Reflections on Kitty Mothering & Life

The leaves in the trees right outside my apartment windows are finally beginning to change color, and this is reason nine-hundred and seventy-five that I am so grateful to live where I live, in this wonderful apartment, on the third floor. I love this place so much. I am so attached to this place that I even had a nightmare that I moved somewhere else in the city a few nights ago. It really shook me up.

I remember waiting nearly two weeks for all of my belongings to arrive, anxiety-ridden that my things had been lost forever. It was definitely a good lesson in attachment and patience, that’s for sure. Organically, everything came together in its natural place. I was lucky enough to score the couch of my dreams for a great deal (olive green with dark wooden legs, super comfy enough you almost want to sleep on it more than your own bed), kitchen table and chairs, side and coffee tables, and finally get another bookcase to get all of those millions of books off the floor (thanks Target clearance rack!). But, the most important piece of the puzzle of all? This little guy.

He is the one that has made my apartment into a home. He is who I come home to every time I leave. He is who I wake up every morning to freshen up his bowls full of food and water first thing, before anything else. He is who reaches his paws out to me, wanting to climb and be on my shoulders as much as humanly possible, never wanting to leave unless I set him down, sucking out all of the love he can possibly contain. He makes everything okay. He watches me do everything. He sits in every room I’m sitting in. He’ll sit at the opposite end of the dining table as I’m eating lunch and watch me, or hop onto the window sill. His favorite form of entertainment is pawing around a wadded up piece of receipt paper on the hardwood floors. Every morning, he’ll sit on my towel and warm it up for me, waiting until I get out of the shower. He’ll patiently let me trim his claws. He’ll give me daily morning (and sometimes night) head biscuits massages. YES. I feel, by far, the luckiest kitty momma ever.

I’ve always grown up with cats. There was always a cat in my stepmom/dad’s house, no matter what, it seemed. It all began when I was first introduced to my stepmom’s longhaired Siamese, Matisse, at the wee age of 4 or so. Matisse ran away, I believe, and several months later we adopted a brother and sister, Ely and Daisy. Ely was my stepmom’s, Daisy was mine. I can’t remember the exact details, but Daisy also ran away. Ely stayed the longest, and we then introduced a little orange scruffy kitten by the name of Chicken to Ely. Ely was the sweetest, most loyal, lackadaisical cat we had up until then. Then somewhere in there, after we lost Chicken (another runaway, although we suspected there was a kitty kidnapper in the hood), we got Giovanni, the Italian lover boy. He would lick your neck and make biscuits everywhere. (In many ways, Capistrano reminds me of a mix of Giovanni and Ely in one.) Can’t remember what happened to Giovanni, but when I was about 9 or so, I wanted to get another kitten and found Lillia at the pound, the other love of my life who’s still going at the lovely cat age of 14 (maybe even 15). Lilly was super skinny, had ear mites, and other pressing health issues that quickly went away, but the black polka dot on her light pink nose is what stole my heart away first thing. She’s been my family’s love bug ever since.

It’s funny, looking at pictures of her, even though it has only been 3 months since I left home, I hardly recognize her. I’m so used to having a little mini guy running around that I forget what it’s like to be around a fully mature adult cat. Throughout my preparations to leave my family’s nest, I had always imagined what life would be like without her. Will I not be there when she eventually passes? What time will be the last time that I get to kiss her little furry head? And that’s always a scary thought. It’s almost like she has already been dead to me, but maybe that’s just how it feels in order to cope in life without her.

Sometimes in order to cope with things you’ve lost in life, you replace them with something seemingly sufficient enough to fill that space. Sometimes that thing will evoke similar feelings and emotions that the previous possession was able to, and sometimes it’s different all around  (not necessarily better or worse though by any means). And sometimes you just have to move on. And in the words of Head & The Heart, “all things must end, darling”.

On a bit of a lighter note! Besides how stoked I am on the leaves steadily changing colors, I’m also pretty stoked on my new haircut. Nothing really new, I suppose, but there is always something to be said for how you feel after a cut, whether it’s drastically short and a completely new style, or just a trim. I’ve decided I’d finally like to start growing my hair out for once (never thought I’d say that! I’ve always been such a no-fuss short hair styled gal), mostly because I miss braiding! And not only that, there are so many inspiring up-do’s that I’ve stumbled upon via Pinterest. I am so grateful to have found a wonderful stylist who is less than one mile walking distance away from my apartment, thanks to the wonderful powers of friend networking! She always seems to know exactly what I’m asking for, truly listens, and has a vision in her mind that seamlessly matches mine. Thanks again, Robin!

My mom is coming up to visit for a few days next week. I am so thrilled! This is the longest I’ve gone without seeing her (3 months! yeah I’m working on it!), and will be her first time visiting Portland. Is it weird that now I have totally become one of those people that gets all excited about cleaning their place before someone comes to visit? I totally get it now! I mean, I’m always good about cleaning my apartment, but I’m especially excited to show it off, I suppose, and I want it to shine. Anyway, I have a little list going of places I have to take her. Bakery Bar is #1, of course, since it’s the closest and favoritest bakery near my apartment, and their scones are to die for. Voodoo. Screen Door brunch.Bailey’s Taproom. Tasty ‘n Sons. Walks down to the Willamette. Powell’s. Laurelhurst Park. Hawthorne. Multnomah Falls. Pix. Ice cream. Food Carts. Luce. McMenamin’s. Pumpkin beer tasting. Yeah! I’m stoked. But mostly excited for her to meet my kitty and boyfriend.

It’s funny, after I just wrote that sentence, it’s amazing to think I have this entirely new life up here, my own little nest, two boys that are very important in my life, and no one in my family has any idea of what it’s like. It’s a little bizarre when I start thinking about it, especially how my entire life up until now it seems my family has a visual and practical idea of nearly everything going on in my life. It’s different, that’s for sure.

Woodsman Tavern Market

In other news, Food + Wine magazine contacted me via Flickr a few days ago asking if they could use one of my photos for an upcoming article! I took some photos at the Tin Shed Garden Cafe several years ago on my first visit to Portland, and they wanted to use them because they’re featuring restaurants that are “dog friendly”, and not only did I take a picture of the exterior, but a dog sitting out on the patio also! How cool is that.

Also, I started a new challenge for myself: learning how to draw in 30 days. I checked this book out from the library and so far I’m on lesson 6! So far I’ve learned how to shade spheres, draw hollow cubes, and stack tables. It’s a great little motivating straight-forward book for anyone that wants to learn how to draw, especially in a non-classroom setting. I’d highly recommend it! This was me at day 3!

In the meantime, I’m going to go ahead and enjoy this, chasing the sweet things in life.

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