Archives For Animals

I think a lot about my beloved, dearly departed cat Pickles. Some of you who know me in real life had the distinct privilege of knowing the Divine Miss P. For everyone else, click on the image below for an idea of what she was like:Equation

Pickles was unlike any other cat I’ve ever known. She was her own breed—a breed of One. Fiendishly smart, contrary, spoiled, overbearing, disdainful, and endlessly lovable.

I’d like to share a little of what our days together were like. Below is an example of a typical Saturday for us. The dialogue has been altered for creative purposes, but the events are all true.

4:00am
I’m sleeping.

Pickles:  Bored.
Me:  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Pickles:  BORED.
Me:  Zzzzzz–sngh?
Pickles:  BORED! BORED! BORED! BORED! I’M BORED!!!!!
Me:  What the fuck? I was sleeping!
Pickles:  You were boring me. You will entertain me now.
Me:  It’s 4 o’clock in the morning.
Pickles:  I fail to see your point. You will entertain me now.
Me:  I’m not entertaining you now. I’m going back to sleep.
Pickles:  Suit yourself. But one day I’ll smother you. You’ll be sorry.

10:0am
Pickles is sitting on my lap. She peeks in my coffee cup and wrinkles her nose.

Pickles:  Is that coffee?
Me:  Yes.
Pickles:  I don’t care for coffee.
Me:  I know. We go through this every morning.
Pickles:  You insist on drinking coffee even though you know I don’t care for it.
Me:  I’m not asking you to drink it.
Pickles:  (sniff sniff)  What is that smell? It’s foul.
Me:  It’s toast.
Pickles:  NOXIOUS VAPORS!!!  YOU’RE TRYING TO KILL ME!!!
Me:  Sigh. We do this every day, Pickles. It’s toast. It won’t kill you.
Pickles:  VILE!!!  ASPHYXIATING!!!!
Me:  Oh stop, you’re being a drama queen.
Pickles:  You should cook whatever you made yesterday. That smelled delicious.
Me:  I didn’t cook anything yesterday.
Pickles:  Yes you did. That blue liquid you had in the kitchen. It smelled delicious.
Me:  That was Windex.
Pickles:  I don’t care what the recipe is called. I want some.
Me:  You’re so weird. You don’t like food smells but you like cleaning products.
Pickles:  Don’t judge.

This was how Pickles looked most of the time: annoyed.

This was how Pickles looked most of the time: annoyed.


2:00pm

I’m about to go out to run errands. I can’t find one of my flip flops.

Me:  Have you seen my other flip flop?
Pickles:  No.
Me:  It was right there. You must have seen it.
Pickles:  I haven’t seen it. (Pickles shifts position, revealing what appears to be part of a flip flop.)
Me:  What are you sitting on?
Pickles:  I’m not sitting on anything.
Me:  Is that my flip flop?
Pickles:  No.
Me:  Yes it is. That’s my flip flop.
Pickles:  No it isn’t.
Me:  Pickles, I can SEE it. Get up, I need it.
Pickles:  No.
Me:  Get up. Come on.
Pickles:  No.
Me:  Don’t make me take it from you.
Pickles:  No.
Me:  Come on, give it to me. (Tries to slide shoe out from under Pickles. She takes a swing at me and her claw snags on my arm.) Hey! Look, you drew blood! Give me my shoe, you rotten cat.
Pickles:  No. I’m keeping it.
Me:  Sigh. (Puts on sneakers instead)

5:00pm
I’m in the shower. Pickles is curled up on the bed, sleeping.

