Sergeant Stinkers aka Lil Sarge

I am so excited I am vibrating!

After serious introspection and decision-making, I am going to collect my new baby next week and could not be more excited.

I lost two beloved furry family members within 6 months of each other two years ago, and it has taken me this long to grieve them properly and allow my heart to open enough to consider the possibility of going through it all over again. But it did, and I am and it is NEXT WEEK!

I have visited with this cutie and have observed him with all his siblings and his momma and actually picked him out from a picture before I ever met him in person.

My previous cats were Sylvester and Yayo aka Babygirl.

Sylvester I have written about here on my blog and he lived longer than any pet I have ever had in my life. He was pitch black in colour and incredibly chill in temperament.

Babygirl was white and black and looked like she had a beaver straddling her back. She was far more fiesty but very funny and adorable, always positioning herself for “spankings”, as she loved being patted, sometimes rather hard, on her rump end. She was also incredibly fickle and could be snuggling with you all content and then if someone she fancied more came into the room, she would sometimes tear half the skin off you in her struggle to plant herself on THEIR lap, instead of yours. My youngest started calling her a little trollop as she reminded us all of a woman who would quickly dump your ass if she caught a whiff  of someone with a fatter wallet approaching!

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I chose my new baby due to his colouring, as I have never owned a gray cat before, so he would be his own person in my heart, with no reminders of the ones that have already carved out their spots before him.

He seems to be that perfect blend of cuddly and independent, which I need in my life at this point. I work and am away from home for at least 7 hours a day. I have the flexibility to run home at lunch to check on him, which I will do during our adjustment period, but apparently he is also OK to be alone, according to  the people he has lived with since birth.

When his siblings all do that kitty-pile thing they do, he curls up with them for a bit, but then wanders off on his own to a chair, or bed, and plays with a toy alone and content. He sounds quite a bit like me, actually. I like my playtime  and socializing but also wander off to be by myself when I need to be.

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It was so hard for me to see all those kittens and only choose one to bring home with me but I want to be able to give everything to Lil Sarge, rather than spread it out. Also, I really could be the type who turns into the “crazy cat lady”, so I tried to use some restraint.

I am already buying the little things he will need and planning to set up a space for him in a spare room, where he will feel safe to run away to, if he is fearful during his first days here.

I cannot wait to have him home with me and just wanted to share my excitement with any cat lovers who may follow my blog.

Stay tuned- you can bet I will be writing more in the future about our shenanigans together.

 

 

 

 

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Problems

This week’s sandbox writing challenge asks how we respond to problems in our lives.

I had to think about this one for a few moments, as my response could have been many different things, and yet in reality it is very simplistic.

Growing up, my Mother always said to me ( nervous, hair-twisting, nail-biting mess that I was), ” There is no point at all in worrying about something you have no control over. If you can fix something, or change something, then do it, but if you have no control over something, let it go.”

I was brought up in a household that had 99 “problems” occurring every hour. But we never called them problems, we called them challenges. And that has made all the difference in my life.

As I grow older, I find myself with dwindling patience for people and their perception of what a problem is.

Rainy days during your vacation? Not a problem. Walk in the rain, bike in the rain, spend time enjoying local restaurants, have crazy sex all day in your hotel room, or catch up on some rest, your reading, or maybe get to know your spouse a bit better without the distractions of your daily life.

Frizzy hair? Not a problem. I have this issue and just live with it. I mean, really? Who cares how smooth my hair is looking on any given day? Has anyone EVER in your life thrown that one at you in the break room at work or at the mall? ” Jesus, Melinda! How do you face the WORLD with that bird’s nest on your head?”

When you start imagining ways in which you can find a work-around for your “challenges”, they quickly change from something worrisome to something rather interesting that you will feel just wonderful about once you get through them .

Who needs Batman when you are just out there being the boss of your own destiny and outcomes?

