Saturday, April 30, 2005


When I was a child, I remember reading a story set in the late eighteen-hundreds or early nineteen-hundreds about a family, and in one of the chapters, it talked about their sick cat. I don't remember what had happened to the cat, but I think it was that he had gotten into a fight. As I remember, he was a mean old tom who had gotten into a fight with a dog or something, and had drug himself home as his last possible effort. The narrator, one of the children, was dismayed when the mother and/or father in the story decided that the cat would not make it, and that it needed to be put to sleep. The narrator and his siblings were told to go to bed, and the wounded tom was put into a box with a rag that had been soaked in chloroform (if I remember correctly), and then the box was covered with a blanket and left in the kitchen.

When the boy awoke the next morning, he went down to the kitchen, I believe to bury his cat. His mother lifted the blanket from the box and to her shock and the boy's delight, out jumped the angriest tom cat ever to have prowled a kitchen. In my memory of the story, the cat then lived many more years with his boy after his miraculous recovery.

I wish I had that magical box.

Today I had to decide to let Puff-Puff go to sleep forever. After looking like she was going to rally on Friday, this morning her doctor called me at work. Puff's body temperature had dropped to ninety-two degrees overnight, was not rising rapidly enough with an additional water-heated blanket on top of her. Tests this morning indicated that he kidneys had begun to fail, her breathing was becoming shallow and rapid, and she appeared to be in pain. He said that, if my objective was to avoid pointless suffering on Puff's part, then he would recommend that I euthanise her soon to prevent whatever had a hold of her to cause her more pain and eventual death that would probably end in seizures, or some other end-of-life paroxysm.

If that were the case, I didn't want Puff to die essentially alone. I asked him if it would be cruel to let her be until I could extricate myself from the tentacles of Eviljob so that I could be there, and he said that Puff was in a near-twilight unconsciousness for the most part, so she could wait until I got there, and he would of course watch to see if there were any signs of improvement in the interim.

Puff needed me and, god damn Eviljob to hell, I couldn't get out of there for an hour and a half.

When I left, I raced over there; I'd called my sister after the vet first called me and told her to go over so that if Puff took a sudden turn for the worse she could sign off on euthanising her, but otherwise to see if she could see any indication that Puff wasn't in this haze, might get better...anything. To her credit, she dropped everything she was doing and did just that. So Puff wasn't actually alone for the whole time.

As I drove there, I called my brother. He's an internist. And a know-it-all asshole with a god-complex that could fill the Astrodome, but let's not go there. He's actually very good at what he does, but I loathe acknowledging that to him, 'cos it just makes his head swell.

"I need help with my cat; she's sick..."
"Put her to sleep. What in the hell do I know about cats?"
"The vet wants to put her to sleep..."
"So listen to him. It's a goddamn cat, Ancodia."
"Dorkface?" (not his real name)
"I'm listening."
"Imagine we're talking about a human for a second. You get some deaf-mute woman in with cystitis, ok? It's spread somewhat to her kidneys, but you put her on amoxicillin, and she responds acceptably. You think there's an underlying problem so you do whatever tests, and find that her uterus is infected..."
"You didn't spay your cat?"
"I didn't want her to die, you jackass! Remember Faron? Remember what happened to him?"
"Ok, so you killed your own cat because you let her get an infection. What else?"
"So hang up."
"No! Help me, Dorkface!"
"Go on. And you get bonus points for going on without crying, whining, or screaming."
"I'm not whining, and I'm only screaming when you MAKE me. Anyway, so you give her a pan hysterectomy. She's not eating all that great in the hospital, but she seems mostly ok. You send her home, but twenty-four hours later, she's brought back to the hospital. Now she's not eating, not drinking, running a low-grade temp, and exhibiting shallow but kind of laboured breathing. Plus, she's not voiding voluntarily; you try to cath her and find that her bladder's filled with mucus; after you drain that, the mucus doesn't reappear, but she still won't void on her own. X-rays show no structural blockage in the ureter, but they *do* show some spots on her lungs, and she becomes listless and lapses into unconsciousness. She gets put on (Puff's list of meds) and appears to respond."
"Probably to the cortisone she's responding, because of her lungs, but you have the kidneys to consider here. I guess I don't get a family history?"
"What kind of family history do you want?!?"
"Is this your purebred?"
"No. He's a boy."
"Then forget it. Go on."
"Ok; so she's breathing better, actually gets lucid intermittently for a day, and then the next morning, she's unconscious or barely half-conscious, even lower-grade temp, and her breathing is extremely shallow and rapid..."
"He took her off the cortisone and the [sompetysomething]."
"He had to. He can't keep her on..."
"Now she seems to be in pain..."
"God damn it Ancodia, let the damn cat go."
"Dorkface, please!"
"No, YOU listen to ME. I don't know a god damn thing about cat physiology, but what you're telling me is this: There's something else going on. Now, whether it's an underlying condition, a reaction to the you have any idea what they gave her?"
"No, but her vet said her blood work looked fine for surgery."
"So even if it were a reaction, it would have happened before, or now, or five years from now; people and cats have surgery. Now, Reader's Digest version, you're in a position that what you put her on for her cardiopulmonary function hurts her kidneys; what you take her off for her kidneys hurts her cardiopulmonary functioning. If you and your idiot vet that likes to drive up bills and torture cats would stop to reflect for a second, it would occur to you that you're not going to make any progress in this situation. And before you say anything, may I point out to you that you still don't know what the underlying cause is? It's embarrassing to think that you so are addled by what you want that you can't remember how probabilities work. You're not getting extra-credit on your next hurdle even if you pull off a miracle and leap over this one. Whatever is causing this may kill her anyway. It may be in a day, a week, a year, but she's going to die anyway from it, is my guess. So you have a ten percent chance of pulling off a miracle and not only halting the progression of a systemic inflammatory response without knowing the cause, but reversing it without irreparable damage. And now we'll be kind and say that, whatever the underlying cause is, assuming you can even find it, you have a fifty percent chance of clearing that hurdle. What happens when you have compounding probabilities of failure--one at ninety percent, and the other at fifty percent?"
"People are statistics. A person is an individual--not a statistic. Don't they teach you anything in med school?"
"This is the most imbecilic conversation I've had all week, and that includes the one I had this morning with your two year-old nephew. Want me to put him on the phone? He might agree with you."
"You didn't let me tell you about her tests."
"What tests?"
"Kidney function, this morning."
"Must you?"
"Please? Doesn't it mean anything?"
"If all it says is that her kidneys are shutting down too, just like her lungs and her heart, no."
"Does very high Cl and low K mean..."
"Well, if he gave her more potassium..."
"That affects the heart too, you know."
"No 'buts'. Shut up and listen. She's going into multiple organ failure. It's not just her kidneys that are failing, not just her bladder, not just her heart, her lungs. It's all of them, all at once. And probably her liver, pancreas, brain...I could go on."
"I hate you."
"I'm just the messenger. You're the one who is torturing a cat."
"Motherfucker! I'm trying to give her a chance!"
"There isn't one. If it were a human, you could possibly find out something to tell you what the underlying cause was, and then you do have a chance. As it stands, it could be anything; inflammation, sepsis, shock, allergic reaction... It could be anything, Ancodia. And MODS isn't going to give you the time to figure it out. Quit torturing the cat."
"This is just so god damn easy for you..."
"Could you quit crying?"
"But she can hear me when I call her name! I see her ears move when I whistle Sleigh Ride! She HEARS me!"
"Then she also probably feels pain. Why don't you think about that for a minute?"
"What if I took her to University of Overthere? It's two hours away, and they have a teaching veterinary school. They might know more."
"She probably wouldn't make it, from what you're describing."
"She might. She probably would. She's a fighter! She's fighting to live!"
"Listen, because you're starting to really piss me off. Even if this cat you claim you love made it there, do you know what they will do?"
"Look at her and tell me what they can fix and can't, and if they can't, then they can put her to sleep."
"You're an idiot. Let me explain what's in store for your beloved animal up there. Assuming she makes it there alive, they're going to take her away from you. You won't be allowed to go with her into the treatment areas; I'll wager they probably won't even let you stay. This isn't a hospital, where you can sit by her bedside Ancodia, and god knows if we'd had an option at Teaching Hospital X, we'd have sent the families packing, too. So you'll turn the cat over to them, and go home. And then they'll take this animal that you claim to love, and run tests on it to find out what's wrong with it. Even redundant tests, because they don't want your vet's tests, except for academic interest; their purpose is to teach, remember? This is how you begin diagnosis... Are you starting to get the picture? And while they are poking and prodding your cat, they're not going to give her anything for pain, because it may confound the tests and further depress organ function. So they'll keep her alive as long as possible to run tests and engage in treatments that may have no practical therapeutic or palliative purpose, until either they give up, or her body does. And having been in a similar environment, I think I have a good idea of which would occur first, especially if they're just guessing, WHICH THEY ARE. And I'm just guessing, but I'd bet that when they're done, you won't even have a body to bury, just a dead cat that lived maybe one pain-filled week longer before serving as autopsy class fodder, or being chucked into an incinerator with all the other dead strays they plow through."
"You are trying your best to make it sound like there is No Hope."
"There isn't. Even your idiot vet is forced to admit there isn't."
"This is why people hate you, Dorkface."
"Have a nice ride up to U of Overthere, then."
"You think this is definite, and it's not. You abuse probabilities to make them sound the way you want them to sound."
"Are you going to put the cat on your dashboard so the sun can keep her warm, or turn the car's heat on and drive with one hand while you hold her up to the vent?"
"You're a jackass!"
"If you put the cat on the dashboard, you can hang the IVs from the visor hooks, if you can get your vet to consolidate..."
"I'm just trying to help you out, Sister Dear."
"You fucking suck!"
"Call me when you're normal. And if you're nice, I'll let you talk to your nephew; it's going to be hard to explain to him that Aunt Ancodia was more interested in a dead cat than him, but I'll try."
"You still fucking suck."

