Thursday, September 30, 2010


Kind of a depressing morning.

Partly due to the weather-we had two days of rain, yesterday was a wonderful sunny day, and now we are having two more days of rain, if the weather people are to be believed.

I read the paper and saw that the man from town that killed his mother last year was sentenced to 30 years in jail. He said he got angry when she refused to let him take a trip on his own, and an argument escalated to violence. According to the lawyers, he has "low to normal" intelligence, and his mother  was "controlling" and "treated him like a 7 year old". How sad.

Then I went to my computer and saw a headline about a college student apparently committing suicide because his roommate and a friend had secretly taped him having sex, and then put that online.  Really, people? You're smart enough to get into a college, never mind Rutgers, and you think it's okay to secretly tape people doing anything and put it online?

Then to put the rotten cherry on top of this gray morning of gloominess, Rosie didn't want breakfast this morning. Yesterday I paid the vet for a followup office visit and blood tests. The blood tests were absolutely normal, so her meds seemed to be working great. The dogs had a long run in the woods, baths afterward and all was well.  We (the vet and I) had discussed moving the prednisone from evening to morning, since it caused her to drink (and pee) a lot, so no pill last night. I gave her one today, and I hope the change might be the reason for the change in appetite. I hate to even think about this, but if the steroids stop working after a week, what else can be done? We have already passed the financially sound limit of doggie care.

I have great hopes for this afternoon- that day can only get better, right?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Apres Vacation

J's vacation week was not as productive as we hoped it would be. The first weekend was spent in RI at my niece's wedding, which went very well. This is my favorite shot, I don't think I ever saw her smile, but she did a mean stomp!
Almost smiling there, isn't she? And when she gave up, it was suddenly.
Wouldn't it be nice if it was acceptable for grownups to have strollers handy for little naps at social affairs? Mmm mmm.

Then the Rosie health issue sucked up our attention, energy and remodeling budget, so no progress was made inside the house. We did get some gardens cleaned up and lawns mowed, but that was about it. It is nice to see Rosie back to bouncing around- what we thought was maturity was apparently just feeling like crap.

Last Friday we drove down to Sectaur's to help with a couple of projects. We got off the highway as soon as we got into MA, and drove down Rte 1 to enjoy the scenery. I wish we had left a little more time to go further along the coast- it was a beautiful day for a ride. Taking 62 west was still nice, but started getting frustrating as we hit commuter time. 

Sectaur's and his lady friend (who I will call Minnie in honor of her passion for Disneyland) took us out to dinner and we had a nice time visiting. Bright and early the next morning (9ish) the men drilled holes, ran cables through walls and under the floors and installed a ceiling lamp. Minnie and I weeded their gardens and trimmed bushes, so their front walk can now be used without ducking and squeezing. It was a good morning and we were on the way home by noon. So the two ends of the vacation were good anyway.

Plus, we are grand-doggy sitting Mabel while her folks trot around Moldova. Their first night, the hotel didn't have any water, so not as improved as Ms M had hoped! They get back to MA today, and will come up Saturday to reclaim their beagle. Mabel has epilepsy, so we've been a tad nervous about that, but she has had no problems- knock on wood. I don't know if it's a beagle thing, or just her, but she sure does get fixated on certain things, like getting into our garbage can. I found it on top of the kitchen table the other night after J had had enough of the thumping. She also howls when someone walks out the door, even though there is another human right behind her. 

Now, not all of the scratches on that door are from Mabel, but she has contributed quite a few! We've taken them down the pasture into the woods several times and she loves that, though she sometimes has a hard time keeping up.
They all enjoy grazing when we get in the field.
Between the field and woods, there is pond which is filled by drainoff only. The kids used to skate there, but by this time each summer it is pretty low and covered with duckweed. The dogs love it.
Everyone but Rosie- she doesn't do water.

We had a bucket of water and a towel to wash the swamp mud off  tails, tummys and faces when we got back. 3 dogs stood and took it without a whimper. As I wiped Rosie -feet only- she pulled each one back with a wince as if it were acid I was wiping on. Big baby. 
This is what's been keeping me busy and away from blogging.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pretty Sky

After welcoming Rosie home last night, we ate dinner and J decided to build a fire in his new fireplace. He took the camera to document it, of course, so it was handy when we saw the pretty skies.

Notice the pink tints in the clouds? That's not west, that's east and the moon was rising at the same time that the sun set. We had a low layer of dark clouds and the glow from the sun ( and the moon, I guess) was reflecting up. Normally that view would be much darker.

This is the west.

I'm so glad J decided to make a fire, and we caught this beautiful ending of the summer. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hey, it's good to be back home again

Rosie is home again and feeling much better, thanks to 29 hours of IVs. I had to pick her up last night when the vet closed and take her to the emergency clinic for overnight fluids. That was hard, since she was so happy to see me. J went this morning to pick her up and take her back to our vet for more fluids, and as it turned out, another test which showed she has Addison's disease, and has virtually no adrenal gland function.

