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Teenager Audio Test

Testing conditions:  I didn't touch the volume on my computer, just left it where it usually is, and the room is very quiet.

The level I heard it at was very low -- but I did hear it clearly! I'm sure I wouldn't notice it in a noisy retail environment, although it might be enough to make me feel uncomfortable without my knowing why.

Pretty good for a 61-year-old!

Train Horns

Created by Train Horns

New refrigerator

I have a new refrigerator!

Why I needed itCollapse )

New refrigerator!Collapse )

Caffeine Test



It is cold!!! Right now it's 4.6º in my back yard. It's not a record or anything, but it's a lot colder than it usually gets!

Thank goodness I have a good strong heat pump. The electric meter is spinning dizzily, but I'm warm. Well, I'm warm as long as I bundle up. I keep thethermostat at 66º -- our rates recently increased 72%. But I wear sweats and a lined flannel shirt around the house, and I"m fine.

And at least there's no snow. Snow is lovely, but the discs in my spine are falling apart, so I don't want to have to shovel. I love snow, but I'd rather do without it now.


So much for New Year's resolutions ... today is the 13th. But better late than never.

All through the autumnn I just didn't have enough energy to do much of anything. Doing hospice care for Val was wearing both physically and emotionally. His life ended on December 2, but in the depths of my grief I didn't have the heart to post about it -- and I couldn't imagine posting about anything else, or even commenting, without mentioning Val's death. But I keep thinking about things I want to post about, and maybe writing about this will help give me closure.

Journaling the journeyCollapse )

I will always love you, my beautiful, wonderful boys.

May 22, 1992 - December 2, 2008
June 1995 - August 17, 2007


Val's illness

It's so ironic. When a lot is going on that I want to post about, I'm so busy that by the time I get around to it it's so late that I need to get to sleep. When there's not much going on there's not much to say. That's when I should get back to reading my friends' posts, but altering habits is hard. I'm determined to do it, though! I changed my theme to a seasonally appropriate one -- maybe the fresh look will be a stimulus.

So I guess I'm babbling to avoid getting to the reason for this post. In my last post I mentioned that Val was in the midst of a lengthy illness. I had had a series of bad vets; thank goodness I finally found a good one -- no, actually, a wonderful one! -- less than a year ago. Or actually three good ones -- Dr. O is in a practice with Dr. J and Dr. S, all 40-something women and all compassionate, thoughtful and gentle.

HistoryCollapse )

So, the diagnosis is definite: He has lymphoma. The radiologist was great. After he was finished and Val was feeling safe back in his carrier, we talked. He recommended cortisone, and I said that's what Dr. O had wanted to give him but she was afraid if his heart was damaged the steroid would cause even more problems, and that's why she wanted the chest imaged too.

I made an appointment immediately for the next time Dr. O would be in. It's tomorrow (Thursday). It won't have any effect on his disease process, but it's supposed to make him feel better. We talked about chemotherapy, but that requires oral treatment, and Val just will Not. Take. Pills. We had such battles with the antibiotics and worm medicine -- Dr. O expressed real concern that fighting with me every other day would diminish his quality of life more than the chemo would enhance it. So, that's out. Dr. O is so wonderful. When there are valid choices to make she stands back and lets me make them -- I have to push her to make a recommendation. But when I try to go off in a direction that she knows is not best for Val, she gently but firmly pushes me in the direction she knows I would want to go if I knew enough and wasn't feeling so emotional.

She -- very properly -- wouldn't give me a time frame on the phone, but I had researched and asked if it was about three to six months. "That's average," Dr. O said. "Tell him I said he's above average!" She also said to spoil him, so I have official permission. The good news is that none of the vets can believe that he's still eager to eat! Every website on feline lymphoma says they lose interest in food, lose weight, and become lethargic. But between the last two visits Val had gained almost a half pound, which is a big percentage on a 14-pound body! He's also driving me as crazy as ever with demands to eat, and is as playful as he was in the spring, although he gets tired faster. Since there's no longer any worry about reducing his pudginess he's getting even more food than usual, and he's eating it all up! He's drinking a lot, too, which is keeping him from getting dehydrated. He has stopped throwing up for now, too. So I'm hopeful that he will be above average. I know he'll never see his 17th birthday, but I'm hopeful that he'll still be around to eat leftovers at Thanksgiving, and maybe he'll even be able to eat a piece of Meredith's birthday cake in January.

