September 29th

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How thoughtful of the weather to be bright and sunny all weekend and only rainy during the week.
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Baby’s first pannekoek.
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red coat, Old Navy; jeggings, Carter’s; checkered shoes, Vans
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True story: the other week I was walking the dog and there were these things all over the ground and I literally said out loud, “What the heck is this, acorns????” I was standing under an oak tree.
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She was trying to carry more acorns than her hands would hold so I showed her how to put them in her pockets. When we got back to the house they were stuffed with acorns, wood chips and bottle caps.
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I DID IT, I MADE A SECOND SOUP. This is potato with bacon & green onion.
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“Hello” sweatshirt, Zara; leggings, Old Navy; dishwashing gloves (worn as boots), CasaBella

A few things…

During the extra-long summer vacation one of Sym’s daily chores was to tidy up the living/dining room/kitchen and vacuum every afternoon. Now that she’s back at school she generally doesn’t get it done until the evening, and IT SUCKS. The house is so messy and I’m well out of the habit of tidying up.

On the weekend I had the brilliant idea of making an apple pie today, so I bought all the ingredients I needed and then last night I was up all night with mild food poisoning. I feel fine now, but I’m super tired and the last thing I feel like doing is peeling a dozen apples.

Last weekend I ordered Gwen some new fall clothes, mostly new leggings and socks to replace the ones from last winter that she’s outgrown, as well as a new puffy winter coat that was on sale. I also got the red coat she’s wearing in a lot of the pics above and we are both in love with it. It has a major storybook vibe, and if she wasn’t already being a wolf for Halloween she might have to be Little Red Riding Hood.

On the weekend I started working on the leather snap pouches for kickstarter rewards and so I used my new shears and snap setter for the first time and o m g I’m in heaven! They are AMAZING and I was able to make some good progress! I have two pouches finished and the rest are all cut & have the snaps set and just need to be sewed (because that’s the easy part? ok Tanie). I’m hoping to get them all finished and ready to send out this week and then I will just have the shoe & boot rewards left.

September 25th

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Sad Ghost typewriter.
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I DID IT, I MADE SOUP. Now I just need to do it one more time. This is a carrot soup, or kind of a smoked carrot soup, with the smoky flavour imparted by the fact that I may have scorched it a little, oops.
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A few of Gwen’s friends: Hazel Village Gwendolyn Raccoon, Jellycat Bashful Bunny, Bijoukitty bear, H&M sleepy bunny, Roving Ovine rag doll.

Over the past few weeks I’ve ordered SO MANY things online (stuff for Little Mountain and new fall clothes for Gwen & me), it’s all starting to arrive and I think I’m going to be at the post office a lot in the next week. Yesterday I got an email that I would have a package to pick up today, and before I went to go get it just now I checked the mail and I had a small package in the mailbox PLUS a notification slip that I’ll have another package to pick up tomorrow. I usually have a couple banners ready to ship each time I go in so I am staying well ahead on my etsy orders. Since I reopened the shop I’ve had quite a few; I’m trying to save up enough my sales to pay for at least the ferry portion of our Thanksgiving weekend and I’m only $50 short right now. If you’ve been wanting to place an order you can get free shipping on orders $20+ with the code SHIPFREE, and two of my most-frequently-sold-out colours, pink and fuchsia, are finally back in stock!

I really don’t like the new etsy layout though. Now when I go to the front page it’s not the front page, it’s the feed of all the things people I follow have favourited. I liked going to the main page and seeing treasuries and stuff! I found some pretty great stuff that way. I actually just went and looked at the front page while not logged in and it’s totally different. Also I don’t like that they switched the shop feed tab (of all the people who’d liked my items) from being with the favourites feed & interaction tabs to the dashboard. lol if you don’t spend a lot of time on etsy this probably won’t make a lot of sense but idk, it just used to be better and now it feels sloppy and all over the place.

ANYWAY. I’m just waiting on one item, my custom leather stamp, and I’ll be able to start making the leather goods for kickstarter rewards, so if you back me at the leather/suede snap pouch, shoes, or boots level, keep watch for an email from me.

