A few weeks ago a dear friend of mine sent me a box of cookbooks. Included in that box was a book of German recipes, and contained therein was a recipe for Lebkuchen different from the one I’m used to making.
So I thought I’d make a batch.
I’ve probably posted this before, but I haven’t seen the picture in ages. I was cleaning and reorganizing today, and just now came across this picture of me with a very little Alex.
It’s one of the few pictures of me that I like. Bill took the picture with my old film camera.
Wow. Almost ten and a half years ago.
Time. The part about it flying.
I had two days off, back to back, last week, and figured I’d use them for a baking marathon. That time of year, you know. I try (really, I do) to get the German cookies made early enough so we can ship them off to various far-flung family members so they arrive BEFORE Christmas. (Without having to overnight them, heh heh.)
Anyway, one of the cookies that’s part of that collection is Lebkuchen, a traditional German spiced cookie that includes candied citrus peel – what kind you use depends on the recipe you’re following. Bill’s mom’s version has candied orange peel and candied citron, the kinds that come in those 4 oz. containers in the grocery store.
I generally make more than one batch of these cookies, because they’re one of the favorites, so that means several containers of each kind of candied peel.
Now, this year, for various reasons (including the Scratchy saga), money is tight. And those candied peel containers are pricey, for the amount you get. And they’re also probably loaded with preservatives and additives and other “-ives” that aren’t at all good for you…so I decided it would be both healthier and cheaper to make my own candied peel. And it’s a cool thing to do. And pretty.
I’ve thought of doing it in years past, but then I’d get lazy and just buy the containers. This year, with two days off IN A ROW! I decided to candy some peel.
So here we go…
I have mixed feelings about this time of year.
Some call it the season of giving, but if you think about all the advertising, it’s more like the season of getting. Of gimme, gimme gimme.
Even the commercials urging you to shop here to buy “the perfect gift” aren’t really interested in you and your gift-giving. They just want your money. Gimme.
And things. It’s all about things.
We’ve got lots of things in this house.
Things that we use, and things that decorate.
Things that bring us joy, and things that gather dust underneath the beds or lie buried beneath other things. Things the children were overjoyed to unwrap last year or the year before, which are now clogging shelves or access to the closet.
We have too much stuff. Too many things.
I’m working on getting rid of the excess.
It’s not easy.
I blame genetics. Or the Great Depression. Or my grandparents growing up poor in the East End of London.
They didn’t have much when they got married. But over time, with a lot of hard work, they did well for themselves. And they acquired things. Lots of books. Mementos. Serving ware. Things.
They lived into their eighties after living good lives and providing the world with one child – my mother. When they died, my mother was left without her parents, but with a lot of things to sort through. To keep, to give away, to throw away…
And before all that, my mother continued the tradition of collecting and keeping things.
Our house – a full four stories high – was full of things. There was a closet in the dining room, for instance, that was floor-to-ceiling dishes and glassware and salt and pepper shakers and odds and ends of serving ware. The walls were adorned with platters…teacups and saucers…interesting plates.
I thought it was pretty cool (except when I had to wash them).
We got lots of things for Christmas. My mother, a depression-era baby, wanted to give us magical Christmases with lots to unwrap. She did a great job. I grew up thinking that was the whole point and quest of Christmas. To give The Best Gifts Ever. I overspent. I drove myself crazy. I gave people lots of things.
And I have lots of things now.
The other part of all this, is the Saving of Things.
That spoon was given to your grandmother by her great-aunt-in-law’s cousin Matilda on her deathbed.
That sort of thing. The sort of thing that, while yes, it’s just a spoon, is also That Spoon, and it is this capitalized identity that gives the spoon a weight far heavier than the few ounces you see on a scale.
It becomes more than a spoon. It is a spoon with meaning. With history. With great-aunt-in-law’s cousin Matilda’s very blood and soul forged into the metal.
It must be kept.
This makes it really hard to clean out the attic or to hold a yard sale.
All those possessed things refusing to budge.
About 8 years ago lots of events took place. (Like they do every year, I suppose.) The ones I’m thinking of include these – my parents sold the house they’d lived in since the year before I was born. Part of it was also my father’s business, and as a retired couple whose daughters were out of the house, it was too big. For my father.
My mother never wanted to move. The house was such a possessed thing.
And I understand that. I grew up in that house. So many memories in those rooms. It was my home.
