Forward

Marriage is the only card left to play between me and my love; I’m anxious and unsure how to sort it all out. I still love Beck and I know I always will, wherever we are in our lives. The break-up and get-back-together game is exhausting and each time we break-up, it takes more and more out of me (though I’d bet Beck experiences the same). I’m a turtle when it comes to the emotional stuff. I need time to decide what to mend, keep or throw away. Sexually, Beck’s the supreme stuff and it’s really difficult to resist him: it’s like there’s a magnet between his legs and mine, matching opposite poles that aren’t separated easily. It’s been suggested that he and I could hook up together in between serious relationships with other people: in a word, fuck buddies. That only works if we don’t have an emotional attachment towards each other AND our future S.O.’s understand and accept the fact we’ll always have a significant role to play. I’m not suggesting that we’ll keep sleeping together as we embark on another relationship, only in between them. I don’t doubt that the vibe Beck and I have is/will be palatable to everyone when we’re in a room together. A new boyfriend/girlfriend will be intimidated by our shared past and probably be uncomfortable, if not outright unacceptable, to them. The “pick me or them” scenario would result in, “Too bad, I’m keeping him/her.” That’s how sure I am that whenever and however, Beck will be a strong presence in my future. Soul mates don’t need much other than finding one another. From there, it’s simply a matter of staying in touch because the hard part is done.

My knowledge of the searing pain and burning anger after a break-up remains ingrained. It’s not holding a grudge but remembering and learning from a monumental event. The process of separating components that belong to a two-some and those brought in by the individual. Post break-up, I wasn’t sure I would survive: it took six weeks to find my footing and my center with the help of friends, neighbors and family. I listened to Coldplay’s Fix You and needed someone to come along and put the pieces of my soul together. But it’s true that the greatest source of strength and resilience lies in you and nobody else can provide it. After a while, I realized I was still alive and all right: I was going to be fine. I am fine.

dft

Old soul

Last night, I had a four hour conversation with my ex. I expected it to be horribly tense with bitter feelings and heartrending revelations/explanations.

Always, whether I was 9 or 30 years of age, I have felt old inside of myself. When I was a kid, adults would remark that I was an ‘old soul’ based on the expressions I would use or the things I knew (that I didn’t know I was too young to know). I have no doubt that my chaotic childhood accelerated my personal growth by leaps and bounds. My parents had leagues of friends who all played mah-jong (Chinese gambling game where jade stone tiles are marked numerically or with Chinese characters – it is a combination of gin rummy and poker, in a nutshell). Often, there were two tables set -up, one for the men and the other for the women, in my grandfather’s home. My ‘aunts and uncles’ would bring their kids as would any blood relatives bring my cousins. From Saturday to Sunday, it was a blur of adults playing until dawn and the rotational buzzing of kids playing in a separate room. The times my mother would go separately to a girlfriend’s apartment to play mah-jong weren’t too often but at my Aunt Jeanne’s place, there was usually Patrick and Samantha waiting for me and my sister. As midnight approached, we would roll out the bed from the sofa and sleep. Only my sister had this habit of hiding in small, hard-to-reach places for an adult. She would crawl under the bed closest to the sofa and promptly pass out. I would go and retrieve her but she found a way back, invariably, when I fell asleep. So, this would lead me to go ‘pester’ my mom (who was volatile about being interrupted when she was concentrating on anything), begging her not to forget my sister when we left. I know it sounds irrational that somehow my mom would miss the fact that one of her daughters was absent, but I didn’t trust the adults (excluding my parents) around me and my sister to be rational and responsible people, 100% of the time. I witnessed a lot of childish behavior (especially coming from my aunt Cindy) that were rarely in favor of the children and which were damaging to us. Like my nanny, Auntie Pun, my aunt Cindy exhibited favoritism that could make my sister and I feel like a burden they resented to care for: it was an odd dichotomy since my nanny was being paid by the hour to guard and guide us until my parents came home and my aunt Cindy would be given money to cover whatever expenses if she took us on short day-trips.

dft

My passion for cheese

Banana: “How can you eat that when there’s this at home?”

Me: “I’ll eat mac and cheese any day at any time over dollhouse ramen noodles.”

Banana: “I think I’m turned off by mac and cheese because that’s what made up most of my college diet.”

Me: “Ha ha ha! I think it only turned me on more!”

Banana: “Why don’t you add some sausage or something to it? It’ll taste better and be more nutritious.”

Me: “Nah, I like it plain. I never got why people cut up hot dogs or random meatballs and add them to mac and cheese. It’s fine just as it is.”

