Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Albatross

Guillaume Paumier
Cat ownership is often depicted like this sculpture, mutual affection, tenderness, and great care.  However, in my case it feels a bit more like this:
As previously mentioned in a prior post, I acquired a cat and, as a result, her 4 kittens.  After 8 weeks I reached my limit of boxes, weaning, litter-box training, weighing, administering meds, scaling barricades, aluminum foil.  I wanted my house back.  Happily, they found homes with current cat owners that knew the responsibility and had the means to care for them.  Then came mama cat's moodiness, crying for kittens, spaying, more vet bills, escaping...  She used to be gentle, affectionate, patient.  Now she's an ornery teenager.  I'll be taking her to the vet to ensure there is no physiological reason, but now she has peed on my bed.  The number one reason for abandoned cats...?  Urination.  Here's hoping caturineodor.com can help.

I feel such a sense of responsibility, after all I'd never abandon my family members.  And she chose us.  Even Christ remembered the sparrow, and if I'm to ever strive to be like Him I must remember His creatures.  But I have no love for this cat; there is nothing symbiotic about this relationship.  And this lone caregiver has been outvoted by the remainder of the residents of this home.  

So cheers, here's to another 16 years of Belle!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Destination: Middle of Nowhere

Typical TX plains view
Every year late in the spring family and friends are sharing their summer destinations.  I LOVE nature, I miss the Blue Ridge mountains, Great Falls, Sky Meadow, The Great Gully adjacent grandpas farm, sailing on the Finger Lakes in upstate NY, trips to The Outer Banks with my Aunt, hiking to Bridal Veil Falls with my mother.  It's such a joy to see all the our Father in Heaven created for us to see.  I'm blessed to have lived a life so full to have been able to witness all these.

The majority of my adult years are a bit less varied; every side of TX.  Don't get me wrong, I have a xeriscape garden and I'm learning to appreciate the arid plains!  And this year I truly couldn't be more grateful for the rain (last year Aug 9, 2011).  Don't misunderstand, there so much to LOVE about TX, cheap housing, employment, a great local church, family within 6-7 hours, plentiful Mexican food...  But I laughed heartily when I came across a native-Texan friend's pinterest board Anywhere but Texas; it's not just me after all!  And I guess most of all I would love to find somewhere hidden amongst the vast expanse of PRIVATE land that I can go to commune with nature... tumbleweeds and infestations of kittens somehow just don't seem to cut it!

So taking a cue from Scott's 8th birthday party for international spies, I'm on a mission!  I'm going to explore the few nature reserves like the Caprock Canyons, swim in the Greenbelt Reservoir, hike other parts of the Palo Duro Canyon, maybe even venture as far as Quanah to Copper Breaks , tip a cow or two...  By the end of this summer, I'm going to find my nature refuge and find somewhere bucket list worthy for even you to enjoy!  After all, the rose that blooms in the desert is the most beautiful after all !(Isa 35:1)

I think my destination will be
to find the beauty in all I see!-- me

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tag, I'm it!

