30 December 2012

For no real pretending to work
Things I keep thinking about instead of the work I’m supposedly doing as I sit here in a crowded Starbucks.

  • Mister, it was kind of mean to tell your little boy there’s a frog on his head, but I am enjoying watching him spin, twist, and turn as he tries to fine it. And you have a very realistic “ribbet.”
  • Come on, phone, stop buzzing like I’ve got a text message when I don’t have a text message. Especially at 2 in the morning.
  • I think I want to re-pierce my left ear.
  • Guy with hair down to your waist and visible neck tattoos…think about the irony of you telling the woman you’re with to “get a load of” me.
  • Yes, my dandruff is pink, thank you for speculating.
  • The music in here is actually loud enough to drown out the ringing in my ears.
  • There’s a lady waiting for her order who is dancing in place. I think she’s about 75 years old. Rock on, old lady…even if the music is instrumental jazz.
  • If I stick my brain with my pen via my ear, will it get back into work mode?
  • Yes, I am here a lot. No, I do not know if the sandwiches are any good or how long they’ve been out. If you try one and like it, please let me know. I’ve been wanting to try the egg salad but don’t have the nerve.
  • New ink. I need to make an appointment. Or sweet talk someone into making it for me, because…phones.
  • Apparently, today is Talk to Thumper Day at the Dixon Starbucks.
  • Yes, I like my MacAir. Yes, it was worth the bucks. No, I wouldn’t give one to a 13 year old.
  • I have the munchies. It’s a good thing the line here is long, because they have donuts today.
  • Thank you for apologizing, but the word “fuck” does not offend me, especially when following the dropping of your scone. I would have sworn, too.
  • People who can leave their laptops sitting on the table here while they run to the restroom are either brave or foolish, can’t decide which. I pack mine up and take it with me, just in case…
  • I wonder how carbonated tea would taste. I have a Sodastream now…I need to find out.
  • Guy running across the parking lot looks a lot like the Boy; for just a moment I wondered what the hell he was doing here, and who was he chasing?
  • If you’re still reading, you win a cookie. Here, take this $10 bill and I’ll hold the table while you wait in line. Get me a donut while you’re at it, okay?
  • Holy hell, I really have the munchies…


29 December 2012

Bridget Spence doesn't know me from any of the other thousands of 3 Day participants that she's never met. She has no clue I exist, and that's fine; I know of her and I've been following her blog for a while, to the point where I got a weird little thrill when I looked up during a Komen commercial and there she was.

I don't know her, but I could still squeal I read her blog!

She's been fighting like hell for years; she's not quite 30 years old, but she's been battling breast cancer since she was 21 years old. She's somewhat of an icon in the 3 Day Community, especially those connected by Facebook. Many have had the chance to hear her speak, many have become her friends and allies.

She's touched all of us.

Her fight has not been easy, and now she's asking that we let her go. And that she not be forgotten.

We won't forget her; we can't. We can't do much of anything, but remembering her, that we can do. And because she loves pearls, many 3 Dayers are wearing their pearls in honor of her. Many of my friends, just because I asked, have donned theirs in honor of her.

I don't own any pearls and am not likely to, but I had one thing I could do.

I could get my freak on, and rock the pink again.

My plans for this weekend had originally been to dye my hair back to its natural color, but instead I got my very gay haircut, and last night I bleached it so that today I could go back to the neon pink.

Good intentions, and all that.

I messed up on the dye job--I should have waited for the Spouse Thingy, since he always helps me get those spots I can't see--and the haircut isn't quite as spiffy today. It's going to take some practice to get those spikes right; right now it looks like I lost a fight with a pissed off weed whacker.

I am so not pulling off this hair style.

But, it is what it is, and it is what I could do.

What you can do...go read Bridget's blog, at least her goodbye entry, and send some mojo her way. And then sear her into your brain, and then never, ever, forget her.


28 December 2012

I needed a haircut. Badly. Or badly for me; most people would probably look at me and think it was short enough already, but I like it short enough to not have to fuss with it.

