Friday, December 31, 2010

Ring the Bell

And the end of 2010 is nigh.

It's the last day of the year and as hopeful as I was for 2010, I am glad that it is over.

There was a lot of loss in our lives this year from Smokey Cat to the end of our dream of children. But some of the loss was good in that I am 95% pain free for the first time in about three years. That's definitely something to be thankful for even if the route taken to end the pain caused so many tears.

I got to meet my son this year, which is something I never truly believed would happen. It's doesn't matter if all time spent has been on the internet. We are learning about each and this way is working for us. He is joy to know and I'm grateful for the chance.

Many friends came through in a pinch during my medical trials this year. You know who you are. It would not have gone as smoothly if it hadn't been for your help and support.

We lost Smokey Cat and I miss him dearly. But we are grateful that the rest of the menagerie is still doing well in spite of the scare Scrat gave us at the beginning on 2010. When you have three 12 years old and two 11 years old animals, (Scrat's only 4) the writing is on the wall for some sad years to come. But they are healthy and happy right now and a joy to us both.

So the end of year comes with friends and furbabies alike. Ken is winging off for a much needed vacation with friends. I am hanging with friends tonight and holding down the home fort while Ken is gone.

Thanks again to all my friends that helped us out this year and stood by us during some pretty rough times. They aren't over but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

However you ring the bell on the end of 2010 and usher in 2011, I wish you all healthy, happiness and joy in the New Year.

Friday, December 17, 2010


It's a milestone he didn't reach, among others.

This year it seems to be hitting me harder that my brother is no longer with us.

His 40th birthday would have been this past Sunday, the 12th. I would have posted then but I was busy trying to get myself to NYC from Oakland in one piece and the weather was not cooperating.

I'm home now and I've been thinking about him a lot this week.

40 is a year to celebrate and he should have been here for it.

While he may have done some stupid things in his short life, Robbie wasn't a stupid person. Which makes his final action even more unfathomable to this day.

I've been to the dark place that he didn't return from. I know that life can throw stuff at us that makes us think that escaping life is easier than staying. I've managed to pull myself back and I won't let myself go there again. It's a daily struggle (that's the way depression works, you know?) but I know how strong I am.

I wish Robbie had been strong enough to say "Enough!" to whatever was making him feel the way he was and I wish he'd known he could have asked me for help and that I'd have done everything possible to keep him here.

Happy 40th Birthday Robbie. My wish for you is that you were still here, but since I can't have that I hope you are finally at peace. It's something we all deserve, but don't always manage.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What to do? How to Explain?

As we all can see, I'm not really blogging right now.

Most of the reasons are personal and for one situation, I'm not really sure how far I can go on my blog, even though it is my blog, before someone gets hurt. And someone will and I'm trying to make sure it's not me. The other situation is something that paints me in a very bad light, not that that usually bothers me, but it dates back 21 years and I lost friends then over it and I'm not looking forward to the possibility again. Granted, I'll be the first to admit that I have absolutely no use for 'fair weather' only friends. The event 21 years ago showed me that and the friends that stood by me then are still strong friends to this day.

Situation 1: A person has opened a door with some information that could possibly explain my whole family dynamic. It could explain why my sister and my brother paired off all the time. I used to think it was because they both had similar coloring to each other - close enough to be blood related, and most of the rest of the family, included extended didn't share that coloring. The information is something that completely blindsided me and I don't think I'm truly believed when I state that I had no clue.

My main problems with this are: 1. There is no way to prove or disprove the information. It's all hearsay. 2. the person won't answer a few direct questions regarding the whole thing so that I can truly understand it's extent. 3. I don't honestly know how far this person is willing to go to drive a huge wedge in my life as pay back for not being one of the original affected parties, though I had NO CONTROL over that, to the point of making this whole thing up. (please remember I'm a cynic) 4. If it's true, so much other stuff could be explained that I'm NEVER going into detail about here or anywhere actually. 5. There is no use confronting the accused since no one in their right mind would verify this. Ever. I already know it will become a they said, they said kind of situation with me in the middle.

So I don't know what to do. Do I keep pushing on item 2? Do I change my mind about item 5? Right now I think the answer is yes and no respectively. Because the person should answer the questions. They opened the door; they don't get to back out halfway through. Maybe they have closure, but I sure as hell don't. As for 5, absolutely no good can come of me changing my mind, ever. Everyone loses, including me.

Situation 2: When I first found out/admitted I was pregnant 21 years ago I thought it was due to my attack on campus shortly after I came back for the school year. That would also be where the denial came in. The attack over shadowed everything else. Either way, family was told and appointments were made to take care of the 'situation'. At that appointment I found out I was farther along than the attack would warrant. There would be no taking care of the situation in 'that' manner any more. That was my decision. My body, my choice.

* Digression * And as it's my blog let me simply state that I sit on the fence regarding abortion. I don't see it as a means of birth control, but I do believe some situations call for it, mental and physical health of the mother at the front of that. That said, this is MY view. I don't care what your view is. I will listen to it, but I won't let you try to force me to change to my mind because you think your view is the only right one. You have your right to yours, just as I have a right to mine. Comments to the contrary will be deleted. * End Digression *

I named the father of the child as my long time boyfriend, who had broken up with me over the summer. I didn't expect anything from him and I made that very clear. Thing is I've always been good at math and it turns out the ex could count to, but he let the whole thing go forward and he was supportive in his own, but I didn't rely on him. Now please note that I'm not proud of myself. I can blame hormones and trauma and shock and whatever, but it was still me that did it. No one else.

The person that was/is the father was told flat out that he wasn't ('dated' him a month after the ex, and a month before the attack). Again, I made that decision. We were both in college. I was not moving to where he was, he wasn't moving to where I was (NY vs Alabama). We sure as heck weren't going to get married. We both needed to do what was best for the baby and for us. The problem with that, is I made ALL of the decisions for both of us without ever once giving him the opportunity to be included or to step up. Because I knew what was best for all parties involved and that was that. (Yes I was equally obnoxious at 19 as I am at 40). We completely lost touch after that.

