Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Christmas

I do hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I've been mostly out of commission for the better part of a week. Oddly I had full access to a computer to read blogs, but I was a wee bit busy, and I just needed a break. Christmas at my house went well. We all made out with some pretty good loot. We all spoiled Granny. It was our first Christmas without Granddad, which I know was hard for all of us. I made out with a couple of gift cards (whoohoo! shopping spree!), some new measuring cups/spoons, new pajama bottoms, a nice hat rack and a utility shelf for my laundry/mud room (trust me, I needed both! lol), a new coat, Part 2 of Deathly Hallows (I totally see a HP marathon in my future . . . Frisky, Jewels, Hazel - you up for it?? lol), a couple of necklaces, a nice hamper, and the big Santa gift was a 32" flat screen TV. I. Was. Floored.

Here's the funny bit. Christmas Eve, my dad at some point asked, "Do you know what Santa's bringing you?" I was completely sarcastic and goofy and said, "A flat screen TV?" I'm not sure how he kept his cool, considering it was hiding in the garage at that very moment. It's rare that Santa can shock me much anymore, but he did this year. I was so shocked, I actually started crying and repeating, "That's not what's in the box, right?" However, I cannot lift my TV as it's a 27" TV with a really big butt behind it. So my new TV is sitting in it's box.

I took Libby home for Christmas, and everyone adhered to the strict instructions of keeping her quiet. I was continuing her antibiotics and pain meds while at my parents house. K had suggested that I give her the pills in butter, because she's now anti-hot dog, which is how we were giving her the pills before. As gross as it sounds, it actually worked. For two whole days. By Monday night, she puked everything up, and that was it. She was supposed to be on the meds for 10 days, and it was like 9 days at that time, so I just said I was done with it. The last two times we gave her the pills, I wound up with dog slime all over my clothes. This dog is the absolute worst at taking any kind of medication. My cat is better. And her teeth and claws are ten times sharper. But, she is doing better. She uses the leg once in a while, but I've discovered it depends on the surface. Like she doesn't like my backyard, but she'll use it on concrete, the carpet, and gravel/rock. Weird. I brought her back with me so Dr. J could take a look at her, and hopefully decide to go back in to put that anti-rotational stitch back in next week. No such luck. He wanted to give her another 10 days and check on it again. So, tomorrow I'm meeting Dad and doing the Libby hand-off so she can be home for a week. He'll be back up here on business at the right time, which turned out perfect. Poor little dog. I did get the evil eye a few times, as one of my parents would have the dog in their laps and she wouldn't sit still and kept trying to get to me. Yeah. I think the dog is starting to get a little too attached to me. Mom keeps saying I'm getting attached . . . .

 I'm not seeing that at all. Nope. Not me.

Oh, I did try my very first peppermint latte on Christmas Eve, thanks to one of the techs. Here was the result of my taste test:

Definitely not a coffee drinker. At. All.

The day after Christmas I got to have lunch with two friends. After lunch one friend had to get back to watch her daughter while other family members ran errands. So my BFF and I hung out the rest of the afternoon. It was awesome. It had been right around six months since we'd seen each other. I'm so happy for her - she finally got a job after months of searching. She finally gets good benefits, retirement, her own office, the whole nine yards. We talked and talked and then talked some more. Oh and we hugged.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Libby Update

Alright folks, here's the 4-1-1 on my mom's little Yorkie, Libby. (if you need reminders of Libby and her situation please go here and here.)

Dr. J called me about 8am today to let me know what was going on. He's kept her at the clinic since Monday when Mom stopped in to have him look at it. He told me that she's using her leg a little, but that he really wanted to keep her until the infection goes away and the inflammation goes down so that he can figure out what's going on and what to do about her knee. He asked how Mom would handle that. I just sighed and told him she missed her dog, but that I would talk to her. He then asked me when I was going home for Christmas to which I replied, on Saturday after work (we work until noon on Christmas Eve). He told me I could take Libby home on Saturday but that he really wanted me to bring her back. I had really been hoping he'd bring Libby over with him today (Wednesday) so that she could stay at my place until I went home this weekend. No such luck.

I got off the phone with Dr. J and called Mom. Considering she had sent me a text at like 6:30 a.m. saying "You bring my puppy home NOW", she didn't like what Dr. J told me. She understood his reasons, but she misses her dog. I knew me relaying the information would probably bring her to tears, and I hate seeing or hearing my Mom cry. Because it makes me cry. I can't handle it. But even though she misses her dog, she understood why Dr. J wanted to keep her and that in the end, it would be best if she stayed up here.

During the day at the Sticksville clinic, Dr. J told me again how upset he is that Libby's recovery hasn't gone as planned. He feels horrible that this is going on, and wants to make it right. One of the tech's called during the day and relayed an update to Dr. J and it was: Libby was using her leg a little bit, she pooped this morning (which is a good thing because all the medicines she's on can make her constipated), they gave her some fluids, but she's not really eating much. I told them that she'd been eating pretty well at home, so it might be that she's just upset about being in a strange place.

Before Dr. J left for the main clinic around 5 p.m., I asked him how much it was going to cost keeping Libby at the clinic all this time. He shrugged and said, "Nothin'. Maybe just enough to cover cost, but, don't worry about it."

He called me during dinner, after having just checked up on her. He told me that she's using the leg a little still, but that he figured out it was the anti-rotational stitch he put in that she broke. Here's what went down: A few days to a week after her knee surgery, she jumped off a chair before anyone could get to her. It was then that things started to slowly unravel. He and I have been able to piece this together - when she jumped off the chair, she must have broken the stitch. The suture then must have started irritating her because that's about the time she started digging into her sutures, thereby getting it infected and inflamed. He was able to pull the stitch out, because the swelling had pushed the suture up to where it was visible in her open wound. That and it was loose, which it shouldn't have been. The reason for the anti-rotational stitch was two fold: first, to keep that knee cap in place; second, to prevent her lower leg from turning inward (in a sense, making her bow-legged).

