Sad departures


On the morning of Sunday, October 12th, we had to say goodbye to the beloved kitty matriarch of our family, Dee Dee, and help her "graduate" from this life to the next. She had battled valiantly with thyroid disease and advanced arthritis for years. But it was a nasty virus that had afflicted all the cats in the house that attacked her compromised body and brought us to the hard decision was had to make. Although she was under the watchful care of the vet as soon as she showed signs of being sick, in less than a week Dee Dee turned from being our smart and affectionate little ginger into a shell of her former self. She couldn't fight anymore. It was time to say goodbye. Her best friend, Thomasina, and her twin brother, Dexter, got an opportunity to say goodbye before Hubby took Dee Dee to the emergency vet while I stayed home with the other sick kitties.

We thought that trip to the vet would be the only one that day, and we went about the business of trying to get the other kitties well.

But, only 13 hours after we said goodbye to Dee Dee...


... we had to say goodbye to her noble twin brother, Dexter, and help him "graduate" from this life to the next too.

Dexter was the first to get the same nasty virus that Dee Dee got. He had shown symptoms of some strange illness on the evening of Sunday, October 5th, and Hubby had him in to the vet first thing Monday morning. Dexter spent that day at the vet in in-patient care, and went in again on Wednesday for a full day of in-patient care (Dee Dee got the same all-day in-patient care too on Tuesday and Friday). We were told they had the equivalent of the "kitty flu", and because they were both having cortisone injections for arthritis, their immune systems were compromised so the virus was hitting them harder than it was our younger cats that don't get injections. We were told that the most important thing was to keep everyone hydrated until the symptoms went away. By Friday evening, we were hydrating Dee Dee with water-filled or pedialyte-filled syringes. Dexter was getting water and pedialyte from a bowl because he could lap water unassisted.

By Saturday, Dexter had moved through the virus and was beginning to get well from the symptoms. He was eating tuna heartily and drinking water. But he appeared wobbly on his feet. We assumed it was just from being weak from the virus.

But by Sunday evening, Dexter was staggering around so badly he couldn't walk to get water or food. Hubby rushed him to the emergency vet while I stayed home with the other sick kitties. Tests at the emergency vet revealed that Dexter's kidneys were failing. The virus had pushed Dexter's kidneys to their limit. His is sodium levels to toxic quantities causing his neurological system to shut down.  We didn't know his kidneys were compromised. He had lost a significant amount of weight in the last two months, but we hadn't discovered what was causing the weight loss before he got sick. Like Dee Dee, Dexter had turned into a shell of his former self in only a week. I could barely recognize my sweet, benevolent prince of a cat. It was time to help him "graduate" with the dignity he deserved.

In Memory of "The Originals"



Dexter was my loyal, noble and ever-present companion for 14 wonderful years. He supervised everything I did from laundry to vacuuming to home improvement projects (he wasn't afraid of power tools). He was gentle and kind with new visitors, children, infants and even my mom's little chihuahua that was smaller than he was. He sweetly accepted the other kitties that we took into our home and put up with all of their nonsense with grace (even when they were mean to him). I always would whisper into his ear, "Dexter, I loved you first... and I love you best" and he would purr.



Dee Dee was the quintessential queen of our little cat colony. She ruled with grace, love and matriarchal dignity. She adored Hubby with a passion and wanted nothing more than to be picked up and carried around on his arm while she licked him after running to greet him at the door when he came home from work or when he first awoke and arose from the bed in the morning. She particularly enjoyed playing hostess to visitors and would greet everyone that came through the front door with curiosity and kind affection. Her fascination and adoration of children and babies was so precious to watch. An extremely intelligent ginger tabby, Dee Dee always had a lot to say about everything and would negotiate with me constantly to get her way (just like a 2 year old toddler).

We were privileged to meet them when Dexter and Dee Dee were only 10 days old. We've known them ever since.



