Madness

" Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams— even the ones in which the kitchen table grows jagged teeth and chases you around while shrieking Keats poems."..... color me intrigued.....

Another day, another personality, no? So after what can only be described as an Evening of Awesomeness, I awoke this morning to find not only had I inexplicably worn shoes and a sock monkey hat to bed, but had no recollection of fixing myself a pitcher of Kool-Aid and leaving it methodically in the garage. The most obtuse part of all of this? No alcohol involved. Just a good old fashioned case of insanity.... Of which I'm pretty well always game for! Really makes me wonder, though: what, exactly, happens in those hours when I mentally check out?



Perhaps the more telling question is how many hours do I actually clock back in for? Leading up to yesterday evening, I decided to embark on a little journey into the minds of others. I have grown rather weary of conversing with myself so figured I'd see what lies beyond. Much to my delight, I found a host of "me"'s sprinkled about the planet. Although my first instinct may or may not have been to throw a pity party when discovering I'm not all that unique - it was overtaken by feelings of "NEAT!!!!!". It seems I have plenty in common with some truly spectacular specimens. Don't worry, my ego remains blissfully the size of a walnut - still - splashed about various pages were what could easily have been my own thoughts and opinions. I'm guessing the vast majority of the general public has long since ventured past that bridge, but it's an entirely new ballgame for Miss Kitty. Hell, it's not even the same sport!



So what did I do with all these new found discoveries you ask? (Yeah, I'm being presumptuous there as you most likely know better than to EVER ask....) Nothing. Not a damn thing. I just scoured the words of strangers in silent awe. That is a bit of a theme in my life. I am exposed to something I'm extraordinarily and suddenly passionate about - I mull it around in my head for a bit - then I take a nap and *POOF*! Gone. Just like that.



And yet, I rather enjoy fancying up elaborate excuses for my pitiful approach to life.... Deep seeded Lifetime Movie Channel-worthy excuses. Exaggerated plot lines and tales of mystery and intrigue. The fact remains I simply lack the confidence and discipline to engage in anything beyond the bare minimum. Wow. To see that all staring back at me has me convinced I would do well to hire a professional resume writer after all! In a delectably round-about fashion, this all brings me to the subject at hand. What? Yes - I had one in mind all along! *cue maniacal and brilliant laughter*.... New Years.



Didn't see THAT coming, now, did you? Tis The Season for resolutions for the betterment of oneself and dare I say mankind, yes? The stuff that unicorn tears and double rainbows are made of! But the pressure. My god, the pressure! I could make dazzling declarations of how I am finally hellbent on becoming all I've ever strived to be. Trouble is, I never aimed particularly high with my goals. No, My Pets, I fully plan on remaining far more grounded.  Sure, I want to get out of debt, quit smoking, lose 40lbs, finish my tattoo, write a book, find and land a new job, spend more time enjoying and frolicking with my kids.... the list could go on and on - derailing from time to time for good measure. Rather, I promise nothing more than a smile each day. No matter what bat shit I dramatically sense I'm trudging through amidst fits of throwing myself to the floor to dodge the collapsing sky, I resolve to smile at some point. Laugh it off, dust myself off, slap a band aid on the non-existent scrape on my knee and move on. We are all our worst critics - I may even be my own arch-nemesis. Fancy notion, that....



So as opposed to getting down on myself every time I light up, bounce a check or hide from my little terrorists - I figure if I just use a smile as my umbrella (which still makes no bloody sense to me - seems all the rainwater would eventually fill the damn thing up and render it too heavy to lob around...), the sun will set and tomorrow will be a new day. Ain't that some shit? Happy Friday and Happy New Year's Eve-Eve!


BEETLEJUICE! BEETLEJUICE! BEETLEJUICE!

" An early winter will soon cover you in a beautiful blanket of snow, unless you finally decide to move your lazy ass from the field where you’ve lain since June. "

Somewhere between my last upbeat post and that pesky one about my M.I.A. motivation, I suspect I ceased to exist. Tis a strange feeling, to be sure. Miss Kitty can be unhealthily obsessed with all things dead and undead and I'm currently unsure whether it's simple overexposure to zombies and ghosties. Regardless, I am experiencing these odd waking dreams in which I did, in fact, pass away roughly a week ago. As my earthly form forgot to read the fine print directions and move the hell on, it simply wanders aimlessly through the mundane. To compound the issue at hand, my e-mails are going unanswered and many calls seem to be dropped. I studied my reflection this morning for signs of trauma or at the very least, laceration - but no such luck.

Hypothetically speaking, I'm curious when I'll get the memo... When the light bulb will burst with light and I'll grasp what has happened. When I'll realize it's silly to continue showering at 2:45am and reporting to work... It's with almost eager anticipation that I look forward to the first creature I startle as I pass through a room, causing those eerie chills to dance upon one's flesh. My computer is clearly a sensitive sort of beast as it would almost appear as though it's registering the words as I type. Weird.

A dear friend of mine recently died and came back... she's been going through a host of chemo treatments and the pain medication prescribed sent her into a bout of hysteria followed promptly by a drug-induced coma. She had flat lined. Long enough to be pronounced dead. Then came back. For the first time in her life, she is at peace. Now, her only stress lies in trying to communicate with the living. To relay all that has happened to her as she's so eager.... desperate even.... to convey the pure awe surrounding her experience. I envision the spot she is at mentally approaches a sort of limbo. A purgatory. No longer able to comprehend the trivial day to day, but not yet taken to another plane of being. Being naturally empathetic, my heart aches for her. Every bit of me wishes to pick apart her brain - to get lost in conversation with her for days upon days... weeks... To provide an outlet for her pain and frustrations. A sounding board. Humanity.

Perhaps it is without that humanity - that touch - that shoulder to cry on or listening ear that we die. We cease to exist because we have ceased to matter. My dear friend is a state away and unable to communicate much by phone. She has retreated into her cave as she finds it far more serene in there. I'm not sure I'm ready to go - or come to grips with the possibility I already have..... I catch myself looking above me for that kite string that offered hope out of a storm drain so many years before. Only the black speckled ceiling meets my gaze. Weird.

Pardon Me, Have You Seen My Motivation?

"You will fail to keep your New Year's resolution to ignore meaningless holidays and arbitrary personal decisions. "

Latest trends have suggested my workload as of late is either feast or famine. Trouble is, after a week or two of famine, I'm left little more than drained and perhaps a bit hungry. The feast arrived yesterday, and my bets are still stuck on mastering level 10 of some meaningless internet game I happened upon while researching Navy-approved welding certifications (which, specifically, must adhere to NAVAIR 01-1A-34, for whatever THAT'S worth).



As I take a step back and look at my life, I'm left less than dazzled. What on earth do I do for a living and what will tomorrow bring? Naturally, I spend very little time actually WORRYING about all of this as my game doesn't seem to have an obvious "pause" button. I guess this is what the doldrums are like. I glance at the reflection in the pointless window facing the hallway in front of me to the "blizzard" happening behind me. The clank of the flags beating mercilessly against their respective poles.... the swollen neck of the 8-point buck that just wandered by... cars rushing to god-knows-where on the highway in the distance*.... the white noise of the long-since-obsolete HVAC system in this building. I'm taking all of this in wondering what in the hell happened to me. I used to really strive to accomplish. To do. To complete. Instead, I find myself sitting in this chair feeling my cells pushing back against the chair as though if I wait here long enough, I might just morph into this shoddy piece of furniture. I even stopped wearing my glasses 2 days ago* as I simply don't feel like being bothered with anything further than 2 inches from my nose.



What does one do when they find themselves in such a rut? By all indications, I should be in a state of relative bliss. Trouble is, I find myself longing for that bar up the street when I'm in these silly moods. I'm sure I'd be an alcoholic if my piss-poor tolerance allowed for it. Of course, that's no life to strive for (or at least, that's what I understand). Although incredibly fortunate to be employed at this precise moment in time, that just doesn't seem enough of a push to close down this game, this blog, or this ad site I just clicked on because I am, in fact, in search of new tires. Is this depression? Or just a bit of a residual seasonal coma?

I often sit and ponder what drives others. How they can be persistently searching, growing, DOING. If left to my own devices, and if those two adorable munchkins of mine weren't so vocal and pushy, I'd probably have little guilt in sleeping away the days. Although I don't think I used to do that pre-breeding.... Locating memories of such is even too daunting a task. When did I get so damn lazy? Is it a good use of my time to ask myself questions I have no intention on answering?



I'd be quite intrigued to find what it is that makes other people tick. Perhaps the missing link lies in the lack of social interaction. And I mean REAL interaction - not just the frequent whines and fits of distress from the silly day-to-day frustrations of the job. OK, so I can't quite blame that either as I just returned from a "fresh air" break to discuss Christmas decorations in finite detail. *sigh*

Would it be such a bad thing to procure a company-wide PA system from which to stream constant disco? I've recently found that disco puts me in rare form. I suppose it's that same rare form suddenly sporting roller skates and boas in a fit of flamboyance that's precisely what a "bad thing" that idea is. It's a damn shame if you ask me, which you didn't. I clearly entertain myself with these discussions in my head, so those shall continue, at the least. *more sighs*



Well sorry to be such a Negative Nancy (I'm curious to what extent this aforementioned Nancy takes to that moniker?), and I'm sure to snap out of all of this soon enough. For now, I have to restart this level as my neglect is reflected in my score. If you have any friendly advice for Miss Kitty, I'm all ears!

* So how, exactly, can I describe the goings on as reflected in the glass in front of me if I'm not wearing my spectacles? Imagination, Dear Pets, imagination *smile*

Take two of these and forget my number!

" They say your problem is inoperable, but they're wrong: It's just incurable. Go ahead and do all the operating you want."

Some mornings the best medicine is the shit that will inevitably get you fired. This has been a bloody weird month for Miss N.K.... Ups, downs, uppers, downers... Why does the 11th month so vehemently hate my freedom? This morning, it was prompt retribution for snaking pain killers from a certain mother-in-law/pusher who shall remain nameless to protect the identities of all involved. "I believe it's an opiate....or a hallucinogen. I can't remember which, but it should take the edge off". Indeed! After a night chalk full of horrifying waking nightmares, I found myself bordering on paralyzation this morning. I even had a fleeting daydream about dialing Social Services with my tongue to notify them of Mommy's self-induced drug coma and the subsequent inability to get her kiddos ready for school.



As it so happens, today in particular, I was scheduled to visit a new daycare for The Miniature One. When I finally peeled myself off the bed and choked down enough caffeine to kill a small rhino, I was out of the gate with both somehow-fully-dressed-and shoed munchkins (shit, I wonder if I remembered socks?....). Right off the bat, it was a change in routine as today I was dropping the eldest off first, then visiting the new school, dropping the youngest off at his normal school, swinging by the DMV and then off to work. I had actually recited this over and over (and over some more) in my head since the plans were made around 2pm yesterday. It's even possible I additionally made up a little song with this sequence of events so as not to be thrown off track. I've clearly become that mentally unstable Lhasa my mom's friend "mothered".... the one who recoiled in horror for hours behind the toilet because it's altogether possible a piece of furniture had been moved two inches without warning!

Kindergarten, New School, Old School, DMV, Work. Kindergarten, New School, Old School, DMV, Work. K, N, O, D, W.... Nope, that doesn't help... Who in the hell put a tree in the middle of the road!?!?!? And that sidewalk!? SERIOUSLY PEOPLE!!!! *panic* Kindergarten, New School, Old School, DMV, Work... I can't be sure I slowed down much below about 7mph or so while dropping Van off in the "Kiss-'N-Go" lane... In fact, I had to check twice to see if he had actually exited the vehicle at all.... *glance* No Van. Shit. I hope he's actually at school *panic*.