This means a steroid shot is needed every 25 days or so, and that will be quite a hit to our budget. J and I have always been pretty pragmatic about pets and money but this hit us unexpectedly hard. Maybe because it came out of the blue and Rosie is so young. And maybe because she is more 'our' dog, not the kids'. We certainly spend more time with her and Boomer than we have with other pets. This whole episode was expensive, but we felt that we needed to find out what was wrong and give her a chance.

It was nice to see her walk in and be checked out by the others, go outside to make sure everything was still there and then settle down outside the bathroom door to watch over dinner preparations.

Coincidentally, Monday I started reading Merle's Door by Ted Kerasote, which is an excellent book about his life with an extraordinary dog. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I love my Rosie

I had to leave Rosie at the vet's for IV treatment today. Poor baby.

She's been under the weather since we got home from RI, not eating (which is a major indicator that she is sick), vomiting and being very lethargic.  I noticed her ears and paws were cold, and decided that if she didn't eat dinner today, I would call the vet. I thought maybe she had a bone stuck somewhere, but it turns out everything looked normal, so we did blood tests. By we, I mean I held her and the technician drew blood. She barely noticed.

We walked around the lawn waiting for the results, which turned out to be kidney failure. Either acute, which means the hydration and antibiotics should get the very high numbers going down by tomorrow, or chronic, which means nothing can be done but hospice-type care. She's just 3, and chronic renal failure is more of an old age related thing, so we are hoping for good news.

I'll pick her up at 6, then take her to the emergency clinic to continue the IV overnight.  I hope that does the trick. We would hate to lose her.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Travels with J

We visited R.I. this weekend for a niece's wedding and had a great time. Ameranth drove separately with Anna, since on her way home she stopped in MA. and picked up Mabel, Ms. M's and Mr. C's beagle. They left Sunday evening for a vacation in Romania and Moldova, which is where she served in the Peace Corps 10 years ago.

So, yes, we have 4 crazy dogs for the next 10 days- what fun! But that's another post for another day. (When I can write it without having Mabel's parents freak about my harsh language- because I'm sure it will go more smoothly as the week progresses- If you guys are reading this- don't worry, she's fine, just......insistent).

Back to our traveling. J was driving so that meant I was the stewardess, since I could access the cooler and snack bag. Because, goodness gracious, you can't travel 4 hours in a car and not eat!

J: Would you open the potato chips, please?
Me: Okay, just a minute. (trying to be vewwy vewwy quiet with the bag so the dogs don't know he's eating)
J: And get a bottle of water?
Me: Sure (Twisting behind the seat to open the cooler that is propping up the folding kennel which keeps Boomer from hijacking the car)
J: Do you have the Swedish Fish right there? (A treat we buy for road trips)
Me: Yes! Which do you want????
J: I thought I'd have both- fish and chips!  Ha!

So the next day Ameranth was with us as we ran some errands and headed back to my folks' house, down a narrow road lined with stone walls and trees (much, much too close to the road, I might mention. I've noticed older roads in MA and R.I. often have no shoulders and have huge old trees within six inches of the pavement. Maine roads have shoulders that are filled in and graded each year, plus shallow ditches to push the snow off into, before you get close to any kind of shrubbery).

As we drove by a horse farm, Ameranth remarked at how large and pretty the field was that ran from the road down to the farmhouse.
J: It used to be bigger.
Me: No, it didn't. 
J: Yes, it was-it was sold.
Me: No, that's still a farm- The field is the same size.
J: Some of it was sold- it's smaller.
Me: J, the field is the same friggin' size!
J: No, it's not.
Me: It runs from the same stone wall at the road down to the same old house! How can it possibly be smaller?

I think at this point Ameranth tried to leave the car, but the Boomer barrier prevented her from reaching the door locks. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pedigree Adoption Drive Blog Hop #dogsrule

I saw this blog hop and figured I could help by posting. We got Boomer from a shelter, and I don't really mean it when I say I sometimes want to return him!

We have made 3 trips to a new dog park that opened this summer, about 25 minutes away. Anna has been to parks often, but neither of ours have been out socially. We took Anna first, to test it out, then brought her and Boomer back a few days later. Boomer is ferocious on the leash when we meet other dogs, but I was hoping it was only because he was leashed.  There was a little growling and barking through the fence, but he was a perfect gentleman one inside. He even ignored the other male dog there trying to mount him, repeatedly, until he finally told him to knock it off.

So, we went back yesterday with all 3 of them. Rosie did not get carsick, so that was a huge plus. However, because someone rushed the dog loading, Boomer got out there without a leash or choke collar. We figured we could get two in there and come back for the 3rd, but our car erupted into a dog circus when we pulled up. Ameranth was nervous since Anna sometimes gets a little touchy around noisy, nosy dog crowds, and she didn't want to handle two at a time.

