Baby Girl Melanoma!!
March 9, 2011

Get in the cat carrier, Baby...just get in please.

I noticed this strange thing on my beloved Baby Girl’s right hip maybe a month ago…and I thought at first it was a tick….about the same size, dark brown…almost black. So I got out my trusty tweezers and alcohol, ready  to do what I had done many times before on various animals…remove the darn thing. But I couldn’t get under it…. and B to the G made how she felt about me trying, painfully clear.

I attempted this again a few days later…same results. So clearly, if this is a tick it is deeply embedded, and Dr. Donna is not gonna be able to handle this one. Or…it’s something else, like a growth. So I made an appointment with my vet one morning before work….and off we go.

The trusty Pet Taxi....Baby hates it...

Dr. Cohen looks at it and says, “It’s definitely not a tick“…..and he squeezes it a little and rubs it …here’s the weird thing…dark pigment came off on his finger. Eeuuuw. He continued, “It’s definitely a growth of some kind…good you didn’t try to remove it(true dat-could have been messy)…..but what worries me is the pigmented nature of it.” He said to leave Baby there for the day, and they would remove the growth that afternoon….”Whatever it is, it probably needs to come off.”  Poor Baby Girl.

Baby's incision..stitches come out next week....

I picked her up that evening…she was a little sad and still a bit woozy, but otherwise fine(nothing seems to dent Baby’s appetite-that girl can eat!)….and it was yesterday that Dr. Cohen called me with the biopsy results. Benign melanoma,(have you ever heard of that on a cat?) but some of the cells in one part of it were atypical. Not good. But the doc had removed a wide margin of skin around the lesion, and all those margins were clear. He said, “Keep on eye on that area  in the future and let me know if anything appears anywhere else.” He was actually amazed that I found that one, because Baby is, as he referred to her, “heavily furred“. Yeah she is, Baby doesn’t fool around when it comes to fur…she’s all in.  So just a heads up to pet owners…it sometimes pays to do the thorough petting session. And B to the G sends her furry love….

Guess who’s coming to dinner….and it has fur…
October 12, 2010

Guess who's coming to dinner...and not leaving?

Yes, house guests are descending on me tonight….one human… and one cat. My daughter’s apartment is being bombed(as in fumigated) tomorrow…and since her cat Spencer is somewhat delicate with his kidney problems…she and Spence will staying with us a couple of days. She’s a little upset over the whole thing…evidentally next door neighbors in her building left for a few months, and left food and stuff they shouldn’t have around(bad neighbors, bad)…now there’s a roach problem.(You’re not a real Baltimorean/New Yorker until you kill a cockroach with your bare hand!….courtesy of How I Met Your Mother).

talk about cooped up...poor Spencer...

This presents a couple of issues, the biggest of which is my cats. We’ve decided(meaning I’ve decided)  that Baby Girl and Muffy really won’t cotton to a new housemate, especially a huge, new, male, feline beast. And you know I have my own issues with Baby Gaga being put on prozac(read here)….for inappropriate peeing, so the last thing I want to do is upset her apple cart right now. So Spence will be corralled in my daughter’s room, along with his litter box, food and water.

B to the G says, "Bring it, Spencer."

My daughter cried foul over this, saying how cruel it is to Spencer,  to be cooped up in one room, blah, blah….I replied that really, he already lives in a one room place( a studio apartment), soooooo…it can’t be that different, can it? Plus he can explore his limited space in peace, without the hissing and howling of two female kitty-cats who will loathe him on sight. And they’ll all be separated by several rooms…each with their own section of the house.  I hope this works.

Catfish fingers...dusted with cornmeal and fried....

Dinner at Darker Than Blue Cafe on Greenmount was really quite nice…it’s a tiny place, so when the jazz trio(which was very good) was really jamming, it was LOUD…forget about conversation or even hearing what the specials were…I just ordered from the menu. The Catfish fingers were ab fab….dusted with cornmeal and quick fried…divine. I ordered the ribs…really tender..and only one quibble with my meal. I’m pretty sure the mashed potatoes were from a box. I know what they taste like, because my Mother thought they were the best thing ever invented when we were growing up(she was wrong). But…no. Just make real mashed potatoes or don’t serve them…it’s lazy cooking. But it was a nice evening…and I’ll go back…just won’t order mashed potatoes. My daughter loved her shrimp and grits, and the service was lovely….and byob!

