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Monday, August 06, 2001 Well, I guess I didn't do too good getting back on sooner, did I? But, here I am. All is well. And nothing exciting has happened.

We bought some Fancy Feast for Lola, because I've found she'll eat it. I put her in the bathroom, shut the door, and let her eat as long as she wants, without interruption. She's put on two and a half ounces since I started weighing her. Good deal.

Almost out of cat food, both kinds, we went to the pet store yesterday. I was looking for Pet Guard, which the cats like and didn't find any, but I did find Felidae. I was surprised it was so inexpensive, compared to the other brands. It's a high quality food. It was only ninety nine cents for a large can. I was very pleased to see the cats really like it. So, that should save some money. I still have those twenty cans of Wysong Rabbit and at Brian's suggestion, gave it to the out front cats last night. He doesn't really think it would be cost effective to ship it back. I didn't think they'd like it, but they did.

Did I mention Brian talked about getting a vacuum for outside? One that would pick up the pine needles? Well, Sears had one on sale and he got it a week ago. Yesterday, he got it out of the box, but the oil and gas in it and started it up. He ran it up the street sucking up all of those needles. He went past the neighbor's yard, the one who hates the trees and back down again. That thing did a great job.


Tuesday, August 07, 2001 So, here I am, back again, to finish what I started yesterday. Or at least try.

So, what else has happened. Hmm...oh, yeah, the kittens get to play outside on a regular basis, as long as I have the doors opened. This week has been pretty warm, so I close up around ten to keep the cool air in. They get to go out around seven. Well, they really enjoy playing around the pool, jumping through the tall grass (it sure came back in quickly after Brian and I had it all cut back last month). I let them play, only going out to supervise every ten or so minutes. Last Friday morning, about seven thirty, all kittens, with the exception of Angel were playing. Angel was sitting in the streambed (the pump doesn't come on until ten). She was cleaning herself. I called to her and she kept cleaning. I took a closer look and yelled for Brian to get a towel. She had fallen into the pool. Fortunately, because of the roughness of the pool face, she was easily able to climb out. Brian brought out the towel, I handed her up to him and he started rubbing her down. I climbed over the little fence and took her inside into the bathroom and used the hair dryer to help warm her up and dry her off. She wasn't really thrilled with it, but it didn't take too long, because she wasn't real wet. It looked like she was in and out of the water in no time. Last night, Brian was telling me how he'd like to redo part of the pool edge. He mentioned cutting out part of the top and replacing it with slate. So, I ask "will the cats be able to climb out of it?" He hadn't thought of that. No, they wouldn't. Well, we just can't take that chance, now can we? Oh, well. It would have looked nice.

Last Thursday was my appointment for my yearly exam. I had made my chiro appointment for a half hour earlier, then planned on going over to the doctor. Well, last Monday or Tuesday, my mom decided she'd like to see the chiropractor. She's been having problems with loss of feeling in her fingers and her tongue, and Kaiser has been unable to get to the root of the problem. Friday, I have to drive downtown San Diego (something I am not looking forward to) to take her for another appointment. I plan on driving down by myself before I take her, to find out exactly where I'm going. Driving on the freeway with mom won't be fun anyway. Getting lost with her would be even worse. Anyway, we made her appointment for an hour before mine. She was pretty nervous, everything there was so new to her. Since she went, she's waffled about going, but she did make her appointment yesterday and will continue to see him after this stuff at Kaiser is taken care of. He did take x-rays and from the x-ray could tell that she had, at sometime in the past, gotten a case of whiplash. Probably in the car accident when I was sixteen. Since it was never adequately cared for, it's gradually gotten worse. After two treatments by him, she told me this morning that her back and neck aren't tingling like they had been. Sure, because they're probably getting blood back to them. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this progresses.

After I left her, I went over for my appointment, surprised to see an empty waiting room. "Yes, I'm Dianne S, I'm here for my ten thirty appointment" I announce. They look at me. "Didn't you get the message I left on your machine?" *sigh* The doctor was delivering a baby. Great. So, I rescheduled for tomorrow. I'll probably do the downtown trip after that.

