Archive for Musings


Curiosity (Almost) Killed the Cat

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A few weeks ago, my husband brought me a bouquet of flowers. They were beautiful yellow lilies with red roses and greenery. He likes to surprise me with flowers now and then and this was the first time he had gotten me lilies. I put them on a stand by the front door so I could admire them. I liked them so much, that I took a picture with my phone.

The flowers I received from my husband

Friday night our cat Gracie was violently ill, she threw up a lot, not just a little hairball, but some serious stuff. I thought this was unusual and was trying to figure out what could have made her sick. Not to gross you out, but the puke was tinted yellowish which was odd. I was trying to figure out what she could have gotten into when Jake mentioned that the lilies were yellow. I looked at the flowers and sure enough, a couple of petals were missing from one of the lilies. I came to the conclusion that she had eaten them.

Lilies are Highly Toxic to Cats!

I thought I would do some research online to see if there was something I could give Gracie to make her feel better. I knew that some plants were poisonous to cats, but figured she would probably feel better the next day. I googled the phrase “lilies poisonous to cats” and found a list of plants poisonous to cats. I was surprised when I saw that there was a whole separate page on lilies on the site I was visiting. The more I read, the more concerned I became. I discovered that lilies are one of THE most toxic plants to cats. Easter lilies and many varieties of day lilies were included in the list. They are highly poisonous even in small doses and can cause kidney failure! I was totally shocked! I felt like a terrible pet owner for not knowing this information. Any part of a lily is poisonous to cats, from the stem to the petals. I kept doing more research and found a couple of cases where people posted about their cats eating lilies and then dying. I was beside myself as you can imagine. From what I read, treatment should be done in 12 – 18 hours to avoid kidney damage. Some sites said treatment is needed within 6 hours.

I read that the normal course of events after a cat eats a piece of a lily is that they are sick and throw up. Then they may appear to get better. If a pet owner doesn’t know that the lilies are toxic, or doesn’t know that their cat ate one, they will just think the cat is feeling better. Until the cat’s kidneys begin to fail. According to my research, within 48 to 96 hours after consumption, the cat will tend to show signs of clinical kidney failure: increased urination, depression, stomach upset and dehydration. Once kidney failure begins, there is little that can be done to save the cat besides humanely putting it to sleep.  Without treatment, death tends to occur within 5 days.

Treatment for Lily Poisoning

Of course, this all happened at 9pm when there were no vets open besides an emergency vet (which is not cheap).  I decided to take Gracie first thing in the morning. When I took her to the vet, he was very concerned and said that cats eating lilies is similar to them eating antifreeze and has similar effects. However, since she had just eaten the lilies the night before, they could take her blood to see if any damage had been done yet and put her on an IV to flush the poison out of her system. He recommended starting with two days of the IV and then testing her blood again to check her BUN and Creatinine levels that indicate if the kidneys are functioning properly. So Gracie had to be admitted to the “hospital” and put on an IV. She was none too happy about that. As you can imagine, treatment is not cheap. Here is a picture of her on her IV. My husband wasn’t too thrilled about the vet bill, he said that those were the most expensive flowers he had ever gotten me!

Gracie in the hospita

Gracie was a very fortunate kitty. Much to my relief, after two days of being on an IV, her blood test came back normal and there was no kidney damage. She was happy to get home and get back to her normal routine.

Once a person knows that lilies are poisonous to cats, preventing lily poisoning is easy, just keep lilies out of the house or garden. Anywhere a cat might come in contact with them. There are dozens of other plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs as well. For a complete list, check the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center. While most plants are not as poisonous to cats as lilies, there are several that can make them very sick.

What can you do?

I have talked to a few cat owners in recent days, and none of them knew that lilies were toxic to cats. If you are a cat owner, be sure to keep lilies out of reach of your cats. If you know someone who is a cat owner, be sure to mention it to them. I ran across this pdf from UC Veterinary Medical Center, I think it would be a great idea to print off and see if vet offices in your area have a bulletin board it can be posted on. Also, increasing awareness at florist shops would be good. In my case I am happy to say, all is well that ends well!

