Container Garden 2021

Peppermint for peppermint tea

We’ve harvested this young curly kale plant several times already and I’ve learned from it to LOVE kale.

Apricot climbing roses

Peony started from a root (crown) cutting

Young curly kale, peppermint, two kinds of thyme

New Guinea Impatiens

An Arborvitae

Bonnie Centennial Tomato plant doing great in the heat!

Some geraniums, hibiscus, begonia, and cosmos grown from seed.

All total:

6 tomato plants–(2) Cherokee purple and (4) Bonnie Centennial all $4.98 each Bonnie’s Plant Home Depot

2 apricot rose bushes $15.98 discounted from $19.98 private grower Home Depot

4 geraniums @ $3.98 each Bauer’s Marketplace

1 thyme $3.75 farmer’s market plant

2 oregano $3.75 farmer’s market plant

1 arborvitae $7.98 Home Depot

2 rosemary (grown from cuttings)

1 New Guinea Impatiens $3.98 Home Depot

1 petunia $5.98 Home Depot

1 peony (grown from root (crown) cutting

1 fuchsia $3.98 Home Depot

1 hibiscus $5.98 Walmart

tums for calcium Walmart

epsom salt for magnesium Walmart

seaweed fertlizer Amazon

2 happy frog potting soil Amazon

Total spent $169.95 which is about 70.00 more than I normally spend. Gardening is my therapy and I wait all winter to be able to go outside and plant flowers and herbs in soil and take care of them all spring and summer. Gardening on my deck is a challenge. Today’s temperature was 90, at 3 pm the deck temperature in the shade was 109 and sun 123 degrees. Times are a changing as just 5 years ago we wouldn’t even see close to this deck temp even when there were heat indexes. Storms, lack of pollinators, wind, over watering, nutrients missing in soil, even pollution from living right near a freeway all contribute to making gardening on my deck a very big undertaking. One I’ve been lucky enough to have the money to create and the time to take care of.

Until next time–what’s growing in your garden?

Covid Vaccine Pt. 2- My Story

So, 28 days rolled by and I’m not going to lie, I was pretty anxious throughout. I’m human and even though I’ve spent countless hours researching and reading about the vaccine, I was still nervous. Nervous I would have a reaction or who knows what–you can’t ignore every story true or false that is online. Honestly, I don’t have the time to debunk everything or debate things with people regardless of what they are about. Online, I keep to myself as much as possible. I appreciate everyone has their own mind, freedom to make their own choices, and the ability to do so as needed, when needed. I don’t judge anyone period about anything. Leading up to the day hubby and I continued to do as we’ve been doing for years–taking our vitamin d, vitamin c (fresh made juice everyday), long walks, nutritious meals, and lots of rest.

The day of we got up and showered and ate breakfast and left for our appointment. We arrived with a couple of minutes to spare to a waiting room filled with people waiting and a line to get in. We talked with a couple of older men standing there and were surprised with what we heard. Both men had been very hesitant to get the shot. Most there that day were getting their second dose. Neither man went into details as to why they were hesitant, but both said they were not the type to get flu vaccines or go to the doctor regularly or deal too much with the medical world or science or the current state of affairs. That said both agreed they were there to get vaccinated because they wanted their life and world around them to get back to “normal” and felt it never would as long as people, for whatever reason, chose not to be vaccinated. In a sense they were saying–“they were taking one for the team.”

As I stood there listening to them I realized that what they were saying perfectly/simply described my reason for getting vaccinated. I understood my husband’s reasons and agreed with them and had I not he would have still went ahead and gotten vaccinated. This was the first time in our marriage where making a health related decision was done individually, whereas all others have been together. He’s gone to work for 15 months and worn a mask. He wants to be able to take his mask off. He made the decision on his own regarding his own health and mine to wear a mask. Now he wants to be able to not have to wear one. He believes the vaccination affords him that freedom and that is his opinion. It’s also mine. I had several reasons, but when it got right down to it, I , like the gentlemen standing in line with us had so simply put it, felt I needed to get vaccinated because so many other people weren’t. I had read enough about the vaccine, the ingredients, the risk, the efficacy of the one I had chosen to get, and was beyond reasonably sure of what I was doing.

