Still need funds to save storage and get on with life. I’ve received two donations totaling a bit over 100, but still need about 600 more.
This week has been tough for me. And tonight is the anniversary of losing JoJo. Two years ago, one week after my eviction hearing, I rushed her to Dove Lewis. She wouldn’t have made it to dawn. She hid her congestive heart failure all too well.
She was my soul. We both had the same food issues (hers was an allergy to wheat and I have Celiacs). She was right there, in my face, when I wasn’t feeling well to provide me with some purr therapy to help me feel better.
She chose me in such a clear and obvious way. I was her only human for 14 years. She was 11 months old. I adopted her February 2003, and she passed away February 2017, a month shy of turning 15.
She was a ginger force to be reckoned with. Opinionated, loving, sassy cat. My first indoor cat.
(trigger warning: talk of suicidal ideation and PTSD further down) Pardon the wonky spacing…
Here’s hoping that since I was able to log into my EBT account to check my balance, that it’s been reinstated. I tried logging in over the weekend on my phone and it said it couldn’t access the account. Just now, I was able to on the CB. Tomorrow is the day I get to see if they’ve changed my amount.
I haven’t gotten any letters (picked up mail yesterday). I definitely need those food stamps right now. If anyone has every seen my fridge/freezer and pantry from before the eviction, you’d understand why the barren landscape of the fridge and freezer (and somewhat barrenness of the cabinets I have now) is so daunting.
I’ve almost always had frozen meat of different kinds, as well as veggies and other things… and the only things in the freezer right now are a wedge of local bleu cheese and the packs of Dorot minced garlic and basil. And a couple of ice packs. No ice cube trays to make ice. No chicken, no nothing. The fridge usually has cheese and sauces and lots of other things… not right now. So, food stamps for November are SUPER important. I need to restock. Badly.
I was raised to have a full pantry and fridge/freezer (although my mother took that to excess with a second full sized freezer crammed to the hilt). This was so that if one couldn’t go to the store, we could still pull from what we had and make dinner or whatever. I’m not a huge fan of frozen veggies anymore, but I’ll gladly still stock some up for backup needs.
Frozen chicken breasts and pork chops… stew beef… you name it. A frozen dinner or two on occasion (Amy’s Rice Mac and Cheese is amazing and awesome comfort food). A container or two of crumbled hard cheeses in the freezer… Feta and Bleu usually. Grated Parm… all in the freezer. Yes, you can freeze them. I LOVE making scrambles with some of the cheese sprinkled in at the last minute…
So, here’s hoping my food money got reinstated.
I’ve pretty much given up asking this one friend of mine for help. This person has told me that if I need something, to ask. Period. I did. A month ago. They said they’d help a week later… I checked in then… had to wait… and then wait… I know this person is dealing with a lot, hence why I’ve decided to no longer ask.
My only thing is that this month has SUCKED for tasks, which have been my only income for two years. All while trying to find steady employment I’m physically capable of. But this month has seen ONE task, one cancellation fee, and less than $200 in income. And that has gone to nudging my checking account back up to ZERO (thanks to the cell phone I need in order to run the app for getting tasks). So, I’ve had no usable income this month.
A month ago, when I got storage caught up before auction, I thought I’d have another decent month, so I didn’t worry so much about October. Then my app for getting tasks stayed silent. I had one cancel, one was fraudulent, and then the one I did get.
Another that was supposed to be today, but I don’t have the tools on my to mount things to concrete (better drill than what I have… which i have in storage, but can’t get to, and masonry drill bits, which I don’t have at all), so the whole thing, including assembly, got cancelled. Last night. Mind you, it wouldn’t have counted as October income anyway, as the billing would take a couple of days to process.
So, I need help just to get October paid. Then I can get in there and get tools out (if I can FIND the damn things) and my mattress and other stuff so I don’t look like I’m squatting in my own apartment.
Yesterday was Portia’s Gotcha Day Anniversary. 10/30/2010 is the day I adopted her. Eight years later, she’s saved me from suicide and getting stabby toward male humans who don’t understand personal space on transit (PTSD from sexual assault sucks when you’re on transit). We almost had a vet visit due to a couple of hotspots on her skin (that’s the one main health issue with her: sensitive skin and stomach). But no money, denied for CareCredit, and waiting for PAW Team to call back (it takes time to get an appt with them) all ended up with me just keeping an eye on her for now. They’re likely from stress-grooming, so my friend is going to hand off a partial bottle of CBD oil for pet use and I’ll try that in her wet food (which I need more of soon. See her wishlist on Amazon… if someone was so inclined).
