Dolly Purrton

26 Feb

dolly purrton

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.


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!”


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.


If you’re in your first week of cat ownership

I hear you.

I feel you.

Have you tried some Vivaldi?

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Me Too

21 Feb


A few months ago I sold my gold bookshelves on Craigslist.

The way it all worked out, I was home alone the night my buyer could pick them up. I did the things I know how to do instinctively.

I gave several people information about where I was, who I was meeting, and when to worry.

I turned on all the lights in my apartment.

I pulled out my mace and had it in my hands when I opened the door.

I was greeted by a woman, about my age, holding the exact same pink breast cancer foundation mace I have.

We looked at each other and our ready mace and laughed.


“You have mace!”

“I have mace!”

Our relief was so palpable we hugged.

By the end of the transaction I’d helped this new sister strap the bookshelves on her car. Learned about her relationship with her grandma. Laughed again.

We were friends. We were safe.

I’ve thought about that moment a few times since. How I prepared myself for the worst-case scenario. How another woman felt the same way. How we live our lives prepared for the worst when it comes to our safety as women.

I haven’t written about the Me Too movement. I don’t write about a lot of political things here and then I wonder if I’m doing it all wrong.

A podcast I listened to shortly after the election quoted something along the lines of, thank goodness Anne Frank didn’t write about trees.

And while I know I am not even remotely at all ever in any way in the same situation as Anne Frank, I’ve wondered about what I write. Am I avoiding the important stuff? Am I only writing about trees?

And feel-good television?

And spring cleaning?

I think about this mainly when I imagine my future children. Young girls asking me about this particular moment in history.

What was it like when women started to speak their truths? How did it feel?

How does it feel to be a woman in this political climate in general?

The important questions.

And so.

I guess I’m here to begin in some small way.

To say Me Too.

Me Too in countless ways for countless reasons big and small.

Me Too like every woman I have ever met.

Me, me, me, Me Too.

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Sounds During My Evening Meditation

29 Jan


The Celtics game two rooms over

Cheers, male voices, sneakers?

Chicken sizzling on the stove

My own breath, struggling through a stuffy nose

A siren


General breeze things

A bird?

Running water

The garbage disposal

The opening of a trashcan

More cheers

A sneeze

Chopping on the cutting board

That garbage can again

A Diet Coke next to me, lazily going flat

Andy Puddicombe’s soothing voice, urging me forward

My stomach, growling, ready for what’s next


 PS: When I started meditationa year into meditation, and how I use meditation

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Yay for me

25 Jan


Inspired by a segment on this great podcast

Yay for me!  I cleaned out my medicine cabinet. That sort of crazy clean where you toss out everything that’s expired and realize, wow, medicine expires a lot quicker than I toss it out.

Yay for me! I wore my mouth guard last night.

Yay for me! I made a hearty Italian soup on Sunday to prep for the week which brought up bigger questions like am I only prepping to live and never really living? And yet I perservered through the existential crisis and prepped to live and live I shall, with hearty soup, every lunch this week.

Yay for me! I’m finally reading a book a friend gave me years ago and it’s really nice to slow down and enjoy what I already have.

Yay for me! I got rid of that blue hoodie I kind of hated.

Yay for me

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Your Grandma Here To Tell You About Good Witch

23 Jan


Gather round my dears and help yourself to the bag of Werther’s on the stained glass coffee table, for I, your grandma, am here to share the good news of Good Witch.

Good Witch is a Hallmark television show currently available on Netflix, though I hesitate to leave it there. Good Witch is the pinnacle of all Hallmark has ever had to offer.

Good Witch is the number two rated show on cable telvision.

The program features Catherine Bell as Cassie Nightingale, a witch who operates mainly by making teas and speaking in cryptic phrases. In fact, if “witch” weren’t in the title of the program, I would have no idea she was a witch and would instead think she was someone who really liked tea! That’s how family friendly this show is.

The New York Times, in their brilliant article, “Have you Grandparents Told You About Good Witch?” highlights several things I’d like to bring to your attention.


What’s most striking about the show — especially if you’re inclined to think that the age of its audience also implies a conservative cultural or political cast — is how thoroughly dominated it is by women. That isn’t necessarily unusual for a prime-time soap, but men in “Good Witch” are a particularly clueless and ineffectual bunch.

Men in “Good Witch” aren’t judged by their ability to orchestrate scams or kill zombies — they’re judged by whether they can be trusted to tell a woman the truth, and whether they try hard enough to make her happy. Binge-worthy or not, it’s a refreshing sentiment.

I’m here to tell you that this show is indeed binge-worthy feminist content. That if you give it your time you’ll start saying things like, “I wonder if they write Cassie’s cryptic advice in italics so she knows to speak really mysteriously.”

You’ll start laughing at the “redundantly named Bistro Café.” And you’ll grow to love “the villain, the self-absorbed but well-meaning mayor, Martha. (You know right away she’s different because of the theatrical, high-comic style with which Catherine Disher plays her.)”

