Sunday, March 30, 2008

Girl Meets Boy

How sad to wake up to a gray and rainy morning from a particularly vivid, realistic dream depicting a classic tale of rejection and abandonment:

Girl loves boy; boy makes advances on another, far inferior girl; overcome by jealousy, girl takes boy off his hinges (boy is inexplicably a closet door all of a sudden, the folding kind with the little louvers) and drags him out into the front yard to plead with him, but keeps being interrupted by small children and by a neighbor who accidentally turns the hose on her, besides which boy has now become either a rug or an artificial Christmas tree and is in any case pretty unresponsive; distraught girl drives to a roadside rest area to seek the advice of an older friend, who tells her that, though boy does love girl, boy finds her completely repulsive physically; girl sadly returns home only to discover that boy, inferior girl, and the economy-size pack of condoms from yesterday's post are nowhere to be found.

It's a familiar story, probably one you've read a million times.

Um, pizza. Why do you ask?

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Package Deals

Is there anything you can buy with condoms that isn't embarrassing?!

I needed to buy some - for the first time in my life, I do believe! but not, as it happens, for myself - so I went to Walgreen's, and brought Anna with me for, um, protection. Because no one will snicker if I am accompanied by a small, adorable child. Right?

But everything else I needed to pick up while we were there seemed like the worst possible thing to buy in conjunction with a giant economy pack (oh, we aren't taking any chances) of Trojans.

A robot action figure for Anna's friend's birthday party next weekend - d'oh! And we're out of toilet paper - d'oh!! And some, ah, feminine-type medication my doctor told me to get yesterday. D'oh!!! Anna was behaving very well, so I told her she could get some candy. She chose a giant lollipop. D'OH!!!

Fortunately there's nothing remotely suggestive about the package of frozen corn dogs I picked up for the kids to have for dinner tonight while I'm out with friends.

Maybe I'll bring the condoms with me. What the hell.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Behaving Ourselves

Have you ever found yourself elegantly attired, among polite company in an exquisite setting, trying to cope with a wad of something disgusting in your mouth while everyone at your table shouts "Don't chew! Don't chew!!"

One of the best parts of being a corporate meeting planner, as I've said before, was the wining-and-dining that comes as part of being wooed by CVBs, hotels, restaurants, and other prospective suppliers. The hospitality industry is, not surprisingly, a gracious one. It's staffed almost entirely by people who are very good at behaving pleasantly.

Coming back to the hospitality industry as part of the government sector is weird, because - aside from my division - the people who staff my agency are not, generally speaking, hired based on charm. In fact the official interview process is specifically designed to disallow the interviewer's personal impressions about a candidate.

When it comes to travel and hospitality industry schmoozing? We're like an elephant at afternoon tea.

Not on a personal level, mind you. Employees of my division are fairly politic, and know how to smile and say agreeable things. I would say we all know which fork to use, but frankly I've never understood how that's a challenge for anyone. You start with the one furthest from your plate and work your way in. How hard is that? The little bitty ones up top are for dessert. And it doesn't matter if you mess up anyway, because a proper waiter will simply whisk away the evidence of your ineptitude and bring a clean replacement while you're busy chatting with your tablemates over champagne.

Ay, there's the rub. A travel industry meet-and-greet is a work function. We are required to go as one of our duties - a pleasant one, of course - but if we drink alcohol, we're automatically off the clock. We're salaried, but not salaried as I used to know it - we earn comp time for hours worked over 40 per week, and can use that comp time to work fewer than 40 hours.

So going to a required function after normal working hours earns you comp time, you see, unless you drink alcohol, in which case you still have to be there, but you don't get paid.

I don't know. I'm sure it makes sense to someone.

Anyway, much worse than that is that travel and hospitality industry standards dictate the giving and receiving of gifts. Tokens, normally, but they can get pricey. And gifts for clients are part of any vendor company's normal operating budget. The planners who purchase these gifts put a lot of thought into any associated events, and work hard to select something that ties in with an event's theme, or reflects positively, and uniquely, on their destination or their company.

