For your reading pleasure I’ve put together my sometimes annual Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup. Every other media outlet does a roundup so I thought, what the heck, I’ll do one too!
I’m actually surprised I wrote enough this year for a roundup. In fact, I actually wrote and published 60 posts this year, which is my third time high since I started blogging in 2007. It’s twice as much as I wrote last year.
There were basically 4 categories this year, the election, my mother, recipes, and Prince, and an outlier about Dini the cat. It’s a long post, and most didn’t bother to read it, but it’s one that harkens back to my early days of blogging, when I just told a story and enjoyed the journey.
My mother had been telling me that life isn’t fair since as far back as I could remember. She’d married a gay man and had a debilitating stroke before she reached the age of 30, so I figured she knew what she was talking about. It didn’t really hit home for me until I was in middle school.
The Back Story
When I was 10 or 11, I was on the University Club swimming team. Today the University Club is a private club for the well-to-do of St. Paul. 100 years ago it was a private club for the well-to-do, including F. Scott Fitzgerald who got his drink on there most days and nights. In the 70s it was still a private club and it was still a haven for the well-to-do of the town, but the swimming team was the worst in the league. The club was run down and not nearly as nice as some of the other clubs in the area.
I was not athletic by any stretch of the imagination. I was “chunky” as my brother liked to point out at every occasion. I played softball in the triangle park, and kick-the-can and ditch and all those other neighborhood games that kids play, but I wasn’t very good. I did not volunteer for the team. My parents signed me up for the team because it kept my brother and me somewhat occupied during the summer.
Growing up around 10k plus lakes I knew how to swim. I was a strong swimmer – I could, and still can, swim two lengths of the pool under water without taking a breath – but races aren’t swum underwater. The only practical use for that skill, that I have ever seen, was in the 1972 movie The Poseidon Adventure when Shelly Winters (someone who would also be labeled chunky) swam a great distance underwater to get the guide rope to the other side of the chasm. **** Spoiler – she died after succeeding****
I’m a Loser Baby
I was probably the worst swimmer on the team. I came in dead last every time I raced. I wasn’t proud of it, but I was accustomed to it. There were only two other girls in my age division. The other two were very fast swimmers, probably some of the best in the league. Betsy, not her real name, always came in first place. It wasn’t even a question, we all knew she would win.
The sky was blue, water was wet and Betsy always took first place.
Betsy was popular, attractive, graceful, confident, athletic and not the least bit chunky. Betsy was also kind of a bitch, to me at least. Although I was not allowed to use that word back then. She had a posse, I did not.
I was none of those things. I was someone who lost every race and who had come to terms with the word “chunky”, it was certainly better than the other nick name my brother called me – Post Toasties – said with such contempt it must be horrible though to this day I still have no idea why I was nicked named for a cereal. I was sure it was a way to call me fat without alerting my parents to such a thing, but I really don’t know.
Anything is Possible
Anyway, one summer afternoon we had a meet, I was called to take my place for the race and headed over to the edge of the pool, ready to accept defeat like always. My brother stopped me when I passed by him on the way to the end of the pool.
“You swim with your fingers wide apart. That’s why you’re so slow,” he said. “See how my fingers are pressed tightly together when I push the water away? When you keep your fingers closed it’s like having a paddle; you’ll swim faster.”
He pantomimed the stroke for me while emphasizing his closed fingers.
“Give it a try” he said encouragingly.
Talk about pressure. My brother was fast, he was clever, he was smart, he was a really good swimmer and I was sure he was embarrassed by having me as a sister, especially at the pool where we had to wear Speedos. I didn’t think this simple little tip was going to change anything, but I was thrilled he was actually trying to help me. I wasn’t too concerned about other people, but I really cared what he thought of me, I wanted him to be proud of me and so far that hadn’t happened. I was just the stupid little sister who tagged around getting in his way and making life difficult for him.
I got on my mark and when the whistle blew I dove in and kept my fingers togethers. I swam as hard as I could and went into my kick turn at the same time as everyone else. I pushed off the wall and just kept going.
I repeated this mantra to myself as I swam – Keep your fingers closed, keep your fingers closed, keep your fingers closed.
I slapped the edge of the pool and to my surprise, and everyone else’s, I won.
