Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I wasn't sure if my iPhone camera could capture a sunset . . . not great, but still kind of pretty.

I know Hanna must be looking healthy because this morning, an older gentlemen asked me if she was yet a year old, thinking she was a puppy. Of course, he also asked me if she had a bit of labrador in her, so he may not be a canine expert.

We have a male rat terrier puppy living next door, who the girls like to sniff. He's gotten a bit bigger, and has figured out that they won't eat him, so he's peeing himself less when they get near him. He wants so badly to be friends - Hanna is never going to give him much attention, but Sam is starting to play with him. He's really, really cute and sweet.

Is anybody else feeling the need to keep money in the mattress these days? How bad are the days to come?

While I'm not banking on it, I'm still in the running on my Survivor Pool. With this pool, each week you pick only one team, and it must win, or else you're eliminated. Also, no picking the same team twice. There have been some big upsets this season, so the 300 entries have been cut down to 75 folks remaining. The prize if only one person wins? More than $6,000 bucks! A couple of years ago, I'd have used it for a safari in Botswana. This year, I'd probably take it and stash 100 bills around my house . . .

Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's past my bedtime . . . somewhere.

I'm having one of those U.S. Army days. You know, the ones where "we do more before 9 am than most people do all day?"

It's 12:05 pm here, and I'm ready for a nap.
We got up a little before 6 am, had coffee (me) and dog stew (N&N), and then went for a walk. Then I headed off for my 7:30 am appointment at Jenny Craig. Today was my 4th different consultant, (I keep going in at different times and days), and may be the one I'll seek out again.

After Jenny Craig, I headed over to the drug store to pick up some benadryl and pepcid for Hanna. These are the drugs she gets daily in addition to the prednisone. Mast cell tumors, like she has, spread by sending out histamines. Hence, these anti-histamines help limit the spread of the cancer. I also picked up some Aveeno cleanser and moisturizer. I like Aveeno, but more importantly, it was about the only brand that wasn't under lock and key. Sorry, but I'm not flagging down a sales clerk at 7:45 am to buy Oil of Olay.

I brought home my Jenny Craig food and headed over to the mechanic to drop off my car to get what I figure is the alignment fixed. As it turns out, one tire was about to shred, and my power steering hose is leaking. I suppose I can't complain when my 60,000 mile tires lasted 85,000 miles, but I'm getting a new set today.
From there I walked across the street to the Daily Grind for a Mocha coffee, and then to the nail salon for a manicure/pedicure. After that I went to the grocery store to pick up the fixings for dog stew, and then walked home a couple of miles.

Walking along Pacific Coast Highway, I mainly encountered bicyclists riding towards me, many of whom smiled as they passed by. I discovered why when I got home, ran into my brother and found out I had a big dirt mark down the middle of my forehead.

Got home, took a bath and rode my bike to the local pub to put in my football pool picks. Went early to avoid Mr. Clueless, had a beer and came home.

Now I sit here, ready to head back to bed. Hanna is enjoying her bone, and Sam is happy sitting next to me, and I'm done for the day. I think I'll try to get a lift back to the mechanic later.

And I have to express my sorrow at the passing of Paul Newman. There is no public figure that I admire more than Newman. A liberal icon who bragged that one of his proudest accomplishments was getting on Nixon's enemies list, who brought good from tragedy when he set up a foundation in his late son's name to help those struggling with substance abuse, who donated millions of dollars to good works through his Newman's Own line of products, who starred in some of my favorite movies, and who was the best looking man around at every decade of his life.

I hope he rests in peace.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hanna is doing great! She is officially known at the Vet's office as a big cookie thief, and seems to be feeling really well. She has her spunk back, that's for sure, and it's a sign that the chemo is having some positive results. One more week of chemo, then we take a break for a week and re-assess.

We also have her on the steroid prednisone; the cancer she has will ultimately attack her gastric system, and the prednisone will help keep that in check as much as possible. However, the prednisone makes her very thirsty and very hungry. She drinks a ton of water, and has gone from being an avid forager for food, to a rabid forager for food. I see her eyeing strangers walking down the street carrying their to-go containers from local restaurants. When we go for walks, she only wants to take a path that takes her past locations where food is likely to be found - like restaurant parking lots and dumpsters.