So off to Pro Clips I went, because after trial and error and so many really bad haircuts, I found a place that has people who don’t routinely screw up. And the same two people cut my hair every time (well, okay, not at the same time…but they’re the only two who cut it.)

There were a couple people ahead of me, so I had to wait. No problem. I sat in a chair against the far wall; there are 4 chairs there, and I sat in chair #2. This left one empty chair to my left and 2 empty chairs to my right…there are more across the waiting area, but were mostly full. There are a good six inches between the chairs, so you get plenty of personal space while you wait.

So I sat there playing solitaire on my phone, waiting my turn, when an older couple came in. He sat in the chair furthest to my right while she signed in, and when she stepped over she hesitated, then leaned down and whispered to him loudly, “I don’t want to sit next to a faggot!”

He told her to just sit. He wasn’t budging. I suppose he didn’t want to sit next to a faggot, either.

There was a little boy ahead of me; he was maybe 5 years old and getting his hair buzzed, so it wasn’t going to take long. While he giggled because the clippers tickled, the lad next to me whispered again, “I really don’t want to sit next to it.”


So you know what I had to do.

I scooted the chair about an inch closer to her.

And a minute later, a tiny bit more.

I might have done it again—maybe not, I didn’t want to be the reason they got up and walked out—but the little boy’s haircut was done and Peter (haircut dude) called me up.

“Where’s your husband today?”


I heard that old lady practically gasp.

I kind of hope she choked on a little spit.

I swapped some small talk with Peter, and proceeded to get the gayest haircut I think I’ve ever had.

That lady, though? When I paid and started to leave, I looked at her, and she was sitting there with a hand over her mouth, though I can’t honestly say if it was in shame or disbelief.

I don’t care if anyone thinks I’m gay. It’s not offensive. But that attitude?


Don’t care much now, though. I love my gay haircut. And tonight, I dye again.


25 December 2012


He was very into things today...trying to take over a toy meant for Butters, helping unwrap gifts and playing Monopoly. By the time that bow went on his head, he was probably 4 kinds of nipped out.

No, no Buddah pictures. He slept through it all. But was like he didn't want to miss a thing.

And I'm pretty sure he knows he looks spiffy with the bow.


22 December 2012

My hero...
All right, first, you need to go read Max's blog post for today. Go ahead. I'll wait.

The little shit has every right to brag. He worked his ass off to get me out of bed and into the living room, and when I finally followed him, he stopped in front of the fireplace and looked at me like, "I love this thing, but I know this isn't right."

And yes, he earned more crunchy treats than he normally gets.

The thing is, it's not the first time. When he was only about a year and a half old, he quite possibly saved our lives.

At least this time he didn't have to bite me, but I have no doubt that he would have if he needed to.


21 December 2012

Dressed a lot like this...ThumpaElf
I’m sitting here in Starbucks, supposedly working, but there’s a table not too far from me with a couple of women and their kids, three little girls who all look to be about 6-7 years old. They’re all being very good, but they’re also obviously wound up—hopped up on caffeine, sugar, and expectation—and are wiggling around in their chairs like 3 little girls are wont to do.

I had been sitting here for all of five minutes when I realized they were talking about me. Granted, they are all trying very hard to not speak loudly and point, but they’re also very young and their whispers make a stage whisper sound muffled. And bear in mind, I’m dressed pretty much like an elf: red pants, green sweatshirt, and my Santa hat.

Hey, it's festive. This is the only time of year I can get away with this. And I love my red pants, dammit.

Girl 1: I think that’s Santa’s wife! That’s Mrs. Claus!

Girl 2: Why is she here?

Girl 3: She likes coffee!

Girl 1: No! She’s taking notes!

Girl 3: Mrs. Claus has pink hair! Look!

Girl 2: I’m being good.

Girl 1: Mommy, are we still being good if we ask for another cookie?

I’ve only been here for about 30 minutes, but I’ve overheard each of them being called by their names…if any of them walk past me to go into the bathroom, I am going to be sorely tempted to say hello and use their names.

That’ll freak the little rugrats out.


