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Wednesday, December 15, 1999 What a day!! I can't believe how busy I've been. If this is what having a life is like, I don't want one!! LOL!!! It's almost one in the afternoon and I've gotten nothing done, haven't even made the bed. Maybe I'll go do that now. Okay, a white load of laundry is in the machine and the bed is made.

Brian hurt his back last week and he's only been ab rolling. Well, of course I don't bother to exercise if he won't be in there for the full twenty five minutes. He's not going to let me get away with it, though, so I did this morning. Then I took a shower and called the vet to find out when to bring DeeJay in. Anytime. I got dressed, then off to the vet with DeeJay. DeeJay has only been pooping a little, enough that we know his rectum is working. But he hasn't pooped close to the amount of food he's been eating. I got the carrier out and he ran. He knew. I tricked him, though and got him over to me. Then I put him in the carrier. Once at the vet's, I didn't have to wait long. The doc palpated DeeJay's tummy and said there was a big one in there. I explained that DeeJay has been eating like crazy, but I've only seen him push out three little turds since Friday. Each one (separate days) was about the size of the top joint of my index finger. But the fact that he was getting some stool out was a good sign, it means that his rectum is working.

He took DeeJay back for an x-ray and while we waited for it to develop, we talked a little about the surgery. He's done six of them. I asked how the cats did. The first one was a fifteen year old cat, in bad shape. That cat didn't make it. But the other cats, younger cats, are doing much better. DeeJay is a good candidate because he's so healthy. Doc said that DeeJay's blood looks really good. I'm sure glad the kidney problems never developed. The x-ray showed that DeeJay's colon was once again full of feces. He asked for his surgery schedule tomorrow. Two teeth cleanings, one spay and a lump removal. There's time for DeeJay. He told her to give him extra time. (That's nice.) So, Deejay goes in for surgery tomorrow. He said that the bad part of the colon is usually evident. He said he would try to manipulate some of the stool out of it before the surgery, but usually the part he removes has the poop in it. It's just clamped off on either side. I would think that the worst part of this surgery would be for any fecal material to enter his system. Very toxic. But the vet feels very positive about it and he said the only other option would to be to bring DeeJay to the vet every week for an enema. That's no life. So, tomorrow, DeeJay gets his operation.

My catcam is dying, so yesterday I ordered a new one. The UPS man just showed up. It's here already!! Gonna install it, then be back.

I'm back. And I'm unhappy. I thought that this would be a better camera, but it isn't. They don't even make the one I was using. The image isn't nearly as clear as the QuickCam Color 2. So, I called, thinking it was something I was doing incorrectly. The technician told me to download a certain file from their website. He also suggested I find out the manufacturer of my video card, go to their website and download the latest driver. I started to do all of this then figured the hell with it. I'll just return the camera. What a bunch of crap this is. I call back, wait, tell the man who answered the phone that I want to return the camera. I haven't even had it for three hours. Well, no, we have to go through this other stuff. I don't want to. My plate is full. I'll deal with my other camera for a while longer. Funny thing, I set it back up and those funny blue lines are gone. It was looking like the aurora borealis. It isn't now. So, he gave me another number to call and now I'm on hold with them. *sigh* I want my non-life back.

My mom did well at her chemo treatment yesterday. She didn't get sick at all. She said she wasn't tired when I talked to her last night. She and her friend stopped on the way home and got burgers and fries and mom was eating when she called. Real fun to listen to someone chew. Not really, but she was pretty hungry and was just calling to let me know she was alright. You know, I've told you about some of the problems she's had with Kaiser. Well, this is the latest, since last Friday. They called her Tuesday to schedule her appointment for the nuclear test (the test that was done Friday). And they asked for MISTER, not missus. She said Mr. Jones is dead. The person on the other end didn't know what to say. Turns out they wanted mom. They called her by the wrong last name last Friday. And when she went in for her chemo treatment yesterday, nobody told her that she was supposed to have a blood test an hour before each treatment. You can imagine how upsetting this all is to her. But, she sounded fine this morning. She said that she laid down for a little while after she ate and woke up at 9:30 last night. And she slept great when she did go to bed. And she feels okay this morning. No nausea at all. I'm glad she's doing so well. And she found out they only have her scheduled for three treatments, not four, as she was originally told. This is really good news.

