Missy Kat: Dec 2003 – Aug 10, 2016

Today, we say goodbye to our old girl, Missy Kat. She has been on a steep decline in the last month and today she can’t even get up, so our vet is coming here is meeting us at the clinic to put her out of her misery this afternoon. She was unconscious all day, and the vet wanted $250 for a home visit, so we opted to take her in, which was still $125. I consider that VERY pricey and a little rude, actually. I had a big cry last night and I’m sure I’ll cry more today. It is going to be a long day. We said goodbye at around 3:30pm then took her to Deceased Pet Care after. The cremation service is $185 plus $45 for a terra cotta paw print. I cried all day.

Missy at Maplehurst 09

Missy showed up at my door when we lived on Derrydown, back in 2003. She showed up in the early fall and would come in and out with the herd o’ cow cats that were in the neighborhood at the time. I would leave the back door open and the neighborhood cats would come and go. One day, this little cow cat with a heart shape on her nose came in. She was very friendly and made herself at home. She was already spayed and in good health, so we have always assumed that she was an old lady’s cat and was abandoned when the old lady died. Of course, they always say that a cat is “around two” when you find them, but my vet and I think that Missy was more like 5 when I got her. If you do the math, that makes her around 18 years old, which tracks with her overall health. She’s been an old lady for several years now, since before we left Maplehurst in 2014. She has not hunted or been interested in going out since we’ve been here and she has been mostly deaf for over a year. So, she is VERY old for sure.

Missy stayed around the apartment and when it got colder, I’d let her in. One day she joined me for a nap, put her head on my elbow, and that was it. When we bought the house on Maplehurst in Dec 2003 and moved in Jan 2004, we took her with us along with Dickens (who died in Feb 04), DJ (May 2014) and Bernadette (MIA 2009). They were all so freaked out by the move that they actually SHARED the bed for a few weeks! It was a tight squeeze at night.

Dickens, DJ, Bernie and Missy 04

All my cats from this era are now gone. Time marches on. Sigh. I really didn’t want to have any pets after Missy, but Shasti turned up and, well, I still have a cat. She sort of came with this house. The neighbor told me that she’d been around for about six months when we moved in (Jun 14) and she is so pretty, I started feeding her. She is what I call semi-feral, but she has taken to being a mostly indoor cat very well. She chooses to stay in most of the time and I’m confident that she was an indoor cat: she’s fixed, likes knitted products and loves toys. I think she’s about 3 years old at this point. Shasti is very sweet, but still skittish and hard to handle – she is a big cat. This one will never take to being moved – hell, I can’t even get her into a carrier. But life goes on and cat bound I shall be.

Missy always slept on my elbow or shoulder. I called her a Pirate cat since she would lay on my shoulder like a pirate’s parrot. She has always been “my” cat. She likes lap and has always cuddled with me during naps. Missy has always had lots of personality and has always bossed around the other cats. She is my first cow cat. Her fur is soft like a bunny’s. She has pretty eyes and that heart shaped nose that I just adore. (Sorry about the verb tenses being mixed. I’m not used to being without her yet.)

Missy Kat Closeup

Missy’s shenanigans with chipmunks in her prime even made it to Think Weasel! I like this one especially:

And YES she did bring a chipmunk in and put it in the bathtub. Good times! She brought them in quite a few times, in an effort to sharpen my non-existent hunting skills, no doubt.

She also had an obsession with water. She’d climb into the birdbath, lick puddles and especially loved getting into the bathtub after we showered. Silly thing!

I am heartbroken that my Missy is gone. She was a great cat and I’ll miss her for a long time. Why can’t someone make a cat that lives as long as we do? We know that their time with us is limited and we know the heartbreak that awaits, yet we have pets because of the joy they bring to us. I always question whether it’s worth it when they die, but overall, I have to say YES it is worth it. Pets are pure love and remind us that life is short, so live every day the best you can. RIP Missy Kat.

All my jobs!

This is a FB thing, but I think it’s interesting, so here is my checkered list of jobs in my 50 years (I’m sure I missed some)!

Shoney’s server
Quincy’s line girl
Long John Silvers cod girl (f/t morning prep, got my first apt. Ca. 1985?)
Domino’s phones, cook, delivery
Chili’s server
American Favoritz (locally owned) server
O’Charley’s server

OptiWorld optometric assistant
lots of temp work as receptionist all over ATL
Eudora Mail trainer w/ small training company
Shop n Check worked at office to coordinate secret shoppers and take reports
retail at a kitchen store (can’t remember name)
Coffee Plantation coffee sales, barista

Back to Knoxville after college
U102/Star94 radio stations outside sales (used that AA in Music Business from Art Institute!)
SoftKey International Mac Queue phone support (used that Spanish/French BA from GA State!)

