Friday, November 9, 2018

friday zippo update

In my last post, I told you about Zippo being so ill. The day after he saw the emergency vet, I followed up with our regular vet who agreed that Zippo most likely had an upper respiratory infection. Even though the antibiotic that he's on won't help a virus (just like in humans), hopefully it will ward off a secondary bacterial infection. He also got a vitamin B12 shot and a Chinese herbal powder to sprinkle on his food to stop the nose bleed.

Interjection: we woke up to this nasty white stuff already this morning. And it is cold this evening. We're down to 13 degrees with the wind chill. It's way too early for this nasty winter-like weather.

Back to Zippo. I haven't seen much improvement. Every night I've been going to bed thinking I was going to wake up and find him dead. He's so congested and his nose keeps bleeding. I can't tell you how many towels and blankets I've washed, as well as having to wash Zippo's front legs and paws from the blood dripping. I read online that you can steam a cat's sinuses just like a human, where you boil a pot of water and then hold the kitty carefully over the steam with a towel over both your heads. I did that twice today and even though he got a little antsy after a few minutes, I think it did help. I'm also putting coconut oil on his raw nose to help it heal.

It's hard for Zippo to eat because he can't breathe when he eats. I heat up his food so he can smell it (cats won't eat food that they can't smell - it's a survival skill to avoid spoiled food or food that's been tampered with) and then I sit next to him with his bowl of food right underneath his nose and coax him to eat. I also learned that when cats are sick and not eating enough of their food, you can also give them turkey or chicken baby food. So I went to the store today and got a jar of each. I've been mixing some of it into his cat food. Believe it or not, Zippo also loves pureed canned pumpkin, so I've been giving him a spoon of that every day, too. And he's drinking water.

But. He's not out of the woods. Far from it. At his age (19-1/2), he could easily succumb to this URI. Or, if he gets worse, of course we will bring him in to the vet to have him put to sleep. I won't let him suffer.

Tim is moving out tomorrow (into his own apartment - sharing with a buddy), and I'm afraid that is really going to affect Zippo, too. Tim and Zippo are very close. Zippo sleeps on his bed every day. Now there will be no bed in Tim's room for Zippo to sleep on. I'm thinking maybe Tim can leave his comforter behind and take another one from our stash of extra blankets stored away in the basement.

Thank you all so much for your well wishes and prayers for my fur baby. I know a lot of you understand how much pets are a part of the family and how my heart is hurting. Blessings to all of you. Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

dreary weather and zippo

Here in northern Illinois, it has been dreary and rainy for days now. A lot of the trees are already bare. I took this shot out my front door this afternoon. No editing. It's really that dark and gray. And then with the time change, it's now dark at 4:30. I hate it. The evenings are sooo long. My body takes at least a week to get used to each time change. In this case, I'm still going to bed at the same time - between 11:00 - 11:30, but I've been waking up much earlier than I normally do.

I crave light and sunshine. I want to be working in the yard and hanging out on the patio. Guess I'll just have to live vicariously through those of you who live in the warm, sunny parts of the world.

 This past weekend, we went to a shop that had its Christmas Open House. I don't decorate for Christmas until after December 1st, but I was more interested in some of the antiques in this shop. Unfortunately, there weren't many. It was mostly cheaply made decorative items from China. No thanks. Brian did find an antique map of the Chicago railway system. It's already in a mat, so we just need to find a frame.

I'm very worried about Zippo. He's 19-1/2 now, so I know his days are numbered. He has hyperthyroidism and slight kidney disease, both of which are very common in older cats. He also has glaucoma and a cataract, but those conditions are actually doing really well under the care of a wonderful eye vet. However, a couple of weeks ago the eye vet discovered he now has high blood pressure, so he's on medication for that. Why he developed it, we don't know. It could be from the kidney disease. At the same time, I also noticed Zippo was drooling a lot from the right side of his mouth. The eye vet tried to look at his teeth and gums on that side of his mouth, but she couldn't really see anything. That's not her area of expertise, so she told us to take Zippo to his regular vet.

(Zippo in better days ~ March 2017 ~ my loyal companion after my knee surgery)

We had an appointment to see the regular vet (Dr. C) later this week, but in the meantime, Zippo is now sneezing a lot and is very congested in his head. Even worse, yesterday his left nostril started bleeding. I talked to Dr. C's office this morning and unfortunately, he wasn't in. They said it was up to me whether to take him to the emergency vet or wait to see Dr. C on Thursday. His nose bleeding was worse today, so I took him in to the emergency vet.

