Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen Edition #10

Thirteen Things I Did Instead of Working on a Fabulous Thursday Thirteen

1. I spent the wee hours of the morning being the human pet's alarm clock, headbutting her repeatedly at 6:00 a.m.
2. I did some excellent stretches on the back of the loveseat. That was very relaxing!
3. I did my cardio work-out with Isis which consists of back-and-forth laps between the master bedroom and the living room.
4. I had guard duty for the backyard from noon to 3:00 p.m.
5. I investigated the contents of cups that had been left on the coffee table. I decided to knock a few over.
6. I shredded some important papers of the human pet's.
7. I picked through the garbage and pulled out the old tuna cans which still had remnants of tuna in them. I made those cans clean! Yum!
8. I went after the chicken bones as well, but those weren't as good as the tuna.
9. I took several baths throughout the day. I was even generous enough to give Isis one as well.
10. I played with the litter to the litter box. I made a nice piece of sandart for the human pet.
11. I prowled around the house looking for intruders. You never know when one of their kind might slip by you!
12. I sat in the blue, comfy, computer chair and spun round and round and round and...
13. When that was all finished, I went back to sleep.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006



Proof that I just might be allergic to my human pet:

Are asthmatic cats allergic to humans?

What do you think about that, human pet?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hypoallergenic felines...and homo sapiens?

Dear friends,

If you are a new reader to this blog, then you may not know that I am chronic allergy sufferer. Every year as the season changes, I sneeze, sniffle, and cough thanks to pollen, grass, and dust. I am sure there are probably other things I am allergic to, but I haven't discovered them yet. One thing I may be allergic to is my human pet. Don't laugh: it could be possible! After all, about 30% of all homo sapiens are allergic to felines so wouldn't it be logical to conclude that perhaps a similar percentage of felines are allergic to humans?

Hence, my interest in this latest article from The World News: Australia. Apparently, a San Diego based company named Allerca has genetically engineered the first hypoallergenic feline. His name is Joshua, and his birth was in response to human cat-lovers who unfortunately could not own felines due to their allergies.

(The last time I heard of a genetic experiment involving a creature named Joshua was back in the early 1990's thanks to a television show called Dark Angel. Joshua's life didn't seem to be all that great: he was engineered to have canine DNA and he had some interesting facial features as a result. He also wasn't that well received in the outside world, and most people shunned him for being different.)

I'm working right now on my letter to the scientists of Allerca. I'm wondering if I can send my human to them for upgrades so I no longer wheeze or break out in rashes when she is nearby. They could start by removing the protein she excretes that I am allergic to, and then while she's there, they might as well make other changes as well. I don't like the number of skin moles that appear on her arms and legs. I think she is too tall for me as I hate having to look up at her. Her feet also stink on occasion, and I suspect that would be an easy fix. Perhaps I'll have them look into aspects of her personality as well so that she can be made more obedient and more compliant to my demands.

After all: why stop at physical traits when we have more important aspects we need changed?

Friday, September 22, 2006

I'm average...sigh

Hello everyone,

I have recently been reviewed at Frog My Blog, and I don't think I ended up with too many wounds as a result. Unfortunately, there weren't too many comments pertaining to my writing which was what I was hoping for. The reviewer alluded to the fact that she hadn't read the entire front page. Overall, the critique ended up being a reflection of catblogging.

I suppose I have some work to do.

If you would like to read the review, click here.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thursday Thirteen Edition #9

Thirteen Books You'll Find in The House

1. God: A Biography by Jack Miles
2. Our Lady of the Forest by David Guterson
3. The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
4. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Fifth Edition, by The American Psychological Association
5. Pooh and the Philosophers by John A. Williams
6. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
7. The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
8. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
9. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick M. Lencioni
10. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
11. Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communication of the Dying by Maggie Callahan and Patricia Kelley
12. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
13. Gods and Myths of Northern Europe by H.R. Ellis Davidson

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wooing Females, Tip #87

As some of you may know, I am attempting to further my research into effective methods for obtaining female attention when your male essence is, shall we say, lacking. Recently, I came across an interesting discussion on a musicians' message board where the gentlemen involved were discussing guitar rifts which inspired female affections. I thought to myself, 'Self, this could be genius!'

I formed my hypothesis: Guitar rifts produce increased positive female attention for males. Of course, I believe in a multicultural, multispecies approach. With such concepts in mind, it was only fair to test out the guitar rifts on both my sister-only-because-she-lives-here-too, Isis, and my human pet.

