a little over five years ago, my friend scott sent me the link of a blog he enjoyed reading. i have no idea how he found this blog, but it was the words of a twentysomething writer living in boston. i immediately became a devoted reader.
this blogger's name is heather snow, and we began a friendship of correspondence that year. in 2004, she came to nashville on a business trip, and we spent a night out on the town together. and i fell in real-friend love with her then. soon after, i found myself in the boston area for vicky's wedding (hi vicky!), and got to spend a day on walden pond with heather and her now-husband, dennis. once again, i was amazed at the power of blogland. here we were: friends.
this week, heather and dennis have moved to austin. seriously. we have seen them a few times this year as they've made their plans, but now, they're here! tonight, we're going out for the best burger in town (casino el camino, of course), and tomorrow, we get to help them paint their new house.
clearly, i am a happy bananie. it is really lovely to have someone i knew apart from my life in texas suddenly become such a big part of it. and the wonderfilled parts of me are jumping for joy. i mean, what are the chances that a random blog link from years ago would become a neighbor and joy?
welcome home, heather and dennis. we hope y'all stay awhile.
pee ess don't forget the gunther pickles memorial fund.
today, he went to the vet after suspicion mounted of ringworm on his feet. the vet confirmed said ringworm, and went on to provide more bad news.
phineas has a heart murmur. the vet recommends an ultrasound so we know exactly what we are dealing with. unfortunately, today's bill was ridiculously expensive, and there is no way we can afford further testing at this point.
needless to say, we are devastated. the vet admitted that phineas' condition may mean his life will be as short as gunther's was.
this is not the news a girl can handle with grace less than two weeks after losing her kitten.
and so, for the first time ever, i am stooping to donations. [see left.]
if you can and want to help, please do. if you can't, that's fine.
this is ultimately our responsibility, and i am well aware of worthier causes than ours.
i hate asking for help. but we want to ensure this kitten has a quality life, however long or short.
today's game is called: bananie.com becomes myspace!
[aka slow ass night at work...]
let's play, shall we? here's a quiz! and you're all tagged to play too!
Donâ€™t Lie Survey
1. Last cigarette: two hours ago
2. Last beverage: sprite!
3. Last phone call: greg
4. Last text message: "your tmobile account is past due..."
5. Last CD played: i don't remember.
6. Last bubble bath: last winter.
7. Last time you cried: last week.
8. Last meal: chicken and hummus
EIGHT Have Youâ€™s
1. Have you ever dated someone twice? yes
2. Have you ever been cheated on? i don't think so...
3. Have you ever bought condoms? nope.
4. Have you ever kissed someone & regreted it? yes
5. Have you ever fallen in love? yes
6. Have you ever lost someone? i lost my mother at the grocery store when i was 3. it was terrible.
7. Have you ever been depressed? hahahahahahaha.
8. Have you ever been drunk and thrown up? *burp* yes.
Name SIX things you did in the past three days
2. went to the vet
3. cleaned up dog poop.
4. ate chicken
5. drank wine
6. kissed kittens.
List THREE people you can tell pretty much anything to
List THREE favorite colors
List TWO things you want to do before you die
1.) have kiddos
2.) write that book.
SO FAR IN 07â€²â€¦
Been to school - yes, but i quit.
Made a new friend- yes!
Fallen out of love - nope.
Done something you swore never to do - yes.
Laughed until you cried - no.
Went behind your parents back - (hmm maybe this quiz isn't meant for my demographic.)
Met someone who changed your life - perhaps. the year is still young.
Gotten close to someone- yes.
Found out who your true friends were - i always knew.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OFâ€¦â€¦
1. Bush? tool. antichrist.
2. Gay Marriage? i am a second class citizen without it.
4. Straight, Gay, Bi? person.
5. Do you have a crush? always.
6. Who is the best hugger that you know? i know so many.
7. Do you believe in love at first sight? yes.
8. Is there something you want to tell someone? always.
9. What brand of shirt are you wearing? i have no idea.
10. Would you kiss anyone on your top friends? i would kiss them all.
11. Do you have â€œA thingâ€? for anyone on your top friends? i have "A thing" for most people.
12. How many people on your top friends? 3402
13. How many kids do you want to have? a gaggle.
14. Do you have a good relationship with your parents? hi mom! i love you!
15. Do you wanna change your name? nopes.
16. What did you do for your last birthday? scooted around town with helen, and then gave her dreads. and then got a puppy.
17. What time did you wake up today? 9
18. What were you doing at midnight last night?
i think i was sleeping!