As I exited the parking lot towards the second stop in my out-of-the-norm journey, I felt the shakes coming on. I could feel myself nervously glancing around. Dax whined ever so slightly to express his discontent at our deviation from routine and there it was: Full On Meltdown. I slammed my foot down on the accelerator and peeled out of the school parking lot like a bloody banshee. Right, Left, Right, Right again.... SHIT! I was supposed to go Right, Left, Right, Left! It was an "ABAB" pattern, just like Van was learning! No time for apologies, I turned up the music and headed straight for Dax's old school... Rushed him inside, smiling politely in response to the concerned glances of the suddenly crowded hallway, dashed back outside, started the car, lit up a cigarette (this was certainly no time for that piece of shit e-cigarette that is totally lacking in the "throat hit" department I read about last night while shopping for refill oils for the god forsaken thing), skipped forward to some death metal, and headed for the DMV with my head hung in shame (which can make driving a bit of a challenge).



It took a good 10 minutes to calm myself in the car upon arriving at my next stop. I had skipped stop #2. I sucked. And not just a little. This was major suckage. That stop was strategically arranged. It was potentially for the good of all mankind. And I skipped it. I just couldn't do it. My routine was already so off kilter that functioning through the rest of the day was going to be a challenge in and of itself.

Fortunately for the good registration-renewing citizens of the north end of the city, the DMV visit went smooth as silk. Chesty McChesterson recognized me immediately upon my approach to her window and there was minimal conversation to overcome the transaction. Out the door, back in the car and on my way to work.



I have a doctor's appointment today at 2:30pm. Roughly 4 hours and 14 minutes from this point in time. *seething panic*. As unusual pains have surfaced I was finally forced to suck it up and call with the customary "is this normal" inquiry. "Good lord, what? Really? Oh my, that's not good. Not good at all. Not normal. You need to come in". Well that's just great! And no real reason to panic, right? *panic*

*sigh* Once upon a time, before I very suddenly became an old demented broad, I was spontaneous and carefree. Time was my bitch, and I treated her as such. It seems nowadays, that same bitch has become my tormentor. I am all too aware of each ticking moment and I can only keep the hysteria at bay when things are running like clockwork. Next week, I travel out of town each day for training. I'm curious what sort of apocalypse will result from that not 5 minutes into Day One. The mere thought has my palms sweating in nervous anticipation. Calm down, Kitty. Put the coffee down and back away slowly!

Matchmaker vs. Menace

"The stars will wait patiently while you look up the album art for Ted Nugent's Cat Scratch Fever, because they want you to know exactly what you look like to them. "

It's quite possibly inappropriate to begin a thought with a side tangent, but seems I enjoy living on the edge, so screw it. A number of weeks back, I'm wandering through a discount retailer searching for a red jacket. You see, once upon a time, I had an awesome bloody goddamned '70's style pleather jacket in hooker red. It was brilliant and damnit, I looked pretty brilliant in it. Anyhoo, I found a sad substitute for said jacket, but I also happened upon this funky-fantastic vest made of faux-suede and lined with pseudo-lambswool. This ain't any ordinary vest - it's akin to something you might happen upon a Cirque du Soleil cast member sporting. That was enough of a visual for me to plunk down my money and take yet another bold fashion risk (Who am I kidding? If you've ever seen me out in public, you know damn well I look like the product of Punky Brewster on a coke binge). Even amid bits of self-consciousness, I wore the vest to work and strutted about like a peacock in heat. All that glory and confidence came to a crashing halt when I walked in the door upon arriving home: "I'm gonna call you The Nuge". "Um, ARE YOU F*CKING KIDDING ME!?" "What!? No! I love it! You just look like Ted Nugent, so I'm calling you The Nuge!" Fantastic. Not three days later I happened upon the horoscope at the top of this post and couldn't help but laugh. It was even Cancer's horoscope. Awesomeness. And ya know? I think I might just wear that vest a bit more frequently and perhaps pair it with a bow or sawed off shotgun, just for effect.

In a roundabout manner, that side tangent actually COULD feasibly relate to the subject at hand*. I was gossiping with my dear mother last night and my favorite brother came up. Although I've made it painfully obvious that he's my hero for so many reasons - if you haven't met him, you haven't LIVED. When he wakes up in the morning, I'm rather positive he pisses excellence. He is the muthafukin bee's knees, to be sure. He is also single *gasp*! Refrain from jumping to conclusions as he's blissfully single. I dare say I envy him on occasion when I'm being reprimanded for somehow enabling a certain someone's wedding ring to go flying off into the heating duct because he lost weight so the ring doesn't fit his finger anymore and despite being at work, it's all my fault. *ahem* But I digress.

A bit of a back story, here - when my parents divorced, my father - a devout Catholic - married a Mormon broad with a gaggle of children, grandchildren and yes, even children of the great-grand persuasion. Growing up surrounded by the culture, I'm well aware of the immense priorities placed on meeting, marrying and promptly breeding. A lot. Almost obscene amounts of it. But I'll save that conversation for another day. Anyway, as my dear brother lives near my dad & his wife, there are frequent invites for dinners, particularly around the holidays. And I wouldn't so much label them "invites" as "summons". As the surgically implanted foot in my dear stepmother's mouth dictates - there are often lectures about "finding a nice girl" and "settling down". To date, I am not aware of any forced courting, but I'm fully aware how damning the constant nagging must be for him.

My brother and I grew up in a cloud of judgement and rejection from the locals. It could hardly be avoided as we were immersed in this cult-ure everywhere we turned. It was often made well known that we were despised by neighbors and school mates for little reason beyond our own (differing) religion. In all reality, "our religion" generally entailed skipping church in favor of Slurpee's, Mad Magazine and enough candy to induce vomiting while we frolicked the hour away at some nearby park or another. The point was we simply didn't fit. And to not fit was bordering on criminal in our sheltered little cul-de-sac.

It wasn't until high school that we all were able to escape into the fringe society. I dare say high school rather saved all three of us (the third being the other brother who shall not be named). We were exposed to more of a bigger picture of the world... beyond our wee pond. We each blossomed off onto our own unique paths and were able to begin something of a healing process. My brother went out of state for college and immediately thereafter even ventured off the continent for a time. On his travels, he encountered like-minded geniuses with that thirst for knowledge and adventure. For all the things I'm so terribly jealous of. After a time, the job market was bleak and his financials even more so. Sadly, he moved back to our state of birth where he currently resides. This man is brilliant, insanely talented, charismatic, bloody hilarious, well-educated and handsome. Ah yes. And single. Oh, the horror!!!!

Why on earth is it assumed that those precious few people, those who have found themselves and have attained a heightened sense of peace and purpose - must be only hiding their misery at being alone...promptly subject to sighs of pity and the meddling of busy bodies? Have you found your soul mate? A hearty congratulations - but for Pete's sake, LIVE AND LET LIVE. No pity necessary as he is richer in his experience than many of us will ever be. The sad fact is that the omnipresent pestering is breaking his spirit. Rather than embrace his accomplishments and gifts, he is gradually succumbing to the brainwashing - believing he has fallen short of "normalcy". That is an offense I take personally. My heart broke once when he gave up his art. It's breaking again at his alienation.

Alas, it's not my battle to fight, so I ball my hands into fists and shake them aimlessly about on his behalf. It is my hope he will still encounter the realization, along his path, that he is unique, amazing and worthy. No less a human because he is not attached to another. And really, shouldn't we all be whole individuals first rather than basing our self-worth on the presence of a partner? Just a thought.

*Oops... Almost forgot to tie the side tangent to the main point of the post: One of the most detrimental influences on my brother and I as children were the remarks of others. T'is eventually far easier to isolate ourselves than face the possibility of a vocal outsider. Despite free speech and all that hoopla, there is also something to be said for tact. You never quite know who you may drive into a remote cave with your careless remarks.

Love, Pussycats & Carwrecks

" You may not be an expert on which snakes are poisonous and which aren't, but damn it, you know a cuddly one when you see it.  "



Indeed. The title of this bit of rambling is respectfully stolen off one of my favorite albums... More importantly, it seems to sum up where I find myself in life. One might gather, with the timing of this post, that the Thanksgiving holiday somehow metaphorically drilled through all the inner cobwebs, chaos and calamity thus unleashing a new era. Nope, Pets... Odd as it seems, a certain Miss Roseanne Barr is actually due all credit (or hate mail).



It was a sparkly Wednesday morning and I happened upon the most delightful little article in Newsweek penned by the feisty dame. True enough, the bulk of the article addressed the wonderment which awaits us womenfolk beyond menopause. Strange for that subject matter to have such a resounding impact on a certain 33 year old broad - but given my recent surgery, seems it's actually quite par for the course. It also brought a precise sequence of events from the last few months swirling to a head. Little Orphan So-And-So has found a small sense of inner peace.

The essence of the article transcends well beyond the crass banter of "The Big Change" - Notions that there are, after all, circumstances- perhaps a simple state of mind - in which the mind and those pesky emotions housed within outweigh any importance once placed upon our fragile and ever-aging physical beings. In typical Ninja Kitty fashion, allow me to back that trolley up for a moment.... 



In another instant, I was enjoying company comprised of neighbors, friends and family in the sanctuary that is our creaky old garage. For little more than a moment, I closed my eyes to take in all the laughter and sarcasm - each guest increasingly (and intoxicatingly) drowning out the next - all eager to talk and share stories of days long gone by. Each subject would seamlessly beget the next, though time suddenly stood quite still when one subject in particular was breeched: Childhood dreams not yet realized.



As the conversation continued well into the afternoon, my head was mostly filled with white noise and distant clamour. Simple enough to chalk this all up to a handful of "vintage" wine coolers, but a chord was most definitely struck. I frantically tried to recall my own youthful dreams. Good lord, certainly there was SOMETHING I longed for... aspired to.... dreamed of? I kept coming up empty. Quite expeditiously, I concluded that I really was a wallpaper chameleon until well into my 20's, if not later. I never stood out or really had anything I thought I could/would/should offer. I was only minimally existing for so many years. Sure, I had friends here and there, though probably more acquaintances who lingered while awaiting their trains elsewhere. In very sporadic spurts, I encountered people far older than myself who seemed to see through the garbled murk and recognize something unique in me. I rarely understood that and more predictably shyly slipped off into oblivion so as not to make waves in the immediate social situation.

After the birth of my sons and gradually finding a way back to some semblance of a shape (other than obtuse), I found myself garnering more and more attention. Attention from coworkers, friends, neighbors and strangers. It seemed the world was becoming my oyester whether or not I put any effort to that end. To be honest, for the most part, this all escaped notice as my mind was far too occupied with nagging feelings of worthlessness and my own insecurities. As I'd walk down a hallway, I could sense an out-of-place hair or the fabric of a dress brushing against my love handles. (Nothing to love about 'em, that's for damn sure!) And truly, it's not that I ever wished to be noticed. Not special or significant. Only to somehow belong.



Out of the blue, and entirely without notice, I realized that's exactly where I am. I do belong. I will always be gaudy with my bizarre taste in clothes. Eclectic with my sense of humor. Way the hell out of left field with my ever-derailing-trains-of-thought. Yet I'm me. One of those "I'm OK, You're OK" silly sorts of moments. Makes me ponder whether the biological "losses" signify more of a renewed chapter in life than a renaissanced comedienne eludes to. Tis a magical thing, whatever the broader cause.

