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Run free, sweet Olive… you almost made it to 17

This is another ‘backpost’ that I am not actually putting up until way after the fact… I feel bad that  I didn’t say something here at the time, though I did put it up on Facebook, but we were still reeling from losing Simon when this came out of nowhere.

RIP Olive

We lost Olive suddenly after an intense flare-up of a chronic intestinal problem she had. It shouldn’t have been unexpected, but it was still a shock. Maybe her and Simon are cuddled up together in a sunbeam somewhere now. Olive had her issues, and her relationship with the other animals was a big source of unrest in the household for many years, but she was a sweet cat who was deeply empathetic – if someone was upset, she was always right there to comfort them.

She had a long life and she was in chronic pain from her old injuries, but she deserved a better death than to be rushed to the vet in agony. I am so, so sorry, Olive. May you run free and be whole.

Facing a brand-new year, head-on

The holiday leftovers have all been eaten, the cards taken down, and I think there’s maybe half a glass of eggnog left in the fridge. The cats have scattered their Christmas toys under various large pieces of furniture and Gwen’s are already quite well-chewed. Winter Solstice brought us the promise of the days beginning to lengthen again, with Christmas came time spent with reconnecting with friends and family (some in person, others maybe only by phone or online) and then 2011 wound itself down to an end.  And now here we are, in a brand new year again.

Last night we got a half inch of snow followed by a day of bitter cold, but I can’t complain as we’d been hammered with three heavy snows by this time last year and it’s been very mild. Perhaps winter will go easy on us this year. On New Year’s Day we had breakfast of homemade breakfast ‘sausage’ Joy made and eggnog pancakes I contributed, then relaxed for a few hours reading in front of the fire with all seven critters sprawled out around us. Then we went hiking with Gwen in the DuPont State Forest – it was brilliantly sunny and very warm for this time of year, a beautiful day for a hike. After we returned, we had another nice home cooked meal and a movie from Netflix. It was a relaxing and restorative holiday weekend and I hope it sets a good precedent for 2012.

Last year saw a lot of change and turmoil in the world around us, and it seems likely that pattern will continue… especially when you add in this being an election year here in the US (and the coming onslaught of nonsense that is going to bring), the ongoing recession, and all the Mayan calendar silliness. If there is actually some sort of ‘change of consciousness’ happening, maybe it’s that people are beginning to wake up on a mass scale, and really see what is going on around them. It needs to happen, the world is facing so many challenges and I’m hoping that all the protests and unrest are the first stage of people learning to work together and solve some of these problems.

On a more personal level, in 2011 we had a few changes around here. We added an unexpected family member… everyone has been too tactful to point out the ‘foster fail’, but guess we need to come clean, especially since our foster kitten, Ishi, is over a year old now! Equally unexpectedly, but with much regret, we also lost one this year. What happened with Paddy is still a sore spot… we never saw that coming and it still hurts.

Cricket made it through another year, for which we are grateful, though both she and Olive have gotten so old and frail… I’m not sure either of them has another Christmas in them, all we can do is make them as comfortable and happy as we can, and enjoy the time we have left with them. Time seems to flow faster with each passing year… I look at Simon, who is ten, and wonder where that black kitten disappeared to? Winter is six now and even Calvin is already all grown up, though still prone to flying through the air like superman. Gwen and Ishi, at 15 months, are still the ‘babies’ of the family, but not really babies anymore. I look in the mirror and see the inevitable passage of time etched in lines on my face , and glistening in the ‘few white hairs’ that are becoming a white streak…and as I stare at my reflection, I ask myself the important question, “is there ‘enough’ grey mixed in with the dark brown yet?” You know, so that I can dye my hair some outlandish shade of purple and actually be able to see the purple? Almost, I think. Maybe next year. 🙂

I thought that the above picture of Ishi that I’d been playing with in Photoshop, seeming to look out the window pensively (actually she was watching our new neighbor working in his garage) was a good image to start the year with. From this angle, you can’t even see that she singed off half her eyebrows last night sniffing a candle. Come to think of it, maybe that’s an even better metaphor to live by for 2012 – having the initiative to explore new experiences in the coming year, face them head on.

Even if you lose a few eyebrows in the process.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

The stockings are hung, good things are cooking in the kitchen, and the animals are all getting ready…

Some of them are pretty excited:

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Others are maybe a bit more laid back about it:

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It’s a good time to put on a costume, if you’re so inclined:

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Or your fancy party clothes:

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And there’s possibly even been a bit of caroling going on:

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Of course, there’s always that one family member who puts away a bit too much of the spiked eggnog at the holiday party:

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Calvin is having somewhat of an impulse control issue about waiting till Christmas morning to open presents:

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This is the second time I’ve had to drag him out of this one, and rearrange the (increasingly more shredded) paper in the bag. And it’s not even his present.

 

Winter has decided the presents don’t need to be unwrapped to be useful:

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We hope everyone has a safe, wonderful, and abundant holiday, and good things for the year to come!

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The Annual Halloween Critter Costume Party

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Fairy Princesses in the sun

It’s that time of year again… we took the pictures a day early because it might be dark by the time I get home from work tomorrow. The full album is here.
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Turtle high five!

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Cricket, Gwen, Simon, and Calvin

The usual disclaimer applies: no animals were physically harmed in the making of this photo album, but we can’t make any guarantees as to psychological effects. It’s payback for every lost night of sleep, and everything chewed, clawed or smashed throughout the rest of the year.

A new year comes bounding in…

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…like a hellhound out of some frozen Hell. That is what a friend jokingly said about the above picture, and that description seems to fit the weather of the past month rather well. It’s a shiny new year, but that’s because of the glare bouncing off all the snow and ice. We’ve had four snows – three of them significant, the last one still with us. Each time the snow was followed by days of bitter cold. Yesterday morning, it was four degrees outside when we got up. It’s very unusual for NC to get weather like this, and with this being the second year of it, I think we’re beginning to suffer from snow fatigue.

The dogs, on the other hand,  (Cricket being the exception here) are loving the snow. They frolic in it until they are exhausted. Paddy eats it, snorts it, digs in it gleefully. Gwen bounds through it and ends up coated in snow, looking like some sort of miniature yeti. At least someone is enjoying it, right?

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If you click on either of the above pictures it will take you to a gallery of their “Fun in the snow” from January 10.

Last year wasn’t the greatest one, but I am thankful for everything we have. These are hard times, a lot of people are struggling hard, facing incredible losses, and we’re fortunate to have stable jobs and a roof (of our own, yet!) over our heads.  We lost Lindsy this past year, and it’s still weird and sad to have her gone. She was part of our lives for what felt like forever. We had Paddy and Gwen (who I still haven’t properly introduced here, that’s coming) join the family, and the little kitten we adopted in December of 2009 blossomed into the most wonderful big hunk of orange cuddliness. We adore our Calvin.

Cricket – amazingly – is still with us and thanks to some advice from our vet, her stomach trouble is better than it has been in years. Olive reached her fourteenth birthday! Simon is nine – nine! Holy crap, how did that happen? Winter, the ‘baby’ before Calvin came, will be six this coming June. Time just seems to go faster and faster.

This year ahead is going to be a tough one, I think; we have family members facing serious health challenges and it feels like there is some uncertainty and change possibly in the wind with other parts of our lives. But I also feel that these are all things that everyone could emerge on the other side of better than before. We just need to buckle in for the wild ride, and remember to be grateful for all the good things in our lives.