September 22nd

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I mentioned these cinnamon roll baked mini donuts at the end of my last post and they were delicious and really easy to make and we ate all of them in one fell swoop. I have these mini donut pans.
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C’mon, dadda!
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I’ve been in a real rut with my hair recently, it’s a very annoying length on me right now and I’d been hoping that by now it’d be long enough to get bangs but it’s not so it’s always in my face. Plus it’s grown out unevenly and I feel like I should get it trimmed to even it out BUT I know I’d probably lose like, four months’ worth of growth so maybe I’ll just suck it up? It’s almost hat season anyway.
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First-day-of-school breakfast special: Nutella pancakes with raspberry compote.

Of course after I write this it was sunny and hotter’n heck all weekend long. Today it’s rainy again, and Gwen’s little friend doesn’t have boots yet so I think it’s going to be mostly an inside day.

Today is also the first day of school, FINALLY. Or sort of. It’s considered “day 0,” the day that would normally be the day after labour Day, where the kids just get attendance taken so the school knows for sure how many students they have (this wasn’t a thing when I was a kid but I grew up in the country and there wasn’t as much moving around or options for different schools as there are here. Of course, with the strike that’s been going on for the last three months the teachers never had a chance to prepare their classrooms so the students are just going to the gym to get marked in, with different times set aside for different grades. Sym is moving up to the school this year and her grade is the last group, so she doesn’t have to be there until 1:30.

I never had a problem before with sending Sym off to school, I mean I was the one to walk her there and pick her up every day until she was old enough to do it herself, so this is the first time I won’t be taking her to the first day at a new school. It’s kind of killing me not to, like I really want to go and help her and make sure she doesn’t get scared or lost but she’s starting high school, how embarrassing would it be for me to tag along??? It seems crazy though, she’s only 12, what is she doing in high school? SHE’S JUST A BABY.

Last night I made her text a friend who lives nearby to make plans to walk down together, and the high school she’s going to is really small- less than 500 students in grades 8-12. This is even smaller than my old high school, and it kind of makes me feel better, like it’s a little school with not that many students, that’s less scary, right? I hope so.

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OH AND JUST A QUICK REMINDER: from now until October 10th get free shipping on all orders over $20 from the shop with the code SHIPFREE. I’m trying to earn enough money to pay for at least part of our Thanksgiving weekend trip, and the frigging ferry to get to Vancouver Island & my mom’s house costs $120 EACH WAY, plus we have to rent a car. YIKES.

September 19th

The rain is here.
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I think I post a lot of pictures that make it look like I don’t live downtown in a major city so here’s a charming alley view before I get to the raindrops on rosehips.
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The mysterious pumpkin tree…

Gwen needs a new Newt Suit; the one she has now is from last year and is way too short in the arms and legs, although I think it’ll do until I break down (save up?) and get her a size three. Her rainboots are new to her and a total score: the lovely Katie thrifted them for $5 and sent them to us. I paid her for the $15 shipping, but considering that in Canada a new pair costs $60 I’d say that’s a pretty fricking good deal! They are a little big for her right now so I think she’ll be able to wear them all winter.

I also need new rainboots, I keep cheaping out and buying whatever bargain ones I can find and they always end up a) being super uncomfortable and b) splitting open after a single season. Super lame. Anyway since I need boots of course I’m buying jackets and shirts and sweatpants? Because that’s logical? I just ordered this jacket (I know I’m wearing a green jacket in the pic above but it doesn’t have a hood so OBVIOUSLY I need a second one) and this shirt last night. American Eagle has some really good deals, their fall stuff is buy one get one 50% off, plus 25% off friends and family rn, plus free shipping? CAN’T ARGUE WITH THAT. I also really want some olive or forest green or dark brown skinny sweatpants but the only ones I’ve been able to find that aren’t disgusting are at Roots and they only have XS and XL left. I know I’m not an XS but I’m not quite sure if I’m in XL territory yet. Oh and also they are like $70, bleagh. Someone give me a line of some cheaper options!

