Sunday, September 30, 2007

waiting for to know

So yesterday I finally took the LSAT. Now begins the hard part - waiting for the score. I hate waiting. It's the helplessness, I think, the fact that things are totally out of my control, that drives me bonkers. At least I know my scores will arrive eventually (Oct. 22nd at the latest), unlike those poor souls waiting for Godot. I remember my dad took me to see that play when I was in high school. During intermission I let it slip that Godot never shows and Dad insisted that we leave. My dad apparently hates waiting too... So all I can do is try to forget that I'm waiting. Fat chance, I know, but it's the only one I've got.

OC is doing his part to distract me. As I sat in a classroom bubbling in ovals, he sat in the vet's office bubbling inside. He's been there now 4 times in the last 2 weeks. Perhaps this is why the vet took pity on me and charged me nothing at all for his services? Unfortunately, OC couldn't stay in recovery as late on a Saturday as he normally might, so he came home drippier than usual. I spent Saturday night following him around with paper towels and cleaning products. Today I resisted the urge to rent a carpet cleaner but spent hours scrubbing floors and surfaces... And Erik's ottoman? Well, let's just say we're glad tomorrow's trash day. And of course OC needed bathing (twice so far, we're hoping we're done). I posted this picture to remind myself that sometimes he's happy. Here he's hanging out in a very cat friendly place - on a roof off our deck, behind a fence, under a bush where hummingbirds rest - and probly not thinking of his asshole. One good thing about his recent troubles? He's finally been sleeping inside at night. He'd stopped doing that after Monkey arrived. Oh, and the other thing I'm grateful for? He had the good sense to stay off of the bed and the couches while in his drippy state. In fact, the loss of the ottoman is totally my fault as I put him on it post shower so he could warm up by the heater...

Anyway, Erik's been distracting me, too. After I got home from picking OC up, I took Erik to the urgent care facility. He's apparently been having trouble breathing for days but didn't want to trouble me with it before my test. He's always had some trouble breathing - he has a theory that when he eats rice it can get in his lungs - but he's also an avid surfer, so I figured his issues were just more World According to Erik stuff (like how he insisted the other day that all fruit is salty, except bananas, of course... I swear, I laughed so hard that I couldn't breathe...). Turns out maybe he's got asthma or something that manifests like asthma. He's on steroids and has a sample inhaler. He goes back in a couple days to see if he needs a permanent one. At least it wasn't a collapsed lung or some sort of growth. We were hoping for something more like walking pneumonia, though.

Speaking of collapsed lungs, apparently my sister-in-law Brenda suffered one after having had surgery last week. I know, you'd think I'd keep you up to date with family members having surgery and all. I believe I would have if I wasn't so steeped in LSAT preparations. I was so dedicated to (as in obsessed with) my studies that I even skipped a birthday blog (Friday was my dear sweet Yvette's birthday and her post sits in draft mode. I believe I will have to post that belatedly or rot in hell like the bad friend I am...). Anyway, Brenda had an atrophied kidney removed. It was a pretty major surgery (took 5 hours and lots of specialists) but the growth that had supplanted her kidney is reportedly benign so that's good. And my dad says having a lung collapse after being on a chest tube isn't all that uncommon. No less scary, I'm sure, but at least not wholly unexpected. In the meanwhile her husband (my brother, Billy) and their youngest (Madisyn) suffered from pretty painful ear infections (Billy's ears even bled).

And, while we're in full disclosure mode, my Aunt Carol (my mom's only sister) had surgery recently too. She had a bit of the breast cancer (which I know is like saying you're a little bit pregnant). It was stage one, which is good, and I think her lymph nodes were fine, which is great. I believe we are still waiting to hear if she follows up with radiation and chemo or just radiation. So now I've officially got breast cancer on both sides of the family tree. Makes that recent study linking breast cancer and drinking all the more disturbing...

Anyway, on a happier note, Monkey has been distracting me just by being cute. He was so bummed being left out of all the activities yesterday that he's been extra clingy ever since. He's developing all sorts of bad habits which are cute now but will be annoying when he is bigger, such as begging for food and attacking feet. He's still difficult to photograph (nearly every shot is just a blur) but I was able to get this picture which shows his cute little mutant toes. I've taken to calling him my little pterodactyl. Anyway, he's all excited that Uncle OC is now doomed to eat only canned food for life. (I know, for most cats that's a good thing, but OC loves his crunchies...) So far I'm still just offering the Fancy Feast but I'm supposed to get him on to a low residue diet (which makes way more sense than the high fiber plan I've been resisting all year). Anyway, OC will only eat the new super fancy Fancy Feast, which I personally think they should call Fancier Feast. Unfortunately, in our house we've been calling it Farty Feast, for if Monkey gets a bit of it (as he's so determined to do), we get a whiff of it - big time.

