Life has been like:
I feel this cat on a molecular level.
Hi! Hihihi… its been a couple of months! I am still here and doing well… I have just been absolutely running full out it seems.
So let’s see… Let’s do October.
So I absolutely foot dragged my way to Dia de los Muertos this year. (this won’t be sequentially WITHIN October I guess. I’m as surprised as you.) I didn’t put the ofrenda up until the week before the holiday. I didn’t do the papel picado all across my ceiling like I normally do. I did a really simplistic arch and left many of the decorations unused.
I even forgot to promote my listing for my book about it on Amazon- I didn’t do any advertising, or run a sale, or optimize the keywords- and therefore only sold 70 books between Sept 1st and Nov. 30th. This is a decent number- like what a complaint sheesh- but it’s over 100 units lower than the same time last year. But like… I run a sales and marketing department in my day job? I KNOW this stuff and I just… didn’t do any of that shit. And the number was as good as it was in large part due to my amazing aunt who talked it up and my husband’s family out of state who bought 7 of them.
In mid October my cousin told me this story about his wife and a saying she used to say while putting on red lipstick. I told it to my oldest who loved it and resolved to always do that when putting on red lipstick herself. In my head I went: “Oh! I should put red lipstick by her picture on the ofrenda this year!” And it just… broke the wall I didn’t want to admit I had around Dia de los Muerto, I guess.
I very quickly afterwards put a serviceable ofrenda up. I did put red lipstick out for my cousin’s wife (my cousin in law? She’s too special for all the terms here, none really fit). And I put dark nail polish out for my friend who was the new addition.
I printed a picture off on regular paper at first and then crumpled it up, angry at myself for shortchanging my friend, and then saved the image to a flash drive, headed out at 9pm, and instant printed off an actual photo at Walgreens- where the lights were too bright and the vibe of the place in no way matched the one in my head. I had a frame already because I’m a morbid planner like that I guess.
Backstory: I once told my therapist I was “good at death” and she brought it up MULTIPLE times after to try to analyze. She thought it was because I was not allowing myself to feel grief or emotion, or something. It was the only thing I ever thought she missed the mark on. Like no, we don’t need to dig into this… I’m just accepting I’m pretty good at it.
I understand mortality and that we don’t all make it to 90 and even if we do it’s still a loss and an ending and sad. I can show up for those who are grieving. I have this sense that the traditions around death are important and I therefore show up for funerals and I write a good obituary and eulogy and card. I can feel piercing loss while still being so thankful for having had those I loved in my life. I wander around cemeteries for fun as a hobby of sorts. I wrote a book about a holiday about CELEBRATING THE DEAD. I grew up in a family of gravediggers and I have stood at the bottom of a grave and looked from there up to the blue sky as an 8-year-old and not have been a quivering mess. (okay wait- it still doesn’t feel abnormal but what do I know, I’m no psychologist.)
But like… this year, man. This year since that whole thing in the summer with my dead friend’s Mom I’ve just been… sad about those who are gone being gone sometimes and not so good at death. That does feel like a normal human thing though, right? My father in law. My grandmother. My uncle. my friend. My cat.
I dreamed about my cat the other day- that I walked through the city at night to pluck him from a field of tall grass, feel his weight in my arms, and carry him home. I woke up, told my husband about it, and he replied along the lines of “How nice to have gotten to hold him again”… and I just burst into tears and fell into his arms. Like oh my good, me, he’s been gone two years now and is a cat, pull it together.
So I do think the foot dragging and stuff at Dia de los Muertos was probably due to knowing you are supposed to come at it with joyfulness and not sadness and knowing that wasn’t exactly where I was on the whole thing. But I made myself do it anyway.
And, as always, it was healing in a way that even to me is perpetually surprising. I was more somber, but was able to not cry while watching the candles flicker and the copal incense smoke curl… and I did feel better, too. (The cat dream was in December though, so not like… all the way there or anything.) Grief is just a thing with sharp teeth is all.