He then gave me two options to relay to my parents. Option 1 is to go back in (once the swelling has gone down and the infection is gone) and put that anti-rotational stitch back in. I offered the idea of keeping her leg bandaged after that operation and keeping the Cone of Shame on her so it limits her mobility so she won't go jumping off furniture. When I asked how much that would cost, Dr. J told me he'd do it at cost, for about $100. (realize that "at cost" includes covering anesthetics, suture material, bandaging if needed, and medicine - and still that would be coming off cheap). Option 2 is to find a city vet who will charge an outrageous amount to do a procedure that I can't remember the name of, but basically they would put a pin in the leg to keep it straight and keep that knee cap in place. (Unfortunately, my vets don't do that procedure here). Dr. J said that if my parents chose this option he would write them a $300 check (refunding half of what the original surgery and medicine cost).

After dinner I called my parents and talked to them about these options. Of course, this brought Mom to tears again, which of course triggers a chain reaction. While my parents hate the fact that Libby is in a strange place, they know it's where she should be. They've chosen option 1. Mom is afraid that Libby will forget who she is. Well, we all know that's not possible. Dogs never forget their parents.

Tomorrow (Thursday) morning I'll call Dr. J and let him know, and I'm going to try to drive over the mountain tomorrow and visit Libby. I'll take her some treats, and maybe see about finding some of her food in a store and see if she'll eat that away from home.

We (my parents and myself) want to thank you again for all your love and support and good wishes towards Libby. We all want her home as soon as humanly possible, but realize that might take some time. Please keep our little dog in your thoughts and please continue to send some good mojo her way.

I will keep you guys updated as I know stuff.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Postcards and Thank You's

With everything else going on, I nearly forgot to send out a bloggy thank you to my friend Jewels for the postcard she sent this month. She hand-made hers, which I think rocks and makes them super-cool. I'm so not that talented!

If you're curious about the postcard campaign, there's a link at the top of the page. It's all about spreading some simple yet wonderful mailbox happiness. Seriously, who doesn't love getting something besides junk mail and bills? To sign up, shoot me an email with your information, and that's all you need to do. Each month I announce the next blogger on the list who gets to send out postcards for the next month. For those of us that receive the postcards, we write up a little thank you in a post, include a picture of the postcard if you wish, and also link to them and me. But . . . it's time to announce the next sender! For January, the next blogger to send out postcards is:

(I will send you the addresses on January 1st)

Also, for those participating in the Postcard campaign, you also found a little something extra in your mailboxes this month. I sent out Christmas cards to everyone on the list, and most of you guys have already sent me messages thanking me. I just wanted to send you guys a little extra thank you for joining me in the crazy idea I had this past summer. Without you, it doesn't exist. I am enjoying it immensely, and I hope all of you are, too.

And before I forget, my mother wanted me to tell all of you who have commented on the post about Libby's infection THANK YOU. Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, and good mojo. Please keep it coming in hopes that our little Yorkie can walk normal again.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I think Libby may need some Christmas Mojo

I had a crazy day on Saturday, yet I can hardly recall it. Saturday Mom showed up with Libby for Dr. D to take a look at her leg. She showed up just before lunch, because we were going to have lunch before the appointment at 1:15. Dr. D took a look at it after lunch and found it to be infected. He wrapped it up and refilled the pain meds, the anti-inflammatory meds, and put her on a stronger antibiotic. After work was our office Christmas dinner at the Italian restaurant in town, and Mom was my plus one. I invited her because she didn't get to come up for Libby's surgery after Thanksgiving, and I knew she could use a girl's weekend. The dinner was good and we had a good turnout.

Sunday, my grandparents had given me the day off, so I promptly slept until 10am. Mom and I baked cookies - oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, and frosted sugar cookies. YUM!!!! Mom and I also had a little flour fight and . . . 

And I totally won. ;o)

Today (Monday), I went to work over the hill to help with inventory. And let me just say, I'm sooooo over this whole counting thing. I was on my feet for 8 hours, probably walked 5 miles - I'm POOPED. Anyway, Mom brought Libby in for Dr. J to see her. He didn't like the way it was looking, and he does wonder if she's having a reaction to the suture. See, to help keep her knee cap in place, he ran a non-dissovable suture around the knee cap and secured it to a bit of knobby bone on the femur. He's only had one dog in his experience that had a reaction to that suture. However, Libby has not been a very good patient. She managed to dig at the surgery site and tear out a suture. We're hoping that's the infection - external rather than internal. But it ain't pretty folks.

Dr. J asked that Libby stay close for the week so he can monitor her leg. My mom was near tears leaving Libby. Later in the afternoon, Dr. J asked me to leave Libby at the clinic and if it looked like it was starting to heal he'd bus her over to Sticksville on Wednesday. We re-wrapped her leg, and hopefully it will start to show signs of healing.

So I'm asking if y'all can send some good Christmas mojo out for little Libby so that her knee heals up and they don't have to re-do anything.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happiness Survey

I completely stole this from The Frisky Virgin, who stole this from another blogger. Seems like a lot of blog stealing goin' 'round.

What makes you happy?

My family and friends. Finding the time to read or watch a whole movie with no interruptions - especially if that includes popcorn and M&M's. 

What was your childhood like?
I had an awesome childhood. My only issue was that I didn't have a younger sibling to blame stuff on, so I really couldn't get away with much.

What was your first crush like?

Yeah, I doubt he knew. I don't remember much except his name. The really freaky part? Ten years after I last saw him (when I was about 8), he winds up sitting two seats behind me in a math class at Shasta College. At first I just thought, oh well, I'm sure there are several people in Redding with that name. Until he mentioned the town he was from. My only hope was that when he heard my name in roll call he had no idea who I was. Only because I wound up failing the class because I suck at calculus. Mort.If.Ied.

