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      Friday, December 05, 2003


06:56 AM - 12/05/2003

The topic: With much sadness

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Friday, December 5, 2003 It is with much sadness that I announce the passing of our dog, Junior.  We got back from our vacation Tuesday afternoon to find he hadn’t eaten that morning and he only had two biscuits that evening, turning up his nose at everything else we offered him.

Wednesday morning, he was staggering and drinking massive quantities of water, which he vomited up.  I took him to the vet around 8:30 and left him there.  The vet ran tests on him and it was pancreatitis.  The enzymes in Junior’s bloodstream were off the wall.  The vet said he believes that Junior has had this for quite a while, that it’s possible that the pancreatitis brought on the diabetes.  The vet kept him overnight and did everything possible to bring Junior back around, but as of last night, he was no better, but he was getting worse.  His kidneys were shutting down.  So, Brian told him to go ahead and let him go.  We didn’t go down to say goodbye (I told him goodbye when I dropped him off and I’m really glad I did) because it was so hard to do and it was actually easier for Junior that we didn’t.  The killing solution was added to his IV drip (he’d been on fluids, antibiotics and pain killers).  He will be cremated.

I’ve got a lot to write about our trip, but I’m not up to it right now.

      Tuesday, December 09, 2003


12:08 PM - 12/09/2003

The topic: Well, I’m back now.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2003  I’m back now.  I’m okay.  I think.

We miss him.  Yesterday, I took the leftover syringe/needles and insulin to the vet’s office. They’ll have more use for it that we will.  The insulin was a bottle we just bought the Sunday before we left.  Costco pharmacy was closed and we paid ten dollars more for it at Rite-Aid.  It only had a few doses taken from it.  I still find myself looking for dog poops when I walk in the backyard, although they’ve all been long picked up and disposed of by now.  And I miss having him come in when the doors are open during the day.  When we get back from our morning walks, we miss seeing him come running up to us.  *sigh*

We talked about new dogs, maybe next spring.  Two, puppies, we don’t want any larger than thirty pounds.  We’ll get them from the Humane Society, not from a breeder.  Mutts are just fine with us.  And I’m sure they’ll have a better chance at a longer life, now that we know what not to do.  Don’t overfeed and don’t freefeed.  The vet is very sure that Junior has had pancreatitis for a long time, most likely what brought on his diabetes.  We have just been lucky, I guess.  Well, their diets did change radically when Buddy was treated for pancreatitis so many years ago.  That most likely kept Junior’s under control all this time.  Thinking back on it, Junior’s immune system had been sluggish this year.  The cancerous tumors removed from him earlier this year, then the nasal infection he had last month.  The vet says we gave him two good years.  The vet actually sent us a condolance card, something he hasn’t done in quite a while.

Junior’s ashes will be sent directly to the house, so I won’t have to go to the vet’s office and pick them up.

We had a really nice time on our vacation.  It got off to a really sucky, start, though.  REALLY sucky.  So bad, that I just wanted to come home.

We drove to Kingman Arizona on our first day out.  Got gas in Needles, California.  The tank was getting low and we didn’t know how far to the next station.  First mistake.  It was considerably less a gallon in the next state, Arizona.  Not even ten miles later.  :cussing

We had dinner at a Burger King in Topock, AZ.  I had some sort of chicken sandwich and horrible, nasty fries.  I really don’t like the fries with that funky coating so many fast food places have on them, maybe it’s because I’m not a big fan of salty seasoning; whatever it is, it sure has cut down on my consumption of them.  No way would I even try to finish these.  Then we got on our merry way.  The little Broncomobile was running smoothly and we were on a hill on highway 40 east.  Around the five thousand feet elevation sign, Brian looked more concerned than he should have, in my estimation and he ended up stopping the Bronco.  He let it roll back onto the shoulder, next to the guardrail.  Semi trucks were speeding by at 75 and 80 miles an hour.  This was around seven/seven thirty Monday night.  It was cold.  Brian kept the Bronco running (remember, we had a full tank of gas) and the flashers on.  There was absolutely no cell service.  Not on either phone (big duh).  I had some nasty words for the “can you hear me now?” guy.

