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I meant to write this yesterday, but between the snow and being busy at work, I didn’t have a chance.

December 28th was one month without my Hamlet.  It also marked six years without The Rev.  The 28th was a tough day for me.  Because of a snow storm, I was late at work, dealing with phone calls.  In between, I tried not to think too much about Hamlet.  But knowing it was the 28th, that was a challenge.

I’ve been doing better.  I don’t cry as much now at his pictures or thinking of him.  But yesterday was tough.  I miss my beautiful boy.  I think about him every day.  His chair is so empty.  His collar is sitting on the mantel piece, his ashes next to the recliner.  He’s never far away and yet he’s so far away.

I know that, over time, it will get better.  And in time, I’ll get a new kitty.  But right now, but heart isn’t in the right place for a new kitty.  As broken as my heart is right now, I couldn’t love another kitty.  Not the way a kitty deserves to be loved.

I miss my Hamlet.  My heart is still broken.  Maybe The Rev gave him a snuggle for me on Monday.

On December 15th, my phone rang.  My heart skipped a beat.  It was the vet’s office.  I answered the call and got the news I’d been alternately wanting and wishing would never come: Hamlet’s cremains were back.  I could bring my baby home.

 

I went after work and picked him up.  My little guy, whom I’d gone to the ends of the earth for over thirteen years, now fit in a quart-sized Ziplock bag.  That was inside a plastic bag and that was all tucked neatly inside a velvet bag that says “Until we meet again at the Rainbow Bridge”.  I cried.  I talked to one of the gals for a while, who assured me I’d done everything I could for him.  That they’d done everything they could for him.  She gave me a hug and told me not to beat myself up over his death.

 

And gradually, things are getting better.  I see pictures of him now and smile.  I’m more cheerful than I have been since he passed on the 28th of November.  The doubts are fading, but they’re still there.  I miss him like crazy and the house isn’t the same without him.

 

We’re getting ready to see about carpet and upholstery cleaning.  And then, we’ll think about a new kitty.  Christmas isn’t the best time to think about the carpets, so we’ll aim for after the new year.

 

My Christmas spirit is not all there this year.  My uncle passed, Hamlet passed, and another dear friend passed.  I’m over 2015. It needs to end and 2016 needs to be a better year.  We decorated, I’ve purchased gifts, and we’ve made our usual plans.  But I’m not all in this year.

 

Hamlet made my life bright.  I could be having the worst day of my life, trying to hibernate from the entire world, and he’d find me.  He’d hop on my lap and head butt me until I scratched his ears.  He’d howl if the smallest bit of the bottom of his bowl was visible or if his litter box wasn’t up to his standards.  We didn’t always agree on these points, of course.

 

As I fell asleep one night, I swore I heard him meow.  I know it’s a trick of the mind, but it was a nice trick.  It brought me comfort.  I’ve seen his little shadow from to time darting behind the Christmas tree or in the back entry, heading for the basement.  I like to think he’s visiting once in a while from the Rainbow Bridge.  I like think he’s happy there, and healthy.

 

Life for me will never be the same.  I’ve had too much loss in the last couple of years.  I’ve grown a little bitter because of it.  A little bit less like my usual self.  But I hope those people are watching over me from their afterlife.

 

And I hope Hamlet keeps visiting.  The house isn’t the same without him.

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Hamlet October 2015

Today, I’m an emotional mess.  I thought things were getting better, that I was moving forward.  But I’m not.  Last night, I cleaned up his food and water bowls.  Today, I took his food, toys, and treats to the local animal shelter.  And in some ways, I’m happy: he’s helping other kitties.  But in so many ways, it makes me sad all over again.

It’s so permanent with everything I do.  Cleaning up his litter box.  Collecting his toys and food.  Donating to the local shelter.  Donating his insulin and needles to a friend.

Donating things makes me happy.  I tend to hoard stuff and have a hard time parting with it.  But when I do, it makes me happy to help someone else.  And donating Hamlet’s stuff makes me happy, because he’s helping other kitties.  But it also makes me sad, because he doesn’t need them anymore.

I miss him.  I know how death works, but that doesn’t mend my broken heart.  A friend shared a video with me today and while it made me cry harder than I’ve cried in a few days, it’s so true.  I know he’s some place better, I know he’s not sick anymore.  He’s found some friends, hopefully, to run with.  Maybe he reunited with my mom’s cat for middle-of-the-night races around the house.  I can just hear my mom’s cat’s paws (click, click, click) and then Hamlet’s (thump, thump, thump), running through the house.  I’ve got great memories of our years together.  But my heart is still broken.  And part of me doesn’t think it will ever mend.