And I finally had a seal shift today, but we had no action. It's been quiet for two weeks, which makes sense since it is the off season. Even so, I had to send a girl on a transport, as we had some whale carving equipment in our possession (from the last Blue Whale that washed up in Santa Barbara) that they may be needing soon in the Bay Area. (Something is floating off shore and headed for land.) Anyway, I believe I only missed one sea lion that I would've normally worked with by taking all of September off. So I threw caution to the wind and signed up for very few shifts in October also. I just don't feel I got much of a break in September what with all the cat mourning and all. And I'm pretty sure there is more cat mourning on the horizon, depending on what the surgeon says and how this low residue plan works out. Though I'm hoping maybe OC can make it through birthday season, I recognize that I've already strung him along just to preserve my LSAT score (man, I really am going to hell, aren't I?) and I am more ready than ever just to be grateful that I gave him an extra couple of years of life.

Oh, and just so we don't end on the bleak note of euthanasia in the air, I've got a different sort of bad news. Turns out the cat I want to adopt in Mission Viejo is suffering from unexplained diarrhea and is therefore not really adoptable at this time. Though I'd still love to get my hands on that fine blend of Bombay and Siamese, I appreciate that digestive issues can be frustrating for all involved. Believe me, I know. And I'm sort of glad I don't have to make OC adjust to yet another cat in his household during what are most likely his last days... I'm hoping that maybe Bali will be better once OC is no more, but if not I'm considering looking for another polydactyl pterodactyl. Apparently they are sort of addicting.

Huh. Still ending on euthanasia. Guess that's cuz it's weighing heavily on my mind.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

they're baaaack...

Finally took OC to consult with a surgeon yesterday. He had to fast the night before which meant nobody slept for long. But I was excited as it was the first time he's slept inside since Monkey arrived. (Granted, it wasn't his choice, but still...)

He came home from the surgeon with some serious "manscaping" (you know, shaving of the private parts) and a confirmation of my suspicions. His bilateral perineal hernias have returned. The one on the left is apparently worst. And even though surgeons love a challenge and appreciate a paycheck, the doctor isn't urging me to go the surgical route. In fact, he stressed that there's no guarantee it would work and the muscle he would need to close the hernias was used during his last surgery, so it may be tore up and worn out. He also might want to do it as two surgeries (one hernia at a time)... He is researching the possibilities, but in the meanwhile, my surgeon, like my regular vet, urges management through diet. I have yet to follow their advice to add fiber to his diet (he's a picky eater and I fear dehydration) but I guess I'm ready to now. Sounds like it's all I have left.

So I'm sad. But I'm pulling out my inner Polly Anna and pretending that we will find the magic diet or pay for the risky surgery - at least for the next 8 days. I have found that my practice LSAT scores suffer dramatically when I am weepy for my cats. It appears I have finally bounced back from the dip post Labor Day and even got my first perfect score Thursday morning. (Friday I was back down to my average, which wasn't bad for dealing with trapped cat complaints and working on no sleep.) I can't believe the real test is a week from today. I bought myself new pencils, a new pencil sharpener, and even a new shirt or two so I can be as psyched out as possible on game day. Speaking of, I guess I should get back to studying.

Oh, and my computer is having hibernation issues and also making scary clicking noises (slow this morning, fast last night, super loud just now... freaky enough to get the kitten off my lap...) I very much fear this could be the end for my trusty iMac. I wanted to wait and buy a new computer just before school, but hell, that's two years off... Since this machine is only about 4, my new machine could be obsolete by then. Still, I wonder if I should get a laptop and hope it lives to see the inside of a lecture hall or indulge and get a shiny new iMac? And I wonder if I will get the opportunity to copy everything I love onto disk before my computer's death? Perhaps I will take my iMac in for a surgical consult. What's another couple hundred bucks at this point?

