Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'm not exactly what you 'd call a gamer. But tonight I lost my cherry to Guitar Hero and Kung Fu Panda. After playing a practice round of Pearl Jam's Even Flow on "slower" speed, I don't think I'll ever be able to think of the song or the band in the same light. Once in a while I could get into enough of a groove that some isolated strains of the actual song would make it though the din. Mostly not, though.

I also got my panda ass kicked by a 6 year old and a 7 year old.

In fairness, I did a little better at some auto race game . . .

Back home with the girls now, and I'm pretty sure that there is a mouse out on my deck that keeps sniffing around the door into my bedroom, and sending the dogs into full hunt mode.

Should be a restful evening . . .

Friday, August 29, 2008

It's been an interesting week . . .

I spent a good part of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening watching the DNC, drinking pinot grigio, and live blogging with Knitters for Obama. It's actually been alot of fun. As a democrat growing up and living in Orange County, I've always had to look elsewhere to find like-minded people, and blogging has been a great way to connect with my fellow Dems.

I thought most of the headline speakers did amazing jobs - Michelle Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore, Joe Biden, and of course, Barack Obama.

Since my life motto is expect the worst and hope for the best, I'm cautiously optimistic about the election.

McCain's pick for VP was an interesting and rather odd choice. If I was a qualified GOP woman, like Elizabeth Dole or Kay Hutchinson, I'd be pissed. While many women, myself included, are pleased to see a woman nominee, picking the inexperienced beauty queen for the second highest office in the land is a slap in the face of women who have worked long and hard to get where they are today. But I think what I find most insulting is that I believe McCain thinks picking any woman would do, and that female voters would flock to him regardless of the nominee's views or qualifications.

Mother Nature may get the last laugh over the GOP and its refusal to acknowledge global warming, when the GOP muckymucks abandon the convention next week to pretend they care about New Orleans drowning . . . again.

Hanna visited the vet today for a suture check and to have some fluid drained. She's getting her piss and vinegar back, and the surgeon referred to her as Super Dog. Here she is reflected in my rear view mirror as we drive back from the vet's.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My hat's off tonight to Hillary Clinton. She hit it out of the ballpark with her speech tonight to the DNC.

(I was so absorbed with her speech that I now have my first mistake knitted into my lace sweater . . . but it's on the back of the left sleeve, and sort of minor . . . so I decided I could live with it. Plus, there is a belief among knitters that every sweater needs one mistake that you can live with to make it unique).

Her "were you in this just for me?" query to her supporters was brilliant.

Her attacks on McCain were the best of the night.

I have a new appreciation for her, and I have to admire any woman who can pull off wearing orange.

Well done, Hillary.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Today I worked from home . . . allegedly. In reality, I took the day off except for reading and responding to some emails. The girls and I had a lovely day that included the following:

Watching the rest of season one of the Wire. I've raved before about all five seasons of the Wire, and I recently downloaded season one from iTunes - the best 24 bucks I've spent in a long time. It was only about six months ago that I was glued to the tv for season five, and it was amazing to go back to the beginning and see again how some of the characters were developed. Even minor characters, like the guy who ended up as Bubbles' AA sponsor in the final season, were introduced early on - you just didn't know their significance at the time. For any other fans of the Wire - I totally recommend going back and watching the early seasons again.

Getting back to finishing up this sweater. The body is done, and I'm half way through one of the sleeves.It's been on hold while I did my charity knitting and the Ravelympics, but I'm not too far from finishing this project.

Hanna is doing great post-surgery, and today we got the biopsy results - the news is both good and bad. The tumor has been removed completely, but the adjacent lymph node was affected. The good news is that the other lymph node was clean. After she recovers from surgery, I'll have to have an in depth discussion with the oncologist to decide if we should pursue chemo, or just do regular check ups to look for new tumors.

I've had very little regular exercise lately, and until Hanna gets her stitches out, the dog walks are very limited, (both Nanners and Noodles keep giving me the stink eye each time I cut their walk short), so I ventured out for a five mile walk this afternoon on my own, and it felt great!

Finally, I think I'm developing a serious girl crush on Michelle Obama. Her speech at the DNC was lovely, touching and inspirational.

