Sophie(+) Sunday

During my blogging drought, much has happened in our household dynamic. Most notably and awesomely, Sophie is no longer an only child. I mentioned my desire to rescue another cat about six months ago…well, it didn’t go exactly as planned. It started okay enough. I fell in love…like head over heels in love…with this little puffball who looked like a “Charlotte” to me:


One of the photos posted on the rescue agency’s website.

You see, in my head, I’ve been hoping to rescue another cat for a long time. A girl can dream, after all. Due to her kidney problems, Sophie would be considered a “less adoptable” cat if we didn’t find her…and what a loss that would have been if no one was ever on the receiving end of her affection. I knew that if I ever got the chance to adopt again, I wanted a “less adoptable” cat…an older cat, and injured or ill cat (as long as Sophie’s health wouldn’t be in jeopardy), or a black cat. The long-hair was sort of a foregone conclusion for me…most people do not know how or want to care for a cat with long hair. They require a bit more maintenance than your average cat. However, none of that occurs to people when they simply set their eyes on a cute, fluffy kitten.

When Nick gave his [resigned] go-ahead, we talked it over with our vet. She strongly urged us to bring in a kitten if we wanted Sophie to bond with her new sibling. (So, an older cat was out of the running.)

We first popped into a a rescue agency in early June, but that was a little early for this year’s batch of kittens to be old enough for adoption. Still, we walked around and visited with the cats in cages…those places are heartbreaking. I have such admiration for people who work there and don’t end up adopting 100 cats. The surrendered cats especially…they all look so sad…looking for their owners and feeling so abandoned.

Side note:

I quickly bonded with a beautiful boy named Mareo. He was a long-haired polydactyl with soulful eyes. I had such a strong connection to him that I would have ignored that he wasn’t technically a kitten. Unfortunately, Mareo had something else working against him…he was FeLV positive. He could only go into a single cat home or a multicat home if the other cats were also FeLV positive. I followed him closely on the agency’s website…scheming who of my cat-less friends I could coerce into adoption. He was finally adopted on September 14th…then surrendered soon after his new owner discovered she had a serious allergy to cats. I was so very happy when I saw he was adopted for good on September 21st…and this time it stuck.

Anyway, back to Charlotte. We met her a week after our first visit to the rescue agency. The foster mom was pretty intimidating at first…which is good. She took in 3 of a 6-kitten, all-black litter when they were 3 weeks old (another volunteer took the other 3). She was a protective mama-bear, making sure her babies would go home with trustworthy people. She warmed up to become something more like you’d imagine Mrs. Clause would be as soon as she made her decision about us. She took us back to one of the little rooms where people can interact with cats.

Either she liked what she saw in me or I had “SUCKER” written on my forehead, because she kept adding cats to the little room before stepping out to give us some time to engage the kittens. If you’ve never been in a confined space with at least three highly socialized 8 week old kittens, you haven’t lived.

Seriously.

After a space of time—I have no concept of the actual amount of time due to my zen, kitten-addled state—the foster mom stepped back into the room and sat in the chair I had vacated when I popped down to the floor to be overrun with kittens. She told us that there were many inquiries into Charlotte and her brother who was in the room ( see were both long-haired cats). She had Charlotte narrowed down to either us or another lady she said. Then she got crafty.

She gestured toward’s Charlotte’s sister who was also in the room with us (at the time her name was Kira). She said, and I know this is verbatim because it flipped a switch in me, “Nobody wants this one.” Since that Saturday was the first time ever they were onsite at the rescue, and we arrived minutes after they opened, it had to do with something on the online listing. I’m 100% sure it was because of one of the photos they posted for Kira on the rescue site. You see, they caught her mid-yawn. When I saw it, I thought it looked like she was smiling, I thought she looked adorable. However, I could see how someone less familiar with cats could mistake it for a hiss.


Aside from ridiculous and untrue superstitions, black cats aren’t typically adopted because it’s difficult to photograph their expressive faces.

Then she played her fall-card: “If you agree to adopt Kira as well, I’ll guarantee that you will get [Charlotte].” Now whether or not there were any other inquiries on Charlotte or that was just a ploy, I’ll never know. I trusted her statement on the brother because she didn’t try to push him on us. There’s also a belief (that has since been proven untrue by animal behaviorists) that it’s easier to integrate a male kitten into a multicat household than a female…and that male cats are friendlier in the end. All completely untrue of course. It’s just a stigma that has been perpetuated long enough to become an uncontested truth. Male kittens have a better chance for adoption.

Even without the dangling carrot of Charlotte, I knew that we were bringing Kira—who we renamed Emma—home. Nick told me later that he was prepared to walk out of there with 2 kittens all along…but I honestly only had single-cat intentions going in. The rescue agency was neutering them that week, so we could take them home the following weekend.

Kittens!!!
 
Casual Sunday

So, there you have it. The cats now outnumber humans in this house…the kittens are growing like weeds, and Sophie has adapted to them very well. She has even come to their defense when a cat we were cat-sitting was growling at them. Typical big sister…she doesn’t have patience for their energy ALL the time, but she won’t let anyone hurt them either.

Pretty Little Sophie

Chronicles

By all blog appearances, it would seem that I dropped from the face of the planet, yes?

