Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Car…

This post is a little late, as we actually got the car in mid December. We were facing yet another repair with L’s Miata—after already having put in nearly $1,000 to repair a failed heater coil. That failure had created a leak in the coolant and put the entire contents of the coolant system into the floor of the car. Coolant is toxic and even more so when run through a heater, or vaporized. After that repair, one really cold morning—yes they do happen in Arizona—the knobs on the heater/cooler settings were no longer working. The knob was turned to maximum cold and he couldn't adjust it. D'oh!

I told L, maybe he should consider a new car. So, he started doing some research and suggested a few options—used options. I said, "no, I mean a new car, as in never before owned, brand new shiny off the lot." "Oh…" He spent the next week researching car's fuel mileage, costs, availability and reliability. We then spent a full Saturday looking at a number of different cars—Hyundai's, Toyotas and then Fords. He really liked the Focus, but did they have in in standard, not automatic? Well, sure, but they also had a fully equipped automatic—heated seats, leather interior, full set-up—that just happened to be marked down for end-of-year to the same price as a base-line standard. He test-drove that, fell in love with it and now we own it.

This is the first ever new car we have ever owned. Seriously. All other cars have been used, some heavily, some lightly, but all have been past warranty and previously owned.

It's pretty exciting and I'm especially relieved that we were able to get payments within our acceptable price range and term length. It's also nice knowing that he won't get stranded on the side of the road—which has happened at least 1/2 a dozen times in the past year from the Miata. The crazy thing is, the cheap, cheap, cheap Miata was actually costing us nearly $100 more per month than a brand new car when I amortized the repairs over the length of time we owned the car. I've yet to drive the car though—it really is L's, not mine—and I'm sure over the course of us owning it, I'll probably put on less than 1,000 miles.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Just a humorous anecdote…

Last Christmas I was given a scrapbook page-a-day calendar. Right now, it happens to be on a section for pregnancy; papers with words like “1st Trimester!” and so forth. As L goes to microwave something for a snack—where the calendar sits—he hushedly calls me into the kitchen and asks, “Is there something I should be aware of?”

“Huh?” He thought I'd been given a pregnancy tracking calendar and a little one was on its way. Nope—nothing like that.

That's all I've got for now. Cheers!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Might Be Turning Into a Cat Lady…

I love the look on Moses' face here. He looks so concerned. What's behind me??!?

I think I've found the secret to a clean house. Get a kitten. They will literally find every piece of dirt, debris, paper wad or q-tip in the house.

We're about two weeks on with the new kittens and they are adapting to our home nicely. Both of them are under the blanket cats, much like Ashley was, and I have both of them sitting with me on the chair while I work. They sit behind me, while I scooch up as much as possible on the chair so I don't crush them.

Moses, our older cat, is slowly getting used to them. He still hisses at them when they are bugging him too much, but no fights yet. They just want to play with him and honestly, I don't think he knows how.

I had told L shortly before Ashely died, that when I do get another cat, I want a horde of cats to train as my minions—mwah ha haaa… These guys are fitting the bill nicely. We've already had to remove their collars as they both got their lower jaw stuck in them. We had to cut the collar off of Wilbur because he was stuck so bad. He also had the quick release portion in his mouth and every time L went to grab it, Wilbur somehow bit him. Poor little guy was freaked out.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Friday, was a very bad day for me. I don't think I went for more than about an hour at a time not in tears over the loss of Ashley. It had been building up for the past week and I just could no longer contain it. I tried, I really did, but I was miserable. I felt guilty over wanting another pet so soon, as though I haven't done her justice. I know I made the right decision with the euthanasia, it helped ease her transition into death.

Saturday morning, we had made an appointment to see a local about some labrador puppies he had for sale. We drove over to his house and were confronted with a very walled in domicile. The entire place was fenced, including where he parked his cars and there were a the parent dogs barking at us frenetically. L didn't have the man's phone number on him, as his phone was out of battery so we called the number we saw on his company car. It had a message to call yet another number in case of emergency. He tried it, someone picked up, pressed some buttons and hung up on him. I said, "it isn't meant to be, let's just leave."

After that, we headed over to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. We looked at the dogs there and all of them were shepherd/pit bull/boxer mixes of varying ages. No really young dogs though. I wasn't going to bring a large dog into the house with Moses here. So, we checked the cats out. Of course, seeing all these lovely purring affectionate cats made me mourn for Ashley even more. There were two though, that were very lovable, energetic and interested in us. I of course fell in love with them and adopted them.