For such a painstakingly long time, I have strived to release myself from the chains of perceived judgement only now realizing the battle could have been won in a careless snap. What a breath of fresh air! If I didn't suspect the onslaught of lawsuits, I would highly recommend removal of all non-essential women-parts to femmes far and wide LONG before Mother Nature has a say in matters. As I sit here musing at all the imperfections painting the body awkwardly connected to my head, I have to smile. Each brushstroke symbolic of one hairbrained scheme or another. The wrinkles creeping up beside my eyes and around my mouth - marks borne of hysterical guffaws and general merriment. Even the dry, bloody cracks upon my rice-paper-plastered knuckles bring me bubbling to a giggle as they remind me of my brother. Although I admittedly feel as though I've aged a few dozen or so years, there is no fear cloked in growing old(er) and crazy(er). Is this what elusive wisdom feels like? Perhaps simply having a few more years under my belt? One less functional organ? Purely divine!!!



Much to my own surprise, I've been inspired by Ms. Barr to resume recording the inner workings of my head as this journey marches on. Take it or leave it as it's little more than for the amusement of Yours Truly. For now, I see nothing wrong with heading off for a bit of a cat nap - as long as no one at the office immediately pays any mind :). 

Broken

Try as I might, I can't break the pattern of being who I am. That person is far too sensitive and... well.... broken.

A Kitty For All Seasons

" Your most cherished dream will die this week, which would be tragic if it weren't to float around in a Texas-shaped pool filled with beer."

This morning, after I had dropped the boys off at school and ventured reluctantly back to work, I encountered the most amazing symbol of the upcoming season: A tree. One lone tree among dozens upon dozens of green towering deciduous beauties. This lone picture of perfection lit up my view with it's seemingly infinite collection of red, orange and yellow hues. Fall. I instantly fast-forward to the smell of pumpkin... a cool nighttime breeze teasing my flesh....the crunch of leaves beneath my feet....the delicious horror of Halloween....

Having always lived in multi-season climates, experience had taught me that, although I always seek those elusive tidbits of happiness -  as each season wears on - I slip into the doldrums. Wishing only for what comes next. Such a tragic way to go about life - simply forgetting to live in the moment. Why not soak up all that I am surrounded by rather than grabbing the binoculars for that greener grass or changing tree off in the distance? As I take a step back from myself, a broader perspective presents itself.

I recently found myself engaged in a long conversation with a dear friend of mine regarding memories. I'm afraid there was a bit of a pity party being thrown, but there was still much truth contained in my words...even if considerably less theatrics. As the dialogue progressed, I began uncovering the REAL circumstances surrounding memories I tried to paint with a more pleasant brush. The pain I attempted to hide by isolating a snapshot in time and focusing on only that small frame. This theme has become quite commonplace in my life. Knowing how prone I am to depression, I struggle to tread the waters around me - to find hidden beauties and camouflaged peace.

All of this is so glaringly apparent in my view of each upcoming season. I have never been one to handle summer with grace. As an overweight and self-conscious child, I dreaded thoughts of heat and the paring down of clothing. In protest of the onset of sadness, I clung to little pieces of time. Memories I could replay over and over again in an attempt to keep smiling: I remember sprawling out under the shadows of our oak trees - closing my eyes to drown out the frolicking children I didn't fit in with. In place of all the giggles and delight was the sound of a small airplane overhead.... when I opened my eyes, I could see the vapor trail delicately strewn across a stunning blue sky. On another occasion, I strolled obliviously about in a park from the heat of the day well into evening... when colors drift seamlessly into black and white and the crickets are deafening.... These moments became my summer. I looked forward to these senses - I frantically embraced them so all the bad could fade away. 

The days pass by faster than they used to - I grow dizzy retrieving each sequential inner box of memories while trying to prepare myself for the onslaught of the future. I am forgetting the moment - and there are so many of them. The moments that matter: The belly laughs of my children... The smell of the sun heating up the pine trees as the wind whips through my short hair... My husband's dimples when he smiles at me first thing in the morning. Simply put: The things that matter.

I've spent so much time painstakingly healing from years of damage I neglected to notice I'm no longer being actively hurt. That fact in itself seems to toss me into a tailspin. Had I created all the drama I felt I needed to recover from? Without so much as a hint of sarcasm, it seems I've hit the proverbial nail on the head. With each passing day, I'm getting to know myself a little better. I'm growing to reconcile the emotions which frantically swirled around in my head for decades. The hurt was real - the negative emotional responses were real. What I believe was an illusion was the intent behind them. Coming to terms with being the epitome of hypersensitivity is quite the experience. I equate such a wild ride to being in a warehouse full of grasshoppers. As I collect each one and place it carefully in the net, the chaos calms just a little more. I have always made apologies, but the season has come to forgive all those who never did. The past is the perfect place for the past and I must learn to leave the dusting for another time.

Today is a new day and I resolve to leave it at that.

Blue.

"The rise of Orion in the night sky, combined with the approach of the equinox, is a dire portent. Soon it will become cold, and frozen water shall fall from the sky."

One could say there are a myriad of things that send chills up my spine. After all, this gal fears heights, free-fall, clowns and spiders when she's not dodging sharks, carnies, cheese cloth and Achilles tendon paper-cuts. Add all of this up - the sum still falls miles short of my new found fear of blue.... More specifically the blueish hue which paints my son's lips when he slips into oblivion.

My oldest was the one plagued by health problems. From the day he arrived on this planet during the wildest thunderstorm imaginable:  jaundiced and subsequently enduring misreported blood results, we grew to expect red carpets rolled out from those familiar gates of the E.R.. The second was to be easier. We told ourselves this over and over again. It has to be easier this go-round, for we know what to expect. We had never been so mistaken in our relatively young lives.

The first time he cried... I mean really cried... A legitimate reason, not some silly plea for milk, the cat's tail, or his blankie..... He slipped away. I will never be free of the branded image of his lifeless body in my panicked arms. The grayish tint of his skin where every miniature little vein seems tattooed against the most delicate rice paper. And those lips... those chapped, helpless, pouty blue lips. My lacking instincts led me from one room to another in silent horror - I had long since quit screaming and simply needed to act. It seemed like days between scooping him up and placing my lips to his between the softest, yet most effective chest compressions my trembling hands could manage. The slightest hollow gasp brought streams of tears to my face. This was to be the very beginning.

His brother had witnessed all of this, and from time to time, he still vividly relives the day "his brother was dead". He is the fragile one - the empath who feels his Mama's pain and struggles to find explanation in his journey... even five years later. But the little one - the little one is full of fire and confidence. Where Van is wise beyond years, Dax is fearless beyond his own. Perhaps that is one trait that drives me into despair when he breaks. He has endured test after test.... his heart, brain, blood... to no end. There are no answers beyond "extended breath holding". Then there are the unexplained seizures. The day he came out of one of these ominous spells without senses - his eyes, unfocused - for a moment, I felt as though I were hearing through his ears - all that resonated was the distant clamour of thousands of overlapping conversations - as though heard from somewhere underwater and far away.

They feared him at preschool. The teachers would meltdown upon witnessing what had to be calmly explained away over and over again. They didn't want to touch him for fear that he'd shatter into a million precious pieces. My heart ached for him for two long years. It was getting better. He was becoming vibrant and brilliant. Perhaps not articulate, but an almost prodigy of all things sports and physical. Charming, devious and hysterical all at one moment. He grew out of it. My god, they were right... he grew out of it!

Yesterday, my little clouded world came crashing down upon me like one of those hellacious breaking waves immediately followed by an undertow that pulls you out to sea. In the confusion, you swim furiously towards the ocean floor repeatedly - life slipping from your frantic body. Things go eerily calm. We think it was the altitude in the mountains. We probably desperately cling to the very same. It had become such a routine, Papa immediately handed him off to me as he gathered up Van for yet another heartfelt explanation and offering of some level of comfort. I stood out in the crisp night air with my baby in my arms. His tongue hanging out beyond those familiar blue lips.... the grey skin, the rolling eyes, the stiff and slightly shivering limbs. His eyes close and his body finally forces the slightest breathe. I am completely silent as I remain stoic and in a feigned stance of accomplishment. Behind the walls, my heart is racing as though it will explode if it doesn't recognize the beat through the tiny chest pressed against my own.

As though it were as mundane as grabbing a glass of water, I carry his now-breathing little frame back inside and place him gingerly on the bed with his blankie snuggled up close. I ask him a few questions and he answers each perfectly. His final words before drifting off to sleep: "I love you, Mama. Thank you." I kiss his sweet little sweaty forehead, turn around, walk back beyond the threshold and weep.

These experiences.... these moments.... they don't hold a candle to the trauma so many parents (make no distinction between biological and those who have proudly stepped into those shoes) and loved ones have been forced to endure because of circumstance or even worse, genetics. So many creatures have known the sense of ultimate responsibility for another - or for multiple others.... so many are blessed with an intangible instinct of protection and action. For others, no level of instinct or education - medication or experience can ever take away the fears that send us into our own personal hell when we close our eyes each night.

It never gets easier.... only more familiar. It is said that we are only given what we can handle. What we are capable of. The most unspeakable tragedy is turning one's back on that. There is no easy road in this life. To think that way is to either exude arrogance or indifference. I never imagined I possessed the capacity to love so many so incredibly deeply. I suppose that is because my heart is...well...capable of it. I will never make any apologies for that, nor will I ever have any regrets. Sometimes in the midst of chaos I forget my own heart.... Those blue lips are an ever-vigilant reminder.

The Bizarre and The Beautiful.....

"Your heart will be shattered by a beautiful scientist who removes it from your body, dips it in liquid nitrogen, and drops it to the ground."

This morning, I woke as though from the most marvelous dream of the experience had Sunday.... Leading up to this, my husband and his band were scheduled for a photo shoot in celebration of winning best rock/metal band of the year from a local paper. He had been ever so slightly briefed to arrive at a specified time at a location described as little more than a junkyard... later it was added that it is also a botanical garden...?... Confusion was abound, but he was excited nonetheless.



A few hours passed, and Papa came through the door with this somehow serene excitement beaming forth from expression. He slowly began describing this amazing place and relayed that it was quite simply "ME".... That I must visit the spot and soon! As I'm a naturally curious (read: OBNOXIOUS) sort of creature, my excitement dictated that we must immediately pack up the boys and head directly back there so I could see it for myself! What's the saying? "If Mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy" *smile* My family quickly obliged....

We drove through the familiar streets I had driven past numerous times. I kept pondering how it was possible I could have missed this place? It was mere blocks from where I once lived! - yet from the street, one would never guess such magic were contained behind a non-descript fence. We parked in the gravel lot and proceeded to unload ourselves from the car.



I little more than glanced up and a feeling washed over my entire being: This garden. This simple, eclectic beauty set against a breathtaking backdrop of the cloud covered mountains in the distance. Every last one of my senses were completely overwhelmed as time suddenly stood still.... reversed, even.... Stepping through this portal into the past... So much to take in.... bizarre, decaying sculptures, then suddenly antique treasures from decades gone by.... flowers and greenery.... bits of twisted metal and spectacular works of art littered among plants and gazebos. Awestruck.



My brain couldn't begin to register what was at play as quickly as I wished for it to.... These metal creatures peering at us from behind a tree - beings reminiscent of the Quentin Blakely illustrations in the Roald Dahl books I so adore.



