Sunday, July 29, 2012

For the Love of Coffee

I love the coffee bean
It can bring such delight
Roasted light, medium or dark
Excellent, if ground just right

Hot water poured over
The bean that is ground
Provides a quick pick-me-up
Or it can calm me down

Small, medium or large
Whether served hot or cold
Black, with cream or sweet
The flavor never gets too old

I love the coffee bean
It can bring such delight
I will drink it anytime
Morning, noon or night

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities

It’s a tale of two towns really. I live in a rural town north of Boston. It reminds me of where I grew up in Windham County, Connecticut. I recently spent a week in my home town. My mother had minor surgery and needed someone to stay with her for a few days. I’ve done that a couple of times in the past ten years. And I always have a sense of wistfulness while I am there.
Maybe it’s nostalgia. Not much has changed in my hometown. As I drive the familiar roads I am reminded of friends. The town now has two traffic lights that actually stop traffic. And a Dunkin Donuts. The elementary school is now the Senior Center and Public Library. A new school was built on a different road. Some of my friends moved away and like me, only come back for a visit. Some came back years later and seem to have “settled down.” Part of returning home is the familiarity and I often feel the proverbial tug of wanting to recapture that life.

But then I think of my life now. I am blessed with a loving husband, two wonderful cats, a beautiful home, and a job I love. I have built a life that includes friends, activities, and a comfortable routine. I would not trade this journey for starting over again; even in a familiar place.

Yes, I wish to return to the roads, and church, and friendships when I visit that small town in Connecticut. However, I long for home and the comfort its familiarity brings when I am away. The phrase “home sweet home” has a different meaning now. So I will count my blessings that I am able to occasionally participate in my hometown community while living a full and happy life in another small town.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ode to Spot

We’ve been watching Star Trek the Next Generation. I think my favorite character is Lt. Commander Data. The actor is quite versatile and the character is very amusing. Here is a favorite.

Ode to Spot – by Lt. Cmdr. Data

Felis Catus
is your taxonomic nomenclature
An endothermic quadruped
carnivorous by nature
Your visual, olfactory
and auditory senses
contribute to your hunting skills
and natural defenses

I find myself intrigued
by your sub-vocal oscillations;
a singular development
of cat communications
that obviates your
basic hedonistic predilection
for a rhythmic stroking of your fur
to demonstrate affection

A tail is quite essential
for your acrobatic talents
You would not be so agile
If you lacked its counterbalance
And when not being utilized to aid in locomotion
it often serves to illustrate
the state of your emotion

Oh, Spot
The complex levels of behavior you display
denote a fairly well developed
cognitive array
And though you are not sentient, Spot,
and do not comprehend
I nonetheless consider you
a true and valued friend

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Upside Down

Have you ever noticed that as a bottle of shampoo or ketchup nears the end you just want it to get empty? Sometimes to the point of using too much just so you can throw the bottle into the recycling bin and get out a new, full bottle.

This is not true when watching a child grow up. Instead of wishing it were over and she would just be older I have savored every year of my Goddaughter’s life. Each year we celebrate her birthday. The year between 16 and 17 didn’t age her much, but she is definitely more mature. The year between birth and one saw tremendous change.

What is amazing about Katie is that she is my friend. I am her aunt and her older sister. She “gets me” in ways that others don’t. And we have a lot in common.

Her mother, whom we both love dearly.

Reading. Right now she’s into Sherlock Holmes. I enjoyed Sherlock Holmes at her age. Who doesn’t love a good mystery? We’ve shared To Kill a Mockingbird and Jane Austen.

The Big Bang Theory, because we both have a little geek in us. (I’m going to have to introduce her to The IT Crowd). Monty Python always gives us a good laugh.

Katy Perry, because, well, we just like her lyrics.

Katie sent me a link to a video by Paloma Faith. As I listened to the lyrics I realized that she understands who I am today. My life was turned upside down when Katie was 12 but I came out the other side better, stronger and wiser. Katie shared that journey with me. She was by my side reminding me of the joy of living in today.

