Reading very quickly became my favorite thing. By sixth grade, I was reading at twelfth grade level. I often spent recess or other free time in the school library. I was reading from one side to the other of the shelves in our small library. When I got through fiction, I read biography and history. Best of all, I found mythology.
Once I found mythology, I looked for stories everywhere. Meanwhile, I experienced all the common childhood illnesses, including measles, mumps and chicken pox. I usually had bronchitis at least once each winter. I had walking pneumonia and a couple concussions. I didn’t break any bones, but I stepped on bees, sprained ankles and tumbled off bikes. Reading saved me during all the down time. I loved ordering Scholastic books at school and visiting the library.
After my open heart surgery at age three, I was followed pretty closely until released at age six. Because of the heart issues, my baby teeth needed dental work. My body was not my friend. I didn’t like failing and I didn’t like sports. I was competitive and felt that I couldn’t compete. Instead, I found solitary activities. I collected frogs from the garden and released them again. I rode my bike up and down hills in nearby grassy lots. I took books and snacks to make nests in tall summer grass. I liked badminton, swings and climbing trees.
I especially liked reading books and having them turn into movies in my head and feeling like I was living them. I had adventures and experiences. I was competitive intellectually and academically. I could plot and I could plan. All this was so good in so many ways, but helped set up the disconnect between ME and my body which was always disappointing or failing me.
Bernie, the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold Begins His Adventures
My first memories are of nursing from my mom, sleeping in a warm pile with my brothers and sisters, playing and learning to eat kibble. Then, we were scooped up, dressed up and photographed.
Bernie, the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold Looks for a Home
After our pictures were taken, we began visiting another room in our house. First, we’d ride in a fleece lined basket to a padded table with toys. Then, strange people would pet us and lift us out.
Bernie the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold Explains
My mom-to-be has described how she prepared before she brought me home. She wanted to make sure I’d feel secure in our family of four: Grandma, #Parrot Sister Erin and #Yorkie Uncle Bear.
Bernie the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold – Meet Mom
Mom moved in with Grandma during COVID and then retired. Her #Parrot Erin came with her. She decided to adopt a cat and then to get a kitten – her first kitten in 30+ years.
Bernie the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold Takes a Trip
Mom took me home from the breeder on a normal day. After cuddling me, she put me in a padded carrier with a blanket and toys. I rode in the passenger seat drivin home. We stopped once to cuddle.
Bernie the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold Looks Around
When mom brought me home for the first time, I had my own tent with bed, litter box, food, water and toys. I stayed in there a little while. #Yorkie Uncle Bear watched until I went exploring
Bernie the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold: First Night
Mom expected me to sleep in my tent where I had everything I could possibly need – except company. I told her NO very loudly. So she spent the night there with me, taking naps on the recliner or the floor – learning.
Bernie the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold Playing on the Second Day with Mom
Mom seemed tired after our first night, but I was ready to play and explore.
Bernie the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold Meets Prey
Coming out of my den, I found a suspicious object. I determined that it was prey to be subdued and NOT a toothbrush as Mom kept saying.
Bernie the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold Naps
While the tent and my tunnel den were great for play, food and litter box, I decide where to sleep. And that means sleeping close to my mom.
Bernie the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold Climbs a Tree
Mom padded the nearest end table to keep me close, but she left a great climbing tree (lamp) for me to explore.
Bernie the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold Shares the Bed
For some reason, mom thought we should spend every night shut in her room. At least that meant she was available whenever I wanted to play and I had a really big pillow.
Bernie the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold Works Out
Mom seemed surprised that properly grooming, especially of my feet and toes, is very tiring! I needed a nap under my special tree.
Bernie the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold Expands
I don’t know why mom calls this my “bear rug” pose or calls me her “little pancake.” I was just spreading out and getting comfortable. Plus, that was a long way down if I fell off!
Bernie the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold Spends Time with Grandma
I like spending time with Grandma watching TV, but Uncle Bear doesn’t like sharing the space. At least Grandma can pet me more easily lying close on the armrest.
Bernie the (Mildly) Disgruntled #ScottishFold Meets Nature
Mom found a harness for me and moved my camping tent out to the patio. Exploring was fun, but she carried me out to prickly ground! She put me down, so I jumped on her shoe and grabbed her leg. She called it “grass.” I loved exploring, but grass should never be walked on! Grass is strictly for nibbling. Grass is pokey. I preferred sitting on mom’s feet to standing on it.
Aspirations are the only words worth living by because you are living up to then, but not living for them. You are still making choices yourself.
I try to act in line with who I want to be. I take that action and let go of the results. I do that because I can’t control the choices other people make and that always influences the outcome. Sometimes this is tiring. The temptation is to do what is easy and sometimes I do that because I’m certainly not perfect.
I try not to be pessimistic. My family indoctrination counts change as always dangerous rather than an opportunity. If someone helps, they always want something from you. If something could go wrong, it will. None of this promotes feelings of happiness or trust. I decided instead to give everyone and every situation a baseline of trust and let actions and events move that level up or down.
I choose to be independent, relying first on myself and only then on trusted people or social or government supports. “Better to plan for the worst and hope for the best.” My sense of belonging to groups is minimal and measured.
I care about justice, equity and fairness. I don’t believe in scarcity. For example, raising service workers to a living wage isn’t a referendum on my wages, my profession or my life choices. I’m a “progressive.”
Finally, I care about life. Sometimes fishermen need to take a hit to save the salmon. Life, living things and the planet all have intrinsic value beyond their usefulness to humanity. When we forget that, the ecosystem will correct for our hubris.