Writing is a Journey, not a Destination

Writing is a Journey, not a Destination

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017


One of the good changes in the Turtle household is the resumption of playtime.

I am not physically capable of recording playtime while playing. You'll just have to watch Cole and Marmalade on Youtube and imagine my trio instead.

It was nearly impossible to play with seven animals at one time. Little Brother attacked anyone who got too excited. Sweetie stampeded over anyone who got between her and the laser light. Following a swinging string could land you in the middle of a fight, and that's a hard con to forget. Miss Kitty tended to hog the toy.

Three cats manage to respect each other's space. Miss Kitty gets the first couple of minutes of frantic running to calm her down. Skuttle has finally remembered how much fun string is to chase (she doesn't care for the laser). Skamper takes a while to warm up, but he is by far the best catcher.

Skamper has learned when I say "no teeth," he's to drop the string. I lost too many strings to his one-chomp equals one-severing ability. He confines himself to claws.

Skuttle likes to grab the string and walk off with it. Since it's attached to me, that's never successful, but she does try. She likes chasing a thing she can catch, so I'm careful to let her catch it every so often.

Miss Kitty has no boundaries until she's tired, and she has jumped on her siblings' catches just to prove she's involved. That's when I say, "If you want to play, you have to let go." She's not as language smart as her brother.

While I'm typing, Skamper has found his tiny jingle wand and is throwing it around the living room. Of course, my phone is ten feet away. Sorry.

Hey, I got to my phone without too much disruption. 

Group playtime happens around 7 PM, but they've started playing individually, too. Now that they sleep upstairs, I've heard them playing quietly in the middle of the night. Well, as quietly as a tiny jingle bell can be. At least Miss Kitty no longer hunts closet gremlins at 2:33 AM. I've found my sleep doesn't matter to me as much anymore, as long as the kids are happy and healthy.

I hope you're happy and healthy today, too. Here's another video to help with that.


Applaud the jellyfish.

Friday, January 13, 2017

TruTouch Grooming Glove vs Cats Update

You've seen it. You've wondered. Would that rubber glove thingy work on my furry friend?

I found mine in Walgreen's as-seen-on-TV aisle, which is great, because I would never call an 800 number to buy something.

There's a learning curve. It's a larger than normal, rubber-smelling grabby thing where Mom's hand normally is, so patience is a good plan. Leave it out where the cats can smell on it for a while, although, if you have a cat who tends to ferret things, don't leave it out unattended.

Application of the glove requires a bit more pressure than normal petting and that ups the "strange" factor. I've found using both hands can help at the beginning.

The goal, of course, is not to frighten the cat. Cats remember stuff, and they will absolutely remember that the sound of velcro means I'm about to get grabbed and mashed and pulled on. Don't give them reason to fear that memory.

Start small, with a few strokes, to give you both a feel for how this might progress. Toffee was fine with the glove from the first touch. Miss Kitty sees it and preps for attack-mode within minutes (she's not afraid, but she doesn't seem to find it relaxing). Skuttle expects me to pet her for five to seven minutes every morning and even rolls over so I can get both sides.

Skamper doesn't attack, but he did start avoiding me if he thought the glove could be brought into play. For him, the glove will be a specific time and place only, and I might follow it with food for that extra nudge in the right direction. His long hair is the main reason I bought the thing, and I'm determined he will benefit from it.

I have found that the amount of hair removed increases with use. It took several days with Skuttle before I had to clean the glove. Now, I pull hair off the glove every time.

I didn't have a chance to try it with Sweetie, but I suspect it would have gone the same as with Skamper. She didn't fight being brushed, but it wasn't her favorite thing, either.

Pluses: 1) It's rubber, so the static charge issues of a dry house, dry cat, and metal comb don't come into play. I hear the static, but no one is feeling it. 2) It's thick, so even when Miss Kitty or Skamper have had enough and bring the five-point maul strike into play because I missed the signs, I'm not shredded and bleeding. I can calmly remove my intact limb and put the undamaged glove away. 3) I found it at Walgreens, so I didn't have to speak with or give payment information to a telesales representative.

Minuses: It's bulk means its harder to groom "tight spaces" on smaller cats. I can gently grab their tails (which is great because combs just don't go there), but under the chin must proceed with care. Frankly, I can't think of any other complaints, but I went into this with knowledge of my cats and the goal of giving us all time to get used to something new.

In short, I like it. I think it would work best for people who can schedule it into their pet's day rather than grab the glove and go to town because the mood calls, but that probably depends on the pet, too.

Applaud the jellyfish.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Person of Interest

I finally watched the last two seasons of the show, and I do mean the last two seasons, since it was cancelled halfway through season 5. Typical. Shows I like always get cancelled. Perhaps because I don't watch them while they're being created. NBC taught me never to trust a show in production.

I liked this show. A lot. All the way to the end.

Yes, it had many issues, like promoting the idea that bad guys can be completely incapacitated by being shot in the knee, and people regularly survive getting t-boned by large trucks, and there is no limit to how many bullets to the chest you can take without dying. Not to mention being told where to fire by an ASI (artificial super-intelligence) makes you immediately proficient with weapons and a crack shot to boot.

