Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Questions Answered Daily

For those who have asked: unfortunately, I didn’t make over to play croquet on Sunday- Chris had a relapse & was feeling particularly dreadful, so I ended up staying in town, doing a Costco run & fixing some soup for the invalid (he has a very loud congested cough & body aches)- I was disappointed, but I’m certain I’ll have other opportunities. I puttered around, took a nap & then a walk before picking up Sam- he had spent the night at his friend’s house & stayed for a birthday pool party, so when he got home, he fell into bed & slept all night. Pillow 

I did make it over to the nursery early Monday morning & it seems more treasures have followed me home.

Some people collect stray animals on their wanderings, others heirloom spoons or garage sale discoveries; me, I come home with more plants, which, more often then not, end up sitting in a box on the potting bench until either 1. They start to wilt, or 2. Chris sticks them in the ground (I then go behind him, digging them back up & putting them where they “belong”.) Not this time! I actually had specific plans for each selection, & tonight, after my walk, I will be replacing the planter on the front porch, refreshing the cooking herb container, adding two Gerber daisies in the front bed & a fuchsia to the fern corner. (Update: Make that tomorrow night- there are 25 mph winds out there- I'd prefer they don't get flattened to the ground right off the bat.) I do have one little stray plant that doesn’t have a particular home in mind- it is a hybrid fuchsia (bottom left side- orange/gold leaves) with the most unusual colored foliage I’ve seen; I just couldn’t resist getting it- now I just need to figure out where to plant it. Oh, yes- look at what I found while watering this morning:

What I thought were more flowers were actually unripened blueberries; I only have 5 of them, but it's a start- now I have hope for next year.

Thank you for inquiring after dear Daisy; she is slowly improving, but has had a few rough days lately. Yesterday was particularly trying; she had to go back to the vet & stay all day, to have her glucose levels monitored, since her blood sugar is still too high. She was so upset on the way over to the vet’s that she completely soaked the bedding in her carrier. The techs gave her a bath before settling her into the kennel for the day; every two hours, they would take her out to draw the blood samples. I came to pick her up at 5:30 & when the tech took her out of her cubby, poor Daisy-understandably fearful of facing yet another needle- peed all over everyone. She cut loose like a racehorse & soaked everything in reach, then had endure another bath before getting back into the car for the ride home. The only pleasant aspect of the ordeal was Daisy was unusually affectionate with everyone last night- even allowing “Nurse Kitty” Poppy to bathe her ears & permitting Dahlia to nap next to her on the rug. The hardest part is watching the progress of this disease; never one to be particularly active, Daisy has been hampered in her movements by the onset of Diabetic Neuralgia, which affects the functioning of her hind legs. It is sad to watch her wobbling her way across the kitchen to her food bowl, appearing to slip & slide- but the vet has assured us she isn’t in any pain & once the insulin levels are established, we may see an improvement in that area. So, we continue to watch & care & pray over our companion, giving her extra attention & understanding, as we hope to receive ourselves someday when we are old & infirmed.  Heart/home 

I also wanted to update you on the Ucci & Clifton families that I wrote about in "Too Young & Too Soon"; there was an article in our local paper today, highlighting how Ken Ucci, the father of the boy who died in the accident has started a chapter "Get Real Behind the Wheel". It is a safe driving program that teaches young people about responsible behavior behind the wheel- I would strongly encourage you to read the article here. I was so moved how the Ucci family has continued to embrace & support Bret- there has been no malice or anger ever expressed by these people, & Ken will be speaking on Bret's behalf at his sentencing hearing next month. 

I believe I mentioned that Bret had been awarded a scholarship to play basketball before the accident, which cost him both his legs, a portion of his vision, & ultimately his scholarship; here is an article about how a group of special education students organized a fundraiser to help Bret pay for school. I don't think it adequately expresses what a exceptional young man Bret is, but it is touching none the less, showing how accepting & forgiving the community has become.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Forget job security- I need sleep!

What do you call a cat that has swallowed a duck??

A duck filled fatty puss.