When I had received my first shot the nurse had stated my muscles in my arm were big–I lifted weights for years, but now I just have big arms. He had changed needles and though I felt the jab, tenderness went away in less than 12 hours. This time the nurse (a different one) didn’t mention the need for a different needle and when I brought it up she looked at me like I was crazy. So, a standard needle 1.0 needle is what she used vs. 1.5 that is used for heavier people/ people with big fat arms like me. I didn’t feel the jab, but approx. 12 hours later I developed a red area on my arm affectionately known as “covid arm.” An area as big as a softball which felt hot and was quite red and quite tender. I googled it and immediately found information about it. The CDC and articles mentioned it was not being studied as it was considered rare and that it was nothing to worry about and would go away within 3-4 days and as long as 7. Usually this reaction was not showing up until 72 hours had passed. So essentially, I was experiencing a rare reaction quite a bit differently than all those before me. I blame it all on the needle. My arm was reacting to the shot because the medicine was sitting in a big knot at the injection site. This caused hypersensitivity to my skin at the injection site and did not affect anything else and is not considered an allergic reaction to the vaccine. I emailed the CDC and told them what I felt had caused this reaction for me and maybe others?

I am a big “oily” person, yes I said it, I use essential oils. I made a roll-on of lavender with coconut as my carrier oil and rolled it on the area. Within one day the hypersensitive area near my injection site was gone. Nothing–arm back to normal. That’s how good oils work–I’ve got pictures to prove it. They’re amazing! It’s been a week and we’re fine. Besides my skin reaction we’re in great health–never even had a fever or a headache from it. It’s a relief and it’s now behind us. My husband has one last day to wear his mask and then he is setting himself free! I rejoice in the fact that as I’ve gotten older I have grown less self-absorbed and away from “self” and a bit more toward community. I had always been an introvert, stay at home, stay to ourselves, mind our own business, and whatever we do we do for us first kind of person. Volunteer work for several years shook me out of that mind set. Getting older has also humbled me.

So, that’s my (our story) and I hope it helps someone somewhere in the world feel a bit more informed one way or the other.

Video about needle size issues here

Story about Covid arm here

The Little Things in Life

I wrote a blog post awhile back about mundane days, which in a way, is as unappreciated as the little things in life.

What are the little things in life? Your life?

I hear it all the time “maybe now we can get back to the way things were” or “back to some normalcy.” I can sort of understand someone making a comment like “back to normalcy etc.” I do understand they are just “sayings” although, seriously, there are people that believe everything is going to return back to how things were in 2019 before Covid. Like, just like that, “we’re all back to normal.” The hard truth is we, none of us, are ever going to be able to go back to before Covid-19. There are nearly 3.5 million people worldwide (and their family/friends) whose life won’t return to normal because they died from Covid-19 during a pandemic that turned all of our worlds upside down in the last 15 months or so..

Personally, what I found to be most difficult during this whole last year was thinking all the time about how people all over the world were dying alone. Whether they were dying of Covid or dying of cancer–they were dying alone because of the CDC’s protocols. I thought about people who had limited time and 2020 may have been their last year on earth. Or people that had saved for their whole lives to travel somewhere in 2020 and were not able to. And maybe just maybe didn’t make it through 2020 to be able to reschedule. I thought of a lot of different scenarios of people all over the world and prayed all the time for everyone. Many people’s lives are forever changed from everything we all experienced in the year 2020.

2020 affected all of us–every last one of us. Even the ones for whom 2020 was no more than an inconvenience.

So, what are the little things in life. Life’s little blessings? Where are they as we all get ready to get back out into the world and quite possibly forget the little blessings that helped us keep it together in 2020?

For me it was the quiet. More quiet every day and nature rebounding joyfully. Less trodden paths, more birdsong, flowers left for their beauty, less air pollution, and oh yes–less people to irritate and frustrate me.

