Archive | February 2013

Chemo Kitty Gets Pancreatitis…

I was hoping to have some time tonight to work on my posts on our wonderful weekend in Richland and Walla Walla.  Well, I have time, but sadly, I’m posting about Martini instead – and it’s not a happy update.  Earlier this week she had her bi-weekly chemo bloodwork, and they did an extra panel to test for pancreatitis.  And she does have pancreatitis – I got the call confirming that yesterday afternoon.

So when I went home after work yesterday, she was pretty lethargic.  I plopped her down on a blanket and moved her every time I went to a different room – she just stayed put on the blanket.  Purring, but certainly not herself.  She didn’t even protest much when I did her sub-cutaneous fluids – I got a half-hearted growl when I poked her with the needle, and then she sat there purring.  So, needless to say, I was a bit worried…

This morning she had perked up quite a bit.  She ate some breakfast and was much more energetic.  I went off to work feeling pretty good.  But then I got a text from Jon before he left for work saying she was hiding under the bed and wouldn’t come out.  And Oliver was hanging out under there with her, and wouldn’t leave her (obviously there’s something wrong if he wants to hang with her – she usually spends half her day kicking his butt!).  So, I left work and toted her back to the vet (she did muster enough energy to run when she saw the carrier…).

At the vet, she continued to be lethargic – she didn’t even protest when he stuck the thermometer in her bum.  Tini always protests that!  She has a slight fever, and is really dehydrated, even though she got a lot of fluids just last night!  So, sadly, she gets to stay with ‘Uncle Pete’ for a spa night – IV fluids and supportive therapy.

Maybe if I pretend she's not there, she won't beat me up!

Ollie and Tini on a Better Day.  “Maybe if I pretend she’s not there, she won’t beat me up!”

I wish having old pets didn’t have so many ups and downs.

Terror on the Pass

This last weekend we were going to be traveling east of the mountains so Jon could compete in his third half-marathon, the Tri-Cities half-marathon.  He picked a race in Eastern Washington for a couple of reasons; he wanted a change of pace from all the driving rain we have been experiencing, and he figured that we could combine the race with a nice little weekend getaway in wine country.  But the problem – there was a winter storm warning in effect.  We started hearing about it about a week before the trip; we had already paid Jon’s race entry and booked a hotel.

The storm was to bring major, heavy snowfall in the pass, which would mean a harrowing couple hour journey and the potential to be stranded in a line of cars while they close the road to do avalanche work.  We watched all week, nervous (I considered asking Jon if the race was really all that important).

The way the weather people were talking about it, there was a serious risk of going the way of the Donner Party – stranded for months at the top of a snowy pass with no choice but to wait for your spouse to die so you could eat him.  I say “him” because surely Jon would die first – I have more body fat.  Of course, I mentioned my concerns to my co-workers (I think I phrased it something like, “I’m going to die…”) and my one co-worker (she’s a mom) brought in a bag of all the things I would need for my journey; a little snow shovel to dig out the car, a huge flashlight, and some big gloves for putting on the chains.

So I threw that stuff in the car along with the chains I purchased for the trip (keep in mind that in 37 years, I have never even owned chains, much less put them on) and the stuff my dad told me to pack – blankets, windshield wiper fluid, de-icer, hand warmers, a tarp (to kneel on when you put on the chains) a scraper, and enough food and water to have a picnic for 40 – that way we could survive for a while before I had to eat Jon.

Jon had to work until 3, so we were going to be heading out right when the forecast was saying that the worst would hit.  I was ready and waiting when he pulled in, and we flew out of the driveway to go meet our fate.  I even had some butterflies in my stomach as we heading up to higher elevations…  where we were met with this…

I-90 Snoqualmie Pass

I-90 Snoqualmie Pass

Bare and wet…

Eastern Washington Weekend Sneak Peek

More will be coming soon on my fantastic weekend, but I just wanted to give you all a sneak peek!  In no particular order…

1.  Jon ran his third half-marathon.

2.  We wine tasted in Walla Walla for the first time.

3.  Terror on the pass!

4.  Swimming!

5.  Dinner at Taverna Tagaris, the Tagaris Winery restaurant.

6.  I got a new stamp in my National Parks Passport.

7.  Sunshine.

8.  Great lunch at Olive in Walla Walla.  Mmmm… bacon…

9.  The Thorp Fruit Stand is awesome!

10.  Time with friends.

What a great weekend, and now I’m home enjoying some snuggle time with Martini.  I feel so fortunate that my friend Shelley has a heart of gold and was willing to give Tini her meds so I could have a few days away.  Now that’s friendship.