Once I was willing to admit who the father was I tried to make sure the adoptive parents knew. I wasn't given that opportunity, thanks to my crap lawyer. I was supposed to get to meet them in person at the hospital after the delivery. It was scheduled and everything. So I was going tell them then. My lawyer decided to cancel the meeting and not bother to tell me about it. The baby went home with them, I signed the rest of the relinquishment papers. Life moved on.

Ex and I completely fell apart that summer. Not surprising. Wasn't mean to be. He and I did come to terms with the truth regarding who the father was a few years later and we both went our separate ways.

I kept track over the years of where the baby was, (I chose the parents and the name was distinct as well as the husband's profession). Called them once, okay Ken did - he is so fearless, just before Alex turned 12 to see if his hearing was fine, as my doctor requested we check if we could since we were doing genetic testing to try to find cause and possibility of passing it down to any other children. Ken reached Alex's mom and she was VERY nice on the phone (though I'm absolutely sure I'm the last person she expected when she picked up the phone that afternoon) and I finally got a chance to thank them through her.

As most of you know, I didn't try to make contact again till after Alex turned 18. And I promised to only make contact with the parents. Contact was made. They were/are very nice about all of it. They directed Alex to me this past May and its been a heck of ride.

But during all those years I was never able to find Alex's biological dad again, so I could set him straight and let him know. Because he did deserve to know. His university's alumni association wasn't very helpful, kudos to them actually. Google failed time and again and I didn't know his middle name, which might have helped. I'd search a couple of times a year and try to figure out what the heck I was going to say when I found him, how to explain why I did what I did.

In October Alex and I were chatting via IM and he was asking questions about his biological father (BF) that I couldn't answer. I could tell him where he went too school, what he looked like, what his major was, about how old he was. Both nothing about his heritage or how or where he grew up, nothing about siblings, family, etc. So Alex started Googling and actually got a couple of useful hits and sent the links to me. I hit the websites and the pictures looked like him. So I told Alex I would reach out. Yeah I was terrified, but this wasn't about me. It was about hooking them up and righting the wrong from 21 years ago.

So I hit LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Namyz and as vaguely as I could asked if he was so and so from such and such and if he remembered the little brunette across the street. That was a Friday. I stalked my email ALL NIGHT waiting for a response. And there it was. The time had come. So I told him. He was shocked, happy, surprised, angry and forgiving.

Emails passed back and forth. He gave me contact information to give to Alex. He (the BF) and I had a really long talk a few days later where I got to explain why I did what I did so long ago. And to apologize and to promise to do everything I could do to make sure nothing was hidden about Alex and me and him ever again going forward. BF was sent pictures of Alex. Alex was given links to pictures of his BF.

Ken was told. BF was brought into WoW, because that is where Alex and I hook up mainly and they finally got to hook up in game and BF was ecstatic and Alex got to ask a lot of questions and Ken helped facilitate all of that too. And I got to watch and add my input and just see how well the two of them interacted. Ken was actually on the phone with Alex's BF during the whole exchange, since Ken was running him through some quests in WoW and talking is so much easier than typing for people that can hear. I think because of Wow, Ken and BF have talked more in the past 6 weeks then BF and I ever did in the past 21 years. And it's all good. I know they are discussing me some. I don't know what's being said, maybe they'll share that with me some day. But they are not obligated to do so.

The whole thing drove home to Ken a 20 + year old habit I have that drives him nuts. I will make decisions for most parties involved in something important, because I decide, after going through all the possible outcomes in my head, that I will just make the outcome I want to happen happen. That way I don't have to risk disappointment of someone not coming through for me and since the decisions are mine, whether they affect others, the responsibility is mine. If I know (or rather think I know) the other can't/won't step up, I will fill the gap by making sure they aren't ever asked to do so. It's certainly not fair to them, but it is the way I am. I am aware of this and trying to work on this, though not nearly quickly enough for all parties involved.

Alex's BF really really wants to talk to Alex on the phone ( I don't blame him ). Alex made a promise to himself that when he does get around to contacting either of us that way (its only been internet - Facebook, instant messaging, WoW and email for he and I) he will call me first. Only then will he call his BF. His BF is very close geographically and has a 2 year old son, so Alex has a half sibling. So they could definitely hook up in person well before he and I would be able to do so. And you know, I'm okay with all of that. I've told Alex he can call his BF first. He has said he's standing by his decision. And since Alex is driving this part of the show, all I can do is step back and watch and answer any questions from all involved parties and wait. And while, as we can all see now, that's not generally my way, I can be taught and I learn from my actions. Even if I'm not quick to change.

But I do know and have always known that every action has a consequence. Don't ever do something if you aren't able to face those consequences later. And no matter what I am or what people think of me, one thing I've learned in the past 20 years is to take responsibility for myself and my actions.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Something Tangible

In this day and age of internet and digital media, I'm probably a throw back.

While I love Facebook, Twitter, blogs and Plurk and my digital cameras and my iPhone and my netBook, there are things that I want to be able put my hands on (for the smart alecs that read this - yes I know the cameras and the netBook and iPhone are tangible :-P ). There are also things I want to give to people.

Sometimes it is hand knits. Sometimes it is a piece of jewelry that reminds be of the person that gets it. Sometimes it is just a little something to let them know I saw this and it made me think of them.

Last year I gave our neighbor a necklace with a teacher pendant because I thought she'd like to have it for the new school year and I had no clue at the time when her birthday was. At the same time I got myself one similar that says " laugh often... love much." Both things that were very difficult after the year of failed fertility trials. But also things that I needed to remember.

As most of my readers know, my biological son was given my contact information by his parents starting in May of this year and he used it. Now he and I have never actually spoken (okay not since the day after he was born - he won't remember that) nor seen each other in person. All of our contact is online: chat, WoW, Facebook, Twitter, et cetera.

He knows how to get in touch with me when needed and I do hope to actually get to speak with him and meet him in person some day. It's his call to make, literally and figuratively.

That said, I wanted him to have something from me, so I have a hat in the works that he knows about. I'm also making a shawl for his mom. But those kinds of things are easy.

