Goodbye, Cappuccino

This weekend was a sad weekend as m’girl and I made the difficult (and necessary) decision to put an end to our cat’s suffering.

Cappuccino lived almost 17 years, and my wife was her owner for almost all of her life. To hear my mother-in-law talk about the first meeting, Cappuccino was the one that adopted my wife when, as a kitten, she hopped up on her cowboy hat and wouldn’t let go.

Cappy (as we have called her) moved from her birthplace of Texas to Arizona about 12 years ago. Since we’ve only been together for about 2 years, I don’t know much about her early life…so I’ll blather on about the time I had with her.

When I moved in with m’girl, Cappy didn’t warm up to me quickly. I started calling her “The Grumpy Old Curmudgeon” because when she wanted to be fed, she let me know. And if I tripped over her because it was dark, she reacted in a way that I imagined her calling me 4-letter words.

But like fungus, I eventually grew on her. She started rubbing up against my legs like a normal cat, and liked it when I petted her. But she didn’t turn into the nicest cat, either. She had a particular way she wanted to be petted…and if I didn’t follow suit as ordered, she’d try to nip me. She wasn’t mean, per se, but she had NO problem letting me know what she didn’t like.

Later, we moved her bed out from the closet to the corner of the bedroom next to my side of the bed. However, after finding out that MY big recliner was in front of HER much smaller bed…well, she’s a cat. She took over MY recliner.

And when I say took over, I don’t mean she just laid there on the seat. Every time I passed by, she made a sound closer to a growl than a meow. I may not know how to describe the sound, but I knew exactly what she was saying. “Pet me, dammit!” It didn’t matter if it was 9:00pm, 2:00am, 10:00, whenever. Every. single. time.

A couple of months ago we noticed she would make a weird howl at random times of the day (and sometimes the night). Concerned about any suffering she might be experiencing, we took her to the vet. After a few hundred dollars of testing, all they knew is that her kidney functions were getting worse.

Some time later, she started getting much worse. We went back to the vet to learn how to give Cappy subcutaneous fluids much like an IV but just under the skin, and not necessarily in a vein. That helped for a couple of days…but not for long.

After coming back home from Tucson on Saturday afternoon, we found that Cappy had been vomiting, and was now hiding under the bed and would not come out. When I went to retrieve her, I knew the end was near. We spent the night cleaning her up from a couple of accidents, and just held her.

Sunday morning we knew it was time. I won’t go into details except to say the Goodyear Animal Hospital went absolutely above and beyond what they had to do to accommodate us. We received a card in the mail yesterday, signed by everyone that was there that sad morning, expressing their condolences.

Today was the day I picked up the final step in our journey with Cappy. After we left, they made an imprint of Cappy’s paw in clay, fired it in a kiln, and painted it with her name.

With moist eyes and a heavy heart I say goodbye to the second cat we’ve lost during our short marriage. But I’m glad I knew you, you grumpy old curmudgeon.

Cappuccino

1994-2011

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Mother’s Day, Bubba Style

I have always found family holidays like Mother’s Day a bit of a challenge. However, after years of lamenting that my family is more than a little dysfunctional, I’ve come to the realization that everyone has their challenges in this area. No longer are we the country that has mom within driving distance, or has both parents still married “after all these years”.

This year, I am going to celebrate Mother’s Day by telling you the four mothers I am blessed to have.

First of all, there is the woman that gave me birth. If you have been reading this for a while, you know that she lives about 2-3 hours away and is the closest blood relative that I have. I would talk to her and go see her except the fact that she wants nothing to do with me because, in her words, I am “strange.”

After four and a half decades of life on this earth, I have made peace with the fact that I may never see her again. The decision to estrange herself from me is hers, not mine; all I can do is accept it for what it is.

That being said, she is the woman that gave me life and for that she has my respect and my love, if not my presence.

The next woman that comes to mind on Mother’s Day is my stepmother. She married my dad over 25 years ago and has stuck it out with him for better and for worse. To say we didn’t get along when I was growing up is an understatement. I resented the fact that I didn’t have my “real” mother anymore, and I’m sure she resented the fact that she had four more kids in her house when my birth mother abandoned us by leaving us at our grandmother’s house for almost two months before dad drove eight hours to come get us.

