Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Everything I Need to Know...

I was recently asked to write something for a "memory book" for my kindergarten teacher, who has terminal cancer. Someone asked if I still remembered my kindergarten teacher--of course! Okay, it probably helps that I grew up in a small town, where many of my teachers were friends of my parents and parents of my friends, but I'm sure I would remember her, regardless. Who could forget kindergarten?

Back in the dark ages, when I was a child, kindergarten had yet to be mandated as part of the public schools, so the one I attended was private. There were no pre-schools at that time in that small town, so kindergarten was our first exposure to organized learning. (There were day-cares, of course, but the focus there was generally on social activities. Lots of playing outside--remember that? Children played OUTside? On rickety metal swingsets and asphalt playgrounds? And lived to tell the tale?) Purdy's Kindergarten was in the lower level of Mrs. Purdy's house, and playtime was often outside there, as well. No asphalt, though--no, we played in the big backyard, which if I remember correctly was not even FENCED IN (gasp!), and had great fun running and hiding and swinging in the thicket of grapevines. We also learned rudimentary language and mathematic skills, of course, and the other children were so impressed that I could already write "real words." Hee. (My mother was a reading teacher and a pianist--I got a nice headstart on reading both words and musical notation. Thanks, Mom.)

I was an excruciatingly shy child. Excruciatingly. While I was quite a chatterbox at home, in public, with strangers...well, no one could have been blamed for thinking me a mute. I refused to even answer the roll call. I'm not sure exactly what I thought would happen if I dared to verbalize a response in front of the other children, but whatever my childish reasoning, refuse I did. Said refusal did, however, set the stage for perhaps the most gallant act of chivalry ever performed on my behalf. Across the table from me sat the most fascinating person I'd ever seen--a young boy with a Dennis the Menace-esque shock of bright orange hair and freckles ALL OVER HIS FACE. John Robert. (Not John, or Johnny, or Johnny-Bob. John Robert.) I was enthralled. I stared at him whenever I thought he wasn't looking. Eventually he noticed, and stared back, and before you know it, we were deep in puppy love. We held hands and played together outside, and then one day he performed the ultimate act of love. When Mrs. Purdy called my name (and I, as usual, refused to answer), he ducked his head to the side and squeaked "Here." Mrs. Purdy was no fool, and figured out instantly what he'd done, and he got scolded. Yes, my brave young fellow put himself on the line for me, all right. (Where are all the gallant older fellows willing to put themselves at such risk for their lady fair? Sigh. Sadly, we ended up going to different elementary schools the next year, and the love affair was over. Oh, what might have been. Hee.)

Well my shyness persisted, of course...things like that don't resolve overnight, but Mrs. Purdy never pushed me, and eventually I began to come out of my shell. Oh, not enough to lead the class in the Pledge of Allegiance--are you crazy? I don't need a little flag sticker beside my name THAT badly!--but it got better. She arranged playdates for me with some of the other shy little girls, and eventually I was a functioning member of kindergarten society.

So yeah, I remember my kindergarten teacher. My parents have kept her posted through the years about my singing and acting achievements, about which she was thrilled. (My mother still delights in telling my friends the story of how I was afraid to speak out loud. She particularly likes to tell the story after she sees me onstage in some especially outrageous role. "Remember how you used to be afraid to answer the roll in kindergarten? Look at you now!") We're going to do a performance of the play I'm currently working on (the one that's travelling to Louisiana next month for competition) in my hometown, and my mother was very much hoping Mrs. Purdy would be well enough to come. Sadly, that won't be the case.

I hope her family got lots of remembrances from her decades of young pupils. I hope she's enjoyed reading them, and knowing that she had a positive influence on our lives. Thanks to her, to paraphrase an old Gospel hymn, "When the roll is called up yonder, I'll to say HERE!"

Monday, February 26, 2007

And when I dream....

I'm happy to report that I had no dead celebrity dreams this weekend. I did have another dream about Anna Nicole, but she wasn't dead this time. Howard K. Stern and her former assistant Kimmie were in it, as well. I lay the blame for that dream at the door of Entertainment Tonight's weekend edition, which I made the mistake of watching right before bedtime, and which was pretty much all Anna, all the time, with an "exclusive" interview of said Kimmie. Poor girl. She's tried hard to be the sole person who ever had a connection with Anna Nicole to retain a shred of dignity (as much dignity as someone with a tattoo of Anna Nicole's face on her bicep can EVER hope to have, of course), and then some schmuck started up a website, claiming to be her, and making all kinds of accusations she felt compelled to refute. It's just fucked-up all around. Sigh.

I also had a dream that I was doing a play with Sam Lloyd, who plays Ted on "Scrubs," and we ended up dating, and it was quite delightful. He was very funny. (And yes, I would totally hit that, given a chance. Quirky and funny definitely do it for me. Plus he sings. All good. Call me, Sam! Unless you're married--are you married? I like my imaginary boyfriends to be single. Hee.)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Flotsam

Lacking inspiration for a "real" post, I'll just share some of the random thoughts floating through my (medicine) head.

Had another terrible dream last night. No dead celebrities in this one; no, it was even worse. I dreamed I ran into the ex-boyfriend that would absolutely top my list of Ex-Boyfriends I Never Want To Run Into. You know the one--the one that caused the most pain, the relationship that had the most devastating ending--THAT one. The one that I pleaded with not to contact me, and in a final (and uncharacteristically) generous act, he didn't. It's been 15 years now, but I still don't want to be reminded. Yet there he was, in my dream, and to top it off, he was with an attractive girl young enough to be his daughter. And all my dream self could think about was how the last time I saw him, I was young and thin and hot and now...well, none of the above. Thank god it's never happened in real life. (I did run into him a few months after the breakup, in a store, and we both stopped in our tracks, stared at each other for a few seconds, then ran off in opposite directions.) to get off that cold medicine!

My new pet traffic peeve: when you're sitting at a secondary road, waiting to pull out onto an arterial road, it is NOT okay to go ahead and pull 1-2 feet into the road. It's NOT. Many of the roads in this part of Tulsa are pretty narrow--they're once-generous two-lane roads that have been turned into stingy four-lane roads, and when some asswipe is sitting with the front end of his car in your narrow lane, directly in your path, you must either a) hit him (not recommended, though tempting), b) come to a screeching halt (and risk being rear-ended for your trouble), or c) swerve into the lane next to you (and hope that lane is not already occupied by another vehicle). There's been an epidemic of this lately on my way to work, and all I have to say is "keep the hell out of my lane, bozo!"

