“One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.” ~ Henry Miller
I don’t like to let the cats out for a variety of reasons, but sometimes when I’m home, and it’s a gorgeous day, I can’t deny them. Their cries to go out can be heard in Tennessee I’m sure. When I give in, I try not let them out at the same time. You know the term “herding cats?” That’s why I don’t let them out at the same time. Of the two, Leo is the most photogenic, or rather, the least likely to throw me a kitteh middle finger and walk away before I can trip the shutter. I love a wide angle lens, especially for something like this where I can put it near the ground and get a sense of what his point of view might be. I’m thankful he’s feeling better without his sore eye, and he healed very well. He’s back to being feisty and brave. Leo the Pirate Lion King prowling his kingdom. That makes me happy. Makes him happy, too.
Tonight, I watched a documentary on the band Chicago. This brilliant band made some of the best music to ever come out of the U.S., then they hit the 1980’s click-track-over-bearing-producer-let’s-make-a-video era and it sent me into my own brand of PTSD. I wouldn’t trade my musical experiences for anything, but it was unfortunate that so much of it was during this same era. When you say to a drummer like Chicago’s Danny Seraphine – the guy who laid intricate tracks for their most classic music – that he’s not good enough to play to a click, there’s a real problem. That’s not music. That’s money and ego (two words: David Foster). I know that MO far too well. What happened to Seraphine just furthers my argument, at least in my mind – ha ah – that all the technological “advances” of the 1980’s actually did more to destroy music than help it. Business forced musicians to change, and when that happened, the music itself changed, and now here we are 30+ years later and a good human-made song is hard to find. I said as much to Steve Winwood one time when he asked what I thought about drum machines. In retrospect, I could have made my point better with a little less venom in my answer. (He’s a very nice man, by the way, and he took it really well) There is hope, however. We’ve got the likes of Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, and Ryan Adams crankin’ out some good tunes. Thank God the Stones are still kickin’. But ya know what? PTSD or not, I would do it all over again. What a ride! The fact that I got to do what most players only dream about is not lost on me. It didn’t quite work out as I’d have liked, but it worked out the way it should. I’m good with that.
“In any given moment, we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” ~ Unknown
Here’s sweet darlin’ Leo. I call him Cap’n Leo now, and soon after he has his stitches removed, I’m going to find little kitteh eye patches for him. A cool cat should have cool duds, doncha think? As you can see, no pun intended, he’s doing great. He’s jolly and playful like his old self. He was able to overcome the spatial complexities of only one eye very quickly. Wally took after him yesterday, and he promptly batted him across the nose. Oh yea, he’s just fine (and Wally backed off). Speaking of Wally, he goes to Aunt Millie tomorrow for the abscessed tooth removal. When I go back to pick him up in the afternoon, Leo will go along to have his stitches removed. They’ll both feel a lot better after tomorrow I’m sure. And Leo? I’m so proud of how resilient he’s been. A great example of picking yourself up after something horrible and going on with life. What a babe. Who knew a little cat could be such a big inspiration?
“What consumes your mind, controls your life.” ~ Unknown
I hadn’t planned on another pic of Leo, but so many people have been asking about him that I felt compelled. Warning: do not scroll past the text if you’re squeamish. Aunt Millie was just as sweet as she could be, and she confessed that this surgery really bothered her. Weird as it sounds, I felt so relieved by that, though I felt really sorry for her. I’ve been feeling super bothered by this, too. I’m normally level headed about such things. In fact, there’s not much that rattles me when it comes to illness and accidents, but this is different somehow. Even Millie couldn’t quite describe why she was bothered. She said it must be because we humans are so visually oriented that the idea of any being losing an eye is automatically devastating to us. Leo will be fine, logically I know that, but trying to comprehend what it must be like for him right now is tough. I gained a whole new level of appreciation for veterinarians today, that’s for sure. It takes a special soul to work on these sick animals and come away still smiling. I told Millie there is a special room in heaven for her with that big heart of hers. She’s a great doctor, and I’m extremely grateful to her for the care she gives all animals, mine and everyone else’s (most of UK library take their pets to her, too). Anyway, our boy is home now, donning the cone of shame and feeling none too perky. He’s being sequestered in Wally’s kennel while his wound continues to drain. He’s none too happy about that either. It didn’t help that Lilly hissed at him as soon as we got home. (I’m still laughing about that.) Poor guy, he’s just not had the best of days, but he’s alive and everything else will heal. If he could talk I’m sure he’d say a big kitty thanks for all the good thoughts and prayers. I thank you, too.
“You can’t write a script in your mind and then force yourself to follow it. You have to let yourself be.” ~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Sweet Leo was basking in yesterday’s warm, delicious sun. Prepare yourself to be overrun by Leo pictures tonight. I can’t help myself. I feel so, so, so bad for him and how badly he must feel. Yet, his demeanor hasn’t changed at all. He’s still as lovable as he ever was. He still plays and purrs and eats and all the other things a healthy kitteh will do – he does them all. In the photo below you really get a sense for how different his eyes are, while being spared the intense side view (you’re welcome).