I didn’t come in third place, I didn’t come in second. I came in first place. It was close, very close, but I actually beat three other swimmers. I actually beat Betsy.
I climbed out of the pool grasping my first place ribbon. I fondled that blue ribbon. It was the best think I had ever felt in my entire life. It was great. I was sure I was smiling that goofy smile that you couldn’t wipe off your face no matter how hard you tried. My brother even came up to me and congratulated me.
He didn’t say much, just a quick “good job” as he punched me on the shoulder.
Which was fine because I don’t think either of us thought I would actually win. I don’t think his goal in teaching me how to hold my hands was for me to win, it was just not to lose as badly as I usually did.
Life isn’t Fair
And then the click of the PA system sounded.
“Attention, please. The first-place winner of the girls’ 50-meter breaststroke is actually Betsy. Betsy took first place; Jenny took second place. Jenny would you please come to the judges’ table to exchange your ribbon? Thank you.”
I wasn’t even surprised.
Besty was at the judges’ table when I got there. She was making a big scene about how she always won and there was no way she could lose to someone like me. They must have called the race wrong because there is just no way she could possibly lose to fat girl who had lost every single race up until this point.
Obviously the judge agreed because he took my first place ribbon and gave it to Betsy. I stood there and waited for him to give me the second place ribbon — because let’s face it, there is no way someone like me could have possibly won against someone like her.
*This is an excerpt of my yet-to-be-published memoir, Minnesota Nice, if you liked this story please like my book on Facebook.
Now that the Great Presidential Campaign of 2016 is over (even if we don’t know the results yet) can we all make this post election pledge to get along with one another?
Post Election Pledge:
I promise to treat everyone with kindness, consideration and respect, no matter who they voted for this election.
I will not hold it against them if they voted for someone other than the person for whom I voted.
I will let it go and do my best to mend friendships that have been torn asunder by this presidential race.
I will no longer unfriend people for having a different opinion than my own.
This election has done more to divide our nation than anything I can think of. On the one side you have the people who worship the most seasoned politician (and not in a good way) ever, someone who is corrupt, reckless and more of an insider than anyone who has ever held office. Why they believe she is going to do anything different than the status quo is beyond me. On the other side you have all the deplorables who support a candidate who is vile, temperamental and so unfit to be President of the United States it isn’t even funny. It’s not. I know I’ve made all kinds of jokes about him not being fit, but it really isn’t funny when you think how close he came to being president.
Is it even possible to bridge this gap between left and right, red and blue, liberal and conservative, deplorable and corrupt?
What worries me most is that no matter who wins, this divide will remain.
I was looking forward to the end of the election because I want social media to be the fun place it used to be some 15 months ago. I’m tired of labels like racist, misogynist, xenophobe being thrown around so casually that they really have no meaning left. I’m tired of the words email, server, FBI, Foundation, Benghazi, pneumonia. More than anything I am tired of the hypocrisy and blind support from both sides.
I won’t lecture you that just because you support a candidate, you support their behavior. No, it’s much more likely you’re supporting their policies because you believe they will do more to make this country of ours a better place.
As it should be.
I’ve had enough. I’ve kept my mouth shut (for the most part) when people post misleading memes, articles and quotes attributed to the other’s candidate. I’m tired of the populace reposting anything that coincides with their belief without bothering to check if it’s actually accurate or true. I’m tired of the hatred, vitriol and downright stupidity on both sides of this coin.
The reality is they’re both horrible candidates. And I get why people talk them up and put the other down. It’s about winning the election. However, the election is over and now it’s time to get on with life.
Thankfully, we live in a country that has checks and balances. Our country will survive no matter who wins the election. I’m not sure we, the people, can survive if we don’t do something to actively stop this divided hatred.
Can we all promise that on Wednesday, after all the votes have been counted and a clear winner has been chosen, that we all do our best to put this horrible election behind us and get along with our fellow American? No matter who you voted for, can you promise to treat everyone with kindness, consideration and respect? Is it possible to stop judging others because they voted for a candidate who was not yours?
I am so sick of this election. I can’t wait for it to be over. Mostly so I won’t have to hear these words that should be banned until the next election. Of course the next election starts January 21st, 2017 so it’s not much of a break.
I keep wanting to type that I don’t have a horse in this race, and I don’t, but I should. I just can’t choose. I thought the 2000 election was one for the books, historical, a once in a lifetime thing. That one pales by comparison.