The Rainbown Bridge Video

 

Last night (Sunday) was trash night.  My SO and I dutifully went around the house emptying little wastebaskets and combining them in the main kitchen trash.  During this, I took a deep breath and approached the litter box.  I popped the top off.  I looked inside.  The litter had not been used.  This told me Hamlet had been going downhill longer than I realized.  And, while it might seem silly, I got up the courage to throw that litter away.  Why not keep it?  In case he did use it.  In case, when we’re ready for a new pet, that cat smells Hamlet in there and won’t use it.  And a little bit of it was helping me.

Saturday was one week without my Hamlet.  I did well, really.  A friend came and got me out of the house for a few hours.  But then I came home and there was a card from the vet and I started bawling again.  Especially when I saw the personal note from one of the gals, saying he was her favorite and she was going to miss him.  They included the Rainbow Bridge poem and the water works were on high.

But now, I look back at the last picture I ever took of my boy:

Hamlet.jpg

 

To me, when I took this, he looked so happy and like he was feeling better.   But now I look back and I can see that he was thinner.  That he didn’t hold himself up like he used to.  I remember now that he was lying down to drink water and would nibble only a bite or two of kibble.

 

And inside, I say to myself “maybe this was for the best.  It hurts like hell, but he was sick.  Now he’s not.”  No, it doesn’t help the pain.  But it helps me move forward.  It helps me tell those funny stories instead of focusing on how he looked when I found him.  I can tell people how he didn’t like my little nieces, but always obliged them when they wanted to pet him or throw him a toy or chase him around the house.  And how, when he was tired of their attention, he’d find some place quiet to hide for a while.  Other times, he’d look at me in desperation as if to say “why, mommy? why do you bring them over? are they leaving soon?”.  My three-year-old niece loves to ask “can we go see Hamlet?”.  I’m not sure she’ll understand when I say that he’s gone to the Rainbow Bridge.  The older one will understand, I think.

 

So, one week on, I find myself pricing carpet and upholstery cleaning.  This week I’ll donate his food to the animal shelter.  And I’ll scrub out his litter box.  And, when the time is right, we’ll get a kitten that I can love and dote on for another thirteen or fourteen years.  It will never replace my Hamlet, but hopefully, it will help heal my aching heart.

 

 

 

On Saturday November 28th, my cat passed away.  To some, that might seem like a minor thing.  As if to say, well at least it wasn’t a family member or your spouse.  But my cat was my world.  I doted on him from the time he was six weeks old.  He’d had a rough week with his health prior to his death.  He’d been diagnosed with diabetes in 2014 and I followed the doctor’s orders to the letter.

Four days on, I’m slowly starting to accept that yes, I did everything I could for him.  That yes, he was sick.  That yes, it was likely a diabetic episode that got him.  And that yes, he knew he was loved.

Hamlet was not any ordinary cat, to me.  He came into my life during a big transition: moving out on my own for the first time.  I’d done dorm life in college and even had a summer apartment during college.  But this was actual living on my own, just me and Hamlet.  I still battle clinical depression (without the need for meds now, but I know that can change without warning), and he was always there when I hit my low lows and when I had my best times.

As a writer, I always say he was my best editor.  I remember sometimes reading parts of my books aloud and watching his reaction.  More than once,he dozed off and I laughed while noting that in that particular chapter.  There were times I’d be all set up to start typing and he’d jump in my lap, wiggle in between me and the laptop and give me the most adorable look possible.  How could I refuse that adorable little face?

There were the nights I’d go to bed and he’d sit outside the bedroom door and howl.  All because I didn’t think his food bowl was empty enough or his litter box dirty enough.  He used to wait outside that same door every morning and follow me around until my shower.  Then, he’d wait, trying to hide, for his insulin shot before I left for work.

We’d watch TV together, listen to music together, and nap together.  He was a cuddler and he demanded affection like no other pet.  In turn, I doted on him and spoiled him a little bit rotten.  Okay, a lot rotten.

Hamlet in some ways taught me how to love again.  it’s a long story for another time, but I had some kind of awful stuff happen to me as a kid.  The cat we got while growing up was supposed to teach me the art of love again, and it some ways, 8Ball did.  But Hamlet really made a difference in my life.  He really taught me about love and affection and what it means to care about someone.