It's ungracious to refuse. It's unprofessional, even. Declining to enter a drawing at an event is one thing - you can refrain from dropping in your business card, or quietly refuse a ticket - but when you're taking your leave, all smiles, and one of the hostesses attempts to press a beautifully packaged gift bag on you, it's just boorish to say no.

But you do say no, of course, not particularly wanting to lose your job; and being pleasant and polite, your hostess does understand. Of course you decline as graciously as possible, with explanations, apologies and regrets. But it's just not right.

Oysters on the half-shell just aren't right, either. I don't think I'll be trying that again. Spitting mussels into your napkin at an elegant cocktail mixer is worse than trying to eat your salad with the butter knife. Honestly. I can't take you anywhere!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Peace, Happiness, and Little Fluffy Bunnies

Revenge, they say, is a dish best served cold.

Just how cold do they mean? Cold, like leftovers? If your angry avenger waits too long for the dish to cool down, won't you just give up, make yourself a sandwich* and go to bed?

Or do they mean to freeze it? Like Baked Alaska, maybe. Or maybe a nice cold Spamcicle! Obviously, a lot of the end effect depends pretty heavily on the ingredients here. In any case it requires a fair amount of effort.

I've always taken the old adage to mean that you shouldn't avenge yourself on someone until the passion has cooled. But that's just stupid. If you've really calmed down and you're not angry anymore, why get revenge at all? Why not just let it go? You don't care. Let bygones be bygones, and that generally means not knifing someone in the guts over something they did to you twenty years ago, because frankly? That's kind of psycho.

Perhaps it just means you should only take vengeance in winter. If that's the case, and you live in Texas, you can pretty much forget about it. You'd have to organize your life so that unforgivable offenses to you only take place in, say, late November. If you have that much control, you could probably just get everybody to treat you decently in the first place.

Personally, I think we should all just get along.

*Poof! You're a sandwich!

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Don't Kill the Redshirt

Someone call the fashion police! I've been mugged!

Actually - I mean this - my boss is really nice. For our upcoming conference, we coordinators have to dress alike - matching-colored button-down shirts, and matching pants, skirts or capris - in order to be readily visible to our easily confused attendees.

You may or may not know this, but meeting planners tend to regard their attendees as being almost, but not quite, as intelligent as a particularly inbred flock of sheep. It is not to be expected that they would be able to identify us by sight if we weren't in some sort of uniform.

"You just need three solid-colored, button-down shirts," my boss told me, "one white, one red, and one either denim or dark blue. The sleeves can be any length, they just have to be button-down."

And I think it occurred to her, from what she's seen of my wardrobe so far, that I'm not really given to things with collars, because in order to save me from the purchase of at least one clothing item she brought me a spare red shirt which she had purchased, but never worn. This was really exceptionally nice of her. I took it home. Katie saw it. She screamed.

Flattering? No. Being told I could get any kind of button-down shirt, I figured I'd go for the feminine, tailored ones with elbow-length sleeves. The white one and the blue one, maybe. This red one could just as easily be a man's shirt. It buttons all the way up to the neck, but it doesn't matter if you leave it partly unbuttoned: it's a heavy, high-quality cotton twill that holds its shape no matter what you do. I stood in front of the mirror and turned this way and that, wondering if I could put a couple of darts in it maybe. Katie wrung her hands. She found the tortoiseshell buttons particularly offensive.

But that's enough griping. This was really nice of my boss, there's no question of that. Maybe if my parents had sent me to Catholic school as a child, I'd be better prepared to sacrifice my personal style for a higher cause. But no. They had to be atheists. Thanks a lot, parents!

It's okay, though. Just as long as white shoes aren't part of the outfit, because our conference is before Memorial Day, and I would just have to quit my job.

Actually, when you get down to it, this would make a superlative conference uniform.

Somebody shoot me!

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Sunday, March 23, 2008


My totally awesome friend Vicki called me today. I haven't seen her since before moving to Corpus in early 2004, and though we've been in sporadic touch, we haven't really kept up with each other over the past few years.

