Monday, March 30, 2009

Those We Hold In Our Arms For A Little While, We Hold In Our Hearts Forever

Scruffy came into our lives in June 2006 and left us at 10:55 this morning. He went peacefully with David and I both with him. He was loved to the very last minute of his life as he was every day he was with us. I need to mention here that today is our grandson Jacob;s first birthday and also the anniversary of my fathers death.

He was a starving feral cat when he first appeared in our front yard. David would sit out on the front porch with a bowl of food and water and work on getting Scruffy to trust him enough to join him on the porch for food. David would leave and Scruffy would then come and eat and drink.

It wasn't long before Scruffy would come close to David while he sat on the porch with the food and water bowls.

One day he showed up with a badly hurt front paw so David did his best to get him in a travel carrier so we could take him to the Vet. The little rascal escaped before we got him in the van! The cage didn't get locked correctly and he was out of there.

David and I lured him once more with food and between the two of us we were able to get this terribly frightened and fighting cat into the cage and to Charlotte for treatment. Once he was healed came tests and then shots when we learned he was healthy. During this time we kept him closed in the downstairs guest room away from our other three cats. David spent hours a day sitting in the room reading, getting Scruffy to trust and know that he was safe with us.

Our cats were used to his scent and they his by the time he could come out and join the family. All four of them quickly set their boundaries and they were all buddies. Scruffy loved his Mama but he had a very special bond with his Daddy that was never broken.

Scruffy was the most curious of our cats. He explored everything. He was right there with his Daddy whatever he was doing; plumbing, putting something in a low cabinet....whatever Scruffy was right there to help and see what was going on. He followed David around like a little puppy.

Scruffy was a very happy and content cat. He was also grateful. It was obvious in how he settled in and never gave one of the other cats any grief. Or us. He was a peace weaver in a sense. He was just happy to be a part of the family and he liked for everyone to get along. He was protective of all the cats and if one cat gave another a bad time, he was there to make peace between them.

Scruffy was also very protective of us. When the doorbell rang, he would sit up and growl like a dog! It was so funny however he was very serious. H would scrunch his face and he would stare at the staircase.

He loved being in the recliner with David. They were together almost every minute that we were home.

The other cats will miss him. They are already looking for him but they are intuitive. They knew how ill Scruffy was.

Scruffy brought us much laughter, love and joy. His gentle spirit and curious nature will be greatly missed.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Moments at Home

Happy bunnies on our dining table awaiting Easter.

We have been having beautiful warm (79 yesterday) spring weather this week and the garden though overgrown from last year still, has come to life.

We are looking forward to going to Truckee next weekend for 3 days to celebrate Jacob and Justin's birthday's and thanks to Jen and John we will be spending a few nights at the Boomtown hotel in Nevada. I am looking forward to time away from the house and I can handle a little gambling and good times too.
It is hard to believe Jacob will be 1 year old already and Justin 9!

We'll have all the kids and grands for Easter which we are looking forward to. It's always nice having them home for a visit.
I love daffodils. Tulips are my very favorite. The tulips are just about to burst open. I can't wait!

The garden brings us much peace and good times.

Today though sunny and blue skies the wind is blowing hard and has cooled the temperature down to the low 60's.

Here's Poopie watching over Scruffy from the stairs who is sleeping in the dining room.

David giving Scruffy some love who is under the dining room table.

Scruffy in his favorite place these days; wherever the sun is coming in from a window. It might be hard to see in this picture, but from the dehydration his fur parts all over instead of laying down smoothly.

Wherever Scruffy ends up laying down is where we move a water bowl and a litter box so he can get to them using very few steps. We also set up his special bed with the heating pad under it.

The IV bag. I now call it the dreaded IV bag. I know Scruffy dreads it and seeing him upset makes me dread it too.

His skin is so tight from dehydration that today there was barely any skin David could grab up and make a tent/pocket with to put the IV needle in. Scruffy cried and tried getting up. He was not at all happy to have it done again, and I think it hurt him because of the very tight skin. Poor little big guy.