The older cats have pretty much accepted the kittens. There are a few holdouts, like Rusty. But, overall, things went pretty smoothly.

But Lonee has become reclusive again. She hadn't let me pet her or hold her for a couple of weeks. She did let me stroke her this morning. I hope it doesn't take too long to get her back to being lovable. I miss our smurgles in the morning. And then there's Red. He's come a long way since living in the rafters. He came to live with us five years ago last Wednesday, August 1. I no longer have to get on the floor to love him. He'll jump up on the counter and recently has been coming up to me on the couch. When Brian is laying down and Red is looking for me, he'll even let Brian pet him. This is so wonderful to watch. He's not a fan of the younguns.

Brian is going to try to go to bed around nine each night, because going later, he's just not getting enough sleep. Nine is too early for me. So, I might try coming back into the office to catch up on the diary. I'm sure it would be easier that way, than to try to remember a week or more worth of stuff.


Thursday, August 09, 2001 It's Thursday afternoon. So far, I've gone to the bank, gone to WalMart, cleaned off the patio, washed the patio mats, called the vet, re-installed some software and rebooted about ten times because something I added last night corrupted the backyard cam driver and it wouldn't work this morning. I've also done a laundry. I think I'm about ready for a nap.

Well, my doctor's appointment went well. My blood pressure was 120/80, a "normal" reading. Good deal. He asked me about my periods and I told him I'd had two this year, the most recent one sending me to the store for reinforcements. A real one, not one of those wannabees I've been having. So, he starts talking about menopause. Asks me about night sweats and hot flashes. Nope, not having any. He said that it's rare for a woman not to get them and that estrogen helps. He tells me about the positive things that taking estrogen can do for me. Uh-uh. Not me, I ain't taking es tro gen. I ain't gonna do it. First off, I take calcium, much calcium on a daily basis. That should help offset osteoporosis (along with exercise). I don't have night sweats and hot flashes. I've not been really crabby for a while. And lastly, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at 68 years of age. Estrogen based. She went through menopause in her early forties and she never took hormones. No, thank you, sir, I don't need estrogen. He said it wasn't like I had to take it, he just wanted to let me know that it's available, should I need it. He said that just because my mom had cancer, doesn't mean I will. Well, let's just say I want to be as safe as I can. I don't want to tempt fate any earlier than I need to. During my exam, he said that they had a cat who had recently died. A declawed cat. I have no idea of what my face looked like when he said that, but he added "My wife said we will never do that to a cat again". Whew. No lecture needed. I was afraid I was gonna have to have a serious talk with that boy.

After I left his office, I went down to the place where I'm taking mom for tests tomorrow. I'm really not looking forward to this at all. I found it pretty easily, but I'm not really comfortable driving on the freeway, in all of that traffic. Hopefully, mom will have taken tranquilizers before we go, so she won't make me anymore nervous than I'll already be. I told her this morning that I had gone there yesterday, to the place on Bunker Hill. "Did the directions I gave you help?" What directions? "You know, Joe said something about the two billboards." What billboards? No, mom, I didn't follow the directions you gave me. "Well, did you go to the one on Bunker Hill?" *sigh* Yes, mom, I did. "Are you sure you didn't go to the one on Mission Gorge Road?" Why would I go to the one on Mission Gorge Road? My patience is wearing thin. I'm dreading tomorrow. By the way, mom, I'm driving the truck. "Are you sure you don't want to drive my car?" (Why would I want to drive your car, I have a car of my own that I'm familiar with and I don't want to drive down there, but I'll feel safer in the truck in traffic, I know people will see me and not run in to me. God, don't start already, I'm terrified as it is of driving in that traffic, I don't need you making me more nervous than I already am.) I kind of laughed when she said that. "Mom," I said, "that's all I need is to drive an unfamiliar vehicle on a road I'm not terribly familiar with, in traffic, which I hate." (Here's an idea, mom, why don't you drive my truck? No? Well, now you know why I wouldn't drive your car.) She asked me this morning about my doctor's appointment. I told her about my blood pressure. "Oh, you've already been there?" Yeah, my appointment was yesterday. I even mentioned it in yesterday morning's phone call. "I thought it was today" she said. No, it's been Wednesday since they changed it last week. "Oh, I just get all of my days mixed up, even with a calendar." No, that's not it, mom. You just don't pay attention to what I say. You hear my words, but you don't listen to what I say. Heck, you've even admitted to it before. But that's okay. It doesn't bother me nearly as much as it used to.