Banana (shaking her head): “Tsk.”

Give me stinky, soft cheeses with pate and maybe some champagne and I am one easily pleased lady 😉 I don’t think I’m high maintenance: I don’t need expensive bags, shoes or clothing. All my jewelry is custom made but have usually been gifts – not something I demanded.

Airports

Real conversation as I’m about to drop off my Campbells at LaGuardia when we’re less than 5 miles away:

Campbells: “I know this might be a little late to ask but I have somethings in my bag that I’m afraid will stop me from going through the TSA checkpoints.”

Me (hysterically laughing as I picture drugs and other paraphernalia in her carry on): “You’re only checking your bag right now? What do you have?”

Campbells: “I have a pen, my keys, a little bottle of lotion, the chargers for my phone…”

Me (still chuckling and catching my breath): “I was so expecting you to say, ‘I’ve got a bowl, lighter and maybe some pot’ to which I’d say, ‘I’ll gladly take care of that for you but I can’t promise all of it will be here when you get back.’ Then proceed to enjoy it.”

Campbells: “No! It’s not anything like that! I guess I’m just nervous because I don’t fly often and I don’t want to miss my flight because of a stupid pencil or something.”

Me: “You’ll be fine! Did you know you’re allowed to take steel crochet hooks onto flights?”

Campbells: “No way! Are you serious?”

Me: “Yes, you are and knitting needles, too.”

Campbells: “But those pose more of a danger or threat-”

Me: “I totally hear you! Crochet hooks could easily be used to pick the lock to the cockpit and because some knitters and crocheters make different things at the same time, you can bet there’s more than one that is brought onboard.”

Campbells (laughing): “Well, I feel better after getting worked up over a pen!”

Me: “You’ll be fine and you’ll have a safe flight.”

CS lewis

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

Who had a dog and…

Somewhere, I have written the exact date of a dream I had about Stitch not too long after he died, definitely before a month had passed. It was one of those dreams you’re so sure is real, that when you wake up, you simply think it’s a different day of the same reality. There’s really such a thing as crying one’s self to sleep – I didn’t know it was possible and assumed it was an American colloquialism. I can still feel the relief of waking up, knowing Stitch was alive and waiting for me right outside my door and completely unable to catch my breath when I turned to see his empty bed. It had been left solely to me to pack his things, donate his remaining treats and toys/bedding to the local no-kill shelters and empty the house of any reminders that there was once a 10 lb. little white boy ruling our hearts and home. After a while, exactly 18 days, I stopped crying everyday and I learned not to think of Stitch for too long, too hard because it wasn’t helping me move on. Even now, I still feel a twinge of guilt when I think of having another dog and I can’t let myself feel my happy memories containing Stitch. When I find my thoughts wandering to something I enjoyed with him, I have to lockdown and shut it out. It’s a bruise that still hurts even if it’s faded.

In my dream, I actually say, “I’m so glad it was just a bad dream,” when I go into the kitchen and find my little buddy waiting. The exuberance your pet shows when you enter a room is the closest I think any of us will ever get to feeling unbounded love. You’re (from individuals to family as a collective) their entire world and you know when their handlers die or disappear for a stretch, dogs and cats feel loss. They grieve, they stop eating, they give up on living if someone will let them. Stitch didn’t take my return to UB well. He came with me and my mom to help set up my apartment (which wouldn’t be ready for another 2 days) and totally loved it! From the very beginning, I had taken Stitch along with me on roadtrips to the Poconos, Albany and Rochester if I wasn’t in class or working. I shouldn’t have been surprised he took to it the way I did: sleep! Once, Chris and I were in the Bronco (which has bench seating) on our way to Rochester and Stitch had been sleeping on my lap for 6 hours without stirring once to ask for the bathroom. I turned to my ex and said, “Looks like he’s got my crazy bladder control,” and Stitch got up, stretched, walked over onto Chris’ lap and began peeing with no warning. The laughter stimulated by the irony meant I couldn’t pull Stitch off Chris so Chris did and put Stitch on the bench seat next to him while he pulled over. Stitch didn’t miss a beat: he turned around, back onto his lap and continued relieving himself. The memory makes me laugh even now, eleven years later! God, I was shattered three days later as I unpacked into my new place and kept thinking about the little white boy who wouldn’t be sharing my bed for a while. It was very lonely and I got homesick often. My dad called me and told me he was feeding Stitch human food (something I really didn’t want for him because a canine’s nutrition needs are so not the same). Before I got too upset, he told me Stitch refused to eat and drink for three days after he and my mom made the return trip. No amount of cajoling, strictness, etc can make a dog or cat consume anything they don’t want so my parents were forced to try human food. When my dad told me my 4 lbs. dog ate an entire Chinese take-out beef stick order (that’s three sticks if we’re counting), Chris nearly died when I related the story to him. Effectively, Stitch had eaten a quarter of his own weight in beef! The extent to which my parents spoiled Stitch was obscene. The dog got prime rib every other week and filet mignon or spicy broccoli every Friday but he never begged for food from anyone but my sister. He figured out early on that she’s a germaphobe and if he “sneezed” on her food, she would promptly give it up. There are too many stories involving my sister leaving an entire plate of food on the floor while she got a drink and the dog managed to make off with the entire thing! It’s very amusing to see a small dog, dragging a heavy human sized plate bigger than himself.

