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Monday, April 02, 2001 It's April and the weather is still sucking. And it's supposed to suck for the rest of the week. Possibility of drizzles today and tomorrow, cooler as the week progresses. Come on, get over with this suck weather, I'm ready for some sunshine. I need the sun.

Lonee is in the shop. Brian mowed the lawns Saturday and she went into the shop. She likes it in there. She didn't come into the house until after midnight Saturday night, at which time I got Benny in and blocked the door. Yesterday, I didn't shut the shop door in time and she was out there again all day. So, last night, I shut the shop door and let her spend the night in the shop. This morning, I opened the big door and I've seen her, but she hasn't come in the house yet. I'm sure she will when she gets hungry enough. I have the cat door set for in only, cats can't go out (except Benny, Boney and Ciara, they know how to pull it towards them to get out). Once she's in, I'll shut the shop door.

I have to take Lola in today for blood tests. Cross your fingers that the cancer hasn't come back. I have to get her in before noon. Remember, I have to leave her because she fights having her blood taken so they're going to lightly sedate her.

Jack was in the kitchen yesterday morning when I heated the chicken. It's been months since he was in there waiting. He's such a handsome boy.

Right now, the trap is set out front. Cleo was here, but didn't go in. She took off. And she's getting bigger by the day.

I had a little internet excitement last week. Sent my blood pressure soaring. I'm sure we've all gotten at least one of those spams offering "millions of email addresses" for mass mailings. Well, somebody sent spam mail to millions of email addresses for a Dish Network distributor in Missouri. And they used my domain name as the return. The name part of the return address was many variations of letters and numbers, obviously phony, but it didn't matter. I get all mail for, regardless of the first part. All the bounced mail came back to me. The first day, I got over two hundred bounced mails. The next day, I got over thirteen hundred. It's still dribbling in. I went over and set up my account at spamcop so all of my mail goes through them first. Eventually, I won't have to go over there and check out the mail that's being held so often. The good mail comes through, no problem. Well, a validation type email is sent to the sender. The "questions" email address in the body of the spam was no good. I called the toll free number and gave the people hell. I also forwarded over a thousand of the spam mails to the Dish Network's main website. I received a mail from them confirming that the distributor mentioned in the spam mail had their distributorship withdrawn. Gee, I feel kind of bad. Wait, no I don't. And if this guy paid someone to advertise his business without finding out how it would be advertised, I really don't feel sorry for him.

The sun is out. Maybe Lonee will come out of the shop. She hasn't eaten since yesterday afternoon. She should be getting hungry. I hope. I don't think she's fast enough anymore to catch mice.

Kirby has figured out that I can't give him pills if I can't get to him, the brat. As soon as he's done eating, he goes up. Into the rafters, over the television set. This is making it really hard and I don't like it.

Well, it looks like I may be getting the camera this month. I told Brian yesterday that when I get the new camera, he should take the old digital camera with him up to Ranchita. That way, we won't have to wait until he has the roll finished to develop the pictures. I can do it on the computer and print them out on photo paper. He liked that idea. I also said I'd go up there and take mini movies of him on his equipment. I did some more research and besides more memory cards, I should get a card reader because that works through USB (the camera works via serial and it's pretty slow according to the reviews) and the A/C adaptor. I think Brian isn't fighting the idea too much because he wants new tires for the dumptruck and I know those won't be cheap. We're both going to use plastic this month when we get what we want and won't have to pay for it until next month. I'm going to make mini movies of each of the cats and put them on their webpages. And the movies I make of Brian will go on the Ranchita page.

Brian's dad isn't doing well. When his dad first moved to a residential care facility, Brian saw him about once a month, then he quit going. I used to get after him to go visit, but it came very close to nagging and I figured Brian is a big boy and he'll go if he wants to. Me pushing him won't get it done and it will just make him irritated with me. His dad is probably under a hundred pounds now. Brian finally went to visit last Saturday and his dad was doing much better than Brian had come to expect. He was up and watching skiing on television, even commenting on what he was seeing. That was good. I'm glad Brian went.

Whew. It's a little after eleven and I finally got Lonee in. I moved a bunch of stuff in the shop (Brian really needs to get on cleaning that place up) and I heard her. I stood still and I saw her come from behind a bunch of piled up vehicle stuff. I clapped my hands and saw her running towards the door. I just came into the house and she's in the tube in the garage. Good. I shut the shop door.

