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The Elevator Question

11 Jul

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Dolly is, simply put, an unreal creature sent from heaven gracing our lives.

An otherworldly ethereal thing, I’m afraid to get to close to because she might disappear in a cloud of glitter.

I don’t know. Maybe there’s a more succinct way to say it. Maybe I didn’t do her justice.

Dolly is so cute that a friend told his wife, “Hey you know our cat we think is the cutest? Actually Dolly is cuter.”

TRUE STORY.

I swear.

I was there.

She has her little mannerisms, her little personality. She’s a stuffed plush toy with fur as soft of as a cloud and here she comes. Sitting next to you in the bathroom, just because.

She wants to always be near us.

I wake up in the middle of the night and she’s pressed against me. Curled under my legs. She can’t get close enough.

Our little shadow.

She only loves her bed and her mama, she’s sorry.

My Mount Rushmore is Dolly with four different expressions.

Drake himself has written about Dolly, you see.

Things change.

Dolly is proof of that.

I’ve always been wary of animals. Scared of what they might do to me. Scared of what they have done to me.

And if you’re in the same boat as I was, I want you to ask yourself a few questions.

Are the things you dislike about animals:

  1. Fear they might attack you

  2. Picking up hot poop

  3. Jumping/licking/biting/barking

  4. The smell

Well, it turns out, that dogs aren’t for you! And that’s OK.

In the immortal words of Amy Poehler, good for her, not for me.

Get yourself a cat. Preferably a 5 lb rescue thing who looks more like an anime cartoon than a real life creature.

You’ll love her and write glowing things about her.

You’ll change.

Things change, you see.

In writing school we were taught to be hard on our characters.

Put them in difficult situations. That’s where the interesting stuff comes.

One teacher talked about the elevator question.

If your character were to be stuck in an elevator for hours on end, who would they be most uncomfortable with?

Their parents?

Their ex?

The person they confessed their love to who did nothing?

GREAT!

Put them in that elevator. Make them have those conversations. Make them uncomfortable.

That’s the good stuff.

The stuff we want to read.

The elevator question is a great dinner party question. I’ve used it many, many times. Of course, you need to know your dinner party guests well if you’re going to get an honest answer.

This is a dinner party question for your closest friends. The ones you can be really vulnerable with.

And then boom.

Let it all out.

I was thinking about the elevator question recently and I had a bit of a shock.

My people have changed!

For a really long time the same few souls came up when I asked myself who I’d be most uncomfortable around. They were those of the Big Hurts, of the Unresolved Pain. For a while there, years even, the thought of being trapped in a small space with them was enough for me to run fleeing.

For you see, in life, you don’t have to put yourself in that elevator.

What makes for good story in fiction you can, and often should, protect yourself from in reality.

Boundaries and all that.

But.

Change.

I remind myself this with my current hurts. With my current elevator people. The ones who twist my stomach in knots when I imagine confronting them.

I remind myself that 10 years ago I felt this way about different people. And nothing really changed with us. Most of us didn’t get resolution or that important conversation, or, frankly, the very needed apology.

Time happened.

Time heals.

It really, really does.

Things change.

One day you have a little puff ball of a cat sleeping at your feet and you love her and you write odes to her. And you can’t wait for her to wake up so you can play together.

Things change.

Except for my love for Dolly.

That is as constant as the Northern Star.

Life Lately

8 May

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Life lately is a lot of Dolly Purrton.

Our little

cinnamon bun

toasted marshmallow

cappuccino of a cat

with a pink heart nose and cotton ball puffs for paws.

Dolly Purrton who is gentle and talkative, whose favorite spot to snuggle is the bend in my knee, who follows us everywhere because she wants to be in the room where it happens.

Our little croissant who runs to the door to greet us when we come home from work.

Our baby.

Life lately is missing Utah in unexpected ways. In going to 7-Eleven and feeling a hole in my heart that can only be filled by a chocolate chocolate Dunford Donut.

In wanting a really good, really full Diet Coke with fresh lime and settling for a mediocre-at-best Subway bleh.

A friend told me she misses the flowers of her hometown. It’s crazy, she said. I’m in LA. We’re full of flowers.

But there’s nothing like your mother’s lilac tree in the spring.

There’s nothing like a Utah Diet Coke.