Did you ever have a celebrity crush? What was that like?
Did I ever have a celebrity crush? Do I breathe air? My longest lasting celebrity crush is Harrison Ford - I loved watching Indiana Jones! And even though he's well into his sixties, he's still sexy. However, I also adore Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Colin Firth (as Mr. Darcy, of course), Russell Crowe, and James McAvoy to name a few.

What was it like? Duh. If any of these men had half a brain they'd come find me. However, I can admire from afar.

Do you like sports?

Yep. I love going to Giants baseball games! Just don't make me watch golf.

Have you ever done sports?
I did cross-country and track, as well as some volleyball.  

What kind of music do you like?

I'm a big country fan, but I will listen to most anything except heavy metal or most rap.

What instruments do you play?

Um, yeah, I'll leave that to those with musical talent.

Did you like school?

Yep. As tough as it was sometimes, I preferred college because I could more or less choose my class load. A piece of advice - don't ever take 5 lab classes in one semester. You will be far too busy to breathe.

What is your favorite color and why?

Purple is my favorite color. My guess is that it's my favorite because it's also my birthstone.

Do you like where you're living?

Yes! I'm loving in here in Sticksville. It's so much better than Sacramento!

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

Hogwarts! ;o)

What was your favorite book growing up and what is your favorite now?

I was obsessed with the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. Read those things a million times over. And it's why my favorite horse is the Arabian. And why my first horse was an Arabian. Anyway, now . . . oh, how can I choose?!?!?!?! I love the Harry Potter books. I love Kathy Reichs' books (the inspiration for the show Bones). I love Jane Austen's novels, mostly Pride & Prejudice, and I even enjoy the sequels by Sharon Lathan.

What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything else?

42!! LOL  Oh and be careful with the Improbability Drive, you'll wind up being a sofa.

Do you know where your towel is?

Yes. I wear it as a scarf now because it's cold.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The goings on

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm too pooped to blog. But I'm attempting it anyway. I've been wanting to blog since this past weekend, but I've been busy. Okay, Sunday I admit I was lazy. Very lazy. My grandmother gave me Sunday off, and since it's pretty rare for me to get a day off from all three jobs, I did absolutely NOTHING. Well, minus a bit of laundry and some minor cleaning and decorated my Christmas tree. Other than that, I'm not sure you could have paid me to do much else. The minor cleaning and the laundry were only done because my butt went numb from sitting on the couch. And I had nothing to wear.

Anyway, here's what's been goin' on:

On Saturday, I got to job 3 in Town and saw we were booked solid with appointments starting around 9am. I had an hour so I figured I would decorate the office Christmas tree. I had noticed that the weekday girls hadn't had time to decorate it. Since the vet was out on an early ranch call between 8 and 9, I figured that would be my only time to get it done. So, here's my office masterpiece:

 It's kind of a lopsided little tree. And little really is the wrong word to use, as I had to use a chair to put ornaments up top. But it does have character. And I kind of enjoyed decorating it. I've never worked at a job that had a tree to decorate, so this was a first.

During lunch, Mom relayed some not-so-great news. Our old dog, Katie (she's about 17) had to be taken to the vet for some routine blood work to monitor her kidney function because she's on a nice cocktail of drugs. She doesn't like being touched much anymore, so getting her into a vehicle to get to the vet's office is quite the ordeal. During the exam, the vet discovered Katie has a tumor on her spleen. He gave her two or three months left with us, meaning this will be her last Christmas with us.

After work, I raced over to the one store in town that was selling Christmas trees. I had thought of buying my tree when I was in Redding at the first of the month, but I had bundles of the publication in my car, plus my Christmas and regular shopping and I figured my car was full enough. They had like 5 trees left on Saturday evening, and none of them were short. I usually get a little 3 or 4 footer, but I wound up getting a 6 foot tree. Yeah, it's the biggest tree I've ever bought myself. And my decorations are small - both in number and in size!

The tree literally took up my entire car. Like, I had the top of the tree sitting between the front seats. And when I got home, I had to figure out how to get in my house. It wasn't going to fit through the back door. Or the front door. (Obviously I did not think this tree through) I figured the sliding glass door was my best bet, right into my living room. So I hauled that 6 foot tree to the front porch, barely made it up the steps with the tree. And it still took me awhile to get the tree through the sliding glass door. Then I had to figure out my stupid Christmas tree stand. It was rather annoying with all these little screws. And let's face it, trying to get a 6 foot tree straight when you're the only person isn't all that easy. I now know from experience. I also must have eaten several pine needles and the branches tried to be super nice by combing my hair for me. I came out of the tree looking like I had stuck my finger in a light socket and was spitting pine needles for the rest of the night.

As I said earlier, my grandmother was super nice and gave me Sunday off, meaning I didn't have to be up at the butt-crack of dawn to go feed cows in the freezing weather. I slept for 12 blissful hours - waking up at 1oam Sunday morning. I decorated my tree and here's how it turned out:
Yes, those are very tiny ornaments on that tree. I discovered that I'm going to need some bigger ornaments (tasteful) if I'm going to wind up with such trees anymore. There's big hole in the back that has absolutely no ornaments because I ran out! Oh well. It gives it character, right? (please say yes)

On Tuesday I went to Town to the main clinic for the annual "Girls Luncheon". The office manager ordered pizza, and all of us girls bring a gift for a gift exchange. There are nine gals working in for the clinic, and the gal who runs the clinic in Big Valley also came. It was a nice lunch and we all got nice presents. The gift exchange went like this: we all drew numbers, and the person who drew #1 went first to pick a present, the person who drew #2 could either pick a present from the pile or steal the present #1 picked out. And so forth. Only one person stole a present. And never fear, the person who had the present stolen got to pick another present from the pile. Then I had to drive back over the mountain to work at my clinic for the afternoon and start on inventory. UGH.

