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      Tuesday, May 04, 2004

12:13 PM - 05/04/2004

The topic: Sorry I haven’t made a recent entry

Tuesday, May 4, 2004  Sorry I haven’t posted lately, there’s a lot going on.  Nothing bad, but I’m just really busy right now.  With any luck, things will calm down soon.  Or maybe not.  For an idea of one of the things that’s going on, check out this page.

I’ll post more as soon as I have some spare time.

      Saturday, May 15, 2004

04:27 PM - 05/15/2004

The topic: So.

Saturday, May 15, 2004  So, here I am.  Did ya miss me?

Okay, here’s what’s been going on.  At the end of March, I started this thing to help out a wonderful internet friend.  I’ve ‘known’ her for about as long as I’ve been online.  She’s a really sweet, wonderful woman who started having a lot of personal problems.  Her husband, who had fairly recently been diagnosed with diabetes, started having other problems.  Dizzy spells, couldn’t walk, poor circulation, for example.  And they couldn’t find out exactly what the problem was. They treated him for different things, hoping against hope something would help. At one point, they were even talking cancer. After running myriads of tests, they finally found that he had an infection in his spine, one that the doctor could only find twenty documented cases of worldwide.  She just recently found out how very close to death’s door he was. 

She’s his only caretaker and besides her daytime job, she cares for an elderly woman at night.  And last year, she lost three of her cats to disease.  It’s been a really hard time for her, yet I’d never seen her complain about what she was going through.  We posted our hopes for her husband’s improvement, our sorrow for the loss of their furkids.  But what else could we do? 

Then, she posts that a neighbor came over to her house and showed her a notice in a newspaper.  The gummint was going to auction off their house for unpaid taxes.  She was floored.  She had no idea they owed anything.  She researched it and it was for taxes never paid on a home they hadn’t lived in for years.  And the tax bills were going to her old home, not her new home.  Yet they were going to auction off her new home.  She didn’t have the money and she didn’t have the resources to get it.

So, I put up a private bulletin board with the idea of people sending me goodies for her, I’d rewrap them all nice and purrty and send them off to her in a package.  The wonderful people of the internet, all of the people she’s known through the years, wanted to do more than send presents, they wanted to send money to help stall the gummint from taking their home.  A terrific woman, Judith, stepped up and offered to take care of any and all monetary donations, while I would do the presents.  And within a month, we collected over $3800.00 for Andrea’s taxes, which less her with a balance of less than a thousand.  Judith sneakily found out Andrea’s work address and had a cashier’s check FedExed to her in time for the first installment.  Andrea had no idea.  She had been forewarned that some funds were on the way, but she had no clue it would be so much.

And the packages started rolling in to my house.  Everyday, there were three and four packages or envelopes.  This went on for three weeks, at least, then I did my thing and got six huge packages FedExed to Andrea in time for her birthday, which was May 5.  We called the entire thing “Springtime for Andrea” and you can see it in action here.  I took pictures of the packages in the exercise (ha!) room and what I went through to get them wrapped and loaded up and off to the shipper.  There were six good sized boxes.  It was pretty fun and it did Andrea a world of good. Even better, it helped perk up her husband quite a bit and he’s doing much better.  While we were waiting for the “Magic Bus” (as we affectionately called the trip), we had some fun on the Magic Bus”.  That’s where you’ll see the pictures I took.

The weekend after I got the packages sent, I did a thorough cleaning of the floors throughout the house.  I scrubbed and rinsed and re-rinsed.  I washed walls.  I was a very busy woman. 

And, that weekend is when Little Bit moved her kittens to under the car.  Needless to say, I spent hours on my belly watching them (don’t get much surfing in when you’re outside on your belly looking under a car watching baby cats).  And feeding them.  Last Saturday, my buddies were coming down from L.A. to help trap the kittens and possibly, Little Bit.  They were supposed to be down between ten and eleven, but got stuck in traffic.  I went outside and the kittens were walking around. 

Now, I’d been out so much the previous week, they were getting used to me.  I’d picked an occasional kitten up and petted it.  No problems at all with hissing or trying to get away, they had no fear of me at all.  And Little Bit didn’t say much, either.  She’d look at me and hiss, but she really liked the Sheba food I was hand delivering.  I’d lay quite close to them while they ate, kittens and mom both.  So, when I decided to try to get them, I set up the bathroom, and got some beef Sheba on a paperplate.  I took it outside and placed it under the car, right at the edge.  And kittens came.  And kittens got grabbed.  I got four within minutes (two at a time).  One of the little calicos was the last to come eat and was very leery of me, seeing as her littermates were now gone.  She went over to the other side of the car and I could see her right under the car cover.  I reached down and got her.  Brought her in and fed all of the kittens, shutting the bathroom door.

