It’s in the cards – Being less of a hermit

Sentinel Sculpture photo courtesy of RIT Big Shot. This was near the building that housed tonight’s event.

During my tarot card reading, she told me that it was time for me to get out more and be less hermit-like. Perfectly reasonable advice, but something I often have trouble with. When I’m in New England, I’m not in my hotel much unless the weather is bad and even then, I find somewhere to go and something to do. Where I live in Upstate NY isn’t nearly as exciting in my opinion, so I spend a lot of my alone time at home working, hanging with my pup Jazzmin, and now that I have Angel and Daisy, snuggling with kittens.

I’m happy in my own little comfort zone but the tarot reader insisted I really need to get out more and share my light with the world. As a step toward following that advice, I drove to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) this evening for an event entitled “Onondaga Land Rights/ Two Row Wampum Film Screening and Discussion.” I just learned about the event a few day’s ago but as I’m on an eternal quest to increase my knowledge of everything pertaining to Native American past, present, and future, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to escape hermitism.

I will discuss the event in more detail when I’m less tired, but I’m very glad I went! One of the many reasons I decided to attend was because I’m trying to figure out a topic for my research paper in the Composition II course I’m taking. I know I want the paper to deal with Native Americans/First Nations People but my ideas were too broad and I was having trouble narrowing them down until I attended tonight’s event. Some of the topics discussed at the event were right in line with one of the directions I was thinking of taking for my paper, which confirmed that it is a universal issue among Indigenous People.

Something I’ve discovered as I learn more about Native American/First Nations People past, present, and future is that once you open your eyes to the truth and begin expanding your mind, there’s an infinite amount of knowledge out there to be found. I know with great certainty that I can’t properly share everything I’ve learned and continue my education by remaining a hermit, so I will be making a conscious effort to get out in whatever way required to shed light on topics that are near and dear to my heart and spirit.

It’s in the cards – Focusing my energy

 

Wearing the tulip necklace I made with sleeping Daisy in the background.

Wearing the tulip necklace I made with little Daisy sleeping in the background.

During my tarot reading in Salem, MA, one of the first things the tarot reader said was that my energy seemed to be all over the place and that I needed to work on focusing it. She said I have all these ideas but I have trouble seeing things through from start to finish. She was spot on and I don’t know if it’s my Gemini personality or what, but I have trouble staying focused on one thing. I have various ideas for writing, jewelry, art, research projects, travel plans, you name it! Keeping my focus on just one thing until it’s realized though, that’s not my strongest ability.

That tarot reading wasn’t the first time I’ve been told I need to focus my energy. It’s something I’ve been told by others and that I’ve told myself on multiple occasions. I do finish projects, but the problem I run into is having too many project ideas at once and not enough time to do them all. So rather than picking just one and following it through to its end, I go off on another project and lose sight of what I’d started somewhere else. This “multitasking/multi-thinking” ability comes in extremely handy in my freelance writing as I can quickly shift from one topic to the next, but in other aspects of my life, it can be troublesome.

The tarot reader advised me on all areas of my life and I will put all that information to good use, but for now I’m trying to focus on one thing and that’s focusing my energy and avoiding becoming all scatter-brained. I think once I have a better handle on that, everything else will come much easier and I won’t feel overwhelmed by having a zillion unfinished projects hovering over me.

To put the tarot reader’s suggestion of focusing my energy into motion, I started with my beadwork. I created a bead embroidery tulip necklace many months ago and never quite finished it. I decided that before I continued on with other beading projects, I had to finish that tulip necklace FIRST! The inspiration for the tulip came to me in a dream and I’m certain that was symbolic of something important. So this morning while I was visiting my mother, I sat down on her couch, dug out the tulip necklace project and finally finished it. I don’t think it took me more than 10 minutes to add the clasp on the daisy chain and an extra loop on the embroidered tulip pendant. Why on earth had I been putting off doing something that only took 10 minutes??? One reason is because my squirrel! type brain saw a more appealing nut/project and ran off after that instead. The other reasons? Heck, who knows!

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The completed bead embroidery tulip pendant on a beaded green and purple daisy chain.

