Category Archives: The Variety Show

Egg-related Catastrophes, Fucking JEFF, and Reverse Unicorns

All of it is here

In an alternate universe I’m a philosophical radio personality punctuating the adventures of people I eat near, walk past, get snubbed by, and get talked about by.

The highlights of this week:

Hearing my mom lucidly recount the horrible powdered egg poop she had a day or two ago that needs to be entered in the annals of the most repulsive (and regrettable) digestive system egg-related catastrophes of all time.

My sweet kitten-heart Tonka nursing on the hem of my pants for comfort after being neutered and purring like he’s competing for a noise championship.

The thought that the whole world would improve if half of all human men were neutered before they reach puberty.

The realization that: a) such comments could encourage the MRA to slaughter me, and b) since the whole bible construct is patently misogynistic, and therefore hell itself is also an elaborate myth of the patriarchy, I will now be marked indelibly for a first class ticket to hell.

Fucking JEFF.*

Haunting the nurse station at both Kaiser hospital and the nursing facility like a wrathful spirit penning their offenses on the great wall of nursing crimes.

Four kittens purring.

The experience of being so bone tired I could lay myself down on a railroad track and get the best sleep of my life knowing trains be a-coming.

That’s a lie, I never sleep well no matter how bone tired I am and you people who experience good sleep are like reverse unicorns to me.

The sign outside the Catholic church that read “Jesus is the living bread that came down from heaven, eat of him and live forever” ZOMBIE JESUS. CANNIBALISM. CAN VEGETARIANS BE CATHOLIC?!


Max asking how come high school is so “easy”.

(Angelina wipes brow with her sweaty hand of industry and advocation and says “I don’t know, son”)

The good, the bad, and the perforations.**


*Nurse with an obsession about not over-medicating patients  through which he manages to under-medicate patients with a relentless refusal to offer the full prescription of medication allowed to his patients who can’t argue with him anyway because they’re so fucking delirious with PAIN and are too busy hallucinating loud parties in the driveway. Fucking JEFF!

**Cryptic message from the brain with no discernible meaning but it seems as good a note to end this post on than any.

Here, Have a Box of Kittens

box of kittens

I haven’t been on social media so much. I’m tired of reporting on my mom’s condition. Not because it isn’t important to me or that it might be boring to others, but because it forces me to see just how tenuous and fickle a body can be in recovery. It’s a big process requiring care from so many angles. I’ve been fighting so hard to make sure my mom’s needs are being met and it’s dreary and has me going in circles. My sister has stepped in to make phone calls which is a relief because now I’m not the only one talking to all these dildo-donkeys.

Yeah, I’m super mistrustful of the team of people who are supposed to be caring for her. Today her team will make a bedside stop and I will be there. I hope today is a better day for my mom than yesterday. She was super delirious yesterday, slurring her words, and admits to continuing hallucinations. Yet she passed a cognitive test to determine how capable she is of following directions. You should have heard her garbled report of how well it went.

This is where boxes of kittens come in handy. I definitely need a box of kittens. I’ll share them with you! These kittens are getting fixed today and will go up for adoption this weekend. 3 out of 4 of them. I’ll have Tusker a little longer because she needs to put on weight before she can be fixed and she needs a little more time for taming. We’ve had a great start to the day with our bonding session. She just purred for me for the first time and exposed her belly and also climbed into my lap. She didn’t stay in my lap but she did climb into it twice.

I don’t think I slept at all last night but two good things came of my pseudo-sleep: no nightmares and a kind of soft-focus for my brain in which it didn’t have to be thinking or worrying or plaguing me with upcoming tasks and lists of my responsibilities. I didn’t sleep because I slept in my mom’s apartment so her dog and cat would have some over-night company. The dog hangs out with us nearly all day so it’s not like she feels abandoned, but the cat never comes in our part of the house (because our dog will chase her) and boy oh boy did she need some love and attention. She sat on me, circled me, pawed at me for more attention. She was so starved for attention. Normally I stay in my mom’s apartment the whole time she’s at the hospital but after she got toted away by the EMT’s her room was a disaster and I couldn’t bear to be in there. So it was a cozy animal night, making my mom’s animals feel more normalcy and love, but no sleep. Just drifting in that half-sleep half-waking place.

I didn’t wake up with so much back pain, so that’s cool.

That’s all I have to say for now. I’m burnt to a socket.

