The bitch is back

Happy 10th birthday, Arliss!!

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She had another checkup today and the vet couldn’t find any evidence of the abscess. So unless we feel something else collect under the skin, she just gets to finish healing! No more poking and flushes. It only took three abscess surgeries after the incisor removal surgery and a lot of aftercare to get us here. Her weight is stable and I will keep supplementing her food to make her stronger. She’s been through a lot in less than two months.

We’re pretty sure of her birth month from the story of the person who had her first, plus she was young but full grown when she came to me nine years ago. I just had one bunny at that time: my first, the beloved Luke, who later became Arliss’ pal. My friend didn’t want her bunnies anymore and Arliss and Cow came to live with me because she was going to give them to a circus or petting zoo. Can you imagine Arliss in a petting zoo? hahaha She and Cow had some seriously rough starts under that family’s care; I learned a lot about vet care with my new acquisitions! Arliss was originally named Avarice, which I thought was a terrible name for a bunny. I wanted to change it but call her something that sounded similar and that’s how she became Arliss!

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Arliss’ first day home back in 2001. You can see she came with the glare.

Lunch lady

I was reading an interesting series of short articles on public school food in D.C. The switch from shipping in pre-packaged individual meals to be warmed before serving to the kids to ‘fresh cooked’ meals in a brand new school kitchen actually means shipping in pre-packaged larger quantities of frozen food that are then reheated in a steamer by people who have never cooked in an actual commercial kitchen before, and everything is served with disposable tableware. They don’t even have a stove or a dishwasher in the new kitchen. The worst is the junk the kids are actually served. It sounds awful in taste and is just marginal in nutrition.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about my own cafeteria experiences. First off: Safetypup was on the milk cartons! His cartoon taught us safety tips while using good grammar. Matches are tools, not toys with which to play. Unfortunately I can’t find any pictures of Safetypup in his cartoon form, just scary costumed people dressed as Safetypup.

I used to keep my lunch money coins in the zippers of my Kangaroo shoes. It was really hard to stand on one foot in the lunch line as it moved forward and unzip my shoes to get the money out. Seems bizarre that I swipe a credit card at the work cafeteria now.

Mom would post the weekly school lunch menu from the newspaper on the fridge, and each morning she’d ask if we wanted to buy the menu choice or take a packed lunch. One of the most humiliating experiences of my elementary school lunch career was when the sixth grade girls (the meanest one was Jamie McCarthy!) made fun of my fifth-grade lunch: a hotdog in a Thermos of hot water, which I assembled with the bun at the table. Mom was creative in keeping the food hot, but the teasing stuck with me for, oh, 24 years now.

Our Little Hoosier meetings were held in the cafeteria. We made Indiana-shaped cookies once a year. I also remember thinking how dumb some of my classmates were during these meetings.

In boarding school we shared a cafeteria with college students. The most famous dishes were Limelight chicken, or Chernobyl chicken as suggested by the strange glowing color, and Tater Tot Hot Dish, or TTHD. The lady who ran the checkout was kind of socially awkward (I guess she fit in with us) and had some classic lines which made it to the Masochistic Board, a piece of MDF we propped in the lounge on our dorm floor, which we decorated with things that drove us nuts and then beat on it with a cat o’ nine tails-like device my mom had at home for distressing wooden frames. It had chains attached to a wooden handle and made a hell of a racket! It was so bad that the girls on the floor downstairs started crying because they thought someone was being beaten and we had to stop attacking our Masochistic Board. I’m not quite sure how it got that name, except maybe because we were punishing ourselves by going to a really hard school, but I do remember the director of student life taking a couple swings at it before it was retired.

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Pissed? Bitter? Test your beating skills on the f***ing Masochistic Board! (One of the girls on our floor had a bad emu experience)

Our work cafeterias are decent, but some days are better than others when it comes to veggie options. Still better than school food! I hated Hamette on Bun, which was a common Friday lunch.

There’s a program to fund veg options in school lunches!

I was going to end with a little rant about the pro-HFCS commercials, but instead I recommend a viewing of King Corn instead, which streams free from Netflix.

This post made me hungry.

Pack, purge, panic

Some random thoughts to prove I’m still alive.

