Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2017-04-28

I Need to Tell You About the Tidy Cats Breeze Litter Box System

I have always been so annoyed with cat litter and have tried SO many kinds over the years. I used Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat for Older cats and the formula for long hair cats for a few months when my beloved boys ALF and Bear were still with me. (I did one box with that and one box of clay litter. They appreciated the variety.)

I really appreciate that I’ve inherited all of my Grandmother’s cat stuff. She had a Persian cat throw pillow!

I tried the newspaper litter. I tried one bag of the “World’s Best” cat litter which I immediately hated because of the smell and it almost clogged my toilet. I pretty much never use the toilet for cat litter but it said it was safe on the bag!

There was the regular clay stuff, the clumping clay stuff and it always ended up with bits of litter everywhere. Oh man, one of my biggest pet peeves is being barefoot and having litter stuck to my feet. My Persian Princes would sometimes get the litter clumps stuck to their paws and then there would be weird clumps on my floor. Cat litter is as insidious as glitter but NOT as cute.

The best I found with ALF and Bear was lightweight cat litter. It was a mix of clay clumping litter and the cedar stuff and was a miracle as far as I was concerned, at that point carless in Brooklyn. I had to buy it at Petsmart on Atlantic Ave and take the bus home, with many pounds of cat litter in my granny cart. Let me tell you, lightweight litter made a huge difference in the schlep and in scooping.

When I was pondering Biscuit Reynolds and waiting for the right moment to bring him into my life, I saw an ad for Tidy Cats Breeze on Petfinder.com. I want to support businesses who support pet rescue organizations and websites. I went down the internet rabbit hole researching it months before we adopted Biscuit Reynolds. I knew the litter system I wanted to try before I even had a cat in mind.

It’s been over six months of cat litter dream life–I do not say this lightly, I LOVE MY CAT LITTER SYSTEM.

Here’s how it works. You have a litter box, but instead of tiny pieces of clay litter, it’s got bigger pellets made of some kind of sustainable material (I can’t find it while writing this article but I remember from my internet rabbit hole that it was plastic and foam). The pellets are about the size of a piece of rabbit food. You don’t use a ton and they last for about a month, with regular refills from your stash.

The pee goes through the tray through small slats into an absorbent pad (puppy pads in a specific shape for the box), which is supposed to be changed once a week or more depending on how many cats you have. Biscuit Reynolds drinks A LOT of water because of his Urinary Tract Diet food, and I still only need to change it once a week. When you forget to change it, you will start to smell it and the tray gets soggy and needs to be drained in the toilet before you toss it and rinsed. When I do it just once a week I don’t need to rinse the tray. I use the plastic sleeve from unsolicited newspapers/advertisements that end up on my doorstep to throw away the pads. They’re the perfect size.

Cat poo hangs out in the top amongst the pellets and you are meant to scoop it daily. I didn’t like the scoop (Biscuit Reynolds gets mushy poos every fourth turd, and it makes the scoop messy) so now I use plastic grocery bags and pick it up like I pick up Macy’s poo when she goes on a walk. Dara hates poo so I have a pledge that I will try to immediately remove poo. Biscuit Reynolds LOVES to immediately poo once I’ve grabbed the last poo.

Since we live in California there’s a law against plastic grocery bags, they cost 10-15 cents and aren’t the cheap disposable kind and are more sturdy. I import them from Dara’s mom in Las Vegas who generously supplies us with a huge stash when we see her.

Other than his smelly mushy poos and when I’ve gone longer than a week without changing the pad, I have never had a smell from the box. It is pleasant, the pellets are easy to throw back into the box and I’m dealing with 90% less litter outside of the box than I ever did before.

I change the whole box of pellets out monthly and give the litter system a full scrub inside and out with all purpose cleaner during that change.

I think the cost compared to what I was paying before in conventional litter (where I would have to scoop pee out constantly, and change the whole box at least weekly) is roughly the same. The pads and the pellets aren’t cheap. I buy it on Amazon 100% of the time and have done a lot of math to figure out cost per pad and cost per pound of pellets. Buying in bulk is the way to go. (Here’s a link to a listing for 10 packs of 4 pads each, which is 40 pads, for $61–which is just over $1.50 per week for the pads.)

