Backish

I’ll be totally honest, I had given up on this space a while ago. I see that I haven’t been on here in well over a year. Two Christmases, two new years, quit Facebook a couple of times, and a ballet recital have passed among other things. I had written a little bit elsewhere, but it was nothing if not a technical exercise. Lately I’ve been feeling the writing bug. I enjoy it, but I have a problem with inspiration in terms of content. I’ve never been interested in blogging under the modern format: branding and writing from a domain of my choosing with marketing undertones. It would mean I would have to choose a theme or subject to focus on. But what if I just wanted to ramble? Because that’s pretty much what I do.

Writing boasts healthy mental benefits. I find it easier to let go of something after I’ve put it down on some form of media, but there’s that nagging sense of validation that comes with having readers, which I have none of. Truth be told I’m bored. Not lonely. I like my own company in a good mood, but today in particular my disrupted sleep is catching up with me and I’m tired and grumpy. Social media has been hindrance I have very little patience for. I find that there’s too much emotionally driven opinion floating around that is neither helpful nor pleasant. The good stuff is few and far between, and then that good stuff is tainted by others’ negativity.

This sentiment toward Facebook comes and goes. I’ve talked and complained about it until blue in the face, but haven’t really done anything about it I will admit. But I remember a time before social media was a thing. I remember spending less time on the internet at 20 years old, and more time plugged into my brand new iPod, going places, and reading books, albeit less books that I do nowadays. Then I went to England and hung out with people fresh out of university when Facebook was limited to student bodies. It had just expanded to the public and since most of the people I had met there already had their profiles I wanted one too.

And I’ve had it ever since. My Facebook profile will be having its 10th birthday coming up very soon. I can’t remember when I registered, but it would have been before I left the UK on March 4th, 2007.

I had very recently gone through my activity feed and deleted everything from 2007 to 2013, or somewhere around there. I didn’t want it to exist anymore. All those posts, most of which were complaints or fluff didn’t jive with me.  Now in my thirties I really don’t care what I had to say in my twenties. And yet I don’t have the guts to request my account be deleted once and for all. After all, I have been documenting my child’s early years, albeit sparsely. I am reluctant to let that go despite the fact that I will have backed it all up somewhere.

I just can’t seem to answer the question: what is really keeping me there? Event invitations? Family members? Groups? I haven’t come to a decision backed with enough conviction to sway me one way or the other, and so far the trend is for me to forget entirely what all the fuss was about and just keep on keeping on.

It’s probably wiser to make a decision to quit Facebook when I’m in a better mood so that I know for sure that it is what I want. Making any decision based on a funky mood rarely ends well. But for now it has felt good write about it. And I must really do something about this keyboard. Since my mother in law spilled Pepsi on it some keys are rather sticky, on which those include the space bar and backspace. I tried to clean the stickiest keys prior with rubbing alcohol, but it didn’t seem to do much. Oh well.

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I am enjoying ballet SO much.

I gave up jazz to dance twice a week instead of once, and I took on a class that is a little more rigorous. When I danced in high school I was always in a syllabus based class. My school participates in the Royal Academy of Dance. I’ve already done Grades 4 through 8 by completing exams, and I’ve participated in, I think, three vocational levels that introduced me to pointe and more advanced technique. I say ‘I think’ because the vocational levels have changed a lot since I was doing them. In fact, they underwent a change in name while I was doing them, but since then they’ve revamped the whole syllabus. I was told it’s more ‘dancey’, and by ‘dancey’ they mean it’s just as much flourish and better use of the music as it is technical. Before it was much more technical. It was more about making a perfect picture that an examiner would be able to scrutinize, at least that’s how it seemed to me. But it’s been so long ago now that I don’t even remember the old syllabus and how it compares so it’s a moot point anyway.