Opie got stung or bit by something this morning, poor little guy. At first I was very concerned that maybe it was a spider, because he'd been playing in one of the cathouses outside. Then I worried that maybe it was a wasp. I've been trying to get all of the kittens in before the wasps come out (the wasps don't seem to start moving until it starts to warm up, around nine thirty or ten o'clock). After I noticed him, I did get all of the kittens in and had to go after him to get him. I brought him in and his little paw was a small bit swollen. I called the vet and asked what they thought and the vet said to give him a half of a teaspoon of benadryl. Well, of course, all we have is extra strength allergy sinus stuff, so I picked some up at WalMart. I watched Opie for an hour before I left, making sure that he wasn't going to have a severe allergic reaction to whatever it was. He seemed to be okay when I got home, so I didn't give him any of the benadryl (children's bubble gum flavored, no dyes). He looked pretty cute, sleeping with Mr Bear.

I also got a picture of Daniece sucking on his ear. Poor little guy, he's so tired, he couldn't fight her off, he just kept sleeping.

Aren't they adorable? Angel is growing so much. She's starting to look like a real kitten. Not that she didn't before, but she was just so tiny, ya know? She's still on the petite side, I don't know if she'll be a very big cat, but she's just as cute as ever. Sammy and Daniece's eyes are looking more like Mystie's every day. Milky blue, if that makes sense. But Angel's eyes are like sapphires, a crystal blue. She's going to be a very beautiful cat one of these days.

I haven't been sleeping in bed the past couple of nights. Because Rusty is on my pillow. I hate having to wake him up because he just won't leave me alone and then I can't sleep. So, I don't go to bed. I miss my bed. Opie and Richie have found the wonders of sleeping with Brian. Last night, Angel was in there, too. But sometime during the night, she came back out into the tv room and was asleep on the sectional by me. Sammy was with me, but I ended up taking him into the bedroom because he was sucking on my ear. He was really noisy and I have to admit, it felt really weird. I couldn't handle it at all.

I was on the phone with Disney yesterday, trying to see if there was anyway to get some sort of discount on passports for this coming October when my friends will be there. I couldn't find anything with the numbers I had, so figured I'd call the Disneyland ticket office direct. There was no dial tone. On any of the phones. Wonderful. I was thankful that I had a cable modem. I went out to my truck and called Cox to find out what was going on. Boy, it was hot in my truck. She asked if there was anyway to reach me. Yeah, right, just call. Oh, wait, you can't do that, the phones don't work. She suggested calling my husband so he could get a hold of me to let me know when the serviceman would be out. Yes, that's a good idea, my husband and I communicate telepathically, we don't need phone service. Duh. Anyway, they didn't need to come out, it turned out to be something in their system. I wish I'd had some way of knowing this, because I would have been laying out in the sun. Where I wish I was right now. Where I'll most likely be within the next hour. It was kind of funny, though. Brian couldn't understand why I was able to connect to the internet, yet we didn't have phone service. Well, I'm not using a dialup connection. "Yes, but isn't our phone service cable, too?" *sigh*

We went up to the Sticks last Saturday and I played with my new camera. When I got home, I messed around with the panorama software for hours. It was a lot of fun, once I figured out what the heck I was doing. I'll be trying to work on the Ranchita page shortly. There's so much I have to put up. Brian took photos of his camoflage paint job on the storage trailers. He said yesterday that he want to bring the trailer home. "Why?" He started to laugh, because he was reading my mind (that telepathic stuff again). "So I can get a good night's sleep. No cats." (Boney had been driving him crazy at night.) No, the reason he wants to bring it home is to mouse proof and snake proof it. He hates snakes. I said "where will you park it?". A very good question.

