Monday, May 30, 2011

Mermaids as The New "It" Thing

Straight up, I'm having some mixed feeling about this.  There's a part of me that's extremely extremely excited about having so many mermaid events, movies, and books coming out in the next couple of years.  Then, there's the other part that makes me nervous that mermaids won't be portrayed in the way that so many of us love them.

Then there's the issue of the bandwagon jumpers.  I know there are so many folks who love mermaids the way I do.  But I get nervous that people will be into the trend not because they love mermaids, but because it's the trend.

Does that make sense?

But, let me backtrack.  Let me gush about all the exciting things that are happening in the mermaid world.  I'm going to do it in order of the things I'm LEAST excited about (so that I can get the snark out of the way) to the things I'm MOST excited about.

Stephanie Meyer, the author of Twilight, takes on mermaids
*groan* *eyes roll*

Really?  I'm sorry if you're a Twi-tard...but I absolutely disagree with this.  Here's an article about what she's been up to and planning: 

Apparently, she's been interested in writing a new novel about mermaids.  But I just can't help but feel she will screw with the mythology and just fuck it all up (pardon my language).

In my opinion, she ruined vampires and werewolves, especially considering that she had not ever read Bram Stoker's Dracula.  I'm not really going to be okay with her ruining mermaids.  I really am not.

Well, this is actually the only thing I'm not at all looking forward to.  So on to the more exciting things!

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
On the whole, I have enjoyed the Pirates movies, even though I think Orlando Bloom is a horrible actor and Keira Knightly is just too damn skinny but feel kind of ambivalent about her.  Johnny Depp, though, well...he's hilarious and just seems like a really down to earth person even though he picks the wackiest roles.

But when I saw the first previews for this 4th movie and spotted the mermaids, well, I was excited all over again!  Then I saw a preview of it in the theaters, and was honestly shocked to know that mermaids play such an important role in the movie!

Basically, the plot of this Pirates movie is that Jack and his comrades are looking for the Fountain of Youth, which can only be found using the help of, you guest it, mermaids!!

Well, once I realized how important they were to the plot of the movie, my desire to watch this in the theater went from 0 to 10.  I might just check it one on a random weekday.

Possible Live Action "The Little Mermaid"
Here's the article that I saw posted somewhere:

I would love to see a live action movie of Andersen's version of the story!  It's obviously the better version, though I also love the Disney movie(s...though the 2nd one entitled "Return to the Sea" kind of pissed me off a bit).  But to finally get a well made movie by a pretty decent director would be great!

Of course, it's up to us sirenophiles to be the ultimate judge of that movie.  But I do hope it comes through and more information will come out soon!

"Mermaid" by Carolyn Turgeon
If you clicked on the link about about movie, you would have also seen that there's another movie out in the works.

This book has been on the top of my Amazon wish list for a while, and you better believe that when my finances are more in order that I'll be ordering me a bunch of books!

The "twist on the classic tale" is absolutely fascinating!  I personally have always sided with the Little Mermaid's point of view.  Call me biased, but I just couldn't help but feel more connected to the mermaid.  So, I'd love to read another mermaid-lover's take on the other princess' point of view.

Carolyn also has an awesome blog which I've been trying to catch up on where she interviews different folks who are involved directly or indirectly with the mermaid world.

Ariel's Undersea Adventure in California Adventure
I've been looking forward to this for forEVER!  I had the pleasure of going to Disneyland and California Adventure twice last year, and I definitely plan on making it there again before the year is over!

On June 3rd, the ride will open to the public.  So, the next time I make it to California Adventure, I plan on hitting up Ariel's Grotto (finally...I just have never been able to make it in time), Ariel's Undersea Adventure, and resting up on King Triton's Carousel of the Sea.
Me on the dolphin back in January 2010
But here's a video of the ride from someone who got to ride the preview of it.  It's not as exciting as I would have liked necessarily, though I'm not really sure what I would have wanted from it.  I do think that there was a lot of potential if this ride was a water ride, though I suppose there are already a couple of water rides in California Adventure.  The animation of the characters is pretty amazing, actually!  I think that's the most amazing part of it.

The First Annual MerCon & World Mermaid Awards
I mean, really, how could I not be the MOST excited about this???  Even though there's no way in hell I'll be able to afford to go this year (and I need to lose a couple of lbs before I get myself a mermaid tail), it's so exciting to be keeping an eye on how this first event is transpiring.

