Monday, November 30, 2015

Mystery Monday

Beside my Christmas tree, sitting in a rocking chair, is a light-up snowman. He's a happy, smiling snowman who changes colors every couple of seconds.
Although the snowman always minds his own business, never bothering anyone, I recently found the poor little fella like this:
Being an inanimate object (he's no Frosty), the snowman surely didn't force himself into a face-plant upon his rocking chair. That leads me, therefore, on a hunt for the culprit. My investigation thus far has led me to two primary suspects.

The first snowman-tipping suspect was caught on camera just minutes before the crime:
This first suspect goes by the name of Eddy. She is perhaps the prime suspect, not only due to her proximity to the snowman preceding the crime, but also because she has a known history of such crimes. A video of one of her previous, similar crimes has been released before and can be found again below.
Since no hard evidence can yet incriminate Eddy, though, further investigation was performed and led to a second suspect.
On the right-hand side of the above photograph, a black cat who goes by the name of Toby can be seen. Is this perhaps a shot of him escaping the scene of the crime? Why was he the only critter in sight upon discovery of the snowman's downfall? These are just some of the questions pointing to Toby as the potential culprit. Furthermore, a video has been uncovered of Toby not long after the unfortunate snowman was discovered. In the video, shown below, Toby displays a rather unnatural, perhaps incriminatory amount of interest in the crime scene.
So, who tipped poor Mr. Snowman? The jury's still out.
Is Eddy, the little repeat offender, at fault?
Or was it Toby, the lurker at the crime scene?
It looks as if the tipped snowman crime might be a cold case.

Happy Monday, everybuddy!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Christmas Caturday Art

It's feeling like Christmas at my house!
I was thoroughly unsurprised when a certain somebuddy immediately took up residence beneath the Christmas tree.
Evan must think I'm a terrible decorator, as he always finds ways to improve on my work, such as the layout of the tree skirt. Looks much better now, Evan!
Evan always lives and breathes the tree. He's like a cute little troll under his bridge, and I'm surprised he doesn't charge toll for those who approach his beloved faux fir.

Rewind to when I was decorating the tree, though, and that brings me to today's Caturday Art blog hop hosted by Athena and Marie. While sorting through my ornaments, I found one my grandmother gave me a couple years ago. It's a picture frame ornament with the saying, "cats leave paw prints on your heart". In the past, I had just kept in it the picture that it came with, as it displayed a cute gray tabby wearing a tie. This year, though, when I found the ornament, I immediately decided that it was meant for my sweet angel Rosie.

This will be my first Christmas in 22 years without my girl Rosie. I already knew that I wanted in some way to still include dear Rosie in my Christmas festivities, because I can hardly remember a Christmas when she wasn't with me. When I found this ornament, therefore, I decided this would be even just one small way in which to incorporate my angel in my Christmas.

Although I at first figured I would put a photograph of Rosie in the ornament, I then decided that I wanted to make it more personal. I decided to create a drawing of her, just for her. So I did, and it is now hanging in this ornament on my tree, as will every year hereafter.
Wishing everyone a blessed Christmas season!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Festive Friday

As a homebody and non-fan of shopping, I have never taken part in Black Friday. Instead, each year, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, I decorate for Christmas!
I always get lots of help (thanks, Evan!) decorating the tree and arranging gifts beneath it. This was Evan being my helper elf last year, and I'm sure he'll help me all the same this year.
As with everything in my life, my holidays revolve heavily around my furbabies. Of course, I'm probably just preaching to the choir on that one. (We love our furbabies!) That being said, while I love going all out on Christmas decorations, I do make sure to take into consideration my furbabies and their safety.

