With Sadness

My heart aches as of late. I needed a place to write and I am not keeping up with my journaling and sometimes typing is easier. Blogger will be my therapy in this post. I posted frequently in the past about my cats, Anthony Jr. and Johnny Cat. Johnny had been hospitalized twice for liver failure and we found out he had diabetes. He stayed on insulin for about a year and a half and we got him on a strict diet and he was able to stop insulin. He was insulin free for about two years. By order of his vet, I would still monitor his blood sugars several times  a week and he was doing so well. Johnny was a giant love bug. He wanted nothing more than to be held or loved or petted or snuggled. He loved everyone he ever met and was very friendly to all people and other animals. Anyone that ever met him said he had a HUGE personality. He has never scratched, bit or hissed at anyone. He is a very mellow cat  who loved to purr and who loved his momma the most!

I noticed about a month and a half ago that he kept meowing more. His purr started to take on a hum as well. I researched this and the world wide web stated this could be a sign of pain. I immediately made an appointment with his Doc. She checked him out, said he was fine and took some blood work. A few days later we found out he was hyperthyroid. He also had a bit of a heart murmur due to the thyroid.  No bigs. I was to give him 1 ml of this weird green liquid medication twice a day. I started him on the meds and he was doing well. He went back to his old self. About three weeks into his medication treatment I was watching some Sunday night tv with John and I noticed his third eyelid in his right eye would blink. I thought this was bizarre. I have never seen a cat with an open eye, fully awake, blink his third eye lid. I did some more searching and started to snap my fingers in front of his eye to see if he would respond. Nothing. Eye was frozen open.

I made an appointment with his doc to check this out. When we arrived the following day she informed me that his eye was not the only thing frozen. His entire right side of this face was paralyzed. She explained that these things happen and there was really nothing we could do other than just monitor him and make sure the other side remained normal. She gave me this weird gel that I had to put on his eye and then I would force his eye closed so it would remain moist. The good thing is that his third eye lid continued to blink often so he didn't have any issues with dry eye or other. A few days after doing the gel twice a day I noticed his eye was becoming foggy. Like someone was sitting close to the window and exhaled on it to create a mist. It bothered me and it appeared that he was starting to lose some vision in the eye so I made another appointment. His regular Doc was out for five days so on that Friday evening I took him to see her partner at the Vet office. She looked at his eye closely and said he had an infection. She then gave me prednisone/antibiotic drops for his eye to go along with the gel and the weird green liquid. She asked if he had any other weird behaviors. He had started to have a decrease in appetite since his eye started up. He was still eating but Johnny has always been a stout guy and had a healthy appetite. Diet food or not, he liked his eats. The vet checked his tummy and asked if she could do an xray because she felt something. She said the radiologist would not be able to read this until the following afternoon and they would call me.

Saturday morning, Hubs had a tennis game so I lay in bed with my John and napped all morning until I got the call. The doc explained that Johnny cat had a mass in his stomach and they would need to do exploratory surgery. I was hesitant. Johnny has been through so much, plus he was now on all of those medications and his heart had a murmur. I wanted to talk to HIS doc. This vet explained that Johnny would be okay to wait until Tuesday to see his Doc when she came back from her vacation. He was still eating and acting fine.

Tuesday I take Johnny in to see his vet. His appetited decreased even more. Sunday evening I had to force feed him. Monday he ate but just barely. When we arrived his doc said Johnny would not be a candidate for surgery at all. He would not make it through. She offered to do an ultrasound to see what was in his stomach. She came back and told me that it was a huge mass. It was entwined in his intestines so even if they were able to operate they could not. On top of this, his other eye was started to cloud as well. She said that his immune system was shot and that was why all of the wierd gels, and liquids and drops he was taking were not working. I was devastated. She said he did not have long. She told me to watch his behavior, watch his appetite, just watch him. He was hospitalized twice before for liver failure and if he continued to not eat his liver would begin to shut down.

I took him home wiht a heavy heart. Through all of this he remained purring and snuggly and seemed like normal Johnny. The following morning I woke and he would not eat at all. He had a lick of gravy and turned his nose away. I tried everything. Every type of canned food, tuna, fresh deli meat, cooked chicken, gravy. Nothing. I called out of work with my Hubs. We called the vet. His doc was not due in until 230. We lay with Johnny all day. We snuggled with him on the couch, on our bed for a few hours, we all lay on a blankie together in our office. The vet finally called and said that we should really consider bringing him in. She was concerned that he could get worse. We could be at work and he could go into liver failure or be in pain.

