the life and times of owning pets, and the reason i renamed my cats

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long ago, probably about five, six, maybe seven, eight years ago brad announced he knew someone, or talked to them in passing, or something, and mentioned that the person had told him about a cute, little, itty-bitty, barely-born, newly-arrived kitten.

he wondered if he could have it.

hum.

i have forever been opposed to pets because kids tend to think all they have to do is pretty much nothing. just occasionally (operative word here) engage with their newly obtained hobby. goldfish died due to an overload of food. while on the other hand, hamsters starved to death.

for me, it was too much to handle. little kids running around asking mommy this, mommy that, mommy, mommy mommy, which caused me to forget there was a pet in the house. i had tunnel vision. hence, supervised kids. unsupervised critters.

which meant no more pets. no. never. not on my watch.

until brad showed me, and roberto (a huge pet advocate), an adorable photo of the kitten he had mentioned. he caught me off guard. sly kid. the kitten’s big green eyes and fluffy fur was hard to resist, for all of us, apparently. please, please, please they both whispered, hands clasped into steeples, prayer-mode.

ok, i said.

say what? what did i say? i asked myself.

really?! they both screamed.

really, i mumbled.

as they were walking out the front door, i said, bring home two. (again, what the heck was going on with me?)

two? you sure?

yeah, you know, to play together.

within the hour they brought home Cassandra and Skyler (named later that afternoon by the boys). fraternal twins. one black, one multicolored. both with green eyes.

i was smitten.

still am.

roberto recently moved out and brad is a busy 17 year old. both engaged elsewhere, most of the time. so, aside from brad allowing them to sleep in his room, the girls belong to me. i tend to them 99% of the time, and i even renamed them. (the kids don’t know this, they’d probably think i’ve gone bonkers, but oh well, a caretaker’s got to do what a caretaker’s got to do, right?)

cassandra’s now-name is chicka-chicka-boom-boom (which, ironically, is the title of an adorable kid’s book about the lower case letters of the alphabet climbing a tree, thinking they know what’s what) because of her diva personality and i refer to skyler as skitter. so sweet, yet so nervous. she has never been able to fully relax.

ah, there she is. I can hear chicka-chicka-boom-boom’s deep guttural mew call me.  she wants in the house for a quick nibble of chow and a full-on vigorous back rub. she likes her cheeks gently caressed as well.

spoiled. i know.

 

Admitting You’re in LOVE has to Begin Somewhere

love note 1984

“I’m hungry,” Rudy confessed when he saw me looking at the few slices of the least-expensive white not the most nutritious bread he could find and a half-empty can of bean dip.

We went out to eat, my treat.

The next day I brought him a bowl – well, a thermos full, really – of hot Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup and some toasted, buttered bread.

Rudy was living in a by the day, week, or month motel room. Number 19. It was all he could afford. Ironically, the Vagabond was located just down the street from Disneyland – The Happiest Place On Earth. Rudy wasn’t feeling too happy during those days. Life was hard and trying to make ends meet wasn’t an easy task for a 21-year-old foreigner. He just wanted to be part of the American Dream.

Doesn’t everyone?

When we first met, before his motel days, Rudy was living with a group of buddies in a three-bedroom apartment. Life was fine. Partying like young guys do, just living it up. One day at a time.

We had been dating for about a month when I stopped by to check in on him because he’d mentioned he was feeling sick. Sick enough that he did not even want to get off the couch, which was so unusual for Rudy. This guy would never just lie on the couch just because he could. Never.

His roommates were gone for the day, which was good because I could take care of him. In a sappy girly way. I put a pillow under his head. Made him tea and toast – good stuff when you don’t feel like eating. Which Rudy didn’t. Eat. He was feverish. I wiped his brow with a cool cloth. He slept. He woke. He dozed some more.

What amazed me though was that when Rudy did wake after a short snooze he was determined to go to work. He needed the pay. Seriously. He would literally sit up. As straight as he could. Then he would struggle to stand. He couldn’t. He was too weak. I convinced him to relax. He needed time to recuperate. I even offered to call his job site, tell them he wasn’t feeling well. And after much convincing, he allowed me to call in his excuse for not showing up to the local Holiday Inn where he worked as a dishwasher, mostly, but helped the chef whenever he could.

Another time, a few weeks or so later, we were sitting on the patio, a small square of cement surrounded by a wood-slated fence, when Rudy began pacing back and forth. I figured something was up because his behavior was again! unusual. “I need to ask you something. I just don’t know how,” he stated rather bluntly, yet with concern. “Anything. Ask me anything,” I honestly answered.

“Oh, this is so hard. But I don’t know who else to ask. Well, I was just wondering if you had any money I could borrow. Just twenty bucks. I do not have a penny to my name…..” He tried to continue. Telling me he was sorry, that he shouldn’t be asking. “No problem,” I said. And I meant it. I knew he really did need the help. I pulled a twenty out of my purse and passed it to Rudy. He just hugged me, not sure what to say. That evening, I’m sure, a bond tightened. A bond we were already developing between us.

It was several months later, after the 20 bucks situation, when I saw the bread and beans in the motel room. By this point I knew how hard it’d been for Rudy, trying to prosper. I had been there with him, when things began to look bleak. The same evening I brought him the chicken noodle soup we decided to take a walk. A walk to the Anaheim Hilton. The hotel had become a place to stroll, to just find some kind of quietness for us. To talk. To get to know each other. We just talked and walked through the lovely hotel.

That particular night, a mid-December night, we had been talking about how most likely Rudy would need to return to his homeland. To Honduras. He just wasn’t seeing a future for himself in the states, particularly in expensive California. As we were talking, and walking very slowly, a what are we going to do? walk, we found ourselves in a small room with tables, note paper and pens. I didn’t think, I just wrote.

