An Ode To Gus, The Suburban Gangster Cat

Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, Don’t Suffocate Me With Your Fur

Oh, kitty. Sweet kitty. As you lie here upon my belly, smacking my face with your paw when I stop petting you, I wonder just how much of a giant baby you really are. Remember, kitty, how I accidentally left the front door wide open for hours when I took the children to the supermarket? Do you recall when my hubby arrived back home and you were gone? How I cried when he called me. Gus got outside, I thought. I’ll never see him again! How we laughed when we found you upstairs hiding!

In the moment of shame that stemmed from you turning tail from your freedom and hiding in the closet, you did not concern yourself with our teasing laughter and name calling.

“Big fat chicken.” We said. “What a big old fat baby!” We said.

You did not care, sweet kitty, you were happy to have your humans home. You are a cat beyond description. No other cat in the world would sit in the middle of the chaos that is my three young children playing nomadic torture games all around you. Not only do you tolerate and absorb their anarchy, you lovingly rub your head on them if they glance near. If they ever do accidentally step on your tail, you give them a soft verbal reprimand “meooow” and retreat to a safer place nearby where you can still keep your watchful eye on them, or more likely, catch a snooze with some part of your body on some part of one of our bodies.

Gus, you have a knack for being the biggest baby in the house. We found you under a dumpster, we saved you from some chicken owners who probably would not have appreciated you sneaking into their chicken coop. Since the moment you walked in the door… you’ve been afraid to be in a different room from me. I love you, sweet Gus Gus. I will forever rub your belly, My babies will forever thrill at your fly catching skills. As always, when you get scared at the top of the stairs, up there all by yourself, and start meowing for help from the humans, I will always reassuringly call out to you.. “Come on down here, you big scaredy cat.”, and oh, how you’ll trot your chunky mountain lion physique down the stairs, sounding like a small child with your footfalls.

You make our family complete Mister Gustavo, and we will always love you and your awesome ability to annoy the hubby, whether it be rubbing on him while he’s trying to pop his back, licking yourself in his presence (we know you think it’s as funny as we do) and also running between his legs as he goes up and down the stairs EVERY SINGLE TIME.

 

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Joanie Montileone is a contributing writer to the Sisters Curious, as well as the co-founder. She loves her Italian husband and babies, and spends her free time… wait, she doesn’t have any!

 

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Parenting the Gifted

FEELING LIKE A GREAT PARENT

I find myself extremely lucky to have three highly developed children with above average abilities in intelligence as well as motor skills and emotions. The defining trait of my two boys and my little girl is consistently empathy. They are all emotionally and academically intelligent. Their abilities far surpass my ability to fill their brains up with the knowledge that they crave. I spend all of my time trying to do just that. It’s been this way since the day my first son was born. He’s been read to almost every day of his life. He’s been told, shown, and taught to the best of my abilities what is right and wrong, and how to handle different situations properly. His siblings have received the same treatment to the best of my abilities. Motherhood was not a difficult task for me as I took to it in a way that I considered a lifelong plan to develop his and his siblings’ character and their minds. It was all wine and roses watching him develop so profoundly. When he started to have a closer eye on him by pre-kindergarten professionals, by way of PARENTS AS TEACHERS, I started to realize that the massive intelligence we had on our hands was not the norm for most preschool parents.

THE REALIZATION

The DIAL testing they do through parents as teachers is the assessment they use to gauge the kindergarten readiness of a preschool aged child. My son received a 99/100. The highest score possible. This is when everything started to come into light. I was dealing with what the MAPS assessment defined as possibly an actual genius. But with  great knowledge comes great sensitivity.