Decisions, decisions... Debt, debt... Not mine to think of this morning. All I need to do is find the assumptions, justify the conclusion, identify the flaw, strengthen the argument, weaken the argument, select the topic at issue, and figure out what must be true... And, I guess, I ought to turn off my computer, hopefully not for the last time ever...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

monkey business

I guess you could call me impatient. Maybe even greedy. Or a little crazy? While I still very much want to adopt Bali, who waits for me in Mission Viejo, yesterday I drove out to Visalia and picked myself up a Monkey cat. Monkey is (though you can't really tell in this picture) polydactyl, which automatically makes him super cool. I am a big fan of benign deformity. This is something I apparently share with Ernest Hemingway and my Uncle Norm (both keepers of polydactyl felines). In addition to being a freak of nature, Monkey is also a kitten (5 months old) so he's irresistibly sweet. He has already displayed supervisorial tendencies (meaning he's trying his hardest to get stepped on and wants to see inside of everything). But best of all, he has willingly submitted to the dreaded Under the Covers Snuggle that Fabe would sometimes do, but even Blackers would shun. He's a regular snuggle savant. In fact, he seems to appreciate that Erik and I sleep on opposite schedules so there's almost always someone in the bed to cuddle. Another thing you can't see in the picture (besides the fact that he's difficult to photograph cuz he seldom sits still)? Monkey is prone to pass gas. Not his finest feature, I assure you, but I'm hoping it's just cuz he's been sneaking bites of the grown up food.

At first I didn't think I'd get Monkey, as I failed to lie on the application about the indoor only part. But it turns out they hadn't even looked at my app and if they had, they wouldn't care. The wonderful woman who was raising him had at least 20 other foster cats, 13 foster dogs, and even 3 foster humans (teenaged boys). She was so ready to lighten her load she was even willing to let me leave with two for the price of one. (I resisted.) Besides, even she doesn't object to outside kitties on principle. She just can't let her animals out cuz her neighbors own cat eating pit bulls.

Anyway, I've decided the indoor only part isn't necessarily a lie, at least not for a good long bit. While I will continue to let OC roam, I have ordered a locking cat door so that he can get in but Monkey (and hopefully Bali) can't get out. I'm thinking if Blackers' little pecan of a brain told him to run in front of a car, what will Monkey do with a partial pecan? OC, on the other hand, is an established outdoorsman and has little other joy in life besides hunting (which, regrettably, he just finished - I found him consuming an already headless hummingbird in the backyard...) and apparently eating grass (some of which is currently hanging out of his butt... I'm hoping this is a good sign - that things are "moving down there," as my mom might say - not a bad sign - as his August enema was distinctly dominated by grass...). OC's condition reminds me of this hilarious illustration I came across while bloghopping. I remember seeing Fabe in exactly the same predicament once...

Though he didn't realize it at first, Monkey is Erik's cat. Erik was rooting for him over Bali. Perhaps that's why when I asked if I could have both, Erik said yes? Anyway, both is always the right answer in my book (that's right up there with my "Food is Love" theory...) but I'm not sure what OC will think of the gang of black hoodlums I'm slowly filtering into his home. Monkey is not, however, so exclusively Erik's that I will allow Erik to change his name to Mittens. Seriously, Mittens? Monkey, which is his given name, is so superior. It lends itself to the Mon-chi-chi song ("Mon-key-key Mon-key-key, oh so soft and snuggly...") and it makes us think of our favorite character from Dexter's Laboratory so we are constantly complaining in a German accent that he "will never be anything more than a mere Monkey..." We've also decided that OC is too old to be Monkey's brother so we're calling him Monkey's uncle. Get it? OC is a Monkey's uncle...

Now Bali, on the other hand, may get a new name along with his new home. If he really is a mix of Blackers and Fabe, I'm thinking I may call him Monster to match his personality. There is already evidence that this may be the case - one of his three photos on Petfinder shows him biting another cat he has clenched in a head lock... I wish I didn't love him so, for I see that Monkey and OC will eventually get along fine but there's no telling what a third cat will do to the mix. (I've prepared for the worst and picked up a gallon of Nature's Miracle...) I also wish his foster mom would be more forthcoming with her approval of my application. I know she is busy but I am anxious. Though it is good to let Monkey get settled in...

Besides, based upon his grassy ass accessory, I may be busy the next few days dealing with OC. I took him to the vet on Friday due to his "condition suspect" status. They administered the standard humiliation only to discover that the bulge which normally indicates impactedness was actually made from swollenness. So now OC is on steroids to reduce the inflammation. I'm not sure what this means for poor OC. Is this a new torture he'll mix in with the old? Is it causal? Coincidental? Likely to recur or totally random? I do know I feel great appreciation towards my vet who has been giving me some major deals - sort of a volume discount, I guess, or a frequent flyer program... And I also feel major affection towards OC, as he is such a trooper.

