Working that cone

“But if we bling my cone, would I still look sad enough to work the treat circuit?”

Yes. I suggested to Chloe that we jazz up her cone and give it some bling. Because she’d had 15 teeth removed then got 10 days worth of antibiotics to be crammed down her throat plus a cone to wear, and that seemed like quite a load about which some extra TLC was needed. Since that’s what you do for your squad when shit gets real.

But her eyes here seemed to speak another truth and when she toodled out the doggie door as vibrantly as ever I thought that maybe in some ways she’s managing this turn of events with an ingenuity humanity itself is incapable of reaching. For if you look at the big picture, being this pathetic is an opportunity which comes around once–maybe twice–a lifetime and it’s almost maniacal not to be given the chance to fully work its little heart out.

And at that point, I rapidly changed my perspective, and reaching for yet one more treat, decided that Chloe is actually her own bling.

Spray of Diamonds

[Just popped in a Paul Simon CD, and now St Judy’s Comet rides shotgun, rolling across the skies and leaving sprays of diamonds in its wake. Music, poetry, words left out like cat food for homeless cats….it’s all part of love].

I’ve been waking up at sunrise to love like lightning shaking til it moans and rainbows in the high desert air.

For I’ve got a Nikon camera that gives me the greens of summer, and from the light across my room, follows the music seeping through,

saying. “honey take me dancing” but instead we love like lightning and sleep
In a doorway
By the bodegas and the lights

on Upper broadway


Wearing diamonds on the soles of our shoes.

And I watch the night receive the room of my day late in the evening, taking photographs about the arc of a love affair. —Paul Simon (abbr. 😌)

[Edit for Paul Simon novices: St Judy’s Comet; The Obvious Child, Hearts and Bones, Kodachrome, Late in the Evening, Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes].

Animals in order of appearance: Sadie, Cat, Lucy, Skippy, Tux, Boyfriend, Tala, Mildred, Snaggle, and Izabela. I sit for these creatures—or at least I did, pre-pandemic—and no matter how much time passes, they’ll live always in my hearts and bones.

Failures RIP

My day: 1) Shannon’s dogs won’t come out to pee in the rain so I stand outside the door and try to lure them with treats but they know they’re just milk bones *yawn*cough*not worth it* so I now feel very wet and failure;

2). I can’t get blood from Stella’s ear to figure out her insulin dosage so we sit there and she comforts me which tastes vaguely of her self-destructive victory.

3). I see a Snoop Dogg post and rally because life is too short and too long to suffer and most people don’t truly know one another anyways and if we did, there’d be no jealousy and we’d all be rooting for each other. Life is good

4). I bend over (like a dumb bitch, wtf, Amy?) and hear my 20 yo Sundance pants rip/RIP and now here’s my butt like she doesn’t even know enough to be ashamed but I’m feeling her vibe so strong that suddenly I’m transformed and I’m pretty sure I can pull off lunch at Oasis Cafe before heading home to change them.

Rustling

I’m hiking with Oscar and Pica—two dogs I sit for—up Emigration Canyon on a deserted trail I’ve never known.

And surrounding us is rustling from bushes and in my latent hesitation, the thoughts start whistling. Is the sound large or small? advancing or fleeing? Will this be that mountain lion up the canyon they warned about, or like that time I walked right past a coyote in a front yard and only saw it once I glanced back and it was silhouetted against the front porch light?

And ahead, a lone howl where there are no houses calls out the better of pushing through on this trail I don’t know, and as we walk out of desolation, in my mind is what I’d do if something (moose, cougar, coyote…) tried to hurt the dogs. I have the will to live, my daughters, pets, a life; yet as the sun becomes a predator, I already know what I’d do if something attacked the dogs. I’d do whatever it took to save them.

And it might seem a grand gesture hollowly-filled by hypotheticals but it eased my mind to push through acceptance of death in exchange for an honorable life.

And as we make our way down the trail back towards the road, Oscar looks back to make sure I’m okay like he’s already done a dozen times and in that one gesture suddenly I’m awake enough to realize that he’d actually do the same for me.

(7/2019)

Muh Earl

Some pics belie the tenderness behind them. Because when I met introverted Earl–whose history included the passing of his former owner, the relatives for whom did not find new homes for his cats and Earl was put on the street–his eyes seemed almost too sad to overcome the emotional hesitation.
 
And as a pet sitter, everything is always temporary and short-term. For a few days, I come in, feed, stay for a bit, leave and don’t see them sometimes for a long while between their families trips. And because of this, good connections with sensitive animals who’ve experienced abandonment are challenging to manifest. Since animals become world-weary just like humans, and know better than to get attached. For although circumstances change, once we experience such a loss as Earl had the fear usually settles into even our muscles, so Earl had made his whole body part of keeping distance, revealing his skepticism and hurt as he’d let the other house cats crowd before walking off as if giving up.
 
