My Monkey Cats: Monkeys & Cats Category

A Very Public Apology

6 Mar 2008 In: My Monkey Cats: Monkeys & Cats

Well, t’would be if the whole InterWeb read it, right?

Dearest Monkey Cats,

I can’t tell how sorry I am that I let you down. Literally, because of tears and snot and the pills haven’t kicked in yet. And when they do, I won’t have the ability to articulately tell you how contrite, remorseful, penitent and ashamed I am that I let down those who I wanted to support the most, and I will no doubt wander off the topic (WHAT? ME WANDER OFF THE TOPIC? THE EARTH IS OFF ITS AXIS!!!! DOGS AND CATS – aren’t they cute?) – ah – yes, that’s it – I would start talking about how the earth is REALLY an oblate spheroid and WHY DO I KNOW THAT?? Also, purple sea urchins and their scientific name – WHY DO I REMEMBER THAT????? – it’s Strongylocentrotus purpuratus

So I won’t go into the whys and whats and wherefores. You know them anyway as far as they can be understood. Just know this:

  • I’m so PROUD you made it to regionals with the trio and two solos (was it more?); that’s so amazing! And that was in SPITE of anything I did!
  • I believe if all is fair in the World (well, it isn’t, but I hope for you and for today it is) that you will make it to State competition most certainly despite me.
  • Bless you for being so sweet and kind about my ultimate flake-i-tude. You are such wonderful young ladies (and I get to say that ’cause I’m old). I refrained from saying you are “sweet spirits,” though it’s true.
  • Which reminds me, thank you for keeping an old lady vaguely in touch with the popular culture of today! It makes me happy. YOU guys make me happy. I can’t keep up with you, but that comes with being old and decrepit.

So there you have it. I love you!

Most Fondly and Repentantly,
CHA Kate (well – CAKE)

P.S. No matter what, I think I should get to take credit for the lack of “Adam and Eve” in any performance you ever do. May I take small comfort from that?

P.P.S. Oh – also, despite the stress and whatnot, Nessa, I’ve no doubt that whoever played the Fauré for you did not massacre the certain passages that I do (though I slaughter it WITH a poised demeanor, a certain flair, and – seemingly against all odds – a straight face. I didn’t go to University for NUTHIN’).

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1 Feb 2008 In: Blood is Thicker..., LIVESTRONG, My Monkey Cats: Monkeys & Cats

You know – tibbles – a summary of bits and pieces – catching up with the highlights from a time period in which I’ve been either too lazy, busy, crazed or tied up by kidnappers to update my blog for my faithful reader(s). They are like stringettes. Individual stringettes… Simpson’s Individual Stringettes – for attaching notes to pigeon’s legs, DESTROYING HOUSEHOLD PESTS…. NO, no, no – I shan’t go down that road, I shall not. Tying up very small parcels…

Mock all you want; this phrase will be sweeping the nation before you can say…uhm..before you can say – “SIMPSON’S INDIVIDUAL STRINGETTES!” Ah, but where to start.

Well, on December 22, 2007, my darling niephew (that all-encompassing phrase “niephew” will sweep the Nation, too – I have no doubt) Anders turned three AND truly beautiful baby Moses Giles Samuelson-Lynn was born (who doesn’t look ANYTHING like Winston Churchill or Chairman Mao, as babies often do at first).
Anders in the First Snow 2007

In January, hearty congratulations to lovely Niephew Sarah who officially graduated (with excellent test scores, indeed). There was even a ceremony with two dozen or so other “non-traditional” students. My faux Niephew, Tyler, was even one of the speakers (it was awesome – he gave a completely extemporaneous graduation speech – I think the sweeping hand gestures made it). They gave them diplomas and tassels, but had I known their would NOT be caps and gowns (even LEIF got a cap and gown to graduate from St. Marguerite’s kindergarten) I’d have loaned her mine (from my University graduation – yes, I had to BUY it – I could rant about how stupid that is – but she could have been the first high school graduate with a Phi Kappa Phi ribbon on their ensemble).