I survived the week; payrolls were posted (including ours), checks cleared, payments made, & general ledgers balanced; I didn’t receive a single irate call, only a couple annoying ones from my boss (“How are you doing? Is it busy?”); & best of all, my co-workers were intelligent enough to leave me completely alone (of course, the “Caution” tape & the printed sign stating “Unless you have cash or chocolate… GO AWAY!” helped a bit) I even managed to leave on time Friday- but promptly fell asleep when I got home. I wouldn’t want to do it again anytime soon, but running both jobs wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting; then again, I was really only doing the bare minimum of the other job, & no real problems popped up, as are wont to do on a regular basis.

Today, I decided to treat myself kindly; Chris had to go into work, so I was able to sleep peacefully until after 8:00, when I was forced to answer the call of nature. Our local Farmers’ Market opened a couple of weeks ago, moving to Saturday mornings, instead of Wednesday evenings, so headed downtown with my shopping bag to stock up- look at what I brought home!

It will be a couple more weeks before we are harvesting our own tomatoes, & a bit longer until I have squash to pick, so I couldn’t pass up these lovelies. Those little red berries on the towel are my weekly harvest of strawberries from my volunteer plant. And look what I got when I did my first test pull on the carrots- these are an heirloom variety, which are smaller & sweeter then what you would find in the store.

Sam went off with his buddy for the day, to help his family move their bookstore to a new location in town, so I spent the afternoon finishing the quilt top, doing a little knitting, & snacking on Rainier cherries (oh, are those thing addictive!) Dinner was a bowl of whole Crimini mushrooms & yellow squash, stir fried in a little olive oil, butter, garlic & sea salt, eaten while watching one of my absolute favorite movies, The Quiet Man.

Tomorrow, I’ve been invited to practice croquet with the Ravenswood team over at the property , so I’ll probably be driving into Livermore after church, then going over to the nursery; I need to put in some new parsley (mine all bolted), refresh some of the plants in the baskets (it got pretty warm & windy this past week), & I think I want to put some Gerber daisies or Zinnias out front. I also need some inspiration about filling that section of raised bed- Chris wants to put in more tomatoes, but I really think that 6 plants for 3 people- 1 of which doesn’t eat tomatoes- is overkill.

Oh, forgot to tell you- Sam passed his 1st Class Brown Belt exam; the belting ceremony was held on Thursday, but we were attending the annual tennis banquet (where he was awarded a Varsity Letter- he & his doubles partner were the only JV players to earn one) so he’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to receive his new standing.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Seo a-nis; càite bheil a' poit-ti?

"There you are- where is the teapot?"

(Sho a nish- kaah a veyll a pohtsh-tee?)

Whew! It has been quite a whirlwind the past week; I’m going to enjoy sitting here, with my feet propped & a cool drink in my hand for the next few days… yeah, right- you all know better. Truth be told, other then work, it will be pretty low-keyed around here.   

Let’s see… I left off on Thursday afternoon, right? After finishing work & going out for a walk, my co-worker (the one who came up with the idea) came over for a couple of hours to work on the baby quilt. C wanted me to teach her how to make quilts, so I showed her how to cut strips with the rotary cutter & build the block by sewing the strips along the edges of the center square. She put together the last two blocks we needed (I only had to re-do one of the squares), while I cut out the sashing & setting corners. After C  went home, I began putting the top together; looks like, barring any complications, I should have the top finished by Wednesday & can start machine quilting this weekend.

Friday was a bit of chaos; I’ve been training to cover for my co-worker, C, while both she & our boss are gone this week (whoever did that scheduling needs to be shot- I’ll be running the dept by myself for 3 days, which has never happened before) so I went into work at 6:30, instead of the usual 8:00 am, missing my weekly Jamba Juice date with Sam. We had a spot of excitement at work; as people were arriving at 8:30, they found the back parking lot swarming with police, firefighters, & a SWAT team. No one could seem to tell us what was going on, but as they were allowing people to come & go from the area, I figured it wasn’t anything serious; turns out they were doing some training at a vacant house a block from here. The young man who was picking up the mail that day, said as he was walking across the parking lot, he heard a loud “WOOMPH” & “BANG!!” behind him & decided to hit the ground; turns out they were firing smoke bombs into the house & storming it- poor guy thought he was in the firing line.