Hey Mambo!

Tonight I’m drinking a wine that one of my coworkers brought over when we had our felting party.  It is a Napa Valley Red Blend called Hey Mambo Bistro Style Wine – Sultry Red.  What a name!  And the description is a real kicker!

A bar and tables emerge out of the SMOKY blackness.  I sit in the back corner and order ravioli and a bottle of wine.  On the stage, the lights reveal a LUSCIOUS gem – with COCOA brown hair and CRANBERRY lips.  She belts out a lonesome note to awaken her band.  Her voice like VELVET, beckoning strays to the dance floor.  The music, the food, the wine, all together hypnotizing.  I savor every drop. 

The wine is an interesting blend of 29% Syrah, 26% Petite Sirah, 13% Zinfandel, 12% Grenache, 10% Tempranillo, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Merlot.  The wine is a deep garnet color.  The nose is of raspberry and light smoke.  On the palate, it is very fruit forward with light tannins and a hint of that same smoke.  I enjoyed it both with food and on its own.


2010 Hey Mambo Sultry Red

It retails for about $10, and while it won’t knock your socks off, it is a smooth drinking, everyday wine that will satisfy your guests.

Chemo Kitty Gets Love and Other Drugs

This week was Martini’s off week in her chemo regimen.  She gets her chemo drugs every other week, and on the off-weeks she goes to see Dr. Kim and get her chemo blood-work and her weigh-in.  Unfortunately, she lost weight again – and is now back down to 6.5 pounds (I’m hoping part of that was due to the fact that she hadn’t had her supplemental fluids Sunday like she usually does – I had done them Saturday instead).

So, I went about the rest of the week, and Tini did ok, and seems to like her new green pea and venison food, but she was pretty grumpy.  Oliver got the brunt of it, but I felt bad because she was clearly feeling out of sorts – she normally doesn’t beat up Oliver constantly.  I was beginning to feel like I needed to referee; she was squabbling with him over and over, and not just at mealtime!  I got the results back later this week, and talked to Kim about the bad attitude when she called.  It seems Martini is now dealing with a case of pancreatitis, and the grumpiness is likely due to the pain associated with it.  So it was off to the vet to pick up supplies – a new painkiller medicine, more green pea and venison, a bag of lactated ringers and IV tubing and needles.  I feel like I’m becoming a pretty well stocked pharmacy!

Oliver Likes Green Pea and Venison Too - Good Thing Tini is Focused or She Would Be Beating Him Up!

Oliver Likes Green Pea and Venison Too – Good Thing Tini is Focused or She Would Be Beating Him Up!

The pain med seems to be taking the edge off her bad attitude, so hopefully peace will return to the house.  I hate that she hurts, and I hate that she can’t tell me.  The good news (I hate that this is good news) is that Kim doesn’t feel that the pancreatitis should get in the way of Monday’s dose of chemo.  She has to have another complete blood panel a week after that, and this time it needs to be a fasting panel – Tini’s not going to like that, and unfortunately Oliver will pay the price!

Felting Party!

It started like this… About a month before Christmas, I was sitting at the lunch table with my coworkers reading Sunset Magazine.  We are lucky enough to have Sunset at the lunch table because one of my coworkers brings them in when she is done with them at home – although they are sometimes missing the good recipes…  This particular issue contained a picture that piqued my interest – a felted owl!

If you have seen some of my previous posts, I have a bit of an obsession with owls, and also lately, felted things.  For those of you who don’t know what felting is, this is my completely uneducated description.  You take wool, shape it into the shape that you want, and then you stab it precisely 10 million times with a barbed needle to compress the wool and get it to take on the shape you want.  You might think that stabbing it 10 million times might make it fall to pieces, but the barbed needle gets the outer layers of wool to mix together with the inner layers of wool and become very strong.  Ok, I imagine that was not really a helpful description at all.  But have no fear, you will eventually get it… I’m sure.  And if you don’t, well, you probably don’t care anyway.