Back to ATL because Knoxville sucks
SteinMart (I logged about 8 yrs at SteinMart all together)
opened the first ATL Starbucks (sucked, btw)
Crescent Moon restaurant weekend host, which led to
Alternative Dining (2 Crescent Moon restaurants, $1 Million+ revenue) A/P, graphic design, payroll, websites, office manager
Mimosa Salon front desk

Taqueria El Vecino A/P, graphic design, websites, social media, office manager
Boneless Cat Designs Etsy shop, fine silver jewelry
IndigoDragon Studios Artistic Director
Player One Arcade Services A/R, logistics, management

And now I am unemployable! LOL Too much time being my own boss. And tattoos. And purple hair. :P

Happy Blogiversary!

Today marks the 17th anniversary of misangela.com.

My whole life is in here, folks. All of it: good, bad, ugly, lovely.

I’ve been an internet oversharer for a very long time and I hope to continue until my last day. :)
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This is my story. This is my life. This is my legacy.

It ain’t much, but it’s mine.

Thanks for reading! XO

The Tale of Hyline Scooter

I was in the horse showing business briefly in the late 70s. I think it was 78-79 or so, which would’ve made me 13-14. Sounds about right. Might’ve been 77, since I remember Seattle Slew winning the Triple Crown. This is a story I can’t believe I haven’t written about before! It was a big deal in my life and it cemented my feelings about my family and their dysfunctions. Much of it, I simply cannot remember – probably because I was so confused and unhappy.

To set the stage, let me first explain my family’s logic when dealing with pretty much anything. They truly believe that ignorance can be overcome with money. If you don’t know about ______________ (insert subject), then all you need to do is buy the top of the line stuff having to do with that subject and you’ll magically know all you need to know about it and be successful at it. They’ve done it many, many times over the years with anything from horses, to restaurants, to cars, to guitars. Not joking. Knowing this proclivity, let me tell you the tale of my sad stint in the horse showing business.

As most teen girls, I loved horses. We had two old nags at the house, so I’d been around them a bit, but I wanted to show horses, which the nags couldn’t do. So, in true Pratt fashion, my father goes and finds an expensive, pedigreed greenbroke 2 year old gelding named Hyline Scooter for me. I think this horse cost $3000 – a LOT at the time. And of course, he had to have a custom built trailer to go with the horse, which was another $5000 at least. And I had to have a show saddle, so we drove from Knoxville to Germantown TN (Memphis) to purchase a saddle for around $1500. I have no documentation or pix of this time period, so all prices are from my less than stellar memory. I’d ask my mother, but this whole incident is never spoken about because it shows their stupidity.

Anyway, my parents spend all this money on my whim – remember, I’d never shown a horse, been to a show or anything – and find these sketchy ass trainers in Loudon TN, where my horse was boarded and I would go every weekend to train. Or so they told my parents.

What actually happened was I’d go down there to ride my horse and they would not let me. They told me I was fat and didn’t know how to ride, so I had to ride the other horses until I was more capable and/or lost weight. Which made sense to me at the time – it never occurred to me that 115# was NOT too much for a horse to carry. They just used my insecurities against me. Apparently my parents never checked up to see what was going on down there and they didn’t know I could never ride my own horse. But I’m certain I told them about it, so I guess they just chose to believe the Embertons’ LIES rather than my accounts. Since they were completely ignorant about horses and showing horses, they put 100% confidence in these horrible people rather than, say, INVESTIGATE what was going on.

They “trained” me to show Scooter at halter, which means stand there and let the judges look at the horse. Halter competition is strictly about the horse’s looks and conformation, it has nothing to do with the person holding the lead. But I nonetheless accepted this as OK and showed him at halter.

In the meantime, the Embertons (Jeri and Milton), were beating the shit out of my horse and were generally abusive to all the horses in their care. They’d tie them up and beat them, put them in “bitting rigs” (which is basically tying the horse’s head to its side in full bridle and saddle) and leave them there ALL DAY, and they’d ride them for hours to exhaust them. The Embertons were horrible people and I’m glad that Milton died about 10 years ago at 58. I hope it was a painful illness. I can’t find that bitch Jeri, sadly, but I hope she dies painfully as well. They were abusive to the animals and to me.

