Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Indoors or Outdoors

Update: Well, the question is moot at this point. Lee says no to another kitty.
Thanks for the input, though.

We have to the acceptance that our Lucky kitty is never coming home. He went out sometime during the night on February 20th, and we never saw him again.
He was an indoor/outdoor cat.

We were so lucky to have gotten such a great cat out of a kitty that was once a stray. He came during the framing stage of our house out of a culvert nearby. He never did anything but make it clear he would be a great addition to our family. Lee nor I had ever owned a cat, and didn't really consider ourselves 'cat people'. Just about every cat we'd ever met was a mental case.
Lucky behaved more like a dog, than a cat (in our opinion). He never scratched the furniture, he never had accidents inside, he came when he was called, he never met a stranger and he never got up on the counters.
He loved being indoors with us and he loved being outdoors---being a cat. Yes, he brought us 'presents' every now and then. Mostly rats and mice.
We never really feared for his life outdoors, because he was very, very aware of the presence of coyotes in our area. He had plenty of places to zoom to safety if he was being pursued. He could also climb a tree like a cheetah. He was up to date on all his vaccinations in case he encountered a stray cat with diseases. We live at the end of a cul' de sac on a road with 2 other houses. Getting hit by a car was nearly a non-existant possibility. Not even loose dogs to hassle him.
I just think he was more balanced and happy, because he could go outdoors.

That's where the problem lies. It is our assumption, after much searching and posting of signs, that it was probably a coyote that got him. He was 12. He could still run and still climb trees, but it could be that he just wasn't fast enough. The thought of Lucky being snatched up and carried off, makes me want to get out the 22 gauge and kill me some coyote.
I'm more realistic than that. I know that we moved out here--to the coyote's habitat. It's no different, no matter how unsettling, than Lucky catching a rat or a rabbit.

We are now at a place in our lives, where the kids are starting to want a new cat. A young cat, an orange cat, a cat that 'talks'.
But what to do? Should we risk having our hearts broken again, and have a coyote take another cat? On the other hand, we feel a cat should get to be outdoors for its own sanity. I go round and round in my head about the subject.
I'll think I really want another cat, and then I'll think about searching for Lucky at 5 am on a rainy, cold morning. Then I'll think about him rolling in the dirt and playing with long stems of grass. Then I'll think about going hoarse while calling for him for days. On and on.

My question to you----do you have an indoor only cat? How is their personality--honestly? Do you have problems with scratching the furniture? I worry that indoor only cats scoot out the door while you're unloading groceries and don't know that to do with themselves. I read plenty of "lost cat" stories on Craig's List about indoor cats that got out, freaked out and disappeared.

Pretty please, don't tell me you opinion about why cats should be indoors only or outdoors only. I just want to hear of your experience with indoor only cats. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rosemary Tequila Chicken

4 young chickens
1 terrifying mockingbird with loud singing voice
1 large rosemary bush
1 large agave

Roast at 72* and Sunny for 1/2 hour
Look at feet to check for doneness. They should be slightly pink.
Another sign of doneness is when the legs and wings are able to pull freely away from the body.
Take finished young chickens out, when terrifying mockingbird is done singing.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Picture of Bigfoot

I've figured out what went wrong with the famous picture of Bigfoot.
It was the automatic focus feature on the man's camera. Plus, the lighting wasn't all that hot.
The camera I was using for this shot, insisted on focusing on the branches just in front of my subject.

This morning I went out to feed my chickens and local wildlife/birds. In the seconds between dogs screeching at the deer, I heard a soft "Whoo Whoo". I talked the dogs into going indoors and grabbed Lee's camera. There was just enough light in the sky to locate the owner of the "Whoo".

We have a pair of Great Horned owls in our area. We often hear them, but rarely see them. Despite my presence and the idiot noises coming from my dogs, this owl stayed put. As he/she called out, I listened for the other owl's reply. I never heard one. I'm wondering if that's why the owl stayed put, despite all that was going on.
As the light grew, the daytime birds began to harass this amazing creature of the night, and sent it on its way.

It's funny what makes me happy and excites me. I've seen owls in cages a million times, but having one (or two) living wild so nearby, makes me smile. It's rather magical.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

When Bad News is Great News

Well, I wasn't gone a whole month, but it was more than a week.
I got such good news today, that I felt it was worth blogging about.
Also, important for my kids to know--family medical history.

For about 18 months, I have been in pain. On a scale of 1-10, my level upon waking each day was about 8. As the day progressed, it would quiet down to about 3. I was never pain free and some days I'd be driven to take Motrin all day, just to get by.

My family doctor did some blood work, listened to my symptoms and sent me for a CT scan. It was determined that I had Costochondritis (inflamed rib joints). There's no treatment for it.
I accepted that.
The trouble is, the pain spread. All over torso pain made me want to get out of bed the minute I opened my eyes every morning. I used to love lying in bed after the alarm went off.
My hips and thigh bones made sitting to eat breakfast, painful. Riding in the car for more than a hour or so has been excruciating.
I figured being tired all the time and having a fuzzy mind, was because I wasn't sleeping well.
My family doctor was at a loss.

My friend, DD, suggested that it wouldn't hurt to see a Rheumatologist. Lee insisted.
Off to a new doctor. Love her, by the way. She spent an hour with me, discussing symptoms and wanted me to do two things before we moved forward.
1. Do a bunch of lab tests (8 tubes of blood--aarrrggghhh).
2. Take a bunch of x-rays.

Two days later I got a call from her office. She said my thyroid numbers were out of whack and wanted me to see an Endocrinologist before I had my follow up with her.
Another new doctor. I started to feel a little down. Was this going to be the beginning of seeing doctors on a regular basis?
Dr. Endocrinologist is loved as well.
(two specialist with amazing bedside manners--what are the odds?)

Dr. Endo figures I ought to feel awful and tired and fuzzy.
A normal thyroid number is 3 to 5. Mine is 14.4!
Since I have no family history of hypothyroidism and haven't had "3 CT scans a day for 3 weeks" on my neck, I have Hashimoto's Disease. It means I probably have an auto-immune problem and it has attacked my thyroid. Despite its ominous name, it is very common.
It can be treated with a pill!!


So, why the picture of Vitamin D stuff?
Turns out that my vitamin D levels are strangely low as well.
Normal levels are 30--100. Doctors like 50 the best.
Mine is 23.

Vitamin D deficiency cause bone pain.

Again, it can be fixed with a pill!

My pain and brain fog are headed out.
I might lose a pound or two.
I might be able to linger in bed when the alarm goes off.
I can't express how wonderful it feels to finally know I'm not just aging beyond my years.
I was so sad thinking that my body was turning on me so early.
I was really sad knowing that Lee would like to travel when the kids are out of the house and I have trouble sitting for more than an hour.
I was angry knowing I could barely finish a sentence because of brain fog. The words just weren't there.
More than anything, I felt like I would be in progressively worse pain for the rest of my life.
No answers.

Now I have some.