Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve And Staying Home Again

I think Y2K was the last time I was actually up at midnight and enjoying it.  Over the years with kids and life, we just get too tired to go out.  My husband and I often awakened to the sound of fireworks and a barking dog at midnight, wish each other a happy new year, then go back to sleep.

I went once to a club about seven years ago and the crush was unbearable. People pushing and shoving and getting stepped on with drinks ruining my suede shoes...

I swore never again.

I don't get the whole concept, maybe something iconic like Times Square, but to be trampled by barely 21's in an undersized bar with a DJ playing something I've never heard of with flashing lights making me think I'm having a seizure?

No thanks.

So I was up at the crack of dawn as always which makes it nearly impossible to stay up late, but I will try.  I'll try to watch the ball drop on tv with my family, but I have a feeling I'll be asleep long before the camera pans to the neon display.

So I'll just say Happy New Year to everyone now and hope that a happier year ahead awaits us all!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Resolution: Be Resolute!

So New Year's is a couple of day's away and it's resolution time.  Lose weight, get in shape, eat healthier, quit smoking, blah, blah, blah...

Let's face it. Gym memberships increase a thousand times over this first two weeks of the any new year and are eventually cancelled by March.

Salads are awesome until someone at work has a birthday and a cake is involved.  Mmmm, cake.

Losing weight feels fantastic, you buy smaller clothes, you gain a new confidence, and life seems to be going your way until you get sick, have to work overtime, or some deadline helps you miss a day of staying on track.

I watch people quit smoking every year.  For like a day and then they are too "stressed" and are going to light just one.  Ha!

That resolution train has derailed.  You can't put that back on the tracks.  You might manage one car, but eventually it's going to blow up and you'll be making the same resolution next year.

People get really angry and defensive if you point out that they have failed, so try to be supportive or say nothing at all.  Or you may end up in a bog somewhere, toes poited up.

So this year, my resolutions are going to be easier to keep.  Clean the bathrooms more than one a month (with boys, I really hate going in there without a hazmat suit and they are kind of expensive).

Try to be a little more silly.  Be spontaneous more often, smile more, and mostly enjoy my life because I don't know how long it will last.  I will not keep putting off until tomorrow what can easily happen today.

I could be smiling right now.

I'm not, I mean I just woke up, but I could be.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Mother's Love: Unconditional and Fierce

When I was younger (mid-twenties), my mother always asked me when would I give her grandchildren?  My reply?  "When you go adopt some.  Kids?  Blech!"

After my husband entered my life and my Bear was born, I never knew such a love existed.  When my wrath is unleashed upon the world, he just walks in the room and it's secretly hidden and the place is calm.  I can actually feel those little sparkles in my eyes.

When he was 1 1/2years old, he came down with meningitis, and suffered a seizure, it won't be the first time.  Four spinal taps, so many CT scans and MRI's I can't remember, nine neurologists over the years and still no definitive reason for his seizures.

Christmas Eve, I heard loud crash in his room.  I shouted was he ok, with no response, and ran up the stairs three at a time to find him on the floor, full grand mal.  Hours later in his confusion, he thought he missed Christmas.  It was all I could do not to cry.

Out of all my children, he is my favorite.  My first born, my best friend, my heart. I treat them all equally and he's had a tongue lashing many times, but he is a part of me that requires the fiercest protection.  He is a forty year old man in a sixteen year old's body, but he is as delicate as china.

I don't hover where he can see me, I'm good at holding back just far enough.  I take the verbal beatings from my own mother for my lack of "career, wasting my life as a housewife, my lack of fortune..."  But my Bear needs me here.  Had I not been here all those many times over the years we may have lost him.

Twelve minute seizures, twenty minute seizures, forty one minute seizures where they once told me to "prepare myself".  I have punched a doctor, walked out on a neurologist calling him an idiot, and fought tooth and nail for the proper tests when I knew it was meningitis "I can see it in him".

I would give up everything I ever had, all the things I have done in my life, the places I've seen, for my heart to be able to experience those without being sick.  To be able to live a normal life like everyone else, I would give up my own life for him.  

It's not fair that such a good child; an honor student, a non-partying teenager, handsome and so very funny, should ever suffer through what he does.  

It breaks my heart and at the same time makes me so angry.  

I will continue to lose sleep while I do research all night, I will keep asking the questions, insisting on the tests, I will fight until my last breath to, if not find a cure, then to find a reason behind this so we can learn to deal with this...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I Miss You, Most At Christmastime

What is it about the holidays that bring up memories so vividly?

