Piglet, aka Pig Cat

Piglet Chilling in the Portal

As some of you know, I recently lost my tabby cat, Cricket. She was the last of a whole passel of critters I adopted back in about 2001. Except for my cat Sid…he was with me even longer than that.

Around the time Cricket had died, another tabby cat showed up on my porch. At first, I thought he was part of the TNR cat group I’d been seeing around. He was clearly not feral, and soon became a regular visitor. A very noisy, talkative visitor, who settled into my porch area from time to time, sleeping on my chair, and tolerating my petting him and playing with him. After he warmed up to me, I noticed that he was (unfortunately) un-neutered.

Santa Fe Animal Control said they didn’t really come out on cat calls, so I was at a loss at what to do for Piglet. Especially since I was already head-over-heels for the little guy. It was hard for me not to feel that it was fate–given that he was a tabby, and he’d shown up just when I’d lost Cricket (one year after I lost my other senior kitty, Lettuce). I wanted to take him in, instantly, but I knew I didn’t have the funds to take care of another animal. I knew how much pets cost, having just cared for 13 animals all the way through their end-of-life care. But I didn’t want him running around, unneutered and making more babies. Nobody seemed to know whose cat he was, either.

Finally, I reached out a local cat organization, Felines & Friends, who oversees a pool of fosters for cats. I felt so guilty and selfish when I told them I couldn’t foster sweet Piglet, because I didn’t have the money, and also if I did foster him, given my current emotional state and still grieving and vulnerable, I knew wouldn’t be able to let him go when and if someone wanted to adopt him. In spite of that, Felines & Friends still offered to take the little guy and get him neutered and move him into their adoption pool.

He was easy to catch and transport to Felines & Friends main center.  But I cried the whole way there, and then cried in the car, sitting next to him in the trap. He’d only been coming around a couple of weeks, but I had already gotten so attached. I wanted more than anything to be his forever home. But the responsible long-time animal rescue volunteer/shelter side of me knew I couldn’t manage it, and it would be so irresponsible to take him in, when I couldn’t afford to provide him with the care he would need throughout his life–at least until I would be able to get out of student loan debt and off food stamps, etc.

And now, I owed a whole other kind of debt to the amazing Felines & Friends for not only helping out the wonderful Piglet with a second chance, giving him safety and security, and a chance at a forever home, but also helping me out, with my big heart but empty wallet. Someone who just wanted the best life for sweet Piglet.

So, this blog is a big thank you to Felines & Friends for all their support and caring. Please, if you’re local to New Mexico, you can find Piglet and lots of other amazing cats available for adoption at their Petfinder web page: https://www.petfinder.com/pet-search?shelter_id=NM38. They also need fosters, so if you have the room, please consider joining their foster program. In addition to adult cats needing a foster home, it’s kitten season, so short-term fosters are also needed for a plethora of kittens and even mom cats nursing kittens. They can provide some supplies and other items needed to foster the cats, but donations of cash and cat supplies are always welcome!

Remember, ADOPT DON’T SHOP! And have your pet spayed or neutered to reduce pet overpopulation in shelters.

The Way Home?

Cricket helping her mom copy-edit.

Last Tuesday, my cat Cricket died. She was about 20 or so years old. I got to be with her all day and into the evening, at least. My little Queen Bee.

She was the last of 12 (13?) critters in my animal family. I kinda lost count of how many critters I had, because, well, I can’t count too good. *wry laugh* I started doing rescue work, and ended up with a lot of new animal friends. (<—sucker).

Cats: Sid, Nancy, Forest aka Loki, Lettuce, Smelly Cat, Cricket. Rabbits: Rowan and Charlotte, plus a guinea pig named Bubble Piggy, and an (also adopted) hamster named Russia. And some fish and a couple of captive-bred leopard geckos I got from a herp expo. I’ve got a gazillion pictures I could post, and about that many more on actual film. Want to see? Nope? Fair enough. (Maybe just one more?).

Cricket and (Diva!) Lettuce.

