Belling the Cat, Parents and Children, and the Virtual Graveyard

bell the cat

Jezebel is not happy with me this morning.  Not at all.  But I did level the playing field between her and Fanny.

Cats generally despise collars, and it takes awhile for them to get used to them.  Isabel never would wear a collar.  She was too good at removing them, and at some point several years ago I gave up.  Isabel’s almost 15 years old.  She has no interest in actually going outside anyway, so collaring and belling her is sort of pointless.  Miz Izz is quite content to lounge in the window sill, enjoying the climate control as she watches the birds and other little critters of nature.  She didn’t get to be an old fossil by being stupid.  F.B. is the same way- I’ve never tried collaring F.B., and it probably wouldn’t make much sense because she is even less interested in the great outdoors than Miz Izz.  F.B. has got to be the most sanguine cat on earth.

I put a collar, tag and bell on Fanny after her brief, unauthorized forays out in the great wide open.  Both times I found her large, frightened carcass under the dump truck on the body shop lot.  At least with the bell on, I have a chance of hearing Fanny if she tries to sneak out the door.

bff

Jezebel spent a good portion of the evening trying to run away from the bell.  Hopefully by tonight she will realize the bell’s attached, and hopefully she will begin to understand the more you move the more noise it makes.   I’m hoping she will chill some, and at least partially forgive me.  I’d put a collar on her much earlier to get her used to wearing one, but she is so tiny that I have the collar adjusted almost as small as it will go as it is.   I thought about those teeny collars for ferrets or the collars for ankle biter dogs, but cat collars are specifically made so if a cat gets tangled and is dangling from something the collar will release before the cat is asphyxiated.

bad kitty

Jezebel doesn’t really try to get outside, but she does torment Fanny every chance she gets.  Fanny- all 17# of her- is a wide target.  Fanny’s not only slow, she has a bell on to boot.  So Jezebel, being young, lithe, fast and silent, can stalk and ambush poor fat Fanny with impunity.  Even though Fanny is about 3-4 times as large as Jezebel, Fanny is a poor fighter and has a hard time defending herself, especially when Jezebel wraps herself around Fanny’s neck and starts in with the rabbit kicks.

So I have to try to make it fair.  Even though I know, life is not fair, and some things really suck no matter what you do.

Sheena is not much longer for this world, and in some ways it breaks my heart.  I scheduled the mobile vet to come to our house tomorrow (if she’s still with us then) to put her down.  I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, but she’s gotten to the point where she doesn’t want to eat, and isn’t enjoying being a dog anymore.  She’s actively dying at this point, and it’s not right to let her suffer.

In some ways I wish we could have done more for her, but she was so ill-treated and in such poor health when we found her, that there’s only so much you can do.   She has had numerous issues with mobility from the beginning with the severe HD, but now the mammary growths have come back with a vengeance, and they are everywhere.  She is barely able to stand and walk and it’s getting hard for her to breathe.   I’m glad I got through to the mobile vet.  I wish he could have made it out today but tomorrow’s the soonest I could get.  Although Sheena has never had problems with going the vet, let’s face it, she’s not going to have an easy time getting in the car to begin with, and even worse, it’s not easy to load 75# of dead dog back in the car.  I took Heidi to our regular vet when we had to let her go, which I preferred in a way, because we love our vet, but it’s not a pleasant 40 mile road trip back home knowing you have a dead dog in the trunk that you’re going to have to both unload and help bury.  It was awful enough with Heidi, and she only weighed about 60#.

goodfellas trunk scene

I can’t help it, and I know it’s macabre, but there’s something about transporting a dead body (even a dog’s) in the trunk that reminds me of the movie Goodfellas.

I really don’t want to do that again.