The World Mermaid Awards and MerCon is meant to celebrate all the sirenophiles out there as well as those who help us all live in the fantasy.

Part of the event will feature a convention full of artists, vendors, mermaid camps, and mermaid tail makers.

Mermaid. Tail. Makers.

Oh, one day, I will have my own tail.

Oh! AND there's a Mermaid Pool Party featuring different professional mermaids!  People get to literally sit and swim around in their tails.  *gush*

I wish wish wish I could go to this.  It's almost as if the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island and the World Mermaid Awards bookend the summer.  And it's awesome.

So, like I said in the beginning, I have some mixed feelings about all this.

There's so much potential for all us mermaid lovers to get more from our community.  But I want *real* mermaid lovers (and I'm not going to define that...since I believe there are different levels of love), not posers who are getting into it because it's a trend and then move on to the next "It" thing.

But, I think the rest of us mermaids will be able to weed out those who are the real mermaids and those who are humans dressed as mermaids.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Sunshine

After what seemed to be an extremely dreary Spring, the sun has finally returned.  And so has the humidity.

I had a feeling that this was going to be the trend as this past winter was so long and so intense, summer is not one to be out shined.  But all of us here in the Northeast couldn't be happier.

Prior to the "unofficial start of summer" (a.k.a. Memorial Day Weekend),  I've already had the pleasure of riding topless in top-down cars (meaning the cars were topless...hahahaha!), sitting in the grass, and putting my face to the sun. 

This is the season that makes me love living in Boston.  All the free and upcoming events, all the trips to the beach, all the being outdoors.  It's fabulous.

taken with Camera360 app
I am extremely simply happy and content about this weather, and I hope it seeps into other aspects of my life.
taken with Retro Camera app

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Week of Advocacy

It turns out that I'm full of much more gumption than I thought I was.  In all this time, being unemployed can really make you feel at your lowest.

Apparently, according to different things people are hearing, employers aren't hiring those who aren't already working.  Which is a horrible way to go about business if you ask me.  It doesn't lessen the unemployment rates if the unemployed folks who are looking aren't getting hired.  In fact, it's ridiculous and counterproductive.

In turn, the fact that employers are following this trend makes me think that it would contribute to the lowering self-worth that us unemployed folks have felt.  "No one is hiring me, regardless of my skills because I'm not already part of the work force.  I must not be worth the chance."

Then, when an opportunity presents itself, one has to muster up whatever sort of positive energy they have to then project how amazing and awesome they actually are as a person and an employee.  But if you've been feeling so low for so long, this is easier said than done.

This past week, I've really had to do some quick turnaround in terms of my self-esteem.  Luckily, I've had a lot of people support me when I would tell them about what was going on in my job search.  Talking with some of them helped me remember that I had more options that I remembered.
This past week, I really had the opportunity to put my macro social work skills into action by negotiating the terms of my employment, something I wouldn't have ever thought I could do while unemployed.

So, when it came to accepting the full-time temporary position at the after school/summer program, I wanted to make sure to ask about a slight pay increase after the full training.  My supervisor sent the request to HR, which means that he would support it.

Considering my education level, I know I could be paid much more than I was getting.  Just his willingness to consider it, regardless of whether I get a raise at all, had made it worth my asking.

Then, I had another interview scheduled.  Just because I have an idea of what's going on for me this summer definitely doesn't mean that I should rest on my laurels too much.  So, as it was clear that the interview was going relatively well, I asked about what time frame they were looking at. 

I let both of my interviewers know that I had agreed to work full time for the summer, and "I'm the kind of person who feels that when I start something, I finish it."  Both were impressed by my loyalty, and were extremely open to the idea of having someone start later than they both projected.  Again, even if they don't end up hiring me, it feels good to know that I stood up for myself and my schedule.

Remember a couple of posts back, when I was having some anxiety about my work schedule at City Hall?  I had the chance to talk face to face with my employer and future co-workers.  After filling out the necessary paperwork, I then had a chance to speak with the woman who's been trying to hire me. 

I let her know that while we had agreed on the month of June, that because I hadn't really heard about any final details that I had to make some plans.  Thus, I have a couple of weekends when I wouldn't be able to work.  However, I'm more than willing to come in on evenings during the week.

After a bit of balking, I realized that while they were a bit worried about the space in their office, they didn't necessarily know where and when people were in different locations.  I'm still going to be working on the weekends and some evenings, however I am also going in on Tuesday morning.  But I let them know that there were just several days that I couldn't do it.  It's just how it is.

