Thursday, September 24, 2009

What a feast!

When my dear mother visited us some time ago, my daughters continually echoed her exclamation of: "What a feast!" whenever we served a meal.

Hey, we cannot allow our guests to go hungry.

Well, this is the week where the exclamation has earned its way into the record book (the record book's name? "Clichés we know and lov-... well, we know"). Why?

Well, we just had our anniversary, and my cara spoza said it was the best one yet. Why? Because, instead of her prepping the roast chicken, I basted it with the mustard and butter and put it into the oven that I preheated, and I opened that bottle of Dom ... even though we were saving it for that big contract signing ... and it was she that found out that the bottle was vintage 1996 ... the year we were married.

And Até had the presents all figured out, and she did drag me to the store so she could buy these self-same presents, wrapped them, and then presented them when I opened the box holding the moccha cake from the Swiss bakery inscribed with "For My Sweetie."

Yes, my sweetie enjoyed the surprises, thought and effort.

Well, of course, the next day brunch had stuffed baked potatoes, hard-boiled eggs and corn beef hashi.

"What a feast!" my little one exclaimed.

Tomorrow is the little one's birthday, and the mama has already begun the preparations, sending the thoughts of sleep miles from the little kiddies heads as they helped unpack the groceries and found jell-o pudding and marshmallows.

Marshmallows, from my cara spoza?

"Who are you?" I demanded of the personification of the Mary Cassatt.

Her answering smile was small, sweet and cryptic.

It is funny in a way. This post has got me thinking about topics further afield ("What's funny about you getting off topic, geophf?" you ask. My answer is editted to keep the kid-friendly rating for this blog). And that is: words. Funny how we (cultures) adopt and transform words to describe the oddest things. We hinglish types call an article of clothing used for support a "bra" ... which means "arm," and when we wish to rave on through the night we go to a "party."

Ever think about that one? I never did, until I learnt the Swedish word for it: "fest," which is equally inaccurate. Our word means "group of people" (at restaurants you hear all the time: "geophf, party of four; geophf, party of four"), and their word means "food." Neither captures the essence: a "party" is not a mundane group of people, and people don't go to "fests" for the food (even though they say that's what brought them).

But, then again, what word captures the essence of the thing described ... I mean besides the word "abstruse" ...
abstruse: n. 1. abstruse.
Hm. Somehow we started with feasts, went to a garden party, and ended up with a meditation on the game of go.

Wait a minute, geophf, I was with you up to the go thing, but then ... ?

Come on, now, it's a `pataphor! For, after all, the word "abstruse" is defined as "recondite," and "recondite profundity" is the term Fujisawa Shuko (藤沢 秀行), one of go's three crows

(which I wrote about ... tangentially ... to nothing) and a noted calligrapher often took to study. Apparently, the term "recondite profundity" has a koan-like significance to professional go players attempting to grasp than ineffable essence of what it is to grok the game.

You do know, don't you, that "to grok" means "to eat" ... right? So that puts us back right where we started:

What a feast!

Well, this post was more a feast for the mind's eye, as opposed to something that would delight a gourmand or epicure ... but sensuum defectui ... and all that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It hit me

Yes, I miss the puke and the poop.

Not really in the "Oh, I miss stepping in and then cleaning poop and puke." No, I don't miss it that way. It was always annoying when we had it, and one of the few good things I can say about it was that it enforced a habit of vigilance.

Watch where you step.

Visitors learned that, almost to a person, the hard way. We would invariably forget to pass on that tidbit of vigilance, and, in the early morning, we would see perfect footprints of people's "chinellas" (outlined in ... well, Mr. Darcy leavings) as they had (invariable) awakened during the night for a sip of water and tracked much more through the house.

No, I don't miss the smell; I don't miss the mess; I don't miss the following cleaning and scrubbing and disinfecting and washing and bagging and ...

I don't, but I do. For I've caught myself a few times already. I would walk into the house, and I would test the air for that unmistakable smell that told me I needed to get out the paper towels and cleaner. I would catch myself looking around a room to see where Mr. Darcy had marked his domain. I would close a door behind me to make sure Mr. Darcy doesn't go downstairs and run amok.

But none of these things are now necessary. By his dying, Mr. Darcy has given our house back to us.

This "gift" of his dying doesn't make things less arduous ... no, it makes things emptier.

Yes, I miss the puke and the poop, because I miss him, that "don't hold me" cat that would lie on his back, not for belly rubs, but oh, the better to eviscerate you (your arm would do just as well). That cat that would chase squirrels as far as the tree (at 21 pounds at his biggest he'd climb the first meter of the tree, maybe, before thinking about other things).

I hate death. It casts such a pall over so many other important-to-keep-going things. Important to keep going, yes, but death makes one ask: "why keep going if this is your end, too?"

And the sun still rises and the sun still sets. Interminably; relentlessly. Life still goes on, whether you elect to participate ... or not.

And in spite of all of that ... and despite all of that ... I still miss the puke and the poop, 'cause I miss me some warm, furry, claw-y, feisty Mr. Darcy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lucky 13

He was the cat who got locked in the cat food closet overnight almost 13 years ago. We found him the next morning, a few pounds heavier, next to the ripped cat food bag. Since then, he's the cat who ate when he was stressed. Just like his humans.

If you've ever been a guest at our house, then we are sure you will remember him. You may actually have helped us clean up after his *mess* for he shows his affection that way. Puke here. Poop there. As if to tell us that THIS is home. All of it.

Life without him will be different. Doug and I will find out how much different in the next few days, and it will hit us. We've lived all our married life with this cat. Thirteen years with cat hair all over our stuff, our children, our selves.

Goodbye, Mr. Darcy.

You will be sorely missed.

Time of death: 4:12 PM

Our cat, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy ("Mr. Darcy" for short) has been fading away this past six months very slowly, but this past week he's just went away.


But he was still spry, even though he could barely pull himself out of the bed. He was still there, seeking attention and affection, even though his mews were faint and complaining. The rheumatism.

Last night, he couldn't make it to the litter box anymore, and today, all he could do is lie beside me in the big bed, he couldn't manage an escape when my cara spoza came in to check on us (cats on the bed is a no-no).

It was time.

I brought him into the clinic, and, wouldn't you know it, he worked up enough energy to try to hide from me when it was time to go. I held him as the tranquilizer took effect, and it did so expeditiously. And then he got the shot. He was gone before I even felt him go. He was still warm, but his chest wasn't moving anymore, but I could only tell by looking into his eyes.

"He's dead?" I asked the doctor who looked like he was about to cry, too.

"Yes," he answered quietly, "he may gasp, but his heart's stopped."

The aide couldn't look at me as she offered her regrets and offered not to give me the receipt. "I'm sorry for your loss," she said.

"Thank you," I replied verbally, but I thought me, too.

No more hugs and rubs and scratches from our playful ocelot.

I wonder when it will hit me.

September 11th, 2009, 4:12 pm. A minute before he was leaning heavily into my embrace, and then a minute later he was gone.

Another reason for me to hate this date.