A related peeve: if you can't keep your giant SUV/pickup truck/van within the confines of those admittedly stingy lanes, stay the hell out of this part of town! It's not my fault you drive an oversized vehicle, and I am not generous enough to graciously let you have part of my lane, as well. "Keep the hell out of my lane, Bozo!" The bus drivers are staying within the lines--so can you.

An unrelated peeve: McBeady spent the night again last night, and when I went home at noon, he was still there, all alone, sleeping in Dolly's bed. You lazy slacker! Send her out alone whatever it is you two do during the day, while you snooze in her bed and eat her food. (I knew he was no good.)

A random sighting: twice now I've seen Frankenbuick's country cousin, "Frankenpickup," which has body panels in 3 different colors. They're everywhere--look out!

An "at myself" peeve: Every night this week I have fallen asleep on the couch during the 8:00 programming hour. Has this prompted me to go ahead and set the VCR as a contingency? No. No, it has not. Grrr.

And let's just wrap this up with a discussion of the weather, 'kay? You may have noticed that I have not been complaining about the weather. That's been because there's been nothing to complain about--it's been lovely. Sunny skies, daytime temps in the 60s and even 70s. I was out this morning in my bare feet. It's been great, BUT...(you knew there'd be a but, didn't you?)...BUT, the early bulb flowers are starting to send up their delicate little shoots and buds, and we are still several weeks away from the official "frost free" date. Which means there is a high likelihood that the poor little budding daffodils and tulips are going to get "nipped." Sigh. This happened last year to ALL of my tulips, and all but one sad little clump of daffodils. Not one of my beautiful bright red tulips lived to see the spring. It made me sad. :(

Is that it? Is that all the flotsam? I believe it is. Oh, wait...except for one consumer tip. Do NOT, for any reason, even if they're 75% off, let yourself be suckered into buying Russell Stover's sugar-free Valentine's chocolates. Blecchhh. There aren't words for how bad. Blecch. I wanted to wipe my tongue down after eating one. You've been advised.

Have a great weekend! I will attempt to do the same. But I'll be happy if I just make it through the weekend dreaming only of LIVE celebrities. Hee.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Somebody make it stop

Please, let's get Anna Nicole in the ground somewhere. Anywhere. And then let's shut up about it.

I had a dream last night that I was working in the mortuary where her body was being held, and we were trying to arrange her decaying self for the viewing, and it was just creepy and horrible. I blame this in part on the fairly large amount of cold medicine I've downed in the last two days, but I'm sure it's probably also because the news coverage has seeped into my subconscious to the point that I'M ARRANGING ANNA NICOLE'S DEAD BODY IN MY SLEEP!

Be afraid for me. Be afraid for us all.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I always wanted to be a mime--NOT.

Okay, just because I know you all are wondering, and because I must keep up my reputation as the winner of the Poppy Award for most feral cat posts in a single blog, I will update you (briefly) on the exploits of Dolly and McBeady. Well, McBeady dove into the water and pulled Dolly out, only to have her "die" on the table...oh, wait. That's McDREAMY. My bad. McBEADY has been keeping a low profile. I know he's been by a time or two to mooch food, 'cause I've smelled him, but as far as I know there's only been one late-night booty call. I will give him this, though--the boy is willing to spend the rest of the night cuddling. Actually, he and Dolly seemed to have had a lovely entire MORNING in bed a couple of days ago, as they were still there cuddling when I went home for lunch. I think I'm a little jealous. (How embarrassing for me. Hee.)

On to other things.

I seem to be trying to catch a cold--no, wait. I hate that expression. I am trying very hard NOT to catch a cold. Zicam, echinacea, vitamin C--you name it, I've popped it. I rarely get colds--it's been 3 years almost exactly since my last one. Why do I remember so exactly, you ask? Funny story...

Three years ago I was cast in a musical. I hadn't done a full-out musical in 15+ years, at that point. For whatever reason, I tend to prefer that my theatre be theatre and my music be music, but I decided to make an exception. It seemed like a fun show--kind of "Greater Tuna"-esqe in that 5 actors are cast to play 35-40 characters, and it's all lightning-fast quick changes. Over 100 quick changes in the wings--thank god for the dressers. And lots of running madly through the cross-over to re-enter the stage on the opposite side of where you just exited as a different character. Fun stuff. We experienced some adversity along the way to opening night: a cast member dropped out and was replaced by someone who was...less talented, the director/choreographer dropped out and was replaced by a director who couldn't choreograph and then we had to find a choreographer. It was a little stressful, to say the least, and tech week was a nightmare, but by opening night, we had a pretty darned good show. There was a big themey shindig/gala before the show on opening night for patrons willing to shell out extra bucks for such, and I stopped by to say hello to some friends there on my way to the theatre. Probably shouldn't have done that, as I think that may have been where the cold bug bit me. At any rate, opening night was a great success. Kudos all around!

The next morning I awoke with a bit of a tickle in my throat, but it wasn't bad, and I didn't have any trouble performing in the matinee that afternoon. We had several days off before the next weekend's perforances, so I thought I'd be fine. All week long, I took my zinc, my echinacea, my Throat Comfort tea, but come Thursday night, I took a definite turn for the worse. I made it through Thursday night's show okay--actually my voice sounded and felt pretty good by the second act. I went to bed confident I'd passed the hump.

What was I thinking with all this optimism? This is MY life we're talking about. Friday morning I was much, much worse. I started to panic--this is volunteer theatre, and there are no understudies. What if I couldn't go on? I remembered a college classmate having cortisone shot into his nose to enable him to get through his starring role in West Side Story. I remembered hearing about some miracle injection Madonna's doctors give her when her voice flags on tour. I pulled out the phonebook and discovered not a single Ear, Nose and Throat doctor in this town works on Friday. I called my GP, and tried to relay the urgency of the situation to the receptionist. "Yes, I know it's just a cold, but I have to go onstage tonight and sing and dance in front of 400 people--I need help!" She squeezed me in for an appointment that morning, and the doctor prescribed oral prednisone, but I'm sorry to report that oral pred is NOT the miracle Madonna cure I was hoping for.