Nonetheless, this is the woman I call “mom” the most. Not only has she stuck it out with dad all this time but she took care of us kids in the best manner she knew how to do. We were never forced to call her mom, but even then I recognized the sacrifices she made to guide us to adulthood.

For this, she is the main person I think of when I think of “mother.” And not only does she have my love and respect but my undying gratitude for filling a tough, demanding, and certainly thankless role.

The third woman is my ex-mother-in-law. Counting the time we dated, I was with her daughter for seven years. She always did her best to make me feel welcome when we were together. After we both got divorced in the same year, we became friends and support systems for each other. I was really worried about her when she divorced her husband of 37 years; she had always been a stay-at-home wife and mother and her identity was her husband’s wife and her children’s mother. Finding her identity has been a struggle, but she has grown tremendously since.

I am proud to call her not only friend but mom.

The last person that serves the role of mother to me is my current mother-in-law. To say this woman has the gift of hospitality would be an extreme understatement. She came to Arizona from Ohio when we got married, and spent almost every hour either baking cookies or doing something else to make things easier on everyone else.

My father-in-law has some health issues that require her to provide assistance every day, and she performs those responsibilities admirably. On top of all of that, she’s just a good person and friend.

For that, she’s someone I am proud to call my mom.

I guess I could still focus on the dysfunction of my life and have a negative attitude. Or I could recognize my situation for what it is: extremely blessed.

Thanks to all the moms: mine, yours, and everyone else’s, for making this world the wonderful place it is.

Family pic 2010

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The latest on Kobe: bad word, even worse excuse

According to ESPN, Kobe Bryant has been fined $100,000 for mouthing a gay slur during a game after he was called for a technical foul. After attracting the ref’s attention by calling him by name, Kobe is then said to have mouthed the words “f**cking f*ggot.”

What is worse about this incident is the half-*ssed apology he issued for his outburst.

What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.

Well, then. I guess that makes it alright, because you did NOT mean to call the ref a homosexual in an unflattering light.

But wait a minute. If I was an NBA player frustrated at a ref for calling me for a technical foul, would it be OK if I called him a “f**king n***er” as long as I said later that I “should not be taken literally?”

I would hope not.

Hey, I’m not trying to crucify you for a mistake, Mr. Bryant. We all make mistakes. And God knows I am GLAD I don’t have a camera on me all the time, capturing every screw-up I make.

But here’s a tip: if you do something wrong and you’re called on it…apologize. Fully. Don’t offer excuses or try to explain it away. Just say yeah, I did it, and I’m sorry.

You may be a billionaire. You may have more money sitting in the change tray of your Hummer than I will make this year. But until you learn how to handle yourself as a gentleman, you’ll never get the respect you deserve for your ability to put a ball in a hoop.

Posted in Current Events, Entertainment, Society, Sports | 1 Comment

Breast Cancer: A Male’s Perspective

One of my female Facebook friends asked if we were thinking about breast cancer…specifically about how to help in the fight against it.

I have to say that the past three years has changed my perspective on breast cancer. When I enrolled in the Breast Cancer Three Day Walk in 2008,  I only knew one person that had breast cancer. Cathy battled it for 12 years before succumbing to the illness the winter before.

As I started training for the event, I started wearing t-shirts with pink, t-shirts with Race For The Cure, pink bandanas as a head scarf, and other things that indicated I was thinking about breast cancer.

Over time, women started coming up to me thanking me for my involvement. But then, something else started to happen: they started telling me they had breast cancer. “I was just diagnosed.” “I had it three years ago.” “My mother died from it.” It was almost always in a hushed, whispered tone…like they were telling me the most deep, darkest secret they had ever told someone else.

I was always amazed by the way someone told me their battles with breast cancer. I understand that breasts represent many things – including sexuality – and I believe that may be one of the reasons why men are not aware of the women in their lives battling this killer. Sure we’re aware if our wives are ill, or a close relative…but guys, you probably know a handful of women that either have or have had breast cancer. But you may never know it unless they can trust you.

My point in writing this: guys, if you don’t know a woman with breast cancer…get involved. Raise funds for research, go on a walk, a race, or just raise awareness. You will miss out if you don’t.

The 3 Day Walk

Race For The Cure

National Breast Cancer Foundation

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Stay Current AND Classy, America

WARNING: Angry old curmudgeon rant follows.

