Monday, June 30, 2008

Looking Better

Kitsu ate without upchucking today. Now she wants to go outside.


She's staying in until she gets the vet's okay -- and maybe not even then. I think I'm going to try to turn into an over protective cat mom.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sick Kitty

Poor Kitsu is still sick. I thought she was doing better Friday, but she managed to get into some crunchie cat food and spent the next seven hours throwing up. Today she won't eat at all, though I've tried many times to tempt her with baby food. She won't touch the prescription cat food the vet sent home with me either. Tomorrow I'm going to try to figure out which of the canned cat foods she normally eats is the plainest and see if she can eat some of that without hurling.

I want my little girl to get better.

Beauties From My Garden

The Yellow Rose of Utah

Orange Poppies

Milkweed buds
(Well, I like them.)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kitty Comes Home

Kitsu spent a rough 24 hours at the veterinary hospital getting x-rays, blood tests, medications, sub-Q fluids and being just generally tortured. The vet is not quite sure what she got into, but Kitsu was one sick little cat lady.

Being an extra very good and brave cat, she survived and has come home. She doesn't yet know about the prescription -- one nasty squirt a day for five days. Baby food instead of cat food.

Kitsu's not yet back to normal, but she looks infinitely better than she did yesterday when she was laying on the floor crying and panting. She's in her favorite evening place, curled between my chest and the keyboard. She did the happy cat march on my left boob until I thought it was going to deflate from a million tiny punctures, but I didn't have the heart to make her stop.

She was purring.

Worry, Worry, Worry...

Kitsu is in the veterinary hospital tonight. I hate it. I want her home with me and healthy.

She's seemed perfectly normal since the poo-poo pants episode eight days ago, but she wasn't interested in her breakfast this morning. Then she started upchucking all over the place, then she started making weird yodeling noises. She lay on her side and panted.

When I went to the basement to get the cat carrier, both girls made a run for it and hid. It took me a couple of hours to find Kitsu, but when I did, I stuffed her into the carrier and off to the vet we went.

I had to leave her so they could run tests and give her sub-Q fluids -- she was very dehydrated.

Test results so far: The X-ray found nothing overtly wrong in her gut. Her liver enzymes were not normal nor were some protein levels. She was not running a temperature. She had grass between her teeth. (Cats eat grass to make themselves throw up when their tums are unhappy.)

We have an excellent vet who really seems to care about my girls. She's given Kitsu some meds to try to calm her digestive system. Dr. L. debated putting an I.V. in her overnight, but decided against it because she didn't want Kitsu to become entangled with it when no one was looking.

Sachi knows that something's wrong. She's been very clingy this evening.

Dr. L. promised to call me in the morning as soon as she has a chance to check on Kitsu.

Morning is a long way away.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Unclear On the Concept

I used to work for a plumber and an electrician. They shared the building and me as office manager. My vocabulary expanded greatly in the four years I worked there. I know 200 words for doo-doo. I got to thinking about them today, and about "bad language" in general.

What makes a word bad?

When I was a child, there were two words for the bodily byproduct: the proper "movement" and the childishly naughty "poop." I remember singing "Tra la la poop dee ay!" and feeling so wicked I could hardly contain myself. Discussing "Lake Titicaca" with my peers was also cause for great hilarity. In high school, I learned the more pungent "crap" and the German "Schei├če," in college the English "s" word and the French "merde." (In many ways, I was a very sheltered child.)

Now that I'm grown, it seems to me that each and every one of these words describes exactly the same thing, so why is one worse than the other?

Late one Halloween night when I was in junior high, my house's windows were written on with soap . As I was leaving for school the next morning, my Mom was on the front porch scrubbing the mostly illegible scrawls off of the storm door. The one thing I could read, it was written boldly several times, was "69."

"Why," I asked Mom, "did they write 69 on the door? What does it mean?"

The snarl I received in reply sent me scurrying on my way.

I walked home that afternoon with Merry and Carole. I described the scene and asked Merry what it meant. Both Carole and I waited intently for her reply. We knew that she would know, after all, she had a bosom, so she was practically a grownup.

She thought about it for a while and then told us, with an air of great authority, "It's laying an egg. Like Marti Baker."

"Ah," Carol and I said, nodding our heads as if we understood.

At least we knew it was bad. Marti Baker was always getting sent home because she wore her skirts way too short, she was positively scandalous.

My little sister often called me a "dank" when she was annoyed with me -- which was most of the time. I knew that dank was an adjective meaning wet and cold. I finally asked her why the heck she was calling me damp, dismal and dreary.

"Don't you know anything," she hollered, "I'm calling you a dank! Dank! D-I-N-K, dank!"

