brightlotusmoon: (Asha)
I forgot to come back here after the new year. Sorry, journal. I was busy.

Today, and yesterday, and the day before, I've been... I guess it's ill with a cold, or a cold and allergies? It seems to vary. Obviously, a fibromyalgia flare has been set off. I've been dizzy, shaky, sore, with a scratchy throat, itchy eyes, runny or stuffy nose, yada yada. If it keeps going past a few days, I'll call allergies.

At the end of December, Adam and I began talking honestly about my Neuroweird, and he figured I might do well on an ADHD drug or similar, which made me consider SNRIs, which made me recall my first attempt at Cymbalta in 2002 that went wrong, which made me decide, after talks with three doctors and my insurance, to go back on Cymbalta in place of Zoloft, to see if an SNRI would do better at poking away at my Neuroweird. In combination with the personal therapy regime that will be slowly happening for probably ever, it is working. Most of my compulsive episodes have been very controlled. It is hard work, obviously. Everything is hard work. Sometimes we who have multiple intense chronic illnesses forget to mention how hard it is to just... be. Every day, all the time. Or people who don't understand might forget how hard it is. Not having episodes of... All The Issues, it's hard.
Maybe I just forget, because it's all happening to me all at once, constantly, in the background, and I'm so used to it that I wave it off and go "Meh, it's just Things, it's always been Things, whatever" even though my entire brain is screaming and full of storms. I don't listen to myself enough; I'm too used to me. That's part of an upcoming therapy session, too.

Very current parts of therapy have been literally watching comedy videos while exercising. The Nostalgia Critic videos on YouTube, for example, and Futurama on Netflix, and Cartoon Network during the day (Woo, Amazing World of Gumball, woo, and also the creator of Uncle Grandpa was in my high school class, heeyy).

I've been sleeping with plush animals again since childhood. It's fabulous. Ty makes lovely plush My Little Pony dolls.
brightlotusmoon: (Asha)
I had no idea this was a thing until my mom's novelist friend mentioned it. I'm going to apply and then look at other grants.

BTW, FYI, JSYK, etc: I'm happy. Nothing to do with cults of positive energy or what have you; although positive thinking plays a small part in a specific way, as well as negative thinking, which folds up into balanced thinking energy whatsit. Everyone is always saying "Find your happy." And I have. I'm still going to have low, bad, poor, ugly times, because that is life. People are going to criticise me for things and such, because that is life. Right now, the only thing that matters is how I feel. Good, bad, positive, negative. But I'm just happy. That's what matters. *slowly nibbles on a glazed honey bun*

First novel really is close to finished. I am struggling to figure out what's the better way to blow up everything before reforming. Exploding reality is haaard.
Second novel is flitting around my writerbrain. I think this is going to be all nonsequential. I'll assign chapters later.

LOL, my kitty. Callisto has taken over my leather task chair on which I use a Pillow Pet as a cushion. If I'm sitting, she jumps into my lap, walks behind me, curls around me, and suckles on my shirt while kneading.
brightlotusmoon: (Default)
By the way, remember when the new kitten was named Callisto and I changed it to Calliope? It's Callisto again. She still nurses on my shirt near my armpit when I'm lying in bed. It looks like she's suckling on my breast. I wear a wire free bra when I sleep, at least. But her kneading always seems to catch me on the neck.
I'm still Mama. I love it.
I just need to find a way to move Callisto's paws away from my neck. And always sleep in a cotton shirt. Even in summer.

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brightlotusmoon: (Asha)
I'm turning 35 tomorrow. 11:58 PM. Which means I tend to extend the celebration into April 7th, since it was so close to midnight and they were busy keeping me alive with the "extreme pre-term" deal.
35, huh? Well.
You know what? I don't even know if it matters. I'm still short, nobody thinks I'm even 30, I barely feel thirty-anything. Maybe that will change the more I approach 40, but right now, it's whatever. However, I will be eternally thankful I started all that skin care stuff when I did. My skin still looks good - despite body dysmorphia insisting that I am covered in ugly blemishes. My profile photos all have me with full makeup, but my brain still sees the grossness beneath. Literally no matter what people tell me. *sighing*

I'm watching "Too Cute: Kittens" right now, before I sleep. Turkish Van, European Burmese, Persians. Eeep, they are darling; especially the Turkish Van babies. They all are white with black giant dots on their backs and heads. Like cow cats - hey, like Luna. I think Luna is actually watching, from her spot on the back of the couch. Every time a wee kitten cries, she looks up and stares at the television.