What matters is that I like what I’ve learned so far. It makes me break a sweat like nobody’s business. But the best part about all of it combined is that I’m already seeing improvement. My feet and ankles are already getting stronger, my legs held a grand ronde jambe almost at 90 degrees last night. I accepted this with much as much incredulity as encouragement. I learned a rather difficult allegro last week. I practiced the footwork at home a little bit and relearned it in my Thursday class. And not without a little bit of mirth I might add; my adult classmates had no idea what they were in for. But it really helped me because I was able to do most of it to music last night. It’s sloppy, of course, but I have so much fun doing it that I don’t let the sloppiness ruin it for me. Don’t get me wrong, I want to perfect this thing. But I’m going to do it with a lot of sweat on my skin and a smile on my flushed face.

my return to dance

It has been at least 7 years since I’ve dance. I’m now turning 30, and about as unfit as you would expect a 30-year-old relatively sedentary city dweller would be. I don’t recall any activity in my youth causing me so much pain and stiffness after participating. The reality of age is setting in. I’m not afraid of turning 30 in the way that some flip out because “OMG I’m soooooo OLD!” Nah. Thirty isn’t old, but it’s old enough that it’s taking longer to recuperate.  It is very possible that I could injure myself if I’m not careful. That is if we discount the fact that I am already injured; that I was sore half way into my dance session last Thursday and went in tonight still feeling it. I could say I’m injured, but it could be much worse. So I’m going to suck it up, go every week despite how I feel, and simply listen to my body. I will level out eventually, though time will tell how long that will actually take.  But when I get there, I will shine….

Muscle memory is a beautiful thing. I am more well trained than I have ever thought to give myself (or my teacher) credit for and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I am probably one of the best technical dancers in my teen/adult class, even compared to the adults who have never stopped dancing since I did. However, having said that, their classes of choice are never technical in practice but for fun. There are certain areas of ballet skill that suffer simply for lack of strength. My arabesques are not at 90 degrees, my grand jetes are not nearly 180 degrees, my legs shake when I hold my leg in any position, my pirouettes are wobbly, and the cherry on the cake is that I jiggle while doing all of it.

But none of those things matter. Despite having neglected my technique for years I will have wicked turnout. My fifth position looks great. My technical movement is solid save for when my lack of strength trumps it.  Building strength will come with the territory. It just takes some time, but holy mother of god do I ever want to dance even more and make it my personal journey to simply work on my technique and do more advanced stuff. It’s in my muscles to remember everything I’ve learned, but it’s also in my head to feel at home in technical syllabus. And maybe, just maybe I’ll add another hour to my week in the future where I dance with the same teacher I had from 14 -19 years old and pick up where I’ve left off.  It’s possible and that possibility is so liberating.

I feel so good in spite of how my neglected muscles groups feel. This is going to be so much fun!

I can’t recall if I had ever mentioned in a previous post (and I can’t be bothered to go back and read a bunch of them right now) about our building manager being replaced in December.

Quick back story: when Nate and I moved in we had the most useless manager and somehow he managed to keep his job right up until December. The reason why he lost it was because he finally rented to a couple who said “no bullshit” and took him to the Rental Tenancy Act (RTA for short) board for arbitration of much needed repairs. After the arbitration ruled in favor of the tenants and gave him a time frame to complete the repairs he completely turned a blind eye and ignored it all. So my neighbors dug a little deeper and contacted the owners of the building directly and slowly shit hit the fan.

It took several months for everything to play out, including a new manager who didn’t even last two months. He claims he had to step down for personal reasons and it’s neither my business nor my place to say whether or not that’s true. Some of my neighbors and I may suspect that it had to do with the fact that the owners would not let him manage and repair the building in a way that he would have preferred. It’s too bad because during his short stint he proved to be reliable and responsible, two characteristics that our previous manager lacked.

Now we have an on site manager who is occupying our old suite before we moved to Salt Spring Island. I got to have a nice long chat with him the lobby as I was going out and we chatted about the work that needs to be done in our suite. He passed out repair request forms to get an idea of how much work needs to be done and what’s bothering the tenants and our list was rather substantial. I don’t know how it compares to other suites, but ours has it’s problems and a few need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

I feel hope, though. This guy is dedicated! He’s determined to fix every single suite in the building, and fix them thoroughly. So far he’s already gutted two bathrooms and redone them and their plumbing from top to bottom. In our conversation I was able to give him more details on the damage in our bathroom and he got excited because it meant that he would have reason to gut ours and the suite below us as well. But I told him that even though it would be inconvenient for a week or two, I’m totally stoked to be getting repairs.