Today (Wednesday), I had Dr. J talk to Mom about Libby - in the last couple days, she's stopped using her leg they did surgery on to fix her luxating patella on her left leg (floating or moving knee caps). Mom was concerned as Libby wasn't acting quite normal. Since Dr. J will be out of town for the rest of the week to be with his mother during a medical procedure, he wanted Dr. R to take a look at her, since he assisted with the surgery, so he knows the case. Dr. J found out that the pain pill supply has run dry and that's when her attitude changed, so he's thinking that she's playing the wussie card. They have enough of the anti-inflammatory/pain pills til the weekend. Dr. R won't be at the Big Valley Clinic like usual tomorrow, even though I'm trying to get ahold of him to see if he can pop by between cattle work or at least maybe okay a refill of the pain meds through the weekend. Either way, Mom is bringing Libby up on Saturday, but Mom said that Libby is already acting better after taking the anti-inflammatory medication.

Tomorrow (Thursday) I will probably have to work extra hours to finish the inventory at my clinic. I want to have it done so I can put it on the office manager's desk on Saturday. Plus next Monday I'll be going to the main clinic to help them with their portion of inventory so they can hopefully get it done faster.

Somewhere in there I've wrapped presents, have to write stories for the publication, and make sure my house is "Mom-Approved" by Saturday. Along with my normal feeding and work schedule. There are seriously not enough hours in the day. Tonight (Wed.) I was going to do house cleaning stuff, but I'm seriously pooped and I just needed to sit down. And blog. 


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Two Quick Book Reviews

I just finished an excellent book. And yes, I'm going to tell you which one it is.

It's called Think Twice by Lisa Scottoline. I didn't want to put it down. Unfortunately, I have three jobs so sitting and reading for 12 hours isn't going to find room on my schedule. I love my sleep far too much. Although, I have risked no sleep in order to read a book. I admit, it was the final Harry Potter book. It's pathetic, but I just had to know how it ended. Needless to say I was exhausted the next day at work, but I was happy knowing the ending.

I digress.

Here's the synopsis for Think Twice:

Bennie Roasato looks exactly like her identical twin, Alice Connelly, but the darkness in Alice's soul makes them two very different women. Or at least that's what Bennie believes - until she finds herself buried alive at the hands of her twin. Meanwhile, Alice takes over Bennie's life, impersonating her at work and even seducing her boyfriend in order to escape the deadly mess she has made of her own life. But Alice underestimates Bennie and the evil she has unleashed in her twin's psyche. Soon Bennie, in her determination to stay alive long enough to exact revenge, must face the twisted truth that she is more like Alice than she could have ever imagined....and by the novel's shocking conclusion, Bennie finds herself engaged in a war she cannot win - with herself.

And yes it's as good as it sounds. If I could have sat down on the couch for a day, I would have finished this book in that time frame.

About a year ago is I discovered this gal, by reading another book of hers called Look Again. This book was excellent. I was left guessing until the very end, and cried. When my mom saw me reading it, she looked it over and asked me to loan it to her when I was done. I saw the book a year or so later. After it had gone through my mom's circle of friends. Yes, folks, it was that good of a book. Here's the synopsis of Look Again:

When Ellen Gleeson gets a "Have You Seen This Child?" flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look again, and her heart stops. The child in the photo looks exactly like her adopted son, Will. Everything inside her tells her to deny the similarity between her son and the boy in the photo, because she knows her adoption was lawful. But she's a journalist and won't be able to stop thinking about the photo until she gets to the truth. And she can't shake the question: If Will rightfully belongs to someone else, should she keep him or give him up? Ellen makes the wrenching decision to investigate, uncovering clues no one was meant to uncover. And when she she digs too deep, she risks losing her life - and that of the son she loves.

Seriously. A must read.

And tonight I'll start another book, The Help. I heard the movie was awesome, so I'm assuming the book is, too. I'll let y'all know!

Go read those books. You'll thank me later.  :o)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Shopping, Pet-Sitting, and Piss-poor Spanish Skills

Sunday was my day to deliver the publication down to Redding. I woke up around 6am, and was packed and loaded with the publication and on the road by 7:30. Not bad. However, it was about 15*F here, and 12*F over the hill when I gassed up. (That's about -9*C and -11*C). Yep. Cold. Fortunately the roads were not icy.

I pulled into Redding around 11, had lunch with Mom and then spent the entire afternoon Christmas shopping. Mom usually helps me buy stuff for everyone in the family, because I never know what to get my grandparents or my aunt and uncle. My parents I can sometimes think of something on my own, but not always. Plus, it's always a good excuse for the two of us to enjoy some quality Mother-Daughter time. We tend to have a few good laughs. The kind that make other patrons either look at us funny, or make comments like, "It's nice to see such a relationship". Usually it's the former.

We started off at Target, visited Kohl's, paid homage to Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Pier One, World Market, the mall for a soda and a Godiva chocolate bar while we shopped, a beauty store, back to Target, off to Lowe's, and then it was pizza for dinner - take out. While in Bed, Bath, & Beyond, we were making silly comments on things, and giggling. At one point, my mom picked up this tiny Santa Suit saying it was the perfect size for Libby, although the hat was just way too small. I always roll my eyes when my mom picks up doggy clothes because I don't necessarily thing dogs need clothes. However, I will give my mom props for not buying Libby anything blinding, embarrassing, or just plain hideous. As we were staring at this particular Santa suit, it suddenly dawns on us that it's a wine bottle hugger. We both started laughing. To the point of tears and worried we may pee our pants. After that, every time we saw a "wine bottle hugger" we started giggling uncontrollably.

I got all but Mom done on Sunday, and then I went back into town Monday morning to buy something for her, run my errands and continue my delivery route.

