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      Monday, February 02, 2015

mrs. crankypants
04:00 PM - 02/02/2015

The topic: Paying for the procedure

Remember that procedure I had last October? The one that included preparation that had me not eating forever and crying over the smell of a pb&j sandwich?

Well, our illustrious insurance only paid twelve hundred dollars of a forty-five hundred dollar bill. I sent two different emails (I never got an auto response to the first one, so ten days later, filled out their form a second time).  I got a call last month, on Saturday, the 24th. The insurance rep told me that my doctor sent the claim in as medical. So, it went against our deductible. After dragging more information out of him, I sent an email to our doctor's billing department last week asking that they recode the claims as screenings, not medical. All of the colonoscopy billings (including the lab work to check the two polyps) as well as the two billings for a mole the doctor removed in December. That mole removal was $500! $250 for the doctor, $250 for the lab. I figure it was a screening, otherwise I'd still have the mole, you know?

Well, today, I got stuff from the insurance company. I don't have to pay the $2,900 and change for the rest of the colonoscopy. That's cool. Now, let's take care of the labs for that and the other screenings, too.

It's not like it's anything I wanted or asked for. The doctor ordered it.



04:08 PM - 02/02/2015

The topic: And another trip to the vet this morning

This time it was for Richie. 

For the past few years, Richie's run a little hot. I mean physically hot. You touch his ears and it's like they're on fire. He spends more time outside when it's cool than he does indoors when the heat is on. He's as skinny as a rail. And his breathing is fast.

The past few weeks, he's gotten worse. Last week, he had three bloody noses. The first one I wasn't sure of, I just found the blood on the floor, didn't know if it had been him or Katie. Then I saw his nose bleeding on two different occasions. This past weekend, he wasn't eating, even tuna, and he was throwing up at night. Lots of foamy puke. And he was playing in the waterbowl, splashing water all over and licking it from his paws.

This morning, I was pretty concerned and I called the vet after they'd opened for the day. I was able to get an eleven o'clock appointment. When the vet came in he asked questions, I answered as well as asking him a few. Like maybe Richie has high blood pressure (I remember my mother and her nosebleeds). He checked him over and said that it was most likely his thyroid. And hyperthyroid could be the cause of all of the things that have been off with Richie. He took Richie's blood pressure and it was sky high, really not good. The vet said if it's thyroid, taking care of that should take care of the blood pressure. And Richie was taken into the back for a blood draw.

The vet called, the regular results (you know, kidney, etc) were good, all within normal range, but his thyroid test was too high to measure. So, Richie is on meds now, the same thing as DaNiece. I'm to bring him in for a recheck in three weeks. 

We'll be there.

04:16 PM - 02/02/2015

The topic: Katie’s doing well

Her chin is getting bigger, but she's still eating, still affectionate and still happy. Saturday she was running through the house. This morning she came into bed with us, purring up a storm.

The vet asked about her and I told him how she's doing and he said her eating was a good sign. But when she quits, it will be time to say goodbye. Which we all know.

He did say to not worry about the metacam she's on, if I run out, I can get more. In healthy cats, metacam is not recommended because it's so hard on the kidneys, but she's gonna die anyway, might as well let her be comfortable.

She's outside now sleeping on the big pillow. I'm glad to see her feeling so well, all things considered.

      Tuesday, February 03, 2015

06:43 AM - 02/03/2015

The topic: Starts my day with a smile

When I see Spotty and Bob wrestling in the hallway in the morning. They used to do this all of the time, then Spot got blocked repeatedly over a summer and had his surgery. The wrestling just stopped.

But this morning, there they were. In the hallway, wrestling.


01:03 PM - 02/03/2015

The topic: Built in obsolescence?

So, I've been getting phone calls on my cell phone. I don't much use my cell and most of the calls were from unknowns (one did leave a text, some weird thing about banshee hatred). 

But, for the past month, I haven't heard the phone ring. So, today, I check it out. I do all of the resets. I search the interwebs for help. I ended up at AT&T's website. They're my provider.

No matter what I do, I can't raise the volume on the ringtones. So, I check the warranty. It's good for 365 days. Which runs out.....next Sunday! 

Brian said they screwed that one up by a couple of days. My phone will be replaced at no charge to me! 


      Thursday, February 05, 2015

10:50 AM - 02/05/2015

The topic: I love my cats, I love my cats, I love my cats

I really do. But sometimes... Sometimes they make me crazy. And this is when my Xanax is wonderful.