That's our driveway. He just chuckled.

Boney sure likes getting the special attention of being fed in the bathroom. I'm giving him the kidney diet that we bought last year. I mix it with a little water. If it's been refrigerated, I heat it up. Brian had expressed concern that Boney seemed really thin. I think it may have something to do with his teeth. Like Lola, I put him in my bathroom with the food and shut the door. Unlike Lola, when he's finished, he starts meowing to be let out. We've got a rhythm going.

Well, it's almost 3:30. I'm gonna go lay by the pool for a couple of hours. Maybe go swimming.


Sunday, August 12, 2001 Ha. It wasn't been a week yet and here I am, making an entry.

It's warm, but there's a nice breeze coming through the window. I was up late last night (for me) working on the website. Cornell University's newsletter has a link to my backyard page in an article about letting cats outside safely. So, of course, I had to redo the page to make it even bigger and better and that's what I did. Now, instead of one page of instructions for the fence, there are six. I've included more detailed instructions and many more pictures. But I'm tired today, that's for sure.

Friday wasn't bad. I told my mom when I picked her up that I was terrified and very nervous and that if I didn't talk to her, that's why. Anyway, we got down to the hospital without incident and the ride home was pretty smooth, too. The doctor drew fluid out of the cysts (she had one on either side of the thyroid). He said it looked fine and that he honestly didn't think they'd find anything abnormal in it. And her thyroid is working properly. Drawing out the fluid made the cyst go away, but he said it could be back and unless it bothers her, to not worry about it. It's not a threat to her health at all. And she found out that her appointment for the end of this month isn't for surgery at all, but for a sonogram on the artery in her neck. So, there's a possibility I won't need to go with her. But if she needs me for moral support, I'll be there for her.

The cats all seem to be doing well. Kirby has turned into a beggar in the kitchen. Remember when I was trying to get him to eat canned food? Before his surgery? Well, now he's in there all the time, on the counter, begging for something to eat. Geez. There's no way he's gonna get something to eat everytime I'm in there. It's just not gonna happen.

Buddy doesn't seem to be feeling well. I saw him eating grass this morning, then he puked it up. Besides the fresh grass, there was some old stuff in there. And his poop has been pretty soft. Not diarrhea, but not nicely firmed, either. I'm thinking he's eating too much cat poop. Gross, I know, but that's what some dogs do. I have to remember, too, that he's an old dog now. He's at least fifteen years old and his life was pretty tough before he came to live with us. We really don't expect him to live much longer and we're getting ready for that day. He does seem better this afternoon.

The kittens are getting so much bigger. I'm really glad I have the digital camera. I took Richie in to the vet's office last Friday to have the stitch taken out. He's such a little trooper.

Here's a picture I took Friday, when the kittens were out romping in the yard. Richie is at the left, then Pete, then Opie. You can see how much the boys have grown.

I got this one this afternoon, of Angel. Her eyes really intrigue me. They are a different blue than her siblings. She's getting longer and taller. She's thin. I'm curious if she'll stay small.

We have a plum tree outside, that the cats can climb. Well, the plums are about done for this year and the few that are on the tree have been attacked by those big shiny green beetles. And the kittens love to play with them. Katie and Mystie and possibly Pete, have been catching them and giving them to the kittens. We've had as many as five in the house at the same time. I did laundry the other day, washed the sofa covers. When I took them out of the washer, there was a beetle, dead of course, at the bottom of the machine. Angel had one on her nose the other day and she was trying to catch it. Not knock it off, but catch it. It was pretty cute. They can play with the beetles all they want, just leave the bees alone.

