Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Facing a New Year - Again

New Year's Resolutions are something I have always tried to have, twice a year even, because come the September beginning of school, I always figure here is a clean slate, well . . . smart board

So then I decide that everything will be done right, this time around and the clutter of my hoarding ways, and the couch tater lifestyle I love and the pounds I've added with the baked goods I am unfortunately great at making will all change overnight.  I'll be active, healthy and a perfect wife, Mom and teacher, as soon as I open my eyes on January First, or the day after Labor Day.

 but they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  So I finally broke the insanity cycle and it didn't happen over-night  (Surprise?)
 It began with a simple glance in a Woman's Circle magazine that my Mom had in her house back from October 8, 2002.  It claimed that you spend your time and energy being drained and stressed by the things in your life that you think are minor and you just tolerate them without realizing it.  The most common tolerations were summed up in the magazine as being
1. Paper Clutter
2. Clothing fit
3. running out before a shopping trip
4. uncomfortable bed
5.  overweight
6. computer glitches
7. messy car
8. interruptions at work
9. no time for breakfast
10. traffic

and the suggestion was to find, not ten or twenty of the little irritations, but 100! 
 and then eliminating them

So in December of 2003, I made the list and  included things like a broken hot tub and a saggy van door and piles of clutter and being stiff necked in the morning and on and on
then in 2004  I  tried the resolution approach again
Write a book, weight down, house de-cluttered, out of debt, drawing again, control temper better

but honestly, that didn't work and by Thanksgiving 2005 I was feeling like a failure and my husband and I were feeling overwhelmed and stressed, when i opened my journal to that 100 list and realized I could check a bunch of them off but we'd been too close to see the progress
then I made a new list
and started it with the leftovers from the old one, but I had to put my starting weight at even higher.

and the piles of clutter were reduced but not gone

By 2007 I could only find 49 things  and by Thanksgiving 2007 I came up wit a new list - the best list this time

100 things to be Thankful For
and the thing is

It was an easy list to make

I had to stretch for several things that i take for granted now

like the fact that the dirty dishes and dirty clothing are a sign that I have been blessed with food and clothing

And then I was blessed with two online angels who helped me see that my clutter and my unhealthy habits were simply the result of baby steps in the wrong direction and that I could repair the damage by taking baby steps back toward my goals assured me that I could do anything for 15 minutes, even paint a house 15 minutes at a time

and that the clutter came in one bag at a time and could leave the same way.  So I eliminated 7 pick up truck loads of clutter, to a yard sale, a church donation center and the transfer station.

Jonathan Roche at NoExcuses Workouts helped me get healthy by choosing water over soda, a walk over driving in circles looking for the closest parking lot.  Little changes that made me drop from 286 to 253 so far and yet feel like I am pampered instead of deprived.
This year I have Published my book, Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog.
Taken long walks and gone camping with my family,
and celebrated a wonderful Holiday season

And this year for my 100 list I am stealing an idea that @MenWithPens tweeted on Twitter.  From the 168 hour project Idea, of making a list of 100 things that I still want to accomplish in my life, and he says that when you list 100 you'll break them into small 10 minute pieces, so that you'll get in the habit of meeting your dreams and goals 10 minutes at a time.  Hmmm.  That sounds like Flylady to me all over again

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fourteen years with a rescued feline.

When my boys were 1 and 2, we lived in town - and there was an orange cat that the neighbors owned, which came into our yard and played with the boys by chasing their toy train around the track on our deck.  Austin loved that old unicycling bear cartoon, and named the cat, choosing the bear's name, Bongo.  They would spend hours watching that cat try to bat the musical train each time it circled on the red plastic track.
    When moving to the country came up  the only thing about the town house that they didn't want to leave was the cat.  But since it wasn't ours, I went to the feline rescue and found a young cat,

that acted friendly and was the same color.  I told the boys it was a different cat, and she was obviously longer haired, but still a playful, energetic, friendly animal. They still wanted to call her Bongo.  When she was at the vet to be spayed, he guessed her age between one and two years, that April of 1996.
    That August my Dad came from Wyoming to visit, already weak from the esophageal cancer that would kill him in Feb. 1997.  While he was here, Bongo was kicked by a horse and broke her femur and I paid $327 to have a screw put in her leg.  Dad was outraged that I'd spend so much on a stray cat but I remember thinking that at least her, I could save, since even his million dollar insurance policy wouldn't help him. Many times in the years since, I have watched her come running, every time I came home, and been glad that I spent that money.

   My husband hated cats but Bongo won him over and he swore she thought she was a dog because she was so friendly.  She followed at his feet and begged for attention, allowing her ears to be scratched for hours if her humans were deserving enough. We added a black cat to the family a few years later.  Rocky and Bongo were excellent at keeping down the rat and gopher population and were excellent predators with a very affectionate side.

Time passed, the boys are almost grown. The oldest is a High School Senior and the country house will soon feel too big and we will rattle around in here wondering where the kids and pets and noise has gone.

   And Bongo died of kidney failure in Austin's arms yesterday morning after a week of getting weaker and curling up, purring, in her cat carrier. She stopped coming out, even for spaghetti sauce and like that other orange cat, she loved Italian food.  Then she stopped drinking, and we knew the end was near, but she never stopped looking up and purring as long as there was breath in her.

So I buried her last night, under the maple tree in the yard, with daffodil bulbs that will come in the spring - as the rain poured down.  Here, mid-December is when the Maple begins to turn, so her grave is already being covered with scarlet and gold leaves.

So thanks for teaching us that cats can be loving and loyal and fun to interact with.  You are so missed purrincess.

Goodnight, Bongo.