Cat Butts vs. Monsters and Demons

Blogging Style

If my blogging style had an avatar, it would look like this.

I think I have an unusual quirk to my blogging. It seems that I write a blog post, let it sit for a day before I proof read it, and then after I read it, I think of something else I would rather say. This blog post is no different. I think I am going to call this a sort of post-apocalyptic blogging style.

This is what happened to my pre-blog this week. My thoughts were down on paper and I was talking about kicking certain cat butts and how much progress I was making when it hit me. I have really come a long way from where I was. Sure, I am struggling with kicking certain cat butts right now, but I am doing it to make my life more fulfilling and chase after my ultimate dream (of finishing a novel). In my past, which seems like a very long time ago, I was not kicking anything. I was running from a monster.

The Monster

Not a fun guy

And no, I did not win that battle. I was just a child, and too ill-equipped to do proper battle. When the monster was done with me, I was left in a realm in between chaos and the world I once knew as a child. Although the monster could no longer get me, I was surrounded by demons, spawned by my own fear, hurt, anger and confusion. To say it was a prison is an understatement. I am not sure if Dante even had a circle of hell to describe the place I was in.

I’ve since learned that demons only have as much power as you give them, but it took a while to learn that. I also thought so many things were out of my control and I wasted an incredible amount of time outside of life. It’s tough to explain unless you have been to that forsaken place. I am not alone; many people have been imprisoned there, and many are still trapped in that netherworld by their demons. Some even die there.fallen angel

The story of my journey would probably make for a hell of a book. Someone else will have to write it though. I refuse to go back there, even in retrospect. I am putting as much distance between me and what once was as I can. I suppose that is why kicking my cat butts are so important. Conquering small things like cat butts puts distance between the demons and me. Failing at kicking a little cat butt is more than just procrastination or poor planning, I see it as a demon coming to reclaim the power I took back. So, when I write about being upset I didn’t find the time to practice my guitar, or outline a character in my story, it might seem trivial unless you know the back-story. Every day, I am trying to put distance between my demons and me. You know what they say, “There ain’t no rest for the wicked.”

I know this blog entry isn’t as light-hearted as some of the others. Sorry about that. I just felt I needed to add some perspective on my cat butt kicking. Things are not always what they seem to be; but, they can always get better.

Shadows of the past

Cat butts getting out of hand

Here’s to kicking more butts this week! Don’t let them get you.



Cat Butts of My Own Creation

Nope, I did not disappear. Perhaps you thought I forgot about my blog. That isn’t the case. I actually wrote a couple of entries, but didn’t post them because I didn’t think they were very interesting. Yep, I did a bad thing and critiqued myself to the point of obliteration. Nothing got posted and that is not supposed to happen. (A slap on the hand and a kick in the ass for me, from me.)

Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin and Hobbes

To make it up to you, I am going to recap the past few weeks very quickly.

Part One: I attended a phenomenal trade show for work, SCAA 2014. It was all about specialty coffee and the people who live for coffee. My biggest takeaway from the show wasn’t all the knowledge I gained about the industry; it was how passionate these people are about coffee. Their passion gave them the courage and belief in themselves to overcome tremendous obstacles in their lives. Learning about these people gave me a new perspective. Here I am, trying to write out a blog entry a week, and here they are, traveling half a world away to embrace their passion. It made me ask, “Where is my passion? Why don’t I have that kind of drive?” I will tell you, I think I let it get covered up by random cat butts, all of my own making. Saying that I am going to kick all those butts is easier said than done. I am truly having some challenges. Every time I kick one, I just invent more.

Cat Butt Mug

This is my kind of mug (

Part Two of my hiatus from writing: I attended a second trade show, The National Restaurant Association (NRA), in Chicago. The show was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. I ate so much food; I won’t need to eat until Christmas. NRA was different from the first show I attended a few weeks prior. This show was all about the innovation of stuff (food, beverages, services, equipment, etc.) for restaurants. All the exhibitors were showing their products, as were we. I met lots of people who were very excited about seeing everything; but I also noticed this show had more of a business atmosphere and not as much passion as the previous show. I am not saying that is bad; it was just different.

