So I adopted these little fuzzies a couple of weeks ago:

They’re beautiful, aren’t they? The fluffy one is Maddie, and the tiny one is Allie.

I’ve always wanted a bonded pair, but both Kaylee and Kensi needed to be only cats and I’ve done my best to honor that. Now I have them, and I find myself having to practice more patience than I ever have with adopting a rescue cat.

  • Kaylee walked out of her crate, took a few hours to adjust, but wanted to be close and cuddly almost right away.
  • Kensi walked out of her crate and took a couple weeks to truly be my lap cat, but solicited attention right away and wanted to be close to me. I’ve had ten years of cuddles and purring and everything I could want in a cat.

It’s harder than I thought starting over again.

They’re already leaps and bounds ahead of the cats who hide for three weeks; they’re content to sleep near me, they’ll play with me when I get the wand and feather toy out, and allow and occasionally seek out petting and attention. They don’t run when I approach, they let me handle them without violence (Maddie even likes to be held). Even now they’re snoozing on the couch behind me while I work. Maddie sleeps on the bed with me. Allie is warming up slowly, getting more chatty and seems to like hanging out with me in the bathroom of all places.

But they don’t cuddle up, and I didn’t realize how much I miss it until I brought these two home and expected a quicker bond than they were ready for.

It hasn’t helped that some initial medical issues warranted more than a few trips to the vet and having to give medication every day – Maddie used to be more cuddly until I had to give her daily eye drops and oral meds and she doesn’t want to be close on the couch anymore. It’s easy for my anxiety brain to despair that she’ll never bond with me because her first memories of me are putting her in a towel burrito and dripping stuff in her eye or scruffing her to syringe foul-tasting liquid meds into her mouth. It also doesn’t help that Maddie reminds me so much of my sweet Kaylee that I’m expecting too much from her too soon. I’m so much more patient with Allie because she doesn’t remind me of either of my previous cats, and I quietly celebrate every overture I get from her or the glimpses I get of her personality. With Maddie I’m more WHY WON’T YOU LOVE ME?

I know it’ll get better. It’s barely been two weeks. I should be happy that they’re comfortable enough to hang out near me and letting me pet them without running or shying away. I am happy to watch them play together, enjoy the cat tree and toys I got for them. Maddie does jump up on the bed for petting when we’re in the bedroom. Allie is happy to rub my legs and tail tag me and arches into my petting hand. We’re getting there.

Fringe: Finally

So I started watching Fringe when it was airing, I think. I was looking for a show I could enjoy as much as The X-Files, and this did well enough, but I think I lost track of it at the time, with the way that the Fox network played around with scheduling. I knew that it was a JJ Abrams creation, and Kurtzman and Orci had Xena and Hercules under their collective belt and were just starting to make their true TV Splash.

While I watched as it aired, it very much felt like Lost meets The X-Files and the Mystery/Monster of the Week (MOTW) episodes were fantastic. It had a strong leading pair (Anna Torv and Josh Jackson), with the addition of the amazing John Noble as Jackson’s mad scientist father.

I’d lost track of it, however, before I got into the meat of the show. I bought the DVD season box sets that were available, devoured them, even subscribed to Netflix just to get the next set of DVDs in the mail. I watched an episode before work every morning and it got me revved up for the day.

I finished season four and was determined to watch season five as it aired – and then I didn’t. The final season aired the fall after my father died, it might have been too long after I watched season four that I’d lost the storyline and wouldn’t get it…whatever the reason, I just didn’t watch the last season. Through the years, I dug out the seasons 1-4 DVDs and watched them again. And again. But I never went and bought season five. I still don’t know why. I do this with a lot of shows and that’s a whole ‘nother post of self-analysis.

This summer I joined a local Buy Nothing group and cleaned out all my DVD box sets, including my Fringe DVDs. However, I’d finally purchased the entire Fringe series on Vudu for when I wanted to finish it off. Since I had it on streaming, I put it on during my work day to have on in the background and reacquaint myself with the story again. Earlier this month I finally watched the season five premier. Today I watched the series finale.

