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You are the reason I have such a hard time trusting other women.

If I weren’t already in love and married, I think I could totally fall for you.

I have no faith in your ability as a priestess. You have no business pretending to be one.

I wish I looked like you.

I’m glad I don’t look like you.

Rule #1 for being invited back to my house – don’t flirt with my husband while you’re here.

Really, your penis was not that big. Or all that fun. And for the record – I totally faked it.

I wish you had more faith in yourself.

I wish I could tell you how you smell.

Watching how you live your life makes me feel a tad bit better about my own sometimes.

You are not that good of a writer.

It’s really hard to watch you self-destruct but I don’t know what I can do about it.

Even though I don’t necessarily like you as a friend, I totally respect and admire you and wish you nothing but the best.

I wish I had met you twenty years ago.

I wish I had never met you at all.


*** This is my Week 10 entry in [info]therealljidol. This week's topic was "You're So Vain: I Bet You Think This Post Is About You." I would love to hear what you thought about it, and would appreciate your vote when the time comes. Thanks for reading! ***
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It's time to vote in this week's LJ Idol round. If you enjoyed my entry this week (or if I made you cry, and believe me, there was much sobbing on my part as I wrote it), then please vote for me here (I'm still in the fourth tribe).



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I was completely unprepared when I met you. I stepped outside of my house on that cold and snowy March evening and turned around and there you were, running across the pavement towards me. You jumped up into my arms, burrowed inside my coat and that was it. It was love at first purr.

I was unprepared for how sweet you were, how you would paw at the blankets until I lifted them at let you crawl under. You would curl up against me, paws kneading away, and purring loudly enough to be heard in the next room. You never hissed at us in anger, you never attacked or bit - there was just that sweet disposition that cheered us both up so often, Mr. Pink Nose.

I was unprepared for how smart you were. I remember the night I was on the phone with Nanny and heard the toilet flush. And then another flush. I went to the bathroom and saw you sitting there on the edge of the seat, reaching out with your paw to hit the handle yet again. Nanny really laughed about that one. She always said you sounded like the kind of cat she could actually tolerate. I know you would have loved her.

I was unprepared for how much trouble you could cause, in your own mischievous way. No glass of water was safe around you; if we turned our backs just for an instant, you had your head inside it, trying to drink the water. Usually this ended with the entire glass being dumped over and then you'd run but I swear, I heard you laughing inside your head. In later years, you grew even more bold and would reach out with your paw while we were trying to drink and would hook the edge of the glass and try to tip it your way. Cheeky little bugger!

I was unprepared for your love of the bathroom. Somehow you always knew when I was heading there and you would run ahead, rearing up and knocking your paws on the door. This was usually the only time we would hear you meow. I'd open the door and you would run inside, jumping up on the sink and demanding a fresh drink of water. Or you would crawl around in the tub, or would hide behind the shower curtain and beg for me to play with you. Odd but it was how you were.

I was unprepared for how quiet you were. In a house of very loud and demanding cats, you were my silent one. Even when you did meow (only when you wanted in the bathroom), it was a tiny sound, as delicate and sweet as your personality. You didn't need a loud voice to demand attention - all you ever had to do was jump up next to me and place your paws on my chest and I was ready to do your bidding.

I was unprepared for that first trip to the vet a couple of weeks ago. I was unprepared for all the guilt and worry, all the fights to get you your medicine. I was unprepared to see you turn your head away from the glass of water offered to you, and unprepared when I saw how tiny you suddenly were, curled up next to my pillow. But you were still so sweet, making your way over to me when I would lay down at night, purring always to share your love of us.

I was unprepared on the final day, wanting nothing more than to find a miracle that would keep you with us for a little while longer. Even though it was your time to go, no amount of knowing that it was for the best could have prepared me for the gaping hole that has been a part of me since.

I was unprepared when you walked into my life, and even more unprepared when you left it but I am so thankful for the nine and a half years we had between. You were my friend and I will miss you for the rest of my life.