My first Christmas away from home, the song I'll be home for Christmas always made me cry.  I wasn't home for Christmas for that year or the next three.  It was hard to grow up, but growing up and moving on during the holidays made me lonely for my family.

The first Christmas after my grandmother passed away was extremely hard.  She made Christmas so special and was always smiling and laughing.  She baked up more goodies than a pastry/candy shop and sang Christmas songs while she did it.  Her Christmas cookie recipe is still a tradition for everyone left behind, but my first year of baking them on my own, they were a little saltier from my tears.

A couple of years after she passed, I lost my grandfather a few days before Christmas.  We lived in the Rockies and were in a blizzard and I couldn't make it home for the funeral.  The next Spring I flew home and sat by his grave, telling him how sorry I was and that I missed him so much.  He was a father I didn't have when I was very young; he took me fishing and taught me to shoot a gun, always took the time to talk to me about his life...

This was the hardest year I've faced and the loss of Butler was difficult to bear.  He was my cat that I'd had for many years, but Christmas was his time.  Sleeping under the tree, playing with ribbons on gifts, and lying by my side during family movie time sharing peppermint ice cream.

So this year as I started the cookies (I have to make several batches throughout the Christmas season) I had my Christmas music playing on my iPod stereo. When Mariah Carey's I miss you most at Christmastime came on.

Every Christmas is hard, the feelings of loss and the pain of guilt eat a little at me for those I no longer have in my life, but when I listened to it knowing my baby wasn't here, I nearly fell to the floor as tears rolled down my face.  He was my baby in every sense, even called me Momma and knowing he would no longer spend another holiday with me, dancing in the kitchen, looking out the window at the lights, snuggling in the chilly weather, my heart broke all over again.

Sometimes I wish we could forget the pain, but I wouldn't trade this incredible ache for all the happy memories I do have that are just buried right now in my grief.

Christmas still comes and we can't change that, but I do choose to move forward so I must be off to bake my own buffet of sweets, while singing Christmas songs, so that the rest of my children will remember me for the same things I miss the most when it's my time.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Silly Mayans And Their Calendar

So it's December 21, 2012 and past 6:11 am EST.  I'm still here, TV still works, electricity is on...

Earth wasn't sucked into a black hole, solar flares didn't melt the planet, earthquakes didn't uproot entire cities, and zombies aren't beating on my windows.  

Although in the case of zombies, it is a bit chilly outside and I wouldn't blame them for waiting until Spring.

All day yesterday people were saying on talks shows and news clips that we shouldn't believe a calendar of an extinct race of people that didn't foretell their own demise.  

Of course, some still didn't want to take a chance and started stock-piling foods and building shelters over a year ago, but I figured that since major signs of an apocalypse haven't been rearing an ugly head yet this, well, decade, why bother.  

If volcanoes started erupting in weird places or earthquakes destroyed more than cities around the Pacific Ring of Fire this past summer, I might have been inclined to stop buying shoes and start buying bottled water, but here we are just before Christmas and the solstice has passed.

And for anyone who didn't know:

Good thing I mailed my Christmas cards and finished my shopping because Christmas is apparently still on this year! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Teleportation And My Need For Faster Development

I'm not stupid.  I do my Christmas shopping well in advance of the holiday season.  Black Friday shopping?  Not a chance!

Paying more is worth my sanity.

Except in this rare instance where a stroke of genius strikes and I get a gift idea for my husband I just can't pass up.  Now I'm not talking about leaving my safe haven and battling crowds, throwing elbows and tagging bumpers in traffic.  I ordered it online like a normal person who values my intellectual ability to remain calm rather than turning into a Mrs. Hyde over a scarf sale when I don't even wear scarves!

The problem?  Shipping during this season.  Like others, I got sucked into the "order now and receive free shipping" hype.   Ooooooh.  Free!

That was November 30th.

Today is December 19th and I'm still waiting with only five days left before Christmas and the status marked on my gift on the website?  Preparing shipment.


For the last three weeks it's said that.  I've called, I've emailed, I've pulled my hair out and yet the gift is still sitting there.  For seven dollars more it would be safely nestled under the tree and now it's turning into a Father's Day gift.

My Christmas delight is ruined.  If only teleportation was available.  Instant gratification.  Buy now, receive now.  That would be worth something!  No more waiting.  We had the telephone and now you take it wherever you go.

