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June 18, 2013


Godspeed Darwinfish.

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about Darwinfish.

My horse died (colicked, had to be euthanized), and when I told my son what I thought (knew) was going to happen (pre-euthanasia, pre-arrival-of-vet, he asked if he could "[finally]" play in the horse's paddock, after said demise. He liked to go in there and roll (more or less) around in the dust (ewww ... I am talking here about the son rolling in the dust, not the horse) and wasn't allowed to, when the horse was in there (obviously). After the horse was gone -- the only picture of my son's early life I really regret not having taken (not having thought to take) is one of him on the horse, as I'd pop him up after I rode and he'd sit up there and enjoy being led around. But the emotional bond (for him), not so deep, clearly.

I'm sorry for your loss. And I miss your writing now that it's less frequent, but, you know, here's to good health even if it comes with less writing.

So sorry to hear about Darwin. Don't worry about the lack of posting... didn't you write every day for a couple of months a while ago? It probably averages out to a perfectly reasonable frequency.

Good for you on the 14 lbs, but I personally would probably rather be fat and happy ... don't think I could handle a strict diet like that.

Sorry about your cat. Poor Patrick, he is such a sweetie.

The Prozac may make you write less, but by no means worse.

I'm very sorry about Darwinfish. Hugs to everyone.

Try replacing the grains/breads with steamed veggies like broccoli, snap peas, asparagus, kale, etc. You'll have more pep and calcium.

So sorry about Darwin. We have a 12-year-old dog who is Slowing Way Down and a 17-year-old cat who actually seems okay for now but GOD this elderly/dying pet thing is brutal.

sorry about your kitty. i am waiting to have one animal that has the courtesy to just die in its sleep. no last trip to the vet, no decision making.. i beg my 15 (in 2 days) yr old dog.. please just die in your sleep. but being a bitch (literally) i doubt she will do it. when i take her to the vet to have her anal glands emptied every month (hey, she's an old lady and needs help.. ) i get weepy sitting in the waiting room for them to bring her back because i know one time i will be there to have her pts. ugg.. i hate that part. damn animals.. ripping my heart out all the time. no one sent you the 'rainbow bridge' poem yet. never my favorite but mine are mostly dog ones.

I'm so sorry about Darwinfish :(

Try Zoloft!

Is Patrick still accepting license plates - or is that so 2012? I have a California one, but wasn't sure if you still had the Patrick P.O. Box open still.

Finally, any updates on how the twins are doing with reading on their own? My oldest daughter is the twins' age and this whole reading thing is rocking my world...possibly the best unsung kiddo milestone in my opinion!!

I missed you. Yeah on the weight loss, boo on not being able to write.

I'm sorry for your loss, but I very much appreciate the chuckles.

Do you think you might feel foggy and not like writing because you're hungry? The brain needs a lot of calories to function optimally.

I do understand just how sad it is and I'm so sorry for your loss.

I am so, so sorry about Darwin. Yes, it's horrible. We've lost several beloved elderly cats in the last four years and I thought each one was ripping my heart out by the roots. (I will add that Eddybear's idea of a new cat is not completely bonkers. We happened to adopt two kittens at about the same time we lost our last old kitty, and their antics and affection have healed my heart tremendously. I've been so glad that we bit the bullet and took our crazy little pair of cats!)

As for your little Wednesday ... LOL! ... I have one twin who is madly in love with the kitties, like me ... and one that's, um, not so. He hasn't asked for a bone yet, though. ;o)

Re the diet: If you need more bulk to keep your tummy from rumbling, frozen spinach is amazingly versatile, tasteless (so it goes with everything except maybe brownies), and has about 2 calories per serving. Plus iron! I'm also dieting, and I add about a cup of frozen spinach to my breakfast egg and to my soup at lunch. It's amazing how it helps fill me up! Yay spinach!

Oh, how sad. But you're right, when it's time, you know, and that does help things.

I hope you take up the idea of a new cat. It seems heartless to "replace" the old one so quickly, but everyone I know who has had a cat ends up getting a new one within 1-2 weeks after the death of the old. I've been lucky so far that of the cats which have been _mine_, two remained living with my parents when I moved off to college and so died in their possession, two of them are still living (though now that Slinky is 14, I know we could have either 1 year or 6 left), and when we had to put the first one to sleep, we very quickly acquired from neighbors a new one.

I missed you! Your post made me cry. XXX

Even when you know it's time, it's devastating. Been there and there are no words. It's really the hardest part of having a pet. My heart goes out to all of you.

So sorry to read about Darwin. I had pets as a kid but I'm just now realizing that the only one I actually saw die/after death was my dog. My parents always found the cats and they were buried by the time I found out they were gone.

