Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pursuant to Below, I Can Only Imagine How This Looks

I was lugging and talking to the towel-ensconced cat--wrapped up in manner of an infant for maximum immobilization--and showing her my neighbor's backyard through the kitchen window, because she likes to see said neighbor's poodle, and distractive techniques are good when you're killing a couple of minutes. At this point, my neighbor came out his back door and, looking surprised to see me in the window, waved to me. Oh dear. It's possible he thinks I'm either very, very sad or very, very insane.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Jeez, animals can stress you right out, no? As the cat totters into her dotage and acquires a truly dizzying array of health problems (and treatments and medications to facilitate the management thereof), I find while dealing with them that I spend a bit of energy worrying about the next shoe that will fall. Some days, like today, I obsessively watch her because she seems "off" (Why isn't she finishing her food, I fret? Is she usually this inert? Is she in pain? Is there something else wrong?)

I think this stress is one part my natural tendency to worry about everything under the sun, and one part sheer dread at being faced with that moment feared by all animal owners: the heartrending end-of-life decision on your part, and the medical care choices and suffering on their part leading up to it. I've had and known a lot of animals, but this is my first as an adult, and I feel uniquely ill-prepared to make tough and stoic decisions in her best interest. I'm also acutely aware that by virtue of being single and independent, I'm going to have to do this alone, without crumbling into a million pieces. I dread it, for her sake and mine, and given the health issues that we're dealing with, I don't think I can persuade her to the virtues of shuffling off the mortal coil like a hearty, healthy nonogenarian who runs marathons up until the day he peacefully drifts off in his sleep.

Yeah, the fun and companionship they provide are big pluses in the equation (can you beat that whole snuggling thing?). But I am not sure whether I'd want to do it again. They're with you long enough to be set in your routines as much as you are in theirs. Having lucked out with a freakish cat who doesn't jump on everything (and who had to be trained to jump on anything), would I really want a standard model? What are the chances of hitting upon another animal who is neither obsessively needy nor standoffish? It all seems unlikely.

But of course the key--as with everything--is to have fun with them while you have them around, then do your best to deal with things as they come. And so I will perform our latest temporary addition to the daily routine--towel swaddling, then medicated shampooing of the chin (luckily, her fondness for chin rubs makes this an easy task). This is followed by a five-minute tour of the house--me carrying her in the towel, and her peering around--while the meds permeate. One of the nicest things I've discovered rather recently is that she likes to be held so that she can get a view of things from a different angle. I kind of wish I had figured this out years ago, but nonetheless, I'm really pleased to have discovered a new way to bond with the kitty.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I've got it. Having slept for 12+ hours, I have successfully eaten toast, opened windows, and fed the cat.

I'm done for the day.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Yeah, That's About What I Thought.

I knew I should have just gone home. I went with the non-bailers to the free drinks. And remember this episode and the woman who's just kind of there while the dude tries to pick up her friend? Classic third-wheel fun, baby!

Which brings me to my advice to dude from tonight: Look. I realize that you're all into my friend. I get it! It's lovely! In fact, I applaud it, and I'll tell you a little secret. I spent some energy trying to convince her to give you a second look, since I thought she might have been a wee bit dismissive of you, based entirely on what you looked like (versus the fact that you seem like a really nice person). Not that any of us are model perfect, 25 anymore, or what have you, but unfortunately we live in such a superficial culture.

I'm not saying you owe me anything. But. Something that would help you brush up the nice guy bona fides would be to actually be, um, nice. Please don't, for instance, treat me like I'm wallpaper, an unpleasant intrusion, what have you. I know it's a real drag to have to interact with a chick you don't actually want to sleep with and waste precious precious time you could be using to talk to someone you do. But trust me! It takes but a little effort to be pleasant and human, to make minimal small talk. I promise I won't take you the wrong way. And, frankly, it can only help you vis-a-vis the girl you like.

Meh. Not So Much with the Festivity.

I think at some point I'm going to learn that overinflated expectations only lead to disappointment. The free food on this urban fest is thin on the ground, the promised free smoothies from participating vendors never materialized, the expectation of work is still among us despite the thumping bass line of the outdoor speakers permeating the concrete of our building. Can I concentrate? Hell no.

The bosses have all disappeared without actually giving us leave to, um, leave. The lobby of my building and the sidewalk outside are wall-to-wall people, and my posse of die-hard partakers of the free drinks have dropped off due to other commitments and lack of interest.

