I was quasi-thinking while still mostly sleeping this morning. Cillian and Claddagh come to wake me up at about 4:00 in the morning. They pat my cheek with their paws. They nibble on my fingers, if I have carelessly left them available outside the covers. I am NOT open to these gentle suggestions. I have to get up at 5 anyway, but the difference between 4 and 5 is really important to me. Claddagh politely gives in and goes back to sleep at my feet. Cillian is younger,feistier, and holds out for play-time somewhat longer. Eventually, though, I fall back asleep, while still in the middle of petting him. He concedes more or less gracefully, and with my hand on his back, we all sleep for another 45 minutes or so. It's cozy and sweet, and the only consequence is that I have to change the sheets slightly more often than I would otherwise.
This having pets thing began so innocuously. Claddagh adopted us. Then he needed a buddy. I looked around, and it was done. And now my life is bigger and richer. Not simpler.
Hang on for an impossibly tortured segue. I just this week wrote a draft of a paper suggesting that, in spite of hideous fiscal pressures, this is not the time for universities to be risk-averse. The answer to our troubles is not, I think, retrenchment and mission truncation; it's large-scale collaboration and expansion. Assume I made my case, just for the sake of argument ;) I wonder if I was talking to myself. ("As usual", mutter my children.)
Maybe it's like the cats. Perhaps my flailing around, trying to organize and simplify and eliminate is the wrong approach. Perhaps a richer life is LESS simple. Where do the ideas of expansion and collaboration take me, I wonder?