A few weeks ago I was browsing online looking for new pendants to go with the one mentioned above. Simple statements, nothing overtly religious since I'm not at all religious and I came across a cute little charm for a charm bracelet.

It was a little black enamel Scottie dog with a red enamel bow set in sterling silver. Now Alex lost his Mattie dog (a Scottie) back in May rather unexpectedly. And I'll see a post from him every so often about how much he misses him (and I don't blame him - I miss Smokey Cat fiercely right now and I'd give just about anything to have my Herky cat back and he's been gone 22 years).

The charm seemed perfect so I ordered it. Now I know where his parents live. I can pull their address up any time I want. I didn't have Alex's and I was afraid to ask for it and he hadn't offered. I didn't and still don't know how he'd feel about getting something tangible from me.

It took a couple of weeks to get up the nerve to ask him for his mailing address at school. He was kind enough to supply it. So I bought a card and stuck the charm in it and away it went.

I have no idea if he's received it or not. When he does, I hope he likes it, rather then is upset by it, since that was not my intent. Maybe he can stick it on his keychain or his back pack. Hopefully, as the pain of the loss lessens, when he sees it and thinks of Mattie, he can remember all the fun times they had together as boy and dog, as friends.

But it's something tangible and hopefully worth keeping. Unlike the monster tin of cookies I also had delivered that I'm sure he and his roommates have inhaled by now.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Are you okay?

I'm getting asked this a lot these days as I heal and recover from the surgery.

Usually by people that know or by people that just found out but know our history.

There is no right answer for this question and it changes depending on my mood.

I am healing. I am getting my strength back. I am dealing with the fact that I cannot have children. I think I am as okay as I'm going to be for a while.

There is no quick way to get over the loss of such an important dream. All you can do is take it one day at a time.

And that is what I'm doing. And reading and knitting and watching a ton of TV and playing a lot of WoW.

One day at a time.

I get my medical clearance in a week (I hope) then back to work the following Monday. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Surgery on the Baby Ward

So a week ago I went in for a surgery I wanted nothing to do with. I LOVE that my insurance called it elective and tried to deny me inpatient status.

Well they can pay for me being sick for years from the debilitating pain, or they can pay for the surgery. They are paying for the surgery and fixed the inpatient status.

So Wednesday was the surgery. Ken and Mom (a.k.a. Pat, Shawna's mom) were there with me when I went in. There were issues with the IV. That was a first. They tried twice and the second nurse thought she got a line the second time, but it hurt like hell.

Met the anesthesiologist. Nice gentleman.

Went up to the OR. Saw my doctor and said good bye to Ken. Wheeled into the operating room. Face mask. (joy) Anesthesiologist saw that the IV was bothering me and while I was going under said they'd move that (THANK goodness I was asleep for that since it went through the muscle of my forearm) and asked if I was right handed.

Next thing I know, I'm waking up in recovery an hour early and no one was there. Not their fault. The surgery took half the time they expected it to take. Mom and Shawna showed up shortly and the nurse called Ken for me and told him where I was.

Turns out the client server we'd spent all weekend working on crashed in the middle of my surgery (better it then me). Ken was there doing triage. Turns out he was there till 1 pm the next day getting it up and running. Of course I told him it was okay to be there than at the hospital. It needed to be taken care of and I was being taken care of. Made some quick text runs to make sure the dogs were taken care of for the night. Did the same in the morning to get the morning cat feeding and dog walking taken care of by a neighbor (thanks Carinne) and arranged to get the dogs to a friend's house through the weekend.

My first nurse was not very nice. The rest of them were very nice.

Turns out they put me on the fourth floor after the surgery. Also known as Labor and Delivery. Yes you heard me right. They put a woman that had had a hysterectomy on the baby floor. Granted I shared a room the first day with a woman in similar circumstances (she'd had the same surgery) but the rest of the floor was full of new mom's and pending new moms. The hospital was full that day. They didn't have anywhere to put us, but still it hurt.

Having to get up and walk around the corridors to keep things moving and seeing the new babies and the pregnant ladies and new moms was difficult. When Ken got there Thursday night he was not at all happy with my location.

I actually slept well that night. We finally got the pain under control, and my blood pressure which decided to try a limbo when it's already naturally pretty low. Friday morning Mom showed up and a nurse walked in and said she had meds for my new baby and asked if the baby was in the room... All I could say was she had the wrong room. They REALLY need to be more careful about that.

So I'm home. The weekend was uneventful. Got the doggies back Monday. Thank you Lisa.

Then Ken got a phone call from a Sutter nurse yesterday. They wanted to know how things were going with our new baby... He told them:

" you put my wife, who had been trying to get pregnant for 5 years till she was forced* to have a hysterectomy, in a room surrounded by new mothers and babies and you called to ask me how our child is doing?"

Let's say the nurse that called was speechless and then apologetic and perhaps in the future Sutter will be more careful with a certain subset of it's patients. I do like Sutter. Don't get me wrong, but this time around, some compassion and care to follow up would have been better.

So I'm home. A nurse from the insurance company called today to check on me and make sure I was following doctor's instructions, she cleared up the inpatient thing for me and told me about the nurse hotline number if I need anything.

The kitty cats are taking case of me and the doggies are hanging with Ken in the office most of the day and gentleness with them is being enforced in the evenings with me. Ken is doing his thing and making sure I don't need anything.

As for the surgery. Everything came out easy. I got to keep my ovaries. I now have incision marks on my tummy that resemble the Southern Cross without the central star. My scar tissue had attached to my bladder on two sides. There was excess scar tissue from the appendix removal too, so they cleaned that up. Given the fact that there is excess and by excess I mean a a band of it (I saw the pictures) running from the front abdominal wall to the bladder that wasn't there the last time they went in, this probably won't be the last time they have to go in for scar tissue issues. I truly think they should study it for it's regenerative properties. It might help burn victims or something.

