Walking Alone

Earlier today I was driving home from a quick run to the grocery store when I spotted a neighbor of mine walking on the sidewalk, headed in the same direction. There was no place to pull over and traffic was heavy, so I didn’t have a way to ask her if she wanted a ride home.

I know she doesn’t have a car and I’ve seen her walking the other direction from our apartments from time to time, so I assumed on those occasions she likely made the mile-long trek to the store that’s located down that other road. I also know that store is much smaller and while it has all the basics, if there’s a specialty item you want, you have to go somewhere else.

It bothered me that I wasn’t able to stop and offer her a ride.  She’s always been nice to me, and there was another three miles left to our respective homes, three miles with some steep hills along the way.

I should note that there’s no transit system in our area, so taking a bus was not an option for her.

I was troubled enough that I headed back out, knowing the next leg of her journey would be through a residential area and I could easily pull over onto a side street and flag her down as she walked by.

I did just that, and to my surprise she turned down my offer of a ride. Whether it was pride, a desire to get some exercise, fear of COVID or something else, I don’t know. I didn’t push it, however. She had offered me some help when I was moving in a few months ago, and when I declined her offer she smiled and said, “I know better than to ask again. If someone tells me no, I believe them.”

So why did this still bother me? I’d done what I could and it wasn’t as if it was a terribly hot or windy day. In fact, it was quite a pleasant day for a walk, and while I wouldn’t relish a six-mile (or more) round trip walk, perhaps she did.

I didn’t see her the rest of the day. I hope she got home safely.


Photo credit:  © creaturart–stock.adobe.com

A Picture to Remember You By

Today I received notification of a memorial service for a woman, Rose, who’d been an active part of our congregation. I didn’t know her well and likely won’t attend the service, but the option is open to attend via Zoom, which I may do. For those of us who do use the Zoom option, the program was provided.

I opened the file and to my surprise I recognized the picture on the front as one I’d taken when Rose completed a course sponsored by my church. She was recognized during the service for her hard work and I took the picture for our Facebook page.

I was touched to realize that the final image many will have of Rose will be that photo. Looking at it with the objectivity of time, I recognized that it was a good picture of her, natural and relaxed.

Someone once called me the “church documentarian,” a title that surprised me as I primarily took pictures for the Facebook page and no formal catalog was kept. I don’t know how my priest remembered this photo and what she had to do to dig it up. It can’t be easy going back on Facebook.

It reminded me that the simplest things we do can bring blessings to others we don’t even recognize. Perhaps there weren’t many pictures of Rose available or perhaps her family was scattered across the country and no one could provide a photo in a timely manner.  I don’t know, but now friends and family will have this picture of her to remember her by.

I haven’t taken a photo for my church Facebook page in months for obvious reasons, but now I’m eager to get back to it. If you do any sort of volunteer work, formal or informal, know that what you do is appreciated.

Rest in peace, Rose.

Why Are Cats? Sneak Peak at a new podcast with Cat Behaviorist, Mirian Hasani

Click on “View Original Post” to view the video.

Insights From The Edge

Ever wonder why cats do what they do? Every day? Yes, then you’re my people and you may enjoy this podcast with cat behaviorist and cat psychologist Mirian Hasani. Here’s a sneak peek where she tells us about Basil the blind cat who was rescued out of a very dark and dangerous shelter. Basil had been abandoned, blind, dumped on the street. The owner of a no-kill rescue took her to save her from certain euthanasia. A whole year passed and she couldn’t get near Basil for fear of being attacked. Finally, she found Mirian and reached out to her for help. What follows is the story of how this lonely little kitty finally opened up to love.

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Imagine That

When I was little, I believed in the magic of Mr. Bubble. Those of you old enough will remember the TV commercials for this kid’s bubble bath in which Mr. Bubble rose up in the tub and talked to the delighted children. I would sit in my bath until every last bubble was gone, waiting for Mr. Bubble to appear.

I don’t remember believing in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy (although one of my favorite books was all about the Tooth Fairy), but I believed in the magic powers of this powdered soap. You could say that one way or the other, a kid’s imagination is going to end up disappointing her.

