About crh

I love British humor, pomp, and glamour; Latin color, passion, and weather. I love public television, community radio, and live music. I love my cats, my friends, my plants, and my red hair. I want travel and life-long learning. Cheers, crh

Aggressive Sexism

My friend and I had a fun, successful day shopping in Park City and drove back down to the SLC for drinks and an early dinner. As dinner/cocktail hour ensued, the crowd grew predictably larger. A table of 4 men and 3 women crowded onto the floor of the open-air patio (complete with misters).

It was a beautiful day.

My friend and I were seated on bar stools overlooking the city, blissfully ignoring the hubbub behind us, but one gentleman turned his chair to face us and began to laugh at our jokes, seeming to include himself in our merriment. Or was he irritated by our volume? I didn’t know or notice, really, except that I did. You know how that is when you do/don’t see the creeper until you SEE him? In any case, he was persistent and loud enough that I could no longer imagine that he might be engaging with his own group.

I turned to him. “I’m sorry,” I laughed. “We have loud voices. Are we bothering you?”

“No…” he laughed, continuing on…

My friend simultaneously echoed the introduction – “We don’t have indoor voices” – so at first we missed what he said. Rather, we didn’t miss it, but we couldn’t believe what we heard. We both sat back, literally drew our shoulders back.

“Pardon me?” we said together.

“Your hips are so big,” he said again, “I kept hitting them with my head.”

“EXCUSE ME?!” 

I can’t even go into details of the fallout. I don’t have the strength. Suffice that I’m proud of how we handled ourselves. We held our space, but didn’t resort to screaming or cursing – unlike the entire table, who rose en masse, swearing at us and ultimately getting themselves permanently 86ed from one of the hottest, long-standing favorite clubs in central downtown.

We were assertive but not aggressive. We really just kept saying, “Are you kidding me?!” I said further, “You NEVER talk about a woman’s body if you don’t know her!” but my friend was helpless now, flailing in a scene unlike any she’d experienced.

“Are you kidding me?” she said more to me, to herself, than to them. I think I watched her escape the room, right before my eyes. I recognized it because I used to do it as a kid. Leave, leave, leave my body. I swept her up and ran out.

“But we haven’t paid our bill!” she protested.

“I don’t care! They can find us.”

We ran downstairs, a seeming eternity back and forth past 3 floors. She was in tears by the time we reached ground level so I sat her down and put my arms around her.

Oh! It was incredible! On their way out, the worst man among them – not the one who started it but the most horrible – approached us again, fast, angry, barking the insults he carried with him from the top floor.

Upstairs, I’d looked at him at last. Til then it had been an effort of avoidance, but I made eye contact now. “You are sexist.”

I don’t say that. It’s an old enemy that’s dismissed before it’s spoken, an epithet before the F word was born. But that’s all he was. Old-school, old-fashioned sexist, misogynist, woman-hating man who punishes women who don’t submit.

We’d moved to a different table then, but hadn’t left the patio yet. I turned my back and ignored him as he badgered me. “Who? Who? Who? Who’s sexist? Who?”

I turned out around and locked eyes again. “YOU!” I said firmly.

I gathered my wilted friend to exit.

He was HUGE! 6’3″ minimum, but honestly probably 6’4″, stacked with muscle, a wall of a man cowering over us downstairs, thrusting his chest out, more than a head and a half above us, leaning completely over top of us, yelling while my friend CRIED beneath me. (She’s tiny, 5 feet, and by now she was hunched down, hiding in a ball behind me.)

Three times I said, “Please walk away from my friend.”

He made his way around me, continuing to shout, “It was a compliment! It was a fucking compliment!” I rotated around my friend in the middle, keeping my body between him and her, instructing him again and again to leave us alone. Finally, having passed us, he laughed out loud and shook his head, calling us names all the way out the door.

Everyone on the ground floor was up and tending to us but I asked them to give us space while we paid our bill. My friend was starting a panic attack, crying harder. Our server took care of her while I handled the check. Before we left, she was able to interact with her surroundings again and thanked everyone for being so kind.

And we left. Shaking. Oh my god! I don’t think we stopped shaking for half an hour!

