Friday, May 27, 2016

Emma & Cookie

I’m back from a very long blogging hiatus, with a post I’m not happy to write. We had to say goodbye to Emma and Cookie in April.

Emma was expected. She was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease almost a year ago, then it got much worse in October, and we were told that hard decisions were coming soon. As the Cushing’s progressed it interfered with the appetite center of her brain and caused some neurological problems. Basically a steady decline that really picked up speed at the end.

We made the decision to have Emma put to sleep. She wasn’t eating much, and she was starting to get lost in the house, and very confused in general.

It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. A lot of people told me there would be a sense of relief and peace once the decision was made. I haven’t had that. I know it was the right thing to do. I know she wouldn’t have wanted to go on the way she was, I know Nick would never have agreed to it if it wasn’t the right thing, and I trust our vet enough to believe he wouldn’t have done it if it hadn’t been the right thing. I still didn’t get the sense of relief.

As far as last days go, I think Emma’s (April 16th) was really good. She seemed to feel pretty good that day. Nick and I took her together; I rode in the backseat and held her. I had managed to convince myself the vet was going to find something easily fixable was wrong with her, take care of it, and send us on our merry way. So I was actually halfway cheerful on the drive. I think it might have been a coping mechanism.

We stopped and got her a McDonald’s cheeseburger on the way, which she seemed to enjoy. My mom met us at the vet’s office, and Emma’s favorite vet tech was there. We had a long talk with the vet, and agreed that letting her go was the right thing to do, and definitely the best thing for her.

Nick and I both stayed with her the entire time. The whole process was very, very peaceful. She basically just drifted off to sleep with the people she loved most petting her and telling how good and sweet she was, and how very much she was loved.

A week later (April 22nd), Cookie went in for a biopsy of a mass in her mouth. She’d had trouble with her mouth the entire time we’d had her. Most of her teeth had been pulled when she was at the shelter, and there were periods of time when her mouth became really inflamed, but treating it with antibiotics and steroids had been working.

Then the usual treatments just didn’t seem to help. The vet put her on different medications, even antibiotic shots (so as not to hurt her mouth trying to give her a pill) that we gave her at home. Nothing seemed to help, and the inflamed area started to get bigger.

Our vet suggested a biopsy, so we scheduled it. I wasn’t truly expecting bad results, and I thought even it was bad, they would be able to remove it, (I’m really beginning to think denial may be my preferred coping mechanism), so I was surprised when the vet called and said we needed to come in and talk before she proceeded with the biopsy.

They had taken x-rays before the biopsy to make sure there weren’t any bone/root fragments left from when her teeth had been pulled, and the x-rays showed a very large mass pressing on her eye and basically beginning to distort the entire side of her face.

After a very long talk with the vet, and determining that there was just no good way of treating it, we made the decision to say goodbye to Cookie. Again, the process was very, very peaceful. We were both able to be with her, and pet her, and tell her how much she was loved right up to the very end.

Losing two of our fur babies in a week was really, really hard. Feeding time still seems way too fast and easy since we aren’t coming up with special food to entice Emma and Cookie to eat. I had Emma for almost 13 years, and Nick had her for almost nine. We only had Cookie for about a year, but she just fit in perfectly from the very beginning. We’re still finding our new normal without them.

Fortunately, we still have six other fur babies; our dog Duke, and the five cats, Howard, Milo, Frankie, Tara, and Joey. There’s still lots of petting and cuddling going on. It helps.

I promise my next post will be a much happier one, and I’m looking forward to catching up on all of your blogs.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Tuna Casserole

My paternal grandmother taught me most of what I know about cooking. She always enjoyed cooking, and was always really good at it. She also gave me lots of recipes, from fast and easy to a bit more elaborate and time consuming.

This tuna casserole is one of the fast and easy ones, but it’s delicious. It comes together fast, is very inexpensive to make, consists of things that usually seem to on hand in the kitchen, and is total comfort food. I did make a couple of changes to her recipe, so I’ll give it to you both ways. Do with it what you will.

Tuna Casserole:

12 oz. package of egg noodles, cooked for least amount of time per package instructions, and drained

5 oz. can tuna, drained and flaked

2 cups shredded mozzarella OR Swiss cheese

1 cup Miracle Whip OR mayonnaise

1/4 - ½ cup breadcrumbs, divided

Butter, for greasing the pan

Combine tuna, egg noodles, cheese, and Miracle Whip (or mayonnaise) in a large mixing bowl.

Generously butter a square baking dish. Coat baking dish with breadcrumbs.

Spread tuna mixture evenly into baking dish. Top with remaining breadcrumbs.

Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes, or until the top begins to turn a nice golden brown.


My grandmother’s version uses Swiss cheese and mayonnaise. I hate Swiss cheese! I think it smells disgusting, and tastes worse. So I always use mozzarella cheese when I make it. My grandmother’s recipe uses mayonnaise. I’m not a huge fan of mayonnaise, so I usually use Miracle Whip, largely because it’s what I usually have on hand. I like it with mayonnaise as well, just no Swiss cheese! It’s basically a matter of personal preference, and what you have on hand.

The recipe is so easy that I rarely measure the cheese or breadcrumbs anymore. I just go with what looks right. It always comes out good!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Happy Hump Day - The Flowers Edition

We had been enjoying some warmer weather here for the past few days, but today is supposed to be cold. Really, really cold. Tomorrow and Friday aren’t looking much better.

I pretty much hate winter, so I was really enjoying the warmer weather. Spring will be here soon! That’s what I keep telling myself anyway. I’m looking forward to going outside without having to bundle up, and of course, planting things. I love watching the yard fill with color. So here are some pictures of flowers to tide us all over in the meantime.

How is the weather for you? Is it finally starting to warm up?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Blogging From A to Z Challenge

It’s almost time for the annual A to Z Blogging Challenge. You can read more (and sign up!) here. If you’re not familiar, it involves blogging almost every day during the month of April, following the alphabet. Sundays are the day off. On April 1st you write a blog post that somehow pertains (starts with, about, etc) the letter A, and move through the alphabet during the month, but skip Sundays.

The A to Z Challenge is a lot of fun. It’s a great way to connect with other bloggers, as well as a great way to get into the habit of regular blogging. If you’ve never done it, I encourage you to give it a try. Yes, it’s time consuming, but it’s enjoyable.

You have the option of sticking with a theme, or going random. I’ve gone random every year I’ve participated, but this year, I’m going with a theme. I thought it might be fun to try something a little different, and I’ve come up with a theme I really like. The theme reveal for everyone doing one is on March 21st. Some people come up with some really interesting themes.

So what about you? Are you planning to sign up for the A to Z Challenge? Will you be doing a theme?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Happy Hump Day - The Panda Bear Edition

I’m slowly getting back to a regular blogging schedule, so I thought this would be a good time to brig back the Happy Hump Day posts.

This week has been awful so far. It has been cold and rainy, and a week where I’ve wished I had gone to school for just about anything other than what I’m currently doing. It’s the kind of week that needs a really, really good Happy Hump Day post. So, I give you panda bears.

I’ve been obsessed with panda bears for about as long as I can remember. I’m not sure how or when it all started, but as a child my room was covered in panda bear everything. I watched any and every panda bear documentary I could find, and generally drove people insane sharing random panda bear facts. I also decided my life wouldn’t be complete until I saw panda bears live.

I finally got to see pandas live in 2012 when we went to Atlanta for our anniversary and went to Zoo Atlanta. I spent hours at the panda bear area, and Nick patiently put up with it. And now my panda bear obsession is probably a little more extreme than it was before.

I’ve also recently discovered that my dream job does actually exist; being a panda nanny is a real job. Not that it’s a job I’ll ever have, but it’s nice to know it’s out there. A girl can dream.

So what about you? What’s your dream job?

Just in case you need a little more panda bear cuteness to help you make it through the week here’s a link to Zoo Atlanta’s Panda Cam.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Half Full Or Half Empty?

Nick and I typically agree on most things. I think our personalities are pretty similar, and we’re usually basically on the same page about most things. Except when it comes to putting gas in the car. I don’t think we could be more opposite than we are about gassing up the car.

I’m pretty sure Nick could quite happily spend the rest of his life driving from gas station to gas station. He never really lets it get below half a tank, and starts talking about the need to fill the car up when it gets down to three quarters of a tank. He never lets the gas light come on.

I’m the exact opposite. I hate putting gas in the car, and don’t usually do it until the gas light comes on. Because we live so close to work, I can actually drive for a couple of days with the gas light on if I’m not planning to go anywhere else. Yes, I have done that. The only exceptions are if I’m planning to make a long drive, and when I go to South Carolina. I always fill the car up in South Carolina because gas is so much cheaper there.

We almost always take my car whenever we go anywhere together. Nick’s car may be full of gas, but it’s also usually full of junk. Mine is usually clean. We also have to take mine if we’re taking the dogs anywhere because Nick’s is a little two door, and just doesn’t have room for two big dogs.

I don’t like driving Nick’s car (I will never understand why anyone wants a two door car), and it’s a pain for him to move all of his fire department stuff over to mine if we do switch cars, so we almost never switch cars. He drives his, I drive mine, and we take mine when we’re together. That’s usually when mine gets filled up with gas, because in all honesty, Nick puts gas in my car a lot more often than I do. 

Nick has mostly given up on trying to convince me to put gas in the car more often, and I try to make sure the gas light isn’t on if he’s going to be driving mine. It’s the closest we’ve come to a compromise.

We took my car Friday night when we were out running errands and going to dinner. While we were sitting in traffic Nick made the comment that someone’s car was out of gas. I started looking around for the person stranded on the side of the road, but couldn’t find them. It turned out that he was talking about me. The gas gage was between a quarter of a tank and the light coming on. For me that meant there was plenty of gas to go to dinner, and stop on the way back. For Nick that meant stopping at the nearest gas station.

So what about you? Do you see a half tank of gas as half full or half empty?
Emma really doesn't have anything to do with putting gas in the car or not, but she's in the car, so perfect opportunity to share a cute Emma picture.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Snow Pictures & A Catch-Up Post

I seem to be sticking to a pattern of posting about once a month, so here’s the latest catch-up post, and some pictures of Duke playing in the snow.

We had a major snow storm (along with pretty much the entire east coast) on January 22nd. Our total snow accumulation was just under a foot. We also had extremely low temperatures, and crazy high winds. Nick and Duke loved it. Emma and I didn’t venture off of the screened in porch. I actually ended up not going outside for five days straight. I really don’t like snow! So of course I’m hoping that’s it for us for snow this winter. Come on spring!

I’ve changed the comment settings on the blog to require approval for comments on anything that’s more than 14 days old. The spam on the older posts was just getting out of control. Have any of you run into that problem? Any suggestions for solving it?

If you haven’t seen the movie Inside Out yet, I highly recommend watching it. We rented it from Redbox a few weeks ago and both absolutely loved it. There was a lot more to it than either one of us were expecting, but it still leaves you with the nice happy feeling that you expect from a cartoon.

Emma is still holding her own. She has been eating fairly well over the weekend, and has been a little more active and playful. There are definitely some bad days, but for now the good days seem to outnumber the bad ones.

So what about you? Have you had any snow? How are things going for you?