We had a mobile vet come out when Kayla was dying.  I think it’s the same guy who came out with Kayla.  I hope so, because he was very understanding.  Kayla was a good 90# when she died.  I could not lift her by myself.  It might sound cruel, but we laid her out on a large blanket before the vet started in with the chemicals, so we could sort of roll her up as if she were in a hammock- so we could carry her outside and lower her into her grave.  I know it sucks, but even in the mechanics of death, someone still has to think about the logistics.  We will have to do the same thing with Sheena.  I can go on and on about how it sucks that we outlive dogs (and Sheena’s probably only about 7 or 8, which really sucks) but you can’t change reality.

nuns

I think most people have a sort of love/hate relationship with their parents to some degree, but the older I get the more I appreciate my parents and their work ethic and old-school values.  They did the best they could, especially considering Mom is bi-polar, and no matter how much Dad worked, it never seemed like there was enough money to get by.    I could barely afford one child, let alone three, and Steve-o (thank God) had very few illnesses or medical issues.  I do think it a bit creepy last Sunday, out of the clear blue sky, Mom starts apologizing to me for my trainwreck of a childhood.

trainwreck

What Mom doesn’t get, is that even had I been born into a family with every possible material advantage, it wouldn’t have changed my overall reality much.   I might not have been cursed with an uncontrolled, sadistic older sibling.  I might have worn better clothes, and might have had new glasses when I needed them.   Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten rheumatic fever, or maybe I would have gotten a more extensive formal education, but the fact is that in the 1970s, nobody knew how to deal with people who are wired like me.  Hyperlexia only occurs in about 1 in 50,000 children, and 75% of those are male.   Nobody knew what to do with my precocious reading, and nobody knew that it went along with constant anxiety, poor motor skills, abysmal social aptitude, and weak health.

geek_girl_2

High fashion, no.  High IQ, well, intellect does have its advantages.

Mom did the best she could with what she was given, and no apology was ever necessary.  After all, I’m not a correctional institute inmate, I’ve managed to be gainfully employed, and I’m not a serial killer.  I went to school with people who fared much worse in the long run than I did, and they were given many advantages I could only have dreamed of.

Perhaps had I been given every “advantage” I might not have had the fortitude to work for anything or appreciate anything.  Perhaps scarcity and adversity are good for the soul, even though neither of these are fun to endure.

mick-jagger

The older I get, the more I believe the great theologian/philosopher Mick Jagger has it right:

“You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want

You can try sometimes, you just might find

You get what you need-“

The Art of the Epic Fail, Double Entendre, and Sophomoric Humor That Makes Me Laugh

glory hole

I would like to see this church’s theological statement.  Just wondering.  But it is in the UK.

I’ve gone through a bit of a humor drought as of late and it shows.  It’s always better when I can laugh at things I see.

Over the weekend Steve-o and I, and Mom, and Sophie went to the zoo.  The weather was unusually nice for Ohio in Monsoon season- as in it wasn’t pouring down torrential rain.  The thing about public places, and even attractions like the zoo where the admission price should serve to keep some of the riff-raff out, is that it’s a human freak show out there.  I thought Kroger’s on the first of the month was bad.  The only places I’ve seen worse tats and even worse clothing choices are the Marion Popcorn Festival and/or the Ohio State Fair.  I will be taking pics at both of those events this year.  It’s almost as fun as taking pics of tacky Christmas decorations.

dude-714101

Is there a reason why you want to verify your gender to others via a forehead tattoo?

I had a camera on me, but didn’t really feel cool snapping off pics of the Behemoth Butches with Extra Long Leg Hair while Mom was pointing and wondering out loud, “Which one’s the guy?,” and Steve-o snorts out even louder, “They’re bull-dykes!”  Mom, of course, replies by exclaiming, “That’s disgusting!”  Mom and Steve-o’s conversation back and forth on the human freak show they were observing all around them was funny, if not predictable.

One has to remember that Mom is 1. very Catholic, 2. very conservative, and 3. from a very rural locale.  She has lived a sheltered life. At least when she was growing up, the nuns wore full-body garb that would have covered up their buzz cuts, hairy legs, trucker’s wallets and such.

nuns 1

Even I remember Sister Mary Refrigerator Perry from CCD- she was about 6’5″ and a good 320# at least.

I didn’t take any pics of strange people at the zoo, (should have, because they would have been good) because I prefer taking pictures in stealth, without other people’s (loud and frequent) commentary to draw attention to what I’m doing.  So I have no gratuitous pics of these “girls” with their lovely buzz cuts and their fetching ensembles of XXXL t-shirts, cargo shorts, trucker’s wallets, white socks and Chucks.  Trust me-the world is better off.

Bull-dykes or not, I figure, live and let live.  Their lifestyle choices- including their rights not to shave their legs, and to consume more slop on a daily basis than a pen full of feeder hogs- are none of my business.  But the one chick did have more hair on her legs than Steve-o does on his head, which was a tad bit alarming.  She also outweighed him by about 100#, too, so I’m glad she didn’t hear him.