I've gotten offers from Facebook friends to buy me birthday gifts, which is awesomely sweet. I gave forth links to Etsy products, and I was still like, "For real? You are serious in wanting to buy these for me? Dude." They say they will be late and apologized, and I was like, whatever, I don't care; even if I ordered them myself it would be very belated. I never expect these things.

Calliope has been sweet even in fierce play. This kitten constantly amazes me. She is insanely mellow and tolerant and unfazed by very few things. I have kissed all her paws and her nose and her belly and she just purred at me. Well, then.

I have a baby migraine. I just threw codeine and baclofen and MSM at it.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
So, anyway.
Fucking migraines. Fucking snow. Fucking weather.

Beyond that, things have been very well. I've been actively activisming and self advocating, for both autism and cerebral palsy. March 1 is a day to mourn for those autistics and other disabled people murdered by caregivers. I lit candles.

Disorder: abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism.
And I'm fine with that. I don't want any cures. I'm okay being abnormal. You can stop wanting to cure me. I've been mitigating the most disruptive symptoms for a while on my own. Thank you, but I don't need your remedy pushing. What I do need is your support, your love, your compassion, your understanding.
One more thing: I do see my autism as a disorder, with disruptive symptoms and wonderful benefits. It shows me the universe in ways that I don't think I could perceive any other way. And it certainly can be irritating, affecting my abilities of communication, concentration, conception, perception, perspicacity, pensiveness. It makes me twitch, it makes me unable to brain properly. But I also don't want to get rid of it. It is part of my brain. It is part of me. If you want to destroy it, you want to destroy me. I'm not okay with that at all. Treat me, ease me, soothe me. But don't wish to damage me.

Recently, I learned that Lindt/Lindor chocolate supports Autism Speaks, which saddens me deeply. I won't spend money on Lindt anymore, but if someone gifts some to me, I won't say no. I will not and cannot support Autism Speaks, who are indeed evil, abusive to autistics, and do not actually spend their funds on helping autistic people. Luckily, Ghiradelli is still awesome. And Green And Black's. And Dagoba. And Trader Joe's.

My pain management doctor and nurse have been "extremely impressed" that I am still on "the lowest doses of tramadol and codeine out of all the patients" in their treatment program. My mother is finally convinced that I'm not damaging my organs. The nurse was very surprised when I told her I didn't take codeine every day as prescribed. But since I do need the tramadol daily, see increased the dosage from 50 mg to 100 mg twice a day, since neither Medicare nor Aetna will cover a time-released 100 mg version of tramadol. This, along with 20 mg baclofen twice daily, has been ideal, with the codeine taken once weekly, plus more as needed when migraines become troublesome. Also, high doses of magnesium and pure omega-3 fatty acids. High therapeutic doses of EPA and DHA have been keeping the worst of the ADHD-Inattentive and OCD under control, as much as Strattera used to, which amazes me. Calamari and Krill oils have been really helping.

Adam and I visited the official Mayorga Coffee warehouse in Rockville again now that we need more coffee. The warehouse sells coffee for cheap, and always have a sale: two 2-lb bags plus a free 12-oz bag for $50, which is a steal. We do this every few months, since five pounds of coffee for fifty dollars lasts us anywhere from three to six months. This time we got a bag of organic Peru, a bagof organic Honduras, and free organic black and tan. All with notes of chocolate. *nod*

The cats are well. Calliope has settled into the family beautifully, and has become fast friends with Jupiter. Even Luna has become friendly with her. I'm really pleased. She loves having her belly and chest scritched. She loves cuddling against me. She is gentle even in rough play. She is slowly learning to love being picked up and cuddled by Adam and others beyond me.
I'm still having nightmares about Rose dying slowly in my arms. I imagine they will fade eventually.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
Self and life have been interesting.

Mom is helping finance a medical experiment after reading up on pure omega-3 fatty acids potentially treating brain injuries. We've bought pure krill oil softgels, and I'll be taking 2,000 mg for one month to see what sort of effects it has. If something interesting and positive happens, we'll just keep going.

My neurologist has suggested that I increase the Zoloft to 150 mg - taking a whole pill and a half pill. I've taken a bunch of tablets, cut them in half with the pill cutter, and put them in a separate bottle. If this works out after a few weeks, we'll put me on 200 mg, the highest dose. So far, it has in fact been fantastic. My OCD is almost completely under control as far as certain aspects go. Specific compulsions are controlled now. Specific obsessive thoughts are controlled. I mean, the symptoms are still there, but I no longer feel them so intensely. The only problem with putting me on that 200 mg dose is the tolerance factor. But since my chemistry is interesting, it may not be too problematic in the long run. I'm game if it actually works. Besides, the addition of the krill oil will most likely help.