Okay, we know that Katie has cancer. When she quits eating is when it will be time to say goodbye. Her chin is getting bigger (although Brian said last night it looked smaller to him; no matter, the bone of her jaw isn't going to magically regenerate). This morning, the tumor had split and there was a little blood, but that seems to have resolved for the time being. 

The thing is, because I know her time is limited, I do special things for her. And since she's not a cat who appreciates the normal special things like hugs and kisses and pets and brushing, the only thing left is food. She loves chicken baby food. It's what I use to give her her meloxicam (metacam) every other day. This morning I tried giving her straight A/D, but she didn't love it so much. I added a half of a jar of chicken baby food and a little water and mixed it up into a nice thick gruel. I think she would have loved it. Except.

Except Richie has gotten spoiled over the past couple of weeks. When I noticed his extreme weight loss, I started giving him chicken baby food. Actually, I started this last week before his vet visit this past Monday. Before I knew what was wrong with him. Well, now, when I feed Katie the baby food, Richie is right up there in my face. And Katie does not like being crowded and she'll run off. When I first tried just the A/D with her this morning, Richie was right there. Katie runs off. Richie sniffs the food and looks at me. "This is crap" he tells me with the look on his face. And I say "it f*cking wasn't FOR you, it was for Katie, you asshole. Yeah, I know you've got problems, too, but you're not DYING like Katie is, her needs are MORE special than yours right now". And his facial response was "where's the good stuff?"

So, I take a pill. Things calm down. (It's unbelievable how much this stuff stresses me.) Richie is snoozing on the patio. Katie is standing on the kitchen table, wanting food. I figure I'll try the A/D and add the baby food. Richie, with his Vulcan hearing, hears me open the jar of baby food. NOOOOOOO!!! I think to myself  "stay outside, stay outside, stay outside..." I look out the kitchen window. He's not in the chair. I hear the cat door in the laundry room. And there he is. At my feet. 

Okay, fine. I clean out the baby food jar with my spoon, getting as much of it out as I can. I set the close to empty jar on the floor. Have at it.

I mix up the A/D and baby food and take it over to Katie. She starts lapping.

Success! Richie is busy trying to clean out the jar. And he has help, Potter and Mystie are out there. But they're completely ignorant of Katie on the table with some yummy food, and lots of it. She eats over half of what I've given her and she walks away from what's left. I cover the remainder with plastic wrap for later.

And the other three cats are still in the kitchen, trying to get the little bit left out of the jar.

I'm better now.


11:27 AM - 02/05/2015

The topic: And speaking of Richie

His breathing rate is getting a lot better. Comparing him to the other cats, the rates are very close. So, that's a good thing. 

He's looking more relaxed, too.

      Sunday, February 08, 2015

10:54 AM - 02/08/2015

The topic: Richie is doing so good!

He's more active, his breathing has slowed down, he's eating, he's more affectionate, his ears aren't so darned hot, he's sleeping on us again....

Amazing what the right medication can do. He follows me around wanting to be picked up instead of being outside sleeping somewhere. He doesn't like his meds, but he's getting used to them. The twice a day isn't the most fun thing I've ever done, but it's wonderful to see him responding.

 He's such a sweetie.

      Monday, February 09, 2015

09:05 AM - 02/09/2015

The topic: For my mother-in-law’s birthday

I made a card for her. I used the Tea Party card from SVGCuts Box Cards kit. Clicking on a picture will take you to a bigger photo in my family album.



I'm happy with how it turned out. I used an embossing folder for the outside panels. I used Stampendous Friendly Phrases stamp for the Happy Birthday sentiments. I used some half pearls I bought on eBay for the center of the panel flowers, but they're way to thick for this type of card. If I was planning on mailing these, I wouldn't be able to use them, they are way too thick. I wanted to use my enamel dots and I know I've bought more than one sheet in the past three years (I love sales!), but I could only find one of them. I used a small dot for the teapot lid hadle, but the colors didn't work with the flowers. 

I did find where you can make your own "enamel" dots using pony beads or perler beads (for children) and baking them. I'll be trying my had at this later today. I ordered some perler beads from Amazon and I'm pretty sure I have some pony beads in my beading stash. I know I have some glow in the dark pony beads, I wonder how they'd melt down. From what I've read, the pony beads smell when they're heated and the perler beads do not. And the perler beads take longer to melt. I guess I'll find out.



      Tuesday, February 10, 2015

mrs. crankypants
07:32 AM - 02/10/2015

The topic: On our walk this morning

The lady who lives across the street, the one who brought Duke to our house a few summers ago (remember, Duke went home to his family - who still lets him run) stopped and told us the other morning she pushed the wrong button on her car's key and the alarm went off.  

