Charting life's circuitous path

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Balled up words

Words are full – they’re full of meaning, connotation, history, nuance…

They’re also so big sometimes that they stick in the back of your throat and never come out.  We say “I’m so sorry” because we don’t have the words to truly voice the chaotic emotions in our heart.  The hurt, the sadness, the memories are all balling up and wedging themselves like a plug.  We whisper “take care” and what we mean is “stay with me, don’t leave, get better, be like before.”

Don’t die.

I’m grateful we live during a time where words like cancer can be spoken out loud.  I only wish that the emotions came with an easier vocabulary.  But words are only words – limited in definition and size.  Their inadequacies feel like our own as we try to emotionally deal with something we spend most of our lives ignoring –mortality.

This past week I found out that a dear friend has terminal cancer.  Given a prognosis of less than a year to live, I didn’t know what to say.  I didn’t know what to feel.  I couldn’t imagine what she was going through.

I wanted to say everything and yet my mouth could only vocalize “oh, no”.  Words came up but I choked them down, afraid to say the wrong thing.  Afraid to hurt her more with my ignorance.  Naively, I thought I was more prepared for this kind of news since I have read a lot of books where characters are given a terminal verdict.  I found out this week just how unprepared I was and how little I knew.

One thing I definitely found out?  It’s far better to say something than nothing at all.

To try as hard as you can to vocalize even one part of what you’re feeling.  Will it be enough?  Maybe not. Will you think of things later that might have been better?  Probably. In fact, in my case, definitely. But opening myself up to that moment gave me the opportunity to bridge the silence and sadness.

In the end, the words are there. They just need the power, our strength, to be spoken.


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Purrfect Love

midoriOn February 14th, we fell in love.  With green eyes, soft head butts and a beautiful coat. The green-eyed girl who gave us the biggest “take me home and love me” look from her Petsmart kennel became our newest family member.

We weren’t planning to buy a cat.  Even though we both loved cats and wished we had one, there were always too many worries in the back of our minds.  Could we afford to keep a cat?  Could Eddy, our African Grey Parrot, stand a cat or would the cat spring at him for target practice?  Would a cat fit in with our lifestyle and work?  Would it just be one giant mistake? I grew up in a house full of dogs.  Would I go all “dog” over the cat and freak her out?

These worries kept us immobile.  We fretted and didn’t do anything but look wistfully at kitty pictures on Pinterest and Buzzfeed (and there were a LOT of wistful sighing going on).  We made promises to each other that “one day” we’d get a cat.  Occasionally I’d go out to the library and bring home every cat book on the shelf and flip through them until I grew sadly frustrated and returned the books.

Camera360_2015_2_17_103021_jpgSo that snowy Saturday at the Petsmart was a surprise.  It was surreal.  We stood like  nervous parents as we waited for the family in the Petsmart meeting room to JUST GET OUT ALREADY and let us see the girl that had quickly stolen our hearts.  We saw a book on the turnstile about African Greys as we waited and the same old worries kept wanting to intrude and make us turn around, but those eyes…

Meeting her for the first time was filled with confusion.  We told the Petsmart attendant that we wanted to meet Midori and she voiced how happy she was to hear that.  We were pretty happy too, until she brought in a black and red cat.  Not the beautiful striped cat we had eyed through the plexiglass.  We sat there awkwardly and wondered about what to do.  This cat was nice, but wasn’t the one we had hoped to see.  Had we gotten the name wrong?

After the attendant figured out her mistake, we got to see Midori.  And all she wanted to do was play. She leaped onto the cat tree and tried to attack the toys, but through all of her excitement, we saw that she also loved people.  She wasn’t afraid of us and came up for a pet and a rub as she played.  We thought she’d fit right in.

Of course, the feather chasing was a bit of a worry.  :/

We went straight home and filed our application and then we waited.  And waited.  It felt like we were actually adopting a child.  I realize that adopting a real child is probably even more stressfull, but I could now relate at least a bit to how one feels when waiting for the decisive call.  We wondered if we had answered the questions to their standards.  I read horror stories about agencies that refused adoption for even the smallest thing and imagined Eddy as being the big red X on our application.

“When can I call to talk to you about Midori?”  Came the email question and then it was like I was waiting for a job interview.

After a long conversation with the very nice adoption agency lady, we decided to give it a try.  She knew that Midori was a good cat around other cats and dogs, knew that she’d love to be the queen cat of the house and promised us that if it didn’t work out, they would take her back.  So, on February 17, right after the snowfall from frozen hell, we picked up Midori and brought her home.  11018898_10205266163526173_8441720212712325398_n

We’ve only had her for about a week and a half and already it feels like she’s an inseparable part of our family.  We learned that she loves to nap on me at night and that I love her deep purr and her small soft paws.  We learned that she’s very adaptable and handled a visit to the cat groomers with no trouble (except for a few grumpy mews).  We learned that she loves to bat balls and play with shoestrings. We learned that Eddy, the parrot, didn’t register on her feline radar after she gave him a good look and decided the birds outside were more fun.

We learned that adopting a cat can be one of the most rewarding life moments.  Every day she’s opening up a little more to us and we’re seeing a very playful and loving side to her personality that we only saw the hint of through the plexiglass at the store.  They say that it takes cats about 4 months to fully adjust to a house.  Seeing as how our girl has gone from safe room kitty to full out queen of the house in under a week, we’re looking forward to seeing what she has in store for us as we live our lives together.


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A sketch made clean.


Waking with grey skies across dull eyes,
Blanket weighs heavily on weak limbs.
Coffee mugs scattered across cluttered surfaces.
One after another, brown rings overlapping into moons.
But no moon rises for a new day to begin.
I’m feeling low.

A silhouette that’s fading around the edges.
Dark smudges, opaque with fears, sadness and loathing.
Sugar highs pass like brief sunbursts through weeping clouds.
Floods soon follow and loathing roars with triumph.
Rainbows are for the morning. A hope held between limp hands.
The clock ticks down the hours.

Shake the grains loose one more time.

Begin again.

cupI woke up this morning and I instantly knew it was going to be a bad day.  A heavy day filled with all of the doubts, fears, anger and self-loathing I could muster.

And I hadn’t even hit the alarm yet.  :/

I had a very bad night with little rest and the grey skies today aren’t helping me bounce back.  I know that waiting it out and getting back to a routine will help me, but it’s so hard sometimes to just get through the day.  My brain knows one thing but my emotions are saying another and it’s hard to shut them off.

So I’m having a lot of tea and coffee and trying to stop the sugar binge from destroying my self-esteem.  I wish there was a way to just “get over it” all, but that way lies deception.  Accepting where I am and feeling it for the moment as what I am makes me stronger.  There’s always tomorrow.

And if not that, another.

Cup of tea, that is. 😉