Monday, March 30, 2009

Hey Buddy...We're Closed on Mondays!

At work this morning, we had a couple of curious visitors. I work in a museum - 20,000 square feet of exhibit space surrounding a courtyard - and we are closed on Mondays, but that didn't bother this guy.

A goose on the roof! A little while later, we noticed this guy in the courtyard.

An enclosed courtyard, with, I don't know, maybe 16' high walls.
I ran around the museum from window to window, snapping pictures of this goose. Fortunately we were closed today, or any human visitors would have thought I was a nut case.
Eventually, he got up the courage to fly the coop courtyard.
Goodbye Mr. Goose!

Oh, and yes, I do have better things to do during the workday than taking pictures of Canada Geese. What's your point?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tara's Day of Beauty

This weekend, little Tara had a day of beauty. I don't know why, but this little girl grows hair like she's part poodle! She gets all this fluffy hair going on everywhere, and it makes her look like a little brown and white sheep. This is Tara before...

...and here she is after!
So sleek and shiny! She says she feels sooooo much better without all that extra hair.

Cooper says he read last week's Dogs on Thursday post, and figured he would spice things up around here. The only problem is that his version of "spicing things up" ended up with his eating a bunch of grapes and us having to give him hydrogen peroxide to make him vomit. I'll take boring any day...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dogs on Thursday

Already? It's Thursday? Are you sure? Cooper is embarrassed that he doesn't have anything interesting for this week's Dogs on Thursday post.He says if you come back next week, and he promises to have something interesting.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Home again!

Mom came home from the hospital last night - Hooray! Thank you all for your concern. I don't know who was happier last night, Mom or Bessie. Mom was worried that little Bessie wouldn't remember her, but no worries. Bessie has really bonded with Mom.

The doctors are saying the extreme crazyness temporary confusion was a result of the UTI, and not the bang on the head she had a few weeks ago. A CAT scan, ultrasound of her carotid arteries, and MRI were all negative. All excellent news! So, no more long hours at the hospital drinking the sub-standard swill from the vending machines that they have the nerve to call "coffee"!

And, because I like to include a photo in every post, look what popped out yesterday. I think Spring is finally going to show its face!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Quick Mom Update

Just a quickie - Mom is still in the hospital, but is hoping to, or should I say planning on coming home tomorrow. The UTI turned out to be resistant to the original antibiotic, so she was given another one today, and an MRI is scheduled for tomorrow. After that, she will be heading home. It's a good thing Miss Bessie has been keeping her mommy's chair warm.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Short on text but lots of photos.

It must be the sleep deprivation, because there cannot be a lamb in my living room.And if there was a lamb in my living room, it certainly wouldn't be wearing a diaper.

Nope, not on the furniture, either.

Or taunting the dogs through the glass doors.

It's just not possible. Before you get excited, no, it's not my lamb. Her name is Sosi, and she belongs to Nanny G who comes to the house at lunchtime and lets the dogs out three days a week. Sosi lives in the house and gets along great with dogs, cats and kids. Nanny G insisted that Emma, Tara and Cooper not eat Sosi, so we let them into the house and sure enough...
...the dogs love Sosi! I think I need a lamb.

That's it for now, as I am headed back up to the hospital. Thanks for the good wishes for Mom - she is doing much better, they even took her off IV fluids, and will hopefully come home tomorrow.

Apologies in Advance - this is a long, rambling post with no pictures...

Here I sit in the solarium at our local hospital. It is 4:30 am, and I’ve been here all night watching my mother sleep. Everything is fine now, but what a day this has been.

A friend was planning on coming down for a visit, and we have all been looking forward to it all week. She has three darling kids, and her husband is a computer whiz, and he was going to hook my laptop up to the wireless internet thingy so I can blog from anywhere in the house! Mom called first thing in the morning because she didn’t remember what time they were coming. No biggie - “senior moments” and all that… I told her it would be 9:30am. Then she asked me the name of the youngest child. Red flag. Mom loves these kids…would never, ever forget one of their names. I tell her, and chat a bit more, then hang up. The phone rings again, and it’s mom. She asks what time they are expected to arrive. Ummm, MAJOR red flag. I tell her, then ask if she would put dad on the phone. He comes on the line, and says that mom has been having a bit of trouble remembering things. She couldn’t remember her cat’s name. Bessie!!! Huge, big ol’ red flag waving all over the place.

