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pet cemetery

I took this photo after everybody left the burial area yesterday. It shows the cement blocks that we have used to cover all the pets that died since we came to live here in 1999. JJ the cat, AnnieCat, Butterscotch the hamster and Chloe's gerbil (can't remember it's name) - Tenzing was buried up closer to the house on the lawn. It was nice that we had so many people here to bury Oo-tapo. Jules dug the hole - Oo-tapo was originally his dad's cat. And during the time Oo-tapo lived with us Johnny and Chloe both fell in love with him. It was nice to see Chloe's fiance Mike and Johnny's girlfriend Alison hugging them as we stood around and reminisced.

my self portrait from last night

Today - sad - maybe sadder than yesterday. Yesterday I was feeling relief from what a burden Oo-tapo had become at the end but today I am just remembering and missing who he was before the very end got so messy. He truly was a very good cat - a very good "person" - kind and caring and good - nothing mean in him. Thank you all for your nice comments yesterday - they mean a lot to me and it helped to read them.

Today I walked with Candi on Oak Hill and we saw some beautiful trees. The bark was very shiny - metallic - like lightly tarnished silver. Dave says they are yellow birches.


Today was the first day to walk in the woods without big rubber boots - felt so good to get back into regular hiking boots.


Apr. 5th, 2015 04:13 pm
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in Johnny's coat - he was such a sweet boy and loved being close to your chest so he could head bump your chin 5 more )
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I fully expected to find Oo-tapo gone this morning, but when I turned on the kitchen light he jerked his head in my direction. I petted him for a long time. He moved his head some and his legs a tiny bit - I'm sure he can't sit or stand up though. I gave him some water with the eyedropper. It seems like I have watched so many people and animals die. The weight of them all is so heavy. For some people it takes an awful long time to die. Oo-tapo has been doing it since 2010. The vet told me then not to expect him to last much longer and would have put him to sleep on the spot but I wanted a little more time with him and took him home. She gave me a bunch of pain meds to give him in case over the weekend he started to be in pain and I wouldn't be able to bring him in to be put to sleep. She thought he had a large tumor in his abdomen. I know the date cause I found this page in my AYOA book where I first drew Death approaching:

4-2-2010 Friday

Five years later - it just goes to show the medical/veterinary profession doesn't always know. Though the meds they gave me did help and have probably kept him going all these years. Without them he would not have lived at all.

Easter Sunday - the awakening day, the day of rebirth - the day the spirit defies death. I hope Oo-tapo can die today. It really is time now. Dave said yesterday, "Pat, come and help Oo-tapo." Oo-tapo doesn't know how to let go. Pat, Oo-tapo's original owner died in 2005 and we have had Oo-tapo ever since. If there is such a thing as life after death it will be wonderful to have them reunited. They did love each other a lot.

On a brighter note - the kids (not the grandkids though) will all be here today. Johnny and his girlfriend Alison spent the night last night and are going to cook an Easter dinner for us. They both love to cook and I am happy to turn the kitchen over to them. I did the dishes this morning and it's all ready for them. Chloe and Mike will come later and Jules will come over too.
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my cafe table art center - Oo-tapo in the background sleeping in the chair

I got in the habit of doing art first thing in the morning when I was at Kathy's and I want to keep it up now that I am home again. I got an idea to do a little painting showing our gray world, but with the roots of spring below the ground.

Most the time I never know what to eat. As a compulsive eater I could (and used to) think about food all the time, what I would eat next, what I would cook or bake or get next. Now I am very much on guard against that type of thinking. Now I err on the side of not planning or thinking about food enough. I just eat what I can find. This morning I found a bag of peanuts in shells. I need to make a shopping list of healthy foods to have here so I can keep up not thinking about food and still have good food to eat. Peanuts aren't that bad but I need more.

I decided to get all the Soulcard cards. The second deck arrived while I was gone.

Woke up with a sore throat and laryngitis this morning.

Oh no! Just discovered that we forgot to go to the appointment with our tax lady - have to get going...


