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Cats (Not the Musical)

Hello everyone! Apologies for my absence from Blogging Land. I have all the usual excuses – laziness, too busy, no time, life got in the way etc – but I also have a REALLY GOOD EXCUSE too… I got kitties! Yay me! I had been procrastinating about it and kept finding reasons why I shouldn’t get furbabies right now, why I needed more time, why I needed to organise myself better, why I should wait… But, eventually, it became apparent that there would never be the RIGHT TIME and I was just putting it off due to anxiety and fear of making a mistake.

So, one day, I went along to the Cat Haven, with my Mum in tow, to have a look – just a look – at the cats and kittens available. Why did I think I might be able to go in and not leave with a furry friend that same day? Duh! There were so many lovely kitties needing a home – all ages, colours, shapes and sizes. I did have in mind that I wanted perhaps a ginger kitten and a black and white one, but what were my chances of finding a pair like that, that were the right age too? I definitely wanted two – so they would have company when I’m out – and had originally wanted them to be boys, but that had changed over the preceding days. I didn’t care what sex they were in the end. I just wanted a little furry friend to love.

My Mum actually spotted them first. A bright and bouncy 6 month old tabby kitten, leaping about, trying to get attention – smooching on the glass of his cubicle and generally being adorable. The sign on his door said “My name is Ryan – how can you resist my chubby little face?” And, indeed, we could not.

Hiding away in the back of his cubicle, was his little sister, Oakie. She was obviously terrified and just wanted to make everything go away. When I reached in to stroke her, she cowered but did not hiss or run away. I felt so sorry for her. What a frightening world for her. The only comfort she had was her big brother who, bless him, tried to protect her by putting his arm around her. They had to be homed together as a bonded pair. We were sold.

So, now two months later, I have a pair of gorgeous, crazy, entertaining and affectionate kittens. Introducing, Atticus and Harper! ūüôā

Atticus (AKA “The Toad”)

Harper Louise (AKA “Poppy”)

Atticus is a big boofy boy. He is a bit of a bully to his delicate and timid sister. In the first few weeks, I was quite concerned about his behaviour because he just would not leave her alone – she was getting beaten up constantly. Play-fighting is absolutely normal, of course, but Harper is so much smaller and, especially in the early days, she was in poor condition and not feeling well, and couldn’t defend herself. She took a long time to get over her desexing operation, and spent most of her days curled up on my dining room chair, looking miserable. Her appetite was good, however, and she seemed to trust me so I took heart that she would eventually come out of her shell.

I have to supervise meal times, otherwise Atticus will eat all of his own food and then Harper’s as well. She eats about a third of what he consumes (or should I say inhales) and tends to dither about. I can’t leave the food out for her to graze on – it will be gone in two seconds flat if Atticus is anywhere near it. I swear I got jipped and actually adopted a dog – he eats like a dog, plays like a dog, carries things around like a dog. He even chews on my shoes! But, despite his naughtiness and never-ending energy, he is adorable. The sweetest, most loving little guy. He enjoys a cuddle (on his terms) and just likes to be wherever I am. He ruled the roost from day one.

Harper is a tiny little lady. She is about half her brother’s size and is delicate and slight. She has a permanently worried expression on her face but is a happy girl most of the time. Initially, she had a very rough, almost crinkly, coat, and her hair was falling out in clumps. But, as she settled and recovered from her surgery and early experiences, her coat improved and is now quite soft and smooth – a pale, pinky-silver tabby. Still very timid, she will hide from everyone except for me. I am hoping this will change, but it may just be how she is – there is no way of knowing what her previous experiences with humans has been. She too is very loving and enjoys being stroked and talked to. She will roll on her back and let you rub her tummy and she has a special little voice just for me that warms my heart. She and her brother talk constantly – chirrupping (as I call it) and calling for one another when it’s playtime. They also groom one another quite violently, which generally leads to fisticuffs but, as long as Harper is not getting hurt, I leave them to it. She initiates quite a lot of the fights now and gives as good as she gets. I do have to separate them from time time, though, when Atticus forgets himself. When I first got them, they were showing signs of perhaps behaving a bit incestuously, and I am pretty sure Harper may have been pregnant. It took a couple of weeks for things to settle down in that way. Hormones get in the way of everything!