I get dressed and go over there, and everything seems fine…except for the fact that Mom doesn’t know what month it is, and keeps forgetting Bessie’s name. Oh, and she asked me the name of her great-grandchild. The red flag has turned into a red TARP covering the whole house and it is getting bigger by the minute. I suggest a trip to our friendly neighborhood ER, but no… Too much of a bother, she feels fine, yadda, yadda, yadda.

By this time, the visitors are due any minute, and I decide to go back home and wait for them and bring Kris and the kids back to mom and dad’s with me. They were planning on stopping over and seeing Bessie anyway, so it was perfect. Kris also works with a lot of elderly patients, and I was anxious for her opinion of mom’s symptoms.

We have a very nice visit, but mom is somewhat “ditsy”, and when Kris gets back to my house she says there is no doubt that mom needs to be seen by a doctor. Today. No doubt. I call and discuss this with dad, and he calls back a few minutes later saying that they are going to go to the ER, and I shouldn’t come to the hospital - he will call me when they get home.

So of course I comply with his request. NOT! I’m 46 years old, and nothing in the world would keep me away from the hospital! I am of course thinking of a million and one terrible scenarios, but a CAT scan doesn’t show an abnormality (Yay!) and they decide to admit her for observation and further testing. By the time she gets into a room, some of the initial tests start coming back, and it turns out she has a urinary tract infection. That could definitely cause the confusion! That is the absolute best news we could have heard!

Just in case she started to get confused again, I decided to stay overnight in the hospital with her. I’m not allowed to stay in the room since mom has a roommate, but I’m in a solarium two doors down from mom, and I peek in every half hour or so. Hey, I’m so glad they are letting me be near her, I’m happy to comply with any rules they have. Thank goodness Kris’ husband was able to hook my laptop up with wireless internet stuff! I feel so much less “alone” just having my laptop here!

Well, I’m sure I’m rambling. It’s now a little after 5:00, and mom is still sleeping peacefully. Her roommate is also still snoring LOUDLY! It would be great if mom could come home today, but the overnight nurse said that patients aren’t usually discharged on Sundays. Oh, well. She is getting excellent care, here. I’m just looking forward to the start of regular visiting hours so someone can come to the hospital and relieve me so I can go home and get a shower and get this hospital ick off of me!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sweet, Generous Kitties!

This post is brought to you courtesy of Joanie...

...and Lizzie...
...and Tigger...

...and Joseph.

That last shot is King Joseph on his throne in the garage. He has his own shelving unit with a step stool to get to the top where he has a plush bed under a heat lamp. You know...the kind of heat lamp that sucks up the electricity with a 500 kajillion watt bulb. The kind that makes the wheel on the electric meter spin so fast you get dizzy looking at it. Not only does King Joseph have one, but Joanie, Lizzie and Tigger have two (count 'em...TWO!) of these heat lamps in the (former) chicken coop.

Even though those three heat lamps have been using a lot of kilowatts this winter, you didn't hear me complain. Nope, not at all. Well, a little bit. OK, more than a little bit. I confess that I have gone so far as to tell Joseph to earn his keep by getting off his fat ass and go catch a mouse.

Now, however, I feel like a real heel. Those sweet kitties bought me a thank-you gift for keeping them toasty warm all winter long.
Don't you just love those kitties?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Choosing March's Brown Bag Sock Yarn

Emma kindly offered to choose this month's selection from the Brown Bag Sock Yarn grab basket. In an effort to, well, have something to write about for this week's Dogs on Thursday post, I decided to document the process in photos.

1. Emma makes an initial overview of the offerings. This process is aided by Tara. Cooper, however, is a firm believer that "discretion is the better part of valor," decides that he is not needed in this process, and should leave it up to the girls.

2. Emma makes her initial selection.

3. Emma goes back to the basket, burrowing to the bottom to make sure she has reviewed each and every bag.

4. She then turns her full attention to "the chosen one" and rips into it like a monkey with a banana. 5. There is a brief period of "buyers remorse," in which she turns back to the basket and tries to get another bag out of the basket before it is swooped up by the big meanie (a.k.a. Mommy).
6. And here you have it - March's selection for the Brown Bag Sock Club, courtesy of Emma.
* no skeins of sock yarn were harmed in the making of this blog post *

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Tara's Day!

