Fucking Haters

I’m scared, very anxious about many things. I’m not doing well.

What’s wrong with the people who are just coming apart over transgender folks? Trans folks have always been here; they’ve always been using the bathroom congruent with their sexual understanding of themselves. This is nothing new. But there are people doing terrible things to their sister and brother human beings. The haters.

Trans people are no more danger to others than LBTG people. Remember the haters who said marriage for all would destroy straight marriage, endanger children, etc? Didn’t happen. The same is true for trans people.

I don’t understand how transgenderism works in the mind and heart of the individual. I’ve always been a woman and I love being a woman. The thought of being male is just creepy to me. But even if I don’t get it, why should I hate them? It doesn’t scare me that a biological man feels like he’s really a woman. Who cares?

What scares me personally about the haters is the mistakes they’re making. More than one woman has been verbally or physically attacked in a women’s restroom because some paranoid hater thought she wasn’t sufficiently female. A young woman with short hair, wearing basketball shorts and a baseball cap was thrown out of a woman’s restroom for appearing insufficiently feminine to a hater.

I am not very feminine in appearance. That’s me. That’s what I look like, have always looked like. It’s in my genes. My body and face aren’t real feminine. There have been a few occasions when a sales clerk has addressed me as “sir.” No big deal. But now I wonder, every time I enter a public bathroom, am I going to be assaulted verbally or physically? I feel like I need to plan and have a response ready. I’m wary of second glances I get from women in the restroom. All due to the fucking haters!

Even though I’ve done nothing wrong, even though I am a law-abiding, civic-minded, good and decent woman . . . I have this ongoing stress I must find a way to live with due to the haters.

Greta Garbo

She was my 4th dwarf hamster. They’re delightful little rodents, but their lives are too short, three years max. None of mine lived that long. Greta died sometime last night. She’d been deteriorating for 2-3 weeks.

The dying really sucks. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of watching each of them go downhill. I’m sick of trying to decide if it’s time to euthanize or wait. Gina Lollabridgida died of blood loss. She got a little scratch that just wouldn’t stop bleeding, though it only seeped. A tiny creature that probably only has 3 tablespoons of blood can’t afford any loss.

Anyway, I’m feeling sad and sobbed about her death this morning. After the tears I got dressed and left the house. I thought it would be best to be around people. I took the newspaper to read, drank tea, and noticed the families, children and interesting people. I’d made a good decision.

I had dismantled Greta’s cage and tubes, but I didn’t have the energy – or heart – to clean it all up and store it before I went out. When I returned home I still didn’t feel up to taking care of the hamster things so I just stowed it all away. I think there will come a time, likely after I move, that I’ll want another hamster. Then I’ll be eager to prepare by doing the cleaning and other prepreparations.

Today is a sad day. I’m reminded of Fuzzy, my very sweet and wonderful cat who died 2 years ago at 17 years old. I miss her and today I miss Hammy, Gina Lollabridgida, VeraWang and now Greta Garbo too. My life has been full of enormous, heart-rending losses. Sigh. I’ll be okay – soon.

In the meantime, thanks for everything Greta.

What!?!

Okay, something is pressuring me. A feeling, emotion, sense. I’m feeling antsy, unsettled, uneasy, uncomfortable. I don’t like anything and I don’t know what to do with myself. I’d like something magical to happen to relax me, put me at ease, make everything okay, sing pollywally doodle all the day. (That’s an old phrase from my childhood,  maybe a version of pollyanna? I dunno.)

Greta Garbo, my dwarf hamster, is running out of lifespan. She’s 2  1/2 and that’s about it for her. 3 years is a long life, so I know she’s getting long in the tooth. In my experience, hamsters have a 24-28 month prime. Since they live fast, they age and die fast too. She’s gotten more and more hunched in her back and now her fur, normally very soft, silky and smooth, is beginning to get scruffy. It’s not lying flat, but rather getting spiky coarse. This is not good at all.

Hamsters are really fun little critters, easy to care for, cheap, and funny. This dying part sucks. The best thing she can do for me is die when I’m sleeping or out. I know. Totally selfish. Greta is my 4th hamster and I’ve seen each of her predecessors kick the bucket. That’s the worst part. Finding her dead wouldn’t be as hard and it won’t make any difference to her. I’ll take her somewhere out of town and bury her. They give me a lot of fun, so I treat them well and thank them by giving them a respectful end.

