Sunday, December 28, 2008

Good intentions

"I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together by good intentions." Augustine Burroughs, Magical Thinking

I had good intentions, but I guess I ran out of steam. And as far as excuses go, I got sick, and I fell. Twice. I guess the "sick" part was just a bad cold, but I stayed home from work two days (worked from home, though), and I still have a lingering cough that I'm trying to get rid of.

Tuesday morning I fell in the parking lot at work, slipped on the ice and fell to my knees, caught myself with the palm of my right hand, and then actually hit my face on the ground! I don't think I've ever done that before. My knee is bruised, my hand is bruised, my LIP is bruised, and I have a little scrape on my cheek. It took me awhile to stop shaking from that one, but I didn't tear my clothes or get especially dirty or anything, and I didn't chip a tooth or break my nose or any other bones, so I considered myself lucky.

And then, to add insult to injury, when I was getting the mail at home that same night, I slipped AGAIN, and this time fell on my butt. The ice I fell on that time was melting ice, so I also got soaked. And caught myself with my left hand this time, so I bruised that palm, too.

The good part was, though, that my boss had told us that if we didn't have any deadlines pressing, and didn't have any particular reason to come in, that we could work from home, or just take the day off. We had originally planned to work a half day anyway. So I took the day off and spent it wrapping gifts and making party mix to give to my dad and brother, and Bob's dad, as part of their Christmas gifts.

The one thing that I did stick to pretty well was my "handcrafted Christmas," i.e., giving people things that were consumable, such as soap and food, and not a lot else. Normally when I make stuff for Christmas gifts, I start worrying and feeling guilty, and end up buying things anyway, but this year, I really didn't. Everyone got soap--the girls (mothers, sisters, aunts, nieces) got soap, candles and tea, and the guys (fathers, brothers) got soap and party mix. Boyfriends got Starbucks gift sets with coffee cups and cookies.

So all in all, it worked out pretty well.

Barb is coming over today to exchange gifts and then go out to lunch (or maybe the other way around, depending on how hungry we are), so I'm heading upstairs to shower and dress.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Advent Calendar - Fallen Behind

Okay, so I've fallen behind on the Advent Calendar. But I have one more giveaway to do, so don't give up. Later today I'll update the calendar and bring it up to date for the last few days before Christmas.

Soap Giveaway

Using my highly scientific method of choosing a winner, I wrote everyone's name down on a notepad, cut them out individually, folded them up, put them in my Christmas candy dish, closed my eyes, held the bowl over my head so I couldn't cheat, and picked one. The winner was Monique! After Christmas, when things settle down a little, I think I'll put some of my handmade soap up in my Etsy shop, so if you didn't win (that would be everyone except Monique), and would like to try it, you'll have another chance.

Check the Advent calendar for this week, and be sure to check any days you missed from Week One and Week Two.

Click the thumbnail above to go to the Advent Calendar page. Once there, click on the number corresponding to the day of the month. Some of the days will have details on little contests or drawings, so check each day for a special note.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Advent Calendar Updates

I've been sick, and busy, and haven't been keeping up on the journal entries, but I updated the Advent Calendar today, so check it out.

Check the Advent calendar for this week, and be sure to check any days you missed from Week One and Week Two.

Click the thumbnail above to go to the Advent Calendar page. Once there, click on the number corresponding to the day of the month. Some of the days will have details on little contests or drawings, so check each day for a special note.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Advent Calendar - Weekend & Monday

I'm home sick today. Several people at work have been sick, and Bob had a cold last week, and I finally got it. Yesterday wasn't too bad, but this morning I'm coughing, so I decided to stay home.

Bob is off today, so he went out to McDonald's and got me breakfast, then left to go look for a Christmas tree. When I went to the ATM last night to get some cash, it was either broken or turned off or something -- there was an orange traffic cone in the lane -- so this morning I gave him all the cash I had -- $50, and hope he can get a tree for that.

In my quest for a hand-crafted Christmas, I made a TON of soap this weekend. Well, not literally a ton, but a lot. I made: Oatmeal (oatmeal, apricot seed and honey); Oatmeal Spice (oatmeal, nutmeg, cinnamon and honey); Green Tea; Sandalwood Vanilla, and Chai Tea. I still need to make Peppermint, Cucumber Melon, and Orange Spice. Last night I wrapped a lot of bars, and I bought flat metal tins to package them in.

I like making soap, it's a lot of fun. I dread starting it, because it's kind of messy and takes up a lot of room, but once I get into it, I really enjoy it.

Saturday night Bob drew a name for the "Murder with all the Trimmings" gift, and Sharon won! I mailed the book out yesterday, along with a bunch of Christmas cards and a few CDs. They'll all go out in several batches, so if you don't have one yet, it should be on its way soon. I'm cutting off the CD offer, but if you want a Christmas card and aren't on my regular list, or haven't let me know this year, please do.

Check the Advent calendar for this week, and be sure to check any days you missed from Week One and Week Two.

Click the thumbnail above to go to the Advent Calendar page. Once there, click on the number corresponding to the day of the month. Some of the days will have details on little contests or drawings, so check each day for a special note.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Advent Calendar - Day 12

I spent my evening last night making prayer beads, and photographed them this morning and put them up in my Etsy shop. I haven't really done any jewelry making since before I had the surgery on my hand. I've really wanted to get back into it, but I've been so busy lately that it's been hard to find the time. It was really too late last night, but it felt nice to get out the boxes of beads and findings and actually make something.

Someone pointed out that in the Advent Calendar for Day 11, I asked for your "mailing list," but I really meant "mailing address." Sorry about that. Fixed now!

Check the Advent calendar for this week. Last week's is still up, also.

Click the thumbnail above to go to the Advent Calendar page. Once there, click on the number corresponding to the day of the month. Some of the days will have details on little contests or drawings, so check each day for a special note.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Advent Calendar - 10 & 11

I'm in the process of posting new things to my Etsy shop, so if you're interested in the prayer beads, especially, check back soon.

Check the Advent calendar for this week. Last week's is still up, also.

Click the thumbnail above to go to the Advent Calendar page. Once there, click on the number corresponding to the day of the month. Some of the days will have details on little contests or drawings, so check each day for a special note.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Advent Calendar - Day 9

For Thanksgiving dinner at my sister-in-law's house, we had ham, which was very good, but I kind of missed having turkey and all the other things that usually go along with it, so Bob said he would cook a turkey for us, which he did Friday. He left that evening to go hunting, so he carved the turkey and put the meat away, then yesterday afternoon when he came home from work, he made mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing, and we had our own little Thanksgiving at home last night.

After we ate, we filled up little containers and took dinner over to the store to his boss, which was fun. They've really gone all out with the Christmas decorations; I took a few pictures while Bob was talking to people. There are a few more on the Moblog.

We got our first substantial snowfall today; I'm going to go home and have a turkey sandwich for dinner.

There's a new Advent calendar this week, but if you missed last week's, it's still here.