The roofers are done. The roofers are gone!! Lonee is getting more at ease in the house. Finally. She even let me pet her for awhile last night, got her motor revved. She's such a sweetheart. She has the tiniest meow. Gracie sounds a lot like her. Sometimes it's hard to tell the two of them apart. The other cats are calming down, too. Back to normal.

Monday night, who should I see out front but Chipper!! I haven't seen her in ages. For those of you that haven't been with me since the beginning, Chipper is Georgie and Gracie's mama. She didn't hang around much, she ran away when I opened the door. But it was nice to see her again. Big Opie is as loving as ever and it looks like Meezer is getting more brave towards me. He comes a little closer as I dish out dinner each night.


Saturday, December 18, 1999 Man, my schedule has been really off since Brian hurt his back. Not exercising has really thrown me off track. Hopefully, I can get back on it here. These past two weeks have been excruciating.

I'm so irritated about the catcam. I thought that manually adjusting the formats would fix it, but it's just not looking right and no amount of adjusting helps. It looks okay at night, but during the day, there are these stupid little dots. And if it isn't the dots, it's that the picture has a definite yellow tinge to it. The instructions say it has something to do with lighting, but the lighting is the same. I searched for other cameras and found one that had an excellent picture with a major league price ($499, but if you put their banner on your site by the camera, you get $100 rebate). I called on it and you couldn't do the video push with their camera, so that one was off the list. I checked out the Creative Labs cameras, looked at some of the websites that have them. Some of them look pretty good, so I ordered one of those, for half the price of the Connectix camera. I hope it has a sharp picture. If not, I don't know what I'll do. Keep looking, I guess.

Okay. The last time I wrote to you was Wednesday. Thursday, DeeJay went in for his surgery. I cried when I left him there. I was shaking when I left, I was so nervous that something would go wrong. I had been told to call around two, which I thought odd, because it's usually three before the vet is done with surgeries. I hate how time drags when you are waiting like this. The time moves so slowly. I tried to keep myself busy with Christmas cards (still aren't all out) and when the clock reached two, I was on the phone. "Oh, they just started operating on DeeJay, could you call back around three?" Man, I hate this. So, I try to busy myself for another hour, stomach in knots. Finally, three o'clock is here. I call. "They're just finishing up, but it looks like it went well, the doctor is pleased." I tell her just have him call when he gets a chance. I'm so nervous. He finally calls when he has a slow period. He reiterates what I was told. The operation went smoothly. Call tomorrow around 9:30 to see how he's doing. "Will I be able to bring him home?" I ask. We'll see tomorrow, he responds. I didn't sleep well, worrying about him. I hear these stories on the news about strip malls catching fire, I worry that something will happen there. There is a Pizza Hut right next door to the vet clinic. I don't like leaving the animals overnight. I worry. I tell myself that my fears are irrational, but still, I worry. And tomorrow, at 9:30, I wouldn't be at home, I'd be at my mom's, waiting for the cable man.

They finished the roof on Tuesday. On Thursday, they were to come by and collect payment. Brian left a message for me to pass on. There is one part of the roof he is unhappy with. I pass on his comments and the roofer tells me what he can do. Okay, fine. I tell Brian when he gets home. Brian starts in. "That's not what I want, that's not acceptable...blah..blah..blah...." I say "don't start with me" which I can't remember ever having said to him before. But Brian does this. Example: the garage door in the shop in our backyard. They came out three times to fix it. Each time I told them what Brian told me. I told Brian what they told me. It never got fixed right. I told Brian "next time, YOU BE HERE. Don't put me in the middle." I can just imagine having computer problems and leaving Brian, the computer clueless, to relay the message. Won't happen. So, Brian backed down, quit yapping about the roof. He said "call them tomorrow to cancel." I guess the look I gave him made him think twice and he said "I'll call them before I go to work." Much better.

