Bravery. I haz none.

6 01 2010

A long, long time ago, I wrote the posts about Echo… And in the third installment, I mentioned that I asked my parents to hold onto a few toys for me… Specifically a catnip fish and ball…

I had wanted them to send them to me or bring them on their next visit to the ‘Burgh…

That didn’t happen. So I assumed (dumb) that maybe they gave them away or threw them away without telling me…

I was wrong.

I’ve ignored but respected the remains of Echo for about 15 months now. I can’t face the entire idea, even now. It turns out that at least The Nana is as afraid to breach the subject, same as I.

But when I was on my little vacation in Florida, I not only saw what we don’t talk about… I also found what I thought they lost. The toys I asked for. And Echo’s food dish… The GrandPa saved them all…

Unfortunately they were in a clear container in the garage. And I saw them. First the dish… With little fish around it… Then the damn ball… I’m so happy that The Nana and The GrandPa saved them for me… But I couldn’t bring myself to grab it off of the shelf and ask The Nana about it…

I assume the little mousey thing was in there too…

Hope I’m brave enough to look next time…

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Oh yeah…

5 06 2009

So Wednesday night, around this time, I sat down with my laptop to write a blog post. There is much going on -my finally meeting Little C & seeing my sister, NE, mom AND dad; the “Little C and Me” Etsy shop: many other other sewing things; touch rugby; Yinz Team, etc.

But I could not figure out what to write about. This block continued all day Thursday.

I started no less than four posts, all temporarily saved until I came up with an inspiration… And then, when I left work, it hit me… (And good thing it happened then& not earlier!) Please hang on with me here… And allow me my memories…

One year ago today, my cat, Echo, was put down. (Ok, I wrote that and I’m not crying… Sweet!)

I wrote last October, when I started this blog, that we would bury her in December. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I didn’t bring it up and I’m sure my parents didn’t because they didn’t want to upset me.

Thinking about it now, I’m quite happy about where Echo is right now… Just above the door to the den – the room where I usually sleep when I visit – the room where she hung out with my dad while he played Free Cell on the computer – the room where I last saw her. I don’t think I’m going to ask to move her just now. I’m going to let my Dad and Mom decide when that should happen. It won’t be much fun, but I’m sure I’ll be okay with it when it happens…

For those of you interested, the links to Echo’s story:

I miss her every day. But it’s ok. We’re all ok with it now, I think…

I hope a little bit of her spirit, along with both sets of my grandparents will be alive in Little C. We’ll see. I fully intend to tell her about all of it at some point… She’s gotta know her family history, yo!





Grabbing my shovel…

31 12 2008

Wahoo… Talk about a fun Music is My Muse post….  And a very interesting way to start 2009. I swear to you, I am not on drugs… But this all is coming about because I’m apparently going to go ahead and join the Pittsburgh Polar Bear Club on New Year’s Day and take the plunge in the Mon. Along with Uncle Crappy, Mindbling & Wormy, Chachisays and perhaps DjLunchbox

Oh yea, we’re doing something more fitting of, say, this animal:

polar-bear

For more info:

Pittsburgh’s River Plunge

Post-Gazette 2007

The Trib

I know… The Mon… Dirty Dirty… I swear I’ll be in there for like 30 seconds max… Thank goodness I have two pairs of fleece pants, fleece socks, Cold Gear Under Armor and other things to help me warm up… And I’ve just been given the go-ahead to open My Living Room if I’m freezing my ass off and my friends and I need somewhere for hot coffee and warm food… That is why I love My Living Room…

No hard core plans for New Year’s Eve. Dinner with Anthony and perhaps Jennie of Bricks & Boxes… then a very short time at My Living Room… I will NOT be joining the other rugby folk at the bar they have chosen. Not my style… After the Living Room, then what I really should do is go hang w/ Chachisays and DjLunchbox so that I have a chance of waking up in time for the Polar Bear stuff… We’ll see…

Happy New Year to everyone. I am so thankful that I started this blog, and more so that I know the members of Yinz Team… I’m incredibly happy to know these people – whom my family call my “internet friends” (I wish I could break them of this, maybe this summer when my parents are in town some of you can come out and MEET them… then they will believe you are REAL!!) lol. Me expecting any of you to meet them is like my random dream that they will step foot in My Living Room (has never happened!) anyway…

spaceballyinz

Mind you, not everyone is in that picture. It took me 10 minutes to explain to my mom that some of them were there, but others had previous engagements… I think she got it…

Regardless, I get it.  My friend Nicole and I had  GREAT time that day!!