This past Tuesday I took Grandma Lee (SHHHHHHHH – DON’T TELL HER – REMEMBER: EVERYTHING I SAY ABOUT GRANDMA IS A SECRET FROM HER) to get her chemo pump attached and for her first radiation treatment. She had an Implantable Venous Access Port (a “Super” or “Power Port) put in last week and tattoos and other preparations for her radiation. I think it’s a great delivery system for her. They’ve been able to give her iron infusions through it and blood samples. And when she’s not hooked to her chemo pump she can even shower because the port is under the skin.
WEIRD fashion-style photography of the Implantable Venous Access Port

The chemo pump is amazing. Over the course of a week it dispenses a gradual dose of chemotherapy (in her case FU5) in a small machine that you carry around in a fanny pack (alright you Brits – STOP LAUGHING – “Bum Bag”). This lessens possible side effects and makes her simultaneous treatments (chemo and radiation) so much easier. They just refill it every week and flush out her port.

I wish she felt better, but the size of the tumor is substantial (it’s a “bulky” mass that’s probably been growing and bleeding for a long time) and it compromises the walls of the colon. Since her lymph nodes are involved as well, one of the specialists said it was important to shrink the tumor before they did any surgery. He was also so concerned about a possible bowel blockage that he inserted a stent to keep her colon open. I’d no idea that you could do that. I’d make a joke in poor taste that she was jealous of my Dad’s two stents and had to get a bigger one and put it in an – uhm – unexpected location, but it’s not really funny; she’s incredibly uncomfortable. We believe she’s probably in pain as well, but she won’t cop to anything but “discomfort.” Hopefully when the tumor shrinks she’ll get some relief. Three radiation treatments down, twenty-two to go: You hang in there,
Grandma! (shhhhhh)


Today – mmm – yesterday, technically, as we are the medical havoc and ruination family, Shirleen had eye surgery. Well, tear duct surgery, to be more specific (up through her nose). She has an unusual condition (WHAT – Shirleen has an unusual condition?) that causes her left tear duct to run constantly and squirt arbitrarily. They were not able to find a non-surgical solution (flushing it out and whatnot), so after they scanned to make sure there was nothing in her eye orbit that might even be connected to her brain (or something like that) she helped schedule her own surgery (since she works in the hospital in that department). She even threatened to get off the table in a surgical gown and go to work if they made her wait or something.

Anyhoo, the surgery was quick and successful (even though the doctor had to repair a deformed nasal turbinator – ?). Unfortunately, in recovery her nose started to hemorrhage. And why? Because if some sort of freakish thing can happen to Shirleen during a medical and/or dental procedure it likely will. They successfully stopped the bleeding; this process evidently involved something called a “nose torpedo.” She’s still wearing it, from what I understand. OH, ALAS, FOR YOUR SCHNOZ TO BE BETTER VERY SOON, SHIRLEEN! Oh – and anyone who wants is welcome to pass that along – go crazy.

And my dear Monkey Cats, your Crazy Heathen Aunt Cake Kate hasn’t forgotten you. How could she? YOU HAUNT HER DREAMS! Ha ha. In a GOOD way? It was Solo and Ensemble Competition time again on Wednesday. No prevaricating blossoms of any kind this year; we had placid Ernest Charles trio, Clouds, this time. They did a very lovely job, and I don’t think I made the “bell-like” chords sprinkled throughout the piece entirely TOO cacophonous (in performance). My principal goal for me was to NOT repeat the rubber-chicken-moment debacle of last year’s competition.

I also played for M.C. Nessa’s solo. She sang a lovely Fauré piece that I massacred when I played it for M.C. Amy’s audition for Chamber Choir last year (they took her in spite of my über-dissonant additions). I was very proud of her because she introduced herself DECLARATIVELY and CONFIDENTLY (AMEN), sang lovely French and, most importantly, kept going and was poised when she forgot some lyrics. A lesson for ALL PERFORMERS. Oh – and with MY Monkey Cats there’s never an “Adam and Eve” pose in sight.

I even got to do an almost completely unrehearsed performance of Bist Du Bei Mir with a euphonium player. “Little King,” a wee freshman, was abandoned by his accompanist a couple of hours before the competition, so I agreed that I’d probably be better than nothing (M.C. Amy would have certainly played it better, but she was already accompanying seven thousand people and singing with another five hundred or something very, very close to that). It was a very creative performance that sounded nothing like Lady of Spain. And I’ve no doubt that he will learn some semblance of tempo with a little more experience. The tone was nice… Oh – and Adam Keith owes me $15. I’ll take that in small cash bills. (?)