Aside from the bathroom repairs, the suite below us is already in much better shape because when our short lived manager was here in December he had it repainted and fixed up a little, but it’s still so much more than I’m ever used to getting. It’s been repainted, the window sills have been sanded and repainted. I don’t know if anything else has been fixed yet, but our current manager said that he wants to renovate it some more, replace the floor in the kitchen, paint doors, etc. Maybe he will sand and refinish the hardwood because it has a giant stain in the entry. Anyway, he’s offered that we move into that suite once he’s done with it so that he can come up here and give our suite a make over.

I’m not a  huge fan of the view even though it’s technically the same, just lower. There is a huge holly bush and I told him that I didn’t like the fact that it completely blocked the living room window. He pondered cutting it back. Like I said, this guy is gung ho! Nate doesn’t care about the window, but he does care about the fact that the neighbor below that suite is crazy and Hannah’s loud little feet would drive her mad. We would have to deal with her wrath. Our manager has already had to deal with multiple noise complaints and it’s only been a  month! He did say that he wants to push her out to remove the crazy and so that he can fix up her suite. She had mentioned that she wants to move anyway. I don’t think she likes the idea of living kitty-corner to an elementary school. That detail, however, makes me want to stay. 

So there’s things to think about and discuss, but it seems to be moving in a certain direction that will result in…results! I no longer feel like this place is hopeless. This building has been home for 6 years and I want to stay because everything is convenient about it, and the elementary school makes it even more so. We’re both close to work (30 minute bike ride for Nate, 20 minute walk for me!), transit and amenities. We don’t need a car. Sometimes I wish we did for excursions, but if one of us just sucked it up and upgraded our license we could rent one. Our location has a walk score of 91/100, that’s how awesome it is. It’s just the fact that our building has been left in disrepair. But that’s starting to change and the fact that those changes might benefit us sooner rather than later makes me feel even more satisfied. And excited!

The idea of moving all our stuff downstairs may seem like a headache, but if we can do it over a few days, like move all the major stuff like beds, furniture and kitchen stuff one day and follow with all the less important stuff after that would make it much easier. Plus, it gives me a chance to reorganize. We could rethink our set up, make room for a breakfast table.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’m excited to see what’s going to happen. Our manager is coming over for a little walk through to see what needs to be fixed and possibly discuss moving downstairs. Holly bush and crazy neighbor be damned! We are basically being handed a renovated suite. How could we say no to that?

I don’t know what the heck is wrong with me, but I just can’t seem to get my butt into gear and do a simple 5-10 minute work out. As good as walking is for you, I’d like to do more. My body is telling me that I need to do more. My posture is so bad that it’s causing me pain in multiple areas. I’m weak. But most importantly (as I just mentioned) my body telling me and I need to listen.

I don’t know what it is about this year, but I feel a stronger desire to improve some aspects of my life, like being a better mom in my own eyes (cause I really don’t care to bicker with other moms about what’s right and wrong), becoming a little more healthy, nurturing my relationships with Nate and my parents, and using social media less (because, let’s face it, the social media addiction is ridiculous and I remember that I used to live just fine without it, and there can be so much negativity that circulates thanks to it).

Believe it or not the social media thing is a big one. I’ve whined about it plenty in the past. Sure, it’s great to connect and you can hear about some really cool stuff, but I absolutely hate the fact that it’s a time waster and a filler when I think there’s nothing else better to do. It’s become my default and I loathe it. It’s become one of the sole purposes of picking up my phone and I hate that! It does nothing but distract me, and when I’m picking up my phone to check something else entirely and I automatically open my Facebook app without thinking, that’s a red flag to me. So what I want to do is only check Facebook once a week. I’ll keep messenger on my phone, but it’s not like people message me anyway.

I have no idea if I can do this right off the bat. It might take me several weeks to get over it. I already feel this nagging desire to check my Facebook as I’ve been successful in NOT looking at it all day. But can I keep it going? I sure as hell hope so!

Anyway, I’ve made an important and yet obvious discovery. I started going to bed earlier and a couple of those mornings I’ve woken up in much better moods. I’ve had more patience with Hannah and in return she’s been more responsive to me. So I think the trick me my having better days is getting a good night’s sleep at an earlier time than my usual midnight bedtime. But then, sometimes happened because a few days later I started tossing and turning. The next day I only feel “okay”, and at night I feel frustrated that I can just get comfortable and stay asleep. I’m pretty tired today. Those restless nights have caught up with me. But I’m also going to start drinking my sleepy time milk again because before it would actually help me sleep through the night. On those evenings when I’d skip it I would definitely notice, waking up at least once and not going back to sleep so readily. I miss the days when I sleep was never an issue. That I knew I’d sleep through the night no matter what. Those were the days!

a really terrible day

Today I am beside myself, heavy with frustration and this incredibly strong desire for solitude.

