Tag Archives: pets

Would I Volunteer When I Retire?

Ever since I turned 50, not a day passes that I don’t consider what I might want to do in retirement.

It is kind of funny because for the first half of my career, it was all about mentally preparing for the next work assignment and the next career step, hoping to strike to right balance between something I can be good at, something lucrative and sustainable, and something that will keep me happy.

At this stage in life, the hunt is still on, but not so much about the next career step as it is for activities I may be interested in pursuing in my next chapter.

Of course, there is no rush. As I suggested in my post about my retirement “gap year”, sleeping, recharging my batteries and writing for the fun of it will be my top activities in that first year. But at the same time, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking note of the activities that make me happy and which hold particular meaning to me.

Volunteering is one of those activities.

Much like with one’s career, I think it is very important to pitch in not only where the need exists but also to volunteer for causes that are close to one’s heart. In doing so, the time spent volunteering should be more fun and energizing rather than draining.

This is what I tried to explain to my dad many moons ago, when he objected to my volunteering just as I was launching my career. In retrospect, I certainly understand his point of view in that it was important to focus my full energy to my burgeoning career. But early on, there were days that I felt that my job was not tapping into my full potential, especially from a creative perspective.
That is why I was looking for other outlets. Continue reading

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 50+, Cats, Inspiring

How the Feline Barricade Saved Me from Myself

Shortly after the arrival of Ivy the Wonder Cat, when she started dropping her guard with me, it was a wonderful thing.

Those first few times that I was quietly watching TV only to find Ivy inconspicuously walking into my lap, plopping herself down and making herself comfortable, were heartwarming moments.

When trust and comfort conspired to become her naptime, I knew that I had succeeded in creating the right environment, that she was comfortable with me, and that we had truly bonded.

The only pitfall of that was getting locked into a couch or armchair and not being able to get up. I hated the risk of disturbing her peaceful sleep.

Fortunately, I caught on early and made sure that if I was sitting down with plans to watch TV for a while, to make sure I had gone to the bathroom first, had a beverage next to me, my remotes by my side and a pen and note paper, in case moments of creative inspiration should happen to strike me during my immobilization. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under 50+, Humour, Inspiring

10 More Things about the Cat That Make Me Laugh

ivyatplayLast year, I dedicated a post to the Top 10 Things about the Cat That Make Me Laugh. A year later, she remains a boundless source of comic relief and a welcome diversion from the preoccupations of adulthood.

Here they are: Ten More Things about the Cat That Make Me Laugh

20- The cat who cried wolf

After almost two years, I am getting pretty good at understanding the subtle inflections of her meows and what they mean. If she meows repeatedly and succeeds in walking me to where she might have a concern (who is training who?), I am usually able to figure out and address the situation. But if I have ruled out issues relating to food, water, litter, sleep, play or her nemesis is at the back window, what else is there? I am convinced that she has learned the art of “crying wolf” just to get some extra attention and getting me to step away from what I am doing. Not so surprisingly, it works.

19- Finding myself trying to explain the story of the cat who cried wolf… to a cat

When I stop myself and realize that I am explaining the story of the cat who cried wolf, I snap myself back into reality upon realizing that I am trying to negotiate with a cat. We all know who wins anyway, right?

18-Galloping during game time

The pure joy she expresses when we start playtime is unmistakable. Her usually gentle, soft footsteps are replaced by the cadence of a prize racehorse, as she gallops around the house running after balls, chasing a piece of yarn or the ever popular laser pointer. I never knew that cats could run quite like that. I don’t get how we never had a series about a bionic cat because I think we have our star right here.

I also discovered that her galloping around the house can also be a sign that #2 is coming soon. I am not sure of the connection, but it seems like more than a coincidence now. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats, Humour, Top 10

The Cat I Didn’t Take Home

It has been almost one year since I took home my beautiful cat Ivy and as you can see by the picture, she has made herself quite at home. Frankly, she is just about as perfect as she looks in the picture and I could not have asked for a better little friend.Ivy_Cat_May2016

Yet, I still feel bad when I think about the other cats I met during the “Cat Auditions” last spring. It feels so wrong to be thinking about other cats when I am petting Ivy, but I think it is natural to hope that they all found good forever homes.

One in particular has been on my mind a great deal, I met one day after work at a pet store near my office that carried pets for the Ottawa Humane Society. Just for a point of reference, let’s call her Gloria, even though that was not her real name.

When I got to the store, there was a dog and a dog owner in the store chatting with the two clerks, inquiring about a furniture “investment piece”. From my vantage point, the dog appeared to be a happy and friendly puppy, joyfully playing for her audience and soaking up all of the attention. But from that same vantage point, Gloria’s cage looked empty.

