Monday, January 28, 2008

Three little kittens

It's official — I'm no longer the crazy cat lady.

It started with one cat, like I'm sure it always does. Her name was Felix. Felix used to belong to my friend Lynn. Well, kind of. Lynn was dating Al, who was a bit manipulative. Lynn already had 2 cats and didn't want a 3rd. One day Lynn came home to find a little fluffy kitten. Al said that the kitten was found in the big garbage bin in the back alley. Lynn knew she couldn't say no to THAT and said they could keep it. They thought the kitten was male and they called him Felix. Later, 2 things proved to be false.
  • Felix was, in fact, a she. This was demonstrated nicely by Felix's pregnancy and subsequent litter of kittens.

  • Al had not found Felix in a garbage can, but had bought her at a pet store. Al made up the story because who can say no to a garbage can kitty?
Lynn's relationship with Al eventually dissolved (the dishonesty about the cat was just the tip of the iceberg) and Lynn always maintained a level of hostility towards Felix. When Al left, Lynn gave Felix to her roommate, who never took great care of her. So when another roommate, K, moved in, Felix became hers. K was my girlfriend at the time and when we moved in together, the two of us became Felix's new owners.

Felix was quite happy to finally have 2 devoted, cat-loving owners, but she seemed lonely so I got a tiny orange kitten for K for Christmas one year. The 4 of us cohabited relatively harmoniously, with Zen, the tiny orange kitten, growing into a big fat orange cat and Felix assuming the role of mom.

Then K and I acquired a 3rd cat - Lucy. Two people, three cats — we were inching towards crazy cat lady territory. But how could we say no to Lucy? Her owner had committed suicide and she had nowhere to go. Plus, she was the most affectionate, most adorable cat either of us had ever met. She was also really really bad. Of course, this meant that she quickly became our favourite.

After K and I broke up, K moved to another province and left all 3 cats with me. I discovered in a hurry that's a lot of cat for 1 person who wasn't home very often. So my friend Cake adopted Zen and, to my delight, is a wonderful owner. The other morning another friend came and adopted Felix and I really hope the 2 of them are doing well. But now my apartment feels empty with just Lucy and me. I miss the sound of 12 little feet galloping on the hardware floors. I miss the cat fights. I miss the little furry purring bodies walking in and around my ankles. I kind of miss being the crazy cat lady.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A place to keep my stuff

Do you develop irrational attachments to stuff, or is it just me? Big, small, expensive, cheap - it doesn't matter. It's as if the object becomes a sponge that soaks up all the circumstances and meaning that surrounds it and if I get rid of the object, I'll lose that experience. Here are some of the items to which I've been irrationally attached.
  • A pen. There was absolutely nothing special about this pen except that I liked the way it wrote. And then after it quit working, I continued to carry it around with me in my purse. People would ask if I had a pen and I would give it to them, forgetting it didn't work. Everyone was happy when I finally lost it. (The pen, that is. Not my mind. I managed to hang on to that.)

  • A 1991 Volkswagen Jetta I named Jetta the Hut (or Huttie for short). I don't have a driver's license but I did have a girlfriend with a car and I got very used to being driven everywhere. She would even wake up at 5:30 a.m. so she could get me to work in time for my 6:00 a.m. shift. Then someone hit the car and it was unfixable. I was quite sad to go back to the life of walking and taking public transportation everywhere, so I did what was obviously the rational thing and bought her a car. Oh gawd I loved that car. It was boxy and had a crank sunroof and when you put the key in the ignition, it played that little bit of La Cucaracha. It was in such good shape that wherever we would go, strangers would leave notes on our windshield saying that if we ever decided to sell it, we should call them. And then some 15-year-old without a license rear-ended us and the car was written off. When my girlfriend and I went to drop off the car, I was devastated. It was around the same time that we were breaking up and that car symbolized a whole lot of good times together. There were spontaneous car trips and make out sessions and jaunts around the city singing Paul Simon songs at the top of our lungs. As we walked away from the compound, I felt like I was losing all of our good memories and I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.

  • A piece of cement I picked up off the wall around the old part of Quebec City. I was there in 1995 for a month-long course on Quebec politics and I scooped it up one night while partaking in some herbal refreshments with friends. That's right - I got high and stole a piece of the wall around Vieux Quebec. I saw it as a big FUCK YOU to separatism. Eventually, it crumbled in my bag. (Is there delicious symbolism in that? Probably.)