Yeah, so maybe I’m feeling sad because Greta is dying. Sigh. Ahhh. Poor Greta, and thanks for the memories. 😯 You were a very good girl. 😟 Bye.

Fucking Food

Okay, so why am I feeling food pressure and/or fucking obsession? I’m waiting for the answer! Any time now.

Stress of course. OF COURSE ASSHOLE!!!!😤 Let me put this as simply as possible: STRESS ABOUT WHAT⁉⁉⁉⁉⁉⁉ God was a fucking dumbfuck.

Who was that boy at Wingspread who would have described this as “Hating the world?” Oh yeah, Donny!

Maybe I should do a Venn diagram of this. (I just learned about this from The Big Bang Theory. Well, I’d heard about it before, but I just looked it up.)

 

Stressors:

 

1. Money

2. Time/schedule

3. Clients/work, Mains’l/art classes

4. Art classes, comm ed/private

5. Crowded cupboards and fridge

6. Relationships

7. Moving

8. Health

9. Car

10. Aging

11. Fear of Feelings

 

I’m beginning at the bottom, #11 – Of course it’s Fear of Feelings dumbfuck! It’s WHAT FUCKING FEELINGS I FEAR❗❗❗❗❗Jesus H. Fucking Christ on a Stick! Could you be any st0000pider?!!

It’s always easier to be angry and scream with rage. Fends off fear, anxiety and all that bullshit.

 

#1. 💲💵  I’ve got enough to to manage. I’ve got bills covered, food, basic needs, etc. Moving? I’ve got money for the U-Haul and 2 strong people to help. Deposit? I forgot about that. I should be okay because I’ll have the  $595 I’m not spending for rent here. I’ll get the entire $500 deposit back here. Deposit there is one month’s rent and that will be at least $100 less.

I am worried about earning extra money in Northfield. I may not be able to umpire because I’ll be having a variety of body parts repaired. In fact, this summer I may not be earning any extra money. Yeah, I’m concerned about that. I probably won’t be able to go back to the Black Hills after all.

 

#2. Time/schedule. 🕡 Oh yeah. This always gives me some stress. It’s a little unreasonable. I think I’m getting weird about schedule. If I have anything going on, I get anxious about how soon it will end and will I have plenty of time to do zero, more or less. I have to read the paper, be done by 10:30, get to some place nearby so I have at least 15 minutes to spare so that I’m not late.

Okay, but, when that doesn’t work out, I’ve adjusted well. I’ve been comfortable with taking the paper with me to read later. I am okay with being a little late to pick up a client.

So the first part of #2 is the ideal, so this is not the issue.

 

#3. Clients/work. Mains’l first. Yeah, that’s stressful. They’re all 3 such liars. That is frustrating and aggravating. Sue’s cancelations and permanent irritability is fucking OLD! I need to tell her I damn well will not walk on fucking egg shells around her. (Oh, this one may be bigger than I thought.) Like dear old dad. I am Fucking Fed Up with Sue!

😖

I feel like Sue andRachel take me for granted, take advantage of me, use me, feel no gratitude for what I do for them. I also dislike the way they abuse and misuse the system created to help them. In many ways they are their own worst enemies. (I’m going to stop getting too much food at Open Door and giving it to them. That’s me misusing a kind service.)

 

#4. Art classes. I think I covered this in #1. 👆

 

#5. Crowd cupboards and fridge. They’re not at the moment. It’s stressful when it happens, but it won’t be happening again for 2 weeks.

 

#6. Relationships. Oh fuck that shit! 😲  Really. What is there to say that I haven’t said, ad nauseum, before?

 

#7. Moving. Part of this is in #; the money issues. There’s jobs, new neighbors, getting accustomed to Northfield, concerns about fewer options than in the metro, connecting with a variety of new services like auto mechanic, gas station, coffee shop, being stuck with Cub for groceries except when I drive to Aldi in Rosemount. There’s all that shit to get used to.

But remember  . . . . . space, real farms, gravel roads, easily getting outta town. I remember how happy I was one the route back from Northfield.

Oh! I am trying to get back to the farm, feeling safe and carefree? Safe from dad? Loved by my family? Having an anchor, roots?

