Saturday, July 28, 2012

Yay for window screens

World's best buddies.

 I realized I hadn't seen Fennec for a few hours, so I started looking around...and finally located him, or at least his bottom half:

Yay for window screens! I fiiiiiinally got them. Being able to open the windows is sooooo nice.
Fennec and Gadjo immediately discovered that wow, there are birds out there!

I don't like the red (accent) walls in my living room, not so much the color but mostly because the value is too dark. It seems to be kind of trendy these days to paint one's living and dining rooms rich but quite dark colors, like deep red or dark brown. Not right for me. If I stay here long enough I might try to paint them, though how one would manage that with three cats around, I don't know.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

More contour sketches, and Rumi update

These are some more contour sketches from an old sketchbook. I remember doing these at an airport. The last two are guys that were dozing uncomfortably in their chairs, waiting for a flight.


Gadjo, oozing as he naps. Gravity was winning, but he slept right through it.

Doggie boredom--waiting to go to the lake.

Rumi update: I took him to an internal med specialist today. She thinks it's very likely one of two possibilities: either IBD (not IBS), or FIP.  Pick an acronym. Actually, pick the first acronym, because we do not want FIP.

IBD is possible but not likely, because statistically, his age is too young for IBD. Nevertheless, we'll treat (change in steroid dosage, anti-inflammatory med, and diet switch to single protein) for IBD because it's easy and won't hurt to do so. If he responds well to this, it means he does actually have IBD and we might see a little weight gain beginning in a month or two.

FIP we sure as hell don't want, but it's more probable. Why don't we want it? Because it is incurable and fatal. There is no test for it per se, it's sort of like you rule out everything else, like IBD for example. If he has FIP, he will continue to decline (i.e., lose weight) either slowly or rapidly--very unpredictable--and may or may not have any other symptoms. But if he does have FIP, it will kill him, sooner or later. :((((

I'm trying not to think too much about it right now, or about how awful it would be to lose my hilarious, sweet, crazy Rumi, and for Gadjo to lose him. And keeping my fingers crossed that he has IBD instead. And I'll just give him lots of love as usual, and be glad that his quality of life is (still) great and he's happy. It's all just a big question mark right now. 

Everyone, give your animolecules a special hug today in Rumi's honor--Rumi, regardless of which disease he has, is here to remind us that we never know how much time we will have with our furry loves.

Dramatic Colorado July skies.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gadjo helps unpack

This evening I had one of those senior moments... It was once again terribly hot, 99 degrees F today, and I wanted to take Mojito to the lake for him to cool off. I put on his halter, and as I stepped out of the apartment I aimed the automatic car key thingie at my car...but didn't hear the beep. I kept pressing the button, probably five times, bewildered... So I went out to unlock the car manually... 
No car. No car?!!
It took me a little while to remember I'd brought the car in earlier to get the rear brakes replaced, and left it there overnight so they can work on it tomorrow morning. Oy.

In other news, I'll be bringing Rumi to an internal medicine vet specialist on Monday. (You can see in the photo how his poor little hipbones and ribcage are visible. Breaks my heart. But again--he is super happy, as he always has been.) (I realized that my three cats are like the three bears--one too fat (Fennec), one too skinny (Rumi), and one just right (Gadjo).)

Gadjo is very helpful when it comes to unpacking:

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Heat kvetch

Is this a competition? Because I freely admit, the heat is beating me. Hear that, heat? You win. Now please, please go away (but it's forecast to stay right here, unfortunately).
Yes, I know it's July, and yes, I know it's supposed to be hot, and yes, I know at least we don't have high humidity...but it's still frigging hot.
Fennec's had enough of it, too.

Rumi eschews the more stereotypical "comfy places," and chooses something more postmodern...bubble wrap.

And he looks so happy on it. Perhaps we should all try it?

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Starting to organize the new studio

Foreshortening study, approx. 11" x 14", Conté on paper.
From art school.

So, I'm making a little progress on figuring out how to organize stuff to be able to create some working space in the new studio. 
This is a view from up in the loft (storage for canvases), looking down into the studio space. Feel some vertigo? Me too. It's actually rather terrifying to lug big canvases up and down the ladder. I had to buy three different ladders before I got one tall enough (8 ft.). Technically you're not supposed to step on the top two steps, so I guess I really need a 10-foot ladder, but forget it.
I'm figuring out how to maneuver: you constantly alternate with your right hand, switching that hand every other rung between using the wall ladder and the floor ladder; while carrying a painting in your left hand; and using your feet on the floor ladder. The top rung of the wall ladder is a bit loose, too, making everything more challenging because you have to remember to avoid it during the transition from top of ladder (on the very top step, which of course you shouldn't be using in the first place) to standing on the actual loft.
But it's great to have that storage space, even if it is a bit life-threatening to use it. Nevertheless, I will still have major space problems in this studio. Four times smaller is a lot smaller, when it comes to an art studio with three different media.

