Alright, All You Mothers!

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Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!

We all owe our lives to you. Without you, there is no us.

So, thank you for going through the exquisite pain of bringing us into the world, and the more excruciating pain of bringing us up.

Sometimes, we wouldn’t listen to you. Sometimes, we willfully disobeyed you. Sometimes, we openly defied you. And occasionally, we just hated you. Maybe even told you so.

But, through all those times, deep down, we always loved you.

Because, we sat in your lap while you read to us. We played games and sang silly songs with you. We settled into our beds while you tucked us in and kissed us goodnight. We ran to you with our skinned knees, bloody noses, bee stings and broken hearts, knowing you would make it all better, as only you could.

Some of you are just amazing. All you single mothers, who do your best to fit a job (or more) in with the daily care and feeding of your children. All you moms who adopt children and welcome them into your family, loving them as though they were your own. All you “soccer moms,” endlessly shuttling your kids to this activity and that one, so they can have fun with other kids and get yelled at by all the insane parents.

Unfortunately, some of you have gone through the most painful experience there is: burying your child. You’ve lost them to disease, or to violence or, more and more lately, to suicide. I absolutely can’t imagine how deeply that must cut into your soul. I know you miss them every single day, and would sacrifice anything to bring them back. I’m so very sorry for you and your families. I wish you comfort and strength.

Bottom line, all of you are just extraordinary women, and you have certainly earned your own day. I hope you spend it in the company of your children.

Mothers around the world, I salute you. Many, many blessings on you all.

Looking With a Different Eye

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Okay, kids, here’s a fun little experiment for you to do:

Look at some object in the distance. Focus on it. Then, close one eye, hold up your thumb and position it so that it blocks your view of that object.

Got it? Great! Now, without moving the thumb, close that eye and open the other one.

Holy smokes! What just happened??

The object didn’t move, the thumb didn’t move, everything stayed the same. Only now, that object is right out there in plain view. Cool!

Yeah, I know, it’s nothing you didn’t already know, what else ya got, this was lame, yada, yada, yada…

But, really, how much of your time did that just take up, a few seconds?

And it’s a good reminder of how different the same picture can appear when viewed from a different eye.

 

One of the toughest things in the world to change is…an attitude. Especially the longer you cling to it, and the more comfortable you get with it. To change the way you look at something is risky, but oftentimes necessary.

One of the symptoms of depression, which I’ve had for years, is the tendency to get easily irritated by everyone and everything. All the time. Little things can just drive you nuts.

I’m around certain people, on a regular basis, who say things and do things that aggravate me to no end. Sometimes, I dread even being around them, for that very reason; I know I’m gonna get annoyed. ūüė†

Which is sad, considering they’re family.

I realize, I need to look at them with a different eye. They simply are what they are. The picture will not change; my view has to. Instead of resenting their idiosyncrasies, I need to accept them, to embrace them. I need to remember, these are people I love, that I’m glad I have them in my life, that it’s important to cherish the time we spend together, as long as we have it.

Besides, I know I’m definitely no day at the beach, either.

So, to whom it may concern:

Just a reminder, I love you all dearly. I’m glad you’re here. I will work on getting annoyed by you less and appreciating you more, because you are family, and family is priceless.

I’ll try to be less of a pain, too. Thanks for tolerating me, in the meantime.

Now, to the rest of you:

If you find yourself around some family members over the holidays who stir up the same emotions, try your best at looking through a different eye at them. I know, it’ll be tough. Remember, they didn’t get to pick you, either. Family is, or at least, should be, a refuge in the turbulent storms of life. We need each other, now more than ever.

Then maybe, we can summon up the courage to train that different eye on the rest of the world, and see something we never did before.

Who knows what can happen, then?

Oh, yeah…you can put your thumb down, now. ūüėŹ

 

Pass the Antacids

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Thanksgiving Day is approaching, America. ūü¶É ¬†The time of year to reflect on things and people in your life to be thankful for; chief among them, elastic waistbands.

Because, no doubt, you’re gonna be shoveling in a lot of tasty food. If your family is like mine, they make absolutely certain there is no possibility whatsoever of running out of vittles. Even if a hundred guests come over.

I’m reasonably sure Thanksgiving is a holiday that was created by the makers of Rolaids.

Anyways, as you gather this year with the ones you love, (or the ones you don’t, but were forced to be with, anyway) here are a few things on which to ponder:

Exactly who and what am I thankful for?