I got home in Sticksville around 7pm-ish. I unloaded everything into my living room, repacked my over-night bag with my work clothes, grabbed my work coat and muck-boots and ran back out the door. Our neighbors, the H's were gone for a couple nights and had asked me to house-sit again. Luckily their ranch hand was going to take care of the sheep this time, and all I really had to do was look after one dog and a few cats. It was so freaking cold I slept with the heater on high all night. But when they're gone, they prefer someone be there at night to make sure everything is okay. I woke up, fed the dog and cats, and sped off to feed cows at my grandparents ranch by 7am this morning. I got a call from the H's this evening telling me they were heading home and to just make sure the one dog is in on the porch where it's warm. They should be home by now. So my two nights of pet-sitting turned into one.

Today at work at the Sticksville clinic, I called the main clinic to go over appointments for tomorrow. The girl started rattling off stuff and I was like, "Whoa! I have appointments during those times" and got a reply of, "You do?" Anyway, the vet will be running round to a few ranches working some cows. I had to call and reschedule a few appointments. Everyone was fine with it and understood. I feel horrible doing that, but according the main clinic, these ranches all called this week and said this cattle work had to be done this week. I'm quite sure they knew this stuff was coming down the pike, so I'm a little clueless as to how all of a sudden they're realizing they were running out of time. Anyhoo, one client I had to call is Hispanic and I know the adults in the family don't speak much English. Their kids do, and usually one of them is present when they come in the clinic to help translate. I nearly had a panic attack calling this gal because my high school Spanish is bad. Like, really bad. I mean, I can introduce myself, ask how you are and reply, thank someone, ask where the bathrooms are, and apologize (all of it very slowly). That's about it. So, here's how my conversation went with this very nice Hispanic lady:

Lady: Bien.

Me: Hola. Habla ingles?

Lady: No.

Me: shit. Um, me llamo Jamie . . . from the vet clinic?

Lady: Oh, si.

Me: you can do this-you can do this-I can't do this!! Um . . . para Marshmellow?

Lady: Si! says something and then . . . 1:30?

Me: Si. Um . . . okay, pero. . . I don't know the words! I should know this! Um . . . is 1:00 okay?? sigh. shake head. utter shame.

Lady: Oh si! Okay. 1:00.

Me: sigh of relief. Oh muchas gracias!

Lady: De nada. Adios.

I swear, my high school Spanish teacher would die of a coronary after hearing that.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Libby's Knee Surgery

Meet Libby: the picture of cuteness. Or as I call her affectionately, "rat". lol

On Tuesday, my parents little Yorkie, Libby, underwent her first knee surgery. My parents found out from Libby's vet, whom my parents have been going to with our pets for over 15 years, informed my parents after they purchased Libby that she would have trouble with her knees. Toy breeds tend to have a problem with their back legs - their knee caps move. It's called luxating patellas. The vet then informed my parents that it cost $1,500 per leg.

I'll wait until you're able to replace the jaw that just dropped onto the floor.

Yes, you read that right. In total, it was going to cost my parents $3000 to fix Libby's knees. When Dad first heard that, he said, "I can live with a bow-legged dog."

Libby didn't start having issues with her knees until about a month or so ago, when my mom signed her up for puppy training class at the Petsmart in Redding. They evidently have a concrete/tile floor and Libby couldn't catch her footing on the floor. Suddenly, Libby's knee caps start moving. Once Dad witnessed it, he couldn't stand it. Neither  Mom. Neither could I. In the beginning the knee cap would right itself and she could use her leg. But she stopped jumping on everything (and everyone). She stopped trying to stand up on her hind legs. It eventually got so bad (in only a month) that her left hind leg (the worst one) wasn't usable. And the right one is barely usable.

Mom asked me if I could ask Dr. J at my vet clinic what it would cost up here for such a surgery. Obviously I said yes. So the next time I saw him, and I told him the problem with poor Libby's knees, and asked him what he would quote my parents. I also asked him if the clinic had done many surgeries on luxating patellas. He quoted $500 per leg, and said that they do several, and in fact had already done a few this year.

Did you notice the price difference? Perhaps an employee discount was wedged in there, but either way, my clinic was one third the price of the vet in Redding. Now, I'm not necessarily dogging the Redding vet because I used to work for him; he was my first vet clinic job. However, the price difference is outrageous.

I schedule the surgery date and Dr. J promised he would do it - bum arm and all (he's still in a sling after his quading accident). Dad drove up on Monday, and Dr. J popped in on his day off to not only load a shipment of cattle mineral, but to also so take a quick peek at Libby. I met Dad at the clinic, and Dr. J watched Libby walk around (by this time it was more like waddling), and felt her back legs and confirmed, "she has medial luxating patellas." Meaning, her knee caps had moved to the inside of her leg. He explained the surgery and even drew a diagram for us - which Dad took home to show Mom. Basically, the knee cap is supposed to sit in a small groove on the end of the femur (thigh bone). Libby's femurs don't appear to have that little groove, so those knee caps have nothing to help hold them in place. So what Dr. J was going to do was cut a groove at the end of the femur for the knee cap, and then run a stitch around the knee cap and tie the stitch to a bit of knobby bone that is there naturally to hold the knee cap in place permanently. Once that's healed up in about two months, she can have the other knee done.

Now he did say that Libby hasn't been in any pain, that it's a mechanical problem that a lot of toy breeds have developed. That because her knee cap has moved, the support structure doesn't work, so her leg can't be used to stand on.

Dr. J did the surgery on Tuesday morning, and called me just before 10am to let me know everything went well and to, "let your pops know". Libby stayed a total of two nights at the vet's office, and Dad picked her up this morning to take her home. As I type this, she's sitting on Mom's lap at home, and according to Mom, Libby does not like taking her meds at all. (She was sent home with a pain med and an anti-inflammatory med).

The bonus to Dad driving 3 hours to get Libby's surgery done for less? I got to have dinner with him twice.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend. Plus some extra.

