This video is longer than what we usually put on the website. You need a little time to curl up with it. It's totally worth it because it's the story of a man who knew what he wanted, wasn't afraid to go after it on his own terms and succeeded. That is something I think we all aspire to regardless of our particular muse.
We all have our ways of dealing with constructive criticism or suggestions. Personally I tend to reject new
ideas at first. I don't always come right out and disagree with them, I usually request some time to get used to an idea before making a decision. Experience has taught me that once I get comfortable with an idea or a person, they become much more appealing to me.
We used to have an employee who was wonderful to work with 90% of the time. She was thoughtful and reliable and very set in her ways. She would make suggestions and easily discuss any ideas for change within the system. Once we actually implemented any changes, somehow they, along with any prior discussions about said changes, would simply vanish from her memory. Any time you reminded her of the new policies it was as if they had never before existed. "Oh really. I don't remember that at all." Short of calling her a liar there was no way to really combat this approach. She was a wonderful woman but it was a bit of a relief when she decided to move on.
I'm thinking of her because of a discussion with Alex about how to structure some writing that we're working on. He was explaining what he thought we should do. I listened and then added a few suggestions/changes that I thought would improve his idea. He then proceeded to re-explain his idea. I explained the reasoning behind my suggestions a bit more fully. At this point he became very frustrated with me and accused me of not understanding his basic structure. I responded by explaining that I did understand, I simply didn't agree with him. There was a moment of silence as he absorbed that information.
Fortunately the nature of a partnership means understanding how to work well together. He took a minute and realized that I actually was listening to him and we agreed to disagree for the time being. We'll pick the discussion back up tomorrow. Experience tells me the conversation will go better on both sides because we'll have had time to absorb each others ideas and flesh out the best way to make things work. Now in kitchen and classroom scenarios we don't always have this luxury. Usually in the heat of the moment one of us has to give, on a good day it's the person who is less invested in the change. That point where our different opinions intersect is not always easy to find. The process of getting there is what defines what we do together. Picking a partner is easy. Learning how to negotiate with each other is a constantly evolving art. I have to say though, the results are definitely worth the effort we put into it.
Runner came to us from Bobbi and the Strays in Glendale. He and his two siblings were rescued from under a car and he will have a scar from being burned by the transmission to prove it. We brought him home because as much as we miss Lucky, and we miss him every day, there's always another animal that desperately needs a home. He fits neatly on my shoulder and purrs like a machine. We can only assume that they named him Runner because he races from point A to point B. Thunder Cat would be equally appropriate. He's playful and sweet, mischievous and endearing, happily at home. And we are happy that he picked us.
The luckiest cat in the world. One morning he was being chased by coyotes, abandoned and assumed feral. He was haunting the lodge where we worked in Colorado, occasionally fed and petted by the grandkids and staff. Till one day he decided to cozy up to Alex. It was slow seduction culminating the afternoon that I was pulled outside to meet the cat. He purred incessantly, crawling up into my lap and rubbing his cheek under my fingers. "Isn't he a cool cat?" Alex enthused. "He acts just like a dog! Don't you miss having a cat?" I agreed that this was a particularly endearing feline. "Of course," he continued, "if we bring him home you would have to be in charge of the litter box." At which point I looked at him and said "I don't think so. You found him, litter box is in your court." We negotiated a bit more and I got to bundle the cat in the car and drive home with him. He did not appreciate the ride and fled to the woods as soon as we arrived home and I opened the car door. After a few minutes of futilely trying to lure him back, I put some food and water out on the porch and went back to work. That evening we were successful in luring him into the house and he refused to leave it again for several weeks afterwards.
It later turned out that one of the ranch hands had been setting up the fire pit that particular morning when the cat had shot out of the woods closely followed by a coyote and taken refuge at the man's feet. He quickly disappeared once the threat had gone, only to return hours later to find a home with us. Alex named him Lucky and he settled into the family with ease. The vet felt certain that he had been abandoned, fortunately he was in relatively good health and familiar with the litter box. He was Alex's special buddy and spent log hours curled up beside him on the sofa or sleeping at his feet on the bed. Once he was settled in he loved sitting on the deck, surveying the landscape. He was an excellent hunter and quickly rid the house of the field mice that plagued us each fall and winter. He also caught them outside, along with birds and the occasional rabbit. Lucky was fastidious, grooming himself constantly and refusing to use the box unless it was absolutely pristine. He was lovable, always welcoming and happy to be near you, purring constantly to let you know that he cared.
Last evening Lucky was hit by a car, almost in front of our house. A neighbor witnessed the accident and came knocking at our door. He also helped block oncoming cars who would have run over the cat again had he not stopped them. People were very put out about the fact that Lucky's body was blocking the street. Although we rushed him to the vet, the damage was immense and he basically insisted that we put him out of his misery. It is a terrible thing to watch the life bleeding out of such a small body. There is no question that the car was speeding. It happens all the time in our neighborhood, I am sure we've been guilty of it ourselves. Word spread quickly and people called or stopped by to offer their condolences, even ones who were clearly unsure what to do in a situation involving a cat. It is a residential neighborhood and there are several neighbors with cats who we see every day. We thank everyone for their sympathy in a very difficult situation.
Lucky was one of the very best cats in the world. We miss him dearly. We remember him with love. He will always be our little man.
We celebrated the holiday and a very belated birthday by going to see the matinee performance of Young Frankenstein on Broadway. It was simply delightful. The cast was amazing, the writing was laugh out loud funny, the music was absolutely spot on, and the sets and special effects were fantastic. Roger Bart was Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, although Christopher Fitzgerald as Igor almost stole the show. Rounding out the leads were Sutton Foster as Inga, Andrea Martin as Frau Blucher, Megan Mullally as Elizabeth, Shuler Hensley as the Monster, and Fred Applegate as Inspector Kemp. It's rare to see an ensemble that works so well together. The casting was first rate. It was an inspired afternoon. Alex loved it, and if you know Alex, you know that he doesn't love many musicals at all. All I can say is if you can get your hands on some tickets that you should definitely go. Young Frankenstein is everything that a Broadway show should be, and that's all I'm going to say about that.
We'll be spending the next few days on the road to Montana. We've arranged for some new posts to publish while we travel. Comments will be approved whenever we have an internet connection, so don't be alarmed if it takes a day or two to see yours appear. We should be at this summer's home away from home late on Sunday. Have a great weekend everyone!
I've mentioned before the rather strange custom I witnessed (many times) in southwestern Colorado whereby people drive down dirt roads letting their dogs run behind the cars for exercise. Recently here in Forest Hills I saw a small family take this occupation to new heights. There were four people in a car, at passing glance it looked like parents in the front, a grandmother and a baby in the back. The car was moving slowly down 68th Avenue and running along about ten feet behind the car was a young girl in pigtails. She must have been somewhere between 7-10, running determinedly after the car which sped up and slowed down a few times, never getting more than a few houses ahead of the child. Finally the car pulled over, perhaps because we were openly watching the spectacle, and a hand reached out the open window and motioned sharply to the child. We heard the child huff "Ma-ma!" She sped up and raced towards the waiting vehicle. We turned the corner and didn't see the actual reunion, New Yorkers hate to gawk, although the vision lingered in my mind. Was it a punishment, a training session, an object lesson? We'll never know. You just never can tell what you'll see when you're out walking the dog.
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