Pickles:  WAIL!!  BLOODY MURDER!!!!!!  HORROR!!
Me:  (running out of the bathroom and almost slipping and cracking my head open)  What??? What happened??? What’s wrong???
Pickles:  (sitting calmly on the bed) I want to go under the covers.
Me:  That’s IT? That’s your emergency? It sounded like your tail was being hacked off, the way you were carrying on.
Pickles:  I want to go under the covers. You will lift up the covers so I can go in now.
Me:  You know very well how to go under the covers yourself. You do it when I’m not home.
Pickles:  But you’re home now.
Me:  So what? You can still do it yourself.
Pickles:  Not when you’re home. When you’re home, you do things for me. That’s how it works. So lift up the covers and let me in. But if you don’t make an interesting enough tent, I will come right back out and you will have to try again. And stop dripping on me.
Me:  Sigh. (Lifts covers so Pickles can go under them. After three attempts, a satisfactory tent is created and Pickles is reasonably content.)

Post its

This sort of thing might explain why Pickles looked annoyed all the time. 


9:00pm
I have music playing. Pickles is sprawled on the couch. Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger” comes on.

Pickles:  This song is too loud.
Me:  It’s the same volume as all the other songs.
Pickles:  I don’t like it. Turn it off.
Me:  Maybe you’ll like this one. (Plays “Diamonds Are Forever.”)
Pickles:  No. I hate this one too.
Me:  What is it with you and Shirley Bassey??
Pickles:  I don’t like her voice. Turn it off.
Me:  No, I like this song.
Pickles:  TURN IT OFF TURN IT OFF TURN IT OFF TURN IT OFF TURN IT OFF!!!!
Me:  Okay, okay. Relax.
Pickles:  Yes. This song is acceptable.
Me:  There’s nothing playing right now.
Pickles:  Yes.

Midnight
Pickles is taking up a disproportionate amount of space on the bed.

Me:  Time for bed.
Pickles:  Whatever.
Me:  Move over, you’re in my way.
Pickles:  Why can’t you sleep around me?
Me:  Because it’s not comfortable.
Pickles:  Yes it is.
Me:  I can’t curl up into a perfect circle the way you can.
Pickles:  Too bad for you.
Me:  Come on, shove over or I’ll move you myself.
Pickles:  (Moving) I was going to move anyway.
Me:  Good night.
Pickles:  Good night.

12:15am

Pickles:  Stop that.
Me:  Stop what? I’m not doing anything.
Pickles:  You’re in my area.
Me:  I am not in your area.
Pickles:  Look at your arm. It’s on my blanket.
Me:  So what? It’s not in your way.
Pickles:  It’s on my blanket.
Me:  Big deal. You drape your tail over me half the time and I don’t get all bent out of shape about it. Or how about when you sleep on my head?
Pickles:  That’s different.
Me:  How is that different?
Pickles:  Because it’s me.
Me:  That’s not an answer.
Pickles:  Yes it is.
Me:  (long sigh)  Fine. I’ll move my arm. Is that better?
Pickles:  I suppose.
Me:  Good night.
Pickles:  Good night.

12:30am
Pickles comes over and curls up against me.

Me:  What is it?
Pickles:  Nothing.
Me:  You’re right up against me, you know.
Pickles:  I know. I was bored with my blanket and wanted to lie over here instead, that’s all.
Me:  I see. Okay. Good night.
Pickles:  Good night.

12:35am
Pickles rubs her face against mine, purring loudly.

Me:  What’s all this about?
Pickles:  I’m—my cheeks are itchy. Yes. I’m just using you to scratch them, that’s all.
Me:  Is that purring? You’re purring.
Pickles:  No I’m not.
Me:  Haaaa, you’re purring.
Pickles:  Shut up and go to sleep.

12:40am
Pickles rests her head in my palm.

Me:  You have your head in my hand, you know.
Pickles:  Just in case my cheeks get itchy again, that’s all.
Me:  Mmm hmm. Good thinking. (Kisses her on the head)
Pickles:  Stop that. (Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)
Me:  Good night, little Pickles.
Pickles:  Good night, Mommy.

But she was still the best cat ever.

She was the best cat ever.

The baby squirrel

Madame Weebles —  January 30, 2013 — 218 Comments

It happened on my way home from work one summer night.  I was around the corner from my building.  There were about eight people crowded around a spot on the sidewalk.  I went to investigate.  They were all staring at this little creature, no more than 2 inches long, barely moving.  I couldn’t tell what it was.  A baby rat?  A baby mouse?  Then I heard someone say it was a baby squirrel who had fallen from his nest.  Apparently the squirrel’s nest was on a fire escape several floors above us.