*forced is perhaps not an appropriate word, but we opted for quality of life and that kind of pain held no quality. Keeping the ovaries means we can try to a surrogate later. And hopefully the physical pain will be gone. The emotional will be around for a while, but I'm strong, as the Fates keep requiring me to prove, and I'll persevere because it's what I do best.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It Can Not Have Been That Long

The best doggy in the world, my Cliff the Mutt, turns 12 years old today.

This is the little yappy thing that weighed a whopping 8 pounds and had an infected jaw when I brought him home from the Humane Society December 24th, 1998.

He was mine from the first moment I and my first husband saw him.

I got to bring him home. He was FREE because he'd already been adopted once by a family with a 2 year old that they didn't train to handle dogs, so she got bit (no I do NOT blame him for that, I blame those people but it meant I got the greatest dog ever).

He spent the day curled up in my lap.

He passed obedience school with flying colors.

He turned into a wonderful therapy dog.

He loves kids and babies and they in kind can now do anything to him they want without risk of getting hurt. (Yes I make sure they don't go too far)

I love all my animals, but he is my best boy. I've had him longer than any of them.

He helped me through my divorce.

He's helped me through the pain of the past few years.

And I expect he'll help me through the pain of the next six weeks.

While Oscar is the neurotic one, and Scrat is the fun one, Cliff is my rock.

He's always there when I need him.

Love you bunches and bunches Cliffy Mutt.

You are my joy!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Under the Apple Tree

is where he'll be.

Love you Smokey Cat.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oh Smokey Cat...

I was home yesterday afternoon due to a migraine.

On the way home I was thinking about Smokey Cat. He stopped eating on Saturday. He stopped drinking a recognizable amount of water Sunday night.

He's only 10 years old and he's been under my care for 7 of those. He was a semi feral. One of the neighborhood cats. We think he's related via mom to our other three cats. He was people shy, but he eventually (over 9 months) warmed up to me and we brought him with us when we moved. He had a broken tail and had never been to the vet.

The tail healed on it's own. He took to his first vet visit like a pro. ( He is the BEST cat at the vet. ) He's a complete love now. Likes to cuddle. Wants to spend time inside with us at night. Would meow, LOUDLY, to come in.

Last spring he got into a fight with another cat/animal and we didn't know. We didn't find out till I noticed one day before Memorial Day weekend that the left side of his face was completely swollen. I SHOULD have noticed it sooner.

He got brought inside for the long weekend. We didn't think he'd make it and still didn't know he had an abscess till it ruptured on it's own Sunday night. It was disgusting, I walked in and there was blood everywhere (in the laundry room thank goodness). We spent the next hour draining it and kept an eye on him all day Monday and Ken took him straight to the vet on Tuesday morning.

We got that taken care of and found out his kidneys were starting to go, most likely because he had the infection for so long.

So we tried to change him to special prescription food. Ha! He wouldn't eat it. Switched him back to the normal food and made sure he had plenty of water around the property.

Then we come full circle to this year's visit. He got sluggish the day before it. Just sat and stared at his water dish out front. That was three weeks ago.

We brought him inside permanently. Spent two weeks trying to stabilize him and he was eating, mostly, and drinking, but he wasn't happy. So back to the vet for more antibiotics and asked about quality versus quantity and I was willing to say goodbye if not ready.

We brought him home and moved the dogs into the kids room, and Smokey into my craft room. I brought in his condo and a new kitty Kuranda bed, which he loves. And he has seemed happier for the past week, but he is still losing weight.

Then he stopped eating and now with the not drinking.

So he got lots of cuddle time yesterday with me while I slept off the migraine. And he is first priority at home for whatever time we have left with him. If we make it to Saturday we will be saying goodbye then, else it will be sooner.

It seems that the animals that had the most to overcome starting out are the ones that get to spend the least amount of time with us. I know that my Herky kitty and Slugbo's Houston kitty will probably be there to help guide him across 'the bridge' but I still hate to see him go.

I'm going to miss you Smokey Cat. You overcame so much to become a really good cat and I hope you were happy with us. If nothing else, you got a whole lot more birds to stalk at the new house all these past 6 years. You are my bestest kitteh boy and you have the softest paws ever.


We are saying good bye to Smokey Cat Thursday at 5 pm. :-(

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dreams Move On

Dreams can be those you have during sleep.

Dreams can be day dreams that get you through the boredom.

Dreams can be those hopes you have for the future.

Some dreams become reality. Others move on.

Right now the dream of children in our household has moved on.

I will be having a surgery within the next 6 to 8 weeks that I'd hoped to avoid. That I'd hoped to put off for one more IVF attempt. That I'd hoped could be held off to give me time to make this dream a reality.

But it was not meant to be. Whatever fate has in store for us right now does not include children.

There are other roadblocks in our way right now for alternate options. We are working on knocking them down, but the truth is they might defeat us.

So for now, the dream of children has moved on.

Here's hoping it may come back some day.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

4 Cats, 3 Dogs, 2 Owners, 1 Vet Visit...

Talk about a three ring circus.

Yesterday was an epic vet visit. And the first time we've taken the entire horde into the vet at the same time.

Hubby had kitty crate stuffing duty (which he managed unscathed in spite of Nemo's admirable attempts to the alternative), while I headed home early from work. I ended up stopping to try to help with the mega brush fires that started on Stony Point road yesterday when I hit the area (it was NOT my car that started them thank you very much). I left the area when I saw the first firefighter actually pull a hose off the truck to start stopping this thing, which still ended up burning through 75 acres of hay and pasture to 101. And yeah I LOVED (not) that calling 911 from my cell got a busy signal for 3 minutes till I called work and asked a friend to look up the number for dispatch for Petaluma Fire.

I got home and hubby had all 7 animals in the car (OMG the cats were pissed and very vocal about it). I followed him to the vet since I had another appt right after. Dogs in first. Car parked in shade with AC going full blast while we had the dogs inside.

Doggies up to bat with Scrat the Brat leading the pack. He's lost another pound, but the vet says that is okay as he looks good. One shot and he's done.

Oscar the Dog up next. He's holding steady at 23+ pounds. His heart murmurs (both sides) are getting louder (4 on a scale of 1 to 6), so we need to keep an eye on him. One shot and he's done.