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I know that sometimes there are people in my life(not family) that find me rather tactless, impatient and blunt when they express their frustrations with their endless “problems”. I am aware that all of us were moulded and shaped in very different ways and in very different households.

My upbringing was not conducive to the hothouse flower that needed constant attention and assistance at every turn. And while I am cognizant of the fact that my core beliefs established during that time were not all good ones to learn and adapt to, for the most part, they have served me well during the times in my life that I could have quite easily ordered a bullet sandwich for lunch.

I have the innate ability to see a challenge, and within five minutes, decide if I am going to be able to do something about it, or toss it away and forget about it.

I have suffered enough from anxiety, which the uninformed might call worrying, but is in fact, totally physical in its manifestation in my body, so I don’t include this in my rationale at all here. Even with this, I now have so many tools in my little toolbox that get me through episodes, that I can pretty much shut that shit down, too, within mere minutes.

Changing your way of thinking/processing problems or challenges is the first step in solving them or getting through them.

So, in closing, I am pleased to share with you all that I do not have any problems and am not foreseeing any in my future.

 

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*Trigger Warning*An Open Letter to Physicians & Surgeons

I am writing this letter to hopefully educate you on the appropriate ways to perform invasive medical procedures on those with a past history of rape, child molestation or intimate trauma of any kind.

Some of us have histories of that nature and some of us choose to share that very private information with you during our surgical consult sessions. Some don’t, as they have attempted to put those very emotional issues in the past and choose to move forward with their heads held high and with grace and courage you could not even begin to comprehend.

I was the former and chose to share my history with you prior to my very first colonoscopy, in the hopes that you would be understanding of my fear and numerous questions regarding the procedure itself, the time involved, the medications utilized and their potency. I made a point of apologising repeatedly in your office with every question I posed to you, as I could tell you were impatient with my questions regarding my procedure.

I get it.

As you pointed out, you do twenty of these a day. It’s no big deal. You are the best at these. I work in the medical profession as well, so I know how physicians view their time as far more important than anyone else’s.

And rightly so.  You and your colleagues make a lot of money for your time, don’t you?

After our consultation, I showed up for my procedure, you went to work doing what you do “the best”, but at the end of our scheduled time, you informed me that you didn’t schedule enough time, so I would need to return in a few weeks so you could finish the job. I am aware neither of us knew that I would have polyps that required you to spend a bit more time to remove. I know this wasn’t your fault at all, in fact. Just my luck to be the last appointment of the day, and you not having a baseline on me, as this was my first time down this particular medical road.

I went home that day so incredibly proud of myself for even undergoing the procedure, you know.

I had numerous thoughts of skipping it entirely, as I had been on a good run of stable mental health and was in a good place emotionally about my past. I had put a lot of tremendously hard work into that. Years of work, in fact.

I shared some of that with you in the consult. How I had a history of not complying with requests for medical procedures which might trigger me or bring back the worst of my post-traumatic stress. How my way was to just hope for the best as far as my medical health went, as I was struggling enough to keep my mental health stable.

I trusted you and I am afraid, you let me down when I came back for my second procedure.

During the second procedure, which was lengthy and again involved removal of polyps and clips and some sort of laser suturing, my medication began wearing off. You were taking biopsy samples, which required you to remove the device used numerous times and then reinsert to continue on your way.

I could sense you were getting frustrated. You were moving faster, and two times in a row, you missed your target on the way back inside of me and hurt me. You hurt me a lot, in fact.

I began to move my legs a bit, I know. I will take my share of the blame here. I am used to being the one to apologise. I have done it my entire life every time I have cried due to pain or shame or emotional distress during an invasive medical procedure. I moved my legs because I couldn’t help it, I suppose.

You told me to stop in a rather stern voice, but rather than asking me why I was moving, crying or maybe…just MAYBE…taking the time to stop what you were doing long enough to question me about my distress, you chose to repeat your command to stop moving in a louder, harsher voice.

So, I did what I learned was best, all those many years ago.

I stopped moving.

I froze entirely, in fact.

