Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A happy ending for an otherwise nightmarish two days

Cats can run like the wind, you know?

In the very early morning hours of Monday, September 29th, I opened my patio door to see if it was going to be one of those days. If you live in North TX, and crave Fall weather like I do, you know those days that I yearn for. The very little humidity, (or let's shoot for the moon and say NO humidity), and say, oh around 75 degrees or so. I can open the door and know right away, two things. One, will I need to take Zyrtec that day? And two, will it be a much too warm, and humid day, with October lying just around the corner?
I didn't realize that Penny, my cat, was in the living room, and let me tell you, she runs like greased-lightning. Out the door she bolted. I left the patio door open because I knew she would bolt right back in, I wasn't too concerned. Oh, she'll be back, I thought.
By late afternoon flyers are posted around the mailbox areas where I live, and the friends at Starbucks let me post one there as well. I think when someone is in crisis mode with a missing pet, people band together and form a support team like none other. I notified the management office, Animal Services in my town as well as a neighboring town. The local animal hospital. The neighbors. And friends and family. Walking the complex calling for her, with day turning into night, there was still no Penny.

Sick with worry, and leaving the back door ajar, I try to sleep (and barely do)  knowing that she is out there somewhere.
Tuesday morning, September 29th arrives with a feeling of dread. I begin to work, from home mind you, wondering what else I can do to find her. Forming a plan, I try to concentrate on work, and watch the clock. Still calling for her every hour, with no results. I turn to Facebook, this is one positive use for this social media avenue. (Thank you Melanie, for urging me forward)

As I began my next walkabout, searching for her, I was armed with bottled water, sunglasses, and determination. Carrying a flyer, I talked to everyone I met outside. I found people to be truly gracious and concerned which fueled me to keep going. A neighbor saw her this morning, a child riding by on his bicycle stopped and said he thought he saw her today, encouraging me to continue. Kids gathered together and said, "we will find her!" and off they went, a coalition.
As I started toward the pond, a really beautiful place in the middle of suburbia, I kept walking and calling for her.

I stopped near a playground and spoke with a Dad playing with his little boy. He hadn't seen Penny, but said he would help. I thanked him, and as I stepped out of the play area, I began calling for her yet again.
I stopped dead in my tracks. I wondered if my mind was playing tricks on me. I called for her again. She answered. I couldn't tell from which direction the meow was coming from. I looked up, thinking maybe someone on the second floor of this building had taken her in. I saw no movement in the windows. After calling for her again, I realized that the insistent meow was definitely coming from below. I looked down and saw a storm drain cover, and openings with grates along the side of the curb. I yelled, "PenPen!" (one of her nicknames) She let me know right away that she was not amused, and that yes, she was down there and I better do something about it.

I cried.

 As I was trying to think clearly on what to do next, the Dad walked over and said, "did you find her?"
I explained that she was down in the storm drain. He immediately went to his car, got a crowbar, and had that storm drain cover off before I could blink. His older son, and some friends came over, along with a few neighbors. My heart was pounding and I felt a small relief knowing that she was at least alive. Friends and family were checking in, I could hear the texts coming in but I could barely concentrate on anything but what was unfolding. I texted a best friend quickly who had just called but I didn't get to answer in time. Working close by, he showed up in less than a few minutes, and was on the ground talking to Penny in no time.

By this time, maintenance had arrived and began doing what they could to determine how to get to her.

They asked me to call the Fire Department.

Now look, they asked me to call. I mean, I know I have a reputation of being best friends with these fine gentlemen. (I'm laughing as I type this)
On the scene, we now have Coppell's finest.

We tossed treats down, Penny let us know she was still there but she wasn't budging an inch. There was just too much commotion going on for her taste.

After many calculations, measuring, and researching both ends of the drain, it was determined that they could not "flush" her out with water,  the way they've had success with in the past on other rescues, due to the drain being sealed on one end, minus a few tiny holes to allow water to go through. The fear was that she would go the wrong direction, with no way out on the other end.

