Category Archives: Quotes

[Self Discovery] Life Lessons From My Cats

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[Self Discovery] Life Lessons From My Cats

Before you know what kindness really is, you must lose things;
feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth.

Naomi Shihab Nye

There’s beauty in my breakdown. The past few weeks have been a lesson, an equal lesson in patience, love and loss.   Over the last few days I’ve thrown myself into fits of frustration and I’ve made myself laugh within the same moment, in an instant memory recall of the last eight years with Sake. What’s been the most important to understand is that my deep love, in turn – my deep sadness, is a selfish, albeit human, emotion because I couldn’t have him here to watch over me.  Our best memories were every day memories, morning kisses and pouncing on my head, late night cuddle sessions and secret treats. Sake brought friendship and love into my life in the best ways, always curling up in the most deserving of laps with a gregarious smile fixed to his furry face.

I remember one night back in 2008, I’d just gotten back from an all night party in Santa Barbara and was trying to pass out – albeit at 2pm.  Sake strutted into the room like he owned the place and perched next to me.  Slowly, as I watched him – a small figure floated above his head, a little pudgy with an orange glow and solemn stare, legs and arms crossed while it gazed into infinity.  From that moment on, I considered Sake my little Buddha kitty and realized that as much as I was Sake’s owner, he was perpetually my teacher. So, I’d like to bestow a few life lessons that I’ve proudly learned from my little man.  May his legacy live on.

When in doubt, take a nap.

Be comfortable

There is always more time for cuddling

If you can play with it, it’s a toy

  

Make an entrance

If you can sleep on it, it’s a bed

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Life is more fun with friends

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Stop and smell the flowers

Morning kisses are the best

Hug more

Give yourself a break

Look cute, people are watching

When you’re happy, announce it to the world. 

There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.

[Albert Schweitzer]

  

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Saying Goodbye to Sake

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 Over the past few weeks, my heart has been slowly breaking. It’s been trying, difficult and frustrating to wrap my fingers around the idea that a piece of my life is missing; there’s a definitive void – not just within me, but surrounding me. Words have failed me, and at every turn I feel like I’m going to crumble to the ground, overcome by emotion and struck by reality.


Back in college, I was going through a transitionary period. Becoming a fifth year senior isn’t usually commendable but at an institution like UCSB – it also wasn’t uncommon. It was the Summer of 2007 and I had just moved out of Isla Vista to the Mesa – a wonderful area near downtown Santa Barbara, surrounded by a stunning almost 360 view of the Pacific Ocean. My best friend at the time, a wonderful, warmhearted gal with an affinity for furry friends, moved in with me and between the five housemates we had two cats – Ssleman, a beautiful grey and white cat with a warm heart and a little black kitty that hid every chance it could; and then there was Roxy, a Golden Retriever / Yellow Lab puppy with more energy than I’d ever seen. After living there for a few months and going through a few mental moments of manifest destiny, I decided it was time – time for me to get a cat. I needed something to love beyond myself, to remind me that I was worthy of love; I needed to care about something to remind myself of the circular motion of life.


Arriving at the shelter, I gallivanted into the cat room and immediately felt at home. Throughout middle school and high school, I’d volunteered at cat shelters and there’s nothing like some kitty cuddles to brighten your mood and cultivate altruism. I glanced at an 8 month old Siamese that I immediately wanted to bring home, and a litter of orange tabby kittens not more than 2 weeks old. After getting to know me a bit, the young man working this room had a visceral lightbulb moment…“There’s a cat over here that I think will be perfect for you; he’s a little trickster and a lover.”  As we walked over to the carrier, a beautiful blue-grey cat sat poised in the back of the cage. “No…” I mused “…what about the playful girl next to him?” The man smiled back “Why don’t you guys go into the play room, and if it’s not a good fit we can keep looking.”

As Maguro was plucked from his perching position and was handed to me, his front paws reached out around my neck and he looked at me like I was home.  From the moment we were in the play area, he flopped and stretched ten ways to Sunday, purring, prancing and pawing at me. Looking up with a glimmer of gratitude in my eyes, I laughed “Ok, you guys got me…I’ll take him!”

