Friday, April 29, 2011

A snippet from the Royal Wedding Sermon...

The Sermon from the Royal Wedding was really lovely. I can't stop using that word. Its not a word I normally use and yet, today, I can not stop saying LOVELY. sigh.

Anyway, I am just going to paste this first paragraph and tell you that this resonates so deeply with me. This is why I made some very hard choices in the last 2 years. Because I feel that "we" were holding each other back from just this very thing...

Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

The whole text is here.

The Royal Wedding. Oh I know I cliche!!

Ok I'm going to admit right now, as I drink my sugar free almond rocha mocha, that I am crying watching this damn royal wedding. why?? A week ago I couldn't have given 2 splendas about this event. But my friend over at Middle Aged Diva got me all sucked in!!

I'm watching the replay of it now, as I am not so dedicated as to have watched it live at 3am.
They've just come out onto the balcony to greet the people. First of all, I am impressed and awed by the crowd control. The enormous crowd was so classy and well behaved. There was an arial shot and the sheer number of people was just a little overwhelming. I can't imagine being her and trying to fathom basically the whole world wanting to just get a glimpse of me. The Royal Guard or whoever they are that were handling the massive crowds that poured into the space outside Buckingham Palace were ever so composed and unrattled. The crowd itself was just classy. There was no political nonsense or outbursts. Just excitement.

I asked myself why I am a little misty about this whole thing that I didn't think I cared about. I think its the buried part of me that still believes in fairy tales, in magical love. Do Kate and William stand to make it work? It feels good, doesn't it? She seems more confident than Diana did. I adored Diana, don't get me wrong. But she was so painfully shy, I could see why her role overwhelmed her. And Charles...meh.

Anyway, there is so much excitement around this wedding. The people in the streets, a nation coming together to celebrate something...unlike the US who just fights with itself like siblings in the backseat on a long car ride. Its what it all represents.

here's a few of my favorite moments:

Kate's sister "Pippa" (Phillipa) looked absolutely perfect. This sister moment was lovely. Shout out to my "sisters". Sisterhood is a beautiful thing.

Pippa's dress was just gorgeous.

In other news...the Princesses of York...look like effing comic book characters. They are caricatures of themselves! The word that immediately springs to mind is...HIDEOUS. And they will go down in history for these looks. Girls...seriously?!! You couldn't get some input from someone?? OMG.

"Sis, does this absurd hat make my ass look big?"
"No, but your 80's dress makes your hat look good. I have a headache from this bloody bow on my forehead"
(The Duke of York is thinking "I'm just the dad. No one asked me...")

Prince Harry is the cutest thing ever. And I love this brotherly moment before the ceremony.
They both looked like the definition of dashing, and handsome.

Wow. That's some yellow. The Queen is just an icon. Her purse, her shoes...only the Queen of England could carry off that YELLOW ensemble...well...and the Royal Clergy guy she is greeting.
The Queen is the epitome and grace and class. She is so composed. She is so...Queenly. And yet on the balcony after the ceremony there were little bridesmaids and flower girls flitting about, following great Grandma or whatever she is to them, around as though she had candy in her pockets. She just might...


A lovely shot of her dress. And I love the expressions on both of their faces.

(note the little girl in the bottom left corner. The crowd is loud and she is annoyed. lol)
The crowd was chanting "kiss kiss kiss!" (again) and after some grinning and giggle words exchanged, he kissed her again, and they are both smiling as they kiss. The crowd erupts into cheers again. Everyone loves love!!!! We all hope for it. We all root for it. Its the essence of life....LOVE!

Happy Lovely Friday!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Accidental Depth

As much as I love to post a good rant, and a funny anedote or story about my kids, I have been given a reminder in the form of a painful realization. I am not able to post details here, but I am grateful, though heart-wrenched, for the validation. I have moved from a place of confusion, returning to a place of certainty that I haven't seen in awhile. And I grieve in the process. Again. more grief.

