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Friday, January 31, 2020

short note...

We lost Julie yesterday. May not be blogging for a bit... but will return eventually. With all of the cats we've loved and lost over the years, I can't believe this is so hard... possibly because she went through so much and was such a brave little thing.

Hugs,
Rian



Monday, January 27, 2020

Julie's reassessment... and other things

Julie this morning

Took Julie to her Vet appointment for reassessment this morning.  She went from 8 lbs in November to 5 lbs now. She used to be a round little thing... now we can see her backbone and hips. But as with us, the Vet is amazed that she is still alert and active... and although she still can't open her jaws or make any sound, she doesn't seem to be in any pain. It's possible she's uncomfortable (with a locked jaw - how could she not be?), but her eyes or her actions don't show any signs of pain.

The Vet took another x-ray of the left side of her face and neck... (there is an obvious lump there between her jaw and her shoulder) and compared the previous x-rays to this new one. We looked at both with her. Neither shows anything unusual.

DH had bought some pet CBD over the internet as several people have told us that it helped with their pets who had poor prognoses. It arrived on Friday, but we wanted to talk to the Vet before using it. After discussing various options with her this morning - finally decided to take her home and try the CBD. 

So this is where we are. She is sleeping now by the AGA... with one small dose of CBD in her as well as 1cc of diluted Rx AD and a 1 cc of water (given by syringe).


  
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cheeky chicken hanging on cup in window



Do you have "mysteries" around your house? Things disappear around ours... and sometimes reappear in different places at a later date. We put this off most of the time to our slightly advanced age and the possibility that our memories of where these things should be or used to be is "iffy".

This weekend with Julie's problem, DH's mishap (I'll explain later), and my pottery classes starting up again, I could not find some things that I thought were where they weren't. One of those things was a 2nd cheeky chicken (like the one hanging on the cup).  It was also a hanging one... so it has to be hanging somewhere, right?   Having searched everywhere I thought it could be, I decided to give up. It should turn up at some point...

But while looking for it, I also took a pic of that huge (6") hanging chicken on the windowsill that I had made for the purpose of making some larger ones to hang from our wood fence outside. 


fence chicken 

It's funny how when you see a pic of something how it puts things in a different perspective... my windowsill is a bit cluttered. There's pottery pieces, salt containers, avocados, and garlic. Actually my counter tops are a bit cluttered too. I should clean them up a bit - but it's so handy to have everything right there when I need it.


chickens and pie birds that sit on my AGA... 
along with cast iron pot that remains there for convenience

These critters also sit on top of the hot plate... usually in the back not in the cast iron skillet.  They bring joy to my cooking just by sitting there in the kitchen with me. Maybe I should make some pie birds??  The chickens I did make, but the 3 pie birds here were either bought or given to me.  (Hmm...mm, maybe I should think about that)

Going to check on Julie now. (Oh, DH's mishap: he broke a tooth this weekend... so he has a dental appointment to deal with... always something).

Thanks for reading... and all your good thoughts for Julie. She is a brave little thing.

Hugs,
Rian




















Friday, January 24, 2020

Make-up as we age...



like the words, but she doesn't look 'old'...


Someone recently posted about the importance (or not?) of make-up as we women age. I found this interesting... (or at least a diversion from worrying about Julie)

The comments were diverse as could be expected... some putting more importance on the issue while others found it not so much.  I think it boils down to how much each of us feels about our self image, whether or not we're still in the ball game (work - career or volunteer), and whether we're alone or sharing our lives.

Personally I've always hated wearing make-up. Do I do it? Yes, of course - (I used to love when I went on silent retreats out at Montserrat during my working years where for 3 whole days I could be make-up free. Putting it back on when I returned to work was like putting on the war paint and preparing for battle.)

But that's just me. I never wore a lot... as my mother who lived with us for 15 years always told me that she couldn't tell that I had any on. "Put a little lipstick on" she would say... and I have to admit I disliked lipstick too... it never stayed on and what I did wear was very light.  

Now at almost 75, I wear a little light foundation, a bit of blush, and some Vaseline on my lips...  (no eye make-up anymore) and I wouldn't wear the foundation except that my skin color which is basically fair has some uneven coloring due to age spots. So yes, I do wear make-up when going out or entertaining at home - but never at other times.

I guess my philosophy these days is that as long as I'm clean and well-groomed, that should do it. Take me as I am or not at all. When I was working I was willing to play the game. Now - not so much.  Some may disagree with that, and that's OK too.

