Fountain Valley, California’s motto is “a nice place to live.” That sounds boring and bland… which is just perfect for me. I was born in NY, but I have no desire to live in a city that never sleeps. I like sleep! I don’t want noise and lights and excitement happening all night. I’m old. And grumpy. My neighborhood is quiet and dull, which I love. I get a thrill out of seeing the ducks. The immediate area is surrounded by busy streets, but I can tune them out and focus on the cool breeze, trees, and waterfall in my apartment complex. I’m happy here.
We’re not too far from the beach… 15 minutes, depending on which beach you want to go to. When I walk at Crystal Cove, that drive takes a bit longer. It’s inevitable that there will be occasions of snarled traffic in a coastal area, but I’ve learned to live with that. Even though I live in a place that some might consider resort-like, I still gravitate to the tropical theme when I imagine taking a holiday. I don’t actually go anywhere exotic though. Just Los Angeles to visit one daughter, NorCal to see another, and of course Irvine to work.
Spotis a strange name for a dog and I wonder how it became so popular. I guess because dogs have spots? Boring! Rover is also a common name, or was… because doggies roam around, I suppose. Then there are the “ironic” names, such as Tiny for a big Doberman or Hercules for a little chihuahua. Some names seem cool but are overused: Max, Copper, Brandy, etc. For my kids’ dog, I suggested Roxy and Rory… they went with Rory. She’s pictured above. My childhood dog was named Peppy, which is pretty uncreative, but I was only 9 when I named her (she was a salt and pepper cockapoo). Names are always interesting to me.
Kidding! (It was Miss February.) I have lots of great memories of my pets, starting with my little dog, Peppy, who came into my life when I was 9 years old. She was a sweet little pupper, but we never really trained her, so she was not that well behaved. I loved her though and was distraught when we lost her 9 years later. That’s too sad of a story to tell and I’ll leave it in the past. I want to remember all the cute things about her.
When I was 24, I took in a homeless kitty and tried to find its owner. No luck, so kitty stayed with us. My boyfriend at the time was into horse racing, so he wanted to name the kitty after a famous racehorse, John Henry. Since I didn’t know who that was, we added the name Banana after it. John Henry Banana. We called him Henry and he was a sweetheart.
After a while, we decided Henry was lonely, so we brought home a little tawny kitten to keep him company. We named her Tasha Banana. They got along fine. Later that year Henry got sick and went over the rainbow bridge, which was really sad because he wasn’t that old. The vet speculated that he had eaten some poison when he was out wandering before we met him. We then brought home a little sister for Tasha and named her Cyndi, like the singer. Naturally she was also a Banana. The sister cats were good together, but the boyfriend became my first ex-husband. These things happen.
I just remembered that prior to Peppy’s arrival, we had fish. They were very pretty, but you don’t really bond with a fish, mermaids excepted. 🐠
Anyway, while I was married to my second ex-husband, I impulsively adopted a new homeless kitty at a cat show (remember, we already had two). In retrospect, this was a very thoughtless thing to do without asking my second ex-husband first, but it all worked out. The cat, not the marriage. We named this kitten Oscar and he did his own thing but was occasionally affectionate. Cyndi, however, was always sick and no amount of care could ever fix her. She never grew past kitten size and only lasted until she was 3 years old. (Yes, I did a lot in 3 years, but I was an energetic 20-something.)
I had to find a new home for Tasha and Oscar a few years later. Long story, also too sad to go into. I know this can be a contentious topic, with some people believing you are committed to a pet forever once you take them in, and I too believe this on principle, but life happens. I did my best to find the cats a safe place, but who knows. For many years afterward, I had no pets, only children.
Cocoa wandered into my life when I needed her, simple as that. It was 2004, I was depressed, and I’d been scheduled for a “minor” surgery. Along came this wonderful blue-eyed fluffy kitty to brighten up my days. My daughters were thrilled to have a pet and we soon adopted another kitty, Tiki. Cocoa took some time to adjust to Tiki, but then they were friends. Tiki looked up to Cocoa, like a little sister to a big one, following her all around and trying to do everything Cocoa did. So adorable!
When my marriage ended, I took Cocoa and my second ex-husband took Tiki. They totally bonded and it was cute. Cocoa, however, began failing. Her arthritis kept getting worse until she couldn’t walk much at all. She lost interest in food, became skinny, and finally we had to say goodbye. It was heartbreaking. She was such a great cat.
Before Cocoa passed on, I thought I would not get another pet because the man I was dating at the time (remember TMWBMH? ~ yep, him) did not like pets. Silly me, I had this fantasy we’d stay together, but that was not to be. A few months before Cocoa died, we had broken up, so a new kitty was on my mind. My daughter went to the Orange County Animal Shelter with me, and we chose Gatsby (she did really). She also chose his name because I’d been inclined to go with Ringo. He’s obviously a Gatsby though.
Long time readers are familiar with G’s cuteness and antics. Suffice to say, he has comforted me during many down cycles and I owe him a lot. He can be super annoying, but he’s my Little Lion Man and I adore him. We’re now sharing a place with a kitty named Tiger and her person, and the cats are slowly getting used to each other. Tiger is an absolute doll.
Dr. Tanya keeps 5Things going by asking us this week what we do to reduce anxiety.
1. I make a list. Whatever the problem is, a list will help. I break the task or issue up into teeny steps, so I can cross them off or delete them when done. 😎
2. I think of all the worst possible things that can happen, and then I tell myself whatever does happen probably won’t be as bad as I imagine.😱
3. I focus on breathing for a few minutes.
4. If I’m at home, I discuss the issue with a kitty. 🐱
5. Eventually, I talk about the situation with a sympathetic person, like a daughter. 💖
My strategies are different from the usual listen to music type of thing. Trying to distract myself from a stressful situation never works. I still know it’s there. What helps me is to stare it down until it shrinks from my glaring. I’m scary, rawr!
I have a fantasy that after I retire (and G has passed over the rainbow bridge) I’ll see more of the U.S. I’ll do it leisurely, maybe by train, or partly by car… spend as much or as little time as I please wherever I go. I figure I can begin in the Northwest corner and see Vancouver. Then I’ll mosey on over to Montana and check out the Big Sky. Idk how long I’ll stay there before dipping south to visit Yellowstone…
Next, there will be a stop in North Dakota to visit the reptile zoo. Then I’ll make my way to the Chicago area, where hopefully I can visit some peeps and cruise around some old haunts. Then I would want to see a bit of Michigan before continuing on to Pennsylvania. Never have been to Philly, so I need to stay there a bit.
After that, I need to deal seriously with New England. Boston is a must-see, and also Providence. Burlington, VT is where some of my family lived way back, so it’s on the list. I want to go up to Maine too and see the places Stephen King writes about. Obviously, I will spend some time in New York, duh!
I’ll journey down the East Coast and check out the touristy stuff in D.C. Gotta see some of Virginia also… and absolutely for sure Nashville. Dunno if there’s anything else I need to check out before visiting Atlanta. And I will definitely see New Orleans, as I’ve been wanting to for ages…
Apparently I have to cross some vast nothingness to get to New Mexico, where I’d likely spend a bunch of time seeing Cool Things. Breaking Bad, yo! Colorado is in the plan, even though I went as a teenager. Worth a second visit, imo. And Utah! Drove through Zion National Park once on the way to Vegas and it was utterly gorgeous. This time, I’d really see it. Arizona needs a revisit as well. Beautiful place!