Monthly Archives: May 2009

Things I did last night.


Walked to the local Catholic church only to find it closed.

Bemoaned the fact that the Catholic churches seem to have a monoply on holy water.

Taped a mirror face side down to the inside of my front door.

Rang a bell in every corner of my house.

Put a line of salt in front of my door.

Wondered if my neighbors will ever have a conversation with me again.

Drew a cross in cinnamon and spit on the inside and outside of my front door.

Made a mental note to buy some cookie sheets.

Crossed myself in each doorway and window.

Clapped my hands every corner of my house.

Ignored Dulce’s strange looks.

Put garlic in each window and in front of the door.

Lit inscene and waved the smoke into every corner of the house.

Placed shoes out with the toes pointing in opposite directions.

Giggled at the idea of an invisible ballerina in each room.

Taped pictures of the Bennington, before and after the explosion, and the memorial service at the monument, face down to my front door.

Wondered if beer could be considered holy water, and if drinking beer from your uncle’s brewery would be considered praying to your ancestors for help.

Watched Mau flip out again and start pacing up and down by the door.

Addressed thin air.

Felt really foolish.

But!  You know what else I did last night?  SLEEP.

Walkie Talkies


The following is a list of things said into walkie talkies, at the zoo, by Lola and/or I.  It’s a wonder we’re not banned.

– “We have a monkey flinging poo.  Two civilians down.”

– “I’m out front of the rhinos.  Why do I only see two rhinos?  ……………. Uh, YEAH.  ………… Yes, I realize what this means.”

– “All is calm here.  News apparentely hasn’t spread yet.”

– “I can confirm, yes, hole in the condor net.  The condor hasn’t noticed it yet, so feed him NOW, or we may have a much bigger problem on our hands.”

– “Send Marci to the gift shop for some of those iron on patches.  Maybe we can make the hazmat outfits look like standard zoo keeper gear…”

– “How do you ACCIDENTLY leave THREE gates open?”

– “I TOLD you it was a bad idea to put the pandas next to the nacho cart, but did you listen?  *heavy sigh*  Get the baby shampoo.”



So Mau’s been acting weird lately.  Sorta clingy and stressed.  He doesn’t like to let me leave the room without him.  I live in a studio, it’s not as if I could get far away, but still he seems to prefer to keep me in his line of sight.  Every time I go to the bathroom he jumps up with at little chirp-mew and follows me.

At first I thought maybe it was the move, although in eight years of owning him, and roughly a dozen moves, including one cross country, he’s never acted stressed out about a move for more than a day.  Clearly something else was up.  I checked his food, scrubbed his dishes, fluffed his blankie, rubbed him down from stem to stern to see if he was hurt in some way.  Still he’d look at me earnestly and meow as if he really needed me to understand something.

And yes, Dulce’s been neurotic and clingy, but (and I say this with love) Dulce is often neurotic, and clingy is putting it mildly.

One night about a week ago I was coming home from an evening out with friends.  When I entered the lobby I looked down the hallways on either side.  First left then right.  I was just being alert, as I always try to be when out at night.

While I was looking down the straight hallway, I heard the sound of keys being jangled.  All three doors were closed, neither opening nor closing.  I thought that was odd, but proceeded up the stairs.  I could hear footsteps coming up the stairs behind me, so I paused and looked back down the skylight.  As I could hear steps that seemed be coming around the corner, I could see that there was no one there.

I decided my best bet, regardless of what was causing this, was to continue quickly to my apartment, so I did.  I felt a little silly as I threw the lock and deadbolt shut behind me.  I set down my purse and walked into my closet, happy to be home and safe.  Within a moment or two that feeling faded as I caught sight of Dulce in the mirror.  She was sitting on my bed, staring intently at my front door.   I glanced toward the door.  Mau was pacing, agitated.

My apartment is at the end of the hallway.   The only person who would come down this far is the man who lives directly across from me, and I can always hear his door open and close.   It was quiet, but the cats were obviously paying close attention to something.

It’s hard to describe how you know when you’re not alone.  I’m not sure anyone can explain how they can “feel eyes on them.”  I just suddenly felt that way.  Am I crazy?  It’s certainly possible.  I’ve just always made it a point to listen to my instincts.  And Mau.

An image popped into my head.  I don’t claim to have seen him.  But quick as a wink, I seemed to feel that he was a very young sailor, brow furrowed.  Every had an under socialized guy attach himself to you simply because you noticed him, who didn’t know how to process the frustration of wanting more from you?  That emotion just seemed to linger thick in the air.

Great, I thought.  I’ve attracted all the LIVE crazies, now the dead ones are following me home.  AWESOME.  And no, I wasn’t afraid.

I said aloud, “don’t bother my cats.”

And I went to bed.

