Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Letter To A Good Cat

Dear Mollie,

I'm so sorry girl. You shouldn't have ended like this. As a stray cat, you took your life into your...sweet little multicolored paws, every day. I know that. But, you were never supposed to get hit by a car. You were too smart and cool and original for that. You were going to be the first stray cat to die of natural causes at the age of 25, I just knew it.

I hope a lot of things now. I hope it was an accident, and that the neighbors who complained about you and the rest of the strays we care for a couple of months ago didn't go gunning for you when you were in the street, and then put you in our yard to show us what they think about the strays and our looking after you. I hope whoever hit you felt bad and simply knew we would take care of things if you were in our yard. Either way, I'm glad you weren't left in the street.

I hope you didn't suffer. I hope it was quick, instantaneous, even. If you laid in our yard dying last night while we were watching TV, unknowing, that would kill a much larger part of me than the one that was killed when I found you this morning.

I hope we helped you. We certainly tried to. Remember March 2011, when Catpocalypse came and Animal Control gathered up the old guard of strays? Remember how you, in all your cat wisdom, defied the AC officer and showed her who was boss by sitting ON TOP OF THE TRAP FILLED WITH FOOD, and then sauntering off, un-captured? See, you were really too smart for this shit.

I hope you weren't too scared when we took you into the house, along with two other cats, last month to have you fixed and given your shots by Operation Sterile Feral. I know you weren't happy about it, that was obvious. But I hope you forgave us for trapping you in our basement, taking you to strangers for medical procedures you didn't realize you needed and then putting you back outside. You seemed to forgive us. In the month since we let you out, you rarely left our yard during the day.

I wish you hadn't left our yard at night, either. That way you'd still be with us. Oh, well. Kitties gotta hunt, I guess...

I hope you know you were the original cat. I mean, not really. But you felt like the original cat to us. I don't remember when I first saw you after we moved in eight years ago. 2008? 2009? 2010? I've got no idea, but I know that as the number of stray cats in the neighborhood grew and the number who came to our yard for a morning snack grew, you became a reliable fixture.

Hell, if it weren't for you, (and the resistance of St. Louis County to allow TNR) we wouldn't have most of the awesome new guard strays: Rudy (who's actually been living with us for four years), Sampson, Trey, Tim (who's had a home for over a year now), Keema, Kem, Orange Boy and Creamy. I promise we'll continue to do everything in our power to take care of them.

Mollie, I hope you enjoyed relaxing on our deck. I hope you enjoyed sunning yourself in our yard. I hope you liked all the food we gave you and it never made you feel icky. I hope, however old you were, that you had some fun. I hope you liked it when I patted your back and told you to be careful, have a good day and wished you happy hunting.

I buried you this morning, about an hour after finding you, in the back yard near our cat Luanne, who died just a few months after you refused to be taken away by Animal Control. You're between two flower beds and two two trees. I think you'll like it there. When the muddy ground settles a bit, I might try to plant some cat grass or cat nip on your and Luanne's graves. I think that would be fitting.

Luanne's been gone a long time. Mollie, seek her out wherever you are now. She's a good cat, too. I'm sure she'd love to show you around.

Love and Thanks Always,

Friday, March 13, 2015

Motivation In Movement; Friday Fix Mix #2

Via Live Bold & Bloom

I've been doing a lot of research the past month or so. I'm looking for answers; trying to figure out how to blast through my depression on a daily basis, stay motivated, hopeful and even bring some excitement (cash flow be dammed) to my too small life.

One of the answers, aside from doing something, even something small, to move yourself and your goals forward is to apply that to meaningful work. Work that you not only enjoy, but that you feel adds something positive to the world, whether that's for the world at large or just a few people.

I found a post on the blog Barking Up The Wrong Tree titled "How To Be Motivated: 4 New Insights From Research" that crystallizes these ideas and tells you how keep your motivation up when you feel yourself turning into a donkey and not giving a shit about anything any more. I loved it; it's helped; and I hope it helps you too.

Now, let's get to some music! Enjoy!