I understand that some women really like make-up, dressy clothes, and jewelry (my mom sure did). There's nothing wrong with that. It just never was a priority with me.  How about you? 


Hugs,
Rian


(On another note, I don't especially like the color purple or feel the urge to wear red hats...)





Tuesday, January 21, 2020

a week has passed...



A week has past since I've posted. Busy with taking care of Julie and life in general. These are the last pics taken of Julie and Tux together.  



Julie with Tux - the day he left us



Julie continues to hold her own. She is thin. I'm feeding her with a syringe several times a day. She drinks water, but eats very little on her own. Jaws still paralyzed. 

We may lose her... but I've been reading up on similar conditions (which apparently are rare) and although it could be a lot of things, it seems to boil down to either a condition that will clear up on its own in a few weeks to a month with the meds  or  it is cancer. 

If it is the former, the important thing is to keep her hydrated and fed... 

Speaking to the Vet yesterday we had decided on several things to do if the antibiotic and the steroids don't work - one was tube feeding, one was a biopsy, both now discarded for various reasons.

We do have an appointment at the Vet's to reassess her this coming Monday.  She needs to be weighed and her jaw examined for any changes... (I see none).


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Yesterday DH and I celebrated our 52nd Anniversary.  We didn't do any actual celebrating as such... but did go out to eat. We went to Whiskey Cake - a local restaurant we enjoy and where we usually take friends or out of town visitors. The food is very good, the coffee is great, and the whiskey cake is delicious! 


whiskey cake 

And that's about the news here. Wish it was better - even miraculous - but it is what it is. We're still hoping for a miracle for Julie and who knows... maybe we'll still get it. 

As always, thanks for visiting and sharing our predicament. It's comforting to know that others care. 

I did start a new quilt this morning to take my mind off of 'things'...


arranging strips to my liking...

Hugs,
Rian















Thursday, January 16, 2020

Tux... we will miss you

This I truly believe...


Tuxedo Armani Shinycoat (alias: Tux)
2004 - 2020

Almost all of our cats had lengthly names. His brother that passed 5 years ago from Feline Leukemia was Jumpin' Jack Lickidyspit (alias: Jack), and his sister (now suffering with her frozen jaw) is Monkey Mouse Squeaky Toy (alias: Julie). 

Tux passed away this past Monday - unexpectedly. He was diagnosed 3 years ago as having chronic kidney failure and tumors. But he has done very well - occasionally having flare-ups, but he always bounced back successfully. This time he didn't. Instead his body shut down very quickly and before we knew it, we had lost him.

Part of the shock was due to the fact that his sibling, Julie, is having her own serious problems right now. Her jaw is still 'locked' or 'frozen' and despite the steroids and antibiotics, there has been very little improvement. The Vets are puzzled. Blood tests and x-rays come back normal. She eats what she can of blended catfoods and I force feed her with a syringe as needed. And she is alert and active, but getting very thin.  

So we have been focused on Julie... and shocked when Tux went down so fast. 

Tux was my 'familiar' - that's as close to explaining our relationship as I can get. Jack was our 'heart'... and Julie is our 'baby'. All 3 are from a litter we took in back in 2004. But Tux and I understood each other... where ever I was, Tux was.

When Jack passed and Tux became the only male in the house-hold, he didn't know how to handle it. Jack had always been the easy-going patriarch who took care of everything and everyone (cleaned all the cats, but especially his brother, Tux - so much that Tux never had whiskers as Jack would clean them right off his face).

Lucky for us over the years none of our cats ever fought. They have all got along... sleeping with each other, cleaning each other, etc. It may be that because we took so many into our home that they got used to including another in their lives.

Tux eventually adjusted. He became the male head. When Ghost (who has attitude problems - nicer than saying she's psycho sometimes) would get pissy and start growling - Tux wouldn't stand for it. He would follow her around as she hissed and growled and lay in front of her on his back as if saying "really, what's the problem?" He also had no problem with jumping right up and laying on my lap on top of any other cat that might be laying there - so that they would leave. He considered it his right. (DH thought this was pushy - but it was who he was - he was finding his way as the alpha cat).

One thing that was obvious about Tux. He was a sensitive soul... easily got his feelings hurt.




If he was sitting on my lap - as he almost always was - and one of the others came by and I leaned over to pet them, Tux would leave. 