😢

I remember the great level of anxiety I felt when I realized I had no “home”to go back to, no geographical roots. It was terrible. No place that was mine, no one who knew all my childhood stories, no one to tease me about the time that I . . . . .

On the other hand, there are now people who truly know all about me and still love me. I mean, the dumb my mean streak, irrationality, anger, unfairness, fears, stupid stuff, etc. Oh, and All About dear old dad. They still love me. In fact, they love me for who I am, not the carefully guarded family myths.

That’s a gawd-damn fucking nasty trade off. I want both, but the first part is done and done for and over and done and done with. It ain’t comin’ back baby. God that breaks my heart every fucking time. I just can’t think about it that much. It’s too painful, soul shredding. (Not as shredding as at first.) 😦

 

#8. Health. Yeah, I have some concerns. Both feet, both hips, right shoulder, right wrist. That’s a lot. It’s not something I look forward to, but I want to focus on the result. I’ll be able to do stuff outside again. I love doing stuff outside.

 

#9. Car. This probably doesn’t really belong here. It’s going along just fine. In 9 more months it will be paid off. My car insurance will go down with the move.

 

#10. Aging. In the midst of the crazy excitement of this experience, I have sadness and loss too. I’m thinking about geocaching in the White Gates area of the Black Hills. I clambered over over boulders, crawling in some places, snaking through narrow chutes. In another place climbed a 15 foot cliff to get to the top of Green Mountain.

Maybe I’ll be able to do more of the walking I like after my parts get fixed. It’s not only what I can do, but where. There’s also the gauziness that memories are shielded by as the distance from them grows. Losses pile up as time goes on. In addition to the initial experience, there is a cumulative effect. Sigh.

My aging deserves more time and attention.

Why Mental Illness* Sucks

1. It’s a lot of work, a great lot of work! 

I don’t just have a day. I have to be alert throughout my day, beginning to end. I must monitor my breathing, my vitality, my nutrition, my thoughts.

If I begin to obsess over something, I can lose perspective and it may begin to seem real when it’s not. If my breathing becomes shallow and quick I may have an anxiety attack and become deeply frightened. If I don’t eat a nutritious meal the action of my medications may be affected. I need all the energy I have to manage my days. If I become too tired I am unable to adequately manage all these things throughout my day.

2. The toll on relationships is high.

I cannot isolate, for consequences of that are high. Isolation leads to too much time in my head, too many opportunities to measure myself an insufficient human being.

The flip side is that interacting with people can sap my energy if it’s not friends I feel completely comfortable with. I must conduct the usual conversations that anyone does. That means I ask questions, make comments, offer responses, etc. So I’m required to pay attention to them, their words, inflections, expressions, body language, and all that makes up communication. But remember, at the same time I must do all those things in regard to myself too.

Sometimes it’s just too much. So I have few relationships.

3. The time drain is long.

There are appointments with doctors, psychologists, therapists. That’s mostly paid for through various government assistance programs because I can’t hold a full-time job. So I meet with social workers, financial aid people, and complete endless documentation. I have to procure bank statements, reports from my part-time employers, and letters from the professionals who help me function. Sometimes it seems endless.

4. The financial hit is huge.

I used to work for a living and support myself. I’m quite skilled and a quick learner, in addition to being very smart. I’m a professional in two different fields. I haven’t been able to work full-time since 2006, when I broke apart. That’s been hard on my ego and on my standard of living has dropped like a rock. I’ve been forced to pare far, far down. My current employer wants me to move into a higher, full-time position with the company, but I’m unable to do so because of my illness, so I haven’t completed an application.

5. Havoc is wreaked on self-esteem.

I have to struggle with feelings of incompetency, vulnerability and danger. I cannot live without sizable levels of assistance from the city, county and state. I remember well what I used to do and how I used to live. I sometimes feel like a failure because I can’t do that any longer. I find myself wishing I could pull myself up by those mythical ‘bootstraps’, and I feel defeated because I have no boots. Finding acceptance is an ongoing struggle that I’m sometimes successful with. But I can’t let up.

 

There. That is a non-exhaustive list of reasons Why Mental Illness Sucks. There is more and when I think of additions I’ll edit this post.

 

*Depression, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Eating Disorder.