Friday Fix Mix #2

America "You Can Do Magic"
Rival Sons "Pressure and Time"
The Breeders "Cannonball"
The Cardigans "I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You To Be Nicer"
Stereophonics "Have A Nice Day"
Powderfinger "(Baby I've Got You) On My Mind"
The Breakfast Club "Right On Track"
Kelly Clarkson "Heartbeat Song"
Fall Out Boy "Centuries"
Citizen Cope "Bullet and A Target"
Florence + The Machine "What Kind Of Man" (This one is a slow burn, skip 2:50 in for the music to really get going!)
Demi Lovato "Give Your Heart A Break"

Friday, March 06, 2015

New Things Are Nice

In an effort to keep everyone pumped for the weekend, I'm starting my Friday Fix Mix to help you dance your troubles away and, hopefully, introduce you to some cool music you may not have heard before. Enjoy!

Friday Fix Mix #1

Nikka Costa "Everybody Got Their Something"
The Black Keys "Have Love Will Travel"
Maroon 5 "Harder To Breathe"
Bruno Mars "Locked Out Of Heaven"
Louis XIV "Finding Out True Love Is Blind"
Paramore "Ain't It Fun"
The Detroit Cobras "Cha Cha Twist"
Will Hoge "Secondhand Heart"
Metric "Help I'm Alive"
Sia "Chandelier"
Royksopp & Robyn "Do It Again"
Elastica "Connection"

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Here's the Thing

I've been dealing with depression for a long time. Over half my life. I've tried six therapists of varying stripes and one psychologist. I've tried St. John's Wort and vitamins in every combination. I've tried exercise (possibly too much at times), gratitude journals, vision boards and light therapy. I've tried four different prescribed medications, an abundance of self-help books, losing myself in movies/TV/books and even eating (definitely too much at times). Nothing has ever made IT just go the fuck away. And what I'm finally realizing is that IT won't go away. Not completely, anyway.

I might not be my depression, but depression is obviously a big part of me.

All the things I've tried have helped a bit, but IT won't budge. IT's like the ocean; I have a low tide (Just get up and do what you need to do, already. Maybe you'll feel better.) and a high tide (I don't know what day it is and it doesn't matter anyway since I'm not getting out of bed).

High or low, IT's always around. And IT brings friends over on a regular basis. Worry, over-eating, sleepless nights, bed-ridden days, sudden sadness, sudden anger, fear, anxiety and procrastination have parties in my head on a weekly basis. I haven't been living with IT so much as I haven't been living because of ITs shadow.

Now that I finally get that IT isn't going to disappear in a miraculous puff of smoke like a life-sucking vampire that's finally been slayed into oblivion one day, I'm just trying. Over and over again. Every day, and sometimes multiple times a day, to...


This? This knowing that IT'll probably always be with me a little? Honestly, the thought is oddly a tiny bit freeing. I didn't do medication wrong or therapy wrong or miss some depression blasting exercises that were all the rage. This is just me. And I can try to weather high tide moments by repeating my new favorite Buddhist saying:


Do you have a motto that keeps you going during difficult times? Share it in the comments!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Here's To Friday

You know how you'll be sailing along just fine and then something, big or small, will come around and WHOMP you in the ass? That's how my week's been. Last Thursday I found out that my one steady freelance gig is being cut down to 1/4 of what I usually do in a month, and who knows how long that will last.

I cried. Probably for a half hour, which really isn't long for me. And then I slowly picked myself up and applied for more freelance jobs. Of course that's something I should be doing all the time, but I frequently allow my lack of confidence and the ease of getting mired in the murk of depression to get in the way of progress.

I was proud of that achievement. And then I went and let things get all murky again and have spent most of this week just ignoring everything with a knot of future fear in my belly. I'm working my way out of it today; I found two jobs to apply for and have read a host of helpful articles about happiness and working toward your dreams.

Since a lot of you are working through the same issues as me (although I do hope it's on a smaller scale!), today I'm going to share some of what I've been reading and using to help organize my thoughts and get my shit together. I'm mixing in a little music, too, because it's fun. And if you can't have fun on Friday, when can you?

1) 9 main reasons you’re not discovering – or pursuing! – your dream career

2) 10 things to do besides complain about your job

3) How dreams, goals and habits make you a wildly productive writer

4) When your desire isn’t here yet, focus on "driftwood"

5) 6 nuggets of happiness

6) 12 habits of happy people

7) I really love the Passion Planner. Mine is on order and should arrive in a few weeks. Until then, I've been using the free pages to map things out.

