Friday, August 01, 2014

Dry Dog Shampoo and Carpet Deoderizer

You will need:

two shake top containers (like ones for parmesan cheese, or mason jars with several large holes punched in the top)

Dry dog shampoo:
2 boxes baking soda (I buy a bag at big box clubs)
10 drops Tea tree oil (stems and leaves  essential oils and infused oils are OK, just double the drops)
5 drops sage oil (optional)
1 cup corn starch
1 tablespoon Diatomous earth (optional, I use in warm weather to deter fleas+ticks)

mix together in a large ziploc bag and leave overnight to "settle" I scoop out about 1/2 cup of mixture at a time and put it in the shaker bottle and shake it all over my dog rubbing it into his fur.  I leave it on 5-10 minutes to absorb his oils and grossness, then I vacuum it off.  If your dog hates the vacuum you can remove it with a fine bristle brush .

Repeat evry two weeks and eave unused power in the freezer to stay fresh

Carpet deoderizer:

3 boxes baking soda
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup diatomous earth
5 drops Tea Tree Oil
5 drops Lemon/Lime OIL (not juice!)
5 drops Sage Oil

place in large ziploc bag and shake it up, let sit overnight.

place about 1 cup for large houses 1/2 cup for smaller houses in your shaker and apply sparingly to carpets.

I leave it on for about 30 minutes and try to "sweep it in" with a clean broom or shake it into smaller carpets by shaking them side to side.

Then just vacuum!

Carpets ad dogs are fresh and the lime oil and tea tree are natural antimicrobial and pest deterrents and the diatomous earth kills anything with a exoskeleton that walks thru it!

Happy Cleaning!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I work out.

Since beginning my "Increase strength and stamina" decision I have been working out at a gym 1-2 times a week, walking 2-3 times a week and biking most other 3-4 times a week.  I also try and mix it up by using the elliptical the treadmill, the ARC trainer, and the stair master device from hell.

I have also began eating breakfast and not eating after 6 PM unless I am starving.

Yesterday despite an emergency vet visit, work fuckery, and humidity induced pain and nausea I managed to bike for 80 minutes on my recumbent bike and then use the stair master escalator thing from Hades for 10 full minutes.  For me, that was HUGE.  I also managed to bench press the bar for 3 sets of 8 which is also huge.

My goal is to get back up to benching at least a hundred pounds, but I don't know if my doctor will approve it.  my body may poop out at 75 like it did when I first was diagnosed with my syrinx.

I need to join a gym.  I NEED to be able to go hit the gym when I want to murder someone, when I am stressed, when I am feeling fat.  Which pretty much sells the planet fitness gym to me because its open 24 hours.  THUS if I get off work at 10 PM and feel wired I can go and lift for a while before going home.  Or if I have a gap in my day and have the car I can go sneak in a workout.

I have a friend (actually there are three of them) who are trying to lose weight as well.  Despite working twice as hard, and working out more, having no surgery, insulin, or diet program to assist me means they are leaving me in the dark on weight loss.

The surgery friend can even eat sugar and is almost able to eat 2 cups of food at a time and lost over 100 pounds.  The diabetic friend gave up smoking and alcohol and is walking and has lost 50 pounds.  The diet program friend has lost 16 pounds like me, but has only been dieting since last month.

I am only losing about 2 pounds a week and there have been a few plateau weeks of NO weight loss.  I know to listen to my trainer friends who tell me "Keep eating 1200 calories and keep the workout and strength training up and it will happen"  I am even mixing it up,and pushing my self imposed limitations.  I can see that my body is changing, I just wish it was faster.

I have to come to accept that even if I manage to keep the workouts I will never be model thin, I will never look like Emme, or Kloe Kardashian.  I will always be hippy, I will always have a big butt, I will always have the "fertility doll" body.

I have to be happy that I will be stronger, leaner, and have more stamina the harder I work and accept the little victories.

Yesterday I bench pressed the bar, and leg pressed half my body weight.  Small victories, and I am happy with that.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Follow the leader...

Sometimes with this weight thing I have no freaking clue where I am headed.  Do I want to try going Vegan again (but bacon, beautiful BACON!) Do I want to go gluten free?  Paleo? gluen free paleo?  I know I have to move my mind from "live to eat" into "eat to live, but cookies, salsa, rice, oatmeal, sugar GLORIOUS sugar!

I know I am addicted to sugar, my doc says if it a tie between eating a boca pattie and snackwells, chose the Boca Pattie.

Or cheese. or a yogurt..

Still.  At least my workouts are going well.  Trying to stay a little away from carbohydrates, only eat them sparingly and push protein and veg, and try to make myself eat more fruit.

A friend from work wants me to come and work out with her mon, wed, and frid.

So until I can afford it, I may have another free gym angle!

If it works out I am going to ask for a year membership for my birthday.

We shall see.

Monday, June 02, 2014


SO I am trying to be good about getting 1200 calories AFTER exercise ones are burned.  I eat little meals all day. off 100 still always under budget and getting yelled at by my fitbit and activity tracker.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Werking for the weekend

Except I am working ON the weekend.  Took a client on a 2 mile hike this AM. We did interval training (60 second fast walk followed by 30 second recover, repeat for 2 miles). He also did calenstetics for 30 minutes.  Then I went home, made my 2nd shift snack+food pack and the second client wanted to go hiking.  so we hiked a mile and a half.  I burned about 600 calories before I was able to even get 967 into my belly.  I may need to start doing bigger breakfasts and more snacks (lean protein types)   My legs hurt e that I aglad or ompression ks.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Insert witty TITLE