What I do know is that now that I’ve finished that project, I can move onto my other half-finished projects and complete them before starting others. Finishing the necklace gave me a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and I really need to focus on remembering that instead of getting distracted by new “shiny things” ie other interesting projects. I think it’s fine to dabble in several different areas of creativity at once, but I know that I need to tie off the loose ends in each area before things start to unravel everywhere.

Exactly what I needed!

Angel looking at the camera, Daisy looking out the window.

Angel looking at the camera, Daisy looking out the window.

I can honestly say that Angel and Daisy are exactly what I needed right now in my life! I forgot how wonderful it feels to be a Mama Kitty! I did still have Owl before I got the kittens, but she’s an indoor/outdoor cat and only ever snuggles on her terms. Angel and Daisy are happy to snuggle and always nearby no matter what I’m doing.

Last night both kittens slept in my room on my bed. Angel wanted to be as close to me as possible so she was sitting on my sternum while I tried to play on my phone. When I’d lift it up to text, she’d sniff at it and make it nearly impossible to see the screen. When I finally put the phone down for the night and turned off the lights, I rolled over and she promptly arranged herself on my shoulder. That was a rather awkward position and not comfortable but I put up with it for a while.

Angle on my shoulder. =)

Angel on my shoulder. =)

Eventually, Angel climbed off my shoulder and snuggled up by my head while Daisy snuggled at my feet. Every now and then Daisy would sneeze during the night but they both seemed to sleep okay. Unfortunately, Daisy is feeling a bit under the weather with the little kitty cough and sniffles that some shelter animals get, but I’m sure she’ll be feeling better soon. I remember Zoey had the same sickness when I adopted her. She’d be happily snuggling and purring away and then suddenly sneeze in my face, much to my dismay. Daisy sneezes now and then but mostly she has the sniffles and sounds congested. It’s not overly surprising because she’s the runt, but Avi was a runt and she lived longer than any cat I’ve ever owned! It’s amazing how the littlest creatures can be the most resilient.

Jordan snuggling with Daisy last night.

Jordan snuggling with Daisy last night.

I woke up a few times in the middle of the night (like I always do) and when I’d reach for my phone to check the time, Daisy would come up from the bottom of the bed and try to pet herself with my hands. I played with a few apps on my phone and she seemed fascinated by the light. After putting the phone away again, I finally had to tuck my hands under my pillow so she’d forget I had them and then she went back to the end of the bed. It made my heart so warm and fuzzy snuggling with kitties again! I have a huge bed but they managed to snug me in like a tight sleeping bag. I’m sure I’ll really appreciate that snugness during the cold winter months!

I took a shower this morning and both kittens wanted to be in the bathroom with me, which surprised me. They also both tried to get in the shower with me and that was just odd! Once I got out of the shower, they jumped into the tub to investigate and I was so astounded I took a couple pictures.

You go that way, I'll go this way...

You go that way, I’ll go this way…

Ooo the drain!

Ooo the drain!

Daisy just got dripped on from the faucet, hence her expression.

Daisy just got dripped on from the faucet, hence her expression.

While I worked today, Angel would come over periodically and snuggle into my lap. I forgot how nice that is! Well, it was nice once she stopped stepping on my mouse, chasing my cursor, and turning around 27 times.

Angel the lap kitty.

Angel the lap kitty.

When she’s not in my lap, Angel likes sitting on top of my laser printer and Daisy usually sits in front of it on my desk. I’m not sure why they like it so much since it’s rarely ever on and certainly not generating any heat.

They had a few more encounters with Owl today and while the kittens don’t seem to mind Owl, she’s not thrilled with them and hisses and growls. She doesn’t let it keep her from filling her fat tummy though…

Daisy sniffing at Owl.

Daisy sniffing at Owl.

Well excuuuse me, porky cat!

Well excuuuse me, porky cat!

I snuggled with both kittens on the couch this evening and they certainly are efficient little space heaters! I was looking at their paws today and realized they have pink and black paw pads just like Avi did and that was one of the many neat details I loved about her. I know the sweet furballs will continue to warm the hearts and bodies of my girls and I  for years to come and I’m so grateful they’ve come into our lives!

snuggle kitties

Daisy on the left, Angel being squished on the right.

