Saturday, September 29, 2007

where stay cats strut

it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

the sun is out. there's, at last, a cool-ish breeze and a break in the humidity. the kids who live nearby are playing basketball and riding bikes around the cul-de-sac and across the street they're having a garage sale (nothing i need, though. i checked.). and all the cats are home.

if i had to pick one thing i'll miss most about this place (aside from my darling friends), it would have to be these outside cats.

have i introduced you, yet?

this is william turner. or 'silly willy' as he's sometimes known. when he was a kitten, he would peep at me through a hole in the fence and would come to eat the little bit of cat food the other cats left behind. one day, he finally came close, accepted a scratch behind his right ear and has lived in the yard ever since.

he disappeared for a month last fall and i was beside myself with worry because cars fly through this neighborhood on their way to walmart and the wild dogs in the field are always looking for a tiny cat feast.

but suddenly one morning, as i was readying myself for work and while the shade in the bathroom was drawn so far down i could only see the whites of some little cat feet, instantly i knew they were his. i ran through the house in my underwear screaming with joy.

he was skinny and tired and happy as a cat can be to be - i'd like to think it was to be near me, but it was likely to be near his dog again. to this day, i still don't know where he disappeared to. maybe he was locked in someone's garage or one of the neighbors fell in love with him and tried to keep him. maybe he was the subject of some magic trick gone awry ... i don't know ... but since that day i scooped him up in my underwear for all the world to see, he sticks super close to the house, lounging on the table, sleeping on the roof and shimmying down the tree when it's time for food or play.

this one here - this is pete, part deux. he is named after my very first cat, ever. the one who would bite me right between the eyes if i would disturb his nap. this pete is like him in every way.

pete's a funny little bloke and the most popular guy on the block. he belongs to all of us - and none of us and rules the neighborhood with an iron paw. he does not believe in the old saying, 'don't bite the hand that feeds you.' he lounges on the porch; he sleeps on top of my car and he sits on the window ledge of the computer room , peering through the screen and trying to read over my shoulder. i could be mistaken, but i'm pretty sure it pisses him off that the front yard has no internet access. and he can't type.

this is big ball jack. so named for his ... well ... you get the picture.
he is the boss. no one eats until jack eats. no one sleeps until jack chooses a place. no one messes with him ... as far as i can see.
although, he does come home dirty and beaten to hell, quite a bit. i like to think he single handedly takes on the wild dogs, but he could just as easily be fighting racoons or possums or someone's automatic garage door.

william turner worships him.

it's taken jack a really long time to warm up. after a year of slinking around the backyard, he has just begun to let me get near. now, when he hears the back door open, he comes out of his hiding place and waits patiently for food. and he talks, now. a lot. he has the voice of an old cigarette smoker - a 'mew' like sandpaper. for all his wild ways, he's actually quite polite, always saying 'good morning' and 'thank you.'

there's one more cat who comes around occasionally - rick springfield. i named him that, because he has this tired old rock star vibe about him. and he's a pretty boy, who, ironically, does not want to have his photo taken. i know. he was here this morning - i tried.

i've been worried these guys and how they will fare in the wake of my impending departure. the neighbors across the street have offered to look after them all, the way they do for pete. it is a huge relief, i must say, and good to know that i'm not the softest heart on the block.

hey. here comes pete, now. ready for his afternoon belly rub and a couple of good swipes at my ankles. must dash. can't keep his majesty waiting.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

i've been a bad, bad girl.

in my haste to write last night, it appears i got a bit ahead of myself. (nice change, really, because so often i feel far behind myself.)

in any event. yes. i am leaving houston. i was offered a job at the crate at southcoast plaza in costa mesa, california. it was the first mall i ever shopped in, so how could i say, 'no'? it was as if the mother ship was calling me home.

you're likely angry that i haven't said anything before now and i'm choosing to do so here. truth be told, this is the only place i can get all of my friends together at the same time. and, as an added bonus, i don't have to see your faces as i break the news.

you have a lot of questions, i know. here are some answers in advance:

