Friday, April 12, 2013

Cat Toys and Ramblings

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Here are a couple cat toys I made last June.  I made a companion cube out of felt and embroidery thread.  The nice thing about the companion cube is that it's large enough that it doesn't get lost under the couch, like so many of the cat toys.  It still gets lost, but it also turns up every once in a while. 

It's filled with pillow stuffing (fluffy stuff bought from JoAnn's), empty candy wrapping (for the crinkly noise), and catnip.

I also made a dorky little mouse from some fabric scraps, with the same filling.

And now for the cute pictures of baby Gnome playing with the companion cube.  :)

She was so little then... the kittens are over a year old now (their birthday was three days ago).  I didn't celebrate their birthday - just don't care to mark the day, as DeForest should be here to mark it with me.  If he were alive, I'm sure I would've made it into a big day for the kids, with presents and treats and all, but this year they're not getting anything.  They're cats, so it's not like they know the difference.  Hopefully by next year I'll care and do a big production of their birthday.  I'm going to assume for now it's similar to how I didn't care about The Hobbit coming out last December (still haven't seen it) and how I'm actually really excited for Star Trek to come out next month, and not worry about it.

There's a part of me that wonders about talking about grief and the struggles with it online, but there's another part of me that reminds me that I always like it when other bloggers talk about their realities, too, and not just the shiny parts.  I also continually wish that our culture talked about grief more - there's a large part of me that's amazed that I got to be 24 without having any clue how grief can affect people.  I mean, yeah, I knew people would be sad when someone close to them died, but I had no idea that it was such an all-body experience, and that it would last so incredibly long and affect me in so many ways.  I'm still struggling with it every day.  Some days are better than others, and overall there is a definite upward trend, but it's still takes me over an hour longer to get myself out of bed every day than it used to, before he died.  It's still hard being by myself most of the time, though I've gotten to the point where I can sometimes distract myself into having a decent time for a few hours by listening to podcasts and focusing on a craft project really hard.  But it's still a daily struggle.  And from talking to other widows and reading their words on the Young Widows Bulletin Board (, if you need it), I'm doing really well, and this is normal.  That's what's weird for me - that this is so completely normal, and I had absolutely no clue that this is how grief works, because it had never touched close to me.  Maybe, just maybe, if our culture talked about this more, it would be a little easier to bear.  Maybe the fear that there's someone out there, just waiting to judge me and tell me to get over things already, that so many people must just not get it, would be a little less.  Thankfully, that's only happened a little, and most of the people in my life have been wonderful.  But I know not everyone gets that, either, and that's sad, too.

So I suppose I'll just leave my grief-inspired ramblings in, when I have the courage to.


  1. I think you are spot-on with our society needs to talk about grief, I think people hide it too much and we don't talk about it enough, or give it enough attention in general. My mom was raised Orthodox Jewish and she is amazed at how poorly "Gentiles" treat grief.
    In Judaism, the week following burial, the immediate family "sits shiva" (shiva means 7), for seven days they are "mourners," they gather in one home (usually the deceased person's) and receive visitors. They wear an outer garment that they have torn on the left side (sometimes "over the heart" to represent their grief). Sometimes they sit on the floor or low stools to represent being "brought low by grief". They cover mirrors and don't have to worry about looking nice or showering or "pretending" to "be happy." They just spend a week grieving, and friends feed them and clean for them and care for any small children (under 13), animals, or elderly people. They do not go to work or school or other commitments.
    On the 7th day, after a small service, friends and community members walk them around the block in a symbolic "returning to the community" ritual. However, they are excused for the next three weeks from attending any parties, celebrations, major religious holidays, places where live music is played or basically other such activities in which the deceased person will be sorely missed.
    So it is a major process full of comforting rituals, and children are taught how to grieve.

    I have found that really "ethnic" families tend to have specific grief rituals as well, like big Irish Wakes, or Greek Orthodox people wear black for forty days during which they do not participate in social gatherings or parties.

    When I worked at Borders, I read several different books in the Bereavement section (I shelved books all over the store and frequently read titles that caught my attention in one day). And there is a really cute book for kids called "Sad isn't Bad" (It is an "Elf Help Book") that while assuming the concept of life after death, is quite sensitive to differences in religious belief and practices.

    1. Thanks, Shaleigh (gah, I know that's not at all how you spell your name, but I can't remember...). Michael McCay told me a lot about the Jewish grieving process, and it makes total sense to me. I was useless that first week, and not much better for a good long while afterwards. I'm still not up to full productivity, 10 months later (to the day today :(). I'm glad I've had so many people helping me through this.



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