Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Life among the animals

This month has been a frustrating one, for me and the animals both. Owning four animals is not always easy. Most of the time it is- sometimes things happen though, that you need to take care of.

Earlier this month, I was really sick for a week- I joked with everyone that I had malaria, but I did have a high fever for four days, and all I did was sleep. My poor husband was a little overwhelmed with all the duties he now had to take over. He did a good job, but one thing was neglected. A very important thing. The cats' litter boxes. The week I was sick, was the week I should have done The Big Clean. You all who own cats know what I mean - the week you completely scour the boxes top to bottom, new litter, etc. When you do this really depends on your cat's level of picky. Mine are picky, but I usually do The Big Clean every two weeks, with scooping every two days. I had also changed the litter box situation, from three boxes to two bigger boxes.

Well, Billy didn't do The Big Clean. I am not sure he even scooped. I was unconscious, and it wasn't in my thoughts when I was awake. So, what started to happen? One or more of my cats started to urinate on my brand new couch. At first I worried bladder infection immediately, and tried to figure out which of my cats was doing it. How would I figure that out? I know now I could isolate them one at a time in the bathroom with a box, but then, I was just freaking out. I caught one of my cats, who wishes to remain nameless, wet footed. After talking to my friends who are also experts on cats, Billy and I decided we had to change our setup first, and then also clean the cushion with an industrial strength enzyme cleaner. So, we added another box, which we really should never have gotten rid of, and cleaned the cushion twice with enzyme cleaner. Now, knock on wood, we haven't had any problems. If that hadn't worked, the next step would have been the vets.

Which brings me to Miss Penny. Doesn't she look cute in her 70s style picture? A week after we figured the cat problem out, Billy went on vacation. Penny urinated in the house three times that weekend. Now, Penny is a sensitive dog, and changes in routine or schedule throw her off big time, and for her to do this in reaction is not too unusual. The week following this started my summer break, and I didn't notice her acting unusually, and she didn't have any more problems. Until last Saturday, when she did it again, twice in one day, both times when Billy and I were both gone more than five hours. This prompted a trip to the vet on Sunday. The vet ordered a urinalysis, which I am waiting for the results on currently, nervously and anxiously. He said we will start there, and then make our way through other possibilities. The only other thing we have noticed is more frequent bathroom stops on walks.

Does this stretch our budget thin? Of course, especially since Billy is unemployed. Should Penny suffer because of this? No, it is not her fault. Should I have surrendered all my animals to the pound, and said that one of them is urinating in my house? Of course not, although so many people do. They don't bother to find out why - and the answer could be as simple as cleaning a litter box and adding one, or a trip to the vet. And if we have to cut back to pay for the vet visits, so be it. I just want my animals healthy and happy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lost City of Z - Book Club

Hostess: Chrissy
Book: Lost City of Z by David Grann
Food:Smoked Trout and Cucumber sandwiches, Greek Orzo salad, Roasted Beets with Feta and Basil, Bruschetta with Feta and Basil, gourmet olive tray, Vegan Rosewater Cupcakes
Wine of the Night: Xplorador Malbec
Month: June

A book about adventure and explorers in the Amazon Rain forest? Danger, romance, lost cities- how exciting!! I have always been interested in this type of story, about those who break trail and discover new places and new cultures. For most of my life I wanted to be the female Indiana Jones- archaeologist, explorer, adventurer. I am content now to simply read about others adventures, for the most part, although sometimes I still find myself daydreaming about being part of a dig or an expedition...

Most of us agreed that this book was not one that was a super easy breezy read. Parts of it just took a little longer to get through, but it really picked up steam in the last third. We all found it fascinating, and Alyssa said she was hooked from the first paragraph. I think this statement by Alyssa is a testimony to how riveting this book can be- Alyssa is an avid reader, but not necessarily a big fan of historical books. So this was a heavy compliment with some weight behind it.

