About five years ago, we went to our local animal shelter with the intention of finding a new furry friend. We had adopted a cat about six months earlier, and were looking for a buddy for her.
We met a soft and fuzzy squish faced cat named Pineapple. He was sporting a horrible haircut, as he had been shaved almost bald when he came to the shelter, because he was covered with matted fur. But he was sweet and talkative and passed our "Is this a nice kitty" tests. We left that night without him, and made a plan to return when the shelter opened at 9 the next morning, to adopt him.
We returned the next morning and there was a couple who decided to adopt Pineapple. They were there literally minutes before we got there. We were all so sad.
But this is not a story about Pineapple the cat. It's about Mongoose, the then 14 year old cat, who was meant to be ours.
We met Mongoose (later nicknamed Goosie and Foo Foo by the kids) once we saw that Pineapple was going home with another family. He was so shy and soft and sweet. We immediately fell in love and brought him home. We learned about his breed - a Ragdoll - and created stories about why he ended up in the shelter. Our favorite story was that he lived with a sweet older lady, who fed him wet cat food on a crystal platter and gave him all the love. But unfortunately she got ill and had to surrender him to the shelter.
Ragdolls are known for being very dog-like. And Goosie was. He greeted us at the door when we arrived home and followed us from room to room in our home. When I was at home, and the kids were at school, he was always by my side.
One of his best traits was that he slept with his girl every night. He was the best snuggler and was always there for her when she needed him.
He lived with us for five glorious years! Sadly he passed away from natural consequences two weeks ago. The last night he spent with us was a normal Goosie night with kitty treats at bedtime, snuggles with his people, and some rowdy catnip play. And in the morning he woke us at 4:55 am with a howl, and then he was gone.
We have shed so many tears for our sweet angel cat. And we feel his absence every moment of every day. We are so thankful for the time he had with us. He was such a magical cat.
There's a big kitty shaped hole in our hearts for Mr. Goosie. And we miss him so much.
I am constantly inspired by connection, words, music, magic. When I am not lit up, I know that I'm overdue for a course correction. Life is so full of ways to be inspired.
I remember when I was first introduced to the words of Nayyirah Waheed. It was the end of the summer, and her words jumped right through my heart and into my soul.
She wrote, "We return to each other in waves. This is how water loves". I was immediately smitten.
Her writing has been an almost daily inspiration to me. I've been devouring her words, taking photos and sharing them with friends and family.
She writes, "Be softer with you. You are a breathing thing. A memory to someone. A home to a life".
I just discovered her Instagram account. (I may have audibly squeeeeed)
I think I have a bit of a poetess crush.
What's inspiring you these days?
xo - Kristen
This past fall, I had some new painful and persistent symptoms in my body. My body has been speaking to me. She was not happy. I was on multiple courses of antibiotics and other treatments. These new symptoms came up out of the blue for me. After about two months of misery, a friend of mine (who is an acupuncturist) suggested that I see an acupuncturist. So I messaged a family friend who used to treat my daughter, and made an appointment for myself.
At my appointment later in the week, we chatted about symptoms, pain and sensations and she looked at my tongue (because that's what Traditional Chinese Medicine folks do) and we talked about diet. The big D. The elephant under the table. What was I eating everyday? I wondered for a moment if I could lie to her....would she know if I was lying? I decided that I was there with the goal of reducing my symptoms and feeling better, so telling the truth was probably my best bet.
It's easy to get into habits & routines (good and bad) and while we were chatting, it became really clear to me that I was ingesting lots of white flour and sugars throughout my days. It had become my normal. She did not make a big stink about my realization, but gently suggested that perhaps this was at the root of my problem.
After our chat, I had an amazing acupuncture session - my first! Nope, it didn't hurt. It was strangely energetic and relaxing all at the same time. I left with an open heart and mind and no plan at all (very strange for a planner like myself). Over the next few days, I felt very guided to release white flours (gluten), starchy carbohydrates and refined sugars. And so I did. This was a month ago.
It was challenging at points, but I spent lots of prep time and funds at my local health food store. I purchased foods that I knew would fill me up and keep me feeling good (and not too restricted). Plus I found some amazing gluten and sugar free treats that have kept me on the right path on this journey. And I've been cooking lots of whole foods. Currently roasted chicken, roasted cauliflower and sweet potato stackers are some of my favorites. I had some serious detox symptoms at days 4-6 (extreme fatigue, headache, irritability, feeling hungover and confused), but I feel so good now.
And in the midst of this elimination/restriction, I am being gentle with myself and seeing what my body needs and can tolerate. I know that the path to health must have flexibility and gentleness in order to work for me. I mean, I am going out for dinner and drinks with friends on Thursday and will savor and have fun and eat yummy food (and take care of my body).
What I am learning & remembering (or lessons along the way) :
I feel really good with these changes and my body is grateful
Whole/real foods are filling and help me to feel my best
I am strong, capable, enough
I will make mistakes
I feel stable, guided & kind (my mental health is greatly impacted by food)
There are three kinds of nut butters in my purse right now (and popcorn and nuts in my car)
There is love in discipline
I have less puff in my gut
And my pants are sagging.
Thanks for reading
I am a woman haunted.
My dreams and nightmares (living awake and asleep) involve spinal cords.
Cervical spine, vertebrae, lamina, intramedullary, cauda equina, neural foramina, thoracic inlet...
(Inlet, as in a place of entry)
(Inlet, as in a small arm of the sea)
(Inlet, as in an indentation on the shoreline)
Or perhaps an inlet is where the tumors grow.
Rampant, aggressive, benign
(but don't let that gentle sounding term numb you into submission)
Growing next to the bones, inside the spinal cord and between the miniscule spaces of the spinal column. The space between is measured in millimeters.
I am a woman haunted
by these bones
and these words
and this reality.