Where’s my Spring?: Spilling over tea/coffee March 2019

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The groundhog said it would be an early Spring. Tell that to the wind, cold, and snow we’re having lately. What does a large furry rodent know, anyway?

Confessions of a Mother Runner

Pull up a chair and mug with Coco and Deborah and me for the ultimate coffee tea date, cause I have lots to share with you and want to hear what you have to say, too.

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February 2018. How long ago that seems. Always in my heart, Giz.

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
Almost all of the cat stuff (and there was lots) has been sucked out of our house (well, into the garage/storage). The house is so much more open. Life is easier. I can wear clothes without worrying too much that they’ll be shredded.

Life is also a lot emptier and sadder. There’s just a huge cat-sized hole in my life. For a variety of reasons it’s not a good time for us to be adopting a new cat/s.

Still, when we went to pick up the bag that Mr. Judy had left at the pet store, there were cats waiting for fostering/adoption. I may have said we could foster, after all the room had been set up for a cat for months (but of course now all signs of cat has been removed).

Then as we were walking the dogs this beautiful Maine Coon came stalking towards us. I may have said that obviously the cat wanted to come home with us. He was also walking towards us the next day, too. He is not a stray; I know where he lives.

Yes, I’m very comfy, thank you. It’s MY couch.

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you that Lola has begun to act super clingy (which was happening before Gizmo “disappeared”, and we had Lola & Bandit sniff his body anyway). She just seems to be somewhat reverting to the super anxious dog we adopted (although thankfully not that bad).

She used to love to lay on the bed, but now she’s rarely found there. In fact, she’s driving me bonkers because I get into bed, turn off the lights, and suddenly she wants to go downstairs (where Mr. Judy is — Chester also started hanging out with Mr. Judy at night as he got older, and he was my little shadow). I thought maybe it was the diffuser which is somewhat new, but I’ve tried leaving it off and she still does this (unless she doesn’t, but that’s rare).

She stays on the bed when Mr. Judy comes to bed later. I am now making sure she goes downstairs before I get into bed so I don’t have to get up.

In addition, she is picking up bad habits from Bandit. She now drags the dogbed on the couch from its corner to the other end of the couch. She never did this before Bandit arrived in our lives. Why can’t they pick up good behaviors from each other?

This was just one dessert on race day. I never did take pic of the Chocolate PB Cupcake. 

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you that I enjoyed every decadent, rich, fried, chocolate bite I had in Savannah.  I’m also glad that essentially we only ate there four days. As it was I felt as though you had to roll me home (although thankfully the scale wasn’t too bad — and again, lucky it was only four days!).

Originally I’d planned for it to be a week’s vacation. I had visions of visiting Tybee Island, too, and staying there a couple of days. I feel like we barely scratched the surface of Savannah, but there are still so many places to see in this country — it is actually part of why I am trying to run a half in every state.

Doesn’t that scream beach to you? Well it does to me!

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you that the mug I finally settled on is a winner. I’m extremely picky about my mugs, I have a whole set of criteria I am aiming for when I pick one (see my post about choosing mugs here).

As if my criteria didn’t make it hard enough, there’s also just the whole feel of the mug, and much like running shoes, you really don’t know if it’s right until you drink from it (or run several miles for running shoes).

No dribbling.

I was afraid I would have trouble with tea spilling from the lip, as I’ve found lips like that have a tendency to dribble, but the first drink was a success. I have found when the mug goes in like that, even if it’s larger, it tends to keep the tea warmer longer. And I just love the design — it reminds me of the beach (even if we never went to the beach in Savannah!).

I further runfess that some of my walking-too-much the day before the race (read about it here) may have been in search of the perfect mug, but at least I was successful.

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
This should have been a runfession, but of course I already had plenty of those to share last Friday here. It occurred to me one day that it’s not so much that I hate running in the cold — even if I’m not very fond of getting started — who is?

No, the problem is that I’ve always been a heavy sweater. It doesn’t matter how little clothes I wear; I sweat. It’s the getting sweaty, and then getting super chilled afterwards as the sweat dries (because after all that’s the job of sweat), that I just have trouble facing.

