Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Goodbye Sweet, Sweet Boy: Our Tao

We took our precious boy, Tao, to a sudden.... and unexpected final goodbye.... and the journey home on the Rainbow Bridge yesterday.

And my heart is so broken that I sobbed from 6 pm into the night and even now I am crying as I write this. I am that sensitive to the loss of pets. I love and love deeply and when you have an open heart like that, loss hurts more as well. The pain of loss is simply the price of having loved and loved deeply.

And in the end the love that we have been blessed to be able to have... has to be enough for as little time as you get.  It just has to be, we have no choice except whether or not to let ourselves love in the first place.

We had simply brought him in for a 'cold' that was in his eyes but for whatever reason had me all upset and me...... who never goes to doctors unless she breaks something...  was insisting we 'had to' bring him for his eyes.... because I'd never be able to live with myself if he "died just from that."

Well, it wasn't just that.

He had FIV or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, cat's version of Aids or more closely HIV,  which feral (or un-neuterd domestic cats) can get just from fighting with other cats who are in the wild or feral or sick, themselves.

But even then, it took a while for the vet to even suggest the test before the upper respiratory infection shot. And only because I'd said he'd been a feral cat we fed and fed and finally got to come up to us and then took in as our own.

Tao had  disappeared and been on one of his journeys for two days, over the weekend, where I'd fussed and worried and called him for our entire country roads length to no avail, and he came home finally with infected eyes, ragged fur, and acting sickly.

So, I thought he must have a 'cat cold' or upper respiratory illness, since we'd taken him last November as a feral rescue that showed up on the very day that we buried our dear friend of 40 years who we had lived next door to for 20 and lost first his wife and 12 year old daughter to a car accident in 1997 and then Greg to a hiking accident in November of last year.

To have this cat show up in our 2 acres back yard on the day of the funeral/burial for Greg, as we put him to rest in our country cemetery next to his wife and daughter...was a sign... on omen if you will, for me.

So, I named  him Tao..the journey, the path, the way...and bit by bit we socialized him and loved him until he became a precious member of our family. It was a lot of work and took a long time for each stage and each step. But we did it.

And he was the most amazing, amazing cat on the ride to the vet. He never even cried like cats do. He wanted out of the carrier like crazy, but he made no noises. and calmed when we put a finger in to scratch him.

He was amazing, amazing at the Vets. Let us put him on the exam table for his eyes and checkup perfectly fine as if he was the sweetest domesticated cat you could possible ever have.

The vet didn't even think he would test positive for the test he finally suggested as a precursor to the eyes treatment, he , too thinking that it was just a cold, since we had him so healthy except for these new tiny signs I saw and felt.

But he was sick and there is no cure and he could infect other cats who might fight with him and so we had no choice but to accept the consequences of this terrible illness in cats and say goodbye..right then with only the 20 minutes for the test to be run and the sudden news of the unexpected results. And oh, that was so hard. My heart so goes out to you that have to suddenly put your pets down. It is so hard.

We stayed with him the entire time and if you have never been able to do that, you need to do so, for it is so so calm and so quick and so simple.  We petted and loved and held him in place calmly and quietly,  me by his head, my husband on his back and the vet and tech by his flank.

He calmed right away from m touch. He layed his head down on my arm under it, and enjoyed the scratching and petting on his neck and back.  I told him how much we loved him, and we were so very glad we got our 5 months with him. That I'd named him Tao for a reason and this would be his last and final journey. And it would be easy and he would never be alone or hungry or hurt every again. And in 20 seconds he was still... and in 30 he was gone.

I was pouring tears but calm and loving and it was good for how sad and awful it was.

But because I have worked hard on my journey to have a fully open and spinning with that openness, heart, I feel and feel deeply. So, I have been sobbing every since until I finally put all of my signs and symbols and intuitive messages together and now I know how it all is another part of my own spiritual journey. One that is the most amazing challenges, and huge and unexpected losses.

But because of that, I have been given spiritual blessings of understanding, deep compassion, and the ability to make sense of the senseless even when still in grief and loss and facing other even more horrible tragedies.

I debated about sharing this, but I have taught myself to be willing to share. And so many of you share my deep love and connection with animals, so I am.

I will add him to that page later today. I am too sad right now.

Goodbye, sweet, sweet, precious boy. Oh, how we will miss you so!

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey from Alaska to Oregon with thousands of free Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Patterns and Tutorials. Help change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Feeling Like a Featherweight But Sewing Like a Warhorse

As far as I am concerned, and in spite of all statistics and indications to the contrary,  I still consider myself normal. Ok, then. Somewhat normal. Perhaps, my own new normal.