The day he passed, I’d given him his insulin before leaving the house for a day full of errand running with my SO.  He’d had a checkup that Friday and the vet was talking about remission of diabetes and had allowed me to take him down one full unit of insulin.  We left the house at 10AM and got back around 415 or 430 that afternoon.  He didn’t raise his head when I put my purse down and said “hey, Hamlet!”.  At that point, I looked at him and I think I knew.  My SO went into the bedroom for something and I checked on Hamlet.  He was lying in his chair, sound asleep…forever.  His chair was his favorite place in the world to be next to my lap.  I’m thankful that he was home and that he was in his favorite place.

In time, I’ll get his ashes back.  It won’t replace him, but it will hopefully help with the pain of his loss.  As the days go by, I’m slowly coming to terms with his passing.  He was quite ill at the end, and while that’s not a big comfort, I know that he went out on top of his game.  I’m at peace knowing he knew he was loved.  And in time, I’ll know that I did everything possible for him.

I’ll never forget my little guy.  I’ll always have good memories of our 13 years together.  And I’ve got enough pictures to last a lifetime.  Nothing will bring him back, but he’s at peace now.  And hopefully, he’s found a sunny spot on a porch to curl up and sleep in.  Because next to his chair, that was his other favorite thing to do.

I love you, Hamlet.  =)

 

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Apologies to the peeps that follow me for writing =).  Music is also a huge part of my life and I sometimes blog about that as well.

I posted this on Tumblr earlier:

I’m seeing a mixed reaction to Brooks Wackerman.  Some are happy, some are on the fence, and some are being down right rude.

To each their own way, of course, but there’s no reason to be rude.  If you take a listen to Brooks, you’ll hear his chops.  You can tell he was influenced by Jimmy.  You can hear the nuances that Jimmy had in his playing.  Brooks is going to bring that JImmy-esque style of playing back to the band.

I loved Arin.  But the reality is that he couldn’t play the old stuff to temp.  And if the band couldn’t get him where they needed for the new album, it was time to part ways.  You can’t keep working with someone if it’s not working out.  In the absence of Jimmy, it’s entirely likely to take a couple of tries to find the person that’s the right fit.  I think the boys have found the right fit with Brooks.

Listen to the podcast.  Listen to the excitement in Shad’s voice.  Notice how it feels like two old friends chatting with Jericho?  That element has been missing since Arin came in.  I wish Arin all the best and it’s obvious the boys are going to stay friends.  Matt made that clear, that he has nothing bad to say about Arin.  But things didn’t work out, so that’s how it goes.

To those being rude:  please reign yourselves in.  You like morons saying nasty things about Brooks.  If you don’t like him, fine, but say it nicely.  Check him out before you judge.  Understand where the guys are coming from.

Brooks: welcome to the family.  Batten down the hatches, so your privacy stays intact.  And good luck.

I really hope he does well and fits in.  From the sounds of the podcast, he’s a great fit, but time will tell.  I see a lot of people that are upset because Arin was let go.  It sounds like it was all good, but he needed a lot of guidance and wasn’t on the same page about important stuff like song writing.  Plus, he’s a dad now, and I’m sure he’d love some time to be a dad.  There’s not a doubt in my mind that some band is going to gobble him up in the future.  We’ve not heard the last of Arin, of that I’m sure.  And I will check out whatever he does next.

As to Brooks: welcome, man.  Good luck.  The fans are rabid, some are downright awful, but most of us are pretty chill.  =)

One Broke Girl: An Edgewood Falls Book by Rhonda Helms.

One Broke Girl brings us the story of Anna, a transplant from NYC to Edgewood Falls, Ohio. In NYC, she had it all: rich parents, not a care in the world, and an easy life. Then, her mother leaves unannounced. She and her dad, penniless, pack up and move back to her dad’s hometown in Ohio.

Anna doesn’t like it at first. She misses NYC and her life there. She’s angry at her mother for leaving them and her dad’s slipped into a massive depression. Anna has to support the family, so she takes on whatever jobs she can find. As the story progresses, the reader is taken along on Anna’s journey to make friends, keep her family afloat, and try and bring her dad out of his depression. Along the way, Anna meets Gavin, a teacher at the local elementary school. They begin a friendship that quickly turns into much more. The book takes plenty of twists and turns, up and downs to get to the conclusion, which I won’t spoil for anyone.

