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Category Archives: nostalgia

A Recovering Cat Person

This isn’t a cat-bashing edition. I was just thinking about how much I love and am loved by my dogs. In the last decade, I’ve grown into such a dog person that even when people come to our house, they are unaware that we actually have a cat. She just does her thing, and that doesn’t usually involve people. She likes it that way. She lets us know when she wants attention, and the rest of the time she is content to be a loner. I’m an introvert, so I totally respect that. It’s one of the best qualities of cats. They are so easy to take care of. And honestly, constantly tripping over my dogs who are clamoring for attention can be difficult.

I grew up as a cat person and thought that was all I needed. We had dogs, but they lived outside. My parents had grown up in rural farm areas and that’s how they did it. Plus, my mom said dogs smell.  We had a couple cats at a time in the house. They were funny and spunky, and my Siamese Suzie was even lovable and cuddly. Suzie started out as my sister’s cat, but I ended up adopting her and she was a huge part of my life. This time of year I remember her the most because she loved Christmas. We used to joke that any picture taken of the Christmas tree was sure to have Suzie in it. This is also the time of year when she died, at the ripe old age of seventeen.

I was a mess.

My husband surprised my by allowing a kitten to pick him out a couple weeks later. That’s how we got our current kitty, who is now sixteen. Truffles, our crazy tortie. I had told Robert I knew losing pets was hard, but I never wanted to be without one. They complete a home, and though one can never take the place of another, each can hold a new and special place in our hearts. Now that Truffles is older, I’m not as terrified of her attacking me out of nowhere anymore. She’s fairly mellow now and just purrs all the time.

Truufles and MJ

A few years after moving into our house, I conceded to fulfill the promise I had once given Robert that we would get a dog. I always thought dogs seemed so needy, and I did not think I would ever love a dog like I had loved my cats.

Now, this is not to discount the love I had for Suzie, or even for Truffles now. I do/did love my cats. But somehow that neediness of dogs, I have come to see, is really just because they love so deeply. Seriously, I know my husband loves me with as much capacity as one human can love another, but I still don’t think he loves me as much as Dylan and Mara Jade love me. I just walked down the driveway to get the mail a few minutes ago, and they were concerned for my safe arrival back into the house. Sometimes I sense one of them staring at me, and when I look at them, I can almost see hearts in their eyes. Their expressions are so doting and intense. Have you ever looked into the eyes of an Australian shepherd?

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Again, this time of year, I remember my Suzie and how devastated I was when I lost her. Dylan just had his twelfth birthday earlier this month. He still has plenty of moments when I completely forget about his age, but sometimes, even in little things, I notice him slowing down. I see the white fur filling in around his snout. Sometimes he just doesn’t want to get all the way up onto the bed without taking a break on the ottoman at the foot of the bed first. And then there’s MJ, Mara Jade, our puppy. Of course, she’s ten now, so even though we call her our puppy, she’s technically considered a senior now as well, though we haven’t really seen any signs of her aging, other than the dusting of single white furs spread out on her head.

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All of our pets are in their senior years, and I don’t think I’m ready for that. They’re more than just pets; they’re family. The kind of family that sheds all over, throws up at the most inconvenient times, and lays in every doorway you want to walk through, quickly getting up to move as soon as you begin to raise your foot to go over them. I wouldn’t trade that though, because their love is more unconditional than most people can give. Is it coincidence that dog backwards spells God? He seems to have made them with the ability to love nearly as much as He does. As they age, I commit to being there for them and always doing what is best for my fur-babies, as they have always been there for me.

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Dear Long Lost Friend

Dear Long Lost Friend & Those I Have Loved,

If I take the time to look back over my life, I see moments and people swirling, never stopping. It always keeps moving. Life doesn’t stop.

But I am sorry I haven’t paused to thank you for being one of those swirling faces. Each one is special. Each one helped make me who I am today. Some encouraged me and gave me hope. Some broke me down so I had to build myself back up, stronger. Some tested my moral fortitude. And some held me and let me cry.

I see pieces of laughter and inspirations to be better. There are adventures and quiet moments.  Fear. Wonder. Loyalty. Love.

Each person in my life helped mold or chisel a piece of me. All are part, though some more so than others, of the masterpiece that I am, or hope to be. Because that’s how it works. “We’re all in this together,” and wow, isn’t that the truth!

You never know the words you say that will forever stick with another, so please, choose them wisely.

 

Forever Yours,

Terri Klaes Harper

 

My Buddy (Kid Sister Sold Separately)

Our dogs follow us everywhere and are very much a part of our lives, so much so that I hardly even think about the awkward contortions I put my body through just to navigate the kitchen, walk down the hallway, or sleep.

better bed buddy

Any ’80s kids out there? Who remembers these lyrics? “My buddy. My buddy. Wherever I go he goes.” So that is why we started calling Sir Dylan buddy from time to time. And then we got him a little sister, and since she also sticks to us, and her older brother like velcro, she is Kid Sister.

Now for an ode to my dogs in pictures.

dogs holding hands

They are inseparable (Dylan left, MJ right)

My bed is not the only one they take over.

My bed is not the only one they take over.

They really don't even let me go to the bathroom alone.

They really don’t even let me go to the bathroom alone.

Dylan is my 55lb lap dog.

Dylan is my 55 lb lap dog.

Now if you have a dog, give him or her a big hug for the unconditional love you get. If you have an old My Buddy or Kid Sister…I don’t know, but that’s pretty cool.

Have a Rockin’ Summer: Adding Yearbooks to the Endangered Species List

My twenty year high school reunion is in the works.

I am getting old.

Also, I am not going to the reunion. Basically, I know what’s up because I am on Facebook, and I do not want to relive twenty years ago, unless I am torturing myself with distant memories to make fun of as Drew in Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl. It’s not that high school was really all that horrible (no more than for anyone else, I’m sure), but I prefer to leave the past in the past.

Unless it involves looking through my old yearbooks.

These are my high school yearbooks from WCHS

These are my high school yearbooks from WCHS

Seeing reunion posts on Facebook reminded me that I found my yearbooks a few months back when we reorganized and remodeled our home office. Those yearbooks are especially special to me because I was part of creating it from my sophomore through my senior year. From headlines to deadlines, to awkward picture caption writing and slow Macintosh computers using Pagemaker, I did it, and edited it.

Having recently taught at the high school level, I sadly realized that yearbooks just don’t have the same importance and emotional attachment (I used to use mine as reference books) that they used to. In my day (see- I told you I’m getting old), for at least a week after yearbooks came out, they were academic distractions. Often teachers, if they were cool, just gave up and let us have time for part of a class period to look at them and trade to sign them. For some reason people who hardly spoke to each other suddenly felt the need to have each other write silly things like “K.I.T.” (keep in touch) and share their phone numbers so they could “have a blast together over the summer, just like in science class,” or wish each other to “have a totally rockin’ summer, dude!” We would reserve special blank pages for our close friends where we would have space to write super meaningful notes to each other, and even draw pictures, and possibly use ten different colors of ink without the pressure of writing around someone else’s work of art. I think technology has killed some of what made yearbooks so special. Social media chronicles our lives for us now, so we don’t have to wait all year to see the highlights.

But I won’t be sad about it; after all, my senior quote in my yearbook is, “Hakuna matata!”