Made it...loved it...

Oh, I have to tell you I did make the recipe for Olive Oil Cake….adore it…but I have a suggestion for a slight change. Instead of coating the pan with olive oil and flour as the recipe suggests, coat it with corn meal instead…gives a nice little extra crunch to the edges. And while I did dutifully poach pears and figs in red wine to go with it…I would have liked even better fresh orange segments, to pick up the orange flavor in the cake(I also used orange liqueur instead of Amaretto ’cause I didn’t have any). And the cake was even better the next day-love that!

Friday Flowers and Baby Girl update….
August 6, 2010

Isn't this gorgeous??

I got this lovely bouquet yesterday…and let me just say, I am not someone who often receives flowers, so when one arrives on my desk, it’s a big deal for me, ok? And this one fits all the criteria for being outstanding….bright colors that pop, unique arrangement, and a great pot that I can use afterwards. I love it….and I even love the card that came along with it….from A Garden of Earthly Delights. Major props for the giver(who sent it in congrats for being in Baltimore’s Best this year….Rob Roblin and I had a good chuckle about both of us being chosen….we decided that if you wait long enough, you’ll get picked), and kudos for the flower designer, Carole Langraff. You rocked it Carole…

Great card.....

And I even like your business card, though it stands to reason that if someone has the design sense to do such pretty arrangements, you’ll also have a great looking  business card. And this one is waterproof….it won’t get all tatty looking in your wallet like paper ones do.

Oh, and J-Fran and I were talking cats this morning…that’s reporter and weekend anchor Jennifer Franciotti, who sits across from me in our long undulating rows of desks. She and I have shared cat traumas….you know…cats who don’t like the litter box. She asked this morning if Baby Girl was doing ok…and it was a pleasure to tell her, yes indeedie…Baby Girl has not had one of her “deliberate accidents”(that I know of, let me say) in several weeks. And it’s such a pleasure to come home and not have to, ummm… go straight into cleanup mode. J-Fran’s cat Bubba has had similar issues..she went straight to cat Valium….bingo…no problems, just like that. Baby has continued on her Prozac, though I truthfully don’t know if that is a big factor or all the other things I did…or maybe int’s a combination. Who knows? But I will continue all of them, in hopes of a permanent fix. So far, so good.

What’s in store for the weekend? Going for brunch/lunch at The Source tomorrow in D.C. with some friends who used to live in Columbia, but since they both work in D.C., they sold their house and moved into a cozy and very pretty condo there. I’ll take some pictures of how they downsized and show them to you next week….

The master...Wolfgang Puck

Oh, and The Source is a Wolfgang Puck(of Spago fame) restaurant…never been there, full report  coming up. Have a great weekend everyone, be nice, don’t throw rocks and come home safe…’cause we miss you.

Baby Gaga Prozac update…readers share their problems
July 21, 2010

Quite a few of you were interested in my problems with Baby Girl( who is still pee-free btw)…the inappropriate peeing and going on prozac…and some of you had ideas and questions. Here goes:

This from Debbie:  “My best friend  is at her wit’s end with the same problem with her cat, and is about ready to take her to the shelter (so sad — she’s otherwise a really nice kitty).  I shared your blog with her, and she was curious who your vet is that prescribed Prozac — I told her I would ask.  Can you share?”

I would indeed…Dr. Heather Graddy at  Westview Animal Hospital did the prescribing…she has been really helpful in trying to get to the bottom of this behavior(sometimes it can be something like a door that scares your cat). And if you’ve on the verge of getting rid of your pet, all avenues should be explored…even drugs.

This from Lainey: “Donna – something did change (don’t remember when though) when your daughter moved out. She also likely brings Spencer’s scent when she visits.Just and FYI too, cats hate citrus so placing orange peels or spritzing with citrus scented stuff is a good deterrent in general (not sure if it would help with Baby Girl’s issue, though).

Lainey, I did not know about citrus being a cat repellant, though I have some and will definitely employ it! Thanks for the tip.

And finally, from Stephanie…..”My Cat’s name is baby girl (3-4)years old also has the same issue. My problem is that she was fixed and she has an ovarian remnant in which she need surgery when she goes in to her heat periods and after she is out of heat she starts to pee on things or she is holding her pee she has had a bad bladder infection. She pees on anything and everything she has even pee when i went to pick her up. I didnt know about the citrus either maybe i will try that as well. how did you get the prozac would love to try that to see if it would help her. do you need to get from a vet?? I just cant afford the surgery as I’m out of work.”