Here in Britknitterville, we celebrate March 17 not as the traditional St. Patrick's Day, but as the day that sweet little Tara came to live with us! Four short years ago, Dad, my sister and I went to North Jersey to pick up Tara from the Brittany Transport. Let me tell you, that was one nervous trip. Tara was our first "rescue" from American Brittany Rescue and we had no idea how Emma and Sweet Mellie (who is gone now, sadly) would react to a full-grown newcomer. Needless to say, I'm pretty sure things are going to work out. :)

A more complete version of Tara's story is here, but who would believe that this skinny, scrawny, sun-bleached little girl would fit in so well.
The coloring in that picture is very accurate. She really was that sun bleached from being out on her own for so long. It breaks my heart to think of this little love-bug wandering the streets and roads of Arkansas, no one to scratch her belly or give her kisses... Thank God/Dog for American Brittany Rescue.

Just look at my honorary Irish Brittany now. Tara the little Tatty McTatters!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Another Casualty of this &#%@ing Economy

My niece Jen started working for Tabby's Place in 2007, and if there ever was a perfect job for her, that was it. It's a wonderful organization - non-profit, cage-free cat sanctuary. They take cats from shelters that would otherwise be euthanized, and they give them medical attention, love, and the chance to possibly be adopted by a forever family. There are lots of pictures of Tabby's Place from my first visit there in this post, and who could forget this post with the gentle giant, Rhubarb? Well, just like everyone else, times are hard at Tabby's Place and they are laying off staff, and apparently going to all (or mostly) volunteers to care for the cats. Jen is losing her job and her apartment in one swoosh. I don't know all of the details, but from reading this article, and seeing this segment on CBS Evening News, I feel sure that the kind-hearted man who has given so much of his fortune, (and himself) to Tabby's Place would rather not be making this decision. We're all going up this weekend with a couple of pickup trucks to pack up and move Jen back home.

Who knows, though...this might all be a blessing in disguise. Jen is my niece whose father was recently diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia, so now she will be available to help with her dad. Still, it's all so very sad...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Snooty Dogs on Thursday

I just love dogs' noses! Who wouldn't, right? They're so sweet! I first saw doggie snoot pictures on Sue's Portuguese Water Blog (don't ya just love that name?) and then saw them on Border Blog, GMarie's blog, and somewhere else, I think, but don't remember where. Any-hoo.... For this week's Dogs on Thursday post, I did the best I could with three wiggly-squirmy-Brits.

Here is sweet little Tara. Couldn't you just give that sweet snoot an big ol' kiss?

Here is Emma. She is a bit camera shy and trys to hide behind me when I get the camera out and start snapping away. She's my freckle-nosed girl.
And last but not least, here is Cooper. Such a naughty boy, but just look at that face. Who could be mad at him?
I also want to thank Sue for giving me this award.
Thanks! I love your blog, and often wonder how you stay sane with so many dogs. (Ten! Count 'em...TEN! Big dogs, too! WOW!)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This 'n' That

I can't believe it's been almost a week since I sat down to the blog. I have no excuse, other than it still hurts to type (and knit! Arrggghh!) and there hasn't been much to report. Scratch that---there hasn't been that much good news to report. I did get my hand x-rayed, and it's not broken. That is good news, but it still hurts like the dickens if I try and use that hand. Oh, well. My back is doing better, so I haven't called my neurosurgeon. My new philosophy is that if I ignore stuff for long enough, it will either get better and I won't ever have to deal with it, or get worse and I'll be forced to deal with it. There has also been a noticeable lack of knitting here in Britknitterville, but that's starting to get better. In light of what others around me are going through, this is small potatoes.

Anyway, I went to an antique show last weekend, and found this baby:

It's a folding drying rack! There were a couple of dowels missing, along with the little clippy things that keep the dowels from falling out, so I went to the handy-dandy hardware store and found some replacement dowels. The little clippy things were harder to find, so I bought rubber grommets instead. They are the black things in this picture:

They fit perfectly, but kept sliding off with the weight of dowels when they were in the "resting" position. What to do??? Hey, dad loves a project!!! He flattened out some lock washers and cut a piece out of them so he could wrap them around the dowels and clamp down and get a good bite on the wood. Perfect! He's my hero!
Look at my "new" drying rack! I'm so happy with it! Can't you just see skeins of handspun, or hand knit socks or something hanging from the dowels?