Care to hear about the million and one things that made them all the best critter companions ever? I didn’t think so.

It goes without saying that I miss them so much. All of them. Even Smelly Cat, the old stray who showed up on my doorstep crying pitifully, being outrageously skinny, and in the end stages of renal failure. (And, yes, he looked just his more famous counterpart!)

Cricket had to be everywhere I was in the house, so not having her around is just beyond comprehension. About half the time, I don’t even believe that she’s gone.

I always made a joke of the fact that my livespace belonged to my animals, not me. One of my animal rescue colleagues came over one day, and told me that when she died, she wanted to be reincarnated as one of my pets. But, with all of them gone now, I realize that my living in a house was a lot more than just making sure that my animal friends had a plethora of toys, litter boxes, gourmet food, comfy beds, hidey-holes, playpens (for the rabbits and guinea pigs), and the majority of  my own bed space.

Cricket hiding out until her mom came home.


Any house, apartment, etc.  was, and is, expressly for my animal family. Now I’m sitting here in this current too-empty house, and wondering what the point is of living in one place, surrounded by four walls. It’s basically a fancy container to hold all my stuff. Even after all the downsizing I’ve been doing, I still have so much crap. I can’t bear to donate all of their cat beds and toys and food bowls and kitty crates for travelling.

A long time ago, I dreamt of my beloved cat Sid…one of those cats that’s almost like a soulmate…and he was waiting for me by the ocean.

I think of that spot all the time now. In my quiet house as I stare at all my crap I can’t bring myself to get rid of, but at the same time, wish I could just set fire to.

I stare at one of my pictures by Landon Richmond. The one of a little girl in a red-and-black scorched apocalyptic-looking world, using a phone booth. The text in the print says “Can I come home now?”

And I want so badly to go home. But I don’t have anybody to call. Or anyplace to go. Or any money, for that matter. So, every night, right before I go to sleep, I visit that spot by that grey, stormy ocean, with a garden and a forest and lots of magic and magical creatures and definitely some wild horses. And Sid there, still waiting, by the salt-frosted roses.

And everybody else warm and happy and fat and non-smelly in the dappled-sun garden.

I didn’t want to make this into a blog about how much I miss all my critter babies.

I just wanted to put out into the universe somehow that I hope to see them all again. Even in this disjointed blog entry. To finally have a place that feels real. A place that’s safe, where everything makes sense, and a place that I actually belong. I just want that place to exist, somewhere, in some dimension out there.

I’m waiting, too.

Cricket waiting patiently for the toy mouse to pop out of the cheese.







It’s been a long way down…

Or maybe we never really rose up.

Maybe I’ve been watching too many bleak television shows. (But, that’s not an apology, mind you.)

Coming off of watching The Killing, and now wrapping up the last of Torchwood.

Really hitting me about having to be human, especially looking around at the world.

I never really realised how I always felt like an outsider, but my awareness about being human has shifted over the past month or so. Or maybe just remembering how my awareness used to be when I was a kid.

Trees were amazingly vibrant friends.

Plants sang to me.

To recycle a phrase that’s probably grown cliche (or a borrowed quote from some other human somewhere), I felt their pain with all the “intensity of a thousand knives” hitting me all at once. When trees were being cut down, that pain that I felt was excruciating and unbearable. I wanted to scream with the agony I felt. Sure, you could probably chalk it up to just being an imaginative and sensitive kid, but it didn’t erase how I felt. Especially when I had to be the plant murderer (i.e. mow the grass, trim plants, etc. *wry laugh*). I would be standing there with a pair of hedge clippers just sobbing my little kid heart out. (Yep, I was a weird one!)

I tried. I tried to adopt that normal human insensitivity to non-human life forms. For a while, I succeeded in turning it off. In building up a fortress of protection. But the older I get, the more that fortress crumbles. And I’m back in a morass of emotion, and conflict. It’s like being a teenager, but even worse in some ways.

Animals look at me with souls of the ancients…tolerant, loving, inscrutable, and, sometimes, (rightfully!) angry and/or scared of me as a human that’s come bumbling into their midst. And I love them for it. Because they should be scared and angry.

