All I Want for Christmas is You (to Help Whisker City!)

The holiday season is officially upon us, and arriving alongside it are the annual pop-ups of gift-giving guides. People came out in the usual masses to shop Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. From now until the end of the year, we’ll be thinking of our friends and family, trying to find that perfect gift to show our affections and make their faces light up.

This year, I am so incredibly grateful for everything in my life. I have a warm home, all of my needs are met,and I am surrounded by love. Sadly, there are many in my community who are not as fortunate as I am, including many homeless cats. These innocent kitties are looking for a home to call their own this holiday season, and as much as I wish I could, I cannot adopt each one myself.

Last year, I began supporting a local cat sanctuary in my community called Whisker City. They are a small rescue dedicated to protecting the lives and interests of unwanted cats, committed to rescuing and rehabilitating abused, neglected, and abandoned kitties. After my cat Angel passed away, I went to Whisker City to donate unused medical supplies that I had left over. I was happy to know that other kitties could benefit from the supplies I had once Angel no longer could, and the volunteers at Whisker City were compassionate toward me and my recent loss while also welcoming me and inviting me to take a tour of their facility and to meet their cats. I’ve been supporting them ever since with monthly donations and a sponsorship of Voodoo, a beautiful Siamese that probably would live at my house now if she particularly liked other cats.

I am not asking for gifts for myself this holiday season; as I’ve said, I have everything I need. What I am asking for, what would mean the most to me and make my face light up, is for my family and friends to please donate to Whisker City. Whether you donate once or sign up for monthly donations, whether you can spare five dollars or a hundred, every contribution helps to take care of these kitties and to keep them safe while they wait for their forever homes. I honestly cannot think of anything that would mean more to me this holiday season than to see a rush of support for this organization that is so important to me.

To donate to Whisker City, check out the fundraiser on my Facebook page, or follow this link: https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MzE5NTY=

Thank you and Happy Holidays! 

If It Doesn’t Scan, It Must Be Free

I think too many years in customer service scarred me in some ways.

Yesterday morning, I stood in the usual line to catch my usual bus to go to work, but when said bus arrived it took the driver a really long time to open the doors and let us all on. When he finally did open them, he stood in the doorway and announced to all of us that the meter thing that takes money wasn’t working, so we didn’t need to scan our cards or pay any money. “Just get on the bus”, he explained.

While I felt that his instructions were rather straightforward, this turn of events apparently stirred a deep need in many of my fellow riders to ask clarifying questions or make their glee at not having to pay bus fare known to the driver. “Are you sure I can’t pay you?” one woman asked. “What a nice gift for us!” a man in track pants enthusiastically said.

During these exchanges, I eye-rolled so hard it’s a miracle I didn’t hurt myself, all the while thinking just shut the hell up and get on the bus already, quit stopping in the doorway to act like your stupid joke is the funniest thing the driver has ever heard in his life, oh for the love of god people just freaking sit down already. Lady, he already SAID not to pay, so stop making such a show of searching for coins in your Louis Vuitton knockoff bag and SIT YOUR ASS DOWN ALREADY. My inner voice was getting decidedly shouty.

Naturally, the majority of the people who got on at the next two stops repeated the exact same stupid comments, because of course they did.

When I was but a starry-eyed teenage cashier back in high school, I quickly learned that any item that didn’t ring up would prompt the customer to say “I guess it must be free!” because, yeah, that’s exactly what happens now, Susan. Look at you, finding the hidden free stuff in the store, you clever clever girl! It was at that young age that I learned the valuable skill of pasting a smile on my face and forcing a “haha” while quickly calling for a price check. Another one I grew to know all too well was during my call center days, when customers would shout the very triumphant “Thanks for nothing!” right before hanging up on me when I couldn’t make whatever thing they wanted happen.

Lest I seem completely persnickety, let me pause to say that I really do enjoy funny people and witty comments. On more than one occasion, an angry customer would hit me with a one-liner so good that I would chuckle appreciatively before I could stop myself, and when they’d demand to know what was so funny I would reply honestly that their comment was clever and I appreciated their sense of humor even when they were mad. Those conversations would typically end pretty well, and I think that’s probably because witty people are usually smart too and they can appreciate reasonable explanations even for things they don’t like. The “thanks for nothing” crowd, on the other hand, seemed to feel that reasoning and logic was a lot less valuable than giving them whatever they were demanding.

Perhaps these experiences left me hopelessly jaded and unable to experience the joy that comes with telling the cashier, “Yes, and many things I wasn’t!” when asked if I found everything I was looking for. We all have our burdens, and I suppose this is mine.