When I met Vicki, I was 22 and she was 39. She doesn't have kids, but has a particular warmth to her that I always found maternal. She's extremely smart, tremendously funny, good-humored, perceptive, and very, very kind. She was a mentor to me, as well as a great friend. She was a temp working in the document storage room at Sematech, and I was brought in on a six-week temp assignment to help out.

The weeks grew to months. Vicki got hired on as a permanent employee, and (after almost two years!) I did too. We had the big storage room all to ourselves, with only the most infrequent visits from management. Well, we knew our job well; it wasn't rocket science, but anyway Vicki has a very strong work ethic. We worked really well as a team, so everything got done. We always had KUT playing on the radio in our work room. It was a fun place to be; other people at the company often came to hang out and visit, including such folks as Debby, the sister of someone I would eventually marry; and Mary, the wife of Robert, who would someday be my lead worker (and who has come to be a good friend in his own right) at the organization where I work now.

Eric was 17 months old when I began working there and got to know Vicki, so she was a little thunderstruck today to hear that he's about to turn 18 (years). I got pregnant with Katie just after starting that job.

She reminded me today of Salvador. How could I forget Salvador?! Working among boxes and boxes of technical documents, and occasionally doing bulk mailouts, we sometimes had to transport multiple boxes to the mailroom. We had a dolly for the purpose. Well - what else would we name a dolly? He was called Salvador, of course. The sweet thing is, apparently he, complete with his nametag, is still in use.

We also had a publicity photo of the dearly-missed CEO, Bill Spencer, which I had cut out and placed on a brightly colored background. I had various different costumes and props for him for different times of year - like a paper doll, you know. He had a Santa hat, an Uncle Sam costume, a pot of gold, etc. For Easter I had a big decorated egg with holes cut out for his eyes. I had totally forgotten about that.

I worked in that area for a while after Vicki had moved on to another department. Requesting a document, she once made fun of a former coworker who had asked for a technical document, volunteered to come pick it up, then heard where in the building we were and asked to have it delivered instead. Vicki came to the room to pick up her document, threw herself onto the floor, and clawed her way along the carpet with her fingernails. "So far!" she gasped, "so very, very far!"

One of the marks of a true friend is that, even after not talking to them for years, you find that the flow and spark of conversation is just as free and spontaneous and fun as it was when you hung out together every day. It was like that with Vicki today: checking up, laughing, on one another's latest developments; me asking after her work and her husband (he's such a cool guy!); her asking after Daddy and Joyce; kids, friends, work, life. And we will get together very soon.

Happy Easter; here's to the dear and wonderful friends who bless us and make our lives so well worth living!

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Free Condoms!


(Mine, I mean. I don't care if other people's parents read.)

I used to get free condoms at People's Community Clinic near campus. They were red and yellow and green and blue, individually wrapped in clear packaging. I kept a bowl of them by the bed. You could throw the used ones onto the roof of the frat house next door. I know that sounds kind of rude, but you had to, really. Otherwise the cat would eat them.

Don't even go "eewww!" at me! It's not my fault cats are disgusting!

It's been a long time since I had to think about such things, but I've been browsing over this excellent and very informative link today. I have an IUD: go me! Next best thing to surgical sterilization, baby! And, after reading over this site, I've arrived at the conclusion that all teenaged girls should be mandatorily fitted with one. Whyever not? If she wants to have a baby, she can have it taken out. With her boyfriend's mother's written consent.

For all the options out there, I'm still kind of disappointed there isn't more. When I was a mere slip of a girl, I was quite fond of the sponge; but it's not really effective enough (91% if used perfectly?!), and though they tout it as inexpensive, it's really quite pricey. $2.50 apiece, more or less? When you're in your teens and early twenties, running pretty much on undiluted hormones, that adds up real fast.

There's a female condom out there now, which was being talked about back when I was, um, maybe a little more active than I am these days; but it doesn't sound like loads of fun. Kind of like lining your hoo-hah with Saran Wrap. Hormonal injections, implants, and rings have come on the scene. They all make you fat and moody.

Do we need this? No.