It was an adventure for the first hour.  The second hour, I started to get worried.  I started to get nervous. I started to think of all the awful things that could happen.  I started to cry.  :cry

Brian held my hand.  I told him everything that was going through my mind (you know how I’ve said my mom thinks too much?  Well, I do the same thing when I’ve got nothing better to do).  We were so close to the guardrail that I couldn’t open my door all the way and two feet on the other side of that guardrail, was a very, very steep dropoff.  We were on the other side of a bend and some of those trucks came mighty close to the little Bronco with the two nervous humans inside.  One a lot more nervous than the other.  I told Brian he should start flashing people (with the brights, not his weenie, *lol* although I don’t doubt we’d have seen a cop a lot more quickly; as it was, we never saw even one) driving by, I mean, it’s dark outside, right? There are no lights on inside the Bronco (I did bring some pencil/word activity books along, but got bored with those quickly).  You can’t see our two heads.  It got later and later.  Around eleven, Brian decided to try to nap.  I couldn’t.  I sat there and watched the reflection of the lights as they came around the bend in the passenger’s rearview mirror.  He probably napped around a total of an hour.  About midnight, two vehicles pulled up in front of us and Brian hurriedly put on a jacket (it was COLD outside) and he went up to them.  When he was about a hundred feet away, they drove off!

:help

Brian finally decided to get pro-active and he started flagging folks down.  Only three stopped.  The first was a sedan with one man in it and he didn’t have a cell.  Brian asked if he would please call 911 when he got to a place that had a phone.  The next was an old VW bus and they did have a cell. They offered us a ride and Brian passed, just asked if they would call 911 when they got into an area where they got service.  Then a semi stopped and this was really strange.  He offered Brian a ride.  Brian turned him down, said he didn’t want to leave the Bronco with his wife in it.  “Bring your wife.”  Brian still didn’t want to leave the Bronco with all our stuff in it.  “No one is going to stop for you up here” the truck driver told Brian (hey, you stopped didn’t you, you big weirdo!).  Brian asked if he could make a call.  Nope, the driver couldn’t stop to make a call.  But he could let us pack stuff in his truck and he would take us to a hotel?  And don’t these trucks have radios?  Of course, I understand that he might jeopardize his job by calling, but he can give us a ride somewhere?  It just made no sense.  Brian thanked him for his offer, but passed on it.  Thank God. 

About two Tuesday morning, a tow truck pulled up in front of us.  We’re saved!  Yay!

:dance

It took a little over an hour to get the Bronco loaded up on the trailer and back to Kingman.  The driver asked Brian if he could pay for this before he loaded us up.  If not, they would haul the Bronco for us, but keep it hostage until we could.  Brian told him there was no problem, we could pay.  It seems that the call about a stranded motorist came from police dispatch.  As I understood it, if the police had actually stopped for us, it would have cost quite a bit more in tow charges. It was $168.00.  Brian just gave the guy $200 and called it even.  We had some pretty interesting conversations on the way back to town.  One of the men, when coming over the hill and seeing the town of Kingman spread before us, lights twinkling, said “Welcome to Kingman Arizona.  The world’s largest trailer park”.  :laugh Anyway, we took the Bronco to the local Ford dealership in Kingman, then we were taken to a pretty nice motel.  It was about 4:30 Arizona time (an hour later than California) when we finally got to sleep.

