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The Time in the Space

I have a pretty big place where I live. Almost 1,800 square feet. That may seem small to many, but to a girl who used to live by herself, that is a lot of space. 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths plus a garage (which is now the computer lab and workout space). My nephew, sister and I all have own own space. We all have our own space to go to when we need. I have always lived in places like this. Where I had my own space, and anyone who stayed with me had their own space too.

My boyfriend has a wonderful place. I love staying with him because his place is warm, comfortable, beautiful and intimate. He has a great house that is like an efficiency – it has a bedroom with his wonderful comfortable king size bed, a kitchen with beautiful custom cedar counters he with his own hands, a laundry area and a bathroom with the best jacuzzi tub ever made. Walls, ceiling and floors that are of wood, laid with his strong hands, exactly in their place. And there is no place to hide.

I have always had a bit of trouble being vulnerable, being intimate, letting someone into my space and knowing how to be close. And here is my boyfriend, when I stay with him, in a place where I cannot hide. I cannot hide when i am feeling lost. I cannot hide when I am feeling fluffy and bloated. i cannot hide when I am board, or aggravated, or happy, or sleepy, or hungry, or thirsty. I cannot hide when I have to use the bathroom, or am cold, or am feeling insecure.

The time in his space, forces me to be intimate. And I love it. I find that in his space, where I cannot hide, where I am naked, where I am bare, is the place where I run when I need refuge. This place, warm, solid, warm, dark and sensual, is where I go to be protected, held and comforted. Yes, the time in this space, his space, has taught me a great deal. About myself, about intimacy, about sharing, about life and about him.

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Life is Messy

Looking at my house, it’s a mess, to put it nicely.  The dishes are stacked up in the kitchen sink and counter. There are glasses everywhere – on the kitchens table, on the counters, the coffee table, the outside tables, in the garden, in my bedroom, my sister’s and nephew’s bedrooms, and I think I saw one even in the laundry room.

My clothes are everywhere in my room and bathroom. The bathrooms need to be cleaned. The entire house needs to be dusted, wiped off and organized. And vacuumed. And mopped.  There are tufts of cat hair. And dust bunnies.

Oh, yes, the house is a mess.

But that’s what happens when you have a life that makes you feel happy, loved, safe and ready to walk on the clouds.

Life has been wonderful. Mom and Dad came up for a great visit. The family talked, drank wine, ate snacks, laughed and had a great time out on the patio by the garden. The next morning there was coffee to drink and breakfast to eat. There was rushing to leave for work and doctor’s appointments. There were hugs and smiles, plans of when they were coming up again.

And then there are the visits to see him, the man who makes me smile. There is waking up next to him, warm, cozy, safe. It is fun to enjoy those wonderful moments. Getting to know him, talking, laughing and learning. Seeing his life, in his world. Sharing and breathing.

Life is messy. In the best moments, when you are busy living, it can get messy, dusty, dirty….and happy. And my messy house is a sign of a happy life.

 

 

The Fuzzy Life

So I have a big “S” on my forehead. Especially when it comes to anything cute and furry. One of my best friends has run and animal rescue group for almost 2 years. And for the first year I was really good – I helped out with money donations, would always be available to promote special needs animals and provided a safe place for her to vent when things got overwhelming for her. I never once took in an animal.

And then…I agreed to foster two feral cats. Well, they were kind of feral as in they didn’t hate humans and might be friendly at some point, but who didn’t trust humans enough to actually be friendly. What does it take to tame a cat? A lot of time, patience and yummy food treats.

Then my friend showed me the two “bottle babies.” Bottle babies are baby cats that have lost their mother but are not old enough to be weaned, so you have to feed them from the a bottle. She mentioned that she had no place for them to go and was not sure what she was going to do with them. Oh yes, my friend is a master.

And I am a sucker for anything cute and fuzzy. And these fuzzy babies are adorable wrapped up in an extra layer of cute. I mean you just want to eat them with a spoon they are so cute!  One look at them and that was it…I heard it. You know, that sound when you get completely sucked into something? Yep.