19. Name something you CANNOT wait to do: learn how to be patient.
20. Last time you saw your dad? 10 years ago.
21. What is one thing you wish you could change about yourself? fiscal responsibility.
22. Which hand do you like better? left baby.
23. What are you listening to right now? the quiet hum of an imac.
24. Have you ever talked to Tom? i have talked to many toms.
25. Have you ever donated money to a good cause? i'm not supposed to tell.
26. Have you ever talked about someone behind their back? yes.
27. Least favorite month? january.
28. Whatâ€™s the last piece of clothing you borrowed from anyone? this is getting boring.
29. Whoâ€™s getting on your nerves right now? is anyone still reading?
30. Most visited webpage? bananie.com
31. Would you help your best friend fight if he/she is losing? losing what? if my friend is losing at canasta--especially if this friend is greg--hell no. i am going to win.
32. Coke or Pepsi? oh coke.
33. Whatâ€™s the worst day of your life? i don't want to talk about that.
34. Have you kissed or been kissed by anyone in the past week? yes!
35. Do you disagree with a lot of things going on in the world? of course i do. the antichrist is in charge.
36. Do you think thereâ€™s some models/people out there, that should lose a few pounds? hello? what?
game over. this was stupid.
hearing the news of tammy faye's death (from larry king) broke my heart and brought relief. she is no longer in pain, she is with her Jesus, and she is most likely noshing on a burger dripping with ketchup.
but. heartache just the same.
i grew up, literally, with the world of jim and tammy. i have vivid memories of sitting in my high chair watching the jim and tammy show on ptl. my mother still tells the story of how i would mimic her sheep-vibrato singing: you can ma-a-a-a-a-a-ke it. i was mesmerized by her, naturally. and when my sister brought home a boy who'd actually worked at ptl, who'd met tammy faye, i shared the news with my friends like i'd just met a celebrity. (and i was undeterred by their blank-stare responses.)
the downfall of the bakkers happened when i was 11. i didn't understand what was happening aside from what their
enemies christian brothers, paul crouch and jerry falwell had to say about the subject. i saw the tears on the news. jim went to prison. tammy faye faded from view. i grew up.
and then she re-emerged in my life when she hosted a talk show with a gay man. i was 17, very closeted, and unsure of how i felt about her being so cozy with such an obvious sinner. deep down, i respected her: she was still the same tammy faye, in love with everybody.
helen and i watched the eyes of tammy faye last month, and i got to see her--and all the history i knew of her all my life--through the eyes of an adult. i saw a revolutionary who was an enthusiastic believer in Jesus. she was the one who welcomed AIDS patients onto her show, in a time when america wouldn't touch one with a ten foot pole. she did not judge. she prayed for healing. and she cried black, black tears.
she was the rock of her family. she helped her son and daughter heal from the abandonment of the church.
tammy faye understood the plight of the outcast, and she was Jesus' raccoon-eyed spokesperson:
everyone is invited to the table. come.
even jim bakker.
even jerry falwell.
even all of us.
tammy faye will always be the woman who reminded me that big scary christianity can change.
she brought hope with grace, every day of her life.
she left us all with a benediction during her final interview with larry king on thursday:
"I'd like to say that I genuinely love you, and I genuinely care, and I genuinely want to see you in heaven someday. I want you to find peace. I want you to find joy."
when we got home from the vet the other night, and gathered around to bury gunnie, we heard loud kitten shrieks from across the street. we had seen a mama cat with a litter of three a week previous, but the shrieking only began that night. "it's driving me crazy," helen said. "it sounds just like gunther." and so she walked across the street, looking for the babies, but couldn't find them.
tonight, the shrieking started again. and so we brought out a platefull of gunther's premium wetfood for the babies and mama, and stood nearby with a flashlight, waiting.
soon, mama and two kittens came around, and went to town on the food. i inched closer and closer, until i was able to scoop up kitten one, and then kitten two. we never saw kitten three. we wonder if he made it.
and so it came to pass that bananie and schmelen had two 6-8 week old hungry hungry kittens locked in their bathroom. we caught them just in time; already they have adapted to us touching and holding them.
they are both boys.
i am proud to introduce:
tomorrow, we will take them to the vet for shots and dewormer. and we will make sure that they are in good health. after they get comfortable with litter boxes and indoor living, we're going to put them up for adoption.
so, what i'm trying to say is...would you like a kitten?
it's getting better. slowly. and thankfully.
i took tuesday off, and did a lot of nothing until helen came home from school, at which point we hopped on the scooter and headed over to eastside pies for a slice. and then we picked up a sixpack of carta blanca beer. and then we walked the dogs together. and then we drank said beer. h worked on a project for school afterward, and i made the gunnie tribute slideshow.
yesterday, it was back to work with a bang and a long, long day. when i got home, we entertained ourselves with the unexpectedly really good "scott baio is 45 & single". the dogs all congregated at our feets, gnawing happily away on chewies. they were simply happy to be near, all of us together, and i offered a silent thankyou for the health of our seven (!) other pets.
i know we did the right thing by letting gunnie go. and i know that i will be haunted awhile by the horror of what it is like to play god. but i am comforted that helen walks this road with me, and that we are richly blessed with so much life in our home.
