Love, the Fur Girls

So I’m thinkin’ of leaving Facebook. I’ve been threatening this for a few months, most recently complaining to Karen, a college pal I saw over the holidays for the first time in 30 years … thanks to Fb. Over dinner in Bethlehem, not far from the dorm where we first met, Karen suggested I categorize my Friends so I’m not drowning in endless posts of inspiration, family photos and simple observations from people I may like but don’t want to “see” daily. Like people I met at business-card exchanges, or who post every time they make tea, soup or see a deer in the yard. Or the Merolla family from Turi, Puglia, Italy – to whom I may or may not be related – who friended me two years ago.

The notion to make the break came on the eve of the general election. I am a liberal, and while I’d been posting lots of liberal-minded articles and links, there was one that led to three of my online friends getting into some nasty name-calling on my Wall. I deleted the entire thread, and on my update wrote: No more politics. Back to cat pictures, with photos of our two rescues, Calpurnia and Eve.

Seventy-seven friends hit Like within 24 hours.

Since then, pretty much all of my posts have been shares of other cat photos or links to cute cat videos. Or they are pictures of our own fur girls, who, most recently, wished everyone a Happy New Year, posting their resolutions, which include more napping and honing their people skills.

Before throwing the baby out with the bathwater, though, I decided to do as Karen suggested. A week later, one of my Friends in a “lower” category messaged me to see if I was okay because I hadn’t clicked Like on something she thought I’d…like. But I see you’ve been commenting all over the place, she’d written. And ended with a string of ??????? I was busted.

This is all just too much work and pressure. And I can surely keep in touch with close friends the old-fashioned way: email. Oh, I’d miss updates from Nancie, who posts fun music-video links. I’d miss what Liesbeth has to say, as our social consciences are closely aligned. And I’d miss the dozens of birthday wishes I get every year, including those from the Merolla family in Turi, Puglia, Italy.

So anticipating that come Valentine’s Day, I will no longer be receiving Hugs and Hearts from high school friends I haven’t seen since 1976, I am posting here: Calpurnia and Eve wish you a day filled with ♥ …and chocolate, which we can’t eat. ☹

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The Tao of Meow

To turn a repeated phrase from the Old Testament, “And these are the generations of”…my cats: Ming I, Taffy, Ming II, Zoe and Maxine Von Kitty, Mama, Chuck, Bud and Lou, Sam and Dave Silverman, Harry, and Eve and Calpurnia. Some of them ran the house on their own, others – and you can tell by the placement of my commas, in pairs. “What is it about cats? my dog friends would press. “They don’t really do anything but eat and sleep.”

I was always a cat ONLY girl, until I rescued Jack, a rather troubled Maltese, who came to live with me and my former husband during the Sam and Dave years. I watched the cats first hiss and scurry away from Jack before moving on to regard him from shelves on high. We doted on Jack, ‘cause, frankly, he was gosh-darn cute. He knew all his toys by name and would retrieve them on command. We oohed and ahhed and clapped. We made our friends suffer through his little performances, after which he always received a treat. All the while, the cats looked on, wearing an expression that seemed to say, Really, little dog… Where’s your dignity?

Sam and Dave have long since crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Today, Jack, who’s 14, lives with his daddy, who texts me snapshots – the most recent of Jack in his little blue Hanukkah sweater. I digress. Anyway, my now-husband and I share our home with the “fur girls,” Eve and Calpurnia, cats who will come when we call if they aren’t otherwise engaged, like napping or nibbling. While most dog people will toss this lackadaisy up to selfishness or, worse, simplemindedness, I maintain that cats hold themselves to a higher moral standard. If it doesn’t feel right or isn’t part of their nature, they won’t do it. They are true to their true cat selves. They have…integrity. Merriam-Webster’s first definition of integrity is adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: incorruptibility. Cats are models for living because they choose not to compromise their core kitty values for an ooh or an ahh.

By the way, integrity is one of the core values that guide the work my colleagues and I do at A Woman’s Place and is the real topic of this blog. I googled the word and found a Goodreads collection of quotes about living in this state of honesty and authenticity. Click on http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/integrity for some laughs and lots of human models for living. And be sure not to rush through them or you’ll miss the gem from Eckhart Tolle in his groundbreaking “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment”: I have lived with several Zen masters–all of them cats.

cats and fire