Yesterday, I saw the article about the whales beaching themselves in Florida. And it was so unemotional. “Why,” I screamed. “How?” “What the f*ck are we doing about it?” And, the answer is nothing. There’s no change we can implement soon enough. Even if we did (and do) care, it’s not enough. There’s nothing we can do.

Because we are human.

And I have never been more ashamed of that fact than right now.

I don’t want to live on a planet without bees and birds and animals and trees and plants and water and oceans and fish and whales and everything else that is a non-human life form.

Akin my (faulty?) memory of Medea (from when I was in middle school), when she talks about being underwater and the fish eating the flesh from her bones until she is pure and white, that’s what I feel sometimes.

Like I want to strip off my human skin and transform into an animal. Or a bird. Or even the air, or an unknown fantastical elemental. Anything but a creature that’s linked biologically to the human race. Enough with cell phones and social media and television and money and stuffy stuff and banal work and being hated and being insulted and put down and being ignored and losing…everything.

And, yes, I know that’s not possible.

But that’s what I wish. have wished since I was a child. And that I could fix things. Help make people around me understand. Help make sure that evil doesn’t win. Like so many kids, maybe, I wanted to be a hero.

But now I just feel helpless.

I am a coward.

I am weak.

I am so very tired.




Culture of Hate, Florida, and the Orlando Shootings

I am not writing this article to downplay the tragedy and horror of the shooting that took place inside the Pulse nightclub. As a relative of a local thespian in Florida, there are friends of the family that know people who had their beautiful lives cut short because of this hate crime. I am glad to see that the media, even the president, is not downplaying the atrocity of this event.  This is so difficult and I can only hope that I can write this the right way–express things without adding insult to injury and the pain that the local community is feeling. I’m trying not to be, but I find myself so frickin’ angry, as well as devastated, by this event.

This may have been the act of a “lone gunman” with mental stability issues (as many articles claim), but this type of hatred is no stranger to Florida.

I know. I was born in the Sarasota/Bradenton area in 1972, and spent my younger years (20s) in the Tampa and, occasionally, the Orlando club/music scene. I remember the justifiable riots in the “ghetto”(yes, that’s what people called it back then, as well as a few more other unmentionable terms), aka the Newtown community, for the rampant injustices and crimes committed against African Americans nationally or locally. These riots blocked off the streets  that my bus took to school and required police intervention that seemed straight out of the civil rights movement era. Now that community is being gentrified by people going in, fixing up houses, and raising the prices and land values, there is less and less affordable housing in a city where the standard pay for the working class and laborers is often well under minimum wage levels.

Police brutality was as common as the humid, tropical air. Hatred and intolerance was just as strong. Racism and sexism permeated every aspect of my upbringing, including the language. Intolerance and injustice was as common as grits. I had a bit of a safe zone in that I grew up in the theatre, but there was still a lot of classism that couldn’t be avoided, even in that more progressive environment. If you shopped at Kmart or didn’t have designer clothing, you were treated as if you were caked in fecal matter. As far as racism and racial hatred goes, there was also a thriving subculture of skinheads that persisted well into the 80s and 90s. As young, American-style punk/alternative/goth 20-somethings, we constantly had to be on our guard against the skinheads. We used to have to travel in packs to avoid getting attacked by the bands of skinheads–even in sleepier Sarasota. I remember having to escort my gay friend around because the skinheads were harassing him, and he was terrified. There were concerts you didn’t go to because they were all-out battlegrounds between skinheads and S.H.A.R.Ps (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice). One of my punk friends asked me to blow off work one night to go to a concert. While I wasn’t a direct witness, her story was that it was a setup (there was no actual concert) for the skinheads to attack punk kids because they had a Mexican American punk kid they were hanging out with in their family-like group. According to this punk girl, they slashed everyone’s tires and then circled the group, attacking them with 2x4s and broken beer bottles. One kid was put in the hospital and later died. Again, while I wasn’t the eyewitness, this punk girl said the skinheads got off because they were from rich families with political connections.