I drove the rest of the way there in tears. It seemed as if fucking NO ONE cared. Not that I expected Dorkface to actually care, but I thought that he might be at least willing to brainstorm. He's like my father in that respect; give them something like this that's puzzling, and they're like english bulldogs--they won't let go until it's solved. Right now, in trying to reconstruct the conversation, it seems more to me like Dorkface thought it was solved, though. At least to his satisfaction, which probably has a lower burden of believability because it's a cat we're talking about. But at the time, and really until when I started reconstructing it, it seemed more to me like he was being dismissive and rude and mean and discouraging. He just comes off that way. But I'm not going to go back and change what I said about him before, 'cos it's not untrue. I just...I guess misjudged and was emotionally involved and didn't feel like I was being heard. And he sure as hell didn't try to correct that, because he doesn't care.

When I got to the vet's, I went back to see Puff. My sister said Puff responded to her still, even though they had told me she was only half-conscious. She said Puff kept trying to meow and smack (which she does--she smacks to keep from drooling, and also still tries to nurse on your fingers and stuff sometimes, and that looks like she's smacking, too). She said that the Tech told her Puff can't hear her say "Puff", and isn't trying to say "Yip!", she's just responding to pain, but Sis thinks that's not true. She may not like Puff much, but here she is, standing up for her.

I love you, Sis.

She was turned away from me, with her head towards the back of the cage. I called "Puff!" at her, trying to not talk too loudly, so I don't hurt her ears. She tried to say "Yip!" I was kinda trying an A-B-A reversal; I observed her when I went into the room, and she wasn't trying to Yip or smack. I called "Puff!"; she tried to "Yip!" I touched her, talking to her; she kept trying to talk to me. I rubbed her head, and she tried to talk and smack or nurse. I called "Puff!"; she tried to "Yip!".

She was There. Whatever they want to think...I know differently.

I whistled Sleigh Ride, sharp-but-quietlyish. Puff managed, somehow, to pull her head up (yes! Up, on her own! No help!) and she looked at me. The look I saw in her eyes... She was There, but at the same time, not. The gut feeling I got when I looked into her eyes seemed to me, on an emotional level, like she was saying, "Mom, I'm having a very bad dream..."

And then she dropped her head and was sort of gone again, even though if I rubbed her head and said "Puff!", she would try to say "Yip!" and even managed to make a sound three times.

And I don't care how stupid I sound. This is what happened, and I will go to my grave knowing that my Puff-Puff did her best to tell me about her bad dream.

Then, one of the other Techs, some stupid vet wanna-be, butts in. Starts preaching to me about how at times like this, I should not be selfish, blah, blah, blah.

As god is my witness, I have never come so close to hitting another person and not done it.

I try ignoring her. She continues. I pull myself completely out of Puff-Puff's cage and stand, listening politely. I tell her "thank you for your advice." She continues.

I lose it.

I explain to her, in the coldest, non-vulgar terms I can muster, that I am more than familiar with the course of disease. That I have lived with graphic descriptions of the allopathic and osteopathic conceptions of the course of disease all my life, that I have lost pets and humans, and that I am more than familiar enough with death. That I am not against ending suffering, but I am apparently more open to the FACT that humans and animals deserve a CHANCE, if one exists, and to not provide that chance is MURDER, not euthanasia. That, as much as I admire her doctor and appreciate all that he has done he is not infallible. And that I can GUARANTEE her--again, from personal experience--that her own personal physician, gynecologist, pediatrician, you-name-it, operates on the same GUESSES as every other doctor. And that they are in some cases only half-right, if not wholly wrong, and this is why god invented malpractice suits, and in response doctors invented camaraderie. That anyone with half a brain that lives in a medical field knows that when we get to this point, it's all really just a guess. And that I know that Puff's odds don't look good, but I certainly hope for her sake that someday, when she is in Puff's shoes, that SOMEONE gives her a chance, or at least the benefit of a fresh look uncoloured by "what the experts all know". Because the only thing they KNOW is that at the end of the day, they get to go home. And that I hope to god that when she is in this situation, whatever familial representatives she has aren't swayed in their decisions by what the hospital orderlies' "expert opinion" of her situation is, because it is a personal decision that HAS NO ANSWER. And would she please leave me the hell alone and let me get back to inspecting my cat, or saying goodbye to it, whichever I may be doing, neither of which is her business.

To her credit, she didn't say anything. That was very, very smart. I know she was testing out her counselling wings on me, because she looked to be maybe twenty-two-ish, but god damn it, I was not in the mood. She turned around and left, and I went back to Puff.

Idiot bitch. If someone ever actually is doing a back-and-forth ethically and she pipes up with that shit at that type of moment, she's going to push them away from a potentially correct decision with her holier-than-thou smugness; it may make her feel better about her position, but it is alienating to others. If you feel so god damned strongly about it, why didn't you go ahead and kill Puff by now? Oh--because you need my permission? Could that be because there is not a clear-cut answer in this regard, and she's my property, so *I* make the decision, and you keep you nose out of it and simply execute my wishes? Yeah; I thought so. And her "I just had to make the same difficult decision with my dog, and I'm happy I made the right decision..." crap. Go reduce your cognitive dissonance over possibly murdering your pooch with someone who gives a fuck. Fool. When you lose your nulliparous uterus to some knife-happy surgeon over an abnormal pap that could have been treated other ways, but ::sniffle!:: you thought Dr Giggles was an expert, as you file your lawsuit, think of me; I'll be laughing. But fuckheads like you who can't tell the difference between Liberty and blind obedience, fact and opinion, euthanasia and murder...well, we don't need you breeding anyway. The children of Parents Like You skew the bell curve too far to the left and clog up remedial classes. Dipshit.

And if I didn't like the vet and his other Techs, I would have said pretty much that.

Yes, I know I am one. That's why I try to shut up most of the time. But iff'n you ever need someone told off, I'm probably your woman.

My brother is better at it, though; it's genetic.

Look--I'm pissed! I had a Moment with Puff, and she interrupted it with bullshit!

Puff was more out of it than not after I shooed away Pollyanna Peticide. Bluntly-put, her breathing sucked. As shallowly and rapidly as she was panting, she wasn't getting jack shit out of it, and she was mouth-breathing, which is not a promising sign in cats. I've been through all of this with my one cat who died of AIDS (not FeLV; AIDS. Yes, cats can get AIDS. After he went into ARC and got diagnosed, I saw specialists and administered AZT and Interferon--and other things--for almost a year before I lost him) Pride kept me from calling my brother back and reading tests to him. My sister offered to call one of her friends who is a year away from graduating from U of Overthere. The vet came in, probably summoned by Pollyanna Peticide, to discuss Puff. He'd called two feline internal medicine specialists. They had no real solutions, and he'd already put her on everything they suggested before they suggested it, but they both agreed with him that even if Puff could pull out of this, her odds weren't good.

I was killing myself to try to decide if nobody cared, or if it was simply that there was nothing left to invest care in.

The vet apologised for giving me what he felt was false hope on Thursday.

That's okay. I would have given her the chance anyway, probably. Puff deserved at least a chance.

It's obvious to me that Puff is dying. In the time I've been back there, her respiration has gotten worse. I don't want her to suffer. Not any more than I have already made her over the past few days. Moving her is practically out of the question; she appears to be in pain. If we want a referral to U of Overthere, the vet will give it. He'll give her painkillers or not, but the move will cause her pain, and the painkillers may depress her respiration too much.

God fucking damn it.

And I feel like a horde of people are on me, asking me what I want.

I want one month back. I want it to be March 30th, so that I can take a break from Octopus, and take Puff-Puff to the vet. She looks fine, but I know better now. Something is wrong with her. I know now that in a few weeks, she's going to get very sick and hide from me for two days, and when I find her, I'm going to think she's already dead. But I know better now, and this doesn't have to happen. I know that even though she's yipping at me as I type and making Roadkill Kitty poses at my feet, I know that her clock is running down.

I know this now.

I would take her to the internal specialists, or U of Overthere. I would tell them to look at her lungs. And kidneys. Something is there. Maybe in both places. Something. Even if it's congenital, a maintenance dose of antibiotics would stave off the infection that's going to take her over in just a little bit. And that might buy more time to fix things. Even if they're congenital. Maybe.

I want just one month back.

Just one.

One of many things that Puff and I will never get. That moving finger thing being what it is, and all.

I'm sorry, Puff.

I've fucked up, and the only way I can make it at least partially Right is by killing you peacefully, before you are killed by something much bigger than me possibly un-peacefully.

No, I don't want to leave the room.

You're my baby, and I'm responsible for this. All of it. Letting others do my dirty work is not an option, and I'm for sure not going to fail you on this last thing, even if I have failed you in every other way.

I am so very sorry, beautiful Puff-Puff.

I hope some memories of good times were with you at the end, and I hope in some way my talking to you and rubbing your head let you know that your Mom, in her own misguided, fucked-up, scattered, stupid, careless, selfish way loved you very very much, and always will.

I hope that I successfully hid the fact that I felt like my heart was being crushed by a semi-truck and that you thought that maybe you were at home, asleep in my lap.

I hope that I stayed with you long enough, and that you were gone by the time I moved to let him check your heart, because I tried to time it and give you extra time, just in case.

And more than anything else, beautiful Puff, I hope that you knew that the bad dream would end.

Friday, April 29, 2005

On sisters

Yeah... So she doesn't like Puff any too much. Did you get that impression? But she's bringing over dinner, because I didn't feel like cooking or getting anything. So she's not all bad.

But then again, no one is, eh?

Vet is closed for the evening, and Puff remains alive. Yay, that. That, and sisters who bring din-din, is something for which I should be grateful.

Too Stupid To Die

That's what my sister says, at least. She expects Puff to live to 105 because she's too stupid to realise she's supposed to be dead.

Yes, that's right: Puff-Puff lives.

