April 3rd, 2003

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Cruel Mary With Her Talk of Poetry and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and My Inner Sex Demon VS My Shyness

And here I thought I was done with my mad round of journal postings when I read this e-mail from my friend Mary - Mary of the recent birthday. First I was pissed off at her (not really) for writing to me about grilled cheese, which I would possibly kill something small and innocent for, and then I read this beautiful poem. She's such a good writer, this just has to be shared.

Oh Best Beloveds, in these troubled times, perhaps you will find solace in the knowledge that April, which begins tomorrow, is both National Poetry Month and National Grilled Cheese Month. It is entirely possible that judicious observance of both these occasions might bring about the wisdom needed to solve some of the world's hurts. Certainly, it will make us feel better for a few delicious minutes.

To this end, you can go to Clementine's, in Century City, where they are celebrating the Grilled Cheese month by serving a different combination sandwich every day. Or make your own: Thomas Keller of the French Laundry recommends white English Cheddar on brioche lightly brushed with clarified butter. Others say you can't go wrong with a combination of three cheeses (especially if one is gruyere) and bacon on rosemary potato bread.

As for poetry, Knopf will send you a poem a day to your email throughout the month. Go to: http://www.randomhouse.com/knopf/poetry/ and the signup is on your right. (This link may not work, so just paste into your browser. Or google search Knopf Poetry month.)

Here's one to start you off.

IT WAS LIKE THIS: YOU WERE HAPPY

It was like this:

you were happy, then you were sad,

then happy again, then not.

It went on.

You were innocent or you were guilty.

Actions were taken, or not.

At times you spoke, at other times you were silent.

Mostly, it seems you were silent--what could you say?

Now it is almost over.

Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your life.

It does this not in forgiveness--

between you, there is nothing to forgive--

but with the simple nod of a baker at the moment

he sees the bread is finished with transformation.

Eating, too, is now a thing only for others.

It doesn't matter what they will make of you

or your days: they will be wrong,

they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong man,

all the stories they tell will be tales of their own invention.

Your story was this: you were happy, then you were sad,

you slept, you awakened.

Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes persimmons.

--Jane Hirshfield

Meltingly,
Mary


PS: The rage of my hormones continue. This English journalist was blabbing away on the television as I wrote to you but them my little inner sex demon perked up and I realized, "Ahhh it's the English accent." I so want this man because of his pretty voice. Sigh. Poor Scott what must he be making of all of this? He knows what a truly slothful anti-sexual being I have been, and here I am just one week post op and some kind of swampy-sex-being is rising up from within me. Must have cock. And you know what's even funnier to me about all of this, is that I am really very shy, you wouldn't know it, few people do, but here I am handing out my site address to doctors, and nurses, whoever asks for it, and there I go using all of these frighteningly stimulating sexual words. Maybe I should split off the bariatric surgery/weight loss part of this into another journal so people can just follow that and not have to read about my dreams. Naaaah, screw it, I am who I am, more and more.
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My Beautiful Cat Sunny Just Died

I wrote this post a little while ago when I was going to post it and ask you to pray for him but then the vet called and said he's even worse and all three of the vets think we should put him to sleep so we have. I'm just so fucking sad. And I'm sick of worrying about what people will think of me if I use the word Fuck too much. Fuck it, it's so fucking unfair. I loved him so much and as usual another cat I got who I somehow thought would replace the all time love of my life cat IMrau has died. Typical. I don't have any luck with white cats with blue eyes and orange ears. God just doesn't want me to have them anymore. We still have Kaiiki but he's grouchy and macho and I'm afraid to love him for fear I'll lose him too.

Here's what I wrote earlier. Why is my life such a goddamned roller coaster?

I think my beautiful big fluffy white cat Sunny is dying. We took him in to the hospital three days ago because he wasn't eating and looked super depressed. They said he had hepatic lipidosis, which basically means a very fatty liver. I thought, hey we both have the same thing. But then they found what looked like they could be cancer cells and every day it's been bad news and more downhill sliding. Just today they told me they wanted to do exploratory surgery to look at his liver and I said okay. But when they called me back they said he has fluid filling his lungs now and it looks like it might be FIP.

