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Wednesday, February 1, 2006


yes, needlessly dramatic introduction. ;) but also, how i'm feeling tonight. big sighs, and much sadness. happy about many things, frustrated by some, and overall, just... sad.

see, it seems as if many of the life concepts i've embraced in the past fit, for me, in an overly comfortable way. they sounded good, jibed with my personal belief set, and fit into my own framework. but i've had the luxury of picking and choosing at my own discretion. heaven? sounds good! reincarnation, karma, a second chance? all makes sense. an existence for our souls after our bodies are gone? of course! why would you think otherwise? i'm being insanely flip, but also serious. i've lost people i love, and i do think that they're still around, on some level other than just in our memories.

then, along comes the current job at the biogenetics gig. and i have things shoveled in my face (not literally), pushing me to deal with HUGE questions on a timetable not of my choosing. going to work lately means thinking about: why are we here? what does it mean to have a life goal? how do we live with the choices we make? how do others live with those choices? what do we leave behind for others? can we leave with grace, and know that those answering questions for us won't be uncomfortable, confused, mystified? how can we, as individuals, look at those choices from both sides? what can we do when thinking about our legacy - and legacy means memories, experiences, estate taxes, coroners, funeral homes, and many people asking uncomfortable questions. where do we go when we die?** how do we explain that to others? if death comes to us in a randomly seeming way, is it random? and how do we figure out the Big Ideas that Make Sense, ideas that we can lean on when we're in doubt?

don't get me wrong. i like the job, and the people, and the purpose. i think it's a Good Thing to be there, helping them help others. and i don't think the questions are unusual; we all come to them, in one form or another, in our own time. it's just... that mostly, we have the opportunity to face existential life crises or Big Questions on our own timetable.

i thought i knew what i believed. then, when faced with the messy, nasty reality of death (many deaths), and the concommitant idea of organ donation (and what is an organ? does it hold some part of us? the Egyptians thought so.), i tried to lean on my belief system,. reached out a hand behind, sought the firm backbone... and fell flat on my damn ass, because there was nothing there to hold me up. *splat*

i suppose i feel better knowing my mom is dealing with the same ideas (for different reasons), and still hasn't gotten it down, that we are all questioners. mostly, i'd like to have an answer for myself before i need it, or be okay with not having an answer.

it's also been interesting to move on to another stage of grief. (not that i'm counting, but i think this is #3.) at first, i tried to disassociate, and see these people as statistics, because i was hired to work with numbers, but that didn't last long at all, because i can't boil anyone down to just a series of digits. then, i was very, very sad. reading the cause of death, and knowing who signed off on the consent forms (spouse, mom, dad, child...) brought each of these people into high relief. now, i'm really fucking pissed off. i've gone into the next level of research, and am reading all the hospital records (minus names! minus names! if you are thinking of being an organ donor, please know we only get generic information, no names! and your contribution will do a world of good.). god. fucking. damn. it. i'm incredibly angry, beyond angry, incandescent.

those who made their own choices as adults, who picked their own path, who drank/drugged/risked themselves into oblivion, i have compassion for. but that, at least, was a result of choices they made.

the children... oh, god, the children. the one that makes me angriest is the one who was hit by a pickup while crossing the street with his mother. the impact threw the kid 15 feet down the road, and then. the. driver. ran. over. the. child. again. if you hit something, anything, you STOMP ON THE BRAKES! and unless you're doing 80 mph on ice and your steering wheel is broken? you should be able to brake/swerve/avoid. step on the goddamn brakes! do not ... do not. do. not. and now i'm back to the sad. do not hit this child in front of the parent. do not continue to drive, and run over the child. do not make this parent have to face the unimaginable. no parent should ever have to bury their child. how my grandparents did it, i will never know; they had to bury my aunt.

i hope never to get beyond the last stage of grief. hard as it may be, i hope to always be able to feel compassion for those i'm reading about. i hope i can always hold these people, their stories, in my hands, and respect them, and love them.

and, selfishly, i hope i can find the lesson i need to take from this experience. there is a reason i've been gifted with this chance. there is something to learn here, and i hope i can be open to that chance.

** MedSm and i were talking about heaven last week. for some reason, he wanted to know what Purgatory was, and where it existed.

me: well. y'know how Santa makes a list of naughty or nice? G-d sort of does the same thing.
he: ... 'kay.
me: and if G-d can't decide which side you fit on, he might send you to Purgatory. and you have a chance to earn brownie points, and end up in Heaven or Hell. [okay, it wasn't a great analogy, but it was the best i could think of off the top of my head.]
he: oh...kayyyyyyy.
me: if you have questions, lemmee know.
he: well, where is it?
me: Purgatory?
he: yeah! heaven is up there, hell is down there [complete with animated gestures], so where is purgatory?
me: in the middle...?... [desperately searching brain cells for any physical references as to location...]
he: but we're here! and heaven is up there, and hell is down there, so where can purgatory be?

godess love him for his immensely literal understanding of alternate planes. and who knows? mayhaps he's right, and Purgatory is here.