I am chilled for hours after a cold run. Even when we have a mild winter, there are usually a lot of cold runs here. I get tired of being that uncomfortable!

Do your furkids pick up the bad habits from each other?

Have you worn something new on race day that was a problem?

How long do you think people can really improve with running?

I am also linking up with the  Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness from Fairytales & Fitness.

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Goodbye my sweet boy: Spilling over tea/coffee February 2019

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If anyone in my life ever “personafied” unconditional love, it was Gizmo. This was not the post I’d planned to write today, in fact a week ago I was expecting to still be hand feeding Gizmo every few hours. Over tea today I’ll be sharing all about Gizmo, and I understand if that’s not your cup of tea, but it’s what’s in my heart this week.

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We renamed him Gizmo because he was a dead ringer for the Gizmo from Gremlins

This will probably get really long, and it’s really more for me than you, so I understand if you don’t read it much, much less all.

Confessions of a Mother Runner

Pull up a chair and mug with Coco and Deborah and me for the ultimate coffee tea date

Most of the time he was in Bandit’s crate, not on top of it!

NY has not been kind to our furkids
We lived in VT 7 years. No furkid losses (the girls were only 8 when we left). We lived in TX 17 years, and both the girls crossed the rainbow bridge — but they both had long lives: Cleo was 16 and Puss was an amazing 21. They are still there; we buried them in our backyard and planted a rosebush by them. It used to comfort me to go out there and talk to them.

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I have photo after photo of the boys curled up together

However, we have lived in NY for 10 years, and this is our third loss. The first two, Simba (Gizmo’s brother — he was gone before I started this blog) and Chester (many readers remember Chester, I’m sure, as I wrote about him frequently, especially after he passed — read his story here) were too young — almost 12 and 10 respectively. I know that’s not really young, but both seemed far too young to go to me, and both suffered a lot towards the end.

Gizmo had a good, long life; he was almost 18. He was never sick a day in his life until this last year, and it’s really only in the last 6 weeks that he really started to decline. I miss him terribly, but I am consoled that he had a great life, and that I helped him to pass while he could still enjoy lap time with me.

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Normally I probably wouldn’t share this photo, because it’s definitely not my best photo. But it captures perfectly the love we had for each other. Gizmo was most definitely my cat. (And yes, this was during the brief time I colored my hair).

Loving that Gizmo is still purring and curling up on my lap
The above is what I wrote last month. Yes, he was still purring and curling up in my lap til the very end.

He also was barely eating. He really couldn’t stand for very long, which is why he would lay down to drink water, and why after a few bites he’d go over to his hammock and I’d have to spoon feed him to get him to eat a bit more.

He could have lived longer, but he no longer had the quality of life I wanted him to have. It was very, very difficult to make the decision to help him cross while he still wanted to lay on me, but I knew it was the right choice.

A sign?
I was stretching out after my run on Monday, and oddly enough I heard a lot of bird song. It’s the middle of winter, there’s snow on the ground, and it’s damn cold. I looked over and I saw what looked like a flock of Robins — I’m not sure they were Robins, I wasn’t close enough, but a few flew back and forth to a nearby tree and they definitely had red bellies (and were not cardinals).

Was it a sign for Gizmo? A sign that Spring is coming, despite the cold and snow going on? I have no idea, but I do know that it brightened my day — something I would never have seen if I hadn’t opted outside to run, which as you know I don’t always do — it was actually a lovely day to run (for winter).

At this point I was still grappling with the decision, and I would make the arrangements after I got home from this run.

Coming to peace
I woke up Monday crying. I’m don’t cry easily; ask Mr. Judy. I also woke up in the middle of the night crying. I didn’t feel like I had to use the bathroom, but I wasn’t falling back asleep so I did anyway. I spent some time praying to be at peace with my decision.

Eventually I fell back asleep, and when I woke up, I wasn’t crying any more. And I was actually at peace with my decision. It was still hard, and yes, I did cry later on, still do, but my prayer was answered.