Friday night's show was brutal. To add to the fun, my period started about 10 minutes before places. I threw down a big handful of ibuprofen and thanked god that it didn't start 10 minutes after places, but it sure didn't help my general feeling of doom. But the show must go on, right? Right. I set up a little medicine cabinet in the wings--cough drops, throat spray, Throat Comfort tea and a honey bear, but the voice just got worse and worse, and my spirits dragged and dragged. Between every scene, I took to squirting honey straight down my throat,and between the sugar and the cold meds, every nerve in my body was just JANGLING. More than once I came offstage and pleaded with my dresser: "Just shoot me. SOMEBODY PLEASE JUST SHOOT ME."

Nobody would.

By the end of the show, I was "dramatically speaking" all my big songs. I'm told, and I hope they weren't just being kind, that it kind of worked, in a way. I dragged myself home after the curtain call, comforting myself that it surely couldn't get any worse.

Saturday morning my voice was gone. Absolutely, completely gone. I called the producer and managed to squeak out enough of a whisper that he knew what was up. "Don't worry," he said, "we'll figure something out. Just show up at the theatre a little early tonight." When I got to the theatre, there was a plan. The musical director would sing my songs from her position onstage at the piano, and the stage director would read my lines from a position to the side of the stage. I would lip-synch, songs AND dialogue, and do the dances/blocking/costume changes. And, not to toot my own horn, but I am apparently one helluva lip-syncher. They said, from the back of the theatre, it looked real. We had, of course, announced to the audience what was going on--we weren't REALLY trying to fool anyone, but I'm told it was a little spooky nonetheless. And you know what? That show, by comparison, was FUN! I had been so miserable, trying to get through the previous two shows with my failing voice, that to be told all I had to do was go out there and mime it? Utter relief. I danced and gestured and mimed my little heart out. Hee. That was the night my family and several friends had chosen to attend, of course, but at least they got to see something different, right?

My voice stayed gone for several days, and I swore I'd never do another musical during cold and flu season, a vow I've kept, though I did do another musical that summer. WITH A BROKEN ARM. (Is the universe trying to tell me something?) I haven't had a cold since. Until now, maybe...though I plan to keep up the fight. Help me, Zicam--you're my only hope. And I'd still like to know more about the mythical Madonna injection--maybe it's just Kabbalah water! Hee.

Monday, February 19, 2007

"You're the next lime..."

Stefanie's post of "running into someone she knows at Target while not looking her best" sent me wandering down memory lane. The particular memory that had me giggling involved Walmart, not Target, and if you're wondering why Walmart instead of Target, it's because the small town I grew up in did not (and does not still) have a Target. We did have one of the very first Walmarts outside of Arkansas, store #10, and at that time Sam Walton, who by all accounts was a pretty good guy, was still running the show, as opposed to his children, who are in charge now, and who by all accounts are evil. The coming of Walmart was actually very exciting back then. But I digress.

I spent a few college summers doing outdoor theatre. It paid just enough to get by, and once we moved from rehearsals into performance, left our days (and our late nights) pretty much free for "recreation." Said recreation during the day generally involved laying in the sun (since I had yet to develop my fear of skin cancer) near a body of water, and indulging in whatever "substances" we desired and/or could afford. Those were great, lazy summers. I can't remember a more carefree time as an "adult." I met some great people, and indeed, met my BFF there, way back in '84. He figures prominently in this story.

Backstory: BFF is allergic to cats. He can be around them, and can live with them if he takes his asthma medicine like a good boy, but if he touches one, and then touches his eye--well, let's just say his cornea...wrinkles. And reddens. And puffs up. It's every bit as attractive as you're thinking. Earlier that summer, said crinkly cornea had required a trip to the ER for eye drops and a patch.

Well, this one lovely day, we had been at the lake, tanning and partaking lightly of substances. (In my defense, I was young and relatively free of responsibilities. I never missed a night of work, never drove if I was stinking drunk, and I certainly had no children who were being neglected. I did not shave my head, or borrow undergarments from strippers. Not that I'm confessing to anything illicit here. Not at all. Just wanted to get that all on the table, you know, theoretically.) At some point in the day we must have stopped at my house, BFF must have touched a cat and then his eye, because there was suddenly CORNEA WRINKLING. He still had drops from the previous ER visit, but couldn't find the patch.

"You have to go to Walmart and buy me an eyepatch."

"I CAN'T. I have been, theoretically, lightly partaking of some possibly illicit substances, not that I'm confessing to anything."

"You HAVE to. My eye is crinkling."

"All right."

Off I went. Wearing a bathing suit under shorts and a t-shirt, looking like utter hell. I found the eyepatches quickly enough. They were priced under a dollar. I looked in my purse--no cash, forcing to write a check or use my father's credit card, which he was nice (foolish?) enough to give me for emergencies and gas. I had a lot of "emergencies" that summer, mostly involving buying sandwiches from the 24-hour convenience store in the middle of the night. ("What are all these $2 charges to my credit card?" "Umm....sandwiches?") Well, I didn't want to write a check for under a dollar, so I decided to pick up a few other supplies. I wandered the store for a while, and added cheese curls and cookies to my eye patch. (What? You think I had the munchies or something? Well, maybe. Theoretically.) I headed to the front of the store and ran smack dab into the cute guy I had a crush on in high school. Of course. We chatted briefly, me wondering the whole time if he could tell that I was theoretically a bit...fuzzy, and then I moved on to the checkout lane being manned by a friendly-looking older woman. Lucille.

The woman in front of me in line was buying several little toddler outfits. They all looked exactly the same, but one of them didn't have a price tag. "I'll have to call for a price check," said Lucille. Oh great, she's such a stellar employee she won't dare ring in a price without an official tag. (This was before scanning technology. That's how old I am. Hee.) She called for the price check, and we waited. Soon I heard a voice on the loudspeaker: "Lucille, pick up on the red line." Lucille didn't respond. The woman in front of me didn't respond. "Lucille, pick up for your price check." No response. "LuCILLE, pick UP on the red line." No response. I was beginning to wonder if, in my theoretically slightly altered state, I was hearing things. "LUCILLE, the price is $3.95." NOTHING. I began to doubt my sanity. Suddenly Lucille turned to the checker in the next lane and said indignantly, "they never got back to me with that price check." AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

Just at that moment I heard some lovely words: "You're the next in line on register seven." Thank GOD. I ran to register seven, and threw my items down. The cashier was giggling. "I actually said you're the next LIME on register seven." And then she chortled madly. "The next LIME. It gets 'em every time." More mad chortling. At that point I wanted nothing in the world so badly as to get the hell out of that store and throw down some cheese curls. I fixed a grin on my face, and mentally willed her to start checking. She did, asking friendly questions the whole while. It took me a moment to register that she seemed to be a lesbian, and the questions were bordering on flirtatious. Now, normally, that wouldn't freak me out at all, but this wasn't a normal day, and I didn't want flirting from anyone, not even the cute guy from high school. I JUST WANTED OUT OF THERE! Finally she finished ringing me up, I wrote a check and got the hell out. I threw the eye patch at BFF, and screamed something to the effect of "Do not EVER ask me to go to Walmart while I am theoretically under the influence of anything! I don't care if your eyeball FALLS OUT!"

