Another Year-Reflections

Tomorrow is my birthday.

The day after tomorrow will mark the sixth anniversary of Jim’s death. Time stands still. Time flies. It is amazing that it is six years since I last saw him. It is amazing that it has been six years since I last heard his voice. Well this whole process is pretty amazing and not always much fun.

I grieved when my mom died. I grieved when my dad died. I have grieved over the loss of friends and over the loss of others in tragedy, which we have seen so much of this year. The loss of Jim was different. I lost my life partner, my friend and my companion in mischief and dance. I describe the three and a half years leading to his departure, like a deck of cards thrown in the air. Just as they started to come down and I was picking them up, something else happened and the cards were thrown back up in the air again.

I am still picking up cards from six years ago. I didn’t know there were so many cards. Yet I have accomplished a bit along the way and each day I attempt to live life to its fullest. Some days it is a wee, tiny bit and other days are big a luscious and overflowing with awe and beauty.

I am beginning to realize that I may never have an answer to the question “What’s Next?” At my best I look for the large and small around me and find some marvel in it all. At my worst, I still find I can treasure my current surroundings and who I am.

  • I am not homeless.
  • I have this lovely little Roadtrek to call home.
  • My home is heated, which feels good on these chilly fall nights.
  • Elsie is always my faithful companion, in adventure and silence.
  • I know, oh how I know, I have many out there that support me daily, mostly in thought and prayer. Yet I know you are out there.
  • There are many books to read. On days where I don’t have much energy, I sit and read.
  • When I was younger I went through a short, period where everything was gray. I appreciate that I have never gone back to that place. I still can see and marvel at the loveliness of the places I visit and the people I meet. Color is a wonderful medium.
  • I have a family, sisters and nieces, that though not often heard from love me and support me.
  • And there is always my camera-I love taking pics even at my lowest.

There is always hope. In this coming year I am going to attempt to not be so hard on myself. I really don’t need to make far reaching decisions about anything. I want to focus on what is best for me at this moment in time, in this day and in this year. I want to experience a little more joy, wherever I can find it. And, although I am not sure I may want to settle down. I shall see on that statement.

I now understand a bit more of the statement from others that “you can move forward, while treasuring the moments Jim and you had”. I know that I can do both. And, ever since Jim’s passing he has been very good at helping me find my car keys. I have called on him more than once. This is one of the important reasons to keep him nearby as I adventure forth into life.

If you look on this site you will see a Go Fund Me tag. I have been raising money for the Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship for 6 years. I am close to my goal of $25,ooo to make this a perpetual scholarship. I have about $8,000 more to go. I have been constant and steady in trying to raise this amount. If you would like to donate, small or large, some student out there at Grossmont Community College will thank you for your efforts.  I treasure each donation because I know about the thought and caring behind it. If you would prefer to donate directly to the college, here is their information.

Mail your donation to:

Scholarship Specialist
Financial Aid Office
8800 Grossmont College Dr
El Cajon, CA 92020-1799
Contributions are tax deductible

On to another year of discovery. Who knows what it will bring. I will continue to follow my own path, carrying the memories of my time with Jim forward. This year I pray that it will be just a wee bit easier. Each year seems to be getting that way. I am thankful for this.

I am thankful for 21 years of love, caring and relationship. I am thankful for being able to have those memories to help me move forward with my life, no matter what direction it takes.

Today I am thankful.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Elsie, A Little Cat Exploring a Big World

Elsie on the road Again

Elsie on the road Again

Wow has my life changed. One minute I am in my house and the next minute Janet and I are in the Roadtrek, and living in her friend’s driveway. I knew for a while, something wasn’t right. The furniture started to disappear, everything in the house was getting spiffed up and then, just like that the house is gone and I am on-the-road with Janet.

I am glad Janet is a constant in my life. I am just a little kitty (under 6 pounds) and change is a bit overwhelming for me. Where did the house go? Why am I in the trek? Where are we going? Why?

I am a traveling kitty. Last summer I rode in this magic, mobile home for four whole months. I experienced many things and saw so much that was new. I am at it again.

Janet made sure that some of my favorite things were in this little home. I still sleep under my sheepskin every day. I have toys, and my food and treats. Even my catnip is here. Janet remembers to comb me. I like that a lot. At night I curl up next to her and sleep. Life is not too bad. Oh, I almost forgot my favorite string to play with is also in my current home.

The first part of the trip, once we left San Diego, was up the coast (I am not sure what that means but it seems to involve water and sand). The water scares me a little bit but the sand is really kind of cool. I love to roll in it.

