October 11, 2010

Goodbye Doggie-Brown

The Real Zaedah
approx. 1998 - 10/10/2010

Site now closed.

September 11, 2010

Every Generation's Question

This is a re-post of a message I composed last year. Still feels relevant on this day...

It seems to me that every generation is called upon to answer a variation of the age-old question; "Where were you when?"

On this day, we ask our friends, coworkers and occasionally strangers, "Where were you on 9/11?" Nine years on and still we are curious. Why? To gauge the impact on others, to engage in remembrance of a shared experience, to fulfill what the previous generations know. My parents ask the question in reference to John Kennedy. Their parents asked because of Pearl Harbor. Perhaps we'll tire of the game one day, but at present I can still recall every detail of the 12 hour day I was working when I learned of the first plane's crash.

As we recall events today, most do so with a shake of the head and a reverent voice, telling our day with the remnant of disbelief. I sometimes wonder how those who championed the hijackers tell it. Where were they when our country was changed? Do they revere the killers? Do they shake their heads? I don't expect to meet anyone who sides with the perpetrators and must therefore contend myself with the empty act of forgiveness. They killed people I don't know and though the day shook me, it will never approach the pain of those who buried a loved one or gave their lungs for the cause.

At the Veterans Administration call center, we received a call from a vet who said aliens were attacking. In minutes another man informed us that a bomb went off. Soon the story trimmed the fantasy fat and veered toward truth. We were attacked. And then Peter Jennings took over our radios to give us the play-by-play of a day gone terribly sideways. Without televisions, we relied on callers to update us on the visuals. Another plane struck. The Pentagon was breached. A plane was missing and thirty employees began scanning the ceiling tiles. The bulk of the day was thereafter spent talking among ourselves in shock-tainted tones.

The drive home is what I will remember most strongly and will always mention when this day is recalled. I will speak of the man who stood on the side of the road at 8:00 pm with a huge American flag. He waved it solemnly and I will not deny the tears that welled. On that day, everyone that I knew had become a vocal patriot and this man showed his pride in the most beautiful display I'd ever seen.

We no longer look up at every airplane overhead with suspicion as we did in the days following 9/11. There are less flags flying, though more magnetic ones remain on cars than I can ever remember seeing prior to the event. Distance dulls the perspective and time lessens the wound on most days. But today, on this anniversary and every one to come, our minds reverse the tape and replay our day. The day we were slapped, the day we stood up again, the day we united. The day we survived.

I am an American. I wave my flag. I remember where I was when...

August 29, 2010

Nope, no identity crisis here...

It's good to know who you are. It's even better to know what you are.

For some, there's room to doubt in one or both cases. But nature is certain in its ways, having enjoyed millions of years to play trial and error. My friend below was spotted at a nature center, busy in his endeavors to be who and what he is...

August 22, 2010

And we think WE have it tough?

Few appreciate the trials of the typical house cat, what with all those lofty expectations and deadlines and such. We humans can't understand the pressures of the Kitty Do list.

Take Zimba-Saurus Rex for example...

According to the feline bylaws to which he must adhere, Zimba is obligated to trip his human ten times per day to meet his quota. He must explore every inch of the house like it's an exciting new territory, as if he hasn't lived at his present domicile for the last eight years. In the course of said exploration, he must push his face through every cobweb he finds, as befits his status of 'permanent kitten.' As required by his local union, Zimba will sit in the sink in anticipation of the faucet being turned on (under the guideline that fresh water is best). Because he doesn't wish to be ousted from his fraternity, Zimba will play with every shoestring, drawstring or baggie tie within the span of his particular universe. Having obtained the moniker of a dinosaur for his feats of great destruction, Zimba must live up to his name by, even when approaching double digit age, decimating everything not nailed down and a handful of things that are.

And, as a survival tactic, he must do all things both dangerous and annoying while appearing to be - and here I quote the manual - too cute to kill. It works.

Because I come home from a looooong day of paid slavery and lo... the lamp has leapt to the floor, the speaker wires have been chewed clean through, the food dish is upended (to the dog's benefit), the pillows lie shredded and every pile of anything is scattered.