(Zippo snuggled up with Clementine a few nights ago.)

The emergency vet thinks it's an upper respiratory infection but is not 100% sure without putting him through tests - a scope and/or CT of his sinuses to see if he has a tumor. For now, they put Zippo on an antibiotic and I'm following up with Dr. C tomorrow. (I was able to get Zippo's appointment bumped up.) The emergency vet said his thinking is that if the antibiotic doesn't help, it's probably something else. And at his age, we'd have to think do we really want to put him through tests to find out what would most likely be bad news. (Of course not - especially since nothing could be done.) So then we'd have a very hard decision to make. This emergency vet did say it didn't appear like Zippo was in pain, so that made me feel a little better. He's also eating, drinking and using the cat box, so those are the other good things.

(Me and Zippo - 2017)

I'll know a little bit more tomorrow morning. I have a lot going on - including Tim moving out into his own apartment this weekend - but I hope to do a blog update on Friday. 💗

Friday, November 2, 2018

hello november

Hello moody skies and beautiful, changing trees ~

Hello filtered sunlight ~

Hello to the outline of the neighbor's maple tree ~

and to the red leaves that are now carpeting the ground ~

Hello vintage hand with the chipped nail polish that I found in a little shop ~

Always a hello to my kitties, especially when they're snuggly ~

(Zippo and Monkey)

I'm not quite ready to say hello to the holidays and Daylight Savings Time, though I know it's all coming...

What are you saying hello to this month?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

wine and cheese party

Can you believe Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner? Funny how those holidays just seem to sneak up on us. So begins the season of entertaining.

I have a small house with an eat-in kitchen, not a separate dining room. However, my small kitchen table is the perfect place to have a few friends over for a wine and cheese party.

As a member of the Wayfair Homemaker program, I have been compensated for this post. All ideas and opinions are completely my own.

My entertaining style is casual, though I do prefer real plates, glasses and napkins over disposable items. These pretty cheese plates are originally from Crate and Barrel, but I found them at Goodwill a couple of years ago.

I start out with a good red wine. My current favorite is Hess Select Treo 2014. It's a northern California wine, soft on the tannins, so it's very smooth. If you're a red wine drinker, you've gotta give this one a try. 

I enjoy making a simple charcuterie board with a couple of different cheeses (in this case, I used an Australian extra sharp cheddar and a pepper jack cheese), uncured genoa salami slices, an olive tapenade served in a mini Le Creuset pumpkin cocotte, mixed nuts, and crackers. If you wanted to add a fruit element, apple slices, fresh grapes, or even some dried fruit would be lovely additions for a fall board.

Of course, having a beautiful board to set up your charcuterie goodies adds to the ambiance of your party. I chose this stoneware (80% marble) and wood board from Wayfair. They have many to choose from, depending on what material, size and shape you want.

Light the candles and your wine and cheese party is ready!

Are you ready for holiday entertaining? 
Do you keep it small and simple or do you entertain large crowds?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

fall nesting

This has been a strange October for Illinois. First we had a ton of rain, and now it's just plain cold. We went from temps in the 80's straight to the 40's in 24 hours. No in-between. Me no-likey. I'm a warm weather, lots-of-sun person. I know many people love fall and are all like, "Yay, pumpkin spice lattes and hoodies and boots and scarves!" And then there's me..."Gimme my iced tea, t-shirts and bare feet!" I need to live in California. Don't get me wrong, I think the color change is beautiful and sometimes crisp, cool air feels good, but when October goes from summer to almost-winter overnight, I get a little cranky. Don't even talk to me about how early it gets dark now...and will only get worse with the time change.

Such is the time of nesting though, and the kitties are pros; snuggling together and always curled up in blankets. Or in Clementine's case, lying on the heater vent to keep warm.

And it's definitely comfort food weather. I do enjoy cooking more in the cooler weather. There's been chicken noodle soup with matzo balls (sorry, no recipe for this one. I make up a lot of my own soups and just go with the flow. Though I didn't make the matzo balls. Those were straight from the Jewish deli); roasted veggies (add some black beans for a complete meal - you can stuff this concoction in a pita or tortilla, if you wish);  Ragu Bolognese (this recipe is one where you need several hours...I didn't catch that in time and ended up having a late dinner...I also made my own modifications...didn't use veal {we don't eat veal}, added a little garlic and oregano, and used half and half instead of whole milk); and there's been a little baking thrown in, too. I picked the last of my rhubarb, bought a carton of strawberries, and came up with a crumble. I found a recipe for the filling that used pure maple syrup instead of processed sugar, but I made my own topping with oats, flour, a little brown sugar, butter, coconut oil, and cinnamon.