You can't possibly expect that I've been sitting around twiddling my thumbs and not making plans.  At one point, they said that they were workaholics.  I get that, I really do.  But that's not the road I want to go down, and if they want to hire me I need to set a precedence for how I plan to work.

I'll work hard and earn my keep.  But I'll be damned if I let this get in the way of my self-care, my happiness, and my goals.
So, as the weekend has arrived, I'm really happy to know that I have a group of people who have supported me through my continuing rough times.  And I'm extremely proud of myself for what I was able to advocate for.  That is, I advocated for me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Toesies of the Month - May 2011

I have to admit.  My toes for the month are pretty ghetto.

Don't get me wrong.  They're pretty.  But they're also kind of ghetto.

Of course, with the funds dwindling still, I decided it was high time that I did my own toes.  It isn't too bad, but of course I wanted to have something fun like the awesome designs that previous nail technicians have done.

But I don't have any of those skills.  So I had to get creative.

I remembered that I had a bunch of star stickers that I had bought randomly at Staples.  I thought, why the heck not?

Ready to see them?
Designed by yours truly, Brighton, MA
Color: Orly - Meet Me Under the Mistletoe
Occasion: Toes needed some lovin'
May 2011

*supah stah*
Well, the stars, being stickers, are relatively flat and my toe nails are not.  So, I had to to a little bit of pushing the little corners down.  Hopefully, they will survive my moving around throughout the day.

The color is a really pretty dark green with sparklies that I stumbled upon at CVS.  The bottle is tiny, and seemed to be the last of its kind.  It was like it was meant for me.

I have another job interview tomorrow (I know that I was super overwhelmed in my last post about jobs, but I figure it wouldn't hurt to continue interviewing), so I won't paint my fingers til Friday perhaps.  But I'm really liking this color.

Though, perhaps next time I will invest in little nail stickies.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Unemployment Woes Temporarily on Hiatus

Last week, I had two interviews.  They were at places that I knew I could excel at.  Then on Friday, I get an email from the after school where I've been subbing.

They offered me a summer job.  I don't think there are too many benefits, really.  But it would be full time.  It's a job.

I agonized over this all weekend.  There was definitely a part of me that hoped the Rapture would come not only for my own sick fascination, but just so I wouldn't have to make a decision.

I knew that the other jobs were still in the midst of their interviewing process, and it seemed like I had always been the first person they interviewed for the specific positions.  At this point, there's still a possibility of getting second interviews.

But I had to make a choice.  And really, this was the only choice offered to me thus far.  I had to take it.

I'm about to see if I can finagle getting a couple of cents or even a dollar more in terms of wage.  I also let my supervisor know that I have made some plans, but that the rest of my summer is fairly open.

I know that if something better were to come up, I could always let them know that my plans have changed.  But I honestly feel like that is bad form, and not necessarily helpful in terms of building a relationship for future references.

I just happen to be the kind of person who tries to finish what I start, even if it takes me the longest time to get to the finish.

So, while I still need money now and I'm still not going to stop interviewing, I feel a lot less stressed about what is happening in my life.

Lastly, I wanted to share a hilarious cover letter that was posted on the Huffington Post.  Clearly, I should have taken a tip from this guy for a guaranteed hire.
I can do a Rubik's Cube!
So, I've now also been asked to work at City Hall for the month of June.  But this means 20 hours in a so-busy-but-they-don't-really-have-room-in-the-office so I'll have to do some weekend hours with another person there who's trained.


I know I need the money, so I agreed to it.  But I'm literally having an anxiety attack right now.  I unfortunately haven't really been sitting around saving my weekends for this job.  In fact, I just agreed to do a Survivor Speaker Training at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center on the first weekend of June. Plus, I have my night job.  Plus, there's a wedding mid-month.

I mean, there HAS to be some flexibility, right?

This is a really good lesson for me.  Not only will I have to ask for a slightly higher pay from the summer program, but I will also have to ask for some flexibility from City Hall.

This will be a true test in self-care, I think.  I have to learn how to ask for what I'm worth.  I'm worth more pay and I'm worth some flexibility in terms of hours.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Talking Tunes: "Rapture" by Blondie

I'm not really sure how it initially came up, but back in high school my friends and I got to talking about the Revelations from the Bible.  It's quite possible that this conversation came up because our 10th grade Honors English teacher made the Bible our required reading.

I didn't go to a Catholic school or any other religious school.  I went to a college prep high school.  Our teacher spoke of the importance of knowing where other literary works got their inspirations from.