I hope that all of my American followers had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I myself had a nice relaxful one. My grandparents were awesome and gave me the day off, so I didn't have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to go feed some hungry cows. That and I was still a little limpy on Wednesday. I slept in until like 9:30. OMG. It. was. freaking. awesome. K's parents came over for dinner - the traditional turkey dinner with stuffing, cranberries, corn, green bean casserole, roles, and the like. With pumpkin pie for dessert.

I've had a few things I wanted to post about, so this is going to be a hodge-podge of stuff. You know you like it. ;o)

A couple weeks ago, it was freaking cold. And snowy. And it snowed the day before I drove over our lovely mountain to go to work on that Saturday. Which meant the road was . . . well . . . white when I went over it. The speed limit was listed as 35mph (about 55kph for my international friends), so it was icy.

Yes, it was as cold as it looks.

The entire pass looked this way, both sides. Luckily it didn't look anything like this on the way home.

When I made it over the hill to work, the temperature had dropped significantly. Oddly enough, our little valley is about 10* warmer in winter, but 10* cooler in summer than Town on the other side of the hill. Very strange. So, this is what my temperature gauge in my car said (and it's pretty accurate):

Yeah. 7*(F), which is about -14*(C) for my international friends. The parking lot at work was pure ice. I sprinkled ice melt all over the parking lot. I skated while doing it. And I'm no skater. Just sayin.

Luckily, it hasn't really snowed since, so most of the snow has melted. At least in the valley. But it's only a matter of time before it comes back.

Now, also, a couple weeks back, I had two very large dogs come in to be neutered. Now, this gal had brought in a dog the week for that, and she was at least 100lbs. She'd never been off the ranch so the woman and I had to literally carry the dog inside the clinic. Well, when she brought the two boys, they were larger and just as determined not to go anywhere. She'd loaded them in her two-horse trailer, and it took her, myself, and the tech that came with the injured doctor to carry these two monsters into the clinic. When the tech and I had to do it alone after they'd been sedated, we could hardly do it. The injured vet who isn't supposed to lift anything, had to grab the middle with his good arm so dogs wouldn't become frozen in a permanent "U" shape. They were so sweet, but seriously, WHO needs dogs that freaking big??? Okay, I understand that these dogs are great at fending off coyotes (which can be a problem for those that raise smaller livestock like sheep or goats, but geeze!

Anyway, the two boys slept the entire day, like comatose sleeping. They were just content and couldn't be bothered. I finally went in and snapped a picture of them sleeping to show you how big they are. Now they don't look like they each weigh 125-150lbs, but trust me, they really do.

They are Akbash/Kengal crosses. The one in front looks like a polar bear!

And the weekend after Thanksgiving was busy! On Friday we weaned the calves in our spring herd. There were quite a few, that in the end we had to split them into two groups for feeding and space purposes. We moved the fall herd to a new pen and that went swimmingly, and they even got a bull put in with them. All went off without a hitch. Then it was time for a quick spot of breakfast.

There was our problem. By the time we got to the spring herd to move them, they were no longer that hungry and therefore were not so interested in the feed truck. So when we hit a nice spacious pasture, they decided they'd go spread out and graze and ignore said feed truck. K and I were the herders on our ATV's while Papa D was driving the truck. I know K cursed a lot, because I know I was cursing a lot. We would just get the cows to start going the right way, when one cow bold said, "Whatever", and went the opposite direction, so then every other cow followed her. K and I whipped around on our ATV's and when that didn't work, we jumped off and ran after cows with whips, screaming "SHOO!" or whistling. (Now just for clarification, the whips are not used to beat the animals with, they are used as a tool to block a hole to hopefully prevent said cows going through said hole. Often times just swinging it and using it to make a noise to get the cattle to move where we wish).

Now, I'd only been walking normal since Thanksgiving, the day before. So there I was running around these fields trying not to twist it again by slipping on a cow-pie, or stepping in a hole. Again. Eventually grain worked to entice them, but by then they were completely scattered. But, K and I were finally able to keep them in a group and once in the lane to the corrals, it went perfectly. Then we sorted the cows from the calves, which actually went pretty smoothly. Then we started working the calves - they needed three vaccinations and a few had lost their ear tags, or had mean mothers and couldn't be tagged, so needed new tags.

We filled up the syringes, and K and I both wound up piercing ourselves with new needles. I later went and got a tetanus shot to be safe, since my last one was when I was 16. The swelling is already gone and it's only slightly tender.

K and I got into a really good rhythm of getting a calf into the chute, handing off syringes, and sending the calf on it's way. We worked until about 12:30pm and then it was clean-up and splitting the calves into two groups. That went really well, too. Then we finally had lunch. Sitting down never felt so good.

Sunday was a busy day as well. K proclaimed it a perfect day to do yard work, so that's what I did all day. Well after feeding the cows, that is. I borrowed some old laupers from K, and trimmed my roses back. Papa D brought over empty protein tubs for me to put my yard trash in, so then I had to chop up the roses even smaller to fit them into said tubs. Then I raked my front lawn to get rid of leaves, and put them in a tub as well. I washed my front windows, swept my front porch, and cleaned off cobwebs off it, too. Then I set to work in the back yard, in which I raked up pine cones. I also pulled out my Christmas decorations and started working on that. Somewhere in all that I had a spot of breakfast and lunch. I was soooooo sore at the end of the day.

Me after my day of yard work. Yikes - no makeup!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sprains and Holidays

So I really did something stupid yesterday (Monday). I sprained my right ankle while feeding yesterday morning.

It hurt so bad. I hadn't sprained an ankle since high school; I forgot how bad it hurts when you actually sprain something. I cussed. A lot.