Click the thumbnail above to go to the Advent Calendar page. Once there, click on the number corresponding to the day of the month. Some of the days will have details on little contests or drawings, so check each day for a special note.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Advent Calendar - Day 8

We went to Bob's Christmas party last night, and Bob was named Associate of the Year! They choose an Associate of the Month each month, then at the end of the year one of those twelve is named Associate of the Year. This year was different in that they held a vote among all of the employees to choose who would be honored. Bob was extremely surprised.

The party was very nice. They had the food catered; it was appetizers -- fresh vegetables and dip, boiled shrimp, potato skins -- those were the things that I had, but there were other things also, some kind of chicken or beef on skewers, barbequed chicken drumsticks, just lots of interesting things. The employees all brought desserts, so there were LOADS of wonderful things. I made cheesecake brownies.

We had planned to go straight home after the party because Bob was getting a cold, but since he was the honored guest, we went out to a bar afterward with a few friends.

All in all, it was quite a night.

There's a new Advent calendar this week, but if you missed last week's, it's still here.

Click the thumbnail above to go to the Advent Calendar page. Once there, click on the number corresponding to the day of the month. Some of the days will have details on little contests or drawings, so check each day for a special note.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Advent Calendar - 5, 6, 7

This year I've been thinking about gifts that are "consumable," i.e., that get used up, or re-used. A couple of years ago I made homemade soap; last year I knitted quite a few scarves. I've always tried to make a least some of my Christmas gifts. It's hard, working full time and doing that. Of course, I could have started months ago, but I'm never very good at doing that.

I remember several years running when I tried to at least make something for my parents; there's a crocheted wreath that my mom brings out every year, and a big plaster candle holder that I painted for her. Of course, years after the fact I'm a little embarrassed by those homemade things, but I know that, just like when I made an ashtray in kindergarten, my parents would love anything that I made, no matter how clumsily.

When I got my hair cut on Saturday, my hairdresser suggested a book of family recipes, and that would be a really good idea. I'm sure that my sisters would appreciate it. I'm going to think about that. I probably won't do it this year, but it's a good idea.

The Advent calendar has been updated!

Click the thumbnail above to go to the Advent Calendar page. Once there, click on the number corresponding to the day of the month. Some of the days will have details on little contests or drawings, so check each day for a special note.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Advent Calendar - Day 4

I heard on the local news yesterday morning that two people had been robbed at gunpoint after arranging to meet someone to purchase iPhones that had been offered on Craigslist. Two things that made me think of -- my sister bought something from someone on Craigslist over the Thanksgiving weekend, and we were talking about it, and I asked her how she was going to get it. She said she was meeting the woman at a parking lot somewhere -- I can't remember where, but a public place, which I thought made sense. Now I'm wondering if even that's safe.

I occasionally sell stuff on eBay, usually yarn that I no longer need, and a couple of weeks ago I had someone ask if they could come pick an order up. This person won a $5.00 ball of yarn, wrote and said she lived fairly nearby, was retired and thus "flexible," and could she just pick up the yarn and have me remove the shipping charge from the order.

Well, in the first place, the shipping charge is not just for the shipping part, it's also supposed to cover "handling," i.e., the cost for the packaging and my time in preparing it. Not that it's a big deal, but that nickel-and-diming thing is always a little irritating. Also, the reason I love things like eBay is that I can be my normal antisocial self and don't actually have to interact with people, sad as it may be to say.

Anyway, I thought, well, no, I don't want to do that, but should I? I felt kind of bad, but I wrote back to her and said that I wasn't comfortable with that, and would prefer to mail her the package, and she sent me the money with no more conversation, which was a relief.

It didn't really occur to me until later that, while I'm sure everything would have been fine, it could have been a scam, or a ploy -- buy something cheap on eBay, then rob the person who shows up to deliver it, or, I guess more likely, rob the person when you show up at their house and they let you in. I'm glad I didn't agree to it, in any event, and will keep it in mind in the future. It's too bad, but that's the world we live in.

I was reading this the other day: Thoughts on Japan from a first-time visitor, and this comment struck me:

Perhaps what I liked the most is the very strong sense of security. You never feel threatened or insecure. You never worry about that sort of thing.

It would be nice if we could feel that way here.

Be sure to check out the Advent calendar.

Click the thumbnail above to go to the Advent Calendar page. Once there, click on the number corresponding to the day of the month. Some of the days will have details on little contests or drawings, so check each day for a special note.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Advent Calendar - Day 3

Getting into the Christmas spirit doesn't have to be expensive. And I don't mean stuff like using last year's Christmas cards to decoupage an old tray or something, or stick cloves into oranges and hang them on your Christmas tree. I mean just doing the things that you normally do, but giving some thought to making them special, or just doing little things that help get you into the holiday mood.

I was thinking about that tonight as I was driving home listening to the all-Christmas music radio station Kansas City's Star 102). Radio is free, and you hear a lot of great Christmas music without having to buy it. And as I was getting that link, I see that you can actually listen to the station online through a browser. They play a good mix of old familiar songs and a few new ones; it seems like I always hear a couple of songs that I've never heard before.

We don't take the newspaper anymore, but you don't have to buy TV Guide to find out what's on television, you can access TV Guide online. I've been looking for Christmas movies, hoping to catch some old favorites that I don't have on DVD. I watched "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer" tonight; I hadn't seen it in awhile, and now I'm really glad I didn't actually buy it -- it doesn't hold up very well.

Of course, if you have favorite Christmas movies, you can always rent them rather than buying them; I do buy my favorites, but DVDs aren't terribly expensive anymore. And you can even rent them from iTunes, usually for $2.99. And during the holidays, iTunes gives away a couple of holiday songs for free each week, you just have to remember to go get them.

Amazon also usually has a few free MP3s to download; right now they have a free 5 song holiday sampler that isn't bad at all. Another good thing about iTunes or Amazon MP3s is that you can buy just one song, if that's all you want from an album, rather than buying the entire album. They's usually just 99 cents, and that solves the problem of what to do when you really, really want just one song, but can't bring yourself to buy the whole album.

And those Christmas-patterned paper towels and paper napkins? I buy that stuff anyway, and the holiday-themed ones don't cost any more, so why not get them? And the same thing for liquid hand soap, bubble bath, or any kind of personal care product like that -- as long as you're going to buy it anyway, buy a special holiday version. I know it always makes me feel better. I took a bath tonight in Bath & Body Works' Wickedly Hot Chocolate bubble bath, one of my favorite things in the world. Of course, they don't carry it anymore . . .

The same goes for the cranberry gingerale I bought over the weekend -- I buy it as a special treat, but I'd be getting soda anyway, so it makes sense (at least to me) to buy something a little different that only appears in stores over Christmas. Of course, that doesn't extend to those weird Jones Soda flavors like turkey and gravy. [Shudder.]

Be sure to check out the Advent calendar.

