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.

Ghost Radio Fun

The ole timey radio play we did last night was so much fun!

I kind of think it might have been my favourite so far, but I hesitate to commit to such a statement, as all of them have been ridiculous and had just as many laughs.

This one also had wine, though, so that might be part of it.

One thing about this one was that the script had far less racism and sexism and all the other -ism’s that make people uncomfortable these days. The scripts we use were all written and performed in the 30’s and 40’s, and while they are always a fun and fascinating glimpse into our past, they also highlight so much of what people now try to cover up – that we just aren’t very nice to one another. That we say less out loud now doesn’t mean we’re not still thinking things sometimes. And just because some laws have changed, practices are not as easy to alter. They are just less overt much of the time.

Unless you’re paying attention, anyway, which the majority of society seem not to be.

Anyway, there was less blatant racism and sexism, and more body shaming and ghost story telling in this one. And there was real life red wine to go with it. And an incredible cast of some of my favourite women on hand to perform it! Two of them had never done this with us before, and while not everyone knew one another going into it, they all played so well together! It was actually so amazing to watch that I kept missing my scant few lines in the script, and just enjoyed the show as performed by everyone else. I’m assuming it wasn’t really written to be a comedy, but they way these ladies played it was pure brilliance. Comedic gold, if I’m being honest. I’d love to get that same group together again sometime and see what else we can come up with, because they all worked off of one another so perfectly!

There were, of course, technical difficulties, and I am pretty sure we lost the whole night of footage from the tricaster. That means nothing from the microphone on the table was recorded. We did have a backup recording going, thank goodness, but only for the “official” read, so the practice read is, I believe, gone forever. It’ll just have to live on in the memories of those of us who were fortunate enough to be in the room.

As well, the audio from the backup recording was not likely able to pick up some of the quieter dialogue, but the majority of it should be okay, I think. And Tim did an audio-only recording with his phone on the table, too, so that will go up on iTunes, but again, only the official read, not the practice one.

Still, that final read was even better than the practice one, and so long as the audio turned out more or less okay, I think it’ll remain a favourite of mine for a long time to come. Those ladies all just killed it, and I am so thrilled with how it went!

I just wish the evidence of our evening had been better captured.

Also, Flynn is sick again with a urinary tract infection and I think the cold I had mostly fought off is roaring back with a vengeance this afternoon. In addition, I’m trying something I haven’t done in easily 2 decades. More later, maybe, after I see how it goes.

Highlighting The Positive Side

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I don’t really feel like writing today. Over-tired, heavy heart at losing Leo the lion, and a myriad of other feelings. I have the feels, but what I don’t feel is like writing. Haha

Instead, I’m going to highlight a couple of things.

Our latest Mind Reels Ol’ Timey Radio Play reading from earlier this week – we’d recorded back-up audio and video for the “official” read, and the video is now available to be viewed here. So much ridiculous fun! I’m not sure I’ll ever forget Josh Vokey’s performance in particular, both as Mrs Umney AND the Ghost! I actually can’t wait to watch it back as a way of remembering all the awesome! I feel like they just keep getting better and better, and while I’ve already got the next script chosen (to hopefully do at some point during the week after next), I am already looking to choose what the September script will be, too! I’m so excited about how these are going that I keep forgetting to work on booking interviews, as well. Balance! I must remember to seek balance!

Hopefully links for all three radio plays, and most recent interview, will go up at Smithee.TV’s sites soon, too, since everything was recorded properly for those, and using back-up methods for ours.

I am also much closer to being ready to launch a Patreon page for The Mind Reels! The inital goal is to basically get enough support per month to help cover the site-related expenses we’ve been paying out of pocket all this time, and then hopefully to be able to grow and expand the podcast even more! I have a lot of ideas, and I am excited to launch this so that fans and friends and supporters all over the world can get even more involved and interactive with the Mind Reels experience as a whole.