Not well, but...better than yesterday. I went to see her today, and she is kind of in and out of consciousness, but she's responding to something she's on. She has a heating pad, and a blanket, and could go any time, but at least she's alive for now, and she's not in any obvious distress or pain, but that could be the kitty valium and painkillers she's on.

When I went to see her, I rubbed her head like she likes, and called her name. She opened her mouth like she was trying to say, "Yip!" every time I said her name. Just no sound came out, because she's weak.

At one point, she actually became pretty lucid, and picked her head up and looked right at me. But just for a minute. My Puff's a fighter. She has some kind of pulmonary edema and pneumonia, and the mysterious lung spots. The pulmonary thing and the pneumonia thing the vet thinks might be related to the lung thing, but she's responding to something she's on.

And the vet didn't exaggerate; he has her on a lot. I saw everything but Marvel Mystery Oil, Viagra, and Febreeze on her dosing sheet. But I have to hand it to him, in the tenacity department at least--something's working.

I'll have to cash in this year's Roth to pay for this or take out a student loan or something, but it's worth it.

Her Tech is nice. :-) She said she was praying for Puff all night; she's been working with her since she came in last Thursday, and said she would be very upset if Puff doesn't make it.

You and me both, kiddo.

C'mon, Puff...hang in there for Mom...

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Puff-Puff is back in the hospital. The vet is sweet, and doing his best, but from what he has said, I may not have a Puff-Puff come morning.

Yesterday, I noticed she seemed to be doing even worse. She threw up her Clavamox, and I know that's sort-of normal, but by evening (after the vet's has closed, of course), it was undeniable that she was not succeeding in this fight. She seemed a little cold, and was getting listless again, though she would say "Yip." when I said "Puff!" Most of the time. She usually does it all of the time, and it's "Yip!" (with an exclamation point).

I was scared, so I took her to the emergency vet. There they said she was mostly fine, a little dehydrated, and her body temperature was one degree below normal. They said just to take her home and maybe put her on a heating pad (though one degree didn't necessarily merit it), and give her an eyedropper or two full of water.

So I did. I put down tuna too, because she wasn't really eating, and they always say that's good and stinky, and likely to make any remotely healthy cat eat.

Puff didn't touch it.

So today, I took her back to the vet--her regular vet. He said her bladder felt extremely distended, and he couldn't express her manually (which he says he sees all the time in male cats, but not female ones), plus he didn't like the way she was breathing--sort of like she was panting in pain, but not really. So he told me to go take my final exam, and he would re-hospitalise her.

So I did. Before I left, I got to look at her, and she looked at me, and I told her that I love her. I think she understood.

Taking this final--it's an untimed one, in a Class From Hell that I was stupid enough to take the same semester that I'm finishing Magnificant Octopus, with questions like, "tell me everything you know about everything, and don't leave out a single thing, or you lose full credit for this question" (ok, I'm exaggerating, but you get my point)--the vet calls. At least he's really good about calling personally. He wasn't able to cath Puff's bladder, he said; it was too blocked. So he had to go in from the side (Oh, Puff!) to drain her because it was an emergency. She was *that* distended. When he drained her, most of it was mucus. He's amazed that so much mucus could accumulate in a little over twenty-four hours, and it indicates to him that there's a larger problem going on.

Which brings us to her x-rays.

He made some radiographs (I'm not sure if they're actual x-rays, or something else) of Puff before he opened her side to drain her to see if he could determine the cause of the blockage. He says these show some unusual masses in her lungs. These could be congenital, the result of inflammation, infection (bacterial or viral), or cancerous. He said at this point there's no way to tell, and he doesn't feel it would be in Puff's best interest to be non-aggressive at this point, because she's going down fast. Before I left, I told him to do whatever he felt appropriate, and he said that he put her on kitty valium and a painkiller, as well as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and an anti-viral agent. Puff became unconscious around three or four p.m.

Yes, as I told my mother, before he put her on all of that stuff. He was clear about that. He's not pickling her to death, he's grabbing at straws, because according to Puff's bloodwork and everything else, she shouldn't be doing this right now. There should be no mucus, no bladder-blockage, no low-grade temp, no lung spots, no laboured-panty breathing...none of it. There should be just a mildly unhappy Puff-Puff, recovering at home.

So while I'm taking this final, I had to decide whether or not to euthanise her. Her Dr knows I don't want her to suffer, but he said, if it were his cat, he'd give her the night to try to bounce back from whatever this is. He says that right now, she's unconscious enough that, if she's suffering, he doesn't feel that she's aware that she's suffering, and if she passes away, it would not be violent--she would just slip away, the same as if put to sleep, just more slowly. I decided to go with his judgement; I don't want her to suffer, but I also don't want to call it quits on her before she has at least a *chance* to somehow get better. I mean, maybe it is viral--today's the first day she's been on anti-virals, and even then, only for a few hours, so...give them a chance, right? The same for anti-inflammatories...she's not been on them, either. I'm not being pro-life and making an animal suffer, I'm just not hopping aboard the euthanasia solution because the road looks a little bumpy. I love Puff-Puff too much to just give up on her like that; you don't do that to family. And even the vet said that if it were his cat, he'd give her the night to try to fight back, he just has to let me know so that I can decide to euthanise her if that's my decision.

Needless to say, the only way at this point to find out what is going on with her lungs would be to somehow biopsy (he said operate; I assume that would be to biopsy), and he said that right now he thinks that if he puts her under, she'll be dead within a minute, and I might as well euthanise her. Her respiration's not all that it should be to withstand that; it apparently became pretty depressed after just the kitty valium and painkiller.

Even though I'm not a religious girl, I've been praying. It can't hurt. Pascal's Wager is a little more applicable to this situation than it is to one's allegedly immortal soul.

And for the record, let me explain why Ancodia's brand of agnosticism and/or atheism (I vascillate) is not a cult-of-death, like the pro-life jesusfreaks want to say it is, and this is in tribute to Puff, who may be coming around right now, or may no longer be with us:

In the Bible it even says, "You shall not pass this way again." I can't say it better myself, though I can offer up an explication. This is it. There isn't anything else. No Heaven, no Hell, no "Rainbow Bridge", no Sheol, no Elysian Fields. Just this. There is no Great Reward that will make up for all the shit that's happened to you, and there's no Final Justice that awaits all those people that made all of that shit happen to you. Just this; that's all you get. If you're a shit-giver, nothing is going to happen to you that doesn't happen here; you're not going to drown in a lake of fire for all Eternity, so go be a shit-giver if you so choose. If you're a shit-taker, you're not putting any jewels into your Eternal Crown, or earning your Mansion in the Sky; so go be a shit-taker, if that is your wont.

By the same token, you can't justify being a creep, or falling short by thinking that your hapless victim will someday be singing happily with the Choir Eternal. That counts for being a creep by omission, too. And we're all guilty as hell of that.

And there is no one exactly like You. Or me, for that matter. And, once we're gone, we're gone. It's Forever, and Ever. There will never be another You, or me, or Puff. Or anyone else. If you like someone, you'd better let them know in everything you say and do; they're one of a kind and, once they're gone, you'll not be seeing them again. Every minute counts, because there are no guarantees, either; you don't get an extra fifteen minutes in your parking meter for being nice, or mean, or having more (or fewer) toys than everyone else. The next time you see someone--anyone--may be the last time you see them. Gone means just that: gone. Forever. Time will have moved on without them.

Omar Khayyam said, "The moving finger writes and, having writ, moves on; not all your Piety nor Wit can call it back to cancel half a line, nor all your Tears wash out a word of it."

That means ever, and if our Good Book and heads were fuller of such exhortations and emptier of fairy tales, we might stand half a chance in this world.

But they aren't, and I'm not optimistic about our chances sometimes, to boot.

As it is, we are so hopped-up--either on fantasy, or the vehement denial thereof--that we are actually able to convince ourselves that it's ok to be unjust to others, that it's ok to be unfair, to be self-serving, self-centred... All of this is all right, because either we'll get ours, or they'll get theirs, or both. Or others want to frolic in the idea of oblivion, thinking then, what does it really matter, anyway?

It matters because we only get This One Chance. The only glory is here, and the only hell is here, and every single one of us, every day, make the decision as to which it will be.

Usually, the decision we make impacts someone else.

We make that decision in the things we do, like getting to know and care for an animal; taking time for someone who needs it; holding our tongue when we'd rather let loose; saying 'please,' 'thank you,' and 'I noticed you weren't here the other day; how are you doing?' And meaning it. Doing our best to not let anyone be forgotten, the way we hope that no one would forget us and let Time wash across us and all that we did.

Even though it is going to anyway.

Eventually, in one way or another, we will all be forgotten. We are all useless, and inadequate, and fall short of Perfection by astronomical units that are immeasureable. So our alternatives are to fall on each other like a pack of ravening wolves, in which case everyone is unhappy and we're not going to be here for very long, or to try in every way possible to fulfill our obligations and, if not improve our (and others') lives, at least not crap it up too badly.

And when we fuck this last part up, those of us that are kind(er) of heart usually do so by omission.

Back when I was still somewhat religious (it's hard to be more than somewhat religious when you're a Cremora kid), I always figured that if god wanted to really punish someone, even worse than all that hellfire-and-brimstone-and-hot-pokers-up-the-ass stuff, if he were smart, he'd fix whatever your Major Mental Malfunctions were while on Earth temporarily, and let you have the same omniscient, time-transcending understanding he has...and then let you see how everything you ever did impacted everyone else. Every last bit of it. All of the good, and all of the bad, too. And by the end of it, I'm sure we'd all be in our own private Hell.

I mean for really. When it comes down to it, we suck. Badly.

But we don't have to worry about that, in all probability. Isn't that good? Yay. Instead, we have to muddle through and fuck things up on the first run. No do-overs, no time-outs, and it's all For Keeps.

The moving finger writes...

And that moving finger is Time, as well as our actions; it will write, even if we do nothing, even if we don't want it written. Everything we do counts, even Nothing At All.