We ended up having instant porch magic, signs and synchronicities that made us feel connected and joyful. We told reminiscent stories. “Ooh! Remember that time we were hiking in Escalante and heard the flute in the ruins? I can’t believe it sometimes! But I’ve asked Teri over and over if it really happened. It did.” Etc.

We shared pleasant greetings with neighbors and passers-by as we watched the sun go down, and drank into the late hours.

We talked about it only briefly. It was done. We did the best we could, and really, it was very good! I feel like we did everything right. It was infuriating, horrifying, unbelievable, but we did the right thing. So we went home and left it behind us.

The only thing left to do is for my friend to call the owner of the bar, a professional colleague she’s known for over 30 years, and report it to her, with compliments to our outstanding server.

My poor friend. She’s 62 years old. She kept saying, “I have never experienced anything like that!”

I have.

Men have said the most awful rapey things to me, leaving me to feel stripped naked, violated, and ashamed. I’ve been sexually harassed consistently and continually since before I even had body hair.

My poor friend. I mean, it affected me, too. It’s devastating to feel that violence, to know that hatred, but I’m aware (It’s still shocking every time.) That was brand new to her.

*sigh*

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Energy Healing Conference 2018

energy healing

What do you say? How to even begin?

Well, for me… you don’t. (If you’ve read me, you know it’s best that way. 😉 Let it settle.) I’m going to marinate for a bit, and later put together a highlight reel of what I experienced over the last 2 days.

I will follow up on what I came away with, simply because what I’ve been dreaming of for 15 years or more, is mine now. When you play that game, “If money were no object…”

I have a personal chef! My own one-on-one in-home nutritionist! My angels are good.

Thank you, cousin JoAnna!

Oh Happy Day!

Cricket stabilized!

Happy summer! My little black magicat is healthy again!

Five was the magic number. I knew it almost immediately. Something about the way she moved was… brighter, stronger. I really can’t say what it was, but I knew. I started asking her 2 days after another insulin increase,”Was 5 the magic number? Are you all better? I think it is! Five is the magic number!”

By the time her next expensive appointment rolled around (every 2 weeks for 2 months!), I wasn’t as sure. She’s still drinking a massive amount of water. Despite that, her glucose is in the healthy range, and we are left with instructions to watch her and test again in 6 months.

The vet said she was feisty today, hooray! She has fight, energy, spirit! Now Cricket hisses when they poke her, but she still purrs as soon as she’s petted. She’s the sweetest kitty in the world, and she’s healthy!

Happy day! Happy summer!

Oh my gosh! It’s Penny birthday today! She’s 14. Cricket will be, too, on Sept. 11th.

Pet Psychic

I had another appointment with Danielle Tremblay of Insight With Animals on Friday. I first met with her 3 years ago when Penny was having some territorial issues with Ollie, picking fights and using his litter box. Basically, she ratted me out and told Danielle that I didn’t clean her litter box every day, ha! Her logic was that Ollie, being an outdoor cat, left his box unused… for her. I got her her own box – She didn’t want to share with Cricket – and she did actually let up on Ollie a bit. There were still little dominance charges from time to time, but she was much more chill.

This time I wanted to speak mostly with Cricket. We saw the vet again Thursday. She’s still not stable, which I knew, and up to 5 units of insulin now. My sweet kitty absolutely broke my heart when Danielle described her as “putting her paw on [my] face and begging [me] to get this balanced. She doesn’t feel good.” She does exactly that! Puts her paw on my face and looks at me with the most pleading eyes.

It’s so interesting when I’m speaking with the psychic. The cats go crazy. They’re so intent on the conversation. Penny meows and meows. It’s hilarious. You can hear her on the recording. Cricket locks her gaze on me, like, “Get it? Did you get it? Can you hear me?”

Yes, honey. I’m trying.

She said she understands that I’m working on it, but she told the psychic that she’s being very patient and wants me to fix it soon. She has a stomachache. She told Danielle she had a bad day 3 days before the phone call, and that was right. She was so tired her eyes were heavy and glazed, and she sat in the cat box to pee… all over herself. I still can’t get the caked litter off the back of her legs. She’s so tired of me poking and pulling at it. I’ve given up, and I asked Danielle how Cricket feels about that mess being stuck to her for the time being. She doesn’t like it but, “See, I have to sit,” she said. “I’m just so tired. Some days I feel like I’m dragging my body around.”

