Thoughts on Getting a Little Older 

I have to admit this is not a new piece of writing, but it is one that is close to my heart. I revisited it today and found it to still be something I feel very deeply. I am sharing … Continue reading

The Selectively Social Cat and Her Likewise Human

This coming Sunday marks one year that I have been owned by a cat been a cat owner. MeowKitty has been a special part of my life and I really love her annoying, demanding, passive aggressive, demeaning little feline heart. After this … Continue reading

The Reluctant Cat Lady explains the ‘reluctant’ part, sort of…

The power of humor covers a million other emotions we do not want to face. Humor is the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine of facing loneliness, disappointment, fear and all the other nasties of the emotional rainbow slide down the hatch without a flinch. At least this is true for me. For me, humor is the bee’s knees when it comes to dealing with life’s little bumps and bruises. Humor was the bridge that led me to really love being single in my mid-30’s.

Before I type one more word into this confessional of a post I want this to be known – I am HAPPY. I am JOYFUL. I am THANKFUL for my life and all of the amazing comforts and privileges with which I have been blessed. I am not unfulfilled in my life. I am not bitter. I am not planning to adopt 99 more cats and recluse myself from the world. Just wanted to get that out there.

Now, onto the confessional.

I am a bit of a loner. I like my quiet time and the silence of an empty house. I like coming home and making my dinner just the way I like it. I like sitting down with my music in the background, a good book occupying one hand and a fork occupying the other. Sometimes I forget there’s food, sometimes I forget there’s a book. In short (too late) I have learned to enjoy my own company and I don’t feel threatened by not having plans all the time.

I can travel alone. I can eat dinner out at a restaurant alone. I can go to events and parties alone. And for the most part, I’m ok.

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Selfie from my solo trip to the Pacific Northwest.

But sometimes, I come home and eat grocery store sushi standing up and drink twist off wine from a juice glass. Sometimes, I talk to my cat about my day and imagine that her annoyed expression is sympathy, not hatred mixed with hunger. Sometimes, I spend a weekend wondering if my poor dilapidated iPhone has finally lost the will to wheeze out a text or call tone.

I feel these pinpricks behind my eyes when I lay down at night. I feel the expanse beside me in bed and wonder why it’s still empty. I am divorced, so I had my time, but the papers were signed and the goodbyes said nearly five years ago. Why am I still single?

I watch the families in the grocery store – momma, poppa, baby – the baby giggling over the squish of a bag of marshmallows, the momma in her ‘totes adorbs’ outfit and the poppa looking pleased with himself for his full cart, pretty wife and cackling child.

I watch my friends – my dear sweet, crazy friends – married, contented, bouncing babies and wrangling stepkids. They occasionally, but in a good nature, bitch about their husbands hunting trips or poker nights and laugh off the humdrum of their lives in the sweetest voice of a woman sure of her place in the world.

My feelings on this issue are torn.

On one hand I long for the life depicted by the grocery store trio. I long for the humdrum of dinner, laundry, the bickering of ‘who’s turn is it to do the menial chore no one wants to do’, the shared life, the listening to the cadence of someone else’s monologue of their day, the sound of a snore next to me at night…

Yet on the other hand, there is the bookcase. Yes, this bookcase.

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This bookcase has looked JUST. LIKE. THIS. for years, give or take a book or two, It’s one of my favorite things in my house. It’s a cheap piece of furniture from Target that I’ve had since my early twenties. The furniture doesn’t hold value for me. It’s the sentiment I have placed on its shelves and how, if someone were sharing this life with me, I would probably have to change that bookshelf. I would have to rearrange it to make room for their precious volumes, for their beloved knick-knacks. They may even want to discard the shelf altogether (it does have a broken shelf). So I tell myself it’s better off if I didn’t, if I don’t, if I’m not…if I’m just me, myself and I.

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I sincerely believe that there is still a person out there for me. I believe there is someone who will accept all that I have to give them with gratitude and grace. I believe there is someone who can laugh off the bad times in a relationship, because the good is so very worth it. I believe there is someone who will be able to stand up under the strength and revel in the depth of my love.

I believe there is someone who will travel with me and enjoy all the amazing bits of life that are found in ‘elsewhere’. I believe there is someone who can put up with me and my cat. Who would find my slightly melancholy, yet humor-honey dipped core endearing and laugh off my attempts at self-depreciation. I believe there is someone who would take the time to dust off the bookshelf with me and assess why I’m so attached to the damn thing.

But right now, that someone is me and I’m late for a coffee date.

The Circle of Mystery!

My cat is such a refined beast. She refuses to ‘cat’.

Laser pointers? No.

Feather toy? No.

Mechanical mouse? No.

You get the point. She is too pleased with her clean little coat, her immaculate bean feet and her perfectly coiffed self to be caught DEAD playing like a common house cat.

So she looks at me like I’ve lost my mind whenever I trail yarn across the room to entice her or flick a water bottle cap across the floor to see if she will chase it. Her face is the perfect ‘you’ve cat to be kitten me right meow?’ face. Ever.

