Thursday, December 30, 2004

happy birthday!

Jump over to Inn of the Last Home and wish him Happy Birthday!

stop the presses...

Just when you've thrown in the towel and decided to order business cards with "professional misanthrope" printed on the front, something strange happens to remind you that the generosity of the human spirit is something to behold.

Yesterday when I retrieved the mail I noticed we got another Christmas card. There was no return address on it, so I was curious to see who it was from. Inside was a very cute, retro-looking Santa card. "Hmm," I thought, "very cute. Who's it from?" Inside was a personal note of condolences for Baxter and hopes for Rooney's improving health. It was signed "A friend and family." On the other side of the card a little half-envelope held a $10 bill. "Aww, gosh, what a generous and kind person!" I thought. When I took the $10 bill out, I discovered two $20 bills behind it.

I was floored and amazed. I'm thinking it could have been a fellow blogger, but I'm not really sure. If you are out there reading, dear philanthropist, know that your gift is greatly appreciated and will go toward Rooney's remaining vet bills. I am really quite speechless at such a sweet gesture and what I felt like was a huge gift. Thank you.

I think I'll hold off on printing those cards...

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

the stuff Santa is made of...

Sadie has one mission in life when it comes to toys--unstuff them as quickly as possible. We have to buy our toys for her at places like Big Lots because we just can't afford to spend $5 for every plush toy. Why don't we buy her toys that can't be ripped apart? She doesn't like them! She LIVES to unstuff dog toys. Here's she's giving one of her Christmas presents the old "one-two." She finds a weak spot, chews it open and begins throwing the stuffing out as fast as she can. You could put a steak in front of her and she wouldn't care until the toy is empty. It's quite the OCD behavior. Thankfully she spits out everything.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

help tsunami victims if you can...

The Network for Good has put together a nice clearinghouse of organizations that are taking donations for the tsunami victims. The link is at the top of the left column or you can CLICK HERE.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Happy Birthday Ma!

Today is my mother's 71st birthday. The picture in this entry was probably taken in a photo booth around 1968 and I'm already copping an attitude (obviously I look like my dad). I feel so fortunate to still have my mother around since her own mother died when she was only 13 years old. She's always been very active and her hobby is woodworking--and work in general. This year has been the first time she's thought maybe she shouldn't always say "yes" when someone wants a deck built. She's the most mechanically inclined woman I know. I inherited absolutely none of it and she's fixed 1,000 things at our house with the enthusiasm of Bob V*lla. Sometimes I just worry myself sick over her as she gets older, but I suppose that's a waste of the time we have together. Happy Birthday Ma! Love ya' so much.

if you're the praying sort...

or if you are of the school of "sending good vibes," I'd say Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India could use some of that energy right now. Supposedly the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu had the warning information an hour before the giant waves crushed the shores, but they had no contact information for that part of the world. I suppose they do now.

The death toll was fairly close the population of my hometown. They are going to need everyone's help. Below are sites that offer ways to lend a hand:

  • The Red Cross International Response Fund (Note: this fund is not necessarily appropriated to one event but many throughout the year.)
  • World Vision Emergency Kits (I don't know a lot about this organization, but it appeared as a source of aid in a major Australian newspaper.)
  • Unicef's Emergency Relief Fund
  • Relief Web is a one-stop news source regarding the disaster.
  • Center for International Disaster Information

  • Thursday, December 23, 2004

    I just got CRAP for Christmas!

    Hoorah! The log o' poo has landed! No surgery! Rooney is coming home today. I am so happy he's moved the blockage out the back door. I was so terribly worried. I know it's hardly casserole-talk to discuss cat feces, but you just can't imagine how happy I am to know this problem is going to be resolved. It's just about the best Christmas present I could receive this year. I can't wait to go pick him up. The litter boxes at home are clean-as-a-whistle and ready for use. Atticus and Grayson (in pic) will be happy to see him.
    We also had my family over for Christmas festivities. I've never laughed so much with them in my life. It was probably the best Christmas my family has ever had together. There are many things for which to be thankful, including the 12 wonderful years we had with a very funny cat named Baxter.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2004

    my cat is packin'...