 

It’s the little things

Jazzmin happy to be back with me and all clean from her grooming at the boarders.

Jazzmin happy to be back with me and all clean from her grooming at the boarders.

I picked up my pup Jazzmin from the boarders today and it was so wonderful to be reunited with my tail-wagging partner in crime! After I retrieved her from the boarders, I drove to the Dunkin Donuts in Canandaigua because I’d forgotten to eat breakfast before leaving the house. When I take road trips with Jazz, I share my breakfast and lunch with her, but as she missed out on that this last trip, I shared my bagel sandwich with her in the Dunkin parking lot. She was quite appreciative! It’s the little things like shared meals with my pup that bring happiness to my life.

Once we were happily fed, I got the groceries I needed while she waited in the car and enjoyed parking lot people watching. As I was planning to take the girls to get a new cat after school, I had to pick up a few necessities like a bigger bag of cat food and a new litter box. Knowing Jazz was waiting out in the car, I shopped quickly and we were soon cruising toward home and something we both wanted desperately: a nap!

After I hunkered down in my nice, comfy, memory foam bed and Jazz was snuggled into her blankets on the floor, we promptly passed out for a solid two hours. I loved being back in my soft yet supportive bed after dealing with the hotel bed springs poking me in the hips and ribs every time I rolled over. It’s the little things like my own bed and the company of my beloved pup that make me all warm and fuzzy inside.

A few hours after we woke up from our comatose states, Jazz and I headed to school to pick up Jordan. An hour after that, Jazz was in her crate snarfing peanut butter from her Kong while Jordan and I picked up Jaycie from school before heading off to Lollypop Farm in Fairport. There is a closer shelter but they weren’t open late enough so we drove a little further on our quest for a new cat.

Before we headed out on our quest, I’d looked online at the cats available from Lollypop Farm and I had my eye on a few calicos. I love calico kitties and as Avi was a tortie and lived a nice, long life, I figured getting another one was a safe bet. When the girls and I arrived at the shelter, Jaycie was practically bounding in excitement and Jordan was eager in her 12-year-old slightly subdued way.

We went inside and looked at all the cages of kitties but only a few came up to the bars and meowed at us. Among those few was one of the two kittens that I’d seen online. They were adorable gray and orange mix tabby girls with just a touch of tortie in them and on their cage, it said something about them being happier going home together. One of them came up to meow sweetly at us, the other was passed out at the top of the cage, and I was instantly in love with their little faces. 

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Daisy has an orange spot on her head and is slightly smaller than Angel.

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Angel has an orange spot on the back of her neck and is bigger.

I asked one of the volunteers how I went about petting the kittens and seeing about adopting them. I was instructed to go fill out an adoption form and I promptly did so. There have been other occasions when I’ve come across shelter animals that said they’d be happier adopted together and for the first time in my life, I was in a position to adopt such a happily cohabitating pair of little things.

Upon completing the paperwork, the girls and I were taken to a room and the kittens were brought into us. Their names were Daisy and Angel and Angel was obviously the braver of the two. I picked Angel up and started petting her and she immediately started purring. Jordan then picked up Daisy and soon after petting her, she was purring too and both kittens seemed happy to be with us. The adoption counselor said that they usually feed the cats Science Diet but that these girls were picky and preferred Meow Mix. That settled it! They liked the same food I already fed my cats and my mind was made up, the tabby kittens were ours! 

The kittens were placed in the cat carrier I’d brought and they snuggled up with each other so happily, they barely made a peep the whole ride home. The carrier was between the girls and everyone in the back seat was so quiet, I wasn’t sure they were all still there.

When we arrived home, I placed the carrier on the couch and opened the door. The first one to emerge was Angel and she was immediately climbing all over the place, establishing her territory. Daisy came out a bit later and sat contentedly on the couch for a while before joining her sister.

Jazzmin sniffing the cat carrier and wondering why it's hissing at her.

Jazzmin sniffing the cat carrier and wondering why it’s hissing at her.

Angel bravely emerges!

Angel bravely emerges!

Daisy out and chilling on the couch.

Daisy out and chilling on the couch.

