plato caligula lucifersam apollo

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not a good time around here

Pug has a lump on his hindleg. We took him to the vet today and they diagnosed it as a mast cell tumor. He gets operated on Friday, the day after Stan gets oral surgery to have the foundation for the tooth implant put in place.

I feel so bad because he had the lump for a while, but Stan and I thought it was another lipoma or fatty cyst like he had on his back last year. But today it seemed bigger, and fortunately our vet is able to get us in so quickly. He already had a fibrosarcoma removed from his foreleg last fall. This is just too much.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Pug Hug 2008

Photos/slideshow here.

I did the site in iWeb (came free w/my new macbookpro), which is great for compiling photo albums and putting it in nifty slideshow format. Not as good with customizing it and artistic design, so I feel a little embarrassed because it doesn't look very "Ann". But hey, it's just a pet site.

Now I'm trying to find a way to re-publish it to my web host w/out having to upload the whole damn thing whenever I make a tiny change--one of iWeb's not-so-brilliant features. I'm not paying $99/year for MobileMe just so I can host iWeb-created pages w/ease. Sorry, I just can't do it.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Traditional Nightmare DREAM

We had a large 55 gal. aquarium that was filled with a few strange creatures that sort of looked like large smooth-skinned caterpillars. As I looked through the cage these creatures mutated into lizards, and then larger lizards and then larger and larger until a couple lizards nearly filled up the entire cage. They were about the size of a monitor lizard. These lizards looked vicious, with very large thorns...like rose thorns, except proportionately larger. I wanted to get the large lizards out of the cage so they wouldn't crowd the smaller ones. Stan was trying to grab them, but they kept lunging toward our cat, Apollo, and I was afraid that they could grab him in their jaws. We pulled one of the lizards out and our Boston Terrier, Plato, started to sniff its head. I was afraid the lizard would hurt Plato too. Then Stan took the lizards outside. He was just going to leave them out there, exposed to the Wisconsin elements. We had a sliding glass door, which we do not have on our house IRL, and I had accidentally left it open and Apollo got out. He was just hanging out in the yard, but I was scared that I had been so negligent. We put him back him, and my body was filled with terror from these very scary lizards and how they were endangering the well-being of my animals.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Apollo is Stood Up by His Squirrelfriend

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cat Owners: This Ever Happen to You? Potential Gross-out Factor...use Caution.

It's early in the morning, dark, and you're half asleep. You feel a cat next to you so you reach over to pet and tickle it. You're coochying its underbelly and you come across something that doesn't feel right. The fur has some crusty substance around a place that seems to be without fur. Since this cat had a mast cell tumor three years ago, you worry it might be another one, although you wonder why you didn't notice this on your cat sooner since it feels rather large. You continue to feel this area trying to figure out whether the crusty substance is dried blood and pus from an infected area or tumor or if the cat got into some dirty substance like messy human food or just what is going on. And then you realize...for the last minute you've been feeling the cat's anus.

GAAAAH!!!!!

You're no longer half asleep but frantically washing your hands in the bathroom.

"Those aren't pillows..."

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

They Shoot Mourning Doves, Don't They?

I saw the oddest bird at our birdfeeder today. It had a white body with black head, black wings and black tail. It sort of looked like it had a skunk stripe down its back, but it was just because the body was white and the wings were black. On the black wings and tail were a few random white spots. It had a gold beak and was eating sunflower seeds from our feeder. I've never seen anything like it. I tried to shoot it (with a camera, that is) from the bedroom window, but it flew away, of course. Maybe it's a migratory bird. It returned again this afternoon and I noticed it also had a reddish-orange breast. I tried to shoot it again, but could only get the picture below which I had to crank up the brightness and contrast on. I couldn't get any closer to it, and shooting it through a window without it seeing you is a little difficult.

Mourning doves have to be the stupidest birds in the world. A few days ago I saw one land on top of our feeder. It's one of those feeders that hangs from a fishing wire and is supposedly squirrel-proof. It has a bottom part where the seeds go in, and a top covering that deflects rain and jumping squirrels. The dove was standing on this top part, making those jerky head strutting pigeon movements, looking around, wondering where the food was. Well, at the time, there might not have been food in the feeder, but if there was, it wouldn't have been on top. But it happened again today, shortly after the mystery bird sighting. It landed on top of the feeder, wondering how to get at the food which was in the level below. The stupid bird could not figure out how to get to the food. All our backyard birds, from large crows to baby sparrows learning to fly figure out how to fly into the bottom level, except the Mourning Dove. Such a stupid bird. They have such small heads in comparison to their body size. If a chickadee had a body the size of a Mourning Dove's, it would have a head the size of a tennis ball. Wisconsin recently passed a law that allows people to shoot Mourning Doves. I guess they are overpopulated, yet I thought it was a stupid law. But considering the skyrocketing price of food, our doves might look pretty good when gas is $60/gallon and bread is $15/loaf and chicken is $30/lb. Actually, we have an overpopulation of Allium in our backyard which started from a few bulbs. Each year there's more and more and they're taking over the tulips and everything else in our yard. Allium are from the onion/garlic family, so we can cook the doves with the allium bulbs.

I don't know if I could actually kill a warm-blooded creature. We caught our own crawfish and carp and ate them once (Stan caught the fish with his bare hands). But a bird? You can't catch a bird with your bare hands. You might be able to ambush them with a net...they're pretty slow and tame...and stupid. But I refuse to have any sort of gun.

What will we be willing to do when the food crisis gets bad?

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Silly Cat Games

Apollo has taken to drowning his toys. We bought him a croaking metallic fabric frog, and he put it in his waterbowl. We thought that was rather cute, all the while hoping the water won't rust the croaking sound mechanism, since frogs belong in water. Then he did it to a toy mouse, and a toy rat, and then an abstract cloth triangular tassle cat toy thing. This morning while Stan was getting ready for work, I felt a cat on the bed, so I reached my hand out to him. I was surprised to feel sopping wet cat feet. I felt further and felt this really soggy fuzzy wet mess that wasn't part of the cat. It freaked me out a bit, mostly because it is a WET thing on the covers in a 60 degree house in the middle of a -30 degree windchill morning. I flung it. Later today he brought me another drowned toy mouse.