But that’s not to say that same imagination won’t delight a child. While I never exactly had an imaginary friend, I confided all of my secrets to my rag doll, Jennifer. When she finally fell apart after years of loving, I was devastated. I don’t think I ever believed she was real in a real person sense, just in that real doll sense. I knew she could keep a secret, so she must have understood them, right?

In these troubling times–and I speak not only of world and national troubles, but of the day-to-day struggles so many of you are dealing with–imagination seems the best escape. As adults we temper the imaginary with the real, and that’s not so bad. But we have to be able to believe in better times and to conjure up images of what those days will look like.

Call it a coping mechanism or call it a dreamer’s dream, imagination may save you and keep you sane.

At least, it helps me. And now I’m heading in for a bubble bath…

What a Mess!

How do you get rid of clutter when in that mess are a multitude of possessions you value?

I’m faced with that right now. Moving from a townhome to an apartment and losing a considerable amount of square footage has resulted in a second bedroom chock full of stuff. So much of it is decorative items I truly love but don’t have a place for right now–and realistically, never will again.

I tell myself I need to be ruthless in cleaning out this room, but that’s easier said than done.

As it stands I don’t have a place for some things I definitely want to keep, like the broken-down boxes I used to ship my worldly goods from one home to another. Buying those boxes adds up and I want to keep them for my next move. I plan to store them under the dining room table, but I’ve got full boxes I need to sort through sitting there right now.

Your eyebrows may have raised at the mention of my dining room table and its current home in my spare bedroom. I need to sell it, but that’s impossible at this moment since it’s buried in the debris of my life. I had planned to post a for sale sign on the company bulletin board back when I was scheduled to move, but we were in the throes of uncertainty with the corona virus and that uncertainty included apprehension about job security. Nothing on the bulletin board was selling and besides, truth to tell, I love that table and was reluctant to sell it.

The cats are having a jolly good time in this spare room, with all its hiding places and jumping-off spots. That seems to be the one benefit in all of this.

I tell myself, it’s one box at a time, but that’s getting more and more difficult. Right now I have a couple of boxes of books I want to dig out and donate to the local used book store–they raise money for the library–but those boxes are buried under other boxes with a mix of materials, most of which I can’t decide what to do with.

Eventually, the local Goodwill will benefit. Until then, I sit in this room (the chair is clear) and stare.

Image credit: © Federica Fortunat–stock.adobe.com

Trouble, trouble

Anyone else having trouble with their WordPress account? I can’t “like” any posts (well, once or twice with great persistence I’ve managed to do so on the Reader).

I’m also having a great deal of trouble with this block editor!!!  

This photo is ©Jennifer – stock.adobe.com by the way. I added it when I was trying to add a feature photo. It took me forever to figure out how to do that, and I’m not sure I can do it again.

 

LotusLand TV: Help Vivian Find a home.

Click on “View Original Post” to see the video. I realize my followers and others who may view this blog live around the world and therefore may not be able to help Vivian, but keep in mind cat rescue facilities near your home the next time you are looking for a pet.

Insights From The Edge

Vivian is a 7-year-old, healthy, sweet Lynx Point Siamese who has so much love to give.

In September 2020 she will be surrendered, for a second time, to the Southern California Siamese Rescue. Why you ask? No fault of her own.

Cats, particularly Siamese, are very sensitive and form strong emotional attachments to their owners. They get hurt and confused when abandoned. The flip side of that is that once they’re in a forever home, they are forever grateful. Vivian will follow you from room to room, sleep with you and stay by your side. She needs a human who will be there for her as she’s been let down too many times for someone who deserves so much better.

The first time she was surrendered she was the victim of bullying. She’d been viciously attacked by the dog and the resident cat–for five years. The owners stuck her out…

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LotusLand TV: Cats Helping Cats Save Lives

Update on Ollie and Lena! Click on “View Original Post” to see the video. You’ll be glad you did!

Insights From The Edge

Lena, Ollie, Greta and Charlie, all former fosters have gotten together and created a YouTube Channel to tell their awesome stories and help other babies find their forever homes too.

Lena here, I’m running the show!!!! Hahaha! (Mom left her computer because Greta was being bad.) Watch our new video. I helped edit and write, though I gave all the credit to Charlie. He needed to feel important. Hope you all like it! Just watching it helps, but if you want to share it, maybe more people will love cats and then more cats can be saved! Oh, mom’s back. I have to post this right now before she erases it.

