A friend of mine gave me a great black table with a beautiful blue top and a decorative blue disco ball when she moved a few months ago. Since I was feeling sad after what happened with Kiara, I decided to take my drab deck furniture and give it some bright color to match the blue additions. Check out the Home Ideas tab to see some of the before and after pictures! Besides, working on the deck is a Memorial Day tradition. It was 11 years ago almost to the date I burned down my garage down after a little deck staining! That story to come in a future post.......
This Memorial Day weekend, with several DYI projects and a gig at Original Mike’s with L. A. Lyon on the calendar, I put my seventeen year old cat Kiara down.
It was not planned. I had managed to be in denial and look past that she had pretty much given up eating
(except for the occasional can of tuna) and that she was down to four pounds. I also looked past that she was spending more and more time in a kind of hunched position, not looking terribly comfortable. But Saturday afternoon, I could no longer look away, as she spent most of the day sitting by the back door, looking out into the yard and loudly meowing.
This was a cat who had never expressed any interest in going outside her entire life suddenly asking to be released. Hoping, I am sure, to find some place where her pain would end. It was time and I decided putting it off any longer was only serving me, not her.
There are friends of mine who have known me for over fifteen years, who had never seen Kiara. She was not a social cat and most times, when visitors came over, she turned into a lump under the comforter. She wanted peace and quiet and in a family of divas and attention seekers (after all, her human IS the girl in the band), she was content to be the one not noticed.
I got her when she was just a tiny kitten. A friend of a friend had two female cats who both had litters and they were desperately trying to find homes. In addition to the numerous kittens running around, there were also five children in the household. They had named her Bandit and when I picked her up for the first time, she clung to me as if to say, “Can you get me out of this mayhem please?” Bandit would not do as a name. She was delicate and a little princess like, so I named her Kiara, after Simba’s daughter in the sequel to The Lion King.
Her introduction into her new family was not smooth. I had a big shepherd mix dog named Carly and I erroneously thought by letting the dog sniff the cat carrier as I brought her in, the transition would be smooth. Instead, as I opened up the carrier, Carly, wanting to welcome her new sister stuck her head in to deliver a kiss. Kiara thought she had been brought home as lunch and came shrieking out of the cat carrier, to hide for hours. We humans are not too bright sometimes, but she forgave me, not just that day, but for many other episodes of stupid behavior.
Kiara’s place in the family was the quiet, normal one and through three different dogs and two cats, that never changed. She helped raise her little cat brother, Kato, a full-fledged people loving performer who regularly plays the chimes for visitors. She was always content to be the one not in the spotlight, the one shyly hanging in the background.
Yet, when there were no strangers in the house, she was my TV buddy. I always said she was the only someone in my life who liked all the same shows I did, whether it was a rock concert or a soap opera. She was always sitting next to me, not asking to change to Sports Center, perfectly content to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” for the fifteenth time every Christmas.
Most recently, after the “Nashville” finale, I discussed with her why Rayna James should be with Deacon her soul mate, not some Garth Brooks wanna be. She didn’t roll her eyes once.
It is always easier to focus on those someones who are outgoing, full of drama, needing our attention.
The quiet ones, the steady ones, the ones who are always there, are easier to take for granted. Until suddenly, they are not there anymore.
Everyone has a Kiara or two in their family or in their life. She is a reminder to cherish them all.
While running errands yesterday, it seemed everywhere I went, someone wished me a happy Mother’s Day.
I smiled politely and said, “Thank you.”
In reality, I am not and barring some life changing
event, will never be a mother. If you would have asked me when I was a child or even in my late teens whether I
would have children, my answer would have been, “Of course!” I played house with my dolls like most
little girls and planned on having at least four kids, one set of twins.
Even in my early twenties, I had relationships where children were discussed. How many? What would we name them? Who would they look like? I never imagined my life without motherhood.
That was to change when a close friend of mine had her first daughter. She is a recent college graduate and I tease her that one afternoon babysitting her convinced me motherhood was not for me, but there is some real truth in the story.
It was also not like I had never changed a diaper or understood that babies and children could be a lot of work. Starting at age 11, in what would now probably be a case for social services, I frequently babysat for spending money, even watching five children all under the age of seven. Yet an afternoon spent in my late twenties with a fussy six month old who managed to turn a teething cookie into a weapon for mass destruction and I was suddenly looking at the whole motherhood thing in a new light.
Yes, babies were a lot of work, but what suddenly struck me was, it would not be for an afternoon. It would be forever.
Relationships can end, even all marriages don't last, but once you become a mother, you
are one for the rest of your life. Teething cookies becomes braces, onesies become prom dresses and suddenly you are telling the forty year old walking out the door to take a jacket because it is going to get cold tonight.
“Your biological clock will kick in,” friends told me, “And you’ll change your mind!”
But like so many things that have happened in my life, my clock didn’t follow the natural course.
My clock went backward.
I took a realistic look at who I was and what I was doing with my life and I realized I didn’t want it bad enough. If I was going to do something that was going to be forever, I felt I really had to be all in and I wasn’t. The older I have gotten, the more comfortable I am with my decision.
So today, I celebrate my friend whose daughter I babysat that afternoon. And all my other friends who have turned out some wonderful human beings. You do the forever job every day. The least we can do is set aside a Sunday for you!
This weekend, The Clippers and The Kings weren’t the only California sports teams who had big wins. The DAP also had a huge win at The Kentucky Derby. Never heard of the DAP? Maybe never heard of the Kentucky Derby? Well, the Derby is one of the most prestigious wins in horse racing, held every May in Kentucky. It is the first race of three, called the Triple Crown, considered the Super Bowl of horse racing. And the DAP? Dumb Ass Partners, a couple of guys from California who have bred a multimillion dollar racehorse named California Chrome.
Horse owners Perry Martin and Steve Coburn dubbed themselves the Dumb Ass Partners after everyone who knew anything about racing told them they were out of their minds to pay $8,000 for a mare, Love That Chase, who had only won one race in six starts. Yet, despite all the naysayers, the two had analyzed her blood lines and believed she could produce a winning colt.
Coburn, who celebrated his 61st birthday on Saturday, the day of the race, dreamed that California Chrome was going to win the Derby before the chestnut colt was foaled on
February 18th, 2011. The two set about a plan to make the dream happen, choosing an old school horse trainer named Art Sherman.
Saturday was only the second time Art Sherman had ever been to the Kentucky Derby. The first time was in 1955, when Art was a teenaged stable boy. He traveled from California to Kentucky in a railroad car with Swaps, the horse who eventually went on to win the Derby that year, literally sleeping with the horse and taking him out for morning walks. Sherman went on to ride as a jockey for 23 years and became a trainer in 1980. Although he had success as a trainer, he had never made it back to the “Big Show” of horse racing.
Sherman said California Chrome reminded him of Swaps and before the race, he visited the Kentucky Derby Museum, where Swaps remains are held. "When I went over to Swap's grave the other day. I said a little prayer and it came true." Sherman said.
On Saturday, he became the oldest trainer ever to win the Derby. He is 77.
"Art Sherman has come full circle," said Coburn.
A lifelong dream coming true on your 61st birthday? Finally getting a second shot at something at the age of 77?
Just more reasons I love horseracing.