Thankful Thursday: Soft Kitty Feeder Edition

Welcome everyone to another Thankful Thursday.  

I’m trying to adjust to life with a diabetic kitty, but the first few weeks have be fraught with craziness.

 I have been dealing with issues related to “Super Suga’ Bear’s” care, like figuring out the least stressful way to give him his insulin injection (NOTE: trying to hold him still does not work, I’ve had a few wrestling matches this week – not Greco-Roman style either, we’re talking WWE and kitty always wins), worrying if he is getting too much or too little food, and figuring out how to accommodate his many small meals a day schedule when Skid’s not home to look after him.

On top of that we’ve been dealing with a pest problem at the house, which has required ever-vigilant nightly cleaning to prevent further infestation until the exterminators could do their thing.  (Which, thankfully, occurred this week.)

Add that to the daily ins and outs of working and family life, and we’ve got ourselves a ho-down! (Not.)

Things seems to be getting back to what I’ll call “normal,” so with a deep cleansing breath  thus begins this week’s  list of things for which I am thankful.

Kitty’s on the Mend

The treatment of our little pest problem required that I board kitty at the vet’s for the day.  While he was there, they performed a quick check-up of his symptoms.   They reported that his blood glucose is down and he’s gained 8/10 of a pound.  This is encouraging news.  The vet suspects that his glucose count was probably even a little falsely elevated as well, because he was a little stressed at being handled by strangers.  So we’re hoping next visit, he’ll be a little more calm with his human around, which will get us a more accurate reading.

He’s been particularly cuddly the past few nights too.  I can feel more heft to him when he’s laying across my lap.  Before, he was so skinny, you could feel his bones.  Yay!  My soft, cuddly kitty is making a comeback.

Automatic Feeders (Best Invention Ever!)

Given that the vet has put “Sergeant Fuzzy Boots” on a specific kind of insulin that is long-acting, which gives him a better chance of going into remission, but it also increases his chances for a cause a hypoglycemic crisis.   This means, he needs to be fed several small meals a day.  Not necessarily easy for two working adults, and Skid is only at our house alternating weeks during the Summer, so I needed a solution.  I purchased an automatic feeder for wet food (since his fuzziness is on the “Catkins” diet) contains a round sectioned dish with five compartments.   The dish rotates to reveal the services at a pre-programmed time.   After a false start with a defective unit, we seem to have a viable solution.  So today I’m grateful for that technology.

Thankful Thursday: Grumbling, but Grateful Edition

I won’t lie. This week has been stressful, so getting into a thankful frame of mind is a bit of the stretch at the moment. First I’ll run down the stressors, and move on to the Thankfulness.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been subjected to three pregnancy announcements: one friend and two virtual acquaintances. While I’m happy for all (everyone has struggled to get where they are), it makes me sad, which surprises me. I actually thought I had gotten to the point where I was feeling stronger about these things, but those feelings of longing came rushing back into my heart, the anger at the unfairness of it all, the cursing of the circumstances that brought me to this point, an d lots of why me’s and wanting to be one of the “lucky ones.”

This is the state of my life now. Where such news used to have me dreaming about the possibilities of “someday,” now leaves me chilled with memories of loss. I find myself repeatedly asking, “What will make this situation better?” Lately, I’ve not liked the answers, so I’ll take some time and ask the Magic 8 Ball later.
I’m sure it doesn’t help that my cat’s illness brought additional stress. The glucose numbers are lowering at a snail’s pace and his weight is not improving, so we’re onto the medication stage: one injection, twice a day. This is going to be fun, and expensive. No more cat toys for him. Mommy needs to spend it on life-saving insulin. It’s a bitch to be a grown up, isn’t it kitty?

O.K. Let us dispense with gloom and doom and accentuate the positive as forced as it may be.

