Friday, March 16, 2012

A quick update

I apologize for the long wait in between posts but we now have internet!  It's been nearly three weeks of journeying to a pub about 0.5 miles away and video chatting with my mother, sister and nieces from a smelly phone booth.  But hey, thank goodness for free wifi from the pub.  Video chatting has been a great way for me to keep in touch with friends and family, it's almost like we are having a face to face conversation. 

We have moved into our "forever" apartment and have been settling in nicely.  I will have pictures and details posted soon.  We had to wait an eternity to get internet but now we have a nice fast connection so I can post away.

Bobcat is doing very well but I've had a supremely difficult time finding the medication that we've been using to increase her appetite as there is a supply issue from the manufacturer.  For the moment I've stopped giving it to her to determine if she'll eat satisfactorily without it. 

My school applications are all in and now I have to wait 6-8 agonizing weeks to find out if I will be doing what I want next year or if I'll need a more interesting job.  On the same lines I've applied for many lab jobs and am waiting on some of them but haven't got a lot of promising leads.

Bryan is enjoying his new position.  It is challenging, which is nice for staving off boredom, but he has a lot of late nights.  I expect that the late nights won't go on for too long though.  Another great thing about Bryan's work is that it's only 1.7 miles away from the new apartment so he can and does walk to work which is very nice for him and makes it easy to get in his exercise. 

I am off to apply for more jobs but will update with a picture post soon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bobcat update

So Bobcat has gone through quite an ordeal during her first 6 weeks in London.  She was doing great after flying over. She was eating, drinking, using her litter box and being extremely affectionate.

When I arrived, a week after Bryan and Bob, she still seemed good.  She was a bit slow but still seemed to be loving life.
Then all of a sudden, about two weeks after my arrival she went kind of nutty. It started with her falling off of a chair that she was trying to jump onto and rapidly deteriorated into her hiding in corners, starting and hissing at noises, pooping in the corner, not eating/drinking and not using her box.

She is not one for hiding under/behind stuff except for around 4th of July

We endured one night of this as she didn't seem like she needed emergency and took her to the vet in the morning.  At the Amwell vet she seemed to be acting much more normal.  While noises still startled her, she began to eat and was actually roaming around without the vocal chorus and hissing we'd witnessed the night before.  She has a known kidney insufficiency but the symptoms were not presenting like those of acute renal failure. The neurological symptoms made it seem like we might need to do an MRI to find out what was going on.  They sent us home with a "wait and see" diagnosis.  After seeming to perk up toward the evening I called the vet back and they recommended overnight observation at home.  We then endured another night of bobcat telling us how bad she felt.  We've never felt so helpless.

We took her back to the vet in the morning, ruled out the usefulness of an MRI (£3000+16 y/o broken cat = not wise idea). So I suggested doing blood-work just to make sure her kidneys hadn't stopped working.  Well thank goodness we did that! Her BUN and Creatinine were both more than 5X the high end of normal and that could easily explain the sudden onset of crazy.  Luckily though, the her serum potassium, which indicates if her kidneys can start working again, was not elevated.  The plan was 48 hours of hospitalization with lots of fluids. They also gave her an antihistamine to stimulate her appetite since she only weighed in at a mere 6.16 pounds.

Hooked up to her IV, looking grumpy.
After the first 6 hours she's seemed to be doing a bit better.  Her gaze was still watery and distracted and she wasn't interested in purring, but seemed to appreciate snuggles.

We visited her twice the next day and she had improved more.  On the third day they redrew her blood and both her BUN and Creatinine were nearly back to normal.  Both Bryan and I could get her to purr and she was eating a ton! We got to bring her home.  She was quiet and not very social.  She was eating, but not drinking and would wander around the apartment (usually while we were trying to sleep) yowling.

But she is improving each day and at her 11 day recheck she'd gain 0.45 pounds and is doing well.  We will take her back in a month to weigh her and repeat her blood work. Perhaps the most annoying relic of this ordeal is that she's pretty uninterested in personal grooming so I have to wipe her down with a damp tea towel and use a slicker brush to remove the excess hair.  But the upside to her not grooming is that she won't get anymore hairballs!

For now I am so thankful that she is feeling better.  Bobcat is a wonderful gift and we treasure having her around everyday.
Enjoying her catnip carpet yesterday
One more point of note, Amwell Veterinary is great, they were so good at making us feel included in her care plan and they seem to really care about the health of Bobcat.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Borough Market Continued

Hello again! I apologize for the lack of posts but bobcat became extremely ill and required a lot of attention from both of us for awhile.  On top of the caring for bobcat I was also extremely distracted working on school and job applications.

Bryan and I have now been to the Borough Market three times, once while it was closed and twice for lunch.

The Best time to go, based on our very small sample set, is during the week as it is open Th, Fr and Sa.  The first time we stood in line for a sandwich for around 20 minutes.  But I assure you it was worth the wait.  This creation came from Guildable Manor, which is actually a brick and mortar shop under London Bridge instead of the free standing stalls found through out the market.  The sandwich was a venison and pork kebab that had fresh apricots cook in with the meat.  It came on a hoagie type roll and had harissa and a cilantro sauce to accompany it.  Bryan got a slice of pizza from an Italian place also under the bridge.