The cooler, wetter weather has me wanting nothing more than to curl up with warm drinks and comfy clothes and cozy blankets. We put the duvet on the bed this week and picked up some fuzzy pillows to make it even more of a dream, and I DEFINITELY have not wanted to get out of it in the mornings. I’ve been wearing a lot of wool socks and flannel shirts. I’m really into the idea of homemade soup. Every fall I get into the idea of soup and every fall I only make it once, but now I have an immersion blender so I declare that for really real this will be the year I make soup more often. And baking! I need to bake more things. I’ve started following a lot of tumblrs that are just pictures of trees and mountains and fog and clouds. And I was finally able to put this dress on Gwen. I bought it when I was 9 months pregnant because I couldn’t resist the little foxes and it’s been in storage for the past two years.
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Too sweet. Anyway now I’m off to make hot apple cider and cinnamon roll baked donuts.

September 18th

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Just a quick note to let everyone know the shop is open (I closed it temporarily so I could focus on making kickstarter rewards), and I also have a new item; ombre banners with hex glitter! This was kind of an accident; the very last order I had before closed the shop was for an indigo-to-silver ombre banner, and when I went to make it I discovered I didn’t have enough of the regular fine glitter left in silver to make it, but I did have a whole jar of small hexagonal silver glitter. I mixed the two together and I am just IN LOVE with the result.

It has a more dimensional & textural look than the regular ombre. Right now I only have 5 colours of hexagonal glitter but plan on adding more in the future.

Also from now until October 10th get free shipping on orders over $20 with the code SHIPFREE.

September 15th

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Rocker baby chose her own outfit on Sunday: vest & high-tops, Old Navy; “Princess of Power” tee, hand-me-down from big sis; sunglasses, H&M; jeggings, Carters.
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The goose that got away.

I think I must have some sort of special gift for wanting to go places at the most inopportune times. Let’s go down to English Bay! except it’s January first so it’s packed because of the Polar Bear Swim. Let’s go to Sunset Beach! except there’s a run going on and all the streets are blocked. Let’s go to Stanley Park! except it’s Pride Weekend there’s a parade between us and our destination. It’s one thing about living downtown: things happen here, and sometimes we’re trapped because of it, or at least forced to go many blocks out of our way.

This weekend was no exception, and on Sunday I had the brilliant idea of walking down to Second Beach to the toddler playground. It was pretty early in the morning and I figured it wouldn’t be that busy yet. Except. It was the Terry Fox Run, and it started right next to the playground on Ceperley Meadow and the routes for the various distances were on all the trails that lead there. ALL OF THEM. I cleverly avoided all the runners on one trail only to walk straight into another pack of them on a different trail, and this group included children, who are super bad at looking where they are going while running, apparently. Since the runners were heading away from Second Beach and we were heading towards it, there was a real salmon-swimming-upstream vibe happening.

We eventually made it and it was actually a good time to be there, as the playground was effectively deserted. I wonder though, does it make me a bad Canadian, indeed a bad Vancouverite, that I didn’t even KNOW the Terry Fox Run was happening? In my defense I basically live in a hole underground, but maybe that’s not an excuse?

Anyway Gwen tired of the playground quickly so we decided to walk around the Seawall to Third Beach, and then cut back through the park. Of course, there were runners on the Seawall as well (how many different routes are there for this run???) but it’s a lot wider than the trails we were on previously so there were no more near-collisions. At Third Beach we contemplated going down on the sand with Gwen but she wasn’t really dressed for it (see rocker baby, above) so instead we headed straight into the forest. This isn’t a way we normally go into the park so the trails were sort-of new-ish to us; I’m sure we’ve walked them before, but not in a long time.