  • I am grateful that my job allows me the flexibility to accommodate the number of vet visits I’ve had make this week
  • I am grateful that I have boss that welcomes input and is willing to discuss alternating viewpoints when they are valid
  • I am grateful for the recent visit from Skid’s former step-sibling, as these visits always result very special family time
  • I am grateful for my mom and my best friend (who are both thousands of miles away from me right now) who are always willing to lend an ear and a virtual hug
  • I am grateful that this week is almost over and hoping the weekend brings some time to unwind and get some long overdue writing accomplished

Love and blessings!  I’ll be in a better mood next week.  I promise!

If my rantings have brought you down and you want to read some really smart, witty commentary, check out one of my favorite new blogs here:

Thankful Thursday: Treats and Purrs Edition

One more week and still no additional blog posts. I’m working on it. I swear!

As I’ve stated before, I am working through some family issues and really just taking time to gain some clarity on things and really figure out where I should be involved and where I should step back: an ongoing Stepmom dilemma. In the meantime, the best thing for me is to focus on gratitude. So Thankful Thursdays are the best thing I can do right now.

This week has seen illness in my home. First it was me. Sunday, I woke up feeling terrible. Headache, fatigue, and for lack of a better, softer term I got “sick”… it was some kind of bug. Ugh.

Hubs had to work that day, and when he called in to check on me I told him how I was feeling, but for some reason held back a request for something I’d been craving that I thought might soothe my upset stomach. But lo and behold, when he came home he had the desired object in his hands. I love it when he reads my mind like that!

There is a church in my neighborhood that is on my running route that always posts interesting sayings on their sign. This week’s saying is from Albert Einstein, “Coincidence is God’s Way of remaining anonymous.” I couldn’t be more thankful for this coincidence. Thank you God for looking out for me!

The other sick one in the house is my cat. I found out recently that my little “Monseñor Fuzzybutt” has diabetes. Upon weighing him, the vet found out he was 8 pounds! He is a long-haired cat, so the weight loss was apparent, but did not appear to be that drastic. I felt like such a bad kitty mommy. (Thankfully the vet did not pass judgment on me and focused on him. Bless her.)

We are intervening with dietary changes and close monitoring, so we can hopefully avoid the need for medications. He appears to be responding well, so I am, of course, thankful for that; but I also realized just how thankful I am for my cat.

I’ve never judged anyone who calls their pets “furr babies,” but I also walked the fine line between cooing at him, projecting human qualities onto him, and giving him 101 cute nicknames and knowing that he is a cat and not a person. While this experience has not changed my view, it has underscored just how important the little guy is to me.

I’m completely focused on getting him to a manageable state. Given the recent rockiness in our family’s path, I’m not sure what I would do if he was no longer with us. I don’t think I could take it. He really can help to soothe my soul when it is troubled. When I’m going through a period where I’m the invisible women to Skid or Hubs is being particularly prickly when working on project around the house, he’s there. He gives me affection. He cuddles with me when I’m sick or unwinding at the end of the long day. He offers acceptance. He’s usually glad to see me. I know I can tell him my deepest, darkest secrets and he won’t tell a soul. He demands very little in return. He’s a special member of the family and I am thankful for him.

Thankful Thursday: Late in the Day Edition

I’m posting Thankful Thursday a bit later than I normally would.  Life is a little crazy right now, but I’m working to get myself back up and writing again.

They say, “When it rains, it pours.”  And this year has been progressive: a shower to a full-on storm.  The eye of it held something so joyous and dear, and then we got hit with something just as destructive and powerful.  Oddly enough the thing I am grateful for today is a recent bout of burnout. Why?  It was a pre-cursor to a moment of clarity that pointed me to a very important truth, something that would have had me spinning my wheels had I not realized it. Stress is our body’s way to telling us we need to stop and examine what’s going on in our lives.  Like a “check engine” light for our minds and souls.

I am also thankful for the brief moments of joy that I’ve been blessed with throughout these trials. I can hold on to the memory of them to sustain me and remind me that better times will be ahead.

Love and blessings!

Thankful Thursday: Leaving On A Jet Plane Edition

Welcome to another Thankful Thursday. Today I will be flying to another coast. It will be a long day, but Hubs will be with me. I’m hoping we can enjoy just being with each other for the journey.