Mar. 24th, 2015 11:25 am
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two of pentacles - Golden Tarot

I am the one who...
juggles two things at once, into infinity. There are 2 ships in the background - the one on the right looks like it is flying up into the air, which I thought was interesting since I will be taking a plane up into the air tomorrow and that is what is on my mind today. It looks like the figure is underground though, in a depression, the sea in the background is higher than the land. The person looks a little doubtful that they can keep things spinning in place. I feel that way too. I don't feel terribly confident at the moment, but I know I will feel better once I am on my way. That's the way it always is - so nervous before hand but once I am committed and truly started the worries will fall away and it will become an adventure. My main worry: Oo-tapo will pass away while I am gone. I worry about that every time I go away but this year I think it will happen, or very soon after I get back. He eats hardly anything anymore - is skin and bones. He gets up and walks around, comes for attention, sleeps comfortably - so I don't think I should put him to sleep - he has no misery to be relieved from. It is we who suffer from seeing him so ratty instead. I don't know why I worry about not being here. He could and would die even if I am here - I can't keep him alive, I know that. I guess I want to be here to supervise it, make sure he's not alone. I have to let go of that.

Juggling - packing, checking things off the list, paying last minute bills, checking bank account figures, doing dishes, watching a netflix movie (Foxcatcher) so it can go back, changing sheets and doing laundry. Time to fill the bird feeders one last time. Yesterday I went shopping and I found a pair of lightweight khaki color pants and 3 different types of pens. After I got them home I found that none were as good as the original Atlantis. But then in looking around in drawers I found 3 older Atlantis pens that had never been used so I'm set anyway.


I decided to take loose pages and draw and write on them while I am gone - then I won't have so much to carry. I can insert them into my big journal when I get back. That's what I did last year too. This is my first page which Gabe has already written something on - his signature G+G heart and the words, "have a wonderful trip in florida 3/23/15" - a very sweet sendoff. I think it is interesting that the collage picture for this page is something I found in an old National Geographic - a story about people who raise reindeer. This is a photo of a young reindeer being taken on a raft. They needed to bundle it up and tie it safely down so it wouldn't hurt itself while traveling. I can very much relate to needing extra care while being taken away from home.


Jan. 15th, 2015 05:40 pm
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Oo-tapo sleeping in his favorite spot on the fresh couch cover.
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cat kitchen cages

I keep rationalizing that this is only temporary so it's okay to fill the kitchen up with cages. After Oo-tapo is out of the picture (he is 19 and in bad health) this hopefully all will be gone. The management problem we are having at the moment is Skye is getting FAT. She loves to eat! When she first arrived over here she was a slender young kitty. Now she's beginning to waddle. When I feed the cats she gobbles her food so fast and then hovers inches away from Oo-tapo and Milo's faces while they are eating so she can swoop in and get their food too as soon as they are done. They can't take the pressure and usually give up before they are done with their portion. So I got the brainy idea to put her in a cage while the others finish their food in comfort. I have Oo-tapo's big golden cage (with litter box, bed and water) on the left where I put him when I can't supervise him (overnight and when I am out of the house) and on the right a smaller black cage where I lock Skye up (to eat her portion of food) while the other cats are peacefully and slowly eating their portions. I felt very clever when I got the idea.

And as another update - it is working out very well to keep Oo-tapo in his cage when I can't be supervising him. The peeing and pooping in the wrong places in the house has totally stopped. Many times he prefers to be in the cage - he's in it with the door open in the photo above.

Pet management can never be simple it seems. I love it when I can find solutions to problems.
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33. Name every pet you have ever had...

This won't be easy...