The Hospital Report

all this equipment

The day before yesterday I spoke with my mom’s managing physician before her second surgery and he made it absolutely clear to me that it was very unlikely that Kaiser would see fit to send my mom to a skilled nursing facility when I brought up my concerns about her coming home too fast. I may have mentioned that this second surgery would most likely have been avoided if she had stayed another day or two in their care or went to a rehab center for a few days. He made it very clear to me that Kaiser isn’t responsible for what happens to patients after they’ve been discharged. It is of no concern of theirs if the home they’re being returned to is a safe healing environment or if the people caring for them are in any way qualified or able to care for a post-op patient with needs such as: commode monitoring and emptying, physical therapy exercises, med control, bandage changing and wound care.

He told me that Kaiser has strict PT criteria and when the patient reaches them they are discharged and if I don’t like it I can blame congress for it.

It was an icy conversation. I was already upset that Kaiser, this time around, has not been keeping me informed about decisions for her care. I did not get unpleasant with him, no raised voice, no direct accusations, but I did respond with a “we’ll see” when he said they’d probably send her home two or three days after her surgery.

The doctor did not speak to me again. The nurses did not tell me that the plan for her had changed completely. My mom told me herself but she was hallucinating off and on all day yesterday so I couldn’t be sure.

Some things I’d like to note:

The physical therapist my mom originally worked with (after the first surgery) was taken off her case and she got a new physical therapist.

The doctor I spoke with who was so sure my mom wouldn’t qualify for a stay at a rehab facility has been replaced with a new doctor who actually called me this morning with an update on their plans for her rehab which include a stay at a rehab facility and the assurance that Kaiser feels they should take my mom’s recover “very slowly”.

The surgeon who performed the first surgery was contrite during the pre-op visit. He seemed extra gentle with my mom and not at all dismissive of my questions (as he somewhat was the first time around) and though he never visited my mom after the first surgery he has already visited her twice this time and yesterday said to my mom “I’m sorry, this shouldn’t have happened”.  She says she responded with “No, it shouldn’t have.” Go mom!

The physical therapist who paid a visit to our house the day after her discharge did not think her excruciating pain and inability to walk to the bathroom was worthy of note or consultation with her surgeon. The surgeons believe that she had already dislocated her new hip the day before because of my mom’s description of the level of pain she was in. This should have been a red flag to the PT guy. But all he did was lecture me on administering pills to my mom correctly. Fucker.


So, as of today, I know for sure they’re going to keep her at Kaiser for another day or two and then they will move her to a skilled nursing facility. They didn’t tell me how long they think she’ll be at the nursing home but I’m sure it will be the shortest time possible because that’s how Kaiser likes to do things. I think this 180° change in their approach to her care is due (probably) to two factors: they have come to realize that my mom is in worse shape than they originally supposed and I rocked the boat and made it plenty clear that I hold Kaiser responsible for her needing this second surgery. All I can say is suddenly they’re being very cautious of her recovery.

I’m still angry with Kaiser. I absolutely hold Kaiser responsible for my mom needing this much more complicated second surgery. But I feel loads better now that they seem eager to make things right and see that my mom recovers in a manner that is safe and appropriate.

Good things:

My mom is a trooper. Truly such a trooper. She has so many fears (at clinical anxiety level, like me) but she just keeps bouncing back from those fears with new eagerness to recover well so she can come home to her dog and her textile art projects, and to us.

My mom lets me take pictures of her in the hospital. Indulging me in my macabre fascination with medical equipment and hospitals is definitely not something all mom’s would do.

My mom never loses her sense of humor. Her humor is almost as dark as my own.

She says her leg feels “right” this time, that it didn’t feel quite right after the first surgery.* So she feels optimistic that her recovery is going to go better.

She’s not fighting me on my strong feeling that she needs to go to a nursing facility if her insurance allows. Two years ago she fought me so hard I caved and it was really rough on me to have her home and not yet even completely sure how to change her colostomy bag. This time she’s totally on board. It’s probably because the level of pain she felt when she broke her femur on Tuesday was so tremendous she is scared to have a repeat of anything going wrong at home.

I’m just about to go visit her. This has been a gnarly three weeks for us here and I’m ready for everything to go well now instead of falling apart. The car is fixed (for $$), Chick’s ear seems to be healing so it seems possible she won’t need surgery, my mom’s dog Rosie who got hurt during the whole EMT visitation is barely limping now, Max’s toe is still infected but he’s soaking it so I think that will heal soon.