And that's why, chirrin, were there to be Sin, then the biggest sin would actually be two: omission, and negligence. Sometimes, even murder is more humane--more moral. Faster. Less hurtful. Especially when the individual to whom you are being neglectful is in your care, and can't extricate themselves from it. Ask yourself which is the preferable exit: abortion, or what happened to Tesslynn O'Cull? And who is guiltier? The neanderthal junkie who murdered her slowly and maliciously, or her mother, who was charged with her care and failed--miserably?

I say the guilt lies with the person who did not fulfill their obligations. Almost wholly. Yet look at the person to whom we administer the death penalty (well, besides Tesslynn), while the other one practically walks. That is perverted. They both should be gassed. One because he's just worthless and obviously operates against life and lawfulness, and the other because she is criminally negligent.

There's that word again.

And if my negligence has cost Puff-Puff her life, well... To say that I will never forgive myself is as meaningless as it is true. The forgiveness I would need is Puff's, and I may not see her ever again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

More depression

She looks awful. And she's not eating or drinking well. I'm glad I have her back, but I hate seeing her obviously so achy and unhappy when I can't do anything to fix it. I went in to give her her antibiotics, and she yipped at me a little bit, and then I gave her her antibiotics, and I guess it burns her tummy, or made her feel a little nauseous or sick, or something, 'cos she just became very quiet (for her) and droopy-looking, and made loud meows a few times. :-
Puff never actually meows. She yips. I've always chalked it up to a part of being generally sort-of defective. So it was surprising to hear her flat-out meow. I guess she is in pain, I mean, I'm sure she is in pain, but... I just feel very inadequate, because I can't help. I can't do anything but give her antibiotics and hope she gets better quickly. This sucks. I'm neurotic enough that if the vet's were open, I would have run her back over. I guess I'd be a neurotic parent with a kid, too.

When I worked at an answering service, those parents used to annoy the hell out of me--and all of the other operators. We'd have to listen to the parent(s) complain, chirp, kvetch, and whine that their child had a "high fever" of 99 degrees, when our doctors had left clear instructions that anything under, say, 102 degrees for two hours was not an emergency, and if the parents disagreed, they were free to take the kid to the emergency room. But no--these parents want the Dr 24-hrs a day, 7 days a week. I even had one tell me to quit being a bitch and just go back and wake the Dr up for her to ask a quick question--as if we had all of our Drs sleeping on cots in a back room, or something!


Now, don't get me wrong; I understand (kind of) where they're coming from. They have this critter--in their case a child, in mine a cat--that's doing stuff they don't understand, and they just want it to (1) not die, and (2) stop doing whatever it is. I get that. I have empathy, and I had it back then. I just couldn't *do* anything about it. When a Dr says no, that means no, and if you don't understand "no", they'll find an answering service that does. It's that simple. Plus, I know enough people that are doctors to have been really good at it while I was there--I got the girls to understand that no means no (also known as, "Ancodia's lecture to the point that physicians are people too, and need their sleep, just like you do"), got them to understand that they can't give out medical advice (christ...when I started there, they were awful about that), got them to understand that most doctors wanted the point of the message in a clear and understandable manner, rapidly, sans opinion, and don't want to give out free medical advice. Sure, we had exceptions to that (I had one that came over for coffee all the time, and another that I talked with probably more than I did my friends on a daily basis about opinions, current events, etc.; I could go on), but you let them come to you, you don't seek *them* out, and convincing the girls of that was not easy. I got the job and came in as a Supervisor because, in a roundabout, obfuscated way, I was over-qualified, had low ambition at the time, and was a friend of a friend, as it were. So I tried to merit the consideration and made up their first (and only) training manual, guidelines, and standardised their system of abbreviations (as well as message format). Some message formats they already had set up, like consults, but other stuff they majorly needed help on. I think it's telling that over half the staff (when I started) gave (by alpha pager or fax, where it's read, not spoken!) well-baby notifications with "Apgar" spelt "Avgard", "Ampgar", "Atcard", etc... In short, we looked like morons.

And I don't care if someone has issues with the spelling of diarrhoea (or diarrhea, as you wish). That's understandable, and to that end, I also posted at each station a list of commonly misspelt words. And before I start to sound like too much of a controlling buttinski, I need to mention that one of the reasons I was hired was to do exactly this--the manager was overwhelmed with two other offices (where we instituted the same procedures after using my office as the guinea pig environment), and the assistant manager was one of the most god-awful spellers (and message-takers, and message-givers, and client-sleepers-with) imaginable (but believe it or not, this was all forgivable because she was this pretty, funny, really nice person, and no, I'm not kidding). But oh my lord...the misspellings and misunderstandings were beyond description.

One of the funniest ones was a group of messages I faxed over (taught me to proofread before sending!) to one of our physician's offices with a message (I assume about a terminal child) from "Jane" at "Give Kids A Whirl".

No, I am not kidding.

I asked--I *had* to!--the operator who took the message if she was under the impression that, inferring from the name, this was some little-known outfit that lends out children for uncertain potential parents to test out for a week or two. I would think that, even if you had not heard of "Give Kids The World", that you'd write "Give Kids A Whirl", read it, and think "Ummm, probably not," and then ask ol' "Jane" to please spell. I mean, good christ; which is more preferable--to take an extra (maybe) two minutes, or to look like an imbecile?

For the record, at first the manager wanted them to not take the extra two minutes, and for Ancodia to correct them. At first. That changed after I gathered up the entire bulk of messages (probably around three to five hundred) from an afternoon shift, printed them, and deposited them on her desk to correct, telling her I had to leave, but she could print out the evening's messages and correct those also, in another two hours.

And then I left.

After that, we had a better understanding.

So she agreed that we needed to all work together to correct our errors, and all was well in the kingdom. Well, for the most part. I could write a small epic novel detailing all the stuff that went on in that place. Answering services are funny places; I've worked in them in three different states, and they all seem to be the same or at least really similar. In a way, I miss doing it sometimes; I felt closer to the girls (and a few guys) there than I do at like, Eviljob (or even Stupidjob for that matter). They were basically good people. Some of them I really loved. At the first place, there was this older lady who I became really close with; her station was right by my desk, and though I didn't take calls (when I worked days) unless it was really busy, I did take client calls and message pick-ups, and complaints, and did some dispatching, etc... Well, she had the habit of saying "Surely!" a lot, as an interjection, or type of acknowledgement. Ok...needless to say, a few days into it, I started answering her by saying "...and don't call me Shirley!" Then I started doing it all the time, because she thought it was hysterically funny, then even after I quit, she'd say "Surely!" and then start laughing. Oh--and she threw pencils at me. :-) I even got her to rent Airplane! and watch it--she liked it, and said the "...and stop calling me Shirley" part had her in stitches. So the place was moderate stress, but mostly fun. Or it could be made fun. And I liked getting to tell people off when they went too far; people like callers and clients, I mean--the sort of thing that is NOT allowed at Eviljob, for example. But , like with talking to employees, I'm a firm believer in telling someone they've fucked up when they fucked up, and if they're the type of personality that can hear, "Sally Sue, you've not done as you should; let me walk through this coaching issue with you, and let's see where you can improve," then great. A lot of people can learn that way. But an equal or greater number of people need to hear something more along the lines of, "you really fucked up; watch carefully how I fix it because if you do it again, next time you're fixing it yourself." It's *this* difference that I think of as your proverbial 'different learning styles'.

And I liked telling off our clients that were bullies. That was an especially gratifying part of the job. We had some--just a few, but as soon as you'd get rid of one, it seemed like another would pop up--that I think got an answering service just to have someone to abuse the hell out of. I mean people that would literally call in multiple times a day and just yell, usually about nothing of consequence, just venting to see if they could like, make the operator cry or something, I don't know. When I saw that happening, I'd take the call over and just blast them. In the place I worked the longest, I had the most leeway with that sort of thing; piss me, our Assistant Manager, or our Manager off with that shit, and we'd close your account. We only had to go that far (for reasons of abusive behaviour) maybe three times, but it was an option. That was cool. If I ever opened an answering service (and I have seriously thought that that would be an easily-doable business that would mostly run itself as long as you had a good manager, Ass't Mgr, and staff--as the owner, you could be just peripherally there), I'd definitely run it that way.

Sigh. But then, I have utopian visions of everything--at this point, I could open up my own Eviljob and run it right (I think) too. Stupidjob also, for that matter. So what's my opinion worth? Bupkis. Plus, I know that I'm kind of under-reaching my potential in striving towards something like that. But that's a whole 'nother talk.

How in the hell do I get so far off-track? I started off at one point, and ended up all the hell the way over here. It's funny; I haven't thought about the answering service in a while. It was fun while I did it, but eh.

Back to Puff.

I'm intentionally letting her rest. I hope that's the right decision. I *think* that's the right decision. I *want* to be in there and I guess essentially bugging her, but I'm not going to; I'm going to let her rest, like the vet said to do. She should be up and perky and better and with no blood in her urine by Thursday or Friday, he says. So I'm just marking the days. She still has some--just a little--blood in her urine because of the severity of the infection, he said. But it's still scary. I hope she's not scared. I wish I could stay in there, or let her out, but I don't want her to stay awake for me (which I felt like she was trying to do), and if I let her out, she might go hide, or the other cats might pick on her because she's sick. The vet explained to me that cats sometimes do that. That's really mean. I'd like to think that my cats wouldn't do that, but they might, I guess. But thinking about that makes me feel horrible for all of the stray cats that are maybe sick and want company, and other cats pick on them. That's a very sad thought.

I know; I'm neurotic.

