A Catnip Christmas Eve

‘Twas the eve before Christmas and the cottage was stirring,
With the muffled sounds of Samantha Jo purring.

Cat Lady was busy making cookies and tea,
When Samantha meowed, “Any catnip for me?”

The fluffy floof sniffed as she searched all around,
For the aromatic herb that made her act like a clown.

Cat Lady let out a laugh as she scooped-up her cat,
To guide her to where the cat-weed was at.

But Queen Sassy Pants wriggled and jumped to the floor,
And dashed across the hardwood to where she spied,
A small wood box containing what she’d been denied.

The scent of the leaves she inhaled with glee,
She wriggled and pranced and strutted her stuff,
Cat Lady cracked-up and said, “I think you’ve had enough!”

With one last whiff of the weed and a grand leaping motion,
Samantha sprinted through space like she’d swigged a magic potion.

Now the catnip spell waned as the cookies were eaten,
But the magic remained, as that can’t be beaten.

I wish everyone a Happy Christmas and Joyous New Year!

I’m grateful for your continued readership, support, and for being there for me throughout my cancer journey and now, my road to recovery.





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We’re Somewhere in Between

“Moving backwards, hurt comes after / Healing doesn’t happen in a straight line
Moving onwards, feeling strong, but / Healing doesn’t happen in a straight line”

Lyrics to “Justified” by Kasey Musgraves

At a Laguna Beach Business Club meeting a couple of weeks ago, a fellow member, in commenting on how healthy I looked said, “… You just bounced right back!”  I laughed and told her it depends on the day.  Appearances can be deceptive.  I’m learning my limits.  I’m learning that one does not bounce back from Stage IIIC endometrial cancer, major surgery, and chemo and radiation treatments in just a few months.  But I’m much further along than I was a few months ago.

Loving my warm welcome back with co-worker Danielle, who decorated my office.

I returned to work on October 4th after an eleven-month medical leave, working part-time and mostly from home.  I was ready to work again, but wasn’t anticipating that even a partial day at the office could be so draining, leaving me with just enough reserves in my tank to take care of Samantha Jo, the cottage and myself in the most basic of ways.   The vim and vigor I had to do those things that fuel my soul (volunteer work for The Blue Bell Foundation, working on my children’s book publishing efforts, walks along the beach) before I returned to work were gone.  Yet, it felt good to be productive, earning a paycheck again and having a daily routine.  I am grateful for that, and have accepted my temporary limitations.  I’ve had to incite self-discipline on many occasions—saying, “no can do”.  But it’s paying off.  I’m adapting to my new schedule and my strength and stamina are slowly creeping back. It feels good to run a couple errands at the end of the day and have a little fun on the weekends without feeling completely wiped out.

Me at the office; Samantha waiting for my return…

Samantha, my executive assistant.

And I also have the emotional and mental strength it takes to take care of Samantha who is also going through her own healing journey.  She was diagnosed with a medium sized bladder stone in October and responded well to an herbal supplement, Break It Up! by Natura Petz Organics, which breaks down bladder stones.  I was over-the-moon thrilled to see her kitten-like behavior return, and the best indicator of healing—no blood in her urine for almost two weeks!  Then external forces triggered high-anxiety in my cat-child.  A roaming neighborhood kitten who got too close to the cottage for Samantha’s comfort, a cat fight one night in the crawl space under the porch, the thumps and bangs of debris hitting the roof caused by harsh winds all happening within a bout a week’s time triggered high anxiety in my girl, which caused the cystitis to return.  Her behavior has stabilized, yet most of her pee puddles still contain some blood.  So…it’s back to the vet again.

Samantha Feelin’ Good before all the outside ruckus occurred.

Enjoying Halloween…

Me and my girl, we’re somewhere in between healing and healed.  Feeling good, but not great; feeling great, then feeling bad; riding out a plateau, then finally moving forward. We’re stumbling along the healing track together sometimes getting derailed, but we have each other, and together, we’ll get there.

Photo courtesy of Tarek Jadeba

In the meantime, we’re having some joyful moments!  Enjoy Samantha’s first video in the last scene.

Samantha turned 2 on November 20th! Happy Birthday, Baby!

I was able to help decorate a Christmas tree for Blue Bell at Sawdust Festival’s Winter Fantasy!

Blue Bell’s tree won 3rd place in the tree decorating competition! Standing with Jenna, Blue Bell’s assistant director on the left and fellow volunteer Terri on the right.

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Busy Cat Lady and Crazy Cat

The past few weeks have been busy!  Finally, my life doesn’t just consist of reading, daily naps, bird watching in the yard and playing toss the pom pom with Samantha.

My post-cancer healing journey is picking up pace here, and although I’m still pacing myself by occasionally napping and know when to say no, I’m also being productive doing things I love.

The Blue Bell Foundation for Cats is having its seventh annual Cat’s Meow Champagne Brunch Fundraiser on Sunday, September 26th.  Over the past several years I’ve coordinated that event, but that duty was passed on to Blue Bell’s new assistant director this year.

Blue Bell residents Angelo (RIP) and Cody

I’m still a Cat’s Meow planning team member and have been having a blast working on promotional efforts and being the venue liaison.

Cat Lady with Ed Steinfeld, morning host on Laguna’s KX FM radio after my interview about Blue Bell, Cat’s Meow event and related topics

I named our family cat Beth after the same name of a song by 70s rock band Kiss. Does my t-shirt look familiar?

I dusted off my children’s book manuscript and am working on final edits with my editor, Lynette Brasfield, which has been a thrill.  I love it when the magic of words and ideas come together on paper and tell a story. After a gazillion versions, several critiques and frustrations over the last eleven years, the story, which includes protagonists Topper and Lexington (two of my kitty angels), is coming together. I don’t want to leave my story in the hands of chance as far as if it gets picked up by a publisher, so I’m going the self-publishing route.  Besides sidestepping the luck of the slush pile draw, the learning and creative process of what goes into making a book is just the challenge I need to start my new life chapter.

Children’s book muses, Topper and Lexington

I have not yet been able to enjoy evenings of live music at my favorite venue in town, The Cliff, as I’m pretty wiped out by dinnertime, but I did manage to get to my other happy place, the Sawdust Festival.  My energy levels picked up just in time for two afternoon visits to the longstanding beloved summer art show in Laguna Beach during its last week for the season.  I’m certain that being in the presence of artists and their works, live music, and the rustic ambience of Laguna Canyon, an alternate universe radiating joy and love, has aided in my healing.

Listening to classic rock at Sawdust

Visiting with artist Michelle S. Burt at Sawdust

Meanwhile, back at the cat cottage, Samantha has become more at peace with her new home and new cat mama, although quelling her overly sensitive nervous system that triggers cystitis, remains an ongoing challenge.  Last weekend high anxiety kicked her nervous behavior into high gear, starting Friday with incessant meows while scratching every cupboard door in the cottage, nervously pacing from room to room until she leapt from a countertop onto the top of the fridge to a ceiling beam, to all surfaces on high.

Crazy Cat Eyes

I finally calmed her down with gabapentin; but when that wore off on Saturday, she became crazy cat again.  I concluded that her behavior was triggered by the nightly outside goings-on of squeaking and scurrying rats.  I sprayed a nontoxic repellent in suspected areas, and by Sunday she’d calmed down.  Those rats must have scurried off to another nest.

For the moment, with Samantha peacefully sleeping on the small rattan console next to my desk as I write, all is right in our little world.

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