Perhaps, though, this added uncertainty is part of why I feel the need to get two cats to replace one? Do I secretly see the writing on the wall? I sure hope not. I figure I am just doing what I did when Fabe died - replacing one cat with two. And three cats does not a crazy cat lady make. Three is the new two, I've decided. And the blackies are both young so they can enjoy each other while OC mellows about and licks his butt... Or so I am telling myself.

And in case you were wondering, all this black snuggliness serves as a wonderful distraction, but I am keenly aware of the fact that tonight is the two week sadiversary of Blackers' death. I only take solace in knowing that he would definitely want me to adopt at least one more cat as the last thing he would want is to see OC happy... Oh, and he does look super sleek in his fancy marble urn. I framed this super cool shot of him from his living and breathing days to sit beside it on my desk so I don't have to think of him as a pile of ashes or a sprawling blood stain. Now he is forever peering down on me from atop the fridge - a spot that even with his new top cat status OC has not assumed as his own.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

time makes all wounds scabby and gross

In case you hadn't noticed, I've been in a bit of a hibernation lately. Though it might not be a hibernation, as technically bears sleep when they hibernate and I, for the first time in my life, have been having trouble sleeping. Apparently losing a cat unexpectedly is a far different kind of grief than losing a cat to cancer. It's the kind of grief that keeps you up at night. Thanks to the makers of Bacardi and Dimetapp (and no thanks to my prescription plan that refused me access to sleeping pills), I made it through the roughest patch. Also, I know bears don't actually eat when they hibernate so I guess I had everything backwards. My body now feels like a toxic waste dump - full of take out, dehydrated from tears, sore from inactivity - but maybe that's just what I needed to finally get motivated to get back on the path to my skinny jeans?

Anyway, if FedEx is on time, tomorrow I will be able to put what remains of my cat in this stylish black marble urn. I think he would like it. Like him, it's black and exotic and heavy for its size. And it's got nice corners for rubbing your face on. Suze Orman would not approve, of course. Like the pie safe, I definitely cannot afford it, but it cost less than many of OC's recent vet bills...

Speaking of, my Orange Cat is adjusting to his role as Only Cat. He's home a lot more, laying out in the open instead of cowering in hidey holes. Though he thoroughly appreciates not getting beat up anymore, he apparently had no idea how much of the snuggle tax his brother paid on his behalf. He's now enrolled in a full time remedial snuggle class. He particularly did not enjoy the "Love Sandwich" lesson. He prefers to sleep with his head hung over the edge of the bed, not in between two massive humans who could roll over and squish him. And though he's always been generous with his belly in the past, it is not a limitless resource. He left in a huff after a recent belly lesson.

Though my beloved Erik scrubbed the massive blood stain, I can still see it from my seat on the couch. We considered trying bleach or hydrogen peroxide, but now I'm perversely attached to the stain. I found myself getting defensive when some people parked on it. Silly, huh? And the other night a miniature schnauzer stopped to investigate. Somehow, though I hate Trixie dogs (remind me to tell you about the night Trixie tried to kill me...), I found it touching that someone in the animal world was acknowledging Blackie's demise.

Anyway, Erik and I are seriously considering bringing another black cat into the home. It seems a little soon, but when you think of all the cats suffering in shelters (especially our shelter - the local paper finally did a story on the atrocities there...) it seems a shame not to spare at least one soul (even if he might someday get runned over). Selfishly, I've also looked outside the county and found a half Bombay (Blackers) and half Siamese (Fabian) in foster care in Mission Viejo. I doubt they'll adopt to me (those organizations are all about the indoor only households), but he looks like the perfect mix of snuggly and evil. I could lie, of course, and tell them he'd be indoor only, but I'm a really horrible liar (and I want to be a lawyer why?). I could also just keep him indoors, of course, but it would be difficult as OC needs to go out to get his exercise (allegedly it keeps his poop flowing, though today his condition is suspect...) and Erik likes to open the house up for oxygen. I do see where all you indoor only kitty mamas are coming from. I'm just not sure I'm ready to join your ranks.

