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Celebrate Every Day

That’s the theme of this post, and, in fact, the theme for the coming year. Welcome 2013, good riddance 2012.

My uncle and my grandfather, 1960s

My uncle and my grandfather, 1960s. They were best friends who married sisters.

The year ends tonight, and it couldn’t come soon enough for me. Yes, we were spared the promised Mayan Apocalypse, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a difficult year. I was all prepared to write a post running down the good and bad from the year, but I realized it would just be depressing, at best, and maudlin at worst. So instead, I am going to share with you my renewed resolve from several seasons past.

It can be summed up as the attempt to celebrate every day. Every day we are alive, no matter our circumstances, we can try to find some little way to add joy to our lives, if only for a minute. Some days will be very difficult, nay, impossible. I don’t need to provide you with my examples, I am sure you have your own. But most days, just ordinary, regular, run-of-the-mill sets of 24 hours, provide at least one opportunity to stop and smile.

Make a list of things that make you pause and reflect. It can be something as simple as turning on the AC in your car on a hot day. Boy, am I thankful for that!

A clump of violets on your breakfast table…or even taking the time to sit down at the table and eat your breakfast.

A glass of wine with lunch, gourmet coffee (with cream!), or a walk in the park, or ten minutes window shopping in a new city, or flipping through a photo album.

Cooking a special meal, or using the good silver, reading by lamplight, making dinner into a picnic, stopping to watch the birds dining at the neighbor’s bird feeder.

Ok, these are all things on my list; you can make your own. The important thing is to appreciate the beauty in the mundane, and make the mundane meaningful. It gives you a moment to separate yourself from your circumstances, provides a little different perspective on things. Sometimes it is mentally stimulating; or maybe it slows things down so you can appreciate the speed of life a little more.

I found another post that gave suggestions for indulging your home in everyday luxuries, and I realized I do every single one of these things…..some for years, some are new. You can read the post here, but this is the short list: fresh flowers, music, good china (or silver), bubble bath, candles, fresh fruit, dining outside, and great coffee. Okay, I don’t do all of these every day; I don’t need to. Some days, I do none of them, but these are grey days indeed, days I feel that the hours slipped by me without meaning and without joy.

This year was a rough one; I lost a dear friend, a favorite uncle (see photo above), a fur child, and most of my savings account. But I also gained a daughter in law, a grandchild, raised 4 cute kittens, and got a new kitchen. I have nothing to complain about, but grief can overwhelm joy.

In 2013, I will be starting school again, beginning exciting new projects at work, enjoying our “empty nest,” and taking care of our remaining fur children. I will enjoy the fireside, listen to music while I drive, enjoy my coffee and my wine, use the good silver every day, love my family, and try to celebrate a little each day.

Mr. Cookie enjoys his scratching pad

Mr. Cookie always takes time to enjoy his scratcher

How about you?

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Like I need another project…

Folks, do you ever find that, in the midst of having waaaaay to much to do, you start mentally planning more projects? I do this all the time, and I think it is a way of avoiding the need to think about the current quagmire around me.

Right now we are neck-deep in a ton of projects, and yet I find myself contemplating up-dating the door mouldings and changing the color of the living room walls. Yeah, like I need another project. If I mentioned these plans to mr husband right now, I think there would be a homicide.

It has been a pretty awful week, so I guess my brain needed a diversion from reality. Son and Daughter-in-law have bought a house, at last! It was a HUD foreclosure, and while it is a sound, good house, it needs a lot of work, and also an “occupancy inspection” from the city before they can move in. While I agree with a lot of the updates the city requires, such as proper venting of the furnace and hot water tank, etc., much of it amounts to a shake-down for more money. They charge $250 for the inspection, done by 5 different inspectors, and we will see the report tomorrow, but basically it is asking us to bring a 50 year old house up to code, which isn’t really financially feasible, and isn’t required for all residents buying homes, just those buying a home that has spent time vacant. It is stressful and expensive, to say the very least.

It’s a good house, but was badly neglected

So we are exhausted and rapidly going to the poorhouse, our own house is overdue for a good cleaning, and leaves are beginning to fall, signalling our time is short for completing any outdoor projects this year.

Then this past Tuesday, we noticed our Chippy cat wasn’t acting well. In fact, she seemed lethargic, and Wednesday morning she seemed to have trouble breathing. I high-tailed it off to the vet first thing in the morning, and after x-rays, they rushed me to an emergency vet, where she was promptly put in an oxygen-tent for animals. After a battery of tests, they determined she had very advanced hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is a big word I likely misspelled that means heart disease and she was already suffering from congestive heart failure. After 24 hours of treatment, she wasn’t responding at all to the medication, in fact, it was damaging her kidneys, and she was fading fast. She was so fragile, we only had a couple of minutes with her Thursday evening, when we made the decision to let her go, as she wasn’t going to survive outside of the oxygen for long. Even the vet, who usually will never give advice, agreed that it was best, as there was no way she could improve with the amount of damage to her heart.

Our Chippy was a very unique cat

I won’t subject you to the details, but if you have been there, you know. My son and I and his wife were with her, and she seemed relieved to have us hold and pet and kiss her. My heart felt like it was broken into pieces. We will miss her so very much. It happened so quickly, without any warning signs. Monday she seemed fine; Thursday, she was gone.

Chippy was only 4 years old. I know you are not supposed to admit to having favorites, but she was my favorite pet EVER. She was very special to me from the first time I saw her as a 12 week old kitten.

our Chippy, the week we got her

As I write this, Mabel is flopped across my lap, her toes on the keyboard. She hits the space bar now and then, and squeaks at me when my hands disturb her rest. I feel bad, as  she is very sweet,  but no one can replace our Chippy.

I have been preparing myself for the passing of Rowley dog, who is old and having troubles of his own, and for our Mr. Cookie, who has advanced arthritis and is 14 years old. I was not in any way expecting to lose Chippy, not at this age. We still have Mr. Cookie, and Mabel, and three of the orphans, who have all been adopted but have not been placed yet, so our house is far from empty.

For some reason, the kittens like playing in the bathtub

I am selfish, I suppose; there is still a cat on my lap. My heart, however, has an empty spot that still hurts, and there is a little grave in the backyard where my calico friend now rests, wrapped in the kitty princess blankets I made for her.

She was always there to help, whatever you were working on

 

 

 

 

 

 

So maybe that is why, as I sit here with Mabel on a cold Sunday morning, I look around and contemplate painting the walls. Thinking about what comes next is better than thinking about today. Maybe hard work helps heal the sadness.