My Travels with Cats

So far, all the places I’ve been have been owned by cats. I’m very good with cats, fortunately. I have offered up the proper sacrifices in terms of blood and scratches, but I assure you, compared to the average Guest of Cats, it’s the bare minimum. I know how to make shy cats visit me and mean cats let me pet them. I am the cat whisperer.

So here are the cats I have visited:

In DC, I spent a couple of days in a lovely flat with Romeo and Rune. Romeo is a ginger long hair, and Rune a long hair muted tortoiseshell calico. Romeo lived up to his name quickly, and allowed me to romance him for most of the visit. Rune usually cuddled when she didn’t fully realize it was me – such as when I was sleeping.

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Oh, these two cats have a housekeeper who just happens to be my very best friend since 7th grade.

I’m writing this post from a cat boarding house. There are three cats here, who require a staff of four to serve them properly. The smallest and least prepossessing of these is Bobbie, aka Tiny. She’s a cat.

IMG_20150225_154857 Bobbie, with her personal caregiver, to whom I gave birth.

The largest is Booty. He has boots, but apparently was named after butts.

image (2)The couch is very large. Booty takes up most of it.

The reigning king of the household is Tiberius. Also known as Tibs, also known as “argh, get off my face!” Tibs and I have spent a lot of time together, because he wishes it to be so.

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Tibs, looking at himself in the mirror

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Tibs, checking out what’s under my covers.

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Tibs, deciding what to step on or knock over next.

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Tibs, seconds before knocking over my side table.

Along the way, there have also been other cats, because, cats. My friends Rob and Erin have the most dynamic cat, which is another way of saying “evil.” Also beautiful, but definitely sharp-clawed youthful evil. I can’t remember evil kitty’s name, but I remain proud that I was able to ninja zir enough to pet. I bled the most at zir’s altar.

image (5) I will make you bleed, but you will enjoy it, because – look at me.

The last cat was my friend Cathy’s cat. I almost didn’t see this one, because – well, she burrows. Here she is in her natural state, where I found her:

image (3) Cat is there, really.

Cathy then decided her sheets needed to be changed, so she pulled Miss Nora out. Turns out she’s a chocolate point Siamese. Who knew?

image (1)Cathy with the cat who is much bigger than her lump would lead you to believe.

So, I m actually heading away from catcivilization tomorrow, which will just be weird. But one last photo, to remind you of the power and pain of visiting cats….my sacrifice to these lovely gods:

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May all your travels have cats -

in faith -

Audette

Ethiopian, Thrift Stores, Poets & Busboys

First full day of the trip, and it couldn’t be better. First things being first, I’m with my best friend again – it’s been a while. And she’s back in our nation’s capitol, kicking tail and taking names, working in women’s international reproductive health. Just being around her is inspiring.

Fortunately, her local friends aren’t big into Ethiopian, so she didn’t hesitate when I asked f we could make our first food stop at one of DC’s finest. We had the buffet, which was good but not great – buffets usually aren’t as good as a la carte. Still, there’s barely such a thing as BAD Ethiopian food, and this definitely was not that! As for getting around, she’d picked me up from the airport in a ZipCar and we took Uber to the restaurant. The sharing economy is really convenient and affordable! The bus system is pretty fly in DC, as well.

After lunch, we almost passed the best thrift shop ever but a guy heading in said we should check it out. We did, and I found a great sweater I needed for less than $8. BF got a birthday present silky shirt for next to nothing.

Then we ducked in from the cold into Busboys and Poets, my dream spot. With its mission justice and change, it was hip, comfy, delicious and inspiring. I came out rehydrated with fresh pomegranate juice and with the fantastic world-changing books shown below. I also cameout determined to host some “A.C.T.O.R” sessions – A Continuing Talk About Race. Take a look at their other offerings here: www.busboysandpoets.com.

Next up: games and burritos. A perfect day.

Books from Learning for Change

 

On My Way

travel_quote_4-1So, I’m heading out from Cheyenne, and the next 24 + hours will be transition time. I’m also on my daughter’s netbook so the keyboard is new and there are typos galore. Still, I look forward to bringing folks along on this journey. I hope it will be a good one.

No One is an Island

 

NoManIsAnIsland

printed in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, May 10, 2014

(“No man is an island” was the title chosen by the newspaper for this editorial. While an accurate nod to the John Donne I reference, I prefer more inclusive language.)

As a Unitarian Universalist minister, I am in exceptionally good company on both the lay and professional sides. One of my professional colleagues is the Rev. Tom Schade, a retired UU minister who, post retirement, is spending his days now as an “Opinionater at Large.” What he’s really doing is stirring the pot of religious liberalism, in the very best ways. Recently, among a series of posts about the purpose and mission of liberal religion, he said: “Systems of social domination and subordination have existed as far back into human history as we can see. Humanity is not fallen, but rising, developing new ways of being together that are more fair and just. Liberal thinking, then, is systemic, not personal. We will rise together as we fashion new ways of being together. Everyone is embedded in a network of mutuality; everything, and everyone, is being shaped and conditioned by everything and everyone else. We know that we cannot isolate evil into one person or group. Our view of persons are that each has dignity and is worthy of respect, and that are all interconnected, such that their actions and attitudes are mutually dependent.”

Given that I profoundly agree with this thesis, what arises next for me is this: In light of this truth, how am I called to serve this mission in Cheyenne, Wyoming?

As a Unitarian Universalist living in a place that has an embedded identity as rugged individualists who go it alone, do it their way, and all too often, suffer in silence, I feel called to speak often of the healing power of love in relationship. Relationship with God and the holy as we understand it; and love in deep relationship with other flawed, hopeful, and struggling people. We are all a part of something larger than ourselves, and none of us can survive long as an island – we are all a part of the main.

In a community where suicide and addiction are among the highest in the nation, this message could not be more essential. Therefore, I urge everyone to find a community – my personal recommendation is to find a church community where you feel profoundly welcomed in your wholeness. As a minister, I’m biased in that direction, of course. And if you’re looking for a church home that welcomes the young and the old, LGBT and questioning people, people with more questions than answers, or those who love a really great potluck, then join us some Sunday at 10:30 am at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Cheyenne. Nurture your spirit – help heal the world.

Reverence Road – May 2014

The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.
~ Tacitus

05_2014_FocusEaster Sunday was a strange day for me. Still ill from the stomach “flu,” with Ani and Rob not feeling much better, I gave it my all for the service, then darted around our Thank You brunch afterward, playing keep away from people who wanted to hug or shake hands, and feeling both feverish and foolish as I did so. At the same time, I didn’t have much of a better plan. I really didn’t want anyone to spend their next few days as I had my last few.
 
I was trying to keep people safe – not long after having donned a rainbow clown wig and capered for my faith in one of the most highly attended services of the year. Foolish and feverish. That’s a great metaphor for ministry – but trying to keep people safe is less so. You see, ministry is not about appearance or being cool, and it’s also not about trying to keep people “safe.” It’s more about sharing your gifts as fully as you can, learning to love past differences and disappointments, and it’s about taking some risks together. Being bold in Love. Being brave in the face of injustice. Trusting one another enough to be silly, to create an environment where both laughter and tears are welcome and embraced.
 
Of course, part of our covenant is to create a safe space for one another in that fullness of relationship, and a safe space for children and other vulnerable people among us. But “playing it safe” isn’t ministry. Real ministry – the kind that changes people and the world – requires a little foolishness, a little feverishness, and a whole lot of brave, wild, Love. Thank you for walking along that path with me, UUCC. And if I owe you a hug, a high five, or a handshake – I hope to see you soon and pay with interest.
 
See you in church -
Rev. Audette