I relayed the whole sad tale, and then we started amusing ourselves imagining that the voice I heard really WAS God, who had taken to communicating over the red line. "Lucille...pick up on the red line to SAVE YOUR IMMORTAL SOUL." Hee.

Twenty-plus years later, BFF and I occasionally say to each other: "You're the next LIME on register seven." And then we chortle. Madly.

Friday, February 16, 2007

By request

My friend Mary asked if I would mind posting a poem my friend George wrote after his first stroke. I am happy to make this today's post.

The Other Side of Me

Before the stroke...
smoked a cigarette,
let things go by...

(Puff, puff) Oh God thank you
Drink, drink (slurp)
More! More!

(Puff, puff) Oh God thank you
Drink, drink (slurp)
More! More!

(big sigh - ahh)

Danced between towns
Never stop.

Oh shit!

After the stroke,
No voice,
Oh shit!
No right arm,
No right hand,
No right leg...

But now I reach for everything...

Breeeathe deeeeply,

(sigh - ahh)

Taste everything.

I'm learning the other side of me.

Now I have time to love,
I love you...oh yes...
I love me!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

That's why the kitty is a tramp.

Well, since I may have just nominated myself for the imaginary "most feral cat posts in a single blog" award (thanks for the inspiration, Stefanie), I'll go ahead and complain about Dolly, the stray who's newly tame--or IS she?

She's been absolutely in love with me the last few days, rubbing and purring and rolling over for belly rubs. Letting me give her drops and pills and fluids and generally acting like I'm her new BFF. Then yesterday her beady-eyed boyfriend came by. He shows up occasionally to eat her food and hiss at me, and I assume he's actually a stray because he's the only one of her passle of "suitors" who didn't immediately leave after his..."happy ending." Of COURSE he's the one she likes--the others were well-fed and healthy-looking, obviously from good (if irresponsible--neuter, folks, neuter!) homes, while this one...well, he's beady-eyed, hissy, more than willing to let her support him and completely ungrateful. I've been calling him "Beady-Eyed Boyfriend," but let's just go ahead and call him "McBeady." (Hee.) He hadn't been around much since Dolly's capture and spay ordeal. I assume she told him what happened, and he's leery of hanging around. Or maybe he heard someone say "I wouldn't mind cutting off your balls as well, Mister Hissy." I'm not denying those words might have been spoken. Ahem.

It's been really, really cold here, and I've rigged this elaborate system of boards, blankets and flannel sheets to block the wind and snow from Dolly's favorite sleeping spot. It's a little cave now, more or less. At any rate, some time last night, after midnight, when I last checked on her, McBeady came calling. Now, I do NOT remember giving permission for Dolly to have overnight guests, particularly this one. (Let's just say he's fond of "marking" his territory and I'm NOT so fond of smelling male cat urine.) But when I went out to feed her this morning, she was acting a little oddly. She let me pet her, but wasn't begging me to pet her, if you see the difference. Suddenly, from inside the cave, I heard a hiss. I drew back the sheet to reveal McBeady, snuggled up in the warmest spot, and shooting me daggers with his beady little eyes. Unac-THeptable! He was there STILL when I went home at noon, and Dolly hardly even noticed my presence. What a bitch. I had no idea when I took her in FROM THE COLD and fed her and tended her and ended her constant baby-making that she was one of those girls who ignores her girlfriends the minute there's a guy around. Sheesh.

Well, since it's cold, and they are snuggling up together for warmth, I'll let him stay just one more night. Tomorrow it's supposed to be in the 50s, and I'm chasing his beady-eyed, stinkin' self right outa there! Yeah, I'm so tough. At the very least, though, he'd better keep an eye on his balls.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wishing you a festive V.D.

Actually, this has been, so far, a better Valentine's Day than most in recent memory. Not only did I get the traditional (workplace name redacted) big, red heart-shaped box of chocolates from the boss, but the owner of the company (not my boss, exactly, but the mother of my boss) decided to buy us pizza for lunch, from my very favorite pizza place. I had "Pizza of the Gods"--artichoke hearts, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic...mmmmmm. Okay, I'll go home tonight to Pudge and the cats, and there will be no wining and dining and declarations of love, but I'm sure the memory of the pizza (and my lingering garlic breath) will carry me through.

I was also invited to today to join a group of women who meet for monthly potluck/drinking/bitching sessions. I was very flattered to be asked, since the insecure, shy child within me is always amazed to think that anyone might be desirous of my company. Which is weird, since I know intellectually that I can be pretty fun to hang with--I'm quick with a quip, and never a mean drunk. At any rate, I accepted eagerly--the women seem to be all very bright and accomplished, and it sounds fun. Drinking and bitching--who wouldn't love that? I thought it was an informal kind of thing, something akin to my "cat lady lunch" group, and then I found out the group actually has a name, and suggestions for potential members are approved in advance by the membership, and for some reason that makes me laugh. I don't know why. I guess I'm just hoping they don't take themselves too seriously. We'll see, I guess. But in the meantime, my inner Sally Fields is saying "They LIKE me! They really LIKE me!" Hee.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Weird, me?

First off, let me share the joyous news that Dolly, my "stray" cat, ate dinner last night, breakfast this morning and lunch about an hour ago. Apparently the fluids were the extra kick she needed, and I'm very, very pleased.

The "Six Weird Things" meme has been going around. No one in particular has tagged me, but since I'm quite sure I can easily come up with plenty of weirdness, I'll have a go.

1. I can't have dirty dishes in my sink. At all. EVER. I don't just mean between dish washings, either, I mean that I will wash the dishes I used to prepare the meal before I sit down to eat said meal. If a pan still has enough food in it, I will let it stay unwashed, on the stove or in the microwave, on the pretext that I might want another helping. Otherwise it must be washed and put away immediately. The eating dishes, too, must be dried and put away immediately. It's an OCD thing. If I leave the dirty dishes in the sink while I'm eating, I can't enjoy the meal, since gnawing at the edges of my mind is the knowledge that there are dirty dishes in the sink. Note: this only applies to MY house. I don't care if there are dirty dishes in your sink while I'm eating at your house. A couple of my friends don't really believe this, and think I'm judging them the whole time I'm there. I'M NOT, I promise. My weirdnesses are my own.

