Dogs, Cats and Other Phenomena

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Huntington Beach’s Central Park West

Big day for Super Pup! She went to her first big park today and, thanks to the Gentle Leader, she did quite well! I was hoping to eat at Alice's Breakfast in the Park but we didn't get there until after closing time. Now I thought I had eaten there before, but when I got there, I didn't recognize it. Still, Nikki and I had a blast walking around the lake and seeing all the ducks, the 4 big geese looking for handouts and all the people with their kids and dogs.

Nikki was fussed and petted over by many, but others thought she must be some kind of rogue dog. They mistook her Gentle Leader for a muzzle. I had to tell one guy that no, she doesn't bite. She pulls. She'd pull me down into the lake if I didn't have the GL on. Anyway, pretty funny how people mistake it for a muzzle when it clearly does NOT cover her mouth.

Anyway, I didn't have my camera with me, so these 2 photos are off of the Breakfast in the Park's web site (shush!) Check out their other photos, baked goods and their menu, etc. on

For some reason (maybe because of the massage that I had the day before - he worked on my calf muscles), my knee was in good shape. I was able to walk with no problem - slowly, but still, I walked! And it was such a pretty day! To think we had such a nice, mild day in January when others around the country are up to their eyeballs in snow.

Finally, Nikki and I left the park to go to PetsMart (where she was also fussed over and petted). Soon after leaving the Central Park West, I saw the other place. This is the one that I thought I was going to ... the Park Bench Cafe! (Their photo, too. Double shush!) It's also on a lake, although the other lake is prettier. This is the one that also has food that you can buy for your pets so they can eat while you do. And if I had seen it when I first passed it, I could have eaten there as it closes after the other place. Oh well. Check out their menu - both people and dog menus.

Obviously, you can't bring your dogs inside either establishment, but you can order your food at both place and eat outside. So can't wait to go back and try both places. Hopefully Robin and Kayla can go with us next time. Now THAT should be funny!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Nikki's Latest Adventure, Plus High School Memories ...

Cathy, Nikki & Magic, Near the Balboa Pier

Nikki and I had been looking forward for several weeks now to having another play date with my sister, Cathy, and her cocker spaniel, Magic. At first we were going to go to Fashion Island but then we deemed it would be better to go to the beach instead. We decided to go to Newport Beach, meet at the Balboa Pier and walk around. I was pretty happy about that as this would be Nikki's first exposure to the ocean!

Unfortunately, when I woke up this morning, I had one of my accursed headaches. The debillitating kind that make you cry, which makes it worse. I took 4 Advil and I finally began to feel human around noon. So a very slow start to the day. The Advil helped my left knee, for which I was glad. I had worried that I wouldn't be able to do much walking but my knee felt good. Later, I took 2 more Advil just in case.

OK, sounds like background time about my knee. My left knee began feeling odd several months ago. Suddenly, it was hard to bend, stuff like that. It's now gotten much worse in the last month and sometimes I hobble around. I need to go to the doctor, find out what's wrong with it and get it rehabbed. I don't know if it has been caused by Nikki but I think it's been aggravated by Nikki, at the very least. And no, I'm NOT old! I'm just temporarily a little messed up, thank you very much. You would be too if you had an exhuberant Golden Retriever 65 lb. puppy tackling you.

Anyway, Cathy had things she was doing, so we ended up meeting after 3 PM. It was pretty windy by the beach and the air was clear and cold. Felt good once you got used to it and Nikki didn't mind it as she has a double coat and is only 9 months old. But Magic doesn't have a double coat plus, since he's an old gentleman of 14, I think it was a bit nippy for him. It was too cold for Cathy, too.

I was able to get out of the car without wincing or having to put both feet on the ground before standing up (like I've had to the last couple of days). I got Nikki and we went over to Cathy's car. Nikki and Magic sniffed hello so we went back to my car to put my stuff away and start walking.

Nikki, however, stopped in front of me. I had to stop suddenly and since I was wearing heavy tennis shoes, my left foot felt like it was stuck to the ground and my knee kept moving to the right. Ow!! Pain! And that was the end of walking for me.

Sure, we walked around but I was so debilitated that it killed me to go down a ramp. We wanted to go on the Balboa Fun Zone ferry (wouldn't that have been fun with the pups!) but I could barely get down the ramp to the ferry, and then I couldn't step off of the ramp. This little 1/2 inch step and I couldn't do it. Cathy pointed out to me that there was no way I could get on the ferry as it would be quite a step down, etc. Disappointed, I hobbled back up the ramp.

I wanted to take Nikki down to the ocean for the first time, but I would never have made it across the sand. Here's hoping I'm better next week! Maybe we can try again then.

Nikki did quite well (Gentle Leader) and had a good time despite the fact that she was forced to walk at a crawl. I thought she'd be interested in the bay, etc., but for some reason she was more interested in sniffing trees! Can't understand why!

High School Memories ...