Did I ever mention how much my mom hates Martha Stewart? She thinks the woman is *too* perfect. She just hates her. I like Martha Stewart, I like listening to her, her voice is soothing to me. And this is a *good* thing. *grins* I love to tweak mom about her dislike of Ms. Martha. So, for Christmas, I ordered her a year's subscription to "Martha Stewart Living" magazine. *snicker* I told Brian that I should make up a little card and put it in a box, which I would wrap, to let mom know. He asked "why? Just let her start getting the magazine." LOL!!! Even better!!! Make my mom crazy.

I told you a little about getting the movie channels for my mom back on Monday. Let me expound. I had this great idea. I've heard the tales about chemotherapy making people really tired and I've heard the same about the radiation therapy. And I know that a tired person's schedule is really whacky. They sleep, off and on, throughout the day and night. At least that's what I do when I'm sick. Sleep so much during the day, I'm wide awake at night. So, if mom goes through the same thing, I thought it would be nice if she had something over and above regular cable. So, I called about paying in advance for these channels. I also had to pay the additional for the cable box. Not a problem. But I had to see if I *could* do it. I called the cable company and explained my plan. The woman thought it was a very nice thing of me to do for my mom and we started to set it up. Then she asked for my mom's social security number. Of course, I don't have a clue what it is. How many of us know our parent's social security number? Man, this could be a problem. I tell her "hold on, let me call her. I'll tell her it's for some paperwork I'm filling out." Not even thinking about all of the hospital crap that mom has to deal with. So, I put the cable company on hold, call my mom on the other line. Tell her I need her social security number. "Why? Waddya need that for?" are the first words out of her mouth. I stumble out a highly implausible reason. She's very reluctant to tell me, but I keep talking and she reels off about five numbers, which I quickly write down. Then she says some other numbers, I say that's our phone number. "Balls," she says. "I'll have to go find it, I'll call you back." She hangs up. I go back onto the other line, tell the woman what just happened, tell her the five numbers my mom gave me. Oh, they only need the first four, this is good. So, we go ahead and make the appointment for Friday, between 9 and 11. This was before I knew that DeeJay may be coming home. Heck, I didn't even know he would be gone. The phone rings, it's mom. She's really upset about this. I tell her what it's for. "Oh, thank God," she says, "I thought it was something to do with the hospital, some other **ck up and that they have the wrong patient." I guess she still has that hope that it wasn't her that had the cancer. "No, mom, the cable company wouldn't set up the appointment without your social security number. A safeguard." Oh, okay then.

So, we forward to yesterday morning. Brian actually got up and exercised. He took his shower and left for work. Then I took mine, got stuff together to go over to my mom's. I had gotten a present for the vet and still had to wrap it. I figured I would take all that stuff with me and do it over at my mom's. Remember the wrapping paper we got from Brian's nephew? Well, I figured I would use the stuff with the laser smilie faces. Brian had brought the paper home and I never looked at it, just put it in the exercise room with the other paper we have. So, I unwrap it. Dammit. The wrong paper. We got two rolls of crap. One roll is red tissue paper. The other is some sort of clear cellophane garbage, with black and white markings on it. I hate it. I hate them both. I call Brian. He told me last night he wasn't going to bother with it, but I sure as hell will. I'm not paying $7.50 a roll for something that makes me want to puke. Monday, I'll call the school. I grab the correct roll, the one with dogs in santa hats and cats on it. I take everything out to the truck and realize I had forgotten the cat carrier. Back into the house I went. It was possible that I wouldn't be able to bring DeeJay home, but if I could, I wanted to be able to go right over there and get him. Off to mom's I go.

