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Posts Tagged ‘Dogs’

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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The pack

From Knit your own Dog:

Basset Hound, Corgi, Scottish Terrier, Pug, Dachshund

The legs on the pug turned out very floppy – if I were making him to stand up, I’d stick pipe cleaners in the legs. Since I made these for a mobile for the baby I’m leaving it like it is.

When I construct the mobile I will most certainly post pictures of it.

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I can’t believe that I haven’t written since Giorgio Mammoliti called me a communist.

Nothing bad has happened, and I haven’t even been all that busy, so I don’t really have an excuse. I’ve just been sitting around the house, being pregnant, putting up a few posters, arguing with people on Manboobz, making more diapers, same old same old. I just keep forgetting to write.

The same thing that made my poetry output fall drastically has happened with my blogging. I don’t know if I ever wrote about it here, but around the time I turned 27 or 28 it became much harder for me to write poems. You see, when I was younger and a good phrase would pop into my head I would think “That’s a great opening/ending/middle line of a poem”, file it for later use, and write the poem whenever I had time. When I hit my late twenties, my memory degraded slightly – not a lot, but enough that when I archived those little phrases and whatever I thought they’d be good for, I would just forget them unless I wrote them down instantly.

And now the same thing with the blogging. I used to get ideas for posts, think “That’s a good idea for a post!”, then write it later. Now I think “That’s a good idea for a post!” and not only forget what it is, I forget to post anything at all. I am hoping this is just pregnancy-brain and will go away eventually, but it may just be the inevitable degeneration of Old Age.

Anyway. No excuses, right? I’m going to challenge myself to post something here every day for the next two weeks. I promise there will be no more than 25% dog and/or baby-related material. Maybe I need to find a routine for blogging like I do for practicing (which I haven’t been doing much of either, since it’s effing ragweed season and they’ve never tested Aerius on pregnant ladies).

So! Since you’ve missed out on over a month of minutiae of my daily life, some things I have done/experienced since mid-August!

– I watched all of Leverage. It is not a good show, but it is entertaining in a wildly improbable way. And it’s on Netflix!
– Have graduated entirely into maternity clothes, except for one or two stretchy skirts and my longer tops. Having an extremely limited wardrobe is sort of freeing, in the same way having to wear a uniform to school is; yeah, you don’t have to think too hard about what to put on in the morning, but you feel like people are constantly misjudging you, since you can’t make the fashion statement you want. In fact I can’t make much of a fashion statement at all other than “I am pregnant” or “Yes, I am pregnant and on a bicycle” or “All those times you thought how young I looked for my age, well, it was just the clothes”. I shouldn’t complain, as maternity clothes are apparently much more stylish than they used to be. I got some stuff from Thyme Maternity, which is pretty much Suzy Shier with elastic waistbands.
– My sister gave me a book of knitting patterns entitled Knit your own dog. So far I have made the dachshund, basset hound, corgi, pug, and scottie. I plan on making a mobile of knitted dogs for the baby’s crib. I figure that since I won’t be indoctrinating my children into any religion, it’s OK if I indoctrinate them into loving dogs.
– Hilariously, a large percentage of people who bought Knit your own dog from Amazon also bought Knit your own Royal Wedding. I want to know if anyone has ever actually done this, and what they intended to do with the final product. Set up a little Royal Wedding shrine, like a nativity set, only with the House of Windsor? Give them to their children to play with? Give them as an undoubtedly awesome but very labour-intensive gag gift?
– It’s actually cold here. As in, I closed the windows today and considered turning the heat on.
– Gus has a mysterious wound on his neck. I can only think of two ways he could have gotten it: he might have scraped it against something in the yard, though I don’t know what; or a squirrel might have jumped on his back and bitten him in the neck. It’s probably the former, though the latter would make a really cute cartoon short.
– I seem to be in the “nesting” phase of pregnancy and am starting to clean everything in sight.
– In sadder news, my mother broke her ankle last weekend. Gus was involved but not entirely responsible. She’s doing OK, considering, but it’s still a major bummer to be stuck on the couch for 6 weeks (at least). So if a lot of my posts start/end with “Just going to/just back from London”, you’ll know why.

I think that’s all. I have been planning on bringing back the podcast, BTW – I’m going to try to make an episode this Monday.

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We’ve been on a clean living and cleanliness kick lately, so this morning I made the bed right after getting up.

I know what you’re thinking, smug clean-freak people – “Why is that unusual? I do that every morning, right before I exercise for 30 minutes and sweep my already spotless floor!”  Well, lah-di-dah. It’s like flossing – I go through phases. Sometimes I do it every day when it’s my turn, sometimes I don’t.

Anyway, the dogs like to sleep in the bed during the day, especially when it’s cold and rainy.  Normally they burrow under the covers and make a little nest.  Madeline does this even when the bed is made, much to my annoyance.  Gus has never quite figured that one out.

So this is what he did this morning:

In case you can’t tell because of the matching duvet cover and pillow shams, he has burrowed under…a pillow.

"So?"

I’m kind of impressed by his problem-solving skills.  Clearly his thought process went something like:

– I want to get under the covers.
– I can’t get under the covers.
– Maybe I can get under this thing.

I’m also impressed that he got under the pillow without flipping it over and losing his little nest.

"Will you please turn off the light and let me get some sleep?"

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That is all.

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…Or how I learned to stop worrying and love Bach.

In this episode:

– HELLO HELLO HELLO HELLO.
– I wish I had an excuse for not podcasting for 5 months, but I don’t.
– I had a lovely time, while Toronto was turned into something…out of Robocop.
– People still think that it’s totally OK for the police to randomly arrest you, and if you ride a bicycle and you get killed that’s totally your fault.
– She could have had her wedding somewhere, I don’t know, like Sweden, but oh well.
– It might have been two bears, I don’t know.
– I drove there with my parents.  Like I’m TWELVE.
– Mostly we got underfoot and annoyed my sister, but it was fun.
– My sister’s cat still hates me, but that’s *fine*.
– So I did.  Well, I got really drunk on Jagermeister and decided I wanted to be a singer.  And the rest is, as they say, HISTORY.

55

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– ROB FORD IS MAYOR. Toronto, WTF?

Seriously, Richard Nixon’s corpse would make a better mayor than this buffoon.

– Someone stole my credit card number! And bought gas!  The bank just called to ask, “Hey, did you buy gas this morning and yesterday?” I didn’t, because I don’t have a car.  Bastards.

– Sadly, Paul the Psychic Octopus is no more. May he predict more football winners in the great aquarium in the sky.

– I can’t get over this. ROB FORD IS MAYOR.

I keep telling myself that the damage he can do is limited, because the mayor is just one vote on council and everyone on council hates him, but it’s disheartening to know that at least a plurality of my fellow Torontonians think that I (a bike-riding vegetarian artist) am a parasite and a blot on the landscape.

Anyway. To cheer myself up I made a collage video of the Daily Basset pictures.

And Ben is home!  Yay!

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