I did indeed have cadaver bone put in during my osteomyelitis treatment! It was irradiated, powdered, and mixed with what is basically plaster of Paris, but it still sounds exotic. Unfortunately I’ve had some additional dental pain recently. You’d think I traumatized my teeth or something.

Arliss had her fourth surgery a week ago (vet and I agreed she didn’t need a CT scan after all) and she’s doing great! She even gained weight in the last two weeks.

Loving the Indy Winter Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. The place is PACKED and I love seeing cyclists with panniers riding in the snow! Note: the local chickens went on strike when it got super cold the last couple of weeks, so eggs were harder to come by. I like being able to get a half dozen a month since we don’t use more than that, and then I can take the carton back to the farmer to use again.

I discovered recently-reopened El Sol de Tala. This town has more Mexican (I use that as a geographic/ethnic term loosely) restaurants than you can imagine, but this one place stands out. They even have a veggie menu. It’s not the same old enchiladas anymore, people!

Following a craving, I had French toast at Denny’s, and even if they hadn’t ruined it with cinnamon and powdered sugar, it still was nowhere as good as Dad’s. He also blows away every pancake on earth.

I’ve finally heard from some of the relocation folks and the target start date in Ireland is March 1. There’s so much to do that it’s hard not just to plop on the couch with 81 SVU reruns on Tivo and ignore the obvious (that’s how many were scheduled in this two week period). One of my current focuses (okay, foci) is pantry raid: use up all the groceries that line our cupboards and freezer. In the past week we had breakfasty stuff to use up biscuits and fake sausages and last night I made chik’n and rice casserole. My freezer has several fake meat products that I’ve always kept as backup, but usually have been creative enough not to need for most cooking. I see a lot of chili in our future for the ground ‘beef’ crumbles…

Nibble nibble

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Casper has a little love nibble for her best pals. Walter may be missing some whiskers on the sides of his face, but he loves the attention. I think it’s hilarious when her nose gets pushed up.

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Ms. Arliss isn’t doing so well.
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She had three surgeries in December, including having incisors removed and then two for this abscess thing that came up. I dropped her off again today (she’s been to the vet eight times), but this is the first time the vet was concerned that she wasn’t bouncing back. In other words, she’s not being her usual cranky, bitchy self.

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I have been flushing the marsupialized areas every night, and the original location is healing very well. But now the big new one under her throat is getting worse and the options are CT scan to determine if there’s general infection in the jaw bone, which would lead to either a major surgery in the area to remove lymph nodes and whatever else might be contributing the pus, or just palliative care if it’s too extensive to treat. Or I could choose one of those paths without the diagnostic benefit of the CT scan: expensive but might save her an unnecessary fourth surgery if we consider that route. Repeated anesthetic experiences aren’t exactly easy on a geriatric body. Arliss’ ten cranky years have been very special and I don’t want to see her lose that zest for boxing and biting me (the biting part is easy to handle now that she doesn’t have teeth!). She’s outlived two bunny mates and I fear I’m not a good substitute. I try to make medical decisions consistent with quality of life, prognosis, and diagnosis as best as you can have one, which the CT scan should provide. She’s lost 20% of her weight and we’re at a crossroads. The constant care does allow me to spend a lot of time with her, though, and that’s important for me to feel as confident as I can in the medical decisions as well as for the closure that will have to come eventually. I’m just not ready to lose my little snot yet.

Arliss in healthier, more vertical times
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Some special buns have passed on very recently, too, all some of my favorite fosters.

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Jolene‘s recent illness was an aggressive lymphoma. I named her after the Dolly Parton song. She had been adopted and returned twice and didn’t deserve to be shuffled around so much, but I’m kind of glad she was with us at the end.

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Duncan’s mom (I knew him as Digit) let me know he passed today. He was about ten and recently dealt with stroke and cancer. Digie was the first bun selected for our Petco adoption program years ago and he flunked out for a health issue, which meant he got to stay with me for a long time before he found a great home. He was a really cool guy and the one who taught me how to give sub-q fluids and that parsley was healing magic.

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Honey and Felix were my very first foster rabbits many years ago. Ms. Honey had outlived her friend and was almost 13 when she left us this weekend. I remember when they got in my kitchen cabinets one time and were hanging out in the dish rack.
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Life is sweeter when you make it more comfortable for another creature, especially those someone else threw out first.