As you see we did give him the IV while he was on the floor this time. It was easier to keep him there when he tried to use whatever strength he could muster up to get away. I really do not believe Scruffy is happy, and it does not appear anyway that the treatments are doing much for him. There are moments of positive changes, like he sat up Friday, or taking 4 or 6 steps instead of one or two before he lays on the floor because he can't hold himself up any longer, yet all of these moments are short lived. I do not see what I call a quality life starting to happen. We talk to Charlotte our cats Vet tomorrow again. We will see what she thinks with his progress after a week of treatments.
I do hope this post does not sound as zombie-like as I feel today. Sleepless nights do catch up with you!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Scruffy's First Fluid IV Given at Home

We all survived though not without some drama. We decided to put Scruffy on a bath towel on the kitchen counter and hang the IV bag from a hook on the top of a cabinet door. This worked great. Scruffy was at first a little nervous; truthfully both David and I believe it was because he was on the counter and he isn't normally allowed to be there.

David got the needle in where it should be in a fold of skin in Scruffy's back and I roll the switch to open the IV tube so the fluid is able to go through. I am petting Scruffy's head and talking to him and David is holding the needle in place and massaging his back. All is well for about a third of the treatment and then Scruffy gets agitated and tries to get up. He fights with what he has left to get up. We keep him down but it wasn;t real easy to do. He starts up again. We are tyring to keep him down and the needle comes out in the hustle and fluid is all over David's T-shirt and Scruffy's back. We manbage to get the tube closed and realize that Scruffy urinated on the towel. Now it makes sense why he was trying to get up. He knew he had to get to a litter box. Poor little big guy. David takes him to the litter box just in case he needs to go more while I clean up the towel, the counter and get a new towel so we can start again.

Once we got it going the last time it went quickly and smoothly. Scruffy actually sat up a few times today which he hasn't done all week and has talked some which he hasn't been doing. He still isn't eating. I couldn't stand it anymore so late this afternoon I tried tempting him with his very favorite; white albacore tuna in water from a can. I shredded it into tiny little bits. It took some time however after smelling and licking it he tried eating it. He ate most of what was in the bowl, which truthfully was very little but it was something! He hasn't eaten anything else since Tuesday morning.

Today he was able to walk further each time he attempted to before having to lay down and rest before trying again. He continues to drink and use the litter box. There are some definite improvements from the treatments so far but he is still not the normal Scruffy. When spoken to and loved he is more alert and reacts more than he has been.

Like all things this is a process we need to take one step at a time. Scruffy is a real trouper and tries very hard to keep going. The other cats have started wanting more attention. They need comforting too.

Scruffy's next treatment will be Sunday. This time we decided we are going to do it with him laying on the floor where he is most comfortable and knows he should be!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scruffy Update

Though Scruffy perked up a bit after his first fluid IV, it didn't last very long. Yesterday David and I talked with Charlotte his Vet since he was right back where he had started from again. She feels there is still the possibility that the treatment will work, he just needs it more often to start because he is such a bog cat and his numbers are so high. She has had great success using this treatment with a high number of cats. So we took Scruffy in and learned to give him his IV ourselves. We went home with a bag of fluid and needles to give him two more treatments. We are to do it every other day, so we will give him another one tomorrow morning and then again Monday morning. After he has gotten all of these, we will be able to tell if this is going to help him function with good-quality of life again or not. Then we will make the final decision whether to continue with treatment or let Scruffy go chase butterflies with other pets we have lost over the years. Thank you for the calls and notes of support.

Other than being exhausted we are fine. I haven't been sleeping more than a few hours every night. Today it has caught up with me. I have a few more things to try and take care of around here and then I am going to get off my feet and rest or nap. I am hoping for sleep!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An Emergency Visit to the Vet

Scruffy hadn't been himself for 24 hours so yesterday afternoon around 4 we called his Charlotte the cats Vet and she said to bring him right in. He had not been interested in food or water that much and sleeping most of the day in the sun and barely moving. I realized when he tried to walk that he couldn't. His back legs kept collapsing beneath him. Poor little big guy.