We were thinking of what Tux liked the other day and came up with this list:

1. He loved to be by me - watching TV, trying to knit or read, or napping.
2. He loved to eat - maybe that should be #1 - as he was usually 16-18 lbs.
3. He loved people, visitors, workmen or women - he would follow them around and gladly sit in their lap.
4. He loved to lay on DH's shoes.
5. He loved our grandson... and would go to him the minute he came in the door.

Our house-hold won't be the same without him. Now I should be able to knit or read a book without him trying to knock it from my hand... should be able to drink without him wanting to stick his face into my glass... (these things that were sometimes a pain will now be missed). He will no longer have to be the first one inside the new box. (Julie and Ghost may or may not miss this)

Some pics:











































We will miss you...



Hugs,
Rian




and a pic from the past 


Ghost, Jack, Rose, Julie, Tux











Tuxedo Armani Shinycoat

Monday, January 13, 2020

a long overdue invention? and updates...



Saw this in the new AARP magazine that just came in the mail... something to help us find our glasses. (Well, I hardly ever take off my glasses, so this particular item I don't have a need for) But for those of you who use reading glasses or different ones for reading and/or computer, this might be helpful. 

And if you read the last part of this article, apparently there is something similar called a 'Tile Sticker' that works on things like your house keys, TV remote, etc. 

It does work through your smart phone, so if you can't find your phone.... you have a problem. Lucky for us, DH can always call mine (and I do misplace it a lot).

And for those of us who have cats, I would like something I could put on them so that I could find them more easily. Most of the time they are in specific favorite locations, but not always. Sometimes they find a secret spot - usually its when we have to be somewhere on time and go to 'count heads' before we leave... and one of them is nowhere to be found. (I do have one cat "Tux" who will come when called) but 2 others that secretly watch us and enjoy the hunt. 

Next are just a few funny cat posters that made me laugh:






definitely Julie!





Hugs,
Rian

(Update on Julie:  alert, active, eating some, but not a lot, taking her antibiotics and steroids - some improvement but not as much as we would like.

On another note, (when it rains, it pours) - Julie's sibling, Tux, has taken a bad turn. He was diagnosed in chronic kidney failure (with tumors) 3 years ago. But he has been fine - occasionally having an episode of not eating for a day or so, but always bouncing back fine. This week he's not bouncing back... 







Thursday, January 9, 2020

an unexpected treat...

Christmas this year was a bit different  for us and also for some of our family and friends. I had my back issues and Julie's problem with her jaw to deal with. My son in Hawaii had his wife in the hospital for surgery and a good friend had her husband also in the hospital for surgery during the holidays. So... our Christmas get-togethers were affected - some abandoned and some postponed. 

What I'm posting about here is the postponed Christmas get-together my friend and I had yesterday. She came by our house for lunch (and brought dessert!) - after which we sat in the den by the fireplace and drank coffee, talked, and exchanged gifts.  Over the years we have started giving each other Christmas gift bags filled with all kinds of  little fun items (as well as baked treats we both made).

A few of the items I received were 2 jars of honey from their own bees, a Marshmallow Fireside 3 wick candle, and a jar of "Cookie Butter" from Trader Joe's.





There were other things, but I can't think right now what they were. Some of the things I gave her were a coconut bird house and a turtle mug - both from Hawaii, and a few ceramic bowls I'd made... and of course samples of all my baked goodies. But it's not so much what we exchanged as to the fun we had doing it... and we both realized that it was more enjoyable doing it after Christmas instead of in the middle of all the hoopla. 

She also stayed and helped me use my Instant Pot for the first time. It was a Christmas gift and I was hesitant to try it. Years ago I used to use a pressure cooker, but that was a long time ago. Anyway, it was pretty simple and I made a roast with onions, potatoes, carrots, and wine in it in about 60 mins (and nothing blew up!). 





But she is also one of two friends who (like myself) read constantly and share our books. I've been reading a cozy mystery on Kindle lately as I've finished all the 'real' books I had (except that one that I'm finding hard to finish - "Educated"). Anyway, my friend brought over 4 new books - ones she hasn't even read yet either - so I'm excited! Here's a pic of the new 4:



Can't wait to start these...

DH got a book for Christmas also. 



Bernard Cornwell's Sword of Kings

OK... that's it for today. Julie's still hanging in there... no noticeable improvement with the new antibiotic, but it's only been 24 hours... 

Thanks for visiting. Feel free to comment anytime. I love reading comments (even on other's blogs) as much as the posts themselves.