I've been taking probiotics every day again. Swanson has good ones (Lee Swanson's Ultimate Probiotic Formula, Dr. Stephen Langer's Ultimate 15 Strain Probiotic with FOS). That "Ultimate" one offers around 70 billion organisms per capsule. It'll take a couple more weeks, but so far I'm feeling quite well.

As it turns out, my digestive system does not like Papa John's pizza. It's the only pizza to ever cause so much intestinal distress that I had stabby pains around my lower abdomen. And my phobia doesn't want me to go any further with this.

Within the next few months, I will be making plans with my doctors to schedule a tubal ligation, hopefully via mini-lap. Come the end of April and after my 35 birthday, I will have been on hormonal birth control for 14 years. We known damn well we're never getting me pregnant and we still have absolutely no desire to have children. And once doctors see my medical history, they won't argue my decision. On Facebook, people have insisted that Adam get a vasectomy instead, and didn't seem to get the point when I mentioned things like how he is not the one with the uterus, how I refuse to ask him to alter his body for my reproductive sake, how there is always the possibility of rape. You know, the whole "my body my choice" deal that is still not taken as seriously as it should be, etc.

Also: Osteoarthritis. My knees have bruises all the time. The ligaments around my right knee are insanely painfully tight. I'm so tired, but I have to keep going. It's not so much fighting as it is working with and around symptoms. I can't "fight" cerebral palsy anyway. That's a static brain injury. I never understand when someone says "I will fight cerebral palsy with all my strength!" because it's not the palsy - it's the comorbid and associated conditions that need "fighting" and handling and such.

I have tiramisu. It is so very very delicious. It came from a local delivery place called Milano's. They make it themselves. It's light and creamy and rich and intense. Also, the pizzas and the subs are fabulous. If I ask for a chicken parmesan sub with basil pesto and fresh mozzarella, they'll do it happily.

Adam will be in Las Vegas for over a week. Hopefully he'll have a moment to get doughnuts from the All-Star doughnut place, because I still remember the buttermilk doughnut he brought home from San Francisco months ago.

Anyway, it has finally come to pass that Jupiter and Calliope have become friends. I watched them nuzzle and groom and even bunt each other several times, with Io pressing her tiny body against Jupiter's big body as she walked with him, with her tail in that question mark shape that indicates affection. Calliope has been rolling around next to Jupiter and pawing at him for weeks, and it has finally paid off. Also, it looks as though Luna as accepted Io as a rough and tumble playmate. For Luna, this is amazing, since she still prefers to be the queen.
Adam´╗┐ wanted to name the new cat after a moon of planet Jupiter. I wanted the name of a mythological figure. So Calliope was nicknamed Io, which is naturally a lovely shorthand - and also a mythological figure anyway. It helps that Calliope is also the name of an asteroid. Astronomy and mythology are awesome.
My cats are all friends. Yay!

And I have a Ty "Beanie Boo" doll called Glamour the Leopard, and it's my favorite thing to cuddle for comfort. The Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie dolls now belong to Calliope and Luna, and the Dolphin Beanie Boo passes between them. Calliope is very big on stuffed animals. It's adorable. She still nurses on my shirts when we lay down together.

I've been watching "Red Dwarf" on Netflix with Adam while he's had time off. I forgot how wonderful Kryten is as a character.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
Thanks to another trip to Michael's craft store, I have a new set of Faber-Castle Pitt artist pens below Fine, and Calliope has a Beanie Boo dolphin to cuddle, which she has been doing. I have an owl, which seems to work well as a knee pillow.

We went to the nearby Whole Foods as well, where I found my loved chocolate hemp milk, Guayaki Yerba Mate energy shots in Lime Tangerine, Orgain Chocolate Nutrient Shakes, a bottle of Acai+10 Superblend with Seabuckthorn and Mangosteen, and the rare Badger Balm large Lime lip balm. Adam picked up some fabulous cheeses, and a Coffeeholic Cream Cake for me.

Mom called to chat about an NPR medical science podcast about migraines and the placebo effect, and I revealed that forty percent of my smaller headaches can be slightly reduced by intense meditation after taking certain supplement pills. Good talk. Doesn't work all the time, doesn't work for the more intense symptoms, but I know how powerful placebo effects can be for mild and minor pains sometimes.

Luna and Calliope seem to be starting a... well, a tolerance, on Luna's side. As long as I give Luna attention first, she is nice to Calliope during cooperative play, feeding, brushing, etc. As long as Luna Moon knows she is still the precious queen and Calliope Io is submissive, there is peace. And Jupiter has been gently playing with Calliope, with the occasional soft bap on the head. I am pleased overall.

