Christmas illustrations and moving forward.

The Christmeows kitties illustration | Cat Cottage Design

Christmas is just around the corner, and as always, I am late. Every year I plan in making a good amount of Christmas merchandise, and every year I fail.

Hopefully, this year is going to be a little better. My ideas are clearer, I am more organized, and I have a few projects in mind for the future of my small business, that I am already putting into practice. I feel creative and inspired.

This is the main reason why I moved the blog here, on this new domain. I can’t tell you much about my project because I have no idea if I’ll be able to put it together, but I’m trying, I’m confident, and it feels good.

In the meantime, I have re-opened my store. It’s been off on vacation for a longer time than I had planned, but now it’s back and I’m getting it ready for Christmas.

Actually, I’m getting it ready for CHRISTMEOWS, as it’s the only kind of Christmas I celebrate.

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the Christmeows illustrations. The first one, up here on this post, is already available on a couple of items, and I am editing the other two as we speak. They all will be up and ready to be purchased soon, so keep an eye on the shop.

On another note, I am sad to announce that cold weather has arrived. It’s not really winter yet, but I had to turn on the heating inside at Cat Cottage and it’s always a very sad moment for me. Shorter days, no garden time, hibernation. I know summer will be here in no time, though. Winter feels infinite and never-ending, but it’s actually the shortest season! And if I can keep up this level of inspiration, it’s probably going to be a very productive and fun winter.

In order to make peace with this season and make the most of it outside my projects, I’m enjoying a lot of couch time. I have never been much in front of the tv, but I don’t know, maybe it’s age, but I find it relaxing lately. It’s probably also because watching tv is not as passive as it was before. With all the streaming apps available, tv time is actually a nice thing to look forward to.

I’m probably going to binge a lot of Christmas movies and cartoons soon!

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

This roller coaster called life.

Ever since I came to live here at the cottage I have rescued a great number of cats. I actually lost count of how many. While I found good families for most of them, a little number had to stay here at the cottage. Some became strictly indoor cats due to health reasons, others were fit for a life with a bit more freedom, and went to live in my garden, sleeping in their little cat houses under my patio or in the barn, at their own pleasure. Lately, I had six cats living under my patio, five girls and one big boy.

Last week I lost, in the space of 24 hours, two of the girls. Penelope, called Penny, and Pippi.

This just after losing my dog Pammy, last month.

I was particularly fond of Penny and Pippi, so this loss is hurting me deeply. They were abandoned here as kittens along with their six brothers and sisters, all severely ill. I lost two of them in the space of a month, no matter how many emergency vet visits I made, while the others slowly became stronger and stronger. To make the story short, they couldn’t be vaccinated due to their still low immune system and when they were eight months old they all got Parvo. All of them died, but Penny and Pippi, who fought the disease for a week before getting through it. Losing all those kitties, after all I had done to save them, was one of the hardest things I had to go through, in my entire life. And when the vet told me that Penny and Pippi had made it, I clung to them. And they clung to me.

They would follow me everywhere. They didn’t like living strictly indoor, and after all that they had gone through I thought they deserved to choose the life they wanted. So when they wanted to come inside I let them, and when they wanted to sleep on the grass, especially during summer, that’s where they slept.

All was great until last week when Penny seemed to have come down with a bad cold. It was the second time in a few months, and the temperature was still warm, so I thought her low immune system was making its tricks again. I kept her inside and gave her antibiotics. The vet told me to take her to the clinic if she didn’t improve in three days. By the third day, after she was stable but had not improved, I took her to the vet where we found out she had lung cancer. There was nothing else to do but to put her to sleep, as cancer had already spread widely.

I came home heartbroken. I took Pippi in my arms and kissed her. I thought she looked strange, but I decided I was being anxious because of what had just happened. I gave everyone dinner and saw Pippi eating with appetite.

But the next morning Pippi was dead. Naturally, in her sleep. I don’t know what happened to her. I just know that Pippi and Penny were inseparable. So inseparable that they died together.

When you decide to help animals you are perfectly aware of the fact that you are going to face so many heartbreaks. You do it because not helping them makes you suffer even more. Everyone’s life is a roller coaster, but the life of a rescuer is even more so. One minute you fly high because one pet fought successfully a disease or have found a wonderful adoption, the next you’re in hell because another one died suddenly.

This time hell burns big time for me.

I know they had a great life, I know they don’t care about how short it was: that’s my judgment, and it’s a very short-sighted one. Time doesn’t exist for pets. They measure time only in good or bad, not in length, and Penny and Pippi’s time was freakingly good.

And I know death doesn’t really exist. Nothing really dies, ever.

But I miss them.

A simple list of goals.

At the end of 2018, I wrote a list of goals for 2019. It’s something I always do, I’m a listaholic, I make lists for everything: movies I want to see, music I want to buy, places to go etc,. Everything that interests me ends up in a categorized list. It calms me, it makes me feel like everything is under control (even if I know NOTHING is under control), and it helps me to clear my mind. I also find it very funny to read lists after a few months and discover stuff I used to be obsessed with but that I have completely forgotten of in the meantime! I’m kind of mercurial.

Researches evidenced how writing down a list of goals and reading them every day is the secret of the highest achievers in the world. I can’t add anything to this researches with my experience, because I’m good at setting the goals and writing them down, but I have no consistency in reading them often, much less every day.

This year, or the past two…or also the past seven or eight, have been quite strange. Things have changed so much and I still have to adjust and digest a few issues. I have gone through many changes in my life but none of them have been so transformative as the one I’ve been going through lately. It’s very very hard, but I know I’m going in the right direction, so I keep going. This to say that the goals that I’ve set for in the last years have seen no materialization as everything kept changing and I had to adjust my goals to the situation too often. I’ve often lost focus and felt demotivated, but I’m happy to say that I found a way to manage and juggle all this madness. It’s material for some other post, though.

Sorry for the very blurred picture. I took this a few days ago, but the sky hasn’t improved m Weather like this is made for meditation and goal setting, I think. I woke up this morning, looked out the window and felt like it was a good time to sit with my thoughts and think about how I want to end this year.

There are 74 days left. I want to use them well. I want to set the base for a great 2020. I’ve trashed the list I wrote at the beginning of this year, I want to start afresh. Self-care and my business are top of my list now, everything comes as a consequence. So my list is very easy.

I just want to draw every day and publish a new video on my YouTube Channel every week.

I want to carve out an hour every day and read, meditate, do yoga. My yoga practice has been lacking and so did my meditation routine. Self-care is so important. Balance is everything.

And yes, this list can look extremely simple, but drawing can take long hours, editing a video can be a long task too, so it’s easy to forget to have some time for yourself. I used to make such ambitious, complicated plans but I’m all about simplicity now, I’m all about flowing with life.

74 days left. Let’s go.