A couple of Amazon reviews offer some cheap solutions about cleaning the pellets, but I find that because of mushy poos I have a lot of natural attrition and can’t clean (nor do I really want to do that work). Someone suggested using airsoft pellets for airsoft rifles which are waaaaay cheaper. I might try because they come in fun colors.

Anyway, I am truly obsessed with my Tidy Cats Breeze Litter System and have recommended it to at least 10 friends. Try it out, there’s a money back guarantee. It’s $29 for the first month’s supply of pads and pellets and the box, which is a mighty bargain for a cat box.

I will always disclose when I’ve received compensation for a product review and I am just an honest fan of this litter system. If you try it let me know how it goes for you!

Femme Stoner hotel room party with crafts, snacks and squishy faced muppet pets. Katy’s arm makes an appearance.

As an aside, if you find yourself moving and you have a cat, keep your whole supply of litter accessories with you when you go to the hotel. I kept two weeks worth in the car with me when I moved but I still haven’t found the box that has the Tidy Cats Breeze pads in it so I had to buy more prematurely.

2013-12-23

New Episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket! Birthday Cake Tea!

Filed under: Lesbian Tea Basket — Tags: , , , , , , , — Bevin @ 5:54 pm

There’s a new episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket!! I review Birthday Cake Tea from David’s Tea in NYC. It’s a super brandy brand kind of tea store with overpriced tea with fancy things inside it like birthday cake sprinkles (as in Birthday Cake Tea). My birthday is tomorrow so I kind of went for it with this $4 cup of tea. Also I said in the video they were in NYC but apparently they are all over North America.

Check out all the episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket here! And if you know anyone who sells tea and wants to send me some to review I am stoked to support small businesses on the LTB!


Me and my two Persian Princes, Bear and ALF, who passed about six months to the day apart. ALF was four years younger but he’d never known life without Bear and I think he just couldn’t hang.

This week has been kind of intense. I ended up having to put my beloved cat, ALF, to sleep on Wednesday, and I supported a loved one through breast cancer surgery so it’s been intense. But the super bright spot is I finally got my new laptop that I crowd funded through the support for this website! Thank you all so much who have donated so far. Your words of support have been so amazing and I’m super excited to be able to create more content for QueerFatFemme.com!

If you want to donate the page is here and there are a ton of cool prizes, including lots of services donated by my awesome friends. My hope was to raise $1,000 per year the site has content up and gather funds to be able to continue creating the content I’m super stoked to share with you, including more episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket!

2013-12-17

Link Farm: Marriage is not a Coupon to Redeem, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, Supporting a Loved One through PTSD

I have three things to share with you today that I’m pretty excited about. The first is an article I wrote for Autostraddle to celebrate the launch of their fancy new redesign! It’s all about marriage rights for queers and how marriage isn’t our only option.

“Marriage is like a chlorinated community pool that we now have access to. I think that people forget that queers have been swimming in the ocean the whole time. We have always had to be creative about how we create our love relationships and, now that we don’t have to be creative, I hope we still can be.”

Check it out on Autostraddle!

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This dress is the closest thing I have to a wedding gown right now and I love it so deeply. Gratuitous shots of two of my favorite people and heroes, Barbara Carrellas and Kate Bornstein. The documentary about Kate is available to tour to schools and festivals, get in touch with Sam the director–I saw it last weekend and it is phenomenal.

The second thing is that it is December 17th, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. It’s a day of remembrance and solidarity for folks lost this year. Sex work is work, and it can be extremely dangerous as media, laws and other social constructs create a society in which sex workers are not seen as people who deserve protection and are disposable. Working to legalize sex work is something I’ve been interested in since I was in law school over a decade ago. Right now I work with Desiree Alliance, an organization that brings together harm reduction, direct services, political advocacy and health services for sex workers.

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Me and Jacqueline at the Desiree Alliance Conference last summer. The next one is in the Summer of 2015.

To borrow from my friend Fancy Feast, who says it so eloquently:

I would be nowhere without the sex workers in my life. Today and every day we need to be doing what we can as allies and advocates to make their work safer. That means all sex workers everywhere, not just the white ones, not just the cis ones, not just the ones with college degrees. Every. Last. One of them.