I cried without making a sound, with my chin tucked as far into my chest as I could get it.

The nurse assisting you DID notice my tears, even though she was not in a position to see my face, but I believe she noticed because that is what nurses do. They look at the patients. They see the patients. The have empathy for the patients, those vulnerable patients who trust you to hopefully heal them, and even if you can’t, please don’t hurt them more than they have been in the past.

She rubbed my back softly and told you she was going to give me more medication.

She didn’t ask you.

She told you.

And in that moment, she made me trust her.

As the medication began to work, you were able to complete what you were there to do, with no more problems from me. I could stop apologizing for being an inconvenience for you.

Just in case my account was not straightforward enough to properly explain the problem I had, I will explain it from our differing perspectives.

You: I didn’t schedule enough time for this patient. I am the best at these procedures and can usually slam twenty of these out in an eight hour day. I am paid by the procedure, not by the time, so I need to maximize every minute, to ensure I can fit as many patients as I can into my booking times allocated by the hospital. This one is a pain in the ass and ended up with more polyps than I counted on, and has already cost me money. Now, she is moving around, and making my work harder, as I don’t want to inadvertently harm her while doing the procedure, as it will maybe affect me financially or professionally. I wish that nurse didn’t give her more medication, because that cuts into my profit margin. Oh well, I will just finish this one up as fast as I can, and she will be on her way!

Me:  Confused, medicated and in pain. Room is dark. Being penetrated by something from behind me. In and out. In and out. In and out. Frustrated male voice telling me to stay still and stop moving. Angrier male voice telling me to STOP MOVING AROUND, while I am being penetrated and my insides feel like fire and my backside is stinging. I can’t run away. I am at the mercy of the male in control in this dark room. Freeze and stop moving and hope it’s over soon or you just die so it stops.

I just received a letter in the mail from your office today, informing me that you have scheduled me to be back in February to do it all over again.

Right at this moment, I doubt I will be there.

Today, I doubt I will even give you the courtesy of a call to confirm that I won’t be there.

After reliving this once again in order to write this for you, I hope my not cancelling costs you money, in fact.

The childish part of me wants you to hurt too, and this seems the easiest way to make that happen.

Once again, I’m sorry. But you are the one who awakened that child again in that dark room, when you didn’t have even the smallest bit of compassion or human kindness within you to take at most three minutes out of your busy day to see why your patient was distressed.

Here’s a link that may educate you a wee bit.

I hope this letter helps to educate you and your colleagues and I also hope it helps to ensure that this kind of experience doesn’t happen as frequently as I fear it might.

Signed,

One Sorry Patient

 

Featured image courtesy of Project Unbreakable

 

 

 

Hummingbirds

As I was leaving work on Friday, I came upon a dead hummingbird laying in the parking lot. In the past, I likely would have looked, felt briefly saddened, and carried on towards to my car, with my Mother’s words in my head ” don’t you ever touch a dead bird- diseases!”

But for some reason, I stopped and really looked at this little bird, instead. It had such lovely feathers, and was such a perfect tiny size, with no injuries apparent to the naked eye.

As I looked down on it, its feathers seemed to ruffle a bit and I had to bend over to look more closely to see if it was actually dead or not. Upon further inspection and the fact that the wind blew tendrils of my hair across my cheek, I decided it was, in fact, deader than a doornail.

I stood back up and looked up into the sky, wondering how it died, as it hadn’t hit any glass or the building, and had no injuries at all. It was just this beautiful, perfect bird in the middle of a huge parking lot and I suddenly felt a realization dawning upon me that it almost looked staged or “placed” there in that strange spot.

People were walking to their cars and some glanced at me and at the bird, but kept walking. It was Friday, the sun was shining, and they had a weekend to begin.

I reached inside my purse, looking for paper or tissue or anything to use to pick the bird up and move it somewhere, as I suddenly realised I couldn’t leave it there and go home. Finding nothing in my purse as a barrier, I threw caution to the wind and picked it up in my hand. I walked toward the building and the planters which held the flowers, with the thought of placing in one of them, so it at least wouldn’t be smooshed by someone’s car, adding insult to injury.

