A friend is releasing his album and touring Europe at the moment: Hallelujah.

Actually his kids are more my friends than him. I don't know him very well. But I get to hang with the kids when he tours for a month. Mom is ready for some help.

The Introverted Thinker is off to college, leaving the 14th. And I've left her home life guarding while I am back visiting family on the east coast. I am avoiding the dysfunctional family and the end of this trip will be my ex-husband's stepfather's 90th birthday. I am seeing the Extroverted Feeler, done with college and in his first post college job. Two aunts and my uncle, a cousin I haven't seen in years, meeting his wife and two children. Old friends.

The dysfunctional family will have to dys along without me. Isn't it hard to walk away from a bad habit, from relationships where you are told you are loved but the love takes a dark form? How do you figure out how to build and nurture healthy relationships if you are raised with unhealthy ones? I think you have to build slowly, slowly, slowly and then quietly...

...go to the future.

At least, that's what I hope I am doing....

It's a weird menagerie we have here. Three cats are the new normal for a while.

We used to have the oldest cat, who is no more - a black and white domestic short hair I referred to as "The Monk". Whereas cats usually hiss at and try to fight with unknown cats and get into a sort of dominance combat, he was completely uninterested. He greeted any creature of any species with a gentle kindness, was never in any hurry to get anywhere, and seemed to contemplate the universe at all times. Even when you did something to him that hurt, as I discovered when I had to try and clean out a burst tumor that reeked and ejected foul thick pus and showed a wound clear down to the shoulder muscle, he'd register his disapproval by gently attempting to move your hand away with his paw ONCE, but then would come to understand that you knew his objection but were doing it anyway and therefore you had a reason.

He died of kidney failure last year. Well, we had him euthanized but it was kinder than watching his weight drop below four pounds, whereas at one point he was eighteen. He went out in the carrier one day and never came back, and I'm sure that had an effect on the other cats.

The oldest we have now was one we got as a bundle of whacking at things, and she's a domestic longhair, ginger in color. She has a furiously bushy tail which she wraps theatrically around her like a 40s movie star adjusting her stole. She hates all other living creatures except the two humans in the house, and refuses to interact with any other cat. She had a fondness for the Monk - when she was a kitten he playfighted with her as she wished, even though that was completely against his nature. Now she spends her days hissing at the other cats to keep them away. She's gorgeous in a flowing lines way, graceful and curves.

We then acquired the oldest middle one we have now by finding him in our yard -  he was a half-starved angular pile of tiger stripes and a white chest I called "Hobbes". I've written a few times about him, and his transformation has been incredible. Not only physically - he went from a wobbly legged meowing kitten to a well-muscled, handsome adult cat. But he also went from always sleeping by my side to moving from that position to make room for the youngest. He also went from attacking and playfighting with The Monk to leaving him alone when it was clear to him that he was too sick to play. Now he spends his time playfighting with the second youngest, and being a kind of den father to the rest - from a flip-flop chewing "little shit" as the wife called him to a mature individual who still sleeps within an arm's distance, but clearly has a protective and paternal role.

The younger middle one is a stunted-growth black and white domestic shorthair, who will never achieve adult size. We adopted her from a huge load of cats taken from a hoarder home. She never receieved enough to eat, which is why she'll always be stunted. She attacks the other cats in a "jail house" mentality. The oldest runs and hisses, and Hobbes simply runs over and pins her down until she starts to cry, and then lets her go and she runs away. If she's the jailhouse cat needing to prove she's not one to be messed with, Hobbes is the guard. Psychologically, she'll probably never change - she'll steal any food left out and eat as much of it as she can before someone tries to take it away. That includes white bread, vegetables, and even things that aren't food by cat standards. No matter how much we feed her she's genuinely scared she'll never see a meal again. But even then, she purrs very regularly as soon as you touch her (you're not allowed to pick her up, though) and she WILL pin down the youngest and bathe thim furiously, because she is VERY unhappy with his lack of hygiene (by her standards).

The one in hospital is a very handsome cat who has female markings and is a riot of black, white and tan. He's tiny, and perhaps he'll stay so. He was a bundle of energy until one day he stopped playing and slept a lot. Cried for food but never ate it. Hobbes scowled at us accusatorily as if we could fix this but didn't, and was even angrier when we took him away. He knows what a cat carrier is but doesn't seem to remember what it's for, he associates it with an animal leaving and doesn't really know for sure if it means that animal is coming back. There's still some kind of inherent trust, even as he communicates he isn't happy with the little one being sick and us seemingly doing nothing about it. 

Because I brought him home and stayed with him the first day and a half, the little one has almost mother-bonded to me. He'll sleep alongside me where Hobbes used to, oblivious that that was Hobbes' spot. Hobbes has absolutely ceded this in a kind of gesture I never expected from him. 

