Sunday, November 30, 2008

Last Day of NaBloPoMo!

Whoopee for me, I did it. Feels a little like the triathlon this year, though - no one did it with me. Except Sinda! even though she got way-laid by thanksgiving.

I can't believe tomorrow is December. Here's where the roller coaster goes into turbo mode. Anna and I are in Houston, ready for Steph's annual Christmas Tea. Watch this spot for fancy photos. Although, I might take tomorrow off of blogging...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Extreme canine makeover

Unfortunately, I had to work today, and we were quite busy. I felt a little sneaky, because in addition to the scheduled surgeries, I added in my dad's chihuahua, Patches. After my dad left for his big cruise, my mom mentioned how bad her breath had gotten, and I could see it was time for a dental cleaning. I offered to take her to work the next day and take care of it. The thing is I didn't specifically discuss doing the procedure with him, and I felt a bit like I was doing something unauthorized.

I found the source of her halitosis (an abcessed molar), pulled it and cleaned the rest. She did great, and now is in recovery at my house, until I take her to Houston Sunday. I also did her toenails and anal glands, so she is like a new dog!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Rub-a-dub-dub, 4 friends in the tub!

Thanksgiving table, almost ready to go...

Anna insisted we all play Monopoly. She got all 4 railroads and both utilities, then loaded up her properties with houses and hotels. She happily bankrupted us all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Under the wire post

Tonight we are having too much fun to post - having an UnThanksgiving meal of steak, tiny green beans, roasted potatoes, and gougeres! Oh, and a few bottles of wine. More fun and feasting tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Having Too Much Fun

Every morning Colin wakes up, eyes me suspiciously, and asks, "Is Emily still here? She didn't go back to New York?" Fortunately, she is staying through Saturday.

Tonight we took her to eat some good TexMex at Chuy's. We all tried to consume our yearly allotment of queso. Anna even ordered her burrito "flooded in queso."

Tomorrow, Lisa and co. arrive for a visit, and my parents come, too. There will be lots of visiting, wine drinking, and food preparation. Then its turkey day - more feasting!

Someone at work (who doesn't spend much time with her family) asked me, "Do you really like having all those people around?" YES. It will be crowded and messy, and I'm sure we'll get on each other's nerves at some point, but to be around all these wonderful people, and to see my kids enjoying their extended family -- totally worth it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What time is it?!?

Celebrating Auntie Emily's visit here...

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Anna noticed this at the edge of the yard when she was drinking her morning milk.

He's really tiny, so I don't think he's the same possum terrorist. Anthony relocated him to a more rural area later. He said the guy at the feed store has caught two opossums and one raccoon in his havaheart trap. He shot them the next morning. Kinda havnoheart, don't ya think?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Can't Go

We had a brisk Saturday at work today. I had an emergency work-in -- an elderly lady brought in her beloved cat.

"She vomited three times this morning, and she's been in and out of the litter box, like she's trying to poop. She peed, but I think she's constipated." Sometimes cats will vomit from constipation, but when I palpated this girl she didn't have any stool in her colon.

Often owners will mistake straining for constipation when in fact their pet is straining because of diarrhea, the opposite problem. This lady was sure there was no diarrhea. Also, straining sometimes happens from a bladder infection, but again, she said the cat was posturing for defecation.

My client was so sweet, so concerned about her feline companion, and polite and friendly in that old-fashioned way. The cat was short and stocky. "Maybe I just can't feel the stool. Let me take a lateral Xray to make sure she's not constipated," I said. Meanwhile the poor cat vomited again.

Her colon was truly empty on the Xray, but there was a large clump of stool in her rectum, between the pelvic inlet and the poop outlet. So we were both right- she was constipated, but it wasn't in her colon. I took the cat to the back, put on a glove, and quickly helped the cat get rid of the two wide compacted turds in her rectum. Whew!

I gave her an antinausea injection when I returned her to the owner. "I just knew something was wrong," she said, "and I was worried about coming up on the weekend. Thank you; I am so glad to have met you!" So kind! She seemed as relieved as her cat.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Colorful character

I saw a cute little cat today. She had a sore on her side and the tip of her ear was gone.

