Mark made this birthday card for me, because I'm such a Game of Thrones fan, and because he's a clever guy and a top-notch graphics designer.
Happy Birthday to the one, the only [ profile] darlong! Healer of wounds to body and soul, nurturer to those on four legs and two, gluten-free chef extraordinaire, and a damn fine writer.

Here's to you, honey!
Happiest of Birthdays to [ profile] sparky77

My wish for you is that this is the last birthday you'll spend as sick and as tired as you are. I hope that this year turns around in a big damn hurry and finds you happy and crazy (in that special Q way) and so healthy that it's obnoxious :)
I'm still a bit overwhelmed about what Dar and my friends have pulled off. Overwhelmed in the sense of flooded with joy and love and gratitude. [ profile] caerwynx, [ profile] firedance5, [ profile] windrider67 and [ profile] gatezilla snuck up from MA and RI to completely gobsmack me with a surprise visit. ([ profile] malterre had come up Thursday night, remember.) Dar had dragged me off to the large farmers' market in our area around 11 AM - someplace we usually avoid unless we get there at the crack of dawn - and as I was trudging along behind her trying to figure out what the hell we were doing there mid-morning I suddenly see Caer! And next to her is Gate! And holy crap - that's Wind and Fire! I just could not wrap my mind around it at all for a few seconds :) I haven't seen dearest Caer and Wind for two years, sweet Gate for about four years and my beloved Fire for almost five years. I was just . . . blown away.

It was a wonderful visit for all that it had to be short. I haven't laughed like that in a long time it seems. I love them, you know?

And my Dar - my own Dar - for pulling this all together - I'm tearing up again. "Love" doesn't begin to cover it.

Thank you all for this perfect gift.
I had a wonderful surprise last night - [ profile] malterre appeared on my doorstop as a birthday present for me! I mean, I was completely blindsided in the best possible way. So I gave her a big hug and a big kiss, and then I told her I was going to abandon her at 9PM to watch the Lost season finale. Priorites, people. And she completely understood :)

So we've been eating and chatting, and chatting and eating, and petting the cats and eating. Chatting. You know. It's been grand.

Dar made my birthday dinner last night, and yumminess ruled the land. It was her version of chicken cacciatore, spaetzle, rice, and for dessert there was her special chocolate trifle (gluten-free so Miss M* could eat it.) I ate so much that I hurt myself.

Dar bought me a cassette tape that channels my iPod since I have the world's suckiest car radio and the usual iPod paraphenalia doesn't work in the car. Mark made various-sized prints of some of my favorite photos, which was very sweet of him and also very cool to see. (Plus he gave me chocolate!) And Holls bought me a little yard with flamingoes and a picket fence, and some ginger snaps, and Dunkin' Donuts ground coffee and something else that I've forgotten because my memory sucketh.

Back to visiting. Hope y'all are having a marrrrrvelous day.
Thank you for all of the wonderful birthday wishes. It made me blub a little bit, I have to admit. The day itself was not much in the way of birthday celebrating. That abscessed tooth of Dar's went really septic and spread to her ear. We spent yesterday trying to get it seen to at the oral surgeon's office, but after trying unsuccessfully to take care of it he said that nothing could be done until the infection was cleaned up. She's on massive antibiotics, and he's going to try again next Tuesday. Poor wifey is in a great deal of pain both from the abscess and from the side effects of the meds. Good vibes going Dar's way would be greatly appreciated.

I got a call from the nephrologist this morning. She had a sudden cancellation and wanted to know if I could make it in at 11AM. I could! I did! I really like her on both a professional and personal level, and I'm very glad that my rheumy referred me to her.

OK, the upshot is that she has no idea what's wrong with my kidneys. Hey, why should she be any different, right? There's definitely something wrong, but there's no clue as to what is causing it. So she's going to do a kidney biopsy in hopes that it will give us some kind of definite answer and a direction. She spent a good 10 minutes going over everything that could go wrong, but really . . . I want this done. I'm so tired of not having something known that I'm getting desperate for answers. There's a 50/50 chance that the biopsy will come back normal, but I'm willing to do this anyway. I don't have a definite date; her secretary will call back tomorrow I think. It should be within the next two weeks, and I'll have the report about six weeks after that.

The procedure itself is scheduled as day surgery and takes about 45 minutes. If everything goes well, they'll keep me about six hours after that just to keep an eye on me, then send me home. I'll have to go back in the next morning for an ultrasound to check for bleeding. If something goes wrong during the biopsy, I'll be in overnight.

The good news is that while my kidneys are functioning at about 60-65%, they've stabilized at that point. There's no further deterioration. Yay!

The kitten we call Jane (Dar sings that to her every morning *g*) is much improved, too. We took off her final fentanyl patch this morning, and she is one happy kitty not to have her hind leg all bandaged up. Her tongue is mostly healed and her jaw is coming along well, too. She's still not as bouncy as she used to be, but she's getting there. I took a deep breath later this afternoon and let her go outside with Chloe and Mao. She was thrilled, and she and Chloe romped around for a while. The new rule is that the cats can outside from mid-morning until late afternoon. I don't know that they necessarily grasp the time difference, but it makes their humans feel a little better.

