Words…

I am a big fan of words… Language is, in my opinion, a beautiful thing! No matter what language(s) you speak, words are magic – they can heal, they can hurt, they can inspire, make you cry, make you laugh… they can tell a story, take you to imaginary places, to places near or far, they can express feelings, opinions… Well, you get my point! That’s why I cringe when I see words being butchered, tortured, murdered right in front of my eyes and ears… and that is why I hate when people use “words” that don’t exist… make up words, short versions of perfectly fine words… now people are always in such a hurry that even words have to be shortened!

“This food is delish” – arrghhh

“This show is my fave” – ahhhhh

“I totes agree with you” – WHAT?

(I won’t even get into text abbreviations… it’s like trying to decipher code)

Anyway… this is just one of the things that really annoys me… Maybe I’ll start writing a weekly post on things that irritate me… What about you? What things do you find annoying?

A.

 

Easter weekend

I grew up in a Catholic family, attended a catholic school during the 4 years of elementary school, went to church, confession, the whole 9 yards, until I was old enough to ask questions and find no answers that satisfied me… So I stopped going to church, I stopped “confessing my sins” to a 3rd party (whatever those were at 10 years old), but that doesn’t mean that I stopped believing. I still have my faith, my believes, they just don’t materialize in the figure of a man who died for us and came back…Anyway, this is not a religious post by any means… Point is, Easter for me was and is just an excuse to get together with family 🙂 (I do miss the fact that in Portugal I had a long weekend, Good Friday is a holiday there).

Did you all enjoy your weekend? Ours was nice and quiet with  gorgeous weather (today was in the 80’s!!! Too bad that in a couple of days it will go back to 40s and 50s… but, that’s Maine for you!) and an attempt to making rag dolls…. This about sums up the weekend 🙂

Happy Easter,

A.

For the love of cats

I am an animal lover! Grew up as a “dog person”, but in my adult life discovered the awesomeness of cats and now I am a proud cat owner.

We currently have 3 cats (Duncan is 5 and has been with us since we adopted him for our local animal shelter when he was a kitten, Arli is 1, also adopted from the animal shelter as a kitten and Momma Cat is 17 and she was my mother-in-law’s) – they are all very different, all have very distinct personalities but they all have a very important characteristic in common “claws”, those sharp little buggers that dig right in your skin….

As much as of a pain in the ass claws can be, they are part of cats. They are much of what makes a cat, a cat… So please, for the love of cats, stop declawing!!! Educate yourself, read, research and see what you are doing to your cat when you decide to amputate him/her – yes, I said it, amputate. This is what happens when you declaw your cat:

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More than removing the claw, you are removing a whole phalanx… If you “declawed” a human, this is what it would look like:

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When you declaw your cat your are taking away his/hers first line of defense, and actually potentially making the cat more aggressive… Without claws, biting will be the next defense of choice! Also, you may be facing a litter box use (or lack of) problem. Litter will hurt on the paws and of course your cat will see the litter box as a painful, unconfortable place, to be avoided… You will also be putting your cat through a lot of pain and at risk of infection.

Declawing is illegal in several countries, but unfortunately there are still too many vets performing this inhumane procedure, so it is very important that people stop seeking it.

Trim your cat’s claws regularly; make scratching areas available – buy some sturdy posts, preferably tall enough for your cat to stretch while scratching, or make your own! If your cat is scratching your furniture, take the time to teach him/her not to do so. It may take a little time, but it is the right thing to do – sprinkle some catnip on the posts once a week, use a loud, firm voice whenever he or she starts to scratch the furniture – cats don’t like loud noises!

To learn more about declawing check out the Paw Project.

Remember, a pet is not a toy! When you bring a pet into your home you are responsible for its well being – take the time to bond, to play, to teach, to love!

Adopt, don’t shop!

A.

Today marks a year since my mother-in-law was suddenly taken from us. It was unexpected, shocking and it still feels like a surreal dream… Lynn Arli Morin was a feisty woman, single mother of 3 boys for most of her life, nature and all creatures lover, fan of sun, shorts and bare feet… We will forever miss her laugh, her words of wisdom, and peculiar and awesome Christmas presents, her 6am calls to sign Happy Birthday…

My 1st encounter with death in a significant way was when I was 10 years old. On September 3, 1990 breast cancer won the battle against my mother and took her away. She had been sick for a while and although a lot of what happened during and after that period is pretty blurry in my mind there are certain moments that are pretty vivid in my head…

It is hard to describe what I felt then… it was a mix of “I don’t understand” with “when am I waking up from this nightmare?”… It was sad, and it hurt but it was actually worse years later when I felt her loss even more. It’s been 27 years and it still hurts, in a different way but it hurts all the same and not a day goes by that I don’t talk to my mom or think of her… I went through a few different phases from denial to anger, from sadness to self-pity, from anger again to acceptance (there was really nothing I could do about it). Today I look back and think of it as an inevitable part of life (but one that I had to experience too early), today I’m not mad at god anymore, I still don’t understand it, but I know I wouldn’t be the person that I am if I didn’t go through it…

My mother was a beautiful, calm, reserved human being that loved to sing, that used to sit on the left side of the couch and crochet… My brother has a lot of her traits (singing abilities included), me not so much… I have, from what people tell me, her looks… I can’t really see it, but I like to think that they are right.

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(This is my mother… sometime in the late 60’s, early 70’s)

No matter how old you are, if you are lucky to still have your parents around…cherish them! Call them more, visit them more, tell them you love them more!

