One of the worst things you could tell me, when I was a teenager, was that we all grow up to become our parents. Actually, becoming my father wasn’t that bad an idea – my dad is funny, snarky, has a fantastically contagious laugh, and he made me the geek I am today.
But oh, becoming Mom? Full body shivers and complete denial. I would never become my mother. Ever. Over my dead body.
Thankfully, it didn’t take her dead body for me to realize that I am my mother’s child, as much as I am my father’s child. It was a slow revelation that crept up on my in my early 20s, as I made peace with my parents and the hormones and crankiness of the teen years flushed out of my system. Of course, being difficult, I noticed the negative traits first. Anyone who has ever noticed that I can hold a grudge like it’s an Olympic sport did not meet my mother – she made me look like a rank amateur when it comes to grudges. (In fact, her entire side of the family really elevates it to an art form.) But slowly, I noticed more things: singing and dancing while cooking, loving to cook, being an adventurous eater, always sneaking in reading when possible, loving fields of flowers and the quiet moments of beauty that sneak up on us.
But as anyone can tell you, knowing you’re like your parents is entirely different than sounding like a parent.
Yesterday, I was taking some photos for a project when Zeus decided he needed to see what I was doing. He really needed to see what I was doing. And since I was using a repeating shutter in order to minimize blur, I got cat. I got a lot of cat.
And without even thinking of it, I heard myself saying “Zeus, you’re being such a butthead!” Zeus just tilted his head the other way, trying to figure out what the shiny thing in my hand was and if he could eat it, and I looked back at him, caught between horror and amusement: I sounded just like my mother when she was exasperated with my brother. I was never the recipient of “being a butthead” commentary, but oh, my brother and my uncles. The chorus of my childhood is filled with “stop being a butthead”, inevitably directed at one of the male members of our household.
It’s a phrase I haven’t heard in years, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I puzzled Zeus further by getting teary and then sweeping him up in a hug. The small things that we never think of so often seem to be the things that become woven into our being; I would have never selected that phrase as an intentional one to add to my repertoire of creatively expressing exasperation, but knowing it’s there gives me another thread to the woman I would have once been horrified to be compared to, and am now merely grateful that such comparison is possible.
* What do you mean, it’s Wednesday? The rule of the land is this: it becomes the next day when I have slept. Going on 40 hours awake, it’s still Tuesday for me. A very, very long Tuesday…
“Hey, Kelly? Weren’t you supposed to start writing about a week ago, give or take?”
“Why yes, Anonymous Internet Voice, I was!”
“Well, you didn’t. Why not?”
“It’s a bit of a story, Anonymous Internet Voice, but pull up a virtual chair and I’ll tell you all about it…”
Okay, cutesy conceit dropped, but the point remains. I was supposed to write. I didn’t write. What the hell happened to writing? Well, a record heatwave for this early in the season turned me into a puddle of Not Doing. I don’t have central air in my apartment, and only my bedroom has A/C. (In this photo, Toledo is helpfully illustrating that it’s so hot all his bones melted.)
In fact, it was so hot that, when I wasn’t trying to keep myself cool, I was trying to cool down the cats.
However, I discovered that a wet clothe on the back, much like a leash, leaves kitties forgetting how to walk. So Zeus went for the Supercat look, instead. Very chic.
When the heat finally abated, I found myself suffering the usual side effects someone with a chronic nerve pain condition finds themself in after a 45 degree temperature shift in less than two days: pain. That pain manifested itself Sunday in a migraine, and I spent much of Sunday night throwing up. Because bathrooms are always, always cool refuges of icy tile – and why is that? The rest of your apartment can be an oven, but laying on that bathroom tile is like large paving stones of ice. But I digress. I was in the bathroom retching, and Zeus was in the bathroom with me. Zeus was very concerned – and oh, how sweet, I thought.
Zeus was concerned, yes. He was apparently concerned that I was hiding food or something from him, because during one of the moments I wasn’t holding on to the toilet for dear life, he stuck his head into the toilet to see what was going on. Now this, in itself, may have been fine – if I had been done vomiting.
I, however, was not.