16 December 2012

Ok, so for far too many people, crappy week was…crappy. One farkwad shot up a mall, followed by another shooting up a school...The enormity is hard to comprehend; the loss of so many kids is especially hard to understand.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s difficult to comprehend shooting anyone. For anything. I cannot wrap my head around being so broken that I would pick up a weapon and take out so many innocent people. I’ve been angry enough to want to bitchslap a person back into the 1800s, but have never felt like I wanted someone dead.

But…that’s not even what this is about. This is about the collective pain felt around the world. I doubt unless you’ve been in that situation, you can really empathize with the victims or their families and friends, but you can still feel buried in sorrow, disbelief, anger…and impotence.

That impotence, the wanting so desperately to be able to do something for someone you can really do nothing for, I understand that. I would think that we all do, because there aren’t many people out there who haven’t wanted to reach out in a situation where one simply cannot.

In spite of the violence of this past week, I still stand firmly in my belief that most people are basically good. There is evil in this world, but more than that, there is good.

If you look hard enough, it’s all around you.

A few weeks ago, someone on reddit posted a question: what’s the nicest thing someone has done for you?

A lot of people have done a lot of nice things for me, but the one that immediately popped into my head… First off, if you’ve read my blog from the beginning, or near it, you know that I have diabetes insipidus, one of the lingering issues from a pituitary tumor in 2002. The result of that is that I am frequently thirsty. Very thirsty. It’s a violent thirst that until I experienced it, I never would have imagined it possible.

I take medication for it, but sometimes it wears off early, and I turn into a drinking and peeing machine.

One afternoon I was at Walmart, and started feeling the thirst ramp up. So on my way out, before it reached proportions of Oh Holy Hell, I stopped at the vending machine to get a soft drink. Hey, 50 cent Walmart brand diet cola-like product, not so shabby, and it would do the trick.

I stood there, wrist deep into my pocket trying to find enough change, muttering to myself because all I could feel bouncing off my fingertips were a couple of dimes and a few pennies, when this guy reached over my shoulder and dropped a couple of quarters into the machine and said it was on him.

Before I could protest—I had a dollar in my wallet and the machine took bills, too—or even really thank him, he had turned and was walking away at a pretty good clip.

This guy had no way of knowing that I wasn’t just some chubby, middle aged housewife caving into a sweet tooth and getting a sugar-laden can of crap. He had no way of knowing that I was truly thirsty, deep down painfully thirsty. He just saw someone struggling to come up with a couple of quarters, and was thoughtful enough, and generous enough, to buy her a no-return-expectations drink.

It was such a small gesture, yet for me huge in the generosity of it, that it stuck with me.

Random act of kindness.

I’ve thought about that question posed on reddit on and off since. As I recall, there were thousands of answers, but that didn’t and doesn’t surprise me. People do nice things for other people all the time, all these seemingly little things that add up to making others—and yourself—feel good.

In the last week, two major things have made us all feel horrible. You know it’s a special kind of awful when the news anchors and the President are choking back tears. You know it’s heinous when you sit there watching news you don’t want to see yet can’t turn away from, with your hands held tightly over your mouth in utter disbelief. You know it’s a collective agony when you find yourself mourning people you never had a personal connection to, crying for someone else’s children, battling the thoughts of how horrible it all is.

The shoes by the door that will never again be worn. Underwear wadded up in that little-kid way in dresser drawers that might stay there untouched for a decade. Toys left scattered in back yards that will never again be played with. Christmas presents under the tree that will be put away, never unwrapped. Laughter that will never again tease a parent’s ear.

It hurts so much because we can all connect ourselves to the idea of loss, the deep terror of losing a child, the depth of the something we never want to experience. The depth of what no parent should ever experience.

We can’t take the pain away from the parents, families, friends, spouses, and significant others of those ripped away in the last two weeks.

But we can do something.

Even little things.

Make this the week you do random acts of kindness. From tomorrow, December 17th until December 23rd, deliberately do things, large or small, for someone else.

Tip your waiters and waitresses a little bit heavy.

Make a grocery run just for your local food bank.

