Waiting to Exhale

I posted a status on Facebook last night at around 8:30 pm: “Almost. Just a few more hours. I’m not going to say anything more, lest I jinx us.” Which apparently was enough to set off a giant sobbing jag. No one dying in 2014 felt like a tremendous achievement. After all, we haven’t made it through a calendar year without an immediate member of my falling dying since 2011. In 2012, we lost my oldest brother in April and my dad in October. In 2013, we lost my other brother in March, just five months after my dad. In July, my mom nearly died from deep vein thrombosis brought on by minor surgery, following which she spent three months in ICU, acute inpatient rehab, and skilled nursing. Then she moved into assisted living, where she has remained, but for her recent two-week stint in the hospital and inpatient rehab due to sudden physical and cognitive decline, the cause of which is unknown.

So when I wrote we’d nearly made it through 2014 and promptly broke down from the massive feeling of relief (immersed inside the sludge of grief), I shouldn’t have been surprised. But I was. I didn’t realize just how overwhelmed I’ve been. And how grateful I am to have had a respite from the enormous losses that had been piling up. Still, I wasn’t sure something wouldn’t happen between 8:30 pm and midnight. So I had a quiet night hunkered down with the cats, waiting with held breath for the clock to strike midnight.

Shortly after midnight, I updated my status: “We made it through 2014.”

I exhaled. And then I cried some more.

So now we’re into 2015. I’m skeptical we’ll make it through this one unscathed. But I can’t spend the year waiting for the other shoe to drop. For my mother to die. So instead of quietly falling apart, I’m going to do my best to distract myself by living.

One of the things I’ve been wanting to do (not a resolution, dammit) is get my photos in order. I’ve gotten pretty good with my Nikon D3200, but I’ve got thousands of images piled up in the crappy Nikon photo software. Seriously, it’s shite. So today I took the plunge and signed up for Lightroom and Photoshop. At first I found the software intimidating and not intuitive. But after working through the tutorials, I started getting the hang of it. I spent the day tinkering around, mostly on cat photos.

Here are a few:

Sally (back) Sadie (front)
Sally (back) Sadie (front)

Sally and Sadie, littermates I adopted together from a local shelter ten years ago as little tiny fluffballs, get along well. They are not so tolerant of Sophie, the interloper who joined our black cat family in March 2013, when I brought her in from the cold after three months of wooing her away from her life on the streets.

Sophie has become more tolerant of the camera.
Sophie & Sadie
Sophie (bed) & Sadie (window)

Clever girl that she is, Sophie knew when she showed up on our doorstep, she’d found her tribe. She and her matching stepsisters have, after nearly two years, learned to occasionally be in the same room together. From a distance.


Sophie in Profile
Sophie in Profile

Sophie has turned out to be a beauty. After two years of love and care, her coat has gone from coarse and dull to shiny and lustrous.

Sadie on Fur
Sadie on Fur

While Sophie matches Sadie and Sally in their black fluffiness, Sophie’s eyes are gold, whereas Sadie’s and Sally’s are green.

You can’t rebag a cat.


Apparently Sadie is unaware of the dangers of playing inside a plastic bag.





Now that I’m learning my way around Lightroom, I’ll be sharing more photos on my blog. Here’s a taste of what’s to come from my trip to the Great Bear Rainforest in 2013.










My what big paws you have!
My what big paws you have!


The image of the giant paws of the Spirit Bear is just a teaser. I’ve got dozens of images of these amazing creatures to come. Stay tuned.

Thank you all, dear readers, for your interest in my words, and the kindness and support you have extended this past year. Wishing you all much love and peace in 2015.



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