Cats are Liars

Today started the same as most mornings.  I rolled out of bed and walked towards the bathroom with Gonzo darting back and forth between my feet, acting like a crazy muthayouknowwhat.  Each and every day I must become alert quickly or risk tripping over my fat cat and face planting on the hardwood floors.  No matter how many times I politely tell Gonzo that if I fall on my face I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO FEED HIM, he doesn’t seem to believe me.  That or he wants to kill me.  I’m not sure which.

What I do know is that I’ve never in my life seen a cat as obsessed with food as Gonzo.  Our other two cats, Lucy and Lono, can skip a meal quietly, while Gonzo is a compulsive eater who will follow me around the house meowing non-stop until he is fed.  It’s like he is possessed by the Devil until he eats.  And I’m his bitch.  Yep, that’s me … The Devil’s Bitch, who can’t even pee in peace until his needs have been met.

It's a trap ... Gonzo's begging pose.

It’s a trap … Gonzo’s begging pose.

This morning the Devil didn’t like the new food I bought at Target yesterday.  I was too lazy to make a stop at the usual store and since I was already at Target, I thought why not?  Why not indeed.  After agonizing for a good five minutes, reading labels and comparing prices, I chose a grain-free all-natural bag that cost me too damn much.

Especially since not one, not two, but all three cats turned their noses up at it. After that Gonzo followed me around the house non-stop.

Gonzo:  Meow.  Bad food!  Meow.  Seriously lady, do you hear me?  Bad food!  Meow.

Me:  Shut the hell up, Gonzo, Lucas is asleep.

Gonzo:  Meow.  Meow.  Meow.  Meow.

Me:  Oh.  My.  Gah.

After about an hour I couldn’t take it anymore.  I realized without a doubt that Gonzo would not cave before I did or suddenly realize that the food in his bowl was actually, you guessed it … food!  So I put on my shoes, hopped in the car and paid even more money for the usual grain-free all-natural cat food.

And all was right in the world.

Except I’m pissed because later I fed some of the “bad food” to the stray cat who lives in our backyard and he liked it just fine.  My cats are liars.

Burnt Toast

As many of you already know, I had neck surgery (ACDF C5-C6) about two and a half weeks ago.  My recovery is going pretty well.  I’ve had good days and bad days, but mostly just really really boring days.  The majority of my time has been spent on the couch, surfing the internet or watching tv.  I loaded my kindle full of books before the surgery, but haven’t turned it on once … which is probably a good thing because my attention span and ability to retain information has been awful lately.  I’m off most of the medication at this point, but still need a vicodin here and there.

Which is probably why I burned toast yesterday.  Not once.  Not twice.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, three times.  That’s probably a record.  I mean, who does that?!  In my defense it was my first attempt at cooking a whole meal post-op.  All that I’d done prior to this was make a batch of guacamole and my own birthday cake with hideous pink frosting (also an example of poor judgment).  So I’m at least capable of doing one thing at a time, but trying to make toast, eggs baked in tomato cups and some bacon was apparently far too much for my goofy ass at this point.  Lucas actually said “maybe you shouldn’t cook again until you’re off the meds”.  Because I didn’t just serve him burnt toast.  Nope.  I also baked the eggs too long.  Destroyed them.  They were beautiful before going into the oven, which I shall forevermore call “that goddamn egg killer”.  No, I am not projecting. Continue reading

Marilyn

I am no longer anyone’s granddaughter.

The last of my grandparents, the last of my parent’s parents, is gone.

As usual, with the passing of a loved one, I find myself looking at family and friends, feeling a sense of wonderment for the way one single person can touch so many lives.  What she meant to each of us, the different roles she played in our lives.

Marilyn was my grandmother.  She was so very much my grandmother that it is hard for me to call her Marilyn.  She is grandma.  That is how I have always known her.  But first, she was a daughter.  A sister and a friend.  A wife and a mother.  A beautiful woman, who loved her family and God very deeply.

Although I am now 35, most of the memories I have of my grandmother are through a child’s eyes.  Sadly, there is a disconnect.  Perhaps because of the 50 year age difference, but more than likely because as I got older I saw my grandparents less and less.  Alas, the regrets we have when time runs out.

But thanks to her I will always, always have …

Christmastime in Kansas City.  It was pure magic as a child, even if a bad case of strep throat kept me up long enough to discover Santa Claus did not exist.