If they’re people, do I ever tell them I’m thankful for them?

Am I thankful all the time, or just one day a year?

Do I ever give anyone reason to be thankful for me?

Am I sure¬†I’ve got no room for one more slice of pie?

Where has Dak Prescott been all my life? (Go, Cowboys!!)

Seriously, though, I hope all of you get to spend some quality time with people who are special to you, and truly enjoy the pleasure of each other’s company. (Might want to avoid the political discussions this year, though. ūüė¨) If you’re driving somewhere, be careful on the road. If you’re flying somewhere, I sincerely hope you have no baggage to claim. If everybody’s coming to your¬†place, stock up on Charmin.

 

One thing you should NOT be thankful for: retail stores that start their Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day.

All those workers deserve a day home with their families, and to deny them that is to demonstrate just how greedy and heartless these retailers are. I’m not giving any of them my business on Thursday, and I hope you don’t, either.

In fact, why don’t we just eliminate Black Friday, altogether? I mean, nearly every one of them begins with some poor shopper getting trampled to death by a mob in front of a store when it opens its doors. It’s just insane. Honestly, stores, if you’re that¬†dependent on one really big sales day, your prices are obviously too freakin’ high the rest of the year.

Put that on your register and scan it!

 

Well, enough about that, friends. I’d like to wish y’all a Happy (urp) Thanksgiving. ūüôā

Don’t let the grandkids club each other with the turkey legs.ūüćó

And if liquor is part of your celebration, please designate a driver so everyone stays safe.

Bless you all. I’m putting on my stretch pants.

 

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The Secret

 

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Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.

You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines.

“Time”, Pink Floyd

Songwriters
ANDREW WRIGHT, SIMON SMITH

Published By
Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

First time I heard those words, I was 14 or 15 years old. I didn’t grasp the significance of them back then, obviously.

I sure do, now.

I recently wrote a post about commemorating yet another birthday, and I alluded at one point to how getting old scares me a bit, so I should probably explain myself. You may not want to read on unless you’re really happy today, because this one’s a bit of a downer.

I see my folks, they’re getting old
And I watch their bodies change
I know they see the same in me
And it makes us both feel strange
No matter how you tell yourself
It’s what we all go through
Those eyes are pretty hard to take
When they’re staring’ back at you

“Nick of Time”, Bonnie Raitt

Songwriters

BONNIE RAITT

Published By
Lyrics © BONNIE RAITT

First of all, and I know this is going to sound so shallow, but have you seen what old people look like? With their wrinkled up faces and age spots on their hands and turkey wattles on their necks? I know, I know, I’m sorry, I really am, but I just can’t envision myself looking like that. Not me. My hair is definitely grayer, and there’s less of it than there used to be, but I’ve accepted that, more or less. Those other cosmetic changes are gonna be much harder to face.

But, it’s not just the looks; it’s the health. I dread what the future holds for this steadily deteriorating¬†shell I walk around in. Will I get slowed down by arthritis? Will I be felled by a debilitating stroke, like my father, and bedridden for the last years of my life? Or will my worst fear come true, and Alzheimer’s slowly and mercilessly steal my mind, piece by piece?

It’s stuff like this that, whenever somebody says getting old “beats the alternative”, makes me think, “Are you sure?”

And, yeah, I know, none of those things may happen; I may just get hit by a truck, instead.

But, I’m the kind of guy who thinks, my life has gone pretty well so far, something’s gotta happen sometime to screw it up. The Law of Averages dictates that the scales eventually have to tip the other way.

What can I say? It’s how I roll.

 

Truthfully, though, I think the worst part of getting older is how everyone else gets older. So, the older I get, the more funerals I’ll be attending. Funerals of friends and family members. People I’ve known and loved for years, for decades, for pretty much my whole life. I want to keep them around forever; I don’t want to say goodbye to any of them, and it will seriously break my heart when I have to. I am really not looking forward to that part.

I mean, I know that’s all just part of it; we’re born, we live, we get old and die. That’s how this thing works. It’s never bothered me as much as it has lately, though. I know, I should probably just shut up and accept what’s coming, because it certainly doesn’t come only to me.

Just feels like it, sometimes, that’s all.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

“Time”, Pink Floyd

Songwriters
ANDREW WRIGHT, SIMON SMITH

Published By
Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

On the bright side, though, friends, (yes, there is one) I am working towards reconciliation of these issues, because I know a life lived in fear and dread is really no life. It’ll just take some time for me to reach the state where I can believe what singer James Taylor said years ago:

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time

“Secret O’ Life”, James Taylor

That’s the goal for me. Hope I attain it. Sooner, as opposed to later.

