Sunday, December 21, 2014

a poem

She is a year ago.
She is the ache in the empty,
the first time you changed your mind
and the last time you were sorry about it.
She is a city sleeping beside you,
warm and vast and familiar, streetlights
yawning and stretching,
and you have never. You have never.
You have never loved someone like this.
She is your first stomach ache.
Your first panic attack and your
favorite cold shower.
A mountain is moving somewhere
inside of you, and her handprints are all over it.
Here. Here. Here, you love her.
In the fractured morning, full of
too tired and too sad, she is the first
foot that leaves the bed.
She is the fight in you, the winning 
and the losing battle
floating like a shipwreck in your chest.
When they ask you what your favorite moment is, 
You will say Her. 
You will always say Her.

Caitlyn SiehlHer, Her, Her 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

16 years ago...

... a doctor published a study. It was completely made up, and it made us all sicker." This. I love this so much. It's interesting because people reject vaccinations for their kids under the guise of "thinking for yourself," but then they site sources like for information. I respect that people want the best for their kids, but I'm not sure that "thinking for yourself" is the best approach when compared to case-control studies and you know, numbers.

They say, Think Before You Vaccine. They say, Do Your Homework. They say they don't trust Big Pharma. I don't think finding random websites to glean information has ever been an acceptable way of doing homework. And I almost can accept not trusting news sources, but in that case, consistency would dictate that you wouldn't trust the random ones either.

Monday, December 8, 2014

cat man of west Chicago

I love this story. I'm not exactly sure what touches me the most. Probably the fact that this man took notes on the cats, which makes me feel like I should get a notebook instead of writing things on scraps of paper that I subsequently lose. (I am literally writing a to-do list on a scrap of paper, as I am saying I should not write on a scrap of paper) Or maybe that he helped so many cats... and I have been tracking this cat in the alley behind my house for like a year unsuccessfully. Some people are just better at life than others. Either way... we need some good stories these days.
Afew years back, while knocking on doors in North Lawndale—a neighborhood that struggles with poverty, foreclosures and drug-related crime—Annette Bellezzo and Kris Badillo met Arthur Burrell.
An Army veteran and lifelong animal lover, Burrell got started in feline rescue when he took in two tiny kittens he’d found on the street.
By the time he ran into Bellezzo and Badillo—staffers with the HSUS Pets for Life Chicago team—Burrell had eight cats at home. And he would wander the streets and alleyways, sometimes after midnight, looking for others to help. He gave them names like Smoke-a-Dope, Ooka Nooka, Sparkle Treadwell, Bubbles, False Face, Short Body, Squirrel and Weasel. In a spiral-bound notebook, he meticulously documented each cat’s history and medical issues.
  • At the grand opening of the Pets for Life Chicago office in September, Burrell discussed cat care with The HSUS’s Betsy McFarland. The event was “all he talked about until he got sick,” says Bell. ”Two days later, he was still wearing his name tag on his shirt.” Nicole Marie Thomas
Bellezzo and Badillo were even more impressed when Burrell invited them inside the basement apartment he shared with his wife, stepchildren and several rescued cats. In one bedroom, Burrell had created a feline playground, fashioning jungle gyms and cat trees from recycled cardboard and rope that he strung from the ceiling. He made teal-colored cat toys from empty Newport cigarette packs, and cat beds from empty boxes and old T-shirts. Each cat had her own brush and feeding bowl labeled with her name, remembers Badillo, community organizer for PFL. And partly because his wife, Yolanda Bell, insisted that there be “no cat smell,” everything was spotlessly clean.
“Everybody in the neighborhood knew him as ‘the cat man,’” says Bell. Neighbors would knock on his door or stop him in the street, asking for help placing kittens, assistance getting pet food or advice on cat care.
In the two years the Pets for Life team knew him, Burrell rescued 51 cats and kittens from the streets. Pets for Life provided him with flea and tick medications and other supplies and helped sterilize and find homes for the kittens he found. In turn, Burrell introduced the team to pet owners in the community and spread the word about the program to other community cat caretakers.
He was “like a whirlwind,” remembers Bellezzo, coordinator for the HSUS Pets for Life Chicago program. “He had an infectious, positive attitude about animals.”
  • With boundless energy and a huge heart for animals, Burrell devoted most of his waking hours to taking care of neighborhood cats. “He’d always have cat food and a jug of water,” says Bell. Annette Bellezzo/The HSUS
Although he lived on a fixed income, Burrell spent a lot of his own money caring for North Lawndale’s community cats. And limited resources didn’t stop him from dreaming up ways to help more of them. In September 2014, he started sketching out plans for a program he called Caring About Felines Everywhere. The CAFE program, he wrote in his notebook, would “get stray cats off the street and get them spayed/neutered.” It would share information with people about cat care and help owners in underserved areas with food and veterinary care. It would find homes for friendly strays.
Sadly, Burrell, who was 57 and suffered from pulmonary disease, died a month later. While he didn’t live long enough to make his CAFE program a reality, because of Burrell “a lot of people in the neighborhood started getting into their pets,” says Bell. Now neighbors and family members are pitching in to care for the animals who meant so much to him.
“He was really this Pied Piper one-man cat program,” says Kenny Lamberti, Pets for Life program manager. “He became our response team.”
“He was so happy before he died,” Bell remembers, “because he thought he was really going to get a chance to do something” for the cats.
We give thanks for Arthur—because he already had.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"... "A person"