Amazingly, Little Bit was nowhere to be seen when I did this.  Saturday, she’d spent more and more time away from the nest, almost as if she knew what was going to happen.  I felt really sorry for her the next couple of days because she was looking for the kittens.  But now, she’s back to normal.  And next week, after she’s had two weeks to dry up, we’ll start setting out both traps in the hopes of catching both her and SpotTee to get them both fixed.

My friends got down here around one o’clock and we had a great visit.  They checked over the kittens, pronounced four little girls and one, a little boy.  Also, the kittens had big bellies, which was a sign of worms, pretty common for kittens.  The kittens got dewormed, all five got Advantage on their necks (they had hardly any fleas, though, mom did a very good job of keeping them clean).  And the three calicos were packed off and left for the Los Angeles area.  The last I heard, they were doing fine.  I haven’t heard since Wednesday, though.  I would like to get an update. 

Okay, so three went up to Los Angeles.  Is there any question what happened to the other two?  I guess not, huh?  Without further ado, meet the two newest members of our family.





See, in my conversation with Jen, she mentioned how very difficult it was to find homes for black kittens and cats.  For some reason, people just don’t seem to want them.  But calicos have no problems finding homes at all.  So, Brian and I discussed this and I was able to beg him into letting us keep two kittens.  Two because one would be too much for the adults here.  As many of you know, I’m a firm believer in adopting at least two at a time.  *lol*  I originally wanted the little calico with the mask, but after reflecting on the adoptability of calicos, I decided it would be better if we kept the little stripey kitten. Brian mentioned the other day that she reminds him of the tortie we got fixed last year at Easter time. 

Then there was the process of naming them.  Ideally, a brother/sister naming would be best.  For a male I really liked Bubba, Spike or Tom, but Brian said “nay” to all of those.  To which I replied “fine, then, you name them”.  At first he came up with Ross and Monica, but I felt that Monica would be too hard to shout out when the kitten was doing something wrong.  Rachel would be much easier.  So, Rachel it is.  But Monica might have been a better fit because I caught her covering up Ross’ poo in the litter pan and I also saw her licking the floor in the bathroom (a little goat’s milk had spilled).  *grin*  But, Rachel it is.

The other cats were curious about the kittens and spent some of their spare time sniffing under the bathroom door. Marco took it a step further and spent hours laying in front of the door, occasionally sticking a paw underneath the bottom of the door.  A few times the kittens got out and I watched in horror as Marco grabbed Ross by the neck.  He quickly let Ross go, Ross shook it off and ran down the hallway.  Another time, Rachel’s tail disappeared down Marco’s throat.  But he never did anything to hurt either of them, it looked much worse than it actually was, as neither of the kittens said a word when it happened.  Thursday evening,  Brian put up a barrier (which I’ll take pictures of) at the opening to the entryway so that the little guys have more room to run.  I shooed out most of the cats in this part of the house and let the babies out.  As the bigger cats have expressed interest, I let them stay.

And Marco loves the kittens.  He loves to clean them.  He loves to lay in their carrier.  Wally loves to clean them.  Potter and Katie like to play with them.  There’s a little bit of hissing and spitting (Oliver actually went after Ross and I picked Ollie up and put him outside), but really not all that much.  I think right now, the cat I’d be most concerned about hurting the kits is Oliver.  So, I’ll have to slowly introduce them and make darned sure that the kittens are never alone in a room with Ollie.

It amazes me how much these guys can eat.  I tried giving them NutroMax kitten food, but Rachel got diarrhea really bad with it. I started them back on Sheba, but I’m going to slowly re-introduce the Nutro kitten food, since I feel it’s better for them.  And along with the large appetites comes the frequent poops.  Oh, well, I guess it’s part of having kittens.

Ciara has the sniffles.  I think the prednisone has affected her immune system.  *sigh*  So, I’m trying to make sure she doesn’t get too close to the babies.  Other than that, she’s doing okay.  She has eaten some of the food I’ve put out for the kittens and got a little bout of diarrhea, but that seems to have cleared up. 

DeeJay isn’t putting any more weight on.  Right now, he’s down.  I really don’t like this.  He’s acting okay, but he’s just not keeping on any weight.  I hate this part of their lives.

