Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome 2014

2013 sure had its ups and downs for me, almost the epitome of why, “May you live in interesting times” is called a Chinese curse. Yup, interesting times. There’s a lot of uncertainty out there and 2013 as the year of the Lovers was more like trying the find the puzzle pieces after the Tower fell down just to get something back together. Stability in work, relationships, finances, governments, health, even Show Biz was questionable all through the year.

Sometimes, all you’re looking for is just one more donut before you walk into Weight Watchers, you know? And yet, on the police scanner, there’s a report of someone sitting in their car for ten minutes eating donuts behind Target. Now, this in itself says a lot about life today and how the year might pan out for 2014.

When you have a New Year’s Resolution, you might want a really good swan song for that thing you’re trying to change.

I know that if I were going to give up donuts in 2014, and I haven’t quite committed to that although, in my own defense, I can’t remember the last time I had a donut, I might sit in my car for at least ten minutes savoring the last dozen or so. You can see that right? Kind of that 9 of Cups moment before the King of Swords takes over with good sense, you see?

So, yeah, I’m not doing the last dozen donuts thing but I did get this cool app for my iPhone to track what I eat. I know the pitfalls of this whole thing though. If you lie to your food diary, it doesn’t work as well. Why you’d do that is beyond me, but I recognize the phenomenon. Heck, I’ve been guilty of it myself. The levels of self-sabotage in improvements efforts are, to paraphrase one of my favorite philosophers, Sandra Boynton, without number.

Slimming down isn’t my only goal for 2014. If I had my druthers, I’d just as soon a few areas of my life regained some kind of sanity, like work, relationships, finances. Oh, and I need to gas up the car. Yeah, the mundane seems to have gotten a bit out of hand for me lately, too.

At least I’m not alone in the effort to resolve and re-resolve, refocus for better resolution and, if possible, avoid revolution. The cats’ personalities here at the compound have their own proposed 2014 resolutions.

Eleanor, who is a tremendous coward much more timid and terrified than any lion from Oz, has become a tiny bit braver lately. She’s black and white and scream all over, or she used to be. She’s still black and white but the volume of screams has reduced over time. She actually let me pick her up for a while the other day. This is a breakthrough because in the last 6 or 7 years being picked up and cuddled was obviously the precursor to being devoured by monsters. Or something. So this time she was on a purr-fest from being brushed and talked to specifically. A pet psychic said we should think more positive thoughts about her to boost her self-esteem. What could it hurt, right? And it seems to be working. So in the midst of this happy moment, I tried picking her up and I think we were there something like three whole minutes.

From this and from Eleanor’s recent ventures from the kitchen into the dining room and living room, I conclude her 2014 New Year’s resolution is, “I shall endeavor to be braver.” When you say this in your mind, you need to picture her with a hat and gloves seated for tea somewhere in the Midsomer Murders’ summer country in a sunny room waiting for the Detective Chief Inspector’s next question about what happened last Thursday.

On the opposite end of the psychopath scale in our little feline household is Pixie a/k/a Baby. All famous crime lords (ladies?) have nicknames, so it seems natural that our own little innocent-until-proven-guilty would have one too. Baby’s actually softening up in her adult years. She has only once in recent memory taken a flying leap and landed with all four paws full of claws on the HUBS’ back. He’s almost healed now, except that spot on his arm. And she only once tried setting the house on fire, knocking the iron off the ironing board and onto the floor, melting two of the floor tiles. She did this so well that the automatic shutoff didn’t engage because the iron landed plate-side down, like an iron should. One new iron and two replaced floor tiles later, plus airing the house out to get rid of that melted rubber smell and things are like new. I always did like Mr. Wolf in the movie Pulp Fiction, the guy wiseguys had to call when something unexpected happened, like accidentally shooting a guy in your car, and you need an expert to clean things up before the wife gets home.

Baby has actually gotten a lot cuddlier. She used to try to take my hand off after about the third stroke when I was petting her. She really likes the dog and the HUBS but not really anyone else. This is a heartache to me because I rescued her, one of my many little efforts to find a kitty a home that ends with the new home being mine. We naturally took her with us on vacation a scant two weeks after I took her in and I hoped it would be a bonding experience. It was, sort of. Two out of three ain’t bad, as Meatloaf sang, the dog and the HUBS. For some reason, she’s got the mother-daughter blues, a gentle reminder of the “Seven Years War” my mother and I had. Mom and I became good friends, so I hold out hope for Baby.

Lately she’s been letting me pet her more than just the three strokes and I’ve learned the subtle cues that mean enough is enough, like that banshee wail that starts out as a low rumble. And she does respond to gentle baby-talk and kind wishes, although I hasten to add that even the dog, big softie that he is, occasionally has to growl at her for eating his food or just getting too close. He does not do this to Binket, his other-species paramour; she can smear her whole self on him and he nudges her with his nose, gives her typical doggy sniff and the occasional slurp. It’s the picture of true love with those two.

Baby is destined to have more of a struggle in life, mostly because of her need to defend herself before a threat has emerged. I know people like that. But if the kitten can get better, there’s probably hope for the world.

Wherever you are on the psychopath scale, oh, let’s call it the empathy scale, hmm? That’s so much more upbeat. Anyway, wherever you are, if you make a New Year’s resolution, try to take the long view. Like the 3 of Wands, when you launch the project, look out beyond the horizon to the positive end. That way, if the boat tips a bit here and there, you’ll have something bigger and more important in mind than day-to-day ups and downs.

Happy New Year and best wishes!

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