Mind you, we lived on a farm, so I'm not counting my "pet" chicken, or other animals I ended up eating. (My parents didn't tell me for years that we ate my chicken, and rather nicely let me assume she ran away.)

Writing underwater or no, the end result is as brilliant as ever. I love "experimented with weeping until she decided it did not suit her." Also the line about enumerating things with your new pretty nails.

Condolences on your loss. We said goodbye to a cat of the same vintage last month, so I understand. Ours also did the losing weight, not doing so well with elimination habits, but still purring when petted, to WAY worse all of a sudden. So sorry.

I'm so very sorry for your loss.

I loved generic Prozac. LOVED it. It was cheap as aspirin, and after a while I couldn't remember the last time I'd cried, for gosh sakes. Unfortunately, my husband couldn't remember the last time for something else. So I moved on to different meds.

If you need to make a change, Prozac stays in your system for a good long time, so transitioning off of it is relatively easy. Don't know if this applies here, but I have heard that some people do a lot better on the brand-name stuff. Finding the right remedy can be so very frustrating. I wish you the best in figuring it out.

I'm sorry to hear about Darwin and that all of you had to go through the sad process of him having a hard time saying good-bye. He must have had a very good life ~

Ooof, so sorry to hear of your cat. We also put our cat to sleep this weekend (bone cancer, 11 years old, etc. etc.). My five year old seemed to be totally unfamiliar with this grief her father and I were exhibiting. She also asked the babysitter if she would help her "dig him up? I just want to see what he looks like now!" the day after when I went to work. So macabre 5-year old girls - not that unusual I suppose.

Three memories on loss and childhood. 1)My great-grandmother died, and my mother, who was very close to her, was heartbroken. I remember rather callously saying something along the lines of not being all that upset about it. I was used to seeing her only once a year, and I had no sense of real loss, not then. 2) That same great-grandmother gave me the Anne of Green Gables series one year for my birthday (or maybe Christmas?). I loved those books. I read them over and over and over until one day familiarity finally bred contempt and I sold them in a yard sale. I regretted it within weeks. 3) My mother asked me to give up my cat when she married my stepfather because he did not want an indoor cat (cat hair on his suits), and I conceded without too much fuss. I don't think I even cried then. But I cry every time I remember her now. Maybe the significance of loss is something learned, something earned.

I'm so sorry about Darwin. :(

But I am also so glad to see a post from you!

FWIW, your writing is as excellent as ever. The Prozac doesn't seem to be affecting that, although it does seem to be affecting the impetus to write. We all want you healthy and happy...so if fewer posts is what it takes, then so be it!

I am so, so sorry about Darwin. In the space of the last ten days we have lost: in indoor birdie who was the family joy for eighteen years, one of our hens, whom we consider to be very dear pets, and three (3!) baby rabbits who were just on the cusp of independence when their mother either disappeared (erm, became a meal) or did a runner. Two siblings survive and are thriving.

Let me tell you, my children and I are mighty wearied over the burials! My daughter said: "Begone Grim Reaper from this house!"

More veggies, more fruits. Can't go wrong with those.

So so so sorry about the loss of Darwin. We had to put our 11 year old (massive pain in the ass) dog to sleep last month. We knew it was coming and had done a lot to mourn and enjoy him while he was still with us, but I still hated to have to tell my kids (5.5 & 7.5) that Today was The Day. Both immediately burst into tears. It was awful. And really, worse than their grief was watching my husband cry while we were at the office. Losing pets is hard. And it sucks.

Sorry about Darwinfish.

Prozac does feel like thinking underwater or like you've cushioned your head with a bunch of cotton and see, hear, think everything through that filter. BUT, you "feel" like you can't write, but you so clearly CAN. Also, you're still able to cry and that's something. I found it very difficult and unnatural to shed a tear, even at the saddest news, when on Prozac. And crying when a loved one dies is perfectly normal and expected and good for you behavior. IDK, tough call.

Effexor? I was told it doesn't lead to weight gain and it wouldn't have, had I kept up with exercise and said no a few times to the cake and bagels that flow so freely in my sedentary office environment.

I think the anti-depressants are very complicated in what they cause..the are not "supposed to" cause weight gain but in my experience they always caused me to "not care" about trying to stay in shape and going off them always led to 10-15 pound weight loss. Please never try Effexor, getting off that is a nightmare.

Losing a much loved pet is very hard and I am so sorry for your all's pain,only time makes it better! Please figure out what to do, I miss your posts!!

So sorry for your loss and attending sadness. Everyone deals with these things in his/her own way. Caroline is a very pragmatic soul. Her reaction reminds me of a story I've heard my mom tell from years ago (before my birth) when my dad had a serious circulation problem in one of his legs. He was going in for surgery and they thought they might have to amputate (in the end they didn't). My mom sat the children down and explained that Daddy might have to have his leg cut off. My sister, who was about 6, immediately piped up, "Can I have it?"