Today is March 2, 2011. President Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009. He has held the office of President of the United States for approximately 770 days, give or take a week.

In the context of the Internet, 770 days ago is ancient history. I mean, if it’s 9pm and someone talks to me about something that happened this morning, I complain that they’re talking about old news.

Why do I say this? Because I believe it’s time to expect a little bit of context from our political discussion.

First of all, President George H. W. Bush has been out of office for over two years. To all of you still taking pot shots at him, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and anyone else in that administration: shut up. That administration is gone. If you’re still complaining about what they did, you need to grow up. They’re not going to be indicted for anything, and just because you didn’t agree with their decisions doesn’t mean that they lied about anything. Find something else to occupy your time.

And you Republicans, wipe the smug look off your faces. You are just as bad, if not worse, than Democrats. Those of you in the “birther” camps that believe that President Obama was born in Kenya: shut up. The state of Hawaii says he was born there. Just because they haven’t complied with your constant requests for a piece of paper called a birth certificate doesn’t mean there’s a huge conspiracy. The discussion is over. Even if he WAS born outside the United States, we’ll never achieve a smoking gun that proves it.

And now, just when I thought us Republicans couldn’t sink any lower, one of my state’s representatives is saying he’d support impeachment proceedings against President Obama because he won’t order the Attorney General to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

Really? On what grounds would you impeach him? As President, he vowed to defend the Constitution. Believe what you want about non-traditional ideas of marriage (i.e. “gay marriage”), a sane and rational person would have to acknowledge that not allowing gay marriage could be seen as interfering with “the pursuit of happiness” whether or not you agree.

Therefore, he has every right as President to not defend the DOMA. If you are saying he should be impeached: shut up.

So, what am I saying in this rant? If you’re going to hold political discussions, talk about something that did not happen over two years ago, and stop having a hissy fit over everything someone else does that doesn’t line up with your political beliefs.

In other words, stay current AND classy, America.

Posted in Current Events, Politics, Society, United States | Leave a comment

Facebook https:FAIL

I haven’t seen this talked about anywhere else…so I thought I would bring this up. Please leave a comment with your findings, whether you experience the same thing I have or not.

As you have seen on many posts by now, I enabled the Facebook account option to use secure browsing (https:) when possible. However, as someone that plays games on Facebook, apps have proven to be a bit troublesome. When I go to Mafia Wars, Bejeweled Blitz, or some other app, I often get this message:

Not secure warning messageWell, I guess I understand. We can’t assume that Zynga or PopCap have configured their apps for secure access. Because I’m addicted to these games (just like you, admit it) I click on continue.

However, I guess I expected Facebook to switch me back to secure browsing after I was done with my time-wasters.

Nope.

I even made a bookmark for https://facebook.com and used it whenever I wanted to return to the home page. But when I went back to account settings, I found that the option for secure browsing was now unchecked. I have to assume that when I agreed to switch to a regular connection, it changed it permanently.

Is it really that hard, Facebook, to switch us back when we’re done playing games?

Until then, fellow gameaholics, if you play games, you will have to go back to account settings and reselect secure browsing.

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We Are No Longer A Democracy Reason #441

I apologize in advance, but Bubba is wearin’ his grumpy old curmudgeon hat this morning.

With a hat tip to Bluegrass Pundit, I found an article in the News & Observer this morning  about a citizen concerned about traffic conditions, prompting him to create a proposal to install two new traffic lights as part of a “planned widening” of a road.

Apparently, David N. Cox put a lot of time and effort into this proposal. So much so that when Kevin Lacy, chief traffic engineer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, saw the proposal he forwarded it to the NC Board of Examiners. The possible violation? “Practicing engineering without a license.”

Cox says that they were trying to “express our view about this.” He assembled an eight-page proposal to convince the state to reconsider their decision not to install the two traffic signals Cox and his neighbors thought was needed.

However, Lacy has a different point of view about Cox’s proposal. “Lacy says he filed the complaint because the report “appears to be engineering-level work” by someone who is not licensed as a professional engineer.”  Lacy goes on to say in the article that “”when you start applying the principles for trip generation and route assignment, applying judgments from engineering documents and national standards, and making recommendations,” that’s technical work a licensed engineer would do.”