So, while at Whole Foods, I was limping down an aisle with my blue aluminum cane, right behind a tall man who had the same cane, in sparkly black, and we smiled at each other. "So, how are you?" he asked. I said, "Oh, well, the back pain and sciatica are acting up. How about you?" "Yeah, I'm going to need hip replacement and knee replacement soon," he said. "Oh, ouch," I winced. "I can't imagine. I mean, I'm 34, I was born with cerebral palsy, I'm still learning how to use this," holding up my cane. He nodded. "Yeah, my whole left side has been crazy for years." "Oh, mine too! I have spastic hemiplega on the left! The chronic pain has been getting worse for a long time, but I don't need surgery. Yet!" We grinned at each other. He looked around forty or so and over six feet. I could see right away that his joints were bothering him. "Well," he said, "You look absolutely lovely!" I smiled widely and said, "Thank you! You too!" He grinned back and thanked me, then said, "I hope the pain reduces as much as it can." And I said, "Same for you. Good luck with the surgeries." We said our goodbyes and hobbled off. It was as though we had been friends who hadn't seen each other in a while, commiserating in that cripple language that stays away from "Feel better" and steers toward "I hope your symptoms ease up" which, well, we all understand in the chronic pain community.

And that got me thinking. People tell me "You look beautiful/lovely/great" and of course the silent "even though you're in pain" follow-up. And I actually honestly don't mind that at all. It isn't an insult to me. I know they're usually talking about my chronic pain specifically, not my disabilities as a whole. It's an unspoken thing - "You're chipper and glowing and not letting the pain show, rock on with your badass self." I know that so many cripples would see it as a back-handed compliment and insult, because it totally can be. But for me... I guess it lifts my spirits, especially and specifically when a fellow cripple says it and even able-bodied people who may have invisible illnesses. It is something I need to hear from other disabled folks, because even when I think I look hideous and shitty, to hear someone tell me I look great despite my pain makes me happy, which in turn makes me feel psychologically and psychically better, which helps me try to combat the symptoms, etcetera.

So, my fellow chronically ill and disabled folks, how do you react to such a comment? Is it an insult or backhand compliment for you? Is it a lovely compliment? Do you view it differently when it is said by other chronically sick and disabled people as opposed to able-bodied people?
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
Okay, so. Calliope has a daily/nightly habit of coming to me when I'm lying down, snuggling lengthwise against my torso, resting her head in the crook of my arm, and nursing on whatever fabric is available - my shirt or a blanket. Since I've never seen a nursing kitten actually up close, it fascinates and thrills me. I can feel her little tongue doing that flittery thing and those tiny suckling noises are like an anti-anxiety drug. I need to make sure her paws aren't touching my skin, because even clipped the claws still sting.
Now, is this a thing all cats tend to do, or mainly just cats who were weaned early? I know nothing about Calliope's previous days before the humane society, and all they know is that she came in as a stray, beaten up and stuck with burrs, approximately just over one year old. It's possible she was born in a house and the litter was weaned early to be adopted out to new homes, or... similar ideas. I have no idea. She is so trusting that I am almost certain she was a house kitten. She gives me her belly and throat and leans into me with complete security and adoration. I wonder who her Person was before me. She does indeed have Egyptian Mau and a small touch of Abyssinian in those brown classic tabby genes, and her demeanor, behaviors, personality, and traits are so incredibly Mau that I think she may as well be renamed Joanna's Cat-Child. I call her that now, Cat-Child. "Oh, Cat-Child, what to do with you?"
And so my mother believes she needs to quickly grow out of nursing on me directly, but I don't. I want to believe this will be a Thing she keeps doing until she decides to not one day. I just automatically place a hand on her rump or neck and feel fascinatingly motherly while she purrs against my breast.

Also, I can't make the bed right now because cat.

brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
One cat who needs to lose at least six pounds, one cat who could probably stand to lose three or four, one cat who needs to gain three or four. Since we're still free feeding, we've decided to severely limit the amount of kibble in the bowls. I'm so used to making sure both the downstairs bowl and the upstairs bowl had enough food every day certainly hasn't helped Jupiter. Now it's time to make him slim down. Luna is a little pudgy, too. Calliope is still scampering and burning elder kitten energy, but I realize that she will eat when she wants to eat and she will be fine. I just need to tamp down my anxiety and OCD issues and prepare to listen to mewing cries of "We're hungry!" at night.