I get over there and park in her neighbor's driveway. This will leave room for the cable guy at her house. I take all of my stuff in and lay it out. I hand her a check for the money we owe her (I've been remiss about paying her the past couple of months) and write out a check for the cable company, six months of service. I put that on the table. I ask her if she has anymore coffee and she makes a pot. When the coffee was ready, I went into the kitchen to pour a cup. She started talking about Martha Stewart, how she hates the woman and can you believe she brought her ninety year old mother onto the show so that her mother could teach us how to do something. I started cracking up, knowing that before too long, mom will most likely be a Martha Stewart fan. The magazine subscription, remember? Mom says that she doesn't like one of her neighbors anymore and I asked why. "She looks like that Martha Stewart" she told me. *snicker* It's very hard not to say anything. We moved the television out from the wall and I started to wrap the vet's present. Not too long after that was finished, it was nine thirty and I called the vet. DeeJay could come home anytime. Looking out the window, mom saw the cable truck come up the street. My mom was trying hard not to get too excited, but I could tell she was. She put her dog up in her car (he likes it in there, it's nice and cozy) and opened the gate for the cable man. He gathered up his equipment, then mom showed him where she wanted the box. He got it all set up for her, even put on a new splitter for the television in the living room. He showed mom how to use the controls and as he was flipping through the channels I pointed out to her that she could now rent movies via the cable. They would show up on her cable bill. She liked this idea. Everything set up, the cable man left and mom and I pushed the television back. Leaving mom with her new toy, I left. I went straight to the vet's office.

I moved all of the stuff from the front seat to behind the seat, the box with the bows, ribbons, tape and scissors in it and the big tube of wrapping paper. I had a hard time getting the carrier. First, I couldn't get the darn door open on the camper shell. Then, the carrier had slid towards the front of the bed of the truck and I had to climb in to get it. Once I had grabbed it, I pulled it towards me, put my purse back over my shoulder, got the wrapped present and the carrier. I had to put the carrier down to shut the tailgate. Then I put down the door to the shell and it wouldn't latch. I pushed hard on it and finally got it in place. I picked up the carrier, dropped the car keys. Picked them up. Finally set, I walk into the office, back behind the gate. Suzanne was there. The phone kept ringing. She was trying to get to me, but people were taking forever on the phone and she couldn't be rude and cut them off. She couldn't find the right numbers for the surgery on the list and had to go ask someone. Back, she started working on the charges again. I pulled out my MasterCard, knowing that our bank account couldn't take this big of a hit. Not after last Friday's charge of almost $400, for DeeJay's enemas. I'm ready. I want to see him. I want him home, where he belongs.

Finally, they get the charges all situated. $537.00. Over $150 less than the quote. As Martha would say "this is a good thing". I hand Suzanne my credit card. Elena brings out his antibiotics. She takes the carrier back and gets DeeJay. The rottweillor in the examining room comes out, decides she wants a piece of the rottweillor in the waiting room. I want to go home. They bring DeeJay out. "The vet wants to talk to you." Charlene, one of the other techs, who has Fridays off, comes in to get her paycheck. She says the doctor is sick. Charlene brought it in, one of the other women got it and now the vet has it. I had noticed something different, because I can usually hear him talking. He comes out, tells me again how well the surgery went. I ask about DeeJay's stool habits, will he squirt when he walks or jumps? The vet says no, this won't be a problem. But he most likely will have diarrhea. DeeJay still hasn't eaten.

Once home, I try to feed DeeJay and he isn't the least bit interested. This concerns me. I had neglected to ask about this. I don't know if it's a normal response to the surgery. He isn't drinking, either. But he does want to go outside. I let him. He acts like he has to poop. Great.

Oh, man, I think Kirby may be starting to block again. This is a real dud. Dammit. I looked out the door and he was in the dirt, squatting like he had to go and couldn't. I immediately called the vet, left a message. Then I went out to get him. He ran into the shop. That shop is an accident waiting to happen. I had to move all of this equipment to get to him. He was hiding behind a big stack of tires. I reached for him and when I touched him, I had to scruff him to carry him into the house. At least I have a better chance of finding him when he's inside. I brought him into the office and he drank some tuna juice. I gave him an amoxicillan. I opened the door and he hightailed it for the garage and ran up into the rafters. I found the stick he likes to play with and coaxed him down with it. He ended up back in the garage and I played him into the living room. I felt his abdomen and then I felt the abdomens of the other cats. His doesn't feel any different. I tenderly touched him around his penis and he didn't show any signs of discomfort. If he's blocking, he gets very agitated when I do this. So, hopefully he isn't plugged, just feels like it. I know once he peed a plug out. Maybe that's what happened this time, too. I called and took back my message to the vet. I may have to make another one later on, but it doesn't look like he's blocked at this time. Fingers and paws crossed. I will have to take a shower. I stink like gasoline and I'm filthy from climbing over all of that stuff that Brian has piled up in the shop. He really needs to do something about that. It's horrible. And I just watched Kirby. He's blocked. He was trying to pee in the garage in the litter box and nothing was happening. *sigh* I'm back on the phone to the answering service.