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Aquarius, two

My sister and share little in common, despite being, well, sisters and growing up only a year apart in the same household. That’s almost exactly a year apart, making us both Aquarians. We share little in common but the traits of our Zodiac symbol.

Aquarians are creative, and that is incredibly true of both of us, although our creative abilities are very different. I’m the writer, she’s the artist. I can barely draw a stick figure yet Beth is very talented in that area and always has been. She has an inherent sense of proportion, for example. that I am woefully lacking. Beth is also a better writer than I am artist.

Aquarians are notoriously independent thinkers, which can make us stubborn, to say the least. You can see how this might divide my sister and me, although we rarely argued growing up. The divide came more in the form of isolation–my brother and sister were close and shut me out. That was devastating.

Yet we were also stubbornly loyal to each other. You didn’t criticize one of us to another without incurring some wrath. And if I knew Beth was in pain, I was there for her, although she oftentimes rebuffed my attempts to comfort her. Perhaps I did the same, I don’t know.

Aquarians are idealistic, something that, at least at one point in time, was vitally true of both of us. I’ve grown more cynical as I’ve gotten older, and I don’t know if the same is true of my sister. Because, you see, Beth has separated herself from the family and I haven’t heard from her in nearly twenty years.

That breaks my heart, and I know she has distanced herself because of her own pain. Which brings me to this point: Aquarians are sensitive and tend to internalize their own pain.

How can two women with so much in common have so little to share with each other? I want my sister back, although, after all this time, I don’t know what we’d say. And knowing she doesn’t want to be a part of my life hurts terribly.

Beth, you are loved.


Image Credit: ©EllerslieArt – stock.adobe.com

Hope, Contentment, Gratitude

Some days, I feel like I can see my future, and for the most part, I’m content with what I see. Other days I’m not so sure. I suppose we all have our vision of what’s ahead and I’m lucky if I believe my options are good ones.

Yet I can’t help it, I hope for something a little better. I want some things I don’t have now, not material things (although financial security is always a good thing) but some sense of satisfaction with what I’ve accomplished.

My writing, for example. I wrote a novel, but it’s so flawed that I really need to scrap much of what I’ve written and start over. The writing is good but the plot needs some help, and some of the basics such as location need to be fleshed out. There are other flaws I’m acutely aware of but don’t know how to remedy. So I’m a little stuck, and don’t know whether to keep plugging away at this novel or start a new one altogether.

It’s an election year, and I have hope for the outcome in November–and deep fear as well. Enough said.

To be perfectly honest, hope isn’t an overriding feeling in my life. In fact, I’m greatly discouraged by much of my current situation and don’t have a lot of hope for anything changing in the foreseeable future. So I’m trying to grab hold of hope and implement it into my life. Look for the ways things could change and believe in them.

I’m grateful for much of what I have, and if I have any hope at all, it’s that those things I’m grateful for will stay in my life. My job, for example. It’s not a perfect situation–what job is perfect, after all–but I’m so thankful to be working. In the current climate I’m one of the lucky ones.

My mom and dad are both living, in their 80s and healthy, and I have hope they’ll be around for awhile. My mom just lost a close friend, a woman she’d been friends with since they were three years old, who was also healthy but died suddenly of a stroke. Barb had been playing tennis almost literally until the day she died, so losing her was a shock to everyone. I hope I don’t have that kind of shock any time soon.

Hope is a funny thing. It needs to be coupled with gratitude or we’ll get lost in the mire of what we think we’re missing. Contentment is good, and contentment with hope sounds like an ideal situation. I have a little of all of this, including the mire part, and I want more hope in my life.

But if the future rolls out the way I see it now, I’ll be okay.

 


Image Credit:  ©krissikunterbunt – stock.adobe.com

 

These Days…thank goodness for all of you

I’m not good in heat. Some people thrive in it, but I prefer cold weather. Sweater weather. Weather that allows me to show off some of my hand knit scarves, gloves and hats.

