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4 kittens

Cinnamon in the chili

Posted on 2018.04.15 at 22:09
This afternoon I'm going to get more work done on my kittens. I'm working much harder to get in the right headspace than last time. Last time, I honestly hadn't expected to actually get tattooed - I've shown up for 3 appointments with past artists, thinking it was the day, only for it to fall through. So on a gut level, it took me by surprise and I was scrambling to adjust.

This time I'm trying to lean in (I'm sorry that whatsherface ruined that phrase but I can't think of another one) and embrace the process. My beloved therapist would have said that the universe is trying to teach me the thing that I'm supposed to learn next, and I would have looked past the dippy language for the wisdom, because she was so smart and wise about such things. (This summer will be the 10th anniversary of her death. I should email her husband and say that I remember her and think of her.)

It's like when you teach a class, especially when you're first starting out: the thing to do is overprepare and overscript, and then when you show up in class, you let go and be flexible, and respond to what happens. The overpreparation helps you make good choices as you roll with it. I sure as hell overprepared and overscripted for this tattoo, so maybe what I'm supposed to do now embrace the process. Let my tattoos have their mistakes and that makes them perfect, some sort of meme-bullshit expressing reverence for wise people from primitive cultures. Fill the cracks of the broken pottery with gold, blah blah blah.

So when I start looking for evidence that the universe is trying get me to be flexible, we come up with this:

That's an old photo of my heart necklace, the necklace I wear most days. Rascal broke the clasp, and I took it to the jewelers, and when I got it back it looked like this:

Ok, it's hard to see, but the heart is gold now.  The jewelers heated up the heart and it turned colors. (First, fuck those jewelers. They've been rude before and I was just trying to patronize local businesses. When I picked up the heart, they were like, "oh, yeah. It changed colors. That's what happens to cheap costume jewelry when you heat it." Me: "WHY DID YOU HEAT IT?!" Them: "We didn't know it'd change colors." So fuck them.)

Anyway, now I have a gold heart. Do I like the gold heart? Do I want to ask them to glaze it silver again? I decided to accept it as a dry run of the tattoo process: embrace the fucking change, you've got a gold heart now, Heebie. You might as well love it.

Coming out of the first inking session I had a choice: was there enough reason to change tattoo artists? I decided no, there is not enough reason to change tattoo artists. So once that decision is cast, I should lean into the process, embrace it however it goes. It's in her hands. I've handed over control, and I'm trying not to scratch wildly at the door because there's no sense in tearing up my metaphorical fingernails.

The tattoo parlor is funny.


Pokey: Is salt a spice? Is sugar a spice? If sugar isn't a spice, then it must be a mineral. It's a mineral.

Jammies, to me, later: Here's a tweet - apparently Einstein said that if you can't explain something to a six year old, then you don't understand it. I guess I don't understand anything. I don't understand sugar and salt, for sure.


Ace made a one-eyed one-horned flying (blue) purple people eater, which I love.


I accidentaly omitted this story from Big Bend:

Jammies was carrying Rascal up on his shoulders during the four mile hike, when I was off separately with Ace.

On the way back, Rascal said that he had to pee. Jammies was scrambling over rocks at the bottom of the ravine, and asked if he could hold it.  There was not really any place to easily take him down off Jammies' shoulders and have him stand. Rascal held it. Jammies suggested that Rascal sing a song.
 Rascal started singing the song from Daniel Tiger: "If you have to go potty, STOP! And go right away!!.."
Jammies yelped wildly, "A different song! A different song!"
But it was too late, and Rascal peed all over Jammies' neck. The end!


When I was three, there was a twelve year old across the street named Michael G. One time we were all at our house, in the reading room, and he was lying on the carpet, tickling me. I was sitting on his stomach. I laughed and laughed and managed to eke out, "I have to PEE!" He thought that was funny, and so he tickled me more. So I peed all over him.

I was certainly embarrassed for this story to be family lore, which it became.


Gorgeous swiss chard. From the edible landscaping efforts at Heebie U. You're allowed to take a scissors to it and take some home.


My beloved uncle Wicky has been diagnosed with acute leukemia. The prognosis is not good. It's about 26% five year survival in general, and he's got a subtype associated with unfavorable outcomes.

Honestly it hasn't sunk in quite yet, because he's such a lively vivacious force of nature that it's hard to really understand. I've felt a bit of a punch of the gut and trepidation, but not yet the deep sadness. One thing I've come to understand is how cancer treatment ages you by decades. Best case scenario, the energetic emotional center of the family will age rapidly over the next six months. It's hard to grapple with and easy to shove out of my mind.

This means: my mom and each of her siblings were all diagnosed with cancer - esophageal, multiple myeloma, and acute leukemia - on or before their 70th year. That's...not great. And that's my good side, the side without the BRCA genetic defect. I've had sobering reflections on my own mortality: what's going to come for me in my 60s? Do I have 20 good years left, rather than 40 good years left? I want to help raise my grandkids, but that's not a sure thing.

Back in 2009, when my mom was undergoing chemotherapy, Uncle Wicky sent her one present every week, and wrote, "So you'll have something to feel sad about, when your treatment ends!" So I am sending him one present every week while he's in treatment. As much for me as for him, and the sense that I'm doing something, anything.


Fluffykins, looking nonplussed. (Nonplussed being a word I'm now uneasy about using because I don't know which meaning I'm supposed to mean when I use it. The meaning I mean?)


