Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch. You may have heard his name. You may not have yet. He passed away recently and I feel it is a great loss for a lot of people.

I figured I'd post these things in honor of him and his legacy.

From the Editorial Page of The New York Sun, written by Francis P. Church, September 21, 1897

Editoral Note: We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

"Dear Editor--I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in The Sun, it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon
115 West Ninety-fifth Street

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Molly the Siamese

I've been meaning to write about one of our newest residents and I just needed to take the time today to finally get this posted.

Molly is new to TP and is one gorgeous blue point Siamese. She's a more mature lady, definitely a big talker and in need of some more meat on her bones.

Molly has got not the greatest story behind her. Now, the details I'm giving might be a little off because I've heard several explanations of why we intook the pair of Siamese girls while I was not working, but I believe the general jist is that her owner passed away. Then, Molly and her friend, Courtney, were all by themselves for about 3 weeks! A relative contacted us saying that he could not take the purebred pair nor could he care for them. So my super nice boss said we could take them in and I am so happy we did!

Molly's already needed a dental done on her and she's not been here a week yet. One of my favorite things about heris that she shuts up and smooshs into you as soon as you pick her up or show her any sort of attention. She seems like a real love bug. Hopefully Molly will find one great home as soon as she's given a clean bill of health.

Molly's former housemate was a kitty now named, Courtney. She's also a Siamese, a bit younger and seal point:

Courtney's really opened up, I think, in just the short time she's been here. She's been talking a bit more to me while I'm in cleaning and she's started to eat a bit more too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Something Funny

Every so often I grab the books of this one author to cheer myself up or when I don't have a great deal of time to dive into a novel. The author, Laurie Notaro, cracks me up. She's just so funny! And scary as I sometimes find it I often relate to some of her stories or comments. Well, this particular chapter I read the other day brought my aunt to my mind and I just could not help but want to share it. I figured it'd be a nice change of pace from the often sometimes depressing rescue news and I know my aunt will eventually come across the entry and enjoy it as much as I did. This entry is from The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club. Keep in mind that this is just a small chunk of Laurie Notaro's amazing works, which I really recommend.

"How Much It Costs for a Room of One's Own"

Martha Stewart told me that I needed my own space.

She insisted that in a single afternoon, I could create a private and productive environment for myself by picking a spot somewhere in my house and tailoring it to fit my needs. She showed me how by transforming a mud room off her kitchen into a spectacular office, and, in a single afternoon, she painted the office, stenciled it with gold leaf, refinished the floor, and built a wooden wall unit from trees she had planted that morning.

I'm not a fool; I realized that Martha Stewart has the magic of television on her side, but in a quiet turn of contempt, I decided that I could do whatever she did. She wasn't better than me. I could create an office in a single afternoon, too. If I felt like it, I could make window shades from twigs and canvas. If I had a chainsaw, I could sculpt a Nativity scene from a block of ice and make a delectable strawberry shortcake out of sawdust and a pound of confectioner's sugar.

Competition is healthy, as is jealousy to a certain extent, but it wasn't that as much as it was Martha's overall tone of voice. It was a tone of condescending perfection, almost to the point of mockery. She seemed concerned, but was she really? Did she really feel that it was important for me to weave a carpet from my dog's fur, or was she just being a show-off? Would my self-esteem really rise if I rented a steamroller and paved my own driveway, or was she just being a know-it-all? Why was I watching her show, anyway?

Well, I knew why I was watching her show: I was out of work, and I have cable. That wasn't the only reason, however, there was more to it that that. I was connected to her. Believe it or not, I'm almost related to her.

It's true, by an odd and disturbing set of circumstances. You see, I have a distant cousin who was the niece of the husband of my father's sister who I have never met. In fact, I'm not even sure if she is my cousin, but it enhances the story better than if I just said "some girl I heard of." In any case, this cousin graduated from Vassar with some degree and then became employed as Martha Stewart's personal assistant. Now, if you think I'm about to expose some horrible disfigurement about Martha's personality - like maybe she picks her nose when she drives or leaves skid marks in the toilet - you're wrong. Nope. What I'm about to expose is that this distant cousin of mine allegedly became romantically entangled with not Martha but Martha's husband, a dead ringer for an ugly Aristotle Onassis. If that wasn't bad enough, Martha's husband left Martha, divorced her, and then allegedly married this distant cousin of mine, after which they honeymooned in Europe for three months.

Now, my aunt, the one who told me this story, is known to exaggerate a bit, but I'm fairly sure that it's true. Sometimes I don't even care if it's true. I just feel lucky that I can pity Martha on some level.