My girl is now roughly 13… they said she was 4-5 when I adopted her. But no one really knows exactly how old she is. I’ve been saying she’s 12 for about 2 years now. So, I’ll finally bump it up to 13. Still a guess, though.
Tomorrow is November 1st. The start of NaNoWriMo. This will be my 13th year straight. It’ll be fun and challenging, but I’m game. This year I have two ideas that I’m going to combine into one SF story. I also have a couple of backup tales if my characters take a break and don’t want to talk for a bit.
[this started as FB status, hence the lines closer together]
With the idea that I’ll be moving on sooner rather than later, and hopefully into my own place, I’ve been looking at potential second pets. Namely, dogs. It’s a huge step, honestly. I haven’t had a dog since I was 15. Eventually, I want a dog I can train in not only obedience but as a PTSD dog. With help, of course. I certainly have my ideal breeds, but I may start with a rescue dog to get reacquainted with having a dog at all.
Looking at local dogs on petfinder. Found a couple of cuties. Obviously, I’m nowhere near ready. But one advantage of getting a dog, other than training for PTSD, is that she would help with depression and anxiety. Both being aspects of my PTSD. And yes, I keep saying “she” because I’d prefer a girl dog.
But I also know that dogs are a whole other ballgame from having cats. Not even taking into account greater food intake and needing to be walked, there’s obedience training and other necessities. Something being here at the shelter has taught me is an absolute must. A well-trained dog goes a LONG way in pretty much everything. Especially being a good neighbor.
Here at the shelter, I’ve seen separation anxiety, breaking out of ‘jail,’ aggression toward dogs and humans, etc. I want to make sure any dog I have in my life can handle being around cats who may not like her, other dogs when out and about, and people in general.
So, I’m looking at dogs. I will never bitch about the price of purebreds I’ve been looking at (which are averaging $1200 to $1600). Yes, it’s more, but when rescue dog adoption fees are in the $300 to $600 range… urf!
The breeds I’m looking at at German Shepherds (easier to find in rescue here) and two of the Belgian Shepherd breeds: Tervurens and Groenendaels. Those are my ideals for a service dog. And I’d definitely get a roughly 12 to 16 week old puppy so I can start obedience training from the start and then around a year old, start working on service training.
I’m just kinda seeing what’s out there right now. I’ll know when I’m ready for a dog. I hope.
Dear Portia: We have been through a lot since I adopted you on 10/30/2010. I saw your picture on C.A.T.’s website (Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood, OR) a few days before, visited you at your Petsmart location on 10/29, and knew. I knew you needed me and I needed you. JoJo, although she would be loathe to admit it, needed you as well.
After JoJo died of Congestive Heart Failure a year ago, the two of us have been through even more. Our eviction, bouncing from one friend’s apartment to another’s house and then three different rooms in that house since. You have helped me battle panic attacks, depression, suicidal ideation, the loss of your feline sister, and so much more. Which is why you are my ESA (Emotional Support Animal) and friend.
I wish I could have taken a picture of how we were cuddled up a few minutes ago. I had paid down on my side, with my head at the foot of the bed. You were contemplating jumping up for a moment, but once you did, you plopped down right in front of my face. That’s your style. I put my hand up to rest under your chin, between your front paws… as I gently leaned my own face against your fur. And your jet engine purr began.
You love touch. You are a people cat, even though you’re a little hesitant with some. I rarely hear you purr unless you’re loafing on my chest or touching me somehow. When I first adopted you, you couldn’t get lap time because JoJo insisted on HER laptime, so the bedroom became your place for human time. At first, you curled up near me and reached one paw out to place on my shoulder or face. You gradually got to how you are now with curling up on my chest (granted, the current bed is narrow, so not much room).
You have your ornery times. You have sensitive skin, so being groomed is not a preferred activity, yet your mats buried under that silky soft floofage say it’s much needed. Areas that most cats LOVE having petted are off limits for you (base of the tail mostly, which elicits a claws-extended swat from you). And sometimes your butt fur doesn’t get as clean as either of us would like…
But I love you anyway… stinky butt and all.