For the next undisclosed amount of time, I was lost in all the glory. I was living through my boys, who had stars in their eyes - I could feel their sensory overload along with my own - they ran this way and that - wanting to take in each piece with the appreciation it so greatly deserved, but then feeling torn with notions of neglecting the very next..... Old metal signs and wooden ringer washing machines.... Schwinn bicycles and.... SWEET MERCIFUL JESUS, POLISH CHICKENS!!!!!!! (I walked into this all well equipped with expectations of the children fancying up one nightmare or another from their wild experience this fine day.... the chickens most definitely still haunt them both....).



I have always had an affinity for all things vintage, retro, strange and forgotten - this Valhalla had it all and then some! But it was more than that... As I turned each corner of wonderment and spectacle, my heart swelled with the words my husband spoke - his knowledge that this place must be shared with me - that I'd understand upon seeing it. Knowing so much about me and what truly makes me tick. I melted.



As silly as it all may seem to the casual observer, I was.... well.... home. I had rarely experienced emotions of being cradled in the welcoming embrace of a space - but this topped the list. To find that I never previously knew of the spot - it was both disappointing and understandable all at once. As though I needed this place to exist at this exact moment in time. And now it does, and I cannot wait to visit again!



There Is No "We" in "ME" :)

" You'll finally learn you can't run away from your problems, but you haven't given up on escaping by donning a clever disguise and hiding in a crowded restaurant. "



'Tis a strange and amusing ongoing battle between my personalities:
Wanting to be "liked" vs. Wanting to blend seamlessly in with the wallpaper
Trying to be selfless vs. Making it all about ME
Wanting to move to Italy vs. Dreams of moving to Pluto



This morning, my first born started kindergarten. My first thoughts? How I was going to handle this. What the hell, Mama? This day is about HIM. His first steps towards miniature manhood! A thousand shades of NEW. Yet I was confident he'd be just fine - after all, he's the oldest. He's had to play the role of guinea pig for every first. First smile. First steps. First word. First bike.....First one to push Mama's buttons.



But exuding confidence in my uncoordinated midget - how on earth did I think it justified making it all about me? The answer to that lies in the past 33 or so years.... There have always been two very distinct sides of Miss Kitty - more recently, I fear those have bred or blossomed or begat...ummm...eth multiple more. I am always the first to second guess everything I do, say and/or think. I also use "I" a lot in my writing - which tends to be one of those pesky red flags of a *gasp* narcissist. I (there it is AGAIN!!! DAMNIT!) tend to turn my thoughts towards convincing myself it's simply a lack of any real writing talent or structure. Could be a pleasant mixture of the two?



This is where I jump head-first down that slip-'n-slide into the splash pools of overanalyzation. Do I have sinister motive in everything I do? If I don't gain some level of reassurance, will I spontaneously combust? I suppose it's possible - and it's almost a tempting enough curiosity to test... In an attempt to defend myself *cough* TO MYSELF - I then swim some laps in self-loathing for good measure. Almost seems there is an air of familiarity.... the unending cycle of Catholic guilt. I was never "Confirmed", so I always fancied notions that I had somehow outwitted The Vatican.



Then I have an "Ah-ha" moment. Not the band, mind you (plus it's spelled differently) - though Take On Me IS the first song in rotation each day I start my iPod over again - I tend to skip it as quickly as possible through a beet-red face and shifty looks of paranoia. Back to the moment.... It dawns on me that the intangible line between loving myself and REALLY LOVING MYSELF is an utterly foreign concept to me. Fight it as I try, I still can't help but equate even the smallest amount of confidence with an overflowing ego. As I spoke, at length, with a very dear friend of mine about - I struggle with breaking the synapse in my brain that automatically views "confidence" as a four-letter word. And I'm not talking about the "F" one as I utilize that to a degree that would give a sailor pause.



Alas, just another hiccup along this windy journey of mine. Today, of all days, it could not be less about ME. And I don't limit that to my Van's first day of kindergarten. Then again, I suppose I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I weren't viewing the world from MY perspective.... If I weren't simply being.... well.... ME.

A Random Explanation for My Absence

Writer's Block.



One would think that to be sufficient cause to fall off the face of the earth for just over a month, yes? Ahhh, but what fun would that be for the gal who can't seem to "shut up" when it comes to letting my segmented and borderline hysterical ramblings dance via my fingertips across the surface of the keyboard? Plus, I've established I have a certain attachment for run-on sentences......



It really wasn't even so much that I had nothing to say - but rather a mixture of too many things to say coupled with the lack any real cohesion to express them. I have stated that I write for myself and only for myself. I often wonder if I'm simply trying to convince myself? Although I always viewed a need for reaction or criticism as my own personal demon, I'm growing to find that it's a basic inherent trait of a much larger population. Many of us long to be loved, hated, respected, ridiculed - just about anything but forgotten. All other emotional responses are STILL responses. But to be ignored, neglected or forgotten... well, we may as well cease to exist at that point.



In the same vein: "Praised" is something I am altogether uncomfortable with. I no longer feel a need to be adored by all - as I learned, over MUCH time, that it was a fleeting sort of adoration. It was an emotion borne of a bit of other's selfish need for entertainment. I could.... well.... amuse.

"What do ya mean, funny? Let me understand this cause, I don't know maybe it's me, I'm a little fucked up maybe, but I'm funny how? I mean, funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh... I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?"



Does a happy medium exist in all of this? I draw the comparison between this mental battle taking place within the confines of my skull and the basic recipe for success in a work environment.... I strive to be a better person, I really do. How can I possibly understand what it is I lack or where my faults lie if no one bothers to clue me in on this? How does one grow when they can't necessarily put a finger on which way "UP" is? Similarly, if I'm continually placed on a pedestal of sorts - praised and complimented (whether out of fear of my fragility or otherwise) - have I already reached the boring pinnacle of perfection? What is the point of standing at the top with that tempered glass ceiling pressing down upon my head? Does anyone truly want to be perfect? My lord, I certainly hope not. What a horridly depressing thought to even fathom someone who actually KNOWS all there is to know!! I would sit atop that mountain with my flowy white robes billowing in the gusts of knowledge pondering "WHAT NOW?" - before briskly jumping off the cliff to my doom!



I believe deep in my soul that there is so much more out there - both on the emotional and the physical journey. Our imaginations fueled by bedazzled creativity shatter any limits or boundaries. You can't begin to imagine my disappointment when, after MONTHS of struggling to master Metroid, I found that upon passing, you simply start the game over, though this time w/out a helmet. *hangs head in disgust* Yes, I am indeed a nerd. A damn proud one! I have a lot of life left in me and an unimaginably vast number of things to learn... I hope that you, the reader, will join me on some of these Choose-Your-Own-Adventures if, for nothing more than a brief moment in time. I could use all the help (help=feedback) I can get!


D is for Disappointment?

"After years of putting up an emotional wall to keep loved ones from getting too close, you'll realize the error of your ways this Thursday and purchase three tons of brick and cement. "



Through a rather specific sequence of events, one thing became crystal clear to me: I am one person. Try as I might, I cannot clone myself, please everyone or control the universe. This realization most certainly knocked me down a peg or three. And yet the place I find myself - though further from my comfort zone in the clouds - ain't so bad.

As a naturally hypersensitive and empathetic sort of creature, I have always expended unreal levels of energy attempting to be everything to everyone. Turns out the "unreal" portion of that was the expectation I placed on myself. It is understandably a bit of an automatic reaction for those I disappoint to lash out at me or express their dissatisfaction with my lack of response - Yet there comes a time in each of our lives where self-preservation must become a priority. Where we cease the apologies and simply smile in the face of adversity.



Time will always be a treasured commodity in short supply. It's something I seemingly only now have come to the realization of. I don't always remember birthdays or even holidays of the national variety. I may neglect to return a phone call or simply ignore them for weeks at a clip. It is not that I am altogether apathetic, but rather in my own version of hibernation. The moments spent with my miniature little family are gold to me. They are not always perfect - but as a dear friend of mine so eloquently stated: "Imperfection is so easy to love". I could not possibly agree more!





It Ain't Me

"You will have the most thrilling experience of your life this week. Hint: It will involve an electric pencil sharpener and a once-dull pencil."

This last week, I declared an end to my self-inflicted time out from a certain social networking site. ***SPOILER ALERT: I am NOT referring to the one Justin Timberlake has so graciously signed on with to resurrect it from the dead*** As silly and rather trivial as this decision was, I was only able to arrive at this decision after much consideration. I decided if I had a purpose, it would more easily be justified. The funny thing about all of this: in one of those "the grass isn't always greener" sort of moments, I quickly realized not only why I left in the first place, but that any moment of simple pleasure there was to be gained was fleeting.



There was a bit of a verbal ticker-tape parade welcoming me back and further assigning quite undeserved credit for bringing the entertainment value back to the joint. While unabashedly flattering, it was all still fleeting. The fact is, I offer nothing special. Miss N.K. is not splashing around in a kiddie pool of self-loathing in this statement. Rather, any perceived "wit" or razzle-dazzle-special effect is merely the predictable effects of "putting it out there" so to speak. Many of the strangers I grew to know and adore over the course of the past few years had one thing in common: Lack of inhibition to join the conversation.



I suppose I can actually take credit for something else entirely as I realized I have, in fact, matured over the past handful of months. I've never possessed a particularly competitive nature. My definition of the same ventured more towards slapping myself upside the head when I realized my motivation was waning as compared to those I was surrounded by. I never strived to "beat them" (we're not talking physical violence, here.... otherwise, I plead the 5th) or outdo them. Those motives simply don't register on my radar. Rather, in putting forth an effort to befriend and lift the spirits of others (which, admittedly was a gut reaction to feeling excluded from the REAL world), I achieved some level of popularity and even notoriety. You don't have to look very far to see that my innermost thoughts poured across this page never reached a similar level of infamy. And that's OK. All the gibberish and 20-character-or-less quips splashed this way and that on even the most mundane "updates" are little more than that - gibberish. All of it so far removed from the daily joy or pain Annie experiences.



Please don't misunderstand - my intent is not to take cheap shots at the people or friendships encountered along the way. I suppose if there is an intent in all of this, it is some inner need to climb atop some skyscraper and shout "YOU ALL ARE GIVING ME WAY TOO MUCH GODDAMNED CREDIT!!!!" And at the end of the day, I failed to see WHY. After all, I figured I was no different there than I am in person.



Simply not the case.

I genuinely care about things. I can't always be summed up in a set number of characters and emoticons. Sometimes I have something to say that will not be popular among the masses. Yet it was enticingly simple to cut & paste my personality to suit any miniature rant or quip I felt the need to sprinkle across the ever-refreshing pages. I took a bit of sick delight in always having the last word. I could place the most coveted (yet least prominent) facets of my personality on display- and all of this was perceived as somehow fabulous. At the end of the day, anyone with similar insecurities could pull off the same bullshit.



When I left, there were people I truly wanted to keep in touch with. People I thought I had built meaningful friendships with.  I must say, it was an eye-opening and lonely number of months at first. Sure, it can be inconvenient to open your heart to someone outside those walls. I can be the queen of slackers when it comes to email responses or returned phone calls. Never out of malice, and I don't fault any of those people mentioned for the same. Still. Quite lonely. Out of the loneliness came a new appreciation of myself. I gradually have learned to tolerate my quirks.... even more gradually to LIKE some of them. And I sit before you today pretty damn OK with who I am.

My encore presence has already begun opening the cracks of strife once the Internet connection is terminated. I'm not such a bad creature in person, and to love or appreciate me, one should be realizing the person in the flesh is more important, no?


