Thursday, July 14, 2016

Grief and Love

Grief is the price we pay for love.
Grief is the price we pay for love.
Grief is the price we pay for love.

I read a friend's Facebook post over and over again trying to find some peace and comfort.  Yoda is gone. He's gone. My Yoda is gone.

Yoda was my first baby. He showed up at my apartment in Davis in November, 1999 - my first year of law school. I'd finally lived in a place where I could have a cat, and with Ryan being gone most of the time, I figured a cat was a perfect companion. So there was Yoda... my new buddy, my new companion. Boy, were we in for a ride.

There are so many memories that involve my cat. The morning of 9/11, Yoda sat in front of the big screen TV in my living room and watched the smoke billow away from the Twin Towers. Yoda never watched TV, but he did that morning.

There were so many road trips back and forth between Los Angeles and Davis. Road trips were always an adventure. We finally realized we'd need to sedate Yoda for the long trips. He did NOT travel which. Which is funny, because he got lost at LAX once. Yep - they just couldn't find him for a while. Even at home, he always seemed to get lost or he'd sneak outside. Someone was always looking for Yoda.

Then there was that time Yoda got thrown out with the Christmas tree. My mom found him in the plastic bag with the tree waiting to get picked up by the trash collectors. And there was that time we had to amputate his tail because cats are cats and his tail had to touch everything. It got stuck in a television cabinet and he ripped the end of his tale right off. That was probably like life Number 5. 

But yeah... so many good memories. And Yoda was just always there. My wedding, law school, studying for the bar exam and passing, moving to Buffalo, moving all over Buffalo, adding two kids and another cat in Buffalo, moving home, adding another cat, settling in. Yoda was always there. He'd make sure you knew it too with his signature yelp. He never hesitated to rub that beautiful orange hair of his on your black pants to let you know he was there. Always there.

A couple of months ago we noticed Yoda was losing weight but seemed to still have a healthy appetite. He'd been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and it explained a lot of his problems. We always knew that he'd be the first of our pets to cross over the rainbow bridge. Duke through us a curve ball - we weren't expecting that. So when I went to feed Yoda last week and this usually voracious cat sniffed his food then walked away, my heart sunk into my stomach.. After 3 days of not eating we took him to the vet for some tests. We got the results back and it was all bad news. Yoda's kidneys and liver were failing. Yoda was really struggling, but I asked the doctor if it was possible he could get better. When he answered "no," I knew it was time to schedule my cat's death. Heartbreaking. We made the appointment for the following Monday so we could have some good time with him over the weekend.

Well, by Saturday afternoon, Yoda had mad it clear that it was time. He winced when I tried to pet him. He was unstable... he'd fall over or wobble when he walked. There was this smell - an awful smell that just didn't smell right. He'd mostly sleep during the days but all of a sudden, he was up and constantly meowing. He wouldn't stop. I thought... maybe he's just hungry - he hadn't eaten in about 4 days. So I run to the store to get something he liked. I set it down in front of him and there were a few licks, but I immediately broke down and Ryan searched for an emergency vet. 

Yoda gave me signs that it was time, and that helped. Yoda wasn't a good car rider - he had a pretty horrible meow that would sting our ears all the way to our destination. Well, Yoda meowed once as we pulled down the driveway. He only meowed 3 or 4 times during the 20 minute ride to the vet.

Just like with Duke, it was all done so quickly. After he was gone, I noticed those tired eyes of Yoda's had opened up, bright like the used to be.

Almost 17 years. I cry just thinking about it. I was so blessed to have him for so long. So yes, there is so much grief because there was so much love.

RIP Yoda. Be nice to Duke little buddy.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Please Pray for My City

The past couple of days have been rough. Two nights ago I posted the following on Facebook:

Alton Sterling.
You will hear his name a lot in the coming days.
Shot, point black, while being restrained by two police officers.
Both police cams 'fell off.'
Google it. There is video.

Alton Sterling died at the scene.

Then there was the video of Philando Castile being recorded by his girlfriend who was sitting in the passenger seat of his car when he was shot by a police officer. Castile's 4-year-old daughter was in the backseat and saw the whole thing.

Philando Castile died.

Two officer-involved killings of two black men who were either subdued or complying. Naturally, many of us are yelling, "Enough."