My phone is continuing to break down. Payday is today and I have a little bit of money that I made from Sugar and Pith that I can transfer to our account so hopefully I can replace it because I’m so tired of having to work around the part of my screen that no longer responds to touch. Maybe that sounds unimportant but it just had to break down when I needed to be able to text my brother and sister frequently with reports on our mom’s sitch.

But the main good thing is that things do appear to be calming down and getting fixed. I’m not sick to my stomach with anxiety today. It’s not so hot out. It’s still tomato and summer squash season, and fall is just around the corner. ** Although I failed to stay sober through all this hospital stuff, I will be soon be ditching the beer again for tonic and mega-lime with no gin.

Thank you to all of you who have been following our misadventures, offering thoughts of healing for my mom, and emotional support for me. You are absolutely wonderful and your reaching out has been so helpful. xoxo

Update: It’s 3 minutes after I published this post and my mom’s dog started throwing up, so maybe I spoke too soon. Holy fucking hell.

*That would have been incredibly useful information to share with her PT and her doctor right away.

**Which sometimes means hotter weather than summer here in our county. So fingers crossed we get a real crisp fall this year. We’ve had several cool grey mornings this week and that’s been heavenly.

My Mother’s Mother

mossy outreach

I didn’t drink for 14 days through some really stressful times but right now I have beer because I reached my limit of sobriety during the super stresses of: mom in hospital, 14 days of kitten diarrhea and cleanup, phone malfunctioning, car dying a gasping agonizing inconvenient death, the dog developing a seratoma on her ear and spending so much beer money on avoiding surgical procedures which have resulted in a lancing and sausage bandaging of her ear requiring vigilance to keep dog from worrying it off, nightly nightmares worse than usual, hot weather, feet suffering from unusually bad eczema, my back trying to go out for a week now, having to sign my kid up for high school, the chaos of all my spaces spilling out of their allotted spaces and into my head ——

It was 100° today and the air was full of smoke from Lake County being up in flames for two weeks. My mom got her discharge papers from the hospital in a fog of confusing information and she herself was disoriented to the point of near-incoherence. When we finally got her home it took a half an hour to get her the short distance from the car to her bed and at the end of it the pain wiped her out for hours afterwards. She’s not hungry but would like to know if we have any jello? Today is yesterday to her groggy mind. Her hip is in massive pain in spite of the excellent morphine coursing through her system.

In my mom’s delirium she said something shockingly hurtful to me that I’m trying to forget. What people say in delirium is stripped of self consciousness and more truly what they think than what they say at any other time. She’d be horrified if I told her about it later. She’ll be horrified if she reads this because I know she loves me very much and has no idea half the time the power her words have to impale me. I don’t think she’s ever really understood her power over my emotional state. I wish I could take that power away from her but it seems wholly connected to my primordial self. I believe I’d be a lesser person if I severed my connection to her. The connection that makes me feel responsible for her.

Today when a new nurse came in and introduced herself I introduced myself as my mother’s mother. A bare truthful slip of the tongue. I have always felt responsible for my mother. This isn’t something she put on me, something she imposed on me. In fact, she’s annoyed whenever I rain on her parade, trying to impose some reason and responsibility on her that she rightfully doesn’t think I should push on her. She’s a grown woman. She’s the grown woman who gave birth to me 45 years ago. But from my earliest memory I have felt the weight of responsibility for her actions, for her abandonment of me, of herself, of her duties, her reason, her adulthood. When I was a kid she would come to my bedroom at night and cry on my shoulder after fighting with my dad.

Maybe it only happened once. You know how tricky memory can be. But the weight of her pain, her sorrow, her anger, her fears laid heavy on my spirit my whole life. I remember being no more than 11 years old and wishing so hard I could fix all her problems, deliver her from her mistakes, be enough to heal her heart and her mind and her –

My shoulders have never been broad enough for the both of us. I set myself down on a quiet hillside and left myself there so I could carry the imaginary weight of my mother through to the end. But nothing I ever did could deliver her from her demons, or from herself.

I don’t want this to be the only thread that tethers me to earth. I ran for a few years, I tried to snip the thread with sharp scissors but it grew back quietly in the alley of my life like a virile vine groping the bricks against which prostitutes seduce Johns with sallow blow jobs. I wanted so desperately to disconnect from my origins, from my umbilical cord of duty, but it ran too deep. I was pulled from the soft timeless ether back to earth to be born for this and I don’t know how to sever myself from the stars that gave me body without killing also those who depend on me.

