Things always look better after….
…a sunrise run. …a foot massage. …a dance in the rain. …a chocolate milkshake. …a frozen margarita. …a bubble bath. …a green lollipop. …a bear hug. …a tummy rub. …a catnap (meow).
What makes you smile?
I hate sales calls. Really. I truly despise them. The whole concept of inviting yourself into someone else’s private residence, and insisting that they buy stuff they didn’t ask for is so invasive that I am truly offended.
On the other hand, one of the few advantages to being a befuddled foreigner is that I can pretend I don’t understand when I don’t want to. But I at least try to be civil. After all, these people are just doing their jobs. I doubt many little boys and girls look up into the night sky and dream of becoming telemarketers. There must be some reason why they ended up there. Perhaps they were politicians in a previous life.
But there are limits. The one who just called blathered away at me about high speed internet service then asked me if I was the “internet user” in the house. I told her politely that I had no idea what she was talking about. That’s what I said, too. “I’m sorry. I don’t understand what you’re talking about.” Her response was, “When will there be someone there who does understand Japanese?”
I don’t know about current telephone etiquette in other countries, but as far as I know, that took rudeness to an echelon so highly elevated that I’d be surprised if an atom of oxygen has gotten to the silly woman’s brain in the past several decades.The Japanese that I spoke was perfectly fluent. Maybe it’s high speed internet that I don’t understand. Or optical fibers. Or any of the other words I pretended not to understand.
So I told her there wouldn’t be anyone like that here until at least next week. She said she’d call back but I doubt she will. After I hung up, it occurred to me that maybe she did know I was lying and was playing a cat and mouse game of who can out-rude who. I hope I won.
We made it through our first smoke free holiday season, and I find myself profoundly grateful for a lot of things.
I’m grateful for the wonderful new people who have come into my life. I’m grateful for Kelly, who is not only teaching me to trust my body but also to look inside myself to try to understand my place in this universe and my attitude toward it. I’m grateful for Rob, who can keep me both thoughtful and laughing for hours on end. I’m grateful for all my quit sisters, particularly Jan, Leanne and Susan. Our cyber-hand holds and hugs have helped to make this journey bearable in ways I can’t begin to explain.
I’m grateful for Twitchy, for the irony of being given a chance to share my home with something more beautiful than the greatest masterpiece of classical art yet more evil than the darkest specter of hell. I’m grateful for understanding that the world is often as out of focus as she is.
I’m grateful for whatever it was that at long last helped us find the strength we needed to stop smoking. Working through the whys and wherefores of all that continues to be one of the greatest challenges of my life, and the most fulfilling.
I’m grateful to the Dalai Lama for helping me understand what happiness really is. I’m grateful for the Christmas dinner we finally had time for last night. I’m grateful for the people who shared it with us. I’m grateful for being able to care about people. I’m grateful for the interwebs and the air in my lungs and sunlight and kerosene and smiles from strangers and oatmeal cookies and shoelaces.
I’m grateful for being given another year to stumble through. I’m grateful for whatever gifts and challenges it will present. I’m grateful for knowing I have the strength to handle whatever those things will be, and for having the sense to know just how great a gift that is.
As of today, it’s seven full months since I’ve had a puff on a cigarette and I’ve had a few thoughts on that matter.
Thought #1: I wonder if the fact that we are told that quitters are losers and instructed, “Don’t be a quitter” has anything to do with why it’s so hard to quit smoking. I kinda doubt it.
Thought #2: There was an ad for cigarettes included with the newspaper the other day. It was printed on fancy paper and looked expensive. The funny thing is I don’t think we’ve ever gotten an ad from a tobacco company with the newspaper. I wonder if they’ve been forced to advertise because our quit is putting them out of business. I kinda doubt that, too, but it would be nice all the same.
Thought #3: For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been having smoking dreams. Apparently this is common. Usually, I don’t actually smoke, but smoking is involved. This morning I dreamed that I was talking to some people and one said casually, “Oh, you’ve started smoking again.” I looked down at my hand and there was a burning cigarette between my fingers. I had no idea where it had come from. I tossed it away, appalled, and then frantically searched my pockets and purse but couldn’t find a clue. I think maybe my conscious mind has accepted me as a non-smoker but the Nicodemon is still pulling his evil tricks in my unconscious mind. “Old habits die hard” has never seemed so true.
Thought #4: We passed a No Smoking sign in the park today in a place where there never used to be one. I wondered when I would stop noticing things like that.
Thought #5: Seven months seems much more significant to me than six did. According to my quit smoking forum, only 7% of quitters make it a full year, but the statistics improve greatly after that. So maybe seven matters more than six because six was only half way. I’m a glass half full kind of person, but a year seemed such a long time, and now it doesn’t anymore. We’ve reached the crest of the mountain and now we can make our way down the other side, our baggage lighter, our heads clearer, a feeling of accomplishment swelling in our chests.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, The Twitch wandered onto my lap this morning for the first time and then let me pet her all over, but only with my right hand. When I tried to touch her with my left, she bit me.
