Worst Fear: Things my cat ate

Everyone has their worst fears.  I have several. If you went through our pantry you might find a lack of carb related foods.  This is because my cat ate them all. Before we talk about how she likes to carb load before a healthy run around the house after a successful bowel movement (who wouldn’t?) let’s talk about some enviable attributes.

First off, she has guts.  This isn’t referencing her literal tater tot filled innards.  She takes and asks forgiveness later.  Often times I’m too careful and have a tendency to wait and see if things pan out.  My cat’s approach is something like this, “Life is short, learn how to open Tupperware” or “Spare their meat and steal the bun.”

As a kitten I swore she was part raccoon, she was always attracted to shiny things and I would wake up to find my jewelry I was too lazy to put up the night before, hidden.  She was a literal cat burglar. Since then, she has grown up some, and has progressed from shiny things to Bobby pins.  She would rush to find them (even if they were out of sight) and point at them like an Irish Setter who has found a hunter’s duck.

The weirdest thing though, is her love of carbs.  Almost everyone has seen the viral video of cat’s afraid of cucumbers.  She has no fear of cucumbers.  She will however, chase a potato.  After realizing one had fallen out of the bag in the pantry we heard a noise and suddenly we see her wrestling the spud, kicking it with her hind legs and biting it.  We experimented and rolled one down the hallway, she barreled after it, attacked it and sat on it as if she were in a match for the ages.  

She is a master manipulator.  Several times, she has crawled into mine or my husband’s lap only to feign affection to peep her head between our hands and take bites of our cereal…or take the bread from our sandwiches.  She waits until we aren’t looking before she hops up on the counter to eat our left over tater tots.  She’s usually very quiet, and often times she takes more than she can fit and takes off running licking her chops.   

Here is why I’m jealous.  She already knows she will be forgiven, so she takes the momentary “shooing” for a moment of palatable starchy goodness.  She is spontaneous.  I like to make plans weeks in advance.  She sees opportunities and takes them.  She sees an opportunity for a piggy back ride and she takes it.  It doesn’t matter if you’re naked and fresh out of the shower, sitting on the toilet or at the computer.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve missed opportunities and I wish I had the eyes to see them.  She does not lack in this area.  If it isn’t apparent from the drawing, she lives a full life, literally and metaphorically.

What is your worst fear involving your pet?  Do you envy them?

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Snapchat Hypocrite

A few months ago you may recall a piece I wrote titled, “Obligatory Selfie” where I poked fun at people taking selfies as a part of an everyday mundane practice that has currently become socially acceptable.

I recant this piece.  Although I compare the obligatory selfie to yoga pants being accepted as full fledged pants, I have seen the worthiness of an appropriately timed selfie.

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Steven Tyler eat your heart out!

Sure, at first I was smug.  Why would a 36-ish something like myself want to have a phone full of pictures of myself?  Who would want them?

Then came an evening spent with my in-laws and niece.  When my sister-in-law and husband stepped outside for a moment, my niece came back into the room with a blanket, we snuggled up together on a bench and she showed me this “new” thing called “Snapchat”.  She snapped a picture and showed me how you can transform yourself into a dog.  Once finding out she and my other nieces were using this app, I immediately signed up to stay in touch with them.

On the way home I was researching how to work snapchat, how to use filters and how in general to “Snapchat”.  Do I take 5 seconds in public by myself to pucker my lips and pose for the camera?  No.  However I do wait till’ I’m on lunch break at work or at home and snap a few selfies to catch up with my nieces, cousins, sister-in-laws and friends.  Only once has anyone been in the break room with me when this was going on, but he was completely aware of what was happening.  I didn’t leave my behaviors an unknown mystery to him like our customers have done in the past.

There is no joy greater than being able to send the ugliest selfie possible to those you love to receive one equally as horrible back.  In fact, there was a fun competition my niece and I had one night.  If you are ever down or feeling blue, this is the best thing ever.  Try to make the goofiest face possible and just hit send.  It is the greatest feeling not caring what you look like because the worse, the better.

Here is an example of one I sent, it’s like Steve Martin meets Frankenstein’s monster.

 

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Or the selfie aptly titled, “I woke up like this…”

 

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However, you want your family and friends to remember you in a good light.  Not to get too dark but one of my worst fears is something bad will happen and they will have to submit a photo to the news for a story. Ensuring it won’t be driver’s license photo, or worse an outdated glamour shot you occasionally have to send them one of you as a butterfly queen. This way the recipients remember you are a real person and won’t be shocked (or disappointed) you don’t have 3 mouths in your face the next time they see you.

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What is your favorite “Snapchat” lens or filter?  Why do you gravitate toward that one?