This was the most difficult decision I have ever had to make. I have had Johnny in my life for over 13 years. He was with me through so many life changes. Going to college for the first time, graduating college, changing careers, getting married, moving away from my family for the first time and starting a new life in our new home, happy times, sad times, laughter, hope and life. He has been there through everything. My ever changing, constantly growing life. The hardest part was to decide, that even though he was purring and seemed happy, that I was the one that decided to do this. It is a heavy burden. My doc and family assured me it was for the best but three weeks later it still weighs on me heavy. Johnny's spirit was the same but his body was breaking down.

I was there when it happened. I stayed and held his paw and held him and talked to him. This was the most awful and beautiful thing I have done. I had to be there though. I couldn't leave him alone.  I have this image in my head of him laying there. Helpless. It haunts me.

My house is silent now. It is empty and weird and make my heart ache. Johnny is everywhere. His bed my dad made him in his woodshop still sits by our couch, his blankies are still here and there and his toys are around. I cleaned up a bit but most of it just hurts to move but it hurts to see. The day after I woke up and went to his bed to start his regiment of his blood level check and medications and feeding and realized he wasn't there any more. There was nothing to do. So much extra time. I didn't really know what to do with myself.

Everyday I am learning to live without my Johnny. I miss him so much and so fiercely. Some people I work with and others I have met along the way will just say: "It's just a cat". It wasn't just a cat to me. Johnny was my family. I have no children. He was my child in a way. I love/loved him, took care of him, worried about him, cleaned up after him, nurtured him and watched him for almost 14 years. I don't know what to be without him around. I am trying.
I am taking one day at a time.

Johnny was a mommas boy. He brought me so much joy and love. The only thing Johnny ever wanted in life was to be loved. I feel that he achieved that and then some. He is so outrageously loved and I will miss him every second that I live.

To Ugly Sweater....Or Not?

Thursday 13 December 2012

Next Friday is Ugly Sweater Contest Day at my school/work. I actually want to partcipate in this event but sadly, I do not own a Hanukkah sweater. I have been eyeing this one over at tipsyelves.com but I am not keen on that price.

I also found these. My fav being the spin off of Kanye West's Golddigger- The Geltdigger. Classic.

Check out these Rabbi snowmen. Adorbs.

This is just more classy.

Again, all of these are in the ups of sixty plus dollars. I can't bring myself to spend sixty dollars on anything I will be wearing once a year.

Also, not sure if I could get this in time. It's sort of last minute at this point.  The idea of making your own has been thrown around a lot today. I like this idea but I am clueless on what to actually do. I don't really live in a jew friendly area so it's not like I can go to my local store and pick up some cute jewish decor to hot glue to a sweater. I have to go Macguyver on this and make everythign on my own.

I did this crudely drawn menorah in MS Paint. I was thinking, iron on transfer...but then I wouldn't really have a sweater I would have a SWEAT SHIRT.

I don't know. Stuck with what to do at this point.

Public Displays of a Message...

Friday 30 November 2012

I shoot a lot of black and white photos. Usually I plan these outings and travel to somewhere that I have scouted or passed in a previous travel and I take pictures. Sometimes I see something that is too good to pass up. I have a thing for handwritten signs left for the public. Especially if it is meant for someone in particular but it is left for anyone and everyone to see. There is something about the mystery behind the message and the willingness to have it be out in the open. It could mean so many things to passerby’s, yet mean something totally different for the actual person it was left. It just always intrigues me. Here are few I have shot recently. These were seen as I was driving and I pulled over to take the opportunity to document.

This sign was posted in a tree in a wooded area located right across from a stop sign in my neighborhood. One leaving my neighborhood would have to (or I would hope) stop at the stop sign. While waiting to proceed it would be impossible to miss this sign. It plainly stated. In all caps:

I want you
I need you
I love you

I pulled over after noticing this sign and went to photograph it with my mobile. It remained on that tree for about a week and then disappeared. I still wonder if the person saw it and knew immediately it was aimed for them. Were they happy to see this? Did this make them smile? Was it the perfect day for them? Are they happy now?

A few months ago I went to DC to visit some museums. I parked on the street and I had to stand around and wait while my travel mates found change for our parking meter. While standing around I noticed on the building I was leaning on had these signs in the window. We Can Hear You.

