Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of Newt’s American fans, Happy Thanksgiving!

On this national day set aside to demonstrate gratitude, Cat Daddy is in his element.  The man loves to cook.

Hey, if it makes him happy to do all that work, who am I to argue? 

It has been our annual custom to begin our celebratory meal with a list of things for which we are thankful. Having an awesome husband who loves to cook is always on my gratitude list LOL.

As you can imagine, Newt’s continued stability and good health was once again at the top of the list for both Cat Daddy and me. Additional thanks were made for Newt’s many friends and fans around the world, whose support, empathy and encouragement have come to mean so much to us – in particular, our growing community of shunt cat parents, who continue to be a source of information, love and Hope for us.

Newt has been enjoying his Thanksgiving feast throughout the day. Due to his dietary restrictions from his liver shunt, he is not allowed to gorge and stuff himself silly (at least not when we can catch him!) Therefore, his menu for has been designed as a four-course meal, served in shifts.

Newt has partaken today from an assortment of items selected and prepared especially for his pudgy Pookie palate, including: cheese and broccoli casserole, baked ham, carrots, cucumber salad, freshly roasted chicken, roast pork and warm buttered croissant. Dessert will be a bit of Danish apple yogurt artfully adorned with a splash of cream.


And if you tell anybody that Cat Daddy cooked for the cat, he will lose all of his man points. 

So let’s keep this between us, shall we?

The Great Procraftinator

So, since Newt has made so many wonderful friends around the globe, I wanted to make some of them a small token of his appreciation (like a key fob, or such), and to mark another year of Hope for our liver shunt cats.

Never mind the fact that I am:

  • In the middle of a humongous work project (36 MB and counting);
  • Just double-booked myself with a second, time-sensitive contract;
  • Wanting to sew five pet beds, a pair of pajama bottoms, a superman cape for a cat, and a slip cover for The Dog’s chair;
  • Needing to crochet and wash a swatch before crocheting two towel toppers;
  • Wanting to knit two stuffed animals;
  • Wanting to make 10 sets of stitch markers, and,
  • Trying desperately to clear out and donate much of my craft inventory,

I have become obsessed with making my own free, Shrinky Dinks from recycled #6 plastic containers! Perfect way to re-use all those empty containers from the salad bar where we have splurged and gotten Newt’s bits of fresh broccoli and mini veggie assortments.

Was I satisfied with my quick experiment with a pen, doodles on a piece of plastic, and three minutes with the stove last night? Could I simply be free, and indulge in a burst of spur-of-the-moment creativity? 

All together now, say it with me, “Noooooooooooooooooooooo!“

Once again, we had the ongoing Battle of the Brains – Right vs. Left. A life-long 50/50 split down the middle, where my logical and analytic side fights for dominance with the random and intuitive side.

I had to:

  • Spend hours looking at various sites for techniques while making detailed notes on the process;
  • Spend more time oohing and ahhing over images of finished projects, seeing that others had accomplished what I was envisioning;
  • Bemoan all of Newt’s salad bar containers that we’ve recycled the last two years;
  • Run a mathematical computation (approximate number of containers per week x average number of weeks; variable z includes container size) to estimate how many trinkets I could have made with those recycled bits;
  • Re-organize my Sharpie inventory (by tip size, and colour, of course!);
  • Draw images on several canvas bags and bits of cardboard for design inspiration;
  • Colour those images and determine approximate final size of completed objects, factoring in approximate shrink percentages (variable includes oven temperature);
  • Retrieve my coloured pencils from the “to donate” box, and re-sharpen all of them to lovely crisp points:
  • Doodle designs on card blanks with the lovely, freshly-sharpened, coloured pencils;
  • Find out that Shrink Film is available so you can actually print things from your computer!
  • Generate a spreadsheet comparing prices and online sources on various types of printable film (variable includes shipping costs);
  • Decide that I really should see if I can find a small toaster oven at the thrift store so I can heat them up outside, so the fumes won’t adversely affect Newt;
  • Realize that I can probably use my gift basket heat gun to shrink them outside;
  • Spend even more time comparing different die-cutting options, because it would be soooo much faster and tidier to cut them with a machine instead of by hand (again with the spreadsheets!);
  • Retrieve my hole punches from the “to donate” box;
  • Use the punches on the previously doodles cards to make them even more artistic;
  • Coordinate ribbons for finishing touches on the cards;
  • Visually inspect ribbon rolls for potential use as hangers on the as-yet, still un-started tokens;
  • Re-organize ribbon inventory (by ascending widths – colour coded, of course);
  • Realize that the old CD rack will make an excellent free-standing ribbon spool holder;
  • Roughly compute the quantity of ribbon against the available surface area of the rack to determine size adequacy;
  • Fight the overwhelming urge to immediately hack that rack so the ribbon can be taken out of bins and be more readily available to use on the tokens (plus it will look sooooo pretty!);
  • Realize that the method of dissecting the plastic is still undetermined, so, check out various types of larger hole punches to achieve the same results as a die cutting system, only cheaper (again, again with the spreadsheets!); and then,
  • Check Black Friday ads for any of the machine systems, punches and Shrink Films to be on sale (detailed list, of course, showing cost, any additional coupons, item location, sale times, and, travel time between locations).

