Category Archives: crazy cat lady: ur doin it rite

.i’m okay, you’re okay.

Well, hello.  Long time no see.

About a year ago, I was talking to my mom about what I had been like as a child.  What did she remember about me?  Did she think I was generally a good kid?  Was I tough to parent?  She thought for a few seconds, and then said, “What I remember about you is that you were always much harder on yourself than we ever were on you.  That’s the kind of kid you were – you’d get a B on a test, and when we’d congratulate you, you’d burst into tears because you weren’t satisfied with a B.  With you, it always had to be an A.”

Here’s the thing about having a blog – when I ignore it for a while, I feel guilty.  I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I do.  And then blogging becomes this thing that I should be doing, a chore, instead of something that I do simply because I want to.  This, of course, leads me to… ignore it even more.  All of which is ridiculous, I know, because it’s not like I have all that many readers in the first place, and the ones I have are mostly friends who couldn’t care less whether or not I’m regularly updating my blog.  But it doesn’t matter.  I started this blog to keep a record of what was going on in my life, because I have a terrible memory and I’d like to be able to look back and see what was going on at various times.  So I’m not satisfied unless I’m doing it often, because I set a goal for myself, dammit, and I’d like to see it through.

This tendency to have high expectations for myself isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  For instance, it pushes me to work hard and distinguish myself at work.  It motivates me to write and re-write and revise and write some more, even on days when I don’t feel like writing.  This characteristic is why I get shit done, and I can recognize that that’s a good thing.

The problem is, I’ve been wielding this aspect of my character like a mallet, when it’s really best handled with laser precision.  I’ve been demanding perfection from myself in everything, even things that don’t matter very much (such as, yes, whether or not I post regularly on my blog).  But it’s not just that.  I’ve been beating myself up recently over the fact that I don’t have more hobbies, don’t have more friends, don’t have a cleaner house, don’t have my debt paid down.  That I’m not more successful, more motivated.  That I haven’t published a book or learned Spanish.  That I don’t network.  That I haven’t done, well, anything of note in my life.  That I’m not the best at anything.  That I haven’t distinguished myself at anything that matters.

I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test a few months ago and came up an INFJ, which could not be more right-on.  (For those of you whose Myers-Briggs-speak is a bit rusty, INFJ stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging).  Here’s a pretty relevant part of the description of your average INFJ: “INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves – there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don’t often take time to revel in their accomplishments.”

Huh.  Y’don’t say.

So.  In light of the guilt, and my recognition that it’s so often unnecessary… I’m going to try something new.  I’m going to try and use my own high expectations for myself like a laser instead of a mallet.  I’m going to give myself the freedom to be imperfect.

I’m going to give myself permission to be tired and overwhelmed sometimes.  I’m going to let myself sleep in on a Saturday without tempering my enjoyment with guilt.  I’m going to cut myself some slack on the hobbies, the friends, the debt – or at least from feeling like I need to address them all at once.  I can try and work on a few things at a time.  Everything does not have to be running at 100% for me to be okay, be accomplished, be a worthwhile human being.

I’m going to try and use my perfectionism to my benefit, instead of letting it guilt me into inaction.  Turn it on a few things that really matter and motivate myself to work hard and well at some things, rather than shining a giant, judgmental spotlight onto my whole life and berating myself for coming up short.

So yeah, I haven’t blogged in a while.  It hasn’t been a priority.  And that’s okay.  I’ll try and write more often, because I really would like to have a record of what I’m doing.  But if I don’t, I don’t.  AND THAT’S OKAY.

So, with the navel-gazing portion of this post over – on to the actual what-when-where that I intended in the first place.

Not that I need an excuse after everything I just said, but part of the reason I haven’t blogged in a while is that things have been so effing busy!  Mostly in a good way.  I’ve been working late basically every night for the last couple of months, banking credit hours which I can then use to take days off when we have guests.  And oh, have we had guests.

First, Finn’s parents came into town for a week at the end of April.  (I had just purchased a new camera, so brace yourselves for an illustrated post.)

We hitched Ophelia onto her leash and let her out onto the porch to play.  Finn’s parents were a bit dubious of her at first, but she really grew on them.

Ophelia, checking out birds in the rafters of our porch

The weather was gorgeous while they were here, so we went on lots of walks.  Before they left we threw them a big party so they could meet some of our friends, including Finn’s midwifery partner, her husband, and their FOUR BOYS under the age of NINE.  (Great, great, wonderful, adorable kids, and absolutely insane.)

View from the porch, where most of the party happened – photo by one of the 4boysunder9, all of whom wanted a turn with the camera


This is the table at the party, loaded down with food.  Please note that when I say we threw a party, I mean that Finn’s dad, who is an AMAZING cook, cooked us a ton of food, which we promptly snarfed.