Anyway, back to DeeJay. I let him out and followed him around. He was over on the side of the pool by the fence. I went over to see if he was actually pooping. Then, without warning, I was in the pool. It seems I was so intent on watching DeeJay, I didn't watch where I was going and I stepped into the pool. Luckily, I stepped in where there's a step. But I was very surprised to realize that my right leg was in the water and my left knee was on the pavement. Of course, DeeJay ran. Pretty scary. I came inside and put on dry clothes. I found DeeJay and brought him into the house. I was concerned that he wasn't eating. And I didn't know what to think of his repeated attempts to poop. I called the vet and left a message. He had left for the day, he was sick. Last night around seven, he called. It was normal for DeeJay to not be hungry. He probably wouldn't want to eat until tomorrow. That's good. And trying to poop is also normal. That made me feel much better. So, here we are. DeeJay is inside recovering and Kirby is inside someplace, I'm on hold to talk to the vet and Brian went up to Ranchita to measure stuff. I hate this month.

This was in my email this morning:

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them. After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble..

At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother of pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

"This is heaven, sir," the man answered..

"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked..

"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open..

"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked..

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going..

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book..

"Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there" The man pointed to a place that couldn't be seen from outside the gate. "Come on in."

"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.. "There should be a bowl by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them..

"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked..

"This is heaven," was the answer..

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell."

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

"No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind."


Monday, December 20, 1999 Well, Kirby *was* blocked, it wasn't my imagination. I ended up taking him to the vet about 2:30. The vet kept him until yesterday, late afternoon. Kirby was better for the doc. He's usually very uncooperative. Kirby had a small amount of struvite crystals in his urine, which had a higher than normal acidity. The vet said that could be from holding the urine. Anyway, he wants to treat this differently than he has been. Instead of amoxi, Kirby is now on baytril. He's also on ammonil, to help adjust the pH of his urine. So, this morning, I get the pills out. The baytril dose threw me. Usually, it's a half a pill once a day. This one said one unit. An entire pill? Huh. So, I call the vet's this morning to double check and they're going to get back to me. Poor Kirby, he was so out of it last night. Still doesn't feel right on, but he's getting better. I slept on the couch last night, because of my concern for DeeJay and I had Kirby sleeping with me. I think he still had quite a bit of the stuff he was sedated with in his system. He's more alert this morning.

So, let's talk about DeeJay. I've been very worried about him. He's not eating much and it's almost as if his throat hurts him. This happened when he had his teeth cleaned, back in January. He couldn't meow and kept swallowing. So, I use my brilliant powers of deduction to figure out this is from the anesthesia. He is eating more than he was Saturday. We stopped at the grocery store yesterday and I bought some different flavors of junk food. He's shown more interest in those than he had been. And the reason I slept on the couch was to try to catch him going to the garage to poop. And this morning around 1:30, he did. I went out to check and it was very watery, as a matter of fact, I wasn't sure if it was puke or diarrhea. But I didn't hear any cat puking. This morning it is a little more dried out and I'm sure it's poop. This makes me a little less concerned. His system is working. I think he's not eating much because his throat hurts. I mentioned this when I called the vet's office this morning. The doctor wasn't in yet, but he will be asked about Kirby's medication and DeeJay's throat sometime today. Sheri said there wasn't much they could do about his throat. And the anesthesia tube wasn't the only thing he had down his throat, they also had a heart monitoring thing in him. So, it's understandable now why he's so reluctant to swallow. I vaguely remember how uncomfortable I was after I had my wisdom teeth pulled (all four; three were impacted). So, I can't imagine he's feeling much better. Poor little guy.