Well, I guess that's all for today. Gotta take Lola over to the vet. Say a little prayer for her, please?


Tuesday, April 03, 2001 Well, quite a bit has happened since yesterday morning, but I'm not going to talk much about it. Just the basics.

Lola had gained a half of an ounce since her last vet visit and her bloodwork was good. Yay!! She's still in remission!!

Brian's dad died last evening. It wasn't a surprise, because he'd been so ill for so long. His body just quit working.

And this morning, Kirby was blocked again. I called the vet's at five after eight and took him in.

I'm going to help my mother in law and make the letters or cards she would like to send out to announce her husband's death. So, I'm going to get started on that.

Pete caught a mole or gopher yesterday. I don't know which it is, but it's been digging in the yard for a while. Both in the catnip and by the pool.


Thursday, April 05, 2001 Well, Kirby is home. His pH was good, so the ammonil was doing its job. But he still has quite a bit of those mucoid things in his bladder. And the vet thinks that Kirby is so uncomfortable, bladder wise, that he strains and pushes to pee and in the process, is pushing the mucoid plugs down to the opening to his urethra, thereby blocking again. *sigh* So, for the next week, Kirby will be getting Elavil, twice a day, to calm him down and to keep him from obsessing about peeing. The vet is very, very reluctant to do the pu surgery. For one thing, the cat will have to have a collar for three days, because licking himself will cause scarring. They keep a stint in to help with urination so that the urine doesn't burn and that could be a problem with Kirby. The vet did mention keeping him at the vet's office for the minimum three days, but he believes that would be a death sentence for Kirby, because Kirby hates it there so much. He won't eat or drink or even move while he's there. The vet says he "goes catatonic". Kirby is still on ammonil twice a day, still on baytril and now the Elavil. Five pills a day for a cat who hates to have pills shoved down his throat.

Pete caught another rodent this morning, brought it into the home. Growling and hissing at the other cats. He dropped it and ran from me, I picked the think up by its tail and took it out front. Let those cats eat it.

We're really broke right now. Brian isn't at a billing point on any of his jobs. This isn't any fun. Thank goodness for plastic.

My new camera got here yesterday. It's really, really nice. I took a couple of movies yesterday and uploaded them to this site. But they're really big. Fortunately, I bought QuickTime Pro a few years back and you can use that to edit movies. So, here are the two I've edited. You'll need the QuickTime plugin (free), which you can download at the Apple website.

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I can see I'm going to have a lot of fun with this. The camera is really amazing. The pictures are clear and sharp. I'm really pleased.

I made memorial cards for my mother-in-law to send people notifying them of Brian's father's death. Brian's mom hasn't been really sad and I understand her feelings. Over three years ago, the doctors told her he only had months to live, so she's accepted the fact that it was going to happen. It would be different if there was a possibility that he would get better, but it was never going to happen. He told her before he died to not cry at his passing, but to rejoice because he was out of pain and going to a better place. She told me that making the cards for her was a big help. The front has a cloud background, with his picture on it. And the inside has a poem on the left and a short version of his life on the right. We went over to her home on Tuesday night to get the information about his life. Brian's sister was in charge of writing it up and she wanted to put in every part of his life, which seems like a wonderful idea. I'm sure that people would be interested in reading about him. But there was also a limit to how much would fit on the card. I said I could use really small font, but then Brian's mom would have to send out magnifying glasses with the cards. Or, I could put "to find out more about this wonderful man, please call" with a phone number. Nancy, Brian's sister started laughing. "Yeah, we could charge for audio tapes." And the conversation progressed.... "If he was having a service, we could sell teeshirts and hats and pictures of him: Please help us with funeral expenses!!" Brian's mom said "and people would feel guilty if they didn't buy anything!!" It seemed like a pretty healthy discussion. Laughter always helps. Brian's mom ended up doing the life part and it was pretty short and to the point. I finished the cards up last night (ran out of colored ink right after the last card, what luck!) and Brian took them over to her this morning. Yesterday, I gave her the envelopes and said she could start addressing them so all she would have to do is put the cards in them when I had finished with them.