Yeah...that seemed like a bullshit reason to me as well.  Yet, I read the entire thing, though I can't say I remember all of it.

Anyways, my friends and I got to talking about Revelations and about the end of the world.  Most of us believe that it would not be happening in our lifetime, but that the end of the world would really be more of the end of the earth as a planet and not really as an ascension of righteous souls into heaven.

As I'm sure some of your know, there is an old Evangelical radio broadcaster by the name of Harold Camping who is predicting that the Rapture will take place on May 21, 2011.

That's today.

The interwebs are in a flurry about the Rapture.  In all honesty, Mr. Camping has done a great job with creating mass hysteria through various means, such as multiple billboards, campaigners taking to the streets, and even a Rapture Van.
Rapture Van vs. Batmobile...who do you think would win?
As the day closed in on us, I could feel the excitement in the air.  More and more people were making jokes about it, and even I found myself unable to contain my excitement.

Whenever I got the chance, I would excitedly say to my friends, "So, I am SUPER excited about the Rapture!"

I mean, let's say that hypothetically the Rapture happens.  People would be disappearing from their cars, from their homes.  Then the rest of us would have to endure some tribulations and some wrath and maybe even some Anti-Christ action.  But what would it really look like?

There's so many interpretations of it that I feel like any out-of-ordinary phenomena could be counted toward the Rapture.  Any severe weather phenomenon could be part of the Rapture if someone decides to say it is so.

There is something extremely fascinating about the fact that people want to believe what they want to believe even if there's hard scientific evidence for or against it.  For some people, it's just plain stubbornness.  For others, it's a way of life.

Yet, if it doesn't happen, there will be a lot of hangovers the next day.  But I do fear that there will also be a lot of sadder stories as well for the poor saps who want to believe so badly.

Honestly, it's exciting to be part of these times when people are predicting the end.  It's fun to speculate, and it'll be fascinating when we're all proven wrong.

"How can I possibly be excited about this?" you might ask.  Well, back in high school when my friends and I were first discussing the Revelations, I realized that I thought it would be kind of neat to live through the end of the world.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm sure it would be utterly horrifying, whether it be through religious means or if it was just the Earth imploding on itself.  But for that split second before all consciousness is gone, you're conscious of your own humanity, of the life you've lived and the people you've loved.  You are conscious of your being and of your environment, perhaps more than you've ever been in your entire life, and it's really a precious thing.

Now, I would clearly be remiss if I didn't talk about Blodie's "Rapture."  First of all, it's an amazing song that I plan on blasting throughout the day.

Secondly, her rap just cracks me up!!!  I'm sure it was all ground-breaking back then, but it is still difficult for me to believe that the "rap" part in the song was taken seriously.

So, enjoy this awesome music video of Blondie's "Rapture," try to sing along, and laugh at the silliness of the rap and the Rapture.

See you all on the other side (or Sunday)!

"Rapture" by Blondie
Toe to toe, dancing very close
Body breathing, almost comatose
Wall to wall, people hypnotized
And they're stepping lightly
Hang each night in rapture

Back to back, sacroiliac
Spineless movement and a wild attack
Face to face, sightless solitude
And it's finger-popping
Twenty-four hour shopping in rapture

Fab Five Freddy told me everybody's fly
DJ's spinning, I said "my, my"
Flash is fast, flash is cool
François, c'est pas flashé non due
And you don't stop, sure shot
Go out to the parking lot
And you get in your car and drive real far
And you drive all night and then you see a light
And it comes right down and it lands on the ground
And out comes the man from Mars
And you try to run, but he's got a gun
And he shoots you dead and he eats your head
And then you're in the man from Mars
You go out at night eating cars
You eat Cadillacs, Lincolns, too
Mercurys, and Subaru
And you don't stop
You keep on eating cars
Then when there's no more cars
You go out at night
And eat up bars where the people meet
Face to face
Dance cheek to cheek
One to one
Man to man
Dance toe to toe
Don't move too slow
'Cause the man from Mars is through with cars
He's eating bars
Yeah, wall to wall
Door to door
Hall to hall
He's gonna eat 'em all
Be pure
Take a tour through the sewer
Don't strain your brain
Paint a train
You'll be singing in the rain
Said don't stop, do the punk rock

Well, now you see what you want to be
Just have your party on TV
'Cause the man from Mars won't eat up bars where the TV's on
Now he's gone back up to space
Where he won't have a hassle with the human race
And you hip hop
And you don't stop
Just blast off
Sure shot
Because the man from Mars stopped eating cars
And eating bars
And now he only eats guitars
Get up

Friday, May 20, 2011

First Impressions

Since I've been doing all these interviews lately, I've thought a lot about first impressions.

