My Cat is Actually a Demonic Cow

I am in the fetal position in the corner of my bed, pressed up against the wall. I am crying, but no one can hear me. I just want to go eat a turkey sandwich or maybe some Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but I can’t. Eyeing the closed door to freedom directly opposite me, I decide to attempt another escape. I tentatively lower my left leg over the side of my mattress while fearfully clutching my purple comforter. All of a sudden, a streak of fur shoots out from under my bed and sinks its teeth into my Achilles. I scream and withdraw my foot as the monster retreats into the recesses of its lair, only emerging every so often to reassert its dominance by leaping up and biting me.

Some of my most vivid childhood memories consist of my cat viciously attacking me. I can remember running and sobbing to my parents and hearing them tell  me that I was “being dramatic” and that there was “no way Mia was trying to kill me.” Only after they saw her stake out the bathroom for a  post-shower assault on my shoulder did my parents finally believe my horror stories.

My cat prepares to bang her face against the glass of my gerbils' tank. The gerbils and I think it's hilarious when she does this.

My cat prepares to bang her face against the glass of my gerbils’ tank. The gerbils and I think it’s hilarious when she does this.

To be perfectly honest, a cat wasn’t my first choice. I wanted a dog, but owning two un-potty-trained Yorkshire terriers when I was five had traumatized my mother, so I geared my energy toward convincing my parents to bring home a sweet, loving, baby kitten instead. When they finally agreed, my family journeyed across town to The Lawrence Humane Society and naively adopted what we thought to be an innocent five month old kitten.

Mia was innocent for the first few weeks, maybe even the first few months after we brought her home, but then she evolved into a territorial fiend. She conquered visitors’ shoes and attacked the owners when they attempted to reclaim their footwear. No intruder was safe from her needle-sharp teeth, blood-curling hiss and declawed paws. She assaulted anyone from small children to grown men. Even today, when my grandma comes over to feed my cat while my family is out of town, she carries a broom to beat the demonic feline away if she approaches.

I took this picture, left for six hours, came back and took the same picture.

I took this picture, left for six hours, came back and took the same picture.

After 8 1/2 years, Mia has somewhat calmed down. Because I hit her on the head with a dictionary a couple times in self defense, she no longer stalks me. In fact, Mia doesn’t attack too many people anymore. She is getting older. Her gait is now uneven, and sometimes she moves like every step is more difficult than the last. That’s probably why she only rouses herself to switch sleeping locations or to go to the litter box.

Because of her 25 lb frame, my nine year old cat isn’t capable of doing the average “cat” pastimes without injuring herself or breaking something.  She can no longer gracefully jump on  a ledge or hop on a bookshelf without missing the ledge or breaking a shelf. She’s too lazy to chase a flashlight’s beam. Her obesity and age make her much easier to find these days. If she’s not pooping or eating, she’s sleeping on my bed or drinking out of my toilet. If she isn’t doing any of these activities, she’s probably making out with the living room rug.

Mia gets camera shy when I try to take pictures of her drinking toilet water or licking the rug, so this is a rare snapshot of her in her natural habitat.

Mia gets camera shy when I try to take pictures of her drinking toilet water or licking the rug, so this is a rare snapshot of her in her natural habitat.

Everyone in my family is pretty indifferent to my cat’s existence at this point except for my dad. My father loves Mia. He loves the way her stomach flops back and forth, nearly touching the ground when she walks. He loves when she weaves in front of him, meowing pitifully for him to feed her in the mornings. If he thinks no one can hear him, my dad talks to my cat like he’s cooing to a human baby. My dad’s enjoyment is one of the only reasons we keep our real-life Garfield around.

After I finish typing this blog, I will perform the weekly ritual of washing Mia’s butt because she is too fat to lick it herself. Then I will brush her fur so that later this week I will only have to lint roll my jacket once instead of twice. As I perform these tasks, I will quietly wish for Mia’s demise, but tomorrow morning, I will wake up early enough to listen to my dad whisper to her while he pours her kit and kaboodle into her Aristocats food bowl, and I will hope that she sticks around for a few years more.

My cat is a plus-sized feline model. Sporting her small dog sweater, her confident pose shows that her weight does not make her any less beautiful.