Katie has had her own trials, but those are her tales to tell. And this is our theme song because she and I are living upside down.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

100 Years to Live

I’m 15 for a moment. I remember 15 well. It was a summer of sunshine and being in love for the first time. I think the pain of “good-bye” is what kept 15 so vivid in my memory.

I think of this song as my birthday song. I always have. It is because I plan to live to 98. I realize that’s not 100, but it is pretty close. Life’s journey doesn’t always take you where you expect. A lot of time gets caught up in living every day with very little reflection. Sometimes it takes a song to make us pause and be thankful.
At 45 I met 15 again. Yes, sometimes life gives you a second chance. But more than that, God gave me a chance to say “welcome back.” I guess that is what living is all about.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Beautiful Maria

When you let a cat into your life your heart is changed forever. I have always had cats in my life. I was born into a home with a cat. Yes, the cat was there first. I cried when my mother explained that he had died and gone to heaven to be with God. I still remember that day.

Alexander Puff
Other cats have come and gone in my life. When I was first married we rescued a kitten from a local shelter. The formal name we gave him was Alexander, but he was such a small ball of fluff that he was quickly named Puff. Alexander Puff as he became known when he got older. He was what I would describe as a “cat’s cat.” He was a domestic long-hair that had no known origin. He was simply brought to the shelter. When he was five we adopted his brother, a cream colored Persian with copper eyes and enough Siamese in him to keep us awake at night when he decided to howl.

Horatio stole my heart. He died in August, 2008 at the age of 16. We had been through a lot together. He was the one who was constantly by my side; when I watched TV or read and while I studied. He slept on my pillow at night. I attended law school on line and he attended with me. I could tell which professors he liked best because he would start “talking” when he heard their voice. And he stuck by me during my darkest days. He held on until I had finished the July 2008 bar exam. Somehow he knew I would be alright after that.

When Alexander Puff passed away we decided to get another Persian; a Himalayan this time. We adopted a little girl from a local breeder who raises her cats in her home. (They are not caged and as a result are quite social and loving). When we brought her home she seemed tiny next to Horatio. He was not alarmed, though he didn’t quite know what to do with her. They became buddies and were as close as a 12 year old cat can be with a new and energetic kitten to torment him.

It was a while before we decided on a name for her. Actually, it was Glenn who announced one day, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” and the name stuck.

My relationship with Maria is different from other cats. I joke that she likes everyone and everything before me. Of course, that is not entirely true. She misses me when I’m gone according to my husband. I think she loves me because I feed her and when I’m away the routine is different. The truth is that she adores my husband so she likes me because he likes me. It’s not that complicated in a cat’s world. Often the rules of the Animal Kingdom are played out in our home. She’s the alpha cat, but I’m the alpha female.

As aloof as Maria can be, she is beautiful and regal. And Florence Nightingale. About two weeks after I had surgery for breast cancer she unexpectedly climbed into my lap, curled up along my right arm and purred; staying with me for several minutes, as if to say she wanted me to heal.

During chemotherapy I had the habit of sitting up in bed at night, reading for pleasure. Horatio would curl up tight against my hip or thigh. Maria would curl up on my lap. Together, the purrs sent healing love to this deeply wounded woman. There were times that I fell asleep on the living room couch and would wake to find Maria on my torso. She said “I love you and want you to feel better” in the only language she knew.

Maria remains aloof, preferring my husband’s lap. I tease him that the only reason she likes me is because she knows I make him happy so she has to be nice to me. She occasionally lets me pet her, but we don’t want to get carried away. She knows to ask me for food or water if she believes either dish is getting low. Her elegance has earned her the name Beautiful Maria. I also know she loves me in her own way. She is, after all, Beautiful Maria.

After Horatio passed away we adopted Kiwi. But that’s another story.