Both candidates are under investigations of all sorts. I can’t believe the bar has been lowered to where these two are the only options available.
While there a lot of words on this list, most of them in everyday conversation are just fine. It is the made up words, the obscenities, and the ones that make fun of both of them that grind my gears so much.
Words that Should be Banned until the Next Election
Throw Away Vote
Late Term Abortion
Main Stream Media
I’m sure there are more, so many more, that I have blocked out. In fact, for the last few days, at least until the latest email scandal reared its ugly head again, I haven’t bothered paying attention to the election.
Feel free to add your least favorite words from this election to the list by leaving them in the comments.
I’ve had enough of it, they’re both crooks as far as I am concerned.
After last night’s brutal episode, where does The Walking Dead go from here? SPOILER ALERT!!! If you haven’t watched the series premier of episode 7 and don’t know what happened, then hit the back button now and back away. This post is filled with predictions for where the show will go and also filled with spoilers about what has happened so far.
You’ve been warned.
Without a doubt, last night’s The Walking Dead was the most brutally disturbing episode yet. Of course, it had to be with all the hype that’d been built up over the last 6 months due to the cliffhanger nature of the ending of season 6.
For 6 months I wondered and worried if Glenn was actually going to die, like he did in the comics, or if the whole fake Glenn death under the dumpster somehow rendered him safe.
I had hope, for a little while. I liked Glenn, he was the heart of the show. He was the plucky pizza delivery guy who was always willing to do what was necessary for the group, with little thought of his own safety.
Problem was, he didn’t do much else beyond that. As expendable main characters go, he was the best choice. He was the only choice.
It doesn’t hurt that he got the bat in the comic as well.
I have read the comics, up to episode 100, which is where we are now. I don’t plan on reading it anymore, prefering the show on only one possible timeline. When the book and the show diverge, like they did with the death of Abraham/Denise it’s too heartbreaking for me.
I loved Abraham, he was comic gold and was great at relieving the tension created by the stress of living in the zombie apocalypse. I suspect Negan will now wear that mantle, I’ll just have a difficult time laughing at his jokes. There’s not much relief in that. If one is to laugh along with the bad guy (though, to be fair, Negan does not see himself as the bad guy, and there’s actually some debate on that title. Rick and his group sort of had this coming), one risks identifying with that bad guy a little comfortably.
Abraham and Glenn will certainly be missed, but they had to go. The writers and producers had hyped the show for months, they could not kill off a secondary character such as Eugene or Sasha (my pick). The only other character they could have sacrificed and maintained the hype, would have been Daryl. Thankfully that didn’t happen, though the writers did throw him under the bus when they made him the cause of Glenn’s death.
Where Does The Walking Dead Go From Here?
Obviously, wherever the comic goes, and like I said, I’m not bothering to read it anymore. I do hope the show spends more time with the rebuilding rather than these constant upheavals. The show is so formulaic it’s surprising anyone watches. The characters settle in a seemingly safe place and then a bad guy comes along and destroys it allowing it to get overrun with walkers and the group must find another place. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I’m hopeful that they will remain in Alexandria after they successfully defeated all the walkers that descended when the Wolves attacked.
Negan is the Problem
I want to see the people of Alexandria, and other communities, work to bring civilization back. That is the interesting story to me. I don’t care about the endless bad guys they have to slay. I’m not even sure they’re believable.
How sustainable is it when Negan takes half of everything from these communities that are producing?
Negan said he wasn’t going to plant a garden when someone else could do it for him.
Those sorts of regimes never last, and of course, we know it doesn’t last in this story either.
I love Jeffrey Dean Morgan, he’s hot as fuck, but Negan is a chore to get through, much like The Governor was. Of course, I am not the target audience for The Walking Dead, and I have no illusions that it will turn into a real character study about what happens when the shit hits the fan. For the most part, the writers shy away from those storylines. The few times they have have been the most interesting episodes, but probably not ratings generators.
I want to keep watching the show, I think about this show and its characters more than any other show I can recall. I have to remind myself that it is just a show. And yet I worry I will lose interest sooner than later.
As the scene unfolded last night, I watched through my hands. I have not been able to get the image of Abraham beaten to a pulp, lying lifeless on the ground out of my head. Same goes for the image of Glenn with one eye popped out (though I stopped watching and just listened after that). I felt the impact of those deaths just as surely as the characters who witnessed it.