Cliff the Mutt is up next. He gets a full exam because we haven't had to bring him in for anything yet this year (thank you!). He has a heart murmur now on both sides, 2 on the left and 1 on the right on the 1 to 6 loudness scale. He and Oscar are both 12 this year and therefore 5 years into being senior mutts. So we got information on canine heart disease. Things to look out for (coughing bad, very bad, means possible pushed back blood in lungs). And he's holding steady at 13 pounds.

Dogs out to the Air conditioned car and vocal kitty chorus gets brought it.

The kitty queue is lead by Mr. I'm Pissed and the ENTIRE World Needs to Know this NOW, aka Nemo. 3 shots, 1 weighing (9 pounds the tubbo) and heart and teeth check later he's done and STILL pissed and stuffed back in his carry bag.

Now it's time for Rasta, 'Become the Pancake - She cannot see me if I flatten myself into the table' cat. 13 pounds (OMG he is SO going on a diet), three shots, two potty accidents and heart check later he's HAPPY to be back in his bag. Impersonating a pancake is tough work for 13 pounds of cat.

Those two get taken back out while the next two are fielded.

Kaji Cutie (more like Kaji, I will shred you, kitty) is up. She needs dental work done. She's up to 9 pounds from 7 (so diet there too). Three shots later and she's ready to go.

Smokey was left for last for a reason. He's our current medical problem child and he went downhill Sunday so I was grateful for today's appt.

He's down to 5 pounds, from an already too light 7. Severely dehydrated in spite of multiple water locations around the property for him. The heat and his bad kidneys are working against him. They took blood and urine and gave him fluids. He needs to get fluids subcutaneously, so we have a saline kit for him.

Bottom line, Smokey Cat needs to become an indoor cat. The heat is too much for him. He has an infection and his kidneys are failing which mean continuous fluids and antibiotics in perpetuity. He should get wet food now in order to help him get more fluids. Now we need to make that happen without major cat fights or spraying or litter box problems. This means that Smokey is probably getting his own room and the dogs are getting moved to a different room or the main house proper.

We will make it work. He's come a long way with us and we will see him to the end and take the best care we can of him.

Welcome to the indoor life Smokey Cat.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cosmology Corner: Feel the Power of the Dark Side

Imagine you are lying on your back at the end of a dock at 2 am in the Tahitian islands in the South Pacific. Your feet are dangling in the warm water. There is no light pollution and not a cloud in the sky.

There is so much to see. You pick out the Centaur, the Southern Cross, and the Coal Sack. The Milky Way is a bright band of light across the sky.

Even if you are not an astronomy buff, you cannot help but be astounded by the wonders of the night sky above you.

The universe as we know it contains hundreds of billions of galaxies, innumerable nebulae, and a number of stars and other objects beyond our ability to count in one lifetime, let alone a thousand lifetimes.

What if I told you that everything that we can see up there is only 4% of everything in the universe? As incredible as that statement may be, I would not be wrong in stating this.

So what is the rest of it? Think about it. That is a whole lot of nothing compared to a little bit of something

It is currently thought that Dark Matter makes up about 22% and Dark Energy is the remaining 74%. Given what the night sky looks like under ideal viewing conditions, that is a whole lot of darkness that is the rest of that great expanse.

Considering that 96% of the universe is not visible at any wavelength, how do we know anything about it?

Dark Matter was first inferred by Fritz Zwicky in 1933. By studying the rotational curves of galaxies considered to be like our own Milky Way, he deduced that if there were not some form of invisible matter, all the stars towards the outer edges of the galaxies should be shooting off into space given their observed rotational speed. Something had to be holding all of those visible objects to their galactic plane.

Over the past 77 years more and more evidence towards the existence of dark matter has been found.

For instance, from the imaging of the Hubble Space Telescope we have another strong indicator for the presence of dark matter: Gravitational Lensing. This was observed when the HST imaged the galactic cluster Abell 2029. The mass of this galactic cluster and its associated dark matter, make it possible to ‘see’ a galaxy that is directly behind the cluster. This is because the mass of the cluster bends the light of the hidden galaxy around it. When imaged, the HST picked up the lensing arcs, and it was determined that the cluster had to contain approximately 10^14 Suns worth of dark matter to make the light from the galaxy lens in that manner.

The gentleman for whom the HST was named, Edwin Hubble, came up with what is known as Hubble’s Law, which can be used to determine how fast an object (usually a galaxy) is moving away from us. Hubble’s Law, and observations made by his namesake, shows us that the universe is expanding. This is one of the single greatest points of evidence to support the Big Bang Theory.

However, recent observations and other experiments have given us an anomaly. Evidence has arisen that shows that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

Dark Energy is the label given by scientists to the energy that has to exist to explain this acceleration. There is some form of energy that scientists have not yet fully quantified that is making the universe expand faster with each passing moment.

Given the rate of accelerating expansion and other observations, that energy has to make up approximately 74% of the universe. Exactly what is it and how it behaves is the subject of much speculation.

Even with everything known to date about the state of the universe and its contents, we still have a lot to learn about its composition and its future.

But we do know that darkness will lead the way.


If I'm lucky this will show up in the next issue of Focus, the Valley of the Moon Observatory Association's newsletter.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Learning to Stand

It's blog tour book review time in Tiny Tyrant land.


Alex the Fey is back again in Claudia Hall Christian's follow up to 'The Fey.'

'Learning to Stand' finds our Alex doing just that - trying to get back on her feet after the devastation and destruction of the events of the last novel turn our heroine into a shell of her former self.

Alex is set to lead a new team to take the place of the team she lost. At the same time, she is struggling to keep herself alive since there is still a contract out on her.

It appears as though the confidence and strength that made up our heroine in 'The Fey' has deserted her, while she struggles to
  • come to terms with her new physical limitations
  • the lose of the her original team and the memories surrounding that
  • her 'seeming' lack of ability to get her new team to work as one cohesive unit
  • personal loss for her and her husband John
The main plot of this installment is the search for a missing friend of the president. Since Alex's team was the best at extractions, they are setting up the new team ASAP at the behest of their Commander in Chief. In the course of looking for this person, they start to unearth just how far people are willing to go to make sure that Alex does not get back on her feet.