gunnie was a little sensation on youtube. i had planned to film his first birthday for his youtube fans, but since that didn't happen, i gave them this:
it was incredibly cathartic to do.
at 8:30 tonight, we let our gunnie go.
greg and chris were by our side.
already, he is buried outside the kitchen window, below his favorite window sill.
i held him as he went.
i will have more to say tomorrow.
for now, goodnight.
we are taking gunnie back to the vet tonight to let him go.
gunther got sick again yesterday. worse than he ever has. it was sudden. my little man went from ravenous eater to glassy-eyed and wobbly. small seizures. he's losing control of his hind legs.
once again, we took him to the emergency vet. (why must this always happen on weekends?) he stayed the night under observation and was rehydrated. blood tests came back with shrugged shoulders. the vets really don't know what's wrong with him. only that he eats a can of food a day, and is still 3 lbs, and anemic.
his organs are obviously not functioning properly, but the tests don't show it.
dr internist took a look at him this morning, and decided to let him go home with us, since his vitals were stable.
in the few hours since he has been home, gunnie has deteriorated further. we think we have come to the sickening, heartwrenching decision: if he does not pass in the next 24 hours, we will take him back to the vet to be euthanized. we just don't think he can bounce back this time.
may saint francis come near. i am going to snuggle him now.
sufjan's michigan sleepily spins on the record player. incense from dear chris burns on the mantle. helen sits cozy in the corner, finishing homework for class tomorrow. i sit across the room with a book, feet curled underneath me. dogs and cats lay together sound asleep, and over the drone of air conditioning, crickets sing outside on a balmy july evening.
"i love our family," helen says dreamily. and i smile.
there is nothing more entertaining on a late tuesday night than my built-in isight. here is my world once helen has gone to bed and i'm left to my own devices.
and there you have it, in reverse chronological order.
pee ess, i'm not drunk either. just can't sleep...i think it has something to do with sleeping about 12 hours last night. and i'm chatting with jude!
[note: never begin a serious attempt at writing something of substance by first swinging by myspace. you'll be sucked into the hole for a good 10 minutes and then forget what you were going to say in the first place. because. look at all the funny pictures. heh. and oh! a survey bulletin. that'll be fun...i wonder whatever happened to whats his name from middle school. ad nauseum.]
1 am. i cannot sleep. i sigh a lot. toss. turn. accidentally steal covers.
"what's going on?" she asks. "i'm having a hard night."
"tell me about it?" she asks.
i can't get a deep breath, i tell her. everytime i breathe in, my lungs don't fill; it's not enough. like a panic attack, the walls close in. i flail around. i know what i need: air. life. and i try and try and my skin crawls and please i just want it to stop. relief. please.
writing. writing has always been breathing and i can't breathe anymore.
and i want it so badly. i remember what it feels like to draw in fresh air, to exhale. satisfied. energy coursing through my veins, all the way down to my fingertips and onto the keyboard.
we spent a rainy 4th of july with helen's mum. small talk went a little like this:
"so, annie, are you writing anything?"
"really? well, what are you reading?"
"oh, are you taking pictures?"
"are you playing your guitar"?
you know, i'm not...
and i was embarrassed! embarrassed because my prolific journaling self has not written an entry in over a year. and my beautiful camera sits, collecting dust. and books? anything i read is informative and dry. the music doesn't swell. the air in this space i am occupying is thinning. i am dumbed down and bored of myself.
i know that i chose to exile myself for awhile. it was self preservation in lean times. writing = faith, and faith = too much pain. therefore, not writing eased the pain of a broken faith.
i am a woman of faith. i have faith in words.
words to transcend.
words to heal.
words to bring relief to tired lungs.
i know i still have it in me to breathe deeply again.
and it is here that i return to my beloved etty hillesum. she was my age when she was writing her way into a real inner life. for five years, i have clung to her journey like my own roadmap. (sparrow, i still cannot thank you enough for giving her to me.)
here is a thought of etty's that keeps me writing tonight:
Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world.
my exile was about bringing peace into the chaos of my first years of living publicly as a lesbian.
i am stronger now. more at peace with who i am as a woman. a lesbian. a person.
i'm breathing. i'm breathing.
hang in there with me, i'm still writing a half hour after i began this ramble.
i am trying so hard to get these words out. what am i trying to say? (you must be asking yourselves that by now.)
i am trying to say that if i can find my way back to the words, peace will only deepen within me. and if i keep writing as the peace deepens, maybe you'll see it. recognize it. and peace will deepen within you too.
when all is calm, in heavenly peace, our breaths even out. steady. rhythmic. deep and sustaining. inhale. exhale. and rest. what more can we give one another?
happy day after independence day. (or, rather, happy day after i watched helen and greg put doorknobs on all of her mother's doors yesterday.)
i'm cleaning up my links today, and if you'd like to be added to the blogroll, let me know! i don't want to miss anybodies.