She did tell Danielle she was content to stay “in body” for now while I continue to figure out her dose. I spoke with Karel at Peace With My Life, who helped me feel confident about behaviors that are good indicators of the day when Cricket will tell me she’s ready to go. For now, she’s willing to stay, and my only focus in life is to get her comfortable.

From there, we moved on to the move. I’m staying in Salt Lake City. I’ll probably never leave. It’s home and I love it, so there. Get over yourself, Christie.

I was concerned about the girls going through another stressful change with Cricket’s health causing so much discomfort and anxiety for them both. Through Danielle, I helped them understand that the new apartment is only a mile away, so the drive itself will be brief. And, oh, what awaits you when we arrive, my darlings!!!

I’ve been trying to get into this apartment for years! I asked Cricket specifically to please hang on ’til Christmas, because we have a fireplace! I want her to spend potentially her last winter cozying up with Penny and me in front of our beautiful fireplace! Did you hear? I HAVE A FIREPLACE!

fireplace

My friend’s cat last winter in front of what is now my fireplace.

And windows, Penny! So many windows! (Some with stained glass!) It will take weeks to determine which is your favorite perch for watching squirrels and birds and people, cats, dogs, and the dancing shadows of leaves and green…

Cricket said, “That sounds fine, but is it our home?”

“No,” I answered, “but it will feel like it. It’s all ours, just us. It will feel like home.”

Penny’s first concern was windows, even though I’d already made such a fuss. Her focus shifted, then, to the couch. She asked if we’d have a couch! It was a clear picture, Danielle said, replete with decorative pillows. I laughed and laughed, because I didn’t bring our couch when we moved last fall. I miss cuddling with her there.

She emphasized again and again the importance of “her” couch. It touched my heart. I couldn’t believe she missed our cuddle time, too.

It wasn’t until sometime later in the day, after I’d processed the reading, that I realized was she was saying. My heart broke. I realized then what Cricket meant, too, when she asked if we were going home. They were talking about Jax’s house.

Yes, Penny cuddled with me sometimes while I watched TV, but she spent most of her time in the window on the back of a sofa that no one used. It was more repository for pretty cushions than sitting area. Indeed, it was her couch. That was the home Cricket meant. They’re homesick.

The good news is that it doesn’t get better than where we’re going. It’s the best place I’ve ever lived. It’s east of downtown. (In the SLC, that reads “desirable.”) Long-term residential neighbors visit daily. It’s the most beautiful avenue in Salt Lake, a little one-way side street you hardly see. It’s like a private, hushed, chirping village with city amenities at the end of the block. Dappled leaves meet overhead in the middle of the road. The entire road. (Have I mentioned my obsession with leaves?!)

The workmanship in this home is ridiculous! It’s maintained, CLEAN, and designed with a sensory eye. It’s rich and warm, saturated. It’s love! It’s exactly my aesthetic. My belongings were made for this space, like we’ve been together forever. And I’m going to stay there forever! At least until my babies pass, and then who knows?

I guess I’ll have to make good on all those threats I made to be an interesting person “if I don’t have a family by the time the kitties go,” and hit the road. Gah. At 50, with a stout, lazy Taurus streak, it will be hard to leave anything, much less home. I’ve never felt more at home than I do in this place, and I got it! My dream! It’s mine! I’m so lucky.

I want Cricket to see Christmas. I want 4 or 5 years more with Pen. I’m taking them home, to comfy, cozy and rest, and I want them to enjoy it for the rest of their lives.

(P.S. I have a hot tub, too!!! Cricky does need a bath…)

Feline Diabetes

The day I came home from Texas last month, I knew that Cricket was unwell. My vet let me bring her in immediately. Several hours and tests later, she was diagnosed with diabetes. Though I did have that momentary feeling of being hit by a truck and my eyes misted briefly with tears, I knew simultaneously it had been a matter of time. She’s an old, obese cat. So what do we do now?

