pameladean: (Gentian)
My much-loved orange cat is dead. He had had kidney disease since 2007, and would never eat the kidney-disease diet, but he did quite well, with occasional intervals of scaring us for the fun of it, until about a year ago. His severe decline began this summer, but he was still enjoying the sun and scritchings until this afternoon. The vet's best guess was either kidney cancer or a massive infection, and at 4.3 pounds he didn't have any reserves left, so we let him go. He summoned up one last purr for Raphael and me, and they opened the blinds of the examining room at the vet's so that he could be in the sun.

He was insouciant, mischievous, goofy, and affectionate, my airy comedian cat. I don't want to lie down on my bed to read, or go to bed when it's time, because nobody fluffy with four feet will perch on the small of my back or fling himself under my chin, purring madly and making it impossible to keep my neck straight.

I can't get images to load, but will try to put some up later.

We miss him.

Pamela

Ooof

Dec. 24th, 2012 08:29 pm
pameladean: (Gentian)
One mince pie, two vegan pumpkin pies, one pan of pear crisp for the pumpkin-allergic and mince-averse. I made an overflow small dish of the pear crisp and gave it to Raphael, so I have advance notice that the crisp is very good. I used red pears, and when I tasted a slice to see how sweet and how ripe they were or weren't, I regretted not getting more for just eating.

No pies swooped out of the oven, flipped over, or landed any way at all that I did not intend. However, the new kitten named Ninja kept trying to get into the oven -- the 425 degree F oven. I finally had to shut him in the media room. He and his sister Nuit also tried to get into the refrigerator, but this is less immediately an emergency. He also discovered today that he could jump up onto the countertop, so the pies are all cooling in the cat-free zone, where they impede the last-minute wrapping of presents.

I have been quite worried about my ancient comedian, Aristophanes the orange cat, because his appetite had fallen off. It may be that he was just bored. I opened a can of a food he doesn't get often because it doesn't have the best specs for a cat with kidney failure, and he ate a reasonable amount. I'm sorry to be spending tomorrow away from him, though.

May you all have as much or as little festivity as you wish.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
Minicon looms, and I wanted to put down, however hastily, some matters that I will probably never commit to this medium if I wait until after the convention.

New Cat )

Some Anniversaries )

A multifarious weekend, part 1, including Pericles )
pameladean: (Default)
Minicon looms, and I wanted to put down, however hastily, some matters that I will probably never commit to this medium if I wait until after the convention.

New Cat )

Some Anniversaries )

A multifarious weekend, part 1, including Pericles )
pameladean: (Default)
The snowdrops came up all of a piece, leaves and drooping white flowers, three or four days ago. The purple snow crocuses are blooming in the front flower bed. The peony on the south side of the house is showing red shoots, as is the evil but beguiling Japanese knotweed. The bleeding-heart in the front flower bed has put up red-and-green shoots, already frilled with proto-leaves, right out of its mulch. The blue-and-yellow thug irises are putting up leaves, as is the burgundy one that hasn't bloomed much in recent years. I should feed that one.

The dames' rocket and the motherwort have greened up. The daylilies are four to eight inches high, depending on where they are. The bare earth of the south side yard is filling up with tiny violet leaves, a bit of periwinkle, and the aforementioned Japanese knotweed. The grass is greening up. There are small leaves on both mock-orange bushes, and on the neighbors' peabush hedge. I really ought to rake the leaves off the remaining plants, but I have a deep conviction that we are going to pay for this weather with sub-zero temperatures and a raging blizzard, pretty much ANY TIME NOW. So I walk around in bemusement instead.

Ari and I saw a morning-cloak butterfly a few days ago, sunning itself on the back of a lawn chair. I've also seen various small flies and beetles, but no queen bumblebees yet, and no green darners.

Juncoes are still here, and there are so many I think they may be either passing through or preparing to leave. We have a pair of cardinals, which is always cheering. The chickadees and house sparrows and house finches are singing in their various ways, and crows are rattling.

