Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bad Timing

Last night, my Life Modem suddenly ceased to function.  Goodbye internet, goodbye TV.  I spent an hour on the phone with a tech, trying all sorts of things.  The ultimate conclusion was that my modem is out of date.  A new one will be here on January 2nd.

My first reaction: I hate doing things on my phone.  (Like this, for example.)  Second:  I'm going to miss SO MUCH FOOTBALL!!!!!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Of All Stripes and Colors

You know, if you're going to knit Barbie clothes, it's only right to accessorize:
About 10 or 15 years ago, a bag of Barbie shoes would have sent my daughter into orbit.  She was all about the shoes and the furniture in BarbieWorld.

Kathy asked her readers today what they are knitting.  I've got more than one thing ongoing, but I've made a lot of elephants.  I like how this one striped up:

Believe it or not, there is less than a week until Blankapalooza kicks off!  I'll give you the first color prompt Sunday, January 3rd.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

It's My Most Favorite Day of the Year

At my therapist's office the other day, there was a Christmas CD playing (naturally) and "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," sung by Andy Williams, came up.  And, yes, the fact that some of you don't know who Andy Williams is, and how he fits into lots of Christmas memories, is bothersome.

Am I the only one who never knew about those stories being part of Christmas?  Has an enormous portion of Christmas tradition never been mine?  Did you betray us, too, Perry Como?

I picked Hannah up from work last night, as she didn't have another ride.  She gave me a little bag of Christmas cookies, baked by her boyfriend's grandmother.  By the time I had gotten back home, this was the state of affairs:
They had been all dolled up with peppermint twine and ribbony, sequiny stickers.  But there were only two left.  A fact that was not lost on Rupert:
Of course he got some bites.  I may be terribly bitter right now, but I'm not mean.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sturm and Storm

Both my children are so tired and tense, I wonder if it wouldn't be better for each of us to spend our own Christmas alone.  Last year, trying to get together and get along, was a sh*tfest, and I know how easily things can get really ugly around here.  It would be better if we got to sleep in and take our own times with the day.

From the gifts angle, I can deliver theirs whenever it's convenient, or hold them here for pick-up.  As I say every year, I doubt they will have gotten me anything.  They never even ask what I want.  Until you read otherwise here, assume that on any gift-giving occasion, I will not receive anything.  I am ashamed to have brought up such inconsiderate people.  They are both so wonderful in so many ways, but they rarely, if ever, see beyond their own noses.  It is hurtful and disrespectful, and they are both old enough to have "grown out of it," if that were going to happen.

At any rate, I have bought myself a little something every month this year, wrapped it, and put it away, so I will have things to open Friday.  And all but one of them will be a surprise!  (I remember one thing I bought --- the rest, not so much.)

Buddy and Madeleine are "holding steady" and "doing fine," respectively.  She is pretty quiet, at least until it's time to eat.
(Obviously, it's not feeding time here.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


It seems that all I've done lately is drive to and from the UGA Vet School.  And every trip brought more stress, more nerves, more concern, more and bigger bills.

Madeleine has been doing quite well.  She is eating ravenously.  Though Lily, Erin and Riley seem to have quasi-adjusted to the every-12-hours feeding schedule, she pipes up every time I go into the kitchen.  Which is often.  Interestingly, though, it's Lily who wakes me up each morning.  She will come sit on me and pip (she doesn't really "meow") until I'm awake.  Barring anything unforeseen, Maddie is free until another glucose curve the first week of January.

 Buddy, God love him, has been moved successfully today from UGA to our vet's.  The willingness of UGA to let him go, and Dr. Smith to take him in, makes me feel better about him.  The ominous-sounding "underlying causes" that everyone kept talking about as what were making him so much sicker than his diabetes tied me in knots, sent my mind to the very worst possibilities.  However, kidney troubles may be the major issue.  Which means only giving him antibiotics along with the insulin.  In fact, Dr. Smith is working toward getting him home by Christmas!  I would never have thought that possible.