R.I.P. Gina Lollabridgida

Gina Lollabridgida, AKA, Bean, was my third dwarf hamster. She died last night from bleeding. I’m not sure what the source of the bleeding was, but those tiny bodies can’t afford to lose much. I cried for her, and for Fuzzy too.

She was the first blondie, with red eyes. At first I thought the red eyes thing was kind of creepy, but I got used to her. In Online Hamsterdom, bloggers and videographers call them “ruby eyes.” Sounds more benign I guess.

Bean had lots of attitude. She didn’t give up biting entirely until about three months in. Rotten little varmint! While she did finally let my fingers heal, she never lost her feistiness. Bean was a fierce defender of her turf. While in the early days, she met any of my incursions with a rush and a nip of her sharp little, ever growing incisors, eventually she stopped biting. Instead her rush was followed by quickly setting her teeth on my finger tip, then instantly releasing her grip. As time went on she modified her ferocity only in degree. She still rushed out to attack the offending digit, but that meant that she touched my finger with her little pink feet, and backed up. Made me laugh every time.

I picked her up when I got home from work and we had a chat. I held her up to my face and asked her about her day.

“What did you do today? Did you get anything accomplished? Did you complete your To-Do List? Do you have a To-Do List? Did you go to work? Did you earn a paycheck? You don’t even have a pocket to carry a paycheck in?! So what did you really do? A little light housekeeping, a little cooking, a little bathing, a lot of sleeping? Yeah, you are an industrious little vermin.”

As you can see, they were pretty one-sided conversations. But Bean kept her beady little eyes fixed on me as if I were the most fascinating being on the planet. What’s not to like about that? Of course, she did get tired of the sound of my voice. It may be that she didn’t appreciate my breath in her face too. At any rate, when she got squirmy, I put her on my bed while I changed out of my work clothes and into my comfy done-for-the-day clothes.

I had a fairly small cloth bag for Bean. Little rodents such as herself don’t like to be in the open. They are too vulnerable and it’s just too risky for them. I laid the bag on the bed. It contained a small, used paper plate, dry bread crusts, crumbled crackers, seeds, scraps of paper towel, and a drdr (toilet paper tube). All Bean’s favorite things. I dropped her on the bed near the bag and she made a bee line for it, diving inside where she could root around, scratch, chew and burrow to her little heart’s content. She stayed in there until I finished changing, then I brought her down to the kitchen with me while I made my supper.

Bean had a favorite corner of the counter where I fed her an assortment of her favorite seeds. Bean was a seed freak. Fresh fruits and vegetables did not interest her. Seeds, seeds, seeds! The smaller the better. She liked millet and sesame seeds, but she was crazy for cous cous! While I nuked my soup, Bean stuffed her fat little cheeks with seeds. If she got done and ready to go before I did, she let me know she was ready to go by running up to the edge of the counter, pacing along, faking a jump. I knew there was no time to waste. I either needed to be done, or take her back to her cage anyway. Usually I was done.

With Bean in one hand and my supper in the other, I trudged up the stairs. Bean used to climb those carpeted stairs, but she got tired of it. Still, the Big Doofus, an overweight cat that didn’t belong to me, waited at the landing, hoping Bean would be afoot. Sometimes I put Bean down beside him, staying there myself to keep her safe. Big Doof was confounded by Bean. She didn’t run away from him. She ran around him, under him, beside him. He seemed to regard her as a play toy. He liked to swat her around. I made sure to keep any violence to a minimum. He never tried to bite her.

When I got to Bean’s room, where her cages rested on the table top, I put her down in front of a drdr. She ran through the drdr and to the little tray where I scattered seeds. She stuffed a few in her face before climbing into her cage to deposit the load in her cheeks into her carefully located and protected food cache. She usually had a big drink of water too, before re-emerging on the table top. There was a cracker box on its side on the table that Bean favored. It was another safe location where she engaged in endless grooming, in addition to wrestling matches with chunks of seeds glued together with honey. She adored those treats. They were her faithful daily adversaries, never failing to be worthy opponents.