I have been working REALLY hard on making my body stronger, leaner, and tighter so its easier for me to walk, sleep, etc.  It meant cutting out crap foods (except on cheat day) making myself eat 1100 calories a day ( am a chubby recovering anorexic who would eat 900 calories, work out t burn 600 calories, then eat nothing but sugar free Popsicle, sugar free jello and water, then wake up with horrible stomach cramps from hunger)  I get up and plan when I eat my small meals 7AM  Snackwells Cookies (my early indulgence) 9AM Raw Almonds (13) 11AM Protein bar 1PM 1/4 cup sunflower seeds 3PM Greek yogurt 5PM small salad/vegan chicken patty/veggie burger/turkey burger with 1 cup steamed vegetables, 2 sugar free Popsicle.  I may switch up and have yogurt for breakfast and cookies as a snack, or switch cookies to graham crackers, I keep my fat grams under 30 and calories at 1100 minimum 1200 maximum.  I plan walking, weight training, hiking, biking, yoga, and calisthenics 6 days a week and on my "day off" I clean the house.
So far I think I am jump starting my metabolism I use Live Strong My Plate to make sure I am staying in my recommended calories and make sure that I eat 1100 calories (after I burn them so if I eat 1100, burn 600  means I have to eat 500 more calories in lean, low fat high protein, so egg white omelet with Parmesan cheese or Kashi go lean is often a choice.
SO I have been doing really well and thoroughly enjoying my cheat days without remorse or guilt, except yesterday I "relapsed"  I ate 600 calories, burned 400 and didn't eat anything else.  I woke up this morning hunched over, barely able to move, my joints, ribs, and fascia were swollen, I immediately ate a yogurt, then my stomach started growling like a large cat, so I ate a graham cracker.  It ws so bad my doctor called in a scrpt for Lyrica and made me promise to take the night off from working out and eat some simple carbohydrates.

I am learning.  I am stronger than I think and at the same time I need to remember I have a Chronic Degenerative Disease with no cure and little treatment.  A friend said "a car can't go with an empty tank"  I nodded unimpressed, then my friend Joe said "A carafe can't make coffee without being filled with water" and somehow THAT was my Ah ha! moment. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Twerking Out

So I have actually been working out 3 or more hours a day since last August of 2013.  BUT I had not reimplemented weights and only biked.

Now I am  mixing up cardio doing hiking, walking, and cross training along with eating at least 1100 calories a day, increasing my protein, and doing high impact calisthenics.

So I have been trying really hard to keep to my diet and exercise, only hormones, stress, and chronic illness and injuries threaten to derail me. 

My right ankle has been shattered twice and broken 3 other times.  I have chronic Costochondritis (swelling of th fascia between the ribs) migraines, and neuropathic pain.

It is hard, every day I have to wake up and plan a workout into my day, just as I have to plan iceing my ribs, and ankle, taking my meds, stretching, and eating.

Eating has been hard, I was anorexic in college and old bad habits (not eating all day, only eating 500 calories a day, over exercising) seem to pop up even though I know better.

ON most days that I get enough calories I have to tell myself over and over not to over do it on exercise.

So I am documenting my feelings/journey here.



Thursday, May 08, 2014

Summer time flea control

I am a big DIY and natural here at Casa TooManyMammals.  That said I have been known to break out the emergency capstar or advantage when I see the neighbors cats have fleas.

NOW however I use all natural stuff and we have nary a flea outbreak (4 years going, finger crossed!)

What I found out about Flea collars was that they are 1. Dangerous and 2. Ineffective.

Once I started making my on flea deterrent I found nary a flea.  Step one was making my own "flea spray"

I use a small spray bottle, and fill with  two cups boiled water (cooled)
5 drops Cedar essential oil
5 drops tea Tree
5 drops lavendar
5 drops pine

I have about 20 essential oils on hand you can use any combo, the importance is 10 drops per one cup water.

I spray this about every other day on my dogs neck and back before we hike (Yep, we hike, in the woods, plains, ANYWHERE and nary a flea or tick!)

I also vacuum using a flea deterrent mix:

1 cup diatomaceous earth
1 cup baking soda
 5 drops lavender
5 drops Cedar

I sprinkle this on carpets, let sit for a few minutes, then vacuum it up. I also put a little in the vacuum container.

clean, fresh, no fleas (and no worms either!)

I hope this helps!  I am not against meds. I treat my dog and cat with ivermectin 6 months out of the year for heartworm prevention but I don't waste money on flea collars and sprays when this stuff has worked really well!

EDIT:  I no longer treat my American Bulldog with Ivo-Mec every month, I do a 30-1 dilution (appropriate for TINY dogs) for him instead.  So far he has tolerated it well.

Good Luck and happy summer!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Awkward moments in pet parenting.

So many people know I have 4 cats and a dog.  No kids (thank goodness) because my pets are all crazy enough that adding kids MAY have driven me insane by now.

So we have "special" pets.  For as good as they are I have had to have many awkward pet moments with vets, bosses, and neighbors.

SO I thought I would make a list of some of the best//worst moments in pet history:

Kayne Michael Armstrong

 This lovable rope-a-dope dog.
Loves squeaky soft animal skins (aka stuffed animals with stuffing removed and stuffed with squeakers or plastic bottles)

Kayne hates having his nails clipped, so I have to buy acrylic nail files and file his claws down once a week, during which he routinely falls asleep.

Kayne is allergic to grass, wheat, soy, corn, dairy, pollen, cedar, plastic, rubber, nickel, and most laundry detergents.

Kayne enjoys eating cat litter covered poopies from the pan when he is angry at us.

Kayne loves kittens and has brought home 13 to date, I only let him keep 2.

Kayne has to be sedated during thunder storms or he turns into the hulk and breaks shit.

Kayne has to have special lotion applied to his pads every night, he enjoys the taste.

Kayne eats lip balm, and will wait until you are asleep and try to lick it off your lips.

Kayne once scared a burgler away from a neighbors house when we were walking past.  He almost pulled away from me and the man who was trying to open a window got scared and ran off.  The neighbor bought him a pound of bacon

Kayne got so scared during a severe thunderstorm he pushed open our front door to the deck, let himself out, locked himself outside, and climbed onto the roof where he sat howling, crying and barking until the cops came and called animal control.  LUCKILY they know me, called my cell phone and said "Joy, your dog is stuck on the roof in a thunderstorm..."  My boss was nice enough to let me go home to take care of him.

Kayne and I saw a coyote once, Kayne ran behind me and tried to run away and leave me there.  I like to think if I was eaten he would have told someone.

Ani Louise

Ani Louise is "special"

Ani is about 13 now.  we found her outside a house where a 13 year old punk kid was spraying raid under a house trying to get her to come out and stop meowing.

I admit said kid had the literally piss scared from him when I had two sheriff deputies come and detain him for "severe animal cruelty"  They let him go saying they were going to be driving by his house every day for a month, then they did.  Its good to have big scary bald sheriffs who love animals as friends.

Ani can't see out of the sides of her eyes, so often she sort of Stevie Wonders her head looking for toys and listening for us.

