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.

You Suck (The Square One Rule)

There is nothing quite like being a novice.

Humbling experience.

Take a look at my early art beginnings and see what I mean. While doing them I was hysterically laughing, wondering how I could be so bad at this.

I suck.

I’m a bit better at animals.

I’m improving?

Well, eventually you get to this which is only slightly better but not so cringeworthy.

We’re not quite there…

But here is what I learned.

The Square One Rule.

If you persist beyond your suckiness, and become proficient, develop your own style, focus on your strengths, then you will never go back to square one. If you neglect your new found ability for a few years you might be rusty but it will come back quickly once you revisit it.

But if you abandon your new venture after only one session, have long intervals between practice, then each time you go back, you’ll be at square one and never get beyond that.

Practice sucks, but pays huge dividends. Pay off quietly sneaks up on you. Something like investing $5 into your bank account every day. Next thing you know, you have savings! Or doing one push up a day. Next thing you know, you’ve got muscles and a hot body!

I encourage you, that whatever it is that you are trying as a complete suck, keep at it, because you will get better, you will become proficient and you will never have to completely suck again.

The bad news is, sometimes you will always suck at something, no matter how hard you try. Do not despair. There are plenty of things to try and be bad at, and then in the future be an expert at. We can’t excel at everything! That wouldn’t be fun or fair.

There was only one Leonard Da Vinci, don’t get cocky! Some of us are able to draw realistically. Some of us cartoons. Others caricatures. Or wacked out like a Picasso. Surreal like Dali. If you keep at it, you’ll find it. So you can’t draw people, or animals, or like me, buildings, so what? Or you just can’t draw at all. I used to bemoan this, but acceptance works better.

There have been many talented people who wanted to be something other than what they excelled at, and this is a mistake. Noble, who drew the backgrounds for Wile E Coyote and Marvin the Martian longed to be a fine artist. Leonard Da Vinci regretted that he spent so much time on science he neglected his art (and we do too, as he left behind many unfinished masterpieces).

But I digress here.

I cannot for the life of me play the piano (yet) with two hands. It is hard to blend bass scale with treble. I forget where the notes are, I mix up notes. My left and right hand argue a lot. I put note stickers on the keys. But still, I suck.

I’ve never mastered the flute beyond a few bars of Ode to Joy, or the basic scale, or page 6 in my instruction book, and I probably never will. But so what? I have fun making some squeaks. I have resumed practicing every day because I learned the ‘going back to square one’ rule. I continue to try to push myself beyond where I am because you never know. Many many times the song I follow with a toot toot toot suddenly, magically, becomes a tune. But I will never be an Ian Anderson.

The same principle applies to all endeavors. Suddenly! Suddenly there is a real face you’ve drawn. A scarf you’ve knitted. A cake you baked. A new language you can understand. A degree. Moonlight Sonata on the piano.

Keep at it.

Maybe you are our next genius.

You suck.


Us older women have a thing about hands.

We can improve our looks with makeup. We can dye away the grey hair. We can hide our bat wings with long sleeves. We can smooth out the lumps and bumps with the proper clothes.

But we can’t hide our hands.

And our hands won’t hide our age.

I look at my hands and I see something else beyond my age.

These hands wiped away tears and sweat. They cradled delicate beings and moved heavy furniture. They loved and they punched. With them I created beautiful things and destroyed the ugly.

They express my every emotion while I talk. They cook, they clean, they endure a lot of punishment. I’ve cut them with paper, knife, saw and razor blade. Chewed off their nails and cuticles. They’ve been immersed in some terrifying chemicals, and turned soil in gardens and pots.

Fingers have danced across typewriters, keyboards and musical instruments. I’ve strangled and discoloured them with jewellery. Broken blood vessels while boxing. Sprained them when falling. Overused them until they hurt. Slammed fingers in drawers and doors. I’ve smashed them with hammers, pierced them with nails, pins and needles.

They have rescued me.

They have enabled me to do the impossible, make dreams become reality, comfort and love the unlovable.

They have been in every orifice of my body, know every ounce of my skin. They scratch and rub and soothe.

I look at them and see a life lived.

Seldom do they complain.

Except when the weather is cold and damp.