(You’ll also quote that New York Times article over and over again like I just did. Because gosh. Wow. Golly. What a show.)

And eventually, if you spend enough time in the idyllic Middleton and with the idyllic characters who range from “nice to mildly irritating,” you’ll start to realize that all of these actors remind you vaguely of other, shall we say, more famous actors.

This is not to denigrate the actors on Good Witch, whom I love with all my heart (except for maybe Anthony, but we’ll get there). This is to say, if you start watching this show, like I’m urging you to do, you’re sure to see an actor and think, hey, that sort of looks like someone I’ve seen before.

And then, eventually, you’ll write this blog post and put it out for the world to see, because what other option do you have?

OK then.

Let’s begin with Cassie.

Oh Cassie. Of the cryptic phrases and the tea. I’ve loved Catherine Bell since my parents got into JAG back in the 90s, and she did and does look a bit like Catherine Zeta Jones, no?


Her daughter is a dead sort of maybe lookalike for Selena Gomez.

And get this! The two boys in her daughters’ life are both vaguely like Justin Bieber in his various stages.

First, there’s Anthony in the swoosh stage. (We don’t like this kid because he’s whiny.)


And then, Nick with the Better Hair Bieber stage. (Things are complicated with this one.)

It’s a Jelena reunion every week on Hallmark! What are you waiting for?

OK, now for the men in Cassie’s life.

Ryan has a hint of a Colin Firth doesn’t he? (Love you forever, Darcy.)

And Sam is an Aaron Eckhart. (Remember this dude from Desperate Housewives? He really plays the role of love interest in a female-dominated show well.)

Cassie’s stepdaughter Lori reminds me of Amanda Seyfried kind of maybe?

And her stepson is basically Ezra from Pretty Little Liars. (Is that show still going on? How many As are there?)

Cassie’s cousin Abigail is a Leighton Meester/Minka Kelly type.

And then there’s Cassie’s best friend Stephanie who is faintly a Julie Bowen?

There’s also the aforementioned mayor Martha who bears more than a passing resemblance to Dolores Umbridge. (But she has a heart! I want to make clear she has a heart.)

OK, and before we end I want to bring it back to Anthony of the Bieber swoop hair. Some internet sleuthing led me to his music career and the fact that, yes, he did go next level Bieber with the next step of his career!

I can’t wait to see what’s next! The blonde phase?

What a time to be alive!

Deep breath.

Are you still here?

Are you going to join me as I continue to watch this show for the laughs, the love, and the…yes, magic?

The very vague we all have a little magic, and here’s a cup of tea magic?

Join me, grandchildren.

Join me in this noble venture.

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What Makes Someone A Good Person?

16 Jan


A few months ago, my friends and I had a conversation about what makes a person “good.” I’m still thinking about it.

The discussion began with a question, do we know any truly good people?

And if we do, what makes them good?

One friend commented she considers herself good, but is it more just an absence of being bad?

Does she need to be actively working at a homeless shelter (fill-in-the-blank) to be good?

Or is it more about the daily stuff? Being kind to a cashier. Being aware of ways to help those around you.

Another friend brought up a goodness scale. From 1-100 where do we each fall?

Are we just about average? How can we be better?

None of the answers were clear-cut, but it made me consider my definition of good. The people in my life who are kind and thoughtful and give grace.

How I can become more like that. Like them.

And as I considered all this, I wanted to open up the discussion to you smart people. What’s your definition of a “good” person?

Any thoughts on the matter?

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Oh, Isn’t Life Good?

15 Jan


Oh, life is good.

Life is good, not in the ways I expected to think life was good, back in the day, but life is good in the way that I’m wearing a lavender and honey face mask right now.

Take it from a girl who moved to London for Adventure and Romance and know

life doesn’t get much better than a lavender honey facemask.

Life is good because I walked 11,000 steps today holding hands with the person I love, the person I look at and wonder, how did I get so lucky to be loved like this? To love like this?

Life is good because we walked five miles in pursuit of specialty yogurt and ended up with fresh fish along the way. Fresh fish that the person I love grilled and then made a lemon sauce for.

Have you ever had lemon sauce on rice and broccolini and fresh fish?


Oh isn’t life good?

Life is good because I meditated for 12 minutes today. Because I got a nap in and potato pancakes for breakfast. Because I FaceTimed with some friends and read three different books, and one of those books was one I picked up at a thrift shop just because it looked fun.

Do you know how rare it is for me to read a book just because it looked fun?

Do you know how fun it is to read a book that is so rare?

Life is good because another of those books is Harry Potter and Rob and I are reading Harry Potter together for the first time. And he loves it and I love it and we love each other and the convergence of it all is enough to make a big, messy, porridge slop of love.

And I love porridge.

I even love the parts where it’s messy and sugary and drips its sugary mess all over you.

Oh, isn’t life good?

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One Project At A Time

19 Dec


Today in TJ Maxx in between trying on Hawaiian print heels and convincing myself I don’t need a neon rainbow light, I maintained a conversation with a friend. I told her how I’ve become very crafty lately. I’m making pom poms and illustrating my words and putting photo albums together.

