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Sunday, July 19, 2015

The End of a Circle: Last Posting at Forty-Three

It's the eve of turning forty-four. For some reason, it's bothersome this year.
I don't know why. Steve reassures me that it is only a number.

(I married a wise man.)

I am hoping that the next circle around the sun will be more exciting
and less challenging for us.Tomorrow will be a start of a new circle.

Bring it--
I'm ready.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

A Beautiful Mess



Have you ever tried to type on a laptop with a 17 pound cat draped over your hands? The time when I sneak away to post to this neglected blog, Sakura finds me, jumps on the bad, and crawls in my lap. Resume the petting, please. Another one in the herd, Marimba, has taken refuge on the bed. The other three felines are downstairs, probably taking residence on the couch or out on the porch. Meanwhile, Steve is sitting on the floor, grading.

Sakura settles for snuggling on my left arm, her polydactyl paw gently resting on my hand. She lays her head on my shoulder and occasionally bats at the moving fingers on the keyboard. I’m still here. Then Sakura yawns and lays her head down on my arm, purring like the proverbial motor. Soon, she settles down at the end of the bed, her pinkish ears twitching at the sounds of birds or at the barking of Mitzy, the next door neighbor’s black and white dog who guards her property a little too well.

I look outside. There’s a break in the monsoon season. (I’m only half-joking.) We had so much rain—I wish we would ship it off to Alaska and California to put out those wildfires. The rain has made the memory garden grow. It has taken off and taken over. It’s been a joy to watch the roses return after a year of absent blooms. The Asiatic lilies and the daylilies are blooming; welcoming the month of July with a flashing display of colors in the yard. We have all but given up pruning the flowers until the season is over. It is an informal cottage garden anyway; a beautiful mess.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May and Graduation


May is nearly over. It’s been a cold but beautiful spring here in the Midwest. The bushes, flowers, grass, and trees are gorgeous.The lilacs are insanely lovely and fragrant this year. It’s nature’s way of rewarding us for enduring another tough winter. Thankfully, it wasn’t as cold as last winter. That was crazy.

A lot has happened since I posted back in March. The spring classes I taught are over, and I participated in commencement for the MLS (Master in Liberal Studies) degree. The final draft of the thesis and the scheduled defense looms over my head, but August 2015 will be on the diploma. For some reason, the final steps seem to be the longest.

I’m… almost… there…. the… diploma…is… within… reach…

Fortunately, as adjunct faculty, I have the privilege of participating in graduation on the other side, sitting with pride as students cross the stage and receive their diplomas. A colleague told me that graduates have amazing footwear. I looked, and she was right. I am in awe with how some students can cross a slippery wooden stage in six-inch heels and not break their necks on the descent down the exit stairs. Admittedly, the weather was rather chilly for graduation as both a student and a teacher, so I settled for my black boots with the tiny ½ inch heel.

If that’s your sort of thing, do participate in graduation! It is a lot of fun(and Steve was happy he had a slice of cake)) and what an honor to celebrate! It makes the whole process real. Although this graduation is not my first rodeo in academia, participating in this year’s commencement does not make it any less significant. (I do love the doctoral robes—the caps and gowns remind me of Harry Potter.)


Celebrate your accomplishments! Celebrate YOU! 




Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Updates from 2015


Happy New Year and almost happy spring! The last two and a half months have simultaneously crawled and flown. It's been a busy, exciting 2015 so far, and we are grateful. Steve is working at the library and teaching online courses. He is also pursuing writing prospects. Steve is a terrific writer and I am glad he is putting his work out there. (Check out his blog, Kaijuville, if you have a chance.)

The Cat Zoo is doing well and keeping us busy. They are sweet and adorable and they continue to keep us entertained and warm this winter. It is never lonely chez Sigety! Yes, we have been called crazy cat people, but we are near the age where we really don't care what people think, or at least as not as much.

There are three reasons why I've been quiet on here for almost a season. First, I am teaching four classes in three different subject areas: library science,literature, and speech. It's a lot and it can be exhausting, but I am grateful for the opportunities, grateful to meet so many cool people, and happy to be able to teach and write.

Secondly, we are on the home stretch with this thesis. (I say "we" because Steve has been through this journey with me with his unfaltering love and support.) It's been a great journey. Combining expressive writing (Pennebaker) and freewriting (Elbow) may help a lot of people. This will be a thesis that will help the community--not a project that will be simply shelved away. It's awesome to have a stellar thesis adviser and a terrific thesis committee. It will be a relief to walk across the stage and pick up the diploma! It's been a long time coming! I can't wait to start reading and reviewing books on Goodreads again!

Finally, Karen Harris and I released our book, The Medieval Vagina: A Historical and Hysterical Perspective of all Things Vaginal During the Middle Ages. (Don't judge.) It is available on Amazon.com, and it is the product of a two-year writing collaboration. We call our book MV, and we released it on December 10, 2015. (Yesterday MV turned three months old!) Wow, has this feminist-historical-humorous tome has taken us on a fantastic journey! Five copies of our book is circulating at the St. Joseph Public Library in South Bend, Indiana. We have our books being sold in four bookstores in four different states: Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Texas. Karen and I have written guest blogs for blogs in Australia and the U.K. Our books have been sold in the U.S. and in the U.K. Our book is launched in print and in ebook.