Nowadays there's the morning-after pill: beauty! It costs about 50 bucks a pop, which should (but won't) make your average teenager think twice, or three or four or eight or seventy-three times, about damning the torpedoes and going full speed ahead. Still it's a damn good option to have available, I must say, and it was pretty well unheard of when I was a girl.

Whatever you choose, it's important to be protected. Because pregnancy leads to babies. Which become teenagers. And if you thought popping into the community clinic to grab a handful of condoms for yourself was embarrassing? Well!

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Getting all Eastered Up

When you get right down to it, isn't every Friday good?

I mean, assuming you like your home life better than your job, which (I realize) is hardly a given. But sleeping until you are not tired anymore is generally better than the alternative, isn't it? Whoever came up with the 8-5 workday, anyhow? If I ever meet that bastard, I'll kick him right in the 'nads.

The French don't have to work from 8 am-5 pm every day. They have full-time 35-hour workweeks AND get to drink wine at lunchtime, right there in their corporate cafeterias. Can we do that? No! Not that we'd want to. If they served wine at lunch in our office cafeteria, it would probably have winemakers' toenails in it. Certainly the scrambled eggs contain a high concentration of eggshells. I'm pretty sure this is in compliance with applicable state law.

Of course, the French have to say things like "Sacrebleu!" and "Ooh la la!" which is why people tend not to take them seriously. Look at Pepe LePew, for example - though, to be fair, he really is quite a great romantic figure; passionate, expressive, and devoted, if you don't mind the fact he smells like overripe Roquefort. Then again, most of the women he meets probably don't shave their pits. So why not?

But I digress. It's Good Friday! Many of us don't have to go to work. The kids get off from school. Traffic is light. The spectre of cholesterol poisoning adds a rakish note of peril to our otherwise staid lives, and chocolate may put in a welcome appearance. But stay away from the licorice jellybeans! They are the creation of Satan!

Sleep an extra hour for me tomorrow, if you can.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Major Adjustments

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: the great and terrible thing about working in Totally Pointless Projects was the lack of real expectations. How I miss those leisurely trips across Riverside to Dominican Joe! We won't even get started on three-martini breaks. What glorious times those were, when the 3MBG was fully staffed.

The bad thing about it was when they decided there damn well ought to be some expectations and started making us document everything, only without actually giving us anything to do, except some projects that are - well, totally pointless, to get right down to it. Weekly status reports, monthly status reports, Scotland Yard to document when we arrived and left, and pointless fish meetings every other week - those constituted the bulk of my workload. I don't miss 'em.

The really bad thing about it was the reason I kept trying to get out, despite the often cushy lifestyle: I was so afraid I'd be ruined for actual work. And it's true, though hopefully the effect is not permanent. I'm very busy, I have to get stuff done (though I'm not expected to produce a lot of documentation showing that I've done so, because it would be pretty obvious if I weren't doing my job); more than that, I worry about doing my job well, and I certainly don't have time to loaf about on the break tables or at the coffeehouse. It's not easy to adjust to.

But perhaps the strangest and most bittersweet change of all is no longer working among the sort of people who thrive in the Totally Pointless Projects environment - the people who have been there for years, or even decades, until they bear little resemblance to what you and I know as humans. I don't think I've smelled microwave popcorn since starting the new job, not even at breakfasttime. No Phantom Pharter haunts the kitchenette. No headphone antenna bobs about ominously over the tops of distant cubicles. The sound of snoring does not fill the air, nor does the floor shake violently, sending items tumbling off the shelves, with anyone's thunderous approach.

So I'm stressed out, depressed, and can't sleep. It's either PTSD or withdrawal from some chemical in the microwave popcorn fumes. Whatever it is, I better hurry up and get used to it.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008


You think you're over certain things, and can often be surprised by the intensity of long-forgotten feelings when some event takes place to bring them out again: they were only sleeping, they were never really gone.

My ex-father-in-law's memorial service was this past weekend. Talking about it to friends, I compared it to "a high school reunion on acid." I'm truly sorry that he's gone. We weren't at all close, but it's always profoundly shocking when someone who you remember as living and breathing and being - well, whatever you thought he was - suddenly isn't.