FIP is a death sentence for cats and it is highly contagious. About a year ago one of our black teenager cats came down with it and died. Well, we think that's what he had. It's extremely hard to diagnose and vets just kind of have to rely on their instincts and a variety of symptoms. When this happened last year I went through such grieving and self recrimination. I thought of our house as a plague house. I thought everyone was going to get it and die, it's that contagious. We bleached and disinfected everything and not a single cat came down with it. So in the end I thought it was some fluke.

Now Sunny is laying on his side with his mouth open and gasping for breath and the vet says she is going to tap (draw fluid) from his lungs one more time, to be certain we should put him to sleep. I am so sad. Sunny is so special and beautiful. Everyone loves him.

I rescued him from our local animal murdering "shelter" about four or five months ago and he has been depressed and sad since the day I first saw him. I don't know what kind of life he had but they hadn't bothered to fix him, he had ringworm, which he gave to all of us, and he never wanted to be touched around his lower back and tail.

Irma is on her way up the path with her oldest daughter Rosa who got beat up at the "good" school I got her enrolled in, for not wanting to join a girl gang where one of the rules is that they all have to have sex with this one boy. These are thirteen and fourteen year old girls. The school will predictably do nothing. Irma says she is going to go to school early tomorrow and wait for them to get dropped off and then she is going to "pull them by their hairs." I want to help her.

Now Rosa says it wasn't that group of girls who attacked her but another group of girls. They had PE today in a smaller room or gym than normal and when the bell rang everyone was jostling to get out of the doors. Someone pushed Rosa into the girl in front of her who turned around got pissed and grabbed Rosa really hard by the arm and started to hit her. Rosa pulled away and called her "stupida". Then after school this girl and two of her friends were waiting to jump Rosa who normally sits with this nice teacher. The teacher wasn't there and it was kind of dark in this passageway so the girls started calling her names, chased her, pulled off her backpack, tackled her, beat on her and ran away. No one knows the names of the girls until Rosa can identify them by their faces tomorrow, but I swear if that school doesn't do something about this, I am going to be there with my legal bat.

Beau's friend Angie, I think she's probably thirteen or fourteen, just called on the phone hysterical because she can't figure out how she is going to get from the movies at the mall to her French teacher's house by 4:30.She's walking and she thinks she's lost. I offered to pick her up but she's in Newport Beach which is an hour and a half away from us and I already got in trouble for driving without having my doctor's permission.

Angie said she didn't know where she was so I offered to look up the address where she was on Mapquest or Mapblast, and then guide her by phone to her destination but all she really wanted was to cry to Beau. I so understand this.
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Tears, My Dear Sisters, War With a String Cheese, and My Beloved Sunny

I've just been sitting here crying and crying and trying to find the energy to search through my files for a picture of Sunny to edit and put up here to share with you. Then my friend Jen/theolive called and that took my mind off things for a bit. We were talking and she asked me why I think the nuns, my friends who live down the street, don't like me. I told her that I was probably totally projecting this because of how I feel about myself, and how I think I don't exactly fit the mold of the ideal Marymount girl; I don't go to mass, I swear all the time, I'm divorcing my ex, (but that wasn't my fault and I've certainly given it my all and am taking long enough to do it), I've committed some sins I'm too ashamed to write about here, I go to nude resorts, I am having sex without being married, I use contraception, what else, I masturbate, I steal money from my Mother, and so many more things that sort of disqualify me from being a good Catholic.

I worry about this disparity between the real me, the me you read online, and the me I am with people out in the world, and what it would be like if those worlds collided someday. What would it be like for my dear sweet religious friends to find this journal and see the word Fuck written all over the place? What would they think of my naked French postcards?

Jen asked me if they'd ever said anything that made me think they didn't like me and I said, no, that it was just a fear that I had. Then I remembered that in my big pile of mail that I haven't been able to get to since coming back from the hospital I saw a card from them. I thought, "Hey, I know, I'll open this up in front of Jen. I'll read it her and then we can read between the lines and see if I'm crazy or not."

From the Religious of the Sacred Heart
Get Well Soon
Dear Jacqui,
It's just no fun without you.
Yesterday Sr. Colette and I went to Mass at the new Cathedral. We prayed specially for you. Hope all went well with your surgery. All of us here are rooting for you, our friend, our student, our beloved (they actually said beloved) neighbor, our one and only Jacqui.
Blessing, hugs,
Srs. C. E. M. & K.