This is Wilbur and Orville, named after the Wright Brothers. They have already earned the nicknames of Willy, O-Town (L's suggestion—I have no idea where he got that one) and Wingus and Dingus after an episode of Futurama. Wilbur is more sedate and cuddly, and Orville is more adventurous, much like the two brothers in real life.*

Wilbur in the front and Orville in the back mid tongue lick.


Just two little mini-panthers hanging out.

They're super snuggly with each other, which allows Moses—our other
14 year old cat—some space to himself until he gets used to the new kittens.

*I have no idea if Wilbur Wright was a "cuddly" man. Actually, I'm pretty much doubting that adjective was used to describe him. Just a hunch.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

March 1992 — November 2009

At 8:15 this morning, Ashley was euthanized. Last night, around 3:45 in the morning, she was having difficulty breathing and her heart rate was fluctuating between about 60-120 b/min. Normal for a cat is 180-200 b/min. L and I stayed up with her all night keeping her warm and comfortable.

When I brought her into the vet, she had entered shock and her temperature was only 91°, whereas she was normally at 101°. They took a look at her, took her temp and felt her digestive system—which had literally nothing in it. They then took her in back and put in a catheter into the same arm as before, so all that fur that grew back from when she was in the hospital in July was once again shaved. They asked if I wanted a paw print and I said yes, so they did that and then brought her back into the examining room. They then gave her the sedative, which literally made her fall asleep in almost 2 seconds. She did not like that—she kind of let out a strong angry mew! They then gave her a double dose of barbiturates to stop her heart and then what they said was a "finisher." That may have been the second dose of barbiturates. She passed in about 3 seconds and I spent about 15 more minutes with her.

Immediately, she had lost color in her paws and ears. She was cool to the touch and didn't even smell the same. She was simply not there anymore and in a way it made it easier to say goodbye, knowing that the body is not who she was, but only a vessel.

I was with her the whole time. I let her stay wrapped up in the blanket laying down as I didn't want to squish her any. She didn't struggle or anything.

She has always been a member of my family and I'm so happy that she was able to be with us nearly 18 years. This past week has been especially difficult on both her and myself. She had been unable to walk and stopped eating two days ago. Until the kidney disease she was in remarkably good health. Even this summer she was her usual self, pawing and screaming at us to get up to feed her every morning, sitting with me while I work and just being a generally wonderful friend.

I ended up taking her to our local vet, only about 1 mile away. They were very nice about the whole thing, explaining the entire process. They answered all of my strange questions and listened to me ramble about her. This is not the same vet or clinic she saw while staying in the hospital. This vet was also a grad of Colorado State University.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Javelina: pig or not?

Not! The Javelina, or peccary, is a pig-like animal found in many parts of the country. There are four species living in the American Southwest alone and today, two little critters found there way onto my front lawn. As I sat working away, I noticed something in my tree out front. Wait… that's not a dog, what is that? As it came out from under the branches I was astonished to see this little guy.

We don't usually see these in our neighborhood, especially since we are so suburban. The pair was traveling up our street, then back down into the wash behind our house. Again, this is why I love Arizona. I've seen so many critters out here—though I could do without the spiders—I feel like I live in a zoo at times.

Ashley's Health Update…

Well, this has just been a suck of a week.

To put a long story short, just before lunch I went in to check on Ashley, as I had been doing every 1/2 hour or so this morning. She was stretched out long, breathing rapidly and heavy, her mouth hanging open. When I picked her up she was completely limp and her eyes were rapidly moving back and forth. I laid her out on the couch and she was totally non-responsive to sound. She was just looking around but laying out rigid. I called L and he made an appointment at our local vet to get her euthanized. Unfortunately we are having car trouble this week and I don't have a car available to me, so I was to walk over there. About 10 minutes before her appointment, she started to sit up and look around the room. Out of curiosity, I gave her some food and she ate it all, slipped off the couch and went into the bedroom to hang out under the bed. She cleaned herself and looked for all intensive purposes—normal.

We canceled the appointment and I now think she may have had either a stroke or seizure.

Like I said; a week of suck!

