Friday, July 31, 2015

The Smartest Kitty I Know...

I finally feel like I can make a post about Kitty's health.
A while back we had a big scare when she quickly dropped a lot of weight and did nothing but lay in the closet or on the heated bed. When she did get up she seemed to struggle and was wobbly. When she was laying down she wouldn't actually go to sleep and was clearly not resting comfortably. A trip to the vet and an antibiotic shot did little to help. She was clearly miserable enough that we really thought that we were going to have to euthanize her. We did a lot of crying, and I did a lot of hand feeding Kitty one piece of food at a time to try to keep her from losing even more weight. The vet seemed fairly sure that it was her heart giving out, since she does have a fairly large murmur. Kitty is old enough to be considered "geriatric" so she's not really a good candidate for heart treatments.
Since we were not seeing improvement a couple of days later we were back at the vet, where we were encouraged to give a cortisone shot a try before considering euthanasia, just in case it was an injury or joint inflammation that was keeping Kitty from moving around. We went for it and after a couple of days Kitty was showing definite improvement! We started to get a bit more hopeful, though the vet did warn us that she thought that the injection would probably need to be repeated in 4-8 weeks, and that she thought it would only buy us 6-9 more months with her.
A couple of days after that we rushed Kitty back to the vet yet again, this time because Paul noticed that she was tensing and straining really hard while laying on the floor, like she was trying to poop but couldn't. It got worse and worse and she was clearly in distress and started vomiting from the constant straining. Once we got her to the vet they examined her as soon as they could fit us in and decided that they would keep her overnight. An enema, some laxative, subcutaneous fluids, and 14 hours later, Kitty was discharged. The week all this was happening was Terrible. But thankfully it did end.
Since then we've been giving Kitty a breakfast of 1/8 tsp Miralax, two capsules of glucosamine joint supplement, and some wet food each morning and she is doing ok. Yesterday marked the 8th week since she got her cortisone shot and she has not shown obvious signs of discomfort. We're hoping at this point that maybe she was doing so badly because she did somehow hurt herself jumping off a bed, or maybe she did have bad joints and the supplement is just helping her that much. Regardless of the reason she does seem to be pretty much back to her old self.
Paul and I are still walking on eggshells because she is old, and if she starts declining again we don't want to miss the signs and leave her in pain. I want to hope that the vet is just wrong about her heart and that she's still got years left in her, but I also don't want to delude myself.
For now Kitty has gotten very entitled. Each morning she comes to the kitchen to supervise me making her breakfast. Occasionally if she doesn't feel like coming to the kitchen to eat dinner she just stays where she is and waits for us to deliver her "room service". We have started allowing her out on the back patio without a leash to encourage her to exercise more. (She doesn't really freak out even when startled and I know I can outrun her.) She luuuuuurves that and has started demanding to be let out whenever the whim strikes her, which as it turns out is most times.
Paul and I are really grateful to have more time with her. We love her so much and it's really hard to imagine life without her.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Pun Brigade ASSEMBLE!

So I've been thinking about opening an Etsy shop to see if anyone would be willing to buy the stamped cards I make. Like this one that I made for my own mom for Mother's Day:

But first I need a shop name! Something to do with paper, or stamps, These options are all Paul and I could come up with last night:

Creased Creations
Cardastrophic Greetings
Cardastrophic Intent
Paper Cat
P Squiddy (Would require an artsy friend to draw me an adorable squid mascot holding an ink well.)

So, any suggestions? Come on, funny and creative friends, help me!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Easy selling point...

I am part of several services which send me free samples of products to try and review. Recently I got this:

Among the review questions was a list of check boxes under the heading "What was good about this product?" and included such responses as "It gives my hair volume", "My hair is soft and manageable", "Good value for the price", and "It contains oxygen". That's right, this shampoo contains oxygen! And it's not false advertising:

How groundbreaking...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

In which I try to ignite my latent domestic proclivities...

