Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Where there is a Will...

For some days now, I've been researching various alternatives for the furry friends should something happen to me. Why? Because my Will is out-of-date. The first, drafted almost eighteen years ago, left my three cats to a single friend then living in Florida. That friend, now happily married and living abroad, can no longer take them. Additionally, no-one else here can either, it seems.

 All of my animal-loving friends have no room, my nearest cousin has three dogs and there is no other individual I would trust with with them. Though animal charities exist and some offer lifetime care, these options can be expensive. The thought of two elderly felines languishing in a cage, their fates uncertain, fills me with both dread and indescribable guilt. Because of their ages, they would likely end up euthanized. Their vet has said they can come to the neighborhood cat hospital while efforts are made to re-home them, but there is no guarantee that this will occur.

Add to this that both of these cats adore me and have been unstinting in their affection, guarding, playing and sleeping not with but on my person, and I am as upset at the possibility of leaving them without a home as I am at the prospect of either predeceasing me, a far more likely scenario. I have been chastised for overthinking this, but Wills bring up all sorts of issues and emotions, so how does one avoid that trap?

Apart from animal anxiety, hormonal changes and night sweats have been disrupting my beauty sleep to the point that even my nocturnal kitty committee are annoyed. The alternatives there aren't appealing, either.

Until Next Time...

Friday, May 13, 2016

Relaxing Thoughts...

An old post for your enjoyment. Have a great weekend!

Photo originally by M. Crane 2008
Used by permission

Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.
~Victor Hugo

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Pitfalls of Being A Minimalist...

As an adult, I've always lived in small spaces. Combined with my penchant for orderliness, they were all always tidy as well. Even as a child, the spaces my family and I inhabited were probably no larger than 1200 square feet inside, and most were probably a bit smaller. In our last kitchen, for example, it was entirely possible to stir a pot on one side of the room while rinsing a dish in the sink on the other. The open concept everyone on reality television seems to crave? Forget about it. We had an open living room with an L shape that culminated in a small dining area.

 At the other end, this gave way to a narrow hall off of which were two bedrooms on one side and two side-by-side bathrooms on the other. The government-built house was concrete block with a carport and generous yard, side, front and back. We had trees, hedges, flowers and fruit. My mother planted roses, peppers and papayas. At one point, we even had a pineapple or two. It was there that I learned to love the scent of gardenias.

  As a teen, my room became a refuge, a place to read, study, contemplate and escape. Small, its tiles were battleship gray. With barely the space for a twin bed, tiny desk and a battered dresser left  over from earliest childhood, my Dad put shelving on the wall to hold books and other items while a fish tank and portable television adorned the dresser top. An old toy chest served as the home of a stereo that came the year or so before I left home. Had there been space for a small refrigerator, I doubt either parent would have seen me. More than a few roiling arguments at the dinner table might have been prevented, too. Originally gray, my mother and I and a friend eventually painted this room a much more cheery yellow. After moving house four times before the age of ten, I was glad to put a stamp upon something of my own. The eight years that I lived in that house were, until adulthood, the longest period I remained in one place.

My college years saw me move from dorm to dorm to apartment and back again, with visits to my then-widowed mother's residence growing less frequent. Along the way, I was treated to  a litany of complaints over the four boxes of books I insisted on keeping, along with a large suitcase and a footlocker, circa 1942, that had once belonged to my Dad. After living in a bedroom, my move to a 450 square foot apartment, all my own, felt expansive, if not luxurious. Friends gave me a bed, some dishes and other small items and my mother shipped me towels and essentials, all cleared from her kitchen. Other than clothing, a portable television and a small computer, this was it.  I adopted my first cat, and went to work at whatever job I could find while setting myself up as a freelance writer and editor.

My eight-year stint in that apartment, and all of the ups and downs that went with it,  taught me a great deal. Money was tight, but I saved. During evening shifts and after classes, I read everything the local library had about women and personal finance. When things took an unexpected downturn, I worked two part-time jobs until one employer closed completely, then took seasonal work. It was then that I read of the movement toward greater simplicity that many were embracing. While I noted that several authors had both the money and time to do this, it was not lost on me that certain elements made sense both individually and collectively. Though the Internet and social media as we understand them now did not yet exist, discussion groups sprung up in libraries, meeting rooms, bookstores and other neighborhood haunts. Blogging remained on the horizon and climate change was years away from mass media radar. I began to understand minimalism not as a form of deprivation but as a choice based upon priorities as well as

Born to a woman who once wore a tee-shirt with the slogan, "Shop till You Drop," emblazoned across her chest and who followed this bit of advice assiduously, I felt out of place when others would discuss their latest "finds." I've always hated malls and unless in search of something specific, tend to avoid retail establishments entirely. My achilles heel? Books. Fortunately, libraries abound where I live, as does a good used book store. My dislike of clutter and living in just over 700 feet of space in the last seventeen years    mean that I regularly weed closet, shelves, pantry and drawers. Since getting my chair, a bit of extra space anywhere has become not only a management issue but an important navigational asset, something few people seem to think about from what I've seen. I'm happily able to say at this point that there is less coming in as well as less to go out. The
only downside? Misunderstanding as in the friend who recently demanded to know whether my latest efforts which culminated in the departure of a small chest, an old bedside table, a small bag of odds and ends and a box of books to be given to the library friends group meant that I aspired to do myself harm or shuffle off this mortal coil.

Startled, I paused long enough to remember that this person lives in a house with much more closet space, square footage and garage and office space once dominated with the accoutrements that come with four males, three of whom grew up in the house. I didn't bother asking her if she had ever heard of the concept of Spring cleaning nor mention that
another friend who also raised sons is just as anti-clutter and tidy as I have become. To
each their own, as the saying goes. There are many things in my small space that I love and find useful. Life, however, is not about what I own or what owns me.
Until Next Time...