Friday, January 20, 2017

Short update today

I meant to post last weekend and the. Then*n the whole weekend kind of got away from me.

Thank you to the people who commented on my last post with supportive messages. I appreciate it. It does help sometimes.

We 20 days into the new year. I'm 50 days into the current semester and I just scheduled my first final for the semester. Gotta brush up on the details, but I don't expect to have trouble.

I got into a bit of a discussion with my school counselor last week because apparently they are trying to veer away from the "go at your own pace, in your own way" model. This will not end well for them. The vast majority of their students are like me, working adults trying to fit in more education around a work schedule. We enrolled with this school specifically to be able to fit it around work. So telling me (us) that we suddenly have to follow a schedule that wasn't part of our enrollment agreement is rather upsetting.

I'm still enjoying my job. Still enjoying my coworkers. It's nice to have a job where I may wake up and not want to go to work, but it's more because I want to snuggle back under the warm covers than because work makes me want to kill things.

This weekend is set to be a lot of house keeping. I really want to get things hauled out to the recycling or the trash or to Goodwill. I have a movie to watch and books to read. But I have chores that need doing as well.

For now, I need to water plants, and get finished getting ready for work. I'm working from home today, so it's not going to take long. :)

And as a last thing. Take a look at the baby blanket that I finished and sent to my nephew as a christmas gift:


Thursday, December 29, 2016

We're almost through

This past month and a half have been beyond stressful.

Right after my last post was the end of my semester for school and I had plenty of work to do to try to pass my finals. I managed to squeak through my last final on the last day of my semester (I passed with a decent score, but the door closing for the end of the term might have nipped my heels a bit.)

On the upside there, I now get to say that I'm certified for Project Management, and that's super spiffy.

Unfortunately, the world tried to collapse around my ears 3 days later.

My last remaining pet had to be let go at the beginning of December. Our weather took a really harsh turn for the worse (colder) and he was already battling some of the worst arthritis most of his vets had ever seen.

Shu was an abuse survivor. I don't know what all happened to him when he was tiny. I know he was taken from his mother WAY too early. He was probably taken at just barely 5 weeks old. I don't know what happened to him between then and when he showed up on my doorstep. There's about a week of unaccounted for time. I do know that he was thrown out of a moving car nearly 17 years ago. I know that he haunted my apartment building getting handouts from neighbors. I know he showed up on my doorstep on the day that I brought home a foam mattress topper for a twin bed that happened to be perfect for plopping down on the doorstep to prevent him running away and hiding.

I know that he was so tiny that he fit in the palm of my hand and could barely reach the sides of my hand with both paws. He could have fit into one of those silly, small, elegant china tea cups and had room left over. He was this little cadet blue and white kitten with the tiniest little voice. He already had long scars down both back legs and some other damage. And he was so desperate to be held and cuddled and loved.

Little monster launched himself at my lap once, in the bathroom. When I was using the bathroom... He hit my lap all right, but he was going so fast that he couldn't STOP on my lap. I had 12 slices across my left thigh from him trying to stop. He ended up stopping all right, after he hit the wall. Poor little turkey. He was horribly accident prone, and I seriously think there was brain damage that kept him at the emotional and learning equivalent of a 6 month to 12 month old kitten.

He would get tangled up in something and not be able to get himself untangled. He would forget that there was a door or wall right in front of his face, even after he noticed it, sniffed it and touched it. He would then run his face right into whatever it was when he got up to go somewhere. It didn't always happen, but it did happen more than once.

He was dumb as a box of rocks. And he wanted so badly to be loved and make me happy that as long as I could get him to understand what I wanted, he would do it. Just to make me smile and tell him that he was a good boy.

He was so submissive, he hid from hummingbirds. He would chatter at squirrels, but if they so much as looked his way, he ran to hide. He wouldn't go after spiders or bugs in the house, he would watch, but if they came towards him, again with the hiding.

He absolutely loved being held and cuddled. He adored being picked up and held to my shoulder like a human child while I rocked in the rocking chair. He would purr if I so much as laid a hand on him. If I touched his nose, he would try to lick my finger. And if I timed it right, I could poke him again while he was in the process of licking and he would forget that his tongue was out. It would stay sticking out until something called his attention to it again.

When he was about 1, he used to play fetch by himself. He would take those rattle mice from the pet store, sit up on his haunches and throw them across the room. Then go get them, come back and do it again.