Odd cat. Never had one do that before.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Two Cat Night

It's very cold here. We went to "Pugapalooza" on the coldest day of the year (last Saturday). Lucifer Sam had fun. He had a yearly exam this Tuesday and everything looks great...no new growths. The vet said the thing on his back last fall was probably a cyst since it has now disappeared.

The week before that, we took Caligula and Plato to the vet's. Caligula has a slight heart murmur, and we got some new diet food for him....hopefully this stuff will work.

Plato also has a slight heart murmur, which is slightly higher than Caligula's, but they said it's nothing too much to be concerned about unless it gets worse. He also has a cataract in his (left?) eye, but they say they rarely operate on that if he can still see to get around. His blood tests also came back slightly elevated (just a little higher than normal) in the liver function and some gall bladder enzyme, which could be the precursor of "Cushing's disease" (which manifests itself differently in dogs than humans). Evidently it's very common. We will need to retest in the spring to see if it is continuing to rise or not. It's nothing out of the normal in dogs his age. It's just a matter to prepare ourselves that he is getting old and will start to have problems. He's 11...almost 11.5. He sleeps almost all day in this weather. I want to too.

Apollo is still half sweetness and light, and half demonspawn. During "normal" weather we keep the bedroom door closed as it helps alleviate Stan's snore problem to not have cat fur on the bed. But in this subarctic cold, we keep it open, otherwise that room is just too cold when it's shut. Last night Apollo crawled under the covers. I was afraid he was going to suffocate, so I couldn't sleep the whole time he was under there because I was worrying about waking up to a dead kitten. Finally, he started to bite my legs, so I squeezed him out the bottom of the bed. It was so cold, Stan even welcomed Caligula, the biggest furmaker of them all, on the bed. Bed's too high for the dogs...they sleep in their kennel bunkies. So it's not really a three dog night, just a two cat night.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

DREAM: Jumper

I was in a condominium or apartment or hotel in some city that wasn't Madison. I think my parents and Stan were there. We were on a non-ground-level floor, probably around the 5th floor or so. We went outside to leave and there was a stone ledge. I saw a black Pug, I think it was Lucifer Sam, on the ledge. My parents and Stan were already outside, and I was surprised to see them let the Pug on the ledge. I went to grab him, but he jumped. I awoke with a start, my heart was pounding.

I hate dreams like that.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Nursey Kitty/Human-Sized Cat Bag Idea

One of the first things we got Apollo was a kitty bed. It's like a bag with soft plush material inside, really snuggly. I don't think he liked it much at first, I think he preferred the towels we piled up on the floor for him to sleep on because he had gotten used to those. But after a while I noticed that the interior of the bed was darker, discolored. It was moist, but not malodorous. Then I had my suspicions...he was nursing it.

Natasha, our first cat, did the same thing, except she did it on ME when I was wearing black clothing. We suspected her mother was black or dark-colored. She was a black and rusty semi-long hair tortie. This kitty snuggle bed that Apollo has is cream-colored, so we suspect his mother was light-colored like him.

When he's in his nursey mode (they say it's from having been weaned too young...none of our grey-cats did/do it) he's practically hypnotized. He can snap out of it very quickly and become demonspawn from hell.

Yesterday and today Lucifer Sam stared at him when he was nursing, sort of puzzled by it. It's really the only time the Pug can get up close to him and look at him without Demonspawn attacking him. Yes, this cat attacks the dogs. I think it's playful. He wants them to play. But Lucifer Sam doesn't really understand playful kittens. We got him when the other cats, even Caligula, were really past their playful stages. Plato understands playful kittens better beacuse when he was two, we got Caligula. I am amazed at how well Plato does with this little guy--they really get along quite well.

Apollo is now integrated into the house with the rest of the animals. He sleeps with Caligula a short ways away on the futon.

I want one of those kitty bag beds for myself, except human-sized. Why don't they make them? Blankets aren't the same thing. You sit on a couch and put a blanket on you, but it's only on the top of you. Your legs dangle over the side and the underside of them get cold. Not with a superplush human-sized kitty bag bed! You crawl in it, and it's sort of like a sleeping bag, but without the uncomfortable zippers and plaid flannel lumpy interior. It conforms more to your body, it's not as stiff and bulky as a sleeping bag.

Can someone please manufacture this? I really need one for nights like these.

Sometimes I wish I sewed just so I could make my own cat toys and the superplush human-sized kitty bag bed. However I absolutely HATE sewing. I got a sewing machine to use with art once (sewing paper together) but don't use it anymore because even in the production of art I found sewing to be one of the worst activities ever.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Various

I've been sick for almost a week now with a really bad sore throat. I got it from Stan. He's better now, and it progresses every day (today it's not as sore as it was, but my ears feel like they've been stuffed with cotton), so I know it's nothing serious, just some obnoxious virus.

Each day Caligula hisses less at Apollo, but they're far from snuggle lovers. That might take years. Apollo actually gets along with Plato the best, probably because they're both Alphas and they've worked it out (meaning little kitty bites Plato, Plato puts little kitten in his place). Apollo likes to lovebite Lucifer Sam, but the bites are getting less annoying and Lucifer Sam is tolerating him more.

Watched a really enjoyable show last night on Sundance channel called "Nimrod Nation." The Nimrods is the school mascot for Watersmeet, Michigan. It's a documentary that revolves around the high school basketball team, the Nimrods, but it also shows a lot of the small town life and local characters. The setting is very Fargo-esque, and a good thing to watch on a cold night because it makes you feel glad you're in balmier climes. No really, the best line I've heard from any documentary came from "Nimrods" when a teenage girl is complaining about living in the Upper Peninsula and says "I don't like living in Michigan, it's too cold. I want to move to Wisconsin." Stan and I went through Watersmeet a couple times. We spent the night there once in a grungey little hunters' motel/cabin to see the Paulding lights back in 1997. We refused to stay in the casino, the only other lodging in town. That was mid-September and the weather was nice, and the pond by our cabin was idyllic. But this documentary is shot in winter, not as welcoming.