"Well, you're not pronouncing it properly," I said, and went downstairs to look it up in the dictionary. It wasn't there.

When I asked Merry, she told me it was a boy's thingie. I knew about those wormlike appendages from having seen the neighborhood boys write their names in the snow. They were certainly homely and unappealing, but I didn't understand why my sister would call me that.

But the power of a mystery word was something to be reckoned with, I'd known that for many years. My brother and I were both taking German, but my dictionary was the better, so I called him "Metzgermesser" when he ticked me off. It made him wild because he didn't know what it meant. He was even madder after he snitched my dictionary and found out it meant butcher knife.

My favorite thing was to call other kids "homo sapiens". Until Bob cried to his mommy and I got called on the carpet for calling him a "Homo something." In the presence of the Bob's mom and my Mom I confessed to calling her boy a homo sapiens. Bob's Mom swelled with righteous indignation and told my Mom she certainly hoped that I received a suitable punishment. It was all my Mom could do to keep a straight face until Bob's mom left, but I got the lecture nonetheless.

Seems to me that a word's a word. It's the way it's said and the intent that make it bad.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Kitsu did it again -- brought in prey. I don't know what kind of a baby this is. He has a lovely, liquid song when not frightened. He seemed to be undamaged, so the cats are locked in for the day and I put him in a shady place hoping his parents would be able to do something to help him.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Major Poo-Poo Pants Event

Kitsu was gone all day. She missed her canned cat food breakfast and it was her favorite flavor. By evening, I was getting pretty worried and called repeatedly for her.

No Kitsu.

I hate it when this happens. Every time it does, I swear the girls are going to become indoor cats. No more dangerous outdoors for them.

Since we've lived in Utah, I've lost four cats and every time it breaks my heart. I don't want to go through it again. I don't want my cats to go through it. But making them indoor only cats would probably require declawing them, and I am adamantly opposed to cat mutilation.

When I try locking them in, they act like the house has become Abu Ghraib and keep trying for a jail break. I feel like their warden and hate it.

About 8:00 Kitsu came hollering up the stairs with a major case of poo-poo pants. Of course, I added to the trauma by catching her and washing her hind end. She just doesn't understand that being washed is way better than having to lick it off. It was a wee bit traumatic for me too; I had to take a shower, throw my clothes into the washer and put antibiotic cream on my wounds after the cat bath.

I wish Kitsu could talk so she could tell me what happened.

She has forgiven me for the bath and is currently curled between my chest and the keyboard, purring loudly.

I love my cats and want them to be happy, healthy and safe forever. Why do happy and safe have to be mutually exclusive?

The Brown Dilemma

I remember back in the good old days when the delivery guy actually rang your doorbell. That is certainly a thing of the distant past. Now-a-days, they just drop the box and run.

This was on my front porch when I got home today.

What the heck do you do?

Clearly printed on the box it says:


But I need to use what's in the box this week. If I call brown to pick it up and return it to sender to get a new one, it will take forever...

Lucked out this time. The box was trash, but the contents were okay.

Makes me think that "brown" refers to the quality of their service -- if you catch my scatological drift.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Baddest Cat Mommy of All

The cats are locked in the house at night. Every night. The neighborhood is not only rife with the standard suburban dangers of cars, dogs and kids, but we're close enough to the edge of the mountain that coyotes sometimes stalk. Coyotes would think kitties a tasty treat. Chomp, chomp!

So in the evening, I go out and set the cat door to in only. They're so used to staying in at night that it usually doesn't bother them. Unless... their humans are evil and go outside without them.
Mea culpa, I am a bad, bad human, making prisoners of sweet kitties.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

And the Weather Tonight...

It's June 11; technically almost summer. So what's this on the picnic table?
The hail arrived with generous side orders of thunder and lightning. Just what every garden needs. I hate to think what's coming down up the mountain in Kate's high altitude garden.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Snowy June In the High Uintas

And supposed to get more over the next couple of days...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

First From the Garden

Two big leeks and one big geek.
(Actually, I think the big geek is pretty cute.)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

My Off and On Vacation

The Engineer is in a traveling for work phase right now. He's just returned from a two week European tour: Edinburgh, London, Moscow, Tyumen (Siberia!) and Amsterdam. He leaves Monday for Kuala Lumpur, is home for three days before heading to Saudi Arabia, then has to go to Venezuela shortly after returning from the middle East. Being a strict adherent to Wunx~'s Law*, I do not travel with him. And besides, he's in business meetings all day and has important business dinners afterwards, so it wouldn't be as if we were spending time together other than sleeping and sitting on airplanes.

As I was scrubbing the sink with stinky cleanser after cleaning up from breakfast this morning, I realized how much work it is having him around.