Calliope, at 8.3 pounds, has some Egyptian Mau and Abyssinian in her brown striped tabby genetics, and perhaps all she needs is no more that three or four extra pounds. But we've learned that Jupiter is around 24 pounds, which is quite overweight even for a large male ginger tabby with largeness in his genes. Luna could certainly stand to drop from 15 to 13 pounds, I think - she's small enough. I don't feel guilty, just slightly irritated that I kept wanting to keep them fed. Also, Jupiter keeps eating Calliope's food, which seems much more interesting. It's Adult Cat food, since she is at least a year old, but it must have good flavors. So I'm limiting that bowl as well. Calliope has some mild disinterest in the Wysong, Blue, and Nutrisca foods, but she does eat them. I just have to remember to pour as little as possible.

Slightly unrelated:
Calliope has been sleeping pressed up against me, and starts by snuggling in the crook of my arm, her whole body touching the length of my torso, allowing her to nurse quietly against my shirt while nuzzling my neck. Her purring is soothing and very kitten-like: steady and soft and loud and comforting. When she is finished, she will wander the bed until she finds a spot against my ankles or between Adam and me. Jupiter has slept on the bed very close to her, which is very good. Luna, who has a circular bed between our pillows, is still snarling at and smacking Calliope. Females and territory. But Calliope is finding her spots and spaces, and I am definitely her person, and she is definitely my shaman comfort cat. Not like Rose. Her own medicine. Yes.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)

Anyway, all of my cats are blends of gamma and beta. None of them are one or the other. But they each lean toward beta or gamma in their unique ways.

(The only alpha we ever had was Tuesday, a gray tabby... and before that, when I was a child, Muffin, a calico. Like, ultra alphas.)

But these ones. Gamma-Beta. Including the late Rose.

This is probably why Luna is struggling to maintain her dominance and claimed spaces with Calliope. Since all parts of the house are Luna's spots (a very Sheldon Cooper thing), she yells at Calliope even when Calliope gets there first. I need to remind myself that this will happen, and to not be upset with Luna. Everyone is doing Cat Things. It hasn't even been a week.

Also, Calliope slept at Adam's ankles last night. But before that, she cuddled right up under my chin, against my torso, and suckled my shirt and purred intensely. It melted my heart and my soul. Augh. My baby. Also, she is demonstrating her whip smart mind. She is already following me around when I call her and tell her where I'm going. She knows what I talk about. She is anxious to learn. She also has discovered counters and the stove. But even better, she really knows the words NO and GET OFF. Long back legs, this one. Calculating brain. I'll need to have a chat with her about that intellect. As in, this is what you can do, this is what we don't want you to do and why. *grinning sigh* This feline child may grow up to be highly emotionally invested in humans.

Okay, now that I have a domestic brown-gray-blue-black tabby mix with Egyptian Mau and Abyssinian, I'm seeing them everywhere. I need to read up on the actual breeds now.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
'Kay, so there is strife among the girls today. Poor Calliope, poor Luna. Separate gooshyfood plates this time. I sensed Luna's desire to just be left the fuck alone for a while, so I kept making safe spaces for her everywhere, sing-song speaking her name, treating her like the only cat in the world. She is still the Queen.
Calliope has picked up on the "You hiss at me, I hiss at you, but whatever" thing. She is still submitting. She is still confident. She is still, "Yeah, okay, cool. Yeah, I get it, we need to work on our issues. And by we, I mean you." If she sees Luna, she will meow with intent and force. Her nickname right now really is Pinkie Pie, and sometimes Fluttershy for her casual sweetness.

My worries about Luna will hopefully start to fade within several days. She just... she really needs time to herself. Calliope is bouncy. This is a new young cat who is wildly excited to be in such a big place after a month being in a small cage. She wants to be friends. She wants to show her gentle personality. But Luna needs her space, and if Calliope runs after her, that space is intruded upon. I understand. Even when Luna herself was in the shelter cage for a month, she was a quiet, space-needing kitten. Even after we took her home, she instantly mapped out safe spaces for herself. I will treat Luna like a Queen always, but I will also deposit Calliope's cheek scenting on Luna via boar brush, so Luna can relax and eventually realize that there is no harm. Hell, they even slept on my bed with me after Luna hissed and snarled. Luna will only lash out if Calliope brushes up against her while Luna is trying to relax. That is completely normal and understandable. I would still love any advice at all.

