I brushed my teeth
I fed my fish
I put tons of yummy food
In my cute dog’s dish

My bags are packed
They’re by the door
But my home keeps whispering
“Just one more!”

One more toss of a slobbery ball
One more check of the mulberry tree
One more dip in my soothing hot tub
One more sip from my favorite mug

All these things and people and places
Will soon be replaced with different faces
But I’ll go happily into the unknown
Knowing that they’re all still waiting for me at home.


In Defense Of Dating, Part Two

Could this be an arm around my waist?
Well surely the hand contains a knife…
-Morrissey, “I’m Ok By Myself”

A disturbing trend has revealed itself to me, my dear faithful internets.  I’ve been trotting along my merry way, dating here and dating there.  Gathering ye rosebuds as I may, so to speak.  Now me, I have a pretty regular pattern when navigating murky dating waters: Relationship ends.  I enter period of celibate mourning.  I feel better after a variable amount of time and commence dating, ready to find the next serious relationship.  I’m not saying it’s the best, or the most effective, or even the pattern I would choose were I able.  But it’s what works for me, and that’s pretty much that.  Every relationship I’ve had has been better, healthier than the last, and I have learned valuable lessons with each one.  Binge dating, one night stands, empty sex just have never appealed to me.  Well, not *really*.  I have my moments, I mean GOD.  I’m only human. But anyway…

This time around, there is a term that has cropped up again and again, not just in my experiences, but those of my friends as well.  I had not personally encountered this term in the past, but now it seems to be pervasive:  This thing called “emotionally unavailable”.

Now this might surprise you but
I find I’m ok by myself
And I don’t need you
Or your morality
To save me
No no no no no

My reaction to this term has always been negative.  Consider the premise upon which I function:  That a person’s natural inclination, emotional entropy, if you will, is to find that one person that completes them.  It might be for a few years, or forever.  It is generally not possible for someone to connect this deeply with more than one person at a time; they can come close, but there is the desire to have that one partner, that one companion who is above all others.  A soul mate, for lack of a better term.  The urge to create connections, to bond, is stronger than all others.

This might disturb you but
I find I’m ok by myself
And I don’t need you
Or your benevolence
To make sense
No no no no

Based on that premise, I concluded that the only reasons someone could have for claiming this state of emotional unavailability are twofold; either they are unwilling to be truthful about the real reason they don’t want to connect (“She’s just not that into you”) or they have succumbed to the fear of being hurt, and are unwilling to face that fear – a cop out, in my view.  But I had never truly investigated that stance outside my own admittedly flawed brain, and decided to start asking around.  Determine if perhaps there were other reasons, or if the reasons I had were valid.  Time for some investigative blogging!  I was surprised, somewhat, by what I discovered.

After all these years
I find I’m ok by myself
And I don’t need you
Or your homespun philosophy
No no no no

What I found during my highly unscientific in-depth investigation is that while those reasons are quite valid, there is a different way to view the second one, and a third one I had not considered.

A short word on the first one:  If you’re just using someone for the sex, or to fill time, then say so.  To do otherwise is to lead someone on, and that is never ok in the world of the human heart.  That’s all I think I need to say about that.

We have all been hurt, except for all those perfect couples of which there are OH SO VERY MANY, and perhaps some yogis sitting on a mountain in Tibet.  And I’m sure there’s been squabbles over yak milk there, too.  But I’m talking about being heartbroken – that pain is hard to risk again.  I seem to be somewhat risk immune to it, but whatever.  Not everyone is so lucky, I guess.  So saying you’re emotionally unavailable could be construed as a way of keeping the definitions vague, thereby saving us from having to make a choice.  Which is not a bad thing; sometimes we need to scope out the situation for a while.  But in this case, I maintain that the use of the term is misleading.  Instead, let’s perhaps say that ‘I’m keeping my options open’, or ‘I’m not ready to commit to anything’.  Emotionally unavailable gives the impression of being inflexible.

