Things to do instead of write:

The internet is made for lists and self exploration. So if you, too, need just one more reason to procrastinate, read on:

  1. Think about writing.
  2. Read a book about writing.
  3. Oh my! How the dishes have stacked up!
  4. Should probably do some laundry. And sort it. And organize the closet by color, ROYGBIV style.
  5. Fantasize about your long-lost elementary school crush.
  6. Try to find crush on Facebook. Despair that “AJ Foster” is such a common name, and 5th grade was so, so long ago.
  7. Same re: your long-lost middle school crush / science teacher, because “Tom Davis” might as well be John Doe. (Oh, I said it! Weird thing about this situation: He was probably younger in 1997 than I am now. There’s some fun mental territory to explore.)
  8. And since you’re already on Facebook, might as well take time to read that Atlantic article that looked interesting, even though you know it will most likely ignite some liberal rage.
  9. Have a snack. Liberal rage makes you hungry.
  10. Nap.
  11. Snap a photo of your cat, doing same.Jenksie cat nap
  12. Go for a run. Knock off those cobwebs.
  13. Energy! Clean all the things!
  14. Wonder for a minute whether it’s any less annoying and unoriginal to use the phrase “all the things” if one owns and has read Allie Brosh’s book. (No. It’s not.)
  15. Phone home.
  16. Phone a friend.
  17. Wonder for a minute about the fact that these two simple phrases are now ubiquitous pop culture references. Is that something? (No. It’s not.)
  18. Netflix.
  19. Netflix.
  20. Netflix.
  21. Think about writing…

 

What cats & heartbreak have taught me so far

This is a story about a girl and a cat. (and some other things…)

I wrote a post about Kitler last August (and holy shit is it more apropos than I remembered…seriously, go read it. It’s short). Kitler is the stray cat I started feeding last year, and he’s stayed in my life, off and on, since then. Every time I think he might be gone for good, there he is when I open the door. As if nothing has changed.

And I feed him, just the same.

In that post last year, I used his lack of trust and my unreciprocated affection as a metaphor for my love life. I give and give and give (cat food), and though he’s slowly warmed up to me, he still won’t let himself fully connect (by receiving kitty snuggles).

That sounds about right.

///

Tonight as I was leaving my house to walk to the park — the one safe place I could think of to clear my head — there he was on the porch. After another long absence and presumed tragic ending. He looked skinnier than usual but meowed like he was happy to see me. (Allow me to give the cat some emotions. I need him to have emotions right now.) But when I carried the scoop of food outside, he hissed at me. (This is not typical Kitler behavior anymore.) On closer inspection, I noticed he looked a little dirty, and he was walking with a little limp. Somebody hurt Kitler.

This was too much, universe. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.

…Because I’m helpless. The little guy won’t let me touch him when he’s well, so there’s no way I can manage to take him to the vet. He’s not even technically my cat… so I just have to stand there and watch him be hurt.

…And also because that’s how it goes sometimes. People you love get hurt and there’s nothing you can do about it. (Sometimes the “people you love” is you.)

But I’m letting this moment with Kitler teach me an important lesson. I think he’s been hurt by a lot of people in his rough little kitty life. After a whole year he trusts me — but not much. Not enough to let me close.

I see how life can get that way. (For people. I do still relate to people, cat lady conspiracy theorists.)

You trust and you love, and then you get burned sometimes. (This might even happen three birthdays in a row, for example.) After that kind of hope and heartbreak, you might want to completely self-protect. Close off. Shun affection. Put up walls. Harden your heart and never believe there’s someone who could truly care for you again.

(Right?)

But I’m not going to let myself believe that. Whether or not I ever get my own Nora Ephron ending (speaking of sad news this week, you guys…), I know that I deserve to be cared for.

I may be the sort of cat who’s a little roughed up in places, who’s not quite as trusting as she used to be. And sometimes I hiss at life — even at the people I love. But I’m not ready to close myself off. Not yet.

I know I can still care for Kitler even though I can’t fix him. And I certainly don’t have to end up like him.

Besides, I don’t think they make you change your status from “and ready to mingle” to “and ready to die alone” until at least birthday #30. (And it’s longer than that, I’ve heard, in cat-years.)

TILT1

Longtime readers of the blog may recall two things:

1) Long ago, I used to write more. Thanks for reminding me.

2) Longer ago I used to do this weekly post called “Things I Love Thursday”… a quick list of non sequitur happies that happened to cross my mind that day.

Today I remembered I liked this idea. So here we go. TILT blast from the past. No repeats. Just rhymes.

1) @TheSchoolofLife tweeted an intereting quote today, as they are wont to do. This crunchy thought from Mark Twain earned itself an RT:

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

Mark Twain, you dog you. Genius. And I’m sure he just wrote that on a napkin once or something.

2) Happiness is watching my (indoor) cat enjoying her first bites of indoor-cat grass. (Yes, this is a thing, non-cat-people. One can buy special Chia-like items for one’s non-Chia Pet pet, so that one’s pet can get her munchy greens on and — a girl can dream — leave fewer surprise hairballs around the home. Even if the science doesn’t work out, her pure joy at discovering she’s allowed to chew this houseplant is worth the $5.99 or whatever Target took me for. So much purring.

(Over grass, people. Zen moments brought to you by Jenksie.)

3) Jon Stewart.
I love this man. I say it a lot. But any time I’ve missed a few days of Daily Show, I always feel this happy tingle when we reunite anew. That show is food for the brain. (It’s a bit of tasty grass for my mind after it’s been cooped up indoors for too long…).

It’s nice to think. It’s nice to laugh. It’s nice to remember there are people on My Team out there…

4) Speaking of that. The other day in traffic I noticed a new take on an old classic. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Calvin-peeing-on-something car decal. Been replaced by family stick figures and dedications to dead loved ones, I suppose. But this one, a truck I was following on Kearney, was no ordinary Calvin.

This one had Obama’s face on Calvin’s body, and it was peeing on the word “Republicans.” Oh dear lord. But below it was some bumper sticker declaring “voting Republican is like [some cheeky slam that would typically appear on a bumper sticker like this. I'm out of imagination right now, but you get the drift.]” So I realized there was much more to this story than meets the eye.

Not such a bad thing to be reminded. (Even if what meets the eye does include a cowboy hat and car decals that are, let’s face it, still a little wacko…)

5) It’s summertime.
That means life is bringing all the hits: party dishware at Target, summer cocktails at Mudlounge, sunny sunsets for running, gatherings in backyards, sandals… Even though there’s no beach in my immediate future, I’m trying to dig my toes into warm mental sand as often as I can.

Cheers to that. (with a tiny umbrella in it.)