A GROWN UP MIND AND A SIX YEAR OLD BODY

Day to day living with my son, you wouldn’t really think anything of his superior intelligence, until he opened his mouth. His vocabulary is astounding. His empathy is unmatched by the greater majority of the human population. His calculations, both mathematical and strategic are incredible to watch unwind before you. When you look at the boy, you see the spark of intelligence in his eyes. He has the ability to learn from other people’s lessons and build upon it. As NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON stated on his series “COSMOS”, the unique quality of the human mind that sets it apart from other life on Earth is the ability to recognize patterns. This is what helps us build upon knowledge we have organized in our minds and build upon it. By the standards of my own personal experience, and with no actual bias, believe me when I say that my son is in the upper crust of that trait that sets us apart.

LOW POINTS OF HIGH INTELLIGENCE

If there is anything to the phrase “the smarter you are, the less happy you are”, my household is the most unhappy. There is a real and true love that we bestow as well as show on a daily basis. They are loved and cared for. The only trouble is, when my son has a problem, there is an obsessive focus on negative outcome possibilities. He is constantly troubled by the possibility of a meteoric event, volcanic activity, tornadic storms, or even the spontaneous combustion of a household appliance in the night. Another troubling faction of the gift of high intelligence at such a young age is the inability to express the thoughts going through your head in a way that your speech can keep up with. There are so many hysterical instances where my son cannot explain the way that he is feeling and with the inability to arrange his feelings in a productive way, he is left feeling helpless or out of control of things that happen to him. That is a defining trait of a gifted child. Asynchronous development. His reading level is at about 7th grade, his mathematical ability is about 5th grade, and his emotional processing is at a kindergarten level at times. The amplification of the non-emotional surplus is a serious factor in making the emotional capabilities seem even more lagging than they are.

HOME LIFE WITH A MINI EINSTEIN

My son spends his time cataloging the health points, levels and attack power of different Pokémon. The catalog is in his head. If you have time, and want to learn about Pokémon, he has made videos on YouTube. He is an amazing conversationalist. A true empath at heart he really connects with parables, as well as with plights of his younger siblings. On the flip side, he also has to have ample warning of any events such as turning off a game, getting ready for bed, leaving for an outing. If there is not enough warning on any event he will not be able to adjust in the way he needs to and will become hysterical. He likes to build electronics with a snap circuit kit he received for his birthday. He fills dozens of notebooks with his drawings, writing and highly detailed Pokémon cards he designs himself.

OUTLOOK

Things are getting better for my son. The things that used to be a huge obstacle, such as getting his hair washed or cut, being examined at the doctor’s office, or using a mechanical pencil, they have all become old news. We made the proper adjustments and gave a proper warning for years, and finally, after 6 years, he has overcome most of these things. He does still have a deathly and hysterical fear of insects. He gets inconsolable when he imagines scenarios in which the fire alarm goes off in the house. But we accept his quirks, we adjust our plans to help him cope and proceed as we always have, and I am happy to say that although he does still need insect repellent bracelets to go to the zoo, and I am most likely going to have to do a smoke alarm fire drill to make sure he gets any sleep tonight. I don’t mind adjusting his needs, I never did. But now I can breathe a little easier now that I know, whatever comes this too shall pass.

The Dynamic Stylings of Jesse Welch, Tattoo Artist and Illustrator

Looking for ink in the Queen City?

Since the popularization of tattoos in the working middle class, the city of Springfield, Mo. has seen a massive growth of tattoo parlors in the area. There are dozens of shops to choose from within a 10 mile radius of the midwest suburbia. Unlike the options for shops a decade ago when I began getting tattooed, nowadays you have the choice of not only your shop but also your artist. This is a positive turnaround for the sometimes hesitant first time tattoo seeker. Now you don’t have to settle for an artist that you don’t especially trust or like. The trouble is how do you actually choose between the many, many shops and artists therein. HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU CAN TRUST AN ARTIST FOR YOUR FIRST (OR NEXT) TATTOO? Relax, friends. I think I have just what you need.