My (So Much) Better Half

What attracted me first was the eyes.

I met her when we were in our early twenties, in the college age Sunday School class at our church. I led the singing one Sunday, when I was home from school, and she played piano for me.

Then, I traveled back to school later that day, and pretty much forgot about that encounter. So, our¬†story really didn’t begin there; just a footnote, more or less.

Fast forward a couple of years. I was graduated and back home, and we were in a different Sunday School class together. She was having some of us over to her apartment for her birthday. I was the first to arrive, and so we had time to talk awhile.

And that’s when I noticed those eyes. Those big, beautiful eyes. The kind you could just gaze into all day.

And, as we talked, I noticed a few other things. Her intelligence. Her honesty. Her smile. Her sense of humor. We had a pleasant conversation that afternoon.

And it still took me another month to ask her out (!) That’s how fast¬†I moved.

But, it was the second best thing I ever did for myself.

The first was marrying that girl two years later.

 

The month of July is a significant one for me for two reasons. One of them is my birthday, which is sort of good news/bad news these days. It’s a commemoration of another year lived on this planet, and a reminder that I’m another step toward the grave. I’m on past middle age; I don’t imagine myself living to 114. I’m on the downhill side of my life, which explains the increasingly rapid pace at which it passes. Still, I try to be grateful for every year I’m still here.

(Incidentally, there are plenty of other July birthdays in my family. Apparently, October was quite an active month.)

The second big reason is my wedding anniversary. This year will mark our 32nd.

Incredible. It went by like nothing, but it’s also felt like we’ve been together our whole lives.

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The fact that this woman has put up with me that long is worthy of a medal, if not a parade. Ain’t no doubt, this boy won the¬†Lottery on his wedding day.

The wedding, incidentally, was somewhat eventful. Love birds escaped their cages and flew around awhile. A groomsman fainted just as I was kissing the bride.

Oh, well, give the people their money’s worth, right?

So, that’s how we started out, and it’s¬†been a wonderful ride ever since. The more I’ve gotten to know this lady, the better I like her.

I’ve never known anyone so thoughtful before in my life, who thinks of other people’s needs as often as she does, and is so willing to do what she can to help.

She has a terrific sense of humor. She’ll come up with stuff sometimes that simultaneously cracks me up and makes me envious that I didn’t think of it first.

Like me, she’s a sucker for animals. She’s got a tender heart for cats, dogs, and all baby animals. (“Aren’t they cute?”)

She is absolutely devoid of pretense; she’s genuine. What you see is what you get. She’s honest to a fault. (As is the rest of her family, as I learned)

She has a very strong sense of fairness, and bristles at injustice anywhere she observes it. She believes in, and respects, the dignity of every individual, and treats them accordingly, as she would want to be treated.

And she loves me, as she’s proven over and over again.

And, oh yeah, she’s pretty, too.

 

We’ve had some wonderful times together. Over the years, we’ve¬†been fortunate to visit several places across America, see beautiful things, and have unforgettable experiences. One that stands out to me is standing on the balcony of our hotel room on Waikiki Beach and watching the sun set over Honolulu. Never thought I’d actually get to do that. It’s just one of many dreams come true in my life.

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Of course, we’ve had some experiences that were not so pleasant; such is life. But we’ve been there for each other through it all, and we always will be.

Does she drive me nuts sometimes? Sure.

Do I return the favor, in spades? Bet all your money on it.

But we both know, we’re in this thing for the long haul. We made a commitment to each other all those years ago, in front of God and several credible and semi-credible witnesses, to be with other for as long as we both shall live. And, 32 years later, here we are, looking forward to more wonderful years together.

And her eyes are as beautiful as ever.

Happy Anniversary, darling. Thank you for being my wife. You’re my very best friend, and there’s no one I’d rather hang out with. Thank you for sticking with me through bad times, as well as good. Thank you for your devotion and support. Thank you for your patience, which I constantly put to the test. Mostly, thank you for loving this lucky guy for all these years.

I Love You so very, very, very much.

 

Those Words

Hot summer evening in Texas.

I’m about nine years old, I think, outside in the front yard with Mom and Dad. They’re probably finishing up yard work, and I’m just playing, like nine-year-old boys do on summer evenings.

