Thursday, April 8, 2021

Pandemic Waning


So, it's been a pandemic, ain't it?

I guess the last time I wrote was back in October, right after my Grandma had died. Just re-read that entry. There was so much I didn't want to say at the time, and probably a million things I could say now. I thought then that maybe by now things there would be a little easier and maybe they are but not exactly, since things here at home have been even harder, with the very recent passing of my father-in-law, who myself and my husband were daily, 24/7 caretakers for, after two months of very difficult decline and hospitals and blizzards and just...uncertainty. There was October, when I last wrote, then I guess my birthday, though I don't remember it well or feeling that attached to it like normal, then Christmas, then...more terrible stuff that Covid only aggravated.

I guess the reason that I'm coming here to write more things is really that I got an appointment for the vaccine today. For posterity's sake, that's like saying you happened to be on to get tickets to Rage at Lollapalooza in the Chicago area. It's getting better and by the end of April theoretically everyone should have easy access, but right now it's literally a "you have this spot for 15 minutes" scenario. 

I am extremely excited because holy hell, the vaccine! That it exists this quickly is a miracle, that it's working at such a high rate of effectiveness is so great, and that many of my friends and some of my family already have it is even better. I feel grateful to have gotten an appointment and I feel even more grateful that my appointment is somewhere I'm familiar with close to home, as a lot of folks I know who needed it more than I did ended up travelling three or four, even five hours away to get one. 

I don't love shots and doctor's visits, but I can do it. It's definitely not as bad as a biopsy, which I also did during the pandemic.

It's really, really been a pandemic, for reals. 

I kept seeing people post about getting scheduled for their first shots or showing pictures of them getting their first and second and they'd talk about how it brought up a lot of feelings. I was like "other than YAY?" what is there?

Turns out there's a lot.

Life CHANGED. I mean, changed. In so many profound ways. People keep talking about hugs and I guess that's sorta where I get all the feels.

Because, there were some BIG hugs I missed out on. 

I'm very glad to be able to hug my family again, my aunts and uncles and nephews and of course, my mom, but it also reminds me of the hugs I didn't get to give. I think most notably, my grandma. Right after that, I think of my mom and being able to hug her or even just share a room six feet apart at the hotel instead of being in strange little pods. After that, my husband, who I was very fortunate to get to hug throughout but who I couldn't hug or even have with me when I got my very first biopsy when i had a skin cancer scare this past summer.

I think of the panic attacks. 

I think of ALL the people that died.

I think of all the ways it messed up all the hospital things with her and my FIL even more, and made things even harder. The no visitors, the two visitors, the one visitor. All the scary calls. 

I'm anxious about shot things and side effects. I'm anxious about people refusing to get the vaccine. I'm anxious about how anxious I'll feel getting into social situations that haven't been even legally allowed--large groups. I attended a press event at the beginning of March but those are already underpopulated and it was in a HUGE building. 

What WILL it be like to be in a room with friends again, or at a convention, or inside a restaurant? Obviously, this isn't something that'll happen right away, and at least around here, COVID numbers are going up again because people aren't taking it as seriously anymore because for some reason the existence of the vaccine make some people think it's over.

Then again it's easy to slide once you're safe isn't it?

I want to be vigilant as ever, because I don't want to contribute to the reason someone else loses a family member and I've seen the things COVID does to a person--live on Facebook, even, even if it doesn't kill them.

Things have changed about me and how outspoken I am. I've gone way past the point of trying to hide in a sort of neutral nest. It started with Trump getting elected and it's been even more clear how dangerous that is with the pandemic. There's a lot of resentment and anger that are less under the surface than they were, and a lot of tough realizations.

But here we are at the beginning of another side, right? A new day? Trying to get out on the other side. It's not going to be unscathed, but...there's hope. And maybe that's the feeling I'll choose to have when I go get my first shot in six days. 

