Loki: A Furry Purry Boomerang

Loki striking the perfect pose.

I’ve had my girl kitten Loki for almost a month now and I can honestly say she’s brought fresh adventures into my life. She’s going on four months old and a bit bigger than she was when I first adopted her, but I know she’ll be a fluffy, long-haired, black furred mischief-maker for many more months to come until she “matures.” Angel and Daisy are four years old now and mostly mellowed out, but they still have a bit of kitten left now and then.

Loki is a very brave and bold kitten and she goes where she wants. Quite often this means she wants to walk across my desk, keyboard, laptop, mouse, and other items that help me get my work done. I find myself picking her up and putting her on the floor several times a day, but just like a furry, purry boomerang, she inevitably returns and walks all over everything again. I’ve discovered that if I distract her with a toy or food she’ll then leave me alone and eventually flop somewhere and take a nap or run around the house like the energetic kitten she is.

Loki being playful

 

Loki in her usual “flop” position with Daisy sleeping on the couch below her.

Loki loves sleeping on my bed at night and she usually sleeps by my feet or waist. However, if I wake up in the middle of the night or early morning, she’s immediately sitting or laying on my chest, purring away, and blocking my view of my phone. I assume she’s drawn to the light of the phone and thinks it’s ideal illumination for me to pet her by. She’ll eventually settle to one side of me or the other and we’ll snuggle as I go back to sleep, not quite lulled by her rather loud purring.

Angel and Loki on my bed.

Loki is the first cat I’ve owned in many years that actually enjoys playing in the carpeted cat house I’ve owned since I was in high school. She loves laying on top of it and swatting at people or Jazzmin as they walk by. She also loves swinging herself from the top of it and inside it and is somehow unphased when she misses and thumps onto the floor. She can spend quite a bit of time going crazy on it and usually it turns into a game of tag with Angel because Angel becomes fascinated watching her play.

Loki with her new scratching post.

Loki recently received a new scratching post from my mother and she absolutely loves it! She knew immediately what it was for and started scratching away and playing with the puff-ball attached to the top of the post. She seems much more cat-like than my other cats in that she loves all cat toys, carries them around in her mouth, and has a fondness for human food. Owl loves human food too, but she’s a bit grumpy in her older age and doesn’t play much anymore. Owl basically dislikes all the other cats in the house but likes Jazzmin, loves my youngest daughter, and puts up with myself and my oldest daughter.

A few months ago I was perfectly content with my three cats of Owl, Angel, and Daisy. I thought three cats was fine and had no plans for getting another cat until Owl eventually passed on. However, Daisy’s disappearance and the hole that left in the household led me to adopt Loki and now I can’t imagine my life without Loki. Even with Daisy back, Loki still seems to fit the hole I didn’t realize existed in my family until I adopted her. She’s such a sweet, adventurous, fun-loving kitten, and I’m happy that I get to watch her grow up and deal with her daily escapades. Loki’s a new kitty sister that Angel loves playing with, Daisy tries to ignore, Owl growls and hisses at, and Jazzmin tries unsuccessfully to play with, but somehow that type of chaos seems about right for my life.

Daisy and Loki on my desk chair. I’m so happy they get to know each other!

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Tis the season for sappy holiday movies

It seems like the holiday season starts earlier every year, but I don’t particularly mind. Christmas decorations at Halloween are excessive but I’ve grown so used to it, I don’t notice it that much anymore. It also helps that I only leave my house to get groceries and other necessities and avoid the busy malls as much as possible. I’ve been buying my gifts online for years now and it’s ideal for me and anyone else who has ever worked retail and loathes the thought of holiday crowds.

There’s one particular aspect of the holidays that I didn’t realize started so early until this year and that’s the showing of sappy holiday movies. There was a time when I’d grumble and huff about them starting so soon, but not this year. For various reasons, I’m okay with kicking off the holidays sooner than usual. In fact, I already have a string of colored lights up in my living room at the request of my youngest daughter and I rather like the soft glow of them in the evening.

