For those who poke their noses into the daylogs (or to dump votes), you may recall we lost our best fuzzy cat recently. Today, we had to put down one of our two alpacas.

JC was the tamest alpaca, he would trot over and give my wife kisses when she brought flakes of hay every evening. He had a thick grey-and-white coat, a good six-inch thick fleece. Hidden beneath the coat that made him look obese was a skinny frame, possibly hit by cancer. He couldn't get up any more, and just lay in his pen with his head up, looking at the scenery.

Jackson is our other alpaca, and he has a good eight to ten-inch thick brown coat. He stood guard over his pal. When the vet came to put JC down, Jackson stood by, making the usual weird humming sound. My wife held JC's head while the medication did its thing, and he finally passed away this evening.

I hope JC and Tip find each other.

Update: We took Jackson to his new home, which has several alpacas used as 4-H projects for kids. I'm sure he'll be happy. That's a loss of 3 animals in a week's span.

Reconfiguring the magick.

Time passes, but the work remains. I had an old history teacher who used to say those words all the time. He was a nutty old dude who liked to say things like that.

Remembering moments in your life is more important, I think, than most people accept. You move on and you move forward, it is true, but when it comes to my view of life, personal mythology is key to framing life in a meaningful context. You can't get back to where you once belonged, but you can remember it and find meaning there.

Tonight I went back to this weird nightclub I first went to in 1997 and frequented for many years. It was the first time I had been there in almost four years and the visit was like a archaeological dig. The place looked the same, but almost none of the same people were there. At one time there had been a cocktail waitress named Doreen who I sort of dated for a while. She is known in my mythology as the second waitress I was close to who died of cancer at a young age.

Most of the members of the house band had changed, except for the singer, a woman who once hit me square in the head with her microphone. It was the exclamation point at the end of a convoluted story involving another member of the band who is no longer with the band. His girlfriend almost never came to the club. She rarely watched him play. I started to think she was a myth. And then one night this gorgeous woman in a short skirt was flirting intensively with me. She asked me to dance. We got up on the dance floor, which was right in front of the band. She began dancing very, um, intimately with me. We made out on the dance floor. She performed mock fellatio on me on the dance floor. And then I got hit in the head with the microphone by the band's female lead singer.

"That's HIS wife," she yelled down to me, motioning to the saxophone/keyboard player I knew very well.

I had basically been used in their mutual jealous head games. It sort of balanced out. The saxophone/keyboard player had an ongoing thing of some sort with my sister, who I was there with tonight, for quite some time. The wife didn't even know about that. She just rolled the dice a little too close to the hip. And she had great hips.

They all knew me back then. Not the wife, but the band and most of the staff of the club. After the whole microphone to the head bit, I met the saxophone/keyboard player, Jamie, for a drink. He shrugged as he told me, "Yeah, I ended up marrying her and I've been paying for it ever since."

"I understand."

"She might be beautiful, but she's crazy."

"I know the type. I date them almost exclusively."

He nodded and shrugged.

I held up my left hand and shrugged back at him. I wore a wedding ring in those days. We laughed for a long time and got drunk together until closing time. That is part of my personal mythology.

My sister Kris is upset with the state of her life. She and my other sister Alice made it possible for me to return to Orlando. She found nothing in the experience of returning to where we once went in happier days. I took much away from it and tried to convince her it could help her reconstruct what she wanted and what she'd lost. I do that with people, but especially with my sisters. Her Australian friend who now lives in London was with us. She became a sort of moderator between us. "Remember where you once were and you get an idea of where you need to be," she said at one point (it sounds better with the accent). I couldn't have agreed with her more. My sisters tend to get annoyed when their friends agree with me. It is the way of things.

Remembering where you were is key to remembering how you felt in times when things felt better than they do today. This is the purpose of memory. I have regained much by doing just this, moving from where I was, bloody and broken a year ago to where I am today. I am not complete. I am not at full strength. At times I can be caught off guard and people can get the better of me. I used to be stronger. How do I get back to being stronger? By remembering where I was when I was stronger and by connecting those memories with the state of mind I had at the time.

Little by little, we pick up the pieces until the puzzle is complete. There may be other ways. There may be faster ways, but no other way helps you truly complete the picture.

Cold late night so long ago
When I was not so strong you know
A good man came to me
Never seen eyes so blue
I could not run away
It seemed we'd seen each other in a dream
It seemed like he knew me
He looked right through me
Come on home, girl he said with a smile...

That was what the band was playing when I left. I shrugged and held up my left hand and looked at it and laughed. I wear no jewelry.

Sometimes we remember.

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