You can learn more about December 17th events and projects here.

The third link I wanted to share was this article about Supporting a Loved One Through PTSD or Panic Attacks. I’ve been going through a lot lately both on my own level with many deaths (three in total) and then also as a caretaker and supporter of a person with breast cancer. As of this morning, I’m maybe going through the process of putting down my other cat (I put down Bear six months ago). It’s a lot! And the last three weeks have been kind of a huge emotional roller coaster. I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a difference in care and support and I liked this article and thought it might be useful for folks who look at someone going through a hard time and wonder what to do. For me, right now, it’s just folks being there and being willing to listen.

Often in the midst of the episode, the distressed person doesn’t necessarily have their full vocabulary and can’t articulate exactly what they need in that moment. Afterwards, they may avoid talking about it out of embarrassment, fear, or a desire to preserve the peacefulness of the present.

So how do you learn what is helpful?

If you’re like my partner, mostly through trial and error. However, this cartoon inspired me to draw up a list of tips, taking from my own preferences as well as those of some friends. They’re not universal, but they’re a starting point, I think, for the right mindset.

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My friend Avory cuddling ALF on Friday night.

2013-05-31

Care and Death, Death in Care, Care in Death: Bear’s Peaceful Passage

The past two weeks have been a doozy. My elder cat, Bear, a handsome eighteen years old, got really sick. It’s hard to tell when a cat goes from being just an old cat with some bouts of dementia and a propensity to angry poop in the hallway, to actually-really-sick-call-the-vet. There’s a subtle shift. He had a really bad accident on a Saturday, the kind that involved a grumpy roommate and me just mopping the whole house. Then he puked, then he just sat still. More still than usual and he sleeps about 23 1/2 hours a day. I put a call out to my friends on Facebook if there was a vet person I could talk to about whether I should go to the vet. I’ve known so many people who have dumped thousands of dollars into an old cat to find out what’s wrong only to have to let them go anyway. I didn’t want that to be Bear’s experience in his senior years, I just wanted him to be comfortable and happy.

The answer never came from Facebook, but it did come from my heart. Jacqueline came over to hang out that Sunday night and told me about her awesome vet who does house calls and I thought that was perfect. I mean, I like my other vet but I couldn’t imagine schlepping Bear if he was feeling so crappy. I’ll spend $55 for an exam to find out if Bear is getting ready to go be with the goddess or if he has something easily treatable.

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Me, ALF, Bear and Macy. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

The poor little guy was so sick and I was really glad to get an appointment same day. My friend Hadley came to support me during the visit. The vet reminded me a lot of me, professionally. I have made a lot of unconventional decisions with my law practice that make me better able to service my clients and it makes so much sense for a vet to be able to come see animal companions in the comfort of their own environment. She was very matter of fact and compassionate, which is an incredible balance to maintain and works really well in a vet.

The doctor touched Bear and took one look at me with a pained expression and I just said, “Oh god!” thinking she was going to say that I had to put him down right then and there.

She said he was 12-15% dehydrated and was likely in kidney failure. She suggested a few courses of action and I settled on an injectable antibiotic, anti-nausea meds and subcutaneous fluids. I decided to wait on blood work because it’s expensive and I wanted to see how he did with treatment.

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This is what subcutaneous fluids looks like. It’s not a big deal, takes less than five minutes when you get used to it.

Eight months ago, ALF, my younger cat (14) was diagnosed with hypertension and kidney failure and has absolutely thrived with treatment. After he got on fluids and I changed his food to the special kidney diet food he has been better than he was for years. He’s just being a wonderful little weirdo and now likes cat treats a lot more (probably because they’re more awesome than his kidney food).

So I thought Bear would rally. The rest of the vet visit was sort of funny. She made a lot of jokes that I thought were hilarious, also I probably laughed a lot more because I was so relieved that Bear was sick with something I understood and I felt like there was a course of action. She did tell me, “Don’t be surprised if you wake up one day and he’s passed.” And she talked about how she has to send cats via Fed Ex (in a cooler, overnight) to the crematorium because of how far away it was.

