Sunday, August 18, 2013

Return To Normalcy (I hope)

It's been a long time since I posted on my blog and it took me about a half hour to figure out how to log back in.

My life began to fall apart 1/9/12 with the diagnosis of heart disease for my beloved Alexi. $10,000 and six weeks later, she was gone. In October, I lost my job and after 10 months of "interrupted unemployment", I am now permanently employed again and trying to get back on my financial feet again.

During these10 months of hell, other crappy things also occurred, but are not anything I want to get into. When I first created this blog, I envisioned happy posts about singing and crafting. I am trying to get back to that again.

September is right around the corner and with that will begin the new singing season. My chorus, Harvard Pro Musica, will continue on without our beloved director, who moved back to California a few weeks ago. He will be greatly missed, but we will go on with what we learned from him and under an interim director. I have no doubt we will succeed.

At church, the CG director has asked me to take on more responsibility in the group, which I have accepted. Initially, I was going to drop all the music groups and focus on school, but with all that I am learning in my new job and my limited energy due to an underactive thyroid (there really is a such thing as "under active thyroid" and it is another form of Hell), I have dropped out of school for now. I have plans to resume classes next winter. Given the many days and nights of tears and sleep interrupted by fear of an uncertain future, I decided to devote myself fully to the new job and to live life the way I was before everything fell apart.

After the new year, I will take up school again and suffer through classes I don't need for a degree I desperately do need. I love my new job, but have learned after being laid off 5 times that there's no such thing as a permanent job. I would not have had such a hard time finding a new job if I had my degree, however, I did find yet another company who was more interested in my skill set and personality than that stupid degree. Our controller does not have a degree and she is very good at her kjob. These companies are becoming rarer and rarer though, and I must never again be laid off without a degree.

For now though, I am enjoying the new job and am finally finding happiness again. My finances are in ruins, but I never defaulted on any of my bills and I'm living as Spartan as I can. Even living Spartan however cannot prevent things like a $610.00 car repair bill and a $422.00 vet bill (both this month) but I'll just keep chipping away at my bills until they are paid off. This is so not where I want to be at age 50, but it is what it is and I can only move forward.

So the singing will begin soon and as for crafting, I have been working on just one project. I am making a vest for my friend Kristin, who suffers from brain cancer but is in remission right now. I discovered an error in the pattern and have to make 2 more squares, but other than that, all of the squares have been made and sewn. If I can figure out how to post a picture of it, I will post it here.

Today I making a spaghetti sauce using tomatoes from the garden of my employer. He has a vegetable garden behind our building and nearly every day there are yummy vegetables from his garden on our lunch room table. I have about 2 pounds of his tomatoes and two eggplants. I am making eggplant parm today, yum!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Independence Day! (plus one)

Since the loss of my beloved Alexi, I am only at about 90% in the "enjoying life" department (I hate this new blogger format) and holidays make me very sad. I have my own July 4th tradition of watching the Pops from my couch with all of my kitties surrounding me. I was minus one very important kitty.

However, that being said, this was my first July 4th without my girl, but it was also Andy's first July 4th with his new family. If I can find the time (and patience) today, I will upload the 2 minute video of Andy and Torey grooming each other. With this new format, I now have no idea how to attach photos and videos. I had just learned to do it under the old format. Grrrr on these f-g changes! Why does technology mean fixing things that 'ain't broken.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Torey and Lucky - My Life Savers

I haven't written in awhile because my world lately has not been a happy place. Since the loss of Alexi, which in some ways was sudden, I've just been going through the motions of life.

However, as my friend Karen says, when one part of your life isn't good, it doesn't cancel out the other parts that are. I've been trying to shift my focus in that direction.

My friend Donna also said to put the emotinal software in the background and do what you need to do. Also good advice. That works best though when I am in the office and not so much at home because the reminders here are everywhere. Just putting sheets on the bed Monday made me cry because Alexi always jumped on the bed and "helped". Her entire life, I always enjoyed the silly little things she did, even if that meant I couldn't quite finish making the bed, and I thank God I always had patience with her. I also spent a lot of quality time with her. At least there are no regrets or guilt from that perspective.

Torey and Lucky have really clung to me in my despair. I can tell Torey has been affected because he will sniff a certain spot she used to lie on and then lie down on it himself. Lucky seems affected in a more positive way and has been on the couch a lot more than he was. I do feel bad that Alexi intimidated him so much. He's really emerged since she's been gone and that makes me sad. I suspect I haven't given him enough attention and I am trying like heck to make up for it now. He's 17.