I have this horrible reocurring dream that is always the same theme: I haven't graduated from either under-grad or graduate school, I haven't scheduled my final show yet, or taken an outside credit, or even figured out which semester I'm going to graduate. I had one of those dreams last night. And at the end I'm always thinking, "maybe I can put off graduating another semester, it doesn't really matter anyway." Ugh. I'm so glad that part of my life is over and completed. I don't know why I keep having these dreams.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Good News

The vet aspirated Lucifer Sam's lump and couldn't find any suspicious cells. She says that it is possibly a lipoma which is a benign tumor made of fat cells or a swollen sebaceous gland, but nothing that needs immediate surgery. We do need to keep an eye on it, and if it does get bigger, however, we will need to have it re-aspirated, but most likely it is benign.

She said that his previous cancerous lump, the fibrosarcoma, was not something that would spread, so the chances of him getting another one, especially one on a completely different part of the body, are pretty low.

This lump also had a different feel to it, and limpomas are pretty common and unrelated to his previous condition.

I'm quite relieved!

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Non-Ornamental Illness

This weekend was a rollercoaster of emotions. I sold a painting...a large one, which really helps since this past month or two has been dead dead dead for the online sales. The family who bought it saw it at Sundance Cinema a few months ago. Sundance, by the way, called me back for a return showing a few weeks ago since the people/gallery/organization they had scheduled pulled out at the last minute because they thought Sundance's exposure would "dilute" their "image"--ok, whatever...I'm really glad I showed there, not just because it resulted in a sale of a large piece, but just because it's good exposure. At first I thought the people who pulled out were maybe some kind of snooty artschool conceptual theory types, but when I found their gallery online, I was really amazed that they had the nerve to pull out of a classy venue like Sundance. Well, their loss is my gain.

Anyway, I'm digressing. I was feeling a bit melancholy missing Letha and how her magenta rainbows will never embrace our wall again. And then Stan found a new lump on Lucifer Sam. This one is on his back.

The rest of the night I spent puking and endlessly voiding myself. I stayed up all night in a delirium, like a bad drunken reaction or a horrible flu. I simply cannot take another episode of these pet disasters. I hate to play favorites, but Lucifer Sam is my favorite pet. And this happening to him again is too much for me.

I suspect I have a panic disorder. But all the triggers are known, they don't happen out of the blue. Recently, it has been pet health issues, like when I thought the little kitten was horribly ill because he had diarrhea and vomited...all it was was too much running and a change of food. But the lump...a couple months after his other cancer...this is just too much.

I couldn't eat anything yesterday, but towards the middle of the day I had Stan get me some donuts. That was the only thing I had a taste for. Why donuts? Who knows. These situations give me weird cravings, usually for food I normally don't eat. We seldom ever eat donuts. We probably average one donut a year. Except this year sort of blew that average because of yesterday.

We take Lucifer Sam in today to get checked. I am so fearful.

I get these attacks when something is messing with my life, either with pet health issues, or when people mess with me interpersonally. This last one with the Pug was the worst yet. Stan said I looked really weak and pale. I looked up panic disorder online, but it seems those are more spontaneous in occurrence. This is not spontaneous or an unknown trigger. I know exactly what causes it. I'd be just fine if there was no lump on my Pug. I'd have been just fine in the past if people weren't being assholes. I'm not talking run-of-the-mill difficult customers, I'm talking people who have it in for you through no fault of your own, because they're mentally unstable or petty or bullies, or whatever, and they act like 10-year-olds even though they're adults.

Last night I had an embarrassing dream that I was making love to Johnny Depp. His hair was too short, though, pity. I kept wondering in the dream "what does he want with ME?"

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Cat Stuff

Our so-called "vacation" is over. We didn't go anywhere. Nowhere. It just wouldn't have worked out, even to go up north and spend the night for a day or two. I think the kitten is too young for this--I want him to get acclimated to this house first. Well, he's not in the "house" yet, just the upstairs, which is really cramped and filled with art and boxes and plants that he's not supposed to get into (I caught him peeing in the large coleus plants the other day, so Stan put this nylon "goat wire" over them.). Mostly the kitten is confined to the upstairs bathroom when we're not around to watch him. This quarantine is killer. Next time, we're getting the elder cat vaccinated for leukemia first. Had I only known...I guess we didn't even think about it back when we got Caligula--maybe we had been giving Persephone the shots, but I know we had stopped for Natasha. And that turned out ok. Maybe they're more cautious now. Who knows.

Note, if you're confused, here's the deal: Yes, we had Caligula vaccinated for feline leukemia, but we stopped when he was about 3 per the advice of the vets because he is an indoor cat, and they suggest not continuing the shots for indoor-only cats. Not forseeing that if we bring a new young kitten into the house who can't be verified leukemia-negative until a certain age, we cannot have Caligula exposed until that kitten's final leukemia test, just on the off-chance the kitten has it, we don't want it spreading to Caligula. (I doubt he does). Hence, we have Caligula on the first floor and basement access, and Apollo upstairs.

Needless to say, I have this antsy "I want to travel feeling" which won't be satisfied until spring at the soonest. I don't feel rested, even though I slept better than i would've on an actual vacation, being in my own bed and all.

OK, here's a thought. Why don't dry cat and dog food manufacturers offer a free cat or dog toy inside, like the way cereal does for kids? I think this would be great! I mean, pet toys are made as much for people, with all the sparkly bright colors, as they are for pets. Humans, even adults, like getting free brightly colored bonus things. If they didn't, store shelves wouldn't be as full of pink bippity balls and turquoise piddy mice and chartreuse dingle birds for kitties and all the multi-colored balls and faux-bones and stuffed chewtoys for dogs. If we didn't like these things, we'd just give our dogs old shoes and socks and our cats pieces of paper and tin foil. I think this would be a great marketing device, even if we educated pet owners buy food on the basis of the food itself. It couldn't hurt, right?

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!


from Lucifer Sam the Pirate (complete with Cap'n Jack dreads) and Plato the Holstein Boston Terror



Here's a YouTube vid of some compiled stills during their photo shoot...much easier than making a web gallery of photos.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DREAM: Disney Pets; More Apollo Updates

Just when I said I would't write for a while...