What must people think of me as I walk in?  I've heard all kinds of things about how to dress, and I make sure to pack my pumps with me so that I'll look taller.

But then I get to introduce myself and talk about myself as a potential candidate.  At some point, when I become a bit more comfortable, my California comes out.

What does that mean, you say?

I think it means that I turn my friendliness level up.  I know that I still maintain my professionalism, but I'll make a quick joke or throw a little sarcasm in there following the lead of the interviewer.  I don't know if it's not okay to do that....but it's me.  It's who I am.

Then there are other times, when I feel like I come off really loud and obnoxious.  Usually, it's at a party, where everyone's somewhat loud and obnoxious.  But for some reason, I get very conscious of how I come off.

I have quite an eclectic group of friends.  Some are artists, dancers, musicians.  Others are engineers, scientists, scholars.  Obviously, there's a bit of crossover between the two types of brains.  But then their friends sometimes get a chance to interact with me in our social gatherings.
gorgeous Mercedes-Benz ad
Sometimes, I feel like I must weird people out.  Sometimes, I can be quite outspoken and honest.  Sometimes, I wonder if it makes people feel uncomfortable that I will sometimes blurt things out.

Let's say, I suddenly start talking about my "night job," which is much more for adults.  Some people get extremely interested, and some people don't make eye contact with me for the rest of the night.

At an old-school hip hop party my friends hosted last week, I was totally in-character and proceeded to greet people in a somewhat flamboyant way.  I don't know if that weirds people out.'s me.  I was having fun.

Being a somewhat stubborn...okay...very stubborn person, I sometimes want to find a way to break through to new people who might be weirded out by me at first.  Like, maybe if they just talk to me more, they'll see that I'm pretty awesome.

I don't know why it matters.

I know I'm friendly, I know I can be a bit outspoken, and I know that the people who know me and love me are really the ones who matter most.

These are just some random thoughts that have flitted through my brain waves.  That's all.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Clouds Decending

There has been this consistent rain and gloomy feeling this month of May.  From the intense flooding down in Mississippi all the way up to the persistent cloudiness here in Boston, it has been a constant...and it's affecting everyone.

Fog covering the clock tower in Downtown Boston

I almost don't know what the sky looks like anymore.  As someone who tries to stay positive, even through all these difficult times, the weather has not really helped in getting out of the depression.

There's a part of me that wants to say, "Well, it is what it is.  We can't do anything about it.  We'll appreciate the sunshine so much more."

Then there's the other part of me that wants to sink into a little funk, hide under my covers, and nap all day.

I am craving some warmth, and unfortunately it is too cold and raw outside.

But, it's not going to stop me from wearing bright colors and combating the cold that way.  I'm definitely not going to stop turning up the music as I travel through the city.

Obviously, Pink Martini's "Hang On Little Tomato" is high on my playlist.

But I've recently rediscovered this inspiring song by Carole King.

What's on your positive playlist?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Getting Lost

Rock bottom is pretty sharp and painful.  As my bank accounts slowly reach dangerously low levels, my anxiety is getting higher.

Now, I'm nervous that it's starting to affect my job search endeavors.

Last Monday, I had an interview in a suburb of Boston, one that I would need a car to get to.  I ended up asking a friend first if he could just drive me, but he offered that I take the car myself.  Naturally, since I couldn't afford a Zipcar at the moment, I took the opportunity.

I put in $20 worth of gas the night before since the level was quite low.  In the morning, as I was working out, I saw that a tow truck pulled up on the block where I parked the car.  Just as I sprinted down the hill, I managed to get a $40 ticket.  At that point, I might as well have gotten a Zipcar.

Later that morning, I was ready to go to the job interview.  I plugged in my GPS and went on my merry way.  Unfortunately, when I got there, I found myself in front of a residence.  This didn't seem right.

I tried calling the women who was interviewing me, but she wouldn't pick up.  I realized I was in a neighboring town, so I checked my email and the woman said it was by "Cochichuit" street.  My GoogleMaps couldn't find that street.  After Googling it instead, I found it.  It was "Cochituate Rd."

As I proceeded in that direction, I was already fairly late.  I had left several messages, and the woman still had not picked up or called back.

