Life’s Highs and Lows


This was my beautiful little Gigi.  She died on March 3.  I was devastated.  Which I thought was weird because I was considering giving her back to the shelter because her aggression never went away.  She had attacked me (involving blood dripping down my leg!) one week before her demise.

On Friday, March 2, I sat down to eat lunch at 2 p.m., and let her go outside.  She would normally stay on my front porch, or my back yard.  She headed out into the back yard (seen in photo).  At 2:45 p.m., I heard howling at my front door.  She was laying here, with her mouth agape, breathing very quickly and shallowly.  She tried to come in the house, but her back legs were paralyzed.  I called the vet whose first thought was that she had been hit by a car.  But she hadn’t.  I loaded her into the cat carrier for another one of those final rides.

The vet first tried to get her breathing under control.  #1 is always airway.  He kept her overnight, but told me he may be calling me anytime…. because he did not expect her to live.  He thought, after seeing her, that she had been poisoned.

The next morning, she was breathing, but still paralyzed.  I went in to the animal hospital to see her and she was completely miserable.  I could not make her endure this suffering.  The veterinarian agreed with me.  Thank God he is an AA friend and was so kind to me.  Hugs are very good when going through this agonizing decision.

I stayed with her until her last breath.  It was horrifying.  Absolutely the worst thing I have ever seen an animal go through.

I opted to not get her blood tested because I didn’t want her to have one more ounce of misery in this life.  Now I wish I had.  I really wish I knew what happened to her in 45 minutes on a sunny Friday afternoon that turned her from a healthy kitty to a dying cat.  But I don’t know.  I thought I could let go of the idea that someone poisoned her, but I haven’t.

Devastation.  I was utterly devastated.  And I wondered why.  But I think I figured it out.  I loved that cat.  I wouldn’t have kept her otherwise because she was a complete menace!    The other part was how shocking her death was, really awful.

There is a lot going on in my life.  A lot of family stuff.

There is also a whole lot of joy.  A whole lot of peace.   I am meeting with a spiritual director and she has me doing meditation every single day.  And then writing about it.  It is amazing to meditate on scripture and then write about it.  And then paint about it.  Yes, my spiritual journal is a watercolor book!

I ran into my old psychiatrist at work yesterday and I was so happy to tell him that I am feeling very very good.  He was happy to hear it.  He saved my life 5 years ago when I was going through the worst depression!  He thinks my saying he saved my life is hyperbole.  Whatever, I know what I know.  And I know he saved my life.

And I am getting ready for a trip to Hawaii!!!!!!!  I am beyond excited!





Posted in Cat, Gratitude, Hawaii, Joy, Peace, Prayer, Work | 2 Comments

This is how it works for me…

Remember my indecision last month about the travels? It just felt like it wasn’t the time.

Later in the month, my daughter who has been planning a May 2018 wedding for over a year now finally decided on a venue. After maybe 10 different decisions. She and my soon-to-be son-in-law decided to go to Hawaii. I wasn’t initially convinced that I should go. I thought it was ghastly expensive.

She kept calling for my opinions on which beach? Which flowers 🌸? What color leis? How should she have her hair done, etc. Now, mind you, this is my sober daughter, not her twin sister who has been all over the world.

After a week or so of these phone calls, I asked myself a question that seems obvious… why are you not going to her wedding?

I actually went to their home so I could see their plane tickets with my own eyeballs. And then I started planning my trip!

Something tragic happened on March 3 (which I will write about in a later post), and I realized once again that life is truly short and uncertain and I better live to the fullest while I am alive and have four working limbs. I sat down last Sunday and bought tickets, with upgraded seats, to Hawaii. I booked an oceanfront room. On the beach. And I cannot wait to go to my daughter’s wedding- at my 50th State!!!

I gave up shopping for clothes and shoes for Lent, so I shall not be shopping for a dress and shoes and swim suit and sundresses and sandals, ad infinitum, until April 2.

I am so excited and grateful. I actually really like my daughter’s fiancé and I’m looking forward to him being a part of my family.

God is so good, if I will take the time to look and listen.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments



This is a lovely winter scene I went and tried to paint last Sunday.  My daughter and I took a Nature Journaling Class last month, and I have decided this may be a lifesaver for me at the moment.  Long ago I quit painting because I realized my paintings were mediocre (at best).  I didn’t want to be a mediocre artist, so I just quit altogether.  Which could be an analogy for my early life.  Anyway, I have a little kit and tiny sketchbook and can go out with my little folding stool and do little watercolors.  And if they are little enough, who cares what they look like?  They are cute, they are evocative of the moment, and it is good for me to get outdoors and to paint again.

I am very tired from the job.  I am enjoying it, and the money is a miracle.  But holy cow, I am tired!  I am working full time between work and the one day I take “off” and work at church.