I found out what the problem is with the webcam. It's picking up light from behind the chair. And behind the chair is the patio. So, I have to close the blinds to lessen the light. Then there are no spots in the picture. The new camera just got here this morning, but the cord doesn't reach far enough. It's a USB connection and not being savvy about this stuff, I'm calling to see if it's possible to get an extension for it and if so, is it a special one, or a regular one. If they even have them. I'm clueless about USB. One nice thing I noticed about the new camera, it doesn't need a power source like the Connectix cam.


Wednesday, December 22, 1999 DeeJay seems to be progressing nicely. His appetite is picking up little by little. And he's pooping. He likes to go outside to do his business and he always has a little bit on his butt when he comes inside. I don't mind, because at least I can tell that he's going. At times, it's apparent that he's in some discomfort. He lashes out at any cat that gets too close to him. I'm sure he hurts. His meow is coming back. Right now, he sounds like Lonee or Gracie. Figure you couldn't even hear him when he came home. And he's not swallowing like he had been, so I think his throat is feeling better.

I guess we're having some pretty heavy winds. The car cover was blown off last night. And it's warm. It was in the low sixties when I got up this morning, a far cry from the low forties/high thirties a couple of weeks ago. The Los Angeles area is having fires, and they are close to homes. This is so scary. A lot of Southern California is hilly and full of dry brush. We have had very little rain this season and the fire hazard is extremely high. It wasn't quite so windy when I woke up, but as the sun rises and the air heats up, it will start again. I'm looking at the plum tree and the branches are starting to wave. The front yard is covered in pine needles. Brian came out front and we put the car cover back on. I asked him when it was windy. I slept right through it. I must have been so tired. He said it was around 1:30 and it died down, then started back up. He said that he heard things hitting the neighbor's van, the neighbor who doesn't like our trees. The things he heard were pine cones hitting it. He said it sounded like hail. I started laughing. I am glad that we've gotten the roof replaced. The wood shake was not an ideal roof cover for our area. I'm watching the Los Angeles news right now and they said that they had the helicopters working last night. They usually don't run them at night. Brian said that it's supposed to be windy through the weekend. Oh, joy. I love living in Southern California, but I don't like it when it's so dry for so long. The humidity has been less than 30% pretty much this fall. I'm using lots of lotion, because like lots of aging people, when my skin dries out, it gets itchy. And my hair has had more electricity than I can remember in quite a while. Fortunately, there's a product out by the name of "Frizz Ease" which really helps it from getting so dry. It's a very greasy product, but you only use a little and put in on your hair when the hair is soaking wet. My hair is softer with it and not so dry and flyaway. It makes for stronger hair. A bottle which is a little over an ounce and a half can last longer than six months. If my hair was shorter, it would last longer. And the cats are full of electricity. It's hard to pet them without a few sparks flying.

Lonee wanted out yesterday and I called to her. "Lonee, out?" I said. "Lonee, out? Do you want to go out?" She's still so very much feral and even though she will let me pet her at certain times, she won't just stand by the door to be let out. She keeps her distance. She will come into the room and cry to be let out and stand away from the door while it's opened, then dash out. She was in the hallway leading to the office, I opened the sliding door and was in the process of opening the screen door and BAM! she ran into the screen door. Poor thing, I think her pride was hurt. She ran back into the other part of the house. I kept calling her, but she wouldn't come back. I saw her at the other door and went into the living room and let her out that door.