Also, every chronic pain issue I have is attacking at once. I feel hideous. The good news is that all my cats are being loving and supportive.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)

My medically knowledgeable best friend was right about that daily extra Klonopin. Hello, sudden sobbing breakdown and potential nightmare about my cat dying all over again.
I know she is still here. She's just not... here.
Oh, Rose-kitten. I miss your sleepy weight on my torso.
Oh, now this is fascinating.
I took that second Klonopin while crying wildly. Across the hall, in the other room, Calliope started meowing loudly. I went in despite wanting to just curl back up in bed. She immediately rubbed against my legs. When I sat on the couch, she nuzzled and kneaded me, then jumped down, rolled on the floor, and offered her belly. I immediately, instantly, powerfully, got a sense of "I am here to give you comfort. Here is my love, if you want it. Touch me. Love me. If you want. I am here." And as soon as I touched her face and she purred so loud my hand vibrated, I felt so calm and tranquil it was like a river becoming still after a rock had been tossed in. Mind, the Klonopin had not had a chance to work yet. But Calliope's purring did... something. I just breathed. I breathed and I stroked her and I ran my fingers through her unshaved belly fur, and she nibbled my fingers and rubbed her cheeks on them. She hadn't instantly jumped on me or rubbed my face, but she had quietly and simply offered comfort. And as I made sounds of pain and sadness, her soft mewing and loud purring grew stronger.
I know it is far too soon to tell, but I think this kitten will be a medicine cat. Not like Rose. Not in an instant touch way. In a quantum touch way. Give when it is needed. Push out serenity without nudging. Be there without being instant.
I think I can work with that...


She jumped onto my lap now, right as I write this, purring purring purring, and I swear it is quantum healing. Touch when touch seems okay, distance with comforting waves when needed. Yes. This is who Calliope will be. Offering. Asking. Culture of consent. Do you want me to help you? I am here if you need me. I will not disturb you unless you come to me. I understand you. I will care for you. Here is my energy. Here is my Serenity.
The way she touches me is like a healer hovering hands above a patient, drawing power from outside sources.


I believe her middle name should be Serenity.


I think she knows who Rose is...

Cats, man.

Dec. 21st, 2013 04:59 pm
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
Yule and Solstice have officially made me happier and relieved - the days will slowly grow longer and I will feel better.

Today, we did First Introductions for real with all the cats.
Adam brought in Jupiter and we shut the door. Calliope, lying on the floor, didn't really react. Adam put Jupiter on the couch and he stared at Calliope, breathing heavily with wide eyes. Adam gently stroked him and murmured comforting words about a kitten half his size. Calliope got up, went over, stretched up and mewed. Jupiter hissed quietly. Calliope went and lay back down, exposing her belly. I stroked her and spoke to Jupiter gently. After a while Jupiter went and ate from Calliope's food bowl. She followed him and again lay down casually. Jupiter then slipped under the table that the bowls were in front of, watching Calliope. She casually lay there. At some point she went for a drink, and Jupiter simply looked at her.
Adam brought in Luna next. Luna immediately sat on the arm of the couch. She hissed and spit a little, moving forward as though wanting to jump on the kitten, but some quick human reassurance relaxed her. Calliope continued to be casual, confident, and submissive.
After a while, we opened the door to allow any of the cats to leave. Adam went back downstairs. I stayed. And in fact, Calliope was the first one out the door. Luna ran out, and there was a quick confrontation in the bedroom, with Luna hiding under the bed. She did come out when I opened the bag of Greenies, but when she saw Calliope walking around on the dresser where the food was, she lost interest, gave me an exasperated look, and went back under the bed. Calliope continued to explore. She went back into "her" room, ran into Jupiter, and tried to get a good sniff until he hissed, hurried off while she followed, and left her looking very confused. She mewled at me and I realized that this was enough for now. When Calliope finally came back to my work room, I shut the door. Calliope is now napping and the other two are doing their things. I did get some of Calliope's litter leavings downstairs into one of the two bigger litter pans, just to let them know. We're going to keep the kitten isolated at night and continue to very carefully monitor an open door policy during the day. This will most likely take several more days. Although I have a feeling things will work out for the better.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
I've randomly started calling the kitten Calliope, mixing up Calliope and Callisto. Adam didn't mind at all. And besides, Calliope is my favorite Greek muse (epic poetry and stories).

Soo, hello again... Calliope.

brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)

Oh, dear. I'm starting to think Luna is sort of... scared... of Callisto. The kitten dashed out of her room, ran into the bedroom, leapt onto the dresser where Luna was eating, got nose to nose with Luna, and Luna hissed, bapped the kitten, snarled - and ran under the bed. I'm not sure how to process that. Under the bed?

And here's the funny thing: Callisto is so active, excited, and energetic that I may just nickname her Pinkie Pie or Rainbow Dash. She dashed from room to room with amazing enthusiasm. She has no idea how to work the stairs yet; she managed a couple before getting confused and weirded out, and rushed back up.