I learned how to single handedly keep our larder stocked and neither hubby nor I ran out of TP, or our favorite goodies, or things to do to keep our minds off of the crazy world we live in.

I enjoyed seeing new birds in our neighborhood, neighbors sitting outside taking in fresh air, people helping other people despite.. and getting used to checking ourselves out at every store we visited.

I was overjoyed at times that the mail continued to be delivered, delivery people made it to our door on time, telemarketers and their schemes quit ringing our phones, and restaurants seemed to, for a time, almost perfect their standard fare.

Life’s little things much more appreciated when the focus comes off of the big things in life–which aren’t actually big to me (social, vacation, spa/beauty salons, contractor work, etc).

Last year’s pause of our day-day life brings to this year new knowledge–

  • Our garden is going to be smaller– more gardener focused (therapeutic) vs. production, production, production.
  • Meals are going to be light, healthy, and packed with local veggies vs. labor intensive meals like meat, potatoes, and local veggies.
  • I survived being a remote worker and will continue to work remotely.
  • We survived just fine without travel and will sock that money away for moving into our new home.
  • There are a lot of things we did without food, drink, convenience that we will continue not to purchase because in the end–no big deal. Many items stopped being made or the flavor we liked or the prices went up so–bye!
  • We eat a lot less meat$ and that’s a good thing. We also use a lot less TP (I know TMI lol)

My container garden this year is being dedicated to all of the people throughout the world who lost their lives in 2020. Whether virus or accident or suicide or natural causes or other illness 2020 was a awful, lonely, and much more than ever sad time to die.

The little things I hope to celebrate in my patio garden this year are first blooms, fireflies, sweat bees, Mr. Bumble Bee (he visits my porch every year) being there when he finds the bee balm, the smell of my first peony, the heat of my first cluster of cherry tomatoes, the rain droplets on each green leaf, the end of day feeling of the beauty the sun, moon, rain, bees, God, and I created out of a few dollars and half a dozen seed packets, and lots of watering and pruning!

Happy Spring everybody–get out there when and if you can and create some beautiful memories.

Covid Vaccine Pt. 1–My Story

My decision to get vaccinated was an incredibly private, well thought out, well researched, and planned event. That said my decision to tell how it went is here for everyone to see. My story is 100% mine and my decisions were 100% for myself, my husband, and for the people living in my community/country (in that order). I’m not telling my story to shame, or convince others, or judge, or ridicule, or manipulate anyone, anywhere, into anything. Do or don’t do what is/isn’t right for you. One of the things I would have liked to read in my research was another human beings experience getting the vaccine. I couldn’t find one. I could find healthcare workers (essential workers) getting vaccinated—which of course are human beings, but no non-healthcare workers stories. Mine is neither religiously or non-religiously or politically motivated in any way. Some background : I worked in healthcare nearly 20 years. By nature I believe in holistic medicine. I am striving in my personal life to be 100% chemical free–clean makeup, clean cleaning products, no aerosols, no toxic paint, no perfumes, no dyes, clean 100% whole food (no preservatives, additives, or natural flavors). And so much more–we’ve been working on this for almost 20 years and are about 60% there. For myself personally–I am wary of doctors and have several recent years stories that would make you wary of them too. But, in my life I have known some good doctors and I absolutely love my dentist of 20 years..

I’m healthy, 56, active, but do have arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and fibromyalgia. The only medication I’ve ever taken for any of these issues is Tylenol, ibuprofen, and glucosamine.

My husband and I may have or may not have had Covid in February of 2020. He brought something home from a sick co-worker and I got it in less than 24 hours and he in about 36 hours. We were down for the count for 3 days–the first time we’ve ever been sick together and actually “down for the count” and the first time I’d been sick in 16 years. Yes, I said it == 16 years with no colds, no flu, no sickness of any kind.