So anyway, I apparently obsessed over the little owl in the magazine enough that my coworkers decided to get me one of the owl kits for Christmas!  And each of my coworkers also got a kit, and there was talk of having a felting party!  Which I hosted on Wednesday.  We all got together for appetizers and drinks and everybody brought their kits.  There was only one rule.  You couldn’t get a head start.  We were all supposed to be in this together!

The Felted Owl Kit

The Felted Owl Kit

My Owl started out as blobs of wool... like this.

My Owl started out as blobs of wool… like this.

To be honest, felting is really like playing with a voodoo doll while strung out on meth (not that I have any firsthand experience with either).  You stab that sucker over and over and over again!  So we all shared who we were imagining on the end of our needle… I’m never telling…  We chatted and laughed and obsessed over whether our blobs of wool were ever going to look like the picture on the box.  One of my co-workers got a lot of grief for starting early… or in other words, she cheated!  She shaped the body over the weekend!  She was feeling guilty until my other co-worker admitted to watching a video about needle felting beforehand…  And on occasion, you heard “ouch!” when one of us stabbed a finger.  I don’t think anybody drew blood though!

This is what I like to call the "third grade girl" phase

This is what I like to call the “third grade girl” phase

But eventually they started to take shape!  And my owl was born!

We've Got Eyes!

We’ve Got Eyes!

We Are Looking Like an Owl Now!

We Are Looking Like an Owl Now!

We are having another felting party next month to finish our kits – I just have the little spots on the belly to do, and I was going to be adventurous and add some little feet, even though feet are an add-on!

And no, it isn’t just an excuse to get together and drink!  What do you take me for – a wine lush?

Chemo Kitty Please Gain Weight

Martini had a checkup today.  Overall, she has been doing pretty well, only a little bit of vomiting and she has had pretty good energy.  But despite getting her a new food to try a couple of weeks ago, I have been concerned because she seems to be losing weight.  Unfortunately, my fears turned out to be true.  She has lost weight.  She is down to 6.5 pounds.  One of my other concerns is a little sore on her nose, and another behind her whiskers.  The vet noticed them right away, and looked in her mouth to see if she had any sores in her mouth that might be causing her pain while eating.  The good news is, there are no sores in her mouth that the vet could see.

Then Tini got her blood drawn, and they took a sample of her urine to see whether her UTI is staying away.  My fingers are crossed for the results tomorrow.  Her continuing treatment plan will depend on what the blood-work shows us.  We went home with a different new food – green pea and venison this time – to try to tempt her.  She loves the new food, so we’ll see if she will keep liking it or will lose interest – again, fingers crossed.  This evening we are just having a quiet evening watching TV.  At least she isn’t holding much of a grudge – she is sitting next to me, but on the arm of the chair.

I just wish this weren’t so hard…

A Crisp Green Apple Riesling

I have had a sore throat for the last several days.  It hasn’t been bad enough to sideline me in bed, but I have been really tired.  It is worst when I first get up, and at the end of the evening.  Sadly, it doesn’t make for the most fun wine drinking experience.  Swallowing kind of hurts, and the menthol in cough drops does not enhance the flavor of wine.  So tonight, I’m holding off on the cough drop until I can finish my glass.

Tonight I’m drinking the 2011 Dr. Loosen Blue Slate Riesling Kabinett.  It was a wine that we picked up at Costco last time we were there, for $11.99.  We have been making it a goal to try more new wines, so this was my pick.  I don’t really get much on the nose (probably because of this cold I’m fighting), but there is a faint hint of minerality mixed with a soft sweetness.  The faint nose may have something to do with the fact that Jon opened this wine yesterday, when I didn’t have the desire to drink wine while I was sucking on those cough drops.


2011 Dr. Loosen Riesling Kabinett

On the tongue, the wine has a bold, tart green apple flavor.  The kind of tart flavor that makes your mouth pucker and water just a little bit.  There is also a distinct mineral crispness.  I paired it with a quick soup tonight, but I think it would be delicious in the summer with a BBQ porkchop.  This wine makes me wish summer were here.  I think I’ll have to keep wishing.