Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An Olympic moment

I had a couple of thoughts last night watching the coverage of Matt Grevers winning gold in the 100-meter backstroke. First I thought, "Damn, he's cute!" And then I thought, "Why does he look so familiar?"

This morning it hit me! Grevers was one of the coaches when Mike and his high-school swim team attended a swim clinic at the University of Louisville in September 2009:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Florida report

I spent this past week on the Florida diet: Cuban sandwich and Spanish bean soup at the Columbian, hot roast beef and cheese sandwich and manicotti at Bellini's (2 separate visits), pancakes at the Sugar Mill in DeLeon Springs, chicken tikka masala at Memories of India, and of course my faves that my mom makes (lookin' at you, Laredo and banana pudding!). I didn't lose any weight, but I smiled a lot.

Annabelle and I flew down to Orlando last Tuesday. We were greeted by my sister, who took us over to Sarasota, where we toured New College the next day. We were very impressed with what we saw. The academics sound amazing, but it's hard to get a feel for a campus in the middle of summer when it's empty. We might have to visit again, maybe in, say, February:

For most of the rest of the visit, when we weren't eating, we were cuddling cats. My mom is very involved in her local trap-neuter-release effort, and she had caught a kitten a few days before our arrival. He wasn't old enough to neuter yet, so they were keeping him temporarily, but now they're attached, so he will not be released. His name is Rocky, but mostly we just call him Baby. He's too adorable for words:

He can haz cheezburger:

Last night, we moved to a hotel near the airport in preparation for our 6 a.m. flight today. (WHY do I keep booking flights at these crazy times???) Annabelle got to catch up with her friend Matthew (formerly of Fort Knox but currently living in Germany) at Downtown Disney for a little bit:

Long-time readers will remember Matthew as "Sweeney Todd" to Annabelle's "Mrs. Lovett" for Halloween 2007:

No matter how long I stay, my trips to Florida never feel long enough. There are always more people I would like to see (and more food I would like to eat). Can't wait to go back!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Catching up

I swear, I feel like I spend half my blogging time apologizing for being so behind! Why should today be any different?

I have pretty much healed from my cat bite injury. The bite itself finally healed just this past week, which was much longer than I had expected. I finished off the series of rabies shots (we got word after the second one that the cat had tested negative, but I finished the series anyway) and am officially declaring that whole chapter to be closed. So yay for that!

This month has been crazy busy, which seems to be our M.O. for this summer. Here's a glance at our calendar. You might want to go get a snack to have on hand; this is going to take a while.

Thursday, July 5: Fred, Annabelle, and I said goodbye to Mike at the crack of dawn and flew to Columbus, Ohio, where we rented a car and drove on to Pittsburgh.

Friday, July 6: We toured the University of Pittsburgh, which was quite nice. The Cathedral of Learning is without a doubt the most unforgettable college building I've ever seen and also makes for a good point of reference when you're lost in the city:

The chapel is also pretty:

Here are the Litchfield Towers, which house mostly freshmen:

We had a great visit at the study abroad office and then at the Honors College. Our Honors College meeting was a little bit smooshed because we were in a lobby that was way too small for the group. Turns out that this was because they had half of the cathedral off limits because President Obama was speaking just down the street at Carnegie Mellon!

After Pitt, we set off to find the clinic where I would get my third rabies shot the following day and to do a little exploring at Carnegie Mellon.

Annabelle and I thought this was the happiest lost/found cat poster we had ever seen:

We also liked the dinosaurs. There was a colorful triceratops at the School Board building:

This fellow in front of the Carnegie Museum sported a dapper beret:

Here's a pretty cool sculpture on the Carnegie Mellon campus:

Saturday, July 7: We started off our day with a good breakfast and a rabies shot and then went back over to Carnegie Mellon for the information session and tour. Annabelle has taken them off her list for a host of reasons that have nothing at all to do with the tour, but I have to say it was the most ridiculously large tour group I have ever seen. At first I thought maybe they had an unexpected number of visitors or that the other 10 guides called in sick, but judging from how well our 2 guides did, I have to think no, that's just how they do business there. I mean seriously:

Is that crazy, or what?

There were a couple of cool things though. The fence was still painted from the president's visit the day before (apparently painting the fence is a huge tradition):

Annabelle said I was a tremendous creeper for taking this next one, but I'm sorry--the robot has ears and a tail. How am I supposed to just walk right by that without taking out my camera?

After our tour, we grabbed lunch and hit the road back to Columbus.

Sunday, July 8: In the afternoon, we dropped Annabelle off at Ohio State for her week-long linguistics camp, and I took Fred to the airport to fly back to Kansas. I spent one more night in Ohio before heading off to Kentucky where I would pass the time that she was at camp by visiting friends and eating all my favorite Kentucky foods.