Chris spent the day at the fairgrounds in Livermore, setting up for the Games & didn’t get home until after 6:30- turns out, he’s come down with a cold (which I’ll probably have by next week) so he just crawled into bed & slept, while Sam & I went to rehearsal.

The Games were a big success; the weather was sunny & temperate (though rather windy) which was a huge improvement over the clouds & rain last year, the crowds were manageable & well behaved, & the performance schedule organized so that we were able to enjoy the event as well. Our group was the only Scottish Country Dance class doing demonstrations & we performed once each day, which allowed plenty of time to shop, eat, & listen to the music. There were some unique events this time- they include jousting & fencing demos, along with the traditional sheepherding, Shinty (a cross between soccer & field hockey), rugby, heavy games & living history display. I’ll include some pictures tonight of some of the things we saw, including an inflatable pub! I got to listen to my favorite groups, The Browne Sisters & Golden Bough, heard a couple new bands, bought a couple of things for each of us, & found a wedding gift for my brother & his fiancée, so I feel my time was well spent. Saturday evening we went to a couple of ceilidhs on the grounds following closing ceremonies, ate entirely too much food, & drank a few “wee drams”; Sunday, after we helped with break down & cleanup, we had a couple more “wee drams”, went had dinner at our friends’ house- steak, beans, salad, & French bread- before heading for home & bed. 

As I said before, I’m going to be on my own this week at work, which means getting up at the butt-crack of dawn (Mama doesn’t do 5:00am, except until extreme protest) so I honestly don’t know if I will be conscious enough to string more than 3 together at a time; so if I don’t update, trust I will return by the weekend.


Tha mo bhàta-foluaimein loma-làn easgannan! (My hovercraft is full of eels!)


Monday, May 21, 2007

Coming up for air

I have a few minutes, so I thought I’d check in with you all.

  1. We didn’t make it to dance rehearsal on Monday; I came home from work with an upset stomach & blinding headache, so we stayed home. Unfortunately, this may bump us out of the performances this weekend- our teacher gets a bit wound-up over these things & freaks if everyone doesn’t make it to every practice- guess we’ll find out Friday evening. Chris met Sam over at the high school to watch tennis practice, & found Sam at the track, learning how to pole vault from his “girlfriend’s” (they are so on-and-off, I don’t know anymore) coach & apparently doing pretty well.

  2. Speaking of tennis, the boy’s team season ended last week, with a 1-8 match loss in the first round of sectional play-offs. TCAL & SJCC divisions play a 3 singles, 2 doubles match format, while the other N. CA divisions play a 6 – 4 format, so even though they were JV & only played 2 varsity games all season, Sam & his doubles partner were able to compete in the playoffs (they are the team’s 3rd ranked doubles). While they lost their match 2-8 games, the guys were happy with their performance & pretty well pleased with the whole season. Sam is already planning for next season (while fielding requests to go out for track & field) by signing up for classes with the city Parks & Rec (where he takes Karate) & researching tennis camps in the area to build his skill level.

  3. I still wasn’t feeling well on Tuesday, so I stayed home from work; in between naps, I put together 4 out the 6 quilt blocks I need for the baby quilt, & sat out on the patio, with my legs in the sun, reading my book. The younger girls came out with me, exploring the new plants, watching the bugs & birds, & enjoying either a sunbath on the table or some lap time with Mom. Daisy went in for her re-check; her weight is up & her water intake is down slightly (both good things), but her blood sugar is still too high, so we have to increase her insulin doses & take her back next week.

  4. The Celtic Woman concert was awesome! It was held in San Jose, about 70 miles from here, so we left at 4:45 since we had to deal with commute traffic into downtown. Surprisingly, it only took 15 minutes longer than usual, so we had plenty of time for dinner (at Johnny Rockets- it was okay, nothing special) & wander around- neither of us has been in the downtown area since it was reclaimed during the tech boom, & everything is upscale & clean. The concert was held at the Civic Auditorium & our seats were pretty decent for “freebies” (I got them for renewing my pledge support to one of the local PBS stations)- 10 rows back, in the lower level dress circle, so poor Chris brought his binoculars for nothing. The best thing, besides the beautiful music, was that the show was not a carbon copy of the PBS special; they did new music, old music, & some personalized special pieces, all with enthusiasm & energy. I would highly recommend seeing the show if you can. I knew we wouldn’t get home until late (around 11:30) so I arranged to go in late today & Chris has 4 days off, so we slept in & went out for coffee before dropping my car at the shop.

