pet peeve: rudeness

i recently received an email that was not intended for me.  it included a photo attachment of a bride and groom, and two people — ann (wedding planner?) and mike (photographer?) were emailing each other regarding some sort of newspaper press release about the couple.  my email address was included in the CC line.

at the very first email, i replied to all saying: “this can’t be intended for me. i don’t know who this is, or what this is in regards to.”

mind you, this wasn’t a selfless, must-protect-this-innocent-couple’s-privacy gesture.  this was a my-blackberry-keeps-going-off-for-this-bullshit-and-i-want-it-to-stop gesture.  but, it made me feel better to think about it as if i were doing this lovely couple a favor: they were missing this important correspondence after all.

i immediately received an auto-response from “ann”, and it said: “hello. in order to make sure your email is not spam, you must register your email address with me. as soon as i approve your email address, your emails will appear in my inbox.” and then there was a link i was supposed to click to fill out that form.

UM, HELLO. PARDONEZ-MOI.  BUT YOUR DUMB ASS EMAILED ME. and I am the one that received, in essence, SPAM.  thanks to YOU. and then took the TIME to write to YOU so that YOU could correct YOUR MISTAKE.

i deleted that bullshit — i was absolutely not filling out a stinking form to be allowed into her inbox. if this lady wanted to keep making the same mistake, so be it.

mike, however, slums it like the rest of us and didn’t have the same requirement for making contact.  he immediately responded by saying, “i’m so sorry… the bride’s name is kristen and the groom’s last name is hopkins, and so i used your email address by mistake. my apologies.”

well, that was courteous. i happily hit DELETE and moved on. (and grimaced a little, knowing that yet another kristen hopkins was eventually going to be kicking around somewhere, and i prefer to be one of a kind. but whatever.)

however, since miss ANN did not get my email, she kept CCing me in on the correspondence.  and it was more fun to spy on her emails than go over and fill out her stupid form.  besides, i had made my attempt to alert her to her error.  not my problem, dude.

finally, ann caught on (or checked her spam folder?), stopped CCing me, and wrote to me, in reply to my original email:

“No… not for you.”

no? not for me?  really? i couldn’t tell!!!  but wait; notice the lack of “i am sorry” or, “oops, my apologies” or even, “please disregard.”

the same amount of keystrokes (actually, fewer!) could have been “oops! my bad.”  that would have sufficed!!

but nope!  just: “no… not for you.”


argh argh ARGH!  this ann was either lazy or a real bitch or both, and i was pretty sure she didn’t bother to apologize to me because she didn’t have to. she didn’t have to look me in the eye. she didn’t have to speak actual words, or have any consequences henceforth.  i was just some invisible chick on the internet.

who has her email address.

and will likely use her email in the “required” field whenever i want to GET QUIZ RESULTS, LOSE WEIGHT NOW, or BECOME A MYSTERY SHOPPER!

so there!  karma’s a bitch, even on the ‘net.  be kind, damnit!!! aaaaargh!



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Lucy 2

we found this sweet seal-point siamese on friday. slept on it. and today, went and adopted her.  we named her lucy.

we still miss nipsey terribly. but we had become really worried about ambrose, who pretty much hadn’t gotten out of bed in the last week.  ambrose has never, ever never, been an “only cat”.  he doesn’t like it.  today he’s been down quite a bit, checking lucy out and snuggling with us.

arwen is IN LOVE with this cat.

lucy was born 5/22/09 and is really, really stinking cute.  she’s the smallest kitten either of us have ever had, since she’s young AND was the smallest of her litter.  she’s a total cuddler and is also very curious. more pictures to come — because we also got our camera back today!! 🙂


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a month behind

i just spent about 5 solid minutes looking through the wordpress background themes, saying to myself, i want something that makes sense for july…

only, newsflash: it’s august.


my friend stacie called this the “summer of death” a few weeks ago, and i have to say, it feels like she’s right on target.  my grandfather passed away in june. he was 92, and lived an amazing life.  we  celebrated his wisdom, kindness, loyalty, and love for his family at a ceremony in raleigh last month.

on july 31, i lost my beloved cat, nipsey, to cancer.  i always said, “when that cat dies, you’re going to have to mop me up off the floor, and then give me a week off of work, because i won’t do well.”  i can’t say i’m doing well, but i will say that the week off of work is not an option; the whole “full-time mommying” gig offers VERY little time off.

