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Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Ah those subversive Muppets with their code words. Meep! Meep I tell you! Meep!

And now saying things like "scaramouche" and "fandango!"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Leeloo's Tummy

Leeloo had been experiencing an intermittent hairball cough. It usually happened in the middle of the night. She'd hack and hack and nothing would come up. It would happen a few days in a row, then stop. She was also occasionally throwing up a bit of dry food. Just when I'd get to the point that I'd think, "Hmm... better take her to the vet," she'd stop for three, four, or five days. She seemed happy and energetic otherwise, so I let it go for a while.

Last Saturday, I called the vet to ask their advice. All my online and book research hadn't pointed to anything obvious, so I figured it was probably time for x-rays to see what was down there. I called in the morning and they got back to me in the evening, so I missed the chance at an appointment that day. Sunday morning, Leeloo coughed up a shoelace. I hoped fondly that that was the source of all this coughing and that it was all over.

She woke me up at 3 a.m. again coughing. I called the next day to get an appointment. With an appointment scheduled for Thursday evening, I spent the next few days fretting that maybe I should've gotten an earlier appointment. She woke me up each night around three coughing.

Her appointment time arrived and x-rays were called for. Thirty seconds after the photo, the vet said, "Oh boy. Yeah, she needs surgery, tonight." She definitely had string in her tummy, and it looked like it was snaking through her intestines as well. There was a few minutes of debate about waiting til morning to see if it could possibly be retrieved via a scope. The vet really didn't want to wait til morning, fearing further damage or perforation of her intestines or stomach. After 15 minutes of fretting, we decided to go for it. She would be there until at least 6 p.m. tomorrow, so I headed home. The vet would call when he was out of surgery.

I came home and spent the next two hours cleaning house and trying to find the source of string around the house. Nothing obvious turned up, but my kitchen floor is now mopped, so that's good I guess. At midnight, the vet called and said she did really well, and she's awake and alert, and that he managed to pull "several yards" of what looked like shoelace out of her stomach. It wasn't far into her intestine, so that was good, and very lucky. That means an easier recovery. He said she needed to stay til she was eating and said I could stop by to see her if I wanted. He'd be in at 11 a.m. I asked if I should bring her favorite food, and he said definitely.

I went to work in the morning and stopped by to see her at lunchtime. I walked back and she saw me and started meowing at me and trying to press through the bars. They let me open her cage and snuggle her for a bit. I brought a packet of her favorite fishy treat and she ate it out of my hand and wanted more. She's never been shy about food, but even after her stomach sliced open, she wanted more food than she was allowed.
Leeloo After Surgery
The vet stopped by and showed me what he'd pulled out of her tummy. I have no idea where she got that much shoelace from. It looks like at least six shoelaces. I have no idea how long she'd been eating these and letting them build up. And I have no idea where she got them, so I don't know how to keep her from doing it again.
That came from MY tummy?!?!
I came back at six to pick her up and pay her bill. Coming in at nearly $1700, she's set a new standard for kitty vet visit expenses in my world. This handily eats up the last of my savings for the year, so I sent a note to my family letting them know what was up and suggesting that perhaps we skip the Christmas present thing this year. For better or worse, all of us grandkids are in less than stellar financial situations these days. I suggested we take a moment to write little cards with something we like about one another or a special memory instead of exchanging gifts. Hopefully everyone else is good with that plan, because I have absolutely no money for gifts for anyone this year.

Leeloo and I came home last night and boiled chicken. She was only allowed a little at a time, but I fed her a little bit every hour or so, and she eagerly ate every bite. I got up in the middle of the night to feed her some more. Today she's starting to slow down a bit and actually sleeping a bunch. Instead of going to Fezziwig rehearsal, I stayed in bed with Leeloo curled up on top of Pixel. Pixel is a very patient boy who doesn't seem to mind with she flops over on him and goes to sleep. It's going to be a long week of antibiotics, pain killers, fresh boiled chicken and wound care, but we'll get through it.