Ashley's Treatment…

I took Ashley to the vet yesterday for them to check out why she might be unable to walk or stand. For the most part, my vet was pushing for euthanasia. I was not ready to make that decision sitting there in the office and she offered a couple of other remedies. We went ahead and gave her a shot to help with anemia as well as a prescription to slow her heart rate. As it stands, it was 280 b/min in the office. Normal is anywhere between 180-220—so she was very high. I've also noticed that her feet have been unnaturally cold as of late, and the vet said that the stressed heart is beating so fast, it can't get normal blood flow to the outer extremities. She is now on a heart-rate reduction medicine, fish oil and the daily lactated ringers fluid therapy.

So, I brought her home and have decided to give her a few days or weeks, depending on how she responds to the meds. If at that time, she continues to decline I will have to bring her in for euthanasia.

So far, immediately after giving her the heart medication, her feet are warm, she has more energy and sits up and she is back to meowing at me when I pet her.

We also believe she may have had a stroke in the last month. Shortly before she stopped walking normal, she would list to one side. I hadn't put that together until L told me those symptoms added up.

I know that I am essentially putting off the inevitable, but as long as she seeks out a warm sun beam, happily eats her food and meows when we enter a room, I will continue to help her cope. It is the least that I would do for a family member, human or animal.

I'm sure this is quite accurate!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kitty Woes…

I have been contemplating euthanasia for Ashley. She is not well really. She cannot stand or walk, and falls down if she tries to. She falls off of the couch and the bed and if pounced on my Moses, she falls over then too. This has not been a very good couple of weeks.

I tried in vain to find her low-protein kidney disease Iams pet food this weekend. I was told by PetSmart that I had to have a prescription—I did—but they did not have Iams. I said, "could you sell me a competitors brand?" No, not without a prescription. I then went to a vet and they told me, "we cannot sell prescription based diets unless your pet is a patient of ours." Great! So, she is back on regular Iams—which she has had her whole life—and it is the only thing she will eat anymore.

Currently she rests all day and sleeps on the bed at night. She is fairly well a complete invalid at this stage of her life. I feel like I have to explain to people that I am very close to my pets, as though it's some sort of deviant behavior. Too bad. Deal!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pay it Forward…

Please check out my post here PAY IT FORWARD and consider playing along!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mt. Lemmon, Arizona

Looking out at the valley and mountains beyond.
Here you can see Thimble Peak, the Tucson Mountains in the
background and the "Center of the Universe"
Baboquivari Peak.

Mt. Lemmon is our little mountain to the north—OK, it's over 9,000 feet at its height—which is a pretty sizable mountain for a town that sits around 2,000 feet. Over the course of the 10 years we've lived in Arizona, we have been making the trek up the mountain numerous times, usually on the motorcycles, but this time in the Miata. Up top is a little Café, the Mt. Lemmon Café. A few years ago, Mt. Lemmon and its city Summerhaven had a terrible forest fire that destroyed many homes, structures and acres of the mountainside. It was front page news at the time that the little Mt. Lemmon Café—who serve some of the best pies in this area of the country—was not demolished by the fires.

We had headed up the mountain with visions of strawberry rhubarb pie on our minds, stopping along each overlook for me to shoot a few pictures. When we got into town, the café was no more. Not only was it closed, but it had been bulldozed for future structures. Turns out, the little lady that made the pies had passed away and her husband no longer had the drive to run the business. RIP Mt. Lemmon Café and little pie maker. We will miss you.

I took a bunch of photos of the mountain-scape and provide these for your viewing pleasure!

Starting up the mountain looking into the valley of Tucson.
The saguaros are very discerning where they can grow, and only a few
more feet in elevation, it is too cold to support the delicate cacatai.

Looking out over the ridge of the mountain.
I love the way the clouds shadows play on the moutains.
I sepia toned this image a bit for a little play on the colors.

Looking up at one of the many jutting ridges of Mt. Lemmon.

Some pretty mountain flowers along the roadside.

Tucson below, looking out over one of the mountains many ridges.

Tombstone, Arizona

One of the many printing plates found at the
Tombstone Epitaph, the newspaper of the old west.
Note: This picture was flipped for legibility purposes!

One of the great things about living in Arizona is that every day you can take a step back into the Old West—while enjoying the amenities of the future, like air conditioning, penicillin, and modern vehicles. Tombstone, Arizona was our destination for a day of buffalo burgers—OK, I had a BLT; no beef—and a walk along the wooden boardwalks of old Arizona.

