The final post of 2022 and it’s embarrassing

Olive the cat
Olive the cat is very introverted.

We boarded Olive the cat for our vacation in Palm Springs. I got a call from the boarding place three days into our trip. Olive wasn’t drinking, eating, peeing or pooping.

It’s the first time she’s been at this boarding place, because the one we went to before closed. I was impressed with this new outfit. It was spanking brand new, had huge two and three level kitty suites complete with climbing towers and TVs! Cats can climb up and down through the suite through large holes cut in the platform levels.

I had left Olive with her Rx laxative, kitty soup and dry Friskies. She even had an old smelly t-shirt of my husband’s to make her comfortable. After a few phone calls, the boarding place said they’d take Olive to the vet if she didn’t settle down. They also put her in an empty bathroom, where she’d be all alone.

Our Olive isn’t exactly neurotic, but she’s a loner and trembles and gets frightened of new people and places. You’d think having a friend take care of her in our house would be the ideal situation rather than boarding her. But no, you’d be wrong. As long as my friend’s daughter took care of Olive she was fine when we lived in Palm Springs. The friend’s daughter got scared of Marco — our homeless guy who believed our house was his — so her dad took over Olive duty.

Olive doesn’t like strangers, but really doesn’t like men. The end result of the father taking care of Olive was a urinary tract infection — plus me purchasing two new comforters, sheets and mattress toppers.

I got a call five days into our trip that Olive was doing fine.

Now for the embarrassing part.

On our way home we stopped at the boarding place to pick up Olive.

They gave me her meds, foods and handed me her soft carrier. I insisted it was not the right one. Hers was black, I swore — and the one they tried to pawn off on my was gray with blue piping.

I had four frantic employees opening up every cupboard shelf searching for the black-sided carrier.

Finally, 25 minutes later, we came to the agreement that I’d take Olive home in their hard cased carrier and they’d deliver Olive’s carrier to our house once they figured out what happened to it. Maybe it went home with the wrong cat? Maybe the manager who was trying out new spaces to make Olive comfortable had placed it in a safe place?

Once home I decided to check on Amazon for my purchase of the carrier. This is what I discovered:

I had bought a gray carrier with light blue piping. Not black. I bit the bullet and called and apologized for being totally insane and a pain in the behind. Then I had to drive over there and exchange carriers and apologize profusely.

I realized my error. Waffles the pug and his carrier I bought six years ago. This is what I thought Olive the cat had too. She doesn’t get out much and Waffles get in his carrier daily.

Waffles the pug in 2016 with his black carrier.

Here’s to a New Year and sanity! What are your hopes for 2023?

What is causing this crisis?

Olive the cat keeps me calm.

I was listening to a podcast yesterday while driving to and from the post office with my Frango client gifts. I didn’t hear all of it, but what I did hear was disturbing. Our youth are in a mental health crisis. One in five contemplate suicide. Suicide is skyrocketing. Mental health has reached a crisis level and there is a shortage of mental health care professionals.

The podcast was quoting from a recent Washington Post article. (I’m not a subscriber so I looked for other free resources online.)

New research shows the number of teens with suicidal thoughts were already rapidly growing before the pandemic’s mental health impact.

The number of 5 to 19-year-olds who were hospitalized with suicidal thoughts jumped almost 60% between fall 2019 to fall 2020. 

“We need to really start thinking about the root of it all and looking at how we can prevent and intervene a lot sooner for our youth,” said Dr. Brewer.

https://www.fox13now.com/news/national/more-youth-showing-up-to-ers-struggling-with-mental-health-crises

When I was growing up, I didn’t hear much about mental health or suicidal thoughts in youth. I’m sure it was happening, but not talked about. But I’m also sure it wasn’t at crisis proportions that it is today.

What do you believe the cause is? What has changed from decades ago to today that affects mental health? Was it isolation due to COVID? Is it isolation due to smart phones? Is it bullying online? What other causes? Please discuss.

A bit of joy

One of our favorite restaurants, Pollo Lucas, across the border at the beach.

Yesterday I went to the YMCA to swim laps. I had to force myself to go because it’s been rainy, cold and gray. Not the ideal weather to jump in. I wanted to talk to the lifeguard, Wendy. I had told her about our Mexican getaway around a month ago.

She wrote down all my information about the rental agent, condo unit, restaurants, etc. Wendy said she was so excited to learn about the beach four hours away. She, like me, is a recent transplant to the Phoenix area.

Wendy made reservations for this past weekend — the same weekend my husband and I were there. I couldn’t wait to hear what she thought of it.

They were traveling with a couple who had recently retired. “Typical story,” Wendy said.”They worked all their life, finally retired and the husband got ALS and is in a wheelchair.”

She explained that her friend’s lives are very hard with the wife as the 24/7 caregiver and both of them homebound. She thought a trip to the beach was exactly what they needed.

I braved the cold to talk to Wendy and swim laps. I was the only swimmer there and had the pool to myself!

Last time we went to Pollo Lucas, this cat was sitting on the windowsill outside the restaurant.

Wendy was ecstatic! She literally thanked and thanked me some more. They loved everything about the beach and her entire family is planning on returning for Christmas. She said her friend with ALS cried he was so overwhelmed with joy.

