Monday, October 24, 2011

Goodbye, Porky Baby

It's been just a few weeks since my Skeeter-Waller disappeared, but I have already experienced another loss in my animal family.

Back in the early spring of this year, my aunt and uncle (who live across the street from me) were given two newborn piglets. A mother razorback was caught in a trap and gave birth as she died. They were sickly and had a hard time thriving in a backyard, as opposed to the open woods with their mother. One of the piglets did not make it, but Porky was a fighter from the very start. They almost lost him as he was not digesting the milk well, but I came up with the suggestion of adding baby cereal to it. It worked, and he started getting healthier.

And started to grow.

Happy Easter, little pig!

I watched him make friends.

Porky & Dottie (a chihuahua)

My aunt and uncle both went out of town for separate jobs over the summer, so his care was left to my cousins and I. Since I was staying at their house while they were gone, I spent a lot of time out back with the Porkman. He loved scraps, and I loved spoiling him rotten. One of his favorite things was being chased in the back with a waterhose. He would pretend to want to run away, but would have to turn around to rush through the spray.
He also loved him some Cheesy Poofs.

Not lame at all, buddy.

After a while, I was the only one who would spend any length of time in the pen with him. He got extremely large very quickly, and had no qualms in knocking someone over in attempted play. He and I always had a bit of an understanding - if he didn't knock me over, I'd sit on his back and scratch his ears while he ate. 
He always glad to see me. As soon as Porky heard me walk outside in the mornings or get out of the car after my evening at work, he would squeal as loud as possible so I would remember that he was back there.
Porky crying for my attention & meeting Lila

Last night, my grandmother told me that my uncle was finally going to have to take care of Porky. By take care of, I mean slaughter. The neighbors were complaining about his size and odor, and he was starting to grow tusks. We contacted several local petting zoos, and some that were out of state. We also contacted some regular zoos to see if anyone would take him. No one was interested. They couldn't get him in the trailer to take him to his destiny, so they wanted me to try. He trusts me, and I couldn't bring myself to put my heart into coaxing him to his death by telling him that "it was alright". I did get to say goodbye, and that meant a lot. Here are some pictures from last night:

I was told to not get in the pen with him so I wouldn't get my work clothes dirty, but how could I resist some last piggy kisses?

Giving me piggy love

He was granted an Eleventh Hour reprieve last night because he knocked my uncle on his ass when he tried to drag him into the trailer. My Porkman is a smart boy and knew that there was nothing for him in the cage.

When I came home tonight, my daughter wanted to know if I was going to go feed my "Porky baby" (yes, I told her that he was my baby, too. All of my animals are.) some apples. My grandmother overheard a snatch of our conversation and mouthed to me across the dinner table that Porky was no longer with us. I had to hide my tears from Bug as we ate. I'm not sure how I'm going to tell her yet, or even if I will at all, since we've experienced so much loss in the past year. I do know that I will not be able to eat meat for a while as I mourn him. I can promise you that I will not eat a bite of him. I understand the beauty of raising your own food, but I'll go to the grocery store before I eat my friend.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Adventures with: Compartmentalizing

You know those mixed nuts that are so popular during the holiday season? Well, I'm a little bit nuttier than those. Okay, a lot. Something that keeps me from going completely over the top is compartmentalization. I like to take things in my life and put them in pretty little boxes.  I'll illustrate an example of what I do.

Imagine an empty room. That's a person when I first meet them. Completely empty, with no dust no clutter, just a blank slate. Sounds nice, doesn't it?

Yes, the carpet is somewhat ugly, but I use my imagination for other things. Like Brad Pitt. Naked. Wearing bunny ears... Wait. What were we talking about? Oh yes, compartmentalization.

Usually, I just pile stuff up in the room and let it just hang out. However, there are some instances that I'm forced to box up some things and put them in the corner. It's just a little thing, nothing major.

See? No big deal. That can be placed in a box, out of the way, in a dark, dusty corner. You can remember it's there, but it's not something that has to affect the room as a whole.

Sometimes I have rooms that look like this:

That can be a friend, family member, or coworker who has strayed off the path a little. S/he is not necessarily a bad person, but you need to take these things aside from the whole. Well, unless it's time for an intervention or something. Anyways, what you're seeing is the boxes in a corner, not the entire room (because I'm lazy). There are so many great and other things standing in front of the boxes. That's why I have the boxes there: I don't want to dwell on the ugly. I don't like to hate, be angry, or hold grudges. I like to just put the bad in a box, and move it out of my way. It's still there, but it doesn't have to change the atmosphere of the room.

Lately, I've had a problem. Instead of boxing up the bad stuff, I've had to compartmentalize some of the good stuff, too. I felt like some things were off-limits, so a special room in my mind started to look like this:

I know that those boxes aren't supposed to be there. The happy stuff is supposed to be floating loose so I can see it, experience it, embrace it, and I've been putting it away.

