Remembering Zoe

My cat Zoe passed away on Nov. 20th. It was unexpected and after nearly fifteen years together, I am left with a huge hole in my heart. Because it helps me to write, I want to share our story, even down to the painful part. If it’s too much for you to read, I understand. This post is really to help me in my healing and grieving process, so I don’t expect many to make it through the hard parts.

But let’s begin with some happy memories.

In 2005, I adopted a fuzzy black and white kitten from the Vanderburgh County Humane Society. I was twenty-one and it was my sophomore year of college. I really didn’t NEED a cat and I’d only gone to look, but you know how that goes. Zoe, who was named Josie at the time, stole my heart and I took her home that same day.

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She instantly bonded with my roommate’s cat Socks and they lived together for about a year until Sarah moved out. At one point, Zoe escaped and our neighbors found her outside our door, so they scooped her up and took her in until one of us got home. Neither of us had any idea she’d gotten outside, but I’m glad she was smart enough to stay close to home.

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As a kitten, she would often play fetch with twist ties off of bread – we’d play this game for hours while I was sitting at my computer working on homework. If I didn’t throw it right away, she’d let me know by trilling out a “brrrrr” sound until I caved. As she got older, she didn’t fetch as much, but a couple months ago, she got kind of lively in our old apartment and decided to do it one more time.

Zoe had many unique qualities about her. She was the most vocal cat I’ve ever met. Sometimes just looking at her prompted a conversation. She was also very loud and I once heard some neighbors talking outside who thought I had a baby, haha. Nope, just my cat talking in her baby sounding tone when she wanted attention.

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In 2006, I also adopted her little sister Lilly. They were best buds from the beginning and Lilly would often give Zoe baths. They almost always curled up together in bed for afternoon naps.

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At night, Zoe loved to get under the covers with me, often laying her head next to mine on the pillow and I’d wrap my arms around her. She loved to lick my face, purr and when she was little, she’d even sleep on top of my head on my pillow.

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She also HATED closed doors. This never changed and honestly got worse the older she got. She was able to open all the doors in my old apartment that didn’t require you to turn the handle and I’d close them all before work, then come home to find all of them wide open. In our Indianapolis apartment, the doors to the washer and dryer closet drove her nuts and she’d yowl at them every night until someone opened them for her. And if I went to the bathroom and closed the door before she was able to run in there with me, I often saw a little paw reach underneath trying to get in. And let’s not even talk about what happened if I shut her out of the bedroom, haha. She’d throw herself at the door and cry until I opened it and she could hop up in bed with me.

We moved so many times, the three of us. From Evansville to Bloomington so I could get my Master’s. Then from Bloomington to Greenwood for a job a few years later, Indianapolis when Adam and I got married and finally, back to Greenwood when we bought a home. She never had problems adjusting as long as I was there, even if it did take some getting used to when she had to share me with another person.

They’d even go home with me on the holidays. One trip in particular was an adventure – we were almost back to Bloomington when both cats busted out of their carriers and Zoe stepped on the window button, rolling it down as I was driving down the highway. I thought they were both going to go out the window and panicked, finally getting it rolled back up and stopping at a gas station to coral them back in the carrier. After that, we drove with the child locks on during long trips.

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There have been moments over the years when I thought they acted more like dogs than cats, including the times Zoe would play fetch and due to the fact that both my cats have almost always greeted me at the top of the stairs or the front door when I get home from work. Thursdays nights were always especially exciting for them because I worked really late and I’d often see one or both of them in the window watching for me to pull up in the parking lot, then they’d run to the door to see me as I got home.

This year, Zoe turned 14. In the spring, I had to take her to the vet because her joints were hurting her. They diagnosed her with arthritis, not too uncommon for a senior cat. Otherwise, she seemed healthy, active and I hoped for so much more time with her.

When we moved in the new house, she was nervous and didn’t come out of the bedroom closet too much. After a couple weeks, it seemed like she might warm up to things – she was coming downstairs at night, but she wasn’t really eating very well. Lilly had adjusted ok and I assumed Zoe probably would too, but she never really did.

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At the beginning of November, I noticed she had lost some weight – we’d been trying to get her down a few pounds to help her joints, but I could feel her spine and her collar was too loose. So I switched dry food. She ate it for a few days, then went back to not really eating much at all. So I tried wet food. The first round, she gobbled down and after that, only ate it a couple more times.

She was still drinking and acting normal, except for staying upstairs so I thought it was just stress related. But when I came home on Monday, Nov. 19th and saw her ears and skin were yellowish, I knew something was seriously wrong.