But. It was too much. Too big and old (and drafty) to heat efficiently, too much to maintain, too many things that would need attention eventually, which would cost more than they wanted to spend.
So, with great gut-wrenching reluctance on my mother’s part (and my mother is a WHOLE ‘nother story that would need a separate blog), the house was sold, and they moved into a smaller place about 3 miles away.
And attempted to cram 40 years or more of things into a much smaller house. It wasn’t easy. And it’s still not really done. The basement? Full of boxes and boxes of things. There are two full-sized hutches in the dining room, each filled and covered with all those dishes and glasses and things from the closet and walls of the former dining room.
My mother won’t let go of these things. This came from so-and-so. That was given to me by this person who died twenty years ago. These were the sugar decorations from your first birthday cake. Yes, they are crumbly, but still.
That same year, my daughter was born. A gorgeous, healthy baby girl. A baby sister for our son. A girl cousin for the lone girl niece on either side of the family. A happy occasion.
And, at the very end of that year – this was 2004 – a tsunami struck a lot of the Asian coastal countries, destroying homes and families, drowning lives and memories and dragging them out to sea.
My mother did not look on 2004 fondly. She was focused on the sale of her home, and oh, yeah, she also broke her hip. That, at the end of the year, was all she could focus on.
I pointed out that a granddaughter was also born that year. Oh, yeah.
That didn’t sit well with me. But again – I need a separate blog for all that.
Anyway, those three events – house, daughter, tsunami – have become intertwined in my mind. I think about them like this:
I love my home, I love my stuff in my home.
I love my daughter.
What if a tsunami came and dragged it all out to sea?
I wouldn’t care about the home or the stuff.
I can’t imagine losing my daughter. Or, rather, I can, but I choose not to because it is too painful to even contemplate.
But it has changed something in me.
My feeling about things.
I care less about them. Instead, I feel as though they are looming over me sometimes, crowding me with all their history and meaning.
Yes, some things are meaningful to me. Some things I cannot part with. Or, rather, I could, but choose not to, at least for now. Some things – habits are hard to break – I will keep for my kids. Pieces of furniture. Sets of dishes. These are functional things. They will be used.
I think I’m tired of things that just sit there. That aren’t used. That, okay, I can look at them and feel time shift and remember something significant, or a certain person…but…I don’t find it quite as hard to let go any more.
I don’t want to be crowded.
I don’t want to be haunted by these things, or by the…the familial obligation to keep things because great-aunt-somebody-or-other left them behind after she died and now I’ve got to dust it.
Yes, I have items that mean a lot to me; that have some kind of significance. But how many of these special things do I need or want to keep? Do I need to keep EVERYTHING I’ve ever been given? EVERYTHING passed down from a passed-away relative? I feel things clutching at my arms and legs, and clinging to me with whispers that trigger all my guilt reflexes. I don’t want that. I don’t need that.
They are things. Sure, they bring me a smile or a memory.
But if a tsunami were to strike?
They are just things.
I know – this has been long and rambling. And unedited. And not thought out entirely. I just sat down and started typing, with a vague idea of what I wanted to say, and this is what came out.
Years ago I would definitely have disagreed with these words.
Tomorrow I might disagree with myself.
But somehow, I don’t think so.
I finished them!
Yesterday, which was Thanksgiving, was also my only day off this week. As I mentioned in my previous post, we did a brunch instead of the traditional turkey dinner, which was wonderful and relaxing and left us with a whole afternoon and evening to do whatever we felt like doing.
I felt like finishing these two quilts.
This post has nothing to do with Scratchy. I just wanted to post a photo of something.
It’s Wednesday morning, the kids are getting ready for school. Tonight Bill and I and the kids will all be cooking and prepping food for tomorrow.
We’re not going traditional this year. Not exactly.
Oh, we have a turkey, but we’re not serving it whole. Bill’s making sausage with the dark meat and I’ll brine and roast the breast portion for those who want turkey slices.
We’re doing brunch this year instead of dinner. My sister and I came up with the idea for a variety of reasons, and the more we talked about it, the more enthusiastic we grew.
We’re keeping some traditional things (stuffing, gravy, pumpkin/squash pie) but my sister is making a brussels sprout, bacon and potato hash, I’m making kale pie (for the eggy breakfast portion of the program), and for dessert, besides the pie, there will be apple waffles with an apple syrup.
Beverages will include coffee, tea, hot cocoa and hot cider.
My niece, Natalie, is making rolls or biscuits, too.