Fingers crossed.

My girl Camille sent me a Box of Good, which I received over the weekend.  I took things out of the box one at a time, and stretched emptying it out as long as I could.  There were crocheted squares in fantastic colors, which I just realized I don't have pictures of.  I'll get on that.

The squares were in and around this:

How cute is that?  And she made it.  

When you need a smile, someone almost always steps in, don't you find?

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Last Thursday night, I went over to feed Buddy and give him his insulin.  (It was "Star Wars" night, and Briton was not going to be able to leave the theater until very, very late.)  Briton had said he hadn't been eating, despite appetite stimulants.  

He was lying in the middle of Briton's bed, and looked bad.  Very, very bad.  I'd had a knot in my stomach about him all day, and I saw why.  I got on the bed with him, just petting him, and knew something had to be done.  Otherwise, Briton was going to come home to find that he had died.

Off again to UGA VER.  The resident who did the intake recognized my name, and said, "Madeleine, right?"  Turns out he was part of the team taking care of her.

I did the best I could to answer his questions, but, as involved as I've been in the last year-plus, I didn't know everything.  He isn't my cat.

When the initial diagnosis and treatment options came in, we were looking at up to $3500.  I can't do that.  I'm already stretched taking care of Maddie.  We arrived at an amount, and they promised to do as much as they could with that constraint.

Madeleine had to spend yesterday at UGA getting a glucose curve run, and I was able to talk to the intake resident, who said that Buddy was doing better.  They'd gotten him to eat, and he was more energetic.  Madeleine's doctor had also been looking at Buddy, and I told her that I had been hesitant to take control of those decisions, as they weren't really mine to make.  I had felt, however, that Buddy was not going to make it through that night if I didn't get him some help.  She nodded that we-both-know-what-we're-talking-about nod, saying, "You were right.  You did the right thing."

News this morning was that he is still eating, but his kidney levels are a concern.  They are going to increase fluids and see what happens.  The doctors and Briton and I know that a decision will have to be made Monday.  We will be at the end of the money, and, if Buddy hasn't significantly improved after 3 days and nights, the issue also becomes whether he will ever improve completely.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Step Right In

My life, and the lives of those around me, have careened into a circus tent.  Due to some circumstances being utterly, unquestionably, and decidedly not anyone's fault, but also due to some which are glaringly, obviously, and so clearly the fault(s) of one or more of us, it has fallen to me to pull all this back together.  Except I'm not the Ringmaster.  No; too easy.

I need glue and spit and phone lines and Kleenex and duct tape and ear plugs and syringes and megaphones and prayers and steadiness and string and a level head and Scotch tape and the ability to mind-read to start to put all this crap back into some kind of order.  I'm the one who makes sure everyone has on their water wingies, when I can't even swim.

I'm the Magic Act.  There are half a dozen or more items up in the air right now (including a couple of chainsaws, and some things aflame), things will be ugly and every bit of any blame will be laid swiftly and heavily upon me if the act doesn't go well, and


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bah Stomachbug

Of all the sentences in all the books I've ever read, this is probably my favorite:

"Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind-stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!"

For the last couple of days, my stomach has squeezed and wrenched and grasped and scraped at the mere thought of, not to mention the actual consumption of, food.

My tummy hurts, nothing I eat or drink stays in me very long, and I have a fever.  That's basically what I'm saying.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Breaking Bread

Bridget expressed an interest in the tablecloth I mentioned last time.  To re-cap, whenever someone eats with us in this house, I use this tablecloth and have them sign and date it.  They write with pencil, then I embroider to make it permanent.  And, yes, Hannah and Briton got to sign when they were old enough to write legibly:

This is actually a "tradition" --- my mother did this same thing.  When I moved into my first apartment, her housewarming gift to me was my own blank tablecloth.  That's exactly the sort of thing my mother would think of, and it sort of choked me up.  One of the things I was very sure to get from the house after she died was her cloth.