After the crackdown on kids hanging out in downtown Sarasota (so as not to disturb the wealthy elite), we finally absconded from Sarasota to spend time in the more liberal atmosphere of the Tampa goth and gay nightclub scene–driving an hour 6 or 7 nights a week so that we could feel safe and accepted. Then the Christian hate groups descended in white vans…parking outside the clubs and harassing the club goers with both verbal hate chants and picket signs saying we were going to hell. And lots more epithets I won’t even bother to repeat. I never saw them again after my Christian goth friend went over and challenged them on their own grounds. They packed up and left.

Then the news crews showed up–doing exposes on the evil Satan worshippers of the goth club scene and how we were all vampire wannabes up to all kinds of sick and twisted shenigans. Because of the danger of the romantic appeal of the Anne Rice vampire novels on impressionable youths, ya know.

Then the frat boy types came. Then the police began targeting the clubs, with their thuggish police brutality beat-downs.

The goth/alternative scene often intersected with the LGBT scene…both providing havens for Florida’s misfits and fringe communities within Florida’s intolerant, noninclusive cultural climate in the 80s and 90s.

But I read the articles about this event, and Florida just seems to come off as this tolerant, accepting place, where this sort of hate-fueled violence is an anomaly and completely uncharacteristic. I absolutely mean no offense to the people affected by this violence, and express my deepest sympathy for the victims and their loved ones. But, Florida, I’m not letting you off the damn hook. The truth is, as a previous long-term resident of Florida–born and raised there–this type of hatred and rabid intolerance is ingrained in Florida’s culture. I saw it everywhere growing up.

The perspective of these articles act like the Zimmerman types are not commonplace, and that people have already forgotten about Trayvon Martin. But, even as I neared my more mellow 30s, I still experienced it firsthand. It was 2013-2015 and the level of racism and sexism freely expressed by a group of local public performers was astounding. One of them threatened to flame me on Facebook for posting “bleeding heart liberal crap” on my own page, and said that Trayvon Martin “deserved to die” and that “he should have never been in that neighbourhood in the first place”.  Another person in this same group at a social get-together said that it was too bad that was illegal for him to take an outspoken woman that was a friend of my friend outside “and beat her head repeatedly against the wall to teach her a lesson” for daring to talk back to him. This is the real Florida: where if you don’t fit a narrowly circumscribed status quo (rich, white, elite, Republican, male, conservative) you do not matter. You have no rights. You do not exist.

Yes, the articles have explained that Omar Mir Seddique Mateen committed the attack in support of ISIS-type beliefs, but Florida has, and is, a culture of hate and intolerance in itself. Thankfully, I am no longer a resident of Florida (I successfully escaped, finally), I can only hope that this incident will serve as a wake-up call–a mirror–for Floridians’ own tendencies to the same levels of hatred and intolerance within their own communities and cities. And within themselves. Put an end to this hatred. This kind of hatred is not an isolated case in Florida, it’s an epidemic…take the word of a born-and-raised former Floridian.

BOLO: Sociopaths!

(Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor/psych expert–this informal list is based on personal experience in dealing with this sort of personality and stuff I’ve read around the internet. It shouldn’t be a stand-in for professional advice/guidance. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Don’t rely entirely on random internet lists like mine.)

Well, I’m all about free will, so for those of you want to maintain interpersonal connections with people with sociopath tendencies–by all means, indulge! You’re an adult (presumably), and perfectly capable of making life decisions. GO out and give your sociopath sweetie a great, big hug–they love those! *laugh*

However, for those of you who wish to avoid dealing with the charming head games, manipulation, and other lovely perks of befriending/dating a sociopath, it can be hard to recognize the signs that you have encountered one, and/or establish dating parameters, while keeping yourself open to life’s possibilities. At the end, I’ve included some links re: sociopaths, to help raise awareness.

On to the BOLO tips!

