Junior, our Wonder Cat

An artsy close up of Junior sleeping on our bed during better days.

We have a sick kitty.

Junior, our resident Wonder Cat is sick and I spend a lot of my day trying to make him feel better and get better.  Junior, who is a gray long haired mixed ancestry cat, is our sweet cat.  We also have Squeally, a calico with an opinion.  And an attitude.

Junior tore his ACL (or the cat equivalent) about six weeks ago.  We don’t know how, other than we went to bed on a Thursday night and everything was fine, but Friday morning he was hobbling on three legs.  We guess that he either jumped up or down from someplace high, and being slightly overweight and not going to the gym and working out, (wait, that’s me) he tore his ACL.

So, we promptly got him into the vet, who gave us pain meds and anti-inflammatory meds and he basically slept on a pillow for the next week or so.  We didn’t realize that he wasn’t eating and that cats who don’t eat can go into Hepatic Lipidosis (a/k/a Fatty Liver).  When cats go into a malnourished state, their bodies move fat to the liver to create energy.  Quite often they turn jaundiced and if not caught quickly, suffer organ damage and death.

We caught Junior’s jaundice but we are fighting a long war not a short battle.  He is going in for IV fluids a few times a week (trying to keep him hydrated and flush the toxins out)  and we are feeding him whatever and whenever he will eat.  We have to convince his body that he isn’t starving any more and to stop sending fat to the liver.  He is ahead of the game because he is still eating, but not eating as much as the vet would like.

So, if you like cats, send good thoughts toward Junior and his liver.We’ll keep up the trips to the vet, opening little cans of stinky cat food, and generally babying our big tomcat.

Beauty Parlors

I have a new haircut.

One way that I know I have a new haircut, other than the obvious reason that I was present when it was done, is that I have a really cute lock of hair that wants to fall into my left eye.  However, that lock of hair is blended and balanced into a chic updated “do” that takes ten years off my age.  (Or so my stylist promised.)

I remember a long time ago our moms and grandmothers used to visit the beauty salon and spend several hours there getting beautiful.  Some women even visited their salon weekly.  There were times I went with my Mom and I just didn’t get why these women would want to come into a chemical scented place, with hot dryers that imprisoned you in a chair, boring magazines, and lots of chitchat.  One home salon that my mom visited for a while also had a small TV where women could watch their soap operas while getting their hair done.  (Apparently, what is old is new again, because we now have a couple of local barber shops with multiple big screen TVs.)

I remember my Mom and my friends’ moms being gussied up after a visit to the beauty shop, but also that they were a little more relaxed, happy, and willing to tolerate us kids a little better.  Short of the beauty shop serving wine (which makes you wonder if they did), there must be something to taking time out for yourself and being pampered a little bit.

As a child, this just didn’t make sense to me.  As I got older and directed my own coiffure, I steered toward quick “in and out” chain salons that were identical from town to town.  Getting my hair styled was a chore, just like standing in line at the bank or washing my car.

Ironically, now that my hair is a little thinner and has a lot more natural highlighting (which shows up when you have a teenager in the house) I want to go back to the beauty parlor days.  I want to slow down, read some magazines, indulge in chitchat, and take time to be pampered a little bit.

Maybe a little beauty parlor time is what we are lacking in our rush-rush society today.  Just think how relaxed (and pretty) everyone would be if they just went to the old fashioned beauty salon once in a while.








Great Moments from a Younger Life

I really did think for a long time that I had run out of things to say about our personal loosening of apron strings.  As some of you know, I started this blog in 2012 when I had a one year count down to sending my son off to college.  We got him off to a university about 80 miles away from home in the Fall of 2013 and things seemed good.

Now it is Fall 2014 and it is necessary to look at these apron strings again as they continue to be stretched to their limit.

Today is the first road trip for my son and a friend.  They have decided to take a 300 mile round trip from Fayetteville AR to Springfield MO for a gaming event.  Now, Fayetteville is full of gamers and events, but this one, the one in Springfield, is the national pro-qualifier and the winner gets a paid entry and airfare to Washington DC for “The Big Game”.  So, they HAVE to go, right?

I will say that my son called on Thursday to tell me that he really wanted to go, but wanted my blessing.  That led to about 24 hours of my stressing over all sorts of bad things that could happen, but I knew down deep inside that: 1) he is ready to make a trip like this and 2) these kinds of trips are often completed successfully and turn into stories from “great moments from my younger life”.  I thought about the time when my college friends and I attended a Hall and Oats concert (a 300 mile round trip) the night before a physics test. The concert and trip were great moments, but unfortunately, the scores on the test were not “great moments from a younger life” for some of my friends. All of us have “great moments” that we look back upon and I’ve come to realize that we need to continue to have great moments in our lives no matter what age we are.

In about 4 days, I will be flying to Los Angeles by myself to conduct a training.  I’m not a great flyer, I’m going by myself, and Los Angeles……well, do I need to say anything else?  I’ve been secretly dreading this trip, but yesterday, one of my young (under 30) coworkers told me how much she wished she was going.  She rightfully saw it as an opportunity to have a great moment instead of the travel hassle that I saw.  So, that made me rethink the trip to Springfield for two college guys, some cards, snacks and a phone with a GPS.

So, in the immortal words of Elwood Blues and the original road trip,

” It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses.”

blues bros

Have a safe road trip to add to  your great moments, Calvin.  And call me when you get back!

Ready for School….Again?