We had just finished feeding a bull and cow in a pen. I slid off the truck on the opposite, away from the bull. The ground in the pen is fairly uneven, so I sat down on the bed of the truck first, and then just slid my butt off.  My left foot found solid ground, but my right foot didn't. It found some kind of rut or hole. I stumbled, flailed my arms a bit, but remained upright. Unfortunately, my actions still startled the 2,500 pound bull.

I looked at him, thought up a lot more curse words, and hopped behind my side of the truck and stood there quietly, eyes down, so as to not "challenge him". He stared a moment longer and then went back to his food. Only then did I finally start breathing again. Now, he's a decent tempered bull, but in the end, he is still a bull. And you don't mess with the bull. Any of them.

Papa D got out of the truck to see what was taking me so long, and I told him I'd just sprained my ankle. He told me get in the truck, and he'd open the gate. Unfortunately, when it gets as cold as it has in the mornings, it's hard to open the truck door from the outside. It's hard enough when it's warm out. He opened the door from the inside, and I literally crawled into the truck on my knees because my ankle hurt so bad to put any weight on it. The pain seemed almost unbearable. My worst fear was that I'd actually broken it.

We found K by the grainery, and told her what happened. Then he drove me home in the feed truck. When I got out, I was able to hobble. He waited until I got up the steps to my back door, and then went back to finish feeding.

I took my muck boots off in the guest bathroom, which is right by the back door, so I didn't get mud and snow and cow poop on my carpet.  I hobbled to the other end of the house to my bathroom for a shower and had never been more grateful for the handicapped rails in my bathroom and shower! I spent the rest of the day on the couch with ice on my elevated ankle. I've been able to kind of hobble around, which is good. Not sure I could keep up with a feed truck, or be able to climb up on it just yet, but at least I can limp around.

The best part of yesterday was the two hour phone conversation I had with my BFF. The last couple times we've talked, we were kind of limited on time as one of us had to be somewhere. We had both been hoping that we be able to get together for Thanksgiving, but I won't be able to drive to Redding for the holiday this year. It's supposed to storm this week, and I'd have to drive 4 icy mountain passes to get there and back, in the dark both ways. If the weather was good, it would be easier to do, but with storms, I just don't want to risk it. She already has plans for the weekend I will be in Redding, her friends are doing her birthday part that weekend in the bay area. It will probably be Christmas before we see each other. Which means it will probably be 6 or 7 months have gone by before we have seen each other again.

And now . . . . since it's Thanksgiving on Thursday, I probably won't be posting until next week. But I did kind of want to list a few things I'm thankful for:

~ I'm so thankful that I took the leap of faith of quitting my job in Sacramento to come up here to Sticksville. It was a scary decision, but I don't miss the stress of my old job. I don't miss the city, apartment living, or the cost of living.

~ I'm thankful that in this economy I have three jobs. I admit, two of those jobs are for my grandparents, but still, in total it's three different jobs. I enjoy the diversity the jobs offer me.

~ I'm thankful for my friends and family and all their support. They know how much thought went into my move up here, and I couldn't have done it with support from each and every one of them.

~ I'm thankful that the vet's up here can and will do the surgery my mom's dog needs for half the cost of what the Redding vet said. The surgery is schedule for next Tuesday.

~ But mostly, I'm thankful for my family and my friends. They mean the world to me, every single one of them. I love them so much.

And now I'd like to wish all of my American followers/readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for your comments in my year and a half of blogging. Thanks to those that have participated in the Postcard Campaign, it's so much fun!

Happy Thanksgiving and my love to y'all.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

An Open Letter to Disrepectful DVD Renters

Dear Prior DVD Renter from Netflix:

After having a movie from Netflix waiting by my TV ever so patiently for a few weeks, I finally had an afternoon to watch it. Uninterrupted. Being that it's about 28 degrees all day long (that's roughly -2* C for my international friends), I decided I'd cuddle with Miss Harriet (my cat for my new followers) under three blankets, and watch my movie.

I have my old Toshiba DVD player, which I got probably ten years ago now, and I can tell it's on its last legs because it makes all kinds of noise. Last year for my birthday, my parents bought me a Blu-Ray DVD player. I use that one most often as it doesn't make the odd sounds the old one does. However, I keep the Toshiba handy and ready to use in case I have a DVD that has a minor scratch and the Blu-Ray can't handle the pressure. More often than not, the Toshiba can save the day and get me through my movie.

Not today, Prior DVD Renter, not today.

The Toshiba fought the good fight. The Blu-Ray couldn't even load the DVD. The Toshiba, though it kept stopping, got me just over half way through my movie. And then I got the gray screen of death. I knew the disc was scratched, and that's why I switched from new to old DVD player. I'm not mad at either disc player - please make note of that.

I'm mad at every other Netflix user (aka YOU) who can't handle a DVD properly to save their own lives. And it's not just those who use Netflix. I once had a DVD I rented from a Blockbuster down the street from me in Sacramento. I didn't check the disc until after the fact, but about 3/4 through a movie, it just stopped playing. When I check the back of the disc it looked like someone had taken said disc to a rough surface (read: sandpaper) and tried the whole "wax on wax off" trick. I had to go to Blockbuster and show them the disc and suggested that maybe they check the condition of each disc once returned (I was agitated, but civil. Mostly agitated.).

I know minor scratches happen over time. Even some of my own DVD's that I'm very careful with manage to get something. But I take care of my discs. And yes, I'm aware that things happen during shipment and sometimes, maybe (just maybe), that's where some of the damage is from. What is it about renting something that makes people (like you, Prior DVD Renter) think they can do whatever the hell they want with the stupid thing? What, just leave that huge 3 inch scratch for the next sucker?