My private patio

My private patio

Staying in peoples homes seems to be a part of travel. The first home we stayed in was big. Janet and I had our own suite. My favorite part of that house was the private french doors to our own patio. I felt safer when no one was around. I could go in and out. There was a lot to explore and if I got nervous I could run inside.

I have seen big trees, Janet says they are redwoods. I can’t imagine trying to climb one of those. It might take me weeks to get to the top. I wonder what is up at the top. I guess I will just have to imagine it.

Elsie & the Bird

Elsie & the Bird

 

 

At one of the campsites I got a close up view of a little bird.  I think it wanted me to come out and play. It may have been taunting me. It sat just outside the Roadtrek and looked in. It might have been a good meal. Janet gives me yummy food from a can and I don’t have to work for it. I guess that little birds will continue to taunt me.

We spent about a week somewhere called Crescent City. It was in those big tall trees. I thought it was going to be peaceful but then this woman, Cat showed up. I immediately liked her. How could you nor like person with the name Cat? I think I have seen her before. Right after I saw her, two dogs showed up. I know I have seen them before. They make me really nervous. I am suspicious they aren’t going away too soon.

Now I am somewhere called Oregon. There are a lot of trees and it is green. I don’t know what happened but all of a sudden I moved into house #2, with a cool back yard. Mary seems to be in charge here. She tries to be my friend but I am just a bit wary. I don’t know why we are here. It is kind of a nice break from the little home I travel in. Janet and I have a nice room and it is upstairs. It is private. When things make me nervous I run for the stairs.

I am suspicious that this nice home is not going to last. Change seems to be in the air. I am going to keep a close eye on things. In the meantime I am getting braver and exploring this house before it disappears.

IMG_3253

House Sold-Feeling Thankful and Exhausted

imagesFriday, my house closed. I no longer own a “sticks & bricks” home. Now it is Elsie, me and the Roadtrek. It has been a very hectic and emotionally fraught month. And…it is done. The new owners were already there when I dropped my friend, Phyllis at her car.

The closing on Friday went smoothly, but Thursday night, whoa. As I stood, to get ready for bed, I just sat back down and sobbed. It is not something I do often and it is a bit over whelming when it happens. I felt like I was releasing the whole spring, from the moment I injured my ankle and forward. Although I have not been too focused on the fact that this was Jim’s and my home for 21 years, this certainly is signifying a closing of this chapter in my life.

I have been on a very busy and hectic path, first getting the house ready for sale and then working like crazy this past month after it sold, culminating in today, and the closing of the house. And it is done.

Where am I heading? I am not sure. I will be in San Diego until the third week of the month. I am giving myself time to recover and I am waiting to sell my car. I will be heading towards the northwest and from there, well, it will unfold a bit at a time. In other words, I am not sure. I am taking my time to nest into my new tiny home. Elsie the cat is doing the same.Friends-Text-Design-Facebook-Cover-Photo

I have amazing and wonderful friends. I know I may have expressed this in past posts but at this moment in time, I want to share with you some of my friendships.

Janet & Phyllis on moving day

Janet & Phyllis on moving day

Phyllis, has been amazing. This woman has been helping me with the house and the sale since last February. If she wasn’t there on her own, all I had to do was ask, and she was on her way. When I felt a bit directionless, she came over and helped me organize and move ahead. The day I broke my ankle she met me in the driveway and drove me to the hospital, staying with me until they sent me home. With the help of Dee, another good friend we dismantled the house, so work could be done on it, and then the three of us put it back together again.

The best part of my friendship with Phyllis is that we can get really angry at each other and then become friends again. This type of interaction is often seen in families. I have two sisters and I remember moments with them, similar to the one described above. Phyllis is one more sister, not by blood but by kind. I am glad to have such a selfless person as a friend.

IMG_3234

The beautiful pine

I am currently residing at Yvonne’s house. We work together, as tour guides in San Diego, and she is a friend. While she is off traveling she offered me a corner of her driveway, full hook-up included, for me to camp in my RV. The best part is the use of her home and the most amazing back yard. It has a huge pine tree which is where I am sitting as I write this. Even better is that Elsie is here with me, enjoying her much needed outdoor time. Even though it is warm, the wind is blowing gently and I am loving every minute of it. Somewhere in the distance mariachi music is playing. This is the perfect place for me to have some recovery time.

When I first broke my ankle, Yvonne came to the house, with food and good company. She used to work for Jim at Grossmont College. Now she and I are friends. I appreciate her generosity and support.

