A Broken Spring

Thus far, this May has not felt very consistently spring-like. We’ve even had snow!

The trend seems to be a nice warmish spring day followed by several days of winter temperatures and it’s been rather frustrating.

Fortunately, it looks like the weather is finally warming up and staying warm. They’re even predicting 80 this coming Sunday. After the unpleasant May we’ve had thus far, I’ll believe it when it happens.

Even with the up and down temperatures and rain and clouds, I’ve still managed to get walks in with Jazzmin. I relish every moment of the nice weather because it seems so fleeting but hopefully soon it will be here to stay for more than one day.

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The Power to Write the Words

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Just as I said I was going to in my last blog post, I sat down at my desk this past Sunday and started writing in my fantasy novel “Unbroken Flames.” During the past few years, whenever I’d sit down to write, I’d feel all nervous and restless, as I doubted my own abilities as a writer. I didn’t know if I still had “it” anymore and when I’d start writing, I couldn’t remember what tense I usually wrote in or what my writing “style” even was.

Fortunately, that nervousness didn’t exist this past Sunday and for the first time in many years, I was able to put on music and just start typing out whatever was in my brain. The ability to listen to music and write was something I’d lost and I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps it was because I can’t concentrate on my work writing if I listen to music. Writing for pleasure is different though and I was finally able to let the music help inspire me and move my fingers across the keys.

I only wrote a few pages but those few pages were the start of something important and they represent a shift in my life. I’ve finally managed to close the doors on certain chapters of my life and restore my eternal hope for the future. Those feelings flowed into the main character of “Unbroken Flames” as I realized that she needed to transform just as I have these past few years.

I may not be able to rewrite what’s happened in my life, but I can rewrite what’s going to happen in hers and perhaps as I write the future I want for her, it will create the future I seek as well. That may sound absurd, but I know better than to underestimate the power of the written word…

Priceless Gifts and Purple Hair

My daughters and I in Boston, 2014

My daughters and I in Boston, 2014

Today is my 39th birthday and I can honestly say that I’m not the same woman I was a year ago. That’s okay though because life is about change and it’s important that I continue to grow as a person and learn new lessons every day. Like the Phoenix I have a tattoo of on my left upper arm, I always rise from the ashes of any adversity that tries to drag me down.

Enough of the heavy stuff though, today is a happy day! It’s my weekend with my daughters and I’ll be picking them up this morning for a day of fun and adventures. My oldest daughter asked me a while ago what I wanted for my birthday and I couldn’t come up with anything that can be bought because I already have every gift I could ever want. My greatest and most priceless gifts are my two daughters and I have a loving family, good friends, loyal pets, my health, a career as a writer and my very own house. There’s nothing anyone could wrap and give to me that would mean more to me than what I already have.

While my younger daughter Jaycie stays with my mom’s to play with the myriad of toys there, Jordan and I will be heading to the theater to see X-Men Apocalypse, a movie I can honestly say I’ve been waiting over 20 years for. Why? Because it has Psylocke in it! Psylocke has been one of my favorite X-Men since way back when she was just a demure purple-haired telekinetic who’s powers manifested as purple butterfly wings on her face. Through some rather convoluted comic book plot lines (I suppose that’s redundant) she later became a ninja assassin who wielded Japanese swords and a psychic knife and that just made me love her more! I think one of the reasons I identify with Psylocke is because a photographer called me “purple hair” one year during elementary school photos (I assume because my hair was so dark) and it’s stuck with me.

Uncanny_Psylocke

I realized I just revealed a rather large geeky aspect of myself, but I don’t really care. I’ve loved X-Men since the late 1980’s and have several boxes of their comic books that I really need to bring up from the basement. In addition to seeing the movie, I’ll be playing some Warcraft (yes, further geekness) with Jordan watching, enjoying dinner from Applebee’s at my mom’s, beading, and having an awesome dessert of ice cream cake. It’s already a beautiful morning out and I know it’s going to be an awesome day! I may be turning 39, but my spirit is still as young and energetic as it was when I was 16. Doesn’t mean I’ll be dying my hair purple any day soon though…

2014 in review for JulieAnn’s Voice via WordPress’s annual report

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,000 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Furry purry balls of love (and chaos!)

Daisy and Angel snuggled up watching The Christmas Shepherd on Hallmark Channel tonight.

Daisy and Angel snuggled up watching The Christmas Shepherd on Hallmark Channel tonight.

I’ve had my kittens Daisy and Angel for a little over a month now and it’s definitely been an adventure! I forgot how crazy kittens could be and there are days when I think I’m nuts to be dealing with babies again. The “little darlings” go from being snuggly little furry purry balls of love to absolutely unbelievable balls of chaos in the blink of an eye sometimes!

They run the length of my house and into the basement, they climb curtains, jump at pull chains for ceiling fans, frolic in the bathtub, and happily drag out every bit of string-like substance they can find from hair ties to shoe laces. They’ve retrieved all of Jazz’s tennis balls from the various pieces of furniture they rolled under and they go after flies and ladybugs as though it’s their main mission in life!