I re-joined all my singing groups and have gone back to either knitting or crocheting every day. My heart isn't entirely back in it yet and I have found that being in church makes me feel worse rather than better. I don't understand a God who seems to relish suffering. He sent His own son to suffer and die. I don't get that. I never have, but I always just told myself to have faith and not think about it. However,  watching Alexi die right in front of my eyes after 6 weeks of suffering has brought it right back to the surface of my mind.

No amount of thinking or reasoning can change anything, so I am just moving on the best I can and lavishing all of my love and attention on my two boys. I am blessed that I have them. They are both loving and affectionate, and wonderful companions.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Crafting in Process and Completed

My friend Perry made the flower for the hat.

It's been a very, very busy week, no time to write, unfortunately, but the above pictures show some of the projects I've worked on and am working on.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hallelujah! The Concert is Approaching!

I have about 5 minutes to write but didn't want to go several months again without posting something.

This week Harvard Pro Musica will be busy preparing for our concert on Saturday. I woke up this morning as if I were a small child anticipating Christmas and it's only Tuesday :) I've only been with HPM for one complete musical season, but I know I will never lose the awe of being in this group. It's the Fralinger of choral groups and anyone from Philly knows how impressive that is :)

I have my second voice lesson next Tuesday for a psalm my folk group leader wants me to do at church during Lent. (I was never in the chorus :) Donna G. will know what I am talking about :) )

It's 7:00 already, so off to give Torey his insulin shot and prepare for work! Tonight I have rehearsal with HPM :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I can't believe my last post was August 28th, wow. December is now around the corner. September was the start of all three singing groups and it's so overwhelming that I am sound asleep on the couch by 7:00 PM on Friday nights. Not complaining though :) I love all the singing stuff, but I do find it hard keeping up with it all. Next Saturday December 3rd is Harvard Pro Musica's holiday concert already. Wow...

I am not naturally gifted when it comes to learning the music, so I have found ways of getting it into my head so that I can just sing it without thinking about it. Two of the Messiah excerpts, For Unto Us A Child Is Born and He Shall Purify both contain runs (sequences of 16th notes for several measures) that are sung at warp speed.

Every morning while having my coffee, I put the tutorial on and sing the lines over and over again. My friend Jin, another alto in Harvard Pro Musica, and I spent one Sunday afternoon practicing only the runs for literally several hours. A week or so ago, I was once again singing the lines over coffee and came to the conclusion that despite all my efforts, I was never going to be able to do it and that I would have to lip sync through it. Much to my great shame.

This past Tuesday morning, I was doing the dishes and I was in despair that a plastic knife had found it's way into my drain, thereby causing a major backup. The tutorial was on as always and because it's so ingrained in me, I was absentmindedly singing along with it as I was dealing with the sink. I sang the runs in For Unto Us A Child and realized a minute later that I had sung it correctly. I abandoned the sink, went to the computer, and put the tutorial back to the beginning. I sang the runs correctly again. Rewound the tutorial, sung the runs correctly again. JOY!!!!!!!!!

We had HPM practice Tuesday night and Angela, who is a wonderfully gifted singer, happened to be on my left. I got the runs right again; I could tell because I was pretty much in sync with Angela. I am so happy I won't be the HPM version of Milli Vanilli!

I am thankful that I can sing almost the entire program now without screwing it up.

But the thing that I am most thankful for is Alexi's good health. I am thankful for all that I have in my life; friends, cats, job, singing, crafting, etc., but last Thursday morning I thought I was going to lose my little one. When I got up last Thursday morning, Lucky was stationed at his food bowl and Torey was stationed at his, but Alexi was nowhere to be found.

I fed the two boys then went on the hunt to find Alexi. I knew she was somewhere in the condo. I always do a head count at night before I go to sleep, and the last time I saw her, she was playing with my shoes beside the bed. A perfectly normal Alexi thing. She had also been poking her head into my dinner earlier, another normal Alexi thing. When I finally found her, she was lying almost motionless under the bed.

When I patted her, she moaned, and only opened her eyes slightly. My heart sank all the way to the basement. I tried to get her to come out, but she moaned and hissed. I moved the bed, gently picked her up, and put her next to her bowl. She hissed, moaned and ran back under the bed. Oh dear lord.

I called Acton Animal Emergency. I don't deal well with these things emotionally, but I do what I have to do when they happen. I spoke to a very nice woman named Diane and she said that it was a good sign that Alexi could walk. However, she said that it would be a good idea for me to bring her either to Acton Animal or to her own vet.

I called Julie, the woman who runs Forgotten Angels and from whom I got Torey, and she said pretty much the same thing. I called Mary, my boss and friend, and told her I was going to take Alexi to Concord Animal. Because I am always in Concord Animal for Torey's insulin and needles, almost everyone there knows me. Plus Chris, one of the women who works there, also crochets, and I gave her a crochet pattern once.