I swear I know so many people who celebrate a birthday of a lost loved one, or observe the memorial of a death in April! Its like THE grieving month. April showers bring May our tears count too? If so...its going to be a glorious May. I hope it brings great healing and restoration to all of us.

Among the many I have bumped into that seem to be grieving this month, I was linked to this blog by my friend. This story is one that takes courage to read, and an unfathomable amount of courage to write. This blog belongs to a man who nearly lost his wife, and did lose his just-about-to-be-born 2nd daughter. A slip, a fall, a ruptured placenta, a still born, and a wife that nearly bled to death and whose kidneys came *this* close to failing completely. This is grief. wow. I am humbled. I have felt the pain of the loss of a child. I have watched others go through it in varying forms. Its life's greatest pain I think. The courage of this man to write his feelings as he journeys through this process is admirable and beautiful. You have to scroll back several posts to March 24th, the day "it" happened, to read the full story. It is my request that as you read their story you would please pray for them to be comforted and healed, That seems an impossibility doesn't it? But I know its possible. For one I have experienced it. Even in the midst of horrible pain, a glimmer of light and hope can do wonders for the human spirit. Its those little tiny droplets of relief that combine to form a glorious drink of love down the road. Look at Tobin and Joanne, a couple I posted about a couple months ago. She was 37 when she had a debilitating stroke. She is tweeting and blogging and making great progress and THEY have felt the droplets of hope in their lives. What a difficult time, and so many people have been moved by reading their experience. This couple, Kari and Josh...their pain must be so very great that it hurts me to conceive of it. But I'm hoping that our prayers will bring them droplets of hope and peace...

I hope this is the last somber entry in this blog for some time. I hope to be funny and anecdotal and swearing about minutia again very soon.


The Diva

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The last few days I've been trying to put my finger on exactly why Inky's disappearance and assumed passing are weighing me down so much. First of all, the lack of closure, cliche as that sounds, is difficult. I really truly believe that he got out to go find a lovely bush somewhere to die. In 17 years he has never even really tried to get out, much less succeeded. And believe me he's had ample opportunity over the years! Its just a gut feeling I have. But despite any certainty or lack thereof, his presumed death has been very difficult. For years I have wondered what this period would be like...when I lost him. 17 years is a very respectable stretch for a cat so I've been gritting my teeth for a few years now...wondering. About 3 years ago I ordered a special urn for him so I could have him cremated. Now I just have things that remind me of him in the urn. Maybe he knew I couldn't afford to have him cremated right now.

In the day after his disappearance, henceforth to be referred to as 'the loss', I heard this little voice in my head. Not one of the amusing ones. One of the little ones I'm supposed to take seriously. It was as though Inky wanted me to know that it was time for him to go because I can do it by myself now. Hell I've had him since I was about 21 or 22...perhaps I am a grown up now and I CAN do it by myself. For one I don't feel grown up, and I also don't WANT to do it by myself. damnit.

Anyway, the conclusion I've come to is that Inky's passing...'the loss'...symbolizes much more than just a dear friend leaving. Its the end of a long chapter of my life. His loss encapsulates the grief of losing my job, my self, my marriage, more jobs, love, dreams unfulfilled, hopes shattered, hearts broken...grief itself.

I have become well acquainted with grief.

As I typed that I was reminded of a verse that is apropos this time of year with Easter coming up this weekend...
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:3
I guess no one would know better about grief than Jesus. That was a point I had not intended to throw into this entry. Which brings me to a point...I write for myself (Jennnnaaaaaayyyy). I am honored that anyone reads this and takes anything away from it. I hope that "the book" someday will be able to touch people in a meaningful way. But when I write it, it will be for me, as this blog is. As I'm writing, things have a way of sneaking in. And it is in that way that I know somehow I am being used. That is why I bug you guys to that my fleshiness can be satisfied that it is useful.