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Like most cats, he loved his boxes and could squeeze into the smallest places. He also had what we called his OCD behavior — obsessively pushing down on the flap of a box over and over and over. Yes, we have video of that.

All his favorite things
It’s very, very difficult to make the decision to let them go while they’re still eating (even if only very little), still want to be with you (sometimes, there were days he spent mostly hidden away), and still purring.

I didn’t question myself (much) after making the decision, but I set out to give Gizmo as much happiness as I could on his last night/day on this earth. Mr. Judy grilled a steak — yes, outside — sort of, he has the grill pulled close to the house and uses a method where he doesn’t have to be monitoring it constantly, and while Giz didn’t eat much of it, he did eat some.

My habit over the last few weeks was to get up, scoop the litter boxes, feed Giz, then go downstairs and do some yoga, then meditate, then pray a little. On his last day I wanted to spend as much time with him as he wanted, so I sat down after feeding him and let him lay on me until it was time to feed the dogs. And then I let him lay on me some more.

I got up to make a snack of some yogurt and granola. I really wasn’t hungry, but Giz loved yogurt — and he actually went to town pretty good on what I left for him. After that Gizmo went to his bed in a box (literally a cat bed we’d put in a box), so Mr. Judy and I took the dogs out for a very short walk (it was really cold).

Then I cooked a big batch of chicken thighs in the Instant Pot — I’m planning to make chicken noodles soup later this week — and fed him a bit of of the chicken. Again, he didn’t eat much at all, but he really enjoyed what he ate.

I am grateful that he was able to enjoy some of his favorite things on his last day.

Best toy ever
I didn’t used to feed Gizmo when I got up. It’s a really good way to get a cat scratching at your bedroom door. So for about 16 years, the first thing we’d do in the morning is play with his cat dancer (the Website is here, but you can buy it many places and it’s very inexpensive).

Best cat toy ever. Seriously. Very few cats don’t appreciate it (Simba wasn’t really impressed with it, but he’s the exception); I used to volunteer at a small cat rescue and few cats could resist the cat dancer.

Gizmo never tired of it, day in and day out, not until he got very old and arthritic.

Where’s mom?

Although Gizmo was annoyingly attached to me — seriously, when he was healthier, he would follow me around the house just willing me to lay down — occasionally he deigned to lay on Mr. Judy. He did so this past weekend. Mr. Judy felt he was saying goodbye.

Trying to nudge Bandit out of the bed

Giz really was not happy when dogs came into his life. Every time we went away and came back and there were no dogs, he was so happy. Towards the end, though, he really didn’t care. He’d walk all over them to get what he wanted — usually me or a bed.

Cats can sleep in the most uncomfortable looking places

Long ago I painted this on my large suitcase. It kind of comforted me to “take Giz with me”. That suitcase is also coming to the end of a long life, so I guess I won’t be able to take Giz with me anymore, except in my heart.

A thoughtful gesture

Our vet sent this Live Oak acorn to plant. They did the same when we lost Chester. We actually got that to grow into a small sapling, but we could never seem to decide where to plant it, an early snow came, and that was it. Oy. Can we keep this one going?

Mr. Judy has been trying to remove all the cat paraphernalia. We had boxes all over the house. In fact, it made me sad when I opened the box for the oak plantling — we almost always put down the boxes for Giz to play with before we recycled them (and some became permanent “furniture”). But now there is no one to play with a box, to jump in and out of it, to curl up into it even though it doesn’t look like it would hold him.

There are multiple cat trees. Multiple litterboxes. Beds. Scratchers. It didn’t make me happy to see them around, and it definitely makes our house much more open with them gone, but it doesn’t make me happy to see all signs of a cat in my home disappear, either.

For many reasons, I don’t plan to be adopting a cat in the near future. It’s the first time pretty much in my entire life I haven’t had a cat. Some day, I hope that we will have a cat/cats. For now we are once again settling into our new normal.

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The boys, in better days (and before cell phones!)