We chose our path at random and took a totally circuitous route back to Lost Lagoon. It was a gorgeous day to be in the park, sunny and hot out in the open and cool under the trees. I pestered Taylor to take a lot of pictures since I hadn’t brought my camera. He inexplicably started a discussion about the merits of riding out a zombie invasion in the park because apparently you could build a secret shelter and forage for food, which I call bullshit on because Taylor can’t forage for shit (although he can build a mean fire). Basically the end result was he’s going to have to take some wilderness survival courses or something. You know. In case of zombies.
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Also this weekend…

On Saturday morning we went out to the leather supply store so I could buy some hides ‘n’ sides to make baby shoes with. I’d originally planned on getting a couple neutrals, a couple brights and a metallic. Apparently someone forgot to tell my brain that because…
Suede & leather hides to make into little shoes and boots. It took me forever to pick what I wanted and I'm already wishing is picked up a few more (one beautiful dark grey leather in particular is haunting me) but overall I'm happy with my choices: dove
THESE ARE ALL NEUTRALS. Okay so there IS a metallic (platinum leather) and that light grey suede on the top looked like pale lavender in the store lighting but yeah. I CAN’T HELP IT OKAY I JUST LIKE NEUTRALS.

I also bought tons of snaps (in four different finishes), proper leather shears, a new mallet & small cutting board. Then I went online and ordered a snap-setting kit (I already have some snap setters but this one has like a little stand and I think it may work better, at least until I break down and spend $250 on a setting press), muslin bags for the finished shoes, and two custom stamps: a metal one for the leather and a rubber one for the bags. So much cool stuff! I need to buy a cupboard just to keep it all in.

After the leather store we met up with Jenn for our LAST EVER BRUNCH before she moves to Berlin; in fact she might be on her way there as I type this. She’s going to be gone for a year so I’m now accepting applications for a new friend to eat brunch and watch terrible movies with.

All the walking and activities this weekend were just like TOO MUCH for my sad old bones and both Saturday and Sunday nights I was DEAD. Actually Friday night as well, since I walked a lot that day too. It’s good though, I could use the exercise. On a related note I’m adjusting my gym-going goal from 3x a week to twice a week, not because I’m tired and lazy (although I am) but because with Taylor’s and my work, parenting and sleep schedules and the gym’s hours there are actually only two times during the week we can go together.

September 12th

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Sister time at the playground on Wednesday. After three months of no school Sym had turned into a weird hermit, lurking in her bedroom all day and growling whenever I asked her to do any chores. This week I banned her from hanging out in her room and forced her to come outside.
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Another of Sym’s out-of-her-room activities: baking! The results were enjoyed by everyone.
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Gwen finally overcame her fear of going down stairs.
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Grooming time for swans.
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Blueberry lemonade + watermelon grapefruit + Sprite.

A Two-Playground Day

This morning I took Gwen and her little friend to the playground at the school by my house. I called Sym to let her know where we’d be as she was at her dad’s still and it “creeps her out” to come home and find no one here. She was about to leave when she discovered she was having a key emergency; she’d left her keys at our house so she couldn’t lock the door behind her at her dad’s. Since this was partly my fault (I used her keys yesterday and left them in her cubby instead of giving them back to her to put in her purse) I decided to pop the little ones into the stroller and head down to bring Sym the keys.

When I got there she suggested a walk in Stanley Park down to Second Beach. There’s a pretty good playground there so we spent a little time on the swings and slides to make up for cutting our visit to the other playground short. Afterwards we walked around the Seawall back to English Bay and stopped for slushies on our way up the hill. At one point Gwen kicked off one of her new checkered Vans and we had to backtrack a block and a half to find it. We got back to the house super late so the kids had a quick lunch and then went straight down for their nap.

Why Meal Planning Doesn’t Work For Me

One day last week I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner. I had potatoes and salad fixins on hand so I asked Taylor to pick up some chicken on the way home. “Perfect,” I thought. Then I realized it was Tuesday, and Sym goes to her dad’s on Tuesdays, and if I made my best-in-the-world mashed potatoes on a Tuesday when she wasn’t here Sym would murder me, so I decided to postpone the chicken/potatoes/salad until Wednesday. No big deal, right?