His was good, but mine was way better.

After lunch we wandered around seeing what the vendors had to offer and ended up at Vinopolis, a wine museum, where Bryan bought a bottle of scotch to take home.  We finished this visit off with a visit to the Rake where we enjoyed two hoppy brews from the Pacific Northwest with sharkbanana.

The Borough Market, a success!

It only took two tries. We walked to the Borough Market and had lunch and soaked up the sites. Here is a picture of sharkbanana and me with the biggest meringue I've ever seen! More to come later after we get back home.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Life is like a jar of beetles.

Oh wait, I think that saying is totally wrong, anyhow below is said jar of beetles. This post contains an teensy bit of a science lesson.  As many of you know I love science so today's adventures were right up my alley!

Today consisted of a visit to the Grant Museum of Zoology or as I like to call it, the great collection of dead stuff.  It was a nicely presented collection of specimens, both extinct and extant, but the lighting was amazingly poor. Although I will mention that the curators were actually working on that very problem as I was perusing the goods. The pictures aren't very good due to the fact that most things were behind glass or too dark to photograph well. Below is a Japanese spider crab which is the largest extant, known, arthropod reaching up to 3.8 meters in width. I would lose it if I ever encountered one of these in the water but have no fear as you won't be running into these puppies while snorkeling as they live at depths between 160 - 2000 feet. 

The next is a Galapagos tortoise shell.  This thing was massive!  The case it's contained in was taller than my waist.  According to the museum the biggest danger to the survival of this giant tortoise, which can live up to 100 years, is the domesticated cat; it eats the young while they are small. 

The last picture from this museum is a picture of a kiwi skeleton.  These birds never evolved flight because they had no natural predators.  Now they are endangered due to invasive species predation.  Isn't globalization amazing?

The next stop on the museum tour was one I stumbled upon while I blindly searched for the zoology museum.  I briefly looked at the Wellcome Trust's, Medicine Now exhibit.  There were interesting installations regarding current problems like obesity and mental health issues.  There was also a lot of interesting information malaria.  Below is a map of the world made out of mosquitoes glued to a paper board.  Even after reading the exhibit information I didn't really understand why the artist chose to make a map with the bugs but I still thought it was worthy of a look.

I will be returning to the Wellcome Trust exhibitions when I don't have a date to meet Bryan for coffee. I will leave with a picture of the beloved Ms. Bob.  She is exhausted after a day of eating and laying around the apartment.  Sometimes it is too hard to hold up that big, adorable head!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The first weekend

Hello everyone! Bryan and I were really busy this weekend and have some pretty sore feet.  Yesterday we walked 8.9 miles and today we walked a mere 7.2 miles.

Yesterday consisted of walking to Regent's park to do one of our first London City walks, thanks a bunch to Micah and Cori Barfield for the lovely gift.

On the way B and I saw some of the fattest pigeons we've ever seen.
Once in the park we first stopped at Queen Mary's garden and saw a ton of dormant roses. The amount of roses in the garden is truly astounding. I'm sure it will be amazing once they come into bloom.  One of the best rose names I saw reminds me of one of my favorite people.
After the rose garden was a huge fountain to commemorate one of the benefactors of the park, Sigismund Christian Hubert Goetze (what a name!)
  Along with the planned attractions there were many wonderful dogs and a ton of interesting water foul.

Today we attempted to do the Borough market walk but neglected to find out if the market was open on Sundays.  Luckily for the shop owners the market shuts down on Sundays but unlucky for us after walking two miles just to find out what could have been found out with a bit of research online. Even though the plan was a bust we saw some neat things besides.

We stumbled upon St. Mark's Cathedral.  I think I'll take mom here when she visits.  It's massive and there are improvement works going on on the grounds now so I'm sure it will look better once summer rolls around.

After finding that the market was a no go for the day we wandered back toward our apartment and happened upon "The Monument".
 £3/person and 311 stairs later we were at the top with about twenty other people in a very small space.
The views were good, but not as spectacular as I was hoping for.

On our walk back to the apartment from the monument we passed a building that had the name of my hometown on the front so of course I took a picture.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What's the difference between jam and jelly?

Shopping in jolly olde is interesting to say the least.  We bought bread that was unsliced, which can be seen here. Eggs are not refrigerated, not that I'm surprised, but we did have a devil of a time trying to find them.  I think the most notable thing is that the Sainsbury's we shop at is amazingly busy all the time and small hand baskets should be used as the larger push trolleys (see what I did there?!?) would be impossible to get through the store with. Bryan and I just need to be patient or find a time to shop that isn't quite so trying.

Vocab switch ups that we'll have to get used to:
Laundry detergent = washing powder
Bacon = smoked back bacon
Shopping cart = trolley (but hey I noted this already)