I think I have it in me to become a crazy cat lady. Since adopting these two littermates (who were rescued from life inside an abandoned couch in an Oakland vacant lot, aka: garbage dump), I've gone gaga.
I take endless photos, like a first time mom with a new baby and a new camera.
Now a year later, they are big guys. I think I have to leash train them, so I can be a crazy cat lady in Paris, like these folks:
These two kitties (on a split leash, no less) have been trained to poop at this tree beside l'église de la Madeleine. Maybe that's because their beautiful Art Nouveau toilettes are locked and inaccessible.
And this scruffy cat practically dragged her person (man? woman?) along the quai of Île St Louis.
We attended a lovely fundraiser for a special cause: a sanctuary for senior dogs, large senior dogs.
Alyce Mayn started Lily's Legacy in Petaluma after her experience adopting an older dog, Lily, transformed her life. Lily, a beautiful and loving golden retriever, only lived four months, but in that short time she not only provided love and affection, she inspired a mission. Today Alyce directs a non-profit, all volunteer rescue and sanctuary that delivers care, exercise, training and placement for senior large breed dogs that would otherwise be euthanized.
The fundraiser, Barks for Bucks, was held at Lagunitis Brewing in Petaluma and was great fun. There were dogs everywhere!!!
and small dogs.
There was a stage where a professional photographer took photos of your dog for a small donation. Costumes were encouraged. Of course, Miss Olivia needed a formal portrait.
Have you seen Harper's Bazaar Fall Travel issue? And their top ten list of places to visit?
It lists Petaluma as #1. They feature McEvoy Ranch for its olive oil, wines and skincare products. Awww, how nice you might think. Petaluma is finally getting its props. Too bad they didn't enumerate its other charms: restaurants, antique stores, walkability, sweet neighborhoods, etc.
The big news is that Petaluma is listed as #1 while Paris, France is #10!
But wait: maybe this is some kind of joke, because Marfa, Texas is #2. Texas!!!!
Yet #4, Seattle, is right on. Seattle is beautiful, interesting, and filled with cultural and scenic opportunities. Still not Paris, but certainly ahead of Marfa, Texas. And then you get to their #7: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and you know this is a crap list. Any list with Pennsylvania ahead of Paris is not just scandalous, it's nuckin' futz.
It's a popular Take-a-Book, Leave-a-Book program that is sweeping the nation (and spreading elsewhere in the world).
It's a great way to share books in your community. I've been wanting to install one, since I live on a street with a lot of foot traffic, especially by kids. I don't have carpentry skills and could buy a kit, but plan on trying to build one next summer. The variety of LFL's is immense, from simple modest structures to elaborate ones to clever, creative and humorous ones.
note: following photos used with permission from LittleFreeLibrary.org
Roger Stewart was a phenomenal physician, a true gentleman, a vigorous citizen who remained engaged with US and world issues until the very end and a close friend who I admired greatly. He had an old-time general practice in Forestville, a small Sonoma County town, where he did everything from attending births and deaths to surgeries, large and small. He also practiced in England and even on a cruise ship. Not to mention his years at Kaiser. Roger had a talent for establishing deep friendships and knew his friends, coworkers and patients intimately. He told wonderful, riveting stories that I will never forget. He lived long (into his nineties) and well. I am so grateful to have known him. Thank you, Roger, for everything....... I love you.
The tide is turning; f-a-i-l is no longer a four letter word, because the benefits of failure are increasingly being embraced.
William Alexander, whose bookFlirting with French is coming out this fall, recently wrote about his difficulties learning French in a New York Times op-ed piece, The Benefits of Failing at French. Despite his slow progress with the language, he found his memory improved, as documented by before and after cognition testing.
I've written before about the brain science of learning a second language, but I don't think I've discussed my belief in the importance of failure. Until recently, our culture was all about success. Americans backpeddled away from the stink of failure, not recognizing it as a crucial step in learning. However, the tech industry knows that to truly innovate, you have to make mistakes. The new mantra is Fail Often; Fail Faster, i.e. quickly learn which new ideas work and which new ideas don't work.
And children don't worry about making language mistakes, they delight in their ability to connect. If you really want to remember something, screw it up and get corrected: you'll never forget that correction. Don't focus on how dumb you felt, celebrate the acquisition of a new concept. That's why it's important to speak without turning on your shame detector. Embrace what the Buddhists call "Beginners Mind".
Neurology is starting to prove that this concept is therapeutic. A recent aging study from the University of Texas looked at seniors who learned new skills compared with those who joined a social club and those who stayed home and did word games on their own. Only those who continually confronted themselves with new mental challenges improved. This was a surprise because the prevailing thought was that social connection would have the stronger effect.
My interpretation is that we must continually push ourselves into the new, risking failure, acting like toddlers learning to walk and speak. Me? I'm trying to learn HTML and CSS. And making a lot of mistakes. A good mistake is a terrible thing to waste.