Wednesday BOTH sump pumps for my building up and died, and while TECHNICALLY we could still use the sink, every drop of water that went down the drain increased the likelihood of sewage coming up through the toilets. There was NO WAY I was going to be able to drain boiled potatoes and wash vegetables without using the sink, not to mention handle raw chicken without being able to wash my hands! The plumbers weren’t finished until 6pm, which was way to late to start cooking dinner for Gwen so we got takeout instead and I decided to postpone the chicken/potatoes/salad until Friday.

Friday my cat died and I was too sad to cook so I decided to postpone the chicken/potatoes/salad until Monday. I put the chicken in the freezer because it was nearing its best before date and made a mental note to take it out of the freezer on Saturday night so it would be defrosted by Monday.

Saturday I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer.

Sunday I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer.

Monday the chicken was still frozen. I took it out of the freezer and decided to postpone the chicken/potatoes/salad until Wednesday.

Wednesday I FINALLY made the chicken and potatoes, but the salad greens had wilted (no surprise there) so we had corn instead.

Time from planned date of meal until actual cooking & eating of meal: EIGHT DAYS

Weekend Plans

At the start of this week the money I raised on kickstarter was transferred into my bank account, so tomorrow I’m going to the leather supply store to choose the hides (as well as snaps, a snap setter, better scissors, etc)! I’m super excited about it.

In the end after all the fees were deducted I received about $1,150 (so the fees were close to $170). That extra $150 above my goal is still enough that I can get a custom leather stamp made, which is pretty cool! I’m going to be ordering that today.

Other than that I think I’m going to:
– drink wine
– watch Life After Beth

– get my nails filled because it has been FIVE WEEKS and they are seriously disgusting, like super grown out and way too long so I keep catching them on things and hurting myself
– work on the custom mini-banner backer rewards

Happy Friday, everyone!

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Sept 9th

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I went to the vet today, to pick up Claire’s ashes. When I had her euthanized I had a choice between communal and private cremation. Private costs more* (obviously), but in the end it’s what I chose- not because I was super desperate to have her ashes, but because I kept picturing a pile of dead pets just being shovelled into an incinerator like coal into a furnace** and it was a VERY UPSETTING MENTAL IMAGE. Of course on Friday night I kept picturing her lying all cold and alone waiting to be cremated and I cried my face off about that as well.
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Over the weekend I started clearing out Claire’s things from around the house. It was hard and sad but I felt like getting it done sooner rather than later would be good. It was especially sad throwing out her litterbox, not because I was particularly attached to it, but because I could see she hadn’t used it in over 24 hours before she passed. Also when I took it out to the garbage room along with an unfinished bag of cat food a woman was in there with her spaniel and she said “I feed the same brand of food to my dog!” and then tried to start a pet convo with me, and what was I going to say? “O yeah I used to give my cat this food but then she died.” I just smiled and mumbled awkwardly before throwing everything in the dumpster. Anyway. I took her leftover insulin and the sharps box of used syringes back to the pharmacy to be disposed of properly. Her unused syringes I gave to the vet, as well as a blood glucose tester, test strips and lancets, for them to pass along to another owner of a diabetic pet.
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I don’t regret my decision to have my cat put to sleep; I’ve been looking through my pictures of her from only a few weeks ago and it’s so clear that she was at the end. She just fell into such a fast decline, to be honest I think if I hadn’t taken her to the vet when I did she would have died the next day anyways. I miss her though, I wish she didn’t have to go. Sometimes I still think I hear her in the bathroom, meowing for us to come turn on the tap for her to drink out of, or just meowing because… cat.

* I was told it would $60-$80 more for private cremation, since Claire was such a very small cat (at the time of her death she weighed just 5 1/2 pounds). In the end the euthanasia + private cremation cost $200, although I declined a receipt so I don’t know the actual breakdown of charges.

** I’m sure they don’t just like… shovel them in BUT it’s what I kept thinking about.

September 8th

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Thank you to everyone for your comments on my last post. I miss my stupid cat so much, but writing that post really helped so I appreciate everyone who read it.