In a rash frenzy, I ordered a bunch of plants from the Lake Country School just down the street. They used to send out six-year-olds with forms to go door to door, and you never knew exactly what you would get when you went to pick up your plants. But now everything is online. I confidently expect that the edited manuscript of my book, with a short deadline for return, will land on me on the weekend I am supposed to pick up the plants.

The mint hasn't come back yet, which concerns me. If it doesn't, I had better buy three plants of it and put them in different locations. This is a good recipe for disaster, but maybe the mint can fight back the Japanese knotweed.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
The snowdrops came up all of a piece, leaves and drooping white flowers, three or four days ago. The purple snow crocuses are blooming in the front flower bed. The peony on the south side of the house is showing red shoots, as is the evil but beguiling Japanese knotweed. The bleeding-heart in the front flower bed has put up red-and-green shoots, already frilled with proto-leaves, right out of its mulch. The blue-and-yellow thug irises are putting up leaves, as is the burgundy one that hasn't bloomed much in recent years. I should feed that one.

The dames' rocket and the motherwort have greened up. The daylilies are four to eight inches high, depending on where they are. The bare earth of the south side yard is filling up with tiny violet leaves, a bit of periwinkle, and the aforementioned Japanese knotweed. The grass is greening up. There are small leaves on both mock-orange bushes, and on the neighbors' peabush hedge. I really ought to rake the leaves off the remaining plants, but I have a deep conviction that we are going to pay for this weather with sub-zero temperatures and a raging blizzard, pretty much ANY TIME NOW. So I walk around in bemusement instead.

Ari and I saw a morning-cloak butterfly a few days ago, sunning itself on the back of a lawn chair. I've also seen various small flies and beetles, but no queen bumblebees yet, and no green darners.

Juncoes are still here, and there are so many I think they may be either passing through or preparing to leave. We have a pair of cardinals, which is always cheering. The chickadees and house sparrows and house finches are singing in their various ways, and crows are rattling.

In a rash frenzy, I ordered a bunch of plants from the Lake Country School just down the street. They used to send out six-year-olds with forms to go door to door, and you never knew exactly what you would get when you went to pick up your plants. But now everything is online. I confidently expect that the edited manuscript of my book, with a short deadline for return, will land on me on the weekend I am supposed to pick up the plants.

The mint hasn't come back yet, which concerns me. If it doesn't, I had better buy three plants of it and put them in different locations. This is a good recipe for disaster, but maybe the mint can fight back the Japanese knotweed.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
I don't know why I'm so thoroughly out of the habit of posting. One of the things I like about reading my friends-list is the combination of homely everyday detail and really chewy intellectual posts. I am not very good at making the latter -- I start them, revise them, get bogged down in some detail of nuance or research, and eventually lose them somewhere. But I can do daily life.

The juncoes are here. I was concerned for a week or two that the Norway maples would not get a chance to turn yellow, instead dropping their leaves madly while still green; but they have managed, and if I walk to the end of my block and look back, there is the proper tunnel of gold, leaves drifting down onto the black asphalt of the street. They are not mallorns, and there is certainly no asphalt in Lothlorien, but the effect seems Tolkienesque in any case.

It was a peculiar summer in many ways. As I mentioned at the time, I cracked or bruised a rib at the end of April, and just when that was healing up nicely I got the Wiscon Death Cold and coughed for five or six weeks. While I put in basil, mint, thyme, and two tomato plants much earlier than I had managed in 2010, only the herbs thrived. I forgot about the thyme and have not used it for anything. David and Lydy kept the mint well pruned by harvesting it for their drinks, and it is probably going to take over the world next year. Eric and I were going to make spring rolls using the fresh mint and basil, but we never did. The basil is unhappy with the frost or near-freezes we've been having at night, but the mint and thyme are still looking fresh and happy. I should put some thyme in the soup this evening. We had a pot of rosemary on the front porch, too, and I did make good use of that; but I failed to bring it inside the first night temperatures threatened to go below freezing, and it gave up and died.

