the view from Sunday: writing and flowers

Morning pages, tulips for color, and greenery for life. (with a kitty cat cameo from Friday)

My DSLR has ceased to be and I need a new camera.

Feb 2018 - Sundays

Feb 2018 - Sundays

Feb 2018 - Sundays

Feb 2018 - Sundays

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life: where do we go from here?

The post I had planned feels wrong in light of recent events, so I leave you with some happy, sleepy kitties.

Because we all need a little rest…

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and some kitty side-eye action.

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See you Friday with a 2016 recap video.

the view from Sunday: words, words, words.

Can it be? Yes! I’ve started writing again :). The struggle has been real (too real, really), but I’m finally in a state where I can focus and get down to it. I spent the day working on a rather messy chapter that needed a day-long, uninterrupted rewite. It’s also a rather long one, so I’m debating splitting it in two… but that decision will keep for now. What really matters is that I’m starting to feel energized about the draft again. After all, I’m the only one who really cares if I finish, and I’m nothing if not persistent.

Cats are eager…

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If not particularly energetic.
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the view from Sunday: finding normal

As per usual, I have made the mistake of having too little food and too much caffeine. My head is reeling. It’s not even about the caffeine, I just really enjoy the taste of coffee and coffee drinks. I have a weakness (re: problem).

This was only the second drink of the day… I’m on to three as of writing this (I will stop! no more!)
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I’m still driving around in my mom’s car, so I’ve been trying not to go out much. I’m not scared of driving (I know that happens sometimes after car accidents), it’s just that I don’t want to deal with much at the moment. I’ve been reading, and reading, and reading all day (as you’ll see in Friday’s video, which will feature all the things I’ve read while keeping my mind off the mess). One thing I did do was pick up my new (old) glasses. I wore these for a year before getting a new vision plan, but I always wanted to give them another try.

Here I am in all my lazy Sunday glory—no makeup and silly hair.
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The cats have been all kinds of frisky. Be not fooled by their innocent appearance.
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Happy Sunday! ttfn.

and then she came back

It’s been a quiet month, but a good one. I challenged myself to rewrite chapters 11-15 and I did, writing an entirely new chapter during the process, and soaring past my initial word count goal. I like to think that the new bits add the much-needed character development that was lost after my first round of cutting and rewriting. It’s a slow, arduous process, but it’s coming together and I only lost 5 writing days this month…

Speaking of lost days—I started taking turmeric to relieve my aches and pains (TMJ and arthritis in general, plus migraines as a result). I just finished my first bottle and, I have to say, I’m really feeling a difference in my pain levels. Can’t wait to receive my next order (I should’ve ordered sooner, but I was caught up  in getting sh*t done).

There has been a lot of drama on the kitty cat front (re: poopy princess kitty). By some strange alchemy, I think I’ve managed to get the poops under control, but it was a serious trial (and error).

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Caramel Loaf does not approve.

In the meantime, I’m mentally preparing myself to do my first Whole30 in an effort to kill my sugar cravings and reset my system. My biggest challenge will be cutting out the grains. I’ve cut out dairy in the past (and seriously need to get back in the habit), but it’s bread that I’ll miss the most. I generally avoid soy because of my thyroid issues, but dairy (not milk, but yogurt and cheese), peanuts, and grains are my weakness. Wish me luck (and willpower).

wrapping up October

on writing

It’s been a little over a year since I last participated in a proper NaNoWriMo challenge and the thought of trying to write 50k words is definitely intimidating at the moment. My calendar for the next month is already filled with things to do: the boy’s birthday, a library conference, holiday parties at work and at home, and other little time commitments scattered throughout November. Plus, I’ve been in rewriting/revising mode for so long (between Cassiel and Anuna, it feels like all I’ve done in the last three years is rewrite and revise), I’m anxious about delving into a whole new story, setting, cast of characters, etc. I’m excited, but scared… and not sure I’ll get to 50, even if I squeeze in every free minute I can. My schedule has changed so much since the last time I participated in NaNo, I’ll be happy if I get close.

on life

It’s been nearly three months since I took in Caramelito, my half-blind rescue kitty, and we’re finally making progress. He’s no longer running scared when a new person comes for a visit, and (after much trial and error) I think he’s finally adjusting to my sleeping schedule and knows that I’ll be back to play in the morning. There have been LOTS of sleepless nights in the last two months, but the last two nights have been blissful. In my desperation, I purchased a cheap, disposable cat cube that is providing hours of entertainment, and a short scratching post thing with bouncy balls hanging off the ends, so he can bat at them to his heart’s content. It feels like he’s been here longer than three months; I’ve been so wrapped up in figuring out how to make the house friendly to a young cat. He requires lots of energy, but getting to know all his little quirks and habits has made for a nice change, and a good distraction after losing Didymus.

on books

After finishing the latest draft of Anuna, I decided to focus on reading, especially genre reads. Some of the latest include:

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black – an original, post-apocalyptic/sci-fi style take on vampire YA.

Evernight by Kristen Callihan – the 5th book in the Darkest London series, Victorian paranormal romance (these are naughty fun).

