Choosing Optimism Over Fear

“Some day, yeah / We’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
Some day / When the world is much brighter”
Lyrics to “Ooh Child” by Stan Vincent, performed by The Five Stairsteps

I’m starting to feel like myself again.  That crazy dark side has departed, I hope for good, and the crazy had nothing to do with my passion for felines.  The drastic shift we’ve all had to make overnight to adhere to the shelter-in-place orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 has been more difficult than I anticipated.  I thought I’d be more resilient to the fear, anxiety and shock experienced worldwide.  And I was, initially.  But the chronic worry of how this pandemic is going to pan out while having minimal interaction with human beings for the past month, and trying to efficiently meet demands of my job while working from home with constant computer disruptions has collectively wreaked havoc on my mental and emotional state. I’ve become extremely edgy, impatient and overly emotional.  The meaning in “We’re in this together” initially suggested to me strength in numbers—we’re not alone, we have each other.  Now this slogan insinuates that we are all suffering together in varying degrees.

Yet, despite my exhausted psyche, I am grateful. I still have a job, I’m healthy and I have my entertaining and loving Bobcat by my side.

My heart hurts for those experiencing truly devastating effects of the pandemic:  those who’ve become seriously ill, folks who’ve lost loved ones, and to those experiencing another kind of distressing loss – that of a business or job, and to business owners barely hanging on wondering how they are going to survive.

After six days of rain, the sun came out.  I walked the neighborhood and bird watched from my patio. I witnessed a mama crow preening her baby.  I’ve seen the barn owl take flight from the king palm tree in the yard twice this week, and I’ve stargazed. Venus has never looked so bright, and Sirius was seriously a gorgeous twinkling shade of blue last night.

Communing with Mother Nature helped to dissolve the negative emotions that assaulted my being—that and an attitude shift.  “Enough.  I need to start sending out positive vibes into the world.  That’s got to help in some way,” I said to Bobcat.  I’ve been talking to him a lot, and to the crows (Good morning, crows, how’s the baby?) Even to my Easter décor (Hello little lamby…whatcha doin’?).  I know, crazy, right?  My Mom told me she’s been talking to bumble bees, so it’s not just me.  I think talking to whomever or whatever is around even if these beings or things can’t talk back is comforting.

Of course, Bobcat speaks to me with his eyes…

When he’s not screaming demands at me.

I’m wishing everyone peace, comfort and good health.

Please let me know how you are doing.  Has anyone else been feeling a little cray cray?  Talking to the birds or inanimate objects?

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My Funny Feline Valentine

Curious about the origin of Valentine’s Day, I did a little research and learned that according to ancient legend, initially Valentine’s Day was a spin-off of a Roman fertility festival that was celebrated in February known as “Lupercalia.” This pagan celebration involved sacrifices and matchmaking to keep evil spirits and infertility at bay.  Apparently this festival did not involve sending flowers and chocolates to your heart’s desire.

Somehow along the way, it morphed into the celebration of romantic love.  And depending on which rendition of the tale you read, the evolution of Valentine’s Day involves a priest named Valentine persecuted for doing heroic deeds in the name of love.  By the Victorian era, sending love notes, or “Valentines” to your sweetheart became the Valentine’s Day celebration staple to honor the Saint who died to keep love alive.

And here I thought it was just an overly hyped Hallmark holiday, which has the capacity to make one feel a little left out of the celebration when single.

The way I see it, love comes in many forms and if a single person, such as myself, happens to be sans romantic love on February 14th, well, heck, then I say celebrate the abounding love that is all around you, which doesn’t have to be limited to the love of a boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife.  The love we receive from and give to our family and friends should count.  And the love we give to and receive from our furry family members is sometimes the deepest love of all.

Lexington, I still can’t believe you are not of this world anymore.  I’m adjusting, but will love you always and miss you dearly.

Bobcat, my dear, this year, thank you for being…

My funny valentine

Sweet comic valentine

You make me smile with my heart

Your looks are laughable

Yet, photographable and my favorite work of art…

(a minor alteration of how the song goes)

Lyrics from My Funny Valentine by Lorenz Hart.

 I hope everyone had an enjoyable Valentine’s Day, romantic, or otherwise.

XOXO

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Making Lemonade on Furlough Friday

Working for a large corporation has its perks:  a steady paycheck, good benefits, paid holidays… but like last year, first quarter projections appeared dismal, so two furlough days in the first quarter were mandated for many employees, including yours truly.  And once again, I grumbled about the forced days off without pay (not just for me but for all of us hard working employees subject to this mandate).  However, I can usually make some pretty sweet lemonade out of a bag of sour lemons, so I let go of my grumblings and instead, had a fabulous furlough Friday.

Gail and Pamela and Laguna Art Museum

I met fellow cat lady and dear friend Gail at Laguna Art Museum to take-in some gorgeous paintings, mixed media and charming sketches from the 1930s.   After our enjoyable time at the museum we caught-up on our respective goings-on over a delicious lunch at Las Brisas.  Gail is the proprietor of our cat café in town, Catmosphere, so I got to hear about the latest happenings with her clowder of kitties waiting for their forever homes.

Catmosphere

Catmosphere

Back at the cottage I took advantage of a spike in the temperature and cleaned-up my outdoor space, including washing the French windows, which were filthy with dust and water stains from the very damp weather we’ve had.  This may sound like tedious task for a day-off, but in 75-degree weather with my latest favorite podcast blaring (Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert), I was quite content.

I intended to work on my children’s book project…but the great outdoors derailed me from writing.  By the time my porch, patio, walkway and windows were clean, and plants were all watered and trimmed, it was time for a walk along the beach to catch the sunset, an absolute must when not in the office.

Guard dogs along the coast…there were actually three of them barking at all the sunset viewing folk.

I finished my day reclining on the clean porch sipping wine and watching the twilight sky turn from muted periwinkle and coral to ink-black nighttime.

And lounging with Bobcat, savoring the lemonade I’d made.

Sidebar:  So inspired by Liz Gilbert’s podcast I ended-up working for hours on my children’s book on Saturday, and have it up on my screen now, ready to continue where I left off last night.

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