Wave your skepticism aside and hand over $5 to the guy on the corner with the cardboard sign.

Buy a few extra toys for Toys for Tots.

Pay for a stranger’s coffee.

Buy dinner for that young couple three tables over.

Rake the leaves in your elderly neighbor’s yard.

Visit random acts of pizza, feed someone.

Shove a couple of quarters into a vending machine for someone you don’t know, and walk away quietly.

Just for a week, make the effort to see what small things you can do for someone else.

I promise, you’ll feel good.

And if the world really does end on the 21st, well, at least you’ll go out knowing your last days were spent trying to make this a better place, even for just a few random people.

Share the idea with your friends. Let's really do this.

Kindness needs to win.


14 December 2012

On days like this, when the news is just one horrific, heartbreaking story, heading out and seeing the shiny things is not a bad way to spend the day.

It also doesn't hurt to be able to go see kitties up for adoption from the SPCA in the Macy's store window.


7 December 2012

I asked for a prayer not mojo. I need God’s help. I don’t need some throwback to Austin Powers.

And thusly began a conversation that never should have occurred…

It’s semantics. If you post a status on Facebook asking for prayers because your son’s teacher’s cousin’s hamster has wet tail, what you’ll get from me is “Sending tons of Mojo.”

It’s the same thing. Those prayers, well wishes, Mojo—it’s all the same thing. It goes to the same place. And it’s really not up to anyone else to define for me how I express that. If I had posted “Suck it up, Sunshine,” then sure, you should have a problem with that (unless you’re one of my personal little sideshow freaks that likes to make me dance and do tricks for donations, then I will totally call you Sunshine and tell you what to suck, where, when, and how hard.) But sending Mojo—and meaning it—is, in my book, every bit as valid as saying I’ll pray for someone.

In my case, it’s far more genuine.

You’re not Christian. You might say you are, but you’re not. I’ve never, not once, seen you post anything calling to God’s glory or offering a genuine prayer.

No, and you probably never will. I might blog about my religious leanings, but I’m not going to get on Facebook or anywhere else and wax religious. I will not post a prayer. I will not post “Oh, glory be to God” or anything like it.

Why not?

Read the Book of Matthew.

Matthew 6:5 -- And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Matthew 6:6 -- But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

King James Version

Pretentious piety; I’ve been accused of it before, in a weird sort of way. But I truly have little stomach for those who wave religion like a banner, who seem to have a need to make sure every single person in their personal atmosphere knows how they pray, to whom they pray, and for what they pray.

Yes, ask me to pray for you, or for anything that’s important to you; I believe in the power of prayer and have no issue with those who ask for it. But don’t tell me how to respond to that. Mojo, prayer; same thing. You’re getting offended by the answer you wanted; I just don’t phrase it in the manner you choose.

Suppose I was an atheist and offered you Mojo or well wishes? Would you still be offended?

Probably. And I don’t find that especially charitable.

You’re not a real Christian. That’s my point. You don’t live by the Bible. For God’s sake, you support gay marriage, which is so anti-Christian I don’t even know where to start. Marriage is a Christian institution.

Yes, I support gay marriage. And it has a great deal to do with religion, and protecting religious freedoms. It’s because I deeply value freedom of and freedom from religion. It’s because marriage is not a Christian institution; marriage is, fundamentally, a covenant between two people and whomever or whatever they believe. It has nothing to do with Christianity.

By defining marriage as a Christian institution, you’re basically saying that most of the world has no right to marry. No one Jewish, Muslim, Hindi, Buddhist, Sheikh… very few people in this world, by that definition, would be allowed to marry.

Does anyone seriously believe that only Christians should marry?

And let’s be honest; you’re picking and choosing which parts of the Bible to follow, and deciding everyone else needs to follow it the way you do.

Think about it.

Look at the people around you. Even the ones you only know peripherally. Have any of them ever committed adultery?

Everyone knows someone who has.

G'head...pick one up and chuck it...
What did you do about it? I’m guessing not much. You certainly didn’t start chucking rocks at them, yet that’s what the Bible tells you to do: those who commit adultery are supposed to be stoned, and not in the happy Mary-Jane kind of way.

