Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, September 30, 2013


It is the middle of the night here.  I am not sleeping well, have not for months and months and, then, a few more months.  I used to take a generic antihistamine to force my body to at least drowse.  It no longer works well.  Even one tablet a half hour before a decent bedtime and I feel drugged in the morning.

The stresses of the past few dozen weeks is showing on my face.  I have had one form of acne or another for the better part of fifty-five years.  The worst is the cystic acne I get now.  It seems to come from nowhere, causing lumps and bumps of considerable size, mostly on the lower half of my face and on my neck.  It is embarrassing to have, although it causes little pain.  Just have to wait it out.  The damn cysts show up at the end of stressy stuff, stay for as long as it takes them to heal or shrink or whatever they do and wherever they go.  I have only two left, just under my jaw, where some glands are. 

I am feeling kind of packed with life stuff.  I have come so far in my recovery and am doing so well in this new life, that when the bottom drops out of my good feelings and happiness, it is more disturbing and disorienting that it was when my life was not so great.

And, the thing is that now that I am pretty freaking well, I am expected to never have negative, sadder emotions.  There are some important people in my life who believe that since the worst is over, that I should be acting and feeling as though it were high noon, sun shining, birds singing, flowers blasting into being where the unicorns frolic.

Unfortunately, my life is not working that way.  It is now what passes for a normal person experiences as what passes for a normal life, with all of the ups and sideways and plummets.  And, for a while there I thought that was what my life was supposed to be like, because everyone kept telling me that is what it should be.

I knew better.  Better than anyone.  I know the difference now between a frozen life and one that gets to be what it wants and needs to be.  I know what it means to pretend that everything is fine, that nothing horrific happens when no one else is around.  I know what it is like to have to go out in the world and, just to be safer, act as though none of that crap ever happened. 

I was good at that.  Hell, I was amazing at keeping those secrets.  I was so great that I felt like the biggest liar in the Universe.   Nearly my entire public and familial life was one huge process of keeping those secrets.  An interesting result is that there are people, his family and friends that still believe all of the lies he told them and when I left he created many more lies to protect himself.  There are people who believe that I am the most awful person.  Ever. 

How do I know all that?  I know because, despite my efforts to keep to myself and avoid all of that mess, as soon as the divorce was final and I no longer had to stay in hiding that my dishonesty was over and I was always honest about where I was, where I lived and worked, even to having my current address used on the final decree paperwork.  I have come to regret that on a few occasions, as it made it possible for people to contact me.  I would not change that act of courage that made my information public.  As time passes, I feel safer and am less worried when I leave this place or leave work or shop at the market or visit friends.

Everything in its time.

I really do love my life now, even with CoolCat gone.  There is not anything I would wish to be able to go back in time to change.  Not a single moment.  Not the worst day.  Nothing.

I have what passes for a normal life.  I like it.  I like every aspect of it, even on days like today and yesterday and the day before that when I am not feeling all that noontime sunshine, cannot hear the birds singing and the unicorns are off somewhere, eating butterflies, or daisies or violets or whatever they eat.

It is all right to be full of sadness when it is appropriate to feel that way.  It is fine to be full of longing for all of the things I never was able to experience in that other life.  I get to wallow in all of that once in a while, and I get to do it in my own way. It occurs to me, once in a while, that being without CoolCat has something to do with this, some added layer of sadness and missing him on top of months of study and testing and trying to do everything with less and less money.  It most likely is that I do miss him so much.  This is the very first time in my life that I have lived entirely alone, no other living thing shares this space.  It is worth working through all of this, allowing the experience to work through me, to find out what is on the other side of this new part of my new life.

I am hoping that tomorrow...later today...will be better.  I am sick and tired of feeling sick and exhausted and sad.  I get to feel that as well.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Sometimes how we live is a choice.  I have that opportunity to choose how I will live.  Mostly.  I cannot create money or other resources out of thin air, although the ability to do that would probably come with many more negative consequences than I would be willing to handle.  Still.  Would be nice.