Monday, October 5, 2020

Just...Shut up


So, it's been just over two weeks since my Grandma died. Obviously I have no time for vague intro paragraphs or "it's been a minute" commentary anymore. I've been so sure I'd write a ton about it. I had so many deep internal conversations with myself about this before and after it was reality. I could recite all the stages of grief and recognize them in others. I always wondered what it would be like to do it linearly--grieve like a normal person does. Why? Because the only other gaping hole in my life was losing my dad, but I was too young to remember that. Which makes that grief alienating and strange and not at all linear, since you first have to have a concept you're missing something and then through growing up realize what a big thing it was you were missing. 

I always KNEW what a big thing my grandmother was in my life. Because she was just always there--a lot of times physically. I stayed at her house when my mom was working, in the summers--and throughout most of my life if I didn't actively live with her I was only a short drive away. I always knew her as this placid place of calmness and serenity and this safe space, because to me she was all those things all the time. I know her to be more, in being an adult and realizing the things she had to go through and deal with--but it didn't ever touch that puffy little cloud land she and I occupied when we were together. 

I think the first thing I said to myself, as I was driving up to Minnesota knowing things were about to change, was that it felt like a million lights went out at once. It hadn't even happened yet, and it already felt like the world I knew was gone, and I was in the dark alone. That's no one's fault, save maybe a president who isn't acting like COVID is a thing, but it's the way it felt.

I titled this whole thing "Just shut up" because it's how I feel. Every time I go to say something about grieving or my grandma or something, I just feel like somewhere, someone's rolling their eyes or getting mad about what I'm saying or something. I don't know why I feel this way, but I do. 

I also feel like I have to clarify and defend everything I say. And I also feel angry and compelled to say things like "Could no one that knew me and by association knew my grandma take five minutes out of their day to send a damn card?" 

Because I do feel that way. I read so many things about how lonely grief is and I'm only understanding it now. 

And I thought, even on the way out to Minnesota, that I'd want to talk more. Write more. Reach out to people more. I did some of that, and some of it helped at the moment, but I feel...shut up right now. I don't feel like people. I don't feel like talking. I don't feel like explaining how I feel and I still don't feel like entertaining the thoughts about how I'm feeling right now cuz sometimes I've got a handle on it and sometimes I don't. 

And it's not linear. I jump from teary to angry to numb and back again in the same 30 minute period. I'm older than a lot of people who've experienced this kind of loss and I didn't realize what it was like at all. It's not like the grief over my dad wasn't real or profound, it's just that it is a very unique type of loss that not many have charted the path out of before. Or maybe they have and I just didn't know.

I don't know. I want people to come surround me and be my support system because I want to know that there are other safe places and other good things in the world besides her that still exist here, but at the same time, 1: COVID and 2: I really really feel shut up by my own "choice" in a way. I know I want to feel loved, but I'm also afraid to feel loved because I don't feel like I have much to give back right now and I'm trying to save that for my husband and family. That, and I'm prone to feeling really resentful for things I later realize aren't as big a deal as I thought. 

I was already struggling and trying to find a way to take back my life in meaningful ways and get things accomplished and this threw me for the biggest loop ever. And like, maybe it shouldn't have because loss is inevitable. 

I find myself feeling like a child again, and not in good ways, though I am also craving stupid things like tiny little cereal boxes and 90s movies that will bring me back to a place I felt like I didn't have to know what I was doing and everything was okay. I feel like I should've known more or done more or been more. 

I got a job recently that will have me out photographing parks in the fall, and it's an exciting development, and just in testing out my abilities, I've found not only can I do it, but I need it right now. I played outside a LOT as a kid, at my grandma's and at home--and everywhere else I could. Lots of forts and adventures and skinned knees and stories...and smells. 

Fall is one of those things that comforts me. Wet leaves and crisp cold air remind me of wonderful things--more recently, including the amazing and beautiful wedding we had up in Door County 2 years ago. The colors were peak, and it was cold, but everyone was there. There were people who weren't there that it hurt weren't, and people I always thought would be there, but in the end, everyone who was there was the perfect group to be there. And she was there. And I am so lucky she was.