Stan and I were in a very weird Disneyland sort of store or museum. OK, I've never been to Disneyland or Disneyworld* so I have no idea what it is like other than the hideous images I see on TV*. Actually, this was darker and more sinister. It had a very curious display of animatronic animals...puppies, kittens, ducks, bunnies. They were rather realistic except they had no fur or feathers...just a soft rubbery substance that was so soft to the touch it only seemed like fur. They were prompted by people's reactions to them to come up to you and get petted, roll around on the floor, act sweet, but never nip or bite. I was amazed that a robot could react so naturally to environmental prompts, yet puzzled that the exterior remained furless, and that they also looked rather slightly cartoony with exaggeratedly large heads and eyes. I think it would be easier to get the thing to *look* real rather than to program it for real reactions, but what do I know, I'm just an artist and not a geek.

----

Instead of sitting on the futon/couch scrunched up with a Pug while I type this, I'm upstairs with Apollo. Last week we decided that since this quarantine is going to be longer than we had anticipated--even though all odds are that he's perfectly fine**, I'm going to have to find a way to actually make my time productive while I'm up here on kitten socialization duty. Yes, I can paint in the blue room, but I can't really watch the kitten well when I paint and I don't always want to paint. Yes, I can work on my desktop computer in the green room, but I would have my back to the main action, and I really don't use that as my main computer anymore anyway since I've gone into laptop mode. So I thought that having a small table up here to keep in the main upstairs room that I could sit at on the floor and work on jewelry or draw would be a good idea. This room is small and filled with plants, an exercise bike, boxes of envelopes (for my business), and art, so there's not room for a "real" table and chairs. I found some short table legs and some wood at Menards and Stan put it together for me. It's perfect. I sit on pillows on the floor, and the table is lightweight and can be moved aside so I can get out from under it. It's very Eastern, like some tea rooms at Asian restaurants, or some Middle Eastern restaurants where you can sit on the floor. I can eat here (I had a ham sandwich last night which I tried to train Apollo not to beg for) and right now I'm using my laptop on it. It's the perfect height. I'm surprised this sort of setup isn't more popular. It is very comfortable, and very non-Western. I'm not much of a chair person, and I hate dangling my legs. Even when I work on my deskop computer, I either put my legs up on my chair or up on a footstool. This way I don't have to. Why is this culture so chair-obsessed and anti-sitting on floors? I think floor sitting keeps one young. When I think about my parents or grandparents, they never sat on the floor. I don't want to be that way.

*Even if my parents had the money to, they never would've taken me to a place like that, which is one of the rare things I can respect about them. And why would I want to go as an adult? I hate artificial entertainment like that. Give me a natural history museum or a national park any day. Las Vegas, Disneyland...blech. You couldn't pay me to go.

**I did know a kitten that had Leukemia...Otto or Otis or something...one of the only Manx I had known. He was a next door neighbor cat--they thought he had been given vaccinations, but maybe he had come pre-infected and the shots didn't help. He got skinnier and skinnier until he died...sad, sad sad, so I don't want to take chances, although Caligula could stand to lose a few pounds if Apollo had it (I'm just kidding of course).

Good news...despite his sassier demeanor as of late, and his ambivalence about his own name, Apollo *does* know what a stern NO! means. If he's trying to get at a plant or some other bad cat thing, and one says "NO!", he'll chortle and run off.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Apollo 10.15.07

Here's a videe of the little guy last Monday. We haven't taken any pictures since then, but we'll try to take more now that I emptied out the camera memory finally.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Short Apollo Update

Just an update...Apollo is doing fine and having fun with the dogs when we bring them upstairs. Unfortunately, he will be quarantined--away from Caligula--for longer than we thought because the vet said they need to make sure he (Apollo) does not have Feline Leukemia (he's tested negative, buy they need to make sure with one final test after a certain age). Caligula hasn't been vaccinated for feleuk since 2001, since they generally don't do that for middle-aged indoor cats. I guess, had we known ahead of time, we could've gotten Caligula a feleuk shot, but it's a little late now. I'm sure Apollo is healthy, and in less than a month (yes, a whole month wait...ugh) we will be able to introduce him to Caligula.

He's developed quite an appetite. There's a long story in there involving not eating much of the food they gave us at the pet store, trying canned food, gobbling canned food, vomit, diarrhea, Ann freaking out, scheduled vet visit, new dry vet-prescribed food, and kitty tummy back to normal. There, that was concise.

I won't be writing much lately as this actually is our vacation time, and I'm trying to spend life as if it really were a travelling vacation, even though it is just a kitten vacation.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Some Brave Apollo

We've got kitten! He was born August 1 (a cat that's a Leo) up nort dere, fixed and declawed, and we named him Apollo. We were actually not going to have our new cat declawed this time, but since they already did that when they neutered him, that's ok. He's the color of a striped sand dune.

They say to quarantine your kitten for 10-14 days if you've got other cats in case the kitten has some sort of kitty cold virus. He appears to be healthy and playful. It will hard to be keeping him and Caligula separate, especially since I'd really like to hae him on my lap when I'm downstairs watching tv, but he'll have to stay upstairs until the time period is over. He can meet the dogs, though.

Pictures will be coming when we take them. He's very motorized, probably the loudest purrer we've had. We'll be taking him for lots of car rides. We want him to be a travel buddy so we can take him with us like the dogs and Caligula.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

DREAMs: Turquoise Kittens and Apartment Fires

Some time last week I had a dream that Stan and I were looking for kittens. I think we might have gone to Noah's ark. There were a whole bunch of them, and they were very young. They had a wet quality to their fur, like newborns. I saw a turqoise one and wanted to get that one, but it seemed too young.

The strange thing, is that it was so matter-of-fac t. A turquoise kitten--oh, that's a pretty color, not A TURQUOISE KITTEN?!?!?!?!? WTF?

---

The following night, I again had a dream about a turquoise kitten, this one a little older, maybe 4 months. It was a darker turquoise, maybe a teal. Very pretty. Again, very matter-of-fact, like, "Oh, here's another turquoise cat."