1. yes.
2. october 17.
3. the week of october 22.
4. yes, drinks and/or dinner would be lovely.
5. learn to surf. take improv classes with 'the groundlings.' develop arms like linda hamilton in 'terminator 2.' from there, the sky's the limit.
6. no. it's not as expensive as you think it is.
7. yes. i will take you to disneyland when you come to visit.
8. blue.

email me with your own queries and i'll answer as honestly and as fully as i can.

much, much love and my most sincere apologies for my inadequate news breaking abilities,

... la

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

a full moon

can you see the moon from where you are?

she's making an appearance, just now, outside my window. bright and lovely and completely full of herself. and why shouldn't she be? the sun's been chasing her round and around all day ... just trying to light up her face.

i know how she feels.

my. i haven't written a good post in so long i may have forgotten how. i'm hoping it is a habit that once acquired is never lost. much like riding a bike ..., i begin as usual with ...

hello! (said in my sleepy way, as i sit, crumple-faced, staring at the keyboard.)

the evening is half gone, and though i could have fallen asleep just past suppertime, instead, i'm here. (the slightest time change wreaks havoc on my sleep patterns ... or maybe it isn't jet lag at all. maybe i'm just exhausted by the sheer force of ... everything.)

it's difficult to be back in texas after the sunshine and possibility of california, but it's only for a short while ... most of which will be spent packing and saying 'goodbye,' so it's a nuisance easily borne. it was nice to be 'home.' if only for a little while.

hours not spent driving in circles or touring random dwellings, were filled with splashing and sand castles - so that by each afternoon's end i could be found sun drenched and damp and pleasantly tired, laughing at dogs chasing the surf, listening to the music of the waves and waving goodbye to the sun as it set off toward the beginning of someone else's day. i have a pink nose, lovely tan shoulders and a few new freckles to show for it all.

and in the midst, was i able to find a place to live? yes and no. i've settled on long beach. specifically, a little parcel called 'belmont shores'. it's bordered on one side by the beach and on the other by 2nd street and it's shops and restaurants and (imagine my surprise) gay bars. the streets are narrow and the accommodations small and interesting and full of the hardwood floors and nooks & crannies i'm so fond of.

and i knew instantly that it was not just another neighborhood - it was mine.

i consider it a grand stroke of luck that the rents are not unreasonable - about what i'd expect to pay here for similar circumstances - although, i find the deposits required to be ... well, frankly ... unkind.

and so, rather than rush into something less than ideal, i will stay with my mother for a few months - better to save and to search for just the right place. and as these things go, encinitas is not all a bad spot to view the world for a bit.

the new store is lovely. and big. (and attached to the largest mall i have ever seen.) walking in was familiar and foreign all at once. the people are nice enough, and completely undone by my impending arrival - many of them giving me that slow, silent 'once over', starting with my hair and ending with my shoes and making me glad i'd dressed wisely for the occasion and hadn't just wandered in wearing my house-hunting ensemble. i imagine they spent a good deal of time, after i left for the day, discussing - speculating - on exactly how i'll rock their worlds. i am excited to see how i translate in california. perhaps, i'm meant to be a catalyst - my enthusiasm, my energy, speeding along some chemical reaction. but then again, no. in any experiment, the catalyst is supposed to remain unchanged ... i don't see me emerging from this experience unscathed, unaffected.

still, i am who i am and i do what i do. geography won't change that. though i am interested to see how it all plays out and what the lasting effects will be. it's a challenge i am completely ready for.

be well. look out the window and marvel at the moon. and wherever you are, i hope your evening is spent in the company of friends, or words, or whatever it is that will warm you most.