Kitty

Friday, December 30, 2011

Madness

" Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams— even the ones in which the kitchen table grows jagged teeth and chases you around while shrieking Keats poems."..... color me intrigued.....

Another day, another personality, no? So after what can only be described as an Evening of Awesomeness, I awoke this morning to find not only had I inexplicably worn shoes and a sock monkey hat to bed, but had no recollection of fixing myself a pitcher of Kool-Aid and leaving it methodically in the garage. The most obtuse part of all of this? No alcohol involved. Just a good old fashioned case of insanity.... Of which I'm pretty well always game for! Really makes me wonder, though: what, exactly, happens in those hours when I mentally check out?



Perhaps the more telling question is how many hours do I actually clock back in for? Leading up to yesterday evening, I decided to embark on a little journey into the minds of others. I have grown rather weary of conversing with myself so figured I'd see what lies beyond. Much to my delight, I found a host of "me"'s sprinkled about the planet. Although my first instinct may or may not have been to throw a pity party when discovering I'm not all that unique - it was overtaken by feelings of "NEAT!!!!!". It seems I have plenty in common with some truly spectacular specimens. Don't worry, my ego remains blissfully the size of a walnut - still - splashed about various pages were what could easily have been my own thoughts and opinions. I'm guessing the vast majority of the general public has long since ventured past that bridge, but it's an entirely new ballgame for Miss Kitty. Hell, it's not even the same sport!



So what did I do with all these new found discoveries you ask? (Yeah, I'm being presumptuous there as you most likely know better than to EVER ask....) Nothing. Not a damn thing. I just scoured the words of strangers in silent awe. That is a bit of a theme in my life. I am exposed to something I'm extraordinarily and suddenly passionate about - I mull it around in my head for a bit - then I take a nap and *POOF*! Gone. Just like that.



And yet, I rather enjoy fancying up elaborate excuses for my pitiful approach to life.... Deep seeded Lifetime Movie Channel-worthy excuses. Exaggerated plot lines and tales of mystery and intrigue. The fact remains I simply lack the confidence and discipline to engage in anything beyond the bare minimum. Wow. To see that all staring back at me has me convinced I would do well to hire a professional resume writer after all! In a delectably round-about fashion, this all brings me to the subject at hand. What? Yes - I had one in mind all along! *cue maniacal and brilliant laughter*.... New Years.



Didn't see THAT coming, now, did you? Tis The Season for resolutions for the betterment of oneself and dare I say mankind, yes? The stuff that unicorn tears and double rainbows are made of! But the pressure. My god, the pressure! I could make dazzling declarations of how I am finally hellbent on becoming all I've ever strived to be. Trouble is, I never aimed particularly high with my goals. No, My Pets, I fully plan on remaining far more grounded.  Sure, I want to get out of debt, quit smoking, lose 40lbs, finish my tattoo, write a book, find and land a new job, spend more time enjoying and frolicking with my kids.... the list could go on and on - derailing from time to time for good measure. Rather, I promise nothing more than a smile each day. No matter what bat shit I dramatically sense I'm trudging through amidst fits of throwing myself to the floor to dodge the collapsing sky, I resolve to smile at some point. Laugh it off, dust myself off, slap a band aid on the non-existent scrape on my knee and move on. We are all our worst critics - I may even be my own arch-nemesis. Fancy notion, that....



So as opposed to getting down on myself every time I light up, bounce a check or hide from my little terrorists - I figure if I just use a smile as my umbrella (which still makes no bloody sense to me - seems all the rainwater would eventually fill the damn thing up and render it too heavy to lob around...), the sun will set and tomorrow will be a new day. Ain't that some shit? Happy Friday and Happy New Year's Eve-Eve!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

BEETLEJUICE! BEETLEJUICE! BEETLEJUICE!

" An early winter will soon cover you in a beautiful blanket of snow, unless you finally decide to move your lazy ass from the field where you’ve lain since June. "

Somewhere between my last upbeat post and that pesky one about my M.I.A. motivation, I suspect I ceased to exist. Tis a strange feeling, to be sure. Miss Kitty can be unhealthily obsessed with all things dead and undead and I'm currently unsure whether it's simple overexposure to zombies and ghosties. Regardless, I am experiencing these odd waking dreams in which I did, in fact, pass away roughly a week ago. As my earthly form forgot to read the fine print directions and move the hell on, it simply wanders aimlessly through the mundane. To compound the issue at hand, my e-mails are going unanswered and many calls seem to be dropped. I studied my reflection this morning for signs of trauma or at the very least, laceration - but no such luck.

Hypothetically speaking, I'm curious when I'll get the memo... When the light bulb will burst with light and I'll grasp what has happened. When I'll realize it's silly to continue showering at 2:45am and reporting to work... It's with almost eager anticipation that I look forward to the first creature I startle as I pass through a room, causing those eerie chills to dance upon one's flesh. My computer is clearly a sensitive sort of beast as it would almost appear as though it's registering the words as I type. Weird.

A dear friend of mine recently died and came back... she's been going through a host of chemo treatments and the pain medication prescribed sent her into a bout of hysteria followed promptly by a drug-induced coma. She had flat lined. Long enough to be pronounced dead. Then came back. For the first time in her life, she is at peace. Now, her only stress lies in trying to communicate with the living. To relay all that has happened to her as she's so eager.... desperate even.... to convey the pure awe surrounding her experience. I envision the spot she is at mentally approaches a sort of limbo. A purgatory. No longer able to comprehend the trivial day to day, but not yet taken to another plane of being. Being naturally empathetic, my heart aches for her. Every bit of me wishes to pick apart her brain - to get lost in conversation with her for days upon days... weeks... To provide an outlet for her pain and frustrations. A sounding board. Humanity.

Perhaps it is without that humanity - that touch - that shoulder to cry on or listening ear that we die. We cease to exist because we have ceased to matter. My dear friend is a state away and unable to communicate much by phone. She has retreated into her cave as she finds it far more serene in there. I'm not sure I'm ready to go - or come to grips with the possibility I already have..... I catch myself looking above me for that kite string that offered hope out of a storm drain so many years before. Only the black speckled ceiling meets my gaze. Weird.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pardon Me, Have You Seen My Motivation?

"You will fail to keep your New Year's resolution to ignore meaningless holidays and arbitrary personal decisions. "

Latest trends have suggested my workload as of late is either feast or famine. Trouble is, after a week or two of famine, I'm left little more than drained and perhaps a bit hungry. The feast arrived yesterday, and my bets are still stuck on mastering level 10 of some meaningless internet game I happened upon while researching Navy-approved welding certifications (which, specifically, must adhere to NAVAIR 01-1A-34, for whatever THAT'S worth).



As I take a step back and look at my life, I'm left less than dazzled. What on earth do I do for a living and what will tomorrow bring? Naturally, I spend very little time actually WORRYING about all of this as my game doesn't seem to have an obvious "pause" button. I guess this is what the doldrums are like. I glance at the reflection in the pointless window facing the hallway in front of me to the "blizzard" happening behind me. The clank of the flags beating mercilessly against their respective poles.... the swollen neck of the 8-point buck that just wandered by... cars rushing to god-knows-where on the highway in the distance*.... the white noise of the long-since-obsolete HVAC system in this building. I'm taking all of this in wondering what in the hell happened to me. I used to really strive to accomplish. To do. To complete. Instead, I find myself sitting in this chair feeling my cells pushing back against the chair as though if I wait here long enough, I might just morph into this shoddy piece of furniture. I even stopped wearing my glasses 2 days ago* as I simply don't feel like being bothered with anything further than 2 inches from my nose.



What does one do when they find themselves in such a rut? By all indications, I should be in a state of relative bliss. Trouble is, I find myself longing for that bar up the street when I'm in these silly moods. I'm sure I'd be an alcoholic if my piss-poor tolerance allowed for it. Of course, that's no life to strive for (or at least, that's what I understand). Although incredibly fortunate to be employed at this precise moment in time, that just doesn't seem enough of a push to close down this game, this blog, or this ad site I just clicked on because I am, in fact, in search of new tires. Is this depression? Or just a bit of a residual seasonal coma?

I often sit and ponder what drives others. How they can be persistently searching, growing, DOING. If left to my own devices, and if those two adorable munchkins of mine weren't so vocal and pushy, I'd probably have little guilt in sleeping away the days. Although I don't think I used to do that pre-breeding.... Locating memories of such is even too daunting a task. When did I get so damn lazy? Is it a good use of my time to ask myself questions I have no intention on answering?



I'd be quite intrigued to find what it is that makes other people tick. Perhaps the missing link lies in the lack of social interaction. And I mean REAL interaction - not just the frequent whines and fits of distress from the silly day-to-day frustrations of the job. OK, so I can't quite blame that either as I just returned from a "fresh air" break to discuss Christmas decorations in finite detail. *sigh*

Would it be such a bad thing to procure a company-wide PA system from which to stream constant disco? I've recently found that disco puts me in rare form. I suppose it's that same rare form suddenly sporting roller skates and boas in a fit of flamboyance that's precisely what a "bad thing" that idea is. It's a damn shame if you ask me, which you didn't. I clearly entertain myself with these discussions in my head, so those shall continue, at the least. *more sighs*



Well sorry to be such a Negative Nancy (I'm curious to what extent this aforementioned Nancy takes to that moniker?), and I'm sure to snap out of all of this soon enough. For now, I have to restart this level as my neglect is reflected in my score. If you have any friendly advice for Miss Kitty, I'm all ears!

* So how, exactly, can I describe the goings on as reflected in the glass in front of me if I'm not wearing my spectacles? Imagination, Dear Pets, imagination *smile*

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Take two of these and forget my number!

" They say your problem is inoperable, but they're wrong: It's just incurable. Go ahead and do all the operating you want."

Some mornings the best medicine is the shit that will inevitably get you fired. This has been a bloody weird month for Miss N.K.... Ups, downs, uppers, downers... Why does the 11th month so vehemently hate my freedom? This morning, it was prompt retribution for snaking pain killers from a certain mother-in-law/pusher who shall remain nameless to protect the identities of all involved. "I believe it's an opiate....or a hallucinogen. I can't remember which, but it should take the edge off". Indeed! After a night chalk full of horrifying waking nightmares, I found myself bordering on paralyzation this morning. I even had a fleeting daydream about dialing Social Services with my tongue to notify them of Mommy's self-induced drug coma and the subsequent inability to get her kiddos ready for school.



As it so happens, today in particular, I was scheduled to visit a new daycare for The Miniature One. When I finally peeled myself off the bed and choked down enough caffeine to kill a small rhino, I was out of the gate with both somehow-fully-dressed-and shoed munchkins (shit, I wonder if I remembered socks?....). Right off the bat, it was a change in routine as today I was dropping the eldest off first, then visiting the new school, dropping the youngest off at his normal school, swinging by the DMV and then off to work. I had actually recited this over and over (and over some more) in my head since the plans were made around 2pm yesterday. It's even possible I additionally made up a little song with this sequence of events so as not to be thrown off track. I've clearly become that mentally unstable Lhasa my mom's friend "mothered".... the one who recoiled in horror for hours behind the toilet because it's altogether possible a piece of furniture had been moved two inches without warning!

Kindergarten, New School, Old School, DMV, Work. Kindergarten, New School, Old School, DMV, Work. K, N, O, D, W.... Nope, that doesn't help... Who in the hell put a tree in the middle of the road!?!?!? And that sidewalk!? SERIOUSLY PEOPLE!!!! *panic* Kindergarten, New School, Old School, DMV, Work... I can't be sure I slowed down much below about 7mph or so while dropping Van off in the "Kiss-'N-Go" lane... In fact, I had to check twice to see if he had actually exited the vehicle at all.... *glance* No Van. Shit. I hope he's actually at school *panic*.



