Long Distance, Lawyers & Rats

Today I mailed F.B.'s Christmas package. I know I'm a little late but he said it was okay. It's probably better anyhow because the Philippine Mail can be very slow around the holidays so he might have a better chance of getting his package. One year his Christmas package was missing for almost 2 weeks even though it said it had arrived in the Philippines. F.B. went to the office and it had just been sitting around, never delivered because of the holidays. So hopefully he'll have it next week!

I also start work on Monday. Yay.... I'm so excited that I get to wake up at 5:30am again. It was nice being off of work for 2 months. We really had a long season this year. Not getting furloughed until October 31st. (Even though I had gotten permission to leave early because of my trip. Yay for vacation time!) Seasonal employees usually work from January-September. Anyhow I'm glad to be going back in a way because I seriously have to pay off these credit cards this year. I usually only have a large balance on one credit card because of the plane tickets, but I managed to jack up another card this past year as well. Now I have two $800 balances to pay off. Ugh. Thank god for tax refunds, that should help. One of my goals for 2009 is to pay off these credit cards and keep a balance one card just for my plane ticket. It's easier to pay off in a year.

I emailed our lawyer about immigration questions. A few months ago when I talked to our lawyer on the phone he said I should start making copies of all of my plane stubs, letters from F.B., etc. Since F.B. & I have been writing letters for nearly 5 years now and his letters are usually 7 pages or longer I asked how I should copy them. He said copying the 1st page and envelope of each letter should work and to keep them in order. He also said it was good F.B. kept our trip journals and that we should make copies of that too. We need all of this to document and prove our relationship when we are going through the immigration process. So this year F.B. & I will be organizing and making copies of all the letters to each other. I have to buy a copier/scanner this coming year. I was pricing them and they seem to start at $79 which is fine with me, as long as it works! My printer died awhile ago... and my desktop PC just bit the dust as well. (It was 5 years old.) Can't afford a new PC this year though.

NOTE: Our lawyers Peter J. Gonzales & Shanna Stanton have changed firms. They are no longer with Kahiga Tiagha. They are now with Green and Spiegel LLC, but still located in Philadelphia. 

While I was out today I also stopped at Petco. I really wanted to check out the ratties there. I had been thinking about getting a new rat before I even came back from the Philippines. But then Spice got sick and I was busy taking care of her. Now she's gone... and I'm having a hard time getting over it. I needed something to cheer me up and help me with the loss and also to help my girls get over the loss as well, they haven't really been themselves. Rats mourn too.

Anyhow Petco had 4 females. 1 Rex, 2 Hooded & 1 Dumbo. The sales associates were super nice. They let me pick all of the girls up and see which liked me best. The little gray hooded girl was the most social and the favorite of the store. The little dumbo girl was also really sweet and not so shy. I got them both.

Here's my new girls: Ginger & Nutmeg

Ginger licking baby food off of my fingers (good introduction technique.)

Nutmeg with her sweet dumbo ears:

They are sooo tiny compared to Sugar & Cinnamon! They had a ball running around checking out their Ferret Nation. I've separated the levels again while the girls get settled in. Nutmeg & Ginger upstairs and Cinnamon & Sugar downstairs.

Funny story, when I was up at the cash register the cashier had to say goodbye to the ratties because she had gotten attached to them. (The gray hooded was her buddy.) She gave her goodbye kisses and told me she has 5 rats at home. While I was waiting to pay an older lady came up behind me in line makes a face and says, "Ooooh what's THAT?" The cashier holding my gray hooded girl says, "Rats." Then the lady looks at me and says, "Why are you buying RATS?!" I said, "I already have 2." And the cashier says, "I have 5." and kisses my gray hooded girl again, haha. The older ladies face was priceless she's like, "Ooooh... and you're KISSING it?" and then the other cashier said, "I can take you over here."

Rats get such a bad rap from people. I hear it from people at work all the time. But they are such sweethearts and have their own little personalities. They learn their names and come when called, they can be litter trained, are very clean and are very social animals. They make such great pets.

I got the new Fall Out Boy & Britney Spears C.D.'s. I think they are both really good. Fall Out Boy is one of my favorite bands.... aaaah I hope they are coming to Philadelphia again soon. I saw them in concert last November.

No big plans for New Years, just staying home with the family. So strange... next year I will be spending Christmas & New Years in the Philippines again and F.B. & I will be married by then... wow.


Spice: Oct 2007-Dec 26th 2008

I had Spice laying with me tonight because she still wasn't doing so well and I didn't want to leave her alone in the cage. Around 5:40-5:45am she kept doing a chirping sound and I woke up to check on her. She still wasn't moving... I picked her up and while I was talking to her she started doing this weird squeaking or gasping noise. I kept saying her name and listening to her chest to see if she was breathing but after awhile her heart stopped.... and she passed away around 5:55am....