Wow, that is a serious problem Steph…you must be at your wit’s end! I’d call the vet who did the surgery and see if you can negotiate a reduced rate for further surgery. I spoke with Dr. Graddy about it…she said there are some tests you can do to see if that is the issue, but the only answer is probably(as you know) another surgery. You might also ask about valium for your cat…it’s a more serious and immediate fix(and I’ve heard it works wonders), though riskier for the animal’s health as I understand it. But then, you also have a serious problem. Prozac takes weeks to kick in. Let me know what happens!

Baby’s on Prozac….
July 20, 2010

She looks so sweet...doesn't she??

Well, it’s finally come to this…Baby Girl…alias Baby GagaB to the G…is on drugs. I went to a place called Professional Arts Pharmacy a week or so ago, to pick up a prescription of Prozac, for Baby.  It was recommended by my vet for a “little problem” we’ve been having for a while now….Baby relieving herself  in unexpected places(though after a while it’s expected and you look for it). She had several nooks of which she was very fond….a cabinet by the television, any bags left on the floor-danger zone(sorry about your messenger bag, lovely Jennifer)….our shredder at one time, though it did fall out of favor. And I tried everything…all the kitty feel good products of sprays and little scent balls that plug-in(and aren’t cheap let me tell you) that are supposed, to let Baby know that all is well. Not.

The first thing the vet asked me, was what I had already asked myself….what’s changed around the house(nothing)...has anything or anyone new been introduced(no)…is anything causing Baby stress(are you kidding? After I die I want to come back as Baby!)…in other words, she’s just acting out…cause unknown. But as we all know, this is a situation that causes a great deal of stress in the house, as you have to leap of top of a “situation” before it has a chance to cause permanent damage. Luckily we don’t have carpet(oh, the horror of that…I truly feel for those of you with carpet and this issue), and a stone floor is pretty easy to clean, but still.  Just, no.

Liquid Prozac for Baby Girl....

So finally(after a checkup that revealed no physical issues) the vet suggested trying Prozac, saying that it does help cats about  90% of the time(evidently there is quite a big club of us inappropriate-peeing-cat-owners…I know of  two others here at WBAL, whom you would know, but want to remain anonymous). And the people behind the counter at Professional Arts Pharmacy..they evidentally compound a lot of drugs including liquid Prozac for animals….assured me lots of cats take it. I know it takes weeks to take effect, whether in animals or humans, but I will say Baby hasn’t had an accident in almost a week….I’m ecstatic and I’m giving her much love and praise. and I think something else may have helped…when we went on vacation for 10 days we sent Baby to boarding school.  The  Kitty Castle(here’s a link) is run by some extremely nice women…cat people, obviously. Baby loved it, and I loved not worrying about what she was doing at home while I was gone, and she had no problems while there, and used only her litter box…I think the change of scene helped create a break in the bahavior. Maybe Baby Gaga needed a holiday too!

Kitty Castle...boarding school for Baby Girl...

Baby also now  has three litter boxes to choose from in the basement, with 3 different litters…. I know, I know.  The extra litter box(one more litter box than you have cats-)was a suggestion from animal behaviorist Mark Katz from Falls Road Animal Hospital, so maybe that is also helping. There is a great article I found that you might find helpful…here’s a link.

Baby GaGa…..fu-fu-fu-furry face fu-fu furry face
February 17, 2010

Baby GaGa....refusing to even look at me....

You can see in the picture Baby Girl has adopted a certain disdain for me…fewer loving looks, a couple of actual growls when I try to comb her….she hasn’t started doing anything too terrible like peeing in a secret place, but still. And now, she demands to be called Baby GaGa…simply refuses to answer to anything else. Sing it with me now to the tune of Lady GaGa’s song….fu-fu-fu-furry face, fu-fu-furry face….underneath all that fur…nothing but ice.

Spencer...lapping up the good life...

What has happened? I believe she knows about Spencer, my daughter’s new rescue kitty…he’s so cute, so lovey, so well-behaved…could she have heard me talking about him? I know she suspects something…perhaps she has smelled him on me when I come home. The smell of a strange perfume, kitty lipstick on the collar…I’m quite sure she is suspicious, and has grown quite cold.