I am so happy I got involved in this blogging/social media/tweet/plurk/burgh thing. It has brought me out of a slump somewhat. And has helped me let go of some other things that were tying me down.

I can’t promise I will be a great Yinz Team softball team member, but what I can promise is that I will try very hard to be successful in softball (I already have a softball trainer!), that I will attend the next few or many Podcamp Pgh events, and that I will always be there for all of you – as some of you have been there for me when I’ve needed support in small ways recently… (And I’m going to beg for Yinz Team Broomball next winter!!!! Ask and I’ll fill you in!)

I’m very thankful that I know the members of Yinz Team and Pittsburgh Social Media that I do know now. Thank you for your help, support, friendship, sharing and everything else. I have tried to be my true self with all of you. More so than I ever have with The Organization folks… and I think it’s worked out for the better… If I don’t know you, I look forward to meeting you. Thanks to all of you.

Here’s to a fan-freaking-tastic New Year!!! Cheers yinz.

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Aside – for myself… a goodbye to “my bunny”… hoping I can not break down on New Years, and leave the pain behind and start a New Year strong without needing her or needing to see her…

echopics





Holiday Plans (and some music)

1 12 2008

Last night I had a conversation with my mom… She was offering to let me change my Christmas plans so that I stay home for the holiday and come visit her and my father after the New Year.

If you didn’t pick up on it, I had a bad time of Thanksgiving. Did I love seeing D & C and my sister and parents? Heck yeah. Do I think NE, the brother in law, rocks the world? Absolutely.

Did it all fall apart and end with me changing my plans to come home early? Heck yeah. I don’t talk much in family and close friend relationships. If I do, it means I’m sharing something that is more than likely important and me baring my soul. (take notice y’all) And when a family member, close or distant, discounts that, or stops me short, I’m hurt.

Combine that with the Evil In-Laws who could give two shits that I’m there and have a life of my own, and I more than likely end up miserable. As my mom said, as much as we hate it, they are now part of our lives. I could probably devote more than one post to those in-laws, but I won’t. They are self-centered, not nice people and they don’t deserve it.

It kills me every time I leave my parents. I hate that they aren’t living in the Burgh anymore. I hate it. But I cherish every chance I have to visit them. But this offer? I don’t know what to do…

(musical selection at random by Douglas Derda)

I know that I’m an okay person and I like what I do in my daily life. I’m not perfect. i don’t care to EVER be perfect. And I will not allow anyone, anymore to make me feel insignificant or unimportant.

But my mom calling and offering what she did, I don’t know what to do for Christmas. I really don’t. The funny part about my mom’s offer? My dad was the one who suggested it to her. I’ve spent Christmases alone here in the Burgh. It’s really not a fun time. But I can deal with it. I have before and I will do so again if necessary. I go to Florida to get away from the ‘Burgh. To have a vacation away from the stupid demands of my every day life. However…

Christmas was when we were supposed to bury Echo. I don’t know if I can wait much longer to do that. It’s been many months. I need my closure.

(musical selection at random by me)





What the Reanissance Woman posts add up to…

6 11 2008

… is me or at least what I some day hope I can be. For some reason, when I heard that term, Renaissance Man, or Woman (which is what the teacher said), I thought of my parents. And I’ve tried to live my life to be that kind of person. And dang if Echo doesn’t figure into this somehow, you’ll see… I’m not perfect. In any way whatsoever. But I’m sort of okay with that. Not entirely, but I am working on it. I don’t think I’d be myself if I thought I was doing everything right at this point. I’m a work in progress. I hope I always will be… And that’s what I’m okay with. We all have issues we have to work with. Some of them are dang difficult and seem insurmountable, but I believe we all end up okay.

Two days ago, I came up with the Renaissance Woman idea because I had just been to the bar – which will now be known as “My Living Room” – on Sunday afternoon. And did a bunch of things that made me think:

  • Every time I go to the bar on the weekends during the day, I try to do some fix up work. Fix the bar stools, repair a door, whatever needs to be done. I have a huge toolbox that I keep in my car just so I can do these things.(I’ve upgraded from no toolbox, to mini-toolbox #1 to the current, giant toolbox #2)
  • So I made a quick swing through the bar to do that, and then I sat down and started to pin the apron I was planning to sew. Sewing in preparation for a big-ass project that I’m sure I can get done, but it’s going to be a JOB. A big freaking job. But it’s for a good thing… Who sews in a bar? Me, when I’m in My Living Room. duh.
  • All the while, we were planning the “Family Dinner” that my co-workers (at the least, myself and Viking… sometimes Peaches, sometimes the Drummer, Lion, D…) and I try to do every week on Saturday or Sunday. It’s fun. Sometimes it involves Mimosas, sometimes it involves power tools. We’re all big fans. Of late, dinner has been steak. With all kinds of sides. Delicious. I started the trend a couple of years ago, making meals that I loved but were too much for me to eat, even with leftovers forever. This week, we all contributed to the idea. We had so many options… But we settled on Beer Can Chicken with potatoes cooked in herbs and bacon and gravy that I swear God sent to us specifically. I can’t even tell you how long it seemed to take that meal to cook. But oh.my.god, was it delicious when it was done. Wow.

When I got home (with leftovers of course, and it was just as delicious the next day… need more!), I thought about what had happened over my weekend… I carved a pumpkin that won “Most Bootiful,” I took pictures that I’m sure (when I develop the film) will be awesome, I judged a costume contest, I made an announcement (costume winner) at My Living Room that was NOT last call!, I fixed stuff at the bar, I contributed to the “Family Dinner,” and I sewed. And then, when I got home, I listened to my iTunes. And I realized…

Everything my parents taught me, whether or not I realize or use it daily… is me. I love all the things my parents gave me. More travel to Canada and especially Scotland than any other young person has EVER experienced… Ice skating, cooking, power tools!, sewing!, art, craftiness, intelligence, MUSIC of every shape and sort, and caring for others… I am the “Den Mother” to The Organization. And I’m okay with it now. It’s part of who I am.

I’m a jumble of mixed up things and incompatible hobbies and ideas. I’m a super duper band nerd who now plays rugby. And here is where my current situation adds on to my upbringing to make me what I want to be… My friends range from what the everyday person would call “nerd” to the rugby folk, to people who would be called perhaps “scary” or “punk” or “rock” or something else I don’t really get, but some of them are tattooed all over or have piercings most people would raise an eyebrow to. I don’t even see any of that. I don’t even notice it. I see that person, for what they are. For what they mean to me. On top of what I learned as a kid, and I am hesitant to say it, but here goes: the unconditional love of that dang cat, Echo, and bartending has taught me to accept people no matter what. If you are a good, true person, you will have my acceptance and help forever. If you come to my bar and you don’t disrespect me and act like a person who has morals and values, you’re good to go.

I enjoy the fact that I need to regularly check websites to see what’s up… and I check the Pittsburgh Cultural District sites to see what’s coming up… (FAVORITE SONG EVER COMING UP NEXT YEAR. CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and I check band sites to see where they are playing… because I’ll go sometimes on my own if no one wants to go. Because I intend to at the very least remain the person I am right now. I might expand what I watch, see and do… but I’m not willing to scale it back. At all.

And I’m cool with it. I am a Renaissance Woman. Or at least a work in progress to get there..

There’s more I want to experience… and I plan to ask a certain person to help me with something he thinks is super “nerdy” but I want to know… And if you don’t agree, go ahead and tell me….

Bring it!





Echo – Part 3 – The Finale

24 10 2008

Echo settled into a nice, quiet, Pretty, Pretty Princess life down there in Florida. She caught gecko’s and brought them, as gifts, to my dad, her fantastic food-giving Prince. She sunned herself daily. Long before this time, we had progressed from the “first plate” of dinner issue to having a bag of cut up chicken in the fridge. Always. Even if there was chicken available, you could always get love by giving her some nice deli turkey. She even came out from hiding for me a few times when I laid out the goods. (Hey, at that point, I’d take the sight of her as love for me no matter what it took!)

The only new bane of her existence, besides me, was a cute little puppy named Dewey (above), even worse than Clyde (also above). My sister and brother-in-law’s new puppy. Poor, poor Dewey. Totally puppy like, she pounced around the house. Trying to sniff and lick everything into being her friend. And again, Echo wanted NONE OF THAT. And again was sequestered to the bedroom. But this was okay for her. Around this time, we realized she didn’t care if she was kept in the bedroom. This was one of her favorite places to hang with my dad. When he went to bed, he would read before going to sleep. On his back. And pretty, pretty, Princess? Well, she would position herself right on top of his stomach, behind the book or magazine. Quite content. Like a Queen holding court. And when dad was ready for bed? She’d hop off and sit by the night stand so he could pet her a little before he fell asleep. She did the same patient sitting when he played card games on the computer.