Everyone was just standing there.  Nobody was doing anything to help this poor little thing.  Some evil bastard suggested that someone should stomp on it to put it out of its misery.  I didn’t know what to do but I was furious at how everyone just stood there, staring.  I wanted to scream at all of them:  “What the fuck is wrong with all of you??  This is a living creature who needs help!!”  I don’t remember what I actually said, but I yelled something as I shoved people out of my way to get to the squirrel.  I had some tissues with me and I gently picked him up and wrapped him up in the tissues to keep him warm.  He was so light.  His eyes weren’t open but he moved every so often.

So there I was with this injured baby squirrel.  Now what?  I frantically searched for a working pay phone (this was 1999, pre-cell phone days).  When I found one, I called the ASPCA.  I spoke with a very nice woman who apologetically explained that they didn’t accept squirrels.  I asked if she could suggest somewhere else, but she didn’t know of a place that might be able to help.  By this time I was almost hysterical and I was crying.  I didn’t want this baby squirrel to die.

Then I saw a woman who lived in my building.  She said, “Oh, you know who helps squirrels?  Bernie Goetz.”  Bernie Goetz???  The Subway Vigilante??  The guy who shot some would-be muggers on the subway back in 1984?  My neighbor said Goetz lived nearby and that he was known for rescuing squirrels.  Who knew?  I needed to get his phone number.  Back to the phone booth.

While I was on the line with the operator, I noticed that the baby squirrel had stopped moving.  I looked more closely at him and realized that he was gone.  I thanked the operator and hung up.

I suppose I wasn’t really surprised that the little guy died.  I don’t know how far he fell, but it was far enough that his injuries would have been severe.  I had hoped to get help to him in time, but I couldn’t.  At least he wasn’t alone at the end.  Even if it was a giant creature holding him in a tissue in her hand, he wasn’t alone.

I walked over to Washington Square Park and found a nice tree.  I dug a small hole and buried him.  I’m so sorry, little squirrel.  I wanted so badly to save you.  I’m so sorry you fell from your nest.  I hope you didn’t suffer too much.  I tried, I really did.

I said a little prayer over the tiny grave and cried all the way home.

Not really.  Well, maybe.

I’m doing a post soon to thank and acknowledge everyone who has bestowed awards upon me.  When other bloggers accept awards, I enjoy reading their “10 things about me” or “answers to 7 questions” usually associated with the awards.  I like knowing about people’s quirks, random likes and dislikes, answers to wacky questions, etc.  So I decided to write a bunch of stuff about myself in lieu of doing the awards ones.

So here it is, a bunch of random shit about me:

  • Whole portobello mushrooms scare me.  I’ll eat them, but not if they’re whole.  When they’re whole they look like little aliens and they creep me out.
  • I’m an only child.  People ask me, “What’s it like to be an only child?”  I never know how to answer because I have no other frame of reference.  All I can say is, it was good.  And no, I wasn’t a spoiled brat—my parents made sure of that.
  • For some reason I have a fascination with Victorian undergarments.  All those corsets and stays and petticoats and stuff.  Despite the fact that they were probably extremely uncomfortable.
  • I love pistachio ice cream, but I dislike pistachio nuts.
  • I detest honey (sorry, bees, I still love you).  Just the smell of it makes me queasy and hurts my teeth.
  • When I was a kid I played the piano.  I haven’t played in years, so it would take me ages to get my chops back.  But I’d love to learn how to play the harpsichord and the pipe organ.   I’d have to buy a really ornate candelabra for that, though.
  • Despite playing piano for many years, I utterly suck at reading music.  I literally still have to count the bars on the music to see which note it is:  “Okay, that’s one, two bars up, above the bar, so that’s an A.”  It’s brutal.  For me it’s much easier to play by ear.
  • Third and final music-related fact: I’ve composed a jazz tune, although I haven’t actually written it down or arranged it yet.  It mysteriously started composing itself in my head when I was about 8 or 9.  I have no idea why.  It’s nothing I’ve ever heard, and to my knowledge it isn’t a song that already exists.  It’s a ragtime-style piece, and over time it wrote itself, adding more passages every so often.  The song is finished now, and I can hear the whole thing in my head with all the instruments.
  • My elbows are double-jointed.  Mr. Weebles finds it alarming.  (And sadly, I am double-jointed in no other areas.)
  • My favorite curse word is “motherfucker.”
  • I cry whenever I watch movies or TV shows where animals are hurt.  Even if they’re computer-generated animals.  I sobbed my guts out at Godzilla, and I refuse to watch King Kong or Mighty Joe Young.
  • Even though I’ve seen every episode eleventeen million times, I still laugh out loud at I Love Lucy, Seinfeld, and The Golden Girls.
  • I really love practical jokes, as long as they’re not mean.  That’s the one thing I really miss about office life—playing pranks on my coworkers.