Okay, a little mom story. My mom hates getting mail addressed to my father. Understandable, dad died in May, 1987. And his name is still on mailing lists, even though mom hasn't subscribed to anything in his name, even though she moved from the old house over ten years ago. One thing she hates more than Martha Stewart, is getting mail with my dad's name on it. She will complain to me about it, telling me how she writes "DECEASED" in big letters across the envelope, or "FORWARD TO FT. ROSECRANS" (a cemetery). When the mail got here yesterday, I brought it in and one was an acknowledgement from Martha Stewart Living for the gift subscription I had gotten for mom. And they have it in dad's name. I couldn't even believe it when I saw that. How the hell did they get his name? Her name is Vi. His name was David. When I filled out the form, I put mom's name. So, how did the subscription get put into his name? Irritated, I went to their website and got the phone number of the subscription department and asked them how this could have happened. They didn't know, but changed the information. Unfortunately, the first issue will go to her with dad's name. I'm not sure how to handle this. She hates Martha Stewart. She hates getting mail in dad's name. She'll be getting a Martha Stewart Living magazine addressed to my dad. Should I tell her beforehand? Or just let it play itself out?

Yesterday morning, Brian let one of the cats out and Ciara went out. I yelled at him. He said, well, she just wants out for a little bit. I told him to keep an eye on her. He didn't and I forgot she was out. A half hour later, I was on the phone with my mom and looked out, saw her by the house. Mentioned that Brian had let her out. After I had hung up with my mom, I heard a bunch of windchimes. I looked out. When Brian was preparing the house for the new roof, he had hung the windchimes on the fence barrier. I shouted. Brian looked out. He shouted. "CIARA!!!!!" We actually saw her climb the fence and go over it. I ran out the garage door, Brian ran out the back door. Brian got into one of the pots with the big palm trees and was able to reach over the fence and grab her. *sigh* All the way back in, he apologized for not watching her. And he said that he's going to have to redo the fence. I hope he can.

Kirby is really fighting taking his pills this time. He had gotten so good and now he's putting up a major struggle. *sigh*


Saturday, December 25, 1999 Merry Christmas, everyone!! It's 6:22am out here in Lakeside, California, and it's a balmy 54 degrees. We went to my mom's last night for dinner. She made the turkey, the stuffing and the potatoes. I made the green bean casserole, creamed peas, a pecan pie and a pumpkin pie. I made the gravy at her house. It was a pretty good time. She gave me a beautiful card. She was surprised when we gave her presents, said she didn't get us anything. And Brian looked at her and said "we have you". Isn't he sweet? Anyway, she liked the stuff we got her. Then she picked up this big Teddy Bear and brought her over. There were envelopes, one for Brian and one for me. My mom gave me the most beautiful card. And inside each card, she had put five hundred dollars. What a surprise this was. Gosh, I was walking around with only three dollars in my wallet for weeks. Then, last week, Brian gave me forty dollars, fifteen which I've sent to friends to go in on Christmas presents for others. Now, I'm rich!! Mom said "Now, that money is for you to spend on stuff you want. Not bills, not the cats, but you." I don't know what to get. One of the speakers in the tv room blew out. I could get a new small set of speakers for out there. And CostCo has a really neat telescope for under three hundred. I know that we'd enjoy that when we move to the sticks. I just don't know. I'll probably just sit on it for a while, til I decide. Brian says "A down payment for my trailer!!"

Brian wants a trailer to live in while he's working the sticks. Which makes sense. It would be three hours driving every day, were he to come home each night. Time better used to clear the land. He thinks he might want a brand new trailer. I think he could use a nice used trailer. The thing is, once the house is built, we wouldn't be traveling, so the trailer would pretty much be left unused. Of course, there's always the possibility of my Irish relatives visiting, and the house won't be able to accomadate them all. So, the trailer would be handy then. All I can think about is back in June we were debt free. Now, with the purchase of the property, Brian buying a bulldozer, the company taking a loan, and paying the roofers, we owe a hundred and sixty nine thousand dollars. And Brian wants to buy a new trailer, cost fifteen thousand. It makes my stomach feel funny when I think about it, all the money we owe out, we were debt free for such a short time. So, I try not to think about it too much.

I haven't seen Big Opie in almost a week. I'm sure he comes around, but there's some sort of power thing going on. Meezer is getting more used to me. I still wonder if he's been declawed, but not neutered. He holds one paw up while waiting, then the other, as if it's painful for him to have them down. He's coming closer when I dish up the food. I'm sure he had owners at one point, but then they dumped him. Dumping animals is against the law in almost every state. I'd love to get the people who do this in trouble. Last night, I added pieces of chicken to the food for the out front cats, as a holiday treat. I hope they enjoyed it. I no longer feed the cats out back, because that dog chases the cats away and eats the food. If I could feed them without him eating the food, I would, but I'm not feeding that dog.

