Category Archives: Blog

Farewell My Friend

July 13, 2016

Farewell My Friend.

Ms. Kitty crossed the Rainbow Bridge today at 1:30 p.m.  She had a very restless night. All of the horrible things I heard and read about were coming to fruition. I did not want my sweet little Ms. Kitty to suffer so I took her to our Vet. She passed peaceful in my arms.  I would like to publicly thank Dr. Springer for his kindness and overwhelming compassion today. He cared for Ms. Kitty with the respect she deserved and helped me bear my burden. Such a talented Veterinarian and a wonderfully kind human. I will be forever appreciative.  

Tonight as I sit here at my computer, I hear the sounds of Tazzy eating from his dish. I treasure my fur-babes. They bring me joy and help me through the moments of life that are sometimes so hard to bear. I am filled with guilt for ever buying those cat treats. She was so happy and healthy before she starting eating them. Today was one of those days that I will not forget. The surreal silent solitude as I came home in the car. My oldest brother drove down to help us give her a proper burial. So now, Ms. Kitty is home and she is at peace beneath the shade of the dogwood tree. She loved to play under that tree.

I know in time this pain will not sting so bad but tonight my heart is broken.  I will miss and love her always. She was a trust companion and one hell of a mouser. Some of my dearest memories are of her when she would bring me her “gifts”. She brought us everything from snakes to gophers to lizards. I remember telling her, “Ms. Kitty, I don’t really like lizard, sweetie. You can have that one.” She gave me that Donald Trump look with her lips pursed up as if to say, “Who the hell doesn’t like lizard?” She had those looks; a cross between Trump and Grumpy Cat. In the coming months I will try and recreate those smiles that made my heart laugh. That is one of beautiful things about art, time stands still.

Well not much left to say but thank you Ms. Kitty, RIP my friend.

20141107_121023-1.jpg

Ms. Kitty 2013- July 13, 2016

 

 

Ms. Arleen

All Things Considered…

I didn’t post anything about Ms. Kitty yesterday. The first thing Sat. morning she got up and went to the back door again, just like on Friday. We told her again that it was way to hot to be outside (heat index was expected to be triple digits). She cried the saddest little meow. Kept staring out the back door. This broke my heart. I know she wants out but if she gets to the storage building and gets underneath, I don’t know how I would get her out. We did what we thought was best, told her no. I picked her up and rocked her for a while then took her back to her bed.

Gave her a small dose (less than 1ml) of slipper elm syrup) just enough to coat her stomach. Waited for about 10 minutes for it to work. Followed that up with 2ml of Clinicare Supplement.  We went through this exact procedure twice till 10 last night. Got up at midnight and checked in on her, she was still fine and had used her litter box again.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Kitty on Sunday morning 7/10/16. 

First thing this morning, I checked in on her. She was sitting there just looking at me. When I reached to pet her, she purred and blinked her eyes. I think I have mentioned this before, I read somewhere that cats say I love you when they blinked their eyes at you. I will have to find that link and post It for everyone.  It’s expected to be a hot day again today but not as bad as yesterday.

I will be sitting with her most of the day in the office. I have a lot of work to get done online, most of it classwork that has be turned in by 10:55 CST tonight. My course this term is Hemingway and it requires a lot of work in prep for writing.  Thank goodness, I didn’t take two classes. There are days when the words flow easy, then there are those days when I have so much on my mind that I can’t concentrate to get anything done. I have had nearly a week like that, a foggy muddled mind. I tried to meditate last night, Mother was restless so that was a no-go. She finally went to bed, so I did too. Long story short, after checking on Kitty at Midnight, I got a few hours of sleep. I had intended on being up at 4 or 5 but slept till after 7. Enough of this, time to get busy on my writing. Putting some classical chamber music on, that would be soothing to both of us. Going now, time to write.

