You Rock My World!

It’s laundry day #2, and I’m tackling the bedding in my bedroom.  As usual, my two faithful helpers have been ever-present, inspecting every detail and nuance of the process.  In stripping the pillowcases and sheets, and separating the down comforter from its cover to wash it, I had several typical cat reactions from Toby and Timba. The natives were restless indeed! Toby hopped from spot to spot on the bed to evade the “dangers” of me pulling and wadding sheets. Like a faithful “tree” kitty as opposed to a “bush” kitty, he hopped on the top bookshelf for a “safe” view of the ordeal.  Timba, on the other hand, was fully participative, white whiskers prominently displayed and pink nose at every turn. When I returned to my room from putting the bedding in the washer, Timba was sitting on the bare bed with the most bewildered expression on his face.

At this point I laughed, a good hearty one too, because Timba’s face said it all: You rocked my world!  And how true is it? The most minute changes cannot escape the attention of a cat.  And let’s face it, change is not something any cat is keen on. Environmental change can be intriguing at best and devastating at worst.  From the small things like changing the sheets, opening mail, bringing in groceries or new items in boxes, to the big changes like a trip to the vet and that ominous car ride, or moving apartments or homes altogether. Cats … do … not … like … change. It rocks their world!

But you know what? As much as we can rock the world of a cat in big and small ways alike, they also can rock our world.  Having once lived with a roommate where we peaked at 8 cats together, I have had plenty of time and opportunity to observe “cat nature” at its finest. It’s the little things that amuse me, the little things that delight me: the “eye blink” (or cat “I love you”) for example.  Now that I know that this is how cats communicate affection or acceptance, Timba and I regularly exchange affection in this endearing way. Or Timba’s paw bump to say “hey”, or tapping a paw from my side or behind me to say “gimme some love mom”, or Toby’s odd meow that is more like a prolonged “meh”, or Timba’s “Mike Tyson” high-pitched meow elicited from that big brutish body. From Toby’s sophisticated paw drinking method to Timba’s subtle eye and ear signals that say “you’re pissing me off human” (which I do intentionally quite often because it’s so darn cute and amusing), they rock my world.

The big things do as well, like the fact that I seriously considered getting rid of Toby to spare him from Timba’s early harassment phase.  Or the time that Timba chased a paper wad over the side of the bed facing the wall and suddenly went quiet.  He had gotten stuck upside down. I knew something was wrong, called his name, heard him struggle, and just as I lunged to rescue him he came struggling back up the bed and literally gasped for air for the longest minute or two ever. I can never forget that day, and about tear up just writing this. It was such a scare, rocking my world so bad that even a few months later when he flies over that side of the bed to chase Toby or toys I tense up and listen for signs that he’s moving on elsewhere, despite now keeping the bed a safe distance from the wall.

I love my two cats. I really do – they rock my world and have changed me. Life is better, my perspective is better, my heart is better. I’m so glad I can rock their world too, because the ways in which they react to it rock my world in turn, giving me moments of laughter I will forever cherish.

 

Yay, A New Blog Award!

Thanks to Playful Kitty http://playfulkitty.wordpress.com/ for nominating me for The Dragon’s Loyalty Award.  I have read that it’s a combination of the Very Inspiring Blogger and the Versatile Blogger awards.  To be honest, the best part about receiving this award is that I’ve discovered a great blog in Playful Kitty, along with a bunch of other cat related blog connections!  I can’t wait to dive through some of these blogs she follows and see what other cat lovers are meowing about 😉

The Rules of Receiving Award:

Display Award Certificate

Announce Your Win With A Link to Whoever Nominated You

Present 15 Or So Others With the Award & Comment On Their Site You Have Done So

Post 7 Interesting Things About Yourself

So in following the rules of the award, here are some blogs I really enjoy (in no particular order) and think they deserve an expansive readership:

In a S(k)nit http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/47893707/

horseofthesun http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/57300882/

Voices In His Head http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/36745882/

Post-It Happiness http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/43985573/

The War In My Brain http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/42477402/

All Those Small Things http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/30222809/

The World’s Top Ten of Anything http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/44388558/

7 Things About Mwa:

  1. I love African music and culture and cherish my friendships with them
  2. Hence, I love the African djembe and will someday buy another one and NOT sell it in a bind, and continue with local workshop drum fun!
  3. Ok, so I love all cultures and wish I had money to travel, but I have the gift of having many international friends and acquaintances here in the U.S.
  4. I have another blog called Coffee With Jesus http://neonfish76.wordpress.com/ that is on the more serious side but hopefully as enjoyable to others as My Two Cats
  5. I am originally from Niagara Falls, NY which is probably why waterfalls are one of my most favorite things in all of nature
  6. I hope to someday be a published author
  7. My top two “love languages” are “words of affirmation” and “quality time.”