2. I can not only curl my tongue, I can then whistle through my curled tongue. Feel free to picture that--it's undoubtedly as ridiculous as you think. (I can also touch my tongue to my nose, by the way.)

3. More often than I'd care to admit, I am mentally (and sometimes physically, if nobody's watching) typing the words that I hear. So if you see me and think "gee, her fingers twitch a lot," I'm probably just air-typing. No, I don't get it, either. It's probably OCD-related, as well.

4. I don't like hot or sweet beverages with a meal. Tea, water, beer--but it must be cold and there must be many refills. I like to keep the food washed down, apparently.

5. Right sock, left sock, right shoe, left shoe. That's the order.

6. I have to make one last trip to the bathroom right before going to bed, or going onstage. Even if I just went a few minutes earlier. I fully realize it's all in my head, and I've never come close to wetting my pants either in bed or in the middle of a scene. But what if I don't go one more time, and something like that happens? I suppose if something prevented me from making that last trip, I would still be able to go to bed/go on with the show, but why find out?

Okay, there's six, and I realize looking at them that they're almost completely OCD-related. For the record, though, I will stipulate that while I certainly HAVE my OCD "things," they do not completely control my life. I am not Mr. Monk. (Though I lurve him, and Tony Shalhoub, as well.) I can suppress them if I need to, but if giving in to the OCD keeps my kitchen clean (and my house neat and my keys un-lost and myself not locked out, and my clothes all facing the same way in the closet, etc.) and saves me from an embarrassing Fergie-type pants-wetting incident, well...why not? I promise to keep it to myself. I won't come to your house and do your dishes or adjust your tchotchkes or shriek if you have coffee with a meal. I might, however, pluck the yellow leaves off your house plants. I'm only human.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The weekend that was.

Well, I managed to check quite a few things off my to-do list this weekend.

1. Spend more time and money on "feral" cat. Check. She seems to have stopped eating, a few days after her spay. So I made a mad dash to the vet Saturday morning for antibiotics and a bag of fluids, if I was "feeling adventurous," the vet said. Stopped at the store (in my pajamas, basically) for baby food and high quality tuna. I'm sorry to report that she's still not quite right. I did give her fluids last night, and she seemed a little livelier this morning, but she's still only licking at her food. I'm distressed. It looks like I'm going to have to wrangle her back into a crate and take her in, and I think it's going to be even more distressing for HER. Poor baby.

2. Confirm neighbors' suspicions that I'm nuts. Check. I gave subcutaneous fluids to a stray cat in my backyard. I don't know what they thought I was doing. She actually was pretty good through it all, but started to wander around in the midst of it. By some miracle the needle didn't fall out, though, so I grabbed the fluid bag, tucked it under my chin, took hold of the drip lines and just followed her around until she settled back down. I must have looked insane.

3. Performed the "Fridiron." Check and check. No real stories to tell, though. Friday night's show was a little ragged. Some of the less experienced performers were a little nervous, it seemed, and it showed, a bit. Saturday night's show was more solid, though, and drinks were drunk after both shows, none of which I had to pay for. (Thanks, anonymous drink buyer on Saturday night! Are there sweeter words than "it's been taken care of"?) It was a pleasant enough experience. I met some new people, at least one of which might be my new BFF! Okay, hyperbole aside, we'll stay in touch. We made each other laugh, and we want to work together again.

4. Had monthly lunch with the cat ladies. Always a delight! And we missed last month because of the ice, so it was an overdue delight. Check, please!

5. Remembered in the nick of time to RSVP for a friend's baby shower next weekend. She's coming into town from North Carolina for it, so if I'd forgotten to call, or, even worse, actually forgotten all about it, I'd have felt like a royal shit. Now I have to figure out a gift. I'm not good with baby gifts--it's all so foreign to me. Moms, what's a great baby girl gift? I can't really check this off until a fabulous gift has been purchased.

5. Made it rain today. I went to the car wash yesterday, and forked over extra for the automatic bay. I rarely wash my car at all, and NEVER actually at the car wash. I'm generally a "bucket o' suds and a garden hose in the driveway" kind of car washer. But I really needed to get the salt and sand off from the last snow storm, so I splurged. And today, of course, it has done nothing but rain. It will no doubt snow again soon, the better to cover the shiny car with salt again. My apologies to all of northeast Oklahoma. My bad check.

6. Went to the grocery store. I was thisclose to having to eat dog or cat food; that's how bare my cupboards were. As an added bonus, I brought my checkout line to a standstill by daring to purchase such exotic produce as butternut squash and radishes, both of which completely stymied the poor cashier--she couldn't find the codes on her list. I always love it when I get the old pro cashiers who have all the codes memorized, but she was not such a one. In her defense, she held the list out for me to look at, as well, and I couldn't find them either. Stupid grocery store. I apologized to the woman behind me, and was rewarded with a pleasant "Not YOUR fault." Which, of course, it wasn't, but I always seem to end up in front of people who sigh and roll their eyes like my buying radishes or attempting to use a coupon has fouled up their WHOLE DAY. Price CHECK!

Well, those were the highlights of my weekend. How was yours?

Friday, February 09, 2007


I've passed a parked car a couple of times now on my way to and from work that seems to have been crafted by Mr. Frankenwrench. Honest to god, there seem to have been at least 4 vehicles that gave their lives to the production of this one. At least 4 different colors of paint, including one that seems to be "primer." I picture a mad scientist in coveralls, calling for his humpbacked assistant to scour the salvage yards for the perfect transmission, so he can bring his beautiful creation to life. Hook that baby up to some jumper cables and wham! Frankencar. I can't imagine feeling safe driving or riding in this car. Aside from the consideration that the kind of accident that leaves body damage on all four sides of the car might certainly leave behind a less-than-perfect chassis, I would also be afraid that when the car began to sing an impassioned version of "Puttin' on the Ritz" in front of a judgmental audience, the audience might laugh, and the metal creature might become enraged and start mowing down everyone in its path. What? You don't think that could happen? Have I a) read too much Stephen King and/or b) watched "Young Frankenstein" too many times? Yeah, that could be true.