Last week,in-between snowstorms, Karen and I had our first bookstore book reading and opening in Boston. (Trident Booksellers is an amazing place! It's a must-see in beautiful Boston.) Most importantly, MV is reaching a lot of people. We are building relationships and inspiring other writers to write and publish. Life is short, so Karen and I are making it happen. It can happen-- it takes a lot of dedication and hard work, and having so much fun in the process that it doesn't feel like work. I highly recommend a writing cohort. It makes all the difference.

For all of you writers out there-- just do it. One word at a time. :)

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to contact us at snarkpublishing@gmail.com if you have any questions or just to say hello! :)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Hellidays!


It feels more like early spring here in northern Indiana, but Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Instead of visions of sugarplums dancing over my head, I am imagining roasting Elf on the Shelf alongside chestnuts over an open fire. I admit it, I have seen too many hilarious Elf on the Shelf memes on Facebook. We don't have a fireplace, so an imaginary Elf on the Shelf with the virtual fireplace DVD on the laptop will have to suffice.

Christmas is a tough time for an empathic and highly-sensitive introvert:the sights, the smells, the sounds are enough to simultaneously drain and flood this kooky shiny girl to the point where I want to crawl in next to my feline hoard, sip on a glass of red, and read and sleep and write the hellidays away, leaving the memories of loved ones and Christmas pasts lurking outside my bedroom door.

I have to admit that the past two days have been really good. I embrace the good things, expect nothing, and show gratitude for any amount of light shining our way. I notice the significant details: the bird's nest outside our dining room window, struggling for a place under the covers next to our sixteen-year-old Javacat, the home cooked meals with friends and family and cards and unexpected gifts and laughter. It the moments that make a difference.

Merry Christmas to all! Hell freezes over as Steve and I continue enjoy the mellow Christmas festivities. -XO



Tuesday, December 09, 2014

December News


Since I last posted, Steve and I adopted two kittens this fall. We half-heartedly attempted to adopt them out, but all of our friends already had cats and all of the shelters were overcrowded. These two abandoned kittens are too beautiful, good-natured, and sweet to risk euthanasia. So, Oscar and Marimba Mittens are now part of the herd. We are officially crazy cat people, and that is okay with us.

Fast forward to December, as I skipped the whole month of posting in November! Life has recently been super busy in a very good way, and Steve and I have a lot to be thankful for. After a heartbreaking and hectic year, it's time for positive changes! Bring on 2015! I will be finishing my thesis and my master's in liberal studies by May, with the intention on publishing the writing prompts.

Karen Harris and I are also ready to launch our book, and there are several more in the works. We are both teaching college, and that gives us the financial stability and flexibility to live our authentic dream and write books. :)

Here is our new website for the new book, if you are interested in taking a peek: http://www.snarkpublishing.weebly.com
As soon as our store is live, we can take orders for our book!


Have a great week!





Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Story of Edgar

Sometimes doing the right thing hurts.

Steve and I returned from the veterinary clinic today with an empty cat carrier and heavy hearts. Edgar (formerly known as Fred) had been through the proverbial ringer in the last couple of months. We captured Edgar in a cat trap, had his ear clipped and his manly bits neutered. We assumed that Edgar was a feral cat, so we intended on releasing him. There were two reasons why the release was unsuccessful. The first reason was that Edgar was a sweet and sociable stray. He camped outside on our side porch alongside two abandoned kittens this summer. (We suspected that they are his.) Second, he tested positive for FIV, which is the feline equivalent of HIV.

One Friday, Edgar limped to the door with a gash on his front right leg. We both took Edgar to the vet and he tended to Edgar’s wound. We kept Edgar with us until we found another home for him. Unfortunately, all of the local pet rescue organizations and shelters were—and currently are—overcrowded. And if we took him to the Humane Society, Edgar would have been put down because of his FIV. So we wanted to give the poor cat a chance.

Steve and I learned a lot about cats with FIV. Cats who catch FIV are usually unneutered males, as the virus is passed through saliva (as in a bite wound). Unneutered toms are territorial and tend to fight. Otherwise, as long as the FIV cat does not bite the others cats (and Edgar didn’t), there is minimal chance of transmission.

Besides the FIV, sweet and affectionate Edgar had other challenges. When he was nervous, he sprayed. Edgar stepped in front of the Lady Cats, ate voraciously, and drank a plethora of water. Edgar also experienced loose stools (a symptom of FIV) and he chewed his cat food on one side. (It turned out all four of his canines were broken.) Edgar twice escaped for a romp around the boulevard. Although the wound on Edgar’s right leg was slowly healing, he was still showing signs of discomfort. So, we called the vet and made an appointment.

Steve and I will always remember the sweet and resilient Edgar. We will take some comfort knowing that as he took his last breath he was not suffering in the streets. Instead, Edgar was with people who loved him. It was the right thing to do.