There ya go friends! Thanks again to Playful Kitty’s nomination and to all of you who enjoy My Two Cats.

Love to ya;)

Paws and Rewind

I didn’t expect unemployment to last for the 3 months that it has so far.  Life sure throws its share of curve balls, or rather, spits it’s fair share of hair balls.  I have been without internet during this time, complicating the job search a bit, and seriously hindering the blogging experience.  Finally I am at a computer where I can pause from life and reflect on the past 3 months.  I’m sure anyone who is or has been unemployed knows all about the effects of this unplanned and stressful “vacation” from the daily grind.  So I’m going to focus on the good things that have happened during my “time off” from the workforce.

Graciously, an uncle sent me money to visit my dad’s side of the family in NY.  I was there for 9 days, the longest amount of time away from my two furry pals.  Perhaps the thing that helped me deal well with their absence in my daily life would be the fact that my father had 9 kittens to occupy my time (and to get their piercing little claws in me).  All of them were orange tabby except for a solid black one, who was my favorite.  I had a hard time parting with Saber, who’s handsome panther-like face captured me much the same way Toby’s face did when he was a kitten.  If I had a house, and not an apartment with a 2 cat limit, and if I of course had a good job, Saber would’ve found himself a new home and Toby and Timba would be having hissy fits over the audacity of me to bring a newcomer into their home.

But life without Saber is just fine.  I do think someday when I have my own home, some of you will be reading a blog called My Three Cats;) I don’t know.  Toby and Timba finally gel so well together.  They are pure enjoyment to watch.  No fights, but daily rumbles and romps which keep me laughing.  Everything is harmonious between them and I’d have to think carefully about how another little one would affect this welcomed balance.  That idea though is probably several years down the road, which by then I may decide that my aging boys would be even less inclined to have four sets of claws and a mouthful of teeth energetically connecting with their well-groomed and undisturbed coats.

My time has largely been spent at home with my cats.  I’m quite fine with quietness in a household, and books have continued to be a steady part of my intellectual diet.  I simply love the books I’ve been reading.  I discovered Steven James FBI “Patrick Bowers” series.  Very cool and very recommended.  I finished the Dennis LeHane series, remorsefully, and recommend these even above Steven James.  I read Stephen King’s Rose Madder, and had no idea that book ever existed.  A wonderfully good book about an abused wife who leaves her crazy-cop husband.  It is along the lines of Sleeping With The Enemy … she finds real love in her new town, the ex finds her, and there’s the King-like supernatural element thrown in for some extra fun and dynamics.

Now I’m going through a Koontz novel, By The Light of The Moon.  It’s a slow go, but I hate to not finish a book.  If only all Koontz books were as amazing as some of them are.  And to go with all these daily treasures of cats and books, I found an $8 soft throw-blanket that has cats sitting in front of a bookshelf.  Absolutely SO ME.  I love this blanket and I’m tempted to indulge in a second one.  Toby and Timba also agree with the plush softness, and they bask in its warmth throughout much of the night.  Timmy of course ends up beside me, and the sweet thought of this makes me wish I were home now with these two amazing creatures.  I can’t imagine life without them.  They aren’t here on earth for me, but I do get the gift of them in my life, and they do tend to serve functions in my life such as love, joy, peace, laughter, stability, and recently sanity.

Yep, my Russian Blue and my little white lion are champions of goodness in my life in general, and especially while navigating the lost empty space of unemployment.  They have kept me happy, sane, and grounded.  I am trying to consciously treasure this “time off” and not fill myself with worrisome thoughts and emotions, but letting the good times sink in.  I’m sure I’ll be nostalgic for them soon enough, when 8am – 5pm once again has its grubby little hold on me.

Until next time, peace, paws, and kitty kisses to each of you.

What To Do When You’re Unemployed

Well the obvious thing is look for a job! That I have been doing, though I confess I gave myself two weeks of partial searching and partial relaxing. It’s starting to feel like crunch time though because how long can severance pay last?

