Find the face you’ve seen a thousand times…

OK, so happiness is also about getting the sleep you need when you (desperately) need it, which is where yesterday’s entry went. In fact, sometime I may write an entire post on the sweetness of a good sleep, because frankly it makes me very, VERY happy to, say, wake up at 6am and then suddenly realise it’s Saturday.

(Parenthetically – anybody else have early-morning dreams in which they get up and start getting ready for work, only to hit some impossible snafu and get so incredibly frustrated they…wake up, all confused? Because I do, often enough to be bemused. I’ve missed imaginary busses and taken surreal showers in which I accidentally dump lotion on my hair. Several times I’ve theoretically left the house [ahem] half-dressed. Just very, very strange.)

Meanwhile, this post is about my waking hours, and a little detour happiness took this week.

Long story short: I met friend at services. Friend commiserates re: Lucy, as per all my friends, who come to think of it are a whole ‘nother entry in and of themselves. Anyway, this particular friend inquires if I’m planning on getting another cat. I hem and haw and say things like ‘eventually’; for now we already have another cat, and had about decided she would be enough.

Trouble is, as I’d been discovering to my dismay, Dolly isn’t really my cat. I mean, to all intents and purposes she’s not a cat at all, she’s a little person in a fur suit. We’re buddies well enough, but Shoemom’s the onewho fell in love with her as a kitten and has raised her since, so she’s the one who gets all the cuddles and the lap warming. That’s what I missed, not just the fact of a cat, but having a cat…

…Look, I’m not going to draw direct comparisons between pets and kids here; I find that whole ‘a boy is a pig is a dog’ line repugnant. But there are certain instinctive emotional needs that can find a satisfying outlet elsewhere when one has no offspring of their own species, is all I am saying.

This is where I am at when friend announces that she knows of a litter, five weeks old, available free to good home in another three. I’d better hop on the reserve list now, right? Besides…one of the kittens happens to be a tortoishell.
Um, I said. Heart leaping and then almost instantly hitting my shoes. How could I possibly be trying to fill Lucy’s place so soon? How could I fill it at all? Of course, I couldn’t. So clearly I was merely being completely selfish, trying to paper over her memory with a little helpless kitten, using it to assuage my own grief…

Just come and see them, said the friend. OK, I said.

And that’s how I learned that grief and happiness are not – should not – be mutually exclusive concepts.

Meet Jemima.

(The one who looks like she's auditioning for Two-Face in a feline production of Dark Knight Returns. I did think of calling her Harley Quinn, but just got funny looks.)

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Happiness is…

…the sudden realisation that I don’t, in fact, have to wait for the Happiness Meme to come back around before posting a week’s worth of things that make me happy.

This is good. Because I really, really need some cheering up. I have hit a patch where even attendance at a three-day spiritual feast seems to be more about pointing out what I’m not accomplishing than feeling good about what I am.

Recent events have made it wrenchingly clear that what I thought was security has actually meant the avoidance of natural growth; the refusal to embrace change. Now I’m sitting here realising exactly what I’m missing…and even worse, realising that to make up for it, my brain has elevated one of the causes – aggravation over a memory of a minor TV show – into a Big Huge Honking Dramatic Deal that’s worthy of being posted for all the Net to see.

In retrospect, sitting around eating Oreos and reading Etiquette Hell.com has probably not been the best way to handle this.

Yeah, it’s that bad. Double Stufs can usually beat ’em back when all else fails, but this particular crisis has all the annoying characteristics of a perma-angst. So…what I need to do is spend a little while among the genuinely good, not just feeling superior to the bad. Remind myself of all the good reasons there are to really reach out.

Let’s kick off with a tribute to the fuzzy little buddy that was providing this kind of therapy since before I even discovered the Interwebs, even. Seriously. Not many cats – nor humans, for that matter – have a default expression for"Mom, The Matrix is Just a Movie and You Really Should Relax Now, OK?"…but Lucy did.
 

Pretteh kitteh pics under the cut…