I went home with Vetsulin and orders to give her a 2 units every 12 hours. The first 2 shots were nerve-wracking, and then I was a pro! Nothin’ to it. It was trickier to determine the right time of day to administer the dose. We landed on 6:30, so I’m able at least to date and go to performances, dinner, movies. (Mornings, I reset the alarm for an hour later. 😉 )

Other than that, I found myself oddly relieved to be off the hook for any upcoming shows or travel. Go out of theatre on a high note, and recover financially from trips I couldn’t afford in the first place. I’m no longer available to rehearse, and I can’t trust anyone to give my sweet girl a shot. (She doesn’t emerge anyway, ’til after a sitter has poured the food, cleaned the litter, and gone. They wouldn’t find her to treat her. Cricket’s not interested in any other human than me.) (I’ve always loved that about her.)

We settled neatly into life at the end of the road. Nightly “claw talk” turned more tender, as I reminded her how profound and special she’s been to me, how grateful I am for her willingness to teach and love me. “Give me 2 to 4 years,” I said again and again, “and let me know when you’re ready. As long as you’re comfortable. Just let me know.”

In fact, I knew that 4 years was a stretch. For any cat, 17 is a good, advanced age, and Cricket has been plagued by bizarro health problems since birth, from the innocuous – chronic pink eye – to the horrifying. I’ll never forget finding her at 2 months in a grand mal seizure. I’ve never seen anything so awful in my life. She had several mini seizures in the following days, where she just plopped and glazed over. She listed to the left for over a week after that. I cried on the phone to my mother, “I don’t care if she lives 3 months or 3 years. I’m just going to love her while I have her.”

And here we are at 13. Here’s the thing: I knew we’d stepped onto the end of the road. And though I’ve promised her for years that I would understand somehow when she was, in fact, telling me she’s ready to go, I thought we had some road yet to walk.

Cricket will not stabilize. Follow up visits show ever-higher glucose. Increased insulin – We’re up to 4 units now – and prescription food don’t slow its progress. She can’t get enough water and misses the litter almost entirely. Puppy pads are the order of the day. Is she happy with this quality of life?

When is when? I’ve been begging since her most recent appointment, “Please, Cricket, one more year. I’m not ready.”

She seems happy. She seems comfy. She’s more visible in the apartment than ever. She’s always been a bedroom kitty, but since her diagnosis she comes out to sit near me while I eat or watch TV. She even jumped up on the ottoman that long ago became too high to use as a step into our marriage bed. (By turns, I accuse her of wishing to devour me – “If you were a big cat, you’d eat me” – and screw me – “You’re not just gay; You’re interspecies lesbian!” She loves it! Just PURRRRRRS, kisses harder, and pulls at my face [but never claws]. Eventually, I have to hide my mouth under the covers to keep skin on my lips. After a few shoves onto her pillow, my lover acquiesces and cuddles down for the night, my catty bedfellow.) (It’s worth noting here that she’s too fat to lick her own ass, so it’s not as gross as one might think… though no cat person thinks it is and no non-cat person could be convinced otherwise.)

Point being, I don’t know where we are. We have another costly appointment Tuesday to tell me what I already know: She’s not stabilized. I might be free sooner than I think, and it’s the most devastating freedom I’ve ever imagined.

How can it be the end? How could it go so quickly? How can I live without her?penny and cricket

claw talk

Claw Talk… Here, you can see evidence of yet another freak medical issue – aural hematoma (requiring surgery) – and the resulting “cricky” left ear. It suits her.

early cricket

Early Cricket… Remember back when we used to scan actual photos? I still find this shot so enchanting. It’s gentle, like she is.

sitting up

Purely for comedy… In fact, her gaze is tender. She just doesn’t like the camera. Cricket is a very sweet cat. Penny’s more “attitudinal,” which I also love.

 

Bluebonnet Birthday

Wow. Smack dab in the middle of my forties. This morning I’m 45 and still alive! Twenty years ago, I was smack dab in the middle of years of suicide attempts and an inability to see myself ever finding the capacity to feel joy or carry on. Either I did, or time just wore me down. A little of both, I imagine. What would it be like to enjoy my twenties like I do my forties? More energy and effortless beauty, to be sure, but no more fun. I’m pretty good at that, no matter what age I reach.