In the meantime, I am surprisingly, and I mean surprisingly not as stressed as I should be. Wherever the case of “freak out”s have gone to, they can surely stay there. I am enjoying a mostly unknotted stomach and longer fingernails unscathed by nervous biting.

So my answer is to chill and live life.  Where would worrying get me? The days will pass, interviews will be or not be, regardless of how I spend the non-searching part of my days.  Maybe this is a little gift from God: time to sleep in, oddly non-humid weather, time at the pool, and lots and lots of books.

Oh the goodness of pummeling through suspense after suspense. Currently I have been nosediving into Dennis Lehane’s private investigator series. Let me share the good news with those of you who enjoy mystery/PI/crime fictions: Lehane is a powerhouse writer.  Ever seen the movies Mystic River, Shutter Island, or Gone Baby Gone? He wrote the books.  And the Kenzie/Gennaro PI series is kick butt awesome, my new favorite series. Suffice it to say Kitty Mama highly recommends the series and Lehane’s other books.

So what have I been doing while unemployed other than searching, pooling, sleeping, or reading?  Why seeing new sides to my cats of course.  With more time home I am able to see the endearing things, like Timba’s little nudge of the paw.  Whether sitting or lying down for a while, Timba will eventually join me, usually in front of me on the bed, and stick a paw out and tap me, as if to say “hey, ‘sup” or “I’m here”, or “how ’bout some pets?” Too, too cute.  The first time I noticed this I wanted to scoop him out of his comfortable position and squeeze the snoogins out of him. He’s the laid back affectionate cat, whereas Toby is the climb-up-your-chest, hard head-nudging-for-affection type of cat.

Even as I sit here typing this, I see a quirk of Toby’s.  He is dipping his paw into a glass of water, then licking his paw.  He’s my sophisticated drinker, a hardcore fan of the bathroom sink drizzle.  Yes, sometimes I sit in the bathroom longer than need be just so Toby gets his ‘fresh from the tap’ fix.

I’ve also witnessed both of their playfulness on a grander scale with my extended time at home.  Generally I give cat nip to bring out the fun, but they are quite capable of kitty antics without it.  Toby, while older, is smaller.  Toby, if you’ve read early posts in my blog, was harassed to the nine by tiny kitten Timba.  Now that Timba’s bigger, and a much more fair and less aggressive playmate, it is the most hysterical thing to watch my “little guy” (Toby) beat up my “big boy” (Timba).

Timba got the smack down last night.  There are seven or eight piles of white fur littering the carpet as evidence.  Toby was like Jordan going airborne and tumbling into Timba, who cowed down in the “ears back, eyes locked” kitty standoff I find so amusing.  Cats are so in tune with the most minute of bodily cues, and I love to sit and study it to try to peg the moment when one is going to make a move.

At any rate, the romping, the tackling, the paw-egg-it-on-ing, the airborne flips and jumps all serve to make me laugh and make my heart leap with gladness and adoration for my two cats.  What an incredible gift.  What an amazing creature God has made.  I honestly think that living with my two boys is a large part of why I’m not so stressed while unemployed.  Animals really are therapeutic.  In ways I cannot see, their presence and personalities have unwound the tightly bound cords of my inner self.  I’m relaxed, more easy-going, I laugh more, and I appreciate more.  What more could a girl want?

Oh, a job! 🙂

Still here, Living and Loving

While spring still feels like it’s sprung a leak and the earth’s cold inhabitants are pining for a more favorable groundhog prediction, we have at least had a few warm days. Warm enough that I can sit outside on the back porch and enjoy the relatively quiet outdoors. Lately I’ve been watching the birds on these occasions, and after a few days, I happened to turn my head to the sliding glass door and see that I wasn’t the only one watching the birds. My large white fur ball Timba was perhaps a more astute observer than myself, or maybe at least more animated about it. While I sat calmly watching the mother dove who’d been landing five feet away from me and searching the lawn for fallen twigs, he sat wiggling his hindquarters, eyes wide open and nearly crossed with curious excitement, ready to pounce if only it weren’t for that darn screen door.

Turns out the ‘mother’ dove is actually the male dove, who partners with the female by gathering the materials for the nest and taking them to the female, who builds the nest. That’s amazing that they share the work load, because I was completely marveling in the idea that a bird builds its nest literally one twig at a time. I was feeling pretty lazy in comparison to birds, and even other creatures like ants, who labor so diligently just to maintain daily living.