---

Last night I had a very weird dream that I was in an old apartment with very high ceilings---maybe 12 foot high. It seemed more like a old store converted to living space. Supposedly there had been a fire on the top floor where other people lived. They sent in a building inspector or a landlord to look at my unit and ceiling to determine if there was anything wrong. I was worried that my place would catch on fire. They pulled tiles from the ceiling to examine what was up there, and it was a convoluted thick matrix of wiring (The Matrix, Stan!!!), not what one would expect to find inside a ceiling in an old building. The inspector/landlord was talking to me that they would have to do repairs and at that time I'd have to find another place to stay temporarily. I said it was a good place my parents lived in town so I could stay with them, so I guess this place was in Fort Collins. Stan was not in the picture. Weird.

Later, I was at my parents and I had a young cat with me who looked just like Persephone, but had more meat on her. My dad was enjoying this cat. I think I was with Stan in this part of the dream.

Later still, I think I was back at the burned apartment building, standing on the side of it with Stan and talking to some neighbors (late 20s, early 30s) who lived nearby. I showed them an electrical wire that looked like barbed wire and asked them if it was theirs. We discussed the fire. The building was painted similar colors to ours except less subdued and maybe of a mid-value. It was very Victorian-looking and made out of brick.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Potted Spiced Ham and other Treats

OK, I got comment spam in the entry below this morning, not an offensive spam for p*rn or predatory lending (although the spam did mention the name Ad*m Sm*th which, if one could extrapolate, one could assume he certainly wouldn't be *against* predatory lending, being the father of the free market and all that capitalist libertarian BS...yet I digress--I'm not an economic historian so I don't know what he really would've thought of such a thing.

No, this spam was from some bloody clueless guy promoting his site and authorship, and his soon-to-be famous name. Did it have anything to do with my dog or my pet situation? Or a story about his dog? No. It was just blatant self-promotion and completely off topic. But it was so cluelessly off topic that it was rather amusing. I thought for a short while, I'll just leave it, with my own snarky comment about spam.

But then I realized this guy isn't quite as clueless as I thought. This is the whole point behind comment spam: it doesn't matter if the comment doesn't fit the subject...comment spam isn't supposed to be sneaky...finding people's blogs on a similar subject as your own and then slyly infiltrating them with your URL on relevant on topic discussions so actual interested parties will visit your site. No, comment spam is war...spam as much anywhere and everywhere because sooner or later, search engines will pick up the keywords in your comment and your URL and then you'll get hits...except he didn't really leave a URL. The only link was to his Blogger ID, so you had to go there to find his blog. Not exactly "direct" marketing.

I mean if you're gonna spam, SPAM!!!

So I deleted it. despite the humor involved (yes, admittedly, humor laughing at someone else's cluelessness), I still don't want my blog being used as a podium to promote spamming, or someone's site that has nothing to do with the subjects I discuss here.

---

This weekend we went to some pet shops to look for a kitty condo, and half-heartedly look at kittens. We bought the kitty condo for Caligula (and future kitten). He liked it, but he is too fat to jump up on the first ledge (we feed that cat the absolute bare minimum prescribed by the vet and we never give treats...it must be genetic). So then we had to get a shorter condo so he could jump up on that first. He now loves his condo, and I feel incredibly guilty for not having gotten one sooner. We've had cats for what...22 years? Yes, they are expensive, and yes, we live in a small house with not much room for such things. We have to keep it in the hallway where it hides some of our nice staircase because there is no room elsewhere.

Up until this weekend, I honestly didn't even feel ready to get a kitten. Having seen kittens at the various pet stores (and Stan, Animart's kittens are rescues...I looked it up), I feel I am now ready emotionally. Financially (especially after the kitty condo purchase) is another thing. Timewise is another thing as well, which is why we probably won't do anything until Stan's vacation time when he can help with this.

I don't know if Noah's Ark (pet store in town) kittens are rescues, but they are the best socialized. I assume they are unwanted kittens from litters, as opposed to "bred" kittens. They aren't kept in cages, they are free-range (a good word for everything except human children) so they are well-socialized. Noah's Ark is where we got Persephone 16 years ago.

---

This morning I was heating up some hot water and the tea kettle made a squeak that sounded like when Persephone was in the back room and would scratch on the door to tell us she wanted out. For a millisecond, that's what I thought it was.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pupdate

Lucifer Sam's lump was a low-grade fibrosarcoma. It is locally-aggressive but will not spread to other areas like organs or lymph. It had limited infiltrated growth and was fully excised. (These are the keywords I quickly jotted down while on the phone). My vet conferred with someone at the UW (oncology lab?) regarding the tumor and she said he said there was no further treatment (like chemo for instance) needed. We will need to have the site (upper right forearm) examined every three months for a year and a half and every six months after that.

This is good news. Cancer is scary, and this literally popped up over night.

As I watched mosquitos bite my Pug while taking him out to go to the bathroom today, I felt so glad that he is protected by his monthly heartworm pills. It is too bad there is no pill to cure cancer, but it makes me wonder why anyone wouldn't give heartworm medication to their dog in a mosquito-ridden climate like Wisconsin in the summer?

Most children bury their parents, but for those of us who are "animal parents" instead, we will always inevitably bury our children.

Now that the Lucifer Sam situation is under control (he gets his stitches out next Monday), I think it's time to start looking for a kitten.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lump Removal

Lucifer Sam had his lump removed today, and now he is very sad. He gets that way whenever he's anaesthetized. He also had his teeth cleaned and a loose molar pulled. We won't know the status of the lump for several days or so.

Stan and I are planning on getting a kitten after he has healed. We will not be going to Colorado. There have been too many expenses with trying to save Persephone, her euthanasia and cremation, and now with Lucifer Sam's operation. So what we'll do instead is use Stan's vacation time to stay home, work on the house, and introduce a kitten to the household. Maybe take some short trips around Wisconsin. We've wanted a chance to see Wisconsin in the fall and it seems like we're always gone when the colors are the best.

