For the love of Cats

Today I woke early. Small, hungry meows bellowed from my almost two-year old tortoiseshell cat. Her mouth filled with saliva, anticipating the high quality canned cat food that I buy her. She licked her lips then my arm in hopes I’d wake that instant to feed her. She purred loudly, but waited patiently. Me waking up was the only way she’d feed her hungry tummy.

I rubbed my eyes and pet her soft fur, then watched as she raced down the stairs. She had won.

It’s a privilege to feed your pet, not just a responsibility. But today was different feeding my sweet ball of fur named Katniss.

Once I set her Nature’s Variety Instinct, salmon-flavored wet food in a raised glass dish near her water and dry food dish, I noticed another beautiful creature outside. I’ve seen her before, but never have I seen her out and about this early in the morning. Usually she roams about at night.

She was a mirror image of my Katniss. A young “tortie,” wild and free lurking by the trees. She seemed so calm. When she was a kitten, I tried to catch this kitty and her orange tabby companion. I wish I would have tried harder back then to catch her because now she is much bigger, and perhaps more wild.

Before winter we found one of her brothers. A small gray kitten hidden inside a car. It meowed for his orange tabby cat mother, but we never saw her around for days. We knew there were kittens in the yard under a drain, but nobody could ever get to them. We’d all just leave food and water for them and their mother. How this little kitten got a few yards away, I’ll never know.

We cleaned that little gray kitten up. Got him some food, water, and toys. He loved catnip and began to trust human hands. He went to a loving home…success! We were able to save that kitten, but how do you capture a young, adult stray…I mean feral kitty? And does she even want to be captured? So, I thought. What can I do. What’s the one thing both stray, feral, and pet cats love, and that us humans can provide for them? Food. I raced outside like the crazy cat lady I am, carrying a can of food with me.

She saw me and I had her attention. Such a beautiful cat. I opened the can, the noise keeping her from running off. The noise that makes Katniss run from any room in the house to the kitchen. I set it on the ground and walked back inside. I watched from the window both my Katniss inside and her mirror image outside. Different places, yet both the same. Torties, but also cats. I then realized a bigger picture.

You don’t need to necessarily “capture” this beauty, but rather like everything and everyone you encounter, leave them in a better condition then when you first saw them. If I can feed this outdoor kitty, who may not have eaten anything in awhile, then that is pure joy in itself. You cannot change everything. You can’t fix everything. You just have to look at the bright side and be kind. Offer your kindness to everyone and every living thing. Don’t turn your cheek on stray cats, or even feral cats. I learned my lesson with feral cats the hard way, but at least I showed my kindness and can prove it with my three inch scar. But this outdoor kitty, I’d term a stray, a community kitty.

Neighbors I’ve talked to have tried also to capture these kitties before, to spay and neuter them, and find them homes, but none have had success, at least not on her. Last year it was the orange tabby, this one’s mother. And now with spring coming, it’s only a matter of time before this tortie has babies. You may be asking, how do I know this tortie is a female? Fun fact, most tortie cats ARE female, very rarely are there male torties. Genetics.

If only we could control this. Are we suppose to control this? I think yes. Some if not all of this is our human fault. People drop cats off all the time to different places. Barns are a different story, but a large apartment community? I suppose we are in the country, technically, with a barn and field surrounding our apartment lot.

This is a problem that i wish could be fixed overnight, but sadly it cannot. I cannot run out there and magically pick up that beautiful, plump tortie. Some realities we just have to face. But if that cat is in my viewing area, I will always go out and feed her. And now just as I was about to finish this story, there is the orange kitty companion, strutting down the sidewalk as if it’s another normal day. Oh, how to fix this. Until then, don’t turn the other way. You never know who or what may need your help, and you never know what kind of joy they may bring you. For the love of cats, show kindness to those in need, but accept what we cannot change. Never give up on trying. It’s called compassion, and it makes us human.

Advertisements

Spring into Inspiration

Dear readers,

It’s my favorite time of year. When the urge to spring clean consumes me, and early morning birds have come home to sing in the trees. It’s that time for refreshing, being grateful, and learning how to improve. Did I mention, it’s almost time for lilacs to bloom?!