Boston

Last month we had to go to Boston, so we decided to stay for the weekend, why not? Boston is one of my favorite cities, 1h30m by train from here (yes, we are big fans of traveling by train if you haven’t noticed it yet 🙂 ) and full of stuff to do and see. A big city that, to me, has the charm of a smaller city, a mix of old and new that I love.

Cabaret was touring so it was a great opportunity to see another musical and, boy, was it worth every penny!! (Again, good seats are the way to go!) The cast was amazing and even though the stage/props and costumes weren’t as glamorous and intricate as Phantom of the Opera, this was another amazing show and the Boston Opera House is a beautiful venue! Worth going if you have a chance! Saturday night we went to see Lewis Black and that was hilarious! I will not get political here, but let’s just say that Mr. Black is not a fan of Trump and that the people next to me didn’t think that his material was as funny as I did…

We stayed at the Boston Park Plaza. A nice hotel with an awesome location where we had stayed before, but this time the experience was not so great… Unfortunately, there was a high school thing going on so the noise, slamming doors and kids running around and screaming ’til the wee hours was ridiculous and the way the hotel handled it (or didn’t handle it) makes me have mixed feelings about going back/recommending the place…

Contrary to any trip, I didn’t take pictures 😦 The weather was really crappy and between the rain and the bitter cold, having to take off my gloves was not an option 😉 We need to go back in the Spring to finally walk the Freedom Trail, so when that happens I promise there will be pictures galore!

Happy trails,

A.

New York, New York

October is the greatest month ever (maybe not the greatest, but close enough) – it’s my birthday and the last one was grand! We decided (or I kind of forced it) to go to New York city… As an european it was a must and being that I’ve been here since 2008, it was about time.

Since I had to go to Boston, we decided to just keep the train theme going and go the whole way. It was a long trip but very enjoyable – my favorite part was the fact that the train had a “quiet car” where you cannot be on the phone or talking in a loud manner….

We stayed in NJ, in a nice little apartment we rented through Airbnb (thank you Jenn!) that was close enough to get to the city and far away enough to be in a quieter place for the night (we have long ditched the party people phase).

New York is a world on its own, by far the biggest city I’ve ever been to, and if you haven’t been, you should! There’s so much to see, to do, to explore that whether you are into architecture, partying, relaxing in a park, museums, there’s something for you out there.

We did all the tourist-y things and I loved it! Since we were there for 5 days we decided to get the New York Pass that includes entry in a bunch of places, the Big Bus Tours (hop on hop off bus with a guide), skip lines in certain places. Yes, it is pricey, but if you start adding up the entry fees of all the places you want to visit… it kind is the way to go!

We visited the MET, the Guggenheim, Radio City Music Hall, American Museum of Natural History (just a heads up –  you can easily spend a whole day in wandering around), Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Carnegie Hall, Madam Tussaud’s, the Empire State Building, the Top of the Rock (Observatory on top of Rockefeller Center – if you can, do it at night, the view is amazing), the Brooklyn Museum, took the ferry trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, strolled around Central Park, tried really good food, had beers at Molloy’s with the best bartender (Chris you rule), and went to the Majestic Theatre to see Phantom of the Opera and that was amazing!! (I’ll give you the same advice that the old lady sitting next to me gave to me “If you can’t do this all the time, save your money so you can buy good tickets when you do come”! And was she right!!!)

So, it wasn’t hiking per se, but we did a lot of walking so… that qualifies, right?

I took so many pictures that it hard pick only some to share, but here is a little sample!

 

Happy trails!

A.

It’s been too long

It’s been a long since I posted and since we hiked… W. has two herniated discs on his back so between the pain and the discomfort, carrying weight and going up mountains doesn’t seem like a good idea! I know, right?!

So, we really haven’t been doing much, just chilling at home and enjoying time together and with our 3 cats! Yup, we have 3 and they are awesome in their own ways. I used to be a “dog person”growing up, but when I moved in with W. I realized how awesome cats are and how much personality they have! Then W. had Athena and Perseus that, unfortunately , are no longer with us… But, the legacy was passed along to Duncan and along the way, Momma Cat and Arli made their way to our house and our hearts.

Duncan Duncan is 4 years old (will be 5 in October) and has been with us since he was a kitten – a little thing with huge ears and huge tail.

Duncan is one of the best cats I’ve ever met!! Well, he’s mine so… of course I’ll say that, but… he really is! He’s funny, playful, has his own little ways and routines and he’s a super lovable guy! Although he’s a big boy now, he’ll always be my little guy 🙂

 

Momma Cat

Momma Cat is 16 and she’s been with us since April. Momma was my mother-in-law’s cat, and even though the circumstances that brought her here were sad (my mother-in-law passed away), she seems to be right at home here. She went from being a shy scared cat that would spend her days in a basement to a pretty bossy girl that wants no part in any of the young ones crazy ways.

She likes to be left alone so she can perfect her favorite activity – nap!! 🙂

 

ArliAnd Arli – the 2 year old that we adopted very recently from the Animal Welfare Society.

Arli is a very active, curious tiny little thing. She still has her moments, but for the most part she knows that this is her home now! Her and Duncan are starting to hang out and play together and it’s starting to sound like we have horses in the house instead of cats! (must be a good sign, right?) (I think she has a crush on Duncan… but, i can’t blame her, he is a handsome guy 🙂  )

I can talk (and write) about my cats forever, but… I won’t, promise! (just in case someone does read this and doesn’t die of boredom :p)

Pets are awesome! They are there for you and love you unconditionally! So, remember, they are pets, not toys!! Be respectful, be responsible! Do your homework before you get a pet and adopt, don’t shop!!

A.