I think a Patreon page will add another level to it all, really. In case you are wondering, Patreon is a model of crowd-funding which allows people to sign up as Patrons to support their favourite projects on a monthly basis, usually in exchange for various rewards given back to them each month. For the Mind Reels page, we will be accepting sponsors at a wide variety of tier levels, with the lowest being $1 per month, and the highest being $15 per month (though I have a possible idea for a cool $20 tier reward if I can get things running smoothly for a few months first). The rewards get better and more interactive with each increase in tier level, and while Patrons can cease their sponsorship at any time, I am hoping that many of the rewards will entice people to stay on and enjoy the ride with us! From simple thank you’s and Twitter follows to entries into monthly draws all the way up to being named as an official presenter of an episode each month and unlimited access to video footage of full episodes via private links (the public video links are generally only for the abridged versions of the full episodes), which can really be a lot of fun to watch, too!

So we’ll see. I really want to put some effort into making the whole endeavour a success, so am going into it assuming I’ll be doing it more or less on my own, and then if I get any extra help here and there, all the better!

I also just today discovered this Canada In A Day thing, and I totally want to participate! I’ve only glanced through it, but already my mind is coming up with some fun ideas to try, so I fully expect to have even more thoughts come to me once I’ve had a chance to go over all of the submission details and the like! Such a cool and fun project – even more so if I am a part of it! Haha

That’s pretty much it for now, I think. I am very heavy-hearted over losing Leo…like, to the point where I can’t talk about it out loud or even really think about it at all without crying, so at least there are plenty of distractions in my work day to keep me focused on other things. But not talking about it doesn’t mean that it’s not affecting me deeply, especially right now. I just can’t let that be my main emotion, so while I’m allowing myself to feel it when I can, I’m also making sure to let myself feel other things, too.

Balance, right?

Also, one more thought – Brody invited me to play with him last night, for the first time in quite a long while! I of course accepted. It only lasted a few minutes because #heatwave, but the happiness it injected into my heart when it lie broken was much needed and appreciated.

He’s such a good boy, that #BrodyGraham. ❤

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Great Idea, Poor Execution

I think I’ve pretty much always had the big ideas; just never the talent to make them a reality, let alone a successful one.

In fact, that’s my autobiography title: Great Idea, Poor Execution. With the tag-line of “How I Scraped The Bottom Of The Barrel To Discover I’m It”.

Or maybe that last part was about my former dating life.

At any rate, even as a kid, I was always coming up with these amazing ideas, starting to work on them, and then give up early on because my imagination has always been far too big for my reality. I would, however, drag my little brother along for the ride. Of course. I mean, someone had to lead the way to creative play, right? That was one of my jobs as an older sibling. Another was to annoy him and occasionally try to get him blamed for things, but that rarely worked. He was cuter than me.

Once I convinced him to help me dig a tunnel, starting in our backyard, and going to several places around town so that we could travel underground via our very own secret railroad! I knew that we probably couldn’t have an actual train down there, but we had our bikes, and those would work. We could even bike to school in winter if we wanted! It was going to be epic, just like the TV show, but not!

We started digging, encountered a billion rocks (or, like, 5 or 6), and gave up.

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Then I had a plan to build a log cabin fort-like structure (not fort as in olden war times, but as in our own place to play that no one else could use unless they were invited) around the hole we’d dug, because then it would be out of sight and therefore out of mom’s mind. We dragged some large wood beam-like things and started setting them up in an alternating over/under pattern. After we’d piled them about waist-high in a square around our hole, we realized that we had no idea how to fill in the spaces between the “logs”.

So we gave up. Totally left that things standing, though.

Another amazing idea I had as a kid that would have made literally everyone so jealous that I’d be famous was to build our own Godzilla. Out of what, I’m not sure. As far as I ever got on it was a design drawn in a pad of scrapbook paper. There would be ladders inside, so we could climb up to where the eyes were and look out at all the little people, and the beast would move on wheels…that I believe were also our bikes, actually. We actually rode our bikes a ton, so I’m not sure why I thought I could or would ever build them into my designs, but whatever. Maybe I figured we could have more bikes once we’d build this huge Godzilla to ride around in!

