• Apartmentlandia,  BIG news,  Moody Blues,  The Desert,  the dogs,  The Flower Business,  The Zoo,  unpackamania

    Catch-up Post Part 1



    I feel like these last two to three years have been the years that have been forgotten. I feel like an old man who can only remember himself as the football player he once used to be. I’m trying to stay present and live every moment for the value that it holds, but when you are in the grips of depression, it can all feel like a huge waste of time. I’ve reinvented myself so many times in these last two years, I don’t know who I even am anymore. I’ve been depressed. It’s just what it is. Depression kills.

    But guess what? I’m still here. I’m still breathing. I think I’ve reached rock bottom, and I’m bouncing back up, but I could be wrong. I might be on the shallowest of bottoms, and there might still be cliffs to fall off below. I don’t know.  I’m unsure how far each bounce will take me and if I’ll ever return to the surface but I’m still here.


    Still alive and kicking.


    Bug and I went to the desert way back in April, and here I am trying to catch up on the photo album of my life that is this blog. I had a crazy dress that a good friend gave me, so we went down a long, dusty road and took pictures. There were a ton of bad photos, but I’ve kept these ones because I can still see glimmers of the girl I once used to be. The glory days of the football hero I once was…


    Bug is in her prime and looks good in every photo. But just because she looks good doesn’t mean she isn’t struggling. High school is over; she’s moving on to college and independence. Life is full of scary twists and turns for her, and her mom isn’t the supportive rock she used to be. She’s seeing me now with all my flaws and mistakes in full view. Mom can’t fix everything anymore. Mom is broken. It’s humbling for me and terrifying for her.


    I’m looking to those who have gone before me and finding the happy old people. What did they do right? How did they get by? How did they survive their failures and live to get where they are today? How do they stay in the moment? We met this old man at a bar/restaurant in the desert. He was so hip, he wore a big turquoise necklace over a pinstripe suit. I was in awe. I was so happy when he let me take his picture. I’m putting it here to be a reminder to myself to embrace my freak flag. I hope the older I get the free-er I become.wedding1prep

    The next week I went out to the desert again to do flowers for a wedding. I was in my element. I loved every pain-staking moment.


    Colors and textures, wildness and charm… I love the cantina. It was beautiful and I was proud to be part of it all.


    But it was a heck of a lot of work!


    Two weeks later I went back for another wedding and did it all over again.


    This time I took Cody as my trusty companion. It was a little too hot for him so he’ll stay home in the nice air conditioning from now on. Of course he was fine but we were glad this wedding was small and we could be back on the road to go home only after a few hours.


    But guess what happened on our way home…? We saw a free kitten sign. I stopped because my boss, Mario, had been looking for a kitten for over a year. I had good intentions. But then, I fell hard when I saw this tiny sack of black fur, snot, and bones with her goopy eyes and a sad little whine. She was in a kennel with two golden doodle puppies. She was so small and forlorn looking but so scrappy. She climbed up on a shelf to see me and got right in my face. I decided then and there that she was coming home with me whether Mario wanted her or not. It wasn’t the best decision. I was in no position to take on another cat, but I couldn’t fight the pull I felt. I couldn’t have walked away from her if my life depended on it. I was incapable.


    So she went home with us. She sat in my lap and then crawled over the seat to be in the back seat with Cody. I called Mario on my way home, but he didn’t want anything to do with a sick black kitten. Many people don’t like black cats, but I am not one of them. Cody loved her. Bug loved her. We were smitten.


    But then Kady caught whatever the little black kitten had, and she got really sick and stopped eating. I tried to keep them separated, but it was impossible with only one catbox and two active cats (Inky and the kitten, who scratched at the doors and ruined the carpet, causing me $900 worth of damage on my move-out bill). I remember cuddling Kady, and the little kitten crawled up to snuggle in. I thought everything would be okay. The vet says it’s not my fault for bringing in a new kitten, but I’ll never forgive myself. Whatever Kady had was a preexisting condition, and she probably suffered long before the kitten even came along, but it was all bad timing. The kitten was the last straw, and Kady couldn’t take it. She hid in the closet for two weeks; nothing could coax her out.