:: scribbled at 12:46 AM ... ... o

Monday, January 30, 2006

sometimes, a song just hits you.

lately, i've really been digging on KT Tunstall's Black Horse and a Cherry Tree. another one that gets me is Mushaboom, by Leslie Feist.

Helping the kids out of their coats
But wait the babies haven't been born
Unpacking the bags and setting up
And planting lilacs and buttercups

But in the meantime I've got it hard
Second floor living without a yard
It may be years until the day
My dreams will match up with my pay

Old dirt road
Knee deep snow
Watching the fire as we grow old

I got a man to stick it out
And make a home from a rented house
And we'll collect the moments one by one
I guess that's how the future's done

Oh, and how many acres how much light
Tucked in the woods and out of sight
Talk to the neighbours and tip my cap
On a little road barely on the map

Old dirt road
Knee deep snow
Watching the fire as we grow old
Old dirt road
Rambling rose
Watching the fire as we grow well I'm sold

the second and third verse, esp., resonate with me.

so, i started writing all this earlier tonight, between chores and loads of laundry. since then, i've really wanted to write a whole 'nother entry, but thought i'd leave that at the start, because life is never really as nice and neat as the blocks of writing we carve out to present, is it?

hazel jumping bean died some time today. she was fine last night, for sure. i'm fairly certain she was okay this morning, but truthfully, i only did the most cursory of visual checks. i do check all the animals before i leave, and when i come back. and i think little pogo girl was okay this morning. but tonight, when i was doing bed check, i couldn't find her. my first thought was that she'd escaped. but then i found her, stretched out in the nesting spot in the purple loop. she looked even tinier and more fragile than before. i scooped her out, held her, and bawled like a little kid.

it's not clear what happened. there aren't any marks, really, so i don't think she was hurt. she seemed healthy as could be yesterday, but when you weigh a fraction of an ounce, i don't suppose it takes much. maybe the others just pigpiled on top of her, the way they all smush in together to snuggle and sleep? if so, maybe she was just way too tiny to bring home.

it makes me incredibly sad to think that little hazel jumping bean might have been hurt or scared, and that she's gone. we'll have a proper funeral for her, as soon as the weather allows. (harsh as it may sound, she's wrapped up in a little towel, and tucked away in the freezer. it sounds so bad... but i couldn't ditch her in the trash, and that seemed the only way to be able to give her a little ceremony later.)

just... sad.

:: scribbled at 10:47 PM ... ... o

Sunday, January 29, 2006

hey, how about a happy post? :)

i just transferred a boatload of photos off my digicam, and will sort thru those in the next few days. they're spread out over the last few months; i expect a Christmas photo montage is in the offing. ;)

hubby is healing, thankfully. of course, the downside is that he doesn't keep the toe bandaged as much, so i have to look at it (car wreck sort of thing, y'know), which isn't all that great. but it is healing, and he's more mobile/less cranky.

the lastest addition to The Ark are the mice. they're surprisingly difficult to photograph, which i suspect has far more to do with the photographer than the mice. here's the best shot i have so far:

meesey mice

they're only in the small tank because i was cleaning the big one; they've inhereted one of the Critter Trail tanks, since the hammies are happy in the bin cages. it seemed like a good opportunity for a shot, tho. from left to right, the meese are Snoozey II (named after MedSm's first and much missed Syrian hamster, whom Snoozey II resembles in coloration), Mocha Cocoa Kinkajou (who is two shades of chocolate, and has a kink in her tail), Hazel Jumping Bean (who launches herself to great heights using her tail), Ophelia (who hasn't earned a nickname yet), and Gingersnap, who is the shyest of the lot so far.

the mice are amazingly interesting, and very amenable to being handled. so very different in personality from the hammies in terms of sociability - it's great fun to watch what they all get up to together. :)

off to a performance tomorrow with Jen, and i'm looking forward to a bit of a sleep-in, as MedSm's mom picked him up tonight late. grocery shopping done, laundry mostly done, bought some new clothes for myself, picked up two paychecks on Friday... life is pretty good. :)

:: scribbled at 12:13 AM ... ... o

unconscious mutterings:

Long distance:: tlephone
Meant to be:: fate, karma
Here:: or there
Endless:: summer
Resentment:: useless
Insipid:: bloated
Bunny:: hop
Slogan:: eering
Naked:: truth
Sarcasm:: way of life

:: scribbled at 12:13 AM ... ... o