Telling Star’s story

I was just out shoveling snow (yes, it is officially spring but here in Nova Scotia, we are shoveling out from one of the biggest storms of the year).  Today, the shoveling made me remember that the last big storm when one of our feral cat friends surprised me on the back deck. I had been shoveling but gone in the back door to get dry mittens.  When I returned, I surprised Star, who jumped back into the snow.   I gave him extra food – and cried for hours about him being out in the miserable weather, somewhat to the amusement of my husband who reminds me that they are wild and we are helping all we can.

Star, a white cat, in the snowI thought of Star today when I was shoveling on that deck. Unfortunately, little Star won’t be be back on the deck.  He died last month after a bad reaction to anesthetic when he was taking in for medical attention.  It’s a good time to tell his story.

Star started showing up for food last spring.  We thought he was a she, mainly because of the almost calico coloring.  I called ‘her’ Star because of the inspirational story of the starfish.

Starfish story

Star showed up almost daily, sometimes twice a day for food but wouldn’t let us get too close.  Sometimes I was concerned because he was so scrappy – he chased away other ferals we were feeding and I thought we’d seen the last of them.  He hopped on an grabbed birds right off one of the feeding stations.  (Intellectually, I know that feral cars will chase birds but didn’t like the idea that I was luring them in just to make them part of a buffet meal.).   Star was also quite aggressive towards our indoor cats, lunging at the screen when they were enjoying warm weather – to the point where they gave up some of their territory.  He often showed up with scratches or cuts.  So, while I didn’t like some of the behaviour on the deck, I admired ‘her’ ability to protect her territory.

However, in early February, he arrived with several deep cuts and scratches, running eyes and dried blood.  I posted this picture on Facebook to ask for help getting him in for some medical help and several cat rescue operations joined forces to help get him in for care and neutering.

Poor scratched up little Star

That is when we confirmed that he was, in fact, male.   He tested negative for any disease and got some gentle care for his wounds.  Unfortunately, he had a strong reaction to the anesthetic and died a few days later.  The vet estimated he was probably 5-7 years old, which is pretty old for a feral.  He was a survivor and must have been strong.  In the end, not strong enough to survive capture and  medicine.  Ironically, the effort to help resulted in a negative outcome.  Is that the very definition of ‘killing with kindness? I wondered if I should have left him alone.   I don’t know the answer to that one.

I do know that our efforts to help Star did help two other little fellows who we trapped while trying to get Star.  One had the same reaction to the anesthetic, which suggested a familial relationship for cats in the colony in our rural area.  This second cat made it through, perhaps because he was younger and not already suffering battle scars.  As a result of those experiences, the vet made an adjustment for the anesthetic for third little guy.  Those two were both tested, dewormed and neutered then released.  It wasn’t the outcome I wanted as I was hoping that they would be placed in homes but they were determined to be too wild (I like to think of it as independent).   Still, they probably have a better chance now and it will help prevent new additions to the growing colony.  I guess that is part of Star’s story too.

Star lazing on the deck on a sunny summer day.

Star lazing on the deck on a sunny summer day.

Rest in Peace little Star.  We won’t forget you.

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Long time listener…

…first time caller.

I heard this on a radio call-in show when I was driving this afternoon.  I don’t often listen to call-in shows but it seems whenever I catch one, at least one person makes this comment to begin their conversation.  Today it occurred to me that is a bit of a rallying call for action – a decision to do something more involved.

Almost two years ago (is it really that long already??), I  decided to cut way back on my time on line.  I was spending much of my working day on the computer for my job at a not-for-profit, and more hours weekly for client work on a small home business.  To find some balance, I wanted to spend more of my own time on other projects so I stepped away from some forums, shut down my blog (no loss as I hadn’t really built much of a following) and drastically reduced my other social media time.  It was not a difficult transition but life changed, as it continues to do.  My work responsibilities evolved and I had less computer time so I renewed some of my online contacts.

I started Keep the Stories to promote an idea that I had had in the back of my mind for some time.  It related to my business and some personal challenges to organize and reduce.  I started with enthusiasm, a growing list of ideas – and the best of intentions.   I did the first few posts and was getting a rhythm, building to more frequent posts but then lost any momentum while I was waiting.

Waiting to resolve some technical issues… waiting for the ‘perfect’ idea …waiting for the right picture for the header… waiting for enough time to write extra posts to catch up on missed days …waiting for the brilliant idea to launch with a bang … waiting for things that were not going to happen.

It is time to stop waiting – time to stop just listening and make that first call.  Time to start with one post and then the next one.  To write when the mood strikes and not wait for some big inspiration.  To tackle the technical issues – or not – as they come and do what can be done.  AND to not worry about gaps in the posts but to plan to write with some regularity and consistency.

Long time reader, first time poster?   Well, not exactly first time but first this time.  As the Chinese proverb says “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.  The next best time, is today.”

It is the first day of spring, a great day for new beginnings.

Are you ready to make that first call?    Perhaps it will be to literally make a call but maybe your call to action will be to write a letter, take a trip, clean a closet, end a bad relationship, look up an old friend….   How will you take action today?

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If these walls could talk

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We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us. Winston Churchill This weekend, I visited a number of venues in the first Doors Open Halifax event and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity.  Although this is the first running in Halifax, Doors Open … Continue reading

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5 things educators can learn from J.J. Abrams’s TED Talk | EdTech Avenger

Mystery can be an amazing inspiration for telling and keeping stories.   When J.J. Abrams’ spoke at TED, he talked about how mystery drives his interests – AND his storytelling. 5 things educators can learn from J.J. Abrams’s TED Talk … Continue reading

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changes and updates

I’ve had a bit of a gap in posting while moving my old blog to this one.  I’m transferring most posts but am going to take this opportunity to also do some updates and refinements.

Come back soon for more changes and hopefully useful insights.

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How to get started

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How you choose to tell your story can be as individual and unique as you are. Here are some resources that might help you to write or record stories that keep people reading or listening. One of my favorite sources … Continue reading

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Why tell your stories?

Who is your audience? There are two possible audiences for your stories – you and others.   The motivations for reaching either of these audiences might vary greatly and probably blend together.  Do you know why you feel compelled to … Continue reading

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Telling your story with social media

Whether you have business or personal stories to share, the best time to reach your audience is when they are active and using the tools.  So many things are posted every hour that a post will quickly get lost in … Continue reading

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My Father’s Daughter

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Dad was born on February 5 so this day is always an emotional one for me.  Dad loved his birthday, which usually turned into a birthday week.  He saved all his birthday cards and every year around the last week of … Continue reading

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Letting go: Write a new story

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On my last post Preparing to ‘let it go’, I wrote about approaches to get a realistic assessment of a situation in preparation to let go of lasting regrets or self-recriminations. If I express regrets, friends often advise me to … Continue reading

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