This fall I learned that Bean really loved squash! Who knew? Baked squash. What a goofy rodent. Bean made me laugh a lot. Like my two previous hamsters, those squishy bodies, very short legs, beady eyes, pointy nose, hairy asses, rolly polly running . . .  well, what’s not to laugh about? Dwarf hamsters just look funny. That she was so fierce in that utterly vulnerable body was wonderful. She didn’t know she was utterly vulnerable. She had a great understanding of personal boundaries and size was not a cause for compromise. What a rodent!

I will miss her, as I miss her predecessors. The only problem with dwarf hamsters is their damn short life spans. I haven’t had one make it to three years yet. I think that’s common.

RIP, my little Bean.

I’m animal-less for the first time since 1997. I won’t stay that way.

The Pleasures of Fuzzy

I’ve been thinking about Fuzz Butt since her death. I found some old photos of her as a kitten. She was six month old  when I picked her up from a shelter.,

She really was a good girl. As a kitten, I remember Fuzzy tearing around the house just for the fun of running. (I lived in a large, three bedroom house most of her life.) She was buddies with the Big Eunuch, a cat of the same age that I got at the same time as Fuzz. They knew each other from the shelter, and got along well.

Fuzz was always a lap cat, cozy and gentle. When she got old, around 13 or 14, she slowed down and became even “lappier”.

The last few years, Fuzz waited for me in my bedroom. (Now I share a house with two other women. I fed and watered Fuzz in the bedroom, and spent most of my time in the adjacent sunroom, which was also my private space.) As I neared the door I called out to her. Though Fuzz had lost a great deal of hearing, she usually responded with meows. It made me laugh, because I knew dinner was at the top of her list of things to meow about. I came into the room, put down purse, bag and anything else I might have been carrying, and removed my coat and shoes while Fuzzy waited impatiently, periodically reminding me that she was waiting and her starvation was imminent. When she saw that I was ready, she preceded me into the sun room, where her food dish awaited.

I had brought her canned food up from the refrigerator as I passed through the kitchen when I entered the house. I picked up her food dish and put it on the table while I dug out Fuzzy’s 1/4 can of food. I talked with her, and with VeraWang, our dwarf hamster who lived in her cages on the table. When I had the food in the can, much too slowly, I lowered it to the floor. Fuzzy was ready to dig in! With that finished, I could go on with taking care of myself and VeraWang.

When I got up from my chair, Fuzzy had to get up, and she usually did. In fact, she knew exactly what was happening. She walked in front of me through my bedroom, around the corner and into the bathroom. She knew my routine. Heck, she knew my bladder as well as I did! That was just one of the things she did that made me laugh.

Fuzz and I really were like an old married couple. We lived together for 17 years, with the exception of a few months several years ago. She knew my routine as well as I knew hers. Observing our intertwined behavior often made me laugh.

Fuzz usually did not sleep in my room with me. Although food and water were in there, the litter box was not. I preferred her out of my room too. She could be a bother in the bed. When I awoke in the morning Fuzz began calling to me with the first sound I made. She knew the sound of my alarm clock and she could feel the air stop moving under my door. I used a fan for white noise and, while Fuzz did not spend the night sleeping outside my door, she did move there when it became light outdoors.

I opened the door to her every morning. Then I fed her the dry food I kept in the sunroom before I did anything else. Fuzz had her priorities! When I left for the day, Fuzzy was usually dozing on my bed.

In the evening I sat in my recliner watching television, reading, working electronically, or something similar. Fuzz was intimately acquainted with the functioning of my recliner. If I was sitting in it, but not reclined, she did not jump up on my lap. Not reclined meant I was probably getting up, or not staying there long at all. As soon as I reclined she jumped onto my lap. After she got old and could not jump that high, I put a small cardboard box next to the foot of the chair. She stepped onto that and then onto the chair.

Most of the evening found her on my lap. On the occasion that I laid full back in the chair, Fuzz crawled up under my chin, next to my face. She loved that spot. In the evening when I went to bed, I usually read for about 30 minutes before turning out the light. Fuzz delighted in those times too, resting her head next to my cheek.

When I think of those times with Fuzz, when we were so near and she was so cuddly, I smile and feel warmer. Fuzzy really was a very sweet and gentle cat. She relished warmth and comfort. What a wise animal. She never tried to bite any person.