With the help of experience and at least a little lick of logic, I've developed more than a few rules of thumb in my house during Christmas. These are just some of them:
  • no tinsel on the Christmas tree (thanks for this tip all those years ago, my sweet angel Rosie!)
  • no candy canes or other food goodies on the Christmas tree (and thank you, angel pup Shellie, for this important rule!)
  • and no candy canes or other food goodies kept unattended anywhere in the house (again, thank you, Angel Shellie!)
  • all stringed lights and their cords and cables must be safely secured (this one's for you, Toby!)
  • no breakable ornaments on the lowest branches of the Christmas tree (courtesy of puppy dog tails and curious cat paws)
This year, just as with the past two years, will also be a Christmas learning experience. Two years ago, 2013, was Astrid and Evan's first Christmas, when I learned how the holiday decorations would fare with them. Last year was Thimble's (and her brothers') first Christmas, therefore another year of decorating trials and errors. This year, if I'm going to be completely honest, I really think I might be given a bit more of a run for more my money than the previous years. Why? Because it's my active Eddy's first Christmas!
Especially after the novelty wore off, Astrid, Evan, and Thimble (and her brothers) all did great with the Christmas tree and other decorations over the past two years. Of course, there were some mishaps here and there, and perhaps a couple of decoration casualties. But, all in all, I will admit that I've been pleasantly surprised the last couple of years with how little decoration damage there's been.

My hopes are that the same will go for Eddy and her first Christmas. Sure, she's untiringly active, and comically ornery, and just a tad bit sassy and stubborn. But, she's also this momma's sweet little lap kitty. And, believe it or not, she has quickly learned and often actually heeds various commands and even seems to know what I mean when I say "no" (even if she quite literally talks back sometimes).

What's more, Eddy seems to have matured quite a bit, even in just the past few weeks. She even lately sits still long enough for me to get the occasional - have you noticed? - non-blurry picture of her!
Well, sometimes.

Anyway. I recently decided to do a quick Christmas trial run with Eddy. I set out a couple of innocent Christmas decorations to see how she'd react and behave around them.
Not bad. She did some initial investigation, and then seemed content to watch over the teddy bears and stocking (which says, "Cats love Christmas too!") like a good little girl.

Then, Eddy decided to do an up close and personal meet-and-greet. So I decided to get some video, hoping to get evidence of some innocent Christmas kitty cheer.
Bah humbug. Perhaps I'll just have to resort to calling her Eddynezer Scrooge this holiday season.

Well, happy Friday, everybuddy! I hope yours is as festive as my furbabies' and mine!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

A wholehearted Happy Thanksgiving from my furry family to yours!

I hope your day is filled with family, friendship, fun, and feasting!

My furbabies and I are thankful for the kind friends we have in all of you reading this. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for being a part of our lives, and for letting us be a part of yours!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Photo Shoot Silliness

Although Sunday it is not, Thimble gave me some nice selfies to share with you. She started out with some side views.
"How about my right side? How's it look? Cute?"
"And the left side? Still cute?"
And then my little lady went for a silly shot. I honestly can't even begin to assign a name to this expression:
When that silliness was all said and done, I asked Thimble to say "cheese" one more time. All selfied out, though, Thimble decided she was done with the photo shoot and thought she could hide from me and the camera.
"If I can't see her, she can't see me. Right?"
Good try, Thimble! Gotcha anyway!

Thanks for visiting us today and every day! We hope everybuddy is having a wonderful week, and that our US friends are gearing up for their Thanksgiving festivities!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Doggie's Date with the Doctor: The Details

As promised, here's an update on this girl and her sore foot.
Astrid's date with the doctor today was an easy one. All in all, all is well. The vet she saw today has been practicing for many years, and he knew what he was looking at the second he saw her foot. He informed my sister and I that the sore on Astrid's foot is in fact a tumor, but it's a benign one. It's called a histiocytoma, a type of tumor that often heals on its own within 14-16 weeks. That sure seems like a long time, but we'll take it if that means a good-as-new paw for our Astrid.

The vet did indicate that histiocytomas can be removed. However, he also noted that removing such a tumor from a paw pad is not an easy task, nor is it recommended. Since a pup's paws get a lot of mileage and since they also do not hold sutures well, cutting into them and creating incisions are not recommended unless absolutely necessary. So, the vet and we decided to leave the tumor on Astrid's paw pad alone to take care of itself. Of course, if it worsens or does not go away, then we'll discuss surgery for removal, but we're all remaining optimistic that it will heal.