As I said, I am truly struggling with getting my life on track. In my first blog entry, I listed a few things I wanted to do, but felt like there were too many outside influences keeping me from them. I have come to realize that the only obstacle in my way is me. Yes, I am the biggest cat butt in my life and I need a kick in the ass. If I have learned anything these past few weeks, it is that people can accomplish amazing things if they want it badly enough and are willing to give it some effort. I’ve been working really hard at creating reasons why I can’t do something. Well, to hell with that. I am going to find reasons why I can do what I love.

This means starting with the small things as well as the big things. For instance, right now I am sitting here, writing this blog entry while fending off two cats that want my attention. (Yes, real cats). If I let Cally get her way, she will jump in my lap, making it impossible for me to type. I also know that if I don’t let her in my lap, she will get angry and shred something, like a shoe or the sofa. Oh well, I am still typing; let the clawing begin.

This isn't my cat, but it might as well be.

This isn’t my cat, but it might as well be.

I don’t know if this new approach will work yet, at least in my personal life. Setting goals and meeting deadlines at work is easy. I feel pretty confident I can do what needs to be done to satisfy my job responsibilities. Yet, when it comes to setting deadlines for my own personal goals, I am scared to death of failure. I think this is because I am embarking into the unknown. If I fail, I will have to face the fact that I am not who I think I am. It isn’t that I expect to be a success; although that would be nice. No, I am afraid that I will fail to finish. I am afraid I will fail to see my dream through to the end. That would mean that I don’t have what it takes to be a novelist. That is worse that rejection. I can take someone telling me my writing is crap. What I can’t take is starting this and not seeing it through to the end.

I’ve been here before, feeling the power and pull of a dream. As determined as I am now, I know self-doubt can suck the life out of passion like hungry orphaned calf can decimate a 1/2 gallon bottle of milk. How can I keep the passion alive, day in and day out? I think I need to change my routine up a bit.  One little thing is that I’ve started following some of my favorite authors through their social media outlets. Jonathan Maberry is a hoot and full of great inspiration. Hopefully, some of his enthusiasm and passion will infiltrate my butt filled mind.

Kicking my own butt this time,


Sometimes, They Get You

When I started this cat butt kicking lifestyle, I knew there would be days when the butt would win. This particular cat butt wasn’t an especially big one, or an important one, but it really irked me that I succumbed.


Look out. They are everywhere

How it all started
Let me start out by saying that last week was really tough.  I was physically and mentally exhausted.  I did a little traveling for work, but that wasn’t the reason I was so tired.  My nightmares were keeping me up. It isn’t uncommon for me to have nightmares. Most of them are actually quite fun. I am usually in some alternate reality fighting vampires, zombies, and other creepy things. Sure, it is a bloody, sticky mess and my heart beats out of my chest, but these kinds of dreams are the best and I get the biggest kick out of running from a giant squid monster or getting stuck inside some amorphous jelly-like blob. The real nightmares happen when I dream about work.  You know the kind; you are asked about a project you haven’t even started; you catch a error in your PowerPoint presentation in the middle of the meeting and someone calls you out on it (usually with big, bad words); or the wrong things keep coming out of your mouth and you can’t shut up and things just spiral out of control. Yep, those are the things that have been keeping me up at night.

When the Cat Butt Got Me
On Wednesday, I was dead on my feet. My mind was fuzzed from sleep deprivation, and I was doing my best not to fall face first into a pile of notes with handwriting I couldn’t even read. (My penmanship sucks.) I was chugging coffee cup after cup, slinging back 5-hour energy drinks every couple of hours, and giving myself hard slaps on the face so I would at least remember to breathe.  Yes, I was that tired and my concentration skills were shot. If I saw a picture of a beach, I would think how nice it would be to take a nap on the soft, warm sand. If someone were talking about snow, I would think how nice it would be to build an igloo and hibernate in it for a good six months. I had it bad. The end of the workday was finally coming to a close and I headed home with visions of bed and pillows. However, I had one more thing to do before I could sink into my soft, oh-so-soft bed. I’ve got a half-marathon road race coming up in a few weeks and I needed to log some training miles. This was the last thing I wanted to do; still, I put on the running gear, trying desperately not to even lean on my bed. By this time, the bed seemed to have super gravitational powers and if I touched it, I would be doomed.  I got out of the house as quickly as I could and started jogging down the street. I hadn’t been running for more than five minutes when my feet just stopped. They turned me around and made me look at my house. It looked really nice, warm and inviting. I even think I heard it say, “I miss you. Please come back and take a nap with me.” But like the stubborn ass I can sometimes be, I turned my iPod on full break-your-eardrums high and pushed onward. You might think this was a victory, and not a defeat. Perhaps it was, but it was short lived.Very Tired