At day 4 I was up and besides a hoarse voice and fatigue, I was back to work and also full-time housework. By day 6, I was at almost 100% recovery. During whatever this was I truly felt like I had something that might kill me. I had never felt as tired as I felt, and the shortness of breath was scary as I’d never experienced that ever. The hoarse raspy voice and hyper sense of smell made the whole ordeal for me very surreal. My husband was better around week two with neither one of us seeking medical treatment, because as you might remember –Covid didn’t hit the news in this country until mid-March 2020. I wasn’t able to take anything while ill for 3 days because my hyper sense of smell caused me to gag at the smell of Vicks, Nyquil, and Robitussin. I drank copious amounts of orange juice and rested to get better within 3 miraculous days. Since that time we have been well–always wearing masks and generally doing all we did before Covid–shopping, haircuts, and travel into nature. Things were different and often times hard for us, but not nearly as hard as those who lost someone or whose whole life changed with the lock-downs/business closings etc.

I’m not the least bothered by masks –I know it’s a barrier between me and someone else and even if it isn’t 100%, even if it’s only 25%–that’s good enough for me. Both in healthcare and travel we have worn masks in public before the pandemic. Sometimes I’ve had a hard time breathing in my mask and if I do then I stay home. I don’t judge others for not wearing them, but then I expect those people to steer clear of me and mine. It’s a two way street and always has been.

I don’t follow mainstream news. I haven’t had cable television for almost 20 years. I don’t follow news people except I might be following ,on some format, a war correspondent or two? I don’t subscribe to newspapers anymore. I get all my news from Reuters or the AP. I get all my medical information from Harvard, John Hopkins University, or Cornell University, or NIH, NIMH, or the New England Journal of Medicine. I also have friends that are both doctors and scientists–some Western and some Eastern medicine and a whole shelf of medical journals at my disposal. I also got straight A’s in science and biology in high school.

Once I was done researching Covid, the Pandemic, and the Vaccine, I made my decision to go ahead and get the Moderna vaccine. I could have chosen any of the vaccines offered as they are all available around here, but chose Moderna because that is the one I spent the most time researching and also more importantly both of the other vaccines had an ingredient in them that I’m allergic to.

I mention all of the most personal things about me to give you the reader the full scope of details about me as I looked at the science and facts that I most rely upon that eventually helped me make my decision to receive the Covid 19 vaccine.

There was a notice online locally to sign up through the health department to receive your vaccine. This notice went up when everyone 16 and older was now able to get the vaccine in our county and I believe entire state. Though my husband and I were both on the list last year as essential workers, neither of us were able to get the vaccine until now when the rest of the general public became eligible. Within 10 minutes I made an appointment for my husband and I and that was that. Two days before I made sure we concentrated on staying hydrated and then some–as we are generally hydrated, but just to be certain. We also ate really healthy super nutritious fruits and veggies –double the amounts for 4 meals, and made sure we stayed stress free and rested. We lowered our sugar intakes–both natural sugars and processed sugars and I stopped taking ibuprofen and glucosamine for 3 days. All of these things are in the instructions/information when you look up vaccines on the CDC site. Hydrate, rest, and no anti-inflammatory drugs day of vaccine.

Day of we woke up, as my husband did not have overtime on this day, and we went about our day. We printed off our consent forms and headed to Baraboo to get our vaccines. As with my making my decision, my husband made his own for his own reasons. He does after all work in a facility were no one wears a mask/believes in them/and many don’t believe in Covid at all–but surprisingly most have now received the full vaccine even before he was eligible. So, his workplace/co-workers and who he comes into contact with on a daily basis were big factors for him. Not getting sick and not bringing something home to me again was also a big factor in his decision. Neither one of us needed the other to sign on in order for us to go ahead and get vaccinated. That said we were given the first shot this past Friday and will return in 28 days for the second shot. I have not been vaccinated since I was a kid in grade school and though I have had my blood taken and even IV’s in, I hate being given a shot. We do not get the annual flu vaccines for a couple of reasons–one our annual physical is just before the annual flu vaccine and our physician usually supports our decision based on how great our immune systems appear to be working, and two (see above), before 2020 I hadn’t been sick in 16 years (8 of which was while I was in college + work and 8 working/volunteering). I know personally I don’t plan on ever getting the flu shot.