Oh, and I’ll be serving one of my Camemberts, too. A larger one. We’ll see how the texture came out. I’m pretty sure it’ll taste good, regardless.
And that’s the plan.
Naturally I’ve caught a cold, which started the other night with a sore throat, joined the next day by aches and congestion. I think the sore throat part is subsiding, now it’s congestion in my head and chest. Oh well. Tea with honey and lemon…rest when I can get it…and advil to get me through the work day.
It could always be worse, so I’m not complaining.
Anyway, that’s my little status update for the time being.
I hope you all (those of you who are celebrating it) have a wonderful Thanksgiving! And those of you who don’t celebrate the day – have a wonderful Thursday!
Sure, I could have called them pumpkin muffins, because a pumpkin is, after all, a squash…but these were made from one of our butternut-futsu hybrid squashes, not a pumpkin squash, so I decided to stay accurate. Or accurate-ish.
But I digress.
The thing I like best about these muffins, besides how yummy they are, is that the recipe came about because I hadn’t been grocery shopping and I didn’t have some of the things called for in the original recipe.
So I had to improvise, and it worked!
On Monday I mentioned the wall quilts I want to make for our bedroom windows (and who knows, maybe I’ll make them for the other rooms, too.
Anyway, I cut out lots of squares and rectangles for each of my kids to use. Then, when they got home from school and finished their homework, I put them to work.
I’ll be voting in tomorrow’s election, of course.
I believe it’s my responsibility, not just my right, to place my vote.
I feel that if you choose not to vote, you don’t have any right to complain about the way the government is run, since you didn’t bother to put your own two cents in at least once every four years.
But that’s just me.
And about voting tomorrow?
I don’t feel all that passionate about it.
I don’t have a whole lot of faith in the idea that ONE person will bring about major positive changes in four years.
Regardless of political affiliation.
I think any president – Democrat or Republican – can just come in and magically clean up whatever mess the previous president left behind.
Or change course so that whatever party the newest president belongs to will be all happy and satisfied.
Because this isn’t a dictatorship. There are lots and lots of voices and opinions. The president can’t just announce that this is the new way we’re going to do things around here. Which is good. Except that it makes it harder to get things done.
It’s like if we’re going to pick a movie to watch. My daughter will want one movie, and maybe my son will want a different movie. And they each want the movie THEY picked. Sometimes because they really and truly want those different movies, but sometimes just because.
Just because Alex picked the movie, then Julia will not want to watch it. Not that she has no interest in that movie – maybe secretly she’d really like to watch it. But. Just because Alex picked it, Julia doesn’t want to watch it.
And of course it works the same way in reverse. Julia will make her choice, and Alex, just because, will absolutely no way in heck want to watch that.
That’s what politics looks like to me. I know it’s probably more complicated and nuanced and lofty, and it’s also more ugly and money-driven and selfish.
So it’s election day tomorrow.
Maybe we’ll have the same president, maybe we’ll have a new one. The thing is, whichever president we have, things will be slow to improve or change or whatever, because there will be plenty of people from the opposing party who don’t want to work with the president and his party.
That’s how it all feels to me. Like lots of squabbling. Roadblocks everywhere. Regardless of party.
It makes me weary.
White mold, people.
Say it with me…WHITE…MOLD!
A week or so ago I took a peek at the undersides of the cheeses and discovered that the mold was MUCH more developed under there. The instructions for making camembert hadn’t said anything about flipping the cheese over, and maybe turning it was a given, but I hadn’t been doing it.
This morning a big bowl of Vichyssoise that Bill made last night for tomorrow night’s dinner got mostly knocked over when I closed the door after removing a bowl of dough that was under the bowl of soup. Apparently the prior arrangement prevented a shelf on the door of the fridge from hitting the lip of the bowl of soup. When I removed the dough bowl and moved the soup bowl lower, that changed the whole inner logistical physical set up, and the next time I opened the fridge, to get apples for the kids for their lunches, I discovered a thick, pale green leek and potato pond on one shelf and small vichyssoisefalls dribbling to the bottom of the refrigerator.
I became unhappy at the sight.
While I was trying to salvage some of the soup by – yes – herding as much of the pond back into the bowl as possible with soggy paper towels, Alex suddenly appeared in the kitchen and froze – grinning – one hand in the corner cupboard reaching for a Hershey kiss. The caramel swirl kind, in case you’re interested. Anyway, I snapped at him to cut it out and stop doing that and it would be nice if he LISTENED TO ME for a change.