The first song mentioned on the message board was Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. I began to play the song for them, monitoring their responses closely. After three minutes, the human pet walked into the computer room and saw me sitting in her chair. She eyed me curiously, but then said with a chuckle, "The best part of this is when it's almost finished, Zeus. Fast forward already!" Clearly, she didn't understand how to conduct proper experimental research.

Isis, on the other hand, had fallen asleep within the first few chords.

I decided perhaps they needed something more inviting and tender than Robert Plant's shattering vocals. I decided I would try Eric Clapton's stirring and emotional Tears in Heaven. Who could deny the poignant way Mr. Clapton delivered supple vocals coupled by acoustic phenomenal pluckings? Only the truly hardest of hearts could be turned away by such a reverent and sweet lullabye such as this.

"What the [expletive] are you doing, Zeus? Since when do you use Windows Media Player? You better get your [expletive] down now! For the love of -..."

In stark contrast, Isis moved into her own rifts of somber snoring.

The human pet began to move towards me with that unique fire in her eye that indicated to me lines had been crossed. As she reached for me, I cast my nails firmly into the desk and raising my right front paw, I slapped down on the left mouse button to play the next song. I needed a miracle right now to calm the proverbial savage beast set upon me!


The strummings of the bass began, and shortly thereafter, they were joined by the clear chords of the electric keyboard. Robert Smith's unparalleled voice echoed off of the walls, and the human pet's fingers released ever so slightly from my fur. It was enough to allow me to escape to the floor for a better vantage point for observation.

As the melody streamed forward, the human pet's eyes closed softly and a delicate smile spread upon her lips. Her head bobbed from side to side as her hips swayed in front of the computer. Quietly with a hint of nostalgia, she sang along with Mr. Smith, and I noted a slight blush to her cheeks as the song continued. It was as if she had traveled to some secretive place that only existed in her mind.

Isis, of course, remained sound asleep.

When the song ended, the human pet let out a gentle sigh. She turned and gazed down at me as I lay on the floor. "It's a good thing you thought to play that one, Zeus. Too bad that was nothing more than a freaky coincidence," she said and walked out of the room.

Freaky coincidence? I think not.

As a result of my experiment, I have adjusted my original hypothesis ever so slightly: Guitar rifts "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure produces increased positive female attention for males. I highly suggest that all males reading this obtain a copy of this song and use it in conjunction with your current mating rituals.

Though should you get in some sort of trouble with your mate, you could always play this song as a means of escape.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Let's Make a Deal

It's around eight o'clock,
to your comfy couch I flock,
and I wait for you to sit down.

I climb on your lap
while you stretch for a nap,
flipping through channels absently.

But it's then that you see
that man named Howie,
and you sit up straight in your seat.

There's twenty-six ladies smiling,
and then Howie is dialing
to find out what the myterious Banker has to say.

Howie asks his infamous question,
hands steepled per his discretion,
and you wait anxiously for the response.

"No Deal?!" you scream and jump off the seat,
Into the air I fly, head over feet,
shot like a canon off of the couch.

This is why I do not like Deal or No Deal:
The screams, shouts, or squeals,
and also flying is just not my thing.

So let's make a deal:
You stay seated and simply clap
while I get cozy and take a nap.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Amazing Race 10 off to an amazing start

How exciting!

A new season of The Amazing Race 10 started last evening, and I couldn't be happier! As most of you know, Phil Keoghan is a good friend of mine, but even he did not prepare me for some of the twists and turns found in this episode! This season, it would appear that any couple can be eliminated at any point in the race - pitstop or not! Poor Bilal and Sa`eed, best friends from Cleveland, Ohio, found this out the hard way as they were eliminated midway through the first leg of the race. Vipul and Arti , the first Indian-American team ever to be on the show, were also eliminated when they arrived last to the pitstop.

As with every season, I try to figure out early who I think will end up winning the million. I have to say that this season is quite difficult. It might be easier to say who is not going to win like Tom and Terry, Rob and Kimberly, and of course, Kellie and Jamie. However, since no one remembers the names of these people in these types of shows, I'll use their pseudonyms: The Boyfriends, The Bartenders, and The Cheerleaders.

My team for the moment is Tyler and James, the recovering drug addicts turned models, who proved you can overcome adversity to get ahead.

I wonder if these new challenges such as scaling The Great Wall of China or eating fish eyes will be included in my new season of The Amazing Zeus.

