• 5 Seconds

    Recently, I read The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins after having heard her speak virtually. I had seen the cover of the book beforehand, and I know I rolled my eyes. It sounded super gimmicky, and maybe it still is, but it's a gimmick that actually makes sense. 

    It's super easy.

    Any time you are on the verge of making a decision, and you know that you're going to find a reason not to do the thing you're supposed to do, just count backwards from 5 and move. What it does is it reboots your brain and takes it from automatic to manual, and then you can make yourself move.

    Let me explain a little better. The way this came about was that Robbins needed help getting out of bed in the morning. Counting backwards from 5 and then getting up before her brain could object helped her take charge of her day, instead of laying in bed, going back to sleep, or putzing on her phone for an hour before getting up at the last minute. 

    You can use this trick when you need a boost of bravery. Need to make that phone call? 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and dial. Want to go to the gym? Count down and lace up the shoes before your brain finds excuses not to. (And we know that there are always excuses not to)

    It can also be used to help reroute anxiety. When an anxious thought hits, count backwards and then start thinking of something positive - like your kids, or your pets, or whatever makes you genuinely happy. To be honest, it didn't really work the first time I tried it for this, but I kept practicing, and I have to say, I've been able to cut off a lot of anxious thoughts before they spin out. 

    The neatest thing I've learned from the book is that anxiety and excitement are really the same thing in our brain, just interpreted different ways. So if you can start telling yourself that you are excited about the thing, (like going out to meet people), you can start getting your brain to cooperate. 

    So, as I said - simple stuff, and really neat. I recommend picking up the book, as it's a pretty quick read, and Robbins does a much better job explaining it than I ever could. (Which makes sense, since it's her thing) 

    If you're looking for a boost, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and GO.

  • What the hair

    What the hair

    Long haired cats, they said. They have hair, they said.

    I was still woefully unprepared for this.

  • Impression

    It's funny how something so little can leave an impression. 

    It's been just about a year since Buttercup and Vizzi officially joined the family. But I still think about their brothers - Wes and Prince - often. I have to believe that those quirky little boys are doing as well as our two. Otherwise, I struggle with feeling guilty, and I really don't want to do that. Adopting all four kittens would have been irresponsible. Love will cover a lot, but it doesn't cover the cost of cat food - or litter. 

    That said, I would still like to foster again someday. There will never be a shortage of kittens who need some short term care before they're able to be adopted. But that will have to wait, because we really don't have the space right now, and we can't foster any more with Gwen. It's just too stressful for her. Since we know that stress can trigger her getting sick, it would be mean to intentionally stress her out, and to put immune compromised kittens into this space with her. 

    I had no idea when I moved down here a few years ago, just how full our family would be because of the humane society. While we've adopted three cats, I've met many more cats and dogs over there who are terrific. If you have any inclination to add a four legged member to your family, look into the shelters in your area. You may not find the animal that would be the best fit for your family on the first try - but trust me, you will find one. Go in less with expectations on how the animal will look and focus more on their behavior. The adorable hyper puppy may not be the best fit if you aren't home for 18 hours out of the day. An older cat who wants to bask in the sunshine all day might not get along with your toddlers. 

    You'd be surprised how something so small can leave such an impression. 

  • Strange Windowfellas

    Strange Windowfellas

    Gwen jumped up onto the crate to look out the door, and Cuppie decided to join her. Gwen was like, *SIGH* Fine. 

    It's crazy just how much bigger Cuppie is than Gwen. I knew she was bigger - if you pick them up, Gwen barely registers and Cuppie has got some oomph. But I hadn't seen them together at a good angle to compare. 

    To me, this picture looks so ridiculous - like someone photoshopped Gwen to be too small. Clearly, Cuppie is not THAT big. Except, apparently she is. So weird.

    They can stop growing now. I had to buy new bags for Cuppie and Vizzi because they had outgrown the original ones. Granted, the original ones were meant to fit up to 10lbs, and I'm VERY sure they're both past that now. Plus, they're long and sturdy. There's nothing dainty about those two. It's ridiculous. 

  • MCU

    We've been re-watching the marvel movies in the lead up to Infinity War. There was this neat little graphic that laid out the plan to watch one a week from, I think December, until the release in May.

    Three things happened:

    1. The movie release got bumped up to April 27. 

    2. We are really bad at watching movies in a timely manner

    3. I forget what the third one was

    As I write this, we're watching Age of Ultron. All things said, it's one of my least favorite in the MCU. I think Iron Man 2 is below it, but that might be it. It has moments, and James Spader, but there are problems with it. (Hi Joss Whedon)

    I love how the movies have different 'voices'. The Thor movies, especially Ragnarok, fall on a far more 'lighthearted' side, even when dealing with dark topics. Guardians movies are also goofy in a way that Captain America and Iron Man aren't. 

    Though we've taken our time with it, it's been interesting to watch them in somewhat near succession. There's a lot more character development from movie to movie than you'd think for action flicks. Once you get to phase two and three, everyone from phase one looks wide eyed and naive. Worlds get more complex, plans backfire, friends and loved ones get lost along the way. 

