Saturday, July 28, 2018

Elderly or ailing dogs can be expensive

I'm happy to say that Angel's latest foray into acupuncture is going well.  (Further adventures in Canine Acupuncture) She can get up from the floor more easily and her muscles are less tight.

We stopped the laser treatments after only two visits because doing them after the acupuncture seemed to stress her rather than assist. 

But yesterday we did the treatment BEFORE the acupuncture.  It seemed to help relax her and let the acupuncture needles do their work more effectively.

Yesterday was her 12th acupuncture treatment.  And we are booked weekly for the next couple months.  I love that it gives her some respite from the pain and stiffness.  But it's pricey. 

One acupuncture session is $68, with my United Pet Care discount.  Add laser treatment for an additional $29.  Per week.

On top of that, she has developed an itching problem.  Neither Zyrtec nor Benadryl have helped so we are trying a shot that is supposed to last a month. For $120. 

Plus, she has these two weird sore spots on her back and shoulder.  The oddest scabs the vet or I have ever seen, all crumbly instead of flat.  One course of antibiotics helped, but not completely.  We thought they would go away on their own after that. 

They didn't. Topical antibiotics helped, but not completely.  So now we are going with a human antibiotic.  I looked it up on GoodRx.  $80 for 30 tablets. 

Of course, part of the reason treatments are so expensive is that I have large dogs.  The anti-itch shot dosage was based on her 104 pound weight.  As was the dosage of the antibiotic. 

Large dogs are just more expensive in general.  More food, bigger treats, higher dosages. 

But I love my large dogs.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

This painting was my idea.

My friends and I had a painting class last night.  I decided I didn't want to paint the class picture.  So I brought in my own idea.  The instructor was very sweet and gave me advice on texturing. 

Pretty happy with the result.  No idea what to call it.  Desert Sunset #1?

Saturday, July 14, 2018

I love working from home

Two years ago I started working for a software company that encourages working from home. 

My prior company allowed you one day a week. And it was nice to save the commuting time.  But working from home full time was eye-opening.

Firstly, the dogs *love* having me home during the day.  And having them interrupt me for attention means I get up from my desk a little more often.  Which is good for my neck and back.

I work upstairs.  And keep the liquid refreshments downstairs. (After a close call with a glass of water and a keyboard.)  So I get more exercise going up and down the stairs.

And no one brings in treats, or cajoles me into going to lunch with them, so it's easier to maintain a healthy diet.

Being home all day with the dogs means I don't feel guilty when I have an appointment after work.  When I worked in the office, I tried to schedule things close enough to my quitting time that I didn't go home first. Because going home after a long day, giving the dogs attention, then leaving for an appointment inspired lots of guilt-inducing looks. 

Now when I leave, the dogs are like, Meh.  See you when you get back.

Without interruption and distraction, I feel like I can focus on my code work more effectively.  But that same isolation means that there is no one to consult when I get stuck.

I had to realize that if I wanted to talk to someone, there was no more rolling my chair back to look at my cubicle neighbor.  Now I actually have to call to talk to someone about work. 

Or about non-work.  I do find I know less about cars and sports than I did when I could overhear conversations in the office.

Meetings are all done via WebEx or Skype.  And it works just as well as having everyone in one room. 

I think the main difference is management attitude.  My boss hires people he trusts.  Then sends them off to do their jobs.  He doesn't need to see you typing to be reassured you are actually working. 

We do all see each other "in the flesh" occasionally.  We get together to celebrate employee birthdays!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

And so it blows..

Arizona doesn't have earthquakes or hurricanes, but it has mondo dust storms and wind storms.  Had one of those yesterday. 

Angel, my Belgian mix, gets freaked out by high winds.  Just as she was trying to crawl into my lap at my desk, my internet connectivity went out.  So I couldn't work anyway.  I headed downstairs and saw this.

It's just a tree, and wouldn't be all that distressing, except this is the tree that replaced the tree that got blown over in the last big storm.

Of course, that storm took the clay tiles right off my roof, so one downed tree is a minor problem.

Still, I don't think I will plant another tree in that spot.  Maybe some flowering bushes? 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The digital public library!

I bought a Kindle back in 2011, but honestly didn't see the appeal. 

Yes, easy to hold.  Easier to read while eating in fact.

But the cozy mysteries I like to read were just as expensive, or more, in Kindle format than the paperback editions.

So for a couple years, I only read the occasional Kindle book. 

Then I discovered the Phoenix Digital Library!

At first, I couldn't find any cozies, but there was a lot of J. A. Jance, John Dunning, James Patterson, and David Baldacci. 

Then the library started stocking the cozy authors I already followed. 

Granted, I can't always predict when a book will be available. And  if I want to read them in order, I've learned to put a hold on only one book in a series at a time. 

But I love that the books are delivered to my Kindle without ever having to go to the library. 

And when the loan expires, the book vanishes.  There is no way to forget to return it.  If you've ever had to pay library fines on a physical book, you understand how wonderful that is. 

Now I read just as much as before, but I buy less than half the books I used to.  And I don't have to decide whether to keep a book, and find a place to shelve it, or whether to give it away. 

Admittedly, there were a couple series I already had that I read the next edition via Kindle Library.  So then the dilemma was whether to keep the series or not since it was no longer complete. 

Mostly I decided not.  This freed up some much-needed shelf space.

In summary, BIG fan of the digital library. 

Now I am going to go read my library book before it vanishes. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Sometimes completed isn't done

Last weekend we did a painting class for a painting called Sunset Beach.  When I finished class, I had a pretty good representation of the painting.

But the more I looked at it, the less I liked it.

For one thing, what was the reflection being reflected from?  For another, why so much empty sea on the right side.  Couldn't the island have been made bigger?  Or would that still have left it unbalanced?

I have some paints at home, so I started tinkering with it.  Added a sun and another island.

Better, but I was still unhappy with it.  The sand was too dark, and honestly, poorly done on the left island.

So I took one more stab at it.

This one I like!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Further adventures in Canine Acupuncture

Angel's arthritis had been doing better after getting many, many sessions of acupuncture.  She was more energetic and seemed able to move more easily.

Then the acupuncturist quit the vet clinic back in October. 

It wasn't until this May that we resumed sessions.  One of Angel's prior vet's got her acupuncture certification and started doing treatments.

Angel remembered the process well.  We occupy an exam room.  Angel lays on the tile floor.  They have put down a blanket, a dog bed, and a foam pad.  She rejected them all.

They talk sweetly to her and insert the needles, which she doesn't seem to feel, and  let her lick on a frozen bowl of diluted dog food.  It keeps her so distracted that this last session Dr. Swisher inserted 40 needles. 

Bogie lays next to me.  I am prepared to give him treats, but he has become more focused on Angel's frozen bowl.  Once she abandons it, he gets whatever is left.

We chat for 20 minutes or so while the needles do their work.  By that time, Angel is so relaxed that she looks like she is stoned out of her mind, pupils dilated, head woozy.   The needles are removed and we head home.

Twice we did a laser treatment after the acupuncture.  Angel was not a fan.  Everyone had to wear eye protection.  I wish I had the pictures of the dogs in their doggles. 

But they hated the doggles.  And Angel seemed agitated during and after the laser treatment, so we are sticking to acupuncture alone for the time being.

Angel is an on-going case, because her pain is chronic.  But there was a patient who was treated for paralysis that is now running around as if it had never happened. And he doesn't need any further treatments. 

Another dog pulled a muscle and once relief was achieved, he didn't have to return either.

I'm hoping regular acupuncture will allow me to decrease her pain medication a little.  All medication has side effects and I would like to not rely on it so much.

Fingers crossed.