Thursday, December 8, 2011

Spice’s biopsy is NEGATIVE!

Yay! Spice does not have cancer! It seems that her severe stomatitis was caused by either an infectious process or an autoimmune process. We will continue to treat this with steroids and antibiotics as well as continue the novel protein foods for the next 3 – 6 months and see how it goes. She has a follow-up appointment with the vet on December 19th. I am thrilled!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

After we brought her home, Spice had a very rough night and would not eat anything until the following afternoon. We attribute this to the pain from the biopsy. We brought her indoors, so we could keep a closer eye on her also. She is doing much better now, both eating and drinking! I had to soften up her new venison food with a bit of water to get her to eat it. It is kind of like a meat slurry. We were very excited to see her exhibit a new behavior, she cleaned herself after eating!

I have been brushing her with a furminator because I have allergies to cats and her fur is a complete mess and loaded with mats. She just loves it and becomes a little purr box when she sees it! I use it on both my cats and dogs and it works wonders; if you don’t have one, I highly recommend it!

Also, I bought some kitty litter that is for training cats to use the box and it is called Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract, and it is amazing! It has her using the box, which previously has been an issue for her. It cost the earth, but it had a money back guarantee.

But twice a day, I become the bad guy, because I have to give her meds with a needless syringe into her mouth. She really dislikes that. I give her a pain medication [Buprenorphine] and an antibiotic [Clindamycin]. She has already bitten me! Oh no!

But we wait for the biopsy results. We should know by Friday.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Spice is very sick

This is a photo of her in her hospital cage earlier this afternoon, when I picked her up.

All along she had not been cleaning herself and was getting thinner. We thought it was because of stress from being relocated and getting accommodated to Moonshadow, her roommate. But then we went on a tiny vacation during Thanksgiving and left her some dry food and water; when we got back, she was much thinner. We fed her canned [soft] food only and she ate it voraciously. The next day I thought we should feed her paté, as we had been feeding her shredded food. She also ate that voraciously. The next morning, she would only lick the goop from the bottom of the paté can and not eat anything at all. That was last Saturday. I got a vet appointment and rushed her in.

The vet opened Spice’s mouth and she had advanced stomatitis and there was a pea-sized mass visible on the back of her throat on her right side [where a tonsil would be]. He asked us her FIV status and we didn’t know, so he planned to test her for that and feline leukemia [both were negative]. He planned hospitalization with support on antibiotics and pain medications over the weekend while he did a full blood work. Then on Monday, he planned to biopsy the mass for pathology to see if it was a malignancy.

She improved over the weekend, eating everything offered, but her globulins on her blood test were extraordinarily high, so the vet suspected irritable bowel syndrome [IBS], and switched her diet to venison. Plus, her stools were bloody, which could be the cancer or the IBS and her mouth was also bloody, again that could be the cancer or the IBS. Stomatitis can be seen with either cancer, IBS or with infections. So, that is where we were at discharge. We wait now for the biopsy results and buy venison for Spice to eat. The bill so far has edged over a thousand dollars.

Spice is home and resting. She was quite traumatized by events of the last few days. We have been given pain medications and antibiotics to administer to her while we wait for her results. She is a very sick kitty. We are hoping for the best.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I've got Flare!

After the show I visited my brother in his domicile and played with my nephew's albino corn snake "Flare".

This is Flare as a hatchling. Isn't he to die for cute?

Massachusetts Orchid Society Annual Show!

This past weekend I drove up to meet my brother Verne at the Massachusetts Orchid Society Annual Show and Sale, “A New England Rainforest”, which was held at the lovely Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA.

The greenhouses were neat as a pin, with nary a stray leaf to be found on the floor. Here is a photo of the orangery.

There were many camellias in bud, but only one was beginning to bloom, it was called Yuletide.

Most of the more common orchids that we would readily recognize are of the genus Phalaenopsis. Here is a table of these orchids at the show that I took because it was pretty and colorful:

But mostly I wanted to get photos of unusual orchids that take forms I wouldn’t readily recognize as being orchids. Good thing I had Verne in tow to point them out to me!

I didn’t manage to get a photo of the label with this one, but look at how it seems to be fingers on a hand!

I could not believe that this Robiquetia cerina was an orchid! But if you look closely at the flowers, you can clearly see the 6 petal arrangements.

I just kind of liked these!

These Schomburgkia Wellesley are unusual for their lower liplessness. Whereas lady-slipper type flowers have a lower lip, these do not and that is highly unusual in orchids. There is even a fancy botanical name for it! [Of course Verne knows it!] Pretty lavender color too!

I got very excited when I saw these tiny orchids growing in moss because I had written about Teagueia orchids growing in moss for my Fair View Fantasy Ecuadorian Equinox series [NSFW]. However, this was another species entirely. But I was so happy to finally see orchids growing in moss!

These very interesting orchids have separate moving parts. The little round things bobble up and down like an insect to attract small birds and insects. The effect is more noticeable when the bobble is dark, but this flower is prettier!

