Life Goes By

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Halloween was my favourite holiday for a long time. Probably for the longest period of the time I’ve had favourite holidays.

Now I don’t think I do anymore; have a favourite. They all just kind of go by without me noticing. I mean, the ones that make a long weekend, I notice. But even then, it’s mostly in terms of what’s still open, store-wise, and occasionally seeing if I can do a thing or two for myself on one of my days off.

I experimented with giving myself additional long weekends from work this past summer, and pretty much failed completely at making them work in my favour. So even those aren’t as great as they used to be in that sense. Holidays that everyone gets are usually worse, somehow.

And even though it’s Halloween and not a day off kind of holiday, the fun seems to be gone from it, for me. I’m not even excited about cheap candy day tomorrow, because I can’t afford any even then.

However, did a pretty great interview with an actor from Star Trek that we’d never met before. He was very awesome, and friendly, and not at all difficult on the eyes! AND we scored new Star Trek mugs! What?! So much fun, and a nice break in an otherwise Monday-y morning!

I got to put my feet up for a bit yesterday. Not at all as much as I needed to, but still…it helped. Especially with Flynn, who is still sick today but seemed to be in a good mood yesterday, just because I was around more. I haven’t been home much lately, and it’s taken a toll on all of us, I think. Even Brody was bringing me his ball to play with last night, something he hasn’t done in months! It’s good to feel like my company is wanted and appreciated, and I try to make sure they know that I want and appreciate theirs, as well.

I even got a couple of important tasks done, though the laundry is piling up again, and I am not sure when I’ll have the chance to do that. But still, the things I did accomplish are good, and hopefully positive steps moving forward.

We’ll see. I’m going nowhere fast, but after Friday and Saturday were big enough that I haven’t had time to fully process them yet even now, I feel like I did still manage to get a bit of a break yesterday, and that’s the main thing, I guess. Sometimes even a little bit of something positive is better than nothing at all. Not enough to balance out the overwhelming-ness of everything else – not even close – but I’m halfway through today and still going, so that’s something.

On Dreams And Adapting

I had a dream about one of my exes last night.

Well, not exactly about her, but all the ridiculous drama – particularly near the end – featured quite heavily throughout. It’s likely my own fault for watching Bachelor in Paradise, but still. It’s had an odd effect on my waking life mindset today.

I’m angry.

Not raging mad, or anything, just a kind of over the bullshit feeling. It feels rather empowering.

Of course, I’m also exhausted, so that is likely feeding my grumpy ill-temper, as well, but whatever. I’ll focus on the empowering part!

It’s weird to stand outside of someone else’s relationship – romantic or even just friend-wise – and see a glaring imbalance within it. Weirder still is standing inside of your own relationship and seeing it – yet accepting it, anyway. Even helping to perpetuate it. Such an odd sensation to kind of hate it, and kind of hate yourself for standing for it, yet still kind of assuming that maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. Maybe just for you, maybe just for this relationship, but still accepting it nonetheless. The logic side of you is disgusted with the whole thing. The emotional side of you is more conflicted and unsure how to proceed, so you just kind of sit there inside of it and wait for something or someone to tip the scales in a different direction. Sometimes you even think it’ll be you who tips them – just maybe not quite yet.

The ex in my dream was a compulsive liar, I think would be the term, in real life. I knew this very early on, and I adapted to basically take everything she said with a grain of salt. I think I spoke to this before, in that not believing her became a habit which was then transferred into my next relationship, until I realized what I was doing and willed myself to cut it out and treat that new relationship as the wholly different entity that it was. I still catch myself being quietly sceptical of those around me sometimes, though. I’m not sure if it can all be traced back to that relationship, or if I just have trouble trusting people in general. Same result, either way, though.

Anyway, the lies weren’t necessarily huge, and weren’t usually hurtful towards others. I figured it was kind of a defence mechanism to keep people from getting too close to the real person inside; that it likely stemmed from some deep inner self-hatred, the source of which I was never privy. It was always clear, however, that it had nothing to do with me personally. It was just a part of who she was, and I decided I couldn’t pick and choose which parts of a person I would love, so I chose to essentially ignore some of those parts, instead.

I do that will all living beings, really. No one is perfect, so I chose which parts I like and ignore the rest, if the parts I like outnumber and outweigh the parts I don’t, I mean. Like, I don’t love that Flynn poos on the mat more often than she poos in the litter box, but I love Flynn for much more than where she poos, so I adapt and tolerate and go on loving her fluffy self. I chose to deal with the things I don’t like because there are so many more that I do.

Same with the lying ex. I didn’t realize at the time how far-reaching some of the effects of those choices I made then would be, but still – I didn’t make them blind. I knew pretty much exactly what I was doing. I remember deciding to just adapt and go with it. I remember making excuses for that decision. I remember not being surprised when it all came back to bite me, but still being incredibly hurt by it. Not that I thought it wouldn’t, or that I was special, or that I could change her with my love. Nothing like that. I think it was more just choosing to adapt to it – to change myself a little bit instead.