The moral of the story is to keep your kitties away from string. The old vision of a kitten playing enthusiastically with a ball of yarn is a bad idea. Turns out it's the worst thing for them and can destroy their intestines. The vet said Leeloo was very very lucky to survive this. No one at Adobe had ever seen that much string come out of a cat's tummy before, let alone a little 8 pound wisp of a cat like Leeloo. I just hope that's the end of this story because I suspect Leeloo might not be so lucky if she tries this again.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Work is stressful, not just for me, but for most of us. Turns out, the more you're in control of your job - how you do it, when you do it, and how you're judged - the less stressful it is. As it turns out, that crappy job you had in high school that seemed really stressful probably was!

On the plus side, the little day to day stresses may not actually be destroying us body and soul. In fact, short-term stress actually helps our body repair itself. Perhaps the fluctuating stress levels of my job are part of gives me the best immune system of anyone I know. I also don't doubt that my determination to keep my weekends sacred helps extensively as well, both because I put my foot down (determining my fate), and because it's a clean break each week from the work stresses.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Week

Last week officially sucked. For me it included grandma going to the emergency room, a friend lying to me, a sick kitten, trying to find an understudy for Scrooge, getting denied a refinance, and things going sideways on the voicemail project at work. For friends and loved ones it involved the passing of a grandmother and a beloved dog, a stolen car, a burglary, kids in serious trouble, and dumpster diving for a lost retainer.

Here begins a new week, and I declare that this week is required to be significantly better than the last. This is NOT optional. REQUIRED!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bouncy Bouncy Fun Fun Fun is Good For Your Bones

Freakish but true, the best exercise you can do to strengthen your bones may be jumping. That's right folks - Alameda Ceili is not only fun, it's bone and heart healthy! Come out and dance!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Science News

I apparently haven't done enough kissing in my life. According to this article, kissing has a benefit from and evolutionary biology perspective. A woman will likely catch a man's particular variety of cytomeglovirus (CMV), which is good, because most of the time it's a relatively harmless virus, but can be dangerous if you catch it during pregnancy. According to my latest blood donation, I'm still negative for CMV, a virus that nearly everyone has. This makes my blood suitable for newborns, so the Stanford Blood Center calls me usually about 7 weeks and 6 days after my last donation to see if I'd like to come in the next day.

But all the kissing in the world won't significantly improve your odds that your partner will stay with you if you've got a major illness. Turns out, in that case, one in five men will ditch their partner. Those odds are enough to get a girl to consider a lesbian lifestyle, because less than 3% of women leave their partner after a major illness is diagnosed. That's ugly news.


Moving on to cheerier news! If you want to improve your creativity, you've got to get both halves of your brain talking to each other. The good news is that it's easier than you might think: thirty seconds of moving your eyes from right to left is enough. Wacky, eh?

And finally, that man in the white suit must be safe and trustworthy right? Turns out, we're a bit pre-programmed by our brains to associate darkness and black with filth and contagion. The predisposition to nosh on clean snow over the nasty skanky dirty stuff actually seems to spill out in other ways as well, with rather some rather uncomfortable implications for racial prejudice. Further research here is definitely required. I for one would be very interested to see how this same test plays out in China and in equatorial climates.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Science News!

Okay, the coolest news story I read all week was about an HIV virus being defanged and used for gene therapy. Take two kids who are definitely going to die as a result of their genetic disease, infect them with a specially engineered HIV virus, and use the body's lack of defenses against that kind of virus to cure their fatal illness. This is so completely awesome.

In other bizarre news, babies are born with an accent. Baby cries match the same tonal qualities of their mother's language. I saw reports on this in several different articles, but I think this article is the best because it has an audio version that gives you a sample of a French versus a German baby cry.

And in the "tell me something I didn't know" category, women are more likely than men to read the manual before asking someone else for help. (Judging by how many female tech writers I know, women are probably also more likely to write the manual as well, and no, we don't do it because it's fun and we like the way it looks on the shelf. RTFM!!!)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Thinnest Excuse for a Single Post Ever

So Kevin is the luckiest guy I know. Turns out, luck can be a learned skill. Even still, I don't know how it's possible to get an A in a class where you get an extension from the professor who says "No extensions, because I'm leaving the country," then miss that new deadline and turn it in later. That's a freaking miracle, or a whole heck of a lot of generosity on the part of a professor, not learned luck. Still, I see the point of the article.

