Saturday, December 5, 2009

Snow Day

So quiet, so peaceful, so nice to be inside and look out at it. I bought some new bird feeders and seed mix and tried my best to get a photo while the snow was falling, but of course, every time I tried to snap of photo, the birds flew off! And it was beginning to get dark! So these photos were the last ones I took, gave up on getting one of the birds ON the feeder!

The past couple of months have been a little stressful for me, and I have started to compose a post numerous times and then just think "I don't have the time or strength to go into details" so post nothing...but that in itself somehow weighs on me, so time to write and lighten my heart.

I did have a wonderful visit with my mom and the love in her life, in Philadelphia in November. They are both nearing 80 and we had a scare when he was diagnosed with colon cancer in October and I thought that maybe this planned trip from Oregon would have to be cancelled. But his surgery went well, no evidence of mets in any of the lymph node biopsies and his recovery very smooth, so they flew out to a week long Elderhostel Arts and Music seminar and I was able to join them for symphonies, museums and great food as their seminar came to a close.

They are both near 80 but in great shape and health and are very active, traveling the world, going to film festivals, motorcycle meets and have a trip planned to France in the spring. But this scare has me worried and pondering what it will feel like when she is gone, that the presence, the feeling that knowing if I needed her if I was in trouble...would be gone.

The night that Mike died, she was on a plane in hours and was here for me, helping me through those first couple of terrifying weeks, and gave me the strength to carry on. I lay awake feeling anxious and sad sometimes, and am so glad we have these times together now.

Here's some photos of some of what we shared in Philly (click on them to biggify)

Outside the Barnes Collection Museum-lovely crisp fall day and memorable museum. THE BARNES FOUNDATION

One of the many murals dotting the city, all unique and telling a story of the city. MURAL ART IN PHILADELPHIA

The area reminded me of Portobello Market neighborhood in England!

Old City Hall, love the swirly clouds in this photo

How they light up downtown at night!

The Reading Terminal Market, had to have a real Philly Cheesesteak, of course.

Phillies fans getting face painted on the streets by an artistic entrepreneur.

Mom and I in a beautiful arched entry to a church.

Inside the Masonic Temple, my second favorite place we visited, after the Barnes Museum. GRAND LODGE OF PENNSYLVANIA

You might remember me talking about Sunny, the kitty I got back from a home for "inappropriate urination", how I had found a new home for him that after all, couldn't adopt him. Well, a family here who recently had to put their Cornish Rex to sleep because of a mediastinal neoplasia (a tumor in the chest) was willing to give him a try. They had no other cats and loved the breed and missed their kitty deeply. Unfortunately within a few days, Sunny was spraying and not using the box again, even though they followed my "introducing a new cat" instructions to the letter, so I took him back in.

I had so hoped he would be happy in his new home (his third--forth, including me) with no other cats around, but it wasn't to be. I did not want him to spend the rest of his life in a room by himself--that is not living but existing but he was fearful with other cats and I already have issues with one of my cats spraying, so having him have run of the house here wasn't an option either. All the medical tests proved it not to be a medical issue but a behavioral one and he was on Paxil even.

I made the difficult decision to euthanize him, not wanting him to go from home to home, feeling anxiety with each. He is at rest now, and I think it was the right decision, but still very hard for me to let go of.

Mike's birthday was November 3rd, and he would have been 61...funny, but he will always be 58 to me, ageless like Marilyn Monroe or Paul Newman. I have mentioned this before, but on those special days, somehow it slips by without me actually celebrating that day...but he is always on my mind. For a moment, I feel guilty about that, not remembering on the day, but there are reminders of him here everywhere, not sad ones, just sad he is gone...note: those headphones were so I didn't have to listen to the WOW babble, sweet guy he was!

And work...I'm still having some problems with frustration and irritability and my boss talked to me again. I think Mike was a de-fuser for me and enabled me to cope with the stressors at work. I remember hearing at a seminar one time that "The best way to be happy at work, is to marry the right person" which you can take to mean Happy Relationship, Happy matter whether that relationship is with yourself or a significant other.

She said some of the staff are afraid to come up and help me because I "bark" at them. She said to let go of having everything perfect or done "my" way. She said it was devisive to teamwork, and yes, she is right. But the texting, the gossip, the time wasting is what frustrates me the most, not the quality of their work when the are working...but I am not managing this practice and do need to let go of that (is it snippy to add...if the boss is ok with it? Yes)

Much of it may have to do with the fact that I am in my 50's (for a little while longer, thank you) and they are in their 20's and well, I will never be able to change "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference".

I have talked with two close girlfriends and they say I have been having this conversation with myself and them for the past 6 months or more, and need to change to get through this. So I made a call to one of these friends therapist, and have made an appointment to meet, and that is a step in the right direction (see flow chart below--which I found on another blogging friends blog and then couldn't find where--what did we do before Google?). Just remembered, it's one one of my favorite blogs (got to buy the books!) 37 DAYS

Another funny aside, I downloaded the flow chart and then couldn't find where I put it...ever happen to you? Turned out, I had made it my desktop picture instead of downloading it TO the I just left it there to remind me everytime I am at the computer...which is often!

