We must cultivate our garden

My new home is having an effect on me. I love it. I like to preen over it, make it pretty.

The garden especially is satisfying. I think about it, and read about different sort of plants I could have. I trim the ones I have and water and have even fertilized them.

One friend was amazed, “This is a side of you I’ve never seen!” she said.

Hm. Good point. I’ve not been such a homebody. I’m usually reading or thinking or being away, looking at things.

But this home has been a big change. It makes me happy, and I am always full of projects I want to do. People tell me that happens when you become a homeowner. But the condo, my first owned home, did not have that effect on me.

Probably because it did not have a garden.

That rung a bell for me. I remember a book that talked about leaving adventures behind to take care of your garden.

Candide by Voltaire, it is. A short little story I’ve never forgotten, mostly because of the pope’s daughter who only had one bun because her set was divided by cannibals.

It was this book, meant to be a philosophical treatise, that talks about tending your garden. I read it again, because I am so into my garden right now.

It is more profound than I remembered, having read it the first time as an assigment for my very first college literature class. That was a great class!

But, now that I am a bit older, I can see his point.

Candide roamed the world in search of happiness, basically. And, I, for a long time, have been hitting the streets to check outwhat the world has to offer.

In the end, Candide realizes that you make your own happiness. That you cultivate it, you tend it, and it grows or dies based on what you do.

I guess I’ve come to some similar conclusions. I am happy to be in a place tha tis furthe away from the “streets”. My suburban town has lanes, rather than streets.

And, I am ready to take charge of my own happiness. I am fairly confident that I’ll be able to grow it myself. There will be troubles, but I will be ale to weather them and keep my happiness well-rooted.

I must cultivate my garden.

more to know

My friend Janet had diabetes. I am thinking again and again about the time she showed me her test.

I am reading about how other cat owners have taken their cat’s glucose levels. This is altogether terrifying. I am pretty overwhelmed by what this disease means for me.

And I was feeling rather overwhelmed before. But, as Chris keeps reminding me, this has been a bad week.

I am recovering from Strep throat. The worst sort of stret throat I have ever had. It basically left me in so much joint-achy pain I couldn’t sleep, so throat swollen I couldn’t swallow, and so weak I couldn’t walk.

We postponed thanksgiving in honor of my illness.

And Skellig had to come up with a new creative health issue. I was in such a shape that I could not even sit steadily the first time I injeted him.

Oh yeah, then Chris had to catch something. Not quite as bad as my illness, but he was a bundle of ick last night. We are both on the road to recovery now.

Are you noticing my lack of thankfulness? Thanksgiving left me a little cld this year. I still haven’t had turkey or pie. Tomorrow, we think, we will try it.

And now I am trying to swallow a lot of information about treating my cat that I just couldn’t take before. It’s hard to concentrate when you are shivering beneath about a hundred blankets.

I’ve finally gotten around to reading the instructions from the vet. I did a few things wrong already.

“ROLL the bottle of insulin, don’t shake it!”
“No, the OTHER kind of expensive prescription cat food.”
“I was supposed to write down everything the cat ate, peed, and injected?”

Oh man.

Did I mention that this is overwhelming?

And to know that if I don’t do it right, the cat could die. And it would be entirely my fault.

Well. I have made some mistakes. I haven’t been journaling everything. But I think I will purchase a blood meter. That way I can keep better track of how my cat’s treatment is going.

There is a meter, there are special strips of special paper, there are extra lancets that draw the blood out of my cat–either from the ear or his paw.

But I think I should do it. I know I’ll need it.

I’ll keep you posted.

I love my cat…That’s what makes it so hard

Skellig is 8 years old in about a month. He was born January 97. He’s been with me for a long time.

He is beautiful and very large. He’s gotten into a lot of different kinds of trouble over the years. But he still runs to the door when I get home from work.

Chris tells me that if I am particularly late, he will wait by the door and cry a little for me. What a cat! That’s friendship.

He is not a shy cat. If people come to the door, he sniffs them thoroughly to make sure they are acceptable. He’s not looking for pettings, he’s inspecting the new arrivals for problems.

Some people call their pets the “children” or “family”. Skellig is not that to me. He’s my friend, and when we are on the outs, he’s my annoying roommate.