Dad loved working in the yard. Loved it. He took great pride in having a terrific-looking landscape, and he busted his butt for hours to achieve that goal.

This great love for yard work was a gene that definitely did not¬†duplicate to any of his sons, I assure you. Just sayin’.

Anyway, our dog, a little toy fox terrier, is out there with us. Not a good thing; he’s supposed to be in the backyard with the gate shut, or else, he’s got the green light to take off down the street, with me in hot pursuit. So far, fortunately, he’s chosen to just stay close to us in the yard, so Dad tells me to grab him (the dog, not Dad) and return him to the backyard and close the gate. (which, by the way, yours truly probably left open, causing this situation in the first place. oh, well…)

One problem: Just as Dad’s telling me this, the dog decides he has to pee.

So I stand there and wait for him to finish. Rude to interrupt him, don’t you know; I certainly wouldn’t want anybody grabbing me when I’m right in the middle of taking a leak. Besides, some of it may get on me. Ewww.

Well, you know what comes next. Soon as he finishes, he takes off running, and my chance to just grab him is lost. Great. Now I gotta chase him again.

That’s when I hear Those Words. The words that have stayed with me from that day to this:

You idiot!!

Why are you such an idiot??

 

Ah, fathers and sons. A historically complicated relationship.

My father was a good man. He truly was.

He worked hard all his life to provide for his family. He was determined his sons would all get a college education, something he never got; he knew a degree would open a lot more doors of opportunity for us. He had a big heart for people (and animals), and would help anyone in need as much as he could. His faith was a huge part of his life; he loved God and did his best to be a loyal follower.

He also had a wonderful, wicked sense of humor, always making wisecracks and playing pranks. He couldn’t help being the naughty boy. He was the court jester, providing those around him with a good laugh.

He took me to ball games. He took me fishing and swimming at the lake. He played catch with me. He played board games with me. He patiently listened as I recited TV commercials and comedy routines I had memorized. And he laughed at the punchlines.

He told me he loved me. Often.

I feel genuinely sorry for all the people who had fathers who beat them, or molested them, or abandoned them, or neglected them, or always came home drunk, or in any other way put their families through complete hell. I know I’m one of the fortunate ones; I was raised in a stable, loving family environment, for which I’m so glad. And my father was one of the main reasons for that.

I loved him. I looked up to him. I wanted to be just like him. He was perfect in my eyes. So, what happens when such a person looks you in the eye and calls you an idiot?

When you’re nine years old, it totally crushes you.

I went into the house and fell on my bed, crying. I was certain I had just failed him beyond measure. I hated myself for being such an idiot.

Unfortunately, as I grew, it was hard to shake that feeling. See, Dad had this…tone sometimes when he talked to you. It was very condescending. You could ask him a question, and he would answer in a way that made you sorry you asked. You would end up believing he thought you really are an idiot, whether he actually said it or not.

So I resolutely held on to the belief that he thought his youngest son was the dummy of the family.

And no amount of “I love you”‘s and “I’m proud of you”‘s could totally wipe that away. I still could seldom¬†times¬†look at him without imagining him looking back at me and wondering how he could have been stuck with such a stupid son.

If he ever told me he thought I was smart, I don’t remember. Selective memory, I guess; it wouldn’t have fit my perception of what he actually thought of me.

And, see, I know he didn’t mean what he said that day; he was angry, and don’t we all know, we say things in anger we never really meant to say.

But that doesn’t make it hurt any less to hear.

Now, please understand, this isn’t a Dad-bashing. I really loved the man, and am forever grateful to him for all he did for me. I don’t hate him. I don’t resent him. I’m not blaming any failures or missteps in my life on him; I own all that. I’m not wallowing in self-pity over a “troubled childhood”.

I just wish he’d never said Those Words. Or, at least, had apologized for saying them.

So this is for all you dads out there, about to enjoy Your Day. Even though I’m not a father myself, I had one¬†once, and I’m telling you…

Please, please choose your words carefully when you talk to your children, even in anger. Especially, in anger. If you say something you don’t mean, apologize, and reassure your child you love him or her. Those Words have a much greater impact on a child than you can ever imagine.

Oh, and all you sons (and daughters) out there: show some love to your dad this weekend, and the rest of the time, too.

Happy Fathers’ Day, Dad. Sixteen years after your passing, I still miss you.

And I still love you. Like always.

I Hope You Knew

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I had a terrific mother.

