Monday, December 21, 2009

"Maverick's FIRST Snowstorm"

We had an unusually early BIG snow storm December 19-20, 2009. It was called a blizzard (blizzard has nothing to directly to do with snow amounts) and historical because of the amount of snow, it was a Nor'easter!

Nor'easters are coastal storms and always bring with them a lot of moisture and high winds that are damaging to the beaches with erosion. The winds swirl counterclockwise towards the coast here on the East coast hence why they are damaging. When they come during winter temperatures, the 1-2 inches of water turn into a TON of snow! Depending on temperature and other factors 1 inch of water = 10" of snow, approximately.

From Virginia up to the NY area amounts of 20+ inches. We are familiar with getting over a foot of snow but usually in Jan-April, if at all. Luckily, this was a light weight snow, easy to shovel but easily blown around and why there is very little left on the roofs and drifts abound everywhere! During the storm, I had to open the front storm door a few times, clearing a inch or more of snow, to ensure I would not get snowed in. Right before bed, I cleared the porch area about 1 am, and when I looked out about 7 or 8 am, it was replaced though there was an additional 4 inches on top of the untouched porch. We would have been OK but can't hurt to be careful.

This snow is even too deep for Madison who does not seem to love the snow as much as big sis Layne did when she was alive. Madison likes it but does not give me that, "Thanks mom" look and run with abandon into it, at least when it is > 1.5 feet. She made a few of her own paths through it but close to the house. Today I tossed the ball for her and for fetch, she'd go to the ends of the earth. I am sure she has been waiting for fetch to commence, as usual.

This is Maverick's first snow storm. He is an indoor cat but is always at the door when I or Madison are outside. So I put on his harness and leash and brought him onto the front porch to check it out. Don't think he knew what to make of the cold whiteness under him, then Madison came poking her head through the front door, so we all went into the back yard. The sun was just trying to break through the clouds & it was very windy so I only kept him outside maximum 5 minutes total. He was very glad to get back inside, we all were.

Today mid-migraine I went out to clear ice off of Madison's steps and the sun felt so no nice and no wind to speak of (the front is VERY windy!). I tossed the ball for Madison a bit and decided to bring Maverick back out for a little fresh air as well. He explored a little bit and even though I felt toasty in the sun, he was cold so I brought him in. Again, he was only out for about 5 minutes, he is a 5 month old kitten after all.

Not sure if Maverick will think twice before going to either the front or back doors again, but we will see. I do plan on bringing him out with us in the Spring and Summer when Madison and I spend most of our time out in the backyard. He will be on a leash/tether so he can't hop or climb under the fence and get into trouble. I am sure once he finds some nice sun puddles outdoors, he will be wanting to spend a lot of time outside like we do.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Madison's Mystery Adventure"

As most of you know, I had to take Madison to the 24 hour Veterinary ER Saturday night. She is doing well now. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.

Madison why lying down by me before 10 pm, and I noticed some clear fluid on her lower belly area, when I wiped it off with a tissue, there was some blood. Madison & Maverick had been playing earlier so I wasn't alarmed, figured the cat might have scratched her though they usually play face to face and he has never scratched any of us, just swats at her from time to time. I went to get cotton balls and the cleaning solution the vet gave me for her abrasions on her chest, and then I saw it: a 1-1/4 inch gash on the inner part of her back right leg, I guess we can call it the pelvic area. Odd that such a big cut would not be bleeding but I knew it needed stitches, so a couple of phone calls later and off to the 24 hour vet we went.

Madison doesn't hate the vet, she loves seeing all the people and animals, but late at night, only the staff was there, two black and white tuxedo-like cats, and a female Rottweiler, a big pup also; all these animals are the staff's.

(Madison weighed in at 78.5 pounds, she has lost a few from running around chasing Maverick and she and me playing more with the nice weather.)

Madison really liked the lady vet and lady vet technician, gave kisses to both of them, she wasn't too sure about the guy who weighed her but he didn't flirt with her and solicit kisses like the girls did (he doesn't know what he is missing, maybe he's a cat person). Local anesthesia and antibiotic injections, stitches, and the "Elizabethan" collar, maybe 20 minutes later, I heard her toenails tapping on the tile floor towards me and through the door, it was over.

The vet called it a "stab" wound and said, well she's a Lab, as far as Madison getting into things (ain't THAT the truth!). Since we live in a quiet neighborhood and there were not barkfests that evening, she must have stabbed herself. The following morning she and I walked around the yard to see if we could figure out what caused the injury but found no evidence. I did come up with a few possibilities, (1) maybe she slipped on the puppy ramp, no evidence: no blood, no noise, and it had not moved; (2) a stick under the picnic table, Madison likes to run and dive under it, its her open air dog house, again no evidence: wound was clean, no debris around or inside it, leaves look like she has not been under the table lately.