I dug a little hole in the dirt with my hand and carefully placed the little bird in the hole, covering it with a fallen leaf from one of the plants, and then covered it with dirt.

Then I said “For you are dust and to dust you shall return.” ( It always amazes me how far you can stray from the Catholic upbringing but how quickly it all returns, without even trying to recall it.)

I drove home with my filthy and possibly diseased hands and touched all kinds of things in my car while doing so, without a care in the world. I was not upset by the encounter at all, more bewildered about how it had died, but then let it slip from my mind.

Until Saturday morning, when I opened my patio doors to go out and enjoy my coffee in my yard. On my fence was a hummingbird. Same colour. Same size.

I have never in my life encountered a hummingbird and now 2 sightings within 24 hours.

These excerpts are what I found when I searched for symbolism online:


The hummingbird symbolizes many different concepts. Because of its speed, the hummingbird is known as a messenger and stopper of time. It is also a symbol of love, joy, and beauty. The hummingbird is also able to fly backwards, teaching us that we can look back on our past. But, this bird also teaches that we must not dwell on our past; we need to move forward. When the hummingbird hovers over flowers while drinking nectar, we learn that we should savour each moment, and appreciate the things we love.

The hummingbird has powerful spiritual significance. In the Andes of South America the hummingbird is a symbol of resurrection. It seems to die on cold nights, but comes back to life again at sunrise.

Hummingbird is the creature that opens the heart. When the hurt that caused us to close our hearts gets a chance to heal, our hearts are free to open again.

With hummingbird consciousness, we learn the truth of beauty. Our life becomes a wonderland of delights in flowers, aromas and tastes. We laugh and enjoy creation, we appreciate the magic of the present moment, and the magic of being alive.

Hummingbirds teach us fierce independence. They teach us to fight in a way where no one gets hurt. They teach us courage. Having the courage to refrain from creating new trauma by communicating non-violently toward ourselves and others is an important part of healing. Recovering lost parts of ourselves enables us to become healthily independent.

It is not commonly known that the fluttering wings of the hummingbird move in the pattern of an infinity symbol – further solidifying their symbolism of eternity, continuity, and infinity.

Source: A Light in the Darkness


As an allegory, we can look at hummingbirds death-defying flight feats as a lesson that we too can maneuver in amazing ways. All humans are divinely designed. That means we have infinite capacity for greatness. Just because other birds of a feather might not move a certain way…that doesn’t mean we can’t. Dare to fly upside down. Be bold, and fly backwards. If you have a vision, risk moving outside the flock and maneuver yourself in unique ways to reach that dream of yours.

Source: Hummingbird Symbolism


The Native Symbol or Totem Hummingbird teaches you to appreciate and love the miracle of living, and to help you focus on the positivity in your life. They are messengers of peace, they heal your body and soul and they guide you through life’s challenges. Hummingbirds are very independent and seem to have an unlimited energy supply. They symbolize wonder and beauty.

A legend from the Kwakwaka’wakw says that Dzunuk’wa (the mythic guardian of the mountains and Wild Women of the Woods) loved this little bird so much, she let him nest in her hair, in return the Humming bird looked like a jewel pinned in her hair. Of all the birds, they are the most talented flyers. They can hover in one place, fly sideways, backwards and forwards. They teach us to look back to our past, but not to dwell, instead to move forward. As well the Hummingbirds tell us to savour every sweet moment as they do when hovering over each flower. Native Americans believe that it brings luck to see a Hummingbird before major events such as long hunting trips or travelling to other villages.

Source: Spirits of the West Coast


 The endings required for the new me to be free to fly are:

Past shame, hurt, resentments and old beliefs that I am not anything special and shouldn’t try to be anything special.

The new me will be taking the time to enjoy the little things in life and to smell the flowers like the  hummingbirds do, in order to find the sweetest nectar.