Totally undeserved. He slunk away sadly.
I felt even less happy.
I got the soup cleaned up and managed to salvage enough for us all to have a few sips tomorrow night. We’ll call it an appetizer.
Then I went into the bathroom to help Julia with her hair.
She has long hair, like I did at her age, and, like mine at that age, it is prone to tangles. Jungles, really. Probably why my mother usually kept my hair confined in a braid most of my childhood. Julia, however, is not as malleable a child as I was. She doesn’t like braids. She prefers her mane flowing wild and free. Until it snags around her earring. Then it’s all sorts of fun for both of us. I tried unwrapping the hair from the earring, but that pulled and hurt. So then I thought if I just took the earring out, that would solve everything. But the back had been pushed on too tightly and my right thumbnail is very short at the moment and I couldn’t slip it in there between her delicate earlobe and the earring back…so of course THAT hurt – a lot – and she started crying and I felt horrible and at the same time, and SO frustrated that I snapped at her, too, and that, of course, elicited more tears on her part…and if I wasn’t on an antidepressant that has, apparently, dried up my tear ducts, I would have sobbed right along with her.
I took her into the living room and we sat together on the big comfy chair, and I held her while her crying slowed and stopped. Then I continued to hold her and kind of wished she and I could trade places, and I could be small and someone bigger could hug me.
Finally, after a time of silence, I asked her, softly, “Do you forgive me?”
And I pulled back a bit so I could see her face.
She pressed her lips together and shook her head.
I hugged her again.
So be it.
A few moments later I managed to unwrap the strands of hair from her earring and then pull her tangly tresses into a ponytail. We didn’t have time to fight the jungle any more.
I felt worn out. Worn down. Horrible.
The kids, of course, being resilient people, had bounced back. Mommy’s crabby mood would pass, they knew. Soon it was time for them to head to school. Alex was putting his shoes on in one corner of the kitchen and Julia was behind me to my left. She asked if I could give her a ride to school and let Alex and their friend J walk.
I think that was her way of forgiving me.
I have such great kids.
And then I turned suddenly to shut off the light over the stove and elbowed Julia right in the eye.
Slowly but surely, that precious white mold is growing on my little cheeses!
Okay, a bit dramatic.
I’ve been busy – work-busy and home-busy. But it’s all good busy. I love my job, so I’m perfectly happy when I’m there, and at home I’ve been canning up a storm, which isn’t always fun, but it’s satisfying and rewarding to look at the jars and jars of food on my pantry shelves.
“See? I can pose with vegetables just as well as that slacker brother of mine can. And I’ve got pumpkins! Take my picture!”
Feline sibling rivalry. It’s exhausting.
I was working the latter half of a double when Bill texted me to say that Scratchy’s tube was out.
No one took it out, mind you. At least, none of us humans. We were all at work or at school, so somehow…the tube came out. It had been stitched in place where it went in through his throat, mind you. Stitched in place; it wasn’t just free-floating like some sort of flexible drinking straw.
Scratchy’s been eating like his old self for a while now. We stopped feeding him through the tube days ago and just continued to flush it with water as instructed back at the beginning of this saga. Scratchy had grown impatient with the whole feeding tube nonsense, too. He’d suddenly dart away while we were trying to feed him, leaving us holding the syringe and his uncrimped tube flapping in the breeze.
And he’s grown pinker and pinker in the tell-tale spots: inside his ears, his eyes, his gums, and his shorn (for the ultrasound) belly.
He’s been quite himself lately.
Anyway, Bill ended up bringing Scratchy to the animal hospital so they could make sure the tube was entirely out (it was) and to take his stitches out. Turns out there was no need for that – the stitches were gone, too. Apparently Scratchy borrowed some scissors and snipped them himself.
The final word? The holes in his neck will heal on their own, he looks great, and there is no need for another visit.
That huge hurricane-force gust of wind that rattled your house earlier this evening? That was Bill and I breathing a collective sigh of relief.
At this point, we just need to make sure the healing hole in his neck doesn’t get infected (he’s got a much smaller bandage thingy around his neck now – and he’s already chewing on it, trying to get rid of it) and to make sure he keeps eating.
I think we can handle that.
I made these the other day and if I don’t make them again my family will kick me out.
Well, okay, full disclosure, Julia won’t kick me out. She didn’t like them. But Bill and Alex? Oh yeah.