She’s a weird little beastie.
The volunteer lady calls now and then to check up on us. Last time she called, she said Twitchy was discovered living alone in an abandoned house 5km from the crippled nuclear power plant. I’m not planning to think about that last part too much, but the first part explains a lot. She’s got a tiny notch in one of her ears, but otherwise she’s perfect. I have never seen a feral cat that didn’t at least have scars on its nose. Perhaps she had a private entrance and somewhere safe to hide. So she knows what houses are but not what people are. Most of the time when I walk past her, she looks at me as if to say, “What ARE you? What are you DOING here?” But the look has softened from offended to just perplexed.
I can’t imagine what she ate while she was living like that. We keep giving her both wet and dry food and unlike any cat I’ve ever met, she prefers dry. We thought maybe she’s used to eating raw food so the dry stuff is a treat–she didn’t have to chase it down and kill it and it doesn’t have any skin or bones in it. Also unlike any cat I’ve ever known, she shows no interest in going outside. Perhaps she had enough of that and likes feeling safe, which she is ever so slowly starting to do. Last night, while I was fixing her dinner, she kissed my leg.
As she gets more comfortable here, her name keeps getting longer. Since we realized she is a Goth and Out-Of-Focus, she’s become Twitchy Goof. A friend gave me a hard time for giving her such a silly name, but I explained that there isn’t a word in English, or in any language for that matter, that could possibly do her justice.
This has been one of those weeks where I really have to fight the urge to dig a hole and bury myself in it. I’ve still got this Sword of Damocles writing project hanging over my head, although I just finished half of it. As with many recent challenges in my life, it feels like I’ve reached the summit of yet another mountain and can now begin the descent toward the goal.
Twitchy remains one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, and therefore a heartbreak since we still can’t touch her. I have to remind myself that she has a lot to learn. She’s never been a house cat before and doesn’t know how to do that. She doesn’t know what petting is or how good it feels. Her survival instinct is to see everyone and everything as a threat. So we just have to wait. She’ll come round when she’s ready. Yesterday as I was getting her dinner ready, she got so excited that she touched my leg with her nose and stepped on my foot. It’s progress and I’m grateful, but patience is not really my strong suit these days.
On Tuesday, I had a tooth pulled by the Happiest Dentist Ever. He chattered away, giggling even, the whole time he worked on my mouth. I wondered if he was nipping at the ether between patients. He gave me a cute little case to carry my tooth home in. (The tooth was gross. You don’t want to see it.)
Being at the dentist is like riding in an airplane. Once they strap you in, everything is beyond your control so you might as well relax and make the best of it. So I was trying to be mature and independent. After all, that tooth had been bothering me on and off since high school, so I was well rid of it, yet I couldn’t help wishing my mommy was there holding my hand. The Happy Dentist said the tooth should pop right out. “Here we go. 3…2…1…(yank, yank) 2…1…(yank, yank)” (Eda whimpers.) “2…1…(yank) There we are!” I don’t think I’ve ever actually whimpered before.
The next day, I had a meeting and the client, who is a sweetheart, told me that basically they wanted me to do an impossible amount of work in an impossible amount of time. I am not exaggerating; she wanted 72 five to ten line monologs/dialogs written in ascending difficulty and according to strict grammar and vocabulary guidelines and could I please finish by 4:00 because she has another meeting to go to. It was 2:30.
I try to be professional and cooperative. If I wasn’t already suffering from chemical warfare in my brain, I might have laughed out loud, but my chin started to quiver, and I thought, “Oh, God. This is it. I’m going to lose it. I’m going to start sobbing right here in the office. Everyone will see me as an incompetent loser. I might as well become the bag lady that I am at heart. I will just collect my things and go sit on a bench in the park for the rest of eternity, birds nesting in my hair, dogs peeing on my ankles.”
Instead, I did carp face, opening and closing my mouth but not managing to say anything. In the end, we did as much as we could, which was most of it, but I’m not vouching for the quality.
And then it was back here to the computer slogging through the seemingly endless writing project. So I did this yesterday…
And tomorrow I’m going blueberry picking. I think that will help, too.
The world is a better place because of blueberries and bears.
People keep asking me what breed of cat Twitchy is. Hmmm. She’s clearly mostly Tabby, but while most Tabbies are a combination of grey/black or caramel/butterscotch stripes and spots, she’s got all of that. She is proving to be something of a food slut; maybe she’s greedy by nature and decided she wanted to be Everybreed.
Although the white highlights–tuxedo shirt (Shame on you, ma, calling that a ‘bib’!), elegant finger gloves, and creamy filling–are common, I don’t know where they came from. And then there’s clearly a bit of Abyssinian or Burmese or something else exotic tossed in there. I noticed that the markings on her face and the rings on the end of her tail are quite clear. She just gets kind of blurry in the middle, so we have decided that she is an Out-of-focus cat.