It's time to get Jackie neutered. He's starting to be aggressive towards the other cats and this morning, I caught him squatting on the couch. I'm dreading this, catching him and putting him in the carrier. But, it has to be done. I'm sure his sexual maturity is also stressing the other cats.

Red is afraid of me. I don't understand it. I spent a great deal of time yesterday, trying to get him to let me pet him. I was finally able to, got him purring and nuzzling me. Then he ran off. I tried again and he ran away. Then I tried a little later with much success. I'm wondering if it's because of the roofers. That was about the time that DeeJay got sick and I've spent alot of time with DeeJay and not much with some of the other cats, not seeking them out each day. I'll keep working on him. Remember Lonee was spooked for a while, too.

Kirby is still peeing well. Last night when I pilled him, I got the Baytril down him fine, but he really fought the ammonil. I had him on the floor and I was on my knees, his body between them, my feet together so that he can't back out. I put my left arm around him and opened his mouth with my left hand and tried to get the pill back in his mouth. This is hard to do when he's fighting with me and he reached up with his paw, claws extended and got one of the cuticles on my right hand. Man, that really stung. I hate getting cuts on the cuticle, right against the nail bed. Bleeding, I held on and finally got the pill down him. I got the stick and started playing with him, so his last memory wouldn't be the trauma of the pilling, but play. As soon as he was back to normal, I went into the kitchen and washed off with Betadyne, something that every animal owner should have in their medicine cabinet. You can get it at drug stores, but it's much more affordable at pet stores. My cuticle is a little puffy this morning, but not as sore. I wish there was some way to get the cats to understand why giving them medicine is so important. I talk to them, try to explain that I'm not doing it to hurt them, but I'm doing it so they stay well. I wish they understood.

DeeJay is acting lots better. He's more active. But he seems restless at times, as if he doesn't know what he wants. He will climb up onto the desk and I try giving him different types of food, thinking maybe that's what he wants. He sniffs, takes a couple of bites, then leaves. He is defecating. His little bottom isn't pink any longer.

Last week, the phone rang. It was Brian. "I want you to check on something for me. I'm sure it's something you'll be interested in." Yeah, right, the only thing he wants me to check on is stuff for his company or tractor stuff or stuff for the sticks, like water storage tanks. I said, in obvious disbelief, "sure, something I'll really be interested in, uh huh, right." "Yeah, you will," he reassured me. So, I did. It was Cox Cable digital phone service. And they also have high speed cable connection to the internet. Our current phone service, Pacific Bell, charges us for our unlisted number. They also charge for inside wiring insurance. They recently added another charge, a charge that reserves our phone number, in case we go to another company. And they have these zones. There are three zones in our area. The beach is considered zone 3. We pay extra per minute for calls down there (not that I call down there, but Brian does for the business; and Cox doesn't differentiate between residential and commercial customers, where Pacific Bell does; commercial service charges by the minute...I found that out when my internet line wasn't working and I went online via the fax machine number..whoa, mama, when the bill showed up!!). Cox Cable digital has none of these charges and their base rate is $5.00 less a month. They'll be out Thursday to change us over. Also, the high speed access is $39.95 a month. I'm paying $20 a month now, for the two providers I'm using. I have two because my main one hasn't been reliable. Switching the phone service will save us twenty dollars (at least) a month. There's the forty dollars for the internet access. There won't be an increase in money paid out each month. They'll be out here on January 6th, to install the equipment and get me set up for high speed cable internet access. At this point, I'll no longer need a phone line for internet access and the extra line can be exclusively for lisaviolet designs. Cool. I had to admit, Brian was right. It's something I *was* interested in.

Brian's brother is spending the weekend at the sticks with his wife. Brian's taking the tractor up there tomorrow. He'll be gone all day. I'll probably be working on BDTV. I have a show to put up. I have to do the credits and I'll get it linked, via the television.

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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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