Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Here I am with all the little ghouls I take care of each weekday, Po, Vampira, Bones (he had a ribcage part but I put it on later), 'Lil Punkin, Miss Cat and Dorothy with little Toto in the basket. I had a party for them and took them Trick-o-treating in the shops along the main street nearby and they had a very good time despite being limited to 1/2 a cupcake and one piece of candy.

*I don't like showing pictures of my daycare kids, even with parental permission, for their own safety so I blanked them.

Fashion Friday #4

I have a new favorite brand, Pumpkin Patch, but it's pricey. Nordstrom carries it at a slightly lower price than the brand store, even in the same mall, and Nordstrom also had them on sale 40-50% off. These are a size 4.

Macy's also had a great sale and I got this beautiful dress, which looks much, much prettier in real life, for only $4.99.

I'm not sure about this Gymboree skirt yet. H&M had a prettier one, but this one has sparkles in the tulle and I have pieces from a line called City Kitty that will be perfect with it. This super-soft chennille sweater is by Heartstrings, size 5, and matches the Gymboree neopalitan line.

This sweater, size 3, is by Baby Gap. You can see that the skirt can be worn in several sizes.

I couldn't resist this snuggly, cuddly Carter's sleeper, which was also on sale at Macy's.

Knitting Tunic Update #3

So far, of all the things I've knitted, this is my favorite. Voila, the final result! BTW, this mannequin is a size 3/4 and the tunic a size 2 so if Apple is tiny, it will fit her like a dress and the tights will be appropriate. If Apple is not tiny, I'll put leggings or skinny jeans under the tunic and a shirt, if the weather is cool.

It's not a good picture, but you can see I added crocheted bobbles. I didn't want my hair getting caught in the buttons when I held Apple and I think they are more fun.

I actually finished this Oct. 14th or 15th and then did the bobbles and started the hat. I had only about 3 feet of yard left when I finished.

I've already begun my next project... The hat was finished today.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm In the Review Room!

March 2007 just got out of the Review Room. What does this mean for me? This means that my dossier (paperwork) is entering the Review Room at CCAA. If I don't hear anything it means that my dossier is in perfect order and the next thing I will hear from CCAA will be my referral, or which child I've been match to. This isn't to say that this happens back-to-back. I'm still looking at 18 months more of waiting, possibly more, perhaps less.

Update: Oct. 17, 2008
I just heard that there might be some March 2007 dossiers still in review.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

18 Months In, 1 1/2 Years Down

I picked up this doll in San Fransisco's Chinatown last Saturday. I thought it was the perfect Mother & Daughter mascot to mark 18 months of being logged in at CCAA.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Knitting Tunic Update #1

Bianca's Passed On

Earlier today (Oct. 11), I took Bianca to the vet and had her euthanized. She could not longer eat. The vet is only a half block from my doorstep so I wrapped her loosely in a soft blanket and put her on her favorite cushy and picked it up with her in it like a taco. The day was clear and the air super crisp, warm with the scent and nip of fall in it. It was perfect. I deliberately walked slow and Bianca was looking right at me and smelling the air. She was very, very relaxed and started purring. I was soooooo glad and relieved that she was comfortable and content.

When I walked into the vet, the door chime went off and Bianca immediately stiffened and tried to look around. I knew that she knew that the chime meant VET. I started singing to her and she settled back down. I took her back outside when I realized we had a short wait. We got put into a room after a few minutes and waiting another few. I didn't like that we waited in there because we could hear a dog and a man's voice and Bianca was unsettled. I sang again and that helped.

Once it was quiet, Bianca was relaxed and stayed that way. The doctor came in and explained his procedure which is to inject the solution like a vaccine instead of into a vein. That way there is no trauma of trying to find a vein or of using a tranquilizer first. She didn't even notice when the needle went in.

I had less than 30 seconds, which was perfect. The vet left and I held her so I was alone with her when she actually died, which is how I wanted it. He'd said it could be up to like 10 minutes and I told him I wanted to walk her home in that case before she died. He didn't like that idea but it was a mute point since she passed so quickly. I also had arranged to be billed rather than pay then and there. I called him back in once I was sure her heart had stopped and he confirmed it. He wanted to look in her mouth at the damage since we'd not seen it, but I told him that I didn't want to disrespect her that way and he understood.

I put Bianca back into her blanket and "taco" and walked home. I let my other cats see that she was dead. Again, Sammy took a long time smelling her all over. I got out my shovel and prepared her final resting place then buried her. I now have four "garden kitties."

For each cat that has passed away, I've made very careful plans for how they would die and a ritual for each one emerged.

White was euthanized at home. I bought a live houseplant the same day and had it in the room with us. I still have the plant. I also saved the shirt I wore while I held her. It smelled like her for a long time. Recently, I took it out and it didn't smell like her any more so I washed it and wore it again.

Max's passing didn't go as I'd hoped. I believe he suffered too much, due to the vet (different one than I have now) grossly misinforming me. Thankfully, I was home with him and able to be with him and tend to him. I didn't bury him for awhile after he died, over an hour. I buried White faster than I needed to. I'd been afraid of rigormortis with her. Now that I understand it better, I didn't worry about it with Max. It was also the middle of the night so it took me awhile to dig his grave. With Max, I cut a lock of his curly belly hair to save. I'd have loved one of his luxurious long wiskers, but couldn't bear to pluck one from him. A friend brought me flowers for Max's grave the next day.