I guess it's okay... because I was praying so hard tonight that she would pass away at home. I didn't want to have to go to the vet later and pay to put my baby to sleep... I can't stop crying now. I took her downstairs and my brothers and Mom said goodbye to her. I brought Sugar & Cinnamon downstairs too to say goodbye to her. Sugar started licking her and Cinnamon would just lay her head on Spice's belly. Sugar ended up doing the same thing so they were both laying there together with their heads on Spice's belly... my poor girl... I miss her....

Slideshow of my girl:

Not such a great Christmas....

Christmas Eve was a good night. Exchanged some gifts with the family and watched Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase.

I got to talk to F.B. on the phone for about an hour. I'm really missing him, after being together for 2 months 24/7.

And I even got some pictures of the ratties in the Christmas Tree!

Spice was doing much better. She was running along the back of the sofa last night, climbing & getting into trouble. Today she was not as good. When I woke up Spice seemed okay but around 2pm when I got offline with F.B. I noticed Spice was sitting slumped to the left downstairs in the cage. Just sitting there, not moving. I took her out of the cage and she was having trouble walking she seemed paralyzed almost. She also kept falling over.

I posted over at Ratchatter where I am a moderator. We think she may have had a stroke and she most likely has a pituitary tumor. I took some videos, in case I need to show the vet. And I also posted them at the forum. You can see she has been getting worse as the day goes on:

This Afternoon: http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v60/slcreedgirl/?action=view¤t=spice.flv

This Evening: http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v60/slcreedgirl/?action=view¤t=MOV03179.flv

Currently: http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v60/slcreedgirl/?action=view¤t=MOV03185.flv

Now she can't pick herself up when she falls over. She is laying wrapped up in a baby blanket on me not moving. Her eyes and nose are running alot of porphyrin & I keep wiping it off with a damp washcloth. I'm going to keep her with me tonight, she is not looking good. I've been giving her pedilyte & ensure in an oral syringe because she's stopped eating and drinking. I have to call the vet in the morning and take her over to see what we can do. Spice is around 14-15 months old.

This hasn't been a very good Christmas for me. I've been upset all day and wasn't even able to eat Christmas dinner with the family. I have a horrible headache & stomach ache so I came upstairs to lay down for now.

Christmas Bake Fest!

Yesterday I went out to do all of my Christmas shopping. I was out from 9am-2pm. I guess I should have done my Christmas shopping early before I went to the Philippines for 2 months, then I wouldn't have had to rush around like I did to get it all done at once! Whew! But I'm all finished now.

F.B. sent me Christmas Cards and a 7 page letter. He also sent me our trip journal. Whenever we are together he keeps a journal that summarizes what we did each day. Then he makes a copy to keep for himself and gives me the original. He also sent me a Watson's Lemon Lip Balm! Yay! I lost mine on the plane coming back to the USA. I love Watson's drugstore in the Philippines. I have Christmas gifts to mail him too, though they will be a little late this year. His Christmas gifts to me were a hoodie & t-shirt and sandals that he got me in the Philippines when I was there.

I love the one card he sent me, he said it reminded him of my ratties! Hehe! So Cute!

After Christmas shopping I had a bake fest. I made Pumpkin Bread, Chocolate Chip Muffins and Pumpkin Muffins! The Pumpkin Muffins were super simple to make. Only 4 ingredients!

Spending Christmas at home with the family. We usually put the tree up on Christmas eve and exchange some gifts. On Christmas we always have a breakfast buffet. I also ordered this yummy chocolate torte from Figi's for dessert this year.

I received a letter from wonk today saying to report to work on January 5th. Just a few more weeks of furlough "vacation" time left!

Spice had her recheck visit at the Vet this evening. She was able to get her stitches out finally! She is also doing much better since the Vet gave her fluids. I've also been giving her pedilyte in an oral syringe whenever I give her the antibiotic. She's not dizzy anymore and she can walk properly again. The antibiotic is still giving her terrible diarrhea, but tonight is her last night to be on it. She also gets to go back with her sisters tonight in the cage! I'm sure she's happy about that! Here's a picture of her from yesterday when she still had the stitches:

Spice Update

Spice was was not doing well today. She was very lethargic, had alot of porphyrin around her eyes and she was not walking well. She was so weak she was trying to drag herself. She was also not eating or drinking.

I took her to the vet around 5pm tonight. They think she might be dehydrated from the antibiotic. The antibiotic has been giving Spice alot of diarrhea. They gave her some fluids. They said I can also give her baby food or water in an oral syringe. (I also picked up some pedilyte to keep her hydrated.)