You are a goofy, sweet 14 pound lovebug of a cat. I know your needs and you know mine in your own way. Your purr is therapeutic and burying my face in your fur when I need comforting is an extra bonus. We’ve been through a lot of stress. But with you there for me, I believe we will make it through.
Everyone who sees pictures of you is taken aback by your beauty. Your soft dilute tortie fur and the eyes that make everyone gasp. Eyes that can be green, green-gold, blue, blue-gold, or some other combination. Of all the cats I’ve known or lived with in my life, I have never seen a cat with eyes like yours. And everyone who sees your pictures says the same thing. I likely will never see another cat again with eyes like yours.
You are 12 now. I know you can’t live forever. I cherish the time I have with you. You ground me when I need it. And I give you wet food when I can afford it. I am so glad you let me adopt you.
Your Human, Amanda (who still needs help with storage)
She was my soul cat for 14 years. I adopted her February 2003 at the age of 11 months. Well, she chose me. I didn’t want a kitten, but she wanted me. She decided I’d be her human.
And I was for 14 years.
She became obviously ill only that night. The previous two days werr dismissed as her usual “hairball days.” 11:30pm February 2nd, 2017, I kmew it was worse. I called Dove Lewis and was told to bring her in ASAP.
By 12:30am February 3rd, the decision had to be made. Fluid building up, making it difficult for her to breathe. The vet said she wouldn’t have survived the night. I chose to end her pain then. My tears soaked her fur as the vet administered the meds that would end her suffering.
This was a massive blow for me emotionally. I had just gone to court a week before and was getting evicted.
I realized weeks later that this was how it was meant to be. If you go back to March 2017 or so, you’ll find a post called “It Was My Time” … I still believe that was JoJo letting me know that her reason for being with me was complete, and it was time for her to move on. That one phrase kept repeating in my mind until I finally wrote it down.
It’s been a year. I still miss her. Portia has taken up the mantle of being my ESA. But JoJo will always live on.
I gotta start somewhere, right? Other than the crowdfunding plea for storage… which is up around $700 for two months and late fees… but on to what I want to write about.
Two months ago, I had my final session with my therapist of almost 3 years. She helped me get through a bunch of shit. But she was moving on to another office somewhere and my latest reauth there was due (county clinic, annual reauthorization to see if you still need help). I’ve asked my doc and such for names of PTSD/C-PTSD therapists, but haven’t gotten very far.
And I’ve gotten decidedly more twitchy over the past two months.
I’m handling it, but barely. The anxiety is one thing I can deal with, but the brain fog and seemingly frozen-in-place feeling haven’t budged. To the point where I fucked up my final term of grad school… again.
It feels like … well … I can see myself moving forward, getting school DONE, doing all the functioning things I need to do to dig myself out of my current situation. But I can’t actually DO those things. I can’t MOVE. I’m stuck. I can see it, but can’t seem to do it. I do have moments here and there where I’m able to focus and clear the fog for an hour or so and do things that need to be done.
Like earlier today. I called the customer service line for the mental health division for my health insurance (Basically medicaid). I chatted with the guy (Joe, who was freaking awesome and supportive), and he emailed me two clinics. I’m now waitlisted for one, and the other I went through the ‘phone interview’ to give them basic info to see if I’ll find a good fit in their clinic. They’re all doctoral students.
I also called customer service to change my banking info for my Target REDcard debit card. Their hold music was saccharine and the agent was exasperating… but I got through it.
Mind you, this shit isn’t easy when you’re uncomfortable just being on the phone and you’d rather be doing other things.
As to the title I’m using… I’m moving to another room in the house… but also thinking of other … bigger things. I’m thinking of school, of work, of trying to work WITH my PTSD as I do with my ADD. I was diagnosed with ADD when I was 21 and was on Ritalin for a year and a half. It wasn’t doing anything noticeable, so I weaned myself off and dealt with life unmedicated. I’ve learned how to with with it. It’s how I’ve managed to do NaNoWriMo since 2005, winning each year.
But PTSD? I have no clue.
I know he’ll never see this, but Joe at OHP congratulated me on handling the situation on December 29th on the MAX really well. Thank you, Joe. All I’ve really been able to see of myself from that incident was the dissociating, the anger, and trying to not kill the bastard. But you pointed out that I handled it really well and showed great restraint. Thank you.
