Well... it's been a busy year. Lots has happened and yet, in some ways, nothing has happened.
The weather sucked just about all year. The first nine months were the coldest we'd had ever, and September was summer... it was hotter than August. October saw winter hit like a ton of bricks, with snow and everything, but then it all melted, Halloween was snow free and November was fall. Then winter returned with a vengeance in early December and it's been bitterly cold ever since, except for a short stretch of above normal temps. With snow. Did I mention snow? We have lots. So out of the 12 months of 2009, I think about 10 1/2 were below normal temps. That sucks. Why do I live here again???
The beginning of the year saw a change of name for my blog, after I discovered that I am, in fact, not a true Ponygirl... At least, not in that way... I am, in truth, a horsewoman.
Or was, until I finally gave in to the fact that my back can no longer stand up to the rigors of rocking back and forth in the saddle. (Take it away, boys!) So I made the very tough decision to put Thunder up for sale. That was in February. He remains there to this day... the very last day of the year. A few false hopes along the way, and one possible leasing option open right now (which is actually looking very good so keep your fingers crossed for me!). So with Thunder, not a lot has happened, other than I have not been on him since the spring, and probably never will again. I'm sad, yes, but resigned to not riding ever again. Guess I can't really call myself a cowgirl anymore, than, can I?
In March, my oldest best friend, Debbie, was diagnosed with cancer. When you've known someone for 37 years... and it's not a family member, so it's by choice... this kind of news is like being hit by a bus... But there's good news: she's had surgery and it was caught quickly; no need for radiation or chemo but frequent follow ups are keeping tabs on things to make sure she stays cancer free. My heart damn near stopped at that time... there have been way too many losses in my life already and I sure as hell didn't want her added to that list. At least not now... when we are 95 and sitting on the porch of the nursing home, in our rockers, giving the orderlies a hard time... if she wants to keel over dead then, well, I'll let her... but not before!
The animal tales have continued through the year, with antics from the cats posted here and there. Rabbits in the front yard, with Pips attempting to give chase through the livingroom window. Summer saw the addition of Lila. I must have a rubber arm, as the girls at the vet clinic saw a golden opportunity to find a home for a wee pretty kitten. Who knew that this little fluff ball would turn into this gorgeous thing just a few months later? She still likes to get into my pants... (waits for the comments to fly on that one...) now as much as she did a few months ago.
This year didn't see horrendous outlays of cash for the critters... no one crawled down the heating ducts (I've ditched the name 'That Damn Cat' as she's quite well behaved now, approaching the age of three - tomorrow!), no one required major surgery and all remained healthy.
That is, until this fall, when BB, the oldest cat (by a long shot - he turned 15 in June) really started to fail. He never got ill or arthritic in his old age... but kitty Alzheimer's definitely set in. In the autumn, he began spending his nights in the spare bedroom, locked away from the two youngsters, who seemed to take delight in jumping on him and making his yell. At night. When I was asleep. Or trying to. So he got set up in the luxury suite with canned catfood and dry kibble, a water bowl, a litter box and a snuggly blanket. I put in a nightlight for him and left the curtain open so he could jump up on the dresser and look out the window if his little heart desired such.
He seemed quite happy with this arrangement, especially since he slept most of the time. But he always ate all the food and used the litter box. Never heard a peep out of him in there. He also really enjoyed me picking him up and carrying him around, purring contentedly in my arms.
But he was getting skinny. Losing muscle mass. He would spend the entire day lying in the sun on the back of the couch. I'd come home and take him to the litter box, where he'd have a huge pee. Then I'd put him in front of the kibble that is available to all three cats 24/7 and he'd eat. But he just didn't remember to go do that on his own.
And he started scratching himself raw... losing hair all over the place and generally becoming a total mess. I just attributed it to his propensity for overgrooming (which he'd been doing for years) and treated all the scratches and patches with ointments and even went so far as to make him a little jacket to protect his skin.
Then when I take Lila in to be spayed at the end of October, I find out she has fleas. FLEAS! In October, of all things! The vet said there'd been an outbreak of flea infestations in the fall due to the hot weather in September. But since all three cats are house cats and never go outside, the only thing we could figure out was the rabbit population kept depositing the little suckers in the grass in my yard and they'd hitched a ride into the house on the dog. No one else seemed bothered by them, but obviously BB was allergic to the bites and was going crazy!
I felt so bad about that and treated everyone and the house (with wall to wall carpeting everywhere - so no mean feat!) many times over.
BB continued to decline, despite the pest problem being taken care of, so December 4th I took him to the vet for one last time. The vet even commented on how vacant his look was, checking to make sure he could see - he really did have that 'lights on but no one home' look. So my old man went to sleep, to dream and to play in the great kitty playground in the sky, no longer skinny, no longer itchy and forever loved. It's been tough... I keep expecting to see him. I miss the old guy...
The dating scene has been an adventure, to be sure! I won't go into many details other than to say I've been on quite a few 'meet and greets', holding no expectations with any of them. And rightly so. Some have just been totally wrong the instant we met. Others could have held potential but never went anywhere. One has become a good friend. And one has kept in contact despite a distance issue... he's interested, as am I... so the Saga of the Land Baron continues... with emails and phone calls... and to start the New Year off, a day spent together soon - arrangements pending. This one I am quite excited about. He's really wanting to see me, but issues with family and their health, plus the distance, plus my work and my dog, have kept that from happening. After today's conversation, we are putting together a plan... I'm sure there will be some mention of it in future posts, so stay tuned!
Work is work... dialysis is a growth industry and we are busier than ever. But I also very recently applied for a job outside of nursing but where my nursing knowledge is very applicable... I'd really like to retire from the physical side of nursing, as my poor old bod is beat up from years of standing, hefting patients about and all the other stuff that we nurses do. I'd love to get a Monday to Friday, sit in front of a computer kind of job. And that's what this one is. But they will only contact those applicants they wish to interview, so I'm not holding my breath. With the holidays, there's been no word, so I don't know if I should attribute it to that or to them not being interested in me. I'll let you know when I know!
I think the biggest thing for me this year has been on a personal level. Despite being super busy all the time, there has been a pervading sense of mortality in life in general. I've known quite a few people who've lost someone, or who have been seriously ill themselves, with life altering results. The preciousness of friends and family comes to the fore at times like that. I strive to tell those I care about that I love them. You just never know when someone will be taken away from life as we know it. The reminders of humanity's fragility are all around us. Take note. Tell them you care. I do. I am. Right now.
So, as 2009 dwindles down (it is almost 10 pm here on New Year's Eve in Winterpeg right now), I wish for each and every one of you the best in 2010. May you all find love and health and happiness, in whatever forms are important to you. Know that I care. For those who have become my good friends through this Cyber Universe, I love you all and send huge, warm hugs out through the Ethernet. My life has been enriched in so many ways from my relationships with everyone I know, even though I've not met quite a few of you.
So have a blast doing whatever you're doing tonight! See ya next year!!!