::sigh:: I’m already exhausted and I haven’t even started ! LOL

 I really better get back to WORK so I can afford all the tools I wanna buy for my “free” Shrinky Dinks!

Fish Filching Fiend

Little brat broke into the “food safe” and ate eight times his normal amount of fish last nite! He’s okay so far this morning, but monitoring closely.

We had prepared cod for his upcoming meals – at least 1/2 cup of it. Some for yesterday’s snacks, and the rest to freeze for later. We placed it in the “food safe,” also known as a bigass, glass cake dome, which has worked very at preventing Pookie’s pilfering.

Until last night.

Totally my fault.  Was motivated and productive yesterday, clearing out excess crafting supplies to donate. (An aside – do any of you know any animal rescue groups, or struggling owners who may want supplies to make things to raise money for their pet’s care? Please let me know! I really prefer to have my stuff go to help liver shunt kitties, or rescued animals, if at all possible.)

In my rush, I may have not gotten the cake dome flush against the stove, and possibly a small sliver of entrée was left – just enough for a mangy tabby’s little lizard toes to slide underneath, crack open the safe, and gorge on the contents like a deranged and starving piranha.

I left for the dog park to sneak in some knitting at 9:55 pm. When Cat Daddy got home at 10:07pm, the dome was slid across the stove, and fish flakes were scattered across the stove, the counters, the floor, the Newtster …

Yes, I smelled his breath!

Not surprising, as that boy inhales his food, and can clean out a full bowl of food in seconds.  Ten minutes would be a veritable eternity for him to burp, slurp and gorge himself silly on whatever he happened to find.  We’ve already had to put safety locks on the cabinet to keep him from breaking into where The Dog’s kibble is kept, and move any appealing items in the fridge up on the top shelves (and yes, we have caught him clinging like a limpet as he climbs the shelves to get to the good stuff!)  So, a valuable lesson – Schnookie is a safecracker!

His usual protein per meal is approximately one (1) US Tablespoon. We’re estimating he ate at least eight (8) tablespoons. Immediate direct dose of Lactulose, followed by another dose three hours later. Needless to say, he did NOT get his midnight snack last night.

Yes, I confess, I punished my Pookie by sending him to bed without any supper!

Monitored closely through the night for any signs of trouble. He was fine, but I wasn’t LOL.

So far, he’s okay today. I, on the other hand, am a bit groggy and nervous, but hopeful that today will be normal for him.

Scaling Mount Refrigerator

Mount RefrigeratorMost of our cat liver shunt friends have commented on their kitty’s appetite extremes.  They seem to roughly fall into two categories – the Ravenous Rogues, or the Finicky Fussbudgets. Guess which our Pudgy Pookie is?

While diagnosed as a kitten with probable brain damage, (later rescinded as his HE symptoms got under control), Newt had no problems with food finding. Once he located a food source, he would return again and again to see if he could snag more snacks.