    Poop, that is. My little Rooney has severe constipation. He was really looking awful again this morning so I rushed him off to the vet on the way to work. X-rays from another angle today showed that the feared "mass" in his abdominal cavity is actually a giant pile of rock-hard crap. We were fooled by the diarrhea, but apparently it was shooting around the hard mass. He has lost another 1/2 pound in the last three days as well. Constipation is a diagnosis I can live with (yay!).
    They have been giving him enemas and laxatives all day and I'm sure we'll have plenty of diet changes and instructions after he comes home. For now he will be spending the night at the Kitty Sump Pump. We hope to bring him home tomorrow. The worst case scenario is surgery to remove the impacted poop...which we want to avoid if at all possible. Apparently Manx kitties are prone to intestinal blockage. Poo on that. Hell, I'm just glad to get some good news for a change.

    After all, don't you know It's A Wonderful Life?

    Tuesday, December 21, 2004

    da Roonster...

    I call Rooney so many things: Roonster, Rooney-spitoony, Roonster-padoonster, etc. He looked a little peaked last night when I brought him upstairs and put him on the bed with us, but this morning he was crawling under the covers with me, licking my fingers and looking fairly spry.

    He sat on the toilet seat while I took a shower and when I got out he began his usual loud-mouth meowing and pawing at me to pick him up--ah, that's the old Rooney I know and love--demanding! Once I'd given him a hug and some good scratches he was satisfied and sat at the top of the stairs before beginning his meowing again for breakfast. He is a very vocal cat!

    He ate a small breakfast and seemed to feel a little better. I didn't see any evidence of funky poo in the litter box this morning either, so I hope the frequent small meals are helping prevent the diarrhea and vomiting. I hope to hear some news on the bloodwork today and will update when I do.

    Thanks again for all your kind comments. I can't believe how much they have helped. Not everyone understands the worry animal-lovers experience over their beloved pets and your care and concern has been a gift. Let's keep our paws crossed for some good news. Sending thanks and peace to you all...

    Well, I just talked to my vet and Rooney's bloodwork looks normal somehow (Yay!). We're going to try and replace some of the "good" bacteria in his stomach with little bits of plain yogurt and put him on a prescription bland soft food. Then we'll try some steroids next week if he's not much improved. If that doesn't help we may still have to look at exploratory surgery. So, at least I didn't get BAD news. Whew! It could even be that he just has a bizarre intestinal problem that can be treated. One step at a time. Meow!

    Monday, December 20, 2004

    Dear Karma, cut me some slack...

    Now my little dearest clown-kitty, Rooney, has gotten ill. I thought he was depressed over Baxter's death, but he's been having terrible diarrhea and has continued to lose weight even though we've been working on fattening him up. He's been sitting crouched in front of the heater vent. So, I took him to the vet on Saturday and they did a ton of bloodwork (due back tomorrow) and took an X-ray.

    Usually, the vet will start out with one of those, "Well overall it looks pretty good..." but when she brought in the X-ray she began with a list of abnormalities and "this is not supposed be there; I'm not sure what these spots are...this is not a normal picture at all..."

    My heart sank. I felt sick. His intestines are pushed back into the end of his abdominal cavity and although the X-ray didn't show a mass, the vet said there might be one because it looks as though many organs are being pushed around by "something." His temperature was also abnormally low.

    No. No. No. Until the bloodwork comes back she told me to feed him a special prescription diet mixed with pancreatic enzyme medicine to help him absorb some nutrients.

