Tag Archives: animals

Princess Stella

Many moons ago I wrote about the cat my sister was giving me, even though I didn’t really want it, but I didn’t really tell her that, so… it was pretty much my own fault I would be taking in a cat I didn’t want.

The cat’s name was Stella and she was a princess.  She came into my house in September and immediately took over.  Other than those first moments out of the cat carrier, her paws never touched the floors.  Instead, she leaped through the air and flew from table top to counter top to buffet top to… you get the idea.

Although I am aware that MY cats occasionally sneak onto these forbidden surfaces, they wouldn’t dare do it in front of me because it is against the rules at my house.

And so my cats were stunned and hurt to see Princess Stella getting away with these shocking maneuvers.  She basically took over the house, all their special spots and hiding places, and she took over me, their human mother.  And she lorded it over them.

Hour by hour, day by day, they became more hurt and dejected.  They started staying outside as much as possible to avoid the princess.  And I felt guiltier and angrier about it by the minute.

I began to see that a pattern from childhood had repeated itself in the present day and I needed to break that pattern.

This cat, that I never wanted in the first place, was clearly not working out.  I had to tell my sister “no” for the first time in my life.  I had to do it fast and I had to mean it.  In spite of the possibly good intentions she had, in spite of the trouble and expense she had gone to, in spite of my almost-out-of-control panic that had been triggered by this situation, I had to say that the princess was just not fitting in and would have to go.

Ah, sweet emotional illness…. I was a wreck.

But I did it!!!  I gave that damn cat back!  It’s kind of funny now, but at the time it was completely stressful and traumatic.

Even now, seven months later, I consider the whole episode to be a significant turning point in my development as a human being with a sense of agency.  It gives me something to build on as I move forward in life.  And it gives me a way to know better what I want for myself and to believe that I deserve to have what I want.

In a strange way, I owe this turning point to a little black and white cat.  Thank you Princess Stella!

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Filed under anxiety, boundaries, bullies, decision making, dysfunction, family, getting along, growth, honesty, journey, motivation, peer pressure, progress, self-care, self-respect, stress, Uncategorized

Weeping Willow

One morning last week I let the cat in through the back door and then just leaned against the window panes for a bit and absent-mindedly stared at the autumn all around.

On the west side of our back yard is an old apple tree and the compost pile.  In the center is a little flower bed.  And to the east is a huge old willow tree.  Except on this day it was lying on its side with roots in the air and branches and limbs strewn over ours and our neighbors’ lawns.

I love our trees the same way I love our pets.  Seeing the tree destroyed like that made me want to find a way to set it back up and let it somehow live for a few more years.  Magical thinking.

Later on I went outside and was able to look inside the termite damaged trunk.  There was a cool spray of dust from the roots slowly falling around me while I was in there.  Then I walked around checking out the full  length of our old willow and found dozens of bees freaking out near the ground under some limbs.  I guess their lives got mightily disrupted because of this.

It must have fallen during the night.  Neither my husband nor I heard a thing.  It was a complete surprise.

We’ve lived here for twenty-three years, so there are some memories attached to this willow.  We had a tire swing in it for awhile.  Our cats had chased squirrels up and down it over the years.  Lots of birds nested there, naturally.  One time, my husband set part of it on fire!  By accident, of course. And another time it lost about half its limbs due to a freak October ice storm.  That tree just might have had a more interesting life than I have had so far.

My husband and his friend made quick work of it with their chainsaws the other day and I have checked out the new piles of future bonfire wood a couple times.  It is kind of satisfying to see the orderliness of it.  Plus, we both thought this clean-up would take months (having had experience with only cheap, crappy chainsaws in the past).  Instead it took only a few hours with a couple of new, deluxe chainsaws.

Since the carving up, I haven’t been out there at all.  I’ve been busy and other things have been on my mind.  When I do see the tree from a window every so often, it still surprises me but not with the same twist in my gut as on the first day.

This is the kind of thing my life is about now.  And for the time being, or maybe forever, I prefer it to the tedious grind of being out there in the world of work, side by side with mostly strangers, and letting the external pressures of every single thing in the universe take over my poor brain.

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Filed under anxiety, depression, emotional health, family, grief, growth, healing, love, pressure, self-care, social phobia, Uncategorized, work

Change of Plans

I’m probably getting a new kitten today.  He is orange and white and his name will be Sonny when he is mine.  I thought I would be getting a kitten last weekend and I expected him to be white and gray-striped.  I also expected him to be free!  No such luck.  I will be paying $50 for what in the past would have been a stray cat.

I’m not sure when I will go get him as I am waiting on a call from the Roto Rooter guy.  He was already out here this week and cleared out a couple of clogs.  Apparently there were others lurking somewhere in the convoluted mess of old and new plumbing that our house contains.  I discovered this when I opened the washing machine this morning to throw in a load of laundry and found the tub filled with sewage.  Nice!

Originally I planned to do the laundry on Tuesday or Wednesday, but I woke up early enough today that it seemed like a good idea to get something useful done right away.  And I was right about that.  I just didn’t know what the useful thing would actually be.

Sundays are normally when I take belly dance class.  Last night I made plans to go in early since my friend is teaching instead of the regular teacher.  This is the friend I choreograph with and we are creating a Christmas dance.  She thought it would be nice to work on our dance in the huge studio with mirrors on both ends of the room.  Though I didn’t really want to change my routine, I agreed to come in early because she was right, that studio is a real treat to dance in and there will come a day when we can’t use it anymore.  So, sure, I can go with the flow today.

