Sunday, January 28, 2018

Dabbling in Happy, Workout Grievance, Fire Cat

Since I strained my back badly on the elliptical yesterday trying to be all ambitious and healthy, and as a consequence spent most of the night lying stiffly in one position across a hot water bottle, I’ve decided that today I deserve to sit around and do nothing but dabble in that which makes me happy. Here’s a list:

1. Finishing my owl rug!

Which leads to happy-making thing number one and a half—anticipating an afternoon trip to Joanne’s, since I need material for edging it.

2. Learning how to make a Cross of St. Brigid, whose shrine I visited when I was in Ireland last year:

3. These two Irish music videos:


4. Listening to Pandora’s “Hawaiian Island Breeze” station and pretending I’m sipping  some sort of pink cocktail in an infinity pool in Maui, as the freezing cold Northwest wind and rain batters the windows.

That’s probably enough benign joy for one day. One mustn’t overdo it.

After enduring Buddy howl and launch himself against the sliding glass door repeatedly last night in attempt to get me to let him onto the deck, I think I finally figured out what’s wrong with him: He doesn’t have any sense of emotional self-regulation when it comes it comes to his wants and needs. Everything is a five-alarm fire with that cat. If he wants to go out on the deck, it’s not merely a passing, wistful desire, it’s a frenzied, all-encompassing urge that must be met with as much immediacy as possible. If he’s a little bit peckish, he doesn’t just whimper slightly and stare at his food dish, he shrieks like a banshee and parades around the kitchen pantomiming death throes (then takes two modest bites of the kibble I put down and stalks off.) If he’s bored and wants to play Feather, it’s a national emergency that involves increasingly shrill meowls until, to save our hearing and sanity, he inevitably gets his way. I don’t know if this is nature or nurture, but I’m trying to figure out if we did something to cultivate this sense of the dramatic in him. He was a bit of a mess when we first got him—he had food issues and bad separation anxiety—but we tried our best to make sure that we responded to his cues and that he felt safe and loved. Yet he still seems to feel that an epic fit is a prerequisite for getting even his mildest whim met. I love and accept him for who he is, but I must admit I enjoy him the most when he’s finally worn himself out with his own histrionics and collapses on the couch, all warm and soft and sleepy and vulnerable.

--Kristen McHenry

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