Anyway.  I survived yesterday's challenge and whilst I am not feeling all that successful, what with the martinis and all, it does have me believing that all of my little, baby and babyish steps are beginning to pay off beyond the basics, those necessary for survival, on all levels.

If I ever manage to receive my share of the resources from that other life, I will be able to live in relative comfort, which means that I will not have to hang on to my car just in case I need to park it somewhere and live out of it.  That threat will always be a part of my consciousness, although I move away from it, step by step, each day another heartbeat away from that particular fear.  Another heartbeat closer to facing and handling one more of those issues.  A list that never ends for even normal people, which, I guess is a group that I can see myself as a member.

Some time back, a person who replied here challenged me about thinking that ordinary people, normal, whatever term I used then, do not have any problems.  I thought that I had fully expressed that in my post, and I was unprepared to share that.  So, I did what I usually do, and that was to not speak up.  Another lesson learned, although it is my tendency to back down to even the mildest difference of opinion.

I will always take the lower, more subservient position, and, you know, I am not sure that I want to change that.  It allows me to avoid jumping straight to feeling defensive and helps me see things, whatever they are, from the perspective of the other person.

Sure, my default response is embarrassment, quickly followed by shame, but it is not the worst way to respond to some things.  I am working on lessening the shame part, but if I first am at least a little chagrined, that is much better than being pissed.  Huh.  I wonder if I could be good at being pissed.  I am sure that it is only a matter of time before I find out.

Even people who have not had the kind of life experiences as I have had still have a lifestyle.  My sisters do, as does my daughter and her family.  Friends, co-workers, hell, everyone.  Mine is better than many others, and I do not dwell on what has been lost.  I tell my self that there was a fire and what I have now is all that I need.  Fire is cleansing.  It is fast and it is pretty much final.  I like all of that, and it in no way minimizes the terrible losses that people experience when tragedy strikes.

And, now that I am here, post conflagration, and living even more frugally than I did during that other life, I wonder, can all those years be of use?  Apparently they can.  I am doing better than most of the people with whom I work, those folk who are just like me, struggling with extraordinary challenges.  It is so much more than enough for me.

After last night's wedding, at a lovely place, full of expensively dressed and very nice people (except for maybe the father of the groom...I do not remember ever judging anyone so quickly before), eating knock-your-socks-off food and cool music and great conversation and those annoying martinis, I woke this morning at the right time to have coffee with my friends.  In another city, to be driving my own car, recently filled with pricey gasoline, maybe having something to eat as well, and I just could not do it.  My life seems just too schizophrenic.  So, I went back to sleep.  Mostly because all of the recent good stuff is making me feel ever so wealthy

I am confused, as well, by how difficult every day stuff can be, and since I am home, avoiding doing anything useful (some of that every day stuff), I decided to play a bubble game or two, which I still have not done.  That daily work, it all seems invisible to me until it reaches some undefined critical mass and is staring me right in the face.  I keep up with the kitchen and bathroom.  The laundry is a challenge, but I have only so many big girl panties and unless I want to go commando...makes me ill just to think of afternoon at the laundromat is not the worst way to spend time.  It is nice there.  Moist and smelling clean.  I specially love the scent of the fabric softener products people use.  I have no intention of buying or using any of those, but it is pleasant to be around it once a week.  Sort of like dogs.  If you have a friend or neighbor who will let you hang around their dog, you can have all of the fun of dog ownership with out any of the responsibility.

Anyway, I am feeling uncomfortably rich today.  I have plenty of simple food, electricity, this computer and its connection to the rest of the world, the ability to regulate the temperature, enough money to afford my medications and a domicile to contain all of it.  So, I came here, sat down, popped a diet soda (a personal symbol of wealth), read some of the blogs I follow and had my socks knocked off.

I read Mark Bittman's blog, at the New York Times, and one of the reasons is that his social responsibility extends to actually doing something useful and is one that I admire.

