I’ve previously written about the value of taking a break and playing hooky, and I do try to take my own advice. But there was something I hadn’t done in far too long: completely getting away from it all. Even though I love my life, and I love working from home, sometimes, a change of scenery and a complete departure from routine are just what the doctor ordered.
So last weekend, I flew up to Hartford, CT, and spent the weekend with three different friends in Connecticut. And with 20+ cats and kittens. I stayed at the home of my friend and fellow writer, T.J. Banks, on Friday. I had never met Tammy in person. There’s always a bit of trepidation when you meet an online friend in real life for the first time, but I needn’t have worried. We never once ran out of things to talk about, and we were comfortable with the occasional silence – a true gift when it comes to friendship.
And best of all, I got to meet Tammy’s cats – she has 10, plus a little foster kitten. I was particularly delighted to meet Phoebe, who was a contributor to The Conscious Cat in the past. Phoebe had a lot to say to me, so don’t be surprised if you see a future guest post from her. I shared my bed with four or five cats who came and went throughout the night. I was particularly charmed by Topaz, the senior gentleman of the family, who started out sleeping on the pillow next to me, but gradually made his way over to me and eventually slept with his head resting on my arm. My heart melted.
On Saturday, I went to visit Robin Olson, author of Covered in Cat Hair and founder and president of Kitten Associates. Robin and I have been friends for several years now, but I’d never been to her house. It was so much fun to meet all of the cats I’d seen featured on her blog all these years. One of the highlights of my visit was meeting Minnie and her babies of Squee TV, as previously featured on a special Mews and Nips edition. Another highlight was a wonderful dinner at a German restaurant near Robin’s home. I don’t get to eat German food all that often, so this was a real treat.
I shared my guest bedroom at Robin’s house with four of Kitten Associates’ foster cats – and much to my delight, all four of them slept with me on the bed on and off throughout the night! Bongo and George have since been adopted, but Barney and Bunny Boo-Boo, pictured below, are still looking for their forever homes. You can find out more about these two wonderful cats on Petfinder.
On Sunday, my friend Michaela picked me up at Robin’s house, and we spent the day together before I had to head home. Michaela and I went to high school together. There’s nobody else in my life who has known me as long as she has, and even though we may not talk or email for months on end, whenever we do get together, we pick up where we left off and it’s as if no time had elapsed.
I returned to Allegra and Ruby with a full heart, and I was more relaxed than I had been in months. I don’t think I realized how beneficial getting away from it all can be until I returned. From having fun to spending time with good friends to (almost completely) unplugging, the weekend was like a shower for the soul. I feel refreshed and rejuvenated. I have an new perspective on some issues that have been brewing for quite some time. And most of all, I have a heart full of memories of a wonderful weekend spent with friends, cats and connection.
Photos top to bottom: with a store cat at a jewelry store, Phoebe, Topaz, Minnie and her babies, Barney and Bunny Boo-Boo. Pictures of Barney and Bunny Boo-Boo ©Robin Olson, used with permission, all other photos ©Ingrid King.