Thursday, September 25, 2008

I promised cute kid pictures...

... and I don't want to disappoint! Blue is one year old now, and she is modeling her big girl jammies.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Moments of Clarity

Sometimes it takes a long long time and a lot of crappy stuff happening to help you make important decisions.

Sometimes you need to have lost all faith in yourself and your ability to make decisions for you to be able to see what you need to do next.

Sometimes you need to be patient, so your next move will be revealed, so to speak, rather than being a decision that you make.

I'm going to do a teacher training course in yoga. I want to be a certified yoga instructor. I am shooting to start in January. I need to decide exactly where, and to do that, I need to review programs. But, I absolutely need to do it.

My life has become unrecognizable to me. The only consistent thing in my life between August 2007 and August 2008 was my husband. EVERYTHING else changed. Such a huge part of my wellbeing was tied to my regular yoga practice. One of my favorite things in the world is going out to dinner, but if dinner plans would conflict with a yoga class, I would skip going out to eat to go to yoga. In my past life, I let almost nothing get in the way of going to yoga.

For the past year, I haven't practiced yoga. I am not very disciplined, and I really depended on classes. I haven't known where to go around here, nor have I felt like we had the $$ for me to take classes. I've felt like I've been at the end of my rope A LOT in the past couple of months, and suddenly I have realized that going back to yoga is the key to feeling better again.

I thought I would just go back to taking classes. Then, on the way back from my Grandfather's funeral, my sister Cat was talking about needing exercise and all the tension she had. I evangelized about yoga like Sarah Palin does about drilling for oil. I wanted to get down on the floor and start teaching her positions and help her find her tense spots and share everything I've learned about the benefits of yoga on mind, body, and soul. I didn't, because we were in the car, but I think I was pretty convincing.

I know that my future life is not going to include one 8-5 job that pays for everything. I'm going to make a crazy patchwork of a living that involves a lot of independent sources of income. I'm going to have a creative career, and one part of it will be teaching yoga.

So, yeah. That's one piece figured out. Namaste.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another Farewell

I went AWOL there for a few weeks. My Grandfather finally passed away on September 3rd, after more than 5 years, multiple heart attacks, a stroke, colon cancer, a broken hip and replacement this summer and, finally, a drug-reisistant staph infection that he never did shake. I've talked about his health and some of the difficulties he's had in the past, and it was a relief to me that he was finally at peace.

It was a sad trip to New Jersey, but honestly, he looked far better at the viewing than he had in years. In fact, I couldn't help but smile every time I looked at him, because all I could think was that he finally had his dignity back. He was given a very dignified service and memorial, and because he had served in the Navy in WWII, he had the flag-draped casket. Two Naval men in dress uniforms played taps, performed the flag folding ceremony and presented the flag to my grandmother. I'd never been at a military burial before, and the ceremony was so reverent and respectful- it was really beautiful. The two gentlemen who attended my grandfather's cemetary service were amazing, and I'm so grateful to them for how genuine they were while thanking my grandmother for Grandpa's service to his country.

I also enjoyed meeting my Dad's cousins, partly because that generation seems to have avoided The Crazy that my grandparents and their siblings had, and partly because it was so good to hear their fond memories of Grandpa. He was extremely cranky in his last decade or so. It was nice to remember what a friendly and generous uncle (and grandfather) he was in the past. I think every single one of my Dad's cousins said he was their favorite uncle. He was always out in the yard, on the roof, or tinkering with something. Everyone had stories of him helping with their bicycles as kids, and later, their cars. I think that's why he might have been cranky later in life- he never really recovered enough from that first heart attack to be as active as he liked.

One of the saddest parts for me was that the funeral was on Blue's first birthday. My baby girl turned one on the 9th, and, unfortunately, I wasn't there. I'm so glad I went out for Grandpa's funeral, though. It was good for all of us to be there. I'll post again soon with cute kid pictures.

I think my Great-Aunt Mary said it best on Sunday (she'll be 99 in December, and she's starting to get a little confused, which is sad), "Hug and kiss, hug and kiss. Time is short."

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Christmas Kitty

I found this old picture of Kouros after he had gotten rid of the fleas and upper respiratory problems he had when we found him. He was our Christmas present that year. This was one of the few times he wasn't trying to climb the tree...