I was about two miles out and I was feeling every step; every footfall on the concrete seemed to pull my legs downward. My legs felt like they were sinking into the pavement as if it were sticky, gooey clay; every step just got heavier and heavier until I felt like I was dragging along the road.  All I could think about was sleeping in my nice soft bed with a cat purring at my feet. I rounded a corner and saw my route was somewhat blocked. I was running in an area where new home construction was going up, and several trucks and workmen were loading and unloading equipment on both sides of the street. My mind, as slow as it was, quickly rationalized that I should avoid this by taking a shortcut. My cat butt kicking self said there was no reason to avoid this route; there was plenty of room. Guess who won.  The cat butt got me. I turned and took the short cut. My mind was smiling at how much closer and sooner the finish would be.  My cat butt kicking self was scolding the crud out of me. How could I succumb so fast? The speed and ease in which I let the butt win was scary. Yet, I was too tired to beat myself up too much, which was concerning too.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep very well that night either. Not only was I having work nightmares, now I was having running nightmares. In those, I would try to run, but I couldn’t.  I would be stuck in place and people would just run passed me laughing. Ahhhh! What I wouldn’t give for a bloody toothed vampire right about then.

Coming to terms with the butt in your way

Coming to terms with the butt in your way

Moving Past the Cat Butt Debacle
I wasn’t happy with myself.  It happened and I couldn’t go back a fix it. I wanted to blame it on my lack of sleep, my need to be rendered unconscious for many days, but really, I’ve used that tired old cat butt of an excuse for so many things for so long; it is time to change. Before I started this quest, I would have thrown up my hands and declared myself a failure and start letting any old cat butt stop me because I just wasn’t cut out for any kind of success. Not this time though. I had to prove I was changing into a better, more determined person.

When Saturday finally rolled around, I had an 8 mile run planned in my training schedule. And it was raining. It wasn’t a thunderstorm, just a cold, wet, annoying rain. I didn’t even bat an eye at the wet stuff.  I put on my running gear plus a little rain gear and headed out. Most of the time, the rain was fairly light, but there were times when it really poured. Those were the times when I was kicking some butts. Those stinky poop holes were telling me to stop under shelters, loop back around and go home, and even hitch a ride from a neighbor (who was kind enough to offer a wet mess like me into her car). I left all those butts sloshing around in the mud as I trudged forward. I was finishing what I started.  And I did finish.

Whatever it takes (photo by

Whatever it takes (image by


This may seem like a super small victory to some, but it is more than that to me. It proves to me that I can keep going and trying even after a failure. It also shows me that I can fail and probably will again, but failure doesn’t have to get the last meow.

I’m still pretty tired. The nightmares about work haven’t let up, so it might be time to start kicking cat butt in the dream world too. I wonder if I can manifest a few vampires, werewolves, and maybe a ghoul or two into these work dreams of mine. I’ll give it a shot; what is the worst that can happen? Maybe a mindless PowerPoint shape will swallow me up? Yikes! Terrifying.


Kicking more cat butt every day!

karengray butt

Stray Cat Butts – Those Damn Stinkers

Stray cat butts happen.  It’s a fact.  Sometimes a challenge comes along I didn’t plan for.  Writing my novel, learning to play the guitar, and taking dramatic photos of the veggies I grow in my garden are objectives I’ve put down on paper and I am tackling them with all my butt-kicking strength.  Out of the blue, here comes an unexpected challenge, but worthy objective: The Spartan Race.  I wasn’t planning on it, nor had I even thought about it, but here it was.

If you are not familiar with the Spartan racing circuit, I will try to briefly explain.  It is a race full of challenging obstacles, like a rope climb, wall jumps, tire pulls, etc., and everything comes with mud, lots and lots of mud.  This isn’t something I’ve done before but my husband and a couple of friends were going to do it with me, so I was in.  As the race got closer, I started seeing some cat butts pop up.  My friends dropped out; they had really good reasons (not cat butts).  Like any person used to stumbling on fur covered ass and tail, I started thinking about some excuses to dropout too, but all I came up with were sad little cat butts.  Besides, my husband was still going . . . .until he told me he wasn’t.  So here is the cat butt conundrum: I could drop out; after all, I didn’t pay for it.  I volunteered my time during the race course build in return for free entry.  (My husband helped with this and we got free hoodies out of the deal.)  No one would really blame me if I dropped out, but I could not stomach the idea of a random cat butt getting in my way.   After all, I’m on a mission to tackle useless excuses that make me feel better about not finishing something I start, right?  Just because I was a little scared about running this Hari-kari race on my own wasn’t a good reason; it was just a cat butt.  And I kicked its ass.