It’s that familiar scent swirling around in the wind outside. Where cheerfully, I open the doors and welcome it in. Excitedly, gray-lilac I paint my toes, and rip off that heavy, extra blanket under the comforter. The sun, with its rise in appearance, unhurriedly, yet almost immediately melts away the leftover snow. Dripping of water droplets splash in puddles underneath cars and roofs and the stillness of gray clouds teases me in hopes for rain. Spring is coming!

My body springs into inspiration. It’s been two years since my blog has been created, but many years I’ve been writing. Two years ago, I was finishing up my senior year in college. I completed my major and was taking writing classes because it’s something I highly enjoy doing. It was then I created my blog and wrote my novel, The Fourth Charm, publishing it in April. And recently, republishing it again. Spring is that time of year that inspires me to write. I’m not sure if it’s the hope of warmer weather coming, or just knowing that something new is in the air. Maybe it’s that John Keats style of writing that I melt for. I live for that flowery description stuff. I could live forever in a moment, describing, writing, how it feels, what it looks like, really breathe in my surroundings.

Writing nourishes my soul. It allows me to breath. I’ve learned to constantly improve on my writing by never stopping. I wrote a book very young, and yes, it may never be read by millions, or even a couple thousand, but it gives myself hope. For me. It’s for me that I write. To inspire myself to improve and live happily. I no longer write for a professor, or grade. I no longer need to follow the rules. I begin my sentences with a preposition sometimes, and may not always use a comma. I write how I would speak at times, and that’s okay. That’s what makes us different, it gives us a voice. It gives me a voice.

With spring in the air, and my second novel 75% complete, I’m welcoming in a beautiful spring and all its inspiration floating at the wings. It’s time to write poems again, and capture the fresh blooms, and share my inspirational journey with you. A romance is swirling around my rose-colored world, and I’m excited, to new beginnings.

A Lesson on Cookware

Over the past several weeks my mom and I have been visiting with my new baby nephew. Between it being breast cancer awareness month and seeing my mom’s hair grow back after chemotherapy, and little nephew’s sweet eyes, I’ve somehow started to become one of those “crazy health geeks,” or maybe always have been.

All through my sister’s pregnancy we’d go over things like “what’s the healthiest bottle?” and “what’s the safest pacifier?” So many health questions begin when we are just little babies that it got me thinking about all the unhealthy stuff I was exposed to as a kid, such as plastic that was not bpa-free, nasty Teflon from pots and pans, possible lead in dinnerware, and even second-hand smoke.

We all have to eat in order to live. Health, in my opinion, starts in the kitchen. So I’ve done some research to answer many of my questions about cookware, dinnerware, and food. I’m still researching today. It can be exhausting, but the point is to never give up on learning something new, especially when it deals with your health.

Having a nice set of cookware is essential in a kitchen. It can also be extremely expensive. Luckily, Henry and I were in need of a new set after only two years of using a nicer set of hard-anodized pots and pans. Plus, my birthday was just around the corner, and well, that’s all I had my eyes on. Here’s what I learned…pretty much everything out there is bad for you. The good news is that there are some BETTER options to choose from.

IMG_20151022_094552

Le Creuset cookware is fabulous. It’s cast iron with a beautiful glaze that allows no harmful chemicals to leach through into your food. WAY better than any aluminum pots and pans. All pieces are made in France. I purchased mine here…

Le Creuset of America 5 Piece Signature Enameled Cast Iron Cookware Set, Hibiscus

HOWEVER, don’t get carried away with the bakeware sets that are stoneware because they are NOT made in France like the enameled cast iron, which means you don’t know how much lead is in the glaze, technically. This is why I suggest Fiesta dinnerware and bakeware.

They are made in the United States, Lead-free, microwave-safe, dishwasher-safer, even oven-safe! They also come with a five year

warranty against chips or cracking. They are beautiful in color, and the bottoms are smooth so you can stack them and not worry about scratching. We bought ours through Kohls during a 30% discount! Lead-free is loosely stated, however. I must mention this. I trust these dishes, yes, but there’s still an extremely tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny amount of lead naturally, or

may be. See the confusion here? That’s why I say, it’s all about making “the healthiest choice.”