Both girls relaxing on the couch.

Both girls relaxing on the couch.

Owl came in long enough to eat, hiss at the new kittens, and head back out with her nose bent out of shape. Jazzmin had no idea what was going on and things were a bit wild for about an hour until the animals figured each other out.

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Jazzmin peaking up at one of the kittens.

Amazingly, the kittens put Jazz in her place and things are on their way to eventual peace. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before all four animals are snuggling on the couch with me, turning me into a baked potato. 🙂

It’s been 8 years since I last dealt with a kitten and much longer than that since I’ve dealt with two at once, so I’d forgotten how active kittens are! The girls and I have been kept busy plucking the little things off screens, tables, desks, shelves, and anything else that looks climbable. There have also been many moments of snuggling and happy purring, so it balances out…sort of.

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Both girls snuggling on my lap.

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Daisy playing with the tie on my shirt.

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Snuggling with Jordan.

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Can I squeeze through here, please?

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Never mind, I’ll go over!

Daisy and Angel are obviously grateful that we rescued them and it’s a wonderful feeling having purring bundles of love on our laps. I think Aviendha is pleased with our choice and I imagine she’ll be giggling in heaven as her old mama deals with the endless energy of kittens. It’s the little things that keep life interesting!

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Whatcha writing, Mama?

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We’re helping you, right, Mama??

It’s in the cards (intro)

Image courtesy of PhotoBucket

During my trip to Salem, MA, this past Thursday, I had a Tarot card reading. It’s almost impossible to take a step in Salem this time of year without tripping over a psychic reading or tarot reading, so I decided to give it a go this trip. Not everyone believes in the mystical, magical, and unknown but I do, and I found the tarot card reading very helpful, insightful, and spot on! There is of course a great story about my reading, but I just drove all day to get home, so it will have to wait. It’s all about building anticipation and interest, right? 😉

A glimpse of a busy day

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My day in Boston was full of new adventures and fun but it only left me with enough energy to post some of the better photos I took with my phone. It will have to do until I get home and have the time and energy to write all about it.

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The thing about adventures…

Overcast skies but still a lovely view of Salem, MA.

Overcast skies but still a lovely view of Salem, MA.

The thing about adventures is…that they’re very tiring! Yet somehow, they’re also invigorating, freeing, energizing, and amazing! I have tons to say about my adventures in Salem, Massachusetts today, but I’m too exhausted to put it into words tonight. For now, let me just say this: never be afraid to chase your dreams, no matter how unattainable they may seem. Working toward dreams isn’t always easy but I promise you that the effort is worth it.

One of the things I’ve found true repeatedly is that you have to take the first step toward your dreams or you’ll never accomplish them. It doesn’t matter how small that step is, as long as it’s a step forward, it’s a step closer to achieving your goals and dreams. The thing about dreams is…once you’ve achieved them, they transform, evolve, and light the way for new dreams you hadn’t imagined until you reached that part of your ongoing adventure.

The Calming Storm

thunderstorm1

Today’s weather was far from sunshine and blue sky and by the end of it I felt like a drowned rat, but there was still beauty to be found. There’s something cleansing about rain, even when it makes you cold and wet. The power of the wind is an impressive force too and when combined with the rain, they remind us mere mortals that we are not as mighty as we think.

I am too exhausted from work and adventures to write the words to describe my day so I turn instead to a poem from the past. I originally posted it on my Corbin Creations blog in 2012. Although it’s about a summer storm, I believe it speaks of the spiritual power of any storm.

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The Calming Storm (6/14/2012)

The air was very still tonight
The glow of fireflies the only light
I heard a rumbling in the distance
Mother Nature in her usual dance.

A cloudy darkness, thick and warm
Will be no drier after the storm
And yet to breathe it in brings comfort
For someone of the simple earthy sort.

Bare feet upon a cool wooden deck
I step to the railing just to check
What stretches beyond the open field
And wonder what life will someday yield.

The first big drops of rain start to fall
I close my eyes, smile, enjoy it all
My skin, my clothes, my hair all wet
But I am not ready to go inside yet.

There is something so cleansing about warm rain
How it opens my heart and washes away the pain
So many dreams I haven’t claimed
My spirit wild and forever untamed.

