Memphis Bound

The Foxglove Household is currently packing our home up, house hunting, and prepping to head to Memphis, Tennessee, sometime at the end of this month to beginning of next month.  It’s a relief to know that we’ll be there for at least 3 years, but we’re really just planning on everything going right and hopefully putting down permanent roots there at this point.  I’m personally sick of interstate moving already, and we don’t have this one finished yet.

I have 2 jewelry pieces to get made today, and then the jewelry bench is going to be packed up and my Etsy shop up into vacation-mode until most likely September or October.  I’m not sure if I’m going to have a lot of room for a jewelry bench at our new place, but hopefully so.

So if you don’t hear from me for a bit, don’t worry!  I’ll be back to talk about how magical our new city is.


The Tempest of February

I may not have much to update with in the next few months, since life is pretty intense currently.  These things happened last month:

  1. I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation Type 1 of the brain, which means my brain has slumped down in my skull and the cerebellum’s tonsils have fallen out the bottom into my neck.  Just slightly.  Enough that I have symptoms.  Which means I’m facing a very likely possibility of skull/brain surgery (and/or spinal cord surgery) in the next few years.  Ideally after my husband is done with his residency.
  2. My husband was gone for half the month interviewing for residencies.  We’ll know in 23 days if he was accepted to one of them, and if he has been, we’ll move in June or July.  So now I’m working to get things thinned down to bare minimums around here.  I may have some shrine tools and pretties going up for sale.  I’ll post them here.
  3. Pony was diagnosed with ASD (specifically what would have been considered as Asperger’s before) last week.  This came as no surprise to us, but due to the fact she’s able to pass as neurotypical in most situations I have had no less than 3 people question the diagnosis.  This week has been a blur of phone calls, more evaluations, and trying to figure out what will be in her best interest and not just what they suggest to come off as neurotypical.
  4. I got everything in line to get my wheelchair built for me and should be getting it in about 9 weeks or so.  I’m excited about it, because by the time it gets here I may need to rely on it due to fatigue while I recover.


A Perfect April Day


The Kalends isn’t over, but we’re taking a moment to rest in our day.  For me that means I get to do what seems to be becoming a job, but is still basically a hobby (This is my justification for it today, since I have always tried to not “work” on the Kalends, Nones, and Ides).

Yesterday over at my blog on Witches & Pagans’ PaganSquare, I wrote about my plans to observe the Kalends with my 3-year-old daughter for the first time.  The day is only half-way over, but I’ve been so moved by how the day has unfolded that I couldn’t wait to post.

My daughter had breakfast, and I had coffee with a few peanuts.  I fast for the Kalends, Nones, and Ides from sunset the night before, but my health issues require I don’t do a full fast these days.  I don’t feel that 3 is old enough to fast, but I explained why it was I wasn’t having my normal breakfast to her.

After breakfast we went out to find a stick to make our windchimes with.  We put it together while I explained that it was to bring good fortune and help protect us.

We went out to our front step.  I gave her the little broom she has, and together we swept off the step, making sure it was clean for where we were going to set up our offering.  We sat down the offering bowl.  Then we carried the tray off offerings out.

I showed her how to cover her head with a veil, and offered her a silk scarf I had picked out for this moment.  It’s a smaller one I bought years ago, and it was the perfect size for her.  She was so excited to have a veil to wear like mine that she kept it around her shoulders for quite some time afterwards.

I showed her how to hold her hands while praying, upturned to the sky.  She didn’t keep them that way, but I’ll be sure to demonstrate this position each time I pray in front of her to reinforce it.

And then came the offerings and prays.  I poured a little water into her special pitcher for her to put into the bowl, and she had picked tortilla chips (one of her favorite foods) to give to Janus, Juno, and the Lares today.  I offered the prayer and then directed her to pour and place chips into the offering bowl for each.

I admit that I am rarely moved to tears during rituals.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever cried during a formal ritual.  But as I sat there watching her pour and offer, her sweet face peaking out under her veil, I felt my heart grow 10 sizes with joy and pride.  My eyes welled up with tears.

We hung up our windchimes.

Afterwards we sat on the front step, watching the birds.  She asked me while looking around, “Where are the Gods?”

I chuckled.  I couldn’t help it.  She was clearly disappointed They’d not manifested in a way she could clearly see.  So I quietly explained that the Gods show themselves as birds, as the feel of the wind, that They are everywhere.  They are in the plants and the flowers.  They are inside of us, and They are the love we have for each other.