Raphael and I did fairly well with hiking, under the circumstances -- my rib injury and the horrible virus from Wiscon weren't the half of it. June was cold and rainy; then Minnesota Republicans forced the shut-down of the government because they have an insane desire to control women and oppress poor people, so the state parks closed on July 1. Raphael and I were up on the North Shore at the time, at Temperance River State Park. The park, I think like most of the parks thereabouts, is divided by Highway 61. We started with the lake side. When we went out to the lake, there were no notices. When we came back, all over were simple printed pages saying that the park was closed. We went across the highway and up the river anyway. We were there because somebody in the 1990's had seen boreal snaketails in the powerline clearance. They did not appear, but the river and its rocky surrounds were spectacular. The powerline clearance runs over a tilted slab of basalt, broken up by water, scattered with patches of thin sand shading to soil in which hawkweed and other wildflowers grow, with here and there a juniper or an aspen sapling. A young deer with just the velvet stubs of antlers wandered out of the woods beyond the clearance and set about grazing. He knew we were there, but he did not give us any wide-eyed paranoid looks, did not freeze and think about running. He looked us in the eye, swaggered, and ignored us. His dignity was upset, however, by the fact that his antlers obviously itched. He had to stop from time to time and scratch them with a hind leg, which was both impressive and hilarious.

We had planned to stop at Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock on our way back south, on the grounds that the parks would still be in perfectly good order even though officially close. However, both parks include rest areas that had been blocked off with barricades, so we had to give up, cursing the Republicans in the legislature. Even if they had behaved like reasonable beings, the closure of St. Croix State Park would have distorted our hiking year. We did have several excellent visits to Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge.

Eric was working night shift until July, and then a classic mid-continental heat wave moved in, so we didn't do any hiking until much later in the year. We made one road trip to look at fall color, staying in LaCrosse but spending much of our time at Great River Bluffs State Park. We did also visit Perrot, avoiding any bluffs this year but hiking along the Riverview trail, where we saw an egret sitting atop a muskrat lodge; and also along the Black Walnut Trail, which was more hilly than we expected but full of goodness, including the biggest black walnut tree either of us had ever seen.

Writing has been frankly terrible. I don't even want to try to come up with the number of words I've written. I certainly don't need even the fingers of one hand to do so. I'm feeling a little cheerier since I did a reading of the new second chapter of the Amazing Expanding and Shrinking Novel at Conjecture -- many thanks to Laura Krentz for asking me. It was useful to see that the new structure actually worked rather than being a heap of disassembled incidents bunged together with semi-colons. I'm looking at my present projects with somewhat more equanimity, at least.

Aristophanes, although bony, seems to be thriving. A failed attempt to remove a mat from his belly us to the emergency vet late on the day before I was to go to Wisconsin with Eric. They were very nice to us, calling the wound a grooming injury, as if he had done it himself; I guess some cats do damage themselves yanking out mats. The vet tech who brought him back to us also exclaimed, "You guys, he's in such good shape for his age! You must take very good care of him!" He had to have ten days' worth of antibiotics, which Raphael heroically put down his throat; and he had to wear a blue cone, which he bore with great insouciance, much to my surprise. He did have epic grooming sessions when it was taken off though. He seems fine now. When I take him out for walks, he mostly patrols his yard, sniffing carefully, and then goes back in. But a few days ago he tore across the front yard to the maple on the boulevard, ran six or seven feet up its trunk, dropped down, tore through the side yard to the back and all the way to the garage, tore back to his favorite mulberry and ran up that, and then tore to the back door and pawed at it to be let in. I must have been a very funny sight, lumbering after him fast enough that the leash was never taut but quietly enough that he wouldn't take fright at the MONSTER FOLLOWING HIM.

I'm rereading the Aubrey/Maturin books, finding all much better than I remember. This is especially gratifying for the volumes after The Thirteen-Gun Salute, though I still expect to be very annoyed with O'Brien for one or two things nearer the end.

I am reading all of you, but I tend to forget that I actually can comment now, Opera's update having apparently fixed my problem with LJ. I'll try to provide more blather soon.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
Raphael and I have been on a number of lovely hikes that I haven't written up.

