Over the Hill and Through the Woods

This is my parents’ cat, Oona. She’s 18 years old. Only fur and bones anymore. She doesn’t walk so well. So mostly, she sits on the desk, next to the computer, and warms herself under the lamp.

She’s a Siamese cat. And is extremely loud. When you pet her she lets out the most awesome “Yoooowwwwwllll!” Remember those noise makers that you turned upside down and they made animal sounds like cow or a lamb? If you were to plug one of them into an amplifier and turn it all the way up, that would be Oona’s meow. She yowls when she’s ready for some petting and again when she get’s it.

We all love Oona and will be very sad when she is gone. Which we’re thinking is sooner than later.

Anyway. This is all to say that we had such a nice visit with Grandma and Grandpa for Thanksgiving. We drove out 635 miles on Wednesday. And home 635 mile on Saturday. It was just the right amount of time. We all got along.

I’ll tell you a secret. Sometimes I found my parents to be exasperating. Sometimes I found visiting with them over the holidays to be. In a word. Difficult.

But that became very tiring. And dissatisfying. Even sad. And I didn’t want that anymore. Not for me or Tim or Max or Henry. And especially not for Grandma and Grandpa.

Because, really we don’t know how much longer we’re going to be able to visit. Isn’t that always the truth?

And so. Really and honestly. I stopped engaging. I stopped taking myself so seriously. I stopped fretting over how my mother sees me. Or how I see her. And my dad. Well. If you know Dan. You know to know him is to love him. Because the more you love him, the more he loves you back.

After all these years, I finally understand that more than anything. I just want the warmth of being together.

The warmth of being under the lamp.

Oona the cat abides.

Comfort Zone

Our cat, Blue has been escaping. When you open the door to let the dogs out, out she goes with them. The other day. Nobody noticed. And she spent a number of hours in the great outdoors. Did I mention that Blue has lived in this house for 4 years and in the totality of that time has been outside….NEVER! Until this crazy fall. Out she goes like she owns the place. What’s funny though. Is that she sort of slinks around. Like the great tall ceiling that is the sky may fall down upon her at any moment.

And yet out she goes. A little fear. A bit of discomfort. But the instinct to explore is greater than that.

Blue the cat is willing to move outside of her comfort zone!

We can learn a lot from our pets.

I’m taking a fiction class right now. I feel awkward and exposed and just this side of stupid. But I write and write and write anyway. Because I want to get better. I am terribly uncomfortable. But if I don’t try now when will I? Maybe I’ve got a few stories in me that are worth reading? I just need to work on getting them out.

It’s ok to feel awkward. And stupid. And stinky. It’s worth it.

Because, maybe you’ll find your passion. Maybe you’ll discover you.

Maybe I’ll discover me.


Mountains and Mole Hills and Cats

We were on vacation a few months ago. It was my turn to drive the rental car. My first time behind the wheel was on a very busy California highway.  I was constantly panicked by how close, large, and looming all the cars appeared behind me and next to me as I checked my rearview mirrors.

Finally, I thought to actually turn my head and glance over my shoulder. Such relief!

“What the bleep! What is up with these mirrors? They’re scaring the bleep out of me!”

“Mom. It says right on the mirror, “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.”

Oh. And duh. “Yuh. And bigger and scarier!”

Isn’t that life? Turns out that the cars in the mirror weren’t such the big deal I was making them out to be. They weren’t in my way. I wasn’t going to cause an 18 car pile up by changing lanes. My perspective was just a little funky.

The mirrors were making Mountains out of Mole Hills.

And so.

Lately I’ve been working to catch myself. Am I looking into a rental car mirror? What’s the real situation here? Am I Making Mountains out of Mole Hills?

Pema Chodron explains an aspect of this:

The painful thing is that when we buy into disapproval, we are practicing disapproval. When we buy into harshness, we are practicing harshness. The more we do it, the stronger these qualities become. How sad it is that we become so expert at causing harm to ourselves and others. The trick then is to practice gentleness and letting go. We can learn to meet whatever arises with curiosity and not make it such a big deal.

I love the last line. “We can learn to meet whatever arises with curiosity and not make it such a big deal.” You know. No Mole Hills into Mountains.

And now for the cats.

Whenever a box or a bag comes into the house. One or both of the cats inevitably figures out a way to get inside. They are so very curious.

See. You can learn stuff from cats. Be curious today.