But I understood Earl. Knew his grief. And in the justified sadness of a sweet cat someone shooed outside as if they were sweeping the floor, I was called to act. So I made time to find him each visit, to sit with him, to specifically bring him into the circle of my attention (even with his extroverted sibs crowding around) because I wanted him to know he was important to me. Wanted to make an event out of “Earl”. Came into the house hollering the refrain “Where’s muh Earl?” so that he knew right away I hadn’t forgotten between trips that he was that tender guy I wanted to see.
 
Because we’ve all looked out upon the world with sad Earl eyes, many of us coming to exist within the immovable sense of not feeling safe enough to trust the world won’t hurt us, for, in fact the world has—Purposefully, Unashamedly—until sometimes we want to even flee from this life. And while these are harsh realities I can’t erase out of existence, I didn’t want to accept that that’s all there is. And Earl didn’t either.
 
For sometimes sadness and grief seem solid as if anchoring us permanently into them. Yet from mutual loss flows a compassion and nurturance for our fellow humans and creatures until somehow, one day, we’re sitting on the couch and old man Earl suddenly climbs into our lap and nuzzles his face in our hair.
 
And there are yet mysteries to solve, but events often become bits of truth constantly discovering itself, and when sweet Earl jumped up that first day—cat hair like love floating delicately around—I think it seasoned us both in what to do with this Life. In how to stand inside the new love we weave into existence as we survive this world more powerfully within togetherness.

Recalibrating

And I didn’t want my face to be puffy—and don’t like to upset the animals—but I was crying as I took this first picture.

For various reasons that day, I couldn’t hold back the ocean and—as Killian and Smudge moved about their deck—painted my face with loneliness and afternoon sun.

And science says tears carry stress hormones out of the body, leaving us more chemically-balanced but I wasn’t feeling that hope at that time. For life is so thick sometimes. Like windshield smeared with dirt—like the air in Salt Lake City, white snow on the ground Alpine-wholesome while the mountains disappear into 55.5 µg/m³ smog—and true sight is lost inside microscopic complexities and forfeit to sudden worrisome torrents, unseen mountains masked by chemical-laden water breaking free (finally) to flow down slopes of pine needles and skin.

And Killian is an orange kitty with dementia, who is a sweet, playful ham until his parents get home—when he runs and hides as if he’s never seen them before—and Smudge, the black and white is normally more aloof so after this picture—taken exactly 30 days ago; a vision of idealism–I decided to delete my Facebooks. To give up the charade. To celebrate having had a good run—sharing my authentic and whole self, seeing others do the same—and to honor that the world is a dynamic place where I’ve changed, and where tears falling from eyes hold sorrow as it leaves the body.

And today is the last day I can go back and retrieve anything—in where like I’m imagining you log on and are immediately faced with “I told you so,”, and maybe I’d apologize to Zuck personally via email?; I mean, I just don’t know, it’s so awkward and uncharted—but the interesting thing is that I posted so many things, so many pictures, so much fluff, comments, etc. but there’s only one thing that I specifically remembered to go back and save, and that’s the picture of Livy falling asleep in my bed after our night in the ER following her first grand mal seizure at Classic Skating. Pic 2. Julia had seen it happen—I wasn’t even there; they were with their stepmom—and was hysterical/having a panic attack, so Livys then-stepbrother Taylor rode in the ambulance with Liv because their stepmom had to drive the rest of the kids behind the ambulance to the hospital. And the picture itself is nothing really; of a teen girl—covers messy, on her side, face angled towards the mattress; worn, spent, exhausted, alive, safe in my bed after a dangerous day—but it’s everything.

Because some things you can’t ever truly savor until you let the pain bubble up and through, until the mountains are masked and you feel so lonely you’re crying on a Republican’s deck. Until the terror that you’re watching your baby sister die—paramedics hovering over her, asking if she can remember her name and how old she is—gets recalibrated into driving up to Ogden after work to get her from college because you miss her. Until you see your child breathe in your bed, knowing that the deep gift of sorrow and redemption is that your life can now be as profound as you’ll allow.

Until your fairy child has epilepsy (and also depression, anxiety and a micro-tumor on her pituitary) and your firstborn loves like a big dream and a kitty named Smudge is the risen humanity you desperately need, who with paws on your knees one lonely day, asks “Are you OK? Can I help?”

And Time itself dilates—science says that too—and all things have the hope for bearing us back into the sensation of love. So right here, now, today, this year, and [emboldened by gravity’s warping of Time] over this entire life upon this planet, I move towards Julia, Livy, Smudge, Killian, tears, writing, pictures, mountains, sorrow, healing, gratitude, creativity, and all forces yet unknown breaking our culture of loneliness, their black and white fur earnestly checking in with chemical-covered faces and afternoon sun on early November days.