Click the thumbnail above to go to the Advent Calendar page. Once there, click on the number corresponding to the day of the month. Some of the days will have details on little contests or drawings, so check each day for a special note.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Advent Calendar - Day 2

I'm having this struggle with what I carry back and forth to work. (Bob will laugh at this!) I've got a laptop for work now, which I carry home and back to work so I can work at home if I need to. It's really working out very well. Before, if I had a document that I thought I might need, I'd either email it to myself, put it on a thumbdrive, put it on my iDisk, etc. If I remembered. If I didn't, I was out of luck. So while I'd been avoiding it -- I liked my iMac at work with the big screen -- when Cello offered to buy me a laptop, I took the offer. Well, what he actually did was buy himself a new laptop and give me his old one, but that was fine. He's such an early adopter that his old stuff is never very old.

Before I had the laptop, I was carrying my big Franklin Planner -- big and heavy, but it wasn't any big deal until I started carrying the laptop, too. I carried them both for awhile, then decided to leave the planner at work since I hardly ever opened it up at home. But there are notes in there that I sometimes need, so it's been an ongoing dilemma.

This morning I had a meeting out of the office, but I was planning on going to the office first because I was riding with someone else. Then this morning, I had a voice mail that I needed to drive myself and meet there, which was fine -- I would just go directly to the meeting place, I had plenty of time. But then I realized that I'd left my planner in the office, so I had to go to the office first, go upstairs and grab it, then hurry over to the meeting place. I got there, and it was fine, but the traffic was bad, and I'd never driven there by myself and wasn't exactly sure where it was, so I was anxious.

And I still don't know what to do. Because after I stopped carrying the big work planner, I bought a small, compact size one for personal stuff, and I'd been carrying that. So now I feel like I should theoretically carry the laptop, the classic planner and the compact planner, so I'm even worse off now than I was before.

The struggles of the obsessive-compulsive personality . . .

Be sure to check out the Advent calendar.

Click the thumbnail above to go to the Advent Calendar page. Once there, click on the number corresponding to the day of the month. Some of the days will have details on little contests or drawings, so check each day for a special note.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Advent Calendar - Day 1

More stuff I thought of to add to my list:

  • The all-Christmas radio station
  • Christmas lights
  • Hershey's Candycane Kisses
  • Christmas return address labels
  • Candy Cane Tootsie Pops
  • Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale

I bought the gingerale tonight when I stopped at the store for a few groceries. I made Bob macaroni and cheese with ham and broccoli, something I used to make for him a long time ago. He doesn't get home until after 10:30 tonight, but he'll be happily surprised to get a hot meal.

I had this idea for an Advent calendar, and I've been struggling with it tonight, and finally decided that I wouldn't do the whole month for now, just the first week. I mean, who says an Advent calendar has to be done all at once? This will be Part I:

Click the thumbnail above to go to the Advent Calendar page. Once there, click on the number corresponding to the day of the month. Some of the days will have details on little contests or drawings, so check each day for a special note.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008


It's been a rough year. It's been an especially rough month. It's been kind of difficult to get into any kind of holiday spirit.

That's not to say that there haven't been bright spots, and things to be thankful for, because of course there have. We had a nice dinner with Bob's family on Saturday night -- turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes (that I peeled and boiled, but neglected to start early enough, so they were a little lumpy) and gravy (that Bob made). We had a dinner on Thanksgiving day at my brother's house -- my brother and sister-in-law and niece and nephew, me, our parents, my sister and her boyfriend and my niece and her boyfriend. Bob had to work -- he worked 1-7:30 on Thanksgiving day, and 5:00 a.m. to 3 on Friday, and he just left for work. Today he works 2 - 10:30. But, of course, we're thankful that we both have jobs!

My sister-in-law goes all out as far as decorating for Christmas; she had a lot of things already out, but she said she hadn't yet taken the pictures off the walls and wrapped them up like presents and put them back up. I don't intend to do that, but I decided that this year I'm going to go all out, too. I'm going to do my best to make this a really special Christmas. The last couple of years I've kind of slacked off on it, not made any particular effort, but this year I'm going to.

I'm going to send out Christmas cards early, not make it into a last-minute chore like I have the past few years. I'm going to make an effort to watch my favorite Christmas movies, and the ones I don't have on DVD, I'm going to find out when they're on television so I don't miss them (and I'm going to buy a TV Guide). I put up a wreath outside the front door this morning, and one on the downstairs bathroom door, and as soon as Bob goes to work I'm going to go to the basement and bring up more Christmas decorations. I might put the stockings up on the fireplace, too.

I cooked a big breakfast this morning--bacon and eggs and fried potatoes--and while I'm not sure if I'll be able to sustain this one, I'm going to try to cook more. I might even bake cookies if I get really ambitious. I'm making a list of things that I'd like to do this month, and "bake cookies" will be on it.

I've been looking through iTunes to see if there's any Christmas music that I don't have (Los Lonely Boys has a new Christmas CD out, I see), and I'm always on the lookout for Christmas movies. I bought "Die Hard" yesterday at WalMart for $5.00; I'd been wanting a copy of it for awhile, but it's one of those that I find a little hard to justify, but not for $5.00. I had lunch at Panera Bread yesterday and had a wonderful chai tea latte, which felt kind of festive, a little bit extravagant, and Bob and I met for dinner at On the Border for a belated birthday dinner for me.

Some of my favorite things during the Christmas season:

  • Christmas music in the stores
  • Special Christmas flavors of ordinary things, like peppermint McDonald's shakes
  • Christmas-patterned paper goods, like paper towels, napkins, and paper plates (I got Christmas-patterned insulated coffee cups for Bob to take his coffee to work in the morning in)
  • Christmas-patterned plastic ware--plastic storage bags and storage ware
  • Cheap Christmas-themed notepads and pens
  • Special Christmasy scented bath products like peppermint, chocolate and vanilla
  • Spending a long time browsing the Christmas ornament aisles of stores like Hobby Lobby and Target
  • Pine-scented candles (Yankee Candles' "Mistletoe" is the best)
  • Christmas stickers to decorate my planner pages and stick on Christmas card envelopes
  • Christmas movies, and Christmas episodes of television shows (I watched the holiday "Monk" and "Psych" episodes last night)
  • Christmas mugs. I bought a new one from Stash Tea this year, it was on clearance. It's red and has a reindeer on it. I'll take a picture of it when I get back to work on Monday.
  • Buying expensive wrapping paper, cards, and tags for a fraction of their regular price after Christmas and discovering them a year later (like today!)
  • Putting a bowl of Christmas Hershey's kisses on the coffee table
  • Painting my toenails Christmas colors (red and green!)
  • Christmas wallpaper for my laptop and iPhone

I suppose it sounds counter-intuitive, but I'm going to make a big effort to enjoy this holiday season. I've got an idea of something special to do here during the month of December: stay tuned.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hope of a better day

We've spent the last few days getting the office spruced up for our open house on Friday evening, and I've been finishing up decorating my office. I had a windowpane mirror that I bought a few months ago but had never hung, and Kurt hung that for me last night. I'm in the kitchen, and the cabinets are painted white, so my theme has been white and cream. The mirror frame is white, I have a little off-white cabinet, a white painted wooden birdhouse, pale green candles, crystals, seashells.