That crazy Spring Break ice storm.  Giant icicles everywhere!  I had never seen anything like it before, or since.

Roller skating around and around the basement with siblings and cousins, calling each other names.  “Nerd.”  “Turd.”  “Nerd.”  “Turd.”  “Nerd.”    Round and around.  The basement door opened and grandma looked down at us with her arms crossed, eyelids fluttering faster than a hummingbird’s wings, her voice shaking, “Do you know what a turd is?!”.  Well of course YOU all do, but I honestly didn’t at the time.  And I was shocked!  Stunned into silence because ohmigod did she just say THAT!? … until she shut the door and we were all reduced to fits of giggles.

Long summer days watching The Little Princess, The Secret Garden and my favorite, Anne of Green Gables.

The sound of her voice reading stories to me.  The sound of her voice singing hymns at church, confident and unwavering.

Shelves full of Lladro and other beautiful, delicate pieces I thought belonged in a museum.  I was a terribly clumsy child, so afraid I’d break something.

The smell of red wine, which as a child reminded me of communion, which made me think of the blood of Christ, which totally freaked me out.  Run away!

Scrabble.  I lost a lot of games, but discovered a love of words.

Grandma in the kitchen, the heart of her home.  Where I learned how to set a table properly, to keep my elbows off the table, to pass the salt without reaching across a million people and (of course) “no singing at the table, no whistling in bed or the boogie man will get you by the hair of your head”.  I can hear her now.

And let’s not forget the best meatloaf in the world.

Tejas

Ahh, Texas.  After 18 long, sad months, I am finally returning to my home state.

The next month will go by quickly, yet I am still anxious as hell and ready to go.  Last weekend we picked out the house we’ll be leasing and the movers will be here around the 20th of June.  The best part?  Don’t have to pack!  The movers will take care of everything.

And this time we will not (hopefully) drive in the rain for days, lock our keys in a moving van or get food poisoning!  Click here for the whole story.

I may miss Pittsburgh.  Maybe.  It is beautiful here, far more beautiful than Fort Worth will ever be.  And I’ve made a couple of good friends that I hope to keep in touch with.  But food?  Not so much.  Okay, okay.  Somehow Pittsburghers have perfected the french fry like you couldn’t imagine.  If you like meat and potatoes it would be the perfect food vacation destination for you.  Personally, I’m sick of it

Just the short weekend we spent house-hunting in Fort Worth left me drooling for more. Continue reading

My Head is Full of Tunnels

Happy Belated 2012!

Where have the days gone?  No, seriously?  It’s more than halfway through January, but somehow that doesn’t seem possible.  A few weeks ago we bought tickets for a short trip to Houston and at the time it seemed like February was never going to get here.  But it’s so close!

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, or so I keep reminding myself.  These tunnels are nasty little buggers and it seems like there are so many of them.  I find my way through one and I’m rewarded with beautiful moments, full of laughter and love and fun.  But then there is another damn tunnel.

Who makes these tunnels?

I guess I do, but I prefer to imagine tiny little dwarves inside my head, chipping away slowly and methodically.  Must be why I get the occasional migraine.  I just wish the bloody bastards would make the tunnels a wee bit more interesting.  Perhaps they could throw in an interesting curve every now and then? Continue reading

Niagara Falls

“Blame Canada!  Blame Canada!  They’re not even a real country anyway.” – South Park

On our way to Niagara Falls a couple of weeks ago, Lucas and I were stopped at the border crossing and questioned thoroughly.  We were then told to pull to the side so our vehicle could be searched.  As we stepped out of the truck I began to feel nervous.  I was concerned that my prescriptions would be a problem because they have a different name on them than what’s on my passport.  And then if I had to explain that the name on my passport isn’t actually my name anymore … would they let me in?!

But no, they weren’t worried about my name.  Or my klonopin.

When we heard the border patrol mention guns multiple times Lucas and I began to lighten up and laugh at the situation a little.  This caused one especially serious guy to look over at us and snap “if you have any guns it would be a whole lot easier if you just told us now.”  Continue reading

Pollyanna Walks at the End of the Movie and I’m Writing Again. Fuck Pollyanna!

