Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

Staycation Failure

Two days after my week-long staycation ended, I’m now realizing the true cost of my week at home. It will turn out to be ridiculously expensive.

My goal last week was fitness. And I incorporated Perl into as much of the running, walking, and hiking that I could. She and I traveled 3-5 miles or more every day.

But I noticed that she didn’t sprint at Fort Funston. And after naps, she’d hold up her back leg a little. But it seemed to work itself out. By yesterday, she’d been favoring it enough that it was time to go to the vets. I’d found some big lumps of fatty tissue under her skin. The ones on her back legs are much bigger than the ones on her neck. And I’m petrified that she will get hip dysplasia like her pug cousins.

So Perl spent the morning at the vets getting drugged up, x-rayed, and a sample taken from the lumps.

The verdict? I’m a horrible, horrible dog owner.

Perl’s hips look great! And there’s no sign of arthritis. The lab on the bumps will be back later. As for her back leg, she has a torn ligament in her knee and now has to have knee surgery.

She has an exam with the specialist on Thursday to discuss surgery.

Poor Perl.


Staycation List Update

I’ve been checking things off my list.  Saturday, I went to the Palo Alto Farmer’s Market and picked up spices from Spice Hound.  I was missing some basic stuff like oregano, black peppercorns, red pepper flakes, taco seasoning, paprika, and crushed garlic.  While there, I also picked up some great goat and sheep’s milk cheeses from Garden Variety Cheese.

It was raining, but I was on a mission.  I headed to the Palo Alto Apple Store in search of an iPad mini to send to Sonny for my Karma Point Mission.  Why didn’t anyone tell me that minis are sold out?  Maybe someone did and I wasn’t paying attention.  I guess the media is right, no one wants them.  At least I saw the new store.  The noise situation wasn’t as bad as the media had said either.  It was loud, but not difficult to hear the conversation I was having.

Having failed at finding an iPad Mini, I retreated to my car which was sitting unlocked three blocks away.  I couldn’t lock it because it was raining.  Earlier that morning, my car alarm was going off for no apparent reason.  Turns out, my third brake light assembly is loose and according to the interwebs, there are reports that when that light isn’t sealed properly, water leaks in and sets off the alarm.  Well, it was raining and the assembly was loose and the alarm was going off, so I just didn’t lock my car until it dried out.

I checked my list of things to do, and the second item was to pick up my wine shipments.  I couldn’t go through vacation without getting some good wine!  So I called up Keanu and we headed up into the Santa Cruz hills.


First stop was Regale.  The last time Sparkles was out visiting, we met up with his German exchange student friend to go wine tasting.  I dropped my membership at Burrell School after tasting their chardonnay that smells like burnt rubber.  Next door is the newly built Regale.  Expensive, but a lovely garden and good wine, so I started a membership, but I haven’t been back since.  I had two shipments to pick up.  Luckily, it happened to be shipment day.


Second stop was my other favorite winery, Loma Prieta.  I was only behind on one shipment there since they don’t produce as much and have fewer shipments.  When we walked in the door, there was Cupcake (aka Golf Buddy K) and her crew.  They’d gone wine tasting without me!  Or I went without them.  Whatever.  Let’s let bygones be bygones.

Turns out, Saturday was a Passport Day.  And Cupcake et al had passports and were going to use them with or without us.  Keanu and I didn’t have passports, but decided to tag along.  Our next stop was Burrell School.  The chardonnay had mellowed out a little since last time, but still smelled horrendous to me.  A couple other people thought it smelled like sesame.  Whatever, I was driving, so I was dumping.


Our last stop happened to have three wineries all pouring.  They had run out of passports, so we paid $15 for all the tastings.  Pretty good deal.  The wines weren’t anything to write home about, so probably best I had to pay for the tastings.

I got home in time to walk the dog, inject the cat and make dinner.  A good evening in.  I seem to have a lot of those lately.

On Sunday, Perl wanted something out of this staycation, so we went to Fort Funston.  As always, I was worried about the weather, but it turned out to be a gorgeous day.


Monday, I went to the mall to pick up an iPad mini.  Failing that, I bought an iPod touch instead.  Then I stopped by White House | Black Market.  I know better, but I just couldn’t help myself.  I also picked up a few things from Bare Escentuals that I was low on.  I hate going to the mall, so I was hoping that going on Monday morning before kids are out on vacation would be acceptable.  I hated going there anyways.