"Was she a former stray that got her ear tipped?" I asked. This often happens when feral cats are caught and spayed or neutered; that way you can tell if the cat is altered from a distance. Sometimes the "feral" cats are so nice, they end up in homes.

"No, the parrot did that," the owner said. "She tried to get into the cage and he lopped her ear off. You have to be careful with those yellow-headed amazons. They can take your finger off!"

The cat had a nickel sized opening in her skin that had been there for about a month. It wasn't healing because of infection, and was probably due to another cat's bite. She needed oral antibiotics to heal this one.

"Yeah, I cleaned it and put some Monkey Blood on it!" Not real monkey blood. My technician informed me "monkey blood" is a country colloquialism for Iodine. Not nearly as exciting as clindamycin.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Only one way to go from here

Anna excels at school. Her last report card had all high A's, so they gave her an "I Improved My Grades" ribbon at the last pops rally. Hmph.

Everyday we get a report on her behavior, with a color coded scale. She almost always gets "blue" - no behavior mistakes.

"You know," Anthony said, "Anna's been getting some Greens."

"Yeah?" I said.

"Yeah, less than perfect behavior!" he said.

Whatever will we do!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Field Trip

I got to help with the kindergarten field trip to a local educational farm today. The weather was glorious-- sunny, cool, dry, and the kindergarteners have learn enough rules to brave the trip.

First thing we did was take a hayride to see Ostriches.

After visiting the dairy barn (by far the best part of the trip), we were ushered into the barn to watch a boring power point video of the animals on the farm. Um, we're here, so shouldn't we just go see the animals? Soon, we did, visiting typical farm animals like snakes and bearded dragons!

Then we walked around to see more traditional farm animals, like donkeys, pigs, sheep, goats, and of course, fairies.

Colin was so thrilled to have me there, giving me lots of spontaneous hugs, and also insisting on holding his buddies hand AND my hand. There was a picnic lunch, then time for posing for pictures, this one with silly faces:

It was a great cause to give up my day off.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Check this out!

My uncle's wife, Gail, competed in the Tulsa Route 66 Marathon last weekend, and she WON! Those are some amazing legs.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Answers to your burning questions

Dear readers, thank you so much for all your comments. I often intend to respond to your questions in the comment section, but then I read comments on the fly, checking email on my way out the door or at work. I answer them mentally, and intend to write the response, but rarely do. So here we go, in no particular order...

What did you do with the arugula? It was so good and I have a batch from my CSA to prepare.

Arugula is so tasty, and one of my favorite things on earth, it really needs very little done to it. At Sinda's party, I squeezed 1/4 lemon over it, drizzled generously with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and tossed it all together. You can substitute balsamic vinegar for the lemon. Toss in nuts, goat cheese, or croutons if you like. I also like it chopped up over sandwiches, tacos, or rolled up in prosciutto or bresaola.

Too bad that Midge couldn't come to the party. Is she anything like Midge on Mad Men?

No. She is a bird rehabilitator in Midland, Texas. Crazy about her work in the best sort of way.

What about hiring one of the teen ballerinas to shuttle Anna to these extra (ballet rehearsals)?
Great idea, except the oldest dancers at our studio are 14, and they don't live near us.

Possums are nasty. Is Chicka ok?
Yes, gracias dios. She layed low the next day - I'm sure she was sore - and since then has been perky.

Can you imagine a worse time to get a puppy than when a family is trying to settle into a new house and routine? (re: Obama)

Laura, you wouldn't believe the stupid moments people get a puppy. Like women in their 3rd trimester (this happens a LOT). Lots of people get puppies just before moving. Or getting two puppies at the same time - I always advise against this, for multiple reasons. I am hoping the Obama puppy will have a (paid) caretaker, and staff to help pick up after it. I did hear that the Bush's dog bit a journalist recently.

I am curious to know when your migraines started.