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I can always tell how old a photo is of my cats based on the bed spread. This is from when I was engaged!

I made a Facebook post about the whole adventure, because it was just a bad day. In addition to the vet visit and the very sick cat, our building sent some plumber to “check out” our toilet and that turned into taking the toilet physically out of the wall with no notice that we would have no bathroom access for several hours. It was a lesson in acceptance, since we could call 311, we could complain to the super, but nothing but being nice to the plumbers would get our toilet back. And nothing but accepting that Bear was sick and might not make it was going to help me have peace about it.

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I have spent a lot of time in my life railing against things that I had no control over. In the last couple of years I’ve found that working with the current of life, instead of fighting against it, is the best way for me to have serenity. Sometimes it’s a nice flow, sometimes it feels like whitewater rafting and I’m only holding on with my white knuckles barely in the boat, but it’s a lot more peaceful on the daily than screaming and pushing against the natural order of things.

Screen shot of @sharpbiscuits photo of me giving fluids to my sick cat Bear. He has kidney failure like ALF but is four years older. Rough day all around but feel slightly hopeful after in home vet visit.
Giving fluids to both cats at once reminded me how when I was growing up I was convinced I was going to have twins because twins run in my family. Two cats getting fluids is a hilarious effort in multi-tasking, but I’m glad my boys are mellow.

And, oh yeah, on that Facebook thread about my bad day I mentioned that the vet was really hot, which she was, and this sparked a hilarious conversation involving Jacqueline who concurred (as it was her vet, too) and lots of femmes bantering about the benefits of having a hot vet. Like, mostly during the visit I was concerned with my cat but then of course you notice that kind of stuff. It reminded me of how my friends in Rhode Island all go to the same hot dentist. And with no identifying details (other than hot vet) two people asked if it was a specific person they knew and I was quickly reminded how unprivate Facebook is.

So, our toilet was back, the bathroom looked like a disaster area and Bear was being pumped with fluids and spending most of his time sleeping. I set him up as comfortably as possible. He made some big improvement the next day, eating some watered down turkey baby food. I felt like a pushy mom, trying to give him anything he would eat. A tiny piece of chicken, some bone broth, etc… He went for a treat and I was ecstatic!

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Bear in his winter coat.

By day three he started to rebel against his two favorite convalescent spots (my armchair in the bedroom and the spot on the couch closest to the window) and began wandering the house in short stints. I would follow him. I documented a lot of his progress on my instagram. I watched him move into the hallway and sit down and get confused. He was already a cat that got confused a lot (he had good days and bad days, like people with dementia) but it seemed way worse now that he was sick. He also wasn’t sleeping on his side, or curled into a “puddle,” but sleeping sitting like a meatloaf. He didn’t look very comfortable.

Bear is better than he was on Monday but he's still really sick. Not moving around much or eating much (but some which is better than none). ALF is charming as always and I'm unsure if he's being comforting to Bear or just jealous I let him convalesce in
Bear on his sick bed.

I wanted him to get better, but tending him to when he was sick was a lot more work. I’m on a cleanse and between my morning alkalizing beverage, smoothie, my regular morning rituals, giving fluids to Bear, tending to any accident spots in the house and cleaning him off when he pooped on himself (I gave many kitty sponge baths) it was three hours before I could leave the house. It’s a good thing I work from home most of the time.

I wondered what was Bear’s quality of life and what was his convalescence. I didn’t want to give up on him before he had a chance to get better. I didn’t want to be selfish about my time–I consider animal companions to be life partners and I’m not the kind of person who just gives up when shit gets hard. Having an elderly cat means doing elderly cat care. But I also wasn’t sure what was normal for his age and what were signs that his body was shutting down.

I sent a long email to the vet asking what was normal and what I should be looking out for. She gave me a very thoughtful, lengthy response and I was left with a lot of ideas for what was possibly wrong with him, his meatloaf sleeping was probably discomfort, more treatment we could do, but also “Putting him down would not be premature.”

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Moms of toddlers take toilet training photos, moms of elderly convalescent cats celebrate litter box use.