I’m fine, I swear to god.
Also in October we went beach camping 30 miles down Padre Island National Seashore. It was amazing weather for it, a new experience for the children, an opportunity for my husband to use his new 4×4, and the driving motivation as to why he wanted that truck to begin with.
This is legitimately what it looked like. It was insanely beautiful.
It was amazing. We caught fish, sat around a campfire at night, read in the shade under the canopy during the day… beautiful. We slept on cots under the canopy at night (no tent) but I did insist on ringing it in high strength plastic barrier fencing once we all turned in to keep the coyotes away from us. We remained pretty nicely sand minimal that night too… until Birdie jumped on my cot in the morning and got sand damn near everywhere.
Aside from that she was pretty good out there- my little adventure dog who only got carsick once.
It is a barrier island though, so there was SO much flotsam and jetsam and trash out there (artfully cropped out of pictures by moi).
Flotsam: debris not intentionally thrown overboard from a ship.
Jetsam: debris intentionally thrown overboard from a ship.
There were a few giant tree trunks. Fishing nets. Plastic trash and bits everywhere. One very sparkly wedge flip flop in a Woman’s size 6.5 (don’t piss off your cartel boyfriend when out on a yachtor risk becoming jetsam). Some pieces of giant timber bamboo- these can be found in Cuba and central Mexico, so it was fascinating to consider how far they drifted before finding their way ashore. (We lit the bamboo on fire and javelined the pieces back into the ocean that night because we’re like that.)
I caught a nice redfish and it was SUCH a fun fight- I’m trying to remember but that may have been the only decent fish I’ve ever caught shore fishing.
The sand though… we have to come up with a better way to keep sand off everything. Also we all slept like shit but that’s camping for you.
In other news the pets have been… expensive.
The world’s most expensive flea treatment hasn’t been 100% effective. (Seriously- it cost me $270 for a 3 month supply for the dogs and the 3 cats and still Birdie and Lacey are gnawing themselves bald in spots.
Birdie also had a UTI following camping and her first heat (fun.)
Alabama has needed $500 in X-rays due to back injuries- yes that’s plural. First one was his upper back and shoulders- He was holding his neck weird and walking stiff legged on both of his front legs. The vet couldn’t find anything aside from a healed abscess on his shoulders- her working theory was inflammation and deep tissue bruising. So I had to cram anti-inflammatory medicine down him (fun.) and direction to massage his shoulders. (I’m… not kidding). THEN he shows up one day about a week later- back to being stiff legged on the front legs… but now sway backed and with his hips falling sideways and hitting the ground on every 3rd step or so on the back legs. WHAT THE ABSOLUTE FUCK, CAT?!
Back to the vet- more x-rays- and now a “possible” spot on a vertebrae from what looks like a fall. Working theory is the first round of medicine made him feel better before he was fully recovered and he tried to chase a squirrel up a tree and fell because his front legs were not back to working perfectly yet.
What a goddamn jackass.
So he had a second round of medicine and was under directions to keep him inside and in a cage he couldn’t stretch up in- think guienea pig cage and not dog crate. I COULDN’T DO IT! And not in a philosophical way, I mean in a legitimately not humanly possible to do way. He’s so big and was such an escape artist even quasi paralyzed. I call him the house panther if that can convey a concept of this cat. He was SO pissed that I even tried to contain him that I had to give his medicine to the neighbor because he moved over there and wouldn’t come home for a full week. (She’s nice and totally did it and he never missed a dose thanks to her)
The vet was saying if that didn’t work we’d have to consider an MRI and surgery… and… no. No fucking way with this one. He’s my favorite of this current lot but still- it’s unfair to subject him to that and all that pain in recovery for a procedure she even admitted had a low chance of success. Also like $10,000… so no. He had a good run.