At least the cobwebs have been cleared. They all reside on his face. But it's difficult to skin the beast, shove a stick down his throat and rotate him over a fire because self-preservation kicks in and he summons, for want of a better word, cuteness. Behold...

July 31, 2010

Rumors of my death...

could, in some variation of our fine universe, be true. I hear that on the third moon of Lotusi XI, there was an office pool on how I'd go. Unfortunately the popular choice was 'Death by Stampede' and thus, as fate would have it, the alternate me was crushed rather efficiently by a herd of free-range armored rhino thingies.

But on this side of the space-time continuum, I am whole, untrampled and only slightly wrinkled from the hectic pace of life. Writing time is squeezed in between losing an Uno tournament to a nine year old and trying to sell air to people who, it should be noted, reside on an oxygen-rich planet.

But I assure you that I have not been disintegrated, unassembled or devoured by by cats (although anything's possible with this crew). I am merely pressed for time and, as it happens, time is pressing right back.

July 2, 2010

Another lesson from California...

Elephant seals know how to settle disagreements on everything from proper posture to the best remedy for sunburn. Perhaps if we humans just rammed into each other, mouths agape and flubber flying, we might end wars in the span of a rooster crow. Just a thought...

June 24, 2010

At least it wasn't obscene...

Remember being an innocent, imaginative child sprawled out on the lawn looking skyward? It's a universal game; what does that cloud remind you of? A bunny, a squirrel, a face, a dragon or, if you were a particularly vibrant child, a laundry hamper filled with jelly beans on fire. Or was I the only one to notice that one?

I've recently returned from a glorious vacation and, as is my custom, I had my camera at the ready to snap away at the sky. Even in these cynical adult years, there's something still magical about being on the same level as clouds, gliding through their marshmallow bodies to find there's truly little substance to their composition. There aren't often many shapes that can be discerned from that height, but sometimes, I get lucky.

What do you see in this cloud?

If by some strange optical deficiency you fail to recognize the Jerry Garcia cloud giving a peace sign, please see your ophthalmologist...

May 26, 2010

Zaedah Coast to Coast

In 48 hours, I shall find myself on the opposite coast sipping... whatever people who don't drink sip. Yup, this Pennsylvania chick is heading to California, land of sun, sunburn and possibly sun poisoning. Oh, and did I mention NO WORK!!!!

I've secured a neighbor as house watcher and cat feeder. I'll be boarding the dog at her second favorite place on earth. I'm entrusting the newly bush-happy garden to... well, mother nature and leaving the resident bees to fend for themselves.

I'd like to think the furries will miss me but know too well that The Cats shall be drawing up chalkboard plans for my demise, which will go something like this...
I made myself a promise in 2006 that I would travel at every opportunity. Having a condition that may one day borrow my mobility and then play keep-away, it's silly to wait. Thus I've seen Arizona, the FL Everglades and Williamsburg/Jamestown/Yorktowne. This year shall be Fresno/Ataskadero. I don't care if my friend and I do little more than sit in a meadow everyday playing Uno, as long as I'm there.

Of course (with my luck) my arrival with herald the day of destruction, when The Big One separates the state of California from the rest of the country. But hey, that'll just make it my first island trip!

May 23, 2010

And I thought I was small...

I have climbed into the boat that ferries the unsuspecting down the river toward middle aged. One might think that, at this stage, I've arrived at a certain level of 'been there, done that.' Apparently, there are still new experiences to be had in this life and I'm soaking up the joy of one right now...

I have poison ivy.

This may not seem unusual to those who spend long summers scratching at rashy skin that is coated a divine shade of calamine pink. But I, Zaedah, have never, ever had the pleasure. It's something to brag about and, if you're me (apologies in advance) there is, on average, so precious little to boast about. I've grabbed the three-leafed nuisance with bare hands and flung the vines carelessly over our fence for eons. Folks, I've even strangled poison sumac with no consequences.

I've been pink all week.