She never once said, “You should put him down,” which were the magic words I was waiting for. Now, I adopted Bear when he was 10 and ALF was 6 (they were companions from their previous household that came together). Having older cats, I have always known that at some point in my life I would have to make a euthanasia call. I also have heard many people’s stories but they all seemed to sound the same. The pet got sick, the person was left with thousands of dollars in treatment that may or may not work and it was “the right decision given the circumstances.”

I just thought it would be really black and white and where I was in was a shade of gray. I had a cat who was getting slightly better but not all the way. Who was a lot more work and I felt okay giving him that work if that is what he needed me to do. He was still purring when I held him, especially when he snuggled up to my heart. But he felt like a flour sack in my hands. He wasn’t meowing–I think he meowed three times after he got sick, which was about a 95% decrease from his yelly hallway yowling ways. When I set him on the ground he couldn’t hold himself up right away, he flopped over to the side.

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Good therapy is to pick up both cats at once and snuggle them. They don’t usually struggle when I hold them together because Bear and ALF really love each other. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Euthanasia, even though I had thought about it so often for the past several years knowing that “someday” I was going to have to make that decision, was not an easy black or white decision to make at all. All of that worrying I did ahead of time was absolutely wasted. You cannot pre-live grief and pre-worry. I wish I had spent all of that time during all of those years I spent worrying and just spent it living in the moment and enjoying my life with my beloved cat.

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Vintage photo of ALF and Bear.

I turned to Facebook once again (and this is why I mostly am only friends with folks I know in real life on FB) to ask about people’s experience with euthanasia and how they “knew” when it was time. I got a LOT of answers and stories. About how pets are very much in the present moment and when they’re sick or in pain they are very scared. How people often report they waited too long. I got many great private messages, including a very detailed astrological answer that involved last week’s lunar eclipse and Saturn in Scorpio.

“The issue here on an astrological level is about care and death or care in death or death in care. or care through death or other prepositional mediations of this care/death combo.
the question then becomes who’s care…who is caring for whom…what is care. and similarly although strangely—the same sets of ontological questions can then be asked of death.”–Tina Z.

I also read through a couple of articles people sent to me about death of a pet that I found really helpful in terms of deciding one way or the other whether I should let Bear go be with the Goddess or wait to see if his health improved.

My friend Tom suggested this book, The Last Walk, where the cover and the name just broke my heart so much I couldn’t really even try to read it but I trust his opinion in all book matters, so I’m passing the suggestion along. It was very helpful to hear my friends’ stories about letting their pets go, so I think this might help some folks out there who aren’t into soul baring/crowd sourcing on the Blue Grid.

How to know when it’s time to euthanize your pet from Yahoo News (I found this one particularly helpful).

The ethics of spending $25,000 on pet healthcare in the NY Times.

And in a very gay way (because of the connection, not the content), this amazing quote from my ex-girlfriend’s fiance, Rachel, really helped me. “Think of 2 or 3 things that really make her HER and when those are no longer there, you’ll know.” What Rachel was considering when she put her gorgeous dog down.

In thinking about all of this, I wondered about Bear. He really liked yelling in the hallway, yelling to get a good snuggle while I was at the computer (I’ve done a lot of working with Bear awkwardly in one arm), he loved parties where he got as much attention as he could possibly consume, he loved expressing his emotions by pooping in the hallway when he was mad, and he loved eating paper and the covers of books. He hadn’t done any of those things in a couple of weeks (well, the party thing he couldn’t control).

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Bear, snacking on some paper (a map).

I went to bed that night praying to the Goddess to tell me what was the right course of action for Bear. The next morning I sat down on the couch to watch some Super Soul Sunday while drinking my smoothie and Macy and ALF were all over me. They could not get enough attention from me or pay enough attention to me. I remembered back to when Bear first got sick, about a week prior, and I woke up one morning with both of them laying on my chest. Neither ALF or Macy is a big chest layer, and they prefer to keep about 3 feet apart most of the time so it was really weird, them close together and on top of me. That’s when I realized that Macy and ALF were paying attention to me because I needed care, and were leaving Bear alone. I trusted their intuition–that Bear was checking out or totally checked out. And that I was the one who was struggling emotionally with whether he should stay.