At the destination, I will be meeting people I’ve never met before, but feel like I already know them. It’s a long awaited reunion. I really cannot divulge too much about it, but one day I hope I can.

I am thankful for this trip and some much needed time to enjoy a new experience with the man I love!

Love and blessings to everyone!

Thankful Thursday: Short, Sweet, and Fragrant Edition

If I’ve been conspicuously silent lately it’s because I’m getting ready for a trip (1/4 of the trip is for pleasure, the rest is business) and working on a really cool project that has actually got me looking forward to Mother’s Day (miracle of miracles!). The details really cannot be divulged about either, but hopefully I can share in the future . So I will make today’s Thankful Thursday short and sweet.

This week’s blessing is an incredibly touching gesture made by Hubs this weekend.  He was taking advantage of a rare Saturday off and became inspired while working in the yard. When he came in from his work, he sat me down and said, “I have an idea that I’d like to propose to you.” You could say my interest was piqued; but it wasn’t. I knew how badly he wanted to see “The Avengers” that weekend, so I assumed that whatever plans he had in mind included a trip to the movie theater. I was wrong.  Instead, he said, “I’ve been thinking and I realized that I haven’t done anything to remember our babies, so what I’d like to do is plant two special colored Azaleas in the yard to memorialize them.  What do you think?”  

Of course I loved it, and agreed to it immediately. So now, among our row of fledgling red and white Azaleas in the back yard, two pink ones sit side-by-side in memory of Baby A and Baby M.

I’m incredibly thankful for my sweet, loving Hubs!

Thankful Thursday: Screaming Alien Aunt Experiment Edition

It’s another Thursday, so once again I’ll do a quick rundown of things for which I’ve felt grateful in the past week.

 The Scream

News broke this week that the last privately held version of Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream‘ will be going up for auction. One of my favorite NPR call-in shows “On Point” turned its attention to the iconic work yesterday and spent an hour – an entire HOUR – discussing the painting’s impact on culture and how it speaks to the human experience. I love that this incredible piece of art can speak to so many.  There’s something about it that’s encouraging.  It shows me that we’re not that different after all. To listen a podcast of the show click here.

My Skid

Although I use this blog to discuss the challenges of being a stepmother, I can say that I am thankful for Skid. Watching Skid when we’re out with family brings a smile to my face. There is a humor and lightness to Skid’s demeanor and flashes of sheer joy when Skid doesn’t think anyone is looking, which are heartwarming to see.  It’s just that right now there are hurdles. We’re dealing with the teen years: years when it seems like an alien has invaded your home — a sulky, moody unpredictable alien who doesn’t like to clean or hang out with parental life forms.  I had a brief glimpse into a different scenario when Hubs and I were carrying on our long-distance romance.  At age 8, Skid would take every opportunity to hug and cuddle with me on those long weekend visits.  Things seemed to change once the ring was on my finger and Skid began straddling the threshold to adolescence.  I miss those days and am grateful for them, however brief they were.  The memory of them helps to keep my love for Skid alive  and fuels the hope that down the road a path might open up to bring our family closer together.

A Realization

I realized when reviewing comments I’ve made on this blog and others that I made an error.  I’ve mentioned that I am the only woman in the family without kids of her own and completely forgot my two aunts who don’t have children of their own (one my mother’s side and another on my father’s side). Both have pretty full lives.  I’m not sure if it is because both aunts are far away in Canada that contributed to my momentary memory lapse, but I’m a little ashamed that I disregarded them.  I don’t often share my blog with family members, so I don’t think that they’ll find out (whew!). However, it dawned on me that they may be sources of inspiration and advice.

The Erin Experiment

The Erin Experiment is a great blog written by one of the contributors to “Stepmom” magazine. She blogs about all aspects of her life — from being a stepmom to her commuter marriage and all things in-between. I really like Erin’s take on things, and it often seems that she and I are going through similar things at the same time. She looks at her life in a very positive and honest perspective, which I admire. I feel like she and I are kindred spirits.  If you have a moment, go check out her blog at

Love and blessings to you!