But over the course of 8 years, wow…we know each other pretty well. If I am upset and crying, he gets agitated and checks on me to make sure I am okay. He usually manages to cheer me up with his kitty concern.

If I am sick, he will join me in the sickroom for communal napping. He’s an expert at napping.

I love him very much. I try not to go on about it, but pretty much everyone who has been to my home knows I’m crazy about my cat.

Here lately, the cat has been sick. He’s been sort of down. He had stopped trotting over when it was time for his food (his favorite time of day). He wasn’t interested in playing.

He had taken to doing this moaning thing. Sort of a throaty quiet meow. And worst of all, he was obsessed with water and peeing ALL THE TIME.

In inappropriate places. So we took him to the vet.

This week Tuesday, I learned that Skellig has developed Feline Diabetes.

This is a pretty high-maintenance disease. I have to inject him twice daily with a sharp needle. He is so brave, and he trusts me, which breaks my heart.

The good news is that it is not too expensive. The medicine seems to be about 40 bucks a month. And I haven’t done any bargain shopping yet.

He’s taking it okay. Since I give him treats before and after the injection, he even runs up when I am preparing the syringe. What a hero!

His fur is amazingly thick. It is impossible to see through it to the skin. I have to jab and push. I always worry that I haven’t quite got the needle in the skin. I mean, before Wednesday night I had never injected anything or anybody. Now, I’m expected to stab my cat every 12 hours.

Yesterday, I pushed it a little harder and he twitched. So this morning, he was more hesitant to accept the needle. He wanted to sniff it a little longer. So I was more gentle.

Then, I worried that I hadn’t punctured the skin. I suppose it’s obsessive of me, but this is an important thing! So I petted his neck for a while to see if there was a wet spot. It’s such a small amount of insulin, I wondered if it would even show?

So, I took the needle I had just used and took the same amount (2 units) of water and squirted it on a napkin. It made a decent sized puddle, so I felt reassured that I would notice if I had missed.

I have spent this morning trying to read up on what there is to know. The vet wants to have the cat back for the day to do a glocose curve and see how he is responding to her guess-diagnosis of 2 units of insulin every 12 hours.

I’m looking into home tests. He truly hates the vet. This vet is nicer than most I’ve taken him to, but…I’d rather see what we can do at home.

There is a lot of information about this on the web. But then again, medicine is moving fast these days. Sites that are 5 years old may not have information about new technology.

I am really grateful for the data I’m finding. That’s why I am going to share my own experiences. I know that some of my readers are not so enthralled with the ins and outs of cat stabbing, but there may be some new readers out there who are grateful to hear someone else’s experiences. Hence my new category:

Feline Diabetes

Any comments from people who have experience or knowledge about this subject or any related topics is much appreciated.

My big worries are when I have to leave the cat. What pet sitter would be able to do this care? I would like to find maybe a once a day treatment. If it could be oral instead of injected, too, I think that would be nicer.

I know there is a lot of information out there. It will take a while to sort it out.

The other good news is, they say that cats with diabetes will still live long lives if they get good treatment. I want Skellig to live for another…Oh..ten years. I would miss him too much.

and they all rolled over and one fell out

Good things have been happening. I mean, really!

How fabulous that I have a great new job with nice people and even more fabulous that I have purchased a home with the man of my dreams.



I just kind of wish that it hadn’t happened all at once. I am in the position of not having anything quite where I need it or want it.

My rhythm is off. There are things I need to do everywhere I look.

It makes me tired.

My Brother!

I was listening to this history lesson in my car, and the professor was talking about Socrates.

He was going on and on, relating how Socrates would ask people questions, and lead them on with more questions.

I recognized this.

I have found a SOULmate, a brother, in Socrates. It is so clear to me! I do exactly the same thing. And I also piss people off with my incessant questions.

I have gotten in big trouble for asking questions. I have what appears to be a very unusual outlook on life.

Socrates got in trouble for his questions. But, as I have recently come to conclude, over that last few years, he and I agree that it is dangerous and foolish to consider yourself wise…Meaning, don’t think you know all the answers. There are always more ways to look at a thing, another question to ask. So, no, you don’t know the answers.

I feel so great to realize that Socrates had the same question disease–condition–that I have.

I may have to spend a little time getting to know this guy.

