Wow! Where has the last week and a half gone!? Life has been a whirlwind of activity in that time, and that’s probably a good thing. I think that it was the Universe’s way of keeping me busy, so that I wouldn’t dwell on the loss of Miss Piggy.
But while she may no longer be of the physical plane, she is still around. Twice in the past week, she has paid me a visit, to let me know that she is o.k. The first was last Wednesday morning, while I was still in bed. All of a sudden, I felt the comforter being tugged down over one side of me, as it would when one of the kitties would lay down next to me. However, when I reached out, the other three were not to be found there. Friday night, while my girlfriend and I were in my bedroom, I distinctly heard a cat’s meow by the window. However, the bedroom door was closed, and there were no cats in the room. And the window is opposite the bedroom door. I thought I was hearing things, until my girlfriend mentioned that she had heard it too, and pointed to exactly where I thought I had heard it. My guess is that it was Miss Piggy spending a moment to once again enjoy her window perch.
What has been interesting since Miss Piggy’s passing, is watching the changing ‘family’ dynamics amongst the other three kitties. Contrary to what some may believe, I have now found that animals mourn, just as us humans do. It has been habit in this house for several years that, when I come home and enter the front door, the four-legged greeting committee is there within seconds. However, for much of the first week after Miss Piggy had passed, I wasn’t greeted at all. Or if I was, by one at the most, and that was only because they happened to be in the kitchen when I opened the door. Thankfully, they have returned to their former ways, and I am once again greeted with enthusiasm when I arrive home.
Miss Piggy also had made a habit of resting on my chest. She would do it during the day, but she would do it every night before I went to bed, and every morning when I woke up. It got to the point that whenever I heard her jump up on the bed, I just automatically rolled over onto my back. And yes, I will gladly admit it without a hint of shame. I was trained. *chuckle* What has been interesting since Miss Piggy’s passing, is that Shorty has laid on my chest on several occasions. This is something new for Shorty. However, unlike Miss Piggy, Shorty isn’t nearly as light. Shorty weighs in at 13+ pounds. One word will describe the experience. Oof! LOL Even more surprising, was that Beser laid on my chest this very morning. Beser, better known as Miss Skittish. : ) Personally, I think my little matriarch has hung around a bit longer, to make sure that the other three know how to take care of me to her satisfaction. How else to explain why they have suddenly started to take on some of her traits?
See what can be noticed, when one makes an effort to disconnect ourselves from the hectic world that goes on around us? There is so much more to be enjoyed about the world, if we only take the time to notice. It is only when we learn to be grateful, that ones life begins to become great.
How many of you out there made New Year’s resolutions this year? And how many of you are still sticking to those resolutions? If you are, great! If you have already fallen short, don’t despair. You may still accomplish the goal, but certain other things may need to be achieved first, before you can accomplish your original goal. Not all journeys are meant to be travelled in a straight line. It’s kind of like going on vacation. What fun is it to just drive all the way to your destination on the highway, if you don’t get off at a few exits, and enjoy the local scenery?
For myself, I had made it my goal to continue to improve my health, lower my body fat percentage, and to pack on some more muscle to this vertically challenged physique. By abiding by the principles of Dr. D’Adamo’s Eat Right 4 Your Type, I lost 35 lbs. between January and September of 2005. With most of the crappy weight gone, it was time to put on some good weight.
It has been a learning experience in the last month or so, trying to mesh bodybuilding and ER4YT into a workable nutritional plan. Especially trying to find the foods that I like, that would allow me to meet my daily nutritional intake and receive the proper proportions of proteins, carbohydrates, and calories. Too many calories or carbohydrates, and the body then stores it as fat. I just got rid of a good deal of it last year, why would I want to put it back on again?
Protein is the building block of muscle. Many in the bodybuilding community tout the fast absorption rate of whey protein, to aid in the recovery and production of muscles. However, whey is an avoid for O’s. ER4YT first, bodybuilding second, so the search was on for another supplemental protein source. Though not as highly advertised, they do make both egg and soy proteins. So I started to look at those. Unfortunately, many of the protein products available are made with either aspartame or sucralose. Scratch those products. And the search continued. Finally, after much internet surfing, and product label scrutiny, I found an acceptable egg protein called Universal Egg Pro Ultra. Now that I have a good supplemental protein source, combined with a mostly compliant ER4YT food plan, the fun can now begin.