Therefore I float here, uninvited by predestination, too independent to tow the line of fate, ready to be killed by the vicious dogs of sleeplessness.

My nemesis has had more children in this space than I’ve had thoughts.

There’s no magic strong enough to fix this lightlessness.

When I die I hope to ignite dawn with an evanescence of spirit that turns love on fire.

11 Days Down Isn’t Much

flammable gas

It’s only been 11 days since I stopped drinking alcohol. If I’m being honest (and why not?) it feels good to not drink but it irritates the fucking bejeezus out of me when people encourage me or tell me how healthy it is.* I definitely don’t want anyone agreeing that it feels good not drinking alcohol. It bothers me that I don’t have any evening treats to look forward to.** I’ve been drinking tonic water with lime. It’s good. It’s okay. It DOES-ish.  I’m not sleeping better than usual, but I’m not sleeping worse than the poor sleep I usually get. I’m certainly still more irritable than normal, but I suspect that won’t go away. It’s the real-real me. I like myself better when I have beer to look forward to, it keeps me mellower all day long knowing I have that pillowy mellowing drink(S) to look forward to and I like that less edgy sharp me.

Other people do too even if they aren’t willing to admit it to my face or out loud.

What makes me itchy is realizing how it’s only been 11 days and I have nearly a full year of this left to go. The fact that it makes me itchy is the reason I’m doing it in the first place. My mom is going into surgery tomorrow for a hip replacement. This is routine and I should be able to get through it just fine without any alcohol and that’s what I’ll do.

Unless something goes terribly wrong, which it most likely won’t since it’s a very common low risk surgery. I’m just saying that if something goes wrong with her surgery I will probably end up drinking beer and will have to start the clock over. But today I’m preparing myself to fly through this experience alcohol free because I’d really rather not have to start over. That I have to do this there is no question. Life is full of trauma and bad days and rough seasons and it’s okay to swig some liquid courage through all of that if you’re not guzzling liquid courage every single day just to deal with other humans. Being able to get through a bad day without booze is important. It’s an important thing to know you can do and to often DO. It’s a life skill I let erode away.

Not only is tomorrow my mom’s surgery, but it’s also registration time for Max. He’s going to be a sophomore in high school in just a week.

Working on turning my dining room into my apothecary has been fantastic. It’s strained my back but it’s worth it.  Getting my cabinets organized means it’s easier to find what I need to make things. It’s easier to see what I’m low on and what I have way too much of. I’m excited to have that room looking good and being functional.

The kittens are all sleeping off their post-breakfast exhaustion. Right before they ate they were playing on every surface of my office, paying special attention to my laptop keyboard. Here’s a piece of unsolicited advice: NEVER DISTURB SLEEPING KITTENS. It’s the same rule with human babies.

That’s the kind of rule one lives to break and regret.

My dog’s seratoma thingy is filling up again. I’m trying really hard not to think about the vet saying surgery is the only option. What if we can’t afford the only option? What then? I can’t bear the thought of Chick being in discomfort but what if I can’t do anything about it? I’m going to tuck that thought up into a neglected corner of my brain for now because I have too much to do in the next couple of days. I’ll call the vet on Thursday and discuss reality.

I’m on my last cup of coffee right now. This means it’s almost time to shower and go run those pesky errands. I’ll feel better once I’ve done them. Then I’ll have to work on freezing all the soup I made and pick my mom’s dog up from the groomer and then make Max food and then take the kittens in…

One foot in front of the other.

I just paused for a second to admire my tiny oak leaf that I keep on my desk. It’s smaller than the pad of my pinky finger. And it’s absolutely perfect.




*Remember that I’m a deeply conflicted person pretty much at all times.

**Don’t make any suggestions at this time, please. I will bite you.

Favorite Things: Italian Deco China Cabinet

fake fruit and veg

Some people like to say that things can’t bring us joy, that having things can’t make us happy, that possessions have no spiritual value. I disagree. I think when acquiring objects is more important to a person than spiritual solvency, that’s a problem. When the pursuit for possessions is insatiable, it’s not a need for beautiful or useful things driving a person but a pit of need that can’t actually be met by buying or owning more objects. I rarely desire objects any more. There came a point in my life where I had plenty of things, where I loved most of the things I owned and didn’t need more.


