2017.  There are still several holidays left to you, but I can’t wait to sing you off life’s stage.

Well, if I’m being honest, I can’t wait to pelt you with rotten tomatoes & send the stage hook out to “encourage” you off.  Should the stagehand accidentally throttle you in the process, I wouldn’t complain.

December 31st, for me, held so much promise –

“I’m going to work out at least once a week.”

“I’m going to eat more fruits & vegetables.”

“I’m going to write & blog at least once a month.”

2017.  You reminded me of a famous quotation, which I’m probably paraphrasing: When you start making “plans,” fate starts laughing.

The best in life – friendship, community, accomplishment, sense of purpose, hope, love, commitment, trust – is often intangible.  So, unfortunately, is the worst – fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, loss, grief.

Even though I might not be able to put these feelings into words, I’m going to try so I can share the path on which 2017 put me.  It’s rare that I’m speechless, so it’s important for me to try & express why & when it happens.


The Good

2017.  I managed to reconnect with family & friends over the course of your bumpy road.

Some relationships came back so naturally, it made me wonder why we’d stopped speaking for such a long time.

Others aren’t as smooth, but I recognize my behavior’s part in that chill.

I hope to be a better friend next year.  Not just to those I’ve adopted into my life, but to those with whom I share a (slightly muddied) gene pool.

2017.  I’ve found depths of strength & drive I didn’t know I still had in me. If you told me last year how much I’d be running, carrying, driving, & all with an upbeat attitude, I’d treat you like you’d grown a second head.

Smile nervously & slowly back away until I felt safe enough to roadrunner it outta the room.

Meep meep.

I hope to continue moving forward in this way next year.


The Bad

2017.  You tested my resolve, my strength, & my attention to detail.

People with faith say, “G-d never gives us more than we can handle.”

I say, “G-d thinks too highly of my coping skills.”

2017.  On February 6th, surgeons replaced my Dad’s calcified aortic valve to keep his heart ticking.  He’s now part cow.

The fact that my Dad lived through open-heart surgery deserves to be on the “Good” list.  Unfortunately, the agony he went through & the fact that no one helped me care for him as he recovered made it a real ordeal.

That, & my father has such little patience, is fiercely independent, & hates having other people drive him places.  He makes a fantastic patient, let me tell you.

Still, we made it through.

I hope that there’s no reason for me to be Dad’s caretaker next year.  I know he feels the same way.

2017.  April 8th, my Grandmother joined her husband & daughter in heaven, if you believe in heaven.

She lived a good life, spanning from 1922 to earlier this year.  Imagining all the events she’d seen & experienced during her 94 years (her 95th birthday would have been in August) on Earth sends my curiosity reeling.

It also disappoints me to know I missed out on hearing many amazing stories.  My Grandparents were very involved in my early life, but, after my Mom, their daughter, died, we grew apart.  Only in the past few years did I start spending time with her again.

It wasn’t enough.

I hope to reconnect with family members next year.  I abandoned them in my grief, & I only hope they can forgive me so I don’t have such regrets again later.

2017.  October 8th, exactly six months after Grammy’s death, vets diagnosed my cat, Loki, with nasal lymphoma. His oncologist gave him around 2 years, with extensive treatment.

The fact that Loki – whom I often say is cooler than Batman, & way cooler than Ben Affleck’s Batman – was in excellent health, youngish, & we had pet insurance, also helped in our decision to treat his cancer.

Only after his radiation treatment did we find out that the cancer was more aggressive than his oncologist thought.  His prognosis shrank from 18-24 months to 9 months.

Ironically, 9 months is exactly how long he’ll need chemotherapy treatments.

Weekly.

45 miles away.

One way.

With an 11-pound, whining, miserable cat, who may or may not have bitten the staff at the vet hospital when they diagnosed his cancer – earning him the nickname, “Devil Cat.”

Loki - Sunbeam Cat 10 24 17
After his first radiation treatment.  He was not pleased with anything that day, especially not his “Handmaid’s Tale” cone.

He also earned the nickname, “Wimp,” after he had a bad reaction to the chemo.

We spent a lovely Thanksgiving in a (slightly closer) vet hospital.  It took 2 days to get his white blood cell count out of the toilet & clear up the upper respiratory infection that caused his nose to run like a Usain Bolt chasing a cheetah.

Healthy Paws pet insurance really deserves to be under the “Good” heading.  They’ve been stepping up, paying 90% of Loki’s medical expenses (minus exam fees, preventative care, problems arising from lack of preventative care, or elective procedures, of course), with no lifetime limits.

It’s better than my own health insurance in a lot of ways, including premium costs ($31.90 a month, for anyone interested in getting pet insurance).