I haven't done this for a while.  And since my hilarious and dear friend, Elizabeth, tagged me, I couldn't deny the opportunity.  And just for her, I'll use the wrong form of your/ you're every chance possible.
  1. Post these rules
  2. Post 11 random things about you're self
  3. Answer the questions provided by the one who tagged you
  4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag
  5. Tag 11 people
11 Random things about me:
  1. I'm a dog person who recently acquired a cat who had 4 kittens.
  2. I prefer to spend time with males (I have a husband and two boys), I'm not sure if it's because I mystified and want to understand them.  Or since I don't understand them they offend me less.
  3. I love humor and can be relatively funny, but I always use it at inappropriate times.  (Like funerals, 1.  I feel more alive, 2.  The context is I'm certain I will see them again and so I don't feel overly sad usually, 3.  I'm Irish, when you bury me I hope there's a wake involved.  It may be cathartic to cry, but so is laughter.)
  4. I don't have a green thumb but I love learning about plants, trees, etc.  In truth, I have a black thumb.  I'm determined to make my garden grow this summer.  I'm quite shocked that so far it is!
  5. I give a good back rub.  My husband never gets them because it's like massaging a brick wall.
  6. I love Sushi.
  7. Mackinac Island is a dream vacation, as are the Red Woods.  I doubt I'll get to see either.
  8. I'm not sure if I'm a Virginian (where I grew up) or a Texan (where I better fit in.)
  9. I think I like monkey bars, running, and jumping on the trampoline... my body disagrees.
  10. Humor is in the eye of the beholder.  So if I poke you in you're eye and look in the mirror I'm instantly funnier!
  11. Eleven is an obscure number.  I rather enjoy Monk, probably because I relate.
My Questions:
  1. What's you're favorite drink?  Sangria Soda or Virgin Screwdriver.  (You know, Mormon w/ Catholic heritage.)
  2. What animal are you most afraid of?  None that I can think of (this will bother me later because I'll come up with 1,000.)
  3. What is you're favorite thing to do on vacation?  Drive.  It's ironic how after a long drive to get to my destination I can't wait to get into the car to see the scenery/ sites.
  4. Do you like you're name? If not, what do you wish you're name was?  What's NOT to like about my name?!  Besides the gal who tagged me, and every Elizabeth ever mentioned in books... I'd choose my name if it wasn't chosen for me!  (Who cares if it suits me, I'd love to be mistaken for being like them!!!)
  5. What are you're top three favorite movies?  Good thing you gave me 3, I'd never be able to limit it otherwise... Return to me, Just like Heaven, Leap Year, Roman Holiday, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Uncorked... Okay, so I can't limit it after all!
  6. What are some characteristics you look for in a friend? My friends are always more awesome than me!  In truth, I don't look for anything.  I try to love all I meet.  Perhaps some are less close than they may have been originally, but being a friend isn't something THEY qualify for, it's something I endeavor to deserve.
  7. Do you consider yourself creative? In what ways?  Yes, but not creative enough to say how I am... so I'm probably wrong.
  8. What's you're favorite season, and why?  Fall/ Autumn.  It's the kick off to the holidays, the season of the bulk of my family's celebrations, and there is little I enjoy and Miss more than the leaves out east when they are every color of the rainbow!
  9. Do you believe in ghosts?  Yes, but they're often misunderstood.  I'm grateful for my father who passed away and visits me with a song in my times of need.
  10. What is you're ideal weekend? (Relaxing at home, time outdoors, getting work done?)  As much as I love my family, my ideal weekend would be on the beach or swimming in the ocean by myself.  (I need some alone time.)
  11. Are you a dog person or cat person? (Or "other")  See no. 1 of Random things...
I'm a loser w/ karma nipping at my heals.  I want to hear from ALL of you.  Your now tagged and must pause and enjoy yourself for a moment by being introspective regarding the following...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cats & Dogs

My brother, Tom, once told me that, as a child, he thought all cats were girls and all dogs were boys.  I laughed in great amusement at this absurdity.  However, as I've gained more years of experience (in other words, gotten much older) I've come to see a great deal of wisdom in his observation.  Now, granted, there are boy cats and girl dogs.  But the characteristics of each correctly define the sexes.  It's no wonder that there are cat ladies in the world.  We are overly independent.  Temperamental is an understatement. Boys, on the other hand, are rough and tumble and faithful to a fault.  Having a fondness of boys (the older brothers, the husband, the sons...) I thought myself a lover of the latter.

Let me pause to define the word irony.
It is perhaps best described as Fate's twisted sense of humor.
I mean, when we hear an ironic story we're laughing at the polar opposite of the desired result,
being grateful that we weren't that poor sucker?!

Okay, so I always envisioned myself growing up and getting a dog.  Nothing yappy, nothing portable, nothing resembling a cat.  However, [enter Fate snickering] we recently met a stray cat... she had a collar but roamed the neighborhood regularly.  When we were working on a project in the garage, she welcomed herself, and being in a neighborly mood, I didn't shoo her away.  Over the following weeks, she returned frequently until one day I noticed she was getting quite thin.  I felt for her and took note that she was in need.  We sat with her and gave her the affection she was thirsting for.  I thought little of it until my friend mentioned that she wanted a cat and even went looking to adopt.  I borrowed another friend's carrier and let her come in my home until she could be collected in a few hours.  However, my friend's family was allergic.  It was okay, my cat carrier friend said she'd be willing, she didn't mention that her husband wasn't so much so.  So after a couple of days waiting to find someone, we became her family.  It was kismet.  (My brother, Tom, reminded me of a day when we found a kitten and brought it home and hid it, because then Mom would never know.  He appropriately defined me as a closet cat lover.)

I eventually took her to be adopted and get her shots (after the initial shock wore off.)  She was bloated and given dewormer.  She was 6 months old and a gem with the kids.  Young enough to be enjoyed for many years to come and just the right age to be spayed.  I sat on that budget-breaker knowing I needed to but working up the courage to fork it over.  She was still bloated so I suggested that we make sure she wasn't expectant before spaying.  (I'm pro-life for every species.  Though I still believe in birth control.)  The ultrasound showed 3, then 3 on the other side," but those might be the same 3," said the vet.  [Maniacal laugh as Fate watched from the corner of the room.] 

So we moved Jim to the bottom bunk, Scott to the top, took the crib apart (to get it through the door), reassembled (minus the mattress and springs) and set a make-shift tent over it in the only available space in our tiny house, next to the dining table.  10 days later... 3 NO WAIT 4 kittens.  (I think she's really done this time, but maybe there are another 2 hiding out, bidding their time and waiting for Fate to pop his popcorn for the big show.)