What drew me to the book was that I had spoken with the author different times on social media. We’re both part of the writing community and so on occasion our paths cross and we get a chance to visit with each other. I saw that she had some books out, looked her up, and the back cover blurb sounded good to me.

I’ll preface this with this is not my normal kind of book. You’ll see me reading Alice Hoffman, Kristin Hannah, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, or Terry Pratchett. But every good writer has to branch out, and so I did.

I like Helms’ writing style. It’s similar to my own, which made it easy for me to read. She focuses on real people with real problems, which are the kinds of books I like to read and write. Her characters are easy to identify with and feel like real people on the page. As you read, you become invested in their lives and genuinely want to know what happens next.

The pacing is good in this book, which makes it a fast read, but the kind that sucks you in and doesn’t let you go. I frequently found myself absorbed in the book waiting for a meeting to start or sitting at home, to the point I’d be startled out of my reading by someone speaking to me.

If you’re into romances, there is plenty of romance to go around. For those not into as much romance, the book is good there, too. Plenty of non-romance elements to balance the romance parts of the book made for a great read.

All in all, I highly recommend this book to all readers. There’s also a book two, which I will review later.

Readers of romance novels or contemporary novels with a touch of romance will like this book. You can purchase this book here: One Broke Girl

Danielle Doolittle challenged me to this rather simple idea:

The basics of the challenge are simple: starting at the seventh line of the seventh page of a current WIP post the next seven lines and tag seven more authors to join in the fun. (Shouldn’t there be one more seven in the challenge?)

So…where we go! Let me introduce you to this excerpt:

***

Edward is the manager for the band Closure. In this excerpt, he’s lamenting the fans a little. =)  WIP is titled In the Blink of an Eye.

***

There were privacy issues where fans would hack into social media and get pictures and post them online. There were stalkers once in a blue moon. He had to deal with wanna-be groupies. And there were label politics, too.

Watching the boys now, as they tried to sneak unsuccessfully onto the bus, he smiled. The boys were tired, as their US tour was winding down, but they all took time with the fans. Those few seconds of interactions would make a fan’s year, and he always reminded the boys how important those few seconds were to their career.

***

It’s rough, although some might recognize the characters. I’m in the process of re-writing this book to be (hopefully) better. My goal is to query it in 2017. That seems a long ways off…

Hello potential mentor!

I would like to tell you a little about myself.  First off, I run away from the word “normal”. What is normal, anyway?  Boring, that’s what normal is.

So, what about weird little me? Well, I’m a Whovian, a Trekkie, a bit geeky (but there are plenty of people who out-geek me), I love reading, writing, gardening, and was born with the gift of gab.

I love music!  I’m a Deathbat (A7X), a Daughter of Darkness (Halestorm), a George Strait fan, a Johnny Cash girl, and a fan of Shinedown, and a Member of the Congregation (Ghost).

Okay, with that out of the way, here’s why you’d love to work with me if you picked me as your mentee:

  1. I’m easy going. I love feedback and will consider each and every suggestion seriously
  2. I love commentary that makes me laugh.  My friend has a Comma Splice Fairy that has a hayday with my drafts =)
  3. I over-use the smiley face =)
  4. I love working to make my novel better.  My boys are polished but can always use an extra spit shine

So, about my book (at last! you exclaim):

It’s full of the wounded, the frustrated, and the angry.  But it has moments to make you laugh, smile, and cry.  There’s Iowegian speak.  There’s a kind elderly lady.  And my boys are pretty blue collar.  They’re EMTs and paramedics (and Jimmy’s an RN, a flight nurse, and a helicopter pilot).

So, in a nutshell, that’s me.  I’m made of batwings and broken things.  Reader.  Writer.  Deathbat.  LGBT Ally.   Whovian.  Trekkie.  Bookworm.  And a little weird.

I hope you’ve learned more about me.  I’m always open to questions and can be found @Aightball on Twitter.

P.S. I’m also a cat mommy.  Hamlet is 13 and my heart and soul:

Hamlet

Vengenz Graphics

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I stumbled upon a never worn, out of print It’s Not Easy shirt in my collectionits-not-easy

Save one of the above St.Paddys Day VU graphics and post it on twitter. Include @vengenz1 and @vengenzgraphics and #VUluckotheirish in your post. I’ll select a winner at random to get the shirt as well as some stickers and other goodies.

*the shirt is mens XL. But as you know, size doesn’t matter. Be creative if it doesn’t fit 😉

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