All week, I was excited about the prospect of a parade, but now I just want to slap my way through the crowds that get in my way. I'm of half a mind to say screw it and go home.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Since You Mentioned It

I wasn't going to say anything, because my sabbatical mind state precludes obsessing over the Jarndyce v. Jarndyce primary. But this really pissed me off.

Dude. Seriously, you're not 90, you're not an obscenely rich titan of industry who uses people and disposes of them, you're not Hugh Hefner. Knock that shit off. And I can think of few things less endearing to the Clinton dead-enders you might want to win over for the general election.

Somewhat encouragingly, he did issue a speedy apology.

The Wildlife Non-Refuge

I promised to keep you apprised of any bird-related drama, and I am not one to fail to deliver.

When I noticed, with irritation, that chunks of wood were falling onto my side walkway, I just assumed that I would have to call in the Dad maintenance crew (team of one; works for ice cream) to fix my soffits. Then, there was burgeoning tufts of grass, straw, weeds, and obvious nest-making materials coming out of the soffits, and I thought: well, that's kind of a drag, we'll have to swat that stuff out of there before nailing the boards back up. Alas, I came home this afternoon and discovered a wee baby bird (barely covered in hair, much less feathers), quite dead, on my walkway. And when I walked down the path, I was greeted by screeching, scolding, obviously pissed-off parental sparrows. Yay! Birds with babies! All living in my soffits! It will make for a fun weeding experience this spring. If I'm really lucky, the chicks may get adventurous, and I could wind up with birds in my basement ceiling. Again.

Unrelatedly, I have to note that I cannot believe that I have spent [mumble mumble] years in this job of mine and completely missed one of the more interesting insane-office-coworker-offsetting feature of this place--that is, the yearly urban arts extravaganza, during which variations on the following things are operative:

1. you are besieged with free t-shirts
2. you encounter random intriguing, possibly alarming, sights, such as someone on a giant mountain of packing peanuts or--as I saw this morning, someone dragging a giant block of plaster-of-Paris, in which her arms were embedded
3. local restaurants offer free food and discounts
4. musicians, such as this one or these guys play for free
5. free sushi bar!
6. free drinks!

I am very excited for Friday, when the fest begins. And as if bestowing a gift on the rest of us on this very fun day, the craziest of the crazies is taking a vacation day. It's like Christmas.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Some More Flailing

Any thoughts to offer on how to beef up one's writing portfolio? I'm realizing that one of the mistakes I've made in my current job is my failure to take advantage of the power vacuum to develop my own writing. Instead, I've been lazy and have mostly relied on strong-arming other people to supply me with copy, which I can then tweak and make pretty.

So, I'm applying for jobs that are more communications-focused and tie in editing with writing. I think it would be fun and challenging, but the selling of my talents on the writing score is a bit difficult. My current professional portfolio consists of small web pieces that are essentially cd reviews and teeny teeny, dull notices in our newsletter. In future, I can be more proactive on the newsletter copy, but what do I do in the meantime? I can't very well submit to them a blog link or a sheaf of my narcissistic personal writing, right?

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Weather Has Changed (At Least Outside)

Spring has sprung, and I've begun with my usual seasonal enthusiastic gardening and grandiose landscaping plans. I'm the most optimistic brown-thumb gardener ever, always plowing ahead, buying a zillion new plants, the bulk of which inevitably do one of the following: (a) die immediately, (b) get crowded out by my shortsighted and half-assed space allocations, or (c) cling to anemic life until the final frost kills them altogether. You'd think (a) would be most annoying, but it's actually (c) that breaks the will, usually by about July. The unbearable, unmanageable plague of weeds usually factors in by then too.

Nonetheless, another year means another chance to get it right. Here's a tour chez Laura's yard, spring 2008.

My beebalm, planted last year, has survived! I'm very excited about this, because it smells just lovely and the pink flowers perk up this dreary back fence, which used to be weeds and rocks (the former owners were big fans of landscaping with rocks). I just put in some sweet alyssum in this bed too. Again: smells pretty.

On the other end of the same bed, the purple coneflowers are also making a resurgence!

And on the theme of plants that didn't die, one of my parents' gifts, my bleeding heart, is flourishing and actually blooming.

And my garage bed--again, beset by rocks but getting a bit tidier--with new perennials.
And, my garden, which I've decided is going to be a tidy, symmetrical grid, rather than a plot of weedy dirt with a couple of overgrown tomato plants. That's my lavendthyme plant on the left.