I have the catnip blocked off from the cats right now, because of the bees. I have to get out there and start cutting it back. Half of it has already flowered and gone to seed. The flowers are the best, most potent part of the plant. Lots of work.

Hey, remember how white Ciara used to be? She really darkened up. This is her with Bart, in the backyard.

She seems to have calmed down somewhat. She still goes after Georgie every once in a while, but nowhere near as much as she had been. And she's not peeing on the bed. At least, if she is, I haven't caught her doing it.

The fur in Sammy's ears looks like Larry Hagman's eyebrows. Long, white and curly. I tried to get a decent picture of them today, but was unsuccessful. I'll keep trying. The kits are close to four months old now, figure they were born in mid-May. They'll be losing teeth soon, so I'll keep watching for them. I save baby teeth, ya know.

Well, I'm kind of tired and I still have litter boxes to clean. So, I'd best get busy. I'll have another update, soon.


Thursday, August 16, 2001 Today, my mom may be sending her dog over the bridge. He's an old dog and he hasn't been well for a while. Mom and Dad got him back in 1987. Dad died shortly after that. It's going to be hard for her, but he's lost control of his bowels and there's nothing that can be done. I offered to go with her, but she declined. She said one of her neighbors offered. She doesn't want his remains returned to her because she thinks it would be too hard on her. She's going to miss him, but I know that on some level, there will be a sense of relief. She's had plastic down on her carpet for months now and she hasn't had a decent night's sleep in weeks, because she's so worried about him. How he sounds (he's a pug), does he need to go outside, even is he still alive? I remember when Pepper left us, that it was hard, but I knew that she was in a better place and out of pain. Mom said this morning that he "wasn't even a dog anymore". A tough thing to say outloud. I know that much of it has to do with the guilt we feel when we make this decision. Could you say a little prayer for my mom today?

Speaking of old dogs, Buddy is doing a little better. His stool has firmed up quite a bit. Odd thing, there were a lot of tiny pieces of bark in it. The only thing I can think is that the kittens poop where there is bark and he eats it (I know, I know, it's pretty sickening, but it's what dogs do). He's having a really hard time getting around and I know that the major part is his age, but that fat bump (lipoma) doesn't help. Remember last year when we took him in to the vet and had it diagnosed. Well, at that time the vet said that as long as it wasn't interfering with his movement, that it would be okay to leave it there, but it's interfering something awful now. I mentioned surgery to Brian a couple of days ago. Brian had a few concerns. First off, recuperation. If Buddy needed a lot of recuperative powers to get over it, then we wouldn't consider it. Then there was cost. Since Buddy is so old, Brian can't see spending $1000.00 to $1500.00 when Buddy may only be here for a half a year. So, I called to find out. Well, the surgery itself is pretty simple. I was told that lipomas are usually encapsulated and easy to remove. Since it's not an invasive surgery, recuperation isn't that bad. As for the cost, the surgery itself runs $104.50. Because of Buddy's age, we'd want the pre-surgical blood panel done and that would be $45.00. The most expensive portion of the surgery would be the anesthesia. The safest product is, of course, the most expensive. That would run us $275.00. Under $500.00 total. I told Brian and he said, thinking out loud "but when would we take him in?" referring to his very busy schedule. Well, since he doesn't go to work until eight anyway, he could just go a little late and we could take Bud down at eight. He said okay and I made the appointment for Buddy for next Monday. I've been giving the dogs frozen vegetables, which they really like. I had planned on bringing them inside because of the heat and humidity, it was horrible on Tuesday, I wet them both down, but the humidity isn't so bad now and it's actually nice sitting on the lawn in the shade with a breeze blowing by. I'm planning on going out there later myself.

