Cat Butts and Communication

The other day our youngest cat came up to my lap and climbed on. She’s so fluffy that when she stands on my lap, I have a hard time seeing over her. So I said sweetly, ” Sit down like a lady!” She then proceeded to lay her front paws and her head down on my lap, lifting up her butt and shoving it in my face……

I should’a been more specific!¬†ūüėĬ†


*incredibly rare Catephant appears courtesy: 

Sometimes Halloween Costumes Teach Valuable Life Lessons…..

*the following blog talks about one of my favorite movies, Juno. Keep in mind that I am in no way in favor of teen pregnancy. I love the movie for its humor, wit, and amazing writing. Ok, you may proceed……

It seemed like the best idea ever at the time. Two and a half years ago I came up with the idea of dressing up as one of the characters from one of my favorite movies-Juno-for my friend’s annual¬†Halloween party. I wanted to dress up like Juno McGuff. Complete with oversized jug¬†of Sunny Delight and black Slinky Toy T-shirt. But there was a problem, I didn’t have long hair. Fortunately, fate smiled down on me as I had planned on getting my haircut one day, but the money just wasn’t there, so I had to skip it. And my hair grew longer. It grew so long I realized I could eventually do the Juno costume, so I let it keep growing.

Flash-forward to this last Halloween. I decided I’d definitely would go as Juno. So I set about gathering my costume. Not wanting to spend much, and not already having a Slinky Toy T-shirt, I printed off a picture on the internet and taped it to a black shirt I had turned inside out and cut the tag off of. Hey, I go big or go home. Speaking of which, yes, I did make myself a pregnant belly. I may have even researched How-To’s on craft websites. Seriously, go big or go home. I ended up stuffing a small cloth bag with more cloth and rubber banding it shut. To bump up the realism, I stuffed a pair of socks on the sides.¬†

Looking back on it now, I really shouldn’t have made it look so realistic. Seriously, I put on the full costume before I put on my shoes. My costume was so realistic, that I COULD NOT put on my shoes without help.¬†

I was excited to arrive at the party. I imagined the response to my costume would be laughter and delight. Instead I mostly got awkward stares and puzzled looks. One person even inquired how far along I was. If ever there was such a thing as a costume fail, it would have been mine. And no, before you ask, no pictures exist of me in my full costume. The last thing I wanted was for one to end up on Facebook¬†and I’d have relatives calling me up asking why I hadn’t told them we were pregnant. This led to a bit of prep each time a camera was shoved in my face. I had to make sure that it was only my head in the photo. Or if it was a full shot, I had to make sure to let them know that it wasn’t ok to post on social media. At the end of the evening, I took off my pregnant belly, my Slinky Toy shirt, undid my Juno pony tail and reflected on my choice of costume. Here are a few things I learned that I wanted to pass on to you:¬†

1. Prior to this costume idea, I knew I never wanted to be pregnant or give birth. Wearing this costume with a pretty realistic baby bump, made me realize how difficult life would be for me if I were ever pregnant. I couldn’t even put on my shoes without help. I realized that night that I made the right decision in not wanting to get pregnant.¬†

2. If you do a crazy costume that someone could mistake for the real thing, try to dial down the realism. I probably could have gotten away just fine without the pregnant belly. There would have been less awkward stares and I probably could have relaxed more.

So, next Halloween when you are thinking about that Freddy-Krueger as Rainbow-Brite costume, maybe take these tips into consideration.

Cheers! ūüôā¬†

Below is a clip from the movie. Featuring Rainn Wilson from The Office. Seriously, how could you go wrong?? Enjoy!!


*Proof that cats also sometimes have a lapse in Halloween costume judgement appears courtesy of google search

Lulabelle Reviews the Best Cat Hair Picker-Upper EVER!!

Today on the blog, I decided to do something a little different. Knowing that cat parenting can be stressful¬†at times, I’d like to start a series where I review different products that help care for your cat. I hope you find these helpful and they lower your anxiety

So you love your cat. They lower your blood pressure, and are there for a cuddle if you are feeling sad. They also leave behind cat hair. Lots of cat hair. Brushing them regularly can help, but there is still residual that gets left behind on furniture. So, what is a cat parent supposed to do?? My solution is to invest in a good quality lint brush. My go-to lint brush, and the one I swear by is Lint Wizard Pro Self Cleaning Brush. I bought it ages ago and am not sure if it’s still sold in brick and mortar stores, but you can find it on Amazon here. The Lint Wizard Pro Self Cleaning Brush is brilliant because it really picks up the loose hair and stores it inside a compartment at the back of the brush. When it is full, turn it over and move the purple latch forward to release the door and pull out the hair. Easy-peasy. The large purple button on the bottom can move left and right to give you a clean brush surface to work with while depositing the debris in the compartment in the back:

Photo on 2015-07-23 at 20.40                       Photo on 2015-07-23 at 20.41

The bristles, which I neglected to photograph, but can be see in the Amazon stock photo, are made of a short fuzzy carpet material that really grabs on to the hair¬†and doesn’t let go until you flip the button to deposit it into the well at the back.