Until yesterday, I had a very difficult time writing about my happy memories of/with Stitch. I’d get writer’s block from the crashing waves of sadness and regret, lost in those memories. I’d type and tears just popped out and I’d realize I was typing in circles. The thing is, I share this recollection of a dream now because I may have been a wreck upon waking, but the dream was actually very good. If a Rainbow Bridge exists, then Stitch wanted me to know he’s okay. Rationally, I know it’s very likely that when we die, that’s it: no Heaven, Hell, angels or demons. Buddhists believe life is suffering and it is wrong to prolong the suffering and indignity of another life struggling painfully to live. I think it’s a very natural response to living that we try to fend off death even in its throes. But the little comfort I get in believing that somewhere, someday, we’ll be reunited is the only thing I have because I can’t forget Stitch’s little face, begging me not to go, “Please, don’t leave me, mom,” when the vet tech had to take him for x-rays/sedation. He was so tired and in pain, he couldn’t bark, just soft whimpers and unwavering eye contact. My fearless little boy was afraid for the first time in his life.

My dream was pretty mundane for how wild they can get. It was just another day, at home, going up and down the stairs with the day’s activities and chores (Hercules also making an appearance). Always right on my heel, Stitch needing to know what I was doing, shoving his face between mine and the laptop, taking up more of the glider seat than *I* was, grabbing his leash and bringing it to me for a walk and letting me love on him. I’m forgetting the way he used to smell of oatmeal and honey. One bath and he was a walking marshmallow for three weeks. His coat was silky and show quality and he knew when he was pretty. His gait would change from playful house pet to show ring prance and god help you if you didn’t acknowledge how handsome he was. I’m forgetting the feel of his weight in my arms and against my side at night. I’m forgetting and it makes me so sad 😦 For a few weeks, I’m ashamed to admit that I found solace in preparing to join Stitch. I was so heartbroken that he might be scared and upset in a world without his family, that he didn’t know I never had any intention of leaving him alone and that I thought he’d be coming home. The unanswered questions, the empty reassurances, everything was pointing to an exit sign. If there was one grief I could have done without learning, the loss of a child tops it. Our pets become family and treasured members: like raising an infant to adulthood, making sure their needs are met, keeping them safe and healthy. I miss Stitch but I couldn’t do that to my parents. I couldn’t and didn’t want them to experience that loss: having to bury their daughter. Stitch’s passing has taught me empathy towards parenthood/my parents, revealing the fierce strength that I may not have; it makes me question my ability to care for living things.