Ms. Arleen

Ms. Kitty update for 07/08/2016

Well it’s 8:40 A.M. Ms. Kitty is wide awake and alert this morning. I did not give her the Clinicare through the night, wanted to let to use the litter box. Afraid if she can’t urinate, it will just cause her pain to give her fluids if she can’t rid them. Above all, I don’t want her to suffer. To our amazement, she jumped off the desk walked to the backdoor and meowed to go outside. We didn’t let her outside for a couple of reasons. First, she is still too sick to be outside But the main reason is the heat index is supposed to be way over 105 degrees today. We were afraid she would be going outside to die and we wouldn’t be able to find her.  Cats do that sometimes, especially cats that were born feral. I suppose it is just her instinct. After Mother and I told her “no Ms. Kitty” she walked back into the office where I have her bed set up on my drawing table. She likes this spot a lot. She meowed for me to put her back up there, so I did. I also have her litter box sitting up there so she can get to it without a lot of effort. She used her litter box, then laid back down on the bed. I am going to get her some Clinicare now and give her 3ml. 

6:00 p.m. Well, had errands to run today so was away from the house for a while. When I got home around 2pm I checked on Ms. Kitty. She was alert sitting on the desk. She had used her litter box a little and was drinking some water from her dish. I gave her some Clinicare around 3:30 p.m. She held it down. Thankful we have no vomiting. Some of the credit for that may come from the use of Slippery elm syrup. Just a tiny bit coats her stomach and lowers the acid. Then I gave her the Clinicare supplement. She took a nap afterwards.  It anyone wants the recipe for the Slippery elm syrup I will provide the link at the end of this post. This is a picture of Kitty tonight quietly taking a nap with her new gray mouse I bought her today.

mskitty70816 resting.jpg

Ms. Kitty taking a nap with her new gray mouse. We named it “Minnie”.

 

Well, took care of all the other chores to be done around the house. I still have to work on my homework post for this week so going to sign off now. I will probably be back up at 4a.m. to check in on Ms. Kitty. Goodnight to you all.

Ms. Arleen 

Recipe for the Slippery Elm syrup for cats in renal failure. This is a wonderful website with a lot of information on the disease. The link follows:

http://www.felinecrf.org/holistic_treatments.htm

Ms. Kitty Update for 7/7/2016

Well, it has been a couple days since I brought Ms. Kitty home. On Tuesday I received some products I found for cats in renal failure. One of them is a product called Clinicare Feline Liquid Renal Care. I will not lie, it cost a good bit for one can, but I am down to brass tacks here. I ordered it on Amazon for $11.48 a can with Prime shipping. I needed it fast so I am so glad I have Amazon Prime. It came yesterday.  It’s like Ensure for cats- a liquid feeding supplement for cats in renal failure. I have to do something to get some nutrition in her. I used a feeding syringe that holds up to 10ml. I am only giving 2ml at a time. I figure this is about all she can tolerate. She is still drinking water from her dish.  I started giving the Clinicare around 5 pm as soon as UPS delivered it. She held still while I gave it to her, then she began licking her lips like she liked it. I put a little on a dish but she wouldn’t lick on her own.  So far I have given her a total of 6ml. She has tolerated it well. No vomiting. That was my first concern with giving her fluids by mouth.

Ms-Kitty-772016-3am

Ms.Kitty at 3 a.m. on 7/7/2016

I got up at 3.am. this morning to sit with her and work on my classwork (I am pursuing a degree online at APUS in English.) She usually sits with me when I work on papers. It felt like old times, she sat up on the desk with me watching me type till about 4:30. Then she abruptly got down, staggering. She went under the bed and sat there until 6 a.m. Mother and I are both wondering if this is one of the signs of her decline-wanting to be alone. I took it as a cue and left her to herself and went back to bed till 10a.m.

She was back on the desk, alert. I could tell she had not used her litter box at all. This worries me. I see her drink water but not urinating is not good. I did not give her the Clinicare yet today. I don’t want to overload her kidneys with more fluid that she can process. She is not in pain. Alert and looking around.

I will go for now. I am going to go sit with her a little while. I will post again tomorrow.

