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Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Cat is Not Dead

Warning: Censorship has been turned off for this post

It was an ordinary Saturday.  Having had a busy week at work, I decided that I would sleep late and wake up when I was ready.  My husband left for work early and I was stretched out across the entire bed with all of the blankets wrapped around me.  Snug as a bug in a rug, you might say.  I heard the door close as Mike walked out and then all I heard was the hum of the circulating fan moving the cool air around while I lay bundled up.  I had barely drifted off to sleep again when it started.  Carlos the cat strutted into the room and around the corner of the bed.  It was on!  He had gotten Chloe the corgi’s attention and she ran out of the room snarling and barking after him.  She came bouncing back into the bedroom as if to say, “and stay out”, which he did not.  I swear he stood around the corner listening for my breathing pattern to resume to a relaxed mode so he could start all over again.  Two more times this animal nonsense happened and then I had given up.  I started my day cussing.  Damn these animals!  Most days we would have to pry the dog’s furry badonkadonk out of her kennel to get her outside before work because she likes to sleep in.  She is not a morning pup. As for the cat, typically in the morning nothing phases him except that he likes to watch Mike clean his litter box and fill his food bowls, yes I said bowls as in plural.  He has his little morning snack, then off to sleep he goes.  He sleeps by day so that in the night he can work on his agenda.  That agenda, by the way, is finding ways in which to piss me off.  Some mornings it’s a complete roll of toilet paper unraveled into the toilet.  It may even be a roll of paper towels that rose up against him in the night making it necessary for him to wrestle it to the floor shredding every bit of it’s Brawny dignity.  It may be about pushing things off the dining room table that he feels are in the way of his 15 pound, fur covered, feline ass.

Because I started my day in a less than delightful way, I headed off to the music cave, which I share with Carlos; his pedestal to the window is there along with his food and the dreaded litter box.  On approaching my keyboard, Carlos was quickly reduced to “that damn cat!” That damn cat has been thinking outside his litter box!  He had relieved his bladder near my music equipment, making sure to give each cable that connected my keyboard to the amplifier a good strong dose of Carlos.  As I began to pull cables from the back of my keyboard, tossing them into the middle of the floor, IT strutted into the room as if to say, what’s up?  At 212 degrees, water boils and I learned yesterday that I boil at 98.6 degrees if provoked by the cat.  It had been building all morning when suddenly I threw a handful of cables, shouting at the top of my voice, “get the hell out of here, fucking cat!  I’ll take your furry ass to the first animal shelter that will have you!”  That felt kind of good, I thought.  In fact it felt so good that I think this world would be a less violent place if people would cuss more often. 

Some of my readers may still be in shock having read the uncensored thoughts, sticking with me to the end hoping for that warm fuzzy life application that I typically provide.

Today I simply want to leave you with good news.  The cat is not dead.

Thanks for stopping by.

Amy Lynn Michael

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Will You Move Over?

There's a book I like to read from every now and again to gain insight about the traditions, and expectations of etiquette when our parents were going up.  The book I read is, "Amy Vanderbilt's New Complete Book of Etiquette" copyright 1952.  The chapters on courtship, even the word is outdated, are almost funny to read because they are so "old school", as they say these days.  Tonight when I came home I had a purpose in my reading.  I knew that there was a chapter that spoke about welcoming new citizens to our country and the problems they face.  I thought that Ms. Vanderbilt's words on this topic would seem antiquated as well, but what I found is that she and I share more in common than our first name. I am going to simply share with you some excerpts from this wonderful book.

"Millions of us are the children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren of those who took refuge here to escape political, social or economic upheavals in their own lands or who fled from religious persecution."  

"It is only natural for every man to regard the stranger, the possible economic encroacher, with a wary eye.  But we need to remember our own sources and realize that the vigor and progress of the country is stimulated by each such influx of new Americans, who bring with them talents, trades, ambition, and even wealth America can use."

"We should all remember that no matter how American we are now, our ancestors, even if they were English speaking, had their own problems of adjustment here too - physical, social, and economic.  Even well-bred English who settle here today feel our hostility or experience our ridicule of their manners and customs - as any English-born bride of an American can tell you.  So it isn't language that is the principal difficulty at all.  It is just the perversity of human nature.  We all hate to move over, as others had to move over for us."    