Floor view of the (currently unusable because too crowded with stuff) art studio space.
Can you find my little helper in the photo? He won't be allowed in once there's wet paint happening.
Sadly, still no news of Cleo. I'll certainly tell you in the future if there is any. I check the Humane Society website's photos of found cats every day.
I actually had a dream last night that she showed up at the old house. Not too realistic since in the dream, I myself was still living in the house.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch... The gang's all here, and there's no room for me on the bed. (Note Crazy Rumi's crazy face.)

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Under the heat

I'm feeling a bit under the weather today. And the weather is very hot again. So, I guess I am feeling "under the heat." 
Other than taking Moji out, I'm just taking it easy today and hoping to feel better tomorrow. No progress at all right now in organizing the studio. It's the hottest room in the house, the screen-fixers can't come 'till July 26, and I ain't goin' in there unless the weather cools down some.

Why does blogger keep changing my fonts and highlighting things in white?? No idea what that's about. I like how every time they "update" versions, something gets screwed up.

Cleo: no news. :(

Rumi: I took him in for a reweigh today. It's been a month. He has lost more weight.  :(  He's so scrawny. The good thing is that, as always, he seems perfectly happy and acts normal. The next thing will be to consult an internal vet medicine specialist, as soon as my vet calls me with a recommendation.

Fennec: the youngest cat, and practically weighs the same as the other two put together.

Fennec: camouflaged feets.

Crazy, darling, scrawny Rumi-Tunes (don't know why I started calling him that).

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gadjo and Rumi

Thank you for your continued positive thoughts for Cleo. No news. 
Rumi and Gadjo are the most bonded kitties I've ever known. They're best buddies.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cleo is missing

I'm very sad to report that my beautiful black Cleo cat is missing from her new home. She had gotten to the point where she liked her new people and was comfortable with them. They kept her inside until then (per my request, so that she wouldn't be let out into a strange neighborhood until she knew that inside the house was safe).

So they had her inside for a little over two weeks, she was doing great with them, and they let her out for her first time...and she hasn't come back. It's been two days. Please send her good thoughts to find her way back to her new home. They are missing her and feel terrible too, though they didn't do anything wrong.

I drove over there tonight (it's a different city, so I doubt she'd be able to find her way back to our old house in Boulder) to call around the neighborhood for her. I was hoping she'd just be hiding somewhere close by and would pop out from under a bush or something when she heard my voice. But I didn't see her.


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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Break from the heat

Some more sketches from perhaps a year ago. These are all copied from famous artists' works.
We've had a break from the heat for a couple of days. Such a relief.

 Being bad.

Two-headed kitty monster.

The red dog club, today at the dog park. That woman is Sue, a local dog lover. Mojito wanted to join the crowd. He's third, starting from the front and going clockwise.
And see that tiny gray dog on the far right? It's full grown and weighs 3.5 pounds.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Contour sketches

No, these are not new sketches, but old ones (a few years) from when I was doing blind contour sketching a lot. I have always loved how blind contour drawings end up feeling somehow much more alive than regular drawings, and how they often are capable of immediately capturing an essence that is lacking in regular drawings. When it works, it's some kind of magic that happens, an alchemy fueled by incompleteness and by the left brain temporarily going out to fly a kite.

I've been wishing for some art to post lately, and came across these in an old sketchbook. (Sorry the last one scanned in blurry.)

Unfortunately, it's been over a month now since I've done any art at all, and I am missing it. I hope to be able to get the art studio (aka other bedroom) minimally usable within the next couple of weeks. I'm itching to do some more oil + cold wax work.


The fine, funny, fat, furry, foolish fellow Fennec amuses himself with a toy in the shower.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Other weirdness

Keep your body comfy while your head stays cool.

Forgot to mention in the last post the other weirdness that happened recently. I had taken Mojito to the lake to fetch, as usual, and everything was normal during and right afterwards. 