Thankful Thursday

I’ve got a lot of thoughts brewing for prospective posts that need a bit of refinement, so I’ll take an opportunity to walk down the sunny side of the street and count a couple of blessings.  (Maybe this will become a regular thing, who knows?)

Blessing Number 1:  After many years of a self-imposed laryngitis of the soul, I’m finally getting my voice back.

Writing here and guest blogging on LWOB has been an incredibly freeing exercise. I’ve realized that when I process everything internally it ultimately skews my perception in such a way that I misread the signs of life and end up taking a wrong turn into Crazy Town. Getting things out of my head and onto paper puts some distance between me and the inner-ramblings of my mind, so I can course correct.

As one of those people who needs to time to get their thoughts together,  I have great admiration for people who can say what’s on their mind, at the proper time, and are able to do so with tact and grace. I want that presence of mind, so exploring my wants, needs, thoughts, and feelings here is helping me better articulate them in my daily life. (So, yay me!)

I am also truly touched by the responses I’ve received here and at LWOB.  Thank you for your supportive and encouraging words.  Many of you have helped me when I needed it most, so it is even more humbling to hear that something I have written has spoken to your experience or helped you in some way.  It leaves me thanking God for the courage and inspiration to share.  It’s a comfort not to feel so alone, which leads me to the next blessing.

Blessing Number 2: I’ve found wonderful communities of support both online and offline .

My upbringing was Christian, so I am trained to believe there are reasons for where we are in our lives (although I have been struggling with the validity of that belief lately). 

The one time I can undoubtedly say I was in the right place at the right time was after I lost my first husband.  When he died, I was 36 years-old. I worked at an organization where four other widowed women were among my co-workers.  Of the four, three of them had lost their husbands in their 30’s.

This was an incredible gift for me.  It was a very powerful reminder that I was not the only person to have this experience. Without their presence, I could have very easily curled up into a ball of self-pity and isolated myself from the world, thinking that nobody could possibly understand what I was going through.  Instead, the mere fact of these women –who were living, breathing proof that I wasn’t unique –left me without any excuses to needlessly hold on to the “why me’s?”  They also served as examples that this storm could be weathered.  It helped me realize that I would, eventually, move on.

Since then life has brought a more struggles, all of which have been very isolating in their own way:  stepmotherhood, pregnancy loss, and childlessness not by choice are all clubs that no one dreams of joining.  They also are not issues anyone outside the ranks of their membership wants to discuss.  Who wants to hear a women talk about the ambiguity she feels towards her husband’s children, the agony of never even getting to hold a baby she desperately wanted, or the suffering that comes with a dream unfulfilled?  It’s all very depressing stuff.

Honestly, I find that people who have never been through any of these situations are much more receptive to hearing about my first husband’s death. For whatever reason, it is easier for them to relate to that struggle over the others.  Since I am remarried, I think that maybe they feel that it is a success story.  Of course, they fail to see that the “happily-ever-after” has been bumpy and any discussion of our challenges are usually met with avoidence (miscarriage is a depressing subject), platitudes (being a stepmother is simple, just be nice and the kids will like you), or problem solving (have you considered adoption, IVF, etc?).  Is it any wonder that I’m having a hard time finding peace?

I think it goes without saying that it is difficult for women in these situations to find a place in their immediate circles where they can voice their pain and feel understood.  We live in foreign lands that are hard to comprehend unless you have been there.

I feel extremely lucky that there are communities out there that allow women discuss their struggles openly without fear of judgment or misunderstanding. There are bloggers, writers, and groups in all the arenas in which I struggle (and arena is the perfect word, because there are days when I feel like a gladiator when facing down my grief).  These resources have been a tremendous help.  I’ve shared links to many on this site. 

While we all have different paths, we share the same fundamental pain that brings us together.  And, while I may not be in the same place as the others, I choose to learn from everyone. I may not hear the lessons the first time (or the second or third time), but at some point they speak to me.  Each one gets me closer to a place of healing and reminds me I am not alone.  And for that, I am extremely grateful.

If you wish to share any resources not listed here that help you, please feel free to leave them in the comments section of the post.  

Wishing you love & peace!