I had a great talk with my Mom, since she had put down both of the cats I grew up with when I was already across the country in law school (the other cats we had previously had run away so we never had to make that call when I was younger) and it really helped me settle into the decision. She also said, “Bear doesn’t want to live a life where he’s pooping on himself.”

I sent an email to the housecalls vet asking for an appointment for in-home euthanasia. I knew from an article I had read awhile ago that this was the best choice for me–rather than schlepping your pet to a foreign place to go, he can go in peace in your home. It’s also good for the other pets because it apparently helps them understand better the process of what’s going on. I didn’t want them to think Bear was just at the groomer for the rest of eternity.

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Bear with our friend Avory.

Bear’s passing also forced me to confront one of my worst fears. Part of being a full-time freelancer/small business owner is that often life is financially feast or famine–and the last vet catastrophe last October wiped my savings and I just haven’t caught up yet. When I’m feeling afraid a method I’ve learned is to write a list of the things you fear most, then antidote with a gratitude list. One of my greatest fears is that I wouldn’t be able to financially care for my pets. Here I was, needing to make this big decision for my sweet little guy and worrying about how I was going to pay for that and my rent. I had to face that fear, though, and I was able to ask someone for a loan (which is not something I do very often).

I had already made the “Peaceful Passage” appointment, opting for Thursday at 5 because doing it the very next day (Wednesday) at 2pm didn’t give me enough time to say goodbye to Bear. It felt rushed.

I had my friend Kelsey Dickey come over and do a family portrait sitting with me, Bear, Macy and ALF. It was something I had wanted to do for years and I’m glad I did it. Even though Bear looks pretty out of it in some of the photos, it’s really nice to have. It’s also very hard to wrangle pets in a portrait sitting. Bear had a great day that last full day. He used the litter box. I caught him cleaning himself vigorously during our photo shoot, which was the first time that had happened in a couple of weeks. I was like “Are you trying to tell me something?”

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

That night, the night before the peaceful passage, I was throwing a party with Nicky and Jo for Yes Ma’am. Nicky told me that they were friends with my hot vet and showed her the whole thread on my Facebook wall. I was like “How do you know that’s my vet!?!” but of course it was the same person. I was also sort of embarrassed since she was coming to my house the very next day to put my cat down. I guess if people were talking about me being hot on my friend’s friend’s Facebook wall I would want to read it, too. This is definitely proof that nobody ever died of awkward because I’m still around.

I got home from the party and Bear wasn’t in any of his regular spots. I was worried about him. This had happened to me many times before, he switches up his sleeping spot, but ever since my vet had said he might be dead one morning I was afraid he’d crawl under a piece of furniture and pass. I couldn’t really hunt for him in the house because my roommate’s mom was sleeping on our couch, so I just let it be and knew I could look in the morning. On my way to bed at 4AM (after a party, remember), I saw his two furry feet sticking out from under the bookshelf where my altar is. He had spent so much of the past few days sitting with his legs tucked under I thought for sure he was dead. I put my hand on him and he didn’t startle like he usually did when I would think he might be dead (he slept pretty heavy and scared me a few times). I thought for sure he was dead. I was distraught but I didn’t know what to do and it was so late, I just went to sleep crying about not saying goodbye and knew I would take care of it in the morning when I wasn’t going to disturb an entire household, a sleeping guest and freak out.

I woke up and texted Hadley, “Can you come over and help me move Bear, he passed last night.” The last thing I wanted to do was interact with his dead body. Hadley was on their way over when I peeked under my altar and saw that Bear had moved. I called Hadley and said it was Resurrection Thursday, Bear was alive, I was just delirious the night before.

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How I spent much of the last couple weeks of Bear’s life. Holding him as much as possible.

I spent Bear’s last day pretty chill. I had no out of the house activities, I just hung out with him and the other two Muppets. I was no longer wondering if the previous day’s feeling better was permanent, he was really out of it and started pooping on me when I would hold him. I changed my outfit and got a towel to cuddle him with. I started to feel glad I had made the decision to give him a peaceful passage, the night before I was so worried he was scared and alone when he had passed I knew this would be with love and community.

