Filled Slate

Another page turned,
365 days of memories
fresh in my mind;
like too-thick paint
on an oil-slicked surface.
I wake to the problems
of so many yesterdays,
yet resolve to remain resolute
in my desire to see hope
where I once saw darkness.
It’s hard to lift my chin
and I search my heart for praise
clutching a half-full glass,
trusting it will never be empty-
rather, overflowing with counted blessings.

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post- it just makes me smile :)
This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post- it just makes me smile 🙂

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As I do with poetry, I’m going to explain the thoughts behind the words I chose.  I wrote this poem on the first day of the year.  I admire those who approach the new year with such a strong sense of hope and excitement for what the next 365 days might hold.  I want to hope- I really do, but if hope was a candle’s flame, reality would be the wind gust gathering the strength to snuff it out.

I woke up on New Year’s Day, hoping my heart would feel giddy anticipation for the promise of a new year; a clean slate of sorts.  Instead, my consciousness noted the fact there is no clean slate – my slate is already filled with the stuff that’s happened the last year, and it’s too gunked up to be wiped away.  Before the end of the year, I received a confirmed diagnosis of the culprit of my younger son’s pain:  juvenile arthritis, specifically, ankylosing spondylitis.  (He is an amazing kid who happens to turn 10 this week.)  The new year doesn’t change the fact I’m left with choices that don’t feel very much like choices at all.  The first seven lines of the poem speak to this.

Even under the weight of reality, I still want to hope and remember the ways I am blessed.  I spent most of 2015 in a suffocating darkness where I could see no reason for my next breath.  I don’t make resolutions, but I do resolve to do everything I can to not go there again.  Praise is a chore at times, but I want to trust with all my heart that under the thorns of my burdens lives a joy I couldn’t fully appreciate without the struggles.  The last part of the poem is a pep talk to myself to not let my past hog-tie my future and take away my ability to experience joy.

May you find peace today, tomorrow, and the days following- even during trying times.  Have a beautiful Wednesday!

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Purple Nails, Sleeping Kitties & Ugly Sweaters… Life Is All Over The Place!

There is something I really want to write about, but I’m forcing myself to sort of stay focused.  There are some things that I need to close the loop by updating you about what has happened, and I’ve heard that loose ends should be tied up quickly before readers lose interest.

Uh oh.  I waited too long, didn’t I?

I could tease you like they do on the evening news, when they give you a little tidbit that seems interesting, and then follow it by adding “after the break.”  But I won’t do that because that’s annoying!  So I’ll get right to it…

In this post way back on October 24th, Timothy asked in a comment if I decided what color I was going to paint my nails.  I cringe when I look at the date and see that it’s taken nearly 2 months, but yes, Timothy, I have!  And a picture’s worth a thousand words:

My most favorite color- purple! Is it just me, or is "purple" fun to say? Never mind...
My most favorite color- purple! Is it just me, or is “purple” fun to say? Never mind…

In my last post, I previewed my ugly sweater creation, and a couple of you were curious about the results of the contest.  SO, for the two of you who were interested, or feigned interest, haha, here’s a picture (another thousand words… this post is getting long):

I won the ugly sweater contest and received a generous gift card. Now that I think about it, I hope the votes were just for the sweater and not my hair!
I won the ugly sweater contest and received a generous gift card. Now that I think about it, I hope the votes were just for the sweater and not my hair!

In this recent post, I stated that I was on a mission to find out how many pictures one could take of sleeping cats.  In the time since that post, I’ve added several to my collection (photos… not cats- yet!)  Here’s my favorite one:

This is how I feel as I wrap up writing this post. Nighty-night!
This is how I feel as I wrap up writing this post. Nighty-night!

There is lots going on, and so much more I want to write about, but I think this post has been random enough.  Until next time, have a wonderful week!

Crazy Cat Lady

It’s strange but several people, upon hearing of my crumbled marriage, have consoled me by offering responses along the lines of “you’re still young and you’ll find love again.”

What?!

I’m not certain, but I think the involuntary look that flashes across my face is something like my expression when I catch a whiff of my older son’s socks after a cross country meet, or when I remove a lizard from under the couch once the cats are done playing with it.

My gray hairs contradict the “young” statement, but that’s beside the point.  I know they are well-meaning and trying to make me feel better, but it doesn’t make sense.  It’s like telling a shark attack victim that they should get right back out there and swim.  Or, after walking through poison ivy, following the exact same path.  Or, taking a person to a bonfire after they are rescued from a burning building.  Or, after someone has gotten sick from fish tacos, serving fish tacos for dinner the next day.

Okay, I’ll stop- I think you get the point.