The post is about what he is reading.  It is too rich to even begin to paraphrase, read it here:

 What we're reading now

One of the links is to an article in The Atlantic Cities, D.C. based, but do not let that discourage you.  I would link to the original research at Science, but you need a subscription to read more than the abstract.

How poverty taxes the brain

I have not experienced the level of poverty that most poor people suffer, but the research does give me hope that my muddle-headed-lack-of-energy and generally sluggish state can be helped.

Friday, September 27, 2013


That is how much a martini, Blue Sapphire gin, very dry...just a whisper...two olives costs at a high class wedding reception.

Which I went to tonight. 

Which is the first social thing I have attended in a couple of years.

Which, being social and where I would not know hardly anyone, is an exceptionally difficult thing for me to do.  Turns out that I knew, not counting the bride and her parents, four people, one of which I ran into only as I was leaving.

I do not do social.  I had planned on attending the wedding ceremony early this afternoon.  Church weddings are fairly anonymous when you do not know anyone.  You can show up, watch two wonderful people begin a new path in their life journey (or continue as is the case with this particular couple), get all emotional, weep a little in relative privacy since everyone is watching, or supposed to be watching the show, and leave with a renewed faith in the whole damn world and its people.

That is what I love about weddings.  I do not like receptions, but I went to this one because it was the preference of the bride, just in case I could not do both the ceremony and reception.  The church is far away, and by yesterday I had decided that I would do both, ceremony and reception. 

Then, huge surprise, I could not make myself go to the church.  I waffled all day about tonight's reception, but I had been warned on Monday that since I live barely a half-block from the reception site, that if I did not show up, someone would walk over and drag me out of my house.  Well, I knew that would not happen, that no one would notice that I was not there and I could make some lame excuse later.  I have already bought a great present, so no problem there, and I found yesterday that I did not have a single article of clothing that was without a couple of holes, so I went to the fat babe store, found they were closing and also found a decent top and jacket for 30% off, plus another 15%.

So, I had gift and proper clothing and only a few hundred feet to walk and I barely made it.  Right up to the last hour, I was not sure that I would not just stay home.

And, during those hours I did what my spiritual adviser advised yesterday morning.  When something is just too hard to do, take a step back and ask myself what I am feeling.  Maybe what I am thinking, should that not be too stressful. 

I did that and finally, after many attempts to distract myself and even more navel gazing, that the reason doing/going anything social is so freaking difficult is because when I would do anything like that, in that old life, there were always consequences that were not so great.

So, I asked myself, why should that matter now that I can make all of my own decisions and not have to worry about any consequences of any kind, except for having too many glasses of toasting wine and have to crawl home.  I asked.  I waited for some reasonable answer.

It came.  Aftershocks.  I still have them when I do or think something that would not be allowed in that other life.   I am not worried about who is going to do what to me when I get home.  But, whilst I am...mostly...ready to move on to new and unencumbered and not-consequested experiences, my limbic system is lagging behind.  Damn wimpy limbic responses.

However, I did go, threats aside, walked around to look for people I knew, went to the dinner (which was amazing, by the way) had two martinis (one free, one insanely priced), two glasses of wine, two glasses of water, three pieces of really good bread, a nice pear, Gorgonzola, cranberry and walnut salad, more excellent and silly and pointless and marvelous conversations than anyone deserves and two pieces of wedding cake.

I listened to the toasting speeches, most of which were very nice and sentimental, except for the groom's father.  I watched the requisite melodic slideshow presentation of the lives of the bride and groom, from infancy (a particularly weird and kind of gross image of the groom shortly after birth) all the way through to, most likely, yesterday.  I watched much younger and more sober people dance.  I had a nice conversation with my friend's (mother of the bride) cousin, two their old neighbor, his son and a few with two complete strangers.

It was a wonderful evening and experience, and, hopefully, only the first of many to come.  I know that some of my friends will most likely be pleased that I might not continue to bail out of some event at the last minute.  If they have given up inviting me, it is moot, but I do hope that I can stretch my willingness to take some more chances, a few more risks (of the easy kind).

