The Universe Has Kindness

Whenever I get overwhelmed (by my own mind, mind), the universe sends felines. It could be a cat that owns me, or tiny strangers demanding food.

It could be the guard house tom I know, or a molly I meet once, down the street, savvy and sleek.

It could be a domestic tiger, terrible and good.

Seriously, these kittens show up and demand food at our lobby when I get super anxious.

It really doesn’t matter what manner of company they come to be; the point is that they come to me when my energy spins dishes on the fragile heads of pins.

They come to me so I can remember that the universe has kindness. It has folded it inside me in a freshly-pressed square precisely so that cats (in all their wisdom) can shed all over them.

Salad Days

ReadinginBetween_Salad Days

I think of these days as my salad days. You know, that time when you’re the best you’ll ever be? That period in your life when you feel like every dang thing you touch will turn into gold (if not all-out platinum)? Your heydays?

ReadinginBetween_Salad Days

Usually, salad days are recognized in retrospect; we only think of them as the best time EVER in hindsight. “Back in the day,” we might say, “we used to be able to write something like 10,000 coherent words per week, and edit while drunk on gin pomelo.”*

But why do we do this? Why approach the concept of these wonderfully amazing and productive days as something that has gone past, as something we don’t have anymore? Why think of this time as the time we’ve lost? Why think of this with so much regret?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years (with the help of other people and various books), it’s that the past only looks good because time has covered it up and smoothed its edges. I’m willing to bet that when said past was still the present, it had the same horrible jagged corners that we’re still dealing with now. We just think the ones today are worse because they’re more immediate.

So I figured:

Wouldn’t it be better to just think of TODAY as a salad day? Wouldn’t it be amazing to think of every day of my life as the time when I’m at the top of my proverbial game? Imagine the confidence boost! Imagine what I, or anyone else can do with this kind of self-assurance!

Really, think about it—if you think you’re the best version you can be of yourself TODAY, what can you do? What will you do? And what’s to stop you from doing it?

Whatever it is, recognize that it doesn’t have to be a big thing and it doesn’t have to be for just ONE aspect of your life. Today, I’m having a salad day for blogging. Last Sunday, I was having a cat mom salad day.** Tomorrow’s going to be a completely different salad, I’m sure.

No matter what happens, though, I know my salad days will always be fresh and green and interesting because everyday is an awesome salad day. As the Great Master Oogway once said: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”

* Elea’s note: this actually happened back in college, and these days I can barely stay awake after a spoonful of rum without it being helped along with caffeine—oh, how the times have changed!

** Another note from Elea: Yes, I rescued another one—

ReadinginBetween_TP the Kitty

(this little guy’s tentative name is TP). He joins the other recently-chronicled rescue kitties—

ReadinginBetween_Babu and Pieta

What? I never denied being a crazy cat lady!

An Ode to Our Indoor Cats – A Poem

ReadinginBetween_Ode to Indoor CatsPoem

Note: Hi, guys! Ever had days so filled with infodumps that you couldn’t think straight? I had a week of those, thanks to work and our upcoming book launch (see you there?), which I’m gearing up for by scheduling posts FOR ALL OF NEXT WEEK. I hope you guys were luckier.

Thankfully, cats exist—and ours are pretty special, if I do say so myself (but then, aren’t ALL CATS special?). I simply had to jot out something for them to show my appreciation.

I hope you guys enjoy this!

ReadinginBetween_Ode to Indoor CatsPoem
Original image swiped from the Colorfy App

Seriously, kitties, I think you might be fish

First, we meet you
from behind a reef of plants and now
you float in your sleep,
blowing bubbles

And Davi:
You move back and forth
from home to home to home
and often slip behind
the bedrock of couches

Itim, you
slide sleek between
the landmines
of chair and table legs
your tail swinging side to side

While Parker,
you make great
arcing leaps upward
unsuspecting flies

you forget what you did
five seconds ago
and now you forget that you
can trip on rugs

The Babudook:
You’re always moving
and biting and attacking
and flitting through rooms
like a tiny barracuda

You watch us with
those dark liquid eyes
unblinking as you glide
between my fingers

It’s as if you guys know that I prefer
life in aquariums;

safe, but full of color.