I think the first dog we had when I was very young was named Tippy. I don't remember him though. When I was one we got a dog named Trixy and he was very important to me. He died when I was ten. I had a pair of turtles when I was about 8 years old named Laurel and Hardy. I got a sweet collie-mix dog named Queenie when I was 10. At age 16 I got a spaniel-mix dog named Lady who lived with me through some very tumultuous years. Around age 21 my first husband Pat and I got a pretty black dog named Sugar - she had pups and they probably had names but I don't remember the names - we gave them away. Pat and I had a lot of cats but I only remember the name of one, he was crippled, Quasimodo - all those cats disappeared in a mysterious way. Then we had a yellow tabby cat named Ricky and an all black female named Cecelia. We had about 50 white mice but the only one I named was Mommy Mouse - she was the start of the 50. We also had a cat named Kitty. Later we got a Shih Tzu dog named Meeko. We got a lizard when we were in California but I can't remember it's name. We had a pretty blond puppy named Sally - she didn't live long. We had many more cats, all siblings - Flower, Graymalkin, Pierre, and 2 more I can't remember. We had lots of chickens - I would consider them pets - they all had names at the time but I don't remember most of them. We had Black Heart and King Tut the roosters. I had Dorothy a wonderful black chicken who lived till she was 8 years old. We had a dog named Pal. I got my first goat, Nanny - my beloved. And then we got Greta and Hilda. Nanny had kids that we kept named Rosie and Honey. Honey had a kid named Pee Wee that we kept. Honey was with us for a very long time. Pat and I divorced and I met Dave and inherited his pets, Miss Kitty (Puff), Matt Dillon the Labrador Retriever, Patches the cat, Rooster Cogburn (the rooster) and Midnight the black pony. Dave and I had chickens too - I wish I could remember their names - Hermione is the only name I can remember at the moment. I had a crazy mean poodle-mix dog named Teddy and Johnny had a beagle dog named BJ. We had a gold fish named FeFe that lived for a very long time and grew quite large. We got a sweet tempered mutt named Pup Dog. We had a Lhasa Apso named Tenzing - I used to write about him here - he died in 2012. We had Annie Cat, another pet I have had since I started writing on LJ. We still have Milo and Oo-tapo (a cat I inherited from first husband Pat after he died). And now we have Skye. And we have Indigo (a beta fish) and Yoshi (a bearded dragon) living with us at the moment too.
summersgate: (eggshells)
One of my favorite sayings is, "Am I living in the problem or am I living in the solution?" Probably cause I tend to focus on problems so often - living in worry and dread.

The solution. First of all I needed to figure out how to keep Oo-tapo from peeing and pooping all over the house. The vet suggested I confine him to a small room that has a linoleum floor and a litter box so he has no choice but to go in a safe place. I outfitted the bathroom that way last night and then I also set up a large cage in the kitchen so at night or when I am gone for long periods of time he can be confined there.

Oo-tapo sleeping in his cage just now - with the door open - he goes in voluntarily which is nice.

I took out the cafe table and put the cage in its place.

So far he has been using the litter boxes that are available to him to use in the areas I allow him to be - so yay! There is a solution. Better than living in dread and fear of where he is going to mess next.

The vet got back the results of the urine test this morning and it seems he has crystals in his urine - which could make him uncomfortable when he pees - maybe why he is avoiding peeing in the (proper) places he used to pee. So now I have a special diet to feed him plus antibiotics to give. At least there is SOMEthing I can do that might help. Good.


Oct. 27th, 2014 01:00 pm
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A pretty picture of the Allegheny River with Franklin in the background this morning.

I walked with Candi this morning but we didn't walk in the woods - we walked on the bike trial instead cause my right knee seems to have something wrong with it today and I didn't want to make it worse with going up and down hills.

I am waiting for the veterinarian appointment that I have for Oo-tapo this afternoon. I dread it. Oo-tapo is doing well as far as eating and walking around and being alert though he is losing a lot of weight. But worst of all for the whole household is that he isn't using the litter boxes at all anymore. I can cope with that if it's happening on the basement floor and I can clean up the messes easily but now he is even doing it upstairs and in our carpeted bedroom. Dread, dread, dread. I dread having to do something about it (put him to sleep? can't stand that thought). What else can I do about it? I have put fresh new clean boxes in the areas he is going to the bathroom already but then he avoids the boxes and finds a new place that isn't a box. In his old age it's like he says he refuses to use a litter box of any kind anymore. He still seeks me out and wants to lay on my lap to cuddle and get love. He has his mind, still, to a certain extent - except when it comes to litter boxes. Baa... I hope the vet can give me some hope.


