Monday, April 14, 2014

Adventures In Kitty Land

 Rewind about a year ago.

It was just a regular evening in the Shepherd household. Something came up that led us to the discussion of getting a cat.

I've always loved cats. In fact, I remember always saying;
"when I grow up, I want to be a crazy cat lady" 

First, there was Casper, a big, puffy gray Persian. He left us in a tragic way, I'll never forget my mom holding him as he slipped away after being hit by a car. 

Then there was Sammy, another big and puffy cat, only she was a Ragdoll. 


both had their attitudes and quirks but I loved them so much. Then, there was Cougar. I adopted him from a horse ranch I worked at when I was 13. I ADORED this cat, almost too much. I was that person, running around behind him saying, "let me love youuuu!"


Okay, back to a year ago. I'm with Riley, the man who's known me since I was 12 years old. Who witnessed life with all of these cats and my immeasurable amount of love for them. And we start talking about getting a cat, eventually. Well, he has the audacity to say that we're NEVER going to get a cat. That he "hates cats". (WHO HATES CATS???!!) Imagine my surprise and disbelief! I was speechless. How could someone who has witnessed this passion and love for something, tell me NO, we can NEVER get a cat?! 
I didn't know what to say, all I kept thinking was, and I agreed to MARRY this man?? How can I marry someone who hates cats? (yes, this is how strong my love for cats is)

I needed a break. I needed to cool down, so I went for a drive. 
After being on the road for a few minutes, I realize, hey, maybe I shouldn't be driving when I'm bawling my eyes out. So I pulled into a parking lot. Remember, this is all happening at night. I sat in my car just, crying. Confused, scared and hurt. 
Suddenly, I see bright headlights right behind me. And then a police officer taps on my window signaling for me to roll it down. I was terrified! And not to mention embarrassed that I'm sitting alone in my car crying like a baby. The police officer asks what I'm doing, why am I parked here, and a million other questions. I complied. I asked if I was trespassing or doing something wrong and he said, "well, you are the only car sitting in a bank parking lot, it looked a little suspicious". Talk about not aware of my surroundings!

Then he asked what caused the fight. 

I kept trying to tell him it was nothing, it's stupid, and yes, I do feel safe at home, I just needed to cool off. But he persisted. I told him I was embarrassed to tell him, but he reassured me he'd understand. 

I told him; "we got in a fight because he won't let me get a cat"

He giggled a little along with me and told me that he does understand, that his wife wants a cat too, but he doesn't like them, just like Riley and I.

After a minute or two of trying to regain any pride I had left, another cop walks up, it's a woman. She says; "here, maybe this chocolate will help make you feel better."

a few weeks later. I come home from work and I see a litter box, food and water bowls...All the works for a kitty. I tore open the front door to see Riley sitting there with the proudest look on his face. I screamed and cried and bear hugged him all while yelling, "is this real?? Don't joke with me! Don't you dare joke! Seriously??"

He wasn't joking.

Then a couple weekends later, I see that an adoption agency is going to be at a PetSmart in a town like 2 hours away. I actually went to see a specific kitten, Josiah. He was gray, just like Cougar. But when I got there, I made eye contact with another kitty. A Siamese/Snowshoe mix. He was gorgeous. The moment I picked him up he nuzzled right up on my shoulder and started purring. He was the one. But, as I was trying to get a hold of Riley, more people were filing in. I literally had to fight for him, like a black Friday sale or something. 

Introducing, Naviche'


Navi' has been a miracle. He is the exact, most perfect kitty I could have ever imagined. And I bet if you ask Riley today, whether he likes cats, his answer would be different from what it was a year ago ;)

 Now, fast forward to a few weeks ago. Riley saw this little Siamese-looking kitty running around outside near our building. He was a stray. Now, I don't remember what exactly was said, all I know was it was enough ammunition I needed that if I caught the kitty, I knew he'd let me keep it. I don't think he realized what was happening. For the last few weeks I ran all over the base looking for him, leaving tuna out, and I even paired up with an incredible lady, Carolyn and was able to use a couple of her safe cat traps. Days and days came and went, and I started feeling discouraged. I felt like this was going to be the ONLY other cat Riley was going to let me get, and if I couldn't catch him, all hope was lost for me to get another kitty.

Everyone on base chipped in to help! It was the most amazing thing, I got texts and emails, and even picture messages from people saying they saw him. On Thursday April 10th, 2014 I got a text. It read, "you caught your kitty!!!!" I couldn't believe it!! I was just about to throw in the towel!
So I bring him up to the house, create his own space in the guest bathroom, and give him food and water. He's terrified, and probably confused. I know he's a stray, and possibly a little feral but being that he's only about 6 months old, he has a better chance of being domesticated. I'm ready and willing to do whatever it takes.

I've been researching, and I have found some really good resources and advice. 
Here are a few of the websites:


 Something else I did, was I created a mix CD of relaxing music for scared cats. Yes, it's actually a thing :) I play it on repeat in his room. 