SACRED ART: Skilled and Professional Tattooists for the Working Class

Shops come and go in the area, let’s be honest. One shop has been around for over a decade, and has always been a source of reliable ink-masters who know what they are doing and prove it with every customer that walks in the door. SACRED ART TATTOO, on the Northeast Corner of Glenstone and Chestnut has been consistently clean and professional, with the ease of manner in the artists that has always brought new customers in, and kept return customers with their skill level and “bedside manner”. The shop is now the workplace and second home to possibly the best tattoo artist that the area has seen since the departure of Tim Pontillo from the former Miller Cotton’s on Glenstone Avenue. The high priced and particular artists of the city may have met their match, in an artist who DOES take walk ins, who DOES price tattoos reasonably, who DOES make his clients feel at ease and informed, and DOES do an AMAZING job on the many different styles requested by his customers on a daily basis.

Springfield’s Answer for Excellent, Accessible Art

Jesse Welch has been an on again off again member of the Springfield community for years, citing his nomadic ways as cause for his different nesting grounds in California, Texas, Tennessee, and Missouri. The town to town lifestyle that this artist has experienced has instilled in him a diverse and ever expanding portfolio of artistic capabilities, and a knack for alternating styles seamlessly.

The kinds of pieces that Jesse has been asked to work on are as diverse as his background. There are endless samples of stunning work by his hand, ranging from death metal tributes, pin-up ladies, Barbies, Veteran’s Memorial tattoos, superheroes, watercolors, and even Samurai Storm Troopers. Those examples are just a glimpse of a week in the life of this seasoned tattoo artist.

Making a Tattoo a Pleasant Experience

The quality on every piece of art Jesse tattoos is undeniable, as attested by the many, many return customers that came to SACRED ART for the cleanliness, and came back time and time again due to the professionalism of the staff and the quality of the tattoos. As SACRED ART’s most frequently and well-reviewed artist,  Jesse puts accountability into every faction of his work, and it shows through the service that he and his fellow artists provide new and return customers. There is no off putting awkwardness or a disinterest in what you want. As soon as you walk in the door, Jesse and the other artists make sure that you are attended to and spoken to in a respectful and friendly manner.

The Personalized Touch

Our artist in question has a consistent policy of always doing his best to cater to the desires of his current customer. He strives to make every tattoo an experience especially for the client and the theme that their tattoo represents as a kind of nod to the ancient traditions of a tattoo being a symbol of honor and a celebration of accomplishment. You really do feel that when Jesse tattoos you, you have earned it, and there is nothing else more important to your artist than making sure that it turns out perfect, both the tattoo and the memory of getting the tattoo.

Inking Integrity

With Jesse Welch of SACRED ART tattoo, there are no gimmicks. There are no bloated egos , there is not a turned down nose attitude to a tattoo theme that he does not subscribe to. What a client wants, a client will get. If you ask him for something, he will do his best to meet your specifications, and if you are open to suggestion, he will be happy to make alterations to further personalize your very individual and personally meaningful tattoo.

Stand Alone Artwork

If you do elect to have a piece drawn up by him, you will not be disappointed. This is where an artist of Jesse’s caliber shines. There are not many artists that can so selflessly capture the things their clients have in mind and properly translate it to ink on skin.

Jesse Welch’s artwork is well known as having a dynamic range. With amazing line work, meticulous attention to detail, he has a flair for both classic and neo-classic styles, along with a knack for bright, bold, and beautiful colors. He has flexibility on scheduling, he keeps careful track of appointments and commitments, if one cannot be held, he will make every effort to amend any changes that have to be made to a scheduled session. Jesse will make every effort to take walk ins and cater to the needs of every one of the people that come in looking for his work, or have the serendipity of discovering it for the first time. Even with all of the professionalism and accountability, the thing that makes Jesse one of the best tattoo artists in Springfield is his art, so allow me to let it speak for itself.

You can find him on Jesse Welch Facebook.