Letters?  Bah!  Email!!  Not home?  Those fancy new portable phones can get you your mail instantly.  But a treasured gift?!?

Preparing shipment...

Merry Christmas Free Shipping.  I hate you.  Does anyone have Santa's email address?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

You Can't Argue With Stupid People

The full quote by Mark Twain states:  "You can't argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience."

I have learned over the years that people like to verbally hit below the belt.  They try to say the meanest thing they can think of to make you feel as bad as possible while simultaneously feeling superior.  The lesson I've taken away?


I was recently maliciously attacked by someone who had enough of my history to throw a dig at me that would have broken me years ago, but when it came out of her mouth, I laughed.  I'm mature enough to not only know it's not true, but have the ability to seek the answers I've needed over the years to secure that truth.

So I laughed.  Literally.

I found it so funny and that made her so angry, veins were popping out everywhere.  I have never seen someone go from smug to psychotic that quickly and it made it even funnier to me.

I haven't heard from her again.

It's not easy to turn the other cheek and I do believe revenge is best served cold, but I'm patient.  Kids will do that.  I also believe in Karma.  I think that if you have to get even it must be done legally, quietly, and most of all with a level of genius that will teach them to never treat someone like that again.

I've been dealing with two people with the same problem the last couple of days and all I can do is commiserate with them, tell them I know how they feel, and make them laugh about it.  Because if you let someone's words break you, they win.  They got what they wanted.

But if you stand tall or even laugh about it, you've not only won, but left them with nothing left to do but retreat.

I also like the shock and awe approach.  I had someone come to me with a friend starting trouble saying her husband was sleeping around (he was not, she was just trying to upset my friend).  I told her flat out:  Next time this so-called friend says that, tell her, "Good!  Let someone else (fill in the blank graphically, strangely, and sexually) for a change!"

That ended that problem and she didn't see the troublemaker again.

It's not easy to roll with the punches.  It does hurt, but letting the one who hurt you know that only fuels their fire.  Stay calm, walk away, call a friend, and don't do anything until your head is clear.  Then make a surgical strike like a stealth fighter!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Moment To Reflect: Sandy Hook Elementary

I was out most of the day this past Friday and I had not heard about the tragedy until the afternoon.  When my children entered the door en masse, I hugged them all and couldn't help the tears that welled up in my eyes.

"I guess you heard," my oldest, Bear, said to me.

I just nodded.  Too choked up to speak, too frightened of it ever being me, too overwhelmed with sympathy to those that lost.

Before letting them go back to school this early Monday morning, I sat them all down.

"Don't ever try to be a hero if something like this happens to you.  Lock yourself in a closet.  Run.  Do what you have to do to save yourself."

Sadly and yet proudly, I know these are not the type of children I raised.  They would gladly sacrifice themselves to help another without a second thought.  

And that double-edged sword twists in my heart as I send them off to school, no longer a safe place.

Though we live many miles from the most recent shooting, I know it can happen anywhere and at any time.  I will sit quietly and reflect this morning and try to remember that there is still good in this world.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Makes People Absolutely Crazy

Remember when everyone told you Merry Christmas and smiled while you shopped?  Christmas carols were always being sung slightly off-key in random locations like the grocery store or the parking lot of the mall.  Hanging lights was a joy that had the entire family anxiously awaiting the sun to go down.  Snow falling didn't mean back-breaking shoveling and icy roads, it mean snow angels and snow-ball fights, a white Christmas, and a beautiful reflection of those Christmas lights making things seem warmer inside...

I dread leaving at Christmas to go anywhere these days!

People are nuts.  Rude, pushy, and you'd think the holiday was a chore rather than a happy time.  You just need to remember what this holiday is all about.  For us, it's bringing the family together and having fun.

We watch Christmas movies and still laugh at the same parts, sometimes a small little thing that has been previous overlooked in the background will appear and the laughter resumes with intensity.

My husband walks in the door and the smell of Christmas cookies baking makes him pause, breathe deeply. and smile before coming in further.  The scents of evergreen and spices when you come in from the cold always makes me do the same.

My favorite things to do this time of year:

Show up at school unannounced with sleds in the back of the car, grab the kids and play hooky in the snow the rest of the day.

Skip dinner and have a carpet picnic with hot chocolate, popcorn, and those cookies while watching  a Christmas DVD.