I think a lot of people do that – maybe everyone, maybe more often women – but a lot of people, regardless. I can’t keep track of the number of times I’ve seen one person – often a guy – talk down at someone else – often a woman – and watched the woman just take it. As though maybe a part of her believes whatever he’s saying to be actual truth. And maybe it is, but it’s his truth, and she takes it on as her truth, as well. Maybe some part of me believed I deserved to be lied to by my partner; perhaps as penance for not trusting anyone to begin with (damn you, X-Files!), or perhaps just because that’s what I get when I don’t open myself up to anyone else, either. Maybe I felt I was strong enough to take it on when few others could, which in turn made me feel kind of special. Like an emotional superhero, loving those who feel they are unlovable.

Whatever the reason, it wasn’t the first time I allowed an imbalance to permeate a relationship/friendship, and it wasn’t the last. It’s interesting that watching a cheesy “reality” show could dredge up some of those old emotions to the point where they had to show up all throughout a dream that otherwise had nothing to do with them. Now it’s all swirling around in my mind again, even though I haven’t seen that person in almost 13 years now, I’d say. I guess it’s not really the specific person, anyway, so much as the feelings that evolved throughout our relationship and then escalated during our ridiculously dramatic relationship.

Like, people are mean – to each other, to other living things. Giving someone the power to hurt you is hard, especially once other hurt-y people have paved the way for them in the past. I think the kind of cool thing for me today, though, is that I’m more angry than hurt, and that’s a newer stage for me. I mean, I went through them all back in the day, too, don’t get me wrong. I was hella mad, I was vengeful, I was afraid and I was devastated. I was all over the place, dealing with that sense of loss. Even to the point of not really considering it a loss sometimes.

I remember, like, a day or two after i moved out, I went back to get the last of my things while she was at work. With her permission – she knew I was going in and that I’d leave my key once I’d retrieved the rest of my stuff, most of which she had thankfully packed for me so it’d be a quick trip. I knew she’d screw me over on a lot of it, too, because she didn’t really care if I ever got everything that was mine back, but still. It was mostly just stuff, with no real value to anyone but me, anyway. The first thing I noticed when I got in the door was that every photograph of me or us or anything to do with us had been removed from their frames and replaced with entirely different pictures. She’d essentially erased my existence from her life, pretty much overnight. That realization ruined me to the point where I stuffed as many of my remaining belongings into as I could into a garbage bag and booted it out of there, never to return.

Well, and I left my key. I’m not the asshole she expected me to be, after all.

I also accidentally left behind a few items that were personally very important to me, and never saw them again, either, which sucks. That hurts more now than the picture thing, actually. One hurt was in the moment, and the other – which was a direct result of the first – has had long-lasting emotional repercussions.

I feel like there’s a lesson in that…

Anyway. I’m grumpy today, and feeling less like putting up with other people’s crap than usual, which is probably a good thing.

I will, however, still put up with Flynn’s crap, because the things to love about her will always outweigh the…crap.

Tired

I’m way overtired and scattered today, guys, and have no idea what to write about.

I’ve decided to try introducing fish oil into the cats’ diets, particularly Piper’s. She doesn’t really like wet food, and while their dry food is pretty awesome (I switched them all to Blue Buffalo indoor cat formula and they all love it – noticed a difference in them within the first week), I don’t think she’s getting the same nutrients and such as the other two. I mean, what kind of cat doesn’t like wet food? Geez. She’s impossible to please, really, so I’m hoping to combine her favourite treat with a little extra healthy stuff and see if it helps get her coat back to its usual shine. We’ll see. I am excited to try.

I also discovered how much she loves being brushed! Flynn was jealous because usually she is the one getting brushed, being so fluffy and all. But Piper loves it, too, as it turns out, and the amount of fur that came off of her last night was ridiculous. Will try to make it more of a regular thing for both of my girls, I think! The silly thing is that neither of them can stand still or recline and enjoy it. They have to walk back and forth and meow at me for more – which I would apply more easily if they’d sit freaking still. Anyway, many more brushing sessions are in our near future, I suspect!

I got a lot of work done over the weekend in terms of preparing for the launch of the Mind Reels Patreon site, and I came up with a few more cool ideas to incorporate, as well. I watched stuff off my PVR, and the first few episodes of Quantum Leap on Shomi, just because I could. I started reading a new book – Born Weird – by Andrew Kaufman. I’m only a few chapters in, but so far I’m quite enjoying it. The chapter lengths are perfect for pre-sleeping time, too. I had several odd dreams (unrelated to the book, and more related to my actual life), and put in a few good hours volunteering yesterday. The animals made me laugh, and it was super busy, and then I came home exhausted to my own tiny menagerie of silly animals, so that was good.

I thought about writing a post yesterday – kept reminding myself – never did it.

I’m so freaking tired.

I haven’t been getting nearly enough sleep lately, and with the heat and weird weather I think I feel it a little more than I used to. However – I hope to create a better routine for myself overall, and eventually get caught up a bit, at least to the point where I’m not struggling so much just to be upright.

I of course had yet more ideas for things I want to try, or do, or try doing. But it exhausts me just to think about right now, so never mind.

I’m too tired to focus on making words right now!

For The Love Of Animals

My work computer’s hard drive fried this morning right in front of my eyes, basically, so while I wait for IT to set me up with a replacement, I’ve had to get a little creative with my day. I’m using one of the old computers in the back, and it is having trouble keeping up with my mad typing skills (thanks Mrs. Coulter!), as well as 2016 in general, so this will be short.