To avoid drawing her attention to the tumor and her messing with it, and to avoid it getting too moist, we will no longer be wrapping Astrid's paw (which will make her very happy!). Unfortunately, though, unless we can coerce Astrid to accept wearing booties on her feet, we will need to continue holding off on taking our active girl on many walks. That is the best way to allow the tumor to heal and disappear on its own.

So, with the mystery of the sore paw pad solved, now our primary task is keeping this active girl calm so that her little foot can heal.
Rest up, Astrid. You know, just for 14-16 weeks or so.
Wish us luck!

Doggie's Date with the Doctor

This poor gal has perfectly good reason to be a pouty puppy.
Astrid hasn't gotten to go for a walk in a few days, and she has an appointment with her vet this afternoon. And both for the same reason.

She has a sore on her paw pad that refuses to heal, the poor girl. It actually first made an appearance in October, back when my sister and I one day noticed that Astrid had a scab on one of the paw pads of her right hind leg. We didn't think much of it then, as Astrid is admittedly a bit of a klutz sometimes and has on more than one occasion given herself cuts and scrapes from run-ins with sticks, furniture, and other feisty objects she has the misfortune of crossing.
But, recently, the sore on Astrid's paw has had a significant flare-up. The worst of it really started last week, when it rained relentlessly and Astrid's paws got wet during her walks. The sore got pretty angry and began to bleed frequently, and at that point Astrid also began licking at it and thereby irritating it further, especially the more we cleaned it and drew attention to it.

So, late last week I called the vet and an appointment was scheduled for this afternoon. In the meantime, as we've been waiting for Astrid to be seen, when the sore really gets to acting up we keep it wrapped so as to protect it from further irritation. I really don't like to wrap it any more than I have to, though, as I fear the dressings will keep the sore too moist and aggravate potential infection. But, given the fact that Astrid is a stubborn little lady and does not like to leave the sore alone, and given the fact that Astrid merely walking aggravates it, it's been wrapped up quite a bit.
Self-adhering gauze and sports tape have been the only successful means of convincing Astrid, as well as the ground, to leave her sore paw pad alone.
I'm eager to get this poor girl's foot looked at by her vet today. What bothers me most is how quickly the sore evolved from a mere scab to an inflamed protrusion on the paw pad. I'm curious if the vet will want to do a fine needle aspirate, to determine if there are any abnormal cells present in the lesion.

Aside from the sore, though, Astrid is acting like her perfectly normal, enthusiastic self (well, unless you count her dramatic three-legged hopping when we put fresh dressings on her paw). We'll see what the vet says, and I'll post an update after her vet visit.

And, of course, have a great Monday, everybuddy!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Selfie with a Side of Snow

We got our first snowfall of the season this weekend, courtesy of Mother Nature. Cold though it may be, I've always enjoyed snow for its beauty. I think my girl Thimble is of the same mind, as she spent a good chunk of time watching the snow fall. And, what a purrfect time for a selfie!

To join in on this week's Sunday Selfie blog hop hosted by The Cat on My Head, Thimble went for a pensive look, pondering the Winter Wonderland outside the window:
Is anybuddy else getting an early Winter Wonderland? We hope everybuddy is staying warm and cozy this weekend!


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Itty Bitty Caturday Art

My art desk has been the scene of much experimentation lately. Most recently I've been dabbling in creating some miniature art pieces. None of the final pieces are completed yet, as I'm criminal at starting about a gazillion things before finishing a single one of them. But, I do have parts and pieces completed.