I suppose people are generally loud in that area. It was a nice part of town and kind of out of the way, as much as one could be in DC. Made me think and I loved the sign so here it is!

This lovely sign was left taped to the side of the counter in the entrance to the guidance department during the third week of my employment. Friendly faces left this for all to see hoping to encourage others.

This is a really nice sign made for Suicide Prevention week. Although it wasn’t random it is still noteworthy.

This is not a sign but it is hilarious. Quality answer on a worksheet given out by my husband the math teacher. 

This amazing sign was left on the door to the Guidance office at the school. I arrived early for work one day at 6:55 am. It was already taped there. Someone had to leave it after I left the day before because no students are allowed inside the building until after 7 am. Strange little card. The back of this card was equally amusing. It said something along the lines of "Give this card to someone to show you care". I suppose someone cares here. There was a website url as well but I was afraid it would be a virus so I never visited.

Yesterday while driving to pick up my husband from work. (We car pool). I was sitting waiting for a light and I notice a sign attached to a “No U-Turn” road sign that stated: Somebody fix me please 

Interesting…. I wondered if this was a plea for to fix the road sign itself? It appeared to be in working order. Or was this a different kind of plea. Either way, it had to be photographed so I sat through the light in order to get this done.

Part Three of Three in a Row! I Am The Messenger

Thursday 29 November 2012
Part three: I Am The Messenger

I really enjoyed The Book Thief and after reading the jacket about the author that he had penned a few other books. I looked up the most recent, titled: I Am The Messenger. It was, again, very vague in its description. I decided to just try it out. I really enjoyed this book as well. Lovely transition from The Book Thief. It is about Ed. Ed is an ordinary guy with an ordinary job and an ordinary dog. He likes to hang out with his friends and play cards on the weekends. One day he receives an envelope in his mail box that contains one playing card. On this card there are three addresses with a time written after.

Ed goes to these addresses and at the given times and he learns about the people involved. He knows that he must do something for each of them to help them in some way. He has to discover who they are and what they really need and how an ordinary guy like himself, can even help? Through the course of the book you see Ed struggle with himself and this burden and you see him struggle to help people, even in the smallest way. You see how sometimes even a random act of kindness can really help someone and strengthen their soul and go a long way. As the story unfolds, Ed receives more cards and more challenges to help people. It was a beautiful novel, beautifully written. If you are looking for a nice light hearted read this may be the novel for you.

Book Two..Part Two of Three in a Row! The Book Thief

Wednesday 28 November 2012
Part Two: The Book Thief

I was very excited to make my first visit to my school library. As an employee of a high school I get to utilize the library anytime and check out whatever I fancy! It’s super convenient because it’s just right down the hallway! While I was reading Life of Pi I participated in a fun event called a Spooky Scavenger Hunt. It was a way to encourage teachers and staff to utilize our library. Two QR codes (see pictured) ---->  were posted each day that were linked to a book related trivia question.
You had to answer the questions to the best of your ability and if you were unsure of the answer you were to use the LIBRARY to find the answer. A winner was drawn every day from participants that answered both questions correctly.
 By Wednesday I was feeling pretty good. So far I had answered each question correctly and I knew the answers straight away. Thursday, question two was: Who wrote The Graveyard Book? Well, I had no idea! I was intrigued by the title so I stopped by the library and they had a copy. While checking out this book the librarian told me The Graveyard Book was a bit “different” because of its narrator. She then suggested a title that also had a strange narrator. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This book is narrated by Death.

 It sounded like an odd concept and upon reading the flap I was confused as to what the book was really about. Stealing books?? I talked to the librarian more and I found out that the book is about a young German girl during World War II who struggles with survival during such a hate filled time period. The young girl is an orphan who is placed with foster parents during this time and she struggles to understand how the Nazi’s could have such hatred. She struggles with trying to remain silent in a world where the violence is very loud. It’s a book about empathy, guilt, hatred, and love. I was very touched by this book and I have also thought of the characters and people I read about weeks ago. It was a lovely transition from Life of Pi and I recommend this if you are looking for a great read!

*illustration in the book thief

Three in a Row..Part One

 Tuesday 27 November 2012
Have you ever read a really intense book that makes engulfs your mind and soul? When you are finished you keep thinking about what you read and the characters and events? Then you pick up your next read and it’s a dull mystery and the entire time you are reading it you keep wishing you could go back and visit your old friends from your previous book?