But I can't help thinking about things like that, and they bother me. At Eviljob, we have a few stray cats. We're in this corporate park kind of place--woods, roads, and a bunch of big buildings (and a few smaller ones, but mostly bigger ones), and I guess people have dumped their unwanted cats in the woods there, or perhaps the cats wandered off or something. But we have a few. I've named them. There's a greyish-cream coloured cat that I call Grey Cat (I didn't say they were creative names), and a black-and-white tuxedo cat that I call Mr Peabody, and an Orange cat that I call Nice Cat. I feed them. I guess there are some at Eviljob that think I'm weird for that, but I don't care. Nice Cat tries to show you what a nice cat he is by rolling around and showing you his tummy and walking close to you, though if you make a move to touch him, he darts away from you. I'm glad to see that, 'cos I'd hate to think of someone hurting him. Mr Peabody acts a lot like Nice Cat, and I think he belonged to someone, because he recognises "here, kitty, kitty, kitty". That makes me very sad. How could someone leave their baby? Grey Cat I don't see very often. I worry about Grey Cat. But I leave food out for them; I keep it in my trunk. I know (and people have told me) that I'm just postponing the inevitable, and that I should let them learn to hunt and stuff, but... I don't know. They're younger cats, maybe like two years old. They've not had a lot of nice things in those two years. I figure not having to fight for a meal a few times a week is the nicest thing they might ever have. So I leave food, and I've seen a few others do it, too. It makes me feel better, and especially since I'm not sure that I could ever catch one (or all) of them, and after I caught them, I'm not sure what I would do with them, 'cos I can barely handle the three cats I have right now. But I feel like I should do more...I just don't know what.

And there's another stray cat at the pharmacy where I pick up my prescriptions. Someone there leaves food out in back for him, I've noticed, but I feel bad for that little guy, too. I worry about them. I wish they all had homes that loved them, and would take the time to find out all about their little personalities...all of that stuff. It's like watching someone wither away, in a way. But...what can I do? Take them all home? I can't; I can barely keep up with my own, as this whole episode with Puff-Puff demonstrates. But it just *feels* like nobody cares. And I'd bet they feel like nobody cares. And I guess since I don't do anything, maybe nobody does care. Depending upon the perspective you take, the world looks like a very wonderful, or very horrible place. It's sad to think of some little life that no one cares about, like a stray cat. Why are there so many more stray cats than dogs? Or why does it *seem* like there are? But, on the other hand, we have little *human* lives that no one cares about, and adult human lives that no one cares about, so... I guess the bottom line is: Nasty, brutish, and short. And that's the way it is supposed to be, so we'd all just better acclimate, huh? Or I should, rather; just about everyone else seems to be mostly ok with it. Three thousand people at my site at Eviljob. Three thousand. Out of those, maybe five feed the cats. Five--maybe--out of three thousand. And none can, or will, take them home.

Those aren't very good odds.

Return of the Puff-A-Lump

Well, Puff-Puff is back home. She looks awful--I'm not used to seeing her like this. But the vet said that once she starts eating and her fur grows back from being shaved from the IVs, she'll go back to normal. The main reason they let her come home is because she wasn't eating a lot there, and they're hoping she'll eat at home, so I guess that means that it's time for the spiral-cut, honey-baked ham. If that doesn't work, I'll know that something is wrong.

And I scheduled an app't on Thursday for my older cat. Now I just have to not chicken out.

Magnificent Octopus is (almost) a memory. Thank god. And then the rains came.

No, literally; it's raining.

I've got Puff resting in the bathroom, 'cos she's not supposed to be around other cats or running around in general for a few days. I think I want to take a nap. I came home early under the guise of taking care of Puff (she needs to be left alone and let to rest for a while; we talked all the way home, and then we cuddled for a while in the bathroom, but I can tell she's tired) 'cos I am just tired, too. Way too much has gone on in these past four months.

My sister wants to take a trip the week of (I think) the seventh, but I'm just not up to it. I need the rest. Also, I ended up paying out around $750 for Puff, so that's more than put the kibosh on my "mad money" for the month. Plus I may pay through the nose for my older cat. Plus I probably can't afford to leave Eviljob for a week right now, and need to do some serious catching up after focussing on Octopus. So, in sum, I can't play Nicky to her Paris at this moment. :-) And I know she's not happy about that, but eh. She'll cope. It's hard to go bopping from one poker tournament to the other when you have all of these mundane considerations. I'll have to remember to tell her that I bet that when Doyle Brunson was her age, he didn't have pets and a job. And a graduate program. And bills.

Well, bills that would go ignored because he had no winnings because he's a crap player, as I am.

Ok. Naptime.

Monday, April 25, 2005

I have always relied upon...

The kindness of people who feel sorry for me because my advisor is a flake. Due date was today, but not for me; I called the editor to see if it could at all be squished to like, 8am or something, and she gave me until noon tomorrow. Why? Well...let's just say that a certain group has noticed a certain other group that all seem to be (1) originating from the same source, (2) very confused, and (3) working totally on their own. Gee. Describes me, don't it?


I'm plotting my liberation, fear not.

On the up side, I did find this cool-ass Word-to-.pdf converter, and it's free, if you're willing to put up with advertisements. And the better news is, if you don't want the adverts, it's only $19.99. Yeppers, twenty dollars. .pdf thingy

That rocks.

Puff is still at the vet's; he wanted to keep her an extra day to be on the safe side. I like him, though this is getting expensive. Not that I wouldn't pay it, or resent paying it, or anything. I just inherited the propensity for "crying the poormouth", as my concussed mother terms what my father does. From my perspective, if I don't act frugually most of the time, then everyone comes around needing to borrow money, which they do anyway, so I don't know why I bother.

And boy, is she bruised. Miraculously, despite the bruising all around her eye, she didn't undo her laser surgery. Talk about dumb luck. If it were me, I'd be permanently blinded right now.

Ok, back to work.

One more thing: Mom said that "if anyone sees me, they're going to think that someone popped me in the eye!" And I thought, "only unless it's someone who knows you, then they might think you've been popped in the eye, but they'd understand the one who did it!" Ok, I didn't say that...I commiserated, in the heartfelt way.'s not easy being clumsy *and* vain...

No, I didn't say that, either. And I mean it in a loving way. Well, as loving a way as one can mean something like that, assuming that's a deserved sentiment. And it is.

Ok. Back to work.

You're NOT funny.

Save Toby

Ok, I'm certain it's meant to be humourous. And I know I sound like a wet-blanket, whining girl,'s not funny. Saturday Night Live did it with Larry the Lobster (I think that was its name) back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, so it's not even original. Get a life, loser. Too many stupid people take things like this seriously, so those with a brain are charged with idiot-proofing the world, like it or not. Additionally, there are dumbass sites up like "I know I'm a shopaholic, but I'm 12 million in debt, so donate to my PayPal account and help me out, ok?" and *they're* legit, so I can't be totally certain this *is* joking. People are stupid and nuts sometimes.

For the record, I didn't think Bonsai Kitten was funny, either. If I'd bought a book or magazine that contained either "joke", I might think it was funny, but not where people have access to it without the caveat of having bought the book or magazine that is otherwise obviously spoof or parody.

Mr Toby-Owner (and I'd bet my life you're male), you're NOT funny.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Plastic surgery solutions

Holy crap! One awesome woman I work with came in today to show off her new bod, purchased in...Peru. Go figure. This whole gastric bypass thing has really taken off at Eviljob in the past few years, and now all the ones who did it a year or so ago are going to get their bodylifts.

Ok, for the record, I'm for the most part non-supporting of the whole bypass surgery. Even if I were posilutely the most immensent obeast in the universe, I still don't think I'd support it. By way of not sounding like a Nazi, let me point out that, (1) the surgery doesn't do anything one couldn't do on one's own; it doesn't speed up the metabolism, or rev up the fatburning, it just makes you eat less. You can do that yourself, and you need to learn to if you're going to stay thin. (2) You have to become even more obsessed by food, because you run the risk of some serious malnutrition if you don't adhere to your new "dosing schedule" of meals and vitamins. (3) The surgery prevents you--unless you want to potentially "eat yourself out of your bypass"--from leading a normal life that allows you to splurge and have some lobster-and-cheesecake feast, even if you really want to. (4) It's dangerous. (5) Some people look cuter mildly porky. No, really; they do. Not *everyone*, but some people. One other girl I work with had the surgery, and she looks positively horrid now. She had a baby-face, and a was kind of baby-fat looking (yeah...she was only like sixty or so punds overweight, and you have to be one hundred, so she found some QUACK that told her he'd perform the surgery on her if she could gain a little weight. She did, and he did. Gross.), and before her surgery, I thought she was frankly beautiful; that look just works for some people. Now she just looks yucky; her figure's not *bad*, but she just looked (don't think me weird) sexier in general *before*, at lest probably to some people who are into the zoftig-thing. Definitely not sexy now. It's too bad she didn't try therapy first; she apparently needed it, 'cos rumour is she used to throw up in the bathroom before that nutbag Dr told her to gain weight. I never saw it, but considering her putting on like, thirty pounds to have that nutty surgery, it's believeable.


I keep my feelings on the matter completely to myself. That's my take on it, no one else's. Everyone else can do whatever in the hell they wish. And, it's not true for *everyone*; there may be a few who benefit from the surgery--just not these thousands of people that are having it. So I'm not making a global statement, but just saying that I don't think it's the best of all possible worlds decision if it's avoidable.


This lady had the surgery about a year and a half ago, and went from a size 22 to a size 10. That's a big-ass leap. And in such a short period of time, well, ok--she was a little flabby. So the time had come to get her bodylift, and she did it in Peru. Because they're cheaper, and she says they do a better job in a lot of respects.

Well, she looks amazing! She's in her fifties, and I swear--she looks twenty years younger! She was only down there for two weeks, and then she had taken another week off, and officially comes back tomorrow. I'm floored. When I'd heard what she'd done, I was afraid for her...I mean, you think of third-world hospitals, and all...but she says no. And, all this work was done for--catch this--under $5,000, not including the plane ticket. Here in America, it would be over 30K, per her.

Go figure.

Maybe I should take my Measle to Peru...