Negan has a very fine line to walk
If Negan is too brutal and takes so much, what is the point?
When he was driving Rick around, trying to break him, I kept wondering why Rick kept fighting. I get it, he has Carl and Judith to protect. He’s recently let himself fall in love with Michonne and has that to go on for. Other characters, most of them, don’t have something like that to hold on to. Negan can get Rick to do things because he has leverage. For people like Sasha, Rosita, and eventually Tara when she learns about Denise, they’ll have to find a reason to go on in a world that is so incredibly brutal the title was indeed prophetic.
The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be
The title was taken from dialog from the final episode of the first season, when Dr Edwin Jenner provides a way out of the death trap that is the CDC.
He probably never imagined anyone like Negan and his Saviors.
I’m still traumatized by last night’s episode. I wish both characters were still with us and I am trying desperately to not lose hope in the writing of the show. We shall see.
Where do you think the story will go and where to you think it should go?
If you watched the final presidential debate last night, the one between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, then you know that Donald Trump and Late Term Abortion are terms that don’t go together. In other words, Donald Trump has no freaking idea what is going on with regard to late term or third trimester abortion.
Last night Donald Trump blathered on and on about how how late term abortions are performed. He kept repeating the word “baby” as if that made the process even more tragic than it already is.
I can tell you for a fact that women are not lining up outside abortion clinics so they can terminate a healthy pregnancy hours before they would otherwise give birth.
I know this because when I asked my ob/gyn to terminate my pregnancy at 36 weeks he told me he could not do so legally and suggested I go to Planned Parenthood for the procedure.
At 36 weeks gestation I learned that the baby I wanted so badly would die either shortly before or shortly after it was born. A girl it turns out. She had both spina bifida and anencephaly. There was no way she would live outside of my womb. No way. Period.
Only the base of her brain had formed, she lived because of the umbilical cord that connected us. Once it was cut, she would be unable to live on her own.
While I desperately wanted to terminate the pregnancy, because it was so emotionally painful to be pregnant knowing she was not going to survive, I was not in any hurry to end my connection with my daughter. And, truth be told, I did not want to cross the picket lines that were so common at abortion clinics in my town. I had escorted a friend or two for their abortions (first trimester abortions even though it is nobody’s business) and knew I was in no position to withstand the abuse that would be flung at a woman with a full term belly.
I decided to tough it out.
And by tough it out I mean by drinking, smoking and crying for two weeks.
When I reached 38 weeks gestation I was told we could induce labor. I had to wait two weeks to induce labor for a pregnancy that was going to fail. I’ll repeat that – I had to carry a baby that was going to die an extra two weeks because a bunch of men making the rules in a city so far removed from me felt it was my moral obligation to continue this pregnancy.
How fucking insane is that?
I probably should have said this earlier, but I tend to lean to the right politically speaking, just not on this or other social issues. If the republicans want to ever win another presidential election, they need to stop sticking their noses in something that is none of their fucking business.
While I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton, I stand with her with regard to abortion:
“Under Roe versus Wade, women have this right to make this highly personal decision with their family in accordance with their faith, with their doctor.”
“I think that the kind of late-term abortions that take place are because of medical necessity. And, therefore, I would hate to see the government interfering with that decision.”
Until Trump (or any politician) is pregnant with a baby that cannot live outside the womb, he needs to shut the hell up about the very difficult choice that thousands of women face each year.
For the love of Pete, stop unfriending each other!! Every five minutes someone is challenging their Facebook friends and followers to unfriend them if they hold a different opinion about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
“If you support that lying, misogynistic, groping dumbass – well just unfriend me now“, or “If you think she actually supports women then you can just unfriend me right now, in fact, I’ll do it for you“, or “if you’re planning on voting for this douchebag, I want you to unfriend me” and on and on.
Additionally, people keep posting how so much more qualified Hillary Clinton is compared to Donald Trump, as if that is even a consideration.
Let’s Break it Down
Let me first say — I don’t like either of them and I’m not supporting or defending either’s behavior — but here’s the thing:
It’s not about their qualifications or their experience.
You can argue it should be, and you would still be wrong.
It’s about their agenda and what path they want to lead this country on.
