Thursday, 31 December 2009

Synopsis 2009

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!!!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Year End Approacheth...

... and on the final day of the year, there will be a post with a concise and thorough synopsis of the year's momentous events, itemized, fully detailed and on the mark.

Yeah, right! Who am I kidding?

I'll blather on about all the crap that's happened, hopefully make it amusing to some degree so that you'll get a laugh out of it.

It was what is was... and it's all water under the bridge now.

Until then, take care of yourselves, have fun and stay warm and safe.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas, Everyone!!

This is much too funny not to share... Enjoy!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Monday, 21 December 2009

Is this the real end?

There have been a few false alarms.

People who say yes... and then say oh, no thanks, I've changed my mind.

It's been eleven months since the decision was made.

And tomorrow, a lady is having the vet out to the barn to do a pre-purchase exam on Thunder. You only do that if you are dead serious about buying the horse and want to make sure he's sound and healthy.

Which Thunder is... he's healthy as a... well... as a horse!

So this may be it. The end of my horsewomanly days. The demise of Ponygirl completely. My heart is so torn, but my back won't allow me to ride anymore. And a horse is a very expensive pet, especially when living on one income and money is tight.

If it goes through, it will be a good home for him. The woman is an experienced horsewoman; Thunder will be a Christmas present for her young daughter; they have three other horses so he'd have company. They live close to a huge provincial park with lots of trails.

I truly hope they appreciate what a special horse he is. He was near death's door at 2 1/2 and survived on sheer will power and some of my nursing skills. He's got an amazing personality and his work ethic is wonderful - he always tries to do what you ask of him without getting pissed off.

He's curious, respectful, hilarious and personable. And he's very well trained... he's got about 9 months or more of professional training, plus the years that I have put on him.

But it is breaking my heart to think that he'll be gone. I just had to deal with putting down my old cat, and now it looks like my horse is finally going to sell.

I'll miss him....

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

His mouth runneth over...

The first time, I thought it was just nerves.

It's always a bit tense when meeting someone for the first time. Especially when that meeting has the intent of sizing one up for the potential of courtship, relationship... whatever-ship.

He talked. And talked. Oh, how he talked! Not mindless blather... He's educated, well read, well traveled and interesting. But the three face to face meetings and the two phone calls made it clear there would be no 'me' in that kind of a relationship.

When there is no getting a word in edgewise for one party, there is no conversation. There is the telling on one part and the listening on the other. Nothing more. And when he paused and I could speak, always he latched on to something I said to weave into his own tale. Which he would interject... effectively cutting me off.

So I emailed him to say there was no connection for me, no spark.

I had to laugh when he told me that when first starting to get to know someone, he is cautious and distant.

I didn't have the heart to tell him he yammered on like a lonely old woman!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Be the best YOU...

Be all you can be... but be YOU! The best YOU you can be...

It may take you to places you never thought possible, doing things you never thought possible.

Here is one little redhaired girlie's story.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Listen Up, Jimmy and Map!

Now, since I am expecting you two to show up in kilts, and since Map is already ironing the pleats in his to perfection, (you had better be doing the same, Jimmy!), I thought I would show you just how you need to be outfitted for your trip to the pub for a few pints on me.

No... not like that! (There'll be no sipping Guinness from my navel... I have no desire to be killed by two murderously angry women, thanks very much.) Your payment for showing up decked out in your kilts, looking all smart and handsome, is a few free rounds on my tab.

Just want you to be aware of how decked out you should be, so pay attention to the lads in this clip. They've got it right...

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Sing Along Now...

I left my haaaaaaand..... in San Deeeee-aayyyyyyy-go...

Just kidding!!!!

I was going through some old photos yesterday and happened upon this one. When I lived in San Diego, California in the mid 90s, I had a San Diego Zoological Society membership. It included both the zoo and the Wild Animal Park.

I had the opportunity to go on a photo safari at the Wild Animal Park one summer. OMG! I loved it!

In the photo above, I am feeding some apples to Bertha, a very pregnant Black Rhino. Her belly was so big, it was almost on the ground. She didn't move too far away from the feed bin, I can tell you! She calved a couple of weeks after this photo was taken.