I won’t lie; the race was tough and I didn’t complete every obstacle challenge.  (Each challenge a racer failed meant completing 30 burpees before continuing.)  However, I did complete more obstacles than I failed and I finished the race quite bruised and muddy, but I finished.  To top it off, I had a great time; I will most definitely do it again.

Spartan Race 2014. Karen kicking some cat butt

Spartan Race 2014. Karen kicking some cat butt

So “IN YOUR FACE RANDOM CAT BUTT!”  I beat you! I feel like saying, “Look kiddies, if I can do it, you can too.”  But that sounds goofy.  The fact is random cat butts are always going to pop up.  Some of them will be fatter and stinkier than others.  I might not always beat them either, but I am certainly going to try.  I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Another cat butt “done gone”!


Beyond the Cat Butt

In my very first post, I let you know that I am out to kick all the cat butts (excuses) in the way of my goals, but I didn’t say what my goals were.  Well, I have quite a few, but the biggest and most compelling is to start and finish the novel that has been living in my head for the past two years. I hope you weren’t expecting me to say I wanted to climb Kilimanjaro or swim across one of the great lakes. Yes, that would be a momentous goal and I am not saying I won’t attempt those challenges, but for some reason, writing my novel seems like a bigger challenge.

I have auxiliary goals as well that I started, but then let cat butts get in may way, and they are just sitting there…. Waiting.  Here is a sampling:

  1. Learn Italian. I bought the RosettaStone learning kit, but I haven’t even opened the box.  Fail!
  2. Learn to play the guitar. I bought a guitar and started taking lessons, but then took a break (because of a giant cat butt) and never started back again. Another Fail.
  3. Learn a new technique each day from Adobe Tutorials. I’ve bookmarked over a hundred and mastered three. Epic Fail.
Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Jsome1

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Jsome1

I could go on with a few more, but you get the idea. I let myself succumb to the cat butt fatigue.  The reason for this blog is bigger than just chronicling my struggle to kick some butts; it serves several purposes.  The most obvious reason is to get me used to writing on a regular basis again. As you can tell (if you have made it this far), I am pretty rusty. All the great writing elements that writers use to keep readers engaged are non-existent in my poor excuse for writing.  By blogging, I know I will get better. I will become more creative; and by the time I work my way up to actually penning my book, I hope to have the confidence and drive to finish.

This blogging method of improvement didn’t come to me by chance. I have to give a shout out to Kristen Lamb  – the most impressive blogger I have ever run across.  Kristen, I’ve followed your blog for over a year now, and I am here in the blogosphere because of you.  Yes, it did take me a while; I let the cat butts get the best of me.

Here we go! One cat butt at a time, I am making my way out from under fur and cat ass.  This is no easy journey; it is taking me out of my routine of making excuses why I can’t do the things I enjoy.

Kicking another cat butt by making this post!


Cat Butts on Parade

Crazy Cat Butts Buts….. Yes, it is a strange title, but there is a reason behind it.  Today is the day I stop getting sidetracked by all the crazy cat butts in my life. I’m the sort of person who has grand ideas about the things I want to accomplish and start out with all the best intentions, but then I get side tracked by whatever.  I call “whatever” a cat butt. Why? Because it is always in the way – stinking, smelling, in-your-face, little puckering cat butt.

Today is the day I start kicking some cat butts out of my way and start doing what I need to do to live my life.  So this is the start – a blog. Believe it or not, it is on the list for many reasons. One reason is to keep me on track. Another is that it leads to some other bigger goals. If you hang with me, you will learn all about them and how I go about kicking some cat butts.

Right now, this blog is kind of bare bones, but it will get better.  Everyday, another cat butt is going to get kicked out of my face. So here it is, a line in the sand (no cat turds allowed).  This is the beginning.