Spoiler: he’s not dead. We didn’t have to put him down and he’s in fact sleeping next to me right now as I type this in bed. I did a third round of the anti-inflammatory medicine for him and he gets daily cat massages and he doesn’t appear to be in any pain and is continuing on a slow arc of recovery- he may always be a bit chuek though.
So here is the rundown on the pets currently:
One 5 year old brown longhaired cat with allergies who gets daily medicine.
One 13 year old tricolor calico cat with osteoarthritis in her back: daily medicine
One 13 year old white dog with bad hips: daily medicine
One almost 1 year old sable corgi with a flea, pecan leaf, and grass allergy: daily medicine
One 3 year old black and white cat with a back injury: daily massages
One 2 year old black and white rat with a possible tumor I’m trying to run out the clock on.
4 brown chickens (traded in the 3 old ones for 4 new ones) who haven’t started laying eggs yet but who I still have to feed daily. (I named mine Credenza. One of the others is Ned, and I forget the other two because whilI have a love of having chickens, I also have a high degree of indifference to the individual chickens themselves.)
Get pets, they said. It’ll be fun, they said…
In the reselling project (and main reason I don’t blog as much as I used to): IT’S GOING FUCKING AMAZING LIKE HOLY SHIT. I’ll have a full post on it soon but here is an example.
That there is a Sadao Watanabe woodblock of the virgin Mary and Jesus. He was a famous Japanese printmaker and jazz saxophonist.
I bought it for $37 at an estate sale and sold it for $625 to someone in Germany. Cha-fucking-CHING!
I find it so fun and I’m just… really good at this. I know that sounds ridiculous to say as boldly as that but it’s true. My champagne taste that was such a pain in the ass as a poor college student is such an asset when trying to find things of value at estate sales and thrift stores. And it’s so fun!
It has been taking up a bunch of time though.
I justify it thusly:
One- it’s football season and if I’m editing photos or posting I can sit on the couch during a football game and still get to hang out with my husband- so that’s hours at a time right there.
And two- with the overturning of the student loan forgiveness plan (THANKS, TEXAS.), even though it is going to appeal, it has ramped my anxiety up about how we’d afford $1,300 to $1,500 in student loan payments so I’ve stepped up my side hustle game. We’ll be okay. I feel like Biden will figure out how to make that stick somehow. But still I have been burning the candles at both ends because of it. Most weekends I’m up early to head to San Antonio by 8 or 9. I sometimes stay up late posting things. My husband goes with me most nights to the post office annex to drop off boxes. There is a REASON my alarm clock is like this, all the time:
It’s just summed up pretty succinctly in my favorite estate sale find ever that now lives on my bedside table:
I’m busy, with lots of responsibilities on many a side, but I’m not drowning even if it all sounds a bit unsustainable. My husband is amazing for building in rest and care and relaxation for me I will say- he’s looking out for me.
How far can you blur a background on a picture of a fire to try to minimize the dirty dog bed on the porch before it starts looking weird? Not that far.
Exhibit B: beach vacation and fishing
That there is my favorite coupe drink of the moment, A White Lady. Do you know how great something must be for me to overlook that name?! Really fucking great. He makes me one (or 2) damn near daily because that’s how amazing he is.
And while he asks me periodically if I don’t think I’m working too hard I truthfully can reply that it’s still fun, life is a joy, and I’m good at recognizing and throwing the brakes on it all if I DO get pushed too far with it. But I swear I’m enjoying it. Some of my favorite activities are buying things and selling things, after all.
So- I will post again soon/maybe in 2023- because I have to run, this morning. I have to take care of my oldest who has Covid (drop that in at the end on ya didn’t I) and plan an entire bathroom remodel we’re doing ourselves that will involve demoing a shower, installing a new tub and shower (with tiling), new floor tile, storage, and trim!
One thought on “A catch up! AKA: How was October”
I have to say that I’m tired just reading about all that you’re doing! But I accept that people have different energy levels, and mine has never been high. It looks like you’re having a lot of fun along with the harder stuff, and your photographs are fantastic!
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