Beading and snuggles 

I received some wonderful holiday gifts this year in the form of nearly selling out my CorbinCreations1 Etsy store jewelry and receiving an order for several pairs of custom earrings. As my goal is to make my jewelry business successful, I’d  say I’m on the right track.

 
Every beader has their own unique setup and I’m no different. I can’t work hunched over a desk or table because it would kill my back so instead, my beading station is my couch. I have rolling storage cubbies nearby full of my supplies, a tray to hold odds and ends like scissors and thread, my coffee table as my work station and my beading “desk.” 

My beading desk is a flower encyclopedia with a ceramic beading tray held in place by a sticky bead mat. I used to use the sticky mat to hold my beads but it required frequent cleaning to keep it grippy. Now that it’s sandwiched between my bead dish and the book, my beads stay put and I have the perfect size work surface. 

A benefit and drawback of sitting on my couch to bead is that my cats and dog always want to snuggle with me. My two younger cats, Angel and Daisy, try to lay on my beading table because they want to be close to me. When I won’t let them do that, they lay on or next to my legs and feet. 

Sometimes my pup Jazzmin wants to snuggle too but she’s good about tucking herself between the back of the couch and my legs. My oldest cat Owl lays on the arms or back of the couch because she likes being near me but isn’t much of a snuggler.

As it’s now winter in Upstate NY, it’s nice having animals snuggling with me, keeping me company as I bead. I’m never cold when they’re snuggling with me and sometimes I’m even too warm. Nonetheless, having pets that love me and want to be near me as I bead is just as wonderful as continued success selling my beaded jewelry. Beading and snuggles make the chill and darkness of winter much easier to handle. 

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Unconditional Love Wrapped in Yellow Fur

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Four year ago today I adopted my pup Jazzmin from Happy Tails Animal Shelter in Canandaigua, New York. I’d wanted to get a dog since my divorce in the summer of 2011, but I hadn’t found one that looked like the right fit yet. I grew up with family dogs and loved them, but had been unable to have one during my marriage because my ex didn’t like dogs. He wasn’t overly fond of cats either, but he put up with them because I wanted them. The freedom to get whatever animals I want and love them without concern for allergies or lack of a partner’s fondness is one of the many reasons I enjoy being single.

Jazzmin and I were a perfect fit right from the start and a friend has called her the canine version of me. She’s full of energy, optimistic and has the most adorable brown eyes. Just like me 😉 She goes a little heavy on the 80’s black eyeliner look, but it works on her and adds a deeper patheticness to her puppy dog eyes.

I was trying to keep Jazz's ears warm. She was not impressed...

I was trying to keep Jazz’s ears warm. She was not impressed…

Jazz and I have had our ups and downs as we’ve figured each other out. I didn’t really know the proper way to walk a dog, ie they walk next to you or behind and not in front, but I learned and taught her. Nowadays she stays by my side with only occasional reminders, as long as a squirrel doesn’t run across the road or we encounter another dog. She’s like me in the social aspect, she likes other dogs but gets overexcited and isn’t sure how to act. Whereas I tend to become shy in similar encounters with humans, she gets exuberant. We may never have the “social with our own kind” thing figured out, but she LOVES people of all kinds and is a favorite visitor at the boarders when I go on my road trips.

Jazzmin panting a smile after our walk.

When I adopted Jazzmin, they guessed that she was around two years old, which makes her around six now and she shows no signs of slowing down. She still walks the road like it’s going to disappear if she doesn’t keep moving and she’s my almost constant shadow when we’re inside. Most days I almost trip over her when I turn around and while I appreciate the loyalty, I don’t need help being clumsy.

I’ve managed to teach Jazz a few things over the years. I taught her how to play fetch indoors. We try it outdoors but she loses all focus and just runs in a circle like a lunatic. I’ve taught her to wait patiently for food and treats and can almost balance a biscuit on her nose before she gobbles it. I’ve advanced the traditional “shake” into a “high five” where she raises the paw a bit higher and while I can’t get her to speak on command, she will howl-talk at me sometimes when she’s impatient. My 9-year-old black cat Owl and I taught Jazzmin that cats are pretty cool and while she may never really “love” the younger cats (neither will Owl), she definitely loves Owl.