Ms. Arleen

My Sisters

It’s always sad when someone you cared about passes away. Even though you knew they had been dealing with illness, it is still shocking to hear those words, “she is gone.” I met Linda in the 5th grade. We sat alphabetically in class. She was in the back of the class, but we sat together at lunch and she rode the same bus I did home. She lived just a few miles down the road in a house that overlooked the river. My biological sister, Kathleen, died when she was newborn, so the girls I knew in school were my ‘sisters’. We laughed, we cried, we fought and we laughed about it when we made up. Linda was one of those ‘sisters”. She was the one who talked me into to wearing makeup for the first time. “It will make you feel so pretty” she said. It did. It helped change the way I saw that teenage me when I looked in the mirror. Linda was a beautiful woman, inside and out.
As a sisterhood of girls now women, we watched each other’s lives unfold, year by year, decade by decade. We are in our early fifties now, most of us had children and some grandchildren. When I look at us, I still see fresh-faced youth running through playgrounds and swinging on swings. I remember volleyball games and dance troupe, plays and pageants. Although life has had its obligations for me that has kept me from joining in with social functions, it doesn’t diminish the love I feel for my “sisters’ or sadness in missing out on getting together. Some of my sister’s I met in college, most in grade school then high school, but all are dear to my heart. When one of you goes away I lose a part of me. A portion of my childhood I dearly treasure. Linda may be gone, but her memory and those images of kids playing will stay with me forever. RIP Linda.

My First Poetry of the Year

I wrote these for my creative writing class. My grades are posted, so I can post them here now. My assignment was three poems, twenty line each. I have a tendency to worry more about the mechanics of writing than the actual writing.

Do What You Must Do 

To say nothing rhymes with Orange

Is a cruel and dirty trick;

It has nothing to do with sporange,

But can certainly be rhymed with Blorenge;

As in, “The orange sunset in The Blorenge

Such as glorious sight to see

The splendorous mountains in Wales,

Especially when cast in sea gales.”

Another example is silver,

This one is hard I admit;

But when given a muse,

The words seem to fuse;

As in “A giver of silver

Has a heart pure of gold,

His gratuitous nature is a gift untold.”

So use a dictionary, expound your words

This will set them free;

Never assume there is no room

For words that seem oddly askew;

Write what you write, say what they say can’t be said

And do ,what you must do.

ACM

 

Twenty Lines 

Twenty lines, the request is small;

Unless you lack twenty lines in all

Give me a moment

For you see;

Nothing seems to rhyme for me;

I am having trouble with my Poetry;

It ends with “aye” instead of “eee”

Maybe a muse would set it free;

Could write about cats all warm and fuzzy

Hell I could write about the tramp down the streets who’s a hussy!

No, that won’t do;

Reading that back, that’s slightly blue;

Let’s give this a try,

Let’s end in “I”

The quicker we’re done and this assignment is nigh;

Oh please forgive me,

For I am quick to wit

I must admit I laugh’s a bit;

Before you know it; it over

It’s through;

My last line of this poem

Well, this makes twenty-two.

ACM

 

The Conch Republic Way 

Heading southbound down Highway 1

Toward eclectic dreams in the south Florida sun;

Warm rays on my skin,

Tropical wind in my hair;

Havana-style Cabanas

The Conch republic way;

I’ll slow the pace

Escape the race;

More good than bad,

More happy than sad;

My soul will sing along

To Hemingway’s song;

It’s not just a scheme

But more of a dream;

For me, I pray it comes true;

It’s as strong as Cubano coffee

As sweet as Key lime pie

That Key West passion burns

I’ll get my turn

And leave this world behind.

ACM

 

Leaving it behind in 2015

I wrote this for my Non-Fiction Short Assignment for class. I sat down to write other things for the assignment but this kept bubbling to the surface. I had intended on posting it to the blog after it was graded but it has set on my desk for a week or so. Looking at the date on the calendar I have decided to post this to my blog today and leave this very painful memory in the past, leave it in 2015.  This is a true story of an event that occurred in my life in September of 1998.