Obligatory year end/beginning thoughts

As I’ve stated in the past, I’m not big on goals and year summaries and plans. But I’d like to comment on a few items from the past twelve months in an effort to at least remember where we’ve been and where we’re going. This blog serves as my diary, so when I forget everything I have a place to go to review my life!

2009 was a big year for personal finance since I became debt free and increased my retirement and savings significantly. I finally opened that Roth, messed with life insurance, and purchased disability insurance. I even got tough and ditched my financial adviser, who wasn’t the right fit. David and I became officially domestically-partnered in the eyes of my employer, which will simplify health insurance this year even if there are some tax penalties. Financial freedom makes just about everything else possible, like…

Planning a move to Ireland! Yikes. Looks like it will be early March now for the actual flight. I’m excited but that is overwhelmed by the, uh, overwhelmingness of it all. I am really worried about my sick pets right now and I’m trying hard to get them stable to prepare for this move.

Half our pets are mostly geriatric and have been ill lately, and of course we lost Joey this year, but it’s still worth having them around for the years they do allow us to share. Remind me of this the next time I have to think about something happening to Casper now that she’s dealing with renal failure.

Rabbit rescue lightened in volume, part of a planned effort for several of us not to drive ourselves the rest of the way crazy, plus in this small house there just isn’t room for many fosters. Still, I can recall that Tink, Harrison, Louie, Jolene, Baxter, Quincy, Eponine, Bill, Tegan, and Raquel stayed here in 2009, and 43 were adopted from the chapter. Always good. And no giant horrible neglect cases to sap our strength, either, thank goodness.

Work is still good, in that so far I still have a good job I like and while the industry has its significant struggles, as of yet our pay and employment haven’t been affected (and they’re sending me to Europe, ya know!). Bonus time is around the corner, one which should be good this year but I expect the next few years will have none. All the more reason to be debt free and have an emergency fund!

I was hit by a car while on my bike and lived to tell about it! Other mentionables, most of which I’m too lazy to link: I made a good attempt at gardening, and I’m proud of my efforts even though David focuses on my failures; more cooking experiments; trips to Chicago, the Smokies, Oak Ridge and Air Force museums; a stolen credit card number; Casper won a photo contest; charity walks and rides; sold my house; DNA tested our mutt; joined the worthy timesuck that is Facebook; got a real haircut (and still don’t do anything with it!); a few more dental adventures; and of course all the recycling and veggie dishes you could stand. We are also now the proud owners of extra insulation, a rain barrel, and Energy Star-rated toilet, fridge, and water heater.

Regrets. Well, I never feel in control of clutter or time or sleep, and I wish I had exercised more, but overall there are worse things to regret. I need to make peace with these stressors, and I think moving abroad will help me focus since I have to leave the clutter behind. Will someone please get rid of it while I’m gone? Small plans include revamping the blog a bit and getting rid of more stuff around the house. Big plans include moving to freakin’ Ireland and taking advantage of that adventure! I have a few ideas in mind.

Let’s wrap up with how the world sees me through Google!

Clickthrough : Users clicked on your site in these searches
# % Query Position
1 27% cork ireland 2
2 13% poo chart 2
3 12% bristol stool chart 2
4 6% cork, ireland 3
5 3% stool chart 2
6 3% animal testing 6
7 2% natalie portman feet 1
8 2% cymbal monkey 2
9 2% bunny teeth 1
10 2% my feet 1
11 2% county cork ireland 3
12 2% flemish giants 3
13 2% evil-lyn 17
14 1% natalie portman’s feet 0
15 1% stop animal testing 1
16 1% guinea pig teeth 2
17 1% monkey symbols 2
18 1% abused animals 20
19 1% allihies ireland 1
20 1% cork ireland pictures 1
21 1% the bristol stool chart 1
22 1% cork county ireland 3
23 1% ireland cork 3
24 1% ribbon like stools 3
25 1% county cork 5
26 1% mallet toe 5
27 1% betadine 12
28 1% elfyourself 23
29 1% feet 62

One dang post each on feet, poop, and Ireland kind of skews the results. I made some edits to try to steer away the feet weirdos, at least. This Google search also found my site: “farts you just can’t trust them”

And, of course: Village Panty.
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