When Terrified, LoveMeow will Help You

In a little over an hour, I’ll need to head out to meet a nice lady named Evangeline so I can figure out my finances – a result of several months of contemplating my future, a future that involves a shitload of house repairs and the comfort of my family. It’s become clear that my savings account won’t be able to cut it, and my current time deposit account is…a shaky arrangement (I’d rather not get into that, as it’s complicated). It’s also become clear that if I want to someday leave the corporate life (which I don’t right now, but might at some point in the distant future), I need to get my economic affairs in order.

Like most people living in a capitalist society rife with inequity, the subject of money tends to make me extremely nervous. And when I’m nervous, I tend to brainfart. I brainfart in the most embarrassing ways. My family can confirm this, and so can many of my close friends. In fact, I’m pretty sure that a good number of my weird nerve-inspired non-sequiturs have offended them (but that’s probably my imagination getting to me). That, in turn, makes me even MORE nervous. I don’t want to say stupid things in front of a stranger who’s supposed to help me with MONEY. We’re supposed to be on serious business. I can’t make offhand comments about prostitution (don’t ask).

With this scary thing looming over me, I’ve turned to the only thing that has consistently calmed me down:

Itim the Black Kitty
It’s me again!

Yes, it’s cats. Specifically, heartwarming cat stories care of LoveMeow. I’m sure cat lovers like me will agree that it’s difficult to be terrified when you’re looking at teeny kittens cuddling with huge horses, or amazing animal rescues.

So until I need to leave, I’ll keep peeking at these stories to keep my nerves in check.

What helps YOU quell your nerves?

Writing Challenge 4 – 3 Things I Love

I admit it.  I’ve been putting off THIS particular writing challenge (the last one involved my fears).  It’s not because I love nothing (because that’s kind of existence really, really sucks).  It’s because I love so many things that all deserve to be mentioned in this blog.  No, this doesn’t mean that I’m on drugs.  It just means that I’m blessed with a freakishly good life.

That being said, I had to figure out a way to narrow down my list to just three items.  It wasn’t easy.

A Fortune Teller Made of Folded Paper
I had to use this origami fortune teller to figure it out. Click this image to find out how to make one (if you don’t know how to).

I managed to do it, though.  So without further ado, I give you 3 things I love:


Me and My Siblings
I apologize in advance to my brother and our sister for posting this old photo I nicked from Facebook. If it makes them feel better, I look washed out and horrible in this pic.

I love my family, and I’m not being facetious here.  I have straight-up I-will-try-to-kill-you-with-a-rusty-spork-if-you-hurt-my-family kind of love going on here.  I think it has something to do with the fact that we were all blessed with more than decent looks (at least, in our country), above-average brains (not necessarily reflected in my report card, though), and a weirdness quotient of about 160.  Each.  Including the parents.  Best of all, we’re blissfully loving and (mostly) supportive of each other’s little quirks without being saccharine – because give us the chance to snark and we will.


Book Stack
I think our home is on the verge of looking like this. Image by ginnerobot, licensed under Creative Commons (click photo to see source).

Having grown up reading almost everything I can get my hands on, it really shouldn’t be surprising that this is one of the three things that I love.  To this day, I would find myself drawn into bookstores only to emerge hours later with at least one purchase.  In fact, I don’t think I even need a bookstore to go on that kind of trance – ever since I got my Kindle and subscribed to an ebook reading group, I’ve had access to thousands of virtual books that absorb me to the point of insomnia.  Books take me to places I’ve never been before, and I really believe it made me more empathetic than I would have been without them.  Books are AWESOME.


A Black Kitty Cat
Yes, you CAN has that cheezburger. Click the pic to see more awesome black cats.

Another staple of my life while growing up was CATS.  Lots of cats.  We had dogs too, but cats hold a special place in our hearts not only because our great Aunt Panching was a crazy old cat lady (at least, the neighborhood thought so), but also because they are incredibly easy to take care of once they deem you worthy of their notice.  Currently, we have about 19 cats and kittens spread over two households.  You can say we’re out of control.  You can say we can’t possibly feed all those felines.  But we’ll show you, oh yes.  WE’LL SHOW YOU ALL.


I’d also like to mention that I love my significant other (who hasn’t run away screaming after three years of my insanity), my job (more on my job in this older post), and the combo of pretty stationery products and colorful pen sets.  They all give me such joy and contentment, even when I’m at my worst.

So what about you guys?  What do YOU love?