The two kitties were miracles to us. Before getting them 14 years ago, Hubby was highly allergic to cats and couldn't be in the same room with a cat without getting asthmatic. But with faith and prayer, that changed (now he's allergic to dogs... go figure). They came into our lives when we were rebuilding our home... and I was rebuilding myself. Two little furry kitties did so much in healing us both. We've never known life living here at Rosehaven Cottage without them. Our home feels hollow and empty without them here.

Interestingly, Dexter and Dee Dee have never had to know any existence without each other... even now.


We know without a shadow of a doubt that Dexter and Dee Dee are now running and playing like they did when they were young (before the arthritis). They were greeted on the other side by our beloved kitties that had passed on before them—Lydia (2002-2012), Tom Tom (who left us a few months ago in May), Suzette (who left us at the end of this summer) and the garden kitty, Oreo (who left us in September). We are certain all of them are having wonderful times together frolicking about, watching "kitty-vision" and exploring lush patches of grass to nibble on.

I miss Dexter and Dee Dee terribly. My chest aches every day with an ache that is so profound I can't describe it. I weep every day wishing I could see their beautiful furry little faces. But I know I will see them both again someday... and we will all play together like we always did.

Dexter and Dee Dee, you are mine forever and ever.

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The future has arrived... today



July 6th will mark the official 7 year anniversary of when I started this blog. This week marks the 7 year anniversary of when Hubby and I formally filed and formed our corporation, Rosehaven Cottage Inc. with me as the CEO and him as the VP-of-everything-else. We had the foresight to know that we needed to incorporate and created a corporate "umbrella" for my creative pursuits that would follow... but that's about all we could foresee.  

Seven whole years is the longest I've ever "worked" at one job. I started this creative journey fueled by the creative spark digital photography had re-lit within me after I'd been on a creative hiatus for a while. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do along the way or what I wanted to grow into becoming. I simply knew that I wanted to create beautiful things to be appreciated and consumed visually by others.


I am a classic introvert by nature (as many bloggers are) so I spent years trying to hide behind the moniker "Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage". It was easy to write blog posts about my garden so a large portion of my posts were focused on the outdoor life. Writing about our house, Rosehaven Cottage, was easy too, so I shared some of our DIY adventures here too. The title "Rosehaven Cottage" became synonymous with gardening and home improvement and "Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage" was seen as a "garden blogger". The audience that this blog attracted ended up being more interested in my green thumb and sledgehammer-wielding skills and less about the creative career I was building and very passionate about. 

Like many things in the digital realm, blogging has gone through evolutions and I've seen it go through a few in the seven years I've had this blog. The current trend in blogging is leaning toward catching and retaining readers with slick Pinterest-ready posts full of helpful tips or with attention-getting titles that lure a reader to read the blogger's personal insights, philosophies and musings. Several big-time blogs have had to revamp their way of doing business in order to remain financially viable now that content is often generated on mobile devices that don't accommodate sidebar advertising. They've had to resort to embedded advertising within blog posts to keep generating revenue. And none of that is what I'm really focused on in my "real life".

What is my "real life"? Some of you may already know the answer to that question but some of you may not. Here's the answer...

I am a professional photographer, artist and graphic designer. I am a business owner (technically a "CEO"). My business is about creating visual images that:
  • have been licensed to appear on stationery you might have seen when you were shopping for just the right card for a special occasion. 
  • are sold as canvases, fine art prints, cards and cell phone cases
  • are sold as digital files to other creative professionals that incorporate my work into their own work like websites/blogs, advertising, publications, crafts and derivative art 

For the past several months, I've been at a professional crossroads regarding this blog. I am at an exciting point in my creative career where I am seeing my dreams becoming realities. This is wonderful but it has created a conundrum I've had to face. As a creative professional whose work is of a visual medium, my online presence (some call it "brand") needs to remain professional. My online posts can't just be an open garden journal. They can't be filled with personal musings that I then wish I hadn't published a week after I have. And I also cannot hide behind the moniker "Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage" and be taken seriously by my creative peers and mentors.