Due to the fact that Scruffy is such a big cat diabetes and kidney problems is something we needed to watch out for. We have been each year with blood work and he has been doing good.

The blood panel results yesterday were not at all good. Very serious in fact. The two things Charlotte was most distressed about were the BUN which a normal range is 10-30 and Scruffy's was at 145. Also the CRE which the norm is 0.3-2.1. Scruffy's was 5.6. They consider 6.0 to be complete renal failure. Scruffy was given fluids intravenously in his back and it is something for the next few weeks we need to do 2 times a week. David has agreed he will do it and Thursday will do it at the Vet for his first time to be sure he is doing it correctly. From then on we will do it ourselves at home. Charlotte said that in some cases there is great improvement from these fluid treatments. We are praying this is the case for Scruffy. David and I both were fighting tears when told of his test results. Charlotte was very upset herself. For a feral cat before we took him in, he is the sweetest most loving big galute you ever will meet. He is so grateful for having a home, being loved and other cats to play with and be a family.

I made him a little bed under the high boy in the master bedroom which is where he has been going to be alone since not feeling well. As you can see Poopie is checking it out right after I put the towel down under it. Scruffy is laying outside of it with David who is giving him lots of love. Scruffy went under there once Poopie got out and he slept there all night. Around 5 AM he managed to walk to the food and water bowls and ate a tiny little bit. We bought special food for him that is good for renal problems. He went to the bathroom constantly for a while this morning, going much less than he usually does, but going none the less. We see this as positive.

Meiling and Poopie watch out for Scruffy. They stay near him napping most of the day and last night they both slept in bed with me to be near him. Little Riley is so upset he is scared. Every time he gets near Scruffy he hisses at him and growls. He will stand from a far distance and just stare at Scruffy sleeping. He doesn't know how to handle his sadness that Scruffy is so sick. Please keep our little one in your thoughts, good vibes and prayers. We are trying our best to keep a positive attitude about his condition, but we are worried we might lose our Scruffy.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Avenue Q and Biba's

Yesterday we went to the matinee production of Avenue Q as part of our Broadway Series season tickets at The Community Center Theater in downtown Sacramento. We weren't sure what to expect other than it was a musical with muppets.

It is adult content muppets! Do go if you have the opportunity. It is hilarious. It's outrageously fun, makes you feel good and there is a wise message at the end. Thoroughly enjoyable afternoon at the theater!

Afterwards we drove about 10 blocks through downtown to get to Biba's for dinner. Above is Tony's a fabulous Italian deli and catering service.

The group of ladies the right are all Mary Kay ladies at a convention of some sort it looks like.

This is St. Paul's Episcopal church. It is a very old stone church. Just beautiful. If it was closer to our house I would be going to this church.

Never been to Rick's Uptown Market but want to stop in some time soon.

Of course we love the old houses downtown.

Sitting in the car waiting for the valet I snapped this picture at Biba. The atmosphere of this restaurant is elegant yet comfortable and very inviting. Everything runs like a well-oiled machine. I was very impressed with every aspect of the restaurant. We sat at the bar and enjoyed a cocktail while we waited for them to start seating for dinner at 5:30 when our reservations were for. The bartender is friendly and more people joined us there coming from the theater as well. They were all regulars. The bartender and other wait staff new them and everything they liked. I was impressed by this as well. We chatted with the other customers too which was fun. A very friendly place that treats you very well.

The food is the very best Italian food I have ever eaten in a restaurant. In fact it could have come from my Nana's kitchen. Truthfully, no disrespect to my Nana who was a fabulous cook, but this food is even better. The wait staff is poised, knowledgeable of the menu and ingredients of the dishes. Everything is impeccable - service, food, staff, decorations, table settings. Biba herself comes in every day around 7:15 PM and walks the restaurant and bar and talks to every guest. We had a delightful conversation with her regarding food of course, and both us being Northern Italians. She loved that I had red hair and blue eyes and we talked how most people do not realize that is common in Northern Italy.

