Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Happymiss broccoli

No matter how many times I've tried to grow broccoli in my vegetable garden, the most I've grown was a tiny little barely edible bite.  Of course, I still tried to eat it, but, alas, it didn't even taste good.  Humph! 

This week (broccoli growing attempt #27), all I got from the broccoli plant was a tall shoot that goes straight up that into little white and yellow flowers.  However, the more I stare at it, the more I see it's beauty.  I notice a bee whizzing around from flower to flower enjoying the nectar.  The plant that went so "wrong", is actually serving a purpose and is a beautifully unique. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A cat named Gizmo

It's a chilly New Year's Eve, and me and my family are all sitting around the outdoor fire pit.  We are each clutching a piece of notebook paper, waiting for the fire to roar.  Our papers are handwritten lists of what we want to release and say goodbye to that were trouble for us in 2012.  My "buh-bye" list was extensive, filing both the front and the back of the lined paper.  My daughter easily wrote a full page, my husband a few items, and my son, well, he was the only one that claimed he had a great year and had just one item written down and that was only because I made him at least come up with something. 

When the time finally comes to throw my paper in the fire, I am positively giddy and beyond ready.  As I watch my words burn and the ashes and smoke rise up, a sense of relief and joy washes over me.  Buh-bye 2012, hello 2013!
It wasn't like anything tragic or horrible happened to me personally; there certainly was plenty of that going on in the world.  The year was one of those big shifting years, like the Universe was all slappitty-slap slap slap shouting "girrrrrrl, wake up and get the message 'cause it's time to become a better you!!" and, yep, like all good growth it was emotionally very painful and uncomfortable.  

It was not until the very end of December that it all finally clicked and I was able to change my perspective about the events that led up to all of this growth spurt.  It was like the stubborn lingering clouds parted and the sun finally came out, followed by a beautiful sunrise.

I am grateful for the painful lessons because it was like someone or something was looking out for me and was giving me a tremendous gift.  The gift was being able to let go of what wasn't working because of fear while gaining insight and clarity and a new determination out of love.  I know it's cheesy and it sounds like I've watched/read/talked too much self help spiritual stuff (which I'll admit I did a lot of), but it's just so true.  I had so many "ah ha" moments it's ridiculous! 
One of those gifts came unexpectedly in the form of a cat named Gizmo.  You see, my 93 year old grandpa Jack fell and broke his hip in August last year.  His loyal cat Gizmo was by his side while he laid on the floor in agony until he was found two days later.  My grandpa was operated on, but the ensuing bouts with pneumonia and lack of movement would sadly be his final undoing.  He lived for two more months until he peacefully passed away in October.  

While he was in the hospital, one of the biggest gifts I could give to him was to adopt his beloved Gizmo.  The nurses and therapists told me how he talked about the joy and happiness it brought him knowing Gizmo would be well taken care of and would stay within the family.  He delighted in seeing pictures of my kids holding Gizmo and hearing funny stories from us about him adjusting to his new home.  It certainly doesn't get much better than that.

So now, "The Giz", "Gizzy", "GizNO!!!", otherwise known as Gizmo the catdog is a special member of our family.  He is loyal and mischievous like a dog, following me around wherever I go (I'm always tripping over him), sits at my feet, eating/licking whatever food you leave out (flour, loves of bread, potstickers, salt, yogurt, and so on), and greets visitors at the front door.  He is everything quirky and cool you'd want in a cat.  He steals my daughter's hairbands and leaves them in his food bowl, he cries this funny excited birdwatching noise when he sees birds out the window, he give hugs (seriously!), and he licks the hair on your head and my daughter's doll hair.  
Hairband. In the bowl. Why??

Not exactly helping with homework.
Yet another watering hole.
Not exactly comfortable, but the side heater helps.
Bird watching on his heated seat.
He sucks on this one particularly soft blanket of mine while he kneads and purrs (leaving a big wet spot behind), he climbs up the ladder to my son's tall loft bed, he attacks toes, and he goes into and waits in each room when I kiss my children goodnight like it's his routine, too.
THE blanket
There he is NOT on the table.
I watch how fearless he is, like not being afraid to meet new people, other cats, and dogs, leaping to new heights (and sometimes missing), and never hesitates to ask for what he wants.  He is persistent and stubborn, but knows when it's time to back down and compromise (like when we shoo him off the table over and over when we are eating, he'll give in and just sit on the chair and stare at us instead).  He is adventurous and playful, leaving no open box unexplored, no ladder is too high, or new food that isn't worth trying at least once (much to my dismay).  He makes us laugh without even trying (like when he runs around the house at full speed and crashes into the walls) and he loves us (especially me because I fed him) unconditionally.
Making a few new friends
The strange thing is, I've never had a cat that I admire so much.  And, under the saddest of circumstances, he happened to come into my life when I needed him the most but didn't know it.  I want to be more like him - more fearless, expand my relationships, be more adventurous and playful, and laugh more (and make other people laugh more, too).  I'm already a bit stubborn (that's the Taurus in me), but I'm reminded how when I believe in something I need to keep pushing even when it gets hard.

And, oh ya, the love part.  That's the most important of all.  Love is the main reason why we have house pets, because they love us so unconditionally and it feels good to love them right back.  There is no doubt or fear or insecurities.  They even seem to love and comfort us more when we are crying or sick or feeling down.  I can be in the foulest of moods and despite that, Gizmo is right there, grateful for my warm lap and company.
That's my arm, eh hum, a pillow.
I'm happy to be back to feeling like my old self, only now with a few new and improved upgrades.  I'm especially grateful to have a little bit of help and a lot of love from my new found furry friend along the way.