But when these shootings happen, I don't think about the Black Lives Matter movement necessarily. I take it more personally. I think about Will. Because of his autism, I don't know what would happen if he were confronted by police officers. If the tell him to stop or getting on the ground, he will probably ignore them. What if he starts walking away? What if he tried to reach in his pocket to get his cell phone to call me? What if he didn't comply? These thoughts keep me awake at night. And it was enough to cause enough stress for a while.

But then last night happened. I'd gone to dinner by myself at a local Tex-Mex restaurant we liked. I could tell I was getting some stares for eating alone. Is it really that big of a deal? But I decided to pay for the young lady's drink next to me and I tipped my waiter $20. Small gestures to hopefully bring a little happiness during a couple of rough news days. It felt good. I felt good. I was smiling.

But then I got home and immediately heard about a shooting after a peaceful protest in Dallas. Almost immediately it sounded really, really bad. As I sit here at almost 3 o'clock in the morning, I can tell you that 11 officers were shot. 4 Dallas PD officers and 1 DART officer were killed. The police were clearly targeted in a coordinated tactical attack. And now we mourn.

I've gotta be honest with you. I've enjoyed living in our bubble. When mass shootings have happened or terrorist attacks occur, it was never here. And while our hearts were always with those grieving cities, it wasn't here, so we were safe. Not anymore.

Pray for Dallas y'all. Just pray.

#Columbine #Blacksburg #FortHood #Aurora #SandyHook #Charleston #Roseburg #SanBernardino #Orlando


Friday, July 1, 2016

A Gem in Austin - Lone Star Court

I love Austin. Had I known more about it before we moved to Frisco, we probably would've moved there. The hills, food, and lakes (and my beloved Lake Austin Resort) - I just love everything about it. Except the traffic. Traffic in Austin is LA-bad... it's so bad they need to start addressing the main thoroughfare as, "THE 35." So when my agent emailed me Wednesday with an audition in Austin yesterday, I started plotting an overnight stay (driving 7-8 hours there and back just isn't my thing).

I love the area around the Domain. There are incredible shops there (Luxe Apothetique is my fave), an iPic movie theater, and great outdoor space there, so I decided to look for a place to stay overnight nearby.

I came across Lone Star Court. It's a nostalgic, retro-style boutique hotel with a ton of modern amenities right across from the shops at the Domain. From the super comfy and spacious rooms, to the free parking (seems like a luxury these days) and the pool, I loved every bit of this overnight stay. There's a cool retro car near check-in and I noticed bright food trucks parked next to the hotel - yum. After an easy check-in, I took the elevator up to my third-story room. I noticed the retro, ranch-chic style right away, as well as the full-size fridge that was stocked with everything from water and sodas to champagne. The drinks and the snacks laid out on the table are available on the honor system - and I took advantage of it. I just told them what I'd consumed at check-out.

With it's hip vibe and central location, I expected the hotel to be noisy. It wasn't at all even though my room overlooked a courtyard where people were hanging out chatting. I slept great.

After walking around at the shops for a bit and seeing Independence Day: Resurgence at iPic (the movie wasn't good - at all; I was disappointed), I made my way back to the hotel. I heard live music playing as I walked up and noticed that the bar was still open. I grabbed a cocktail then sat on the patio near the fire pit next to the pool and sipped my beverage while listening to the music. Loved the vibe. After the band wrapped up around 10, I walked up to my room and sat on the balcony in an orange rocking chair for another 20 or 30 minutes.

Then this morning, I walked back to the bar area for the complimentary breakfast. I was expecting danishes and bagels but was surprised to see fresh fruit, bacon, hash browns, oatmeal, cereal and a whole spread of other goodies. There was plenty of hot coffee and tea as well as juices (I couldn't find any champs for a mimosa, but I'm sure if I'd asked, someone would've gotten me some - had to drive back this morning so it's a good thing I didn't ask).

The stay wasn't perfect though. When I first entered my room yesterday, there was a Q-tip on the floor (ew) and the housekeepers had left a bottle of cleaning solution on the table near the snacks - the smell was pretty strong. And I swear there was someone else's hair on the floor in the bathroom (glad I had my flip flops). But these things were minor - no biggie.

I HIGHLY recommend Lone Star Court. It'll be my go-to hotel when I need to spend time in Austin.