And plants! The wife of one of the guys who works here runs a college greenhouse, and she brought me a hanging Wandering Jew plant this afternoon, which is hanging from the heat register. The ceilings here are high, and I was standing there holding the plant, trying to figure out what I was going to do with it. I figured if all else failed I could just sit it on a filing cabinet or something, but Aaron came in, stood up on the chair, and hung it from the register. It works pretty well there, actually.

I also repotted a plant that I've had on my desk for awhile. It's a mixture of several different kinds of plants; Bob brought it home from the funeral of one of his friends' mothers, and I brought it in, thinking it probably wouldn't live very long. But it has, so I got a new pot last weekend and potted it today. It looks pretty good. I really like the energy that plants bring to a space, and I used to have a lot of plants at home.

But I kind of got out of the habit of having houseplants, and don't have any at home now. I'm making up for it at the office, though.

I remember seeing Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic Convention, and being very impressed with him, thinking, wow, he could be president some time. I didn't expect it would be so soon, though.

I've always voted Democratic, and I remember most of the presidential elections, watching and hoping that the Democratic candidate be elected, but most of them weren't terribly important to me. The first election that I really felt "belonged" to me was Clinton/Gore. I felt at that time that I might actually volunteer for the campaign, but I didn't, of course. This election felt like that, too.

I'm so happy, and hopeful for the future. I honestly didn't think it could happen, I thought that when the time came, we'd end up electing another old white man as president. During the convention, when the decision was being made as to whether Obama or Hilary Clinton would be the candidate, I wondered whether it could happen -- could the U.S. elect a black man, or a woman president? I had hopes, I just wasn't confident that it could happen.

But it did. The phrase that struck me the most from his acceptance speech was this:

It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

I have hope.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

A good day

It's hard to believe it's the first day of November. I'm not sure how warm it got today, but warm enough that I turned on the air conditioner in the car for awhile this afternoon when I got back into it after shopping. It's supposed to stay nice for a few days, I think. I'll take it as long as I can get it.

We're sprucing up the office a little bit for an open house we're having next weekend. There is a all-female law firm that has offices on one of our floors, and the main lawyer is a plant person. The offices are filled with plants. I went over to talk to her about doing a website for her a few weeks ago, and I was amazed at the plants, and a little jealous. It made me think about getting plants for my office, but I hadn't done it.

I had mentioned to a couple of people that I was thinking about getting plants, and then one day last week she (the lawyer) came over and asked me if I would like to have a ficus for my office. Anna had mentioned my wish for a plant to her, and she had a big ficus that she didn't have a place for. I think she had brought it from her home, where it had been outside, and it needed a place to winter. So she loaned it to me, and I love it.

And just having that plant there made me want to get more, so I went to the nursery today. I'm always looking for a good deal, so I checked out the "scratch and dent" table where they have plants marked down. There were a couple of really pretty ficus trees -- not as big as the one in my office, but really pretty. They had had their trunks trained into curves, and they were $9.99, marked down from $34.99. I'm not sure why, really. They were a little bare of leaves, but not too bad.

So I bought one of them, and I also bought a diffenbachia which really doesn't look bad at all. One of the greenhouse workers came by and said that it was a little sunburned, and that it had also gotten a bit waterlogged the last big rain we had, and they don't like to have their feet wet. So it wasn't perfect, but I'm sure it will be fine with a little time and attention. It was $9.99 also, marked down from $29.99. I was a little concerned about getting the ficus into the car -- it's probably about 5 feet tall, although I don't remember exactly.

I put the front passenger seat down as far as it would go, and leaned the plant down on the seat, and it just barely fit, with just a few leaves peeking out of the sunroof.

I spent a long time looking around in the greenhouse, then spent an equally long time in the bookstore, went to the library to return books and renew my library card, had lunch (a big salad and a bowl of bean soup) at Sweet Tomatoes, and went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to pick up reed diffusers for the bathrooms at work (and a little one for my desk). It was a really good day.

Then as I was heading to the grocery store, my last stop of the day, Bob called. He asked me where I was, and I said I was just turning into the grocery store parking lot. He said, "What's that tree in your car? You have a tree in your car!" I said, "Where are you??" and he wouldn't tell me. I said, are you going to go to the store with me? And he said he might. "But tell me about the tree!" he said. I said, "I'll tell you about it when I see you."

So I pulled into the parking lot, and I saw his van, but I didn't see him. I parked next to his van and walked up to the store, looking all around, and didn't see him anywhere. When I got to the door, he stepped out of a corner where he'd been hiding. Silly boy. I told him about the tree, and we grocery shopped together, then he left and went home while I stood in line to pay. When I got home I made "hobo dinners," an old Girl Scout recipe -- a pie pan filled with sliced potatoes, onions, and a hamburger pattie on top, salt and pepper and a few dabs of margarine, then covered with aluminum foil and baked at 400° for an hour.

And now I'm sitting in my chair with my new-to-me laptop -- my boss' old (not really old, though) MacBook Pro. He got a new one and handed his previous one down to me so that I can be mobile. It's been difficult lately, with the work I'm doing, to stay synced up between home and office. I've been emailing stuff to myself, or saving things on a thumb drive, but envariably I forget something. So he asked me if I'd like to replace my desktop iMac with a laptop, and I said sure.

I spent most of the afternoon at work yesterday transferring the applications and files from the iMac over to the MacBook, and quite a bit of time yesterday evening getting familiar with everything so I can jump into it on Monday.

It was a good day.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This morning Bob told me, "You need to write something in your journal. You haven't written in a long time." I said I knew that I did, and that I would try to do it today. He said, "You can write about your anniversary present, and what you're reading, and how cuddly Dinah's been, and what's in your purse, and how your thumb is doing."

So. Our anniversary was Saturday. Bob's had a cold, and we've both been kind of worn out, and our normal anniversary place (Stephenson's Apple Farm Restaurant) went out of business, so we don't have a special place to go. So we didn't do anything. We went to the grocery store and bought a pie and a few little special things, and had dinner at home, although Bob was watching something on television that I didn't want to see ("V for Vendetta"), so he ate in front of the television and I ate in the dining room. Hopefully we'll get it together to go out sometime this week.

But we did have presents! He got me some beautiful rainbow topaz earrings, and I got him a headlight (not for the car, but one that you wear on your head when you're walking around outside in the dark). 32 years. Sometimes it's hard to get creative after that long.

Tonight I was getting ready to leave work at about 7:00, packing up my tote bag, turning out the lights, checking to be sure doors were locked. My phone rang, and it was Bob wondering where I was, if I had left yet. There was one other person still there, Kelsey, and I heard her on the phone, and when I turned back to tell her I was leaving, she was packing up her stuff, too.

She said, "I just got the 'where are you?' call from my husband. I said, "I just got one, too!" She said, "How long have you been married?" and I told her 32 years -- I think she's been married less than a year. She said, "So I've got 32 more years of those calls then," and I said, "Yep."

Dinah: Dinah has been a much better cat since Pyewacket died. She's sleeping in between us in bed now, where before she would never do that. She snuggles with Bob a lot, and of course she's always on my lap. I suppose maybe she was intimidated by Pye, and maybe was afraid she was going to get attacked or something; I don't know. But whatever it was, she seems to be doing a lot better. She still hisses at Bob occasionally, but less than she used to, I think.