Now, snow doesn’t thrill me, at least not while I’m living in the South. If it snows in my neighborhood, roads might be closed down for days and the parking lot in my apartment complex certainly won’t be plowed. So I’d better be well-stocked, especially with cat food. I can figure out a meal for myself with a little flour and water (well, not literally, but I usually have enough staples to make do) but not for the cats.

Anyway, it’s July now, just the start of summer weather. We’ll have this heat until late September, maybe even October. So I need to deal.

I set my thermostat at 78 degrees, just like the experts recommend, and it’s way too warm most of the time. So when I’m home on the weekends I turn it down, knowing full well what that will do to my electric bill. Fortunately the cats tolerate warmer weather well, besides, it cools off decently in the bedroom, so when I’m at work 78 degrees works fine.

And I’m mostly home on the weekends these days, given the restrictions COVID-19 places on us. At least, those of us who choose to follow them, and I choose to follow them. Some of my friends have gotten pretty lax about it, and that concerns me. However, I can’t dictate their choices. 

(I’m typing this sitting on my sofa, and my sweet kitty Walter is giving me the most plaintive look because I won’t allow him to sit on the laptop. He’s doing everything he can to get in my way, such as leaning on my arm, reaching out across the keyboard, and softly meowing. At least I can blame any typos on him.)

This is a tough time for all of us. Even though I don’t relish hot weather, I still feel like I should be getting out more while the sun is shining. However, where can I go? The pool is out, as is the lake, because so many people are hanging out there and I’m not going to put myself and my co-workers at risk. I do take short walks, but I get so darn hot and don’t really enjoy them.

Connecting with all of you is a bright spot in my day. Thank goodness for blogging and bloggers. The writing, as mundane as mine might get, is a release, and reading what all of you have written is a connection with others. So thank you.

Self-Quarantine, Mini-Vacation and COVID-19–I’m One of the Lucky Ones

The latest odd event in my life is an unexpected three days off while the building I work in is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. This mini-vacation has happened because one of the lab employees has a confirmed case of COVID-19. They did what they could with contact tracing and sent a dozen or so employees home for two weeks of self-quarantine, then surprised the rest of us with these days off.

It was weird, learning about this. We were at one of the busiest points of our day–nearing the end of it–when the director overseeing our department stopped by and sent us all home. I had to ask her twice if I was just supposed to drop everything and head out. About an hour or so later, simultaneous text and phone messages confirmed what she’d told us.

Since our daily work load is based on daily deliveries, and those deliveries aren’t going to stop, I don’t know what they’ll do when we get back on Monday. Five days of shipments would mean a straight 24-hour work day, so they can’t expect us to get it all done in one day, but there are promises made to vendors about timely work. Besides, we can’t just keep getting further and further behind.

But I can’t worry about that now. It would ruin this time off. Yes, I’m told we’ll be paid, although how they’ll coordinate that is an additional question mark to me. We get fourteen days of COVID-19 paid time off just for self-quarantine purposes. Will we be expected to draw on that? If so, what happens if I come in contact with someone with a confirmed case and am sent home for two weeks? Will I have unpaid time off? I can’t expect the company to pay for an infinite amount of coronavirus vacation.

The obvious thing to be worried about is getting the virus myself, but somehow, that doesn’t concern me. We don’t know who the employee was who contracted COVID-19, but we do know about many of the people who were sent home, and it was in a department with which I rarely come into contact. Plus, I’ve been taking all the precautions. I wear a mask, I avoid communal rooms such as the break room (the rest rooms I clearly can’t avoid), I wash my hands frequently and stay six feet away from others whenever possible. That last one isn’t always possible, but I do my best.

I’m just glad my coronavirus story doesn’t include being laid off, and I pray that that good luck continues. I don’t know how I’d survive without my job. These government subsidies aren’t going to last forever.

So what do I plan to do with this unexpected vacation? If I’m smart, I’ll dig into the mess that rests in my second bedroom, clean it out and set up an office/sewing room. Every time I try, it overwhelms me, so I need to break it down into manageable, doable pieces–and start getting together a bunch of boxes for Goodwill.

I pray for that fellow employee who has the coronavirus and wish him or her a speedy recovery. I also pray that no one else at work contracts the disease, although I realize that’s being optimistic.