Right now I am off to my chiropractor. I love love love my chiropractor. She's not like your chiropractor, I assure you. She's extra especially magical as she does something called the Graston Technique which is very akin to tenderizing meat... She's done wonders erasing years of waitressing, bad posture, and stress from my back and today I definitely have some fresh stress for her to erase...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

oc now stands for only kitty

So I usually like to let birthday blogs linger - I work hard on them, after all, and people like them - but this year a very bad thing happened on Wendy's birthday. Apparently late Sunday evening my beloved cat, Blackers the Attackers, ran under a car that was just coming around the corner in front of our house. Erik discovered a blood stain by the mail box in the morning but no body. He didn't tell me about it right away (I was taking a practice LSAT) but I got suspicious when I heard him calling the cat.

I abandoned my test (I had sucked on puzzles anyway) and joined him in the search. Erik tried to tell me the blood could be human. He had seen some people gathered around a truck the night before. Crowds of any sort are unusual in our neighborhood and they'd had a bad vibe, he said. Perhaps they had had an altercation? Maybe I watch a little too much CSI, but it looked to me like the stain was quite consistent with that of a cat rolling around a tire. I felt nauseous.

Though we hoped against hope that the stain wasn't left by our darling Pequeno-Blackie-Akhmed-Little Fabe, we realized he's quite the homebody and he hadn't been in for his dinner or late night brother fight. We walked around a few blocks calling him and I even started a load of laundry (he loved to supervise the washing of clothes). We also left the back door open (another irresistible lure) but we had no success.

When we got home I started calling the veterinary ERs, the Sheriff, the local police, and our immediate neighbors. No luck, obviously. Within an hour, the phone rang and I saw that it was one of my two seal rescuing neighbors who live a block away. I'm not on the seal schedule this month, so my heart immediately sunk. When she asked if I had a black cat, I knew...

So the kid who was driving was really freaked out. Blackers came out of nowhere and he had no time to stop or swerve. He got out of his car, called his parents, and waited there for them. My cat died instantly - the impact destroyed his beautiful face. Meanwhile, a couple who was walking their dog came along and knew that my friend owned a black cat just a block away. They decided to take the body to her. She spent the evening worried until her own cat came home. Then, knowing where the accident occurred, she realized the dead cat was probly mine.

We'd known from the stain that the accident was most likely fatal. Since it was trash day, I had Erik checking everyone's cans thinking someone might have tossed him out. I can say that I am overwhelmingly grateful no one treated him that way. I appreciate that he was well cared for post mortem by my neighbors. I was tortured at the thought that I might never know what happened to him and I am glad that torture was only one hour long. Still, this really sucks.

I spent all day crying. Not crying, really, more like wailing. I was definitely doing what Oprah calls the "Ugly Cry." All of my usual comforts - alcohol, food, and sleep - have betrayed me. I can't maintain a buzz, nothing tastes good, and I can't fall asleep. My grief is physical - my heart hurts, my breathing's constricted, my muscles are tense. I've actually never been this fat and this sad at the same time; I truly feel like a heart attack is a possibility...

I wonder how long it will take OC to realize he is an only cat. We decided not to show him the body as we didn't want to freak him out. He's still pretty jumpy, so it seems he thinks there's a possibility his brother could show up at any moment... I was just glad OC came home at all. It's been exactly one year since he disappeared after the crazy lady abducted him. I was afraid she'd pull some sort of repeat performance. I really hope OC spends more time at home now that he's allowed to. I don't have it in my heart to force him to be an indoor kitty but I'm starting to see where those indoor kitty families are coming from.

In the morning we'll have Blackers cremated. I may not keep my kitties indoors when they are alive, but I'm not willing to bury them once they are gone. If I can hoard art supplies and Happy Meal toys, I sure as hell can hoard my dead cats.

Once I can see beyond my own grief, I'm sure I'll write Blackers a proper posting, celebrating all the ways in which he was a fabulous cat. Though I only had him for 2 years and 5 1/2 months, I've got plenty of wonderful memories. He really helped me heal after losing Fabian. Now that Blackie's gone, the loss feels doubled. I am so not prepared to go through all of this again.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

36 things I love about Wendy

Wendy is officially my oldest friend. And by that I mean the friend I've had the longest, of course, not the most geriatric... I wish I could say I knew her when she was the soccer playing cutie to the left. Alas, we were eight then, and not yet transplanted to Tiffany Elementary School. She may wish we'd known each other then, too, so I wouldn't have been tempted to include the photo below - her fourth grade picture - from the year we actually met. Not that Wendy's fourth grade picture is bad. It's fourth grade after all, and it was the era of Magnum P.I., so Hawaiian prints were definitely in. If I recall, I was wearing Izod in my school photo. Graciously, they only shoot your torso, so no one can see my dreaded Tuff Skins, the bane of my elementary school existence.