Yesterday was National Quilting Day and I made the choice to quilt...all day long..rather than write about it.

I am sewing on a challenge quilt for my my guilt guild  quilt guild, I am designing a prayer flag for several people who could sure use one, I am trying to make a new table runner in time for Easter, and I have the fabric out to make either a jacket, or a vest, to match my new badge id tag and bag that have a hard time matching anything else I wear.

But in spite of all of that, according to the "Quilting in America" survey results after a year of compilation for 2014,  I am apparently not normal. At least not as far as what I own, buy, do, or spend in the quilting in America industry.

   Looking old, and more than a bit well used! But boy,does it get a lot done!

I do love reading the results of each new posting of the National Quilt Survey and seeing just how I compare..after all like most of you..I consider myself to be incomparable. I mean we all do what we love to do, and we only buy what we can afford....don't we?  Well, apparently not.

So, I did take this years survey for next years posted results. And the deadline is almost up in a few days, so go to the link below if you want to take it and take it quick if you want to influence products and how quilting money is spent on us and our interests!
2015 Quilters Survey Information. Thank you for your interest in the 2015 Quilting Survey. Your feedback is important to help guide improvements in the quilting

Now, last year's results, which were published this year of course, were quite interesting. A bit different from the last few years that I've downloaded and read them. I'm always amazed at just how much quilter's spend and how for the most part, the majority of money is spent by older rather than by new and introductory quilters. Interesting because, that is where all of the styles, quilts, magazines, and other media are now being directed towards..the young and the new.

After all, I'm sure they figure we are a dying age group, and of course we are. I fully to expect to reach the end of my rope ..or crochet cotton...and will no doubt hang on to it just as both of my parents did..physically if not mentally!

So, what were last years results???

Quilting in America Survey from 2014 showed that the quilting industry was worth $3.76 BILLION annually. In other words, if we didn't shop, we could be helping to pay off our national debt. Hmm, not sure if I'm ready to give up quilting, just yet!

That was a 5% increase in the past 4 years.And the average household expenditure for quilting has increased 36/%. Sorry, folks, not mine. Part of the reason I take the survey. I want to make it real and I have a modest budget and a modest expenditure.

Seriously, people! Haven't you wondered why I have been grabbing fabric out of your hands at those free fabric tables. Heck, I asked a very famous quilter for her scraps once and she sent me a smiley face. I wanted and needed those scraps. She said she was just throwing them in the trash. Nooooo!

It showed that there are 16 MILLION quilters in America, or one out of every 20 households. If I could do the math, and I can't, I'm trying to figure what to divide into what with that $3.76 BILLION we quilters spend. Some of you are sure spending more than your share, because you are spending mine, as well.

And moreover, the numbers of us are on the decline. See above, where I talk about how we are dying off and how most of us are old, and not young. So tell me again "Just why is everything geared towards young people and not teaching us old dogs new tricks instead of trying to teach the old dogs the young dogs tricks???

Heck, if I drop something on the floor..thread, a bobbin, my quilting project..I can barely bend over to pick it up again, if I can even see it through my bifocals that the optometrist gave up on trying to get me to see. And I quote...'If you can see me, even if its not my facial features, I'm happy with that." Seriously? I sew, quilt, craft and create art. Would a blur be good enough for your golf game????
As the survey results said: 
"However, we know Dedicated Quilters don't regard quilting as an optional hobby, but as part of their lives. They, like other quilters throughout history, quilt during good times and bad. Their quilting is both a means of expressing themselves creatively, and also of expressing what is going on in their lives and how they are dealing with it."

Well, I use potholder therapy for my sorrows and blues. And I make art every day. What? You mean you don't decorate your potholders with embossing paint sticks? Well, this quilter does!

Now, could someone pass me my magnifying glass, give me a hand so I can get up. And if you don't mind, remind me what I was doing, who I am, and what room I am currently in.

Because to be quite honest, I don't always remember. And yes, those handprints of mine might be elderly, they might feature a fabric designed with antique sewing needle cases, but look at just how quickly those old girls can still get things done?

I'm having way too much fun expressing myself creatively to process all that is happening in my life and how I am dealing with it!!!!

I May Just Be the New Normal!!!

And I'm not packing it in, just yet!!! 

Singer Featherweight: Sewing Accessories Tutorial

After all!  2014: My Year of 250 Projects

After all, I still have a lot of liquid soap dispensers to make quilts wraps for ;-)

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey from Alaska to Oregon with thousands of free Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Patterns and Tutorials. Help change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!