Under normal circumstances, I would really want to travel. I love to road trip. Had it only been just Persephone's passing, I think we would've done it. But now with Lucifer Sam problem, it's just put me over the edge.

I've cried every day since Persephone went away. I haven't cried yet today, probably because the pug has my emotions consumed right now.

LOST DVD Season 3 won't be out until 12/11. I thought it was yesterday. WTH?

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bad Things Always Happen at Once

Last night, I was petting Lucifer Sam and found a small pencil eraser-sized lump on his upper right forearm. This is a few hours after we put Persephone to sleep.

We were able to get a vet appointment this morning. They aspirated the growth and found some fast-growing cells that may or may not be cancerous, so the vet figured it would be best to get it removed. It may or may not be a mast cell tumor, it may or may not be a benign cyst, but better not count on the latter just to be safe.

Strangely, after seeing the vet, I'm not as worried as I was last night. I had a horrible night and couldn't sleep and felt horrible stress and fear all over my body. I cannot eat much. Hey, that's a good thing, pants aren't as tight.

Lucifer Sam will have surgery for its removal on Wednesday. He'll have his teeth cleaned then too, as long as he'll be under anaesthesia, it's best to get that out of the way.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

And Then There Were Three.

It's strange the patterns that animals create. Stan and I went through various permutations of cats and dogs in our life: 1985: cat; 1986: cat cat; 1991: cat cat dog; 1991: cat cat dog cat; 1996: cat cat dog cat dog; 1998: cat dog cat dog; 1998: cat dog cat dog cat; 2001: dog cat dog cat; 2003: cat dog cat; 2003: cat dog cat dog. That last permutation, Persephone, Plato, Caligula and Lucifer Sam seemed the best. Everyone got along so well, there were no tifs or rivalries, as each of those pets had come into our household when we had at least one cat and one dog, so they adapted well. They could be then divided into other permutations: the old animals (Persephone and Plato), the young animals (Caligula and Lucifer Sam); the solid-colored animals (grey Persephone and black Lucifer Sam) and the white bibbed and booted animals (Plato and Caligula); and of course the cats (Persephone and Caligula) and the dogs (Plato and Lucifer Sam).

Now there is a new permutation. They are unable to pair up, as now there are only three. They are the boys, two dogs and a cat. Caligula seems to ft in so well with the dogs--they are all the same general size. They each have something that distinguishes them...The Pug is the heaviest. Plato is the tallest. Caligula is the fattest. But they're all around the same general size. And they look like a pack. Three Amigos. The Good, The Bad, and the Snuggly, and all three share those three different qualities at one time or another.

We had Persephone put to sleep around 4pm today.

I don't know what will be next. It's a bit odd me being the ONLY female mammal in a house full of males. Males, when neutered, do seem to make the best pets though. But I'm not against getting another female cat either. I'm also indifferent to color. (It must be short-haired, though...no more long-haired cats due to allergies). I'm in no hurry. I think maybe a vacation will be therapeutic. We'll pack up all the boys and travel, and not worry about leaving a sick cat at home who has to be medicated.

I held her in my lap as the vet injected the needle. I could feel all the tenseness and stiffness leave her body as she went limp, and I was glad I did it so she wasn't so sad anymore.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

DREAM: Hurricane House, Kittensnails and Stallone Vocal Appearance

I was in a house that seemed to have been in a natural disaster like a tornado or hurricane. I didn't recognize this place as anywhere I've lived. I was talking on the phone to some woman, and then someone else comes on the line, and it's Sylvester Stallone. WTF. He says how he likes listening to her program, and then I realize I'm talking on some talk show.

Sylvester Stallone? WTF?!?!?!?!??! Yuck! Dreamwriters and directors, get someone decent in here, will you? What, you say I don't have the budget for Eastwood or DeNiro? Oh yeah, blame it on the producer.

The dream continues...I go outside and there are these large snails/small mollusks that are hopping around in pools outside. I never knew mollusks could hop (they can't). Some of them look like kittens...10 week old brownish-ginger-colored kittens. They're really cute, so I pick one up and go back in the house to show people. It's very hard to handle and seems much more feral than any kitten I've held. It's pawing and biting and trying to get away. I'm trying to keep it away from the other cats in the house. I'm talking to someone--I don't know who it is--but I'm trying to convince them that I don't want to KEEP the kittensnail, I just want to show it to them because it's so unusual that a snail looks like a kitten.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

DREAM: Highways and Dogs (with large GROSSNESS factor--you are WARNED)

I was travelling east on I-80 around Grand Island, Nebraska. An old pickup merges onto the interstate in front of us, cutting us off. It seemed like the interstate was more like a country highway (like Highway 34 on the plains of Colorado around "Masters" or "Deerfield") because there was an old decrepit building/former gas station on the corner of where the pickup truck guy pulls in. I know there was more to the dream because I remember remembering it after I woke up, but I since forgot it after I went back to sleep.

Our back yard must have been fenced because our dogs were out in it unattended. Lucifer Sam kept peeing through the fence onto the neighbor's lawn where they had things growing underneath large square clay pots. Our neighbor Mary was getting mad at Lucifer Sam because he was doing this and she was telling him to stop. So I went out back to scold him and tell him to stop. IRL, Plato could pee that way, but since Lucifer Sam was potty trained early, he pees like a girl, squatting, not lifting. The people we got our first Pug, Hieronymus, from said this can be done with male Pugs if trained early enough, however Hieronymus, despite being a very good dog in the potty training department, still lifted. Then I was given (by whom?) a new dog, small, maybe a hound/terrier mix, brown and black with very soft, white fur. It was pretty young, and I decided to keep the dog for ourselves, even though we already had enough dogs. I was outside in our back yard holding it, and Stan comes up to me and I show him and Mary the dog. He asks what the dog's name is, and on the spot I say "Basketweave." (This is a name of one of my Dingbat Fonts) I then follow up with, "Or maybe Basketcase." Then I'm watching Plato who is by the garage near the terraced area, except in the dream it is flat. [GROSS PART]He starts to poop, but then he starts pooping out this foamy white liquid, and then he starts pooping this long rope of poop about a meter long. Then he starts losing his balance and rolling around in it. [/GROSS PART] I'm freaking out, thinking he is dying. The thing is, this dog didn't look like Plato, it looked more like our neighbor's dog Sunday, a blue heeler/Lab/whatever mix, except it had more white on it. Then the dog sits on a chair (seems like we're inside now). I come back to it later to see if it is alive, and it is, but it seems very sick. I am thinking that it was ironic I got a new dog, and then this old dog is about to die.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Not Funny