I say yes to the fish eyes and no to the Wall!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Love is in the air, everywhere I look around

Just like Zeus received something weird in the mail, so did I:

Dear frosty Isis,

I am writing on behalf of my lovestruck kitty cat, Lim, who uses me to type up
a political limerick blog and just to let you know--I have mentioned you, and Lim's hopeless crush on you, in a recent post.

Please don't mind--I don't think Lim expects a even a mere meow from you (he read your profile), and I believe no harm may be done by this adulation.

Keep up the blogging, Isis, say Hi to Zeus....and know that you have a devoted fan in Lim!

Jude Cowell (typist for Lim)

What is it with these secret admirers?! The last secret admirer I had turned out to be nothing more than a huge horrruuurggghh....excuse me....horrruuurggghh....ahem....hoax.

I hate when I get typist hairballs.

Look, Lim, I've said it once, and I'll say it again:

You must provide proof that you have been vaccinated for the following before we can even speak to one another:

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
Feline Calicivirus
Feline Panleukopenia
Feline Leukemia
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

Once you do that, I might allow you to take this to the next level: a letter in the mail.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Yum Yum! Veggie Boca Burgers are DELICIOUS!

Dear Zeus,

I came across your blog the other day, and I was really quite confused. At first, I saw your profile picture, and I thought, "Surely this isn't someone who thinks he's a cat." However, as I read the posts, I began to understand that you honestly do think you are a cat.

Zeus (whomever you really are), I hope you understand why I won't be linking to you. I just can't have crazy people represented on my blog. Don't comment again on my posts either. It's all too weird.



P.S. What is it with your stupid signature anyhow? We all know that's not your paw. It was clearly made using Microsoft Paint.


Dear Simon,

You claim to be confused, but I do believe I am the one more confused than you. You see, I am a cat, and I can't just stop being a cat. Believe me, I have tried! However, there just comes a point in your life where you have to accept who you are, and I have done that a long time ago. I wonder how comfortable you are in your own homo sapien skin, Simon.

Are you intimidated by my whisker humps? I realize they are quite large and manly, but I cannot help this part of my being. After all, I am a cat. Perhaps it is my long, striking tail that throws you into fits of jealousy? I hadn't figured you for tail-envy, but I can only assume that this might be part of the reason for this vicious assault. I am not a homophobe (a.k.a., a creature afraid of homo sapiens), but you seem to be a catophobe.

I don't know why you question whether or not I took out a stuffed kangaroo named Cangura in my living room or whether or not I really utilize the scientific method when it comes to my human pet. Is it so hard to believe that I might encourage a particular ceramic kitty named Blackie into a drinking spree or that I am knowledgable when it comes to chakras? Perhaps it's even harder to swallow that I am actually a world traveler, and I happen to know Phil Keoghan personally. I think you're simply jealous of my accomplishments, my accolades, my sheer tenacity, and of course, my intelligence.

If you choose not to link to me, then that is your choice. I don't recall asking you to link to me. I understand you have an image you need to maintain. In the wide world of blogging, my kind and I are like Veggie Boca Burgers presented in the line-up of McDonald's along with Big Macs and Quarter Pounders with Cheese. I know you don't have a place for me on your so-called menu, and that's ok. Sooner or later, though, you will have to make room for all the other crazies like me.

I'll help you out in advance. Title your blogroll: V.B.B. That way, no one will know you're associating with the mighty Veggie Boca Burger Blogosphere.


P.S. The scanner I utilize regularly would not accept my plaster mold of my paw print, and I was forced to improvise. You caught me: I did use Microsoft Paint for my signature. I would like to think that it is a very close representation of my paw based on the original mold, but I can certainly upgrade it. Thank you for inspiring me, Simon!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Thursday Thirteen Edition #8

Thirteen Things To Do With Your Sick Human Pet

1. Rip apart her used tissues as she lays them in the basket next to the loveseat.
2. Lick at her face while the feverish sweat comes down her cheeks.
3. Listen to her ramblings concerning how hot Matthew Fox is while Season 2 of Lost plays throughout the day.
4. Listen to her ramblings concerning how hot Josh Holloway is while Season 2 of Lost plays throughout the day.
5. Continuously remind her she has a fever, and that she can never have Matthew Fox or Josh Hollway because they're stuck on some island in the middle of nowhere that is controlled by disturbed psychologists.
6. Convince her that she need not bother trying to come up with elaborate theories concerning the events and happenings of Lost since it's a television show.
7. Encourage her to shower so she doesn't stink up the living room.
8. Count how many cups of tea she has.
9. Lap up the remaining tea in the cups she leaves behind so none of it goes to waste.
10. Sit on her stomach and watch her squirm.
11. Headbutt her fifteen times in a row so she feeds you.
12. Cover your ears with your paws when the sonic booming of her sneezes erupts.
13. Purr and snuggle with her so she knows that even though she's sick, she's still beautiful to you.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Get down with the sickness