my mother has been to 3 funerals in 2 months; and i probably don’t even need to mention all of the celebrity deaths (michael jackson, billy mays, farrah fawcett, walter cronkite, ed mcmahon, to name a few).   i could also give several examples of friends who have lost parents, grandparents, or other loved ones.   i’m telling you, i’m scared to answer the phone these days.

and as silly as it sounds, even television got on board with the death theme this year.  one of my favorites, grey’s anatomy, left a cliffhanger at the end of last season: who dies — izzy, george, or both?

ok, that last one may be a bit of a stretch.  but all of this is to say that i’m very much feeling my own mortality these days.

as i write this, i’m remembering nipsey’s death.  we chose to have her euthanized, because on friday, it became clear to me that it was selfish of me to prolong her life when she was clearly suffering from an incurable disease, and was headed towards a painful demise. her breathing was more labored. she continued to lose weight rapidly. she began to refuse ALL foods, even vanilla yogurt, which had been the standby in recent weeks.  she was crying at me; she was asking for help.

the veterinarian who performed the procedure was amazing. he was compassionate, he was gentle, he was kind to us and towards nipsey too.  he gave her a dignified, pain-free death. i was there when it happened and i was able to say goodbye.

as she died, i watched her eyes go from engaged and responsive to me to dull, and remote.  one minute she was there, and in a second she was not.  for several minutes after she passed, we stayed by her side, crying and petting her and telling her one last time what a great pet she was, and how sorely she would be missed. at the very end of this, i picked her up (she had been on the table, laying on a towel).   and i hugged her, and held her and smelled her fur for the last time.  and then i went to set her down, and she was limp.

totally limp. totally gone.  she wasn’t there anymore.  and while that’s probably obvious to you, it wasn’t to me until that moment.  i could still see her, touch her, and smell her; but she wasn’t there anymore.

here’s the thing: i have very little experience with actual death. i have only seen 2 dead bodies and they were in caskets, perfectly still. i have never touched one. and since nipsey was my first pet as an adult, she was the first pet i’ve had die.  and so i haven’t really dealt with dead animals either.  this was all new territory for me.

it struck me: the fine line between life and death. how, in an instant, one goes from fully alive to not alive at all. and that scares the shit out of me.

birth, you see, was different.  both times i was pregnant, i saw both of my babies bouncing around on ultrasound, clearly ALIVE, at 9 weeks gestation.  they moved, kicked, responded to music. and when they were born (at 40w4d and 39w4d, respectively), it’s not like the life flooded into them in that moment.  i had felt them, alive, long before then.

death was so much faster. despite the fact that it was planned, and gentle, and in many ways, slow, it was instant. she was there, then gone.


i am still looking for her under the chair, and remembering her sleeping by my head at night.  we’re comforting ambrose, our surviving cat who is also grieving the cat he pretty much thought was his actual mama all along.   i suppose i will be missing her for quite some time.

but i’m also reflecting on the fragility of it all.

this “summer of death” hasn’t been all bad. we actually just got back from an overnight in new hampshire and a trip to santa’s village.  arwen loved the rides, the reindeer, the whole nine yards.  her brother had to be let off the ferris wheel early. 🙂

jonathan and arwen are headed to wisconsin (or “the sconce” as i like to call it) later this summer, and arwen and i will be headed to nyc to visit aunt kerrie this month, right before she starts first grade in september.

first grade!

time really does fly.

one final note… before you ask to see pictures of arwen and milo at santa’s village, i have to say that none exist. the camera was still at the camera hospital (following an accident previously explained here) but is due back any day now.  i’ll try to take and upload some new pics when we get it back.  you’ll hardly recognize my kids.  arwen is missing some front teeth, and milo is looking more and more like jonathan.  (and you thought that wasn’t possible!!!!)


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the eyes of an almost six-year-old

so, i haven’t done arwen quotes in awhile. here are a few.

quick update on nipsey before i begin… she’s around, still. alive… not eating much.  losing weight daily. i no longer think she’s going to die tomorrow, but i know she’s not getting any better.  thank you all for your kind comments, emails, texts, etc following my previous post.

on with the show…

arwen has been really, and i mean REALLY, listening to commercials as of late.  just about every day, we have a brief conversation that starts with arwen saying something like this:

“mommy. do you want a vacuum that picks up EVERYTHING? and i mean, EVERYTHING?  because if you do, you need to call now.”

“mommy, i got chocolate on my dress. so, we need to go out and get some oxy clean. because oxy clean removes stains unlike any other stain remover.”