It’s by the soft glow of those holiday lights that I’ve been watching the sappy holiday movies in the evenings when I don’t have my girls. The movies are predictable to put it mildly. They’re filled with attractive single people who can’t find love or who have been scorned by love and then poof! The holidays happen and there’s magically someone new in their lives that they fall in love with. The blossoming relationship hits some sort of snag about a half hour before the movie ends but then everything works out happily within the last 5-10 minutes. Despite the fact that such a sappy holiday movie plot has yet to come true in my life, I still believe in love and don’t mind watching happy holiday endings.

I don’t expect Hallmark or Lifetime to make a sappy holiday movie that even remotely mimics my life. The plot would revolve around a single mother in her late 30’s who lives in the middle of nowhere (and I do mean nowhere), spends her days as a semi-recluse writing freelance from home, has two crazy kittens that alternate trying to snuggle up her nose with climbing the walls, has a dog as her constant shadow, trips over a bowling ball black cat named after a bird, and has basically no social life. Not much of a plot because it wouldn’t go anywhere interesting. No big holiday parties to attend, no social events in town, and no local friends to throw fun bashes..equals a most boring plot.

My loyal snuggle buddies on the couch with me.

My loyal snuggle buddies on the couch with me.

Daisy being a goof laying under the decorative rug in front of the fridge.

Daisy being a goof laying under the decorative rug in front of the fridge.

Nighty night, Mama!

Nighty night, Mama!

Last year I was able to go out to New England a couple of times over the holidays but that’s not in the cards this year. I enjoyed the holiday parties I went to out there and relished in the feeling that I was part of something outside of my little “cave” in Upstate NY. I’ll get back to New England in the New Year and will definitely make more holiday parties out there part of my 2015 plans. Nevertheless, for this year, it will just be me, my girls, and my small family or just me and my crazy household of animals. Perhaps someday I’ll know romantic love again or maybe I’ll just become a “crazy cat lady” 😉 but no matter what, I know I have many blessings to be thankful for!

The kittens love using each other as pillows. :)

The kittens love using each other as pillows. 🙂

The power of pizza!

Love on a pizza :)

Love on a pizza 🙂

During my Friday night grocery shopping trip, I picked up a can of Pillsbury’s Pizza Crust because I was planning to make pizza tonight. Usually I buy the store’s ball of dough and fight with it until it mostly fits on the pizza pan. I decided I wasn’t up for that fight this weekend so I grabbed the Pillsbury version instead. A simple-seeming thing but with nostalgic significance.

I’m not sure when it started, but I can remember my family using that particular pizza dough to make many pizzas. It was so convenient to just pop open the can and roll the dough out on a cookie sheet and I can completely understand why my parents opted to use it instead of other dough. When I made the pizza tonight, happy memories flooded back to me the moment I smelled that familiar dough. Pillsbury dough has a distinct taste and smell, much different from the store brand of dough or homemade crust.

As I rolled the dough out onto the cookie sheet, I suddenly decided that the girls and I were going eat in the living room tonight and watch an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Long before my family started using the Pillsbury dough, I remember that one night a week we would order pizza and watch the original Star Trek reruns on the TV in the family room. It was a real treat eating in the family room, I loved sitting on the floor with my plate on the coffee table, and my eyes glued on Star Trek. My father loved Star Trek and I grew up loving it too. Every time I watch Star Trek TNG now, I remember watching it with him and going to the Star Trek movies with him. It makes me miss him but it also reminds me that he’s always with me in spirit.

The simple act of buying that pizza dough transformed tonight into a tribute to my father’s memory and I was inspired to arrange the meatballs on the cheese in a heart shape. My daughters thought I was loopy of course, but that’s okay. As a further tribute to my father, I had a glass of the root beer in my fridge that went flat long ago. My father would always drink the flat pop and that’s another of his traits I inherited. There’s something to be said about not having bubbles going up my nose making me sneeze. 

Sitting on the floor of my living room with my girls as we watched the first episode of the second season of TNG filled me with happiness and contentment. Carrying on traditions, even ones as silly as eating pizza while watching Star Trek, help me keep the memory of my father alive and insure that my girls never forget their amazing grandfather.