If you're looking for an easy, delicious chili recipe, give this one a try. We had it for dinner tonight and topped it with chopped onions and shredded cheddar cheese. It really hit the spot on a cold night.

Talk to you the meantime, stay warm and snuggly. 💗

Saturday, October 6, 2018

the yin and yang of fall

 We've had just a few sunny days in-between a ton of gloomy, rainy ones. On one of those rare, sunny days we took a hike in the nearby State Park.

The one thing we forgot is that the mosquitoes have been extra bad this year. We have a contract service that sprays for mosquitoes around our property every three weeks, so it was easy to forget that they'd be in abundance in the park. We had to walk with our shirts up around our necks to avoid the blood suckers. Other people passing us had their hoodies up over their heads, though with the sun beating down, it was hot. We were a sweaty mess by the time we got back to our car.

 This might've been a better idea to keep the skeeters off our heads.

I'm not big into mums, but I do buy one big bunch every fall for my front porch. I think they look pretty in this galvanized tub. I just plopped the entire pot down in there; I didn't replant them in the tub.

This big summer pot of annuals is still somehow going strong on my porch, too. Must be the combination of morning sun and all the rain we've had.

Otherwise, this is what the patio side of the house looks like right now: a tad dismal. We haven't been able to keep the patio furniture cushions out because of all the rain. Will we ever get to use the patio again before it's too cold? 🙁 It's been buried in wet leaves, too. This was after I used the leaf blower to clear off the patio and the furniture.

As I do every fall, I've been taking photos of the neighbor's glorious maple tree. A few days ago when we had a little bit of sun, the colors of the sky and tree were absolute perfection.

The gray, gloomy mornings call for candlelight on the mantel...

And little touches of fall around the house...I added some fall cheer to the small china cabinet in my kitchen by putting scrapbook paper on the back of the middle shelf.

I needed a new pillow for the living room couch. A trip to HomeGoods yielded this beauty. A saleslady who saw me looking at this pillow said it was her favorite - and the last one left. I love the colors and textures.

And it's reversible!

Homemade soups are back in my cooking repertoire again. A simple vegetable soup with a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese hits the spot on cool days.

It's rainy here (surprise, surprise), so we went to the movies today to see A Star is Born. It was phenomenal. I can't say enough good things about this movie. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga blew me away. We were going to go to a fall fest tomorrow, but with all the rain, I'm sure it'll be cancelled. We need to do things like look for new eye glasses for Brian and check out washing machines and dishwashers (yes, we need both at once - ugh) at Home Depot.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

decorating my home with fall artwork

As much as I love summer and was hanging on to every last bit, I finally had to admit that fall was truly here. The days are now cool, leaves are changing color and falling to the ground, and we've had to put another blanket on our bed to keep warm at night. I'm actually wearing socks most of the time now, too. You see, I love being barefoot. I am not a sock or shoe person. If I'm wearing socks, that means my feet are cold. 

As I do near the end of every September, I dragged my big plastic storage bin of fall decor upstairs from the basement and started putting some fall touches in my home.

As a member of the Wayfair Homemaker program, I have been compensated for this post. All ideas and opinions are completely my own.

One thing I've never had in my fall decor stash is artwork. I decided to change that up this year. I wanted something with muted colors that would look good in my living room or bedroom. After looking through the terrific variety of artwork from Wayfair, I chose this metallic forest print. I love the colors in this print and the dreamy look of the trees. I propped the artwork up on the buffet against the vintage window and then created a simple vignette.

 In the morning when the sun comes in through the beveled glass in my front door, the beams dance all over the artwork.

Another thing I really liked about the quality of this canvas artwork is that the print wraps around the sides.

As much as I liked this artwork in the living room, I decided to play around and try the print in my bedroom. I already had the two gray circles (from Hobby Lobby) above the bed - with nothing in the middle! I had tried a couple of things in the middle of the circles and they just didn't work out. I knew something would eventually come along.

It's easy to change out artwork when you use Command Strips instead of putting nail holes in your walls. With this size print (24" x 24"), I can use it in the living room, bedroom, or hallway.

So now I'm liking this artwork both in my living room and bedroom! It was hard to make a decision, but I'm going to keep it in the bedroom since I really needed something on the wall between the two gray circles. I can easily change up the buffet in the living room with other decor.

Do you use fall artwork in your home?