So how well does it really work? Well, I tested it out on our youngest cat’s favorite place to sit. Her hair is so long people often mistake her for a Main Coon. Here are¬†the before and after photos:

Photo on 2015-07-23 at 18.50 #2          Photo on 2015-07-23 at 19.13

The Lint Brush Pro Self Cleaning Brush helps keep our house cat hair free!


*FTC Disclaimer: the brush was purchased by me and all opinions are my own



The following tale is true, but a few of the details have been slightly altered to protect the privacy of those involved……..

When you live life with anxiety, you are constantly learning new things about yourself–mainly what kinds of things can set you off. This can be a frustrating and embarrassing phenomenon. Case in point, when my husband asked me to marry him during a surprise proposal, I panicked. Instead of saying yes right away, I asked him why he was asking. Yep. Although we had talked at length about marriage and both knew that was where we were headed, I still made things awkward when he asked. Thankfully he’s taken my reaction in stride. We actually just celebrated our wedding anniversary a few days ago, so it all worked out. But I still get down over my reaction sometimes. I had always imagined that moment in my life, before it happened, and I imagined I’d react with a combination of jumping up and down and screaming, “YES!” Not meeting my own expectations in the moment is something I’ve had to forgive myself for. I also learned a valuable lesson: I’m not really into surprises.

Mind you, I can take the old, “what am I getting for my birthday or christmas” surprise. For the most part. A new exception has just been made. See, the other day¬†a dear friend of ours decided to surprise us by hiring out some maintenance work we’ve desperately needed done to weather proof our deck. It was supposed to be a surprise and of course my husband and I had no clue they were coming to do it. Now, in defense of our wonderful friend, the person they hired to come do the work didn’t call ahead to them to let them know it would be done that day.

When they came and knocked on our door, I viewed them through the peephole and didn’t recognize them, much less why they were holding a spray can reminiscent of a piece of pest extermination equipment. I watched them, and they seemed to disappear around the side of the house. I opened the door and was hit with a chemical smell. Then I began to panic. See, we’ve had a history of shady people coming up to our door in the last few years, and I’ve become quite nervous when someone knocks on our door without calling first. Of course this information was¬†not known by our dear friend. I was able to calm myself enough to call out to the person to see who they were. In the meantime, I had shut the storm door behind me.

After a brief explanation of why they were there, I felt much better and turned to go back into the house. The door wouldn’t budge. In my panic, I had LOCKED the storm door. And I didn’t have a key or cellphone with me to call my husband. I’m not sure what he would have done anyway as the door locks from the inside. Panic ensued once again as I racked my brain, trying to figure out how to get out of this one. Fortunately, the person that came to weather-proof our deck just happened to have some tools with¬†them, one of which was a screwdriver. Yep, they had to UNSCREW HALF OF THE DOOR¬†in order to create a hole big enough to reach around and unlock the door. At this point I was definitely looking forward to our anniversary dinner that would happen later that evening, and knew sangria would DEFINITELY be making an appearance.

Several days¬†after a surprise that bombed, things are much calmer here. Things have also been smoothed over with our friend and we’ve all learned a bit more about each other. They’ve learned that surprises are not the best idea for me, and I’ve learned to appreciate the thought that was behind the surprise. After all, isn’t that the most important thing?

So, if you also get anxious over surprises, do not fear (sorry, I see what I¬†did there ūüėõ ), you are not alone!!¬†



*comic explaining that some surprises are not worth it, appears courtesy of:

Healing From A Toxic Working Environment……

After a brief summer respite, I got back into babysitting hard-core this weekend and I have a confession to make: I was pretty anxious about it leading up to the day of. I had feelings of “Can I really do this? I’m probably gonna mess this up somehow. Maybe I’ve gotten in over my head.” For some reason it didn’t seem to matter that I had sat for this family before many times with positive results.

Undoubtedly, my anxiety over this past weekend stems directly from my last regular job experience. My last supervisor really tore me down. Making me feel on a daily basis that I didn’t know how to properly do my job. That I was nothing. I’m learning that as much as I hate how my treatment back then is still affecting me now, I’ve become surrounded by¬†people who believe in my ability to do the job I was called to do. Who encourage me every day.