Whatever.  I have my first new clothes in more than ten years.  I have a cool name place thing on my mantel, and I have the most lovely memories of a great meal with fabulous people.  And, I have a slight buzz, one that did not require me to stumble or crawl home.

All in all, a jumbled, somewhat stressful, and still successful day.  Oh, and I also have those two pieces of wedding cake to keep me company.  Moist white cake, pure raspberry filling between the four layers and the lightest buttercream icing.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

ledgers & (Toulouse-) Lautrec

Albi has this cathedral, which has this fresco titled The Last Judgement.

It is below the organ in the very large cathedral.  Impressive, but what I like the best is that fresco depicts dead people at the time it comes...judgement.  They are all holding ledger books.  The dead people to the left of the altar, who have lived good lives and have ledgers good enough to gain them admittance to heaven are a pretty calm group; they look self-satisfied, even look kind of happy, which I guess is how you would look if you knew that the afterlife was going to be pretty cool.

The dead people to the right of the alter are holding ledgers that do not add up to a pleasant ever-after.  Whilst the good ledger folk are orderly, in addition to looking pleased with themselves, the icky ledger people are in disarray, falling down, arms raised protectively (like that is going to be helpful at this point) and seem to be wailing and asking for a do-over.

The dead people below each of those sections are way beyond ledgers.  They are being tormented by demons and all manner of vile creatures.  They are bound with chains of their own crafting.  They are being sucked down in disgusting mire.  There are flames and unfathomable things being forced down their throats.  They are beyond ledgers.

You know, except for the ledger-less dead people, let us leave them to their fate and hope that it will not be ours, life is like that.  It is not like the ledger/scorecard/balance sheet that my ex had in his head.  That document, well, I would not be surprised if he had committed all of my failures to impress or please him in a paper, ink and glue form.  I never thought to look for such a thing when he was ordered out of the house and I was able to get back there, clear the place out and ready it for sale.

If it existed in corporeal form, I am certain that it was one of the things he took first, along with our wedding album; the album confuses me to this moment.  Why he would want that miserable piece of documentation of the beginning of the end is beyond my understanding.

But, back to life.  I think that nearly everyone holds such a list in their minds. 

You know, I made this really cool and amazing sacrifice to help my sister and she has yet to properly repay me.  Or, I bought him exactly what he wanted for his birthday and he forgot whatever it is he forgot.

Whether we believe it to be so, or not, we all do this.  There is a woman in one of my groups who does things for other people and then wants, most likely needs for some reason, for that person to thank her.  A lot.  I have a friend, one I nearly left behind in that other life, who has high and strict expectations for the rest of us.  She send birthday cards to everyone she knows, and give her, now grown, daughters a birthday week celebration and expects that it will result in some extra gifts for her at Christmas and her birthday. 

I have no problem with any of that.  As long as I can avoid becoming indebted  to anyone I am fine.  If the gift things work for anyone, great.  If I agree to exchange resources with someone, even more great.  If I do something of make a gift of service or an actual object to someone, there are no strings attached...even if you decide there are.  Strings, that is.

I do not ever lend anything to anyone.  If I am requested to lend money or some random thing to someone, I release it just as I would a gift.  If it is repaid or returned in good shape, super-duper.  An example is that at the beginning of summer I bought a cool, expanding hose for my garden space, and when the person who lives in the back flat saw it, I told her that she could use it for her garden at the back of the house.  She broke it, told me that she did and later bought a hose for herself to use.  I could not afford another hose, so I used an empty cat litter container to water my stuff.  She told me that she watered my plants once, and I thought that was nice and neighborly. 

Would I like my hose replaced?  Sure.  But, that is not going to happen.  I think that she must be used to more communal living, where everyone uses what everyone else has.  When her garbage can gets full, she has used mine.  When she spray painted some shelves (I think they were shelves) and the over-spray landed all over my car, she was fine with that, because that is what happens when you spray paint outdoors.  Do I hold any sad or bad feelings about any of this.  Well, yes, I kind of do, but I am keeping it out of my ledger.