However, I have found her Achilles heel! Buzzfeed recently posted THIS and of course, because it was endorsed by Buzzfeed, it went viral. Which means I saw it 600 times and it was sent to me via email, Facebook feed, text message and smoke signal. To say I saw it implies only once – the people in my soc-meds circles insured that I was inundated by it.

I scoffed. No way would MeowKitty fall for that.

Then one Thanksgiving-eve, whilst wine buzzed and giddy with carb-overload daydreams, I indulged a friend and gave it a shot. I didn’t have pretty colored tape to use, but apparently ANYTHING will work.

I set the bait.

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She approached.

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I acted nonchalant, but she was on to me. I will not be a pawn in your sad, human game of entertainment. Gah, my cat can REALLY be a drag sometimes. I went about pouring more wine being a productive adult and using my time wisely.

I glanced back into the living room and found, MUCH TO MY SURPRISE, THIS…

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It’s almost more than I can handle, because she just does not cat! Maybe this is one of those ‘had to be there’ moments, but I found it hilarious. Also, she stayed there for TWO AND A HALF HOURS. She had a nice bath, a nap and then bitch-stared me for a solid ten minutes while I had a third glass of wine paid bills online.

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When she finally left the circle – she came out a CAT. She was running wild around the house, chasing everything – including her tail – and jumping in and out of the box that delivered my fourth pair of boots this season new cookware.

It was the best three minutes of being a cat owner I’ve ever experienced. She quickly reverted to Princess Purrface when she noticed me laughing like the idiot I had become after the four three glasses of wine.

I might have to set this up again, when I’m feeling a little buzzed bored and in need of a laugh. Also, it’s about darn time she started to contribute something to our relationship other than her fur balls everywhere.

There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person. ~Dan Greenberg

The Flicker of a Flame: The Holiday Spirit After Losing a Loved One

I have loved the holidays for as long as I can remember. When I was a child, my perception of the holidays began on Halloween and ended on Valentine’s Day. Not too much has changed in my adult years – except for maybe my levels of excitement.

I am not the crazy person that puts up decor for everything and shops months in advance and crafts until her fingers bleed…no. My love for the holidays is found in an intangible place.

It’s a feeling I get when the first northern wind blows in (*term used loosely, author lives in Texas) and the neighbors sport the ridiculousness of carved gourds on their porches. People eat creamy things and buttery things and they drink more than they should and – even if it’s a bit put on – they seem happy.

I understand the need to fake it, really I do. A few years ago something happened that I thought would blow out that little intangible candle forever. My father died.

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Easter 2011 – our last photo of just the two of us.

He was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2007 and after many years of a very hard battle that I will not pretend to understand, he died. It was December 21st, 2011 and he was gone. Just days before Christmas. We held his funeral on the 23rd and then we tried to go on and I thought then, I cannot. I cannot go on. This will never be the same. I will always have to pretend, from now on, that this is a happy time.

I spend a lot of time inside my head and inside of my memories, trying to make my future better than my past and find meaning in the hurtful disappointments that life dishes out. There has never been a hurt like seeing my father lose his life to cancer. There has never been a disappointment like catching myself looking around a room for him, still, after three years.

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Thanksgiving 2008

However, that courageous, strong, funny, brilliant man in the photo above would be so frustrated with me if he knew I still had to convince myself that there was joy to be had in this time of year. If he knew how I have had to muster the merry, year after year, he would be so sad. So this year…I have tried to embrace the creeping bit of holiday sparkle, the rekindling that has found its way back to my heart.

I bought a few new holiday albums. I even have an ugly sweater. And a holiday cat shirt, because OF COURSE.

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I unabashedly love cat puns. I mean, really meow. They’re purrfect.

I plan on accepting invitations to parties (I’m not full blown cat lady just yet) and actually attending some of  them. I will decorate the house. I will wrap presents some time prior to 6:00 pm on Christmas Eve. I will revel in the fact that there is a true spark of happy budding in me where I thought it had long been forever lost.

When December 21st comes I will remember my father. I know I will feel so much sadness and loss. I will spend time alone, wishing for his presence and tearfully recalling him. I will visit his graveside, with winter white roses for his children, a red one for his wife and yellow ones for his grandchildren. I will gather with my family and remember him on that day. I will not ignore the anniversary of his death.

I’m not sure what this means for me right now…or how it will change how I see the holiday season. But it feels like progress toward healing up from such a still gaping wound.

I know this much is true…struggling through the holidays, just dreading the march of Thanksgiving through Christmas and allowing his memory to soak it all in sadness and grief would be something he would never have condoned. HE would be hurt by that attitude. HE would be disappointed in my behavior.

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So I will make as merry as I can and I will remember the years past, when he was here and beautiful and healthy and whole. I will embrace the good things he gave me, like my resilience and my sense of humor and my love.

And just because this post didn’t have much to do with my normal theme of cats, doesn’t mean that there isn’t still opportunity to see a bit of priceless humor in it – because finding a little joy in life is as simple as opening your eyes a little wider to it.

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Such amazing humor. December 2010 – our last Christmas with Dad. Yes, that’s a bow on his nose!