Now that I am out of school I have determined to make up a little bit of the debt I owe to Paul. For the last three years he has been doing the majority of the household work, whilst I spent my time adding to my degree collection. I do not enjoy housework but I'm giving it my best shot, straightening this and that, doing some dishes, taking out the trash, actually making the bed every morning. Yesterday Paul admitted to me that he had noticed that I was making the bed every morning and that he was somewhat alarmed thinking that perhaps it was "some kind of warning, or maybe a trap." So what I'm saying is, my housekeeping bar has been set pretty low... I can work with that!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

'My Social Anxiety' or 'Why I Haven't Seen 'The Little Mermaid''

When I was very young, maybe five, six, or seven, one of the little girls who lived in the house next to ours had a birthday party. I was invited to attend, along with my older brother and sister, as we all played together quite often. I didn't know any of my friend's schoolmates who were also invited but I was having a good time regardless. At one point relatively early in the party my friend took me to her bedroom to show me some toy that she had. We played for a little while with whatever it was until we heard her mother call from the living room. My friend jumped up and went to see what her mom wanted, leaving me in her bedroom. A split second later, coinciding with my friend's exit from the hallway no doubt, I heard a giant cheer and all the other party guests singing "Happy birthday to you!..."

I was instantly mortified. I couldn't come out of the room now; all that attention would be on me because surely my friend was standing in the hallway entrance with all eyes on her! So... I waited. Of course my friend would run back and get me once the song was over... And then the song was over... No friend... I waited, at a loss as to what to do. The longer I waited the worse it got. I waited and unknowingly missed the brief window in which everyone would have been distracted by the cutting of the cake; the window in which I could have slipped out and joined the rest of the party unnoticed. Now everyone would be sitting down, eating cake, and if I walked out they would see me and know. Know that I had heard them singing and didn't bother to come out for some reason.

Surely my friend noticed I wasn't there... Surely any moment she or one of my siblings would come looking for me...

Paralyzed by my perceived lack of acceptable options I began to cry. I don't actually remember how long I sat in my neighbor's bedroom, crying, alone, but eventually my friend's mom walked past the door and noticed me. She of course came in and asked what was wrong, but what could I say? I'm crying because I feel left out? I feel abandoned? Your daughter didn't remember me? I didn't want people to look at me? I know I'm expected to be able to deal with this situation without a second thought but I don't know how? I couldn't say any of those things, so instead I said nothing. Quite naturally with my lack of response my friend's mom asked if I wanted to go home. Yes, yes I wanted to go home. I wanted to have never left home at all. I wanted so badly for this to never have happened.

The mom walked me back over to my house where she told my own mom that she had found me upset and didn't know why. Of course my mom was concerned and of course she asked me what happened. Of anyone in the world my mom should be the one that I could explain my feelings to, right? Well, no. Was I embarrassed? Did I think she wouldn't understand? Did I believe that it was such a minor thing that threw me that she would think I was silly? Did I just not have the words? Maybe all of those things were true. My mom sat with me on the couch and hugged me. She said "Did you just want to come home?" I nodded and she did not try to force anything more out of me.

Later that evening my siblings came home and reported that they had all watched 'The Little Mermaid' together. They described all the funny parts and I wished that I had gotten to see it too. I wished that I had known how to come out of that room. I wished that I had not cried and sealed my fate. I wished that someone had noticed me missing sooner. I wished that I was normal.

And I still haven't seen 'The Little Mermaid'.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Crap, crapcrapcrap...

As is abundantly evident from previous blog posts, I love my pets dearly, so it pretty much consumes my world when something goes wrong. Over the past couple of days I noticed that Jif was acting less energetic than he usually is. He was still eating fine, but was not playing and did not bring his toys up to bed. He also seemed a bit stiff and his movements were just a little off.

When Paul got home yesterday we talked about whether we should take him to the vet. The final straw was when we pulled out the laser pointer to see if he was interested in that and he didn't even get out of his bed. Thankfully we decided to take him in early enough in the evening that our regular vet's office was still open and they told us that they would fit us in between other appointments.

At the vet Jif showed us again how bad he felt by not struggling at all against all the poking and prodding. When his temperature was taken he complained for a second and then just laid down on the table. That just about broke our hearts! After finding out that Jif's abdomen was painful the vet did a blood panel, urinalysis, and x-rays, as well as giving him some fluids. The final tentative diagnosis is pancreatitis, and we were basically just told that he needs to rest and recover. (And as if I needed any more proof that Jif is pretty much the sweetest cat ever, all the vet staff were talking about how nice he was, even in pain.)

We have buprenorphine for him and have fixed him up alone on the top floor so we can keep a closer eye on how much he eats and drinks and so he won't get hassled by the other cats. So far I haven't really noticed improvement. He might be a little bit more alert, but if anything it seems like he might be more stiff when he gets up after lying down for a long time. It is possible that I am just noticing it more now since I am watching him like a hawk though.