Besides, it is impossible to keep comparisons and expectations out of our interactions with other people.  We want a pleasant and service-focal experience at the market. 

We want our insurance companies to give us exceptional benefits for our payments.  We want the laundromat to be working perfectly so that we can get in and out of there without any complications or delays.  We want other drivers on the road, other riders on the bus, other walkers on the street to hold to the standards of polite and supportive behavior.

We want our families and friends...maybe even our bosses and treat us with respect and love.  Yeah, even at work we want and crave love and acceptance and acknowledgment of our value.  We want our pets to love us unconditionally (since we have long given up on getting that from people) and to provide all of the comfort we need, when we need it.

We want everyone to love us for ourselves, and return the same love we give to them, and, most especially, cut us a whole load of slack when we cannot manage more than just being the marvelously flawed human beings that we are.

We want forgiveness for every little thing that does not go right.  And, we want amnesia to follow that forgiving.  We want it all, and in a perfect world, whatever and wherever that might be, and we want it now and for always.  We want freedom from the worry of disappointing other people and ourselves.  We want do-overs, just like the wretched dead people in that fresco.

And, I do have a ledger for myself.  Whilst I would love to blame it on a lifetime of trying to meet my ex's standards for my performance, I suspect that I would have it with or without his influence.  I am good at logging my failures and shortcomings and less ardent in regards to anything I do that is in my best interest.  Interesting.  I am a fine person, finely wrought, although a little too tightly wound.

Perhaps this keeping records is hard-wired into the whole business of being human.  I might just have to take an informal survey about internal ledgers.  I have women in my support groups and my clients, and I think that it could be a wonderful topic for one support group in particular.  The one for domestic abuse, the one where every woman there has found herself on the short end of the ledgers of other people, especially those people we love.


That is pretty much what I am doing today, what I did yesterday and on Sunday.  I should be doing laundry right now.  It is not going to happen because I awoke with a migraine (for a week now) and a sore shoulder (a couple of weeks).  It must be shingles, even though there is nothing showing there, on the old skin. 

I mean, what else could a sore shoulder be? confusedflirtrolleyestongue

I went to pull the Krim plant from the garden, but found a partially ripe one that I promptly knocked off, so it is ripening on the counter, and there were three big ones, still fully green, so I trimmed it and it stays, hidden beneath the monster cherry tomato (provenance unknown) that is still going strong.

It is five feet tall and has filled in half of the ten foot length of my 10' by 12-18" space along the porch.  I have a porch, it is so cool, I love it and it still thrills me a year after moving here.

Anyway, the cherry tomato gives up a couple of dozen fruits each day, has, probably, a couple of hundred greenies and almost as many blossoms.  That plant is going to produce well into November, because my plan is to use my tablecloths to cover it for the first few frosts.

I can hardly express how important this little garden space has been for me this season.  It is more than a source of food, it is a total support system of self support and empowerment and all-over nourishment of the highest order.  If I can take that sandy and weedy space and and be able to eat well from it, then it seems as though I can do anything if I am willing to put effort into it.

As long as I am home, I should do some more organizing and divesting, but in order to do so I would have to pull up my big girl panties, and I cannot because I am too painful in the noggin and have not done the laundry.

This whole moving forward and making changes thing is becoming easier.  There are times when I am leaping and it still amazes me that I can and that I have this life.  I know that it is ever so boring, but I never imagined having this life.  Just amazing.

As for leaping, this weeks brings me the opportunity to do plenty of them.  A friend's daughter is getting married and, well, I do not attend public things like this.  Oh, sometimes I do, I did for her older daughter, but it is so difficult.  

Family things were much easier and I could make myself attend.  My ex wanted nothing to do with his family, so if I did not go wherever, it was awkward.  Or, it would have been if I had stayed home, which I did not.  I went to every single things that his family planned, every wedding, holiday, christening, first communion, graduation, shower, birthday party, housewarming, everything.  They are nice people and they liked me a lot.  I would have sworn that they loved me as much as I loved them, but then last year happened and, given the death threats I can be sure that they are not quite so fond of me anymore.  How stupid of me to miss some of them so much. 