As I explained this, my arm wrapped around her little body, I understood this on a whole different level than I had before.

I thanked her for teaching me that lesson.

February Rites: Parentalia, Feralia, and Caristia

Parentalia starts next week on the 13th. In our home, this 9-day festival is one of 3 times in the year where we celebrate our ancestors beyond my daily devotional work in our household. Our other 2 festivals fall on Memorial Day, where currently we’re close enough to family graves to decorate them and honor the soldiers in my family line, and Samhain/Day of the Dead (All Saints and Souls Days), where we have started the tradition of opening up our home to friends and family to come celebrate and feed their ancestors beside our own.

The family in Ancient Rome was considered the very foundation of the civilization, and in our own home that belief in family remains the same. Long before my spiritual practice fell comfortably into the lines of a modern Roman practice, I held family and my ancestors in high esteem. Friends found this curious for a long time, many probably still do, but it is what it is. Now I have the alignment of my religious practice to help cement those I’ve come from as spiritually important.  This is a very meaningful and important relationship to me.

This upcoming week is going to be busy getting our dining room cleaned, swept, and organized for this festival, because you tidy up for honored guests. We will decorate the table, which is being turned into a place of offering for every meal. I plan on tracking down violets (though probably African, since it’s hard to find the real deal this time of year here) and making flower garlands to decorate for the week.

This is the loose plan of what is going to happen in our home during this time:

The First Day, February 13th: Parentalia is said to start at the 6th hour of the day, which I interpret as 6 in the morning. In upcoming years, this means I will be doing the first rites at 6 in the morning. However, it’s rare my daughter and I get out of bed that early in the day, and so we will simply be doing the rites as soon as we get up and washed up to do so. The Ancestors will hopefully understand this.

Traditionally this time starts with a performance of a parentatio done by the Vestal Virgins. I, obviously, have no Vestal Virgins around, and so I’m left to do what I can on my own. I’m unable to get pure water drawn from a spring, so the best I can offer for pure water in this purification ritual will be melted snow or rain water that hasn’t touched the ground. After making breafkast, I’ll wash my hands and offer incense, asking for divine witnesses to attend. And then I will walk around our table 3 times, giving offerings to my foremothers.

An invocation to Vesta and her Vestals comes next. Offerings of milk, red flowers, and honey will be made along with an adoratio done at the same time.

Whoever is home at the time will sit down to eat breakfast then, sharing it with our deceased. Traditionally this is a time when the Romans had a picnic of sorts at their deceaseds’ tombs, but February is freezing here and we have a bit of an open door policy on our home being a welcome place for our Ancestors to visit whenever they please. So they will eat in our home with us should they care to attend, and throughout the day I will keep candles burning for them to help guide them to and from their homes on the other side.

February 14th through the 21th: We won’t have any major rites in the home, but at each meal we will give offerings through sharing wine and cake along with offerings of salt. The table will be decorated with a wreath of flowers, especially violets, still.

Feralia, February 21st: This is the final day of Parentalia and is another meal for the dead. This isn’t a meal for family, though. This is meant for the Manes, the wandering dead. I don’t do rites to the Gods or Lares on this day, as Ovid suggested against it.

This year I will instead be taking a meal outside in the evening to give to any of the Manes who may be passing through. This meal is presented on broken pottery (in my case an unglazed flower pot that broke last winter) and in our house consists of leftovers from the dinner we had.

Caristia, February 22nd: The entire month of February to a Cultore is themed around purification. It’s a little like Lent in the final month of our religious year. We have an obligation to our Dead that we fulfill fully for the year during Parentalia. We have an obligation to the Dead who were unable to be buried with proper rites, who no longer have people attending their graves, and those who were never buried at all… Those wandering and alone. We satisfy our obligations to them with Feralia.

But as I was saying earlier, the Romans placed high importance on the family unit. It was the foundation of the religion, and the household was considered a microcosm for the larger family of Rome, united by Vesta. And so this is where Caristia comes in. This is a time when you get together with your living family and celebrate a meal together in love. Because love, like the binding power of Vesta as the spirit of Rome and that oldies song, is what keeps us together.