As it turned out, I couldn’t bring him home immediately – upper respiratory infections are incredibly common in shelter cats and he’d just come down with one. Instead of bringing him home, I played with his sister – Saba – and it felt like she knew I was taking her brother away. I whispered that I would take good care of him and she purred in response.

Eight years later, I can say that without a doubt – he’s actually taken care of me.  From Santa Barbara to now four different homes in Los Angeles, Sake has been my confidant, my best friend, my furry little man and the light of my life. He’s gotten me through heartbreak and deaths, losing friends and losing my mind. 

 

My little Sake bomb. Sir Saks a Lot. He was the most playful, loving creature I’ve ever known. He would wake me up by pouncing on my chest and announcing his hunger with a miniature roar, he would zoom around the apartment with gusto and cuddle-hug you like he was a person. Sake converted friends that had sworn they were solely dog people, and made cat lovers rejoice. He was the best thing that has happened to me in my 30 years of existence. And now, he’s gone.

We only noticed the symptoms a few weeks ago and it wrenches my soul to think if we could’ve saved him. The last two weekends were full of friends that I consider family, doting their love and happiness on him and he loved back in kind – curling up and lapping up attention like it was his job. But in the back of my mind, I was scared, sad and confused. It felt like just yesterday, he was running around in the Santa Barbara sunshine, lounging in the flowers and running to my car from down the street whenever I returned from campus. And now, I was feeding him by hand, cradling him like he was my child, wishing for a better tomorrow. But that better tomorrow never came.

Yesterday, Sake lost his battle against lymphoma. The last thing he ever did in his life was jump into my arms, almost in parallel to the way he came in. We held his paws, wiped his eyes and sang with him until his final curtain call. I’ve never been so conflicted and overrun with emotion; I don’t know if I’ve even ever been this uncontrollably sad. I miss my dapper little man but I know he’s in a better place, cathartically chasing mice and lapping up love in the great beyond.

Because of Sake, I know what it means to love, to care, to be a friend and just listen; I know the true meaning of life, to love and be loved. When you get home tonight, hug your pets…hug your loved ones, life is too short to be anything but blissful. RIP Sake, I only hope that I can have half the effect on the world that you did.

              

[Weekly Dose of Wisdom] Spring Forward

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While March marched on into our lives hail paraded down on Southern California, eliciting a sonic onslaught as if it were a troupe elephants gallivanting over tin roofs while blanketing Orange County beaches with a coat of unprecedented snow.  And now?  Spring has yet to be sprung, and it’s been a lovely past few days with a threat of a heat wave flowing in tomorrow.  In a monumental personal feat, this is the first morning since Daylight Savings Time that I’ve woken up naturally and with my usual bounce in my step! For multitudes of reasons, I’m enamored by these few months before Summer – life is passionately on display as blossoms and wildlife color the sky, humans and animals alike couple up in cute, baseball gets into full swing and festival season reigns supreme. In the spirit of Spring’s impending arrival – here are some of my favorite seasonally inspired quotes on blossoms, flowers, nature, love and life with pictures  from various trips to Big Sur, Ventura, Colorado and around Eagle Rock.


[Weekly Dose of Wisdom] Where’s Your Will to be Weird

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It’s 2015 and weird is the new black; try it on! Embrace those strange thoughts that make you giggle, and could probably make an elderly lady blush; give those wonky clothes a go and flirt with fabulous; why not dye your hair a litany of pastel colors while feeling their alternating moods. Our entire lives, we’ve been force fed into believing that it’s better to fit in a box than to stand out. That gliding along in life is easier if you conform to inane societal standards about what things you should have accomplished in life rather than evolving into the type person that you’re astutely, intelligently and proudly determined to be.  Weirdness isn’t about other people or their opinions, weird is what happens when you choose to embrace your unknown and ebb with your own flow.