The Mama agreed to stay home, but she has been near delirious...or so it seems to me, and I think I would know since everyone tells me I am all the time anyhow.

She is burning up, and every part of her is covered in sweat.

What I don't understand is how she says she is cold, then hot, then cold, then hot. Make up your mind, the Mama!

I don't lay on top of her. I just lay beside her. Zeus already made the mistake of throwing his fat belly on top of the Mama's belly which made her groan and cry. The Mama seemed more sensitive than normal at that moment, and Zeus just was too slow to catch on to the fact that he was hurting the Mama. I climbed on top of the loveseat and hit him on his tail.

Sometimes, a little swat is all it takes.

Hopefully, the Mama's fever will break sometime today.

Until then, I am sure I will get to watch all of Season 2 of Lost, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and perhaps even Kill Bill, volumes 1 and 2.

Sick days are movie days which are the best!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What to do?

Pssst! Psssssssssssssst! Psssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssst!

Yeah, you! The one reading this! Listen up as I don't have much time.

The mama is sick. Yes, it's true. I know you don't believe me, but it's true!

She has been coughing, sneezing, and running a fever. If you were to ask me, I'd say her skin looks a little dull, and her cheeks look swollen.

What's worse is, she doesn't stay home to get any rest! What is wrong with her? Is this some sort of work-related disease? She looks like crap, but she goes to work?! That's crazy!

Someone please help me help the mama. I can't take any more of this insanity.

I need to run before the fatty sees me on the computer.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

28 Things About My Human Pet

It's my human pet's birthday, and today, she turns 28 years old! To celebrate, I thought I would give all of you 28 things you might not know about her. Enjoy!

1. She was born on September 10, 1978.
2. She was born at 10:00 a.m.
3. She weighed 10 lbs. and 10 oz.
4. She was a month early unfortunately, or it would have been all 10's!
5. She does not have a middle name.
6. She never went to kindergarten.
7. She started playing softball when she was six years old.
8. She played softball until she graduated from high school.
9. She was the first girl ever to play basketball at her Catholic grade school.
10. She played from fourth to eighth grade.
11. The school has a sign in their gym in her honor. They now have several girls' team.
12. She knows how to cross-stitch.
13. She would sit down with her Grandma Vern and cross-stitch whenever she visited her.
14. In seventh grade, she had wanted to see the New Kids on the Block concert. Her father had said that he would not pay for it. She went out and signed up for a job as a newspaper delivery girl, saved her money, and went to the concert anyhow.
15. Unfortunately for her, her father didn't let her quit her job so she ended up delivering newspapers for three more years.
16. Her first cup of coffee was the first day of eighth grade. She couldn't stand the taste so she had it with six chocolate chip cookies.
17. She participated in the Miss Junior Miss pageant when she was a junior in high school.
18. She ended up winning third place - the first person from her high school ever to place in the pageant.
19. Her talent for the pageant had been dramatic reading. Her family still teases her about it. She tells them if she had been able to shoot hoops, she would have gotten first!
20. When she turned 15, she became a busgirl at J. W. Hall's Restaurant, the fanciest restaurant in town! She worked there until she attended college.
21. She never went to any of her formals because her dad had told her she was not allowed to ask a boy. Of course, it didn't help that no one had asked her to go either.
23. She performed spoken word every Thursday night at a local coffeeshoppe called The Bridge Street Inn.
24. She attended college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
25. She was accepted into the very first class of the Robert E. Cook Honors' College.
26. When her first boyfriend in college went to Oregon for the summer, she dyed her hair black, thinking that it would wash out. Oh, how wrong she was.
27. She had ACL reconstructive surgery when she was 16.
28. One day, she will get to see where family came from by visiting Naples, Italy.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Eye of the tiger, baby!