I'm also so lucky that she got to see the person I picked to be with, and to know him. I'm so glad she got to see me take his hand and put the ring on it and stand out there, in the fall, feet sinking into the ground in the third pair of shoes I'd try to make work on a damp fall day, and say I promise. 

So, being back in the fall air thinking of those things--helps. It helps to find the beauty in the moment and try to shove that in where all the sad is leaking out. 

I do not feel right, or good, or happy save for on the surface of a "good" day right now, but I also know that's probably to be expected. 

I feel more vulnerable but I want to be more transparent.

I feel ... a lot of things I don't really know how to put anywhere, and that's why I'm just shut up. 

If you're reading this, thanks for caring, and I'm sorry I don't know what to do from here. I guess you just keep trying.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Flip It--aka "No One is a Potato"

It's time for a new year. I haven't been around this blog since July. Normally I'd go on and on about how guilty I felt about it and blah blah self care etc. I'm not going to do that, because this time, I didn't feel ANYTHING about  having not done it.

And that, my friends and family and whoever else falls on these words--is no bueno. That's scary. I didn't miss it, even though I love writing. It's because, especially in these last 3 months, I let negativity rule my life. We started October with a trip to the hospital for my FIl that turned into a really long stay that turned into a bunch of aftercare. In November, after that died down, me and the hubs got sick. I went to Minnesota for my birthday and to see my grandma before it got super snowy, which was awesome, but I came back and the hubs was sick, and we were both "recovering" for our birthday celebration plans for me together at Chicago TARDIS, but have not actually managed healthy since then, at least not for long. It's some sort of upper respiratory virus thing happening and it will NOT LET GO. In fact, the hubs has had it bad for two weeks now, and I've been mostly ok with a side of malaise, but in the past two days I've been pretty sick, which makes sense since I have to work on NYE. Great.

Even before that, and if you go back to my last post here though, things weren't okay. I didn't feel like me, and I didn't know how to find me. I'm happy to say that some of that is coming back, but it's also what prompts this post.

People say New Year's resolutions are stupid, blah blah blah, if you wanted to change you wouldn't need to wait til the 1st, and I agree. BUT if you wanted to change you could change on the first, dammit! And it's not like the 1st is what matters anyway-it's every step after.

Anyway, I've got a resolution, and it's because I need one badly--whether it was May 27th or right now, December 31st.

I need to flip it.

I've been an asshole, for one. I've neglected responsibilities I had, I've been a bad steward of things I was supposed to be watching over, and when people have made me angry, I've been angry back. And ok, you can say I was depressed and sick and stressed and there were other things going on--those are all good excuses, but I know, especially as we're all looking back, I could have done more. I've also been of the mindset at times that if you're an asshole to me, you're gonna get it back.

Well, I retire as the asshole.

As it occurred to me in the shower yesterday when I was trying to make my lungs do their thing so I could y'know, live, I need to flip it. I need to turn the bad habits, bad vibes and bad feelings from 2019 on their head--for the good of everyone--to be a better friend, wife, person, photographer, writer, editor and just...human.

I need to really, really focus on flipping it.

If someone's going to be the asshole to me, I want to be able to think beyond momentary anger at what's actually going on, and either come back intelligently and respecting myself and them, or disengaging respectfully.

I want to take the pain I felt being ghosted by people in 2018 and use it to fuel a return to the garden to tend for the friendships I've been bad at tending to.

I want to take the frustration of feeling totally unappreciated and turn it around to help the people around me feel appreciated and motivated--and if the water rises, won't all ships float?

I want to be a better support system for friends and family instead of lamenting that I feel unsupported. Y'know, be the change and all that.

A harder thing on this list is something that came out of our holiday party. I want to stop letting myself be the only potato in the world.