I can hardly wait for Cindy McCain's speech about how rough it was growing up as a beer heiress, USC sorority girl, and society girl/addict/drug thief.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In honor of the Olympics, about 6,000 knitters on Ravelry signed up to complete a project during the Olympics. You could not cast on until the opening ceremonies, and had to finish before the end of the closing ceremonies - both based on Beijing time. I finished my socks about 12 hours early . . .

Yay, me!
And I can now proudly display my bouquet and medal!

Obama/Biden '08!!!!

p.s. I LOVE that Barry Manilow is in this video.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hanna is home and doing well, even if she does have an odd haircut that reveals many, many freckles. She's a bit doped up, but in good spirits, and does not seem to be uncomfortable, which is a blessing. Apparently, two days on a morphine drip has its benefits. She has a couple gnarly incisions on her lower tummy where they cleared out more tissue around the tumor site, and also took out both lymph nodes. We'll get the results of the biopsies on the nodes early next week and then determine our next step, which may be some chemotherapy, if she tolerates it well.

Thanks to everyone for all your good thoughts and well wishes for Hanna and Samantha this past week. It means a lot to me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hopefully, this is how the girls and I will be spending this weekend, taking it easy at home . . .
Hanna is doing well, and they have started cutting back on the opiates, so that she can come home tomorrow from the hospital. She's pretty groggy, so they advised against a visit from me. Samantha and I took advantage of Hanna's absence this morning by NOT getting up at 5:30 am.
When I got home last night, I decided we should do something different, so after Sam got her dinner, we walked to a local restaurant with outdoor dining. I had dinner and some Pinot Grigio, and Sam was a big hit with the other diners. When she first came to live with me 3 years ago, such an outing would have terrified her, but she's come out of her shell quite a bit. She's not nearly as sociable as Hanna, but now she's comfortable being around lots of other people.
Sam's a bit quiet with Hanna MIA, but overall, she's handling the separation well.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

As luck would have it, a major project was delayed from being due this Monday, and instead is due the end of September. So I took advantage of this and worked from home yesterday. As you can see, Sam is very content with her family home with her, and Hanna is feeling well.

I have to drop Hanna off at the Vet's this morning for surgery later today . . . fingers crossed it goes well.

UPDATE: I spoke to the Vet and she said the surgery went very well, but Hanna will need to spend two days at the hospital. Given how uncomfortable she was her first night home after the tumor was removed, I'm happy to have her where her pain will be managed better than I can do at home.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The tumor-specialist veterinarian was very optimistic about Hanna, and as a result, we're taking her in for more surgery tomorrow. The Vet wants to clean out some additional tissue in the area, including the adjacent lymph node. While I don't want to keep cutting the poor dog up, given the Vet's optimistic prognosis, we're going forward with the surgery. She'll stay at the hospital for a couple of days, so that they can keep her properly doped up and comfortable.

While we all feel empathy for Hanna, it may be Samantha Jane Noodles who is suffering the most through all this. I left her with my brother yesterday while Hanna and I went to the Vet's, and she was DEVASTATED by being so cruelly left behind. When we returned about 3 hours later she was greatly relieved and ecstatic to have her big sister back at home with her.

And my community service for the day, is to share the best Carrot Cake Recipe - ever. Super moist, and really, really good. If you like carrot cake, so give it a try!
And for anyone who watches Mad Men - Peggy's sister sucks for ratting her out to the priest, and I'm glad Betty isn't my mom!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I had a very nice day yesterday. I ran some errands in the morning, and picked up the ingredients to make up some Spicy Peanut Chicken.

I also took the Jessica Fletcher out for a spin along the beach, and stopped on my way back for a wine spritzer (or three) at my local pub. With new 0wners, the old time biker bar/locals hangout now takes credit cards, and has wifi access. Not everything has changed though, (though it does smell better since they re-did the plumbing), and my friend who bartends there asked why I hadn't brought the dogs with me. (Don't tell the health department, but they let you bring your dogs into the bar). Hanna loves going in there (they have bowls of peanuts that get tossed to her), so maybe next Saturday I'll take her down for a beer. No need to shell the peanuts, Hanna eats them shells and all, or what I like to refer to as "roughage".

When I got back, I caught up on some of my DVR recorded shows. Besides an old episode of Diagnosis Murder (how can you go wrong with Dick Van Dyke?), I caught up on recent episodes of two of my favorite shows, Burn Notice and Psych. The USA network is probably the network that gets most
of my tv watching hours each week.