People aren’t supporting Donald Trump because they also want to grope women without permission, they are not supporting Trump because they are racists (though it is certain that some racists support Trump, just as some of them support Hillary Clinton), people support Trump because they don’t like the direction they think Hillary will take this country.
Conversely, Hillary’s supporters are not women haters and they are not necessarily liars (though, again, there are probably many people who support Hillary who lie), it isn’t that they are liars that make them want to support her. They support her because they like the campaign promises she is making and foolishly believe she might be able to keep them.
This is an interesting campaign because usually the candidate’s qualifications are pretty equal. At least they both, usually, have some experience in public office. Here that is not the case. Here we have a candidate who is probably more qualified than any candidate in history running against someone who has absolutely no political experience.
This is why many people can’t understand why anyone with a brain might vote for someone like Trump (among a whole bunch of other issues). It’s not even that they don’t like Hillary (even though so many people have some really intense negative feelings about her), it’s that they don’t like the policies she plans on putting forward.
It is precisely because they have different agendas (and different parties) that they can both be deplorable and people will still vote for them. Their actions don’t matter. It’s disgusting, but it’s the truth.
Telling someone to unfriend you because you don’t agree with them on one subject is incredibly arrogant. Do you really think you have that much clout that you can wave your Facebook friendship in front of them and believe it will motivate them to change their deeply held beliefs? Are you that self absorbed? Are we still in middle school?
God, it’s like Facebook has turned into Mean Girls. Do this or you are out of the club!
Unfriending someone because they don’t like Hillary or because they plan on voting for Trump is a waste of time, though it will cull your friends to a more homogenous list. And I suppose that’s always more fun – to have friends who think the exact same way that you do.
The anticipation is killing me. I’m not even sure that’s the right word, but I simply can’t wait much longer to find out who will win this election. Sure, I’m almost 100% certain it will be Hillary Clinton, but by the way the internet is acting (and her surrogates and the media are overreacting) one might get the impression the race is a lot closer than it really is.
Each day there’s something different – Hillary is sick, Trump says something horribly offensive to everyone. The email scandal becomes the news, for a few days at least, with each email dump from Wikileaks, Trump’s old tax returns are dug up. Pay to play, Trump Foundation, Parkinson’s, small hands, immunity, bankruptcy, Benghazi, Russia… the lists go on and on (you can see both of their scandal sheets here and here.
The thing is, nothing ever sticks to either one of them, they never have to explain anything, we all just forget about the last scandal as soon as the next one becomes breaking news. Both of them are deplorable.
The Anticipation is Killing Me!
I notice that one of them pulls ahead in the polls after a debate or news dump and I think to myself “great, there’s no way they can win the election after this”. I’m happy for a few minutes and then I realize that means the other one will win, and then I’m nervous again.
This election, especially the last few months of it, has been just like waiting for find out who Negan killed in the last episode of season 6 on The Walking Dead.
I’ve spent months trying to discern who it is that met his or her bloody death at the end of Lucille*. I’ve read numerous blogs, watched the show over and over, and I’ve even started hanging out in forums to see if I can’t read the room. Certainly there must be some indication somewhere of what’s to come?
Except there probably isn’t. The writers fucked with us all season 6, even faked Glenn’s death once, presumably so they could kill him again at the end of the season**. For all we know, they haven’t even shot the scene where the victim is revealed yet.
And just like the election, it doesn’t matter who. Whoever it is, it’s going to suck.
*Lucille is a baseball bat used by Negan, the baddest of bad guys in The Walking Dead, who wrapped it in barbed wire and likes to bash people to pulp with it to prove who’s in charge.
**I’m not really sure why I thought that one needed a footnote, anyway, I’ve forgotten it now.
While Jacob Wetterling’s remains have been found, there will be no closure for the Wetterlings. Over the weekend news sites and social media have been filled with articles about Jacob Wetterling. Jacob Wetterling’s remains were found this past weekend when the man who is suspected of abducting Jacob led authorities to his remains. I know better, but I looked at the comments. All of the comments were condolences to the family, many of them included the word “closure”. As in “now that he has been found, the family can have some closure”.
There will be no closure for the Wetterlings, or anyone else who suffers such a tragic and senseless act. Closure is a myth. The Wetterlings know what happened to their son, but I’m not sure that’s better than not knowing.