As I exited the parking lot towards the second stop in my out-of-the-norm journey, I felt the shakes coming on. I could feel myself nervously glancing around. Dax whined ever so slightly to express his discontent at our deviation from routine and there it was: Full On Meltdown. I slammed my foot down on the accelerator and peeled out of the school parking lot like a bloody banshee. Right, Left, Right, Right again.... SHIT! I was supposed to go Right, Left, Right, Left! It was an "ABAB" pattern, just like Van was learning! No time for apologies, I turned up the music and headed straight for Dax's old school... Rushed him inside, smiling politely in response to the concerned glances of the suddenly crowded hallway, dashed back outside, started the car, lit up a cigarette (this was certainly no time for that piece of shit e-cigarette that is totally lacking in the "throat hit" department I read about last night while shopping for refill oils for the god forsaken thing), skipped forward to some death metal, and headed for the DMV with my head hung in shame (which can make driving a bit of a challenge).



It took a good 10 minutes to calm myself in the car upon arriving at my next stop. I had skipped stop #2. I sucked. And not just a little. This was major suckage. That stop was strategically arranged. It was potentially for the good of all mankind. And I skipped it. I just couldn't do it. My routine was already so off kilter that functioning through the rest of the day was going to be a challenge in and of itself.

Fortunately for the good registration-renewing citizens of the north end of the city, the DMV visit went smooth as silk. Chesty McChesterson recognized me immediately upon my approach to her window and there was minimal conversation to overcome the transaction. Out the door, back in the car and on my way to work.



I have a doctor's appointment today at 2:30pm. Roughly 4 hours and 14 minutes from this point in time. *seething panic*. As unusual pains have surfaced I was finally forced to suck it up and call with the customary "is this normal" inquiry. "Good lord, what? Really? Oh my, that's not good. Not good at all. Not normal. You need to come in". Well that's just great! And no real reason to panic, right? *panic*

*sigh* Once upon a time, before I very suddenly became an old demented broad, I was spontaneous and carefree. Time was my bitch, and I treated her as such. It seems nowadays, that same bitch has become my tormentor. I am all too aware of each ticking moment and I can only keep the hysteria at bay when things are running like clockwork. Next week, I travel out of town each day for training. I'm curious what sort of apocalypse will result from that not 5 minutes into Day One. The mere thought has my palms sweating in nervous anticipation. Calm down, Kitty. Put the coffee down and back away slowly!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Matchmaker vs. Menace

"The stars will wait patiently while you look up the album art for Ted Nugent's Cat Scratch Fever, because they want you to know exactly what you look like to them. "

It's quite possibly inappropriate to begin a thought with a side tangent, but seems I enjoy living on the edge, so screw it. A number of weeks back, I'm wandering through a discount retailer searching for a red jacket. You see, once upon a time, I had an awesome bloody goddamned '70's style pleather jacket in hooker red. It was brilliant and damnit, I looked pretty brilliant in it. Anyhoo, I found a sad substitute for said jacket, but I also happened upon this funky-fantastic vest made of faux-suede and lined with pseudo-lambswool. This ain't any ordinary vest - it's akin to something you might happen upon a Cirque du Soleil cast member sporting. That was enough of a visual for me to plunk down my money and take yet another bold fashion risk (Who am I kidding? If you've ever seen me out in public, you know damn well I look like the product of Punky Brewster on a coke binge). Even amid bits of self-consciousness, I wore the vest to work and strutted about like a peacock in heat. All that glory and confidence came to a crashing halt when I walked in the door upon arriving home: "I'm gonna call you The Nuge". "Um, ARE YOU F*CKING KIDDING ME!?" "What!? No! I love it! You just look like Ted Nugent, so I'm calling you The Nuge!" Fantastic. Not three days later I happened upon the horoscope at the top of this post and couldn't help but laugh. It was even Cancer's horoscope. Awesomeness. And ya know? I think I might just wear that vest a bit more frequently and perhaps pair it with a bow or sawed off shotgun, just for effect.

In a roundabout manner, that side tangent actually COULD feasibly relate to the subject at hand*. I was gossiping with my dear mother last night and my favorite brother came up. Although I've made it painfully obvious that he's my hero for so many reasons - if you haven't met him, you haven't LIVED. When he wakes up in the morning, I'm rather positive he pisses excellence. He is the muthafukin bee's knees, to be sure. He is also single *gasp*! Refrain from jumping to conclusions as he's blissfully single. I dare say I envy him on occasion when I'm being reprimanded for somehow enabling a certain someone's wedding ring to go flying off into the heating duct because he lost weight so the ring doesn't fit his finger anymore and despite being at work, it's all my fault. *ahem* But I digress.

A bit of a back story, here - when my parents divorced, my father - a devout Catholic - married a Mormon broad with a gaggle of children, grandchildren and yes, even children of the great-grand persuasion. Growing up surrounded by the culture, I'm well aware of the immense priorities placed on meeting, marrying and promptly breeding. A lot. Almost obscene amounts of it. But I'll save that conversation for another day. Anyway, as my dear brother lives near my dad & his wife, there are frequent invites for dinners, particularly around the holidays. And I wouldn't so much label them "invites" as "summons". As the surgically implanted foot in my dear stepmother's mouth dictates - there are often lectures about "finding a nice girl" and "settling down". To date, I am not aware of any forced courting, but I'm fully aware how damning the constant nagging must be for him.

My brother and I grew up in a cloud of judgement and rejection from the locals. It could hardly be avoided as we were immersed in this cult-ure everywhere we turned. It was often made well known that we were despised by neighbors and school mates for little reason beyond our own (differing) religion. In all reality, "our religion" generally entailed skipping church in favor of Slurpee's, Mad Magazine and enough candy to induce vomiting while we frolicked the hour away at some nearby park or another. The point was we simply didn't fit. And to not fit was bordering on criminal in our sheltered little cul-de-sac.

It wasn't until high school that we all were able to escape into the fringe society. I dare say high school rather saved all three of us (the third being the other brother who shall not be named). We were exposed to more of a bigger picture of the world... beyond our wee pond. We each blossomed off onto our own unique paths and were able to begin something of a healing process. My brother went out of state for college and immediately thereafter even ventured off the continent for a time. On his travels, he encountered like-minded geniuses with that thirst for knowledge and adventure. For all the things I'm so terribly jealous of. After a time, the job market was bleak and his financials even more so. Sadly, he moved back to our state of birth where he currently resides. This man is brilliant, insanely talented, charismatic, bloody hilarious, well-educated and handsome. Ah yes. And single. Oh, the horror!!!!

Why on earth is it assumed that those precious few people, those who have found themselves and have attained a heightened sense of peace and purpose - must be only hiding their misery at being alone...promptly subject to sighs of pity and the meddling of busy bodies? Have you found your soul mate? A hearty congratulations - but for Pete's sake, LIVE AND LET LIVE. No pity necessary as he is richer in his experience than many of us will ever be. The sad fact is that the omnipresent pestering is breaking his spirit. Rather than embrace his accomplishments and gifts, he is gradually succumbing to the brainwashing - believing he has fallen short of "normalcy". That is an offense I take personally. My heart broke once when he gave up his art. It's breaking again at his alienation.

Alas, it's not my battle to fight, so I ball my hands into fists and shake them aimlessly about on his behalf. It is my hope he will still encounter the realization, along his path, that he is unique, amazing and worthy. No less a human because he is not attached to another. And really, shouldn't we all be whole individuals first rather than basing our self-worth on the presence of a partner? Just a thought.

*Oops... Almost forgot to tie the side tangent to the main point of the post: One of the most detrimental influences on my brother and I as children were the remarks of others. T'is eventually far easier to isolate ourselves than face the possibility of a vocal outsider. Despite free speech and all that hoopla, there is also something to be said for tact. You never quite know who you may drive into a remote cave with your careless remarks.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Love, Pussycats & Carwrecks

" You may not be an expert on which snakes are poisonous and which aren't, but damn it, you know a cuddly one when you see it.  "



Indeed. The title of this bit of rambling is respectfully stolen off one of my favorite albums... More importantly, it seems to sum up where I find myself in life. One might gather, with the timing of this post, that the Thanksgiving holiday somehow metaphorically drilled through all the inner cobwebs, chaos and calamity thus unleashing a new era. Nope, Pets... Odd as it seems, a certain Miss Roseanne Barr is actually due all credit (or hate mail).



It was a sparkly Wednesday morning and I happened upon the most delightful little article in Newsweek penned by the feisty dame. True enough, the bulk of the article addressed the wonderment which awaits us womenfolk beyond menopause. Strange for that subject matter to have such a resounding impact on a certain 33 year old broad - but given my recent surgery, seems it's actually quite par for the course. It also brought a precise sequence of events from the last few months swirling to a head. Little Orphan So-And-So has found a small sense of inner peace.

The essence of the article transcends well beyond the crass banter of "The Big Change" - Notions that there are, after all, circumstances- perhaps a simple state of mind - in which the mind and those pesky emotions housed within outweigh any importance once placed upon our fragile and ever-aging physical beings. In typical Ninja Kitty fashion, allow me to back that trolley up for a moment.... 



In another instant, I was enjoying company comprised of neighbors, friends and family in the sanctuary that is our creaky old garage. For little more than a moment, I closed my eyes to take in all the laughter and sarcasm - each guest increasingly (and intoxicatingly) drowning out the next - all eager to talk and share stories of days long gone by. Each subject would seamlessly beget the next, though time suddenly stood quite still when one subject in particular was breeched: Childhood dreams not yet realized.



As the conversation continued well into the afternoon, my head was mostly filled with white noise and distant clamour. Simple enough to chalk this all up to a handful of "vintage" wine coolers, but a chord was most definitely struck. I frantically tried to recall my own youthful dreams. Good lord, certainly there was SOMETHING I longed for... aspired to.... dreamed of? I kept coming up empty. Quite expeditiously, I concluded that I really was a wallpaper chameleon until well into my 20's, if not later. I never stood out or really had anything I thought I could/would/should offer. I was only minimally existing for so many years. Sure, I had friends here and there, though probably more acquaintances who lingered while awaiting their trains elsewhere. In very sporadic spurts, I encountered people far older than myself who seemed to see through the garbled murk and recognize something unique in me. I rarely understood that and more predictably shyly slipped off into oblivion so as not to make waves in the immediate social situation.

After the birth of my sons and gradually finding a way back to some semblance of a shape (other than obtuse), I found myself garnering more and more attention. Attention from coworkers, friends, neighbors and strangers. It seemed the world was becoming my oyester whether or not I put any effort to that end. To be honest, for the most part, this all escaped notice as my mind was far too occupied with nagging feelings of worthlessness and my own insecurities. As I'd walk down a hallway, I could sense an out-of-place hair or the fabric of a dress brushing against my love handles. (Nothing to love about 'em, that's for damn sure!) And truly, it's not that I ever wished to be noticed. Not special or significant. Only to somehow belong.



Out of the blue, and entirely without notice, I realized that's exactly where I am. I do belong. I will always be gaudy with my bizarre taste in clothes. Eclectic with my sense of humor. Way the hell out of left field with my ever-derailing-trains-of-thought. Yet I'm me. One of those "I'm OK, You're OK" silly sorts of moments. Makes me ponder whether the biological "losses" signify more of a renewed chapter in life than a renaissanced comedienne eludes to. Tis a magical thing, whatever the broader cause.