My ancestors had a time of finding a new life and acceptance in America.  I hope that as I am challenged to welcome newcomers that I can allow myself to remember that someone "moved over" for my ancestors so that they could walk with pride in this great Nation we call America.

Amy Lynn Michael

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The World Outside is Cold



Tiny little fingers
Even smaller toes
Curly brown hair
Little button nose


You were born in winter
The world outside was cold

You had to grow up fast
No time for games and tears
You became a young survivor
Wise beyond your years

You were born in winter
The world outside was cold.

You were born in winter 
The world outside was cold.

Amy Lynn Michael

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Chill of Man's Ingratitude





“Blow, blow, thou winter wind.  Thou are not so unkind as man’s ingratitude.”
 William Shakespeare

This line in Shakespeare’s poem has haunted me since I was a teenager.  The poem was set to music and we sang a beautiful choral arrangement of it in high school.  Since I can remember, the lyrics to any given song have been more important to me than the tune.  It has to mean something to me in order for me to give it a second listen or to consider it for singing.  While it would seem that my love for winter alone would draw me to this song, it isn’t so much that.  It is the idea of man’s ingratitude being more unkind than the bitter winds of winter.  I have felt the chill of a wintery wind when the temperatures were below freezing.  When I wake up knowing that it is bone-chilling cold and can hear the wind howling outside our window I have the sense to bundle up before I leave home. Cold air to me is refreshing; exhilarating even.  It makes me feel alive when I am prepared for it. Occasionally though, just as I take a breath, a sudden gust of wind circles in and takes my breath away for what seems like minutes.  I find myself grasping for something to cover my face with so that I can catch my breath. 

I realize that my perspective of winter is different than most, because I really do love this season.  But there are those who are immobilized by the cold and snow of winter.  They have to rely on others to bring them what they need.  To these friends, winter is their prison; an icy hell that keeps them from enjoying life to its fullest. To those whose lives are virtually put on hold for this season, winter really is unkind.  But even so, is it, as Shakespeare suggests, as unkind as man’s ingratitude? 

At the end of each day I give thanks for something.  It may be as small as the gift of laughter or as large as the gift of life.  I am determined not to let ingratitude be my life’s theme.  I am determined not to let the winter winds seem more inviting than the words that I speak to another.

Today I am thankful for the opportunity to share this with you.  What are you thankful for?

Thank you for stopping by.

Amy Lynn Michael

Monday, January 2, 2012

Life

“But now old friends are acting strange,
they shake their heads, they say I've changed. 
Well something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day”
Joni Mitchell

I love life in some small way every day because I experience at least one good thing that I didn’t the day before.  Every year we look back and reflect on the things we want to repeat, and the things that we hope never happen again.  We say sad goodbyes to loved ones, while we welcome new friendships.  We change careers.  We change geographic locations.  Any and all of these things can happen in what seems like the blink of an eye when you are the one whose life is directly affected. Some changes leave us emotionally barren, while others overwhelm us with feelings of ecstasy that can’t be contained.  But no matter what we do, no matter how hard we try to control it, life will happen and we may as well accept it on its terms.

Some that will read this blog have known me most of my life and have seen the many changes that have taken place to bring me where I am today.  There have been sad times, exciting times and the mediocre in between times.  I am richer for them all. 

Today I got an e-mail from an old acquaintance that said, “Amy, you were so much fun to be with back then but...I’ve noticed that you have changed…you seem more liberal or something.  What has happened to you?”  The author of this letter went on to talk about the spiritual condition of my soul based on observations of my interactions with others. 

For many years I lived my life trying to be the person that people thought I should be.  Like many others, I was an illusionist.  I lived a scripted life until one day I closed the curtain and stopped giving out tickets to the show. I needed to change.  I needed to be true to myself. Can anyone really "know life"?

“I've looked at life from both sides now. 
From up and down and still somehow 
it's life's illusions I recall.  
I really don't know life, at all” 
Joni Mitchell


Thanks for reading,

Amy Lynn Michael

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