Michael Buffer accepts the microphone lowering from the ceiling of The House. He takes center stage in the living room, standing on top of the mosaic coffee table. He gazes intently at a crowd that exists only in his mind as his voice echos throughout the kitchen and hallway.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! It is my honor in welcoming you to the Grand Pubah Luxury Living Room this morning for today's main event. This fight has been sanctioned by the Committee at 2922 Creek Manor and is in accordance with all state and local laws."

"In the left corner, we have the challenger in the brown trunks. Weighing in at a massive one pound, she's the upcoming contender from the land of Kohl's. She has 0 wins, 0 losses, and 0 knock-outs. She's the Roo of Kung Fu: Caaaanguuuuurrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!"

"In the right corner is our reigning heavyweight champion in the gold trunks. He weighs a staggering fifteen pounds of pure raw muscle. With 9 wins, 1 loss, and 0 knock-outs, he's what Rolling Stone hails, "a sheer triumph of boxing magnificence"! He's the Buddha Belly, and his mama said to knock you out: Zeuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuussssssssssssssssssssss!"

"Ladies and gentlemen: The time has come."

There's a dramatic pause as Michael Buffer looks around the living room.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thursday Thirteen Edition #7

Thirteen Reasons Dogs Are O.K.

1. They can lick their own rear ends just like we felines can!
2. They aren't fickle when it comes to eating.
3. They perform manual labor so cats don't have to. How awesome are Willow and Stella?
4. Sometimes, dogs are even leaders in major religious organizations as in the case of my friend, Ayatollah Mugsy!
5. Occasionally, they like to show off their tummies too!
6. Dogs can even have fancy hair-dos as in the case of the beautiful, springy curls my friend, Chelsea, possesses!
7. Every once in awhile, dogs solve complex TigerSan!
8. Currently, canines are working on digging the hole to China we've heard so much about. I hope they succeed!
9. Some dogs like Brody the Bulldog even host soccer clinics.
10. Though I hate to admit this, canines get cooler Halloween outfits than felines.
11. As someone once said, "If it wasn't for dogs, some people would never walk." I consider that valuable community service!
12. When their human pets act up, they have The Dog Whisperer to turn to for help.
13. Some dogs even have foods named after them as in the case of my friends Andy, Roxie, and Sammy, or as I prefer to call them, The Hot Dog Gang.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cangura unveiled!

It's time to uncover the truth, my friends.

It's no secret to most that my human pet is a devoted Tekken fan. Long have I listened to her recall her former glory days in college when she would storm the local coffeeshoppes, locate the Tekken arcade, and gleefully conquer young teenage boys with her flaming fingers of fury. While sipping on mocha lattes and smoking cigarettes, she would denounce the powers of man with her avatar of war, Jin Kazama, laying to waste the male egos before her.

When she brought home Tekken 5 for her humanip (a.k.a. Playstation 2), I didn't immediately care. I would sit beside her, watch her animated responses, and note the kickback motion which indicated that she was once again on her way to earning yet another beloved character. Sometimes, I would even lay my belly on her legs and spread out to keep her seated, but alas, that was folly for I would be flown thanks to her thighs o'torque.

It was not too long ago, however, that my interest was piqued when I noticed that one of the characters the human pet had unlocked looked strangely familiar to me. Curious, I pawed at the controller, hoping to land the flashing box on the image so as to gain some more information. My plan worked brilliantly.

"Do you want me to be Roger, Jr., Zeus?"

Roger, Jr. Yes. Actually, I do.

When the image of the kangaroos (yes, kangaroos plural) appeared, my eyebrows nearly shot off of my face! I knew this mug! I knew this roo!

Leaping off of the human pet ("Dammit, Zeus! That bleeping hurt!"), I rushed into the living room to look at Cangura. (I apologize as I had pictures, but Blogger decided you would have to use your imagination!) My eyes narrowed as I took in her features, the lines of her pouch, and the all-too-innocent look in her baby's eyes.

"I'm on to you now, Cangura...if that is your real name," I hissed.

I drew my paw across the carpet and waved my claws at her. "Get ready, Cangura! Friday - you and me - right here in the living room, as soon as the human pet leaves for work. Got that?"

She just stared at me like a cold-blooded killer, her eyes empty and void of emotion.

"Fine then. It's settled! Now everyone will know the truth!"

I know I am right about this, my friends. They look too much alike not to be related at the very least, but I suspect we have been living with this well-trained fighting machine for months now without ever knowing! I need to take a stand on this in order to keep this house safe! Excuse me, friends, as I have to prepare for my match against Cangura...if that is her real name.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fungus on the loose!