And that's about it. We're hoping to have a quiet day tomorrow for a change. No running around, no doctors appointments. I think the weather is going to co-operate, too. I hope Dar is feeling a bit better by then, because that would be the icing on the cake.
Happy Happy Birthday to my mei-mei, [ profile] cajoje!

How clever of you to get all the nasty stuff out of the way now (you know, being sick, having to work). That way the rest of the year is clear to be faaaabulous for you. As it should be.

Look, I got you a kitten.


See you soon.

Love, cake, candles, and beer,

Two tablespoonsful of vanilla caramel chocolate crunch frozen yogurt with a splash of Bailey's on top.

Hey, did you know that it was recently Steven Spielberg's sixtieth birthday? I had no idea that he was only two years older than I am. He's my favorite director by far, and while I've hated some of his movies (Goonies! Hook! ET!) most of his films rank among the best I've ever seen.

Oh, damn! Birthdays. I missed [ profile] llaras's birthday. Shame on me. Shame. I hope it was a wonderful day for you, my dear, and the beginning of an even more wonderful year.
Thank you for the many wonderful birthday wishes. Youse guys are a blessing on my life.

It was one of those days where we ran quickly through a whole slew of weather types: rain, wind, sun, clouds, warmth, coolth (is so a word!), calm. How appropriate for a Gemini, eh?

I slept late for me (8:30), so my darling wife had already had the alpacas up and fed by the time I stumbled out. I did get to check on the new kitties and the momma cat; all are doing well, although I'd feel a lot better if we could bring them inside. I've been outvoted on that one. And they'll do fine out there, I know, it's just that as I was telling Dar it seems our luck to have to deal with newborns and colder than normal temps. I worry about little critters when they're so vulnerable and the weather is acting inhospitable.

And that lets me seque into a Valentino story. It rained all night. It rained this morning. All of the alpacas were hanging out in the barn staying warm and toasty, except for one. Yup. Valentino. Would not go inside. He's less than a week old, and the only time he's been in the barn was to be weighed, which was not pleasant for him since we were carrying him and keeping him away from his mom. So . . . no barn for that stubborn little cria. I went out to check on him - getting soaked in the process - and saw him scrunched up in the yard in front of the barn door wet and shaking. I scooted him inside. He immediately bounded outside. As did Gertie. So the two of them led me on a merry chase in the wind and the rain until I scooted him back in the barn again. This time I closed the barn doors so he couldn't get out. Turns out that I forgot that you have to secure the barn door from the inside, so the barn doors ended up slamming open and closed in the wind, scaring the crap out of all the alpacas.

I'd gone to sleep by this point (I wasn't feeling all that well today), but fortunately it had stopped raining pretty soon after; Dar went out and secured the doors open and calmed everyone down. Sigh. So much for getting Val to feel more at home in the barn. Scary place with terrifying, slamming doors! I'm never going in there againnnnnnnnn!

In other alpaca news, I drove Dar over to our friends' place because their herdsire needed some shots. That went fairly smoothly, although Daniel (the herdsire) was not at all happy about this. While we were getting him settled I got to know the new maidens that Deb had bought. One in particular, Raffitella, just made me smile hugely - cute as a button with huge eyes, huge eyelashes, and one big old moustache. Hee! Absolutely adorable.

Back home. Slept for a couple of hours which is unusual for me, but as I said, I wasn't feeling all that great. Dar made some delicious chicken and rice for me for dinner. And for dessert - Flaming apple spice cake. Except it wasn't supposed to be flaming, but it spontaneously burst into flames in the oven for some reason. Uh-oh :) Once she put out the flames and cut off the charred parts, it looked just fine, and it was tasty as all get out: moist and not at all crunchy.

For presents I got tulips (love!), a high-powered water gun with which to carry on my battle against the evil grackles, a couple of lotto tickets (no winners, unhappily), another pair of alpaca socks, a couple of candy bars (dark chocolate, thank you very much), and a huge bottle of Bailey's from the Nana and JBD (yay!). The best present was saved for last, and I'm here to tell you that I am the proud and happy owner of my very own seed spreader! Huzzah!!!! No, really. Huzzzzzzzzzzahhhhhhhhh! I've been lusting after one of those babies for a year now. And I get to assemble it myself, too :) No more trying to seed the paddocks by hand in gale force winds. No sirree - we got us technology now! Truly. I'm very psyched.

I'm also very tired, so I need to hie myself to bed. But here are some pics of the day behind the cut.
Tulips and alpacas and kitties. Oh my. )
It's [ profile] darlong's birthday!

She's not just my wife and my best friend, she's the kindest soul I've ever met. She's a magical conglomeration of wisdom and goofiness (have her tell you about the dance she does with Mao) and tolerance and justice and mercy and hardcore rock 'n' rollingness, intense loyalty and fierce protectiveness, creativity, and perseverence. I could go on, but you get the picture.

So then, here's to Dar, without whom our lives would be much poorer.

So say we all.

August 2015

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