Sneak out of bed early and have a breakfast feast of cinnamon rolls in the shape of a Christmas tree, bacon stacked so high you start to drool thinking about it, and pancakes in a variety of flavors like chocolate chip, gingerbread, and blueberry.  I do this mid-week when everyone is usually on cereal and toast (by choice), but when those smells reach them, I've never seen my family get ready for the day so fast!  Then I drive the kids to school rather than the bus so they have more time to enjoy it.

Wear a random headband of a Christmas theme.  Reindeer antlers, tiny Santa hat, elf ears...  I'll wear it all day and everywhere I go, just to see how many people will smile instead of frowning.  My family is so used to this, they don't even notice when I do it any more, but a waitress of checkout clerk always pauses.

Pile everyone in the car and drive around looking at the Christmas lights in highly populated neighborhoods, follow it with dinner inside a pizza place.

Spontaneity and fun will do more to put people in a great mood than anything else.  If only every family took the time to do little things like this, the world would be much more pleasant to be out in for the month of December.

It's Christmas.  If you plan for a happy time during the year, it will be.  I set aside a little money throughout the year into a jar specifically for this season.  Pizza night, movies, the unexpected things you can do in a time that is usually stressful for parents in this economy can make a wonderful difference in a person's temperament.

If you start at home, you can spread the joy and pretty soon I won't be afraid to go to Walmart any more.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Animal Exploitation Protest In Spain

400 people stood in Puerta Del Sol in Madrid protesting animal exploitation on Animal Rights Day.  Each individual stood in a hazmat suit holding a dead animal.  They felt using the actual bodies of animals that have been tortured, tested, used in animal fights, or victims of cruelty would make for a stronger impact in getting their point across...

Some cried while standing there.

Many around the world applauded their efforts.  Cheers rang out at the brave act these people participated in, young and old alike.

They group felt using the bodies instead of photos would really make their efforts sink in to those in charge that can help rescue more animals from the same fate. "All of God's creatures have their rights."  This is their belief.

Well, they succeeded in making me angry!

These people exploited the animals to protest exploitation of animals.  Can they not see the irony in this?  

A good photo can achieve a lot.  Just ask National Geographic.  I will not show any of the photos because I will not be a part of exploiting the animals further.

Those poor creatures did not die to further the efforts of IgualdadAnimal (Animals' Equality), let their souls rest in peace!


These are the same people that laid naked in the streets with fake gorings to protest the running of the bulls.

I'm all for animals, I volunteer weekends to help find homes for unloved, unwanted cats and dogs.  All of my pets are rescues with tragic tales, but to exploit them further by parading them through town showing their scars would never cross my mind.  Alive or dead.

I would never dishonor them by doing such a cruel and hideous act and anyone that could is not a hero in my eyes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Is Jesus Really The Reason For The Season?

The birth of Jesus tale has been told and re-told so many times, the truth surrounding his birth may be a bit skewed.

Mary is always depicted riding a donkey.  It's likely, she was pregnant after all, but the Bible doesn't say this fact anywhere.  Nor does it say she rode into town the night she gave birth.  In the book of Luke, the Bible says "while they were there (i.e. Bethlehem) the days were accomplished that she should be delivered".

Jesus wasn't necessarily born in a barn/stable either.  He was laid in a manger because there was no room in, well, the word used was "kataluma" which in Greek means, lodging place, inn, or guest chamber.  The only other time this word is used in scripture it refers to a large furnished upper room in a private house (book of Mark).  So they were probably staying with relatives or friends who didn't have a crib.  (Bible says nothing about being turned away by an innkeeper)

Which makes me feel better for never investing in an over-priced Nativity scene, complete with animals.

Three kings?  The bible doesn't say anything about kings.  Or camels for that matter.  It does say that wise men (or magi) came, but doesn't say how many, it only says three gifts were brought: gold, frankincense and myrrh.  This doesn't indicate the number of men or the country they came from since those items were traded and valued over a wide region.

Was Jesus' birth December 25th or even in December?  Not likely.  Not impossible, but not likely.

It would be difficult for shepherds to be "abiding in the field" in winter between the cold and the lack of food source. Flocks of sheep would logically be in fields from spring to fall.

December 25th was actually chosen by the Roman Catholic Church to celebrate the birth of Jesus since they ruled most of Christendom for centuries.  With December 21st being the shortest day of the year, by the 25th the ancient people noticed the longer sunlit days and this was a pagan celebration day.  Not wishing to produce a discontent among the people, the Church chose this day to replace a pagan tradition with a Christian one.