Jazzmin and Owl snuggling with me today

Jazzmin and Owl snuggling with me

Jazzmin has taught me some things over the years too. She’s taught me that no matter what I do, I’m always worthy of love and that the best snuggles on the couch usually involve a big pile of yellow fur that twitches and snores. Jazz has taught me a new level of patience as I’ve worked to improve her leash skills over the years. I’ve become more aware of my surroundings too as I try to spot squirrels and other distractions on walks before she does.

Jazzmin and the sky

In honor of today’s adoptiversary, I gave Jazz a nice big beef bone and she’s been working at it with occasional water breaks for almost two hours. She’s very determined when it comes to getting every last ounce of marrow out of a bone or chewing on a new toy until the squeakie is suitably dead. There’s a lot to love about Jazzmin. Her porcupine quill-scarred nose, perky ears (her right is always slightly higher than her left) white chest, buns of steel as my vet calls them and upright tail that’s wagging almost all the time all make her uniquely adorable to me.

She's rather fond of lobster tail

She’s rather fond of lobster tail

I can’t imagine my life without Jazz and she’d best live forever! I know I’ll own dogs for the rest of my life and every last one will be a rescue like her because every dog deserves a loving home. If you’re ever looking for a new companion, I urge you to go to your local shelter or contact one of the many pet rescue organizations to find the perfect compliment to your life. I see so many dogs and cats I wish I could adopt, but I don’t have the room or the money to create my own “circus.” Maybe someday, but not now. For now I’ll just love the animals I have and do my best to provide them with a very happy home. =)

The kittens snuggled up against Jazzmin.

The kittens snuggled up against Jazzmin.

Kittens in the window

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Daisy enjoying the view

Spring is my favorite time of year. The world is renewing and coming back to life and the last of the winter cold leaves the air.

It’s amazing to think how much has changed in a year. Last spring my oldest cat Aviendha was still going pretty strong despite being deaf and starting to go blind. Now she’s been gone almost seven months and I have two kittens running around that will be a year old next month. They’ve started sitting in the kitchen window when I open it and it’s quite an interesting experience doing dishes with a kitten or two in the window.

Daisy and Angel are as unique as all the cats I’ve had before them. My eight year old cat Owl has grown used to them and they all play together, but they always maintain their particular personalities. The one unifying factor among all my animals is their love for me and it’s something I’m always grateful for. When I don’t have my girls, I have my animals and when I have them all, it’s quite a circus!

Snuggles, jingles, and ribbons

It’s been a fun-filled day and I’m going to sleep very soon to await the arrival of Santa. Nonetheless, I don’t want to break my December blog streak so here are some pictures showing highlights of my day. Much more than this happened, but I’m writing this on my phone and that’s where these pics are. Nothing wrong with improvising. 😉

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The kittens snuggling with me this morning.

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Jazzmin in her jingling jingle bell collar wearing the cat's collar on her head

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Jordan's ribbon styling of my hair.

Saying goodbye to a beloved, furry friend

My sweet, little mini-cat, Aviendha.

My sweet, little mini-cat, Aviendha.

Yesterday evening I said goodbye to a beloved, furry friend: my 19-year-old cat Aviendha. She lived longer than any Corbin cat ever has which is especially impressive considering she was an eight-pound “runt” though I prefer to call her a mini-cat. Avi’s health had been deteriorating over the past few months and last week it went downhill rather quickly.

I picked her up and pet her yesterday morning and she purred as reliably as ever, but I could tell that her tired body couldn’t keep up with her tireless spirit anymore. When the girls and I returned home from my mother’s house yesterday evening, I found her tiny body on the kitchen floor with her spirit free at last. Upon seeing her, I immediately burst into tears. While I knew she was at peace and safe in the care of my father, she’d been my closest furry friend since I was a teenager and I was never ready to let her go.

I still remember the day I picked out Aviendha. My then boyfriend and I were looking for a kitten and an ad in the paper led us to a house on the outskirts of Rochester, NY. I recall stepping inside the house and being stunned by the sheer volume of Star Trek memorabilia in the house. The walls were literally floor to ceiling Star Trek books, movies, and collectibles. I felt as though Scotty had beamed me to another, somewhat disturbing world. I love Star Trek, but I don’t love it THAT much!