“what kind of diapers does milo wear? does he wear huggies? because huggies are the shape to move.”

the other conversation we’ve been having on a recurrent basis is about death and dying. not surprisingly, death is a current “hot topic” for arwen, having just attended my grandfather’s funeral and also as we watch nipsey become smaller and more frail with each passing day.

“mommy, when we die, why do we get put in the ground?”

“what does it mean to be creamated? and what do ashes look like? and will it hurt to get all burned up like that?”

“what is that lady (statue) doing in the dying place (cemetery)?  does she watch over the dead people?”

and who can ask questions about death without coming back around to ask questions about birth?  some other thoughts from arwen:

“how small do babies start off? and do i have babies in my tummy already?”

“i’m really, really afraid of having babies. i think it will hurt when they cut my stomach open. (well arwen, maybe they won’t cut your stomach open. many women don’t need to have a cut to have a baby.) really?  that’s good. because that knife would really hurt.”

“did you get sick from having me poop in your tummy? (well arwen, i got a uterine infection from the meconium at your birth… but it was ok. i didn’t hurt, and i got better quickly.) oh. okay.  i’m afraid that will happen to me… i don’t want to die of an infection, just because i had a baby go poop in my tummy.”

i’ll leave out my failed attempt to explain the theory of evolution to arwen. that was just a bad idea from the get-go; and i’m pretty sure she is going to have terrifying dreams of monkeys morphing into humans.  oops… sorry, kid.

some of her questions, however, are still related to very basic understanding of language. i love these, because i’m totally fascinated by the fact that we learn language primarily by immersion over the first years of our life… it’s amazing, if you think about what the brain accomplishes in that amount of time.

“mommy, did i lose this tooth… RECENTLY?  (recently? well, yes, you did… you lost it on july 4th.  so a few weeks ago. which is recent, yes.) ok, good. i will tell abby next time she asks that YES, i lost my tooth RECENTLY.  thank you mommy.”

and finally, one of my favorites… perhaps because it doesn’t involve me having to come up with a decent answer:

“mommy, i love this body soap. i love smelling like a flamingo.” (thank you, mango-scented body foam!)

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nipsey, my nipsey.

i don’t know if anyone is checking in here anymore.  that’s my fault; i have become the epitome of inconsistent. sorry about that.

i actually NEED to write here more often, because i think writing is therapeutic for me. that’s why i actually started this blog years ago… and it’s why i regret that i haven’t been good about keeping up with it as of late.

tonight i logged in to write down some thoughts about my cat nipsey. we learned on sunday (at the emergency vet) that my sweet nipsey has either congestive heart failure or lung cancer, and that either way, her prognosis is poor.  we were sent home with ten days worth of lasix, and when i asked the veterinarian how i go about getting a refill once this runs out, his reply was a very gentle, “let’s enjoy nipsey one day at a time, and cross that bridge when we get to it.”

so, broken-hearted, i brought my dying cat home.  and here’s when i go back to the beginning.

in the summer of 2001, on the “negative one month” anniversary (meaning one month before our wedding, or on 6/8/01), jonathan and i decided to get a cat.  i had really wanted a dog, because i liked dogs better, and thought cats were generally boring and not as much fun as dogs.  but, our landlord allowed cats only, and because i craved a pet so badly, we went to the denver dumb friends league — which is their name for “animal shelter” — and we visited with cats.

ooh — i should also point out that jonathan had been in colorado for less than a week at this point. maybe even 2 or 3 days.  i wasted no time organizing this trip to cat-find.

anyway, off we went… and at the DDFL, they have (or at least had) this policy: at each visit to the facility, you could “interview” up to 2 cats.  if neither cat felt right, you had to go to the back of the line (of people waiting to interview cats) or come back the next day.  we surveyed the rows of cages, and we picked 2 cats: a huge orange one and some other one that i don’t even remember.  we went to the interview room, which consisted of 2 metal chairs and a table. it was very sterile.

the staff member brought back cat #1 and he just looked at us.  cat #2 crawled around the room, sniffing and scoping, but didn’t give two craps that we were there. i wasn’t thrilled about either cat.

when the staffer came back, we were getting ready to go home for the day when either jonathan or i (i can’t remember) asked if we could see just one more cat. there was that black one… the one that kind of stared at us while we walked around.  we wanted to see him or her.  was there ANY way we could bend the rules and see one more cat? please?