Friday, September 14, 2007

why i will never vote for bill richardson

dear governor bill:

just as i sit in awe - most days - of the beauty that surrounds me, i find i am never prepared for the ugliness, either. nor for the kindness that can follow.

this week, i had one of those days.

i encountered a particularly nasty breed of customer - the sort who believes me to be 'beneath' him in every way and thus bound to adhere to unspoken standards. he is busier, smarter and in all ways more important than anyone else. the world stops revolving on his command.

which is why it became a national emergency when he couldn't get his newly delivered office chair to rise and lower at his command ... clearly the only object in his gravitational pull ever to refuse to genuflect.

until he met me.

see, what you might not know about me (and what he didn't care to learn) is that i consider us all to be equals. you might make more money, but i might be taller. you might be more attractive, while i might be funnier. doesn't make either one of us 'better' than the other. it just means you have more dates and more money and i tell a good story and don't need a booster seat to reach the dinner table.

and you'll never know that when i tell you i'm going to do something for you, i do it. i call you back when i say i will (if you're reading this, mom, i'm talking about the work 'me' here, okay?). i will move mountains, if mountain moving is what's required, to make things right.

so it wasn't necessary for your friend to yell at me over the phone and tell me how important it is that you, the presidential candidate, have a chair that goes up and down to sit in at your fundraiser. nor was it necessary for him to tell me i will never be as important as you, the presidential candidate, are or he is or as anyone who will be attending the event.

and it really wasn't necessary for him to storm into the store and demand to see 'that bitch!' or to grab my arm and tell me to 'make it happen' or to pound his fists on the table and tell me i don't deserve any common decency or respect and how my 'perfect, innocent bitch' routine wouldn't work with him and how he was going to tell you, the next president of the united states, and my bosses (and anyone else who would listen) about my incompetence and stupidity. it wasn't necessary to berate and humiliate me in front of other customers and my staff and friends. really. not necessary.

but this letter isn't about me or my day, really. (although, you may be interested to learn that i have not, in fact, lost my job. the reaction has been quite the contrary, if you really want to know.)

but what i think you should really be interested in is the number of times your friend invoked your name in the middle of this tantrum. he was shouting your name through the store - which may be part of his job, i don't know. but, i would like to think you'd have been appalled. but then, i don't know you. i will never know you.

and now, i will never vote for you.

i'm going out on a limb here, but i'll bet your friend isn't very high up in the campaign. not very important. and i'll bet someone lets him know that everyday. might even yell it at him. and maybe that someone is higher up, but still doesn't feel very important. and so on, and so on, and so on. which is unfortunate. because when that happens, those folks always find a way to project that unhappiness and 'unimportance' out into the world. and it has to land somewhere. this week it landed on me.

and now, i'm giving it back to you.

i don't know what you do or say or believe when the cameras are turned off and it's just you and your staff together discussing the day or the next event or the campaign. but somewhere, somehow, you've given them the impression that it's okay to bully and humiliate people to get their way on your behalf. it's not the mark of a good leader ... or even of a good person. (have you learned nothing from george w.?)

and so, i can't allow you to be elected. i'm sorry to crush your dream like that. really, i am. i wouldn't ordinarily consider myself to be a 'dream crusher' - but i can be one, if dream crushing is what's required.

i won't tolerate another president who thinks he can sit back and smile for the cameras and act folksy while letting his friends bully their way into getting him everything he's ever wanted. and i'll do everything i can to make sure it doesn't happen again.

and when you don't win, you might feel angry or humiliated or even unimportant. i want you to remember that feeling. learn from it. treat people better. take responsibility for the environment you create. and say 'thank you' with the kind of honesty and fullness the people around you deserve.

let that be the way you change the country. only then will you truly be a 'leader.'

- leigh anne

Thursday, September 6, 2007

we've got the funk

i want to marry this mastercard commercial.

i do. i am completely in love with it.

what a sweet and simple reminder that we should all take love where we find it. and we will find it in some of the unlikeliest of places.

it reminds me, too, that the simple truths first learned in the hallways and on the playground are the ones that endure:

share everything; play fair; don't hit people; put things back where you found them; clean up your mess; don't take things that aren't yours; say you're sorry when you hurt somebody; wash your hands before you eat; flush; when you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

and for goodness sakes, never be afraid to shake your groove thing. especially in the company of friends!

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