It was the most awesome experience and if anyone ever visits the San Diego area, spending the money for a photo safari is well worth it. You clamber into the back of a 5 ton truck (something even a pissed off rhino can't flip over) and drive through the almost 400 acre park, up close and personal with the different species of wildlife inhabiting the park.

Somewhere I have a photo of me feeding a carrot to a giraffe... from my mouth! His 18" long black tongue (go for it, Jimmy!) is wrapped around the carrot in the picture. Just to save some of you from throwing up... his tongue never touched me. :-)

Friday, 4 December 2009

The End of the Road

It was time. A long time coming... but now it was time.

It had been many years ago that BB came into my life. The 'BB' stands for Blackbeard Bunnybutt. He's a black and white longhaired Manx. Lots of white on his face but with a black chin - that's the Blackbeard part. And the Bunnybutt... well, that is self explanatory when you see his stumpy tail.

In 1994, I was living in Texas. I went back to Canada for a vacation and spent some time at the barn where my horse was living. (She was staying in Canada while I was down South.) There was a litter of kittens at the barn and they were just too cute! I ended up taking one little guy home with me - at the tender age of 7 weeks.

In the years that BB has been with me, he's put on many miles across both Canada and the USA. He started off in Lethbridge, Alberta. He then flew to McAllen, Texas. A year later, it was a long drive to San Diego, California. Three years after that, in 1998, another very long and hot drive to Winnipeg, Manitoba, back in Canada. 1999 saw relocation to the Vancouver, BC area. 2003 it was back to Winnipeg... well, technically, east of Winnipeg on an 80 acre hobby farm. (Which meant nothing to him as he's been a house cat his entire life.) In 2007, a move into the city and then in 2008, the final move to the house I bought.

He hated moving. He hated being put in a carrier. He'd moo like a lost calf when put in a carrier. He always made me laugh when he did that. I don't think he liked me laughing at him either... I got the evil eye many times!

Having been born in a barn, anytime any horse stuff came to the house, he immediately climbed on. It must have brought comforting memories for him.

He was a goofy guy... loved plastic. Who knows why, but he'd lick any plastic container he came across. And would literally hang out in a plastic shopping bag for an hour or more... on the door knob.

For years, he would play fetch. You'd throw a crumpled up ball of paper, he'd fly after it, and bring it back to be dropped at your feet. Then he'd sit and wait for you to throw it again. Over and over... I swear he was part retriever!

But... now... He was getting skinny. He had a vacant look in his eyes most of the time. Not in any pain that I could determine, as he walked around just fine but just losing any will to be 'alive'. He'd forget to eat... forget to go to the litter box. Didn't have any accidents but when I would put him in it, he'd pee up a storm. He'd willingly eat if I put him in front of the food (which is out 24/7 in the basement) but never seemed to remember it was there for the taking.

I had to set him up in the spare bedroom at night, with food (wet and dry) water and a litter box, so that the two younger cats wouldn't jump on him and make him scream.
I know they just wanted to play, but he sure as hell didn't!

I discovered he is wickedly allergic to flea bites. The hot September we had this fall saw an explosion in the flea population outside and some hitched a ride into the house on the dog. No one else was bothered, but BB scratched and chewed himself bloody and raw. I sprayed and powdered and bathed him and everything in the house. To no avail. I used cortisone cream to alleviate the itching. His coat came out in clumps. You couldn't touch him without a squawk or an itch.

I felt so bad but I was doing all I could to keep him comfortable.

But on Tuesday, the last straw occurred. He had a seizure. That was the deciding factor.

So this morning we made the one last trip to the vet's. They know me well there. And they know him too. He is usually very hard to handle and flips out if someone he doesn't know touches him. Today he growled, even as the needle was in and the drug was beginning to work. But he didn't flinch. Just grumbled his usual grumble.

I stroked his cheek and kissed his forehead, holding him close as he slipped away.

Goodbye, little man. I love you and miss you. Thanks for all the memories. It's been a slice!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Dream Big!!!

Never give up on your dreams. Success may be just around the corner.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Already Gone

Love her voice! American Idol's very first winner... for obvious reasons. :-)