We’ve Got Each Other

I recently told the tale of how my babies came to be a part of my life. They are brother and sister, and have a bond deeper than any other.

They protect each other, battle with each other, and at the end of the day, snuggle with each other (and if I’m lucky, with me.)

Caturday Night

I worry about what will happen when one of them dies, but they’re not even five years old yet, so I don’t think about that for long.

Each one has his or her own power. Together they are a mighty force.


Symbiosis

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Please Forgive Me

Yes, I told her what had happened. Actually, I sent her a copy of the newspaper article, along with a card. I knew she’d never see the story herself, and I doubted anyone else would tell her about it.

AdobeStock_110950857 [Converted]So I told her. I’m sorry if I hurt you, that wasn’t my intention. In fact, if anything, it was just the opposite.

Of course I’m on your side. And I think you secretly wanted me, or someone, to tell her, but you didn’t know how to ask.

No, I didn’t tell anyone else about it. They don’t need to know, and I don’t think they’d understand what we both know, that she isn’t evil, she isn’t a terrible person. She just was the wrong person for you.

AdobeStock_141244605 [Converted]But some ties are hard to break, even when others are splintered beyond repair. Despite your pain you know that’s true. She deserved to know.

I’m still on your side. Please forgive me.


All images © geosap – Fotolia

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The Spirit of Walter Cronkite

When I was growing up, the big three networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — had news anchors who were among the most respected and trusted individuals in the country. Walter Cronkite, Harry Reasoner, John Chancellor, David Brinkley — all were names you associated with responsible, unbiased and fair reporting.

Vintage Television

Honey, quick, warm up the TV! It’s almost time for the news!

That was the standard of the day, in part because that was good journalism, and in part because there was (and still is, although many of the laws have changed) FCC oversight of network news. That’s due to the limited airwaves, which limits the number of broadcast (as opposed to cable, satellite and similar) networks. There was a fear the networks could unduly influence, for example, the outcome of an election by the way they presented the news.

The networks were required to present opposing sides of controversial issues, as well as offer political candidates equal time on the air. If the candidates declined the offer, that was their choice, but the networks still generally attempted to provide balanced coverage.

ReporterJournalists believed in their responsibility to provide the public with accurate information. Yes, there were those who gave biased reports, and frankly, it’s virtually impossible not to let your own beliefs creep into your writing in sometimes subtle ways. Still, the standard was high, and the networks, for the most part, met it.

Of all the anchors on the three major networks, Walter Cronkite was the most revered, having been named the “most trusted man in America” in numerous polls. He earned that title. Rarely would he let his own feelings show in even the most emotional, or for that matter, mundane stories, always maintaining a professional distance, yet fully recognizing and respecting the impact his stories would have on his audience.

Yes, he choked up when he told the world President Kennedy had died, and his efforts to maintain his composure were visible. The world was a different place then, and it changed when the President of the United States was assassinated. Today, it is hard to imagine such a loss transforming the country in the same way.

His almost child-like excitement when a man first walked on the moon was one of the only other times he stepped away from his professional demeanor. We’ll forgive him for that.

Today’s blatant partisanship by so many of the news outlets weakens their credibility and contributes to the divisiveness between those of differing political beliefs. It’s hardly the only factor, but it’s a significant one.

 

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Don’t mistake much of what you read in social media for anything other than gossip.

The increase in communication outlets via cable television and the Internet (particularly social media) has also helped to erode a sense of unity. It’s now acceptable, and profitable, to be outrageous as a journalist or self-proclaimed expert in any area of law or politics.

Freedom of speech, in particular freedom of the press, was designed to benefit the American public. Any such freedom stands the chance of being abused, and that’s the price we pay. Yet we all have a responsibility to respect each other and treat these freedoms in a mature, equitable manner, remembering their purpose.

I’m not suggesting legal action be taken against those who behave like fools in the name of First Amendment freedom. Rather, I believe, as citizens and the audiences of the various news outlets, we use discretion in our selection of news sources, and by changing the channel, cast our vote for honorable journalism.