But alas, I did a little internet research - and we all know how reliable that is - and found numerous mentions of tea tree oil as a cure-all for this annoyance. So I jaunt over to the local health store and alas, I could not locate the stuff despite a whopping ten minutes of aisle wandering. I mean, seriously, the store only has four aisles. The reason I missed it became clear later, when I finally held the supposed fixer in hand...
People, it's tiny! Imagine 'Honey I Shrunk the Nail Polish' and you'll have some idea. Or better yet, give yourself a thumbs up, paying particular attention to the size of your thumb nail and you have the gist. But don't worry, it gets better. The cost of this micro-wonder?Yip, what equates to a half a tank of gas is spent on this thing. Thus the rate at which I'm using the oil is the rough equivalent of waving the fumes over my skin. They mentioned neither the size nor the price on those sites that praised the stuff. I will report the success or failure of my experiments, but be assured that in the meantime, I will be avoiding three-leafed things for the rest of time.

May 22, 2010

It's all in the font?

To protect my happy little car and ensure the big bad police don't take Lil Neon away, I have car insurance. Yup, that thing we pay for monthly which we pray we'll never need and (on short pay weeks) can't figure out the real purpose of?

I received an e-mail from Esurance (the carrier who insists that high premiums and the biggest deductibles on planet earth are beneficial to my personal growth) which details the exciting new change... Are you ready? Sitting down? Defibrillator on hand? Good.

They've changed their logo from this...

To this...
Why? Well, thank goodness I have an e-mail to explain it! I'd have gotten my statements and though them to be fraudulent - and possibly filled with anthrax - had I not known of this change.

They believe - and this is quoting from the source material - that the new logo "is modern and approachable." So what I've gleaned from this is that the new black, lower case font is modern (in that way that means a child who hasn't learned about capitals wrote it) and approachable (in that way of nice old ladies who never shun you). So I can now walk up to the new logo and shake its E?

If they waste actual paper - thus killing trees - to inform others who lack e-mail, I'm switching companies, approachable, modern logo or not!

May 10, 2010

Mommy's Day

Mother's Day was an interesting affair for me.

The brunch hour was spent in the company of women in their 70's, fighting the onslaught of thinning bones, cataracts and crazy young drivers by staunchly adhering to their code of honor: I'm never so old that I can't kick your @$$

The dinner hour was spent cozying up to a host of related and extended family, helping the kiddies cut their pancakes and watching some of my favorite moms (especially my own) enjoy their designated day.

At work last Friday, strangers kept adding the line "Have a great Mother's Day, if you're a mother." I am not, in fact, a mother, unless you count the long list of furries currently eating me out of house and home. But I appreciate the sentiment. At 35 and (still) single, it's unlikely that I ever will be - though the notion seems to sadden the folks. I proceed through the day knowing that I've missed the boat on claiming this holiday for myself.

Still, I always manage to enjoy the day, hobnobbing with family and doling out those additional hugs to mommy. And I'd like to think that the furries bestow upon me a little extra thanks when they meow and bark.

May 3, 2010

Glory in the Bathroom

It is stunning. A beautiful work of gleaming art that rips tears from the eyes of angels. A white monument to all that is grand and flawless on this planet.

It's a toilet.

Now I realize that other people (the jaded sort with whom I shall not associate) will not see the perfection in lavatory equipment. But I assure you, the new gem in my bathroom has produced rampant weeping. I simply adore it.

Partially because it's brand spanking new. Mostly because it works.

I feel no shame in proclaiming the rapture soaring through my bones as I gaze at my pretty new friend. Folks, it not only flushes (which is only appreciated when accustomed to one that needed daily floggings) but it's whisper-quiet, snap-quick and did I mention it gleams? Did I also mention that the old one was pink?

Now you see the cause of my joy.

April 30, 2010

Conversations in the Garden

My neighbor said the oddest thing to me tonight. She said I was graceful.

(Quit laughing, family)
I took a moment to envision myself as a graceful person and came up empty. Even my potent imagination, fed a steady diet of Dr Seuss, couldn't summon the picture. This. Is. Me.

When the doctor handed out an MS diagnosis, his sticky fingers managed to pickpocket my balance. I miss it dearly and found, sadly, that while informercials offer an unholy host of useless items, they've yet to advertise Balance in a Box ($19.99 and your firstborn, plus shipping).