So there you have it—random info about Weebs.  It feels a little self-absorbed to do this but you know what?  It was fun.

But enough about me.  Let’s talk about you.  What do YOU want to know about me?

Unlike many of you, I am a mere mortal.  I have many weaknesses.  You know how Superman was powerless against kryptonite?  There are many things that are kryptonite to me.  Some in a good way, some in a bad way.

For instance, certain accents are kryptonite to me.  Yesterday we were treated to The Reclining Gentleman’s English accent.  The English accent weakens my knees pretty quickly.  But the accent I’m most powerless against is the Irish brogue.  I can’t resist it.  Can’t.  Won’t.  It doesn’t even matter if the speaker is male or female.  I’d pay good money just to listen to an Irish person read aloud from the dictionary or the phone book.

There are several other things that are guaranteed to evoke a visceral reaction in me, such that I am unable to resist swooning, making an ass of myself, and/or indulging in to an unspeakable degree:

  • Cute animals—anyone who doesn’t turn into a mess of goo with cute animals is probably Hitler reincarnated.
  • French fries—this should require no further explanation.  They’re delicious, greasy, salty proof of God’s existence and benevolence.
  • Carvel ice cream—for those of you not fortunate enough to live in an area with purveyors of Carvel, Carvel is like Dairy Queen or Mr. Softee, except much, much, much better.  See “proof of God’s existence and benevolence” above.
  • This guy—at this point he should need no introduction.
  • Flea markets—where you can find all kinds of crap you never knew you absolutely must have.
  • Bookstores—at least, until Amazon destroys them all, anyway.
  • Las Vegas—over-the-top decadence and debauchery at its best.

Then there’s the bad sort of kryptonite. Things that are so heinous and awful that I can’t stand looking at them, hearing about them, or being in the same room with them:

  • Disgusting holeswe’ve discussed these.
  • Roaches—Satan’s emissaries on earth.
  • Any of those interminable ASPCA and Humane Society commercials—why don’t you just waterboard me, it would be less traumatic.
  • Cottage cheese—to some, a healthy snack.  To me, a vile poison.
  • Honey—to some, a delicious topping for toast and other things.  To me, a vile poison.
  • Kevin Costner’s voice—want to send me into a homicidal frenzy?  Force me to listen to the audio from Dances With Wolves.
  • Tom Cruise—my hatred of him is even more intense than my hatred of Alex Trebek.

So how about you?  What’s your kryptonite?

We saw The Dark Knight Rises this weekend.  It was awesome.

After the movie Mr. Weebles and I talked about Catwoman.  I was underwhelmed by Anne Hathaway’s performance but Mr. Weebles liked her. (There’s a shocker.)

Then we got to discussing “Catwoman” and “Cat Lady.”  Both are used to describe females with a feline association, but they have very, very different connotations indeed.

Halle Berry as Catwoman. You’re welcome.

