he’s a tramp

May 26, 2005

As I roamed the aisles, peering into forlorn faces and pitifully sorrowful pup-eyes, I was, unexpectedly, emotional. I thought I was a hook, line, and sinker cat person, but it turns out I have a soft spot for dogs as well. Or maybe just for dogs that transport me directly into _Lady & the Tramp_. Listening to the soft whimpers and croons, I would not have been surprised to hear it all turn into a melodious chorus of “He’s a tramp.”
I am beginning the search for a dog for my folks, as they have had some trouble finding affordable adoptable pets up in their neck of the woods. While I had been already to the adoption fairs at the pet store, this was my first time to the Humane Society itself. So, I guess I was unprepared, not knowing what to expect.
While I did not find the perfect puppy–yet–I am now prepared to frequent the place in my quest. Today was certainly not fruitless, though; upon leaving the place, I was inspired to change my plans and go home again just so I could love on my own home-ful kitty, grateful to be able to do something concrete for at least one creature after being overwhelmed by all those I could not bring with me.
Mind you, I am in no way ready to be showered with homeless pets–so, please, no doorstep donations :-)

why i tell stories

May 18, 2005

As any of you who has read my blog with any regularity has probably noticed by now, I tend to tell stories. I believe in telling stories; more specifically, I have found that by telling my own stories I begin to glimpse the mystery and meaning that can so easily be hidden behind the daily-ness of a life.
My recognition of this drive came not so long ago, when I began to awaken in the night with the itch to tell a story. I would lie there wide-eyed and restless, feeling as though I needed to somehow give birth, yet not knowing why I felt this way. This was the sort of sleeplessness that does not need to be soothed to sleep; rather, it was the kind that needs to be nurtured, and gently coaxed until it can release its creative seed.
This was happening regularly, and each night it was a different event—a specific happening from my life, that was swirling about in my head.
And so I began to listen to it. When I awoke, I rose and began to write, to put words to that story. I wrote of childhood wounds, of silly anecdotes, of events in my adult life—all was fair game when it came to the need to tell a story.
The seed of the drive was taking root much earlier however, well before waking moments when I actually put words to these stories. It began when my family first moved to the U.S., and I would have those childhood introductory conversations.
“What’s your name? . . . Is that your sister?—she looks just like you.”
And then: “Why do you talk funny? . . . Where are you from? . . . Why’s doesn’t your Mommy walk?”
That was my cue to explain that I wasn’t really American, not like they were. I was African—or maybe Canadian—but apparently I sounded British? . . .I wasn’t quite sure, actually . . . but Mommy is paraplegic, because she was in a car accident when we lived in Africa. Daddy was in the car too. He’s in heaven now.”
It was always the same after that—a stunned silence, or a series of stumbling apologies: sorry for asking, sorry for making you talk, sorry that happened. A quick change of the topic or, more likely, an excuse to find a more normal playmate for the day.
But I was not sorry. I wanted to keep talking. I wanted to tell them about Africa, about my family, about what my Daddy was like. I wanted to tell them how tall the trees were in my village, and how small the huts looked from high in the Paw-paw tree. I wanted to tell my stories, and I wanted someone to listen.
So when, as an adult, I began to start telling my stories, what I realized was that the telling gave life to the experiences. Whether I was telling the story of my cat’s love affair with his pet duck or the story of scaling the icy mountain to get to work in the morning, the telling was as important as the tale itself. Because somehow the words give significance to the event. And suddenly life is no longer just a string of daily routines: each day is a glimpse into the mysterious beauty of the woven whole.
There is a power in the telling. A making real. So I speak the words, and write the stories . . . and live.

rug r.i.p.

May 14, 2005

Never underestimate the brute strength of a woman on a mission. Today I hacked, sawed, ripped, and tugged my way through this apartment’s original carpeting, and there is now a delightful mountain of rolled strips of carpet and carpet padding by my trash bins.
After a good bit of time mulling over the prospect of tackling such a task—was it even possible for me to do?—I devised a plan and today, having a day of freedom, I carried it out. With rather pleasant results, I might add.
I am left, for the moment, with a swept, mopped, and re-ordered apartment, minus only the pet-soiled, stained, and generally unappealing carpet. Mind you, this does mean that, instead of carpet, I am the proud owner of a paint-speckled and knobby concrete slab of a floor. Oddly enough, it really is not so bad—especially when it smells clean and orange-essence fresh :-)
The day also included a trip to Lowe’s, where I decided upon a tile that I purchased—along with primer—and will begin laying next week. Concrete does not bother me, but unfinished tasks do. Consequently, I planned the tile-laying for the weeks when I will be house-sitting and will not have to stay here looking at a partially-tiled floor. My plan at the moment is just to come and lay as much tile each day as I have time for, then returning to finished house. By the time I am finished with the house-sitting job, I will also have completed the lovely tiling. And don’t worry: I will not get too terribly attached to the concrete in the meantime.

I am always pleasantly surprised all over again at how much satisfaction comes from undertaking such projects as these . . . * sigh * . . . the satisfaction of a job well done :-)