Cafe Today | Pop Tarts, A Chance Meeting and The American Family

A well deserved day off after many  weeks.  Finally!   Just a carefree day.  Or, so I thought.

~ | ~

I am up and ready to run errands before 7am. I always start my day early whether I wish to do so or not. You see, I have a cat!  My adopted furry house-buddy is Milly. Those of you who keep a Cat – after all, no owns a Cat – knows you never ever need an alarm clock.   Milly keeps to her own schedule.  Which of late includes sharing that crazy schedule with me.  She quickly and adeptly took to my personal House Rule #1. If I am up. Everyone else is up.   Before 5:00 am just isn’t good for anyone.  Good thing she’s cute!  Well, that was great for me when life moved at the speed of light.       Now,  Not so much!

Milly My House Buddy ©Cafe Today 2011

~ | ~

 On this well deserved “Me, Me, Me,  all about me day” I stopped at the local market for the usual Milly Treats and a beverage of choice.  No, silly!  It’s 8 am   Gotta have  my Coffee.  Upon entering the door I spy the gourmet foods section. Trying not to drool, I peruse quickly  and move on. Standing in front of me is a lady staring intently at a box of  Pop Tarts.  She glanced my way  and said out loud with a longing and a bit of wonder in her voice, “You know….when I was a kid… Brown Sugar Cinnamon was good enough for me.  How does one even begin to choose these days?”    “Well, what looks good to you?”   I say “At the moment , everything! ”       We both chuckled.  Two adults talking Pop Tarts!

Chocolate Fudge Pop Tarts courtesy Kellogg’s Corporation

 ~ | ~

“Thoughts”  came to mind at that moment.  Thoughts over at  and her Pop Tart  obsession.  Whenever I spy those tasty little treats, she comes to mind.  Sorry!  I digress!

  Anyway….. One thing led to another.  The conversation evolved into quality of snack foods…. kids not being active…… what can we do to encourage adults and kids to consider healthy choices and more.  Well, after all we are busy people and have the need to talk so fast that  ‘short-hand speak’ falls easily into our chat.    We were talking as if we were long time neighbors and just happened upon each other at the grocer.  We were strangers. Yet,  after  only a short time, we were. no longer.  The conversation bounced around to every aspect of life.  Almost.  I discovered she had 3 children, from elementary to high school.  She worries about them and what each passing year brings to their lives.  We all have or have had those fears for our children.

~ | ~

 Her mother is a recent addition to her household.  Her mother having  recently retired, was diagnosed with the early stages of dementia and can no longer be left on her own.  This has been quite an adjustment as one would imagine.  Everyone is on board, yet it means many changes.  Huge changes.  The family is making sacrifices and it seems the daughter now becomes the “Mother” to her mom.  Not so uncommon these days.   The mother/grandma is very fortunate to be surrounded by a loving family.  I shared some of my experiences with my own mother and family as they were strikingly similar.  For my mother, as the dementia progressed rapidly,  she had to live in a facility that could care for her.  A few months later she passed away.

~ | ~

Multi Generations Family – The New Normal
via Nebraska Dept of Human Services

We talked a bit longer.  Then she said that “thing” that had quite an impact on me.  I have heard this many times from so many  I knew.    The “thing”…..This lady has brothers and sisters who live close by.  Yet, she is the only one making sacrifices and caring for their mother.  Why?  Her siblings seem to think it is a waste of time to even visit their mother.    “She doesn’t remember if we have been there or not,  so why come around.” The siblings excuse.   “That was not true.  She remembers many things.” The daughter defends her mother, hoping for understanding.  Not  one of them can bring themselves to give their loving sister any type of emotional support, let alone financial support.  She is ignored.  Lonely. Hurt. So very sad.  She is loosing her mother a little each day, her family makes sacrifices each day and her siblings are deserting her.   A family in crisis. 

~ | ~

This poor lady, struggling to do her best as a daughter and mother to her family, is attempting to give her mother a life with love and dignity.  As her mother had surely done for her and her siblings since the day they were born.   This attempt at “being all” to everyone is great feat.   One can only attempt this  through prayer and surrounded by loving individuals.  The ‘Pop Tart’ Lady feels alone and fearful of what each day could bring.  I understand completely.  The tears are now threatening to roll down her cheek.  She wasn’t crying.  Just brown eyes flooding with tears of frustration.  “We must share the same brothers and sisters”  I added quickly.   Mine were selfish, heartless and uncaring as well!”  OK!  That at least brought a big smile.  Whew!  A crisis averted in the Pop Tart aisle!  

~ | ~

My heart went out to this lovely woman and I was a bit puzzled as to how to help her.  I could only offer words of encouragement and support.  This is the latest version of the new American family.  The norm for a family unit constantly evolves these days.   Yours, Mine and Ours!  The 2 dad family.  The 2 mom family!  Blended families in any shape or form.  These changes are even reflected in nightly television, movies and in print.  At the turn of the 20th century, it was the standard for a family to include Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, whoever.  It was just one big family under the same roof.  It did not matter the generations.  They were all family.  It was what one did.

