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      Saturday, September 12, 2020

06:21 AM - 09/12/2020

The topic: Big yawn


So, as I mentioned in my last entry, we have the opossum issue under control. I've seen joeys a couple of times, on the fence. One at the back of the yard, one at the side gate. It looks like they've been making meals of fallen avocados (which the both trees decided to drop all at once - Brian took over forty down to the vet's office this week, since we'll never be able to get to them all; we considered shipping some to our out of area friends, but there's the post office slow down issue, so we nixed that idea). I'm not worried about the possums.

Since Brian had cut the sliding door screens so the cats, as well as Little Bitty Dog, had twenty-four hour access to outside, we had to close off those holes. He cut plywood to fit along the bottom and we can keep the doors open for air flow, but block exit and entry at the same time. The only operational twenty four hour cat indoor/outdoor access at this point was the laundry room door.

This morning, around two, I heard noises. Not normal noises. I got up, grabbed my little flashlight and walked through the house. Checked the wood in front of the doors.  All in place as it should be. Huh.

Then I went into the kitchen. The floor had wet spots. What the hell? Did some cat fall in the pool? I opened the back door and peeked out, shining the flashlight around. Nothing. But I did hear something climbing the tree. Ah, no...say it isn't so...

This ain't good. I don't like this. I follow the wet spots back into the house. I see where it started. I just stood there, shining the flashlight down on the waterbowl in the family room. Water splashed all over (thank God it didn't hit the extension cord). And. It. Was. Filthy.


Had figured out the cat door.

I walked into the bedroom, woke Brian up. "Trash pandas have figured out the cat door". He jumped out of bed, grabbed his little flashlight. So, here we are, both of us in our underwear, walking through the house with our mini flashlights.

Reflecting back on this, this is a situation where, if we were watching television, that we would remark that the folks in these crime shows don't watch much television. Why not just turn on the lights? You see it in all the crime shows. NCIS, Law & Order, Elementary, etc. "Use the light switch!" we'll yell at the television, as the characters walk into dark houses or rooms, slowly shining their flashlights around.

Yet, here we were.

Anyway, Brian cleaned out both water bowls (he said the one in the window had gotten dirty as well) and put fresh water in both and it looks like the cat door will have to be locked at night. Cats in.

For the first time since we blocked off the screens, Little Bitty Dog pooped on the floor in the living room, right next to the pee pad. He usually sleeps through the night, but I guess all of the activity was too much.

Ike hates Pancho and the feeling is mutual. The fact that there was access to outside made us rest a little easier more room to split them up. But I guess the fights now will happen indoors and we won't have to leave the house to break them up.

Yeah, it's great living in the suburbs.

trash pandas    raccoons    catstuff   

      Wednesday, August 26, 2020

12:48 PM - 08/26/2020

The topic: How I spent my summer vacation


Not much more to report since my last entry.

I'm loving the 3D printer now that I've gotten past the first part that kept tripping me up. I can load the filament in about five minutes (instead of a half hour or longer). I'm still getting used gauging the optimal space between the nozzle and the bed. Too high and the print doesn't stick, too low and the print doesn't come off. There are workarounds to that, but so far, the resulting print does not please me. I also learned that there are different types of filament, at least, and one is harder to use and another - well, the fumes could kill ya. Or make you sick. Or something. I wish I'd known this before I ordered the stuff before I had some kind of idea of what I was doing. Two are returnable, one will be around long after I'm gone.

I did take some photos of what I've made and I do have to get a couple of them off in the mail.

The Silhouette America team finally fixed the coding that had been screwing with the library section for over a year in their software that runs the Cameo and Curio machines. So, now that won't be bugging me anymore. The Cameo 4 plus has been here since the beginning of June and I had only run it once. Last week I tried it out with a cat file I got on Etsy and it worked fine. I was able to finally throw the box it came in away. I won't be sending it back.