A walk in the field

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I accomplished a lot yesterday! I completed my daily quota of freelance articles, read through the modules for both college courses, did all the online textbook reading for my SNHU 107 class, took a walk with Jordan and Jazzmin, cooked burgers out on the grill and ended the day by reading some of the online textbook for my English Composition class. Jordan was a big help by assisting Jaycie with her homework and at one point I had to go into my bedroom to finish my writing work, but I got it all done! I had a lot to be proud of and while I was proud, I was also a bit disappointed.

Although I understand that adding college into the mix makes it more challenging to fit everything in, I didn’t realize how tricky it would be to properly manage my time. Interestingly enough, my SNHU 107 class reading last night was about time management. For the past few weeks I’ve been saving my college work until Wednesday when the girls go to their father’s house. While I was able to accomplish all my required work by the deadlines, I thought perhaps I should spread it out over whole week. Well, I gave it a shot but after yesterday, I’ve decided the system I had worked out was just fine!

My girls come first, plain and simple. Jordan shouldn’t be helping Jaycie with her homework, I should. I shouldn’t have to hide away to get work done when the girls are home, I should be spending time WITH the girls! My favorite part of yesterday was the walk with Jordan and Jazz but even that felt rushed because we had to get back home in time to pick Jaycie up from school.

I started out today with the intention of getting all of my freelance work done before the girls got home and then not diving into my college work until tonight after they were in bed. It went okay for the first couple articles but then a client asked for a full rewrite, my word processing program started doing weird things and I found myself on the verge of frustrated tears. At that moment, I decided enough was enough! So I promptly shut down my computer, changed into my walking clothes, “saddled up” Jazz in her backpack and headed out for a walk on the lovely fall afternoon.

Jazz and I had made it halfway up the first hill when I found the farmer’s field off to our left calling to me. I could’ve kept going up the hill on the road but I listened to my gut and my gut said “Go into the field!” I turned Jazz off the road and into the field of almost knee-high clover and grass we went! She really had to pick up her paws to navigate the field and she kept snorting it all up and sneezing. If we’d been trying to sneak up on anything, we would’ve failed miserably.

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My trusty pup and I made it to the top of the field hill and were rewarded with a lovely view of more green fields, blue sky, puffy clouds and butterflies flying all around. I stood there for many moments breathing it all in and reconnecting with my inner serenity. Jazz was busy sniffing and snorting the grass and I suppose that’s how she connected her nose with her own version of deer-scented serenity. I was extremely glad I’d listened to my gut because even in just the few moments we stood there, I felt re-energized.

To leave the field, we headed toward the wall of trees that lined the edge of a deep ravine. At the bottom of the ravine runs the barely trickling stream that just a month ago was so flooded with water it washed out the road.

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The grass was shorter by the trees and easier to walk through and Jazz had a wonderful time smelling the deer, squirrels, chipmunks, grasshoppers, mice, and mythical creatures that had been there at some point in history.

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I admired the great height and strength of the oak trees while avoiding the raspberry prickers growing by their roots. I was very surprised to find a recently ripened clump of black raspberries so late in the season! I snapped a picture to prove that I wasn’t hallucinating.

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When we returned home, it was almost time to pick up Jordan so I made myself presentable then loaded Jazz into the car to head out. I won’t get as much work done today as I did yesterday but I’ll get it all done eventually and on time. Today reminded me that while work is important, so is taking a breath and a break to enjoy the world around me.

 

When the time is right

snhu acceptance

This past trip to New England with my daughters was the best trip I’ve had so far! Being with my girls for an entire week was great and they got to meet most of my friends in Amesbury, MA. There was even a miracle that proved to me that anything really is possible when you’re determined enough! It also showed me that when the time is right, everything has a way of falling into place in ways even better than you imagined.

I’m always sad to leave New England at the end of my trips but each visit convinces me even more that my future lies out that way. To further my pursuit of that future, I’ve decided to pursue an online degree from Southern New Hampshire University. My current endeavor is a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and English but that might change as I figure out the best degree to accomplish my goals.

I had the opportunity to go to college right out of high school but I chose not to because I was tired of school and wanted to continue earning money in the workforce. Almost twenty years later, I’m a single mom who is making a living as a freelance ghost writer and I’m proud of my accomplishments. I know I can go so much further though and I feel that college will open up new avenues for my development as a writer and a person.