Atticus is very handsome. I think he knows it too. His coat is like silk – thick and shiny and so, so soft. He is much darker than Harper, and I think he is going to be a big boy, if his enormous feet are anything to go by. He is growing at a rate of knots and I have to keep an eye on his food intake, because I think he could easily be a bit of a fatty ūüôā

I have had to have an unwanted trip to the vet with Harper. Poor girl got her ear torn by her boofhead brother, and so we had to go through the trauma of her needing medication on the wound twice a day. It healed quickly, thankfully, and didn’t need the full course of drops. She hated me doing anything to her and it made her take a few steps back in terms of her social development and feeling secure, so I was glad to be able to leave her be. She soon forgave me and didn’t hold a grudge.

Atticus likes to suck on his blankies. This is normally a sign of kittens being taken away from their mothers too soon. He will suck and knead for ages, any time of day. I have special blankies for this – he only likes the soft “minky”ones. Often, he will be having a suckle session while Harper gives him a good tongue-bath. I think it comforts them both and I’m always happy when they’re they not bashing each other up.

They have the run of my house, except for my bedrooms (gotta have a couple of rooms free from hair, y’know!?) but are not allowed outside. I am planning on reinforcing my outside patio and enclosing it, so they can also have that room to play and explore. I have a two-story house so they get lots of exercise running up and down the stairs and they like to sunbathe by the upstairs windows, where they can also spy on the whole neighbourhood.

I love them so much. I don’t know why it took me so long to make the decision to get cats. I have missed having a pet, and cats are the best option for me, given I work full time. They are pretty self-sufficient and, provided I give them lots of exercise and play times to prevent boredom, they are pretty well-behaved. I have covered all my couches to prevent little claws shredding them, and also have a variety of scratching posts and mats. They have a selection of toys and I make sure we play at least every afternoon until they are ready for a rest. This keeps them happy and stimulated, and less likely to get up to mischief. Before I brought them home, I removed all plants from the house that might be toxic and moved any remaining ones to higher spots that the cats can’t access. They have their own room – my laundry – and they go to bed every night in there. No fuss – I just call them and they happily trot in and settle in for the night. They have toys and an enormous cat tower in there, as well as their litter trays and food/water bowls. They also have blankets and little cat igloos. So they’re pretty well sorted. I have no room for anything, but they are fine ūüôā

So, expect many a kitty-related post from me in the near future. They have pretty much taken over my life (and bank balance – when did cat food and kitty litter get so expensive!?). They make me laugh so much and it is so nice to have someone to come home to. They are ratbags sometimes, but full of love and affection too. Watching Harper slowly blossom has been so wonderful, and Atticus puts up with so much harrassment from me – it is so nice to have a cat that will let you cuddle and kiss them (albeit begrudgingly some days ūüôā ).

Thanks for dropping by. Happy New Year to you all. May it contain as many blessings as you can handle xxx

Drawing a Line in the Sand (NYE)

Drawing a Line in the Sand (NYE)

Normally, given the opportunity, I stay at home on New Year’s Eve. ¬†I like to reflect and think about what has been, as well as what MIGHT be if I can get my act together in the coming months. ¬†I don’t mind being on my own and so it isn’t a sad evening for me. ¬†It is one of contemplation and a last minute chance to eat naughty food before the obligatory New Year diet kicks in ūüôā

This year, however, I ended up being part of someone else’s plan. ¬†My cousin wanted company and I was happy to oblige. ¬†She’s going through some tough stuff right now and wanted someone to be part of her New Year pledge to herself to do better and be healthier and stronger and emotionally fitter. ¬†She wanted to literally draw a line in the sand and say “No more”. ¬†I could do with some of that myself so I happily agreed to be part of her night.

We went to the beach in Fremantle and drew an actual line in the sand, before stepping over it and wishing each other strength and love. ¬†Sometimes you have to make the big gestures to kick-start your healing and motivation. ¬†Plus, now we have photographic evidence so, y’know, we have to stick to our promises, right?

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The evening was warm and balmy with a sea breeze that messed up our hair but not our plans ūüôā

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The ocean, for me, signifies so much, and so it was apt that we spent the last day of 2015 there, with our toes in the sand and the waves crashing around us.  The tide is changing for us both, I hope.