Just like when I adopted Jazzmin from the shelter and wished she could tell me what her life was like with her previous owners, I wish the kittens could tell me what their lives were like. They do tell me quite a lot with certain behaviors that are unlike anything I’ve encountered with previous cats or kittens. Whenever I fill the cat food bowl, Daisy and Angel come running from wherever they were and eat eagerly as if it were their last meal. They’re obsessed with water! They’re constantly trying to drink from the dog’s water bowl when I fill it, they jump in sinks, and even tried to drink out of the toilet more than once. When I clean out their litter box, they’re immediately ready to use it, sometimes trying to jump in before I’m done. I do wish they had a bit more patience for such things…

The kittens first encounter with an ice cube. They were fascinated!

The kittens first encounter with an ice cube. They were fascinated!

When I first brought the kittens home, they didn’t seem to know what cat toys were. I had some jingle balls and a trackball toy with a scratching pad and when I showed it to them, they seemed uninterested. The first time I got out the laser pointer to play with them, they were utterly fascinated and had to compete with Jazzmin to chase the elusive red bug. Angel didn’t even know that her tail was something fun to chase until I took it and tickled her face with it one day. Ever since then, she’s loved chasing it while on the couch or the kitchen floor. I find it so difficult to comprehend that such sweet little kittens didn’t know how to play with toys and their own tails!

From everything I’ve witnessed the kittens do, I’ve concluded that their lives before they were brought to the shelter involved fighting for everything they wanted. They treat every meal as if it’s their last, every drink like it will suddenly evaporate, and every toy as if it’s the greatest treasure in the world. They adore snuggling and purr whenever I picked them up. I know they’re happy here and they’ve certainly brought new happiness to my life and the lives of my daughters.

Jordan and Angel

Jordan and Angel

Jaycie petting the snuggling kittens.

Jaycie petting the snuggling kittens.

The kittens snuggled up against Jazzmin.

The kittens snuggled up against Jazzmin.

Angel says "I wuv you, Jazzmin!"

Angel says “I wuv you, Jazzmin!”

The kittens always look the most adorable when I need to get out of bed.

The kittens always look the most adorable when I need to get out of bed.

 

Angel was more snuggly than Daisy when we first got home but over the past month, Daisy has become a good snuggler too. The sister kittens love to sleep on each other and Jazzmin and they always know when I’m a bit down and need some extra furry purry attention. Even when they’re driving me crazy by climbing screens, de-ornamenting the tree, chewing on power cords, and wrestling on the bed when I’m trying to sleep, I still adore them and wonder how I ever survived without them.

Daisy snuggled up against me tonight as I typed this blog.

Daisy snuggled up against me tonight as I typed this blog.

“Neither snow, nor rain…” how about both?

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” – Herodotus, 503 B.C.

That is the unofficial motto of the United States Post Office and it sprang to mind (though I didn’t know the exact words at the time) as I contemplated walking Jazzmin this afternoon. The wind was gusting at up to 30 mph, the temperature was rapidly dropping out of the 30’s with a wind chill in the teens, and the clouds couldn’t decide if they wanted to spew out rain or snow so they were throwing down a combination of both.

When I took Jazzmin out to answer nature before I headed into town, the wind chilled me, the rain beat at me and I thought to myself “No way am I walking in this!” Then as I led her back into the house, my thoughts shifted to “Well, if I put earmuffs and gloves on, it won’t be so bad.” It’s not a challenge to take the easy way out and say it’s too cold and yucky to walk, and no one would blame me for skipping it today. Nonetheless, I really wanted to keep my promise of walking Jazzmin every day because she and I both need it. Therefore, I chose to rise to the challenge and head out once I got home from errands.

Jazzmin is always excited about walking, even if the snow is up to her chest and the wind freezes her nose and ears off, so when I got home, changed, and saddled her up in her backpack, she was happy as could be! When we stepped out the door and she started being pelted with the tiny, hard snowballs descending from the sky, her enthusiasm waned a bit. We set out anyway and her step was as light as usual, even as the sleet/snow/frozen mess bounced off her head, ping-ponged off my coat, wove into my hair, and sometimes snuck down my neck.

The view as we turned the first corner.

The view as we turned the first corner.

As we turned the corner off my road and onto the next, the sleet snow started to come down harder and Jazz’s ears flattened to her head. We continued though and I actually laughed at how ridiculous it was that we had voluntarily chosen to be out in such weather. If Mama Nature thought she was going to force us to turn around, she was wrong!

Jazzmin is NOT impressed!

Jazzmin is NOT impressed!

The sleet snow was stinging my face but I thought to myself that it was a wonderful and 100% natural exfoliant for my skin. The wind was freezing my body but I reassured myself that shivering must burn more calories. My hair was drenched with cold wetness but I knew from past snow experiences that when it air-dried my natural wave would bounce back happily. I knew the cold, wetness, and discomfort were temporary and that the walk was good exercise for Jazzmin and me.

My road is waaay down that way...

My road is waaay down that way…

When we returned home, the mini snowballs of precipitation had accumulated into a noticeable layer on my deck. Jazzmin was eager to go inside to thaw out her cold paws and I was happy to be inside the warmth where I could start warming up again.

Jazz's paw prints from where she stood waiting for me to open the door.

Jazz’s paw prints from where she stood waiting for me to open the door.

Despite the chill in my body, I was proud of myself for venturing out when a lesser woman would’ve huddled home, safe under blankets, sipping a latte. I’d kept my promise of walking every day for the third day in a row and with this blog, I’ve also completed my daily entry. As far as winging it? Well, I think if Jazzmin and I had possessed wings today, the wind would’ve carried us off into the sunset.