The sound on our telephones has been getting worse and worse. We can't even listen to the business line. I figured that it's probably a problem with something having been repeatedly peed on. So, this morning, Brian pulled the bed from the wall and after he went to work, I started checking phone cords. I found at least three problem areas, all correctable with new equipment. I need a new line in the office to his phone from the wall, a new line to the phone in the tv room and a new outlet for the bedroom. And in there, Brian is going to have to put a silicone seal around the outlet because the cats will stand on the headboard, pee on the wall and it drips down the wall into the outlet. It's amazing how they know where to go to do the most damage. Who said cats aren't intelligent?

This has been a pretty people intensive week for me. Lola and Kirby to the vet. Visiting with Brian's mother (figure I haven't been over there in probably a year) twice. Brian's sister coming over here to check her email. I was supposed to go in for a teeth cleaning yesterday morning, but I was thinking I'd be busy with the cards. The dentist office called to remind me on Tuesday morning and I was on the phone with them when Nancy showed up at the door. The phone was wigging out and I tried to put on my headset, but it got tangled in the phone cord. Nancy was ringing the doorbell, I was trying to take the phone with me, make an appointment for Brian, cancel my appointment. Then Nancy started knocking on the door, I just set the phone down and answered it, let her in, ran back to the office to finish the dentist's phone call. While Nancy was here, the company I ordered the camera from called to find out how I wanted it shipped. Then yesterday, Brian's toilet stopped up and I had to call the plumber. So, it was good that I had cancelled my dental cleaning because I had to wait for the plumber. The vet called about one thirty about Kirby and I could barely hear him on the phone. I was in the process of playing with the camera, still waiting for Brian's mom to bring over what she wanted me to put in the card. Then the plumbers showed up (two) and I told them the problems. My bathroom sink was really sluggish, when the washing machine emptied out, the bubbles were coming up through the kitchen sink and of course, Brian's toilet. I thought it was all one problem, but they had to go into each appliance. While they were here doing their work, Brian's mom knocked at the door. She had driven by earlier, but thought I wasn't home since the Ranger was the only vehicle in the driveway. Brian's been taking the car because he's still waiting for the paint to set on the racks he had installed on the new work truck over two weeks ago. He's still using his old truck as his work truck. The broken down truck is up in Ramona where a friend of his is working on it as he can. So, he's been using the car to get back and forth to work (he won't bring the work truck home because it's been broken into and tools have been stolen too many times while it was in our driveway, plus it's only for business usage, not as a personal vehicle), leaving just my truck in the driveway. Then last night, the phones were really bad and I was pulling wires from the wall in the office. I don't know what Brian thought I was doing under there, but he seemed to be quite surprised that his phone was dead. *sigh*

Well, that seems to be about all for now. Guess I'll go do laundry or something.


Monday, April 09, 2001 What a wonderful weekend I had. Yeah. Right.

Saturday morning, Brian left bright and early to get a load of gravel dumped on the property, which he needs for the hole for the cistern. After he left, I was watching Kirby walk around the back yard. I watched him squat and pee. I checked under him when he was done. No pee. And he hopped the little wire retainer around the pool area, sat down on the concrete and started to clean his genital area. Typical behavior for him when he was blocking. Freaked out, I called the vet. It was about a quarter until eight and the answering service (which has been one of my problems in the past) told me that he still hadn't returned a call from the night before, that he may not be in. Well, he was and said for me to meet him at the office at nine. He was already there when I arrived. All of the doors were locked and he couldn't see me. I waited a couple of minutes, then knocked on the glass. He came to the front and let me in. We went into an examining room and I took Kirby out of his carrier. The doc came back in and he held Kirby and attempted to express his bladder. Urine came out. He wasn't blocked. Then he carried Kirby over to the sink and asked me to help. I held Kirby's head and front legs and the vet expressed him some more. Then the vet said he wanted to take Kirby into the back, mask him (sedate) and introduce some lidocaine into Kirby. He was gone for a few minutes and he brought Kirby back and Kirby was fast asleep. The doc put Kirby into the carrier and said to make sure Kirby didn't pinch his face against the door. Within minutes, Kirby started coming to (the vet uses isofluorane gas). He said Kirby wasn't blocked and there were no more mucoid plugs, that Kirby was probably just sore from the catheters and infection and it burned to urinate. Then we came home and Kirby was happy to be here.