This has taken all day to get done, so I’d best post & finish up my work, since Chris is on his way to pick me up. Have a great Friday & weekend!

Update: Oops! got it all written, but forgot to post it :-(

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My hands are dirty

Thought I best update the gardening news (given the name of the blog & all- wouldn’t want to be accused of false advertising); things are growing J (sorry- it’s the smart aleck in me). The garden is looking pretty good right now- the front bed still looks a bit like the Luther Burbank Test Farm (one of everything & little design scheme), but with the exception of the groundcover, everything seems to be thriving in spite of the intense wind & hot spell we had last week. It has become a pleasure to drive up to a greeting of flowers & greens; the only disappointment is the progressively sorry state of the rest of our neighborhood. Many new people have moved in since last year & they don’t bother to keep up their yards- weeds & garbage cover more than half of the lawns. *Sigh* that is one the greatest drawbacks of living in a rental community- there is little sense of responsibility toward or pride in the properties- I’m embarrassed to have people over because of the “ghetto” appearance of the rest of the area. I’ve been seriously tempted to go out at night with the lawnmower, weed-whacker, & garbage bags to clean up the worst of it- but to be honest, I’m scared of some of these people & worry they would take pot shots at us.

Remember these things that followed me home in March?

This is what they look like now- I’m quite happy with the results.

The vegetables are going like gangbusters; the 3-inch tomato plant we brought home from the hardware store is 5 foot high & already threatening to bust out the cage. We’ve been eating lettuce for a month or so, have picked a dozen sweet snap peas, & while weeding the carrots, I found a lot of thick, orange tops, so I think we’ll be harvesting some soon. I’ve also been picking a few strawberries that came up in a planter box I was given last fall; I just set the dirt-filled box out next to the house, planning to recycle it in the spring. Imagine my surprise when a healthy ever-bearing plant came up- I’ve been picking 3 to 6 berries a week for a while & it’s still putting out flowers. Unfortunately, the blueberries aren’t doing as well; they put out tons of flowers in March, but it doesn’t look like any of them were pollinated & they have all fallen off, though I noticed a few new blossoms this morning. The dwarf Meyer’s lemon is again covered with small fruits; I believe we ended up with around 30 matured lemons altogether last season, picking the last one in February. I also planted a new variety of squash- a Mango Squash, which is already putting out blossoms- in one of the big barrel containers I had tulips in- I’m planning on caging them to grow vertically, alongside an upright cucumber bush & my snap peas. There is still a large patch of raised bed- about 6 X 4 foot- that we haven’t put anything in yet; I’m not certain what I want to plant there- Chris suggested another squash or some melons, but they take up so much room, I’m hesitant- any suggestions?

I don’t know how much I’ll be around in the next few days; we have a particularly full, but fun, week coming up. Saturday & Sunday are the 4th annual Livermore Highland Games, which is our club’s second biggest event of the year, so Monday & Friday evenings are committed to rehearsals for our demos. Tuesday, I take Daisy back to the vet for her first 12 hour blood-sugar monitoring, to see if we have her insulin levels balanced correctly; she seems to be doing fairly well- she’s eating well, keeping her food down (Thank you Lord)- & doesn’t seem to mind the twice daily injections, but beyond that, it’s hard to tell since her natural activity level is so low. Wednesday is the Celtic Women concert in San Jose; Chris & I are both taking off work early that day, so we can go to dinner beforehand. I had Chris take a couple of vacation days, since he is about to max out his accrual, so he’ll have a long weekend to enjoy the Games & chauffer me around- the “Check Engine” light came on in my car this weekend, so we’re dropping it at the shop Thursday for servicing (ironically, I just received a postcard the day before, warning my that the factory warranty was about to expire- how do they plan these things? Not to worry- we bought the extended warranty & I’m planning on trading my car in later this summer for a newer model) Last, but certainly not least, Sunday afternoon Sam has his next Karate belt testing (which we will miss) for his First Class Brown Belt- next step (in 6 months to a year) will be his Black Belt. So as you can see, sitting down in front of the computer (other than at work) will probably be difficult to do for a while- any “free” time will be spent on the baby quilt, eating, or sleeping- I know, I really need to work on my priorities.

