Thanksgiving Week Off

Apple closed down its corporate offices for Thanksgiving week – which it does from time to time, but not every year – so I had the week off. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Last Sunday, Debbi hosted a cookie exchange with some friends. So we had six guests over to exchange cookies. I tried baking peanut butter cookies on Saturday, and they came out good. Next time I want to figure out how to make them chewier, since I like them that way rather than flaky, which this recipe yielded. We had a good time having people over, and Blackjack enjoyed visiting with everyone, too. He surprised us by being able to jump up onto the counter by way of a bar stool, which was more than we thought he was capable of, in his current state.

Unfortunately, over the next couple of days Blackjack’s condition went downhill. Coincidentally, we had a scheduled check-up on Tuesday with the vet that’s been treating his cancer. By Tuesday morning he was very wobbly, having a lot of trouble staying balanced and getting up and down from things. He would jump down from the dining table and lose his footing and splat on the floor. Fortunately he didn’t hurt himself, but we were pretty worried.

The vet is pretty baffled, too. It could be that his cancer has spread to his hindquarters and is affecting his nerves. Or he could have an inner ear problem. Or he could have a problem with his brain. She noticed he had some unusual eye movements, which suggests one of the last two. But we can’t really know for sure without some expensive – and possibly invasive – tests, and even then we might not be sure, and even if we were we might not be able to treat it. So I’m not sure we’re going to do a lot more for him at this point, but try to keep him comfortable. He’s lost some more weight, so the vet put him back on the steroids he was on during his treatment to stimulate his appetite. Of course he loves being pilled.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though: Over the next few days his strength and stability came back, and this weekend he’s seemed almost back to his old self. Not jumping like he used to, but only a little wobbly, and there’s something in his eyes that seems to say that he’s feeling more his he ought to. We may be in for cycles of good days and bad days, but at least he’s having some good days, when he wants to get into trouble and isn’t spending all his time sleeping.

Monday and Tuesday I did some shopping, and hung out at home. I did a couple of Innistrad drafts on Magic Online. My draft Monday was a disaster and I got eliminated in the first round. My Tuesday draft was much better, with a pretty potent vampire deck, but I got eliminated in the second round by someone who had drafted a gimmicky milling deck. I came somewhat close to pulling it off even so, but it was frustrating, as my deck really had no way to deal with his tricks other than to kill him quickly.

Debbi took Wednesday off, so we’ve had a 5-day weekend together. We had a quiet Thanksgiving at home, cooking a 12-pound turkey with the usual trimmings for dinner. Cooking a turkey is a good way to find out how well-calibrated an oven is, I find – I have a long history of overcooking turkeys. Our oven has a built-in probe thermometer which we used, and it works well! The turkey came out just about perfect, and it and all the other food was yummy. We got some pies from Marie Callender’s too.

This weekend we’ve been doing some work on the house. Well, maintenance. We have some accent lights around the yard which had stopped working, but it turned out that they were all just burned-out bulbs and easily replaced. I suspect one of the light units themselves will need replacing sometime soon, as I was having trouble getting the bulb’s leads to connect to it, but fortunately not quite yet. We also replaced one of the bulbs in the recessed lighting in our family room. We have a lot of light fixtures in this house, so I expect we’ll be replacing random bulbs with some frequency. (Though hopefully the fluorescent lights, at least, will last several years each.)

We also bought a Dyson DC25 vacuum cleaner since they’re on sale this weekend and we’ve been wanting to replace our existing vacuum. I tried it out today and it works quite well! We also ordered a new rug for the living room. Now we just need to find the right rug for the dining room…

We’d hoped to get together with our friends Joar and Karin for a meal this weekend, but they we feeling a bit under the weather, as I’ve been since Friday, so we decided to postpone it ’til sometime later. Actually, my under-the-weatherness has been pretty annoying this weekend: Congestion, general lack of energy, like I’m fighting something off. I wish I’d either get sick, or get better. This in-between stuff sucks.

Still and all, it’s been a pretty good vacation, especially because Blackjack’s feeling better.