This might make you flop in your bed
I’m ok by myself
And I don’t need you
And I never have
I never have
No no no no no

The third reason I found were those people who have not yet recovered from that heartbreak.  The ones who are still damaged, who are going through repairs.  They cannot even contemplate any sort of emotional connection.  The difference, and probably the reason I did not consider it, is that when I am in that state I turn into a hermit.  You don’t see me.  I don’t go out.  I sit in my house and heal, I do things for myself, I hug my pets.  I do not, however, eat pints of ice cream – I’m more likely to grill up a steak.  Gotta watch that waistli…um…yeah.  I may go out and see friends occasionally, but I’d much prefer they visit me.  And I do not date anyone, see anyone, sleep with anyone.  I couldn’t comprehend the thought of someone else touching me, or me being at all interested in touching anyone else, which saves me from having to explain that at that moment, I am emotionally unavailable.  Other people embark upon a game of conquest, sleeping with everyone who catches their eye and is willing, but refusing to apply or entertain any meaning to it.  These people heal however they may, but they most certainly have no business trying to enter into another serious relationship until the damage has been healed.  They then use the term to explain the situation, which is probably its most correct usage.

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is how to love and be loved in return.
-Eden Ahbez, “Nature Boy” (1948)

I guess in closing, what I’m discovering is that the term “emotionally unavailable” has become a blanket term for a host of different things, and in the case of close interpersonal relationships, I suggest that a more descriptive term of the actual situation be employed, if possible – realizing that the line between the second and third reasons are very cloudy at best.  I also think that it is not something you are, it is something you become.  It is a reaction to an external input, and as it goes against the initial premise, it is not something to be content with indefinitely.  Much as I use Morrissey’s song as an effective tool at maintaining emotional distance, it is a temporary state – behind the walls, underneath the facade, my truth is the line from Eden Ahbez.  Of course, my initial premise may be wrong, or just my own; but I find that emotionally, we are so very much alike in so many different ways.  More love, more commitment, more honesty, more passion.  These are the things I seek and treasure, and hope for everyone.

In Defense of Dating.

Dating sucks.

No really, it does.  I know, I’ve been doing it a little over two years now.

It.  Sucks.  Ass.

Oh sure, you get to meet cool people.  Sure, there’s the prospect of that exciting first kiss, the quickening of breath, hearts racing and all that.  It still sucks, and I just don’t quite know why, or why I continue to do it.  I certainly don’t remember it being like this the last time I was single.  True, that was about 8 years ago, but still.  Maybe its the particular age group I’m dealing with now.  Maybe all the sane, stable, un-fucked up ones are taken.  Maybe I have old-fashioned ideas about dating.  Maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places.  Maybe “things are just done differently now”.  Whatever the case may be, I’m not Livin’ La Vida Loca, that’s for damn sure.  Dating seems to boil down to one thing: playing head games.

That is the one game that I really REALLY hate with a boiling passion am not fond of.

But what the hell.  Sign me up for that emotional roller coaster ride!  Yes, I ENJOY using my heart as a metal ball in the Dating Pinball machine.  If you’re not jaded and disillusioned, then you’re doin it wrong!  Hello, MultiBall!

Meh.  Meh, I say.

A friend of mine told me that relationships are overrated. That if hers ended, she’d just date and be single and happy for the rest of her life. She also told me she’s heard of lots of couples splitting up recently.

Well for her, and all the people thinking the grass is greener on the single side, here’s what I’ve learned after two years.  A few tips, you might say.  Or words of warning.  Take them how you will.

  1. Don’t show any interest in someone you’re interested in. That makes you “needy”. Maintain an air of mild disdain for human connection, or risk being seen as weak. The more you like them, the less you can show it.  And the less you show it, the more they want you.
  2. If you’re not dating at least 5 other people, you’re dangerous. Too available.
  3. However, if  someone informs you that they’re dating 15 other people, you *might* want to consider leaving.
  4. If you’re looking for more than a casual hookup, give up. Committed relationships apparently are no longer cool.  Whoa there partner…do you have FEELINGS about me?  Whoa, I’m not cool with FEELINGS, you know.  Now come over and let’s fuck.
  5. Unless the connection is instant and overwhelming, it’s not worth your time. Slowly getting to know someone? Who’s got time for that?
  6. People say in their ads/profiles that they’re ‘looking for friends, maybe more’. THEY ARE LYING.  If they don’t think you’re hot on first meeting, no matter how much you have in common or how much you hit it off, you’ll never hear from them again.
  7. Speaking of friends: There’s no such thing as going directly from dating to friends if you’ve had sex.  Saying that “We can be friends!” is a lie created to distract you from the fact that you’re being broken up with.
  8. You’ll want to learn the art of the passive aggressive text message.  Text is this generation’s sticky note on the bathroom mirror.
  9. Never, under any circumstances, friend people you’re dating on Facebook .  Or Twitter.  Or LinkedIn, Tumblr, or any of the other 3 billion social networking sites.  If by some dumb stroke of luck you actually *do* end up in a long term relationship with someone, then MAAAAYYBBEEE you can consider the digital hookup.  Until then, however, keep it off the internets.  It’s safer.  Think of it as a digital condom.  Let’s be safe out there, people.
  10. Realize that this is going to be a huge pain in the ass. Dating is like trying to organize a multilevel marketing scam but with the possibility of STDs and more booze.