This is the meal where you attempt to move beyond your problems with your family. You lay your differences aside. You exchange small tokens of your affection and attempt to mend your own hurt feelings. And if you can’t do that you pretend you can. And if you can’t pretend? Then you don’t invite them. Personally to me, with my giant love of my extended family, means that if you can’t do the work within yourself to forgive them, then perhaps you need to evaluate whether they’re actually family to you or only in blood.

For me, being the only one in my entire family that is of my religion, I do my best to mentally prepare to lay my differences aside with those in my family who are indeed mine. I don’t feel particularly comfortable inviting them to this sort of meal, though they’re aware that I’m not of the Christian faith. On the practical side, our home is simply not big enough. On the emotional side, I’m just not up to trying to explain it all to them; perhaps one day I will be. Up until this year, our household hasn’t practiced the traditional Caristia feast, so it’s not been much of a problem.

This year my mother will be coming. She isn’t of the same religion, but she has always been an ally and welcome guest in my own practice. We observe multiple feasts and festivals throughout the year together, so it’s only natural that this will be one of them.

There are, of course, other purification rites in the month of February, but I feel like I should place them into their own blog posts if I’m going to write about them. Parentalia is the largest and longest for my family.

The Last 7 Months in Review

Sheesh, I took a break on a negative note last year.  Things got stressful and crazy.  Things continued to be stressful and crazy.  Yet somehow my head didn’t explode.  My goal at this point is to return to blogging with a post a week.  I have a two-month-old.  I’m not sure this is going to happen, but it’s worth a shot.

Anyway, the wee one is sleeping, so I get a chance to try to give a quick update of life events in the last 7 months.


I found out we were having a girl!  She quickly receives the nickname Pony, and this is most likely what I will refer to her as on this blog.

There was a knife fight in our cul-de-sac.

I get sick while in Kansas City taking classes and need to go home.  My mother drove to get me because Mr. NaW was unable to.  Her car broke down in the garage of the hotel.  We are unable to find a car to rent to get home, because Nascar is in the city for the weekend.  My friend from the program was leaving early that evening, and we were able to hitch a ride to a distance Mr. NaW was able to pick us up.


We were looking to buy a house, but were turned down for a mortgage – Not surprising considering the amount of student loan debt involved, but disappointing since we’d found a place on the outskirts of town we really, really liked that we felt we could afford.

I start feeling really sick when eating.  I realize that I most likely have gestational diabetes, but my OB didn’t seem too concerned with getting it diagnosed until further along in the pregnancy.

One night Mr. NaW and I are sitting in our living room and hear gunshots.  We call 911 after ducking for cover.  The police find unspent bullets in our front yard, because one of our (numerous) bad neighbors managed to drop them while shooting at whomever they were shooting at.

We went to Arkansas for Thanksgiving.  About ten minutes after getting home, the police are knocking on my door wanting to know if we knew anything about the burglary next door.  A week later the same thing happened.  It’s at this point that we became desperate to find another place to live.  Fast.  We’d had enough.

We found an awesome duplex for cheap with a fenced in yard and beautiful view out the back window.  Best of all, we would be surrounded by couples and widows who are all older than us.  The family that is renting it approves us without even doing a background check.


I manage to get through giving a 20 minute presentation on my business plan despite being unmedicated for my social anxiety disorder.  I graduate from my ag business program.

I am still really sick from food.  I’m not shocked when I’m diagnosed around Christmas with gestational diabetes.  I end up having to go onto medication because diet was unable to control it.

We start moving across town at the end of the month.  We don’t finish until February.  We love our new place, but I will never move again while pregnant.


I finally have my blood sugar under control, and am feeling better.  We’re still stressing about moving.  My blood pressure starts looking kind of strange, but it’s chalked up to my social anxiety disorder and my OB’s waiting room.


About the time I start nesting at the beginning of the month, I wind up in the hospital for observation due to my blood pressure.  I get diagnosed with gestational hypertension, which means I’ll have to be induced a week earlier than my due date.  It also lands me in the full-blown high risk category for my pregnancy.  I have biophysical profiling and an appointment once a week because of it.  I also get stuck on bed rest.

The next day I go into latent labor that comes and goes for the next month.  Yes, I was technically in labor for a month.


My glucose readings are no longer controlled by medication.  I have access amniotic fluid that makes me measure way beyond 42 weeks.  My blood pressure is a mess.  We bump up induction to the beginning of week 39.