As for colors, I embroidered with whatever color the person was wearing at the time.  Sort of a double, triple way to remember.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Kathy Asked Some Questions

Which I will answer here.  Feel free to answer them yourselves, in the comments section here, on your blog, or simply in your own head.

1. Favorite way to show your Holiday cards off?
I tape them around the door jamb leading into the dining room.

2. Music solo:  Piano or violin or guitar?

3. Fingerless or mittens?

4. Tinsel or garland?
Garland.  Tinsel strands are such a pain.
When I was little, the sight of discarded Christmas trees, naked but for tinsel, made me kind of sad.

5. Ham or Turkey?

6. Snowman or Santa?
Oh, the guilt that comes with not saying "Santa"!  But I have to go with snowman.

7. Brunch or Dinner?
Completely dependent on what is being served.

8. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping.  Hands down.

9. Placemats or tablecloth?
Both.  Though I have a tablecloth that I have guests sign when they eat with us.  I embroider their signatures;  it's quite a keepsake.

10. Candles or fire in the fireplace?
Fire.  You can't beat the crackle and the smell.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

So, I've Been Thinking

About Blankapalooza.  For those of you new to the class, Blankapalooza is 2016's year-long project for making squares, that will be sewn into blankets, that will be donated to deserving charities.  These are the "rules" so far:

1.  Squares are to be 6" x 6".
2.  Squares may be knit or crocheted, and the stitch design is up to you, though colors will be "assigned."  If your preferred craft medium is fabric, you are more than welcome to send some squares.  Cross-stitch, embroidery --- I'd say anything but painted fabric may be used, and will be appreciated.
3.  Each month, I will provide three (3) color prompts so you will know what yarn/thread to use.  The prompts will come on the 3rd, the 15th, and the 27th of each month.
4.  Finished squares can be sent to me at any time during the year.  If you want to send them monthly, or quarterly, or wait and send them all at once, they will be received gladly.
5.  No one is under any obligation whatsoever to provide a square for every prompt.  Create what you can when you can.  From sending 1 to making all 36 --- the goals here are kindness and fun.
6.  Knowing me, there will probably be contests of some sort along the way.
7.  I don't have any contests in mind now, but. . .

I'll be thinking.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ten Things I Truly Enjoy About the Holidays

1.  Christmas Eve.  It's my favorite day of the year, because everything is done, and you can just sit and anticipate.  Also, there's a quiet that night like no other quiet any other time of the year.

2.  Single candles in windows.  This is, by far, my favorite Christmas decoration.

3.  Lights in general.  Christmas lights make me happy.  When I was little, there was a family up the street from us --- the Lewises --- who put green lights on their house every year.  It was SO pretty.  From those big hot bulbs that burned hot to today's mini LEDs in shapes and srings. . .  I love them all.

4.  The blessings of Hanukkah.  Actually, I like everything about Hanukkah, but the nightly blessings as each candle is lit move me.  

5.  Wrapping gifts.  I should be very much over this after all those years working at the jewelry store, but I still enjoy picking out paper, coming up with new ways of "bowing" the packages, and ways to fake people out by putting tiny gifts in big boxes, or putting parts of one gift in several boxes to be put together later.

6.  Two songs.  "O Holy Night" for my traditional Christmas song, "Please Come Home for Christmas" for my more modern one.  I'm otherwise turned off by Christmas music because I start hearing it much too soon.

7.  TV with my children.  Each Christmas Eve, we watch "The Muppet Christmas Carol."  We know it by heart.  We don't care.

8.  Unpacking all the ornaments for the tree, and remembering the story behind each of them.  There are very few "generic" ornaments on our tree;  they, almost all, mean something very specific to us.

9.  Getting beautiful cards.  Today, I got a terrific one from Kathy:

10.  Refusing to let go of that beam of hope, that sliver of "what if," that holds out the possibility that it might snow.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Swing and a Miss

You'll recall that, along with the canned dog food sent us to try, there was a full-size sample of freeze-dried salmon pet treats:

I'm sorry to say that no one here was interested in trying them.  I did not offer one to Madeleine, since she is on the controlled diet, but the answer from everyone else was a definite "no."