She took really good care of her baby boy. She cooked what I wanted to eat, even if it wasn’t what everyone else was having. She looked after me when I was sick, which was pretty often. (Of course, it helped that she was a registered nurse.) She took me to school in the morning and picked me up in the afternoon. She tucked me in my bed and kissed me good night. She held me when I cried.

She had a great sense of humor, which was essential for life with our family, ’cause Dad was a practical joker, and my brothers and I were all¬†smart alecs. She loved to laugh, and did it often. And she had a smile that could only be measured in megawatts. Honestly. You could see the room brighten up when she smiled. (I submit the above photo as Exhibit A, B, C…)

She was a very warm, very giving person, always concerned about others’ welfare, and doing whatever she could to help. She saved a woman’s life once who was having a heart attack in church. She looked after my two oldest nieces one summer while their mom was in the hospital. Those are just two examples. She was so compassionate and caring.

She came to me one day when I was eight, and told me she’d signed me up for piano lessons. I remember my exact response as, “You what??”

I mean, come on! Eight-year-old boys don’t take piano lessons! Eight-year-old boys play ball, and other boy things!

But she saw something in me. She saw I had a knack for music, and she wanted to see me develop that. So she saw to it that I practiced regularly (which I hated!) and she came to all my recitals, and she envisioned me becoming a concert pianist one day. (That, of course, didn’t pan out, but that’s another story.)

But Mom loved me very much. She loved my two older brothers, too. Her boys meant so much to her.

I just wish she hadn’t died when I was sixteen.

 

It was a hospital screw-up.

She had gone in for back surgery. While she was in recovery afterward, someone had administered phenobarbital to her as a sedative. Problem was, no one bothered to check to see if she was allergic to phenobarbital.

Which she was. Highly.

Needless to say, that set off a chain reaction of calamities that ultimately led to heart failure and death. (I’m the same age now she was when she died; just realized that. Kind of a chilling thought.)

I didn’t even know about any of this until many years later. I was told not to come to the hospital that afternoon; just go next door and hang with my best friends until someone came home. I didn’t know anything had gone wrong at the hospital. All I knew that beautiful, starry January night was that my brother came home to tell me Mom was suddenly gone.

People started coming by that night to offer sympathy and support. Dad finally came home, slowly shuffling in with the longest face I’d ever seen on a person. He and I walked straight to Mom and Dad’s bedroom, knelt by the bed and prayed. I think I was basically numb through all those hours after I first received the news.

I couldn’t cry that night. I tried to, but only managed a few perfunctory tears. Maybe I was just too shocked. It probably still hadn’t hit me with full force what just happened.

Until the next day.

I went to school, and spent the whole day in some sort of fog; I was there, but not really. I came home and spent the afternoon with family, and later they went to the funeral home. I don’t recall why I didn’t go the same time as them, but I’ll never forget what happened later that evening. I walked¬†tentatively into the room where Mom lied, my father and my brothers and their wives waiting for me. I started to sign in, like a guest, and one of my brothers gently told me, “That’s all right, little brother, you don’t need to sign in.”

I slowly approached the casket, where my sweet mother lay in peace. I looked down at her beautiful face, absent that megawatt smile.

And that’s when the floodgates opened. I just broke down crying, and kept it up the rest of the night.

It finally hit me. Mom was gone. Really gone.

 

She called me the morning of her surgery from the hospital before she went into surgery and I left for school. She told me to always be a good boy, and that she loved me.

That was the last time we spoke. Forty years ago.

And I didn’t tell her I loved her.

And the thing that has haunted me to this day is: I never told her. Not once. Not even in response to her saying she loved me. Not even that day. It never occurred to me that would be my last chance.

You know why I didn’t? This is so stupid. I was embarrassed.

It embarrasses me to tell someone, “I love you”, except for my wife. I don’t know why; maybe I feel like it puts the other person in an awkward position. Maybe I’m afraid there will be tears, which makes me feel awkward. Maybe I worry the other person won’t say it back.

But I let those excuses hold me back from saying what I should say more often, to more people. And it held me back from saying it to my mother.

And now, I don’t even have the chance. And believe me, I would give anything to be able to look her in the eye just once to say, “I love you, Mom”.

So, for Mothers’ Day, if your mom is still around, please tell her you love her, while you still can. Even if it embarrasses you. If she isn’t, then wrap yourself in the warm memory of the time she spent with you, and all the many ways she poured her love out for you.