This would ensure more people taking hold of a new religious holiday as opposed to returning to their old heathen ways and thus allowing the Church to gain more power.  Much easier to take away an unholy celebration as long as it's replaced, even if by a holy one.

Cheap Psychological trick.

A more believable scenario for Jesus' birthday would have been for Mary and Joseph traveling in late September for the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.  Later, Michaelmas (meaning: Michael sent) is celebrated on the 29th of September and he could have been the angel that delivered the news of the birth, again making things more religiously logical.

So if you really want to be religious about it, Jesus could have been conceived in December, God giving light to the world during a dark time or something like that, and the Church could have tackled two birds with one religious stone by choosing December 25th as Christmas (Christ sent).

Huh.  I guess the answer is Jesus really is the reason for the season...

Now to just figure out how to justify rum-spiked eggnog & cinnamon schnapps-spiked hot chocolate with cookies, peppermint bark, and twinkling lights!

Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Card Procrastination

Every year it gets worse. The dreaded Christmas cards.  I used to fill them out and mail them the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Now, it's the twelfth of December and they still sit on the kitchen counter.

Cards, stamps, photos of kids, newsletters filled with this past year's happenings...

Every day I walk past the stack, pause, and think of something else I can do that will take up my entire day and leave me no time for the inevitable hand cramp.  While every night I lay in bed guilt-ridden for not getting them out yet.

I'm not the only one.  The only cards I have so far received have been from my mother and my mother-in-law.  Usually by now the wall is filled with jolly photos and religious quotes, interspersed with photos of babies and inappropriate Santa cartoons.

Is everyone waiting to see if the Mayans were right?

Yesterday, instead of having my hated braces removed from my teeth as anticipated, I got something akin to car tire snow chains stretched across my mouth.  The pain has been horrific.

I'd like to use that as my excuse to avoid a job that somehow falls to me and only me every single year, but in truth I can do little more than sit without pain so I might as well tackle this dreaded task.

Afterward, I know I will feel the weight lift from my shoulders and know this was the last of my Christmas "chores" and maybe I can sit back and enjoy the rest of the season, but I really don't want to do this!

Maybe the floors need deep steam-cleaning....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Reality Of Anxiety

A decade ago (Wow, has it been ten years?), I had a cramp in my calf.  The doctors kept putting me off, unconcerned with a "pulled muscle".  I was also having trouble breathing, but they said that was because I moved to a higher elevated, drier climate. I moved from the bayous to the Rockies.

After weeks of suffering and my issues getting worse, I complained that my sore leg was bigger than the other, they still found my complaints annoying, but sent me to the ER for an ultrasound, on my son's birthday.  I was terrified, because nobody would tell me anything and there were seven doctors scrambling around me with me begging for someone to please call my husband.

Turns out I had a blood clot (DVT - Deep Vein Thrombosis) that spanned the length of my thigh.  Pieces of it had broken off and settled into clusters in my lungs (PE - Pulmonary Embolism).  Clusters!  In both lungs!

Idiot doctors.

I spent a week in ICU, three weeks in the hospital, then I was sent home.  Two weeks of self injections in the belly with Heparin, spent six months on Coumadin and bed rest.  The doctors couldn't believe I had lived so long, I was amazing to them, but as a mother of two young boys, I was terrified.

That was when my anxiety started.  I'd never had an anxiety attack before, but after the cramp in my leg/blood clot, whenever I got a cramp or pain, I'd have a panic attack.  Once I started freaking out a bit while driving, I made it to a parking lot before blacking out, then ended up stumbling into a strip mall and laying on a floor where someone called for an ambulance.

That really scared me.

I was sent to a psychiatrist that evaluated me for a few weeks and basically came to the conclusion, "It's perfectly normal.  That can be frightening.  You almost died and it's natural for you to feel this way."

So off they sent me with a little anxiety medications and a pat on the head.

It seems it's getting worse as I get older, but I'm in menopause and that doesn't seem to help my situation.  If I wake up with a sore neck, I'm sure to have an attack because some part of my brain goes into overload, remembers near death with nobody believing me even though I told everyone something was wrong and if the pain gets bad, a switch flips and I have an attack.

