Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Every year at the school I work at they have a Thanksgiving prayer service. Everyone writes letters to people thanking them for something and some of the students and teachers read their letters at the prayer service. This year one of the seniors read a letter to her mom, who is dying of cancer right now. It was very difficult for me to listen to.

In fact, I didn't want to go to the service at all, because I knew she would be reading it and I knew it would be hard. Will told me that it might be good for me, but that it would also be pretty rough to listen to. I responded that I wish the things that were good for me didn't always involve roughing me around. He said that if I didn't need to be roughed around, then it wouldn't rough me around. I hadn't thought of it in that light before.

Grieving is awful. Even the word "grieve" is a horrible sounding word. It sounds like the name of a damage-over-time spell that a warlock would cast on you. But I suppose the sound of the word is the most accurate means of describing what it even feels like. There are times when I feel like the lining of my throat, the inside of my chest, and the coating of my nerves will be grated away to nothing before the end of it. I know, though, because people have told me, that it doesn't ever really end, it just changes into something different. I know because they've told me, but I don't really know yet.

When all my weird physical pain stuff showed no signs of going away, and when I decided that it's just going to be something I'll learn to deal with, my Soke told me that one of the easiest ways to cultivate happiness is to start giving open thanks for the things I have. The tiniest things, here or there, or the big things, just on the spot when I happen to notice them be thankful for them. It helps to actively do this, rather than fret and worry because I know I'm taking so much for granted, which is what I tend to do. My boss at work is one of those people of the mindset that time is a human constraint, and that God is timeless, so it doesn't matter what you pray for and when, even if it's after the fact, because there is no time in the end. I suppose in that line of thinking it is not "too late" to say thank you to somebody after they've already died.

Oh Nancy, I am so grateful that you were a part of my life. There is a rough balance because when something is so important to you, and such a part of you, you just accept it as there and thus it's easier to take for granted.

I am such a lucky person, I had bonus parents! Some people don't even get any, and I was lucky enough to have another set, and to have you. For as long as I can remember you were just a given in my life. Didn't everybody have someone like you in their lives? Of course! It must be so, because it was just so normal, right?

Because of you I love unconditionally. I always assumed it was just stamped onto my personality, but looking back, you helped teach me to love and respect any living thing that wandered into my life. Dogs and cats and fish everywhere, and every one a beloved member of the family. I even remember the time you took in an abandoned litter of baby possums! They may be cute when they're little, but anyone who can unconditionally raise a handful of the ugliest marsupials on the planet, and do so simply because they are alive and need to be cared for, is a powerhouse of compassion. You helped teach me to be that way purely through your example.

As you were dying and after you had died, Greg kept coming to me and saying, through tears, "I want you to know that she loved you..." Then he would pause as if about to explain what he meant more precisely, but moved on instead. I know that you loved me. You were always there. You were there at birthdays, Halloweens, Christmases, and all of my graduations. And, of course, 4th of July. How we didn't burn down someone's house I don't know, but we made it all those years without any casualties! But you were also there on the normal days. The self-made holidays. So, I know you loved me through your actions, just as you taught me about compassion not through telling me, but through your example.

I am at fault as well, for I don't think I ever said the words "I love you" to you until the very end. I remember standing and touching you, and dad reassuring me that you could still hear me, because hearing was the last thing to go. And so I said "I love you," and it felt so fleeting, like I was trying to pack last minute things for you before you went. But I know that you knew I loved you, for all the same reasons, for all the time we had. Still, we humans feel that if we don't verify that time with a seal of words that it's missing something. I guess it's just a human thing.

I remember the last time I saw you before you went into the hospital for the last time. You were over at my parents' with Greg and Joyce and Jim, and you guys were having some kind of crazy wine tasting contest. I'm pretty sure Fleetwood Mac was blaring in the background. You guys were talking about music and when you said "I would totally do Roger Daltry," I knew it was time for me to laugh and head home and leave you guys to your party.