And that's what I kept in the back of my mind when I decided in a single afternoon that the former Scary Room was the perfect spot for my new office, as I tore up the shag carpeting, swept away the spiderwebs, and threw away the dead lady I had recently found in there. I slapped the first coat of periwinkle-blue paint on the wall and it splashed back into my eye, causing temporary blindness. After an hour of flushing my eye with warm water, I went back into the new office, ready to resume my work, but it was dark outside. The sun had set. The single afternoon was over. Oh well, I figured, does it really matter? So I couldn't pull it off in a single afternoon, so what? Martha Stewart is still divorced.

The next day I finished painting and it started on the floor, pouring adhesive remover gel on the concrete to eat away at the remaining carpet glue. However, what Martha didn't mention was that it was pretty necessary to wear the proper attire, like a NASA space suit, when using such chemicals, because the remover was equally effective at dissolving flesh as it was at dissolving glue. This was apparent when I noticed, out of my remaining good eye, that the gel had eaten a quarter-sized hole in my pants and was now gnawing through my calf muscles. Oh well, so what, I figured. So what if I had chemical burns that really demanded medical attention, if not a skin graft, did it really matter? Martha Stewart was still divorced.

After the floor was done, I set out to find office furniture, especially a great big desk. At the first place I went to, a man with a huge scab on his head led me through a maze of warehouses filled with rusted and dusty cabinets and tables. The first desk he showed me was it; a huge, 1930's golden-oak detective's desk big enough to sleep on. I loved it, and when I voiced my concerns about fitting it through the doorway of my new office, Scab Head told me not to worry. He assured me that his delivery men were experts at this sort of thing. They could fit anything anywhere.

I bought the desk.

Two days later, a delivery truck pulled into my driveway, and the two "experts" got out. They didn't look like experts to me as much as they did convicts out on work furlough. I swore I heard the theme to "Sanford and Son" drifting through the air. They unloaded the desk, grunting and moaning, and carried it to the front door, where they rammed the corner of the desk into the door jamb and gashed it.

After fifteen minutes, and with the use of pen and paper, the experts finally figured out how to get the desk through the front door. My faith in Scab Head's men was definitely waning as they carried it down the hall and towards the new office. I already knew what was about to happen.

They turned the desk on its side and tried to slide it in. Didn't work. They moved the desk upright and tried to bring it in at an angle. Didn't work. They took the door off its hinges and tried to bring it in again. I knew that this maneuver wasn't going to work when one of them asked if I had a saw.

"Where is your second choice to put this desk?" the other one said.

I took a deep breath. "There is no second choice," I answered. "This room is my personal space."

"We don't have the authorization to help you any further," one of them sad. "We don't have the allowance from our boss."

I was getting mad. "It was your boss that told me not to worry about this," I mentioned. "He said you were experts."

"Yeah, but we
don't have the authorization," he said again, as if that explained everything.

"Oh. Well, how I am supposed to get this in there?" I asked them as they began to put the door back.

They shrugged. "See, we'd have to call and get the authorization, you know, so we could spend the extra time to get it in there, but we just don't have it," the expert explained to me.

"Have what?" I asked.

"The authorization," they said together.

"Stop saying that and go. I'm giving you the authorization to get out of my house. Just go," I almost screamed. "You know where the front door is. It's the big wooden thing you put a dent in."

And they left, and I watched them go as I stood next to the desk in the hallway.

I knew what Martha would do.

I took the door back off the hinges.

I took out the drawers and used a screwdriver to pry off the top of the desk.

I turned the desk on its side and pushed and wiggled and pushed and wiggled until the desk was in my office underneath the window, and my spine was popped so far out of alignment that it nearly broke the skin.

Hunched over, I put the top back on and screwed it in place. So what if I couldn't stand up straight? Who cared if I couldn't walk anymore? Big deal if I was in agonizing pain.

I know what Martha would have done.

She would have bought herself a truckload of painkillers with her big, fat alimony check and drunk gin until she passed out, like any sensible divorced woman,

I wish I had an alimony check.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Wednesday night I was stressed at work. I was in a rush in order to get done with work and then home so I could start the vacation I had planned out for the week.

Things were going so well with me working with two of the newer people. Yea, B's been a volunteer since long before me, but she's young and still getting used to actually being an employ, I think.

B was working out front while I was working with D in the suites when a girl came in with some stray cat. I did exactly what we were suppose to – referred the girl and her brother away, to a vet actually since they said the cat looked bad. They also said they had nothing to keep the cat in, so I went and got one of our cardboard carriers set up for them to use.

When I went out to the girl's car to put the cat in a carrier and finally set my eyes on her, the cat looked beyond awful. The conclusion to all this was D on her way to the emergency medical facility we use with the cat after I spoke to my boss and had the girl sign the cat over.

Here's Nora on Thursday after a night in the care of the emergency hospital:

Sadly, "Nora", as she was named, died peacefully in her sleep under medical care a little over 24 hours later. She had a list of things severely wrong with her and at least she was under a great deal of supportive medical care. She had the chance to be comfortable when passing.