There is a possible third choice, something around the shed, but there is a lot of overgrowth of weeds so I could not check behind there but again, when she runs through there I can her her bang against the shed, so no evidence for that so far.

So this may remain "Madison's Mystery Adventure" to all except for her. I am sure she had to feel something, right?

Anyway, she is healing well, taking her meds and dealing with the collar. She has found some pluses: only she can eat or drink out of her dish, Maverick can not sneak in, I can't lock her in the crate when I leave or overnight so she gets to sleep around the house, extra head scratches especially since she can't scratch for herself, Maverick has been giving her lots of nose kisses, if I toss her a treat if she misses the collar catches it, placing collar on mom's sneakers keeps it at good sleeping level. Minuses: she keeps hitting collar against walls, stairs. I tried to bring her up to my room to sleep but going up a flight of stairs even with me trying to hold up her collar doesn't give her the confidence she needs to believe she can go up the stairs.

We are hoping and praying for her speedy recovery and for health and safety for all of us from now on

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"I'm The Momma!"

I think Madison thinks she is Maverick's momma. Madison likes to stroke Maverick, Maverick likes to lick Madison. Have to keep watch because Madison forgets how big she is but things are going very well... except Maverick has an eye and upper respiratory infection, but it is clearing up fast.

As Madison and Maverick say, "Happy Snuggle Sunday!".

Friday, October 23, 2009

“There is no Such Thing as a Free Lunch”

Day 4: Madison & Maverick getting along real well, pretty amazing! I am sure working from home these days allowing me to spend time with both of them has expedited the process. The are sniffing each other, tapping noses, rubbing cheeks, and chasing, all in small increments, without hissing and barking: Amazing!

Came back from Stop-n-Shop (food/supermarket). Finally remembered to cash in $5.75 worth of soda cans and to use my free Freschetta pizza coupon (Note to Self: soda cans sitting in the trunk of the car can get stinky! Make sure a) rinsed better, and b) don’t leave them too long). So I bring in and put away all my booty and decide to heat up my free pizza: 4 Cheese Self-Rising crust, yum! Got myself a Cherry Coke Zero (not bad!) and went into my usual eating place, the TV room/Den; its small but the most used room in the house and where Maverick’s bedroom is first established.

Maverick wants to drink my soda and taste my pizza, Madison is trying to get her tail to hit my plate… Calgon take me away! So I get up, close the door with both of them inside, and retreat to the peace and tranquility of the kitchen to eat my meal.

There is no such thing as a free lunch… not anymore… for now.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


We had multiple instances of Maverick and Madison with their noses within inches of each other, now they finally touched noses! Seems as long as my face is between them, no or little hissing and barking. Now both are pooped out on either side of me. A big day for them indeed!

Maverick seems to like my Molson Ice, no he licked the top of the bottle, he's a 3 month old kitten, no booze! Maverick also very interested in my chocolate cake. Well, now I can see why he & I bonded!

Madison seems to be stressing some. Every time they get nose to nose, she starts to pace and then chew feverishly on her bone.

All in all a full, rich, fine day! We all will sleep well tonight!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"He Has A Name!"

Hi everyone, Madison here!

I barked at new kitty again, he wasn't even hissing at me. I just get so possessive of my bone... I was on one side of the exercise machine, he on the other, coming close to take a peek at me and I let him have it: WOOF WOOOF WOOOOOOF! He ran behind the reclining chair; his cozy spot.

Mom took the gate and put it in the doorway so I am in the hallway, mom on the couch working, and kitty came out into the open, but staying on his side of barricade just in case. I keep whining here and there while chewing on my rawhide, he's been sleeping.

And I know, what you all have been waiting for, his name: Maverick the Tiger, well Maverick for short. Guess we both got to name him!

hugs & cuddles, Madison xoxo xo

PS: mom going to buy disposable camera so it maybe a little while until we get pictures unless she can borrow camera from one of my Aunts. We will post pictures as soon as we get them, of course. The vet calls him a "black & white" tabby, we just love him, see I said it mom!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"First Meeting"

Finally forced Madison to pay attention to new kitty.

Madison was gnawing on her rawhide, tail wagging, and the wagging tail caught new kitty's eye. Got Madison to sit nicely, picked up kitty, and he thought I was going to feed him to Madison; they were about 5 feet apart, kitty in my arms. They looked at each other for about 5-10 seconds then kitty hissed, Madison barked, and kitty ran off behind the chair.