Life lately is going to bed at 11, 10, 9. At finally giving in and saying OK. If this is my schedule I can no longer be a night owl. OK, sacrifices must be made.

And so I go to sleep early.

I go to sleep early and that whole part of me of me, the part that people could rely on to be up at 3AM, has shifted.

That identity is asleep.

For now.

Life lately is creating boundaries with church service (a girl can only do so much).

(And there is so much to do.)

It’s wearing pink tassled slippers and loud, crazy sunglasses. It’s ordering lunch ahead so I don’t have to pack anything in the mornings, and realizing that that is worth it. Not having the stress of making a lunch is worth it all.

Life lately is thank you notes on Beyonce stationary.

It’s less TV, not on purpose, just because.

(Because I’m sleeping, most likely.)

Life lately is a lot of Dolly Purrton

Did I mention our baby?

Ways In Which Dolly Purrton And I Are The Same Individual Residing In Two Separate Bodies

27 Feb

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We both have:

  1. A large amount of fluffy hair
  2. An uncanny ability to find a hot water bottle in a large bed, immediately

We are both:

  1. Clumsy
  2. Talkative
  3.  Expressive
  4. Attention seeking

Neither of us like to:

  1. Leave bed

Neither of us respond to:

  1. Cat nip
  2. Being picked up

Both of us love:

  1. Fixer Upper
  2. (Naps)

We are both:

  1. Rescues with tumultuous pasts

Both of us rescued ourselves with a little help from:

  1. Robert

Because yes, yes, no one can rescue you, that’s an inside job ETC but aren’t we all rescues a little bit? Isn’t that part of the human experience?

Meow.

Dolly Purrton

26 Feb

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I’m sitting here with a curled up model of a cat right next to me. She is beauty, she is grace.

She is Miss United States.

And

Things were not always this easy.

Before we got Dolly Purrton, a few people had given general warnings that it takes cats a while to get used to their new surroundings.

I listened and nodded like OK. That’s nice. I read some articles on the topic and had Vivaldi’s Four Seasons ready on the record player.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons played before every storytime my mother took me to and to this day that music brings out warm, fuzzy feelings in me. I couldn’t tell you a book we read, but I can tell you it was Spring! It was Summer!

I am now a librarian!

But Dolly.

She didn’t know Vivaldi was warm and fuzzy. She didn’t know that Rob and I were here to love her more than she had ever been loved in her life.

All she knew is that she was a new place. Her fourth home in three years. That she was scared.

That she was Miss United States.

Within the hour, Dolly had found her way into the bottom of our oven.

Rob and I left to run an errand and give Dolly some time to calm down. She was hiding under the couch at this point, perfectly normal. Vivaldi!

When we came back she was no longer there.

No big deal.

We started looking for her. “Dolly!”

“Dolly!”

15 minutes later I was seated in the corner of the room having a panic attack. Through deep breaths I was making bold promises to God about what I would do if we found Dolly.

I was certain somehow, some way she had gotten out of the house. Maybe our cupboards had a hole?

We Had Heard A Cricket Once!

It was Rob who found her under the stove.

(I was in the corner not coping, remember?)

Just a flash of fur. The poor thing so scared.

It took a week to the day.

We adopted her on a Saturday morning and the following Saturday morning I crept out into the living room before Rob woke up. I settled onto our yellow couch and let Dolly smell me. She smelled and she circled and she tail swished and when she finally rubbed her head against my leg I knew I had her.

Rob woke up to the two of us cuddling in the living room.

He eagerly joined in.

That first week wasn’t easy, and I guess I want to record that. That after Dolly left the oven we had to board it up, a protection that is still in place and still using my biggest cookie sheet.

That we got her a box and put Rob’s shirt in it so she’d learn to love the scent. And that we didn’t see her come out of her box for a long time. That we had to inspect the litter to make sure baby was being baby.

That for the first night she completely ignored her food.

That for the first week she wanted nothing to do with us, would not get near us. Rob would take pictures of her sometimes, late at night, when she was out in the house. He sat still and made no sounds. She needed to know we were safe.

That we wouldn’t disturb her in her safe space.

That we woudn’t disturb her at all.

And now here she is. A bundle of joy and warmth and the softest, most impossible cloud-like fluff you can imagine.

She is a dream.

I love her.

And

If you’re in your first week of cat ownership

I hear you.

I feel you.

Have you tried some Vivaldi?