Image Credit: (television) © Gino Santa Maria — Fotolia; (Reporter Gear) © James Steidl — Adobe Stock; (woman gossiping) © alessia.malatini — Fotolia

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Here’s Your Baby!

November, 2012.

I didn’t have a job. I owed the Cat Clinic hundreds of dollars for the care of the late great Paco. It would have been irresponsible to get a new cat. So when the pitiful cries of two little ones is heard outside my apartment window, I steel myself and say, I can’t save all the kitties.

In that neighborhood, at that apartment complex, people were abandoning cats all the time. It was one of the hardest parts of living there, and that wasn’t an easy place to live. It was devastating not to be able to help all the poor kitties who sat outside my window, crying. Fortunately, one of the other residents worked at a no-kill shelter, and she was usually able to find them a home.

Older Paco

The late great Paco.

I had only the screen open, so I closed the window completely. The crying fades slightly, and now I start to cry a little. It’s only been four months since I lost Paco, and I miss him. Not to mention no one should have to cry like that. Were they hungry? Did they have a home?

Two hours after the crying starts there’s a knock at my door. I open it to find Kaylee, my neighbor, holding the cutest one-pound ball of fluff I’ve ever seen. “Here’s your baby!” Kaylee says with delight as Ball of Fluff leaps out of her arms and runs into the heart of my apartment. I run after him (her?) and scoop him up, hand him back to my neighbor and explain he’s not mine, I can’t take him in, and why.

Kaylee’s face falls. “Okay,” she says. I found out later she and her roommate, Foster, took in Ball of Fluff and B of F’s sister, along with a menagerie of other abandoned pets, hoping they could find their real owners, or in the alternative, new homes for them.

“You’re Coming Home.”

That didn’t last too long. Come January, it’s below freezing, with ice, sleet and snow covering every inch outside my door. I lay awake one night once again listening to the pitiful cries of a kitty. I can’t stand it. Throughout the night I hear him crying, again and again.

Finally, it’s morning, and all is quiet. I’m hopeful the kitty has received good care, because I no longer hear any crying. I leave for an errand, but when I come back,  I hear him.

A quick look around reveals he’s right outside Kaylee and Foster’s door. It looks like Ball of Fluff, a little bit bigger, a lot soggier, a whole lot sadder. And mysteriously, with a blue leg.

“Okay,” I tell him. “You’re coming home.”

Later that night, when Kaylee is home from work, I tell her I’ve taken in the kitty, whom I’ve named Walter. She’s ecstatic.

“The police told us we couldn’t keep all these all animals here without a kennel permit,” she said, “so we put those two outside and gave them food.” True or not about the police, they had dumped two kittens outside, in the middle of winter. I held my tongue.

“I can only take one,” I said. “Really, I can’t even afford him, but I can’t let him stay outside.”

“Okay,” her face telling me that clearly, she’d hoped I’d take the other, too.

“He looked so pitiful…” I said. “That blue leg…”

“Oh, that,” Kaylee rolled her eyes. “He jumped into a jar of my blue paint and wouldn’t let me clean him.”

Jumped into a jar of her blue paint…I didn’t ask. I later learned Walter liked to dive from the refrigerator onto the far counter, and he jumped into more than one glass of my orange juice before I discovered how far away I had to place it.

Feline Destiny

The next afternoon Walter sat in my bedroom window and cried. I felt terrible, then I heard something that made me feel even worse: the sound of another kitty crying on the other side. His sister. I couldn’t see her, but I knew I wouldn’t last with that situation. I was about to be the proud mama of two kitties.

I wrote a note and placed it on the girls’ door upstairs. “Everybody needs a little buddy. Bring the other kitty over. I’ll take her in.”

Within thirty minutes there was a knock at my door. “Walter,” I said, as I headed to the door. “Here’s my other baby.”


Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mental Confusion

Dealing with mental illness…tricky. And let me say here, I’m no expert. All of the information I’ve gathered below comes from my own research, both print and interviews of professionals. It is for general information only, is a bit simplistic, and should not be considered absolute.

AdobeStock_112894681 [Converted]Hopefully, however, it can lay a foundation of understanding.