This Angraecum distichum hardly looks like an orchid at all; looking much more like a fern or a cactus!

These are sort of ordinary, but I liked the colors!

Verne was partial to these.

As well as these!

These hanging chains of orchid flowers were pretty and had a wonderful fragrance! This was a tiny plant compared to the giant below that filled an entire corner of the building:

The flowers are not yet open. Notice the pine tree next to it for scale.

This is one I noticed in Singapore that I wasn’t able to identify, but here it was with a label!

It is a Pigeon Berry. Note the orange berries and purplish-pink flowers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A murder in Georgia that history will never forget

At 11:08 PM Troy Anthony Davis was murdered by the State of Georgia by lethal injection. The “reason” was the verdict from a sham trial that found him guilty with plenty of doubt of the murder of Officer MacPhail over 22 years ago. The real murderer in this crime is most probably still at large and has yet to face justice. Seven of the nine eye witnesses were coerced into perjuring themselves by police, who were under pressure to resolve the case of a slain colleague. There was no physical evidence entered at the trial.

Troy Davis goes down in history as a martyr for abolition of the death penalty since this from of punishment is the ultimate justice a criminal can receive and should never, ever be the penalty when there is a reasonable doubt, such as there was in this case. The death penalty should also never be reached based on emotional reasons or for revenge.

The State of Georgia and moreover, the United States of America, will be judged very harshly tomorrow for this murder of a man who was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We will be called savages, barbarians and maybe worse things. I’m afraid I will agree them about us. We are unenlightened and don’t seem to know anything about the rule of law and how to enact it. We are kindergartners in a world of upperclassmen. I am ashamed to be an American today. Ashamed.

I am Troy Davis.

Candle-Light Vigil for Troy Davis

The candle-light vigil for Troy Anthony Davis was held as planned at 6 PM yesterday and began at the Deep River Public Library. I would like to thank those who showed up in support of Troy and especially State Representative Phil Miller [Democrat] for coming. Phil galvanized us with a few inspirational words. He said that though we were few, we were in good company and mentioned those around the country and world who supported clemency for Troy, including President Jimmy Carter, former FBI Director William Sessions, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and others. He showed us a NY Times article from the 20th talking about opposition to the execution. He told us that Gandhi got his start this way, by peaceful resistance. He also said that Martin Luther King, Jr. said that it is not the color of a man's skin, but the content of his character he should be judged by, in his "I have a dream" speech. He said that applauded our efforts and said that we made a difference and that this is what America was all about. Then we all lit our candles.

Almost immediately, a young blond woman stepped out of her car with her iphone to snap a photo of us. She said she was from Georgia and wanted to post the photo to her Facebook to show her friends back in Georgia how the Troy Anothony case was being protested up here in her little home town. We tried to get her to join us, but she didn't want to. It was good enough that she posted us to her Facebook. As we strolled down Main Street, cars slowed to see our sign. Some pedestrians stopped us and asked who Troy Davis was. Phil showed them the NY Times article and added any explanation if needed. The responses were interesting. Some cars honked in solidarity. A few people frowned and walked away quickly. Most people looked very sad for Troy. Some people stopped and commiserated with how misguided the verdict was. One woman who works at town hall yelled "Let him die!" Most people had never heard of Troy Davis, probably since the news held off coverage until the final clemency was denied.

The police kept a close eye on us. I have never seen so many police in downtown Deep River since the Muster! Even the K9 Unit was there!

At 7:30 it was impossible for passing cars to see our sign and our candles had brunt down to nubs so we called it quits. And now today, I wait to see if they will really execute Troy Davis. I cannot believe it is really happening after all this time. Troy is at peace with it, but I am not. How can this injustice happen in my country? It is happening with my knowledge and I feel defeated because I can't do anything about it. I have done all I can and wish I could do more.

The rest of the world must think we are fools. They are right, we are. We are barbarians. We know nothing; we slaughter our own people with no good reason, or for emotional reasons. This is not justice, it is hate. It is revenge. It yields nothing. It grants no peace. It is outright murder. We are not an enlightened society. We have so far to go to become one. Troy Davis becomes a martyr for this cause. The price is too high. Way too high. But here we are. With a dead man and no enlightenment. I pray for enlightenment for our country once we get past our hate and blinding bigotry.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Come light a candle

Troy is to be executed on September 21 at 7:00 PM. Please leave any questions in the comments.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene – We survived!

We lost power at 2 AM. I slept in until 8 or so and then got up to feed the dogs. Then I took them out and fed the cats out in the metal building. Not too many boughs were down. But then I went out the driveway and saw that there was a sizable tree down blocking our egress and it had landed on our neighbor’s lawn, but did not damage anything. It did take out a neutral wire. I got in touch with my mom via cellphone, who lost power on LI, and my sister, who still has power in Westchester County NY.

So I got Sean and he went out with my Jeep Wrangler to move the tree from blocking our driveway.

More damage and blocked roads around town. Also note downed wires.

Route 80 is the major thoroughfare from the West into our town. It hasn’t been cleared because the storm hasn’t passed yet. This tree also took out wires, which you will see in the next photo.

