Dear San Fran,

To the freaky couple who got it on at 3:30 AM in the room next door and had me praying to God that you were just a porn tape, thank you for making me laugh.

To the heat wave that decided to preside over my stay, you're a motherless kind of evil.

To the coastal shores of Monterey, you have a piece of my heart.

To the Harbor Court Hotel (a.k.a. the "free hotel"), I'm going to miss your warm (& free) chocolate chip cookies.

To the pavement and rolling hills of downtown San Francisco, my feet hope to never see you again.

To 500 Jackson, my mouth waters every time I think of you.

To the Palace of Fine Arts, your celestial beauty takes my breath away.

To all the foreign cab drivers who are as friendly as a rock, you did nothing to assuage any of my fears that you wanted to see me dead. P.S. I only tipped you out of fear and to possibly win some morsel of love from your seemingly black heart.

To Sephora—the only store I can actually lose track of time in—why can't you come to Memphis?

To the Cliff House, if I ever make it back to you again, I promise to watch a sunset with you.


"I have the scars to prove that love has had its day and its way with me."

I have written many times about my inability to feel. I swear up and down, and not with rose-colored glasses, that I used to be very emotional. I could cry on cue and sympathy never seemed to be a problem for me. In the latter months (really years), I have the logic to call my closest friend and say things like, "Is this where I'm supposed to have a response because I don't feel anything." She usually responds with the human thing to do, and I try to act like one as a result.

For the past few days, my new little kitten who has really grown out from the kitten stage by about a year, has been aggressively throwing up. He hasn't been able to keep anything in his stomach, and he can't seem to shake his sour tummy. I had my mother take him in, and I just found out only moments ago that he has pancreatitis, which is the exact same disease my last cat had. When I heard my mother's words, I just had this faint feeling of deja vu. It felt kind of dreamy. Then I felt nothing. I felt about as much pain as if she had just said, "It's pouring down rain here."

My last cat is probably the one that I have loved the most and not because he had the best name to be partnered with me (Forrest Gump). He had an awesome disposition for a cat, an unusual one, really. For most of his life, he dealt with frequent vomiting and trips to the vet. No matter what tests were run, they never found anything wrong with him. Eventually, we finally found a food that he managed to keep in his system. Then, he got really sick. He stopped eating and literally stopped moving for two to three days. We took him in, and I opted for "exploratory surgery." The vet was convinced there wouldn't be much he could do, but I didn't believe Gump was ready to go just yet. After the surgery, he healed remarkably well. He hung on for a few months, with more frequent trips to the vet. His sugars had to be monitored, and I ended up giving him insulin shots twice a day. In the end, he seemed to kind of just fade away. His quality of life was slipping, and I wasn't going to keep fighting for him if he didn't want it that way. I chose to put him to sleep rather than watch him suffer.

I put my cat down in October of 2002. In November, I met a Bengal at a cat show. He was absolutely beautiful, and his marbled fur coat sparkled under the lighting with flecks of gold. When his owner picked him up, he let out repetitive whales that sent chills down your spine they were so loud. I loved him, but I thought his whaling wasn't his "typical" meow. I was convinced the owner was too rough with him. My mother seemed a little skeptical. After I left the cat show, I realized how much I had missed having a pet. I had nothing to come home to. I told my parents I wanted another cat, and this time, I wanted a breed. We have only had stray cats in the past, but I wanted my heart to settle on a cat that would (hopefully) have a good health record and virtually live forever.

For Christmas, my parents surprised me with the loudest gift ever conceived on the planet. Smeagol whaled the entire ride home from my grandparents house, which was about three and half hours. My nerves were completely shot by the end of the trip. I suddenly thought I had made a huge mistake, but everyone just kept laughing at him. I was so scared that people would be annoyed by him or hate him, but that never seemed to be the case. Most of my friends thought I had a baby in the room with me because that's exactly what he sounded like--a screaming child. It didn't take long for Smeagol to charm everyone, including me.

Smeagol is very different from Forrest. He refuses to let me love him most of the time, which is extremely hard on a compulsive cat lover. I have to pick him up at least twenty times a day. And he doesn't really like my forced love. In fact, he only gives into it when no one's looking. Convenient. He often runs from me, and yes, I still chase after him. He's a true player in all modern senses of the word.

I'm not sure how this news if going to affect things. I don't know if this means I will be watching Forrest Gump all over again. I'm not even sure I have the strength to watch that, but I know that I don't want to give up just because I've been scarred. One of the hardest things I've ever had to learn is when to say when.


Just Because I Love Celebrities

I just read that Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay hubby Chris Martin "hobnobbed" at the bar of my soon-to-be hotel. Could I be more enamored?
Amazon is the Devil

It's bad enough that they sell everything on their stinking website. It's been five months since I bought something from them, and the only reason I know that is because I bought some DVD's for a friend of mine for Christmas. I was all excited to see the display of Eddy Izzard DVD's on the side, and as I quickly scanned and considered clicking on the newer one, I realized that Amazon had placed those neat little items there by my past purchases. Dude, that's so wrong. I'm a poor woman working three jobs. You need not dangle extra merchandise in front of my face just to see if I bite.


I'm a Greedy Whore

I just had to call my best friend with the opening line of "Please don't hate your greedy partner*." I picked up another shift, voluntarily, at my first part-time job only to save more money for some upcoming travel, which in turn, means my girl & I can't hang out. I think that on a Monday, picking up a shift for more income seems like a good idea. But when Friday comes, picking up the shift is going to seem as sane as investing in mutual funds with the nail biting, day-to-day plummeting stock market. My brain will say something like this: "What the hell was I thinking?"

*The term "partner" is a loosely held, somewhat private joke since we are both single and cannot tear ourselves apart from one another. We're practically married. Somewhat like these two.


When Body Parts Revolt

Each time I go to say "San Francisco" it comes out "San Francisso." I don't know what's wrong with me. It sounds right in my brain, but my tongue can't get it together.


To Be Worthy
I seem to be in the habit of taking on way too much. Looking back, I think I've always been this way. What is odd to me, though, is that I always compare myself to others who seem to stay much busier. I constantly long to be like that. It's seen as some rare form of stamina and determination. I covet that. I really do. No matter how hard I work, I always think I could do more. I've never sat back and decided I've done enough. I will look at the doers of the world and think I want to be like them. I am jealous of their limitless energy.

Sometimes, I catch a glimpse of what others see in me. Perhaps, I am a little bit of that person I've always wanted to be. I've been holding down three jobs, which I am quick to dismiss because my hours vary greatly. Lately, working out has felt like a fourth job. I'm fighting each day to fit something in. I think I might be exhausted too.

When I was younger, I cheered competitively for a team, took gymnastics, and then mixed that with track one year (swearing off that wretched "sport" for life), but then I replaced it with cheering for another school. I vividly remember passing out at every spare ten minutes that I had. My mother would tell me to "just rest for a minute," and within seconds, I was sound asleep. I feel like that now. If I get to work twenty minutes early, I will pass out in my car. My lunch breaks are scheduled to accommodate a ten-thirty minute nap.

There is never enough time. I know this, but I constantly challenge and push it. I wiggle within the constraints to find more allowance. I will make time. I stay determined even though the pressure is bending my bones. I just hope that some day all this pushing is worth something. In the end, I hope there is a measurement that tells me I measure up, and I did more than most. I don't want to know that I wasted it, any moment of it.