I pretty much kicked back on the couch, watching movies. Brian got home surprisingly early (the weather was bad) and he got the fire going. It was a pretty nice evening. Sunday morning, I got up early and turned on the TV and found an old movie. Brian came out in a teeshirt and sweatpants and laid down on the sofa and pulled a blanket up over him. I made breakfast. Around ten, he finally got up and took a shower, went outside and washed the car and my truck, then mowed the lawns. We had baked fish sticks, broccoli and tater tots for dinner. He was going to go to bed, but I turned the receiver to the movie "On Any Sunday" with Cameron Diaz and Al Pacino at ten o'clock. About fifteen minutes into the movie, I did a head count and came up one short. Jackie. Damn. I went outside and looked for him. It was as if he had turned invisible. I finally found him and he just wouldn't go in the cat door. I have no idea why. I finally opened up the sliding door, turned on the patio lights and the lamp in the living room so that he would know to run in there. Of course, a few of the other cats went outside, too, but they'd be easy to get back inside. It took almost two hours of running around with the flashlight, climbing up on the bank, down by the pool, on my belly looking under the pool pump before he finally ran inside. I gave him a few pieces of NutroMax kibble and he was happy. The other cats came in without any problem at all. Then I sat down to watch the final minutes of the movie, only to realize the movie had almost another hour to go. It ended at 12:45. Brian wasn't really happy about staying up so late on a work night. But he did. I took some Excedrin PM before I went to bed (hey, I found out last week that that stuff is good for sleeping) because I knew I'd be sore from all of that climbing. This morning when I got up, I fed the cats, opened the cat door and went back to bed. I didn't get up until after seven. I'm still pretty tired. Figure I'm usually asleep by ten.

Saturday, we did get a little rain. The kittens were down by the pool when it started to sprinkle and the drops of rain hitting the water was really intriguing to them. Their eyes got big and they stalked the pool, but didn't try to catch anything. They're so cute.

Earlier today, Kirby sprayed against a towel I have just for this purpose (towels are easy to wash). He had blood in his urine. I called the vet (of course) and asked if this was normal. Yep. I asked about medicating him, should I just give him another week's worth of antibiotics or extend the time period? I was told to give it to him for another week past this one. Poor guy.

Well, I wasn't very happy with SpamCop. I tried to use an old program I got years ago, E-mail Monster, but it didn't work. That's why I quit using it before. I did a Google search for "automatically delete spam" and got a CNet list of downloads. I checked them out and decided on the first one in the list, Spam Buster. There's a free version with ads and a registered version without. I tried it out and it seems pretty good. With SpamCop, you pay for so many megs, which I had done years ago, just never figured out how to use it. Well, in the week that I've been using it, I've used up half of what I'd paid for. Forget that. This new one seems to be pretty good, though. I have the chance to delete the mail before it ever reaches my mailbox. And mail that's from good addressed automatically comes to me. I like it.

Remember last year when I made my Disney reservations for October? And I was told to call back this year to see if I could get a better price? When I made the reservations, I was quoted $217.35 a night at the Paradise Pier hotel. Well, I'm sure glad I made the reservations because they've gone up almost twenty dollars a night!! Right now, they're having a special for Disney Club members, but Brian is too busy for us to go. And then there's Kirby. We don't dare leave him overnight, not until I know he's doing better. And we still have two weeks of medicating to do.


Saturday, April 14, 2001 We got Cleo Thursday night. She's the tortie who was hit by a car last year and we tried to catch her, even the woman who cat sat when we went to Disneyland (a tech at our vet's office) tried to get her last October, but no luck. Cleo is Jackie's mom.

She was really bad after the injury (either pelvic or her leg, her tail was limp, too), we were really worried about her, but she was still quick enough to get away from us. She has gradually gotten better and now you wouldn't know she'd been hurt.

Last month, I noticed her getting bigger. She was pregnant. We've been trying for the past three weeks to trap her. She's gone into the trap, but the damn thing didn't spring. Then, she didn't show up Wednesday morning. She didn't show up Thursday. She was either hurt or had her kittens. We found out Thursday afternoon, she had her kittens. They were in a neighbor's back yard, in a little iceplant cave. Their daughter is the one who noticed them, the kittens were crying. Anyway, they came to me, I checked it out. I came home and called the vet's office. One of the techs fosters newborns all the time. She was busy and was supposed to call me back, but when she hadn't in over forty five minutes, I called again and she answered. I told her what was going on and she said that she and April were the only ones there and that she would come over after they were done cleaning.