A few days after her parents left, Finn’s friend Gina and her 2 year old Chester came for the weekend.  I won’t put pics of them up, because that seems weird, but we had a good time.  I re-discovered that toddlers love me.

The weekend after Gina left, Olive came into town for a few days.  She was doing her final pre-ordination meetings and vote before she becomes ordained as a minister in the UCC church.  It all went well, and so she’s getting ordained in 2 weeks! I’m so thrilled for her.

The day after Olive left, Finn’s brother and sister-in-law and our niece came to visit from Hawaii.  They were here for about 7 days, and I was able to use up 3 days worth of the credit hours I’d been saving up at work to hang out and play with them in the middle of the week.  We went on lots of walks, visited the Children’s Museum, went window-shopping on the main street in our lil neighborhood, hung out at the pond near our house, and spent quite a bit of time at the playground down the street.

Learning about tools at the Children’s Museum


Finn’s brother and the kiddo at the pond

This weekend, we have no guests and no responsibilities.  We’re probably going to the beach tomorrow, and then out to dinner with some friends.  Oh, and later this week we’re going to a baseball game, which is pretty rad.

Next weekend I’m off to a funeral for my aunt, who died suddenly and unexpectedly last week.  I’m still not really ready to talk about that.  The weekend after that, Olive is getting ordained, and she and her sig other, KC, are staying with us for the week.  Then the weekend after THAT, my brother and his girlfriend are coming into town for a week.  Annnnnd that gets us til the end of June!  Phew.

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Filed under anticipation, anxiety, crazy cat lady: ur doin it rite, eagle death roll, Finn, love, navel-gazing, new leaf, Olive, pictures, The Fam, type A personality: check, vacation all i ever wanted

.an arbitrary collection of thoughts in no particular order.

I sat down today to set some goals for myself this week.  On the list, among other things: finishing up the draft of the chapter I’ve been working on; making some truffles; taking a day off from technology.  Other things, getting right with some people, setting aside some time to finish the book I’m reading (A Widow for One Year, John Irving, quite enjoyable).  I’ve decided to set goals for myself every week, not so much because I feel like I’m floating (though that’s part of it) but because for all that I’m spending 99% of my time with myself, not much of it is quality time, if that makes sense.  The simple act of sitting down and asking myself what I want for the week seems to be a good place to start.  So.

Finn is home and we’re settling back into things.  It’s been a slightly difficult but utterly welcome adjustment.  (We’re still re-learning to sleep in the same bed together… it’s amazing how quickly your body learns to take over the entire bed when you lose your sleepmate.  Apparently I’m quite the cover thief these days.)  She’s been insanely busy, so my days actually don’t look all that different – doing my own thing, mostly.  But it’s beyond wonderful to have her around in the evenings, snuggled under a down throw, warm in our cozy apartment.

I’m glad it didn’t really snow until she got back; I fell in love with her in winter, and nothing brings me back to myself, and back to us, quite like watching watching a snowfall with her.  To think I used to hate winter.

We decorated for Christmas last night.  I’m kind of obsessed with Christmas; it’s a big holiday in my family, and I adore the traditions of my childhood.  Somehow Finn and I haven’t quite managed to get our own traditions off the ground – she isn’t so big on the traditional in general, and her family isn’t religious, so from what I gather the holiday season didn’t have quite the same significance for her family that it did for mine.  But she’s willing to play along since it’s so important to me.

An example of our traditions not quite living up to expectations: last night she was supposed to have work until 6, after which we had big plans for a roasted chicken dinner, which we were going to eat while cheerily decking the halls, listening to christmas music and sipping mulled wine.  Lovely, right?  But then her work stuff got pushed back, she didn’t get home til after 8, the chicken nearly started a grease fire and set off the smoke alarms, and the cats kept trying to eat the tree.  All of which was made worse by the fact that I was PMSing, both of us had low blood sugar, and there was a sleeping baby upstairs .  (I swear to god it was like a bad sitcom.)  Last night I was grumpy – though somewhat pacified by the mulled wine, admittedly – but today it just seems ridiculous.  There’s me, wrapping lights around the tree, tripping over angry cats and poking myself in the eye with passing branches; there’s Finn, frantically running around opening windows, desperate and fanning the smoke with a plastic cutting board…

The star on top of the tree is crooked, and I can’t get it to stay upright.  But after last night, it seems poetic, somehow; I think I’ll just leave it.

I’m making pot roast for dinner and it’s making the whole house smell delicious.  I’m also experimenting with desserts; today I’m attempting the aforementioned truffles.  I managed to slice my thumb open while chopping, which wasn’t a big deal except it bled EVERYWHERE and I could not for the life of me find a band-aid in this house.  So I’m currently rocking a really fancy paper towel square wrapped in scotch tape contraption – go makeshift first aid.