    So I did. And he got sicker. He just huddled on his Purr Pad and his little face was fiery hot. And then he had the most violent vomiting episode I've ever seen in man or animal. I was considering taking him to the local animal after-hours ER with absolutely no money to pay for it (Baxter's hospital and cremation bills have completely wiped us out.) We thought we would try to hydrate him a little first, so we went out and got some Pedialyte and fed him tiny, tiny morsels of his favorite food without the enzymes. Every hour we gave him a couple dropperfuls of Pedialyte and a tiny bit of food. We got up throughout the night to continue the routine and he progressively perked up and even crawled under the covers with us for a while, which is something he likes to do.

    This morning he was hungry and meowing which was a very good sign. I hope the bloodwork tells us something and that it can be treated. The next step is probably a fasting X-ray and possibly exploratory surgery (which I hope is not necessary). My fear is cancer, but my hope is a thyroid problem that can be medicated. I'm going to check on him at lunch and give him another small snack/drink.

    Needless to say, we are just sick with this new development. Here's hoping for Christmas Miracles.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2004


    Home is a different place without Baxter. He was our "special" cat and was always tooling around announcing himself with his muffled half-meows "mmmmrrrrrphhhh." The other cats are acting strangely with Rooney being downright depressed. He refuses to play which is unheard of.
    Sleeping is especially hard because he was always laying on your head all night, doing his best to steal all the real estate he could on your pillow. If you took too long to turn over, you'd find him curled up already in the spot where your head had been. He was sneaky like that.
    We tried to convince him that he needed some Christmas spirit the first few years he was with us, but he wasn't terribly interested in it. He was very overweight when we adopted him and we should have worked harder to get the extra weight off when he was younger. He was a big cat, even lean, and we called him "Biggie" or "Big Boy."
    Of course, as you can tell, the antlers were his favorite. The pet burial services company called and left us a message yesterday saying "the process is complete and I could come pick up Baxter's ashes anytime." I'd rather pick up my sweet Big Boy.
    Thank you to everyone for your kind comments and expressions of sympathy...they make a big difference. Peace.

    Sunday, December 12, 2004

    Goodbye Good Friend...

    Baxter (cir.1991-Dec. 10, 2004)

    When I brought Baxter home Thursday night he seemed much better, just exhausted. During the middle of the night his breathing became labored and shallow, so the next day I took him to the nearby university vet school clinic as an emergency. They did more ultrasounds and x-rays and said they would call me in the afternoon with some news. After lunch the phone rang at my office and they said he'd taken a turn for the worse and apparently had thrown a clot. I drove over to the hospital as quickly as I could and they explained he had severe heart and thyroid disease and his kidneys were beginning to shut down. He was barely breathing and his prognosis was dismal, so I had to make the decision to let him go. I gently pet his head and said goodbye while they administered the meds through his IV. I'll write more about Baxter later when it doesn't hurt so bad. He was really a unique cat and we feel fortunate that we found one another. I just wish we could have kept him a little longer. Goodbye, my friend, you had wings long before you made it to heaven.

    Thursday, December 09, 2004

    American Opinion

    "State and nationwide polls have shown that the vast majority of Americans are strongly opposed to horse slaughter:
    In 1995 - A national call-in TV poll resulted in 93% of callers agree that 'the killing of horses for meat be banned.'
    In 1997 - A state-wide poll taken in California revealed that 88% of those questioned were opposed to horse slaughter.
    In 1999 - A poll conducted in New York State yielded the following results:

  • 91% considered horses companions, recreational or sporting animals -
  • 72% would never eat horse meat -
  • 73% believed that the manner that horses are slaughtered is cruel and inhumane -
  • 81% personally opposed the practice of horse slaughter."

    So, excuse me. Suddenly it's okay to bastardize our own cultural standards?
    From PBS.

    Baxter, my kitty who collapsed this morning, is doing better, but we're not sure what happened. We're still waiting on some more bloodwork to come back. Today's vet bill? $460. My husband is getting a pack of Cheese Nips for Christmas. I'm just glad Baxter is alive. Even the vet said he thought he had a goner on his hands this morning when I first brought him in.