Tension at the store from crowds, attack.  Sensory overload with kids running around like maniacs, attack.  It doesn't help that three years ago I took a tumble and broke two ribs, thinking I punctured a lung (just had the wind knocked out of me), but they missed the fact that I'd also broken my neck.  That led to a lot of intense pain and two years of physical therapy.  The pain in my neck is something that I still fight with daily.

Another "normal" situation.  I could have been paralyzed, I made it through, but I still have that underlying fear.

The logical part of the brain wars with the paranoid part, but with shallow breathing (it's an anxiety response that's unavoidable), I get light headed, weak, tingly, and then a full-blown attack occurs.

It's really hard because I'll be talking to my husband in the middle of my crisis, saying how stupid this is, I know nothing is wrong with me and yet here I am, fighting an anxiety/panic attack.

Sometimes I think about going back to a psychiatrist because I feel like I'm out of control.  That my anxiety is in control of my life, but at the same time I keep being told that it's normal because of my history.

Well, no matter the cause or the problem, I have a life to lead, a family to take care of and don't have time for this, so I'll just do my best to muddle through on my own mentally knowing that there is nothing physically wrong.  Plus I have the support of a wonderful husband who at least "gets it" and always helps me through my crisis.

No matter how frustrating that can be!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Is It Really Better To Give Than Receive?

The premise started with a verse in the Bible (ACTS 20:35):

"I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Well, it's Christmas and the season you hear that phrase more often than any other time of year.  We all know that means that the person saying it couldn't afford to give what they really wanted or that they received little to nothing and use it to make the giver feel better.

My husband and I divide our funds up for certain things throughout the year and as tough a year as we've had, Christmas has been a lean one as far as the number of presents under the tree.  For my kids, they are completely fine with it.  Only asking for one or two things each and that's normal.  As my oldest, Bear, often says, "I already have everything; I can't think of anything else."

Well my husband and I usually manage to find more and make their morning even better, but this year has been harder because I broke my tooth out of the front of my mouth last month and had to get braces that aren't covered by insurance. (very expensive)

I have secretly managed over the year to do the usual Christmas splendor and tuck it away, but my husband has not done for me in the manner in which he has in the past.

I am not bothered by this, but he is stressed about it.  He lives by the better to give than receive concept and since I do the shopping for the kids, he does for me.  There are presents, which I purchased online for myself, shipped home, still in the original packing, and he will wrap them, but he thinks there should be more.

I looked at him and said, "You really want to give me something special?  You cook the Christmas meal this year!"  He can do cereal, toast, and hot dogs, so that really wasn't a good request.

It's a different day and age we live in than when I was a kid.  I was explaining to my kids just this morning that when I was young, we got maybe one little present in our stocking, but the rest was filled with fruits and nuts.  

As they sat speechless, aghast with horror, I explained it was a real treat back then, we didn't have boxes of Little Debbies in the pantry, fruit was our "sweets".

I'm excited and anxious for Christmas as always.  I do feel better giving and the receiving is nice, but Christmas is not about jewelry.  Let's face it, I'm a mom.  You want to give me something special??

Rub my feet.  Rub my shoulders.  Keep the kids out of the bathroom while I take a long hot soak.  Give me a night off from cooking.  Someone else do the laundry for a day.

I'm more rewarded with how much fun everyone has in our holiday traditions, together, than what I get in a little box.  To be honest, having a tooth back in the front of my mouth was worth more than any bauble or trinket to be found in a glittery box.



Friday, December 7, 2012

The War Within: Crazy Cat Lady or Feline Savior?

I live in one of those neighborhoods.  The planned subdivisions with an HOA, a rule book thicker than the fiction on my bed side table, neighbors so nosy they look in your windows or hurry over when they see you, but the worst of it is they have a Facebook page.

The high school drama that goes on between separate groups of people astounds me.  There is what's referred to as The Party Street, we live on The Bible Belt (because we don't socialize and party with the rest of the neighborhood), there is also Those Smaller Houses, The Back Loop, and All Caps Guy.

He gets his own name because he always types in ALL CAPS, ALL THE TIME.

At home we call him Angry Guy.

So now that you have the back story:  Angry Guy has been complaining about a cat.  ALL THE TIME.


So, my neighbors and I here in The Bible Belt (which is ironic because we never go to church) laugh about him every day, he's hysterically insane.  He has been complaining about the same cat for months.