I think we will be compatible, see things from a similar perspective, as she lost her husband and is in the midst of caring for a beloved dog with serious health issues. The year after Mike died, I had a good friend calling me daily, getting me to accomplish one task at a time and not letting me flounder in quicksand. But as needed, he cut me lose after a year and let me try to fly on my own. And I did, dealing with the responsibilities of home ownership on my own (believe it or not, before Mike, I had rented the same house for 18 years and had never owned a home), replacing the roof, the HVAC system, the Flood! And just recently the Prius' battery died (the big, expensive one) but luckily it was under warranty still.

This past year I have felt like I have been dog paddling in a lake with the shore quite a distance away, grasping onto flotsam floating by, catching my breath. Not that I haven't accomplished anything. I have kept to my goal of downsizing the cattery, placing kitties with friends and have gone from 13 cats to 5; cut back on cat showing and breeding; have made time to visit family and friends knowing that some things you will regret in life if you put them off for a "better time".

But I sometimes find myself feeling like "Is this all there is" and trying to find direction again, not really knowing how, worrying it will be the wrong direction, and on and on. I used to feel like this sometimes (pre-Mike) when I was younger and single and scraping by to make ends meet, and wondering where I'd be when I was 64...and that's not too far away now and while Mike did "provide" for me, and I have been able to stay in my house, pay off my debts and put enough food on the table that I've gained 15#, it's still daunting.

The cats and my job give me a lot of pleasure and satisfaction. I spend a lot of time counseling clients and even fellow bloggers on how to take better care of their cats. I'd love to do that full time, have a cat healthcare blog, but manage to squeeze things like that in someplace! One friend said I need to diversify, but I don't know if that would make me happy, either, so I am hoping that seeing a counselor will help me put things in a perspective that will work for me.

Some friends say I am too hard on myself. Some say my frustrations come from wanting to accomplish everything in a day and not taking it a "corner of the room" at a time. I think that is true, too. There's that basement that I can't break up into little accomplishments so never get anywhere with it. I need some direction and guidance...a guidance counselor, teehee...I am fortunate in so many ways, I need not wallow in my misfortune. I compare what I feel sometimes to nail biting, regretful and mad at myself for biting my nails, like I wanted to feel bad.

So, December is starting out to be a good month for me. I will be in Oregon for Christmas with family, bringing in the New Year with them, hopefully rested and ready to get on with it! Family gatherings can involve their own stress sometimes too, but just the change, the shedding of the responsibilities I have at home for a little while, will be a gift, just like the travels I made to friends over the Thanksgiving holiday, being with people who care for me. So think of me, in front of a warm fire, sipping Holiday Cheer and smiling a lot.


  1. I'm so sorry that you are having such a stressful time of it and do hope that the therapist will do you some good.
    I am glad that you are on here again. I know it helps me a lot to write things down and I try to put something down everyday if I can.

    Tango and Silly :)

  2. You'll like Oregon at Christmas. Elderhostel? Never heard of such things.

  3. Oh Teri. I'm so sorry you are so sad. I send you a big hug and wish I were nearby to have a glass of wine with you. I do think it a great idea to talk things over w/a therapist. I have done this in my past for 15 years or so. I hope you are able to sort some things out. And glad to hear you will fly out to Oregon for Xmas. Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman. Blessings, Suki

  4. Hi.
    I did go on the web and checked out Elderhostel, now called something else. They have lots of programs I would enjoy. Thanks.

  5. Your honesty and introspective tone are what stand out here, and I think it bodes well for personal growth--however you decide to go about it.

    Have a great Christmas !

  6. I read your whole front page and I like you. It seems, despite your losing Mike and having to put Sunny down, you have some inner strength that helps you write this lovely post. I had to put down my 15 year old female cat a year ago due to renal failure and it was so peaceful. She had a great life right up to the end as the kidney issue presented itself suddenly, sort of. I look back and I can see the signs but 15 years of being a pampered cat is a good life. I still have my Wendell (love of my life) who is a very young 13.
    Take care. I really enjoyed your blog. My best wishes to you, Teri.

  7. Thank you friends, for your gentle words...they are the wind beneath my wings...

  8. I completely understand what you mean when you think "is this all there is". I feel that too, and I am only 44. And all I can do is keep going and see what life brings. I can't claim the loss of a spouse, or the loss of a beloved animal for making me feel this, it is just there. So, I guess just know that you are not alone in that feeling.

    When I was in my 20's I did some extensive counseling and I believe that helps me to this day. I hope you find some answers or relief when you talk with your therapist.

    It sounds like you have good friends and family to spend time with and I know that helps.

    Hang in there and keep moving forward.

    Rhonda~Junior and Orions Meowm

  9. Thanks for dropping by our blog. Sorry to see this is a rough time for you. Hope the therapy kicks in soon and you feel better.

  10. I can relate so much to what you are thinking and going through. I think it is getting older and all that goes with it. I am so sorry about Sunny. Here is a toast to a much better year ahead. xoxo

  11. Hi, you're probably in Oregon already, getting a bit of the chilly. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Hope you are feeling not so sad today. I think around the holidays it is easy to be sad at times. You have good family and friends that love you and offer their support.

    I noticed over at ML & Deb's auction blog that you mentioned donating a statue to help us rais funds to help Fiona out. I am heading this up and if you would want to send a copy of the statue along with the size of to me at my email address

    I am heading the auction up at this time and details about when and where will follow.


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