Here we are, about three weeks away from Calvin returning to college to start his sophomore year. He is very “old hat” about it and knows his move in date. We have enjoyed having him home this summer and seeing him in different eyes. Many people have told me that I wouldn’t be able to wait to have him return and I have to say…..they aren’t entirely wrong, but they aren’t completely right either.

I see that Calvin is ready to go back. He has been in contact with his Texas friends and they’ve been discussing the new school year. He is making a life away from us, which is normal and right. I want him to be strong and capable, but I hope strong and capable doesn’t take him far far away and we don’t get to see him very often. (However, don’t tell Calvin, but if he moves someplace really neat and starts having grandchildren, we may have to follow him.)

So, I am excited for the new school year, but I’m going to miss him. (again)


Not just hair, but long hair.

My son has hair down to the middle of his back. Now for me, I have accepted this and he looks like Calvin with his long hair. However, I am worried that his long hair is affecting his social life and could affect his job opportunities this summer. With recent University events that required his monetary contribution, he REALLY needs a job this summer.

If his hair was a thick and wavy as Thor’s, I don’t think this would be a problem. However, Calvin’s gene pool dictates that he has straight fine hair that just hangs there. So, I have started a campaign of trying to get him to bring it up to a “longish collar length”. I even enlisted a young cute hairdresser to help, but he was dogmatic about the length of his hair and amount she trimmed off.

I have to say that my campaign is not going well and it goes against everything I stand for. I do not believe in going along with the crowd just for the sake of belonging. However, I do think that those of us who want to be individuals have to think about a few things:
1. There are “norms” that we still should operate under.
2. If you are different from everyone else, you have to accept the consequences.
3. The consequences may be that you don’t get as many dates or the ideal job early in your career.
4. Back up being different by being excellent in your career field, manners, and everything else.

Even with my “rules”, looks do matter. Apparently, we are endowed with an evolutionary history for categorizing things into “threatening” and “non-threatening” and that’s why we have survived all these years. So, certain things have become the accepted norm for each of these categories. Take these norms and add in the fact that over time, it is easier to change ethnic stereotypes than it is to change gender stereotypes, my son is fighting an uphill battle.

I am proud of him for creating who he is and how he looks. However, I know that at this time in his life, things would be a little easier on him, if he just modified his look a little……like by 6 inches of hair. We’ll see about that as the job search continues and the need to build up savings overrides the need for long hair.

Cheers to all you other individuals out there. What do YOU do to be different from others? (Keep it clean, please)

Nineteen Years Ago Today

Nineteen years ago today, I woke up after feeling a huge rubber band snapping in my belly.  Of course, it really wasn’t my husband snapping me with office supplies, but my body and my son deciding that was the “big” day.

I had been pregnant for the previous 41 weeks and like many other moms during that time frame, had put together a nursery, bought and washed little clothes, stockpiled diapers and gone to classes to learn how to give birth.  However, none of that prepared me for the reality shock – I was about to have a baby!  I was about to become responsible for a little person for the rest of my life.  How would we afford braces and a car, when would I do potty training, would it harm him if I went back to work, how would I discipline him, and……..the list of questions went on and on.

With a first baby, the only thing that hits you harder than a labor pain is reality.

Over the last nineteen years, my time was spent doing things things I knew, such as cooking, cleaning, driving and laundry, laundry, laundry.  I also spent a lot of time doing things I didn’t already know how to do, from learning how  to differentiate between baby cries, standing up for my decisions on child rearing, to constantly shifting how I balanced comfort, discipline, expectations and fun.  There were times I was not prepared and had to take action on the fly.  There were other times I was so totally prepared, but didn’t have to use those skills.  (We didn’t have the terrible twos, but the independent threes were something else.)

Nineteen years after my beautiful baby boy was born, I’m still learning.  I’m in the learning curve of being a parent to a (almost) grown up.  I can see my earlier work in his decision making and his reaction to the occasional bad decision.  I still worry and still do his laundry when he is home from college but I’m learning to sit back and let him take the reins of life.

So, Happy Birthday Calvin!  I’m so happy you came home for your birthday and brought your laundry!

Living on Campus

My son has already locked in his housing choice for 2014-2015 year at college.  He informed me that all his friends were selecting “the Quad”, a residence hall made up of units with four private bedrooms that share 2 bathrooms and a “living room”, and that he was selecting that option as well.

I think this is a great idea.  There are cheaper options, including living off campus, but I see this as a way to have some of the good stuff of living off campus while still having some control of the surroundings.  Having lived in different apartments in this same college town, I remember the different venues offered different life lessons such as: you can wear three sweatshirts inside to stay warm, walls don’t always keep you from hearing your neighbor’s conversation and apartments feel more claustrophobic if you don’t clean and declutter occasionally.  Already Calvin is learning about the last lesson in his 14 ft x 11 ft dorm room that is shared with a roommate.  Calvin has always been a bit of a “horizontal filer” (meaning all his belongings are on any horizontal surface) but now with limited space that must be shared, he is becoming a little more creative.

Other great things about living on campus: fire alarms and sprinklers in the buildings, tornado shelters and campus wide warnings, and from a student’s perspective, the ability to get up 15 minutes before class starts and still make it on time.

Like many young people, my son is chomping at the bit to be grown up.  To be on his own. And I’m glad he feels that way.  However, there are so many years ahead of apartment living, commuting and paying bills that I think he should enjoy these years on campus that are relatively carefree when it comes to housing, food and commuting.  Perspective is a funny thing.