Have a great weekend, everyone. If you have Monday off, too, even better!

Monday, January 05, 2015

My Chicken or Egg Life

Well, hello there! Welcome to 2015, everyone. I guess we're living in the future now. Forgive me for jumping right in, but after a 16 month blog break there seemed like no better way to begin again other than to, you know...Begin. Again.

I was tired. Tired of talking about myself, mostly. Tired of going around in circles in my life and not getting anywhere. Most of this came from the fact that, during the late summer and early fall of 2013, when I last wrote on this blog, I was trying REALLY HARD to figure myself out. I'd been physically sick for years and spent the end of 2013 going to a slew of doctors who found nothing wrong with me. I'd struggled with various levels of depression for even longer, and was seeing a regular therapist, a psychiatrist and a sex therapist at the same time.

It was too much. Too much me. Too much of my problems going around in my head all the live long day and night. The kicker? All that talking and commiserating and worrying and taking anti-depressants and spending money I didn't really have to try to get help...But nothing changed. I didn't feel significantly better. Sure, I'd stopped crying so much, but I did not feel hopeful or have any renewed interest in life. So, I stopped.

Stopped taking the meds. Stopped writing about myself all the time. Stopped going to all the therapists and stopped making appointments for any new doctors to poke around my troubled tummy. All my issues have stuck with me for the past 16 months, but I just needed a break from trying SO hard to figure myself out.

-Why do I lack drive?
-Why am I afraid of everything?
-Why am I so awkward socially?
-Why can't I lose weight and keep it off?
-Why do so many things bore me so quickly?
-Why can't I be more like Beyonce?

The list of personal quandaries feels endless. From the time I was in college the answer felt sort of simple: Um, you're depressed, you dummy! Stop being depressed and you'll finally be normal! Lord knows I tried, for decades, to shut the depression down with medication and therapy and blogging and gratitude lists and an embarrassingly long reading list of self-help books. It would ebb and flow; lessen and increase. But never go away. Never ever go ALL THE WAY AWAY.

For the most part I spent my non-blogging, no-longer-in-therapy time as I had before: doing the bare minimum to survive and get through my days without bursting into tears. Going through the motions, not really enjoying life or being a participant in life or getting much out of it at all.

Then November 2014 came around. It was just two weeks after my cousin died suddenly in his sleep from a heart attack. He was 40, born in April 1974, and I was about to be 40 in just three weeks. Not that I didn't know I could die at any minute, I did and always had known that, since I was never one of those daring, thrill-seeking youngsters. But now, after losing my cousin, it was a super real possibility. What if I actually didn't have tomorrow to get off my ass and get something, anything, accomplished?

The first thing I did was something I'd been saying I was going to do for a few years but never did: I signed up for NANOWRIMO 2014. And, I finished. I wrote a 51,716 word novel. That has now tied with traveling alone to three film festivals in three cities I'd never been in before as my most cherished accomplishment.

After coming down off the high of reaching a personal goal, I spent my holidays doing a lot of thinking, and something occurred to me. Maybe the depression wasn't causing my lack of drive. Maybe my lack of drive and reluctance to step out of my comfort zone, no matter how uncomfortable it had become, was keeping me depressed. And, just like the chicken or egg scenario we're all familiar with, my depression and fear fed each other in an endless cycle that felt impossible to break down. I was 40. I'd spent roughly 20 years of my precious life mired in the fear of the new to the point that I'd made myself a tad bit OCD and agoraphobic.

I'd tried talking my depression away and medicating it away, but the only thing I hadn't tried for any significant length of time was simply doing the things I'd always wanted to do even if I was scared.

So, that's what I'm doing now. I wrote a book that I'll be re-reading and editing starting this week. For the past month I've been walking four miles on most days, even when it bores me and my hips hurt. I'm breaking down my wants and needs into small actions and fucking getting them done.

I'm going to stop giving up on myself, because I'm the only damn person who can make the next 40+ years mean anything.

How are you making your life more meaningful in 2015?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Well, Thank You Cassandra!

Cassandra Schmigotzki, of The Long and Winding Road to Wellness, has graced my blog with a Liebster Award! So, here's what you need to know about the award...