I got Chris on the phone when I called and at first, she told me I couldn't come in until 2:00. I was in tears at this point and while I didn't push for an earlier appointment, I did say that I couldn't wait and was going to go to Acton Animal instead. Chris told me to come in as an emergency and that Dr. Hardee would see her. Oh thank God! I didn't think Dr. Hardee worked on Thursdays. From that moment on, I felt better immediately.

Alexi gave me no struggle when I put her in the carrier and that scared me even more. My feisty, energetic, in-my-face girl was a lump of lethargic fur. If I lost her, I was determined not to lose focus on my two boys and to be a good mommy to them even through my grief. To have this happen right before Thanksgiving and also remembering that 20 years ago at Thanksgiving, my father had announced he had cancer, was unbearable.

We got to Concord Animal around 9:00 and Dr. Hardee took us in. Alexi offered no resistance as he examined her. He couldn't find anything wrong, so I agreed to x-rays and blood work.

I am very, very fortunate that I like my job and  that I am employed in a good, thriving company despite the wretched economy. So I made myself a cup of very strong Jasmine tea, which has calming elements, and I got right to work. My job enables me to be able to do the things in my personal life that I need and like to do, so I kept my focus on that. I actually had a very productive morning and got  a lot done.

At noon, I called the vet's office and the gal who answered the phone said that Dr. Hardee was out of the office on another emergency but that she would check on Alexi. When she came back, she said that Alexi was doing well but that she "wasn't very friendly". At that moment, I began to feel/know that Alexi was going to be okay. When Alexi was dreadfully ill 5 years ago, she was too sick to give anyone attitude.

Dr. Hardee called me later and said that there was nothing in the x-rays to indicate that anything was wrong. He told me it took two technicians to get Alexi to cooperate with the x-ray. I'm sure it was annoying for them to deal with, but I felt complete and utter relief when he told me. Alexi being feisty meant Alexi was feeling better. The next thing to check would be the blood work, but the results wouldn't be back until later in the afternoon.

Later in the afternoon, Dr. Hardee called again and said they had found nothing in the blood work. The last thing to check for was pancreatitis, which they wouldn't have back until the following morning. At 5:00, I went and got Alexi and brought her home. As soon as I opened the door to her crate, she bounded up onto the computer table and started eating ravenously. She then came over to where I was having dinner and started poking her head into my plate. I settled in on the couch and she settled in next to my feet, something she does every night.

The next day when I got up, Torey was at his bowl, Lucky was at his, and Alexi was at hers. All was very normal. When Dr. Hardee called that morning, I knew he was going to tell me that the results for the pancreatitis would be negative too.

I have no idea what was wrong with Alexi and medical science was unable to back up what I saw last Thursday morning, but I am very thankful that whatever it was passed through quickly. I spent Thanksgiving at home with the cats and was so grateful to see Alexi curled up at my feet, as usual. I did get to the gym yesterday, but other than that, I was on the couch either knitting or crocheting and watching "The Godfather", parts 1 and 2. Probably not an exciting day for most people, but it was just all right by me.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Unwelcome Weekend Guest

7:22 AM

I was one of those unwise people on the road in the wee hours of the morning. I had gone to Karen's yesterday because I knew I was going to be confined here alone with the cats today and I wanted some human company before that happened. Things were going well though until I reached the signs for exit 26 and then the heavens opened up.

It was like going through a car wash. Fortunately, I know the roads very well and there were no other fools out there on 495, and I took it slow. Exit 28 finally emerged from the rain drops and I slowly drove down 111 to the safety of home.

My biggest fear is losing power. Three years ago, an ice storm hit and I was without power for three days. I was also one of the lucky ones though, as many towns here were out power for a week or more. In this day and age, we are totally and completely dependent on electricity for EVERYTHING and it's Hell when it's not working.

Yesterday,  I received a voice mail from the Littleton Police that if power is lost, it will not be restored until the storm is over for the protection of the utility employees. I absolutely agree that everyone should be kept safe. However, loss of power also means loss of water.

I have learned  however from past mis-experience to fill the tub when Mother Nature gets angry. This enables me to use the toilet, a very important thing when you are stuck in the house. We have plenty of drinking water here, but that's a staple in my household anyway. We are set on food that doesn't have to be cooked or refrigerated and we have candles and batteries.

Right now, it is raining lightly. A nice cool breeze is coming through the window. I can see the trees swaying slightly, so there is some wind. All is well at the moment.

I am heading off to shower and wash the breakfast dishes (and fill the tub) and after that....well, I guess I have no excuse not to finally clean my house :)