Missing Margot – ROW80 Update for September 13, 2012

Please feel free to share tributes to animal friends in the comments.

It’s been an eventful few days, here. Sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning, Margot the Manx died, in the backyard she had so loved in the summer months. She was a part of our family for a little over six years – it was hard to find her there, as though she wanted to get into the bushes at the edge of our yard.

Our lives are a little emptier, the last few days, and our hearts heavy. It’s hard to explain just what a presence Margot brought to our family. She was a quiet cat, a consummate huntress, and a friendly companion who was sociable without being at all cloying.

Margot, where she didn’t belong, in 2009. I didn’t move her, this time.

We adopted her through Freecycle, when Annalise was not quite two. She was a day away from being taken to the shelter, after having been bounced around through several homes in the two or so years she had been alive.

For the first several months, we were often convinced that she had disappeared. She would tuck herself in the cupboard, behind the pans, or tight up under a dresser, and remain there, it seemed, for days. Even once she was sure she would not be harmed with us, she came and went silently.

In the summer months, she was seldom inside. She would stay outside, hunting and lying in the shady place under the bush outside the bathroom. If I spoke to her, she would come closer, and meow at me.

She wasn’t fond of being picked up, and yet, when I would carry her inside (she used the dog door, often, but other times, her disdain of Corki’s exuberance prompted me to offer her a welcome lift to her corner in my office), she would always purr. The last time I held her, three days before she died, she purred – more weakly than she had, but still a sound that said that I mattered to her.

Margot making herself at home on my project table….Winter 2012.

Often, she would sit on the table by my work desk, just watching and purring. A few words, and a scratch or two, were all she asked for.

Jeremiah says that, when he was smaller and feeling really sad, she would come to him and help him to feel better.

Annalise had really built a strong bond with Margot, these last few months.

Even Jim, not by nature a cat lover, but more a cat tolerator, is missing Margot’s easy, soft presence in our lives.

Needless to say, I didn’t accomplish as much as I had intended, these last few days. Here, though, is the accounting of what I did manage…

Margot (the little one) and Shakespeare (the big one) in 2008ish. They weren’t freindly with one another, but they could be civil – at least sometimes.

Current Progress Toward Revised ROWnd 3 Goals – September 13, 2012



Homeschool Administration Ad Infinitum….:


  • End of Year Narrative for Lise (due Sept. 1).
  • I mailed this from the local post office on August 30. Yesterday, I received a letter from the district superintendent in charge of administering our paperwork. The letter was dated September, 7, and stated that he had not yet received Annalise’s End-of Year Assessment.
  • I will email the facsimile copy I retained, which should settle this issue.


  • Standardized Test for Miah (due Sept.1).
  • In the same correspondence mentioned above, the superintendent (who has been quite difficult to interact with) stated that the copy of the Jeremiah’s composite score, which was submitted on September 1, was not sufficient. He is demanding the complete results of the test.
  • Due to repeated demands on his part for things that he has no right, under state homeschooling law, to require, I spent some time researching this, as the law itself is somewhat vague on the matter.
  • I finally posted on the NYHEN Support list, and received the answer that, as only the composite score is used to determine the sufficiency of our program, that is the only score I am required to submit.
  • I will be drafting an email to that effect, to send with Annalise’s EOY facsimile.
  • While I do not wish it, I suspect that there will be further resistance and demands from the district, and I am prepared to deal with any that may crop up,


  • IHIPs for both children (due four weeks after receipt of packet from school district).
  • I received the packet the school district was required to send. It includes confirmation that they received our letters of intent to homeschool, (totally useless to us) IHIP forms, and a copy of Section 100.10 of state education law (the part that pertains to homeschooling).
  • This packet is over two months overdue, and I now have until October 12 to complete my editing of the IHIPs, and submit them.
  • I have completed the editing of the English Language Arts, Arithmetic, and Sciences sections for both children, and am currently in the midst of their Social Sciences sections.


  • Relax, enjoy, learn, grow, laugh, and … BREATHE!
  • It’s been a tumultuous time for us. We are adjusting to life without Margot, and moving toward adopting a pair of kittens. Both children are in periods of high cognitive and physical growth.
  • I am doing my best to continue breathing, to create open spaces for both grief and joy, and to ride the waves of change once more.
  • As always in these times, some moments are better than others. And, also as always, every moment is a chance to do better.



  • Continue reading books as interest and energy levels allow – this works better during periods of gathering input than in periods of intense output or times of processing.
  • I have begun The Dark Mirror, and am enjoying a leisurely, wander through ancient Scotland, accompanied by druids and fey people,
  • It feels good to be reading for sheer pleasure, as opposed to the pleasant-but-mostly-for-research reading I have done over most of the last two months.
  • I am on page 80 of 573.


  • Continue reading and commenting on blogposts and articles, during times of gathering input..
  • I read and commented on one blogpost this week:
  • Pinfeathers


Other Writing: 

  • Write at 750 Words every day, with possible hiatuses for Unschoolers Rock the Campground (July 12-16); Learn Nothing Day (July 24); Northeast Unschooling Conference (August 23-7; and kids’ birthdays (July 8, September 2).On my birthday (July 29), I WRITE!!!
  • I forgot to write on Wednesday. It was in my mind, somewhere around 7:30pm – and then, I got busy looking at potential kittens, working on the kids’ IHIPs, researching the superintendent’s demands, and being with my family. It was 12:30am when I remembered – too late to do anything about the mix, but I intend, as I have before, to “double up” another day’s words, with a goal of 1500, to compensate.
  • Use 750 Words for whatever – flash pieces, essays, venting, ranting, reports, book reviews, etc.
  • I am continuing to use this space for my NaNo novel – but I sense that either a run to the conclusion, or else a break from it to spend some time with other things, is in the offing.
  • If I have not completed the draft by the end of this round, I do intend to break from it until the next round starts…there are ideas simmering and weaving in my mind, and, soon, they will need the space and attention to be born….