As I mentioned previously I’m quitting smoking. Great. Eight days in and I don’t even want to smoke, but the emotional turmoil that comes with the initial two week withdrawal period is making me an absolute basket case. It’s been a tough few days, but today is the cherry. Cherry bomb, that is.

Hannah, bless her little heart, has a runny nose and didn’t sleep well due to waking up multiple times from congestion and back drip. For some reason I didn’t sleep well either and was up around 2 am putting her back to bed. But tiredness aside (I’ve been tired before and been fine), it’s like my coping mechanism is on hiatus, or just being overridden by stupid brain chemistry that I neither understand nor care for and yet must wait out. I knew this was going to happen and one of the things that kept smoking full time at bay.

Ironically, I used the stresses of motherhood as a lame excuse to start again; regardless of the fact that I knew that quitting would be more challenging because dealing with a toddler while cranky as all get out would give me a run for money.

At the moment I have strong feelings of just wanting to be left alone. Ever want to just crawl under a rock and disappear? That’s the kind of day I’m having, and when I don’t have Hannah in my face, my cat is making her presence well known. I’m practicing deep breathing and drinking tea like a fiend while I work through feeling like I can never just be left alone.

Putting this down on digital paper, so to speak, makes me feel really selfish, or at the very least sound selfish. I’m a mom. I don’t get time to myself, right? The thing is “having time for oneself” when being a mother is so necessary. That’s it. I see so much crap online that plays up both how awful and yet rewarding parenting is, and how straight up miraculous being a parent is. I get it. It’s pretty awesome when all parties involved are happy to be sure. And I have been warned that there will be days when all you want to do is wave that little white flag high and wipe the tear induced snot from your red, splotchy, defeated face. I feel so sorry for those moms out there who don’t have the privilege of help from family so that they might regain some form of sanity.

At this point I’m counting down the hours to bedtime. It’s all I can do. I’ve given her free reign over the TV. I’ll make sure she’s not hungry or thirsty, and that her bum is clean, but today I feel that it is so important that I shamelessly commiserate, recognize it for what it is, know that tomorrow is a new day, that more sleep is to be had, and that I’m more than halfway through the two week withdrawal period.

I know it’s been a while.

I’ve been in a rut and I blame winter for it. All the energy, inspiration and motivation I had to do anything has completely vanished since the summer ended. It’s frustrating as all get out. I can’t lie about that. While recognizing things could be infinitely worse (it’s not like I’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness or the like), I did make things more complicated for myself by taking up smoking yet again. If there’s any advice I can provide on that subject it’s that once you become a smoker it always rides your back like that little shoulder devil that whispers very bad ideas in your ear. I’ve quit cold turkey three times now and this attempt will make four. And I say will because I will quit again.

Just like the last time I feel compelled to quit because I can feel it affecting me physically. I’ve been wheezy and tight chested for the past two days, today worse than yesterday. While I don’t have medical advice or science to fall back on with my method I’m going to stave it off with supplements, tea, healthful food (smoothies!), and good ol’ distraction like reading and knitting. For me it’s not about the “not smoking” that bothers me, it’s the grouchies that inevitably happen within the first two-week hump. The only thing I’ve found to mitigate withdrawal symptoms of any kind is hot yoga. You sweat everything out of your pores within days and I’m convinced the poses help you mentally.

Ahh hot yoga. Something I need to take up again. Well, something I’d like to take up again. I could do yoga at home, but I’m classroom kinda gal. Besides I like bikram yoga specifically and it must be done hot, therefore doing it at home isn’t an option. I need to do it for a few important reasons: I need the deep stretch, I need to strengthen, I need to purge, I need to correct, and I need to maintain. A part of me is all stoked about it like, Yeah let’s do it five days a week at 6 am and maybe hit up a few scenting classes too. Its not totally unrealistic in terms of time. A 6 am class is very doable because I live a block away from the studio and it’s well before Nate must get and leave for work. However, how badly do I want to do that that I am willing to wake up at 5 am five times a week to accomplish this?