A call was made to animal control to inquire about the availability of small cages that could be placed near the opening of the drain, with food in them, to lure Penny out. I knew as this was being explained to me, that this might be an arduous evening at best. I was not going to leave her down there and go back inside and go to sleep. Are you kidding? Fully preparing to camp out all night, I listened intently as the available options were given.

The second option, one that does not require a trap, was to let the noise go away, and the kind people that were attempting to help, to go home. Then quietly call for her, to see if she would come out on her own.

As my fire department friends said their goodbyes, swiftly shaking hands and offering to help in the morning if needed, I was mentally preparing for a camp out. The truck pulled away, and the crowd began to disperse, leaving me and my friend Terry mostly alone with one little friend still trying to help. Now that I can think more clearly, I'm pretty sure this was the same little guy who I helped by getting his basketball out of a tree.

As the calm and quiet set in, we suddenly see Penny leaping out of the drain. Just like that, she was out. And she was covered with soot and I don't even know what else. I called her gently, as we soon realize that she has a mind of her own and she is not going to make this an easy rescue. From underneath one vehicle to the next, she darts, back and forth.
Terry says, "we need wet cat food. Something to entice her".  I race home to get blankets, bottled water, wet cat food, and a hershey bar for my helpers. I have to treat them somehow!

It is now dusk and Penny is reminding us that she's still in charge, shaken, unsure of her surroundings.
An hour later......

I'm finally able  reach her to gently pull her towards me and wrap her in a blanket, and carry her home.

Swaddled in a blanket, with my hands around her, and Terrys hand on her as well so she couldnt get away, Penny made it back home safe and sound.

There are several morals to this story, but the few that come to mind are: check your surroundings before you open the door that leads outside. And never, under any circumstances, enter a storm drain because you think you can fit. Looks are deceiving, and you could end up being the one needing a rescue. (I did not do this, I'm just sharing what I was told)

A happy ending for an otherwise nightmarish two days.

See you soon friends,

PS For tomorrows Breakfast at Tiffanys, Penny can have whatever she wants.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

You see, when you forgive someone, you are not granting them a wish.....

A few synonyms of forgiveness are; pardon, absolution, exoneration, remission, dispensation, indulgence, clemency, and mercy.

On the Berkeley website, forgiveness is discussed as the following;

Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.

That statement brings up a point of contention regarding forgiving those that have wronged us.

"regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness"

Once, my sister went through something really difficult. I remember talking to her on the phone one day. She said, you know that song, "The Heart of the Matter" by Don Henley? I replied that I did know the song, and loved it. She said, "although a hard one to listen to right now, that's the summarization of how I feel, regarding this unfortunate situation".

"I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about......forgiveness

I'm writing this now, friend, to help you win.

I often jokingly use the hashtag #winning (thank you Charlie Sheen). But today I'm serious about winning. When you are wronged by a person, or people, it can often be excruciatingly difficult to decide to .....forgive them, for what they've done to you. What you see, while in the midst of the pain someone has caused you, is nothing but the act of what they've done. The hurt they've caused. The pain you endure. The seemingly endless agony of how you may suffer at their hand. And how you do not deserve it.And how you feel they should suffer.

But during that process, what may go unnoticed, is the heavy, cumbersome weight that is developing on your shoulders. It begins with a few pounds. With each passing day, it can grow into some serious baggage that is unfathomable to carry. Not to be outdone, the weight develops other things that have a bite. Anger. Bitterness. Betrayal. Each of these items having their own weight, adding to the overall total that you will carry, until you decide to unload all of it, and walk free, carrying only yourself, your heart, your head and your life.

To win, you have to do this unloading. If you don't, they win. You do not.

"But they did this and it was so wrong, and I did nothing to deserve this".

I know.