This simple card meant so much to me I started crying. I guess crying is going to be my new permanent state of being.

And I've been having a war with a piece of string cheese. I called my nutritionist to ask her if I couldn't just try a bite and chew it really really well, but she wasn't available. I tried to bribe myself with this broccoli soup but it hasn't work and the string cheese has won. So far I've had two very well chewed bites. The worst that can happen is that I'll throw up and learn my lesson. I feel so sad and upset anyway that I've already been feeling like barfing. Hey, wow, if I can eat a piece of string cheese, maybe next I'll be able to nibble on an olive. This isn't good, I hope she calls me back soon before I work my way up to Captain Crunch or something really awful ; ) I lost two more pounds so that make s a total of fifteen pounds since my surgery the Monday before last.

I knew that being without my familiar comfort of food to turn to during my many different cycles of feeling would be a serious challenge, but God, I didn't know I would be having to put one of my favorite cats to sleep right out of the gate. And having to confront Beau's longtime little girlfriend Juliet's father about her having said she was going to break up with Beau because her dad doesn't like him, and having to comfort little Rosa, and all the many other things that have been cropping up around here. Yeah it's just not like you go away and come back and your life is any less challenging. I know how blessed and lucky I am. I am always grateful and try my best to remain Sunny, I can't believe he is gone, just simply can't believe it. I'm so so so angry!!!
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Goodbye Sunny, my angel cat.

Here are some pictures I took of Sunny just a couple of months ago. He went so fast, and we are all in such shock and are grieving. He was so huge and had this big weight of sadness on him. His owner's room mate had just dumped him at the shelter when they got in a fight. I knew from the moment I saw him that he was going to come live with us. The shelter said they had to keep him for a week before anyone could adopt him. He was so depressed in his cage. He looked so hurt and betrayed.

I put my name on the interested party list and waited the week. Every day thinking that I was nuts for even considering to take in another cat but something about his plight, something about him, maybe that he looked like my beloved Mirau, made me passion for having him. I got up really early the day that he was available so that I would be the first person in line at the shelter. I even passed up on a good garage sale so I wouldn't miss my chance.

When I got to the shelter I was panicked about getting someone to sell him to me before anyone else came and tried to take him. I grabbed his card out of the little slot so no one else would be able to take it while I was waiting in line for one of the many burnt out heartless employees to come and help me.

There was a woman at the counter who had a cat in a carrier. She was crying and saying that she was sorry she had to abandon her cat but that she was moving and that the new landlord wanted a security deposit. I instantly hated her for her ignorance and her callousness -- the fact that her cat, an owner turned in pet, would be the lowest priority to the shelter and as an adult most likely to be killed, and the wicked callousness of people who take in pets and then abandon them to the so called shelters because they are just too damned lazy to do right by them.

When she heard that I was adopting a cat she looked at me and begged me to take her cat instead. She said, your cat is so beautiful and someone else will want him, please won't you take my Pricilla, I can't take her with me I'm moving. I talked with her for a while and even offered to pay the deposit her landlord required and the $25.00 increase in rent for six months, to give her time to look for other sources of income so she could keep her cat, and she still refused me. Nope, she and Pricilla had come to an agreement and this was the best thing for her. What could I do? So I took both cats.

Priscilla turned out to be mentally unstable and scratched out her eye, so she's our crazy one-eyed pirate cat, and we love her anyway.

They sent Sunny to be neutered at the dread Animal Birth Control clinic. I respect them for the good they do but I do not trust them because they are a mill. I begged the "shelter" to allow me to have my own vet neuter him at ten times the cost but they refused. Who knows if he caught something there.

At home here he moped around for a long time and I just know he was hurting over what had happened to him. He had ringworm and gave it to all of us. He didn't like to be petted near his tail. The vet said it was nothing. He wanted to be the top cat and beat everyone up until he earned his place as head kitty. He always greeted us at the door and talked to us. I so wanted to cuddle with him at night in bed but he would never let me, it always had to be on his terms. Everyone loved him and he was so beautiful. You can't tell from these pictures.

I just pray it wasn't my fault in some way. That what he died of was something he didn't catch from being in our home. I'm grateful for the little time we had him. Loving cats can be so hard, especially when you have a lot of them and someone is always sick or dying.

I love you my Sunny Angel, I'll never forget you.