Another thing that occurred to me in these times is that my sweet sweet cats, who are so soft and cuddly and precious, who are so endearing to me, are actually cruel predators in the ‘real world’. Soft white Timba, and quirky grey Toby would kill a bird or a mouse in order to survive if it weren’t for the blessings of modern-day in-home pet ownership. In other words, I live with two natural-born killers.

Odd thought for sure.

I know I’ve been incognito for a while. There’s not much to account for it. I could call it writer’s block or mild depression, but whatever it is, it is what it is. At least my two cats are here with me through it. Everyday life with them is awesome. I work a job that isn’t entirely exciting. In fact, my purpose factor has no connection to this job whatsoever save for the fact that I am loyal to those who help me.

Lately I’ve been looking forward to coming home to be with Toby and Timba. I shopped at Petsmart a few days ago, and that always inspires my love for my cats. It feels so good to go shopping for them, even if it’s just food and litter. But it’s never just food and litter. I have to buy a few bags of treats and at least one toy. So this trip I walked away with the Blue Buffalo food I’ve been buying lately, and a mouse toy/fishing-rod-style plus a pop-up cube to go with the pop-up tunnel I bought a few months ago.

To those who have cats, I have two serious product endorsements: Blue Buffalo cat food (dog food also), which has already resulted in amazing health benefits to my cats in just 2 months, and the pop-up tunnel, which has been the hands-down top toy of all time that I’ve bought for my cats. They absolutely love running through it and wrestling together inside of it. I’ll add catnip to the tunnel for extra fun, but really it requires nothing. And I know the food has given my cats a new level energy that had previously been lacking.

So my incognito weeks have been spent making it through the insane 40 hour work week we’re all bound to, followed by ‘real life’ – life after the 40 hours – which for me has been time with friends, time reading incredible books, and time with my daily companions who really have inspired me to want to live, in the midst of a season where living seems mundane and without much purpose, so that I can live to love them the way that God has created them to be loved.

I love my two cats, and I am so thankful they’re in my life and that writing about life with them can make a few of you smile and maybe even touch and tweak your hearts on some level.

A Round of Apaws

I had a happy surprise the other day.  A fellow blogger gave me a round of apaws and nominated me for the Inspiring Blogger Award.  A huge thanks to OwlMcCloud for giving me such a positive form of feedback and validation.  Thanks to all of you who read my blog and a special thanks to those of you who follow my blog.  I hope to inspire people with laughter, life, and love through writing about life with cats.

I’d love for you all to visit another inspirational blog, the one who nominated me: http://ourcloudlounge.com/. With gorgeous nature pics, quotes, and uplifting content, you’ll see why Cloud Lounge is a great place on WordPress to hang out.  Thanks again, and without further ado I honor the process of this Award and let you know about other wonderfully inspiring bloggers in this happy little community.

Inspiring Blog Award

Blog Award Rules

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 bloggers for this award.
  5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination by linking to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back.

 Seven Things About Me:

  1. I am originally from Niagara Falls, NY, hence my love of waterfalls and water in general.
  2. My favorite season is Autumn, for its beauty, inspiration, and time of reflection.
  3. My first childhood kitten was a gray cat I named Todd.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to get rid of him.  Now I have my gray cat named Toby, whom I’ve had since he was a kitten.
  4. My greatest fear is not death, but life without lasting purpose.
  5. I love 80’s music, which is why I have had keyboards and synthesizers over the years.  I am currently without one, but the next one will be a Korg Workstation so I can record songs and burn CD’s for my loved ones.
  6. My favorite musician is the legendary Blues man Taj Mahal.  Seeing him in concert was my first Bucket List item, which I savored every minute of in October 2012.
  7. If I had the means to travel, it would be along the entire western U.S. coastline, to Ireland, and of course to Africa.