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision not to have Kids, edited by Meghan Daum – a series of essays on choosing to remain childless. Definitely resonated.

and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – still reading it, not sure how I feel about it, but interesting.

finding normal

It’s been a pretty rough week. My birthday was the day after I lost Didymus; it was the saddest birthday I’ve had in a very long time. It was a few days before I felt like doing more than wandering around or lying on the couch reading, but I started writing again on Monday. The boy has been very supportive and managed to distract me with a Back to the Future marathon. There’s been a lot of soul-searching; it’s been a year full of loss and I’m just hoping to find a new sense of normal in light of it. I took in one of my mom’s special needs cats yesterday. He was born with ingrown eyelashes and lost most of his vision in one eye at a very young age. He had his eyes “fixed” last year, but he’s an anxious little cat and very jumpy. He’s getting used to the new sights and sounds, but he hasn’t eaten much and spends most of his time in the hollow under my couch when not demanding cuddles. I wasn’t really ready for this, but I promised my mom long ago that I would take him in after Didymus passed (he wasn’t open to sharing his space, so I couldn’t do it earlier). There’s a lot of post traumatic stress to deal with, I just hope little Cara acclimates enough to start eating and drinking.

grieving the loss of a cat

This morning, I lost my Didymus the Cat.

Didymus was the only surviving kitten in a litter of five (I like to think he’s the one looking back, but he could be the one firmly attached at the front–he was a voracious eater).

It was a litter of outdoor kitties and his siblings didn’t make it. I won’t go into details but it was a case of cruelty involving minors so there was no justice in the end. Didymus was 5 weeks old when he appeared in our garden, hungry and scared, but alive.

We weren’t allowed to have pets in our apartment, but I begged and pleaded to keep him until my mom let me have my way. I said I would find him a home and I did–with me. He was a funny little cat from the start and enjoyed being carried so much he learned to lift his front legs into the air whenever he wanted to be picked up.

His markings became darker with age, until he was mostly gray and black with a white belly.

And he always had the most amazing blue eyes.

He was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma after I discovered a strange lump on his shoulder. He underwent surgery in February, but the bump was back within two months. The vet wanted to try again, but I refused. I knew it was a terminal illness and that it was progressing too fast to have any real hope of long-term recovery. I made the decision to watch and wait. His quality of life started to take a turn for the worse on Tuesday evening. It was getting harder for him to walk and lifting his head to eat was becoming difficult but he was still eating. Last night it was nearly impossible to get him to take more than a few licks of the moistened food and the only thing I could get him to take was a spoonful of yogurt. I knew that I was only prolonging his suffering so I asked my mom to take him in to the vet to see if there were any other options for palliative care, but there were none. I knew it was time to let go. I wasn’t there when it happened. I felt obliged to go to work for a meeting and because I needed to take care of business before going on vacation; I drove as fast as I could, but I couldn’t be there in the end.

I keep thinking he’s just around the corner every time I walk into the living room, plopped across one of his many blankets. It’s going to be hard to put his things away. There will never be another cat like him, though there will be others. The pain of losing a pet is real, but it would be more painful to not experience the love they bring.

I said goodbye to him this morning and he work me with a happy little mreow this morning. This is the last picture I have of him. I took it when he came to wake me at 6:30 am. I was surprised that he was able to make it to my room, he was that tired, but I was grateful to see his little face at my bedside one last time.

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the view from sunday: rest and rainbows

The weekend has been a blur of post-conference decompression. There have been a lot of naps. I had a great time, but whenever I’m away from home for more than a day I find it really hard to get back to normal. It’s like jet-lag without the jet part. Even after an afternoon nap, I’m still exhausted.

It’s going to be a tough week. The boy is away so I’m cat sitting, which means I’m going to have to do some creative scheduling in order to squeeze everything into my already tight schedule.

Didymus turned 14 while I was away, but my mom made sure to make him a party hat to mark the occasion. It’s a melancholy celebration because the sarcoma he had removed in February has returned. He’s going in for a second procedure on Tuesday, but I’m afraid it will be back sooner rather than later. Trying to treasure every moment.

On a lighter note, there was a beautiful rainbow that spread across the neighborhood this afternoon. I will take it as a good sign.

in memoriam

I’ve had to make the tough decision to put my sweet Crookshanks to sleep. He’s been a survivor, having been diagnosed with FelV and having undergone surgery to remove a growth that was affecting his ear and throat about five years ago. At the time, the vet suggested we put him to sleep because he was a stray and we couldn’t keep him indoors, but we said he was frisky and lovable despite his ailment and we would take care of him as long as we could.

He stayed with us all this time, waiting for me by the door every day when I came home from school or work just so I would rub his head and give him cuddles. He lived on love, craving caresses more than food when it was feeding time.

He’s been wasting away since the summer, and it’s been heartbreaking to watch him lose his health, but his sweet temper is still there and today he still waited for me by the door when I arrived from work. I saw how badly he was and I realized there was no amount of love I could give him that would make him better, so I had to decide to end his pain. It’s terrible what is happening to him and I won’t go into detail because I choose to remember him as he was when he was big and strong and golden-pink, when the sound of him running towards me sounded like tiny hoof-beats, he was that strong.

This is my Crookshanks as I choose to remember him today and tomorrow.

a much loved kitty