The Other Side of Fear

By: Arleen Cornelius-McCann

I met John in the fall of 1997. This was a time I was very alone. I was trying to reclaim my life after the divorce. I had made some giant strides in re-establishing a career.  I had everything but a friend and companion. When I met John, we just clicked. We shared similar interests, we laughed a lot. We talked a couple of times a day on the phone. He was my best-friend.

For years, John struggled with addiction. He was clean and sober for over a year when I met him. He was creative and had an immense talent for woodworking. He fashioned the most beautiful pieces out of scraps of wood. He would call every day especially if he knew I had a hard day at work. . I didn’t think I could do rely on anyone after my divorce but with time I trusted him. This is why what happened on September 19, 1998 all the more a surprise.

It was a Saturday. I went about my chores. I kept waiting for his phone call. I called him. No answer. I made a quick trip to the grocery store. When I returned to start dinner, still no message on my machine. I knew something had to be wrong. Years before we met he had a car wreck that left him blind in one eye. He had to take Neurontin every day for seizures. I was worried about him so I called a couple of our friends and no one had seen him. I turned off the stove and got in my car.

When I arrived at his apartment, I could hear this stereo blaring from the street. I climbed the stairs that went uphill to his apartment. The door was cracked open about an inch. It was pitch dark with the exception of the blue light that illuminated the dial of the stereo system. I pushed the door open calling for John. He didn’t answer. I saw him lying on the sofa, motionless. My heart sank as I ran to put down my purse on the floor, and turn down the radio. As I turned on the lamp I saw beside him an almost empty half-gallon bottle of Jack Daniels.  I knew he was drunk.

Hindsight tells me I should have picked up my purse and left. I should have walked away. What I did instead was rage at the situation with shocked disbelief and anger. I grabbed the bottle off the floor and smashed it onto the side of the coffee table. My anger got the best of me. The remaining alcohol spewed everywhere. Shards of glass when flying into the air. Before I knew what was happening he was awake and had his hands around my throat. I had never seen him drunk before, I did not know the depths of his anger. His grip raised me off the ground, my body dangling in the air like a little girl’s ragdoll.  I still had the remains of the bottle in my hand and I knew if I just dropped it he could pick it up and cut me. I didn’t want to hurt him either, as strange that sounds. I threw the neck of the bottle behind the sofa. I fought him trying to free myself from his grip. I continued to dangle as he slowly walked us across the small living room toward the fireplace.

The whole time he cursed me, “I am going to kill you bitch. How dare you? How dare you break my bottle? How dare you come in my house, you bitch?” His eyes glowed with a crazed anger.

I began to feel the effects and started to choke. I mouthed the word, “Mandy”. He knew how much I loved my child. He slowly released his hold around my neck. I closed my eyes for a moment but when I opened them I saw his fist coming at me. His full force blow threw me into the mantle edge of the brick fireplace. I struck it just at the base of my skull and fell toward my left side. When I hit the floor I felt the glass shattering from an oversized Oriental porcelain pot that sat in the corner. For a moment I was still but I could see the outline of the peeling plaster on the wall, then my body tingled with an electric energy. I felt as if I was drifting away.

This time I prayed “God take care of Mandy, take care of my child.” I began to feel pain intensely. I hurt allover. I could feel blood streaming down my neck. The room whirled with confusion. Then I began to seize uncontrollably. My entire body twisted and contorted with painful jolts down my spine.

I could hear John screaming, “Let me find my gun and I will end this shit!” He saw I was seizing because he yelled, “That’s it bitch, lay there on the floor and die.”

When my body stopped seizing, I could hear him throwing things in the back of the apartment. I knew I had to get out of there. I managed to pull myself up to my knees. I grabbed my purse that was sitting across from me in the floor.  I got to my feet and tried to run. It was hard because I was so dizzy.  He grabbed me by my hair and yelled, “No bitch, you ain’t going nowhere.” He threw me on the sofa and walked back toward the kitchen.