I circled in a mall area, in another business' parking lot, and almost got back on the highway before finally finding the building.  As I pulled into the lot, the woman finally called me and wondered where I was.  I told her that I had tried calling and left multiple messages, but that I had gotten lost.
Not as dire...but just as disappointing...
and still keeping hope alive...
At this point, I was already 25 minutes late.  But I told her that I'd still like to go through the interview.

Goodness, if I was the person trying to hire someone, there's no way that I would hire the late person unless they were extremely amazing.  I felt like a hot mess.

Suffice it to say, I did not get the job.  Part of me is irritated since I had asked for directions from her and didn't get them until I was on the road.  Though, it really worked out for the best since I would have to make it to the office every day and go further west into Central Massachusetts to do some of my work.

Honestly, I feel like it just proved to me to stick within areas that I could easily reach via public transportation or even bicycling.

But it really made me think about all the jobs I've applied to.  Some I knew I was qualified for, some I knew I was over qualified for, some were definitely a reach.  But some were a reach because I knew it would be difficult for me to get there.

Still, I had to apply.  I definitely haven't been able to do 15 jobs a week since the first time.  But I'm still pushing through.  Hopefully, there will not be anymore getting lost.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Oh, Ya...I'm 29!

I am so super excited to be 29!!!

It means that my Saturn's Return is almost over, and newer and better things start to happen.  Though, I'd have to say it's still been pretty rough on me.

But I hear time and time again that turning 30 is pretty amazing.  This isn't to say that things still aren't difficult or challenging.  Apparently, however, it seems like one's attitudes about a lot of things just start to change.

Many of my peers are setting up their list of things to do before they turn 30, like traveling somewhere or building something or doing something crazy.

I have only 1 goal in mind.

I want to reach my Goal Weight of 145lbs.

Why 145lbs?  According to the CDC's BMI charts, that is the weight that would put me in the "normal" weight range based on my height.  It's right at the edge of being "normal" and "overweight".

Right now, as you'll see on my "Shedding Scales" page, I'm in the "obese" category, which both frustrates and scares me.

I feel like I've come a long away in the way my body looks, having built some more muscle.  And yet, the scale isn't budging too far.
Mermaid Parade's through the years...
But now, I'm determined.  I'm making some headway by really cutting down on my meal sizes and committing to bootcamp this month.

I've got a bit more than 60lbs left and less than a year.  I KNOW I can do this.

60lbs to 30!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Simple Pleasures Sunday - Innocence

So, I'm still a bit traumatized from watching Yoni and Mencken play with the dead mouse.

I'd have to say that there was this beautiful innocence about them prior to the mouse debacle.  They were my babies.  My vicious babies.

It's been difficult for me to want to pick them up.  There's a part of me that wants to bathe them, though I'm sure they've cleaned themselves thoroughly by now.  Of course, I haven't actually stopped touching them.

I just happen to get flashes of the burned images of them playing with the dead mouse as I'm looking at them.

I know it sounds like I'm overreacting.  But it was definitely a stomach-turning sort of experience.

There's something to be said about "ignorance is bliss."  I'm sure I'll get over it eventually. 

They're still my babies.   They're just not as innocent as they were when it was just a jingly ball.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Nature In My Living Room: Kittehs Catch Their First Mouse

I'm about to recall the gruesome death of this poor mouse and then some.  Read at your own risk.

Consider yourself warned.


At 1 in the morning, I hear Yoni growling and making a noise I had never heard before.  I looked into the hallway to see Mencken in our bedroom doorway and Yoni with her dilated glowing eyes.  It looked like she was heaving.

Out of concern, I thought that perhaps she had vomited or something.  As I proceeded to turn all the lights on, she runs into the living room.  I don't see any vomit anywhere, so I figured she is probably about to puke.

Then I realized she had something in her mouth.  At first, it looked like a leaf.  But then I realized that she had a MOUSE!!!

I immediately work up the boyfriend.  He wanted to make sure that we give a lot of praise to the kitties for catching it.  But Yoni wasn't done with it yet.  In fact, it was still quite alive, if moving slower.

She would growl when Mencken would get close to her, and yet she would drop it and push it about.

This went on for the rest of the night.

At one point, the mouse got away.  I thought I saw it scurry under our front door, but Mencken knew better.  After a bit of digging in our shoe area, he recovered the injured mouse and brought it straight to Yoni.  He, having always been an indoor cat, had never done anything like this and wasn't sure what to do with it.