What's interesting is how the dynamic of the house has changed now that it's day three of the kitten being away. Hobbes' progression from rambunctious kitten to father figure, complete with fatherly concern couldn't be more obvious.

The hoarder cat cares on some level but is frightened there is one less food bowl, the more of them that are out the more comfortable she is, and she eats from all of them.

The diva can finally get more attention from us, so she's happy.

Only we know what's going on, but we can't tell them. It'll be interesting to see how they react to him being better, but not recovered. It's just been an interesting ride to see the psychologies and relationships in the cat brood change.


EDIT: we got the news from the vet that the kitten went into cardiac arrest and died. He had not one but two ailments, and the second one, FIP, is absolutely fatal. They determined this when they tried cardiac epinephrine on him, and the needle hit nothing but fluid. And when they saw the fluid they knew then and there it was absolutely hopeless.


Transcription of a dream log written on August 31, 2016, my ninth day in Blue Azimuth.1

Strange dreams the last 2 or 3 nights—wake up half-thinking that I am still in the world of the dream, a feeling that wears off with time & directing my focus toward the sights, sounds, etc. of my surroundings—dreams incorporate Blue Azimuth in some way.

1st dream

All I remember is that Ben had to write a paper about the Bill of Rights.

2nd dream

Recall a scene where three humanoid mechs (appearance sim. to Voltron or Gurren Lagann) piloted by people I knew jumped into an open chamber in the ground. Then a pair of thick horizontal metal doors slid shut over the chamber, covering the mechs from the neck down. A thin telescoping radio antenna extended upward and backward from the base of each of the mech's necks, at which point I could hear the pilots announcing what show each of them was watching. The only show I recognized/remembered was Gurren Lagann.

Recall another scene: me standing in the family room, wearing my dirty Blue Azimuth clothes and a bandana headband. I've just returned from some ambiguous place after being away from home for 2 months. I'm having a heated conversation with my parents who are seated on the couch. They ask me, "What have you become?" in shocked disapproving voices. I tell them that I'm changed, that I'm better, that I'm a terrorist now. I remember being some kind of rebel or freedom fighter, the cause I can't recall but I remember opposing an oppressive, dystopian government (the subtle sort, I think) that had branded me a terrorist. I think the dream may have culminated in a face-to-face conversation with the head of the government. Recall waking up in a delirium, thinking for a few minutes that I was still in that world, a member of the rebel coalition, Blue Azimuth.

3rd dream

These scenes happened over the course of an interrupted dream cycle, I kept waking up (often with that delirious anxiety previously described) from the/a dream only to quickly fall back into it or another.

Recall a scene: me and this guy whose face or identity I cannot recall (we'll call him Buddy, since I know that he was my good buddy) are chilling with these two girls, a brunette (my companion, I think she looked a lot like Meredith) and a blonde (Buddy's companion), at a party in someone's backyard. I'm pretty sure Buddy and I had had sex with these girls, and done other funtivities, in prior scene(s). So we're all talking, having a good time, until I or Buddy mentions something that incriminates us in an offense that I know we perpetrated but now, as I write this, cannot remember what it was. In this moment, the girls vanish, emerging from around the side of the house, now wearing Elvis costumes complete with pompadours and menacing glares. I believe one or both of them was brandishing melee weaponry (I only say melee because they did not fire upon us) but the shapes are too hazy to make out. They are advancing upon us. Buddy and I realize what's going on: these chicks were undercover, presumably for a police organization but I couldn't tell you with certainty. We book it and the girls make chase. Even though the girls only look to be a few yards behind us, I say that we're "2 hours ahead of them," enough time to catch the new movie whose title I can't remember now (I believe it was a comedy though). So we duck into the theater, the girls continuing to race down the sidewalk as if still in hot pursuit.

Smash cut to two hours later, Buddy and I exit the theater doors into a bare hallway, like the outside of a restroom or something. Buddy and I are now wearing disguises: light-grey tank tops, red horn-rimmed (like Wayfarer-style) glasses like what Sheala2 wears, blonde mohwaks. The girls, wearing the same disguises, faces now looking like Sheala's, walk down from the opposite end of the hall and stop in front of us. In this moment of pause, I'm pretty sure we all know who each of us really is. We each say, "Hi, Shay," to one another, and resume walking in our respective directions. The view is now letterboxed (or maybe the camera zooms out) and I can hear my voiceover, "And that's one of my favorite movies" (or something like that).

1For our purposes, the name of the wilderness therapy program I was in at the time I wrote this.
2For our purposes, the name of one of my guides.

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