That night was when it started, my cats waking me in the night, crying.  And that’s when I got annoyed.  I don’t mind ghosts per se, any more than I mind people.  Which is to say, I don’t mind the nice ones.

Mau has started spending his nights on the floor between my bed and the door, up against the bed frame.  In the mornings he gets up looking very stiff and unrested, like he hasn’t slept.

I don’t let anybody harass my cats, I don’t care how much of a novelty you are.  So last night I told “Eddy” as I call him, to get out.  Didn’t seem to help.  Last night, the second time I was rudely pulled out of a deep sleep, I figured I might as well pee while I was awake.  I sat down on the toilet and noticed a piece of cat litter on the floor.  I use a pine litter, it’s much larger pellets than standard litter.  I thought to myself, better sweep up in here next chance I get.  While I was looking at it, it started to roll.  First to the left, then to the right.  You fucker, I thought.  That’s why I can hear Mau crash into that wall sometimes while he’s playing.  You’re taunting him.

I told him aloud, as loud as I dared in a thin walled apartment (I don’t want to be THAT Girl) that he could get out now, in no uncertain tone.

This morning while I was putting my makeup on, I was admittedly a little jumpy, but I swear as I was looking in the mirror, I saw a hand reach from behind to wave right next to my left ear.  A BLACK hand, as if it was burned or something.  And again, perhaps just my brain trying to fill in information, but I had a picture in my head of a little boy playing with his mother while she put her makeup on.  A tinge of disfunction colored what felt like one of his memories I was seeing.

While I was getting dressed, I pulled my shirt over my head and it got a little stuck on the towel I still had over my hair.  While tugging it down, I could hear and feel the vibration in the floor of footsteps behind me.  I tugged my shirt down just in time to feel the air move next to me, the way it does when someone moves quickly past you.

It seems Eddy likes that I am aware of him.  But frankly, I’m done with this.  I’m exhausted from not sleeping well, and I can’t let something stress Mau out this way.  I tried to craigslist him in the free section today “free to good home, you haul) but it got flagged.

I spend the better part of the day wondering how I could convince him to leave.  If not towards the light, then why not some place like Florida?  I figured if I could figure who he is, I might have a better chance.  So I took what I know (and obviously I use that term “know” really really loosely).  Sailor, young, burned.  A google search turned up this, the USS Bennington,  naval ship who’s boiler exploded while it was in San Diego harbor in 1905.  The list of those killed includes an Edward and an Edwin. I think I know what happened now.

Just a hunch, but maybe if I confront him with knowing who he is, it will help him pass.  That said, I’m also picking up some holy water and mirrors on the way home.  Who wants to help/sleep over?

Eddy’s got to go.



The walls in my apartment are pretty thin.  For awhile I didn’t realize how thin because I’m at in a corner and the unit next to me was vacant.  But E moved in last week.  I found him rounding the corner to the roof stairs, in his dazed moving condition he was trying to go one flight too far, in the same manner as I went one floor not enough when I moved in.

I don’t mind the thin walls, personally.  I’m nosy.  So last night when I was in my kitchen and I heard someone knock on my neighbor’s door, my ears perked up.  E answered the door and very politely apologized to the downstairs neighbor about the music he’d been playing.  He’d set up the speaker wrong, and he would find something to pad it from underneath with.  I could hear not just the words but the underlaying tone.  She was unimpressed and cranky, he was clearly sorry to be That Guy.

So when I heard her leave, I padded over myself.  I knocked and he called out wearily, “yes?”

I said, “it’s VJ from next door.”  He opened the door, clearly bracing for another lecture.

“I’m half deaf, a sound sleeper, my speakers aren’t working, and I like that song.  Just aim your speaker my way.”

He grinned really wide.  I think I made a buddy.

After a brief chat this morning with Potato Chip Guy, I added him on Facebook, then had a good laugh at myself for attempting to get to know someone online who lives mere feet away from my front door.  Someone total up my nerd score and let me know.

And while we’re talking about neighbors, remind me to tell you all about my ghost.

It had been suggested a time or six that Lola and I belong in a zoo.


So when she came to visit, we did the civic minded thing to do, and took ourselves there.

We took our time and walked, because it was a glorious day and a glorious route.  Also because we wanted to eat a lot.





It’s a good thing we didn’t stop and feed the fish.  ‘Cause you’re not supposed to do that.  So we didn’t.  I swear.




Lola and I had brought our infamous walkie talkies, the ones that had gotten dusty in the two and a half years since I’ve seen her last (sweet Baby Jesus, has it been that long?  We had to do the math to check).

We were only able to pick up the security channel in bits and pieces, so mostly we used them to talk to each other.  While standing next to each other.

This made us very popular in line for the bus tour.



In an attempt to deflect attention away from how obnoxious we were being, we’d occasionally point to a tree and squint and look really surprised.