All in all a good first meeting, I think. No permanent scars on me.

Otherwise, new kitty doing very well. He is very comfortable roaming around the TV room when I am the only one with him, of course. Even ran out into the bathroom when I opened the door; Madison was outside at the time.

I bought a couple of scratching mats that you can hang from door knobs so I can have a few, a carpeted bed type thing, brush, harness, and leash.

Camera not working, very ticked at that. I may have to go back to film so I can get a few shots of him. Still need to select a name. Madison still likes Tigger.

"New Kitty Details!" by Madison

New Kitty is about 12 weeks old, he is a neutered male gray tabby; he has black tiger stripes, mom says he’s a tiger kitty! Mom met him this past Sunday (October 18, 2009) and we are bringing him home today (October 20, 2009). The shelter calls him “Pokey” but we are going to give him a new name. Since mom & I have “M” names she would love to find an “M” name for him as well, but not a requirement.

When mom met new kitty, definitely will be one of his nicknames like my “little girl”, he was in a room with 6 or 7 other kitties, 2 others look exactly like him, but one was already adopted, the other a girl kitty, mom wanted a boy. As soon as mom walked into his kitty room, all the kitties came to her. Mom hugged & snuggled with all the kitties; it was Snuggle Sunday after all! New kitty snuggled, nuzzled, licked her, and nibbled her thumb.

The shelter wants to find forever homes, of course, so they check references. She had to promise not to de-claw, we are not into that and promise it would be an indoor kitty. She was honest and told them since me and mom spend nice days out in the yard, she was thinking of getting a harness and line so new kitty could join them, just like she did at grandma’s when she was a little girl and Aunt K does with her new kitty El Gato. The got “approval” from the foster family, they thought mom meant she would take a 12-week-old kitten out in the dreary, damp, rainy weather we had Sunday. Mom told them she was talking about next Spring and Summer when the kitty is older, like duh!!!

They ask for two personal references, at least one not a family member, a vet reference, and for you to specify who would take care of the pet if you pass before the pet does. Mom got the call at work yesterday that she had impeccable references so we were approved; we knew we would be!

So I think those are all the details for now.

15:40 EST New Kitty Update: new kitty is home & currently exploring the closet, he's not taking any pictures yet which is OK since the camera is not working.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Kicking the Habit"

The effects of high carbs... I had suspected that high carb meals wore me out, i.e., made me fatigued, and this week, I have proven it to myself.

With the temperatures cooling down and it being the weekend, I started to get back into having my oatmeal for breakfast. For my history with oatmeal, when I was a teen, I used to use an instant, flavored oatmeal, and add a couple of teaspoons of sugar. When I started the "Meryl Diet" first time around, I tried it without the additional sugar and found it to be too sweet! I wanted the advantages of oatmeal (fiber, filling, not a white flour product) so I went back to basics and used what I liked about the instant. I cooked the quick raw oats with water and added as flavorings my favorite, cut Macintosh apples and cinnamon, and honey for the sweetener and it was delicious! You can cater this to your tastes, of course to emulate your favorite oatmeal flavors. I used maple syrup one time, a low sugar version, and it was very good, but apples and cinnamon is definitely my favorite! I tried Splenda and missed the honey taste, so I stick with honey for oatmeal.

For lunch I have been sticking to variations of hard boiled eggs, chicken, turkey, fruit, and vegetables. Dinner pretty much the same thing. I did make tacos over the weekend which were rather good as well. For all these meals, I did not feel fatigued, or more fatigued after the meal than before.

The proof to me that the high carbs, or maybe it is not enough protein, veggies, and fruit to compete with the high simple carbs, was lunch today. After a walk with Madison, I had a sandwich: a couple of thin slices of cheese on whole wheat bread. About 15 minutes or so later, I was so tired, and it was definitely not from our 20 minute walk. It had to be the sandwich. Not the best solution, but I had four small pieces of Dove Dark Chocolate to wake me up, and sat on the couch with some diet root beer. The sugar and the rest helped get my brain going again...

First time I did the "Meryl Diet" I cut out all bread and pasta, not an easy thing to do since both taste so good and are inexpensive, but I did it, and I need to do it again. Nothing like proving things to yourself with experiences.

I hope to be able to keep up with this blog more regular than the time between this and the prior post. I have two PT jobs now plus trying to clear out the house from clutter and junk has consumed me, not to mention keeping myself on track with eating better, and trying to get in more exercise. I did lose 3 pounds!!! More on the way!

Take care, love and peace!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Sugar Cravings!"

Sugar is a hard habit to break. I should know, I have done it before and succeeded. It takes time...