Possums are gone! That's a long story that I'll post about later. During the past two months, there have been joeys (juvenile possums) in the house. This didn't make me happy. And for the past couple of weeks, they weren't nesting with mom. I haven't seen mom since last Friday, I think she moved on and took a couple of kids with her (there were actually seven) and left the rest here. In our garage. Yeah, that's not gonna work. So, this past weekend, between the two of us, we caught four and took them outside (there are a ton of safe spots in the yard). We hoped that was the end. It turned out that the job I did of blocking the opening in the garage door Sunday night wasn't all that good. I didn't have the baby gate shoved tight enough against the door. Monday morning there was a joey working on getting back inside.

There were two in the garage on Monday morning. Had they gotten back in? Or had we missed them? Whatevs, they were outta there by six Monday night. I'll go into more detail in a separate entry. With photos. And Brian will be putting a new door in this weekend, one with a working cat door. For old timers, you may remember we used to get the cats in every night. Until Rocky got here and actually pulled the old cat door out of the door one night. Yeah, the door was old and rotten, the replacement door had been here for a while, but installation wasn't a priority. It is now.

I did hurt myself Sunday, scraped off a substantial part of the top of a big toe. It bled,  Brian was upset that I was hurt - "you shoulda been wearing shoes!" We hosed it off in his shower, when it dried (I didn't really get a good look at it, just cut off a piece of skin that was hanging loose), squirted a considerable amount of Neosporin, the kind with the stuff for pain, onto a big finger bandage and put that on. I've repeated that each morning since. This morning I actually looked at it. Yowza. Not purty.

It's been hot and it's been humid. The A/C has been running going on two weeks now.  I told Brian this morning I feel like my life has been put on hold. And he said "yeah, it's been like that for about four years now..." I had to think about what he meant. And I agreed.

He still won't let me leave the house. I haven't driven the car in over two years. One of those years was when my hip was bad, before I had a diagnosis. My right hip, my leg would just give out with no warning or I'd get hit with some nasty pain and I didn't want to be in the driver's seat if that happened. Then the surgery, then I got better, then COVID hit, I'm a fat, old fart, one of those they tell to stay home. Brian is adamant I don't leave. "We don't want to take any chances" he tells me. He has a point.

And that's it for now. I have some crafty stuff I need to do, work on getting the items sent out that I'd promised. It all takes time.

Hope you all are having good, productive summers. And are keeping safe.  You know the old saying "better safe than sorry". 

silhouette    possums    cameo    3d printing   

      Sunday, August 09, 2020

07:49 AM - 08/09/2020

The topic: Everything is swimming along here


It's weird, there's a lot that's happened and there's nothing that's happened.

I guess lot of little things going on, but nothing major, so that's good. I'll just post a few short updates, then hopefully, get more entries with more detail.

Little Bitty Dog had a dental. Teeth were pulled. The vet also found a stage one heart murmur. She said we'll just keep an eye on it.

The possums that were born here on the 25th/26th of June are still here. They're getting big, they're everywhere at night and I want them gone. They are climbing on everything. Even up into the rafters. A garage is not the best place for wildlife to grow up. For the most part, they use the litterbox, which is good. But not always. Yesterday, I found three of the younguns on the heatpress, under all of the covers. Uh, no. Just no. The fact that they were together, making their own little nest, leads me to believe that they'll be okay with mom moving them to a new spot. Outside. From what I've read, they usually move on in about two months. A whole 'nother month? cwm23 Joey would like his garage back.

I have pictures. Lots of pictures. Not sure if there are five or six. But they are absolutely adorable.

We had raccoons in the house again this past week. Then one couldn't get out of the yard. Wind chimes were purchased and put up and we haven't had any since (we think the noise the chimes makes scares them off). They actually broke the small water crock in the garage. I am so looking forward to possums moving on and the garage door replaces with a decent cat door. One with a flap and and and opening that's too small for the raccoons to enter. The previous cat door is in good shape, it's the actual door that's rotten and when Rocky moved in way back when, he ripped the cat door out of the door and we just never fixed it. Soon. It will be soon.

I finally got the 3D printer I bought from Woot back in February up and running. It took a couple of months for me to put it together. But the only place to put it was in the bedroom on a little chest. I finally cleaned the extra room (months ago and I never mentioned it here! It was a big job...I'll have to share) and it has it's own place on a table. My problem then was I couldn't get the bed leveled and I'd walk out in frustration. Well, that puppy got leveled on Friday and is now up and running. The first thing I made was one of those things for face masks that holds the mask on the back of your head and not around your ears.

