Joyful Pee

My cat loves his litterbox.

He enjoys going toilet more than most anyone or any creature I know.

Going for a pee or pooh is a theatrical production starring Sam.

He announces the upcoming performance with meows, then launches into a tear around the house at fifty miles per hour, skidding over floor, scattering rugs, upending anything standing, artwork and paperwork strewed.

He lands in the litterbox and rolls in it. He digs and digs. Rolls some more. Goes out for another run around the apartment. Rolls and digs some more.

And then finally, finally, relief!

Finished off of course with more digging (fortunately no more rolling!) and a finale of running around the house and rearranging all that you put back in place.

He has a lot more fun going to the bathroom than I do.

But I’m not about to run around the house and splash in the pool (my litterbox).

Threshold Philosophy

What I have found with any pursuit that there is a threshold you need to cross that will take you from amateur to expert. From failure to success.

Of course you say.

But my point is, you need to reach that threshold, and cross it, otherwise if you don’t persist to that juncture and stop for even a short period of time, you will have to start all over. From square one.

I mentioned this before in my Square One Rule, that you need endure a lot of practice to get to this precious threshold.

You can’t know where that line is unfortunately. It will just suddenly one day pop up.

Or not.

Sometimes you can struggle decades and not move one inch closer to success.

So when do you stop?

When you are no longer enjoying the pursuit, or more importantly, not getting anything from it. When you have exhausted all attempts to make it more challenging and you are not advancing one iota. When you have explored all aspects of it and nothing is happening. When you are no longer open to life and where it wants to go.

Not when friends and lovers say give up. Not when you are having a pity party and beat yourself up. If something truly matters to you, you won’t give up so easily.

But all practice can become dull. You have to decide if it’s dull because you’re not advancing, challenging yourself, or it just does not interest you any more. You have to be very careful in your assessment of that, because of the Square One Rule.

It may not mean abandoning it totally. Sometimes you just need to tweak it a bit. Find a different direction. Find something that gives you the same pleasure, in the same field, but doing things a bit differently.

For instance, to get a bit off topic, I knew someone who desperately wanted to be a pilot, but she had a problem with her eyes that could not be corrected. Had she spent some time figuring out what it was that she loved about being a pilot, she may have found something to satisfy that, within that industry. She need not abandon aeronautics just because one door was closed. There are thousands of positions in that field. She may have even found it was not airplanes that she loved but something else, like freedom, or technology or prestige. And those things can be found in many capacities.

Single minded purpose is good, but you need to be open to life, pay attention. Doors may open for you and you don’t see them. Allow your interests to evolve. One thing may lead you to something way more exciting and beyond. Sometimes life knows better than you about where you should be and what you should be doing.

Before a threshold appears many times you hit a plateau. These are tests to see how much you want to keep going forward. If you are going to exert the effort to cross a threshold.

I do like thresholds. They appear everywhere. In your career. Your creative pursuits. Your relationships.

I especially like crossing one. Then you have to find a new one.


There are still a few places in the world you can experience complete silence. You need not travel thousands of miles. I have been delighted to find a few places right in the city, in the outdoors, where sounds are effectively barricaded.

Unless you are with my Mother.

My Mom and I used to take weekend excursions to the country. Little day trips by car to the great outdoors where civilization was far behind in the rear view mirror.

One place I remember very well.

It was late summer and we were deep in some forest, on a road not travelled much. We stopped to stretch and enjoy the scenery.

It was dead quiet. Not a sound. Heaven.

We sat on a guard rail and just listened.

For about thirty seconds.

“It is so quiet here.” My Mom said. I agreed. “I really enjoy the quiet, don’t you? There is no quiet at home. I love it when it is so quiet…” and on and on and on.

“Mom, could you just be quiet for a few minutes so we can enjoy it?”

“Oh, yes of course! I am so sorry to have interrupted your enjoyment. I know that you must need a lot of quiet after your busy week….” and on and on and on. If I persisted to silence her she would get angry and hurt and, well it just wasn’t worth it.

Mom had to comment about everything.

I find this quite funny now, but at the time I was exasperated.

Mom loved to talk, and, I inherited that from her.

However, I can sit quiet for several hours to days.

The 25 Minute Rule

Our brains are like children, they can’t focus for long on one thing.