We spent most of that night at the emergency vet running tests and waiting while they dealt with other traumas that came in. Her blood results showed elevated liver levels and that her gallbladder levels were ten times the normal reading. White blood cells were lower, but not too low, however the vet said she couldn’t completely rule out an overall infection or cancer. Her kidneys, heart, lungs, red blood count were all fine.

So she outlined a treatment plan for us, starting with something basic. A nutrient shot under the skin, plus three days of medicine to stimulate her appetite. They gave her one dose there and I brought her home around 12:30 a.m. I decided that we’d sleep in the guest bedroom with the door shut and brought food and water in in hopes she’d eat. She didn’t, never leaving the bed. And that night, she curled up on top of my head, just like when she was a kitten.

We only got about four hours of sleep and when Adam got up for work, I decided to give her some privacy in case she wanted to eat without me. I got up to get ready for work a few hours later, but she still wouldn’t eat and by this point wasn’t drinking. When I opened the bedroom door, she gave a little “brrrr”, jumped out of bed and headed for our bedroom closet, where she laid down on the floor with her head down.

I had a bad feeling when I saw this. I went ahead to work for about an hour and was texting Adam about her behavior. He said he thought I should try to get her to a vet instead of waiting for the medicine to work. So I called Lilly’s regular vet, but they didn’t do feeding tubes. My friend Rachael recommended the Franklin Animal Clinic and they were able to get her in by noon, so I ran back home and got her there as fast as I could.

She was considerably weaker by this point and her little head could barely stay up in her carrier and she was breathing weird when I left. That night, the vet called me to say he was really concerned about her. They had her in an oxygen cage because her breathing was shallow and were giving her fluids, but he was hesitant to put in a feeding tube because he didn’t feel she was strong enough for anesthesia.

They did manage to biopsy her liver, which was enlarged and based on that, he felt like something else might be going on that was causing problems. I kept my phone on all night in case something happened, but it was while I was on my way to work on Wednesday morning that I got the call.

She made it through the night, but her heart rate was very low and she could barely breathe. I asked if I could come be with her and the tech told me she wasn’t sure she’d make it until I got there and she was right.

I think I’ll keep what happened over the next couple hours to myself, as memories just for me, because if you’re not crying by this point, you definitely would be if I went into detail about the time I had with her just after her passing.

I decided to bring her home to bury her in our new backyard and once Adam got home from work, we both did it together. I think in the spring, I’ll get a stone cat figurine to put out under the tree to memorialize her in some way.

My heart hurts. I miss our early morning cuddle sessions and the house is extremely quiet without her. Lilly helps. She’s just a different cat, but I’m glad I have her there to love on while I get through the mourning period.

I’ll leave you with some of my favorite pictures of us over the past 14+ years. Zoe, you were the best cat ever. I’m gonna miss you dearly and if there’s a pet heaven, I hope you’re running free up there with my buddy Wolf.

 

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Holiday Gift Guide for Book Lovers

When it comes to buying gifts around the holidays, think outside the box when buying for the voracious reader in your life. Sure, gift cards to Barnes and Nobel are great, but there’s so many awesome literary themed items out there that you can easily get them something unique to go along with the trusty gift card.

I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites I’ve found out on the web and hope it will be helpful to you when you start your holiday shopping!

Pins are IN!
Enamel pins have made a huge comeback in the last couple years. They add personality and flair to clothing, bags or anything you want to put them on. Here are a few favorites that the reader in your life is sure to love.

Literature Ladies Pin                  The Very Hungry Caterpillar      What Would Hermione Do

Show your Love for the Library
If you have a librarian in your life, or even someone who just loves to wear library themed clothing and accessories, then be sure to check these adorable finds out! The library due date head wrap comes from The Lemondime and there are still a few left. You can use my code RETROREADER for free shipping.

 Library Due Date Head Wrap                      Library Stamp Tee              Due Date Mug

For the Home
Readers love a cozy space! What better gift than making their reading nook feel and smell even better? This pillow is so cute and features some classic titles screen printed on the slipcase.

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Wild Geese Bookshop sells Harry Potter themed candles! I am not sure if they ship, but if you are local to the Indianapolis area, they have several scents to check out.

This library scented candle will have to do if you aren’t able to pop in to Wild Geese!

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Clothing & Jewelry

Alex and Ani have the best Harry Potter Jewelry. Each month there’s a new bangle, but they also have necklaces, rings and other unique items.