If you're old enough - if you remember VHS, do you remember that old corny logo that was stickered onto to every rented video? "Be Kind, Please Rewind". Yeah, that one. How badly did it irk you when you rented a movie and were all ready to watch it (all comfy on your couch or recliner with the popcorn ready and lights out) only to find out that the jerk who rented it before you "forgot" to be kind and rewind? And I'll age myself here, but did you have one of those VCR's that did not have a remote you had to pry yourself out of your comfy pose, cursing the whole way to the VCR to press "rewind", and then wait (still cursing, of course) until it stopped so you could hit "play". Or you had a remote, but it had to be plugged into the VCR and the cord was only 3 feet long, and your living room was 10 feet long? Yeah. How much did you love the previous renter of that movie, then?

Seriously. You're not the only one renting these movies. Netflix, as much as I've enjoyed it, doesn't allow you to watch just any movie online. And not all of us are so fortunate enough to have those really expensive game consoles (that we'd never use because we don't play video games), just for the purpose of streaming movies directly to our TV's.

Just in case, Prior DVD Renter, that you are unsure, here is a list of what the discs should not be used for:

~ Frisbee
~ Coasters
~ Litter box cleaning
~ Cat toys
~ Dog toys
~ Cutting boards
~ Cat scratching post
~ It should not come anywhere near sandpaper
~ Getting things from high places
~ Nail file
~ Ice skates
~ Dartboard
~ A place to test your pens to see if they still have ink
~ Smacking people or other objects
~ A TV tray
~ An ash try
~ Ninja style fighting tool

So, if you're one of those precious few who still has to rent the physical DVD (which I'm guessing you are by the shape of the innocent DVD), please, for the love of all things Holy, please be kind and treat the DVD's with some respect. Have some mercy on the next poor soul who has to rent the physical DVD (like me).

Because let me tell you, there is nothing more aggravating than thinking, "Yay! Movie time!" and finding out two and a half hours later when you're only an hour and a half into said movie that you've received the gray screen of death and your DVD player is flashing "ERROR". And you're forced to wonder if the Decepticons finally won, or if the Autobots kicked their robotic asses again (I'm quite sure it's the latter, but hey, you never know).

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go pick from my own collection that I've seen hundreds of times for something to watch because the snow has blocked out my satellite dish and I can barely reach it with a broom and jumping like an idiot. Oh and because some rude DVD renter prior to me had the audacity to treat the disc like crap.

Thanks a lot Pior DVD Renter. You suck.



Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I have done yet another lil' happy dance at the post office. I received my postcard from CWMartin over at Tilting at Windmills.

Thanks CWMartin for the postcard - it put a smile on my face!

Now, if you're new here or just happened across my humble corner of the web, you may be wondering what I'm jabbering on about. I'm talking about The Great Postcard Campaign, where we spread some mailbox happiness around the globe by sending postcards. Each month I choose a member of the Postcard Campaign to send postcards to everyone on the list. The whole idea behind this is to bring a smile to someone's face, and we all take turns sending and receiving postcards. Each time we receive postcards, you link back to me and the person who sent them to you. If you have any questions about it, there's a link up top to the Postcard Campaign page, or you can shoot me an email.  If you want to join up, shoot me an email with your real name, snail mail addy, blogosphere name and blog website.

On the subject of postcards, my BFF sent me a couple not too long ago. She dubs them "antique" postcards as she's had them for quite sometime. I sent her a cute one just to say "hello" and she returned in kind.

I about peed my pants in sheer excitement when I found out these were from her. Its been months since we've seen each other, and I miss her terribly.

So, NOW I get to announce the next person to send postcards for DECEMBER. So, I don't know about anyone else, but being that it's the month of CHRISTMAS, I'm expecting some super-dee-duper postcards from the lovely:

Jewels, I shall email you the addy's on December 1st.

I had an impromptu weekend off. And when I say "weekend", I mean Sunday and Monday. I drove to Redding after work (a lovely 3 hour drive in the dark where the deer lurk) on Saturday evening. I slept in until about 8:30 on Sunday, which was awesome, and treated Mom to the movies. Now, I treated her to a movie she had already seen, however, she was more than willing to see it again. Actually, I believe it was her idea to see it again. "Real Steel" with Hugh Jackman. It won't be in theaters much longer, but if you can, go see it!!!! OMG, awesome movie. And not only because my boyfriend Hugh is in it (*sigh*), but because it's a feel good movie.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Something unexpected dropped by the clinic today

Sometimes you just get something cool at the vet's office.

It's a Great Horned Owl. These folks rehabilitate wild birds, and they think this guy may have seen the wrong end of a barbed wire. It's also possible he was bitten by something. They wanted the vet to take a look at his leg, because the wound wasn't healing properly - too much proud flesh. Proud flesh is a normal part of the healing process, but on occasion, too much builds up and the skin can't grow up to get over it. So you have to "debride" the proud flesh away on a regular basis to get the wound to heal properly.

The gal was putting vet-wrap over the talons, so the bird didn't accidentally slice the vet wide open while working on the would. The vet cut away some of the proud flesh, then sutured it up.

And while I'm writing about the vet clinic, I should make it known that the vet that had the quad accident is back at work. Can't keep him down, actually. He's in a neck brace and his arm is in a sling, but he still manages to do a lot.

I'm just thankful he brings an extra tech so that I'm not alone in the heavy lifting. Plus it's nice to have someone else do stuff in the back while I take care of people up front. Usually, it's just me and the vet, and I have to help him during exams, check people in and out, answer the phones, and grab stuff for him during surgery. Oh, I also try to draw up the vaccines before the clients & patients show up so that everything is prepared for when they show up. Yeah, it gets a little hectic around there.

Next week we have six surgeries, which is . . . how should I put this, only about 4 more than we typically do over here in Sticksville. Occasionally we'll have four, but only two that require surgical packs. Feline neuters don't require them, and they only take about 5 minutes each, so they hardly count. I have two dog neuters, two dog spays, and two cat spays. Every single one of them requires a surgical pack. So I put in a request for two more packs, and I can clean some in the meantime.

Oh and the two dog neuters? Each dog weighs close to 100lbs (or about 45 kilos for my international followers). Yeah. Fun.