And it startled her when a coyote ran out of the bushes by our house. I'm pretty sure she meant the ones on the bank. 

From a story in the San Diego Union Tribune

Although there is the widespread perception that people have displaced coyotes by building housing in their habitat, wildlife researchers say we’ve actually created havens for the animals.

Urban neighborhoods offer plentiful food for the adaptable omnivores, which thrive on the rodents, garbage, small pets, pet food, and ornamental fruit they find there. Coyote densities can be unnaturally high in urban areas, where they need just a quarter acre of land to secure enough to eat. In wildlands, by contrast, coyotes stake out territories of one to 15 acres in order to survive.

Well, that makes me feel a whole lot better. I frikken hate coyotes.

11:31 AM - 02/10/2015

The topic: Another birthday card

This one was so much fun to make! Lots and lots of foam to make it extra three dimensional. And glitter paper. You can't go wrong with glitter paper. This paper is really thin, it's definitely not card stock, it needs to be put on sturdier paper. You don't need much, just for accent pieces, but it looks really cool. Once again, this is from the Box Cards kit  over at  SVGCuts.com. Clicking on a picture will take you to a bigger photo in my family album; clicking on that picture will open a larger photo.


I love glitter. Marco is photobombing, doing a bokeh thing.




One of the things I really love about SVGCuts files is that the cards always come with a cut file for an envelope.


12:16 PM - 02/10/2015

The topic: I’m considering selling these

Not this particular set, this was a gift, but card sets. These were made using another kit from SVGCuts. The kit comes with more card styles than I made. If you go check it out, you'll see what a difference paper and embellishments can make. Clicking on a picture will take you to a bigger photo in my family album; clicking on that picture will open a larger photo.


The kit comes with a box to hold the cards. Actually, there are two versions, a tall box and a short box. This is the tall box.


The card collection.


The no sentiment card; you add your own


Feel better soon


Happy birthday


Just because


Thank you 


Each card has an insert for a message


The envelopes; I will have a couple extra in each collection since I'm really bad at screwing up addresses and I hate not having an extra envelope to use




12:40 PM - 02/10/2015

The topic: I made some dots last night

From the huge bucket of perler beads I got yesterday. They seem pretty small, I need to try stacking them. I think that would work better in the barbeque grill because they're pretty small and it's hard to move them when they're stacked. I will try pony beads since they have larger sizes, but I'll most likely have to do those outside because they smell when they melt.

One thing I did learn is if you go the toaster oven route, do not, I repeat, do NOT use an oven with convection that you cannot turn off. Things will not go well.


If you decide to try this, have fun! Let me know how it turns out for you.


      Wednesday, February 11, 2015

09:32 AM - 02/11/2015

The topic: Advanced screening: “McFarland USA”


We saw this last night. What a great, uplifting movie. Brian ran cross country in high school, so I thought he might relate. When we left the theater, he told me he liked the movie more than he thought he would. And we talked about it on the way home, him telling me about running cross country when he was a kid. I love when he does this.

Coach White (Costner) has a rough time holding a job. His last chance is at a high school in McFarland, California, a small farming town, mostly populated by Mexican immigrants.

White, who has no experience in cross country, has realized while watching the class take a lap that there is the possibility of a team in the making. And through much determination, he makes it happen.

I walked away from this movie with a newfound respect for the men, women and children who work in the fields. And I like how the story shows more of the closeness of the Mexican community, how welcoming they were to Coach White and his family. 

I recommend this movie. It's a Disney film. No swearing, sex or stuff like that. Oh, and of course, being a Disney movie, there are a couple of scenes where you can hear sniffling in the theater. Like the first time the team sees the Pacific Ocean. Very touching. 

See it. You won't be sorry. 

      Thursday, February 12, 2015

08:36 AM - 02/12/2015

The topic: One thing about the procedure prep

Last October was that we didn't get to go see the advanced screening of John Wick. We wanted to go see it at a theater after that, but never made it. So, I was excited when it finally was available on Netflix. It got here Tuesday (we didn't watch it because we were at a movie theater watching McFarland, USA) and we watched it last night.

His wife dies, she has a puppy delivered to him, he takes the dog with him to get gas in his car, some Russians (notice how the bad guys are always Russians now?) compliment him on his car,  the guy who plays Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) in Game of Thrones wants to know how much he wants to sell it, Wick declines the offer. Later the bad Russians show up and beat the crap out of Wick, search for the car keys and kill the puppy when it keeps barking at them. 