I would swear that at some point yesterday I had a perfect idea for a blog post today. But it's gone. Oh, well. I'm doing a production this weekend...let's call it "The Fridiron" to prevent any serious google searches...that is an evening of song parodies, mocking political and cultural figures, and afterward there should be drinking. Surely a blog post will come out of that!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Warning: sentimental post about dead friend ahead

I'm a fan of the "For Better or For Worse" comic strip. I got hooked way back when it first debuted, I think, and I've never managed to kick the habit. Partly what appeals to me is that, unlike most comic strips, the characters actually age in real time. People grow up, grow older and sometimes die. Pets sometimes die. (Farley's death--dear god, I can still cry thinking about it.) Gay teenagers come to terms with their sexuality. In a COMIC STRIP. It's a little slice of life. Maybe it's a little sappy sometimes, but then, so am I.

A little while back, the Grandpa character had a stroke, and now he's dealing with the aftermath. And so much of what he's dealing with reminds of my friend George, who died a few years ago. So George has been on my mind lately, and I think I'll tell you a little about him, if you don't mind. He was a pretty amazing guy.

George was an actor. A working Equity actor, albeit mostly in regional dinner theatre productions. I didn't know him then, but I'm told he was quite a character--a big guy with an appetite for life as well as food. I know he smoked too much, he drank too much, he ate too much, and exercised and slept too little. He told me that part himself. He excelled at a certain sort of broad physical comedy, and knew how to command a stage. When he was just 40 years old he had a massive stroke. He lay in his apartment for a couple of days before help came, and by then the damage was extensive.

He returned to Tulsa for rehab, and moved in with his elderly mother. His right arm and leg were completely paralyzed, and he had severe aphasia--difficulty in initiating speech. He had everything going on inside his head, and no way to get it out. But he was a fighter, and he learned to walk again. He learned to drive again. He learned to dress himself--go ahead, try and put your clothes on with one arm, I'll wait.....tough, isn't it? He worked on his speech, and eventually had a short list of all-purpose phrases he relied on for most of his communication. "Boy." "Girl." "Bathroom." "Water with lemon." "Chicken." "One, two, three." And the most versatile phrases, the ones he could spin to say just about anything: "Shit!" and "Goddamn!" It was amazing how much he could say with those few words, coupled with a seemingly endless supply of facial expressions and gestures, of course. Comic actor, remember? He also had at his disposal a loud, growly purring noise, which he combined with some very suggestive eyebrow movements to express...let's say approval. Hee.

Eventually, he became a member of a wonderful organization here (the Center) that is devoted to improving the lives of people with physical limitations, including, at the time, a theatre troupe dedicated to providing performance opportunities for their members. That's how I first met George. Early on his involvement with the theatre was limited to roles that required little or no speaking, but eventually they figured out that he could say any number of lines, as long as someone was able to "jumpstart" the line for him. He would memorize the lines, and if he heard the first two or three words, then that "jumpstarted" his brain, and he could say the entire line. At first the prompting was done by someone on stage with him, and then they acquired a little walkie-talkie type device with an ear monitor he was able to wear onstage, while someone sat offstage with a script and prompted right into his ear. It wasn't foolproof, but it worked pretty damned well. The last big role he did was perfect for him, and actually was done at one of the "regular" theatres in town. He played a stroke survivor, and anyone who didn't know that he actually WAS a stroke survivor would never have known. I did his prompting for that play, and I have to say, it was maybe the best work he ever did. It was very understated and subtle, quite different from his usual big, brash comic presence, and his performance was very touching. He also directed plays (you can convey a lot to your actors with "Shit!"--hee) and even joined an improv comedy troupe.

At any rate, I knew George sort of casually for years, then we did a play together and ended up dating for a while. The relationship only lasted a few months, and when it ended (for various reasons, none of which I'll detail here--not that interesting, I promise) we more or less stayed friends, though I only saw him occasionally. I retained an enormous amount of respect for him, and for the incredible amount of strength it took for him just to get through the day. I don't think most people knew how hard it was for him--I certainly didn't, before I dated him. Just standing up is hard when half your body doesn't work--go ahead, try it, I'll wait.....hard, isn't it? He had, at that point, moved into an apartment of his own, and cooked and cleaned and shopped for himself. He was an amazing man.

He was working props on a play I did for the Center a few summers ago (the last real play they produced, actually, but that's neither here nor there), and I noticed he was looking a little tired. He brushed off my "how are you doing?" question with a little smile and a wave, and I went back to the turmoil that is tech week without giving it too much thought. Until he didn't show up for dress rehearsal. Nobody had heard from him, and since it wasn't like George to just not show up, it was no huge surprise to find out the next day that he'd suffered another stroke. A massive brain stem stroke this time. We all did a little googling of "brain stem stroke" and realized that our friend wasn't coming back from this one like he had before. He lingered for about three weeks, if I remember correctly, and then died very shortly after they moved him into an "extended care facility." Okay, call it what you will, that's a nursing home, and George would have hated it. He valued his independence above almost everything else; the only thing more important to him was that he be able to act, and when those two things were taken from him....well, I think his incredible spirit managed one last valiant action, and took him out of there, posthaste.

When you get a phone call from a friend before 7:00 a.m., it's almost never a good thing. My friend Robin called to give me the news, and we talked about what a blessing it was--how George would have HATED lying there like that indefinitely, how we ourselves would hate it. A blessing, certainly, but a loss, too.

I hadn't been able to bring myself to visit him in the hospital. There was a Terri Schiavo-ish difference of opinions among friends who did as to how aware he actually was, some insisting that he was "in there," and knew they were there, another saying "he's gone, don't want to see him like this." In the end, I debated, and didn't go. An act of cowardice, perhaps, but I couldn't do it. I didn't want to see him like that. I felt guilty about it for a while, but no longer. Wherever he is now, he knows I was thinking about him, and that's what counts.

After the funeral, as we gathered to eat and drink and grieve, one of his oldest friends played us a tape she'd found--a voice demo tape he'd made for his agent. It was very funny, and very sad. I realized I'd never heard his "real" pre-stroke voice, and wouldn't have recognized it.

I miss George. Oh, not in a "oh my gosh the one true love of my life is gone and I'll never love again" kind of way. I hadn't seen him all that often in his last couple of years. I don't miss him every day, week or month. But occasionally something happens to remind me of him--like a cartoon Grandpa stunning his cartoon grandchild by saying *#%$! when that wasn't what he really wanted to say at all--and I think of George, and I'm sorry he's no longer here. He was a good guy. He was, by turns, frustrating and stubborn and sweet and thoughtful, and the world was a richer place for his presence in it. What better legacy is there than that?