Each month, I receive products from  I "test" them with my pets, and provide true-to-life reviews of our experiences with them.  There is no financial compensation whatsoever for these reviews.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Chewy Gets One Right

Last night, I offered Rupert, who has never eaten canned food in his life, some of the 
Merrick Venison Stew sent to us by

He cleaned his plate.  I was curious about his reaction, as he's been a dry food guy since Day One.  But he liked it.

The only issue was that I had to cut the large cubes of meat into smaller pieces so that he could eat more easily.  Now, that won't be a problem for other dogs, but for us, it's just a teeny time-consumer.

As always, I volunteered to review Chewy's products, and am not receiving any compensation at all from the company.  Each month, I simply report what my pets' reactions are to the products.


So, yeah.  The food thing is definitely in the "This IS going to work itself out eventually, right?" stage.  Every time I go into the kitchen, Madeleine meets me there, meowing constantly.  One of the other three usually joins her, and they are not singing lovely, endurable harmonies.

One of the times in the kitchen was to make this for all-day nibbling.  I didn't know "ovenable" was a word.  It makes me even more troubled that "emoji" was named the Word of the Year.  Did the committee even consider "ovenable"?

My monthly trial arrived today.  Look at the size of this box:
Inside a case (yes, a CASE) of dog food: doesn't send little samples.

Also, dog and cat treats
I feel bad about not being able to test these out on Maddie.  But I can get solid opinions from everyone else, I'm sure.

I've been knitting Barbie clothes, which has led to seeing Ken clothes patterns.  So, I had to find the Kens.  Or the Ken and the Steven, in our case:
The males in BarbieWorld are extremely high-crotched.  I hadn't remembered that about them.

Friday, December 4, 2015


As established yesterday, Madeleine is home.  She lost no time launching out of the carrier and getting right back into the swing of things. 

 Lily and Erin had to sniff around her a little bit before they got it, but she was patient.  Riley is the least excited about The Return, but she and Maddie have always had a hissy kind of relationship.

Rupert?  Rupert's pretty much, "Oh, was someone gone?"
"Yeah, buddy --- Madeleine."
"But she's okay now, right?  Cool."

The feeding schedule is already proving tricky.  Who eats where, so Maddie can't get into the "normal" food.  Feeding only twice a day, 12 hours apart, to cats who have free-fed all their lives.  Lots of meowing going on.  The three sisters are not happy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Now and Then

I got to visit Madeleine today.  She has lots of tubing going in lots of places.  But she seemed glad to see me, and was rolling over (by leading with a head rub on the floor) for tummy rubs by the time I left.

She has been shaved in all sorts of spots for the tubes and the ultrasound.  Her electrolytes are back in balance, she's happy to eat (liking both the canned and crunchy foods they've offered her), and the plan is still to ease off of the IV and start on insulin injections.  Ideally, she'll come home Thursday!

I wish I had a photo, but my telephone camera won't focus.  SO inconvenient.  She's still in ICU (where cameras probably aren't allowed anyway), with two other cats.  One, in the cage next to hers, looks just like her.  In fact, I said hello to him when we first walked in.  He looked much more ill than Maddie.  She looked tired, and a little bored, but it didn't take her long to realize it was me.  It was hard to leave her, but I can see her again tomorrow if I want.

After that, I picked up Hannah so we could spend some time together before she had to be at work.  We ate at Panera, and talked and talked.  I'm going to have to do some intense strategic planning with regard to Christmas this year.  Her boyfriend is very, very allergic to live trees, which means they can't be here on Christmas Day.  So, Briton and I may go to their place.  That means Will (the boyfriend) gets to cook for us, which is what he loves to do.  Time to mothball some old traditions, and start some new ones.

I still haven't breeched the door standing between me and the Christmas stuff, but here's a picture of Madeleine with our customary under-the-tree Nativity scene:


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