Welcome to my world folks. I love a good book. I am also very aware that good books are few and far between. Sometimes when coming off of an intense, life changing read I will follow it up with something equal (or try to anyway..). Or if I read a horror novel I may read a few consecutively. Sometimes the transitioning is hard for me when reading, if I am affected by the book.

Sometimes the stars align perfectly and I am able to read two or even three amazing books in row. It is a very rare occasion but I am pleased to say that this has happened in the past month. It all started when I was sitting in the cinema with a friend. We decided to go see a matinee showing of Pitch Perfect. I love movie trailers so we arrived early and I saw the Life of Pi trailer, which announced at its ending, 'that this film was based on the best selling novel'. I was blown away by the trailer alone! After the movie ended (loved it, by the way) I went straight to my local store and purchased Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

At the time, I was just about finished with J.K. Rowlings lame attempt at adult fiction called The Casual Vacancy. I couldn’t wait to finish and start Pi. I just knew this book would be life changing. Guess what? It was. I was enveloped by this book. Everything was a surprise because going into this I knew nothing, other than they decided to make a film of this novel. I read. I laughed. I cried. I loved. I cried some more. I learned. I pondered.

Four weeks later, I am still thinking of Life of Pi. It really touched my soul.

I want to recommend this book to you but I can not give you a summary. My advice to you, if interested, is to just give it a go. Don’t read any reviews. Don’t watch the film. Don’t research this book. Just read. It is an experience and the less you know the more it impacts you.

The final and only thing I will say to you is: I love Richard Parker. Read the book and you will know what I am talking about <3>

Freaks and Geeks

Monday 26 November 2012

Hello again. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I said I was back and then I was MIA for again. It’s been hectic. I had a major life change recently. I got a new job! I had been very unhappy for quite some time at my old job doing accounts for the medical office. I was interviewing on the sly for about two years. I had a very narrow pool to interview in, the Board of Education for my county. After countless interviews and lost hope I was given a position at a high school. My first day was October 1, 2012. It has been a huge change for me.

Instead of waking at 7 am and arriving at work at 9 I now have to rise at 5 am!!!! I struggled with this the first week but now I have adjusted and I quite like it. I am off and out the door at 2: 40 every day and get home by 3:30. I have so much time now. To relax, work on things and just hang out. It’s very nice.

Before a bunch of you start spouting off about how I get summers off and all of those days and breaks that teachers get I say to you: Whatevs!

I am considered a 12 month employee in Guidance. I do NOT get summers off. I don’t even get Spring break off. Most of the days teachers and staff have off I have to report just like Administrative/Principal positions. I do get Winter break off and this past week for TGiving I got Black Friday off so it still has more perks than my previous employer. I will say, this whole “working” thing. It’s for the birds. If I have an opportunity to move into an 11 month position and have a month off in the summer, believe me, I am taking it.

Another big change with the new job is working with students. I did a lot of tutoring while working at the medical office but it was all college level tutoring. High School students are very different. Even though they may look older and mature they are, in fact, CHILDREN. I learned this quickly and am adjusting to this whole being in charge thing.

*drawn by a student
A big shocker that I found upon arriving at High School is the little groups people bunch into. I am an adult working in a high school. I DO NOT attend high school. It’s so funny to see how every has a clique. Even as adults. I am the odd man out right now. Even as November is ending. I have been trying. At my old job I was the head of a Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K) club. I have done several RAKs here and attempted to make friends. I greet everyone I see, every time. I have never been ignored so much in my life! I find it comical and sad. I talked this over with one friendly co-worker and was told that this is a “huge family who has been together for some time and everyone just needs to get adjusted to me coming in, especially mid-year,” Strange. I guess I really am, back in high school.

I have tried to get in with the music and theater nerds but they are tight knit. So far I am waiting to hear if I can help on the Spring production. Someone has to let me in somewhere right?? Eventually.

Lastly, the biggest change with my job is the decrease in stress levels. My former employer was very hectic. It was very difficult to take a vacation or any time off. I have not had an actual vacation in the past 9 years. The most days consecutively that I have had off have been 3. Tops. I had awful benefits. The management and communication was lacking, the company going downhill, I was frustrated every, single day. I was constantly worried about the future of the company. I felt like I was going mad. I would actually cry sometimes on Sundays because I knew I had to go back to that place on Monday and start the week all over. I couldn’t sleep and felt tense all the time. This new job, it’s more relaxed. I don’t feel so stressed any more. I can actually sleep. It’s a whole new level of living.

So that’s my big excuse… what’s new with you??

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