He always backed down before Willow, my other cat. They slept together and he was always in the submissive position. When she died, I bought him 2 stuffed toys and I put pocket watches in their heads to simulate heartbeat noises as much as I could. He didn't like the rabbit, but he loved the dog one. He slept with that for years after Willow's death.

As he got older and more arthritic, he stopped playing. He would cuddle up next to me on the couch and tap me on the arm regularly to ask to be petted. I have a video of him in October or November of this year where for several minutes he just would pull my hand back to his head to pet him just a bit more.

I have an audio recording of his purr.

He would sleep curled up between my pillow and the pillow on his side of the bed. His head would be on my pillow with me and he would pet my shoulder or cheek until I fell asleep. If I woke up in the middle of the night, he would ask for cuddles and then pet me to sleep again. I would wake up to his purring next to my ear. This is much better than when he was really young. Then he would get under the covers and push me while I slept. I always moved away and would wake up nearly falling off the bed. Often clutching the edge of the mattress to keep myself from falling.

The first Friday in December he couldn't do any of these things. He couldn't manage to walk across the room without crying from pain. He couldn't lay down from the pain. He fell frequently as his joints locked up. I gave him double doses of his pain meds and let the vet know that it was time.

He went to sleep curled in my lap. I know that he knew that I loved him. I know that he wasn't really ready to go, but he was more than ready to not hurt. I know that he had no clue why he hurt so much. I know that he loved me and that he always had.

I know that there is a huge hole in my heart where he was. I know that my house is too quiet and too empty and that I cry so frequently still.

I miss the tugging on my arm. I miss the purring next to my head and the petting as I fell asleep. I miss the whining and complaining when he wanted something. I miss the rattle of his toys when he played. I miss the jingle of the bell on his collar. I miss him and Willow curled up on the other end of the couch. I miss them both trying to pet the parrot while I corralled the parrot to keep him from biting them.

I miss feeling loved.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

I don't talk much about politics and let me tell you a bit of why

This is not going to be a trend. This will be the last post about politics from me for the foreseeable future. I have other things that I am working on that I am willing to talk about here. And I kind of feel like politics should be handled like religion. You have yours, I have mine, and while I am absolutely not against adult CONVERSATION, I am not interested in having your choices or opinions shoved down my throat.

I knew that this election, like most, would have people who supported the winner, and people who supported the losers. Notice the S there. There are more than 2 parties and here's something that a lot of people who support those 2 main parties forget. It is part of being a democracy that everyone eligible to vote gets to pick which ever party they want. ANY PARTY. They can even forgo selecting a party.

Caps here for a moment while I try to make a point:

IT IS NOT A CRIME TO NOT VOTE FOR THE SAME CANDIDATE THAT SOMEONE ELSE DOES!

Imagine that someone who had no real basis in the party system was told that they would have to pick a party based on their most recent interactions with someone about the recent election.

If that someone were me here are my current impressions and a short synopsis of the behaviors:

ALL the third party supporters: Carrying on with their every day lives. There is some unhappiness about the outcome of the election overall, but they do not let it override everything else in their life.

Republicans: Some gloating on some social media and in the news. But my most recent in person interactions are pretty much identical to the third part supporters. Carrying on with the every day. The news and social media show a lot of hatred and vitriol everywhere.

Democrats: Screaming at everyone, cursing everyone who did not vote for the democratic candidate. Blaming everyone who chose to vote for someone other than one of the two major party candidates. Blaming people for making their own choices. Hatred and vitriol everywhere.

Be happy if your choices won. Be upset and sad if your choices did not win. These are perfectly normal reactions.

But as the current phrase from a lot of people I know has been over the last several days goes...

Be the change you want to see.

If you are happy, great, support happy and good things. If you are upset or sad, also normal, but be better than what you fear.

Show by example why your choices are good.

I avoid a lot of people around politics time because I am tired of hearing hatred from people. And I lived for several years in a job that made me full of hate and anger. And I tried to keep that to myself. I didn't always succeed, but I tried and few people understand how deeply that job affected me.

I post pictures on Instagram of my cat, or my nail polish, or pretty or interesting things that I see outside. I want to see other people who are trying to be the change they want in the world. A positive change, preferably.

Do I worry about the future? Yes. But that wouldn't have changed no matter what the outcome of the election.

All I ask is before you say anything about the election, take a deep breath and think about how this would look to someone from another world or a country that has no similar option for government. Would your statement make them want to share your support? Or would it make them look elsewhere?

It's not a crime to vote for your personal preferences. It's democracy.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Ugh. 3:30am

It's not insomnia... it's just too warm.

