Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Meet the newest member of the Barbour family

Abbey Hunny Bee Barbour

Meet Abbey. She is the newest member of our family. We adopted her yesterday from the Campbell County Animal Shelter, and we are so excited!
She is about one year old and very small, weighing just seven and a half pounds. We have her in a separate room in the house, and she is looking more comfortable as time goes by.
Yesterday, she spent most of the day hiding underneath furniture. Off and on, I sat in the room and talked to her, read, and watched some TV. Last night, I went in and put on some soft music. She came out from under the sofa, sniffed my hand, then came to me so I could pet her and hold her. She is such a sweetheart!
Today we took her to our vet to be tested for feline leukemia and FIV—both came back negative. She got some of her shots, and we set up an appointment to have her spayed in three weeks when it’s time for her booster shots.
Larry said she’s already mama’s cat. But I’ve spent more time with her than he has. Once he spends more time with her, she will adore him, I’m sure.
Chase Bird? Well, he’s not too happy. We are keeping the door closed between the two kitties, but they have caught glimpses of each other. It’s a process for cats to get used to each other.
Our vet advised us to keep her isolated from Chase Bird for a couple of weeks because we don’t know if she perhaps caught an upper respiratory infection at the shelter.

I first saw Abbey on Feb. 1 when I went to the shelter to cuddle with the cats. Her name was Hunny Bee at that time.  
When I held her, she was a purr-baby and so affectionate. She also seemed tolerant of the other cats around her.
I kept thinking about her, but I didn’t do anything about adopting. We just weren’t quite ready.
Then I saw on the Facebook page of Friends of Campbell County Animal Control (a volunteer group that works to get the shelter animals fostered and adopted) that Hunny Bee had been adopted. I comforted myself with the thought that she had gotten a good home.
Then Hunny Bee popped up on Facebook again, available for adoption.

Sunday, when Larry and I went to visit her at the shelter, we learned that she had been adopted by a family with small children, and it wasn’t a good mix. So they returned her to the shelter four days later.
She had originally been surrendered to the shelter by her owner, so there she was at the shelter, given up twice. She had been there for four months.

Now she has a home with us, and we plan for it to be her forever home.

Where did her name come from? Her full name is Abbey Hunny Bee Barbour. We wanted to add Abbey but help her get used to it by keeping the Hunny Bee. We like the name Abbey because one of our favorite TV characters is named Abby (Pauley Perrette’s character on NCIS). We added the “e” in affection for our good friend Ann, whose first dog was named Abbey.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A time of anxiety

Chase Bird relaxing in the sun on the enclosed porch.

My anxiety is high, and I can’t seem to relax. That’s what I’ve been like for a while. I finally settled things with the job hunt, but I’m still in a time of change, and that raises my anxiety.

My last day with the newspaper is this Friday. Then I have nearly two weeks off before starting my new job.
It’s a busy time this week at the paper. I’m covering the first workshop the county supervisors have after receiving the proposed budget for the next fiscal year. That’s always a tough story to write, full of numbers and proposed changes and different opinions from the supervisors about how to fund the county. That’s Tuesday.
Then on Wednesday, a first-degree murder trial is scheduled, and I’ll be covering that.
And all week, I’ll be trying to put things in order for my editor and the other staff writer. The corporate office of the company that owns our newspaper has decided that my position is not going to be filled. So all of my work is being passed on to my editor and my co-staff writer. I’m doing the best I can to help them with contact information, a calendar of upcoming court trials, and background information to aid in the transition.
I know that I shouldn’t, but I’ve been feeling guilty about leaving my co-workers in that position, with all that work.

I’m not very happy with myself for letting the anxiety get to me like it has. I know so many ways to deal with anxiety. I guess knowing something intellectually is not the same as being able to put it into practice.

I did have a bit of a breakthrough Sunday. I used my phone to join a Facebook gathering to listen to classical music. At first, it was difficult for me to just sit and listen. I wanted to be busy doing something else at the same time.
But I recognized that I needed to just sit and listen, no matter how uncomfortable I felt. I finally relaxed a little and enjoyed the music.

I’m going to have to put effort into having more moments like that this week. Isn’t that strange—to have to put effort into relaxing? I think the idea of effort is really being willing to make myself uncomfortable for a bit, like I did Sunday. Making the choice to stop for just a few minutes.

I will be back on the blog next Monday, April 20. To all my friends who have blogs, I am so sorry that I haven’t visited much lately. I appreciate you staying in touch with me. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Running like a cheetah

“You were running through the store like a cheetah,” Larry told me.
We laughed, and I said he was exaggerating, but I actually would have liked to be able to run like a cheetah on Saturday.

We had to go to the local big box store. I hate going to the big box store. I don’t like shopping, and I don’t like being in crowds, and the big box store includes both.
After a little while of dodging other people, being caught in cart traffic jams, and listening to the voices of hundreds of people, I reach the point where I take over pushing the cart and barrel my way to the checkout as fast as I can.
I shouldn’t blame it all on the big box store. I just don’t like crowds and noise, and when I reach the point where I feel like I can’t take it anymore, I feel a bit frantic and in need of an escape.
I guess I’m partly like this because I’m very introverted. And I come up as a highly sensitive person when I take the self-test.
I have to make adjustments, of course. Sometimes I have to be in crowds; sometimes I have to work in the midst of noise. But I try to limit those situations.

One of the things that bothered me about taking the town job—one of the things that was sitting in my gut, telling me to be careful—was a comment that was made to me by one of the people I talked with during the hiring process. I would have had to work with this person.
He told me that he would make me into an extrovert.
I didn’t like that. There is nothing wrong with being an introvert. There is nothing wrong with being sensitive. I’m an adult, I’m pretty self-aware, and I have learned to adapt myself to what needs to be done without changing who I am.

I will just keep adapting when I have to. And when need be, I’ll run like a cheetah.

I've been having fun with piZap.

How do you react to being in crowds?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Choices: A good thing

This is a view of the main road through Rustburg in December 2013, before the start of the Christmas Parade.

How quickly things can change! I told you on Monday that I had accepted a job with the town of Altavista. Things changed later that day.

I received a phone call about the job I had applied for and interviewed for with Campbell County. I was offered the job, and I accepted without hesitation. I will begin the job as public information specialist on May 1. I will be working in the county seat, Rustburg, which is about 20-25 minutes from my house.

Though I was glad to have gotten the job with the town, I had been having some “gut” feelings that I may not be going in the right direction.
I was afraid that I would receive an offer from the county. To me, it would just complicate things because I would have to make a choice.
Now I realize that having the choice was a good thing.

I realized that I would regret turning down the county job. And the job description? Well, it’s like it was written with someone like me in mind. It includes a lot of my favorite things to do: writing, designing brochures, updating websites, helping others with content management, providing information to the public about county issues, etc.

And I know many of the people I will be working with because I’ve covered county government for the newspaper for five and a half years. They’re good people that I have a lot of respect for.

I knew when I said yes to the job that it was the right decision. Even though I don’t start the job for another month, I am looking forward to it!

It is a full time job. But I won’t be writing nearly as much as I do now on the job, and I am determined to carve out time for my own writing. Lots of writers have to do that.

I have not applied for any other jobs. I am satisfied with what I’ve done and am looking forward to the future. My last day with the newspaper will now be April 17. I am taking a couple of weeks off to decompress.

Thank you all for your support through this very anxious time of looking for another job and another challenge. You have helped me get through this.
Now I really do feel like I can let go of the anxiety and just be for a while.