I’ve been trying to figure out some things in my life, and the black hole of cyberspace was not the ally I needed. I can’t seem to shake the journalling bug though, scribbling notes in a little notebook. There is something deeply satisfying in taking a pen to paper at the end of the day…technology be damned. I kept diaries as a young girl…I did not write in them every day, but every so often I had a fevered emotional purge as the words spilled from my pen. This is not a new form of release for me.

Digitally, I’ve published my inner monologue in one form or another since 2002. I belonged to a fitness forum then. I met many wonderful women there, and I am still in contact with many of them. They were the return embrace I needed when I was in North Carolina (away from my family) and trying to find my identity during weight loss.

You see, right or wrong, the harsh reality is that people treat an overweight person differently than a fit person. I was struggling then to hold onto that strand of “me” that made me who I was. I was afraid that I would become less authentic, much like I felt others treated me when my appearance started to fit a cultural norm. I did not trust my instincts…I did not believe anything that anyone said, either.

Obviously I made it through that period of my life…a little worse for wear, but in solid possession of my knowledge of self.

I am facing a similar complex now. A year on 24/7 Fentanyl, OxyContin, and Zanaflex left me with a nearly defeating weight gain…I’ve seen numbers on the scale that I swore I would never see again. I’ve been feeling like I failed myself, I broke an oath. Feeling sorry for myself, I developed a self-sabotaging victim mentality and all progress halted.

I accept my share of the blame for the pockets of lost time since April when I finally rid myself of the worst of the daily prescription narcotics. Back in the early 2000s when people asked how I lost so much weight, I would say, “Persistence.” My redemption cannot be a half-hearted, part-time job. That doesn’t work…what’s sick is that I know it doesn’t work. I’ve known it for nearly half my life now.

There are always roadblocks when focusing on calorie intake and expenditure. For me, it’s physical as much as it is mental, but I need to remind myself that the end justifies the means. I needed a way to make exercise a regular part of my routine.

The end of the day doesn’t work for me. My best hours are in the morning…which is why I start work earlier than most. And with that, I would like to share some of the notes I captured on what I cheekily named The Laura Project.


October 19, 2015: Day One

So, today’s the day. Today I start to build a habit—a healthy one for once.

When I lost weight the first time, everybody asked the expected, “How did you do it?” At the time, I would reply, “Everyone knows how to lose weight. If you want it badly enough, sacrifice—focus, persistence— seems easy.”

I still believe in that answer.

With all my project management and lean methodology training, my problem solving efficiency is without compare…except when it comes to myself it seems. At the end of the workday, I am physically and mentally spent. I cannot seem to muster the energy for regular evening exercise even though that would fit into my schedule best.

The answer, of course, is to exercise in the morning. Another old Laura addage—man, I used to be smart. I should write a self-help book for myself (for the next time I fall), right?

All self-mocking aside, morning truly is the best time to build any routine. There is nothing to alter the storyline in the beginning…no tangents to entertain or schedule changes to swallow.

It helps that I am a morning person, I suppose.

I have struggled with morning exercise. I need pain medication in my system before I can even move around and get dressed for my day. So straight from alarm clock to exercise mat?

No can dosville, baby doll.

(In case me of the future reads this with utter confusion, that’s a How I Met Your Mother reference. That’s was the show with Doogie Howser all grown up…you remember.)

So here’s where the problem compounds. When I start doing the math, I feel dispirited.

I need at least 30-45 minutes for the pain medication to take effect. Since I cannot perform high impact exercise anymore, I need to make sure I exercise for longer periods of time…an hour is a good number, so let’s go with that. After that’s done, I need to cool down, rehydrate, and I’ll be near-homicidal until I get something to eat. Let’s time block that at 30 minutes. Then, I’ll need to shower, blow out my hair, apply makeup—oh yes, and get dressed—that’s another 45 minutes. All that has to happen before I leave for work at 6:30 in the morning.

In case you lost count, I need to be out of bed a minimum of THREE hours before I leave for work if I am going to fit in exercise…to be concise, I need to roll out of bed no later than 3:30 in the morning. Even as a morning person, that feels a teensy bit early. If I woke up at 3:30 before this nonsense (and I have), I would curse insomnia and stew about my lack of sleep until I get up at 4:30 (or 5:00 if I’m feeling lazy).

BUT—
How did that go again? “If you want it badly enough, sacrifice—focus, persistence— seems easy.”

So, I am on a quest to make a habit out of getting up at 3:30 to workout. One good habit leads to another, then another, then…you get it. If I’m getting up that early, you’d better believe I’m journaling my food to make sure I don’t out-eat my exercise…to make sure the missed sleep was not in vain.

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit…here’s where I begin.

The alarm went off this morning, and I wasn’t sure what to do at first. I hit snooze so it would quiet down enough for me to think.

It all started coming back to me…and my excited energy grew. I started chatting at my half-asleep husband like the irritating morning person that I am until I realized that getting up at 3-something was my deal, not his.

I climbed out of bed and started my day as planned…game on.

20 more days until this feels normal.


A couple days later, I changed the alarm to 3:15 to give myself a little cushion. Today marks 21 days. I’m down nine pounds.

I’m doing it.