This past week, I was looking over some of my websites and their hosts and found that one of them has this awesome deal.  I think it’s great for first time website owners.  You get 250MB of space, 5G of bandwidth, your own domain, plus lots more for only $35.00 a year.  It’s a great entry level option, in my opinion.  When I first got my own domain, I paid about fifteen dollars a month for only 50MB more of webspace.  And that didn’t include my own cgi-bin (for running stuff like this journal).  And it didn’t include my domain, which I paid thirty-five dollars a year for.  So, I think this is a really good deal.  If you’re interested, check out Mister.Net.  I was so excited about this new deal, that I paid to upgrade to the new offering.  And once you’ve got it, it’s yours for as long as you keep their service.

I also found that one of my other hosts has a really good deal, if you pay two years in advance.  Of course, it doesn’t include your domain name.  I was planning on letting lisaviolet.net die, just not renew it, but I went ahead and renewed it and moved it to another host.  I’ll be moving all of my pictures to that website which will free up quite a bit of space here at lisaviolet.com.  I doubt I’ll ever have to get another website as long as I live.  Which, hopefully, is a very long time.  So, if there’s a problem with broken images here for the next couple of months, don’t be alarmed.  I’m just moving things.  Hopefully, the transition will go smoothly.

I’ve been pretty tired this past week.  I attribute that to how busy I was the previous two months.  And I think I might have some sort of low level fever going on.  Or it could be my allergies.  I’ve had headaches off and on this past week. We’ve also got a plethora of mosquitoes in the house.  I have absolutely no idea where they’re breeding.  I was getting bit more than six times a day, more than I’ve been bit in years.  And itch?  Boy, howdy, do these things itch.  I’m sure I’ll have scars.  *sigh*  I’m kind of curious if maybe my tiredness might also have something to do with these bites.  Maybe some sort of infection.  It was really bad earlier this week, but yesterday and today were better.  To let you know how bad it’s been, how tired I’ve been, Thursday morning I went out to check out my flowers around the pool.  I had on sweatpants and a sweatshirt, but bare feet.  I sat down on the concrete to play with Potter and I ended up laying down flat on my back, my feet trying to warm up in the sun.  The next thing I knew, I was waking up.  I’d slept for close to an hour.  Hour naps are rare for me, I usually take ten or twenty minutes and wake up refreshed. 

And I’ve been eating crap again.  I think part of my lethargy can be attributed to my diet.  Last night, I figured enough farting around, it’s time to get serious again.  I can’t keep eating like I’ve been eating.  The pants that were loose last October are tight now.  And this is unacceptable.  The only one to blame is me and the only one who can change this is me.  So, this morning I started counting points again.  And at the end of the month, I’ll weigh.  I’m afraid to weigh now.

Well, that’s about it for now.  I’m going to go bug Brian.

      Monday, May 24, 2004

06:09 PM - 05/24/2004

The topic: Boy, oh, boy, oh, boy.

Monday, May 24, 2004  *sigh* 

Well, there’s been a little drama around the old homestead the past week.  It started last Thursday.  It was an ordinary day.  Brian wasn’t working, he and his brother were taking some tractor parts up to the property.  I knew he was going to be home late.  The day progressed normally, I took pictures of the kittens, gave them another dose of Strongid (dewormer). 

The week before, I was able to spend an afternoon in the sun and I moved the park bench.  I put it in front of the little rock planter that Brian made last year.  Closer to the fence.  I did this so that I could pull my lounge chair closer to the fence so that the neighbors wouldn’t be able to see me laying out.  It was pretty nice out, but last week wasn’t so nice.  Cloudy and icky, I’d call it.  Not much good for anything.  But then, I’ve still been fighting the headaches and being so tired off and on. I still don’t know what the problem is, it comes and goes.  Stress maybe?  Money is still pretty tight.  Anyway….

That afternoon, I heard an awful squawking out front.  It was those big black birds.  They were hopping around on the lower branches of the trees and one was on the bank.  I went up to see what the deal was, and it hopped/flew down to the lawn.  It looked like maybe there was something wrong with one of its wings.  I walked around to the other side to see where the ferals were and when I went back, KittyMeeze had gotten the bird!  Dang!  This bird was almost as big as KittyMeeze!  He had it by the neck and dragged it under the Mustang.  I didn’t see any of the other cats, didn’t quite know what I should do, so I figured I’d let Meeze take care of it.  I went back out a little later and the bird was gone and Meeze was alone.  I suspect Little Bit did the initial damage to the bird, it got away, KittyMeeze got it and she came and took it away.