And they really should be called “Because I need to go to the grocery store” cookies. Why? I was out of several things in the original recipe, so I just subbed this and that and ended up with something unexpectedly fabulous.
*Out of respect for my friends who are easily freaked out by eyes and eyeballs (Hi Beth J, I’m talking to you), I have posted the picture for this post well below the fold and the text.*
Actually, there’s not much text for this post.
Alex came home from playing the other day and I noticed something on his eye.
I had a message on the answering machine this afternoon from Scratchy’s veterinarian – his blood work came back and while he’s not back to normal, his numbers have improved remarkably (the Dr’s word).
I’d had a long day, I was tired, headachy, and verging on weepy-for-no-reason. Then I got that message and suddenly I felt better about things.
That’s Julia’s work.
She’s got this hideous blob of silly putty that she’s had for I don’t know how long, and lately I’ve been finding it wrapped around plastic tigers on the small table in the living room, or in a blob on my kitchen work table, or – the other day – right there on the arm of a chair.
I’m a terrible housekeeper – I left it there. And I took a picture.
Yesterday morning when Alex came downstairs, he sat in that chair and put his arm on the silly putty. “Julia’s silly putty!” he announced with an older brother sigh.
“I wrote your name!” Julia told him. “It was for you!”
“Oh!” he said, in a much kinder voice.
Found this in my drafts folder. I’d written it on August 10th, but never posted it. Don’t know why. Anyway, figured I’d share….
I haven’t been sleeping well.
There’s a lot on my mind, and it gets kind of hushed during the day when I’m busy with other, more immediate things, but then at night it senses the silence, the lack of motion, and, like a baby in my belly, it starts kicking. Hard.
So I woke up sometime after three this morning. Couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up in a feeble attempt to flee the babble in my brain.
I didn’t escape them, of course. They came along for the ride.
I went downstairs and switched on the tv more as an aural distraction than because there was anything to watch…and I puttered. I folded laundry, started another load, wished my cousin a happy birthday on facebook, read stuff online, added a rosary posting to my etsy store, and tried to feel like I was accomplishing something good. Something to make getting up worth it. Not sure if I accomplished that or not.
I did get drowsy again, though, and at about quarter to six, when I couldn’t form intelligent sentences for another etsy upload, I figured I could go back to sleep for an hour or so.
So up I went. I fell asleep, wrapped in a blanket (the fan was on in the room because Bill and I have different air temperature requirements to sleep well, at least in the summer), and dropped deeply into a dream.
Bill and I had gone…somewhere. To something festive, it seemed…a wedding, a party…somewhere away. And during the course of the festivities, whatever they were, Bill ended up hanging out with a bunch of guys that were there and I ended up heading back to whatever room we were staying in that night. The next morning, I texted him because I didn’t know where he was, and then somehow I was home, in the basement, and I found his cell phone there, plugged into the charger.
So he didn’t even have it with him. And I didn’t know how to get in touch with him, or where he was, or anything. I worry all the time. Even in dreams, apparently.
And then, I heard his voice.
It was saying “Jayne! Jayne! It’s trash day!”
I swam up, up, up through my unconsciousness and emerged, still wrapped in a blanket, still foggy-brained. I opened an eye and looked at him.
“I heard the trucks,” he said urgently.
So my body rolled out of bed, dragging my sluggish brain with it, and we hurried downstairs to get our trash and recycle bins to the curb so we wouldn’t be stuck with smelly garbage fermenting in the sun for the next week.
I tilted the gray garbage bin back on its wheels and started rolling it toward the street. Bill was behind me, hopefully planning to carry the lawn bags, which were still wet from recent rain. I hate carrying wet lawn bags – I’m always expecting them to break, and I really don’t want to have to deal with that.
Anyway, I’m also thinking, which week is it, green or blue? Green is paper recyclables, blue is bottles and cans and metal things. I’m pretty sure last week was green, but I scan the street to see what the other, more organized, neighbors have done.
I see one gray bin over there. But nothing else anywhere.
It crosses my mind that everyone else on our street is SO efficient that not only did they put their bins out the night before, but they also ran outside IMMEDIATELY after the trucks ZIPPED THROUGH and returned the bins to wherever they keep them the rest of the week.
But that made no sense. More foggy thinking…it IS Wednesday, right?
And then just as the dim bulb in my brain was starting to glow a bit, Bill said “Monday holiday!”