45 is square, solid, standing on the horizon, looking behind and ahead, pretty darned satisfied. I loved 44. I don’t know why. I’ve joked that it’s because Obama was #44, but I loved it. I don’t know how. It was the hardest experience of my life. I’ve struggled giving myself permission to say that. I came up in an abusive home and entered my twenties in a tailspin of someone else’s choosing. I chose drugs and alcohol, and had the fight of my life in my thirties getting clean. How could those 3 weeks with Jax and Carrie last September be the worst thing I’ve ever been through? I don’t know, but it was.

I also wonder how I can feel so fond of 44 when I’ve noticed a disturbing change in myself. For the first time in my life, I feel jaded. I don’t feel it in connection to what happened last fall, necessarily. I feel like that broke it loose and now it’s here to look at honestly. Texas, therefore, was exactly what I needed. I can’t process anything fully without my best friend.

Rebecca confirmed the shift and actually pinpointed the beginning of it to years ago in a shitty little temp job I felt superior to. I was only there for 4 and 1/2 months, but she was absolutely right! It was then that I stopped “choosing higher,” in actions and attitudes so small at first that I didn’t notice it happening. Here I am several years later just a little bit… uglier, I guess, than I’m familiar with.

In spite of my lifelong struggle with dark thoughts and despair, my nature is optimistic and buoyant. I didn’t consider that, like everyone, I have to do the work. My habit has been to keep close to home when I’m in a bad space. I don’t isolate. I let friends know that I’m not my best, but it’s usually not too alarming. I always come back to my playful self. That has remained true, but there was this piece that had changed.

I’m at a place now where “resting on your laurels,” as my mom would say, doesn’t cut it. When I catch myself looped in angry, unkind thoughts, I have to redirect. It’s not enough to wait for the real me to come back. I have to fight for her.

So I love 44. It was a year of learning. And I love my best friend. Going home to her family is a respite and my second greatest joy. (Cats are superior to all things.) Here are pics of me finally making it to Texas at the height of bluebonnet spring!

bluebonnets

We painted fake lilacs to look like bluebonnets and decorated hats.

rebecca and farrah

I found the most beautiful blue bonnet for Farrah’s first bluebonnet spring! LaFleurBonnets, Etsy

hannah and me

This is the 3 yr-old who named me Christie Redhair 20 years ago.

 

Every Bloomin’ Thing

This winter wasn’t too bad for seasonal depression. We had, for Salt Lake, extraordinary air quality, with only 2 marked inversions that I can recall. We had lots of hazy days, of course, and a number of brief inversions, but the socked-in, stinking filth that mars our season and won’t let up was the mildest in my memory. That’s a big deal, because my friends scream at me annually, “You say that every year!” when I curse our politicians and swear this is the worst I’ve ever seen it.

Consequently, I didn’t feel too down – like gripping ’til release from cold pain – so I was a little surprised at the jump in my mood when the sun turned and brought us back into my favorite season. I guess that’s all it is. It’s just my favorite. I love Spring snow, I love Spring rain, I love Spring sun! Oh, the blue of the sky in angled light! I love how quickly green comes in. I swear there’s more on the branches when I get home than I admired in the morning over coffee. Most of all, I love the blooms.

I really think my birthday is the best one. Forsythia’s bold yellow has had my heart singing for weeks and by the end of April, most shrubs have had time to get fat and luscious, but the trees are still growing, promising, changing, blossoming. I love to bike on my day. That seems to be the week the blooms finally give way to tiny fruit, and it’s like rain! A purple, white shower of petals and perfume!

I don’t even mind my allergies, which are so bad I sometimes think I’m going to vomit. Does anyone else get that? Where you feel nauseous before you sneeze? And if you can’t get the sneeze, you’re sure it’s an errant flu?

Ahhhhh! Who cares? It’s Spring!

God loves April babies more, but May’s His favorite month. I say that to my dad every year, for his birthday. (Seriously, is there anything more beautiful than the second week of May?) Now, June’s a beauty! She’s like a 25 yr-old supermodel, mature but new yet and glowing. My best friend sneaks her birthday in there mid-month, right before the solstice, when it gets too hot, the leaves begin their fight for life in the desert, and the foothills turn brown. We’re smart like that.