It was so satisfying.

I’ve never had a show wrap things up this well. Either they end up not getting renewed so everything is left on a cliffhanger, or they go on well past their shelf life and either I stop watching or it fizzles out with a disappointing ending.

This show, all the way through, hit so many satisfying emotional beats, cliffhangers, plot twists, all of my favorite tropes, and what a cast! Anna Torv brought Agent Olivia Dunham to vibrant, determined, courageous life. Josh Jackson did a wonderful job with the evolution of brilliant but cynical con man Peter Bishop to the steadfast hero with a purpose. Jasika Nicole was wonderful as the unwitting sidekick-becomes-so-much-more Astrid Farnsworth. Lance Reddick was a perfect stoic leader as Agent Phillip Broyles.

But oh, John Noble. The fact that he didn’t win an Emmy for his portrayal of Walter Bishop is a crime. I don’t even have words to describe how much Walter made me feel with him, from his fears to his guilt to his anger and determination. What an incredible actor, and a signature performance throughout the series.

The show itself had so much going on and I thought they executed it so well. The premise was so out there, but the show had so many funny beats that it didn’t plod or get too bogged down in technicalities. The characters and the story were compelling as hell, each season building to its end like the slow climb of a roller coaster to the top of its first hill. I wish I could describe all of the interesting things about this show, but I’d spoil so much and, if you watch, you deserve to see it for the first time like I did. The entire series is free on Amazon Prime Video as of the date of this entry.

The finale made me cry and laugh and hug myself with how satisfied I was with the way this series ended. I hope you watched. If you did, feel free to comment and flail (in a non-spoilery way) with me.


“Do you want more time with her?” – My vet, after euthanizing Kensi

Those words have echoed more than anything she said to me to try to reassure me. I know what I did was the kindest thing. Over two days of around-the-clock care, her kidneys inexplicably and acutely failed. I was able to be there and hold her at the end and she slipped away without a struggle and before she started to truly suffer.

“Do you want more time with her?”

Yes. I wanted years. I thought I had years because just last month she was sitting at stage 1/stage 2 renal failure, was eating and drinking fine and every bit her sweet self. But somehow, over the course of a week, her appetite, then her water intake dropped off and I knew I had to bring her to the vet, and then she didn’t come home. Did I want more time? I absolutely did, but this was all I got.

“Do you want more time with her?”

No. I don’t want more time petting the empty shell of her body until it goes cold. I want my sweet, silly, chatty, LIVING cat and I can’t get that and no amount of time with her body is going to help in the moment or in the long run.

Now I have what I’ve always wanted, a young bonded pair of Siamese mixes and they’re absolutely precious and I feel this disconnect as one of them is already having medical issues and the stress of Kensi’s sudden decline has me gripped so tight I’m afraid to love them and I won’t be able to calm down until they get to their first official vet visit on Tuesday (one of them has already been to the walk-in vet and I’m giving her daily meds for the next 10 days) and I can’t stop hearing those goddamned words.

“Do you want more time with her?”

I understand why she said it and she was so kind through the whole weekend she cared for Kensi and broke the unfortunate news and I can’t thank her enough for everything she did.

It really was the wrong thing to say right then. And it hit me like a truck today and I can’t stop crying. We were doing so well, and her bloodwork was perfect and I thought I had so much more time.

On the precipice…

Today is the second day of my end-of-year long weekend. As 2020 draws to a close and I sit in my big chair and knit while listening to Critical Role, what I feel right now is a sense of peace.

To feel that at all, I realize, is a huge privilege in this day and age. I’m still employed and working from home at a non-stressful job. I’ve stayed in good health all year. I’ve lost none of my friends or family to COVID-19, and the only family member that did get it recovered with relative quickness. After a few months of anxiety I’ve settled into my groove and am at least coping without panic – this is helped, of course, by all my friends and family following safety guidelines to avoid spreading and contracting the virus.