In the days to come we will learn how Jacob died, if he was sexually assaulted, if he was tortured, and how long he may have lived with the monster who abducted him. I spent all weekend thinking about Jacob. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know any of these details. Jacob has always been a happy boy wearing a bright yellow shirt and smiling for the camera. I don’t want to imagine him terrified and cold as he must realize what is going to happen to him.
I don’t want to know and yet I feel it is my duty to know. As a parent, a Minnesotan, a human being, it is our duty to learn the details of Jacob’s death. Not out of morbid curiosity, but as a show of support to his family. We must attempt to carry some of the pain caused by this monster, Danny Heinrich. The Wetterlings have given so much over the years, it is the least we can do.
As I write this there are reports that Danny Heinrich has accepted a plea deal and has given accounts of what happened that day 27 years ago.
The defendant described how he handcuffed Jacob and put him in the passenger seat of his car. Heinrich had a police scanner in his vehicle, and after hearing police respond to the kidnapping he decided he’d better drive back to Paynesville. He recalled Jacob at one point asking him, “What did I do wrong?” He took a series of backroads that wound through small central Minnesota communities until he reached a sewage pond road and drove to a gravel pit by a grove of trees. There, he forced Jacob to disrobe and masturbate him until the boy told Heinrich he was cold.
Jacob asked to be taken home, but Heinrich recalls telling the boy it was too far. On the way back to the car he noticed a police cruiser on the road nearby. Heinrich said he panicked, pulled his revolver and put two rounds inside. “I raised the revolver to his head, clicked once with no bullet in the chamber. Shot him twice after that. ” He admitted firing into the back of Jacob’s head after asking the boy to turn around so he could go to the bathroom.
The details got worse. Heinrich described how Jacob was still crying after the first shot, so he fired again.
Knowing what happened doesn’t make it all better. Finally knowing Jacob won’t be coming home ever, doesn’t provide closure.
As a mother I can only imagine what the Wetterlings are going through now that they do know Jacob will never come home. The constant questioning – Could we have done more?, Could we have prevented this? – those questions will haunt them now as it has these past 27 years.
There will be no closure for the Wetterlings, they’ve just entered a new kind of hell. Now that they know what happened they will likely play out that scene in their imagination when it’s quiet and they are not occupied. I hope they can find the necessary support to help prevent that from happening. As a mother my imagination is vivid. To this day I replay an accident my son had when he was 3 years old. One in which I was not present. I cringe each time because I was not there to prevent it or to comfort him in his pain. I have to actively push the thought out of my head – and it isn’t always easy, in fact it rarely is. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for Jacob’s parents.
We parent differently because of what happened to Jacob. I was 23 when Jacob went missing, I was engage and about to start my own family. In fact a few years later I would meet Patty Wetterling. Her mother was a patient of my father and Patty escorted her mom to the appointments. I worked in his office and was pregnant at the time, I recall marveling at Patty Wetterling’s grace and generosity.
She smiled, she was friendly, she chatted with other patients and the staff. She was not some tragic figure, she had a mission – to find her son – but she also learned that life keeps moving. When the child I was carrying died, I would think often about Patty Wetterling. If she can get through each day, I thought, certainly I can too.
My daughter died of natural causes and yet there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her and wonder if there was something I could have done differently to prevent her death. While Patty and Jerry have a deep well of memories to draw from of Jacob, the what-might-have-been probably will always cast a long shadow.
There is no closure, and I’m not sure anyone who loses a child or suffers a similar loss, would want it. Closure might work at the end of a marriage, but I don’t see it as even a desirable thing in this situation. Closure means to let go, to move on and move away. It means forgetting even if the things remembered are excruciatingly painful. As a parent I would want to hold on to all of that, even the horrible things, because that is all that is left.
We don’t have to look for Jacob anymore, maybe that’s what they meant by closure? But the fight isn’t over. The Wetterlings have made many positive changes for families who have children who go missing. They helped create the Amber Alert that has saved so many kids from terrible endings. I assume they will continue with this work even though they no longer have to search for their child.
I hope they can find peace, I hope they will continue to smile and laugh and find joy in this world.
They say this decade, the 2010s, has been pretty crappy for those who came of age during the 80s, we’ve lost so many of our icons. If that’s true, then this summer has truly epitomized that sentiment, especially for Minnesotans.