The boardwalk and lovely "old timey" signs.
I love this style and walking along the boardwalk
in a nice pair of boots elicits a magical sound.

For those not familiar with the place, Tombstone is where the historic gunfight between the Earp brothers and "Doc" Holiday versus Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury, Billy Claiborne, Ike Clanton, and Billy Clanton—the lawless villains of the old west—on Wednesday, October 26, 1881. In reality it's hard to tell the difference between those on the right side of the law and those on the wrong side.

"Walk Where They Fell"—that's a little morbid, right?
They have closed off the original lot where the shootout occured
because—I can only guess—they can make money by putting on a show?

Tombstone is a city very well aware of its own kitsch value, and it plays up to this fact with great effect. Don't go there looking for the real west—if that's what you are after I suggest old Bisbee, some of the old mines like Winkelman and Christmas; which are mostly ghost towns in this era. Outside every doorway is a man or woman in full western wear soliciting you to see their show, stop by for goods or just enjoy a drink on this fine hot afternoon. It feels like being solicited by prostitutes in Vegas; i.e. a little weird.

While in Tombstone you can visit famous Boot Hill, the original cemetery where so many of the west's famous names were buried. It's a little strange, and very fake feeling to me for most of the markers, but there are a couple of genuine burial sites within. It also allows a nice view of the valley down into Mexico behind the city.

Take a ride in one of the many stage coaches around
town and learn about the way the west was.

Don't stop too long, Big Nose Kates' might employ you in their house of burlesque!

Below is the slideshow of the rest of the pictures I took on our little mini vacation.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Link Love…

These are a few of my favorite websites to peruse when I need a little break.

All of these are very work safe and kid friendly. If you are like me, you will spend way too much time on Cute Overload and from this day forward, refer to it as Cute OverLORD! They get us with their cuteness.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another Trip to the Vet…

Last night I had to take Ashley to the vet again. She has been kind of lethargic lately, and walking very strangely. She kind of weaves and loses her balance when she scratches her ears. I had thought that she might be becoming anemic again, so I took her in last night to see if they could check her red-blood cell count. After a battery of tests, they have determined that her numbers are essentially in stasis with regards to her kidney failure—that's good. But, what about the poor walking?

I believe that her muscle is simply atrophying. I don't know if this has been sped on by the low-protein diet or if it is simply her 17 years that have finally caught up to her. They have recommended adding in Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the form of fish oil to her diet to help stimulate the brain and heart functions.

Apparently there are a few breeds of cats that are prone to kidney disease, Siamese and Burmese among the most prevalent. Because of Ashley's tiny size, vets believe she has some of these cats traits in her genes. I'm not saying you should never adopt one of these cats, but just to know that after a very long life, they may develop this disease—and it's not fun at all. But, she is still very happy, very anxious for us to get up in the morning to feed her, and she enjoys her time with us; which is all I could ask.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Link Love…

EDIT: I am going to delete one of the suggested links: it has become highly not safe for work in the past week and has transitioned from strange and unusual to downright disturbing!


I wanted to share with everyone some links that make me laugh. Below is a list of some of my favorite sites, but I must say, some are not for the faint of heart—meaning, there is some dirty language in some of these and some rather strange photography. I.E. Don't click the link if you are unsure… but you'll be safe with Cakewrecks and the kitties.

I Can Has Cheezburger: a myriad of cat pictures and a window into the way their minds work
Cakewrecks: The author's tagline says it best, "When professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong."

Saturday, September 12, 2009


OK! I am tired of encountering all these darned spiders. First, a pile of black widows in my garage, each one seemingly larger than the last. Then, after a walk around the neighborhood, I saw a large black 8-legger wash down my drain in the shower after rinsing my hair! And last night? Yeah, as I was coming home from a night out, all sleepy and ready to just chill and watch a movie, I step up to my front door, over a thing and then my brain realizes said thing is a frikin' tarantula. Gross. OK brain, fight or flight, fight or flight? At first, brain tried to just shove the key into the door and run into the house. Then it was like, "no way, we run." So I ran back out to the front of the house sure the whole time that the spider had crawled up my pants leg. Finally we went in through the garage door, me making L do a spider check at least 10 times.

