Daily Journey Journal #218: au revoir 2014

My post today will be short, for it is the eve of a new year and there is so much to say, to reflect on, to ponder, but spending these first few moments of the new year with loved ones is far more important for all of us than all the words I could write tonight.
In brief reflection, this last year was full of beautiful moments and laughter, adventures and mistakes, successes and learning moments, joy, love and happiness. Most of all however, this year was about living, not existing. For the last six years my biggest overall goal in life has been to live, and to live fully. I aimed to find ways to make the things I do meaningful, to take joy in the day to day, to be thoroughly happy with my choices and my place in life. Tonight, looking back, I can happily say that in 2014 I reached this goal for the first time. It was one of the best years of my life.
Tonight, I hope you are happily looking back on your year and joyfully looking onto the next. May your 2015 be full of adventures, in whatever way you prefer them. Happy 2015!!

Daily Journey Journal #217: Leo

Leo

Tap-tippity-tap-tap-WHAP!

A little orange cat paw slaps the keyboard, demanding that I pause in my writing to scratch a certain set of pointed tabby cat eats. Leo, A’s little sister’s orange tabby, is stretched out on my lap, watching my fingers on the keyboard and following the pointer on the screen anytime I move the mouse. Periodically, his eyes close and when I pause to pet him, he rolls on his back and grabs my hand and arm with his paws, purring and licking my fingers with his course tongue.

Normally, I am not a cat person, but I really like Leo. I like the way his fur has that just-rolled-out-of-bed look and the little tufts that poke out from his ears. I like the way he purs and plays with my fingers. I like the way he attacks the dogs’ tails and the way they ignore him, despite his best attempts at viciousness.  But, most of all, I like his quirkiness. Leo seems to have a permanent head cold, which leads to sneezing, snot bubbles and general snortiness. Never before have I had to wipe an animal’s nose, particularly not a cat’s, but sometimes, Leo just needs a tissue. Never before have I met an animal so curious about all thing water in the bathroom. And, never have I had a cat cling so desperately onto my arm in an attempt to lick every last bit of lotion and smell off my hands.

In short, never have I met a cat like Leo. I’ve known him less than twenty-four hours and already he has found a place in my heart.

Daily Journey Journal #215: building a nest

From December 28, 2014

My arms and back are sore, my vision slightly fuzzy and my mind a whirl. In the last twenty four hours we have unpacked almost every box, sorted through 90% of our belongings and found new places for them. Piece by piece, minute by minute, we have begun to turn the house from simply a rental into a place for us to call home. Wandering from the bedroom through the living room in route to the kitchen, I am starting to feel blissfully settled.

It seems odd to take so much joy in seeing the material items that make up a house. I generally try not to place too much value on the material, preferring instead to value the living beings around me who make life so beautiful. But, after almost a year and a half on the road, living in borrowed space and out of a suitcase, it is nice to see familiar objects, items which have come to us in a variety of ways and which fill the new space with memories. I love the way the books look on the bookshelf, the smell of the candles sitting on the coffee table, the feel of the Moroccan rug under my feet. To me, these things say home in the way that a suitcase simply does not. Unpacking the boxes has brought back a sense of belonging, whispers of moments past and a promise of the wonders to come. With our house nearly put together, I am feeling more and more ready for a new beginning, a new chapter in life.

Daily Journey Journal #214: a family tradition

From December 27, 2014

Like most families, mine has its traditions when it comes to the holidays and get-togethers. Besides eating, eating and more eating, our biggest tradition is centered on card games, specifically hearts. The game of hearts has been a tradition for a good many years and we have spent many an hour passing around the queen of spades, aces and as many hearts as possible, hoping to maintain the lowest score.

Now, unlike most other people who play hearts, my family tends to be absolutely ruthless. We have no rules against dropping a heart or even the queen of spades on the first hand. And, to make matters even more fun, we usually play with double decks which means twice the points and two queens. On many occasions, one person ends up with both queens and a fistful of hearts which definitely doesn’t help with the whole avoiding points idea. I am particularly good at getting far more points than I want, much to the amusement of everyone else. Nonetheless, I love the game and the memories associated with it.

My age-mate cousins and I started playing when were still kids. Those first few games were slow, usually with an aunt or uncle sitting next to us, helping to guide us through the play, but it didn’t take long before we caught on. By the time we were teens my cousins had developed their own special strategy, which used to infuriate the adults to no end. While the adults planned and schemed, my cousins played pell-mell and then, at the very last minute won by hitting exactly 100 points, thus ending the game in one big explosion of points. After all the plotting and attempted manipulation, there was nothing worse than a bunch of young teens messing it up all with good luck and chance.

It has been many years now since those games and times have changed, but we still play the game. This year, four generations of my family gathered around the table to play, all of us geared up to whine, pass along the worse cards possible and scheme in hopes of avoiding the dreaded queens. But, no matter how the cards fall, we all know that the game is just a game, part of being in the family and that no amount of queen dropping or card passing will change the love that brings us together.