So I attached the leash to Boomer's regular collar, and grabbed Rosie's collar, since she is waist high and can walk next to me. I thought.  Boomer twisted into the air, pulled his collar off and took off for the gate. Rosie walked on her back feet, husky howling all the way, as I called Boomer to no avail. I couldn't have planned a more conspicuous entrance if I had tried. We got them in and they magically transformed into model dogs. Whew!  It went very well, and I don't really think that the pit bull owner left immediately because of us.

Now, if I do this correctly, it will link to the Pedigree Facebook page and you can 'like' that if you want, to get another bowl of food donated.

For each blog that posts about the PEDIGREE® Adoption Drive through September 19th, PEDIGREE® will donate a bag of their new Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs to shelters nationwide. It’s simple: Write a post, help a dog.
Thursday, September 16 through Sunday, September 19, the Pedigree BlogPaws bloggers will host a Blog Hop, to help raise awareness for the “Write a post, help a dog” effort.
That’s it. No fine print. Unprepared? Go back to your blog and invest five minutes in adding yourself to the list. You’ll feed dogs in need and feel great about doing it.
Please post and retweet and share. We have days to add to the numbers!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Opening Day

It's halftime and so far, so good. Patriots 24, Bengals 3.  Yay!

Ameranth and I had our interviews Friday, and will be starting work 11/1, picking items for orders. She's worked there before, for two fall seasons, but this will be my first time in the warehouse. I always worked in the call center before, and worked second shift. This will be first shift and starts at 5 AM. Ouch.

Second half started and the kickoff was run back for a TD. 31-3. Gotta go.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sometimes size does matter

J has been whining dreaming about moving his fireplace out of the dog yard for some time now. For some reason he does not find it relaxing to sit by a "fine fire" (his description of satisfaction with a blaze) with dogs leaping over and on him.
We have relocated our fireplace so many times as we worked on our yard that it's become a family joke. The picture above was 2 moves ago, I think. We had a lot of fun over the years with friends and family, cooking hot dogs, roasting marshmallows and melting army men. 

What, you never did that?  Balance plastic army men, or cowboys and Indians on a thin board over the flames, and watch them melt and fall?  Don't knock it until you try it.

Anyway, yesterday an opportunity was seized. My youngest sister, #5 and her husband were out at camp with friends and had borrowed some bottle jacks to level the building which had slipped a bit in the winters. When they returned the jacks, we asked them if they would help us move some granite blocks, since they had a full-size truck with 4 wheel drive. (The blocks were originally part of the old barn foundation, and a friend had helped us move them years ago. J and I tried to move one a year ago, but his little S10 just couldn't haul a 5 foot slab more than a foot.) They were willing and even had a chain to use!  

The bigger truck had no problem at all- J was jealous, but I assured him that his truck was much more fuel efficient, and cute. (But that machine was impressive!)

After the first one was moved, it got a little trickier to get the big truck as close as possible while leaving room for it to get out again. Pry bars, small rocks for leverage, and using ultimately rolling them on poles did the trick.
    Ameranth was helping too. After we fed #5 and spouse, they went back to camp to relax and enjoy the rest of their vacation, and we dismantled the old fireplace and built the new one.

It was too windy for a fire last night, so J had to wait to try out his Stonehenge. Don't worry- there will be no sacrifices, just gazing into leaping flames. 

And maybe a melting army man or two, for old times sake.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I'll take Tomatoes for $200, Alex

So, a couple of questions that should have stayed rhetorical.

#1-On this 5th day of a heat wave, I'm going to be hot anyway, so why not cook something and feel like I'm being productive? (As opposed to sitting in front of a fan and reading- I'm on book #11 since Saturday*)

And #2- how the hell hard can it be to turn tomatoes into sauce?

The answers are: no, stupid, boiling pans and peeling skins make it feel even hotter, and it's a real pain in the butt.

We have many, many tomatoes and J is the only one who eats them- except for Rosie when she can scoop one from the countertop unnoticed.  I figured you boil the tomatoes, strain them and hey, presto, you have sauce!  Good thing I looked online first.

Turns out you have to boil them, dump them in ice water then peel, core and discard the seeds. Seeds apparently make the sauce bitter. Do you know how much of a tomato is seeds and skin? When most of what we have is this size:
                                the answer is, most of it.

That's what I have left after I came to my senses and realized that only the (few) big tomatoes and the plum tomatoes actually had any pulp left after squeezing the seeds out. On the plus side, scooping the seeds out with my fingers was easy.  I ended up with maybe 2 cups of tomato pulp, which will cook down into enough for one small pizza probably.

The hens actually ended up with more in their dish, since in my Julia Child fervor I had tossed the contents of the "save" bowl into the boiling water, and those little pea tomatoes were not getting peeled.
On a side note, see the pumpkins invading the chicken yard? I know the chain link fence will stand up to them, but I wonder how long the vines can hold the weight. I suppose if it breaks it would be slow enough not to hit a chicken on the head. Ha. "The sky is falling, the sky is falling".

In summary, a semi-productive day, but quite the learning experience.

* I am re-reading Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, and found that I am missing some in my collection, and that her son has written more that I have never read. I now have a list in my purse so I know which ones I need when I go to yard sales.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010