One sad thing, he ended up being sacrificed, being sentenced to death because of his questions.

hopefully I’ll avoid that fate.

Deja Vu

I sleep hard, but sometimes I dream things. Things that haven’t happened yet. Sometimes I remember them, wonder about the dream. Then I go on my way and forget them.

Until they come true. They call it déjà vu. But I know I dreamed it. Stupid, everyday, unimportant things. Like looking for a notebook when someone is walking down a hall towards me. Or holding a conversation, when in the middle I realize I know exactly the next thing I am going to say. I would step into the now that had already happened months ago, years ago, in my dream.

It feels like a spell; I am split in two. The me who dreamed the conversation, or should I say, the me in the dream from the past, was fully engaged in what she was saying.

But the present me, the one living in the event which had already taken place, became distracted by the memory of the present.

How do I dream these future scenes?

How could I possibly see what hadn’t happened yet? What let me see the future? And why such irrelevant ordinary scenes from the future?

This makes me wonder how time works. Am I in time? Like I am in the universe? Or am in time like a fish in water?

A fish can jump out of water. Leap up high and dive back in.

For that matter, am I traveling through my life like a fish through a stream? Where the direction is laid out, only I can’t see far enough ahead to know that the biggest choices I have is whether to swim on the left side or the right.

Or maybe I am the stream. Maybe I am flowing for the first time. Perhaps my journey from the heights to the sea is unmarked. I, the water, flow because I must, but minute by second by future moment the way is chosen. Each obstacle changes the whole course. Over that pebble, pool below that hill, rapids here, waterfall there. Something new under the sun.

My dream moments might be telling me something. Who knows which moment is the decisive one? What choice is the fulcrum for an irreversible direction? Is some extra-temporal being trying to draw attention to the unnoticed as the start of some fork in the road?

But if that’s so, what am I supposed to do with this?

When the spell of a dreamed scene comes over me, and I am split between the layers of the dream memory and the identical present, I shift.

If the dream turned right, I go straight.

Who knows what’s at stake? Nothing? Everything?

But illusion, delusion or otherwise, I chose where to plant my feet.

_Memoirs of a Geisha_ by Arthur Golden

I was disappointed to discover that this is not actually a true memoir of a geisha. I didn’t know this when I picked it up, but it’s all over the bestseller lists right now. I think it’s a decent book, it just wasn’t what I expected.

It’s basically a kind of 20th century regency romance, set in Japan.

If I had known i was that sort of story, I would have been really impressed. The description of how Sayuri became a giesha, and the historical setting was descriptive and interesting.

But the “Pretty Woman” style happy ending was a little disappointing. I had hoped she would be a strong woman and set out on her own. I concede that was probably personal taste.

Plenty of people love that sort of story, and this is a good one of its kind.

I should say, I heard this book on tape, rather than read it. The audio version was read by a woman with a Japanese accent. Her reading was very engaging, and the accent added a dimension of location that would not have been present on the page.

_South of the Border, West of the Sun_ by Haruki Murakami

Another one by the great Murakami. Every book of his I’ve read so far (The Windup Bird Chronicals and Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World) has been really great, so when I went to the library I checked out all of his books on the shelf.

But I live in a small town now, so there was only one book by him on the shelf, South of the Border, West of the Sun. It was short, so I finished it this morning.

This one might be the most realistic books I’ve read. Nothing happened that was outside the range of natural life. His descriptions of emotions were very surreal, though. It was the same Murakami I’d grown to love.

This story is a very human story, and the jacket calls it a love story. There is no doubt that love is involved, but I’m not so sure it’s a love story.

It starts off with the hero, Hajime, as a kid. He’s 12, and has a girl who is his best friend. When his family moved to a different neighborhood, they lost track of each other. But he never forgot her.

The rest of the story talks about his romantic affairs, high school and growing up. He is finally an adult and has his life on a very successful track, with a business and a wife and family, when the childhood friend reappears.

Everything turns upside down after that.

The story is good and definitely kept my interest. I don’t know if Hajime could be called typically male. If he could,this story might be very revealing of the psychology of a cheating husband. But I am not sure he could be called typical. The story is just a little strange.

In the end, it was pretty bleak. As he portrays it, tenuous nature of love and the unreliability of human character leaves little to hope for.