I try to keep her full on lots of carrots, but I still advise watching your fingers and toes if you are eating in her presence.

I was 11/16 in my NFL picks last week - not good enough to win, but a vast improvement over the previous week.

I've lost about 5 lbs. on Jenny Craig, and even that amount feels good! My goals for my weight loss are a bit more modest than the Jenny Craig people. I'll be thrilled to lose 10 lbs. I'll be ecstatic if I lose 15, I'll be over the moon if I lose 20 . . .

According the the Jenny computer program when I signed up, my recommended weight loss was between 18 - 50 lbs. 50???? Seriously? 50 lbs would put me below my freakin' high school weight. Much to their disdain, I stated my goal as 20 lbs., but assured them I'd be willing to reconsider if I made my goal, much to their relief.

Work is crazy busy this week.

How is your week going?

Monday, September 22, 2008

For the first time, the Humane Society of the United States is endorsing a presidential candidate, and you can read about it here.

Said the HSUS -

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has been a solid supporter of animal protection at both the state and federal levels. As an Illinois state senator, he backed at least a dozen animal protection laws, including those to strengthen the penalties for animal cruelty, to help animal shelters, to promote spaying and neutering, and to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. In the U.S. Senate, he has consistently co-sponsored multiple bills to combat animal fighting and horse slaughter, and has supported efforts to increase funding for adequate enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and federal laws to combat animal fighting and puppy mills.

Now Hanna can rest easy . . .

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Note to self:
When you no longer drink like you did in your youth, and when you are eating lightly while you try to lose weight, don't head into your local pub, start chatting with a nice lady sitting next to you, and drink about a gazillion glasses of white wine.
Because this is what I did Friday night, meaning I spent yesterday with a wicked, wicked hangover. I honestly can't recall the last time I suffered so, but I don't plan on repeating that for a very long time.
The girls and I walked down and got my car today - thankfully, I had enough of my wits about me to realize it was wise to leave the car where it was, and walk home.
The reason I was in the pub on Friday night instead of my usual Saturday, was to avoid a guy I chatted with the previous Saturday. We talked for a bit, and he bought me a beer, and seemed ok, so I gave him my phone number, a move I now deeply regret. His contacts with me began normally, calling me and leaving a message on Sunday. That was the beginning of his daily phone calls. And not just once a day, by the time I got home from work on Wednesday, he'd called 4 times, each about 30 minutes apart, and each message getting worse. When I didn't call him back, he called me at 7:30 am on Thursday morning. I spoke to him about 8:30, and asked him to please not leave me multiple phone messages and not to call that early.
I could tell my pleas were falling on deaf ears. When I got home Thursday night, he'd left a couple more messages, the second one complaining that I hadn't returned the phone message he'd left me at 12 noon, even though he knew I was at work, and we'd spoken 3 1/2 hours earlier. He called again Friday night, and then again Saturday afternoon from the pub, whining that I wasn't there to meet him - this although I'd told him I'd be working Saturday. He said in the message that he thought the problem was that I just don't know him well enough, and to feel free to ask him anything about himself that I might want to know.
My only question is - dude, how can you be so freakin' clueless?
Anywhoo, I'm working today and watching the Ryder Cup and football, and hope to do better with my picks this week, even though I was unable to rent a chimp to make my picks for me.
Update - another phone call from Mr. Clueless
MC - Diiiaaaannneeee. I missed you yesterday.
Me - I told you I was working Saturday.
MC - I don't remember you telling me this.
Me - I'm really not interested in pursuing this, and I'm asking you to stop calling me.
MC - Well, you don't have to be so nasty about it.
Me - Well being nice about it hasn't worked, so I'm asking you to stop calling me.
MC - click.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wow! One for the good guys! From the folks at the Natural Resource Defense Council -
Dear Diane,
It's the best possible news! The Bush Administration has just announced it intends to withdraw its plan to strip gray wolves of their endangered species protection in the Northern Rockies.
What a huge win for wolves AND for hundreds of thousands of online activists like you who share the credit for this amazing victory! Let me bring you up to speed.
Last March, the Bush Administration declared the Northern Rockies' wolf population "fully recovered," then it handed off responsibility for the wolves to Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.
Just as we predicted, a bloodbath ensued, with 110 wolves slaughtered by state agents and hunters in as many days. NRDC, Earthjustice and 11 other conservation groups raced to court and won an injunction that put a temporary halt to the killing until the full case could be heard.
We fully expected to fight a drawn-out courtroom battle in order to win a permanent victory. But thanks to the Bush Administration's surrender, that battle will NOT happen. Instead, the wolves of Yellowstone and the surrounding region will remain protected by federal law. That means Wyoming, Montana and Idaho will NOT be allowed to begin the extermination of hundreds of wolves this fall as part of a massive public hunt -- the first in more than three decades.
Instead, those wolves will continue to roam the Rockies -- wild and free -- as nature and the law intended! Why did U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials throw in the towel?
They had to face up to the fact that their case against wolf protection would never hold up in court. Above all, they ignored the best available science showing that wolf populations had not fully recovered. In the end, the Administration had little choice but to put its tail between its legs and beat a hasty retreat.
Make no mistake: the fight doesn't end here. You can be sure the federal government will be back soon enough with a new plan. And the states will learn their lessons and return with yet another scheme for killing wolves.
But you can be equally sure that, with your help, NRDC will stand vigilant, fully prepared to meet and turn back any new and deadly threat.In the meantime, please join me and all of us here at NRDC in celebrating this red-letter day in the storied history of the Endangered Species Act. It happened because you and thousands of others chose to stand up in defense of embattled wildlife.
Thank you!
Frances Beinecke
President Natural Resources Defense Council
Me again - Of course, they are still shooting wolves from planes in Alaska . . .

