30 September 2006

sick kitty

Thanks for all your comments and e-mails about my poor, sick kitty. Beazy still feels rotten. She won't eat, groom herself or play. The big, head vet (who speaks a little English) saw her today and was very puzzled. Her blood work is worse. They don't know what to do.

On Friday, I stayed home from school. All Thursday night and Friday I fed her 6-9 ml of food every 3-4 hours. She seemed a little better (her eyes were nearly white again and she was more alert) before the vet visit, but now seems much worse. I think, from my reading, that she needs food and antibiotics. What we're doing now is once or twice daily (it's been increased to twice again after four days at once) visits to the vet for the iv treatments of saline, glucose, vitamins and medication. It takes about an hour in the morning and about two hours in the evening. (Traffic) She hates it.

Tomorrow I see the vet who speaks a little English (the woman--not the head honcho). I'm going to ask her why we're re-doubling her treatments if it's not improving her blood work and is not making her feel better. I may even ask about putting her just on an antibiotic and an appetite stimulant. I'm wondering if I could even administer those at home. They don't do feeding tubes here, so all feeding has got to be done via syringe until she'll eat.

But, then I wonder if the iv really is helping...but she SO hates it. She's on her third leg to have a catheter in. I don't know what happens when we run out of legs.

Wish there were better news to share, but all fronts (Beazy, school, adoption) continue to be fraught with cheerless tales.

24 September 2006


Well, my sick cat has gotten much sicker. Beazy hasn't been eating and has been vomiting. The vets didn't take it very seriously (standard iv cocktail of vitamins daily) until my other cat got sick, too. Then, they treated both a BIT more aggresively. The cocktail had a few added ingredients--and I had to go find some GEPTRAL for them. Lena has recovered, but Beazy is still very, very ill. All the advice I get is to prepare myself for her to die. Not really the American can-do attitude. I haven't been able to locate the contact details of the last vet Beazy saw in the US, so it's just me and the Russian-speaking, Russian-thinking veterinary world. Those are pretty tough odds.

I finally convinced the vet to give her an antibiotic, and that seemed to help. I'm spending a couple hours each day, morning and night, getting iv treatments. I'm now force-feeding her, too. Things are grim.

One vet, the one I like, told me that she "believed seh would be okay, maybe on Monday". (No wonder I like her.) She also asked when we were going back to the US. I'd take her back this week, but don't think she'd clear customs in her current state. (She's pretty yellow. Cats try to metabolize body fat when they stop eating. Their bodies cannot do this, and it causes serious problems with the liver.)

So--time for The Glad Game. I'm glad that the nice vet was there to encourage me. I burst in to tears in the office. I'm glad that I finally have my car so that I can now DRIVE to and from the vet. I'm glad the nurses and even the doctors have been so nice lately. I'm glad they realize all Beazy's "talking" is just talk. I'm glad they're being sympathetic towards instead of fearful of her.

I'll tell you all about driving in St. P next time. Maybe I'll have some good adoption news then, too! I'm still waiting for housing verification...or for the MoE to reconsider what proof is required of me. (This needs to happen SOON!)

Sorry to be away and then to have so little cheer to share. And many, many thanks for all the kind birthday cards, packages and e-cards. I apologize for not taking the time to thank you sooner! I was delighted to recieve each and every one.

15 September 2006

little things

I was once given a notepad that said, "Teachers make the little things count." This made me laugh hysterically. Seeing past the Hallmarky-sap, I immediately saw myself bellowing to a class of monsters, "Count, you little THINGS!"

There are two little things (of the non-monstrous variety) that have made my day. BBC Prime is up and running. Target will ship to APO addresses. (Julie said to me once--quite insightfully--about life in Russia: "No Target. You are a true pioneer.")

So, now my tv speaks English (although I find that Top Gear is on WAY too often for my taste...) and I can go to Target, where Lara says the sun always shines.

Hope this little post about the little things in my life makes you appreciate the little things in yours!