About 10-12 years ago, I thought the Onion was funny...how could I not? It was one of Madison's own. But I soon got very tired of the humour. It seemed way too obvious. Smile-worthy, but not laughable. Then they relocated to New York City, got better known, and they're even less funny. I don't know, I read their stuff, and think, 'Yeah, intellectually I see where this is supposed to be funny, but I can't get an honest laugh out of it.' Don't get me wrong...I love satire, I love dry wit, and I can understand how extremely difficult it would be to consistently come up with and write this way, day after day. That doesn't mean I can't say I don't think it's funny. And it's not that I don't get it. I get it. But it's like a been there done that sort of get it. Let's move on to something that will really make me blow coffee on my monitor.

They have a recent story on recalled Pugs; several posts have been made to a Pug group I subscribe to. Again, I should think it's funny, but I don't. In fact, when I saw one pug on the slide show in the right hand corner who "suffers from internal and external bleeding", it immediately made me think of our poor Hieronymus and how he died.

In case you're interested, the URL is www.theonion.com/content/news/dog_breeders_issue_massive_recall. Cut and paste it in your browsers, but there'll be no links from me here.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Short Newt DREAM

I dreamt two of our newts, two different species, were breeding.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dog Boarding Kennel Mixup--We got the wrong Boston back

Plato was always antagonistic and nippy toward strangers and other dogs. He was never that way toward us or Tim, and once he's around a new person for a day or so he'll be fine. If he knew you, he was great--snuggly and affectionate. In recent years, he'll be fine with our parents after a few minutes reacquainting with them (I think he still doesn't like my dad, but the feeling is mutual), but with unknown people, especially men, we don't trust him. We tried to take him to a Pug Play (people can bring their Pugs' "sibling" dogs even if they're not Pugs themselves...there's another couple at the Pug Play with a Pug and a Boston too, and one of the Pug owners even brought their Labradoodle) but he was just too grrrr and acted too antagonistic. When we went to pick up our dogs at the boarding kennel yesterday, I was a little surprised at what they said...Lucifer Sam was the shy one and Plato was more outgoing. Lucifer Sam did eventually become less shy as the days went on, but they never had any problems with Plato. So we thought that since he had been exposed to other dogs at "Camp" and he did fine and had no problems, that we'd take him to Pug Play that very day...maybe he'd think it was just an extension of camp. He was a little hesitant at first and did have a few nippy episodes that were easily stopped with a verbal correction, but for the most part he was great! He played with the Pugs and ran around with them, and he kept the entire group very active. He had no problems with any of the humans either, even the men. I am impressed with this new dog we have, and we'll have to take him to more play dates in the future.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dog Bone of Contention

Last night at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, two poodles won best of group in two categories, our categories: Toy Group (Pug) and Non-sporting Group (Boston Terrier). A Toy Poodle won Toy, and Standard Poodle won Non-sporting. Inevitably, one of those dogs will go on to win best of show. It seems like 3 out of every 4 dog shows, a poodle wins some best of group at least. As an owner and lover of dog breeds that are pretty much the antithesis to poodles, I'm getting pretty damn sick of it. I'm not even going to watch the second half of the show tonight which climaxes with the Best of Show. I can't bear to see another Poodle Domination in the top three. It's really starting to look corrupt, and smacks of payoffs.

The only thing preventing poodles from sweeping all 7 categories is that there are only two categories which contain poodles, Toy and Non-Sporting (which contains both the Miniature and Standard). But I bet the Poodle Lobby would like to see their dog in each category. They could keep the Miniature and Toy in their current groups, move the Standard to Working Group, and add a Terrier Poodle to the Terrier Group, a Poodle Hound to Hound Group, and come up with a Herding Poodle to put in the Herding Group. Then the Poodle Lobby would be happy and they could all start licking eachothers...faces.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Another Damn Rodent DREAM

I dreamt that Stan and I were visiting a single male friend who seemed like either Tim or Dale (but not Bill). We had a small rodent, either a rat or a gerbil, and we gave it to him as a present. I placed it on a table and petted it, and the guyfriend started to pet it too, but then he started rolling it like it was a tube of dough. As he was rolling it on the table, the animal's hair started growing longer and lighter colord, and I was afraid he was killing it. I told him to stop it, so he let go. The animal staggered around, dizzy. I was glad he didn't kill it, but didn't know if it would survive. He didn't seem all that thrilled that we had given this gift to him, and then I realized what a stupid idiot I was for gifting an animal. I asked him if he would rather us have the animal instead, and he said he would. In the meantime, the animal started to grow before our eyes, and its fur changed color from brown to a dark, dark green, almost black. It reached the size of a piglet or 20-lb pug dog (although it still had distinct "rodent features"). I could deal with a caged rodent (although IRL I will never get another rodent due to allergies), but what was I going to do with this thing that was larger than our cats and weighed as much as our dogs?

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

DREAMs of Birds and Things

I've had some odd dreams lately, but I've not really had the time nor desire to document them. They've been rather jumbled and intense, but hard to remember due to their very congested nature. I do remember parts of dreams from nights ago, one was I was holding a small bird, possibly the same bird that will resurface in my dream last night. In the other dream, I was in the living room with Stan, but @ the same time we were in a bed in a room that sort of looked like the small bedroom in Montrose, but on a grander scale. We had the windows open and someone I used to know from work @ Depressions (Laura) stopped by to collect a project I was freelancing on, except this was at night and she stopped by the window instead of at the door. We talked out the window some (it was a warm summer night, very unlike the way it is now), and she filled me in on gossip @ Depressions. IRL, Laura stopped working for them a few years before they went out of business, so she wouldn't be able to fill me in on it anyway.