I chose SNHU because I already love New England, want to make my life out there and because they keep showing their commercials on my TV stations in NY. Everyone I’ve dealt with at SNHU has been very helpful and supportive and I’m excited about this new chapter in my life! I’ve enrolled in two courses for the first semester and while I’m certain adding that into my already busy life will be a challenge, I’m certain that I can do it. I’ve already done so many things I never imagined I could, what’s one more?

Smiles and sunshine every day!

Jaycie blowing out her birthday cake candles.

Jaycie blowing out her birthday cake candles.

Today was my youngest daughter’s 8th birthday. For the rest of time, I will tell Jaycie the story of her birth. How she kicked and hiccuped through labor and even as I pushed her out and how the nurses found that fascinating! She didn’t do anything “by the book” from day one and that’s a true trait of every Corbin-blooded female.

Jaycie hugging her Sofia the First doll still in the package.

Jaycie hugging her Sofia the First doll still in the package.

As soon as she learned how to smile, Jaycie woke up every morning and from every nap smiling! She’s always been a very happy child and she’s a ray of sunshine on even the roughest days. She’s unique among all her other family members and not just because she’s the only one with the combination of blond hair and blue eyes.

The Pinkie Pie pillow her older sister Jordan handmade for her.

The Pinkie Pie pillow her older sister Jordan handmade for her.

 

She’s been receiving therapy since she was two and a half years old because she’s developmentally delayed and when any new therapists ask for descriptions of her, the first thing that always comes into my mind is “She’s just Jaycie!” That’s the only category and diagnosis she belong in, as far as I’m concerned. She’s my Jaycie Bear, my special miracle and one of the two biggest blessings in my life, my beautiful daughters.

Jaycie holding up her new Scooby-Doo toys and Jordan looking on.

Jaycie holding up her new Scooby-Doo character and Jordan looking on.

The skewed concept of “beauty”

Image courtesy of bodyheart.com

I admit, when I was sick I watched a lot of TV. I happily caught up on several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation as they show it every day on BBC America. I used to watch that show all the time with my father and we even saw the movies together in the theater. So I don’t consider watching TNG a waste of my time. What I do consider a waste of my time is enduring endless commercials hawking cosmetic products and potions for women.

If I were to buy into all the nonsense cosmetic products say to women, I’d believe that in order to be considered beautiful I’d have to have no pores, no wrinkles, no stretch marks, no skin discoloration and no uneven skin texture. I’d also have to have long, dark lashes that stretch out like spider legs, eye makeup caked on so heavy I look like a peacock, lips smeared with so much lipstick it looks and feels like lacquer and hair that flows to my shoulder in perfect, gray-hair-free waves. Well I’ve got news for you, none of that applies to me but I still know with 100% certainty that I AM BEAUTIFUL!

What I found really interesting about the commercials is that many of them say “9 out of 10 women noticed a difference” “90% of women saw less wrinkles” and so on. So basically it’s just women who are worried about how women look. Ask a man if he notices a reduction in a female significant other’s wrinkles, pores whatever and he’ll avoid that question like the plague! Thing is, I don’t really believe men give a flying monkey about women’s pores or fine lines. I highly doubt they want the woman in their life so shellacked in makeup that they can’t even touch her without getting it on their face, hands and clothing.

I believe that the best kind of person thinks that the women in their life are beautiful just as they are without loads of cosmetics and creams piled on. People who see the genuine, inner beauty of a woman don’t notice or care if she looks like a drowned rat from being caught in the rain or that her body isn’t as impossibly thin and flawless as the photoshoppped women on magazine covers.

Seeing the quote by Kate Winslet that I posted at the top of this blog was a slap upside the head for me. I have two daughters and the last thing in this world I want is of them to feel bad about themselves. From the moment I read Kate Winslet’s words, I’ve stopped saying negative things about my body. I told my girls that I love my body and the amazing things it’s done and will continue to do. I don’t care what advertisers try to shove down my throat, I refuse to buy into their skewed concept of beauty.