My parents moved into another home in Florida just last year. Just over a year ago. With the Pretty, Pretty Princess in tow. She was mad at first. I guess she thought her fantastic food-giving Prince wasn’t with her at first, but soon she realized he was there. And things were good. For about 8 months. Then it all went into the toilet.

I got a call from my mom sometime in late April or early May, right after I had visited. Echo wasn’t well. She was going to the bathroom on the leather furniture. One chair in particular. And we didn’t know why. But we waited it out. I visited my parents in April. And I should have known. But I couldn’t face it… I wanted to put her last video here, but it wouldn’t work… the pic is basically all she did in the video…

This was the very first time, in Florida that Echo spent an EXTENDED period of time in my presence. The last few times, if there were no other people or Clyde or Dewey involved, she’d show up, eat some chicken, beg for my dad’s affection, and then disappear. But this time, this ONE, dang time… She spent an hour or two with her Prince, me and Mom in the den. I was terrified the whole time to speak. To move. To even breathe. I was so happy to just see her out and about that I didn’t see what was in front of me. A sick kitty.

All she did was lay on my mom’s Croc. Laying on shoes was always normal. She was a strange cat. But the way she was laying and the lack of any movement at all, combined with the fact that someone other than the “Prince” and mom were there, that was not the same.

So, more phone calls came. She wasn’t changing. She went to the vet. He had no idea. But had some suggestions. They didn’t work. And then came the day that Mom finally told me a few things that made me come to a decision that still, now, months later, has me in tears. Echo ended up – somehow – in the spare bathroom bathtub. NEVER has that been “her” place to hang out. But she was there and there were some litter box issues involved. After that first shower curtain issue, Echo abandoned the bathroom as a hang out.

And now my girl wouldn’t jump up on the back of the couch to look outside, and more importantly, she wasn’t spending that quality time with her Prince like she always had. She couldn’t jump up onto the bed to lie on his stomach. I nearly died hearing that one point. And it’s killing me now to type all this out. But at that point, hearing that she wouldn’t lay with her Prince while he read his magazine… Made me come to the most awful decision ever. In the midst of the tears, I told Mom to put her down. Mom basically refused, and said they’d wait it out a while. I told her no. That Echo was NOT herself, and that was NOT what I wanted. If she wasn’t herself and we couldn’t easily fix it, we should end her misery. NOW. I just knew that if Echo couldn’t be with my dad like she always was all the time, then she was not MY ECHO, my baby. I just KNEW that she was in pain somehow and somewhere, and as much as it killed me to say it out loud, and it took weeks of debating, I wanted her to be put down.

Fast forward a few weeks. I’m at rugby and I called home about something random. Mom called back during practice. My family KNOWS when rugby practice happens. And they know not to call then. If they do and I happen to see my phone, I worry. But on that night, it was a great choice on Mom’s part.. I ended up returning the call early the next day. Mom tried – WOW, did she try – to make it through the conversation without revealing anything… but then she broke… into tears…. and told me that the day before, while she was out, my dad had come home and realized that Echo was really sick. And made THAT DECISION. He called Mom’s cell phone, told her not to come home for a while.

He took her to the vet. Had her put down and arranged for her to be cremated. He then went home and cleaned up all of her toys, dishes, cat litter. Everything. So that my mom wouldn’t see it. The vet, in his final examination, found some tumors…

I asked my mom to set aside two or three of her favorite toys. One that she had since I first had her – a catnip mouse (below) – and a ball… the Sylvester the Cat oven mitt? Long gone, and as much as we have searched, we have no idea where it is. We’ll find it some day…

Can I just tell you how much I LOVE my parents for their love of this crazy cat? I loved the fact that she loved them so much. I don’t think Mom thought Echo loved her. But I know that she did. She loved them both, more than she ever loved me. And I LOVE that. I care that they loved her. And gave her the best life possible when I couldn’t and they tried so hard to see past her poor little faults and give her chicken and turkey whenever she wanted.

So, the end of the story is my dad, the Prince of this story, finally realized it was time. And it hit Mom – and me – harder than I ever imagined. I can’t tell you the number of crying phone calls we had, weeks after they put her down. Mom is a saint. For dealing with and then falling in love with that quirky cat, Echo.

But it’s still not done. They had Echo cremated. And I wanted to bury her the last time I was visiting. But at the same time, my family was in town from Australia. And Mom said No. So I understand that, but as the car approached the house, I started crying. And I couldn’t walk into the garage. My dad came to me, held my arm, and said we’d go into the house together… All weekend, I avoided the question of where the ashes were… And then… in the room I sleep in… that same den where she spent that last hour or 2 that I saw her… I notice this….

