Furry Cuteness Friday

I have once again been in remiss for Furry Cuteness Friday. Here are a few cute, furry faces to round up the work week and start the weekend!

Baby Elephants!

Up, up, and (not) away!

2 giraffe


Koko 1


2 penguin



Of pissing people off and tales of a reformed people pleaser

You’re always going to piss someone off.

Said something negative about religion or faith in front of someone who is a devout [insert faith here]? They’re pissed. Posted on Facebook about how cats are better than dogs? Yup, someone just got pissed off. Then there’s the cream of the crop. “It’s okay if I say it, but not okay if you say it” a la “nigga” and “fag”. You see that line? You totally crossed it. And someone took it as a personal affront. Here’s a relevant example from my own life.

If you watch Game of Thrones and haven’t seen the episode from last week, stop here. Spoilers there be. There has been much made about a particular scene that amounted to rape. Everyone started screaming about how it was glorifying rape, not advancing the plot, etc. People who know my history inevitably wanted my 2 cents. Given the fictitious world in which this occurred, I’m not surprised. There’s a reason he’s referred to as “George Rape Rape Martin”. The scene itself didn’t cause flashbacks or anxiety. What bothered me was people getting pissed on my behalf. Why was I not bothered by it? I’m a rape survivor, therefore I should be crying from the rooftops “how dare they!”. The only reason the scene surprised me was they’d been setting up Jamie to redeem himself and this came as a sharp U-turn. He’s certainly not the only male character guilty of some iteration of rape as the currently legal definition stands. Theon, I’m looking at you. Full disclosure, I haven’t read the books. I have no intention of reading the books. From what I understand, some of the female characters have been made older so you’re not staring at statutory rape every other scene.

For people who haven’t let go of their sexual assault, I totally understand how this scene, or the entire show, could be traumatic. As for me, it’s an hour of bawdy, bloody entertainment. It goes away when I turn off the TV. There’s no need to be angry on my behalf over something that no longer controls me. Get angry because someone intentionally hurt your feelings. While I appreciate the thought, leave it to me to get angry about my own life.

If I’ve pissed you off at any point while writing this blog, awesome. It gave you a chance to stop and think about your own views for a second. I’m not in this to please the masses. It’s impossible to please everyone all the time. If I haven’t pissed you off, give it time. I’m sure it’ll happen sooner or later.


P.S. Dad still in hospital, but up, moving around, and feeling good enough to complain. I’ll take it.

Of pain and progress

There’s a lot to be said for knowing when to say “no”.

I decided to not go to the memorial service tomorrow. I’m not in a place where I can handle death right now. I’ve been through an emotional meat grinder for the past 6 weeks. Our relationship was so far in the past, I’m largely emotionally detached. When I’m alone. In a group of people who knew him better and were closer to him, I don’t know how I would take that. I don’t know how I would handle their grief. I’m not willing to test that either. My way of saying good bye will be a donation to the charity of his choice in his name. That’s the right choice for me. Which brings me to…

More complications with my dad. I spent half an hour in my little hiding place at work crying and texting back and forth with my nearest and dearest. I finally got up the courage to stand up, go into the bathroom, and clean myself up. I have incredibly fair skin so my face turns bright red when I cry. I splashed some cold(ish) water on my face and looked at myself in the mirror. I said to the puffy, red eyed, leaky nosed mess looking back at me “You can do this”. I was sorely tempted to walk into my boss’ office, tell him I was going home, and drive away. I chose instead to go back to my desk and do the best I could with what I had. My boss wanted to show me something when I got back and he asked how my dad was doing. I told him I didn’t want to talk about it. He gave me a pass on productivity for the rest of the day. It’s the small gestures (and the benefits of proving myself to be an industrious worker) that mean the most. I was so out of it by the end of the day, I almost missed my exit off the highway. Twice. I ordered pizza for dinner because I didn’t trust myself around knives and stoves. Not because I would intentionally hurt myself, but because I have maybe 10% of my normal functional level right now. I figured $20 for pizza was better than a trip to the emergency room because I sliced open my finger or absentmindedly stuck my hand in a blender. Yes, it’s that bad.

It hurts like hell, but pain is progress. I know that sounds like some silly motivational poster in a CrossFit gym, but it’s true. I was thinking back to the beginnings of my relationship with Boy. I was in so deep, I literally didn’t have the energy to cry. There were moments when I really, really wanted to cry. Nothing came. It was only after I began to get better that the tears came. It’s hard to remember when I’m in the middle of sobbing my eyes out. Feeling like someone reached into your chest and ripped out your heart isn’t any fun. As I said, at this point, I’ll take a hot poker to the eye. Pain isn’t weakness. Pain isn’t a failure. Given the choice, I would take physical pain over emotional pain any day. The emotional pain days seem endless right now.