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We went to the Vet for Hanna's second chemo treatment, and she seems to be handling it just fine. Since the appointment was 30 minutes later than I thought it was, we got to the office with plenty of time to spare. Instead of waiting inside, we laid down on the shady lawn around the side of the office and enjoyed a bit of the afternoon.

We were right under the flight path to the OC Airport, and had some pretty cool and pretty close up views of the underside of both private and commercial airplanes. My attempt to catch a photo on my iPhone of a plane was to no avail, but look how blue the sky is . . .

By the way, I love the eReader on my iPhone! Now, I always have a book with me to read when the opportunity presents itself. I finished up a Miss Marple mystery today, and started one featuring Hercule Poirot.
Happy story for the day . . .

When Shackle and her owner were unable to get out of town in time to avoid Hurricaine Ike, they showed up at a local church where folks were taking sanctuary from the rising floods. Shackle was welcomed along with her keeper, and here she hangs out on the altar riding out the storm . . .

As reported by the AP:

"The full-grown lion was from a local zoo, and the owner was trying to drive to safety with the animal when he saw cars and trucks stranded in the rising floodwaters. He knew he and the lion were in trouble. He headed for the church and was met by a group of residents who helped the lion wade inside, where they locked it in a sanctuary as the storm raged. The water crept up to their waists, and two-by-fours came floating through broken windows. But the lion was as calm as a kitten.

When daylight came, everyone was still alive. "They worked pretty well together, actually," said the lion's owner, Michael Ray Kujawa. "When you have to swim, the lion doesn't care about eating nobody."

Everybody in the church made it through the storm safely, and Shackle was rewarded for her good behavior with a pork roast.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sunday morning I headed over to the Bolsa Chica Wetlands for a hike. This time of year, there was not much wildlife, but I did get a couple photos of this Snowy Egret, and - drumroll please - this squirrel.

Hanna's doing well. The prednisone is making her very thirsty, so we are going through many bowls of water, and making lots of potty runs. And, with her stitches all healed, she got a bath today.

My football picks this week were a disaster. Next week I'm using a chimp to pull names out of a hat. Odds are my correct picks will improve with that trick.

I've lost a few pounds with Jenny Craig, and am adjusting to the program. I went in Saturday morning, and had a different consultant. She was a tad less annoying than the first one. My goal is to come up with a few pat comments/answers for each session that make it appear I'm contributing to the conversation, but leave no room for follow up inquiries.

Oh, and on Mad Men - Betty Draper is a beeyotch!

Friday, September 12, 2008

My garden is a bit bedraggled these days, but my plumeria are still in bloom . . .