  1. Sociopaths can be very charming and manipulative. If it seems too good to be true–like the person seems to be your exact, perfect ideal–take a step back from the relationship, and your emotions, and try to view the relationship critically before committing to the person wholeheartedly with your heart, your emotions, and don’t let yourself be pressured into a more intimate relationship, too soon. If the person sincerely likes your company, they will be willing to go the extra mile to be with you.
  2. The relationship feels one-sided. If you’re the one doing all the (healthy, open) communicating, and the partner refuses to engage, except on their terms, they may be trying to keep their power over you by manipulating you. Or, if you are genuinely interested in what the person likes, or feels, or thinks, but the person doesn’t seem to care about any of your interests, you may be dealing with a sociopath. This is where it gets complicated. Because they will have devised a whole system to suck you in, based on the things you like (someone who cooks, romantic gestures based on movies you like, etc.) in order to hook you. I’ve read that sociopaths even research their marks, carefully, and adapt their personality to fit their target. Watch for sudden shifts in belief systems–if they express a certain set of beliefs to fit in with a certain group of people, but suddenly claim they are in support of the things you believe in, be wary. As I understand it, sociopaths are chameleon-like in nature. As long as they are getting something out of it to feed their need for power and control. They may even be the ones that want to do all the “giving”–it’s part of the game plan–if they cook your favourite meal, or they perform gestures that seem deeply personal and caring, but they don’t want the same from you, or even get pissed off at you for doing nice things in return, you might be dealing with a sociopath. They don’t want to be in debt to you, they want you to be in debt to them. So they can control you by a feeling that you, Mr/Ms. Nice Guy, owe them for all they’ve done. It’s a very clever form of manipulation.
  3. They are highly intelligent. But, they also truly believe they are superior to everyone else around them. They will use derogatory terms to class everyone else as inferior, of a lower class, or, sometimes, refer to them as not even human.
  4. Control is important to sociopaths. If they can’t control you, they will lash out, insult you, criticize you in non-constructive ways, and will even attempt to make you feel crazy or dysfunctional in order to hold onto the power they’ve tried to gain over you by a clever program of manipulation. It’s quite the head game they try to play on you. Luckily for me, I’ve had to take an hours-long battery of psych tests, twice, once in order to get diagnosed with ADHD intitally, and again to get an accommodation for grad school. Still, it’s hard not to buy into it, because they know how to target you where you are most vulnerable.
  5. Trust your instincts. What’s that saying? “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.” If you have the feeling they are hiding something, not even the most clever sociopath can keep their secrets hidden for long. Proceed carefully, and maintain/add emotional, mental, and even physical parameters to your fledgling relationship. It’s always hard to know, sometimes, where to draw the line, and/or you may be questioning yourself. But the bottom line is that the sociopath pretends to have feelings while not really feeling them (except for a certain cold anger), and, if you are feeling sadness, confusion, pain–any of these things at the hands of someone you’re dating, you’re not the crazy one, and you’d be best to get out while you can. If you’re miserable, feeling Alice-in-Wonderland-y–like you don’t know which way is up–or if you feel lost, vulnerable, abnormal, emotional, or even scared, without the presence of an actual physical threat, or you feel like you’re trying to navigate a field of land mines, you may have been manipulated by a sociopath.
  6. Again, if you are completely aware that your partner’s a sociopath, and you have the proper mental and emotional tools, and a support group, in place to deal with their personality, then that’s fine. It’s your choice, as an individual, as an adult. But, I’m dedicating this post to people who may encounter a sociopath without realizing it. The most important thing is to not blame yourself. It happens to the best of us, even those who are pretty guarded and good at establishing parameters within interpersonal relationships can be tempted to fall for the sociopath’s charm and lies. And, give yourself time to heal, and clear your head, if you’ve managed to untangle yourself from the influence of a sociopath. Don’t be embarrassed to seek professional help, if you need it. Your power is that you can feel, even if it’s pain and heartbreak. So you have an advantage over the sociopath–a more rich, myriad life–even though it hurts like hell right now.

