating the moving of both thereof, in the smallest laundry room imaginable. Oh, the horror.

Now, however, I am back to my usual jolly self, skipping to and fro in my flower-patterned housedress humming a merry tune. Why? Because, friends, I have discovered the magic of the Wee-Wee Pad. (Okay, I don't buy the brand name, but Wee-Wee Pad is way funnier sounding than "whichever pad is cheapest.") This is a puppy-training aid in the form of an absorbent pad with a waterproof-backing, about 22 inches square, and available at your more savvy mega-pet-supply-barns. At a mere 30 cents a pop when bought in bulk, these little darlings have so improved my outlook on life in general and the laundry room specifically, such that I am considering taking out newspaper ad space to thank the company personally. You just place one like so, in front of the litterbox, and once it is soiled, voila! You just roll it up and toss it, place another down, and you're on your way!

Disclaimer: ...Yes, I realize that disposable pet pads are on par with disposable diapers inasmuch as those of us using them are killing the environment with landfills chock full of nonbiodegradable convenience items -- but if you'd spent as much time in our itty-bitty stuffy little utility room, shoving laundry machines around in pools of crystallizing cat pee when you had way rather been watching "NCIS," you'd be hotfooting it down to the local We Be Pets 'N Stuff just like I was. End disclaimer.

Back to computer gaming! I have so earned it by entertaining the small one while the wife snoozed away her afternoon in blissful napitude. She had a headache... Now I have one... is this fair?!