I reached in my purse and pulled out a twenty that was stuck in an inside compartment.  “Here John, I’m so sorry,” I cried. “Here go buy another bottle.”

I knew I had a head injury; I had to get to the hospital. I pleaded “I’m going to the hospital now, John.”

He said, “Oh, no you’re not.” He kept looking for the gun. As he entered the kitchen I sprinted for the door. He followed. As I got to the staircase I began to holler for anyone that was around to help me. No one was there, no one answered. I got to the top step and he lunged for me, and fell to the ground. I made it to my car, got inside and locked the doors. My trembling hands could hardly get the key in the ignition.  I was so sick. I managed to crank the car and as I pulled away I could hear him hollering at me.

I drove as fast as I could. I felt the side of my head with my hand, as I merged into a small line of fast moving traffic on I-59. My hand was covered in blood and waives of nausea came over me.  Tears flowed down my face. I was afraid I was going to die. I just wanted to feel safe again.  I pulled into the parking deck of Bessemer Carraway. No one was around. It was a Saturday night in September, still warm for this time of the year.  I parked my car and when I got out, I could see blood on the door handle. How surreal; it was mine. I made my way, staggering to the elevator. I pushed the button, leaving droplets of blood behind. When the doors opened, I saw an elderly woman screaming at the ghastly sight of me covered in blood. I hit the floor in front of her.

The next thing I remember is being transported very quickly down the halls toward the emergency room. The room was filled with movement as they started an IV, and the doctor examined me. My clothes reeked of Jack Daniels, the collar and sleeve saturated in blood. The Doctor asked, “How much have you had to drink?” “Nothing!” I cried, “I smashed a bottle and it got on me.” I explained what had happened to the best of my ability. They looked at me with questioning eyes like they didn’t know whether to believe me or not.  I was crying hysterically. I was still in shock and emotionally numb from the experience. They sent me to have a CAT scan. When I returned a Birmingham Police officer was in the room waiting to speak to me. I told him what had happened. He said given the facts that, I had entered John’s apartment without an invitation I could be counter-charged with breaking and entering if I pressed charges against John. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked. I had a concussion, cracked ribs, a broken jaw, a head full of stitches and I could be charged with a crime. He took photos for the file and gave me a card with a case number. The card also had the number of someone I could speak with about the matter, “just in case you need to talk to someone.” I still have that card to this day. I keep it as a reminder of a time in my life when I thought this could never happen to me and how quickly life can change.

Before this happened, I was beginning to trust again. Afterwards, I was filled with anger and self-doubt. I didn’t trust my own instincts. I doubted myself. After all, I had thought John was one of the good guys. I began to doubt my decisions. I moved to the other side of Birmingham, to an apartment that had security at the door. I was living my life in fear. . It has taken me a very long time to resolve the events of that day.

In 2000, I made the move back to my childhood home. My Mother needed help with my ailing Father and I needed to feel a sense of safety and peace again. This is the one place I have always felt safe. This ordeal, left me with fibromyalgia, nerve damage in my neck and jaw. I have physical, emotional, and mental scars but my spirit is beginning to heal. I found out John died in 2011. I don’t know the circumstances. I just know I no longer have to look behind me, I no longer fear.

Now, with this event some 17 years in the rear-view mirror of my life, I can speak about it.  Time has given me clarity- peace.  It has also given me strength. Strength to speak out- to share my story in the hopes someone else will listen and leave a similar situation.  If you or anyone you know is going through a situation in which they are not safe and secure, now is the time for action.  Seek help, it’s out there. Go to your local counseling center for Domestic abuse. Reach out to groups online who can and will give you haven and shelter. Do not let yourself become a victim. Speak up-speak out.  It is in our duty to speak out for those who can no longer speak for themselves. Those who have died from domestic violence.  Life for me, since I returned home, has been filled with countless beautiful memories that would never had happened if I had died on September 19, 1998.