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Finally, there was the circus. Ah, our circus, starring us. And our swing-set. Basically us climbing around on a swing-set and passing it off as stunts. I felt we should sell tickets, and perhaps later take our amazing show on the road.

It didn’t pan out. At all. And so we gave up. Same with performing plays with costumes we’d made ourselves, and once with a script one of our friends had “touched up”. Those had the potential to be better, but I am pretty sure they were still painful to sit through. Though sit our parents did. And tolerate my wild imagination my brother did. I’d had a recurring nightmare for a while and once asked my brother if he would ever just run out the door with me, no questions asked, if I ever told him to, based on nothing but my panic mode if I thought my nightmare was coming true.  If he would just trust me and do it. 

He said he would.

Over Everything Brain

Oh, 2am anxiety and your devilish sleep-stealing-ness. I’ve not had a chance to miss you yet! Perhaps try staying away for longer next time?

So freaking tired today, but still upbeat, because after this I am of for the rest of the week. The construction guys were louder than usual this morning, so I don’t anticipate being able to sleep in tomorrow or Friday, but we’ll see. I have some things on the go that I will probably do better getting up early for, anyway.

Met up with a friend for catch-up drinks last night after work. So much fun! And really nice – I feel like our conversation covered a lot of territory in a relatively short period of time, and that’s always a good thing when it happens. Hopefully we’ll do it a tad more regularly now that the weather is nicer, so that we have less catching up to do next time!

Sucks that my brain wouldn’t give me a break in the wee hours this morning, though. I hate not having a place to go to in my mind when stuff like that happens. It makes everything more difficult, really. I’ll have to figure out a new one soon, I guess. It’s like my subconscious knew the whole time when I lost my usual go-to…maybe even before I realized it myself…and now it’s toying with me at every opportunity. Lame brain.

I used to want to be some kind of detective when I grew up. Not like a cop, exactly, but more like Nancy Drew. I read a bunch of Nancy Drew as a kid. Maybe all of it. I had a library card and my mom and I would go to the library quite regularly and I’d sit on the creaky wooden floor in the children’s area and pore over all the yellow-spines of the Nancy Drew hard-covered series and try to figure out which ones I hadn’t read yet. It smelled like books in there. I still love that smell.

When I’m rich and famous and design my own house, there will be a library and a movie theatre, and I’ll collect old books so as to always have that smell when I want it, and I’ll have a big air-popper for perfect theatre-style popcorn and hire someone else to clean that mess ’cause I ain’t doing it. There will also be an observatory – perhaps in some kind of tower – and a huge plot of land for all the animals I rescue.

Indoor/outdoor pool, hot tub, sauna, small private gym that I almost never use but when I do it plays 80’s music a lot of the time.

You guys can come over and visit sometimes, and we’ll have full scale murder mysteries to play when we’re feeling particularly feisty. There will, of course, be secret passages and the like, as well.

It’ll probably be on an island (which I’ll also own), but I’ll charter various modes of transportation so you can get there easily, don’t worry.

What was I talking about? Ah yes, detectiving.

I liked all that cool mystery stuff – invisible ink, puzzles, codes, fingerprints, and a trail of clues to follow. I used to try and make up mysteries for myself to solve (this was way before the interwebs, kids, so I couldn’t just Google shit; I had to use my imagination) using old photos and documents and…just anything laying around. I liked calculator watches and anything with hidden compartments. I mean, even now, the deluxe Lost DVD complete series collection boxed set is one of the coolest things I own. I still haven’t discovered all the goodies hidden inside that beauty!

‘Cause therein lies the problem with my career as a private detective. I suck at it.

My brain just doesn’t work that way. I either don’t dig deep enough or, more often, I over-complicate everything. Over-think. Over-analyze. All the overs.