And it really isn't too warm outside. But it's too warm in my bedroom.

I have to leave the heat on during the day for the cat so he can still move (darn arthritis.) And even though I turn the heat off and open a window before bed, I think the people downstairs turn their heat on and I am getting a lot of it.

So it's still so warm in my bedroom that I rarely end up under covers, and today I ended up not able to sleep more than a short while at a time (about 45 minutes) because I was just too hot. Which, given that it is 49 degrees out with a light breeze? Is a terrible thing.

I've had a glass of ice water and I'm hoping I can sleep soon. Sleep is nice.

I voted today. Have you voted? If you can, you should. And I don't say that because of the national "Get out and vote" movements that always happen right before an election. I say that because I hear too many people around me complain about the government and the way the country is run. And yet, a good portion of those complainers do not vote.

If you don't vote, and you are legally able to? YOU DO NOT GET TO COMPLAIN. NOPE, NOT EVEN A PEEP.

Voting, for all that our system is severely broken (in my absolutely NON-humble opinion), is your way to take a stand for or against something. Don't like the president and their policies? Vote. Don't like taxes? Vote (and deal, taxes are the way we get government and yes, we need it.) But you can get a say in what is taxed and when and how much.

And here's something else. If you want to actually make changes, not just vote for or against them? Then get involved. Do the legwork and the bookwork. Write up an idea, follow through with it. Get that idea on a ballot. Yes, it takes time and effort. But it's your RIGHT.

I have opinions. I have very decided opinions about our political system. I also know that it's extremely unlikely that any of my ideas would ever make it to a ballot, let alone beyond that. Not only because I haven't done the legwork to make them happen, but because some of the things I would like to see changed are things that most people know almost nothing about.

But I still vote and even if I vote for Donald Duck on all the write in sections (don't do that, it's stupid, juvenile, and a waste of a vote.) But even if I did, it lets me complain for another 4 years. So there. (I don't complain all that much, I have a lot of understanding and respect for government and how difficult it is to manage this many people. Yes, there are problems. Any time you get more than 2 people together in one small area, you will have problems.)

Anyway, if you haven't yet, step out and vote. Then you too can complain about the government and how much you hate the president, the congress, the senate, the guy down the street, or your shoes.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

I haven't been all that good about updating

I think about it, and then stuff gets in the way.

This weekend is no exception.

Let's see, the notables over the last few months... Went and visited my mom, Fiber Fusion in Monroe. Spent way too much money, spun some yarn, paid some bills, continuing to work at the new job, still enjoying it immensely.

The cat is still hanging in there, but getting slower and more in pain on a daily basis. I'm dreading the day when I have to make the decision that his quality of life has gone down enough to let him go. And I have no illusions that the day won't be soon.

I'm still working on schoolwork, continuing to get closer to graduation. I just turned in the last 2 assignments for one of my classes and will get started on my last class for the semester today. However, I have chores to do before I get started on that. Laundry is nearly done, and I have bread that needs shaping, proofing, and baking.

I have to get new polish on my nails. And no, that's not vanity. The stress from before I left the job from hell caused damage to my nails that is very slow to grow out. The polish helps to keep the nails strong enough to grow out.

You want to see something funny? You should watch a cat get the munchies from cannabis. It happens, and it's hilarious. Watching him do a vacuum cleaner impression to try to get any remnants of treats from his bed? And then fall over and act like he's dying? I nearly laughed myself sick. The cannabis is specifically designed for cats, and the vet has me trying him on it for 2 months to see if he does better on it. Allegedly, it helps with the specific pain med he is on and makes it more effective. I certainly hope so, since watching him limp across a room from pain makes me ready to cry from wanting to make him hurt less.

I'm starting again to think of looking at getting another bird. I'm actually thinking of getting 2, so that they can keep each other company. It won't be soon, but I'm starting to think about it. It will never remove the pain and sense of loss from losing Torrii, but it no longer makes me start to cry at the very thought.

It's a brief update today. But I need to go get the bread going.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ups and downs, illness and sadness

School is still going along.

I quit my job at the hellhole, and started a new job at a place I like much better. It's awesome, I learn so much and feel like I'm actually useful to someone instead of just being a body off the street.

I've had the flu twice since my last post, and went to the hospital once. That one was exciting, and resulted in various things including learning that my liver has a happy face on it, and the loss of a friendship from someone who refuses to understand that talking about other people's bodies and life is not a good choice to make.

