Friday, January 25, 2013

Catherine Violet Hubbard

The events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012 were so overwhelmingly tragic and unbelievable that it tended to make things somewhat abstract.  I found myself thinking in numbers, 20 children, 6 adults, all dead - there was no individuality in the numbers.  No searing sense of any one specific hole in the universe.

Then came the pictures of each 6 and 7 year old but somehow it continued to be this massive collage of the more "safely" viewed overall group.  I know I'm not explaining this well but for some reason, at least in my experience, large numbers are easier to deal with than focusing on one.  10 million killed in the holocaust.  A horrible thing, but too big to really grasp or even, in some ways, mourn.  But meet one individual with a tattoo on her arm and listen to her stories and, BAM, it all hits home, becomes personal, becomes something that will haunt your waking and sleeping hours.

That's what happened to me when I saw the photo of Catherine Hubbard.
Catherine Violet Hubbard
The eyes and the smile, and what I saw behind them, were mesmerizing.  I could actually "see" the life that lay before her.  And what a good life that was going to be.  There's so much humor in that face.  And an openness that says "Got a challenge for me?  Bring it on!"

She would have been the kind of child/young girl/woman I always envied.

Cathy as a child, rambunctious, curious, leader, Katie as a tomboy-ish, but feminine, young teen and Catherine, the take-no prisoners and don't-waste-my- time-with-stupidity proud and lovely woman.

I found out what I could about Catherine (I can't assume that she was called Cathy) but it wasn't much.  Initially, all I knew was that she was 6 years old and would remain 6 years old forever.

Then came an amazing connection.  In her obituary, her parents asked for donations to a Newtown Animal Shelter in lieu of flowers, due to Catherine's enormous love of animals.  Animals have been my great love, almost my religion, ever since I can remember.

 “Catherine loved all animals,” say the Hubbards. “She would chase down strangers just to pet their dogs, squeal with delight as butterflies landed on her arm and sit for hours watching baby birds in a nest. We would overhear her whispering to insects and animals…her words: tell all your friends that I’m kind.”

I instantly made a contribution to the shelter in Catherine's name and vowed to make that an annual thing to do.  It was all I could do to try to "cement" a relationship between me and that darling girl.

Just recently I received a letter from the shelter, which said in part:  Many of you asked how donations in Catherine’s memory would be used. Today, it is our great pleasure to announce plans to build the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, a place where all creatures, great and small, can know the touch of a kind hand and be safe from harm.  

I totally lost it.  "All creatures, great and small, can know the touch of a kind hand and be safe from harm."  Before Catherine entering my heart, that alone would have brought me to tears.  But to know that that wonderous goal was going to be carried out in her name was too much to bear.

All I wanted at that point to be as I was in my 20s, 30s or even 40s.  That Marianne would have instantly quit her job and moved to Newtown to say "How can I help bring this sanctuary to fruition?" 

Unfortunately, my life at this point doesn't allow me to spontaneously drop everything and follow my instincts any more.

So, money, prayers and perhaps an occasional visit to Newtown to see the progress is all I can do.  It won't be enough.  There is nothing that can ever be "enough."

She is 6 years old and she is dead.  I am not a formally religious person, but I have to believe she is somewhere where she is "safe from harm" and where she feels nothing other than the "touch of kind hands."

If anyone reading this wants to blow a kiss to Catherine, send whatever you can to:

  Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary
The Animal Shelter

P. O Box 475
Newtown, CT 06470



Monday, January 21, 2013

Thoughts on Inauguration Day, 2013

Quite a day. 

Images and thoughts (in random order as they come to me) -----

John Lewis, who 50 years ago joined MLK in jail cells and marches, including the March on Washington (which I claim as one of my most valued memories), now watched an African-American elected to a second term.

The fact that this event took place on the day we honor MLK - it would seem too staged if it appeared in a fictional work, but was so moving in reality.  Add to that, the fact that at Obama's last inauguration the statue of MLK was not on the Mall, but today it was, directly in the President's direct line of site.

Myrlie Evers speaking, again 50 years after the murder of her husband, Medgar.  Mostly I remembered what had me sobbing for a long time after Obama's initial election --- upon the news that Obama had been elected she went to Medgar's grave and told him "You did not die in vain."

JT singing "America the Beautiful."  (Could have done without Kelly Clarkson or Beyonce, but that's just me.)

Richard Blanco's poem which I thought wtas quite good (but I'll always remember Maya Angelou's and compare all to that!).  I wish I'd known beforehand that he was gay - it would have added even more poignancy to his line - "days giving thanks for a love that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother who knew how to give, or forgiving a father who couldn’t give what you wanted."