This is why I've spent the past couple of months creating and fine-tuning a new online presence at www.CindyGarberIverson.com. It is a cohesive and responsive format so anyone can enjoy it on a smartphone, a tablet or a desktop computer. And I have integrated a blog into the design that I will be posting to regularly as I release new work. Coupled with social media like Instagram (where I'll still share some photographic snippets of what's happening in the garden), I am embarking on a new blogging journey that will be all about my creative pursuits and passions. If you follow me on Pinterest, you can be a fly on the wall as I gather inspiration for new projects and you can watch the early stages of my creative process "real-time" (so if you start to see me pinning lots of photos of vintage sinks you can bet that it has something to do with what I'm working on at the moment).

I'm finally doing it. I'm finally being what I always wanted to be when I grew up. As one of my favorite songs by The All-American Rejects (on the Meet The Robinsons soundtrack) says... the future has arrived!

The future's arrived
Nobody can doubt
The future is what everything's about
It's better for you
It's better for me
It's better than what everybody thought it would be

It's time to create
Time to grow
If you're feeling right
The world
Yeah she's changing
And life's rearranging
Don't it make you feel alive?
The future has arrived


See you over at CindyGarberIverson.com

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Last Saturday was a lovely day for shooting photographs at Stinson Beach along the Northern California coast


My cousin and aunt were in town over last weekend, so we took them to the beach to our west to beat the inland heat. It was a gorgeous day—not too hot and not too cold. And the light was spectacular for shooting photographs with my "big gun". 


As I've written before, my favorite shots are those when "photographic serendipity" happens. The beach was full of just those kinds of moments. I was loving every minute of it.


Of course, once I get back to my studio the rest of the work happens in the post-processing phase when I tweak the photos to make them look exactly how my eyes were seeing the light and the colors of the seashore in person. The camera doesn't always capture things exactly the way the human eye sees them. So it's always a fun challenge to recreate what I remember seeing when I was there.


The photos above are now available at CreativeMarket. com to use for:
websites • blogs • advertising • publications • crafts • home
(click on each one to go directly to it or click here to go to my shop)

The photos above are also available at Fine Art America as:
art prints • canvases • cards • cell phone cases • framed art
(click here)

If you'd like to see more of my photographs,
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While exploring Golden Gate Park, I came upon a heavenly sea of nasturtiums edged by Mexican primrose (why I love San Francisco)



P.S. I've turned comments off because I want you to simply enjoy the photo. No words required.

If you'd like to see more of my photographs,
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Monarch butterflies have been visiting the garden and finding the 'butterfly bush' to be an irresistible treat



If you'd like to see more of my photographs,
please visit CindyGarberIverson.com

*GARDENING DISCLAIMER: Although I do not condone cultivating invasive plants, bushes and shrubs, buddleia (aka 'butterfly bush') is not considered an invasive pest in our area of the world (San Francisco Bay Area of California, USA) where summers are rainless. It does not propagate here. That's the only reason I have one.
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Spotted a Gulf Fritillary butterfly in my garden for the first time... completely by accident


I saw a couple of monarch butterflies fluttering around the buddleia (aka 'Butterfly Bush')* that's in full bloom in the garden, so I took my camera out to try and catch some shots. Imagine my surprise when I saw another butterfly I didn't recognize, got some shots of it sipping nectar and came inside to find it is a variety I've never seen before (let alone photographed). I'm pretty stoked!

*GARDENING DISCLAIMER: Although I do not condone cultivating invasive plants, bushes and shrubs, buddleia is not considered an invasive pest in our area of the world (San Francisco Bay Area of California) where summer's are rainless. It does not propagate here. That's the only reason I have one.

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Cindy Garber Iverson and Rosehaven Cottage Inc.
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