My cat is a plus-sized feline model. Sporting a small dog sweater, her confident pose shows that her weight does not hinder her beauty.

Did He See Me? I Think He Saw Me…

I had heard the rumors. Guys on the coasts were, on average, above average. When I went to Boston last week for the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention,  I planned to find the lucky boy I was going to marry and learn about newspaper or whatever. To qualify, my future husband had to be a somewhat attractive individual of the opposite sex with a Bostonian accent. I like to set realistic expectations.

On the first day of the trip, I fell in love with the luggage guy at the airport and the waiter at 5 Napkin Burger. After that, I fell in love with everybody. I felt that everyone back home should be able to enjoy the Bostonian men’s incredible physique and fashion sense, so I became an expert at creeping. The quantity of pictures below is scarcely an adequate representation of the number of fake selfies I took on my trip in order to capture secret snapshots of the demigods behind me. Unfortunately, the majority of my photos completely missed my subject or were incredibly blurry–it’s hard to take quality photographs of people you don’t know without alerting them to your creepiness.

Click on a picture below and enjoy. If you live in Boston and happen to find a photograph  in this gallery that resembles yourself, then I feel at legal obligation to inform you that all characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

My Top 10 Pet Peeves

WARNING: No sugar was coated in the drafting of this pet peeve list. Stuff is about get real.

1. Sitting on the floor. What, in the name of all that is good and holy, are couches for if everyone is just not going to use them? Don’t be the person in the group that’s all like, “Oh my gosh, guys! I love sitting on the cold, hard ground instead of the nice, comfortable, plush options all around me! How about we all sit on the floor?! That’s the best idea I’ve ever had! Since I enjoy being uncomfortable, I think everyone should join me and also be miserable for the entire activity!” Just no. I don’t like constantly worrying that my butt crack is providing the person behind me a beautiful view, and if you enjoy that type of thing, then just sit on the ground by yourself and shut up.

2. Group projects. Group projects are a teacher’s lazy way to improve failing students’ grades. Their logic goes like this: “Timmy is failing. Lucy is succeeding. Timmy would rather smoke weed than show up to class. Lucy would never miss a day because she cares way too much. What if I give Timmy and Lucy a project together? Lucy will do the whole project, and Timmy will get the same grade as her! That way, I don’t have to work with Timmy to keep him from failing, and if Lucy complains, I can tell her that this is the way real life works, so suck it.”

3. When people do better than me and then tell me how bad they did. I get it. People want to be humble about the grade they just got in calc, their game stats  or their standardized test scores, but I don’t want to hear people complain about getting an ‘A-‘ on the test on which I just got a ‘B.’ I don’t want to hear people complain that they only scored 15 points in a basketball game when I spent all of regulation warming the bench. I don’t want to hear about people mad that they barely scored above the National Merit Scholarship threshold or how they don’t think they have the best shot at a particular ivy league.  When I say good job, I don’t really want to hear how the person could have done better. If  I also participated and didn’t do as well as the person I’m complimenting, then when they put themselves down, that’s basically an indirect diss on me.

4. Ignorant/hypocritical posts on Facebook. I don’t care what you believe, but don’t make outlandish posts that contradict your actions or don’t even make sense. I am about to go through my friend list on Facebook, and if the person has quoted Fox News as a legitimate source in the past month or criticized Americans for doing something that they themselves also do, I’m unfriending them. People who post stupid crap are the reason I made Twitter my primary social networking venue.

5. People who are all talk. I don’t want someone to tell me how great an idea is and then not act on it at all. The  cliché is 100 percent accurate: Actions speak louder than words.

6. When people complain about how slow they ran their last 7 miles. Like, I can’t even run a mile, so please stop. This is an indirect to my marathon running mom, dad and grandma.

7. When people are against makeup. Usually these people have the most flawless skin. I really just want to give them a nice outbreak of bright red acne on their forehead and see if that changes their philosophy of natural beauty without a little assistance from concealer.

8. When I do well on the “easy” test. When I go the whole nine yards and study for an exam for hours, make flashcards, review my notes and actually get an ‘A’ on a test in one of my harder classes, I don’t want to hear everyone talking about how it was the easiest test of the year. Like, it wasn’t easy to me.