There have been countless times when I was invited to something and could not actually go, sometimes at the last minute.  It is unbelievable that I have any friends at all.  Seriously.  Anyway, I am going this week.  I have already shared with my friend that I might not be able to handle both the wedding and the reception when she called yesterday, and I asked her if it would be all right to attend the ceremony and skip the reception, but she prefers that I come to the reception.  That is the most stressful part, but I will do my best to make it there and stay for a while.

The problem is that I am fed up with not being able to do the things that I want, would love to do.  When I think of all the times I have made things difficult for my friends because I bailed out at the last minute, it makes me feel so sick.  I want to do this stuff.  It has always been just too frightening to go somewhere and now know anyone aside from a friend. 

I can do this.  I will show up on time and I will stay, well, not to the end, but I will eat and sit around and be sociable.  And, I have no excuse for not going.  I promised, something I will honor, and the reception is a half-block from my flat.  So, whilst I am not the center of the Universe in any situation, my friend joked about tracking me down and dragging me there.  If I have to be prepared for a public dragging, I might as well go on my own.

I miss CoolCat.  Doing the right thing at the right time or, more accurately, only a little later than it should have happened, does nothing to lessen the pain of not having him here.  I watched a little clip of a dog and her puppy this morning, and the longing for a cat was nearly overwhelming.

My resources are much reduced from fourteen years ago when I adopted CoolCat, and whilst money should not be a barrier to having another cat, it is.  Neutering, vaccinations, just too expensive.  I would prefer to have an older cat.  Kittens are fun, but I am away too many hours on two days each week to leave a little one alone.  Plus, I like the idea of adopting a cat that has a reduced chance of finding a new home, and that means an older cat, probably with some training issues that need work. 

Unfortunate parenting happens with pets much too frequently, and untrained or poorly trained animals are the most likely to end up in a shelter.  The excuses are often that someone (almost always a child) has developed allergies or that the family is moving to a place where pets are not allowed, but experience has proven over and over again that the pet was not properly trained or socialized.  Just plain sad, and it is the main reason that shelters are overcrowded and their resources overtaxed. 

The next time that someone bemoans, criticizes and calls foul about shelters that have to euthanize pets, I hope they can keep in mind that not a single animal in a shelter is there because of anything remotely their fault. 

The responsibility is not the animal's, not the shelter worker's or volunteer's, but resides firmly on the shoulders and conscience of the pet owner who did not do right by their pet.  Just plain sad.  More than sad, it is disgusting. 

As for shelters that call themselves no-kill, if there had ever been a single instance when they turned away a single animal, then that pet had to be abandoned somewhere, often another, often municipal, shelter that never turns away any animals.  Yeah, everyone, every shelter has limited resources, especially private ones, but you cannot pick and choose the most likely adoptable pets and still think of yourself as no-kill.  You are simply passing the responsibility and heinous job on to the public shelters that accept all animals and does the best they can. 

The truth is that until people stop irresponsible breeding, adopting pet willy-nilly, without full consideration to the needs of the animal, without accepting full responsibility for properly training, socializing and commitment to the life of that pet, shelters will be needed, and they are charged with doing the dirty work for everyone who does not make that decision wisely.

How the hell did I get on the topic of animal welfare work?  Maybe it is connected to responsibility, as in how I am working on increasing my responsibility to where my life should be going and growing.  Maybe that, combined with missing CoolCat.

There is a shelter in another town that offers free adoptions of cats when their facility becomes too full and is their last ditch effort to avoid euthanizing.  I can afford food and regular health care for a cat, just not the initial costs of caring for a cat.  

I think the truth is that whilst I am so lonely for a cat, I might not be ready.  If I were, there would be a new kitty to introduce.  There is not.  Ergo, I am not ready.  So be it.

Life is tough for everyone.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


A time for gratitude, as I find myself at the end...relatively...of a whole bunch of time sprinkled with extra stresses. 