Which contained this:

In December, at Christmas, when I am down at my parents house for the holidays, we are going to bury her. Right below the window in the den that she loved to sit in and people & animal watch. And maybe then I can start to think of her and not cry. Because I’m just not there yet, I’ve tried to finish this up three times and had to stop because I was crying too much. And as I finish this post, here at work, I’m crying at my desk…

I miss you, bunny, and I’ll love you forever.





Echo – Part 2

22 10 2008

In the next few years, Echo managed to break the globe to a clock my sister & I bought for our parents’ anniversary, damage the mantle my dad built (both by sleeping where she is in the pic above & trying to “escape”) and basically leave cat hair every single place she could.

I always loved to come home, but when I came home and Echo wound her way to my room, meowed quietly and then jumped on my bed to sneak under the covers and sleep with me, I was in heaven. When my grandfather passed away, I came home and Echo did just that. But she fell asleep facing me, with one paw on my cheek. It took all of my self-control to not cry so hard as to wake her up. She loved me. And she knew I needed her. And then she moved on to explore the house.

Eventually, I graduated from college as did my sister from high school, and my parents moved to a new house and I into an apartment. By this time, or actually a few years earlier, Echo had become a scaredy-cat. Afraid of everyone & everything and we don’t know why. We can only assume one night that I wasn’t home the first year I had her, or at her little original farm home, something happened to her. One year later, I was moving out of that apartment and back home. My Mom did not want all that cat hair in her house, so she did some work and found a live-in care home that wanted a cat. My dad and I told her she was crazy – who is going to want a cat that hides all the time?? But my Mom held her ground. So we moved my stuff out of the apartment and my dad and I went back one last time to see Echo. My parents would take her the next day to her new home. I can’t even tell you how much I cried that night. My dad took pictures of me saying goodbye to her. I told her I loved her and that she’d be okay, and my dad basically forced me out the door to go home.

The next day at work, I got a phone call from my dad. He informed me that he and I my mom were “adopting” Echo, and I had to come sign “adoption papers” later that night. She was going to live with them – and with me too for the time being. I guess my parents finally realized how much I loved her, how much she needed us and how much we needed her.

So Echo moved in with the ‘rents. And she began her new life as a Pretty, Pretty Princess. Echo managed to not only gain Mom’s love, but she also would my dad around her little tail. But it started small. Tiny, considering where it went… What’s for dinner? Chicken on the grill? Love it! But Echo gets a small plate first. Almost any other grilled meat? Same deal. While Mom and I sit at the table with the side dishes waiting, my dad cuts up Echo’s portion for her. First. Now granted, you cooked something Echo liked, you had to endure the howling and “please feed me!” cries! But Mom and I laughed it off because we knew Echo LOVED him like none other. She tolerated us. But dad. He was THE MAN to Echo.

Echo lived an issue free life for a while, for the most part. Until the evil “Clyde” entered the picture. Clyde was my sister’s cat. She would sometimes bring him with her when she visited. Clyde just WANTED TO PLAY and be friendly. That’s just how Clyde rolls. And Echo, wanted NONE OF THAT. She would hide under my parents’ bed (closest way to get to my dad eventually) and Clyde would peek under the bed skirt. With my sister and I peeking on either side. And she would hiss at Clyde like her life depended on it. And Clyde was totally confused by the hissing cat under the bed. We eventually just sequestered Echo in my parents’ bedroom whenever Clyde visited.

A few years later, my parents decided to become “snow birds.” The spent April/May to September/October in Pittsburgh, the rest of the year in Florida. Echo tolerated the drive as best she could – she howled & hid. Avoided everyone at all costs. To the point that one time my parents were worried she slipped out (she was sneaky) and they lost her!!

Their original home in Florida was in the “no pet” section of the neighborhood. Mom was worried. My dad could have cared less. It’s not like Echo was always in the windows chasing people and animals! She still hid anytime anyone entered the house. Even me.

They were evacuated for at least two hurricane warnings I can think of. Each time, I got a phone call from Mom. “We’re going to be evacuated. So I’m trying to book a hotel. But it’s hard to get one that will take pets. So we might have to leave her behind.” And poor Mom had to hear me crying, “You can’t just leave her there!” while my dad is in the background saying “We’re not leaving the cat!” In the end, they took her with them every time. She was so scared every time that she didn’t cause a problem. Well, except for that one time that they apparently had to pry her from under the bed… but that was Echo.

More coming in Echo – part 3.