We are very worried, but hoping for the best. Last night I read some articles on pancreatitis and ultimately had to stop because I was freaking myself out. It feels like we aren't really doing anything to help, and that is killing me. At the same time though, I recognize that the best thing to heal the body is the body itself and cats are very hearty animals.

tl:dr I am stressing the fuck out because my baby is hurt and I don't know how to help! :(

Convalescent Jif

Friday, July 20, 2012

CAH Booklist Update 2012


January 14 - 'The Light Fantastic'
- Terry Pratchett - (c) 1986

January 17 -
- Michael Morpurgo - (c) 1982

January 26
- 'Cool, Calm, & Contentious'
- Merrill Markoe - (c) 2011

March 31 - 'Middlesex'
- Jeffrey Eugenides - (c) 2002

April 5 - 'Glide Path'
- Arthur C. Clarke - (c) 1963

April 21 - 'Zero Day'
- Mark Russinovich - (c) 2011

May 15 - 'American Gods'
- Neil Gaiman - (c) 2001

May 22
- 'Equal Rites'
- Terry Pratchett - (c) 1987

May 31
- 'Single Parenting in the 21st Century and Beyond'
- Dr. Josef Passley - (c) 2006

June 10 - 'Mort'
- Terry Pratchett - (c) 1987

June 25 - 'Anansi Boys'
- Neil Gaiman - (c) 2005

June 30 - 'I am America (and So Can You!)'
- Stephen Colbert - (c) 2007

July 7 - 'Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers'
- Grant Naylor - (c)1989

Currently reading: 'Sourcery' - Terry Pratchett and 'Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice' - Derald Wing Sue and David Sue

Monday, June 11, 2012


     This post is all about my cat Jif, because three years ago today I picked him up from the adoption booth at Petsmart! Three years and three days ago, I met him for the first time when I went to get birdseed for my parakeets, and stopped in to pet the strays like I always do. For two days I couldn't get him out of my mind (cats, cats that are not kittens, and black cats are *much* less likely to get adopted.) So with my roommate's blessing, on the third day I went back and brought him home.
     Jif got his name because someone found him with a peanut butter jar stuck on his head and brought him into the shelter. He was about a year old when I got him.
Jif's first day home

     He is definitely my cuddle buddy, though he rarely wants to actually be on your lap. Just laying against or very near you. When he is very sleepy and has just woken up from a nap, that's when he comes for snuggles.

     One of Jif's favorite things in the world: Any sort of box. So he loved the packing process.

All ready to make the long move to MD!
Jif's all time favorite item: The String! It is simply a boot lace that he dug out of my closet, almost as soon as he moved in, and he has loved it unwaveringly ever since. He drags it all over the house and tries to get people to play fetch with him.

Another great item to play fetch with: hair ties pilfered off of my bathroom sink. He doesn't look very remorseful...

Sometimes it's so hard to choose what to watch on Netflix.

Another favorite activity: Going for walks outside. He loves sniffing things, meeting the neighbors, and putting the fear of God into those SOB squirrels.

Jif loves to "help" people do things. If there is any kind of activity going on, safe money says Jif is involved.
Jif, helping to make dinner.

Jif is the best. He is open-minded, forgiving, adventurous, playful, happy, conscientious, funny, adorable, friendly, smart, and affectionate. What more could a girl ask for?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cat Box Fort: Success!

As most of you probably know, my cat Jif loves boxes...

So for our anniversary Paul and I decided to make him and the other cats a box fort. It's a pretty sweet design, with tunnels connecting the various boxes into a packing taped tower of awesome. In process in looked like this:

And even then Jif wanted to try it out:

And try it out some more:

Finally, it was done (can you spot the Jif?):

Here's Jif a bit later, enjoying the view from the crow's nest:

At one point Kitty got in on the action. She's in the Lowe's box in this picture. Jif came downstairs, heard noises coming from the boxes, and got very curious indeed:

One more round of spot the Jif (meanwhile Kitty is still in the Lowe's box):

And finally Jif decided that the best thing to do was take the high ground and wait for the intruder to leave (which eventually Kitty did):

Cat Box Fort: Success!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Crazy Awesome Huge Booklist Update - 2011 Over!...


