the human-cat compromise

My mother is not really a “pet” person. That’s not to say that she doesn’t like dogs and cats – she does – but she’s not used to being around pets. She doesn’t really understand that cats get into stuff, want to explore every nook and cranny in the house, and jump on furniture. She doesn’t understand that cats think everything is a toy or something to kill. And she doesn’t understand that it is generally ok that they explore and get into and play with stuff … so long as they are safe from anything that can do them real harm. She likes my cat Toby and is entertained by him, but also is startled by him tearing around the apartment and jumping on the furniture. I’d hear her “No, no, no” multiple times a day.

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renovations: finishing touches to the kitchen

So, we are here. It is done … well, almost.

It took a while to get to the home stretch but it was worth it – the kitchen looks great! There are a few small pieces to finish – bits of trim, a little paint, reorganizing storage. But, overall, it was worth the effort and it’s really come together nicely. The process was long, but the end result is really lovely.

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keeping up with life while stressed

I debated whether to publish this or not. I’ve reworked it a few times. I’ve set it aside for a while. But, I decided to go ahead with it.

How do you keep going when life just seems to be a little overwhelming? This was me until a couple of months ago. For several months before that, everything seemed to be a little too much. I needed to find ways to shift the balance in order to move forward. One foot in front of the other … and I’m finally getting back on track. Some of this was physical, some psychological and some emotional. Once I was able to get the physical stuff under control, the other issues were easier to tackle. This will not always be the case and it won’t work for everyone, but for me at this time, I found what worked.

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my cat’s person?

We often hear that cats choose their person, rather than the person choosing their cat. When I adopted Oscar, we were in sync immediately – there was a connection and, by the end of our first day together, a strong bond. We were meant to be together. Since adopting Toby almost a month ago, I’ve contemplated that “cats choose their person” adage. I chose him but wondered whether he would have chosen me. Let’s face it, I had the power in the adoption decision – even if he had jumped into my arms at the rescue shelter, I had the final say about whether to adopt him or not.

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a new arrival: week 1

THURSDAY: In the afternoon, I went to the rescue shelter to look at cats. I wasn’t sure I would get one, but wanted to see who was available. There were only a few cats living at the shelter – the shelter puts most available cats in foster homes. On one hand, I understand and it’s great for the cat to have a place to live during the transition to a new home. On the other hand, it makes it more cumbersome to find a cat to adopt because each visit has to be arranged. I think it’s important to see if there is a connection with a cat and that needs to be done in person – nose-to-nose. When I met Tobias (his name at the shelter), I was charmed. He was listed as an orange and white tabby, but he’s not the standard tabby. He is darker orange – almost auburn in some places. His stripes are not straight (e.g., like a tiger), but curve around. He has white feet and a white chest. He is lovely.

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my beautiful oscar

This is a eulogy for a furry little soulmate who I love with all my heart. It’s hard to put into words how important Oscar has been to me over the last 18 years. Yesterday, he physically left this world but he will be alive in my heart as long as I live. He was my baby, my confidante, my mainstay. He laid next to me if I was sick, he snuggled with me at night, he purred so loud it made me laugh, and he kept me company whatever I was doing. He was, in short, the pet version of the love of my life.

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patience is a virtue

Between work and a virus, I’ve been flat out in November! Trying to come back now ….

I wish I was a more patient person. On many fronts, I require patience – with my mother, may cat, my renovations and life in general. I thought I was starting to de-stress as the renovations near completion and I feel like I can relax a bit more. Some stress has seemed to melt away, but the reality is that some stress has just shifted to other things. I don’t feel as irritated at little things but am still impatient with regard to the renovations. I don’t feel as angry that the renovations are not completed but still need to take some deep breaths to keep from screaming sometimes! I have cut down on the junk food but still pull out the Cheetos a little too often. And we’re coming into hot chocolate season ….

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on the move

My mother and I frequently watch Escape to the Country, a British show about moving to the tranquil countryside in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales. It’s a calming show and one that we can both enjoy. Unlike most of the U.S. design or real estate shows, the properties are unique and lovely in their own way. We’ve seen walls of every shade imaginable, doorways where even I would have to duck, staircases that cannot possibly meet a modern building code, and ceiling beams that are structural not decorative … and often are in the neighborhood of 400 years old. I despair of the reaction from the House Hunters crowd who would probably want to gut the place and install granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and an open floorplan. And I say this as someone with stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops and a largely open plan space in my last apartment.

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am I happy yet?

As I mentioned in a prior post, my sister-in-law asks pointed questions that stay with me for a while. During one of their visits a couple of years ago, she asked me whether I was happy with my life. I responded with a tepid “yes”. This lukewarm response was less to do with an overall assessment of life than with a sense that the past couple of years have been challenging. I haven’t achieved what I hoped I would in my professional life or all that I could have achieved. But in reality, I’m not sure that I would change anything because I have enjoyed the journey.

As a never-married woman who has no children, I think some people assume that I must be unhappy and frustrated – I’m not. Or that I must be terribly self-centered – I don’t think I am. Or that I must be pining for love – I’m not. Or that I must be afraid of having no one to care for me in my old age – well, maybe a little. I’m sure many people would find it all very sad or assume that I’m deluding myself about the need for a relationship, but the reality is that I’m very happy with how things have turned out for me. 

Overall, I feel like I am living the life I was meant to live. Some little girls dream of meeting prince charming, having a big wedding and becoming a mother. Even as child, I really didn’t envision getting married or having children – it wasn’t the dream I had for myself. I’ve never been particularly focused on relationships or dating. Many of the activities that I most enjoy are fairly solitary in nature – I’m very much an introvert.

I have everything I need and most things I want – though I would love a magic wand that would quickly finish off my renovations … for no additional cost! I think I could have achieved more, but the jobs that inspired my greatest commitment were not sustainable. I’ve bounced around a bit professionally. I am happy with my job and my work contribution, which is great as many people are not happy with their current position.

Are there new things I would like to accomplish? Yes, I just have to figure out how to get there and make the decision to focus my attention and energy. This has always been the challenge for me. I find it hard to settle into one thing. I’m interested in many things and see connections between issues, so to me it feels like I’ve connected the dots but others see “bouncing around” and lack of continuity. 

As long as I am taking care of my mother, any course changes will be on hold because I don’t have the time or energy to take on something new just yet. The good news is that this gives me some “down time” to figure out what I want and how to get there. I have some ideas and hopefully will be able to take some baby steps over the coming year.