I’m also looking at getting a PTSD Service Dog. I have one person who says Dobies aren’t ideal, but the loyalty and bond with one is kinda the reason why I want one as my dog. They’re protective by nature and if trained to not attack, but silently guard and protect, that’s what I want. Also in the training, they’d be able to sense anxiety increases and help calm me down. There are others who are all, “hell yeah, a Dobie would be perfect.” As this would be for PTSD and not other types of service work, I think they’d be ideal. And there are dog-related sites that say the same. Other sites say no. I think it depends on the training and temperament of the individual dog.
I don’t know when I’ll be able to finish school. Hopefully soon. But I know one thing: I need to make some massive changes… and soon.
The love of a cat. Purring on my chest. Napping. Happy. The vibration of a purr can heal many things. Anxiety and so mich more. No matter if they weigh 4 pounds or 14, the love of a cat resonates through her purr. My therapy in the midst of pain, stress, times of hesitation and healing the scars of my own history. The purr of my cat against my heart… the world melts away and only peace remains.
JoJo and I had this incredible bond the 14 years she loved with me. Since she passed away in February, Portia has stepped up in her own quirky way. She’s still a total dork, but curls up (read: SPRAWLS) on my chest when I’m in bed.
She isn’t exactly a small or lightweight cat, weighing in around the 14lb mark. I’ve determined she’s likely at least half Maine Coon. Her size and varied coat lengths are a good indicator. She purrs when she eats, shows some signs of stress when I’m stressed. Not as obvious as JoJo was, but I see indicators.
I’ve been working on a last minute leather cincher to wear this weekend at GearCon. Drafting the pattern, tweaking things, punching holes for rivets and small grommets. It isn’t done, but I’m hauling my whole crazy mess to con with me. I’m assisting mostly in the staff lounge… I tend to be the one to “babysit” the space, as I’m content to just be stationary.
I’ve been running around all week and am also concerned I don’t have the full $280 for storage. I’ll have a bit over half when pay from two tasks from earlier this week post to my account. I think I can pay partial while I don’t owe previous months.
So, Portia got what I think was a small hairball. This is a rare thing for her. She usually just mats. But she has been grooming more this week. She needs a companion, but the cat of the house is still uneasy about her (I think they’ll be fine with monitored rounds), and I’m in no shape, financially or home-wise, to adopt another right now.
Originally today was going to be spent at my storage unit selling off the bed frame to a friend and then organizing and trying to reclaim some space in the back half of the unit. My mattress is resting on edge on my beloved coffee table (that I’ve had since I was about 18 and needs refinishing one day). All of that blocks my views of the rest of the space behind it. On Thursday last week, I managed to get to where I was sitting on my taller chest of drawers (I tend to call them dressers, even though that’s inaccurate, but yanno, it’s easier) and noticed that the space behind the mattress is not being utilized to its full ability (think vertical). So my goal is twofold: find a way to store the garment bags of costumes so they don’t “avalanche” while being stored flat, and then clear a better path to that area and organize it better.
One goal, when I have the funds (which I’m looking at costing more than I originally thought at around $60-$80, depending on the diameter of the chosen pipe) to make a steel pipe garment rack. I’ve had purchased racks from Target and IKEA and they cannot withstand the weight of the costumes. Eventually, I’ll get some plywood and make a platform on casters and put the steel pipe rack on wheels, but that part can wait. I need three 6′ pre-threaded pipes, four 12″ pieces, two elbow joints and two T joints. Yes, I know my way around a hardware store… maybe a little too well.
Honestly, if I could work retail again, I’d love to work at Ace Hardware. The people there understand thinking outside the box and have always helped me suss out how to work around problems with creative things (the guys at Pearl Ace still remember my dragon puppet head from 2009).
So, today was going to be spent at storage, but after Thursday afternoon in there, then two days of moving books and stuff around at the yard sale here, I was tired. When my friend who is buying the bed frame said he wasn’t feeling well today, I decided I’ll just stay home. Tomorrow, I tackle storage. So, about today…
The rest of this is part of a status I wrote earlier about Portia… the parts in Italics are the original post.
Although the bond with Portia isn’t as strong as mine was with JoJo, she is still bonded. Note in this picture that while it isn’t obvious, she’s napping on my left hip/pelvis. The side that has been problematic for a couple weeks now. Earlier she was roughly in the same spot, purring and grooming herself.