Floyd "Vic" Hooker Cat

January 1999 - November 17, 2008



*** This is my Week 9 entry in [info]therealljidol. This week's topic was "Unprepared." I would love to hear what you thought about it, and would appreciate your vote when the time comes. Thanks for reading! ***

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Voting is open for this week's LJ Idol round. If you liked my entry on Hope, please pop over and clicky/vote for me. I'm in tribe [livejournal.com profile] technophile .
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It's that time of the week again - the latest round of voting in LJ Idol is taking place and I could use your support! If you liked my entry, then please pop over here and vote for me. I'm now in the last tribe and coming up a bit short of votes so far!



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Standing on the bridge that crosses
The river that goes out to the sea
The wind is full of a thousand voices
They pass by the bridge and me.

         - Loreena McKennitt, “All Souls Night”


Cornbread crumbled into a glass of milk, a Camel cigarette sitting in the ashtray next to it. Homemade hush puppies fried with catfish, a glass of iced tea on the table. A cup of coffee, the jade sugar bowl carefully washed and filled. My family has gathered once again for supper but there is only silence where voices were once heard. My mind is on times past, of physical touch that no longer exists, of long-distance conversations that have ceased. I allow myself to grieve, to wish for the 'one more time' that inevitably is stolen from us all. But I celebrate too, knowing that their journey is not over, that the cycle continues. I smile as I remember fragments of time, never knowing what memories will surface but delighting in them all.

This is my ritual, this is how I honor the beloved dead.

I think of those ancestors I never knew. I think of my great-grandmother – all I have is a picture of her in a hospital bed, holding a baby in her arms. That was me, just a few days before she died. I feel her with me tonight, our souls reaching out to touch each other in greeting. I look at photographs of other ancestors that are gone from this world and think of their lives, the living and dying that led to my own existence.

This is my ritual, this is how I honor the unknown dead.

I think beyond those dead of my family line and feel the weight of other spirits settle around me. These are strangers to me, at least in this lifetime. I honor their presence as they dance through this sacred space, spirits whose names and faces are lost to the world. On this night, all are welcome to my small fire and all have a place at my table.

This is my ritual, this is how I honor the forgotten dead.

I know that where they are now, I too will be. Those I love will cross that veil one by one, and the tears of that someday grief mark my skin even now. But until that time comes, until the cycle renews, I have those suppers and conversation. I can look into their eyes, touch their skin, hear their voices and laughter twined with mine. I honor those moments, and I renew my pledge to drink the beauty of the living in as deeply as I can every single day.

This is my ritual, this is how I honor the future dead.

Blessed Samhain.


*** This is my Week 6 entry in [info]therealljidol. This week's topic was "Ghosts." I would love to hear what you thought about it, and would appreciate your vote when the time comes. Thanks for reading! ***
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Just a reminder that voting is open for week 5 of [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol .

 
If you liked my entry, then please vote for me! I'm in Tribe Three - the voting is getting tighter as more people are eliminated, so every vote counts towards our goal of... wait, that's pledge drive talk. Anyhow - please stop in and vote.


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I've been feeling a bit... hopeless about the world lately and was reading through some of my archives looking for a poem that I remembered being an echo of my feelings. Instead, I came across this, a post I wrote back in 2004. I had completely forgotten about this day and as I read it, I found my spirits lifting.

This is why I have this journal. As much as I enjoy having other people read what I write and as much as I love sharing in the lives of other people, I do this so that I remember those days, so that I can look back and connect once again with those memories and emotions.

I don't know what happened to the cat I met that day. But I have enough hope in me again to think that whatever has happened, it's okay. And you know what? That's all I need.

*****

I stopped at the eye doctor's office today to pick up my new glasses. As I was leaving, a very sweet cat came up to me and started being extremely friendly. He rubbed against my legs, laid down on my shoes and was simply one of the sweetest cats I've ever met.

It was also quite obvious he was a stray. His nose had several scars and fresh scratches from fights, and his cream and white coat was filthy. He was also on the lean side, although his coat was fairly soft and his eyes bright and inquisitive. I wish I had some kind of food – even if it was just a granola bar – to give him but the only thing I had with me was some gum.

