Life to the Everlasting Cat

Today, my little Julie boy has to go to get a tumor removed from the base of his tail. He’ll be okay, but like any mom of fur babies I’m a little worried.

So, this is a post about my kitties. I’m going to miss them like crazy when I’m gone, and I hope they’re not too heartbroken while I’m gone either.

Mood music: Growltiger’s Last Stand from the musical Cats. I was obsessed with this musical as a kid and this is my favorite song from it.

I have two rather large cats, a brother and sister pair named Rikki and Julian. If you can guess what show their names come from, points for you. I adopted them from Animal Ark shelter in Hastings, MN and I truly believed they picked me. When I met them for the first time, they crawled into my lap and started purring like crazy. I knew then that they were the cats for me.

This is Rikki! I also call her Rikkle Bikkle, Rik Bik, Rackle Backle, and large gorl. She is a tabby girl who loves to luxuriate in the sun, sleep under the bed, and play with her feather toy. She also loves scritches behind the ears and under the chin, but don’t touch her belly! She will bite. My little baby girl is super talkative and loves to have her opinions known- mostly related to food. She can’t be trusted around plastic bags since she tries to eat them. My boyfriend is her favorite person, and she’s a little selective about how she hangs out with, in contrast to her brother. At night, she loves to plop down next to me and steal 90% of the bed. Surprising how something so small can take up so much space. She also loves the top level of the cat condo, where she can look out of the balcony window and observe her domain (and the dogs in the dog park below). She’s a mighty hunter and has killed a couple flies before, and wants to get a chance to take down those birds she sees outside. Don’t worry, she only gets supervised balcony time, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t dream about it.

This is Julian! He’s also known as fat lump, Julie Wooly, Julie Peets, and Peety Wheety. He’s a rather plump kitty who loves his mother more than anything else besides his meals. He is obsessed with me. He’s my shadow. Anywhere I go, Julian follows. He loves to lay in laps, in the sun, and receive lavish attention. His favorite toy is a stuffed lobster and he gets vicious if you try to take it from him. Eating is his favorite. He screams constantly from 5-7 PM while waiting for dinner time. He snuggles up to me whenever I’m sitting down. Usually, you’ll find Julian in my lap and Rikki in my boyfriend’s lap. Every night, Julian curls up in my arms to sleep…and then tries to steal my pillow. Julian has never met a stranger! He loves absolutely everyone he meets. My boyfriend’s uncle, random strangers from the apartment building, the woman who came to change my air filter…anyone who will give him pets. He’s a snuggle bug. He’s just a large, soft boy looking for love.

Those are my kitties! When I go to Moldova, I’ll probably talk about them nonstop. Sorry, I just love them so much.

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High to the Skies, Across the Sea

Mood music: In My Sword I Trust by Ensiferum. This is my pump up song. The song that makes me feel a little braver, a little stronger, when I’m feeling like a wilting flower.

Can you figure out what kind of music I like the most?

I’m two weeks out from staging as of tomorrow. I came down to Milwaukee again on Friday to bring the clothes and stuff I’m not taking to my mom’s house. It wasn’t too much. I’m here until Wednesday- on Thursday my baby Julian has surgery to remove a lump from the base of his tail. I’ll be back to Milwaukee one more time before I head to staging…but it’s really hitting me now.

Here’s a picture of the preparation for this trip. I think it sums up Julie Peets well:

Home Sweet Home

Mood music: A Piece of Sky from Yentl

Whenever I make big life changes, this song is my mantra. It keeps me positive in an otherwise crazy time of upheaval.

“With all there is, why settle for just a piece of sky?”

Keeping that in mind as Moldova and staging get closer and closer.

Friday was my last day at work. I didn’t expect that I would be as sad as I was! I said goodbye to everyone and left at around 1, and I had to fight back tears. Wishing you all the best Development, PR, CFR, and Planned Giving (and everyone else at DHQ). My boyfriend and I left right afterwards to drive down to my hometown, Milwaukee, where I’m staying for about a week.

Bye, DHQ!

We stopped in Madison to visit my grandparents and my aunt and uncle. It was so nice outside. My grandma made key lime pie and we were able to chat for a couple hours.

We made it to Milwaukee at around 10 and checked into a sleezy hotel by the airport. I…didn’t realize it would be a prostitution hub though I guess I should’ve figured. They had a construction crew until 11:30 PM working. We didn’t stay there the second night.

The next morning we got brunch with my mom and went to Doctors Park, which is a beach park by Lake Michigan. My mom and I used to go there all the time when I was a kid and I’ve wanted to bring Eli since we started dating. It’s just now nice enough to be able to go 🤣.