For such a painstakingly long time, I have strived to release myself from the chains of perceived judgement only now realizing the battle could have been won in a careless snap. What a breath of fresh air! If I didn't suspect the onslaught of lawsuits, I would highly recommend removal of all non-essential women-parts to femmes far and wide LONG before Mother Nature has a say in matters. As I sit here musing at all the imperfections painting the body awkwardly connected to my head, I have to smile. Each brushstroke symbolic of one hairbrained scheme or another. The wrinkles creeping up beside my eyes and around my mouth - marks borne of hysterical guffaws and general merriment. Even the dry, bloody cracks upon my rice-paper-plastered knuckles bring me bubbling to a giggle as they remind me of my brother. Although I admittedly feel as though I've aged a few dozen or so years, there is no fear cloked in growing old(er) and crazy(er). Is this what elusive wisdom feels like? Perhaps simply having a few more years under my belt? One less functional organ? Purely divine!!!



Much to my own surprise, I've been inspired by Ms. Barr to resume recording the inner workings of my head as this journey marches on. Take it or leave it as it's little more than for the amusement of Yours Truly. For now, I see nothing wrong with heading off for a bit of a cat nap - as long as no one at the office immediately pays any mind :). 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Broken

Try as I might, I can't break the pattern of being who I am. That person is far too sensitive and... well.... broken.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Kitty For All Seasons

" Your most cherished dream will die this week, which would be tragic if it weren't to float around in a Texas-shaped pool filled with beer."

This morning, after I had dropped the boys off at school and ventured reluctantly back to work, I encountered the most amazing symbol of the upcoming season: A tree. One lone tree among dozens upon dozens of green towering deciduous beauties. This lone picture of perfection lit up my view with it's seemingly infinite collection of red, orange and yellow hues. Fall. I instantly fast-forward to the smell of pumpkin... a cool nighttime breeze teasing my flesh....the crunch of leaves beneath my feet....the delicious horror of Halloween....

Having always lived in multi-season climates, experience had taught me that, although I always seek those elusive tidbits of happiness -  as each season wears on - I slip into the doldrums. Wishing only for what comes next. Such a tragic way to go about life - simply forgetting to live in the moment. Why not soak up all that I am surrounded by rather than grabbing the binoculars for that greener grass or changing tree off in the distance? As I take a step back from myself, a broader perspective presents itself.

I recently found myself engaged in a long conversation with a dear friend of mine regarding memories. I'm afraid there was a bit of a pity party being thrown, but there was still much truth contained in my words...even if considerably less theatrics. As the dialogue progressed, I began uncovering the REAL circumstances surrounding memories I tried to paint with a more pleasant brush. The pain I attempted to hide by isolating a snapshot in time and focusing on only that small frame. This theme has become quite commonplace in my life. Knowing how prone I am to depression, I struggle to tread the waters around me - to find hidden beauties and camouflaged peace.

All of this is so glaringly apparent in my view of each upcoming season. I have never been one to handle summer with grace. As an overweight and self-conscious child, I dreaded thoughts of heat and the paring down of clothing. In protest of the onset of sadness, I clung to little pieces of time. Memories I could replay over and over again in an attempt to keep smiling: I remember sprawling out under the shadows of our oak trees - closing my eyes to drown out the frolicking children I didn't fit in with. In place of all the giggles and delight was the sound of a small airplane overhead.... when I opened my eyes, I could see the vapor trail delicately strewn across a stunning blue sky. On another occasion, I strolled obliviously about in a park from the heat of the day well into evening... when colors drift seamlessly into black and white and the crickets are deafening.... These moments became my summer. I looked forward to these senses - I frantically embraced them so all the bad could fade away. 

The days pass by faster than they used to - I grow dizzy retrieving each sequential inner box of memories while trying to prepare myself for the onslaught of the future. I am forgetting the moment - and there are so many of them. The moments that matter: The belly laughs of my children... The smell of the sun heating up the pine trees as the wind whips through my short hair... My husband's dimples when he smiles at me first thing in the morning. Simply put: The things that matter.

I've spent so much time painstakingly healing from years of damage I neglected to notice I'm no longer being actively hurt. That fact in itself seems to toss me into a tailspin. Had I created all the drama I felt I needed to recover from? Without so much as a hint of sarcasm, it seems I've hit the proverbial nail on the head. With each passing day, I'm getting to know myself a little better. I'm growing to reconcile the emotions which frantically swirled around in my head for decades. The hurt was real - the negative emotional responses were real. What I believe was an illusion was the intent behind them. Coming to terms with being the epitome of hypersensitivity is quite the experience. I equate such a wild ride to being in a warehouse full of grasshoppers. As I collect each one and place it carefully in the net, the chaos calms just a little more. I have always made apologies, but the season has come to forgive all those who never did. The past is the perfect place for the past and I must learn to leave the dusting for another time.

Today is a new day and I resolve to leave it at that.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Blue.

"The rise of Orion in the night sky, combined with the approach of the equinox, is a dire portent. Soon it will become cold, and frozen water shall fall from the sky."

One could say there are a myriad of things that send chills up my spine. After all, this gal fears heights, free-fall, clowns and spiders when she's not dodging sharks, carnies, cheese cloth and Achilles tendon paper-cuts. Add all of this up - the sum still falls miles short of my new found fear of blue.... More specifically the blueish hue which paints my son's lips when he slips into oblivion.

My oldest was the one plagued by health problems. From the day he arrived on this planet during the wildest thunderstorm imaginable:  jaundiced and subsequently enduring misreported blood results, we grew to expect red carpets rolled out from those familiar gates of the E.R.. The second was to be easier. We told ourselves this over and over again. It has to be easier this go-round, for we know what to expect. We had never been so mistaken in our relatively young lives.

The first time he cried... I mean really cried... A legitimate reason, not some silly plea for milk, the cat's tail, or his blankie..... He slipped away. I will never be free of the branded image of his lifeless body in my panicked arms. The grayish tint of his skin where every miniature little vein seems tattooed against the most delicate rice paper. And those lips... those chapped, helpless, pouty blue lips. My lacking instincts led me from one room to another in silent horror - I had long since quit screaming and simply needed to act. It seemed like days between scooping him up and placing my lips to his between the softest, yet most effective chest compressions my trembling hands could manage. The slightest hollow gasp brought streams of tears to my face. This was to be the very beginning.

His brother had witnessed all of this, and from time to time, he still vividly relives the day "his brother was dead". He is the fragile one - the empath who feels his Mama's pain and struggles to find explanation in his journey... even five years later. But the little one - the little one is full of fire and confidence. Where Van is wise beyond years, Dax is fearless beyond his own. Perhaps that is one trait that drives me into despair when he breaks. He has endured test after test.... his heart, brain, blood... to no end. There are no answers beyond "extended breath holding". Then there are the unexplained seizures. The day he came out of one of these ominous spells without senses - his eyes, unfocused - for a moment, I felt as though I were hearing through his ears - all that resonated was the distant clamour of thousands of overlapping conversations - as though heard from somewhere underwater and far away.

They feared him at preschool. The teachers would meltdown upon witnessing what had to be calmly explained away over and over again. They didn't want to touch him for fear that he'd shatter into a million precious pieces. My heart ached for him for two long years. It was getting better. He was becoming vibrant and brilliant. Perhaps not articulate, but an almost prodigy of all things sports and physical. Charming, devious and hysterical all at one moment. He grew out of it. My god, they were right... he grew out of it!

Yesterday, my little clouded world came crashing down upon me like one of those hellacious breaking waves immediately followed by an undertow that pulls you out to sea. In the confusion, you swim furiously towards the ocean floor repeatedly - life slipping from your frantic body. Things go eerily calm. We think it was the altitude in the mountains. We probably desperately cling to the very same. It had become such a routine, Papa immediately handed him off to me as he gathered up Van for yet another heartfelt explanation and offering of some level of comfort. I stood out in the crisp night air with my baby in my arms. His tongue hanging out beyond those familiar blue lips.... the grey skin, the rolling eyes, the stiff and slightly shivering limbs. His eyes close and his body finally forces the slightest breathe. I am completely silent as I remain stoic and in a feigned stance of accomplishment. Behind the walls, my heart is racing as though it will explode if it doesn't recognize the beat through the tiny chest pressed against my own.

As though it were as mundane as grabbing a glass of water, I carry his now-breathing little frame back inside and place him gingerly on the bed with his blankie snuggled up close. I ask him a few questions and he answers each perfectly. His final words before drifting off to sleep: "I love you, Mama. Thank you." I kiss his sweet little sweaty forehead, turn around, walk back beyond the threshold and weep.

These experiences.... these moments.... they don't hold a candle to the trauma so many parents (make no distinction between biological and those who have proudly stepped into those shoes) and loved ones have been forced to endure because of circumstance or even worse, genetics. So many creatures have known the sense of ultimate responsibility for another - or for multiple others.... so many are blessed with an intangible instinct of protection and action. For others, no level of instinct or education - medication or experience can ever take away the fears that send us into our own personal hell when we close our eyes each night.

It never gets easier.... only more familiar. It is said that we are only given what we can handle. What we are capable of. The most unspeakable tragedy is turning one's back on that. There is no easy road in this life. To think that way is to either exude arrogance or indifference. I never imagined I possessed the capacity to love so many so incredibly deeply. I suppose that is because my heart is...well...capable of it. I will never make any apologies for that, nor will I ever have any regrets. Sometimes in the midst of chaos I forget my own heart.... Those blue lips are an ever-vigilant reminder.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Bizarre and The Beautiful.....

"Your heart will be shattered by a beautiful scientist who removes it from your body, dips it in liquid nitrogen, and drops it to the ground."

This morning, I woke as though from the most marvelous dream of the experience had Sunday.... Leading up to this, my husband and his band were scheduled for a photo shoot in celebration of winning best rock/metal band of the year from a local paper. He had been ever so slightly briefed to arrive at a specified time at a location described as little more than a junkyard... later it was added that it is also a botanical garden...?... Confusion was abound, but he was excited nonetheless.



A few hours passed, and Papa came through the door with this somehow serene excitement beaming forth from expression. He slowly began describing this amazing place and relayed that it was quite simply "ME".... That I must visit the spot and soon! As I'm a naturally curious (read: OBNOXIOUS) sort of creature, my excitement dictated that we must immediately pack up the boys and head directly back there so I could see it for myself! What's the saying? "If Mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy" *smile* My family quickly obliged....

We drove through the familiar streets I had driven past numerous times. I kept pondering how it was possible I could have missed this place? It was mere blocks from where I once lived! - yet from the street, one would never guess such magic were contained behind a non-descript fence. We parked in the gravel lot and proceeded to unload ourselves from the car.



I little more than glanced up and a feeling washed over my entire being: This garden. This simple, eclectic beauty set against a breathtaking backdrop of the cloud covered mountains in the distance. Every last one of my senses were completely overwhelmed as time suddenly stood still.... reversed, even.... Stepping through this portal into the past... So much to take in.... bizarre, decaying sculptures, then suddenly antique treasures from decades gone by.... flowers and greenery.... bits of twisted metal and spectacular works of art littered among plants and gazebos. Awestruck.



My brain couldn't begin to register what was at play as quickly as I wished for it to.... These metal creatures peering at us from behind a tree - beings reminiscent of the Quentin Blakely illustrations in the Roald Dahl books I so adore.