But seriously, internets.  Dating just seems to bring out the ugly side of people, myself included.  I can’t tell you how many people have reached out to me on the various dating sites, and I take one look at the picture and delete the message with a shudder.  That makes me feel shallow and cruel – but I know what I’m looking for, and they have not met my standards. I’m sure I’d like those people.  I bet we’d be great friends.  I’m sure I have a lot I could learn from them; I believe that of most anyone.  But I don’t claim to be looking for friendship on these sites.  My mission is clear and focused.  Find people I’d like to date, and date them.  If we click a little, have fun.  If we click a lot, explore that potential.

Even more worrisome is that this casual hookup society I find myself in has truly shaken my faith in love.  I view it as a force , as a meta-force if you will; most forces can be described in terms of love or attraction.  I have faith in its inevitability, its power, its universal application.  But the fact that my experiences in the past two years are casting shreds of doubt in that faith shakes me down to my very core.  It scares me more than anything I’ve ever been scared of.  It threatens my foundations.

So think again before you throw in your towel and decide to become a hunter again .  It is not for the faint or the weak. As another friend of mine told me, encouraging me to just spend more time with my friends instead:  “Dating sucks!  We’re way more fun!”

“But Morgan!” you say.  “This post was called ‘In Defense of Dating’!  Not ‘Dating Sucks’!”

Yes, well.  I know, I sound a bit jaded and bitter.  I’m just doing a bit of dredging.  Believe me,  I still hold out hope, internets.  I’m a very hopeful type.  Perhaps one of you can convince me that there’s value in this twisted dance?  That there are people who don’t view relationships as a sport, to be won at any cost?

Here’s hopin’.

Thanks to my good friend Aaron, who brought his prodigious experience to bear on this topic, and to Michelle and her amazing Miracle in July for the Apture suggestion.  You both rock my world.

Today I Am a Good Wolf.

I recently ran across this story through a friend of mine.  I’ve heard it in many forms before; I’m sure we all have at some point.  But for some reason, today, it resonated down to the deepest darkest recesses of my soul.  So I felt it only right that I should share it with you all.

A Grandfather from the Cherokee Nation was talking with his grandson.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.”

“One wolf is evil and ugly:

He is anger, envy, war, greed, self-pity, sorrow, regret, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, selfishness and arrogance.”

“The other wolf is beautiful and good:

He is friendly, joyful, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, justice, fairness, empathy, generosity, true, compassion, gratitude, and deep vision.”

“This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other human as well.”

The grandson paused in deep reflection because of what his grandfather had just said. Then he finally cried out; “Oyee! Grandfather, which wolf will win?”

The elder Cherokee replied, “The wolf that you feed.”

Spreading Pure Imagination, or Once Again Catering to My Readers

Remember a while back when I said I was creepily high on Google search for “surviving hanging”, and had an inordinate number of hits for that exact topic?  Right?  Well, not any more, my friends.   Not anymore.  Apparently web searches have gotten all cerebral and literate – or are at least making an attempt at it.  Kudos, interwebs!  Read stuff!  And I’m here to help!

Lately, many of my search hits revolve around two particular phrases which I’ve used in my blog posts.  I tend to do that occasionally, and rarely do I ever think to actually tell you from whence those particular snippets of juicy eruditeness originate.  So I thought, since people are hitting my site for this info, well, I wouldn’t want them to be disappointed, right?  I know how disappointed I’d be if say, I was searching for the lyrics to Hava Nagila, and all I could find was some blog post that said “He handed me a drink, and then I got all Hava Nagila on his ass” without any explanation of what the heck a hava nagila is, not to mention why it would get on some guy’s ass.  And I’m still lyric-less.

(And incidentally – here’s the lyrics to Hava Nagila.)

So be disappointed no more, interwebs!  Here’s the back story to the phrases:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

The first one that I keep getting hits for is “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”  I paraphrased the first line from this poem by Elizabeth Barret Browning in my Valentine’s Day Crawl post.  Appropriate, no?  Anyway, the poem is #43 from her most famous collection, Sonnets from the Portuguese.  From Wikipedia: “By far the most famous poem from this collection, with one of the most famous opening lines in the English language, is number 43”.  Hey, I have high standards.  For another one of my favourite Victorian-era love poems, I gotta go with that randy, haggis-eating Scottish chap, Robert Burns:

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve
And fare thee weel, awhile!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

Good DAY sir.  I said GOOD DAY!