Minty not so fresh

Do you ever have those days where you feel like the mint rolling around at the bottom of your Grandma’s purse?

You know, the rogue mint last in the pack with a tiny piece of foil still wrapped around it.  The mint that hides under Nana’s wallet when someone with bad breath was desperate enough to need it.

The other day I was that mint.

When my anxiety acts up, I hide from social media.  Even though violent events are far away, I still feel sorrow for those going through such horrendous acts.  Within a few days apart Alton Sterling was in the news, the Dallas police shootings, and Nice; France.  So much violence and feeling helpless I turned inward.  This last month has made me wish superheroes were real and maybe injustice wouldn’t happen.

As soon as news about Alton Sterling hit, my friends were having to explain what it is like to be black in America to those who didn’t understand.  Because of this heinous act they were having to defend themselves, their point of view and they shouldn’t have to.

Then came the Dallas police shootings, waking up to this news before work made me fear for my friends across the nation.  Then came the horrible news from Nice.  Waking up knowing that someone is killing because of warped ideals is frightening to me.  Prior to all of this we had to deal with the Orlando shootings and bombings in Bangladesh.

Each time something happened I would post on Facebook how I was sending prayers and thoughts out to all of the families and people suffering.  Each day it seemed as if I was posting prayers for more victims.  Eventually I stopped watching the news, and turned off Facebook for a while.

Shortly before logging off of Facebook, a friend posted something vague and it seemed as if he was going through something similar.  He was also grieving the loss of a loved one in addition to feeling helpless with everything going on in the world.  Just to let him know I understood I clicked the sad button.

I quickly shut off my Facebook during my 15 minute break and went back to work.  He had sent me a private message saying thank you for the thoughts.  On my 30 minute lunch break we chatted back and forth, I asked him questions about what was going on and in private he was able to get it all off of his chest.  In a way, helping him with his problems, helped ease my anxiety too.  We were both rogue mints waiting for someone with a bad day to help them out.

Thank you friend for indulging this mint.

 

Worst fear: Mold ingestion

At night when I get home from my second job around 11:00 pm, usually I’m too tired to do anything but put left overs from lunch in the fridge. This includes beverages. Apparently I was so tired I didn’t realize what my hands grabbed in the dark from my car’s cupholder.

In a few days when rushing to work I grabbed the tea I had previously put in the fridge. On my way to work I barely took a few sips. Once clocked in I started chugging to hydrate and caffeinate. Instead when I chugged something weird slid down my throat. Meanwhile I was trying to listen to my boss and co-worker when suddenly the texture was too much. Luckily he thought I was laughing at his joke and thought it was funny enough that I almost did what’s known in the comedy world as a spit-take.

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While he continued what he was saying I did everything I could to be polite, hang on until I could get a paper towel. When he finished, I bolted to the front register as we had just run out of some at mine.

My new co-worker at the front thought I ran up to barf in her trash can so I wouldn’t have to clean it up. When I wiped away the weird earthy texture from my mouth she was relieved all I needed were her paper towels.

Once I got back to my department, since no one was around, I took a better look at the contents of the bottle.  You could barely see it, but it was concealed in the dark depths of the black tea.  When I promptly threw away the bottle (don’t ever do that, always recycle if you can) a little bit of the mold had splashed up into the clear plastic.

“I’m never buying this tea again,” I thought.

I’m not sure if I found a cure for something by accidentally ingesting the tea. Considering good things come out of mold; like…penicillin and…cheese, I’m not too worried at the moment.

     What is something you accidentally ate one time?  Do you still purchase or make this food to be consumed or do you avoid it altogether?

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You’re not Peggy

At work I bumped into an old friend of mine. We were formerly co-workers in the paint department at Sears in my early years of college. We would spend days, hours in the summertime waiting for someone to purchase something, anything from us. In between being bored we would paint the paint shakers, we would paint examples of faux finishes and we would talk about the most random of things. She even kindly laughed at my dumb jokes with a pained look in her eye, but laughed anyway out of politeness. We got to know each other well enough that we became roommates for a little over a year. We would host parties (well she would). We would do late night runs to Wal-mart together while we were stalked by “security” in the toy aisle. Eventually she would introduce me to many movies I needed to know, one of them being The Breakfast Club.

      Judging from everything you have just read dear readers, you’ve probably come to understand Peggy’s face would be one that is hard to forget for this Quirky Girl. As we were talking in the aspirin aisle, I saw the same familiar smile, the same warm laughter and everything picked up as if we had stayed in touch. We talked for a bit about our adventures in education, but I had to get back to stocking the aisles and she had to get back to her new roommate and their shenanigans. She left smiling saying we will catch up again.