Apparently we’ve all forgotten how to play nice. Or use our brains in a manner that would make sense.

So, Mr. Lacy, let me apply a little extended thinking to this. If I can do so without you charging me with practicing something without a license.

Mr. Cox is a citizen unhappy with the state’s decision not to install traffic lights. As a citizen, he has every right to do so. Why did you have him investigated? Seriously, would you have been happier if he had used crayon and poor grammar in his proposal? I would think that, in your position, you would rather read something well-written and researched than something based solely on opinion.

According to the article, Lacy advised the group headed up by Cox to hire an engineer to make their case. Mr. Lacy, not everyone has the money to hire a professional to express their concerns. Are you saying that if they don’t hire an engineer, don’t bother?

I will start out saying I do not advocate any action that will lead to overthrowing the government. However, actions like these are the reason people start considering radical actions. As Americans, we will find a way to make our voices heard. If government starts punishing people for voicing their opinions, they will find a way to make themselves heard. Whether you like them or not, today’s Tea Party has gained momentum because as a group these citizens feel disenfranchised.

In other words, North Carolina, tread very carefully if your actions can be interpreted as squelching dissension.

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What is the internet?

It has been 17 years since this clip. 17 years is a long time in some ways, sure. But today, if someone on TV asked “what is the internet?” they’d be institutionalized.
YouTube Preview Image
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Superbowl XLV and Brett Favre

A couple of days ago, I posted that I could not be less interested in seeing the Steelers and the Packers. After all, I have never liked the Steelers…and a Bears fan rooting for the Packers may well find himself in a psychologist’s office.

However, despite what I said, I will be interested in the Superbowl. Because of one particular pain-in-the-ass player named Brett Favre.

In his first season with the Vikings, Brett Favre claimed the Vikings were the best team he had ever played on. Including the 1996 Superbowl champion Packers.

I believe his motivation for this claim did not arise from an objective point of view, but instead because he had a need to stick it to the team that didn’t automatically give him back his starting QB spot the first time he decided to “unretire.”

Aaron Rodgers had spent three years on the bench waiting for his chance to be a starter in the NFL. During the 2008 training camp, Aaron Rodgers was preparing to lead the Packers as a starter when Brett Favre and the team announced that Rodgers would have to compete for a job that was already his.

I will not recap the rest of the mess that has become the Brett Favre saga, but suffice it to say that he did everything he could to destroy the reputation of the team he had helped build for the better part of a career.

Fast forward to…right now. Brett Favre has retired, again. Aaron Rodgers is representing the Packers in a Superbowl in a season that the Favre-led Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs shortly after training camp.

And all I can say is…good for you, Packers. This Bears fan will be rooting for you to put a nail in the Favre saga once and for all.

Posted in Football, Other NFL, Sports | 1 Comment

Online Loss and Gain, family style

I wasn’t really sure how to title this…or even really had an idea what I was going to say.

But I’m gonna write.

Tonight I got the news that Frank Jannotti passed away. I didn’t know Frank, and had never met him.

The only reason I got news of his passing is because I communicated with his brother, Jim, on FriendFeed.

Other than our conversations on FriendFeed, I had never met Jim either. However, when I heard that Frank had lost his battle with cancer, I cried. Along with a few dozen of my closest FriendFeed friends, most of whom I had never met in person.

But regardless of the lack of personal familiarity with each other, tonight I am mourning the loss of someone we had never met with a group of people I haven’t ever met. Bible verses, feelings, and virtual hugs were thrown around as we attempted to support Jim in his grief while dealing with our own.

In this day and age, this isn’t a horribly new story. And even though this group of people isn’t new, I feel that what we have here is something rare. FriendFeed is a group of people that share life, get pissed, delete our accounts, create new accounts, block people, unblock people, and generally care too much.

I can directly blame one person for getting me hooked on FF, and she knows who she is. Once I started interacting, though, I haven’t left.

There are people on here I like, people I don’t, and everything in between. But the best way I can describe the group of folks on FriendFeed isn’t a bunch of friends. It’s more like gaining a new family, complete with laughter, arguments, crying, shouting, cussing, and pain. But when the chips are down, I have to say that I feel the love in FF more than anywhere else on social media.

Someone on Quora asked if anyone still used FF and why. This is why. Because we’re family.

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