MY LIFE AND MARGOT’S

Why is it that whenever you think you have life figured out, that you catch crazy curves that almost knock you off course? Being a very, very amateur aspiring writer makes me feel like I can do something with the words I have to say. It also makes me feel like most of the time I am kidding myself and that I write like a middle school aged child. The real bit of trouble is, when you aren’t physically committed to doing a certain amount of work every day, and it doesn’t hold a guarantee that you will be paid for hard work put in. Because technically I only sell what people think is good.

Thrown into the mix, with their cute little fluffy topped heads, my three adorably overwhelming and stubborn willed children, who, even when not suffering months of sicknesses, are needy, obstinate, and mentally gifted. These little creatures that I gave life to are my favorite little bloodsuckers, but boy are they ever sucking the life from me.

The mental disorder I have inherited and perfected from generations of ancestors is not helpful as far as motivational skills, social skills, and being a bubbly mommy. bUt I am trying.

I’ve fallen behind on things that truly matter to me. Especially spending time with my little sister, who is my very best friend. She is a real inspiration to anyone who wants to be more than what everyone settles for themselves being. She amazes me, and sometimes all of the things that she accomplishes on her own seem frightening and so daunting that I fear for her in her independence.

Regardless of the time I have lost with my sister, I will never stop supporting her, loving her, and even sometimes telling her things she doesn’t want to hear, because I love her dearly, and I expect the same from her. I feel the same with all of my sisters, whom I’ve grown apart from, unfortunately. I wish to remedy that.

I am very lucky to have a family that loves me. My children are going to be rocket scientists, my husband is hard working, supportive, and loving, and I have not just one, but a slew of sisters that I love and would do anything for, and they would do the same for me.

My partner in crime on the Sisters Curious is a strong and determined woman who has overcome and trampled so many obstacles to becoming the beautiful, linguistically and musically skilled beauty that I am proud to call my baby sister. You can read her blog posts here on THE SISTERS CURIOUS or you can check out her band MARGOT AND THE KIDDERS on facebook, or her own personal facebook page MARGOT LeMAY.

 

Human Connection: A Must for the Modern Child

 

MACHINE PARENTING MAKES ROBOT CHILDREN

The dynamic of a family is no longer based upon the love and support of a caring set of parents or a single parent striving to make a better life for their children. It is centered around whoever thinks they deserve the most attention within the family unit at the time. Parents are letting their children grow up without a human connection on a deeper level that most humans crave. A deep connection and understanding with one parent or sibling can mean the difference between good and bad mental health in a young child as well as into their adulthood.

EVERY FAMILY MEMBER DESERVES LOVING ATTENTION

The family life of any given unit of individuals can usually be predicted as a race to be the most preoccupied with the greatest amount of electronic devices possible. Children are given tablets to keep them occupied. The electronics of today have become the basis for the personality of our children, as well as having become the primary caregiver of many children in the US today.

WHY DON’T I MIND MY OWN BUSINESS?

All of this seems to be, to the perusing reader, merely a complaint, and commentary on the sadness of what things have come to in the last ten years as far as attention towards younglings and involved parenting goes. However, I can assure you there is more to it than that. In fact, this is my way of asking you, the reader, if you will stay with me, because I love my babies, you love your babies, and we want what is best for them. to please look your children in the eyes when you speak to them. Set time aside in your day, every day to enjoy your time with them and make it a special point to know that you value their opinions and you are always there for them to talk to. It is so important for a human person to have human connections to maintain their mental health.

MAKE THE MOMENTS MATTER

Please look your children in the eyes when you speak to them. Set time aside in your day, every day to enjoy your time with them and make it a special point to know that you value their opinions and you are always there for them to talk to. It is so important for a human person to have human connections to maintain their mental health.

NO ONE WANTS TO GROW UP ALONE

Think back to your childhood. Were you all alone all of the time? Did you have anyone to look up to? Did you have anyone that understood you and looked at you as though they wanted nothing else but to be there with you, and who, when they hugged you, you knew they meant it and that they were to be trusted? Most people, even the loneliest and most poorly treated people have someone who they look up to as a child and grow up to want to model themselves after. For myself, I was lucky enough to have a personal investment of a few people, especially my big brother and sister who talked to me like they cared about me, and made me feel loved.When you have someone that you can be emotionally intimate with, you are able to access and process your emotion and thereby learn to handle them.