My bestie and I have managed to hang out as safely as possible, meeting once a week at the outdoor seating of our local Starbucks. We stay masked, we knit, and we catch up on things and have face to face contact that even introvert me needs. Our friend group is still able to game via Google Hangouts and Roll20, and I’m greatly enjoying running Pugmire for the gang and playing Humblewood where another friend is behind the GM screen.

Other than creating adventures for Pugmire, my creativity otherwise has taken a bit of a nose dive. I didn’t do NaNoWriMo this year, mostly due to the pandemic, but also due to the shitshow that was the Presidential election and the continued fallout that’s stretching into at least early next year until the inauguration. I’m hoping, as the vaccinations continue, that the fear of catching/spreading the virus will subside enough to let my creative brain explore again.

It’s been a quiet year for me, thankfully. A few health scares with the cat (she’s fine now), still working on my Achilles tendinitis, I’d like to see my place a bit cleaner but, all in all, the quiet has led up to this peaceful feeling of tonight. I’m thankful for the quiet, and the privilege that’s kept me afloat through this horrible year. I know others around me aren’t so lucky, and my thoughts go out to them as we cross over to a more hopeful year.

Stay safe, everyone. Wear a mask. Maintain social distancing. Get the vaccine so we can survive this, because we still have so much work to do. I love you all.

Pandemic – Week 5

Well, it still sucks, but it’s getting easier?

It took a good two weeks before I stopped needing mindless distractions on Netflix to distract me from work anxiety, pandemic anxiety, and just general anxiety until it was time to sleep. It was rough.

My bestie has been so good to me during all of this; she’s found my low-carb bread and left it on my doorstep, she’s made me masks so I can go out for groceries with a little less fear…she’s been awesome, and I can’t thank her enough. But man, for those two weeks, even when I knew she was dropping stuff off for me, even when she was offering me a ride to the dealership when my car needed service (what a time for my Check Engine light to come on), I couldn’t. The thought of seeing her face and knowing that she couldn’t come up and hang out for a while, or I couldn’t give her a hug, reduced me to tears. Just the thought of it was enough.

That’s gotten better.

I’ve gotten better acquainted with my neighbors through all of this, and we’ve offered to get groceries here and there as we head out on our food runs. That’s been nice, knowing that I’m not alone. One of my neighbors and I have kind of bonded as bird nerds as we both tried to figure out which birds are in our neck of the woods, especially the morning songbirds (btw, the white-throated sparrow is the bane of my existence).

I’ve done a little retail therapy – it’s hard not to shop in a situation like this. I did receive my chair and it’s been a GODSEND for my back and my butt and my neck as I continue to work from home. I’ve also gotten some new work clothes jammies when they went on sale. After I got my stimulus check I backed a couple kickstarters and bought some art directly from the artists to help them out a little too. The rest has gone into savings and will stay there as best as I can keep it there.

My work anxiety has eased off a good deal and I can approach my day with a little more chill than before. With  my boss’s okay and encouragement, I’ve even put in for a couple vacation days next week. I’m still grateful to be able to work from home and earning a paycheck without worrying about the near-to-not-so-near future. It’s a little disconcerting working for a juggernaut of a corporation, but in these times, the job security is worth a little discomfort.

I’m still worried about getting sick, but I’m doing my best to maintain social distancing and only going out for groceries or the occasional I’M SICK OF COOKING AND NEED FAST FOOD run. It’s been a month without Starbucks; there may be a latte run in my near future, or I may order an espresso machine.

I get out for walks every day to get some sunlight and fresh air; my community is quiet enough that I have a route that lets me avoid most people. I’ve also (weather permitting) taken some time each day to just sit on my balcony and either knit or read or just enjoy the milder weather with a cup of coffee.