We found my entirely too grown-up Niephew Will ACTUALLY FILLING OUT PERFORMANCE REVIEWS. He became an honorary Monkey Cat for the evening, did the “Money Dance” at arbitrary moments throughout the afternoon/evening (he’s on the Junior Varsity Ballroom Dance Team – that’s really all the explanation I can dream up). We deviated from tradition with a Jamba Juice break, but we did end up with the requisite Taco Bell feast. We waxed nostalgic about past Taco Bell feasts, talked about their plans after high school (They are graduating! My baby Monkey Cats are Graduating. Monkey Kittens?) and they confirmed that I am, indeed, very, very old. You’ve just gotta love them. Hugs and Kisses, Monkey Cats!

There are those who don’t believe that my reasons for not leaving the house much are compelling. Ah, but consider this: Last Wednesday I’d fallen asleep in a chair and missed the dress rehearsal for “The False Prophet.” Yet Sarah still needed me to bring her the video of The Natural History of the Chicken during her lunch break so they could watch it in her religious studies class.
Great Cinema.  Seriously.

I drove the tape over to her high school and happened to park right behind a police car. While in the process of “tele-locating” Sarah, I noticed that in the cop car, on the divider window between the driver’s seat and the “perp” section of the vehicle (that should answer the question about whether or not I watch too many re-runs of all various editions of Law and Order and CSI) there was a sign – a professionally-lettered sign in large capital letters (big enough for me to read even though I’m extremely overdue to get new glasses). The sign read, “STUPID.”

I REALLY wanted a picture of this. But by the time I had re-set my camera phone with the right flash setting so that I take ANY semblance of a recognizable image at all, the police officer got in his car and drove away. Little did I know, this was not merely an amusing oddity, but a SIGN (metaphorically as well as literally) – something portending events in my immediate future. Alas, I did not recognize this foreshadowing.

So after purchasing Gerbera daisies for the Monkey Cats in four different hues (a mistake, I came to find, because NO ONE WANTS ORANGE) and paying a little extra for them to use lemon leaves instead of odious leather-leaf and making sure there were water tubes and purloining tons of little insert cards that said things completely irrelevant to a vocal performance like “Get Well Soon” and “It’s a BOY” and “Happy Birthday,” I was on my way.

I was driving through the “river-bottoms” (as the locals say) and, admittedly, not really paying attention to my speed, etc. Then, as a wretched nightmare from my past, I saw flashing lights in my rear-view mirror. Yes, I was speeding. And though it has been ages since I got a ticket (I’ve grown a little and chilled out the lead foot – REALLY), I know the drill. I don’t get warnings. I get CITATIONS (with the one notable exception of my twenty-first birthday upon which I deigned to use a pitiful, wheedling voice and say, “But it’s my BIRTHDAY” – I almost was serenaded by police officers, but they were too shy in the end to sing to me). I don’t have the necessary blonde bimbo appearance to avoid tickets, I guess (my apologies to blonde bimbos but your sexy wiles deserve a SMALL mention because I sincerely doubt you’ve gone to traffic school five gazillion times and had your license suspended, etc.).

And I knew it wouldn’t do any good to attempt to explain to the officer that after I’d delivered The Natural History of the Chicken to my niece who’d HAD CANCER and run an errand to purchase gifts for DESERVING YOUNG PEOPLE, that it had been imperative, for reasons that I couldn’t really put into words, that I sing along intensely and vociferously (and repeatedly) with a delightfully angry Avril Lavigne song and that’s why I hadn’t noticed my speed. But, OH JOY, since my record has been clean, I CAN GO TO TRAFFIC SCHOOL AGAIN!!! By now I am practically a traffic school connoisseur. I shall have to post an update as to how the local traffic school stacks up to my previous experiences.

Later in the afternoon, it was time for the “Solo and Ensemble” competition. I should say right off that I am NOT a great pianist at this point in time. I do have the ability that I consider imperative from a singer’s perspective for any accompanist, which is to damn the torpedoes, JUST KEEP PLAYING. Nevertheless, every so often, when I’m teaching a voice lesson or the like, I start the introduction to something and I just HAVE to stop because the piece of music I’ve just played has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the notes or the key or the time signature on the page. Then I halt, momentarily baffled, and start again playing something much more akin to the written music.

Now, in my defense, I’d run through “The False Prophet” with the Monkey Cats on what I must describe as several different “honky-tonk” pianos (each incapable of playing several key notes – different ones, depending on the piano). Then I’d run through the accompaniment on my own piano (admittedly not enough). But when we went to perform, after I’d reminded them to all look alive (unlike the bulk of the singers we’d seen who looked more or less like zombie automatons) and to NOT utilize the “Adam and Eve” hand position (just think about it – you’ll get it), I sat down at the grand piano in the High School Choir room.