I've been knitting and making jewelry a lot lately, and it's helped me through the sadness. I do have a pang when I realize he isn't going to come try to chew on the yarn or chase beads around. He would explore whatever I was working with, and then he'd settle in and just watch what I was doing. He was a great companion while I was creating. It didn't work with painting, though. The fur flying through the air was a problem.

I used to try to draw Kouros, and they never turned out very well. He needed to be drawn from pictures, because he was always moving. He made it into my September art project from 2006, here and here.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Moving On

I miss my furry little guy. He was our cat, Carl's and mine, and one of the sad things about losing him is that we've lost a bit of life from when it was just the two of us. It's getting better, and I look forward to the day when I don't cry when I talk about losing Kouros. I may be using this space to do some mourning. It's a good place to escape my everyday life and work through it. Just to warn you.
It's good to have this face to ease the pain...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

With a heavy heart...

We had to put Kouros down yesterday. His bladder wasn't getting its tone back, and was filling up again. We could have tried to catheterize him again, keep his bladder small for several days and see, but even then, his prognosis wasn't good. Rather than cause him further pain, we chose to let him go. We held him and cuddled him, and he was purring when he went. We miss him so much already, but it was the right thing to do.

The vet was wonderful to him and to us. I think I caught her right after he had bitten her (and drew blood) when I spoke with her the day before. He had not bitten anyone since he had been on his prozac. He was in pain. She said this had been building up for a while, so I don't feel *quite* so guilty. I'm just sad for the loss of my furry baby. He snuggled and loved us for giving him a home. He kept SVH company when he was out of work a few years ago. He comforted me when I miscarried. He was a loving companion, and we'll miss him terribly.

I was trying to think of a fitting tribute to him, but I didn't really feel like chewing through any of my knitting, or knocking a glass to the floor so it smashed and watching the water run. I'll just put up a picture of him doing one of his other favorite things- sitting on cardboard.

Kouros, Keeper of the Pizza Summer 2004-August 20, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kouros is having some urinary tract problems. He's at the vet's, and has been since yesterday morning. I feel so badly, because I think this particular bout came on because we ran out of the prescription food he was on and we were worried about money and we gave him something cheaper for a couple of weeks until we had a check come through. I knew better... I KNEW better... so I suppose I deserved the accusatory tone the vet used last night giving me the update, but it didn't make it any easier to take. She wasn't very nice to me.

I just haven't known what to do about Kouros, and this situation is bringing it all to a head. I never wrote about the aggression problems we were having with him last year. He would bite and draw blood, sometimes unprovoked. He would jump at you and continue to jump until you picked him up and locked him away. It started when we moved into our second apartment in Geneva, and I'm not sure why that seemed to be the trigger. He had other problems, too. He would dig in his water. He was mounting blankets and stuffed animals. He woke us up numerous times a night. I took him down to the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell, and they put him on kitty prozac. It worked beautifully. He settled down, we weren't bitten any longer, and all of the other problems went away. I taught him to sit and get up and down from things on command. It helped to let him know I was the boss.

Now we have Blue. She's in his territory all the time. I NEVER leave them together unattended. In fact, I rarely even allow him to be out in the same area as she is when I'm right there. He's been good for the most part. He nipped at her when she grabbed his paw and pulled it through the pet gate. He seems to hold back with her, but given how hard I know he can bite, I can't let my guard down at all. Keeping them apart has worked so far since the in-laws' house is pretty big, but how will it work when we're back in a small apartment? (I won't even hazard a guess as to when that will happen anymore)

The Animal Behavior Clinic gave him a poor prognosis. I think if he has to ever go off the prozac, we definitely won't be able to keep him. They said he has no fear. It's true- biting is a pretty confident behavior. He has never used his claws on a person for all the years we've had him. He only bit, but it was hard, either breaking the skin, or ripping fabric. Once he bit me through my jeans and left a bruise. Most people would probably have put him down. He's not exactly a very adoptable cat- he's on prozac AND prescription food. He's still sweet, and he's quite the hunter (he caught a mouse and a chipmunk that had gotten in the basement), but he's unpredictable. I can't let him spend too much time near my girl. I don't even know what to do when we're in the position to have babysitters come to watch Blue. He's a liability.

And none of that changes the fact that right now, he's at the vet, possibly obstructed, because he's moved down our financial priority list. I feel so terrible.