It helps to understand just what mental health is, and how it differs from emotional health. Mental health is how your brain functions; processing information, forming opinions, making decisions, and using logic are all a part of mental health.

Emotional health is expressing your emotions in a manner appropriate to your age and other factors. Your mental health affects your emotional health when, for example, you’re too tired or stressed to properly assess a situation.

Now we get to mental illness. A mental illness is a recognized, medically diagnosable illness that affects one’s mental health. These illnesses can result from biological, developmental and/or psychosocial factors and can be managed in a manner similar to physical diseases (e.g. medications).

AdobeStock_100009763 [Converted] c geosapThere is a fuzzy area of poor mental well-being (this is not a medical term, just a convenient one) that perhaps is not medically a mental illness, but may still be treated with medication or other methods used for mental illness. This does not necessarily have an identified biological or physiological foundation, but is disruptive to one’s life.

Now someone with a mental illness can have good mental health. Why? Because some mental illnesses are episodic, or because they are under control with proper treatment. The people with the best mental health, in fact, arguably could be those who’ve faced serious issues with it and overcome them.

Not that the battle is ever fully won, as many mental illnesses are chronic. Treatment may need to be adjusted periodically for a number of reasons, for example, the effectiveness of medication is lessened with use, the medication develops undesirable side effects, or other factors not yet fully understood.

AdobeStock_118183105 [Converted]In all likelihood you know people dealing with mental illness, whether you can identify them or not.

If you think you might have a mental illness, see a professional for thorough testing. If you think you may be having problems such as depression or anxiety that are not the result of mental illness, but are affecting your job, relationships and sense of self, again, see a professional. Help is available. Don’t give up.

If anyone reading this has professional information to add, please do so in the comment section and I will note it in the post. Comments from the heart are welcome, too, of course.

 

All images © geosap – Fotolia

Home from Work

Sometimes, Walter is very clear about how much he needs me.

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Where were you? I’ve been worried sick!

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Better Choices, or, Better to Have Choices

Today, I’m grateful for CHOICES.

One of my blogging buddies, Deb, has a daily grateful post. It’s encouraging to read all she is grateful for, and while I don’t plan to copy her idea on a daily basis, today I’m saying, loud and clear, I’m grateful for all the choices I have in my life.

I can choose when I wake up in the morning, and when I go to bed at night. Yes, work and other obligations influence those choices, but the final decision is up to me. If I decide to stay up late to finish a captivating book, no one is going to challenge me.

clothes-2041864_640After I wake up, I can choose what I eat for breakfast and what I’m going to wear that day. Okay, work has this bizarre dress code — I have to wear black, white or grey — but outside of work, I can wear what I want to (well, some choices might get me arrested, but those aren’t my choices, anyway). I get to decide whether or not I want to wash my hair or work with what I’ve got.

My car, my precious little Prius, was my choice. The color was not — but I’m happy with it.

When I knit, I can choose what pattern I want to wool-1295262_640make and what yarn I want to use. There are more patterns out there that I like than I’ll ever be able to complete, and I’m grateful for that, as well. In theory, I can’t knit something I won’t like (nice theory, not always a reality!). But the abundance of beautiful patterns and even more beautiful yarns is awe-inspiring. And just plain inspiring.

Look at the multitude of blogs on WordPress alone — we have our choices of themes, and our choice of what to do with those themes once we choose the one that suits us best. We can easily switch to another, and no one can stop us.

filler-150980_640We can write about what we choose, and a lot of what we write about involves choices we have.

Best of all, I can choose how I will respond to all of life’s situations. It makes me who am I today and shapes who I will be tomorrow.

Over time I’ve learned from my previous choices, everything from what makeup looks best on me to what will truly bring me happiness in life. I’m grateful for the lessons learned from those choices, and for a life I can make better with stronger decisions.

I’ve listed basic choices here, but we all have simple and challenging decisions to make on a regular basis. When you get bogged down with having to choose, think of what a blessing the opportunity to decide for yourself is in this world.

Life isn’t easy, but it gets better. So do my choices.

Images courtesy of Pixabay. Thank you, Pixabay, for all the choices you offer, at no charge!

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