Catwoman conjures up a certain image and attitude, whether she’s the original cartoon version, or whether she’s played by Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar, Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, or Anne Hathaway.  Catwoman is sexy, bad, sly, and very agile.

Cat Lady, on the other hand, is not what you’d call sexy.  She likes cats so she can’t possibly be bad.  She’s probably not very sly.

There but for the grace of God go I.

And if she’s agile, it’s only because she needs to be to avoid constantly tripping over Muffin, Babykins, Whiskers, Sir Floof, Mittens, Stripey McStriperson, Arianna Fluffington, Blacky, Chairman Meow, Buttons, and Mrs. Puff.

Should you find yourself in the unenviable position of not knowing whether a female of your acquaintance is Catwoman or Cat Lady, here is a quick guide for your reference:

Catwoman:  Wears an exotic perfume, something like Shalimar or Opium.
Cat Lady:  Wears a heady mix of catnip, Febreze, and tuna juice.

Catwoman:  Her wardrobe has a lot of leather, rubber, and thigh-high boots with stiletto heels.
Cat Lady:  Her wardrobe has a lot of bathrobes, sweats, and ratty slippers, all liberally covered in cat fur.

Catwoman:  A wild animal in the bedroom.
Cat Lady:  Has a lot of animals in her bedroom, but none of them wild. Except for that time Mittens thought Cat Lady’s vibrator was an intruder.

Catwoman:  She’ll cut you and you’ll never even feel it.
Cat Lady:  She’ll apologize profusely for the scratches inflicted by Buttons, he was just playing!

Catwoman:  Speaks in a throaty, seductive growl.
Cat Lady:  “Who’s a good baby? You are! Yes you are! Oh yes you are.”

I’ve been wanting to write about Kitty Emeritus for a while now. Kitty Emeritus is one of the many names for our dearly departed cat who died more than two years ago at the ripe old age of 19.

Her real name is Pickles. I almost never called her that; I had 2,051,942 nicknames for her. But it didn’t matter which name I used because she ignored all of them.

Pickles and I met on November 8, 1996, at about 6:00pm. That’s the night I went to the ASPCA to adopt a cat. I was in a room lined with wall-to-wall cages of cats and it felt like it would be impossible to choose just one. Finally, after looking at each cat, I decided on a very sweet male tabby. I was about to tell the ASPCA volunteer that I wanted to adopt him when I had this very strong urge to turn around.

I turned around and my eyes fell upon the center cage in the bottom row on the wall opposite me. Staring at me was a little grey face doing hypno eyes on me. For some reason I hadn’t seen this cat when I looked at all the cats earlier. I walked over to that little grey face and read the tag on the cage. She was a 6-year-old girl, which was perfect because I wanted an older cat. They opened her cage so I could see her better. I picked her up and she just sat there in my arms, purring. And I said, “I’ll take her.” I had no choice. I had to adopt her. It was as simple as that.

That was the beginning of the best 13 years of my life. She was my little friend, my little companion, my little roommate, my little banshee, my little teddy bear.

She was the smartest cat I’ve ever had, and also the pissiest. Just like me, Pickles was a cranky broad. She was 16 pounds of pure attitude. She had a dead-eye stare that could make the temperature in the room drop about 20 degrees. She didn’t like the smell of people food and it didn’t take much to set her off. Any sort of cooking—even mild foods like toast, scrambled eggs, spaghetti—was enough to get her wailing and crawling under the covers to escape from the noxious fumes. When it was bedtime, she got annoyed if I strayed too far over to her side of the bed. She’d look at me as if to say, “Really? Do you value your life that little?” Once I awoke in the middle of the night to the very peculiar sensation of being shoved by a furry mass. Pickles was using her back feet to brace herself against the side of the bed, trying to push me out of her area. She’d make little snorts and snuffles to express her displeasure with me. When I laughed at her it pissed her off even more.

She was not your typical cat. She didn’t like toys or catnip. Soon after I adopted her I tried to engage her with one of those toys dangling from the end of a string. She swatted it out of her way with a look that said, “Get this annoying thing out of my face.” She couldn’t be bothered with the things that normal cats enjoy. She was above all that juvenile nonsense.