Reading this book makes me rethink the others. Perhaps Murakami is more nihilistic than I realized. Then again, maybe this story is just him exploring his nihilistic side.

One thing for sure, I need to read the rest of this guy’s works.

Where’s your pride?

Sticks and stones will break your bones
but names will never hurt you

…that’s a crock of bull…Names are extremely painful. All kinds of words can conspire to hit you in the middle and throb.

Each person has a sense of themselves. I am not the only one to have a way that I wish to be seen, a presentation of myself projected to others. I want to be seen as clever, or funny, or good-looking. All three even.

But when others poke a hole in my bubble, when they dash my polished surface. They could show me up as stupid. Or not laugh at my jokes. Or something much more embarrassing.

Something that makes me feel like everything about me is undesirable and even despised.

Uhhll. That’s a horrible feeling.

I want to be loved. I want to be accepted and cherished.

That doesn’t always happen. There are times when I am very NOT.

It’s ironic, because I know that I am not always desirable and lovable. I live with me every day. I know my flaws.

Then again, it is especially painful when I hear from others about a flaw I was unaware of. How withering to learn that they outfit I thought so cute has a big hole in it. Or the speech habit I thought endearing was percieved as condescending.

It’s a sick, skin-crawling self-loathing feeling. It’s the sort of feeling I want to be rid of as soon as possible, but it lingers.

I remember one particular embarrassing moment. I was in a new town, and had been embraced in a new friendship–possibly romantic!–which was all the more exciting because there was no one else vying for my attention.

He had loaned me his guitar, a great trust, and told me where he lived so I could return it after a while.

It seemed appropriate to me to bring it back after a few weeks. Still warm from his attention, and not wanted the friendship to fade away, I followed the directions he had given me to his apartment, where his lived with his family. I brought the guitar back, hoping for a little visit.

I came to the door and was greeted with a wall of hostility. His sister left me in the hall, and went to get her brother. He took his time. When he finally came out he asked why I had come.

To return the guitar.

He looked down at the guitar and took it from me at last. Then he said I should not have come.

I left as soon as I could. I was mortified. I felt like a bug that narrowly escaped death, only because I would have soiled the shoes it would take to squish me.

I was reeling. I wanted to find some comfort somewhere. But I had no one I could go to. I wanted to have some friend–someone!–tell me, “hey, don’t listen to them. You’re okay.”

But I was new to the town, and I had no way of communicating with any of my old friends. It was all me. And I felt like a pimple on the butt of the world.

That part of me that stays on the side tried to think of something. Some way to comfort myself. I began to realize that the thing that was hurting was my pride.

What is Pride? “… it’s not a hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man…”

And yet it can be hurt. Was it important? or was this pain like the hiccups, something uncomfortable that was not serious and would pass?

Pride…Pride is the original sin. Lucifer was proud and he screwed everything up.

In that case, pride SHOULD be hurt. Pride should be ignored, torn down, attacked. It was a good thing to have my pride damaged. I should be humble, not proud.

And yet…There is another meaning of pride. Pride in opposition to shame. I will not be ashamed. If I am ashamed, it means I have done something wrong. Something shameful.

But if I am proud, I am proud of myself, I am living right. I should strive to be proud of my work. I should preserve my pride.

How can this be? Two things that mean the opposite.

Here is how I have determined the difference:

For the false, destructive pride, the source comes from external things. If I am proud of what I did not create, what I did not work for, then this is false. If I take pride in my appearance, my status or how people regard me, then that’s wrong.

But if the source of my pride comes from my own work, and the affirmation comes from myself, then it is good pride. Yes, I should work hard and take pride in my work. I should be careful to be honest and have integrity. I can be proud of that integrity, but my pride can be an internal affirmation. I don’t need to broadcast my good deeds, it is enough to know them myself.

A shameful pride would be trumpeted and draw from other peoples’ opinion.

But a humble pride would be quiet and only need affirmation from oneself.

That is basically the litmus test. And it places my pride, my self-worth, inside my sphere of control. I don’t need anyone else’s opinions to know.

I can hold my own with pride.

Fractal people

They put them in the middle of the mall. They were brightly colored posters; but they didn’t have any kind of picture. People stood and stared at them as if mesmerized.

I didn’t get it. I didn’t see anything.