I made chili last week, and on a whim I put some cinnamon in it, and sort of dumped more in than I meant to.  I thought it tasted delicious, but it seemed like a stretch for the kids, maybe. At dinner, I asked them if they could identify the mystery flavor. Hawaii screwed up her face and guessed, "Cinnamon?" and I was very impressed.

Also Hawaii:  She is learning Bach's Minuet in G major on the piano. She is working her tail off.  This is the first time she's really been challenged on the piano and it's really amazing to watch how well she handles the challenge.  It's taken her about three weekends to learn it, although we're not quite there yet. We're close.

Also Hawaii: got written up at school.  She was extremely traumatized by the referral process and embarrassment of the whole thing. She slapped one of her good friends at lunch time. It seems like it was out of exuberance and excitement, not anger or violence. Tons of kids saw and tattled on her, and Hawaii, who has been in trouble all week for not keeping her hands to herself, got herself two days of lunchtime detention.

Jammies and I basically did nothing, because the school consequences seemed appropriate and just fine. Consequences outside of the house will always be effective in a way that consequences coming from us aren't.


Portrait of me, by Ace.


My niece in California is studying for her bat mitzvah. This is vexxing to my mom - she is worried that  my niece will get indoctrinated and start to prosyletize and become extremely religious. No, that's not a grounded fear. I think it's sort of nice, although we are not going to do so for our own kids.

I spoke to my Jersey brother the other day, and he said, "My worst nightmare is that we'll be invited to the bat mitzvah! What would I do?!"
I had no clue what he was worried about. "Schedule surgery for her birthday!" I suggested merrily, "but I have no idea what you're getting at."
He explained: generations of our family, on both sides, worked really hard to extricate themselves from Judaism. Intentionally. Why on earth would they want to undo all that progress?!

I think I might have guffawed out loud at him. We have a pretty easygoing relationship, despite not having much in common. He continued: you want to give your kid every advantage in life. Get them into the best college. Anti-semitism is still a thing, why would you possibly burden your kid with that?

It seems bonkers to me. I don't really want to live in such a ruthlessly one-dimensional calculus optimization problem. Different strokes for different forms of assimilation, I guess.


Pokey at baseball! Yes, he's striking there and I could have cropped out the ball to the left but it felt dishonest. But he did get two hits on base that game. This year they're playing coach-pitch.


Lately all I want to eat is frozen blueberries in milk. The milk turns all frozen and slushy and it's just delicious.


This is the kitten associated with Rascal:

This was the outline after stenciling, last month:

This is what he looks like, today:

It's actually even better than that picture shows - the photo is a bit distorted, and the real one is not distorted at all. It's really wonderful.

Also that photo is taken while I'm lying on my hip, from above, somehow subtracting twenty pounds and fifteen years from my middle. What kind of voodoo is this.


Next week is birthday week! Ace will turn five and Hawaii will turn nine. What kind of voodoo is this, too.


(Anonymous) at 2018-04-16 21:03 (UTC) (Link)
Kitten looks fantastic! Yay!

heebie_geebie at 2018-04-23 05:18 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!! I'm SO relieved.
(Anonymous) at 2018-04-16 22:21 (UTC) (Link)

-J, Robot

The Rascal kitten looks adorable!
heebie_geebie at 2018-04-23 05:18 (UTC) (Link)

Re: -J, Robot

Yay!! Thank you! I'm feeling much, much better.
(Anonymous) at 2018-04-17 02:38 (UTC) (Link)
Yay, the shading looks wonderful! I'm glad you're feeling good about it!

heebie_geebie at 2018-04-23 05:19 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!! It's such a relief. The whole process is no longer grueling. I'm excited.
(Anonymous) at 2018-04-17 16:07 (UTC) (Link)
Hey, the kitten turned out beautiful!
heebie_geebie at 2018-04-23 05:19 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!! I'm feeling so good about it.
(Anonymous) at 2018-04-20 16:19 (UTC) (Link)

The shading looks much better than the outline!

I could see having felt worried after the outline, but the shaded version really does look like the watercolor. Dopey tattoo-naive question -- it's monochrome, right? The pink is just your skin reacting to being tattooed?
(Anonymous) at 2018-04-20 16:20 (UTC) (Link)

Re: The shading looks much better than the outline!

I will never remember to sign my comments here. That was me, LizardBreath
heebie_geebie at 2018-04-23 05:20 (UTC) (Link)

Re: The shading looks much better than the outline!

That's the redness of my skin, yes, but not quite monochrome. I asked her to add some browns to warm it up. I actually thought she'd add more - I really didn't have a good sense of what I wanted, colorwise, so I just let her use her artistic license - but I'm quite happy with it. It looks monochromatic, but not as cold.
(Anonymous) at 2018-04-21 07:06 (UTC) (Link)
The tattoo looks great! I liked even the outline but the fill really makes it.

I love reading about your family's daily stuff. Yay Hawaii on learning the Bach!

md 20/400
heebie_geebie at 2018-04-23 05:22 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, md!! I'm so relieved about the tattoo. And happy.

With Hawaii, the best part about the Bach is that it was such a leap, and she really buckled down and stretched and pushed herself, and I think she's surprised at how much she could accomplish. It's wonderful.

Thank you for your kind words. :)
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