Ever wear a lycra sports bra under your cotton shirt? You’re mixing fabrics. That’s a no-no.

The Bible tells us to do a lot of things we won’t, because in today’s climate they feel wrong. We don’t sell our daughters into slavery. We don’t conduct ritual animal sacrifice. We just don’t do those things…but the Bible tells us to.

So the argument that I should not support gay marriage because it’s a violation of a biblical principle doesn’t wash with me. And I find those who use it as an argument to banish the mere notion of gay marriage to be horrifically hypocritical.

Don’t use the Bible as your foundation for your point of view unless you are truly following it.

No one is asking you to believe that gay marriage is fine; many are, however, asking that you allow them the same religious freedoms you enjoy, and to stop blocking them from practicing religion in the manner they see fit. You’re picking and choosing the parts of the Bible that are important to you and your life; give that same freedom to everyone else.

Even if it is fundamentally wrong in God’s eyes, it’s not up to you to stand in someone else’s way on His behalf. God will sort everyone out in the end…and that includes you.

You have no testimony. None.

But I do. I just don’t put it out there publically. If I attended a church, I would share my testimony there. What I won’t do is anything that I would interpret as being a public show of piety. Again, go read the Book of Matthew.

You’re supposed to glorify God. You’re suppose to bring others to Him, not guide them away. Anything less is offensive to God, and I don’t see why anyone would want to anger Him.

I don’t think you can bring someone to faith and to God by denying them basic human civil rights. I don’t think you can bring someone to faith by beating them over the head with yours. I really don’t think you can bring someone to faith telling them that they are less than you believe yourself to be, and because they don’t share your religion that they’re going to burn in hell.

I think God is a better man than that.

I think you can bring a person closer to faith by leading by example.

I think bringing someone to faith is done quietly and compassionately.

I think more than anything written on pages that have been translated and interpreted more times than can be counted, what matters is basic human kindness.

If you can nail down the innate kindness thing, you’re doing it right.

So…no, I will rarely say in a public venue that I am praying for you. I will offer up my own brand of it; I will wish for you all the Mojo the cosmos has for you. I will wish you well, and I will mean it. But I will not type out a prayer, because that is just not me.

I will not squash someone else’s freedom to be who they are, simply because I don’t understand it, or because it doesn’t exactly mesh with my idea of perfect right.

You're not him; don't be him.
If you want to base everything on what the Bible says, look to Matthew 7:1-2 -- Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you again.

Look to Luke 6:31 -- And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

In other words, don’t deny people the same things you have as a matter of course. It’s not very…Christian.

Don’t you believe in anything?

I believe in compassion. Parity. Equality. Fairness. And kindness.

Most of all, I believe in kindness.

Be kind, and let others find and define their own relationship with God. Even if it does bug you.


2 December 2012

You guys know my cats have blogs, and that pretty much puts me right smack dab into the middle of Crazy Cat Lady territory. In my head, Max writes his own blog entries. He writes his own books. I just type the words out for him.

Cat blogging, as funny as it sounds and as odd as it seems, got huge in the last few years. When Max started, I couldn’t find any other cat-written blogs. Afterward, I found two, Prince Muddy Paws and Timothy Dickens, but it was a while before I found anymore of them. People found Max, and began their own cat blogs. People found those people…now there are so many that I only know a relative few of them. I have nearly 300 in a newsfeed, but that’s a fraction of the cat blogs out there—and that doesn’t count the cat-oriented blogs that are written by humans about cats.

A funny thing happened while the cat blogosphere expanded. People started peeking out from behind their cat facades and began talking to each other. Sometimes in email, sometimes in texts or chat rooms, but when Facebook exploded, the people behind the cat blogs really started to connect.

You can’t convince me that real friendships cannot be developed online. You can’t convince me that people have to meet face to face in order to sincerely care about each other. I have friends—not necessarily cat bloggers—who met online, then in person, and eventually got married. I have friends who have found their BFFs online. I have made some of the best friends of my life, people in whom I have a considerable amount of trust, and I have reconnected with old friends.

