Lola, L-O-L-A, Lola

Lola (1999-2013)

Lola (1999-2013)

Well, this has been a crappy week. We lost our kitty of 14 years today. This really has been one of the worst weeks I have known and I hope that writing about it will help me get through it a little easier. I knew this day was coming and anyone that has lost a pet knows how it feels, it sucks. We have had Lola since she was a kitty; we got her from the Humane Society when she was only a few weeks old and she has been our sweet, lovable, lazy, irritable, wonderful cat for all those years.  On Monday, when we got back from an overnight camping trip, our friend emailed to ask if all was okay with Lola, since she didn’t eat much while he was watching her. My email back was simple and casual and just said, yeah, she’s fine, she’s old and not eating much these days, nothing to worry about. But then, as I watched her walk through the house, I noticed that for a cat that wasn’t eating much she looked awfully fat and rounded through her belly. After Andrew and I talked about it we decided we should probably call the vet to just make sure everything was okay. Well, everything wasn’t okay. An ultrasound on her belly found that something was leaking fluid in her abdomen. Then we headed off to the emergency vet, more tests and waiting around and then back the next day for a more intense ultrasound.  When we got the ultrasound results back they told us it was fatal, either abdominal cancer (carcinomatosis) or feline infectious peritonitis. Neither of which is good. But as I took the call from the vet, I was following the girls around at the zoo and not really in a state to fully understand. They told me they could do a few more tests to determine exactly what it was, I told them to do that and bought us a little more time. Then we waited and waited another full day. During this day, Andrew and I had a lot of long discussions about what this meant and what we needed to know from the vet to determine what to do. What was her quality of life going to be? Was there any way to recover? How long does it take before she would die on her own? Was she in pain? And so on. Then on Wednesday as we are driving to our anniversary dinner (we got Lola the year we were married), we got the call we were dreading and waiting for with the final test results.  She did indeed have the carcinoma (cancer) that had metastasized through out her abdomen and other organs (I was glad to hear that this was not related at all to her last health issue back in February). As we asked all the questions, the answers became more apparent, she wasn’t going to make it and her quality of life was not good. She was in pain, she was not eating and she was ready to move on. But were we? But through the tears Andrew said something to me that really stuck and held true. She is in pain and we are in pain, and the best thing we can do is let her go. We went through with our anniversary dinner and I am sure the other patrons thought we were breaking up as we were both crying over our dinner. But the next morning, after a sleepless night I got up and called our vet and told them what we needed to do.

Nadia's card to Lola. At the top it says "I'm sorry you have to pass on" - then she wanted everyone to sign it.

Nadia’s card to Lola. At the top it says “I’m sorry you have to pass on” – then she wanted everyone to sign it.

Meanwhile we had to let the girls know what was happening. I took the phone call from the vet in the car, and we were all together. They heard my questions and saw me crying and knew something was wrong. Nadia, our 6 year old was very matter of fact, and thoughtful telling us that “Everyone has to pass on at some point” (she even made a card for Lola), Siena, 9, didn’t want to see me crying because that would make everyone else cry. Over the past few years, Lola never really warmed up to the girls so I don’t think they are as heart broken as Andrew and I, they are already asking about the next pet, but we have told them that is a long way off.

When I finally arrived at the vet this afternoon for our last visit, I cried the whole way there. Petting her through the carrier, feeling her shiver, as I think she knew what was going on. I told Andrew he didn’t need to come, I didn’t want him to rearrange his whole day for this and I felt I could handle it on my own (boy was I wrong). I took some deep breaths as I walked in and just hoped I could get right in to see the vet. There were a couple other people in the waiting room when I walked in with Lola in the carrier. I looked straight ahead and tried not to make eye contact with anyone, as I am sure I looked like a total mess. But of course, the nice lady next to me was admiring our beautiful cat. “Is that a Russian Blue?” she asked. “Yes”, I said, not in the mood to make small talk. Then she says, “Does she have a little cough?” that’s when I lost it. This poor lady did not know what she was getting into; I totally started bawling and had a hard time keeping it together. At that point, the receptionist scooted me into an examining room where I was able to hold Lola and cry alone. The nurses and the doctors at Magnolia Veterinary Hospital were so kind and sweet and caring. I held Lola as they gave her the medicine that helped her fall into her deep kitty sleep. And as I told the girls, they gave her the medicine to help her get to Kitty Heaven where she will be her old playful self. She can bask in the sun, play with fun toys, chase birds and bugs and be the healthy Lola we know and love.

