Tuesday * October 25th 2016

All About Cali…


Thursday, October 20, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, Cali seemed “sick.” 

She wasn’t eating on a regular basis, and early in the morning she would vomit bile at least a couple of times a week.  Stupidly, I just thought this was a phase she was going through due to her age (15).  However, one morning when her stomach “noises” were extremely audible from where I sit at my computer I knew something was seriously amiss.

I have a vet “right around the corner” from my house and I took her there as a walk-in. 

Thursday, 10/13/16

Basically, the vet wanted to do every test known in the canine world and presented me with an estimate of $500.00.  It’s not that my “best girl” isn’t worth the money (as you’ll later read), but one of the “tests” was for osteoarthritis.  Uh, we already KNOW that she has this problem and “knowing the degree” isn’t really going to change the treatment.  Since Cali had a “potty accident” as we were checking in, I allowed them to check the stool sample.  However, basically she was given a “plethora” of drugs to see if one would work.  🙁

Saturday, 10/15/16

Cali continued to decline and the “walk-in” vet was closed.  I called her regular vet and they IMMEDIATELY took her in.  Thirty minutes (and a blood test) later, she was diagnosed with pancreatitis.  She was swiftly admitted to the hospital and drugs were administered.

Ups and Downs…

One day I came to visit Cali and she seemed “spaced out” and her hind legs weren’t working at all.  However, Cali was in a crate and probably stiff.  The vet lowered the opiate they were giving her for pain and she was taken on hourly walks.  What a difference.  For her appetite they gave her an appetite stimulant – it DOES work, but I’m still wishing she would eat more.

Home again…

Cali came home on Thursday after a five-day vet hospitalization. I don’t EVER use this word, but it’s somewhat of a “miracle.” I was totally expecting the worst and trying to prepare myself.

The vet gave me a copy of this report:

Cali was hospitalized from 10/1516-10/20/16 for IV fluid and medical management including pain, antibiotic, stomach, and appetite stimulant medications. Her follow-up quantitative pancreatitis test result came back normal; her kidney values are improved, although still elevated.”

(Cali shows that she has stage 2/4 of kidney disease.)

When I went to pick up up this afternoon, the vet tech said there was a complete turnaround in terms of eating. She ate two bowls of “mama’s homemade” chicken and rice!

Not out of the woods yet…

Yesterday, 10/22/16 Cali seems to “crash.”  She refused all food and couldn’t stand on her hind legs.  I totally freaked out as the vet office was closed.  However, I decided to stop giving her:

Buprenex. A synthetic partial opiate, Buprenex acts as an analgesic that is used primarily to help manage and dull pain, such as in pre, during, and post op patients, as well as in cats and dogs with severe chronic pain.

However, toxic as some claims are I still give her the prescribed Rimadyl.  I WILL NOT allow her to be in chronic pain even if the drug shortens her lifespan.

Then I did something painful…

On days when Cali wouldn’t eat when hospitalized, they gave her some nourishment with a syringe with food condensed in a blender.

I waited all day, and then decided to go to Wal*Mart and get a small turkey baster and “do the deed.”  I mixed her chicken and rice with some no-salt chicken broth in a NutriBullet.  I got a big towel, and fed her – crying the whole time.

It was so painful because I remembered my late mother who had senile dementia and lost her swallow reflex who was fed the same way for a short time before a feeding tube was inserted.

It worked!

Today, Cali went on two short walks and ate homemade chicken in rice in the a.m. and ground beef, rice, and carrots in the p.m.  She walked pretty much as usual for her, but didn’t fall over like she did on Saturday.

I have no illusions.  Cali is fifteen years old, and our time together is limited and precious.  However, I can’t/won’t give up until I’m sure there are no options left.

A little trip…

Mama is going to get her “tango on” and Cali is going with her.  We’re going to the Albuquerque Tango Festival this coming Thursday!  The festival venue doesn’t allow pets, but we’re staying quite close at the pet friendly Econo Lodge.  It’s not fancy, but quite nice with a free yummy breakfast.  During the day, it’s about a ten minute walk in Old Town Albuquerque, but I’ll drive over at night.  The addition of Cali is $10.00/night.  🙂

I was going to “medically board” Cali, but “we’re better together.”