My thumb: I went to a physical therapy appointment last week and got some instructions for exercises and "scar massage." I do the exercises when I think about it; everything seems fine. I have good range of motion, and it doesn't hurt to move, although the scar is still a little tender and can hurt if I'm not careful when I pick things up. But basically it's fine.

Last weekend I went to the knitting shop to pick up some needles and ended up buying several balls of sock yarn. I told the woman at the shop that it was hard not to buy it all -- I told her that I had recently had surgery on my hand and now I can knit again!

What I'm reading: Right now I'm reading Lost and Found, by Jacqueline Sheehan, and enjoying it a lot. It's a book that I had picked up awhile ago at the bookstore, and thought it looked good, but I was trying to be good about not spending too much money, so I didn't buy it. But it was on the clearance table at Borders a week or so ago, and I grabbed it.

It's about a woman who, after her veterinarian husband dies suddenly, gives up her job as a college psychologist and goes off to become an animal control warden in a small town. One of her first animal rescues is a big black lab who's been shot with an arrow. She takes him into her home while he heals, and in return, he helps her heal. She believes that he's grieving a loss also, and tries to find out what happened to him.

In the process she meet a lot of interesting characters, including the chief animal control warden who is also a minister, a body worker who has Synesthesia and sees emotions as colors, pain as shapes, etc., and a young girl with an eating disorder.

I haven't finished the book yet, so can't guarantee that there's a happy ending. The book is, at times, emotionally wrenching, but it's very good. As soon as I finish writing, I'm going to head up to bed and read.

And lastly, I leave you with this:

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

It worked!

I had the hand surgery on Monday, and everything went fine. I was a little apprehensive about it, although I don't really know why. I guess just going under general anesthesia is kind of scary. But it was fine.

We got to the hospital at about 8:00 Monday morning and checked in, and were almost immediately met and taken to a room. A nurse came in and took my history again, checked medications, and told me to take everything off and put on the hospital gown that was left for me. Bob liked that, and thought it was kind of funny that she didn't ask (or tell) him to leave. I guess she figured I could do that if I wanted to.

I put my clothes in a little locker/closet, and pretty soon another nurse came in, then the doctor, then the anesthesiologist. It was kind of a parade through the room, and everyone that came through checked to be sure that they had the correct hand. The doctor wrote her initials in Sharpie on my palm, with an arrow pointing at my right thumb. Then we waited a little bit more, and she came back and said they were going to take me early.

The surgery was originally scheduled for 10:10, but she said that the surgery she was going to do before mine had been postponed because the instruments that she needed hadn't arrived, and she was going to do me first. So they started an IV, Bob gave me a kiss, and they rolled me into the operating room.

The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the recovery room, with a HUGE bandage on my hand. Bob was coming back from the cafeteria where he had gone to get some breakfast, just as they were bringing me back into the room. Bob helped me get dressed (he liked that, too), then he went to get the car while a nurse came back with a wheelchair and took me outside.

We went to Target to fill my prescriptions, and I actually felt pretty good, and was hungry, so we went to Panda Express and Bob got me Chinese food. We went home, I ate, then went to bed, and slept the rest of the day. I never really had any bad pain, but I had to go into the office for a meeting on Thursday (didn't have to, but thought I should), so I stupidly took a pain pill that day, and it made me HUGELY sick. I think it was a combination of the pill, and not really eating very much--I have a hard time actually having meals when I'm on my own--and I felt awful the rest of that day and on into the next. It's only today that I'm feeling good again.

And then this morning Bob took off for California to help open up a new store in Manteca. Tonight he and his friends are hitting Chinatown in San Francisco for dinner, the only night they'll probably be able to get away for a nice evening. So it's just Dinah and me for the next ten days. I'm going to do my best to try to eat well. I went to Target tonight and got stuff to make macaroni and cheese, but by the time I got home, I didn't feel like it, so I microwaved a potato and some green beans.

I got a few other things -- melba toast and cream cheese, some Chex Mix, a couple of frozen gourmet pizzas (chicken caesar and roasted vegetable), chocolate croissants, cheese streusel muffins, some bananas, and a lot of cranberry juice, which is my favorite right now. I'll try to make macaroni and cheese tomorrow night, although I wouldn't count on it. I always have good intentions, but when it comes right down to it, cooking is way down on my priority list.

I could probably have taken off the bandages -- when I called to make a follow-up appointment for next week the nurse said I could take them off in "24 to 48 hours," then put on a smaller dressing, but I think I'll try to leave them on until my appointment on Tuesday. It just makes me feel a little better to have that protection on there a little while longer. I can bend my thumb now without that horrible click! The surgery worked!

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Saturday, October 04, 2008


I picked up Pyewacket's ashes today. I didn't think it would make me cry, but it did, a little. I think it was the "blankie" that did it.

I had laid her to rest in a cardboard box that I'd saved, and before I put her body in there, I put in a piece of fake sheepskin fabric that we'd had up in Bob's office for her. I didn't expect them to give it back, but when the receptionist came back this morning with the box of ashes, she had the fabric, too, washed and folded for me.

The little box was labeled "Pyewacket Cline," and there was a certificate in an envelope from the cemetery/crematorium. We have a pewter urn with Doña's ashes in it, but I couldn't remember how that came about. With the online journal, though, I could look it up! About eleven years ago, I wrote:

Today I went to the post office to pick up a certified letter, then to the animal hospital. I ordered a small pewter urn for Doña's ashes from the pet cemetary. They said if I dropped off the ashes the driver would transfer them into the urn tomorrow when he comes by the hospital, and seal it for me, and then I can pick it up tomorrow or Saturday.

So, I don't know if I'm going to do that this time or not, but I'll think about it. Bob said he doesn't want me to spend the money, but I may do it anyway.

When he got home from work tonight, the box was sitting on the table, and he said "What's that?" And I said, "Pyewacket." He said, "Oh, good! That makes me feel better. She's home."

My friend Liora just sent me a link to her article in Fitness Magazine: Liora's Story: A Year in the Life of a Breast Cancer Survivor. She's wearing earrings I made in two of the pictures!

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Checking in

I went to see the hand specialist a week or so ago, and she said there isn't any other treatment available for my "trigger thumb" since the cortisone injections didn't work, so she's going to do the surgery. I scheduled it for Monday. It was originally going to be in a "surgery center" across the street from the doctor's office, but when the surgical scheduler called me to ask me about my history, when I told her I had a heart murmur, they called me back and told me that they had decided to move it to a real hospital.

Which is fine, of course, and probably a good idea, but lends a bit more gravity to it, I suppose. I had a pre-op appointment on Wednesday morning where I had an EKG, which came out fine, and met with the anesthesiologist, who seemed very nice. He may or may not end up working with me, but he said he's working that day, so who knows.

At least it's later in the day. The surgery was originally going to be at 7:30 a.m., and I was supposed to be there at 6:30. Now it's at 10:10, and I have to be there at 8:10, which is at least a little better. The doctor said she wanted me to take off work a couple of days, and she'd prefer if I could take a whole week, so since I had vacation left, I'm taking the whole week off.