UnknownBarbara, well what can I say?  She was my realtor and is still my friend. I appreciate her high tolerance level for anxious moments in her clients lives. She was there every single step of the way, starting in February when the work on the house started. Barbara has continued to be there for me in person, by text, phone and e-mail. She made me feel respected and honored. I appreciate that she gave me the illusion of control. Without her, I would have been lost. I feel like our friendship has deepened through the whole experience of selling my house. We made quite a team. Thank you Barbara.

Me & My Kayak

Me & My Kayak

Nancy is storing my kayaks, and motor scooter. We have been friends for as long as I have lived here. When I asked for her help with these items she never flinched, just said yes and there they went. Sometime before I leave, we will create a pulley system in her garage and hang the kayaks. It will be fun, as many adventures with her are. Even though her life is busy we always seem to find time to spend together and I know I have her full support for the adventure ahead of me.

I could continue, yet hopefully you get the idea. It is important to have good and valued friends. I feel fortunate that there are several in my life, close by and at a distance. As I prepare to travel I will be visiting and spending time with some of my more far-away-friends. Having friends scattered to the 4 winds makes my adventure a bit less daunting. Friends make life more manageable when things are tough and more fun when life is running smoothly. Every day I am thankful for my friends. I am especially thankful for those who have so strongly supported me over the past month and the past three and half years since Jim’s death.

 

 

Change-Big Change is Coming

Search-Colorado-Springs-MLS-Homes-for-SaleThis past Monday, my realtor and I went “live”. My home is up for sale. I have been working on the house since February getting it ready for this moment. My broken ankle slowed the process down for a few months. Now that I am walking and doing better each day, it is time.

Today, Tuesday, two interested parties came to view the house. When I received the first call, I was nervous and excited and a bit anxious and scared all at the same time. There are so many mixed feelings with this move.

cardinstallation_02@2xEver since I was diagnosed with breast cancer I feel as if my life has been tossed up in the air, like a deck of cards. While I was picking up the cards from this incident, Jim was diagnosed with cancer. Up went the cards again. Eight months later he was diagnosed with a metastasis from the original cancer, up the cards went once again. With his death all those cards have been taking their time coming down. I have been slowly picking them up, one at a time. Picking up each one has certainly been taking time. No set schedule here.

I thought I would sell our home  3 months after Jim died. I now understand that was way to soon. Grief needs time and I needed somewhere comfortable and secure and safe to manage the initial stages of grief and loss. There was nowhere better than the home where Jim’s and my relationship flourished.

Janet driving in the alley in Chicago(3)

Me & the Trek

I have been trying to figure out what is next in my life since Jim’s  death. I have been waiting for a grand moment of awareness. It has not arrived. I am going looking for it. Miss Elsie the Cat and I are going to make my sweet little Roadtrek into our home for the next year. It may be longer than a year or it may be shorter but I have decided to go traveling. I love to travel. I enjoy learning and meeting new people and exploring this grand country I live in. And to create some expansiveness, I am including Canada in my travels, as well.

Link to Listing

I don’t plan to set out until the house sells, unless it is on the market for a while. If that happens then I will be heading out before it sells. Maybe I will figure out where I want to live. If not it will be one grand adventure. I look forward to seeing friends, friends who I have known forever and newer ones as well.

IMG_0086

The nervousness and anxiety comes from the unknown. It is a little overwhelming to put my trust out there in the universe that all will be OK. I have moved several times in my adult life. Each time has been just a wee bit harder than the last one. I am not sure why that happens, but I do think it has to do with age. Maybe as I have gotten more mature I have found myself more settled with each move. I do have friends in so many places and I hope to meet up with as many as I can. It is time to catch up.

I am getting ready to roll. What should I take? What should I leave? Where am I going? Is this crazy?

Then there is the house. It takes a bit of effort to dismantle a house. I have been in the process of doing this for the past few weeks. I still have a ways to go, yet even this is manageable as long as I don’t get too stressed.

IMG_5360

Miss Elsie

And then there are the memories. Sigh. Even this is OK. It can even be therapeutic. And the bottom line here, is I need move ahead with my life. I want to create adventure and exciting, happy challenges. I am ready. Miss Elsie, well who knows but she is coming along for the ride.

Getting ready, change is in there air.

 

 

 

Anyone Want a Bed?

imagesToday I sold my bed. Now that is usually not a big deal. You decide that you want to sell it and you put it up for sale and then it is sold. I wish it was that easy.