And the memorial service itself: heavy with sorrow and disappointed hopes, soaked with hard booze (and it was barely lunchtime!), and filled with people I had kind of forgotten ever actually existed. Perfectly nice people, by and large: high school friends of my ex-husband and his brother's, people we used to hang out with years and years and years ago. Ex-girlfriends of my ex-husband's, from around the time he and I were married.

And during. Long-forgotten indignities surface here. Bitterness about this, at this point, would be beyond pointless: any issues I had with that were issues I had with him, not at all with them; besides, why be possessive of something you don't want? Which I didn't. Did I? Otherwise, why would I have been so anxious to throw it away?

I guess the main thing that hurt then, and that rears its ugly head now, is the sense of being rejected and abandoned as not good enough by someone who (you might or might not agree) was not even good enough for me in the first place. What an agonizing, maddening, throw-yourself-onto-your-stomach-and-kick-the-floor kind of feeling.

It passes, it goes away; it always has, and everything will be forgotten again. And all I have to do is sit tight until it's gone so I don't do anything stupid and make more of an idiot of myself than I already am.

You'd think I was a grown-up now. You wouldn't think this would still be so hard.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Gross Analogy for the Day

Ex-boyfriends/husbands are like dirty underwear. They were fine when you had them on, but once you take them off, they need to stay in the hamper. You wouldn't put them back on again later. Eewwww!

Only I don't like that analogy, because you can't just wash and reuse your discarded lovers. The analogy would work better if it were standard practice to donate your used underwear to Goodwill and buy new ones every day. But nobody can afford to do that, especially not if you have expensive tastes; you'd be single-handedly keeping Victoria's Secret in business, and Goodwill wouldn't be able to get anybody to work in the receiving bay.

Actually I was at Goodwill earlier today, as a side note, shopping for boring tops. There was a thong bodysuit hanging on one rack among the shirts. I wonder who would buy that? Obviously I have no problem with used clothing, but that's been up somebody's butt.

Tampons are a better analogy. Exes are like tampons, which you do not under any circumstances reuse, unless you're a really good person and use sea sponges (I drew the line at cloth diapering). But tampons, while quite useful, are not really all that much fun; and the men in your life ideally should be, at least for a little while. So I don't like that analogy much either.

Perhaps they are like your dead pets, which you loved dearly, but can't very well keep around after they are dead. Then again there are those people who have Fluffy stuffed and mounted so they can keep him on the cushion in the corner forever. I think that's kind of weird, but hey, who am I to judge?

So just what, exactly, are exes like?

Men: can't live with them, can't flush them down the toilet.

Especially if you have a septic system.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Dissipated Life

The thing I don't like about beer, aside from the taste, is that it makes me hiccup. This is embarrassing for two reasons. 1, everyone thinks I'm drunk; and 2, they're probably right.

We were sitting poolside last night in a chatty group, including a charming and amusing Englishwoman, who suggested the age-old cure of startling the hiccups away. "Tell me, Elizabeth," she said brightly, "do you like it up the arse?"

Someone spat out a mouthful of beer. I glanced at my companion. "Funny you should ask," I said. "NOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Everybody laughed. I hiccupped. My friend suggested hopefully that I try switching to vodka shots. Shortly afterwards, the charming and amusing Englishwoman gave him her number.

I knew I should have just gone straight home after work.

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Monday, March 10, 2008


I found Romeo! He's okay! He's okay!

And I wouldn't even have found him except that it was pouring so hard this morning that I got a ride into work instead of biking; so I dropped the car off at lunch, and walked home from work this afternoon. I take a different route walking than I do driving or biking, up a small street with only the backs of houses and carports on it. And about two blocks from home, I saw a black cat hunched on top of a convertible in a carport. I don't even know what made me take a closer look, but I could see a peep of white fur, and I moved a little closer, and called, "Hello there, pretty kitty, pretty kitty..." And he turned towards my voice and it was him, it was him!!!

So I scooped him up all laughing and crying (I was, I mean - it's been nine days, so he's probably all like, "and you are...?") and carried him home and walked in the front door and said to the kids, "Hey, look what I found!" and everyone is jumping up and down and we are petting him and feeding him his favorite stinky stinky food. He's skinny. Poor old bo bo... But he's okay! He's okay!