So, around 7:30, I close all the screen doors and set the cat door to in only.  I feed the cats, thinking they’ll gradually be coming in.  Around eight, I went outside to get the rest of them in.  I couldn’t find Richie.  I called and I called.  I looked everywhere.  I looked in the house, under the sofas.  I pulled out the ladder and I shined the flashlight up into the rafters.  No Richie.  Usually, he’s either by the pool pump, under the palm tree (that’s planted in the rock planter) or at the side of the shop, watching bugs or whatever they watch in the Italian cypress tree in the neighbor’s yard.  I thought maybe he’d gone into the shop when I’d opened the door, but he wasn’t to be found in there.  Close to nine, I could swear I saw him in the neighbor’s yard.  I went over there with the flashlight and knocked on the door (their daughter and son-in-law had just come by with the work van and dropped it off).  I was escorted to the backyard and I told the son-in-law that if it was Richie I had seen (and I was having my doubts, there was a stripey cat in their driveway when I went over there, it was dusk, entirely possible I couldn’t see the proper color; as they say “all cats are grey in the dark”), then it would be best if he not come out with me.  I checked around and didn’t see anything. I called him, but there was no answer.  The neighbor came out and I told her that I was going home, if I saw or heard anything, I’d be back, but I’d let myself in to their backyard and please don’t be alarmed.  She said “okay”.

So, I obsess.  I wish Brian was home.  He could help, he would find Richie.  Just last week I’d freaked out because I saw two red cats in the yard behind us, went tearing into the house yelling “Richie and Opie are in the yard behind us!”  He came out, Richie and Opie were in our yard by the pool.  So, of course, I’m thinking it’s just me being silly.  I had gotten all of the cats in and thought maybe if Opie were out, Richie would show up from wherever he was hiding.  Around a quarter to ten, I heard a cat fight in the yard behind the neighbor’s house.  Now, that’s not an usual place to hear a fight, so I went back over there.  I walked to the back of the yard, heard growling.  I called out softly “Richie?”  The cats scattered.  I walked along the fence, dodging oleander plants and shined the flashlight into the yard.  Nothing, no cats in sight.  Then I called him again.  I heard a cat meow.  I heard some noise at the fence behind our house.  I aimed the flashlight over there.  And I saw him.  On the top of the fence, at the very corner, trying to get into our yard. 

I walked over, had to duck under some sort of wire at the corner of the fence and I called him to me.  He made his way over, I held my finger out for him to smell me (our nightly ritual) and he came closer, close enough for me to give him a few little scritches behind his ears.  Real close to where I’d need to have my hand to scruff him and haul him over to me.  Within a minute, I was trying to hold Richie and the flashlight.  I knew I’d have to go out to the street to get home with him, since the barrier is done so well.  Richie’s head at my left shoulder, my right hand grabbing the back of his neck, his butt cradled in my left forearm, trying to hold the flashlight in my left hand.  I knew I’d have to move it, because I had two gates and two doors to open.  I moved the flashlight to under my arm and held it against my body that way.  Luckily, Richie wasn’t being squirmy at all, he was relaxed and glad to be in my arms.  I kept nuzzling him and telling him what an adventure he must have had.  When I got in the front door, I set him down and he didn’t run off, he just walked off, into the garage to see if there was any food left. 

I went outside and got Opie in the house.

When Brian got home, he couldn’t believe it.  The next morning, I didn’t let the cats out at four like I usually do. They had to stay in. When we both got up and dressed, we walked in the backyard, looking at the fence.  We just couldn’t see how he got out.  There was just no way the fence was breached.  But it had been.  In the coming days, Richie showed absolutely no interest in leaving.  And I finally figured out how he’d gotten out, although it had been a lot of work.  He got out by standing on the back of the park bench, jumping up (Richie is an awesome jumper, it’s always been something that amazes me), grabbing on to the wire and really pulling to get himself up.  Once he had jumped up, it was too scary to let go and just drop, too far down, so he had no option but to climb.  And climb he did.

He was none the worse for wear, I did find a scrape on his chin this weekend.  Not from a cat fight.  He must have done it leaving or trying to get back in.

The park bench has been moved.

The past few weeks, Ciara really sounded bad.  Coughing and all around not looking well at all.  Last Friday, I started her on the Orbax I got back in January for the colds they all had and she started doing much better before the day was out.  She’s still coughing a little, but not nearly as badly as she had been.  Poor baby.

