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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.



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Autumn Gratitude



It has been almost two months to the day since I posted on this blog. A lot has been happening outside the virtual realm, so I unintentionally took a blogging break. Thank goodness I remembered the password to log in!

At this writing, I am sitting in a wicker chair, feet elevated,facing the front porch, and peering out at the boulevard. My right calf is a bit achy from this morning's biopsy. The September sky is pure autumn azure. The bushes and trees surrounding the house are full and the leaves are ever-so-slightly changing color. I am serenaded by the sounds of crickets, birds, and the occasional car. A dog barks in the distance. The cats--including the foster felines--are relaxing on the front porch with me and inside the house. Steve is on his way home from running errands. He was--as always--my rock.

Fortunately, I have a couple of days off from teaching to play catch-up on grading and writing. I am grateful to be teaching two sections of speech and two sections of library literacy, even though I have falllen behind on grading. I am also grateful to have played in the LaPorte County Symphony this summer and fall.The book I am co-writing with Karen, my friend and writing cohort, is almost finished. And the thesis is about halfway completed and should be completed in November. Steve and I are looking forward to a peaceful 2015.

Since the nearly two-month no-blogging spell has passed, it is nice to be back on the writing wagon. Hopefully your autumn is going well!





Saturday, July 26, 2014

Birthday and Anniversary

July is always bittersweet, but more sweet than bitter. I celebrated the month with family and friends.

My thesis proposal passed, and I am working on it this summer and fall. The plan is to have it wrapped up and defended by

Thanksgiving. Then what? We shall see. I enjoy teaching and writing.

Today is our seventeenth wedding anniversary. We're going to go to dinner and then weather permitting, we'll go to the beach and

take in a sunset.

Hope your summer is going well!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

From the Scorch Files: The Cucumber Cleanser



I renewed a cookbook from the library. (Yes, you heard me correctly, I renewed it. I usually don't renew cookbooks.) The title is called Clean Green Drinks: 100+ Cleansing Recipes to Renew & Restore Your Body and Mind by Candice Kumai. I decided I wanted to try out a clean, green drink.

There are three ingredients in The Cucumber Cleanser. That's my kind of recipe:

1 Fuji apple, quartered
2. 2 cups kale
3. 1 large cucumber

Add all ingredients in a juicer and mix. (Be sure to peel the cucumber first. Steve and I searched the kitchen for a potato peeler.) I was lazy and didn't want to deal with the juicer, so I tried using the blender. There
really is a difference between a juicer and a blender. The smoothie is very green with bits of red from the apple. The "smoothie" tastes a lot like cucumber. There is no taste of kale, which is good for a beverage, and a tiny taste of apple.

Steve was brave enough to sample the "smoothie". He pursed his lips and took the tiniest sip. He didn't flinch.
"Not too bad," he said. "I probably wouldn't drink this so much." (Texture is an issue for him.)

I am half sipping and half chewing the "smoothie". I may attempt this again and remember to strain the veggies. In fact, I may purchase this book from Amazon--and actually use it. :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bittersweet

Yesterday was my last day teaching at the private college. Yesterday was bittersweet after teaching there for four years. I sort of fell into the job and with all the changes there, I sort of fell out, but this time, into new teaching opportunities.

Since I am teaching four classes at IUSB (Library Literacy and Speech) as an adjunct and writing my thesis, there was no time for teaching at this location any more. I learned life lessons, teaching methods, and I met some great people. It's yet another change in life but it's time. Time to turn the page and open the next chapter. I am grateful for the opportunities. I will take these experiences to contribute in my next adventures.

Feral Cat Family: the Conclusion




As quickly as June Cat and her kittens took refuge under our side porch, they left. On a Friday morning, the cat family moved out. Although we had a brief June Cat sighting last night, the kittens are nowhere to be found. We are both concerned and relieved.