In the evenings I sit with him. Just, reading, or blogging, or just to sit. To help him know that I don't want to hurt him.

Tomorrow I have his first vet appointment where I will find out if he is a boy or a girl, whether hes been spayed or neutered, has had any shots etc. 

From there I can get back to my training, and helping him warm up to his new family.


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Sunday, March 9, 2014

You Are Not Alone.

Last night, on March 8th, 2014 I had my first, known, irrefutable panic attack. 
At first I wasn't sure what I was feeling, I figured it was just...nothing, or me feeling that way for an illegitimate reason. But after 2 hours of it getting increasingly stronger, I started to well, panic. Scared that I might actually be having a real panic attack.

My first, instinctive thought was, "get some Xanax or Klonopin from Nicole" since I didn't have any. I'd convinced myself, and the doctors that I never wanted to have to take medications. That I would much rather fix a problem naturally. But, when it came down to brass tax, turns out, I was fooling not only myself but the doctors, I did want meds. And I wanted them now.

I started texting Nicole.
We talked about how we both feel the need to snack while feeling this way, which, I never understood before but it made perfect sense to me last night that maybe if I ate pancakes or some kind of heavy food, it would "fill the void" and make my stomach feel better. It doesn't work. At all. She also told me to take deep breaths, focus on my breathing and try to calm down. She asked me if I knew what caused it, and if my husband was home. Which, that's the million dollar question it seems like; "what's causes it?" and I NEVER know. It's the most frustrating thing. I literally feel like the luckiest girl in the world, that my life is pretty damn near perfect. So why would I have anxiety? Or panic attacks??
Nicole didn't offer me meds. 
And at first I didn't understand why that wouldn't be the first thing she said. But once it was all said and done, I knew why. It's because she's an amazing friend. She wants to help me fix it, to get through it and figure out what's causing it so that I don't have to go through it again. It was literally a prime example of one of those situations where you don't understand right away but you'll be thanking them later. So thank you Nicole, for being such a great friend.

I then called my husband, Riley. By then I was crying, feeling scared and hopeless. But, even though at work, he guided me through some breathing techniques and told me to listen to this particular track on his computer. When I opened it, I had no idea who I was about to hear, but once the audio started I knew exactly who it was; our lifelong pastor and the man who married us, Arbee. It was a recording of this one Sunday at church. It was a healing message and in the background of this seriously anointed message, was Jeff, playing guitar. Almost immediately after hitting play I started feeling calmer, more at peace.
While on the phone with Riley, I actually learned something about him. He sometimes has little panic attacks as well. (I know, you'd think I know this about my own husband!) but that just goes to show how well he handles them. I asked him what causes anxiety for him and how he gets through it. He told me that over all these years, anytime he's struggling with anxiety or just needs to feel motivated, he puts on this track of Arbee and Jeff and he just sort of, glides through it.

I never knew!

Then I called my mom. 
It was almost like auto-pilot, she jumped to the rescue and started doing all of the things she knows would help me. Starting with praying. She helped me with some more breathing techniques, taught me some energy medicine, she even distracted me a little by talking about some of her projects :) by the end of my conversation with her, I went from a 9.5 to about a 2. It was amazing.

I'm learning that I can talk about it now, admit it, and that I'm not alone and I'm not a freak. 
And that, after last night, I realize that natural remedies CAN and DO actually work.

Last night I learned that I dont NEED Xanax or Klonopin to deal, I came through to the other side of this naturally. And it felt marvelous.

I also learned, like really learned that we need to take a good hard look inside ourselves, and around us in our environments to really figure out what the root of the problem is. There is something that's causing this and we don't have to just suffer through this agony and fear. It can be fixed.

What are your stressors? 
How can you remove either it from your life, or you from the situation?

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spring and Summer 2014 Fashion.

As the sun starts showing it's face and we roll out of our wintery beds this Spring and Summer 2014 so does a whole new world of fashion. So brush off the Seasonal Affective Disorder and enjoy the research I've put together! 

I spent a good while reading online; scouring Vogue, Glamour, Cosmo, Grazia (here in Italy), and Vogue Italia for what's hot this season and here's what I've come up with:

~Mixed Textures

~Windswept Updo's

~Old World Braids

~Gold Details


~Ornate Ponytails

~Hot Lips

~Natural, No Makeup Look

Crop Tops
High shorts and skirts
Holographic fabrics

Michael Kors

~Overalls, yes, overalls.

Anna Sui
~"Romantic Bohemian"


Dolce and Gabbana
~Baby Doll Dresses


Alexander Mcqueen

 Alexander McQueen Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Saint Laurent
~80's inspired party dresses
~dressed down sparkly dresses


Christian Dior
~School badges

~Neutral Colors


~Furry Shoes


Roberto Cavalli



~High Shorts and Skirts


The pleated skirt was everywhere on the SS14 catwalks


Shirt Dresses

Bold prints such as polka dots or large brush strokes

And then there's the fashion that I'm personally "feelin'" for this, my first summer in Italy:


"People Will Stare.  Make it worth their while" - Harry Winston #fashion #quote

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