And something weird was going on with Bart’s right eye last week.  The only way I can describe it is eye snot.  And it only affected his right eye, which told me that it wasn’t something systemic.  Something was going on with just that eye.  So, Friday, I started him on the triple antibiotic ointment I got from Becky when we first got Oliver and he went after Junior.  By the end of the weekend, the snot was gone, but I saw something on the cornea that didn’t belong.  At first, I thought it was from the ointment, but it was in the same place and I couldn’t wipe it off.  I told Brian this morning that I thought Bart should go the vet (and with money as tight as it is, I’m really reluctant to spend anymore money that I really need to).  Brian said he thought Bart’s eye looked better.  I said “yeah, it does, but it looks like there’s some sort of scratch or something on it and it’s not getting any better”.  He said “then you’d better take him in”, saying that this wasn’t something to take chances with.  The appointment was made for 10:15.

Turns out that Bart has a corneal erosion.  He said there’s really not a clear reason for it, could be a scratch (Bart likes to sleep in the same area as Oliver and Oliver thinks he’s the king of everything), or an ulcer because of the herpes virus.  The vet had to debride the cornea because dead corneal cells were where the wound was and it wasn’t healing properly.  Debriding meant scraping the dead cells off of it with a needle.  Bart got some ointment and eye drops and he has an appointment for next Tuesday morning for a recheck.  The vet said it was small and it most likely would heal without any problems.  Boy, was Bart glad to be home.

And yesterday, I got really weirded out by Rachel’s poop.  I was just finishing in the shower and saw her getting in the litter box.  Now, Rachel hasn’t had a firm stool in weeks.  Saturday, they got looser and yesterday, they were really nasty.  I watched her go and gave a closer look to the runny pile when she was finished.  I saw something strange in it, wondered what it was.  Naked, and holding the towel around my body with one hand, I searched for something disposable to dig in that little runny pile.  I found an emery board and started in.  It looked like there was a string (!) in the stool.  Crud, where did she get a string that long?  No wonder she’s had the poops.  I washed the string off and pulled on it.  It snapped.  This warnt no stinking string! This was a roundworm!  Ick!  Ick!  Ick!Ick!ICK!  I ran out to the family room and showed it to Brian. Then I threw it in the trash and thoroughly washed my hands. 

I’d never seen a roundworm and I’ve seen more this past twenty four hours than I ever want to see again.  I asked about them on a messageboard and was warned not to be surprised if she also vomited them up.  Which she’s done.  I was also told that the medication doesn’t kill the worm, but anesthesizes them so that they let loose their grip and they leave the system, that they can’t live in the outside environment.  Oh, gawd!  That thing was alive?  This is just too gross.  But, this should only last a few more days.  Then, I’ll give her another dose of Strongid in two weeks and that should do it for her.  Luckily, Ross didn’t have them quite so badly as she did.

Marco has taken over raising the kittens.  He’s a surrogate mother.  Funniest thing I’ve ever seen.  He just lays there and lets them suckle.  He’ll clean them and cover their poops.  And he growls at the other cats who come a little too close, the cats he doesn’t trust.  I got a picture of him in the carrier with the kittens at his breast this morning.  It’s over in the gallery.

And I’m also in the process of getting ready to move this website.  This past weekend, I moved catler.org, where I had all of my guestbooks and messageboards for the cats.  But those are very inactive and I just couldn’t justify spending $34.95 a month for something that was rarely used.  One of the things that has been holding me back from moving was that these scripts run on the original Miva engine, which you just don’t find anymore.  The new engine uses scripts that have been compiled and mine aren’t.  But I figure I’ll just bite the bullet.  I saved all of the data and will archive it in the months to come.  Yesterday and today I searched for new guestbook scripts, found a couple that are acceptable.  So, the catcam page has a new forum and guestbook and I’ve made one guestbook for all of the cats, where they each used to have their own messageboard. But, recently, the most active board was Ciara’s with kids each saying they were the first to have the name.  No big loss.  I’m doing this all now so that the move next week will be as clean as possible. 

I did the math and by moving two of my sites, I’ll be saving over five hundred and fifty dollars a year.  That’s worth it, in my book.  The refund I get from the host of catler (I pay by the year) will offset all of the charges I’ve made paying for two years each of three domains.  I should have done this sooner.  I just didn’t want to lose those messageboards, but reality set in.  And for what I’m getting, I certainly can’t complain.

Well, that’s it for now.  I’ve got to go start dinner and fold the last load of laundry I did this weekend (I got everything in all of the baskets washed and got the jeans in the dryer late last night, the last load).

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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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