I know some might say that by now I need to just get over what happened and move on. But for someone with anxiety, experiences like the above can linger long after you’ve removed yourself physically. After hearing my story, a few have suggested it sounds like I have some PTSD, and I think that’s an accurate description.¬†Although I’m reluctant to bat that term around so lightly when I’ve never been in combat or physically abused.

So, if you are struggling with self-confidence in your employment, take heart. Here is a list of things to remember:

1. You would not have been hired had you not been competent to do the job you do. If new management comes in and feels like you aren’t doing your job correctly, unless it is constructive criticism, remember who hired you and why. You are valuable and competent ūüôā

2. Remember these words from Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” If your supervisor is treating you poorly, and you are doing your job well, take it up the chain of command.

3. Continue to show up and do your job. Show up on time and treat everyone with respect. If it comes to it, quietly begin looking for new employment.

4. If you get to the point that you just can’t take it any longer, there is no shame in quitting. Give at least two weeks notice.

At the end of the day, you will more than likely find a job where your skills will be appreciated. Keep this in mind. And for the new kind employers, thank you for encouraging your staff. Thanks for the votes of confidence and for the praise. These are the things that heal a bad work experience more deeply than you know.



*The Office–once again reminding us of the importance of math (freakin’ jerks! ūüėõ ) appears courtesy of:


LAFF Bonus Blog: Dear Cat Parent….About the Cat Under the Ottoman……

You know when you have two cats in the house and the more dominant one suddenly gets the urge to chase the smaller one into the bedroom and under the ottoman? Then when the smaller¬†one is squarely under the ottoman, the more dominant cat will jump on top of the ottoman and begin to rock it back and forth? Then she’ll move to the side of the ottoman and begin clawing at it so it bounces? Yeah. Don’t freak out when this occurs. See, the oldest is just conducting an earthquake simulation for the youngest to teach them what to do in the rare event of an earthquake.

Seriously. Don’t panic.


The Cat


*”Oh you meant get UNDER the furniture?” Confused cat¬†appears courtesy:

Blogus Interruptus…..

You may have noticed I haven’t blogged as much this week. This is because on multiple occasions, as I’m attempting to upload the blog my internet will die. We’re talking sputtering and gasping for breath. It’s dramatically frustrating. I plan to call today to further investigate the pro……**cough** **sputter** **hacking** **long beep of death indicating no pulse**


*Oh the struggle just got real, ya’ll appears courtesy:¬†

Just Plane Anxiety: How to Deal at 35,000 Ft.

Planes, trains and automobiles. Besides being a great movie (so I’ve heard. I’ve yet to test that theory), this list is also ranked properly into the mode of transportation I have the most amount of anxiety over, to the least amount.

The first time I rode on an airplane, it was on a family vacation to California and Oregon to attend a church wide conference. My entire family went and it was a long flight. So long, in fact, that there was an in-flight movie. While I don’t remember what the movie was, I’m forever grateful to the guy sitting next to me for letting me borrow his listening device (I’m pretty sure this was before they started charging for headsets).

Strangely enough when we took off, I was excited and not at all scared, even though I do have a fear of heights (adding this to the list brings up closer to approximately 25 irrational fears that i have. Huzzah! ūüėõ )¬†¬†I was nervous, but was fascinated as we ascended above the clouds. I don’t remember the return trip, but imagine it was just as mesmerizing.

Years passed before I took another flight. This time around I was acutely aware of what could go wrong. Mainly the risk of crashing since hijacking on board had all but disappeared. I had to fly back and forth when I was in college, so I developed some ways to keep the anxiety over disaster at bay.

1. Take a fun book with you and read it during take off and landing. If on a short flight, try to read the entire time. This is the current book I am reading and I intend to take it with me the next time I fly, just to get a reaction from the crew:

Photo on 2015-07-20 at 15.20¬†Get it? I’ll be flying and reading this book about flying….. ūüėÄ

2. Bring your Bible aboard or a small devotional. When you are anxious about flying, reading a Bible verse (I recommend the book of Psalms) can help to focus your attention and calm your nerves. There are several devotional books I recommend: My favorite is Our Daily Bread. It’s small enough to fit in your purse or carry-on, and one book contains a year of devotional entries. ODB also has an app you can download if you have limited space and a smart phone. The link to the app can be found at the website linked above. Another devotional type book is any Chicken Soup For the Soul book. While not specifically spiritual in nature, the book series offers inspirational stories to get your mind off of flying.

