Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Miss Katie's 4th birthday

I spent the day at Lissa's annual IPP, so I was in San Jose. Ray texted me around noon saying that Katie was calling her mommy, just walking around the house crying for me all day. When I got home she was right there at the door voicing her displeasure that I was gone all day without her.

She's never been like this, so do animals just know that their time is almost up and get weird like this? She even lets Ray pet her, and in her little short 4 years of life that's never happened before. She's always hissed at him and ran like hell.

Anyway, Katie's 4th birthday was yesterday, June 23. And she won't make it to her 5th. But she seems to feel okay, she is eating and drinking and staying hydrated. I noticed today when I got home though that her bad breath odor has returned. I'll call the vet tomorrow and see if that's indicative of something I should be concerned about.

Anyway, once I got home this afternoon she parked herself in my lap and kneaded on my neck and chest. She kneads really hard, and I wish she'd do it on my back - it would be a great massage! I fell asleep to her kitty massage and Ray took pictures...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I is a graduate!

Figured I'd play on improper grammar for a minute. I started my graduate degree program in January 2008 and finished this week! I now have a master's degree in HR Management. The original plan when I started the program was to supplement my full-time job income by teaching online HR courses. Now that I have no traditional full-time job income, I still hope to teach HR online but I also want CraftsMeow to support me so that I don't have to go into a traditional work environment again. Time shall tell. So I'm spending a great deal of time looking online for teaching opportunities at colleges that offer online courses. DeVry University has an HR program but there are no current openings for HR instructors. UofP doesn't have an HR program; however I would think they would have some HR classes required...I've had no luck finding any such openings there either. I may have to pick up the phone on Monday and make phone calls and actually talk with people.

Anyway, anyone who's out there considering going for a master's, I was really surprised that every single course required writing pages and pages of reports. I write well and I know the subject well since I've been an HR professional for more than a few years, but it was just one report after another. I really feel bad for the instructor who had to read all of those pages.

Oh wait...that will be me if I become an HR instructor, won't it? I hate reading anything that is filled with spelling and grammatical errors, so I'll be a pretty tough teacher in that regard.

Anyone hiring?

Secret Pal Swap

Any of my knitting friends who may be interested in a really fun swap, go to this site and sign up by Monday. The site will tell you that sign ups are closed on 6/15 but sign ups have been extended to this Monday, June 22. It sounds like a whole lotta fun!!

Dyeing yesterday resulted in overdyeing after some yukky results. Lesson learned...don't try to add a lighter contrasting color because the result isn't pretty. So there is some really dark navy and some really dark green drying now that were originally intended to be colors that looked great in my head just not so great in real life :-) Maybe I'll find some orange-y red and do a trio of Sock Summit colors as a special!

I ordered an electric yarn skeiner because I am so backed up on dyed yarn. Unfortunately the demand is higher than what they can keep up with so I have to wait to get it until the first week of July. I need more room to store all this yarn that is waiting to be skeined!

And an update on Katie, she's out of her crisis and doing pretty well. That first week and a half was so intense - I didn't think she was going to make it another week. But the pills the doc gave her for the nausea just needed time to kick in I guess because now she eats, and even asks me for more! She's drinking plenty and staying hydrated so I'm optimistic she's going to last longer than I originally thought and confident that she isn't suffering. She's even gained weight! She was down to 6 pounds 8 ounces and is up to 7 pounds as of yesterday! The vet gave her 3-6 months at diagnosis 2 1/2 weeks ago.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Nelson's turn

So today was Nelson's turn at the vet. He's really good - didn't make a peep. He got his shots and a year's worth of his meds and a little shave, along with doctor's orders to brush him every single day. He's so big and round at 16 1/2 pounds that he doesn't groom himself real well. But isn't he a handsome devil?? 8 years old but doesn't look a day over 7. He does have a bit of that deer in the headlights look in this picture though.

And the drying on the deck is going really well. I haven't quite gotten a good rhythm down though to get stuff dyed and skeined so I stay ahead of the curve. I'm backed up about 100 skeins waiting to be skeined...only 800 more to go.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Time out for a baby fix!

My friend Paula had a beautiful girl named Marina Rae on April 17. Yesterday us girls met to spend the day and visit, visits which have become few and far between since she moved to Modesto in March. But we had a great time and little Marina got lots of cuddling and love from her Aunties Carolyn (left), Jackie (right) and Gwen (me, below). Isn't she just the cutest thing??? Jackie and Carolyn are pretty cute too. We even got a smile!!