Today I tried something new, Greek yogurt ( I added fresh raspberries to it like I did with my former low fat/Splenda yogurt and I still yearned for more sugar. I was at work, so I only had access to my Splenda so I added a packet and that helped me out. The amazing thing with this yogurt? The skim milk did not affect my stomach! Not sure why but I am happy about that. I have to do some more research into this brand of yogurt to see if I can figure it out. This yogurt looks to have more cultures in it, and less sugar than the yogurt I used to buy. Got it in Stop n Shop; I think it was on sale? They have about 5 flavors but I prefer to add my own fruit so I am sticking with that!

(Note: Chobani claims to be gluten free and I know of at least one celiac who loves it!)

I have to get some natural sweeteners. I used honey for my oatmeal and in the past Stevia (an acquired taste) in my tea, so another thing to add to my list of things to change.

The "Lose It" application working well tracking my intake. Weighed myself today and lost a pound!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

“Shifting into Gear”

Trying to get myself in gear to eat better. Fell off the wagon today, but that is not what I want to talk about. I am taking a look at my eating habits, the items I have in the house, and my goals.

I found a great FREE iPhone/iPod touch application called “Lose It” where you can track your exercise and food (allows you to set up a password so no one can look at your data :-). I plan on using this tool to track my weight, exercise, and nutrition. BAD numbers for today!

The basic premise of a diet is to have more calories burned than you take in, a task easier said than done, especially when you need to break bad eating habits. I have been trying to observe my habits so I can list them out and work on being healthier.

Exercise: I seriously lack in this department. My second job at the hospital will have me moving around more on workdays, but I need to increase my exercise. I like to walk with my dog or on my own. I also have a bicycle that I need to at put air into the tires. I also have an elliptical machine that needs the handles attached then I can use that. OK, added these things to my “To Do” list.

How I Eat: I tend to eat real fast when I am home. I also tend to eat my meals in front of the TV and/or computer. I need to change this. When I eat slower, I feel full sooner, and eat less. I think when I do not give myself the chance to fully taste and enjoy my food I eat more.

Time/When I Eat: I need to eat dinner not so late at night. I tend to “forget” to eat then realize its 10 PM and I have not had dinner yet. For me, this opens me up for migraines, and to eat something quick and full of sugar, fat, and empty calories.

Food in House: this I have already started to work on. I am trying to stock the house with healthy food: fruits, veggies, whole grains, roasted nuts, etc., and get rid of the crap.

Lunch at Work: I need to put together my lunch for workdays the night before. I always want to sleep until the last minute and end up without enough time to put a lunch together. I should keep hard-boiled eggs on hand.

Breakfast: I always eat before I go to work. I need to keep this up.

Beverages: I do drink a lot of filtered water. I have already converted myself from drinking Coke to diet root beer to cut down on the calories and the caffeine. The next step will be to decrease the soda intake to occasionally then rarely. I don’t really drink alcohol much, though I love a glass of wine for occasions. I also love a Molson Ice watching a NFL game most weeks, so that will be a treat I will keep, but limit myself to one, and try not to do it every week.

Caffeine: the caffeine I get is from Coke and chocolate. Already broke the Coke habit, once I get things truly rolling, the chocolate will wane as well.

Snacks: healthier snacks! Including protein as part of a snack usually helps me to feel fuller.

Sure there are more habits I need to modify or break, but this is a good start.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"My Life Begins Today"

Recently started a new chapter in life, finding I had to re-read an old chapter. What is that phrase those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it?

My new chapter is a new career having "converted" from the computer programming field to the medical field; diagnostic imaging. Just finished up four years of school, and feel like I am starting a new life.

How come the old problems with food have to resurface? I know stress, lack of exercise, and eating a lot of the wrong things and in excess. I have allergies and migraines which have gotten worse due to all of the above not to mention the weight gain. Time to restart the "Meryl diet".

With the hot, hot August weather, eating better started to happen with more fruit intake. Reading another persons blog about how she wanted to cut sugar out of her life for seven days reminded me of what I needed to do and the benefits from doing so. May add in song lyrics and Madison my yellow Labrador Retriever as well. I hope you enjoy it!

So this blog is going to mostly be about getting back to eating better, the ups and downs, and what I have learned. I hope in writing this besides helping myself, I will be able to help others.

Fly By Night - RUSH:
"Start a new chapter
I find what I'm after
It's changing every day
The change of a season
Is enough of a reason
To want to get away
Quiet and pensive
My thoughts apprehensive
The hours drift away
Leaving my homeland
Playing a lone hand
My life begins today..."