My migraines started two years ago this month. I woke up with a headache so bad I vomited. I was misdiagnosed with a sinus headache. It happened again a few months later, and again, the same misdiagnosis. I went to my regular GP, and he said, "A headache that lasts 3 days isn't just allergies. You have migraines." Thank you! Since then I've had them about once a quarter. I heard a great piece on Fresh Air about a new book called, "The Migraine Brain," that I want to order.

I'm sure you'll keep a good eye on your kitties' teeth to prevent as much loss as possible. Do you brush their teeth?

No. But I know people who do, and some even use an electric toothbrush!

Should race have anything to do with electing the best candidate?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cheers to a great weekend, snatched from the jaws of sickness

The Girls' Night was a total success. Sweeter, perhaps, because I almost missed it! Sinda made me a great new cocktail that was prosecco, St. Germaine, Lillet, and lemon twist. It was so great to see Lisa again. I was able to convince her that Arugula could be a finger food, appropriate for a cocktail party! Kris had a brush with illness but also rallied for the event, which turned into a fun sleepover, and brunch with mimosas, and 30Rock watching, and lots of gabbing, and a final El Chilito run so Lisa could get some TexMex before returning to CO.

The best news is that she is likely to return to TX thanksgiving week, this time with all her family, so Anth and Anna and Colin won't be so jealous!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Go Away

On the agenda today was a Girls' Afternoon and Night Out, with a sleepover, with a friend back in town -- I haven't seen her in over a year.

Not on the agenda, a monster Migraine. Wham!

However, I took my medicine and a two hour nap. Removing myself from all sensory input seems to have appeased the beast which was squeezing my brain. So even though I am late, I am declaring victory over this one and heading out to have some fun. I just hope this feeling lasts...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Not feeling very inspired tonight

Anna says I should write about her snail. Last week she got a snail for her fish tank. She named him Alan. He died after a week, and Anna was very sad. She got a new snail and named him Jason.

Day 13, and I've hit the NaBloPoMo wall.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sorry, good-bye.

One of our good clients, who uses her own money and time to rescue lots of cats, dropped off 3 kittens for me to see today. They had been examined earlier in the week by another doctor, who diagnosed ringworm and a mild upper respiratory virus, as well as general unthriftiness.

Since then, one of the kittens had died, and the rest got worse. The mom, who only weighed a little more than 4 pounds herself and was "wild as a hare," had abandoned the litter in a move for survival. Not a good sign.

The kittens were in a pile. Two of them were scrawny, emaciated and dehydrated. Their little noses were so clogged with snot, they were breathing open-mouthed. Cats make really thick, impenetrable mucus, and they cannot blow their noses. They looked at me with distant, goopy eyes and mewed weakly. Their skin was patchy with hair loss and crust. Their bottoms were soiled. One of them had crackles in his tiny lungs, the other I couldn't hear lung sounds at all. When I put them down, they huddled again in a pile.

There was one orange kitten, though, who was sitting up, meowing and sneezing, snotty-nosed but quite full of personality. He weighed 1 pound, while his littermates were just 0.5 lbs, and his temp was normal when theirs was very low.

I applied saline to all of their noses to loosen the snot, gave the failing ones some subcutaneous fluids, and called the client. "Do everything you can, if you think you can save them." Oh, boy. I wanted to save them, but I really felt like even if I did a lot for these guys, they would die on me. I told her that they were suffering. "What should I do?" she asked. I told her she should let the two failing ones go, and focus her efforts on the perky "red-head." She agreed.

I gave the little kitties a sedative, and they huddled by their big brother and fell asleep. Then I overdosed them, and they died peacefully. It made me sadder than I thought it would. I can fight a lot of ills, but these two had too much going against them (pneumonia, virus, fungal infection), and no reserves to shore up their immune system. I knew it was the right decision, but I still hated it.

The little orange kitty got nebulized (a treatment with aerosolized medications) and a new antibiotic, along with his previous medications. He'll pull through, and I'll see him for a recheck in 2 weeks. He is a survivor.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

'Possum Problem

Twice Anthony has had to chase an opossum out of the hen house after midnight. Saturday night I was still up when we heard for the third time the unhappy clucking of the chickens.