And one of the bigger ups and downs at the same time is finally getting the custom made ring with my birds ashes in it. It's a huge up because I have been working towards it since just a couple of months after he died. And a huge down at the same time because I'm still not finished grieving for him and it reminds me every day that he is gone. That this is all I have left of him.

The ring maker asked for the story behind the ring to post on their blog, and I wanted to post it here too. Because this is very special to me.

My parrot was my graduation gift for graduating high school. (trust me, graduation wasn't ever in question, it was more a question of if I would tolerate the other students that long.) I got him when he was just 3 months old and had just gotten his first adult feathers. We bonded immediately and I brought him home just a week after graduation. That was in 1992 and he was my beautiful, funny, little clown bird. He went to college with me, and moved several times between two states with me. He was a troublemaker and a a brat, and I absolutely adored him and he adored me right back. At the end of 2012, in October, he was old at 20. This species only lives about 16-20 years, and I knew he was getting to the end of his lifespan. But he died a little early from cancer. We were at the vet and I was hoping that we could remove the cancer and let him stay with me a little longer, but I told him that if he had to go it was okay. (this was a lie, it's still not okay.) He died 10 minutes later. He was 4 months shy of his 21st birthday.

A couple of months later, when I could start to function again without spiraling into depression and tears, I started looking for something that would be a good memorial for this part of my life that had suddenly vanished from me. I saw it all. I saw diamonds made from ashes, I saw blown glass with the ashes in there, I saw bottles with ashes in them worn as pendants, and so many other things. And at that time, the only thing I could think was that none of them were special and none of them showed how integral this bird had been in my life.

I was doing (yet another) search for pet memorial jewelry on Etsy, because I had come to the realization that I needed this to be jewelry. Something that I would wear and be happy wearing. I saw the same old beads, and bottles, and then stumbled across the Jewelry by Johan store with these beautiful, simple but not plain rings that truly incorporated the ashes, but didn't change the ashes themselves. I saw several antler rings at first and nearly wandered back out. They were pretty, but not quite what I was looking for.

I happened to see a wedding set though. The set was green box elder burl and a line of meteorite. And that was the perfect combination. My parrot had been green, grey, and blue, with a tan beak and dark grey toes. I spent so many years with him cuddled under my ear, chin, or in my hands. I would kiss his head and play with his beak and toes. The colors in the green box elder burl matched the green from his back and head. The lighter sections were close to the colors of his beak, and the grey from the ashes were similar to the grey of his chest and toes.

I contacted Jewelry by Johan to ask if it was possible to make THAT ring as a pet memorial, and the response was fast and friendly, and very positive. What sealed the deal then was the fact that I was able to make payments on the ring. After paying it mostly off, I got the ring sizers which were amazing. I was able to actually FEEL the ring on my finger to make sure that it was the correct diameter and width. We were able to discuss all the particulars and the final design was exactly what I wanted. Just slightly wider in the ashes than the wood, and the ring is perfect. It feels like it has always fit my hand and will always be the perfect ring for that finger.

The kindness of the people at Jewelry by Johan as I struggled through the loss and the grief, while also trying to pay them as I went through the loss of my job, my house, and a bankruptcy, was beyond compare. After finally getting the ring paid off, I struggled more because suddenly I had to actually part with the last remains of my bird. I had to send all of the ashes to make sure there was enough. And that was one of the hardest things I have done since telling him it was okay to leave me.

Every time I had trouble, for whatever reason, everyone at JBJ was kind and patient. There was always understanding of how hard this was for me. I'm sure there was eye rolling and grumbling about me, but that never came across in any of the emails. There was just endless patience, kindness, and understanding of the grief process. There were reassurances that all the ashes would be handled carefully and everything not used for the ring would be returned. There was full communication the entire way, when the ashes arrived, when the ring was made and shipped.

I have nothing but praise for my experience with JBJ. And when it comes time for my last cat to leave me, I may look at another ring with ashes of both of my cats. But the parrot was my love, my heart, and my soul. He needed to be with me even after death, and this ring is perfect. I still work through the grief, even nearly 4 years later. But now I have a bit of him with me and while it isn't the same as having him cuddle up and try to kiss my tears away and make it better. It's better than not having any part of him and the colors remind me of his coy looks as he did something that he knew he wasn't supposed to do, and would fluff his feathers to be cute enough to get away with it.

It doesn't take away the pain, but it helps add a bit of a salve on it to help ease it.