So every 3-4 hours my family and I (because yes, everyone is involved in it at this point) feed them. And any friends who come in the house are expected to help feed and cuddle them too. They meow and play, then eat and play, then rest and play, then play and play. They are learning how to run, well, actually waddle at fast speeds, tumble, wrestle with each other, jump and scoot around backwards.  They have big round full bellies, the cutest little noses and eyes that close in happiness when they eat. They have learned to purr, and do so frequently when snuggling after eating.

They love to nuzzle around in long hair. They love to run under the coffee table where we cannot get them. They love to sniff my other cats, who are not quite sure what to make of these mini-cats. They are a joy to watch and they do not have to do anything but exist to be adored. You  cannot hold one of them without falling in love with them. And one day soon, they will make wonderful pets.

And so right now, my life is completely full of family and cats. My sister and nephew living with me, my two furry babies that I own, the two no-longer0feral cats, and the two bottle babies. And while I do enjoy having the extra furry love, I am looking forward to when they are all adopted out and we get back to a two cat home!

If you want to save a life, adopt a rescue pet, or agree to foster! It’s worth the time and effort.

A Wedding

She and I met when we were in junior high school and fast became best friends. Shortly after 8th grade, her family was stationed in Germany, but we wrote faithfully to each other during those 3.5 years. We sent pictures, cards and shared almost every aspect of our lives. She event spent a few summers with my family and dated one of my other best friends I grew up with.

Senior year she was stationed back on our little town and we were beyond happy. best friends reunited for senior year of high school. And we got into so much trouble. There wasn’t a single adventure or mishap I had we lived in the same town that she was not a part of. From getting kicked out of the city library, to getting booked by the mobile bookmobile, to helping my high school sweat heart knock on my window one night, to rolling each others house, we were tied at the hip. Then there was the bet at prom night, and asking our dates to the prom. And then Spook Bridge, and breaking into her ex’s apartment to gain all of her CD’s back.

She has shared more embarrassing moments with me than I even care to admit. There have been fights along the way, tears, secrets,  hopes shared, dreams planned, a night were we almost drowned in a torrential rainstorm, a lost shoe and a suspicious tree, a dead strange smelling plant, workout tapes, miles run, laughter till our sides hurt, a tom of M&M eaten, shopping adventures, heartbreaks, celebrations, graduations, motivations and always love.

And then we both lived in the northeast; I in New York, she a few hours away in New Jersey. And we were constantly making trips to each others house. And venturing into the city. Seeing her parents (who were practically my parents too)or my then boyfriend, having adventures all over again. Long walks and talks with wine, misadventures, trips and smiles to last a lifetime. Jobs, boyfriends, careers, apartments, all come and gone. But our friendship has stayed for 28 years, and counting.

And here we are, so many years later. Still the same girls at heart, still keeping in touch, still hoping and routing for each other. And there is a wedding. She has fallen in love with a wonderful man (and if he ever hurts her I will break his legs). I just bought the plane tickets tonight. Another friend of 28 years and I are flying up. And I think about how lucky we are, how some friendships last forever, and how we girls would still do anything for each other.

And I celebrate her happiness, am excited for her new life with him and look forward to hearing all about it for years to come.

Thine Actions and Words to be True

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

This famous quote when Polonius speaks to his son Laertes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet is one of my all time favorites.  I have long grown up with the belief that actions speak louder than words. That a man is only as good as his word, so if his word is no good, than by default, neither is he. But this quote takes it many steps further and to me at least, is one of my personal creeds by which to live.

Some people think this quote means to be selfish and do as you wish as long as you get yours. I see it very differently. To first glean the true meaning of the phrase, you must first look at it’s origin. Hamlet’s Polonius also gave us the famous quote about “Never a borrower or lender be” and that indeed was part of the original meaning of being true to yourself as well. Polonius is instructing his son to take care of himself by being careful with his actions and words. To be an honest man true to his word but also be aware of what actions are in his best interest. Do not engage in activities which are disadvantageous or disingenuous.

This quote seems to mean that you must look after and take care of yourself if you want to be able to take care of anyone else.

Yes, Shakespeare was quite wise when picking out themes, as taking care of ones self and being honest are still two very relevant topics in this day and age.

When you are honest with yourself and follow what you know to be right, then you will lead an honest and authentic life. People who lie and cheat to get what they want from others are a dime a dozen. There is nothing special about them at all. But someone who follows a sense of integrity, even when it’s not popular? Even when it’s hard? That is someone special, that is someone who you want to have in your life.