I’ve watched Tiger King. Hoo-boy. Enough said about that fascinating train wreck.

I’ve relaxed enough that I’m knitting again. I’m almost done a super cute cowl that I’ll post pictures of when I’m finished.

I’m still gaming! Our tabletop group has started gaming via video chat, and that’s done a lot for my mental health to see friendly faces and catch up about what’s going on with all of us during quarantine.

I’m considering relocating my workstation from the living room to the guest room in order to create some mental separation from my “office” to my home.  I may do that on my long weekend next week. I can still watch Critical Role during my work day without having to have it on the big screen.

I avoid the news. I get the headlines from my social media feed and that’s enough to keep me informed without sending me into a pandemic panic spiral.

I took a needed chance this week and went to see my physical therapist, as the two weeks of anxiety meant I wasn’t doing any of my exercises for my Achilles tendinitis, and my calf had gotten so tight that I knew I needed to hit a “reset button” by getting dry needling. Oh my god, it hurt like fuck but it’s already doing better two days later.

Overall, I’m doing better than that first week, but it’s still stressful here and there.

I miss being able to go out anywhere without mentally hitting the 14-day countdown clock of, “Will I develop symptoms because of this trip?”

I worry about my mom or extended family getting sick.

I wonder what the end of this is going to look like, coming out of this safety hibernation and trying to readjust to the new routines, to say nothing of what our new normal is going to become when those in power try to get us “back to the way things were”. This is a defining event for our country. I’m scared to be living in it but I’m still hopeful that we come out of it with some positive changes.

Stay home, everyone. Stay safe, stay healthy.

Pandemic – Week 1

God, that sucked. This couldn’t have come at a worst time for me emotionally. I’m in the throes of PMS, I was going to call a therapist next week to start dealing with my occasionally debilitating anxiety, and I fall into one of the high-risk health categories with 2 chronic illnesses that mess with my immune systems.

Did I mention my anxiety is triggered by medical issues?

The irony of that is that hermiting up for the foreseeable future isn’t that terrible a prospect, at least right now. I have a job that allows me to work from home, I have internet, I have a home that I enjoy, a whole stash of yarn to knit with, and a cat to keep me company. I cobbled together a workstation in my living room and I was ready.

((Narrator: She was not ready.))

The thing about working from home is that the higher-ups are watching your productivity like a hawk, and the lower ups are reminding you of that every day, so make sure you stay productive. But what about when the workload is normally pretty light?

Audits. The tedious bullshit tasks that I usually live for. Only now I’m trying to be so thorough that I’m not making it through the daily lists of things in time and, even when my boss tells me, “You’re fine!” There’s still that brainweasel that says NO, ONE SLIP AND YOU’RE FIRED and I’m plunged right back into memories of my soulless crazy micromanaging boss and REMEMBER IT’S PMS WEEK?

I’ll get better. As soon as my period hits this will be more manageable. As soon as my new chair gets here and sitting stops being so painful, I’ll be able to settle into the new normal. But right now, when I’m working every second of every day with no coffee breaks, no pause to chat with my team, and pushing to just get through that list before the end of the day leaves me so drained that I can’t even enjoy the evening because I’m thinking about the unfinished work all evening? Working from home is even more stressful than it is when I’m at the office. I don’t even have time to think about the pandemic, until it’s time to sleep, and then I need to distract myself enough to fall asleep.

(just got the notification that my new chair will be here Sunday – here’s hoping!)

Positives to social distancing:

  • Working from home means I can sleep a little longer.
  • I can watch Critical Role while I go about my day.
  • I’m cooking for myself a LOT.
  • I’m saving money by not getting Starbucks or eating out.
  • I can pet my cat whenever I want through the day.