Last month, I had my girlfriend take several measurements with a sewing tape, so I could figure out what my body fat percentage is. As of 17 January, it was at 17.85%. To look at me now, it doesn’t look like there is much fat left, but there is still some covering my abdomen, and the backside of my waist. This is often the last fat to disappear, so it’s not an “if” it disappears, it’s a “when” it disappears.
Fortunately, I have a wonderful girlfriend who is supportive of my desire to live by the principles of ER4YT, and my goal of better health through weightlifting. Whenever I go over to her place for dinner, she will either ask me what is acceptable, or offer a menu and a request for tweaking so that I can remain compliant. The only warning that I have received from her about my lifestyle and goals is that if I get too big to hug her properly, then there’s going to be issues! : )
Nothing like a little pressure, huh? ; )
Well, it’s time for me to go work shoulders and forearms for today. May you all have a wonderful week, filled with wonders both big and small. Until next time.
As the title of this entry above indicates, it hasn’t been the best of weeks. For those of you who have already become used to seeing my new entries on Thursdays, you’ve probably already realized that something is up.
Last week, I enjoyed telling you about how the Clan O’Kitties had weaseled their way into my life, and into my heart. Unfortunately, one of the Clan is no longer with us. Miss Piggy passed away on Monday, January 23rd.
Miss Piggy had had some issues previously, which were not a surprise, for a kitty that was just shy of 17 years old. However, her health deteriorated rapidly over the weekend. She had several instances where her balance became an issue, and had several moments of what appeared to be disorientation. She also had some issues with her hind legs, but was still able to get around.
Just before I left for work on Sunday morning, she had managed to hop up on the toilet seat with ease, as she often had in the past. What was different was the fact that she laid down on the toilet seat cover. This was not the norm. Little did I know at the time that that would be the last time that I would see my bathroom buddy on her perch, as I got ready for the day.
When I came home from work Sunday evening, only three of the Clan came to greet me in the kitchen. Miss Piggy was not one of them. As I started my way through the house, I found her on her towels in the dining room. And I soon found why she hadn’t greeted me. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but she had lost all use of her hind legs. The spirit was willing, but the body wouldn’t cooperate.
As much as we all wish to deny the inevitable, the time had come. My greatest concern was making her comfortable for the evening, until I could call the vets in the morning. I laid with her on the floor for some time, and made her as comfortable as I could.
The tough part came when it was time to go to bed. I couldn’t take her to bed with me, because I was afraid that she might try to move around, and fall off the bed. Not exactly a great ending to such a long life. So I brought her and her towels into the bedroom. I then threw a couple of comforters and pillows on the floor, and that is where I slept for the night. If for some reason she did pass in the night, I didn’t want her to feel that she was leaving this world alone.
There were very few moments during the night that we didn’t have some kind of contact. As I woke up at various times, I would have several fingers draped across one of her front paws, or her paw would be interlaced between my fingers. Several times, I would wake up, to find both of her paws draped across the back of my hand, with her chin resting there as well. As much as those moments tore me up, it was nice to know that she was comfortable, and that she knew that she was loved during her last day of this world.
Daylight came, and brought with it a snowstorm. I laid her gently in the bow window, so that she could watch the falling snow outside, while I made the necessary phone calls. The groomers, cancelling the appointment that I had previously made for her for Tuesday, the vets, and work.
The trip to the vets was a quiet one, which was quite unusual for both of us. Most trips were made in the past, with her meowing her dislike for the car ride, and me trying to sooth a very upset kitty. As we passed the moments in the vet’s waiting room, I held her in my arms, and we both watched the snow falling outside. And then, it was time.
Miss Piggy went quickly, and in my arms. As it should be. For all of the happiness that she had brought me in the three years that she had blessed my life with, it was only right that I be there for her in her last moments.