Fuzz was very athletic. That showed not only in her hunting, but in her races through the house. The Big Eunuch was very smart and he was a klutzy cat. He was the knock-kneed feline equivalent of a nerd. Even though he was bigger than Fuzz, she could beat him in any cat play contest they devised. Once I took in a stray cat for a friend. The cat was a very big, black, neutered tom. Moosey was the biggest domestic house cat I’ve every seen. He was long legged, tall and weighed 25 pounds! He was not fat. Fuzz and the Big Eunuch were about 10 when Moosey joined us. He could pick on Eun, but not Fuzz. Though she was outweighed by 10 pounds, her athleticism enabled her to get the best of him. She knew how to use her momentum, angles, and other means to knock Moosey on his ass! It was funny to watch. He always seemed surprised, and always tried again.

I Have a Theory – Elbow Room

I have a theory about human needs for space. I know, “I have a theory. . . ” may be scary, but I think about things a lot. I observe, notice, and create theories to evaluate.

Here is some background first:

I grew up on a farm in central South Dakota, USA. Our nearest neighbor was 1 1/4 mile away. We lived on a square mile of land. It was not common to see anyone other than family members most days. I have lived for six years in northwestern South Dakota, where population density is measured in Square Miles per Person, rather than Persons per Square Mile. Note the difference. I love vast, sweeping vistas, tall mountains, forests. Those things feel like Freedom to me. I have lived in small towns since then, and since 2007 I have been living in St. Paul, MN, USA. It is a metro area of three million people. I always feel constrained, overheard, the need to be circumspect.

The West is beautiful. I love having all that Spaaaaaaaaaace. I feel like I can expand, breathe deeply, fling out my arms, roar! I feel safe, small and insignificant in the mass of the universe, though not in myself. I feel quieter, calmer, more relaxed and at home.

On the other hand, I am not a hermit. I like people, and I like being around people. I find urban life very interesting, and the diversity fascinating. I love the energy and creativity of so many folks who might think differently, respond differently, etc. The creativity is exciting.

I want the best combination of both.

Thinking about all of that brought me to consider some of the problems of urban living and how denser population affects, exacerbates or perhaps even causes those problems.

Space.

R.I.P Fuzzy April 1998-August 2014.

IMG_20140808_190357946

Fuzz Butt, my 17-year-old cat, died Sunday. She’d been perceptibly slowing down for a couple of weeks. Sunday it was time to have her euthanized.

As a kid on the farm, I learned early that if I’m going to own animals, I have a rock solid obligation to them. Their well-being is in my hands. If I don’t feed them, they’ll die. Same with water. If they become ill, I must care for them.

It is wrong to indulge myself at the expense of the animal. I get angry with people who use an animal to meet their own needs, regardless of what is best and ethical for the animal. Anyway, I don’t want to get distracted from my topic, Fuzz.

I got her from a shelter when she was 6 months old. She was always a very sweet lap cat. She never even tried to bite. It just wasn’t an option for her. She was a very good hunter, very athletic. When I lived in a small town, I could let her outside. She brought in birds, frogs, mice. Once I saw her in the yard trying to figure out a salamander. Eeeeuwww! I can’t stand those slimy things. I slammed the door and wouldn’t let her back in until I was sure she wasn’t bringing that gross amphibian!

I had another cat, the Big Eunuch, that walked on a leash, so I tried it with Fuzz. She simply refused. Goal #1 was to escape from the harness. If not that, she went limp. Rather than taking her for a walk, I took Fuzzy for a “drag.”

Fuzzy was my constant through two different church calls, a chaplaincy, eating disorder treatment, major life changes, and hitting 60 years old myself. Fuzzy moved nearly a total of one thousand miles with me.

We were like an old married couple. She knew where I was going and often preceded me. When I walked to the bathroom, I was following Fuzz Butt. She waited for me to get home and she knew the time to expect me.

When I was getting her food from the fridge, Fuzz waited at the top of the stairs for me to bring it up to her bowl. Sometimes at night she liked to sleep with me, but not all night. She let me know when she wanted out.

She got pretty sick once with some type of virus or bacteria. She had to spend four days at the veterinarian getting IVs. Poor thing. Other times she got a bug, but it was a short duration.