One thing that Pickles loved, though, was men. She tolerated me, of course, but she loved men. Every night I’d let her out of the apartment for her evening constitutional in the hallway (always closely supervised by me). I lived in a walk-up building and over time everyone in my building knew her by name. She always gravitated toward the men. She flirted with them, draping her fluffy tail around their legs. One of my upstairs neighbors, a WWII veteran named Joe, was enthralled with her. Every time I saw him he’d ask, “How’s my furry little girlfriend?” And he knew her name but not mine.

Then there was the night I woke up at about 3am because of a commotion in the hallway. Pickles and I went out to see what was going on. Someone had called the fire department and a bunch of firemen were going up and down the stairs. One of them was standing near my door, talking on his radio. My cat, being a brazen little hussy, marched right over to him and rubbed against his legs. The fireman leaned over and started petting her, all the time still talking on the radio. Pickles was thrilled. To this day I wish I could have taken a photo of that scene.

And then there were the times when she and I would just hang out. We’d zonk out together on the couch. Sometimes she’d sleep on me with her head tucked right under my chin. Sometimes at night she’d lie next to me and rest her head in the palm of my hand. She trusted me. And I’m pretty sure she knew I loved her more than anything in the whole wide world.

When Mr. Weebles entered the picture, Pickles accepted him immediately. That’s how I knew he was a keeper. But Mr. Weebles wasn’t quite sure what to make of her at first. I told him, “Trust me, you’ll like her. She’s very charming.” Sure enough, within a very short time he too was under the spell of Pickles. And when the three of us moved in together, she had no trouble adjusting. Actually, that’s not entirely true—she never did accept the fact that Mr. Weebles was now taking up her side of the bed. That always stuck in her craw. But she loved him anyway.

I still marvel at the fact that she made it to 19; she had more medical problems than any three cats I’ve ever had. But she was a tough old gal, she took a licking and kept on ticking. She never had simple ailments—they were always complicated disorders that cost a fortune to diagnose and another fortune to treat. Fatty liver, bladder stones, pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism, heart murmur, gall bladder problems, tooth infections, kidney insufficiency, special dietary needs . . . if I could have deducted her and her medical expenses on my tax returns I would have been sitting pretty.

Of course the day came—January 12, 2010—when her medical conditions and old age caught up with her and it was time for me to let her go. Mr. Weebles and I were with her until the very end. I have no doubt that it was the right thing to do, at the right time. I think Pickles knew it was right too—I just have that feeling from the interaction between her and me during those last minutes. It felt like she was saying, “It’s okay, it’s time.”

So now she’s in the Great Catnip Patch in the Sky (not sure why I keep calling it that since she didn’t like catnip). I like to think she’s having a wonderful time bossing people around and charming all the gentlemen. We have three other cats now, the Weeblettes. They’re nothing like the sophisticated, redoubtable Pickles—they’re very playful, silly, and catlike. I love them to pieces. But Pickles is and always will be my special girl. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and smile. And I will miss her every day for the rest of my life.

I’ve written most of this with tears streaming down my face. I cry because I miss her like crazy, but mostly I cry out of joy. Joy because I had her with me for as long as I did. Joy because she made my life so much better. Joy because I was lucky enough to have such an incredible connection with such an extraordinary creature. And joy because I know that someday I’ll see her again.

I’ve got nothing meaningful to say today.  Plenty of stuff flying through my brain but none of it very profound.  It’s Sunday, and any deep thoughts I may have are out having a martini brunch.  So here’s all I got today:

The Funky Scale
I’m pissed that I forgot to add Kingsley Shacklebolt to my original Scale of Funky. Mr. Weebles and I were watching one of the Harry Potter movies when we realized that we should have put him on the list. Because Kingsley is definitely funky. He has a funky name and a funky look. And he’s a wizard. You just know he’s got to be one of the funkiest wizards at the Ministry of Magic, if not the funkiest.