I go in on a Sunday to be induced.  After 36 hours of labor with back labor that wasn’t covered by the epidural and 3 hours of pushing, Pony is born via forceps delivery.  At some point I might just write out her birth story, but I’m currently pretty traumatized by it.

5 hours after birth.

I struggle with being a mom and recovering from a third degree laceration from delivery.  They only give me 3 days worth of pain medication.  I wind up in urgent care and on blood pressure medication, because my blood pressure is completely out of control.  I go back onto preclampsia watch for a month.

My mother stays with us for two weeks helping take care of the baby.  I am absolutely terrified when she finally starts going home at night instead of staying with us, because I am drugged to the gills and dealing with blood pressure issues.  On top of this, Pony is recovering from a broken collar bone from delivery and suffering from gastrointestinal distress.

We start what end up being weekly trips to the pediatrician because she is constantly screaming from gas and spitting up large amounts of breast milk when she eats.  We get told it’s normal.  I already know at this point that it’s not.

Her body breaks out in a rash.  I, once again, get told it’s normal, but my gut tells me it’s not.

Pony starts projectile vomiting towards the end of the month, and we find ourselves dealing with an inconsolable baby who is screaming and crying up to 20 hours a day.


March blends into April.  At some point we rule out pyloric stenosis via ultrasound, but the reflux Pony is suffering continues to get worse.  I’m starting to suspect a food allergy.  The doctor had already suggested I cut out “gassy food,” but didn’t really think that would help.

I cut out caffeine and obvious dairy.  Some symptoms get better.  Some continue to get worse.

The entire family comes down with a wicked RSV infection.  Pony gets her first trip to the ER at 6 weeks after breathing difficulty, but is not admitted for observation.  We spend the next 4 days wanting to die from our own illness while taking care of a miserable newborn.

Our doctor finally writes a prescription for Zantac for the reflux.  For the first time since she was born, we actually get to see a bit of Pony’s personality instead of just a baby in terrible pain.  Some things get better.  Other things continue to get worse.

Pony is breastfeeding every 45 minutes to an hour and refuses to take a bottle so I can get some rest.  I get told that if I want to breastfeed, I won’t be able to go back on medication for bipolar disorder.

By this point I’m convinced we have food allergies or sensitivities on our hands, but I can’t get a single doctor to agree with us.  Our lactation consultant, however, completely agrees with us.  She also helps us start to teach Pony to drink from a cup after a supplemental feeder wouldn’t work on Mr. NaW’s finger.  And she shows me a list of medications I can safely take if I need to for my mental heath.

I begin working on correcting an oversupply issue and an overactive let-down.

I decide to cut hidden dairy and wheat out of my diet.  Pony gets slightly better and continues to after just a few days.  I eat soy sauce.  Things get ugly.  I cut soy, too.  Things start getting better again.


We still have no idea exactly what we’re dealing with in regards to our daughter’s health, but we have all the symptoms of food allergies.  She is still in pain from the reflux and gas.  She doesn’t spit up or vomit as much since cutting food out.

Two days ago we tried to start her on vitamins only to find blood in her stools and all the symptoms of an allergy come back in horrible ways.  We discontinued use and she’s doing better.  I have yet to hear back from the company about what allergen derivatives are in their vitamins, but obviously there was something.

We have her 2-month appointment this week.  I will be pressing the allergy issue more and requesting testing for Celiac Disease be done for her.  Along with appointments for me, since I’m STILL dealing with postpartum issues physically.  I won’t be tested for gluten-intolerance until after I’m done breastfeeding.  Having already cut it out, I think I’m actually starting to feel a bit better in regard to pain, but time will tell.

Say hello to Pony @ 2 months

Anyway…  That has been what I’ve been up to.  Hopefully at some point I’ll catch up on others’ blogs and see how everyone I’ve followed is doing.

Evidence of What I Did to Celebrate Summer Solstice… *Cough*

Baby Not a Wiccan, 11 Weeks

Note to Facebook friends: This is a secret you’re getting clued into about a month early! I’m waiting a few more weeks to blab to the general world about this news, but I’m going to explode if I don’t actually write about it now. So please, if you’d kindly not mention it and bask in the glory of the smug satisfaction of knowing something most people don’t, I’d appreciate it. Grazie.