Hello, my friends,

Some of you may remember my battle with the evil and ruthless monster known as Sand Her. Though Sand Her ended up leaving the property, I have discovered finally what the demon spawn was here for all along:

Our bathroom walls! Sand Her eats bathroom walls!

My human pet for the past few months has kept the door to her master bathroom shut. However, last night, I noticed she had left it open by a small margin. Harnessing the power of my ultra-powerful headbutt, I knocked down the door and walked inside. What my eyes beheld was unlike anything I had ever seen!

It was like walking onto the set of Jumanji*:

Sand Her had come in and destroyed the beautiful wallpaper that was here when we first moved in. It had completely covered the walls in its gooey, green trail, leaving behind a terrible stench so other animals could know Sand Her's territory. My nose crinkled up as I gazed around at the wicked carnage. With all of the tools laying around, it was clear to me the human pet had been trying to fight off the fungi-esque trail; however, she was losing this battle to be certain.

Smiling down at me, she said, "So how do you like the venetian plaster, Zeus? This is just the first coat."

I tilted my head and gave her an inquisitive look. "How do I like it? This is a tragedy! We have to get this off of the walls at once!"

The human pet squinted her eyes and pursed her lips. She picked me up and hoisted me out of the bathroom. I heard the door slam shut behind me, and I quickly turned to paw at it to see if I could save my human pet's life!

"Zeus, I mean it! Leave me alone!"

I'll check on the human pet later today to make sure she's still alive and untouched by the disease-infested fungus. After all, you never leave a human pet behind.

*Having never been on the set of Jumanji, I can neither validate or invalidate the validity of this claim.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Pick up your broom

And now, a word from our sponsor...

"If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michaelanglo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well."

I remember hearing those words from an airline stewardess whose face remains etched along my mind but whose name is no where to be found. I was twenty-two years old, flying to Pittsburgh to see my family for the Christmas holiday, and so much had changed for me that season. In July of that year, I had moved to Houston, Texas with only one thousand two hundred dollars to my name. I had come to fulfill my dream: To become a teacher for students with hearing loss.

I remember how depressed I had been on that flight, and it had all been due to lofty and daring fancies that had been torn apart by institutions. No one ever instructed me in college that education was politics. No one had told me that there was only one philosophy to what was right or wrong in a classroom. No one had informed me that teaching would also mean parenting. I was faced with the most absolute truth that I heard throughout my entire college career that, up until that moment, I had always believed to be a joke: "They don't teach you how to be a teacher in college."

So imagine my curiosity when the airline stewardess sat down beside me and struck up a conversation. Imagine even more when we started talking about Martin Luther King, Jr., and how she remembered listening to his powerful speeches, captivated by his words. When she told me that quote, something inside of me lit on fire - literally. My stomach turned, and my heart pounded.

My conscience had a knock at the door.

"I don't feel like I'm being the best streetsweeper I can be," I remember telling her. I can recall her gentle smile even now as she said, "Then you better pick up your broom and get back to sweeping, child."

I'd love to tell you how it all just changed magically right then and there, but that would be a drama best left to movies. The truth is that change crept upon me in small steps with small events that left small, significant impressions upon my heart. It wasn't until I was asked to move into the itinerant department for children with hearing loss that I realized how different a teacher I truly was.

I'd love to tell you that I'm a fantastic teacher now. I'm sure there are plenty of people who think I am, but I'm also fairly certain that you'll find those who say I am not. I'm realistic in that regard. However, there's one thing I think both camps would say about me that sets me apart from my peers: I'm idealistic. For better or for worse, that's the rub of the whole thing.

I try to face my work as a task assigned to me and as a priviledge which I am thankful for having. I know every day that there is a child on my current caseload who needs someone, and sometimes, that need has nothing to do with our current objective of the day. I am aware now of a greater impact that I possess simply because I decided to show up for work. I am finally cognizant that the trite phrase "making a difference" need not be considered trite, but rather, precious because it is rare.

As I enjoy my hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and cold lemonade, I will be smiling. I will remember what a joy it is to do my job, and how it is my goal to fulfill the challenge set out by Dr. King forty years ago. I hope you join me in this as well during Labor Day weekend, but if by chance, you find yourself feeling like you are unfulfilled, useless, or stagnant in your field of work, let me be the first to say to you:

You better pick up your broom and get to sweeping, child.