I am a lover, fighter, champion and friend
Who like the willow has learned to bend
For in this life there are no rewards
To those who never lay down their swords.

There must be balance to keep things going
To accept and understand that even hurt is worth knowing
The lessons are not always fun
And some battles can not be won.

Every storm comes fierce and strong
But such power and fury can’t last long
And when peace returns and turmoil is gone
There will always be a brighter and more beautiful dawn.

On the road again

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To say it’s been a challenging past couple of weeks is an understatement and I certainly think I deserve a break! Thankfully, I headed off on a road trip to New England this morning and my adventures always restore and re-energize my spirit.

While the weather was overcast for most of the drive through New York, there were a few breaks in the clouds and I even saw the sun a couple times!

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Alas, shortly after I crossed into Massachusetts the clouds thickened and I soon drove into rain. I didn’t encounter any overly heavy downpours but the periodic gusts of wind were enough to blow my little Matrix around.

Despite the weather, I still enjoyed the drive and was quite happy to see that the trees in Massachusetts and New Hampshire have more substantial foliage than the nearly bare trees back in New York.

When I finally reached my exit in Seabrook, NH, I made my usual trip to Market Basket for a few little necessities like milk and snacks. Then it was off to the hotel to check in, unpack, and take a nice hot shower. I relaxed for the rest of the evening by watching television and I discovered there are some funny new shows I’ve never managed to sit down long enough to watch until now. It felt kind of weird not doing freelance work or college work tonight but I know I need the break and will benefit from it.

For some reason, driving through rough weather makes road trips feel like they take days even when they really didn’t take much longer than usual, and I’m already starting to doze off. While the forecast for the next couple days doesn’t look great, I know I’ll still manage to keep myself busy and have fun!

Bobcat, Teddy Bear, Penguin Collector

My father and I in the Adirondack Mountains. He's wearing the bobcat shirt I remember well.

My father and I in the Adirondack Mountains. He’s wearing the bobcat shirt I remember well.

My father’s name was Robert W. Corbin but most people called him Bob. He was a great man, inspiring role model, and the last gentleman I knew. After high school, he went into the Air Force where he worked on the inner workings of large cargo planes. He worked at Xerox for almost 32 years as an electrical engineer and he earned several patents for his designs that improved various copier mechanisms. Before his first stroke, my father was an active member of Toastmasters, rode horses with me, gave blood whenever possible, and volunteered where he could.

Today is the five-year anniversary of my father’s passing. Even though the pain of losing him has lessened over the years, there will always be a spot in my heart that feels empty without him. I don’t wish the loss of a parent or close family member upon anyone, for it’s an anguish that is only understood by those who have endured it. I describe losing my father as a hole in my heart, a void in my soul, an area within me so hollow I swear I can feel the wind blow through it.

Visiting my father's grave in 2012.

Visiting my father’s grave in 2012.

However, my father would never want me to dwell in the pain of losing him, of that I am certain. His spirit wants me to remember how amazing his life was, how many blessings he had, and how fortunate I was to have him as my father. I don’t quite know why, but when I conjure images of my father, I see him wearing jeans and a shirt he had with the face of a bobcat on it. The bobcat was because so many people called him Bob but as I think of the face of that cat with its stripes and whiskers, I am reminded of my father.

To me, my father was a big teddy bear. Always there for a bearhug, understanding ear and a bit of loving gruffness when it was required. He even used to scratch his back against walls like bears scratch their backs against trees. Despite his softness, he wasn’t a pushover, and he showed me what true strength of character and a good heart look like in a person.

Riding on my father's shoulders. One of the best ways to travel!

Riding on my father’s shoulders. One of the best ways to travel!

