Losing a pet is losing a family member. It’s not easier. It’s just as significant. And the feelings don’t go away any faster.
Today I am remembering Seuss.
Seuss is my first cat. He was only a few months old when I adopted him from the Hawaiian Humane Society back in 2006. He was also quite the charmer as a kitten, always seeking attention from the humans around him.
Throughout the years, Seuss has grown to be the visible soul of our home, always perched as high up as he could reach — on shelves, atop the fridge; wherever he could get to, he would be there.
It was four years ago today that he passed. But even now, I imagine him hanging out on top of the fridge, watching everyone come and go throughout the day, and then making his way onto the couch for the rest of the night, stargazing through the picture windows.
Years ago, I started a blog, which was called itwusnme (it wasn’t me). It had hundreds of entries that spanned a dozen years, documenting my life between 2005 and 2017. Topics covered my journey of becoming a classroom teacher, adopting my first cat, and all the way to becoming a school administrator.
It has since vanished from existence.
Actually, after a few years of not publishing anything, I made the difficult choice of taking the site down and redirected resources to other projects. In those “gap years,” I have taken up other business ventures, moved from being a school administrator to being a state office administrator, and explored other flights of fancy.
It wasn’t until most recently when I have decided to grow up and do something with my life, that I decided to go back to my passion, what I think about every morning when I wake up: writing. But it has been so many years since I sat down to write and so many years of having the misconception that I could only write one thing, that now that I want to do this, I feel like I have lost my voice.
And so here we are. Finding Koji.
This blog and the accompanying Instagram account by the same name are here to help me find my voice, hold me accountable to write every day, and force me to engage with my world in new, meaningful ways. And hopefully, at the end of this thing, I will have figured it out.
Seth Godin recently wrote on his blog, “The thing that made you busy might have been the reputation you earned for being reliable.”
This caught my attention.
I find this to be true all around me every day. We ask for favors from those we know will get it done. And when we discover that someone is really good at one thing, we give them more to do in hopes they will be good at those other things as well.
Eventually, this giving turns into a big pile of stuff that may not belong to them, but we keep doing it. Then, this big pile of stuff makes them less reliable because now there’s just so much stuff to do.
What to do if you’re the giver of so much stuff? Reconsider your options and avoid killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. What to do if you’re the receiver? Learn to say no.
Sumi was an extraordinary cat. She taught me how to play fetch. She was Seuss’s best friend and mommy to Peaches. She was very affectionate towards me. And she could purr her way into everyone’s heart.
It has been one year, and I still miss her.
The following is my remembrance from last year on the day that Sumi passed away.
Every morning at 4 am, Sumi hops onto the bed, uses my legs as a catwalk, and settles herself on my chest, purring (and sometimes drooling) over my face. She meows when she sees movement. “It’s time to eat,” she declares. She has done this for years.
But not today.
This morning, Sumi passed away. She was 13.
From that first day I held her in my arms to her last days at home, she was my shadow. Sumi knew when I was sad or sick and looked after me. She tucked me in bed every night. She knows how to get attention from the humans around her. She reminded me that every day is a special day. I didn’t rescue her from that garage in Pearl City over 12 years ago; she rescued me.
I will miss her tremendously. She has left her paw prints on my heart.
It’s all I can think about lately. As the country begins to open up and signs of a post-pandemic life begin to surface, I am craving for a vacation away from home.
But it won’t be for a while before I brave the friendly skies again.
Our next trip is scheduled for December of this year, exactly two years, one month, and 14 days since we returned from our last trip (but who’s counting). We were actually going to Las Vegas back in March of 2020, plane tickets in hand, when everything shut down just days before our flight. It was a surreal moment for me, as I am sure it was for many people around the world.
And now, with vacation less than six months away, I am looking forward to picking up where we last left off, with tickets in hand to Vegas, for what I am hoping will be a fun way to end the year and close out this pandemic experience.
A couple of weeks ago, I received an email informing me that from now on, we are to stop using the word memo and use memorandum instead.
I kid you not.
So, of course, I immediately wrote back asking for further clarification: to pluralize, should we use memoranda or memorandums?
On average days, I go through about 50 to 100 emails in my inbox. On busy days like that particular one, I sometimes surpass 200. I don’t linger too long on any particular email if I don’t have to, but this one — I don’t know — I couldn’t let go of.
It kept bugging me (in the already crowded space between my ears) that someone thought the word memorandum sounded more sophisticated, more official than simple “memo.” On that sleepless night, I did some research.
“Used originally as mere Latin, and usually abbreviated mem., to introduce a note of a thing to be done” [Century Dictionary]; by 1540s it came to mean the note itself. The Latin plural is memoranda.
Online Etymology Dictionary (Douglas Harper)
Not surprisingly, memorandum was shortened to memo for ease of use. What I didn’t know was that it was shortened in the late 19th century. We’re talking over 130 years of common usage!
So we go back to using the word memorandum in all future memoranda until such time we are brought back into the 21st century with the rest of the world which, I hate to say, doesn’t even use the term memo anymore.
Ironically, Merriam-Webster uses “informal” as part of its definition of memorandum.