The other kitties know that she is no longer with us, and have done their best to comfort me. At this point, I’m not sure who’s taking care of who. When I went to bed Monday night, I felt like a book wedged between two bookends. Nixie and Beser immediately wedged me between the two of them, and that is where they stayed for most of the night.
Even Shorty’s behavior was different the next morning. Most mornings, as soon as I opened the bathroom door after my shower, Miss Piggy headed for the toilet seat, and Shorty hopped into the bathtub. Every morning since Miss Piggy’s passing, Shorty wants to be petted for awhile, and then she’ll go hop in the tub. I’m in good hands. : )
In one of my previous entries, I talked about becoming aware of, and appreciating the small wonders in everyday life. Because of my recent loss, those small wonders have now become great memories to be treasured. Miss Piggy may no longer be of the physical world, but I have no doubt that we’ll cross paths again.
All right! All right! Slowly back away from the monitor. You’re foggin’ up the screen! *chuckle*
Dang, I had no idea that folks would be quite so interested in hearing about how the tiny terrors weaseled their way into my life. If I had known that they would be of such interest, I would have saved the story the last time that I had to tell it. Good thing I know how to type. : )
I’m sure that to some, it does seem odd that a man would have four cats. Considering the long hours that I work, and have worked in the past, it wouldn’t be right to have a canine companion around. No puppy should have to have their paws crossed for more than 12 hours, until I get home.
For those of you that are not familiar with the Clan O’Kitties, allow me to introduce to you the tiny terrors that have made me their humble servant, and wallet. : )
Beser (because she’s one letter short of beserk!), is the youngest of the Clan, but is the one that I have had the longest. Miss Piggy is the mother to Shorty. Nixie was the most recent addition to the clan, having joined the Clan in October 2004. And now, for their stories.
Back in 2001, I worked in the yard at a concrete precast company. On the property, there were a group of strays that one of the employees would feed. That September, the gentleman that fed them asked me if I would be interested in taking one of them home. There was a young kitten that he was afraid wouldn’t make it through the winter. Having lost both my dog and cat in June and July of that year, I was still hurting, and wasn’t quite ready to have a new critter in the house.
As the weather started to turn colder, several people tried to catch the young kitten, but the kitten would have none of it. All attempts to catch her were unsuccessful.
One day, our dispatcher called me over the radio, and asked me to come to the trailer. My first thought was, “What paperwork got screwed up this time?”. As I approached the trailer, the dispatcher stuck his head out the door, pointed to my left, and simply said, “There’s your cat.” My cat? When the hell did that happen!? Looking to my left, there was a little black and white ball of fur on about the only patch of green grass on the whole property.
Getting down on all fours, I started drumming my fingers in the grass. Much to my surprise, she started crawling towards me, rolling over onto her back, and pushing herself towards me. How could anyone possibly say ‘no’ to such cuteness? The challenge was in picking her up, and getting her home.
It’s taken four years, but she’s finally started to mellow out. My furniture, and myself, have the claw marks to show for her wild ways. While she is much less skittish now, and much more affectionate, she’s recently become quite averse to thunderstorms, and heavy rain. She will growl during either occasion, and yet I can still pet her. Go figure.
In late 2002, early 2003, I started contemplating finding a playmate for Beser. It didn’t seem right that she should have to be home alone all day, while I was at work. One day, a friend mentioned that a friend of hers was getting divorced, and needed to find homes for her four cats. She did mention that they were older kitties, but that didn’t phase me. Older kitties need a home too. So one day, I went out to her friend’s house to meet the kitties. The one thing that hadn’t been mentioned to me beforehand was the fact that one pair was a mother/son , and the other was a mother/daughter pair. Well, that certainly put a spin on things. I couldn’t in good conscious break up a family, so brought home Miss Piggy and Shorty.
Needless to say, Beser was NOT pleased! Two cats that were twice her size were now in the house. For over a week, Beser would not come out of my bedroom. I had to move a food and water bowl into my bedroom, as well as a litterbox. It’s taken several years (and not easy ones at that!), but they’ve finally become fairly comfortable with one another.