Saturday, April 23, 2005


I'm exhausted. I made the stupidass mistake of eating nothing today, and by the time I left Eviljob, I was crashing in a major way. I had the soiree-thing still to make, and wasn't sure he'd throw food together, or anything that would make up for missing breakfast, lunch... I mean, we're talking over twenty-four hours since I'd eaten. So I grabbed a bag of soy nuts. The party was cool, everyone there definitely nice people. And my prof's kids are adorable. I had a good time, but the not eating and stress and everything had started up a migraine, so I was maybe not as fun as I could have otherwise been. But it was nice to just relax. He's got a beautiful house; the patio was lovely, with a fountain, pool, and two adorable birds loose! The whole patio sounded like one of my Relax With Nature cds. :-)

I'm not surprised; he's a very mellow guy. :-)

It's annoying, but I'm in one of those life-stages where, as the saying goes, it's always something. I was irritated at myself for getting a migraine, and irritated at my toe for hurting.

No, I don't know why my toe was hurting...I think it was my shoes making it go at a funny angle, or something. It still hurts.

I'd love to do up my patio and pool area like his, but all I could think of while I was there was that if I were to own birds, I'd be a bird owner for perhaps all of five minutes. I mean, my two normal Siameasles start looking lustfully up at the ceiling whenever I play a nature cd with birds chirping. It's like playing a soundtrack from Bubba Bobby's Barbeque at a WeightWatcher's meeting.

What I would like to know is how, being indoor cats, they knew to look *up*. Amazing, that.

Puff-Puff's vet called today, while I was at Eviljob; she's doing fine, is very responsive he says, and will be home on Monday. He really likes her. She grows on people; I'm sure after the first twenty-four hours of her talking back to anyone speaking (she thinks you're talking to her a lot of the time, if she's not zoning out), they've probably become accustomed to her. I've really missed her. I'm so used to taking care where I walk, so I don't step on Roadkill Kitty, that I've not known what to do with my feet these past few days.

I guess once I get her back, I will get up the guts to take my other cat in; he has a non-malignant cyst on him, and I've been afraid to take him in to have it removed, because I'm scared that if they put him under, he'll die. This actually happened to me when I was a kid; we went to pick my cat up from the vet, and the vet just told us he'd died in surgery. Hadn't even bothered to call us first. I remember standing there with my mom, crying, and the vet said it "happens all the time". Ever since then, I've never had any of my cats operated on, with the exception of my 13-yo, and only then because his vet then was like, eighty years old (if I'm exaggerating, it's not by much), and assured me that he wouldn't kill my cat, could just give him a sedative, not put him out (I don't know if he was telling the truth), and if I didn't get him neutered, he'd start spraying and stuff. So I let the vet sedate him and neuter him, and he was fine. :-) On the way home from the vet, he was so pissed off that he tore up the cardboard cat carrier they'd sent him home in.

But I moved away and haven't found a vet I trusted since, until this guy. The other vet that diagnosed him with a non-malignant cyst wanted to operate on him, but I just didn't feel right about it. I have learnt to trust my judgement. It may have been wrong, but if he had died I would have never forgiven myself. I know I'm neurotic about some things, and this is one of them. I'll readily admit that. It'll probably not change, but I'll at least be honest about it. I wish I could just turn the cat over to a courier, or something, and not have to think about it. It's the actual *handing them over* part that I just can't do. I'd scheduled surgery for my older cat with this same vet several months ago, and when it came time to take him, I just couldn't do it. I just couldn't make myself do it. It's embarrassing, but when I took Puff in, the vet told me if she had crystals in her kidneys, she would have to have surgery, and I just started crying. He thought I was upset over the cost, but I got him to understand that I didn't want her put under, and he told me that he loses maybe one cat every two to three years like that, and that's usually in a situation where if he'd had any choice about whether or not to operate, he wouldn't have, but the animal was in an emergency situation; for example, he said, he would not operate on Puff like she was when I brought her in on Thursday unless he *had* to, because the odds of her dying under anaesthesia like she was were pretty good since she was so dehydrated and had a bad infection. I asked him why another vet would say that "it happens all the time", and he said he had no idea, and that it just simply doesn't happen all the time. I think I believe him.

So, I will be getting Puff-Puff back, and everything--thank god--will be ok. It's kind of hard to believe. Now I just have to stick to my resolve to bring my other cat in for his cosmetic surgery. :-)

Thinking about that makes me scared again, but on the other hand, I'd be afraid to hand my cat over to a stranger to carry over to the vet... I mean, they could get into a car accident, the cat could get out of the carrier somehow when they weren't paying attention...anything could happen.

Some vet needs to put up a shingle with a comfy waiting room for surgeries, with a sedative dispenser in it--for owners.

I know...I'm pathetic. But Puff is ok. That's what counts. I just wish I could have gone by to see her today, but I was trapped at Eviljob. Bastards.

Friday, April 22, 2005

This weekend

Ok, I'm just thinking aloud. I'll get nothing done tomorrow on Magnificent Octopus; I have to spend the whole day at Eviljob, and then I have to go to an evening party held by one of the professors with whom I do get along pretty well. It actually is a type of "have-to" commitment, in the way that social things sometimes are; I'll need his help someday I'm sure, plus he feels somewhat kindly towards me, for which I am grateful, plus he's a friend of another prof whom I'd like to have as an advisor if I ever manage to break free from the hellhole I currently occupy. To not attend would be a snub, and I can't do that, and wouldn't to him, of all people, anyway. Then I have to sleep, 'cos I have to go back to Eviljob on Sunday. The weekends are the easiest to get the hours in, so there's only an illusion of free will operating here; I'm required to put in x number of hours per week, and if I don't do the bulk of them Sat/Sun, other things will crop up, and it won't get done, and then Ancodia will get written up and terminated.

Ok, well, not *immediately*, but that's not the point. People never remember the ten thousand things you've done correctly or well, they only remember the bad things--and those become "patterns" they've seen in your behaviour in the past maybe three weeks. I fall short twice in a handful of months, and all of a sudden, it's "you're *never* here!"

Absolutes are a major pet peeve of mine. Eviljob loves them.

And so this leaves me with Sunday evening to do any real work. And I have a final on Tuesday for which I've not even *begun* to study, as well as a paper due. Both in this class I'm taking like a fool with my advisor. Then I have five other things due in another class; he's let me slide so much because of what's going on with Octopus that I'm in danger of not catching up in time.

And I'm going to get a spiral-cut, honey-baked ham for Monday. :-) The other cats can have some, but it's Puff's. If the Dr says she may, that is. And I'll hug her and try to get her to understand that I'm sorry.

I need a break. For that reason, I'm looking forward to the end of this term. My son-friend is still having seizures. He's already on Tegretol and Depakote, and he's allergic to Dilantin. So his Dr says there's nothing more to add to the regimen. Well, nothing until he can afford to get to a neurologist. I've been paying for him to go to the regular Dr, and helping him out on his rent, and I suggested he take magnesium supplements (though I've not had the time to check into what a therapeutic dose is, and I've asked him to multiple times, but he's dragging his feet on it; I think he thinks I've made this property of magnesium up), and see if his regular Dr would prescribe something that's in the benzodiazepine family, since that's at least Mostly Harmless, potentially beneficial, not likely to interact with much, and won't add another blood level to keep track of. Well, he finally asked, and his Dr said he thought that was an excellent idea. So I'm hopeful. I don't like the idea of Papa Government any more than the next guy, but really, I'm all for socialised medicine. My brother'd make a hell of a lot less probably, but a little penury's good for the soul. Or so I hear. If he could manage chaste and obedient too, he might become half as holy as he currently thinks he is. And it would help out people like my son-friend. For them, I don't see any other way, and I can't run myself into destitution paying for everything for him; if I do that, then none of us have anything. As it stands, all of us have *something*. He's been applied for disability for over a year and a half, and has some last court date in September/Octoberish on it. I hope it's successful, because otherwise, my next suggestion is to look for some research or teaching hospital that might take him on as a case and move there, wherever it is in the country.

Mom fell this afternoon, and she says she has a large goose egg on her temple and a huge bruise and minor lacerations around her brow to temple area. With my luck, she's knocked something from her eye surgery loose, or something. Sigh. She says she feels fine, just achy. Could she have called me earlier to let me know? No. Could she have taken herself to her Dr for a quick look? No. Rampaging pain in the ass.

I was going to make a comment about her apparently having nothing to concuss, but I didn't.

It's 'cos I'm kind that way.

I did all of the stupid changes to Octopus. Well, a majority of them. There are some that I'm still debating. And so I have just the more difficult changes to make, the things that could have and should have been brought up six to eight months ago. Things like, "I don't like this justification argument you've made that you're basing upon common knowledge". Well, I think it *is* common knowledge, and common knowledge is public domain. I don't *have* to justify it, or cite anything to use it. Maintaining obfuscation, we're talking about something that really is a close equivalent of "Mathematics is perceived paradoxically by many as fundamentally common sense-based, yet difficult." I don't have to cite that! That's freaking common knowledge. If the majority of us inspected our own beliefs, we'd find that certain topics (e.g., physics, math) we think of as "common sense". We would think we could look at a physics problem (I'm not talking quantum physics here, but everyday rotational motion, gravity kind of stuff), and answer it correctly because it's common sense. Allegedly. After we're done answering that simple, silly question though, drop our asses into a physics class, and all of a sudden what was "simple" is now "hard". Most people avoid math like the plague. I don't need to qualify that--it's freaking common knowledge.

She's just getting all happy and ambitious with that correcting pen over there.

I *think* those corrections are just trying to have something to say. The other remaining corrections are quasi-legitimate citation needs, and so on those, I'm deciding in favour of conservativism and putting the citations in, even if I don't wholly agree. But than that leads me to another problem: I don't have the time to read these additional studies she's tacked on by Monday. No way, no sir, nohow.

Now her solution to this is to do what "Everybody else does". Everybody else just skims the abstract, and shoves the citation in there. Per her.

Well, if that's the truth, then I'm not Everybody else, and I'm proud of that. I personally think that's questionable behaviour. I would not allow, much less tell, one of my students to do that. I think that's "grey-area" behavior. It's not dishonest per se, but it's also not wholly honest; it's shortcutting.