My best friend sent us a couple of masks that she made, and I swear, she has a head the size of a newborn (she had to get infant sized ears at Disneyland) and when I put mine on, my ears stuck out like handles. No longer. (I do have a pretty big head.)

Mario gets lactulose twice a day, fluids every other day and his pooping seems to be much better. That's a big plus. I know he's feeling better.

I've made a few more crafty things I'll be sharing as well.

It's time to play catch up, I guess.

possum    geekstuff    craftstuff    catstuff   

      Wednesday, July 08, 2020

08:57 AM - 07/08/2020

The topic: One thing leads to another


I love Lawn Fawn products. I want them all. Every. Single. Last. One. I started "collecting" them last December. Except at the time, I didn't realize I was going to do this. It started with a dinosaur.

For my bestie's birthday, I made her a really cute card. It was one of the few that I have designed myself. I didn't use a kit from SVGCuts or 3DSvg this time. And it turned out really cute.

I figured I’d make a shaker card. With a volcano as the background, some red and orange glitter flakes and a little dinosaur on the front.
I found a free volcano photo on the interwebs, cartoonized it and used a Wink of Stella pen to outline some of the black outlines.
And a yellow pen around the lava flow.
It looked so good, I didn’t add any glitter, so the card turned out to be a shaker card with no shake. I used the Cameo to cut out the base, frame and acrylic piece.

Stamped and embossed the sentiment - used a stitched die for the card and the Happy Birthday in the center was made from this Bo Bunny set.

I had so much fun making that card, I started checking out other types of dies. I watched tons of videos. And I watched videos that had INTERACTIVE CARDS! Okay, sure, there was that one year I made the snow cards, that was fun. It looks like I never shared in the weblog. I've been remiss. I posted them on another forum and Facebook, but never here. WTH? Oh, yeah, I remember. I didn't want to post them before Christmas and in January 2019, I was in pain from that old hip, so didn't take the time. I also didn't post the second Heirloom Christmas Tree I made for the vet's office. Or the photos of the box and little balloons I made as ornament. Making these posts with photos involves a lot of sitting. lol I'll do that later. Social media is starting to either bore me or upset me. So, back to the old, personal weblog.

Anyway, about that rabbit hole.

The idea of interactive cards really grabbed my attention. I'll link to a couple of the videos that sucked me in - some of these are lists on youtube because there are so many fun things to do with Lawn Fawn products and these will show the add-ons. Rabbit hole. Deep, deep rabbit hole. 

Lawn Fawn's Magic IrisLawn Fawn Reveal Wheel. Magic Picture Changer. A light up card made with Chibi lights and Lawn Fawn stamps. Some of this work is pure sorcery. I dream of being this creative. And God knows at this point, I have the supplies I need, for sure.

I made a Reveal Wheel card for Little Bitty Dawg's old mom and I mailed it to her. It was fun to make. Here's a video of the card:

Now, here's where I am right now. If you've taken the time to watch any of the videos, you'll see some really neat inking and blending on the paper. And coloring the little critters and stamped images. Those are parts of the videos I'd rewind and rewatch. How on earth do they do it? I started my papercrafting using pre-printed pads. This actual coloring and shading and blending was above my paygrade. I told myself that I could do it, just practice, practice, practice. I have paper. I have markers. I can do this.

You can see in my little video, where I colored in the critters and the grass. The sentiment I made with my Minq laminator and the font "I love glitter". My first attempt with the glyphs at the beginning and end of the sentiment. Much learning has been done this year.

I noticed in the majority of the videos, the marker of choice is Copic. Holy spit! Those cost a bunch of money! I can get multiple dies and stamp sets for that much money! There has to be something that is close to as good for less money. I'd saved up for the new Cameo 4 pro, but it doesn't come out until this fall, so I got a Cameo 4 plus, it's cut area is five inches less that the pro, but I really don't need a twenty inch wide cut, my printer only does thirteen inches wide, so being realistic, why waste the money on something I have no use for? So, with what was left over, I figured I could get more markers than I have. Better markers.