This is what I was planning on posting about last Friday…

Gwen has always hated playgrounds. Maybe I didn’t take her to enough of them when she was little(r), but once we started going it was pretty much a wash. The “good” playgrounds are all too far for her to walk, and if we took her in her stroller all she wanted to do was get back in the stroller and not play at all. She didn’t enjoy slides or baby swings, and the climbing equipment at the nearby playgrounds was all to big/advanced for her.

Last week that all changed, and when I took her to the playground at the school she actually played. SHOCKING. She really likes these rocking/bouncy animals, and even climbed up some stuff and went down a single slide. AMAZING. Her absolute favourite though, is the swings. Not stupid baby swings for babies, but REAL swings (although toddler swings with a seat back are okay too).
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Too cool for school (playgrounds).
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On the weekend we checked out some unfamiliar playgrounds along the Seawall in Yaletown to see if she’d play or just run back to the stroller.
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Again, the swings were her favourite. I just wish there was a more toddler-friendly playground a bit closer to our house (COUGH COUGH MAYBE AS A REPLACEMENT FOR THE STUPID UN-FUN PLAYGROUND STRUCTURE IN NELSON PARK, VANCOUVER PARKS BOARD. GET IT TOGETHER).

A few other pics…
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Weird mystery barge in False Creek, can anyone tell me what’s on the go here???
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Pumpkin Spice Bébé. This was on Friday and I was SO SAD, then this lil goof started pumpkining around. How could I not smile?

The Cat Who Cried Wolf

Early this afternoon I said goodbye to Claire, my cat of sixteen years. There were so many times this summer when I thought she was at the end of her life, whole days she spent lying in my closet and crying piteously. Every time I’d think “This is it, this is the end” and every time she’d come strolling out of my room a few hours later all “Who, me? I’m fine! I’ll outlive all you suckers!!!” I was like, “How many times can this cat fake her own deathbed?”

Other than these “bad days,” she was mostly her normal self, playing slappy-paws with Georgie, sitting next to me on the couch and purring louder than a motorcycle, climbing up and down her tower and hopping up on the bathroom counter to drink out of the sink. This week it all changed. First she stopped eating. I thought it was just another one of her bad days, but one day turned into two, which turned into three. Without her eating I couldn’t give her insulin for her diabetes. She started losing weight rapidly, and yesterday she stopped drinking water. We all tried feeding and hydrating her by hand but she wouldn’t or couldn’t do it.

This time there was no mistaking it; it was the end. I spent the day yesterday wracked with guilt and indecision over what to do. Would it be selfish of me to just let nature take it’s course so that I wouldn’t have to face the hard reality of deciding to have her euthanized? Or would choosing euthanasia be selfish since that way I wouldn’t have to deal with her health problems anymore? Also, why do pets have to die anyway, because that is some SERIOUS BULLSHIT.

Last night I talked it over with some people in a discussion group I’m in on facebook, and they helped me come to the decision that the most humane, gentlest thing to do for Claire was to have her put to sleep. She was clearly suffering, and I didn’t want to leave her in pain just so I could feel better. This morning when I woke up I found that she couldn’t walk anymore and I knew it was definitely the right thing to do. I called the vet as soon as they opened and immediately burst into tears. I cried the whole time I was booking an appointment for 12:30 today, and after that all I could do was wait. Wait and cry.

I spent the morning trying to keep her comfortable, petting her and making sure Gwen and the dogs didn’t clobber her. At noon I moved her from beside my desk into a sunbeam that shone through the living room window. She always loved lying in sunbeams and I wanted to give her one more warm, happy moment. We all sat around her and told her we loved her and she was a good cat and it was ok.

Taylor stayed at home with the little ones and Sym came with me to the vet. Claire hated to go into pet carriers against her will so I carried her there in my arms. The vet and all the assistants were wonderful, so gentle and kind. We stayed in the room with her until the end. Sym sang “Amazing Grace” but replaced all the words with “meow.” We told each other stories about all the silly things Claire used to do, we made each other laugh and cry. We told Claire goodbye, and then she was gone.

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baby kitten in my lap, 1998
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surrounded by love on her last morning, 2014

She was the best little kitty ever, and I will miss her so much. Goodbye, Claire.