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. 🙂

Well, That Was a Year

2018 Collage

If you follow this blog with any sort of regularity (and thank you for that, by the way, that’s very kind of you!) you know my 2018 is ending on a real down note.  At the beginning of the month we rather unexpectedly had to have our absolutely adored kitty, Weegie, put down.  The fallout from that was that Mr. Finger Candy and I just sort of drifted through the Christmas season, present in body, but nearly totally absent in soul.  For someone who never shuts up, I’ve had a hard time articulating why this particular death has hit me so hard.  I’ve lost quite a few beloved pets over my lifetime, and even more adored people, and yet this is the one that’s broken me.  I suppose this is what some well-meaning dumbass would optimistically term a formative event, and I’d begrudgingly have to agree – I certainly don’t feel like the same person I was at the beginning of the month, a change not necessarily for the positive.

But there’s no better time than the start of a new year to hit the reset button, and I’m looking forward to trying, trying again in 2019.  Because even without the heartbreaking events of the last month, 2018 was a wild roller coaster of big ups and bigger downs.  Sometimes actual roller coasters, even!  It just didn’t feel like the most cohesive of years, and I flubbed quite a few personal goals.

But supposedly we learn from our mistakes and all that good stuff, so I thought it might be helpful to look back over the hills and valleys of 2018 and take note of the things that worked, the things that didn’t, and hopefully find a path through 2019 that’s a lot less fraught with grief than 2018’s.  To a better year for all of us.

The Good

I started off the year on a positive note, promising myself that I’d limit my wax and beauty purchases to a small handful of orders from favourite vendors.  My discretionary spending was quite out of control, and my scented wax stores were fit to bursting.  So I put myself on a casual low buy, which though no real direction on my part morphed into a regimented no buy; there were a few months there where our financial behaviour could best be deemed as stupidly tightfisted.  But there just didn’t seem to be anything I wanted to buy, and besides, saving money felt better than buying stuff, which was kind of the point of reining in my spending in the first place, no?  Anyhow, this one was a proper New Years resolution, the kind you make with every intention of breaking, but somehow, I held fast.  Now, with three lovely, highly anticipated orders in my hot little hands (and hot little warmers) I’m set for another year of waiting and watching and planning and melting. 🙂

2018 Wax Collage

2018 is also the year I taught myself a video editing program, upped my photography and video game and started our YouTube channel, Park or Perish!  Amusingly enough, I can lay all three of these newly acquired skills at the tender little furry paws of our cat, Weegie.  There was a time (oh, just the last four or so years) when our sweet baby beast would NOT abide by either her fur mama or papa sleeping for any longer than it took for her soft food dish to run dry (roughly every hour and 45 minutes.)  So I’d find myself awake at all inhospitable hours of the very early morning, with precious little to do.

Then one morning as I sat there just staring at the sky, literally trying to will the sun into cresting the horizon, I suddenly thought about all of the photos and video I had shot of our Disney vacations, and wondered what more I could do with them (other than drive you lovely readers bonkers, that is.) 😉  And so that morning I downloaded a little iPhone-based editing program called iMovie and edited together my first project (a collection of photos of Weegie looking unbelievably saucy, of course, backed by Tom Jones’ What’s New Pussycat?)  Since then I’ve produced 27 videos for Park or Perish!, and some of them aren’t even all that bad!  I particularly like sound editing – it’s incredibly satisfying when two tonally disparate clips finally snap into place (nearly) seamlessly.  This is a major milestone for me; as I’ve mentioned a time or 20, I am unbelievably tech-unfriendly.  That I could even find the program in the App Store in the first place was something of a miracle.  Here’s the most recent video I posted, a fun round-up of our adventures at Disney this past year.  I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Speaking of Disney vacations and saving money (now there’s a couple of antithetical concepts) we were able to enjoy two of the former this year precisely because we prioritized the heck out of the latter. We eased up a bit on our “Disney or death!” approach to discretionary income as the year wore on, but generally, if we had two cents to scrape together, we’d throw them into the vacation pot.  It was through this kind of financial nit-pickery that we were able to take two Disney vacations in 2018, both fully (and reassuringly) paid off before we had even stepped foot in a park.  We also became Disney annual passholders this year, because it made the most financial sense given the extent of our plans.  Every little bit helps, and I was incredibly proud of us for hitting this Disney financial goal.

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And speaking of those two vacations, they were wonderful; some of the best moments of my year were had at Disney World.  It’s just where we go to cut loose, explore and have an awesome (frequently margarita-enabled) good time.  We are so fortunate to be able to enjoy such incredible vacations – some people can’t swing a single lifetime trip to Disney, let alone two in one year (actually four in 365 days, but who’s counting besides ourselves and every single one of our friends who has jokingly enquired as to whether we plan on just moving into Cinderella Castle full time (dare to dream!)