Wendy was, and still is, so much cooler than me in every single way. Not only has she never, to my knowledge, sported Tuff Skins, I'm practically certain she never peed her pants waiting for the lunch bell to ring. (Sadly, perhaps you already surmised, my fourth grade self cannot claim the same...) She seemed so at home, so comfortable with herself. I would've never guessed she was as new to the school as I was. And it was obvious already that she was nicer than me. She would have never pelted Naomi Largo in the face with a big red ball for putting the moves on her square dancing partner...

Wendy's best friend at the time was Daisy and, man, I just thought they had the coolest names. All my life, it seems, I've always known another Jenny... In college, for example, I was one of four Jennys: I was Jen Down the Hall, as opposed to Jen my Friend, Jen my Roommate, and Jen Across the Hall... Never have I met another Wendy or Daisy. To the left you can see them at 6th grade graduation. I wasn't there. I had left a week earlier for the annual Thomas Family pilgrimage to Pennsylvania, the homeland. I think plane fares must be cheaper before the school year ends, cuz it wasn't the only last of day of school I missed. It's the just the only one I still bug my parents about. I too could have been pictured wearing a belted dress with puffy sleeves. But there's no way my parents would have gotten me a corsage. See what I mean about Wendy being super cool?

Twenty six years later, I remain impressed by how comfortable Wendy is in her own skin. She's still a snappy dresser and a nice girl. And I'm pretty sure she still hasn't peed her pants in public. I've come to admire more than just her name, her plucky spirit, her fashion sense, and her bladder. Wendy has become in many ways my moral yardstick. I often pause and wonder, "What would Wendy do?"

I love the photo to the right as this is my Wendy. Just seeing that familiar disapproving look, I can hear the sound of my name in her voice. It comes out sharply at first, but is softened with just a hint of southern drawl. Beneath her protest of whatever heinous thing I have done or suggested, I hear amusement. Of course, I could be wrong. In truth, she may very well be genuinely appalled. Either way, Wendy lets me be me and for whatever mysterious reason, she finds it in her heart to call me friend.