Here is my reality. I put the bed up for sale on Craigslist. I have received three e-mails in the past week. Today a very nice woman came to look at it and decided to buy it.  I instantly went into a panic. Did I want to sell it? Did I want to keep it? The anxiety is so real.

The ad has been on CL for months. When you advertise something on Craigslist it has to be renewed once a week. I always have the chance to not repost it or to take it down. I chose to leave it up.

So where is all the anxiety coming from? I have always known that I wanted to sell my home after Jim died. I still do. I don’t have a time line. It feels as if something is holding me back and I think it is fear of the unknown. Familiar is comfortable. Unfamiliar makes me ask myself many questions:  What do I do next? Do I want to stay in San Diego or do I move somewhere else? Where is my life taking me? Where am I taking my life? Arrrgh, the same old questions over and over. Maybe the only way to figure it out is to take the leap.

The bed is the first big item that I am selling. It symbolizes so much. Jim, of course-something to sleep in-the leap into the abyss. Even though I have been anxious about this I decided to move forward with the sale of the bed.

Into the Abyss

Into the Abyss

Now where do I sleep? Well I do have the tempurpedic mattress so I am reverting to college days and sleeping on the floor. I also have an air mattress that I can use. I am really fine. I hope the anxiety goes away once the bed is removed to it’s new home.

I read and believe in many of the tenants of Buddhism. Letting go of emotional attachment has been on my mind the last few days. This bed is just an object. If I look at this issue of selling my bed, I really find I don’t feel much emotional significance connected to this bed. With it’s disappearance I am saying goodby to the familiar and those many questions, mentioned previously,  come a bit closer to the surface.

And…would you like to know the outcome of all this. This woman contacted me last night and told she is not taking it?  Now, though I feel more ready and maybe the next offer won’t be so traumatic.

Anyone want a bed?

Elsie, My Mini-Adventure

my latest favorite spot to hang and sleep

my latest favorite spot to hang and sleep

Hi everyone, Elsie the Cat here. Lately I have been quiet and let Janet write all the postings. Mainly it is because I haven’t had much to say. I have been spending my days doing what I do best: sleeping, eating, getting petted and going outside where I enjoy the chase of the lizard. They are one of my favorite preys. I hardly ever catch them but the chase is fun and entertaining.

I digress. On Monday, I am happily laying in my favorite window, watching Janet go in and out of the house & in and out of the house, again and again. Now I was suspicious she was going somewhere but I had no idea that what she was doing would involve me. She has gone places since our big outing over the spring and summer but they have not involved me. I am happy about this as I like my routine. You should try the above sometime. Living is good.

Around noon she comes back in the house, picks me up, puts my halter on and the “short leash”. Oh No, the leash is never a good sign. Next thing I know I am in the little house on wheels and we are going somewhere. What??? Janet could have said something.She didn’t even give me a chance to hide or protest.

This house looks familiar and there are all my comfy items; the sheepskin, my litter pan, my food and water bowls, and one of my favorite toys, Miss Piggy. Okay then, let me crawl under the sheepskin and I am ready to roll.

We travel over hill and dale (I am not sure what that means but it sounds good). For a while we drive quietly and then all of a sudden I am bouncing all over the place. I am not sure what that is about but I am hanging on for dear life, under my sheepskin. When we stop and I look outside I know I am not in San Diego anymore.

the desert

the Desert

There are miles of nothing, just shrubs and the wind and one of my most favorite things in the whole world “DIRT”!!! I love dirt, I love rolling in it and becoming one with it’s color. Janet took me to the desert. The wild ride was riding on sandy roads to a perfect camp site. Okay I am good with this.

She hooks me up to the short leash and we go walking. She tells me that the short leash is important because there are coyotes here and I would make a tasty little snack. I don’t like the sound of that. I thought all animals got their food from cans. I certainly don’t want to be anyone’s snack. NOPE!!! I am not sure if I remember what coyotes are but if they will eat me, I am good with the short leash.

My climb up the hill and way down there is the RT

My climb up the hill and way down there is the RT

We climbed a hill. The wind was blowing a lot and it was kind of chilly. I thought the desert was hot. Not this time. And there were clouds and did I mention the wind? I could not find one lizard. I thought with all these rocks there would be lizards everywhere. Not one. Where do they go?

After our walk, I was ready to snuggle in and look out at the big wide world from my small home. After Janet fed me I snuggled up on the bed and pretended I was in my favorite window at home.

We stayed there all night. The wind blew and it rained. I was very happy to be inside this little house sleeping next to and on top of Janet. There is even heat here so I could be comfortable all night long. It was snuggly and fun.