I work as a photographer--it's my job to catch people at their best as performers. I take tons of frames of each person's performances and go through each one. Every one of those people are beautiful. Every one of those people pulls faces sometimes though, too, or stands weird, or doesn't have a "perfect" anything...but oh my god, what I've learned as a photographer is that both sexy and beautiful are FROM THE INSIDE.

You've gotta feel it, and be confident in it, to actually be able to convey it. You've gotta be out there doing you, not thinking of the technicalities or negativity, and if that's happening, I guarantee you're at your prettiest.

Now see, I have to make that my thing.

Because, despite having said it, and having felt it even, I didn't even post my wedding photos online. I have major body issues. I need positivity. I need to stop hiding. I need to remember, as I said to a friend, "No one is a potato." I guarantee I could get a shot of everyone looking beautiful. It' s about happy and confident and secure, and I need to get those things.

That means I need to dress-for ME. Makeup, for ME, and do me things for me--without neglecting the people I love the most, because that reflects me too.

I need to take the things I do and love and reignite my passion for them.
And I need to post my damn wedding pictures. Because it was the best day of my life, my dress was gorgeous, and I felt beautiful.

You hold me to this.
I want to be BACK in 2020, above all.
Flip it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

I'm Really Really Really Mad

I feel a little bit better having said it.

It’s an Animaniacs song. Takes the edge off it, right? I’m writing tonight for me, and I’m not throwing it to social but I am leaving it out there for people to find if they dig, because it’s my prerogative.

It’s been brought to my attention that I’m an angry person these days.I was like, “Nah, I’m not angry. Not most of the time. I’m only angry when there’s something to be angry about” and I dismissed it. But, I just spent some truly, truly quiet isolated time with just myself, no phone, no people, cats, house, radio, lights, power...and I think maybe I am angry. I think there is underlying anger there. And once I thought about it a little more (amazing what true silence and distraction-free zones will do for you, insert DUH WE TOLD YOU SO HERE) I think the only way for me to kinda...break free from it a little is not to keep it to myself anymore.

So. Here’s things I’m mad about. I’ll probably be vague about some and you (whoever you are) will have to deal with it and specific about others. And, while I’m feeling angry still, I”m going to put this caveat here: DO NOT MAKE THIS A BIG DEAL WITH ME. Okay?

If you see this post, and if you are like “woah, maybe she’s really messed up, I should probably butt in with my opinion of how much help she needs/why she’s wrong/you upset me cuz i think you’re talking about me” this is NOT for YOU. I’m not posting names, this isn’t a Mean Girls burn book, and I am not asking for anyone to armchair psychologist me. This is not a reason to call my mother and have a heartfelt talk with her about the horrible mental state of her daughter, and it’s not a reason to treat me differently. I’m putting it “out” here, partially because there’s relative low risk. If I don’t put it on Facebook or Twitter, it’s unlikely anyone who isn’t for some odd reason subscribed will see it, at least til much later, and then it’ll be...better? We hope?

There’s enough “out there” to make it feel like I’m not keeping it inside, with enough “no one is probably reading this” to make me bold enough to put it out there.

And I’m stalling.


I’m mad because....

Because someone hurt my mother, who was EVERYTHING to me. (She is, still, but like, everything WITH my husband, now.)

Because I had a person who at least semi-legally, was my father, who is totally, completely gone from me. And it is not my fault.

I’m mad because I was a secret.

I’m mad because I let myself be a secret.

I’m mad because I was in someone’s fan club when they were truly a best friend of mine.

I’m mad because I stayed in someone’s fan club, supporting them through really damn scary stuff, only for them to just not blink an eye when there was no contact.

I’m mad because I was ALWAYS the person to do alll the freaking contacting for every relationship all the time.

I’m mad because I laughed when people were like “we’d never get together if it wasn’t for you” when I really felt like being like “WHY?”

I’m mad because because I was mad about that, I’ve probably ruined some relationships I wish I wouldn’t have, since I generally just gave up on it, in cases I shouldn’t have. I made some new friends that now feel like missed chances because I just don’t follow up. And it bled into family stuff, and while some of my family doesn’t really reach out to me, I feel like there’s a lot of burden to bear there too.