By the way, spiders really freak me out. Easily as much as snakes freak out Mountain Mama. Well, big ones do any way, and Tucson is abundant with big spiders. I kept my cats sitting next to and on me the rest of the evening, and L eventually went out to the front of the house to see just how big it was. I heard him through the door making sounds of alarm as he shooed it away from the house. "Jeeze it's fast." "Man, that's big." And so on. He asked if I wanted him to squish it, but of course I did not as it's just doing its thing, eating bugs and whatnot. It's not poisonous so he shooed it into the neighbors yard—the one who lets their dogs run amok and use my tree as their own personal toilet.

I'm not sure I'm going to use the front door for a while, I can tell you that much. When we'd left for the evening we saw the cutest, tiniest lizard on our way out and after my freak out I cried thinking "I bet that thing ate the little lizard!"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A day of photography…

I spent the morning at the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum photographing as much as I could. I have determined, I am a terrible photographer. Bad, just really, really bad. But, I try. There's nothing quite like returning back from a full day to find 40% of your photos are so blown out, they look like their sun damaged. Sigh! I know full well that I can just use the full auto feature and the photos will look great, but that's not why I got an SLR. I want to experiment with the camera to its fullest potential rather than relying on the internal computers to dictate my shots.

Driving out to the Desert Museum makes me remember exactly why and how much I love living in Tucson. Going over Gates Pass takes you from the hustle and noise of downtown and into serene vistas of the Sonoran Desert. With every turn you see life—in the cactus, trees and random road runner crossing the street. Hawks and vultures fly overhead in the turbulent updrafts caused by a warm summer day. Far on the horizon and thunderstorm begins to develop leaving a sense of electricity in the air—the florae even turn more green in anticipation. I want to be able to photograph the way I see the desert, but I'm still learning about f-stops, shutter speeds and focal lengths. I've been playing with the camera in full manual mode trying to see how the images come out. Below are some photos from my adventure.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Summer Thanks Giving…

Every summer L and I do a full Thanks Giving meal. It's my favorite meal, and I suppose if ever faced with “last meal” choices, this would be it. We cooked a turkey breast, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, stuffing, rolls, cranberry jelly and mini spice cakes. I really didn't want a heavy pie or cake, so I made these little spice cakes simply powdered with sugar. The recipe has sour cream in it, and the cake is really tasty. I spiced mine with vietnamese cinnamon, chinese five spice and star anise. Yumm!!! I did something a little different with the sweet potatoes too—used the star anise there. What a difference that makes. It really cuts the sweetness down from a syrupy style to a spiced taste. I use fresh sweet potatoes, brown sugar, spices and a little butter. I top it all with marshmellows and cook until tender.

After my birthday breakfast, L and I went antiquing—I've never before done that—and I found a cake plate with cover. It's something that I've always wanted but have never found before. Since this one is used, it was super cheap. Here's the spice cake presented in my new cake plate. Just look past those stupid water spots!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hometown Tourist…

This past week L and I celebrated my birthday by spending the day in downtown Tucson. It gave me a great opportunity to be a tourist in my own town, snapping pictures with my new digital SLR camera. Our first stop was the famous Hotel Congress, where John Dillinger stayed shortly before being caught by the local police without a single bullet being shot.

The sign, as seen from the southern side of the hotel.

One of the coolest things about the bar area, where we had breakfast is the penny floor.

A close-up of the Hotel Congress penny floor.

I enjoyed the repetition of forms in the bar chairs. I also really like the
convenience of the little hooks for your handbag underneath the bar.

I had the Eggs and Gunpowder breakfast, which is a big bowl of roasted potatoes,
two poached eggs, cheese and turkey chorizo.

L had the Eggs Chipotle & Borracho Pork. Both breakfasts were excellent.

After breakfast we drove up A-Mountain, which really is not very large compared to the mountains in the background of this image. But it provides a great vantage point of my little town. In this picture you can see the downtown metropolitan area and the U of A campus in the background. The mountains on the far side are the Catalina Mountains, which are about 9,000 feet high.

Finally, L treated me to an ice cream birthday cake, and yes, put all 34 candles on there. Wow! That was pretty crazy.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fluids, needles and more…

Did I say giving sub-q treatments was easy? Where the heck was the real me? OK, I'm pretty squeamish about intentionally hurting my friends, family, pets, whatever. Plus, that needle is frickin' huge!