After our house fire in 2003 we had to replace most of our furniture and we had a generous amount of insurance money to do it with. We chose not to replace quite a few things in favor of using the money to buy fewer better things. This Italian Art Deco china cabinet is one of the pieces we bought. It was expensive to us but we couldn’t have bought a brand new quality* china hutch for less and most of them were more.

Aside from my rare book collection, (not all pretty vintage copies, just hard to find Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, and a few other vintage favorites), this is my most prized possession. Every single day I walk past it and it makes me happy. We use it every day. We keep all our most used dishes, both humble and fancy, in this cabinet. As of last night we now keep ALL of our dishes in it. (I cleaned out another cabinet, culled out some things, and rearranged all the dishes)

Italian Deco

I couldn’t remotely afford something like this now. Perhaps that makes it extra wonderful that I had a short period in my life where I could buy something in my favorite period for furniture. We have an eclectic style of decorating but if I had an endless flow of money I would probably end up with a much more Art Deco-centric theme in my house as we did when we lived in my favorite house of all time (the Beaver Street house). Over the last 9 years we have had to shed a lot of my deco furniture (our wonderful bedroom set literally wouldn’t fit in our first Oregon house – couldn’t get it through the hallway – stupid ranch style house).

I was so tired yesterday. I thought I would take a “mental health day” and do nothing. But I ended up dusting and rearranging and pulling things off my living room surfaces and shelves. It felt so good that I decided to act on an idea I had the other day but was too tired to tackle: cleaning and rearranging the deco stag china cabinet. I even took out the glass doors and the glass shelf and cleaned them. It felt so good to do it. Once I got going I was able to scrape the energy to keep working because it felt so good to take care of my most treasured possession. That’s self care, my friends.


As a total side note completely unrelated to this post: I now know for certain that I much prefer Canon cameras above all. My Panasonic camera has a Leica lens and everything but it simply isn’t as good. My next camera will be a Canon.**

*Still total crap compared to antique pieces.

**I only use good quality point and shoots. I have a DSLR Canon but I dislike having to change lenses and I dislike the size. I will probably go for a Canon G-series.

1 Week Down, 51 to Go

Jesus calling 2

Yesterday was one of those days designed to either show me why humans have been brewing alcohol for a few thousand years or that I can get through anything without it.

I woke up to an intense ant infestation in my office/kitten nursery. Ants swarming through their food and even on their fur. Tonka the tiny black leopard appeared to have fallen into his own diarrhea and had to be washed. My dog had what appeared to be an abscess on her ear. And after washing Tonka and clearing out the litter box and mopping my office floor and setting out ant traps and rigging them up with kitten-proofing, the kittens all decided to PLAY in the litter box. 3 kittens with terrible diarrhea playing in the littler box is my new worst nightmare.

It turns out Chick had a seratoma rather than an abscess and the only way to fix it if it doesn’t stay drained is surgery which we absolutely can’t afford. So fingers crossed the antibiotics and steroids will keep an infection from forming and the blood from pooling.

I want to be working on my fiction. I haven’t got the brain space for it what with this litter of incontinent (though adorable) kittens and not drinking alcohol (if that’s your biggest way to relax your mind it takes a lot of energy to simply NOT do it). I had this revelation the other day that this year of not drinking can be anything I want it to be. I do feel pressure to make money to cover our increasing bills (rent went up by almost $200 a month, for example) but we’re squeaking by and not drinking means less money is being spent on alcohol. As long as I don’t replace that spending with some other daily spending, then not drinking is a little bit like making us more money.

This year is about rediscovering other modes of self care besides drinking tons of beer. It doesn’t matter what that might mean to other people, it’s about what it means to ME. It’s vital that I remember that fact. This is my life. I get to make up the rules about how I live it. What I strive for. What I work on. Outside of my responsibilities to my family and my animals, what I focus on is up to me.

It did strike me yesterday that I’m doing volunteer work. I didn’t really think about that before. These kittens are so much work and have taken up so much of my brain space and at the end of the day I couldn’t be mad at these little beings for helping to make this week really tough, and yesterday in particular. There are so many animals in need in this world. In need of medical attention. In need of being adopted, protected, nurtured. Being part of an organization that dedicates itself to the care of feral cat colonies is an honor. I say I’m doing it because kittens are adorable. And they are great therapy in some ways. But they are a lot of work. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Putting in a lot of hours to care for sick motherless kittens pulled from a feral colony. It’s worth it. I’ll need a big break from fostering after this. But it’s worthy work. Being part of the vast network of humans who are actually doing good for other animals on the planet.