Sandy, Ian (aka Murf, aka Undr), Char, Michelle (aka DKM), Roberta (mom to the Grate Jeter Harris Hizzelf)…I have come to know and love a whole bunch of people I never would have known or reconnected with if not for being online.

Being online, and being a part of the cat blogosphere, has given me some solid relationships that have endured and undoubtedly will endure. Hell, Sandy and I met on Prodigy over 20 years ago. Remember Prodigy? It was one of the first online services, with its Crayola-colored pages and black and white message boards; it was the first to usher out a web browser. It was slow and clunky, but it predated AOL and people began to connect there. It’s been gone for years, but Sandy and I are still friends. We still email each other nearly every day.

The cat blogosphere has given me Michelle and Roberta and Karen and so many other friends. By extension, it’s given me the 3 Day, and all the walking that goes with preparing for that. And that has given me back mobility I was surely losing.

So to keep beating you over the head with it…the online connections matter. They are every bit as real as friendships fostered IRL.

That realness, the very tangible emotional threads that people use to bind themselves in increasing degrees to others, has made the Cat Blogosphere a sad place this week. There is a rawness of sorrow, grief mixed with both relief and puzzlement. There have been genuine, gut-wrenching tears, as we find ourselves having to murmur “See you on the flipside” to two wonderful people.

One loss was expected, a battle against cancer hard-fought and surrounded by whispers and prayers of hope; that the end was expected didn’t diminish the profundity of sadness or volume of tears shed. She was treasured and she was loved by so many people who never had the chance to meet her face to face. Her loss will be felt for a very long time.

Another loss came like a slap in the face, a cold wet hand swung unexpectedly in the dark, the sting such a surprise that at first there was numbness, that electric tingling that blankets a person before the pain sets in. It was a loss that will forever engender questions of “Why?” and “What did we not see? What could we have done?

I admit, I did not know either of these women well, but their passing has rocked the CB, and deeply affected people to whom I am close. I ache for them; my grief is largely for them. There are no words adequate enough to act as a salve for their wounds; there is nothing I could say or do to really lessen the pain.

I knew their cats. That seems like an odd thing to think or say out loud, but I read their blogs and developed affection for the furry kids they loved. I will not pretend my feelings sting as much as do those who knew them well, but there’s an honesty in the tears that form in a lump in my throat and the ones I try to blink back.

I hurt for my friends, for their enormous losses.

I ache for the questions that will be left unanswered.

Death by any means just sucks. It doesn’t matter if someone passes in degrees, pushing back hard against a disease that is picking away at them piece by piece. It doesn’t matter if someone dies by his or her own hand. It matters that they are gone, and there are deep, black, empty holes where their laughter and smiles should be.

It’s a pain I understand; I’ve lost too many friends over the years—IRL and online--and I can feel the losses still. That pain will always linger in the back of my mind, and when a week like this happens, when the losses are huge—even if I did not know them well—I can feel it pushing back at me. I can taste the memory of loss, the bitterness that can’t be covered with a hot drink nor spit out like a bit of bad food.

Two very wonderful women are gone in this last week; hundreds of people who never met them in person are feeling grief that is every bit as real as the grief felt by the lucky few who did.

The cat blogosphere may be a quiet place for a few days; instead of our cats chattering about the misery of having to live with people, there will be tributes to both bloggers, women who will be sorely missed. There will be worry over their families, and worry over their furballs. There will be wishes for peace and the relief from pain, and prayers offered out of genuine love and affection.

I have doubts about many things involving religion and how we perceive God and God’s love, but I have no doubt that there is something after this, something wonderful.

I also have no doubt that both women will find their way there, and there will be someone to greet them, and to offer them the warmth of a tight, loving hug.

It does not matter how you die; what matters is how you lived.

JudiBug and Jan…they lived well and were loved, and even those of us who did not get to know them well will miss them.

And you can be sure, if I know you, even “just online” and something happens, I will feel every stab of grief there is. And if I have come to treasure you—and there are so many people that I do—I will be gutted.

Please don’t die.

Please live.