I've been trying to get some good pictures of the dogs' noses for tomorrow's Dogs on Thursday post, but haven't gotten very much cooperation so far. I'm going to try again now. Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Snow? In March?

Hmm, I thought we were out of the woods when it came to snow, but Mother Nature had other ideas. We were dumped on earlier this week. For this week's Dogs on Thursday post, here are a couple of pictures of the Britknitterville residents enjoying the white stuff. This picture was taken the day after the big storm. Don't they look dapper in their coats?
This was taken yesterday, two days after the big snow. Still a lot of the dreaded stuff on the ground, but the dogs love it. It's hard to get a picture of them standing still!

Silly, silly babes!

ETA: Chan and Sue have asked about their coats, so in case anyone else wants to know, Emma and Tara's are nylon on the outside and faux sheepskin on the inside. I've had them for years, and think they came from Petco, or maybe Petsmart. Cooper's sporty tan coat is an LLBean Field Coat, just like the ones they make for humans. Canvas outside, corduroy collar and flannel inside. Very dapper, indeed. I bought it a few months ago at the LLBean store in Marlton, NJ. I went to the LLBean website, but couldn't find it online.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My apologies to...

Judith Viorst, but I have to steal borrow (and alter) the title of one of my favorite childhood books and say that this is going to be one Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Blog Post. A lot of stuff has been happening around here, and I just couldn't sit myself down to blog about any of it for fear of sounding like a whiny complainer, but now if I don't talk about it, I think my head will explode. The short of it is this: Pain, waiting, more waiting, more pain, no knitting (I know, it's awful!) and the cherry on the top of it all-- a big ol' pile of crap has been dumped on my nieces that makes any and every bad thing I have ever gone through in my life, or ever will go through in my life, look like, well, a fairy tale in comparison. Read on if you dare.

I'll start with the easy stuff. Back in January when Tara had her surgery, I was carrying her around a lot - in and out of the car, up steps, lifting her at the vet's office, etc. I shouldn't have been doing it, since I had spinal fusion surgery in 2005, and still have to be careful, but what are you going to do? You have a sick dog, you do what you have to do to make that dog well again. I was in so much pain that I broke down and went to the doctor, (twice!) and he ordered an MRI. Of course, my medical insurance company questioned the necessity of the test. Come on, people. I have a rod and screws in my back and I'm in terrible pain, afraid that those screws are backing out of my spine and will break through the skin any day now. After yet another call to the company by my doctor, they approved the test.

Of course, then the wait began for the appointment, but that was finally scheduled for last week. Yup, I get there bright and early and am told that due to the "artifacts" in my back, they don't think they can do it. First of all, I told them on the phone when I made the appointment that I had back surgery and metal in my back. Second of all, "artifacts"? They made it sound like I have pottery shards or a scarab or two in there. OK, they get approval to put me on the table, and after a whole lot of bang-bang-banging, some dye injected into one arm, then blowing that vein, and waiting for an RN to stick the dye in my other arm, more bang-bang-banging, and then a week to wait for the results, it turns out there are no results. They said the "hardware" (which I prefer to the term "artifacts") prevented the MRI from taking any good images. Grrrrr.

I would be more worried about the pain in my back if my hand wasn't in such bad shape right now. I fell last week while rushing into the house to let the dogs out, and did something to my hand. (It was a spectacular fall, though. My purse, keys and a portable GPS system all went flying across the yard.) Fortunately it's my left hand, but it's pretty darn hard to knit right now. I probably should have gotten (or maybe should still get) an x-ray, but I've already been shot full of x-rays and a double-shot of dye this week, and I don't really want any more, thank-you-very-much.

All of that stuff is small potatoes, though. Here's the proverbial cherry on the top of the crap sundae. My sister's brother-in-law was diagnosed this week with Frontotemporal Dementia. Never heard of it? Neither had any of us. It's a rare form of dementia, striking people between the ages of 40 and 65. Patients decline rapidly, and there is no cure, and no way to slow the progression. The nieces are 20 and 25, and are not-so-slowly losing their father. My heart breaks for them.