I’m mad because I didn’t know about some of my more toxic qualities until way later than I should have figured it out, and I don’t know exactly what to do to fix that.

I’m mad because my hairdresser told me since I was 10 how excited for my wedding she was, and how she’d be there and do my hair, and wouldn’t it be great and lovely and wonderful, and what a joy it would be to meet my future husband. He would be so handsome and smart and amazing and it would be so awesome. Then, she ghosted me and my mom, didn’t show up to my shower, didn’t return any phone calls and to this day has more or less acted like I didn’t exist.

I’m mad because all the father figures in my life always went away. And one of the ones that I thought was the best, too, and who supported me through so much of my life, and who said, like the hairdresser, that he couldn’t wait to meet my future husband, and that he and his wife had a song to sing at my wedding, and who called me his daughter, had to work on my wedding day and couldn’t make it. Yeah, the wedding invites went out late, but something about that didn’t sit right with me. Or the people who actually love me. Or the people whose weddings he did show up to, who were skinnier and prettier and oh wait, who I introduced to them.

I’m mad because skinnier, prettier people are always so much more damn popular.

I’m mad that I let people (yes, people) tell me that I should understand why we weren’t together/dating/right for each other because “you’re not exactly a supermodel.”

I’m mad because I know that I still get marginalized because of my pants size by people that I work with or talk to and I know it’s happening but I pretend it isn’t.”

I'm mad because I taught myself I don't matter when I gave away everything I had to people who would just as soon never talk to me until it's convenient for them, and who NEVER gave of themselves what I did to them.

I’m mad because I don’t do enough.

I'm mad because I don't do enough for others now. Family, friends, husband, house. I don't do enough. Work. I could do more. I could do so much more, but i'm so ANGRY.

I’m mad because I still forget things ALL THE TIME.

I’m mad because I made so much effort to get organized and start doing better things for myself, and every time I try something awful happens.

I’m mad every time I lose something and someone in my house/family/friends cirlce laughs like “of course”

I’m mad because, guess what? I have ADHD. I just do.

I’m mad because some people will never believe that.

I’m mad because I have more anxiety now than I ever had.

I’m mad because I don’t now help the people I desperately wanted to help with their anxiety, instead, it just makes me anxious.

I’m mad I didn’t take my mom’s advice or learn from her better how to do chores and clean and run a house, because I’m overwhelmed now.

I’m mad because I am lazy.

I’m mad because I could do better.

I’m mad because I gave away a lot of myself.

I’m mad because I don’t feel like I can like the things I like without someone telling me why the hell I shouldn’t like it.

So here it is, all the stupid stuff I like: I like makeup. I like to wear it, I don’t care if it’s not healthy for my skin, or you don’t like it, you think it’s a waste of money. I like to travel. I like stupid tv shows, like stuff on HGTV, Teen Mom and whatever. Rot your brain or whatnot, sometimes I like that. I like any kind of artistic reality tv show, most of the time. I like taking baths. I like driving, especially alone at night in the summer with the windows down. I like to write. I love Chicago, all of it. I love Chicago so much that I daydream about what it would be like if I’d ever lived there. I love New Mexico, and I know I drove everyone nuts about that one, but the desert felt like a piece of me I didn’t know was missing. I like craft beer. I love photography. I love Doctor Who, and yes, I’ve only seen new Who even though I plan to change that. I love Star Trek. I love every single Marvel movie and I’ve said I didn’t before just to fit in. I just like them, canon or not canon. I like Buffy. I like Splatoon very much, and racing games, and I like Tetris. I like lots of sad solo player walking simulator games I hardly ever get to play. I like dancing games and videos. I used to love doing Darrin’s Dance Grooves and I would love to get my hands on Just Dance and do more Beat Saber, even though it embarasses me that I like it. I like to cook. I love the water. I love to swim, and I think, if anyone would get off my case about why that in particular is how I’d like to work out, that I’d work out a LOT if it was just in a damn pool. I like staying in hotels, even if the hotel is in Gurnee and it’s just for a night. I just like it. I love sushi and Thai food and spicy food.