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The Book Was Better sweatshirt from Mod Cloth

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Bookshelf skirt, also from Mod Cloth

I hope you were able to find something unique for the reader in your life! If you come across other things you think NEED to be on this list, drop the links in the comments so others can check them out.

Happy Holidays!


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Farm Society in Anderson, Indiana

Anderson, Indiana is a small town a little over an hour north of Indianapolis. There’s not a lot to do or see there, however my grandparents lived there for most of my childhood, so I have lots of memories of summers and holidays spent in the town until they decided to move down to our area of the state.

I haven’t been back much since they moved, but Hanson was playing at the casino up there, so of course I had to go! Especially since it was only an hour drive from Indianapolis. My friend Lacy came up from London, KY and gave me the task of finding a place to eat.

What you’ll find in Anderson is mostly chains or fast food restaurants, but thanks to Yelp, I discovered a cute little farm to table place in the heart of downtown. Farm Society has only been open a little over a year, but it’s a lovely place that’s worth stopping at if you’re in the area and looking for healthy options.

The inside is just darling and an Instagrammers dream, right down to the seated waiting area with the greenery wall and bold lights that spotlight the restaurants name marquee.

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The menu changes depending on what’s in season and we had several different options to choose from including salads, black bean burgers, steak, pasta and a couple seafood dishes. Ingredients are locally sourced from farmers in Madison County. Our drinks were also served with the cutest paper straws!

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I decided on a BBQ chicken sandwich with a side of garlic parmesan mashed potatoes and green beans, which were cooked to perfection. They were hot, fresh and I felt like I was eating green beans from my mom and dad’s garden. The rest of my meal was also delicious, especially the potatoes which had some kind of a fresh herb that topped them and gave the dish so much flavor.

Lacy got a steak and my friend Jenny and her mom got salads along with a slice of chocolate cake. Peep our food photos below (photo cred for the cake goes to Jenny).

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Even though it was a Friday night, it wasn’t too busy; I’m not sure what their peak hours are but we had no problems getting a table around 6:30. The service was also good and our food came out in a timely manner.

So if you find yourself in the area or looking for a road trip for brunch or dinner, definitely stop in and support this lovely business that was much needed in the town of Anderson. I hope to go back and get some cake!

Nashville Murals

Nashville is one of my favorite cities to visit. Growing up in southern Indiana, we were only a couple hours away from Music City and would often go down on weekends to the Grand Ole Opry and later in college, I road tripped there for many concerts.

The city has seen a boom in recent years of tourism, bachelorette parties and people moving in. It’s also seen a ton of murals going up all over town. While visiting for an extended weekend, I took a little bit of time each day to hunt down some of the colorful street art in popular Nashville neighborhoods.

Here are a few of my favorites, including locations so you can find them too! I barely made a dent in all the murals Nashville has to offer, so hopefully I’ll get back soon so I can share some more.

The Gulch
Right outside of downtown Nashville, you’ll find The Gulch. A neighborhood of restaurants and shops Kelsey Montague’s famous wings mural can be found here. It was nearly dark when we got there, but never fear, there are lights up above it! So you should still be able to get the perfect shot day or night.

Right across the street you will find another colorful mural on the side of a building. There are several others in the area, but since it was almost dark, I didn’t have time to hunt them down.
Address: 230 11th Ave. South.


12 South
There are almost too many mural in 12 South to count! And I didn’t even get to all of them. The weather wasn’t great for most of the weekend and it was starting to rain again, so I photographed what I could, then grabbed some DELISH donuts from Five Daughters Bakery, which you must stop at even if only passing through town.

All of these murals are within walking distance of each other, so I suggest parking across from Draper James, then making your way up and down the street. The famous “I Believe in Nashville” mural is right across the street from Draper James – can’t miss it!
Address for Draper James: 2608 12th Ave. South.

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East Nashville
If you’re looking for unique murals, East Nashville certainly has them! Kelsey Montague has painted a spectacular hot air balloon on the side of an apartment complex called The Cleo Apartments. There’s even a basket you can sit in and it’s 100% Instagram worthy. We also saw a mural of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates on the way out of town, plus some other interesting art I’d like to go back to see another time.
Address for the Hot Air Balloon mural: 1034 West Eastland. Book Nerd mural is across the street. 

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You’ll find this one at: 625 Main Street. It’s even better in person – there were cars parked in the lot in front of it, so you can’t see the whole thing. I’d recommend going in the morning. Happy hunting! When I go back, I’ll find some more and update this post as I can. I’d love to see your photos if you find any of them.

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