Ani loved Kayne's dog collars.  She licks them, sleeps on them. rolls on them, seeks them out, but does NOT like the dog, just how his collars smell.

Ani likes licking lotion off your hands and feet while you are trying to sleep.  She and Kayne share a love of lip balm.

Ani gets stuck in the carpet and cries until he relaxes enough for her claws to retract, or one of us goes and picks her up.

Ani stands in the litter pan and poops over the side

Ani will cover up food after the other cats have eaten from the bowl like its poop.  This offends the other cats.

Ani LOVES fresh water, she still jumps in the tub to drink shower water, the sink to drink the drips and drinks out of unguarded glasses of water.

Jayne River Armstrong

Jayne came to us with 5 kittens (before we got Kayne so we can't blame him for all the cats)  She is best friends with Kayne, follows him around, eats out of his bowl, grooms him and sleeps next to him whenever she can.

Jayne refuses to stand on the floor to eat instead demanding her food be up on the table.

Jayne will not eat after Dodger or Klaude taste her food.

Jayne will scream for HOURS if she is unhappy.  Single cat poops in a cat box, warm water, "tainted" cat kibble, a purse on her table, all of these things cause her to scream until the situation is corrected.

Jayne had made herself an "apartment" in the bottom cupboards in the kitchen.  She will push out anything that encroaches her "apartment" including bags of food, crockpots, and other things that don't belong in her space.

Jayne once cost 300 dollars because bit her own cheek and was drooling for a month.  300 dollars later we found out she had gotten scratched by her own claw and got an infection in her cheek.  She had to wear baby bibs for  month and a half.

Klaude Wesley

Klaude has FIV.  He enjoys staring down the dog, biting his brother Dodger on the testicle pouch (he is neutered) and swatting me in the face in the morning until I wake up and pet him.

Klaude requires twice a day grooming with a wet one, a brush and q-tips. He waits until I am sitting in the bathroom then comes in, lies down and lays back to think of Jesus until its over.

Klaude can't meow so instead he sort of bark/growls.

Klaude ONLY plays with toys at midnight, they must be loud, heavy and preferably filled with bells.

Klaude will not let me cut his toeails, so we have to do one at a time per day, he sounds like a tap dancer most days.

Last but certainly not least is Dodger.

I had a hard time trying to find a picture of Dodger that didn't include Kayne.  He and Kayne sleep together, play together, go outside on their leashes together...Kayne brougt Dodger home from a walk and let him in to our house.

I catch Dodger trying to ride Kayne like a horse, lick Kayne like a cat, and play with Kayne.

Dodger can't meow either (Klaudes his dad) so he has a very high pitched squeak that sounds like a kitten.

Dodger enjoys ambushing the dog by running around corners and popping out at him.

He enjoys lying in any collection of dirt, dust, or detritus he can find and rolling like a dust mop.

Dodger enjoys sleeping like the dead, arms flailed, mouth open, paws akimbo.

He also enjoys harassing the other cats, and has forced us to make him wear a small brass bell so we know where he is at all times.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter EveryBunnny!

Paint your pagan eggs, get dusted with soot, dress in purple, or whatever we are supposed to do today...GORGE ON CANDY and HAM!

Headache, don't get to spend Easter with Family (I have to work @ 3PM-10ish) I harbor back to memories of church dresses, special pancakes Nana made me and coming home to Easter baskets that had antique toys that had belonged to my Nana and Uncles that we had to leave on the basket on the couch so the Bunny could "bring them back next year and make repairs" 

Finding chocolate eggs MONTHS after we thought we'd found them all, Easter grass coming out of the cats butt, the kids in the neighborhood having an Easter egg hunt with shared stash and high school kids offering to hide it ...then later setting up the same later for neighborhood kids, nephews and nieces. 

I remember our dog finding the eggs, sucking them until only foil was left and spitting it out.  She and later HE were very good at finding chocolate eggs..thank god we always got the kind that only made them have the brief runs!

Now it is just me, the hubby and the fur brigade.  I dyed Easter eggs with a clients kid, who BTW had a TON of fun doing it, I thought about dying a few eggs, but I hate hard boiled eggs so...

Huh, I guess Easter is growing on me. WELP!  time to try and bust out a grad paper, dress the dog in Easter ears and take his picture, because everyone needs traditions, and get Chris ready to go with his sister and make sure he remembers the treats I bought for the girls.

Happy Easter everybunny, now send jellybeans.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rode hard and put away wet: the story of my carcass

So in my youth I spent a lot of time pushing my body.  Running, Skiing, Mountain biking, Martial arts, Rugby, Firefighting, basically doing many things in which I hurled my carcass heedlessly into many situations that ended in breaks, concussions, sprains, muscle tears and other things. 

When I was 27 I was an interior firefighter who ran 5 miles 5 days a week and ate whatever I wanted.  Then one day I couldn't lift my right arm.  At All.  Nothing.

Doctor spent a year looking into why, then I started getting migraines, and chronic ankle and knee pain.

Doctor found that both my lower back, hips,both feet and knees had been cracked/broken so many times they had healed incorrectly and were covered in bony spurs called osteophytes.  He gave me a handicap pass immediately and told me I would never run again.

An MRI later he found a tear in the center of my spinal cord, a disease called Syringomyelia.  It was why I was having intermittant trouble lifting my right arm and having chronic chest pain which later turned into intermittant postural tachycardia. SUPER fun by the way, get out of your car too quickly, heart is hammering for a hour, lie down in bed and rool over to fast, heart hammering keeping you awake, Sneeze? yeah good chance your going to feel like you are running a marathon for a few hours.  Pneumonia + Stairs =  super hilarious.

I am 35 now.  I know 35 year olds who work out every day, eat 1200 calories, keep a clean house and have 40-50 hour jobs.

I am not one of those people.  I work 27-30 hours a week, and it is tough.

Over time my hips, knees, and ankles have been rebroken, without me being able to tell because of neuropathy in my legs from my low back I didn't have them treated correctly, I pulled an old karate move and "walked it off"

My doctor prescribed swimming, which I loved, until my skin started reacting to the pool chemicals and making my eczema flare up year round and put me on oral steroids just so I could drink and eat (ever had eczema on your tongue and try to drink anything but water or eat bread?  yeah not happening.)

Now before you get the wrong idea, I am not complaining.  I have the BEST memories, a black belt,1,000 ways to kill a person, can fix my own bikes and friends, and a whole new outlook on how to be tough.

