Monthly Archives: December 2016

Christmas Family Newsletter By Seamus Wheaton

Hello, family and friends! This has been a busy year in the Wheaton house and I am here to tell you all about it!

First, I spent a LOT of quality time on the sofa. There are a couple of sofas to choose from in this house, but I prefer to use the one that is directly in front of the tv. That way, if there’s a dog or a bear on a tv show, I can bark at it to make it go away as soon as it happens. It works every time! I also like to lay in this spot because it’s where my parents like to sit, and so they have no choice but to snuggle up to me or let me put my head in their lap while they watch tv. It’s a win win all around.

This year, I have enjoyed many walks in our neighborhood, stopping to smell the base of trees and fence posts where I do a special signing in the guest book of others who have also visited these areas. It’s important other dogs know who have attended these super secret spots!

I have also enjoyed standing in our backyard and barking at things that fly in the sky overhead to make them go away and it always makes them leave! I really like to spend my mornings snuggled up to my buddy, Marlowe, on the outside sofa so we can re-charge in the sun for energy to run around the yard and play. It’s funny. After a charging session, I’ll get up and bark at Marlowe, and then she gets all worked up and runs laps around the grass, into the house and back out again. She’s a hoot!

That Marlowe sure is a weird one, though. She likes to take the squeaker out of squeaky toys our parents give us, she likes to chase after squirrels in our yard and on our walks in the neighborhood, and she likes to sit in front of the fireplace when our parents build a fire so she can get extra warm. Marlowe had to have knee surgery in April of this year, so she wasn’t up for playing with me or going on walks with me and our parents for what seemed like FOREVER, but she’s all better now. You’d think that metal plate in her knee would slow her down now with all those laps she still runs around the yard and house, but you’d be wrong. Kids. Always with so much energy!

Watson is still the best cat, ever, even though he’s an oddball. He likes to sleep in the raised garden beds our parents have and has even smooshed some of their strawberry plants! He loves to roll in the dirt, and he REALLY loves to bring our parents some very weird gifts. He also likes to share the lap of whichever parent is on the sofa with me. Sometimes he doesn’t even care if my head is also in that lap. He’ll just rub his face on mine until I scoot over enough for him to have space. Can you believe that? But it works every time so I guess he knows what he’s doing!

Our other cat, Luna, used to be SUPER cranky around all of us pets. She would knock things off the counters, swat us in the face as we walked past, and wanted nothing more than to sleep in empty boxes, get crunchy tuna treats, and be outside without us. She got to the point where if our parents wouldn’t let her out, she would poop on the rug! Who does that?! I would try to help my parents with the clean-up, but they wouldn’t let me. Darn!  At the beginning of the year, when our parents found a kitten they named Eliot, Luna had decided enough was enough and moved in with an older couple up the street so she could have them and their pet-free house all to herself. I guess some cats really don’t like other pet friends. Crazy! She’s very happy over there and we sometimes get to stop by on our walks with our parents to say hello to her, which makes our parents very happy. Occasionally, she has even followed our parents home for some treats and then goes right back up there as soon as she’s done.

Eliot lived with us for several months, but she was so young and super playful that it wasn’t fun for the rest of us older pets to be around. Our parents found her a great home with some friends of theirs and now she gets to play with two other cats the same age as her in that home. Our parents go visit her and always come home smelling like her, but they’re glad she’s happy and so we’re happy, too.

I guess our parents do other stuff but I’m not sure what it is. All I know is they do the most important stuff like feeding us and putting fleece blankets over us while we snooze on the sofa, and that’s really all that matters. Marlowe and I noticed there are stockings on the mantle just for us, so hopefully it’ll be a bag of stinky treats or a cool, new toy we can shred within 10 minutes because those are the best gifts!

Anyway, our parents had their friend, Len Peralta, do a Christmas card drawing of all of us. I like how Luna is judging everyone from the window the best. She doesn’t know it yet, but Santa is bringing her a brand new empty box and her very own bag of her favorite treats for Christmas! She may act like she doesn’t care, but we know she does. At least she didn’t have to wear one of these ridiculous Christmas sweaters like the rest of us!

We hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a happy 2017!

Love, Seamus

I Made A Thing!

Back in May, I wrote a three-part blog post series called “Life In Overdrive” where I had been feeling like I wasn’t doing something creative for myself, and so I went on a “me retreat” to figure that out. When I had arrived at this location, they were offering a painting workshop and since I’d always wanted to learn how to paint, I signed up for it. It didn’t turn out to be what I had expected AT ALL. It didn’t teach the skill of painting. It was about finding creative ways of expressing yourself, which at the time felt very hippie voodoo new age what did I get myself into type of thing. But it ended up being an incredible experience that helped me find all kinds of ways of expressing myself. Mainly, just having the confidence to make a thing and not worry about what anyone else thinks of it. Creative freedom is the best way to describe it, I suppose.

Since I had always wanted to learn to paint, I set aside the fear of how to do it and just got supplies and figured it out for myself. I would see things and really want to paint them, and so I did. I know I have SO much to learn but I am loving taking the steps toward doing this thing I’ve always wanted to do. I shared my progress on Twitter and heard from a bunch of people who are either doing their own creative thing and sharing how great they feel doing it, or I hear from people who have also felt like they’ve wanted to do something creative but had been afraid to start. My posts about it here and on social media sparked creativity in people I’ve never met, and now we’re all making a thing that makes us happy. Hooray!