My back is begging me to go, though. I see my chiropractor whenever I feel its necessary. My visits barely come out of my pocket, but what good are they when I’m not putting the effort into making my body stronger and more self sufficient? See, I know all this, but acting upon it is an entirely different story. However now that the calendar year has renewed itself so have my benefits and I am itching to get in for another adjustment. I desperately need one. Everything in my upper back hurts. It hurts when I move and pick up Hannah. It’s completely unacceptable.

But the point I’m trying to make today is that I’ve reached that threshold where I’m ready to say, Okay I’m done being lazy and unhealthy. I’m done with the self sabotage. Working at a drug store for nearly eight years has opened a little window for me. I’ve been watching my regular customers age and their health deteriorate. I know who the smokers are and seeing them rely on walkers or scooters and oxygen tanks is not something I want in my future, but I know good and gooddamn well that if I keep it up over the years that is exactly where I’ll be, maybe as young as fifty. I know some healthy fifty years olds, and I don’t want to sabotage that possibility for myself.

Having said all that I refuse to make a resolution. Resolutions are dumb, in my opinion. Why do we need some time of years to set goals? Why not set goals all the time? Or when you need to, not because a time of year says you should. Resolutions are meant to be broken and unfulfilled because they don’t mean anything.

But happy new year anyway. It’s 2015. I’ll finally be turning 30.

Hmm…Wordpress is feeling like a lonely little space right now. But anyways…

Yesterday I picked up a DVD that means a lot to me. My mom had me submit a VHS for conversion and the first thing I did when I got home was watch it. It is the home video of my second birthday, so 80’s, so different, and yet all about me. I saw it before, many, many years ago when I was still a kid, thinking it was cool-but-whatever.

But now. Now.have a two year old and my perception has changed completely. I watched myself and was so entertained by myself. I was cute! And I knew a lot of words. But I felt so connected to myself because I understood my age and development more thoroughly. And I saw a lot of Hannah in me. My dad came over once and said that she was an uncanny copy of me when I was this age. All I could do was look at him and say “Really?!” I had nothing to go on, except take his word for it. But now I do have something to go on and I’m keeping this keepsake. It’s a part of me. It’s what I once was, and watching it last night somehow sparked a new appreciation for my life, like this life in mine and it’s been pretty great.

I mean, at the end of the day I have nothing to complain about. Nothing. My parents did an excellent job keeping me from the grim reality of poverty, despite having to declare bankruptcy. We’ve been more broke than we ever seemed to be. I always had what I wanted and needed. Between my dad going to college and getting his education as a Respiratory Therapist and the family moving all the way to Saudi Arabia, my parents were finding themselves in a deep financial hole, and yet I didn’t even notice. I can’t ever remember anything being taken away from me because we couldn’t afford it. I had a TV in my room, for Pete’s sake. I had my own boombox with my own CDs, we had cable and a good sized TV. We lived in a large apartment that, to this day, I would move back into in a heartbeat because somehow it holds a special place of happiness in my heart. Goes to show that money isn’t everything, and that as long the people that matter are in a child’s life and they have food in their belly, they’re not going to feel the burden of financial stress.

And while that period in time was only 4 years out of my 29, my point is that I have happy memories. My parents were once young, and together, and owned a house, and seeing that video was a great reminder of that. I have no qualms with the way things are now. Life changes a lot in 27 years. Who the hell knows where I’m going to be in another 27 years when I’m…56. But I hope that we can provide for Hannah as well as my parents provided for me and that one day she’ll look back at all my Instagram photos and phone videos when she’s two and watch with satisfaction and wonder.

Well…okay. I know it’s been a whole month, but I have had zero inspiration and been occupied with other things like finishing the Divergent trilogy and starting a cardigan.

October was an decent month, a warm one. It’s my favorite month. It’s that perfect time of year when the weather is in that wonderful balance of cool, but not yet cold and the rain isn’t so permanent that it doesn’t chill you down to your bones. But, something happened. I don’t know what, but I ended up on an emotional roller coaster. Everything is fine. Seriously. There’s nothing major happening in my life that should make me feel that way. My two year old is just a two year old and Nate is Nate. Nothing had changed, but my fuse was so, so short and I craved to get away and have some peace.