[Edit, 12/11/2019:  And when I say I’m lonely, I don’t mean for human companionship. You can be with someone, married or otherwise mated, and still be lonely. What makes me feel lonely—or did on that day—was “the machine”. The march of humanity blindly forward towards their Truman Show; what makes me lonely is the assumptions we make about others, the misguided envy; how hard it is to stop from saying something hurtful and how we find it perfectly acceptable to not reach out, to help. It isn’t that I believe people are bad or selfish; its actually that I believe they’re good and just can’t be quiet].

Embattled

And I really have to resist telling all the maleness at Jiffy Lube to go make me a sandwich because that’s just where I am today. I was kept up all night by our new dog Lady’s whining—separation anxiety; Julia’s on a trip, Livy needed sleep; I was on duty—and along with my dream last night, I’ve basically been spit out so when the young man in the greasy jacket with no name tag grabs a sip of coffee saying “Kelly Ripa looks so good for her age. What is she, like, 50?”, I’m irritated because he’s flinging around the face grades like he’s got a clipboard and right on the tip of my tongue is a “stfu, Amazing Arbiter of Beauty Evaluations, I’m usually much prettier it’s just I stayed up all night with my fucking dog OK?” “Give me mustard, red onion, and make it gluten-free. Dick.”

And I haven’t dreamt about mom and her husband in so long but last night (during a rare entry into REM) I was again in the recurrence of a dream I’ve had before—grabbing my kids and my pets (and sometimes our foster kittens) to get out of a house before my stepdad can get there to hurt us—and from the sound of Lady whining when I briefly woke, I felt the fear and the sickness that is the testimony of my real life with him. The unabashed anger—punches to horses faces, that day he convinced mom shooting my two dachshunds (and her dog Malone, among others) was an appropriate way to end their lives—and creation of the deepest cruelty and sadness you’ll be seeing forever, to where in the dream I wasn’t even that upset when I realized that from within the accepted futility of our escape plan rested the only other option, at which point I immediately started looking for the weapon I was going to use to kill him.

And I’ve often wondered about this recurring dream. What does it mean that in the limitlessness of my nightscape, I’ve shot him in the chest, gasping as it explodes and the warm tissue of his flesh splatters on my face? What does it mean for a shaggy lady flashing sass in tiredness at a tiring world that from the spaces of her own heartsickness comes not healing but violence?

And last night, within the space of the blending of realms, I woke to a sliver of knowing.

For leaning into a tender world too long steeped in insults comes a rage so powerful it can breathe even as it suffocates, and in the calm of knowing what it feels like to truly Love, stands a warrior forever fighting for the goodness of that which might be unable to battle such a foe.

So this morning, in and out of my exhaustion—head resting into a Jiffy Lube window—I fell into that dream, and looking around a living room in the franticness of protecting the love that is my air, slayed dark things with axes in the quiet of the night while remembering myself and my place in the order of a gentle world.

Making space (for pollen and grifters)

Things to be grateful for today:

That my puffy eyes from allergies haven’t totally sealed themselves shut. I have the gift of sight.

That I caught the drip of watery-snot before it hit my mouth when I bent over to retrieve my sunglasses from the street.

That I didn’t step on said sunglasses and kill them like I did in January to my eyeglasses and that now I know I can go 5 months wearing lopsided, broken eyeglasses because Time is a meaningless invention most especially since each spring I become gainfully employed with “Impairment” and making an extra effort to tell everyone “it’s allergies” and that I’m not just stupid, high or hungover.

That it’s Sunday and parents can use me as a teaching moment for their kids because “the lady with the misshapen face can’t help it and Jesus wants you to be nice to things like her and whatever she is.”

That Mr Baby’s house is only my second pet sit of 19 today and I’m already so behind but that my exhaustion is actually impeding my ability to be stressed about it (or to remember my own name although honestly, I could make some good guesses plus it’s also on my drivers license so I’ll be okay)

That my hair is dirty because now my 50 psi eyes match my gnarly, filthy head. It’s a look now; I’m the total package.

And…

That the cat in the picture who was making a horrible racket in the bushes under Mr. Baby’s house wasn’t actually a homeless pregnant female in labor but rather a pissed off grifter locked out of his house working me over for treats.

That I was already planning how I’d fit it in my schedule to meet my girls back at Mr. Baby’s house to catch what I thought was a pregnant female and transport her to Best Friends for care and eventual spaying.

That I’m not too world-weary to fall for the feline grift. That I actually AM a nice “whatever it is.” That i can see the humor in puffy eyes. That life isn’t perfect so I don’t have to be either.

That I can walk, have a home, have food, can breathe air populated with oxygen courtesy of trees and their selfless offerings, that I have my life, abilities and opportunities, my girls, Ellen, a chance to bitch then to stfu and make my day be it’s own inspiration for perseverance.

Happy Sunday.

[4/29/2018]

[2/26/2019: I can already feel the allergies starting for this year. They truly are debilitating at times–even while on allergy meds–but the show must go on and when you feel about it, things could always be worse. Happy Tuesday]