Of course, as usual, much of these new experimental arts and crafts of mine revolve around my furry critters. And, also as usual, I wanted the first of these new miniature art pieces I created to be for my sweet Angel Rosie. So, for this week's Caturday Art blog hop hosted by Athena and Marie, I thought I'd share my itty bitty drawing of my Rosie.
My sweet Rosie always has been and always will be one of my favorite subjects to draw. Here she is in small scale, alongside some pennies for size  comparison.
 Happy Caturday, everybuddy! Stay warm and cozy! (It's snowing here!)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fruity Fun Friday

My sister's cat Toby is, for lack of a better term, the resident class clown. When he's not being ridiculously laid-back, he's being one goofball of a cat. He is the source of much comic relief, and he puts on plenty of comedy skits for the rest of us in the house. Some of his favorite props during these skits are his favorite humans' clothing, sinks, olives, and, most recently, strawberries:
I hope you enjoyed Toby's fruity little skit! I know I did!

Have a pawesome Friday, everybuddy!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Selfies

My whole crew wanted to participate in this week's Sunday Selfie blog hop hosted by The Cat on My Head. As usual, each of my furbabies went for their own style...
Resident canine Astrid wanted a sentry selfie. After all, she's always so bravely keeping watch over the house from that beloved window of hers.
My boy Evan decided to go for a pensive selfie. So here he is, gazing of into the ceiling distance.
My little lady Thimble's selfie is a bit blurry, but she was just so excited! She was going for a belly rub selfie, and she just couldn't contain herself.
Look! Eddy sat still! And not just that - she wanted a selfie to show just how purrfect special kitties like her are. So here she is showing off her right side facial nerve paralysis like a champ!
 I hope everybuddy is having a purrfect weekend! Happy Sunday!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Feeding Time Frenzy

At my house, feeding time is a very serious matter. It must never be late, as there is a strict foodie schedule implemented by the furbabies.

Can anybuddy guess which of my furbabies is most likely to make sure I don't forget feeding time? I'll give you a hint - it's the ridiculously adorable star of this little video:
Whew! Thanks for the reminders, Thimble! I'm sure I would have forgotten all about feeding time without your help.
Feeding time. Mission accomplished.
Happy Saturday, everybuddy!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Adventures with Astrid

I am admittedly a homebody, most often preferring to stay in with my furbabies than to go out and about. However, sometimes I do like to get out in the world and do a bit of adventuring. This weekend was one of those times, when my parents, my sister, and I decided to make a fun daylong road trip (which, I apologize, will now lead me to a rather lengthy post).

I don't believe I've divulged this before, but I'm a born, raised, and still loyal Midwesterner. That being said, for my whole life I've lived just a couple hours from Shawnee National Forest, yet I had never before been there. But, now I have! And so has Astrid, since, rather than board her or get a pet-sitter for the day, we took Astrid with us on our little road trip. (Honestly, I don't think my dad, Astrid's pawpaw, would have let my sister and me leave her behind.) And so, I think you'll be learning a lot more about Astrid in this post.
I have this intense urge to caption this picture, "Astrid for President."
So, Astrid is a great, sweet dog, and she is a great traveler, as she absolutely loves car rides. She is also a very smart girl, if I do say so myself, and knows lots of commands and plenty of other words (peanut butter, Pawpaw and Gammy, walk, kitty, treat and/or yummy, and Do you want to go for a ride? being just some of her favorites). And she loves to cuddle, and she is just certain that she's a (60 lb) lap dog. Astrid is also a very quiet dog, vocally speaking, and rarely makes a peep, which makes it very easy to take her out in public, to hotels, etc.

All of that said, since the day my sister and I rescued Astrid, she has also always been something along the lines of a Nervous Nellie. This is primarily the case around other dogs and strangers. Even with regular walks and training and socialization exercises, Astrid just highly prefers to not mingle with her own canine kind. And, although she can easily be around people and actually seems to enjoy people-watching, she will scurry to hide behind the legs of her trusted humans if a stranger dares reach out a hand to pet her otherwise perpetually smiling face. And of course there's the fact that, on top of her dog and stranger anxieties, Astrid has a larger-than-life, thoroughly energetic personality.

I say all of that long-winded stuff about my girl Astrid because, for the reasons stated above, I was a bit hesitant to take Astrid with us on our excursion this weekend. I knew that some of our activities would involve walking along potentially crowded trails, with lots of strangers and perhaps even those said strangers' own dogs. But, I forced myself to realize that Astrid could benefit from such an experience, and that this little trip could serve as a training exercise.