I was walking down to the chicken yard while Anthony got a flash light when the clucks turned into screams. I ran but I couldn't see anything. When Anthony got there, we saw that Chicka the China was hunkered down in the hay, bleeding from her ear.

The problem with the opossum is that it plays dead when Anthony first pokes at it to get it out of the chickens' hutch. Then it hisses and shows its mean teeth (like an R.O.U.S.), but can't figure out how to get out. He keeps getting stuck in the corners. This time, in addition to the PVC pipe Anthony used, I had a bamboo stick to help steer it out of corners, then away from the house. We didn't want to kill it, although I deeply considered it after seeing my bleeding hen. I beat him on the butt repeatedly with my stick, yelling, "Get out of my yard and never come back!!!" In the adrenaline rush, I got a big scratch on the back of my right hand that I did not even feel at the moment.

I do not trust that I was fearsome enough to keep the opossum from coming back, however, so I have borrowed a "Have-A-Heart" trap from work. Hopefully next time we will catch him and relocate him.

Retelling this story at work, a coworker asked me, "Do you say 'opossum' or 'possum'?" I say Opossum, unless I am talking pretty quickly, then I revert to the southern Possum. However, others had not even heard of Opossum.

"Maybe the 'O' is silent?" one asked.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Odds and Ends

1. The police stand-off was still on going when I went to bed at 11 pm. All quiet when I got up at 6 am.

2. Colin still loves his fish. He said, "I want them to kiss me good-night." I told him fish don't do that. He put his fingers at the top of the tank, and the dalmatian mollies pecked at his fingertips.

3. I exchanged a pair of wellies (rubber boots) for a bigger size for Colin today. They are making my kitchen smell like a tire store.

4. For her bedtime story, Anna chose to read the newspaper tonight. She wanted to read about Bush showing Obama the White House, and also read about a kid who was injured by a bomb in Bagdad, and how children in Austin placed 700 little red flags on top of piles of dog doo at the city park to draw attention to the disgusting fact that most dog owners do not pick up after their dog.

5. Something really funny happened at work today, and I thought, "That's it! My blog post for tonight." Damn if I can remember it now.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stand Off

I live in a quiet suburb, on a sleepy little cul-de-sac street. Which was blocked off by 6 cop cars when we drove home from ballet today.

They let me pull in to my driveway but would not tell me what was going on. They did tell me to go in the house and stay inside. I called the police non-emergency line, and got the same thing. "We can't tell you what's happening, but we have it under control!" If you say so.

Fortunately, another neighbor called to tell me that my neighbor across the cul-de-sac has an adult bipolar son who was acting in a threatening manner, and was apparently in a room with a weapon. While we ate dinner, we could hear the police bullhorn saying, "You have to come out. You are not in trouble. We want to get you help. You need to come out now."

Two hours later, its quieter but apparently still not resolved. It is nice to know that four other neighbors called me to find out what was going on. It's kinda like a bad TV movie out there right now. I hope it is resolved quickly and uneventfully.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Because there are not enough animals in this house

A friend is moving, so we got her tank and put it in Colin's room. He is SO happy. Stacy and Luis even delivered it and set it up for us!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Ballet Blues

Anna loves ballet. She has several parts in the upcoming Christmas show. One thing I love about her ballet studio is that the young students are very prepared for the performances. There are students of many levels doing different choreography at the same time during the show. There isn't a teacher up there prompting them with the steps.

All this preparation takes time, though. In addition to regular class on Mondays, there are a lot of weekend rehearsals. Today she was scheduled to be there from 2:30-3:30 to practice the Gingerbread cookies' tap routine, then from 4:45-7 for Act 2 run-through. Fortunately that got shortened to just 5:45. And also she doesn't mind staying at the studio between rehearsals as long as I pack her a snack and a book. That's good, because going back and forth 4 times would add up to over 2 hours of driving.

There is another long run-through tomorrow, too.

I may be a little tired of the driving, but Anna isn't tired of ballet. If she was getting burned out, I would cut it back. She seriously loves going, and beams when she's performing on stage. It's great exercise, and the extra rehearsals don't cost us extra in tuition. Driving her there is the least I can do.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Anna is tickled that Obama has promised his daughters a new puppy.