The girls and I are hosting some friends for ribs later . . .

Hope everyone has a nice Sunday!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping . . .

It's been a hellish 10 days, so I've been trying to take some action to make things better, or at least to cheer things up. Even though she is pretty stoic about wearing her cone of silence, it makes me feel terrible to see poor Hanna running into the side of doors. So, I stopped at Petco yesterday to buy a more "humane" alternative - the inflatable donut! Only 35 dollars! Unfortunately, 1. it does not work, and 2. she HATED it. Fortunately, the trip wasn't a total waste since I also bought some Dingo bones, which she is enjoying here.

Since my socks are coming along, I bought some Dansko clogs that will show them off nicely!Auntie Diane's world famous slow cooker ribs have only been cooking for a short time, but man, does the house already smell good . . .

If you are a member of Netflix, you can watch on "Watch it Now" the first two seasons of Showtime's Weeds. The basic story line is that Nancy, (Mary-Louise Parker) is widowed with two sons, and takes to selling pot in a cookie cutter suburban California community to make ends meet. The cast, including Kevin Nealon, are wonderful, and it's a fun, quirky show. Give it a try!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Another blurry cone photo . . .

She is trying hard to stay still, but a Pupperoni awaits! She knows she gets a snack when the cone goes back on, so there is no struggle at all.

We go see the oncologist on Monday, and I'm feeling more resigned to whatever the news is, and still hoping it will be good.

I'm making a batch of Auntie Diane's world famous ribs this weekend, and having some friends over on Sunday, otherwise, I'll just be hangin' with the girls, and working on my socks!

Oh, and since my housekeeper didn't come this week, I'll have to do some cleaning . . . bummer . . .

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hanna is feeling much better, and here she is this morning enjoying a peanut butter bone before the cone of silence must go back on . . .
Unfortunately, the results of her tumor biopsy were very bad. It was a mast cell tumor, grade III - the most virulent type. We have an appointment on Monday with the doggie oncologist to talk about our options. The best case scenario is that it has not metastasized, and no additional treatment will be necessary for now, but we'll check her lymph nodes regularly. If it has spread, then we'll have to make some tough decisions on treatment.
Poor Hanna . . .

Sunday, August 10, 2008

So, do you want the good news, or the bad news?

The good news is that woman who answers the phone at 6 am at the Emergency Vet Hospital says it's nothing to worry about. The bad news is that there is a lot of fluid draining from Hanna's sutures. My rational mind can see that the sutures look good, and my rational mind knows that because the fluid is clear, it's not a sign of infection. My irrational mind wants to cry, and tried last night to make an improvised doggy bandage from a sanitary pad and some medical tape.

FYI - medical tape won't stick to dog fur.

We were up at 5 am, partly because I wanted to check on the status of Hanna, and partly because Sam and I were sleeping at an odd angle. I got up about 3 am to use the restroom and check on Hanna, and when I got back into bed . . . it broke. One corner of the 45 year old bed frame came apart. I think it can be put back together with my brother's help, otherwise, at least it isn't an uncomfortable slant.
We've been cooking this morning, and watching the second season of Weeds on Netflix. The confetti corn muffins came out awesome, if I do say so myself.
Now, Sam is enjoying the sun
Hanna is snoozing under the table
And I'm working on a sock

Saturday, August 09, 2008

After a rough night Thursday, Hanna is feeling much, much better. So good in fact, that she has started licking her stitches, bringing on the cone of silence . . .

As you can see, the cone has taken a beating over the years. She doesn't really seem to mind wearing it too much, and likes to use it in Godzilla-like style, wiping out everything in her path. Alternatively, it makes a handy carrying device for keeping favorite chew toys with you at all times. It also has razor sharp edges that will inevitably hit me in the back of the knee as we move together through the house. I wish she didn't have to wear it, but she is really intent on going after her stitches. Only 12 more days until she gets them out!

My next trip has been planned! A friend of mine goes every year to New Orleans, and this year I'm tagging along. She has a time share, so the lodgings are basically free, and the flight wasn't too expensive. The bar tab will likely be quite high, however. Five of us ladies are going in mid-October. Every year she goes back to the same palm reader. I've never had my palm read, but may give it a try!