The second search I noticed pinging my humble little blog is “I said GOOD DAY SIR. GOOD DAY!”  which is the title for a blog post I wrote about being a bit miffed about some silly thing.  Now that line comes pretty much straight from Gene Wilder’s lips in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.  The full text:

Grandpa Joe: Mr. Wonka?
Willy Wonka: [pointedly ignoring them] I am extraordinarily busy, sir.
Grandpa Joe: [tentatively] I just wanted to ask about the chocolate – Uh, the lifetime supply of chocolate… for Charlie. When does he get it?
Willy Wonka: He doesn’t.
Grandpa Joe: Why not?
Willy Wonka: Because he broke the rules.
Grandpa Joe: What rules? We didn’t see any rules. Did we, Charlie?
Willy Wonka: [springs up from his chair, angrily] Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37B of the contract signed by him, it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if – and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy [grabs a magnifying glass and reads]
Willy Wonka: – “I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained,” et cetera, et cetera…”Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum,”  et cetera, et cetera…”Memo bis punitor delicatum!”
[slams the magnifying glass down, shouts]
Willy Wonka: It’s all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You stole fizzy lifting drinks. You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get *NOTHING*! You lose! Good day sir!
Grandpa Joe: [shocked] You’re a crook. You’re a cheat and a swindler! That’s what you are!
Grandpa Joe: How could you do a thing like this, build up a little boy’s hopes and then smash all his dreams to pieces? You’re an inhuman monster!
Willy Wonka: [shouts even louder] I said “Good day!”
Grandpa Joe: Come on, Charlie, Let’s get out of here. I’ll get even with him if its the last thing I’ll ever do. If Slugworth wants a gobstopper, he’ll get one.

Yeah I switched it a little bit.  But the effect remains the same, no?

So there you have it.  All the literary references my readers have been clamoring – yes CLAMORING! – for.  Look out!  Next I’m gonna get all Shakespearean and translate into modern terms the most excellent tips Polonius imparted to his son Laertes before he went out into the big blue world.  Because you need that, right?  And don’t think I can’t!  And from now on, I’ll let you know where I gleaned my little tidbits of literary goodness, never fear.  Go read, interwebs!

What are you waiting for?  Go!!

Amalgamation: a story.

“I’m leaving.”

“Hmm?”, I replied.  “Where are you going?”  I feigned obliviousness.  It’s a defense mechanism built out of hope that I was quite adept at using.

“No.  I mean I’m leaving”, she said.

When you walk into the surf at the beach, and stand in the water, just ankle deep, you feel the immense power swirling at your feet.  You’re just not in deep enough that it can really affect you, not yet.  But it’s pulling you out to sea, out to where its power is stronger.  I felt that power now, except this wasn’t the tide, it was fear.  Swirling just at ankle level, and rising quickly.  My heart skipped a beat.

“You mean…”

“Yes”, she interrupted.  “I’ve taken the offer.  I leave at the end of the month.”

I sighed, bracing myself for the discussion we had had so many times already.  Tapping into the seemingly endless pools of patience I always managed to find at times like these.

“I thought we decided you’d wait until I could find a way…”, I started.

“No.  I don’t want to wait anymore.  I’m doing this for me.  I’ll be back, but I need to go.”

Inside my mind, inside my heart, I heard a low rumbling.  With every passing moment, the rumbling grew louder, more shrill.  I recognized it; it was the sound of desperation.  The sound I heard when I gazed into the dark abyss of loneliness that I knew so well.  It was coming for me again.  The sound surrounded me, as the fear lapped at my knees, slowly engulfing me.  I faced that sound, faced the growing fear and what lay behind it, and firmed my resolve.

“Then,” I said, “you should go.”

The look of relief on her face spoke volumes, while I felt at once both pride and pain.  Pain, from the agony of knowing that it was over, that I would never see her again.  My skepticism would not allow that she spoke the truth that she’d be back; we both knew it was a lie, one for my benefit, and all the more stinging because I knew it.  Pride, in knowing that I could let her go to follow her path, that I could stand fast and remain true to my beliefs in the face of such pain.  I knew the loneliness that lay before me, and could still let her go.

