No Interpretation Feasible

Last night I was unceremoniously woken at 4:30AM by a vomiting cat. I had to pee so I got up & stepped in the vomit, which necessitated cleaning my feet & making it impossible to just drop back to sleep.

So I read a couple chapters of Harry Potter & The Methods of Rationality before falling back to sleep. This may have been an error in judgment. I usually read the prophets to sleep. Sorry, Isaiah.

My friend Christopher turned me on to this fan fic, which you know was no small undertaking because, well. Um. Cough. But this is Christopher. He knows things. Anyhow, I’m hooked.

Subsequently I dreamt that Christopher & I were visiting w/ his school friends. He is working on a PhD in physics in Los Angeles, but in the dream it was an undergrad in Engineering from UNR.  His friends lived in a part of town that was already  known to be enchanted, but thanks to overzealous Disney development had become possessed of evil spirits. 

It was an unholy mess. Disney was building a Pirates of the Caribean themed shopping center in Reno, which is the last place anything like that should happen, & also something like that should never happen. Ancient tortured souls now infested the shopping center. Christopher’s friends lived adjacent.

I drove over there with my actual real life roommate & Christopher, pointing out along the way all the times I had seen actual gnomes in this neighbourhood when I lived there, before Disney chased them all out. When we parked, I spotted a stone gnome & dragged Christopher over to a stand of trees to see that they were real. Christopher shrugged, said that there was probably a scientific explanation, & I patted the stone gnome on the head & told Christopher he was undoubtably right. Stone gnomes don’t talk, so the little guy smiled & went back to being a statue.

Christopher’s friends were two blonde girls who had both made foods Christopher & I can’t eat (him, nuts; me, celiac disease). They said that we were pussies if we didn’t at least try, but Christopher talked them out of it (& apologized to me out the side of his mouth). I mean it was a frigging nut cake, walnuts & wheat. My roommate made up for us by eating a bunch.

Christopher wanted to have a word with these girls, so he left me alone in the kitchen. My roommate went with him part way. I saw a leather bag on a chair & went to move it to sit down, but the second I touched it, it turned into Persephone, who has just died in real life, & I held her & sobbed & told her I missed her while stroking her. Christopher came out, saw I was crying, & asked what was wrong. I told her “She’s dead, but she came back for a minute to say goodbye properly. Don’t you see her?”

“Kellie, I’m sorry, but that is a purse.”

“No, it’s my cat,” I sobbed, but it did turn back into a purse, so I set it down. While I had been crying, I’d removed my glasses & now couldn’t find them. Christopher & I were looking for them, then saw my roommate had them in her hands. She said “Do you need these?” & then snapped them in half. We were shocked. His blonde friends came out cackling & said “Now you can never leave!” My roommate said she had a migraine but I could tell she wanted to stay with the blondes. I knew something was wrong so I shouted “Run!” & started running.

I was half way down a walk way/gang plank in the stupid shopping centre when I realized Christopher wasn’t behind me. A father & his kid told me “You’ve been sprinkled with poison. You need to rinse off,” so I wandered back looking for a shower. I ran into Christopher & he said, “I’m so sorry. My friends have become evil witches. I’m trying to talk sense into them.”

They were already closing around me, so I just tried to stand in the shower with my clothes on while they hovered over me with hands like claws. Then a little blonde angel boy appeared in an orb of white light & said “Don’t be afraid! They cannot hurt you now.”

The witches backed off & the little angel boy came closer to me. Then he turned into this guy:

 

The Simpsons’ social worker/black angel, Gabriel.


He then said “You and Christopher must vanquish this evil. Also you were black all along. Behold!”

And I looked down at my fingers & they started to go from my usual pallor to darker & I looked in the mirror & I was this girl from Bones

  & I turned to everyone & said “I knew I was black!” And my roommate handed me a Happy Meal & I said “I can’t eat this; I have celiac disease,” & the angel Gabriel said “Yes, you can, child. You’re black now.” So I shoveled that hamburger, bun & all, in my face while Christopher said “That doesn’t make any sense. African-Americans are also susceptible to the genetics of…” & then the alarm went off & I woke up.

DAMN YOU METHODS OF RATIONALITY!!!

