Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!





Welcome to my cyber neighborhood coffee shop! Grab a mug of your favorite beverage and a cozy chair to read and comment a bit. Be sure to try a piece of black forest cake or tiramisu. Try both; cyber-cake is calorie free!

Contact Nani at
chroniclesofnani@gmail.com

Sunday, December 10, 2017

We Are A One-Cat Family Now


Carla Yastrzemski Patch
“The Good One”
*September 9, 2008 - December 1, 2017
*observed

December started for us with our second visit this year to that room at the vet’s office with the soft blanket and a box of tissues. They couldn’t perform the scheduled mastectomy on Carla. They shaved her up to get her ready, and discovered the cancer had moved into her armpits, it was just too aggressive to operate. We thought we would have to go in the next morning to say goodbye. I called David that afternoon and told him I wanted him to bring Carla home at least for that night. In 2008 when we brought her home from the shelter and promised her a forever home, we rescued her from living in a cage. I didn’t want her last night to be in a cage.

They sent her home with pain medicine. We would be able to allow her to let us know when she was done. She wasn’t really a lot weaker yet, she could still jump up on the bed to curl up with her daddy until he fell asleep and she could still come downstairs. to jump up on the foot rest of the recliner and sleep to relax her mommy to sleep. She was still eating and enjoying treats and in the evening she still spent part of the time attached to daddy's side on the couch and the other part on her armrest on the recliner making Carlaccino.

Marco and Carla- one last sun bath in the front window together

That lasted just over two weeks. At the end of two weeks she was moving very slow, sleeping a lot and not able to get up to the places she liked to be. Three days before it was over we had given her one of the painkillers in the morning. It was very sunny and it took her two tries to get on top of the chest by the window. She sat confused and Marco sort of guided her in to the cat hammock in the window so she could sit in the sun. It broke my heart that night after David went up to bed and she didn't follow upstairs, she crawled off the couch and sat in front of the recliner and cried up to me begging to be picked up. I wanted so badly to be able to pick her up and comfort her. She crawled back up to the couch and curled up back to sleep and I cried. The next day we gave her a painkiller in the morning and she pretty much slept all day with no interest in food or any of the other things she normally liked to do. She knew it was time.



We'll remember Carla in many special ways. She was a year-old when we adopted her and after having a rough first year, including having had kittens when she was still a kitten herself, she was adult cat size but had the happy kittenhood with lots of love she was owed. We were happy to give that to her and she never stopped being grateful. In so many ways she never stop being a kitten.

But to everyone that met her, Carla was a kitty of sounds. Her shelter name at Paws and Whiskers was Sassy. It wasn't too long after she came home that we realized how such a sweet girl could be called sassy. Carla had no problem letting us know when she needed petting. She had a very distinct, loud and plaintive meow when she demanded attention. But more than that meow, I worried the first time I heard the happy meow. She would yell loudly but muffled when she had a toy in her mouth and was walking around with it. We came to call that muffled meow singing, "I got I toy, I got a toy, I got a toy!” We call her purring “Carlaccino” because it sounded like the espresso machines in the coffee shop. When you pet her on her sweet spot; right on the top of her head between her ears, her purr would start low and quiet and get louder, building just like an espresso pot.

But what turned out to be the most distinctive Carla sound was there in other parts of the house but it really came to life when we removed the carpet over the hardwood floors in the living room. She had her clumsy moments jumping up on things, but when she walked through a room she had a fluid elegance and when she walked on the hardwood floor her claws made a rhythmic clicking sound like a lady in high heels. My weekend aide always celebrated her when she came downstairs welcoming her as “Miss Fancy Feet.” The friends, aides and nurses who are here most often noted they missed the lady like clicks of her feet on the floor when she came home for hospice care. In prepping her for this surgery she ended up not having, they clipped her claws.

Now all of Carla’s sounds, warm cuddles and the eternal kitten who never stopped playing in the eight years she was with us are gone. Last year at Christmas time, gifts to the canine family and friends came from "the three wise cats." This year Marco will be an only cat for the holidays. He left his litter mates when he was a kitten and instantly had two sisters so he's never been an only cat. It's different for all of us in a little emptier house this year.



2017: We lost our ‘Queen” and our “Good One.” 2018 has to be better.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Where I’ve Been


It’s been a rough year. It's still a rough year. I'm sorry if I've worried my cyber friends but I've been processing a lot IRL. IRL, in real life. My blog is mostly an extension of that"real life,” except the doctors don't read my blog and the cats can type. As you know, if you're a regular reader of this blog, we lost our Kaline to kidney failure at the end of July, just before her 12th birthday. Today Carla, who we adopted at just over a year old from the shelter a month before our first wedding anniversary, is in surgery. David had discovered a mass on her underside and when she went to the vet last week she was diagnosed with cancer. Blood work and x-rays showed it to be a rather large mass but it wasn't in any major organs which increased the possibility of surgery being successful. I pray that she’s strong enough to handle the anesthesia and recovery.

Two of our three cats very sick in one year is devastating. We don't have kids, we have cats. They're the soul of our house, what makes it home. They are my comfort and company when I'm home alone. In this year I needed that comforting company. Please send a prayer and good thoughts for strength for Carla today.


In April testing, my liver levels had gotten very high. That's a possibility with the medication that I was taking for MS so I was taken off that medication. The plan was when my liver levels came down we would choose a new MS medication for me. But normally after one is taken off Gilenya, in 2 or 3 months the levels come down. but with me that didn't happen. The liver levels stayed up and other things went weird. I began to gain a lots of weight in a short period time after I'd already been progressively gaining while staying true to my diet. My doctor said with the way that I eat, even not be able to move a lot, I should be losing, not gaining. She had ultrasounds of the liver and gallbladder and then I had blood work done.

I have gallstones! Yay, something new! I also had an increase in my hypothyroidism and glucose. For the first time ever in my life my glucose level is over normal and I can be considered diabetic. She increased my thyroid medicine we were going to see if bringing that level down would give some weight loss and bring the glucose down. She also sent me to a surgeon to see you about having the gallbladder removed. My inability to move and MS would make the pain and other symptoms of the gallstones considerably worse and the gallbladder is not an essential organ. My fear of surgery diminished considerably when in conversation with friends I realized how many people I've known for years have been living without a gallbladder.

The gallbladder surgeon, who was the complete and total jerk and someone I wouldn't let cut into me anyway, determined I didn't show enough symptoms to warrant gallbladder removal. He sent me back to my doctor with his suggestion to refer me to a GI specialist and a gallbladder MRI. Oh joy, oh fun, MORE MRIs! Like I said, processing a lot.

Last week was semi annual Cleveland Clinic day. At this point I've had no MS medicine since April. That's mostly evident in the loss of feeling and control in both of my hands and arms. This only adds to the diminished blogging! I can do stuff in Photoshop for scrapping but I tend to do pages that don't have a lot of journaling. Even speech to text requires going back in and fixing words that aren't quite heard correctly by the computer. And I get tired a lot faster from doing everyday things.

So this year I've been dealing with my hands and arms feeling more useless and increased fatigue from MS, a mysterious gallbladder, the psychology of unexplained weight gain, controllable but uncomfortable reactions to my thyroid medicine, major money problems, the loss of the cat who was "mommy's girl,” and the sweet and affectionate girl we call "the good one” is in surgery as I type. It's been a rough year.

**I'll be reading and catching up this afternon and tomorrow. Look for me in comments!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Astros Not Winning As Corporate Citizens


Early this season I predicted the Houston Astros to win the World Series this year. Now I'm not sure I even want them to play in October.

I still have some issues with the Astros home games right now. When such a huge number of families in the Houston area are homeless right now after the flooding from Harvey’s rain, the baseball stadium is open for business. According to one article I read free tickets to the reopened games were offered to "some displaced families" with thousands of tickets offered for free at nearby shelters. That's the best millionaire and billionaire players/ownership can do? The first place Astros weren't even selling out before the hurricane and record flooding and devastation. People might be more encouraged to support a team that does more to support them in times of trauma and need.

There are so many who lost everything. People in nearby shelters may be wearing donated clothes because they didn't have the ability to grab much before a flash flood swallowed their home. Shelters are filled with people who have no food and last I checked, shelters for flood victims don't have huge parking lots for all those cars. Most of those were under water. Houston's METRO system was greatly affected by flooding too with the entire system shut down for two days and parts slowly opening as flood waters recede and it's no longer too dangerous. Many small and even larger businesses are flood victims too. Why is the large stadium worth billions just throwing some free tickets to nearby shelters?

I'd be happier as a baseball fan, as a former small business owner, as a human being, to see them offering free tickets with concession vouchers and shuttles from those nearby shelters to the stadium. Displaced people really do need a break, some semblance of normal, even a few hours of special, in the midst of what has been lost. Free tickets and a walk with no spending money for food isn't quite enough. If being a good corporate citizen isn't enough and it's necessary to make it good marketing, maybe filling those empty seats with flood victims who are guests of the team may actually fill those seats with paying customers in 2018.


* I'd love this to change or to be proven wrong. Let me know if you discover something new to me!


Monday, August 21, 2017

Happy Solar Eclipse Day!