Rhode Island is the only state still observing “Victory Day.” It used to be VJ day – Victory over Japan – but then a lot of states stopped celebrating it and then I guess the name got changed to sound more PC.
Anyway. Aha. Monday holiday. That meant our trash pickup would be…tomorrow.
I just looked at Bill, who kind of smiled and said “Sorry.”
I wanted to glare, but I laughed instead and headed back inside, up the stairs, and back into my blanket cocoon.
I figured it might make for a good story later.
You know all those jokes about how many (insert group/religion/occupation/nationality/gender/etc. of your choice here) it takes to change a light bulb?
I’ve got my own version now.
But you need to read the other stuff first. (Or you could skip ahead, but that would lead me to believe you’re the kind of person who reads the end of a book first, just to see how it all turns out. Tsk tsk.)
This morning when I opened the bedroom door I was greeted by a white and gray cat who meowed cheerfully at me before brushing past my legs to inspect the premises.
I was so surprised I knocked on the bathroom door and hissed at Bill to open the door. He came out, brushing his teeth, and I pointed delightedly at Scratchy, who was meandering around the laundry baskets.
“He hasn’t done this in so long!” I said happily.
It’s a good sign.
Last night after work I brought Scratchy to the animal hospital again so they could test his blood and check his liver levels and change his bandage.
I sat in the waiting room for a few minutes, then the tech came over with a clipboard and confirmed what Scratchy was there for. He started to take the carrier and said he’d be back in a bit after the bloodwork and the bandage change, and I said something like “So I’m not allowed to watch the bandage change?” I said a bit wistfully, not in a snotty way. In case you were wondering.
And he said there was no reason I couldn’t, it would just take longer because some reason I didn’t exactly understand but I said “okay” politely and resumed the magazine page-flipping I’d begun moments ago.
Within a minute or two, the door to one of the exam rooms opened, the tech guy came out and beckoned me over.
“We’ll take his blood sample and then the Dr. will do the bandage change in here.” I thanked him.
I sat in the room and waited, my thoughts drifting through various other animal/medical events in my life. And I thought, for a moment, that maybe I should have gone to veterinary school…I think I’d have done well, frankly.
But, it didn’t happen, no sense in regrets.
Soon I heard a familiar meow outside the room. The tech guy opened the door, Scratchy in one arm and the carrier in the next. Scratchy had a purple pressure bandage around his back left leg and the little closure at the tip of his feeding tube had been changed to a different style. (Bill said it had come out a couple times during the earlier feeding.)
I scratched Scratchy around the edges of his bandage and soon he was purring loudly and fairly relaxed.
The Dr. came in with bandaging materials. We chatted about Scratchy – she said he definitely seemed spunkier than the last time. I told her how he’d been doing, that little by little he seemed to be acting more like himself (but it’s VERY little by little), and that Softie is still not sure what to say to him, so she just stares and occasionally hisses.
Soon the various layers of bandage and tape were peeled away and I could see Scratchy’s shorn neck. With a tube sticking out of it. The tube, which is about the diameter of a pencil, maybe a hair smaller, is sutured in place on the left side of his neck, toward the front. The opening looked good – no swelling or discharge or anything like that. The Dr put a new absorbent square of something around the tube, then re-wrapped everything and taped the end of the tube back against Scratchy’s neck.
They’ll have the results of the blood work some time today. He’s still jaundiced, so his numbers won’t be down all that much yet, but just like it took a while for him to get so sick, it’ll take time for him to get better.
As I was leaving – hanging around at the front desk while someone went to get more of Scratchy’s high-cal food – I got to meet the three cats that live at the hospital.
They spend their days in what seems to be a couple of rooms connected by a tunnel just below the ceiling. The whole thing is glassed-in, and they have one of those huge carpeted cat tree-house things or whatever they’re called (obviously we don’t have one).
There are three of them – all males. And when Scratchy and I came out of the exam room late last night, the three cats were out and about in the reception area, prowling around, eating their dinner, walking across the desks and paperwork and receiving lots of love from the staff on duty.
I asked where they had come from. All three had had urinary tract blockages (something that happened to one of my male cats years ago) and their owners couldn’t pay for their treatment. So they turned the cats over to the hospital, the staff took care of the blockage problems, and now these three gentleman felines live like furry royalty.
I brought Scratchy home, let him get settled, and then gave him his final feeding of the day.
And that’s the update.
I don’t have a picture because it’s night time and too dark to get a decent shot unless I use the flash, so you’ll just have to wait til tomorrow to see him in his lovely blue ascot with the feeding tube sprouting from his neck.