Weebles
My goal is to have one of each of the original Weebles made during the 1970s. My collection is almost complete—I’m missing only about 6 of them. The inventor of Weebles, Ned Strongin, died just over a year ago at the age of 91. I have no idea how long it took him to perfect the Weeble, but I wonder what the protoypes looked like.  I’m thinking they looked something like this:

I can see why they probably wouldn’t have tested well in market research.

Also, I really want to make a Steampunk Weeble. But you’d be surprised at how difficult it is to find really tiny goggles.

The Weeblettes
These are the Weeblettes. Quite the little Rogues Gallery, aren’t they? They’re all girls, they’re all rescues, and they’re all wonderful. Adopt shelter pets!!

Cross-Stitching
I like to cross-stitch.  It gives me else something to do while I’m just sitting around watching television.  But I lose interest pretty quickly, so I keep switching between patterns.  Right now I have 3 or 4 unfinished cross-stitch patterns.  I’ll complete them eventually.  The first cross-stitch piece I ever did is this one, which is now proudly displayed in my office:

I need to buy a doily to put under it so I can make it look extra dainty.

The New York Yankees

Like all arrogant Yankee fans, I expect my boys to go 162-0.  Right now they have a disappointing 28-24 record.  Meh.  Fortunately, the season isn’t even half over yet they’re still ahead of the Red Sox.

Geddy Lee
Every few weeks or so I have dreams about him. I had another one last night. I’m not sure why or how these dreams started. Although I’ve always liked Rush, Geddy didn’t do it for me when he was younger. But apparently he does it for me now, big time. I just hadn’t realized it during my waking hours. Maybe the Universe wanted to make sure I was aware of how much he rocks. And I have to say I think he looks pretty smokin’ hot in this photo.

You know how sometimes a bunch of things happen at once, and it kinda/sorta of gives you the idea that someone/Someone is trying to tell you something?

I’m having that kind of day. Two things happened this morning that made me cry, in a good way. They reminded me of things I had put on the back burner. And I think it means it’s time to take them off the back burner.

Last night I saw a dear friend of mine, and I did some reiki on her because she’s having a bit of a tough time right now. My intention was for her to gain some clarity and peace of mind regarding her situation. This morning she sent me a beautiful email to tell me that I helped her to see her situation more clearly and that now she feels able to forgive herself. I practically sobbed when I read this. It’s extremely humbling to know that I was able to help, and I feel so happy that I had the opportunity to do this for a friend.

About 10 minutes after receiving this amazing email, one of my colleagues came into my office. She and I have had several conversations about medical care—she’s caring for her elderly father—and about how much unmet need there is for patients and caregivers when dealing with the medical community. She told me that when my name has come up in conversation with others in our industry, one of the things frequently mentioned is that I fight for the people I work with and I make sure they don’t get overlooked. And then she asked me if I had ever considered working with patients.

I felt like I had been clobbered with a Cosmic Sledgehammer.

Since I became a Reiki Master I’ve become much more aware of the different ways I can help people. I can’t prescribe medication or perform surgery, but I can help people endure their treatment or surgery better. I can help people gain clarity on things that are bothering them. I can help empower them to get through really difficult times. Doing reiki has really opened me up to understanding how much is out there.

I’ve toyed many times with the idea of doing patient advocacy, because I know how helpless people can feel. Doctors can be intimidating, and unfortunately quite a few of them don’t really listen to patients very well. And that’s just for your average doctor visit. When you need to go to the hospital, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. Mountains of paperwork, hospital staff who ask you the same questions over and over again, and quite often, no clear, direct communication about what’s happening. So patients and their families end up feeling like cogs in the machine, and the result is that they don’t get what they need. If they’re lucky, the experience is merely horrifically stressful. But in worse scenarios, people get the wrong treatment—or no treatment—because there’s nobody to stick up for them.