Negatives to social distancing:

  • I miss my bestie and our Friday nights with Picard and CBS silliness.
  • I don’t like the way my routine’s been disrupted.
  • I worry that I’m exposing myself every time I go out for groceries, even though I don’t think there are that many reported cases here in my area.
  • I really miss Starbucks.
  • I miss being able to relax at work.
  • I worry about food shortages, especially when the diabetes means I can’t have the usual carb-laden staples.
  • I worry about increased panic as this goes on.
  • I worry for my friends and their families potentially being infected.

Despite all this, I’m trying to stay positive. The first week is over. I have faith that we’ll get through this. I’m going to be gaming via Facebook video chat with friends this weekend. I’ll have a better chair (or at least a cushion!) to get me through the coming weeks of working from home.

At least I hope so. Stay safe, everyone!



Sleeping Dog.jpg

So I’m back in college part-time in hopes of getting either a Career Studies Certificate or a full-on Associates Degree. This is the first time in my life that I’ve been at college while also working (previous college was on-campus residence with jobs in the summertime).  While I’m only taking two classes at the moment, the one class is from 7:15 – 10pm Mondays and Wednesdays, which leaves me an hour or so to come home, make and eat dinner, and pet the cat for a bit before heading out to class.

This semester is going to be an exercise in balance between work, school, home life and social life. With my new schedule, the only day that I don’t have a commitment during the week (work, school, or social) is Tuesday. Monday and Wednesday I have class, Thursday I have Stitch & Bitch with my knitting group, and Friday is Friday Night Writes with my writing group.

This isn’t going to be good for my introverted little brain. Though both my social commitments are fun, they require social energy that I may not have after dealing with work and classes and homework. Also, I don’t like leaving my kitty alone for so long. Doing it on Thursday and Friday is one thing; having it be ALL WEEK is way too much alone time for my little diva.

So I may be dialing back the social commitments for a while and maybe have people visit at my home or meet one or two for dinner here and there for the semester. Smaller, planned things that are less frequent or in my own “territory” will be better for me mentally than pushing myself past my social limit.

Balance. We’ll see how it goes.


That seems to be the word of December for me.

I’m using the momentum from NaNoWriMo to look back on my 2014 novel. I’m editing now and hope to start posting the first chapters in the new year.

The momentum of my diet and exercise changes that I began in November has really started to show, both on my glucometer and the way my clothes fit. I’ve stepped up the exercise and see the doctor on Monday for a check-in. I hope that my A1C (to be checked in February) will also show the results of my efforts.

There have been some shake-ups at work, and I’m planning to take steps towards assuring either my value to my current employer or my marketability in case I need to look elsewhere.

Lastly, I start my college classes in less than a month. I’ve ordered my textbooks and look forward to returning to school and remembering what I started during my ASL classes back in the Philly area 🙂

As atrocious as 2016 has been, and as rough as it’s going to be with the current political climate, I hope that 2017 is going to be a better year.

Jesus, it has to be.

Another post

Two good things about these diagnoses and meds happening just before Thanksgiving week is that I could start taking all the new meds one at a time and I had a four day weekend to gauge if there are any intolerable or dangerous side effects. I didn’t have to drive anywhere, didn’t have to even leave the house if I didn’t want to. It was also kind of a blessing in disguise that I didn’t go back to Philly for my usual Thanksgiving festivities with my cousin and his wife.  Facing her Thanksgiving spread with a diabetes diagnosis would have been TORTURE.

“Can I have half a slice of turkey and a green bean please?”

“One scoop of green beans?”

“No, just one green bean.”

Now after seeing the doctor two weeks prior, she’d asked me to start limiting my diet: cut out the refined sugars, high fat foods/dairy, more whole foods to basically start working on my cholesterol (LDL was borderline high). Once I saw my A1C levels on my bloodwork and realized that I’d been tootling along for the past three months at an average of 200+ blood sugars (!!! under 100 is ideal), I took the next step of starting to limit my carbs and definitely up my exercise level to at least thirty minutes a day. I got some nice walking sneakers to help as well.  I’d try to take two twenty-minute walks after each meal; thankfully the weather has been nice enough that these walks are hardly a hardship, and I found a route that circled me back home rather nicely.