"You want me to forGIVE them for THIS? Are you kidding me?"

Yes, I do, and no, I'm not kidding you.

"There are people in your life who've come and gone
They let you down and hurt your pride
Better put it all behind you; life goes on
You keep carrin' that anger, it'll eat you inside"

And it will. Eat you inside.

You see, when you forgive someone, you are not granting them a wish. Or giving them a gift.

What you are doing, is releasing yourself from all of that dead weight you are carrying around. You are not pardoning what they've done and releasing them from the ramifications of their actions. Instead, you are allowing yourself to walk away,  free. Nothing extra to carry. No additional, unnecessary burdens.

When you do this, you will feel as though you are walking on air.

And life will feel brand new to you.

So, to get the big win. Forgive them. And then take a deep, cleansing breath, open the door, and walk outside into that fresh air.

You will have perspective you didn't know existed.

Talk to you soon friend,

PS Fall has almost arrived and I'm so excited about this I can taste it. If you live in what I call North Southtown, you already know that you may not feel Fall temperatures until late October, and that's if you're lucky. But Breakfast at Tiffany's can do Fall regardless of what's going on outside. Pumpkin Bran Muffins it is!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Don't forget to look ahead.......

When I get older I want to be the type of friend who has people over for drinks and excellent food.

We'll spend the evening talking about the wondrous things we've seen, the places.... the people... the food....the shows....the geographical places that make our eyes search every detail with wonder, never knowing if we will be able to make it back to that place again.

Of course I want to be this type of friend now, too.

When I get older, my house will be so organized that nothing will be hard to find and everything will be in order. Can you imagine?

I want it to be this way now, too.

When I get older and things slow down, I want to travel to far off places and explore hidden alleyways in cities, and book stores nestled in corners on streets that I have never been before.

I want to see my family more.



I want to do volunteer work where it really makes a difference.

I want to do all of this now, too.

I think the cool thing is, we always have something to look forward to. I may find time to fit some of these things into my life right now. But if I can't fit it all in, at the same time, I'll always have something just around the corner, waiting for me to enjoy.

In these days of seemingly mundane things, like work and work and more work and a little play here and there, and Mondays turning into Thursdays before we can blink, don't forget to look ahead. It's all out there, waiting.....

See you soon friend!

PS I wasn't kidding about wanting my house to be more organized. Such a daunting task! But one I can master, I'm sure of it. Maybe some rainy Saturday morning will begin with Breakfast at Tiffany's, and then....organization at it's finest. I'll keep you posted.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Let's keep in touch more often, okay?


Getting back to the basics, is what I've been thinking about today.

When I was growing up, I remember being so busy. I was all over the place, especially during the summertime. Man were those the days. My sisters and I would be up and out of bed in the mornings, with the intent of squeezing every last drop of summery goodness out of the day. Freedom and youth are an extremely tantalizing combination, the possibilities are endless. School is out, so the schedule is completely up to you.

We had great ideas back then, like putting a rubber band around the garden hose nozzle so it would continue spraying when we let go of the handle, and then throwing the hose over a tree limb in the backyard. Voila! Instant fun with a way to stay cool. I'm sure my parents loved our water bill during these times. They didn't complain though. Dad would BBQ and mow the yard, and we would all play on the swingset or at the picnic table on our patio.

Did you ever take a playing card and attach it to the spokes on your bicycle with a clothespin so it would make a sound when you rode your bike? It's inventive!

Of course time doesn't stand still, so as Summer winds down to a close, and Fall is showing signs of life, I never felt sad to see the seasons change. I love Fall as you know, so the crisp air and swirly fall leaves, and the promise of Halloween made me just as excited as the last day of school did.

"I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"--a favorite quote from the movie "Stand By Me"

Isn't it the truth?

Time marches on and we all grow up and become the best version of ourselves if we're putting forth the effort. And hopefully we still keep in touch with some of those childhood friends.