I did not stick to a food plan last night. There was no way I could. David and I split a few courses then had an entree and dessert of our own. We started with a special of the evening, Seafood Cakes, made with halibut, Dungeness crab and scallops, served with a verde sauce which by my taste buds was mostly Italian parsley. There was EVOO on the plate, then the seafood cake and the verde sauce on the side. They split the dish on two plates in the kitchen and we each had seafood cake.

Next we spilt another special of the evening, homemade white fish stuffed ravioli with a garlic, wine, tomato (fresh diced) and butter sauce. Wowzers! These were amazingly good and the pasta so light and tender it melted in your mouth. We could have eaten these all night long.

We had also ordered a roasted beet salad but somehow our waitress forgot to order it for us, so our entrees came out next. We both ordered the ossobucco made with veal shanks and served with soft polenta. I wish we had pictures of both our faces when we took our first bite. That would describe better than I can attempt here with words how delicious this dish was. The sauce was incredibly good and the meat melted in your mouth. The polenta was cooked to perfection, not a lump, clump or rubber feeling in any bite. We savoured every mouthful. I couldn't eat all mine so David finished it.

It was then I mentioned to our waitress that she forgot my salad and she offered to bring a small serving of it out at that time but I decided not to have it at all.

Next came dessert menus. David chose the Zuccotto Fiorentino -- Chocolate coated, dome shaped, rum scented pound cake filled with whipped cream, chocolate, almonds and hazelnuts. It was huge, decadent and delicious. I opted for the Le Pere e il Formaggio -- Bosc pear oven baked in Valpolicella wine, served with roasted pecans and whipped mascarpone cheese. However the waitress seemed to read me well and offered the dish with an imported Gorgonzola instead of the whipped mascarpone cheese. Just the way I prefer it! Every bite was a piece of heaven. Beautifully executed. Of course every plate was presented beautifully as well. I also had and after dinner drink - Delamain Reserve, Del-Familia, a 60 year old cognac. A real treat, so smooth and lovely! Very nice on a rainy evening. David brought a bottle of older Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon for us to enjoy with our dinner which was wonderful as well.
It was a perfect birthday celebration dinner and we look forward to dining there many more times. Ron and Deb - we will have to go the next time you are out visiting. It will blow you away. Good bread too! Yes, I ate a slice!
Thanks to my sister girlfriends who gave me a gift certificate to Biba for Christmas which we used for part of our payment last evening. We had a wonderful, special time!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Progress at Theresa and Shawns House

Things have been happening at Theresa and Shawn's house. The plantation shutters were installed yesterday. They look great as you will see in the following pictures. A wonderful choice I think. There has been a lot of painting going on as well. As Theresa and Shawn have been hard at work, their friend Don has been painting rooms inside the house. As you view the pictures, please keep in mind there are still move-in and working messes that normally wouldn't be there.

A beautiful tone of blue in the master bedroom. Definitely a coastal feel.

The shutters on the sliders look terrific.

Their new washer and dryer and tangerine walls in the laundry room.

The main living areas of the house and hallway are painted yellow.

The family room - a work in progress. Love the telescope.

She used the tangerine in an interesting way to bring it into this part of the house.

This is my favorite spot in their house so far. I love how Theresa created this wonderful memory booking area for herself in the main part of the house. It is in what was designed as a living room combination with the dining room. In most of the models in our community this area is small and really useless. Ours included. We don't use it as living room space either. She created a great useable space.

We can't help but be spoiling grandparents. We brought over a few gifts for baby for the new parents-to-be.


David and I learned this week we will be grandparents again in October. Theresa and Shawn are expecting their first child! Oh happy days!!!! We are all thrilled. Mommy-to-be is having fun decorating their new house but she is suffering from "morning" sickness. Thankfully some days are much better than others.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Note: Light from a window is not kind to an older woman's face.