One week down, 51 to go. I probably shouldn’t think about that too hard. Has it been torturous so far? No. It’s irritating more than anything. I’m more irritated than usual. With people. With myself. With the perpetual sunshine and heat. With food. With clothes. My tolerance for mess and chaos is lower. But so is my energy to deal with it all. There’s no treats I look forward to at the end of a hard day. I bought some potato chips because that’s something I don’t eat often, mostly because they make me feel disgusting afterwards, but I ate a few handfuls and realized that chips aren’t that good. Certainly not better than beer. There’s nothing soothing about them and they make my body feel like shit. Fuck that.

I’ve been watching a lot of Poirot. (I’ve watched them all a million times before, it’s comfort tv) The nice thing about watching it is that it reminds me of one of the reasons I have to stop drinking: so I can get my body back and get dressed up again. Not in full period deco costume. It just reminds me of how much fun I used to have dressing up and how I have no fun getting dressed now. It reminds me of how I would like my house to look. It inspires me and delights me. I re-watch the Miss Marple episodes all the time too.

I’m so tired from this week that I want to be on the couch all day watching more of both. Maybe eat some Chinese food. Look through magazines. But I have to cook some food to freeze so it doesn’t get wasted. I have to do some laundry. I need to do some yard work. But I don’t know, maybe I’ll just sit back and watch all the Poirot. I’m making up the rules right? The most important thing I’m doing is not drinking. And that’s a lot.

How to Tame Feral Kittens in 2 Easy Steps

Tuppence casual

This is Tuppence. She needed zero taming. Tuppence came from a feral cat colony where she was discovered with 3 siblings but no mother. The colony care-taker trapped Tuppence and her sister. In spite of being born into a colony of feral cats, Tuppence is one of those beings who was born to mingle and play.

box of kittens

This is Tonic (on the right), her mostly feral sister. Unlike Tuppence, Tonic was really scared of us. She shook in her bones when we held her. After 1 week she’s now fully tamed. As I write this she climbed into my mom’s lap and fell asleep.


A week after Tuppence and Tonic were trapped their brother was finally caught. This is Tonka. He’s super scared. He’s crying in distress as I write this. We just got him yesterday. He doesn’t hiss or claw but he’s pretty frantic to find hiding places where we can’t get to him. His sisters won’t allow him to stay in hiding.

Have you ever needed to tame a feral kitten and wondered how in heck to go about it? You are SO lucky, because today I’m going to share with you my “patented” method of kitten taming that works every single time! It’s called “The Relentless Approach”.  If you follow my 2 easy steps you can tame a kitten in exactly as long as it takes for your kitten to become tame:

1. Create a Safe Kitten-Proof Environment.

Windows need to have secure screens. Make sure there’s nowhere a kitten can hide that you can’t get to them at but you don’t want a totally empty minimalist room either because that’s no fun for a kitten and will make them feel more exposed. Provide a cave-like place for them to sleep, eat, and do their business. A cage covered with a sheet is suitable.

2. Be Relentless.

Spend a lot of time in the kitten-proof room. Every few minutes pull your feral kitten out of hiding and say soothing things to it. It will NOT appreciate your overtures. Don’t freak it out. Speak softly and encouragingly. I promise them they’ll be playing string with me in a few days and having a blast. They never believe me. They won’t believe you either. They’ll hide. Every little while pull them out of hiding to let them know they can’t actually hide from you. Pet them, talk encouragingly to them. They’ll look at you like you’re a giant wild boar with bloody tusks. Don’t take it personally.  Dangle toys on strings near their hiding places. Wear them down. Works every time. Eventually they give up and fall for the string. Eventually they relax a little when you hold them. They don’t want to, but they will because you will have worn down their will to fight against the love and fun.

It’s that simple.

The Feral Kitten Alumnae:

Geronimo plays

This is Geronimo, the first feral kitten we worked with through Forgotten Felines. He was already half tame by the time we got him. One of the volunteer coordinators had him for a while.

Geronimo 5

In no time at all he was king of my desk.

Gorgeous Sonar

This is Sonar. He came to us hissing and spitting. He would shake violently when we held him. His secret name is Grover because his fur is blue-ish and had a quality to it that reminded me of the famous muppet Grover.