I also have this lesson.  BE KIND TO YOURSELF.

i did all those stupid things when I was a young athlete:  dieting, anorexia, pushing myself to the point of injury, pills, ignoring doctor's advice.... I did all those things and I still have to mentally slap myself for the damage I did to my body and the fucked up thoughts and relationships I still have with food and exercise.

At one point I remember my best friend and I bonding over our love of trucker caffeine pills because it helped us to burn fat and calories.  We were in high school and a sports instructor gave them to us telling us it would help us to "win, because we were not there to have fun, we were there to compete"

I wake up every AM and have to do about 15 minutes of stretches in my bed before I can stand and go brush my teeth.  In the winter often my legs, back and arms are so painful I take 3 or more hot showers a day just so I am not taking deathly doses of anti-inflammatory meds.  After cleaning the house or doing exercise I spend at least an hour or more rubbing and stretching before I go to bed so that I don't wake up with cramps.  I sleep with a cut off pool noodle under my pillow because otherwise I wake up with my right side numb.

I still struggle to eat 1200 calories a day because the only thing my body craves is sugar and water.  I struggle to get enough protein to help to keep my lean muscle mass up.

It is a struggle each day to get up, get my life in order, and not do myself injury.  Sometimes I think about getting even older and I am terrified because often people with Syringomyelia suddenly go paralyzed on one side or below the waist.

So I adapt.  I plan out meals and eat even when I am not hungry.  I always set up my food to be 1/4 protein 1/2 veggies, and 1/4 whatever else I want.  I have special plates that I love that I eat off of.  I get a little crazy when other people use my plates or watch me eat...put baby steps.

I try to watch TV while I am doing my hour of stretching, hour of "conditioning" (AKA horrible sit ups, leg lifts and other exercises designed to lengthen and strengths my joints and tendons that were damaged)

I wear a heart monitor when I work out so that I don't go over my reccomended BPM and trigger my tachycardia.

I am careful, careful, careful.

You adapt.  You replace running with yoga, replace dieting with learning how to cook GREAT food, you teach yourself that pain is a sign that something is wrong, and you forgive yourself for not being a super human

No Tears, No Regrets, celebrate little victories.

Now its time for my 2nd hot shower of the day and to do my night stretching so I can sleep tonight.

Life is hard, be kind to yourself.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Oh day of few spoons...Syringomyelia sucks

This is for my friends with Syringomyelia and Chronic pain solidarity sucks.

It has not happened in a while but today BAM! it happened.  I woke up head to toe pain.

Its complete lack of spoons day.  Which is only alleviated by numerous hot showers, drugs, and sleep.

The reason I am doing a blog post about this is because while most of my friends completely understand my Syringomyelia and its plague beast of associated conditions, there are some who are skeptical.

So I wanted to write on a day where I was in pain.  mind erasing, not doing anything, *dog can poop on the floor because f*ck you stairs* type pain.

Last night I went to sleep at 11AM.  Normal time for me.  Took my medicine, my supplements, my vitamin, and had my night shower to relax my muscles.

Woke up this morning opened my eyes and first thing I thought was "My head feels like someone put on a heavy metal crown and cinched it to death around my skull"

I immediately tried to eat a graham cracker to take some tramadol and ibuprophen.  Then threw it up.  Then waited for a few hours tried again, threw up.  If hubby was home he would bring out the shop vac so it was easier for him to clean up when I miss the toilet completely.

Finally I managed to take some liquid benadryl, ate a graham cracker, kept it down (HUZZAH!) and ate some naproxen and tramadol and kept that down (HOORAY!)

So I am finally on my feet.

Breakfast!  Shuffle to fridge pick up yogurt, drop it, pick it up again, drop it, pick it up with both hands cradle it to counter, can't peel back the lid. (GRRRRR!)

Finally I get frustrated and remember the graham crackers are open (YAY sustenance!)  So after a filling breakfast of crackers and water (tap not rain) I try to take the dog out.

I lean over, I get dizzy, I stand up, I get dizzy, finally I sit on the couch, and manage to coax the dog over and clip him to the leash.

We slowly walk down the stairs, go outside, do our business, I nearly fall over when scooping his dirty sinful business but Kayne knows to stand next to me so I can hold on to him.

We walk up the stairs and I try to make the bed, Kayne trailing behind me as he does when he knows I am ill.   I am abl to stand without being dizzy! except today my hands hand decided that grasping is not going to happen. I finally manage to flop and maneuver the bed into some semblance of being "made"

By now my arms are on FIRE, I am nauseous, and dizzy.

I lie back on the bed to catch my breath and the dog stands over my face and begins to whine.

Sh*t they need food.

I manage to dump water into bowls and food into trays only spilling when an over eager cat head butts the scoop out of my hand sending an arc of dog food spilling onto the floor.

Again, Kayne knows me so he and Dodger dutifully clean dog kibble off the floor.  Yes, I am a mean horrible mommy today.

I finally sit down in my chair and take note of the rest of my body:

Head: dull ache but I can be upright
Hands: aching and shakey
Shoulders, chest, ribs, arms, back, hips, thighs, calves, feet: FIRE, burning electrical non stop FIRE.

I text hubby to please bring home bread and black tea bags so I can start making iced tea (spring fave in this house) it comes out " plwas brung hyme brad an blwk te"  I stare at it, decide he can decipher at will and press send.

I have not managed to clean cat boxes, or clean, or sort laundry, or do anything beyond basic level.

THAT is a day without spoons brought to you by Syringomyelia.  It happens once a week normally but sometimes up to 5-6 times a week.

So next time you make the joke "You are lame, you don't do anything!" remember you are not far off, but I did do something, I got up and told you to shove it.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Klaude Wesley Armstrong

When is a picture more impressive that it seems?  

We caught Klaude in a feral cat trap.  While he did let me touch him, he had a slew of behavior issues.  He would only let us touch him on his head for about 3 seconds.  He would swipe and hiss as soon as we turned away from him, he his constantly, and would not sit near us.

 That was 6 months ago.

Each day I would brush him for 2 minutes going closer to his nether region and closer to his belly.

After 30 days he let me touch his belly

60 days he let me hold him

90 days he would come sit next to me and let me wipe his butt with wipes.