First round by myself went OK, but Ash jumped into my lap and pulled her needle out. D'oh! I decided to give her a rest and try again later this evening with L's help. It went smoother and she got the necessary fluids.

Cats, Bikes and More…

So with Ashley's new medical care, trading to a scooter is now out of the question. The bike will be up for sale today through Motorcycle Traders Magazine. Also, no vacations for a while as Ashley adjusts to her daily regiments of Sub-Q treatments and feeding her as much as she wants. It's official though. I have a dromedary for a cat. When you give the fluids it creates a weird little bubble on her back until the fluids are absorbed into the body. It looks a little bit like a dromedary's hump when it is low on water. Weird! Her little foot was swollen yesterday until I was able to take off the bandage for her IV.

By the way, I'll have to hook up her fluids at home; not nearly as ooky and difficult as you'd think. I feel I could now give a shot to a person. Maybe someday I'll post a pic for the non-squeamish.

I now have two very spoiled cats. I can no longer leave the dry food out for them because they don't want Ash eating any of the higher protein food. So now, whenever Moses is hungry he comes to me where I keep his food in a closed container. This is going to get busy!

Oh, and now she's sleeping under the covers. That's new. I thought I was going to totally squish her last night.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Vet Hospital…

A quick note; Ashley is staying one more day in the hospital hooked up to IV to get her numbers in as normal range as possible. She comes home tomorrow as long as everything goes well.

Thank You Cards…

Here are two of my latest Thank You cards. I made these using images cut out of an old botanical calendar that I have. My biggest weakness is my lettering, which I am working on the most. My favorite thing to do is add dimension with foam sticky pads. Here, I have elevated the illustration for added impact.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ashley’s Journey…

One of the few decent pictures I've gotten of her. I played around making the image
sepia toned, then brought back the color in the eyes. Soft blur on edges
for a vignette look. If I use flash, she blinks,
if I don't she usually moves so much it's just a blur. Like the next picture!

I just got back from the Vet Hospital to see Ashley and she looks a ton better. She's been on IV fluids for two days now to get her toxin (everything the kidneys do) levels to normal. Yesterday her numbers for her BUN values were in the 80s, where normal values are 14-36. Today she is only slightly above 40. She'll be in the hospital at least one more day, if not two.

The biggest problem is that once she gets home, she is in for lifetime treatment to minimize the kidney usage. She looks good today but could be in terrible shape once I bring her home. Essentially, I am prolonging her ability to live. There's a lot of guilt that goes along with this, especially considering that I don't like the idea of euthanasia. I don't even like the concept of capital punishment either. I don't agree with it. So I help her live comfortably by modern medicine, but I don't want to prolong her beyond her ability to choose to die. Like I said, guilt. Lot's and lot's of it.

This is actually a happy Ashley. L was scratching her ears last night
and she is sort of tucked in here enjoying the moment.

She likes gripping my hand with her wee paws. She's very judicial with the claws too!

Again, I come with the disclaimer: she is part of my family. I've always had a strong connection with my pets and animals and treat them as I would humans. I fully believe the afterlife is not based solely on how we treat our own kind but how we treat the world in total. Many people may not agree with what I am doing, but that is their decision to make.

PS: If anyone else has pets going through something like this, this site HERE has been quite helpful.

New Look…

How do you like the new look?

  • Good
  • Bad
  • Indifferent
I decided to revamp the blog a little bit to make navigation easier. I get a lot of requests for the few recipes I have on here, so it's all easy to find now. The navigation was very simple to add, just in case anyone is interested!

I took the photograph with my little point and shoot last summer during our Monsoons. We were out driving and I thought the clouds on the mountains were amazing. This year, I have a new SLR camera and plan on doing the same. I've been trying to take it everywhere with me just in case I get that magical shot.

Healthcare Costs…

So, moving forward with Ashley's health care I'm at a small dilemma. We have officially canceled our 11th Anniversary trip to the coast of California. I'm also spending a bit of money on the whole thing, so I'm toying with the idea of finding a part-time job to pay for the costs of medication. I know most people think, "it's just a cat." But she is a member of my family and since she is not in pain, I don't see how I could simply end her life for my convenience. I'm also putting the Ducati up for sale—if anything, money that I make from that can re-pad my savings account. The third thing I've done is opted to be incredibly frugal.