You know those times in your life when it seems like your spirit is half-dead?  It’s hard to keep moving, damn near impossible to get out of bed and jeezus forget about taking a shower on a Sunday when you’ve got nowhere to go and no one to see?

Just about the whole past year has been like that for me (if these feelings are not part of your life experience, please pop this movie in your VCR and go away).

I have barely written.  And what’s that thing you do to burn calories?  Oh yeah, exercise?  Umm … not so much.  Also, cooking for one pretty much sucks. Continue reading

Spring & Stress, Margaritas & Martinis, Toons & Transformers

As Spring slowly approaches nature has begun to perform a coquettish dance right before my eyes.  The snow falls, only to melt quickly as warmer days pop up here and there.  When the snow melts the dark red earth is lit up brilliantly by the sun.  Greens and browns freckle the landscape, hopeful of things to come.  I fucking love those days.

But they are easily replaced by cooler temperatures and as the rain turns to snow, it once again covers the earth – hiding that which I love.  I am left feeling morose; stuck in a world of black and white.

But I am hopeful.  I long to see leaves budding on trees.  Flowers.  Hell, I even want to see other people’s toes again because it means the days have grown warm enough to wear flip-flops (I imagine this is still a ways off).  For days I have been daydreaming about hiking – fresh air, peanut butter sandwiches and making out next to a waterfall.  Yes, Lucas has been gone too long.

The last time he was in town I was drugged up on klonopin due to a ridiculous anxiety attack brought on by the stresses of work, loneliness and the complete inability to cope with my situation.  I’m feeling better, thanks to an attitude adjustment, yoga and yogurt.  May The Schwartz be with you.

But the time before that?  When I still thought I was a somewhat well-adjusted individual?  We spent a Saturday together exploring, eating and laughing with each other.

We started our day with lunch at Azul Bar y Cantina, a tasty little Mexican restaurant located in Sewickley.  We munched on homemade chips and salsa and then enjoyed some tacos along with three of the most incredibly delicious roasted jalapenos you could imagine (coated in salt!).  Their house margarita was on par with those I’ve had in Houston and we left giddy with happiness over finding a restaurant we really enjoyed. Continue reading

Penn Brewery

After moping around like a big loser for the past couple of months I finally decided to go out and try to make some friends.  The site meetup.com was recommended to me by someone so I got online and applied for membership with a group of women who are not native to the Pittsburgh area.

They had a meetup tonight at the Penn Brewery, the first craft brewhouse in Pennsylvania.  I arrived about fifteen minutes late because I got lost.  If it was up to me I would have driven all the way to Harrisburg, but common sense hit me.  Okay actually I saw a sign that said Brewery <—.  And still made a wrong turn after that.

I was nervous at first, especially when I saw that the table was full, but someone quickly made room for me.  Within a few minutes I had a Penn Weizen in my hand and was chatting with everyone, thanking myself for showing up.

Because really?  I needed girl time like it was nobody’s business.

What is it about female relationships that are so important?  I love Lucas so freaking much, but there are certain needs that a guy simply doesn’t have the capacity to meet.  Just goofing off with women I hardly know awakened something in me that has been dormant for months.  I smiled.  Felt happy.  Hopeful.

The food?  Wasn’t even important.

Why I Will Never Really Love Pittsburgh

I never realized how spoiled I was growing up in a big city.  There was so much to do, but more importantly there was cultural diversity.

Pittsburgh ain’t all that.  And I know it’s bad when I get excited in the line at Chipotle because right there, in that very line, was the biggest melting pot I had seen in weeks.  An Indian couple in front of me, a black woman behind me.  Wait, was that it?  You see?  That was enough to impress me.

This is a white ass city.  And yeah, I’m a white girl.  But I like color.  I like Chinatown, Long Point, Greenspoint (Gunspoint), Mission Bend, Hillcroft, Airline and all Six Wards of Houston.

I miss attempting my rusty Espanol at a taco truck.  The goofy smile on the face of the owner at Kim Tai as he corrects my pronunciation.  “Cám ơn”, he says.  “Gum on?”  I respond as he laughs once again, patiently sounding “thank you” out while I continue to butcher his language.  I should stick to food.

Almost everyone I work with is white.  There is not a single Jesus to make fun of.  Just Doug’s and Nancy’s and other boring ass names like Kelly.

The closest thing you get to culture here is the Polacks.  And those delicious pierogies.