120 days he let me wipe his eyes and face

Now he lets me brush him, pick him up, wipe him bum, and sits next to me every chance he gets.  He even cuddles with his son who we rescued before him:

He explores and sleeps wherever he wants!  "Dad, find your own chair, I claim this one"

He sleeps with me every night.  "Whoa, who knew mattresses were so comfortable!"

He PLAYS now. He jumps and EXPLORES now.  He wakes me up with kisses on the nose and taps his paw on my nose to get me to pet him.

Yesterday he let me clip his claws and didn't try to go for the face.

Today he let me kiss his cheek without starting or being scared.

THAT is why the picture is so important.  He went from being afraid, sick, cold and alone to being a normal loving happy CAT.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Werk and being a wounded meat bag

So my "normal" work week is  thur, fri, sat, and Sun and is about 25 hours.  But almost every other week I get meetings, babysitting, dog training, and extra coverage tacked on and it ends up being closer to 30 hours a week.  Which is fine, because: money.  The thing that is not so great is that my huse begins to look like squatters live here, or that the animals have taken over and we are 2 mintues from a lord of the flies situation with the dog as king, the cats head on pikes and hubby in the corner eating fruit cocktail out of a can with a broken spork.

It takes me longer to do things.  Laundry, takes longer because sometimes my entire right side is numb or decides today is not a ___________ day (walking, grabbing, bending, lifting, being able to detect hot or cold) Every damn thing affects my body; dust, dander, rain, heat, cold, etc...add on that I am spening most of my work hours in my car driving, or in a house cleaning, or at a gym working out when I get home or have 2 days off I literally have to resist macrame-ing my ass into the couch and refusing to move.
I have been trying to do 6 days a week cardio and 3 days a week resistance training to keep my body loose and muscles in shape, strong core, and muscles means less chance of me falling down, straining something and not having a working skeleton to support me. (I am in general a walking meatbag with broken bones assembled inside)

So to people who think I can just work 40 hours, (because you do that, and have kids, and work out, and go out, and volunteer, and nurse baby squirrels back to health) I say I wish.

I enjoy working, I enjoy doing a job well, I enjoy being able to pay my bills, have insurance, and have a place to go where I am providing a service and doing it well.  I liked working so much I used to work 60 plus hours a week AND was a volunteer firefighter.

Now, I have to accept that my mind likes work but my body can't handle fulltime (It can't handle cheap beer and staying out until 1AM either)

Mix in being older, mix in anxiety, mix in being a shaken jenga puzzle covered in ground chuck, sealed in plastic wrap.

The mind is willing but the body gives life the finger.

But we endure, and I hope we can be kind, see things from all the angles and accept that for myself, and many other people living with Chronic diseases and disorder, there is always a will, but the body is in the way.

Be good to yourself,


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jessica Polly Sally Levering

There are those people you meet. You don't get to spend a ton of time with them but you know that you will always hold a special place in your heart for them.  Jessica was one of those kids for me.  Jessica like myself had a chronic degenerative illness, unlike myself she had never known anything other than a life being sick.

I met her while working at the Westcott Community Center as a volunteer coordinator and teaching arts and crafts to the kids coming there.  Jess was one of those kids, and we bonded over our total love of animals, being less than healthy, and being devoted smart asses.

Jess didn't come in a lot, she was a young kid, so while I loved seeing her I didn't try to get overly involved in her life because she was a young kid, I was an adult it would be more than a little creepy to be saying "this is my 11 friend" as a 28 year old woman.  But I would see her out and grill her about our mutual interests, swap stories about animals, soak up her whip smart sense of humor, and laugh at her smart ass comments.

We were friends, with a unspoken kinship that was not obvious.  I remember one day going into work and sitting in the office, my migraine had gotten the best of me and I was throwing up in the office.  It had been the third day of throwing up for me and I was tired and in pain and on the verge of tears.

Jess walked in looked at me and said "Oh come on, at least you didn't crap your pants!"  I immediately started laughing, wiped my face cleaned puke off my shirt and said thanks.

I remember after a while she started high school, got a boyfriend and had more stuff she was doing, I had a new job, surgery, and my own health crap that took my entire attention and we fell out of touch.  I saw her infrequently and her dad often and made sure to ask about Jess and he would relay messages to me.

Today I found out Jess had cancer two years ago and had died.  Her dad had tried contacting me via an old cell and house number and Westcott email that no longer worked and assumed I moved. He said "I am so sorry, I wish I could have gotten in touch, I know she wanted to see you, I am so sorry."

I must have gone through all the stages of grief in about a minute and got stuck on anger.  Jess was a kid who I was excited to see what she was going to do.  In her too short life she proved being kind was always the best policy, laughter can make anything better, being funny is infinitely more important than being pretty (her words not mine, I used to joke that I was drag queen and therefore gorgeous) and that when life Jess quote "Gave you the shaft" you had a choice to make each day a good one, or sit in the dark crying and feeling sorry for yourself.

In short, Jess was just a awesome, cool, smart, funny kid who should have been around longer.

It feels like her life was like a short match, lit, burning bright, catching your attention then suddenly snubbed out by a dick known as cancer.  Not cool man, not cool (another Jess saying)

I only remember Jess being serious about being sick once.  We were sitting outside on a picnic bench at the WCC watching the kids play football.  One of the younger kids asked Jess to play and she said "I can't do that, but I will cheer for you!"  the kid smiled and walked away and I sat next to her not saying anything just enjoying the warm weather.  Suddenly she turned around and said "I know what they are thinking, you know. "  I asked her what she meant.  She said "I know I am sick, I know I might not going to grow up to be an old lady. This is not some BIG secret."  I asked why she was talking about it and she flapped her hands like it was not important and continued "I think about it, when I see those older girls in college, older girls in high school.  I try to think of myself being a college kid...I don't want to think about it, but I do."  I made some sappy remark about how no one knew how long they were going to live and that I could be hit by a car tomorrow or struck by lightening.  She laughed and said "Yeah, thats true, life can be *snaps her fingers*! but we may be OK you and I because we already got struck once! No waiting for something bad to happen, it happened, so deal with it."

This tiny person who never ceased to make me laugh, never ceased to call me out for being grumpy, and always showed nothing but kindness and humor was struck twice by lightening and that pisses me off.

I wish I could channel Jess right now and find something positive out of this but the truth is that this is a loss, it does not make sense and it doesn't seem fair. 