  

  
     A few days later I was surprised to see her so soon. This time she had a new roommate; or girlfriend. At first I thought this was the news she wanted to catch up on. The store was getting full but Peggy hadn’t yet noticed me. My register was open and I was desperately trying to get her attention to save her time by ringing her out. I shouted, “I can help the next person here!” Hoping she and her new girlfriend would turn around. Nobody was taking my offer. So I saw her walking with this new girl toward the crowded front register, I said, “Peggy!?” Peggy and the woman turned around. Peggy had the same, friendly, pained expression on her face, just like we did when we lived together and I said something really ridiculous. She stood frozen, with one foot forward waiting for me to say something else. I reiterated I could get them at another register, and I said again, “Peggy?”  

      “Nooo…”, she said with an uncomfortable grin.

    In my head I’m thinking someone kidnapped Peggy, there must have been an invasion of body snatchers that new her dialect, syntax and facial expressions. They even knew how she stood when she was surprised. Since this is not possible, I had to come to terms that this wasn’t Peggy.

     Instead of another pleasant conversation with an old friend, this one quickly dissolved into awkward bumbling and me trying to explain to a couple that I mistook one of them for my college roommate.

     Peggy, if you’ve just read this, I hope you’re laughing.

     When have you mistaken someone for an old friend? How did it play out? Did they understand or think you were weird?

    

Dancing in the rain …with hallucinations

They say that life is learning how to dance in the rain.  They say when it rains it pours.  The last four months of 2015 my family and I experienced both aphorisms.
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September started out wonderfully.  My inner child came out to play during a lesson I was teaching on Jackson Pollock to young children.  We slung paint, and danced to jazz on our canvases.  Life couldn’t be better.  I just had my birthday, my husband was back in school doing something he loved; things were looking up.

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Two days later, I had come home from my second job, settled in for a nap when my phone kept going off.  Finally I realized it was my husband’s work calling; he was on his way to the hospital.  My parents and I rushed to the hospital, my husband’s parents came from over an hour away. He had a side effect from trying to complete extra credit for his religious studies program he just enlisted in.  He was fasting, eating an egg during the morning and nothing else until sundown.  The second day is when he went to the hospital.  By the time his parents got there, he was still vomiting, and we discovered through the whole ordeal, he had received 5 concussions and a hairline fracture.  Needless to say, this impaired some of his thinking.

When he was in one of his awake moments, I shared a special memory with him.  He was wired up to all these different machines, they were used to monitor his heart rhythms, and his activity.  He looked over at me and motioned with his fingers we should go for a walk.  I looked at him and told him there wasn’t any way for us to do so until he got some rest.  He then genuinely pouted like a 5 year old.  Five seconds later he had forgotten he had just asked me to go for a walk.  He then started his plea for going on a walk like this:

“We’re going go steal a chicken.”  

I said, “And then what?”

He continued, “We’re gonna ask it whose it’s daddy is.”

“And then what?”

“We’re gonna steal it’s egg!”

“Oh really? Then what?”

“Then we’re gonna eat it.”  He then gently thrust off the blankets while still being hooked up to machines and said, “Hurry, let’s get outta here before they’re on to us!”

After I told him he had to stay in the bed he pouted again and fell asleep.  Later in the evening his father and I had to force feed him his dinner, time it it for each portion he was eating and we had to make sure he got his nourishment.  His parents and I took turns watching him in the hospital, and once he was released, my parents watched him at night while I slept to continue working my two jobs.  
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He had many doctors visits after that, but it was that moment talking about the chickens that I remember the most.  That and him remembering how to recite Hebrew words but forgetting our address.  His brain is an amazing thing!

Once he was out of the hospital, he started healing and his mental alacrity was returning, things started going well, he was working extra hard and getting back on track with school.
I felt we were getting back to homeostasis.  Then one morning before my second job, my healing husband comes rushing into our bedroom.  Normally he lets me sleep seeing as I’m usually pretty worn out from working so much.  He shook me by my shoulders and said the EMT’s were on their way and my mom was having a heart attack.  As I peered out into the hallway, the front door burst open and the EMT’s were there with their supplies.  I followed them down the hallway to find my mother sitting in my writing chair, completely drained of color, unresponsive.   There wasn’t time to panic, by this time the sheriff had come through the front door and was reiterating everything they had just told my mother in the bedroom.    They said if it wasn’t an emergency, they would go to the hospital without the lights and sirens on. They usually do this as not to alarm the patient.  While my dad and husband were getting ready to go to the hospital I quickly called my boss at my second job, trying to figure out if I should call in. I explained the whole thing about the lights and sirens and mid-sentence with him I heard the sirens blazing, my mother was in the midst of having a full blown heart attack.

