Wednesday, March 18, 2020

happy new year!

Happy New Year!!! (better late than never!)

It's been forever since I've posted, yikes! Sorry about that and thank you to those who inquired about our well-being. A combination of a lot going on and technology challenges.

We are all well!

It's been an action packed end of the year and start to this year.

The holidays were enjoyable. Laura made a yummy Christmas dinner, that we took over to my parents' place to share.

Christmas dinner
Early into the new year, my 84yo mother slipped and fell. Her dementia had really worsened, and the fall really intensified the decline of cognitive functioning. Her fall started a rapid decline of her quality of life. She passed away on Jan 21st. It's been sad but the most predominate emotion has been relief. Her quality of life was very poor, so she is no longer suffering and dad was very overwhelmed with trying to be her caretaker. I am now free from worrying about her.

Time since her death has felt much less emotionally intense, but more busy with time looking after dad. He quickly realized he can't afford to remain in the house any longer, so needs to move. We discussed the option of him moving in with us when we buy a house and he's considering it.

That conversation spurred us to start looking at houses again. We tried to get a few, but had no luck. And then at the end of February we put an offer in on a house, and it was accepted!! Now we're in the process of buying it! Paws crossed it all works out. We are very excited about the possibility of having a house once again! It's just right down the street from our current apartment.

The right side of the house, where the door is, is a lovely sun room for the cats!!!!

Screened in windows on all three sides. The cats are going to LOVE this space!! And of course that's why we are buying it, for the cats.

We are less than three weeks away from closing. Super excited!!

Meanwhile, I'm planning on taking Nahum to my office tomorrow in hopes that he will one day become my office cat! After having Marvin at my office, I really missing having a kitty presence there. Hopefully Nahum likes his new job.

Theo & Nahum, best friends forever!

Theo has been a little more accepting of Oliver. Nahum is still a brat though and bullies Oliver any chance he can get.

I mentioned last summer that I had started offering equine assisted therapy. At the start of this new year I started a new part-time job as the equine therapist at a large nearby equine facility. It's been a ton of fun and the best bit - I get to hang out with the three barn kitties!

Tuffy is the boy barn kitty and he's all love and cuddles. He's often joining me for my sessions, although at the last session he showed up late - he waltzed in and dropped a gift in the middle of the office floor - gross!! Having Tuffy around has really made me want to have one of my kitties in my regular office, so hopefully things go well with Nahum. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 29, 2019

season of gratitude

Hello!! Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone! We've been absent for a while, sorry about that. I've been selfish and not sharing the kitty fun with you all - how rude, I know. We are all well - let me recap some of the year.

We lost Marvin in early July. Such a tiny cat but he left a huge hole. I miss this guy, he was such a unique character. I'll always love my Marvs.

Naham has had an eventful year with his i131 radiation thyroid treatment and then diabetes diagnosis. He had been in remission, but sadly that didn't last. He's now stabilized, which is awesome. He gets a quarter unit of insulin every morning and that seems to be doing the trick. Grateful such a small dose is enough to keep him stable. 

Every year he gets more and more cuddly! 

Fluffy Nahum cuddles are the best!

We went apple picking this fall. Yum, yum, yum!!

Rose is still terrified of humans. She won't let us get near her, but thankfully she's healthy. I don't know what we'll do if she ever gets sick, I just hope that never happens! She's still as adorable as can be, just have to admire from a distance!

look with your eyes, not your paws!

Theo is very much still Theo! This cat has the biggest personality. He's still as crazy as ever, although he's taken to tummy rubs now. Every morning he sits on the table waiting as patiently as he can manage. Buddy taught him the art of tummy rubs, he's been liking them more and more! He doesn't relax like Buddy did, but Theo is way more uptight than Buddy!

Theo, always ready to lend a helping paw...

I am very grateful to have discovered kayaking at my local happy place, Grafton Pond. The kayaking season ended with an incredible sunrise. It was like nothing I have ever experienced before. Such an amazing gift, a perfect way to close out the season. I hope to return in the winter to snowshoe. These photos don't have any special filters or processing.

It was perfectly still and I was the only one on the pond.

Pierre has settled in nicely. He still doesn't let us touch him, but he's acclimated to indoor living quite well. Of course he loves his papa more than anything!

Pierre and Oliver, forever cuddle buds!

He looks so soft!!

I've been a counselor now for over 15 years and my long standing dream was to start offering equine assisted therapy with my clients. My dream came true this year!! I connected with an amazing equine therapist person who owns this amazing nearby farm. I was able to bring a few clients over and start working with the horses. It was so amazing and so fun! I can't wait to do more when spring rolls around.

Oh Vermont, you are so beautiful!

Xanthus and Sunshine
Seeing Sunshine, a 7-pound cat, be so chill around Xanthus, a 1,500-pound horse was quite the sight. It gave me a picture of what living with complete security and self-confidence looks like. I often feel more acquainted with insecurity and fear.

photo courtesy of Meri

I can't believe I get to work in such a beautiful setting!

I've been spending more time and energy this past year helping my parents. My mother is nearing late-middle stage dementia. She's more easily confused, agitated and struggles to recognize people she's known for most of her life. My dad is her chief caretaker but he's struggling with a lot of challenges as well. So, attempting to caretake them has kept me busy and stressed. It's also been a gift, because the reason we moved back to this area was to be nearer to them to be able to help them as they need it. Thankfully, as mom's problems keep getting worse, dad is getting more open to receiving help.