Everything went very smoothly once we arrived at the building the vaccines were being given–we handed our consent forms to a young man in the National Guard and within seconds were called to a booth and vaccinated. We then sat for 20 minutes in a quiet room to make sure we were not going to have an allergic reaction. Instructions online stated no id required–basically no hassles. The vaccine was free. I believe at this time all Covid 19 vaccines in this country are free. After 20 minutes we left, grabbed lunch, and drove to Madison WI. We then proceeded to grocery shop, visit Trader Joe’s—yay!!, pickup bakery items and flowers and fresh vegetables and garden plants at Whole Foods. Seven hours later we were home, unpacking, and feeding our cat. We both had tenderness around 11 p.m. or so–I would say mine was a 1.5 on a scale of 1-10 for pain/unpleasantness. I couldn’t even see where the shot had been given though there was a slight hump where it was tender. When I got the shot, I felt quite the poke. Ouch! But nothing that brought tears or was long-lasting. My husband felt nothing, but his tenderness was a 3. After we got the shot I told him to move his arm around, massage the area, and do things with that arm. We lifted groceries, unpacked, etc. and I know I continued to use my arm and move it around. By early evening the next day my tenderness was gone and my husband’s was at a 2.

Sunday–everything was fine. So far no reactions, tenderness is gone, and we feel fine.

I’d be lying if I finished this post without saying how nervous I was about getting the vaccine, about having a reaction to it, about something happening to me down the road because I got it. I’ve seen all the posts online with misinformation, scare tactics, conspiracy theories, and fake news. I may not subscribe to it, but I’m not blind.

Yes, reading stuff like that does run through your mind before making a decision, while making one, and afterwards. The one thing you personally have to remember is –this decision is yours and it’s about your body and your health. There isn’t a single person on earth including my doctor who can make a decision or influence me to make one about my body or my health without me signing on to it 100%.

So, this is part 1 of my vaccine story. Again, my story and my personal reasons. No reflections or judgments on anyone for making a decision that is different than mine.

Thanks for stopping!

Photo credit: West Elm

Spring Garden Plans

Spring garden plans started with growing some cat grass for Gabe and some micro-greens for us. Both were started from seed in February, ready two weeks later, and I know we loved our micro-greens. Gabe’s cat grass, well meh! He wasn’t very impressed. I had purchased a couple of seed kits from Walmart–a basil kit and a lavender kit just for fun and they were both a fail–seeds never germinated.

This year my container gardening is going to be a bit different and I am so excited to get it going. Usually I go out and buy $150.00 worth of plants, seeds, or bulbs and go from there. My focus all season is on production–blooms, tomatoes, regrowth and so on. I battle every year heat 90-110 degree on our deck, bees (wasps not honey), and mosquitos, gnats, and of course blight. There is always, no matter how hard I try, over-watering, under-watering, and not having the right nutrients in the soil. It is very hard, at least for me, to get my garden done correctly. I can’t compost in the way that would be necessary or advantageous where we live. No matter what types of sunshades I buy they usually blow over or blow away. Almost every plant I’ve grown has early afternoon wilt–having had something wrong when I purchased it, the dirt is all wrong for the plant, the plant was watered irregularly wherever I bought it? and I have purchased plants from all over, or I replant and amend and it still wilts–which of course leads to over-watering.

It’s a battle and one I’ve undertaken every year for the last 11 years. Not this year! This year the focus will be on the gardener and my learning to enjoy the process of being a gardener, reading, researching, trying things, but not overdoing anything and not expecting anything except to learn a few things. So, I’ve purchased two David Austin roses which will be here in May. I’ve purchased four peony bushes which I have planted–I’m not sure if I’ll see anything from them this year? That’s fine. I will also have a few of my regular tried and true plants that are usually quite easy for me to take care of–rosemary, oregano, peppermint, thyme, and echinacea. For fun my usual 3-4 geraniums. That’s it!