But... It was ultimately a show about redemption. How people who made bad choices can learn to make better choices. How self-sacrifice is contagious. How violence is never the answer. Actually, the show wanted to teach that, but even Finch picked up arms at the end, so sometimes violence is the only answer.

Produced by JJ Abrams, PoI didn't have many of his trademark themes, other than true love is eternal. Perhaps because it was mostly written by Jonathan Nolan, of Batman Begins fame. The show was more about lost love, lost chances, and the triumph of good over evil through ultimate sacrifices.

Harold Finch is absolutely my favorite character, but, by the end, Lionel was second. He came the farthest, I think, of all of them.

Unlike Lost, this show had an ending ready to go for when the studios pulled the plug, and I will be forever grateful. The ending was bittersweet, like the show, but I was satisfied. I'm sorry they went out, but I'm glad they went out on top.

I look forward to the next Michael Emerson project.

Applaud the jellyfish.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Begin with Forgiveness

It's been a few years since the Lavender Squeak incident, where I learned to apply forgiveness in my own life, so I'm finally willing to say with some authority "yes, this solution works."

Let it go.

One of the curses of living in time is that the past can't be changed. What happened, happened. Whatever the cost, whatever the result, dwelling on it will not do anything except make you miserable and useless now.

Forgiveness begins with forgiving God. Some Christians gasp when you say that. "You can't forgive God! God never makes mistakes!" Maybe not, but God can do or allow things that get my dander up, and, like any friendship, require me to forgive him for testing our relationship.

When I was mad at God, I had to forgive him first. It wasn't an emotion. It was a decision. I decided that I would no longer hold that action against him. It was done, it was behind us, and we would move forward from that moment on without looking back. I marked the account "paid" and I turned the page. The offense is not something I review daily or hourly. It collects dust in a shoebox under the rafters, untouched, waiting for the retention schedule to wind down before being chucked into the shredder.

This is not the same as avoidance. I am fully aware of the offense. I chose not to seek retribution. I chose not to obsess. I chose to let it go. I use past tense because the initial choice solves the problem. I don't entertain the thought "I'm forgiving you for this terrible thing" daily. That isn't forgiveness. Forgiveness is making the choice to let it go, and then letting it go.

For me, the decision to forgive and the release from the anger and the hurt took one night. I decided to forgive, I went to bed, and I woke up lighter than I'd been in years. The anger, bitterness, and hurt was completely diffused. I had trouble even remembering the intensity of the emotions I'd felt fewer than 12 hours before. I believe that my decision to forgive allowed the divine mystery that is God's forgiveness to free me from my past. I do not know if this works for non-Christians. I do not believe it is something a human can do apart from God. I only know that I didn't experience release until I made the decision to let it go.

The offense surfaced in my mind a few more times, but each time I set it firmly behind me and focused on the future. I would have to review this blog to even remember the exact string of events now, so far have I come from that pain, although it was only a few years past.

Please, dear Brothers and Sisters, let it go. All of it. Decide to forgive. Set your past offenses, hurts and tortures down, and walk away from them. They are past. You have the whole future ahead, and how much easier it will be without all that garbage crushing you. As you let go of the past, you may find a whole string of things you didn't even know were there that also require forgiveness. I did. I forgave them, too. I was unbound.

Forgive God, forgive yourself, and forgive your torturers. There will one day be a divine reckoning, and we will be forgiven as we have forgiven others. There's no better time to start your new life.

Embrace your faith.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye, 2016. You Were Unexpected.

I can't think of a better word. The weather returned to normal, but the Kansas wind blew plenty of change in with it.

I was promoted in an unexpected fashion. It's been a learning curve, but not as steep as, say, learning to drive. I dare to think it's gone fairly well.

I began the countdown to paying off my mortgage. It's never seemed more possible.

Life without Farmville created Bible study time, and I read the whole thing this year without skipping. I plan to focus on the New Testament in 2017. I've always preferred the Old Testament, so it's time to branch out.

The city code violation reminded me how much I like working in The Swamp, front or back. It got me in shape, it got me meeting my neighbors, and it got me a chipper/shredder that makes my heart sing and my compost pile grow.

I returned to church. It's been a while.

I was happy Trump won. I didn't expect it, I tried very hard to be OK with whatever would happen as God's will - permissive or directed - but I was pleased the election went that way. Donald is no saint by any stretch of the imagination, but he's way funnier than Hillary.

You would think losing four dear friends in seventeen days would be enough to make me curse this year, but it hasn't. God loaned them to me, and he took them back. I wish it hadn't been quite so one-after-the-other, but I don't know that any way would have been easier. I find myself embracing stoicism.

Despite the roller-coaster ride of stress that was 2016, I dare to face the new year with a sense of hope. Not because things can't get worse. They can always get worse. More that God has seen me this far, and I don't think he's going to leave me now. This may just be the year I lean into God's love instead of hairy-eyeballing it.

May the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction, comfort you abundantly, both in what has passed and what is to come. May he comfort us all and bind us together by his Spirit.