My hair is getting really long.  For me, I mean, which means it’s like 3 inches long.  I’m “growing it out” to at least semi-shaggy levels, I think, just to see what happens… but I feel like I’m going to have to call in the professionals soon.  I haven’t had a professional haircut since… hmm.  I want to say pre-dreadlocks, which would make it something like 8 years?  There may have been one real cut in there at some point, but really it has been at LEAST 5 years.  I’ve just been cutting it myself for so long that the idea of going somewhere makes me nervous.  At least if I fuck it up I didn’t pay money for it.  (That’s probably not a good reason to avoid it, is it?)  So far it just looks like my same haircut, only longer, and I can’t really do the fauxhawk thing anymore because it’s too long.  I’m digging it, though.  I’m just terrified I’m going to hit the inevitable mullet stage of any grow-out and no one’s going to tell me.  Hence, the desire for professional help.

Wow, this got all rambly.  Alright, off to check out the state of my truffles.

Oh, one last: this blog is nearly a year old.  (::tear::  They grow up so fast, huh?)  Seriously though, I kind of can’t believe it.  I just want to thank everyone who checks in here and then checks in with me – either in the comments or the emails or texts or whatever.  I feel like most of my posts are boring and not worth reading, but I’m always glad for any excuse for my pals – internety or otherwise – to give me a shout.  So thanks for reading, and for reaching out.  You’re all pretty amazing.

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Filed under budding foodie, crazy cat lady: ur doin it rite, Finn, love, manythanks, memories, new leaf, stuff pomegranates like

.we interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for a freak out.

Tomorrow is my last day of work.

Two days after that we’re moving.

I found out yesterday that I didn’t get a job for which I was incredibly well-qualified.

I also found out yesterday that a guy I went to middle and high school with died very unexpectedly.

In sum, I don’t like change and there has been a lot of change, upheaval, disappointment, and facing of my own mortality and that of the people I love, all within the span of about a week.  Oh, also the cats are panicked and peeing all over everything.

I try hard not to wish away my days, even the bad ones, because every moment is so precious.  I try hard not to feel like a failure when I don’t get the things that I want and work hard for.  I try not to waste time worrying – obsessing? – about whether and when and how the people I dearly love will pass away.  I try not to want to kill my sweetly tyrannous baby kittens.

And yet.  I am ready for this week to be over, I am ready to be moved in, I am ready to have said my goodbyes at work and shut the door on that period of my life, pleasant though it was.  I am ready to stop being anxious so I won’t fall prey to my mega-anxiety-producing-triggers (unexpected deaths being a major, major trigger for me).

I’m ready to let go and let myself be happy again.  I’m ready to take responsibility for my own joy.

When I was in high school, one of my best friends and I both kept small notebooks with us at all time.  We called them our Happy Books.  They were filled with an ongoing list of things that made us happy – pictures, inside jokes, people, events, memories… I’m sure half of it wouldn’t make sense to me now, but I’m not sure I’ve ever been as content with my life as when I kept a Happy Book.  Seems like it might be time to start that back up again.  So for tonight…

10 Things That Make Me Happy Right Now

1. My shiny new apartment

2. Numbered, color-coded moving boxes

3. The fact that my haircat loves me so much that she hates that I’m typing this right now, because she really wants to be sitting ON ME

4. Brunch with Rev

5. Victory over The Man: Comcast gave me an amazing deal on cable when I called to tell them I had to go to basic because I’d been laid off.  Everything I have now for half the price.  Ahmazing.

6. Finn’s freckles

7. Air conditioning

8. The story that has been floating around in my mind, waiting to get out

9. Living one train stop away from Cali beginning Saturday

10. The possibilities that await me now that I’ve got free time again…

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Filed under anticipation, anxiety, Cali, crazy cat lady: ur doin it rite, Finn, memories, new leaf, Rev, type A personality: check

.and another thing.

I’ve been thinking a lot today, as Iowa of all places just showed itself to be more progressive than I ever would have given it credit for, about how to come out to my paternal grandmother.  (Maternal grandma, with whom I am somewhat closer, knows all about the gay and has pretty much always been uber-supportive).   It’s been nearly 10 years, and I’m thinking it mayyyyy be time to let other grandma in on the secret.  And as I was pondering worst-case-scenarios (despite the post-Iowa glow) this thought occurred to me:

So, I know that in not telling her, I am neglecting to give her the chance to know my whole self.  But is it possible, too, that in keeping this information from her I am failing to give her the chance to know her whole self?  What if I – in my hesitation to tell her the truth, out of my own sense of worry and fear – am withholding a moment for her to be loving, tolerant, progressive, understanding?  What if I am neglecting to give her room to be better than I expect?  Better, maybe, than she expects?