My granddaughter did enjoy the aquatic life in the aquarium though.

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It’s almost disturbing when Steve-o and Mom and Sophie are the only normal people I observed the entire afternoon.  They were so normal that they were abnormal- no tats, no multicolor hair-dos, no mouth piercings, and a child who was dressed appropriately and actually behaved herself most of the time, which is hard to do when you’re 14 months old.

It’s getting really weird to watch people in public places these days.  It’s as if the world has become WalMart, and that couldn’t be a good thing.

walmartbingo

This is so sad, but it’s true!!!

epic-fail-mega-wedgie

Makes me wonder if he was climbing the fence, or if he just had a sadistic older sibling?

When I look at this pic, I thank God I was not born male with the two older sisters I had.  I’d probably been nutted so many times by the age of three that I’d been made a castrato, had I been male and left to the mercy of my sisters’ evil meathooks.

I still got the living hell beat out of me, but at least, being a biological female, I come upon a high soprano vocal range honestly.

The Power of Prayer, “No” IS an Answer, and the Freedom to Not Be In Control

I am a control freak.  I freely admit it.  While I may not completely agree that Asperger’s syndrome should be in the same category as autism, and I’ve never really thought of myself as being “autistic lite,”  (I do function fairly well out in the neurotypical world) but I can identify with the Rain Man really well on the whole routine and habit thing.  Although I don’t necessarily insist on buying my underwear at K-Mart, (I don’t live anywhere close to a K-Mart, going in to the Wal Mart near me is more terrifying than being the last one left standing in an ’80’s slasher flick, so I generally go to Target for such things) I have a certain brand and style that I pretty much buy and wear exclusively.  I have certain things that I like and certain order I like to maintain in my world.  I only like to change my routine when it’s my idea. 

One of the really wonderful things about the Serenity Prayer is that it’s a big reminder on Who is really in control, and thanks be to God, it is NOT me.   That is a liberating statement.  The fate of the free world does not hinge upon whether or not things go my way or whether or not I screw things up or even if I forget to do things.  It really has absolutely nothing to do with me, so I am free to play word games on the DS and to turn up the volume on the TV when Jerry starts in on his drunk and stupid diatribes in the middle of the night.

As a child growing up with a Very Strict old-school Catholic mother (someday I will have to expound on old-school Catholic motherhood for those who never had the distinct privilege of enduring purgatory here on Earth) there were Acceptable and Non-Acceptable prayers. 

Acceptable prayers were: The Our Father (without the “and thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever” line that the “heathen Protestants” add on,) and the Hail Mary.  You could never go wrong, if you were asked to pray, if you said either the Catholic version of the Our Father, or the Hail Mary. 

Unless of course, you were asked to say Grace, which had to be Catholic Grace.  No “Protestant heathen” Grace, such as, “God is great, God is good and we thank Him for our food.”  You dared not even to use the longer Lutheran Grace which is often sung, and starts out with, “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.”  It had to be the “Bless Us Our Lord, for These Thy Gifts” prayer, that’s Catholic Grace, and Mom liked to always add a few lines on the end of  it about her friend Judy’s boils, or about starving kids in Africa, or a thinly veiled nag fest on how Dad needed to stop smoking (he eventually did do that) and straighten up and go to Mass and be converted to Catholicism (don’t see that happening, ever.) 

Acceptable Prayer also included confession.  It was OK to tell God how nasty you were for having fantasies about sending your sadistic older sister to Africa with the starving kids, or how you got the telemarketers to quit calling the house by telling them Mom is not home because she’s been committed to the Asylum for the Insane, and she won’t be back for a year or two. 

Non-Acceptable Prayers included such things as:

“Protestant heathen” prayers, unless you were praying for the “Protestant heathens’ ” conversion.

Praying for stuff for yourself such as money, a pony, a remotely human looking boyfriend, a dirt bike, clean socks, or new clothing that actually fits, of your own choosing.  You weren’t supposed to waste God’s time with your selfish demands when there were far more pressing problems in the world such as Judy with her boils, Dad puffing away on cigarettes whilst being a “Protestant heathen,”  and  of course, there’s starving kids in Africa.