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My cousin and I have grown up together, grown older together and been through many ups and downs. ¬†We’ve both made mistakes, big and small, but we always support each other. ¬†I know I can trust her to always have my back and always believe in me. ¬†I hope she knows I will do the same for her. ¬†We know too much about one another to ever be enemies – it wouldn’t be safe ha ha.

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So, with the sun setting on the old year, we heralded in the new one, with hope and love and good intentions, and with forgiveness for past mistakes.

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I hope you had someone special to share New Year’s with, whether it be an old friend, a new love, your dog or your own good self. ¬†And I hope you got in some last minute naughty foods ūüôā

Be kind to yourself in 2016 Рbe forgiving and let go of mistakes, bad decisions and questionable life choices.  Every day is another chance to get things right and do better.  All we can do is try x

Trying Again

Trying Again

So, it’s that time of year again. ¬†Resolution time. ¬†Last year,¬† I called it “New Year’s Revolutions“, and the year before that I wrote a long and detailed list of the things I wanted to change and achieve in the coming months. ¬†I’m not very good at keeping to my resolutions. ¬†I do try, but usually fail by about, oh, January 5th. ¬†But the whole point of a New Year is being given another chance. ¬†Another chance to try again. ¬†And try I shall.

But I am also going to not limit myself to just trying at New Year’s. ¬†Every day should be a new chance to try again. ¬†I think part of the reason I fail is that I use the whole “New Year” thing as an excuse for not trying for the next 11 months. ¬†But, I say optimistically, with fingers behind my back, I am done with excuses. ¬†I am going to treat every day like New Year’s, which means I can start fresh every morning. ¬†If I fail, I just have to keep going until I succeed.

This is my plan.  I am not good at plans so failure is almost guaranteed but I have now given myself permission to not give up.  And not quit.  I am very good at quitting but I am going to try and not do that too often this year.  There are things I need to achieve and overcome this year (too personal for even over-sharing me to discuss here) and I will not reach any of my goals if I keep giving up.  There are things about myself I need to change and fix if I am to go forward in life.

There are the usual goals about weight loss. Sigh. ¬†How long have I been making that my New Year’s Resolution? ¬†What, 25-30 years now? ¬†I have yo-yoed back and forth between one weight and another for some many decades, I have no idea what my natural body shape and size is any more. ¬†But I have hated my body at whatever size it is, and I need to stop doing that. ¬†My body survived a life-threatening illness¬†and I need to remember that. ¬†I need to remember and acknowledge that it survived against all odds and kept going, no matter what. ¬†So, if nothing else, I should treat this old rust-bucket of a body with some respect. ¬†Sure, it’s a little flabbier and wobblier than I would like, but it’s still there. ¬†I’m still upright and breathing, walkin’ around with all my limbs and digits and brain cells (although that last point is debatable). ¬†So I need to try to be as healthy as I can. ¬†Which doesn’t necessarily mean being as skinny as I can. ¬†It means feeding my body with the right fuels and exercise. ¬†It’s not about fitting into a tighter skirt or being able to get away with short shorts. ¬†It’s about being¬†healthy and fit and strong. ¬†I haven’t been that for a long time and I really need to get my shit together where that is concerned. ¬†My body deserves that, it really does.

I need to think about my career. ¬†I need to seek that which will bring me fulfilment and authenticity and joy. ¬†I don’t know if it is possible to have that in a 9-5 job, but I am going to try and find out. ¬†I like my current job, but I don’t love it. ¬†It doesn’t full me with excitement¬†or happiness or anything even remotely approaching those things. ¬†It pays my bills and gives me a sense of satisfaction some days and I am very grateful for it. ¬†It provided me with security and emotional support when I needed it most. ¬†But it isn’t my dream job and I have to figure out what is. ¬†Because I really don’t know. ¬†And time is running out. ¬†At some point I am going to have to figure out what I am supposed to be doing, what I want to be when I grow up. ¬†Because I truly don’t know yet. Failing that, I need to be ok with having “just a job” and acknowledge that it allows me to do the things I do enjoy in life, outside of work. ¬†We can’t all be Oprah. ¬†Some of us have to have the little boring jobs that keep the world turning.

I need to be less of a hoarder.  I know I say this on a weekly basis, but seriously, I just need to learn to let go of things.  Things are not people.  I can let go of a bunny ornament someone gave me in the fifth grade.  They will not mind if I give it away now.  The world will not collapse and I am not a bad person if the Christmas card I got in 1983 from a classmate ends up in the recycling bin (seriously, I just found that card today and struggled with getting rid of it). I have to learn to hold on to memories, instead of stuff.  But it is hard.