Oct. 21st, 2014 07:52 am
summersgate: (determined)
yesterday's self portrait drawing with some photoshop thrown in - not even sure what this means, just something that came to me to draw

today - my right hand

Going to stay home today and finish up my work. And I need to clean house too. Tomorrow an old acquaintance, Cathy S is coming to see my studio. I met her a long time ago, back when I was going to craft shows with my jewelry. She did beaded jewelry back then but now she is doing wire weaving and wire wrapping. I would like to learn more about that and she would like to learn about soldering so we are taking turns visiting each other's workshops. Also need to set up an appointment for Oo-tapo. They say they won't give me any more prescription refills over the phone until I bring him in for a checkup. It is always so expensive cause they want to do blood work. He is nearly 19 years old and I don't know if I want to put him through the stress of blood work - he struggles and tries to fight them off. But I do know that he needs the meds - he wouldn't be here without them. This is the part of pet ownership I hate - making life and death decisions.

So very, very dark out this morning. Raining.
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We have an new cat. Her name is Skye. Jules got her last spring - she was a year old then but with his allergies and her tendency to get on his kitchen counter while they were away all day she just wasn't working out over there. I didn't want her to go out of the kids' life so I volunteered to take her. Today will be her second full day here. She hisses when Milo or Oo-tapo get too close and she and Oo-tapo had a couple batting/fighting sessions because he tried to get too close but Milo is respecting her need to get to know him slowly. They actually touched noses this morning and have been laying down in each other's presence for long periods so I think they will be ok. Milo's favorite place (as always) is still in my studio room on my bed, Oo-tapo is always moving his favorite place but right now it is in the kitchen on top of the little cafe table and Skye has chosen the living room and a spot under the coffee table as her headquarters. I wish I could get a good photo of her but she is very active and seems to be always on the move - everything I take of her is blurry. She was named Skye by the people at the shelter that Jules got her from. Skye, cause she was found up high up in a tree (close to the Sky) and unable to get down. She was about 4 months old then and spent the next year in the shelter. She was very thin and had ear mites when he got her. She has filled out into a smooth healthy young lady. It is very different to have such an active cat in the house - almost like having a dog. She likes to play with a laser pointer and is always exploring. Milo usually sleeps all the time, unless I am on "his" bed in my room and then he is head butting my arm for attention as I try to type on my laptop and Oo-tapo at 18 years old mostly sleeps all day too unless he is bothering me and asking to go outside to sleep in his cage. Whenever I walk out to the kitchen and go through the living room I see Skye come out from exploring under a table or chair or from behind Yoshi's tank or from somewhere to welcome me. She has taken it on as her job to greet people at the door. I think a really good thing for her has been that she had the continuation of the grandkids in her life when she moved over here.

Not that great of a photo but here she is meeting Yoshi for the first time yesterday - with Sebby's protective hand on her:
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The thing is I wouldn't have even seen him there except that he is very social so he meows a greeting when you come into the room - that's what gave him away.

(Dave loves cowboy movies...)
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In his old age Oo-tapo can turn up in quite strange places. I have never allowed the cats up on my workbench (and they have thankfully complied - till now) but lately I have been finding Oo-tapo sleeping up in my soldering area - or high up on the TV stand, or under the kitchen sink (he can open the door himself). He loves to be outside in his cage and if I don't put him out then he pays me back by running across my work area or the dining room table while we are eating or getting on my lap and staring at me while he digs his claws into my chest. It's like he's saying, "Put me out or else. Do you really like what I'm doing now? Wouldn't it be better if you let me out?" Right after I took this photo he got up and sprinted across my workbench - he's out now.

a photo

Aug. 11th, 2014 07:25 pm
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overexposed (how do you get details in a photo of a black cat?) oo-tapo sleeping on a mirror - just now

I've been watching the series Craft In America (season 1 - 2007) today. Very inspiring.


Aug. 1st, 2014 09:37 am
summersgate: (summer)
When I take old Oo-tapo out to his "Nature Box" (big metal cage in the yard near the bird feeder) he is skin and bones and falling out hair. When I bring him back after he has had his fill of watching birds and napping in the grass he definitely feels heavier, fatter and fuller. Weird.

Last night Jules, Gabe, Sebby and I did the 20 mile bike ride through Oil Creek Park to Titusville and back - second time for me and it seemed easier this time.

I think Jules and the boys and I will go to Erie later today for swimming at Presque Isle - after they all go and watch a movie. This is so good - this is how summer should be! Swimming and biking and walking.