I handed the note to him, unembarrassed. Rudy accepted it.

What I didn’t realize was that right after he read my short love note his thoughts began to change. He now had a reason. A reason not to leave. A reason to keep trying, to make a life for himself. And I was the biggest part of that reason.

We embraced. Rudy smiled at me. I smiled back. I sensed something had happened. Did Rudy feel like I did? We had never talked about love before. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t need to. I knew, right then, that he loved me, too.

Relationships all begin somewhere. Ours began in Orange County, CA. In 1984.

Brick House

If your foundation is faulty, lacking attention, and unable to hold up the building blocks of a Brick House, hearty winds just might blow it away. If there are cracks in your foundation you can surmise that your home may simply waver, waiting for you to put some effort into fixing, repairing, willing your home to maintain its stance. But, the best house of all is one with a foundation that began as a solid, durable, unbreakable commitment, knowing you, and everyone else in your Brick House, will do everything to hold it in place, and that nothing can destroy what you’ve worked so hard to accomplish.

My family is my Brick House. At times it’s been faulty, some days our house has wavered, but mostly my family and I have been living on solid ground.  ∏

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the beach

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the beach

spiritual
calm, soothing, serene

the beach

warm sandy surf blending with cool ocean blue

the beach

fresh, salty air
pristine sun-soaked sky

the beach

mind, body, and soul
renewed

 

k.i.s.s.i.n.g.

man_womankissing
He drew her to him.
She hesitated for only a second.
Then followed his lead, pressing herself enticingly against him.

She raised her eyes, looked at him.
He gazed back at her.
As his fingers gently combed her hair.

Her eyes closed.
Felt his hand lift her chin, bringing her glossed lips up, touching his.
Warm breath drawing them closer.

She felt his tongue.
As it skillfully lured its way into her mouth.
Gliding over her silky smooth teeth.

She responded.
Invitingly.

He pressed against her.
His excitement rising, intensely.
She followed his rhythm with equal passion..

He grasped the sides of her face.
Firmly.
Fingers entwined in her wavy locks.

They kissed.
Seductively.
Heated.
Like there was no tomorrow.

Yet.

They wanted to savor the moment.
Savor each other.

So.

They began to slow down.
Touching lip to lip.
Tenderly.

As they fell in love once again.
With another kiss.

Another passionate kiss.

To last a lifetime.

ostracize

True story. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

2girlsarguing

Abby was a nice girl gone sort of mean. And uncaring. Not intentionally but because her best friend lied to her. Abby had money. Money she had been saving to use toward an investment in a new purse. But. Her best friend took it. Anna took the money. And ran. When Abby asked her friend about it. Did she know what happened to it? Anna just said no.

But, then along came another friend. Not the best one, but the Second Runner Up, and she said that Anna did indeed take the money. Second Runner Up friend saw her reach in and take it. Take it and shove it into her front pocket.

Anna cried. Said no I didn’t. But Abby didn’t believe her. She believed her best friend just lied. To her face. And that made her angry.

So she started to hang out with Second Runner Up. Spent time talking with her. Telling her how much she didn’t like Anna anymore. That she didn’t trust her.

Abby and Second Runner Up told everyone. And everyone told everyone. So now, everyone didn’t want to talk to Anna. Anymore. They didn’t trust her.

So, Anna sat alone. And as she pulled the stolen money from her pocket she wondered if she’d be someone’s best friend. Again. Some day. Soon.

He Likes Me and I Like Him

rudy:me wedding day
Our wedding day was a simple one. We were wed in a two-story Victorian house. As my maid-of-honor, wearing a forest green knee-length dress, walked down the stairs, she was greeted by seventy-five guests. When the piano player played the “Wedding March”, or more often known by its lyrics ‘Here Comes the Bride…” I, too, walked down the stairs in a traditional white gown wearing a veil, a string of pearls, and holding a small bouquet of flowers. I was greeted by my dad. He walked me to the front of the room, giving me away to Rudy, who, I must say, was looking quite dapper in his black suit and red tie. Rudy’s best-man stood to his right, also wearing a black suit, and my maid-of-honor stood to my left. Our bilingual priest stood in the front, facing us, centered. When the ceremony ended, the small crowd was encouraged to eat the buffet-style food and to simply enjoy themselves. In the most relaxing way.

When Rudy proposed to me, it really was just a question intertwined among the many things we were discussing. Kind of like, “How was your day?” “Fine.” “You want to get married?” “Yeah.” As simple as that. Within three months of that should-be-heavyquestion, we were married. We’ve never looked back. Our decision was our own. So easy. So simple. So us.

When our wedding day ended, when we woke up as a married couple the next morning, we knew that our relationship, our lifetime together, was truly beginning right then and there. For us, it wasn’t about the ceremony but rather about what lay ahead. Good times, and difficult ones, too. Of course, we could only imagine what great times we would have, but there was no way we even discussed any not-so-great times. Why bother when we didn’t know what was in store for us? All we knew for sure was that we both loved each other, and just as important Rudy really liked me (and still does) and that I really liked him (and still do). Loving each other seems obvious but, what we know now is that liking each other is what has cemented our relationship.

Years and years after our wedding day, Rudy and I were walking along, hand-in-hand, when he said to me, “I love you. You are so good for me. You make my life so much better. Without you… I don’t want to think about it.” I responded simply with, “I love you, too, Rud.” Then he continued. “What is really cool, though, is not only do I love you, but I really like you, a lot! I think you are an awesome person. I like the kind of wife you are. The kind of mother you are. I just like you!” I hugged him, hugged him tight. “I really like  you too, Rud.”