Cat yoga....hold that pose....

I’ve suggested kitty yoga to her….other cats swear by it and say it has helped them find their equilibrium in troubled times, but so far she won’t even try a downward dog, much less merudandasana! Actually I have trouble with that one too. What will placate baby? Perhaps some of that expensive cat food Spencer gets from his indulgent owner….you know, the 89 cents a tiny can stuff. I’ll get some today, and tell Baby, sorry, Baby GaGa…that she’s the only cat for me, that my time with Spencer meant nothing to me, please forgive me my  dalliance. I’ll let you know if it works.

I’m not the only one with a problem pet….and we’re looking for a place to lunch!!
September 23, 2009

Baby Girl pondering where to pee next...

Baby Girl pondering where to pee next...

Gentle blog readers….now is your chance to help out a fellow reader, and get a laugh at the same time. Remember the cat Dolce, who will only drink from the faucet, and who was, for a while at least,  on kitty prozac? Well, Dolce’s owner Katrina wanted to commiserate a little about cats who occasionally…ummmm… “act out”, like my Baby Girl…’s her email.

Natures Miracle...problem solver...

Nature's Miracle...problem solver...

Hi Donna, Hope all is well on your end! I saw your post on Baby Girl, and it made me think of my sweet little Dolce. She too had a peeing problem, and the Nature’s Miracle  stuff works like a charm. Dolce felt it was necessary to pee all over my fiancé’s new luggage right before we left for a trip. Thank you Dolce. 

Anyways….I am writing to see if you can help on a location for my bridesmaids luncheon. Our wedding day is 4 ½ weeks away, and I need a cute place to take the girls after our nail appointments. Any suggestions?”

I’d like to add that Dolce survived the incident ,thought I’m sure a few choice words may have been uttered. Oh, and Katrina says she’d like to keep the lunch downtown Baltimore, as the mani’s and pedi’s are in Canton. So…any ideas out there? Cute places for a girl’s lunch? (I’m not a big lunch person…I get a salad everyday and eat at my desk…I know, so dreary.) Right off the top of my head, maybe Helen’s Garden in Canton. It’s a cute place, and they have an interesting menu, even at lunch…an almond crusted tomato sandwich with portobello, chevre, pesto mayo and roasted red peppers sounds divine. And you probably couldn’t go wrong with Pazo…I’ve never been there for lunch, but it’s always so pretty and chic, and the food is very good. Or for something historic Baltimore(and I have never been there..only seen pictures and read about it)…the B & O Brasserie  in the new Hotel Monaco looks to be like a cool space. Gonna check it out next week…



A tale of mice, and lamb…
May 13, 2009

Spotted: Spotnips!!

Spotted: Spotnips!!

I have finally found Baby Girl’s favorite mice…not real ones, though I think she loves these because they remind her of the real thing. And yes, she has seen one, close up. So these little toy mice, while expensive in my book…about 7 bucks for a bag…they provide her with so much unmitigated joy, that it’s worth the splurge.

What’s so special about these? For starters, they have feathers for tails! And they are covered in real fur! And they rattle when you shake them! I can only imagine that they sell a lot of these in France….because on the back it says….”Vous avez fait le choix par-r-r-fait!” And a lot of other French stuff, like “pour le securite’“….oh just let me say it in English…to ensure safety,  your pet should be supervised when playing with toys.  They’re kidding, right?  Maybe not, but once this sucker gets on the floor…you try to take it away from B to the G(Baby Girl’s rock star name). I will be her favorite person tonight.

Lamb headed my way....

Lamb headed my way....

And I started to buy some lamb chops…I love lamb, but then I remembered …a bushel basket of lamb(no kidding) is headed my way from the Eastern Shore. A good friend has a neighbor who raises lamb for…well, you know. To eat.  My friend wrote that if it mattered to me, they are raised very happily and healthily, which only makes me feel worse, but yes, it does matter to me.  I will for certain have to find someone to share the lamb, as I don’t have that much room in my freezer. lamb chops, anyone?

Waste Management Problems…..
July 25, 2008

Baby Girl considers her pee options...

Baby Girl considers her pee options...

I have several actually. First problem…Baby Girl and the litter box(boxes). She is very good to get on the litter box but then doesn’t squat. Her little fuzzy butt stays UP, and the pee goes….yup, right over the side onto the floor, newspaper, whatever. Not good, even in the basement.

yeah, I know...

yeah, I know...