I like that this little house on wheels is familiar to me. I don’t have to go through it being a first time thing any more. I am becoming a pro. I am glad Janet takes the time to make sure I am comfortable. The one thing I like about being in this little house and on-the-road is that I have Janet all to myself. We bond. When we are in our “sticks and bricks” house, Janet is often busy and goes out a lot. She hasn’t learned to sleep in the window yet. When we are in the little house, she is all mine. She does go out for hikes and stuff but mostly we hang. I like that.

IMG_7094Because the wind was wicked, we headed to the mountains. This morning we are camped in the oaks. Late yesterday afternoon we heard all this howling. Janet said they were coyotes. They sounded like the neighborhood dogs when the fire engines go by. There seemed to be a lot of them. I was glad to be inside. I have decided short leash walks are better than no walks at all.

I remember that sound they make from this summer. I thought and thought and then I remembered that coyote on the land in Colorado. He was just a little thing. I guess what looks harmless is not always true.

Now I am back home and in my favorite window. I am dreaming of that big land of dirt. Even though I don’t mind my routine, well, sometimes it is OK to jump out of the routine and do something adventurous and fun. I am glad Janet helps me do this.

A rainbow kind of morning

A rainbow kind of morning

I think I will go to sleep now and dream of the next big adventure in this very small cat’s life.

Elsie At Home

Me & My Sheepskin

Me & My Sheepskin

Hi everyone. It took a few days to get to the computer when Janet wasn’t looking. It helps when she works 12 hour days. I am not sure what work is but she tells me that it keeps me in the lifestyle I am used to. OK, I accept that.

I now know what home is.

Home is:

  • where I don’t have to sleep under the sheepskin all day, although it remains close by in case of emergencies.
  • huge compared to the little home on wheels I have been in for the past almost 4 months.
  • where I can go outside during the day without a leash. Yes I do still have to wear my halter and yes I do have to come in before dark each night. I am not sure why I have to do this, but if it lets me go outside without a leash, I’m good.
    filled with windows I can look out anytime I want to.
  • stationary.
  • quiet. There are not as many visitors. A lot of people want to look inside my little mobile home. Then they stay around and talk. I don’t know why they all do this yet Janet seems to like talking to all those strangers.

I have had some grand adventures on this trip. Did you know I got away twice? It was after dark and there was big woods all around. I would have really liked exploring but the first time I heard fear in Janet’s voice. Since I kind of like her when she called and clapped three whole times I ran into the RT. The second time it was really foggy and I could have gone far but a big truck drove up the road and scared me and I ran into the RV. That little home on wheels is one of my safe places.

Here are some of the highlights of my trip.

  • I stayed in two houses, and two hotels.
  • I saw lots and lots of water. Big water and little water. Some tasted kind of salty. Some had waves (that is what Janet called it). Waves scared me.
  • At the very beginning of my trip I saw horses. And…they were right behind my little house. I stayed under the sheepskin for almost four whole days!!!
IMG_6487

Oh no, more horses

  • I met three other kitties on this trip and three dogs.
  • I went to Canada where I learned to speak French, “juste un pue”.
  • I met a lot of wild life, birds and animals. They were all interesting and I really liked the ones that moved fast. I would have really like to have met some of them quite a bit closer but Janet said no. What a spoil sport.
  • On "The Land"

    On “The Land”

    I liked going out on my leash. Every place we stayed was different. I really liked the quiet ones where it was just us. One of the last places we stayed was on “the land”. I am not sure what that means. We were the only ones there and the grasses were super tall and I got to explore in them with my leash. It was fun.

  • Watching the fish in the water at the Lake in NJ was very entertaining.
  • Chippies…Squirrels….Birds…….well you get the idea.
  • I finally got to see a coyote. Janet says I can’t go out after dark because of coyotes. This one did not look threatening. She says they are wiley. I am not sure what that means. They have big voice and yip a bunch. I guess I better stay away from that one.

IMG_6475

  • Janet and I spent quality time together. I liked talking to her and snuggling up next to her on cool nights.
  • I liked riding on the dashboard. I got to see a lot. I tried to not be a back-seat-driver.

IMG_1629

  • I was in 22 states and 4 provinces. That is a lot for a little six pound kitty like me. Just call me, Miss Elsie-Adventure Kitty.

I like both my houses but the big stationary one, is still my favorite. The little one on wheels is also kind of fun and I like being on an adventure. The more I travel in it the more fun it becomes. And I like seeing all the places and animals and “stuff”.

Janet tells me my adventures are not over yet. Hmm, I wonder what that means?