In 1996 I took a class via the extension office to become a master gardener. I had zero clue what that meant, but we had a 1/2 acre of land and we wanted to plant a garden, but weren’t quite sure how to do it right. We would be battling with soil that had been depleted by corn crops, was partially clay, and flooded regularly. Well, I didn’t learn how to grow a garden that year, instead I learned how to work with others and plant sustainable gardens in a public park and also a lovely garden at a historical site. I never did manage to plant a thriving vegetable garden, but on my own I learned how to grow/transplant strawberries and also how to grow every herb one could imagine successfully. Now for several years I’ve tried to grow beefsteak tomatoes to no avail. That said I have grown some lovely cherry and tomato paste tomatoes over the years, yet not without their frustrating challenges.

Other News:

A month ago, I stubbed my toe and it turned out I broke/cracked a bone on the side of my foot. Every time something like this happens I scream about not having time for things like this. Thankfully, I healed fast and the soreness and bruising was gone in 3 days and miraculously I was out shopping by that weekend. Prayers answered because at this time of year –tax season, spring planting, spring cleaning, and gearing up for summer, I have absolutely no time to sit around and do nothing. Of course my foot wouldn’t stop me from tax work, but for the three days my foot throbbed it did distract me at times. Then I would take a short break, apply ice, and drink a nice hot cup of coffee and then back to work I’d go..

I have a lot of book reviews to get in this time of year as well. I was recently part of a book launch with Ina Garten–for Erin French’s new book– Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story ; remaking a life from scratch. This is such a great book and Erin’s show on Discovery Plus was so good too! I was really excited to be a part of this awesome book launch.

A peek at a corner of my bookshelf:

Queen Elizabeth is 95 today

Tomorrow is Earth Day

Things you and your kids can do on Earth Day

here

Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you back here soon–be safe and be well! 🐝

For everything there is a season…

(an essay from my soon to be born book)

Indeed everything has its season. For me the season of feeling confident, safe, secure, and sure of who I was slowly becoming, came right after one of the worst times in my life.

I once had someone, a stranger to me really, try to tell me the things that would or wouldn’t make me happy and satisfied in my life. Being told this by someone who did not really know me made me very angry. I might have been more receptive to her opinion had what she said about what had made her happy in her life held some truth.

No one on earth, even if they imagine they know everything about you (never mind a stranger) knows what will or won’t make you happy at some point in your life.

In 2008 after living in a home for 12.5 years–12.5 years of poverty (combined earnings of less than $25,000 yr), a $500.00 house payment, and living next to 4 people who totally and completely despised me–we left.

Our life after that would be without my having to entertain an entire family at all times who despised me, had lied to me, had pretended to accept me, and who had not only stolen money from me, but had stolen my time–both mine and my husband’s time. I had nearly single-handedly taken on my husband’s brother and father via email mostly and finally unearthed all I felt had been done to us over a period of time and then just like that because of my behavior–we were free. Just like every other time in my life when I’d had enough–all I had to do was wait and the other party would seal the deal. His father’s way was to deny we ever married and make the statement that I no longer existed or was welcome in their home. That was it.

During our first year out of that relationship I was pretty relieved, a weight had been lifted, we were starting over, and honestly we were happier than we’d ever been. We lived in a crappy apartment, but we were getting by and we had a little spending money for the first time in our married life. But something was missing for us–something to love. Our gardens and lawn and bird feeders were gone and we needed something to nurture. So we began looking into adopting a greyhound, which by the way is not an easy endeavor. We found a beautiful girl named Jessy, or should I say she found us, and we were all set. All set that is except that she had not been trained properly and refused to potty outside. When I tried to train her she would growl and snap at me. Then she would proceed to have an accident in our apartment. I couldn’t blame her as her foster parents had always let her run loose in their vast yard and do her business. They were supposed to train her on a leash but did not–so of course we had issues and because we were in an apartment and I certainly didn’t want to be bit or have her bite someone else—we took her back to her foster parents.

