Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Calm in the Chaos

In all chaos there is a cosmos,
In all disorder, a secret order.
~Carl Jung

Multitasking yesterday, I put some organic cocoa and almond milk in the microwave for a nice Monday morning pick me up. Instead, a mess when I opened the microwave. I had to laugh, cuz, it's so me--exploding cocoa. And, I couldn't help but notice the beauty in the mess.

That got me thinking about the beauty in all the messy things of my life in the last what, 5 years? 10 years? More? Stepping away from timing, what I can see is a gradual acceptance of things that could be labeled as messy at first blush. Instead the profound artistic, purposeful or graceful facets are beginning to reveal themselves. 

And thanks to some faithful friends, both here and on the other side, I've learned how to smile at those things that are less than perfect. Embrace them really.

Thankfully, I had a miscalculation in my microwave timing. Without it, I'd have missed out on this photo.

And couldn't we all tell stories about how timing held us in place and then released us just at the right moment to experience exactly what we needed? Certainly the photo isn't that profound, but it did get me thinking beyond the usual Laura how could you be such a ditz? self ctiticism I typically unleash on myself.

I'll think about that as I sip today's cup, coming right up. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Gimme shelter

Oh, a storm is threat'ning

My very life today
If I don't get some shelter
Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away
~The Rolling Stones, Gimme Shelter

On Thursday, January 10 I attended Architects for Animals in New York City. What a great experience. Not just to see the very cool and innovative outdoor housing for feral cats on display, but to be in a roomful of people who really care about the welfare of ferals in this urban area.

Nat and I often feel alone in our crusade to help these beautiful beings. We know that we are not, but in our little corner of Jersey City, the plight is difficult. There are lots burdened with chemicals left behind decades ago. There's the remnants of the now mystical 111 building, with the out of commission Power House looming as the backdrop. There's abandoned and partially used warehouses. And lots of construction forthcoming. This is the neighborhood where our beloved ferals eat, play, sleep and roam.

We were delighted to meet several wonderful cat bloggers and advocates while at the event. They've renewed our hope that we can indeed connect across city and state lines, rivers, and other perceived barriers to rescue and place those kitties who are ready to come off the streets. For those who can't be domesticated, we are learning more about how to make their lives safe, comfortable and healthy as possible.

Thank you to Debbie of Glogirly.com for making virtual introductions! New friends, new adventures in cats and blogging....we wish you could have been with us!

Pictured, Left to Right: Carine, Texas, a cat in New YorkTracey and Kevin from Animal Shelter Volunteer Life; Layla from Cat Widsom 101 and next to me, Tamar from I Have Cat. (picture credit to Tamar--thank you!)

Natalie and I call ourselves PAD Paws. PAD is the nickname for the Powerhouse Arts District. Together, we've rescued and placed close to 20 cats from the neighborhood. Some are living in our apartments, others have transitioned to homes with friends or family. We continue to feed ferals on the streets, and I promise that our next rescue will be captured on video. I wish that we had pictures of the underbelly of my building when we rescued Manhattan in February of 2010; or of the 36 hour mission to get Bessie, Lulu and The Captain in July of 2011 from a hole in a warehouse. I am especially disappointed that we have no documentation of the last 6 rescues over the Thanksgiving holiday (Natalie carried those out with no help from me--so I easily could have been the videographer). 

Squeedunk will be undergoing a massive reconstruction. New look, some new concepts to tell the important stories. Coming soon...

And, probably my favorite design built by Barteluce Architects to fit a specific space and blend in, so no one would realize kitties use it for shelter:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Seven Days From Coffee

Yes, I did! I made it one full week without going to my drug dealer, Dunkin Donuts...

Let's not call this a New Year's Resolution, because it really isn't. I have only decided to give it up for now. Just for today, as they say in AA...

I have experienced more positive than negative withdrawal symptoms, although I did have a strong desire to walk over to my neighborhood corner DD and indulge on Sunday. I refrained. I feel better for it.

So now that I've saved $14, and some calories, what's next? Putting together another week, and $28 in savings. And so on, and so on...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Work from Home Wed

There are benefits and downfalls to every type of work situation. I really do like the notion of working from home: save money and time commuting, spend much less money on eating out for lunch, manage my day as I like. But the best part for me is having my cats surround me as I work.

Coco likes me to bring one of her beds and place it beside my chair. She'll sleep next to me for hours. Valentina will sit on my chair with me, sometimes on my lap and sometimes nestled behind me. Before she actually settles in though, I scratch her, she purrs and gives me little love bites. Manhattan likes it if I pull a small flokati under my feet where she can curl up.

Because Bessie and Lulu are not able to gain access to the whole apartment, (border patrol forbids it), they will sometimes lay out beside my bed, and on occasion try to make it past the couch because they know everyone else is near me, asleep. I am encouraged that they are getting brave again and I need to do more to help expand their zone.

What I don't like about working from home is feeling isolated--I have a strong need to socialize with people, and to collaborate on work. My discipline suffers at times. But, I'm getting better. And there will be a lot of complaining whenever I do end up back in an office, unless they institute a Bring Your Five Cats to Work day.

Here's to productivity and purrs!

Manhattan after spilling the entire tub of cat nip, while Valentina watches...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I have been reading posts and articles all referencing new year's resolutions. And allegedly our government has been seeking resolution to a fiscal crisis (let's not go down the path of debating who is or isn't doing what).

One definition of resolve is to come to a definitive or earnest decision about; determine.

As we've seen, I've made numerous seemingly conclusive decisions throughout 2012, and rarely activated any of them. Where I did (this blog for example), I wavered in my commitment.

Rather than start the year with a list of resolutions, I'm going to approach 2013 with a clean white board. That's not to say I don't have some things in mind that I'd like to accomplish. But I am not interested in setting time limits any longer. If I look back over the last 4.5 years, so much of my personal disappointment rests with giving myself a deadline or saying that if something does or doesn't happen by a specific date, then an subsequent action must be set into motion. It's been incredibly limiting and in turn has served to put me in that self critical mode where all I see are my perceived failures.

I do believe strongly that there is a call that I'm missing. I'm not hearing the words or the signal isn't coming in clearly...I'm working on it...

So here are a few things that went well in 2012:
1) I've reconnected with more childhood friends and stayed current with many other friends via Facebook and LinkedIn. In every instance, it's been a value add.
2) I worked with then befriended a fantastic and bright person on one of my assignments; I know we have a great future ahead as friends and colleagues.
3) Started off the year feeling overwhelmed with 5 cats and now have relaxed into living among all of them. I've learned a lot working with a cat behaviorist and watching My Cat From Hell. I suppose it's my form of parenting.
4) I've read more books.
5) I started this blog.
5) I'm learning what gratitude really means.

There's more. For now, this will do.

Peek-a-boo 2013. I see you... Valentina