My big concern is Luna and Jupiter. While Jupiter is just hissing and backing off, Luna is hissing, smacking and snort-snarling and running away. This really needs to last several days, this isolation. I'm pleased that Callisto enjoys the other rooms and appears to be... if not fearless, then at least confidant and assertive. But Luna hiding under the bed because of a kitten? That's a tad odd...

But no matter what, this little gorgeous mixed tabby Egyptian-Abyssinian girl with the golden jade eyes is definitely my kitty.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
Anyway, I must say that we adopted a kitten a couple of days ago. She's a brown tabby domestic shorthair with Egyptian Mau markings and Abyssinian ears. They had named her Willow. We've named her Callisto. Adam and I had originally gone to the new local shelter still being built, saw that it was not open, and abruptly decided to go to the shelter in Rockville, just to look. Hah. We walked through all the cat rooms. Just to look.
She was in the very last room, the sick room, and we reached for each other physically and psychically, and I knew. She was already spayed and given vaccinations, so all we need to do is take her to a vet with a free coupon.

Callisto will never replace Rose. She will help heal the burning hollow emptiness.

She is small, long, and tall. She adores curling up on a lap and suckling on a shirt whilst kneading and purring. She loves rubbing against people, mewing for love, and playing with toys.
Luna and Jupiter have actually been fairly okay with this. They've both touched noses with Callisto - Luna smacked her and Jupiter has hissed at her several times, but this will take many days. Hopefully by next week things will have settled down and sorted out.

All I know is that I am in love, and so is my husband.

brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
Back pain back pain back pain backpain backpain backpain NNNGGHH.
It's the lumbar area, leading to sciatica down both legs. Of course, you know? I've got an appointment with my new orthopedist on January sixth, and we're going to get be fitted for true customized orthotics... although I am going to insist they be cushioned, if not highly comfortable. The ones I had as a teenager actually made my feet hurt whilst walking. I still have the left one from those days. It is not comfortable. I understand practicality and function, but still.
Nnngh. Back, hips, legs, knees, ankles. Come on, drugs, work faster.

When we came home from grocery shopping, I looked up at the stairs and whispered, "Mama's home, Rose." I had meant it merely for her memory, for her spirit that now lived in the house, free to leave the clay statue that was a vessel, as Adam had not bound her to it. Adam said, "She's still gone, sweetheart." And I knew, and I reminded him that it was just... oh, I couldn't even find the words. It was just for her ghost. But he knew. We held each other and he knew.

My friends have cried for me, I think, more than I've cried for myself. I will have pockets of moments in which I will break down in gasping sobs, but they are so quick and triggered. A brush that had moved through her fur while I was comforting her in her lethargy, before I understood what was really happening, tufts of fur clinging to the bristles that I may not remove for a while. My pillow, and the soft bean-bag type pillow behind it that served as a general cat pillow but which was generally used by Rose especially in the mornings. A bag of Greenies treats that I realized I no longer had to move to a high place where Rose couldn't grab it and tear into it. Sitting in this desk chair, now, and knowing that Rose will never jump onto my lap and rub her cheeks over my mouth. She will not curl up on the floor, waiting for me to announce that Mama is going to bed so she can lead me there and see me to sleep. Oh. Yes, I'm in tears now. Oh, babygirl. Luna is on my lap now, kissing me, nuzzling. In her own Luna way.

We will be adopting another cat. Yes. It may be sooner than anyone thinks. I've already dreamed of her. I've already named her. I already know her age range. But... you know, someones through the grief and the numbness and the deep deep shock and the horror of physical death, we know deep deep inside that even if it takes only a week or two to get another pet, it is nothing like a replacement. It just means that the throbbing empty hollow burning in our hearts might start to heal, just a little. Luna is still my heart and soul, my queen and my moon goddess, my precious love. Jupiter is still my beautiful big boy, my chatty feline child who brightens my day just by smiling. The new kitten, the new young cat, will never be Rose. She will be herself.
Rose is never coming back, not even in a new incarnation. I'm not even sure I want that; it might hurt too deeply. Rose herself was already the reincarnation of Adam's patchwork dog, Ralph. Rose spent five glorious years learning to love and be loved. In Buddhism, that is a vital thing. All animals understand this. It is slightly Jainist. Adam and I, in our eclectic paganism, are mildly Buddhist in various, often conflicting, ways. It is not possible for us to be fully Buddhist in any way, but eclecticism is a wide arena.