He was also a full male, which means that he's probably out creating more homeless kitties that will face rather harsh lives and, unless they are very lucky, grow up feral and die at an early age.

I don't have many buttons that you can push to really make me angry, but neglected animals are one of the biggest. I simply cannot understand why people with pets - even those with very low incomes - won't get their pet neutered in order to prevent more homeless animals from wandering the streets. It's fairly inexpensive and even for those with low-incomes, you can find shelters and vets who will work with you and offer extremely discounted rates. There's simply no excuse for it, and I come very close to physical violence when I hear someone say "Oh, but I wanted her to have the experience of being a mom!" These are the same people who then complain non-stop when they can't find homes for that litter of kittens.

But back to the parking lot... the cat was still being very sweet and had I not already had four cats at home, I would have taken him home with me and started the process of getting him to the vet and integrated into my house. As it was, I had a long debate with myself about whether to leave him or to take him to the shelter so  they could take him in. I opened the car door and he jumped right in and explored. Eventually he lay down on my hoodie that was lying in the front seat. I was very torn and already in love with this guy. I even thought about taking him back to my area of town and turning him loose. There’s a lot less traffic there and lots of forest area for him to hunt in. And, of course, I’d leave him food out on the front step. Maybe he could be my outdoor cat. I could cut a hole in the garage door so he could sleep in there. There had to be something I could do, right?

I finally had a chat with him and told him that he was going to have to help me and let me know what he wanted me to do. I really didn’t want to take him to the shelter; they’re great people there but no cat is happy in a building with 400 other cats. Turning him loose wasn't a good idea either - too many coyotes in the woods behind my house that would love the free meal. But I was very worried about just leaving him there, since he was only 20 feet away from the busiest street in town.

I got in the car with him and left the door open. (For those of you who have never tried this, getting into an enclosed space with a strange cat who is fully clawed can be a slightly dangerous experience.) He seemed fine and after a while I closed the door. He promptly crawled over on my chest and lay down, looking out the window and purring. I opened the door again but he made no move to get out.

He wandered around a bit more in the car and I finally closed the door again. Then I put the keys in the ignition and started the car. He wanted out. I opened the door and he hopped out, walked away a few feet and looked back at me. His tail waved once, like a farewell wave to an old friend, and then he was off. Saddened and in tears, I closed the door, put on my seat belt and put the car in reverse. I wanted nothing more than to save him but I just didn't know how to do that.

Before I put the car in reverse, I looked in the rearview mirror. There he was, standing right next to a nun.  A nun in full habit, which is a rare sight these days. She bent down and stroked his head, then straightened, looked right at me and smiled before turning to walk away, the cat right at her side, tail up in the air and looking up at her with complete trust. They turned the corner and just disappeared.

Now, perhaps I’ve just seen one too many episodes of Joan of Arcadia, but I think I’ll take that as a sign that God will take care of everything.  I felt a little better as I pulled out of the parking lot and headed home to my own herd of cats.

I do think that I’ll start keeping a couple of cans of food in the glove compartment though in case I meet up with another friendly cat who might want a snack. Just in case God is busy that day.


*** This is my Week 5 entry in [info]therealljidol. This week's topic was open. I went through several drafts of different ideas but in the end, this is what felt right to me. I will post a link to the poll when it is up. If you liked it, please vote for my entry to keep me in the game. Tell your friends. Tell your frenemies. Stop strangers in the street and tell them too. There might be chocolate unicorns and butterflies sent your way in return.Thanks for reading! ***
ckocher: (joy)

I grew up in a town that felt small, even though the population hovered around 90,000. I was a white, Southern Baptist, country-music-and-chicken-fried steak kind of girl who was incredibly sheltered and clueless about the world at large. All I knew then about the weirder things in life was what I had learned at revival meetings, which mostly revolved around the satanic lyrics you heard if you played a record backwards and the many reasons I was probably going straight to hell.