Or we’d have conversations with “base” about how everyone was calm here, and the news of the escape hadn’t spread yet.


An employee plucked out out of line to cut onto an earlier bus.  Either because they sensed that the woman in front of us was about to hit us, or because we were the only small group that could fill up the last two seats.  I’m still not sure, possibly both.


A little boy of about four or five years turned around as soon as we sat down and said “hello laaaadies,” in precisely the tone of a fifty year old man who’s offering to light your cigarette.  “I like your dress,” he added, looking me over slowly.

I can only imagine this must have been what George Clooney was like at that age.

I wanted a picture but his father was already looking nervous about our association with his son.


Yes please. I would like one.


Spectacle bear and cub



They have so many giraffes, I don't understand why they won't give me one.

They have so many giraffes, I don't understand why they won't give me one.


I’m convinced these would be the easiest of all the animals to steal.  Contact me for details.  Or just go with a khaki shirt, a patch from the gift shop, two backpack straps, and a stapler, and figure it out for yourself.


Speaking of gift shops, why do I like them so much, and never buy anything from them?





Lola and I practice how not to lose our necks, as TyTy is always warning us.





The mama and baby anteater were actually one of the cutest things I saw all day.




Someday I want a lawn full of flamingos.  Real ones.


I seeeeeee you!





“Caution – Gorilla statues may be hot!”

Clearly this guy agrees, as he unwittingly recreates Lele’s shot.




Ever wonder what it looks like when a hippo poops?  I don’t.   Neither does this kid.  We know.



The best thing about zoos is also the scary thing for someone like me.  By making me care about the animals and naming them and letting me stand really close up, is that if I ever encounter a polar bear in the wild, I will prolly go running towards it, arms outstretched, hearing soft music in my head.  I will practically crawl into it’s mouth.

So Lola and I lavished our love on the statues.






These guys so serious and so adorable, all at once.


Helping kids climb the statue is a socially acceptable way of speeding up the line …..


…. so that it gets to be your turn sooner.







Prehistoric lions are apparently nicer than modern ones.


Well, maybe.





Please refrain from noting the resemblance of this photo to a school dance photo.


And please refrain from noting the resemblance of me to the two toed tree sloth.





It was really just a mugging gone wrong.


“Lola, go see if you can get some ketchup!”




The capybara’s are my favorite animals at the zoo.  They used to be located right by the pretzel cart, a fact that was not lost on them every time I came to visit.  Next time I’ll have to bring an extra one.


I wonder how big a donation you have to make to the zoo to be able to spend an afternoon cat napping with the capybaras.



The tour guides and signs had a lot to say about the “enrichment trees,” which are really just structures to hang toys and puzzles from for the elephants, to keep them from getting bored.

Clearly, I need an enrichment tree in the lobby.  Full of glitter glue and liquor bottles.




“I’m a bird!”



“Say I’m a bird!”



“No, a BIRD.”



“It’s a line from a movie.”

“I know.  Security is coming.”




Did you know there are beetles who’s sole goal in life is to roll poop into perfectly round balls?  I can’t help but be reminded of some people I know.

Anyway.  While some people were WATCHING a film about elephants …








Actually, I kid.  There was no one else around watching it.  For some reason the exhibit was totally deserted, prolly because it was getting both warm and late.  At more than one point, Lola looked around and wondered if they’d closed and somehow missed us.  An event we both agreed would be the best of our entire lives.



That is an ass.  Kissing an ass’s ass.


And speaking of things that make one snicker, although this one much more sadly, we have a sign about the huge human effect on extinction rates, and then in the background, a restuarant called “Sabertooth Grill.”




Here, an elephant collar proves that it’s a good thing elephants don’t want to eat us, because they clearly could swallow us.  Sideways.







What?  We didn’t go MUCH farther….


This little meerkat was in a hurry to get somewhere.


Perhaps to his home office?


In contrast, I half expected these guys to start singing and dancing.






Now, if it flew into the zoo of it’s own accord, the employees can’t do anything if you take it out ………. right?

And I’m pretty sure this pea hen and chicks WANTED to come home with us.  I mean, we were having pizza and wine for dinner.


“Why do you let me TALK?!?!”


Drea – *knocks*

Neighbor – *opens door*  “Hello.”

Drea – “Is your roommate here?”

Neighbor – “He’s in the shower.  What’s up?”

Drea – “Could you tell him we stopped by?  I live next door, he’ll know who you mean.”

Neighbor – “Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay.”

Drea – “Tell him I’m sorry, I was a bit drunk last night, and maybe a bit obnoxious-”

Valancy Jane – “And we’re sure he’s totally straight.”

Drea – “Yeah.  Could you tell him?”

Neighbor – *inching door closed*  “KthanksBYE.”