25 minutes is the maxium.

So any thing you pursue, from reading a book, to doing a craft, practicing a musical instrument, drawing, working, exercising, stop after 25 minutes.

Stop and move around. Look at something else. Shake your body. Get a change of scene. Go outside. Take a walk. Buy an ice cream. Drink a glass of water. Pet the cat. Do the dishes. Clean the litter box. Go pee.

I am so bad at doing this I have timers all over my house, all set for 25 minutes. I get so absorbed in my projects that hours can pass and then I hurt my brains. There aren’t too many of those precious cells left!

And what would be the point of doing something for hours and hours without a break? You want to prove that you’re an idiot? I know, there is something macho here, and I’ve been guilty of it myself. But I am older and wiser, okay? Your body and brain need a break.

If sex were still an issue, I would say maybe go a bit longer than 25 minutes, maybe less. Sorry guys, sex can get boring after that. I don’t vote for all that tantric stuff. Like my friend used to joke; want a sixty second romance? Got a minute?

No, I would not set the timer for sex. Although it’d be a good laugh.

The timer is to make sure you take a break, not set a record on how fast you can do something.


Many years ago in a job interview I was asked a question that pops up into my mind time to time. It demands I reexamine it.

It was a silly, but very dark question.

What makes this question very interesting is that this was for a job as church secretary.

“If the bathroom is consistently without paper towels, how would you reprimand the janitor?”

I was struck by the word reprimand. Coming from senior members of a church, concerning a fellow employee, it seemed, to put it mildly, quite harsh. Especially about paper towels.

At the time I remember saying that it was not my responsibility to reprimand another employee. In my eyes, I was not superior to the Janitor. I distinctly remember looking right at the Pastor when I said it. His mouth dropped open. The two others put their noses to their notes.

I said I would try to find other solutions to the problem, but they did not want to know what. They wanted me to slap this guy!

I would try to find out why the bathroom is without paper towels and not automatically assume it was the janitors fault. Then I would work out a solution with him, not berate the poor soul. Nor would I automatically go to his superiors. I mean really, paper towels?

In hindsight, it was not in my best interest to challenge a potential employer.

Over the years this same question keeps haunting me. I think because they did not want solutions, and that kind of irritates me.

They wanted a bad ass authoritarian who could absolve them of their responsibilities.

That whole interview was fraught with questions, probing for answers to current problems they were struggling with and weren’t solving because they lacked leadership. The place was rife with gossip and backstabbing. They interviewed me several times, they couldn’t make up their minds. In the end they said they wanted someone younger but with my experience.

Education Not Just for a Job

Pursuing higher education is not just about getting a better job or better pay, although, yes, it often does result in that.

It is not about the nice piece of paper you get to frame and hang on your wall or pull out when doubting Thomas’s say you couldn’t have possibly got a degree.

And it is not just about creating more opportunities, but yes, many more doors open.

Education is also not only courses, textbooks, certificates and honours.

And it is certainly more, way more, and should be more, than rote memorization of stuff.

It should be mind expanding.

I have met plenty of pretty stupid PhD’s. I mean, really stupid. They are not even good at what they doctored in. Narrow minded idiots who haven’t a lick of common sense. Or worse, snobs who like to smear their qualifications in your face like plate full of pooh with absolutely nothing to back up their claims of superiority.

Education, in its highest form is three fold. Experiences, critical thinking and doing what you love.

Experiences – You need to do things, try things, explore. Move outside your comfort zone. Be open. Learn from them.

Critical thinking – Oh, my, how badly we need thinking people! We have enough sheep. Enough cults. Enough celebrity worship. Ritual religion. People are asleep. The world has major big huge gigantic life threatening problems that need thinkers, solvers and doers! Not more idiots who give us more telephones, cars and jettison more crap into space hoping to colonize an inhospitable planet, professing to be geniuses because they are billionaires (oh there I go on an old rant!)

Do what you love – We already have a shit load of compassionless youngsters who became doctors and lawyers because of the money, man! When you pursue what you love, it’s like baking a cake with real butter and sugar. Becoming something just for money is trying to make delectable chocolate cake with only flour and water. Blah.

End of rant.

My 2 a.m. Self

There is a huge difference between my brain at 2 a.m. and at 2 p.m.

