It’s Cold

I know, I know—by now this is an old story.  But dang it. I just want warmth. No more being cold; no more wearing layers, even if it helps hide my “winter fat” that I wisely put on this past fall. Okay, lazily put on, but it’s still there.

My dog, Annie (Rottweiler-mix), loves to go outside, but I have to watch her closely through the window because like any child she doesn’t know enough to come in when she’s cold. I have to watch for her to systematically lift her paws because they are too cold.

Three cats live us. They are indoor/outdoor cats. At least they used to be. In this cold they are now indoor/indoor. I have a heated house for the back porch and a heated water bowl. An animal is using them, but none of our cats are! (I fear it’s Dan the Possum. My daughter is hoping it is.)

The cats, for the most part, aren’t that much of a nuisance. Our oldest and grumpiest cat, Martin, has reached an impasse with Annie and he only growls and hisses occasionally at her. (Annie will be two this spring, is about 70 pounds, and has no idea that she is big or that any cat in the world might not love her!)

The only time I have an issue with the cats is when my girls go to their dad’s house. My youngest is a cat magnet. When she’s not at my home, I become the substitute for their attention. This means I have all three of them sleeping on my bed. I use the term “sleeping” very loosely. They sleep, then around 2:30 a.m. the two kittens feel it’s playtime. That, in turn, wakes Annie who runs around the bed trying join them. This hullabaloo usually irritates Martin so he mews, growls, and hisses on his way to my chair. After the children decide playtime is done they both gather at my head, begging to get under my blankets. After about 15 minutes they are begging to get out from under the blankets, to venture as far as my face. They love my face. At 3:30 in the morning.

Martin, Luna (grey, mouth open), and Mattie (black, back to us)

Martin, Luna (grey, mouth open), and Mattie (black, back to us)

Today is February 23. Only 24 days until spring. Only 24 days until I have outdoor/indoor cats again.

Accidental Happiness

I put a lot on my “resolution” plate for this new year. Some of the things on my list were thoughtful entries—health and faith. Some things were happenstance—stopping prescription medications (my five-year date is in April and will signify a completed post-cancer regiment). One unplanned resolution contributing a great deal to my current level of happiness came about in a fit of frustration and hurt.

My background is this: I am a people-pleaser. I will often put my comfort level on a back burner so situations that involve you and me will go smoother for you. It leads to a great deal of stress and unhappiness on my end, but if you’re happy then it is worth it. Or so I thought. I truly felt that if there were stress, I would absorb it so that you could be happy and content, and then I would be happy eventually. What I didn’t realize or acknowledge is that I was not eventually happy. I carried that burden for us and simply buried it. I had headaches, a stiff neck, and sleepless nights. I just brushed it off to aging.

I have gotten well-intentioned advice to remove toxic people from my life. I just wasn’t sure who they were or how to go about it. When your method is to only see good and to always boost others you begin to not be able to identify negative people. I’ve been encouraged to cut ties, block via social media, or otherwise disengage with people who fit the category of negative; those people who drain the happy from me and leave me with their emotional residue.

I was at a loss to remedy this for nigh on 49 years. The catalyst to change this was initiated for me: I was unceremoniously removed from a contact online who was rather paramount to my whole family. Me! Someone removed me!—and my whole family,  to boot! I was infuriated. I was hurt. I was confused. I was relieved. Wait. What? Ahh, no more pretense. Mmmm, this was nice. I mean, I processed the rejection part but when the dust settled, I was … happy. I had delayed decisions that might be best for my family and this person hurried my changes. I sort of reveled in a new layer of peace I was unfamiliar with and I liked it. I took it a step further. I did some serious thinking and evaluating. I played back interactions that I had, or was still having, with a few people and whether or not I was receiving anything positive from them. Not that it was making me happy—my happiness is my job. But even in the midst of negative situations, there can be something positive. So I asked myself, “Am I learning? Do I feel better after interacting? Did I have a healthy engagement with this person?” If I could answer yes, great—life was proceeding well and things could be or were on an even keel. If I said no, I evaluated their merit in my life. Granted, I am not at that emotionally secure yet, so these people are in my life still, but I limit their negative actions on my life.  And I am sleeping a whole lot better.