  • Organizing/Tootling my Horn…


  • Set aside time each week to winnow email. Read items being saved for later reading, sort or dispose as indicated.
  • I have managed to keep my messages somewhere in the 50 to 75 range, for the most part.
  • I still am not really reading much, and have not winnowed any folders.


  • Be bold and daring in commenting, sharing, and submitting. Declare myself, learn, grow, and sometimes do things that make me uncomfortable. Open and blossom!
  • I was considering writing a flash fiction piece for the Story Dam Wednesday writing prompt.
  • Between Margot’s death on Tuesday, and the receipt of the communication from the school on Wednesday, it slipped my mind, and I did not remember it until today.
  • I still may write and share something, at a later point, because I loved the prompt and could feel a story building there…
  • At this point, though, even the thought or inspiration to be daring feels like a breath of fresh air that I didn’t realize I was needing.
  • I intend to breathe deeply, and more often!


Celebrating Life!

  • Add some form of specific motion (t’ai chi, swimming, hiking, biking, skating, dancing, etc) to each week. Keep track of what, where, when, for how long, and how I felt during and after.
  • Annalise wanted to go to the Y and swim, so she and I had a Mommy-Daughter evening. We spent about 40 minutes in water play (a strenuous workout, for me, with lots of treading water, pulling, spinning, holding, and carrying my approximately 80 pound daughter on my back as I walked and jogged several times the length of the shallow end of the pool.
  • I also have done some mellow hometending.


  • Fill us all up with joy, and continue cultivating family peace.
  • This was, understandably, an up and down thing, given the death of our beloved feline friend.
  • I have noticed, though, that both children seem to deal very well with death and sudden disappointments or upheavals, and I believe that the active desire to create peace and joy in all of our lives, and our matter-of-fact approach to death (more or less by default; Elijah died before Miah was two, and the year before Lise was born, so the permanence of death has pretty much always been a part of their living) has something to do with this..
  • We are actively working toward adding two kittens to our family. This will add pouncing, purring, baby joy into our lives, and help to ease the transition to a life without sweet Margot in it.
  • Jeremiah’s Rosetta Stone Japanese program came this week, and, today, the external DVD drive for our two Lenovo IdeaPads came today. Now, once we get him a new operating system, he will be all set to dive in, and fulfill a dream he’s had for several years.
  • Annalise and I had dinner and cafe drinks at Professor Java’s after our swim. We had a wonderful time, coloring and sharing my computer, and enjoying the ambience. Lise also got to explore an old rotary-dial telephone!


  • Spend time cleaning and beautifying my personal internal and external spaces each week.
  • A little of both….not much of either.


  • Embrace and be present in all my moments.
  • Still practicing. Some success, some failures.


  • Allow my emotions to be as they are. Practice expressing them calmly and reflectively.
  • I have allowed them to be as they are. I have not been calm in every moment, but I didn’t let the moments where I lost my calm stretch out any longer than necessary.


  • Tend kindly and sweetly to myself and others. =)
  • As well as I have been able, in the moments I have been able.

    Catnap, squared.


And so it goes….Margot has gone from this life, and we remain. There will be other cats, but there will not be another Margot – she was a unique individual, and she is irreplacable.


We will go on, and there will be joy, and sorrow….and that is life


Follow the other ROWers here…..



Giving her approval of my new office space, winter 2012.


  1. I am very sorry for your loss. It is never easy losing a pet family member. About ten years ago I went through a bad two years of losing cats in my life. It was one thing after another, none related, but I lost about five cats within those two years. It was horrible. No we never had five cats at one time and one was actually a stray that really wasn’t ours but we had taken to feeding him in the back yard. The hardest was my precious girl Kasha who had been in my life for over ten years from the time that she was a kitten.

    Much love and peace to you and your family during this time of transition.

    • Morgan, I am so sorry!

      A few years ago, we adopted a sweet little black kitten named Thumbelina from a friend. She was Lise’s kitten, and they were inseparable. Silly little girl even tried t obathe with Lise more than once!

      Then – she disappeared.

      The friend still had her sister, Gidget, and so we brought her home. She was just as sweet, just as playful, just as attached to Lie –

      And then she, too, vanished.

      It was really hard, although neither kitten had been fully healthy (I suspect FeLv)…but they were so affectionate, they left empty spaces far bigger than they were…

      And Margot – Margot just connected with each of us. She was more than family – she was a person, to us, just as valued as any other member of the family.

      Part of me wishes we had found her, and brought her in – but we did that, both Saturday and Sunday, and she, weak as she was, somehow still slipped out without us seeing – even when we thought she was barricaded safely in.

      Sima garo provides – and so Margot died outside, in the yard where she had sunned and hunted, and rubbed purring against us, and outwitted every attempt Corki made to play with her – for Margot never played, in all the time she lived with us.

      It seems fitting, for her….

      Thank you for stopping by, and sharing. I grieve with you for all your losrt feline friends. ❤

  2. I’m so sorry you lost your kitty 😦 Losing a pet is just about the most painful thing ever, but I’m sure she was grateful to be saved from going to the shelter. Take it easy this week, the writing can wait while you let your heart heal a little.

    • Rebecca –

      Margot was certainly one of the most grateful souls I’ve ever met. So often, she’d sit beside me while I write, just purring for the pleasure of being close, even though I was focused elsewhere, not even touching her.

      As for writing – that’s revel and solace and healing, for me. No need to stop – things will shift as they were intended to….

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing in our memories of a very sweet girl.

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