Also, I’m getting stressed about this first radio play episode. We’re supposed to record it on Thursday but I am still short a guest cast member or two. So much prep needed, too, in addition to trying to find last minute actors who may be available and interested. Geez.

Anyway.

I enjoy watching Brody the dog interact with the cats, especially when none of them know I’m watching. They are fabulous together with me, and we make a sweet, fun little family as it is. But when they don’t realize that I am paying attention – when they choose to interact even though it’s not with the intention of getting my attention – I find it all even more remarkable.

Somehow, these little beings of different species have figured out how to not only share space and get along, but to accept one another into each others lives. They do more than tolerate one another being in the same space – they live in that space together. They share all of it – usually. Sometimes Flynn sleeps in Brody’s bed, but he lets her, and finds somewhere else to curl up until she’s done. Sometimes they groom one another. Sometimes they play together.

At some point in our existence, someone decided that cats and dogs could not get along. Most of us listened, instead of seeing for ourselves whether or not it was true, and whether or not that truth was definitive. Even now, that’s the first thing people ask about when they hear I live with three cats and a dog. How do they get along?

The answer is – better than most of us get along with other people.

So how is it, then, that these allegedly lesser beings (again, things aren’t always true just because someone says them) can figure out how to not only exist in the same space together but actually thrive in it, but we human masters of the universe can’t even get along with members of our own species on the same freaking planet? Let alone those of another species.

Other animals don’t care about what the other animals look like. They don’t care about differing breeds, let alone colours. Appearances are unimportant, and don’t factor into their judgments like other senses do. They listen to a whole other rhythm playing throughout the universe. They vibrate on a whole other level. And we’re just sitting at the bottom of the well, in the dark, talking about colours we can’t even see. Because it’s dark. But we imagine them there, just as we imagine they dictate the caliber of a person’s character.

Orangutans are unimpressed by flashy technology – they quickly became bored with it. That says a lot about our orange genetic cousins, but it says way more about the rest of us.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go stare at my smartphone for awhile.

Random Thought Generator

Not even 11am and I already have a headache from this day.

Come to me, Advil Extra Strength Liqui-gels!

I could write an entire rant – daily – about how most people don’t know how to ride public transit, or basically share air space, without being assholes, but I’ll save it for another day. For now, just some random tidbits swirling around in my aching brain.

