Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Circus life

I have 5 cats. Four of them have some kind of issue with their health. The fifth one is slightly neurotic. Okay, several of them might be neurotic, but Runt is the only one without physical issues. Because of these issues, I have to feed my 5 cats separately, which ends up being quite the production. Thankfully this chaos has grown on us a little at a time or we would be truly overwhelmed.

Allow me to explain.

Thirty minutes before each meal (aka twice a day) these two get some Pepcid AC.

Not the same dosage, of course. Emma gets 1/4 of a 10mg tablet, Blue gets 1/2. Note: it is not easy to cut those tiny little pills evenly, so the actual dose they get varies. Emma has been getting this pill for a couple of years now and has gotten used to the idea. Blue, not so much. It's always a battle of wills with him when pills are involved. His papa and I always win, though. Eventually.

Half an hour later, the fun really begins. Starting from the eldest on down....


For breakfast, Ripley gets a heaping 1/8 cup of dry food, which is a 50/50 mix of Blue Buffalo Weight Control (for the fiber content) and Blue Buffalo Mature (she'll be 17 next month). Mixed with this, I occasionally add 1/4 to 1/2 tablet of Standard Process Feline Renal Support. She doesn't really like it though and will eat everything in her dish except that if I don't crush it up.

For dinner, she gets 1/3 of a can of any smelly food she'll eat, with one Marin tablet (for liver support) crushed up in it, and a capsule of Cosequin (for her joints) mixed in, along with a bit of water. She's not a big fan of this, either. She's lost almost 3 pounds in the last year, so we don't like it when she doesn't eat. We pretty much toss dry food in her dish any time it's empty and she's yelling at us. We've been keeping the other cats separated from her at night and when we're not home so she has access to food all the time. She went to the vet on Saturday for some tests, and I was expecting the results today. Unfortunately, the lab didn't think there was enough blood to run the tests, so she and I get to make a return trip Thursday morning. I haven't told her yet.


Max gets a between 1/8 and 1/4 cup of prescription Royal Canin Modified Diet dry food for breakfast and dinner. Once a day he gets 1/2 a tablet of the Standard Process Feline Renal Support.


Emma gets a rounded 1/8 cup of prescription Royal Canin Modified Diet dry food with a dash (according to my measuring spoon) of Epakitin and some water added for breakfast and again for dinner. Once a day she also gets 1/2 a tablet of the Standard Process Feline Renal Support. Adding water to her dry food serves 2 purposes. First, it dissolves the Epakitin so it doesn't all lay at the bottom of the bowl, uneaten. Second, it helps keep her hydrated, since she has to drink the water before she eats her food. For now, this is working as an acceptable substitute for the sub-q fluid injections, which we all hate. Her kidney numbers were all in the normal range on her last blood test!


Right now, Blue gets 1/2 a 5mg metoclopromide tablet (to prevent vomiting) and 1/3 cup of prescription Royal Canin Green Peas and Duck food for breakfast and dinner. When I remember (which hasn't been often lately), he also gets 1/2 a Standard Process Feline Whole Body Support tablet with each meal. Since he is still throwing up once or twice a week despite the restricted diet, we're looking at switching him over Royal Canin's Siamese 38 food, which isn't much cheaper than the prescription food, but I can buy it at the pet store instead of trekking to the vet's office for it. Speaking of the vet, Blue's picture made it on their web page. Check him out here.


Runt gets just shy of a 1/4 c. of Blue Buffalo Weight Control dry food for breakfast and dinner. That's all.

Did I mention they get their meals in four different rooms? Ripley is in the kitchen. Blue is in the dining room. Max is in the living room. Emma and Runt are in the computer room, but they have to be supervised to prevent meal sharing/stealing. An alternative is to feed Max on top of the entertainment center, Emma on the living room floor and Runt alone in the computer room. John doesn't like that option because it encourages Max to use the coffee table as stepping stone to the entertainment center.

Life is fun at John's house, too. Check out Doc the cockatiel's new look and digs:

Somehow she managed break her femur. We don't know how or when she did it, but she'll be in a splint for a few weeks and living in the reptile cage till the vet says she's allowed to go vertical again.

Since I have pictures of everyone else, here is Solomon, the Congo African Grey parrot.

He's a pretty cool bird. He can whistle part of the Andy Griffith theme. He talks, though we're not sure where he picked up some of that language. :) He says his name two ways. One way is in a fairly deep voice (John's), and the other is higher, which we assume is my voice. Pretty funny.