The darkness, confusion, and pain, will go away. Don’t let them win! 🙂











Music Mixes Part II

This time, I’ve listed music mixes people have made me over the years (and, yes, three of these are actually on real cassette tapes). I’m writing them as they appear on the actual lists they made. So many memories/nostalgia.

(I got these–Playlists A & B–from a lovely wood elf during a voyage to an alternate dimension *sigh* They’re a treasured favourite–because of the extraordinary, unusual circumstances behind them…)

Playlist A:

The Cure–Plainsong
Slowdive–Melon Yellow
Gary Numan–Love Isolation
David Bowie–Glass Spider
Magnum–Only a Memory
Slowdive–Catch the Breeze
Michael Jackson–Earth Song
Black Lab–This Night
Type O Negative–Can’t Lose You
My Bloody Valentine–No More Sorry
VAST–Lady of my Dreams
Travis–Broken Mirror
Skylar Grey–Building a Monster
NIN–Every Day is Exactly the Same

Playlist B:

The Mission–Butterfly on a Wheel
David Bowie–Kooks
Ozzy Osbourne–Dreamer
Gary Numan–Dream Killer
Black Lab–Keep Myself Awake
VNV Nation–Illusion

These came from an old friend who died in January, and who is hopefully on her own voyage in fantastical parallel dimensions. (I’m sorry.)

The Sliced Finger Tape comp
Chris & Cosey–October Love Song/Relay/Smell the Roses
The Angels of Light–Angels of Light
The Best of Divine–I’m so Beautiful
Tubeway Army (Gary Numan)–Down in the Park
Seer–Private Plane
Dalek I–Dalek I love you
John Foxx–Underpass
Fadgadget–Ricky’s Hand
P.I.L.–Pied Piper
Untitled comp
Shadow Project–By God
Sonic Youth–Star Power
Psychic TV (Pink Floyd tribute)–Set Controls for the Heart of the Sun
Leather Strip–Learning to Fly
Moby–Porcelain/Why does my heart feel so bad/The Sky is Broken
Godley & Creme–Cry

This was from some wacky, but interesting, best friend that I had once upon a time–90s maybe?…I look at this list, and it practically reads my fan list–David Bowie–check, The Cure–check, New Order, Nitzer Ebb, Jane’s Addiction, etc etc.

Tor’s Valentine’s Day Comp
Side One
New Order–World (The Price of Love)
Rollins Band–On my Way to the Cage
NIN–Happiness in Slavery
Leonard Cohen–The Future
MC 900FT Jesus–The City Sleeps
Cowboy Junkies–Escape is so Simple
The Cure–Strange Attraction
Nitzer Ebb–Getting Closer (Pool Mix)
Bad Brains–How Low can a Punk Get
Bad Brains–Another Damn Song
Sunshine Blind–Release
A hilarious bit by my friend–titled PSA
Side Two
Jane’s Addiction–Had a Dad
Beastie Boys–Transit Cop
Beastie Boys–Jimi
David Bowie–Suffragette City
My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult–Mr. & Mrs. Bottomless Pit
Erasure–Love to Hate You
Utah Saints–What can you do for me?
Babylon Zoom–Spaceman
Funker Vogt–Fantasics
Skinny Puppy–Worlock
Course of Empire–Houdini’s Blind
Deathline Int–Diseases
SATORI–Passion of Lovers

So that’s it–now I’m drowning in nostalgia and going to go weep into a pint of ice cream. *wry laugh*



Dark poetry for today: Covered in darkness




Covered in darkness


Hollow eyes, a distant stare

Consumed by sadness and grief

Overflowing with despair

Death would be a relieve


Cold heart, a fake smile

Broken by failure and unable to cope

Drowning for quite a while

Deprived of all hope


Feelings numb, a bitter mind

Tortured by frozen memories

Long lost desire to be kind

Living and breathing, such futilities


Vanished strength, no more fighting

Captured in a never-ending horror story

Exposed wounds keep on bleeding

There is no one who can save me


Naked spirit, stripped of all

Never knew any happiness

Lost wings, sure to fall

I’m just a soul, bounded by shadows

and covered in darkness

Just Patty

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