I hope next year we find quiet peace & comfort next year.  Of course, I hope my Loki-mon, monkey, shadow-cat is still with me this time next year, but I’m keeping my hopes here realistic.


The Shiny

2017.  For the first time in years, I picked up my pliers & made some jewelry for my friends.

Back in the day, once upon a time, in another life, I had disposable income.  I spent it on bits & bobs of jewelry-making supplies: earring hooks, connectors, charms, jump rings, semi-precious stone components.  My closet over-floweth with jewelry making supplies.

Perhaps they remind me of a time when I had spare dollars & cents with which to buy these pieces off eBay, Amazon, or etsy, & that’s why I don’t want to use them.

Perhaps I don’t have the inspiration I need to make stuff on a regular basis.

Whatever the reason, I hadn’t done any work in a long time.

My friends acted as my muse &, unwittingly, introduced me to a new style of chainmaille (my favorite type of jewelry art) – scalemaille.

It seems perfect for my guy friend who’s into Renaissance Fairs &, like me, has ADHD.

Scale Maille Red & Granite Bracelet4
Fiddling with this bracelet is fun.

I almost didn’t want to give it to him.  My Dad also tried to take it, before he said I should sell it.  But I told him, that’s not why I do this stuff.

For my gal pal, I combined my love of chainmaille with my interest in target shooting.  I’ve collected many spent casings from the firing range floor & I’ve been dying to work them into some jewelry.

Byzantine With A Bullet Bracelet2
I call it: “Byzantine with a Bullet.” It would be wittier if the weave’s name wasn’t “Byzantine.”

I hope to have more bursts of inspiration next year, & to put them to good use.


There you go!  For all of you wondering where I’ve been the past year, why I haven’t posted, or what my offline life consisted, there’s as brief a recount as I can make.

I hope for many more years sharing my inane ramblings with you all, & that the best of 2017 is the worst of 2018.  For all of us.

Happy holidays to all & to all a good night!

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10 thoughts on “The Good, The Bad, & The Shiny

  1. Maybe because I’m a pessimist, but while the good sounds fantastic, the bad is just heart wrenching. I’m glad your dad is part cow if it keeps him on this side of the pasture. As for Loki, he sounds like he’s a fighter, and even with cats, black doesn’t crack 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so very true. The working title was “2017 SUCKS,” but I didn’t want to just complain.

      Also, I think that taking note of the good helps to maintain a relatively realistic – “optimistic” would be too generous – mindset.

      I love your comment about my Dad! It’s so witty & so true!

      Loki is a very special (scaredy) cat. He’s only 7 and 1/2 years old, plus our insurance has covered over $10,000 in treatment so far. As long as Loki seems happy, we’ll keep pushing forward.

      You’re absolutely right about black (in general &) cats. They’re fighters. 🙂

      Thank you for your kind words. They mean so much when the events have been so, well, suck-y. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I almost feel like 2017 was just 2016: Part II like 2016 just didn’t end.

        Sometimes I just come up with punny witticisms 😀

        Thank goodness for pet insurance! I just bought some for my 7 and a half year old cat, too. I wanted to get it for my other kitty, but he’s 15, and they won’t insure cats over 10 :\ I do like that they’ll cover 90% of costs though, which is nice; I’ll just have to have the vet itemize it by cat, which shouldn’t be a problem.

        Aw I’m glad I could do a small thing that meant something ♥

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I like when people make puns witty. In my family, the majority of the puns are really two-thirds of a pun – PU! *rim shot*

        It’s a hard truth – animals are gonna have vet bills the older they get. It makes sense that they don’t want to cover your 15-year-old fur-baby, but it’s still sad. It also speaks to your character that you’re making sure they’re covered.

        I gotta say – Loki’s pet insurance is better than mine in a lot of ways! It covers 90%, mine covers 80%. At least mine covers preventative care (for now) & exam fees (for now).

        Small things mean everything right now, m’dear. When all the big stuff falls on my head, I have to see the silver lining. Thank you for being a part of it. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Their insurance IS better, right?? I can get back 90% of Cid’s, and yeah, I understand why they don’t cover, but I still hate for-profit health care. I wish I could’ve gotten him covered sooner, but I don’t think we had the money at the time. Oh well. So far he’s in excellent health and I take them both to the vet at least once a year to make sure I’m doing what I can.

        It really is the small things as opposed to the grandiose gestures 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m right there with you – for-profit health care is ridiculous on so many levels. I like this show called Adam Ruins Everything (because I can relate to an annoying know-it-all LOL). He discussed how hospitals determine the costs of their services & it was mind-blowing, in a “these idiots are horrible people who shouldn’t get away with this atrocity” sorta way.