Gracie reposing on her favorite chair

A healthy Gracie reposing on her favorite chair

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Day 3 of Staycation – Yard Work

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We decided that one day of our staycation we should get the yard in order for summer. We pruned some of the bushes since they were getting scraggly. We edged and mowed the grass and also put mulch in the landscaping. We ran out and didn’t have enough to finish, it is always hard to estimate how much to get. Since we were facilitating our Financial Peace University class Wednesday night, we didn’t have time to go get more and finish unfortunately. But that was okay since we still had the rest of the week for staycationing. After FPU, we went to Starbucks and hung out with some friends which was nice. Normally we would be rushing home to go to bed since we have to get up early for work. Then we made a trip to the evil empire of Super Wal-Mart on the way home and got some more mulch. Just FYI, there is hardly anyone there on a Wednesday night at 11 p.m. It’s a great time to shop.

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Day 1 of Staycation

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Baby Cat - InfraredOn Monday, the first official day of staycation, Jake and I decided to sleep in and relax a little. We also worked out and took a nice run outside. Since we didn’t have a plan, it ended up being almost dinner time by the time we were finished. We also had some errands we needed to run and grabbed some dinner while we were out. One of the things we wanted to do on our staycation is work on the yard so we bought some mulch for our landscaping. We also bought some storage bins so that we can organize a messy closet. I know, so far staycation doesn’t sound too thrilling but day 2 should be more interesting. It is nice to sleep in and do things at our own pace instead of working all day and then coming home and trying to get everything squeezed into an evening. Our cat Gracie is already a fan of staycations, she likes having us home and not being left alone to have someone else come in and feed her.

Categories : Musings, Travel
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My husband and I had been planning a staycation this year in May. We decided it would be nice to just stay home and chill instead of traveling. It would save time, money and hopefully be more relaxing. Then he found out his company decided to do a two week shut down at the end of March and everyone would be required to take a week of vacation time. So we are taking our staycation a little earlier than planned.

Staycations became popular last year when the economy started going south. Although according to a blog by Chris Elliot, this is the year of the naycation, but we decided we still need a break. If you aren’t familiar with staycations, they simply involve taking vacation time and staying at home. Exploring local attractions is popular and a lot of people find there are many interesting things to do in their own cities. Some people even like to get a hotel in the area but to me, that starts to defeat the purpose of the saving money part of staycations. I will be chronicling our staycation here so stay tuned!

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Be My Cheap Valentine

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Cheap seems to be the theme for this year’s Valentine’s Day celebrations. I have seen several ads for cheap flowers, candy and gifts. I was surprised to see a couple of stores (Wal-Mart and Kroger) with a dozen roses for under $20. In the past, this has been a rarity on Valentine’s Day, this is usually when stores mark up the roses because they know they will be in high demand. Stores are going great lengths to draw in reluctant shoppers. With that in mind, I have made a list of some of my favorite frugal Valentine’s Day ideas:

  • Check out a romantic movie from your local libraryLove
  • If you are musical, sing a romantic song to your significant other
  • Write a poem for your significant other
  • Buy a box of inexpensive kids valentines, write on them and leave them all over the house for your honey
  • Make heart shaped cookies
  • Buy some boxes of conversation hearts
  • A CD or DVD that you know your significant other would enjoy
  • Make dinner for your sweetie and serve it by candle light (an oldie but a goodie)
  • Celebrate Valentine’s Day after the 14th when everything is on sale
  • Check out your local Freecycle group for candles or movies
  • Make a homemade valentine card
  • Play some board games, a great way to spend quality time together
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My Chai Latte Addiction

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I still remember my first encounter with chai like it was yesterday. It began innocently enough; I had a new position in my company and a new manager who occasionally liked to take the team to Starbucks. Not being a coffee fan, I wasn’t sure what to order on my first trip. I decided hastily on the chai latte since that sounded safe enough. Little did I know, I was beginning a lifelong love of chai. I took that first sip and was transported. The delicious spices filled my senses and warmed my tummy, I had no idea that such a delightful beverage existed. I have since tried several different kinds of chai but my all time favorite remains the Tazo chai latte from Starbucks. It just can’t be beat.

