Posts in category "Photos"

Princess Dolly 2003–2018

Dolores was more than a pet. She was capable of profound love (or burning hatred), and that loyalty made her feel more like a little person than a companion. With the ability to recognize people through windows, I’d often find her sitting on the sill at the front of the house, waiting to greet me with a chorus of raspy meows when I came home from work; a ritual only special guests may be privy to, if they’ve presented the princess with enough presents.

I adopted her in university, and she was a constant presence through many residences, housemates, girlfriends — we even shared our space with other cats for years at a time. When finding me after a few moments apart, she’d come lean against me with an arched back, inviting me to scoop her up, and I’d make a point of spending a bit of time to cradling her like a baby, even if I was just passing through. Sometimes we’d lie in the blankets and stare into each other’s eyes; there was as much comfort to be found in her purring as my warmth and attention.

I could tell our bond was special from the start, and being fearful that I’d never share anything like it with another cat again, always made sure to cherish every second.

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almost like the blues

Now in the dark world where I dwell, ugly things, and surprising things, and sometimes little wondrous things, spill out in me constantly, and I can count on nothing.

—Philip K. Dick

Winter has traditionally been a difficult time. In my youth, the holidays were filled with family gatherings where I never found my place1. Then I started coming into my own, but everyone else began spending time with their significant others, leaving me an observer with a surrogate family. Eventually, I grew the need for a connection with people who could better understand the person I’d become, and again found myself in exile.

cat with bass guitar

This year is no different. The weather has been particularly punishing, with extreme cold fronts that make any form of travel a literal pain. It’s a fine line between inspiration and oppression when trapped in a winter wonderland. Even after a week of Darren’s company, along with new instruments and some of the stickiest of the icky, I haven’t been able to shake this feeling of loneliness.

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  1. Now I realize that being forced to spend a night with a random assortment of people is a crapshoot at best. []

keeping the rage tender

Fall has fallen, and I was ready. I was waiting. I was trapped for months on end, when my body wouldn’t cooperate or anxiety got the better of me. Even hearing Townes Van Zandt sing to me about snow in Raton was enough to make me miss winter again. I’d live vicariously in any form of visual media I could find, just to remember what it was like to feel the tingle of sun on my skin.

Now I can go out, but on my own terms and for the sake of it, not just therapy or a doctor’s appointment. It’s given Heather and I a chance to date — to dress up for each other, to trade secret glances about people who might be the other’s type, to hold hands and show each other off — instead of all the coping we were left doing after falling into the relationship so suddenly.

portrait of Heather and Jeff

Rachel Weisz has nothing on dem brows.

Ever since she began her career, I found it difficult to deal with how little we saw each other. It felt like we were barely connecting or having meaningful experiences when we had such limited time. Now that she has a better shift and a carpool, we have an extra hour and a half together on weekdays. Combined with Jesse committing to hangouts twice a month to play games or jam, it’s made a huge difference in the way I approach my goals and plan my time.

They’re small steps, but after so much regression, I tend to be happy with any movement in the right direction. Still, I wonder if I’ll ever find a balance that won’t leave me frantic, one that’s conducive to getting my introvert needs met while letting me feel secure in my relationships.

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whales in the bodies of tiny fish

It’s been months since I had an appointment with my therapist. I’ve needed the time to work on myself before making further progress with him; a sign that I’m at a point where there’s a sense of direction, instead of relentless confusion and dread. Now it’s a matter of absorbing the concepts I should know by now, developing healthier emotional habits, and letting time heal what reason cannot. As my body recovers from the physical repercussions of depression, finding the energy to do these things gets a bit easier each season1.

As a result, I’ve been picking up new responsibilities in my primary relationship, which I have to carefully balance with my personal goals. Maybe that’s why my wants have become such simple matters. Some days, I look forward to nothing more than eating ice cream after dinner, or playing a game until my thumbs are raw. The distillation of my dreams has given me another childhood, which I’m determined not to squander.


Part of the reason I stopped taking pictures is because I needed to believe Heather was real. To prove to myself that she wouldn’t suddenly disappear and only exist as a collection of pixels on my screen, like others lovers of my past2. Mostly it was because everything was terrible, and just being conscious was a burden. Some days I was too sad to walk or eat, let alone decide what lens to put on my camera or how to frame a shot. The start of any relationship tends to be a time of wonder and excitement for me, but I don’t remember those years with particular fondness3.

Continue reading “whales in the bodies of tiny fish”…

  1. There have been many steps back on the journey forward, enough for the progress to be indiscernible from a week-to-week (or even month-by-month) basis. []
  2. It’s strange to realize that my drive to photograph things was partially a way of dealing with my abandonment issues. []
  3. At least I feel secure in the knowledge that Heather stuck by me when I was literally at my worst. []

eight lives left

A little while ago, Byron stopped holding down his meals, and we’d consistently find chicken parts scattered about the house shortly after he ate. A visit to the vet, along with the usual blood tests, came up empty. It was only an x-ray at the ER that showed a small object lodged at the start of his small intestine, blocking the path of digestion.

It didn’t come as a huge surprise. Byron was a relentless cat when it came to searching for food. I couldn’t tell if he’d roam the house for things to eat cause he was hungry, or if his hunger came from the constant roaming. Sometimes we’d find chewed up toys passed through his system, but more often than not they came up the other end, covered in bile. It was only a matter of time before something got stuck.

cat in cone

The face of a killer defeated by a furniture screw.

I try to have a pragmatic view about my cats. Operations of this scale on any single one are hard for me to justify, when I could use those resources to save several more (especially when I wouldn’t love a new cat any less). So I left the decision up to Heather, considering the fact that she’s the breadwinner now, and she’s had a stronger connection to him ever since she started taking care of the cat’s meals.

It wasn’t a difficult choice for her, and she gave the vet approval to operate without a second thought.

Cat at Wintersday

Heather’s spent more hours as his ranger alter-ego, Byron Tightslasher, than any other character. Every detail of his virtual persona is carefully chosen to mimic Byron in real life, from the patterns of his fur, to the tilt of his muzzle. In keeping with his personality, even the ranger pets that follow him are named after foods, such as his juvenile eagle called Drumsticks.

This Christmas, Byron’s “Santa Claws” persona includes a snowfall aura, Wintersday weapon set, wreath backpack, and Ho-Ho-Tron mini with matching santa hat.

After leaving Leonard at the hospital for an emergency operation, then finding out the next day that he was gone, I was terrified that I’d never see Byron again, but he soon came home with a new collar and a shaven belly, weak from not having digested a proper meal in so long.

It’s been a few months since, and he’s rebounded quite well, though a lot more cautious when it comes to the things he decides to put in his mouth. I suspect he’s learned a very painful lesson about not eating something just because he can, which means by now he’s at least smarter than most puppies.

shaved belly


I could tell Heather loved my kitties, cause she obsesses over their health, projects their personalities onto other animals, and talks about them ceaselessly (whether it’s to me or people she just met). She even role-plays as them in Guild Wars 2, her favourite part of every season being the chance create a new costume. But after seeing the how much effort she put into saving my little boy, then nursing him back to health with delicate patience, I’ve started to understand that love goes deeper than I realized, for both them and me.