I have at least one conference call scheduled, though -- on Wednesday, I think -- and I'm sure I'm going to end up working at least part of the week from home, but that's okay. As Bob has pointed out, I do have two hands.

I'm not one to get on the cell phone as soon as I get in the car. I always call Bob when I get in the car after work to come home, so he knows I'm safe and on my way, but that's about it. But tonight as I got on the highway traffic came to a halt for some reason, and I used to downtime to get caught up on phone calls.

I called my dad to tell him that they moved my surgery, and to tell him when and where it was, and we talked for awhile. Then I called my sister Lynn to tell her I was having surgery, and got her voice mail, so left a message. Then I called my other sister, Ann, got her voice mail and left a message. Then as I pulled into the grocery store parking lot, Ann called me back, so I sat there awhile and talked to her.

It felt like I was on the phone for far more than I ever am, at least at home (Anna, the office manager/receptionist at work says that I get more phone calls than anyone at work), but it was nice to check in with everyone, even briefly.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Getting back to normal

I'm really enjoying my iPhone. I love having one thing to carry around--it's a phone, it's a personal organizer, it's a music player, it's an ebook reader. It's a dessert and a salad topping! It slices, dices, etc. I love being able to get my email while I'm out and about. I subscribe to my boss' calendar, so if I need to set up a meeting I can see when he's available. Google maps are pretty impressive on it, although it's mostly just a parlor trick and not terribly useful, as far as I've seen; I guess the directions are more useful than the actual maps, or would be for me.

One of our local television stations has a bunch of traffic cams online, and those are fun to watch. I've downloaded a few free videos -- a few television pilots and a couple of short films -- but have yet to actually buy a movie or television show, although I'm sure I will at some point. I'm slowing converting all my contact info over.

I've had a few syncing issues with calendar items and contacts being duplicated, so this week I stopped using Microsoft's Entourage for my email and went back to Mail. I'm hoping that by using all Apple products I'll have fewer problems. I guess we'll see.

I gave Bob my iPod, and he's been enjoying that, particularly since there's something wrong with the sound card in his computer (we think), and he can't listen to music on it.

There are screenshots of the rest of my iPhone screens on the Moblog page. (The iPhone screenshot functionality is undocumented: hold down the home button, the depress the power button briefly, then let go. You'll hear a "shutter" sound, and the screenshot will be saved to your Camera Roll.)

I paid for a few applications; mostly things that I had on my Palm that I couldn't do without. I did try to find free or cheaper alternatives, and frankly the ones I got aren't perfect, either, but at least I was familiar with them. I'm sure that subsequent releases will improve. I bought three Splash Data apps: Splash Shopper, Splash Money, and Splash ID. Splash Shopper is basically just a list app -- I can't believe that Apple didn't put a "to do" application on the iPhone! I tried several free ones, and I probably could have made do with one of them, but I like the interface, and since I was buying the other two, I thought I'd just go ahead and get the package.

Splash Money is a checkbook app; I also keep track of various investment accounts there. Splash ID holds all kinds of information, mostly login and password stuff, again mostly work-related. Both Splash Money and Splash ID are password protected.

I also bought Bejeweled, and Shanghai, a mahjongg game. Most of the other stuff I have on there were free downloads from the App Store.

Zenbe Lists is a list application that has a web-based counterpart. You can sync up the two, so you can enter and work with lists either on the website or on your phone, and the two will stay in sync. I use this mostly for work stuff--task lists, client lists, phone calls I need to make, etc.

Most of the social networking sites have an iPhone compoent: Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter are the ones I have (the Twitter one is called Twitterific). There are also clients for PayPal and eBay.

Other fun stuff: If you download eReader for iPhone (it's free), you can access and download any ebooks you may have purchased through Fictionwise or eReader. There's also an ebook reader called Stanza, which comes with access to a HUGE library of free ebooks.

A lot of major websites have iPhone versions; sometimes if you go to a website it will recognize that you're on an iPhone and serve up the correct page. Amazon has a special iPhone page, so does Google (quick access to Google Docs, their newsreader, translations, etc. I haven't found a perfect newsreader, but Newstand isn't bad. It lets you flag articles that you want to go back and read later.

I've also been looking for a good app that lets you store documents, like Word docs and PDFs, for easy access and reading on the iPhone. Google docs does that, but you can't seem to view PDFs on it, which seems strange since you can view PDFs in Safari, or even through Google Mail. Dropbox lets you create a "drive" on your computer, drop files into it, then access them on the iPhone. It's incredibly fast, and you can view PDFs on it.

The only issue I have with the Splash apps is that the syncing is difficult. It's over the air rather than via cable, and it's finicky. I can't get a good wifi signal at home on Apple hardware; I was successful once syncing by setting up an "ad hoc" network, but that doesn't seem to work now. Some of the forums indicate that it stopped working after the most recent firmware update. I wouldn't be surprised. AirSharing is an app that lets you mount the iPhone as a drive over wifi, but again, I haven't been able to get that to work yet.

Anyway, it's all a lot of fun -- and also a distraction that I've needed -- and I'll talk more about good apps that I find.

It's weird not having Pyewacket around, but I guess we'll get used to it. Dinah has been extra-clingy; I think she's probably lonely during the day. I thought that maybe she was acting better lately, but Bob said this afternoon she was sitting on his lap and then suddenly turned around, looked up at him, and hissed, so maybe not. It's hard to know how she'd react to another cat; I'm kind of afraid to find out.

I've felt like we've been in kind of a holding pattern while we dealt with Pye's illness, and now things are slowly starting to get back to normal. I have an appointment on Tuesday with the hand surgeon to discuss options. I'm probably going to have to have surgery, which I'm definitely not looking forward to, but the cortisone injections didn't do anything at all, and I don't think there's anything else to try.

It's apparently not a terribly complicated surgery, and recovery is pretty quick. I guess I'll have more details Tuesday. I need to get back into making jewelry, and I need to get back into knitting; I haven't even really read anything for the past few weeks. I've been collecting ebooks on the iPhone, downloading all my old favorites, so I've got a nice, good backlog. Speaking of which, I'm glad I didn't get a Kindle--not that I would have, realistically--because eReader on the iPhone is so nice. The Kindle has a larger screen, but I don't know if it's enough larger to make a difference.

I got a nice letter from K-State last week saying that our vet had made a "generous donation" in honor of Pyewacket, and that our names and hers would be in a memorial book that they keep there. I thought that was awfully nice. I need to write them a thank you note.

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Monday, September 15, 2008


Pyewacket died this morning at about 1:40 a.m. Bob had gotten up to check on her, and she died on his lap. If any death can be good, I think that was probably the best possible way for her to go. She was with the person she loved most in the world.

She was so much a part of this house that it's almost impossible for me to believe she's gone, especially when I see Bob in his recliner in the office watching television, or playing a game on the computer. It just seems wrong that she's not there with him. She was truly an exceptional cat, and her time here on earth was much too short.