So, Wick survives this very awful beating, takes a bus to a car chop shop, run by John Leguizamo, finds out who has his car and the hilarity ensues. Beatings. Shootings. Knifings. The rest of the movie. That was it. No plot. No story. Just lots and lots of violence. I slept through part of it.

Boy, am I glad we didn't get to see this at the theater. What a grand waste of time that would have been.

Thank you, MoviPrep


10:07 AM - 02/12/2015

The topic: Anyone watch Justified?

We watched the latest episode on Tuesday night. 

When the guy who was supposed to show Boyd and Duffy how he'd get into a vault and he met his end, Brian and I looked at one another and just bust out laughing.

Talk about pushing the envelope....


      Saturday, February 14, 2015

01:01 PM - 02/14/2015

The topic: Caught up with paperwork

Well, as much as I can be without pulling files from 2013 and putting them in boxes, moving 2014 files into the "previous year" drawers and setting up 2015 files.

I figured it would be a nice day to sit on the patio and melt pony beads in the toaster oven (since almost every YouTube video I've watched and blog post I've read about melting them stresses the smell). I sat at the table and skimmed the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine, timer going on the beads so I could write down how long it took, what temperature to melt them. 

I don't sit outside at the patio table very often, so this was an uncommon situation for the cats who have their regular cat spaces on said patio. Jackie likes the pillow in front of the storage area (where I'm now storing the toaster oven since I plan on using it outside; well, that and there's no room for it anywhere inside). Everytime I got up from my chair to do something, Jackie left. If I was gone long enough, he went back to the pillow, but left when I came back. Then he'd return once I'd settled in.

And Pete just kept wandering around the yard. Opie was on a chair. Marco was on a chair. There was one empty chair and Pete would just sit on the patio, watching me. Then he'd walk away, wander around the yard some, then come back. A couple of times he came into the office and just sat at the open door, watching me. 

I'd only done four batches, but I gave up. I told him "fine, let me finish this one batch, straighten up what I've got piled up here, and I'll be out of your way".  Less than five minutes of me turning off the oven and putting my beads in an organizer, pushing my chair in and coming inside the house, Pete was on a chair (not the one I'd been in), curled up and settled in for a nap.

Cats. Gotta love 'em.

      Tuesday, February 17, 2015

06:56 AM - 02/17/2015

The topic: Good morning! Yawn….

Well, today got off to a great start. I woke up around four this morning and got up and opened the door so the cats could get out. I noticed the back door was already open. Great. We had our utility company out last month to do free energy saving stuff, like new light bulbs, and one of the things he did was to add weatherstripping around the doors to the outside. This has caused a problem with the back door staying closed, unless it's slammed shut. Which obviously wasn't done last night. So, it was open this morning. 

I go back to bed, doze off, when I hear the startings of a cat fight. I get out of bed, throw on a teeshirt, grab a flashlight and go outside. It was Ronnie and Pancho up on the bank. Pancho was on the doghouse and Ronnie was stalking him. I yelled at Ronnie to knock it off, he took off and Pancho ran behind Brian's workshop. I go back there to let him know everything's okay and he runs from me. This is strange. I try a few more times and he runs. I'm not liking this. 

Then it dawns on me. Remember from years ago the cat Notwally? A cat who I thought was Wally, but was not? We have a Notpancho. Great. 

I go back inside, tell Brian we have a Notpancho and he said "oh, great", gets out of bed. I went back into the yard and made a decision. I came back in and said "not right now. We'll wait until the sun is up". Because coyotes. (Have I ever mentioned how much I hate coyotes? I'm sure I have. Once or twice.) I leave the sliding door open and don't hear anymore fighting from the back.

We got up a little after six, Brian got the trash out (Tuesday trash day!) and got all of the cats in, blocking the doors, so even the tricky Rocky can't leave. Since the doors from the house that open to the backyard were either blocked by cats or something else, I went out front to walk around the side (I'd grabbed some treats for Notpancho, who was hiding under the pool pump). Brian was waiting for me to come back outside so he hadn't opened the gates. 

I had to go back inside and tell him what the plan was. He hurried over to one of the gates and opened that up. I went into the back and waited until the other gate was wide open and walked back to the pool pump. I got down on my hands and knees and tossed a treat to Notpancho. He moved, then, as I was getting another treat, he ran to the right of me, and out to the pool. I guess he ran up the stairs to the yard and behind the shop. Brian told me where he was so I walked back there and before I'd reached the fence, Brian yelled "he's gone!".

