Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat: My Career is a Now a Rocking Teenager

(Crabby Joe and Pumpkin in my Office, LCS 2008)
I can't believe it. My career is now a rocking teenager! I have been with the library for thirteen years and with the LaSalle Branch as a manager for three years on October 30. Plus, it's been a year yesterday since Mom's been diagnosed with cancer. And she's doing great! She's defeated the statistical odds so far and will continue to do so! The will is such an important thing. She inspires me every day.
Today was a busy day at the Centre Library. I hung out with fabulous colleagues this week and chatted with patrons I used to wait on all the time. Also received a lot of kind words and hugs from former patrons. It was nice. It was quite a perk! I also ratnapped a friend's plastic rat. It, like me, apparently doesn't get out enough.
Tonight I was supposed to game with a girlfriend but I was really tired and had a scratchy throat. I didn't want to a) get sick and b) get her sick. We'll take a raincheck. I had a long overdue chat with my fab neighbor friends (next door) and went trick or treating for their red wine. It did coat my throat. Now I am home and will probably retire to bed soon after I post this blog. Goodnight.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Autumn Countryside, Borders and PetSmart

(Red Leaves in More Woods LCS 2008)
Fall is definitely in the air. Tuesday I drove to another library to help out. I forgot how beautiful it is driving in the countryside. Snow lightly topped the autumn trees. The sky was grey, so the effect was even more dramatic. Today, when I drive back to the same library to help out, I will see if the leaves are still on the trees. Although I won't capture the same landscape, I will try to snap a photograph of today.
Last night Steve and I visited PetSmart and then Border's. At PetSmart, there are kitties featured from local shelters. We loved all of them and wanted to take them all home. However, we didn't find the one that tugged at my proverbial heartstrings. We are looking for an adult male cat who is easygoing and will be accepted (and hopefully loved) by Java and Latte. I don't think we'll go with a Morris cat, because he would remind me too much of Jack. I want to honor his memory. I am thinking of a black cat, because those are beautiful and people tend to overlook them because they are considered bad luck.
Well, we can't get enough of books, so we trekked to Border's. I wanted to continue a book called
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Byron and Bret Witter. It's based on a library director's life and the rescue and life of a library cat in Iowa. It's really touching. Since I'm writing about Jack, this book gives me a lot of ideas and inspiration on how to write about a pet.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Taekwondo, Housewarming, and Halloween Soiree

(The Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood 2008) (Rachael's Autumn Tree LCS 2008)
(Crabby Joe Puppet with Pumpkin in my Office LCS 2008)
Good afternoon! I am awakened at noon with a phone call and she asks if I have a hangover. No, M., I am not hung over. :) Yes, I consumed my fair share of red wine last night, as our friends always have a sampling of different varieties from as far away as California. And there's health benefits as well, with antioxidants and it's good for your heart, blah blah blah. And it was yummy!
Steve and I had a very busy day yesterday. He drove with me to taekwondo and then we trekked to Fun FX to put together our costumes. Oh, my goodness, it was amateur night. There's this huge warehouse of cool costumes and accessories and people picking out the perfect outfit for their or their children's Halloween party. Well, we picked out a cape and a wolf mask for the party and got out of there. We then drove to Target to look for fur for Steve's costume and a housewarming present for a staff member. We found a better cloak for my Red Riding Hood costume and it was on sale. So we purchased that and drove to the housewarming party. No wolf fur at Target, though. Steve ended up painting his paws. I think it looked great.
It was a LaSalle reunion at the party! The host and hostess are wonderful people and the house was great! It's a pretty 70's style tri-level. We stayed for a couple hours and then ran another errand, and then returned home. I took an hour nap to be on my game for the party. We dressed up and attended the annual K & J's Halloween party. It was great. We greeted our friends and met new friends. Steve and I were the last ones to leave!
Today we are laying low. I have house stuff, yard stuff, and Lia Sophia (side jewelry business) to attend to today. It will be a fast, productive day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Frustration

(Moon Over Gravel Lake LCS 2008)
Good evening.
It's interesting how one day can be so different than the next. It was a challenging Friday. Mostly challenging because my writing muse attacked me Thursday night and I could not sleep until after 1 a.m. And then up early the next day to play library at a friend's branch. Latte is smart; she continues sleeping after we wake up. Lately she is sleeping under the covers, pressed against my stomach, and purring. It's like a living bed warmer. She took over what Jack used to do. Well, despite the rain and cold, I managed to stay awake throughout the day. I had a productive day. But I'm tired. I'm quite annoyed that Greenie is STILL in the shop. Is she getting plastic surgery? They're spraying the body of her car. She gets more maintenance than I do! I was supposed to go to the Feminist Film Night tonight. No transportation. Steve has gaming night. I miss my sisterhood. So I took my frustration out on my writing. I wrote a plethora of reviews for my friend's Mojopages business. And now I'm blogging. And soon, I'll resume working on my Jack book. And then eventually, I'll crash and sleep in until taekwondo.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