    The MCU takes it's time, and it sees a bigger picture. It's not flawless, of course, but by the time you get to the first Avengers movie, you've spent at least one movie with each main character. That makes the payoff even better. Once they've all met, the movies start intermingling, and the world gets tighter. Characters start popping up in movies that aren't theirs, and it works. It makes the world feel fleshed out - the consequences of things that happen in Ultron are played out in Civil War. I see that Andy Serkis is in Ultron - and also in Black Panther. It's not only a universe in name, but in practice. 

    That's part of what makes these movies so engaging, that what happens in one carries on to the next. That's also why I'm so nervous about Ininity War. So many characters ... so much danger. I'm afraid that characters I've grown to know and love over the past decade won't make it through. 

    And that, right there, is how you know Marvel has done something right. 

  • Cuppie for Congress

    Cuppie for Congress

    My name is Maggie Buttercup and I have approved this message.

    Do you want an alternative to all those fat cats up on Capitol Hill, only looking out for themselves? Then on election day, remember me, Maggie Buttercup.

    Over the last year, I have worked tirelessly to make friends with even the crankiest of kitties. If I can do that, I'm pretty sure I can do anything.

    I have a certificate of completion from Cat Tricks, which makes me a highly qualified candidate. I have been working on my public speaking skills, and I'm certain that they will be up to par by summer.

    I come from humble origins at the Lynchburg Humane Society, one of six kittens. My brother and I were fortunate to escape a life of endless breeding and wondering where our next meal will come from. I want to pay forward the generosity I have received.

    All this typing is really wearing me out, so I'm going to go take a nap now. Remember: Maggie Buttercup. A fluff like none other.

  • Gwen and the Hurp Durp Herpies

    Gwen and the Hurp Durp Herpies

    So we learned this week that all signs point to Gwen having feline herpes. YAY. (Not yay)

    Little girl came down with her second upper respiratory infection in a matter of a few months, which makes it look like she's got herpes, and her immune system is probably a little stressed. From my point of view, I think Gwen got the URI, passed it to Aeris, who ping-ponged it right back. Whereas Aeris looks like she kicked the URI like a champ, Gwen ... can't. She had been 'kinda sneezy' for several weeks, and then the sneezing went to eleven and she turned into a goopy, drippy, miserably sick cat in the space of a weekend.

    We don't know what this means for the bigger picture yet. Hopefully these are just a couple immune system hiccups for Gwen, and after this round of antibiotics, we can go back to smooth sailing. But, if the herpes is a fact, stress can trigger flareups.

    Haaaaaave you met Cuppie? Maybe I should have named her "Herpes Stressor".

    I'm kidding ... mostly. I don't know whether/how much the little ones stress Gwen out. She seems to handle them pretty well, and even enjoys playing with Cuppie. So I don't think she's a problem. Mostly.

    However, I know that our trips up north are a source of stress for her, coupled with the fact that she now needs 2x daily medicine, and we haven't tried that whole thing with anyone else yet. We don't know whether Gwen will let anyone put gel on her ears, or if that will stress her out. If it does, we don't know if that, along with us being gone, will cause a flareup.

    So I guess we'll see. I told Matt that until we've got her figured out, we'll have to be prepared to cut trips short if we have to. Because let me tell you, Gwen is a little firebrand when it comes to medicine. She is pretty good with us because we're her people, and she impaled the living daylights out of my thumb tonight. (To be fair, I was shoving a pill down her throat. I'd be impaling people too.)

    She went to the vet on Monday, and writing this, it's Wednesday night. She's been a lot better today. She scurried around the house about like normal, and had a few words with Cuppie and Vizzi for following her from room to room. They were just really happy that she's feeling better. The vet is supposed to call me tomorrow and tell me that I can pick up liquid antibiotics for her, so that the next week will be roughly 50% less traumatizing. Since they only gave me three days of pills, I'll be calling them if I don't hear from them.

    From here on out, we're supposed to call the vet right away if she starts sneezing a lot, so that we can start antibiotics before she turns into a sad, drippy mess. I'm not usually a fan of LOTS OF ANTIBIOTICS, but if you'd seen sad Gwennie in all her drippy glory, you'd probably be on board with this plan too.

    She looked sadder and more pathetic than I've ever seen her - and I saw her with a mouth full of rotten teeth that made her not want to eat.

    Antibiotics it is!

  • Here, there, everywhere.

    During a chat the other day, Matt and I decided that I would take over his Fictional Discipline site. I want to write more (both blog & fiction), and the FD site gives me a bit of structure that this one lacks. Turns out, when you can write about anything, you find yourself writing about nothing. So I'm in the process of putting my own stamp on the place, redecorating and all that.

    I'll still maintain this site, such as it is. I'm hoping that if I'm writing more over there, it'll grease the wheels a little bit and I'll have more to write about in general. Right now, my personal life is mostly about cats. I feel a little guilty constantly cat-blogging, even though it's my site, and if there's one thing the internet in general seems to tolerate, it's cats.

    So, while I'm grooving to some Elton John, you go check out Fictional Discipline.