At another point, they make their way into the bedroom.  It was almost 3 in the morning at this point, and I had to wake up in an hour and a half to get ready for bootcamp.  But I couldn't NOT pay attention to Yoni's growls.  She ended up under the bed at some point.  I was NOT going to be okay with a mouse carcass under our bed!

Here's why:
About 2 years ago, before our kitties were even in this world, we had quite a problem with mice.  They were attacking anything they could, regardless of being sealed in a plastic bag.  I could hear them in our walls, and scurrying about in the middle of the night.  It was horrifying. 

We started putting out traps and putting everything in our fridge.  We cleaned and we even put out some traps with poison in them.

One random Summer day, I noticed these HUGE flies flying around our living room window.  They were HUGE, I tell you.  Huge and slow.  Thus, they were relatively easy to kill.  However, they just kept showing up.  At first, I would see them flying over to the opposite wall, but they were mainly in the window.

I closed our windows and asked our Super to come look.  He couldn't figure it out either, and he hadn't gotten any other complaints from other tenants.

I noticed that the flies had these weird white lines on their thorax.  Naturally, I Googled it.  What I discovered was horrifying.  They were called "flesh flies."  Go ahead, go to the Wikipedia page and learn about them.  I'll wait....

Gross, right??!?!?

Since they were mainly in our window, I figured something must have died right outside it though we couldn't smell anything.

We must have killed over 20 of them.  Yes, I was counting.  It just made it more disgusting.

About a month later, I was cleaning around a pile of clothes and pillows that we were planning to dispose of.  As I lifted a pillow, I spotted a dead mouse!!! It must have been crushed underneath the clothes and pillows.

Suddenly, the stench of dead mouse and the memory of the flesh flies came flooding back.  It was horrifying, and the smell was not going away.

At that point, the boyfriend was picked up by a friend to take him to a birthday lunch.  And I was left with the smell.  I ended up leaving the house with the windows open (though I remember it was a torrential-rainy day), and went to the movie theater.

So, you can see why I was not about to let the cats just leave a dead mouse somewhere for us to find it later.

And I sure as hell wasn't going to take a live mouse and dispose of it myself!  I had already done that a couple of years before the dead mouse/flesh fly episode, when I was living with 2 roommates.

The mouse was stuck on a glue trap, and the most humane way I could think of disposing of it was to kill it quickly.  So, we took it on the glue trap outside in a plastic bag and grabbed a shovel.  My two roommates couldn't do it.  And since I insisted on the quick death, I had to do it.  It took a lot of thinking and yelling, and I'm sure the neighbors were about to call 911 on us.

I was so traumatized by that that I had to talk about it with my work supervisor.  And you better believe that I was re-traumatized by the flesh flies and shared that with my work supervisor as well.

But let me get back to today.
Eventually, the growling stopped and we heard Yoni munching on her cat food.  We assumed that Mencken ate it.

I went to bootcamp and returned to a knocked out boyfriend and kittehs.

But as I was getting ready for a phone interview and the boyfriend was getting ready to leave for school, I spotted the mouse again!  It was barely moving, so I pointed Yoni in its direction.

She took it under or kitchen counter table, and when she reemerged the mouse's body looked truly lifeless.  That's when Yoni started playing with it.  She would toss it in the air and push it about on the floor.
Mencken gets a hold of the mouse
Eventually, Mencken got a hold of it, probably thinking about how fun it looked.  But when he tossed it in the air, it would really catch air.  I was shrieking in my corner behind a blanket, scared that it would get launched in my direction.

But I had to do something.  I couldn't be shrieking during my phone interview!  After asking friends on Facebook, I came up with a plan.

We have way too many tongs, so I grabbed the crappiest one with a stray sock that ended up in our laundry (but wasn't either of ours) and a plastic bag.  After throwing away the bag complete with sock and mouse in our basement, I Wet-Swiffered the hell out of our floors.

I'll be honest.  I think pet mice and pet rats are cute.  They're a lot cleaner, though they still pee and poo everywhere.  But when it's a strange creature invading your home, it becomes a different story.

There was something both frightening and intriguing about the kittehs doing what nature intended them to do.  I couldn't take my eyes away for fear that I would lose track of the mouse, and yet I can't even eat without getting a bit nauseous.

There's a part of me that wants to bathe the kittehs clean, but I know that they do that on their own.  So, I'll just keep washing my own hands throughout the day.  I also made sure to praise them and give them some treats for their good-job-done.  Perhaps we'll feed them some tuna tonight.