In closing, I would like to share this- I don’t usually quote (or even read) poetry, but this spoke to me; Spring is my favorite time, & May has always brought special things to my life.


Now the bright Morning star, day's harbinger,

Comes dancing from the East, and brings with her

The flowery May; who from her green lap throws

The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose

Hail! flowery May that dost inspire

Mirth and youth and warm desire.

Woods and groves are of thy dressing

Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing

Thus we salute thee with our early song

and welcome thee and wish thee long.

John Milton ~ MAY SONG ~

Friday, May 11, 2007

Tough week to be a cat

Or at least it is around our garden; I received a call from my daughter this morning- sobbing loudly- telling me she can’t find Violet. You might remember from this post that we have another cat who now resides with Jessica, because living with the “kittens” (Poppy & Dahlia) was just too stressful for her paranoid/schizophrenic personality. Anyway, the temperature has risen to summer-like levels this week (mid-90’s today), so Jess had left a window in her room partially open to catch what little breeze flows through downtown San Jose; evidently Violet slipped out during the night, even though the window is up high & she is not enamored of the outside world. After searching inside & outside the house without any luck, she called me asking what she should do now; I hated to sound unfeeling, but I told Jess that she needs to start grieving. Unless she is incredibly fortunate, she won’t see the cat again- Violet has no collar or chip, & is loose in a large urban area with no outdoor experience.

I talked with Jess for a while, filling her in on what has been going on with Daisy; by the time we hung up, she had calmed down enough to think more reasonably- she’s going to contact the local animal shelters with a heads-up in case Violet is brought in, & was going to search the inside of the house again in case she’s taking a nap in some unexplained location. *SIGH* Between Dahlia’s balloon episode, Daisy’s health crisis, & Violet’s disappearance, I think Poppy would be advised to keep a real low profile right now.

Despite our concern over Daisy, we did have a pleasant weekend- laid back & unhurried, with just enough activity to be entertaining. My project for the weekend was to cut out the pieces for a baby quilt “we” are putting together for someone at work. This is another case like the lavender baby sweater last summer- my department cellmate says, “Oh, we should make such & such for “So & So”- why don’t you get the supplies & we’ll do it together”, then she ends up leaving the country & I do the whole thing. The baby isn’t due until beginning of July, but I don’t think this woman is going to go full term- she looks like she’s ready to go now- & my weekends are pretty well booked until the middle of June, so this will be my free time project until further notice.

Anyway, the guys vacated the premises, “to give me room to work”, & went to see the new Spiderman movie- I proceeded to cut out six 8” squares, took a walk, & then read my new library book (Lake Woebegon Days by Garrison Keillor) with the fan blowing on my feet *heaven* When the boys got home, we headed over to the Multicultural Festival at Sam’s school; he & several of his friends were performing a mixed-martial arts routine throughout the afternoon, so we went to watch. I have to admit, listening to them talk & try to organize themselves, I thought it was going to be a ramshackle affair; I was wrong- the presentation was very entertaining & professional. Four different styles of martial arts were represented, each showcasing forms, weapons, & a mock battle, all set to music. After watching the “Urban Ninjas” set, we went to watch my co-worker’s daughter perform with her Punjabi dance troupe, and then headed off downtown.

While Chris wandered around the hardware store, pricing a new wheelbarrow (I got rid of his in the community clean up day 2 weeks ago- hey, the bed rusted through, the wheel shaft was bent, & the tire was flat!) I poked around the quilt shop. I work half a block from the store, but always forget it’s there- it must have been more then a year since I had been inside, when I took a one-day wall hanging class. The shop has joined the “$20 Quilt Club” trend, & is running two different quilts right now; the premise is you pay $20 to join the club & meet once a month for a product demo, where you receive the fabric & pattern to make one quilt block. When you return the following month, if you bring your completed quilt block, you receive the kit for the next block at no cost; if your block isn’t finished, you pay $5 for the kit. These groups are so popular that there is a waiting list to join; I signed on for both groups & have an “in” with the owner- she use to work for me when I managed the now-defunct fabric store several years ago- so I hope to be added soon. I also found the cutest little miniature iron, perfect to take to Quilting Circle or the pack for a trip (i.e. Canada in 10 weeks). We then wandered over to our favorite little neighborhood, located right next to the library park; it is only six blocks square, filled with English cottage-style houses gathered under mature trees. We love to walk around, admiring the small gardens & charming houses, & were fortunate enough to come on a yard sale; we couldn’t afford anything that we liked, but the owner was very friendly, & her collection wicker furniture & old china was a treat to peruse.