In my e-mail box a couple of weeks ago was a note from an iconographer who lives in Greece.  It listed his classes for 2018.  One is in a small town in Ireland.  I decided I really could go there.  I reserved a small room at the monastery for a pittance.  The class is a pittance, and the airfare is even reasonable right now.  And then I tried to actually figure out all the travel stuff.  And then my best friend who lives in England decided she really could meet me in Dublin and we could spend a couple of days together.  And then I tried to figure out how to get to this tiny place from Dublin.  And then I tried to figure out how to tell my best friend that I am NOT sharing a room with her as she is assuming.  I do not share a room with anyone.  Not my BFF, not my daughter, not my sister, not no one.  I just can not.

And then….  a woman from church told me about a trip to the Holy Land another parish is taking.  So then I went into fantasy land about a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  Which has been a dream.  It is probably $1,000 or $2,000 more than the trip to Ireland, but to go to Israel!  And I actually have the money.

And then…. I looked at the growing balance in my savings account and realized I don’t want to even touch it.

And then… I thought about all my travels in 2017 and how very much I loved every second of my “domestic” trips.  What fun and what adventures I had!

My sane and reasonable daughter is coming over this afternoon to help me to sort this out.  I hope.  I asked for her help.  She is so level headed and sane.  She also knows me well and most of the time has a much higher opinion of me than I do.  When I start freaking out, she always reminds me that whatever it is is just small potatoes compared with X that I sailed through before.

I am worn to a frazzle from work which makes it extremely difficult to think clearly.  I have a huge deadline next week and I am hoping to take some time off after that.  Just a day or two.  And then hopefully I can shrink my days at work to 2 or 3 a week.  I can handle that.  This 5 days is killing me now though.

I have no idea how I ever did this for enough years to earn a retirement.  Seriously.  Only by the Grace of God because this is impossible!

Any opinions about the trips would be appreciated, even if I ignore them…. thanks!

Posted in Family, Fear, History, Icons, Travel, Work | 8 Comments

Monthly Update?


This tree is on the campus of the hospital where I work.  I love the tree, but unfortunately, they made this a little smoking area, as you can see by the trash can and the cigarette disposal thing.  I am enjoying afternoon walk breaks at work, I love the campus and its old trees, buildings, and flagstone sidewalks.

After the first month of work, I have finally found my energy again.  It was shockingly difficult to start working again after a year off.  I was physically exhausted.  It was a little bit scary.  I think I am ok now.  I don’t know how long this gig will last, but I hope to enjoy it most days until it is done.  I am certainly enjoying the money.

Last week I got to meet one of my favorite bloggers, Dr. 24 Hours.  He is a young man, almost 10 years sober, living a great sober life, moving from one side of the country to the other, with an equally wonderful young woman at his side.  I feel like I know him from reading his blog for over 9 years.  I am absolutely never surprised when I meet a fellow blogger, we really do manage to tell the truth about ourselves on a daily basis.  So grateful to him for taking the time to stop here on his journey home.

Life is very good for me right now.  And it pains me to realize that the largest influence in that happiness is having some money in the bank.  I really don’t make enough money from my retirement to be comfortable.  I can squeeze by, but it is a little frightening to not have the money to paint the house AND install new windows AND buy a new dryer or whatever I may need.  Yesterday I drove by a little shack for sale on my rounds and checked the price.  $295,000. for a 725 square foot shack in an iffy neighborhood.  Granted, I can make a lot of money on my house should I sell, but where would I go?  And if Amazon picks Denver for HQ2, I am selling and getting the heck out of town!

I’ve managed to remain very involved in my church.  I am so enjoying that.  Just after the first of the year, I started praying the Liturgy of the Hours on a daily basis.  It is beyond wonderful.  I do not have words to describe the experience, but I am so glad that my little bit of windfall from working afforded me the opportunity to purchase that lovely set of 4 books.

And an overseas trip will probably be in the future months.  I am so excited about it, but it is a totally different topic… More to follow….

Posted in Faith, Fear, Friends, Gratitude, Prayer, Retirement, Travel, Work | 4 Comments


Gigi is kind of cute when she isn’t hissing or biting, huh?

Just thought I would pop in and post a tiny post about working.  I last wrote in my first week of work, when it all seemed so glorious.  Then the second week came, and all I could think was “what the hell was I thinking?”  The third week was OK because I had to go back to the drawing board and remember that I swore I would “wear this job like a loose garment.”

I walk around the hospital a lot.  I also work a lot, but I try to get up about once an hour and walk around.  Sometimes I see people who are happy to see me and hug me and we chat and that is lovely.  Sometimes I walk by offices where I used to work.  Some are happy memories, but the last several years there were mostly not good.  The memories of the situation that necessitated my leaving have come back to me, and I have become angry that it was handled the way it was.  But I mainly tell myself that I cannot afford to go there.  I really can’t.   I spent absolutely no time “processing” this after I retired.  And I am convinced that was and is a good decision.

Processing was a big thing in the 60s and 70s, and I was all in.  But as my focus turns from “recovery” to “faith,” many of my old ideas are changing.   Expressing rage and plumbing its depths has never been productive in my life.  Seriously.  Screaming and “blowing off steam,” for me, has only been fuel for the fire.  I have found that if I quietly pray for God to help me and try to turn my thoughts to others, I am so much happier.