After almost a month of having no energy at all and doing very little housework, a week of my chest feeling like Wee Folk had been kicking me in my sleep, and a vast array of general weirdness I chalked up to my first hardcore fibro flare-up in half a year, I was cooking green beans one night and nearly threw up on the stove. The next day the nausea kicked in full blast after a nap, just about the time I needed to cook dinner again. It was at that point that I decided to immediately go out and get a pregnancy test, gingerale, and soda crackers, sparing the fiancé the fact that I was getting a pregnancy test.

When the test’s confirmation line turned before the control line, I thought to myself Shit, this thing is broken. Then a second or two later, I realized that the stick was telling me that I was, in fact, pregnant.

It wasn’t denial, and I wasn’t completely clueless as to what was going on. The cravings kicking in almost immediately gave me pause. Just a few days before I took the test, I was joking with my mother about all of the problems I was having and that maybe I was pregnant. We’d been cleaning a house that day, and a cowbird spent the entire five hours I was there flying from window to window following my movement and pecking on the glass; when I got home to research into what cowbirds mean, part of it was about neglecting children… Neglecting? Not exactly. Or, well, okay, neglecting the signs and lacking the bravery to confirm things. The thing is that I was trying not to set myself up for disappointment.

There came a point sometime last year where every time my period started, I felt a stab of disappointment. We weren’t trying to conceive, but we weren’t trying to prevent it either. I was getting tired of hoping only to turn around and start the cycle of let-down a few weeks later. So I guess when combined with my cycle being off whack from a car accident in February, I just managed to convince myself that I was being neurotic. I was used to being late. I was used to heinous PMS. And I was used to experiencing something I can liken to opening every single present under the Christmas tree only to find the one thing you really, really wanted and asked for repeatedly wasn’t there as a child.

So on July 16th, I took a pregnancy test. I’ve taken a lot of them in my life (irregularity plus general neurosis = I should have bought stock in pregnancy tests), but this was the first time I had a positive result. I was over-the-moon for a few days before I got really, really sick from it all. The week after that found me in St Louis taking agri-business classes and traipsing around farms in the area in the middle of a heatwave. Then upon returning home, I just continued to sleep all day and night, finding when I was sleeping I was sick to my stomach constantly. I’ve yet to throw up, but you spend 4 weeks constantly nauseated, eventually you find yourself kind of wishing you just would.

On top of being sick, I’ve constantly worried that something was going to happen. The most amusing part of this is that I’m slowly starting to feel better, and I find myself even more worried… My symptoms are going away!!! What does that mean?! The rational side of my brain obviously tells me that my body is finally adjusting to massive hormones. However, I come from a family filled with difficult pregnancies and heartbreaking endings in regard to them, so I have almost an inherited fear of something happening that I’m trying my best to work through. This is a new level to the battle for mindfulness and self-awareness that I’m swinging through. Observing these thoughts and feelings then letting them move on has not been easy. I keep practicing. It’s all I can do.

This pregnancy, despite me feeling like crap, is going great. Today, as I said, I hit 11 weeks. My doctor was incredibly excited to pick up the heartbeat on Doppler (170bpm) at 10 weeks through my chub (though she didn’t say the chub part… That’s me. Ha!). The dating ultrasound the next day revealed a kicking, hiccupping miracle living inside me.

And this is a miracle, as far as I’m concerned, or a very large blessing from the gods… Or both.

Meet Opal!

The car ride to her new home.

Yesterday after waiting patiently for quite some time, we introduced a new member to our family.  This is Opal, who is already turning into a mama’s girl.

She is nothing short of fearless (except for big dogs, which we have none of).  And her meow is so quiet sometimes it’s almost silent.  She is also constantly purring.

I’m sure Opal’s antics and adventures will be documented here in full as she grows up.  For now she simply wanted to say hi to you.  We have to go play and take a nap now.

Our Friend Mouse

Mouse decided to sleep on my basil starts.