I will be absolutely present in my moments moving forward, and not make decisions based on memories from my past or fears for my future.

I will do the work necessary to untie old bonds that have made me feel helpless or overwhelmed or immobile in the past.

I will continue in my efforts to see past anger in others to the real issues at play and perhaps do some healing while I am at it.

I will voice my feelings with others when I feel slighted or disrespected, because to not do that, makes me hold that toxicity inside me, and contributes to mental anguish and spiritual darkness within me.

I will continue on my journey towards optimal physical health, by choosing wisely what I put into my body. It’s easier to move about quickly and in multiple directions if you aren’t flying heavy.

I will change and change and change again, depending on how I feel on any given day; I am a work in progress and you don’t get progress without change.

 

Infinity Sign Wallpaper Galaxy #476

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sandbox Writing Challenge – Review # 4

In the last 15 exercises, did any of your answers surprise you? Why?

I really surprised myself with how honestly I responded to Challenge # 50 regarding playing games. It has been a whisper of a thought that has danced into my conscience for years, but I have done my best to swat it away as quickly as it comes calling. I’m pleased that I have grown enough to accept accountability for the part I have played in the demise of intimate relationships. I need to explore that stuff further in relation to if I am patterning anything I perhaps saw as a child/youth.

Is there any exercise that felt more charged than others? If you’d like, carry on with that post and share your additions with us.

Oh yes. Challenge # 42 – Of Two Minds was the beginning of my story about renewal and transformation. That blog post gave me the thought that perhaps I COULD get that story out in whatever way worked best for me. To be honest, I cried a lot writing that. But felt really good afterwards.

Were there any exercises that felt incomplete to you? If so, complete them now. Stop when your energy is spent. Then please share them with us.

Challenge # 43 showed me that I can actually write poetically if I try. I’m awfully lazy though, so definitely need to force myself.

What insights about you (if any) came to light in these last 15 exercises?

I always wonder why I come across as sort of serious/melancholic in my blogging subjects and yet, am very upbeat and positive in my daily life with those I interact with. I think I feel safer writing it out. I was never encouraged to show an honest face or feelings to the world, so have always felt far more comfortable writing out my innermost thoughts and feelings. I am looking forward to the day I am done with my own personal “excavation” and can start writing about current events more often or those issues that affect me personally, which are also not quite so personal.

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Who might benefit from what you have discovered?

Myself, obviously. Perhaps my sons someday if I ever get the main story out of me and onto paper in an organized fashion. They will understand what made their crazy Momma tick and perhaps be more forgiving of some of the mistakes.

What actions might you take now that you wouldn’t have taken before?

I am now confronting people directly in a calm measured way, rather than stuffing my resentments and anger and fear inside, as I have done my whole life. I got a bit off-track with my health this summer, and spent valuable time reflecting on ways I could improve my stress levels & physical/mental health without alienating everyone in my life by suddenly turning shrew!

I am planning to deal with what is left of my Mom’s belongings in my basement and to scatter what is left of her ashes during the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Either alone or with my sons; it will not really make a difference to me at this point, as it has been ten years this year and it is time and I am ok with it, however it pans out. If I cry, I cry-and if I laugh, I laugh, and if I just sit in the stillness of the fall air and colours and don’t do anything, it will be perfect.

What can you now accept about yourself?

I am ok and will always be ok. I don’t fear much of anything anymore other than losing my sons, as I have already survived everything else. It is rather an empowering feeling, actually! I feel strong and I am a bit of a force to be reckoned with, you know!

What else would you like to know about yourself?

I’m not sure. I guess I will see what the next set of challenges brings out.

Now that you’ve tapped into your energy, can you think of ways to tap into it more often? Are there thoughts, such as “it’s not serious,” or images from this book or your imagination, that you can focus your attention on, to help you feel more alive?

I feel more alive outside and in nature. I need to find ways to do that in our winter climate.

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