There are no pictures this day of Marina alone with her mom Paula because we kinda wouldn't give her back, but she did get to cuddle with mom for a minute and got a huge bear hug from Aunt Jackie.And at the end of the day, she lay across my legs and snoozed, perfect for mom to be able to snap her into her car seat for the long drive home.

Please let's do this more often!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Easier trip today

Today it was time to take Prada and Sofie for their shots. They were so easy. Sofie cried in the car a bit, but not too bad, and Prada loves riding in the car so much that she's like a bouncing ball. Sofie weighed in at a hefty 15#...which is heavy for a cat but she's got maine coon in her and she's been this size since she was a year old so it's not unusual for her. Prada weighed in at 11#, too heavy for a Yorkie, so she gets her weight management lower calorie food reduced starting tomorrow. She's NOT going to be happy about that. And Miss Katie has been feeling much better but we gave her a sub-cu fluid treatment anyway. She's feeling so good that she's up here on the back of the chair. All it took to get her to start drinking was to buy her a fountain water bowl. In fact, two of them so she has one in the bedroom too. Much better than toilet water.

I got a whole bunch of the new Banana Split II skeined up and on Etsy. I really like the way it takes the color - much deeper and richer than the original Banana Split. Look how pretty!!

Blackberry Tea
and Blue Curacao

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's drying time again...

My yarn drying time has been an issue because space to dry it that is away from where any of the cats is pretty limited. My shower, Ray's shower, and then move it into my office where I skein it. And it takes forever to dry, even when I spin it first.

We live in a pretty windy area, and I couldn't get my brain wrapped around how to dry it outside without having yarn all over town. So I bought a cheap clothing rack, put it together, and hung some yarn out this morning while it was warm and no wind. But the wind came in one quick swoop and knocked it over.

Ray came out to help me pick it all up, fortunately off the deck which is clean so I didn't have to rewash, and then strung me a clothesline of sorts. Cheap rope, cheap shower curtain hooks, and the yarn was dry in a little over an hour.

And I had a visitor - isn't she cute?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We must stop meeting like this

I have been in my vet's office more in the past week than I've been in the past year. My last 5 checks have been written to Fairfield Animal Hospital, and I told the good folks today that we just have to stop meeting like this. And there are 2 more visits coming in the next week, plus whatever Katie needs. We have our pets scheduled for shots annually, usually in April-May but we're a bit late this year. Last week I took Katie first because I knew she wasn't well and you all know what came of that.

Monday I took Chanel. She's so easy - she won't walk on her leash, but she wears it anyway so that if she ever gets spooked and bolts I have something to grab, or step on. She sits on my lap or on the passenger seat and looks out the window, sometimes with her paws on the dashboard which gets lots of people watching us. She got her shots and we were done. Easy.

Today the appointment was for Simon (flame point Siamese, on left) and Bailey (brown tabby, on right). Holy cow - you would have thought they were being tortured. All the way in the car they howled, Simon more than Bailey but Bailey occasionally did this mournful cry that one would swear was indicative of some serious anguish. What a couple of sissy boys! Then Ray recorded them and played it back so it sounded like there were 4 of them - freaked them both out! Then we get there and Simon tries to bolt out of the carrier when all we want is to put him on the scale - like, where do you think you're going to go if you run out of the carrier? Then just try to get him back in...ha!! He spread all of his fingers and toes like he was grabbing on anything to keep from going back in there. He's almost 5 years old and I think he has finally adjusted to not being "top cat". Bailey wouldn't give up that title.

Then it's Bailey's turn on the scale. Mr. Omega Male, top cat of the household, slinks underneath the pad in the carrier like that's going to make him invisible. We get him out of the carrier to the scale and he's got his ears all down flat...couldn't help calling him wussy pussy. Put him back in the carrier to go for the shots. Old man Bailey just turned 7 last week and today he acted like a total scaredy cat kitten.

The shots part is a piece of cake since Ashlea, the vet tech, is awesome and she let them know who was boss. Not a peep from either one of them. And they don't have to go back for a year.

But they did have to go back into the car. And the howling begins again. Earplugs anyone??

We'll be back on Friday and then again on Monday, and then other than Katie's supportive care we shouldn't have to take any more of these guys back for a year. She's feeling a bit dehydrated so I may take her in for another infusion of sub-cu fluids when I go on Friday. They said it should last 2-3 weeks but I don't think so.