With the help of Jesse, Raz, White Boy, The Jakker, John, Max and more family and friends, Alex begins to see that while the past events that lead to this stage of her life have knock her down and beat the hell out of her, she is not down for the count.

She sees that our past shapes our future and she is strong enough to do what needs to be done to make sure she stays on her feet this time around.


Claudia is a dear friend. I love her books. This was an excellent follow up to 'The Fey'. You get to see that Alex is human like the rest of, even if she is still a rather exceptional human being.

I highly recommend it as well as the rest of Claudia's work. If you would like to read more fiction by Claudia, check her out at Denver Cereal.

If you would like to purchase some of her work, use the discount code "BLOGTOUR" on checkout at any of the following links:

The Fey

Learning to Stand

The Denver Cereal

Celia’s Puppies

This discount is only available at the above sites.

If you have any questions for CHC, leave them in the comments.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No Longer a Teen

20 years old.

It is a milestone.

I cannot believe it has been that long.

From what contact I have had in the past week, you are...


Thank you for being willing to let me into your life at this time.

Happy Happy Birthday. Hope it is a great one.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Someone New Might Stop By

I received some news today I didn't expect to receive for a long time.

It's private. It's exciting. It's scary.

But with the news there might be someone new stopping by the blog and I just want to say...



Hope you don't think I'm too crazy.

I'm here if you have questions, and I'll answer what I can.

I'll let you go first.

I've been where you are and I know how big a step this is.

Your friend from afar.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Today is an anniversary.

It is hard to believe that my brother would have been 40 this year.

It has been 23 years since he passed by his own hand.

Most of us know, though hopefully not all first hand because I wouldn't wish this on any one, that while the departed is probably in a happier place, those left behind are left with one main question:


Robbie and I had a huge fight two days before his death. As with most sibling fights, it ended with me telling him to drop dead. Knowing what I know now probably would not have stopped those words from coming out of my mouth. We were both 16 (I'm 3 months older) and we drove each other up the wall. It was not the first time I told him that, and he certainly said it to me enough times.

Yes, I know my brother did not choose to end his life because I told him to do so.
Are you kidding me? Robbie didn't listen to many people and definitely not to me. If he did, he'd have probably done so the previous summer before I deliberately went to stay with a cousin so we would not kill each other. I took myself out of the equation of a long summer of sibling fights to try to maintain a relationship with my brother that did not involve trying to strangle one another on a regular basis.

As Slugbo and I dive deeper into the adoption and foster abyss, we are seeing how many 'problems' can occur from attachment issues. Even from the youngest ages.

Our family was not Robbie's first placement. He had been adopted before. The couple that adopted him got divorced and put him back into the system (do NOT even get me started on why they were ever approved to adopt in the first place). You cannot tell me that a 2 year old doesn't have some unresolved issue surrounding that.

Can we blame those people? Sure. Would we be right? Doubtful. I'd still like to find them some day and slap the tar out of them for putting a 2 year old through that.

There were any number of factors that were involved in the development of my brother's psyche. And none of us that were close to him ever saw that anything was so wrong that he would choose that way out. At least I did not see this coming. I cannot speak for the rest of my family members and since they haven't discussed anything about this since it happened and it serves no purpose now, what's the point?

I will always wonder what he'd be like if he were still around. The remaining family is not close to this day, though I try to keep in touch. His departure could be a factor. It could just be the way we are as a family.

That said, he will always be missed.

I'll leave you all with this song today.

Rascal Flatt's

The part of it that strikes home the most is

'Oh, but I do have one burning question
Who told you life wasn't worth the fight?
They were wrong, they lied, and now you're gone, and we cried'

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Remembering a Friend

I moved to California from Alabama almost exactly 14 years ago.

When I still lived there, I did a lot more cross stitch then I do these days. And part of that hobby was hanging out on the newsgroup, r.c.t.n. rec.crafts.textiles.needlepoint

When we found out that my first husband (fiance at the time) was taking a job here, I immediately hit rctn and asked if anyone was in the area, could tell me anything about it, what could we expect, etc?

Elaine responded. I knew her some already because we also have hearing loss in common. Hers due to illness, mine due to no known cause.

In the middle of a whole mess of getting the fiance moved, finishing up a semester of school, working part time, packing up our house and moving back in with my parents till I could finish my co-op commitment, and getting the dog and cat shipped to to California, Elaine offered advice where she could.

I flew out there for Christmas of 95 and she invited us to her home. Two people she only knew on the internet. She was that kind of person.

We kept in touch while I went home and got approved to start at SSU in the fall. She was excited for me when I got my internship at HP. I was excited to hear about her cochlear implant.

I got into town officially on May 9, 1996 after a very long cross country drive. The following week Elaine kidnapped me and made sure I knew where all the good craft stores were. She took me to lunch for Mongolian BBQ. She made me feel welcome.

4 months later, she and friend back in Alabama, Karin, conspired to make sure my birthday didn't pass by unnoticed. The fiance was working crazy hours and was never really home much. I was so grateful because I didn't know a soul and had no other friends here and classes hadn't started yet and I didn't socialize with anyone from work because the fiance worked there too.

Over the next couple of years we saw each other regularly. We had cross stitch night with friends at my house a few times a year. She and I went to a CATS convention in Sacramento one year (she's a great lady but I never got in a car with her again after that trip - a long story for another time).

I finished my second degree. Got a real job. Got married. Got absorbed with that and while Elaine and I still kept in touch via email, we didn't see each other much again until I showed up at a guild knit night 3 years ago at the local Borders.

We caught up. Her CCI dog was wonderful. Her daughter was all grown up. Elaine knit some beautiful lace. So we shared a love of knitting as well.

We never fully hooked up again. We only saw each other on the occasionally knit night that I made it to during the week.

Elaine passed away on April 15th. She was only 56. I guess the good do die young, because they didn't come any better than her.

I am forever grateful that she made this hick's transition to northern California much smoother and much more pleasant than it had any right to be.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Things that Make Me Stabbity

At a loss for today mostly because of a Prednisone induced beyond horrid mood.