I eventually tuned back into my neighbor's kind and utterly undeserved praise and learned she was speaking about a different sort of grace. Which is good since she herself has witnessed my unusual, unplanned and entirely uncoordinated flailings down the steps. She thinks I have 'the package.' I've got it all together.

(Stop snorting, family)

Naturally, I had to scoff, pointing out the bad teeth, severe scoliosis and that pesky MS, (plus the early gray, the lack of mate, offspring or desirable... endowments) Yup. I've got it together. Yet this doesn't deter her from elevating me to pageant queen status. Because I appear to be satisfied, she tells me. I have problems, like everyone else on the planet, but they don't seem to get me down. And seemingly lend me a floating, Zen-like movement that even the constant stumbling can't ruin. She envies me.

Yikes. But in the end (and after much consideration) I suppose there's something to it. Despite all the woes, I am rather content. And apparently it shows up as grace. It means quite a lot that someone who doesn't know me well finds in the outer appearance something that speaks to the inner pieces. It makes me glad to know I'm conveying positivity without opening my mouth.

Maybe I can be a ballerina yet!

April 25, 2010

Confessions of an Addict...

Hello, my name is Zaedah (sorta) and I write fan fiction. I have been an addict for years and I am confessing for the good of my soul. And also to gripe.

For those out of the loop on this worldwide phenomenon, fan fiction is the blatant stealing of someone else's characters for the purpose of bending them to your will. Let's face it, how many times has your favorite show either jumped the shark or created unbearably slow or unfulfilling storylines. Fan fiction is our way of setting right these wrongs. I write original works too, but fanfic is a great venue for stretching one's craft with unusual premises, unique genres and receiving simultaneous feedback.

Of course, it's also (in my selfish opinion) the highest form of flattery to the TV gods. We like the characters so much that we pilfer them and make them live in new and exciting ways. For no money and less prestige. I enjoy this so much that for the last few years, I've also served as a beta for other writers. A beta is what we spiffy internet folks call editors who, like fanfic writers, make zero bucks for the effort.

My gripe?

I take the art seriously, spending time that I should use to work on my tan to instead plop in front of my computer (which I don't do enough in my ten-hour work day). Lately, I've helped a few new writers who are, to be excruciatingly polite, novices and, to be utterly rude, deficient. I used to blame texting, which teaches us to squeeze whole ideas into as few letters as possible. Now, I'm shifting the guilt to the Word Verification box. You know the one. Many bloggers require readers to suffer these boxes when leaving a comment. Many websites use them to verify payments. And the words used are in no way actual words, unless you're a new fanfic writer, in which case you're sending me whole paragraphs filled with the following (taken from actual word verification boxes)...

ancedn, suptill, tratoxi, sesse, volodebu, matouff, mighhobi, crocizat, busaggr, diosogy, oushili, kyrreo, lasich. Do you want more? I've got more!

How are the impressionable youths of our society supposed to develop brains sophisticated enough to produce works of literary art when they spend their days typing the above nonsense? It makes one's eyes cross just looking at them. I tried to ponder possible definitions for this sampling of words but my brain melted and I had pour it back in.

Still gelatinous I'm afraid, but it won't stop me from writing my fanfic!

April 18, 2010

The point of a weekend...

Lesson number 12 on the point of a weekend. Pencils ready...

The point of a weekend is to spend more money on pet food than your own life-sustaining groceries.

The point of a weekend is to pay $14 a ticket to view a 3D movie (remake) with little 3D while they smash your childhood gorgon memories to bits. Poor Perseus.

The point of a weekend is to spend most of your tax refund on... wait for it... bills.

The point of a weekend is to help your father buy a printer that does not (I repeat does NOT) come with the necessary cables to actually hook it up. Said cable costs more than the printer.

The point of a weekend is to listen to said father speak on our proud heritage and be impressed that the fairly shy man can stand before a room and win it over. Every time.

The point of a weekend is to buy a round trip ticket from Philly to Fresno because... well, because I CAN!!!

The preceding is the incomplete list of one weekend's events. Do not attempt without proper safety gear.