The two weeks he was gone, I ran the dishwasher once -- right after he left. I ate lots of salads sitting at the kitchen counter watching the news on the kitchen TV instead of fixing formal dinners and putting it all in serving dishes to place on the table. Didn't have to wash pots and pans, serving dishes and utensils, plates and glassware. The dinner time news was about all the TV I watched other than a couple of rented chick flicks. I could sit down and read a book without having to be told what the newscaster (he watches CNN all evening) had just said.

And what is it about men? We watch the local newscast together. The weather liar comes on and gives the five day forecast. Before the forecast starts, the Engineer hushes me (despite the fact I haven't been talking), telling me the weather's coming up and we have to listen. As soon as the forecast is over, he turns to me and tells me the forecast as if I hadn't just heard it.



It's a good thing they're cute.

*Wunx~'s Law: If the journey is longer than the stay, thou shalt not go.

Some of my friend, Jenny's, iris.

My Real Baby Alligator

When I was five, I had the best Easter vacation ever. I flew all by myself from Michigan to Florida to stay with my Grandparents and Great Aunts. Grandad and I had wonderful adventures, but then I had to go home and back to school.

Grandad didn't forget me, though.

When I got home from school one day, I found a long cardboard box the mailman had left on the front porch. It was addressed to me! It said, "LIVE ANIMALS" on it. Mom and I took it into the house and, after we took off our coats, we opened it up. It was a real baby alligator. He lay very still in his long box.

"Oh," I said, "he must be cold."

So I took him out of his box, wrapped him warmly in a towel and named him Aladin.

Aladin was not the most active of pets, but he was very obliging about being carried around, I took him everywhere and talked to him constantly.

After a couple of days, Aladin started to smell a little funny and Mom suggested that it might be time to bury him.

I was absolutely appalled. Aladin might not hop around like a bunny, but he was a good alligator and we were best friends. I argued until I was blue in the face, then resorted to crying. Mom finally said that I could keep Aladin a little longer, but that he had to stay in the garage instead of the house.

Poor Aladin, how lonely for him.

The next day, as I left for school, I made a detour by the garage and scooped up Aladin in his towel. The big plan was to have the most interesting show and tell of anyone.

As I walked down the school hall, teachers came to their classroom doors, wrinkling their noses and asking, "What's that?"

"This is Aladin, my real baby alligator," I announced proudly.

I took him into Miss Garnsey's kindergarten class and put him on the long table at the front of the room. Everybody stared at Aladin. They were terribly impressed that I had a real baby alligator. Even the principal came in as I was telling all about Aladin and what a talented and clever alligator he was.

Pretty soon my Mom walked into the classroom. She said it was time for Aladin and me to come home.

"No, it's not. School's not over yet. Aladin likes it here."

But Mom wouldn't listen. She made me wrap Aladin in his towel again and shooed me out of the room.

I trailed far behind her, scuffing my feet as I walked. She must have understood how disappointed I was because she didn't scold me or tell me to stop dawdling like she usually did. I unwrapped Aladin to cuddle him, but his tail fell off. I sat on the sidewalk and cried.

Mom turned around and watched me trying to stick Aladin's tail back on. She shook her head and said. "I'm going on home. You wrap Aladin back up and come home too, but don't come inside. You wait for me in the back yard."

When I got home, Mom brought out the box Aladin had arrived in and told me to put him and his towel into it. Then we went behind the garage and dug a hole halfway to China. We put Aladin in his box into the hole and covered the top of it with lilies of the valley. My little brother and sister came and stood solemnly by as I filled the hole with dirt. We said, "Ashes to ashes and dust to dust."

It was a lovely funeral. But then Aladin was a lovely alligator - even if he did smell a little funny.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Awww Geeze...

Walked out of my house the other day and this is what I saw on the street. I made a couple of very unladylike editorial comments.

Yesterday I found the dread paper rubber banded to my doorknob. Seems that AT&T is going to be installing fiber optic cable the week of "June 4 to July 21." I said a few more unladylike things and wondered how long the street would really be torn up.

I'm all for progress -- as long as they don't tear up my street for it.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Erythronium grandiflorum Dog Tooth violet
Viola adunca Blue Violet
Viola purpurea Yellow Violet
Mahonia repens Oregon Grape
Claytonia lanceolata Spring Beauty
Caltha leptosepala Marsh marigold
Went flower hunting in the high Uintas Sunday, but couldn't get all the way to the top because the snow piled beside the road was higher than my head and a big snow plow/grader blocked the way. Found some lovely flowers down where the snow was melting, though.

One thing I don't understand is why the yellow violet is called Viola purpurea. Shouldn't that be what the blue violet is called? And why the heck do we call it a blue violet when it's really purple? Why not just call a violet a violet and the other one a yellow jobber?