At 7:30 am, I was wide awake.  I got in the shower and Brian started making calls. We needed a vehicle, that was for sure.  He called Enterprise (sorry, can’t take the vehicle out of the tri-state area, the tri-state area being Arizona, California, and Nevada), cost .25 a mile over 1400 miles.  Way too much $$$.  He tried Hertz (the only thing they had was an Expedition for $600.00 for a week…*koff).  He tried Budget (no SUVs) and some other places that weren’t located in Kingman, but in Laughlin.  By this time I was out of the shower and we discussed our option.  Which was the $600.00 (unlimited miles) for the Expedition.  No way I want to spend my first vacation in seventeen years in Kingman Arizona!  Brian called them back and they said they’d deliver the vehicle around ten that morning.  Brian and I got packed up, then went down to the lobby of the hotel, where we had a pretty nice continental breakfast (Brian checked it out before I did, said all they had was some cold cereal; he was wrong, they had pastries, oatmeal, muffins, hard boiled eggs, different kinds of juice, milk and coffee).  The Hertz lady showed up (funny story; she told us that she used to jokingly tell folks that people lived in Kingman because they got stuck there—after this she did some research and found it wasn’t really all that funny, that fifteen percent of the residents of Kingman are there because they got stranded there), drove us to the Kingman airport, then once all the forms were filled out, we were on our way over to Ford.

Brian talked to the service department while I moved most of our stuff from the Bronco over to the Expedition.  Now, this Expedition was top of the line, had most of the bells and whistles.  One, being doors that automatically lock after the tires have gone so many revolutions.  Brian couldn’t figure out how to get the back door open.  I did.  I unlocked the doors.  *lol*  (This automatic door locking turned out to be a form of entertainment as the trip progressed.)  Brian got a tentative cost of $1200 to $1600 to fix the car.  He’d call them after lunch to find out a better estimate, after they’d had a chance to look at it.

All packed up, we made one last trip to the hotel, took advantage of the clean restroom before what turned out to be a very long drive.  We drove all the way to Durango, Colorado (on only three hours of sleep).  But first, we made a stop.

The Grand Canyon!
 

 




We cruised around it for a couple of hours, stopping and taking pictures (which I’ve got tons of and when I get all my other pressing projects done, I’ll put up in a photo gallery; might take a while) and some video (which I haven’t seen yet).  It was driving around the Grand Canyon when Brian got the final estimate for the Bronco.  $2,660.00!!!!!  Put him right in a funky mood, but that gorgeous canyon finally got the best of him and he gradually got out of the bad mood.

Well, the trip was pretty uneventful from there on out.  We ran into a little snow on our way to Lake City.
 

 





But after that first day, there was no snow and the days became milder (our first morning at Lake City, it was ten below zero) and it was quite pleasant.  This is the house where we stayed:

 

 




And we saw deer in the town and in one person’s front yard:

 

 

 




From what Joanne, my sister-in-law said, the neighbors at that yard aren’t any more happy with the deer, than our neighbors are of the ferals around here.

 




Lake San Cristobal, for which Lake City was named. 

Joanne is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and we have so much in common.  Stephen is really nice, too.  Both were very gracious.  I had a really nice time and if I was an orphan, I wouldn’t mind moving up there.  It’s so nice and quiet and the people I met were really nice.  And Brian had the best steak fajitas he’s ever had in Ca?on City.  We had Mexican food on our trip.  We had a lot of Mexican food.  *grin*

As I said, I’ve got lots of pictures, I’ll put them up in a gallery soon.

We left Monday, December 2.  Drove to Kingman, checked into the same hotel.  The next morning, we went back to Ford and the transmission wasn’t done.  Ford had sent the wrong one.  Which was for the best.  Brian said “cash me out, I’ll come back and pick it up and get it fixed in San Diego”.  That was only $236.00. Then we went over to Hertz and made arrangements to keep the Expedition for an additional week.  This dropped the previous rate and we got it for two weeks for $851.00.  Something we hadn’t planned on, that’s for sure, but what was the alternative?  We will save money by having the Bronco fixed here. 

Brian and Mark left last Friday afternoon, Mark in Brian’s diesel pulling the trailer to haul the Bronco back and Brian in the Expedition (it was too big to put on the trailer).  They got home Saturday night, around 9:30. 

Some other sad news.  Repete is gone.  We haven’t seen him since we’ve been home.  Becky said she didn’t see him, either.  The Heartless Bastard’s cat has been over here for dinner and I saw a collar on him.  My first thought was people are trapping again, but the next night, I noticed the collar is a reflective collar.  I think Repete might have been hit by a car.  KittyMeeze, Little Bit and SpotTee are around, though.  And guess what?  That tortie we trapped and got spayed earlier this year?  The one who ended up in quarantine because she bit a tech?  She’s back.