Lastly, there is Nixie. A friend of mine lived in an old farmhouse that had been converted into apartments, and one of the ‘tenants’ of the barn was Nixie. Whenever I would visit my friend, I would always spend a little time with Nixie. More fur than body, but she was a sweetheart.
Well, in the summer of 2004, my friend asked me if I would like another kitty. Like three wasn’t enough!? *chuckle* Neither her or the other tenant could take Nixie in, because they were both allergic to cats. Nixie was getting up there in age, and they were afraid that Nixie might not make it through many more winters. Especially since she had to compete for her food with the raccoons and skunks that would come into the barn.
I told my friend that if she hadn’t found a home for Nixie by fall, she just might disappear. And by disappear, I meant to my house. Well, fall came, and my friend asked me again about Nixie. I asked her if she had even tried to find a home for Nixie, to which she sheepishly replied, “No”. Why was I not surprised? *chuckle* The owners of the farmhouse had no problem with Nixie being given to someone else. They just wanted to make sure that she was going to a good home. So arrangements were made to pick her up.
At the time, I had been told that Nixie was 12 years old. However, that statement was wrong. As I looked over her veterinary records when I was there to pick her up, I found that she HAD been twelve..........back in 2000! She was sixteen! But to look at her, and interact with her, you would think that she was less than half that age. When she’s playing with a kitty toy at night, it sounds like there’s a hard-hitting game of floor hockey happening in the next room!
With three kitties in the double-digit years, my home has become known as “The ryan Cheney Home for Geriatric Kitties”. *chuckle*
If you had told me five years ago that I would have four kitties commandeering the house, I would have laughed at such a notion. But I’m glad that they are here. With four of them in the house, there are always moments of mischief, entertainment, and cuteness. No matter how bad a day I might have had, I can always count on the Clan to cheer me up. How can I possibly stay in a bad mood, when upon entering the house, all four will find their way to the kitchen to greet me?
So there you have it. The Clan O’ Kitties. My tiny terrors, and trip hazards. : ) And speaking of tiny terrors, Shorty has just taken over my lap. So I must attend to her beckoning. After all, isn’t that what a good servant does? : )
Ahhhh.....the holiday bloating has finally started to recede! While my weight hasn’t changed, my stomach and waist have begun to tighten up once again. Certainly a nice thing to notice, and feel.
For much of the past week, I’ve been battling some kind of bug. While I haven’t felt any of its effects for the most part, I can taste it in my throat. Part of Sunday and Monday, and just a hint of it this morning. However, it has apparently made itself known at work, as one of my co-workers called in sick last night. Hopefully, this time around won’t be anything like last February. The last time it went through where I work, everyone was out for at least one day, if not two. Myself, I was fortunate enough to have a barely scratchy throat, and 24 hours of slight sniffling. I can only imagine what kind of wreck I would be, if I wasn’t eating according to ER4YT.
Monday morning, I had warned my workout partner that I was fighting something, and that it might be a good idea to go light on the weights. So what does he do? Adds more weight. *sigh* I guess he was hoping to help me, by sweating it out. *grin* Personally, I think he just likes to abuse me. LOL
Last week, I wrote about sensing a connectedness between the happenings in ones life. Little did I realize that I would have a moment or two of my own this week. I haven’t quite figured out the meaning of the following situation, but that should come in time.
While coming home from work Sunday night, I approached an intersection, and saw that the left turn arrow had turned green. There was a vehicle in the left turn lane, but it didn’t move. I came to a stop behind the vehicle, and waited. I wasn’t in a rush, and I’m a bit more patient than most, so didn’t do the impatient horn honking bit. About the time that the light turns yellow, that’s when the driver realizes that it’s green, but it’s too late. So we wait for the next cycle. The left turn light again turns green, and what happens? Nothing. For several seconds, the driver just sits there, and then apparently her brain decides to put itself into Drive. Someone having an off night, or so I figured.