This post is well watered with tears. Because even now, 4 years later, it's still not okay. There is still a huge hole in my life that is the size and shape of his body, his ego, his personality. When I am sick and I cough, there's no sympathetic cough from the cage or my shoulder. There's no excited monkey bird dancing to say hello in the mornings or when I get home from work. There's no obnoxious coy looks right before he puts my computer to sleep in the middle of something I'm working on. There's no excited bird wanting to watch fireworks or opera or action movies with me. There's no sleepy bird fluffing himself under my chin and whispering "Night night" followed by kisses. There's no bird to come over and kiss tears away to try to make it all better and then throw a temper tantrum if I still cry.

I have a ring with his earthly remains, but it can't cuddle back or laugh at a joke (which he never understood, but he laughed anyway.) The ring helps, but the hole is still large and raw.

I still miss you so much birdbrain. You were woven so tightly into my whole life and having you gone has completely destroyed the warp and weft of my life. I still go on, but there are ragged edges and holes. Those will never go away. But I hope that it can eventually smooth back out.

I still have his cage and I still have the hope to find room in my heart for another bird some day. But it isn't fair to get one now when I still look at all the birds and think "Torrii was cuter/funnier/fluffier/more whatever." I'm getting closer to the day when I can find another feathered love. But right now, I still cry too much and that's not fair to a new family member. I'm thinking of looking when I graduate. Maybe looking at a new baby, or see if I can find a bird who needs adopting that I click with. But we'll see when we get there. Because right now, it's still too soon.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Meant to post earlier, kind of went lazy crazy

I PASSED MY FINALS!

I passed! I passed!

I am actually super excited this time because I really seriously wasn't sure that I would. I passed the pretest in a narrower margin than I like for the Macroeconomics, and I never did pass the pretest for the Business Globalization class.

But I passed both finals. The Macroeconomics, was closer than I like, but I passed, which is the important part. The Business class? That final I knocked out of the park! I scored an 83% on that one, and that's a really high score for that class. So I'm super happy with myself.

And I celebrated by going to the super bargain market (where everything is definitely not as good for you as elsewhere because so much of it is processed) and I bought a loaf of bread, some peanut butter, 2 red bell peppers and 2 tiny onions. Yup, party animal here.

I then came home and spent the rest of my weekend trying to find the kitchen under the piles of crap that were in there. Still not 100% successful there, still working on it. It's what happens after nearly 5 weeks or doing nothing but working and studying, and barely doing the absolute minimum of chores.

I was then going to post yesterday, but ended up watching movies all day. I watched Inside Out, and Crimson Peak, and Hotel Transylvania 2, and Home. And I really enjoyed all of them. It was a very pleasant day. I refused to fuss about chores (but I did finally get a chance to run the dishwasher) and I didn't fuss about online stuff. I just relaxed, watched movies, painted my fingernails, and cuddled the rotten cat (don't get me started because he is still often in the doghouse.)

This week is a funky schedule because of the holiday, which we don't get as a holiday. And the behavior of the company for this holiday? BEYOND appalling.

I need to continue my job hunting because this is getting worse nearly daily. Serious. We've been told that we (the reps of the department) are the reason that our budget is gone. We don't get to say how the budget is used, so it can't be US that used up the reduced budget. We're regularly told that we are stupid, that we are bad reps, and that we don't know what we are doing. We've had our jobs threatened, and they regularly tell us that we need to lie on their internal satisfaction survey or they will never hire more people and we will all be fired. (Which is at least partially BS because they can't fire us like that, the (mostly useless) union contract actually says they cannot.) They just "re-orged" and the director of another department told his department over and over that they were fine, no worries, no worries, no one is going anywhere. Then it changed to a few people will be let go, but it's totally performance... then it became performance and budget... and then it was "so long, see ya, you're all being laid off".

I've heard this song and dance before. I've heard it from multiple companies. And every time, EVERY TIME, they start the "we're all fine" song and dance, you need to start taking stuff home and finding a new job ASAFP. Because your job is being outsourced.

So on my one day off this week, I will be spending at least half of it looking for jobs, sending out resumes, and updating my profile on resume portals.

In other news, I now have a new nephew (new being about 3.5 months now.) I am also still working on the baby blanket for said nephew. It's definitely late, but it's going. I'm almost half done and I'm on the faster part now. And I have more time for knitting!

Since I have to go make my lunch, feed the cat, and get ready for work... I'll leave you with a picture of my fingernails that I painted. Because I'm awfully proud of the job I did. :)