Those people who lie and cheat, they know what they do is wrong. Why do they do it? Because they are not strong enough to do the right thing, to be true to themselves, and thus be not be false to others. Because if they haven’t the strength to look themselves in the mirror and be honest, how could they be honest with anyone else? They say charity begins at home, well so does honesty. And trust me, if they can’t even be true to themselves, you don’t want them. Run, run like the wind.

I am no saint. Let’s face it, we had to be judged by what we did in our 20’s, most of us wouldn’t leave the house. We have all done stupid things, made errors in judgment. I have done things for which I am ashamed. But in everything I have done, both good and bad, I have always been honest with myself. And I have never done anything just to be malicious. I have always been able to my head high, even when it was not easy, even when others were hurt and angry.

But if you live your life authentically, if you are true to yourself, then you will always be able to hold your head high. And you will always have respect. If you are selfish and you lie and hurt people? You will lose respect because word will get around. Just ask my last ex boyfriend, who, after he lied and cheated on this girl, found out just how much respect he would loose when his friends and family found out what he had done.

Take care with your actions and your words. Live a life of which you can be proud. And to thine own self be true. And besides, you never know just who might be driving the Karma bus…

What Real Means

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?””Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.”Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”  “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” – The Velveteen Rabbit

“What is real?” asked the Rabbit.  One of my favorite questions of one of my favorite stories.  And a very good question.  In this day and age of bigger is better, plastic rules and superficial is best…does Real exist?  Yes, At least I think so. To me to be real means our experiences have made us deep enough people to understand what is truly important in life.

The problem, I think, is that by the time we are real, we have lived, been loved, unloved, hurt and roughed up to the point where we are a bit shabby.  We’re not new and shiny any more.  Sometimes we feel that we have lost our worth – after all, how could anyone love a worn out little rabbit? And someone may have to look past all the roughness to see what Real really means.

I think it means that you have a real heart, you have been through enough to know, through experience, what is right, wrong and in between.  Living through those experiences teaches us compassion, empathy, how to love and so much more.  It makes us a better, deeper person.

What about the shabby parts?  Well, I guess that depends on your definition of shabby.  To me it’s nothing on the outside.  It’s a heart that is so closed it can no longer let love and light in.  Maybe we all get a little shabby…but just like the Skin Horse said, you can only be ugly to those who do not understand.

So, the key is to find someone who can see through our shabbyness, our weary-ness to see the beauty of our Realness.  Someone that can loves us anyway.  But being shabby and a little worn is ok. I have often said that it is our scars and flaws that make us our most human, most beautiful…and most Real.

Oh Boyfriend!

I have long felt that men and women were made to compliment each others strengths and weaknesses – if you have the right partner. And I especially feel that women, while being wonderful on their own, are truly more womanly when they have the love and support of a good man. With the right man, a woman will flourish and grow rich within herself. This may be a surprise coming from someone who is so fiercely independent as I. But being able to take care of yourself does not take away the need or desire for companionship. The trouble happens when we settle for the wrong partner.

I have a confession. I have a boyfriend. And he is wonderful. We have known each other for about 7 years now, and I am very impressed with the person I have come to know him to be. He is a one woman kind of man; I am a one man kind of woman. He has impeccable integrity, he is fair, treats people with kindness and compassion and has no bitterness toward women. He has his priorities straight and will not date someone just because he is lonely or wants something (or someone) to do an a Friday night.

And my response to him is so different than my response to my ex boyfriend. My ex was a liar and a cheat. He said he only dated one woman at a time, yet he dated many. He said he loved me, and wanted to be exclusive, then said after he had been caught cheating that he only said those things to avoid conflict. The interesting thing is that I never felt secure in that relationship, so I became insecure and untrusting.

Yet now I have no problem trusting the man I date currently. Now, even if I don’t hear from him for days, I know he is where he says he is, doing what he says he is doing, with whom is says he is with. There are no lies, there are no misleading statements, there are no “You must have misunderstood what I said” disagreements. There is trust, there is kindness, and respect. And because of this, I know I am truly in a relationship, not just with someone who doesn’t want to be alone.

And it that there is beauty. And it is exciting.