The Embertons would not let me ride Scooter, but I could groom him and pet him, which he loved. He was the sweetest boy. Which is why it pisses me off SO MUCH that they beat him. They also drugged him. At one show, he was disqualified because he tested positive for a sedative. Of course the trainers denied it (!!), but that was the beginning of the end of my horse showing.

I only went to one season of shows all in the E TN region. Very little actual showing for me. Milton rode Scooter in Western Pleasure, but I don’t think he won anything because Scooter hated him and wouldn’t comply.

So finally my parents got the idea that the Embertons were using my horse for themselves and not letting me near him, so they confronted the Embertons about it. A fight ensued and we ended up in court. I remember being called to testify and being very nervous, but that’s all I remember about the hearing. The dispute was over who owned the horse. Apparently the Embertons had filed for ownership papers with the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) and used their influence to get the papers without any of us signing him over. So they showed up with ownership papers and the judge ruled in their favour. Of course my father blamed the judge and said he was bribed. Nope, it was IGNORANCE that screwed that pooch. I’m sure we could have won a real dispute – after all, I HAD the ownership papers for Scooter, but that would require logic and confronting the AQHA, which my parents were too ignorant to know how to do.

All this is my parents’ fault, of course. They were completely ignorant of the horse showing business and assumed that buying top of the line stuff (horse, trailer, etc.) would ensure my success. Truth of the matter is that the Embertons knew a patsy when they saw one and they totally stole that horse, knowing they could get the papers changed at the AQHA, which is a bunch of asshat good ole boys.

All I got out of it was a year or two of cleaning out stalls, riding nags and a couple of shows. And lots of bullying about how fat I was and how bad a rider I was. I’d never ridden much, remember. My mother was “shocked” when I reminded her of this abuse years later – even though I’m sure I mentioned it at the time.

The Embertons gave us back the saddle, bridle and show halter, but kept the horse. They sold him for a tidy profit, no doubt, since he was now 4-5 years old and in his prime. I’ve asked the AQHA for his records, but I doubt those assholes will give them to me. As I said, I don’t have a single pic of Scooter or me when I was showing. Shows how much my parents thought of it.

I was devastated by this whole drama. I just wanted my horse and I wanted to ride him. But thanks to my parents’ inability to ADULT, this period of my life was pretty horrible. I felt like it was my fault because I was fat and untalented. Only with the distance of years and wisdom, I can now see that this is just another in a long line of SHIT experiences brought to me by my fucked up family. They don’t mean to be abusive, but their ignorance just lends itself to constant abusive neglect.

I still love horses and maybe I’ll get one if we retire to the desert. I enjoy horse racing immensely and I’d bet on all the races if I didn’t live in buttfuck GA. But my attitude towards trainers and the AQHA are: they can eat a bag of dicks. I know there is abuse a plenty in the racing industry (Jeri and Milton were from Kentucky and had been race horse trainers) but I really don’t think that racing itself is abusive to the horses. They are made for running and they are at their most amazing when they are running. I get emotional watching horses race just from the sheer beauty of it.

I know that Hyline Scooter did become a very successful show horse after the Embertons sold him. I remember seeing a blurb about him in the AQHA book. I hope the AQHA will give me a copy of his records, I’d like to know how he did. I wish I had pix of him, he was a beautiful horse. I can’t believe that I don’t have a single pic of us. Not one. My mother probably threw them away, knowing her. Sigh. I cannot find any pix or records of Scooter via the web. Records from back then are scarce.

So that’s my career in horse showing. It was short and painful. I hope the Embertons rot in hell for doing that to a 14 year old girl. As for my parents, eh, it’s just another in a long list of shit they gave me. They are paying for it now with horrible health, dementia and overall malaise. Of which I have no part. And I’m FINE with that.

Being A Girl: Litany of Harassment

I think all of us women have a litany of harassment by men. I’ve got a long list of small things that fit right into rape culture and the culture of letting men do as they please: catcalls, touching, etc. I’ve nothing new to add to that well known list.

However, I’ve never written about the abuse my father, mother and brother have doled out in my life. I’ve bitched about June (mother) plenty, but I’ve not written about my father’s or brother’s misbehaviour over the years. Why is that? Because we are trained to gloss over the shit that men do and therefore don’t talk about it.

As a child, the harassment was very subtle. When I picked up my Yankee teacher’s accent in first grade, my father berated and shamed me in public for it. When I proved to be very smart and beyond my school grade, I was never moved forward, because that would hurt my brother’s feelings. Can’t have that. My father would brag about how smart I was to anyone who’d listen, but berate me for it constantly at home.