I’m also mad because people insist i should check out/do/eat what they like, and never do the same for me.

I’m mad because I feel like I’ve tried really hard.

I’m mad because I know I haven’t tried hard enough.

I’m mad because I hurt the people I love.

I’m mad because I can’t stop being mad.

I’m mad because I’ve already ruined so much being mad.

I’m mad because I feel lonely.

I’m mad because I’m scared and stressed and lost sometimes.

I’m mad because I always feel like I’m playing catchup.

I’m mad because I don’t feel like stuff is mine sometimes, even though a lot of it is me not taking something and making it mine.

I’m mad because I feel like I don’t do the things that I want to do or like to do, and I can’t just say that I don’t want to do things or don’t like a thing. I know I should but I don’t or I can’t or I do and it’s later and I’m REALLY mad and then I blow up.

I’m mad that I have such a bad temper sometimes, and that I explode the way I do.

I’m mad that my body hates me, and that PMDD is a real thing, and that I have it.

I’m mad that there is so much terrible injustice in the world right now.

I’m mad that people don't’ treat people like people just because they don’t have a piece of paper that says they were born here.

I’m mad because an idiot is in the White House blowing up the country and people are worshipping him like he’s the Messiah.

I’m mad because a pedophile racist white supremacist narcissist dangerous terrifying uneducated entitled delusional wannabe dictator is in the White House.

I’m VERY angry that people I knew to be kind and good people support him--there is NO GOOD IN HIM.

I’m angry that I was fed lies my whole life.

I’m angry that the “Christian Right” that thinks we’re all being unfair to the aforementioned terror is the same “Christian Right” that shuns girls who break their chastity vows, or gay people, or people who got an earring (My stepfather almost lost his position in a Scouts-esque program because my BROTHER GOT AN EARRING) and drink and listen to *gasp* secular music, let a guy who’s like “Grab ‘em by the pussy, shithole country, send them back” and are like “you guys, God anointed him”

I’m mad when I see teachers who helped me learn kindness grace and dignity post memes on Facebook that show people in hijabs or keffiyeh and talk about how THEY hate America and THEY were responsible for 9/11 and THEY should leave when those teachers were the ones who went to MISSIONARY BANQUETS and talked about how the whole world was full of God’s people who HE LOVED EQUALLY and they’re okay with those people’s KIDS DYING IN CAGES.

I’m mad because I was too scared to post my wedding pictures because I didn’t feel like my body was good enough and now I feel like it’s too late.

I'm mad because whenever I type a thing like this that I really need to type there's a typo I don't catch til later and it makes me feel stupid.

I’m mad because I’m so damn mad.

And …I feel a little better now that I've said this.

Monday, July 1, 2019

My Girl

This is my girl. This was my girl. Full disclosure, I'm gonna cry my whole way through this post, but I also know I haven't written it yet but it needs to be written. You probably (if you know me on social media or IRL) know that Ana, my kitty road warrior and constant companion of 14 years, has been struggling for a month or two with very aggressive hyperthyroidism. If you're not sure what that's like, let's just say awful. They lose tons of weight, strength, lose their fur, get dehydrated...

The worst of it came when we discovered that in the space of 48 hours she'd lost the ability to jump up on the sink, and the aggressive hair loss came right along with it. We took her to the vet, they upped her dose, but in the end, even though the numbers came down, and even though we had her on meds, fluids, calorie supplements, and appetite stimulants, the tumor she had that caused HT (which is nearly always caused by a tumor, usually benign) was malignant (or it's suspected that's the case). Though she had been steadily improving she suddenly crashed. On Friday instead of her regular checkup, it was time to say goodbye to her. I knew it could be it, and I even thought she sorta "told" me the night before, but I was not remotely ready. She went peacefully, after I got to hold her for a solid half hour or 45 minutes while we did everything else we could to see if there was more we could do.