TO HAVE SOMEONE THAT CARES

Does your child have that? Have you been that person for them? For most people, I would guess that the answer is no. It’s true that everyone has a life and everyone stays busy, in my house this is especially true. The difference in my house is that although we are very busy, I always, always set aside a special time with each of my babies so that they know they are special to me. So that they know that I love them and that I find them far more important than a video game, or an email, or what’s on television that I don’t want to miss. It’s true that we are busy but we are sure to show each other that each of us is more interested in our family than the hustle and bustle that we have to attend to.

SET ASIDE TIME FOR THEM

Have I been guilty of neglect in this area from time to time? PLEASE! It took us ages to get our acts cleaned up and focus on what’s important. The primary thing to remember is that it’s never too late to improve the lives of your children by increasing your one on one time. There is always time to improve your relationship with them. All it takes is for you to do little things to show that they are important. Get up early and make them breakfast. Surprise them by waiting for them to get off the bus. If you work late, wake them up for a snuggle and a little talk. Take advantage of the little opportunities, and you will see the benefit it does to their mental and emotional health.

 

 

12654633_10156473963715147_3170224069259108172_nJoanie stays up late at night wondering if she’s “Mommied” properly that day. She loves her hubs and has an oddly mistaken idea that the weekend still means she gets to sleep in.

 

 

 

What is Confidence?

     Not long ago, I was sitting at a pub table in my local watering hole becoming entrenched in the realm of weirdness on YouTube, one recommended video at a time, but also searching for new songs for my band to play. At one point in the evening, a man approached me at my table. He waited patiently for me to notice he was there, which took several seconds. I was obliged to remove the buds from my ears. As I took them out, he leaned towards me and spoke. “I think you’re quite attractive, and I really admire your confidence.” I thanked him for his compliment. Then, with a small nod, he took his leave and went back to his friends.While causing no small obvious inflation of ego, that man’s remarks also provoked some thought in me. Confident? Me?

     I pondered what lay before me on the table: my phone with ear buds connected, a notepad and pen, and a double gin and tonic. I tried to determine what gave him an outward indication of my supposed confidence. I then tried to think of expressions I might have shown on my face. I came to the conclusion that the only reason this man would assume I am confident is the fact I was focused on what I was doing.

Well! Thought I, is that all there is to being confident? Focusing on your interests rather than what is going on around you?

     To put my hypothesis to the test, I walked into a coffee shop the next day. My goal therein was to find someone who looked confident and notice what it was the person was actually doing. Scanning the dim-lit room, my gaze was drawn to a well-dressed man sitting in the back. As I slid into a seat near his table, he took no notice of me. While I glanced creepily at him, I saw his face get closer and slowly closer to his computer screen as he typed. Only when he finished typing did he pull back and look around him. Seeing me, he smiled, then continued on with his work.

He looks so confident, I thought to myself.

     I concluded, after my experiment, confidence is not something that is realized.  Confidence, to me, is more based on focusing on your hobbies, work, or your own thoughts, and not being concerned with the innumerable distractions around you. In my case, for certain, confidence is more how people view me, not necessarily something I am. If a person thinks to themselves, I am confident, are they truly that? Just as someone who has given food to the poor and considers himself selfless, his own thoughts eliminating any indication he has done something selfless, if you tell yourself you are confident it is more likely that you are, in fact, not. Theorizing this, as I do, I will not concern myself with the pursuit of confidence, just as I shall not bother with trying to find happiness or contentedness; these things come as a result of our actively and constantly pursuing goals and delving into some form of self-driven work.

DSC03471Nancy loves her cats, her friend’s cats, and every cat in the world.