Hanna had a rough night, last night. In the early evening, she was clearly uncomfortable and restless. It got worse, with her pacing, and seeming to be in considerable pain. I called the Vet (they have a Vet there 24 hours a day), and after she conferred with the chemo doctor, it was determined that the problem was likely not arising from the chemo, but from the aspirations in the surgery area, which were causing her pain. So, at 9 pm I headed out for doggie pain medication. It did seem to help, and she seemed a bit better today.
Not all news this week was bad. I found out I was the lucky winner of some hand dyed sock yarn and hand made soaps from a Knitters for Obama raffle. For every five dollars you donated to the campaign thru the KFO link, you got one raffle ticket to apply to about 40 donated (mostly) knitting related prizes. The raffle raised over $8500 for the campaign . . . and . . . I won a prize! They are now starting up another raffle.
I was 11-5 in my football picks last week, and hope to improve this week.
And kudos to the ladies on The View for being some of the few tv personalities willing to really grill John McCain. Rock on Barbara, Joy and Whoopi!
A few months back, I was looking for some suggestions of books, and LA recommended Youth in Revolt, and Sage recommended The Monkey Wrench Gang. Just started with both books, and thanks to LA and Sage for the recommendations!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It has not been my best week ever . . .

Monday night driving home from work, I got a flat tire on the freeway. Even knowing AAA was on the way, it was a bit disconcerting to hang out on the side of the road.
Thanks to everyone for all your good wishes for Hanna, and I wanted to let everyone know how she's doing. We went and talked to the oncologist today, who I really like. Here Hanna waits patiently for her adoring fans at the doctor's office to arrive and give her loving . . .
Hanna had her first dose of chemo today, and I'll also be giving her prednisone at home. The doctor did an ultrasound, and also took a needle aspiration of her spleen to try to ascertain whether the cancer has spread, and to what extent. We won't have the biopsy results of the spleen until tomorrow, but the ultrasound showed it has spread to some of her other lymph nodes. Asssuming she tolerates the chemo (which 90 - 95 percent of dogs do), we'll keep up with that, pretty aggressively at first and then tapering off. Unfortunately, the prognosis is not that good long term, and what we're looking at realistically is keeping her healthy and happy for about a year. Hopefully, she will be Super Dog and do better than expected.
She has quite the reputation around the Vet's office. While she was in the back for testing and chemo, the techs were trying to entice some poor dog who had lost his appetite into eating. They took their eyes off of Hanna, who promptly stole a cookie out of the tech's hand.
When I came back to pick her up, and was checking out, she noticed that there was a stuffed animal dog in a Vet outfit on the counter. In the blink of an eye, she jumped up and stole it off the counter. From there she hightailed it to the door, waiting for me to aid and abet her by opening it up for a quick getaway. Eventually, she put it down, and I stole it back for the office. If she didn't put it down I would have let her keep it. . . . she has cancer for chrissakes.
On top of this add the superficial problems of eating nothing but Jenny Craig, salads, fruit and vegetables all week, and the robin's egg bump on my forehead where some bug bit me in the middle of the night, and I might go off my diet long enough to have a glass of wine tonight.
But as Miss Scarlet might say . . . tomorrow is another day!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I love Ravelry . . .

This online community of knitters and crocheters rocks hard. It's where I discovered Knitters for Obama, which now numbers 2689 members, (growing daily), which has knit and crocheted 1000 items for homeless veterans, and which has raised thousands of dollars for the campaign.

The choice by McCain of Sarah Palin has also spawned a few new groups . . .

Two pro-Palin groups -

The Sassy Confident Sarah Palin Ravelrers [sic]

Aiding Sarah Palin for Vice President is exciting and frustrating at the same time. Encouraging each other to be confident, sassy, and taking no crap from no - task here. [sic].

205 members, since Sep 4 2008

Palin v. Biden

This is a group to discuss the differences between both running mates and their prospective leaders of the 2008 election. [sic]

20 members, since Sep 5 2008

And my personal favorite

Sarah Palin Must Be Stopped

For those who *really* don't want to see this woman anywhere near the 48 continental United States, much less the White House. (And, it looks like Hawaii doesn't want her, either.)

916 members, since Sep 5 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

If you ask the girls, the highlight of the weekend was my trip to Target on Sunday for new dog beds. As you can see, they are very fluffy and very comfy.