I need to start learning to say No.  I need to be ok with saying No and not feel guilty about it or try and make up for it by doing more than the original request asked for.  I need to learn not explain my No Рthe No itself should be enough.

I really, really need to learn to like myself a little more. ¬†Or at all. ¬†I don’t know how to do this, and if you have any suggestions, please send ’em on over. ¬†I don’t know how to like what I see in the mirror. ¬†I don’t know how to not lie awake at night thinking about all the things I did wrong in the day, all the mistakes I made and how many people I let down. ¬†I need to stop thinking of myself as ugly and useless. ¬†But it’s really hard to break the habit of a lifetime. ¬†And how do you change the way you look to yourself – get new eyeballs? ¬†I need an Instagram filter for my own eyes.

I need to learn to deal with my social anxiety. ¬†Deal with it and accept it and learn coping strategies. ¬†Because I am not going to become a social butterfly overnight. ¬†I don’t even know that I want to. ¬†I just want to be free of the terror that comes with invitations to parties and weddings and shindigs. ¬†I want to be able to accept these invitations happily and easily and not dread their impending hour. ¬†I need to be ok with NOT accepting them too. ¬†I need to not beat myself up about not going to things. ¬†I’m not a terrible person, after all, if I decide that a pub crawl is not my thing or if time spent at a Hen’s Night is enough to make me want to gouge my own spleen out. ¬†But I do need to be better at social stuff. ¬†It is hard every day for me, just interacting with human beings in general, and I need to be able to take that off my stress list. ¬†Again, I don’t know how to do this, but I am going to try and figure it out.

I need to grow up financially. ¬†I need to budget better and spend less on frivolous things. ¬†I need to seriously look at buying a house. ¬†Which will mean buying somewhere that is in a suburb less lovely than the one I currently rent in. ¬†I cannot afford to buy here and I need to accept that. ¬†Or get a better-paying job. ¬†Or marry someone really rich (ha! ¬†kidding!). ¬†I don’t actually know if I can afford to buy anywhere, but I need to look in to it and find out for sure. ¬†I need to sort out my future security and top up my superannuation and prepare for the impending zombie apocalypse on my own. ¬†I need to secure my future. ¬†And I need to have my own place so I can get a cat. ¬†This is more important than anything.

I need to laugh and smile more. ¬†I need to fake it ’til I make it.

I need to go to bed earlier and sleep better.

I need to get up earlier and do more in my day.

I need to ask for a pay rise.

I need to delegate better at work.  I have an assistant Рshe should be assisting me.
And I have to let her.

I have to stop being scared of men.

I need to stop comparing myself to other women.

I need to hug more and allow myself to be hugged.

I need to swim more and not worry about what I look like in bathers.  I love the beach Рwhy am I not there all the time?

I really do need to learn to use chopsticks.

I have to travel.  At least one destination per year from now on.

I need to stop trying to fix people and their problems. ¬†I can’t help everyone and I should sort my own stuff out first, before I concentrate on other people’s issues.

I need to express my disapproval of racist/sexist/bigoted jokes and comments when in social situations.  Saying nothing is not good enough anymore.

I need to stop procrastinating.  In regards to everything.

I’m going to write more. ¬†Writing is what I love to do and, even if it’s just for me, I need to make time to do it.

I need to breathe more.

I need to practice gratitude.

I need to be kinder to myself.

I am going to try and not feel guilty about having restful days. ¬†I’m not good at relaxing or doing nothing – and I think you sometimes have to give yourself permission to do that so you can rest and recuperate and give your body and mind some breathing space.

I need to be more ecologically friendly and responsible.

I need to see more people and be less hermit-like.  Whether I like it or not to begin with.

I need to just be. And be ok with whatever and whoever I am. ¬†Because I am tired of fighting ME. ¬†And I’m nearly 42. ¬†Enough already ūüôā

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Sorry for the long post. ¬†As always, it is more for me than anyone else. I hope you have a lovely New Year’s and that the year ahead is happy, successful, fulfilling and authentic. ¬†I hope you have love and laughter, joy and positive experiences. ¬†Learn lots, love lots and¬†let go.

Happy New Year everyone – see you in 2016 x