The Blanket

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The universe works in odd ways sometimes.  So the last few days I’ve been tending to the deeply unpleasant task of disposing of my recently departed kitty’s few remaining earthly possessions.  After her passing last month, we boxed up and packed away many of her things – most of her toys, which still smell like a savage combination of cat breath and nip – while tossing many others (didn’t feel the need to hold on to the litter box; wasn’t too sorry to see that one go.)  But a number of items remained, mostly “our” things that she wantonly appropriated for herself, including a plush, pale turquoise blanket that she loved to nest in and knead.

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The blanket’s been not-so MIA in the second bedroom for about a month now while I work up the nerve to confront all of the things in our house that do nothing but remind me of her.  Turns out that’s a crap ton of stuff, because she ruled our home with a fuzzy paw, and we let her.  This entire grieving process has actually been made so much worse by the realization that just about every aspect of our lives revolved around her, including the actual setup of our house.

Anyhow, I haven’t thought about the pale turquoise squashy blanket in a while – or rather, I’ve been trying very hard not to think about it.  But the other day, wanting to do some simple nail art, but at a total loss for what to do, I just grabbed the first polish I saw and thought, “I’m doing a gradient with you.”  That polish turned out to be Polished For Day’s iridescent aquamarine Willow, and once I had it sponged onto my nails, well, wouldn’t you know it, but it really reminded me of that blanket.

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Which was the deciding factor in biting the bullet, doing the brave, unpleasant thing and pulling the blanket out of the second bedroom.  It – and we – can’t stay in hiding from this forever.  Healing starts with washing the blanket and re-incorporating it into our lives.  Heh, that sounds like the title of a self-published self-help book on Amazon – “Healing Begins with Washing the Blanket.”  Or the mantra of the cult I plan on founding.  We’ll wear pale turquoise blankets wrapped around our shoulders and no shoes, because Weegie couldn’t wear them and she thought they sucked.  We’ll also always sport fantastic manicures.

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See, sense of humour beginning to right itself; the Healing Blanket has worked its magic already. 🙂

Goodbye, My Girl

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It was the sight of the closed cupboard door that buckled my knees and sent me thudding to the ground.  I had thought it would be a glimpse of her empty bed, her untouched food dish, her abandoned catnip mouse, Miguel.  But it was that door.  Hours earlier I would have doubted its ability to even close in the first place – as the door to the little cupboard where we stored her litter box, it was always open at least the width of a paw-pull.  But no cat was ever going to crouch down and hook that door open again, and as that horrid realization sunk in, everything suddenly came over fuzzy and grey, and I swooned to the floor in an indelicate heap.  Lucky I didn’t break something.  Other than my heart, which feels like it has been damaged beyond all repair.

Our beloved kitty, Weegie, passed away Monday morning.  She was an old girl, very nearly 18, and after a terrible weekend in which we watched her formerly aging, but still sassy and spritely, condition inexplicably deteriorate by the hour, we took her to the vet, who confirmed our very worst fears – our sweet little girl had run out of steam, and we wouldn’t be bringing her home.  And we didn’t.

Now we are two heartbroken people aimlessly drifting through lives that, through great determination on Weegie’s part and a lot of indulgent acquiescence on ours, were all about her.  Think we’re coddling morons all you wish, she was the sweet, fuzzy, constantly meowing sun around which our planets orbited, and we didn’t want it any other way.

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Now it feels like the lights have gone out and everything has come over very, very cold.  Mostly it seems like some sort of switch has been flipped inside me, and absent the frequent sobbing fits, triggered by something as innocuous as the sight of one of her striped furs clinging to the edge of a blanket, I feel nothing.  This is probably my mind’s way of course correcting after a weekend spent in frantic, fretful, watchful mode, but it’s worrisome all the same.  Mr. Finger Candy is not faring much better.  We’re just…broken.  And incredibly lonely, even together in our grief.

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I want to talk about her.  I want to tell you the story of how we came to be her people (it involves a day playing hooky and $6 coffees.)  I want to share the photos I took of her strapped into 14 years’ worth of Halloween costumes (mylar shark for the win.)  And I want you to think me a coddling moron when I tell you we had a tumbler of ice cold water permanently stationed on our coffee table because she preferred to drink from human receptacles in the most inconvenient spots possible (“Oh man, I’ve eaten off that coffee table!” you might be thinking to yourself.  Yup, you sure did.  But I swear I Windex’d first.)

I want to honour her, but to do that, I need to start feeling anything other than cold, empty and alone.  Because all I’m feeling right now is the raw, immediate hurt, and even the sweet memories of her are too painful to bear.  But hopefully soon.  Miss you, little Weege.

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Space Kitties! (OMD3)

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Having lost my dear old cat, Porky, to old age not two weeks ago, I initially wasn’t super keen on tackling a manicure to fit day 15’s theme of cats in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge. I have lost pets before – my childhood Cocker Spaniel, Boo, my young adulthood cat, Puddin’, my goldfish, Fred – but none have hurt like this. She was just such a major part of my life for so very long – 15 of her 22 years – and there’s a weird part of me that doesn’t know how to be without her.