In non-pet related news, the hard drive on my home pc crashed last week. After trying the things I found online to recover the disk (chkdisk /r and fixboot), I gave up and bought new laptop. I'd been thinking about doing it for a while, so it wasn't too traumatic. Getting used to Vista is another matter. I have backups of most of my stuff, but I haven't installed the software to get them back, thus the cell phone pictures today. I'm not sure all my software will work here, or even if I can restore my XP backup to a Vista system. Should be interesting. I ordered a replacement hard drive in hopes that I can re-install the OS and maybe get something off the old disk. Worst case, I'll restore my backup to the old XP system and transfer the stuff manually. Ick.

My car goes to the shop tomorrow morning for what will probably be some pricey maintenance. I'm pretty sure I need new brakes.

Last night John and I replaced the springs on my garage door, since one of them broke over the weekend.The garage really needs a new roof, too. It needed that back in the fall, but I put it off. Sigh....

And to make things even more interesting, the first case of the new and improved swine flu in Ohio is a kid who goes to school less than a mile from my house. Fortunately, I don't have kids and don't socialize with my neighbors who do. Of course, I do have to shop in the area and I use my local public library regularly. And I've seen reports that there might be 2 or 3 more cases in the area. Pass the Purell, people!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

North Coast Needlers 2009 Quilt Show

Yeah, yeah, I know it's been a while. It's just been crazy busy lately. Seems like there was something going on every day, and if there wasn't, I was exhausted. Today I will give you a re-cap of the quilt show.

This past weekend was my guild's bi-annual quilt show. It was impressive, as usual. We have some very talented ladies in our guild. Our show isn't a judged or juried show. Guild members got to vote on quilts in different categories, Miniatures, Wall-hangings and Bed quilts with some sub-categories for pieced, applique, mixed techniques, and whether they were made by an individual or a group (i.e. more than one person). Then there are the Viewer's Choice awards, which are voted on by the general public.

I got pictures of some of the ribbon winners.

[Notice my quilt *next* to the ribbon winner]

It's not a quilt show if Gloria doesn't get a ribbon!

This one's for Ann

Some quilts got multiple ribbons.

Here is the miniature category:

They look a little forlorn there, but they were amazing. Notice the committee made small versions of the prize ribbons for them. Very cool.

These two were from a class by George Siciliano a year or so ago. That is one crazy man! But if you ever get a chance to see him, I highly recommend it.

The squares in this one are *maybe* 3/4" tall. Each one has *five* pieces in it!!

This one didn't win a ribbon, but the idea that someone not only did all those curves on the machine, but did them that size just blows my mind! The information tag is almost as big as the quilt.

Three dimensional flowers were popular at this show. Here are a couple of examples.

This quilt used fabric flowers

These were freestanding machine-embroidered lace.

I didn't win any ribbons. And I was a little disappointed that my bigger quilts both ended up hanging at the corner of the displays, so I couldn't get good pictures of them. But the hanging crew said they just ran out of room, which I guess isn't such a bad thing.

Just a couple more I'd like to show you.

This one's for Sarah

The quilting behind the chickens looks like chicken wire. The top was made by Gloria, the one who always wins a ribbon or two. It was machine quilted by Eleanor Burns' cousin in PA, who's name I can't remember. Gloria sends a lot of her quilts to cousin-somebody. She does exceptional work!

Whew! That's all for now. More on non-quilt show stuff another day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Curses, frogged again

When you last saw my first toe-up sock, it looked like this:

I proceeded to follow the directions for a short-row heel. I managed somehow to end up with an extra stitch somewhere, but didn't worry about it too much. K2tog, go on from there. I did pick up an extra stitch intentionally on each side when I joined the heel back to the instep, which is supposed to close up any hole that might appear. I knit a round or two on the leg and noticed a ginormous hole on one side at the join (no, I didn't take a picture of it). Grrrr...

I tried to just add a couple of stitches after the fact to fill in the hole, but that didn't work. Then I tried to pull it back to the heel, but then I lost stitches on the foot that I didn't think I'd be able to recover. So I ripped back the heel and tried to get it back on the needles. There was a bit of cursing. And I might have thrown it once. Or twice. It now looks like this:

I'll be knitting that 1-1/4" to get back to where the heel starts Real Soon Now. Only after I had ripped it all back out did it occur to me that I should have tried the darned thing on to see if it fit. It's not been a good week.

In other news, my dad is still in the hospital. After the appendectomy on the 3rd, he had some complications and has been in ICU for a week. He's doing much better now and will hopefully be moved back to a regular room tomorrow. With any luck, he'll home soon after. While I was keeping Mom company on Friday I started this scarf, which I finished Saturday, before the Sock Incident:

It's a little shorter and narrower than my last scarf, but I think it looks pretty good for a ball of yarn I got on clearance for under a buck. Someone will enjoy it. Not John, though. He doesn't even like looking at it. It's too fuzzy for him and he says it makes his eyes hurt.