18646233_226401344530437_2263694854460538880_n

Now, I’m not going to go on and on about all the reasons I didn’t choose any other cookware because I literally could go on and on. But, I will tell you all the main points which are exhaustively stated everywhere nowadays, which is a good thing! Aluminum pots and pans are bad for cooking, especially when they are scratched and peeling or when you cook with tomato-based sauces. The tomato-based sauces in spaghetti, tacos, chili, etc. react with aluminum and leach into the food, hence into our bodies. Stainless steel may be better than aluminum but it can leach Nickel into foods. Cast iron can leach iron that’s not really the real form of iron our bodies need, however for someone who is anemic there might be benefits. Ceramic coated pots and pans are just a joke. Then, you have all ceramic, I mean the REAL all ceramic like Xtrema, which I was going to buy, however, I noticed they are not made in the United States and they are extremely fragile and expensive, so I crossed it off my list. Maybe for others this is a good choice.

This is how I came to Le Creuset cast iron. We bought the 3-piece set from amazon and packaging was excellent! It’s made in France, lifetime warranty, been around for years, are heirlooms, and they pass the hardest test for lead in California. Apparently there are higher amounts of lead (though extremely lower than low) are in the red and orange colored glazes (the blue and purple don’t have that higher amount). Now when I say “higher amount of lead” I don’t mean it’s bad, I just mean there’s more than the other colors, but still so low in amount that it “probably” will never leach into foods. This again, is why I say, “choose the best option.” Now, I’m no expert, just a regular consumer looking for the best option out there. If you disagree with me, I’d love to hear your reasoning! There’s always something new to learn. I am truly in love with my Le Creuset set and Fiesta dishes.

My favorite piece by far is the Dutch Oven. I’ve cooked Chicken Rice Soup (Grandma’s recipe) so far, Yum! Always use wooden utensils, too. I ditched all the plastic and went with wood and silicone, though, I’m still curious on silicone. Le Creuset cookware does get hot, which is why we bought a silicone handle for the skillet and saucepan. For the dutch oven, you’ll need hot pads! This type of cookware has to be slowly heated (never higher than medium heat), which does take time when you are hungry, but it’s a price you have to pay for assurance that nothing bad is going into your food. The skillet I’ve used for cooking chicken breasts, and the saucepan for slowly steaming veggies. So much more to cook!

cropped-126f71db-8dff-4f3c-843b-9c71d005c8f9_zps28b3e5f7.jpg

Happiness Is Free

ad80533d-4f2f-4928-93a5-7ac144a959ec_zpsiis5oe5b

I think at some point, in all of our lives, we start asking the question why. Why am I working at this job? Why am I here? And why can’t I? Just over a month ago I quit my first job after college. There are some things that simple won’t keep me at a workplace, and this was one of those things.

I’d wanted to quite the entire year I was there. Not because of the job itself, but rather because of two individuals. (Props to you two that got promoted on lies and scandal). I however, have moved on and along with moving on, I’ve learned a little bit more about myself, and I am proud.

It takes a strong individual to constantly try to be perfect in the eyes of others. What I’ve learned is this. It takes an even stronger individual to accept imperfection if it means doing the right thing. This was the case with my job. But lets forget about that now.

A month of summer has had a rejuvenating spell on me. Everyone has to work to make money. Money buys things, and therefore makes us happy. Can we be happy without money, or less than what we’re used to? Or for that matter, can we be happy with less-than-perfect lives?

Can money really buy happiness or is it free?

Some of the happiest people I know don’t have a lot of money. Others that do, seem so uptight and worried all the time about having enough. Where does the line have to be drawn?

When a hummingbird migrates North after spring when all the flowers are in bloom, do you think they worry about having enough money to travel with? Or do they fly carelessly, needing only the earth to survive? What makes us anymore special than that of animals or birds? A brain?

Why are so many things just so not important? If life is short, than why not live it happily? Why not do what you love and in the process make money? If living happily can mean imperfection, too, then sign me up because I’ve heard from a little birdie that happiness is free.