(Russ Forest 1 LCS 2008)
My tagline on my Facebook page is as follows: my sensai told us in taekwondo to rock out. Rock on! One of my colleagues and friends told me she wanted me to write about it. J., this blog is dedicated to you! My sensai said this as we are listening to classic rock and hitting the punching bags with round kicks and back kicks. We worked on cardio, weapons forms, and tae geuk forms. We learned two bo staff forms (I need to work on these), nunchakus form (probably my strongest one), and the sword form (a close second). I have also learned tae geuk forms 1-5 and working on 6. They look easy but are difficult to learn. Each one has it's own meaning. Kind of like experiences in life, good or bad... each has meaning.
I feel like life is getting back to a new normal. Besides going to taekwondo again, I'm going out with family and friends again, Greenie the car will be ready for me on Friday, and I'm still writing and remembering fond stories about Jack. I'm also developing stronger bonds with Java and Latte. Jack has a new role--as a muse in my heart. And there, my little Jack will stay.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall Weekend

(Yellow Leaves Under Blue Sky 2, LCS 2008)
(Amoosing LCS 2008)
(Beautiful Leaves LCS 2008)
Hello,
This weekend flew by quickly. Friday night I stayed in since I was tired from the week and experienced a scratchy throat (I am learning to listen to myself more in order to stay healthy.) Greenie the Gimpy Honda Civic is still in the shop. When they opened her up, they found more damage. My insurance company is doing another estimate. Thank God for car insurance! Steve's been fabulous about toting me around. On Saturday, I attended tae kwon do and look forward to someday earning my red belt.
We drove up to Gravel Lake this weekend. The weather was fantastic. We biked and drove around the lake and snapped a LOT of photos. We didn't see any deer because they were hiding out in the woods. And honestly, I'm rooting for the deer. We did see cows, though and they responded to my moocalls. ;) During the walk through the woods, poems by Robert Frost entered my mind. He was a beautiful poet and wrote about nature.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Books and Leaves and Libraries, Oh My!

(LaSalle Construction LCS 2008) (LaSalle Branch LCS 2008)
(LaSalle Leaves LCS 2008)
When I am playing library, I love to read popular nonfiction titles, post a blog on the library website, and then check out the status of the books on the catalog. It's kind of a geeky little rush to see books check out after I've blogged it. That's the point, really, of the library blog: to market goods and services.
The book I recently marketed is entitled If I'd Known Then: Women in Their 20s and 30s Write Letters to Their Younger Selves. It's edited by Ellyn Spragins. It's inspiring: many successful women had the same insecurities and issues. Write a letter to your younger self. What would you say to your younger self? And men, you can do this too!
Yesterday in the rain, I walked around my Library and noticed the beautiful leaves. I also noticed how much progress the Plywood Palace is making in the back! It's exciting that renovation is here and moving day is so close.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Capturing October

(Memory Leaves Fallen 2008 LCS) (Jack's Memory Garden LCS 2008)
(Jack's Last Photograph (with Java) LCS 2008)
Good morning. Another glorious October day. I am glancing out on the front porch and cherishing the weekend I had with my friends and family. Friday night, Freeport (Steve's game) was cancelled due to people having other commitments, etc. And that was a disguised blessing, because Steve and I both had a long week with Jack leaving us. His last photograph is pictured here. Also pictured is Jack's Memory Garden, which is beautiful. It reminds me, I need to water the mums.
Saturday evening, I attended a birthday/slumber party for three friends. I had a wonderful, wonderful time with so many lovely people. The hostess with the mostess, S, is the classiest, sweetest, and most elegant person. She just took care of everyone, made sure everyone had beds to sleep in, and made us brunch the next morning. And I was totally in love with her tiny Yorkshire terrier pup, Teddy. I told S to not worry if there's a little wagging dog tail hanging out of my purse on my way out the door. :) Upon returning home, Steve and I rushed up to Gravel Lake and saw family and extended family. We took the pontoon boat out for the last time this season and took photographs of the leaves and the lake. Next weekend is supposed to be even more beautiful.
October is a transitional month in northern Indiana. Every day is a like a snapshot; the climate, colors, and overall landscaping changes from one windy moment to the next. Perhaps I can learn a lot from October. Capture every moment.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Memory Leaves Fall

(Memory Leaves Fall 1, LCS 2002?)