I love, love, love whodunits…wow. My maternal grandmother did, too. That just hit me. She was always reading murder mysteries and such. I never made that connection between her and I until literally just now, as I was typing “whodunits”. In my mind, I was thinking of TV shows and movies more than books, but as soon as I typed that word, I had a vivid recollection of her bookshelves and the jokes about how such a nice, tiny, elderly lady could love reading about such grisly subjects. Nothing to do with whatever I thought I was going to say. Just a sudden link between her and I.

Aww…I miss you, Nanny. ❤

I’m sorry about the stuff I lost. I know you know that, but I also know you know that knowing you know doesn’t make me less sorry.

Anyway. Mysteries. I love immersing myself in them; suck at solving them. That’s kind of why I like the TV series Motive so much, too. It tells you who the victim and killer are right at the beginning, and then it’s all about learning the how and, most importantly, the why. Also, I’m not sure I could love actress Kristin Lehman more than I do already, but you never know. I guess anything is possible.

As I got older and ran out of classic Nancy Drew to read, I spent some time with The Three Investigators, though only in book form. I of course watched Pamela Sue Martin as the girl detective as much as possible…and I think I still have a book at home called Susan Super Sleuth, now that I think about it…Sue is such a good detective name, and yet…I fail. At any rate, I’ve hosted a couple of boxed murder mysteries in my day, and was blessed to have friends get completely into their roles each time. I loooooved all the Carmen Sandiego games, both on the computer and that TV game show thingy. I really want to check out some of the city’s escape rooms someday, too, though I will probably suck at those, too. The brain, the braaaain! The over everything braaaaain.

So long as there aren’t actual lives on the line, or anything, though, puzzling through various types of mysteries is really very fun for me. Be it a book, TV show, film, or something more personally and/or physically involving like murder mystery dinners or escape room puzzles – even games like Clue or those insane word puzzles that I always have to draw a chart for in order to figure out. I love all that stuff, even as I fail at it most of the time. It’s the puzzle, the questions, the awesome gadgets (I love gadgets), and that rare sense of utter victory when you actually figure it out without being told.

I guess that might be part of what makes me a good detective at my job, too. Even with this new system in place, the things I can do can’t really be taught. It’s kind of impressive. My talent in that area only exists here and holds no value in the real world, of course, but at least it exists. I’m feel accomplished – extremely gratified – when I’ve solved one of our little mysteries and sorted everything out.

Then I usually write a lengthy email to document and share my own brilliance, but that usually falls a bit flat. Nevertheless – I know when I rocked something, and I know when I’m one of the only people who could.

In other news, I’ve lost just over 15lbs in just under 4 months, and that ain’t bad. It at least explains why it seemed so much faster than picture memories on Facebook would have me believe.

So that’s good.

Edited to add: I just found this. OMG. The 8-year-old me is squeeing her 8-year-old squee.

Alone Not Lonely

I read a post this morning online about women alone, as compared to men, in our society. It was interesting, and while some of it I’m not sure I agree with, the majority of it I found quite relatable.

I should probably include a link to the post, in case you want to see what I’m talking about. You can read it here, if you like.

So, there’s some discussion about how men are essentially allowed to be alone – we call them bachelors and they have their bachelor pads and man-caves and the like. There isn’t really a word for women who are alone – at least none that have positive connotations. Spinster, witch, crazy cat lady – it’s treated as an unnatural state for women to be in. Normal women are in relationships and surrounded by family and friends most of the time. It’s what we all aspire to, whether that’s because we were raised to, or society impresses that upon us, or whatever. Women can only lead happy, complete and fulfilled lives if there are other people around, whereas men can either let themselves get “tied down”, or hang out by themselves and enjoy their bachelorhood. They can choose, and both options are seen as perfectly acceptable. Women…not nearly so much.

Which I can kind of see, I guess. I hadn’t really thought about it – perhaps because I never really felt like I fell very squarely into either category, as far as general society is concerned. I think, to me, it’s more been the impression that preferring to spend time alone is often viewed as selfish, or antisocial, or the result of some sort of psychosis. Or some/all of the above. It feels, to me, as though it’s perceived with disdain in some regards. As a child, getting sent to one’s room is meant as a punishment, but I liked being in my room. I’d read, nap, write, play alone with Star Wars action figures, colour, listen to music – tons of things. I had a good imagination, and was very good at entertaining myself. Punishment for me would be to be forced to go outside and play. But technically I enjoyed that, too, so I guess it’d be more like, “go outside and find some friends to play with!”

