Wrapping Cats, Playing Games, and Grasping Happiness

The “things” that contribute to happiness cannot be wrapped and tied with bows.

Ironically, these are the very things we take for granted.

How do you wrap a cat?  Um, you don't!
How do you wrap a cat?   Um, not very easily!

Around Christmas, marketers hope that we get caught up in the deftly executed ad campaigns. Some unwittingly fall into the trap of overindulging and overspending. Others turn themselves inside out to find the perfect gift to make loved ones happy.

How silly – happiness can’t be purchased. It’s in our heads (and hearts.)

We have a budget for Christmas, and our kids’ requests often fall outside of that budget. So, instead of their dream gift, they get a lesson in handling disappointment. Sometimes, though, they are pleasantly surprised.

We let our kids each pick a gift to open early. My older son tore through the paper on the box and tossed the packing material aside. He examined the bubble-wrapped object in his hand and said, “Oh. It’s an ornament.”

He thought we got him a new phone. He’s twelve- and delusional, it seems.

My younger son ripped the paper from his box and squealed with delight when he saw the game Apples to Apples. “How did you guys know? I love this game!”

Now, that reaction made me smile. A couple months ago, he begged me to buy that game for him because he’d played it at school. I listened (and surprisingly, remembered.)

My kids ‘ reactions illustrate how expectations can lead to disappointment when actuality doesn’t live up to our anticipation. Sure, we could go into debt and “wow” my older son with a phone, but I think the greater gift is to learn true happiness can’t be found inside a box under the tree.

Some people never learn this and spend their lives filling the void with “things.”

On Sunday evening, we played Apples to Apples as a family. Even my older son (who had proclaimed the game as “stupid”) eventually joined in. We spent time together- interacting and laughing. We had fun.

We found happiness in each other’s company.

For those who celebrate Christmas – I wish you a merry one. For those who do not – I wish you happiness. “See” you after the new year 🙂

Oh, Lizzy! (Gargleblaster #156)

I spy another lizard sprawled motionless on the tile- sans tail. With a shudder, I prepare a napkin burial. It scurries from my fingertips.

I squeal.

My giggling sons, the obvious suspects… until I discover the culprit waiting for another “toy.”


04-06 Lizzy


gargle156This is my response to the weekly Gargleblaster challenge, which is to answer the following question in exactly 42 words:  Who dunnit?

Not only did we discover Lizzy is our lizard catcher, we also found that we need to do some weatherstripping repairs.  She will sit in this position for hours waiting to play.  Forget the catnip mice- those are for amateurs 🙂

The challenge is open to anyone, but there is a limit of 42 links, so if you want to join in, you have to be quick!  Click the badge to the left to check out the guidelines and add your link!

TGIF – Haiku

Five days, working hard-

Or is it hardly working?

So tired… Must. Nap. Now.

03-06 Lizzy Cat

Thank goodness it’s finally Friday!  Either my work is boring, or this has been one exhausting week (or both!)

I understand why Lizzy was so tired- she ate cat food, stretched, napped, roamed the house, tormented Cybil (our black tabby cat) and played with a paperclip- but I have no idea why I’m exhausted 😛

I make a point of being mindful of my time and am careful not to wish my weeks away counting down time until the weekend, but I have to admit that I’ve been anticipating this weekend a little bit.

I’m taking the kids with me to visit my parents this weekend.  They live just a few hours away, but we only see them once or twice a month.  I’m looking forward to the visit.  I always get more sleep there because my computer stays home!

What are you looking forward to this weekend?


The first time I saw my cat…

Well, I heard her first- she yelled from her cage.

I said, “No way.  That cat is too loud.”

I had no say.

She chose me.

(She’s owned me since then!)

01-13 Cybil


TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to the Trifecta weekly writing prompt: We are asking for a 33-word response to the following snippet:

The first time I saw. . .

Here’s the catch: all of your 33 words must be one syllable each.  The total response will be 38 words, including the snippet above.  We’re going low-brow on your this week.  Or not.

Cybil is crazy.  Her nickname is Cybil the Psycho Cat.  She’s a bit unpredictable, but after thirteen years, I’m starting to figure her out (although I still get bitten sometimes.)  Family and friends fear her, but I love my temperamental cat.  Make no mistake, I fully understand that I’m not a cat owner.  It’s the other way around!

The challenge is open to anyone, so click on the link above to add your link to the list and join the fun!  Have a wonderful Monday 🙂

Too Much Of A Good Thing

I’m all for making myself conscious of the little moments each day so my eyes are opened to something I might have otherwise overlooked.  Lately, it seems I’ve lost that knack because bigger projects have rooted themselves and required a lot of my time.  I think being busy is good for a mind, but like everything else, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

Over the last few weeks, much spare time has been devoted to researching pellet burning stoves for heating our home and french horns, since that’s what my older son wants to play in band.  Overwhelmed, I shelved both projects more than once.  I know that procrastination isn’t a viable solution.  Too.  Many.  Decisions.

Thank goodness my younger son (remember “Pickles”?) isn’t shy about reminding me to pay attention.  We were walking outside and he yelled at me to “stop!”  I did.  He pointed to a caterpillar crossing our driveway.  When I looked closer, I noticed the little guy expanded and bunched up like an accordion as he moved.  See:

Why did the caterpillar cross the driveway?  Uh... I don't know, why?
Why did the caterpillar cross the driveway?   Uh… I don’t know, why?

In another recent rare moment of awareness, I caught sight of what would be a wonderful cloud picture.  Of course, I hadn’t brought my good camera with me- all I had was my cell phone.  I kept glancing at the sky and finally, snapped this photo, before my lack of concentration on my driving caused my demise:

The Arizona desert is enlightened...literally
The Arizona desert is enlightened…literally

It may not be professional quality, but I thought it was pretty good for being taken at 65mph with a cell phone camera 😛

As I sit here this early Sunday morning, with “to-dos” and ideas swirling in my head, I’m reminded of the importance of taking time to relax- to just “be.”  I’m hoping that spilling the words out in black and white will give me permission to do this.

I want to relax like that.  Sammy, can you help me find my inner cat?
I want to relax like that.   Sammy, can you help me find my inner cat?

I hope you have a beautiful (and relaxed) Sunday!