She never met a stranger; she loved everyone, and everyone loved her. She could be a brat sometimes, but she was the sweetest, most loving cat I've ever known, and had the most personality. She'll be entertaining everyone in heaven, I'm sure.

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Friday, September 12, 2008


No bad news so far, or at least no worse news. Just a quick update.

Pyewacket stopped eating three or four days ago, and stopped drinking water maybe a couple of days ago. Up until then Bob had been able to get her to drink a little by carrying her to the water dish and standing there with her. We don't want to keep her alive just for us, of course, but on the other hand, we don't want to be premature. She still has life in her, she'll still purr when Bob pets her (she won't purr when I pet her, but that's nothing new.)

The vet had suggested -- and had given me -- a large syringe that he said could be filled with soft cat food diluted with water and then squirted into her mouth. We just didn't want to do that, though -- Bob said he didn't want to force feed her like a goose. But I read some things on the web that said sometimes when a cat stops eating, just getting some food into them will jump-start them eating again.

It's about the end of the line for her, though, so I didn't know if it would make sense or even be kind to put her through it. Yesterday Bob called me and said he wanted to try giving her some water, at least, so last night he filled the syringe with water and got some into her, and also gave her some milk. She wasn't thrilled with it, but it wasn't too bad, except for the time when Bob squirted the milk right in my eye . . .

We did the same thing this morning, gave her some milk, and some water, then put her up on the table in front of the window next to me while I was working on the laptop. After Bob left for work, she sat there in the window a little while, then suddenly got up and jumped down before I could stop her. She staggered, then started walking away, and I got up to follow her to see where she was going, and to stop her if she headed to the basement.

She walked over to Dinah's "food station" (they each have their own, Dinah's in the dining room and Pye's in the kitchen), and went to the water dish. It was too tall for her to get her head over, though, and she just laid down beside it. I went in and got a shorter dish and filled it with water and sat it down beside her, and she drank. She isn't very efficient -- she's mostly just sticking her tongue in the water rather than truly lapping, but it's a good sign. She drank quite a bit, then rested her head on the side of the bowl. I put a little catfood on a plate, thinking maybe I could get her to eat it, but she wasn't interested.

I picked her up and took her back upstairs, took the water, and made her a little plate of food -- some catfood, some tuna, and a little bit of salmon -- hard to say, but maybe if she's drinking again, she'll eat a little bit. Every night I've been holding her for awhile; last night Bob had brought her down to me and then he left and went back upstairs. I didn't have anything close to hand, no books or my phone or anything, and I didn't want to disturb her by moving around, but I could reach my little iPod Shuffle, so I put on some earphones and turned it on and sat there with her and fell asleep. I hope she gets some comfort from it; I certainly do.

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Friday, September 05, 2008


When I first heard about Twitter, I thought it was kind of stupid -- who needs to update what they're doing or where they are every few minutes, and who would care?

Then yesterday I was reading Misty's blog and noticed Twitter in the sidebar where she said that she didn't have time to make a blog post (she had a baby a couple of weeks ago, after all), but she was posting to Twitter from her cell phone. And I thought, okay, that would be a perfect application for Pyewacket updates -- I know a lot of people are anxious to know how she's doing, but don't want to write and ask.

So I've got kitty updates in my Twitter -- the link is in the lefthand column, if you want to follow along.

She's hanging in there. We have her confined to Bob's office now, so she doesn't try to go downstairs, and so that Dinah doesn't bug her. She's pretty much stopped eating now; Bob said last night he got her to lick a little butter off his finger, and she lapped up some of the liquid from a can of tuna. She's still drinking water, though, and he carries her to the water dish several times a day. He's also washing her with a warm washcloth. She seems to like that.

This morning when I came back upstairs to get ready for work I brought her a little buffet plate with a little bit of cooked chicken, some deli roast beef, and a little bit of tuna, and I also brought the milk from the bottom of my cereal bowl. But I couldn't find her. She wasn't on the nest (a pile of his clothes) that Bob had made for her, and she wasn't under the recliner. I was calling for her softly when Bob called from the bedroom, "She's in here."

He had gotten up and brought her back to bed with him. He said I could take her back in the office and see if she'd eat, but I said no, let her stay with you. H e doesn't go in to work until 2:00 today, so he'll be there until early afternoon, and it won't be long before I get home.

I woke up in the middle of the night Tuesday night not feeling well, and still didn't feel right when I woke up on Wednesday morning, so I ended up staying home and working for about half a day. I don't know if I was really sick or if it was the stress catching up with me. I felt fine yesterday and today, but it's still a struggle.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Very hard

Well, Pyewacket's still with us, but probably not for long. It's just so incredibly sad. I'm having a hard time imagining a world without Pyewacket in it. I know that's silly, but she just has such a strong personality, and is so loved by everyone who knows her.

She's just barely eating now; I bought some deli roast beef today, and she ate a little bit of that. Bob will carry her in to her water dish and she'll usually drink a little bit. Last night John and Leslie were over for dinner and we had Chinese food, and Pye ate a few grains of fried rice. Today, I had the leftover rice for lunch, and I put a spoonful on a paper plate and took it upstairs and left it on the floor in front of Bob's recliner; she's spending most of her time under it now. It felt a bit like leaving an offering at the mouth of a cave for a deity . . .

The roast beef got her to come out from under the chair, so I picked her up and brought her downstairs and put her on the table in front of the window. Bob said, "She's getting like Doña was -- you take her somewhere and put her down, and she stays." But a few minutes ago she got up and trotted off to the basement. I got up and followed her to be sure she wasn't going to go hide somewhere down there, but she was going to the litter box. A good kitty to the end.

Bob's been taking her outside for a few minutes each evening, and that seems to perk her up a little. We sat out there with her for a little while last night, and reminisced about how John found her sitting on his stoop in the rain, a poor pitiful little wet thing, and how all he had to feed her was hot dogs, and how she was grateful to get them.

And how we drove out late the night of my birthday and picked her up, and drove home with her on my lap, and she was so sick. But we took care of her, and got her well, and loved her and gave her a great life. We've gotten so much from her, but of course she's gotten a lot from us also. She's just tired now, and getting ready to leave us. I'm finding that really hard.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008


I've been putting off writing this, but I know everyone is wondering how Pye is, and hoping for the best. We were, too, but it wasn't a surprise, really, when the vet called and said that she does have cancer.

The tests were done on Saturday, and he said we might have results on Monday; he didn't call on Monday, and he didn't call on Tuesday, so on Wednesday I called and left a message, and he called very late that afternoon. I think he didn't want to make the call, either. He said he wished he had better news, that she was very sweet, and I said yes, she is.

He said the tests showed that she has cancer, but not what kind. It's probably lymphoma, going by the swollen lymph nodes, but it could also be another kind of carcinoma (histiocytic, I think he said). It doesn't really matter, I guess. I asked if there was anything we could do, and he said that they could do chemotherapy, but it's expensive, and would probably only gain her a couple of months. I said we'd talked about it, and didn't really want to put her through that; he said it wasn't as hard on them as it is on humans, because the goal is different--they aren't really trying to get rid of the cancer, so the dose is smaller. They're just trying to prolong life for a little while.