The couple that lived there had several cats and they apparently rescued neighborhood strays, which is where their latest batch of kittens had come from. We went upstairs to the room where the kittens were and I remember sitting down on the floor and waiting to see how the kittens responded to me. The first kitten to come over was an adorable little tortoiseshell calico and she immediately started playing with my shoelaces. That was all I needed to tell me she was my kitten and we took her back home to my parent’s house.

Aviendha is an unusual and difficult to spell name for a cat, but I chose it because at the time, I was reading The Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan and I loved a feisty female character named Aviendha. I don’t remember much about her now and I stopped reading The Wheel of Time series after Book 4 I believe. Regardless, the name suited her and was shortened to Avi with a nickname of Avigail. When I’d take her to the vet, they’d stumble over trying to pronounce her name, but I never regretted choosing it.

Avi loved to crawl under the covers to stay warm and she was usually purring. Though she loved all humans and spent the last few years sleeping on Jordan’s bed, Avi wasn’t especially fond of other cats. She did bond with my black and white cat Zoey who loved everyone, and most days that pair ran up and down the stairs like crazy animals.

Zoey on the left, Owl on the right.

Zoey on the left, Owl on the right.

Zoey passed in 2009, leaving Avi and Owl, but those two just never learned to get along. Now only Owl is left and while she seems fine being the only cat (she loves snuggling with my pup Jazzmin), my daughters and I are planning to get a new cat after I return from my upcoming New England trip. Owl is a nice cat, but not much of a snuggler and we want another snuggle kitty to keep our hearts and bodies warm this winter.

With a heavy heart, I dug Avi’s grave this morning when the sun finally came out. I’ve lost many cats over the years but this was the first grave I’ve had to dig for one. Thankfully, the ground hadn’t frozen yet, but it wasn’t exactly soft and I soon hit hard clay, which made digging a challenge. I persevered though and dug a hole large enough to fit the box I tucked Avi in last night. The girls made little tokens to bury with her in the form of a felt heart by Jordan and a little card by Jaycie. I put in a clay cat figure I’d painted to match my cat Seamore, a cat Avi grew up with.

Card from Jaycie, felt heart from Jordan, and Seamore figure from me.

Card from Jaycie, felt heart from Jordan, and Seamore figure from me.

I know Avi’s spirit is free and now her body has returned to the earth, but I will forever miss her sweetness and remember how she was always there for me when I needed a snuggle. 

Avi curled up next to me while I worked on Jordan's bed.

Avi curled up next to me while I worked on Jordan’s bed.

A fish named…Garfield?

Garfield the fish with his pal Odie

Garfield the fish with his pal Odie

When I was running errands this past Thursday, I had to stop at the store for some dog food. Across the aisle from the dog food was the store’s display of fish. For some unknown reason I was drawn to the betta fish and a lovely rainbow-colored one caught my eye. The girls had talked about wanting a betta fish last year but hadn’t mentioned anything recently. Regardless, I picked up the plastic container with the betta and put him in my cart. A few aisles later I changed my mind and put him back. I thought maybe the girls didn’t want a betta fish anymore.

I mentioned the event to my girls yesterday morning and their faces fell when I said I’d put the fish back. Apparently they still wanted a betta, live and learn! I told them we’d go to the store and pick out a betta today and that’s exactly what we did. As it turned out, they chose the exact same fish I’d put in my cart a few day’s before. Great minds think alike! They chose a round tank with a choice of different LED color lights and a selection of little plastic plants.

As we walked around the store picking up a few other things, Jaycie enjoyed talking to the fish and checking to make sure he was still moving around. I asked them what they were going to name him and Jordan insisted they’d decide once they got him home in the bigger tank.

Once home, Jordan got the tank ready for the betta with some glass stones she’d been using as decoration in her room. She set the plants in the tank and I filled it with water. I then had a challenging time using the little fish net to snatch the betta from his temporary store tank to the nice new one all ready for him. I eventually nabbed him and put him in the tank and he immediately hid behind the plants.

The betta seems just fine and he’s now much more willing to come to the front of the tank now. The girls told me they named him Garfield after the big, fat, orange tabby cat in the comics and I looked at them in surprise. I asked them why they named him after a cat and they said because it was a name they both liked. I really shouldn’t be surprised since I named one of my cats after a bird…

The picture doodle Jordan made of Garfield

The picture doodle Jordan made of Garfield