When the dog and his owner left, I asked the clerks where Gloria was. They walked me to the cage saying she was probably just hiding because the dog likely made her nervous.

Sure enough, once we got to the cage, a little head peeped out of the cardboard box in the cage, revealing gorgeous Gloria… but incredibly stressed Gloria as well.

Gloria was an older cat, 7 years old, with a story that tugged at my heartstrings. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats, Inspiring, Misc blogs, Uncategorized

Just Like Mom

Ivy_May2016This past year brought the arrival of Ivy the Wondercat into my life and whether I was aware of it or not, in becoming a first time pet owner I would also get my first taste at parenting. Also, whether I knew it or not, I was probably destined to take after one parent more than the other in terms of parenting style.

The first new months I think we can disregard as unrepresentative, as both Ivy and I were all over the map. Ivy was just getting used to her new fur-ever home and her new life as an indoor cat after being a stray, living a hard life on the streets for 9 months.

In return, I was overthinking and reading too much into her every action, and interrogating my friends and colleagues wondering if any slight misstep were potential signs of behavioural problems. Thank heavens for good friends to point out the obvious: that she was a cat, curious about her new surroundings, and just adjusting to her new life.

Just the same, whenever Ivy would jump on counters or the dining room table, I thought action was required on my part or else risk being stuck for 20 years with a cat with bad habits. I tried products and tricks to try to keep her off the counters including aluminum foil, a drop or two of lemon juice, shaking a can of coins. Nothing that would hurt her of course, but just to act as a deterrent. Yet she seemed relentless.

One day, she jumped on the dining room table while I was busy doing dishes. Without really thinking about it, I just slowly walked up to her on the dining room table, gently stroked behind her ears and sweetly asked, “What is it Sweetie? Is something wrong?” She immediately jumped off the table, ran downstairs and sat down by her little exercise ball. It ran out of kibble. Once I added more kibble to the ball, she was fine. That is all it took.

Hmmm…

The next time she was up on a kitchen counter, Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Cats, Humour, Inspiring

The Cat Bed Dilemma

To get Ivy a cat bed or not… that is the question.

Since we adopted each other almost one year ago, I have checked a few books and web sites on cat care to see what they say on the topic. I think the general consensus is that a cat bed is a good thing.

But I cannot tell you how many times I have looked at cat beds in pet stores and home furnishings stores asking myself if I am a horrible father for not getting Miss Ivy a cat bed of her own.

But then I go into a bit of sticker shock when I see cat beds …at the foot of cat trees, with hammocks intersecting into a network of tunnels, ramps and bridges. Suddenly the cat bed has turned into a major infrastructure project. I then ask myself if I need an environmental scan, an engineering study and a permit before breaking ground on one of those? Then of course I look at the price tag and think… “Mortgage payment or Ivy’s dream condo”?

It is not that I am being cheap about it. Honestly, if she ever demonstrated the slightest hint of needing one, trust me, I would get her one.

The truth is that she has three favourite spots in the house where she has the “quiet enjoyment of premises” and a comfy blanket, where most of her quality napping takes place.

But the fact is that Ivy is pretty much the princess of improvisation and seems to be able to relax for a bit on any number of surfaces… see for yourself.

10. Canadian Tire Grocery bags
I don’t think this is a candidate for a cat bed, but when I’m getting ready to do groceries I think this is her saying, “Nooooo, don’t gooooo” as she sometimes refuses to get up.
Canadian Tire grocery bags

9. This cat toy I found at the dollar store
Even though its intended purpose is to encourage the hunting instinct with its pockets to hide balls and toys, she seems to like lying on it for hours
Cat Toy

8. This fluffy colourful comforter
Comforter

7. Of course, her favourite blanket
This is the one they gave her at the shelter… I think this is her security blanket as she seems to get the best sleep on this one.
Fave Blanket

6.This fluffy fuzzy blanket
It was one of my favourite throws until Ivy claimed it as her own.
Fluffy Blanket Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats, Humour, Uncategorized

CSI Spinoffs That the Network Turned Down

CSI Lost SocksOver the years, I have been a fan of the entire CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) franchise including the original set in Las Vegas, the New York spinoff, the Miami spinoff as well as the most recent installment, CSI Cyber.

I imagine that to settle on those four successful franchises, the producers and writers must have mulled over hundreds of other ideas, some of which that just didn’t quite make the cut, even though they would have been compelling stories of investigations that many people could relate to.
Here are a few examples:

CSI: Lost Socks

CSI: Toilet Seats Left Up

CSI: Unfindable Ends of Saran Wrap

CSI: Unfindable Ends of Scotch Tape, Duct Tape and/or Masking Tape

CSI: Missing Baby Soothers

CSI: Missing Toys

CSI: Wine That Must Have Evaporated Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Humour, TV