    Of course W., the Idiot, signed away more than 30 years horse protection (which was unanimously approved by Congress at the time). Now wild horses are subject to slaughter for foreign palates--since we find it horrifying to eat it ourselves. Only horses over 10 can be shipped off, but horses aren't dogs. Horses live 30-35 years.

    Oh, by the way, Congress unanimously voted for Dec. 13 to become National Day of the Horse...on your plate that is. Most of the overgrazing they claim to be done by the horses was actually shown to be done by poorly managed cattle herds.

    Let's just go ahead and sell shelter dogs to Vietnamese restaurants. Or, better yet, lets fry up another historic symbol, the American Bald Eagle.

    I'm already out of sorts anyway because one of my cats collapsed this morning and I had to rush him to the animal hospital. The vet couldn't find a pulse on him when I first got there. They've had him in an oxygen tent for several hours. I don't know what's wrong yet, but they've done x-rays and taken blood and urine for testing.

    Deep breathing. Deep breathing.

  • Sale of Wild Horses to Slaughter Legalized
  • Bill add-on strips wild horses of protection from slaughter | And a letter to the editor in response

  • Wednesday, December 08, 2004


    Please take a moment to remind Congress that Americans do NOT eat horsemeat and condemn the practice of horse slaughter!

    ...from the Society for Animal Protective Legislation...
    "Currently, three foreign-owned slaughterhouses in the United States are killing horses for human consumption. They are Beltex Corporation in Ft. Worth, Texas and Dallas Crown in Kaufman, Texas and Cavel International in DeKalb, IL. According to the US Department of Agriculture, 50,564 horses were slaughtered in 2003...thousands more are transported under deplorable conditions across our borders into Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered...Once at the slaughterhouse, the suffering and abuse continue unabated...workers, using long, thick fiberglass rods, poke and beat the horses' faces, necks, backs, and legs as they are shoved through the facility into the kill box. Due to extreme overcrowding, abuse, deafening sounds, and the smell of blood, the horses exhibit fear typical of "flight" behavior – pacing in prance-like movements with their ears pinned back against their heads and eyes wide open. While Federal law requires that horses be rendered unconscious prior to having their throats slit, recent documentation shows that repeated blows with captive bolt pistols are often necessary, causing excruciating suffering. Horses writhe in the holding stall (known as the "kill box"), legs buckling under their weight after each traumatic, misguided and ineffective blows to their heads. Death is not swift for these terrified and noble animals."

    Just take a moment by clicking one of these links:

  • American Human Society
  • Doris Day Animal League
  • National Horse Protection Coalition

  • Wanna see sumpin?

    If you swoon over beautiful color combinations, you should see Carol Weymar's (a.k.a. The Silkworker) hand-painted silk top. I swear I can feel my pupils dilate when I look at her selections. She also has a nice page on how to spin silk, which I found very helpful.

    Other than that I'd like to point out to the entire world that I have a zit on my forehead the size of a pomegranate. I can feel it pulsing. There are little men working in there, shoveling coal into its fiery epicenter, making my skin itchy, red and hot. This morning I was imagining ants outfitted in rappelling equipment climbing to its volcanic peak and holding a religious ceremony there.

    I haven't had a zit like this on my face since the 80's. I can only surmize that I've entered perimenopause, the second-coming of puberty. I think I'll get a hysterectomy for my birthday.

    I am ever-so-thankful I recently got a hairstyle with bangs. And I am thankful the semester is over. I took my cognitive behavioral final exam yesterday and it was a breeze (knock on wood.)

    Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    Pearl Harbor...

    Excellent coverage here as we remember...National Geographic's Remember Pearl Harbor. Thanks to Shards for the link.