I picked him up after work tonight and was given food, syringes, meds, and instructions. A bit later this evening (like in fifteen minutes) I’ll blend his high-calorie food with water so it’s the proper consistency for the tube…then I’ll flush the tube with a small amount of lukewarm water and feed him gradually, over about half an hour…plus his evening dose of antibiotic…then flush with a bit of water after all that.
There’s a lot of stuff to pay attention to, and I’ll be showing Bill and the kids what needs to be done so they can do it if I’m at work.
I am already planning to make a chart with dosages and meds and places to check off what’s been done.
I love charts. And this seems like the perfect opportunity to make a really BIG chart.
Forgive me – it’s past my bedtime, and it’s been a strange, worrisome bunch of days.
And in the midst of all that, my kids went back to school – something that sort of ranked second, far below the Scratchy And His Fatty Liver Crisis.
Scratchy, for his part, was very happy to see me and didn’t complain too much on the ride home (he does not like riding in the car). And when I got home, most of the lights in the house were off, but – no surprise here – I heard small feet padding quickly down the stairs, and as I let Scratchy out of his carrier, Alex appeared.
Smiling. So happy. So relieved.
That’s the best part.
So at this point it’s looking like Scratchy has Feline Hepatic Lipidosis, or Fatty Liver Disease, which is kind of what I was thinking, based on what I’d read online.
So what that means is he’d stopped eating, or stopped eating the usual amount of food, and then his liver started shutting down or malfunctioning. Which made him jaundiced, and made him feel sick, and not want to eat.
So the main thing is to get him to eat, and since food isn’t all that appealing, he’s been fitted with a feeding tube. I haven’t seen it yet, but I believe it’s inserted in the back of his neck and goes into his belly or throat. We will have to feed him about four times a day through the tube, and each session will take about fifteen to twenty minutes.
They’ve also aspirated his liver, which is kind of like a biopsy only smaller – they stick a needle into his liver to get a small sample and then have it tested for other things like hepatitis and leukemia. That was done yesterday and we should have at least some results today.
I’ll be getting a phone call later this morning, and if all is going well, I’ll be able to pick up scratchy on my way home from work. I’ll also learn to feed him through the tube, and then I’ll teach Bill and the kids as well.
One thing I discovered, while I’ve been doing my research on the internet, is that there are quite a number of blogs devoted solely to people’s cats with Fatty Liver Disease.
I suppose that shouldn’t have surprised me, as there are blogs devoted to anything and everything. I don’t think I’ll go that far – but I’ll probably be posting Scratchy updates from time to time. I’ll most likely write a post (with pictures) about how we feed him through the tube.
I’m being cautiously optimistic. Still don’t have the results from the liver aspiration yet, so I don’t want to turn cartwheels (not that I could do that anyway), but I am fingers-crossed hopeful.
So is Alex, as you can imagine.
He’s not feeling too good.
Something’s going on with his liver.
Not sure what yet.
Brought him to the vet Monday.
Thought he was improving Tuesday.
Brought him to the animal hospital (24 hr care) early this morning.
He’s only four.
Keeping fingers crossed that it’s one of the fixable things and not something bleaker.
He’s Alex’s cat.
I really want everything to turn out okay.
Meanwhile, one of my sister’s cats has been missing for about a week.
His name is Ozzy.
Keeping fingers crossed that he comes home soon and well.
I’ve never considered myself the parent of a pet. I’m the parent of my children, pets are pets.
But pets – especially furry ones – take up residence in our hearts, and they give us cause to worry and lose sleep at times.
So I’m hoping for happy news in both houses.
Hooking their claws into us like that.
First – a minor tragedy. Bill had noticed that one of the smaller galeux felt kind of lighter weight and hollow, so we cut it open. Half the innards were liquid. We figure one of the EVIL squash vine borers dug his grubby little way in and had a feast. Bill hacked this pumpkin to bits with a hatchet but couldn’t find the grub.
We found a grub just under the surface in another of the galeux. I let out a little shriek of disgust and Bill fed the grub to our lizard, who gobbled it up in a split second. She prefers the creamy filling of grubs to the crunch of crickets. I know. Ick. The rest of the pumpkin was fine, so after trimming away any part the icky grub had come in contact with, I roasted the rest of it.
That’s it for the sad pictures, though. The rest of the pictures are of a happier nature.