  • I had a dream last night that I was at a Raptors game and they were doing pretty well, but then I had to go get my uniform on and get ready in case I was called on to play, too. SO STRESSFUL! I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be of much help to the lads, but at least I could see the game unfold better from my new spot next to the court. I don’t remember actually getting put into the game, but the stress of worrying about the possibility was more than enough. Similar to the dream I had once where I had to fill in for a member of a boy band just before they – we – went on stage. I could hear the pre-teen girls screaming their heads off, and not only did I not know any of the choreography, I was also not sure of any of the lyrics. The other guys seemed to think it would be okay, but I knew that none of those girls would believe I was actually part of the group. They’d know I wasn’t a boy, for starters.
  • You know, when I was a manager – or even a supervisor – I rose to those positions because I was adept at the positions reporting to them. I could help those employees when needed, and perform different tasks on top of those required of said employees. I also knew exactly what I was asking of them when I was assigning duties. I miss those days, but even more I would say that I miss teamwork and being assigned tasks by people who have some idea of the scope of what they are asking. These days, I could be performing miracles and no one would know.
  • The safe room I made for Flynn yesterday seemed to work, except when I got home last night the whole apartment smelled strongly of paint fumes or glue or something. I opened the other window and turned both fans on to try and get that out of there as quickly as possible. Still, Flynnie was in a good mood even this morning. She was playing with a broken shoe lace for a few minutes, and her eyes were more green than yellow. I left the window open halfway today to see if we could avoid the toxic fumes while still making her feel safe. We’ll see.
  • For one to be considered an activist, shouldn’t one actually do something beyond than just talking about what other people should do? Or am I misunderstanding the definition of the word ‘active’?
  • If all that is really required of parents these days is to stand around looking at their kids, I wonder why I thought teaching was hard…
  • I’ve lived with a lot of different people over the years, so far. I’ve lived with immediate family, I was an exchange student in high school, I’ve lived with roommates who were friends first, I’ve lived with roommates who were strangers before we moved in together, I’ve lived with romantic partners, I’ve lived with members of both sexes; sometimes both at once. And I’ve had jobs, even right now. I don’t think I’ll ever really understand the whole taking and/or using of someone else’s things without asking. Food, clothes, electronic equipment, parts of movies or music collections, etc. In situations where it’s immediate family or romantic partner – situations wherein things are generally shared – it’s different. But if I buy groceries and come home after work to find that someone has eaten what I was planning to eat…I don’t get that. I’m sure I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve never deliberately just taken something of someone else’s simply because it was handy. And when I borrow things, I take extra care with them; more so than when it’s my own stuff. Because when it’s not mine, I intend to return it in the same condition in which it was loaned to me. Treating it like it has less value simply because I didn’t pay for it is a mysterious notion to me. Same with how some women leave public washrooms in less than savoury conditions. You don’t do that at home, why do it anywhere else? Why take my stuff without asking, and then consume or wreck it while you have it? If it was one instance, I could chalk it up to just being a random happenstance. But when it happens all the time in a variety of environments, I have to deduce that it’s just a thing. That people are just like that in general, and that not being like that makes me the odd one out. Which I am used to, of course. I just don’t think it’ll make it any easier for me to have roommates again, if and when that time comes!
  • Speaking of living with people, did you ever have imaginary friends when you were small? I did. I may have even talked about them on here before. I can’t remember. They were Sam and Jody. Sam was three and Jody was two, and we used to ride our bikes together but Jody always lagged behind. Because he was two. In my head, I pictured them looking much like the little boys in those terrible Family Circus comics I’d read in the Saturday Star. Ah funny pages. So rarely funny, yet when you did come across a good one, it usually made it onto the refrigerator door!
  • I don’t drive. I know how to drive – I took Driver’s Ed in high school, and everything. Even had my learner’s permit for, like, 5 years, or however long it lasted back when graduated licensing first came into effect in Ontario. I got it in my last year of high school, though, and didn’t need to drive while away at University. I lived on campus the first year, and within a few blocks for the rest of the time. Then I lived close to work, then I moved to Toronto, where public transit became my main ride. I was pretty sure I couldn’t afford a car, parking, gas and insurance on top of other monthly expenses, and it was all pretty unnecessary once I came to the city. Plus, I hated driving. It was always so stressful for me, largely because I don’t trust my own reflexes and reaction times. Naturally, I also don’t trust other drivers. I can barely handle walking some days, because even in the city, some people end up driving into houses and bus shelters and the like. I mean, how fast do you need to be going in a residential area, anyway? Seriously. Once I was launched onto the path to an MS diagnosis – given that I could barely see out of one eye – I was pretty glad I wasn’t behind the wheel of a killing machine. I guess that was the other thing, really. I wasn’t concerned so much for my own safety when I was driving as I was for the other lives I was aware I could take. I think most people don’t think about that; about the responsibility in having so much power in their hands. For most, it’s a mode of transportation. For many, it’s even a form of relaxation. For me, it was a lot of pressure and anxiety, and now that my reflexes are minutely hindered by the disease eating away my central nervous system (as well as the knowledge that I can lost control of motor skills and sight and the like at any given moment), I am far happier letting others take the wheel. Plus, I like looking around too much. Drivers miss so much of the world because they have to focus on the road, whereas I can focus on everything else.
  • When I am out with Brody, I’m not just going for a walk and taking him along. I’m spending time with him, and it’s more his time than mine. Often it’s not very much time, or not enough, but that’s life. I still take him out with the intention of getting things done that he needs and/or wants to get done, and going places he likes to go. I watch him, and talk to him – I’m not on my phone or listening to music on headphones or anything like that. My focus is on him, and on watching for any potential trouble coming up. I give him however much time he wants to sniff around, I watch to make sure he’s not eating anything he shouldn’t be, and I try to watch for any potential food items along our course. I watch for traffic, I watch for people with strollers or anything that might make a loud noise as it goes by and scare him. I watch for other dogs, just in case. Mostly, though, I watch him. I can tell what kind of mood he’s in, usually, and I like figuring out where his focus is, and what he wants. It’s different with the cats, of course, but I do try to spend time with each of them, as well. They are all different, and want different things from me at different times. Unless it’s meal time, then they all want everything at once, the little beggars. For the most part, however, I know which ones want to snuggle when, how each one wants to play and when, and whether or not one of them just needs time and attention from their mama (aka me). I try to give them all what they need, and some of what they want, especially because I am away at work all day, and asleep for so much more of the time I am around. They are all individuals, though, and not just cardboard cut-out pets the way some people think of non-humans.
  • Speaking of which, I think I had cardboard cut-out friends once upon a time, too. I think we drew characters from Battle of the Planets – more or less life-sized on paper bags taped together – then cut them out and taped them up on the walls of a relatively empty closet. Then I’d sit in there and talk to my paper superhero friends.

I kinda miss those days, too.

 

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On Cats & Dogs

My horoscope says I should spend a quiet night in with my beloved this evening.

I hope that doesn’t mean I can’t at least take him out for walks.

The Brody part of my beloved, at least. The cats are all good with staying inside.

It’s possible Miss Flynn is developing another urinary tract infection from the stress and anxiety caused by the construction outside. I’m hoping to head it off for her this time by closing the window and curtains in my bedroom and leaving the fan running to drown out some of the noise. They introduced a new machine to the mix this morning, which is I think what stressed her out today in particular. When I was leaving to come to work, she was under the bed cleaning herself, so hopefully the “safe room” I created for her will do the trick. My poor anxious girl. So much like me in that way.

Piper has a sensitive tummy, but it seems to be mostly diet related now. She threw up a lot while she was in the shelter, too, which delayed her being spayed and coming home with me for a good month or so, but since then it’s any change in diet, including eating stuff she’s just not supposed to. Jack Bear and Flynn both have bellies like a steel trap, really. They can eat pretty much anything, so long as it’s actual food. They almost never throw up. But where Flynn is emotionally sensitive, Jack is pretty chill. Except when he’s being a little jerk, but that’s usually just for attention, so it’s more likely my fault for not giving him enough in the moments when he’s just relaxed and hanging out.