As I started sharing things, I had many requests to sell my artwork which COMPLETELY freaked me out. I was doing this thing for me and didn’t feel like I could charge anyone for a thing I made because I didn’t feel like I had enough experience to suddenly sell what I was making. Seven months later, I finally feel like it’s okay to share it in some unique kind of way, a little at a time and so yesterday, I quietly opened an Etsy shop with one item: a set of 10 blank notecards that have two different digital images of my first watercolor paintings. EEEEP! They are silhouette paintings of trees that I saw at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It’s crazy. They are literally the first and second thing I painted and I’m selling them. YIPES! Even though I shared the paintings on Twitter, it’s kinda scary to make it into a thing that people can own and now that I’ve made it available, the scary feeling has been replaced with excitement. Yay!

If you’d like to see what I did or even order a set for yourself or someone you love, I would be honored if you checked out my tiny store. And as I create more things, I will put them there, possibly freaking out right before I make it public, and then doing a happy dance that I was brave enough to do so.

Trust In Me

I don’t know what it is about me, but people I’ve never met will strike up conversations with me in the most random places. Not just a “Hey, you’re tall. Can you reach that item on the top shelf for me?” in a grocery store (although that does happen to me ALL the time, which is fine) but like, waiting for an elevator, or standing in line before a store opens or whatever, people will start sharing personal experiences with me. I always listen because I feel like the person maybe doesn’t have anyone else to talk to, or maybe they’re scared or lonely or upset and for whatever reason, they see me and feel safe sharing something personal about themselves.

I’ve had people talk to me about their divorce, or about their children, or their job. Once, I was coming out of a doctor’s office and a very distraught woman with two small children spotted me and asked me to take her kids home (thirty miles away) because she had just been diagnosed with cancer. I didn’t take her kids for her ( I was worried it was a moment of panic and then she’d come to her senses and think I kidnapped them) but she was so upset that I had a security guard come over and help her call a friend or family member to come assist her. Another time earlier this year, I was waiting in a lobby when a very sweet old man, who seemed lonely and scared, struck up a conversation with me, so I stopped what I was doing to listen to him. (I wrote all about that one here.) Maybe this kind of thing happens to everyone and I’m just acutely aware of it myself, but my point is, it happens to me all the time and honestly, I love that people see me and feel safe or that they can trust me with what they’re about to share.

Yesterday, I went with a friend to the Producers Guild to watch a screening of Manchester By The Sea and after the movie ended, there was a Q & A with the writer/director of the film. I had no idea what the movie was about before attending, but I was happy to go and spend some time with my friend. The movie is very good in an “Oh my god, that’s so sad” kind of way. I know even writing about this will be a spoiler so I don’t want to give too many details, but basically, the main character (played by Casey Affleck) is so emotionally detached from everyone he encounters because of the death of his own family, that he has decided that’s how he’s going to live the rest of his own life. It’s gut-wrenching because there are so many opportunities for him to pull himself out of living this way, but it just never happens.

The movie didn’t end the way I expected it to and it took me a few minutes to process that. Then, the writer/director and another man came out on stage to discuss the movie. After about 15 minutes of their discussion, I had to pee so badly that I quietly snuck out of the theatre and made my way over to the restroom. When I came out of the restroom stall, I went over to wash my hands next to the only other person in there; a blonde woman, mid-50s or so, and we made eye contact in the mirror. Once that happened, she asked me “What did you think of the movie?” I told her I had no idea what it was about before coming here and even though it was very good,  I was a little unsure of the ending at first, but I get why it ended that way. We both made our way over to the paper towels.

As we finished drying our hands, she tossed her paper towel into the trash and said to me “It was very sad.” I responded, “Yes, it was extremely sad” as I tossed my paper towel in the trash as well. She continued to look at me as we made our way to the door, her face stoic, somehow looking sad and emotionless at the same time, then added “I can completely relate. I lost my daughter and my two grandchildren.”

It took me a second to process what she said, and just as I was about to say “Oh my god, I am so sorry” she turned and opened the door, walked out of the restroom and across the lobby, out the front door of the building to the sidewalk, and was gone.

She didn’t say this to shock me and she didn’t go speeding away so I couldn’t catch her. In that moment in the restroom as she told me of this tragedy in her life, I could see she was trying to have an emotional connection with someone, and that someone happened to be me. But as she opened the door, she had a look on her face as if she regretted that feeling because she, like the character in the movie, had decided she was going to live the rest of her life being emotionally detached from everyone, and so she opened the door to leave that moment behind.

On my drive home, I kept replaying this incident in my head. I felt like I needed to do something with this information but she was gone, and now it remains with me, unresolved. When I got home, Wil and I took the dogs for a walk. I told him what happened as I choked back tears. I felt so sad for the tragedy this woman endured and who is obviously still in so much pain. I thought about it when I went to sleep last night, and it was the first thing I thought about when I woke up this morning. I can’t even begin to imagine the incredible loss she endured and the pain she is still in. Losing your child and your grandchildren all that the same time is something I don’t think anyone could ever get over.

I don’t even know her name, I only remember her face and the words she said to me. All I want to do is give her a hug and thank her for trusting me enough to reach out,  if only for that one moment, but I can’t. And so I’m writing it here, to put it out in the universe in the hopes that somehow, this will get to her.