We seem to be reverting to a similar version of that family here in the 21st century.  Actually, many versions of a family.  Far too many to list.  Still, I am irked at her siblings.  Nothing, Nada, Zip and big fat zero from them.  Shame on them!  You know that old saying, what goes around………?    

~ | ~

Lilo & Stitch Lilo & Stitch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

~ | ~


FAMILY.  In the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch, Stitch fell, literally, into a new family and both human and alien  learned to adjust.  During that adjustment period Stitch reeked havoc on the house , the neighborhood, the family’s relationships and oh so much more.  As part of the dialogue…. there was a line  where the little girl, Lilo speaks to Stitch…

”  ‘Ohana means family – no one gets left behind, and no one is ever forgotten. ”  ~Written by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, Lilo & Stitch.    Very powerful words!

~ | ~

How does it happen, that writers for an animated children’s movie involving an alien, understand human behavior better than the rest of us?  Anyone can become part of a family.  Example:  My Milly…the “no alarm required”  cat.  Some have ‘aliens’, some have pet snakes.  Eeesh!   Yes, anyone can be part of a family.  I do not have any answers.  Many thoughts, but no answers.  Having asked one of my co-workers these questions, she believes a good slap to the head for the siblings is the best way to deal with them.  Ah, yes!  Ye olde…must get their attention first ploy.   Well, I for one, am all for this.  However, this action may not be completely practical in all instances.  The BIG question is   “Will our families be loving and supportive when we need them?”    It’s a roll of the dice!  Answers are not easy here.  The thoughts – difficult.    I have hope for our future.  Life today is like a  rocky road ice cream cone….. tasty – messy – without the crunchy cone for support.  

  To all of you  ‘Ohana !         May no one be forgotten or left behind.     ~  Barb@Cafe Today

* * *

What would you do if you were in her shoes?     How would you handle this situation?

Could you make those sacrifices?  What could be done to encourage the family to participate? 

Rehab For Milly… No!

It was the  week before Christmas.  All was quiet in my humble abode.  Having settled in for the last-minute  scurry of holiday magic.  That was the week little Milly came to live with me.  Having been a resident of a nearby state, living in student housing  with a number of burgeoning future sports stars.    3  months of a so-called education, strange games of sport and beer pong tournaments seemed more than she could possibly endure.  Sadly, all the fun and games have come to an end.  Milly now lives with me. 

 Settling in was pretty easy in the beginning.  Milly was getting used to the new place.  It was about 3 days later that I began to notice the first symptoms.  I was not sure what I was witnessing.  Severe trembling.  I thought she was just cold.  Eating very little to nothing at all.  I attributed to moving and the new digs.  The trembling became constant.  She would tremble and shake so much that the little jingle bell on her collar would jingle  all the while.  Milly certainly needs my help. I began an investigation.  CSI:  Cat Surveillance & Investigations.   I asked my daughter to find more about how Milly’s life at the student house might influence her behavior.  I soon found that Milly drank alcoholic beverages whenever she wanted.  Drinking from any glass or container she found.  Most disturbing of all she had become a regular user of pot. No she did not smoke it.  She would eat it.   Crazy!  Well, didn’t this knowledge  just bring it all together.  She is going through withdrawal!




The problem here is that Milly is a 4 month old kitten.  Milly had full run of the house filled with college students.  Allowed to do whatever over those months.  Apparently, one of the girls thought it would be fun to have a tiny kitten as a pet.  It was a nice thought but these students are very driven in their education and  their sport.  In turn, they party  the same way.  After a while owning a kitten was no longer fun.  i believe she became more of a nuisance at that point.   The kitten ate whatever was left around and drank whatever assortment of alcoholic beverages were available.  Usually in greater  abundance on weekends.   I became upset when I was told that one of the students shared her stash of pot, pretty much on a daily basis, with the kitty.  And wasn’t it fun to watch a kitten go through the strange torture of ingesting drugs and alcohol!    Some people are not capable of taking care of another  living creature.  


So here we are, a few weeks later and I am still watching her going through withdrawal.  The trembling is a bit less frequent now.   I am pleased to say that she has quite the appetite.   A scheduled follow-up visit with the Vet is coming soon.   For a while,  I was really concerned I may have to resort to some type of rehab.  Cannot imagine what that would entail.   Thank goodness Milly is improving daily.

Apparently the Angel didn't need to be at the top


Napping till Santa Arrives

I believe it is a good sign when the kitten stays active, such as climbing the Christmas tree (cannot wait till next year) and now the curtains have also become a  daily activity.  She firmly believes this home is an amusement park and every object in it, is a thrill ride!  

 Thankfully, Milly rearranged the ornaments to her liking on the Christmas tree, did not care for the tree topper,( such a critic)  tasted the faux pine needles and destroyed garland and other decorative ornaments.  That was only the first week.   Alas, Milly seems quite at home now.   As you see, Milly has settled in comfortably.  Much to my happiness.


Spoiled Kitten

 Post Script              

Had I not been told Milly’s story of her life from the people who gave Milly to me, I may not have believed it myself.  She came my way through the one person who wanted to get this tiny kitten out of that place before something really awful happened.   

The Vet stated that Milly should be just fine.  I’d say she is.