And if you truly don’t love her, perhaps because you feel she’s never loved you, my heart goes out to you; that is a pain that I, luckily, never knew. I wish you comfort and, maybe, even resolution one day.

Happy Mothers’ Day, Mom. I Love You. I always have.

I hope you knew.

 

P.S. – To my wonderful stepmom: Happy Mothers’ Day to you, as well. I love you very much. I am so glad you came into our family’s life. You are one of the kindest, friendliest, happiest, most down-to-earth, most relentlessly optimistic people I’ve ever been lucky to know. Always know how special you are to me. Blessings on thee.

 

The Little Devils

There are two faces in my life that never, ever fail to make me smile:

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They came into my wife’s and my life eight years ago, when they were just itty-bitty kittens at the local animal shelter. We had been “petless” for a few years following the passing of our sweet dog, and when we finally decided to get another pet, my wife asked me if we could get a cat this time.

Sure, I said. I love cats and dogs, along with a few other animals. Animals are increasingly becoming much more favorable company to me than people. Draw your own conclusion from that.

Anyway, we started our cat search, which eventually led us to the shelter where these two sweet black kittens were. They were sisters. The lady at the shelter told us black cats were usually the last ones to get adopted; they were deemed not as pretty as other cats, people were superstitious, etc. We said, enthusiastically, “We love black cats!” We think they’re beautiful, and besides, my brother-in-law had one that was the coolest cat I’d ever known. (Here’s to you, Nicky; you were sumthin’ else.)

We hadn’t originally planned to get more than one, but these two were family, and so sweet together, so we decided we couldn’t break up the team; we had to have both of them. And so it came to pass that we took Lizzy and Izzy – the names we gave them – home that day.

We always ask ourselves now what we ever did before we had cats. They have added so much joy and hilarity to our lives.

(Incidentally, if someone else asks what we did before cats, my standard reply is, “Had nicer furniture.”)

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It’s amazing how animals can have distinct personalities, just like people. Izzy’s the happy-go-lucky, personable, attention-hungry, loudmouth chatterbox. I mean, she can go on and on and on!! She will not be denied when she wants something, usually lots of hands-on treatment. She’s hyper, too; about the only time she holds still is when she’s sleeping, which she loves to do under the covers, so she can stay toasty-warm.

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Lizzy is the more moody one. She’s as sweet as can be, but she doesn’t seek attention as much as Izzy. Really, she kinda goes through phases where she either wants no attention or a lot. You’re affectionate to her on her terms.

Also, she gets pissed at Izzy pretty regularly. These two are so jealous for Mom and Dad’s attention, and when Lizzy’s getting it, Izzy just can’t help being a pest and trying to get some, too. That’s when Lizzy hisses at her. Although, she has been known to hiss at Izzy for no other reason than just being in the same room as her. (Poor Izzy)

They have their similarities, though. They both love getting in boxes, large bags, (Lizzy especially loves those) and laundry baskets. Anytime we bring home something new, whether it’s for them or not, they have to investigate it¬†right away; our little detectives. Even if we move a piece of furniture from one place to another, they’re inspecting it like something they’ve never seen before. They like lounging in any part of the house where the sun is shining in. (Got to maintain their tans, don’t ya know?) They like chasing each other through the house, at breakneck speed. They both like playing ball; ¬†if you roll a ball to them, they’ll slap it away, like feline soccer pros.

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And they’re both really interested in what my wife and I are eating. We don’t feed it to them, but they certainly act willing to eat it. Lizzy’s interested in chips; Izzy has what my wife and I call “chocolate radar”, which reliably goes off anytime one of is having something chocolate.

They’re a great comedy duo. Sometimes, my wife and I will be watching TV, and we’ll quit and just watch these two instead, because they’re much more entertaining. (Of course, for a lot of TV, that’s not saying much, but I digress.) I tell them all the time that they’re a riot.

And they’re so graceful. They just jump up wherever they want and make it look absolutely effortless. We just watch in amazement.

Sure, sometimes they do something we wish they hadn’t – my wife has dubbed them The Little Devils for their mischievous antics – but we can’t really get mad at them, because they’re just so darned¬†cute. One look at those sweet faces, and we’re just putty.

And they know it; I’m sure of it.

They’ve got us right where they want us. It’s their house; we just live in it. It’s like the saying goes, “Dogs have masters, cats have servants.”

But, trust me, we don’t mind a bit.