It's funny, okay truth be told, it's ironic that the dog lover in me would give way to 4 fuzzy fur-balls and their loving mama.  But it's also ironic that I began this blog many, many months ago.  I suppose Fate always gets the last laugh, and if we have a good attitude, we can join in on the fun and have a good chuckle at ourselves.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Perception and patience

Just in case you haven't noticed, I'm a person with a definitive opinion on most everything.  I make gut decisions, and generally I stick to it vehemently.  I don't want to be a fence sitter and I want to be clear about what I think, say and do.  That means that there are MANY times in my life that I don my peppermint shoes, eat crow, and have to make a 180.  I think everyone out there can relate to some degree or another.  But here's the challenge in life... sometimes the 180 is just as wrong.

Our parents were too finey-winey and we become too loosey goosey to not repeat the mistake.  Guess what our kids will do, they'll be finey-winey to avoid the same mistakes we made.  So there you have it.  We are products of our training and sometimes that polar opposite is not any more healthy than the source from which we come.  Does that mean that our short-comings will be perpetuation generation to generation?  Not at all!

I have a dear friend who is better at compromising than anyone I know.  Does that mean she compromises her standards or is a fence sitter?  Not at all, she is one of the most balanced people that I know.  And therein lies her strength.  Do we work with each other or against?  Are we united or polarized?  Is there a generational gap or do we seek to understand and find a balanced compromise?

We focus on the differences, married/ single, male/ female, old/ young, republican/ democrat, white/ minority.  We have all felt misunderstood, discounted and undervalued.  In a desire to finally be heard we shout to the sky our beliefs determined to have our way...a.k.a. stubborn.  The louder we shout, the more no one wants to hear us.  Certifying our lack of contribution to the world by repelling others.  Our perspective of things having met the, all too common fate, of self-fulfilling prophecy.

So how can we find a common value and be unified in the decisions of life that must be made?  Have we reached a stale-mate?  Rather than decide on a solution, have we cast our fate to the wind?  Have we trampled on those that are non-confrontational or patient?  When met with a challenge that lights the fire in us do we spontaneously combust, destroying ourselves and those in the immediate vicinity?  Do we throw a temper tantrum?  In a world with an ever increasing pace are we hasty, impatient...?   Do we give into self preservation at all cost?  And what is that cost... our children, our spouses, our religion, our nation?

I suggest a simple, albeit, not easy solution.  First, listen.  Allow the owner of the feelings to share honestly and be justified in their opinion.  Find out their intention.  Did the child take the toy from the other because it was time to clean up?  Did you husband make a racket while cleaning the living room?  Was the school board looking out for those who neglected their children?  Did the government try to help with a need? 

Second, share gently.  Is there another perspective you can offer without becoming emotional?  (That doesn't mean you cannot be justified in what you felt, but that you can exhibit a bit of self-restraint and patience.)  Can you compromise by 50/50 (on the idea) or 100/ 100 (on two different ideas)? 

Third, sometimes it is not about differing ideas, but differing priorities.  What is of greater importance to you?  They may not be the same for each person.  Here's a silly illustration... my husband, Andy, gets anxious when he's hungry.  Likewise, my limit is reached when I'm tired.  So I cut slack near mealtime, and likewise he me when the day is reaching a close.

Remember, the reason you are with this person is not to oppose but to work together for the common good.  Honestly appreciate them for their perspective.  Increase your understanding.  Find common ground.  Set priorities separately and together.  Keep the end in mind when making those day-to-day and life decisions.  Admit when you've made a mistake.  It is often more important to be on the same page than to have made a perfect choice.  Ideally we'd all follow these rules or even any of them, but if we can remember when things go south that 'I care about this person and I want them to know it in a way that THEY can understand', then we will be of one heart and later of one mind.

My dad was finey-winey, my mother loosey-goosey.  Sometimes the compromise is found in simply being different.  Their yin-yang relationship allowed me the closest thing available to a balanced parent.  Their goal was the same and I wouldn't have changed either.  Being most like my dad we butted heads until I understood the first rule; his intention.  He loved me.  I didn't need to follow the rest of the steps to their final perfect conclusion to be okay with his unrelenting parenting, because what more could a girl want than that her father would love her. 

None of us have a perfect tool box to work with.  None of us are pros at using the tools we possess.  Accept that.  Expect that.  Enjoy the ride and express your love.  Love has a capacity to cover so many imperfections in ourselves and others, and allows us to want to and be able to work on that end goal together, intact, and whole.  We are a no less significant by being part of a greater whole.  For more about this read my favorite scripture Jacob 5.