9.  When people say they “don’t have time.”  This only bothers me sometimes. I understand that people may not want to add a large time commitment to their already busy schedules. That’s fine. Not having time to add a sport or an activity to one’s plate is a valid concern.  However, if a person has already signed up or agreed to do something, I don’t want to hear it. You took on this commitment, so stay up an hour later.  Or manage your time! Everyone is busy, so plan ahead and make time.  Do not make excuses.

10. Peer editing. I feel like English teachers are just being lazy when they make their classes peer edit. I don’t really enjoy a random peer that I’ve never met marking my essay up with their red pen. There is a reason teachers edit students’ work.

My Ironic Fear of Public Speaking

My heart pounds in my ears as my sweaty hand clenches my pencil, trying to keep it steady enough to form quasi-legible words on my crinkled sheet of college-ruled notebook paper. I frantically scribble three points about a topic that I pulled out of an envelope moments before.

BEEP-BEEP. BEEP-BEEP. BEEP-BEEP. BEEP-BEEP.

A kitchen timer loudly reminds me that my few moments of preparation have passed, and it’s my time to die.  I slowly rise and take my place at the front of the classroom.

A middle aged woman in a sweatshirt sits in a student desk, two rows back, dead center. She is busily tapping her iPhone with her thumbs at maximum speed when she notices the 16 year old in her mom’s power suit nervously swaying in front of her.

She puts down her phone, picks up her G2 pen and waits for me to begin.

I roll my shoulders back and make sure my feet are solidly planted on the ground beneath my trembling knees.

Then, just as my audience’s short attention starts to wander, I open my mouth and  shakily start talking about the catastrophes ahead for the human race if they decide to genetically engineer frogs larger.

About halfway through, I realize that what I’m saying makes little to no sense, but I keep pretending that it at least makes sense to me. Meanwhile, my intestines are still doing a variety of acrobatic leaps around my  insides, but I keep on keeping on through my poor excuse for a speech.

Five minutes of uncomfortably staring into the eyes of an irritated forensics student’s mom while fruitlessly attempting to explain the dangers of a frog’s whip-like tongue and powerful haunches, and I finally reach the end of my allotted impromptu speech time. I apologetically shake the audience member’s limp hand before I set off to give an informative speech on the Tennessee Fainting Goat in a room a couple doors over.

I attended four forensics tournaments last year. I also attended six debate tournaments.  I am completely terrified of public speaking.

It’s ironic to give six or seven speeches  per day on two-and-a-half month’s worth of Saturdays and then not even be able to muster the courage to give a 15 second deadline reminder shout out in newspaper. It’s scary when people listen to what I have to say.  I just have to go with whatever comes out of my mouth first. If I forget where I’m going with a specific point, the audience sits in awkward silence, waiting for me to remember. If I continue to draw a blank, a quiet ripple of nervous laughter and whispering sweeps through the crowd like a soft, terrifying breeze, nearly knocking me over in shame.

Speaking is like the first draft of a paper, except one can’t go back and edit it. If I write a stupid sentence with terrible grammar and spelling, I can revise and perfect it later. I can read it again, write it again, phrase and rephrase it again. When one says something stupid, however, he or she can’t just take it back, and, chances are, people will bring up his or her misnomers  time and time again. Blogging is awesome, but I’m not sure that I like people listening to me talk out loud.

Standing up in front of a group of peers is a nightmare to me. Feeling the hot eyes of judgmental teens bore into my soul while I stand in an unwarranted authoritative position, trying not to sound like an idiot, does not come naturally.

Forensics and debate are different than speaking in front of my friends or at some sort of ceremony. When a random debater’s mom is “judging” my speaking ability, I’m less worried about looking foolish. I will probably never see my audience member again, so it’s slightly less nerve wracking to give a speech to them.

I joined debate, forensics and newspaper because I hoped to overcome my public speaking fear. It didn’t work, but I love all three activities. Not taking debate this semester is a decision I daily regret.

I should probably get some more self confidence to remedy my problem, but until that happens, I guess I’ll just blog about it.