I didn't get too much done on Saturday - I was suffering through a sinus headache, but still headed out to the local pub to get in my and my brother's football pool picks. The bartender swore she had a remedy that would solve both hangovers (from which I wasn't suffering), and sinus headaches.

Take a can of Tecate. Don't pop it open. Squeeze lots of lime juice into the closed top of the can. Add a dash of salt and a good dash of Tapatio hot sauce. Pop the top and down a good portion of the can of beer.

It didn't cure my headache, but it was quite tasty.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I am so screwed . . .

As I mentioned before, I've been thinking about going to Jenny Craig for some help with losing weight, but what has kept me away is having to deal with my assigned "consultant," who will ask me inane questions each week in an effort to be supportive.

Nevertheless, Friday I decided to bite the bullet and went on in to my local Jenny Craig. I almost asked the receptionist if she could assign me to a consultant who would basically leave me alone, but held my tongue. She buzzes "Elizabeth" who comes out to meet me . . .

Elizabeth - Diane? Diane X?

Me - Hi - just one sec while I finish this email . . . (I was responding to a work email on my iPhone)

Elizabeth - you don't recognize me?

Me - mumbles . . .

Elizabeth - is your mom Mary X?

Me - yes . . .

Elizabeth - it's me, Elizabeth Y!

Me - oh, hi, how are you?

Turns out that Elizabeth grew up one street over from my family, but was a few years behind me in school. I basically don't recollect anyone who was a few years younger than me in the neighborhood. Our mothers were friends. My primary memory of her is that when her mom went on vacation, her and her brothers stayed with us for a few weeks. Elizabeth slept in my bed with me, and she wet the bed.

She's pretty new to Jenny Craig, having changed careers when the mortgage industry dried up. She's super hyper, talks constantly, talks over me, and doesn't listen to anything I say so that she keeps repeating the same questions . . .

I am so screwed . . .

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hanna gets her stitches out tomorrow, yay! We've been following the doctor's limited exercise restrictions, so while we don't walk too far, we find a nice place to sit in the grass and watch the world go by. Here we are this afternoon . . .

I brought my iPhone with me, so while the girls grazed on grass, I read Miss Marple on my eReader and listened to the sound track to Into the Wild.

'twas a lovely way to end the day . . . Oh, and a colleague of mine was just in Atlantic City and he sent me some salt water taffy, which was waiting on the front porch when I got home.

So besides having to listen to two a-holes in my office discussing how Sarah Palin really does have more experience than Obama, and whether they are going to shell out 700 bucks to hear her speak to some right wing nut job organization to which they belong, it was, overall, a good day.

And as someone posted on Knitters for Obama today, "Jesus was a community organizer; Pontius Pilate was a governor."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Are you ready for some football?
I LOVE football season! I will be participating in three pools this year - the Gridiron Apocalypse for bragging rights, the World's Easiest Football Pool for the chance to win a few grand if I can pick one team to win each week, (no repeating teams), and my local pub's weekly pool, for the chance to win about 200 - 300 bucks each week, and a certain reluctant respect from the salty dogs in town.
While this may lead you to believe that I'm one step away from gambler's anonymous, it's not as bad as it sounds. Promise.
Wish me luck! Baby needs new shoes . . .

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

sweater done2

I accomplished my goal for the weekend and finally finished this sweater! Of course, it's made of wool, so not suitable for wearing in So Cal for another three months . . .

Even though the holiday was yesterday, the office is deserted today which amplifies my lethargic work ethic.

I'm starting to totally dig the eReader on my iPhone. I finished Tarzan of the Apes and started a Miss Marple mystery while I was getting a pedicure. Tarzan is one of those books that you have to keep reminding yourself was written before anybody had heard the terms "politically correct." Now while I'm no expert on babies raised by animals, it seems to me unlikely that such a baby, when he had reached his teens, could stumble upon some books and teach himself to be a fluent reader and writer. It also seems unlikely that a child who had never spoken except in his native ape language would develop a fluent and charming way with French in about a month. (It's unclear what species of ape he lived with, but it seems to be some sort of missing link). It also seems unlikely that the spawn of a British fop and his wife would grow into a master hunter and fighter.

All that being said, the book did come free with the eReader.

Oh, and I did get a chuckle out of this cartoon my cousin sent me . . .