There is a certain art to sharing your home with a geriatric cat. The truth is that it is all too easy to find yourself dreading the what-ifs and whens instead of appreciating the time you have with your companion. Yesterday I spent some time angry with the gods, because they seemed to be delivering the exact opposite of what I’d been praying for – That my beloved Siamese, Mouse, would pass peacefully in his sleep and not have to take the stressful trip to the vet in his final moments. This day, however, has turned into a slightly better outcome I suppose. Mouse will be 20-years-old in July. He has been in my life since I was 9. My fiancé and I took him in when my mother was no longer able to take care of him due to moving, and he has survived two moves of his own with minimal adjustment problems. At 19, he experienced a 5 hour car ride, nearly being overdosed on Valium due to inadequate vet care (I’m saying this as nicely as I can, but I hold a lot of anger and resentment towards the vet in question), and relearned how to master going up and down stairs with stiff hips. He discovered a passion for canned food and mashed potatoes. And he generally gets attention lavished upon him even when he is being an annoying jerk. Granted, age has not been kind to him, and unfortunately I didn’t listen to my intuition telling me to get him into the vet sooner. And, once again, little day-to-day changes tend to not be noticed until it’s too late. Therefore, my gigantic 35-pound snarling, biting watch cat has been reduced to a very frail 4.3-pound cuddle monster that tends to forget to wash his face. We were gone over the weekend to New Orleans. My mother took care of him and Jasper while we were gone, dutifully coming to fuss over them twice a day. Our departure, though, depressed Mouse. One day he came half-way down the stairs to see who came in before going up to his room. After a couple days he simply quit coming downstairs, having given up on us coming home. When we got home on Monday, he was happy to see us. But he’s always been a moody fellow, so on Tuesday when he didn’t hobble down the stairs I didn’t think much of it. Well, that’s not exactly true. I thought he was mad and sulking. Plus some days he simply sleeps all day, so it’s not unusual to have a Mouse-free day downstairs from time-to-time. On more than one occasion, I stopped to wonder where he was but talked myself out of checking on him. I was wrong. 6:30 PM passed, and I finally went upstairs to ask him if he was hungry. He usually starts bugging me for food about 4:30, though daylight saving time isn’t something he really grasps the concept of. When I walked into the room he spends most of his time in, he lifted his head and let out a helpless cry. It was then that I realized something was wrong. I rushed over to discover that our modem cord had dislodged from its space. Somehow Mouse had managed to get himself caught in it. I couldn’t get it off of him, and I couldn’t figure out exactly where it even was on his body – Though I was immediately thankful it wasn’t around his neck. The cord had wrapped tightly around his loose skin in front of his right hip, and somehow it was wrapped under his leg pinning it in an odd position. He was too weak to put up a fight with me when I started trying to get him untangled. He didn’t fight when my fiancé stepped in to attempt the same thing. It didn’t take long for me to decide we needed to cut it off of him, because there was no way to pull it without possibly hurting him. Not knowing exactly where the cord was wrapped made that an even scarier prospect. So the fiancé carefully snipped him out, and the cord that came off of him was completely disfigured and twisted. There were no teeth marks. It’s hard to say how long Mouse was trapped, which has a heavy weight in regards to guilt. He’d wet himself, he was dehydrated, and he was too weak to stand. I gently picked him up and put him by his water so he could drink, which he did, and when he was given his canned food he gobbled it down. Then he started walking, though it was obviously hard for him. He stumbled about and limped. His hip seemed to be sitting in a weird position. But he was putting weight on it, and he wasn’t trying to get away from us fussing over him. Eventually he made his way to the litter box, and with some struggle he used it. I brought my mom over for another pair of eyes to see what was going on. She was surprised to see him doing as well as he was considering what I’d told her over the phone. So the three of us decided we would wait it out and see what happened instead of taking an emergency trip to the vet. Later in the evening he came downstairs. Yesterday came. I stayed at home to watch him. He didn’t go very long with walking before laying down and sleeping. He seemed very uncomfortable. But he was still nibbling on food, drinking water, and urinating. Then our other cat started hovering with me, not going beyond a few feet of Mouse at any given time other than the hour we played fetch together. In the afternoon, I couldn’t take it any longer. I’d gotten online to read about senior cats and started worrying about all the other problems we’d had for years with him – Most starting so long ago that I just thought they were normal. Eventually, I couldn’t take it any longer. He seemed so weak and frail, and he was starting to be a little unresponsive when it came to me petting him. I called the vet and was told to bring him in. Mouse didn’t put up a fight yesterday at all, which is unlike him even in his old age. While I waited for my mother, I went into the bathroom and cried – Afraid that I would upset my precious cat if I got too emotional around him. He’s always been one to come and check on me when I’m crying. I genuinely thought I would not be bringing Mouse home at all, but at the very least I’d not be bringing him home the same day. An hour later, I received the phone call. It was both good news and bad news. First of all, he was sore and probably had pulled a muscle in his hip. But nothing was broken or out-of-place skeletally. This was good. However, the vet was quick to say that Mouse is suffering from kidney failure. It’s to be expected in older animals – Only three weeks ago my mother’s dog was diagnosed with the same problem, though other health issues resulted in having him euthanized not too long after that. The vet said that Mouse will just have to deal with his injury’s pain, because his kidney function is so low he didn’t want to give him any medicine for it. I agreed that was a good idea, because really he wasn’t in extreme pain. Having a pain disorder myself, I’ve got a decent understanding of pain and what it does. But I feel confident in my decision to agree with the vet – By the time we went to pick Mouse up he was moving better than he had in days. What the vet did suggest, though, was to start Sub-Q fluid therapy if we felt comfortable doing it. After discussing it just a little (say about 20 seconds), my fiancé and I decided that we were willing to consider it. While there, I asked the vet to show us how to do it, and I felt a little more comfortable with the idea after seeing how well Mouse reacted to it. Granted, he wasn’t feeling well, and once he gets feeling better it may be a bit more of a fight. We’ll see, though. We will have to give Mouse injections of fluids every other day under his skin. He is decidedly going to be swollen and lumpy from the liquid. I’m obviously terrified of this, but everyone keeps assuring me that we’ll all get used to doing it very quickly. Right now I’m not as worried about the actual poking part but making sure all the tubing is hooked up right. I’m sure as soon as I have it all put together and have the needle in hand, I’ll feel the grip of fear there. The good news is that after 24 hours, the first treatment given by our vet has brought about a lot of changes in our dear friend. He has taken to talking to me again, though his voice isn’t as strong as it used to be. For the first time in I’m not sure how long, he has started to sit back on his rear end instead of letting it hover on the ground. And last night he put up a hissing and spitting protest to Jasper trying to clean him – A good sign that he’s getting his fight back. That’s just the thing… Mouse is not ready to leave his life. Inevitably he will at some point, but today just isn’t the day for it. He’s more interested in sleeping on my basil starts or eating mashed potatoes. And honestly my fiancé and I aren’t willing to have him leave us before it’s time. He’s been in my life since I was 9, after all, and as long as he’s still fighting and coping with his illness I’m willing to help him embrace the journey of his life. I’ve known him long enough to know to understand what he’s telling me. And he’s telling me he’s not done living just yet. Am I worried and scared? Yes. Do I realize that taking care of a special needs cat will probably require more time at home? Yes. But in the last few months, oddly more than any other time in my life, I’ve learned that I’m tough. I can handle this, and when I can’t I have my fiancé to pick up when I need help – That is one of our greatest strengths as a couple, and when it’s needed I do it for him, too. This is our family, after all. Unconventional perhaps, but family all the same. We all love each other, and we all care for each other. So we will do this with dedication and grace. And through all of it I will work my hardest at taking this journey with Mouse as a spiritual path – Practicing the art of living in the present instead of the future or the past. When I look at it that way, at the beginning of the final stretch, I find myself almost thankful that I’ve been given the opportunity to experience not only the unconditional love of a warm soul but also the chance to learn how to enjoy the little things that makes life so truly special.