I miss you. I will miss you on Christmas, and it will be really hard for me. I miss you I miss you I miss you. I love you. Thank you.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cat Short

Attention internet! I need your help trying to remember a cartoon short from my youth.

It was a short that ran on Nickelodeon when I was little about two cats. There was a black cat and a gray striped cat, and they pretty much embodied the two stereotypical cat types: the black one was the moody one with an attitude and the gray one was a big doofus. I'd be willing to bet money that it was Canadian, but who can say.

They were normal, everyday cats, and the short had no dialogue and was set to music. It just sort of went through the day as the black cat went along doing normal cat things, and the gray cat innocently caused disaster and screwed things up, angering the black cat. I distinctly remember that every time the black cat got angry there was this shrill, grating sound effect (a lot like feedback on a mike).

Anyway, as the short goes on the black cat just gets angrier and angrier (whiles't the gray cat is oblivious and cheerful). At the very end, the gray cat lays on the black cat or sits on him or something, and the black cat is furious, and you think he's going to attack the gray cat. Then gray cat licks him on the face, and black cat's anger sort of fizzles out, and he's sort of like "oh well" and they fall asleep.

I remember the short distinctly, but I don't have anything I could pinpoint to, say, find it on youtube, or something.

(fyi, 's recent posts about Athena and Ben remind me of the short so much, which is why it's been on my mind lately.)

EDIT: Steph wins the prize! The short is "House Cats" by Peg McClure *quietly puts a tic mark in the "California" column*. It is also apparently not up on the internet anywhere.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

New Shoes New Shoes

Wow! I was quite amazed by the response to my vacation post! I think that I've finally boiled down to how to decide, at least. Rolling the die of fate is out, as Allison pointed out that it, in accordance to tradition, would have to be a 5-sided die with one side being the she-bear, and I'm not willing to take that chance.

Building a cage, while entertaining for the masses, would take a lot of work. Plus, it would involve getting all the combatants in town at the same time. That would make for a great party, but I realize people have very busy schedules.

The essays are too good and persuasive for me to choose! I think I'm going to have to just sit down and decide with LOGIC.

In other news, I need new shoes. As far as shoes I wear on a daily basis to work and such, I own one pair that I've had since high school. I tend to have a pretty good run with shoes ever since those Doc Martens I bought in the 8th grade (which lasted me through college). Anyway, my current pair of shoes is starting to come apart at the seams, and I think that it's time.

I hate shoe shopping, though, and I'm worried that in the current age of "let's make all merchandise crappily with a 4-year life span so people will have to buy more stuff later," I may not be able to find a pair of good shoes that will last me another decade. Does anyone have any suggestions of brands that are still reliable?

More important, perhaps, who will escort me on this shoe buying adventure? I'm not going to endure the drudgery of shoe shopping alone, I'll tell you this.

EDIT: Okay, I totally remembered that Scott loves shoe shopping! We went out today and bought a new pair of Doc Martens in record time! Shoe problem solved.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Where to go?

Since I have a grown-up job right now, I get vacation time! I'm looking ahead a few months and trying to figure out how I want to use it. I want to spend time visiting places and seeing friends, but financially I am limited to probably just one visit. But where!

I want to visit Squirt and D Flo in Chicago
I want to visit Steph and Strother in California
I want to visit Wheeler, Marji, and Hanna in Atlanta
I want to visit Carleton, Matt, and Ian in New York

As of yet I do not have a clear idea for how to make this decision, and this is assuming said people would be up for receiving visitors (which many of them have already told me they would be). I am thinking of a few strategies...

1) Roll the 4-sided die of fate

2) Ask people who would like me to visit to write an essay, no more than 1 page double spaced, describing the reasons why their particular location is the best to visit, and decide based on that.

3) Cage match

4) Sit down and figure out what is financially feasible and who I have visited in the past and not visited yet and who I'll be seeing over the holidays, etc. etc. Basically treating it like an actual decision that is worthy of thought.

I'm leanin towards...maybe #3?