Greg Hulka and Abby

Last night I was doing research on the Internet ... I was trying to find out some information on a murder that happened in 2004 down the street from me. This murder has always bothered me. An elderly 84-year-old woman stabbed in the neck by her 23-year-old great-granddaughter because she was tired of her family having to care for her .... Sick! I always hoped this sick person would serve lots of time for this crime, but I haven't been able to find out what happened. Somehow in my searches, but I don't know how, I stumbled onto a guest book for my old high school, Bolsa Grande.

Lots of old comments left by many people I had never heard of - but then I was amazed to read a comment left by an old 10th grade boyfriend! Then I saw that many people had died ... some from cancer, some were suicides, some were car accidents. Many didn't give the cause of death or when.

But then I saw a name on this list which surprised me. Greg Hulka. He had been in my younger sister's class, plus he had been a friend of my best friend, Marianne. I found out that she knew he had died in a car crash. I searched the Internet and was surprised to learn that he had been a consul general. In another article that I read it appears that Yuri was driving the car. Greg is mentioned on Google many times, plus I found this photo of him and Abby.

So sad. Even though they died in 2001, for me it's as if he died yesterday since I just heard of it. So tragic.
14:44 2001-11-14
Alexander Gorobets: The tough luck of American diplomats in Ukraine

The bodies of Gregory Hulka, the US embassy’s consul general, and his 10-year-old daughter arrived today in Kiev to be transported further to the USA.

The consul general of the US embassy in Ukraine died in a car crash late at night in the Vinnitsa region. According to the traffic police, a Fiat car containing the US diplomat and his daughter suddenly moved onto the contrary traffic lane and collided with a Mercedes minibus driven by a resident of the Zaporizhzhya region. After that, the US embassy in Ukraine announced that apart from Mr. Hulka and his daughter Abigail, their relative Yuri Kotik, a Ukrainian citizen, also died in the crash. The crash occurred on the road between the cities of Uman and Nemirov. The three were heading for the Khmelnitski region from Kiev to attend a wedding party held by another Ukrainian relative.

Greg Hulka, 44, first arrived in Kiev in early September and filled the position of the consul general in the consul department of the US embassy in Ukraine. He had been longing for this appointment for many years. His previous appointments included Moscow, Tegucigalpa (Honduras), Beijing, and Guanzhou (China).

From another article:
Gregory Paul Hulka was born October 31, 1957, in Inglewood, Calif. He is survived by his wife, Jane, and three children, Andrew, 12, Alexander, 6, and Aaron, 3.

The Interfax news agency reported that the Fiat in which Mr. Hulka, his daughter and Mr. Kotyk were riding was trying to pass a KaMaZ tractor-trailer on a curve and collided with a Mercedes minibus. The accident is under investigation.

Another Bolsa Grande death that I just heard about was Kevin Cartmel's. I remember him well from the 9th grade ... he loved golf. I wonder why he died and when.

So many people have moved to other states and other countries. I hadn't realized that our old Matadors were that well traveled. Still, so many people that I don't know what happened to ... hope they're all well and doing fine.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Max Cat is Ill

After the last two days, I figured it was time to take some photos of my 3 cats tonight. Here is Max (left) & his brother Joey Bear being affectionate with each other.

I was hoping this year would turn out better than last, but I can't say it's starting out to be very promising.

Max suddenly got sick Monday night. He was vomiting, which could have been fur balls. But he acted so oddly afterwards. He lay on his side and didn't move when I stepped over him. He was in pain. Then he hid from me. He hid under the chair in the den, just like Callie had done when she first got sick. I called All Care coz I didn't know if I needed to take him in immediately or not. I finally decided to go to bed at 1 AM. When I got up, I checked under the chair. He was still there but I could tell he felt better. He came out, had some water. I didn't know what to do - called my vet for advice. Finally took him in to my vet that morning. But I couldn't just drop him off there because he would have been SO stressed. He does NOT do well at the vet.

I told the vet that he could do a physical as long as I was in the room. He didn't believe me, but it worked. Max is not afraid as long as I'm around. If I'm not around, that's when he lashes out. We weighed him - I was concerned because he suddenly seemed fatter to me. Sure enough, he weighed 17 lbs. (last time he was 15 lbs.) So they gassed him right away so they could put him under briefly in order to draw blood and do x-rays. I was able to pick him up in an hour.

He was awake and growling in his cage when I got there. I gave the assistant his cat carrier and he immediately went right in. I took him home right away and he was happy to be home.

I got a call from the vet today. Nothing conclusive - of course. The x-rays were negative but his blood work came back with changes. His white blood count is elevated, his liver elevations have changed, and the test for Feline AIDS came back inconclusive.

We could do more of a work-up but I think I'll treat the symptoms for now, meaning a bland diet (which he's already on), antibiotics and something to settle his tummy.

This last photo is of Joey Bear - still playing with my lens cap - and Callie. Joey is so funny. He loves to bat things around with his paws. Things like my contact lens case. He's very handy that way.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Those Two Kids

Robin brought Kayla over today and they had the best of times, of course! Nikki and Kayla happily got wet and dirty and so did Robin and I. Well, maybe not so happily. Afterwards, Nikki took a long nap and so did I!

Oh - Kayla now weighs 50 lbs. and I'm guessing Nikki weighs 65 lbs.