If only David Attenborough was narrating, though I don't think that even his calming voice will prevent me from being traumatized from this for a while.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Travels: (Flying Away From) The Dock Of the Bay

Saturday, April 23rd (The Night)
After my sister's show at the Pilipino Cultural Night at SF State, we were all starving!  I don't know what these Filipinos were thinking when they put together this 4-hour non-sequitur, especially considering that many in the audience were family members.  But my sister was awesome in the cultural dances.

We ended the evening at a greasy Thai restaurant near my sister's place called King of Thai Noodle.  It was kind of perfect for my exhausted sister and parents.

It was the first time in a long time that we as a complete family had dinner together.
This was my final night of sleep in San Francisco, and it felt nice to have spent it with my family.

Sunday, April 24th
I woke up a bit saddened by my final day, but excited to still be in the California warmth.  My parents and brother were driving back down to Southern California later that afternoon, so they wanted to have breakfast together.

We ended up at the Millbrae Pancake House, which has been in the area for over 50 years.  My dad, who is ever the joker, told our waitress that we had driving up from L.A. just to visit the restaurant.  The woman was totally taken aback and was honestly flattered that we had done so.  I didn't have the heart to tell her he was joking.

Being that it was Easter Sunday, there were a lot of families coming for breakfast in their Sunday best.  And then, there was this family.
I really have no words, actually...
After breakfast, we said goodbye to my sister and her boyfriend, and we went back into San Francisco to get pastries to bring back with us on our travels.  I didn't get any cake on my birthday, I realized.  So, I asked if we could get ube cake for me to take back to Boston.

My parents dropped me off at my sister's apartment, and we said our final farewells before they took the long drive back south.  It does make me sad that I don't get to see them as often as I'd like to.

I'm hoping to be able to visit Los Angeles and California again in July.

I had two more folks to see before I left, though.

I was excited to see a belly dancer friend of mine and her two adorable boys.  I met up with them in the Castro area, and we chatted about the dance teachers in San Francisco.  I ended up back at their beautiful home and then at another park to watch the little ones participate in some Easter Egg Hunting action.

I was really looking forward to hanging out with this friend and her family mainly because of all the hilarious things her kids say and do that she posts on Facebook.  Usually, at least with parents who are a bit more obnoxious, I can't really handle the saccharine.  But her two boys are just hilarious and she not an obnoxious parent.

It also made me think a lot about how neat it must be to raise your kids in such a free-flowing neighborhood.  While I'm sure the Castro is full of unfriendly people, I feel like it really instills young children with the idea of acceptance and open-mindedness.  I mean, granted some of the Castro events are a bit less child-friendly, but they're mainly behind closed doors.

After the Easter Egg Hunt, it was time for me to do my final preparations before flying back.  After a quick shower, I packed my belongings and called my sister to say goodbye and thank you.

As I had started my whirlwind of catch-up with friends with someone I knew from Boston, I also ended my catch-up with another dear friend from Boston.  It was perfect, really, since she needed to go to the airport to pick up a friend around the same time that I needed to be at the airport.

She took me to Emmy's Spaghetti Shack, in the Bernal Heights area.  It's a really cute little hole in the wall, and you wouldn't even realize what it was if you just casually passed by it.  My friend recommended the spaghetti with meatballs, since it would help me to get sleepy on my red-eye flight.  The "big meatballs" are no joke.  They're BIG!  The meal and drinks were delicious.

My friend and I were interns in the same place, and she's been one of the few people from San Francisco who I've seen the most.  She's such a super positive and bright and funny person, and it felt good to talk with her about all the troubles I've had in finding a job.  But I left feeling more encouraged.


As I walked through the San Francisco International Airport (Terminal 2) to my gate, I started feeling anxious again.  It was like I was leaving home again, and yet I was excited to go back to the boyfriend and the kittehs.

I really consider myself extremely lucky to have a home base on both sides of the country.  Though it's been a difficult year, I love my life and the people in it in Boston.  But if it came down to it, and it felt like the right time to move I would definitely consider making a move to San Francisco, even for a little while.  Not because it's any lovelier than Boston or Los Angeles (though there is the California sun to consider).  But because I know that I have so many people who I love in that City by the Bay.

Yet, when I landed in Boston, hopping on the Blue Line to the Green Line back home, I'm found myself so happy to be home.

Oh, and my ube cake made it safe and sound through security and a 5 and a half hour flight right into my fridge and my extremely happy belly.

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