And maybe it's because I'm SAD that I keep thinking about people and pets I miss, but I'm afraid there's probably one more sad post to come before I'm done. Remember when I said my friend Robin called to tell me about George? Well, she didn't sound too good on the phone that morning, said she had a cold. No big deal for most people, but Robin had Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a particularly nasty form of muscular dystrophy, and a cold was always a very big deal for her. Sure enough, it turned to pneumonia and she was hospitalized. I got another call from a friend before 7:00 am a few days later, and I knew before I answered the phone what she was calling to tell me. Let's just say that was a very, very hard couple of weeks. Robin was maybe the most amazing person I ever knew, in some respects, so I'll probably tell you about her at some point, too, complete with foreshadowing.

Though I have to say, I'm really kind of hoping that something particularly funny happens at rehearsal tonight, since I have completely bummed myself out now. Come on, someone take an accidental pratfall or something--help a girl out!

Monday, February 05, 2007

I think I'm SAD.

Yes, this is the time of year when I really begin to feel it. Seasonal Affective Disorder. I miss the sun!

I'm not a morning person at any time of year, but during the winter months, it is SUCH a struggle to get up in the morning. It's still dark! That's not natural. What other species forces itself to arise before dawn? It's not right. I lie in bed through several rounds of the snooze alarm, and my body just completely rejects the thought of moving. Even the animals know better. In the summer they're up before me, ready and waiting, poised to leap in the direction of breakfast at the first sign of life from the slumbering lump in the bed. This time of year, I have to rouse them. Come on, lazy things, let's go get breakfast. Every morning, such a struggle. Not that I leap joyously out of bed in August, by any means, but it's easier. The gentle onset of light through my east-facing bedroom windows makes the transition from dreamland much easier.

The sun has always controlled my moods, to some extent. It's only in recent years that I've had a name for it, but I've always gotten a downward shift in my mood when the clouds stay too long. Oh, I don't need sun every single day. The occasional cloudy/rainy day is kind of nice. I appreciate the sun more when I have something with which to contrast it. And, of course, as much as I love the sun, I hate the heat it brings during the dog days of summer, so cloudy days are quite a welcome respite then.

Partly, too, is that fall just always seems to let me down, as an adult. I can't wait for it, I love the first hints of coolness in the air, I think longingly of sweaters and getting out the blankets and football games and bonfires...but something is missing. I think our educational system is somewhat to blame. For years and years, fall is the time for change, for new beginnings. New schools, new classes, new friends--it all seems ripe with possibility. And then you get out in the real world, and all that happens is the days get shorter, and my mood gets darker, and nothing changes, damn it, nothing EVER changes, it's all the same old shit, and I'm cold and I'm tired and I'm cranky and...well, you get the picture.

Yesterday the sun came out with a vengeance. It was glorious. Not a cloud in the sky, and the temperature reached a balmy 40 degrees. I was in heaven. I ran errands happily, smiling at the sky. I restrained myself from skipping through parking lots. Okay, you may be saying, why didn't you seize the moment and GO AHEAD AND SKIP! Because a) nobody really needs to see an overweight 40-something woman skipping in the parking lot, and b) skipping is damned hard work and nobody really needs to see the crazy woman who was just skipping like a fool, leaning up against the building, wheezing. Hee. (Okay, I'm a wuss. I should just SKIP if I want. Maybe I only think I wanted to skip.)

So, anyway, here I am. Yearning for spring, yearning for April. April's the best! Who doesn't love April? Things are green again, flowers are popping out all over. April smells good. All sweet and perfumey. I can't wait for April. But while my head is already in April, my feet are planted firmly in the gray and brown muck that is February.

February. Who likes February? Nothing good happens in February. Valentine's Day? The least appealing "holiday" of the year for us single people. February is short, which is good, in a way. The March 1st paycheck comes much more quickly on the heels of the February 15th paycheck than most 1st of the month paychecks do. But that's about all I can think of to recommend February. It's cold, it's most likely to bring wintry precipitation, it's dreary.

My favorite Dar Williams song is "February," wherein she compares the long, cold ending of a failing relationship to the month. She says it beautifully, so I think I'll just share that with you here.

I threw your keys in the water, I looked back,
They'd frozen halfway down in the ice.
They froze up so quickly, the keys and their owners,
Even after the anger, it all turned silent, and
The everyday turned solitary,
So we came to February.
First we forgot where we'd planted those bulbs last year,
Then we forgot that we'd planted at all,
Then we forgot what plants are altogether,
and I blamed you for my freezing and forgetting and
The nights were long and cold and scary,
Can we live through February?
You know I think Christmas was a long red glare,
Shot up like a warning; we gave presents without cards,
And then the snow,
And then the snow came, we were always out shoveling,
And we'd drop to sleep exhausted,
Then we'd wake up, and it's snowing.
And February was so long that it lasted into March
And found us walking a path alone together.
You stopped and pointed and you said, "That's a crocus,"
And I said, "What's a crocus?" and you said, "It's a flower,"
I tried to remember, but I said, "What's a flower?"
You said, "I still love you."
The leaves were turning as we drove to the hardware store,
My new lover made me keys to the house,
And when we got home, we just started chopping wood,
Because you never know how next year will be,
And we'll gather all our arms can carry,
I have lost to February.

Friday, February 02, 2007

It's better than Vivarin.

Ah, the sweet, sweet sound of a circling police helicopter. Nothing prevents sleep for me more than that sound. Not Vivarin. Not Red Bull. Not the fact that Paris Hilton actually has a SAG card.

The neighborhood where I've been living for the last 2 years is generally thought of, in a knee-jerk sort of way, as being in a "dangerous" part of town. Nonetheless, I have found my particular little area to be quite quiet and low-key. Only a couple of times have the hovering chopper blades kept me awake any length of time. Last night was one of those times.

I took Pudge out to the backyard around midnight for his last little potty trip, and spent some time loving on my backyard stray, who despite my fears to the contrary after orchestrating her incarceration and surgery, is now ALL about the lovin'. (Yes, I said yesterday I wouldn't mention it again today, but I lied. So sue me.) I heard a few sirens in the general vicinity, but didn't think anything about it. As soon as I got inside, though, that most hated of sounds started--the whirling sound that instantly says to me "They're looking for a desperate criminal...and he's in your yard." They don't bring out the choppers for traffic violations, is all I'm sayin'. I turned off all the lights, the better to peek surreptitiously out the windows, and then went on to bed, phone near at hand in case I needed to call 911. (You never know, right?) I didn't see any activity outside, no police cars or sirens, but that helicopter was practically on the roof of my house. Nothing keeps you from relaxing into sleep like that, I'll tell you. Finally, 20-30 minutes later, the sound faded away and I drifted off. Panic over.