09 September 2006


Votemom asked about the term, "ex-pat". (I think she sensed from the last few entries that I needed a little direction. ;>)

The first reported use of this term is noted in 1768. The French word expatrier
meaning "banish" is from the Latin roots ex- meaning "out of" and patrie meaning "native land". It is interesting (you all know I'm both a word nerd and a history buff, so calling this "interesting" should not surprise anyone) to note the change in connotation over the years. When first introduced, it had a decidedly negative connotation. Traitors were expatriated--relieved of their citizenship and banished from their homelands. They were exiles.

Slowly the word changed. In 1818, it was used to mean "one who moves abroad" without the taint of traitordom.

Then, after WWI, we had that lot of moody American authors who expatriated themselves to Paris. I find them a spoiled and discontented bunch...and I don't much like their work.

The modern sense of the word is simply "living abroad, especially for a long but limited time". That is what separates an ex-pat from an immigrant. An immigrant moves abroad with the intention of adopting a new culture and a new citizenship. An ex-pat plans to go home.

I find that the term "ex-pat" often has negative connotations. It seems to refer to a smaller group than the above definition would suggest. That smaller group is usually one of privilege--businessmen, diplomats and their families--who spend a lot of money and are either ignorant or contemptuous of the culture where they are currently living. They are the international equivalent of homesick "ladies who lunch".

The Brits call ex-pats When-I's because of the tendency they have to start sentences with that phrase. I know I fall into that camp! I'm forever wanting to share my experiences of living abroad. I find it fascinating! I read about a woman who was an anthropologist. Her job was to live in other cultures and discover the "rules" that govern social interaction. That made me think that I actually AM an anthropologist...and wonder where I could go collect that paycheck. In defense of the When-I's who may be seen as braggadocious (not to be confused with expialidocious), sometimes these pop out just because that's our life. We don't have any other experience to share. And, yes, we may think that everyone is an amateur anthropologist and will find it as interesting as we do.

I do call myself an ex-pat in adherence to the denotation of the word. I hope I don't embody the negative connotations of the sub-group! And, I hope you find the When I's that fill this blog interesting.

So there you have it--etymology, denotation and connotation. Hopefully the other logophiles out there found this interesting...and the rest of you will bear with me and at least find this better than talking about laundry!

07 September 2006


Thanks M & S (no, not Marks & Sparks) for the vinegar tip. Will it make my clothes smell like vinegar? Do I wash them again afterwards to get rid of the vinegar smell? How much do I put in? I have a front loading washing machine. Do I put the vinegar in the bleach compartment?

I'm thrilled to have a possible solution! I'll share it with the American teacher I was talking to AND with the the Scottish teacher who brought up the subject today. See what exciting lives we ex-pats live?


06 September 2006

airing some dirty laundry

Warning: due to the graphic and rather gross nature of this post, reader discretion is advised.

Another ex-pat teacher and I were recently discussing how horrible we smell. We've got extra deodorant at school, we shower in the morning and bathe at night...and still we reek. There must be something in the food here. (We don't drink the water, so it's not that...) It's not that we eat "Russian" by any means. We're eating chicken, rice, pasta, fruit and veg, skim milk when it's available fresh...all foods we eat in the US. But here we're staring to smell native.

And this isn't any ordinary "glistening". This stuff is toxic. If you even start to "glisten" (horses sweat, men perspire, ladies glisten) in a shirt, you might as well throw it out. You will NEVER get the smell out. You can douse it with Febreeze (brought from home) wash it immediately in hot or cold water, dry it or not...and it doesn't matter. When it's clean and dry, it will smell like it's fine. You will rejoice. You will think you have conquered. But as soon as you put it on the toxic smell is body-heat re-activated.

Bet those of who were wishing I'd hurry up and post an update are re-considering your wish, aren't you?

So, if anyone has any great laundry insights, puzhalsta pass it on to us poor ex-pats in St. P.