It was a case of mistaken identity that shook the foundations of that little world I lived in and changed my life forever.


I don't remember the exact year – I was 14 or 15 at the time and was watching the Academy Awards with my family. I loved watching the glitz and the glamor – it was a taste of a world far removed from my own. It was during a shot of the audience when the camera zoomed in on one particular person and my heart skipped a beat. He was the most beautiful person I think I had ever seen. Instant crush. His name flashed across the screen, one that stuck in my mind forever.


I went to bed that night, dreaming silly-girl dreams of meeting my new crush. I was in serious love. Those cheekbones, that hair artfully drooping across his eyes. He would be traveling through west Texas (apparently I was so sheltered that even in my fantasies I couldn't imagine life outside my hometown) and some random and mysterious circumstance would bring us together. Perhaps he would show up at the next choir concert and hear me sing, or we would get stuck in an elevator or something. He would look at me with those big, beautiful eyes, and smile that secretive little smile. Then there would be kisses. And more than kisses. It was so romantic.


This crush went on for months, a secret that occupied my thoughts at random times of the day. It was long before the age of the Google, when answers could be found almost before you knew what the question was. Back in those days, we had mystery and anticipation to fuel our thoughts and our fantasies.


I found out later that he was a singer. I went down to Endless Horizons and breathlessly asked for a tape of my true love's music. “Do you have anything by k.d. lang?” I asked. “I saw him on tv the other day and I wanted to get a tape.”


The too-hip-for-everything record clerk looked at me like I was a little bug. “k.d. lang?” he sneered. “k.d. lang is a chick, not some dude.”


Everything went a little blurry. I paid for my tape and walked home, clutching my plastic bag tightly as my mind skittered every which way inside my head. I got home and went straight to my bedroom, closing the door and sitting on the bed, the unwrapped tape lying on the bed in front of me.


There was that face, those gorgeous eyes staring back at me under that luscious mop of hair. I examined the picture, trying to find some definitive answer. Finally, I called one of the local country radio stations - “hiIwanttohearsomethingbyk.d.lang,” I remember saying, “IreallylikeHERalot.” And then I held my breath, waiting for the voice on the other end to correct me.


“Yeah, she's pretty cool,” the DJ said. “Whad'ya wanna hear?”


I hung up with answering him. I couldn't talk. I couldn't, not when there was only one screaming thought going round and round inside my head.


I was in love with a GIRL. A GIRL! With boobs and, and, down there like mine, and ohmygod I had daydreamed about kissing ... but I thought it was a guy, and oh god, I'm going straight to hell!


I was convinced I was queer. That was the only word I knew for it back in those days, and even then I was confused because I thought that was something only guys did with guys. I began to make up excuses not to suit up for P.E. - I didn't want to have to change in front of the other girls. Oh god, remember when I would look at Maribel in the locker room when we would be changing for tennis practice? Or when Heather would prance by in her panties and I would get all nervous and flustered?


I told no one. I didn't know what I would tell them even if I wanted to. Then one day, my friend Jennifer was over and was looking through my tapes. “Hey, I like her,” she said, holding up The Tape. “She's got a cool voice. But,” she stopped and laughed, “I felt like such a dork – I thought she was a guy at first. I totally thought she was some hot guy.” She stopped and looked at the tape again. “She's still pretty hot for a girl, I guess.”


And just like that, it was okay. Jennifer was one of the coolest kids in school – beautiful, with the cute senior boyfriend, the hot car, the coolest clothes. If she thought it was no big deal ... well, then maybe it was okay. Maybe I wasn't a queer after all (though I still wasn't entirely sure what that even meant) even though I still had those daydreams sometimes (although she was always a guy in my version of things). I still thought she was so beautiful and I still had my crush, even after I knew the truth.


“Yeah,” I said casually, “I guess.”




*** This is my Week 4 entry in [info]therealljidol. This week's topic is "I Think I Thought You Were Someone Else (Mistaken Identity)." I will post a link to the poll when it is up. If you liked it, please vote for my entry to keep me in the game. Tell your friends. Tell your frenemies. Stop strangers in the street and tell them too. There might be chocolate unicorns and butterflies sent your way in return.Thanks for reading! ***


 

 

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Voting is now open for week 2 of [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol .

I think my entry this week raised a few eyebrows but when the topic was announced, it took me all of an hour to know what I wanted to write about. It took a lot longer to actually sit down and write it and I'm still having very mixed feelings about it being there at all. But this is why I wanted to participate in LJ Idol this year - I wanted to challenge myself, not only in writing on deadline but in digging into myself for the words and emotions.

Anyone can vote in this round and I'd really like to stay in for another week. I'm still in Tribe 3 if you're looking for my name.



ckocher: (joy)
The polls are now open for the first round of eliminations in the [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol  challenge!

What this means is that the people who receive the fewest votes in each 'tribe' will be eliminated. Anyone can vote in this round and you don't have to join the community.

If you enjoyed reading about my most recent tragedy, then please consider voting for me. We're divided into five Tribes and I'm in Tribe Three. The voting ends on Monday, September 29th at 1 p.m. EDT.

And just in case I am eliminated in the first round, I plan to continue writing in the Home Game. However, advancing in the game would be lovely. ;-)







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"If good things lasted forever, would we appreciate how precious they are?" Hobbes

You'd think I would have learned my lesson by now - don't take things for granted. I always said it and then always laughed. But I did it anyway. I took you for granted and now you're gone.

It's been so quiet in this house since you died. All I can do is wander aimlessly, unable to catch my breath, unable to sleep, unable to think about anything but how much I miss you.

I remember how I used to lie naked on the bed next to you, your whispers playing over my skin, or how I would curl up on the couch to read and feel your breath tickle the hair on the nape of my neck. We went through so much together - life in four different cities, seven different apartments, the fall that nearly killed us both. Somehow, I thought we had so much more time, that we could grow old together.

But you just ... died. No warning, no final chance to say goodbye. Just... there one minute and the next ... nothing.

I couldn't deal with it. I'm so sorry. I tried to replace you but they weren't you. Too big, too small, too noisy, not strong enough. Not a single one lasted more than a day with me and not a single one could ever compare to you.

I miss you so much. I know that I'll have to move on but it won't be the same. I'm not the same person I was with you.

I just want one more summer with you. That's all I want.

Just one more.

Please.







*** This is my Week 1 entry for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol . This week's topic is "Saying Goodbye." I will post a link to the poll when it is up. If you liked it, please vote for my entry to keep me in the game. Tell your friends. Tell your frenemies. Stop strangers in the street and tell them too. There might be chocolate unicorns and butterflies sent your way in return.Thanks for reading! ***
ckocher: (joy)
I am Crystal.

I am a transplanted New Yorker who still has occasional bouts of homesickness for Texas. I am married to my best friend and we've been together now for 11 years. I am a public radio producer and I absolutely love my job, even though I wish it paid better. I am an fledgling writer, I dabble at photography, I have been known to sing and play piano and a little guitar in a past life.

I am a pagan who is constantly questioning and testing things out. I believe in spirits, in energy and that the universe is a living being. I also believe in logic and science and that we each are the captains of our souls.

I am a Cancer with a Cap rising, a moon in Leo and a whole lot of water and earth in the mix.

I am a dreamer, inherently lazy, a fanatic reader of books and devourer of music. I love the offbeat and quirky, but abhor the malicious and petty. As I grow older, I find myself seeking friendships with fellow creatures who are intelligent and curious about the world, who love to laugh and aren't afraid of being silly. I crave conversations. If I like you, I will invite you over for tea and a long chat.

I am self-conscious and sometimes entirely unsure about myself. At other times, I do indeed believe I rock the world and will not hesitate to tell you all about my greatness. I blog about silly and entirely mundane things, with lapses into poetic prose and dribbles of genius. I am equally boring and amusing and I am completely fascinated by other people's lives.

I am nowhere near the end of my story.
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I am officially declaring myself part of [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol 

Whee.



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