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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Just You and Me, Cat

Bobcat’s napping on the bed and I can hear his soft snoring coming from the bedroom.  I’ve got KXFM, Laguna’s radio station playing Americana music in the kitchen, but it still seems too quiet; too still.  Not that I like loudness or lots of activity around me while I’m writing, but something about having two cats, one in the bedroom, one on my desk, both snoozing while I write brought just the right amount of background reverberations.  And their complementing personalities, Lexington, protective and pensive, Bobcat, silly and boyish was the perfect energy mix to fill these four walls—and my heart with harmony, and lots of love.

Lex, my efficient assistant…

It’s been over thirty years since I’ve had only one cat in my household.  Ever since that day in the late ‘80s, when I let an abandon sweet-faced kitty into my apartment who instantly connected with my one cat, Frankie, I learned that one is not enough, and have had two or three cats ever since (read bios of Frankie, Punkie, Lexington, Topper and Bella under “Meet the Family”).

Frankie and Punkie

I’m not the only one adapting to Lexington’s absence.  Bobcat outwardly grieved for several weeks, not leaving the bed except to take care of basic needs, but even his appetite waned for several days.

Bobcat on Lexington’s cozy pad

Then a couple of weeks ago, I was making dinner and heard funny thumping noises in the living room, where I found Bobcat whacking Lexington’s green tennis ball across the floor. When he caught me spying on his newfound sports activity, he ran over to me and rubbed up against my legs over and over.  I knelt down and gave him long, tight hug.  The sound of his purring rivaled the rumble of a Harley Davidson.  Bobcat had never even gone near Lexington’s tennis ball before, which made witnessing his first move towards healing extra special.

Bobcat has been in my life for about six years. During this time, I believe he understood my tight connection with Lexington and respectfully, didn’t interfere. But now, in our solitude together, Bobcat and I are bonding.  We are building a routine.  He now signals to me when he wants to play ball.  I toss the tennis ball—he chases it and when that gets boring (after about one minute) then he attacks the toy mice that I’ve scattered around the floor.  After I crawl into bed at night, he stands guard at the front door, watching for ominous critters (a giant raccoon recently sauntered up the walkway) and when he feels that all is well in the neighborhood, he hops onto the bed and curls up close to me. When Lexington slept next to me, Bobcat would usually sleep closer to the foot of the bed.  I love seeing his personality blossom as his grief lifts, and as he adapts to his new roll in the household as the protector, and I cherish our deepening relationship.

I’m certain that someday, I’ll expand my feline family again.

But for now, Bobcat and I are content to have just each other.

 

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