For almost 11 years before I lived in this house, I lived in an area of town that is generally considered quite desirable. Many people, when given the option between the two, would pick my old neighborhood in a heartbeat. But not me. In the years that I lived in "fashionable" Brookside my car was broken into 6 times. Once someone tried to break in through a window, and only the barking of my dogs stopped them. And the police helicopters? All the friggin' time. I'm sure it had something to do with the large amount of retail/restaurant/bar business in the area, but it had just gotten out of hand, for me. Add to that the skyrocketing rents in the area, and I was happy to move north.

The worst experience with the whirlybirds, and the real reason I'm so freaked out by them, came several years ago. It was summertime, and I was out watering my plants about midnight. (Yeah, I know, I probably should stop hanging around outside at midnight, but sometimes that's when I can get things done, and I just refuse to live my life afraid to go out after dark.) I heard some sharp, loud noises coming from nearby. Were those gunshots? Oh, surely not. I finished up my watering and went inside. And then it came. Oh my word, did it come. Suddenly there were police helicopters (more than one, it seemed) in the air, and honest to god, that searchlight seemed pointed directly at me. Sirens were screaming in from all directions, and police cruisers (every one in town, it seemed) began going up and down the street. The circle of the helicopter tightened until it truly felt like they were searching MY yard specifically. The cruisers slowed down their manic dashing, and slowly, slowly drove up and down the block, shining their spotlights into the windows of the houses. It went on for well over an hour and a half. Obviously those WERE gunshots, I thought, but who was shot? What the hell happened to keep them this focused for so long? The backyard in that house was quite overgrown, full of trees and shrubs--plenty of hiding places for someone trying to elude the police, certainly more than any of my neighbors' yards. I went from merely scared to full-on panicked. Well, I thought, if they try to get inside, they won't get me without a fight. I got a butcher's knife from the kitchen, slipped it under my pillow, and lay quaking in the bed with the dogs until the sounds finally faded, a lifetime later, and eventually I nodded off. The next morning I awakened, less than completely refreshed, yawned and stretched and, you guessed it, sliced my finger on the butcher knife under my pillow! I was so thankful to have awakened alive that I didn't even mind. (It wasn't much of a cut, more like a really bad paper cut.)

Of course I couldn't wait to turn on the news and find out what I'd lived through. Turned out a policewoman lived around the corner from me, and she had returned home during her shift to use the potty (perfectly legal, they said, since she lived in and patrolled the same area) only to interrupt a robbery in process. The burglars now had possession of two of her personal handguns, (which she obviously did not keep secure, as one would hope someone in law enforcement would do) and shots were exchanged. One of the burglars was wounded, and they both escaped the house. They followed the blood trail of the wounded one to a neighbor's garage, but the second one managed to get away, and it was him they were searching for all night. Scary stuff!

And gets scarier. They caught the second guy fairly soon after, and the next day published pictures of the two. Wait a minute, I thought, and a bell rang in my mind. Earlier that week, a couple of young men had stopped and knocked on my door, asking if I needed my lawn mowed. Not an uncommon occurrence in that neighborhood, but I remember thinking it odd that they didn't have a mower in tow. My dog Sadie, who HATED for anyone to just stand on the porch and not come in, was seething down below the see-through part of my screen door (which I had not opened, of course) and finally had all she could take. She threw herself snarling at the door, and the look on those faces was priceless. I've never seen eyes open so wide, and one of them literally threw himself off the porch in his haste to get away. (Good girl, Sadie.) I can't be 100% sure, but those guys looked an awful lot like the guys pictured in the paper, and I think they had been casing the neighborhood, and quickly crossed me off the list of possibilities when they saw Sadie's sweet, snarling face!

And that's why I hate the police helicopters. They're a visceral reminder that just outside my home, my haven, the place I generally feel safe and warm, there are sometimes bad guys shooting at cops and crawling though yards and into garages to get away. I hate that fluttery, scared feeling. I prefer to think of the world as a mostly lovely place, and the thwack-thwack-thwack of those propellers reminds me it ain't, always.

So I try to be careful and cautious and prudent and pay attention to my instincts, as all the books tell you to do, but....BUT, I still reserve the right to go outside at midnight occasionally and water a flower or pet a cat. I just can't live my life THAT scared. And, of course, I plan never to be without at least one great big dog at my side.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I purposely didn't blog yesterday, because if I had it was certainly going to be a whole lot of "snow, snow, damn it, snow, cold, snow, grumpy, hate, hate, hate, snow" and I've certainly posted enough of that lately. So I decided to let Sadie's sweet face dominate the top of the blog for another day.

And, while I promise not to turn this into an "all animals all the time" blog, I must share with you the fact that my PPSC (perennially pregnant stray cat) is now pregnant no more, and is further incapable of ever being pregnant again. Yay! (Okay, yes, she was a little bit pregnant when we spayed her, so technically it was a kitty abortion, but we're not going to think about that, only about the greater good.) I kept her in a cage in the garage for a couple of days, to make sure she was okay post-surgery (you know how they keep you at the hospital after surgery until you can poop--hee), and somewhat regretfully let her back out earlier today. She'd been increasingly more friendly in the days leading up to the Big Day, and I'm happy to report that we bonded even more during her incarceration. She has discovered, at a relatively late age, that being petted and rubbed and scritched behind the ears is fun! She has also discovered a big, rumbling purr. She even rolled over and let me see her belly! (That's a great act of trust for a cat.) I hope that she continues to be so gracious as to allow me to bestow such kindnesses on her now that she's free again. The problem with caring for stray animals is that you also begin to care about them. And now that she's cost me money--well, let's just say I'm invested in her well-being. I just have to keep reminding myself that she lived for several years on her own before I even moved into the neighborhood, and that she will no doubt continue to thrive--particularly now that she's eating regularly, and only for one. (I'll continue to feed her, of course, even now that my primary mission has been accomplished. I'm a sucker that way. Plus how could I face Timmy and Babs if I let their mother go hungry? Hee.)

Tomorrow I promise to attempt an animal-free post!