Nomination of Other Bloggers:

  1. http://thephoenixaria.wordpress.com/(A true inspiration chronicling the journey of surviving and even thriving through abuse)
  2. http://terry1954.wordpress.com/ (A blog that has other awards posted, and for obvious reasons!)
  3. http://beasone.org/ (A sweet spirited lady with versatile blog content)
  4. http://allthosesmallthings.wordpress.com/ (An international youth’s blog with enjoyable outlook and insight)
  5. http://mistergkids.com/ (An incredibly talented cartoonist’s blog, who’s love of teaching children is the adorable core content of his art)
  6. http://theverybesttop10.com/ (The first blog I followed and still one of my favorites, this man posts Top 10 lists on anything and everything.  I always walk away with a laugh or a smile or a sense of amazement)
  7. http://aldrinray.wordpress.com/ (Positively incredible photography blog, this man has an incredible and unique eye for capturing life)
  8. http://espirational.com/ (A blog dedicated to inspiring through short blog entries, quotes, and more)
  9. http://hikingphoto.com/ (Another amazing photography blog capturing some of the most amazing places, selling of prints available)
  10. http://urbanwallart.wordpress.com/ (An amazing art blog, there are just no other words)
  11. http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/ (If you want to learn how to let go and live life, go here. This lady is living 100% and chronicles her travels and adventures with words and photos)
  12. http://idolanuel.com/ (Having an inspirational, very insightful blog himself, I nominate this last one because he was my first “like” on my first post of this new blogging journey.  It inspired me that someone actually liked what I had to read, so I kept writing!) 

As I’m new to blogging I am 3 nominations shy of the rules.  Dolly Parton said if you obey all the rules you miss out on the fun.  I’ve got a lot more fun in store on WordPress and can’t wait to discover more blogs and connect with some fabulous peeps.  Until then, it’s time to grab a book, find the kitties, and give them some celebration treats 🙂

The Simple Pleasures

 

When I visit the local pet store, or even Wal-Mart or the grocery store, I am amazed at all the cat toys and cat entertainment products on the market.  I have bought my share of the typical balls, mice, feather toys, and lasers.  I don’t mind buying them.  They are fun while they last.  They just don’t last very long.  I’m not referring to the quality of the product, but of the short-term interest they hold for a cat.  For some reason, it’s the everyday household things that seem to most often capture my cats’ attention.

Last night I finally went through some boxes and located my nail clipping kit.  Toby and Timba seemed thoroughly attuned to the act of me clipping my nails.  Funny how they don’t have the same enjoyment when it’s their own nails being clipped.  The noise and the occasional airborne nail held their rapt attention and demanded an occasional leap from the bed to investigate these fascinating flying objects.  However, the real enjoyment for them was when I brought out the magic metal nail file.  Ooh la la … if they could they could talk I’d hear a cacophony of oohs and aahs, offset with an occasional “aaaaaesome!” or “coooool!”, like children opening presents on Christmas morning.

At first I fumbled the file and it fell on the bed, where Toby cutely pawed it around and nipped it to feel its texture and get the most out of it.  I have learned that with cats you have to just go with the flow.  Otherwise you will forever be annoyed and impatient at how they interject themselves into every little thing you do, thereby delaying daily tasks.  After a few chuckles at his interest and amusement, I picked up the file and began smoothing my nails and rounding them out.

This was pure audible bliss for Timba.  He stood up and clung to my hands, arching his toes around the file and frequently biting it.  It was a sweet little delight to watch him and play with him with this simple everyday item. It held his attention much longer than a little ball with a bell.  After finishing, I threw the file on the floor where he promptly pounced to exercise his predatory skills.  Soon after I turned down the covers, turned out the light, and breathed a contented sigh, happy that bedtime had arrived.

One minute later, another common household item piqued my kitties’ interest.  The cardboard crate from the pet store, which held absolutely no appeal for Toby in the two most recent car rides, was suddenly a gift sent from heaven in a ray of light.  In and out of the box they romped, scuffing, scratching, scuttling, clearly enjoying the noise much more than me.  But I let it roll off my shoulders, making the mental note that this is just part of life with cats.  I smiled while they played, and soon after they were hopping on the bed to join me for the night.  Thank God for kitty A.D.D.

Thank God also for the everyday household things.  It definitely saves money and prevents me from stepping on hard plastic cat toys in the middle of the night.  And it reminds me of deeper things when I allow myself, like my cats, to tune in to them.

1) You don’t need a lot of money to have a lot of fun

2) The world around you is bursting with simple pleasures waiting to be discovered

3) Creativity and imagination are the cure to boredom

4) Life is best enjoyed in community and togetherness, one day at a time

So on this last note, I wish you, the reader, a simply wonder-full day 🙂