New Hampshire is a ‘right turn on red after stop’ state. Knowing this will come in handy in a second. On my way to work Monday, I came up to an intersection, with a vehicle in front of me. We had the red light, and there was no cross traffic. For whatever reason, she didn’t want to turn. Then again, having the license plate of “EVLGRL” (Evil Girl) might have had something to do with it. *chuckle* So now, twice in two days, I’ve been held up in traffic. The wheels of the mind are starting to spin, and I’m trying to figure out what message it is that I’m meant to understand. I just have to keep in mind that “all hindrances are friendly”. But that wasn’t the end of it.
Tuesday night, while on my way to bowling, it happened again. Someone in front of me decided that making a right turn on red wasn’t something that they wanted to do. Now, if all of them had had out of state plates, I would have understood. But all of the parties had New Hampshire plates. Three days in a row, I’m held up in traffic. I still haven’t figured out why all of this happened, but I know that it was not coincidence, happening three times in three days.
Things that make you go hmmmmm..........
On Tuesday, coming off of my holiday bloating, I turned to working on the house. Took some planking up to the attic, and took some measurements. The attic doesn’t have as much insulation as it should have, and that will be remedied in the near future. I also stripped wallpaper off the walls of the finished part of my basement. And that’s where the fun begins.
You see, I have several invisible, non-paying renters, otherwise known as Earth-bound spirits, or ghosts. Whenever I start a major project around the house, things break. When I began working on the living room back in 2003, my washing machine went up in smoke. Literally. While I was running a load of laundry, I heard the smoke detector go off. I ran downstairs, and walked into a wall of smoke. Fortunately, the washing machine was still within warranty, so it didn’t cost me anything to have it repaired.
In May of this year, I started working on the room that is now my computer room, where I now sit. Apparently, they were quite unhappy with my work in here. First, the lightbulb in the laundry room went. No big deal. The next morning, a Saturday, as I was getting ready for work, something didn’t sound right in the basement. I walked downstairs, made it halfway across the carpet, and then, *s-q-u-i-s-h*. The water heater had let go. Had to call into work, and the rest of the day was spent wet-vac’ing, and getting a new water heater. That Tuesday, a friend came over after work, and we installed the new water heater. Things are good to go, right? Ummm...no. I was happy to have hot water again, and promptly threw a load of laundry in the washing machine. As I was sitting upstairs, watching tv, something didn’t sound quite right with the spin cycle. Going downstairs, I found the washing machine was just at the start of the ‘smoke’ cycle. Fortunately, I caught it quickly enough that it didn’t burn the motor out. The belt didn’t fare so well, and I replaced it several days later. That same night, the light at the top of the basement stairs went. Needless to say, I had a chat with my ‘roommates’.
After stripping the wallpaper on Tuesday, Tuesday night was no different. They made their unhappiness known. I came back from bowling, to find the refrigerator making a racket. Figured my hearing was a little sensitive, and waited for it to shut off. After watching television for a bit, I noticed that it hadn’t shut off, so went and unplugged it. Plugged it back in, and it continued to make a racket. Adjusted the freezer setting, and it stopped. So I went back to watching television, as I wound down for the night. However, peace and quiet were not to be mine. All of a sudden, the television screen turned to shades of green. I’d flip to another channel, it’d be fine. Skip to another channel, green again.
Yesterday morning, I checked the refrigerator out, and all appears to be fine. It’s running much quieter now, and not for nearly as long as it was. The television? I’m still trying to figure that one out. Nothing like watching a tv show, where all the people are green. *chuckle*
Most people would have become extremely aggravated, to have a series of things break one after the other. But being aware of the more subtle happenings in my life, that stress is not there, and I can chuckle at the moment. It’s certainly an inconvenience, but nothing to get upset about. After all, all stress is self-imposed.
Hopefully, in the past few weeks, you have taken the time to slow down, and enjoy the small wonders that surround you every day. As you do, you’ll find that stress and unhappiness just start to melt away, and the bumps in the road of life become that much easier to handle.
Well, I have to go upset my ‘roommates’ again. Hope that you all have a great week, and I’ll leave you with this quote to ponder; “In order to receive a perfect love, you must first give a perfect love”. Until next time.