The Long, Fluffy Life of Persephone Girl Cat

 If her birth is known to anyone, they haven’t shared that story with me or the shelter. I got Persephone when she was, by the SPCA vet’s estimate, 8 years old. Her tummy was shaved from having just been spayed.

I did not get her directly from a shelter. A coworker had adopted her from the SPCA where I volunteered. This coworker then decided she was too much trouble, so she asked me “Does the SPCA get annoyed if you take a cat back?” I asked what the problem was & she said “I’m not normally allergic to Siamese, but I’m allergic to this one.”

When I saw her, after coming by the coworker’s house, I said “Well, you don’t have a Siamese. That’s a Himalayan.” The coworker then admitted that it was more that the cat was a pain in the ass. “She wants to be pet all the time. She’s more like a dog. I wanted a cat cat.”

Well, I couldn’t let her take her back to the shelter. I asked my fiancé of the time if we could please please please please pretty please keep her, & he consented if he got to name her, even though we had just adopted a kitten (Baby Neil Cat) a little while ago & already had Martin Cat on top of him.

The shelter had named her Rena Jean. She was not a Rena Jean. My ex named her Persphone (after the chick from The Matrix Reloaded, not the Greek mythological character) & that suited her. So we took Persephone home.

Persephone was a pain in the ass. She had straight up reactive attachment disorder. She would attack me every time I walked by, not in a playful-kitten-hunting-game way, but in a pissy-mean-girls-in-junior-high way. She’d swipe at my ankles with her claws out, and when I’d admonish her, she’d act offended that I’d even noticed her bitchy behaviour. Ten minutes later, she’d leap up & try to steal food off your plate. Later, she’d snuggle on your lap & purr like a proper Himalayan.

It took a while to gently & lovingly break her of the reactive behaviours. I didn’t blame her, because she’d been rehomed so suddenly after months of shelter time. She gradually mellowed after I applied simple behavioural techniques (never reinforce behaviour you wish to cease) & became comfy & happy in the home my ex & I shared together. 

No regard for furniture’s true form.

She was not entirely happy, though. We steadily became a less happy house, & Martin & Baby Neil Cat, both male tuxedos, excluded her from cuddles either due to racism or sexism; I was never able to decide which. No matter, as Persephone was decidedly human-focused, & the acceptance of the other cats was not terribly important to her.

We also took in a very violent stray who made things very difficult for my chill & cheerful cats. Thankfully our neighbours fell in love with him & took him.

We also had foster kittens for a while. As they were unvaccinated strays, they had to be kept in a separate room away from my grown up cats, but Persephone would sit outside the kitten room & longingly yowl for them. If one ever escaped, she’d run after them & try to scruff them. I’m pretty sure she had a litter or two before she ended up at the shelter. She loved babies.

When I moved to Los Angeles, Neil had never been in the kitty stroller before. Persephone was a fan because my ex & I would take her out in it & she got to meet new people who would inevitably fall in love with her. 

  
Neil was placed in it right before I pulled the truck out of the driveway for the first time. He then proceeded to freak out, scream, piss himself, & yowl for 2 hours straight. 

Neil yowled going up the mountain. He yowled at the California agriculture inspection station. He yowled down the mountain into Sacramento.
A short while after Sacramento, Persephone had had it with Neil’s yowling. She went over to him (the carrier is big enough for 3 cats), sat on him, & began vigorously washing his face.

Neil calmed down. Persephone continued to sit on & wash Neil the next four hours of my drive (yes, I booked. And didn’t stop).

  
When we got to LA, the cat stroller was the first thing to come out. I had talked with my new room mate & set up all their amenities in my bathroom. I set out the litter box in the toilet alcove, the food & water in an area near the tub, & wheeled the stroller in once all was ready. I opened the carrier, left, & closed the door. Those of you with cats know you have to rehome them carefully, smallest room to bigger at a time, to avoid nerves & messes. Then my roommate & my friends Scott & Kim helped me move in my crap.

I didn’t open the bathroom door again until everyone was gone & it was time for bed. Neil had managed to get under the sink; Persephone was keen to join me, but not to explore yet.

My roommate & I left the house for a while the next day (I think to get our hurr did) & I came back to this:

Hint: they are lumps.


So it took a while for them to feel free to explore their new digs, but Persephone was the first to claim damn near everything, including the lap of her new roommate.