  • A malachite pendant that I bought at the Vancouver Folk Festival. I had an fantastic time there watching all the hippie men wearing dresses and dancing in circles and all the non-straight couples making out under every tree. I saw Ani DiFranco and the amazing Utah Philips and a whack of others I can't remember. One day several months after I returned, I was showering. My sister moved my bath towel out of her way and put it on top of the some jewelry I had on the counter, including the necklace. When I reached from the tub and grabbed my towel, everything fell on the floor and my pendant broke. I was FURIOUS at my sister. I remember snarling at her that I felt like going and breaking something she really loved. She went crying to Mom that I threatened to smash her brand new $1300 flute because of something she didn't even do. Now, I never specified what it was that I wanted to break but to be fair, when I said those words I was picturing myself using her flute as a baseball bat. In my defense, I didn't say I would actually do it. Yes, sometimes I'm horrible. But you still love me, right?
I don't know why I do what I do. I'm not a new age type who believes in auras and energy and transference. I'm an intelligent atheist who knows better than that. However, I'm also a person who still hasn't thrown out those broken pieces of malachite.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Overheard through the cubicle wall

Marlene: Do you still have that shrimp dip recipe?

Bernadette: What shrimp dip?

Marlene: The shrimp dip you made.

Bernadette: That I made?

Marlene: Yeah, at your place that time.

Bernadette: Well, what was in it?

Marlene: I dunno. Shrimp?

Bernadette: Oh THAT one! Sure, I’ll bring it for you.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Beauty tips for 2008

I should be getting together my resume and cover letter so that I can quit my bitching about not liking my job and actually do something about it, but a rant is rolling around inside my head that I absolutely MUST obey.

I was at that panacea for modern ennui, Shoppers Drug Mart, standing in line and flirting a little with the woman in front of me. (Actually, were were just discussing my scarf, but I did smile a lot and I'm sure I batted my eyelashes at least once.) (Why yes, I did get my flirt training from a 1950s romantic comedy.) After we had exhausted our conversation topic ("Who knit your beautiful scarf?" "Uh, I don't know. I bought it at a store." "Where?" "Uh, I forget." "Oh. Excuse me but I think I will move away from you and do something terribly important over here. By the way, you have spinach in your teeth."), I turned my attention elsewhere. Nearby stood two 10- to 12-year-old girls flipping through fashion magazines, oohing and ahhing over the clothes and talking about how they needed to go on a diet this year.

It struck me that, without exception, all those colourful, glossy, enticing magazine are designed to make females feel simultaneously empowered and yet physically wrong in every way. "Lose weight in 2008! The secret may surprise you!" screamed the cutsie, rhyming headline. I felt like screaming at the girls, "Put those down and run! Love yourselves as you are!" (Then I remembered that one should not scream at other patrons if one does not wish to be kicked out of the store.) (Not that I speak from experience or anything.)

As I glanced from cover to cover I became increasingly madder. What kind of messed up society do we live in where we're told we can do and be anything we want...but first we have to shed those unwanted pounds, develop abs of steel, make our faces prettier, banish all blemishes, and find the man of our dreams, all so that we can be truly happy? Barf. So, to help combat the spread of stupidity, I present to you

Nat's Beauty Tips for 2008

  1. Hair too straight? Sigh. I know what you mean. But 32 years of wishing and hoping has not produced a single natural curl on my head. My advice? Get a really awesome hair cut that both works with your hair and that you LOVE and never let it go.

  2. Hair too curly? Gimee a break! Why would you not want curly hair? Thank the deity of your choice each and every day for your beautiful, wild, sexy curly hair.

  3. Eyes too small? Open them really wide and spray them with hairspray. This fuses together your eyelashes and your eyebrows. Or maybe just try to look startled all the time.

  4. Eyes too big? Squint a lot.

  5. Tired of doing battle with blemishes all the time? Know what? My mom is 53 and she still gets zits. Know what else? She's gorgeous. Not gorgeous-for-a-fifty-year-old. Just absolutely gorgeous. Zits do not equal ugly. Most people won't see them anyway - they're too busy staring at your boobs.