And then there is Brody. The loud noises outside don’t seem to bother him, and now that he has his own couch from his first family, he is happier than ever. I keep hoping some of that confidence will rub off on the kitten girls, especially Flynn, but so far it’s not working very well. She and Brody do try to groom one another on occasion, but as far as relieving anxiety goes, the presence of a chill doggie is not really helping her out, from what I can tell.

The one issue I am having with young Mister Brodykins is his aggressive reactions to the attention of some dogs. At first, he loved saying hello to every dog and person he met, and even got just as excited 30 seconds later upon meeting them again on the sidewalk going the other way. He was always very patient with those smaller than him, and with the enthusiasm displayed by exuberant puppies. I loved how he was the always the calm one; the friendly one. Everyone else seemed to love him, too.

Well, except that one doggie, but apparently she set every dog in the neighbourhood off when she was on leash, so Brody reacted just the same as all the others. She was a rescue and no one knows her history, but she was giving off some vibe when on leash that other dogs picked up on and did not like. Cute and calm little Brody would lose his mind and strain to get at her even just seeing her down the street.

Now, however, he seems to be far less tolerant of attention from other dogs, and he unleashes the Hulk more often than he used to. He did it twice this morning, the first time at a dog he’d done it to before, but who didn’t even get close to us before Brody snarled and leaped at him. And the second time a few minutes later, with a puppy at whom he’s also snapped, but who managed to get a few sniffs in this time before Brody launched.

I can usually sense it coming now; he gets really still for a second or two before unleashing. I just don’t know how much of it is coming from him, and how much is from him sensing me tense up in anticipation. Both suck; I just don’t know how to resolve either one. I’m not even sure what specifically sets him off, nor whether or not he actually tries to bite the other dog, versus fire several warning shots off their bow. My gut tells me he doesn’t actually make contact, for the simple reason that not one single dog has retaliated yet. Which…thank goodness, because he’s liable to get himself killed one of these days as it is. If he was doing it before, it’s likely the reason why Sophie almost killed him a couple of times. No way would she put up with that behaviour, from him or anyone else.

As near as I can tell, he seems to take issue with any form of attempted domination, however remote it appears to me. He doesn’t like to be humped, nor stood over – which I can totally get. He hates being pawed at or stepped on, even in play, because that’s not how he plays. Totally get that, too. He doesn’t like when other dogs get all up in his face instead of giving him space while sniffing politely – I also totally get that. I don’t like those things, either, but I’m not the one lashing out at everyone who doesn’t behave the way I want them too. I mean, who has the time for that?

I am not sure why it seems to be happening more often lately, unless it’s because I’m worried about it and watching for it and he’s picking up on that and reacting in kind. He’s also possibly a bit more possessive of me recently, which doesn’t seem to really be a factor in encounters with other dogs, per se (it’s the people who might have treats, and therefore earn his greater interest, after all), but I kind of feel like…and this will come out wrong because I’ve never put words to it before…it’s almost like he’s concerned with saving face, or looking tough…for me. Not that he needs to protect me, but that he wants me to know he can, if it comes down to it. He doesn’t want to let any other dogs get the upper hand, so he snarks them down if he senses anyone trying to get the better of him.

Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t really know. I was just thinking about it more today because it happened twice this morning – and with really cute doggies I wanted to pet!

It’s usually okay because the dogs’ people seem to understand, for the most part. Some even let their dogs know that Brody has a right to warn them to back down, and help settle the situation so the dogs can just sniff one another and be on their ways. Some people I am always apologizing to, but without chastising Brody too much because, in the end, I want him to feel safe and like he has the right to defend himself from unwanted attention. Which he does. I would just prefer he choose a less violent warning before prematurely escalating to a snarling fit of rage!

The thing is, he’s one of the gentlest, sweetest souls I’ve ever met in this world, and it hurts my heart for anyone else to get the impression that he’s one of those schitzo, frothing little dogs that walk around with a chip on their wee shoulders simply because they are tiny and angry. Brody is so not that dog. He just gives off that impression sometimes, and while the dogs – I think – learn the difference, I don’t think most people do. They know what they see, and what they see is a tiny black and blond Tasmanian Devil taking shots at their sweet dogs.

It bothers me.

That being said, though, we have FAR more positive interactions than negative, so it’s not like this Hulk-ness has taken over his sweet personality. Far from it, in fact. He’s still one of the very best guys I know, and continues to far and away be the puppy I love most in the whole world.

Which he knows, because I tell him that several times a day. Usually whilst rubbing his belly.

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A Little More Flynn

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A bit of an addendum to yesterday’s post about Miss Flynnie, just because I fully forgot to mention this kind of cool part of the story!

So, even though I’d had my eye and heart on Chimneysweep, the night before I went to the shelter for the first time, I had a dream. It was actually kind of horrible, in that the shelter in the dream wasn’t a shelter at all – it was more like a shed in some guy’s backyard that had crates of cats inside. Some of them no longer alive, and all trapped in their own feces and the like. My mind was reeling, wondering how I could afford to save them all but not tip the guy off to the fact that I was totally calling the police as soon as I got away from his house. On a top shelf of crates, there were these three weird-looking creatures. They were more like birds than cats, but then again, that’s dream life for you. The one thing I remembered most about them was the shape of their heads in profile; the way their foreheads sloped and their faces curved toward their chins. They looked kind of like beaks, almost (hence the bird thing), but that’s just how their faces were built.

I felt weird when I woke up, and disturbed, and secretly prayed that the actual shelter was nothing like that (it wasn’t).

Later, once I was home with Flynn and trying to get to know her while also keeping a bit of a distance (because my heart still hurt over losing Kate) and wondering what I’d just done as maybe it really was too soon to have another cat, I noticed something. Flynn’s head is kind of shaped like the bird-cats in my dream the night before. It has the same kind of slope that’s different from most cats. I guess more of a black cat head, but she’s also so fluffy that the effect on her profile is very similar.

She’s actually a lot like Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon, both in appearance and in personality.

Anyway.

I don’t think there’s much else to report at the moment. Or there is, but I either can’t or am not about to talk about it here. I’m moving extra slow today, as is my mind, because I’m still not caught up from overdoing things on Monday, and I didn’t sleep very well last night. I woke up a lot, but I also went right back to sleep after. It just wasn’t anywhere near enough. And while I was asleep I was dreaming – usually about having to get somewhere, or having to gather things together, or looking for something, or just – all very busy things. Busy yet mundane. None of it felt very restful, that’s for sure!

I wrote a short story for an online course once years ago, and the protagonist had very vivid, busy dreams, so she was tired all the time, too. Almost to the point of not quite being able to tell when she was dreaming, because there was always so much to do. When something extra weird would happen, she could recognize it as a dream, but mostly there wasn’t time to stop and think. I’m not quite at THAT point yet…though if I’m dreaming right now then I’ll miss my post for today…and probably lose my job…never mind, I think I’m fine. Anyway, it was a busy and restless night.

I remember when I quit smoking (and I’ll tell that whole tale in another post), among many other things, I started having really vivid dreams. Colourful. But every once in awhile, I would dream that I’d had a cigarette, and my mind would be disappointed because it meant I had to start counting the days since I last had a smoke all over again. That was part of what got me through, I think. I am stubborn, anyway, but I also really didn’t want to start over again at zero. I’d always be so relieved when I woke up and realized that I hadn’t actually had that cigarette – that it had just been a dream , after all. Less satisfying in the moment, but still a relief overall!

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Flynn’s Tale: The Story So Far

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When Kate, my kitten of 13 years had to be suddenly euthanized, I was devastated. She’d been the first animal that had been fully my responsibility. She was the one who’d first made me a mom.

I soon discovered that I hated going home to an empty apartment, too, so as soon as I got my next paycheque, I headed to a nearby Toronto Animal Services shelter to adopt. While I waited for payday, I perused the site often, looking for who my next felines loves would be. I knew I didn’t want to have only one pet living with me, so my plan was to get two, possibly from the same litter. And I wanted them to be as different from Kate as possible – I wanted boys, I wanted something other than a tabby (except maybe orange tabbies, because how cute are they?!) and I wanted little kittens who would distract me from my Kate heartache a little bit with their kitten-y antics. Plus, Kate had been a good 3-4 months old before she came to live with me, so I was looking for someone younger this time.

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I saw and instantly fell in love with a young tuxedo chap the shelter had named Chimneysweep. He had huge long whiskers and was fluffy and black and white and perfect. Well, almost perfect – he was about 5 months old at the time, they estimated, but he was so cute I’d overlook the slightly older-than-I-was-looking-for age.

The time finally came for me to go find my new kittens, and I bullied Tim into coming with me. I went from room to room, kind of looking at the various cats available to adopt, but wanting to first see if my luck had held out long enough for Chimneysweep to still be there.

It had, and he was!

I scooped the little fool out of his cage and after about a 3 second cuddle he jumped down and played with some/all of the toys available in the room. He was a scamp and a half, that little guy, and I was delighted! After watching and playing with him for a few minutes, I put him back in his kennel with the promise that I would be back for him, and headed off to find him a new brother.

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On the way, though, I bumped into one of the volunteers who told me that Chimneysweep didn’t really play well with other cats. He might do well with an older, bigger cat who would put him in his place, but otherwise, he was a ball of energy that would be taken out on me and my apartment if he was an only pet, or on an older cat, which was not what I was looking for. They suggested I try him with another kitten to see how they did together, and decide from there.

In one of the other rooms, a young brown female tabby had been trying to get my attention while I was talking to a little black kitten in the cage next to her. Tim suggested we try the tabby with Chimneysweep, as she didn’t seem the type to take any of his roughhousing crap. I reluctantly agreed – I mean, she was female, and a tabby, but at least she was brown instead of gray, and I’d have Chimneysweep around to keep me laughing if I ended up taking both. I figured it was worth a shot, anyway.