Monday, I cleaned the heck out of the house. Vacuumed, dusted, washed all of the throw rugs in the tv room (eight of them) and all of the sofa and chair covers in the living room. I also washed the entryway and hallway floors. And I cleaned my bathroom. Then yesterday, I broke down the big box in the garage and threw it out, climbed on the ladder to clean up all of the cat poop up in the rafters (they've been pooping up there on a regular basis since Red came down). I mixed up some OxyClean and put it in a spray bottle and sprayed the heck out of the board that is up there. Then I cleaned out the litterboxes and vacuumed the garage floor. I was a busy girl.

Late yesterday morning, I realized that I hadn't done any payroll reports this year. Crap. Well, at least I made the payments in a timely manner, right? Wrong. Oh, what a mess I had on my hands. At for some reason, the California tax update for QuickBooks for this year, was wrong. It was charging two percent for UI, not the one point four percent that it should have been charging. Luckily, that was an employer paid amount, not something I'd have to adjust on Mark's checks. Whew. So, I got the paperwork filled in, figured in the penalty and interest for both quarters and got the forms in the mail yesterday. Then I went on to the federal and I'd blown it there, too. But at least, I'd made the monthly payments. That went pretty smoothly, but I was kicking myself in the butt for not having done it sooner. Well, it's done now and out of the way. In all of the years I've been doing this, this was the first time something like this happened. It won't happen again.

The kittens are growing up so quickly. I've been letting them stay out until I close up because of the heat. On the days I don't shut the house up, they can play as long as they like. Amazingly, come late morning, early afternoon, they're all back inside, sleeping in various spots. Today, they've chosen the office. A first. Kind of nice. Maybe one of these days there'll be a cat who isn't Lisa in the catcam chair. Heh. I just checked. Daniece is sharing it with Lisa. She seemed to have started out low on the chair and is working her way up. Angel is getting to be a very bold little kitten. This morning, she tried to edge past my foot to go out of the front door. She was very surprised when I didn't let her. She looked up at me, this tiny little girl cat, with her very big very blue eyes as if to ask "Why not?" She discovered the joy of climbing up the swing yesterday. She got on the top, though, and didn't know how to get down. I took her off of it the first time and set her down in the seat and she proceeded to climb back up onto the top. I just let her play after that. She was so proud of herself.

And then this morning, when I walked around the house with Rusty following (it's one of the ways I can get him to pee), he didn't urinate, but he did defecate. And boy, was he happy when he was done, he came bouncing up to me. It was really nice to see him do that. He doesn't bounce often any more. Figure he's probably eighteen and a half years old.

Oh. I had to take a package to UPS this morning. It was a fair sized package (Brian said it weighed about ten pounds, MBE got a different total; twenty six pounds) and a bit bulky. I put it in the back of my truck and I had to pass the car. Strange, I thought I heard a noise from inside. I thump the hood. Oh, boy. I did hear a noise. More kittens, would be my guess. Since I haven't seen Blue's new brood since that one morning (I fear they didn't make it because of the dogs surrounding where I think they nested). But Little White Guy's kits should be about three to four weeks old now. Same age Little Guy's kits were when she brought them over. And she's been coming over a lot earlier in the evening than usual. I suppose she brought them over Tuesday or Wednesday night. Well, it looks like we have some more trapping to do. I hope she didn't have as many as Little Guy. Boy, there sure were a lot of females in that litter that Blue had. Mystie, Katie, Little Guy, Little White Guy...Brian said he thinks that the little black guy across the street (owned by the guy that made me so mad about feeding the ferals) was the fifth kitten. But there is a little black girl who recently gave birth. I'm thinking maybe she is kitten number five.

Well, I'm about typed out for right now. I think I'll go kick back in the sun, maybe snooze a little. Brian's been having a hard time sleeping with this weather, so I've been sleeping on the couch so that my snoring doesn't keep him awake. If he's sleeping soundly when I go to bed, it's not a problem. But if he isn't, it is. So, I'm kind of tired myself. The pool and the sun sound really good right now.


Sunday, August 19, 2001 Well, I guess the mama moved her kittens. I only heard them in the car on that one day. (That's as far as I system froze.)

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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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