Also she's lost weight. Before her surgery she was 401 grams. And now she is 351 grams. The vet still wants to keep her on the antibiotic though. He said to continue with it, and said to call if anything changes. She still has a recheck appointment on Tuesday for her stitches.

She also has a strange scab on her back that the vet looked at and said to keep clean. After some research and help from my friends on Ratchatter it seems it's most likely Baytril Burn. She had a Baytril injection before her mass removal almost 2 weeks ago.

12-17-08: My brother was playing with Sugar in a cardboard box and she wasn't having it. She chewed herself right out of that box!

In other news; Spice had her checkup tonight. The vet said the stitches are looking good and she's a good rattie for not chewing them. She has another checkup next Tuesday as the stitches aren't ready to come out just yet.

Wedding Bands

F.B. & I will be getting married December 2009. I was checking out wedding bands today online at Gordon's Jewelers and found wedding bands I love!

They are simple wedding bands made of titanium. (Just what I want!) I'm surprised they are so affordable. I thought titanium would be very expensive, but I suppose it depends on the design. I like the polished metal look. And I've always wanted silver or titanium wedding bands. Nothing too fancy. I think F.B. will agree with me, that simple is best.

Now I have to get F.B. to go to a jeweler to get an accurate ring size for him. I know I am a size 6. Then maybe we can order the rings early next year and we'll be all set for December! I'm so Excited!

Update on Spice: She is doing much better. She has a check up at the Vet on Tuesday. The stitches and incision are looking better. She's bad when it comes to taking her antibiotic though. She will try to drool it out her mouth (I give it to her in a oral syringe) Or if I hold her she won't swallow and then when I let her down she will wipe her mouth all over her blanket. Bad rattie! Oh well. I think most is getting in her.

Spice: Tumor Removal

Spice had a vet visit Friday December 5th, the day after I got back from the Philippines. She was beginning to get a mammary tumor under her right armpit. (Spice is 1 year 2 months now.) She was scheduled today for her mass removal.

I dropped her off around 8:30am this morning and was able to pick her up at 5pm. She looks pretty bad right now. It was a much larger incision than Cinnamon's spay. The stitches even go down her arm a bit. They shaved alot of her fur and here is also alot of dried blood around the incision and also on her belly. I took a picture but it looks a bit graphic so I won't post it on here. I'll wait a few days until it looks better before I post a picture.

The surgery cost $284. Not really an expense I needed right now, but what can you do. Pets are like children. She has a check up next Tuesday and the Vet has her on the antibiotic SMZ-TMP

She seems alert, but uncomfortable and in a little pain. The Vet did give her Banamine after her surgery so that should help with the pain. She keeps trying to clean her fur off though. I'm going to try to clean her fur off (not near the metal stitches) tomorrow with some saline and gauze.

I've got everyone separated in the Ferret Nation again. I locked the levels so Spice has the entire top level for her hospital cage. I also removed the other level so she is on a completely flat surface. Cinnamon & Sugar will be in the downstairs part of the cage for now until Spice can live with her sisters again.

P.S. When I was in the Philippines I bought 'Mary Queen of Scots' by Antonia Fraser. The only other history book I had on Mary Queen of Scots was the one by Alison Weir. But that mostly covers her husbands death. I'm really enjoying this book, it is keeping me interested just like Alison Weir's history books.

Updated 12-11-08: Spice is doing better. She is still pretty uncomfortable from her surgery but doesn't seem to be in any pain. She sometimes gets jumpy and wants to climb and other times she'll sleep for hours. She has a little bit of trouble holding her food because of the stitches on her right arm. So she's been eating alot of soft foods, peas, mixed veggies, spinach, scrambled eggs.

Here is an updated picture from her surgery. The stitches are definitely looking alot better than they did her first night home. (Pretty big incision.)

Back in the USA

Well, I am back in the US after a crazy day of travel yesterday. F.B. and I stayed up the whole night on Wednesday so I could sleep better on my 15 hour flight. We left for the Manila airport around 3:30am and arrived around 4:30am. My first flight with Cathay Pacific was around 6:30am. My luggage weighed too much and they gave me a cardboard box and told me I needed to repack some of my luggage.

When I got to Hong Kong around 9am and checked in with United Airlines, they said my flight to Chicago was delayed until 2pm because of snow in Chicago. Also my flight to Philadelphia had to be rescheduled since I would miss the flight I was supposed to be on. Then they had to find my luggage on the plane and retag it with the new flight number on my bags. I was stuck in Hong Kong for 5 hours and had to go exchange US money for Hong Kong dollars so I could buy some water.