There’s still the holidays we’re going to have to soldier through without a little boy stuck in a dog costume. Stitch loved wrapping paper and shredding it but he loved eating toilet paper and Bounty if he could get his paws on it. He hated Halloween and the decorations at his eye level but he loved his candy. Stitch ate Starbursts, gummy bears, jelly beans but was a complete sucker for Skittles. Watching him chew candy like a kid was fascinating! He knew when my sister had them in her bag, just by the sound and if she took too long to hand ’em over, he helped himself and purloined the pack with his paws and teeth. He was uncannily good at getting into our purses and removing chapstick. The purses never looked disturbed and it was only when we were out and needed it, we’d realize what happened. Stitch ate $50 and $100 dollar bills (and only those denominations) on more than one occasion and then, there was the time he swallowed some loose diamonds my mom was looking at. He knew by the feel of a car’s speed and the duration of the trip if he was headed towards the Carvel or the groomer’s. His grooming sessions were eventually moved into the privacy of our home because it was clear that no man could touch him without getting bit. Stitch was ferociously protective of my mom and anyone who wasn’t female or Asian wouldn’t do. He was a misandrist (I didn’t train him to attack men; he developed it on his own – growing up with three women and one man in the house, it might have been inevitable.) My mom used to carry him in a makeshift papoose around work and everywhere – he loved being at the Carvel and couldn’t wait to lick the ice cream splatters from our clothes/shoes. My sister would enter the house, he’d make a beeline for her and greet her by licking her calf. It’s a weird feeling knowing you’re being devoured or at least, considered for consumption.You know you’re doing something right by your pet if people regularly ask to take your dog’s place for a day/lifetime. One of the kid employees at the store was graduating from high school, and once told me he wanted to grow up and be Stitch when I asked his thoughts on college and career choice. Some people don’t get steak twice a year, nevermind twice a month with sides of steamed veggies. There were mortifying times where we’d be out to dinner at a nice restaurant and my parents would pull the plates still nearly full of food out of the reach of their daughters, saying, “You’ve had enough. Stitch needs to eat, too. You could lose some weight anyway!” They’d cut up all the doggy bag food into tiny squares and sometimes even order Stitch his own meal to go. He had it good. I just wish my parents hadn’t felt the need to tell everyone the food was for the dog when they (parents) asked the waitstaff very specific questions about the ingredients (dogs can’t tolerate tomatoes, onions, chocolate) used in the meal. It felt like an indirect insult to the chef’s talents and time and effort he put in to cook for people. I’ve heard spices can be used as a canine deterrent from food you don’t want them eating, but Stitch loved spicy broccoli and kimchi. When I put Fire Sauce on my burritos, Stitch got too close, sneezed and kicked backwards but insisted on coming back for more. If you gave him a choice between food with spice and not, you’d see his eyes enlarge and get high enjoying whatever spice was left on my plate. He was definitively a very unique dog, too smart for his own good at times.

But first, his birthday is the week of Halloween and I don’t know how to celebrate the memory of his life or even if I should.

Gossipers and pretense

People who are good at keeping secrets are a distinct breed from those who gossip-monger and actively partake in those insidious past times. Childhood teaches a harsh lesson in the school of misplaced trust and whether you’re the source or target, you have a choice on how to approach all future friendships (frienemy/frenemy is so not healthy and not something anyone should cultivate). I learned that based on a new acquaintances’ proclivity to reveal information, especially one(s) involving/needing sensitive handling, as a third party about someone/something can save me time and from poor judgement. It’s a good rule of thumb that what a person blabs is as important as the who: people who feel entitled not just encroaching on someone’s privacy but opening the way for others show their values with great clarity and detail to the layman. I’ve always suspected that the type of person who indulges in her own pettiness and gossips about the lives of others is someone with no meaningful inner life, no real social one to speak of and no depth of good character worth getting to know. The snide gossip is busy judging others in a desperate bid to avoid judgement themselves. It ultimately fails because a judge of good character needs a strong foundation from which to learn and everybody knows that the surface of anything can be made to look the part: if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

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Hairy weight issue

Back in 2010, I lopped off 14″ of hair for Locks of Love and got a cute layered bob. However, as I look for the address to mail in the ponytail, I begin reading on how Locks of Love doesn’t actually make wigs out of all the hair they receive. When Locks of Love receives virgin hair (meaning untreated by hair dyes and peroxide) of the same length, they sell the hair to wig making companies. Then, they turn around and use some of the money to buy wigs for children/cancer patients. Apparently, Locks of Love can make a lot of money because human hair of the caliber needed for wigmaking fetches a large sum. Often, wigs made of human hair costs thousands of dollars and finding quality hair which will stand up to being colored, cut, cleaned and woven takes expertise and time. Not only does the hair fiber from many different people have to be sorted and survive the process of being made uniform, it needs the type of care and maintenance not everyone can afford. It didn’t make me comfortable knowing that my donated hair was being sold for profit. I researched other options since the hair was already cut and waiting to be shipped out.

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Facebook referrer

When people use FB to find my little blogspot, I can see when/which post is accessed and make an educated guess on who a reader might be based on the tags or topic of interest. The same goes with search engines and some of the terms used. What I wish had been a little more obvious was the toggle I can use to bar/restrict traffic. I used to be a bit more concerned with protecting the identity of family and friends, lovers especially. My psycho ex, Chris, didn’t know how to control himself over NOT trying to control me. The more he clung, stalked my whereabouts and visibly made aware that he was “not aware,” the less I gave a damn about his feelings and thoughts. Nevermind being more needy than a girl (cause the boy would start blowing up my phone if I didn’t pick up immediately or reply to a text instantly), it was the chronic passive-aggressive behavior that became truly unattractive. True conversation: Continue reading “Facebook referrer”