I feel happy too, like I shared a bit of joy in someone’s life. I also feel good because I managed to get a swim in yesterday.

We did take out. One chargrilled chicken with the trimmings — but they (or we) forgot the rice and beans. This chicken dinner with homemade tortillas, pickled onions and salsa was $9 USD.

What has brought you joy this week? Have you done something that made someone else’s life brighter? What was it?

The cold shoulder

Olive the cat wanting attention
I tried to write my morning pages, but Olive had other ideas.

Olive has structure to her life. She has a routine that she closely follows.

5 a.m. She munches a bit of dry food.

5:10 a.m. Olive jumps on the bed to snuggle in and sleeps with us and stays on the bed after we get up.

9 a.m. She goes to her grassy patch and watches birds through the sliding glass door.

10 a.m. She sleeps on the rug in the sun.

11 a.m. Olive enters my husband’s office to jump on his lap.

2 p.m. Olive walks into the casita and wants me to stop writing. She wants me to read or watch TV on the sofa so she can lay down on my stomach.

4 p.m. It’s time for Friskies ‘Lil Soup. It’s a treat I give her after I call “Kitty Soup” and she answers “Meow-oup.”

And on it goes.

Yesterday there was no kitty on our bed. She didn’t snuggle us. She didn’t try to get on my lap while I wrote my morning pages. She wasn’t on her grassy patch or in my husband’s office.

She walked nonchalantly into the Casita a few hours later and stood under the end table by the sofa. From there she stared at me. Then she walked away and we haven’t seen her since.

I feel like I’m getting the cold shoulder from our cat. I wonder what did I do wrong to be treated with indifference? Or, perhaps she is reminding me that she’s a cat.

What are your pets’ routines? Do you think something is wrong when they vary from routines?

Questions for bloggers

Olive the cat on the sofa

Olive the cat hanging out in the casita.

Yesterday morning something odd happened. My blog post that was scheduled didn’t post. I had a small message in red type that said “Missed schedule.” That’s the third time it’s happened to me. I’ve made mistakes more frequently with my scheduling, like selecting p.m. instead of a.m. But how does WordPress miss a scheduled post? I thought it would happen automatically?

I want to know if that’s happened to anyone else?

Other questions I have for bloggers:

Do you schedule you posts in advance? How far in advance?

Where do you get your ideas?

What are your most popular topics?

What is a post you wrote that surprised you with the number of views and comments?

Have you seen “Amsterdam?”

Olive the cat laying on my journal
My typical morning trying to write three pages in my journal with Olive wanting my attention.

Yesterday we had plans to see the movie “Amsterdam” with our new friends who live around the corner. Yes, they are California transplants, too. It seems our neighborhood got filled with us during COVID.

Our neighbors bought the movie tickets and made reservations for dinner. I was looking forward to the movie because it stars Christian Bale and Margot Robbie. It’s directed by the same guy (David O. Russell) who did “American Hustle” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” Also, we never go out on a weeknight, so this was unusually fun for us.

My husband got a text from our neighbor that his wife got sick and they wouldn’t be able to go. They were going to the doctor instead. So they emailed us the digital tickets. Then my husband had an appointment in Phoenix. I was going to meet him at the movies 30 minutes away. Then he texted me that he wouldn’t be able to get away in time to make it to the movie.

Oh well. Best laid plans. Exactly where did the saying “Best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray” come from?

I looked it up and this is what I found:

best-laid schemes/plans, the

The most careful plans sometimes do not succeed. It was probably already a 
cliché by the time Robert Burns used the phrase in “To a Mouse” (1786): “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley [go often astray].”

The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

What plans have you had go astray lately?

Have you seen “Amsterdam?” Did you like it?

Kitty soup

cat in a cat carrier
Olive waiting for the vet. Not a happy camper.

I realized how much the cat adds to our daily lives when she hasn’t been feeling well for the past few days.

Olive refused to eat over the weekend and didn’t use the litter box. She spent most of the time under the bed in the dark.

I tried to tempt her with Friskies ‘Lil Soup. When I call “Kitty soup!” Olive usually runs to me and answers with a “Meow-oup!”

But to no avail. She wasn’t having any of it.

The vet pumped her up with fluids and meds, did blood work, took X-rays. They aren’t sure what is causing her discomfort, but hopefully the treatment will make her feel better. He said she has “obstipation” which is a new word I learned. It’s chronic or severe constipation.

I want Olive to get back to our routine, where she hangs out in my husband’s office in the mornings, sits on my lap in the afternoon while I read. She enjoys a good game of chase around the coffee table and sofa in the living room.

The vet discovered she has a gallstone that’s quite large with a piece broken off that’s moved into the bile duct. He’s not sure if that’s what causing her discomfort or not. He said it could have been there for years — or not.

Here’s the X-ray:

X-ray of cat's gallstone
The gallstone is the white spotty thing to the left and the small piece to the right and slightly higher.

Naturally, I had to research gallstones and what causes them. One cause is high cholesterol. Another is too much bilirubin. I’m worried about the results of her blood work. The liver could be causing the issues. Not good.

Have you had pets? How do they add to your lives?