Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mom the Cat

I've just returned from a long brisk walk through the hilly town of Hollidaysburg, PA. Mom and I are here alone for the weekend,  while Bri and family get a well-derserved break. I've been here for over 2 weeks, but this is my 2nd day alone with just Mom. It's eerily quiet.

Even when Mom could no longer walk (it's been over 6 years!), she could talk. However, like the disease has done to her body, it has slowly been taking her voice. I was feeding her grapes a minute ago. She's not spoken a word for 2 days, but I thought I'd try and see if she'd perk up. I said, "Mom, who am I? Do you know my name? Can you say it?" I got a blank stare in return. "I'm Catie, Mom. I'm your number 5." I listed us all in order from eldest to youngest. I shrugged with a tilted head and crooked smile and put a grape in her mouth. Mid-chew, she closed her eyes and put her head on her pillow, like a robot just switched to off. I half smiled, cleared the grapes and walked away.

Bri and I lamented recently at what a long and slow process it has been, watching Mom go deeper and deeper into wherever it is that she goes. When she emerges, I've heard her words described like gold. I think of them like little dew drops. There for a morning and then gone soon after the sun has taken hold of the sky. Not everyday, but just when the elements are right they appear, reminding us that they still exists before vanishing again.

Nay described Mom like a cat. She looks at you, looks at the shadows, looks off into a distant place then closes her eyes. She startles, scratches her head, adjusts an arm, stares here, then there and again closes her eyes. Every now and then, her arm will reach for you and just like with a cat, you think, "Oh boy! She is asking for my attention." We hold hands until she forgets. Once she actually interlaced my right hand with her left and twiddled my thumb with hers. It was bizarre and amazing all the same. My favorite was on my 3rd day here when I went to give her a peck and she started to eskimo kiss me. It felt like she was saying, "See! I remember you."

It's funny to say that you wish people would go quickly, because when they do you wish you had more time. I don't wish her to go, but I do see why death can be called a peaceful passing. I feel really lucky to have her still around, but I am not sure how much longer her care can be managed on it's current trajectory. If I don't feed her, she forgets to eat what is in front of her. So, every meal we share. I give her a bite and then take a bite of my own. I imagine it must have been like that when she once fed me. I was learning to eat like she is forgetting, little by little.

I am not sure how my brother and his family do it. I think there is far more stress than joy, but Bri makes Mom laugh every night before bed. He does a silly fake accent, pretending to be "Esmerelda Montenagro," a nurse hired to care for her. She doesn't really exist, but when Mom laughs, Esmerelda helps us remember that Mom still does, like a quiet cat slinking into the room to curl up with you and purr. Her laugh is warming, especially when it sounds.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Observations from the Bath 1 and 2

Bath time is new in my house. My acupuncturist thinks it is good for me if I take one, so I am trying it out. I will post some observations as I go.

Ob 1. Bath time is primetime for cuticle time. Push 'em back. This will be a good nail month me thinks.

Ob 2. Legs feel heavy when you take just them out of the warm water. What is that?

Ob 3. Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps All One bottle is a tripped out read that will take a few baths to get through.

*Update: I never got through more than a few days. I am just too restless a chick, I guess. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Later Sun

Listen to this! I want more but can't figure out how.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Click the title of this post and go to the video. Favorite quote at 2:11, "It's like Pretty in Pink but if the dress looked good." LOL!

Super Chick

It's getting cooler and if you have ever Skyped with me on a Monday morning, you probably know what that means!

It's Super Chick time!

These pajamas were gifted to me circa Christmas 2006 or 2007. And ever since then, they have been my go to PJs. They have moved with us 4 times, seen me through my MA and the crazy that was, wrapped me up during presentation practices, gone on business and pleasure trips and yet, after all these years they still manage to keep me warm and comfy. I love them. They make me feel like, you got, it! Super Chick!

Now, where did I pack away my cape?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Freaky freaking. Updated

Next time you want to insult someone, call them a "Mucousis Invertibratis Caputidifalicous" or simply, "You, Leopard slug!" Here is why.

Name-calling aside, this is some impressively aesthetic reproduction for a creature perhaps never regarded as sexy or for that matter not-disgusting! Fact is truly stranger than fiction.

Xes and Oes to my few but so appreciated readers!

PS- Funnily, I googled the Latin name above and got a great big zero for results, minus some porn.

PPS- Could the narrator have had any more of a Canadian accent? I postulate not.


Check out this situation in FL. Apparently, giant slugs from Africa have entered the State (ya' know, so people could drink the slug juices in a religious ceremony). Being non-native, they are causing a raucous. They lay 1,200 eggs a year, eat 500 different kinds of leafy greens and can carry a strain of meningitis humans can catch!

First, this is further proof of human's inferior capacity to procreate! I can't believe we lose to snails in number and aesthetics! Sheesh! Second, FL is lush, but imagine 18,000 of them eating their vegetarian asses through your neighborhood. And the poo! Third, I hope no one spreads the rumor that you can trip by licking them. I can totally see some high schoolers rounding them up and having a taste. Lick, lick, give mo' fo's! Check out the article here.