She was so so loved. She was so unique and beautiful.

Ana came to me via a friend, right after my cat Markie had passed--within the week. She was a surprise. At first, I didn't think I was ready. Markie was my first "very own pet." I was devastated to lose him so suddenly, and I didn't know if I could bond with a new pet so soon.

But Ana stole my heart. She was a screechy, fluffy, sassy spitfire from day one. She fell asleep trying to cross the room because she was tiny and four weeks old, but she also scaled our recliner to stick her face in cheesecake later that day--a feat we had no idea she was ready for.

Ana slept in bed with me like a teddy bear. She had a phase where she hung out in a fish bowl.

She moved from Illinois to New Mexico with me. It was a 24 hour road trip over two days, and my little road warrior sat shotgun, in a harness. She daintily used the litter box in the far back of my Jeep before I could even open it up, as if to say "I'm good, let's do this" and she didn't cry until she got to Texas (she just never liked Texas.)  When I got into the hotel in Oklahoma and cried my heart out because I had no idea what I'd just done moving all this way away from everyone, she crawled out from where she was hiding to come snuggle me.

If I was sick, she was there. She lived with Muffy and Spike in Los Alamos, and learned to be in a multiple cat household. Muffy used to sorta mother her while she was still young and silly. She lived in Socorro with a big silly Maine Coon named Rafiki, and picked a fight and got a notched ear, but eventually learned she couldn't be top dog everywhere. She moved BACK from New Mexico to Illinois with me, and lived in Deerfield. She moved back to Libertyville, too.

She started to be known as safety cat--she had a strong need for things to be safe for us. Don't go in that shower thing! that's WATER!!! The storm is crazy! You're making loud noises, is it safe?

When I had my sudden onset kidney infection alone, and was trying to sleep it off since I didn't know what it was, she was VIOLENTLY trying to wake me up and yell at me not to do that. She might even have saved my life with that. She did the same violent yelling when a wind shear hit our town. I was sleeping, home sick from work, and she wouldn't stop crying. I woke up just in time to see some branches fly by our window, scoop her up and run to the basement. She ALWAYS looked out for me.

When I worked three jobs and lived by myself and knew no one in the area, I'd come home from work, feet aching enough to make me cry, lonely as hell, and talk to her. I think that's when she learned to say "Wah?" which was a phrase she uttered often from then on. I'm pretty sure she was imitating me saying "what?" It was her favorite little phrase. When you talked, she'd say "WAH!" back, padding after you to talk more.

She got extra treats from my grandma, and table food when Mom wasn't looking and we all three lived together again. She got extra treats from Mom and table food when I wasn't looking.

She was camera shy and in lots of pictures was yawning, making it look like she was yelling all the time.

Once, she got in trouble with the cops. They were at our first apartment in Libertyville telling us about an adjacent building's problem with squatters, and the officer stopped and said "We have a petty thief, too!"

As he'd been talking to us about safety and the situation, he'd been watching Ana stuff hair ties, milk caps, pens and stuff into a stash we didn't know she had behind a heavy walnut desk my mom had. The officer helped us move back the desk, and we found...somewhere near 50 hair ties, pens, pencils, little caps she got from places, a few cat toys and various other small things.

Years later, she stole 25 dollars in cash AND a Christmas card meant for my cousin Mindy and stashed it in her new stash under a sofa. We didn't find it for months, and when we did it had nice little kitty cat chomp marks on it.

When I had E. coli, and was sick as hell for days, she was beside me. When I cried about boys or friends or anything, she was there, even though she wasn't always the cuddly type to anyone else or e even to me all the time.

She loved to snap her jaws at drips in the bathtub.