People began gathering. I sent out a call to some friends. Either folks who had bonded with Bear or who were friends of mine who were going to bring pork tenderloin (Jacqueline) or other snacks and food. All told there were five people there with me when the vet arrived with her assistant.

Bear
If I wrote a pet euthanasia book I would call it “The Last Selfie.”

Bear was curled up next to me on a towel on his favorite part of the couch. His head resting against my leg, my hand on his heart chakra. I wasn’t petting him anymore, just holding him while he rested. The vet was great, she explained everything as it was going to happen and that once he was gone she would leave us with the body for a bit and we could text her to come back up.

She offered that I could have his ashes returned, or a cast made of his paw, which I declined. I don’t need a physical representation of him. I have so many photos and so much Persian cat hair in my house, I’ll be physically remembering Bear forever, behind every piece of furniture.

She injected something into his hind leg to keep him asleep, though he was already very asleep. Then she injected another something to send him to be with the Goddess. The room fell silent and I was praying for his easy transition and thanking the Goddess for all of the time I got to spend with him as my animal companion and crying big fat tears onto him. It happened really fast. Suddenly she said, “He’s gone,” squeezed my hand and left.

I kept my hand on his heart because his body was still warm and I couldn’t bear to let go yet. My friends brought Macy over to see him (she sat quietly for a bit, sniffed him) and ALF (who ran off very fast).

At first it seemed weird to have “time” with his body but it was actually really nice and peaceful. We eventually called her back up, she brought a towel and curled him up in it just like he was sleeping, and got ready to go.

I was still crying and asked, “How do I pay you?”

“Do you have Chase Quick Pay?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll send you an email.”

One of my friends piped in, “This is the most fucked up Chase Quick Pay commercial ever.”

We all laughed.

Folks stayed for some food, and a couple other friends came by later. It was nice to not be alone.

At one point I looked around at Macy and ALF and realized I was doing a subconscious Muppet count as I had done thousands of times before. The three of them triangulate in almost always the same pattern in the living room. I could look to both of them and know where Bear would be sitting. Only he wasn’t.

In the days since it has been pretty weird and sometimes hard. Old familiar grief settled on my chest. But it’s a different kind. It’s like missing a part of myself, since Bear was so much a staple of my home life. I feel like with my friends I’m only about 90% there, but doing my best to continue to function and acknowledge the sad feelings as they come. And to love on my Muppets who are still with me and who I get to continue loving in this lifetime. They’ve been really clingy to me, which I appreciate because I feel very clingy to them.

My mom is a Lesbian Catholic and I asked her to ask the Lesbian Woo couple across the street (they had four when I was a teenager, not sure how many they have now) for a good ritual for Bear. They suggested getting a candle for each color chakra and burning it. As each candle burns out it releases a different emotion. I got the candles from a religious candle store near my house. I’ve been burning the candles since Bear passed and it’s really helpful to have a place to look in the house to acknowledge him. I can say hi to him, pray for him and let them represent my emotions.

Bear's chakra candles. Rest in power little guy.
The photo on the right is from about six years ago, when he was younger and more sly.

The loss is hard, but I know I did the best I could. I read a lot of mommy blogs and I know there’s no way to be a perfect mom, but there are thousands of ways to be a good mom. I know I’ve been the best mom I can to these three critters. I know my Bear was loved very deeply and lived a comfortable, sweet life. And I know now how to be even more present and grateful for the pets I still have.

2011-04-23

Everyday Glitter

Growing up in California’s Bay Area I never appreciated the way Spring opens up the world again the way I do now, at 32, living in a place with real seasons. I feel like every piece of Spring’s evidence is a little bit of glitter added to the world. A magnolia tree in bloom. Cherry blossom trees.* Birds chirping like laughter, the smell of a freshly tilled garden. There is so much! Let’s talk some everyday glitter…

ITEM THE FIRST

My (genderflexible) Butch Ironworker Roommate brought home a piglet from her boyfriend’s farm in upstate New York. The first thing I said as I was cuddling with Penelope was “I can’t believe she’s going to become bacon!” BIR responded “Oh no! She’s a pet! She’ll live a long and healthy life, not for eating.”

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The first part of that life is going to be spent in Brooklyn with us until she’s too big to go back and forth.

