Learning Living Loving

It’s times like these you learn to live again
It’s times like these you give and give again
It’s times like these you learn to love again

Lyrics from “Times Like These” by the Foo Fighters

I awoke on Sunday, January 15th feeling a little restless, but wasn’t sure why.  I’d slept well, Samantha was curled up in a blanket-lined basket a few feet from the bed and it was Sunday—a day of doing what I pleased. Why did I feel heavy-hearted? I made coffee, settled into the cozy chair with the organic French Roast in my favorite owl mug and watched the dark predawn sky become light gray through the French windows. It was still lightly raining. Samantha was sprawled out by the small round ottoman on which my feet rested. I chuckled as I watched her watching me. She was so happy, and so at peace.

Then it occurred to me: January 15th was the two-year anniversary of Bobcat’s passing. I mentally time traveled back to that day in 2021, his last day with me, two weeks before my cancer surgery. He was a major source of strength for me during my cancer battle, never leaving my lap, or my side.

Bobcat comforted me and kept me smiling, even laughing during some of the darkest moments. I recall wondering how I was going to manage without him; dreading coming home from the hospital several days after surgery to an empty cottage.

I lit a candle in Bobcat’s honor, said out loud that I loved and missed him, hoping that he could somehow hear me from Heaven then brushed off the heavy feeling as I got on with my morning. As I washed the breakfast dishes, the song “Times Like These” by the Foo Fighters came to mind. The chorus looped through my thoughts while I placed the clean, wet dishes onto the dish-drying rack. Now I needed to hear the song–for real, not just in my head. I asked Alexa to play it and I watched, on YouTube, an emotional Dave Grohl belt it out through tears during the tribute to Taylor Hawkins concert.

Music can bring light to situations. My cancer battle, the loss of Bobcat, although tough and heartbreaking, those times made me learn to live again. Then Samantha Jo came into my life, and I learned to love again, and Samantha gave me reason to give, and give again.

Watch/listen to “Times Like These” sung by Live Lounge Allstars (BBC Radio 1 Stay Home Live Lounge), a moving  performance of 24 musicians  during the COVID lockdown, which raised funds for various charities.


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2022 Reflections and Highlights

The year 2022 marked a true new beginning for me, with healing becoming more steady and evident. I gained back all my weight (lost during my bout with cancer), more stamina and strength, and I’ve also gained the courage to put into play the beginnings of a more meaningful life. Taking risks in the name of happiness and growth are priority, from signing a book-publishing contract to giving romance a chance—life has become more enriched with choices that foster purpose and bliss.

And so is staying healthy. I still pace myself and rest is a must, like our cats who nap, a natural part of their daily recovery process, I, like Samantha Jo, still take naps as needed and get to bed as early as possible (by 9:30 p.m. is best) on a regular basis. Well…except for New Year’s Eve, when I actually made it past midnight.

I’m making daily conscious efforts to detach from stress and embrace happiness. Often times, joyful moments happen around us all the time. We just have to see them.

Seeing Samantha thriving in her own sense of joy and in her recovery from chronic idiopathic cystitis triggers such contentedness and is one of life’s treasures for me. And to multiply the joy she generates is watching her interact with her new Cat Daddy. They lavish each other with unabashed adoration.

They’re at it again…

I am also purposefully creating happiness by instigating and saying yes to opportunities that tug at my soul’s calling. Not to say I haven’t done this in the past…it all just lost sight from me for so long. Sometimes life’s daily grind takes over and our dreams get lost in the shuffle.

In 2008 I started writing a story that I thought would make a wonderful children’s book. Long at last, Two Cats, a Mermaid and the Disappearing Moon will launch sometime in spring of 2023! You’ll recognize the characters, Topper, Lexington and Bella as they take center stage in this story about the mystery and magic of Mother Nature.

This music-loving cat lady co-hosted a radio show, which was a childhood dream-come-true and truly, a highlight of the year and of my life thus far. Thank you, again, KX FM radio host Steve Reid!

My inner cowgirl got to ride again! It had been since 2017 that I’d rode a horse. Cowboy hats off to my beau, who arranged a trail ride to celebrate a momentous birthday I had in June.

Year 2022 ended with glorious Christmas holiday, being able to spend time with many family members for the first time in years. And for those I missed…I hope to see you in 2023. And the year’s grand finale was a New Year’s Eve celebration in the cozy cottage with Cat Daddy and Samantha Jo; a little wine, homemade marinara over spaghetti, some lively 70s funk/soul music, lots of dancing, a game of Charades, and lots of laughter.

Cat Daddy cooking, Samatha supervising…

Happy New Year and Happy Mew Year to all!

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A Barn Owl and the Shooting Star

Today, November 20th, Samantha Jo turned three-years-old! I never knew the birthdays of any of my other cats, only their approximate ages. So, a few weeks ago I thought, how fun would it be to have a birthday celebration for Samantha? But before I knew it her special day crept up on me and I’d not planned anything. What kind of cat mama am I to let her birthday celebration planning sneak out of sight?

I’d envisioned having her cat daddy and my cat-loving girlfriends over to the cottage, sipping champagne and singing Happy Birthday to Samantha, who would be busy batting her kitty soccer balls around, yet stopping to receive pets and snuggles from her adoring people while weaving in and out of our legs.  She would then melt the crowd by rolling onto her back and wriggling from side to side, inviting tummy rubs.

But seasonal festivities, that day-job thing, my labors of love: working on my children’s book publishing process and participating in Blue Bell Foundation for Cats events stole time away from Samantha’s party planning.

Helped decorate Blue Bell’s Christmas tree at Sawdust Festival’s Winter Fantasy

I found “purrmaid” wrapping paper!

Although, Samantha probably thinks every day is her birthday as I lavish her with random gifts, like the Gibson Flying V catnip guitar (move over Joe Bonamassa!) that I picked-up at Cat Con, made by Crochet Kitty and those wooden balls she loves to bat around the cottage that I recently found at Laguna Art Supply.  Not to mention the “birthday” kisses she gets every day.

Samantha channeling  Jimi Hendrix

The day is still young, and I’ll come up with a little something special for her, but as you all know, every day is a birthday party for our precious furry family members.

* * *

I instigated an impromptu birthday celebration in the late afternoon, with a visit from Cat Daddy and Auntie Marilyn. We made a toast to Queen Sassy Pants and she enjoyed snuggles and our admiration at what a healthy, happy and darling girl she’s become.

The celebration was winding down when I happened to look up into the almost-dark twilight sky. I saw the majestic wingspan of a barn owl as she gracefully flew over the neighborhood towards the hills of the canyon. I walked out into the yard to get a closer look. And as she disappeared into the distance, a shooting star fell slowly from the indigo sky, soring downwards towards the ocean with its tail trailing behind.

I couldn’t have planned a more purrrfect birthday celebration.

Bonus Video!  Watch Samantha play ball on her birthday…

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