Eric and I went to Duluth for three days and had a glorious time looking at waterfalls and swimming in Lake Superior, and a less glorious one losing the car key on the beach and having to wait for a locksmith while beset with biting flies.

Tor.com is having a kind of slow-motion panel discussion of Robert Heinlein in the context of a new biography by William Patterson, Learning Curve. This first volume covers Heinlein's life through 1949; another volume will appear later. It's full of lovely tidbits, but so detailed that absorbing it is a slow process. I am blogging over there in the terrifyingly stellar company of Sarah Hoyt, John Scalzi, Charlie Stross, Mitch Wagner, and Jo Walton. Things have slowed down quite a bit over the weekend, so there's a chance to catch up on the discussion, if it's the kind of thing that interests you. I had a couple of half-written posts that more or less got scooped by my swifter, more experienced fellow bloggers, but I hope to manage another one before the week-long panel is over. In the meantime I'm enjoying the lessons on how it's done.

My camera died sometime between last week and when I got it out to photograph waterfalls. It turns out that David got a good deal on it, and replacing it will cost more than I feel comfortable spending until I turn my book in, so I am sulking a little. However, David will lend me his own low-end camera for any special occasions, if I remember to ask for it.

Aristophanes is flourishing, to my great relief.

The revisions continue less arduous than before, but quite seriously pesky just the same. I am presently assembling Chapter 18 from stone knives and bearskins.

My best to you all; I am trying to catch up with everybody else's doings.

Pamela

Cat!

Jul. 29th, 2010 03:16 pm
pameladean: (Default)
I suppose things could still go pear-shaped, but at the moment Aristophanes seems much better. I was in tears last night because he wouldn't eat; it wasn't just that, but he did that whisker-curling, turn-the-head-away thing of a nauseated cat, and I had a terrible flashback to lying on the hallway floor in our old house at five in the morning, offering a saucer of salmon Fancy Feast diluted with warm water to my beautiful white Sukey Tawdry, and having her make that exact same face. She did not get better.

Ari, however, was apparently just tired of salmon. He snarfed some chicken cat food in a very natural way, and Raphael reported that he spent the night rocketing in and out of the upstairs and finishing up the plate of food. He is moving much faster and more naturally than he was, and demanded to go outside on his leash. I didn't even put on sunscreen. At least he missed the monarch butterfly that was darting around laying eggs on the milkweed. He might have missed anyway; it was pretty fast.

I had better go work on my book. Thanks again for all the kind words, and for the advice on feeding sick cats. I know I will need it in time.

Pamela
pameladean: (Default)
Raphael and I came home from hiking yesterday evening, and there was no Aristophanes to greet us. I eventually found him curled under a chair in the hottest room of the house. We worried that we had not left enough air conditioning on for him. After dithering a while, we took him over to the University of Minnesota's Small Animal Clinic, where he was discovered to have a high fever, dehydration, and possibly a pain in his belly. His white count was elevated but there was no clear sign of infection. I am still waiting on the urine culture, but since he has mild kidney disease and can't concentrate his urine well, there might not be any bacteria in it even if he does have an infection

They hydrated him and perked him right up; his fever was normal this morning, so since I had decided against an ultrasound right this moment, opting for antibiotics and hope.

He is much better than he was last night. I am sternly enjoined to make him eat and am doing my best. He tends to eat for a minute and lose interest, but repeated applications of fresh wet food, or a handful of new dry food, do make him eat more each time. He is looking tubby and lopsided because of the sub-cutaneous hydration. He has a pink stretchy bandage on his left front paw, which he hates, but resists my taking off. I have cut through most of it with the bandage scissors and decided to leave him alone for a bit, since he has been messed with far too much already.

I have been trying to forget all the things they told me it might be if it's not an infection, but I can't quite forget "pancreatitis." They kept saying, "a little pancreatitis," so I hope it is not the same thing as "a little bit pregnant."

He was only gone for about 12 hours, but I missed him tremendously. We have been together for more than fifteen years. I hope we will have a few more.

Pamela

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