Let us end on a positive note (and the Benadryl is kicking in, so I should wrap this up before I go totally loopy).

Things that make me smile:

  • The cat dreaming
  • Pizza pizza!
  • My amazing friends who have offered to move mountains for my family right now
  • My equally amazing office crew who are ever patient with me
  • An infinite loop of Chris Brown & Will.i.am on my tablet
  • Finding erotic romance books that don’t make me want to tear my eyes out and apologize on behalf of English majors everywhere (The Submissive Trilogy – check it)
  • Slowly mastering the art of accessorizing well
  • Benadryl
  • Fresh cut flowers
  • Shoes I can dance in



Of going too soon and arriving too late

There are certain moments which put your life, and your problems, in rather harsh perspective.

My first boyfriend ever died yesterday. He had just turned 30 in February. When I saw it on Facebook, I didn’t believe it. I was thinking “Wow, that’s a really cruel joke to play. April Fool’s Day was a week ago.” Then his sister posted confirmation. I was completely stunned. I haven’t seen him since he graduated high school (2002) and I only recently found him on Facebook. We dated for all of 4 months over 15 years ago. He was my first kiss and gave me my first hickey (much to the great dismay of my mother). He also had the most ridiculous reason for dumping me I’ve heard since we started dating. There were rumors constantly flying around that he was gay. In a Catholic high school, that’s a loaded statement. He denied it vehemently and kept a string of girlfriends after me. He was a very talented singer and actor which only fueled the gay rumors. Everyone kept telling me he was gay and questioning why I was dating him. He dumped me, so that ended things swiftly. When I was in college, I heard he came out. It didn’t surprise me. I was happy that he had the courage to lay it out there in his very Catholic household. I would idly see his posts on Facebook. He appeared to have reinvented himself. He started going by his full name and gave a pass to everyone who met him before his college days to call him by his nickname. He’d found a partner. There was nothing indicating anything was wrong. Then just like that, he was gone. I’m planning on going to the memorial service this week even though I doubt his sister will remember me.

I read a quote from, of all people, Teller of Penn & Teller. He was talking about rehearsing in the theater and the thought crossed his mind that someday, he won’t ever walk into that theater again. His heart dropped at the thought. Then he said, think about something like that for your own life. Let your heart drop. Then remember that day isn’t today. So I let my heart drop and reminded myself that today is a day I’m still here. Today is a day everyone I love is still here. Give it a try. I promise it will provide the good shake we sometimes need.

Rest well, Jeff. Rest well.


Of weight and wait…

For all its faults, the Internet can be a wonderful place. Officially, the cause of my dad’s hip problem was avascular necrosis. My mom mentioned that everyone was stumped how it came about. Curiosity got the better of me and found information on the Mayo Clinic’s site. Here’s what I learned:

  • It’s most common in men from 30-60 (check!).
  • The most common joint affected is the hip (check!). It’s frequently asymptomatic until the pain presents in the hip itself, thigh, or butt (thigh – check!).
  • The most common causes are excessive alcohol intake (he drinks 2-3 beers a night and a glass of sherry – check!), cancer treatments (check!), and steroid use (quarter of check – he was on steroids for about a month for brain pain).
  • He’s also an avid runner and trampoline jumper. Yes, I know the latter sounds ridiculous but it’s great cardio. I’m calling those checks as well for the frequent high impact.
  • He rarely, if ever, drinks water. He freely admits there are days where his only liquid intake is coffee and beer. He freaks out wait staff when we got to a restaurant and he refuses the free water.

He may have legitimately had an infection in his hip from the previous surgery, but it did a great job of masking the bone death. Even if he didn’t have an infection, the bone death was clearly well masked. He literally couldn’t walk when he went to the hospital the first time. I have this hilarious mental image of my 5’4″ (163 cm for my metric system readers) mother tossing my 6’3″ (190.5 cm) father over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes to get him in the car. This is probably not that far from the truth. The adage says knowledge is power. Now that I had a name and a way to figure out what the hell was going on, I feel better. I took the same approach when he was detoxing from the oxycodone after his first round of cancer treatments in 2007. It’s obviously not fatal and will take a lot of rehab to get him back and up and running (quite literally). My mom really hit the nail on the head when she observed the hardest part is watching him have no energy or interest in what’s going on around him.

