Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Look what we made!

In our quest for rainy day projects, we decided to go to the fabric store to get Anna supplies so we could make a fun new dress for her. Then we saw Buzz Lightyear fabric on sale for $2 a yard, and Colin begged for something, too.

It was pretty fun to explain the steps of sewing to Anna, and I was pleased how they came back to me - I haven't sewed anything except a stray button since before she was born. Both kids "helped" with their projects - which mostly meant they helped me "drive" the sewing machine and took pins out of things. They really aren't dexterous enough to cut fabric or do much more yet. But the important thing is the process, and they both learned a lot.

Anna's simple dress was touted as a 2-hour project, but it probably took rusty old me EIGHT. It didn't help that I sewed the straps on wrong 4 times. I was hungry and needed to be cooking dinner, not sewing. I put it away and finished it correctly the next day. Also note the nifty ribbon Anna chose herself to decorate the bottom hem.

I did not make Colin's Tshirt, but I did put an applique from the shorts fabric on it. They both love their new outfits so much, I had to wash them so they could wear them again the very next day. Makes all that sewing frustration worth it!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Our Cozumel

We are still coasting off the good vibes from our marvelous trip, periodically brought back to reality by the demands of work, children, and running a household. Reality bites; Cozumel is heaven.

Here's me on the beach. On our first full day we rented a little VW Beetle and drove to the other side of the island. The "car" was amazing - nothing electronic on it, very primitive and creaky, but it added to the rustic ambience.
Most of the island is not at all developed, in stark contrast to the resorty little town. There is no electricity or running water on the other side, just miles and miles of mostly empty beaches. The undertow is too deep for serious swimming (except in a few coves), and there are a few bars dotting the coast. Otherwise, you can go a long ways without seeing another human. We had this beach all to ourselves. About every 5 feet it looked like an ATV came out of the ocean, dug a huge hole, and drove back in. They were sea turtle nests, and they striped the beach. We didn't see any tortugas, but was did see a couple of eggs dredged up by predators. Oh well, strength in numbers, right? BONUS: on the town side of the island it rained all day, but all we got was a nice cloud cover.

We stayed two nights in town, then three nights at the resort, which was FANTASTIC. Here's our ocean view. Next is me in the hammock on the patio, and you can just see our jacuzzi in the bottom right corner. Also nice: in room minibar, included, restocked twice a day.

Our resort was walking distance to the town. We spent one day snorkeling in the reefs off Chakanaub (a natural park), where we saw 2 small moray eels, a huge sting ray, anemones, and thousands of brilliantly colored fish. We swam with a school of yellow fin tuna, which was a little creepy. Even though we eat them and they have tiny, tiny mouths they are so muscular, with a penetrating stare and sharp fins. Floating with them for too long made me uneasy! We also snorkeled the reef just off the edge of our resort's pool, where I saw a barracuda, sea urchins, huge snails, hermit crabs, and a lobster. Thanks to Anthony, I looked a hiding octopus in the eye. I also found a conch still in its shell, and it stared at me with its little asymmetrical periscope eyes. Anthony loved snorkeling as much as I thought he would, even though one day he got sunburned. Thanks to my swimshirt from Stephanie and frequent reapplication of sunblock, I did not!

The food at the resort was decent, and the libations were plentiful. The best drink I had, though, was the mango margarita at Manati - a little restaurant/bar at the edge of town where we heard some great live music. The margarita was like a cold, pureed tree-ripened mango - not sweet and icy like you'd get here, just dense, fruity, and spiked with lime and tequila.

Toward the end of the trip, Anthony said, "We have to come back." In a few years? I asked, figuring out our future travel plans. "No, in a few months." Yeah, he loved it like I knew he would... Hasta la vista, iguana!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

We are back!

We are tanned, rested, happy, and a little depressed that one of our best vacations ever is over. After 5 days in paradise, I actually had to go to trabajo (work) today. Work ran late, then I had family obligations. Blog obligations will have to wait.