The first solution I tried is cutting out part of a plastic hamper (it must be said I did not personally do this)…put the box inside. Now the pee collects in the pan below. Still undesirable. Putting newspaper up the sides like you see here (sorry Baltimore Sun-I did read it first), did sop up the pee, mostly, but still just not a good solution.

Solution for up-butts?

Solution for up-butts?

Suggestion from Falls Road Animal Hospital….try a covered litter pan! Ordered a big one from Amazon….it came in this week, and it is now in the basement….they suggested ordering just one to see if Baby would use it (some cats don’t like them too claustrophobic)….but before I put litter in, I tossed  in her favorite toy mouse a few times so she would go inside. Check. Put in litter, and threw mouse in a few times more…she took the bait. Check. A few minutes later I peer down the basement steps….Baby Girl is using the box!! Now the pee will flow into the litter  where it belongs…happiness…singing birds…fluffy clouds! “Don’t have a motorboat, but I could float your boat, Bay-bee Giiiirrrrrl!” ♥♥

Bad leaky toilet!

Bad leaky toilet!

OK, Next waste management problem….this little toilet in the main floor powder room. It’s only been in a few years when we redid the room ( I wish I could count how many coats of Chinese red paint it took to cover the walls)…it’s one of those “silent flush” models, and I like it but now….there’s just a little bit of water around the base. Not a lot, but it is definitely leaking from somewhere. WHy, why, why ??????????????  Now I have to track down a plumber and make an appointment and probably have him take the toilet off the floor…blah blah blah…money/ time. No likee.

But I’m accentuating the positive….the Baby Girl situation…solved I think….oh, and Mom did get home from the hospital yesterday. Relief on all sides. I hope all of you have a fabu weekend….I think I’m going to Oregon Ridge for the BSO (playing bluegrass if you can imagine that-I’m having trouble)…and there will be fireworks! What’s not to like?

SO…. Be nice, and come home safe, ’cause we miss you.

Weekend Roundup, and Baby Girl is seeing things!
July 14, 2008

in Hampden, hon...

in Hampden, hon...

Well, let’s see. It was a pretty quiet weekend, all things said. Ventured to a place that I’ll bet some of you have already tried. I feel so behind the curve. It’s called Grano Pasta Bar, on 36th Street in Hampden….sweet, tiny place…maybe 10 or 15, 20 seats? They do pastas to order….with several sauces that you can try..pesto, bolognese, marinara…all homemade sauces, though not the pasta. BYOB….and a bowl of pasta is 7 bucks, and they’ll throw on a couple of meatballs for $2 more.  Can’t beat that in tough  economic times, eh?  It’s run by Gino Troia, of the well known Cafe Troia in Towson…and when I stopped in for some carryout sauce which they sell, Friday night at 6:30…the place was already packed (keeping in mind it doesn’t take too many people to do that). I adored their grassy green pesto, a container of which was $9….not inexpensive, but a little goes a long way, and the taste is fabulous. Used it on some focaccia sandwiches made with fresh tomatoes from the farmer’s market and  mozzarella, and it was yum. And Grano also does carryout pastas and salads. Cute…you’ll like it. 

Beets baby, beets.

Beets baby, beets.

Got way too many beets at the Farmer’s Market in Waverly on Saturday…so I roasted them (wrap the beet in foil after you cut the tops off, and roast in over at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes). Then you slip their skins off after they cool, slice and use in salads and stuff. Delicious. However, not everyone in my house is a beet lover….I think that comes from the childhood trauma of eating picked beets. That’s just so wrong to do to an innocent beet, and let me tell you, they bear no resemblence to a roasted beet…these are just very mild and sweet…great with goat cheese or feta in a salad.

I see dead cats....

"I see dead cats...."

And last but not least, Baby Girl  seems to see things that are not there….or are they?  She will just stare off into the distance…I look too, to see what on earth she finds so fascinating, and….nothing. Like you see here…trust me, nothing is happening on the ceiling. I looked. Maybe she is doing a “sixth sense” thing? If she could speak, perhaps she would whisper,  “I see dead cats.”  And there could be quite a few feline spirits around the place….Wild Kitty, where are you?  Something to think about.

Ooooooh-new template…”Dusk” by Becca Wei.