Mom is coming over for dinner tomorrow, and I plan on a pretty low key weekend.

What do you have planned?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Poor Hanna is home now, and sleeping off the anesthesia. She has an ugly 3 inch incision, and we'll have her biopsy results on Monday. Hopefully, she will feel better tomorrow, but we plan on a quiet evening tonight.

Thanks for your good wishes for my baby.

After only six surgeries (spaying, 2 knee surgeries, two teeth extracted and a lump removed), Hanna has figured out that bad things happen when the nice Vet's assistant comes to take you into the back room without your mama. Instead of eagerly trotting back like she usually does, (she is having an ugly, fast growing skin tumor removed), she put on the brakes and I had to entice her to go with him. Needless to say, I feel horrible, and can't wait for 4 pm to roll around so I can go get her.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Alright, enough of the downer post from earlier. I'm back on happy topics, like my pretty orange hibiscus!

When I did my grocery shopping last weekend, I went a bit light, taking into account that one of the bosses would likely bring food in every day to keep his minions happy, and to avoid us losing that hour of work should we go out for a meal. (We have a big project due next Monday). You can imagine my chagrine when nothing was brought in yesterday, and so, I bought chicken parmigiano from the gal who comes to the office with a huge stack of coolers and all kinds of good meals to buy.

I was pounding through the NY Times Crossword (sounds good until you remember that it was Monday's crossword), and so I ate the entire meal. I spent the rest of the day thinking that bulimia doesn't really sound like such a bad idea - in theory. I got up this morning resolved to do better. I brought a healthy lunch - diced pineapple, an Amy's spinach feta frozen pocket thing, and the makings for a lovely caprese salad.

In fact, I brought the fixings for lunches all week.

So, at 11 am I learn that lunch had already been ordered, and it turns out the 21 year old file clerk who did the ordering is no dummy. Sure, they brought in sandwiches, salad, chips and sodas, but also this huge box of desserts. And I can personally testify as to how good the pecan pie bars are.

Now I remember why I decided to wait until after next Monday to visit Jenny Craig.

And in the crazy department . . .

"The loss of Booger the pit bull terrier was almost more than Bernann McKinney could bear.
Now she is happy, minus $50,000 and her house, and owner of five cloned Booger puppies.
They are the work of the biotech firm RNL Bio, affiliated with the South Korean lab which produced the world's first cloned dog and is staffed with former associates of disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk. She sold her house in the United States to raise the $50,000 for RNL scientists to turn skin cells taken from Booger before he died two years ago into embryos carried by two surrogate dogs for two months until giving birth to the puppies last week."

"'I had to make sacrifices and I dream of the day, some day when everyone can afford to clone their pet because losing a pet is a terrible, terrible loss to anyone.' After rescuing him from a shelter 12 years ago, Booger had become an indispensable part of her life, said the 57-year-old Californian."

I'm sure the 20,000 pit bulls sitting in shelters across the state desperately hoping to find a home are very happy for her. Oh, and now that she's sold her home, good luck finding a landlord who will let her raise 5 pit bull puppies in an apartment.

I don't think anyone doubts that I love me some Nanners and Noodles, but when they pass, I don't intend to have them cloned. I do, however, intend to have them cremated so that when I am cremated, their ashes (along with the ashes from Bailey, aka Big Fat Kitty) can be mixed with mine into an Eternal Reef.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Highlight of Monday? Seeing this bunny near the parking structure as I was leaving work .

I'm working with a woman who is self-destructing before our very eyes. She's drinking again after (what I believe was), a few years of sobriety. She has a two year old son, who's father is an on again, off again crack addict. She's repeatedly denied to me that she is drinking again, but called another co-worker on Sunday - drunk - and admitted it has been ongoing for some time. I don't think she remembers making this call. She called in sick to work yesterday, claiming to have a bloody nose.

She remains deeply in denial that she has a problem, and that she is screwing up royally at work. I've dealt with drunks and addicts before, and I know that there is only so much someone else can do to help.

