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  • Writer's pictureCatherine White

Vibing with Cat White

Kicking Off the Season with an Attitude of Gratitude

As 2022 comes to a close, November (and Thanksgiving) kick off a season of reflection and remembrance of reasons to be grateful for this life.

Normally in November, I post a daily reason that I’m grateful on my personal social media accounts. However, this year, coming out of a pandemic, taking on a professional challenge, and recent personal transitions (of which there have been several), I didn’t have the time or mental capacity to continue the tradition of daily affirmations of gratitude. After further consideration, though, I can easily come up with a few reasons to be thankful for my Life as it is right now.

1. Family – No matter the obstacles I find myself confronting, I KNOW that my family will support me. Recently, I’ve been reminded that many people do not have that comfort. We are most definitely a dysfunctional family but, our family definitely puts the fun in dysFUNctional.

2. Friends – I’ve met, or reconnected with, so many interesting people through my work with Southern Tier Life – from poets to philanthropists to adventurers in both business and living — I’ve had the pleasure of talking with some fascinating individuals.

3. Pets – Mine are named individually below and are, literally, responsible for about 80% of my happiness. However, #3 is a gratitude I have for all pets, in general. As crazy as they make me, my pets have helped ground and keep me sane throughout my life. Studies indicate that pets can provide emotional and mental comfort. If you are financially and emotionally able, I’d highly suggest you adopt a pet or two from your area shelters and rescues, which are usually overflowing with fluffy (and scaly) friends.

4. Personally grateful for these critters:

  • Lulu – The first cat I got on my own in Texas. She was a TNR that allowed my mom to save her during a brutal cold spell (no, not THAT one) a few years back. Unfortunately, Mom already had a cat, who wasn’t wild about sharing her space. So, Sweet Lu became mine, and I loves her immensely! Look at that puss! How could you not?! She makes me work for her purrs but the deep rumbles, interrupted by intermittent love chirps, are well worth it.

  • Lola – The second cat I got in Texas, from a coworker who couldn’t properly care for her anymore. You know the song, “Whatever Lola Wants”? Well, MY Lola is the embodiment of that song. She IS the alpha.

  • Filthy Phil – Full name: Filthy Phil from Pflugerville (TX). We got him a couple of years after moving to Texas and he is a character. A beautiful, destructive, yet entertaining, cat.

  • Henry – The English bulldog my traveling nurse sis picked up while on assignment in Kansas but can’t travel with because he requires MUCH more attention than she can provide working 12-hour shifts. As our neighbor has commented many times, Henry is a ‘whole mood’. There’s never a dull day with Henry.

  • Tigger, too – A red-nosed pittie I became a surrogate dog-mom to when my nephew rescued him while living on his own, but who he couldn’t keep because of roommate conflict. Tigg’s a stinky old man who’s taken over my bed and my heart.

  • Sherlock – My sister’s blue-nosed pittie. Definitely, a big baby but he doesn’t mind being alone as long as he’s with his Mama. He LOVES traveling, too, and always rides shotgun.

  • ** Honorable mention: Blizzard – Blizzard was the first dog our family adopted in Texas, after the dog we’d traveled south with, Merlin, died. This big-mouthed, big headed mini Great Dane helped ease our grief by providing an oversized amount of love and sass. He was really my sister’s dog, but we all experienced his affection and attitude, and we all fell in love with our boisterous ‘Big Boy’. RIP Blizzie ❤️.

5. Southern Tier Life and Randy Reid – The opportunity that Randy has given me, by allowing me to run a website that celebrates my hometown, which I miss, has been a great learning opportunity. I’ve gained experience in website design, sales and marketing, staff management and more. The people I’ve met (see #2) through STL’s community features, like Minding Your Business, Sweet Home Southern Tier and Southern Tier Voices, have been inspiring.

6. Comedy – I’m a big fan of the genre, believing that ‘you gotta laugh to keep from crying’. I definitely use humor to cope, think, educate and communicate; and one of my good friends is humorist Jim Pfiffer. I’m pretty sure my appreciation of satire, sarcasm and silliness originates with my family, which is fluent in all of them. Fun fact: the National Comedy Center, located in Jamestown, NY, is just a hop, skip and jump from the Southern Tier, and recently received a donation from the Betty White Collection. Jamestown is also the home of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Museum, so it’s worth the 2 ½ -hour drive.

7. Art Appreciation – I’ve always been a big fan of art. There’s such a variety in form, style, genre, etc. that anyone can find something appealing. The Southern Tier is chock full of art museums, galleries, and cooperatives showcasing the immense talent throughout the region. However, you don’t need to step inside any of them (though, you should!) to experience the artistic skill in the region. Just search for the colorful murals beautifying public spaces around the area.

8. Nature Appreciation – I learned about the importance of shinrin-yoku aka forest bathing from my father, who liked to spend time walking in the woods, communing with the wildlife and connecting with his own spirit. I’m also a big fan of Elmiran Melanie Wood, who’s chronicling her training as she prepares to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 2024, in a video podcast series called Onward: An Ongoing Hiking Story. Inspiring, educational AND interactive!

9. Food – Of course, we just bid adieu to the biggest, bestest meal of the year with Thanksgiving 2022 in the history books. But, Thanksgiving kicks off the season of holiday celebrations, many of which include sweets, snacks and samples.

10. Community – The holiday season provides many opportunities to gather with friends, family and coworkers to celebrate and appreciate each other’s cultures, support local businesses, and share our joys and sorrows with one another at events of all kinds. From local entertainment, sporting events and Christmas shows to community markets, art exhibits and museums, and so much more, attending social events (safely, of course) is a good way to stave off the loneliness and isolation that can creep in. So, get out there, mingle with the crowds and get a dose of the holiday spirit.


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