I only hope this posting will do her justice. No way to know without getting on with it. So, I give you 36 reasons I love Wendy:
  1. She tells a great story. One of my favorites is the recent tale of her unlost cat, Lou Pucci. She told me all about how skittish he was when he first came in to her life. Then she detailed one marvelous evening when he came up to join her in her bed. She laid there quietly, back to him, not wanting to ruin the moment, jumping for joy inside. Before she knew it, the spell was broken. Lou had left on his own accord. The magic had vanished. In its place, there was cat pee. Lou Pucci had peed on her.
  2. That's not all. Once, when she was minding her own business, a passing Canadian goose let loose all over her, her husband, and the newspaper they were reading. I recall I could hardly control myself as she described the sound of the guano pelting the paper. I imagined that from such heights it had picked up significant velocity. This goose, apparently, was also very well fed. Wendy and Zubin were covered in feces. Zubin was far from pleased. Wendy was shocked, but she could already see the humor in their situation. That's Wendy for you. She doesn't let a little pee or pooh get her down.
  3. Though she's accepting of the accidents of others, Wendy hopes never to fart in front of her boyfriend. Until she mentioned it, I had never realized that I myself have never heard her pass gas. Perhaps one of the secrets of Wendy's success is that she is exceedingly polite? Or does her power lie with her control over her digestive tract? Anyway, she does accept that inevitably Rob will witness an unexpected intestinal outburst. In fact, she has asked me to send her an email that she can forward to him with instructions on just how he should react. What I find most charming is not her fear of farting, or her planning and preparation for her eventual doom. What I find most hilarious is that I am clearly not to be trusted with direct access to Rob's email address. Wendy's no dummy. Anyway, Rob, in case you are reading this, you are to envelope Wendy in your arms and hold her until her face is no longer red. You will not laugh or comment on any qualities of the broken wind - auditory or olfactory. In fact, you will never speak of the incident again.
  4. She is a good kitty mama. Even though Lou peed on her, she still loves him. And though he shows love with his teeth, she also adores his roomie, bad ass Barkley. Of course, they both live in the shadow of the memory of Cody, who you can see in the photo above. Cody was Wendy's Fabian, the remarkable feline companion of her young adulthood. They were blessed to have each other.
  5. She has a colorful vocabulary, for a kindergarten teacher. She calls lame guys donkeys and sometimes refers to herself as a turd... In fact, I am the one who claims she won't fart in front of her boyfriend. In her words, she'd rather "poot in private."
  6. She loves to read. The photo to the right shows that at the tender age of two she took a break from opening Christmas presents to savor the pleasure of a new book. I love that when I predicted I might some day develop an addiction for prescription medications, she suggested I get addicted to reading instead.
  7. She encouraged me to start this blog and turned me on to blogs in general. I wonder if she regrets this after reading reasons one through three?
  8. She has no debt. Seriously, I cannot imagine having no debt. Her mother credits Zubin as the driving force behind this remarkable fiscal feat. Whatever the source, Wendy continues to live within her means and for this I applaud her.
  9. She's open to corruption. I once hosted a study session and served jell-o shots as refreshments. I love that she ended up going home in my feather dress.
  10. She wasn't allowed to come to my 10th birthday party. Perhaps her mother knew I'd someday be the bad influence? It's too bad, really, cuz it was the only surprise party I've ever had and we went to an ice cream parlor.
  11. She appreciates Erick Mafong. He's another former Tiffany Tiger who is sweet, if not the slightest bit eccentric. We both hold him in high regard, though he may not know it. (By the way, he was allowed to come to my party. In fact, he came early and nearly ruined the surprise...)
  12. She likes her feet. She submitted this photo of them to Jones Soda. They never made it on to a bottle, but I voted for them a few times.
  13. She discourages me from selling myself short. Through her, I have learned it is not okay to buy love with food (though I still believe that food is love...) and that people who are "friends with benefits" should both benefit...
  14. She appreciates a well written letter and forgives when they are not forthcoming. She so enjoyed the letters we exchanged in college that she thought we might someday publish them. Sadly, I have reviewed the unsent letters in my possession and I can assure you no one would pay to read them. Still, she thought enough of my correspondence skills to set me up with a mysterious pen pal, Todd. In the interest of fairness, I ended up neglecting him as well.
  15. She even loves letters when she's not the recipient. She organized a letter writing campaign for her mother's 50th birthday.
  16. She had Zubin. As you can imagine, Zubin was a pretty extraordinary person to capture Wendy's heart. Like many young couples, Wendy and Zubin had a casual wedding - the bride wore Converse. Unlike most young couples, their wedding took place in a hospital shortly before Zubin had surgery to remove the benign tumor growing on his brain. (As if any brain tumor can truly be considered benign? Not malignant, sure, but benign seems a stretch...) What always impressed me was how normal they were despite the challenges of quadraplegia. Wendy and Zubin were adorable, funny, and genuine. They didn't dwell on disappointment and they didn't take themselves too seriously. Theirs was a romance for all ages. In the words of her mom, "they learned how to care for each other in ways not many of us will ever master."
  17. When the time came, she let him go with dignity and grace, on his terms, without a fuss.
  18. Wendy is practical, even about paralysis. When she wanted to end a fight, she left the room. Despite his objection, she'd offer Zubin's underwear to Cody, whose greatest pleasure was snuggling them.
  19. She's doesn't sweat the small stuff. For example, she hasn't yet disowned me for the stupid things I say like how I thought it was cool her parents were getting a divorce cuz then she'd get more financial aid in college. And she didn't flinch when I asked Zubin if losing his ability to move improved his sense of hearing when I was amazed he could make out the words to a Red Hot Chili Peppers song that was garbled to me.