My dad is one of the most enthusiastic and exuberant people I know. It’s where I inherited a lot of my personality. This is the man who spent last October working in a haunted house scaring the shit out of people. He loved every second of it. This is the man who was out on the dance floor all night at my cousin’s wedding wearing a feather boa. One of my other cousins asked how much he’d had to drink. I laughed and told him clearly he didn’t know my dad very well. To see him sitting quietly in a hospital bed not cracking a joke or plotting an elaborate escape from aforementioned hospital is jarring. Who are you and what have you done with my dad? They’ll let him out sooner or later and life will go back to normal. Ideally, that day will come sooner rather than later.

In other news, I’ve been using my pedometer (a Withings Pulse) more regularly. It’s enlightening to see how much I walk on a daily basis. It’s automatically set to 10,000 steps a day. In Vegas, I blew that goal out of the water fairly quickly. Today, I haven’t even cracked 500 yet. Admittedly, I’ve been sitting on my ass all day reading and researching various maladies on the internet. The app lets you track your step count, pulse, sleep, and weight. I had the weight option turned off for a long time for reasons I won’t rehash again. Just for fun, I put it back on there and started weighing myself at least once a day. In one day, I can vary as much as 3-4 pounds. I know I’m confusing the hell out of the app because I keep changing the entries so frequently. Sometimes, you just have to see things for yourself. Weight is a stupid measure of health or fitness. It is merely how much the earth wants to hold me toward its center. That number has no bearing on my self worth. Watching the variance over the course of almost a week has driven that point home quite well. It’s like moods. Some days, I’ll feel banging and ready to take over the world. Other days, I’d rather hide under the covers and check Facebook all day. My mood doesn’t remain steady all the time and neither will my weight. That’s how life rolls. I’m not sure how you operate, fair readers, but I have to see something for myself to truly understand a situation. A year ago, I never thought I would be able to step on a scale with any kind of regularity and laugh at the absurdity I saw. Evolution is a grand, grand thing. N’est pas?


Of negative voices and overly effective methods of torture

Apologies for my lack of posting lately, loyal readers. I was in Las Vegas for 4 days. Yay vacation! But that’s not the topic of this post. Once again, it’s negative voice time!

For those keeping score at home, they discovered my dad’s brain tumor on February 19. He had surgery to remove the tumor on March 3. On March 12, he went back in the hospital for an infection that had spread into his left hip (the side missing all the lymph nodes from his cancer surgery in 2007). Once they figured out it was an infection over a week later, he had to have surgery to scrub it out. Then it spread to the right hip and another surgery to scrub that hip out. He was released on Apr 1. On Apr 5, I get an email from my mom saying he’s back in the hospital for pain in the same hip at the surgical site. I checked in yesterday and he was in surgery getting a partial hip replacement. Some unholy combination killed the bone in the socket part of the hip.That’s 4 surgeries in 5 weeks. Every time things seem to be looking up, another hit comes.

Of course, my old pal the negative voice shows up. “Why the hell are you upset?”. “Stop crying and apologize, you’re bringing everyone else down”. “What part of stop crying did you not understand?”. “Apologize again. You’re making everyone else’s day worse”. Hey, negative voice, can I ask you a favor? Really, it’s just a small one.

Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

I had a rather epic meltdown driving home from the airport last night. It’s a good thing I was alone, because I would have scared the living hell out of any passengers. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m scared and hurting for someone I love deeply. I feel totally helpless. That’s a hell of a lot more painful than if it were me. Believe me, I’ve offered to switch place more times than I care to count in the past month. I know he’s not going to die. Plenty of people get hip replacements. Plenty of old people. He hasn’t cracked 60 yet. I don’t need an excuse to cry. I don’t need to apologize for my feelings. I really should recommend this to governments for “enhanced interrogation”. It’s really damn effective. At this point, I think my whole family would quite happily give up pretty much anything to get off this roller coaster from hell. It’s digging up my unhealthy coping mechanisms which, again, doesn’t help anyone.

Let’s end this entry on a positive note before everyone else feels the need to draw a warm bath and slit their wrists (graveyard humor, happens in these situations):

*Spending the weekend in Vegas with the other man I love most in this world.

*Being able to come in late to work without penalty. Management has its perks.

*A very fat cat jumping on my chest this morning. I’ve been welcomed into the household.

*Wearing my pedometer lately and seeing just how much I walked in Vegas. Longest day – over 6 miles.

*Sparkly nail polish and DIY pedicures.

*Unexpected checks and / or presents.

*Lush moisturizer after 4 days in the desert.