I tried reminding myself that Hannah doesn’t do the things she does intentionally. She doesn’t even understand what intention is. Sure, she button-pushes like all two-year-olds do to test their boundaries, but it doesn’t matter what they ever do, even if it’s making the most epic mess imaginable, it’s not worth getting angry over. At best you heave a sigh and fix whatever happened, but anger is never the solution. In fact, anger only makes it far worse. Kids pick up on it and it upsets them, which makes them act out, which perpetuates the cycle of getting into trouble and you keep fueling it with anger and shouting and pointless chastising you will get nowhere. I had to learn this the hard way.

I do know that most of my mood problems are caused by hormones. Ovulating is worse than that time of the month by a long shot, and I can you exactly when I ovulated and the calm (after the storm) that settled in the next day or two. When I ovulated I had this sense of relief cover me like a blanket on a cold night. A part of me would like to know why I had terrible mood swings prior of ovulation, but it’s a medical rabbit hole I don’t want to invest the time in. At least it’s predictable. In the meantime I’ve taken to cod liver oil and evening primrose oil supplements to give my body an extra boost of A, D, Omega 3’s, and GLA to help with PMS symptoms and hope that they help balance everything out enough that next month I don’t feel like throwing every dish we own out the window. I’ve also started using aromatherapy to promote better feelings of well-being, and so far that’s actually going pretty well.

I’ve been eyeballing Sacred Arrow jewelry for quite some time, and finally made a purchase with some birthday money. Sacred Arrow is all about jewelry that diffuses essential oils for aromatherapy use. The truth is if you have anything that’s made of genuine leather you can put a few drops of essential oil on it and it will diffuse for a few days. I already have a Pandora leather bracelet so while I waited on the necklace I started diffusing with that. That also led me on a search of local places to find essential oils. The internet has exploded with Young Living (the very brand that Sacred Arrow promotes as well), an essential oil company that touts therapeutic grade, blah blah blah. DoTerra is another, but they both come with hefty price tags and while they make their customers believe that their oils are more superior to anyone else’s to justify that price tag, I think it’s all marketing bullshit. Sorry, essential oil lovers, but I do. As long as it’s pure (and if they can tell you their put their oils through rigorous purity testing like NOW does) then it doesn’t matter who is selling them. This article says it all.

Anyhoo…I digress. I found Escents Aromatherapy, a Vancouver based company that offers essential oils and aroma blends in an actual store that I can go to and no have to spend a fortune on shipping from the US. They were even having a sale on their small 5ml bottles, buy two get a third free. Such a great deal! So now I have aroma blends of cinnamon and clove, rosewood and lavender, and sage and bergamot. I also got geranium oil for my face. And I’ve been diffusing them all (except the geranium) in my bracelet and now I have my necklace with a strip of leather that rests in the nape of my neck. I love diffusing this way. I get whiffs here and there of the scent and it’s just lovely. Plus I know that anyone passing by me may get a whiff of it too. It’s like perfume that I can take off at the end of the day without taking a shower, and the supposed benefits that come with coming in contact with these essential oils will hopefully help too. I’m slightly skeptical, but less so now.

dependent balance

Today I was sitting in my Poang knitting when a thought occurred to me; my cats really add balance to the kid in my life. I don’t mean they balance Hannah, I mean that for all the things that Hannah is the cats are not and that is refreshing as hell.

Every night after Hannah is gone to bed it’s like a shift in the air happens. I relax more and Oso comes out demanding attention. But her idea of demanding attention is rubbing her rabbit-like fur against my legs (oh no, it’s soooo irritating), not yelling at me or begging me to pick her up at the most inopportune times. For all the times Hannah is high energy, throwing her toys and trying to open the fridge, my cats are lounging somewhere, sleeping most likely.

I had originally thought how perfect it is that I have cats to lower my blood pressure after a crazy day of higher blood pressure. My favorite way to end the day is to sit on my bed, listen to Ambient Bass on Songza and let my cat cuddle up next to me. It’s my cat time, and my time to unwind with a book or a knitting project or whatever I feel like doing.

So this is how I suddenly have a whole new appreciation for my fur babies. Don’t get me wrong I’ve never not loved my cats, but I feel like realization might put a new spin on my relationship with my them. I love my little girl, but sometimes I like having exclusive time with my kitties too and think they just might serve a healthy purpose in my life.