Noooooo…..

The horror.

I think I’ve mentionned before that I would be an excellent shut-in type personality, if I could work from home. I would probably only leave to walk the dog. And now that I live with a dog again, I don’t really want to spend much time NOT living with a dog, so hopefully I will always be surrounded by animals and unconditional love. And we would go for walks together, because that requires very little effort on my part to be enjoyable for him. I pretty much just have to show up, and Brody is happy. He doesn’t even care what mood I am in – he’s just glad I’m there and that we’re outside together. I never have to, as the article thingy says, “arrange my face in a way that someone else would understand”. That goes for time spent in the company of animals, and time spent in the company of no one. Both are rather liberating, and I enjoy lots of either when I come across it.

But is that selfish? It’s antisocial, I guess, though I would also argue that it’s an excellent way to recharge my batteries so that I have the capacity to be more social as occasion warrants. Being “on” all the time takes a toll, after all. It certainly feels selfish, the idea of telling someone I’d rather be alone than hang out with them. So I try not to do that very often, because I don’t like feeling as though I’m not taking another’s needs into account in favour of catering to my own. Which I’m told would be a totally healthy thing to do, but it doesn’t feel good, so I don’t do it if I can help it!

The flip side, of course, is that I am also painfully aware of my inability to be a good friend or partner to anyone. So much time spent alone means that spending time with anyone else, or a group of anyone elses, is a huge thing for me. It’s stressful, and exhausting and taxing and frightening and overwhelming – along with all the good things it can also be, like fun, hilarious, emotionally-uplifting, creative…time with people you care about is priceless, really. It can take a load off, carry you forward, pick you up, and also recharge your batteries, just in a different way.

For me, so much time alone means that I get all that in theory, but have had very little practice, and am constantly noticing when I screw up, but haven’t quite figured out how to fix it when I do. Sometimes it’s a little like navigating a mine field, in a way. Like, do people actually want to hear what another person thinks? Or would they rather be listened to without judgement? It may seem like that depends on the person, but it also depends on the mood the person is in at that moment. And I’m terrible at picking up cues. Terrible.

I used to joke that I never knew if someone was flirting with me, which is true, but it’s also true for, like, everything. Realizing too late when I’ve pissed someone off, or hurt someone, or just misunderstood something and made another person feel un-heard or under-valued or un-loved. It’s like what’s happening in my mind is either way slow or way off whatever’s happening for the other person, and by the time I figure out what was going on for them, the damage is already done.

I feel like I’m behind and playing catch-up almost all the time. Like everyone else made the jump and I’m still back near the start, only just now realizing that everyone but me has already moved on.

That makes me not easy to be with. I don’t know if I am easy to talk to as a friend – I assume that also depends on the person and the mood and the situation. But I know it’s not as fulfilling as it could be, were I better at it. I’m definitely not an easy person to be in a romantic relationship with. Sometimes I feel like I should apologize to everyone who’s ever dated me, though logically I know that’s ridiculous and that no one is perfect. I do wonder if knowing how much I struggled, and that I did so because I wanted to be with them, would make any difference, though. Sometimes.

I guess the fact that I find it hard to communicate with others, while often preferring my own company to that of other people, makes me at least lazy – if not completely selfish – when I opt to be alone. It’s just easier. But also enjoyable, and rejuvenating in its own way. So there’s that.

And when I do choose to inhabit space and time with other people, it’s because I really want to. Not because I am desperate for companionship, or that I need to be in a relationship in order to feel fulfilled, or that I’m afraid to be alone, or any of the other assumptions that can be made. It’s because I want to be with that person or those people at that time. I love my alone time, I love not having roommates, I love not having to arrange my face. Being around other people means I have to give those things up, and even though I do my best, I know it’s not always what is needed or even wanted by said others.