But a few hours later, Mojito seemed to be in a lot of discomfort, panting and apparently unable to find a comfortable position. I took him out for a walk and noticed he was walking strangely--his hips looked very stiff and his tail was hanging straight down and not moving at all. He looked really sad and pathetic.

A few hours later, he seemed even more uncomfortable. I was hoping I wouldn't have to rack up an emergency vet bill in the wee hours. I started Googling his symptoms, not expecting to find anything, and lo and behold, lots of other people had discussed this. Apparently, (almost exclusively) retrievers can get this after they've overexerted and/or been in cold water. It apparently doesn't matter whether they go in the water regularly or not (Mojito goes a few times a week). 

It's called Dead Tail (very apt description of how it looked), or Cold Tail, even though apparently it has to do technically with their hip or back muscles, not the tail per se. All the discussions said a lot of vets aren't even familiar with it, and that it resolves itself in a few days, and sure enough, day by day, his tail got higher until it's back to its usual upright plume now.

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I've had a weird few days. 

First, I developed an extreme sudden (from nothing to extreme within a few hours) pain in my leg, the likes of which I'd never experienced before. I hadn't injured it or fallen or anything. I spent a whole night with it, unable to sleep due to the pain. It was so bad I wondered if I should go to the ER. I even called Ask-a-Nurse and she said to go to the ER. But the following day it got a lot better. 

So I thought I was out of the woods and that whatever it had been, it would be completely gone soon. Oh, but that night...was absolute agony. I again couldn't sleep at all. Finally, in the morning, I limped out to the dog park to let Mojito run around, then I drove myself to the ER, moaning in severe pain the whole time.

The doc said it sounded exactly like a blood clot. So they gave me a couple of oxycodone (bliss: pain scale went from 8 to 1 within an hour) and did an ultrasound. But found no clots. That's apparently good news, but I would've liked some kind of answer. Once the doc saw the ultrasound result, he basically just shrugged and said goodbye and hey, good luck with that. 

Fortunately, he also gave me an Rx for a handful of oxycodones, which got me through the next two nights of pain. (So, basically, I am going to get a bill soon that works out to about a thousand dollars for a total of 9 pills.) It made me too sleepy to take it during the day, so I consumed a lot of ibuprofen. 

And then the pain started to disappear, as mysteriously as it had come. It was nearly gone today. So strange. I've had pulled muscles and stuff before--this felt different. The ache of it was up in my hip joint, all throughout the thigh, in the knee joint, and sometimes radiating down through my lower leg.
And then there was a mysterious weirdness with Gadjo. The other morning when I got up, he wasn't outside my bedroom door (I can't sleep with the cats, sadly, because they always want to wrestle each other in the wee hours) with the others to greet me, like he always is. And I mean always.

I was instantly concerned, because he's never not been right there, standing up to paw at me and tell me how mad he is that I didn't let him sleep in my room. Yes, he's very vocal when he first sees me.

I called him and started looking around the condo. This is a small condo. There are only so many places he could possibly be. I triple-checked the windows. The screens are still not fixed, so I have the windows cracked only about one or two inches, and they're too heavy for the cats to open further. I looked everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. There wasn't a cat-sized place I didn't peer into. I must've done 30 rounds of the condo. It's just so small. There was nowhere he could be.

I took a shower, had some breakfast, kept calling and looking.

I was late for an appointment to have the car checked over and the oil changed (it was good to get the car in the divorce, but it needs about a thousand dollars' worth of work, unfortunately--the brakes need to be done very soon), so I had to leave. I had the worst sadness during the two hours I was stuck waiting there, envisioning terrible scenarios about Gadjo. I was almost starting to consider alien abduction, a la Fox Mulder. Had someone noticed a purebred in the window, broken in by popping off the screen and simply sliding the window a bit (an unfortunately possible scenario, given the current window situation) and taken him?

I came home from the car dealer to find the usual--cats clamoring at the door when I walked in, wanting attention. But not Gadjo. My heart just sunk at that point. 

I spent the rest of the afternoon looking and calling again and again, including outside the condo, though I couldn't see any way he could've gotten out. I was strongly regretting never having taught Mojito to "Find ______," like I'd always planned to do with him and the cats.

I took Mojito to the dog park, we did some tennis ball, and we came back again to the condo and I held my breath, hoping against hope to somehow see his little body in the hallway when I opened the door.

And voila. There he was. Covered with a fine layer of lint and dust, perfectly healthy and utterly non-apologetic for making me worry so.

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