The rest of this is mostly going to be photos, because that is why the Internet was created. Cat photos.

 

Meeting a baby dragon for the first time.

  

I’m in a basket!

  

Happy kitty face.

  

The one time Neil wasn’t selfish & actually washed Persephone back.

  

Kisses!

  

Pretty little Monkey Duck Otter Sheep.

  

Pretty kitties.

  

She wasn’t shy about cuddling.

  

She wasn’t shy about anything.

  

Snuggle buddies.


She died of lymphoma at the age of 19 on April 29, 2015. I was with her at the vet when it happened. We tried to keep her alive with cortisol shots for a bit to support her breathing, but she just stopped doing things. Every breath seemed like a battle. Neil stared at her 24/7. She was way down a K hole when she went, so I finally got to hug her one last time.

My boyfriend liked to say “She’s a good cat.” I would always correct him, “She’s a terribly behaved cat. But she’s a good girl.” And she was. She wanted to meet everyone (except dogs, as I found out at St. Francis’ Day at church) & she wanted to get into everything. If I was not doing something to her exacting standards, she’d let me know with a series of pissy bleats. She liked ice in her water, the exact opposite litter as Neil, & if her bowl was down below the half way mark, she’d place her paw on my mouth to wake me. If I did not get up & had the audacity to close my eyes again, she’d punch me in the face.

She never once in her life retracted her claws. 

One night when my boyfriend visited, she spent the night patting him on the forehead randomly. He reinforced this behaviour by buying her a dress.
 

That she genuinely enjoyed wearing.


She would pick fights with Neil & be incensed when he defended himself. Typical girl. Always walked slowly, deliberately, looking you in the eye. She was cross eyed.

She legit watched the Kitten Bowl.

She inserted herself into everything and made messes.

  She was wonderful.

Someone wrote her name on the prayer list at Saint Thomas of Hollywood. It was not me; I wrote down three humans on that same day, but not my cat. Whomever did that, I’m pretty sure St. Francis clapped. Also I love you.

Musings On An Incomplete Data Set

For the past 3 nights, including this one, my upstairs neighbours have been conveying, I must imagine in all Christian charity, a herd of endangered invisible metal rhinoceroses from the alley outside my bedroom window, up the stair adjacent to my bedroom, to the room directly above my bed.

They are invisible because when I look out the window to yell something appropriately Christian & charitable, informing them for their own sake (of course) that it is past the time that the noise ordinance has gone into effect, there is nothing there. The angle of my bedroom window is not broad, so the sound occurs (& keeps occurring, for hours, starting at 10:30PM each night) out of my sight, & by the time they have herded this great invisible steel African ungulate up the stairs, I see nothing. To their credit, I am a little disabled & I can’t get out of bed very fast. But surely I would have seen something by now.

So I have formulated a theory as to what’s happening & why, as I am a Christian & cannot imagine that my neighbours are being jerks on purpose:

1a. My neighbours are from a time zone 12 hours ahead (or behind) PST, & believe themselves to be within the parameters of the noise ordinance or

1b. The herding of invisible endangered metal rhinos must be done under cover of darkness because

  • They are a clandestine government asset
  • The mob, somehow
  • Endangered metal rhinos are sensitive to sunlight

2. This activity needs to take place over the course of days, because they can only fit 3 invisible metal rhinos into their invisible truck at a time. So far, they have unloaded 9 rhinos. If this is a herd of a hundred, I may die of lack of sleep. But the rhinos must survive!

3. Obviously my upstairs neighbour’s room contains a quantum singularity through which endangered invisible metal rhinos can be conveyed to their protected new refuge on the moon.

4. The gravity of this work is so taxing that my neighbours must laugh & shout upon the stairwell to keep up their spirits. To deny them this would be unChristian & plunge the world into darkness.

I imagine the rhinos look like this, if you can see them with your very special Science Apparatus:

 

Very Important Endangered Metal Rhinoceros. From the moon.


It is my sincere wish that the rhinos make it safely to the moon in time & it is at that point I will finally sleep. It is my patriotic duty to Earth to allow this activity to continue unremarked by me to the invisible transporters, all of whom look like Jason Statham, but invisible, except the one who sounds like a rather lively lady.  