As we began implementing Newt-rition 101 and began cooking fresh meals for him, he soon discovered that the Source of All Good Things was Mount Refrigerator.  We learnt very early on to ALWAYS do a fridge check!!!  Especially when he was a wee kitten, it was too easy for him to hide behind his veggies.  Now, it’s a bit harder to miss the ten-pound tabby swinging from the vegetable crisper.

Some cats come when the can opener beckons.  Newt comes thundering into the kitchen when the fridge door is opened. Not only does he peer into the fridge, lately he’s begun climbing it!

Note his little lizard toes clinging tightly to the bottom shelf as he
scales the precarious cliff wall to reach the summit, containing the forbidden
fruit of Other Cat’s Food!

Pizza Pilfering Pookie

Little brat jumped on the stove and licked the pizza where I’d left it cooling.  Fortunately heard the odd sounds in time to intervene before he managed to eat the whole thing.

I’m pretending not to know that he LICKED MY PIZZA!

Cat Daddy gently corrected me – “It’s Newt’s pizza now …”

So scoundrely Schnookums is resting after his pizza-licking dessert, nestled in my arm and making satisfied little Newt grunts while I nibble on his lizard toes.

I lub him.

Happy Howl-o-Ween Rant?

Hope that those of you who celebrate Halloween had a wonderful time.  Me, not so much.

Oh, Newt was fine!  His costume was that of a healthy, happy, slightly poochy-bellied, adorable cat with mesmerizing and exotic copper-coloured eyes.

Me? thanks to my cycle coming for the second time in less than a week, obviously I was costumed as an angry, menopausal woman. Spent the day whining and moaning under my heating pad, bemoaning my ill-fated womanhood, and cussing about hormones and the apparent diminishing lack thereof. Raiding the cupboards for scraps of chocolate and potato chips, and seriously considered ripping the stuffing out of one of Newt’s toys so I could have some catnip tea.

Don’t get me started on my epic Halloween rants!  Years of stories, I gots ’em – similar to several I’ve heard from others.  The “Hey” people, the fully-grown and bearded men, the non-costumed, pillowcase people, the “I don’t like that kind of candy,” and “I WANT more candy” brats, the “after 10PM beating down the door with ALL the lights in the house OFF” idiots, and on and on.  Add to that, a neurotic, hyper-vigilant watchdog who barks.  And barks.  And BARKS – non-stop.  

Almost all of our neighbors have also stopped participating, due to the ongoing trick or treater frustrations we’ve had in our neighborhood over the years.  I think there were only two lights on in the whole street last night. 

Strangest part of the evening was the 5PM doorbell ring.  Too early for trick or treat, I thought.  I ignored it.  Then, pounding on the door.  WTF?!?  I forgot my self-imposed rule to NOT answer the doorbell for any reason, stomped down the stairs, tripped over the barking dog, angrily threw open the door, and yelled “WHAT?!?!”

It was as if Obi Wan Kenobi had waved his hands, saying “These are not the trick or treaters you were looking for.”

Not the trick or treating toddlers one might expect, but … wandering evangelists?!?  At the very start of the witching hour?

Conservatively dressed and polite young women. Both were wearing some sort of Jesus church name tags, but, I could swear that one of them was wearing a small *tiara*.  

I blinked.  

I blinked again.

These were not the normal prosthelytizing visitors we usually get. Oh, yes, the earnest, “Jesus loves you” opening salvo, followed quickly by something about being saved (sorry, all I could think of at that moment was that I wished I had saved more chocolate in my emergency stash), and when I mumbled a “no thanks, I’m busy,” more earnest insistence that Jesus REALLY loves me.

“Uhm, yeah, right … sorry, I’m busy.”  (Busy being an angry menopausal woman!)

Didn’t have the heart (or presence of mind) to blurt out the first words that came to my lips… “Hey, great costumes!”  Still am not sure if they really WERE evangelists, or very clever Trick or Treaters. But it sure was the most unusual Trick or Treat thing to ever happen at our house.

Usually I make a costume for me and the Dog and we escape the worst of it while trick or treating at the pet places.  Alas, everything was closed last night so we huddled under darkness.  Only one small group of TrTers came by – nobody knocked; nobody barked; and, I sat quietly under the heating pad and ate an entire tub of chocolate frosting.

Ahhhhhh bliss.