    Monday, December 06, 2004


    A short lesson on slaughterhouse practice.* Why and how does this occur? I'm not a fan of PETA but occasionally they do some investigation that speaks for itself. No dramatics needed. Thanks to VegBlog for the link.
    *beware of graphic content

    Regardless of whether or not you are a vegetarian, there are federal laws that demand animals not suffer, but be rendered "insensible to pain" before they are killed. How well do you think these laws are enforced? Poultry isn't covered by the laws at all. To discourage injuries from pecking in cramped quarters, their beaks are sliced off with a hot knife tool. And yes, beaks are packed with nerves. Eaten or not eaten, animals should not endure torture for our mere convenience. More here...

    just plain scary...

    ...okay so I panicked...
    So I deleted the entry and visited Remo's Homepage instead. I love reading about all the naughty things he can do...

    Saturday, December 04, 2004

    fresh from the mad hattery...

    Bloggie-friend Laura requested a hat from me a while ago and here's the almost finished result. I need to do some work on the brim and insert the hat band, but it looks like it will have a new home very soon a top Laura's noggin'.

    And takin' it from the top.

    All handmade and hand-felted of course of Norwegian and Merino wool and hand-dyed silk. Hand-blocked and a whole lotta fun! I hope she likes it. I get so excited to get a hat out to someone.

    And I have another custom order to get busy on ASAP as well! Fun for me!!! Woot!

    I commented on the entry below thanking you all for such wonderful comments, but I want to repeat that your support warmed my little pea-pickin' heart. Ralphie thanks you, too. He now shows up and expects his sunflower seeds each evening. It's hard being such a sucker...

    Friday, December 03, 2004

    emerging from the muckety-muck...

    Dear Darling Readers,
    My life has changed in a blink of an eye. A miracle has been performed. A door has been opened. I think I even see a red carpet rolled out for me. Forty is around the corner and I'm looking forward to it. Droopy boobs be damned.

    There's been much ado about my health over the last three years including several surgeries, medications and treatments. From uterine fibroids to endometriosis to gallbladder removal to tachycardia and high blood pressure. Oh, and I can't leave out the misdiagosis of Hepatitis B...that's another story.

    Whether from having life-long problems with depression or the life-long problem of the tachycardia, I have always and forever been battling serious fatigue. I have never had enough energy to get through the day--ever. I do things anyway, but it is a constant battle. Then, about a 1 1/2 weeks ago a corrective measure was made in some medication and I, for the first time IN MY LIFE, do not feel like I'm dragging corpse around.

    I FEEL NORMAL AND AWAKE (whatever that might be).

    I don't have to say "no" to social events anymore because I just don't have the energy.

    My heart doesn't sink when I see a mess in the house. Gosh-darn-it, I just walk over there and take care of it.

    I am not afraid of committing to projects I have been wanting to do.

    I feel like talking to people more.

    I feel like seeing my friends.

    I don't crash when I get home from work.

    I dust when it's not "cleaning day."

    I don't have to take naps throughout the weekend just to feel rested.

    I don't feel left out because I don't have enough energy to enjoy myself.

    The past week has been a mixture of shouting from the rooftops and crying in the depths of hell as I've made these adjustments and dealt with a myriad of personal challenges at home. Being suddenly COMPLETELY different was a tremendous shock. I was fearful that it was too good to be true. And I was also extremely upset that I was seeing my life clearly for the first time. The tremendous weight was removed and I saw many important changes that needed to be made ASAP.

    I will turn 40 next month and it's not going to be about sagging ass cheeks, droopy boobs, a flabby waist or developing pig-like jowls. Wah-fucking-wah.

    It's going to be about freedom from chronic fatigue--for the first time in my life.


    Wednesday, December 01, 2004


    We find it so appalling that the meat is only sold overseas. Appalling, sickening, barbaric. Wild be Slaughtered

    Read more about it...

    ...feeling a little more energetic than usual?

    Rocket Fuel Chemical Found in Organic Milk

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