I need to get away from this whole scene. This atmosphere does not mix well with my way of doing things. I know I make more work for myself a lot of the time. I will admit that. But I don't think this is a "right" way of doing things. We had this conversation today, and I'm still a little upset over it. What if someone asks me about it, I asked--what would I say?

I'm paranoid that way.

I'm not going to think about it any more tonight. I'll cope on Sunday, or I can try to read as much as possible tomorrow...I don't know. Something. I'll think more clearly after I've slept.

George Noory's rejoin just now was "More Than A Feeling", by Boston; that song has always struck me as missing something. It sounds overlearnt, overprocessed, over...somethinged. Canned, somehow. Hard to explain. Kind of like broccoli, I'm glad I don't like Boston, 'cos then I'd have to listen to them, and I can't stand them! :-) Except I love broccoli. And the logic in the prior statement. :-)

Oh, hell...let me cite that properly: It's from I think Lewis Carroll.

I want a goddamned font named Sarcasm. It would be a popular font, I think.

Bad Kitty Mommy Redux

I got home just a little bit ago to start in on the changes to the Octopus, and called the vet. Puff is ok; "she's resting right now," and she's on IV fluids and antibiotics. I'm going to call them back and warn them not to break out the crash cart if she goes into a Roadkill Kitty position, that she might just be relaxing.

It turns out it was a bladder infection, a really bad one, that she's apparently had for a few days. I still can't believe I was so oblivious as to not have noticed she was acting weird. Every other time I've ever had a cat with a bladder infection, they've announced it by peeing on something out in the open. How could I not have seen that? I'm now left wondering what in the house I'm not seeing that Puff has peed all over. The vet said she crawled back up under the TV console to die, so the other cats wouldn't hurt her since she was getting too weak to defend herself.

Yeah. Thanks for the guilt trip, Bubbelah.

But I don't understand that, since my cats all get along with each other; they don't fight, and they even cuddle sometimes. So I guess it's instinctual, or something. Not that I would have thought Puff *had* any instincts, but...

Well, she's a little...ummm...defective. I mean, I love her, but, well... I got Puff from a guy I used to date--one of his friends walked out one morning, and on his front doorstep was a teensy little Puff. Howling. No other cats in sight. He took Puff in, and looked for a litter somewhere, but nothing. Puff was a practically almost newborn, her points hadn't even grown in yet--just a little black tip on her nose, and a cream-coloured body. I volunteered to take her before I knew she was (at least part) Siamese, because I felt sorry for the little kitty that some Momcat had kicked out of the nest.

Turns out Momcat might have had an idea of what she was doing.

Without assistance, Puff would not have made it this far, or continue to make it. That's just reality, and it's coming from me, the person who loves her. It might have been a little more than Momcat was willing to take responsibility for. She's...special. Or, you can look at it like my sister does, who points out that Puff is "too stupid to know to eat".

Ok, so Puff has difficulty with some things. Ok, so eating is one of them.

Once I figured out what Puff's preferences were (I still am clueless as to what her problem was, but we found a way around it), I put a bowl of food up away from the other cats, where Puff can pick out bits of food, one at a time, and pick it up with her paw--claws out--and eat it. This is how she eats most of the time, unless she has something other than cat food to eat, and even then she'll pick it up, put it in her mouth, and then go down in meatloaf position and eat it like normal. Her favourite is spiral-cut, honey-baked ham.

Why I was surprised when I found this out, I don't know. Weirdness is pretty much par for Puff.

But she is interactive--she'll talk to you for hours--and any time you say "Puff!" she says "Yip!" And she looks cute when she curls up and goes to sleep. She can't help it if she's mildly defective, and likes to smoosh her head up against things and go to sleep. I think it comes from missing her Mom. And she can't help it that she likes to relax around the house in what my sister and I call "Roadkill Kitty" poses. Usually flat on her back, with her legs sticking this way and that. Why it's appealing, I don't know...but it means something to Puff. My sister says it's 'cos her ambition in life is to be roadkill. I think maybe lying upside down makes something in her brain connect that doesn't otherwise. The liking (I think it's liking) to hear "Sleigh Ride" whistled (I found this out by accident when she was about a year or so old)... She can't help being weird. I'm glad she wandered into my life, 'cos I think someone else might have not tried to help Puff all she can be.

"That's a damn weird cat, Babe." Says my 13-yo.

I'm glad that Puff will be ok. I would have missed the silly girl.

The bulk of my changes to Magnificent Octopus are what a lady I go to school with calls "happy-to-glad" changes. At least I think they are. I have pages and pages of corrections like changing "x will also be y" to "x also will be y".

I think this means the same thing. I think "will also" sounds better.

But, on the other hand, I don't "get" a lot of things about English. I'm ok with it, I can usually pick the "wrong" sentence on silly tests that ask one to pick the "wrong" sentences, and so forth. But I don't actually understand all the grammar rules. Math rules I'm ok with, but grammar and spelling rules I'm not; I play it by ear. Unlike Math rules, they seem to me to be pretty arbitrary. It also doesn't help that in the general area in which Ancodias come from, you can see color/colour/couleur, and it all means the same thing. It's not a big deal, until you're charged with spelling off the top of your head for something, like writing on the board. Add to that the fact that, if you throw a second language in there (from 1/2 of my parentage), there's letter confusion to deal with also. Add to *that* the fact that I disagree with some things personally, plus MS Word's spelling and grammar check isn't correct sometimes, and you have a freaking mess. I've tried to add as little to Word's dictionary as possible, to try to get a "clean catch" when I write, but I've made mistakes and ok'd words that I guess are technically misspelt; on MO's corrections are a few of those (e.g., changing "conceptualise" to "conceptualize"), changes I hit "Add to Dictionary" on, assuming it should be in there but wasn't. Argh. And I *hate* seeing those red squiggly lines all over a paper.

My father was, well...let's say an ardent supporter of speaking properly, probably because his parents were so obsessive about speaking proper English (contrary to the way it seems a lot of immigrants are these days, it seems to me that many Eastern European immigrants made learning English a major priority--a point of pride, really). As a result, I'm aware that it's ok to dangle participles, but in general it should be avoided (if I remember correctly) as an issue of clarity. But I couldn't *tell* you what a participle is if my life depended on it, and I only remember terms like "dangling participle" and "comma splice" because my sister and other people I admire use terminology like that. And I then have to ask them to remind me what those are. :-) I've had people (especially here) tell me that I sound uncomfortably formal sometimes, or words to that effect.

But I think another contributing factor is that it was tantamount to a sin to do things like leave off a terminal g, and say something like "twenny" instead of "twenTy". And I know I do these things, and I also know that I can't justify them other than by saying that learning them was the only way to be allowed to finish a sentence in my household. And I know that I'm far from perfect about it (geez...*very* bad, actually), but I've developed a heuristic that has enabled me to survive the gauntlet in which I was raised. :-) And I also know that Dave Matthews' primary Redeeming Feature is his enunciation; it's really pretty good. :-) In that respect I'm a weirdo, because I notice these things (how can it be that no one around me noticed that?). So I know I sound stilted some of the time, as does my sister. My father sounds stilted most of the time. *His* parents sounded stilted ALL of the time. My brother completely comes off as a stiff, formal peckerhead.

But that's 'cos he is. :-) Let's not go there.

But whereas everyone else in my family (including my pain-in-the-ass Canadian Mommy) can do cool things like diagramming sentences, identifying the subject, object, and predicate (is that how it goes? Case in point: I'm not sure), and so forth, I can't. That part of my brain didn't bake long enough in the womb, I think. In school, when we were doing that sort of thing, I zoned out. I wrote a play. The protagonists were an archaeologist, Dr Alwayzn Pastense; his wife, Hortense Pastense; their son, Gerund Attila Pastense, and a few peripheral characters.

How I made a B remains a mystery to this day. I think it was because, come test time, there were enough practical (or applied?) questions that I could fake it, at least in a by-the-skin-of-my-teeth sense.

So now I have one hundred pages of Octopus, full of corrections that seem to me to be a lot of "happy-to-glad" changes. Or they may be crucial grammatical errors; I'm ill-equipped to know the difference. So I am going to decide if I want to pacify her and say "also will". Sigh.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Bad Kitty Mommy

I turn Magnificent Octopus in to The Publishers That Be on Monday. I will spend as long as it takes tonight trying to figure out how to make bookmarks in Word so that I can then, flying wildly by the seat of my pants, figure out how to convert it into a .pdf.

Like I should be born knowing this, they assume. If you ever have to take that one intelligence test where you have to explain the meaning of adages (is it the Miller Analogies Test? I don't remember, butsoanyway...), and you get "the devil is in the details " just think of me and you'll do fine.

But it's times like this that I'm glad I broke down and bought the legit MS Office, because I don't think this would have worked in OpenOffice, so that at least was money (begrudgingly) well-spent.

Now for money that is being spent, but not begrudgingly: I've done little other than type obsessively for like, the past week. During this time, one of my little cats vanished. Puff-Puff is a Siamese, and I've had her for five years (one of three Siamese I have). Puff is a little strange. If there is such a thing as kitty autism, I think ol' Puff has it. My other two cats are normal. One I've had for thirteen years; his mommy was a prizewinning showcat, and I got him intentionally. Well, he was a present, but that's beside the point. The other I've had for about three years, because I rescued her from Animal Control; my mom went there with a friend of hers that was looking for her lost cat, saw a Siamese, and called me. I had to go rescue her because no one else had applied to adopt her, she was going to die, and Siameses are a little confuzzled at indignities such as Animal Control. Yes, I know that Animal Control is like Hell for *all* animals, but Siamese, well.... They not only don't understand it like other animals, but they feel a little bit insulted by the suggestion that they should be put in there, as if they were just any cat.

No, it does no good to tell them that they are just any cat. My 13-yo gives me this, "You ARE kidding--right, Babe?" look when I have to feed him Deli Cat from the corner store 'cos I've run out of his regular food. He'll look at the dish, then look at me, then look back down at the dish, then back at me...until I tell him that's Dinner, and walk away.