About the Liebster

The idea behind this award is to recognize new bloggers and help them get some buzz and promote their blogs. It's a sign of recognition and it can pretty much mean what you want it to mean.

If you've been nominated for the Liebster Award and accept it, you need to follow a few rules.

1.Write a blog post about the Liebster Award.
2.Thank the person that nominated you.
3.Post a link to their blog on your blog.
4.Display the award on your blog and including it in your post and/or displaying it using a widget.
5.Answer the 11 questions about yourself provided by the person who nominated you.
6.Give 11 random facts about yourself.
7.Nominate 5-11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 1000 followers.
8.Create a new list of questions for the nominated bloggers to answer.
9.List the rules in your post.
10.Inform the bloggers who you've nominated for the Liebster Award - remember to give them a link to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!).

Note that you can nominate someone who has been given this award already, as long as they have less than 1000 followers/subscribers.

Cassandra's Questions For Me

1.What is something that you wish you learned how to do growing up? Make small talk.

2.What are five words your closest friends would use to describe you? Funny, smart, sensitive, empathetic, introverted

3.What is your favorite meal to make or eat? This isn't a whole meal, but I love roasted carrots. If I cook a pound of carrots you better get to 'em fast because otherwise they'll be gone.

4.What did you want to be when you grew up? An astronomer. Then I realized how much math I'd have to learn.

5.Can you speak another language? If so, what? (This would include sign language but not Pig Latin.) Only if by "speak another language" you mean "can curse people out in Spanish". I studied Spanish in high school & college, but you know how it is when you don't use a skill...

6.What is your guilty pleasure? I try not to have those. You like what you like when you like it, you know?

7.What are your favorite books or blogs? I could list books all day: Which Lie Did I Tell, Kushiel's Dart, Bird by Bird, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Woman Hollering Creek, If You Want to Write, Dicey's Song, A Solitary Blue, A Long Way From St. Louie, Black Ice...I should probably stop now!

8.What do you hope to accomplish by the end of the year? Finishing a screenplay.

9.What's your favorite quote or passage? “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid”. ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It's hard to follow, but I love the idea of it. Plus, I do think it's true in many cases.

10.Do you still dress up for Halloween? I haven't done that since I was about 11.

11.Have you learned anything about yourself since you started blogging? If so, what? Black people have a saying: "Don't put your business in the street." This is how parents keep their kids from talking about personal stuff with people who don't happen to live with them. I have found, though, that I like putting my business in the street. It seems to be the only way to learn that your business isn't that unusual after all.

Random Facts

1. I say "library" & "birthday" wrong. They come out "lie-berry" & "birfday".
2. I didn't realize I said these words wrong until I met HUBS and he pointed it out to me.
3. I didn't drink any alcohol until I was 31.
4. I only drink lemon-lime sodas.
5. I hate tea in all its forms.
6. I wore braces on my legs and had to have special orthopedic shoes when I was a kid.
7. Because of my orthopedic issues, if I'm sitting with my legs straight out or straight behind me, my feet automatically turn ALL THE WAY IN with my toes pointing at each other.
8. Any pill larger than the tip of a pencil eraser will cause me to panic when I try to swallow it. Thank God for pill cutters!
9. When I went to New York on a college trip in 1997, I saw Al Lewis, who played Grandpa on The Munsters. He was in his 70s, but was wearing a leather biker jacket and an African print hat.
10. My nose has been itching all week and it's incredibly annoying.
11. Mushrooms disgust me. I know they're good for you, but they're a fungus and I can't get past it. I've never had one on purpose.


1. Miss Tracey Nolan
2. Rebecca Thompson, Take Charge Now
3. Jeri Walker-Bickett, What do I know?
4. Stephanie Bryant, Diary of a Mad Saleswoman

My Nominee Questions!

1. Boxers or briefs?
2. What one word do you hate the sound of?
3. Prince or Michael Jackson?
4. The world is ending, what do you say to your mom as last words?
5. McDonald's or Burger King?
6. You've just won $1,000 and have to spend it on something frivolous. What do you buy?
7. What are your two favorite TV shows of all time (up to now, obviously)?
8. Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck?
9. If you could give your 12-year-old self one bit of advice, what would it be?
10. Dancing at a club or drinking at a bar?
11. What's one book you wish you had written and why?

Let the party begin, nominees!


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