So, now that I've bored you to tears with those ramblings, on to the trip...

After leaving plenty of food, water, litter, and cuddles for the feline furbabies at home, we left for our day trip at 6 am on Saturday. It didn't take long before we needed a pit stop, though, and we found a nice little rest stop (with surprisingly sparkling clean bathrooms!), which had some nice little scenery of its own.
Astrid decided not to take advantage of this rest stop, since roughly a dozen semi trucks were loudly running or driving all throughout the parking lot. Needless to say, she got out, looked around, and happily got right back into the car for a rest.
Back on the road, we made a quick detour to a town called Benton, which I learned was the first place in the US one of the famous Beatles (George Harrison, to be exact) made an extended stay.
 Then we took another quick detour at a lovely place off the road...
 ...with a wonderful view of Rend Lake.
 Astrid thought it was pretty, too.
I asked Astrid to turn around and smile.
Alrighty then.
And, of course, we made yet another quick detour. This time, though, it was to Metropolis, home of Superman!
I won't even lie, I found this statue a tad bit creepy. Cool to see, but creepy.
 This town of Metropolis takes its name very seriously.
I'm not sure Astrid trusted this Superman dude. She certainly wasn't about to let any of her humans out of sight with him around.
We finally made it out of Metropolis after stopping for a quick lunch, and then stumbled upon the Ohio River.
Perhaps I'm just easy to impress, but that barge was huge!
Then, many miles and hours later, we finally arrived at Shawnee National Forest and decided on traversing its famous Garden of the Gods. We were, of course, met with fair warning.
To get to those high cliffs there was first some walking, and a few tight fits.
 Then we started to find some hints of those high cliffs.
At this point, my mom (Astrid's beloved gammy) decided she would sit on a trail bench with Astrid while my dad, my sister, and I took to climbing some rocks. My mom wasn't too keen on doing any rock climbing, so both she and Astrid were content to leave that to us.

First, though, how was Astrid doing at this point? She was doing pretty well.
Still smiling, but no tail curled over Astrid's back in this picture, as a large group of nearby kids was in need of her keen attention.
Of course, being somewhere new, Astrid started out very, very excited and had to be frequently reminded of her "don't pull" walking rule. There were just so many new things to see and people to watch (and even a dog or two!), and she just was bubbling over with excitement. Of course, even during all of my "don't pull", "stop", and "wait" commands, people just couldn't stop oohing and awwing over Astrid. I've quickly learned with Astrid that people really just love seeing a happy, smiling dog, no matter how boundlessly full of life she is.

So, a bit calmer after the initial walk up to the cliffs, Astrid stopped and waited with her gammy. Of course, I didn't forget to leave Gammy with Astrid's #1 training tool - peanut butter!
Astrid eating her #1 training tool, peanut butter, while wearing her #2 training tool, her ThunderShirt. (It may be called a ThunderShirt, but Astrid is not in the least bit afraid of storms. My sister and I got her this shirt primarily for training against pulling and overexcitement on walks.)
So, with Astrid safely in the hands of her gammy and her peanut butter, my dad, my sister, and I went to rock climbing. There certainly are some amazing, breathtaking views from on top of the world.
 All climbed out, we made our way back down to earth and checked in on Astrid and Gammy.
Mmmmmm. Gammy sure is generous with that peanut butter!
At this point, my dad was thirsty from all that climbing but had forgotten his beloved iced sweet tea (I swear he has tea running through his veins) in the car. So he and my mom started on the path back to the car, and they decided they wanted to take their grand-doggie with them, to get her some fresh cold water as well.
There's that curly tail!
With Astrid happily taking a stroll with two of her favorite people, I took a few minutes to do a bit more exploring.
 But then it was time to head back.
There's the road we came in on down there in the bottom of the picture. Whew!
Soon enough, we were all tucked in the car and back on the road. And Astrid slept all the way home.
Did anybuddy else do any adventuring this weekend?

Happy Monday!