Update: My neighbours are pushing furniture out their window or balcony on to the alley below. I can’t tell which floor, but it’s at least one story up. After a particularly earth shattering boom, I looked out the window to see a guy gathering up pieces of shattered cabinet door into a sheet.

They have been doing this since Sunday night. Every. Night. Since. Sunday. Including my cat’s last night where she spent the entire time wheezing, hyperventilating, & coughing before she died.

I am trying to love my neighbour but it is hard.

Today’s Work Out Music

I’m doing a new thing that is way more motivating, to me, than a set work out. I put on music & then do whatever exhuberant activity comes to mind until I need to stop. Today was the recumbent bike & some bicycle crunches, plus push ups & ring pulls. Sometimes it will be dancing around or going for a fast walk.

The important part is that the music makes you push.

If you’d like to do today’s 27 minute work out after talking to your doctor & making sure it’s ok, play the following:

Hollow Moon (4:27)

Hey Ya (3:54)
Start Me Up (3:40) 

I was gonna stop here (hence the cool down), but I wanted to keep going. So, I turned it up and…
The Walker (3:50)

I should have played something slower to cool down, but at that point I wasn’t peddling & was doing strength training, so I figured it was ok. I am not a doctor & you should not listen to me.

I am very glad I had a trainer for a couple months to teach me proper form so I can bust out moves at home! I recommend it even if you can only afford a couple of sessions.

Yes, my novel is finished & is awaiting some edits. This is not me procrastinating. Also I’m sick of being fat. So shut up. I can’t be 

Make This; Feel Joy

  

This is a crappy picture of a delicious dinner. Let us waste no time getting you to a place of joy. Here’s how you make it:

Layer one cup of cooked lentils under one sliced green onion, a small handful of mint chiffonade, two ounces chèvre, and one chopped gluten free sausage. In this instance I used Aidell’s sundried tomato sausage.

Add salt & pepper to taste (I added nothing) & enjoy!

Here is the nutrition profile, as estimated by My Fitness Pal:

  

419 calories of joy. 

Best. Birthday. EVAR.

Yes, even better than the birthday a beloved TV star ordered pitchers (literal pitchers) of the best tequila, followed by a separate event in which I received countless gin & tonics & a lesbian lap dance (which was not so much a dance as my lap was a bounce house for a tiny butt).

The deciding factor was of course the presence of my boyfriend, who was able to drive down for the weekend. Plus also Jesus. I shall explain.

A theme was set Friday when a beloved client popped in with this: 

 

and if you know me, you know I love me some flowers. Especially roses. My camera phone cannot do them justice & my arrangement skills are for shit, but trust me, these are gorgeous.

Saturday was my actual birthday. I turned 41, if you must know, & I happened to note about a month before that my beautiful church, Saint Thomas of Hollywood, was having a Latin vigil mass the same day with none other than LASchola. They are a choral group that sings ancient church music with such sacred harmonies that you will cry. Shut up, you will. Anyhow, a number of my friends keep making noises about joining me for a church service, as it is pretty much the only thing I ever talk about, but few have followed through.

So I thought “What better way to spend my birthday than with Jesus & my boyfriend & my family & 200 of my closest LA friends?” Out went the Facebook invite. “Come! Reception to follow. Bring cash for the plate in lieu of gifts. Jesus gives infinite plus ones, so bring everyone!” but more articulate, sort of. 

The Los Angeles rule of invites is it’s ok to invite everyone because maybe ten people will respond & of those, 5 will show up. Well, not including church friends, I bagged exactly 7! And we partied hard, y’all. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The point is, 7 of my non-church friends, plus my mum, brother, sister & her boyfriend came to a Latin mass, the most massy of all masses, on a Saturday night, when they could have done virtually any other thing with their time. I am blessed & honoured.

We always have a reception in the parish hall when LA Schola sing, so we walked up in da club to a wine bar. I am abstaining for Lent, but my friend (acolyte, vestryperson, future bishop of Los Angeles if there’s any justice) explained to me canon law & how yes, absolutely I can & in fact ought to have some wine. She then handed me a giant bunch of flowers, as did my sister (left to right, respectively):  

 

so we took over a table & piled flowers & presents & were joined by my dear church friends & talked & laughed & ate cheese & delicious gluten free cupcakes for hours. My brother signed (in ASL) that he was happy, bear hugged Father, challenged us to a mild dance off where we had to wiggle our bums, & displayed his ominous psychokinetic powers when Father turned to the exact page in his birthday book that is my brother’s birthday.