Anyway, I have become quite familiar with grief over the last couple of years. Which is one of the reasons (warning: life story spoiler) that I am seriously considering getting my grief counselor certification. Those whisperings of my calling I referred to back in August of last year and earlier this year...that is a tiny part of it. itty. The whole picture is much odder and Van Gogh-like. I hope to be accomplishing some of it before I let you in on its strange beauty.

But back to my occurred to me that one of the reasons I am having such a hard time with Inky's passing is not just because I loved my pet cat. I did of course. He was my baby kitty. But I have not come home to a home without that cat in it for 17 years!!! That is almost half my life and nearly all of my adult life! I have never lived in a home without him since I left my parents house! No wonder I don't want to be in my apartment. No wonder I don't want to sleep in my bed. I have known that cat longer than I have known my husband. He has been a constant in my life for 17 years! Something that was ALWAYS there no matter what I was going through or what was passing through my life. No wonder my heart hurts. I can still talk to my husband, even though we are separated. Inky was my silent partner. Without his presence in my home, it feels empty. And I can't pick up the phone and talk to him, or even visit a grave.


Which brings me to another interesting point. My grief process after Paul's death was similar in some ways. I was wrecked when I learned of Paul's passing. And because of the nature of his death, and that I learned of it a month after the fact, I had no closure in that situation either. There was no obituary for me to read, no grave to visit. Just a fact hanging in the air. Very difficult. It took me years to come to terms with it. When I finally did, I realized that Paul is around me a great deal. Its not something I can explain, or care to. But I feel him around me. I miss him desperately.

Happy Birthday Paul...guess what I got for you? a CAT!!!! a big fat stinky gato! :) You are both very hairy. I suspect Inky will enjoy Bukowski and The Doors.

Love you guys.

Grieving Moi

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rest in love and laughter...

My best friend of 17 years disappeared this cat, Inky. I believe he was born in April as he was about 6-8 weeks old when I claimed him as a stray in June. He has been with me through everything. My first apartment, every single relationship I've had since I was 21, every major change, victory, defeat. everything. Always under my feet, under my bed, on my head.

Years ago he ran out of water for a day. so we had a chat. and I said Dude, you gotta tell me these things. I have a baby now and I've got my head up my ass. tell me when you need something, OK?

from that day on, he would follow me around for no apparent reason ONLY if he was out of food or water or his catbox needed attention. he was telling me. as I had asked. He listened to me. He heard and understood me.

Several nights ago he slept by my head purring in my ear and pressing his cold wet nose right into my sleeping ear. I rubbed his neck and pushed him to the foot of the bed. I now believe he was saying goodbye to me that night.

He had been through a lot with me. First I brought a man into my life to stay. then dogs. then babies. then moves. He didn't appreciate the last move and left some scars on my arms. He never was interested in my son, but took a special interest in my baby girl. He always loved her and loved her love.

Sunday morning I realized I had not seen him since Friday. That's not that uncommon since he's 17 years old and mostly sedentary. But Saturday night we had made tri-tip so he should have been out begging like a dog. None of this occurred to me until Sunday. We looked all over the complex.

I remembered about 2 days prior Amanda told me that Inky was outside on the grass. We shooed him inside. I quizzed her about how far away he was etc and she, being 3, just repeated dramatically that "he was out there on the grass!"

I believe that was his first attempt to escape and we thwarted him. I do not know when he actually succeeded, but he did. And he is no where to be found. Having what I believe is a bond with him that only I have, I intuitively believe he has gone off to die. I wanted to be there with him in his death. I have a special made urn for him. But I guess he didn't want to do it that way.

So I'm trying to make peace with this huge absence in my every day life. I wandered aimlessly through my house, crying, and filling his urn with things that remind me of him. I felt lost without him there. I could not even sleep on my own bed.

I am more and more convinced that like many animals, he knew it was his time and wanted to get out and did not want to be found. Or we would have found him. He has a loud odd meow. and he never ventures far from the door. He was strictly an indoor cat. So I hope he really enjoyed his last great sniffing journey and found a place to rest peacefully.