So you're stuck with a Thursday Thirteen list.

  • The stock market. Hubby is dabbling and it's going to give me an aneurysm.
  • The people in my astronomy class that only acknowledge my existence when they need help.
  • A person in my circle of existence that is expecting a child and not doing anything to make certain that child is healthy. Most selfish person I ever met. Hands down. This is NOT Cari or Frances. You two rock in the pregnant woman category.
  • My astronomy instructor deciding to stop following the syllabus. I'm OCD people. This is not good.
  • My skin flaring again.
  • My apparent inability to finish a pair of socks for myself
  • My apparent inability to finish anything knitted since the bootie to finish the pair for Frances' little munchkin to be.
  • Being allergic to EVERYTHING. Not as much of an exaggeration as you might think. And not being able to take much for it because of said allergies. Catch-22
  • Not living closer to some people I happen to like and miss very much, but neither am I inclined to leave the state with the best smoking regulations ever (See number 8).
  • People who sleep at the office
  • The CA State Foster System. It is amazing to me how any of the children that need help, get it.
  • Still not knowing if my parents are actually going to come for a visit this year.
  • My inability to have children

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Year of the Dog

It's that time of year again. Our little Scrat Monster is having another birthday today.

As best we can tell, he is 4 years old today. Which means he was born in the Year of the Dog (how's THAT for appropriate?).

Let's see what that should tell us about him.

Those born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of nature. They have a deep sense of loyalty, are honest, and inspire other people's confidence because they know how to keep secrets. But Dog People are somewhat selfish, terribly stubborn, and eccentric. They can be cold emotionally and sometimes distant at parties. They can find fault with many things and are noted for their sharp tongues. Dog people make good leaders. They are compatible with those born in the Years of the Horse, Tiger, and Rabbit.

Scrat is very much Slugbo's dog. He's his Little Dude,
his Bundle of Energy, his Snuggle Buddy. Then 'Mom' gets done with whatever I'm doing and settles into the living room for the night and he's on my lap in a heartbeat. So much for Loyal to Dad. But I'm the one who snapped the leash on him the first day. I'm the one that wouldn't take him to the shelter after we couldn't find his owner and gave him the chance to show Slugbo just how great of a dog he could be for him. So maybe his loyalty is just fine. ;-)

Selfish, Stubborn, Eccentric:
Give the boy a tennis ball and good luck getting it away from him. He won't share them with the other dogs. If he's on a lap, he growls at any of the other fur babies that try to lay down close by (we curb that tendency as much as possible which is why I usually have three grumbling dogs in my lap at the same time). He knows how to get out of his crate, but doesn't do it when I am home, on
ly when Slug is left to take care of the dogs in the morning.

Those are the primary ones that cover his personality.

We should include the following for him.

He will follow you anywhere. On the "ruff", in the snow, onto an almost ice covered lake. Into the water. He rides on the Jet skis (yes he has doggles), and he will ride in my off road kart with me. He goes in the basket on the bike. He'll ride on the dashboard of the RV.

When he was so sick at the end of last year, early this year, he wanted nothing more than to just sleep curled up on someone.

It was all the sleeping that got us so worried. The deal with the thyroid has appeared to age him some. He's is going more white on his ears and he has white tufts coming in at weird places. But we will take it. The meds are helping. He has his energy back, but he is still the best snuggle bug we have.

We love you Scrat Monster. Here's to many more birthdays with us baby dog.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Yes my day is sucking, but this was too cute. I want the pot of gold too.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

cute pictures of puppies with captions

I might even tell y'all about most of them some day.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Missing Mecca

Mecca for most of the West Coast knitters I know is Stitches West, which is happening this weekend, and most of my favorite people will be there, just a couple of hours south of me.

I, however, consciously chose to skip it this weekend. Trust me my bank account is thanking me. But I'm not skipping it for that reason.

You see, I have more than one hobby. Or rather I have friends that do stuff other than knit and try to get me involved in their hobbies. And I have more than one hobby. ;-)

My neighbor down the street, who is turning into a best friend, is a Creative Memories Consultant. She has tried repeatedly to get me to start scrap booking. I have actually made a small one for the doggies. But that's it. She has a crop night and I get invited even though we both know I won't show up with pictures. Instead I show up with yarn.

She's know if I ever decide to start scrap booking (I think kids will be needed for that happen, my life is too incredibly boring), she'll be my go to supply person. And I'm teaching her how to knit.

So back in September, her regulars started talking about setting up a scrap booking weekend out in Bodega. 8 women, one house, a ton of photos and paper and glue and pens. I got invited along and they understand I'll be knitting this weekend.

That means that I'm heading out there after work tonight. Which means I needed to get everything ready to go this morning and get to a PT appt by 7 am.

So I grab the suitcase this morning and roll it down the hall. That sets the dogs off. They KNOW that sound and they want to know where the hell Mom is going and NOW. Barking behind closed doors ensued. I'm grabbing clothes and yarn and swifts and winders and books and school work (I have homework due next week) and food.

When I was ready to start loading the car, I let the dogs out so they could do their business while I loaded the car. I put one load in and left the back of the car open and went back for the rest.

On the way back to the car I'm calling for the dogs. Oscar comes right away, but Cliff and Scrat are ignoring me. So I'm still calling them when I get to the car. Then I see this.

Cliff and Scrat apparently decided they were going anywhere that suitcase was going. It was fun getting them out of the car and getting them into the office with the hubster.

Let's just say I was late for my PT appointment. Unfortunately Mark is used to that and he was running behind today anyway.

Needless to say I'm looking forward to this weekend even if I'm leaving the hubby and all the furbabies at home.

I'm hoping to finish the baby sweater I'm making for a friend as part of Ravelympics. I need to medal in at least one thing. The shawl I entered too will be with me as well as a couple of wips and some of these for when I need a break.

That is a minor minion that I gave to a friend as a cat toy. I'm making more for friends. They are cute and I have to do something with all that fiber fill left over from my Stay-Puft Marshmallow man Halloween customer.