And that’s how I found myself, late Sunday night, washing a cat while every tilt of the head or shift of the shoulder made waves of nausea roll through me. This was not on my list of things I wanted to do…ever.
Aside from mildly wounded dignity and irritation at a fierce ear-cleaning Monday morning, Zeus is fine. I got a healthy amount of sleep the last two nights, and am largely feeling better. Does that mean I’ll be better about posting? Probably not for another week – we’re heading into a heat wave that makes last week look like winter, and my poor, going to die in the heatwave, father, is coming to visit at the end of this week. The savvy reader might well point out that we’re rolling in to summer, when the heat is going to get worse and more frequent, to which I can only say point to you, and hopefully habit eventually wins out.
The problem (okay, a problem – there are more than one) with parasthesia is it doesn’t give you much warning. One minute, your hands are working fie, and the next minute you’re marveling at your ability to both save the mug and spill iced coffee in your freezer, down front and back of the fridge door, all over the floor, and of course, all over yourself.
It’s hot, so at least the shower – although sooner than anticipated – was not unexpected.
Anyhow, there was a point there, and I think it went something like this: sometimes, you’re in the middle of living life and something happens to change everything. You either sigh, clean up the mess as best you can, and then go back to living best you can, or you sit in the middle of the kitchen floor and cry over spilled coffee and milk. Both are valid choices, but either way, you have to clean up the spilled coffee and milk.
Which is related, in ways that make sense to me, and might to you if you’ve seen things for a while, to the fact that a writer (and producer – would not want to shirk credits) I quite like and admire, Paula Yoo, happens to be on Twitter; she also blogs. Now, first of all, read her blog – she’s funny, she has adorable cats, and you will learn a lot. But, secondly and more relevant for this post, she just set up a new blog schedule, and I am shamelessly stealing it, with a few modifications. So this will be my schedule, with inspiration from Ms. Yoo:
As I’m making an effort to get back into writing, I’m finding myself listening to music again. Music is really interesting on several fronts, but I’m particularly interested in how we physiologically react to music, from having an influence on energy levels and heart rate to chemical changes within our brain.
Most of the time it’ll probably just be something like “so when I’m polishing an essay, did you know I listen to the Buffy Once More With Feeling soundtrack on repeat?”
I have two adorable cats, and if they had their way, I would spend every waking moment worshiping them. While they slept, I would spend all my time explaining to you, via pictures and Venn diagrams, how they are The Best Kitties Ever. As a favour to everyone, I shall try to keep cute cat stories limited to Tuesdays. (Yes, Paula’s doing hers on Thursdays. To my ear, “Tuna Tuesday” is a more pleasant alliterative.)
I’ve gotten extremely off-track with my writing in the past two years – once upon a time I blogged at four different blogs several times a day (you know, in the good old days of being paid to do that kind of thing). A lot of things happened that encouraged me to silence my voice, and I’m trying to find it again. Thoughts on the process on Wednesday. (Or you know, less serious crap and more fun stuff that I’m learning from obsessively studying writers under the Twitter microscope, reading, discussing in the writer’s group I’m a part of, or just general accountability towards my own goals.)
Pop Culture Thursday
Unlike Ms. Yoo, I am not a TV professional. I am, however, a pretty big pop culture geek – and it’s about time I got back into writing like it. My pop culture writing is what got me first noticed in the blogging world lo those many years ago, when I was actually recapping Grey’s Anatomy for the now-defunct Metroblogging Seattle. My irritation at House, MD became a bit legendary.
As long-time readers know (if any of you are left), I am a foodie from a family of foodies. I love to eat, I love to cook, I love to read about cooking and recipes and the whole nine yards; I even studied food ethics for a while. I think I follow more writers than chefs on Twitter – but not by much. Friday’s will be for recipes, restaurants, and …I cannot think of another alliterative. I’ll blame the time on that one.
Anyhow, it’s a bit of an ambitious goal to go from essentially not writing for two-plus years to writing daily and blogging at least five days a week – but hey, it’s a goal, and it even feels relatively sane and achievable, so far as goals go. And of course, the best thing is, I can write more if I so desire – it’s just that this makes sure that “less” doesn’t go below a certain number. So, starting Monday the 30th of May, we shall see.