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Are We Still Cranky in Midlife?

I always thought that when I got older, I would mellow out.  Especially when the day-to-day pressure of being an everyday superwoman subsided once I got off the hamster wheel.  While I do think that I am more patient overall, I am sometimes shocked at how certain situations make me really, really cranky.

  1. Slowpoke drivers who insist on staying in the left lane.  This happens ALL the time in my city of over 4 million people.  It makes me unreasonably cranky; my blood pressure skyrockets.  Why?  Our roads are congested, full of cars and trucks.  Slowpokes in the left lane slow down traffic for many kilometres behind them. The left lane is for passing!  If you cannot drive as fast if not faster than the speed limit, stay out!  If you feel fear every time you get on the highway, take alternate routes.  The combination of aggressive speed and slow/fearful drivers on the highway is a lethal mix.

2. The word “like”.  It is a very useful, multi-functional word that can be a verb, preposition, conjunction, noun, adjective and adverb.   But I have noticed that an extraordinary number of young people use it as filler.  For example, “She was like where did you go?  And I was like, I had to go to a doctor’s appointment like at 4 o’clock”.   I swear some people use it in almost every sentence, sometimes multiple times. I grew up across the street from a professor who gently advised me to stop using filler words (I think it was “you know”).  At the time, I was embarrassed but his lesson has served me well as an adult.

3. Bad grocery cart etiquette.  I have a regular shopping list of things I buy at Costco.  It is not a place to dawdle, it is always insanely busy.  Even though I shop on weekdays, I am amazed at the number of people who leave their cart in the middle of the aisle and walk away.  Sometimes they leave their kids in the cart too,  or worse, let their kids run around unsupervised.  The pile-up around the sample stations makes me want to ram other carts or say rude things.  But I don’t.  I grit my teeth, pick up my things and get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

4. Web ads that know what I’ve been looking at.  Even though I have learned that web developers load “pixels” and “cookies” to follow your online activity, I really find it creepy. Companies track your online behaviour and know a lot about you.  For example, if you look at a pair of shoes online, you may see ads for those same shoes on many sites you visit afterwards. Facebook and Google know the most and have the ability to share that data with other companies.   It’s a little frightening.  Do yourself a favour and watch the movie “Snowden”.  It’ll make you think about how little online privacy you actually have.

5. Over-blown holidays.  Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love Christmas time with the family?  I’m talking about the unnaturally BIG events that most companies and retailers blow out of proportion.  For example, Valentine’s day.  While it’s lovely to celebrate your love for another, it has become a pressure-filled event with rampant commercialization that starts right after New Years.   The advertising makes you feel like you’re a loser unless you buy the the biggest present, a dozen roses, fine chocolates, expensive jewelry, and a fabulous dinner out.  Spend spend spend! This scenario repeats itself for other events like Mothers’ and Fathers’ days, Easter and Hallowe’en amongst others.  Bah humbug!

So the answer for me, is that I can still get pretty cranky and impatient but I think I hold it in better than I used to.   And some things have actually stopped bothering me (like streetcar travel).  I wonder what it’s like for others?

10 Reasons Why I’m a Cat Lady

Whiskey SantaThis is my beloved cat Whiskey.  He is a rescued cat that we adopted 18 months ago when he was still a kitten. Whiskey had a rough start to his life.  When he was 4 months, he was found almost dead by a major highway.  A kind soul took him to the local vet where my daughter was working as a co-op student.  He was unconscious, blind, with a hole in his head.  It took a couple of months, but he was coaxed back from the brink of death. He is a fighter.

We changed his name to "Whiskey"
We changed his name to “Whiskey”

And Whiskey (formerly known as Sparky) became a bit of a TV celebrity.  He was featured on “Animal House Calls”, a local cable show that highlights these sorts of miracle stories.

My daughter built a bond with Whiskey during his recovery as she was responsible for cleaning his cage and playing with him.    We had managed to stay a pet-less family for a good 20 years but she was relentless in her pursuit of his adoption.  I gave in first, my husband the “cat hater” took longer.  She won the battle.  We paid $100, changed his name to Whiskey and brought him home.

We instantly feel in love with this little guy.  I took my early retirement 5 months after he joined our family so we spend a lot of time together every day.  I have come to the conclusion that I’ve become a “cat lady”.  Here are 10 reasons why.

Orijen

  1. I spent hours and hours researching cat food.  I now know what the optimal combination of protein, fat, and carbs that make up a healthy and well-balanced cat diet.  I even monitor his daily caloric intake so that he doesn’t gain weight.
  2. I have many, many “pet” names for him.  These include Bunny, Little Guy, Baby Boy, My Little Kitty as well as You Pain in the A**, Annoying Kitty, and Stupid Cat.
  3. When I talk to him, I refer to myself as “mummy” as in “Mummy says it’s time to go inside now”
  4. IMG_1169He is an indoor cat yearning to be an outdoor one.  So we compromise.  My husband devised a system where Whiskey can easily navigate the backyard (using a harness and long leash) to hunt squirrels, birds, bugs and enjoy the fresh air.  I spend at least an hour every morning (rain, snow or shine) with him ensuring he doesn’t get tangled up.

    He can tweet high scores
    He can tweet high scores
  5. I  take him on local walks.  I’ve tried to introduce him to the neighbourhood cats but that’s been a flop.  He is very territorial and seems to hate them.
  6. He has his own (albeit a discarded 1st generation) Ipad for cat games and bird videos.
  7. I only buy him cat toys on Amazon that have lots of reviews and  5-star ratings.
  8. I have taken moreIMG_1292 photos and videos of Whiskey than I have of my entire family duWhiskey cuddling Chloering the same period.  Especially of him sleeping.  We all seem to find those the cutest.  Then I send them to our family IMessage account for my husband and kids to enjoy.
  9. I give him kisses with my eyes (really)
  10. I carry him in my arms and rock him like a baby.  Or sometimes over my left shoulder like you would hold a baby to be burped.  He hates it from me but he sure loves my daughter’s cuddles.