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Archive for the ‘Puppies and rainbows’ Category

OK. So where do I start?

In the middle of December Gus stopped eating. He simply refused his dinner one day. After giving him a few days to get over it in case it was just stomach upset (Doctor Google informing me that a loss of appetite in a dog isn’t a cause for alarm unless it lasts more than 2 days), I spent pretty much an entire week with him at the vet (first our own, then a specialist) as they ruled out one diagnosis after another and he got sicker and weaker. His gums were practically white, he had no energy, and he moved like he was a hundred years old. As I was getting him down the stairs onto the subway platform to go to the specialist, a guy waiting for the train said to his friend “Wow, look at that old dog! He’s got to be like 15!”

Gus is 5.

Anyway, as I said, the easy and inexpensive conditions got ruled out one by one.

Worms? No.
Had he eaten a foreign object? No.
Had he gotten into some kind of poison? No.

Eventually it got down to ulcers vs cancer. And it didn’t look good. An ultrasound showed a mass on his spleen which we were told was 80% likely to be cancer and even if it wasn’t would eventually burst and kill him anyway. He had a biopsy for the spleen mass and an endoscopy for the gut bleeding and…

…he didn’t have cancer.

The spleen mass wasn’t even a tumour, just a nodule of spleen tissue and not a danger to him, at least right now. What he does have is inflammatory bowel disease, which can be really serious, but not as bad as cancer. “Change his diet to something he’s never had before,” the vet said. “Bring him back next week and we’ll see if he needs medication.”

We changed his diet, and I think Gus must have had this for a couple of years, because he is not only fully recovered, he is back to the energy and activity level he had when he was about 2 1/2. He played with toys the other day. He has not shown interest in toys in YEARS. Yesterday he happily spent about 20 minutes in the back yard sniffing around in the snow. He is scent vocalizing on walks again. He is all sleek and bright-eyed and happy. I mean, he is still Gus, so he’s still an abnormally lazy dog, but he is so much better it is amazing.

So that was my Christmas! For about a week we thought Gus was going to die, then he got miraculously better. It took all the money we had saved and then some, but he is going to be OK.

Because we didn’t want to travel with a very sick dog, we hosted Christmas here instead of visiting our families. My mother insisted on bringing Christmas dinner already cooked, because you will pry cooking for the holidays out of her cold dead hands, and Cecil got so many presents I think we will have to buy another house to put them in. Ben’s parents came a few days later and Cecil got even more presents, including a little hockey jersey with “Lil C” on the back.

Anyway. It was lovely to have Christmas in my own home, though I could have done without having Gus visit death’s door to make it happen.

Merry Gusmas!

Merry Gusmas!

Right after Christmas Ben came down with a terrible cold, which I came down with a few days later (right after visiting Ben’s grandmother, thereby probably taking out half a wing of the the seniors’ home) and Cecil a day or two after that. So this is basically a plague house. I feel a lot better, though fairly zombie-like (zombesque?) after a few nights of terrible baby sleep.

But hey, it’s the new year, when people decide to better themselves in spite of knowing they will fail utterly in two or three months! So what am I going to do to make myself a better excuse for a human being?

I really only have two things:
1. Learn how to be more productive with my time while looking after Cecil
and
2. Get some kind of non-music part-time job.

The key to 1 is, I think, limiting my time on Twitter, the major time-suck in my life, and the key to 2 is probably divine intervention because I have no non-music resume or skills, but you know, you gotta give it a try. I just want to diversify where my income comes from and make a bit of extra money in a somewhat more low-stress way. I love teaching but I can’t handle more than about 15 hours/week. It is too energy-consuming. So if you are looking to hire someone to work for you for about 12-15 hours a week doing something relatively mindless for a decent cause, I am your lady.

I’m giving myself a lot of time on that one, because as I said I have no resume to speak of and the job market is in the shitter, so I’ll be really impressed with myself if I can make that happen by the summer.

And to round out my “What I did on my blogging vacation” essay, a really simple recipe!

Cinnamon syrup

I made some peppermint syrup for Christmas lattes (just simple syrup + flavour extract) and it was such a hit I made syrups with all the extracts I have, including anise (which turned out awesome, BTW – it tastes exactly like those candies you get after dinner at Italian restaurants). Here is my first attempt without using an extract.

Combine:
1/3 C sugar and
1/3 C water.

Stir to dissolve. Add:

Around 2 tablespoons cinnamon bark

and bring to a boil on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 2 minutes. Don’t let it really boil or you’ll make some really disgusting candy. Remove from heat and let stand for at least an hour or, if you’re me, forget about it entirely for an afternoon while you do other stuff. Strain into a glass container – those little baby juice bottles are perfect. Just label it so you don’t accidentally give your baby a whack of cinnamon-flavoured sugar instead of apple juice. About 2 teaspoons sweetens your coffee and gives it a nice cinnamon flavour.
You will notice I didn’t resolve to blog more often or bring back the podcast or anything, though I do want to; I can’t promise that 2013 will see more than a handful of blog posts either. But hey, if you made it all the way through this, at least I gave you a little sweetness for your morning brew.