"One falling leaf may herald the coming of autumn." -Chinese Proverb

I found this photo on a disk and thought it would be appropriate to post it today. It's a gorgeous October afternoon. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. this morning and thought of Jack. It's been exactly one week. Ironically, Steve picked up his ashes today. We have it in a container on the front porch right in a perfect spot in the corner where he used to perch. I haven't cried for a couple of days--I am writing and reflecting and this helps the process. Java and Latte are both basking in the sun on the porch. We are showering both of them with so much attention and they are lapping it up.

Today I attended taekwondo for the first time in almost a month. Taekwondo is a terrific diversion to stress and surrounding chaos: you just focus on the forms that you learn. I surprised myself by remembering the nunchakus form and most of the sword form! It felt like starting over again, but with the knowledge I had before. It's like a new perspective, a new angle, turning over proverbial new leaves.

Before the afternoon escapes me, I am going outside to enjoy the garden and the leaves before I leave to gather with friends tonight. :)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Kindness of Children

(Jack on the Table SJS 2008)
Steve and I are blown away by the kindness of children. One child, in particular. One of our dear friends has a son who loves cats. We sent him photographs of our kitties and he loves them! When our friends gently told him that Jack died, the son was very sad and even cried (bless his heart.) So he asked if he could send us a card to tell us how sorry he was.

So on Wednesday, I receive this card in the mail. I open up the envelope and there is a hand-drawn picture of Jack as an angel with wings and a halo and the front page read, "I'm soree." Then I open up the card and there is a photograph of Jack. He also drew the picture of Jack like the photo. The card reads, "I am soree that Jack died. I hope you reembar him as a good cat." Steve and I are so touched. I called our friend's child and thanked him for his kindness and told him I loved him. And what is really amazing is that he thought it up all on his own! We are lucky to know such a sweet young man.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Rose from Lucky the Cat

(Lori and Jack Napping SJS 2008)
Steve and I thank you for your cards, chocolates, dinners, emails, facebook messages, flowers, friendship, hugs, telephone calls, and unconditional support. Only a person who has been a pet parent or has had a pet as part of the family truly understands the loss when a fur child leaves you physically and crosses over to the Other Side, the Rainbow Bridge, Heaven, whatever you decide to call it...to that wonderful place.

What is also touching are the small kindnesses from acquaintances. I visited my favorite flower shop (Palace of Flowers) near the library and visited Lucky the cat and her human. As the shop owner created a beautiful bouquet for a person's birthday surprise, I petted Lucky and told both of them what happened on Saturday. When she finished the arrangement, the shop owner gave me a rose and a hug and said this is from Lucky.

My emotions are raw. I cry often. Jack tore a large piece of my fragmented heart with his white paw on his way when he took that last leap Saturday morning. At night, I am waiting for him to meow and jump on my feet, let out a big fraternity-boy groan, and drift off to sleep, purring. In the morning, I am waiting for him to wake me up with his naughty-boy antics, pawing at the books on the bookshelf next to my bed, then jumping on me with his scratchy tongue licking my chin. I do hope Jack visits me in my dreams.

It is quiet. Even with Java and Latte, Steve and I are haunted by the silence. It will take time. Perhaps a lot of time. Even with loss, there is still always love.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A Tribute to Jack the Wondercat: March 1995 (?)-October 4, 2008

Jack (March 1995(?)-October 4, 2008)
This is one of the hardest days. A cruel trick, at most. The early October sky is a beautiful blue, a balmy 62 degrees and our Jack leaves us early this morning at around 6:00 a.m.. His generous, loving, heart just gave out. He died in Steve's arms on the way to the kitty ER. There was nothing anyone could do; it was just his proverbial time. It just happened so fast. Like a flash. It's rather quiet here tonight without Jack's warbling with a cat toy, jonesing to get out to porch time, or mooching to grab a bite of human food from his hapless parents; cheese was his favorite. He was such a good cat and he taught us a lot of lessons about life. If you have any wonderful Jack memories, please feel free to share them... thank you.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

On the Mend

(Jack Snoozing on the Floor-LCS 2008)
I feel like I am going to join the real world again--the land of the living, that is. I slept most of the day today(kind of like Jack is on the floor in the photograph above) and am starting to feel better. I'm actually going to go back to library land tomorrow. I look forward to getting back to normal. But I am going to do it slowly--and not overdo it. I was able to do some fun therapeutic writing, some library blogging, some reviews for a friend's web company, and catch up on reading and bonding with my kitties. And Steve has been awesome--keeping on me to make sure I'm eating and taking my meds on time. And thank you for reading my posts! -xo!

November Musings and Happy Early Thanksgiving

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