Character Collage

Just about my favourite moment of the year was spending Halloween, our 14th wedding anniversary, bombing around the Magic Kingdom rock star cosplaying as two different video versions of Tyler Joseph, the lead singer of twenty one pilots (the October release of Trench was another neon yellow bright spot in an otherwise pretty gloomy year.)  I can’t speak for Mr. Finger Candy (who was the recipient of most of the delighted compliments, including a number of longing and appreciative glances from one very interested lady and a couple of even more interested dudes) but I loved playing rock star for the day, even with that black gunk smeared about my neck and hands (black stage makeup, by the way, and no, it wasn’t difficult to take off at the end of the night.  Messy?  Yes!  Sooty black water droplets allllll over the bathroom.  But not difficult.)  Also, my man looked hella hot in his meggings and shorts combo, and no, I’m not remotely joking.

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The Bad

Losing our beloved cat.  Taking her to the vet one snowy Monday morning, knowing in my already breaking heart that we wouldn’t be bringing her home again.  Holding her paw until the very end.  Lots of uncontrollable sobbing.  That was my December.  I don’t wish to ever experience another one like it (oh, that we could control such things!)  But isn’t she adorable?  Gosh, at one point she was a complete LARD; look at that tummy!  That’s some serious Weege the Hutt action right there.

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Losing Weegie also brought into sharp focus the good relationships in our lives – the people who have been there for us at this awful time, in supportive ways big, small and occasionally virtual – and those that are no longer worth our precious, middle aged time.  It was really its own special kind of compounding heartbreak to realize that with some people, we just didn’t rank, not even in the midst of our grief.

On the other, infinitely more positive hand, this event clarified the truly excellent relationships we do have in our lives, people we are so profoundly grateful to call our friends.  They are such fantastic humans, a realization ultimately worth so much more than the one about the social boobs.  I actually feel sort of hashtag-blessed. 😉

But getting back to the crap, after making incredible strides towards improving my health in 2017, I backslid in 2018 HARD, maintaining my diet and exercise regimen for most of the year before apparently just giving up altogether in the last three months and gaining 25 pounds.  I apparently like to eat my stress and grief.  And everyone else’s as well.  I aim to jump back aboard the treadmill express in the new year, and overhaul our diets while I’m at it.  Please stop the rich holiday food, I want to get off!

And this blog?  My beloved Finger Candy, which turned five impressive years old this year with nary a whisper of fanfare?  I have no idea what this blog is even about any more; I’m not even sure if nail art is my preferred focus.  I’m in a state of blogging flux; I hope to find some solid ground soon.

Okay, that’s it, 2018 – you’re drunk, go home.  Don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out.  And cheers to 2019 as it makes its hopefully spectacular way in.  Happy New Years, friends.

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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There Can Be Only One

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Jack-o-Lantern face, that is!  Growing up, my pumpkin dictator mother decreed that there could only be one expression carved into the side of a ripe Halloween pumpkin – triangle eyes, half-moon mouth, the end!  It’s a classic for a reason, to be sure.  All the same, she was (jokingly) aghast the year I came along and added two pointy fangs to the half-moon mouth; what the hey was this kid doing messing with tradition anyways?!  I attempt to be a glass-half-full kind of person, so I’m going to say I was just respecting tradition.  In fact, I respect it so much – well, just take a peek at last year’s tiny Jack-o-Lantern.

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Weegie is a non-conformist, and she thinks my later work has grown repetitive.  How rude!  Also, says the cat in the lobster costume!  And yes, that is a 16-year-old torbi dressed as a crustacean, sitting beside a lit Jack-o-Lantern on my diningroom table; what of it? 😉

These happy Jack-o-Lantern nails are for my mom, both the classic, proscribed expression and avec fangs, just to mix things up and drive my mom a teeny bit bonkers.  Happy Halloween!

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Kitten Belly!

Weeger Belly CollageFrom left to right: My cat, Weegie. Weegie’s belly. Nails inspired by Weegie’s belly.

She’s going to be pissed as all hell at me when she finds out I’ve put compromising photos of her tubby widdle skwishy belly on the Internet, although in the plus column, I used Just Add Milk in this manicure, a nude-brown jelly studded with brown glitters from Whimsical Ideas by Pam, and if anyone can get down with the milk…well, the answer to that is ALWAYS the Weege.I Love MewAnother 23