3. Pray. Ask Jesus to give you a smooth flight. And to calm your nerves and give you peace.

4. While you are praying, or instead of prayer, utilize deep breathing. Concentrate on each breath. Making sure each one is full and deep.

5. If you know you are a nervous flyer, As soon as you board, notify the crew. One of their jobs is to make sure you have a smooth flight. Knowing you are a nervous flyer, they’ll be able to focus on your comfort and make sure you have an enjoyable flight.

6. Lastly, if you are disabled, call ahead when you book your flight and let the airline know if you’ll need special assistance. In my years of flying I’ve found this to be especially useful in helping me to arrive at any connecting flight on time. I usually have a ground crew member meet me at the plane to help push me to my connecting gate. This is especially helpful in big airports where connecting gates are¬†usually quite far from where flights land. Be aware of this if you are flying into the following large airports: Chicago O’Hare, Detroit, and Denver International.

Nervous flying is rough. Hopefully you’ll find these tips helpful. Remember, you are not alone!



*Turtle flying over a blanket of cauliflower or turtle injected with helium flying over clouds? You decide! Image appears courtesy of:

LAFF on Saturday: Dear Coca-Cola, Define “Share”…..

The other day my husband Chad and I went on a date to the grocery store to pick up a few needed items. We happened to pass by one of those coolers of soda that is often located at the end of the checkout counter. This particular cooler had bottles of Coca-Cola inside with different people’s names on them. I opened the cooler and searched for my name. I didn’t find it, but I did find my husband’s name. So, I excitedly ran over and showed it to him. He put it in the cart, even though it was not on the list.¬†

Now I used to LOVE Coca-Cola. I used to drink it all the time, but as the years have gone by, I’m not as able to tolerate as much caffeine as I used to, so I don’t drink Coca-Cola that often. When we brought the bottle home, I had full intentions of sharing it, all 20 oz.’s, with Chad. This week has been extremely busy for the both of us, so the bottle has sat on our kitchen counter untouched. Until today. When I awoke this afternoon (seriously, don’t judge, it’s been a long week. I needed a day of nothing ūüėõ ) I saw the bottle of Coca-Cola on the counter, with a portion missing. I thought, “Great! Chad has had some. I can now drink the bottle.” So I did. Unashamed. It was only after the bottle was empty that Chad informed me that he hadn’t had any. “Oh crap!” I thought. Here Chad’s name was on the bottle and he didn’t have any. But there was good news. I saw a small amount in the bottom of the bottle. You know, the stuff that settles into those 4 protrusions at the bottom of the bottle? This was offered to him and he gladly drank it. So, in a way, I did share the coke with Chad, right? ūüėČ


Photo on 2015-07-18 at 18.24
*photographic proof that I need a refresher on the definition of sharing! ūüėõ

The World Needs More Miss Rumphiuses

Gun control. The Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage. Obama. Ferguson. There are tons of stuff out in the world today that we debate and fight over on a daily basis. These debates and fights can divide us to the point where friendships end, resentment builds and tempers flare. So how can we counter-act these volatile issues? It’s simple;¬†we need more Miss Rumphiuses in the world.

“Who,”¬†you may be asking, “is Miss Rumphius?” Excellent question. She is the focus of my all-time favorite children’s book of the same name, written by Barbara Cooney and published in 1982. “Miss Rumphius” tells the story of Alice Rumphius who from a young age¬†has a goal of traveling to far-away places and living by the sea when she grows up. Her wise grandfather tells her that there is in fact a third thing she must do when she grows up. She must find a way to make the world more beautiful. When she grows up, she in fact does travel the world and settles down in a house by the sea. But she is still needing to make the world a better place. In the end, she walks along the country-side, scattering lupine seeds. As the wind carries the seeds, they settle in far-away places and when they eventually bloom, the landscape is filled with brilliant shades of purple, pink, blue and white. It is in a word; beautiful. Alice earns the moniker, “the lupine lady” and in the end is shown to teach the next generation about the importance of making the world a better place.

So how can we apply the lessons from this book in our own life? Simple. By extending kindness to everyone we meet. By¬†volunteering with an organization you are passionate about. By baking a cake for your new neighbor, regardless of their sexual orientation. By planting flowers in the yards of folks that can’t do it themselves. By thanking a veteran for his service to our country, regardless of your politics.

My challenge to you this week is, anytime you see something negative, be it by social media or out in the 3-D world, you’d counter-act it by doing something nice for someone else. Let’s all do our part to make the world a better, more beautiful place.



*Miss Rumphius cover art appears courtesy: