Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Permission to Think About the Unthinkable

I took the cat to the vet today. I took her about a month ago because the vomiting and loose stools seemed to be getting out of control. At that point she was sneezing a bunch, but the vet didn't seem to make much of that. Since then, her sneezing has seemed to turn into some sort of upper respiratory infection, she sneezes all the time, she's lost a tooth, her mouth is irritated, and now suddenly there's a whole bunch of mucus coming out of her mouth and nose. Plus she's not eating (probably because of the mouth irritations) and she lost a pound in a month. The vet says she has a heart murmur.

It's hard to know what this all really means without a lot of expensive testing. But I don't really want to spend a lot of money prolonging the life of a cat that's really lived a good, long, mostly happy life and whose life is really not very high quality any more. I told the vet that I really just want to make sure she's comfortable. At that point he gave me the option of putting her down. (And, of course, waterworks that I am, I started crying.) So anyway, we decided today to give her shot of antibiotic for whatever infection she my have, give her intravenous rehydration, and switch her diet to wet food to see if she'll eat and gain any weight back.

So now, after the vet opened up the discussion of putting her down, I feel like I have permission to think about it and really examine the cat's quality of life and comfort to evaluate when is the right time. The thought of it makes me feel horribly sad, guilty, and, at the same time, a bit relieved.

There's a lot to think about, including how to discuss this with the kids. Steve thinks that we shouldn't let them know that we're ever choosing to end the cat's life, in case they think we might do that to them. Perhaps we might tell them that we're bringing the cat to a place where they care for very old animals until they die. (Kind of a stretch of the truth -- a very long stretch.) It's not that we want to completely avoid the topic of death, just anything that might scare them into thinking they might die in their sleep or that we might choose to get rid of them. Has anyone had experience with explaining such things to their kids?

I have to say, writing this down just now has felt very therapeutic. I hope there's no one reading this that takes offense at how I am caring for my cat. I really just want to do the most humane thing. She has been a dear friend to me for almost 17 years.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One More Tutu

I know, I know, this is getting old. But this one turned out really cute! I made my niece a Lavender Flower Fairy Tutu for her 3rd birthday. I wish I could have been there to see if she liked it! (She was the one that got the Snow White cake.)

Here's Sierra modeling it for me:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Missing the Best Part

I have to say, my favorite part of making a cake is seeing the reaction of the recipient. Last night (late!) I finished making a Snow White cake for my niece. Her party is this weekend, but we will be away. :-(

So, here's my first attempt at a princess doll cake. (I'm sure they'll be more!)

(I'm a little disappointed that the pearl luster dust on the skirt didn't show up very well, but otherwise, I think she turned out well.)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

This past weekend I made cupcakes to go with the Dorothy Bear cake at the school's fundraising auction. I wasn't sure if anyone would cut the bear cake, or if it would be too dense to eat, so I wanted to also make something yummy to go with it. Here's how I displayed it:

Everyone seemed to love the cupcakes, so I'm posting the recipe here. I'll start with the recipe as I found it (online somewhere) and then I'll tell you my variations.

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1 box dark chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium size zucchini (2 cups grated)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup white raisins (sultanas)

In a large mixing bowl, add cake mix, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. Beat until well blended. Stir in the chopped nuts, grated zucchini, chocolate chips, and raisins.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13x9inch cake pan.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Cool the cake, then frost with cream cheese frosting of your choice.

My variations:

I always make this as mini cupcakes. Bake them for a much shorter period of time. I don't remember exactly how long -- just keep checking after about 10 or 15 minutes. (You know, until the toothpick comes out....) (Someday maybe I'll try it as a cake!)

The second time I made these with regular raisins rather than white raisins. I like this much better. The dark raisins you can't see, and they just add a hint of something juicy and sweet in the cupcake.

Next time I might add a little bit more zucchini -- it was not noticeable, and I think you could push the health factor.

Leave out the nuts if you need to, although I like them. I might even add a few more nuts and raisins.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

She's So Old, She's Falling Apart

You know how we like to joke sometimes that we're so old that things are falling apart or falling off? Well last night, I came home, and the cat greeted me with some slightly labored breathing. Then she sneezed (or whatever that is that she keeps doing lately that I can't explain) and a tooth fell out of her mouth. I heard it and thought, "Is that a piece of food?" But when I picked it up, it was an actual tooth.

I guess she's getting pretty old. We've got her on pro-biotics now to help with her digestion because of the loose stools and vomiting. But now (I think as a side effect of the pro-biotics, but I'm not sure) she has hideous breath. And then she comes and does these cough-sneezes in my face. Yuck. I think I got her in about 1991, so she's about 18 years old. My fear is that she's going to hang on in this throwing-up-stinky-poo-bad-breath state for five more years!

Pre-school Board Nomination Update

Remember when I told you that I volunteered to be nominated for the Fall Show Fundraising committee for the pre-school? Well, it turns out that there was some more movement in the open positions and I was offered the nomination for Vice Chair! I am very excited and honored to have been chosen for this position. (I'm also glad that my work for the school won't be concentrated during those first fall months.) (Note: The nominating committee puts together a slate to be recommended by the board and then made official by a vote at the general membership meeting, so it's not actually final until then.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Busy Makin' Stuff

I've been busy making stuff and planning stuff to make. My latest finished project is another tutu. This one is going to the church auction. (Yes, church. For those of you that know me as not very religious, I am now a UU -- spiritual, intellectual, and open to all ideas and beliefs.) Anyway, I'm calling this one Princess Pink. I'm not sure the combo of colors and patterns turned out as well as the others, but I think any girly-girl will love it.

My model

The doll tutu

Oh, and I don't think I ever posted about the one I did for Sierra. She picked the colors. I think it's my favorite!

And next I'm working on a lavender flower fairy tutu for my niece and a couple of cool cakes.