Does that sound too… I don’t know, pretentious?  I don’t mean it to be… I just hadn’t thought of coming out that way: as a gift, almost. An opportunity for people to show themselves to be what you’d hoped they would be.  I’m one of those who rarely gives up on people, even when I maybe should, because I always want to leave the door open for them to redeem themselves, to be better than they were.  I can never shut that door.

the day the sun came out

.the day the sun came out.

I’ve come out so many times – still do, so often – that it’s almost rote at this point.  For the most part, I no longer care how people take it, because I know where (almost) all the most important people in my life stand.  But I like the idea of coming out as not just something I have to do for myself, so that I can walk through the world with integrity, but as a moment that can others to do that as well.  What do you think?

On a much less serious note, how fabulous is it that one of the top google searches for people to find my blog is “animals in pajamas”?  Clearly, I am on my way to greatness.

Finn and I have started a contest, for no other reason than we like contests, to see which one of us can read the most pages.  We were inspired by her brother and his wife, who are having a competition to see who can read the most books, but we decided that wasn’t entirely fair since some books are so much longer than others.  (Despite our seeming need for this competition to be entirely on the up and up, we neglected to put a time limit on the thing – no, don’t think about it too much).  Since I’m a faster reader, she gets to count pages from things like the Twilight novels, while I apparently don’t get to count anything not written for grown ups.  Not that I’m sure I even want to venture to read the rest of the Twilight books… I read the first to see what all the hype was about, and I thought I was going to kill myself.  (From a letter I wrote to a friend as I was muddling my way through: “I’m going to try and make it through the first one, but if this whole page-upon-page of desperate fawning and soulful, heavy-lidded glances punctuated by inane teenybopper conversation and thinly veiled shoutouts to the abstinence-only crowd thing doesn’t end soon, I may have to stop.”)  Also, I’m apparently the only person who thinks Edward is a condescending asshole and not dreamy in the least.  That said, I do kind of feel I should give the second book a chance.  (What did I say about my inability to close doors???)

Anyway, I’m currently well into Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys, which I think I may have read at some point during high school because the story sounds strangely familiar in parts, and which I’m quite enjoying either way.  (I have a bad habit of forgetting which books I read during high school, as I devoured books at a rate that probably wasn’t entirely healthy.  There was also a summer in college when I worked at the library and wasn’t taking classes or anything, so I ended up reading upwards of 50 books at a pace that has rendered them all one fantastical wispy blur).  I also just finished Stand the Storm by Breena Clarke, which was a pretty wonderful novel about a newly-freed slave family struggling through the pre-and-post Civil-War era.  And next I’m planning on getting into Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation in order to continue to feed my obsession with the Revolutionary War (and John Adams in particular – I may have been him in a past life, actually).  Though I might get sidetracked by World Without End by Ken Follet, because I really enjoyed his Pillars of the Earth and because it’s going to be due back to the library soon.

Okay, this post might have just taken kind of a nerdy turn.  In closing, then, something slightly snarky to up my hipster factor:  I give you Autostraddle’s The L Word WTF?! Video, Part 1.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “L Word Video I WTF?! Moments I Lesbia…“, posted with vodpod

…it’s funny because it’s true.

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Filed under crazy cat lady: ur doin it rite, Finn, nerdiness, politicking, queering the binary, The Fam, vidjas

.the cat’s pajamas.

Or, the obligatory crazy cat lady post.

I never thought I would be one of those horrible cat parents who dressed her animals in outfits.  What can I say… never underestimate the power of cat pajamas.

img_03541

Okay, kind of adorable though, right?  They’ve got little back legs and everything!

img_03501

Unfortunately, she thinks she’s in a straightjacket when we put her in clothes of any kind, and tends to fall over and just lie there, or stare longingly at raised platforms without making any actual attempt to jump (see i.e., above).

Lest you think I am only a crazy cat lady in regards to the hairless wonder, here’s a portrait of our twins.  (Okay, they were born a day apart, and to different parents, but we think of them as fraternal.)

img_0215

Oh hai.

(See the resemblance?)

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Filed under crazy cat lady: ur doin it rite, nerdiness

.snow day, part the millionth.

This is the view from my front window:

outside

Brr.  And this is the view from my computer:

ophelia

My sweet, sweet (hairless) kitten Ophelia, curled up under the electric blanket on the couch, waiting out the snowstorm… s’too cold for her!

Hope you’re warm and snuggly, wherever you are…

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Filed under crazy cat lady: ur doin it rite, the beauty of the in-between