The Results May Vary

Observations from my Mixed Up World


Coping Skills I’ve Learned from the Cats

There is no disrespect intended toward dogs in this post.  I like dogs too but they don’t fit my lifestyle.  Cats do because they unerringly, 100% of the time, shit in the intended place.  So here in public for the first time, I thank Carla, Riley, Scruffy, Belinda and Ginger for that small, but important  kindness.

People get a strange look in their eyes when you tell them that you co-habit with 5 cats.  You always get the crazy cat lady (guy in my case) jokes and the cruel visuals that cat-haters love to share.  Apart from university, I can’t recall a time that I didn’t live with cats.  The longer I’m around them,the more they teach me.  I’m a true believer that dogs learn tricks and cats teach tricks.  We added Ginger to our family in November.  It was a challenging  point in time for me and adding another cat, in this case a kitten, to the house gave me a real lift.  If you ever find a time when you’ve forgotten why or how to laugh; just add a kitten to your world.

On to lessons learned… Firstly, find and lay in sunbeams.  Now, I could go all metaphorically on you and yammer on about some airy, fairy crap.  But, I actually mean this literally.  After days and days of snow and clouds there is so much to refresh you in just laying still in the sun for a couple of minutes.  I knew some of the value of natural light before.  When we built the house we made sure the back had a southern exposure and put lots and lots of windows in.  We got great light and energy savings.  But only recently have I begun to just lay in sunbeams be they on the floor or on the bed.  Just like magic.  There is no need to think, no need to do anything but absorb.  Maybe you’ll nap, maybe not.  But your first instinct will not be to bitch or dwell on shit or keep all tensed up.  So, politely ask the cat to share and try it.

Secondly, regardless of how intense things get, there is a real benefit in taking a break.  The introduction of a kitten to the house certainly raised the activity level.  Feng Shui refers to this as raising the level of chi.  There’s a lot more tussling and playing than there has been for a while.  But when you are enjoying a good cat tussle, you’ll notice that quite suddenly both cats will stop and act all cool.  Maybe paws need to be licked (or crotches), a good scan of what’s going on in the room or simply a flop over to rest.  These pauses are sudden and end just as suddenly when one or both leap back into the fray refreshed and invigorated.  So, I’ve come to value and even, plan interruptions in everything I’m doing just to recharge.

Lastly, enjoy companionable silence.  My wife seriously doubts I’ve learned this lesson and insists I’d be a better husband if I were mute.  But, there is no one in our house that gets to do anything alone.  When I work at home there is always a cat under my chair and one sleeping on the chair beside me.  Not a single bed in the house is used without feline assistance and support.  A quick cuddle and a purr keeps you from feeling all alone.  I could do without the assistance in using the washroom – a lesson I learned from my wife called “keeping mystery in the marriage.” – but all in all there gets to be a comforting support in companionable silence.

I know I’ve still got things to learn and the cats insist they’ve lots to teach me.  Some lessons like the joy of drinking from the toilet I have yet to and likely won’t embrace.  And I still can’t get my leg over my head so I can lick that sweet spot but I’ll keep trying.

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Renaissance and Renewal



I recall the first time I learned about the Renaissance in high school history class.  I turned to my best friend and casually remarked, “Hey, people that are smarter, cooler, masters of all things.  Clearly, we’re Renaissance men.”  In retrospect, I must have missed the high school English class that explained the tragic flaw of hubris.  It’s funny but I was never smarter or more certain of anything than I was back then.  Being a teen was so empowering because I figured that i was all grown up now and knew everything.  The path since age 20 has been pretty enlightening and everyday I’ve come to respect and appreciate how little I know and how uncertain things really are.

That being said, I’ve taken some time to reflect and clearly, it’s time to find my voice again.  By the fall of last year, I’d become unhappy with my blog and it felt like I was just bitching about things and not being funny.  I’d lost some ability to find the humour in things certainly.  But we move on.  We deal or start dealing.  We accept and embrace.  So the the time has come to begin anew.  I want to expand my blog beyond just talking about kids and how they shape us.  I want to bring some positive expression and share some of the outlook that’s helping me to move forward.  There will still be lots about family and kids since they are such a big part of my life but expect more side topics.

So new look.  New ideas and new things coming.  It’s all a journey and I hope you’ll come along.





A Short Note of Thanks… and Sorry… and Explaination

It has been almost 3 months since I last posted.  I’m determined to get things back on track and the only way to start is to say thank you.  I can’t believe that despite having written nothing over the past quarter I’ve still had 153 views.  In fact, that may be one of the biggest motivations to get back to writing.  It has been a real source of support that people seem to enjoy what I write.

The past few months have been particularly difficult.  An unholy combination of work stress, mental health issues and physical health problems left me pretty much without the ability to find anything funny.  The largest shoe in the gears has been finally diagnosed as an inner ear issue that leaves me feeling dizzy most of the time.  Now that I can discount brain tumour, my face has seen a few more smiles.  Of course, I won’t get to see an ear specialist until October but perhaps that is fodder for a future post.

Once I stopped writing, I started to avoid looking at other people’s posts too.  I felt too guilty about not writing to feel I deserved to read other people’s creative work.  So I am sorry that I have not kept up with all of the blogs that I had been following.

It is enough I think in this post to say thank you once again to everyone, to promise to write more and to express how sorry I am that I left this important instrument alone for so long.