Eli and I got custard at Kopp’s (Oscars is better don’t @ me) and BBQ at Smoke Shack. Though I meant to go to Saz’s…

The next day (Sunday) Eli had to leave, so we got coffee at Anodyne (the best coffee in MKE) and he dropped me off at home. My mom and I saw Black Panther (I hadn’t seen it yet).

Now I’m home, enjoying the Milwaukee spring.

The Road Goes Ever On and On

Friday was my going away party at work. My actual last day is May 4th, but there’s a huge conference most of my coworkers are going to this week so we had it Friday. It was a bittersweet moment- I’m going miss my coworkers like crazy! I never would’ve thought I’d grow so close to them.

They got me cheese, crackers, coffee and little tiny Bundtini’s from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Everything was so good and so me. They also gave me a card from everyone, Cheetos (best chips ever don’t @ me) and a little framed picture with a quote from LOTR. Here’s some pictures:

Heading East

Mood music: Невидаль by Arkona. Been on constant repeat since Monday. The title translates to “The Wonder”.

Two big developments happened today in my Peace Corps journey:

1. I found out my staging information.

2. I’m about to complete my second-to-last week of work.

So, the staging!

I need to be in Philadelphia on June 4th, which was the original date they gave us when I accepted my invitation to serve. I kiiiind of hoped it would be pushed up a little bit since I’ll need my last paycheck to last me, but I’ll be at home in Milwaukee for about half of May so that’ll help keep the costs down.

My boyfriend and I love road trips. We’ve gone to Custer State Park, Yellowstone, and Fayetteville, Arkansas since I moved to Minneapolis. It’s always a fun time to blast music, eat junk food, and listen to podcasts while admiring the scenery. We talked about doing one last road trip to D.C. (presuming I would be staging out of Philly) to visit his sister and tour some schools (he applied to grad schools in D.C.). So on May 30th, we’ll drive to D.C. for a few days, then he’ll drop me off in Philadelphia.

This was also my last “real” week at work. Next week is a huge conference in Indianapolis, so most of my co-workers will be down there while I finish out my time here. My going away party is tomorrow! I know there’ll be cake, cheese, and coffee…a very “me” celebration.

AND FINALLY THIS WEEKEND I GET TO BINGE THE HANDMAID’S TALE!

It’s the Final Countdown

So, last Friday officially marked the start of my last 3 weeks of my job. It’s kind of nuts how much of an open “secret” it is at work- my supervisors all know and my direct coworkers too- but other people don’t. They all talking about me participating in work events that are 2+ months out. Time is speeding by so fast my head hurts. I realized I only have 2.5 paychecks left to buy the stuff I need (especially the electronics 😬)

In other news, here’s the weather in Minneapolis on APRIL 15TH!!

Also: my Patagonia duffles came in! Bad picture incoming:

My cat Julian never leaves me alone so he had to be in the picture. I purchased the 120L Black Hole Duffle and the 45L Black Hole Duffle. These were extremely expensive to me, but I love Patagonia’s quality so, if I can get a ton of travel out of these bags, it’ll be worth it. The total cost (with shipping) was $238, but I did have a 20% off coupon from a previous order that Patagonia couldn’t fulfill. Otherwise, the order would’ve been over $300 with shipping- YIKES! I don’t know how I’ll fit 2 years worth of life in those bags but I guess I’m going to have to do it! Next month I’ll write up a packing list for any future Moldova/Eastern European volunteers to use. I intend to put all shoes/clothes/toiletries in the 120L and all the miscellaneous things in the 45L.

50 days until June 4th, when I leave the country and embark on the journey of a lifetime.

Why Did I Move to a Place Where the Air Hurts My Face?

I have a snow day from work. In April. A snow day. A SNOW DAY. In April!!!!!!!! I don’t think I EVER had these many days off living in MKE (I’ve had 4? Snow days?).

Why did I move even more north than Milwaukee?

Anyway, sitting here watching The Return of the King. I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy. These movies shaped my life in every way imaginable. I wouldn’t be going on this journey to Moldova and the Peace Corps without Aragorn and Éowyn being major influences on my life- no joke. Though nothing will cure my fear of horses, sorry.

Nothing much to update on my journey. I ordered my two big duffel bags on Saturday. The purchase hurt my wallet (I got them from Patagonia) but at least I had a 20% off coupon because they couldn’t fulfill an order I placed last month (for the same duffels that were on super sale :/). I got the Black Hole Duffels in 120L and 45L. I have a backpack and a purse I’ll be bringing too that I bought a long time ago.

One month from now I’ll be walking out of my job for the last time. I think I only have 20 ish days left of work.

Cue internal freak out.