I’ve never played this piano before (though I don’t suppose that’s really an excuse). So the Monkey Cats are standing poised and ready, I’m poised and ready at the piano, and I proceeded to play an introduction so completely unrelated to the piece that follows that I might as well have favoured everyone with an impromptu rendition of La Marseillaise or Pour Some Sugar. I did have the presence of mind to just keep going, squelching the nigh-unto-overwhelming impulse to make it into a most amusing Victor Borge-esque moment in which I would have stopped, looked quizzically down at the keyboard, had a “light-bulb” moment, opened the piano lid and pulled a rubber chicken out of it. Then, after tossing the chicken into the audience I’d have sat down as though nothing had happened, played the introduction semi-perfectly and everyone would have had a hearty laugh. Ha ha ha.

Luckily, I don’t believe that the skills or lack thereof of the accompanist made any difference in the scoring of their performance. The Monkey Cats did very well with their singing even after hearing the somewhat Avant-garde selection I sprung on them right before they were to open their mouths.

Last year, after singing, I took the Monkey Cats and at least one Monkey Cat Boyfriend to Taco Hell, where we spent $42.11 on food. AMERICAN. I kid you not. ALL of the girls remembered the amount to the penny. They wanted to go again this year (tradition, of course), but we had fewer Monkey Cats in the first place (and we were missing one, actually, so they substituted the “Honorary” Monkey Cat, Josh) and everyone’s boyfriend was either gone or being a “dweeb.” Consequently, we only spent a paltry $26 and forty-something cents.

At Taco Hell, when the subject of my butt somehow came up (it always “ends” up there, no pun intended), and they all reminded me with pride that they’d not poked me in the tookus or jiggled my posterior, Monkey Cat Nessa proceeded to poke my left lunch-lady arm and exclaim loudly something to the effect of, “See, she JIGGLES.” I laid down the law at this point, saying that Hoppy and Bob were OFF-LIMITS, too (thank you, Garrison Keillor).

Then I told M.C. Nessa to “look right at me and pay attention” and went on to regale her – and yes I used these very words – with a “cautionary tale” about making fun of certain behaviors or parts of peoples’ bodies because Karma would come and, pardon my saying so, BITE YOU IN THE ASS. I
used several examples from my own life.

I think, perhaps, the timing might not have been right, as they were well onto their way to being completely punch-drunk. Oh well.

But, HEY MONKEY CATS!!! YES, OVER HERE!!!! I’M HOLDING UP SOMETHING VERY SPARKLY AND SHINY!!! Okay. My young and innocent friends, please consider what I had to say when you are feeling calm (perhaps at the dentist – semi-anesthetized) and if you REMEMBER what I said, know that it is true and beware of the Karma. Thank you.

Just a few other things briefly:

  • Josh, the Honorary Monkey Cat, can “read” your nose. I’m not going to attempt to explain this right now. And he has a Cherokee butt (he said so himself – don’t think that I’M being inappropriate).
  • The daisy lies to “Doris.” Also, that song could be made ribald, lewd and utterly FILTHY with very little effort.
  • A Mr. Pringle wrote “The False Prophet.” I do not know whether or not this is the perfectly-shaped potato chip magnate Pringle or a completely random Pringle who had nothing to do with the idea of smushing up the potatoes and then reforming them into symmetrical potato-smush shapes (genius, really – processing processed food for symmetrical/aesthetic purposes and so they fit such a lovely cylindrical container).

Ah, how I’ve missed most of you, too.

Hmmm. Let me clarify: I’d have missed you all, but I’ve managed to see a few of you and therefore cannot “miss” what I’ve seen or have been seeing.

Just a few important things:

  • Dearest Amy, who I’ve never met, DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOU GOTTEN YOURSELF INTO?
  • I prefer “Accompaniroooo.” I feel that it’s the appropriately deferential title.
  • Let me just say it ONE LAST TIME: My posterior is OFF LIMITS. That is rehearsal rule numero uno.