When we rushed to the hospital, we sat with my dad trying to keep our cool. The doctor came in saying they had put a stent in the blocked artery and that there were three more blocked arteries that would need to be fixed within the next week.  We went in to see my mother and she was already  full of color and more energy than she had been in previous weeks.

Within the next week she was scheduled to undergo another surgery in which they were supposed to place the stents in. When the doctor went in, she tried to put the stent in place ripping the artery.  Mom would need open heart surgery.  I went in after teaching that day to see her and we talked with the surgeon, all was well, she was in good spirits.  The following week she had a double bypass heart surgery and she came home as good as new; or so we thought.

Blindly believing that all was well and everyone was good at home, halfway through my teaching shift my husband called with the bad news that my mother had fallen at home and was on her way to the hospital again.  Later we found out she had had a stroke as a result of the heart surgery.  Needless to say she was in the hospital for a while.  It was during one of the nights that I spent with her that we began to have fun with it and “dance in the rain”.
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For the first time in a long time my mother asked to take a picture, not just any picture, but a selfie with me. She decided since she felt gross we should burn up my phone with pictures of her eating banana pudding to send to my aunts to determine how gross the pictures could get.  My battery died and we resorted to talking about the different hallucinations she was seeing.  She was seeing beach balls, tin type pirate ships, and at one point had even been seeing the cartoon characters I used to draw when I was a child.  One of our last moments before we fell asleep went like this:

“Do you see them?”

“Who?”

“That tiny couple…”

“What do they look like?”

“They look like figurines…they’re Irish”

I gently had to explain to her, as my Aunts had done previously,, that she was seeing things and they weren’t going to harm her. I will always remember this moment in particular, because it was the first time we accepted things as they were and just went with it.  I will always remember that…and the morning after when she accused the nurses of running a liquor bootlegging distillery upstairs, but that is another story for another time.

What traumatic life events caused you to examine your life a little more closely and appreciate the small moments?

15 minutes

When I was younger I wanted to be famous.  Let’s just put that out there.  When you were a kid, you wanted to be famous too, you might as well admit it.  Any kid worth their salt wants to be famous. Even if you wanted to be something with relative anonymity like an inventor, scientist, teacher, you could still be famous for it somehow.

There was also something else I wanted when I was younger.  At the beginning of the school year there’s nothing sweeter than the smell of a fresh notebook before the school season starts.  For me, going down the aisles of our local store shopping for school supplies was always one of my favorite parts of the year.  Everything was new, everything was still fresh, untouched and more importantly, it was the time of year where we were excited because everyone had the same grades.

One afternoon, I was perusing the blank pages of my new 5 subject notebook while sitting on my bedroom floor.  The Mead company had really outdone themselves that year.  Back in the early 90’s we didn’t have the internet, cell phones or access to call a company ran by several ladies and Katharine Hepburn who knew the answers to everything.

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Instead, Mead came up with the great idea of putting times tables in the back, along with a few other helpful goodies.

One of the helpful things listed on the final page of the notebook; quotes from famous people.  You had the likes of Winston Churchill mingling with Thomas Edison.  You might have had a quote from George Washington Carver or Marie Curry.  As my eyes read the quotes one by one, an alarming one seized my brain.

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Who was this Andy?  Why did he think this?  I knew several “Andys” and none of them had ever thought this or said anything of this nature to me.  They were usually too busy telling jokes or singing songs to other girls on the school bus.  Why was this guy so special he had a quote?  Surely he was a scientist or something and knew something we all didn’t.  I imagined a man sitting there with a giant calculator and a notebook trying to exact the least amount of minutes one would have for fame.

Next thing, my mind flitted to the amount of times I had been mentioned in the local newspaper.  There was that time my third grade class was featured because we all dressed up funny for school spirit week. That was probably about 6 seconds for every person who decided to read the paper that day and glazed over my name.  I knew everyone in class bought a copy so that was exactly 6 seconds times 30 kids and one teacher.  That is 3 minutes and 10 seconds off my fifteen minutes this Andy had guaranteed me.  Then there was the time I won an award in the science fair.

CRAP.

Sure it was great winning an award, but then there goes about another 3 minutes and 10 seconds of my fame, plus the time it took distant relatives to read the article which my family made sure to send them.

Within 5 minutes I had looked at my life like it was a cell phone plan, before there were cellphones.  I wasn’t worried that I wasn’t living, I wasn’t worried about finishing school, falling in love, making the coolest art, or writing the best paper.  As far as my 12 year old self was concerned I didn’t even have time for a bucket list.

I was too scared I had used up my minutes.

Lucky for me, there is more to life than fame.

What as something silly that you were afraid you had limited time on?

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