My entire life, I’ve more or less been a perfectionist – almost to a fault: there’s a thin line between perfectionist and OCD, but if you tell me where it is, I’ll clean it up. The world as we know it is a tumultuous, chaotic, messy, entropic place – so why are we under the assumption that internally we should be any different from our external environment?  I know it sounds strange, but it’s taken me almost 3o years to figure  out that it’s better to break the mold than be it.  And yeah, I’m full fledged, 110% positive that I’ve got the weirds; and I’ve got’em bad.  According to one of my favorite books – The Secret Language of Birthdays – I was born on the ‘Day of Idiosyncrasy‘, December 7th, and I think it’s absolutely fitting.  I like eating pico de gallo by itself and watching the weather channel, I talk to my cats and sometimes swear they’re conversing with me, I do most things backwards and spend a good proportion of my time laughing at myself, for either the weird shit that comes out of my mouth (seriously, say two near words together and immediately I’ll shout out their new illegitimate literary word child) or awkward things I actually physically do.

So, to inspire you to get a little strange, zany, crazy, silly, bizarre, uncanny, supernatural, odd, wonky and plain old weird this weekend – I’ve pulled some of my favorite quotes.  Enjoy your Friday and don’t be afraid to let your freak flags fly, my friends!

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[Weekly Dose of Wisdom] New Inspiration for a New Year

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In somewhat of a ‘new’ tradition, Danny and I cruised up the California Coast again this New Years Eve for our second annual Sea of Dreams experience.  And it’s all too fitting to us that Sea of Dreams resides in an San Francisco’s vast Ocean of Opportunity.  A compact, efficient city – it hustles and bustles on par with Los Angeles and New York City, but with more pedestrians and more clouds.  Sea of Dreams was a spectacle in itself, and you’ll get to hear about that soon enough – but what left me with an even bigger impression was a whisper at the end of the night.  Departing from Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, we stumbled across a corner and into an older gentleman, roaming the streets with a secret and a smile.  As we inched closer to pass him, he grinned “It’s the second half of the second decade of the second millennium.” We only marinated in that moment for a millisecond before Danny laughed back, “Day one, brother!”.  A smile populated the man’s face as he walked away, and we stood there – staring at each other in amusement.

Whether it’s waking up on the right side of the bed, a fresh jolt of sunshine, or a new lease on life –  every day has the potential to be your ‘Day Zero’, but the start of a New Year provides fertile ground for your passions.  To kick things off the right way, I’ve found some quotes that speak to me – about following dreams, building desires, focusing on intentions and the pursuit of a better tomorrow.

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[Weekly Dose of Wisdom] Let Freedom Ring

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In the wake of the various protests around the Country, from Ferguson and Michael Brown, New York and Eric Garner, Oakland and Berkeley dealing with their own socio-political unrest and workers from Wal Mart to McDonalds waging a strike against minimum wage, we’re at the cusp of a revolution in this country.  And for being 30, it’s a shame that my childhood and adulthood weren’t spotted with more unrest – lower college tuition, raising the working wage so families didn’t have to live paycheck to paycheck, fighting for equal pay for equal time; there are so many pertinent issues that are seemingly finally coming to a head.  We’re in the process of repeating history, of reliving the old Civil Rights Movement and I wanted to take some time and marinate on our current social, economic and political climate.  Quote about adversity, diversity, strife, freedom, the aggregious overreach of power and the like.

Ghandi, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X – each speaks to a generation, a people; loud, soft, proud, poignant – their words might differ, but their messages are mirrored and echoed throughout time and eternity.  Raise your voice and take a stand; be proud of your cultural heritage, but be prouder that you can now do something about it’s current vector.

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[Weekly Dose of Wisdom] Bring the Rain

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Thanks to the rain – gloomy, grey mornings have never felt so welcomed and wonderful. This drought that we’ve been wilting away under has been unbearably hot and dry, not to mention inexorably long lasting. On the positive side, it’s made me research desert landscaping and ways that we as Californians can translate permaculture into our everyday lives – but rain, I can love on that wet, slippery stuff all day long. So much so, in fact, that I wanted to share my favorite quotes about the rain. Enjoy!

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