This is sort of the approach I am now taking with work.  I am good, but I am only so good.  I am not perfect.  I work hard and I believe I am uniquely suited to do what I am doing and that is a great asset to the hospital.  But staying later, working more days than I had intended, coming in earlier instead of going to Mass, all these things are not necessary and not productive.

I am profoundly grateful for this opportunity to make a fair bit of money.  But I am willing to let go of it today if needed.  And that helps me to be happy and peaceful and  closer to God.  And in the end, that is all I want.

Posted in Cat, Gratitude, History, Peace, Prayer, Retirement, Work | 5 Comments

Work and Winter Snow

Just because “work” alone sounded stupid.  It is snowing though.  After an extremely warm autumn, it is almost universally welcome.

I finally started back to work on Monday of this week, December 18.  It is very nice to be making money.  It is also very nice to have that nice feeling of competency which has eluded me for the past year.   I honestly thought I had lost my good brain.  But I was able to pick up and just go at work – on a project that is extremely complex.  I was even able to hold forth at a meeting yesterday.  After only two days at work.

I am extremely excited about being back at my workplace of 21 years.  I’ve seen so many people I didn’t realize I missed.  Lots of hugs.  The Medical Director, my favorite psychiatrist in the world, gave me a little Christmas gift yesterday with a lovely card which meant the world to me.  It is so nice to be in a place where I understand the culture.  I took a walk around the  hospital on my first day back.  I was amazed at how I still could walk those hallways blind-folded.  They are so familiar.  A lot has changed, but a lot has stayed exactly the same.  I feel comfortable there.

It is so good to have a second chance to write an ending to the story of my career there.  The way I left was really pretty awful.  The fact that they asked me to come back and give every appearance of being very happy to have me already changes that story.

I am still able to go to Mass every morning on my way to work, which is wonderful.

And I am looking forward to my NEXT retirement!  I must write a list of rules for retirement…. much like the rules I wrote on Monday morning for my work life.   Such as, Remember this is temporary, Do Not Gossip, and No One Cares What Happened in 1994, so don’t tell them!!!

Thank you everyone for your loving comments, they are very much appreciated.  And if I don’t get a chance to write before Christmas, I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

And since I am now being ordered to use that particular greeting, I would also like to say:

Happy Holidays!

Posted in Retirement, Weather, Work | 7 Comments

The Post that Shouldn’t be Written

33.33 years

I noticed last week that my sobriety was heading into the third of a century zone.  I happened to open this app the other day and see this.  One Third of a Century.  I had no one to tell save my daughter.  And even so, she didn’t respond to my text.

I took a quick trip to Montana to see my younger grandkids.  Actually when I left home, I thought I was going to see all of my grandchildren.  When I was half way there, I found out the older ones were not coming because their grandfather (my ex-husband) was having a health emergency and needed all hands on deck.  He had a miraculous recovery on Thanksgiving.  Isn’t that wonderful?  (as your screen drips with sarcasm)

I got to spend Thanksgiving with my son, his wife, their 7 year old daughter, and nearly 5 year old son.  My little grandchildren haven’t been fed a steady diet of disparaging comments about me from birth, so they actually like to see me and cry when I leave.   And I have cried plenty on the two day drive home.

I got to Colorado and cried.  I have always loved to come home, but this time I asked myself in despair, “what am I coming home to?”  It was the worst feeling.  I cried and cried and cried.

I need to make some changes in my life and they have to happen now.  The last couple of years have been a whittling away of all that is good in my life.  The grandkids leaving, my career ending, my AA group turning into a hostile environment.

As I came into Denver, that is what really hurt.  To think that my AA life is now reduced to one meeting a week at my old homegroup with my old peeps.  Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for that, but it is not what I thought would happen as I aged and stayed sober.

Apparently I still can’t write about this.  I thought I could tonight.  The hurt feels so fresh.  But I consider the one or two people from that group who used to read this blog and I really don’t want them to be privy to my private thoughts.  Oh, yeah, I will tell the whole internet, but not anyone from that group.  I don’t trust that they would care at all, I feel that they would just gossip with the info provided.  And I don’t want to do that.

I am horribly lonely and feel desolate.

I really thought that at this point I would have a host of old old friends.  I did in earlier years.  But that was when I conformed more to the AA dogma.  I was AA’s, my heart, brain, and soul.  As time went on, my soul started to need something much deeper, and it found its home in the Catholic Church – which is routinely mocked in AA circles.  ha ha ha.  My heart would like to have friends who are not as shallow and fickle as my friends in AA have turned out to be.  My brain would like more than a 164 page text to learn from.   When I engage with people, I would like to hear more than cliches and disrespectful insults that people in AA have a tendency to feel entitled to use.

Now my old trusted friends are either dead, demented, or drunk.

If you would like to throw a cliche at me, please just skip it, OK?  Thanks.

I have been in AA and sober continuously for one third of a century and I am pretty familiar with them.

Posted in Family, Friends, History, Regrets, Retirement, Sobriety, Truth | 15 Comments