My mother loves to tell the story of how my father was trying to get a closer look at penguins at a zoo and ended up bonking his head on the curved glass. From that day on, he received penguins as gifts and had quite a collection that my girls have now inherited a majority of. Whenever I see penguins now with their adorable waddles on land and stunning grace under water, I think of my father. I also think of him whenever my daughters or I bonk our heads on glass either from lack of grace or from wanting to see something closer…

With each passing year, I realize how much I am like my father. I inherited his strength, determination, and stubbornness. He showed me what a good man looks like and I will never again allow myself to settle for anything less than a good-hearted, honest, caring, hug-giving gentleman. My father raised his only daughter to be intelligent, clever, loving, and kind and I know he’s proud of all that I’ve accomplished. He has the right one picked out for daddy’s little girl but I’m not putting my life on hold for that. I continue to live my amazingly blessed and happy life, certain that the right one will be able to catch up to me and add his story to my own.

 

Saying goodbye to a beloved, furry friend

My sweet, little mini-cat, Aviendha.

My sweet, little mini-cat, Aviendha.

Yesterday evening I said goodbye to a beloved, furry friend: my 19-year-old cat Aviendha. She lived longer than any Corbin cat ever has which is especially impressive considering she was an eight-pound “runt” though I prefer to call her a mini-cat. Avi’s health had been deteriorating over the past few months and last week it went downhill rather quickly.

I picked her up and pet her yesterday morning and she purred as reliably as ever, but I could tell that her tired body couldn’t keep up with her tireless spirit anymore. When the girls and I returned home from my mother’s house yesterday evening, I found her tiny body on the kitchen floor with her spirit free at last. Upon seeing her, I immediately burst into tears. While I knew she was at peace and safe in the care of my father, she’d been my closest furry friend since I was a teenager and I was never ready to let her go.

I still remember the day I picked out Aviendha. My then boyfriend and I were looking for a kitten and an ad in the paper led us to a house on the outskirts of Rochester, NY. I recall stepping inside the house and being stunned by the sheer volume of Star Trek memorabilia in the house. The walls were literally floor to ceiling Star Trek books, movies, and collectibles. I felt as though Scotty had beamed me to another, somewhat disturbing world. I love Star Trek, but I don’t love it THAT much!

The couple that lived there had several cats and they apparently rescued neighborhood strays, which is where their latest batch of kittens had come from. We went upstairs to the room where the kittens were and I remember sitting down on the floor and waiting to see how the kittens responded to me. The first kitten to come over was an adorable little tortoiseshell calico and she immediately started playing with my shoelaces. That was all I needed to tell me she was my kitten and we took her back home to my parent’s house.

Aviendha is an unusual and difficult to spell name for a cat, but I chose it because at the time, I was reading The Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan and I loved a feisty female character named Aviendha. I don’t remember much about her now and I stopped reading The Wheel of Time series after Book 4 I believe. Regardless, the name suited her and was shortened to Avi with a nickname of Avigail. When I’d take her to the vet, they’d stumble over trying to pronounce her name, but I never regretted choosing it.

Avi loved to crawl under the covers to stay warm and she was usually purring. Though she loved all humans and spent the last few years sleeping on Jordan’s bed, Avi wasn’t especially fond of other cats. She did bond with my black and white cat Zoey who loved everyone, and most days that pair ran up and down the stairs like crazy animals.

Zoey on the left, Owl on the right.

Zoey on the left, Owl on the right.

Zoey passed in 2009, leaving Avi and Owl, but those two just never learned to get along. Now only Owl is left and while she seems fine being the only cat (she loves snuggling with my pup Jazzmin), my daughters and I are planning to get a new cat after I return from my upcoming New England trip. Owl is a nice cat, but not much of a snuggler and we want another snuggle kitty to keep our hearts and bodies warm this winter.

With a heavy heart, I dug Avi’s grave this morning when the sun finally came out. I’ve lost many cats over the years but this was the first grave I’ve had to dig for one. Thankfully, the ground hadn’t frozen yet, but it wasn’t exactly soft and I soon hit hard clay, which made digging a challenge. I persevered though and dug a hole large enough to fit the box I tucked Avi in last night. The girls made little tokens to bury with her in the form of a felt heart by Jordan and a little card by Jaycie. I put in a clay cat figure I’d painted to match my cat Seamore, a cat Avi grew up with.

Card from Jaycie, felt heart from Jordan, and Seamore figure from me.

Card from Jaycie, felt heart from Jordan, and Seamore figure from me.

I know Avi’s spirit is free and now her body has returned to the earth, but I will forever miss her sweetness and remember how she was always there for me when I needed a snuggle. 