I am so happy :)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Morose Blog of Untimely Death

Yesterday Peachy caught a baby squirrel in the front yard. I rescued it from her, poor sad tiny thing, lying on the grass, panting and squeaking in terror. There wasn't any blood, or any visible injury. Eric and I put it in a shoebox padded with a hand towel and kept it in his room with the door shut, hoping it was just in shock and would recover; it fell asleep, but after four or five hours it died quietly. So I guess we'll bury it in the backyard, poor little thing. I was really hoping it would be okay.

Anna asked if we could keep it. So I had to explain to her that dead bodies decompose, which means that they rot, like - I had to pause for an analogy.

"Like the leftovers in the fridge?" she suggested.


I just wish things like this would not happen. I've been so sad lately, partly from losing poor old Moe, but some of it for no good reason - just a reaction to change, and loss of the familiar, I guess. The new job is going well, though.

It would have been better - for us, at least - if Romeo was going to die, for him to have done it at home. It would have been comforting to do what we'll do with the baby squirrel, and have a little ritual; it would have been nice to be able to bury him in the back yard, wrapped in a pillowcase, with a few toys and a can of his favorite smelly food. Sweet old kitty. I wonder if the others miss him? Bingo, especially (Romeo's the one on the right):

Apologies to what readers I have for subjecting you to all this. I'll try to cheer up. I'm going to Georgetown to see Robbie today. He has a very ridiculous new puppy.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Something I Just Noticed

"Don't Fear the Reaper" really does need more cowbell.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Cat's Tail

Back in '94 I was newly divorced, living with my two kids in an apartment off Riverside and I-35. I was one of, I think, two women who lived in this complex. The owner, the onsite manager, and almost all the residents were gay men.

Some things, you see, never change.

Being an all-gay complex, of course, the place had a wonderful sense of community, so it wasn't like your normal apartment complex where none of the residents know each other. People used to sit around and visit on the deck by the pool, and pretty much every weekend an impromptu party would break out. Everybody was really friendly, and we all knew each other. One of my neighbors was an aspiring drag queen and occasionally staged elaborate shows. She went by "the Duchess." She'd get all dolled up in improbable blonde wigs and tiaras, and I'd help with her makeup and lend her clothes and jewelry; but she never returned my favorite pair of black pumps. That bitch!

One of the guys, though, was not quite right. A bunch of neighbors were barbecuing by the pool, and he came out to mingle dressed in a T-shirt and his tighty whities. Everyone thought this was a little strange. I don't remember ever talking to him much, but I got a weird vibe off him. He lived alone, but had a kitten, a cute little black-and-white tuxedo kitty he called "Austin."

Which was kind of a stupid name for a cat. I mean, we live in Austin. He should have called it something like "Dakota."

One evening everyone was out and about, not doing anything in particular, just enjoying the summer evening and chatting, when one of the neighbors came running up in a panic. The weird guy, who had an apartment on the second floor at the front of the complex, had jumped out his window. He didn't open it first. Several neighbors ran to the scene, but the jumper, not seriously hurt by the fall, but cut up pretty badly by the glass, had crawled bleeding up the stairs, back to his apartment - and jumped out the window again.

Somebody called an ambulance. Several people stood on guard around him in the parking lot - he was conscious, but not very coherent, and had crawled under a parked car. I don't know what happened to him after the ambulance took him away. He never came back.

Maybe a week or two later, the only other woman I remember living there knocked on my door. She'd taken in the kitten, Austin, but found out she was allergic. So she thought, hey! Elizabeth has cats! Would I take in Austin, just until she could find a permanent home for him?

Did I mention that some things never change?

Of course we got attached to him right away, the new guy in my life and I. He was such a cute little kitty. I don't remember at what point we told the neighbor she didn't need to find him another place. That stupid name had to go, though. We called him "Romeo," after the restaurant where we first went out to eat together, and in honor of our new romance. But two-year-old Katie couldn't say the name properly, so she called him "Moe."