Speaking of Miss Katie, she wants to stay out with everyone and it's interesting to watch because she perches herself on the windowsill, and I was curious as to whether or not she'd come for food so I popped a can of wet food and in she ran. She hasn't eaten all day, but she had her share at wet food time. We watched to make sure the bullies (Bailey and Chanel) didn't casually take her bowl away (kind of cute to watch - they try to stick their heads in where someone else's head already is and then just casually pull the bowl away from whoever is eating so they can have more than their intended share). They not only didn't try to eat her food, they kept a distance. I guess they know that she's not feeling well and needs some TLC. She also smells not so good, and unfortunately that's part of Chronic Renal Failure. Anyway, she ate about a teaspoon of wet food and hasn't eaten anything else all day - maybe this evening she'll get an appetite and eat more. I can hope. She did chase a light around like she felt perfectly well, then she crawled under the covers on the bed for a nice long nap.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dye Dye Dye!!

Did the math - 910 skeins of yarn need to be dyed before Sock Summit. That's 7 weeks from now. That means 130 skeins per week, and if I work 6 days/week giving myself 1 day off to do something else, that's a little over 21 skeins each day. I did 24 today, so if I stay on that pace it will be good. I was done dyeing by about 10:00, and finished rinsing and got everything hung by about 5. And then realized I hadn't eaten all day so dinner is in the oven.

This could have the effect of taking off a few pounds - can't complain about that!!

Cara was here on Sunday and said I needed more greens, so I did a really pretty green in the new 100% superwash base yarn I'll call Soft Serve. Then I did Birthday Cake for Jillian, and some pretty pink/white swirl that has no name yet. Burgundy Cherry has been popular in the Ice Cream Sundae yarn, so I made it in the Soft Serve today - very pretty. And I also did some BubbleMallow today, but did shorter, more random runs of the colors as opposed to the striping I did last time. it looks good so far!

Katie seems very sad today. She did eat about 1/4 cup of the special k/d dry food the vet prescribed. And I found a couple of websites about chronic renal failure in cats so that I could be a bit more knowledgeable. I'll offer different foods as it suggested since she's already shown that some foods are great today and nasty tomorrow, and one suggestion was to moisten her food with the water from tuna but not to give her the tuna. So I'll buy some water-packed tuna and give that a try. I won't take incessant lifesaving measures to prolong suffering though. At this point she doesn't appear to be in pain or really suffering but rather just doesn't feel real good and a bit depressed. We're watching her closely and when the bad days outnumber the good days then we'll know it's time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

So THIS is what over 100# of yarn looks like...

The big shipment came today, well, a partial shipment came today. I ordered 100# pounds of undyed yarn so I can take 1,000 skeins with me to Sock Summit. I see a very busy few weeks ahead of me. These boxes came today, and there are several more coming as some of the order was backordered. So this is what a whole hell of a lot of yarn looks like...and one lonesome shoe.

And Katie just wants to cuddle...fine with me! I say it's time to take a break. She had a great day yesterday, eating a whole can of food, but today she hasn't eaten anything or drank anything either - she seems to have some nausea happening (the comforter is in the washer) even though she did take her pills. I guess it will be like this, good days and bad days...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Katie says

Katie says "don't get ready to say goodbye yet because now that you've stopped making me eat that nasty food the vet prescribed I'm feeling better." I got desperate because she wouldn't eat more than 1/4 teaspoon of food so I took in a teaspoon of the wet cat food the other cats all eat and Katie has enjoyed and she gobbled it. So now it's about 7 p.m. and since 8 this morning she has eaten a full can, given to her a teaspoon at a time every 3-4 hours so she doesn't gorge and get sick, and she's obviously feeling better. She's talkative again and a very cuddly girl. So even though I know this is terminal and there is no fixing it, I feel like she's ready to hang around a bit longer. She even takes her pills now twice a day without fuss.

Amazing stuff

I took Katie to the vet yesterday morning to get some sub-cu fluids and the doc said not to expect it to have an immediate effect, but that it should help lower her BUN level, which would in turn help her to feel well enough to eat some. She's gotten pretty good at taking the pills, I really think she "knows" and even though the pill isn't the greatest thing, it qualifies as quality time with mom :-) Anyway, the fluids in conjunction with taking the pills regularly did have an immediate effect. She ate immediately when I brought her home. Not much, but at least she ate something - like 1/2 teaspoon of food. Eating like that won't sustain her for long, but at least she still seems comfortable.

And baby kittens have been passed off to a new foster mom which sure helps me to get more sleep! I think they'll do well - they had opened their eyes and were chubby little roly-poly babies already.

I bought a featured spot on etsy today and that gets a bit more traffic to see my pretties. I have much yarn to skein up before my order arrives with more to dye, but I also have a paper to finish that is due - 2 more weeks of grad school then I'm done done done done done! I really hate school.

Friday, June 5, 2009

New foster parent!!

