Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pill Pockets Product Review, and a Word or Two about Gustav

Well, we THOUGHT the Pill Pockets were a hit... Although we've been quite successful pilling Shelly with the pill popper thingy of late, I wanted to try the pill pockets, because if they work, a cat sitter could make them up and give them to her, and we could go out of town for more than a day at a time... But alas...

This morning, we had our first pilling failure in several weeks, so finally I went out to PetSmart and bought the Pill Pockets treats (salmon flavor, as Shelly seems to like fish much better than chicken... at least if her penchant for wet food flavors is any indication). She gobbled up an empty one (and that's good, because she wouldn't eat this morning... sigh), so I made up a treat with the little pill pieces in it and gave it to her. (Note: we usually put the pill pieces--all four of them!--in a capsule so that she takes them all at once.) She lapped up the treat, but she kept worrying it in her mouth. Turns out, she had isolated the pill pieces, tiny as they are, with her tongue and spit them out! What a crafty cat she's turned out to be in her infirmity. And here we call her our dumb blonde! Not as dumb as we thought, huh?

Oh well... I think these would work great for most cats. And they might work better with only one piece of pill in each. We might try that next. But I think we have to keep at the pill popping for the time being.

And now, a word about Gustav: Damn.

Ever since the Katrina disaster, I've been following the blogs of writer Poppy Z. Brite and, once he got it up and running, her SO, chef Chris DeBarr. They evacuated for Katrina against their better judgment, leaving their home and most of their many rescue cats and other pets behind, hoping against hope for the best. They lost their home and a number of pets, even though some of their furbabies were rescued and returned to them after they returned to rebuild their lives. Poppy's blog, in particular, has been an eloquent and often raw account of life in NOLA after the failure of the federal levees and the obstacles and triumphs attendant to making a home there despite everything. I don't know either one of them, but I feel as if I've learned a lot from them.

This time, though, they are not leaving. I respect their decision. Having followed their story for so long, I understand it completely. But as I look at the storm track forecast and hear the labels "category 4" and "category 5" bandied about, I can't help but be very, very worried about them. So, even though they don't know me from Adam, I'm sending this message out to them: Stay safe. Keep each other close. I'm pulling for you to weather this storm well.

Please add any good thoughts you can send their way, and to all the folks now in the storm's sights.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Next Best Thing...

Since we are rather housebound with the sick kitty, we can't make our usual summer pilgrimage to the Big W this year, so I searched back over the photo archives and found a set of pictures I snapped at

the Factory Antique Mall in Verona, about ten miles or so from Waynesboro.

This is one of my favorite places to visit when I have some time to kill in the Shenandoah Valley. It's huge (as you will see), and it can be just a teeny bit overwhelming, but over the years it has yielded a number of treasures: a fun patchwork quilt done mostly in red and green tartans and a few brightly colored calicoes; numerous old linen postcards of places I've been to and places I dream of going to, including a growing collection of big name state postcards with which I used to decorate my office door back when I was working on social studies textbooks; a weird little guy made out of a green sock with glass eyes, a pom-pom nose, and felt features and hat (he sits on my computer desk, a mascot of sorts); and a copy of Virginia's History, my fourth grade social studies textbook.

I can't claim that you can find ANYTHING you are looking for at this antique mall, because I have rather long wish list and I haven't satisfied it there by even a quarter, but it certainly provides plenty of treasure hunting opportunities.

Are you a glass hen covered bowl collector?
Hope you brought a credit card and a car with a big trunk!

Or maybe you covet a more utilitarian type of glassware...
Think of the deposit money!

Are you looking to go retro during during the holidays?
For cross-eyed Santa mugs and splendidly spindly aluminum trees, look no farther!

If books are your passion, there are plenty to choose from here!

And, of course, every antique mall has at least one booth of plush toys and skeery dolls...

Really skeery dolls...

I always find something surprising at this place, and sometimes it isn't even an item on display. On this particular visit, I discovered--gasp!--some bathroom graffiti in the normally pristine restrooms...
I mean, I'm sure the perp's intentions were good, but you have to ask yourself--What would Jesus tag?

So next time you find yourself in the midst of the Shenandoah Valley, stop off at Verona and take a stroll around this place!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fishnets for Vigoda!

Feel free to borrow this picture and post it on your own blogs, any of my many readers and fans! My pals G.W. and Wayne are trying to drum up lots of hits to provide Abe Vigoda with fishnets for life. Judging by the gams on that guy, he was MADE to wear the risque hosiery. Do your part!

And now, an update on the fluffy white divacat.

She's holding her own.

We went through a patch where she wouldn't allow us to give her the pill (a cat's tongue can be almost prehensile if said feline does not want you to cram something down her throat) and she wouldn't eat. Anything. And you know, she's a gal who always liked her food. We took her to the vet, expecting to hear the worst--she was fading pretty fast. But lo and behold, they did an x-ray and determined that her chest was clear of fluid. All her signs were good, except for she was down to nine pounds (this from a gal whose top weight was fifteen, and who weighed fourteen pounds at last year's visit). And the blood work they did indicated that her electrolytes were seriously out of balance due to the heavy duty diuretics she was no longer allowing us to give to her.

So the vet fed her, hydrated her with fluid infused with potassium, gave her her pill with this gadget that shoots the pill right back into the cat's throat... we bought one post-haste, and gave us an additional prescription for potassium to add to her daily capsule. She made a few return visits for feeding and such, and then she started eating on her own. Now she's scarfing the food down like there's no tomorrow (and who knows?), and she's back to her diva-ish, hissy self. Cooing to her sock toy, grooming, even letting me brush her as long as I don't get near the massive mats she has on her hindquarters from when she wouldn't let me brush her... So far, she's doing a lot better. Who knows how long she actually has, but hey--we'll take what we can get.

Here she is in all her infirm splendor, with her new Ugly Doll:

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Lucky 13!

Thirteen years ago Jeff and I went down into Grand Caverns as single persons and emerged a married couple. I know, I know. It's so kitsch to get married in a cave. Except it was just perfect for us. Outside on that early August evening it was 95 degrees with probably 95% humidity. Inside the cave, a nice, cool 60 degrees or so. Maybe even fewer. The candlelit limestone ballroom deep beneath the rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley was beautiful, and the music reverberated through the chamber as if it were written to be played there.

And here we are, thirteen years later, happy and healthy and hoping for many, many more years together.

A bit of trivia. Although it appears that the photographer captured a moment of starry-eyed, lovey-dovey eye-making in this snap, the reality is that Jeff has just told me that the air conditioning in our car made a squealing sound and died just as he drove off to the cave. My smile is in transition towards a very worried look indeed!

Here are a few more pictures of the festivities:

We danced...

we dined (although I don't have a picture of us scarfing down pizza, which was what we served (it's a long story...)

and we drank the evening away.

Then we headed off to ride go-karts and face the happily ever after.

Oh--and for the big finish? We went to dinner tonight at Prairie Moon up in Evanston (lovely spot--great wine, excellent food!), and as fate would have it, we headed home in the midst of a raging thunderstorm, complete with tornado warning! Yes! Warning. None of your wimpy watches for us. We actually found a parking spot on our block, and we sat for a moment or two waiting for the deluge to abate. Then, in the middle of a particularly flashy lightning display, we realized that the car we were sheltering in was parked right under a big tree. We hauled it (I mean, our own keisters, not the car) down the block and into the building, but not before we got DRENCHED. Ah well, at least the run helped us digest all that great food...

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