I know this “may not end well.”  However, I’m not giving up until it’s “crystal clear” that Cali is ready to leave.

I’m stubborn that way, my friends…


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Protected: The Dark Side of Argentine Tango…

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Helping and Loving an Older Dog…

As many of you know, I have a beautiful terrier-mix named Cali


I have to say that Cali is the “love of my life.”  She was rescued from a local humane society at six weeks old in October of 2001.  That means she was most likely born about this time of year which makes her fifteen years old.

Not to be sappy and/or syrupy, but having Cali has changed me – for the better.  She’s been a loving and stabilizing force in my life.

However, she’s an “old girl” now…

She’s a picky eater, has arthritis that affects her hips, and sleeps much of the time.  I know that she always won’t be with me, but in her “senior years” I want to make her as comfortable (and happy) as possible.

Therefore, I want to share some things I’ve discovered and tried to assist her in the aging process.

  • Food

After the “big C” scare two years ago, I switched her food to Blue Buffalo for Senior Dogs.  I wanted to “up the game” and try and feed her a more nutritious food.  Previously, she had eaten Purina One and loved it.  Apparently, Cali felt that Blue Buffalo didn’t taste “delicious.”  I hand fed her, mixed the kibble with wet food, etc…  She would only eat it when she was “starving.”  Stupid me, I finally switched her back to Purina One for Senior Dogs.

  • Locomotion


In my house I have saltillo tile floors and laminate flooring in the master bedroom.  Due to her arthritis and basic instability, Cali would “slip and slide” on the floors.  Again, stupid me.  I put throw rugs near her bed and feeding bowl.  Problem solved.  Tonight at Dollar Tree I found some baby socks with tread dots in the soles.  Score!  They really help Cali with slipping on the tile/laminate floors.  They fit “perfectly” on her feet!

  • Walking

When you have an older dog, the primary goal is to make them comfortable but allow for some “easy” exercise.  There’s a very nice park near my house and I try to do an a.m. and p.m short walk with Cali.  I know her hips are very arthritic now, and I “almost” bought something for her until I saw this video on YouTube.  (Sorry for the buzzing sound at the beginning of the video, but it goes away later.)

This is an easy “harness” to make out of a reusable grocery bag to support your dog’s hips.  I have to say I was quite surprised that it “worked like a charm!”  A woman actually stopped her car on the street and remarked that she had done the same for her aging dog.  🙂

Yes, I know that Cali won’t live forever. 

However, with a little know-how and inspiration I’ll be able to keep my “best girl” comfortable and loved in her senior years…

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More Love. Less Hate.

I’ve been home this summer…


and I’ve had lots of time to think.

I “wish” I could say I’ve done everything I’ve set out to do in home repairs, but the summer isn’t over yet.  There are two projects that seem “overwhelming” to me to do alone, so I’ve put them on the “back burner.”

The first is to strip the sealer from my saltillo tile floor, clean it, and re-seal it with two coats of sealer.  I was “more than shocked” when I contacted a local company and the estimate was $1,200.00 – and that didn’t include my three bedrooms.  I looked online and found that I can do this myself for some mildly intensive labor and time.

The second major job is to paint the inside of my house.  I have clerestory windows in the kitchen/living room and the ceiling/walls are pretty high.  I’d like to do a two-tone for accent, but just can’t decide on a color(s).  I love the clerestory windows (and they have been UV coated), but to clean the outside I’d have to get up on the roof which I have a “problem” with doing.

Stay at home summer…

I’m happy to say that during my “stay at home” summer I have developed an exercise habit.  I go to Zumba Gold three times a week and it’s pretty fun!  I’ve also been working in my backyard with plants, etc…  However, due to our “nuclear summer,” and my lack of backyard shade it’s been a struggle.  I finally gave up and moved most of the plants to the front of my house where the sun shines in the morning and they get afternoon shade.