I will miss you forever Inky. Catflaps. Inkidoo. Take the wub, catflaps. We all loved you so very much. come back to me someday, ok?

Stinky Gato...

This week, Wed, April 20, 2011 also marks what would have been the 49th birthday of my dear Paul. My love, Paul, died too soon sometime in 1998 (I think May). It was a monumental struggle with grief and confusion I will never understand. We dated when I was 20. I turned 21 while I was with him, and he was 32. He took me places, he always had 2% milk for me in his fridge, in his "shitty little apartment". he drove me to Disneyland in his "shitty little red car". he had more hair than any one man should. I had to shake out his bathmat and was just so so wrong. He had this crazy wavy brown hair and beautiful brown eyes that smiled even when he didn't. He drank too much and was fond of removing his clothing in public. he liked to cook for me. He would drink wine out of the bottle and make me spaghetti. he reminded me, in those moments, of the Swedish chef on the Muppets, tossing utensils around as he took swigs of wine out of the bottle...crazy hair dancing around on his head and singing some song from an era I couldn't relate to.

He had this amazing contagious laugh. No one ever made me laugh so much. I literally thought he would kill me from laughing. He had the gift of deranged laughter. And once I got laughing he would commentate on my fit as though he was Howard Cosell and I was Marvin Haggler in the ring. "Oh and she's got a snort...right there!" I laughed until I cried. Until I hiccuped without control and cried more. He'd laugh at that too. Then I'd get mad. And he would laugh at me being mad.

Watch out for that bird!!

Stinky gato

just a couple of random phrases that I remember sent me over the edge.

Paul was a free spirit of the greatest kind. No fear, no sense, no inhibitions. Tried to put a rusty hoop earring found on the beach through his barely pierced nipple. Horrified, I removed one from my ear and gave it to him. I think that was our first date.

He brought home cow and coyote skulls he found on his route through the meadows and they frequently had tissue still on or in them. Flies, maggots. he thought it was cool. I instructed him to get a bucket and a gallon of bleach, post haste.

he made the scariest looking woman I ever saw (I am wishing I could find the picture of inky dressed up in a dress when he was a kitten and I'd post the 2 pictures side by side!!)

He loved cats and would have loved Inky.

Paul and Inky, I love you both. I will be thinking of you all week, celebrating your beautiful lives and hoping I get to see you both again. reincarnate or something, eh?
Take care of each other up there, OK, my loves?

I love you, my April Birthday Angels. come play with me.

all my love, always,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Horrible Pulchritude

Pulchritudinous. Perhaps one of the ugliest words I've ever heard. But it means just the opposite.
It means "having great physical beauty".


Today I'm blathering on about contradictions. Self contained contradictions. Dichotomies. The duality of human nature. (heeeehee. there it is again. )

In my high school honors English class, once I tried to write a poem about a girl who was a walking contradiction. I couldn't articulate it. I didn't know myself well enough. I also didn't know I was writing it about myself. Ultimately I scrapped it and wrote a poem about the color blue in the first person. Anyway, I have come to know and love the walking contradiction that is ME.

First of all, I'm a woman. To quote my current Muse, Christina Aguilera from her song "I Am":

I am timid
And I am oversensitive
I am a lioness
I am tired and defensive
You take me in your arms
And I fold into you
I have insecurities
You show me I am beautiful

Love me or leave me just take it or leave it
It's not that I'm needy just need you to see me
Take me, free me, see through to the core of me
Take me, free me, there will be no more pretending

I am temperamental
And I have imperfections
And I am emotional
I am unpredictable
I am naked
I am vulnerable
I am a woman
I am opening up to you

Love me or leave me, just take it or leave it
It's not that I'm needy, just need you to see me
Take me, free me, see through to the core of me
Take me, free me, there will be no more pretending