Here's my dilemma. I have recently started to get into sewing, but can no longer put money towards that hobby. If anyone has any ideas on how to be a frugal seamstress please present them. And if anyone has any leftover fabric that's just laying about the house unused, unwanted, I'd gladly take it off your hands. I'm certainly not looking for handouts, but I know I have a lot of scrapbooking supplies and would be interested in an exchange. Seriously, a lot of supplies—the puzzle place I worked at owned a scrapbooking company for a while and I got lots of freebies.

By the way, this all just sucks. I know animals get old and die, like everything else in this world. But knowing that in the future I will likely have to choose for euthanasia is heartbreaking to me. There's a saying the pets give you unconditional love because they have to break your hearts when they die. I totally agree.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Numbers are coming down = good
Phosphate in normal range = great
Now, because of all the hydration we have to look for anemia and possible shots to help with red blood cell production.

Luckily I get to visit her anytime between 8 am. and 10 pm. I'm going back tonight to visit and spend a little time with her.

Ashley’s Story…

“You can't own a cat. The best you can do is be partners.”
—Sir Harry Swanson

Yesterday I had to take Ashley, my cat of over 17 years to the vet for what I thought would be a mild case of constipation. Turns out, her kidneys are in the early stages of failure. It is impossible to say how sad it feels to watch a beloved pet struggling with their health. I have opted to try a regiment of clearing the kidneys of toxins by way of intravenous fluids. I'll know more later this afternoon what her vitals are at. Assuming that she can come home at all, I will be into full care-giver status. She wll be on a low protein diet, extra water and weekly subcutaneous hydration. Travel for me will surely be minimized.

She's none too happy this morning after spending a night in the Animal Hospital. Apparenlty, while I was in with the doctor Scooter said a woman with a dog who'd been hit by a car came by and the dog sadly did no make it.

This is her from the first morning I saw her. She had just been hooked up to IV,
had an enema (yeah, I'd be uncomfortable too) and all sorts of other tests.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Trading (Up?)…

So, I've just not had the desire to ride in like, oh, the last 6 months or so. Bicycles yes, but motorcycles, not so much. There's no one reason for it but a number of lesser reasons. I'm busy with work, I don't commute anymore so there is no daily drive, my sinuses are buggin' me and leave me a little intimidated, it's hot as heck right now mixed with thunder and lightening. I've been looking at either selling the Ducati or trading it and came across this little beauty this weekend.

Single sided front and rear wheels, included luggage rack, 70-80 mpg and in the most beautiful green with brown seat ever. Squee!

The idea of riding a scooter has never really interested me until this year. I'm not a scooter rider. I'm a motorcycle enthusiast! In this world, that's a big difference. But, I'm changing and my ways are changing. They had this exact model in the local Italian bike shop; unfortunately they also already had two of my motorcycles in there as well, so would likely not be looking to trade. It's a small shop, nothing like a big car dealer.

I'm looking forward to this change in my life and learning yet another life skill. And here are some quick little illos of scooters I drew many months ago.

New Athletic (?) Shoes…

I've needed new running/walking shoes for a long time now. Like, a year maybe. So I've been shopping for quite some time now. After reading about a number of different options out there, I decided to go with the Vibram FiveFingers shoe. What? What is it? Well, it's the closest thing you can come to walking barefoot. There is a lot of evidence supporting the idea that we are designed to walk barefoot and our shoes are actually impeding us in developing strong leg and foot muscles. I'm a big fan of barefoot anyway and rarely go with shoes around the house—even when walking to the mailbox at times.

I've been walking in these shoes for a few days now and found only a slight irritation on my heal as it gets used to a new shoe there. Some people have complained about heel pain and bruising when walking on cement, but I have not noticed any of that. I think all my marching band years have taught me to walk well too. I've noticed that I get less fatigue in my calk with these shoes, and don't get the foot cramps I used to at times. I've also been a lot more conscious of using my toes to propel me forward, thus increasing my use of calf-muscles.

The weirdest part about these shoes is the “between the toes” feel. However after a few minutes of that, it's actually quite nice to be able to wiggle your toes while walking and grip with your toes while crossing terrain. These would be great martial arts, yoga and general shoes. You do get a lot of weird looks too. I call them my gecko toes. And yes, I got the purple. Scooter (new name for my husband—just don't tell him :P ) convinced me that was the best color.