The Kitchen Window

For two years I lived with my windows facing the interstate. To make matters worse, the windows were facing north, which means I couldn’t line them with plants to buffer some of the sight of traffic. One day I looked out to see a deer getting hit; deer is my spirit animal. I feel like all of this is some glorious metaphor for my final years in Iowa. The final year and a half I was physically exhausting myself in a retail job where material access was witnessed daily.

Sometimes simply taking yourself out of the rut in the road shows the ground to be less bumpy. We’ve moved now to Missouri. Despite the imperfections like gigantic bugs, I find myself a lot happier already. However, back to the interstate, I no longer live with the constant hum of cars zipping by. Instead my west-facing kitchen window faces a field that is mostly wildflowers and a wooded area with a stream.

The peace of the mornings makes me feel more connected to what is around me. The energy is more grounded. Also the neighborhood kids play in that space, which fills me with so much joy. It warms my heart to see children out in nature, but it brings back so many of my happier childhood memories. I feel very blessed. I feel like some of the darker facets of my past are being healed by it all by changing the focus of memories from negative to positive.

I have more, but I’m trying to space it out so I’m not writing twenty pages every few months. Ha.

For those interested, I also have a secular blog on design and various other things up and running at My CoMo Life. I plan on having free blogger layouts, since graphic design is actually a hobby of mine.