Now I stand before you with my heart in my hands
I'm asking you to take me just the way that I am

Please lay down your arms
Do you know me?
Make me feel safe from harm

Oh just take me, free me, see through to the core of me
Take me, free me, there will be no more pretending

I am temperamental
And I have imperfections
And I am emotional
There'll be no more pretending

As women, we desperately want to be understood, and yet we do love being mysteries and beautiful enigmas, don't we? We are so strong, and yet we want so badly to be taken care of...and then we rail against the men who try to take care of us with well manicured fists! We want to be admired for our beauty but adored for our minds. Loved roughly. Hated softly. Feared just a little.

I take a sick sense of pride in the fact that no one can quite figure me out, or put their finger on what or who I am. That includes me much of the time. Other times, I see myself pretty clearly, but you kind of have to look at me with only one eye so you can see the 2 halves clearly...

First of all, I am the true cusp of Capricorn and Aquarius.
For those many of you who are not astrology geeks like myself, I'll explain. Each sign of the zodiac is the exact opposite of the sign before an after it. Yin and Yang. So Capricorns are driven and organized and rather OCD and practical and somewhat serious. They like relationships and predictability. They are financially successful and gifted with investments. Aquarians are freewheelers who dislike rules, authority, boundaries, and confinement. They seek to upset things are re-do them. They are chaotic and messy. They are artisic rather than logical. They are funny and sexual and not relationship oriented at all. They detest predictability and boredom.

There I am.

I'll take this a bit further just because I'm amused now.

I'm German and French. Robust and delicate. Brazen and romantic. BRATWURST and BEER! goat cheese and petite syrah.

I'm also Scottish. I'm very proud of my Scottish ancestry and its the one I relate to most. But are there any people more innately confused than the Scots? They have spent must of their history killing other Scots. They eat and are famous for HAGGIS!

And kilts. hello. confused much?

(totally in jest. I love kilts and I adore the bagpipes....they both make me cry. Haggis probably would too. I was going to try it once, plied with much tequila but it turns out the Scottish don't stock much tequila. And I don't like stout. go figure.)

I'm a redhead. You know, YES...I color my hair. BUT, I'm certain that God meant to make me a redhead and some freckled girl jumped in front of me! But my skintone screams redhead. Moreover I colored my hair to match my personality.

Redheads...the most dichotomous creatures ever to grace the surface of the planet. coy. brazen. shy. brave. meek. outspoken. sweet, and yet famous for their tempers.

Furthermore...I am a dancer. Which means I am inherently a klutz. Really. Ask any dancer. We are hopeless without music.

Its really no wonder I'm confused about whether I'm a bad ass or a kitten.

True story...every day of high school, my parents sent me out the door with these words:
Mom said: "give em hell honey!"
Dad said: "Be nice!" (sometimes "Be good").

and ever since then I have been trying to bring hell to earth in the nicest way possible. I try to make chaos as convenient as I can. I fall down gracefully as I deliver you a verbal lashing with hands flying...while I cry.

A volcano and a tornado in one. well, actually... a hurricane. A hurricane with a heart of gold...with matching gold barbs. :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

My self report card

I've been wanting to blog, but some of what I have been experiencing is a bit too personal for the internet. Besides, I have to give you a reason to buy "the book" right? :)

I will say this...its been an emotional few weeks. And all told, I'm pretty proud of myself. For the first time in my life I'm actually taking care of myself, putting myself first, recognizing my foibles and my potential for self destruction before it gets too close. I'm not really trying to do these things...its just happening...which makes it all them more exciting. I am becoming a healthier person. It feels great. I mean, it hurts. Its like soul exercise. I'm sore. But I'm getting my soul in shape. a heart shape I hope.

I give myself an A.

(in unrelated news...Cliff got a pretty solid overall B in the 3rd quarter of 1st grade. Mandy is getting her tonsils out next week. stay tuned for stories of jello barf and lots of drama. It'll be riveting. promise)