Meanwhile, Kevin was lucky enough to marry his wife Rachel who just posted a fabulous set of photos from Halloween. Yaaarrrrrrr!!!

Taun-Taun Sleeping Bag

Okay, I just can't contain my geek-girl squee. The taun-taun sleeping bags are coming! You can order now! Squeeeeeee! It's a April Fool's Day fantasy come to life!

P.S. The promo video is adorable.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Random Science Stuff!

I really have to close some tabs, and some have already been lost, so here goes, with a distinct lack of cohesion.

20 Things You Didn't Know About Sugar! I love these little 20 things posts from Discover. They're fun, and I usually didn't know most of the items.

Drama Queens. Yes, oh yes, we all know them. And it turns out their brains actually do work differently. Harumph.

As someone who was every bit as allergic to soy as cow's milk as a baby, I've always wondered why soy is given such a pass as a healthy food. Maybe that's a false assumption. It's possible eating too much soy may be bad for you.

Solar panels in the roads. It's brilliant!

History of the Swine Flu. No, this didn't start this year. We've had it a long time coming.

That's all I've got, save for a recipe for cauliflower pizza crust, which isn't exactly science per se, but is totally fascinating in the same part of my brain.

Time to Sum Up

Friday and Saturday,I headed to Haunted Fox Hollow. This was awesome. Take two yards, link them with a gate, and decorate for Halloween. No, bigger than that. Fred was the graveyard keeper, complete with lantern, for the graveyard scene. Cyrus and Erin staffed the swamp. Erik and I were pirates in the back. Step through the gate to find Brian as a moss man (cleverly disguised amongst the trees and fallen leaves). Athena the Gorilla and Lindsey staffed the Mad Science Lab. Then in the toxic waste alley, Alexandria beckoned people forth while Sherman did a shockingly good job of pretending to be a mannequin until folks were just too close. Amruddin reached out to scare them before they made it to Alex. Then guests found themselves in the Spider's Lair where Crystal held court while Paul and Karen were wound in silks, meeting their doom. Screams were abundant, but my favorite remains the kid who walked through saying, "Ha!" and "That's cool." and "Whatever." Until he got to the moss man, who reached out and said something to the effect of "Boogah boogah! Get out of my woods!" The kid leapt two feet vertical and landed and composed himself and said, "That's cool." As if no one noticed his little feat of levitation.

Sunday was spent on a bay tour, stopping in at Arielle and Kathy's housewarming and then on to the birthday party James was having. We left there to go see Zombieland, which was the most fun (and the most screaming) I've had in a movie in a long time.

Monday I went to the press screening for A Christmas Carol and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was both entertaining, and stuck to the text as Dickens wrote it, save for one egregiously "Oooh! Look! 3-D!!!" scene that was rather oddly out of place, yet features prominently in the previews. Strange that. While doing the promo, we bumped into a table full of Brits. There's few things more intimidating this time of year than talking to real Brits with your rather rusty fake accent.

Tuesday we had a Fezziwig's Management meeting via WebEx. What happens when you get a bunch of Victorian reenactors together via 21st Century technology? Well, oddly, they seem to get a lot done. Go figure.

After that I ran off to Richard's Fifties Bop and Disco Hustle class. I had dressed for it in polka dot circle skirt that just loves the twirl. I was also gratified to find out that my legs remembered how to do the basic step from the Party Dances class years ago. It was so very much fun. I learned the flea hop. I learned the ooze. I learned the hook behind triple step. It was awesome. I bounced out of there wanting little more than more Elvis and Bill Haley. Wheeeeee!

Workshops on Saturday. Wow. This is it. Dickens is here. I'm sure I'm not ready, but the year hurtles forward without relent. How can it be November again already?