PS I found the CUTEST buttons for the sweater at lunch time.

PPS A shout out to my mom. Happy Birthday! When are you guys coming to stay for a while?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The End of an Era

Yesterday was a day of goodbye at my house.

No, not to a pet, or a family member or a friend, but to an object I'd had for 10 and a half years.

My beloved Explorer, the one that almost got killed in the accident in October, found a new home.

See 'the Tank' was a him, because he was mine from day one. I picked him out, I bought him. I told hubby number one, he was coming home with us regardless of his opinion of him. He was for me and my dogs and the kids I'd hoped to have.

The Tank has protected me well over the years. There have been a few accidents. You drive the same car for 10 years and that is hard to avoid. But he always came through. Till the last one. It almost did him in. It didn't kill him, but it did enough damage that I had to salvage him.

We did an owner retain. Parked him and waited. You see The Tank was the one thing, besides my Cliffy Mutt, that I got out of my divorce. The one thing that was truly mine. I fought to keep him and I won. I wasn't ready to let him go. I guess I'm still not, not really.

But he was taking up space. And we weren't going to be able to pay the money to fix him and I couldn't bear to part him out. So we listed him and found someone that could fix him. Someone that could repair the damage that ding bat that thought waving at her friend was more important then watching the road did to him and me.

I'm still healing from the accident. PT, back is still jacked up, but I'm getting better.

And The Tank will too. More importantly when he's back to his old self, he'll have a family with a couple of kids to drive around and protect. I hope they take as good care of him as I tried to.

I know he's just a car, but he was mine and I adored him. He and I went on many an adventure over the years.

Albuquerque and back. We made the trip back in 21 hours straight through. Many times to Tucson. A round trip to Tucson and Albuquerque and home through a blizzard. The beach many times with the mutt crew.

He NEVER left me at the side of the road. The last accident doesn't count since it wasn't our fault it happened (yes that is no longer in doubt). He has many more years in him. I hope to see him on the road again some day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Sweetest Things

Just look at that picture. Is that not one of the sweetest things you've ever seen.

That is, of course, our little monster, Scrat. Granted he doesn't look like much of a monster in that picture. But looks can be deceiving.

Scrat is
  • the Rock Eater
  • the Cat Chaser
  • the Ankle Biter
  • the Riot Barker
  • the Walkabout Hound
  • the Carpet Wrecker
  • the Aggressive 'this is mine' Snapper
  • the Crate Escapist
He gave us a huge scare before Christmas.

One thing that has always been constant with Scrat, is that he is a bundle of energy. He is always ready to do something fun, or just hang out with you. His speeds are 0 and 60.

But somewhere in early December he lost speed 60 and we had a really hard time getting him past speed 0. Lethargic, seemed like he had a cold, would eat and drink, but
wasn't excited about it, or anything, like he used to be. Its like he was just aging in front of us. Please note that he's not even 4 years old.

We got through the holidays and on our camping trip, we saw little pieces of the old Scrat shining through, chasing snow balls and tennis balls in the snow, but it didn't last long and he was back to sleeping all the time and crying out in pain if you even looked like you were going to try to move him.

Enough was
enough and we hit the vet for a full blood work up and a complete check up. He'd lost 1 pound 3 oz since last May. That almost gave me heart attack because I was sure he was gaining weight. The doc put him on an anti inflammatory to help with the pain and she took blood.

The next day we found out he has low thyroid at not quite 4. must be the dachsund we think is in him. I had a hard time reconciling with the weight loss with low thryoid, but I let it go while we got meds for him and got him started on them.

It is ABSOLUTELY amazing what one little pill, half twice a day, has done for the little guy.

He plays ball again, and he learned to give it back. He comes when called (by Slugbo). He has stopped chasing the cats (thank goodness all the way around). He's happy and excited and bouncy at dinner time. I tell him to find 'Dad' and he runs full bore across the yard to the office and bounces his front feet till I open the door for him so he can run to Slugbo.

He goes for a follow up in two weeks to find out if he will have to stay on the meds forever. We are reconciled to it and totally okay with it. I finally asked about the weight loss and our vet thinks the pain caused it. I feel so bad we waited to see if 'he would snap out of it' before we took him in.

So now we can also say that Scrat is:
  • a joy
  • a shining light
  • a snuggle bunny (that first pic was taken on my lap when I was home sick)
Scrat is everything

Most importantly, he is loved.

Slug and I are glad you're doing better Little Dude. Sorry we took so long to help you get fixed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

funny pictures of cats with captions

It may be pouring rain and the wind may be playing air hockey with my car, but I have a warm home with snuggly animals and a snuggly hubby, so it's all good.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Knit-Signal

I borrowed this from the Yarn Harlot

Go check out her blog for today.

Donate what you can. Even a little bit adds up over time.

If your company matches donations, take advantage of it.

Yes I donated. Now you need to as well. Haiti needs help and we can help provide some of it.

Go my pleeps go!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Trying to Get it Under Control

Since I'm OCD, this is not a surprising statement.

However since I'm talking about my knitting I expect loads of laughter to ensue.

I have a problem.

It's called Startitis. I LOVE to start new projects. I LOVE to pull patterns down that I KNOW I have the stuff to finish.

I need to knock it the f* off.

I have a ton of yarn.

I am in 3 sock KAL contests, whatever that start in the next two weeks.

I just committed myself to a wedding present for a friend's fiance. The wedding is in May. I chose Icarus. I want to add beads to it. I think perhaps I should shoot myself instead, but the yarn for it was only $12.

I need to finish the Husband's sweater (that might be a Ravelypmic WIP event project). I need to finish the second sock for the dad of the sprites down the street that now have mittens. Not to mention socks for two co-workers that are already on the needles.

There is also a BSJ due mid April for another friend's first child.

I need to go through my wips and figure out what I'm actually going to finish and what I'm not and recycle the yarn.

I need to stop starting projects bigger than socks till I get some of the old stuff out of the way. And I need to find the battery for my camera so I can start posting this stuff again.

Let 2010 be the year of the WIP Smackdown.