I have tried making chai myself at home and although it is never quite as good as Starbucks, it does the trick when I have a chai attack and need some chai now. The Tazo Chai Organic Natural Spiced Black Tea Concentrate is the best but most expensive option and can be mixed with milk. It is the concentrate that Starbucks uses to make their chai lattes. Just heat and mix equal parts milk and concentrate and there you have your own homemade chai latte. I also like Stash Premium Tea, White Chai and Stash Premium Decaf Chai Spice Tea.

I try to limit myself to no more than one Starbucks chai latte a week since I don’t want to go bankrupt or gain 10 pounds. I love to say, “Tall chai latte please”. I wait in anticipation by the counter while the barista whips up the concoction and then enjoy my 180 calories of pure, spicy bliss. There must be chai in heaven.

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No Cussing Club – What the @#$%?

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I heard a story on NPR the other day about McKay Hatch, a 15 year old kid in South Pasadena, California, who started a club called the No Cussing Club. Apparently, he got sick of hearing his peers swear with every other word and asked them to stop. He thought he would be ostracized but to his surprise, his friends agreed. He then decided to start the No Cussing Club and started out with 50 charter members. This may seem pretty out of the ordinary for a teenager, but he is being raised by parents who wrote Raising a G-Rated Family in an X-Rated World.

Hatch started a website and now has 30,000 members worldwide. However, success hasn’t been without its drawbacks. Hatch has had everything from $2,000 in pizza delivered to his house as a prank, to outright death threats to deal with. It is very interesting how irate people get against someone who just wants to encourage people not to swear! It isn’t something that is being forced on people, they sign up voluntarily. One would think these people would have something better to do with that negative energy. While the threats are disturbing, Hatch and his family are undeterred and he is now working on a book.

I say kudos to McKay Hatch and I hope he keeps it up, it’s refreshing to see a teenager going against the grain and standing up for what he believes.

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Live Each Day Like it is Your Last?

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I ran across a Stanford commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, Inc. It was an excellent speech, but one thing that struck me is the quote “Live each day like it’s your last”. Now I know what the gist of the quote is supposed to mean, but is it realistic to live each day like it is your last? If I was truly going to live each day like it was my last, I would eat rich foods and lots of desserts every day, never workout and I wouldn’t go to work just to name a few things.

Of course the sentiment of the quote is that we should value the time we have here on this earth and I certainly agree with that. I believe we should make sure the people close to us know that we love them, we shouldn’t hold grudges and we should generally try to live well. Perhaps as a Christian I have a bit of a different perspective on this than some people since I know that the best is yet to come after I die. I think I prefer to use carpe diem or seize the day as my mantra as opposed to living each day like it’s my last. I feel like too many times, I just trudge through my life day by day doing the same things over and over. I want to seize the day and do something different and interesting every day. This can prove difficult when life lends itself to routine and as humans, we thrive on routine.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do something every day that scares you.” I think that is an excellent way to think about it. I am interested in hearing what other people think and how you keep life from becoming a mundane routine.

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Now Entering the Blogosphere

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I have been toying with the idea of creating a blog for quite some time and finally decided to just do it. Kind of like the old Nike slogan. I went back and forth on what exactly I should put on my blog. I could blog about WordPress tips, concentrate on health and wellness, post vacation reviews or any number of things, but I decided to just blog about what interests me and throw caution to the wind. Since I am interested in researching many different things, hopefully people will get some use out of this blog. So here goes… I am now entering the blogosphere. (insert Twilight Zone music here) Stay tuned…

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