Thanksgiving Shopping

Over the weekend, my husband and I decided that we wanted to start working out more than once or twice a week, and pledged to ourselves that we would work out both days of the weekend and at least two days of each week. We dutifully followed through and did Beachbody workouts in our living room both Saturday and Sunday morning, and on Saturday we even had salads for lunch from the salad bar at the fancy grocery store where we went to do our shopping for Thanksgiving, and we feel pretty good about our efforts. Today I wanted to keep the momentum up so I went for a walk at lunchtime with one of my new coworkers. We went to Bellevue Downtown Park and walked around the little trail three times, and I’m pretty sure casual passers-by probably thought that I had something slightly wrong with me because my legs are super sore from the squats I did over the weekend and so right now when I walk is sort of looks like a duck waddle, but not as waddle-y as the real duckies that were playing in the fountains so I guess there’s that. But I also ate cookies and bagel pizza bites and drank some nice scotch over the weekend, because I don’t want to get too healthy too fast, after all. Balance and such.

Anyway, back to Saturday. I haven’t done a proper Thanksgiving shopping in, well, probably ever in my life, because I’ve only ever hosted for the holiday once before, and that was eleven years ago and if I was along for the shopping portion of planning I have zero memory of it whatsoever. I think I’ll remember Saturday’s experience though, namely because it was one of the few times in the last few years that I can recall going grocery shopping without feeling at least a little bit anxious about being in a crowded store. Normally I hate grocery shopping unless it’s during one of those rare times when the store is nearly empty and there isn’t really anyone around me. I’m not a fan of being in crowded stores – I don’t like it when there are too many people in an aisle and I’m not able to walk through it, and I’m constantly feeling as if I’m in the way. But Saturday was actually pretty fun.

We went to Central Market, one of my very favorite grocery stores. I had a huge list of the things we needed to buy, and I was actually able to enjoy browsing shelves and looking at all the different spices and vegetables and available meats at the meat counter. Normally I have a short list of the things we need for meals for the week and try to rush to grab the things we need as quickly as humanly possible, causing myself to somewhat resemble a human tornado. This time, though, I was able to slow down, and thought more about which ingredients would best enhance the flavor of the things I wanted to make, not really giving a damn if I was in some dude’s way while I read each label.

About two hours after entering the store and sitting down with our salads, Husband and I emerged victorious with two shopping carts that we triumphantly pushed through the parking lot. We loaded up the car with what was probably more food than I’ve ever purchased in one trip, feeling pleased with ourselves and very accomplished. I’m super excited for Thursday, when I get to make all the dishes I’ve planned for people I love.

Answering the Call

Remember blogging?

I do. I remember writing my very first blog post back in 2004. That was before I knew what WordPress was, when the platform I used was the little blogging section of my MySpace account (ah yes, I remember MySpace too, and fiercely maintain that in its heyday it was far better than Facebook has ever been). My audience consisted of my friends, because I seriously doubted that anyone else cared about my little MySpace account.

Blogging got more popular and more platforms became available. I switched over to a Blogger account in the mid-2000’s and started writing Angry, Young and Poor. It was fitting at a time where I was coming into my own and finding myself increasingly irritated with the state of everything around me from my boring call center job to the wars that then-president George Bush charged the US into after September 11th. On my blog I could talk about anything from a stupid driver in traffic on my way home from work to how helpless I felt as I watched the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina unfolding on my TV every night, with no resources to personally help the victims. It was an outlet. It helped me figure out what I wanted.

V in the Northwest was born in 2010, when I made the move from Southern California to the Seattle area. I had no idea what I was in for, but I knew that I wanted to write about what I was experiencing. Now this little blog has seen eight and a half years of my life unfold; it’s seen me go through some of the best and some of the hardest times of my life, it’s connected me with other amazing bloggers that I never would have known otherwise (shout-out to you, Jill!). It’s a living history of how I got from who I was then to who I am now.

We bloggers don’t really write as much as we used to. A lot of us have slowed down and don’t post as often as we used to, if at all. Some lucky bloggers are published authors now, and tell their stories in their books. People tend to use Instagram stories and YouTube rather than traditional blogging to share their lives and their stories. But what about our blogging community? What about the connections we built and the good that we’ve done?

Today Jenny Lawson, writer of the Bloggess, posted a call to all bloggers to celebrate our community and to reach out to each other. She encouraged us to write, and that encouragement was just what I needed to start working on this post. I thought of all the blogs I love, of all the writers in the blogging community that I love. Some have gone silent, and I miss reading their posts. Others are still here, sharing their lives with any who want to read what they have to say. So here I am, inspired to start writing more, just in case some of you missed me too.