  6. Embarrassed by in-grown hairs in the bikini area? Take that as a sign that you shouldn't be removing hair from there. Trimming is a must (especially if you like to occasionally be munched), but waxing? Oh HELL no! And if your boy/girlfriend complains that your pubic hair is gross, tell them it's not as gross as their desire for you to look like a pre-pubescent child.

  7. Having trouble keeping up the ol' shaving routine? Try my routine: in the summer, shave once or twice a month; in the winter, shave once or twice all season. If the hair is getting a bit unruly, try braiding it. Everyone looks more attractive with a nice underarm French braid. Thumb your nose at a society that makes us feel disgusted at the appearance of our own body hair. Insead, feel disgust at something important, such as how unfair it is that poor Paris got jail time but that skank LiLo, like, totally didn't.

Those are all the tips I'm willing to share for now. Oh no, you don't have to thank me. But feel free to flash a smile my way and bat your eyelashes a few times (as long as they're not stuck to your eyebrows).

The ideal place for a neatly-trimmed bi chick

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

For auld lang syne, my dears

Before I went out on New Year's Eve, I began a blog post. It went like this:

For the first time ever, I'm feeling rather melancholic about the old year ending and the new year beginning. And I'm not really sure why. The transition from New Year's Eve to New Year's Day has always been about newness and excitement and fresh starts to me, never about regrets or sadness. Yet here I sit, sad and...what, exactly? I'm not sure. Maybe disappointed. Restless.

I listened to CBC Radio 1 today while I prepared appetizers that I'm taking to a New Year's party tonight. All the different shows have been about looking back at 2007 and even though it was a pretty crappy year, I felt myself yearning for the recent past. Remember that day at work when someone actually SPOKE TO ME? I wish I could relive that. Or what about the weekend I went out BOTH nights? Good times, good times.

Realistically, tomorrow is only one day away from today, but tonight represents the passing of an entire year. It's like I can see the inevitable forward march of time and I have a sense of the impermanence of everything. This is not some, "Oh no! I'm going to eventually die!" thing. My death has never bothered me. In fact, I welcome it. Life is so bloody tough and tiring and filled with sadness that it'll be nice when it's all finally over. No, this is not about
me getting older. It's about everyone and everything else fading away. Who knows if my beloved grandma will be around to celebrate Christmas with us next year? Who knows if I'll still be in my fabulous apartment? My job that I dislike? It's a hell of a lot better than nothing and maybe next year at this time that's what I'll have.

Then I ran out of time and had to get ready for my New Year's party. And know what? Something happened at that party. Even though I hardly knew anyone, I had fun. No, seriously - I had LOTS of fun. I underestimated the power of the following:
  1. Really nice people who, for some reason, think I'm cool and interesting
  2. Karaoke
  3. A litre and a half of red wine
I got unbelievably drunk but I never slipped into bad drunk territory. I sang many songs (Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Sweet Caroline, AND MORE!) and I'm sure I was awful at each one. I didn't care. The people were awesome and some were equally as bad. My cab ride home even made me feel good. I gave the driver a nice big New Year's tip and he beamed back at me, telling me that his last two pick-ups had been no-shows but I just made up for his bad luck. By the time I slipped stumbled into bed that night, I was eagerly anticipating the wonderful year 2008 was sure to be.

Looking back on the wild mood swings of my day, I have realized it's ridiculous how extroverted I am. Not in the sense that I'm outgoing (though there's lots of that, too) but more in the sense that I get my energy from interacting with other people. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love people. I love talking with them and learning about them and singing and dancing and drinking with them. I wish I didn't like people quite so much. It would be great to be one of those introverts who can get their personal power from withdrawing from the world. That way, even if I had no friends, I'd still feel worthy and complete.

Jeez. I spend a day with myself and my thoughts, and I'm gloomy and pessimistic and I wish I was dead. I spend the evening with friendly, outgoing, fantastic people and all of a sudden, the new year doesn't look so bleak. In fact, it looks positively fucking rosy. Ah well, I'll take it where I can get it.

So how about you? Did you have a great New Year's Eve or was it terrible? Are you anticipating 2008 with hope or with dread? Did you make any resolutions? I did. I resolve to be nicer to myself. Well, and other people, too. But mostly myself.

Since this is a bit of a yay-boo post, I'll leave you with something that made me sad and something that made me happy.

I think it's sad we have to put needle warnings like this on little travel sewing kits.

I think it's great that hoar frost still happens. It's even greater that it's still called hoar frost.