All that to say I’m not quite ready to put brush to nail to create a wonderous bit of nail art honouring my kitty. Or any kitty, really. 😦 So what better time to bust out some glittery kitten nail stickers to do all the heavy lifting for me? I bought these particular stickers through Daily Charme, and they’re adorable – the cutest little glittery cats, shooting stars and tantalizing fish bones. I’m typically not one to think there’s too much of something, particularly when that something is either holographic glitter or cats (or in this case, in the best of both worlds, BOTH) but with the holo base I used here, Enchanted Polish’s Instant Galaxy holographic topper over a plain black creme, I think there may be a touch too much going on. You can barely even see Darth Kitty hiding out there on my middle finger! It’s just a lot to process, what with the glimmering rainbows, hand-painted holographic stars and glittery kitties floating in space. Huh, didn’t think that’s a sentence you’d ever hear me say – too many glittery kitties floating in space? 😉

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Take a Bough (OMD3)

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As we head into the second and a half week of the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge, I thought I’d take stock of how well I’ve fared thus far – namely, not super well! Or at least not super timely. I’ve been a day or two off the pace right from the very beginning, although the rather traumatic passing of my beloved old kitty, Porky, last week really brought things to a screeching halt. Terribly hard to motivate when you can’t stop crying.

But as the sexy as hell Jeff Goldblum once said (I’m allowed to talk about the death of my cat in one breath and the hotness of Jeff Goldblum in the other because he was her human celebrity crush; Victor Garber was the other) “Life finds a way.” And life is indeed finding a way as Mr. Finger Candy and I, and our other kitty, Weegie, attempt to navigate this new, Porky-less normal that has been thrust upon us. I won’t lie, though, friends – losing a pet just fucking sucks.

Returning to my nail art, though, has been its own form of therapy, and I’m glad to have the challenge holding the thematic reins, because creative thinking right now? Is barely happening. Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t tinker with the themes a bit, bending them to my particular skill set and interpretation, much as I did with these basic boughs, which are my entry towards day 11’s theme of leaves in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge. Because boughs bear leaves (what did I tell you about this higher thinking stuff, hmm?)

Bough Fingers

Gold Star, A for Effort (OMD3)

Gold Star HandI very recently – as in 43 hours and 50 minutes ago, not that I’m counting – lost one of my two cats to old age. Her name was Porky, she was 22, and she was my best friend and companion for 15 of those much-indulged years. As I commented on my “Airing of the deceased pet grief” memorial post on Facebook – and as regular readers of this blog are all too aware – I am rarely at a loss for words. Give me the barest outline of a theme and I’ll find a way to build a conversation around it. But I can’t find the words to express how much I cared about that grumpy and demanding little bundle of fur, not because I don’t know what to say, but because I simply can’t force the words past the tears. It’s been nearly two days since she left me, and I’m not sure I’ve stopped crying once, even in my sleep. She’s all I think about.

So it was with the great promise of relief – relief to be thinking about anything else except her final moments, relief to be doing anything else except crying – that I thought I’d turn back to the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge I’ve been participating in and catch up on the three or so prompts that have passed me by while I’ve been crying. I thought something simple, like day four’s theme of black and gold, would be a great place to start, particularly when I remembered the pack of star-shaped nail vinyls I bought over the winter holidays and had yet to press into action. How much easier does it get than peel and stick and paint and rip? Even a grief-stricken basket case with hopelessly swollen eyes could manage that!

But I think we all know where this is going, right? Because this particular grief-stricken basket case with hopelessly swollen eyes could not get her nail vinyl mojo up and running, not even a little bit. Granted, this was the first time I was using nail vinyls, and I’m not exactly feeling on top of my A game in any way, but holy wow, were these vinyls, from a company called Nail Vinyls, a PAIN. For starters, the adhesive backing on the vinyls is incredibly strong and sticky. It’s imperative that you use a top coat like Seche Vite to harden up the surface of your nails before applying the vinyl, or else you’ll simply rip the polish straight off your nails. I’d also recommend using an opaque polish for all your vinyling needs; the gold micro glitter I used here, Orly’s Bling, was a touch too transparent and required multiple coats, which crept under the edges of the stars and muddled the overall design. In the final analysis, I ended up dabbing the gold polish onto my nails with a cosmetic sponge, which gave me more control and stopped that pesky bleeding edges business. Finally, after removing the vinyls – carefully, so carefully – I went over the little gold stars with a detail brush and a couple of extra coats of Bling to really enhance their sparkle.

I think nail vinyls might be one of those things you build up to – peel and stick and paint and rip they were NOT – but still, this manicure was a lot of work for something I had hoped wouldn’t tax my brain too much. Although on the flip side, fussing with temperamental nail vinyls for an hour and a half made me cease contemplating my grief for an hour and a half, and so I’m counting this one as a win.Gold Star Fingers