So, life went on for another 3 months or so until I saw an ad for giveaway kitties. I talked with hubby and he said “sure, let’s go see.” And the next weekend we did and just like with adopting greyhounds we let the kitten “pick us.” A little orange tabby head butted me and when I looked down–there he was. We were standing in a garage with old dressers and dresser drawers and paint and oil cans and there were kittens all over. Two mothers had given birth around the same time and all their kittens were running loose. We were told he was eight weeks, but later determined he had been 4-5 weeks old when we got him. I picked him up and off we went home. His name would be Gabriel named after the archangel and one of my favorite actors Gabriel Byrne.

Once home and settled in it was feeding time. Gabriel wasn’t my first cat–I’d had cats most of my life up to this point. But he was the first kitten I’d had in a long time–definitely the smallest one and when feeding he wouldn’t stay at his feeding spot and eat. Every time I left the area he followed me wherever I was going. Day 3 and I figured–well, I’ll stand here to get him to eat and then he’ll eat. Which of course worked great as long as I stood right beside him.

Our apartment was small and my hubby did not like cats in the bedroom so he was kept out of our bedroom. Our neighbors, which had 24 hour around the clock barking dogs were only a wall away from us–and there was really nowhere to put our kitten except in our bathroom. So we bought a cozy cat bed and at night after his last meal we would tuck him in and he’d go to sleep until 6 am.

One night while I was laying on the couch reading a magazine (with his bed right beside me on the floor), I remember as clear as if it was yesterday he looked back at me as if to say “you’ll take care of me, won’t you?” and I remember saying inside my head–“yes, I’ll take care of you your whole life.” In just that minute exchange of what his face looked like as he looked at me and I looked back–we bonded. I didn’t know it at the time, but from that moment on nothing I did for him was a burden, or job, or chore, or hassle. I loved him, he was mine, he depended on me, and there were no limits. I wouldn’t find out that this was due to he and I bonding for some time.

Around the time he was 1.5 years old it was time for me to graduate college with a degree in finance and a 4.0 GPA. I had spent two years giving 100% of myself to a program no one who ever knew me would have guessed I would enroll in. Add me to that group because finances and I were two things always at odds with one another. The program had changed me and I would be graduating with honors-which was absolutely beyond all my expectations. And then the night before graduation….Gabe ate an entire daylily flower. At 11 pm I heard him throw up and jumped up and saw green leaves on the carpet. I had received a bouquet of spring flowers that contained daylilies of which I had no idea are poisonous. In fact at this point, I had no idea any plants or flowers were poisonous to cats except poinsettia’s. Because of the way he seemed shortly after this incident (30 minutes), I decided to look up lilies and much to my horror discovered they are almost always fatal if ingested by a cat. You have very limited time to treat your cat before it goes into kidney failure. It is highly recommended if you want to save your cat to rush it fast to your veterinarian. Of course we live in a small area and at the time there were no emergency vets within an hour’s- to even two/three hours drive in any direction. So, I rushed Gabe to the sink and started wiping him down with cool cloths, and I syringed milk down his throat, and for the next 12 hours kept him awake by doing any number of things. I even went so far as walking him on his hind legs around and around our coffee table, a cool bath, syringes of food and milk and water every couple of hours until mid-morning the next day. When we finally got a hold of our veterinarian he was shocked Gabe was still alive. His words were – “he had a 1% chance of making it without veterinarian intervention.” Now, thankfully there are emergency veterinarians in our area and even within 1-2 hours from us that fortunately we have not had to ever contact. Read all about plant toxicity here Of course you know, I chose to miss my college graduation much to my instructor, classmates, and the dean of the programs dismay. There was no way I was going to leave our cat on his own hours after being poisoned by ingesting a lily. I made peace with my decision and have never regretted missing my college graduation. I’d had one two years earlier and two years after this one, I’d had one again. Still, I would choose him over graduation given that choice to make again.

Gabe continued to improve and after a week we knew we had beat the odds.