Jess was a friend, who had an illness but loved animals and had a sense of humor that gave me LIFE.  She believed in being kind, she believed in being smart, and she loved big and found enough to share with a person she barely got to spend time with, I feel lucky that I got to meet her and get to know her for the brief time she shared this world with us.

That said, screw the zombie apocalypse, the real apocalypse are these illnesses that are taking lives and doing it fast.  I think it is time to as Jess would say "Put on my big girl panties" and make a go of this Kind Outreach thing.  The last thing we need is another charity, but we need money for these charities.  Charities that help people with rare diseases.  When is the last time people donated as much money to a charity as they did Kickstarter for a Veronica Mars movie?  (Don't get me wrong I am stupid excited about that movie...but lets be real Diseases vs Movie, diseases should win)

So Jess, I am ticked off that you were taken off this planet, because this world needs more people like you, but I hope that you inspired people to be better, to do better, and to laugh often and be kind.

I know that what you did for me, and for that I am happy I knew you.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

The meltdown

So the thing that stopped my fitness before was illness and injury.  My current trainer/PT/LPN thinks that I may have overdone it because I didn't see instant results. 

So I was under strict orders, if I have a headache, I take it easier, if I am in pain, I take it easier, and I don't over do it to try and "compensate"

There is where the injury goes beyond working out too hard, it goes diet wise too.

Don't get it twisted, I will never "diet" again.  I am only following a few rules food wise:

1.  Half plate veggies.  If you fill up on veggies you are fuller longer and they have nutrients your body needs.

2.  Tea, Water, or nothing.  I cut out alcohol (except on special occasions) carbonated beverages, and fruit juice.  If I want juice I will eat a piece of fruit

3.  Say no to processed and GMO.  Will I ever cheat and have a donut? one yes, three NO.  Will I ever eat a Oreo cookie or an PopTart again? Probably not.  i found what those sugars do and besides NOT satisfying any craving, they are never as good as I think they are going to be.

4.  Drink before cheating.  I mean water or tea perverts.

5.  If you are going to eat something "bad" eat it before noon.  If I want a donut I am hiking my ass down the street before 10 AM and getting it local

I also have some working out guidelines like getting one day of "rest" or no heavy workout
daily abs for my back.
Looking to have clothes fit better and have more endurance, not to LOOK like anyone else.

Today I literally was vacuuming with a headache thought to myself  "I really need to stop, my head and shoulders are killing me" and it took the vacuum physically falling and smacking me in the head before I said aloud "Oh, I need to stop NOW!"

I took the rest of the day to prep a meatloaf, water plants, get a haircut, dye my hair, and walk to the library and I don't feel like I "wasted a day" or was 'lazy"  I was talking to my therapist about that feeling and how I was proud of myself, he joked "You must have trimmed off some stubborn too!"

It is probably the hardest part of being a "walking cripple" I may look fine and be dragging myself from trash can to trash can that day.  BUT hopefully I will be able to keep up my 24 hours a week job (maybe even afford insurance) and be OK for a little while until the next hurdle comes.  For now I have my health, my pets, and a husband.  We will say I am content, which is a milestone for me.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Social eating phobia

So I have anorexia/bulemia.  It comes from having the feeling that I could not eat in front of other people, then sneaking food when no one else it watching or when I was stressed or sad.  I've done this since I was in grade school and a school mate saw me eating a breakfast bar for breakfast and said "You are so fat, you should probably not eat anything"  After that I noticed thinner family members all staring at my obese mother eat and criticizing her choices.  So I began to only eat in front of ONE or TWO friends and never eating in public.

I remember junior and senior high until junior year when I discovered 3 hour workouts and old packets of my mom's diet pills.  I would eat my food in a stair well alone then go sit with my friends as they ate telling them I had to study.  I would wake up early, run for 2 hours on a treadmill in my basement, go to school, then come home and go to martial arts class, take 2 classes, then go to the gym and workout.  All while consuming about 600 calories a day.

NO ONE knew I was anorexic, not my friends not my parents, not even my doctor who even told me "I am so proud of your weightloss!"

I became a freshman in college and continued working out everyday but increased school work meant less time for 3 hour workouts.  Plus Sophmore year I started getting headaches, body aches, and  being super tired for no reason.

I ended putting on weight, and slowly the crappier I felt, the less I cared about how much I ate.  When I graduated I was a size 14. (previously I'd been an 11-12)

I went to New York to teach at a college and ended putting on more weight,  I moved to syracuse, started a gym member ship, got a trainer and got back to a 12.  Then I loved in with a woman and a baby and became basically a parent.  Soon I was back up to a 14.  After living on my own, joining the fire department and training for a 5K I was gone to a 10.  Then I started having blinding headaches, and my right arm kept getting weaker and weaker.  I was diagnosed with Syringomyelia and told "No more running, no more lifting, no more fire dept." I basically gave up working out and spent a year saying "screw it" and emotionally eating.  I bloomed up to a size 18.

I am still a size 18 but now I have a trainer who for the last 6 months has been working with me NOT to skip meals, learn to pace myself, and has me doing the right kind of fitness and resistance training so I won't hurt myself or aggravate my spinal cord injury.  It has been SLOW.  I am finally able to wear juniors size 20 and adults size 18, straight out of the dryer.  I am NOT on a diet.  I eat whatever I want, I just eat smaller portions, I snack, and I always make myself have a 1/2 plate of vegetables.  Also I am not allowed to eat alone, or after the sun goes down.

It is hard, it sucks, and I am not "cured" I don't know that I will ever be a size 14 again, but I know I want muscle and strength back.  And I will never look like a model, I wil only always lok like me, and I am OK with that.

Monday, March 17, 2014

End of days..."my weekend"

So since purchasing a new car (and then having pretty new car involved in a hit and run) I have gone from working 18 hours a week (happy doctor) to 27 hours a week (not happy doctor)

My schedule is as follows:

Thursday 8:30AM-12:30PM
Friday:  8:30AM-12:30PM
             2PM-3PM: Clean 40 gallon fish tank for another client from 4:30-6PM Laundry. 
             7PM-Midnight: Babysit occasionally.
Saturday: 8:30AM to 9:30AM Farmers Market/grocery/meat run. 
               10AM-3PM work with client.
               5PM-10PM take client to workout, do clients laundry, make him dinner.
Sunday:   2PM-10PM Take client for workout, Help client overhaul ENTIRE HOUSE, make menu for the week and grocery list, and make his lunch for the following day.