April 11, 2010

My name is Pollen and I'm a Registered Sneeze Offender

Above is a secret Pollen Anonymous therapy session in progress.

Pollen is a group of lonely spores who really need a date. Fortunately, all the pollen in the charted galaxy have chosen my backyard to accumulate, propagate and disperse. This saves the rest of humanity from the ill-effects of having the party and band gazebo shoved up one's nose. I'm taking the hit for all of you.

Applause not required.

I'd advise the populace to buy stock in Advil and Kleenex, as I'm personally cleaning store shelves of said items and arming myself for battle...

April 4, 2010

It's okay to bite their marshmallowy heads off...

I love Peeps. Anyone who knows me (which is unfortunate for some) will tell you that my Easter basket must contain the following items:

Peeps (yellow)...
Peeps (blue)...
Coconut eggs...
Peeps (green)...
and also Peeps (pink)

I, like many who need more hobbies, like them stale. Yes, open the packaging and let'um bathe in that wondrously firming air, that's the way to enjoy a Peep. However, despite the fact that I have two containers of Peeps percolating in the fresh oxygen, a bag of goldfish (thanks mom!) and will feast upon my egg shortly, I shall not forget the purpose of the day. And no, it's not to see what the multi-colored, Peep sugar coating does to my tongue.

It is, quite frankly, this...

April 3, 2010

Oh happy day... I get to be counted.

Like most Americans who check their mailbox once a decade, I eventually noticed the little form in my cluttered box. It's time to join the masses and get census-ed!


It was, as the sole resident in my apparently too-fascinating-to-be-missed house, a fairly short form to complete. I had only to answer about myself, a relatively simple request. But I fear my place in the universe still eludes me.

Is it bad that I lied on question # 4?

They want my phone number in case 'we don't understand an answer.' Considering they're multiple choice, what's not to understand? Plus, I'm thinking... telelmarketers are bad enough, so why give the US Government permission to text me at all hours? Don't get me wrong, I like Obama, but I don't need him to call me at 3 am for my opinion on foreign policy. My views on Israel/Palastine relations get fuzzy without enough beauty sleep.

Having debated whether to use a write-in option for gender and listing my age as negative two, I finally mailed the little beast, which will ensure local funding and appropriate seats in Congress. Thus my life is made infinitely better in ten short questions because they now know that I rent...

April 2, 2010


There comes a time when we must put away the 70's lounge-act costume, but that time is NOT now. Not when she, I mean he, can fill it with such... sass.

Note devilishly coordinated converse-to-bag combo, hearkening to bag lady, or... bag dude, fashions.

Don't hate, ladies. It's okay to be in awe of the striking manner with which he carries the ensemble.

April 1, 2010

The Dates That Matter-ish

It's either a sign of spinsterhood or muddled near-middle age when today is a memorable day in the mental calendar in my head.

I struggle mightily to maintain a clear record of birthdays in my family. Having eight nieces and nephews is a challenge worthy of Einstein's impressive brain. Even my own birthday has been known to sneak up on me (which has NOTHING to do with the fact that additional digits are less welcome... much). But, this is the ultimate sign that a cat chick can become a crazy ol' cat lady with the speed of one simple memory skill;

Today is Zazu's fifteenth birthday.

The moment my rebellious eyes opened this morning, I congratulated him on another year of life, hand-feeding him treats at six am (because I'm dedicated) and serving up exquisite moist food for dinner (not that I've sampled it to know its quality). I remembered, before the sun rose no less, that today was meaningful. Zazu himself opted not to weigh in on his advanced age. Or mine, as forgetting dates is now part of the daily cycle.

Of course, April Fool's Day isn't difficult to remember when your cat is the feline equivalent of Cujo. The day was made for him. Look Zaedah, here's an eight week old, sweet and fluffy bundle of kitten joy...

.... who bites and scratches and hisses and has been known to take on giant dogs without flinching a whisker. Yes, April Fools indeed. The miracle is not that he's still healthy, but that he hasn't eaten me alive yet. Nonetheless, Happy Birthday Zazu. You may be sinister but I wouldn't change a thing.