Then a year or so later he got crystals. Another issue that can harm cats and is so difficult to cure or keep cured especially in males and especially in tabby cats. $2000.00 later, test after test, medications, doctor visits, and special food syringed 8x a day and he was cured. He has stayed cured too with no kidney damage.

He’s had allergies his whole life to food, dust, and pollen and will eat anything off the floor–and I mean anything so we are constantly on alert. He also never got used to eating without Momma by his side so I feed him spoonful by spoonful 6-8 times a day every day. We have had to stop traveling and I changed my work to remote due to his increasing separation anxiety which we feel comes directly from his being too young when we adopted him. Kittens learn confidence through playing with each other. This playtime is pretty constant during 4-8 weeks after birth and he was already in our care by 5 weeks. We have used toys–interactive play to build his confidence but nothing has worked 100%. His daddy finally relented when he was 14 months old and started allowing him to sleep in our bed. For almost 3 years he slept at the foot of our bed on my side with me scrunched up to accommodate him. He’s always had both mine and his dad’s love, attention, coddling, and doting and we’re not ashamed to say spoiled to no end. He doesn’t ask for much–mainly just his nom nom and a treat now and then. He has beds in every room of our apartment and baskets of toys and the freedom to climb on whatever he wants –even the counter tops much to my husband’s dismay. He is living his best life and so are we.

All this to say he is the love of my life in every way and once I realized he’d saved me, I knew why he had come into our lives early or not. He had needed me and I had needed him. After awhile even my husband couldn’t imagine his day to day without our boy. Loving him, sacrificing for him, worrying about him, caring for him before I even consider myself where all new things to me. Besides being loved by my husband, I’d never felt loved in my life before we adopted Gabe. Honestly, I didn’t know how to love. Children were a burden to my parents, I’d been a burden to a significant other, siblings showed no love, friends were the fairweather kind. Who I was and how I’d loved was a reflection of the many dysfunctional relationships I’d had in my life. That night with Gabe was like the stars finally aligning. We had bonded. I wish I’d had the conditions in my life present that night for other times in my life, but I just didn’t. My emotions at one time in my life had been solely dependent on the kind shown to me. I had so many issues to work through early in my life while maintaining dysfunctional relationships, being disowned from family, and involving myself in both work and situations that took me further and further away from ever being placed in the kind of situation or moment the night I finally was comfortable enough (safe, supported, loved, secure) to accept someone or something needing me and at that moment feeling there was nothing in the world I’d rather experience than someone needing me and me providing love and care while doing it. And from that– love that has been returned back to me from a cat that has made every moment of my life since –a life of true fulfillment and purpose.

My life in so many ways has changed since that night. I’ve grown exponentially –like the Grinch’s heart in so many directions. My ability to love and be loved, to let go and learn to fully trust for the first time in my life, to be close, really close to someone, to commit for all the right reasons, to stay and not run when I got scared and more. In opening myself up to whatever might come, even bad or sad things, and giving 100%, even if it left me feeling vulnerable–all of it helped make me the person God always intended for me to be.

So, for everything there is a season. Our life may dwindle down to our last couple of years, hours, or minutes but if it is to be in our life, it shall be no matter what force tries to stop it. There is always hope and even when you don’t realize the things you need the most–they find you.

Don’t ever let someone who doesn’t love you or support you or know you tell you what to do or what you should or shouldn’t feel.

Here is our boy on his 13th birthday–one he shares with his grandpa! xoxox

Not the happiest camper because his card has a grey tabby on it and not an orange one. I told him to blame Target–I tried! A beautiful healthy 13 year old who still weighs 12#–stable weight for 10 years, eats 6 oz of wet a day and one good sized handful of kibble, plays a lot with mom and toys, and snuggles with dad and walks him to the door on work days. I should add he still gets tucked in bed at night, stays on an actual feeding and sleeping schedule, loves to watch birds and squirrels, and is wild about tumbleweeds. He’s a one of a kind, well-mannered boy and we LOVE him!