Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A little cheer for bleak days

Yesterday was a sad day.

Jason was sick.
It snowed.
I read an essay about the inhumanity of Nigerian orphanages.

I was feeling pretty down. And so, in order to make myself feel better, I decided to punish someone else.
Poor Winston.

This is the result.

There is nothing funnier than a cat in clothes.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Laughing Boy, Crying Girl

In the past I prided myself in being the kind of person who doesn't cry in movies. I could sit, stalwart, through Life is Beautiful and never shed a single tear. Then something happened to me; something very unnerving.
I think it began with Finding Neverland, a movie that I have seen at least eight times and in which I have never once been able to refrain from weeping. This is not normal crying either; it's sobbing, complete with snot, hiccups, and the inability to stop. I remember when I watched it for the first time. Kate Winslet waltzed through Neverland, and I felt myself losing control. I sat, stunned, as the credits started rolling in. It was over? But she was dead! There was no happiness with death at the end of a story! How treacherous!  I quietly climbed the stairs, slowly, went to my room and shut the door. I elevated the intensity of my sadness by turning on the soundtrack to that movie, which brought back that burning feeling. The characters were fictional alright, but oh how it hurt! And yet, it felt so good to cry.
The second time was even worse. I was with Koseli. She likes a pathetic story just as much as me, if not more. There were the credits again. This time I was sobbing uncontrollably right there in front of everybody, struggling to maintain regular breathing. To my left  Koseli was also crying and loudly blowing her nose into a roll of toilet paper. The harder I cried, the harder she cried, and so the harder I cried and so on. We both agreed: it was disgusting, yet incredibly satisfying.
Several years later when I watched this movie with Jason, I made a promise to myself that I would not cry. We were in the infancy of our dating relationship and I knew, rightly, that there is nothing attractive about a red nose and squinty eyes. I tried very hard to control myself. I actually made it with only a few tears shed by the time we turned off the DVD player. At first I thought to myself, "Yes! I did it! I didn't cry!" but then I started getting a tight feeling in my chest. Jason probably noticed the stricken look on my face and encouraged me to go ahead and cry since I needed to. Oh no, he was right! It had become a need. I HAD to cry. Unbidden, the tears started pouring out. I sneaked a glance at Jason and saw that he had a small smile on his lips. Okay. So that's how it is. If it gave him satisfaction to see me cry in order to have an excuse to hug me, I would never disappoint him with a lack of tears. He patted my head and said, "It's alright, it's alright." But his kindness and understanding only made me cry harder.
It is my belief that this problem doesn't completely stem from the sadness of the story itself, though a well-written or acted tragedy definitely does help. No. My belief is that the real root of the tears is my desperate need for romance, and nothing breaks my heart like lost love, father to son, mother to child, sister to sister-- it is all heart-wrenching in the most wonderful way possible. Black Beauty, Joan of Arc, The Road-- I have become a connoisseur of sad literature and film. Making someone laugh is easy enough, but the real mastery comes with making people cry. Sob. Convulse. It is pure art.
Last night I finished the Pulitzer Prize winning book Laughing Boy by Oliver La Farge. The novel's main concern is the clash between Navajo culture and the newfound Americanism  in the Southwest. But when it comes to emotions, the most important aspect of the novel is the beautiful and resounding romance between the chief characters. Oh, how I'm a sucker for a good romance! I read the last word on the last page and felt that old familiar burning in my chest, felt my eyes fill up with tears. Jason was sitting on the floor next to me-- innocent, peaceful. Oh but he was at risk! His life! His life! I knew that, like Laughing Boy I couldn't live without him. To his astonishment I locked onto him, blubbering incoherent pleas that he would never allow himself to be killed by an arrow or a gun. "I promise you," he said to me, quite sincerely, "that will never happen." Well I knew that, but even so, I needed to imagine the worst-- Jason, slumped on his pony, blood gushing from an arrow wound in his chest, or Jason, sick with scarlet fever, his forehead bathed in sweat, or any member of my family, my cat, my parents, Jason! Jason! in mortal peril, begging for their lives-- to summon up that overwhelming burning sensation, to cry, and to relieve the pain.
As Koseli says, it hurts so good.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


On Saturday I had a stroke of genius and Jason and I did something crazy: we moved the dresser into the kitchen and the table into the living room. Magically, the dresser matches the china cabinet perfectly. I will have a hard time tearing myself away from that cabinet when we move.

Prior to this point, I hung a canopy over the bed. Jason was not pleased, but allowed me this one little luxury. My creativity was starting to come out.

I used my needle and thread and fashioned this pillow for the couch.
But when Winston sneaked into the picture, I realized he could use a little touch-up as well.

To improve his appearance, Winston got a bow.

In the midst of all this hubub, decorating and rearranging, Jason and Winston are still best friends.

Winston is my best friend too. Sometimes.

Besides Jason, of course.
Love this house. Love that cat. Love, love, love this boy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You wouldn't like this, Winston.

Here are some very unflattering pictures of Mr. Winston. At first, when I saw them, I was shocked that something so small and cuddly could catch so many bad moments on the camera. But it happens to the best of us. 

On closer inspection we can see that his mouth is wide open.


 After we found a trace of something dirty and gross on Winston's paw, I scrubbed his feet. This was the effect. How could we have known that Winston had mouse feet? I was so delighted with the result, I could not wait to see what an entirely wet Winston looked like.


 And this.
He was not pleased.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Naughty, naughty.

We have cat problems. Major cat problems.

He bites.

He scratches.

He zooms out of closets and corners, wild and ready to attack anything that moves.

And yet, I am completely in love with him.

Introducing the newest member of the Cute and Fluffy club: Winston Wilkins Pickwick the First. With a little research we have discovered that he is a Norwegian Forest cat, that is, his genetics have faint memories of prowling through frozen woods, which probably explains his need to bite anything that moves and his undying love for Jason, who is constantly radiating body heat. His favorite pastimes include (in this order): biting (hair, fingers, toes, ankles, arms), dragging around his woolly mouse, searching for the squirmel we no longer allow him to play with because it makes him too crazy, watching Jason shake the food in his bowl before he eats it, attempting to climb into the refrigerator, and surprise sneak attacks. Completely uncharacteristic of his species and unfortunately for us, sleep comes last in this list.

Don't get me wrong-- he has his good moments too. He'll nap on my stomach while I read. He purrs. He sits on our laps while Jason and I watch a movie. I say "laps" because he has the uncanny ability to possess both our laps at the same time. He stretches his small body into what looks like an extremely uncomfortable position: belly-up in complete surrender, his tiny fangs poking out of his mouth and the hot pink of his lips showing in a stupid grin. I like to think that he cuddles between us because he adores us both equally, but the truth probably is that he wants to soak up the maximum amount of heat. His bottom is generally turned in my direction as he appears to enjoy staring dreamily at Jason with love and adoration.

This is just as well for me. His back end is not the biting end!