Notice the brown discoloration. That’s the tumor that, from the side, is quite visibly three-dimensional. It looks a bit like a mountain really. The dilated pupil a result of glaucoma brought on by the pressure of the tumor, and the sliver of white shows just how swollen the entire eyeball has become. You can even tell in the photos below that there’s a substantial difference between the eyes. We’re gonna get rid of this trouble for our boy tomorrow, so let’s all have one big group hug now for Leo. He’ll be fine, and (sort of) good as new in no time. I’ll keep an eye on him. Sorry. Too soon?
“My goal is not to be better than anyone else. It is to be better than I used to be.” ~ Unknown
Here’s my orange boy from a sunny day in the window. He’ll have surgery this coming week and I’m trying not to let it bug me, but I can’t help thinking about the little guy. All shall be well. All shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well.
“I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. To stand for something, and to have made some difference that you lived at all.” ~ Leo Rosten
I’m running about six weeks behind on everything including taking the pets for their annual vaccines. It was not a good day for them, and it would have been awful(er) for me if Stacy hadn’t gone along to help. Let me just say that taking all three pets at once was not one of my better ideas (note to self: don’t do it again). I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned that Lilly (the black cat) has trouble riding in a car: Anxiety like you wouldn’t believe and I’ll just leave it at that. On Friday, I stopped in at Aunt Millie’s for some Kitty-Kalm-Down drugs. Next time, I’m going to double the dose because the prescribed amount did little more than lessen the yowling from the back seat. Poor thing is just a wreck on vet day. Meanwhile, Wally, who has exhibited zero distress other than gaining weight because dad doesn’t understand that table food is really bad for him (that’s a whole other issue that was addressed today), has an abscessed tooth. He came home with antibiotics until the tooth can be removed because that bit of unfortunate news was hardly the worst part of the visit. Oh yes, it got worse. Poor Leo, the kitty in the carrier on the floor; my beautiful, affectionate, sweet-as-can-be orange tabby boy, has a tumor in his eyeball. Over the last few months I’ve noticed his pupil was a different size from the other eye, and the iris was changing color. What I couldn’t see, until Aunt Millie showed me today, was that the color was actually a three-dimensional tumor rising from his iris. If it wasn’t so awful it would have been totally fascinating. (You can thank me for not taking a picture of it.) So, on February 22, my beautiful green-eyed boy will lose his eye. This will be the second orange tabby I’ve had that has had only one eye – one-eyed Jack being the first. As I learned today, this is not uncommon among orange tabbies. In fact, they’re quite prone to cancer, and eye cancer is not at all rare for them. Who knew! After we get him patched up, we’ll get Wally’s tooth pulled unless the antibiotics don’t help, then we might have to address it sooner. Lord help me if I have to take them both in for surgery on the same day. All things considered, Lilly wasn’t that bad. This is the price one pays for unconditional love. I’m glad I’m able to provide for them, because it’s the least I can do for all the love they give me.
“As we move from one year into the next, let us heal this hurting world with love and beauty. Let us live in hope instead of fear. Let us do the work we came here to do with peace as our guide. Let us shine for one another. Let us allow the movement of grace. Let us dream into one another’s hearts, remain open to possibility, and remember our true selves.” ~ Lori-Lyn Hurley
My faithful companions spent New Year’s Day with me. If we treat their ages as thoroughbreds, turning another year older on January 1 regardless of their actual date of birth, then Lilly is 10 years old today. Leo is an estimated 13 to 15 (it’s really hard to know with him, even for the vet), and Wally an estimated 6. I was scrolling back through the outhouse and found the day I got Wally in December 2014. He’s still as adorable and lovable as I’d hoped he’d be after we got to know one another. I wouldn’t take anything for him. I wouldn’t take anything for any of them. We four are off to a great start for 2018. I hope the same for all of you.
“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.” ~ Robert Brault
Crystal offered me a pretzel at lunch. It was delicious. I had another. It, too, was delicious. They didn’t taste like an ordinary pretzel. I had to ask what they were. Mikesell’s Dutch Pretzels, she told me, and she then went on to say they’re almost impossible to find in Lexington. That’s pretty normal for some products. I had to go to the store, so I took a curious tour of the chip aisle. I was just about to leave empty handed when I looked up, and there, tucked in tightly with some off-brand pretzels, was a lone bag of Mikesell’s Dutch Pretzels. Me and Crystal, we’ll be having pretzels for lunch this week.
“Just try to be happy. Unhappiness starts with wanting to be happier.” ~ Sam Levenson
I went to Honor Flight Guardian training this evening. It’s such an inspiring program. The flight is a week from this Saturday, May 20th, which just happens to be Armed Forces Day. Each branch of the military used to have individual celebration days until 1949 when President Truman consolidated them into a single day; Armed Forces Day. It was first celebrated in 1950, and in 1961, President Kennedy declared it a national holiday, though it’s not a federal holiday. It’s always the third Saturday of May “…in order for citizens to unite and to honor our military heroes for their patriotic service in support of the United States of America.” There are nine other Honor Flights from around the country descending on DC on May 20th. Not counting the thousands of free-range vets that will be out and about, too, May 20th is going to be an action packed day for DC, and for us. I’m looking forward to helping mom’s dream come true. It’s an honor and privilege.