H-A-P-P-Y N-E-W Y-E-A-R!!! May you all have recovered quickly from your descent into the pit of avoids over the holiday season. : ) Let’s face it, foods that are avoids are far more prevalent during this holiday season, with our being surrounded by holiday parties and confectionary delights. But the new year is upon us, so let us once again return to a better state of health.
Well, I had thought about what subject I might write about this week, but for some reason, I kept returning to what I wrote in The Little Things last week. The more I tried to focus on a new topic this week, the more that last weeks entry pushed itself to the forefront of my mind. Things happen for a reason, so I just allowed things to be what they may.
Last week, I discussed becoming aware of, and appreciating the small wonders that occur in our every day lives. While it can be difficult at first, and requires one to focus, over time, recognizing the many small wonders becomes almost second nature.
But as you become more aware of these small wonders, at some point, you will begin to recognize that there is a connectedness to the other happenings in your life. And when that moment occurs, it feels like the world is opening wide before your very eyes. The lightbulb in your head goes on, and your only thought is, “Whoa!”.
Last week, as I was going about my daily life, I was in one of my deep analytical moods. Both a blessing and a curse of being a Sagittarian. *chuckle* At the time, it dawned on me that Miss Piggy (the oldest of my Clan O’Kitties, and no, I did not name her : ) ) would be 17 in just a few months. Over the last several months, she has been much more.....frisky, I guess you could say. So much so, that she even tried to stand on her hind legs for a treat the other week, and did for a brief moment. That was not something that she had ever done in the past. I then started to wonder why. Was it because of her diet? Nope, pretty much the same as it has been.
As I pondered her new found energy and attitude, I came to realize that the other three had changed as well. Shorty has become much more vocal. Nixie has developed a little “kittietude”, as my girlfriend describes it. Beser, always the most skittish of the group, has become much more affectionate. When I sit at the computer, Beser will sometimes stand with her hind paws on the keyboard shelf, put her front paws on my shoulder, and rub up against my head. Makes it hard to work at the computer, but how can one ignore such a precious moment?
It then dawned on me that something had changed in our/their environment. So I sunk deeper into my pool of pondering, and started going back in time. What had happened that might effect them?
Back in September, I had been on vacation, and had finally finished renovating several rooms. It then dawned on me that one room that I had finished, and is now my bedroom, is considered the “Childrens” section of the house, under the principles of feng-shui. It now started to make sense. Now that the room was renovated, and no longer cluttered, the energy of that part of the house was much more balanced. In turn, that created a change in the energies of each of the kitties.
Realizing that, I started to wonder about other parts of my life. For the last two years, a cousin of mine has been trying to fix me up with the woman that is now my girlfriend. And for two years, I had resisted. But by September, my cousin had finally wore me down. : ) It wasn’t until recently that I realized that the other room that I had completed was in the “Romance” section of the house. That lightbulb in my head was getting awfully bright about then. *chuckle*
But that wasn't all. My mind then took another leap. Just before my cousin had started 'hounding' me, I had put out a request to the Universe to help me find my romantic soulmate. Within two weeks of that request is when my cousin started in on me. : ) I was certainly shocked at the time, but I figured it was a 'sign of land', and not the real deal. I guess I was wrong. *chuckle* As I look back, apparently she was the right person, it just wasn't quite the right time yet. Until this September.
Now, when certain things happen, I don’t look at just the moment. I look outward, to see if there was anything that had been a catalyst to create that moment in time.
The things that we do or say are like the drop that finds it way into a pool of water. As the ripples of water extend outward, more of the water is affected by that single drop. Just as our life is by our words and actions.
As we begin our journey through a new year, take some time to reflect about not only what has happened in the past year, but why certain events happened. What were you meant to learn by those events, and how does what you have learned help you to grow as a person? How did those events affect other areas of your life? Don’t just look at the drop, but ponder the ripples. In time, I’m sure that you’ll have a few of your own “Whoa!” moments. : ) After all, there is no such thing as coincidence.
Time for me to go. Beser has found her way to my keyboard shelf, and it's time for me to enjoy my 'moment of small wonder'. : ) And if I don't, you may be reading this, "aw02gma'fhbahaeryt" as she steps across the keyboard! *chuckle*