Thank you, that is all

All My Love,
Crazy Heathen Aunt Cake Kate

Yesterday I received this email from one of the original Monkey Cats:

Subject: solo and ensemble and ze new monkey cats

Hello crazy heathen aunt cake, sorry, Kate. If you have not been informed by your forget ful neice [sic], saria we need you to accompany us, maybe. Respond as quickly as possible or call Nessa at: [number omitted OF COURSE]

I called Sarah, and, yes, indeedy, she’d neglected to mention it, “because all of our lives are different and crazy” and that they needed someone to play for them on “the thirty-somethingth.” Or was it “the thirtieth or thirty-somethingth” – and they were rehearsing “for the last time (?) tomorrow.” She also said that it was an “easy song so they just needed someone to play” (as opposed to coaching). We’ll see. I’ve witnessed their rehearsal techniques.

I asked who was singing, and it seems that with this slightly different array of Monkey Cats I shall even meet a NEW one. I also inquired as to WHAT they were singing. Evidently, this “easy” piece is entitled “False Prophet”. “False Prophet?” Oh yes, “False Prophet.”

“Who wrote it?” I asked. Sarah did not know. She did, however, explain that “False Prophet” is “about a daisy who tells a lie.” Yes, daisy. As in the flower.

Terry, can I PLEASE say that I’m waiting with “bated breath?” It’s a song about A FLOWER THAT TELLS A LIE!

I will say this: NO ONE – let me repeat – NO ONE is going to poke at my substantial tookus this time. My butt is OFF LIMITS. That will be rehearsal rule numero uno.

Dear Majestic Goddess Monkey Cats,

I had intended, today, to extol your beautiful performance at the ensemble competition on Monday in this entry (and to talk about my failed but well-meaning intentions to get a pap smear, a breast exam, a general check-up, a tire rotation, and a medication assessment on my birthday), but I am afraid I must change my plans.

I know you will understand, but I didn’t want you to think that I’d forgotten about you. And how COULD I?

Most Sincerely Yours,

Crazy Heathen Aunt Kate Cake

Sarah has, for a long time now, referred to me as, “My crazy aunt,” or “My Heathen Aunt,” when speaking to her friends. It has never bothered me (unless she uses that disdainful teenager tone indicating that “I’m SOO bored – NO ONE is around!” and so on while I’m standing right next to her or I’m within earshot – and as I’ve said it’s pretty impossible NOT to be in earshot of Sarah if she’s within a square mile or so – I may be a crazy heathen but I am certainly SOMEONE!). Besides, I have always maintained deep and abiding respect for certain varieties and intensities of craziness. Just recently, however, I have grasped numerous reasons that her method of addressing me must change.

It was herding the “monkey cats” these past few weeks that triggered my epiphany. I am assisting Sarah and some of her friends as they prepare for an ensemble singing competition; I’m providing vocal coaching and accompaniment for a quintet of adolescent young ladies (it was a quartet, but the mysterious “Buyo,” who I referred to as “BoBo” – for which I was endlessly mocked even though I’m far too old and tired to remember nicknames for people I’ve yet to meet, especially when they are based on Japanese anime – whose real name is Karen (?) had recovered from her illness as of today). To compete with Sarah’s…intensity (?) as a person, you do have to be spirited, to say the least. And, OH, these are spirited young ladies. I have directed Shakespeare for junior-high aged kids, I have lectured about Shakespeare’s life to several thousand ninth graders on more than one occasion, I have taught myriad private and group voice lessons, I have coached large groups of juvenile dancers in vocal technique, I have conducted all sorts of children’s music workshops and classes, I’ve coached and judged drama competitions for high school kids, I’ve taken both my Kitten Children to the Vet AT THE SAME TIME, and NEVER, I must repeat, NEVER EVER EVER have I seen so much raw energy contained in so few small bodies. Don’t get me wrong; these girls are clever, talented and lovely, but they are WHOLLY CRAZY. And even though it is the variety of craziness for which I have high esteem, it’s just that they have it so INTENSELY and SIMULTANEOUSLY THAT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE ENOUGH CAPITAL LETTERS TO EXPLAIN THIS PHENOMENON.

Case in point, after last week at a rehearsal at the high school I had to revise my original idiom with which I’d described the experience of working with this group. I HAD been saying it was like “herding cats.” But these young women have reached such extreme vigor in their unpredictability and in the randomness of their…”oomph” – you get one of them slightly chilled out and two others are climbing the walls – I have decided it’s like herding “monkey cats.” And don’t you TELL me they don’t exist; they are competing next week with Denes Agay’s arrangement of Old Irish Blessing at the high school solo and choir ensemble contest (FYI – if anyone has a genuine published copy of the SSA version of this piece, please let me know – it is now out of print – a story unto itself). I’m beginning to think that Play that Funky Music, White Boy may have been more apropos – and I speak from EXPERIENCE (we rehearsed at the house a few weeks ago and the “monkey cats” found the karaoke machine – they thought that song and Y.M.C.A. were good warm-ups).