Fingers crossed she gets the help she needs before it's too late.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

My final book for Maggie’s Southern Reading Challenge is Mudbound by Hillary Jordan, a powerful first novel from an author who writes beautifully. We meet Laura, a college-educated Memphis schoolteacher, who seems "doomed" to a life as a spinster until she meets Henry MacAllan. When he buys a farm on the Mississippi Delta, a farm she aptly nicknames Mudbound. Laura has difficulty adjusting to life without electricity, indoor plumbing, readily accessible medical care for her two children and, worst of all, life with her live-in misogynous, racist, father-in-law. "Pappy" makes Tom Ewell seem like a likable good ole boy by comparison.
Catastrophe is inevitable when two young WWII veterans, Henry's brother, Jamie, and Ronsel, the son of the MacAllan’s tenant farmers, return home from Europe. Jamie is battling his demons, and Ronsel must battle not only his own demons, but returning to a world of blatant racism after having obtained respect as an officer in a tank unit that served under Patton.

And as for the "state of the mule", the Mule died. It was put down by Hap after breaking its leg. Page 109.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Yesterday was not a happy day for Nanners and Noodles. We started out the day with a trip to the Vet prompted by Noodles' need for her annual shots plus a rabies booster. The good news is that Sam has lost a couple pounds and slimmed down. The bad news is that going to see the Vet absolutely terrifies her. I heard she had some bad experiences with doctors before she came to live with Hanna and me, but nevertheless, she is such a good puppy that tries very, very hard to be brave. The Vet could tell how panicked she was because her eyes were bulging and her pupils were open as wide as they possibly can be. The Vet - who is very gentle - commented that if dogs could have heart attacks, Sam would be in full cardiac arrest. That panic, plus the after effects of the inoculations left her lethargic and not her usual happy self.

Fortunately, she is feeling better today.

Oddly enough, Hanna and Sam both have slight infections in their right ears, so for 10 days I have to try to rope them into letting me stick a tube of medicine into their ear canal. Sam is supposed to get 1-2 drops, and Hanna 2-3. In reality, it's all I can do to stick the tube in and squeeze. Of more concern, Hanna has an ugly mole like tumor on her tummy that has grown about 3 times in size over the last month, so Thursday we're going in to have it removed and biopsied.

On the way back from the doctor's we stopped at the grocery store. For some irrational reason, whenever I get back from the grocery store I feel the perverse need to carry all the bags up the stairs in one trip. Frequently, by the time I get to the front door, I'm so desperate, that I drop some of the bags on a chair on the front porch. When I did that yesterday, the bag containing a bottle of chardonnay rolled off the chair and scored a direct hit on my right foot's middle toe. I thought I broke it, but I think it is just badly bruised. I'm pretty sure you can still hear my exclamation of "OH, FUCK!!!!!!" echoing through town. Why is it that only cursing can help dissipate pain? Yelling anything else just won't help at all?

Oh, and below are the three hats completed for the Knitters for Obama drive to provide hand knit hats and scarfs for homeless veterans. I'm almost done with a scarf to add to the pile!
Scarf completed!

This probably doesn't justify my failure to use public transportation, but . . .

According to the AP:

"A 40-year-old man who witnesses said stabbed and beheaded his seat mate on a Greyhound bus in Canada made his first court appearance Friday, while police offered no motive for the savage attack against the 22-year-old carnival worker. Vince Weiguang Li, of Edmonton, Alberta, has been charged with second-degree murder."

As I was getting back to the house last night from walking the dogs, my neighbor and her daughter stopped by to tell me how much they love my plumeria bushes, and how much joy they get from seeing them all in bloom, and taking in the lovely scent. I must say that this was one of the nicer compliments I've ever received! I was quite pleased.

This week has turned out better than I had anticipated, work wise, but I'm looking forward to this weekend. We'll be making a trip to the Vet tomorrow morning, and Sunday we are, (ok, I'm), invited to a 7 year old's birthday pool party. Though I may stop by (and I've already sent a gift), I'm probably not going to bring a swimsuit.
Next week promises to be a complete firedrill, for really no good reason except that this is how one of my colleagues does things. Inasmuch as he will bring in food every day to try to bribe us, I have that excuse to put of my diet for another week.

The Angels have been en fuego lately, sweeping the Evil Empire that you may know better by their Code Name - the Boston Red Sox* - in two 3 game series within the past two weeks. Since I've been a fan of the Halos for about 40 years, this gives me great pleasure. They took one game from the Yankees last night in NYC, and I look forward to 3 more games in that series this weekend.
What do you have planned?
*No offense, Flix!