Tuesday, August 21, 2007

in memory

it started like this:

Mistopheles (or pheles, or baby pheles, or baby girl) and her sister, Stumpy, were my 24th birthday present. as kittens in the same litter, they got their illustrious start as love children at the California humane society where an employee who was not paying attention allowed a "visit" between two new unfixed admittees. with a start like that, you knew it was gonna be a good life.

they lived in California, then Chicago, before moving to Alaska (not including a brief stint in Seattle), where they were introduced to the great outdoors and all it had to offer, including grass (wow!), bees, butterflies, and other bugs (so cool!), and voles (you have NO idea!).

Though they were litter-mates, they have always been different - that was clear to everyone who met them. Stumpy has half a tail, is a little ornery, a little crazy, a little....um, heavy, and a lot loveable. Pheles was thin and svelt with a long beautiful tail, a sweet and delicate nature, and also a lot loveable.

Pheles, in her quiet nature, taught Nuchie his real place as low dog on the totem pole. Stumpy just hissed at him. he learned through both methods and all three figured out how to live together.

Pheles at 5 years and Nuch at 4 months. this is the 'stink eye' in case you can't tell. it's an effective tool in a cat's bag of tricks.

a more recent example: that's little Pheles crashed out on Nuch's big bed (with his toys!), while he looks on...

the old saying goes that if dogs and cats can get along, it's because cats compete for space and dogs compete for attention. it must be true, since Pheles occupied a HUGE space in my heart, making it grow to be able to confine the enormity of her love.

Baby pheles suffered a serious illness when she was little and in her lengthy drugged state, took refuge under the bed sheets. she never lost that endearing habit for the rest of her life, and was steadfast in her belief that if she couldn't see you, you couldn't see her. she spent a lot of time with her head tucked under a sheet, or rug, or if those weren't available, pressed into a corner so that she couldn't see you. i never knew if she really thought her body sticking out was invisible, or if she just believed that humans were too stupid to figure it out.

Pheles was dignified if ever a cat was. if she was forced to suffer some indignity, like being picked up for example, she refused to look at you. again, if she didn't look at you, you didn't exist. it was just that simple. but if she wanted love, she would march right in front of you and collapse in your path - it was pretty close to irresistable. lately she discovered that the back of the couch was also a good place from which to demand love.

after a mercifully short battle with cancer, baby girl died on Tuesday. but she left behind some lessons i live by:

sometimes, if the world is uncooperative, it's ok to hide under things.

despite the risks, sitting in the sun is an important thing to do.

planting things and watching them grow is also an important thing to do.

and most importantly, always, always, always, no matter how hard, always try to be with someone who is sad or scared if they'll let you, even if all you can do is sit quietly next to them. (and, if you're a cat, rub up against them every once and a while.) over the past 13 years of my life, i've shed a few tears and Pheles was there for all of them.

a friend reminded me today that how hard it is at the end just tells you how good it was while they were alive. i'm grateful that we had a chance to hang out for as long as we did, and that right at the end, i could sit with you quietly and offer you my shirt sleeve to hide your face in.

goodbye my baby girl, and thanks for being my friend for so long.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

my "surfing" trip

ok, still catching up...this time, my trip to LA for the 4th of July.

warning: for those faint of heart for baby pictures, you may need to sit down. serious cuteness coming up.

so, LA holds a special place in my heart for many reasons, not the least of which is a handful of amazing friends. amazing friends, i might add, who are now beginning to reproduce. before said reproduction, i travelled down to LA with some regularity to surf and hang out with them. however, as time passes (and reproduction happens), i find that i'm still traveling down to LA to surf, but i'm not doing so much surfing. now mind you, i'm not complaining - it's hard to drag oneself out of bed for a dawn patrol, pulling on that clammy cold wetsuit, and get psyched about that frigid, grey beach break that is Manhattan Beach, when you can hang out with this instead:

this is BGB - baby girl bowen. this was her pre-birth name - her parents have now bestowed on her the most beautiful of names, Suriya, but to me, she's BGB.

couldn't you just eat her up with a spoon? 2 months old, and bound for amazing things, no doubt.

her older brother is no less a wonder. this is william, or s-dub, short for sweet william. feeding his younger sister at just over two years - who knew? you can't tell from the picture, but this kid has the eyelashes of a camel. chicks will totally dig them.

i travelled out to Redlands to visit more friends and to find, you know, respite from the beach in the 110 F heat of the inland areas. plus, there was this:

this is Mara. proud new owner of the little green sweater i was knitting in earlier blogs, and brother to a bubbly, smiley, and incredibly tow-headed Teo, who is unfortunately not pictured here. Mara and Teo both are of course brilliant in every way...

back to LA, and back to beach (still not too much surfing) and a little...skateboarding. close to surfing at least. while Sal (mom) and i pushed the interminably cute BGB in a stroller, this is how s-dub and Bowen (dad) got to the restaurant:

now this is just painfully cute.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

the good husband

ok folks, after a long absence (which you'll learn about over the next week or so), i'm back! and blogging it seems. so, on to the important stuff.

this has to be every man's worst nightmare: you drop your wife off for a visit with her friends, do a little grocery shopping, swing by again to pick her up, and this is what you find:

4 women, all knitting, all with their feet stuck in tubs of warm water smelling vaguely of lavender, and all with some odd, greenish paste drying in cracked lines on their faces. good lord! what have you walked into to?? what kind of trap is this?? and most importantly, is the door still open behind you for a quick exit???

this is the situation my husband found himself in, poor sap. he might have even uttered, 'good lord...', or maybe it was, 'what the...?', but it definitely wasn't 'wow - cool! can i get in on that?'

but that's exactly what he did, my most accommodating, open-minded, and just generally all-around good husband. he sat still while we painted his face, though he did squinch up his face as if the soft and silky facial brush was 60 grit sandpaper...

this is me mimicking his face...

this is his second try....

ahhhh....much better.

he passed on the foot soak, but picked up the knitting i brought.

two words: honorary ovaries.