Here is Mandala 6 of 100 and some gratitude journaling. I’m moving the mandalas to the banker’s boxes that we used for moving a whole bunch of our stuff. We have very limited storage so I’m making my own custom storage system! Here is box #1 in progress.
Here is a closeup of mandala 7 of 100.
I am so grateful to be in our house with our cats and air conditioners! We are now eating most of our meals at home and we have found all the parts of our bed! It is amazing how important the basics can be when you are starting a new life in a new place!
There is a lot of good information about moving with cats or traveling cross country with cats. Why someone would take their cats on an unnecessary car trip is a behavior I don’t understand, but that is an extremely large category of human behavior.
But here is what I did.
- When packing up the house your cats will notice something is going on. Start using Feliway to help reduce their stress. One day Winzton (the large toast colored cat) sat on our stairs that no longer had any photos or art on them and cried. It just about broke my heart. We took both of the boys to the vet and he recommended starting with Feliway. They had started to fight more too. The other recommendation of our vet was to add a urine support food to their diet at soon as possible as male cats can have a lot of urine issues related to stress. They didn’t like the first kind we got, so we forked out the big bucks for the Hill’s Prescription Diet food. It is less expensive than replacing all of our furniture. Bonhomie has always loved to dart through open doors and spent a lot of packing time stuck in all kinds of odd places.
He eventually figured out how to open these and some cupboard doors.
2. I took about 2 weeks to get my cats used to eating their food in their crates. I gave them lots of extra treats and sprayed each of the crates with Feliway. They got more comfortable, if not happy, with this practice.
3. I have had to plan for at least one week in the extended stay hotel. This has been very challenging for all of us. Bo is very active (when not in a cupboard). He also likes to dart out doors. We got a Prevue Pet Products Premium 4 level cat come and a OneFast Cat treadmill. The boys helped me assemble their new cat home.
4. We got some over the counter Dramamine to help with motion sickness and anxiety on the trip. I also picked up a copy of our cats’ most current immunizations. I taped the immunization page into the front cover of my calendar. You may need it if checking in to a pet friendly hotel with your cats.
5. The day we closed on our house in Wisconsin (yeah!) we (attempted) to give our kitties each a dose of Dramamine, but Winzton just kept spitting it out. The key to giving a cat a pill is to get it into their mouth and hold said mouth closed. Rub the cat’s throat to help encourage swallowing. It worked with Bonhomie. Not that we could really tell. They both vocalized (cried) for the first hour in the car. We gave them the medicine before the paperwork and kept them in their crates in a quiet room in our neighbor’s house. We picked them up and hit the road. We already had a reservation for a pet friendly hotel in Ohio.
6. One thing that really helped was that we stopped after about an hour of driving and covered the kennels with sheets. I think both stopping and covering them helped. When they would hear my voice they would start crying again so we put on some podcasts. If my husband and I responded to what was said, so did the cats. So, we tried listening to Enya. I listen to this when I am falling asleep and when my migraines are bad. Both cats became quiet! After that we started listening to an audio book, which I frequently do to manage my migraine. They were ok with that too. It was really hot when we were driving so at all of the stops one of us humans stayed in the van with the AC running. It made for some unhealthy eating, but the kitties usually quieted down at all of our stops.
7. When we got to our hotel I carried the litter box and my husband carried the cats in their kennels into the bathroom. We had to put one of the kennels into the bathtub, but I let them out of the kennels in the bathroom while my better half brought everything in from the van. I gave them fresh water and lots of treats and attention. We had put small dishes of water in each of the kennels but neither one drank anything. One other suggestion that may have been helpful was to bring bottles of water from home for them. Bo ate a few treats at one point, but they weren’t interested in water, food or litter box on the drive. When we opened the bathroom door I got out one of their flying toys to get some exercise. Winzton was not interested in anything. Can you see his paws peaking out from under the bed skirt?
8. The second day of driving we decided not to medicate and it turned out not to make a great difference. We continued with the audio book and Bo vocalized for about an hour. After we stopped for our first break he stopped. I think that making that first stop after a bit of driving may be recommended.
9. At the hotel we did the bathroom routine again and they found some places they liked. Sorry about the quality of the photos. My good camera battery needs to be charged and the charger ended up getting stored in one of the pods until we move into our house. I’m really curious to see what all made it into the pods.
Our hotel suite is a little smaller than I expected so there isn’t room for the cage and the OneFastCat treadmill. We have had the cage open to get them used to it. Housekeeping is weekly here and I’m trying to get them ready for that. I plan to keep both of them in the cage while cleaning goes on. I will also stay in the room just in case. I want to give the treadmill a chance because they are not getting enough activity during the day to let us sleep all night.
