I took a break. Mostly from social media. Not entirely, but from active participation, which to be fair wasn't super active to begin with. I've lurked on social media giving the occasional thumbs-up and so forth, but quite honestly, since my post on enjoying life in the age of social media back in June, I haven't felt the urge to engage much online.
I took a break for many reasons:
I wanted to enjoy the rest of my summer (which I did) and then enjoyed a prolonged fall, a rarity up in the mountains, which allowed me to sip scotch and smoke cigars on the deck all the way into November. I was also going through a busy period at work and then as of January 8th, I stepped down from being a supervisor and I'm now back as a field agent (in case you weren't aware, I'm a Special Agent with the FBI). We were joking at work that the Bureau may be one of the few places where one is congratulated for stepping out of management and taking a pay cut. But it makes sense, most of us went into the Bureau to work investigations, not be tied to a desk dealing with administrative and personnel problems! So, work kept me busy and writing novels at night kept me busy.
Let's see, what else happened? Well, I was injured (I got hit hard in the left side of my back, and I think a floating rib, connective tissue, and my left kidney took the brunt) in a mosh pit at an Amon Amarth (viking metal) and Megadeth concert at the end of September. That kind of put a damper on my intense workout routine, but I did manage to suck it up for my Bureau physical readiness test (but in the process set my recovery back a few weeks).
The biggest impact came when we lost two of our cats, beloved family members really. It's difficult to call them pets or simply cats when they've been such a part of our lives. We lost Juniper and Buddy in October, within a span of a week and a half.
Juniper was 17 when she passed, and even though we'd been expecting her to go (kidney failure which we'd been slowing with subcutaneous fluids for the past two years), it was still painful. She was my companion--she'd sit behind me while I was writing, forcing me to sit up, and she'd also hang out on the deck with me. And then Buddy, he was 19, almost 20 (his birthday would have been January 27th). His loss was a shock. Yes, I know, he was 19, but he was a ball of energy and pretty healthy. And out of the blue he collapsed and I took him to an animal hospital where we discovered he not only had a pretty bad infection, but what appeared to be stomach cancer. We rescued Buddy when he was 18 and he was awesome--and I'd do it again. He made me smile every morning when I'd see him, and I typically don't smile much when I first wake up. They were both such sweet cats. Juniper is the first photo and Buddy, the second.
SKIP AHEAD TO THE NEXT CAT SECTION IF YOU'D RATHER NOT READ MY OPINIONS REGARDING POLITICS AND HITLER ON SOCIAL MEDIA
And then politics and vitriol and outrage filled social media and I stayed away--I deal with enough hate and stress at my day job where I get to see the worst of humanity on a daily basis so that when I'm at home or online I don't want to see more of it.
I honestly don't see the point in raving on social media about politics. It's tiring. When faced with a virtual wall of people in various stages of outrage, well, sooner or later it becomes white noise. Here is the problem: if the sky is falling all the time and someone is always crying Hitler, well, it ceases to have power or meaning.
If I read every single instance of outrage, and chose to comment on those outrages, well, I'd do nothing else. Also, if I ceased being friends with people I disagreed with on a single opinion or belief, well, I wouldn't have any friends since I don't think there is a person on the planet that agrees with every single thing I have an opinion on.
So, I'm staying away from active commenting on Facebook when it involves the outrage of the minute. Commenting on pets, family trips and activities, the successes of friends, food and drink, entertainment, and when others need support, those are all things I'll gladly comment on.
START READING HERE IF YOU WANT MORE ABOUT CATS!
Now, back to better things: we have since adopted two more kitties. There is something about my wife and I where we look for cats that no one else will adopt. We found many in that category, but with the two we adopted, we can't believe that no one else would have wanted these guys, even with their problems. They are two of the most loving cats ever.
First up was a guy the Denver Animal Shelter had named Ronan. His photo was pathetic, which is what drew us to him. He's a black cat and the shelter believed he was 12 or 13. He was left in the overnight deposit box (sounds like a bank, doesn't it?) after being found on the streets of Denver. All of his teeth were taken out by the shelter and his eyes needed surgery, and later, we found out he also had FIV (feline version of HIV), but since he had no teeth, wasn't likely to transmit FIV to Bumble or the other cat we'd just adopted. Despite that tough guy appearance in the first photo, he's the sweetest and most affectionate cat. He's also so playful! The first photo is Ronan at the shelter and the second of him at our home lounging on the bed. We changed his name to Bear Cub, but his superhero name is Ronan.
We then adopted a 19 year old cat name Dagwood from the Cat Care Society in Denver (yep, we ended up doing it again, but we've found that older cats are so wonderful!). He will turn 20 this March and really has no issues at all other than his hearing is nearly gone, but boy does he still love the laser pointer and will go after that for as long as I'll wave it around! He still runs and leaps and can climb up the cat tree! He's my new writing partner, sitting on my lap while I write and watch old TV shows like The Six Million Dollar Man and Magnum p.i. The first photo is Dagwood at the shelter and the second the young man relaxing on the sofa.
Photos of cats are always a good thing on the internet and seem to diffuse anger in a way no other photos can. And no better place to end this now lengthy post!