Bubba looking so hale and hearty - there have been pictures of him in the press looking haggard, with captions insinuating he was close to death.  He still looks pretty good to me.  I hope Hillary runs in 2016, 'cause I'd sure love to have Bill back in the White House.

The seeming (and hopefully REAL) normalness of Barack, Michelle and the two girls.  They look like the family I always wanted.  Openly loving, warm and caring.  Now that I think about it, that's not "normal," it's special.

Biden giving about 20 secret service men heart attacks by running to the side of the road to schmooz and hug.

News that a statue of Rosa Parks will be put into Statuary Hall sometime this year.  Not sure who said it, but the comment "From the back of the bus to Statuary Hall!" was made.

Obama referencing "Stonewall" in his speech.  (Look it up if you don't know what the reference is to.)

His grin as he walked down Pennsylvania Avenue - he almost looked young again.

I'm sure there are more things that will stick in my mind, but for now this seems to be what I recall most.

Friday, January 18, 2013

RIP, Showing Up For The Muse

After 1637 posts, covering 6 years and 2 months, my niece/godchild has shut down her blog, for various good (at least from her perspective) reasons.  But it leaves a hole in the blog world (not to mention in my life) which my blog can't fill, but which my blog will at least balance out - one gone, one revived.

I doubt this blog will mean to any what Tilly's blog meant to so many - so many different things to so many different people.  For me it was a way to keep track of her and to view her life vicariously.  The only plus for me is that in order to keep track now, I'll have to do it one on one with her which will be great.  But unless she takes notes on a daily basis and makes sure to fill me in on everything, be it via snail mail, email or telephone, I won't know her daily ups and downs, challenges, victories, doubts, insights, fears, struggles  - or see her daily artistic uploads, and photographs (how will I know the next time she takes her two grown sons deep into the swamps of Southern Miami, hip deep searching for rare tiny blue orchids?).

So, while I will undoubtedly have more "direct" contact with my beloved girl, I am sad that I will lose so many on-going details of her daily life.  So, my Tilly, if you're reading this, start making daily (DETAILED) journal entries today (and you can call me weekly just to read them to me) -- and try to bang out a painting or two a week just to send me, as well as a roll of film of every adventure you have (be it a bicycle jaunt with Michael through land that should belong ONLY to allligators or art show openings or the doings of the HMAA).

Now that I've totally depressed myself about the loss of her blog, I will sign off promising to continue my own blog on a regular basis (hoping I can find something to write about ----- ).

So as I bid farewell to "Showing Up for the Muse," I bid hello again to "What if, I Wonder and Pet Peeves," (why did I name it so badly?)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

in case the world is waiting -----

Stay tuned - there's a blog coming.  Things that need writing about are swirling around in my head.  Been doing a lot of "head" searching (vs. soul searching).  It's coming.  I can just feel the excitement building.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My apologies ......

While I doubt that anyone to whom this apology is directed will ever read this (or the post I'm apologizing for), I feel I need to say how soorry I am for my flip "Boy, was I prepared for nothing...." comments.  After seeing the devestation that Hurricane Irene caused so many (in my state and in others), and learning that hundreds of thousands are still without power three days after the storm passed, not to mention the 30 some people who lost their lives), I realize how crass and self-centered my comments were.

I was just trying to be amusing (?) in outlining how super prepared I was and how I needn't have done any of it.

But that was just me.  Some folks as close as 15 miles away are still without power and have had flood damage done to their land and homes.

I can only hope that those that were impacted were also highly prepared and that those preparations at least somewhat eased what they went, and are still going, through.

My heart goes out to all of you - please forgive my words.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene Who?

The scary predictions. 

The 24/7 news. 

The adverbs.  "Horrific."  "Historic."  "Devestating." 

Power outages could last as long as a week. 

Tension building by the hour.  I found on where the Weather Channel was on my TV; had never watched it before. was locked in on my laptop.  Four two-galloon water botles in the trunk of my car.  Canned foods loading down my cabinets.  Lots of Starbuck's bottled coffee to fill in for the week that my Keurig would be out of commission.  Cell phone fully charged and waiting.  Patio cleared of anything that could possibly be blown around and sent through my bay window.  Pre-cooked meals that would be edible cold, if necessary.

I'd overlooked nothing.  Do your best, Irene.  No boy scout experience, but nonetheless I'm prepared.  Beyond prepared.  Even two small bags packed.  One for me, to cover at least two days if I had to take up the offer to go to friends who had a generator, the other with food supplies for me during that time (so as to not use up their limited supply - plus some additional boxes of Kraft's Mac & Cheese for their boys).

Bring it on, Irene.  You don't scare me. 