We are settling in and look forward exploring and to our small house. It will seem spacious after our sweet little suite! I’m grateful for all the friends and family who helped us leave Wisconsin and that we were able to sell our home there so quickly! I’m grateful for my husband and the new adventure we are about to embark on together. I’m grateful for seeing my husband! It had been a while since we had seen each other. I’m grateful to the Candlewood Inn and Suites which is providing our cats and selves with a temporary home away from home.
Cee Neuner has lots of fun challenges and also does a flower a day post. I really love flowers (perhaps you already knew that.) Her fun challenge for this week is to post photos of individual flowers. I played around with that off and on all day yesterday and this was one of my final photos. Here was the other.
Here are a few of my favorite photos from the process. The cats helped, too.
The tulips in their natural environment.
and with cats
I hope you have a beautiful day.
Here we have the journal pages that are leftovers from my dream wheel collage and a Zentangle tile all on top of my latest morning pages. It has taken me a few days to complete my Dream Wheel. It is for the online retreat I am doing with Kathryn Costa from 100 Mandalas. It is my vision board for what I consciously and unconsciously want in 2016. The 3 goals that I went into the project thinking about were to look at moving as an opportunity no matter where we end up. My husband is currently looking for work all over the country and as part of saying No to fear and worries in 2016 I’m looking at this as an opportunity for an adventure with my sweetie. The second goal is to transform the mess that is our storage room
into my own sanctuary for creating art. The third goal is to continue to challenge myself in making art that is meditative and beautiful for me and explore some more commercially viable avenue of art, such as Etsy. My second set of coloring pages is almost done!
In the upper right hand corner of my journal page I have a Zentangle tile. I participated in the Diva Challenge for the first time in 2016, and really for the first time in a while. I stopped doing it when my vision challenges got to be too much and it was fun to just tangle on a tile with no other purpose except to make art as part of a community of artists! Check out other fabulous tangleations at
Here is a closeup of my Molygon tile:
Here are some process photos for the creation of my Dream Wheel.
I’m going to need a bigger circle!
This is why I always have cats in my collages, because they insert themselves!
Hey I could submit that one for Tummy Rub Tuesday!
One of our nicknames for this big guy is the supervisor.
Here is my finished Dream Wheel! Surrounded by the beauty of flowers, here I am working, and meditating, practicing art and yoga, in a tidy studio with excellent storage options. This year I will go through a door with my cats, husband, and camera, full of creativity and friendship, all as part of the adventure. Opportunity is the word that kept coming to mind as I was finally putting this collage together. I have been gathering the pictures for quite a few days and I’m glad I didn’t stop the gathering too early! What a rewarding process and I hope that it continues to inspire me all year long!
What are your dreams for 2016?
This page layout has been a while in the making, mainly because I haven’t been up to doing a whole lot of art lately. This is a collage of my sketches for my last mandala and the cards that friends have sent since I have not been feeling well. I loved the happy flowers from one of the cards and continued a flower motif and because it is my gratitude journal I used the cat stencil I made to put cats all over.
It has a quote by Francis Bacon that isn’t super legible in the photo but it says:
In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.
Seemed fitting for this time of year and what has been going on. I wish you peace and beauty.
If you have been following me for a while you know that I am a fan of Cee’s Photo Challenges. She also does a weekly post called Share Your World and I have considered participating in the past, but this week I decided to plunge in. She poses a series of questions and she, and whoever wants to participate.
If you were on a debate team, what general subject would you relish debating?
In High School I did participate in the forensics program that included debate, but I chose to recite (sometimes my own) poetry. I was pretty good at it because I love poetry. However, I was very shy as a child and debate was way outside of what I was interested in. As I have gotten older I have found the courage, usually because of my passions and interest in social justice, to engage in debate. I have traveled widely and lived on 3 continents. My sons are adopted African Americans. I have health problems of the physical and mental kinds. I have had to advocate for my self and children and have chosen to do it for many others. The last few years race and economic injustice have been the main topics I debate. I have been so privileged in so many ways in my life I feel it is my responsibility to speak for those who can not or who are not invited to the discussion. My methods of debate are usually quiet and private and involve conversations with people who I believe I can teach. Sometimes I have used my blog as an avenue to share my ideas of social justice, but not as much as I thought I would when I started. This is actually a topic I think about a lot when deciding what to write about/post. My health limitations have precluded the energy it takes for me to overcome my desire for privacy and emotional involvement with so many of these topic. So, that may help you see why I chose to participate in this “Share your world.”
What is your strongest sense?
