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What stuff has Kathleen been up to lately??

Happy “Gotcha Day” Grover!

Grover became a part of our family two years ago, a decision that we have been so thankful for every day since.

When he first came to us, Grover was part of the ‘Lonely Hearts’ club, meaning that he was one of the shelter’s longest-term residents. OAS posted his picture on Instagram with a giant smile on his face, and I saw him and felt in my heart that he was part of our pack. I showed him to Jay, who must have seen the same look in Grover’s eyes because it was pouring rain on a Saturday in Oakland and even though we would have both loved to stay home all day doing nothing, we loaded ourselves into the car within a half hour and drove to the shelter to bring our Grove home. I think we went in sweatpants!

Grover has a real personality. He is stand-offish, and always ready to ‘scamp’ as quickly as he can away from your outstretched hand. He’s nervous, an anxious little fellow; at times, when he finds himself alone in the house (Louis being the smart boy and hiding upstairs when he wants alone time), Grover will just walk from room to room, chirping little meows, searching for his comrade in fur. I find myself wondering…does he think he’s abandoned? Does he think he’s alone again?

After two years, I’ve come to deeply understand Grover’s need for patience. It feels like I am finally making some headway with him – he and I have our own little private moments where I can tell that the bond is stronger. The trust is building! Of course, other times I might look at him funny and he runs under the bed for the next hour.

It’s a lot of work to have a skittish cat. You want a pet that will sit on your lap, and let you hug them and love on them and show them affection without getting too annoyed, but cats aren’t like that. I mean, sure sometimes they sit on your lap, they seek out your hand for a couples of scritches, they rub their whiskers against your leg to remind you that they are there. But a skittish cat takes patience, and kindness, and constant reminders that they are conscious and have their own emotions and don’t want to be bothered 24/7/365. That’s a hard lesson for an Elmira like me to learn, but two years in and I think we’re both starting to meet each other half way.

Thanks for changing out lives Grover! We wouldn’t have you any other way than the weird little butthole that you are 🙂

No Crying In Zumba

Last night was my return to Zumba after approximately three weeks off. Trust me, I: didn’t want to go; was hoping it was cancelled; considered lying to Jay and saying it was cancelled anyway; sat in the locker room for a long time considering both my options for escape and the emotional and physical tolls of an hour of exercise while taking in deep, long breaths and, straight-backed, hands on knees, trying to take a measure of how I was really feeling. But also, trust me, I: went.

Class was pretty full for a Wednesday. The other regulars nodded over to me, distantly acknowledging my absence and and happy to find that I haven’t quit (so many have quit). Plenty of new people, too, so the back of the room is crowded. I don’t mind the second row from front, which has much more space to move around.

The dances begin, the moves feel familiar. My favorite motion is when we mimic drumming in various styles, including hand drums during the Rumba and big bass drums during some song by Pitbull. We start moving and drumming to one particular song that I am familiar with, ‘Desi Girl’ – I’ve never loved this dance as it seems a little be appropriative of Indian culture, especially when we’re jumping on one foot with our fingers pinched like some botched Bollywood dream sequence. But anyway, ‘Desi Girl’….

While we were dancing and jumping and banging on the drums, it occurred to me how much easier these moves have become. Here we were, dancing to the 8th song of the hour, and my jump still had gusto! My kicks had pizazz! And I realized – I may not have lost much weight so far, but it has been enough that already, my body is moving more easily. My muscles are responding to training, and responding well!

Could I have jumped like this 10 pounds ago? What will I be jumping like, another 10 pounds from now? And I felt so happy, so proud of my resilient, soft body and my personal commitment to betterment, and I could actually feel my muscles moving and working and it felt GOOD!

And I burst into tears, right there in the middle of ‘Desi Girl’.

Luckily, only the instructor caught it, and Laurie knows me well enough to know that I probably don’t want to talk about it, so she left me alone and I pulled myself together. It was embarrassing but it was profound – I’ve been exercising and dieting to different degrees for pretty much my whole life, and I’ve got unhealthy relationships with all kinds of foods and would love to be a slug if life would only permit. But I feel that I am on the right track – it’s slow, and in the heat of the moment it’s hard to think about the future. But something I think I’ve finally learned is that slow and steady really do win the race, and that maybe I can’t snack after 8 PM today, and maybe that bums me out, but just think… pretty soon, TWO MONTHS of not eating snacks after 8 PM will be gone like that, and the wedding will be here in no time, and I won’t regret a single one of those missed opportunities to gorge on, I don’t know, peanut butter I guess?

And my body is feeling better. My body is moving better. ‘Desi Girl’ is getting easier. I mean, talk about the payoff being worth the work, I feel like a functioning, healthy, whole human being.

If that’s not inspiration to get my butt to Zumba on the regular, well then I just don’t know what is 🙂

Quick Post: Whatcha been listenin’ to?

Today I listened to Spotify playlist “Country’s Greatest Hits: The 80s”. Lots of denim-clad George Strait ballads and Dolly crooning. Surprisingly upbeat mix, all things considered.

Thematically, I notice that many country songs are about ‘man has failed to be proper man, lost woman to another, more masculine man’. I know, what does that mean. Let me try to explain… Many of the songs seem to be about the singer, a man, who has, through his own misgivings and inadequacies, lost the “love of his life”. Sad.

The singer always admits though, that his lost love is in fact in the hands of someone better, more mature, more suited to caring for a domestic and gentle thing. I like it, because there is a bitter resentment but even more bitter acknowledgement that, yeah man. You effed up. You lost her. He is better than you. Probably should get drunk.

I should have written down the numerous songs with this theme, if only I had known that this would be where my train of thoughts would take me. Maybe if I listen to the playlist again, I’ll update.

Wrote for 14 minutes today, heehaw!