I made zucchini bread last night with a huge zucchini and since I am a lazy cook I used a 9 x 13 pan instead of the 4 bread pans I probably should have used. It didn't cook through so I am re-baking it this morning. I don't know if it will ever test done.

Need to get some jewelry work done now, while I wait for them to get back from their movie...
summersgate: (eggshells)
Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it - fortune cookie.

I got the idea (not that I am a genius) the other day that maybe Oo-tapo might like hairball remedy on his medicine pill-pocket and maybe he would be enticed to eat it that way. He was! So yay. I just put the barest little bit on it and he gets busy licking it off and then eating the pill pocket right away. Though I still try offering the pill pocket the first time without, but then the next time I try with the HR on it and don't mess around with having to go back over and over to get him in the perfect mood to eat it like I did before.

Today is my birthday - 61 years old. My goal today is to stay positive. For some reason I find birthdays hard, not cause I am getting older (I really don't mind that at all) but because I feel entitled on my birthday and I get very sensitive to feeling forgotten and not cared for. Self pity is one of my biggest issues in life anyway and birthdays bring it out even more! So - today I'm concentrating on feeling Grateful. And I am. I walked into my studio room this morning - the sun was streaming in the window and it was so beautiful and I felt so at home. I was thinking about listing my favorite places to be (not in any particular order):
1. my room
2. on a bike
3. breakfast with Nancy
4. walking with Berdella
5. talking with Dave soul to soul
6. talking with Kathy
7. lost in a book
8. hanging with the grandboys (when they are getting along) and we talk and talk about everything
9. talking to anyone in a deep and soulful way

I have those things all the time! How lucky I am.

Some other things I like:
1. first cup of coffee and waking up in the quiet
2. the light dancing around the room on sunny mornings from the mirror curtains
3. the sound of the outside coming in through the windows in the summer
4. Oo-tapo on my lap while I watch TV
5. a long bath with candles (though I haven't had that for a very long time)

Running out of time to write. Dave is bugging me to get going. He and I are leaving soon to work on Chloe and Mike's new house. Dave is putting in a new electric service for them. Later...

my day

May. 30th, 2014 11:46 am
summersgate: (studio pix)

Not sure yet which of these beads I want to use or how many strands the necklace will be. I like to just look at them for a while and play around with different combinations. So that's what I'm doing today - interspersed with soldering jump rings for future uses, and watching episodes of Sherlock (year 2013 finally came out on netflix discs) and making a big pot of veg soup. And trying to get Oo-tapo to take his meds. He has morning meds and evening meds. He doesn't like to take either but for a long time I fooled him by putting them in Greenies pill pockets and then he ate them. But it has come to the point where he resists eating the pill pockets too. If I awaken him from a nap and he is still groggy he will eat the pill pocket though. So I have to try and find him while he is napping. But sometimes that doesn't work either. And I have to take the pill pocket away, let him fall asleep and try again later. He has become such a fussy eater. I really don't want to have to go to the place of prying his mouth open and shoving the pills down his throat. But without these pills he will die. He is 18 and very thin. He's a worry. Here it is nearly noon and I have tried multiple times to get him enticed to take his morning meds.
summersgate: (big girl camera daily)

Back when ex-husband Pat used to have Oo-tapo he was an inside/outside cat but after we inherited him and he came to live here I never thought it was a good idea to let him roam. Because of the highway and because I just don't like thinking of cats harming the birds and animals so now when Oo-tapo wants to go outside I put him in a dog crate for an hour or so. I have one crate out front and one out back (both sitting near bird feeders) - I put him in one or the other depending on the time of day and the weather. I took the bottoms out of the crates so he can eat grass if he wants to. Just now I was sitting out front doing my morning readings with Oo-tapo and took this photo. I tried Milo in the crate once but he was just plain scared and cried the whole time. He has only been inside all his life.

The grandboys and I did a bike ride last evening for about 1 1/2 hours. Dave is still looking for a bike on craiglist and ebay. He is looking for a bike worth $600 but selling for $200. That is his way - being satisfied only if he gets a bargain. I just don't work that way - I would have found him a bike weeks ago if it was up to me. It's frustrating for me to see him missing out. Oh well - patience...


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