My internal clock must have taken in all the information about the timing.  Irene was schedule to "hit" NW Connecticut at around 3am.  I woke at 3:30.  It was raining and that was about that.  Turned on the Weather Channel and saw that it was still on its way.  My thinking was that I might as well stay up and welcomg Irene when she arrived in full dress and if I stayed up for the next several hours I'd be tired enough to go back to bed when the electricity went.

Finally went back to bed around 10am - with electricity flowing through every lamp and appliance.

It's now about 2pm and it's raining.  Not that hard, but it is raining.  There appears to be a gentle breeze blowing through the trees and flowers.  There are maybe 20 to 30 leaves scattered around my patio. 

So, allow me to paraphrase the Thane of Cawdor,

National meteorology is but a walking shadown, a poor player
That struts and frets their hour upon the channels
And then is heard no more: it is a tale,
told by alarmists, full or sound and fure,
resulting in nothing.

Let me say that I am by no means intending to take lightly, or to diminish in any way, those that have been impacted by Irene.  It's just that it was clear to those of us who paid attention on Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sat that we were all going to die on Sunday!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wow - June 28th was my last post.  I can't believe it's been that long.  Just a bit shy of 2 months.

And has it been because my life has just been so full of fun and frolic that I haven't been able to find even a few minutes?  Don't I wish.

To be honest, I'm not sure why I haven't written.  Normal depression has been around, as it always is, but that's not very unusual.

Heard an amazing comment on depression - not sure where, but it stuck with me.  It was said by someone who suffers from chronic depression.

You can tell someone who is depressed "see, right over there on that table?  there's a guaranteed cure for your depression if you'll just go get it, reach for it."  The depressant (depressee?) will look longingly over at the table but just won't be able to make the stretch or the walk to the cure.  Just too hard.

It sounds so stupid but it's so spot on.  It's not that we're too lazy or tired to walk to the table holding the cure, it's just that we literally can't.  It's too hard, and the table seems way too far out of our reach.

It's a really good thing that I can't afford to retire.  Without my job I think I'd turn into a total basket case, moving from bed to couch and back again, and no where else.

Coffee, cigarettes, tv and books - that's about all I'd need.  Well, and also the occasional pint of Haagen Daas, box of chocolate donuts and M&Ms.

As much as I gripe about my job, it is my salvation.  Apparently the work ethic is not impacted by depression.  I am definitely a wait till the last minute person, but when it's crunch time I can churn it out better than anyone.  And my clients love me.  They think I'm bright, chipper, always available and that I truly care about them.  Hmmmm - never realized that depression makes great actors out of us.

Right now, my depression and anxiety have a focus, an unfortunate one, and one that's making me crazy.

A week and two days ago, at around 8pm, I let out one of my kitties.  He often spends the night out and so when he didn't return when I called him before going to bed I was not concerned.  I knew he'd be curled up on one of the deck chairs in the morning, waiting for breakfast and some loving.  Well, he wasn't there.  I was a bit concerned, but not all that much.  I knew that if I came home at lunch I'd find him waiting.  Nope.  And when I got home from work, still no Marcel.  That evening the concern went full force.  I walked around, calling, whistling (to which he always comes!) ... and nothing.

The next day, making my rounds of the compound where I live, trying to get everyone on the lookout, I learned that at the far end of where I live two cats had gone missing about two weeks before mine.

Concern was now bordering on panic and I kept looking, kept hoping, but by Friday evening had pretty much given up hope of finding him.  That evening my immediate neighbors came over and told me that their cat, Whispers," had been missing since Wednesday night, two nights after Marcel first went missing.

There has been talk of a fox seen in back yards....but a fox taking down even one cat, much less four?  I don't think so.  No one has heard coyotes.  Those who have dogs say that their dogs have not raised any fuss over any animal noises. 

Then the day before yesterday I learned that four cats from a neighborhood about half a mile away from me have gone missing in the past two or three weeks.

I am now so freaked out, I can't stand it.  I keep thinking of all kinds of horrible, sinister things that could have happened.  I can't sleep, not even with the TV on (which can usually shut my mind down enough to be able to fall asleep).  I just keep picturing horrible things.

It's so awful just not knowing.  I pray he is dead, and not suffering somewhere.  If I could only be sure, I'd feel 100% better.  And my little guy, Cinqo, seems a bit lost.  And even though he never went out the way Marcel did, he did go out from time to time, always coming back rather quickly.  But I don't dare let him out now - he's been out about twice in the past four or five days, both times with me out there on the deck watching his every move.  And I think he misses his big brother.

And so do I.

I just realized that my last blog was about dead bluebirds and now I write this about dead cats .....I might as well rename it the Blog of Death and Destruction.

Going to put this to a merciful end now - will be back shortly with something better to write about (I hope).

Thanks for listening.