January 3 - 'The Scarlet Pimpernel' (BOT)
- Baroness Emmuska Orczy - (c) 1905

January 10 - 'Outward'
- Paul Kuliniewicz - (c) 2010

January 21 -
'The Man That Currupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories' (BOT)
- Mark Twain - (c) 1900

January 28
- 'The Swoop! or How Clarence Saved England' (BOT)
- P.G. Wodehouse - (c) 1909

February 8
- 'The Scarlet Letter' (BOT)
- Nathaniel Hawthorne - (c) 1850

February 11
- 'Just So Stories' (BOT) (Re-read)
- Rudyard Kipling - (c) 1902

February 14
- 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' (BOT)
- F. Scott Fitzgerald - (c) 1921

February 26
- 'Heart of Darkness' (BOT)
- Joseph Conrad - (c) 1902

March 7
- 'Love Among the Chickens' (BOT)
- P.G. Wodehouse - (c) 1906

March 10
- 'The Land That Time Forgot' (BOT)
- Edgar Rice Burroughs - (c) 1918

March 18
- 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' (BOT)
- Lewis Carroll - (c) 1865

March 29
- 'Through the Looking-Glass' (BOT)
- Lewis Carroll - (c) 1871

April 2 - 'The Fourth Bear'
- Jasper Fforde - (c) 2006

April 29 - 'One Hundred Years of Solitude'
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez - (c) 1967
(Translated by Gregory Rabassa)

May 21 - 'The Time Machine' (BOT)
- H.G. Wells - (c) 1895

May 21
- 'Gulliver's Travels' (BOT)
- Jonathan Swift - (c) 1726

May 25
- 'Unseen Academicals'
- Terry Pratchett - (c) 2009

June 1 - 'Jewish Children' (BOT)
- Sholem Aleichem - (c) 1921

(Translated by Hannah Berman)
June 8 - 'Homer's Odyssey'
- Gwen Cooper - (c) 2009

June 11 - 'Nation'
- Terry Pratchett - (c) 2008

June 12 - 'The Other Queen'
- Philippa Gregory - (c) 2008

July 1 - 'The Cruelest Miles'
- Gay and Laney Salisbury - (c) 2003

July 13 - 'Ordinary Thunderstorms'
- William Boyd - (c) 2010

July 20 - 'Beggars Banquet'
- Ian Rankin - (c) 2002
July 25 - 'A House-Boat on the Styx' (BOT)
- John Kendrick Bangs - (c) 1895
July 25 - 'Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' (BOT)
- Robert Louis Stevenson - (c) 1886

12 - 'The Color of Magic'
- Terry Pratchett - (c) 1983

October 27
- 'Bossypants' (BOT)
- Tina Fey - (c) 2011

14 - 'The Help'
- Kathryn Stockett - (c) 2009
December 19 - 'Water for Elephants'
- Sara Gruen - (c) 2006
December 26 - 'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)'
- Mindy Kaling - (c) 2011

Currently reading: 'Courage to Heal' - Bass and Davis, 'Glidepath' - Arthur C. Clark, 'The Light Fantastic' - Terry Pratchett, and 'Cool, Calm, and Contentious' - Merrill Markoe

Time to start the third year of CAH Booklist!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Silver bells...

Thanksgiving is over and we're ready for Christmas...

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Photo "Thursday"?:The Big Move...

As I'm sure all, or at least most of you no doubt know, I recently made the longest move of my life (so far.) The following is a chronicle of that move.
The picture below is a stand-in for the picture that I did not take of the Indiana/Ohio border on I-70. Hopefully the artist's (my) rendering will do justice to the excitement that the promise of *Discovery* incites in a person upon reading the welcome sign.

Approaching lovely Columbus...

Getting into rolling, mountainous regions...

Crossing into West Virginia and approaching the Wheeling Tunnel... Yay!

And very quickly into Pennsylvania...

And growing more mountainous all the time...

And finally crossing the Maryland border. (That tiny sign says "Maryland Welcomes You - Enjoy Your Visit!" Followed by a long series of signs to tell you all the rules you need to know to legally drive in the "Free State".)

There was some exceptionally lovely scenery crossing over the Appalachians, but unfortunately I missed most of the Maryland portion of it due to the fact that the sun went down. But next time, next time I'll get the stunning pictures that I'm sure are waiting there to be taken. For instance it was too dark to see Polish and Negro Mountains. They do know how to name things in Maryland.