Avi curled up next to me while I worked on Jordan's bed.

Avi curled up next to me while I worked on Jordan’s bed.

Press Pause (re-post)

My lilacs were beautiful in Spring 2014!

My lilacs were beautiful in Spring 2014!

I don’t want to stop my streak of a blog post every day in October but I fear tonight, words again elude me. So I’m turning to a re-post yet again. The weather turned rather cold today and I know it’s just the beginning of the long wait until spring, which doesn’t thrill me. However, I decided it was a good time to look forward to nice weather with a post I wrote about my love for lilacs and the importance of enjoying every moment of life.

 

Press Pause (5/10/2012)

I love lilacs. Their clusters of delicate looking blooms, their bright green leaves, and their simple sweet beautiful fragrance. I was so excited when I moved into my house last summer and discovered that the bushes in my back yard were lilacs. The bushes are already well established and too tall for the deer to do too much damage to so I was hopeful I’d have tons of blooms in spring. Alas, this spring was not kind to them. The weather warmed up really early in March and my lilac bushes all budded out looking eager to bloom. Then we got almost an entire month full of frigid nights, wind, rain and snow and my efforts to preserve the delicate buds failed. By the time the weather warmed up and stayed warm almost all of the multitude of buds on my lilac bushes had wilted and drooped on their stems. There are a few tiny clusters of blossoms that survived on the smaller bushes and I’m certain next spring they will all be amazing if Mother Nature has a few less mood swings.

With my bushes ruined, I had to get my lilac fix elsewhere. Happily there are some homes in the town I work in that have lilac bushes. I take a walk on my lunch break whenever the weather is nice enough, and yesterday the rain had finally stopped and the sun peaked out now and then. I hit the sidewalk  with my cell phone serving as my MP3 player and my ear buds blasting up-tempo music into my senses. There was a nice breeze to help cool my skin and the leaves were coming out on all the trees and I couldn’t help but smile. Due to the erratic weather, the lilacs seem to be blooming at all different times so while one lilac bush I walk by was past its peak, another one I passed on my way back was in its full glory. It was in the yard of the American Legion and it was so beautiful I had to get closer. I walked up to it, cupped one of its overflowing clusters of blooms in my hands, closed my eyes and lowered my nose to breathe in their sweet fragrance. I grew up with tree-size lilac bushes behind my house and whenever I smell lilacs I’m taken back to those younger days when life seemed so much simpler.

I could have stood there for hours enjoying those lilacs but alas I had to return to work before my break was over. So yes, I do actually stop to smell the flowers. In this busy life with its seemingly non-stop pace, I make sure I always take the time to press pause and enjoy the peaceful moments. Tomorrow is never guaranteed and now may be all we have. Every moment, every memory, every new experience, every lesson, every smile, every hug, every kiss…claim them, embrace them, and know that no one can ever take their power from your spirit.

People on Shelves (re-post)

Image courtesy of Wallchan.com

I’ve been busy moving furniture, organizing things, and cleaning since yesterday evening and while I’ve accomplished a lot, I’m rather tired. I assembled a new bookshelf today and while doing so I remembered a post from my old blog about how people are like books with their own stories to tell…

People on Shelves (1/7/2013)

People on shelves. Sounds like a weird concept perhaps until you stop to consider that every person has a story and those stories are like books waiting to be read. Some such books have never been opened and some have been opened and closed many times. The stories within each of us are far more interesting than we may realize and filled with life lessons, secret meanings, footnotes, and reference materials. Even someone who has done the same exact thing for their entire lives has something important and interesting to tell because into even the most mundane existence, the world around us has a way of interjecting its own excitement.

Some people are eager to tell their story, and so they fling their pages wide and write the words in bold dark print. Others like to tell their story in a nice even tone and pace until some unexpected event jumps out of the pages suddenly making it a popup book. Still others are not so eager to have their stories read, so they are written in very faint ink with certain details omitted or changed to sound more appealing. The truth of the matter is that our story is our life, and as much as we might wish otherwise, we can’t go back and edit or change things because then that story is no longer us. Events have already happened, both good and bad, and our wisest course of action is to learn from them instead of living in regret or longing.