why yes, our pierced and very hip-looking DDFL staffer said.  just this once.  and back in she came with a black cat named kiki. when kiki came in, she made eye contact immediately.  she then crawled into my lap, and then into jonathan’s lap. and for the rest of the 5-10 minute interview, back and forth she went… my lap to his, his to mine.  and she purred, loudly. and she seemed happy.  and she seemed to be saying, “cut the shit — i belong with you two. let’s go home.”  and i immediately fell in love — with a cat.

this cat was immediately renamed nipsey and was left at DDFL overnight so that she could be spayed in the morning.  we paid $74 and were instructed to pick her up the next day.

i didn’t even want to leave her that night.

jonathan picked nipsey up in the afternoon. she was 6 lbs and estimated to be 3 years old.  she was small, probably because she’d had kittens very young. the veterinarian said that it seemed she had several litters. she had been picked up by DDFL as a stray.  she had been there for about a week before we met her.

nipsey staggered around that day because she’d just had surgery.  that night, she slept in our bed, between us. i attributed it to her being stone cold crazy from anasthesia.  but for the next 8 years, nipsey went on to sleep in our bed quite often, most recently around my head on my pillow.  so i guess it was just a habit formed early.

nipsey witnessed our marriage and the birth of our two children.  she moved from wolff street to coronado parkway in denver, and then across the country to vermont, and then from winooski to south burlington.  she sat with me many nights during one of the darkest periods of my adult life, which was after we moved from colorado to vermont, and i was horribly depressed. on the days when i was tired of caring for my two young children, she would sit beside me on the couch, and purr, and silently connect over what a pain of the ass those demanding, needy, suckling offspring could be.

nipsey was always a mother.  having mothered her own kittens before we knew her, it seemed to just be who she was; she mothered the 2 cats we adopted after her, she mothered my children, and at times she mothered me.

she never peed anywhere she wasn’t supposed to, except on that first day (when she was staggering) and earlier this evening (when clearly she simply couldn’t make it to the box).

she never tried to escape the house. one time, at wolff street, she got out through a window. and she sat in the front yard.  and when we got home, she came in with us.  i believe that when we opened our home to nipsey, we were saving her from the denver streets.  and she had no interest in going back to outside life.

when dogs visit us, nipsey looks at them with disdain.  she seems to be thinking, “i am so sorry you’re not a cat. how sad.”

nipsey has been known to hiss at visitors and has clawed and even bitten a few extended family members.   we have always given the disclaimer to guests: “please don’t touch that one. she’s unpredictable.”  and, she is.  but in 8 years, and after COUNTLESS opportunities to do so (many of them justified), nipsey never, ever scratched or bit either of my children.  they hit her. they pulled her tail. they laid on her, full-body style.  and nipsey put her ears back, and looked at me, as if to say, “kids.  what are you gonna do?”

one christmas, before i had kids, i crafted a santa hat and made nipsey wear it along with a frosty the snowman sweater.  she didn’t argue.

nipsey doubled in size very quickly after we got her. she was 6 lbs at adoption, 12 lbs at her highest, and is now getting lighter due to her illness and the whole “i’ve stopped eating” thing that tends to burn the pounds rather quickly.  a veterinarian once said that, because of her first years as a hungry stray, nipsey would always have a sort of eating disorder that caused her to eat whenever she saw food.   and boy, did she eat!

before she stopped eating, she loved tomato soup or anything made with tomato sauce.  if i wanted to attract nipsey to the kitchen, my best bet was vegetable soup (tomato-based) or spaghetti sauce.

she also loved chicken mcnuggets.

i’m sitting about 8 feet from nipsey as i write this. i’m watching her breathing; it’s labored. i don’t know how much more time i have with her. the vet seems to think days; i’m inclined to believe him based on how quickly she has declined in the past 48 hours.

to say that i’m heartbroken is an understatement.  i’m devastated.  and yes, i know that for those of you who don’t have pets, you may not understand. but this cat was my first “baby”.  she was the first pet of my adult life.  she saw me at my worst and loved me anyway.

i am angry, too. i feel robbed. she’s only 11 (we think).  we assumed we had additional years with nipsey. i figured arwen would be 10 or even 12 before we had to deal with saying goodbye.  i assumed milo, who LOVES nipsey, would have her in his life long enough to remember her.  it appears now that he won’t.