Tuesday, July 10: Mike left for his 4 weeks of Field Training at Maxwell AFB in Alabama. I'm not sure if Fred got any better pictures. Mike sent me this one from his phone:

Friday, July 13: I drove back up to Columbus to pick Annabelle up from linguistics camp and fly back to Kansas. She had a great time! Here she is with her group:

Wednesday, July 18 - Friday, July 20: Annabelle was over at KU for the Youth Civic Leadership Institute. She was one of 2 kids from her high school chosen to go, and there was a nice little write-up in the summer newsletter about them (click to make it bigger if you want to read it):

Here she is with her group in a photo that I stole from her Facebook page because--as we established earlier--I'm just creepy like that:

Saturday, July 21: Mike turned 20 at Field Training, and we got our first letter from him. It sounds like he is doing really well! The anticipation of FT has cast quite a shadow over much of the last year, so it's nice to hear that it isn't as horrible as he had expected. He's almost halfway through and will be home (briefly, before going back to Florida State) before we know it!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Poor kitty

Friday night we were at a porch party at a nearby house when some children found an injured kitten. It had its head tilted to the side, and its right front leg was dragging uselessly. It hissed and ran, but one of the teens at the party and I were able to corral it. I scooped it up and took it to my house where we set it up for the night in an extra dog kennel in my basement. We gave it some food, which it ate as best it could given the odd angle of its head and the inability to bear weight on that right front paw.

First thing Saturday morning, Annabelle and I took it to the vet, who quickly figured out that the head and leg problems were not orthopedic but rather neurological.(Apparently the kitten's pupils were also of unequal size.) He told us "it" was a "she" and found a pretty nasty open wound on her neck in the fold created by the head tilt. He gave her shots of fluids and antibiotics, cleaned the wound, and pulled a bunch of ticks off of her. He said the paralysis could be a result of the ticks or a result of the infection on her neck or possibly even tetanus from the wound. With either of the first 2 options, there was a chance it might reverse, so he sent her home with us along with oral antibiotics and orders to fatten her up. We knew then that her prognosis was not necessarily good, but we had hope.

When we arrived home, I sat in the basement cuddling her on my lap while Fred and Annabelle went to the PX for a flea comb and some proper kitten chow. They got back and we put her back in the kennel with some dry food. It was frustrating to watch her try to eat; the head tilt and leg paralysis kept her from being able to go nose-first into her bowl, so she was pushing more food away than she was getting in her mouth. I decided to try to hand-feed her and thought I would have better luck with wet food. So I popped open a can, scooped a dollop of food onto my finger, and presented it to her.

Big mistake.

She chomped into my fingertip and refused to let go. She was growling, and I could feel her chewing on my finger. I scratched my thumb on the other hand trying to pry her jaws open, but she wasn't giving up. Annabelle ran for Fred, but by the time they got back, I had managed to get loose and was just sitting on the floor crying.

I knew I needed to go to the ER for a tetanus shot, but I was worried about what would happen to the kitten. I called the vet, and the receptionist said we could take her there for a 10-day rabies hold. Fred put on some gardening gloves and transferred her back to the travel kennel, and we took off.

When we arrived, however, the vet said that while he would indeed hold an otherwise healthy animal for observation, the fact that this kitten was already displaying neurological symptoms made that impossible. He essentially decided for me that there was no time to waste in having her tested. I was beyond distraught, feeling like my stupidity had signed her death warrant.

The hospital visit was unremarkable. The nurse cleaned the wounds (puncture on the top of my finger, more like a slice underneath) and gave me a tetanus booster. The doctor discouraged me from getting the rabies vaccine, saying that it would be just as effective if started 48 hours later. I went home and took a nap and then started having second thoughts about passing up the vaccine. I called my friend who is the nurse-midwife who delivered Annabelle and her response was unequivocal: "Go get the shots, Bonnie!"

So we went out to dinner and then back to the ER where I saw a different doctor. I got the first of 4 rabies vaccines (a painless shot in the arm--if they were ever really giving rabies shots in the abdomen like they told us when we were kids, they're not now), as well as a whopping 10 cc of the rabies immunoglobulin, divided into a shot in the arm, a shot in each hip, and a couple units injected right into my finger, which would have been quite traumatic had they not numbed it well first.

I'm glad I went back to start the shots (got my second one today in fact), because it is now more than 72 hours since I was bitten, and we have yet to get the test results.

I still feel horribly sad about the kitten. I know that I rescued her from an awful, certain death outside and that her prognosis was not the best even with good medical care. I also know that with me trying to give her oral antibiotics twice a day, I stood a fairly good chance of being bitten anyway. It's still a disappointment though that she never got a chance to get better.

Let's all learn from this: Help the strays of this world because God knows they need it. Just be smart about it!