The busy schedules don't necessarily dissipate, more like, change form I think. My "busy" stems mostly from work, so when it's time to sign off and go live life, I have no problem doing so. I'm finding as I get older, that the simplest things are my happy place. The basic things.

With adulthood comes the knowledge that if your family is spread out over several states, it is much more difficult to recapture those long summer days, where we were all together under one roof, playing hard and seizing the day. But we do try to get all of us together as much as possible, so there's always a future get-together in the making that we can look forward to.

So, Friday night, it's very, very good to see you. I purposely left the slate clean so that I could just sit still, in quiet mode, and not think about numbers or spreadsheets or system errors, and the like.

And, dear reader, who is my friend. It's very good to see you too. It has been too long!

Let's keep in touch more often, okay?

I hope your Summer is filled with all of the important things. You know, family. Baseball. Books to read and walks if you're lucky enough to live in the proper climate for them. BBQ and swimming, and evenings on the patio. And....Breakfast at Tiffanys.

See you soon!

PS I've developed an addiction for Nova Lox bagels for breakfast. Good grief are they good. If you love smoked salmon, give them a try!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"....the caged bird sings.....of freedom"

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Automatic Replies

The feeling has come over me. Hopefully you are aware of this feeling and have experienced it often.
It comes with the knowledge that you are about to go off the grid for a little while.

Oh I'm sure I won't go completely, I'll keep you posted a time or two with a beautiful picture of the turquoise waters of Mexico.

But I won't think about work. I won't think about anything stressful. I won't think about lists of things that need to be done in the future.

I WILL think about life and how wonderful it can be. How grateful I am to have real friends and having experienced true love. Having an amazing family and stories that make me belly-laugh to the point of crying. And I have to add that I am grateful for my job and for the fabulous people that I am lucky to be able to work with. I consider them friends, not just coworkers.

I will read. Voraciously.

I will write.

I'll kiss my fingertips and point them to the sky when I hear my friends say "I do" again, after twenty years of a solid marriage.

I will sit quietly near the shore as the lapping waves roll in.....and roll out. I'll breathe deeply, inhaling the delicious scents of the beach. Seagrass......saltwater.....

I'll watch the sun rise. And I'll watch the sun set. Both equally beautiful I imagine.

I'll collect seashells, while walking through warm sand, squishing it between my toes.

And then, of course, I will bring back the serenity that a week of these activities always brings.

And I'll share it with you.

See you soon friend!

PS I think Breakfast at Tiffanys beachside is my most favorite.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Trust yourself....and the future

While the Rolling Stones were most likely addressing the major topics of the 1960s: love, politics, and drugs, I could very easily take this phrase and make it my own. I think we all do that at times. One song can mean one thing to someone, and have a completely different meaning for another.

Life can be so fulfilling, but oftentimes the reward comes in the striving towards, rather than the end result. I told a friend once that the hungrier we are, the harder we try. I've always believed this. If we were handed everything we wished for, without having to work for it, would the purpose of each day dwindle?

Then, disappointment abounds when we really want something, or we think we do, and it just doesn't happen the way we think it should, if at all.

A favorite quote that I have used quite often is: "Map out your futurebut do it in pencil. The road ahead is as long as you make it. Make it worth the trip.” ~ Jon Bon Jovi

Instead of saying, the older I get, might I say, the more mature I become, *ahem*, the better I can handle life's disappointments. I just firmly believe that there are solid reasons why what we want, doesn't always come to fruition.

The cool thing is, the aHA moment. Ideas morphing into a completely different picture and outcome, and then, oh yeahhhh, THAT'S why that didn't work out. Usually followed with, Well I like this much better!

So if you're ever down and out, or wondering why things don't seem to be going your way, just breathe. Trust the future.

Trust yourself.

It's going to be okay, this I know for sure.

See you soon friend,

PS listening to some great music is always helpful, breakfast at tiffany's begins that way every morning!