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I am thrilled about this. Pigs are awesome. I learned a lot about them when I was a Girl Scout camp counselor as we had a petting zoo with two Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pigs. I also learned a lot about pigs from this amazing comic at The Oatmeal. I have always wanted a pig as a pet and now I get to borrow one without having to truly add to my menagerie of muppets. (My friend Kelli Dunham calls sleeping on my couch “Trying to take a nap in the cantina bar in Star Wars.”)

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Things I have already done with Penelope: Dressed her up in Macy’s puppy clothes, filmed a forthcoming episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket, cuddled with her while watching a Mandy Moore movie.

Things I intend to do with Penelope: Read her Charlotte’s Web, watch Babe: Pig in the City (so she starts to understand what happens when her momma takes her out on a leash), take glamorous photos of me all dressed up holding a piglet.

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My daily glitter increases at least 50% when a piglet is involved.


Macy meeting Penelope.

ITEM THE SECOND

Every day I go on a twenty minute walk. This is an essential practice for my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Sometimes it’s with my dog Macy, sometimes it’s on a break from work. Recently I’ve been looking for new neighborhoods to explore within the twenty minute radius of Re/Dress and found this playground. In flagrant disregard of that New York City municipal law that you have to be accompanied by a child in order to go into a playground (it was empty, anyway), I went on the swings. I had so much fun, my favorite silver boots in the air swishing back and forth.

Being Downtown Brooklyn, there was a spectacular view. I could see skyscrapers in the financial district of Manhattan and Jersey City.

I highly recommend a five minute stop a swing set when you need a little pick-up.

ITEM THE THIRD

It has been a super dreary Spring so far, lots and lots of April Showers. In those in between times though, I am just soaking it up. The sun had just started peaking out late one afternoon as I was driving past the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I stopped spontaneously and went in for a couple of hours. And since I’ve been lamenting extra hard lately that I don’t have a garden to till and luxuriate in, I bought a membership. It’s like a season pass so I can go all the time and has some great benefits like later hours on Wednesdays and private picnic times (you aren’t allowed to bring food into the BBG).

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Getting a membership felt like honoring the intention of “I want a backyard,” and I can’t wait to just stop in and enjoy the canopy of cherry blossoms or the koi lake or any of the other incredible nooks and crannies whenever I want.

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Also the organic cotton tote bag I got with my membership made me feel like a grown-up liberal in her thirties.

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I spent the late afternoon enjoying the latest Oprah magazine and gazing into the sky.

ITEM THE FOURTH

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Glenn Marla spent the better part of a couple of work days decoupaging the bathroom at Re/Dress with copies of Hilda prints. I love Hilda, she’s one of my favorite pin-ups. She was the work of Duane Bryer for many years. I love that she’s a pin-up who is being herself, really goofy and doesn’t really care about the viewer. Most other pin-ups are clearly aware of their audience, Hilda’s just being Hilda.

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That’s the kind of Femme I like to be. Goofy, unselfconscious, genuine.

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I’ve always wanted to recreate a bunch of Hilda portraits with a photographer. I already have a little white dog!

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ITEM THE FIFTH
On National Grilled Cheese Day I made this tasty sandwich of sourdough, gruyere, bacon, tomatoes, spring mix, deli mustard.

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ITEM THE SIXTH
I got stuck in traffic for over an hour one day on the FDR drive in Manhattan. I was coming home from this crazy Petsmart/Target complex in Harlem I discovered as an alternative to suburban trips to Petsmart. (Petsmart definitely has the best prices on fancy cat and dog food as well as cat litter, believe me I’ve researched this like crazy.)

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The complex was huge and space-age looking and had a great view.

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The traffic jam was awful, sort of like the Everybody Hurts video where all the LA drivers get out of their cars and have soulful Michael Stipe moments. People were doing that! I stayed put (that kind of stuff makes me super nervous–what if the traffic starts moving!) and just took some pictures. If you gotta be stuck in traffic you might as well have an incredible view!!

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Whether it’s chock full of plans or you’re taking it easy, I hope you’re having a glittery weekend!

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ALF on my new aubergine bedspread.

*I am very cherry blossom identified.

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