But oh, how I hated the thought of being alone.  What a fool I am, I thought.  What a total fucking fool.  A fool for love, and a coward in the face of loneliness, unable to walk away from love even when it’s all wrong. But now the struggle was over, the fight lost.  Or was it?

It would be an end to the lies and confusion.  No more wondering who she’s sleeping with behind my back.  No more thinly veiled recriminations, or being told that nothing I tried was ever *quite* up to par.  No more struggling to be understood.  No more questioning myself when I knew full well the answer.

Yes, as always, this would be for the best.  She was not the one.

I pulled out my suitcase and began to pack.

This was not the end.

This is a story.  An amalgamation of those moments when the relationship, my relationships, end.  I’ve learned many things from my past relationships:

  1. There is always someone crazier than you out there.  You can’t fix them, no matter how much you love them.  Don’t make excuses for them either.
  2. Maintain your own identity.  Don’t lose your individuality.  You, and your relationship, will be healthier for it.  And always tell the truth about how you feel.
  3. Sometimes, the problem *is* you.  Fix it.  Be self aware.  But sometimes it takes screwing up something truly wonderful to figure that out.  Sucks, I know.
  4. Don’t settle for someone you’re not interested in just to keep away the loneliness.  Don’t sacrifice your standards; you’ll just both get hurt.
  5. Yes, you still prefer women.  And yes, you are awesome, and don’t let anyone tell you different.
  6. Attraction is very, very important.  So is communication, understanding, and compromise.  And letting the one you love follow their own path.  And not forgetting to follow your own.

Through it all, I have never given up on love.  I am frankly amazed at the fact that I keep bouncing back, willing to try again; for all the times I’ve been hurt, I ought to be jaded beyond repair.  But I’m not.   I marvel at my heart’s resilience, and look forward to the next lesson.

Valentine Pub Crawl

Just in time for Valentine’s day, I submit to you, worthy readers, a valentine pub crawl.  Except instead of crawling pubs, I’m gonna crawl countries.  And instead of sampling libations*, I’m gonna swirl words of love around my palate in different languages, see if the mouth feel is nice.  Test the bouquet.  See if the tannins are overpowering.  In homage to Valentine’s Day, join this humble, hopeless romantic as we journey ’round the world in my flying gondola of love. 

*False advertising, you say?  Whatev.  Deal w/ it.

Let’s start in that passionately contested northeast corner of Spain, where they pronounce Barcelona with the c sounding like –th, Catalonia:

T’estimo (Catalan) – Short and sweet.  But not too sweet.  Sounds a bit fiduciary, in fact.

Wo ai ni (Chinese (Mandarin)) – Falls off the tongue with a touch of earnestness.  Interesting, for the Chinese to sound earnest in love.

Jeg elsker dig (Danish) – Full and robust.  Would sound great yelled from below a balcony, I’d wager.

Ik hou van jou (Dutch) – Melodic, strong, with a nice rhythm.  I think Dutch singers probably have the edge, here, no?

Je t’aime (French) – Hello, this is the language of love, right?  Making the knees of women weak for centuries.

Taim i’ ngra leat (Irish Gaelic) – Probably one of the hardest languages to learn, but oh so rewarding. This is the one that you yell out amidst the fields at twilight, and who’s to say if your heart’s true love is the girl or the island.

Ich liebe dich (German) – Frankly, German is not the most pleasant on my ears.  But I’m sure if you’re German, this is one of the nicer things you get to hear.

S’agapo (Greek) – Agape! Greeks, who gave us Aphrodite, Zeus, Adonis, Cupid, the Muses, and at least three different words for love (agape, eros, philia, and possible thelema and storge).  Truly this country has inspired love in the world for eons.

Szeretlek (Hungarian) – Whoa.  And I thought the only cool thing to come out of Hungary was Béla Bartók.  They don’t fool around when they say I love you.  They fucking mean it.

Ti amo (Italian) – Ah, the Italians.  I do have a fondness for the Latin languages, I must confess.  They all just sound…right.  Like they invented the idea of love, and the way they say it is the way the universe would if it spoke in words.  They don’t call them the Romance languages for nothin!

Ya tebya liubliu (Russian) – Not what I would have expected the Russian to sound like.  Sounds a bit like you’re talking to a pet instead of your lover.  Meh.

Kocham cię (Polish) – Sounds a bit demanding, but musical.  Still better than the German, if you ask me.