Hugs,
Rian

* Oh, on my last post I mentioned Rose's ornament and DH upon reading it later told me that I didn't post a pic of Rose's ornament. I said, "Sure I had!"... but guess what? Oops! I hadn't. (Don't you hate it when they're right?)

Here it is:


Rose's ornament




















Monday, January 6, 2020

Taking down Christmas 2019...


little red bear from bookstore in Wales
I find it sad when it's time to take down the tree and all the Christmas decorations.  We tend to put it off until the weekend after New Years. Actually it's still not all done. The tree is down and outside - but the ornaments although mostly boxed are still sitting on the den sofa. And even though the outside lights are down and boxed, there's still a bunch of Christmas decor sitting on my front room table waiting to be stored. 

Anyway, before I let it all go for the year, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite ornaments and what they mean to me. 

old Santa ornament from our tree when I was young
daughter's horse that she lost to colic
favorite tea cup ornament
favorite wine ornament


First grandchild's ornament

Probably a bit silly and nostalgic...

We have an ornament for each grandchild (4) and one for each cat that was part of our house-hold for years.  Rose got picked for this post as she was the oldest (23).  Goliath (the horse ornament) was my daughter's Friesian, a huge giant of a horse that stole her heart.
There are others of course but I didn't want to bore you. Six is enough.


Reese's cookie cups

Made these the other day. Saw someone make them on the food network and thought - easy! Yes, it was easy, but they don't come out of the pan easy. The chocolate seeps through - which makes the bottom messy. But they did taste good!

That's my bit for today.  Quick update on Julie: She's hanging in there. Not much change, but she eats (or tries to) fairly well, has no other symptoms, takes her steroids fine. We're adding a liquid antibiotic today to see if that might help. Thanks for all your good thoughts and prayers.

Tux, Ghost, and Julie


And as always, thanks for coming by. Hope 2020 is treating you well so far...

Hugs, 
Rian

*Oh, just something I heard on the news this morning* 
Breakfast is no longer the most important meal of the day for 2020 - or so says Dr. Oz. He says that this is no longer valid since most of us don't live and work on farms today where it would be necessary to eat a good breakfast since you would be out working hard most of the day.

Today he says (I'm paraphrasing of course) that a cup of coffee or tea when we wake up... and no food until about 10 or 11. Then he recommends no food (or not much) after 7 pm. He says that if most of our intake is within those 8 hours, it is best for our bodies. What do you think? I mostly eat this way anyway... so it works for me.















Saturday, January 4, 2020

Julie's mysterious condition...

Julie


A mystery...

Julie, our 15 year old black and white DSH has not been herself for the last few months... but we couldn't put our fingers on what it was that caused us to realize this. She did have a small wound on the left side underneath her neck that she kept scratching at and making bleed. I would clean it with some peroxide and it never changed much... but neither did it heal - 1st thing we noticed, but didn't take too much concern with. 

Then we noticed that she was shaking her head and scratching at her left ear. It was very pink... (from the scratching or ?) I watched this for a while and it never seemed to get any better, so we took her to the Vet about a month ago to check her ear and that wound under her neck. Vet was not worried about the neck wound - looked like it was healing and may not be a wound, but a small growth that wasn't a problem except that Julie kept making it bleed. She was diagnosed as having a yeast infection in her left ear and we were given some Tresaderm to treat this. We did this. She didn't seem to be shaking her head much any more, but the outer ear remained pink.

A month passed and she kept scratching at the left side of her face. We also noticed that she had lost her voice (she talks a lot - or did) . She only squeaks now... and barely that. Then the week of Christmas I also noticed that she was having some difficulty eating. Thought to myself  -  OK, maybe it's a tooth problem and tried to open her mouth to check. I could not get her mouth open - and certainly didn't want to force it. Around this time I also noticed a slight discharge from her left eye... clear but still. 

This did it. We took her to the Vet again the Monday after Christmas. By this time I was getting really worried. She was losing weight, but as cats get up in age, again this isn't unusual. She acted fine as far as running around and jumping on counters and all - but something wasn't right

We told the Vet that we needed Julie to be thoroughly checked over... a complete physical exam, but to concentrate on the left side of her head/face. We were told to leave her at the clinic and they would sedate her, examine her, and run some blood work. We agreed to this... reminding them of her age. I told them to call me as soon as they knew something. 