I have lately found myself cruising what I refer to as the “Cottage Blogs”, a circle of women who write about their lives & livelihoods spent in small homes; several own shops, others scour tag sales for vintage items, a few are renovating, while some simply share what they love about their homes. (You can find some of them on my “Fences I Peek Over” list on my Blogger site) I divide the blame of this new fascination on MaDuke, who graciously offered me a free subscription to “Cottage Living” (thank you again- the whole office is literally reading them to pieces), my own fixation with old houses, & my suppressed desire to be the owner of my own home. “Someday” I tell myself, but I’m growing a tad impatient- I need to hit that Super Lotto before my arthritis makes it too hard to start a new garden, since that is about the only way we’ll be able to afford to buy a house in California. Regardless, I find it very soothing to peek in on this other world & can entertain lovely daydreams about what I would do if given the opportunity. My tastes are somewhat eclectic, bordering more on the Italian farmhouse, with splashes of Cape Cod, English cottage, & Shaker simplicity- none of which reflect what really goes on in my house, but I guess that is the nature of dreams.

Well, I’m off to have another go at that baby quilt; I’m doing a simplified Courthouse Steps pattern, with a large center square, so I need to get some strips cut tonight, & hopefully will start piecing the blocks as well. Ta!

Update: Violet reappeared early this morning, hungry & covered in cobwebs, but seemingly none the worse for her adventure. Jess said she found her climbing out from under the house (the twit never thought to look under there) so at least she had been sheltered & relatively cool all night. Oh, & I ended up going to knitting group for a while last night- I was the only one there (besides the store's owner) until 5 minutes before I needed to leave, but I found the next project & yarn I'd like to do, as well as a new "Knitting Mystery" book that looks pretty fun. Yes, I did cut out the quilt strips- hope to start piecing Saturday.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Where is the Bactine?

Sorry I haven’t been around for a few days; we had a bit of a family crisis, which left me singularly unmotivated to do much beyond the very basics of personal hygiene & household maintenance.

Our senior feline, Daisy, has been in a slow decline for a number of months; most of it can be attributed to advancing age, as she is at least 13 years old. She has been losing weight, even though her appetite is still good & her activity level is virtually nonexistent, & it has become difficult for her to groom herself completely, due to a loss of flexibility. Lately, I’ve noticed a marked increase in her water consumption; she began to have trouble keeping her food down, & was miscalculating when using the litter box, which is quite out of character. Friday morning, I found that Daisy had been violently ill, leaving huge puddles of food & water several places downstairs, & wouldn’t come out of her basket even for a tuna treat (one of the few things that makes her come running.) I made an appointment with the vet & prepared myself for the worst. Daisy is the only one of my cats with a deep & life-long aversion to the pet carrier; when she casts a baleful glance at the younger ones playing in the crate (keeping herself at a discreet distance & leaving a clear path to the staircase) I swear she shakes her head & clicks her tongue in dismay over the younger generation. So I knew it was pretty serious when she only put on a token protest when I popped her into the carrier; the drive over was equally subdued, with only a couple of whines & whimpers, though she did piddle inside from nervousness. By the time we were settled into an examining room, she was hyperventilating & spontaneously releasing around 37 pounds of fur. Between the technician & myself, we got her calmed down enough to take her weight, pulse, & temperature.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I love our vet; she is one of those naturally perky people, with a deep love of animals & a quirky sense of humor. She could see right away that I was probably in more distress than my cat, so first thing she did was give me a hug, assuring me it would be all right. She thoroughly examined Daisy, alternately soothing her, peppering me with questions, & scolding me for waiting so long to bring her to the office (in my defense, I hesitate to take Daisy in because she gets so upset leaving the house, I feel it causes her unjustifiable stress) A light-hearted moment came while the doctor was palpitating Daisy’s abdomen, checking for any growths; evidently, Daisy’s nervousness made her a bit gassy- as the vet pushed & pressed, we were treated to an intestinal rendition of the “1812 Overture”, complete with performances from both ends & vocal accompaniment. We humans were reduced to a case of the giggles, while Daisy looked on in queenly disgust; I could almost hear her saying “We are not amused!”