"Life is a journey.
Death is a return to earth.
The universe is like an inn.
The passing years are like dust.
Regard this phantom world
As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp - a phantom - and a dream"
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
Last night... I dreamed that we went to the shelter and adopted a young cat - a kitten, really, a domestic shorthair tabby - and the gender didn't matter, but the name meant "Life" or "World" or anything magical...
Emma. Zoe. Zoya. Gaia. Vita. Asha. Mira. Zena. Yuki. Saturn. Nova. Chronos. Rhea. Deus. Dragon. Elfin.

Why did it have to be so soon? My heart/mind already is desperate to fill that abyss. Rose was that kind of cat, after all. Everyone says their cat is incredibly unique. Rose was incredibly unique. I don't even know.

I know well enough that I need a cat whose personality and behavior involves pure love: holding, hugging, cuddling, nuzzling, trilling, adoration.

My heart needs time to heal. I know. But soon enough, that cat will be waiting for me.

I don't know what I will do. Emotionally dead one moment, sobbing wildly the next minute. I know this is normal.

Luna snuggles me and purrs louder than ever.

Yes. I want a third cat.

I don't know how I will feel or think tomorrow.

I am not used to thinking in the moment.
brightlotusmoon: (Snow White Ruby Blood Dragon Witch Light)
Since I am still in shock, I feel like I'm moving through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief completely out of order. I've accepted that Rose is dead and I am deeply depressed. While I held her waiting for Adam, I knew she was dying and I was already angry and bargaining. When the vet said she was critical, I accepted and realized she was probably going to die. When she coded and they couldn't revive her, I accepted and understood, then went right on to bargaining again, blaming myself and how I just kept waiting. It became anger, wondering how the fuck a five-year old cat with a clean bill of health could suddenly present with congestive heart failure and die so quickly. I became angry that we hadn't figured it might be genetic. I became depressed that I couldn't have known. I still blamed myself for not finding a way to take her to the clinic sooner.
When we held her body, I went through acceptance and depression again, followed by deep gratefulness that at least she waited until Adam came home, that Adam got to hold her, that she knew how much we loved her. Depression again. Acceptance.
No denial. Slight isolation.
I updated Facebook right there in the clinic's comfort room, since in this age of instant communication it was much faster than a sobbing phone chain. We finished holding Rose and signed the private cremation form. We walked to the car. My best friend Beca called and all I could hear was her screams, and I cried. She and her husband James came over with food: Whole rotisserie chickens that I ripped into because I hadn't eaten all day. Alcohol because it helped dull the pain. Being a doctor, she commanded that I keep taking Klonopin, as well as baclofen, two to three times a day just to keep my mind and body from shattering.
I realized how desperately I needed them there, and she knew it, and late that night she brought me to bed, fed me my drugs, and climbed into bed with me. Adam was downstairs on the couch with James.
I clung to my plushie ginger tabby Haiku all night. Beca and James left early this morning, and Adam came up to sleep with me. I woke up and instinctively reached behind my head to the soft pillow where Rose would be sprawled out, and I made a soft whimper of intense pain, because she wasn't there.
And Jupiter has been meowing, softly. Meowing and meowing. I don't know how much he understands yet. Luna has been so quiet, but always there, always ready for a hug. It's only been a day. I've only shed a few tears. The real grieving hasn't begun.
People are gently discussing taking me across the street to the new shelter on Solstice or after Christmas, to let me adopt a cat. Others have suggested waiting a few months. I cannot wait. Because I don't believe in waiting for too long. My heart cannot take it. I cannot spent months mourning and empty when a pet dies, otherwise I may lose my mind. See... After Tuesday died in November 2006, I spent four agonizing months with a growing, burning, echoing hole inside me, until I begged Adam to take me to the old shelter on Rothgeb just to look, just to see... and that was where Luna stole my heart and filled my soul. And one year later, my other best friend Charlotte begged us to come see her former coworker's new litter of five female gingers, and Adam picked up one, looked into those wide bright sunny eyes, and announced she was coming home. And Rose took our hearts and ran.
I never expected the baby of the family to be the first to die.
I think we will always be a three-cat house now.
I want and do not want isolation. I don't want platitudes. I am completely fine with "I'm so sorry for your loss" - as "sorry" is shorthand for "sorrowful" and it helps me to know that others feel the loss and mourn with me. But I am depressed. And I don't know what to say.
We have been getting so many phone calls and messages.
She was only five years old. I guess it was genetic. She was so young.

Now, her soul resides in the gold-cream clay sculpture Adam had made in her likeness months ago. Adam absorbed her energy, stored it, released it, and made sure she would stay with us.

The house of Rose's soul.
Oh sweet Bast, please love Rose and care for her. Give her sweet cuddles and nuzzles and kisses. And give her as many treats as she wants.
With Adam Paul´╗┐, the sculptor.


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