This elm has an 8 foot [2.4 meter] split in it, that leaves the tree resting on live wires. Eep!

I took these photos of the town landing at high tide.

All in all, I would say that we were pretty lucky in our little town. Not a lot of property damage as far as I could see.

We set up our generator and that is how I am able to post this today. Hope everyone else in the range of Irene is okay too!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Save the Ferries

On August 25th I attended a meeting between the public supporting Saving the Ferries that run between Chester and Hadlyme as well as Rocky Hill and Glastonbury and representatives from the Department of Transportation here in Connecticut.

Present from the DOT were: Jim Redeker, Commissioner; Phil Scarozzo, Moderator; Chuck Beck, Maritime Manager; Cheryl Malerba; and Colleen Kissane, Scenic Roads.

From the left, Chuck Beck, Maritime Manager, Cheryl Malerba, Colleen Kissane, Scenic Roads, and Commissioner Jim Redeker.

State Representative Phil Miller chats with the DOT Commissioner prior to the meeting. Off to the left, we can see Mr. Scarrozzo with Mr. Beck and to the right we see Ms. Malerba and Ms. Kissane at the table.

Representative Miller speaks with Mr. Scarrozzo while Ms. Kissane chats with State Representative Marilyn Giuliano.

Panel moderator Phil Scarrozzo at the podium.

The meeting was opened with Commissioner Redeker making a statement. He mentioned that closing the ferries was off the table for 2 years since labor concessions had been made earlier. He went on to say that he understood that the ferries were historical, transportational and recreational. But that they also come with challenges and threats. The ferry began in Chester in 1769 and has run on a limited schedule. Vehicle fees are $3 and walk ons average 14 per day. The ferry takes two people to run in three shifts per day and runs at a $284,000 deficit per year. The 62 year old vessel is due for replacement at a cost of 4-5 million dollars, an upcoming capitol need. The floor was opened for questions.

Phil Miller, State Representative for Essex, Deep River, Chester and Haddam, stood up and said that he knew Commissioner Redeker and had worked with him before and that he listened well and had an open mind. He further said that the ferries represented a working transportation infrastructure that was vital to the area and should be kept. Especially as bridges are not an option over the Connecticut River. He included that the ferries will be marketed better in the future for tourism. He noted that while privatizing is a slippery slope, he was aware of an offer, and would this be considered by the DOT. The Commissioner indicated that it would.

A member of the public stood and commented that closure of the ferry would have a negative impact on real estate values on both sides of the River. He proposed to raise the fares; place a toll on the Haddam Swing Bridge; an create voluntary tolls to keep the ferries running.

A member of the public from Enland said that in his country they have plenty of history and they can make money off of it. This is your history; maybe there is money allocated to preserve it. The commissioner said that he would check into that.

Another member of the public stood and commented that if donations were made, the funds should be so that they only go to the ferry, not to other things. The commissioner said that they would create a direct fund.

Ralph Eno, First Selectman of Lyme, CT, indicated that he was also on the Board of 9 Town Transit. He said that there are compelling reasons to keep the ferry and that he was glad that the ferry doesn’t have to be revenue neutral. He would like to explore the possibility with DOT of 9 Town Transit running the Rocky Hill ferry.

State Rep. Marilyn Giuliano speaks.

State Representative Marilyn Giuliano, representing Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook, stood and said that a partnership with 9 Towns made sense.

A member of the public stood and read some comments that were not her own: higher fares for out of state vehicles, adopt a ferry, ferry rentals, lottery to benefit the ferry, she held up a childrens’ book called “Ferry Boat” that was about the Chester ferry. She wanted all present to sign it and then it would be auctioned off to benefit the ferry.

Another member of the public stood and said that the ferry’s carbon footprint was much better than the cars’ because all of the cars’ turn off their engines while on the ferry.

Another great idea was that the ferries be included on foliage routes in the fall.

Another was to make the ferries part of the State Parks system or to purchase used vessels instead of new.

At one point, the Commissioner said that he needed more data on the ferries. a member of the public stood and said we could run surveys for you. I commented and said “Maybe what you are looking for is a study. You have here a room full of people who are chomping at the bit to help you learn whatever you need to know about the ferries. Just let us know how to help you and we will. If you want to see documentation in a study form, you are the Commissioner, you have to make that happen. You have the manpower and you are the boss. It is your job. Don”t stand there and tell us you want to see documentation unless we can help you, because we are all very frustrated.” He then said that there was a sign up sheet at the side of the room. Another member of the public indicated that a study would make a great masters thesis project. The commissioner mentioned that he was scheduled to visit the University Connecticut in the future.

The audience at the Chester Meeting House.

My letter to Mr. Scarrozzo stated that cutting the ferries was too small a savings to make much difference towards the state’s enormous $1.6 billion deficit, compared with the destructive losses and costs it would impart to state tourism and local areas’ merchants, citizens and emergency crews. After cutting the ferries, the state would still wake up the next morning with their billion dollar headache!