Sometimes at 2 a.m. I suddenly wake up to a world of worry. No matter what I do, I see worse case scenarios. Going broke. Getting ill. Dying alone. Losing everything. Good grief.

Why does my early before dawn self do that?

Knowing the type of person I am, it is just my brain trying hard to be prepared. I like to be organized, ahead of the curve. I loathe surprises, especially ones I could have easily prevented if I had of just being paying attention.

But good grief, I can’t solve it all!

I have a list of good things to think about when this happens to read over and over until I fall asleep. Sometimes I recreate my past into a more agreeable form, I rewrite history so that the 2 a.m. crisis doesn’t exist. A lot of work. But a whole lot better than throwing off the covers because I’m having a worry sweat. A worry sweat is closely related to a hot flash, same result, different reason.

Then, when the sun comes up and I’m still staring at the ceiling wondering what the heck just happened for the last 3 hours, life suddenly doesn’t look so bleak.

My Mother always said “Things will look better in the morning.”

This is so true.

Many times in my life I rehearse that and not just at night. Like when I’ve had compulsions, strange urgings, foreboding thoughts, cravings. I apply it any time I just can’t release myself from obsessive thoughts gone wrong.

At 2 p.m. I am my most blissful self, diametrically opposed to that 2 a.m. raving lunatic that thinks the world is ending right now.

What a difference 12 hours can make.

Sheer Terror

There comes a time in every cat owners life when they realize their cat knows more about them then they do themselves.

Sometimes I feel sheer terror when my cat looks at me.

Yes, I kind of fear those teeth and nails, the surprising strength of those jaws and paws.

But it is that look.

We don’t need to go looking for extraterrestrial aliens in outer space, we have them right here among us.

What could be more alien to us than our fellow creatures? They are so vastly different from us in every way, except for a bit of physiology and genetics. Isn’t it amazing that two creatures, take your pick; cats, horses, butterflies, fish, whatever, so incredibly different than us can bond to us?

Can know us?

They know us at a level and depth we don’t know ourselves.

We only know the surface; our busy lives, work, creations, knowledge, sex, food, emotions, opinions, politics, preferences, desires, experiences.

But there is something more. The cat sees it.

Getting Dressed

I was not required to be a fashionista in my former job, in fact, I got to wear the same type of clothes every single working day for the past 15 years. Scrubs.

It made my life enormously easy.

But how boring!

Last week I looked in my closest and saw the most delightful assemblage of neglected beautiful clothes that I seldom, if ever had a chance to wear.

Ditto for jewellery.

Another discovery during my covid at home stay – I have neglected my femininity.

Forgotten it completely, actually.

The first day I got dressed up in fancy clothes I remembered how good it feels. How nice it looks. That I am a woman. And it is a huge privilege.

Sometimes our jobs make us forget that we are more than slaves, robots or things in scrubs. Make us forget our selves. Make us dress and act for them.

But there has to be a time for us. When we can dress and be crazy, sexy, wild, shabby, extravagant, elegant or go naked. Load ourselves down with necklaces, rings, bracelets and pins until we look ridiculous. Have fun!

Clothes and accessories can be a creative expression of who you are. I forgot that I have a personality. That I am a lousy dresser. That I have purchased some pretty out there clothes, but also some expensive designer stuff.

That I am way over do for some new outfits.

Something Greater

Who are the people I admire most?

The ones who have dedicated their lives to something greater than themselves.

Like Kevin Richardson who fearlessly befriends lions. He has done much to help these creatures and enrich our knowledge of them.

Boyon Slat, who gave up his university education to rid our oceans and rivers of plastic.

Or the woman who removes hooks from sharks, Cristina Zenato.

There are so many others, people who rescue sea turtles, and all the private citizens who chance upon an animal in distress and help. Numerous You Tube videos on this. A new one every day.

But something is even more remarkable.

Those lions remember Kevin Richardson and are bonded to him.

Cristina’s sharks tell others that she can help them and they come to her.

A wounded bald eagle that was treated at a bird facility two years ago, returns to that facility for help when poisoned with lead.

A rescued pelican visits his rescuers daily.

Animals know our role on this earth better than we do.

And that is something greater than we can currently understand.