Ah memories.....

Saturday, July 21, 2007

With cheers to Antonia

Yo & mi esposo estamos in Cozumel, Mexico para un vacacion SIN LOS NINOS! Yo tengo mejor brains than Antonia, porque yo voy con el padre de mis ninos. & yo leave los ninos at mi casa con los abuelos!

Hace muy calor. La mar esta muy muy azul, y las margaritas estan muy muy bravas!

La hoy rentamos un VW Beetle. We drivamos to la oltre side of la isla, where esta no mas persones but muy muy wild playas. Also, muy muy frias cervecas!

Manana, we will snorkelomos on the bonita reefs. La vida in Cozumel esta buena! Adios!

(correcting my spanglish es not necessario!)

Monday, July 16, 2007


Sheesh, nearly a week since my last update. What can I say, busy as usual. I thought summer would be more relaxing (ha!) until I realized I'd have the kids with me all day on all my days off. We are adjusting to the rhythm of summer, though, which is a little funkier, a little more freestyle than the school year tempo. With a lot more water.

I have had some cool cases at work - like the dog who got into a fight with his housemate and bit a hole all the way through his lip. His upper canine was still piercing his upper lip when I saw him a few hours later. He was too painful and too swollen to get it off without sedation. Luckily, there were only a few puncture wounds to sew up - no avulsed lips or luxated teeth hiding under there. (We vets always have to warn owners of the worst case scenario, just in case.)

I also saw some not so cool cases. Like the kitten with diarrhea so severe she came into me comatose with hypoglycemia. I gave her some fluids and dextrose IV, and it was like she was reinflated - dink!- and she lifted her head up. Unfortunately, her owner didn't have any money for diagnostics, and had to borrow the $275 dollars needed to stabilize her that afternoon. So I just treated her for every kind of diarrhea and gave her lots fluids and sugar. I warned the owner that she could relapse, though - once hypoglycemia occurs, ALL the glycogen reserves in the liver are gone, so there are no reserves. At the end of the day, at discharge, the kitten was limp and listless again. There was no money to send her to the emergency clinic for the overnight care and monitoring she needed. I instructed the owner to give her karo syrup and pedialyte intermittently overnight. She did, and the kitten survived the night. I treated her gratis the next day - she was better, but still emaciated, weak, and continuing to lose electrolytes and fluids with more diarrhea. Hopefully she survived the weekend.

I also saw a puppy dumped on the poor guy who brought her in. He is the landlord for his nephew. When the nephew asked if he could get a dog, he said alright, as long as you take care of it. The nephew never took the puppy in for shots, and now has left the property, leaving the sick dog behind.

The receptionists thought since she was vomiting and unvaccinated she might have parvovirus, and wisely used precautions against contagion. I took one look at her - weepy eyes, heaving for breath, head bobbing with ataxia, and knew it was distemper. Placing my hands on her, I could feel her lungs wheezing with pneumonia. This virus is not so common anymore thanks to vaccination, but killed many dogs before the 1950s. It starts with respiratory signs, sometimes gastrointestinal, then progresses to neurological signs. Once neuro deficits occur, they are usually lifelong - IF the puppy survives.

I didn't mention how sweet this puppy was, soliciting attention and petting despite her jerkiness and difficulty breathing. I was angry that she was suffering from this totally preventable disease, and angry that I couldn't do anything about it. Being viral, there is no specific treatment, and it is so contagious, most animal hospitals won't treat it in-house.

I went in and gave my sorry prognosis, and recommended the uncle euthanize her. He agreed. I told her I was sorry that he had to deal with his nephew's mess, and thanked him for bringing her in. As I slipped the needle in her vein, I told the puppy I was sorry for her, too.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Some Photos

Anna and lover-cat in training, Princess Sorella

A picnic with pals:

Anna and Junebug savoring the best Texan summer treats from that morning's farmers' market: tomatoes and peaches.