Praying for retribution- even if your sisters really do deserve to either be sent to Africa or to be abducted by space aliens, and even if the boys who put the used condom in your book bag really should wake up with a wicked case of jock itch for their trouble.

I prayed for a lot of crazy things when I was a child, and if I were God (in retrospect) I would have had to say no also.  It’s probably a good thing that my sisters didn’t end up in Africa.  They’d have gotten wicked sunburn.  Nobody in their right mind would have given me a Porsche 911 when I was 16 either.   Nobody in their right mind would give me a Porsche 911 now that I’m 42.  The distressed Subaru DL with its vicious oil leak, and four different sizes and tread patterns of tires, that I did end up with when I was 16, was oddly sufficient.  But “no” is an answer.  I prayed to be tall.  I’m 5’4′, the perfect height for “petite” pants to be high waters and for “regular” pants to drag the ground.   God has a sense of humor.  I prayed to be physically attractive, or at least not to have “the face that stopped a thousand trucks.”  I have the proportions of a mutant troll, and I have a face and hair combo that would scare the bejesus out of small children and dogs if not for hair color and strategically placed makeup.  Again, God has a sense of humor. 

If nothing else, my purpose in being kept vertical and drawing breath is to keep the Clairol and Maybelline folks in business, as well as ensuring that someone will always be out there to buy capri pants, whether or not they are technically in style.

I don’t want to run the universe.  I’m happy enough to have my own TV remote.  At this point in my life all I ask is for the grace to take what I’ve been given and roll with it- to be rich enough that I am not forced to steal, and to have enough to share with others.  No, I will never be beautiful, or even free from excessive body hair without continual vigilance.  No, I will never have a doting spouse, or piles of money, or anything even close to what the world calls success.  So what.  I belong to God, and He has good plans for me- and they will probably even be funny.

If God said, “No,” then apparently I didn’t really need what I asked for.  God knows what I need, but a lot of the time I don’t have the good sense to see it unless He shows me.  A lot of times He has something a lot better for me than the thing I asked for that He said “No” to, but I would never gotten to that point without getting that “No” answer first. 

The importance of prayer is not so much in praying for the “right” things but in the whole process of seeking, knocking and asking (see Matthew 7:7-8.)  It’s OK to ask God for what in retrospect may be very silly things.  God always has the perogative to say “no.” 

I have more than a few friends and acquaintances who claim to be atheists, and they are free to believe there is no God. I can’t argue for the existence of God only to quote the words of a wise Lutheran Pastor- “If you are saved, it is to the glory of God alone, but if you are damned, the fault lies upon you alone.”   

But I fail to see a logical answer for life, for order, for the existence of the universe itself,  in random chance.  I fail to see any kind of omnipotence in mortal men.  Everyone who has attempted to “rule the world forever” has fallen in a blaze of failed glory.  Even those who have attempted to usurp power that isn’t rightfully theirs on a smaller scale have ultimately failed. 

I make a lot of jokes regarding the current President and what I consider to be his dangerous, evil and failed policies, but it really isn’t funny.  I know that Christians are called to pray for the leaders of their government- even when praying seems like a silly thing to do because the person or situation you’re praying about seems utterly pointless.  But sometimes God answers “Yes” to impossible things, because He is in control and I am not.

So I’ll keep on praying that Obama gets impeached- or at the very least that the damage he does do will be limited and fixable, and that his heart will be changed from evil to good.  God may say “No” to my prayers for very good reasons that I can’t see, but He still wants me to pray.  Even if it’s silly.  Even if it’s trivial. After all, what do we talk to our friends about?  Do we address our friends with rote quotes using archaic words like “thee” and “thine?” Do we shield our friends from the rather unsavory parts of our lives, and try to put up a happy front when in reality we are pissed off and want to take someone’s head off?

Prayer is just conversation.  Sometimes it’s silly, sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s angry, sometimes it is the wordless, airless, deep-void lamentation of grief.  God wants to hear it all- not so much the memorized “thee” and “thine” stuff (though rote prayer can be a good starting point, especially when your mind has lost its words) but He wants all of us-  the heartfelt anguish and questioning of Job, the joy (and repentance) of David, and the humble trust and obedience of Mary. 

Save by the grace of God…

I’m glad He’s in control and not me.