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As we walked into that room, however, a little black paw shot out from a lower level cage and snagged my pantleg. I looked in to see who was pawing at me, and saw this cute little black ball of fluff the shelter had named Tabitha. I remembered seeing her on the website, though she hadn’t really stood out to me at the time. In that moment, however, all I could envision was how cute her little black and white fluffiness would look with Chimneysweep’s little black and white tuxie fluffiness, and decided to try the two of them together, instead. One of the volunteers took Tabitha out of her cage and blew on her white patch of belly fur to see how long ago she’d been spayed. She had fully healed, so she carried her back to Chimneysweep’s room, with Tim and I following behind. It would occur to me later that the most prevalent feeling I had in those moments was tiny stabs of jealousy. I wanted to be the one carrying her.

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As soon as she and Chimneysweep got to the same floor, the wrestling started. Well, he started wrestling. Tabitha was more pinned on her back with a confused and helpless look on her face as he chewed on her. After a few moments, we decided we didn’t like the way he was playing with her, and pulled him off. I held him, the volunteer held Tabitha, and looking at her now-dishevelled little face, I knew she was the one I had to adopt. If only to apologize for what she’d just been subjected to on my account. With a touch of sadness and a little confusion of my own, I placed the kitten I thought I’d be taking home that day back into his cage, and told him I was sorry. I also mentioned that, if he was a good boy, he’d be sure to be adopted soon, because he was just too handsome not to be.

(Chimneysweep was adopted not long after, actually, but that day was the beginning and end of our story).

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So there I was, still with one kitten chosen, but a different one than had been chosen mere minutes prior. I still had to find another one, and by that point (having just given back what I’d held as my one certainty), I was so confused, I decided to just let them choose me, instead. The little tabby was still waiting in the other room, and as she had chosen me first out of all of them, I decided to give her and Tabitha a shot together. I was a little apprehensive, since poor Tabitha had just been worked over a bit as it was, but I was hopeful that the introductions would go better this time.

And they did. The girls wrestled in silence for a few moments – no hissing, or meowing – and both were involved. It wasn’t one chewing on the other. Then they broke apart and took turns exploring the room, and coming back to check on me.

I had my cats.

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The shelfter had named the tabby Linda, but I have an Aunt Linda, and was determined to find a different name for her. Something that suited the little curl at the tip of her tail when she walked. The main glitch, however, was that she hadn’t yet been spayed, so I couldn’t actually take both kittens with me that day. In fact, further problems would crop up and I wouldn’t be able to take Linda home for at least a month, if at all.

So, again reluctant, I left that day with one kitten. Tabitha. A female, about 5 months old, so even older than Kate had been. But at least she wasn’t a tabby. But the other one was. What had I done?

I got her home, and she seemed to feel comfortable in the apartment and with me right away. I read all this information about how to introduce a kitten to a new home, to another kitten, etc, but Tabitha didn’t seem to require any of that. She knew she was home.

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For my part, I knew she couldn’t keep the name Tabitha. The little trouble-maker was going to require a shorter name – perhaps one I would lengthen when using it as a term of endearment. But shorter for when she was causing trouble. I’d wanted to give both kittens some kind of cute pair name, but I wasn’t sure if Not-Linda (as I’d taken to calling her) would ever actually be able to come home, so while I toyed with the possibility of Scully and Reyes, it didn’t really fit either kitten, so I ended up going with a name from my youth that was making a comeback with a new film in the decades-old franchise.

That’s how Tabitha became Flynn.

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As a kitten, Flynn was super cute and had a habit of getting into everything. Or it seemed like everything. She drooled a lot, kept knocking decorations off my Christmas tree so she could bat them around the apartment, and her favourite toy was a stick with a feather attached to the end that she dragged around behind her until the feather more or less disintegrated.  She had no idea how to ask for the kind of attention she wanted, nor did she quite know what to do when she got it. She seemed happy for the most part, though, and sincerely wanted to be loved. And to explore. She was very floppy and you could do pretty much whatever you wanted with her. She was very tolerant, and very light. She looks big because she’s so fluffy, but there is barely anything to her, even now. She likes to be near me more than she likes to be on me, but I am slowly teaching her how to lap cat. She’s not a fan of pooing in the litter, for some reason, but prefers the mat next to the litter, instead.

The vet said maybe something happened before she got to the shelter that made her not like the sensation (she doesn’t cover anything up after, either), or perhaps she was separated from her mother before she learned how to cat.

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Regardless, I’ve tried lots of different things, and in the end, I decided that it’s better just to work with her as she is. Sometimes she acts like maybe she’ll poo on the floor instead, and all I have to do is say her name, and she goes over to her usual spot instead. So at least there’s that. We’ve developed an understanding of sorts. She also usually waits for me to be around before she goes, because she knows I’ll clean it up right after.

I remember, for the first day or so, I was kind of stand-offish with her. She wasn’t Kate – at all – and yet I couldn’t figure out how to love her. I feel like we just kind of watched one another for the first bit. Also, she smelled like shelter, and I wasn’t sure she knew how to groom herself. I wasn’t sure I knew what to do with a cat who didn’t know how to cat. She had zero traction on the hardwood floors, and sometimes I wondered if she even had claws, because they never seemed to come out, even when we would eventually play together. She’s gentle and loving and….like…pretty simple. She’s like a perpetual innocent, that Flynn. Just wanting everyone to be pleased.