I still feel you
Gizmo was put to sleep in our home — if you’re local to the Albany, NY area, In the Comfort of Home — find their Website here—  will come to your home and they’re very kind and it was quick and peaceful; I do recommend them. It’s not the first time we’ve had furkids put to sleep at home, although the first time a stranger has done it.

I still kind of feel his presence, or maybe it’s just wishful thinking. I keep thinking I hear him or see him out of the corner of my eye, and just feel him doing the things he used to do when he was younger and healthy. It both comforts me and saddens me.

I also know he is reunited with Simba, and with all the many cats (and dogs) I have loved in my life. That is what I choose to believe, anyway.

I could go on and on for days. Seriously. When they were kittens I had an entire Website devoted to them. Yes, I am that crazy cat lady. People were so shocked when I wanted dogs, too, but that’s how I grew up, with both.

I actually started to work on copying that Website into a new blog when Chester passed, but it’s time consuming work. I didn’t finish and I hadn’t made it public.

So many photos. So many memories. 18 years is a long time, of morning and evening lap time, playing, feeding, scooping, and just purr/pure love.

I actually do have more I want to write, but I think maybe I’ll join up with Amanda’s Talking Out Loud next Thursday for the first time in a long time hereand share some more photos and more stories.

No questions today, just give your furkids some extra loving from us

I am also linking up with the  Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness from Fairytales & Fitness.

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Loving 2019: Spilling over tea/coffee January 2019

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Notice what I did there? I snuck in my word for 2019 (read about it here). I’m hoping to keep it in mind a lot more than I did Believe in 2018, although Believe really was a great word for 2018, as I pushed myself outside my comfort zone (read my wrap up of 2018 here) and had to believe I would be successful — and I was!

Confessions of a Mother Runner

Pull up a chair and mug with Coco and Deborah and me for the ultimate coffee tea date.

I’ll just be over here with my tea . . .

Loving a New Year
I know not everyone loves a new year, or even pays it much attention, quite frankly. Or they make resolutions they know they have little chance of keeping. I think there’s just something about having a clean slate, an entire year laid out before you with nothing but possibilities, that’s exciting.

Unflattering photo theme today, but this is me & Gizmo most mornings

Loving that Gizmo is still purring and curling up on my lap
I see the changes in him all the time. He’s not back to normal, but I think he’s settled into a new normal for him. Which still involves lots of lap time, lots of purring, and eating pretty well again.

I’m hoping that he stays well at least through March, which will allow us to get to Savannah and will also get him to his eighteenth birthday.

Loving clear streets and paths
Most of the past few big storms have missed us completely. I wrote that last weekend, and at the time all our snow from earlier in the year was gone. We’ve still had plenty of cold weather, but we’ve also had a few really warm days that melted whatever was left.

I’ll be a very happy girl if it could stay that way for another six weeks. Doubtful, but a girl can dream.

Loving going to races with groups
I’m the rogue runner in our little group. The one who goes off to races with her husband in tow instead of following the group. OTOH, without me, there might never have been a group at all. The group came to be because I wanted to run Wineglass with friends.

Running is definitely more fun with friends, but sometimes you have to do your own thing, too. Still it’s nice to have a posse — sometimes, at least — in the local races.

Ugliest & Warmest Coat Ever

Loving/not loving this coat
I wasn’t going to share this photo. And then I thought, why not? Even if it does make me look like a caterpillar trapped in a cocoon. The coat is seriously ugly. And it’s heavy. It’s also seriously warm, and I’ve already had to wear it on too many dogwalks this winter!

Not loving an empty calendar
Just one last big goal race — or I suppose one first big goal race in 2019. And then . . . who knows? I like to plan, I like to have the next race lined up before the one I’m training for is even run.

Things have a way of working out the way they’re supposed to; I truly believe that. I guess I just have to trust that 2019 has some good things up its sleeve for me. And at this point in 2018, there was also only one race on the calendar.

Tea? Iced Tea? Coffee? Decaf? Green smoothie?

Do you care what your coat looks like as long as it’s warm?

Do you love the possibilities a new year brings?

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

I am also linking up with the  Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness from Fairytales & Fitness.

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