I adopted Portia October 30th, 2010, a few weeks after I had to put Jack to sleep due to Acute Renal Failure. His quality of life was extremely poor, so it was best to let him go. I tried making JoJo an only cat, but that didn’t last long. She became “Super Cling Kitty” within a week. I found Portia through Petfinder at Cat Adoption Team.
I know some people who think “she’s JUST a cat,” but I know better. Having been a petsitter, volunteer at shelters and rescues, and a lifelong cat person, I know behavior and a lot of health stuff. As an Empath, I connect with cats and dogs. Cats can, if you let them, be amazing therapy animals. Both girls were there for me last November as I dealt with the 2 year anniversary of my dad’s death as well as his 90th birthday and on top of that, a massive trigger of my C-PTSD. Portia and JoJo got me through it. Three months later, we lost JoJo, oddly to an illness similar to what my dad died from. Portia has picked up where her big sis left off, being there for me in her own quirky way.
She’s adjusting to being an only cat better than JoJo did. Granted, we’ve also been in this transition and technically homeless since early March. I think she wants a buddy, as she tries to get along with the resident cat, although that girl isn’t too keen on Portia. Hence my reference to baby gates on occasion. I have to keep them up to keep her contained.
It’s been 4 months as of yesterday that we lost JoJo. My father died of heart failure and then JoJo with Congestive Heart Failure. Two of my closest companions gone from similar issues.
Portia has picked up on things. She makes me laugh, does things like in these images today to help comfort me and be a bit of therapy. She’s feisty but sweet. Hates being groomed, but loves attention and treats. She gets underfoot a LOT and loves wet food. She’s a total dork of a cat, but she keeps me grounded and sane. For me, if not for the cats in my life and music to help push the emotional pain out, I don’t think I’d survive my life right now.
Cats are amazing creatures in so many ways. Far too many people see them as aloof, cold animals, but those of us who have shared our lives with them? We know better. There is power in those paws. The whiskers. Those knowing eyes. The power of absolute love.
So I must have been more tired than I thought when I wrote up last night’s blog post. I didn’t realize until this morning when I checked the stats that I’d forgotten to put anything beyond the date (sometimes I put that after I write). Whoops.
The usual stuff: need help saving storage and all my stuff, etc… yes I’m quickly running out of time here. Thursday is the auction and I need to prove I’ll have funds by the time they close the office at 6pm PST Wednesday. Yeah… only a few more days.
On to other things… there’s the big elelephant in the room. Mother’s Day. My mom passed away from end stage Alzheimer’s (total organ failure, etc) in 2013. But with her disease, this day hasn’t felt like anything special for a lot longer. Before that, it was ‘meh’ as we constantly fought. The two strongest willed people in the family… yeah, fireworks happened… a lot. I never got that mother-adult daughter relationship. It was stolen from me by a disease that hits the caretakers the hardest. She went to her death never seeing me as a strong adult who can do awesome things. She forever saw the four year old teaching herself to play the melody of the Star Spangled Banner on the piano without knowing how to read music, and yet, once learned, my mother actively discouraged me playing it.
I also have a friend or two who don’t think women like me with pets instead of human children should celebrate it as a ‘mom.’ Even being hostile about it and saying they’ll unfriend anyone who wishes a Happy Mother’s Day to women who only have pets.
[Oh shit… Dragon wants a word…]
Look here, hun, just because I chose to not fertilize my damn eggs and put more dragons out there to devour stupid humans does NOT mean I’m not a mom. I pick up more cat shit from one cat alone in her entire life than you do changing diapers. Don’t even start with me. I step on toys, clean up errant cat poop, take her to the vet, feed her the best damn food I can get for her and her specific needs and issues, make sure she’s healthy and happy and clean and know what that furball gives me in return?
Unconditional LOVE. Laughter at her antics. Purr therapy when I’m stressed out.
I don’t need to bring more like me into this overcrowded world. It’s fucked up enough without more from my gene pool. So, you go do you, be a parent to human children all you damn well please. Just know that I’m over here saving animals and I don’t have to buy them clothes every six months and worry about how I’m gonna pay for their college. I may adopt a human child one day… when I’m damn well ready to do so.
You do you, and leave us pet lovers alone.
[shoves Dragon off the chair]
“GO BACK TO YOUR CAVE, DRAGON!”
Sorry about that. She can be a handful at times. Anyway….
Sooo… I’m taking things one nerve-wracking day at a time. Job hunting, etc. Never easy, but that’s life.