  20. She did, however, once threaten to punch me. We were both on deadline and though I've lost the specifics, I remember I was being a bit of a pest. But Wendy's not really violent, so I wasn't afraid. Still, she could totally take me if she wanted to. And I don't say that about most people...
  21. She is smart, though Calculus was not her favorite subject. I remember once our teacher actually scolded her for asking a "stupid question." Ouch.
  22. We also got a "D" on our final project for English, senior year. Our teacher, Barf Bag (as in Carrier of Ralph...), told us the "D" stood for "Disappointing." We didn't care. In fact, I'm pleased we could be as disappointing to him as he'd been to us. As I recall, we were forced into his class by a scheduling problem - we couldn't have Mrs. Flores and still take Calculus and Journalism... Anyway, I love that Wendy embraced her inner rebel and skated with me on this lame assignment.
  23. I once caught her dancing with her mom in their living room to Dan Seals' song, "Bop with Ya Baby." I loved getting a peek into their private life. It was refreshing to see that not every mother-daughter relationship was coated in adolescent angst. They remain close and I consider myself fortunate to count them both among my friends.
  24. Wendy does not like email forwards. If you are going to add something to her inbox, it better be original.
  25. She can drive stick. I can too, now, but she's been driving stick since high school. She can also back into parking spaces, something I still avoid.
  26. She's learning to drink scotch.
  27. She embraces her inner dork. For example, she never hid her affection for Huey Lewis. I was so bummed when I saw him in the SF airport and failed to get his autograph for her. I stopped myself as I knew if I'd approached him I would've blathered something about how cool Wendy was for loving him even though he was so dorky. Only later did I realize I could've just gone up and told him my name was Wendy and I was his biggest fan...
  28. Our younger brothers were friends. We agree that it is better that we do not know the details of the adventures they had together.
  29. She was our Prom Queen and she had her own unofficial fan club - a collection of cute sophomore boys who are now her lifelong friends. Not surprising, now that you know so many wonderful things about her, eh?
  30. She collects Pink Panthers. This picture features the very first of her menagerie. You may recall from her mom's blog that she was once consoled by a Pink Panther cup purchased for her by her aunt after she'd been spanked for harassing her brother. She's also fond of crows, which is how she came across this most excellent piece, done by a mutual friend of ours (whose fan club Wendy and I are most definitely in...).
  31. She's not shy and she owns her truth. She swears I tell this story wrong, but as I remember it, she was once the focus of an adolescent boy's lame attempt at blackmail. She refused to be held hostage by his threat to reveal the details of their innocent rendezvous. Instead, Wendy announced them herself while standing on a bench and commanding the attention of her field hockey team. As I recall, it went something like this, "He tried to put his hands down my pants and I let him..."
  32. While she agrees that girls have effectively ruined pirates for boys, she does not agree that vikings are next. I don't know, though. Vikings have all the same appeal - cute costumes, funny accents, an excuse to drink and carry weapons... And I've even seen them featured on the Backyardigans. You heard it here first. It's only a matter of time.
  33. She is a great friend. She makes me wish I lived in the Northwest so I could attend social gatherings with her such as Sausagefest and CD parties. And I'm secretly jealous of Debbie, her high school best friend pictured above. Those two keep in touch like nobody's business. I'm more a laissez-faire best friend myself. I'm convinced my life is more interesting when the stories I've collected over a couple years are condensed into a single marathon phone call or a couple of verbose emails.
  34. She doesn't feel old. Sometimes I do.
  35. Perhaps this is because she is athletic. Besides field hockey and soccer, as a kid she also ran track and played basketball. As an adult, she walks to work and is a member of a climbing gym. (Just don't call her "svelte." That didn't go over well when she heard it was used to describe her by a friend's parent. I know how she felt. I heard a friend's dad once called me a "grub." I'd take "svelte" over "grub" any day...)
  36. She let me keep the papier mache cat I made for her. It's technically unfinished anyway as she didn't think glow in the dark eyes were a great idea and now I can't decide... Besides, she claims to love the purple scarf I knitted for her years later in exchange.
So happy birthday, Miss Wendy. Here's to another 26 years of friendship. May you always be my oldest friend.

P.S. An extra special thank you goes out to Merry ME, Wendy's awesome mom, who hooked me up with the groovy pictures. There are so many more you didn't get to see (my true present to you, Wendy) but which I thoroughly enjoyed...

P.P.S. And since she asked, here's the shot of me and Wendy at our high school graduation. See how my eyes are closed? Just one more piece of evidence that Wendy is at all times cooler than I am:

Saturday, September 01, 2007

mom would be proud

So the other day I accidentally spread yogurt on my bagel instead of cream cheese. I immediately thought of my mother, who once mistook her conditioner for shampoo - for a whole week. I felt even more like my mother when I realized I had been suspicious of the especially runny cream cheese but didn't toss it out. My mom is all about keeping food past its prime. A quick survey of her kitchen will yield any number of culinary nightmares - moldy cheese, browning avocados, wilted lettuce, wrinkled tomatoes, sprouted potatoes... My mom is so into old food, in fact, that when I blamed some older eggs for a recent stomach illness, my mom defended the eggs. She explained that the eggs in her own fridge were significantly older and that my brother once ate an egg that was even a little green and he was still fine. This just made me want to vomit more. My dad's explanation, that the eggs would've made me sick sooner if they were the source of my malaise, was much more palatable and scientifically sound.