But as soon as he stops enjoying life, it will end. I won't put him through misery just to keep him with me a little longer. People have sometimes talked about how they couldn't bear to put their pet to sleep so they just waited until it died on its own, but I've never understood how they could be so selfish. I brought up the subject with the radiologist, and added that "I wish we could do that for people."

He was in complete agreement, and was pleased that I felt the same way he did about it, and told a story about a Catholic priest that had come in with his dog a few weeks ago. The results were not good, so after the sonogram he told the priest "We're going to have a very uncomfortable conversation now." The priest knew exactly what he was getting at. "Oh, no," he said the priest told him, explaining that quality of life was paramount and he wouldn't keep the dog alive once it was no longer comfortable. "I think we should do that for people, too -- it's too bad the law won't let us," he said the priest added, to Dr. Herring's surprise.

For now, Val is still a happy cat.

I'll know more -- not much, but more -- tomorrow. Please pray, send good thoughts, light a candle, or whatever you do to raise positive energy.

I'm back!

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
-- John Lennon

I've wanted to come back -- you have no idea! I've missed you all sooo much! I'll try to explain what happened in more detail soon (I've written most of two posts, but I want to keep this shorter so it will actually get posted instead of being saved into yet another Semagic file). But I do want to say that, as awkward as I've felt in the past coming back after much shorter absences (would anyone notice, or care, that I was gone? would anyone still be here?), I don't feel that now thanks to so many friends (and one daughter) who showed that they missed my posts. Many nudges, emails and replies to my last post told me that you were thinking about me and -- more importantly -- missed me and wanted me to come back. I'm not going to list everyone, but you know who you are. I just want to let you know that it mattered.

Enough of that -- I have to introduce you to Floozie! See, the short version of the reason I stopped posting was not that I wanted to, but that my 7-year-old computer, with its total 256 megs of memory, was just not coping with modern life. It took me so long to do what I had to do that there wasn't enough computer time left in my day to do what I wanted to do. The ancient machine was getting slower and slower at an accelerating rate, to the point that it was actually noticeable. I was spending more and more time at the computer and the rest of my life was suffering. I wasn't getting out on walks enough, I didn't have any time to just sit and cuddle Val ... something had to go. Reading on LJ, posting on LJ, photographs ... eventually I did nothing on the computer but what I was obligated to do -- freecycle and my work as the secretary of the board for the building that my church is half-owner of.

So I finally broke down and got a new computer -- a laptop, my first real laptop! -- and I'm sitting here typing on it right now! My desktop never had a name -- it's name on the network is incomprehensible alphanumeric string, and I never cared. It isn't that I decided to think up a name for this one -- when a name was needed during the network setup, it just hit me ... "Floozie!" Kudos to anyone who can figure out why!

Floozie is a Dell Vostro 1700. Specs for whoever is interested in such thingsCollapse )

I couldn't find any good pictures to link to, so I thought it would be even better to take a couple of her sitting right on the old family room couch where I'm sitting and typing! Floozie's baby picturesCollapse )

So say hi to Floozie! (And don't forget to guess why you think she has that name!)

There's a whole lot going on, and I'll start trying to catch up with that as soon as possible, especially Val's lengthy (and still growing) medical saga. I found this new vet just in time, since he's been needing treatment continuously for months.

And please tell me if anything important has happened in your life (or point me to a post). How are you?!

Val's vet visit

After going through four veterinarians in as many years, I'm pretty confident that I've finally found the right one.

Val's new doctorCollapse )

Val's checkup -- arthritis and thyroidCollapse )
Happy (belated) Birthday

Sorry I missed it yesterday -- hope it was happy!

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May 2011



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