Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Eloge: Zeno, 2002-2007

Monday, February 26th, 2007

Zeno, openly adored cat of his primary caretaker Alex and surreptitiously loved step-cat of Ellen, died suddenly and tragically on Saturday evening, a victim of vehicular cat-slaughter. He is also survived by his canine sister, Shelley, of the home.

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Zeno, resting near Shelley’s tail. Photo taken in his last days.

Although Zeno was a fairly consistently surly cat, and was known to bite at the least provocation, he nonetheless found a place in our hearts and was, along with Shelley, at the center of our household.

We already miss him terribly: we miss his habit of sitting outside my office window yowling; we miss the way he would blow us off by turning tail, hitching up his little butt, and stalking out of the room in a huff; we miss his grudging affection; we miss the sounds of murderous frustration he would make upon seeing a bird or squirrel he couldn’t hunt down and kill.

We miss his clear-eyed assessment of the Lee Harvey Oswald conundrum.

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We miss his lithe and compact physicality.

But most of all, we miss his conversation. As Yvor Winters said of Hart Crane, “I would gladly emulate Odysseus and go down to the shadows for another hour’s conversation with him…” Granted, Zeno’s responses were mainly limited to “mrak” and “hell-whoa,” but the astonishing range of meaning and expression that he wrung out of those two vocalizations will long live in our hearts.

Our hearts which today are as wintry as this tree:
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Our plan for the week is to cry a lot.

Our greatest hope is that he has been reunited with his derelict truck in the Great Beyond.
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It ain’t heaven if it ain’t got no derelict truck.

Zeno will go to his final resting place tonight. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you feed your favorite cat a full can of Fancy Feast this evening. Zeno would have wanted it that way.

Rest in peace, Mr. Kitty.

A Knife in the Heart

Monday, November 27th, 2006

I don’t talk much about this on the blog, since this is, after all, a knitting  blog, and I try to stick to the subject most of the time.  But some of you who know me personally know that my son, Harvey, is an Asperger’s child and has emotional and psychological issues that manifest themselves as problematic behaviors at home and at school.  We’ve struggled with one thing and another since he was a very little boy.

Some days are good, and some days are bad.  Today was a bad day.

Unlike a child with a different and more visible kind of disability, my child looks “normal.”  But he isn’t.  Because his problems show up mostly as behavioral issues (back in my school days, they called these kids “BD,” for “Behaviorally Disordered”), other people look at my husband and myself as though we must have done something wrong–we must be bad parents, because, after all, their kids don’t act like that, and by God, if they did, there would be hell to pay!  “Does he have consequences at home for his misbehavior at school?”  they ask.  “I know when my kids get in trouble at school, I make sure they have no life when they come home!”  No one really wants to face the possibility that you can do things as well as you can, be the best parents you can be, and still end up with a problem child.

Here’s what I tell people, when they stand still long enough to listen.

This is what’s it’s like:  Every so often, and you don’t know when it’s coming, someone comes up to you and stabs you in the heart with a knife.  You gasp, fall to your knees, weep and sob.  The knife wielder walks away.  Your heart breaks and bleeds, but you live on.  You go back to work and try to act as though nothing is wrong, as though your heart is not breaking, as though you are not weeping and sobbing and screaming. 

Instead of gaining the relief of death, you live on.  You get up the next morning and go about your business, knowing that the person will come back to stab you in the heart again.   Maybe today, maybe the next day.  Maybe next week.  It may even be two weeks.  But he’ll be back.  And then you’ll get to do it all over again.

Some days are good.  Some days are bad.

Today was a bad day.