When I choose to sacrifice those things I love and hang out with other people instead, there are various reasons for doing so. Some aren’t even that flattering or well-intentioned to mention.

Sometimes, though, I forego those things I love simply because I love you more.

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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Playtime With Brody

Playtime

Holy crap I’m tired today!

Like, my eyes are sore from just being open. Ridiculous.

I can’t seem to concentrate very well, so I’m just going to write a few quick little bits about daily life the last few days.

I came in late this morning because I finally went to see my doctor about my crazy cough. I’m not over my cold yet, but it was still worth going in to see her because this time the cough happened months before I came down with a cold, so they are unrelated.

She gave me another prescription for the ventilin inhalers I was on back in the summer, so that should help. She even added some repeats just in case I need more than one to control the cough longer. The inhalers mess me up a bit – give me the shakes and increase my heart-rate and such, so I don’t want to use it during the day, if I can help it. I started using it before bed, because at least I can sleep better and hopefully skip the uncomfortable side effects. The doc also suggested the cough might actually be a side effect of Gilenya, which I hadn’t considered. She even looked it up online while I was in her office and said it was listed as a possibility, so that’s cool. If the inhaler once an evening works to more or less control it, all should be well. Assuming I can afford it, but that’s a worry I’ll deal with later. It’s not the end of the world, either way, after all!

In other news, I started playing more with Brody over the weekend. Or I started playing with him differently, and more. He’s a pretty self-sufficient little guy, and doesn’t require a lot of attention. He just likes to be close to you, and cuddle, and get his belly rubbed.

Within the first few days of him moving in, he started to play on his own. He’d grab a toy and run around with it in his mouth, throw it up in the air, chase it, and throw it again. Sometimes he still does that – did it with a tennis ball just last night, even. I think I threw it for him once, but beyond that, he was happy to play by himself.

Other times, though, he wants me to play with him, too. He wants me to chase him and try to get his toy from him, but he prefers a slow-motion chase. And a light tug on the toy, rather than really pulling it away from him. Sometimes I’ll pull it away, but then let him get it back pretty easily. He also has this sweet soccer move where he knocks the toy out of my reach with his front leg, and turns quickly to pick it up himself before trotting away with it.

He takes everything to his blanket or his bed, and I consider that his safe zone, so I never take his stuff from him when he’s there. Mostly, though, he’ll bring things near me, then scamper off as soon as I notice. I end up playing with him without really having to get up from the couch.

So over the weekend, I decided the time Brody chooses to play with me is more precious than whatever I’m watching on TV, so I hit Pause, and got down on the floor with him.

He was SO HAPPY!

He basically would run back and forth from the bedroom to the front door, but with me crouched in the living room doorway, he had to get past me (and, occasionally, Jack Bear, who was also excited to have me down at their level, and had to get all up in ma grill) both ways. I’d wait until he got close, then he would speed up, I’d try to grab the toy, and even if I got it, he’d get it back from me and continue on his course. He always slowed down once he got where he was going, then run faster when it was time to blow by Mama Sue.

Cutest. Game. Ever.

We both had fun, and he instigated the game a couple of more times over the weekend, so I know he liked it. I love finding new ways to connect with him, even though it’s only for a few minutes at a time.

It’s some of the best few minutes of my day. 🙂

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Learning Brody

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When little mister Brody Graham the Yorkie McPuppyFace first came to live with me, we were pretty much strangers to one another. I already loved him because of all I already knew about him from his people. To him, though, I was a virtual stranger. He did let me rub his belly pretty quickly that first night, which was a good thing. Not that he’s particularly choosey when it comes to potential belly rubs, I’ve learned, but still – it felt like a good step.

That first night was pretty riddled with anxiety for me. I’m already not good at adulting, and suddenly I had this sweet little guy – who was not a cat – requiring my care and attention. I was not yet one of his people, and my home was not yet his home. I had no idea how to read him – his moods, or what he wanted or needed. Every time he made a sound at ALL, I assumed he wanted to go outside, so I got up and took him out. Every few hours, pretty much. All night long.

I didn’t know if he would be too sad without his people he’d grown up with. I didn’t know how he’d do in an apartment, if he would bark at people in the hallway or be able to find the pee pad I left out for him when I went to work. I had no idea how he and the cats would do. And it turned out I’d never really walked anyone on a leash before, so basically he and I were all over the place for the first few days.

Lucky for me, Brody is pretty much the greatest dog in the world, and he took on every challenge and change like a champ. He is also very sweet and patient with me, and loves me even when I make mistakes.

Like when I accidentally made him fat and haven’t quite gotten all the weight back off.  Or that I don’t trust either of us to keep him safe if I let him go off-leash (except for when we go to the basement to do laundry together).

And we learn together, all the time.

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We’ve established some basic routines, despite my ineffectual leadership (I am not a very good Alpha, but I’m doing much better than I was initially), and I really love taking him for walks. I view it as our time together, and I treasure it. Except for when the weather is crappy. Then neither of us enjoys it and we both want to get back inside ASAP. He’s still stubborn sometimes, but we’ve found ways to work with it. At first, every time we went for a walk it was like a constant struggle. A battle of wills. What I liked to call a “directional difference of opinion”.

But something changed as we began to get used to one another. We found a rhythm of sorts – a sense of how to walk together instead of both of us trying to do different things. And I learned to pick my battles. It’s made both of us much more agreeable, really. I realized that I can let him choose when to stop and sniff around when we have more time, because so often on work days we don’t have that luxury and I have to rush him. So to make up for that, I let him slow me down on my days off. He’s taught me patience and makes me leave the apartment and talk to people and stuff. He makes me social. Kinda. More than I was before.

I mean, I see people out with their dogs all the time, and they barely even look at the dog, let alone interact and really be together. The dog seems more like an accessory, or something. Meanwhile, I can barely take my eyes off Brody. Partly to make sure he’s not eating something he shouldn’t, but mostly because he’s so damn cute. People come up to me all the time to meet him and pet him and talk about him. He just gives off this vibe, or something. People and other dogs are just drawn to him naturally, I think. I am in even more awe of him than they are, too, because they don’t know him like I do. I get to live with him and be around him for all his little noises and movements and silly random actions. I get the benefit of understanding that he just makes everything better, automatically. Just by being himself. Other people don’t get to see all that, which makes me lucky. That Brody lets me get to know him more and more each day makes me special.  It makes me part of his pack.

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I’ve learned how to hold the leash when I want him to stay more on one side or the other, and if I really want him to walk instead of sit and look around for an undetermined period of time, I’ve learned that I can carry him about 3 steps, and put him back down again, and he’s good to go. I’ve learned his memory is amazing, and his concentration can be very difficult to break if there is a chance treats may be involved.

I’ve learned that he drools like a machine for pineapple, McDonald’s fries, popcorn and pretty much any fruit. He also likes crackers and veggies. And cheese. He and I are both pretty ridiculous for cheese.

I learned to wash his face, especially around his eyes, regularly to prevent build-up of eye goo.  I’ve learned how he likes to be pet, and his favourite cuddling positions. I’ve learned which kind of toys he loves, and how he likes to play. I’ve watched him try to figure out how to play with the cats (who love him, by the way), and they all even try to groom each other from time to time.

I’ve learned what most of his little noises mean, and how to read his various moods. I’ve made up little songs for him – ditties, if you will – and he knows how to calm and cheer me when I am upset.

We’ve learned how to be family, and I couldn’t be more content and grateful and honoured. Well, every day I think I couldn’t possibly be any happier with him or love him more. But then every day I do love him more, so that expression doesn’t really apply here, I guess.

Anyway.  With his fake-looking little button nose and huge dark brown eyes, I think the only thing I really haven’t figured yet is how he deals with his own level of adorableness.

Because I sure as hell can’t.

Brody Nov 8 2015