Fuzz always had ear trouble and different options vet’s gave me were ineffective. Her hearing was good, but her ears always looked dirty and were itchy for her. When she was 15, Fuzzy lost most of her hearing. I always used to get her attention by making the “Pssst” sound. That was just for her and she knew it. Well, no more with that. Fuzz adjusted well to her hearing impairment.

Last year she became unable to jump up on my bed or recliner. I went to the Purrniture store and got a short, three-step, stairway for her. It was nicely carpeted and soft and she could get to where she wanted to be.

When I laid back on my bed or recliner, Fuzzy liked to creep up right under my chin. Then she’d heave a big sigh, relax into me, and give a perfect imitation of the most contented feline ever. She was so adorable.

I enjoyed being aware of how much we accommodated one another. Me lying in a position she could take advantage of. Her waiting patiently for me to complete my nightly ritual so she could assume her favorite spot with me on the bed. I knew her favorite spots on her body for scratching.

As Fuzzy aged and lost abilities, I became more and more aware that her life span was nearing its max. I thought about what the end might be like. I had two dwarf hamsters who’ve died. They have a short lifespan, 2-3 years. It was hard when they died.

I’d say that I began grieving Fuzzy a couple of years ago. She was so incredibly sweet her last year. I liked to take her to the fenced backyard when I weeded and harvested my little vegetable garden. Fuzz enjoyed the time outside. She strolled around, sniffing, nibbling, lying in the grass, rolling in the dirt. On regular occasions she came by me as I worked. A little acknowledgement from me, a brief scratch, stroke or word, and she was happy, wandering off in another direction.

A couple of weeks ago, Fuzzy’s health began a sharper decline. She vomited hard several times. Then she quit eating. Towards the end she drank very little and became weaker and weaker.

Ah, this last part has been even more difficult than the previous section. It’s about Fuzzy’s death.

Sunday morning there was a knock at my door. It was a housemate saying, “There is something wrong with Fuzzy.”

I went into the bathroom next to my room. Fuzz likes to lie on the padded rug in front of the sink. She was stretched out in an awkward position, unmoving. I knelt beside her, petting her and gently calling her name. I thought she may have died in the night. Suddenly she lifted her head, gaining awareness. I picked her limp body up in my arms and carried her into my room. I laid her carefully down on my bed.

There was no more waiting. I needed to take her to the vet that day. It was time. I found a vet’s office that was open on Sunday, called and told them I needed to bring in my 17-year-old cat to be euthanized. They gave me a time, 30 minutes. I dressed slowly, reluctantly. I did not want to do what I had to do.

Once I was dressed I picked up Fuzzy and carried her gently to the car. I knew I didn’t need her cat carrier. She was barely able to walk. I looked closely at her. My Fuzz Butt was still there, but she was tired. I drove to the vet.

When I carried Fuzz into the office, the only person present was an assistant behind the desk. She looked very somber, saying, “Is this Fuzz Butt?” I nodded. I felt numb, just wanting to get through this.

I didn’t want to feel. I’m a farm kid. I learned we could not become attached to animals. They died. Or we ate them. Their lives were generally short, their time usually only a couple of years. Cats and dogs were working farm animals, not house pets. In fact, mom forbid animals in the house. If any animal became too ill, dad “put them out of their misery.” That was how we showed responsibility for our animals. If we cared too much, we’d never survive.

So I just wanted to get through this and get out of there. Then, if I was going to fall apart, I’d do it privately. But they wouldn’t allow me that. They were good at dealing with people losing pets.

After finishing paperwork, she led me into an examination room. She left and a vet’s assistant came in through another door. She was also very kind, patient and circumspect. She asked some questions, explained the process to me, and left me a button. She said it was a doorbell. When I was ready, I should push the button and the vet would come in. “Take all the time you need,” she said somberly. I told her I was ready right now. But she left.

Damn! Fuzz laid on the table. It wasn’t plain, bare steel. Something like an old towel was laid over it. It was more comfortable. Fuzz laid still. I held her, cuddled her, reassured her, and pushed the button. I heard the chime and waited. No veterinarian. I rang again.

A fairly young man came in wearing scrubs. He too wore a somber expression. He did a preliminary check of Fuzzy; heartbeat, lungs, eyes, mouth. He explained that they would take her out and put a catheter in a vein in Fuzzy’s leg. Then there would be two injections into it. The first would be saline, to flush it, make sure it was working. The second would be the medication. It was a sedative, a lethal dose. Again they told me, “Take as long as you want, then ring the bell.” They left.