After the mall, I needed to mail the iPad mini and iPod touch, so Perl and I went for a walk to the post office.  We stopped at the Palace Cafe and I had a late lunch.  Perl got more attention while we sat there than she has ever gotten sitting on Murphy Street.


Monday also kicked off my attempts at shedding a few pounds.  Strangely, it is easier for me to diet during vacation because I have time to think about what I am eating, log it, and get more exercise.  And I don’t go out to eat as much because I have more time to cook.

Tuesday, I finally checked playing golf off my list.  Cupcake and I stopped by Sunken Gardens for nine holes before she had to go off to work.  I thought about playing another round in the afternoon, but it was pretty windy.  Instead, Keanu and I grabbed lunch and then picked up our Turkey Trot race packets for the Thanksgiving Day run.

In the afternoon, Perl and I walked to Target and I picked up a FitBit One to help me track my progress on My Fitness Pal.  Hopefully I stick with it this time.  If so, I should be at my target weight by July.  This morning, Perl and I have already walked 2.15 miles to the grocery store and back.  I bought some yogurt so I can stop eating pancakes for breakfast.  Although I did finally find a pancake recipe that works for me—Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes.  I was too lazy to separate the eggs, and I added in some blueberries and banana too.  According to My Fitness Pal, the recipe makes pancakes for four and each serving is 297 calories with 53 g of carbs, 4 g of Fat, 11 g of Protein and 464 mg of Sodium

Today’s plan is to get some stuff done around the house.  The weather isn’t great today, although the sun is finally coming out, but I want to do some cooking for tomorrow’s dinner and get some of the stuff done on my computer that I’ve been avoiding.  Maybe I can knock off a few more items on my list!

√ Buy an iPad mini tomorrow that isn’t for me. Maybe one for me too.
√ Pick up my wine shipments in the Santa Cruz mountains
– Run the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot
– Bike the trails in Monterrey
√ Play golf
√ Take my dog to Fort Funston
– Make an Aperture book of my Italy trip
– Plan a trip around the world
√ Buy new spices from
√ Setup doctors appointments
– Minimize my junk email
– Make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving day
– Spend Thanksgiving day with my holidays family and call the rest of my family
– Have a play date for Perl with Princess K
– Investigate colors to paint my condo this summer
– Finish my Italy travelogue before I finish my staycation

Mitsy update

The vet called to check-in this weekend. From the way she was speaking, she expects Mitsy to live months on the drugs she is on. That would explain why she does look so much better and is acting more normal. I guess we caught it early enough. She still could die any day of heart failure, but I’m not as stressed out about it now. And I’ve cut back on the princess treatment so that the dog no longer feels ostracized. They are both happily asleep on the bed.

Cats and dogs living together.

Trying to make my pets happy

My pets are aging. It is hard to watch. They slowly start to fail. But I’m trying my best to make them live better lives. The cats have been with me for fifteen years, the dog for eleven.

Mitsy recently received a new bed. She loves it. She sleeps in it all the time. She can’t jump on the couch or the bed, so she sleeps here. She has hyperthyroidism. And now allergies. And a big growth next to her eye that might be causing the allergies. I changed her food for the hyperthyroidism, but then I had to worry about her eating the dog food. It was stressful.

Pablo is happiest sleeping next to me on the couch. He has severe arthritis. He is taking cosamine. Either the food or the cosamine has been causing severe coughing.

The dog has had a terrible bout of diarrhea this week. Tests show it isn’t a bacterial infection. I’ve been cooking chicken, rice, and veggies for her. She is on Atopica for her severe allergies. She hated eating the Iams I’ve been feeding her, but jumps around when I make her food. But I can’t keep that up. I don’t know the right ingredients or the right nutritional value.

Princess K told me about For Other Living Things. The staff was extremely helpful, and they have a variety of healthy options!

Since I was on my bicycle, I decided to try out a dried food for my cats and dogs, so I went with The Honest Kitchen. I’m trying Force for the dog, and Prowl for the cats. It is a raw, dehydrated food that I’ll reconstitute with water. The question is whether the pets will like it.

But to make up for feeding the dog a near liquid diet, I picked up a moose antler for her. She looooooooves it. She wouldn’t even let me take a photo of her with it.

Since I’ve already been buying expensive foods at the vets and the allergies were all getting worse, I’m going to see what a raw diet will do to solve the problems. I haven’t given the dog her allergy pill in two days and she isn’t spending any time chewing or scratching.

I hope that this works!