But sewage in the washing machine out-ranks even the most beautiful of dance studios and so there will be no class for me.

I suppose I could just wait and see when the plumber is coming and then scramble to fit in a partial dance class, then race over to the foster family and pick up Sonny, and then race home and cram in the other things I had on my list for today in preparation for being completely booked for tomorrow.

But I made an executive decision.

No dance class, period.  Wait for plumber because there is nothing optional about that one.  Then call foster family about Sonny. And lastly, I crossed two things off the list once I realized they were actually choices that I had somehow made into requirements.

Truly I am in a new country these days.  None of it feels exactly natural.  But the old ways no longer fit.

One old way was to become a victim and expect to be rescued from each of these events.  And be sorely disappointed when that did not happen.  Another old way was to become angry with the people who had thrown these monkey wrenches in my path.  And a third old way was to memorize the monkey wrenches and vow to never have dealings with these people again because trust was broken.  That’s exactly how my mother lives her life and I guess I absorbed that method from the moment I was born not knowing any differently.

The first plumber could have stayed longer the other day and had me run water from every part of the house to make sure he really got all the clogs.  It did actually occur to me to do something like that before he left, but he was confident it was all clear and I went with that.  No wonder the bill was less this time than two years ago.  So, he goofed and so did I.

My dancing friend could relax a bit about the new dance.  I could have told her I didn’t really want to come in early.  But she was right about our chance to use the studio.  And then none of it mattered anyway.  So that’s that.

My friend who told me about the kitten could have called me last week but she forgot.  She could have told me about the $50 but she forgot.  I know something about her life and I guess she just flaked.  Twice.  I could have cancelled the whole thing because I didn’t want to spend the money.  But nowadays with rescues, “furever” homes, and Community Cat Committees…. it is unlikely I would get a cat anytime soon for free.  And I don’t want to wait any longer.

Sometimes life is just too much.  Every day I wonder what my life would be like if I had figured out a way to heal myself of depression at a much younger age and in a simpler time.  But simpler times didn’t have the knowledge and the internet, and that is what will finally break the depression spell for me.  So, better to wake up from that spell during crazy times than to never come out of it at all.

As for the best laid plans, I don’t see anything wrong with making plans on some level.  It’s just pointless to be married to them.  Stressful, too.  The real secret to it all is to always take care of your own basic needs first and foremost.  I am a work in progress on that count, but I’ll take it.

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Filed under decision making, depression, friends, getting along, growth, healing, planning, stress

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award Q and A!

I have been following an awesome blog called The Elephant in the Room and today Ms. Elephant nominated me for the above-mentioned Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. Being a very new blogger, and awkward at that, I can handle the questions part of the award. But the nominating part is a skill that I do not have yet. Perhaps in time.

Now to figure out how to get a link to The Elephant in this blog entry– http://telephantitroom.wordpress.com. Wheee! It worked!

Now for the easy part, which was actually hard because I thought I lost my draft for awhile there….

Q: What is your favorite type of animal in the world, real or myth?
A: Any and all kinds of felines. I love their faces, their paws, they way they move and the way they sound.

Q: What is your favorite type of pet?
A: House cats, naturally. It does not feel like home without cats. I have three of them and expect to always have at least one.

Q: What is your least favorite type of pet?
A: Reptiles. Maybe if they were warm-blooded and had fur I would reconsider. But in their current form, they just don’t seem like a house pet to me. They belong outdoors in ponds and under rocks.

Q: If you could BE an animal, which would you choose and why?
A: It is hard to choose what kind of animal I would want to be because I have a hard time getting past the various things they need to eat. I tell myself that if I were actually an animal, then the horrible things they have to eat would actually taste good to me. I would crave cold, gooshy things and bloody things with bones and fur and feathers. But from this side it makes me want to hurl. Based on food choices only, I would choose to be a deer. I can handle the idea of eating leaves and twigs and seeds.

Q: What tends to be your favorite season and why?
A: Easy! Fall. It’s nice and cool out. It rains. And when it rains, the tree trunks look black and dramatic against the colored leaves and the gray sky. I love that sight. And the dry leafy smell of the air gets my blood going.

Q: What tends to be your least favorite season and why?
A: This makes me an oddball but I kind of hate summer. It gets way too hot and humid for me. I actually feel sick if the heat and humidity get too high. If I liked swimming, then it might not be so bad. But I’m not a big fan of getting wet and I also sink and have a very hard time swimming. Once I almost drowned because of that sinking thing my body does. Not fun.

Q: Have you ever visited a park or landmark of any sort and, if so, what has been your favorite and why?
A: Several years ago, we visited Santa Fe, New Mexico because of the Georgia O’Keefe Museum there– http://www.okeeffemuseum.org. I loved the museum. But the big surprise to me was how much I loved Bandelier National Monument– http://www.nps.gov/band/index.htm. It is ancient and arid. It has some forest and some water. There is canyon and mountain. There is lots of red rock. If we had been prepared with proper shoes and some water, then we could have stayed many more hours hiking. Of the five days we spent in Santa Fe, two of them were devoted to Bandelier.

Ms. Elephant, thank you for thanking me and for giving me the fun questions to answer.

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