I stroked Fuzz again. Well, I had never really stopped. My eyes were full. Tears fell. “Oh Fuzz. Oh Fuzz. You’ve always been such a good girl.” I sang to her. There were two songs I’d sung to her often.

“You are my Fuzz Butt, my only Fuzz Butt,

you make me happy, when skies are gray.

You’ll never know Fuzz, how much I love you.

Please don’t take my Fuzz Butt away.”

(You Are My Sunshine)

. . . and . . .

“Fuzzy Wuzzy, you’re the one.

Fuzzy Wuzzy, you’re so much.

Fuzzy Wuzzy I’m awfully fond of,

Fuzzy Wuzzy, I’m terribly fond of,

Fuzzy Wuzzy, I’m totally fond of you, you, you, you, you, you!”

(Rubber Ducky)

I rang the bell. The doctor picked up Fuzz and left the room to put the catheter in. I waited. It didn’t take long.

They laid Fuzz on the table again, and I stroked her as the vet began to act.

“This is the saline that I’ll inject first.” He gently pushed the plunger and the fluid flowed freely. “Okay, that’s enough. It’s working.”

I was trying very hard to cry aloud, though my tears fell. He looked at me closely, and I nodded.

“This is the sedative. It will be fast and painless.” He pushed the plunger. Fuzzy seemed to relax slightly. My tears rolled down. He used his stethoscope to listen for Fuzzy’s heart. He pressed it against one side of my little cat, then the other. He looked at me, slightly shook his head, and they walked out.

I picked up Fuzzy and sat down. I laid her across my lap and sobbed loudly. “Oh Fuzzy, oh Fuzzy.” I felt a shift in her body, but I knew that was just muscles relaxing. I cried, I held her, I rocked. “Oh Fuzzy.” I put her back on the table, pushed the button and left.

“Orange is the New Black”

I’ve been watching the Netflix tv show for about a month. Chapman is a young white woman with too much privilege, money, time, and narcissism. She is part of a drug running scheme which she finds exciting and fun. Until she is caught, tried, found guilty and sent to prison. That’s essentially where the series begins, though it is riddled with flashbacks which explain how various inmates got there.

I usually watch a couple episodes at a time. Today I watched four, four hours worth. The inmates wear tan scrubs. They have a variety of scams, power plays, and other stuff going on. So does the entire prison staff, on all levels.

There are leaders; powerful, intimidating women with strong personalities who form gangs, usually race based. With only a couple exceptions, everyone seems to be highly skilled at telling other inmates, “Don’t fuck with me” in a variety of words and actions. They posture, threaten, show no fear, crush vulnerability and at times, become violent. Anyway, all that is background to how I responded to it.

I was at a coffee shop watching the shows. When I left in my car, I was waiting at a light to make a left. A bicyclist rode between lanes, got in front of me and turned right in my lane, then got over to the left side of the lane. I came up close beside him and slowed down. Out my open window I said, “I’d give you more room if you hadn’t passed me illegally.” And I went on past.

I felt really self-righteous and tough. As I drove along I was impatient. I was also thinking about what I would do if that biker caught back up with me at a light and tried to get revenge for what I’d said. What if he tried to kick a dent into my car? I watched carefully for him and imagined how I’d stop him or get back at him.

Then some driver pissed me off because she was going 40 – forty mph as she pulled onto the freeway! FORTY! What a dumb fuck!

I realized I was feeling like I was in “Orange is the New Black.” I looked down at my tan pants and was surprised I wasn’t wearing scrubs! I looked at my peach and white stripped blouse and felt astonished.

How had I fallen so far into that mindset? How did I get lost in that?

But I’m not lost now. In fact, I wasn’t lost long at all. Within 5-10 minutes of leaving the coffee shop, I became aware that I had gotten confused. I chuckled a little bit. I know what to do to get back to myself. I looked again at my clothing, then at my surroundings, reminding myself of my reality. It took something like 20 minutes to get 90% back to myself.

I’m writing this because I’m still taken aback by how strongly I fell into that show. Wow. I can feel reassured because I quickly became aware of what happened and was able to effectively counteract it. Damn skillful.

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