Our new cats are getting more settled in every day.  Sagwa has taken over the catcam chair.  Wally will follow me around when the mood strikes him.  Potter loves to be outside.  I’ve noticed he doesn’t run in a straight line, but in a curve.  I think it has something to do with the missing back leg.  Marco has gotten lots more verbal.  And lots more affectionate.  He likes to lay on the arm of the sofa, next to me.  He’s got a huge purr.

All the cats were glad we were home and, I think, even more happy to be back outside.  Well, who can blame them?  Not me, that’s for sure.

Well, I’ve got three calendars to design by Friday.  I’d best get to work if I intend to get them done.

      Friday, December 19, 2003


11:21 AM - 12/19/2003

The topic: This year can’t be over soon enough

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Friday, December 19, 2003  This year can’t end soon enough for me.  And that’s the truth.  Brian’s work being so slow, the low funds, losing so many animals (not only have we lost Boney, Lucky and Junior, but also the outfronts: OC, Repete and we haven’t seen SpotTee since Wednesday night), the fires….it’s just been a horrible year, all around. 

And I seem to be having more computer issues than normal. Well, some are of my own making, I freely admit that.  I finally got so tired of the Gateway being sluggish that I backed up some of the programs and held my nose, closed my eyes and jumped right in to reformatting the hard drive.  It really went pretty smoothly, all things considered.  But the system no longer sees the “D” drive, which was the CD-ROM drive.  But it sees it at “J” (I’ve got some other hard drives leftover from old computers that I use for storage).  There is a problem with the Zip drive, though.  I can’t download files to it, it tries to format the disks or something and they become useless (at $10 a disk, I can’t have that).  But I can download to a hard drive, then move the file to the Zip drive without any problems; maybe reinstalling the software would help, I’ll try that later.  This little glitch (not seeing the D drive) added quite a bit of time to the reformatting (because I wasted so much time trying to resolve it).  It took over ten hours to complete the job, to get everything re-installed and up and running.  And, of course, there were the downloaded programs that I hadn’t saved to disk (or if I did, I couldn’t find them) and I had to re-download them.  And, sadly, a few of them had upgrades and I had to buy new licenses to run something I’d had no problem with.  *sigh*  After all was said and done, though, the computer is now much faster.  And where the hard drive was over 80% capacity, now it’s less than 5%.  There was a lot of garbage that got removed. 

So last night, I think “maybe I’ll put my old DOS games back on”.  Bad idea. The first one I tried wouldn’t set up.  I should have taken the hint after the first two tries, but on the third try, I crashed the system.  *deep sigh*  I had to re-install windows.  Which in and of itself is no biggie.  But for my Windows to run, I’ve got two disks.  The original Windows, then the Windows SE upgrade, so that I can see the Dell.  I had to use a boot disk to even get the system to start.  And because of what the game software did, I had to keep retrying.  I finally got Windows re-installed, then had to defrag the hard drive before re-installing the upgrade.  That took about an hour and a half, even though there wasn’t all that much on it.  I went to be last night at about 11:30.  After installing the other three DOS games (hey, I had to try….only one didn’t work and that’s in the closet now).

Then, last weekend I was working on the KOTM calendars, had them all done, printed a test page on the new paper I got (I got it earlier this year) and it looked like :poop.  The print wasn’t taking on the paper.  This was the only two side coated paper I’d been able to find when I was looking.  Argh!  So, here I have four hundred pieces of worthless paper.  It’s probably for laser jets, not ink jets, but that wasn’t made clear on the order page.  I did another search and found that Epson now has paper coated on both sides, so I ordered quite a bit of that.  I know Epson will work.  Of course, it cost three times as much, so I’ll be biting the bullet on the calendars.  I’m sure people would understand the rise in cost, but I quoted one price, that’s what I’ll stick with.  For these calendars only.  I talked it over with Brian and there was no question in his mind that I can’t raise the price.  With any luck, the paper should be here early next week.  I did contact the company where I got the crap paper and I can send back the unopened packages for a refund.  There are three of those.  But I’ve got an opened package of matte and an opened package of glossy here that I can’t use.  Oh, well, maybe I’ll use them with the black and white laser printer. 