I mentioned the next projects I have in mind.

I’m about to become a BeJeweler!

Flower patches will adorn my jeans!

“I’ve told myself I will complete one project a month,” I said just as she spoke,

“Just remember, one project at a time.”

It was a subtle difference but it struck me hard.

I give myself Goals! and Deadlines! even for things that are supposed to be fun. Things like being creative.

It never occurs to me to let things happen naturally. To work on one project until it is complete and then move to the next. To breathe without deadlines. To do it as my life, as my pace allows.

There must be a structure! A plan!

Having fun was never so much fun!

We continued our conversation and our walk through TJ Maxx. I also dodged a 7 lipstick multipack purchase (but so cheap!) and white go-go boots (but so needed!). I did buy a pair of sunglasses because that is how I invest in myself and my future for the low, low price of $8.

The whole time, though, I kept thinking about my goals and my plans for next year. How I manage somehow to regulate every aspect of my life, every bit of pleasure and spontaneity. Every last inch of my creativity.

How I can ease up a little.

How I can go along with the natural pace of my life.

And so, in case you need these words today too:

Just remember, one project at a time

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What Are You Looking Forward To This Week?

17 Dec


Every Sunday night Bailey and I text each other

What are you looking forward to this week?

I don’t remember how this tradition started, but I can tell you how it’s going.


That’s how it’s going.

It’s going well.

I like that moment of pause to think about what’s coming up, what’s exciting, how life is coming up and exciting.

One of the things depression does is rob you of anything to look forward to. You can’t see out of the moment, out of that awful, consuming moment where everything is Too Big To Tackle.

And so, even when everything is manageable,

What are you looking forward to this week?

I’m looking forward to as many Fiiz drinks as I can physically handle. North Shores probably (Peach & mango puree, coconut and fresh lime all in an enormous, bubbling Diet Coke.)

I’m looking forward to movies.

Star Wars.

Three Billboards.

Pitch Perfect.

I’m looking forward to being in the suburbs for a week. For random trips to Old Navy for more fuzzy socks. To Target for everything. To Hobby Lobby because it’s close! And I can start our wedding photo album!

I’m looking forward to starting our wedding photo album. For finally getting to tackle that project. For putting my creativity and words and art towards something I know I will cherish my whole life. For something I’ll make my future children cherish if I can make them do anything.

(I know, I know, you can’t make anyone do anything.)

I’m looking forward to lunch with my grandma and brunch with Mandee.

Long, extra-slow walks at the gym where I listen to all my backlogged podcasts one-by-one, step-by-step.

I’m looking forward to giving my friends presents at our yearly holiday party.

To making salsa with my family to hand out as neighbor gifts.

To seeing my family!

To Hallmark movies.

Café Rio.

The day my sister finishes finals so she can join me on all of these adventures.

I’m looking forward.

How about you?

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My Word For 2017

16 Dec

Jillian&Rob-434 Jillian&Rob-435 Jillian&Rob-436

On our wedding night, lightning struck our inn.

As we jumped over puddles in our formalwear, the inn’s manager told us just how intense the rain had been. He was sitting on a chair wearing galoshes and a waterproof coat. He recounted how the power had gone. How lightning had struck. Not just nearby. Not in the area.

Lightning struck our inn.

The next day as we looked in the newspaper and read the articles about it we laughed.

What did it mean?

If rain on your wedding day was good luck, what were flash floods and lightning bolts?

Well, we’re either the greatest relationship of all time or we’re going up in flames.

This year I got married. It makes sense that the word for the year was committed. I got engaged. I pledged to love someone in sickness and in health. We karaoked in front of our loved ones in torrential downpour. I put on birthstone wedding rings. There’s no going back now.

And yet, I committed to more than just Rob this year.

I committed to my work in libraries. In taking a job that I love, one where I can grow as a librarian and as a person. One I’m committed to.

This is no in-between phase, this is it, baby.

I bought the first couch of my life. A yellow thing that’s surprisingly easy to lift and surprisingly comfortable to sit on for being in the clearance warehouse at Living Spaces, La Mirada.

I committed to a kitchen table. That round one everyone has from Ikea?

To a new therapist. A new city. A new health insurance plan through an employer.

Because I have a single job right now! A job I love!

(Did I mention?)

(Did you know last year at this time I was working four different part-time jobs?)

Mainly I committed to a life.

I didn’t think it would take so long and then on the other hand I think, wow, OK I’m here. Am I here already?

I’m reaping the benefits from the long hard in-between phase. From the jobs I hated and the bad relationships I loved and the places I didn’t want to live and the versions of myself I didn’t want to keep.

I fought for this life. Therapy session by therapy session. I cried and I struggled and I sacrificed and I gained a bunch of weight because, listen, I don’t always cope in super healthy ways like meditation, and here I am.

In a life I’m committed to. A life I love.

I’m all in, baby.

Bring on the lightning.


PS: What was your word this year?

My words in 201620152014, and 2012.

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