But we don't see much point in putting her through anything even mildly unpleasant if it's only going to extend her life a month or two. That doesn't really seem right.

So he said to continue giving her the prednisone, that it could help shrink the tumor, and would make her feel better. It does seem to have helped. She has a little more energy, I think, and has some appetite back. She isn't eating like she was before, of course, but she isn't turning her nose up at everything.

We've been buying special things for her, trying to tempt her to eat. I bought "gourmet" cat food today; she also likes canned chicken and tuna, and deli ham. She wasn't crazy about the babyfood I tried -- I think it was too bland. She likes some soft chicken-and-cheese treats that I got the other day, too. I figure we'll just spoil her rotten for whatever time we have, that's the least we can do.

We're doing okay. I've cried about it; it just seems so unfair. But it's a part of life, I just need to remember that. But it's hard.

I got another cortisone shot in my hand on Tuesday. The doctor thought it was worth another try before doing surgery. I think it might have helped this time, but it's hard to tell yet. It was better, then yesterday it was clicking again, and it still is today, but I think maybe less. I have to wait a month before doing anything anyway, so I'll just take it as it comes.

I don't think I ever showed this picture of my one and only moonflower this year:

My mom gave me a tiny plant when I was out there last, and I've been a bad gardener and never did plant it. It's still in the pot she gave it to me in. But I've been watering it, and Bob waters it when I forget, and the other night I saw that it was going to flower. You only get one chance, and it blooms at night. If you miss it, that's it, the flower doesn't open again, it just wilts and dies. So I kept watching, and saw it bloom. Made me happy.

What else . . . Oh! I bought an iPhone last night. I'd been wanting one, but couldn't justify the expense, then my boss said I needed it for work, and the company would reimburse me, so I bought one. I thought I was going to have to pay the premium price -- it wasn't time for me to get a discounted upgrade, so I was going to have to pay an extra $200, but for some reason when the total came up it was the regular price.

The guy at the store was surprised, too, but he said let's not ask any questions, and I signed for it, and it went through at the lower price. I messed around with it all last evening, downloading free applications and figuring it all out. There's a free eReader application, so I can read all my ebooks on it; I need to get some checkbook software, that's probably the most important thing I need, and I'd like to have a medical records application. With those two things I will have replaced most of the important stuff from the Palm, and just have one device--phone, iPod and organizer.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Make a wish

I decided that I couldn't wait until Tuesday to take Pye to the vet. She was doing so poorly that I wasn't sure she'd make it. She hasn't been eating at all. I called and asked if they could suggest anything -- I thought maybe they could suggest something like some kind of high-protein . . . something . . . that we could give her. One of the guys at work said they had given one of their dogs some kind of gel to keep her alive when she wouldn't eat. The vet said there was a high-calorie food that he could give us, but thought I'd better bring her in. He had an appointment open this morning, so I got up early to take her.

Then we couldn't find her. She's been hiding in weird places; I know that's a reaction to not feeling well. This morning was the worst. We finally found her underneath Bob's recliner. I stuck her in the carrier so she wouldn't get lost again.

The vet examined her, took some x-rays, and had a consult with the other two vets in the practice. They came in and said that it looks like there's some kind of abdominal mass, but they can't tell for sure what it is. They suggested I take her over to a veterinary specialty clinic to have an ultrasound. Like I said before, we're not inclined to want to spend a fortune and put her through test after test if it's only going to gain a couple of months, and my vet said he understood that, but he thought that an ultrasound would at least (at Bob is fond of saying) give us a track to run on. She's lost more weight -- she weighs less than 8 pounds now. That can't go on much longer.

The younger vet went off to package up her x-rays and blood samples, and my vet stayed to talk. I asked him to please tell me what he really thought. He said he was going to be optimistic, but candid. He said he thinks there's something major wrong with her; he said he does still think she has an abcessed tooth, but that he doesn't believe that's the core problem. He said that (the tooth) is off the table for now. He said that it's possible it's something that can be treated, but we may also find out that it's cancer, and in that case we'll do what we can to keep her comfortable until we can let her go.

He called the other clinic and asked if they could squeeze us in, and they said they could, so I headed over there -- he told me not to worry about paying them today, just get over there, so I gathered up my stuff, the x-rays and blood samples and Pyewacket, and headed over.

So we spent a couple of hours over there waiting to see the doctor. I knew they were doing us a favor by squeezing us in, and it wasn't a problem. I took my knitting with me and finished most of a sock while we waited. I also met a really interesting woman who is a holistic vet in Lawrence. She said she refers patients to this clinic; she was there today with her dog who had some kind of spinal problem. I actually kind of like waiting in hospitals and doctors' offices -- it's enforced down time, you're not expected to do anything but wait, and as long as I have a book or my knitting, I'm perfectly fine with it.

So anyway, the doctor examined her and got her history, and said he'd like to do an ultrasound if that was okay. He said (and the ultrasound confirmed) that her spleen and liver are enlarged, and he said that she was dehydrated. He asked me if it was all right to take some samples to send in for testing, and I said that was fine, and he said he would like to give her subcutaneous fluids to hydrate her a little bit. Since it's Saturday, we probably won't have test results until Tuesday, and then we should know whether it's something that can be treated, or whether we just do what we can to keep her comfortable for a little while.

The doctor said he was kind of in a quandary about what to do in the meantime. He said we won't have the test results back until probably Tuesday, then we should have a better idea of treatment, if any, but what should we do until then? He said if it's cancer, he would give her prednisone, which would make her feel better, but if we need to have more tests done, then prednisone would make them unreliable. He decided to go ahead and give me the prescription, and said if she still wouldn't eat, to get it filled. I decided to go ahead and fill it.

I went in to the Target pharmacy and handed the clerk the prescription, which was made out for "Pyewacket."

He looked up questioningly at me, and I said, "It's for my cat."

He said, "Has your cat filled prescriptions here before?"


"Does she have any allergies to any medications?"

"Not that I know of."

Then he asked for her birthdate (he said I could guess), and I told him 5/1/99, and I asked, "Will this be covered under my insurance?" and he said, "Good try."

I know how to give a cat a pill, but it's hard to do, especially when you're trying not to hurt her. I tried crushing it, mixing it with water, and giving it to her with a big syringe by mouth, but that didn't go very well either.

We tried tempting her with various things; she'd sniff, or maybe lick, but wouldn't really eat anything. Bob said, "Maybe she'd eat some steak." He was going to grill one for his dinner, so he went out to start up the grill. She acted like she wanted to go outside, which was actually a good sign, so he let her. We never let them go out, but he let her, and stayed close to her in case she tried to go too far.

He just let her stay a few minutes, then brought her back in. He said he'd take her out for a little while every day. He said, "It'll be like the Make a Wish Foundation."

She has some big shaved places on her sides so they could do the ultrasound, and one on her neck where I guess they sampled the lump. Poor little ragged thing.

She still has a pretty face, though.

Tonight I got her to eat some salmon-flavored cream cheese off my finger. Maybe I'll get her some ice cream tomorrow.

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