And I pray for a quick end to COVID-19, for the time we can look back on it and breathe a sigh of relief that this particular pandemic is over.


Image Credit: ©vvvita – stock.adobe.com

A Cookie is Just a Cookie (but ten cookies is a little much)

Ah, dieting.

I’ve been trying to lose weight–just a small amount–for about a year and a half.  I’m no closer to my goal now than I was in the beginning. I even shelled out what for me was big bucks on an eating modification program (I’ve been told not to think of it as “dieting” but “eating modification” and while I can see the logic of that mentality, the bottom line is, eating modification is, for me, dieting). I lost three or four pounds right away and then–nothing. For the next three months, no more loss. So I gave up on that program.

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Curse you, Joe, for bringing in donuts! Now where’s the one with the chocolate sprinkles…
Since I don’t have much to lose, telling my friends I want to lose weight is typically not very well received, especially those friends who could afford to lose a bit more. My co-workers, too, are not particularly supportive, in more ways than one. Not only do they roll their eyes at my plight, but they are constantly bringing in food to share. In one case, one of the women bought milk shakes for all of us. Surprise! It was, excuse the pun, sweet of her. I not only couldn’t say no, I didn’t want to.

Not to put the blame on others. I could easily be better at modifying my food intake. I tend to overdo it with favorite foods (my current favorite? Quaker Oats Simply Granola), so much so that I’ll swear off of that food for a time, only to find something to take its place.

I should say here my doctor has recommended I lose some weight. He’s with me in that I don’t need to lose much, but he was definite in saying I need to lose some.

I know I stress eat. I know I eat when I’m bored. Given the amount of stress I’ve been under lately, I’m lucky I haven’t gained any more weight. Okay, I did gain back that three or four pounds I’d lost on the eating modification program. But, no more than that.

Weigh yourself every single dayHere’s the thing that’s so hard for me: as an adult, I’ve had little problem with my weight. In fact, for about ten years I was too thin and tried to gain weight, but to no avail. It was when I was a teenager that I had a problem, and in that time and place, few of my peers faced the same struggle. So being overweight was isolating and heightened the insecurities I already dealt with. Now, I’m tapping back into some of those same feelings, and it doesn’t feel good.

But I am an adult, and I have tools now that I didn’t have then. So tomorrow is another day. One day at a time. And all the other platitudes. I will lose this weight.


Image Credits: All © geosap–stock.adobe.com

 

On the Balance

Trying hard to adjust to the new digs.

It’s not just that it’s smaller. In fact, that isn’t such a big deal since I only used a portion of the space I had before. It’s not just that it’s dingier. That is a bigger deal. And I’m not enjoying the additional noise of an apartment complex.

Right now, though, I’m struggling mostly with how low or high my air conditioning should be set to maintain the optimum comfort while still keeping my electric bill low. I have no idea what temperature I should set it at. The recommended temp is 78 degrees, but that is proving to be simply too warm and somewhat oppressive. So I turned it one degree cooler, which is still pretty warm, but I’m not willing to go any lower. Not today, at least. Not until I see my electric bill and know the consequences.

That sort of adjustment is simply part of moving and learning how things work in the new home. As for the rest of it, I may never fully get comfortable with this new space–I was spoiled in the old one.

The cats, in particular Mimi, seem to be adapting to the change fairly well. Mimi has settled in somewhat permanently on the bedroom windowsill, which is comfortably wide and overlooks a large tree and a grassy area with plenty of squirrels and birds. I’ve pulled up the blinds and put some café curtains in to maintain my privacy. Walter hasn’t quite found his spot, although he does like to hide under my comforter, not knowing that the Walter-shaped lump gives him away.

I’m looking for good in the rest of my life to balance out the discomfort I feel here. I have a decent job with great benefits. My car is in good shape (knock wood). I have healthy, happy cats (again, knock wood). Most of all, I have the support of my family no matter what is happening in my life.

After all I’ve been through in the last ten years, overall I have to say I’m in a decent spot. Certainly far better than where I was six, seven or eight years ago. So I’m grateful. On the balance, things are good.

So I’m looking at the balance and remembering how good it is these days.


Image Credit: ©MclittleStock – stock.adobe.com