And the search started. Looked up types of markers, costs, reviews...and I found that a brand by the name of Ohuhu! has real good reviews and I found a couple of side by side reviews on Youtube. This was one of them.

I was sold. So, I bought the 200 piece set from Amazon. It was a hundred dollars and there was a coupon for 5%. With tax, I paid a little over that. It got here on Sunday. And my first plan was to try to put the in some sort of order. Then what? I did some more research. And got some great ideas. The one I went with is here. And that's what I spent the day yesterday doing. I had a tub full of markers and separated them by maker. (I was just putting them all in the same place, with no thought of organization.) Once I had that done, the ones that didn't have color numbers (you know, the cheap ones) got put in plastic bags (I'll probably number them myself in the future). But I do have some Tombows that are numbered, some Sakura and Prismatic markers, as well. Then I got to work. I printed out a table that was 10 x 20 and got busy filling in the blanks.

The nice thing about this set up, is I can see the color. I won't have to be testing many markers to get the color I want. And I got a little binder, only a half inch thick. I can't imagine needing anything bigger than that.

And having done that?  Now, it's on to the stamps. And I found a perfect organization idea for those. It's gonna take time to implement, but I've got lots of that. The sweet thing about this way is I will be able to have the same stamp set in different categories. Say a stamp in the sentiment category could also be in the birthday category. The colored dot stickers are what will make this work. The supplies I'll need for this should be here by the end of the week and I can use my existing storage containers. All I need are binders, dividers and sticker dots.  I'm looking forward to having this done. The scanner is going to get a workout.

And there you have today's rabbit hole.

organization    ohuhu    markers    lawn fawn    craftstuff    cards    birthday card   

06:23 AM - 07/08/2020

The topic: In other news…


I don't know if I've mentioned the raccoons and possums we get in our garage. Free food and water. The raccoons like to use the water as a wash basin as well. 14110418  This was happening a lot last month. The water crock was pretty dirty every morning. We thought the raccoon was trapped in the yard and one night closed the cats in the house and shooed the raccoon out through an open gate. Aaaannd the next night the raccoon was back. Even if we didn't see it, we knew it had been here by the dirty water. But then the water was dirty every other day and now, it's only dirty from cats with leftover kibble in their mouths getting a drink. Or is it? Cats?

So, we get raccoons and possums in our garage. Not as many raccoons as possums. In the winter months, the possums move in. Actually, that should be singular. Possum. I don't think it's always the same one, but it will take up residence in the bottom of one of the old cat condos. It doesn't bother the cats, the cats don't bother it and possums are great pest control.

Well, last month, on the 26th, there were noises from behind my beading storage cabinet. It's against the big garage door (our garage is another storage room, hasn't had a car in it in decades; probably around the time we modified the fence to keep the cats in our yard), not flush against, so there is maybe five or six inches between them. I want to make sure whatever is back there isn't stuck. Got the flashlight, checked him out. Not him. Her. And I saw one little possum baby, hairless. I don't know if there are more.

Yeah. The only birth at this property in over thirty four years was possums. She's still out there. She'll move from one side of the garage to the other. She keeps herself well hidden. She's super good about using the litter box to poop, not so sure about the urinating part. ne_nau

A couple of days ago I checked on her and saw a baby feeding. heart I'd love to see more, it was just a quick glance with the flashlight, I don't want to spook her, I want her to know she's safe. I just hope there's not a problem once she comes out of hiding. Hopefully, the baby(ies) will be in her pouch so the cats don't take notice and she'll just move on.


raccoons    raccoon    possum    babies   

06:06 AM - 07/08/2020

The topic: Mario is doing much better!


He's perked up quite a bit in the past week. And he's pooping. That's very important. And the stools are not little round rock hard balls.

I cut back considerably on the pain med for him. This is for his back. The vet believes the pain prevents him from defecating properly. (Have you ever had sciatica and been a little constipated? Yeah, it's bad. When I ended up in ER for sciatica, they prescribed opioids and never mentioned the side effect of constipation. I guess it doesn't happen to everybody, but it sure happened to me and none of the push muscles were very excited about this amid the pain in lower back and buttocks. I never want to do that again. But it gives me some idea of what Mario is going through.)