The verdict was not as dire as I feared; she was obviously dehydrated, had picked up an intestinal parasite, & had developed a bladder infection. The doctor kept her overnight to load her with fluids & antibiotics, & ordered complete blood workup; when we picked up Saturday morning, we learned that Daisy has diabetes & will need to have twice daily insulin injections. Chris gave me a bit of a questioning look when we were told about the shots & the change to really expensive diabetic cat food (which all the cats will have to eat), but I just shrugged & said, “Welcome to the wonderful world of Geriatric Pet Care!” Daisy is already a fairly high maintenance cat; besides administering daily antihistamines (for her allergies & to avoid developing asthma), vitamins/hairball treatments, & brushing her twice a day (since she can’t reach all the spots anymore), we have to deal with the feline version of toilet paper stuck to her foot by washing the clumping litter from her paws & rubbing them with Bag Balm to counteract the extreme drying clay causes to the pads. What are a couple of injections, everyday, for the rest of her life? This is what we signed up for when we brought her home all those years ago- to give her the best quality of life we can & care for her when she can’t care for herself.
Now, I just need to perfect my technique for giving a cat a pill- I have to dose Daisy for the parasite with 3 halves of a bright yellow tablet, once now & again in two weeks. I’ve exhausted my camouflage tricks- she won’t touch the wet food loaded with crushed pill, & sticking it inside a tuna treat or some ground ham was a dismal failure- she just ate around the tablet. I have resorted to the direct method- mummy wrapping her in a towel, prying open her jaws with one hand, & shoving the pill down her gullet gently encouraging her to swallow it with the other; the end result is yellow goo smeared all over & multiple puncture marks on my index finger. Note to self: wear gardening gloves next time- Daisy’s teeth are in surprisingly good condition for her age.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Learning Curves

In her birthday wish, my friend Lisa at Halal Home asked me a rather profound question: “What do you feel you have learned this year that you didn’t know last year?” I have been pondering this query for the past few days, with the intention of offering a pithy, humorous answer; but given the introspective natural of Lisa, I decided she deserved a serious response. What have I learned? Is there something different about the way I think, or act, or respond? Have I taken my own advice & continued to expand my horizons? Pretty deep, philosophical stuff, don’t you think?

So, here are some things that I feel I have learned this past year:

    v Occasional solitude is not an indulgence- without it, I become frayed & frazzled.

    v My small life & humble words have value to others beside myself.

    v While marriage has brought me wholeness, I am not incomplete on my own.

    v Cucumber vines are prickly

Okay, so the last one isn’t particularly insightful, but it was a lesson well & truly learned- I haven’t approached one without long sleeves & gloves since.

I, Viscountess Meg the Dissolute of Piddletrenthide on the Carpet, now must go to arm myself for a quest, a Herculean task to rescue a fair maiden from her own folly.

Scissors? Check

Step ladder? Check

Broomstick handle? Check

Spray bottle? Check

Bath towel? Check

Cat treats? Check

No, it’s not my daughter this time; Dahlia has wedged herself behind Wally the Washer for the past 12 hours & refuses to come out. We have discovered that Boo Kitty has an overwhelming & irrational fear of balloons, particularly large Mylar ones that play an obnoxious version of “Happy Birthday” every time it moves. So, in order to avoid bestowing the title of “Lady Dahlia of Piddle behind the Washer” on her, I will dispose of the balloon (scissors), climb on top of the washer (step ladder) & force coax her (broomstick & spray bottle) to come out, then comfort her frazzled nerves (towel & treats). Poor little Pickle!