Eu te amo (Portuguese) – This is my favorite.  But then, I’m biased.  I freaking love this language.  Eu te amo, meu amor…Sinto saudades de você.

Techihhila (Sioux) – Native American languages are so awesome.  You can almost touch the desire in this one.

‘Rwy’n dy garu di (Welsh) – You know, if I could figure out how to pronounce this, I bet it would sound just beautiful.  I’m sure my pronunciation is all fuckered up, and it still sounds poetic. 


Well, my star-crossed lovers, I hope you enjoy my little love sampler.  This Valentine’s day, when you whisper sweet nothings in your true love’s ear, try something a little exotic for a change, and whisper one of these.  Impress him or her with your worldly talents.  Maybe these exotic words will inspire you and your babe to try other exotic pursuits in the name of love, right?

Peace and love to you all, this day and every day.

Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways…

I’m in love.

I’ve been in love for years and years.  Totally, madly, head over heels in love.

With Oregon.  

And my love, my dearest most precious state, she turns 150 years old.  On Valentine’s Day!

So I’ll be counting the ways I love Oregon, all 150 years of her, on February 14th.   Won’t you join me?

For Jack.

On Monday, my best friend died.  He was my best boy, my good sweet boy, and I miss him terribly.  No other friend, four footed or two, was as gentle, loving, or giving as he was, and everyone he met smiled just a bit more after spending time with him.  In honor of him, I offer these remembrances of his life.

I remember the first day we met.  You were the last kitten at the Alley Kat pet store at Jantzen Beach.  I watched you playing in the little display, just having a grand ole time all by yourself.  I handed over my 70 bucks to buy you.  They were out of pet carriers, so they put you in an empty cricket box, and you meowed the whole way out to the car.  Once we were in the car, I let you out because your crying was breaking my heart, it was so pathetic.  You proceeded to climb up to my left shoulder, and there is where you stayed whenever we drove anywhere, until you were too big to fit.  I wanted a unique, exotic name for you, but every time I tried to think of one, the name “Jack” would pop into my head.  “Jack?  Nah that’s too boring” I kept thinking, but no other name would come.  So Jack is what I named you.  It was the perfect name for you.

I remember you and Sam working together to raid the cat treats, which I kept in a closet 6 feet off the ground.  Now that was absolutely amazing.  I’m glad I could catch you in the act.

I remember you being a master at catching flying things.  Bugs, birds, it didn’t matter.  Your first effort, however, was a fly…and you missed.  I’m glad I got pictures of that.

I remember you hopping sideways like a little halloween cat, all bristling tail and arched back, when we would play.

I remember you climbing in between the blanket and the sheet while I was sleeping, and then pounce on my feet with your sharp little kitten claws..ouch!!

I remember you introducing me to all my neighbors, whether or not I wanted to, by inviting yourself into their houses.  I loved that about you.

I remember you patiently letting Tori pounce on your tail repeatedly while you where sleeping, and the only thing you did when you had enough is just stalk away somewhere where she wouldn’t see you.  You were the gentlest big brother I’ve ever seen.  You were gentle with all the little ones. 

I remember I could pick you up and drop you into anyone’s arms, and you’d give them a big purr, a head butt and a kiss on the nose (sometimes).  But you always had one for me. 

I remember you making the vet’s office your own, along with the hearts of everyone who worked there.

I remember you sleeping in the grass near that old barn, and all the barn swallows whose nest I caught you raiding were dive bombing your head to drive you away, and you slept right through it.

I remember the catnip play fighting you and Sam always had.  And you always won.

I remember taking you for walks around NW Portland.  With no leash.  You would just follow me whereever I went, and if you strayed behind I would just call you and you’d come running.

And lots of times you’d follow me when I didn’t want you to, like the time I was having lunch at the restaurant down the street from my house, and you nearly got hit by a car trying to cross the street when you saw me.  Everyone who was eating lunch outside at that restaurant yelled out when you stepped off the curb, it was that close.

I remember I would put a little black bowtie around your neck at parties, and you’d happily greet everyone as they came in.

I remember how you would always be there for me.  No matter what.  Ever.  You were always ready to snuggle and kiss my nose, even for 5 minutes.  Or 5 hours.  Even if you’d just finished eating.

I remember letting a 2 year old carry you around.  And you let her.  You didn’t have to.

I wish I could remember more.  I wish I could’ve taken better care of you.  I’m so sorry.  I hope you forgive me.  If anyone deserves to be in a better place now, it’s you.  You will always be in my heart.  I miss you, Jack, and I will always.