She LOVED cheese. Cheese pizza, cream cheese. After all, she'd chosen cheesecake to steal on her very first day with us, like I said. You could have all sorts of great table food but if there was no cheese, no deal. (Girl after my own heart)

She made another move in with me to Round Lake with my now husband. She REALLY loved him--and she hadn't liked nearly anyone as much as him, no matter how good of a friend they were to me. They bonded even closer when I left to visit my mom in Minnesota the first time after I moved there, and became besties. Sometimes I was even a little jealous of their relationship. If I woke up before him, she'd insist I let her back in to sleep on the bed next to him, instead of hanging out with me. If the other cats fought or if something unsafe was potentially happening, she was there.

In fact, she loved him so much, that when she slept in my arms like a teddy bear at night if he was next to me, she would reach out one paw to make sure she was touching him, too.

I know I've written a lot and I've told only a fraction of the Ana stories I could tell. She was a wonderful companion. The last month was so so hard. It was painful and time consuming and heartbreaking and stressful. But I would do that for ten more years just to have done right by her.

She's not my only pet--we have a whole family of them. But she certainly went through hell and back with me, had great adventures with me, and adapted to a lot of new situations, like a pro. She loved me and she loved the people I loved. I will always be grateful for the type of immense love and companionship she provided to me, every day.

It's still hard to see her stuff around, and see where the tent we used to help her recoup in was. It's hard when I realize it's 12:30 twice a day and that's her med time, and when I don't have a vet appointment for fluids anymore. It's hard to know she'll never sleep in my arms again, and we won't be taking any more road trips. I know what we did was the best thing for her, and I'm so grateful for the true tenderness that her vet Dr. Hart showed for her on her last day, and my husband right beside me. She was so fragile this past little bit I'd barely got to hold her, but on Friday, I held her for the better part of an hour, as close to my chest as possible. I held her every moment til her last, and I will never think of that as anything but a blessing, despite it wrecking me every time I think about it, say it or type it here.

She was a good, good girl.
Pets are family.
They're something more, too. They're unconditional love and support, without having to speak a word.

I loved you, Anastacia (Shaw) Bokor. I always always will.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

2019, man.


Since we got married....which was a mere 7 months ago...
There's been a pet death
car accident that totalled my car
a pet stroke
a pet who suddenly got very ill with hyperthyroidism
a cancer scare
a MAJOR house repair
several hospitalizations with my FIL including one that lasted about a week over Easter
my own personal health struggles
day to day caretaking of someone with major health problems

and...the rest of life.

In case you ever wondered why I'm such a flake/not around/etc.

There are no less than five billion things going on in my life at once. And I'm still trying to grow a writing and editorship career while growing a photo business when I'm not trying to learn how to handle being an adult homeowner with my husband.

I have NOT done everything I could to get organized and take things on in a timely manner, and am in fact writing this instead of doing something I should be doing, but I am very much trying to adopt better habits so the future is a little less ...exciting in bad ways.

I'm here. We are making it work, little by little, with bumps in the road but vowing to keep going.
In case anyone wondered.

I'm surfacing.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Day One Comes Around Again

If you mean to do a thing but you don't, don't give up forever. Start again. Do the thing. Make it Day One all over again and watch them accumulate if you keep trying.


Here is a thing. I wrote it. I decided I wanted to put it out there, and I decided more writing all around will help me be me better, so I'm back here at the ol' Blogger blog.

Now I'm gonna be quiet and type the thing I wrote on my phone a week or two ago.

Lift your head up
There's sky and rain and road
And the smell of wet pavement after a warm rain
And places you can go outside four walls
where you can walk free in any direction
and find yourself in mortal peril
in alien soft white sand

amongst the armored beautiful
who shout down the storm,
glitter, as they shift under moonlight
to disappear and rise
transformed with the dunes

To sail on the wind
 to the immovable face
of the hardest stone
and whisper change.

"You will break."
you will say
and leave the silence that remains
to float back on a breeze
in sparkling brilliance
And rise again in the moonlight