As an aside, happy 3-day weekend to my fellow Japan dwellers! May the sunshine be plentiful and time for friends, family and fun abound!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

When the Zoo became an Aquarium with an Aquarium

We started late. We stopped for medicine. We sat in a tiny bit of traffic and then we arrived. Paid our $54, eyed the clouds and headed in. It was 3:15. "Ok," we thought. "2 hours and 45 min is feasible."

Tigers. 4 romping tigers. Beautiful, mischievous and effing big. We'll come back to that. Again, iPhone shots, so not very good.

Komodo dragon. The keeper came up with a plastic bag and banged on the glass to call him to the windowed mess hall. I thought he would be feasting on vegetarian fare, purple cabbage and some other tasty ruffage. I have never been so wrong in all my life. Dinner was sopping wet, dead rats. He scarfed them down in a gulp each as we onlooking kids and adults grimaced with fascination.

Then, the rain came. So, we returned to the tigers where roofing shielded us. Big Mama lay around and her boys came over for licks and snuggles and the occasional rough house. Such fun. But the clock was ticking and we wanted to dash over to see the lions.

Enroute the rain quickened and the lions were gone from their savannah spot when we arrived. We decided to wait it out under the nice roof provided. Thunder, lightening, wind, alarms, sirens, offers of evacuation all made their way to our vicinity. We laughed and kept saying it was par for this strangely unpredictable trip's course of expectations deferred.

Lex needed constant hugs and reassurance. Baby bear doesn't like a good storm. Bri and I smiled. He was howling and hooting like Lieutenant Dan in Forest Gump and I was laughing. Zee was just hanging but enjoyed some hugs, too.

Did I mention no lions? Well, wait, there was a moment where a female lion darted out, then had one of those, "Oh shit, what was I thinking" moments just before turning around and high tailing it back from whence she came.

And who could forget the silhouette of a giraffe making it's way to shelter in the adjacent area? Yeah! We saw a giraffe, too! Kind of.

Inventory had us at 4ish animals and 2 hours left. Schei├če. OK, time to make another run for it with a stop at le toilet. Power outages really should not come when one is using a public toilet. Moving on to the Mammoth's non-extinct friends, the Ellies.

The toilets actually smelled better than this place, but were not nearly as fascinating as watching how elephants use their trunks! I could spend a day just observing the elephant trunk and still think I had only scratched the surface of what those things are capable of. It made me rethink how cool our arms are. Imagine your nose doing all that your arms do and then some. Wicked cool.

The rain seemed to be letting up (and my nose was burning), so we made a dash for the Tropical Kingdom. We saw a Silverback!!! Too dark to get him on film, but his regal demeanor gained my respect. His underlings were like college students wearing boxers down campus walk. They didn't give a crap. I think one may have scratched his privates just to make a point while gnawing on a carrot. Silver boy, on the other hand, made me afraid of the cabbage in his hand. Commanding.

Lady Lemur and Gentleman Gibbon were also on hand. I felt for all of them being in cages and cursed myself a little for paying to support their caging. Rationalized I was paying for their nice treatment. Oh what the mind is capable of.

We met a zoo worker who threatened to cut our visit short. 1 hour and $50+ didn't make us happy. We said so. She was stressed and made a mistake. Bri, being Bri, inquired if all the animals were OK and cherried that top off with, "How are you holding up?" She was putty in our hands and waved us on to have a great last hour. Domou. Domou.

We were wet and kind of dirty...

but look at those faces.

And these totally whacky creatures that, I think, handed God his nomination for "Most Creative".

And it got trippy.

Undersea life if one psychedelic place, man. And yet, it can also be, well, I have to admit that a few times I actually thought, "Mmm, that looks delicious." Japanese much?

I learned that sea horses anchor themselves with their tails...

And penguins pose for pictures...

This is the part where children learn that nothing in life is free or easy. Popular Polar Bear spent five minutes trying to fish his blue toy out of the water without actually getting wet.

A few close calls as he teetered on the shore, but he finally got his blue bobble and headed to where his friend was lazing.

And then there was this persistent otter who spent several minutes upside down in the water, smashing an unopened shell on the wall of his enclosure. He was up. He was down. He laid back and flipped around. The crowd cheered as he fought to make that clam his dinner spot.


Screaming sea lions. No really. The Mom was all, "Stay in the shelteeer!" and the kids were like, "Catch us if you can!" And then some Naa-nanny-boo-boo's were heard as Mom rolled her eyes and cursed her husband for what "his" children were doing.

The lovely people I get to call family. Brother Bri, niece Lex and nephew Zee. I wish K had been there with us, but maybe she was OK back home with her James Patterson books :-D

A frequently spotted creature, the Grizzly...

Oh, wait, no. That's Uncle Butt teaching Zee that it is not a good idea to mess with bears.

And this phenomenal creature known as the driving teenager.

She is also known to look like this...

But is most lovely when like this and with her adorably cute brother Zee.

Love you PA crew! Next time, leave me home and the 4 of you head to Pittsburgh together, alright? Well, if Bri has managed to recover from the Brittany Spears traffic and missed turn from a creature sometimes known as Poor Navigatinus (aka, me).