    We took Kady to the vet multiple times for fluids and anti-nausea medication, but nothing revived her. She got weaker and weaker, and her mouth was full of ulcers. It’s almost like she decided she was done with this life now that a new kitten was here. She just wanted to be left alone. We did our best. I spent all the money I could find on her, but it wasn’t enough. She didn’t get better.

    Finally, when we realized we were only prolonging her pain for our inability to let go, we decided to put her down. It was the hardest thing. The vet we went to was beyond kind. They sat with us for hours.

    I have never loved a cat like I love Kady. I have never grieved a cat like I’m still grieving Kady. I miss her. She was the best cat. She was my therapy cat. When I was depressed, she would crawl in my arms and sleep with me. She always wanted to be held. I’m crying just thinking about her now.

    I didn’t have enough money to get her cremated, but the vet said we could make payments. They said they were giving us the cheapest package, but I think they gave us the most expensive one they had at the cheapest price. A few weeks later, Kady’s ashes came in a polished wooden box with a card, flowers, and a little pin. Then, later, I got another card in the mail signed personally by every person at the vet. I don’t know how they did it. They must see owners going through this every day. Do they give everyone this special treatment? I don’t know… but I am forever grateful. Kady brought out the best in all of us.

    I’d love to end this post here, but I have tons more to share. Life has been inside out, upside down, crazy. Kady’s death was just a very deep valley in a series of peaks and valleys that I think are trying to kill me.


    The biggest news is that in the middle of all this, we moved. Or I should say, Kady died before we moved. She never made it to the new place, and maybe that’s a blessing because we downsized and we are living in a one-bedroom now. We are breathing down each other’s necks and I don’t think Kady could have taken it. A dog, a cat, a crazy spaz kitten who climbs the blinds and screens and scuttles to and fro at all hours of the night…a kid going to college, and me who is holding onto my sanity by a thread. It’s a lot.


    We do love the new place, though. I call it “my tiny home.” I’ll share how we’ve fixed it up in the next post or the one after that. It’s not a tiny home. It’s actually quite spacious, but I’ve crammed my bedroom, my office, and a full living room into one room. The living room is my tiny home. Bug has her own regular-sized room in the one bedroom. She’s got plenty of space and has filled it with full-sized vintage furniture she’s bought with her own money off Offer Up. Go Bug.

    Me, though, I’m a bit cramped. I have my bed, I turn around, there’s my desk. I take one step, and there’s the flip-a-switch gas fireplace and my “library,” aka a bookshelf and my turquoise chair. Take another step, and there is our full-sized green velvet couch! Tah-dah, it’s a living room complete with a coffee table and lots of light and plants!  And it’s all curled up into a Fibonacci sequence in one room. It’s actually quite impressive though impossible to photograph.


    I’ve already shared what the outside is like on Instagram. It’s Duck Pond City. I made the mistake of letting Cody off-leash on a hot day when we first got here. I’m never going to do that again. No, it’s not flooded. This is just the design of the apartment complex, so you can fit several units in a small space without feeling like you are on top of each other. Water is magical that way. We love it. I feel like I live in the forest with a stream nearby. You can hear water falling constantly, lulling me to sleep at night.


    I’ll leave you with this mid-moving shot. Lots has happened since this photo, but I can’t fit it all in this post!

    Until next time!

  • Family Matters,  heavy on photos,  my books,  Niece-com-poops,  out out out of the house!,  party party,  place holder posts,  Shop Talk,  The Desert,  The Zoo

    Life in My Fast Lane


    It’s been a busy few Mondays so I haven’t really shown up here as I’ve planned. I’ll just ramble through these pictures to catch up.

    First up: since summer vacation started (and I don’ have to play Muber and take Bug to school every morning), I have been popping my earbuds in to talk to my dad and walking the nearby park. It’s great. We’ve walked every morning for two weeks straight. We both are early birds and we both like walking and talking so we get a lot of gabbing and steps in early in the morning. Sometimes afterward I get some more steps in and hit the local Starbucks for a latte in a *glass* cup because everybody knows coffee tastes better in a glass cup.  It’s not my favorite mom-and-pop coffee shop but at least it’s a little more charming than the usual to-go routine.