Another thing that helped was the return of my energy! The vitamin D deficiency had seriously depleted me to the point where I had to come home from work and take a NAP just to get through the three hours before bedtime. I hadn’t really given it much thought other than, “Wow, this is weird but I guess it’s my life now,” but when the doc said that the vitamin deficiency (as well as the hypothyroid) might be causing my fatigue, she prescribed megadoses of vitamin D supplements to take twice a week.  Within two weeks, my energy returned! I didn’t want to nap so much anymore, so I had the energy to come home and cook dinner for myself. I didn’t want to nap in the evenings, so I was sleeping a lot better at night and it was easier to take my walks after dinner and not feel exhausted.

Yet more things that helped were the advent of technology when it came to health tracking! I found an app that will log my blood pressure, an app that will help track my meds and remind me when to take them, and an app that tracks my blood glucose!

With the diabetes diagnosis, of course, came the need to track my blood sugar. My doc wanted me to only check it once a day in the morning, to see what my fasting level is before I start my day. If I had my way, I’d be checking it way more often, but at least this gave me a baseline.  I got a fancy schmancy glucometer that connects to an app via Bluetooth, so it transfers my results directly to my phone. The first time sticking myself to test my blood was a little nerve-wracking, but thankfully easy to handle after that first stick.

So, after two weeks of limiting my carbs (I’m not as focused on the fats/sodium/cholesterol for the moment, but am conscious of my choices), increasing my exercise and taking my meds, I started testing my fasting glucose in the morning when I take my Synthroid.  Keep in mind that a month ago my fasting glucose was 195.

Saturday: 100

Sunday: 109

Monday: 99!!!

Seeing these results that show me that everything I’m doing to get and stay healthy is paying off was super, super gratifying. My feet, eyes, and kidneys are all very pleased with me. If I can get and keep my glucose levels down and under control, my A1C will come WAY down when I get it tested in 3 months. If my A1C comes down far enough, there’s a chance I can cut back on the Metformin. I still have to call my doc and ask if they want me to go up to two pills a day, seeing that my fasting BG is trending this way. I may have to have a bedtime snack to keep my sugars from crashing overnight.

Incidentally, I’ve lost some weight. I had to tighten my Fitbit another notch around my wrist. I don’t see so much of my belly when I wear my dresses. Right now it’s not a concern or a focus at all. What matters are the habits I’m developing to keep me healthier and hopefully eliminate the need for some of these medications.

So that’s where I am health wise. I’m officially on all of my meds on schedule. The side effects have been thankfully minimal. I’m working on getting to see an endocrinologist to hopefully be diagnosed with Hashimotos (thyroid antibodies are SUPER high while everything else seems normal) and keep working on the diabetes.

People have told me that they admire my attitude through all of this, how I’ve immediately adapted to the changes I’ve had to make. The thing is, this has been the story of my life. When adversity hits, I don’t have a choice to do anything else. I have to deal with it, and I do to the best of my ability. In the case of diabetes, if I want to keep my feet and eyes and kidneys, I have no choice but to make these changes and stick with them.

Once I get a handle on these changes and stick with them until they become second nature, then I can allow myself a few indulgences here and there. I’m lucky in the fact that I don’t ordinarily crave sweets, and I’ve stepped away from the salty snacks I usually crave because they haven’t agreed with me as I’ve gotten older.  I’ll miss pasta for a while, and pizza, and some of the desserts I love to make, but they won’t be gone forever. They’ll just be treats, enjoyed here and there without gorging myself.

These are things I’ve said before when I’ve tried to do Weight Watchers. Making these changes to adjust the size of my body was not good for me. Making these changes to keep my feet and eyes and kidneys is crucial. The size of my body is irrelevant.

I have a lot to unpack about that last sentence, but that’s another blog post for another time.