My cat calls me 'Babe' because I told him several years ago that he needs to be a little less formal. Since I said that, when I come home at night, he greets me with, "Good Evening, Babe." At least he's trying.

Yes, I am certain that my cats all have personalities, and yes, I think I can tell what they're thinking. I also think they understand English.

Butsoanyway, Puff-Puff was missing. They're all indoor cats only, so I knew she was somewhere in the house, and I was busy with Magnificent Octopus, so I didn't really think about it; I was swamped, and she's gone off and found hidey-holes in obscure places for a day before, because she's weird. Last night, I realised I hadn't seen her in like, two days, so I called for her.

No answer. She *always* at least says "Yip!" from another room, if she's busy with something.

So I went around the house, whistling "Sleigh Ride" in a sharp whistle, like she likes. I don't know what it means to her, but it means something; whenever I do it, she runs up to me,--wherever I am--yipping and headbutting me. Doesn't do it for any other song; doesn't do it if you *sing* Sleigh Ride.

Ok, I *said* she was weird.

So I go a-whistling. Nothing. I half tear up my house looking for her, because something is wrong. She's not in the house, not in the garage. Nowhere. I search until late, everywhere I can think of, until finally I have to go to sleep. Maybe she'll turn up tomorrow, I think.

This morning, after a whole three hours' worth of sleep, I get up and call and whistle again. Nothing. I have to leave, so I do, and spend the whole day tortured, thinking about Puff-Puff. I literally can't think about anything else. After class, I'm supposed to go to a talk, but I just can't stand another minute. I crap out of the talk, and rush home. I know she didn't get outside; she's like AutismKitty--she doesn't *know* there's an outside. I'm not trying to be funny; she's never shown a whit of interest in the out-of-doors. She also eats with her front paws sometimes, but that's a different story.

So I got home and tore the house up. Really--pots and pans out onto the kitchen floor, linen shelves tossed, bedroom closet now in the middle of the bedroom floor, sofas moved; you'd think an episode of It Takes A Thief had been taped here.

Which, incedentally, they have my permission to do at any time. Those guys are really cute. :-) Or maybe I'm just demented and like criminals. Who knows?

Well, I found Puff. At first I thought she was dead, but when I pulled her out from the corner underneath the TV console she'd somehow managed to cram herself under, I saw she was hyperventilating. She looked dehydrated...just sick. I raced her to the vet; she has a bladder infection [Ed. note: How?!?!?!], is very dehydrated, almost died, and might not make it anyway. She's staying at the vet until at least Monday, so they can stabilise her. It's $600, but...I feel in a way like I deserve to have to pay that much with no complaints. I mean, HOW could I have not noticed how sick she was? How? How could I have been *that* self-absorbed?

I have been crying for a while. Kicking myself for not tearing up the house last night. I should have known. Puff was suffering, and my stupid fucking self apparently didn't care.

I'm a bad kitty mommy. I really hate myself sometimes, and this is one of those times.

And I just checked my email; more changes to make to Magnificent Octopus.

I am just about *this* far away from going completely postal.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Ummm... yay.

It's done.

Magnificent Octopus is done.

Unless, of course, certain people decide that it needs to be wholly rewritten. Again. That thought makes me cringe, but I doubt she'd pull that shit. And, for the record, I didn't end up including anything half-assed, like The Chapter That Doth Not Existe, or any of the "What do we mean by mean? What do we mean by know? What do we mean by what?" crap that certain others who had input to...well, input did...uhhh...input.

Yeah, that.

I just don't go for that kind of mental masturbation crap. It doesn't impress me. But The Gottverdammter Ruck I think got through grad school (and middle school, and high school, and undergrad also, probably) by throwing that crap out, is the impression I get. It's this pathetic all-flash, no-substance show of what-we-think-others-will-think-is intellectual prowess. And I'm especially piqued at The Gottverdammter Ruck right now, because not all that long ago, a girl I like (I guess she counts as a school-friend) came to a meeting that he was at, and he completely put her down and was unnecessarily short with her to the point of being rude, which put me in the position of having to choose to abandon her and let him have at her, or defend her, and get into a disagreement with a panel member, and someone I have to see regularly. I resented that.

Of course I chose to defend her. Just call me SuperAncodia, Defender of The Wide-Eyed. Which she sort-of was. I mean, she didn't expect Gottverdammter Ruck to act the way he did. but that's another story. Since then we've butted heads a few times, and it matters less to me once I reconciled the fact that I don't care what he thinks. And he doesn't really lay into me per se, I think because when I do speak up, he's, well, surprised.

But in short, I only have one member in my panel that is normal. Teach me to just barrel into commitments like I did this one. I ended up with a doll-baby, a flake, and a Gottverdammter ruck. After I mailed Octopus off, my one normal member sent a really nice email back, one that was very praising. I hope I have merited it.

Probably not.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Down to the wire...

This just sucks. I now understand why people cheat. Why someone would go buy a term paper online...

I wish they made services that sold Magnificent Octopi.

I think they do it because they're drowning in crap handed to them by unreasonable, flaky, insane, dingbat people who are so badly wanting a severe thrashing that it defies description. People who couldn't do it themselves if they had to, but for whatever reason seem to have no problem dumping a mountain of work on others and then skipping merrily off, to hell with all of their responsibilities, literal, moral, or...any other kind. Because Responsibility is a dirty word, folks. It means you have to follow through, and be to people what you're supposed to be, and that...well, that's not *F*U*N*!

Goddamn straight I'm pissed. Death to the bunny-hugging "I so deeply feel for you, but I can't be bothered to help or even guide, 'cos it's bunny-hugger bingo night down at the hutch, but I know you'll be just fine, 'cos you're a superty-special person! Bye!" jackasses of the world.

This is kind of like a description Rush Limbaugh gave (god...I'm referencing Limbaugh...) while Terri Schiavo was starving to death. Felos was all bunny-hugging about how peaceful and beautiful it was in Terri's room (as she's starving to death, did I mention that?), where she had music playing (that her allegedly PVS ass can't hear as she's starving to death, did I mention that?), and she had stuffed animals (that her allegedly PVS ass can't appreciate, just like the music, while she's starving to death, did I mention that?), that her room is filled with flowers (that she can't see *or* smell, allegedly, as she is starving to death, did I mention that?), that she has every comfort known to Man, from a small cadre of Mormon Tabernacle Euthanasia Hummers to visits from goddamn Mickey Mouse (as she's starving to death, did I mention that?)... Bottom line is, it's all just so cutsey, sweet, and beautiful that we'd just all wanna go out and starve ourselves if we could see it. Which we can't.

I have gotta remember to put George Felos in charge of protecting my right to abortions if they ever get threatened; whereas someone like me just says "ok, maybe it's murder, maybe it isn't, but it's going to happen anyway, and if nothing else, Moms pay taxes and fetuses don't, so Moms get the Rights" (I know...not exactly soundbite-friendly), Felos could probably make a D&C sound like it's everyone's civic duty to have one. Plus it's blissful besides, I'm sure.

Or it will be once Felos gets to it.

Butsoanyway, Gush...I mean Rush points out that she's got the music, the stuffed animals, the flowers, the cartoon birdies sitting on her shoulders chirping her PVS ass into Valhalla...

Isn't that *just like* the Liberals, he asks.

Huh, thinks Ancodia, who has been of the opinion that if Liberals would quit bouncing and look long enough to realise that what's going on with Schiavo has nothing to do with euthanasia, nothing to do with abortion, nothing to do with Right To Die, To Live, To Sit On A Turnip, nothing to do, in fact, with any of their pet causes, that Liberals would agree with the Right for once that basically, unless someone *expressly* states otherwise, we need to try to save them.


Isn't that JUST LIKE the liberals, Gush Phlegmball continues, that when you have someone who's DYING, they'll give them stuffed animals they can't feel, flowers they can't smell, music they can't hear--all according to what the Liberals say about Schiavo's PVS state--they'll give a person ALL THESE THINGS...with the exception of what they really need: Food and water. And it's ok in the Liberals' minds, because sure--you're being starved to death, but you have the squooshy toys, and the flowers, and don't forget the music. Anything that makes it LOOK better. Anything to not have to really *think*, to really have to weigh a moral decision...anything to just write out that check, stick it in the envelope, and assuage your guilt.

And I had to admit, he's right. We Liberals (yes, I consider myself a Liberal) are guilty as hell of that sort of thing. And not just about Schiavo. About damn near everything. We'll write checks, boycott Wal-Mart (and go around the corner to Target, until we hear about *their* heinous crimes against humanity, upon which we repair to CVS, or forget why we hated Wal-Mart, and go back there), toss a dollar at the Salvation Army bellringer every Christmas and consider our job Done. We're humane, and interested, and kind, and value life--and the quality thereof.

And then trot off to bunny-hugger bingo at the hutch.

Well, this typical Cali-Liberal horseshit is biting me in the ass. I ask for help, and I get we're walking out the door. I ask for guidance, and I get a "what do you think?"' a "you're so smart and on top of it, that I couldn't do any more than you already have!". I ask for structure, and I get...unanswered email, broken promises, and usually a "you're doing so well on that, could you handle this for me, too?"

I'm up to *here* with it. And yes, I'm venting again...even though I swore I wouldn't. Even though I gave myself an attitude adjustment and decided to just ignore it. This is eating me up inside.

You can't let your kid eat chocolate cake all the time and never have a bedtime because it suits you best. You can't let them flail cluelessly at their homework because it's "a part of the learning process".

I mean, for chrissake, Cosby's joke about the negligent dad who, when left with the children, feeds them cake for breakfast because it contains "milk, flour, eggs..." is funny BECAUSE IT IS SO ABSURD TO BEND THE RULES TO THAT EXTREME JUST TO SUIT YOUR OWN AGENDA.

Some people don't get that, though. For some people, that's how they live their lives.

I feel sorry for anyone these people are in the position of "nuturer" for.

Including myself.