    One of those days last week Bug and I went to Orange Circle for some thrifting. Lately, I’m on the hunt for “fabulous” costumes for my upcoming birthday party. (I’m planning a photoshoot as part of it.) I’m super nervous about everything and trying desperately not to spend too much money in the planning stage. It’s just what I do. Over-think, over-spend. It’s a really bad habit to break. Kind of like biting your nails.


    In other news, I have started a new puzzle. Leah told me about this really cool puzzle board that you can use to keep your puzzle contained. It’s great! All you have to do is slide the side panels in and then close it up tight with special velcro flaps and no pieces can escape. Unfortunately, the puzzle board arrived a little banged up in the mail and it’s warped in the middle. It still works but it would be nicer without a hill in the middle. I’ve got an email into them but so far no response.


    Bug and I are crossing off summer bucket list adventures. Our first adventure was to The Huntington Gardens. I love the gardens so much. We’ve got an evening stroll planned too. I would definitely get a membership here if it wasn’t a two-hour drive away. (crying face emoji here)


    We took Bug’s boyfriend and a friend with us. I love hanging out with teenagers. They are so funny and we have the best car conversations.  They put up with me surprisingly well, of course being the one with wheels keeps me in close proximity. That might change once they  get their driver’s licences but for now I’m basking in their youthful energy and approval. Funny how it’s such a priviledge to be appreciated by the young. It makes me want to rush out make more older friends and let them know they are just as fabulous.


    Oh yes, the street fair at my parent’s mobile home complex. It was a blast. I sold a lot of books! Who knew! I’ve done craft fairs before and made no money. Of course having my parents as my number one fans and advertisers helps a lot and the fact that a highschool friend dropped by and scooped up quite a few. Shout out to Jenny!

    It was also 103 degrees F. Yowzers. We stayed in the shade much of the time but had to close up shop before the fair ended so we didn’t get heat stroke.  Dry desert heat is much more bearable than humidity but even this desert rat has her limits.


    It’s been a busy few weeks as you can see. After the street fair we went back home and hosted a double birthday trip to the local zoo for my great nieces! I am a double great aunt to my niececompoop’s two daughters. I LOVE these babies!!! They are so adorable. Whenever one of them wanted me to hold them I did not say no.  How could I???  Their mamas were more than happy to have me hold them. I got my baby cravings filled and they got a little rest. And then I got a backache the next day! Shout out to all those older mamas hefting 20 babies out there. Stay strong!


    Our local zoo is very small but that’s about all the bandwidth we had anyway. Between heat and toddlers attention spans, a small zoo is perfect. We saw some birds and some monkeys, an ocelot and some camels and that was great.


    Then we went home for dinner and cake!


    The following weekend I took a road trip with some friends to Las Vegas for a Sting concert. I couldn’t quite swing a hotel stay (they are mucho expensive right now) but that was fine because one of my best friends, Bethany (not BethanyActually but my highschool bestie since 9th grade!!), lives in Henderson which is just a hop from the strip. I love staying with Bethany. We’ve been friends forever (and roommates during college ) so it’s like having a sleepover with your best friend and spending all your time laughing and talking non-stop. She also has several reptile pets so it was kind of like staying in a zoo. I got to watch her feed her snake and let her bearded dragons out for a morning sun bath and constitution. I can now add “lizard farts” to my strange story collection.


    The Sting concert was awesome of course. I’m not as huge fan of Sting as my friend Teresa (she’s a die-hard fangirl) but I definitely enjoyed hearing my old favorite songs and watching him interact with the crowd. I love how some musicians seem to be energized from the audience. It was his last concert in residency for the year and you’d think he’d be exhausted after playing the same songs night after night after night, but no, he was loving every minute. Seventy years has not slowed him down much at all.

    And that’s that! All caught up. Now it’s time to get to work!