There is a note on my desk tonight:

Dear Mommy,
May I Please have a dog. I would take care of it mostly.
- Anna

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Fill in the blanks

The other day as I was getting ready to head out the door to work, Colin asked me, "How do cats mate?"

My children know the basic biology of where babies come from, but I wasn't ready for a huge discussion.

"What do you mean?" I said.

"You know, like how bugs mate. How do cats mate?"

I said, "Well, the male cat gets on top of the female cat..."

I paused, not sure what level of detail was going to be needed.

"And the female cat pushes the babies out, right?" Colin said triumphantly

Yes, son, exactly.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

On Hope

Tuesday night the kids knew something was up because we were watching TV before they went to bed. They tried to stay up, too, but we sent them to bed. Anna kept coming out for updates. She wanted to know for sure when Obama won, so she could do a victory dance.

She was asleep when we went in to tell her he was called the winner. But the next morning, it was her first question. I told her that he'd won, and people all over the country were dancing.

Anna ran in to tell sleeping Colin. "Guess who the new president is?" Colin said, "Varack Ovama?" YES!

Anthony had stayed up until 2am watching the reaction and chatting with Jessica, our former babysitter who just started Law School in Chicago (you must read her post about being there). Anthony was in a daze, happy, relieved, and amazed by the spontaneous outpouring of people in New York, Washington DC, LA, and even London, Australia, etc.

This election night has been so unique. I remember in 2000 being amazed the winner still wasn't certain the next morning - in fact we didn't know for a month. And I was surprised by how depressed I was when Bush was reelected in 2004 - not that the alternative choice was that great. Then Bush declared he had a mandate to push through his policies, capital that he intended to spend. His hubris was nauseating.

This time around was different, and not just because my candidate won. McCain gave a gracious and moving concession speech, and reminded us of the old honorable McCain we admired before he embarked on a Rovian campaign. Obama's speech was also moving, especially since he said he would listen to those who didn't vote for him. It wasn't a gloating victor's speech, but a uniting, positive vision for the future. Then, the spontaneous outpouring of celebration. We were proud of our country, for electing a black man, for taking a positive step in the midst of so much bad news, for the respect the two opponents showed each other. For, despite recession, war, and partisan divisions, daring to hope.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Hi Mom!

This was my patient for today. She's the mom of my cats, Fratello and Sorella. She's only 3 years old, but had terrible periodontal disease. She had some pain while chewing (a subtle sign her owner noticed), and an area with gum infection over one tooth. However, Xrays revealed that she needed 4 molars pulled! Poor baby. She looks so much like my cats - tiny and soft like her daughter Sorella, but with the same markings and whiskers as her son Fratello.

I hope they didn't inherit her dental genes...

Monday, November 03, 2008

I love the Italians...

Happy Election Day on Miercoledi, tutti!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Daylight Savings

Thank goodness daylight savings finally ended so we could "fall back." The days are getting shorter, and it's been far too dark in the mornings. As I recall, they extended the beginning and end of daylight savings to stimulate the economy (since people tend to shop more if it is light at the end of the day). Thank goodness that worked!

We had an extra hour today, a worthy extravagance on such a beautiful fall Sunday. However, it seemed to melt away like an extra pat of butter on your hot morning muffin. Anna and I went to the bookstore then Petsmart to get some new fish, then she had another extra ballet rehearsal. Colin and Anthony dug out weeds in the front yard. Hanging laundry. Grilling steak and veggies. New bottle of wine to try. Halloween candy to plunder.

Yeah, I could take an extra 24 hours like these...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

NaBloPoMo -- again?

It is November 1st (must remember to give dog her heartworm preventative) and the first day of NAtional BLOg POsting MOnth.


Do I want to do this again? I am always glad to get started, and glad to complete it, but the reality of the chore that posting every day for a month really is -- I start feeling it by day 10, and it doesn't let up. I know my loyal readers like it, and I like the discipline of it, but after ending such a busy month (and completing 'PoMo the past 2 years), I am feeling a little dread.

Anyone with me?