Over the past several years I’ve accompanied several friends and family members to doctor’s appointments, and I’ve spoken to veterinarians on behalf of friends whose pets were ill. I’ve been stunned by the lack of genuine interest and/or integrity shown by some of them. Too often, doctors will just say “There’s nothing wrong with your blood work” or “Your x-rays are fine,” and then dismiss the patient’s concern as unimportant or medically irrelevant. It infuriates me that they don’t explore other options. I would have more a lot more respect for a physician who said, “Your blood work looks fine, so I don’t know what the problem might be. Why don’t we look at [fill in the blank] as a possible cause.”

I want to grab these guys by their white coat lapels and yell, “Just admit that you don’t know, for crying out loud!” Don’t imply that because you don’t know the cause, the problem must not really exist. Maybe the problem is that you’re seeing 50 patients a day, so that gives you only 10 minutes with each patient. Maybe the problem is that you think your patient is a hypochondriac. Maybe the problem is that you’re phoning it in and you don’t really care all that much.

The point of all this rambling is that too often there’s no care in healthcare. Patients often get shortchanged in one way or another. And it pisses me off. I want to help—whether it’s through energy healing, or advocating for patients who don’t know where to turn, or a combination of those two things, or something else completely. It’s time for me to move these thoughts to the front burner. Otherwise the Universe is going to whack me over the head again.

Another lazy reblog

Madame Weebles —  May 17, 2012 — 6 Comments

Madame Weebles:

It’s sad that I’m resorting to recycling so early in the game. But I happen to like this post so what the heck.

Originally posted on Fear No Weebles:

At least, when it comes to animals, this is true. Maybe you’re the same way.

You know what I mean. You could be in the middle of an intellectual salon, discussing Sartre’s philosophy or sharing your views on string theory. It doesn’t matter. The minute your dog or cat walks in the room, your IQ drops about 80 points.

I think this graphic illustrates this phenomenon most clearly:

I have 3 cats (the Weeblettes). All I have to do is look at them and I can feel my neurons fusing together into a lump of putty. “Who’s a good kitty?? You are! Yes you are! Oh yes you are. Goochy goochy goochy goo!”

And that’s if I’m still somewhat articulate. Otherwise it might go something like this:

“Goooskywooskyskwitchyskwitchywoooshawoooshagoochygooocheeeeeeeee!”

Fortunately, the Weeblettes are pretty tolerant of my yatterings and don’t seem to mind. And Mr. Weebles has had plenty of time…

View original 161 more words

At least, when it comes to animals, this is true. Maybe you’re the same way.

You know what I mean. You could be in the middle of an intellectual salon, discussing Sartre’s philosophy or sharing your views on string theory. It doesn’t matter. The minute your dog or cat walks in the room, your IQ drops about 80 points.

I think this graphic illustrates this phenomenon most clearly:

I have 3 cats (the Weeblettes). All I have to do is look at them and I can feel my neurons fusing together into a lump of putty. “Who’s a good kitty?? You are! Yes you are! Oh yes you are. Goochy goochy goochy goo!”

And that’s if I’m still somewhat articulate. Otherwise it might go something like this:

“Goooskywooskyskwitchyskwitchywoooshawoooshagoochygooocheeeeeeeee!”

Fortunately, the Weeblettes are pretty tolerant of my yatterings and don’t seem to mind. And Mr. Weebles has had plenty of time to become familiar with my work. But our Kitty Emeritus, who is no longer in corporeal form, used to look at me like I was truly the dumbest sentient on earth.

I’m not sure there’s anything I can do about this. It just happens. I can be having a normal conversation and then maybe one of the Weeblettes will show up, or maybe I’ll see someone walking a dog, or I’ll stumble across a photo of a bunny or otters holding hands or baby hippos or dolphins or whatever. Doesn’t matter. I can guarantee that my brain will go into a death spiral.

I’m glad I’m not alone—judging from the zillions of visitors to sites like Cute Overload and I Can Has Cheezburger, anyway. Can you imagine what would happen if a bunch of us got together and went to a petting zoo or something? There would be so much incomprehensible gibberish we’d sound like escapees from a mental institution.