But a couple of days ago, said cat wandered to my yard.  I walked to it and it jumped into my arms.  My husband looks at me and says, "How is it that guy sets traps, calls the cops, calls animal control, and can't catch this cat?"

Of course, I have this way with cats to begin with, you'd have to see it to believe it, but my husband believes it's either because I'm a witch or I was a cat in a former life.

Well, the temps were going below freezing that night and this poor kitty was a little thin, smelled of sawdust so I knew it had been sleeping in the new construction homes. I brought it into the garage and set up a bed, fed it, and gave it a litter box.  Then I looked up those Facebook posts...

Three months, no one's claimed it, it's been wandering from house to house and covering a different street every week.  Always begging to come indoors, begging for attention, begging for help.  I have two cats and a dog, a bleeding heart, and a family that understands this.

I called the local rescue group I know and made arrangements for a foster home.  The lady I know well from this group is really sick and asked if I could be the one to bring it to the vet so it can be tested for deadly diseases, and either put down or given shots before the foster can pick it up.  I agreed.  Sure.  Moved the cat into the guest room (quarantined from my own pets).  It was warmer  there and she was grateful.

Yes, I said she.  A long-haired orange female kitty.  At the vet, every single worker had to come look for themselves, because it's very uncommon.  We named her Murphy.

We've never had a girl in the house besides myself.  I have four boys.  All the pets we've had over the many years have been boys.  The fish is a boy.  It's just been weird that way and now here is this precious little girl in our house, she's about a year old, three of those months on the street.

I announced on the Facebook page what I'd done, taking it in and arranging foster care for adoption, and suddenly I'm the neighborhood savior.  Everyone is applauding me for doing something any of them could have done at any time over the past several months.  I've just never seen here before now.

After taking her to the vet and being cleared of Feline Aids and Leukemia, I felt so relieved because I didn't realize how much we liked her sweet nature.

Now the problem is my family adores her.  She is sweet tempered, loving, and we have a weakness for the less fortunate in the four-legged variety.  

The bigger problem is she is terrified of our other pets and growls/hisses at them and do I want to go through the introductions of a new family member all over again?  It's Christmas, she needs a family, we can provide, and after actually reading all of the posts about her, I feel sorry for her.  She's eaten more than my other pets combined, needs love like every animal deserves, and I admit, I'm kind of fond of her myself.

My biggest worry is would three cats officially make me a Crazy Cat Lady?

**UPDATE**  Murphy's real name was Kirby.  Her owners were out of town when the pet sitter apparently let her get away and didn't bother to get her back.  There is another orange cat in our neighborhood that is a stray, lighter in color, that I have yet to see.  So I got her back to her mommies and all is well.  Happy Endings!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The New Internet Craze People Do With Their Pets

I should say the "crazy things people do" maybe "stupid things dumb people do", but I'd be here too long so we'll start with one I saw the other day.

A while back people were "breading" their cats.  That's where they made a hole in a slice of bread, shoved the cat's head through it, photographed it and put it on the internet.  I even saw a pita used once.

Poor kitties.

Let's talk "shaming".

I'm not sure if that's what it's being called, but that's what it seems like it should be named.  Much like humans being in a sandwich board or holding up a poster for punishment on a busy street corner, people are now posting pictures of their pet's crimes.

Is this really necessary?  Do the animals even know what that says?  I mean, my pets are pretty smart, so would I find a fresh "present" in a shoe for publicly humiliating them?

How do you get that look on their face?  Because That's mine's "I'm a bad dog" face, whenever I use those words for something, well, bad that he's done.

And if the photographer did use those words for their own humorous photo, is this right?  I feel bad for the animal being blamed for the crime.

We had two cats, one was always getting into trouble for going outside of the box.  He passed away last May and I found he was not the one going outside of the box...

The guilt!  And at the same time:  "Comet!  Bad kitty!"

This would apply to my Brady.  But is it the cat's fault for being attracted to something made of cream or the owner's fault for leaving the butter out?  I learned to put the butter back into the refrigerator.  Problem solved.  Angering the cat by posting a humiliating photo, unnecessary.

They can hold a grudge like nobody's business and the way they get even... (shudder)

Is it worth it?  This last dog seems pretty happy he eats socks, but the cat knows he didn't really supply them so, he's not so happy.  I admit it made me giggle.  Just a little.  On the inside.

But just stop it people!  

Shame yourselves, but not the innocent animals for your own pleasure.  Unless it's really funny, then maybe...

My Zimbio
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