Sonar in chair

Sonar would never fall asleep in my lap but he was a lot of fun to play with and every morning would greet me vigorously with some purring, rubbing my face with his, and lounging on my chest.

Petra and the view

This is Petra the Great. Petra came to us pretty young and small. She hissed a little but mostly just shook in fear at first. Then she became the most playful and fun kitten. Searching for comfort she would nurse on my neck, NOT comfortable. I finally got her to nurse on my thumb instead. Such a little baby.

Kitten nest

Petra could do the most incredible moves while playing. I swear she did a triple lutz when in pursuit of a toy on a string more than once.

All of these kittens found good homes through Forgotten Felines and it was our honor to be part of that process. If you’re a local to Sonoma County, please consider donating either money or supplies (Purina kitten chow, clay litter, toys, or snuggly bedding) to them. They work exclusively with the feral cat colonies of our county monitoring the health of the feral grown cats (neutering, spaying, treating injuries and infections) and every year they catch all the kittens born in the colonies after they’ve weaned from their mamas and place them in foster homes like ours until they get all their shots and spaying and have been tamed, get adopted out. Some kittens are not tamable, those kittens are returned to the colonies where they were born and are watched after by the volunteers who spend time keeping an eye on them. It’s a great organization. They never kill an un-adoptable cat.

362 to Go, If I Was Counting


I have just 362 more days of not drinking alcohol and I feel fine.


I’ve been burying myself in food prep and preserving. No exciting beverages to drink is a thorn in my side and please don’t tell me how good kombucha is because I’m telling you that NO BEVERAGE IS AS GOOD AS BEER.

If you’re going on this ride with me then you have to let me be all up in my feelings. That’s part of what this whole year of not drinking is about, because one of the marvelous things about alcohol is that is has a great capacity to take the edges off of one’s feelings. But if you’re like me and you have ALL THE FEELINGS IN THE WORLD AT ONCE INSIDE YOU PRETTY MUCH ALL THE TIME – you come to look on alcohol as a cloaking device. It’s blissful. No tea or juice or fungal beverage is going to compare to that. Believe me, I’ve tried them all.

It’s no big mystery why people like me seek out substances that can quiet down the noise in our heads and hearts. In my opinion we shouldn’t have to live life in such torturous conditions. There are those who suggest embracing all the noise as a beautiful part of life. I think people who say that don’t actually know what the fuck they’re talking about. I suspect they don’t know the level of noise I live with every day. If drinking tons of beer every day weren’t one of the main things keeping me fat and my pocketbook empty (and let’s face it, if people weren’t so fucking judgmental about it) I wouldn’t bother quitting drinking alcohol ever.

Don’t think I don’t know what I’m doing either. I’m 45 stinking fat years old and I was born an old person who grew up super fucking fast. I’m no novice in dealing with life’s gnarlier side. I’m not new at this struggle with my mental illness. I’m not a 20 year old just realizing for the first time that maybe I’m different and maybe JUST MAYBE I might be mentally ill and in need of self care and medical care. I knew I needed help by the time I was 13 years old. I just want to make that clear. When I open up about this kind of stuff there are always people who (in a genuine – I like to believe – wish to be supportive) make suggestions as though they imagine I’m completely un-selfaware and totally new to the problems I’m facing and also weirdly incapable of doing my own research.

This lights a flame to my already hugely flammable irritation. One of the main things I experience when I’m fully up in my super raw feelings is irritation that is easily fanned into rage. I usually turn this onto myself when it reaches the rage stage because I feel guilty for being so irritated and it’s no one’s fault I’m such a mess anyway BUT SERIOUSLY, CAN YOU ALL STOP BREATHING FOR A WHILE SO THE NOISE OF IT ISN’T IN MY HEAD ALL DAY LONG?!

Luckily for me (and everyone around me) I AM actually medicated with psyche meds. They really do help. A lot. Like, a lotlotlot. If I stay off of alcohol for long enough they very likely may work better than they do when I’m drinking alcohol. The fact that I’m on two psyche meds at significant (if not large) doses and still feel the level of irritation and noise I do should give you an idea of how bad it is when I’m on zero medication.

I’m especially suspicious of anyone handing out ideas that sound cultish and/or anti-medication. Nope. I grew up around a lot of cultish people and it gave me a strong allergy to them. One might even say that the commune I was in the first few years of my life was basically a cult. I can sense out a cultish vibe even when the person emitting it isn’t aware they’re doing it.