Lola Lee Kitty Cat, you will be truly missed.

Moms’ Weekends Away – Good For The Whole Family!

There is no doubt that moms work hard. They spend the majority of their time making sure everyone in the family is taken care of, yet a lot of moms forget to take care of themselves. That’s why I think it is important for moms to get a weekend away every so often to have some time off and get a break from reality. Recently, I was lucky enough to get a little weekend away with some friends. I love traveling with my family, but every now and then it is nice to do something on your own or with your friends. For this recent trip, a group of girl friends from high school decided we needed to have a reunion in Vegas, after graduating over 20 years ago, it is nice to reconnect in “real life” with friends that you a haven’t heard from in years – other than on Facebook.

Ladies at Dinner in Vegas

Ladies at Dinner in Vegas

The ladies and I stayed in lovely suites at the Venetian Hotel and Casino, and it felt like a little slice of paradise. We sat by the pool in our rented cabana and did a lot of catching up, laughing and people watching! We enjoyed the nightlife (until 3 in the morning, which is pretty late for this mom!) and had a wonderful dinner at Valentino Las Vegas, sister restaurant to multiple James Beard Award-winner Piero Selvaggio’s world-renowned Valentino in Santa Monica

In the morning, I got up early and headed out to check out the fitness center and spa at the Canyon Ranch. For just $20 I was able to enjoy a 90-minute yoga class and all-day access to the amazing Aquavana spa, I was able to relax in the hot pools, steam rooms, herbal steam rooms, igloo and experiential rains. And because I got an all-day pass, I was able to head back in after sitting by the pool all day to recharge and get ready for our night out.

Las Vegas has a special place in my heart; when I turned 21, my mom, sisters, aunts, cousins and grandma all went down to celebrate and started a tradition that has lasted over 17 years with trips to Vegas and Palm Springs. Our family truly values our Girls’ Weekends! I know Vegas might not be everyone’s style; sometimes it might be nice to get away and have some quiet time and really reconnect with yourself.  There are so many resorts and spas to choose from and all will provide you with relaxation, balance, healthy food and activities. This list will give you an idea of the top rated spas all over America, from the folks at Travel & Leisure.

Pool at Miraval

Pool at Miraval

Two spas that have been recommended by friends of mine are Miraval and The Sanctuary, both are in Arizona, so the weather will be wonderful and both will leave you feeling relaxed, recharged and renewed. This type of weekend away will send you home as a new and enhanced woman.  When practicing yoga, meditation and other self-healing treatments and activities, you will learn skills that you can take home to your real life and help you get through the rough patches with ease. I have yet to visit a resort/spa like this but it is on my list, the big 4-0 is coming up pretty soon and I think this might be the perfect birthday gift to myself!

If you are more of an active Mom and want to move and laugh and really challenge yourself, you might be more interested in a weekend of surfing, hiking or learning a new skill. Last summer, some girl friends and I headed south to Oregon for Northwest Women’s Surf Camp – now I am hooked. The ladies and I are going back again this summer to learn some new skills. The camp includes all equipment (surfboard, wetsuit, boots, gloves, hood and helmet), nutritious organic catered lunch, beverages and snacks, morning Beach Yoga session, water-board-beach safety instruction, in-depth surf instruction both on land and two sessions in the water with coaches, a NWWSC T-shirt and our Camp Partners bag of gifts and info! And it’s not just for ladies; they have couples camps, family lessons and more.

Our Group with Northwest Women's Surf Camp

Our Group with Northwest Women’s Surf Camp

Yes, these weekends will take time to plan, a financial investment and some juggling of schedules with your partner, but in the end no matter what type of weekend you choose or even if you just take a day in your own city to recharge and escape, it will be worth it in the end to restore your well-being and keep you balanced throughout your days and beyond.