There will be a total eclipse this afternoon. Here in Toledo we won’t the see the full effect of the total eclipse. The nearest place in the path of totality is between Knoxville and Chattanooga, Tennessee. They’ll be in total darkness briefly this afternoon. We'll be just kind of dark.

A total eclipse is when the moon is close enough to the earth to appear bigger and completely block the sun. In May 1994, it was an annular eclipse that was the last time an eclipse that was visible in Ohio or Michigan, where I was in 1994. For an annular eclipse, the moon is farther. away and appears smaller, so a ring of sun is larger around the moon. Asking my husband about something he knows more about than I do because I'm only interested in when it's a current event, gets you an exasperated sigh like I'm sure I got from my mom in 1973.

When we started talking about the solar eclipse this year I had a memory flash. There was an eclipse on January 4, 1973, just after Christmas break, but the patch where it was visible was in southern South America. But there has been talk about it on the news and my classmates and i were in second grade. I remembered just after lunch, a boy in our class got up and closed all the window blinds so no one would look out at the eclipse and go blind. It seemed like s nice thing to me at 7, to protect the whole class from the eclipse seen in South America.

A good test for checking your eclipse glasses is look at a florescent light with your glasses on. If you can't see the light, The sun won’t blind you. If you’re in an area where you can see the eclipse, experience with care and enjoy!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

But Now My Kitty Sunshine's Gone Away


Alexis Kaline Patch
2005-2017

50 ended with tears. We said goodbye to our Kaline, just a couple weeks before her. 12th birthday.

Early in June she was taken to the vet to look at her because of severe weight loss in a very short time. It was then, on June 8, that she was diagnosed with kidney failure, something that there is not a cure for in cats. It's also something that is, while not common, it's not uncommon in house cats. Her vet told us it may be months, it may be years, but there is nothing that could be done to reverse the damage.

I prayed that she'd have years, but she lost 25% of her body weight in about a month. David got prescription food and I made cat-recipe chicken broth to try to get her to drink more. She did eat the food, but just a little each day, and wasn't even interested in the chicken meat, let alone the broth. She still cuddled and purred with me and crawled on David's hip for morning scritches, but she was still losing weight and seemed to be slowing down. Last week she was struggling to get up on the furniture or the cedar chest to look out the front window. She was spending most of her.time in the sunny spot in the upstairs hall – it had always been one of her favorite places.

For the last couple of weeks, when I sang the song I always do when I'm giving evening treats, she still came running down with Carla and Marco, but she became even more finicky than usual, only eating her favorites. Then this past week she'd run down but just watch the treats tossed and her brother and sister eat them. When it had been a couple of days since she'd eaten and David gave her a bowl of moist food with lots of gravy, which she loved, she looked at it, put her tongue on it for a test, and then shook her head and walked away. That really was the sign we had to accept. It seemed like she was only holding on for us. Her once shining coat on her strong body was just hanging off pretty much her skeleton.

David came home from work early Thursday. Uncharacteristically Kaline came downstairs as soon as he came in. She halfheartedly struggled when he put her in the carrier and when she was in the carrier she gave three scratches at the floor where her usual was she try to dig herself out for a while. There was meowing but not as robust as usual. We were about to take the longest and most painful ride we've ever made to the vet. You see, when it's been the final ride with our cats before we didn't know that was the last trip ahead of time. Even with Baggle, we knew he was sick and that day was coming, but we didn't know that was that day when we left home. For Kaline we knew.

Cats purr when they are happy and content or when they are nervous and afraid. We both cried a lot during the last couple months and even more during that ride to the vets office on Thursday. We were in what was set up to be the crying room at the vet's office, lots of seats around the exam table and the feel of a room at a funeral home with a box of tissues on the windowsill. Kaline purred while we pet her. She sat on my chest, the "cat shelf" she discovered as a kitten and never accepted that she'd outgrown, one last time. When the vet's assistant came in for us to sign paperwork, she was teared up too. The job and the crying pet parents never gets easy, even for the people who do it professionally.

After she stopped purring and her labored breaths stopped, we left the office. We stopped at the desk to let them know the tissue box was empty.

On the way home David noted that it was sunny out. Unsuccessfully choking back tears I said "That's because there's no more…" and broke into an uncontrolled loud sob. He said he didn't understand what I said but then said, "I think I know what you said” and joined me in more tears. I tried to say "kitty sunshine" again unsuccessfully. I sang "You Are My Sunshine" with the kitty sunshine customized lyrics to her since she was a kitten. I couldn't sing that song since her diagnosis because the last line, "please don't take my kitty sunshine away" was just too painful to sing to her.

There will be more tears for a few days that will fade from tears into happy memories. But right now her song is over and I just wish it had been a more extended cut.