YAY!! I found someone who will take over the fostering responsibilities for the kittens. She's experienced, having done this many times just like me. She's got a lab that loves to 'mother' the kittens and I can't wait to see pictures. How nice it would be to have a four-legged critter in the house that would take over the cleaning part of this - these guys have to have a full bath every meal. I won't miss that.

Yarn shipment didn't arrive yet, so I am going to play this weekend. I'd expected to be buried under 800 skeins of yarn begging to become something other than white, but it looks like that won't happen until Monday now. That will give me time to go buy some more dye - ran out of some critical colors.

Katie has stopped eating and drinking...already. It seems like maybe she knows and has made peace. Very strange because she was eating and drinking up until the vet visit that resulted in this dx. The only thing she's eaten since is a teaspoon of baby food chicken. The vet gave me some special food today as well as some pills to counteract the nausea he says she's feeling - we got the pill down her...ever read the funny really long humorous thing about how to give a cat a pill? This was similar - if she had more strength and energy it probably would have been exactly like that...but I wouldn't call the SPCA. Anyway, got the pill down her and a teaspoon of the special food but she still hasn't eaten or drank anything. Doc is going to give her some sub-cu fluids in the morning, which he said will make her feel a bit better so maybe she'll eat. If she still refuses I may go ahead and have her put down on Monday. She has a very sad face...I don't know if she's telling me goodbye or save me.

She does sit in the window sill like always, but she used to chatter at the squirrels and birds and she doesn't chatter anymore...just stares. And our conversations are now limited to a single meow...she doesn't answer back like she used to. I swear it's like she's just ready and is getting all the cuddles she can before that time comes.

She sure as hell doesn't want that pill though.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My lovely Katie Anne

Katie was someone else's foster 4 years ago. She didn't show well - every time she was brought to adoption events she would hiss and spit and hide in the back of the cage. She even nipped at one lady. This cute little 8-week old kitten seemed to hate people, even though she'd been in foster care for half of her life. But when I sat next to her cage with my kittens, she would paw out of the cage and try to get my attention, so I'd pet her and she'd purr and bump my hand to pet her a nutshell she adopted me. After 3 weeks of watching her stress out at being there, I adopted her myself and brought her home. She is a groomer...always makes sure my hands and my face are clean and well groomed, then bumps at my hand with her little tiny golf-ball sized head to pet her more. She talks so much we swear she's part Siamese in there somewhere.

She's skittish, sometimes very difficult to catch to get into a carrier for a vet visit, so I'm glad that vet visits and shots are only once a year. When all of our cats got put on a diet, feeding them indoor formula cat food to help reduce all of their overweight bodies, Katie is the only one it seemed to work for. After 2 months on the new food she was looking nice and trim and we were pleased. Then a month later she looked like she'd lost even more, then settled in so we thought she was done losing and since she was active, playful, and as skittish as ever, and chasing her best friend Simon around the house as they'd romp all over each other up the cat trees and slide across the bare floor because they couldn't get any traction. Then about 3 weeks ago she started looking right out skinny, so I watched her more closely and saw that she is eating with everyone else and still active but not quite as talkative. I made her an appointment for a checkup since it's time for her annual shots anyway, and when I picked her up I knew there was a real problem. Light as a feather. Get her to the vet on the scale and she had lost half of her body weight, down to a bit over 6# in a year.

Blood tests revealed she is in the final stages of renal failure, which for a young cat is pretty rare. Vet said it usually indicates antifreeze poisoning, but she's never been outside exposed to antifreeze. So he thinks she was born with a genetic anomoly, possibly missing a kidney or with deformed kidneys, and he gives her a maximum of 3-6 months. I don't think she'll last another month.

She's now living in our bedroom so she doesn't have to compete for food. Now she won't eat, even the wet food she has always loved, so I bought her baby food chicken and that she'll eat. The vet is going to prescribe a medication that will relieve the nausea he says she is feeling so she will feel more like eating. She loves sunning herself in the bedroom window and seems to enjoy the peace and quiet. So as my eyes well up with tears knowing that in a very short period of time that will come far too soon, I'll be holding her as she goes to sleep for the last time.

I've never been through this with one of my own - fosters, yes, it's happened a few times, but never my own. I feel like I'm losing a very significant part of me, but I would never keep one alive for me. Quality of life is more important than quantity, and I trust her to tell me when it's time.

Updated photos

The babies are now 9 days old. Sibling #4, the one that stayed out in the elements and was so very cold when I picked him up, didn't make it. But these 3 are doing very well and getting chubby...and noisy! The pics of kitten #3 were all blurry...they're a bit easier to photograph when they get older. Still looking for an experienced bottle-feeder to foster!!!