For the next undisclosed amount of time, I was lost in all the glory. I was living through my boys, who had stars in their eyes - I could feel their sensory overload along with my own - they ran this way and that - wanting to take in each piece with the appreciation it so greatly deserved, but then feeling torn with notions of neglecting the very next..... Old metal signs and wooden ringer washing machines.... Schwinn bicycles and.... SWEET MERCIFUL JESUS, POLISH CHICKENS!!!!!!! (I walked into this all well equipped with expectations of the children fancying up one nightmare or another from their wild experience this fine day.... the chickens most definitely still haunt them both....).



I have always had an affinity for all things vintage, retro, strange and forgotten - this Valhalla had it all and then some! But it was more than that... As I turned each corner of wonderment and spectacle, my heart swelled with the words my husband spoke - his knowledge that this place must be shared with me - that I'd understand upon seeing it. Knowing so much about me and what truly makes me tick. I melted.



As silly as it all may seem to the casual observer, I was.... well.... home. I had rarely experienced emotions of being cradled in the welcoming embrace of a space - but this topped the list. To find that I never previously knew of the spot - it was both disappointing and understandable all at once. As though I needed this place to exist at this exact moment in time. And now it does, and I cannot wait to visit again!



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

There Is No "We" in "ME" :)

" You'll finally learn you can't run away from your problems, but you haven't given up on escaping by donning a clever disguise and hiding in a crowded restaurant. "



'Tis a strange and amusing ongoing battle between my personalities:
Wanting to be "liked" vs. Wanting to blend seamlessly in with the wallpaper
Trying to be selfless vs. Making it all about ME
Wanting to move to Italy vs. Dreams of moving to Pluto



This morning, my first born started kindergarten. My first thoughts? How I was going to handle this. What the hell, Mama? This day is about HIM. His first steps towards miniature manhood! A thousand shades of NEW. Yet I was confident he'd be just fine - after all, he's the oldest. He's had to play the role of guinea pig for every first. First smile. First steps. First word. First bike.....First one to push Mama's buttons.



But exuding confidence in my uncoordinated midget - how on earth did I think it justified making it all about me? The answer to that lies in the past 33 or so years.... There have always been two very distinct sides of Miss Kitty - more recently, I fear those have bred or blossomed or begat...ummm...eth multiple more. I am always the first to second guess everything I do, say and/or think. I also use "I" a lot in my writing - which tends to be one of those pesky red flags of a *gasp* narcissist. I (there it is AGAIN!!! DAMNIT!) tend to turn my thoughts towards convincing myself it's simply a lack of any real writing talent or structure. Could be a pleasant mixture of the two?



This is where I jump head-first down that slip-'n-slide into the splash pools of overanalyzation. Do I have sinister motive in everything I do? If I don't gain some level of reassurance, will I spontaneously combust? I suppose it's possible - and it's almost a tempting enough curiosity to test... In an attempt to defend myself *cough* TO MYSELF - I then swim some laps in self-loathing for good measure. Almost seems there is an air of familiarity.... the unending cycle of Catholic guilt. I was never "Confirmed", so I always fancied notions that I had somehow outwitted The Vatican.



Then I have an "Ah-ha" moment. Not the band, mind you (plus it's spelled differently) - though Take On Me IS the first song in rotation each day I start my iPod over again - I tend to skip it as quickly as possible through a beet-red face and shifty looks of paranoia. Back to the moment.... It dawns on me that the intangible line between loving myself and REALLY LOVING MYSELF is an utterly foreign concept to me. Fight it as I try, I still can't help but equate even the smallest amount of confidence with an overflowing ego. As I spoke, at length, with a very dear friend of mine about - I struggle with breaking the synapse in my brain that automatically views "confidence" as a four-letter word. And I'm not talking about the "F" one as I utilize that to a degree that would give a sailor pause.



Alas, just another hiccup along this windy journey of mine. Today, of all days, it could not be less about ME. And I don't limit that to my Van's first day of kindergarten. Then again, I suppose I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I weren't viewing the world from MY perspective.... If I weren't simply being.... well.... ME.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Random Explanation for My Absence

Writer's Block.



One would think that to be sufficient cause to fall off the face of the earth for just over a month, yes? Ahhh, but what fun would that be for the gal who can't seem to "shut up" when it comes to letting my segmented and borderline hysterical ramblings dance via my fingertips across the surface of the keyboard? Plus, I've established I have a certain attachment for run-on sentences......



It really wasn't even so much that I had nothing to say - but rather a mixture of too many things to say coupled with the lack any real cohesion to express them. I have stated that I write for myself and only for myself. I often wonder if I'm simply trying to convince myself? Although I always viewed a need for reaction or criticism as my own personal demon, I'm growing to find that it's a basic inherent trait of a much larger population. Many of us long to be loved, hated, respected, ridiculed - just about anything but forgotten. All other emotional responses are STILL responses. But to be ignored, neglected or forgotten... well, we may as well cease to exist at that point.



In the same vein: "Praised" is something I am altogether uncomfortable with. I no longer feel a need to be adored by all - as I learned, over MUCH time, that it was a fleeting sort of adoration. It was an emotion borne of a bit of other's selfish need for entertainment. I could.... well.... amuse.

"What do ya mean, funny? Let me understand this cause, I don't know maybe it's me, I'm a little fucked up maybe, but I'm funny how? I mean, funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh... I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?"



Does a happy medium exist in all of this? I draw the comparison between this mental battle taking place within the confines of my skull and the basic recipe for success in a work environment.... I strive to be a better person, I really do. How can I possibly understand what it is I lack or where my faults lie if no one bothers to clue me in on this? How does one grow when they can't necessarily put a finger on which way "UP" is? Similarly, if I'm continually placed on a pedestal of sorts - praised and complimented (whether out of fear of my fragility or otherwise) - have I already reached the boring pinnacle of perfection? What is the point of standing at the top with that tempered glass ceiling pressing down upon my head? Does anyone truly want to be perfect? My lord, I certainly hope not. What a horridly depressing thought to even fathom someone who actually KNOWS all there is to know!! I would sit atop that mountain with my flowy white robes billowing in the gusts of knowledge pondering "WHAT NOW?" - before briskly jumping off the cliff to my doom!



I believe deep in my soul that there is so much more out there - both on the emotional and the physical journey. Our imaginations fueled by bedazzled creativity shatter any limits or boundaries. You can't begin to imagine my disappointment when, after MONTHS of struggling to master Metroid, I found that upon passing, you simply start the game over, though this time w/out a helmet. *hangs head in disgust* Yes, I am indeed a nerd. A damn proud one! I have a lot of life left in me and an unimaginably vast number of things to learn... I hope that you, the reader, will join me on some of these Choose-Your-Own-Adventures if, for nothing more than a brief moment in time. I could use all the help (help=feedback) I can get!


D is for Disappointment?

"After years of putting up an emotional wall to keep loved ones from getting too close, you'll realize the error of your ways this Thursday and purchase three tons of brick and cement. "



Through a rather specific sequence of events, one thing became crystal clear to me: I am one person. Try as I might, I cannot clone myself, please everyone or control the universe. This realization most certainly knocked me down a peg or three. And yet the place I find myself - though further from my comfort zone in the clouds - ain't so bad.

As a naturally hypersensitive and empathetic sort of creature, I have always expended unreal levels of energy attempting to be everything to everyone. Turns out the "unreal" portion of that was the expectation I placed on myself. It is understandably a bit of an automatic reaction for those I disappoint to lash out at me or express their dissatisfaction with my lack of response - Yet there comes a time in each of our lives where self-preservation must become a priority. Where we cease the apologies and simply smile in the face of adversity.



Time will always be a treasured commodity in short supply. It's something I seemingly only now have come to the realization of. I don't always remember birthdays or even holidays of the national variety. I may neglect to return a phone call or simply ignore them for weeks at a clip. It is not that I am altogether apathetic, but rather in my own version of hibernation. The moments spent with my miniature little family are gold to me. They are not always perfect - but as a dear friend of mine so eloquently stated: "Imperfection is so easy to love". I could not possibly agree more!





Saturday, July 9, 2011

It Ain't Me

"You will have the most thrilling experience of your life this week. Hint: It will involve an electric pencil sharpener and a once-dull pencil."

This last week, I declared an end to my self-inflicted time out from a certain social networking site. ***SPOILER ALERT: I am NOT referring to the one Justin Timberlake has so graciously signed on with to resurrect it from the dead*** As silly and rather trivial as this decision was, I was only able to arrive at this decision after much consideration. I decided if I had a purpose, it would more easily be justified. The funny thing about all of this: in one of those "the grass isn't always greener" sort of moments, I quickly realized not only why I left in the first place, but that any moment of simple pleasure there was to be gained was fleeting.



There was a bit of a verbal ticker-tape parade welcoming me back and further assigning quite undeserved credit for bringing the entertainment value back to the joint. While unabashedly flattering, it was all still fleeting. The fact is, I offer nothing special. Miss N.K. is not splashing around in a kiddie pool of self-loathing in this statement. Rather, any perceived "wit" or razzle-dazzle-special effect is merely the predictable effects of "putting it out there" so to speak. Many of the strangers I grew to know and adore over the course of the past few years had one thing in common: Lack of inhibition to join the conversation.



I suppose I can actually take credit for something else entirely as I realized I have, in fact, matured over the past handful of months. I've never possessed a particularly competitive nature. My definition of the same ventured more towards slapping myself upside the head when I realized my motivation was waning as compared to those I was surrounded by. I never strived to "beat them" (we're not talking physical violence, here.... otherwise, I plead the 5th) or outdo them. Those motives simply don't register on my radar. Rather, in putting forth an effort to befriend and lift the spirits of others (which, admittedly was a gut reaction to feeling excluded from the REAL world), I achieved some level of popularity and even notoriety. You don't have to look very far to see that my innermost thoughts poured across this page never reached a similar level of infamy. And that's OK. All the gibberish and 20-character-or-less quips splashed this way and that on even the most mundane "updates" are little more than that - gibberish. All of it so far removed from the daily joy or pain Annie experiences.



Please don't misunderstand - my intent is not to take cheap shots at the people or friendships encountered along the way. I suppose if there is an intent in all of this, it is some inner need to climb atop some skyscraper and shout "YOU ALL ARE GIVING ME WAY TOO MUCH GODDAMNED CREDIT!!!!" And at the end of the day, I failed to see WHY. After all, I figured I was no different there than I am in person.



Simply not the case.

I genuinely care about things. I can't always be summed up in a set number of characters and emoticons. Sometimes I have something to say that will not be popular among the masses. Yet it was enticingly simple to cut & paste my personality to suit any miniature rant or quip I felt the need to sprinkle across the ever-refreshing pages. I took a bit of sick delight in always having the last word. I could place the most coveted (yet least prominent) facets of my personality on display- and all of this was perceived as somehow fabulous. At the end of the day, anyone with similar insecurities could pull off the same bullshit.



When I left, there were people I truly wanted to keep in touch with. People I thought I had built meaningful friendships with.  I must say, it was an eye-opening and lonely number of months at first. Sure, it can be inconvenient to open your heart to someone outside those walls. I can be the queen of slackers when it comes to email responses or returned phone calls. Never out of malice, and I don't fault any of those people mentioned for the same. Still. Quite lonely. Out of the loneliness came a new appreciation of myself. I gradually have learned to tolerate my quirks.... even more gradually to LIKE some of them. And I sit before you today pretty damn OK with who I am.

My encore presence has already begun opening the cracks of strife once the Internet connection is terminated. I'm not such a bad creature in person, and to love or appreciate me, one should be realizing the person in the flesh is more important, no?