I am finished with all of my exams.  I took the state certification one this week.  A month for the results, but I am so weary of the pressure that I do not really care about waiting.  I learned from one of the other people at the testing site that two major cities in our state have been holding large group trainings.  The purpose is to meet the needs of all of the agencies, facilities and programs that are now mandated to hire people to fill these positions.

In a way, that is great, as the need is much larger than can be satisfied right now.  That most likely will continue for the next year or so, so they say.  In another way it is not so super; those large training groups are being provided with an instruction process that disadvantages those of us who are doing all of this the more traditional way.  I am trying to not be all sour grapes about this.  I am not bitter, just a bit torqued, is all.  It is tough, this being a human.

I am trying just as hard to be grateful that the whole thing is over, at least until I have to begin taking courses for the required CEUs, if I actually pass this week's exam. 

I came home on Sunday, after another long weekend with my daughter and all the boys, to find that I had not fully closed the freezer door and whilst everything was cool, it was also soft.  I have been saving a bit here and there so that I could stock up on meat when it is on sale, and I was able to do that last week.  So, all of that carefully spent money went into yesterday's trash pick-up.  Steaks, tons of chicken, fish, berries, sausages, all of my favorite vegetables, a pint of ice cream for myself and several frozen treats for the little boys.  A relatively small freezer on a small refrigerator, stocked and stacked with all the things I bought on sale, which means it was a lot, and because of my carelessness, it is all gone.  I suck. 

I carefully shopped yesterday and today and I think I am good for the next three weeks, or so.  And, I am being careful about making certain that the freezer stays closed.  It sometimes want to open a bit on its own, and it really does not freeze very well, but it is what I have and I am keeping a nice strip of my flower pattern duct tape there for insurance.  The gratitude is for a painful, although not fatal, lesson.

I fetched CoolCat's ashes today.  Another expense that probably was not a super-duper idea, but I used some of the money I had saved for groceries to pay for it.  Yeah, I know.  Stupid.  Probably irresponsible as well.  It was, it was just too important to me and I make no apologies for being so un-frugal.  It is a small thing, but it allows me to hold on to part of him for a while. 

One of the Thursday group members has a cat and a dog.  I know how she struggles to support herself and her mother, so I offered CoolCat's food to her.  I guess that is frugal behavior.  The stuff will not go to waste.

You know, I have always believed that I would always choose to have a pet in my life.  I can no longer have a dog, but cats are perfect for the way and in the place I live.  I was pretty sure that it would not take long before I found another kitty to share my life, but as the weeks have gone on, I am less and less inclined to let that happen.  The sweet cremation guy and I had a sweet conversation this afternoon.  Nice.

On my way there, I looked west and saw the thunder clouds and the panels of rain falling to the ground.  It was so beautiful and I cannot remember when I have seen distant rain like that.  There are lots of nice reasons for liking the flatness of the land around here, and being able to observe interesting weather phenomenon is just one of them.
I miss him.  Cats have interesting and charming habits and rituals, which gradually become those of their owners.  That happens with dogs and other pets, sure, but not those other animals do not seem to be so precise about their rituals.  I find myself still beginning some of them.  I have muscle memory for some of the things he used to do.  When I was leaving the house today, I paused at the chair where he napped whilst I worked at my desk to pet him.  I do that sort of thing a lot.  Like keeping his ashes, it seems like a way to honor and remember him.  We did fine, CoolCat and I, and remembering him and forgetting that he is gone are ways to hold on to him, too.

This was supposed to be about all of the things I like.  Sort of a positive-focal word fest.  People and stuff and activities I like.  Like work and my family, a couple of friends, a couple more friends who have good intentions, but are driving me further along the path of insanity.  How I am moving forward and divesting and organizing and volunteering and writing and recent favorite books.  Stuff like that.

The writing, however, goes where it wants.  There are moments when I feel like the indentured fingers that just show up and do the work.  The pay is poor, understatement, but it gets me out of myself.  It is not one of my favorite things.