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A day or two into our new life together, I put her on the back of the toilet seat, and got some paper towels together. I wet them, and used them to wipe down all of her fur. She purred the whole time. Her purr is super quiet and I had to put my ear up to her to hear it at all, but I could feel it vibrating throughout her body. She was happy, probably to be getting more attention from me. I probably could have given her a full bath, but I was hoping the damp paper towels would induce her to start grooming more. For whatever reason, it worked, and she stopped smelling like shelter, and instead got even fluffier the more she cleaned herself.

Then, despite the fact that she had the apartment – and me – to herself for at least a month, she remained curious yet welcoming – her usual gentle self – for every other animal and human that comes through the door. She has gotten a bit better at defending herself during play wrestling time, but she won’t be winning any titles any time soon. She is getting much better at being a lap cat, sprawling longer and longer in my lap, and more and more often now.

She loves hand lotion…I have no idea why.

She rarely throws up furballs, so when she does, she appears to be confused as to what the hell it was that just came out of her.

She has a stomach like a steel trap and can eat pretty much anything, yet still remains as light as air.

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Her eyes were yellow when I brought her home, but now they are usually green – darker green when she is in a particularly good mood.

Sometimes she still plays by herself, much to my entertainment, and she and the dog have taken to occasionally grooming one another. Which is weird, but awesome.

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In some ways, Flynn needs me the most, and sincerely wants me to love her as much as she loves me. She is silly, and adorable and in some cases, I think if I were to have a favourite of the brood, it would be her. I don’t know where she came from, or how she ended up in a shelter, but I’m glad she reached out and grabbed my attention that day. Once I got over the fact that she wasn’t Kate, Flynn grew into a new part of my heart that I hadn’t realized existed.

And now we just keep growing, together.

Tabitha –> Flynn – December 2010 and counting

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I Dream Of Kate

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I believe my much-loved-and-missed kitty Kate came to visit me in a dream last night.

It’s weird – right after she died, while I was alone in the apartment for a couple of weeks (until I got paid again and could afford a trip to the animal shelter), I kept thinking I heard her around the apartment, or felt her jump onto the bed and lie down next to me like she always did. I even thought I heard her meow a couple of times. I’m sure I’ve dreamed about her since she died, but I can’t really remember anything. I was thinking recently about how I missed feeling like she was still around, even though there are 3 more cats and a doggie enriching my daily life these days. Kate was my first, and therefore will always be special to me in a slightly different way from all the rest.

Also, sometimes she said “mama”, and I don’t expect to find another kitten who can do THAT!

So anyway, whether I dreamed much about my girl Kate in the past or not, last night’s dream was definitely different. As with most dreams, location and such didn’t make sense with reality. I was living in the house in Creemore where I grew up, but on my own, not with my family. I still had Brody, Jack Bear, Flynn and Piper with me – we were just in a much bigger place than we actually are. A place none of them, Kate included, have ever been.

Now, in the dream, Piper had found Kate, but there was also some indication that she was partly responsible for Kate being gone, or for her not coming home sooner. There was some reason why I was potentially angry at Piper, but before the end of the dream I’d forgiven her and moved past it and whatever it was made us closer than ever, so it doesn’t matter now. I know in real life Piper was the kitten I wasn’t sure I wanted, because she looked too much like Kate and it hurt my heart to be close to her. But then she was also the one I waited the longest for, because another month would pass before I could bring her home from the shelter, and she’s kind of the one that keeps the household in order, if that makes sense. She’s like the den mother, in a way. And while I got over the distance I’d put between us long ago, I feel like this morning I actually do feel closer to her now than ever before, which is nice.

I also know that I feel a lot of guilt over not being a good pet mom in the past. Or not being the best. But I’ve always been MY best, so I said to the fur kids this morning that I’ll always be my best for them, but I’ll also always try to be better; to learn as we go. There is, after all, always more room to grow.

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Back to the dream. Kate had found her way home to me, after all these years. She’d been taken away, and something had been done to the pads of her feet, so that she couldn’t walk. So my girl taught herself to walk on the sides of her feet – they were all bent and deformed from not being walked on properly, but she made it work and came back to me. I was momentarily worried about how everyone would get along – 3 cats and a dog when she used to have me all to herself is a lot to get used to – but everyone was great. They weren’t all cuddly or anything, but everyone respected one another’s space, and tolerated everyone together in the much-bigger-than-my-real- apartment house we were living in.

My first thought upon waking was that Kate came back. Not in a sense of being back alive, but in terms of being close to me again. Maybe we hadn’t yet figured out how to visit in dreams, and now we can. Maybe she felt the distance of my being distracted with all these other fur babies, but now we both know there will always be a place for her, no matter what. She’s on my mind a lot today still, instead of fading the way most dreams do, and I am glad for that. I still miss her, of course, but it’s different. I am full of love for the critters who depend on me to take care of them, and don’t have time to miss Katie-Kate the same way I used to. That I don’t hear her or feel her anymore no longer seems like a failing on my part, or something that’s been lost. Now she feels close to me even without those things, and I suspect this dream visit will not be the last. And since Dream Kate gets along just fine with Dream Brody, Dream Piper, Dream Flynn and Dream Jack Bear, I see no reason why she won’t always be close by, through the veil, on the other side of waking life.

Now if I could just figure out why Brody – and lately Piper – keep staring intently into a particular mirror at something I can not see…

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