As it turns out, the exam and blood work all came out normal except for one thing: her jaws are locked shut. The Vet could not open them even under anesthesia. What could cause this? Many things apparently could, but all unusual. Where to start?  They recommended an x-ray of her skull. Did this and didn't see any abnormalities. I asked about antibiotics, muscle relaxants, etc.  Vet consulted with other Vets on premise and recommended we try a steroid injection to start, and some liquid steroids given orally to see if it would reduce inflammation.

Julie was one of 5 kittens born and left in our backyard by a feral mother 15 years ago.  Actually she was one of 5 that we took in (adult kids took 2 and we kept 3). These kittens/cats were/are the sweetest, most loving creatures we've ever had in our house-hold (and we've had many).  She has never been outside since we took them in at about 4 weeks old. And she's never had to go to the Vet's except for annual vaccinations.



Julie is kitten in front at 6-8 weeks when oldest grand daughter (now 18) was 3


I cried that Monday afternoon when the Vet called. First of all I felt awful that I didn't notice that her jaw was locked. How could I have not known this?  She and the other 2 are constantly in our face and on our laps. She showed up and seemed to eat and drink as usual at mealtimes. It wasn't until this last week that I noticed her having difficulty eating. The Vet said that she believed this was a gradual thing and had only become worse recently. 

Anyway, I mentioned cancer, a tumor of her jaw, her larynx? Possibly. But also possibly an arthritic condition that might benefit from steroids. This is what we're trying first. And she is eating fairly well. I blend up her food and offer her the top of the open cans (where the gravy accumulates) and she goes for it. Still not opening her mouth much, but possibly a little more (definitely enough to get that tongue out to lap up food and water). 

If anyone has ever come across anything like this condition in a cat, I would love to hear from you. I had 4 years of Animal Science at LSUBR and 2 years of Animal Medical Technology - but this stumps me (and apparently the Vets also). 

If it isn't something simple like an arthritic condition, the other possibilities are not good. So we are hoping this treatment will bring some results... at least enough to get her mouth open so that the Vet can examine teeth, throat, etc. 

Please keep Julie in your prayers. She means a lot to us.


Hugs,
Rian

(I'm putting this out there so that possibly someone has an idea that we haven't thought of as to what might be causing this. I may put it on Facebook also - to hit a larger audience.)





  










Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020: We made it!



my 2020 mantra...


First of all, Happy 2020! I find this date a bit hard to believe... why? Many reasons.

One being having been born in 1945, 2020 just sounds really odd. 

Next, I vividly remember watching the movie, 2001:A Space Odyssey, in 1968. The movie taking place in 2001 seemed so-oo futuristic. And I remember it so well as I was 9 months pregnant at the time and the theme music (those drummings at the beginning of the movie - click heremade the baby (now my 51 year old son) kick up a storm. (Since he was my first, I thought he was going to kick his way out).

 And also because in 2020 DH and I will both be 75... (or hopefully we will be that is). That's a critical date for me for whatever reason. Might be because my dad died at 75 - not unusual I guess, but for some reason it's become embedded in my psyche.

Now... the reason for my poster pic here at the top. I was going through Pinterest looking for something interesting or possibly funny to post when I saw this one. Well, for those of us who have reached a certain age we have (or at some point will) come to the realization that there are some things that are simply no longer possible - or if still physically possible, probably not smart. This is not easy to accept, but accept it we must.  

However, there are also many things that we can still do where age may be an advantage. After all, we do have experience and maturity (hopefully)... and a lifelong perspective. Must be worth something. Anyway for each of us it will be different, but one of the things I decided I wasn't too old to do this year was 'publish my book'.  So when I read that "I was not too old and it was not too late" poster - it made me think of that. 

And there are so many of us out there who are doing or producing worthwhile things... even at an advanced age. So many of you bloggers are inspiring to me. Even just blogging and sharing your life experiences and thoughts with others is a wonderful thing. So I say if there's something you've always wanted to do or say or share, then maybe 2020 is the time to do it. 

And please continue to blog as I love hearing what is going on in your lives or thoughts.  We all have so much in common and although sometimes this world today seems so unstable, I really do believe that most people are good and basically want the same things. We just can't agree on how to go about it.

So thanks for reading. I didn't really plan on writing all this. Sometimes my thoughts and fingers have a mind of their own...



Hope you have a wonderful New Year's Day!

Hugs,
Rian




Julie says Hi!


(Julie has been having some very strange problems lately. I don't want to go into it here, but will another day... as I need other opinions. It even has our Vet puzzled.)