I haven’t stopped eating since we got back from Colorado.  I’m hating it.  But that should stop soon because there’s nothing left to eat.  I finished the graham crackers yesterday.  We did start our everyday walking last week, so that’s good.  Now, to get this nibbling under control again.  I hope to get down to my goal weight of 145 by the end of March.  Hopefully taking a year to lose the weight I wanted to lose.  Then, I’ll most likely change my goal weight to 130.

And you’ve heard of snowstorms?  How about sootstorms?  Everytime the desert or mountains, the burn areas, get wind, the air gets full of soot.  It looks really hazy outside, almost foggy.  Then, the next day, everything is covered in a fine black dust.  It’s horrible.  We try to keep it washed off of the cement around the house (I especially don’t like the thought of Potter dragging his backside through it) because of the cats.

On to the animules.

Junior’s ashes got here last Friday.  UPS delivered them.  The guy was a twit.  Not paying one bit of attention to anything.  I told him that the package was our dog.  He said “oh, that’s good”.  Huh? Okay.  Whatever.  Don’t make small talk, though, Buddy, you’re not too good at it.  Just stick to dropping of packages, okay?

We’ve noticed that Lisa has been spending a little more time outside since Junior’s demise.  Some of the other cats, too, but she’s most noticible.

Annie has been having the occasional bloody discharges again.  I’m sure it’s been pretty stressful for her the past couple of months.  Us being gone, new people in the house, new cats in the house….  So, she’s back on elavil.  I can’t find hers, I’m using DeeJay’s from earlier this year (DeeJay?  I think it was Georgie who was on it; I think this was labeled for the wrong cat).

DeeJay found his appetite.  His weight had dropped to just under seven pounds the week we got back from vacation.  Remember, a few months ago it was hitting eight.  I started giving him Fancy Feast again, the stuff we’ve been feeding the outfronts.  I add a little water (it’s ground, not sliced or julianned) and mash it up.  Yesterday, he ate close to two cans.  I feed him in the exercise room and I have a fork in there which I use to mix the food up.  When he licks it, it flattens out in the bowl and he’s more willing to eat it when it’s fluffy.  And this morning in bed, I heard his purr.  It’s been a while since I’ve heard his purr. Well, he does purr, it’s just hasn’t been very strong.  Unless you knew what it was, you wouldn’t realize it was a purr. This morning, there was no doubt about it.  And he’s not minding being covered.  He most seems to like one of my shirts, something that has my scent on it.  I hope this is an indication of good things.  I had a dream last week with Lola in it.  I saw her sitting with the other cats and I said “hey, Lola, nice to see you.  Hey, aren’t you dead?”  She just slow blinked at me. And I asked her “are you here for DeeJay?  I looked away, looked back and she was gone.  Oddly, ever since, DeeJay seems to be turning a corner.  Where it will lead us is unknown.  All I know is I like seeing him eat and I like hearing him purr. And the scale is showing a very slow weight gain.

Wally had something going on with his bad eye earlier this week.  I put ointment in it and it helped.  If it hadn’t, I’d have had to take him to the vet. Brian just gave me a look when I told him that.  What choice would I have had?  I’m not taking chances with eyes.  I won’t do it.

Potter is not nearly as needy as he was at first.  Yes, he’s still needy, but it’s not a constant thing.  And Sagwa can be quite a lapcat.  Lapcats are one of the reasons I haven’t been able to get as much done as I wanted.  It’s so hard to remove them when they’re curled up or stretched out and sleeping so comfortably in my lap.  Potter is playing a lot more hard during the day.  And it’s obvious it bothers his leg, because he spends the next day sleeping and recuperating.

Well, I’ve got things to do.  Like put Advantage on all the cats.  I’m finding more and more flea dirt.  Oh, well.  It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

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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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