This Summer We Lost Prince and Found Jacob
Summer 2016 has been a roller coaster ride. While not officially summer, it was warm (and that’s close enough for those of us who spend 6 months of the year shoveling snow and enduring temperatures below freezing) when we learned that Prince had died of an opioid overdose, alone, at Paisley Park. It was a horribly senseless and tragic death. Wasteful. So much talent wasted due to addiction. That he was trying to get help when it happened made it even more tragic. We mourned, with the rest of the nation, for all the gifts he gave us. We sang and we danced, and we grieved.
Many superstars have passed during my lifetime, some of the biggest in recent memory including Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson, but none seemed to sting as badly as the loss of Prince. While the rest of the nation, and world for that matter, moved on, in Minnesota we continued to honor Prince with tribute concerts and celebrations. On August 26th, we celebrated Unite in Purple at the Minnesota State Fair, a night of music, dance and fireworks to celebrate the life of a legend. A few days later The Revolution gathered one more time at First Avenue to pay tribute to Prince.
This summer our presidential election was in full swing. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump raced to the bottom of the election. They have both lowered the bar to unimaginable depths. It’s a sad state of things when you have to choose the lesser of two evils, you’re still choosing evil. God help us come November.
Two days after we celebrated the birth of our nation Philando Castille was shot by a police officer during a traffic stop that was anything but routine. The aftermath was posted live on Facebook by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, as her daughter tried to comfort her from the back seat. Protests, mostly peaceful, led the news this summer. Traffic was shut down on I-94 and in front of the Governor’s residence on Summit Avenue as people tried to change the world.
Ironically, it was a video game that got all of us outside this summer. Pokémon Go got the kids, and adults out from in front of their computer screens and into the streets looking for digital monsters. It has been decades since neighborhoods had been filled with kids outside playing. It was wonderful, and poignant.
Labor Day weekend we learned that Jacob had been found. Jacob Wetterling had gone missing 27 years ago. A parent’s worst nightmare, he was abducted at gun point while riding bikes with his brother and a friend October 22nd, 1989. Jacob was one of the reasons kids didn’t play outside anymore. If a kid could go missing in America’s heartland, no place was safe. We kept our kids close.
We’d gotten our hopes up many times in the last 27 years, so many of us were skeptical that he had really been found. Sadly, within hours his mother, Patty Wetterling, confirmed what we had feared all these years.
(National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
Lately I’ve been thinking about all the crap I’ve cleaned up in my lifetime, and it’s a lot. And while cat vomit is not technically crap, it falls into the same category of things I’d rather not touch with my bare hands, which puts it at the same level as doo-doo.
No one ever said there would be this much cat vomit.
Dini, our 13 year old cat, was stung by a wasp this past spring. I posted this update on Facebook after it all went down:
Last Sunday Maddie and I were having lunch when Dini the cat started to hock up a furball. Dini was on the porch at the time so I just shut the door and let her get it out of her system while we finished lunch without having to hear and see the whole thing.
Except it wasn’t a furball. When I opened the door a couple of minutes later Dini was lying on the ground, all flattened on her side and breathing rapidly. She was clearly in distress and unresponsive.
Dini was in anaphylactic shock.
We scooped her up in a towel and got her down to the Animal Emergency Hospital where they immediately gave her some epinephrine. They weren’t sure if she was in shock or had thrown a clot because both presented similarly but the epi wouldn’t make the clot worse (and a clot had a really poor outcome) so they hedged their bets and were right.
Her breathing regulated and she was given some steroids which I was sent home with in pill form. 4 days later and a shredded arm from giving pills to her and today she finally ate some real food (instead of the baby food I was using to giver her crushed up pill in.)
The doc thinks she ate a bug on accident or got stung. It happened so fast and thankfully we were home and she was near us. If she had been in the basement we wouldn’t have known what was going on. She didn’t make any noise.
Cats don’t present with a swollen face like dogs do, they just go down. If you see your cat suddenly vomit, lose their bowels and start panting rapidly get them to the animal hospital as fast as you can.
It was scary, and I wasn’t sure we’d be bringing the cat home. Dini is pretty much an outdoor cat. She has been going outside at night since we got her, at least during the warm months. In the winter she stays inside and just skulks around the house hating on everything. Dini isn’t a cuddly cat. She hates Zelda and tolerates the dogs. She does not like to be picked up and only wants to be pet in one place, though that place changes as she sees fit. Basically I feed her and stay out of her way.