I do plan to winter in Mexico in my RV, and it’s been fun to search through summer close-outs and thrift store deals for things I can use on the beach.  I haven’t had the desire to keep up with my tango lessons and practice in El Paso due to the extreme heat.  We’ve actually had a respite this past week with the temps about ten degrees cooler (mid-90’s) and I’m feeling much more motivated.

Enough chit-chat – the real reason for this post…

I’m saddened to realize that we live (in the United States) in an increasingly “culture of hate.”

Every day we see the vicious and violent attacks of human beings.  I’m totally depressed (and sick) of reading the news, seeing negative commentary on FaceBook, and even hearing my neighbors spew venom.  If you’re different in any way, shape, or form many people loathe you.

I’m tired of hearing about the disrespect (and hatred) for the Office of the President (and his family), future presidential candidates, gays, African Americans, Muslims, etc…  Gee, just “fill in the blank” if you dare to be different.

We’re living in an increasing “culture of hate…”

I’m at a stopping point for this post due to my frustration.  I have so many issues about our society today that I can’t even begin to calmly articulate my feelings.  It make me want to run away and find a community of love.  However, I choose to live in the “real world.”  I don’t know what the answer is, but I know as a society we can do “better.”

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Let There Be (Solar) Light…

As many people know, I’ve decided to stay home for the summer and give Casa de Cheryl some much needed attention…

I have to say I’ve been “very good,” and have put a major dent in home repairs and upkeep.  Even though I miss my summer travels (that will start up again in the fall), it’s been nice re-discovering Las Cruces.

I’ve even taken up Zumba and try to go three times a week.  I haven’t gotten there yet, but I plan to take Spanish two days a week too.  There are TONS of classes at MountainView Senior Circle, and EVERYTHING is “gratis” after you pay a yearly fee of $15.00.  There are exercise classes, games, movies, special interest groups, and even a monthly free luncheon.  It’s also good for me in that it gives me an opportunity to meet new people.  🙂

It seems that having a “daily task” brings meaning and purpose to my life…

I “dug in” (no pun intended) to clean up my yard, and make a soothing resting space.  My latest “project” was making a cactus garden with cinder blocks.  I have to say it was fun and gratifying – although my “mature” body talked back after I lifted all that cement from Home Depot to my car and eventually to my backyard.


Colorful Cactus in Cement!

Squirrel problem…

If you look to the far left and just above the middle of the above photo, you’ll see a drainage hole.  I have three such holes in my rock wall for drainage when it rains (which isn’t often).

I had a couple of bird feeders up, and started having a problem with squirrels.  I took the bird feeders down, but the squirrels have “tunneled” through the drainage holes and there are mounds of dirt directly underneath.  My neighbor told me she saw one jump from the rock wall up to the drainage pipe on my townhome.  Now, at about 6:00 a.m. (daylight) I hear a “tap dance” on my roof.

I’ve plugged the rock wall drainage holes with rocks until I can fabricate some sort of chicken wire cover.  As for my house, I really started to freak out.  However, today I found that Las Cruces Animal Control will lend “live traps” for squirrels (and other rodents) and will pick up the traps.

Back to SOLAR!

I like to be creative, and I just have this “thing” about solar power.  I live in an environment where there’s lots of sun, and it makes sense to me to harness that power.  So, when I’m out and about and near Harbor Freight I stop in with my 20% off coupon (and another for a freebee) and buy a two-pack of solar lights.  I like the ones at Harbor Freight because the body is brushed nickel, and the globe is glass that doesn’t etch in the sun like plastic.  A good deal at a total (including tax) of $5.09 for two.

I always carry a solar light in my car so when I visit thrift stores I can see if the light will fit the “object” I’m considering.  A little spray paint, some heavy duty glue, and some “bling” from Hobby Lobby can make an interesting “re-purposed” project.


Total Materials – $7.50


Total Materials – $6.00


Total Materials – $7.00


Total Materials – $4.50


Total Materials $6.00


Total Materials – $5.00

Re-Purposed Solar Lights are Fun to Make!

I plan to keep some, make some to give away as gifts, and possibly sell some when I go to Mexico for the Fall/Winter.  What do you think?

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