It's a strange beginning to a cat's story. I like to think that, on the balance, it worked out pretty well for him. It's just the ending that hurts so much.

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Monday, March 03, 2008


TMI alert!

Like that's going to stop anybody.

I was a bit of an early bloomer. By the time I was ten years old, I was reasonably chesty. By the time I was twelve, I was perhaps unreasonably chesty. Toss in a few breastfed babies and the fact that when I gain weight, that's the first place it goes, and... well, you get the picture.

My sisters both grew up to be A-cups, and they are pissed.

The thing is, female body image being what it is, and general, non-gender-specific human insecurity about the things that make you, um, stand out, I was always pretty self-conscious about this particular portion of my anatomy. It took a long time for me to get comfortable with it. Well - I'm not entirely comfortable, actually. But you know what? Men seem to like them, I've noticed. So I go with it. Tastefully, so to speak.

Today is the first day of my second week on the new job. I'm in a foul mood to begin with. As much as the old job pissed me off at times, I'd been there for two years, and it wasn't the worst job in the world (we all know what that was). I'd made lots of friends, I have some great memories (NO PUNS) and it was a fun, relaxed environment in a lot of ways, as long as you didn't mind the fact that everything you did was completely pointless. So even though this job is (presumably) a better fit for me, a better division to be in, and the work is substantially more rewarding, I'm terribly homesick. Plus I just called an end to - something we won't go into. Plus I am extremely unhappy about Romeo. Plus Bill Gates is running a little behind, so PMS is absolutely kicking my ass right now. Plus I forgot to bring my thermos of coffee this morning. Plus it's cold and wet and gray and depressing out.

And now, for the punchline, my new supervisor calls me into her office this morning to tell me that my cleavage violates office dress policy. How mortifying is that?! I was so upset, I wasn't even tempted to snicker when she used the phrase "nip this in the bud." (She really did!)

She didn't mention it specifically, but she gave me a copy of the written dress code, and apparently toe rings and ankle bracelets and big dangly earrings are out, too. "This sucks!" I wailed to a friend, "they're going to turn me into a dowdy middle-aged woman!"

"Yes," he said.

So I'm going to have to go joylessly shopping for some boring clothes. Could I file for discrimination if I can't wear something that someone else could get away with, just because of the way I'm built?

Goddamn it. This sucks. Anyway, I'm done. At least I should be good on web traffic for a while.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008


I can't find Romeo anywhere. The neighbors haven't seen him. He's not at the pound. So there's that fearful circuit of the block (he wouldn't have gone far) and the creek alongside, calling his name, looking for a glimpse of black and white in the underbrush. But there's no sign of him anywhere.

He was here night before last. He wouldn't have gone far, because he had very recently lost his sight; and as cats will do, he picked the end of the month to fall ill - that last agonizing week when state employees urge their children to take up nailbiting just for the nutritional value - but yesterday morning he didn't come into the kitchen asking to be fed.

We went to the animal shelter this afternoon, Anna and I. It's heartwrenching to see the little lost kitties in their cages, mewing at you in fear and hope; but these really are the lucky ones. One of them, a sweet-faced, beige tabby behemoth, must have weighed at least 35 or 40 pounds, no exaggeration. The tag on his cage said he was a stray, but I suspect he probably just ate his owner.

But no Romeo. I think even the tamest cats return to their primal, antisocial natures when they are sick. The humans who love them take comfort in seeing that their pets don't die alone, but I don't think cats really have that compunction; it's for our benefit and not theirs, really, to hold the poor little suffering furry body in our arms and murmur words of comfort through our tears. The cat would probably rather just be left alone, and given the chance, will slink away to a cranny somewhere to die in peace.

Or some neighbor we didn't talk to picked him up, maybe took him to the vet, maybe is taking care of him, maybe had him put to sleep. Not knowing's a bitch, isn't it?

We'll put up signs. I don't have much hope. Poor sweet old Moe. He was such a good bo bo kitty.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The DT's

We're out of coffee. I've got the shakes, and I think I'm starting to see things.

The cats are looking awfully strange.

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