It threw me off course. When I took the good and the bad out of the room, it was nothing. It was just mediocrity, which left me confused and angry. So last night, I opened a happy box. Today, I ripped up that box to make sure I didn't use it again. I will rip the other ones up, too. The happy should be out, floating around, and making me giggle and sneeze. No more will I hold back the positive with the negative. I will let the positive thrive.

I'd rather close off the room entirely than have everything in boxes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Adventures with: International Urban Fantasy Month

The lovely Jaye Wells is hosting a CONTEST over on her blog in honor Urban Fantasy Month. I thought I would share my entry (haikus, no less!) here, or else I'll forget I wrote them at some point.

Randy little Jane
Led off course by Libido
Right into trouble
Inspired by the Jane True series by Nicole Peeler

Druid Atticus
Joined by trusty Oberon
Down at Fraggle Rock
Inspired by the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne

Red-headed step child
Pity about her mani
Ruined by the graves
Inspired by the Sabina Kane series by Jaye Wells 

American Gods
Overrun by fame and greed
Hope in the Shadow
Inspired by American Gods by Neil Gaiman 

Sweet buxom Sookie
She can read your thoughts with ease
While she bangs the fang
Inspired by the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris 

Mercedes Thompson
Sexy skin walker Native
Glad to fix your Bug
Inspired by the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs 

Brash Rachel Morgan
Sexiest Dead Witch Walking
Lost without her friends
Inspired by The Hollows series by Kim Harrison 

Sorry Jim Butcher
The Dresden Files must wait
On my TBR
Inspired by The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Now head on over to Jaye's blog and show UF some love!

Adventures with: Not Yet

One of my favorite things to tell myself is "not yet". I have so many things that I would like to do, but am I ready? "Not yet", I tell myself.

Here is my official promise to myself:

The time has come, Kayla. All of the "not yet"s that you've been giving yourself are no longer of any value. The time to follow your dreams are at hand. You've always dreamed of writing a book - don't wait for NaNoWriMo. Sit down with your notes, your ideas, and your dreams and START WRITING. Take that first step.  You've worked hard on your degree for many years - chase it at a full run. You owe it to yourself to complete your education. You've promised it to yourself, and you don't want to be someone who breaks promises. Paint! You may not be Picasso, but who was he before he picked up a paintbrush? You're seeing an awesome guy - don't hold back in fear of rejection. As the great Robert A. Heinlein put it, "Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win." You might lose, but how can you expect everything if you don't give everything?

All of my dreams may not come true, but I don't want it to be because I didn't think I was big enough to reach them. I need to live my life giving myself fully to all that I do. If I don't succeed, I'll try again. I'll start building ladders if my arms aren't long enough. If a dream evaporates, I'll make a new one in its place to chase. I've realized that none of this is going to just fall into my lap. As Rafiki told Simba in the Lion King:

It is time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Adventures with: Lederhosen and Lip Wax

This was a busy weekend for me. I had to get Gingerman through the bar, do battle with a migraine, shuffle work and motherhood, and go to the Red River Revel with Bug & friends. I could tell you about any of that. You would be bored. I was bored writing it (mostly because I was leaving out the best stuff), so I'm skipping to the good parts. That's right, we're going straight to the lederhosen.


Do we all know what lederhosen is? No? Okay, here you go:

Now imagine that you've been seeing someone who you really enjoy for a few months. You've never met anyone really important to said person, except the Best Friend and Best Friend's Spouse. That is where we were in our whatevership last night. After I took Bug to the Revel and then to my mother's apartment, I asked GM if he would like to spend some time with me after his family function. He was agreeable, and I went to pick him up with a friend (who doesn't have a nickname yet).

GM met us outside with a stein in his hand. I was immediately jealous because this man has been bragging about his "wheat" for weeks. He then proceeded to invite us inside after I brought up the fact that he was trying to get in the car with an open container. I. Was. TERRIFIED. Not about the illegal quality of having the beer in the car, but about meeting people! I had just left the Revel, which took up my month's People Quota, and this man wanted me to go into his house! I wasn't at my best by any stretch, but I was glad I took the time to smear a little makeup on after work.

We get inside and EVERYONE is dressed in traditional German garb. GM just had on a lederhosen t-shirt, but everyone else there had on either one of those or lederhosen proper - men and women! And they were dancing to polka music! I hate the early stages of a whatevership, but lederhosen definitely makes meeting folks rather enjoyable. Maybe next year I'll bring an accordion.

Lip Wax

 At the Revel on Saturday, my friend took me a little off to the side. Apparently, the sun was hitting my sweet ginger peach fuzz on my face in that special way that Western women learn young to dread. 

I never had this problem before I had Bug. Yes, I have bushy eyebrows, but I think shaping them is silly. I don't have a unibrow, and even the most groomed of women begrudgingly admit that the shape is not terrible. If I get a wild hair (hardy har har), I'll even do a little plucking. Honestly, I am well-stocked in the chest department, so I doubt very many people even realize that I have eyebrows. Yeah, I said it. Yet the other facial hair slowly turning darker is all Bug's fault. I strongly believe that each time you're forced to yell at your child for something, it turns one little hair follicle black, or brown in my case. I usually just pluck it because I hate waxing, and if it has to be done, I pay someone else to do it. I am a wimp.