I was achy, so we didn’t stagger around Hollywood after as suggested. We eventually made it home, watched Lost Highway (one of three David Lynch films gifted to me by my roommate, which she now probably regrets), & finally went to sleep.

I awoke Sunday morning very sore, but to glorious cuddles from the boyfriend & Persephone (Girl Cat) on his chest. We decided brunch at Hugo’s was in order, & he got me my favourites: gluten free eggs benedict & almond energy pancakes. (Celebrity sighting: Jackson Galaxy). We then drove up Mulholland Drive to Outpost to see a house we had fallen in love with online. Impressed by the secure, high walls (i.e. you can’t see shit from the street), we returned to the Valley in a circuitous route taking us past unique & beautiful homes. A set of octagonal pod apartments jutting over a canyon here, a house entirely covered in mosaic tile there. 

We came home, & my roommate consented to Blue Velvet, which again, you know, she probably regrets.

The boyfriend & I had dinner at our new favourite Chinese restaurant, watched The Walking Dead finale (highly satisfying), & said goodbye to each other as he was returning this morning.

I got to spend my birthday with many of the people I love, & it was fantastic.

Sage & Frankincense



Today we had a requiem mass at  my church for Chief James LaCroix, a long time parishioner. I don’t think I ever met Chief Jim, as his friends called him. I am familiar with his brother, Albert, a parishioner I see every time I’m there. I attended because I respect & like Albert a lot.

Albert, it seems, is our link to the homeless population of Hollywood. An ombudsman, if you will. I don’t entirely know his situation. I just know that he always says good morning & always has a joke ready & I’ve watched him jump up immediately & protect his fellow parishioners when disturbed persons have wandered onto church grounds. 

He’s a fricken bad ass. He & our sexton, Eddie, are fearless knights in shining armor. Albert’s armor just happens to be a black leather jacket.

You know when you’re stuck behind a broken down Budget Rent a Truck on Highland & are freaking out because you’re going to be late & not get a good seat at church where you can both see & hear? Well, maybe you’re familiar with the situation. Anyhow, that happened. And I am so glad it did.

Because I was stuck behind that broken down truck, during rush hour traffic in Hollywood of all places, I ended up getting there just before 7 & right as Albert was talking in the car park with his friends Mikey & Phillip. Bless you, broken down truck! Albert introduced me to his friends, friends of Jim, & I noticed he was holding a smudge stick. “You’re saging!” I said.

“Yes!” said Albert with a smile. “It’s a Native American thing, & I’m pretty native.”

I told him it was nice to see someone using it in context, as opposed to how it’s usually used in Los Angeles. Which is to expel the negative vibes of an argument with your agent.

Albert & I walked to the church & he told me the true use of sage, which in this context was to help Jim’s spirit go to the good afterworld “with Jesus”, & to send the bad spirits away, so they don’t keep him here on Earth. He told me he had saged the whole church already & had come out to prepare himself. I asked if he wanted to sage me, & he did. Properly prepared, I went in ahead of Albert, Mikey & Phillip so they could prepare.

The whole church did smell like sage, & not the usual frankincense/lemon scent. This did not change the sacred aura of St. Thomas at all, it just changed the flavour. Albert then came in with Mikey & Phillip & they saged the pascal candle.

I have never been to a requiem mass before, or a funeral. It was very peaceful & similar to the regular mass (even down to the whole thing coming to a screeching halt so Father could give me gluten free host). I found I knew what to do most of the time. The regular church incense mingled with the aroma of sage, & I felt very much as though the world was still for James.

The sermon was replaced by Father’s remembrances of Chief Jim & how he & Albert represented the homeless breakfast club at his dedication as the new rector of St. Thomas. Father also remarked that Los Angeles’ homeless population is double the entire population of his hometown in Wales. I think Father choked up a little bit during the Kontakion. It was a wonderful service, blending a little of James & Albert’s traditions with old school Anglican & Orthodox liturgy.

Afterward Christopher & I stood in the car park & talked about being nerds while it started to rain. It was a long day. It was a good day.

Let light perpetual shine upon Chief James LaCroix.