Oliver is a dream! He's so lovely and sweet. Most nights he waits until Theo and Nahum are asleep, then he sneaks into the bedroom, jumps up on the bed, and cuddles in with me for the night! He purrs and purrs. I wake up and delight in his warm, loving presence. Cuddling with this guy is the best!

He's often found sleeping upside-down.

no more!
After making a handful of offers on various houses and not getting any of them, we decided to pause the house search. It was a difficult decision to make, because this apartment is so tiny. The search was keeping us waiting to live until we moved, we realized waiting to live is not living. So, we'll be staying in this place for a bit more, which also gives us more energy to help my parents. Thankfully the cats seem to be settled here too, although Nahum and Theo still pick on Oliver, which makes me sad.

Laura made a lovely portable Thanksgiving feast to share with my parents. I realized it's probably the last Thanksgiving meal I'll have with mom where she recognized who we were. That was sad, but it was also lovely to spend the holiday with them as they shared old stories.

All in all, it's been a blessed year as we continue to settle in. I hope it's been a year of great blessing for you! Thanks for continuing to follow along!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


We received good news today from the Internal Medicine Specialist at Tufts. We've been sending her Nahum's blood glucose numbers and today she declared that Nahum is officially in remission for his diabetes! Yah!!!!

He still gets the nasty OM weight management food that he hates. He needs to drop some weight which will also help with the diabetes. Meanwhile, he got his sporty Freestyle Libre continuous glucose monitor applied today. I was worried he might scratch at it and be annoyed by it but he acts like he doesn't even notice it's there!

It makes getting his numbers really easy, I just wave the reader over the sensor and get an instant number. We are collecting as much data as we can so we can tweak treatment if needed. The data from the reader gets transferred to software that makes nice charts and graphs.

No more insulin! No more blood glucose testing pokes!

The sensor last for 14-days. Our vet who applied it had never done one of these before but she was happy to learn. She seems worried about it staying in place, but with Nahum not bothering it, I think it will be fine. The IM Specialist said even if we only get a few days worth of data, it will be worth it. 

Hanging out with Pierre under the bed while the thunderstorm rolls through
I'm so happy that Nahum has responded so well to treatment! His personality has completely returned to his normal self! Go Nahums!!!

Theo prefers a blanket fort to wait out the thunderstorm

We learned that Theo has heart disease. We are waiting until he gets off a medication so we can test his blood pressure, that should happen next week. Once we have that information we'll have a better idea of treatment. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

life happens now

These past few years have been some of the most stressful I have ever experienced. Many months before our move to New England in early 2018, we began earnestly house hunting for our new home in Vermont. We thought it might take maybe a few months to find a place. Two years later, after making formal purchase attempts on three different properties, each of which fell through, we decided to suspend our house search and sign another year-long lease in our tiny apartment.

We never thought it would take long to find and buy a place. We took this apartment, sight unseen, thinking it would be very temporary, so we could endure the cramped space. Our focus was on finding a place to settle into. As the search rolled on, what we found was that we were not living life - life was on hold. We were waiting to live.

In the midst of this past year, the cats have done fairly well. It took some time for them to settle but they did. 600 square feet is small space for 6 cats. The layout has a small hallway space that connects the four rooms. This poses a challenge for Oliver when Theo or Nahum are camped out in the hallway. Since Theo and Nahum both harass Oliver, he's afraid of trying to get by them when they're in the hallway. Even with such challenges, I noticed the cats were making due with what was available, they were not waiting to live but were living in the now. The cats were settled and doing ok, I was the one living in an unfulfilled future, leaving me intensely depressed and anxious.

The stress load kept increasing between Marvin's health problems, financial challenges, mom's worsening dementia, nearly non-existent family relationships, work burn-out, etc. I realized at one point that I could not change the things that were adding so much stress to my life, so instead, I needed to add something into my life that was relaxing, life giving, something that would breathe life into my soul to counterbalance the drain from the stress.

I bought a small, cheap kayak. I wanted something that would fit inside my mini-van and thus make using it super easy. The idea of a roof tie-down situation was more than my overwhelmed brain could handle. Once I had the kayak, life jacket, and paddle all I needed was to find a spot. I first tried a small lake that was too developed for my taste and too big. And then I found Grafton Pond, in Grafton, NH. This place is incredible. 300+ acre pond that is nearly entirely undeveloped. It's all in a preserved land reservation and thus gas powered motors are not allowed.

I've only explored a small fraction of the pond so far. The bottom left little section keeps drawing me back, maybe someday I'll venture out and explore other parts.

Kayak fits perfectly in the back of the van.

I've been visiting most Sunday mornings, early before many others get there. 

I love loons and this pond has many. One day I saw about 10 loons congregated together - loon fest! Floating around among the loons is so peaceful and soul refreshing. The loon sounds connects deep within my soul. If you are not familiar with the Common Loon, you can learn more at the Audubon Common Loon page. You can listen to the loon sounds on that page too, my favorite is the wail:

and the Tremelo call:

The adults both share the parenting duties including laying on the eggs in the nest and fishing. The parents use these various sounds to communicate with each other over distance, helping them find each other if they get out of sight. 

The little part of the pond I visit has a pair of loons with two babies. I first saw the babies riding on one of the parent's back, it was so cute! 

You can see why I want the telephoto camera option!

This is my favorite part of the pond, this little protected space. It's very quiet and sheltered, perfect place to float and soak in the serenity. Hanging out in such surroundings quiets my heart and feeds my soul.

Playing with taking pictures underwater.

Perfect place for morning coffee and journal writing.

The parent loons catch little fish and then deliver the meal to their babies.

Life is meant to be lived now!