But at the dose the vet prescribed, he was pretty loopy. He just had a hard time and was whacked out, couldn't walk on the bed, stumbling...cutting the dosage back really helped. He'll be getting the lactulose on a daily basis. Holy moly, is that stuff nasty. Only because it's so sticky. I've taken to taken a couple of paper towels with me when I give it to him since he'll do that open mouthed "ew icky stuff" cat thing and a small amount drips out after I syringe it in his mouth.

I'm hoping we're back on track now. Get the process down and stick to it. And maybe we'll have a few more years with him.

mario    lactulose    gabapentin    enema    constipation    catstuff   

      Sunday, July 05, 2020

08:43 AM - 07/05/2020

The topic: Happy gotcha day, Mario!


Twelve years ago today, Mario came to live with us. And this was his past week.

A lot of what I'm posting here, I've posted elsewhere, so bare with me.

Thursday Mario had me on Xanax. He normally poops in Brian's shower. This isn't a problem. And Brian will relate the properties of said poop. (So if I need to start giving Mario Miralax to soften the stool.)

 Mario threw up foam in the living room, then fell over (he was on his back like a turtle when I went out to see what was going on).

Mario was mighty uncomfortable at his tail end. And his belly. He actually growled and bit me when I was gently palpating the areas. Pee problem or poop problem? I gave him some Miralax yesterday morning, then he ate some A/D (I figured that would help move things along, if it was poop).

He slept for a while, then got up. I carried him outside into the tall weedy grass. He walked around a bit (still didn't like being touched below the waist) and I was pulling grass from around his paws when I realized my hand was getting wet. Okay, he can pee, he's not blocked. That leaves constipation.

He got more Miralax late that afternoon. He slept pretty good most of the afternoon and evening. He did get up a couple of times during the night. Since we lost Rachel, he's the only cat you potties outside of the litterbox. This morning (Friday), I found a short wide turd in the garage, on the floor. There was a pointy dry end. I assume this was from Mario. He got more A/D with Miralax this morning. He'll be getting Miralax on a regular basis now.

I asked Brian Thursday "did Mario poop yesterday?" meaning Wednesday. He thinks about it "yes, just a small hard one". I said "you need to tell me about this. You're the only one that sees what he does and I depend on you to share that information with me".

So, I'm thinking, no enema at the vet, Mario IS feeling better today (Friday), I can softly rub around his tail without him getting pissed like he did Thursday.

Then, yesterday happened. Mario wasn't good. At all.

We had a pretty heated discussion before taking Mario to the emergency vet . Brian's all "I don't want to be spending thousands of dollars on a cat that's old and in bad shape!"

And I can understand that. And my comeback was "I don't want him to be in pain. He's in pain. I don't know how to fix it. I can't fix it. I won't do an enema on a cat, I don't know how and I could really hurt him. I don't want him to be in pain. What do you suggest?"

Crickets. Then, a little while later the discussion continued. I know all he needs is an enema. He's peeing fine, he's eating, he's not vomiting, he just has a hard as a rock piece of feces stuck in his bowels that the Miralax isn't helping. There was runny stool around his butthole this morning, but that's from the soft shit (Miralax was working on something) that's squeezing by the rock. We had this with Annie all those years ago.

And he said "if we can take him in somewhere and just get the enema, I won't have a problem with that".

I call around. The place that wanted to charge us over $4000 for running tests on Monica (who, in fact, had cancer in her tummy, they found that out before running any super expensive tests) was the first place I called and this time, they answered the phone. I explained the situation and she said the exam is $95 and we can take it from there. Just bring him in. So, we did.

We waited in the car, then one of the workers yelled out the door "Mario?" and I took him over, bringing the notes I'd typed out on his history, his symptoms and what I'd done so far. And we waited.

While we waited I said something to Brian about him being in a bad mood. And one of the things he said is "if I'd told you about how bad his poop was getting, we wouldn't be here. I feel responsible". Because I'd have started Mario on Miralax days earlier that I did.