Words we used to describe Fawcett ranged from amazing to crazy, from jerk to compassionate. He was amazing in his single mindedness, his stamina that kept him going while those around him fell prey to the jungle's dangers, including disgusting life threatening insects and starvation, crazy for doing it over and over in those conditions, a jerk to his expedition members and his wife and two of his children, yet compassionate for the natives of the land. Jennifer made a good point about that- despite his faults, he really tried hard to be respectful of the native people, wanting to befriend them and putting his life and the life of his team at risk at times, with his orders not to shoot at the Indians (the Grann's word for the native people so I am assuming it is accurate) even when they were seemingly hostile. This is such a different approach from other explorers that enslaved or killed the native people in the lands they explored. I feel part of this difference is because Fawcett never wanted to conquer, just discover.

One thing we didn't discuss but we are all friends having a good time and conversation wanders, was what we all thought happened to Fawcett. Did we believe Grann's explanation?

I really enjoyed this book, and feel that as a reader you must press on, because it is worth it.

Chrissy's rosewater cupcakes were fantastic by the way- and she even made her own rosewater! Yum!

Next month is Kelly's pick, yet to be announced.

For my full review of this book, you can find it here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lavender and Roses

Long time, no write! I would like to say it is because I have been busy traveling the globe or doing exciting things, but unfortunately, that is not the reason. I haven't even really been doing anything cool close to home- I had been busy with work, and then once work was out for the summer, I have been lazily reading. You can read my book reviews if you want on my other blog. :)

I have lately found myself in love with roses and lavender. Two flowers/plants I never would have imagined myself to like, much less love. Too girly, too victorian, too fussy and old. I have always been drawn to the bold happy flowers like sunflowers, daisies, black-eyed susans, and even dandelions. But not roses or lavender. But somehow they have been the basis of my landscaping in the front of our home. And I love it. I have spent the past few days reading about roses, researching new and different roses to buy and plant in our yard, front and back. I am about to order this one, I think it will look fabulous in between two lavender plants. I have this vision of sitting out on my front porch in the evening with Billy and a glass of wine, on my newly painted red 1950s Scallop Chairs, enveloped in the scent of roses and lavender, the evening's cool breeze keeping us not too warm, enjoying the moonlight and stars. In reality, it will probably be muggy and humid and buggy. But we can all dream, right?

I have been reading The Bucolic Plague, which is a fabulous book!! After reading it, I have resolved to try to incorporate more heirloom vegetables in my garden next year. Chrissy has heirloom tomatoes, a Black Krim variety, this summer, and I am looking forward to seeing them, and hopefully trying one. Hint, hint. I am impatiently waiting for our harvests to come in - I can't wait to eat fresh tomatoes, peppers, and all the other goodies we have planted. I have all my canning supplies on hand too, so that I can save and "put up" jams, veggies, salsa, and tomatoes for winter. I am also looking forward to the traditional, yearly blueberry picking I do with my friend Jennifer and her son. That is always fun and the blueberries are so fresh and amazing. It looks like it is going to be a great summer so far!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Ramblings

Sitting here this morning, waiting. I feel like I am stuck in a rut of planning - like this weird limbo-time where I am just waiting and researching.

I am waiting for the end of the school year - I am ready for lazy mornings. But I do have to do something to fill in the money gaps this summer due to Billy's unemployment. I have some ideas and some applications out there, so I am waiting and seeing. My photography for the Patch (like these silly crazy Alpacas from Saturday's shoot) will help out some, so that is good, and sales from my etsy store. So it is a kind of wait and see situation on this front.

But back to waiting- we are still waiting on our adoption. This is the biggest wait of all. We aren't even waiting for a referral yet, we are waiting to finish our home study. I have faith we will get through this, although sometimes, I feel as we will be waiting forever. We need to wait and see how B.'s business works out - we are researching that and feeling our way through it bit by bit. So those are two waits really - the business and the adoption.

On a lighter note - I am also waiting for my clothes to dry so I can go grocery shopping. But that is a wait I don't really mind.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011