Free time

Last weekend, I took Pablo to the vets for a checkup. He’s been limping and I’m really hoping it is just arthritis, but the vet wants to do an X-ray in case it is a tumor. But I refuse to believe it is a tumor because that could result in an amputation. So we are trying some pills to help with his joints. If he doesn’t stop limping I’ll have to pay for the X-ray.

The vet was having a slow day, so while he was in getting his shots and his nails trimmed, I went home and picked up Perl. The vet told me about these new allergy pills. The Benedryl has not been working. But she had to see Perl’s torn up paws and bloodshot eyes for herself.

The allergy meds are ridiculously expensive, but if they work, she should be able to taper down to a pill once every few days. The vet also gave her a steroid to get started.

While we were there, Perl broke a nail really high up. So the vet, afraid of infection, gave her antibiotics too. And she had to wear the collar. That was an unpleasant few days.

Mitsy didn’t visit the vet this round, but there is a new food to help with her hyperthyroid, so I got the prescription and the food. With luck, I should be able to taper her off the prescription and just do the food.

So now everyone has pills except for me. I could have used a Halloween jar of Valium next to the cash register when I paid the bill. It stung.

Now that Perl isn’t licking constantly, she has all this free time. I keep sneaking up on her to see what she is doing. Tonight, she visited her toy basket, which she hasn’t done in a while. She left it looking like a small explosive had detonated inside.

Perl was actually playing tonight. It was adorable.

I’m still hoping she uses all this new free time wisely. Maybe she will learn French or start playing the piano?

I could only hope.

Animal cruelty

My dog and I play games on our walks. One of them happens when we walk through the heavy magnolia tree leaves and we try not to make a sound. When I accidentally kick one, she turns and gives me a look of scorn. When she kicks one, I giggle and wonder if she knows she lost the game.

Lately, she has taken to trying to diverge from our normal path. After five years of walking the same sidewalk twice a day, she has decided she needs some excitement. So, Perl walks down another sidewalk, stops, turns, and gives me a look that says, “Please? Just this time?”

The first time, I said no, and she walked back to me indignantly. The second time she held her ground. So I caved. Now she tries it every day. Sometimes I give in, other days I insist. When she wins, her tail wags, her ears perk up and she is obviously happy. When she loses, her tail drops limp between her legs.

Turns out crows recognize faces and will hate you for life. Does Perl feel disappointment? Resentment? If so, for how long?

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tahoe Ski Trip

A couple of weeks ago, a group of us went up to Tahoe for a ski trip. I didn’t actually ski, I cooked. I played cook for the weekend. Three breakfasts, a big dinner, and leftovers for lunch cost everyone $17 per person. Pretty good deal if you ask me. And everyone helped with the preparation and cleaning. It was fun. Cooking dinner for 9 people took a lot of effort. Good thing the house we rented had huge pots and pans.

You can find the full set of photos on my MobileMe page.

Chillin’ in Tahoe

Perl and I took a long walk around the neighborhood this morning. Turns out that the “leash law” is loosely interpreted around here, since not a single dog was actually on a leash. Most of the dogs we met were friendly and Perl did well, but then we ran into two yappy chihuahuas who were barking, nipping, and chasing us away. Too bad because Perl actually liked the dog across the street from them.

The weather today is sunny and warm, and clear roads made it easy for walking. And the views are spectacular.

Babbling Brook

Babbling Brook

Perl hasn’t quite known what to do with herself. She was all over the place this morning. Kept going outside and coming back in. But the walk made her tired, and she wanted to sleep. I finally found a good solution.

Happy dog

Happy dog

Although, with her black fur, she got hot in the sun, so now she is passed out on the floor in a back bedroom.

Wicked Happy Dog.


I cheated. I covered the cat tree house in catnip. Then I put my cat on the second level. Pet her until the decided it was safe enough to consume catnip, and now, just maybe, she likes it?

The real test will be if I ever see her on it when I don’t pick her up and place her there.

It is possible there will be an abundance of catnip placed in that exact spot tomorrow.

Happy cats?

I’m trying to suck up to my cats. I bought them their first tree house. It was significantly on sale. I filled it with cat nip in hopes that the cats climb it. Do you like how I use my car like a truck?

I also bought a new litter box in hopes that Mitsy will start using it. The pee seeps through to a tray with a deodorized pad in the bottom. The poo hardens for removal. The smell is okay so far and there is no sand spread through my bathroom. We will have to see how it stands up over the week.