When the doctor called a half hour or so later (we were in the car), she explained what they'd done so far and what the plan was. (His back is really hurting him, I should ask the regular vet about pain management for that.) And we agreed that right now it's a quality of life thing, to make him as comfortable as possible. So, the exam, x-rays, an enema, pain meds. Then I asked if she had any idea how much it would be. She said probably around five hundred. So, that's not a problem.

I asked if it was okay if we went home, told her we lived about twenty minutes away and she said it was fine, they'd call and give me a proper estimate since hers was just ballpark. And call they did, it should be around $485 to $502. I guess they'd already taken the x-rays and figured all he would need is the enema to solve the problem.

Now, we waited for a phone call to come pick him up.

They called around four and said he was all done, the doc went over his treatment for the next few days and that they'll be emailing me the paperwork.

They called again for payment info, then sent an invoice and payment mail. I had to sign that and we were all done. All we had to do was wait for the call to say we could come get him (they had other people to check out before us).

The call came around five and we got to the parking lot, I called and less than ten minutes later we were on our way home.

Gabapentin and lactulose were sent home with him.

He peed in the carrier on the way home (there was a blanket in it, so he didn't get real wet, just his tail), Brian let him out in the bedroom, he cruised the house, did a tiny poop, then climbed on the bed and last I saw, he was cleaning himself. Scratch that, he was just walking down the hallway.

And he's walking much better. Losing the built up stool and the pain meds, he must be feeling a lot better.

So, that was yesterday. He cruised the property, checking things out. He was walking a lot better than in the video I posted on YouTube last week. He settled in nicely for the night. This morning, I gave him the gabapentin around six, the lactulose around seven. I opened a can of beef and chicken Fancy Feast before eight, gave it to him on the bed. He just laid there, eating from the plate, then tried to stand up when he'd had enough (over a half of a can).

Houston, we have a problem. He was having an incredibly difficult time standing up. AARRGGHHH! My first thought was the gabapentin. I knew there was a reason I quit giving it to him when his stenosis was first diagnosed. We're going to have to work on the dosage, for sure. In the past hour or so, I've taken him outside to see how he was walking. Pretty wobbly. His back legs are having a hard time staying in the upright position. Damn it. I let him walk for a while, but he was clearly out of his element. I took him back into the bedroom and put him on the bed. He laid down and I thought he was going to sleep. I checked about ten minutes later. He wasn't on the bed. I checked around and found him on the throw rug next to the bed, under the stool. My guess is he slipped off of the side of the bed. Not a good thing.

I went out to Brian, Mario in my arms, and explained the situation. What would we do? Then the simplicity of the solution slammed me right between the eyes. Remove the stool. Duh. No stool, he can't get on the bed. If he can't get on the bed, he can't fall off of it. Common sense, am I right? Brian also cut a piece of foam to fit across the bottom of the door so Mario couldn't get out of the bedroom. No problem for the other cats, they aren't blind. And the humans won't have a hard time stepping over it.

So, for the past forty-five minutes or so, Mario has been in the bedroom with no bed access and he can't leave. I put a blanket on the floor for him and there are rugs next to the bed. I put a small bowl of kibble for him, there has always been a big crock of fresh water available. And I just went to check on him and here's something only a dedicated pet parent will understand.

HE POOPED IN THE SHOWER! The biggest piece in days, it wasn't hard, it wasn't light colored and dried out. Probably about three inches long. I picked it up in toilet paper and proudly took it out to Brian's shop and showed it to him. He was just as excited as I was.

Now, all I need is to see Mario resting on a rug or the blanket. Since I found him on the floor, he hasn't calmed down. I know he's safe where he is and I can check on his potty progress. And hopefully, this will be done in a few days, we can get back to normal. Well, a new normal. More meds for Mario, because this isn't going to ever completely resolve.

Hell of an anniversary, wouldn't you agree?

mario    gabapentin    emergency vet    conversations    constipation    catstuff   

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lisaviolet is sixty 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.

In her spare time, she makes pretty things to sell in her store.

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