        How much are Cid’s premiums, if you don’t mind my asking? Also, I’m curious to know with what company you ultimately went?

        I’ve realized – especially this year, I’m sure – that the big issues are often bad. Unless we’re incredibly lucky, we get very few grandiose good events in our lives. It’s easy to be fatalistic & miserable unless we notice the small stuff. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I LOVE that show lol. He does “ruin” everything as in he explains all of our misconceptions about them. It’s fantastic, and not something I expected to come out of College Humor. I remember that site from college and they were certainly not doing such informative things back then hehe. When I had my gallbladder out, the one night in the hospital cost more than my surgery. It was asinine.

        I’m with Nationwide! I want to say I pay between $10-$20 a paycheck since I got it through my job. Just looked it up and it’s around $300 a year.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. OMG me too!! It’s rare – & nice – to meet someone else who appreciates learning the reality about stuff we hold as “absolute truth.”

        My Dad had his gallbladder removed too. His surgery was crazy expensive – I think it totaled over $100,000 (with all the hospital stay & whatnot, not the surgery alone). They couldn’t do it laparoscopically, so it was bound to be more expensive. However, the stuff they come up with is insane! What’s worse, they then charge people paying cash the same prices that they charge insurance companies, but give the latter immense bargaining power to pay pennies on the dollar!

        This is why people are going bankrupt for getting sick. 😦

        Oh wow! At $25 a month (I got a calculator to do the math; I was an English major LOL), that’s a really sweet deal for an older cat! Also, I don’t know what your job is, but I can say that I love your company for offering pet insurance in their benefit plan. Chances are there’s a lot more that you know that would make me love it less, but for taking care of the fur-babies, I love them. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Omg yes, I want to know the truth. I listen to science videos on YouTube all day at work lol. I love that kind of stuff even though I’m a writer of fantasy :p It’s like I love reading and writing fairy tales, and I’d love for that to be reality, but it isn’t,and it’s better to have knowledge/information than ignorance.

        Ugh, when they have to be more invasive, it’s going to be even more expensive. I hope your dad was okay though. I really lucked out with mine. I was pretty much in and out, but I was still appalled at how much just ONE night was.

        Right?? It’s so funny you say “older cat” because I think of Cid as my ever kitten lol. He is turning seven this year which I believe is not quite senior (I think that’s 10). My company is really good about the work/life balance and I work in a really good department with an awesome boss. Thank goodness, because my health isn’t all that great.

        They are literally my fur children. I don’t have any human ones (yet), but I’ve had the one cat his entire life and he’s turning 15 ♥

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Ooo! Which science videos do you like to watch on YouTube? I’m always interested in learning stuff. 🙂

        What you’re saying about writing fantasy/fiction is wonderfully familiar. Neil deGrasse Tyson did an interview with Salman Rushdie recently on his show “StarTalk.” Rushdie said he was very interested in science throughout his education, & claims he uses that knowledge of physics & reality in order to subvert it in his writing. I think he mentioned, specifically, imagining what life would be like if a person was forever 2 inches – just 2 inches – above the physical world at all times. He said, “Imagine just trying to drive a car!”

        So, that scientific knowledge can really come in handy when you’re trying to create something fantastical – if only to specifically warp it.

        Aww! My Loki is around the same age! He turned 7 this past July. However, he now looks much older due to the radiation treatments he had in PA. It turned a lot of his fur on his face white. I say he’s such a distinguished gentleman now – he’s my lil Pierce Brosnan. 😀

        I think you’re right about the definition of “senior cat,” by the way. I only meant that Cid is “older” in that he wasn’t a kitten when I looked into pet insurance like my Loki-monster.

        It’s good to know that you were able to get pet insurance for an “older cat.” I was visiting my best friend the other day & her Mom said she wanted to get pet insurance for their cats, but wasn’t sure she could due to their age. I think they’re around 8 or so (but, unfortunately, they were around 5 when they adopted them & a lot of their veterinary history is unknown; that might be a bigger problem than age, to be honest).

        I’m so glad that your company has awesome bosses & a realistic approach for its workers. It’s sad that too many companies expect their workers to live, breathe, & sustain themselves on their employment (not their paycheck, mind you, the actual job).

        Oh, I understand your heart completely when it comes to the fur-babies. In fact, I don’t plan to have any human ones myself. Loki is my first cat (we had dogs growing up) & he’s been with me through a lot of H***. I like to say he’s my whole world. It’s not that far from the truth.

        Not too sure if that’s a good or terrifying statement. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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