On these shelves of people/books there are numerous tomes that have been taken down, read and then put back on the shelf, perhaps even tucked behind other books so they are hidden out of sight. Some of these books feel that they deserve their fate and stay hidden in the shadows or atop a high out-of-reach shelf. The smarter and braver of these books push through, back to the front of the shelf or climb onto a lower shelf so they are again within reach. We all deserve to be read and accepted as we are and if we just hang in there and hold our place on the shelf, the right people will find us, read us, understand us, and add their own story to ours.

Black labs and bass guitars

Such a sweet black lab!

Such a sweet black lab!

I had a plan for today…and I should know by now that making a plan is unwise because the universe always finds a way to disrupt my plans. I intended to work all day on my freelance jobs and I started strong doing a heavily researched piece for a new client. I had just started my second writing job when I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. I focused my attention to the world outside my living room window and realized there was a black dog running along the shoulder of the road by my front pine trees.

A few moments later, a car came up the road and thankfully slowed down to avoid hitting the pup, but I knew it wasn’t wise to leave the poor pup out there at the mercy of traffic. I quickly stood up from my chair and walked swiftly out onto my front deck. I reached the side of the deck and whistled at the pup a few times until I caught her attention. I called out “Come here, puppy!” and she dashed over happily with her tail wagging fast enough to propel her onward. The moment she reached me, I realized she was the same black lab who had appeared in my yard last year around this time. She is extremely friendly and obviously well-fed with white around her muzzle indicating she’s not exactly a puppy. When I told her to sit, she rolled over onto her back instead and started wiggling happily around.

As I had an old bag of dog food that Jazzmin no longer liked, I went in the house and fetched a bowl and a scoop of food for the black lab. Jazzmin was extremely excited upon seeing the black lab outside, but I kept the two separated, as I had no idea how the lab was with other dogs. Figuring the lab had probably only recently gained its freedom, I put Jazz in her crate with her peanut butter-filled Kong, placed one of Jazz’s collars on the lab, clicked on the leash and decided to walk down the road in search of the pup’s owners. I knocked on a couple doors where it looked like people would be home but no one answered. One woman did answer her door and she was very friendly but said she didn’t know to whom the dog belonged. It was the first time I’d met any of my neighbors aside from the ones right next door and I suppose walking around with the lost lab was one way to become more social 😉

Squirrel?!

Squirrel?!

After ringing the doorbells on every house where it looked like people were home, finding no owners, and being chased off by three barking beagles, I decided to head back home with the lab. She acted as if she hadn’t been on a leash very much as she pulled, jumped, and danced happily around sniffing everything in sight. I was able to rein her in pretty well but it was kind of like walking a small bear. It certainly put in perspective how well-behaved Jazzmin is on the leash now.

Thankfully, when I headed back out with the lab later, I learned from my closest neighbor that she belonged to a house on the corner and that it wasn’t unusual for her to get out when the wind blew the door open. Armed with that useful knowledge, I walked her up the road and returned her safely home. After that, I took Jazz for a walk and let her sniff around everywhere outside where the lab had been so she would be reassured that her “competition” was no longer on the property.

With that interruption to my day complete, I finished my second writing assignment and set to work continuing the task of reorganizing my living room. For me, reorganizing always involves making a huge mess as I sort through things before I find neater places for all those things and put them away. Amid that reorganizing, I moved something that was holding up my left-handed bass guitar and said guitar fell happily on my arm leaving a mark. I took that as a sign that it’s time for me to get it out and try playing it again, so I tucked it somewhere it won’t fall on me and went about my business.

My sexy, red left-handed bass guitar.

My sexy, red, left-handed bass guitar.

At last, I accomplished my planned tasks of moving a storage cabinet intended to hold the dog supplies, reorganizing the shoes with some repurposed racks, and relocating a large storage ottoman buried under piles of papers. Now all I need is a bookshelf for the living room and I’ll finally have a place for everything! While it took me much longer than I expected and had unplanned interruptions, I accomplished a lot today and toasted myself with a nice, cool glass of homemade red wine. A perfect Friday night in for this very tired superchick. 😉