Sorry about Darwin. He will live on in your email address, right?

The twins are funny, each in his or her way. And charming too :). Patrick is a darling.

As others commented, the quality of writing seems to not be affected. Give it a couple of months.

My sympathies to your family on the loss of Darwinfish.

In my long (and long-suffering) experience of mood-altering medications, my conclusion is that reactions to drugs are as individual as people themselves. Therefore doctors only have a general idea about how likely you are to have a particular reaction, as you've surmised. I have been on moclobomide for about 8 years (which isn't supposed to work - I found it myself and got myself onto it... the last psychiatrist I saw hadn't even heard of it. You can imagine how much confidence I had in her -). Moclobomide is supposed to stop one sleeping - well, it sends me to sleep. And sometimes gives me other funny reactions too. But, after careful consideration of the alternatives - either going back to SSRI's which I had taken without good effect for years, or going onto an SNRI (like Effexor) which can be literally impossible to get off if you are unfortunate enough to get discontinuation syndrome - I decided I was best off with moclobomide.

For me I know within a few weeks whether I'm going to be able to tolerate a drug or not. But the changeover time can still be a killer and may be something to take into account.

If you're not sure my (unasked-for) advice would be to do some really careful research. Access if you can academic journals, wikipedia is kept pretty well up-to-date, read about side effects on forums etc. Build up as big a picture as you can of what you can expect on prozac and/or what alternative you think might be the best for you. Then find a doctor to help you organise it.

And of course traditionally distress is linked to artistic expression so maybe your lack of motivation to write is a sign of your feeling better :P just possibly.

Good luck.

So very sorry to hear about the loss of Darwinfish. And man, that Caroline, she really is too much.

If it makes you feel better we lost rabbits one year, had buried them, and then the next spring after a thaw some bones were hanging on the yard around where they had been buried. (Likely dug up by a neighborhood cat before all the snow that year). We know this because we found my little sister inspecting the bones pretty intently. If it makes you feel better, she's now almost thirty and not a serial killer nor a forensic scientist. Just a regular ol' cardiac sonographer, who holds down a job and a house and all that.

I'm so sorry about Darwin. Also wanted to weigh in (ha! pun intended!) on the Prozac. I went on it while in the process of writing a dissertation and noticed that, while it helped my mood and gave me lots of vivid dream material, it made writing difficult. I was happy but dumb. Did finish the dissertation, but I wonder how much of it had to do with my prescription expiring and not bothering to get a new one ... that, and the fact that if I didn't finish the diss tout de suite, would have to apply for an extension. After several years' hiatus from anti-depressants, I'm on Zoloft now and also notice some lack of ability to find words and put butt to desk chair. I have yet to do the self-probing that might result in revelations about less depression = less desire for written self-expression.

I'm so sorry about Darwin. It sucks. As to antidepressants and writing, I dunno... I don't journal as I used to, but also my crummy shoulder doesn't like handwriting, and journaling on a computer rather than a nice book? Doesn't work for me. Bah. Not that I ever had a damn thing to say, unlike you, but still.

Sorry to hear about the cat :( We had one cat die at home and I'm not sure its much better.
My daughter isn't bothered by death either....they had a class pet die (a rat-Mr. Whiskers) so when we got pet rats for our house a few weeks later my girl wanted to name hers "Dead Mr. Whiskers". I put my foot down.
When I took Prozac years ago I had to take Wellbutrin to counter the side effects. It went pretty well but now I just take Wellbutrin. I wouldn't be able to stand the thinking underwater feeling.

I once went 10 days in a row, on Prozac, eating nothing but diet Coke, water, & electrolyte pills, exercising every day, and losing NOT ONE POUND. SSRIs can be Satan for weight issues. I'm glad you found a way around it.

So sorry about Darwinfish. We lost our 20 year old Sophie the cat a few months ago and the hole in my heart is massive. I'm always amazed how such small creatures can create such big holes when they die.

Congratulations on the 14lbs!

SO sorry to hear about Darwin. Very sad.

My very favorite diet-like thing right now (because I am NOT on a diet. I'm not. I've just given up chocolate and wine and cheese as well as my will to live) is plain greek yogurt with a peach or blueberries or both and just a *tiny* drizzle of honey. Very filling, good fiber and vitamins and tons of protein. I've done the same thing with (good) jam for years because I don't much like flavored yogurt, but this is better since the fiber and fruit is fresh and not so much sugar.

