I will start by saying something that some of you might not understand. My husband and I consider our cat, Shelby, as our first child.
We rescued her when we were freshly married and took care of her like a baby. I even felt emotional when we discovered that it was a … she. But really, when we got her she was in very bad shape. She was found dying in a wooded area around Geneva. She was so skinny that we could feel her bones. She was full of worms and could not breathe properly because of a bad pneumonia. So we went back and forth to the vet for over a year until she was finally healthy.
She became the perfect apartment cat, and showed us love every time since then. She did not care about going outside and never really asked for it. Sometimes she would go on the balcony but after 5 minutes would beg to come back inside, petrified. Shelby only loves us. If you come to our place you will not be warmly welcomed by her. For a long time, it was just us and her … until I got pregnant and Lise arrived. Like a jealous “big sister”, she would just ignore her and beg for love as soon as the baby was asleep. Then the time to move to Toledo came as well as the time for a second baby … our lives changed but so did hers.
In Toledo, we live in a house with a garden. Shelby went from being the perfect indoor cat to a real hunter. It took her some time to face the outside. But now, she is fearless. She brings us all kind of animals, like mice, dead birds, alive birds, dead rabbits, half of rabbits … Come on Shelby, it is not because we are French that we eat rabbits. I understand that it is a way for her to tell us that she loves us, but Really?!. WE ARE ANIMAL LOVERS and everyday we teach our girls to love and respect them but it is hard to explain to a 3 year old why there is a bird “sleeping” in the cat’s mouth. Naively, I try to explain to Shelby that it is not ok to kill other animals; however, her instinct is stronger and the next day she brings back a mouse. So I tell her that I am mad at her and I do not want to talk to her anymore and bla bla bla (she never seems to care). Of course, the next minute she is on my lap, purring. She loves us, she really does. Every evening we have our cuddling routine where she purrs, purrs and purrs again and gets upset when I stop petting her. Then she lays on my pillow and I feel her hair tickling my cheek. How adorable, isn't it? I do believe that cats reduce stress, anxiety and help with depression. When I am not in a good mood, having her purring on my lap relaxes me. So now, I will say the thing I am not suppose to say : Shelby has more privileges than our girls will ever have. She can sleep with us, go out late at night, eat whenever she wants and sleep all day long.
Shelby is part of the family and tells us (in her way) when she disagrees with us. All cat lovers will understand this feeling of having your cat judging you. You feel it looking at you and you would love to know what is going on in its head. I often have this feeling, even more when Lise is throwing a tantrum and I am trying to calm her down. I feel Shelby staring at me like: “really? My kittens would have never done that ! Bad mom”
Our Shelby is a great family cat. Sure enough, she is very patient with our two girls. Lise, our 3 year old, adores her and really wants to play with her and cuddle her; however, she can be a bit tough. So everyday, we remind her that it is not OK to climb on Shelby’s back because Shelby is not a horse. Shelby is a cat and we do not ride cats. Mickey Mouse is not allowed to climb on her back as well. It is not OK to chase Shelby with a tennis paddle nor with Mickey. It is not because Shelby is sleeping on the rocking chair that she wants to be rocked. Also, it is not OK to pull her tail, legs or her ears … and of course, it is not OK to eat her food. Just LEAVE HER ALONE. Yes, Shelby is patient. Despite everything she has been through she has never been violent. Shelby is more than just a cat, she is a real family member. Meowwww !!
You want to follow Shelby on Instagram ?
And here we are again, more killings, killings and still more killings … like it is not enough. Yes, it is all over the news, all over social media. It’s dinner time and we are on our phone, silently scrolling down looking for any information on what happened and we scroll down, scroll down, scroll down, and the more we scroll down the angrier and the sadder we get. But we keep on scrolling down hungry for more information. This is how we spent our diner yesterday. Then I put my girl to bed, read a nice story went back downstairs and now I wonder.
I want to raise my girls to be open-minded, respectful, kind and charitable. But what if the family next door is raising theirs to be violent and racist? I wonder, should I lock my door and create a bubble around my girls so nothing happens to them? Should I become paranoiac?
I wonder what kind of world are we creating? A world of fear where we will constantly suspect our neighbours to possess a gun or to be radicalized. I also wonder if our kids are the key to end violence … even though I would be happy if violence ends with our generation.
I wonder why killing under the name of God because I am not a believer. I wonder why killing under the belief that there are different races and some are better than others, because I do not believe in races. I believe in people living in the same world. I believe in a world that we could share even if it seems so hard. I am surely too naïve but I believe in peace.
I keep on wondering and wondering again … as French living in the US for over a year I feel helpless and frustrated. I am here an ocean away from my family, friends and compatriots. With our 4000 miles apart, I made sure everybody I know was safe. And it was the only thing I could do.
This is the first thing you read when entering this restaurant. Then you take a look at the menu and you realize that whatever you will order will at least be 3000 calories. So they were not lying. You really go to this place to ingest calories. But good calories. The kind that you do not regret. You know this feeling, when you starve for a McDonald’s, run to the place and order a Big Mac. At the end of your meal you regret because, come on, it’s McDonald’s so very bad junk food. Well Grumpy’s is like that except from the fact that you do not regret after because the taste is just fabulous.
I ordered a homemade corned beef sandwich. Wahhh I always thought that corned beef only comes out of a can but this day I realized that it can be delicious. The meat is so tasty and tender that I was pulling it from the sandwich.
So if you feel like having corned beef, take a plane to Detroit then drive an hour south and try the Reuben at Grumpy’s, downtown Toledo, Ohio.
Grumpy's, Toledo, Ohio
I am definitively one of those moms who believes that there are no “only boys” or “only girls” activities. I also hate all stereotypes like: girls wear pink and boys blue, girls play with dolls and boys with cars, girls dance, boys fight or even girls play quietly and boys are hurricane. And the worst of all, boys don’t cry like girls!!!
Lise is a happy 3 years old that is discovering the world and she does not care about what activities she should do as a girl. She can switch from being a real “girly girl” to being a real “tomboy” within 5 minutes. She loves to have her nails done, just like mommy and she sometimes asks to wear a dress. However, you will not find any doll at our place. Not because we do not have any, but because they are at the bottom of her toy box. She just has no interest in dolls. The only one she tolerates is Mickey. Not Minnie, Mickey.
Lise loves trains, cars, planes and among everything bulldozers. Being stuck at a crossing gate makes her day. I have to say that Toledo’s trains are the longest (they can reach up to 110 wagons, yes I counted) so when you arrive and the gates close right in front of you, you know that you will be stuck for a long time. So when Lise sees the train coming she gets over exited, she carefullys stares at all 110 cars and yells “mom look look, train, loooook”. When the train leaves, she feels sad and says “bye, bye train”.
When we pass construction sites, it is the same story. She is impressed by those huge yellow vehicles that dig holes in the ground. And of course gets over excited “oh no loooook, tractopelllleeeee”.
She has a real passion for any kind of vehicles. It is her special thing that makes her so special. So exit Elsa, for Lise’s birthday, I made the greatest bulldozer cake.
Here, it is all about food, children and me.
Claire, mom of two adorable girls. Montessori believer.
A few pounds overweighted and a few inches too short. Sometimes too French for Americans and most of the time too American for French people. Rarely down to earth but often out of my mind.