My response is always the same: “Oh, I’m ready to embrace my new life as a crazy cat lady.”

They always laugh.  They think I’m kidding.  They have no idea!

I’m serious, and I have some cell phone photos I’ve taken over the last ten days to prove it:

I call this kitty pretzel, although it was more the end result of both cats wanting to nap in the same spot
I call this “kitty pretzel”, although it was more a matter of Sammy refusing to move, and Lizzy laying on top of her because she wanted that nap spot
I was holding down the couch... the cats were just making sure I did it properly
I was holding down the couch… the cats were just making sure I did it properly
Don't be deceived, she does NOT want her belly rubbed (she bites)
Don’t be deceived, Lizzy does NOT want her belly rubbed (she bites)
I'm bored, can we be done already?
I’m bored, can we be done already?

I think I have a knack for this crazy cat lady gig.  What do you think?

I don’t know how many pictures one can take of sleeping cats… but I’m on a mission to find out! (Don’t worry… I don’t plan to share them… well, not all of them, at least 🙂 )

Have a beautiful Tuesday!

Moments Passed, Moments Noticed

Recently, I went for a walk in the evening to clear my head.  I emerged from my thoughts long enough to look up and notice the illumination of the clouds in the eastern sky.  I snapped this photo with my cell phone:

This got my attention!
This got my attention!

I walked a hilly cul-de-sac and upon heading east again, I looked up, anxious to see how the sunset light show had changed.  I thought maybe I would be blessed with an even more beautiful display.  I was surprised to find this:

Seven minutes later....
Seven minutes later….

In the span of seven minutes, the glow had disappeared.  The beautiful display obviously intended to be brief, and only for those who paused long enough to take notice.  Of course, this got me thinking (and dashed all hopes of clearing my head, haha.)

It made me wonder how many moments like this in life I miss because I’m wrapped up in the unimportant stuff that I allow to consume me… those worries that seem so large.  The funny thing is, these thoughts that occupy my mind are often things that no amount of obsessing over will resolve because the variables are completely out of my control.  I’m finally starting to learn that maybe, just maybe, being outside my head is a happier place 🙂

Sometimes taking notice of things around me takes a more humorous turn.  I’ve told the kids countless times not to leave their cups on the table.  Aaaand, their cups are always left on the table.  One day, within forty minutes of each other, I took the following photos:

Sure, there are three water dishes, but "forbidden" water tastes better
Sure, there are 3 water dishes, but “forbidden” water tastes better
Well if she gets "forbidden" water, I want it too!
Well if she gets “forbidden” water, I want it too!

That day, my younger son got home from school and refilled his water cup.  After he took a drink, I showed him the photos thinking maybe he would see why he shouldn’t leave his cup on the table.  He did turn a little green so I got all smug, thinking my point had been made and the table would now be cup-free.

Nope.  Cups are still left on the table; the only difference is, they each use 5 cups a day instead of 1. Oh, and they always leave fresh water in them for the cats- “because it’s cute.”  (Um, no it’s not…)

Sigh. I didn’t see that one coming.

Good Intentions Lost In Translation

My last post was a poem that was on the depressing side, so I thought this week I’d share a funny story.  Next week, I plan to have a fiction piece for one of Emilio’s photos ready to post.  I’d give you a hint of what it’s about… but I don’t know yet 🙂

Last month, my sons’ cats had their yearly vet visit.  My older son (he’s 12) was concerned about what he thought might be tumors so he talked to the doc about it and they took some fluid to test.  The conclusion:  fatty deposits.  My son asked questions and the doc confirmed that they would shrink in size if the cats lost some weight.

As soon as we got home, my older son announced he was going to take the cats for a walk.  With a raised eyebrow I asked, “A walk?”  He said yes.  So I asked how he planned to do that.  “A leash.”

I stifled a laugh.  I had a feeling I knew how this would go, but I helped him find a harness they couldn’t wiggle out of.  Lizzy was the first victim volunteer.  It was as if she grew ten more legs, but we finally managed to get the harness on her.  As he carried her outside and set her on on the porch, I told him to just let her explore in the yard .  After ten minutes or so, I went outside to find out how the walk was going.  This is what I saw:

"I'm not as into this walking thing as you are..."
“I’m not as into this walking thing as you are…”

When he heard the door open, he turned to me and said, “she won’t move.”  Apparently, his good intentions didn’t translate into feline motivation.  I asked what happened if he picked her up, so he lifted her to standing position and, as soon as he pulled his hands away from her belly, Lizzy fell onto her side again.  We laughed.

He learned a lesson that day:  you can put a cat on a leash, but you can’t make her walk.