Update: Dahlia finally came out- soaking wet & smelling of mint extract that I had to add to the water (my cats don’t like the scent of mint)- after a good rub down with the towel & copious amounts of tuna treats, she has recovered her sunny disposition I, on the other hand, am nursing a wrenched shoulder & a lump on the back of my head (whose idea was it to hang that shelf so low?)so I will be applying equally generous amounts of ibuprofen & chocolate

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Not bad for a Monday (or Wednesday, for that matter)

That’s pretty much how I feel today- the weekend was busy (do we have any other kind around here?) but I’ve started the week feeling cheerful & contented.

Chris made it home safely Friday morning. He went into work from the airport to unload his tools, intending to stay & work the rest of the day; fortunately for Chris (& the management of his company) his boss told him to go home to see his wife & not come back until Monday (Don is a perceptive man- besides, he has been on the wrong side of my temper before about overworking Chris) I ended up having to go into the office for a couple of hours; the ladies had decorated my cubicle with balloons, streamers, & a bouquet of roses. They also presented me with a pair of small gold hoop earrings. I left work around 11:00 & stopped by the grocery store, so Chris beat me home by about an hour. We were able to spend some time alone, sharing lunch & catching up on the news, before Sam got home from his tournament (he & his partner lost their match, but the team did very well overall- 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place in singles, & 3rd place in doubles) The evening was spent in Livermore at a surprise party for our friend & dance teacher, who just received his full Royal Scottish Country Dance Society teacher’s credentials after four years of training & exams. They had an impromptu dance & dessert potluck, with cake, fruit, & ice cream.

My birthday started quite early with a call from my MIL at 6:30 am, in order to warble her annual rendition of “Happy Birthday”. I gave myself permission to skip the gym, instead going over to the store for a couple of lawn chairs, a tablecloth for outside, a really cute throw rug with a rooster on it, & three bags of groundcover mulch to dress up the front flower bed. Sam vacuumed & mopped floors, Chris mowed the lawns & cleaned up the patio, while I did the prep work for the House to House dinner that evening. We took a break around 1:00 for BBQ sandwiches & ice tea, then I took a little nap, while the guys cleaned up the chaos I left in the kitchen (what can I say- I’m a messy cook!) Chris decided to fill a couple of small holes in the dining room wall (from when we replaced the curtains with vertical blinds) which led to him touching up the paint over the patches, which then led to the entire south wall downstairs being repainted- did I mention that he is ADHD & doesn’t know how to relax? Actually, it was quite nice to see a fresh wall, ready to hang some new plaques & artwork.

Our company showed up around 5:30; I must say, the evening turned out quite well. I made chicken fried steak & chicken, mashed potatoes with cream gravy, baked sweet potatoes, & cornbread; the other 3 couples brought salads, ice cream, & a quarter sheet cake. We sat inside to visit before dinner, as the weather turned rather warm this weekend- upper 80’s to low 90’s- then enjoyed our meal. The sun had gone down by the time we finished eating & clearing off the table, so we went out on the patio to enjoy the cooler temperatures. I asked everyone to bring a small wrapped gift, either white elephant or under $5.00, so we had a gift exchange to celebrate everyone’s birthday, then had dessert & coffee. That is when Chris gave me his gift: an 18-inch string of pearls! They are just plain gorgeous, all 8-9mm & just slightly pink, with a silver bead clasp. The party broke up around 9:00, since we all had church in the morning.

I made up for the busyness of my birthday by being exceedingly lazy on Sunday. The only thing I accomplished after church was finishing the last border on the church quilt, which took me all of 30 minutes to complete. The rest of the day was spent snacking, napping, & reading- the guys went to help a friend of ours move into his new place out in the country & didn’t get home until after 8:00, so I didn’t even have to fix dinner. I did manage to work on a few rows of my poor, neglected Tofutsie socks; I made a counting error 24 rows back, so I’m currently un-knitting back to the mistake. I’m ready to start something new & different, though I haven’t found what I want to try next; as much as I like these socks (with the exception of having to join & tweak a couple of patterns to make them work), I’m tired of working on them. That’s me- a process knitter- love to start things, but I’m always ready to finish & move to the next project.

I’ll be around to visit you all in the next couple of days- I’ve been neglecting all of my walking since last week & I hear the track calling out to me: “Your brother’s wedding is only 80 days away!”