Out the gate, up the bank and up the street. Safe and sound.

We opened up the house and let the cats out. Spot was one of the first to the back, doing a lot of sniffing. I'm sure whoever gets under the pool pump will enjoy the treats.

I don't think this was a feral cat. He looked way too clean. I wish people would keep their cats in. At least from sundown to sunup. It's a whole lot safer for them.

02:00 PM - 02/17/2015

The topic: I was just moving files

From my memory card to the computer and I see a few of the kitty cats. One with Rocky as the star, the other with Mario.

I'm defragging my harddrive right now, then I'll work on getting these videos online. I know the ladies who gave us these kitty cats like the updates.

07:51 PM - 02/17/2015

The topic: Well, I got one video done

This one is of Rocky, taken earlier this month.


      Wednesday, February 18, 2015

05:08 PM - 02/18/2015

The topic: And here is the other video

This one is Marion and Brian in the office. Brian is very patient with Mario, even when Mario nips. 


      Sunday, February 22, 2015

08:11 AM - 02/22/2015

The topic: It’s not like the cats have any stress around here

Yanno? And stress is one of the things that affects Spot and his bladder problems. The last time he started having a bad time peeing and having bloody urine, I started him on antibiotics. And two weeks later, it was just as bad. The antibiotics weren't helping, which lead me to believe an infection wasn't the problem. I did some research and found out that in many cases, there is no infection for cats with problems like his (I do not, do not, do NOT advocate this for anyone who has a cat that has bladder problems unless you're in a situation such as ours; a cat who repeatedly blocked and had his penis removed, his urinary area resectioned, and now isn't in danger of blocking again and dying because of it). But stress can bring this on.

Well, remember me talking about Notpancho last week?

Saturday morning, around 1:30, I woke up. I couldn't get back to sleep. I went into the living room and sat on the sofa, turned on the Touchpad. I heard low growling from the garage. I went out to see what was going on and Notpancho was in the garage. And Sagwa was telling him he wasn't welcome. I told Brian, we opened up the house and Notpancho left the house and into the backyard. Where many other kitties were at this point, because you know, open doors. We closed the doors and we both went back to bed. 

Yesterday, I searched the yard for Notpancho and couldn't find him anywhere. This concerned Brian because it meant the cat was getting out of the yard. I think he jumped over the wire on the pool pump. I doubt our cats would do that because they don't have much motivation to leave. It's a really high tough jump and there has to be a lot of adrenaline behind it. 

But I think this cat being in our yard has stressed Spot. So, last night when I saw the first bloody urine, I knew exactly who it was and what to do. Spot is now taking Xanax (a very, very small amount, the dosage for the cats is a half to a full pill and I'm giving him just a quarter, one in the morning and one at night) just enough to take the edge off. And we'll see how this works out.

08:26 AM - 02/22/2015

The topic: I’m concerned about Jackie

This past week, his belly ballooned. Not a good sign, too many bad, nasty, horrible things it might be. Cancer, FIP.... He still has a great appetite, he's eating and drinking, breathing normally, but this belly just isn't normal.

We're going to try to get him to his vet this week.

Katie is staying by his side, purring and grooming him, as much as she can. Her chin is getting bigger, but she's still eating and she grooms herself. Every couple of days the tumor splits and there's a little blood, but so far, nothing like with Pepper. Pepper drooled most of the time and towards the end, the drool was always bloody. Katie hasn't reached that point yet.

Just damn.

      Monday, February 23, 2015

08:22 AM - 02/23/2015

The topic: Last year

I think it was last year, I copied all of my digital tape movies over to an external harddrive. There were over twenty of them. Well, that harddrive failed. I think it was because the drive was in the sun and Lorelei used to lay on it. I'm sure overheating caused it to crash. But I lost all of the movies I'd saved. Fortunately, I still have the tapes in a box. And I've decided to try copying them over the the computer again.

But this time on the internal drive. And eventually I'll copy those over to DVDs. For safekeeping.

Some of these are really old. I found one from 2001, with the Little Guy (Mystie and Katie's sister, who we couldn't catch and went missing) litter. They are so stinking cute! 

I may be having some more YouTube movies of years past going up.

      Saturday, February 28, 2015

09:27 AM - 02/28/2015

The topic: I’m here

It's just been a really rough week. Bad news and good news. 

Bad news is we lost Jackie yesterday (cancer). I'll post more about that later.

Good news is Richie got a recheck on his thyroid yesterday and he's put on two pounds and his thyroid values are perfect. So, the meds are working.

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lisaviolet is seventy 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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