My father was very abusive to me in my teens. While my brother had his girlfriend practically move in DURING HIGH SCHOOL, and bought condoms by the gross, if I so much as took a boy to my room to listen to music, I was a whore. He once came to my boyfriend’s house drunk, brandishing a gun, because he knew we were having sex. I was 18-19 years old and did not need his permission to have sex! Rick threatened to shoot my boyfriend, then he threatened to shoot ME. It was horrifying and although I never talk about it, I damn sure remember it. Clearly.

When I decided to move to Atlanta to go to the Art Institute for a Music Business AA, my father really got an attitude. He berated me for going to school, saying I was being a smart ass. My parents had already kept me from attending University of Tennessee, so my continued attempts to get an education were very alarming to them. I’d always thought it was June who didn’t want to help me with expenses during this time, but my brother let slip that it was actually Rick who didn’t want to help me get through school. Fortunately, my grandmother did most of the helping. After the AA, I immediately enrolled at Georgia State to get a BA. This pissed my father off immensely. He regularly called me a smart ass and accused me of trying to “act smart”. He would also bitch at me if I used more than basic vocabulary; any word with 3 or more syllables was just too much. My mother has always called me stupid because I learned how to use computers and therefore “never use my brain.” These are the very same people who used to tell me I was SO SMART. Right. In my family, you can be smart as long as you never EVER let on that you are. They are militantly ignorant. If they don’t know it, they don’t need to know it. I am the enemy, because I question everything and am a fount of information. That shit is unacceptable to them.

Once, when my mother was in hospital for one of her many bouts of autoimmune disease, my father attacked me. I believe this was soon after I moved to Atlanta, so I’d have been 22 or so. We got into an argument about something mundane, like the dishwasher or something. He lost his shit. He threw me down on the floor and called me every name you can think of: whore, bitch, cunt, etc. I fought back and actually got him off me. This was one of the times I literally saw red (June caused the other). If there had been a gun or knife at hand, I truly believe I would have killed my father. Fortunately for him, there was nothing handy, so I hit back and scratched the shit out of his face. After I got away, I grabbed all my stuff and my cat, threw them in the car and drove to my grandmother’s house. I told her what happened and she was very upset. She called one of my father’s friends to have him call and talk to my father. I was concerned that my brother NOT go home for fear my father would attack him, too. Although now, looking back, that was never an issue. I was attacked because I am a girl and I am to be controlled by any means. I went to my friend Sonya’s house to spend the night and had to tell my mother about it the next day, as she lay in hospital. It was fucked up. I didn’t go back home for almost a year after that.

I’ve mentioned the many times I’ve been berated and abused by my mother. I’ve always written it off to her simply repeating how she had been treated growing up. Which is true, she was marginalised and treated like chattel by her mother. But that gives her no right to do that to me.

I’ve always given my father a pass because he was abused as a child by his father and his crazy mother. My father’s siblings were also abused (quite badly). But that doesn’t give him the right to abuse me.

I have always been told by my parents, “You’re SO SMART!”, but when I used my intelligence, I was berated. All my life I’ve heard “You’re SO smart! You can do anything! But why don’t you get an office job? Why aren’t you married?” They tell me how stupid I am at every opportunity – especially if my opinion differs from theirs. Another fave of my parents is “We are so WORRIED about you!” As if I am too stupid to manage to live my life without some sort of supervision. They were ecstatic when Nick and I got married. Presumably, because I would now have a caretaker and they could stop worrying. Or something.

My brother is also abusive to me. He has been handed everything his whole life, yet somehow, I am to blame for his problems. He calls me a horrible daughter/sister because I won’t move back home to help and tells me I’m too stupid to understand what he goes through. He accuses me of abandoning the family. I did no such thing, I SAVED MYSELF. I tried to save him, but he’d have none of it. So now he sits in that house, never having had a life, taking care of two miserable people who are waiting to die, his ungrateful daughter, her baby and her babydaddy. He takes every opportunity he can to try to pass the blame for his miserable life to me. He made his choices, I made mine.

The lesson I’ve learned is that no matter what happened to these people, that does NOT give them the right to pass that abuse on to me.

So, I’ve disconnected from them. They think I’m a horrible person. Whatever. I did what I had to do to preserve my sanity. I’ve no regrets.

That’s my litany; parts of it, anyway. The article that led to this post is called “Being A Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence” by Anne Theriault.