Which means Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I have "off" for cleaning my own house, getting to doctor appointments, or getting to other appointments.

I am busy.  and being Immuno Suppressed and having a neurological disease that means I am possibly weak and hurting on a scale of 2-10 every day means I have to pace myself.  So today when a relative I normally try NOT to talk to decides to call me and lecture me because I posted that I was taking it easy today...I kinda snapped. This same relative taught me everything I had to unlearn about body dimorphism, shaming myself for being hungry, shaming myself for eating ANYTHING with calories in it, they are the main reason I can't eat in front of people, they are one of the main reasons that I used to perform and compete on injuries (like broken bones) and why I have permanently fucked up my bones and ligaments to the point where YOGA is a challenge.  So when they decide to "tease" me for being lazy and lecture me to "Use my time to tidy up my house for my husband" I kinda felt like punching a koala.  Just blatant, uncontrollable misplaced rage.

I work, and when I work, I work HARD.  As RuPaul says "I ain't got time for no half steppin!"

So when I am on my day off...does that mean I sit around eating chocolate and lying on my couch with a scratching stick?  no.  It means I still have to get up, take out the dog, clean the cat boxes, make the bed, tidy up, make brunch, plan dinner, sweep up, clean the toilet, brush the cats, and make a plan for cleaning the house.  BUT since I am also trying to recover from work I have to do it at a specific pace.

Typically I will clean cat boxes (I do this everyday, but overhaul on mondays) sweep, then sweep the entire house, then take a 15 min break.  Then I vacuum two big rooms, then take another break, then do the kitchen, then a break, then the bedroom and office.  After (you guessed it another break) I will start in the bathroom and mop, wipe down surfaces,  and mop hallway and kitchen.  Empty ut the mop bucket, take a break.  Then go and finish up, wipe down the kitchen, start dinner, put away laundry, and after each 30 minutes of activity, I take a break.  When I am cleaning my clients home, I am making them help me, so I don't take as long to clean the entire house.  MY house has 4 cats, and a dog all following me around wanting to know WHAT I am doing, and the dog wanting to be vacuumed, and thus getting in the way.

So, you clean and organize a house with what boils down to 5 kids following you around, add in weak arms, a bad back, and headaches that come and go.  It takes you longer!

So thanks for the "concern" but unless you are coming to my house to pick up a bucket and a mop, save your "help" for someone else.  I got this.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Things to do INSTEAD of buying your kid a bunny or chocolate on Easter.

I hate the holidays.  I truly do.  In our house growing up the holidays were about family coming into town, spending time eating together, laughing, going to see parades, and volunteering.

We usually did the Sunday Night supper, or a Soup kitchen.  We had gifts but they were small, reasonable.

So now easter is coming and I KNOW that people are revving up to buy tiny cute bunnies, kittens, and chickens knowing NOTHING about what to do with those animals when they become adults.

OR they get baskets that are as big as a smart car filled with tooth decaying, mind erasing, sugar crusted thing a ma bobs guaranteed to send their child into a frenzy of high blood sugar and tear inducing crashes.

How about we do something else?

I am going to share with you some ideas of what to do on easter besides buy things.

1.  Go to church.  ANY church.   How about some fellowship?  community? learn some folklore about Christians and how they stole this pagan holiday?

2.  Volunteer.  Dog shelter, Cat Shelter, HEY BUNNY SHELTER.  Hospital, children's home, homeless shelter.  ANY FREAKING place that has people who didn't get a basket the size of a smart car!

3.  Take an lonely person out to lunch.  Everyone has that neighbor or relative who has no one to come and take them out on a holiday.  ADOPT THEM.  Take them into your home, give them a sense of being with family.  Open your hearts and arms to someone who has no one. *** EDIT:  We are currently seeking out a person without a family to adopt and feed.  Applications can be sent to keenjoy at gmail dot com ***

4.  Learn something.  My Nana and I always went to the Science museum or the Art Museum on holidays.  (This was after our shift at the soup kitchen) we even went and saw movies together during holidays at the old black and white or the "art" cinema downtown.  She is a lifelong learner so any chance to cram some learning into my head, she did it.

5.  Go for a walk.  Even if it is in the mall, get some damn exercise!  My husband and I always do a family walk with our dog.  If it is nice we take him on a hike, HE LOVES IT.  Then we force him to wear bunny ears and pose for a picture.  No pain no gain.

SEE?  5 options noe of them involve buying hordes of chocolate or buying a cute little baby bunny that you will probably be trying to get rid of in 6 months.

And because you read this far here is your reward:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Judging someone with Chronic Illness

I have Syringomyelia.  It is like an evil entity that randomly decides "Today it he day when you will fall down the stairs, or today is the day you will puke while getting your mail"  It is a evil vindictive disease that punishes your body for trying to be normal.  In reality  

Syringomyelia is:(sear-IN-go-my-EEL-ya) is a disorder in which a cyst forms within the spinal cord.  This cyst, called a syrinx, expands and elongates over time, destroying a portion of the spinal cord from its center and expanding outward.  As a syrinx widens it compresses and injures nerve fibers that carry information from the brain to the extremities.  Damage to the spinal cord often leads to progressive weakness in the arms and legs, stiffness in the back, shoulders, arms, or legs, and chronic, severe pain.  Other symptoms may include headaches, a loss of the ability to feel extremes of hot or cold (especially in the hands), and loss of bladder and other functions.  Each individual experiences a different combination of symptoms depending on where in the spinal cord the syrinx forms and how far it extends.  Signs of the disorder tend to develop slowly, although sudden onset may occur with coughing or straining.
It is a chronic illness.  And when you are chronically ill, people  seem to harbor intense scrutiny and anger toward you.  The overall feelings seem to be "If you just took better care of yourself" or "If you just toughened up" or "You think you have problems?  I have old age/cancer/no leg/arthritis/insert disease here"

People with chronic illness would trade ANYTHING not to have them,  Having Syringomyelia is not a badge of honor.  How anyone would think that I prefer spending a minimum of one day a week carrying around a bucket to puke in, or spending 60 dollars a month on medications, or having to tell my nieces that Aunt KJ can't lift them up? Or spending an entire day in bed with a towel over my eyes and an ice pack on my chest, IN JANUARY is my idea of a good time?

I tell them, what drugs are YOU on? 