Ironically, I believe they will sound lovely and relatively SEDATE when the time comes. In the meanwhile, though, I’ve had to instigate a few rules (and in these situations “rules,” per se, aren’t usually necessary). One is that they are not to touch each other. I physically stood them in their own little “spaces” at some point last week to try and encourage adherence to this policy. Somehow they still managed to violate everyone else’s personal “space” with lots of extraordinarily high-pitched squealing (just below that frequency only dogs can hear). I also became VERY adamant that it is strictly forbidden, yes, VERBOTEN, I kid you not, TO JIGGLE MY BODY FAT. I was sitting in one of those stupid plastic institutional chairs at the piano last week, with all the “monkey cats” behind me. I’d come to a tacit understanding (with myself, anyway) that I’d just ignore anything they did that was quiet and did not directly impinge on someone else’s “space” while they worked on their parts, and that they should actually practice their OWN parts when I demonstrated them. One of Sarah’s friends, who shall remain nameless (especially since haven’t any clever Japanese anime nicknames for her), who was helping hold the sheet music on the dilapidated piano in the band room, began to, rather absent-mindedly, poke my gluteus MAXIMUS with a pencil (those dumb chairs have that mysterious hole in the region of one’s coccyx). Suddenly, all of the “monkey cats” were seized by uncontrollable fits of laughter. Evidently, if you tap me with a pencil on my ample bum (RESISTING – TRYING TO ABSTAIN FROM USING CERTAIN TERMS – MUST RESIST – TRYING VAGUELY TO KEEP THIS BLOG EXPURGATED AND SOMEWHAT “FAMILY FRIENDLY” – SO MUST OH I MUST REFRAIN FROM SAYING THINGS SUCH AS “GINORMOUS ASS“). Oh, forget it – if you know me well at all you know that I was secretly thinking that whether or NOT I said it. Anyhoo, if you poke my plentiful posterior it evidently causes a delightfully jiggly chain reaction running up and down from my big ol’ butt to my huge noggin. I will endure and even participate in a great deal of humiliation for the sake of comedy, but that just crosses the line. I have a whole theory about how you live to regret the things you blithely mock when you are young and you will be CURSED by the object of your mockery (but that’s a story for another time – though I should say I did share this concept with the “monkey cats”). Then again, I am not much help. I cannot always keep my big mouth shut when it might be ever-so prudent to do so. It is MY fault that the plastic trick-or-treating bucket (inextricably present in the band room in JANUARY) shall henceforth be referred to as the “wee wee pumpkin.”

But never mind that, I digress. (COME ON – I know lots and lots of actors – SOMEONE could at least feign amazement that I’ve somehow wandered off topic…) What I really wanted to address was my anonymity. It occurred to me that as Sarah’s “crazy aunt” or “Heathen Aunt” I am provided with no other name whatsoever. Sarah’s boyfriend (of at least five months or so, I believe) did not know my real name until last week. Half of the “monkey cats” do not know my name, either, and if they do they only heard it accidentally. So today, I put my foot down. “Sarah,” said I, “Call me ‘crazy aunt Kate’ or ‘Heathen Aunt Kate!!!'” She found this amusing and countered that she should call me “Aunt Cake,” but I think that I should only accept that from relatives four-years-old or younger. I repeated my plea a number of times; we’ll see if it sinks in. I guess some might find it odd that I wasn’t lobbying for more “respect” by having her drop the “crazy” or “Heathen Aunt” and just call me “Kate,” but to me that’s not the crux of the issue. I just want the generalized terms to become specifically MINE.

This might have been a productive thing to do earlier, because, as it turns out, I am now listed in the competition paperwork as “Denes Agay,” which some of the “monkey cats” think I pronounce “Denise.” So help me, if anyone PURPOSELY jiggles my body fat any time soon, SOMEONE WILL PAY. (Yes, yes, I’m too sexy for my body fat… or something like that.) It’s just SAD. I’m jiggly and ANONYMOUS or I’m all blubbery and DENES AGAY (to be pronounced “Denise,” please).

Cheese Wisdom

FALSTAFF: God defend me from that Welsh fairy,
Lest he transform me to a piece of cheese!
William Shakespeare
The Merry Wives of Windsor



In Memorium