Probably taste, but I think quite a bit about my senses increasingly. Most of this summer I was not able to read for more than a few minutes at a time and most days I was not able to draw at all. Some of my vision issues have improved, but some continue to present challenges. The best thing to come out of this is my increased involvement with photography. It has been tremendously rewarding. My migraines demand that I spend days at a time in what I refer to as my “sensory deprivation tank.” I lay in my dark bedroom with my head packed with ice packs and some very quiet music or on an ok day an audio book. And I pet my cats. Those interactions with my cats (and the support from my husband) are a source of incredible joy and satisfaction to me. So, when you ask my strongest sense, I think all of mine are turned up too high for this world.
At one point I was identified by a food company as a “super-taster” I was selected for a 3 month training program in sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami (which may have a relationship to my migraines – I think). The training program actually made me too sick to continue into the job. For most of my life I was told I was a wimp when it came to hot foods and it turns out that I experience them differently than many people. Hot was actually characterized as a mouth sensation rather than a flavor and there was a whole education around this, too. Needless to say I really enjoy good food. Some of my friends and family think it is hilarious, but when I was introduced to the concept of mindfulness and eating I felt validated. To me a fresh raspberry can be a revelation. So, from my sensory deprivation days, I can still enjoy one of my strong senses and find great joy in a simple meal.
What would you name the autobiography of your life?
The funny thing about this one is that I have started writing my autobiography. I have had many people tell me I should write a book about my life and I have started to give this some deep thought in my quiet hours. You already know part of the title. Lunanista: Finding Delight in the Darkness. For any more on this you will have to wait to see if/when I finish it!
List your favorite flavors or types of tea.
As you may have guessed by the taste response, I have some ideas here, too! I love hot and cold green and English Breakfast teas, but most black teas are lovely to me. I also love Oolong, as it reminds me of my time living in Asia. I can no longer drink Jasmine tea because the fragrance triggers my migraines. Also, an allergy technician friend of mine recommended that I stop drinking chamomile because it was making my allergies worse. I love almost any tea with mint and have grown my own mint periodically. I love honeybush tea, but it is really difficult to find in my neck of the woods. On a cold day a lovely cup of chai feels like home, too. I also love to make my own fruit syrups to add to my iced teas in the summer. This past summer I made a cherry syrup that is lovely. My mother-in-law has found a place that produces lemon whipped honey that is so lovely in either hot or cold tea.
What are you grateful for from the last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
Cee includes this question every week and it is part of my personal gratitude practice. I have gotten away from my gratitude journals and hope this will bring me back into it. This past week has been very challenging for me physically. I have some new medical mysteries that have added problems on top of the migraines. Oddly enough, this is where the title of my book came from. I was laying in bed with pain levels at about a 7 or 8 but I was listening to some beautiful music and my little cat came and snuggled right up in my arms. Petting him led him to purr and there was something about that that was just plain wonderful. I have a safe, quiet room and lots of ice packs. My husband is so loving and does what he can to make me feel better – of particular note this week were hand and feet massages. I have been blessed with a group of such wonderful friends and family. They have brought me food and laughter and so much thoughtfulness. My cup runneth over. Next week I have an important medical test and a followup with my neurologist about some other tests I have had and I have hope that we will find answers or better questions. (But really I want answers). I look forward to delicious meals with loved ones. Purring cats. Renewing my gratitude journal practice. Laughter, music, books and moments of peace and joy. May you have peace and joy in the coming week as well.
Did some kirigami while Marq and his girlfriend watched movies. I read Read “Why be Happy when you can be Normal by Jeanette Winterson. This quote to me means want what you have and love who you are. That is something I am always working towards. Interesting book overall.
This page became an interesting series of layers as I tried a new adhesive. I used PVA on my first layer and the top of it dried really tacky. I played around with different transparent or translucent layers to cover the stickiness without losing the color and text of the initial layer. I think it turned out quite interesting. For top layers I used Washi tape, tissue paper, and a transparency with a color copy of a Zendala I made a while ago. And there are my cats holding paws in the corner.
This page has a quote from Pema Chodron’s book The Places That Scare You. The whole quote is:
“As a species, we should never underestimate our low tolerance for discomfort. To be encouraged to stay with our vulnerability is news that we can use. Sitting meditation is our support for learning how to do this. Sitting meditation, also known as mindfulness-awareness practice, is the foundation of bodhichitta training. It is the natural seat, the home ground of the warrior-bodhisattva.”
I had a very interesting experience related to staying with my own emotional distress. I generally have a panic attack during my acupuncture treatments and I have been using a variety of yoga and meditation techniques to help me manage and move out of the panic attack. Yesterday I went in to my appointment with the intention to stay with my emotional distress rather than trying to get out of it. It was the first time in ages that I didn’t have a full blown panic attack. Hmmm. I may have to try this again. I was very pleasantly surprised, but I’m not quite sure about cause and effect just yet. However, I did want to share that experience.