Darling had the most perfect passing a pet owner could ask for, in my opinion. She had a brief decline at home, a few days are labored breathing and not eating, then she passed without me with her, but went to the spot I'd prepared, laid herself down on her pillow and died. I buried her near Max. The ritual with her pertained to how she let me know telepathically that it was her time and that she'd gone to the spot I made for her. She showed a strength and grace I didn't know she had in her last week of life.

This morning I put on the shirt I'd worn with White for Bianca. It was appropriate. I pet her and held her a lot before, during and after her death. I talked to her and sang to her. I told her that White, Max and Darling are waiting for her. After I buried her, I went to San Francisco's Chinatown and, while browsing, found this wood carving of a cat that reminded me of her.

Each cat was buried in a 100% cotton receiving blanket and nothing else. They were truly returned to the earth.

I do the best I can to celebrate the life of my pets, but I'm sad, too, and miss them. Feeding time is the most difficult at first because I often forget and get out their bowl and then notice I've got one extra after I've served the food. Tomorrow I'm going to put the rocking chair that Bianca claim as her spot into storage. When next I need it, it will be my spot for rocking my daughter.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Frou Frou Fashion Friday

This is the first very froufrou dress I've bought for Apple and I bought it mostly for the shrug, which will go with some of the other things I've bought. The tags are still on, but it came from a second hand store.

Also new, with tags, from the same store, is this ivory eyelet twirl dress. I've seen it on the rack for several weeks and I've had it on my mind a LOT so today was the day I finally bought it. It's not my usual taste, but I can easily imagine Apple wearing this for her first professional photo shoot.

The following beauties from Le Top's boutique lines, Flower Power and Flower Garden remind me of Chez Ami styles. I saw them one evening at a Nordstrom rather far from me and they'd just been marked down. I told myself not to get them, to think about it, because even marked down, they cost more than I like to spend on kid's clothing. I got into my car telling myself I should have gotten them. The next morning I knew I wanted them a LOT, so I phoned my nearest Nordstrom store, then the next and next ones, but they didn't have them. I called the original store and was having them shipped, but the woman kept making mistakes so I knew I needed to get them myself or I'd never see them. I jumped into my car, as soon as I got off work, and drove 27 miles over the bridge, across the Bay and go them. Because...I also bought a used, but like new, red dress that would match with the overall top perfectly.

The overalls are size 18m and look very big. The red dress is size 24m and looks about right. My favorite, the pink dress with the coordinating tights, is size 24 and also looks like it runs big. The pictures with the models are Le Top pictures.

New Knitting Project

I decided to get back to knitting. The creative outlet helps me feel good. This is a simple pattern, but I'm changing it to be knitted as one piece in the round instead of making a front and a back and stitching them together. It looks best with a shirt underneath. I got the pattern from the grandmother of one of my daycare kids after the child wore it and I saw how cute it was on her.

I'm thinking about doing little some kind of bauble edging on the hem, around the neck and arm holes. I think it will help it keep its shape and make it classier.

This is Bianca

She's actually looking very good tonight. I washed her up. She ate a tiny bit. I didn't dare take a picture of her yesterday because she looked so bad it would have dishonored her.

She's had a good day on her rocking chair. She was very relaxed and comfortable. When she's in pain, she kneads her cushion for a long, long time, tries to rest, then starts again. When she's comfortable, she kneads for a short time, curls up and goes to sleep.

You can click on the picture and view it larger to notice that her face is not symmetrical. Her tongue is in her mouth and not hanging out like it tends to do lately, and you can't see her extremely swollen right cheek behind the sunken in part.

She is not a kitty for the squeamish now. Cancer disrupts normal vascular function because it requires a lot of nutrition to grow and spread. Right now, Bianca bleeds easily from something inside her mouth and, two days ago, from a tiny sore on the bridge of her nose. Her right eye is there, but the surrounding tissue is very swollen and stiff, including her second eyelid. I keep ointment on it to keep it from drying out, becoming infected, and too swollen. Today, the second eyelid of her "good" eye came up for the first time.

When she bleeds, my heart stops. I want to panic and "do something," anything, but I force myself to remain calm, remind myself that saliva always makes it look like more blood than there really is, and see how Bianca herself is reacting. I cry, already mourning for her, and I cry because I'm sorry she's going through this. She's weak today, it was the first time she didn't get off the rocker to go to her food.

As long as she is comfortable, eats (even a little), purrs in a normal fashion (not her manic kneading), and responds possitively to me, then she's still herself and I'm not ready to end her life.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

One Year Ago

It's hard to believe it, but one year ago today, my cat Max died. Now, it looks like by the end of this week, my cat Bianca will be gone, too. I'm going day by day with her, but she's having a hard time now and looks really bad.

This also marks the time that my grandmother's decline to the end of her life started. It truly only feels like four months have passed for me since this time last year. On one hand it's nice because I don't feel the time as I wait for my daughter. On the other hand, my grief is refreshed as I start grieving for Bianca.