i have always said that nipsey seems to have some sort of wisdom that not a lot of cats have.  right now, i have to be the wise one and know when enough is enough.  i saw the x-rays, and can tell that her breathing is labored.  i have to somehow know when she’s in pain and when it’s time to say goodbye.  but, having never had to make this decision, i feel so confused. it’s counterintuitive to take this creature, who i love so deeply, and have her put to sleep.  i am praying it doesn’t come to that, but know in my heart that it’s likely.

we always said that if we had the money, we’d clone nipsey.

i also used to pick her up, and say, “hey jonathan… i love this cat like she came out of my own womb.”  it was just something i said… and truly meant.

as much as a human can possibly love a cat, i love nipsey.  and i’m losing her.

if you read this far, thank you for doing so.  i’m going to check her breathing, love her up some, and head to bed.


Nipsey and Newborn Milo

Nipsey sleeps with Milo


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milo at the beach


this is my baby bear at the lake today. i know i posted this to facebook earlier… for some reason, i just LOVE this shot.  the poor quality is unfortunate (i took it with my blackberry, because as you know the camera is broken). otherwise, i would have printed it out and framed it.  this is just so…. milo.   his 12-month pants are hanging off of his 18-month-old body… his sister is down in the water, but he’s content to be a few feet from mom, just picking up sand and throwing it around.

oh, and see that cloud in the distance?  yeah.  it started POURING DOWN RAIN no more than 10 minutes after this shot was taken.  our beach afternoon was cut short.


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reason 3: cuz i’m lazy.

so my friend liz just commented, asking for “an update, damnit” (or that’s how i read it, at least).  and i realized… my life would be easier if i just had a few pictures on-hand that i could post of my kids, and you’d all say, “oooh, they are so big!”  and wouldn’t that be thrilling for all?

except guess what — i have 2 good reasons for not posting pictures.  number one, arwen broke the camera.  it happened as a result of her poking her finger at the lens, attempting to manually open the automatic shutter.  her not-so-gentle 5-year-old touch broke it and one half of the shutter is now permanently covering the lens.  surprisingly enough, neither jonathan nor i freaked out too much because, immediately after her lovely move, arwen showed something she rarely, rarely shows: remorse.  deep, unselfish, genuine remorse.  she cried. she begged to call daddy on the phone to tell him. and when she did, she said, “i’m sorry… i’m so, so sorry.”  and when you have as much mental health training as i do, and you’re raising a somewhat reckless child like arwen, the peace of mind in knowing you’re in fact not raising a sociopath far outweighs whatever it will cost us to fix the shutter on the lens of the camera.

so, yeah.

my other excuse is that you likely won’t say “ooh, they’re so big” — because when it comes to growth, milo hasn’t done much.  he has only gained 1 pound in the last 6 months and our pediatrician informed me in no uncertain terms last monday that milo needs to start gaining weight, like now.  his weight has plateaued below the charts, and while his height continues to increase, his weight has stabilized at “not heavy enough” which can apparently lead to height decline as well… and i’m pretty passionate about NOT stunting the child’s growth.  (the word “stunting” was used at least 3 times at the appointment. i remember it clearly.)

additionally, given milo’s pattern of attracting potentially serious illnesses (the most recent of which being pneumonia over memorial day weekend), it’s just a good idea for him to have some extra pounds… you know, to survive on, if necessary.

so now, instead of rice chex, milo has whole-milk yogurt for breakfast.  and then as a snack, he has his usual applesauce… but at lunch, instead of a meal consisting of “whatever milo feels like eating”, he has some other kind of high-calorie healthy food and finishes it all off with at least 5 m&ms.  whenever i think of it, i feed him again. and then at dinner, he eats whatever we eat.  throughout the day, i’m supposed to be giving him at least 8 ounces of whole milk, but since he doesn’t really love milk, i’ve been giving him a milkshake or some ice cream.  because the doctor wasn’t kidding… he needs pounds.  (and because the word “milkshake” has “milk” in it.  so that’s pretty much the same, right?)

so far he hasn’t seemed to mind all of the eating.  it’s more annoying than anything to have to keep putting him in the high chair and feeding him (and cleaning up after him) YET AGAIN.  he has a weight check in 6 weeks and my goal is to get him to 21.5 lbs by then (increasing by 1.1 pounds).  but i do have to stop and wonder about WHO these children are that i’m raising?? one who is gorgeous, slender, and blonde, and one who can’t keep weight on?

WHO ARE THESE CHILDREN?  and what kind of cruel sense of humor does the universe have??



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