So here I am. Only 3 days in. What will I do today to take care of myself? I think I’m going to do a little cleaning. Cleaning is hard to start but it’s the same as writing – it clears out noise. In this case it’s physical noise. The dirt on my floor. The grime in my sink. All noise I can scrub away. It comes back practically immediately, of course. But the act of doing it is an act of self care because it’s giving yourself a cleaner space in which to exist which gives you more space to fling out the unwanted mental crap. It reduces the distraction of noticing all day long how long it’s been since the last time you cleaned and consequently reduces opportunities for self flagellation which can be a dangerous to people like me. We’re masters at finding reasons to punish ourselves.

I might not do a lot of cleaning but I know I have to do some laundry and I know I have to clean the kitten’s area in my office with an actual mop. I’ll start with that. Because I also have to clean the litter box and will need to use the tub for that, I’ll probably end up cleaning the tub because otherwise I’ll think about how gross the tub is after using it to clean the litter box. We’ll see what all gets done. I will NOT allow myself to kick myself for anything I don’t get done. Them’s the rules today.

This constitutes writing for the day. Though I’m thinking about fiction projects and my desire to sit down to some good fiction writing since I haven’t in ages and ages – I must ease into new routines slowly. So first is the daily writing to self (either here or in my private journal).

What are you doing to take care of yourself today?

365 Days Alcohol-Free Started 2 Days Ago


Today is the last day I will be drinking alcohol for a year. Unless I fail miserably at my self-imposed challenge. I haven’t been that loud about this. I don’t need too many people doubting me or suddenly confessing that they think I should have done this a long time ago.

I declare the next 12 months a year of healing.

A year of mental health care. A year to cleanse my body and get healthier. Things I will NOT being doing:

Dieting * Yoga * Meditation * Nature Communions Hippie Style * Saying “fudge” instead of “fuck” * Finding Jesus * Getting Fitted for a Trump-style Toupee * Going Paleo * Taking up Macrame * Wait, maybe I want to take up macrame, I take that back!

Things I most certainly WILL be doing:

Becoming the Mocktail Queen * Learning to Make New Food Dishes * Journaling * Writing * Swearing * Screaming * Watching Tons of Comfort TV * Continuing to Work on Becoming Miss Marple * Wearing Make-Up Again * Selling Herbal Remedies * Re-Discovering the Art of Self Care


Whoops. I meant to finish this as my last day of drinking post but my last day of drinking slipped by quietly and now I have 365 days to get through without booze. I think I must take it easy today. Super easy.


Oh for crying out loud! Another day and this same post languishes. Tuppence the fluffy tiny foster kitten has required much energy from me as she has a terrible case of the runs and requires several cleanings a day. Also – FOOD PRESERVING IN FULL SWING! In a few minutes I will be going with Philip to forage for elderberries and later I might have a bunch of pickling cucumbers to pickle. Day one of my year of not drinking has already slinked by. If I’m being honest (and why wouldn’t I be?), the first day wasn’t hard. It was just a mild irritant in my head knowing that normally I’d be drinking and drinking is my routine and I don’t like my routines being upended. Other than that, I think my body was really happy to not have beer. It will probably be like this most days with the irritation ranging in sharpness from mild to angry-red on Fridays. Maybe. Or maybe not.

All the other times I didn’t drink there wasn’t really a physical craving component, just a little outrage that I was denying myself one of my favorite things. If any of you have a hard time relating to not drinking alcohol when it’s one of your favorite things in the world, put in your mind’s eye your very favorite comestible. Right now. Is it there? Pizza? Cheese? Bread? Pasta? Chocolate? Cake? Now imagine that a doctor told you it was very bad for you and you need to not eat it again for at least a year. Take yourself to that place where you can’t have it for a really long time, maybe forever.

If you don’t feel some kind of irritation or full blown panic, I don’t think you’ve imagined going without your favorite thing. So for those of you who don’t care that much about food, usually it means that sex is your favorite thing and you crave the feeling it gives you. Am I right? Go there. Doc says “Hey, you have a really unhealthy relationship with sex. For most people it’s a healthy part of life but NOT FOR YOU. You need to give up sex for at least a year, maybe forever.”


I thought so. Now you can feel my pain.


Are you kidding me, me?! Three days and you still haven’t posted this? Ridiculous. I’m posting it right now, as is.