As for the cancer argument (yes I actually had someone say, you should be happy you don't have cancer) There are treatments, and sometimes even cures for cancer.  My father and brother and Uncle died of cancer, my Nana had breast cancer, CANCER SUCKS...FUCK CANCER.  That said, when people get cancer no one tells them DAILY to buck up and be tough.

I also hear the argument "I have a friend who has NO ARMS and she works 40 hours a week!"  or "My friend is in a wheelchair and he works 35 hours from his house!"

How many times do I have to say that ME having a chronic degenerative disease does not UNDERMINE another persons disability?

Its not a god damn competition!

I "look" healthy.  I work 25 hours a week, I try not to bitch and complain too much, but often I feel like people need to know "today is a shit day, I am hurting, there will be no productivity"  I don't say it to get sympathy or attention, I say it so that people may possibly understand that Chronic Illness is a tempermental testy bitch of a disease and comes on for NO reason.  I have tried every diet, every supplement, every medication to make me "normal" I went from being a firefighter who worked 50 hours a week to being a person who can barely eek through yoga and  daily walks and works 25 hours a week.  NO ONE IN ThEIR RIGHT MIND CHOOSES TO BE THIS WAY.

I know opinions are like assholes and everyone has them.  I hear people say "If you stopped eating meat you would be better, If you got rid of your pets you would be better, if you  used essential oils you would be better, rub dirt and beer on it and you will be better"

Know that I have CAREFULLY made all my choices and work every day to attempt to be the best version of myself.  No one with chronic illness is helped by being told your non medical, non expert based personal opinion of how to "get better"  If we all spent that energy on trying to be a better version of ourselves instead of constantly judging other people think what we would accomplish.

On that note, I am off to take my ABD Kayne Michael for a short walk because it is the HIGHLIGHT of my day.  He is my non judgmental, always willing to snuggle, completely loyal dog who never judges mommy for carrying around a puke bucket, or daddy for following mommy around with a shop vac.

Hug your kids and pets.


Friday, March 07, 2014

Happy Spouse Happy House?

So much stress when making a huge decision like buying a new car.  I have been researching and looking at cars to replace our Jeep.  We have a down payment of 3,000 bucks and a trade in valued at 1200 bucks.  We found a 2010 Toyota Yaris for 10,000 (incl tax title, license, registration, and extended warranty which includes yearly detailing, monthly car washes and low cost oil changes.  Chris is upset about it costing 200 a month but I am taking on another job to make an extra 300 a month to cover car and insurance premiums.  Also since it is summer I have the chance to make some bank doing coverage for people who want to go on vacation.

I wanted to touch on the whole stressed spouse issue.  We all deal with stress differently.  I grew up in a house where I was constantly the one having to be an adult whenever my Grandmother had to work (which was a LOT)  my mother was like the older sister, my brother was chronically in trouble and the rest of our family lived far away.  Thus, if we wanted dinner, I cooked, bills had to be paid? I made it happen.  I have bee working some form of a job since I was 12 babysitting every weekend, Nanny jobs every summer, farm and ranch jobs every vacation, and part time working all through high school and 30 hours a week in college.  Because of that I have bought 4 cars for my family over the years.  I know how to research cars, I know what we do and do not need.

That said when other people were going to house parties and going on road trips, I was working.  I got to travel, but the way I traveled was by having a job, internship, project.

So once I had to pare back to ONE job, then part time I found myself with TIME.  Time is a funny thing, too much of it and you try to fill it.  Hearing others talk about how they don't have enough makes you want to cram it full of activity.  When you have a chronic disease and a majority of time is spend lying in a dark room heaving into a bucket you get anxious.

Time may not be money, but it is fucking valuable. 

So when people drag their feet, I understand.  When I have to drag my feet I freak out.  Tomorrow might entail 16 hours of fighting off nausea and trying to find buckets to be nauseous in. 

So I find myself almost homicidal angry when I am ready to do something, making a smart decision and have people dragging their feet because they are being what appears to ME as being overly cautious.  More than that when they refuse to consult people who know things about the subject and are basing their actions on how they feel or what a friend "feels" (Friends whom have zero gorram knowledge of the subject)

THIS is where happy spouse happy house comes in.  Its about letting people come to terms with their feelings on decisions (even if you think feelings have nothing to do with it) its about letting family vent to toher family, and letting your spouse come around to buying a car on their own. 

In my case it is about backing the fuck off, letting him talk to his brother, best friend, gas station attendant, and anyone else who will help him come to grips with his feelings.

Its about loving someone enough to step back, sometimes it is enough.  Sometimes you will get ulcers or chew a hole in your tongue or have chronic visions of stabbing them in the leg with an ice pick.  But rage fades, and you remember WHY you love them when they do something like dance with the dog, or let the cat smell their stinky feet.

So this spouse may not especially be happy, but that spouse is getting there and marriage is about compromise and avoiding manslaughter charges.

Hopefully he will not use him brother as an expert for cars and listen to every expert who has advised us to buy the car we are financed for.  Or better yet, trust his wife and her arsenal of knowledge and research.  Off to boil a small mammal for ritual sacrifice.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Its time to review random crap! Donna Michelle Salon Basics Nail Polish Stickers (Dollar Tree)

So I am a fan of nail art, I have a tub of nail stuff and like to keep my nails pretty.  But polish chips like CRAZY.  So the only thing that seems to spend any real time on my nails are foils and nail stickers.

So when at the dollar store with my client I see a bunch of nail stickers "Donna Michelle Salon Basics Nail Polish Stickers"  Thinking aw fuck it they are a dollar, I bought some.

Last Sunday during the day I put them on, took about 20 minutes because I am a perfectionist. After they were on I hit them for about 10 seconds with the hair dryer, and slapped some Nail Effect top coat on them.

Then the next day waited for them to peel off, and they didn't

It is now Thursday night, and I have applied one other top coat to the nail decals, and they are STILL on my nails.  I have cleaned, cooked, washed, showered, scrubbed floors, planted seeds, peeled garlic, chopped onions, EVERYTHING.  They are not chipping, not other words they have no signs of coming off.

so far, no dice.  And they are kind cute too!

I am definitely going to go back and pick up a few more packs, just for fun.  Its nice to have a manicure once a week that has some staying power.  plus they have the pet wipes there that I use on Klaude that work GREAT and don't hurt his delicate bootie.

New review: Pet Wipes.  Tested y the dog, the cat, and inadvertently by my husband.