"Do you remember the happiest moment of your life?"
"My dad used to play trumpet in a big band. One time when I was a kid, he was playing on a cruise ship, and I got to dance with a very wealthy woman."
"Do you remember the saddest moment of your life?"
"When they made me start taking the medication."
"I found a ladybug, a beetle, and a little tiny bug that I don’t know."
"So what advice would you give to other bug collectors?"
"You have to be really focused and find a rock that is big but not too big and you lift it up and if there’s not any bugs you put it back down. But if there is a bug and you like it, you put it in your bug jar. But if you don’t like it you put it back and put the rock back down."

"What’s your sister’s best quality?"
"What does ‘quality’ mean?"
"What’s the best part of her personality?"
"She doesn’t really have a personality yet."

"We’re eye doctors."
"What’s something about the eye that most people don’t realize?"
"The eye doesn’t see. The brain sees. The eye just transmits. So what we see isn’t only determined by what comes through the eyes. What we see is affected by our memories, our feelings, and by what we’ve seen before."

So tired but couldn't stop reading through Humans of New York tonight. I've been trying to be more focused when I do things and do things that are more satisfying. I guess this was my alternative to mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. The first one kind of got me because I've been on the prescribing end of those medications and you always see things from your perspective, only. We think we are helping but it's the saddest moment of this man's life. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014


so right now, my dog Ivy who had crumbs in her eyebrows after breakfast is sleeping with her head on my thigh and also snoring. and the oven has reached its 350 F goal for spanakopita about ten minutes ago and i'm not sure what i should do. put in the food (which takes 25 minutes!) and wake up Ivy or just pretend like i didn't hear the preheating beep go off? so mostly i'm just sitting here wishing that dogs didn't wake up every time you make a move. 

and now she has woken up but is somehow still snoring. this is Ivy yesterday. this is a daily tradition. (her falling asleep on me and me not knowing what to do about it)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

found this from a week ago...

so last night we were watching a documentary on Animal Planet about sloths. one sloth lost his stuffed bunny, which, of note, he was supposed to outgrow 4 years ago. someone had washed it for him and substituted it with a different bunny. this person forgot to swap out the fake bunny for the real one when it was clean. apparently this sloth was about to go through some sort of mega sloth breakdown if he didn't get his real bunny back. LUCKILY, someone found the real bunny and replaced it. the sloth knew right away, no hesitation. and the last image on the show is one of this sloth cuddling his real bunny and ignoring the fake one. and the fact that he knew his real one feels relevant in some way.