Celexa would seem to be disqualified on the basis of the headaches. What would happen if you kept up the daily exercise (known to be mood stabilizing in mild cases) and also added meditation and some cognitive therapy to deal with the anxiety? I'm not anti-meds, but the side-effect crap shoot sounds really annoying. Caveat: doctor's approval & supervision assumed, since going off meds can be trying in itself.

Vitamix. Green smoothie. For the family, we do one normal or half a gargantuan english cucumber, organic, cut up, one banana, 1 tsp. Sweetleaf stevia, 8 tbsp chia seed, 3 tbsp olive oil or coconut butter, 2 tbsl lemon juice, a cup of fruit, a cup of Costco frozen pineapple (it tastes better) and half a pound of earthbound farms organic greens, either lettuce, spinach or kale. Two of those you can get cheaper at Costco. Also good are dandelion and beet greens, if organic. Also good in place of the cucumber is baby bok choi or fennel. Also nice is various herbs, 1 cup.

Add 2 cups water, 1/2 cup ice, blend, scrape, blend until smooth. Thin if needed to thick but liquid.

All manner of familial inflammatory conditions are reversing themselves, we all feel better and more alert, and we are all losing weight, and less hungry. And WAY less cravings.

As beeautiful as you are, it must be hard to have gained weight. It really can screw with your self image. Blueberry shaped or not, you are stunning. You've done a fabulous job, you will continue, and meanwhile, you still deserve to love yourself, and I expect your husband still finds you the vivacious, nomable vixen he fell for.

Cut yourself some slack, Julia, all the way around. Love where you are now, and work to get to where you want to go.

I still can't imagine you're anything but lovely....

So sorry about Darwin, it's the worst thing to have to decide to euthanize a loved pet. I thought I'd never recover, but we ended up with another dog in less than three months.

Prozac: I hear you about the loss of creativity. For me it was like there was a slight shim between me and the world. Nothing really bothered me too much. So I switched to Cymbalta about 6 weeks ago and I think I like it. It was amazing to realize what Prozac had done to mute all emotions.

I am so sorry to hear about Darwinfish. That said, it's lovely to have some more of your writing to enjoy, so thank you.

I am very sorry about Darwin passing but the kids reactions are priceless. I hope you can fine some inclination to keep writing - it is still great to read even if it feels harder to you

I'm so sorry about Darwin. It is always so terrible to lose a wonderful pet.

I am sorry.

I second the motion for a possible combination of meds. My psychiatrist recommended this after I went off celexa. I've been on welbutrin/effexor and then welbutrin/sertraline when the effexor caused too many weird dreams and night sweats. In my experience, and anecdotally from friends, it seems as though welbutrin is a good 'partner' to other drugs as it tends to balance out their soft and mushy effects (physical and mental/emotional). For what it's worth.

I am so sorry about the kitty. My mother called the other day to tell me my cat had run away (he had to go live with her when our landlord decided no cats). I had that kitty for thirteen years, and I climbed into the shower and sobbed in a little ball of sheer pain. My kids came in to find out what was wrong with Mama, and when I told them, my daughter said "Oh, that's sad. But it's okay, because I still love you." And then she went and drew me a little picture of the cat on a sidewalk surrounded by skyscrapers, with the words "NEW YOURK" scrawled across the top. Apparently that's where he's run off to, to pursue his Broadway dreams, I guess.

And it sucks.

I have my own 4 year old Wednesday Adams in my house. She talks about death a lot, and once suggested that the person being transported in an ambulance had lost a leg. We recently has this conversation:
Her: I love you
Me: I love you too
Her: I want to be with you forever
Me: Awwww
Her: But you're gonna die someday
Me: ?
Her: Bye, I'm going outside

I'm so sorry. Hugs to Patrick. I dread going through this with my cat. I know it's going to shatter my heart when it happens. I'm so sorry for your loss.

I hope you/they can straighten out the meds. Congrats on the better health, though. And I remember the fingernails-long-enough-to-paint excitement from when I stopped biting my nails in college. :) It's a small thing, but a fun thing, yeah. :)

Love to you all. ♥

I only just found this in my (new, gah) Reader today -- I put Tucker down on Wednesday. He was 18. Similarly, we knew. It's compassionate, it's the right thing, it was a peaceful death, and it was so, so hard. I cried cleaning up a litterbox yesterday.

Mr. ABF says we should write a memoir of our lives where the chapters are cats. We just finished a chapter epilogue with the loss of Tucker (after Kirby a few years ago). All the pets who were alive when we moved (twice), got married, had kids, lost kids, had another kid, are gone. We're firmly into the Philly pet era with just Buddy now. The kids would like a cat that's theirs, and I suppose thus starts another chapter, probably this fall.

I'm so sorry for Darwin, and for all of you.

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