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– Bought a smartphone. So if you follow me on Twitter, be prepared to NEVER STOP HEARING FROM ME AGAIN.
– Moved into the new bedroom in the basement. It’s awesome! Unexpectedly – well, totally expectedly, since it is semi-submerged – it’s really dark and quiet there in there in the mornings, so the first couple of days we all slept well past 10. Even Madeline.
– Bought a new washing machine. Which Sears completely failed to deliver yesterday. They brought it all the way to the house then refused to wait 10 minutes while we took down a railing that was unexpectedly in the way. So I have to wait until Thursday to wash everything in sight. Insert pouty-face emoticon here.
– Got a waffle maker. I asked for one for Christmas, but no one got it for me, so I was forced to go all the way to Value Village and buy one for myself. Yesterday I ate little besides waffles. This was a mistake, because…
– Now that I’m roughly the size of a house I have been getting some fairly bad pregnancy heartburn. This is apparently inevitable if you’re as short and short-waisted as I am – everything gets sort of smushed upwards and you get heartburn. So my smug “I am awesome at being pregnant!” attitude is…not so true anymore. Though really, if the worst things that happen to you when you’re pregnant is some heartburn, rib-stretching pain, and insomnia, it’s not much cause to complain. It’s not bad as long as I eat small amounts fairly regularly and avoid certain foods. Waffles, though, seem to be an “only in moderation” thing.
– Sang in a STANDING ROOM ONLY new music concert. The show I did at Alliance Francaise on Dec 10th was, as I said, standing room only. They actually had to turn people away. This…this does not happen. Generally anything tagged “new music” is a success if you get 50 people out, a wild success if you get 75, and respectable if you get 30. But there were some mitigating factors: while technically “new music” it wasn’t at all weird; it was marketed as being for children; and most importantly, children got in free. If you were a Francophone parent it was an absolute godsend.
– Finished, but will probably never doing anything with the product of, another Nanowrimo book

And had Christmas and all that.

I’m not starting my so-called maternity leave for another few weeks, so my general malaise may prevent me from writing much, but I will try to get back in the blogging habit. Especially now that I have a smartphone. If my upcoming posts contain nothing but pictures of dogs or my weird-looking belly button, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Oh, and happy new year.

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So it’s mid-June (OMIGOD WHERE IS MY LIFE GOING GAAAAAAAAAAAH), and more things are coming out in the garden.

Weird things that I thought were weeds actually turned out to be lilies. They haven’t opened yet, and because of all the shade we get back here I have a feeling they never will, but it’s good to know that someone planted them intentionally.

But best of all are the roses.

(more…)

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In the spirit of good karma, happiness, and rainbows all around, a brief list of things I’ve seen recently on the Internet that I like (yeah, I know I just made another one of these lists on Thursday):

– Facebook Group “Can This Onion Ring get more Fans than Stephen Harper?” is well on its way. Not there yet, but I have high hopes.

Some hip chemists made synthetic marijuana, and the article about it quotes one Dr. Huffman (seriously), who says: “I’ve come to the conclusion that if an enterprising person wants to find a new way to get high, they’re going to do it.”

A surprisingly entertaining breakdown of all the horrible things that happen to your body when you’re pregnant. I sent the link to my friend Eleanor (she’s due in May) with an offer to come over with ice and Poise pads.

Kook fight!

– You know how people who are part of the same online community get to know each other really well in oddly specific ways? And how, over time, they grow to loathe each other? And are constantly bringing up that time when you TOTALLY SAID SOMETHING UNCALLED FOR THAT WAS REALLY RUDE AND MAYBE RACIST back in the Darwin Day Anniversary thread of 2007? Yeah, I hate that too.

(That last one I posted largely because, well, whatever. Getting to truly understand the complicated layers of resentment involved would entail reading old blog posts and comment threads totalling in verbiage something approaching the works of Ayn Rand, Ann Rice, and Edgar Rice Burroughs combined. Even though I like old blog posts, I’m not going there.)

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I just made these:

and have been lying on the couch watching old movies on Youtube, drinking dark beer, and eating them. Excellent, though I still have a sink full of dishes to do.

Keeping in the cookie/Youtube mode, in case you haven’t seen this…well, you should.

Marilyn Horne sings \"C is for Cookie\"

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No, they’re not in moose antlers, but here are the dogs at the off-leash near my in-law’s place.  This is an absolutely giant fenced-in area where they do sheepdog trials in the summer.  Here’s Madeline, chasing a ball until she becomes a dot on the horizon:

And Gus, demonstrating his superior tracking skills:

And for good measure, my sister’s cat Carmine being non-plussed by my Hello Kitty slippers:

Yes, I buy an HD digital video camera, and use it to…take videos of my dogs.   What did you expect I was going to do?

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In this episode:

– Chris Brown, I offer you this holiday greeting: Bite me.
– I know what you’re thinking, “Oh great, Kay’s going to complain about Christmas now.”
– I find the Beatles inspiring, not because I like their music, because I don’t really.
– I shouldn’t swear in the Christmas cast, because I know you’ll want to listen to it every year with your family as a wonderful holiday tradition.
– Send pictures of dogs in santa hats to: kaythecomplainer@gmail.com

Link.

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