A couple nights ago I had a dream I was on stage with Seinfeld and Kramer (no psychotic racist outbursts, fortunately) and we were doing a funny skit that just had me in stitches (I can't remember what it was though) and I was laughing so hard I woke up laughing, and in that state of laughing-while-waking, I had this incredible euphoric sensation that enveloped my entire body in a tingling manner, not like nerve-damage tingling or pins and needles tingling when a limb has fallen asleep, but good tingling, opiatic endorphin rush tingling. It was an incredible sensation.

Last night I had a dream that seemed to last forever. The first part that I can recall was that I was in a marketplace area with animals and vegetable stands. There were some birds, and there was one bird that took a liking to me. It was iridescent bluish-turquoise...very pretty, large hand-sized with a big head, sort of like crossing a bluebird with a peach-faced lovebird, but bigger. It decided it wanted to ride atop my head, so I wore this bird on my head for the rest of the dream. Despite this area was still like a market in a poorer country, we were somehow also close to Lamya and Russ's house, so we decided to go there. I don't think Russ knew we arrived, because as we were sitting in the living room talking to Lamya, Russ comes in from the outside and he is completely nude (PG-13 rated nude...just a side profile). He sees us there and I think he goes to put some clothes on. I thought it was odd...I didn't know they were nudists, and what is he doing walking around outside nude anyway? The strange thing is that Lamya didn't seem like herself...she had fancy large dark-tinted glasses and metal teeth and was having trouble talking, like the metal teeth were making it hard. She was also dressed not like herself...lots of jewelry, hair poofed up and sort of artificial looking. I thought it was odd. They asked us which car we took, and I glanced outside to point to our red van, but I point to a different red van instead, that has people in it. Then I see our van and the back hatch is open, and our dogs are in kennels inside of it. I tell Stan to go close the door, as I worry about our dogs being able to escape somehow. Outside, it looks nothing like L&R's IRL neighborhood, but instead like motel made out of adobe, and each unit is individualized with paintings in sort of an ethnic Mexican style, yet at the same time sort of upscale. I noticed that Lamya had been working on painting their apartment/home exterior but it wasn't completed. Also, there were some people from Depressions there, two women who used to work more in the publishing area (as opposed to us typesetting slaves). I think I was asking them to fill me in on gossip.

As the dream ended, the bird had not left my head, but when I woke up he was gone.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

DREAM: John Kerry's weird bedroom and hurt kitty

IRL I had the radio on this morning and I can only assume they were discussing the John Kerry mangled words thing because it set a very strange stage for my dream.

I was in a house that seemed like mine, but I was actually taking a tour of John Kerry's house. I can't remember other people in the dream, but there was a narrator providing some history. I went upstairs to look at the bedroom, and I was surprised how plain and...unimproved...it was. It was just a bed, a small dresser and wooden floors...OLD wooden floors, with thick, unpolished boards painted a greyish blue. It looked like something out of the colonial era, and in fact, the "narrator" was saying how the senator liked the look of colonial New England which was why his house was so simple. Then later, I snuck upstairs to look at the bedroom again, leaving the rest of the tour. I was just baffled how someone with money would want such a simple, unmodern, almost creepy bedroom. As I was coming down the stairs, the banister seemed to change into a chrome art deco style. As I reached the foot of the stairs, there was a strange tub-like structure on the first floor in front of me with a cover propped up like the cover of a grande piano. My cat, Caligula, was sitting on the rim of this object. I looked into it and realized it was the ledge around the stairwell to the basement. I started to pet Caligula, but he fell into the stairwell. I was afraid he was hurt. Somehow he ran back up the stairs and then ran outside, but he walked crookedly. In fact, his whole body alginment seemed crooked. I followed him outside and petted him. He rolled over on his back and let me pet his belly. He seemed thinner than he is and his ribcage seemed to stick out a bit. I looked into his eyes and instead of glassy, they seemed frosted. I called for Stan over and over to come, but he called back that he'd be just a minute, and by the sound of his voice he seemed agitated, like he didn't want to come. I was worried about my kitty.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Butterfly for Ann


While we were in Colorado we went to the Butterfly Pavilion outside of Boulder with Bill. Here is a photo of a butterfly Ann liked a lot, and I think this is the first time we've seen this species.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dog DREAM

I dreamt I got two bulldogs. One of them was tan and the other was black...or blue. In total we had five dogs (including our real life dogs)...one blue, a couple black, one white and the other tan. I think one of the dogs was sort of small, rat terrier type. I was thinking the colors looked sort of mid-century modern. Those bulldogs were awfully cute. Doglust.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Stingray Deaths

This is so sad and I was afraid this would happen. People are such idiots.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Odd Pet DREAM

I dreamt Stan and I took the dogs to some place that had a weird sort of stairwell area that was concrete at the bottom, but had no actual stairs to get to it. It had a bunch of stuff stored in it. Lucifer Sam jumped into it, and I was afraid that he hurt himself because it was about 5 feet deep, but he hadn't. Plato joined him. We let them play in this area while we went off to do other stuff. When we came back, we could only find Plato, not Lucifer Sam. I feared he was still in the well, and that he had hurt himself. When I looked in it, I didn't see him. We looked and looked and finally I went back to the well. I saw him on the ground, not moving. I was afraid he had fallen and broken his neck, but then he started to move as normal and I figured he was just sleeping. Later in the dream there were more dogs. Lucifer Sam had something in his mouth, like a furry toy mouse. He was doing his pug hoarding ritual, grrring and not letting the other dogs have it.

A pretty boring dream except for the fear of our Pug being hurt again. I know why I'm having these dreams, and it's because of what happened 6 years ago to Hieronymus (falling down the stairs). I always say weird animal things happen around Labor Day. 1999 saw a squirrel get into the house and we had to call animal control after I closed it in a cupboard so it wouldn't escape into the rest of the house (it ran into the cupboard by itself). 2000 was Hieronymus's fall and 2001 our cat Natasha died. All on Labor Day. 2002 to present saw nothing happen to us personally (we're always so cautious on that day now), however I suppose this past Labor Day did have its weird animal event when a stingray claimed the life of the Crocodile Hunter.

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