During the wait, Brian came home and we got the stuff ready that she might need. Well, she came and so did April. April had a net and Charlene had a box for the kittens and blankets and food and stuff like that. Brian and April went over to the neighbor's house, I grabbed the trap and Charlene and I followed. Brian situated the trap in front of the opening and they were able to scare Cleo from the spot. Then they went after the kittens. It was so sad. Two were stuck together by their umbilical cords and the cord was twisted around one of the kitten's legs. I don't know if they'll be able to do anything for it. Another kitten didn't look very healthy at all, it was all dirty and not well taken care of. And a fourth was still in the sack. It never had a chance. *sigh*

We put the trap with Cleo into the back of April's truck and Charlene took the kittens in her truck. They went back to the office to do what they could for the surviving kittens. I know that one will probably be okay, but I didn't know about the other two.

I didn't get much information, but I talked with April (Charlene has Fridays off) Friday morning. She said that Cleo has calmed down quite a bit (remember, she's in the trap) and was to be spayed (he doesn't usually do surgery on Fridays where the cats have to stay overnight because they aren't open on Saturday). Charlene will most likely arrange to meet me at the clinic Saturday so that I can pick Cleo up.

April said that the vet had come back down to the office Thursday night for some other reason and April and Charlene were still there. He said the kitten's leg doesn't look good, but only time will tell. Charlene gave the kittens fluids and antibiotics and was going to stop on the way home for goat's milk. April said that Charlene would be going in to pick up her paycheck in the afternoon, so she would probably call me then. If anybody can successfully raise these kittens, it's Charlene. She's been handraising for years and the fact that she works for a vet is a great plus.

Charlene called last night to make arrangements to meet me to pick up Cleo this afternoon. She said that the one kitten who had been cold had perked up and was doing better. She sounded pleased. She said she'd bring the kittens and I'm going to take the new camera and get some pictures of them and bring Cleo home and release her. I wish we could keep the kittens, but Brian won't even discuss it. And who knows, there are probably other kittens out in front that already need homes. Don't forget, Blue had a litter already.

Since we've gotten Cleo, the trapping of the other cats will begin in earnest Sunday night.

Kirby is doing much better. He doesn't seem to be having a problem peeing and believe me, I do my best to see if he is. I do get a little concerned when he cleans himself after he pees, because that's one of the signs that yells out "DANGER" to me. But he's peeing freely, so I guess he's just cleaning himself. Nothing to be worried about. He's on baytril for another week.

Well, it appears as if after a very long winter, spring has finally sprung. Thursday, the sky cleared after almost two months on continuous clouds. Thursday night, you could see the moon. Yesterday and this morning have been sunny. I'm hoping this winter weather is over.

Ciara has turned into a really little cuddlebutt. She almost demands to be held. Like Rusty and Lola, who won't take "no" for an answer, it looks like Ciara is following in their footsteps. She wants to be held when she wants to be held. She'll climb into my lap when I'm at the computer and lay down and just purr. She loves having her head rubbed. It's small enough that it fits in my hand and I can rub both ears at the same time. She really starts purring up a storm and her nose gets all wet. She also sleeps on the bed at night now. When I go to bed at night, she's usually in a basket. But during the night, she comes in to the bedroom and sleeps at the foot of the bed.

I check on all of our cats a couple of times each day. I do head checks every couple of hours. I do one in the morning when I get up (remember when I found Maggie?) and at night before I go to bed, I do a mental head count. "Did I see Ciara? Who am I missing?" and I'll even get out of bed to double check, just to make sure all the cats are safe. And then there are the during the day checks. Maybe because our guys can go out back during the day, but even if they couldn't go outdoors, I think I'd still check on them during the day, at least before I went to bed at night. Because what if one got out? The sooner I noticed, the better chance I'd have of getting that cat in before any danger befell it. Do other cat owners do this, too? Are they concerned about kitty's whereabouts? Or do they just not bother?


Sunday, April 15, 2001

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I almost thought I had lost this last night. Luckily, I hadn't deleted it from the camera yet. The little white kit to the top walking to the left of the movie is the one who had the cord wrapped around her leg (the only male is the little red one, Opie, my Opie!! Brian says "not your Opie". "Opie, my Opie" I whine). The problem leg is the back right leg. You can see she's using it a little. Pray that it comes back to normal.

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lisaviolet is fifty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

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