At least that’s how it was until she got stung. Ever since that time she hasn’t been able to hold down most food. I had been feeding her dry food, but she couldn’t hold that down at all. I switched to wet food, but soon found that any texture to it would make her vomit. I started buying wet food, not really paying attention to the brand. I purchased Fancy Feast because it was in a smaller can than the other cat foods, but I also knew she liked the Friskies shreds so I picked up some of that, too. At first she could only keep it down if I pureed a mixtures of the two in my Nutri Bullet.
Pureeing cat food in the Nutri Bullet isn’t really pleasant. Cleaning it is even worse. So, I started pureeing several cans at a time and storing it in a container in the fridge. The problem was unless I planned it right I’d run out of pureed food in the middle of the night, not something I wanted to do half asleep. I gave some Fancy Feast because I had half a can opened in the fridge, leftover from Zelda who will and can eat any kind of cat food. Turns out Dini could keep it down! She can only tolerate the Fancy Feast Classic recipes, not the grilled, chunky, roasted or other variations, just the classic. I started buying Fancy Feast in bulk when it came on sale at the pet store and at Sam’s Club.
If she just ate the Fancy Feast, all of our problems would be solved. Well, most of them anyway.
If she were to work with me and just eat the Fancy Feast, I wouldn’t be writing this post. She doesn’t do that. It doesn’t matter that now Zelda has to eat canned food, she doesn’t care. It doesn’t matter to her that now I have to feed the cats like 12 times a day because you can’t leave wet food out for too long and they only eat a tiny portion of their food at a time and then the dogs eat it.
The dogs, specifically Stanley the Bassador, actually eat more cat food than they do dog food.
I’m in a constant state of feeding someone, putting up gates and then enduring the dance that Stanley the Bassador does when he knows there’s food leftover on the floor with his name on it.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Because you see, even though Dini can keep down the Fancy Feast (and I am grateful for Purina for making the one food she can keep down), she still tries to eat other things like the dog food and small rodents she kills outside.
This morning I woke up to a bloody mess of vomit in front of the back door. I only noticed it because I smeared it all over the floor when I went to let the dogs out.
I know I’m supposed to be empathetic to this cat. It has to suck that she can’t keep food down, but dammit she needs to work with me on this. I either need to get those pet food bowls that close when the wrong animal is using them or get everyone on a schedule of when they have to eat and take the food away when the time is up. No more put-everyone’s-food-out-and-let-them-sort-it-out, because Dini will crunch up the huge dog food kibbles (and then puke them up on my window ledges, on the couch, dining room chairs, in the laundry room where the light is really bad and have I mentioned if you are barefoot and you step on it you can literally glide across the floor and if planned properly do a triple lutz?). She could care less if I tell her not to, she’s going to do what she wants.
Because she’s a cat, dammit.
I’d be cool with the cat vomit, I actually said to a friend – “I’ve gotten used to the cat vomit, it’s just something I do before my morning coffee” the other day, but Stanley has been leaking a lot lately too and that’s just more than I can stand. Twice this week, I’ve had to take apart the couch and wash it because he got on it and must have sneezed or laughed too hard at something on TV (wait, that’s me). I don’t know why he leaks, he’s 13 or 91 in dog years. Either way, it’s a huge pain in the ass to clean up all of this crap. This afternoon, I noticed some dirt on the kitchen floor, it looked like the dirt that comes out of my sneakers – mud that gets caught in the tread and then dries and falls out onto the floor. There were some chewed up dog kibbles as well so I swept it up. Except it wasn’t dried and it wasn’t mud. Someone’s butt leaked poop. I don’t know who it was, and I don’t care, I’m just sick of cleaning it up.
If someone had told me there would be this much cat vomit I might have never had kids. You see my kids are the cat lovers, not me. I’m a dog person or a cat-who-thinks-she’s-a-dog-person. It’s been 10 years since my youngest kid was in diapers, and it’s also been 10 years since I had to change my mother’s diaper (thank goodness she’s in a wonderful care facility), I thought I was done with all this crap. I don’t think it ever stops. I have come to understand that life is just about cleaning up crap from those you love.