Good taste in food and friends!

Monday, July 09, 2007

On Names and Delays

WOW, I can't believe all the comments with all the great name suggestions! Thanks, everyone, for chiming in. We are leaning toward "Sorella," and "Fratello," (brother and sister in Italiano), which makes Kareen the winner. Winner of what, I don't know - a free kitten?

Anthony likes Sylvester for the boy cat, but nobody else does. What does he know? He wanted to name Claudio "Boots!" So, the full names may be "Fratello Sylvester," and "Princess Sorella," but you can guess what we'll call them - as soon as we unlearn Patches and Princess.

It is impossible to be anything but cheerful and amused around two playful kittens. Anthony has never been around kittens before and is amazed by their antics. They were wrestling together on the bed, and tumbled off as Anthony yelled, "Oh no!" He didn't realize those soft flexible bodies practically bounce.

Today at work I saw a long time client who wanted to discuss tweaking her dog's arthritis medications. I actually would have given her advice on this for free on the phone since I had previously prescribed them, but she really wanted to sit and discuss her dog's case in person (and was willing to pay an office call), so I was happy to oblige. Her old dog had a terrible bout of meningitis in May, one that landed him at the specialty hospital to get a CT scan. He was in a coma for a while and nearly died, but now is nearly completely recovered.

The owner clearly is devoted to this dog, but did admit in a moment of weakness that maybe it would have been better if he had passed away when he was comatose, altered, and blind. She clarified that although he was great now, the recovery had been arduous. Plus, there was the cost of his care and the pricey medications he was still on. Plus, there were several indoor bouts of diarrhea she didn't appreciate!

His continued care is so intensive, she and her husband feel they are both unable to leave town together. They cancelled their long-planned cruise to Alaska, "And I've wanted to go to Alaska my whole life!" Instead they are going to Port Aransas, on the Texas Gulf coast, which is a sorry substitute indeed!

Overall, of course, she is glad that her dog is better, and that she has a little more quality time with him. He is 14, so she knows whatever time is left is limited. Alaska, for now, can wait.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Los Gatitos

July 4th was kind of a bust for us, drizzling most of the day. Nothing will perk up your 6 year old, though, like going to get some new kittens.

This brother and sister pair are on trial at our house - so far going well. They are 7 week old babies, and we are trying to slowly introduce them to the enthusiastic Francesca dog. Anna adores them, and talking about them is a better motivator than Santa Claus himself.

They came with the monikers "Patch" and "Princess," which will never do, since my dad's dog is Patches, and Princess is too common. We are mulling some new names; any suggestions?

Monday, July 02, 2007

A Summer I Won't Forget

The deluge from the heavens is continuing; we got rain again today. Anthony and I joke with each other, "Oh, good. It's raining. We really needed it." Any typical droughty summer that would be true.

The land is responding to all the weather. Our highs are only in the 80s, and it's July already. Of course, the air is humid and full of mosquitoes. Also, the toad population is booming. They leap away from the lawn mower, which must be employed twice a week now. The grass is surging with all the moisture.

I finally heard the cicadas last week. They are late. Usually their metallic roar is the personification of the rippling Texas summer heat to me. Not this year.

Also making this a soggy summer for me is the prospect of some of my favorite people moving away. First off, our favorite family friends are off to Colorado. I am excited for what it means for them - a new climate, a new home, new opportunities - but so sad to miss our favorite Saturday night date. It's not often you find a couple that are so compatible with both of you - these guys even have children the same age as ours, and we all love to "play" together. We had them all over on Saturday, and the hours slipped by way too fast.

Then, my dear sister Emily has an awesome new job in New York City. It's a huge step up, and just the right time in her life. But not having our Auntie Emily just a few hours drive away for her monthly visits will be hard for us. Sure, we'll visit and see her at Christmas, but we'll be in withdrawal.

OK, must end this post before my keyboard dissolves in a watery grave...