Blue had his staples removed on Friday. He's still on his special Green Peas and Duck food. We don't think he likes it all that much, but he's been eating it. He got sick a couple of times Thursday, and I was hoping that it was just the medicine I gave him on Wednesday night that upset his tummy. He hadn't been sick since then. Until today. :( The vet is stumped. I guess there's still a chance that he has IBD, even though the biopsy wasn't conclusive on that. The results said there was some of whatever indicates IBD, but they didn't think it was enough to say yes he definitely has it. My poor little baby....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Boy, that was a long week!

So, when we last left off, Blue was home from his surgery and awaiting test results. We got the biopsy results back on Friday and he doesn't have IBD or any kind of cancer. The doctor also said if he was allergic enough to the food that it made him throw up, she would have expected to see a lot more inflammation than she did. So basically, we still don't really know what's wrong with him.

I gave them a fecal sample to test for weird parasites. The plan is to keep him on the Green Peas and Duck food for 3-4 weeks then try to move him back to the Blue Buffalo food. That will make it a little less complicated to feed the cats. It's a nightmare now - five cats being fed in 5 different rooms.

Blue managed to pull out a staple Thursday night, which got him another car ride and a new accessory:

Just a little off the top, please.

But last night he found another way to wear it:

Is this why Papa calls me a sissy-boy?

Sorry for the crappy cell phone picture, but it's *really* hard to get him to stay still after being locked up alone all night. I got some really funny video of him in the skirt, and impersonating a satellite dish and walking backwards after I put the collar on him the first time, but I can't post it here. Blogspot doesn't appear to like the format. Today he must be feeling better, since he was running around like crazy. I feel sorry for him - he's just a baby and wants to play. He doesn't know he's not supposed to. What a goofball.

Speaking of goofballs, this kitty had his teeth cleaned on Friday and didn't have to have anything pulled!

The vet said he had another questionable tooth back in September, but they didn't see anything this time. Weird. Notice Max is sitting on the printer/scanner/copier with his paw is on the buttons. This is a favorite nap spot for him, especially when I'm in the computer room. This habit results in a lot of scans and copies like this:

I have to make sure I don't leave anything on the scan bed, or I waste a lot of ink.

In other news, my dad had an emergency appendectomy Friday night. He's okay, but they're keeping him till at least today. So I spent yesterday at the hospital with him and my mom. While I was there, I finished this:

Really long garter stitch scarf made of Lion Brand Colorama yarn (discontinued)

I had to weave in the ends with a pair of mini tweezers from my Leatherman since I didn't have a yarn needle with me. I don't recommend it. Not fun. I need to put together a knitting/sewing emergency kit and keep it with me. I have some ideas, one of which I can thank Sarah for. I'll keep you posted on the progress of that little project.

My brother had to work yesterday, so we he got home, he and my mom and I went out to dinner at The New Era in Akron. If you like chicken paprikash and are in the Akron area, definitely check it out. The prices have gone up from the what is listed on their online menu. It's now $9.50, not $8.50, but you get 4 chunks of meat (i had a leg, thigh and two pieces of breast meat), a side dish, and strudel for dessert. Still a pretty good deal, if you ask me, since I couldn't finish it all. Oh, their bread is good, too!

My brother works at a sports bar, and he gave me this, along with a request to make him a quilt from them. Time to check out Google for ideas.....

That's a lot of Crown Royal bags!

Oh, one other thing, I'm ready to turn the heel on my latest sock.

That looks a little long to me, but I've never done a short-row heel before, so I'm going with the instructions. I'm sure I can find someone who can wear them if I can't.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Six Million Dollar Cat

Okay, it didn't cost quite that much, but this is the face of a kitty who is very happy to home!

It turns out he didn't eat anything after all. What they saw in the x-ray wasn't a foreign object, but a thickening of his small intestine. He had surgery yesterday and they took a biopsy of the inflamed area. The theory right now is that it's Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which we can treat with a different diet and medication.

He was in the hospital for three days and hid most of the time he was in there,burrowing under his blanket. He really objected to the I.V. fluids they were giving him, I guess. Poor little guy. He's completely laid back with us, but he doesn't like strangers. They had to force fed him because he wouldn't eat there. As soon as I brought him home, he tried to eat Max's food, which is forbidden. He gets only canned green peas and duck food for the time being. Plus a whole menu of medicines and supplements of course. He needs to eat small amounts every 1-2 hours so my boss agreed to let me work from home tomorrow so I can take care of him.

Despite the 10 staples in his belly, he's ready to play.

This is the goal for the next few days, though. I might have to lock him in that kitty carrier, since he's already tried to jump up on the table. :(

There's no place like home!