I was feeling a little cheap tonight. I remembered that I had a home waxing kit in my bathroom that had been up there since the last time I decided to do something stupid. I ended up chickening out and subjecting the poor children at Guy's Academy to my sweet ginger peach fuzz after I bought it. I'm flattered that they always laugh at my two or three dark hairs, but I digress. (Side note: Why the Hell am I writing this?! Why are you still reading it?!) Anyways, eyebrow waxing is the Most Terrible Awful Thing, and I didn't need to do that. It's been a few months since I've waxed, I'm tired of plucking, I have the goods, so why not wax my own lip?

In case you don't know, there are people out there who say that I am an intelligent woman. You can be the judge on this one. I don't care much for pain, and I know how much I hate waxing. Taking both of those things into consideration, I went ahead and put the hot wax everywhere that needed some touch up work. I slathered it on good and thick, so I couldn't change my mind about it.

I pulled off the first section. I did not feel like an intelligent woman. I felt like a hobbit getting locked in Moria - there was no turning back and the worst was yet to come. Hell, I was feeling as hairy as a hobbit because there's nothing like wax to make you aware of every single follicle.

After the second section, I was cursing Sally Hansen and all things dealing with American female beauty. I have a brain damnit! Why am I pulling off the skin of my face?! I am of Slavic descent, for the most part, and I was crying out for Perun (as he is portrayed in Hammered by Kevin Hearne because he is very fun) to save me from my foolhardiness because he loves a good hairy woman! He didn't. I didn't expect that he would. I was on my own.

I swear to Bob, this whole thing ended with a pair of scissors. I won't go into much details. I'm sure most of you lady-folks know exactly what happened. Or not. I am a bit strange. Either way, it was done. I got all of the wax off of my face, along with most of the offending hair and a good bit of skin. It would've even been okay if my grandmother hadn't burst into laughter when I came into the living room.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bring Skeeter Home

Hi, my name is Skeeter. My mommy calls me Skeeter-Waller, but my friends call me Skeeter-Man.

I am a little over a year old, and I am lost. Being lost makes me angry.

I haven't been home since Tuesday morning, so if you see me around town, please bring me home. Email Kayla (my owner) if you find me. Her email is kbeck (at) shreve-lib (dot) org .

I will be eternally grateful.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Adventures with: What I’ve Learned Since High School

During the month of September, the high school I attended held its annual Homecoming game. There was also a reunion, but I’m much too young for any of that nonsense. Anyway, I was in a midst of a migraine, so I missed the whole shebang. Instead of giving commentary on “Adventures with: High School Reunions”, I give you the things I’ve learned since high school.

1.)  It is NOT the best time of your life, unless you peak at age 16. (If you did, sorry. No, really, I am.) High school is horrible. You stink, your hormones are raging, and you have to be around other stinking, hormone-driven teenagers. How can that be fun at all? You’re subjected to bullies, peer pressure, getting into a good college, being in the right clique, wearing the right clothes, etc. I mean, who really enjoys that except for the before stated peakers? Below is me as a teenager. No, I was not a peaker (thank Bob!).

This was taken with a 35mm camera, so it does not fully capture the freckles and auburn hair. *shudders* Yes, I did not exactly have an easy time.

2.) It is okay to be a dork. (Yay!) I gave up any attempt at being cool when I was in grade school. I preferred books to real people and situations. I did not like brushing my hair or wearing makeup. Instead of trying to fit in with the cool crowd, I made some extra money by charging them to do their homework. Did they like me? Sure, but only as much as you would like guy who changes the oil in your car. Did I care? Nope. I used the money to buy my books. I also accepted Cuban cigars as payment, as I developed a taste for them in middle school. Yes, I was the smart kid with the cash, smoking Cuban cigars. All I needed was a Hugh Hefner robe.

I did find my “dorky” niche, though. I joined FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) and followed it all the way to presidency of our school’s chapter my senior year. I even got to go to the National Competition in Orlando, Florida. Is going to Disney World worth being a dork? As Mickey Mouse would say – “You betcha!”

I’m not doing much with myself now, but as a side note, most of my fellow dorks are VERY successful individuals. I’m talking doctors, lawyers, and such.

3.) You get your high school crush. I don’t know how this works out for the guys, but I can tell you ladies that if you don’t get your guy then, you can have him later. The trick to this is, you send him a private message on Facebook and somewhere in the message insinuate that you did indeed have a crush on him. Since he’s probably the guy who peaked in high school and is going through a messy divorce with his wife, he will cling to you like white on rice. So go ahead – get you some. Then you better run like hell and get that restraining order. What is the moral of this story? You can totally tell all of your high school friends, “Hey, did I ever tell you that I slept with Johnny McCool?” Just don’t get mad when they hassle you about his getting syphilis from Janet Fastly in the 11th grade.

So, children young and old, that is what I’ve learned. Life does get better, being yourself is golden, and yes, I slept with the captain of the baseball team. I just won’t tell you from which year. ;-)