Finally left for Chicago on my 15 hour flight around 2pm in Hong Kong. I was completely exhausted by then since I had been up since Wednesday at 8am and it was not Thursday at 2pm. I didn't even have dinner on the plane, I just went right to sleep and slept 10 hours. When I woke up we only had 3 hours left on the plane. It turned out to be a 13 hour flight.

When I got to Chicago and went through US customs, I had an issue with customs. They wrote something on my customs card and after I claimed my luggage they sent me into a completely different line to get questioned. One of the customs officials was asking me what I was doing in the Philippines, where my fiance worked, where I worked, what was in my cardboard box. Finally he let me go. It's getting frustrating. Last time customs was questioning me at the desk, but this time they made me go a different line for questioning instead of letting me go. I now have a ton of Philippine stamps and a visa in my passport and I think that is the reason I keep having custom issues. Blah.

My flight to Philadelphia was also delayed about an hour because the plane was late getting there. Originally before all the delays I was supposed to arrive in Philadelphia around 5pm. I didn't land in Philadelphia until 10pm though because of the delays and flight changes. I was so happy my luggage was there when I arrived though. Not like back in January!

I was exhausted when I got home. It's weird though, it's winter here now and I didn't know how to dress today. I was so used to wearing t-shirts and sandals! I really miss F.B. though. I called him last night when I got home and we talked for awhile and tomorrow it will be back to our "dates" online.

Bad news though, when I got home Mom said she didn't want to tell me over the phone, but Spice my rat started growing a mammary tumor under her right armpit just before Thanksgiving. Female rats are very prone to developing tumors though they are rarely cancerous. I had to take Spice to the vet this afternoon and she will be getting her tumor removed Tuesday. It's going to cost about $300 though.

I still have to unpack. I have so much to put away I feel like it will take me a year!

On my last day in the Philippines F.B. & I spent the day at Mall of Asia. We got to watch another 3D IMAX movie about dinosaurs. Also had Wendy's for lunch and Yellow Cab Pizza for dinner, and of course... Starbucks, haha. (Java Chip Frappucino is my new favorite!) Here's some pictures from our last day:

P.S. When I got home, my Mom had a surprise for me. Turns out she made a plate of Thanksgiving dinner for me and froze it. So I get to have a real Thanksgiving meal after all!

P.P.S. Friday I came down with a head cold from my lovely day of traveling. I always seem to pick up a cold when traveling on planes. I feel so crappy my unpacking isn't getting done until next week.

Updated 12-8-08: All of my trip pictures & videos are now uploaded to Photobucket! Click below to view!



My "Thanksgiving" in the Philippines

For my “Thanksgiving” in the Philippines, F.B. & I went out to our favorite restaurant, Gerry’s Grill. We had our favorites, veggie rice, grilled squid & lumpia (spring rolls.) I also ordered a margarita, but it tasted more like tequila than lime, haha. We shared a brownie with ice cream for dessert. We also saw the Disney movie ‘Bolt’ earlier in the day.

Later that evening at home we had a snack of KFC mashed potatoes and the Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider we got at the grocery. My family always has Martinelli’s on holidays, so I was really happy to find it in the supermarket here in the Philippines! I also got to call home around 1am. It was 12pm on Thanksgiving in the USA! The 13 hour time difference is so crazy! (Because of Daylight Saving time, spring forward is a 12 hour difference and fall back is a 13 hour difference between Philadelphia & the Philippines.)

Saturday we headed to Greenbelt in Makati City to see a play. We saw ‘A Christmas Carol’. It was the musical version of the play though; we both thought it was just okay.

Sunday there was a family reunion get together for F.B.’s father’s birthday. (A belated birthday party.) We had a buffet style lunch here at the house. (The liempo was our favorite!) F.B. & I aren’t really “party” people, so after we made an appearance we hung out in his room the rest of the afternoon. I also packed a lot of my stuff on Sunday, so Wednesday night I just have to put in last minute stuff.

Today (Monday) we headed out to SM Marikina Mall. Stopped at Watson’s drugstore to pick up some stuff I wanted to take home. Then we went to Starbucks where I picked up a gift for F.B.’s sister. (I got her a Starbucks mug, Starbucks gift certificates & a makeup bag with Clinique makeup as a thank you gift.)

After that we headed to Robinson’s Mall to stop and get some VCD’s for F.B. (Shallow Hal, A night at the museum & Kung Fu Panda.) We also stopped at the grocery to get some peanut brittle to take home for my dad and some snacks for us. We had Chow King for dinner. (Love their corn & crab soup!) After dinner we stopped at Red Ribbon bakery to pick up a blueberry cheesecake for F.B.’s parents as a thank you gift.

Tomorrow we are just staying home to relax. And Wednesday is my last full day in the Philippines. We’ll be heading to Mall of Asia for my last day. We’re going to spend the whole day there. We want to see another 3D IMAX movie and maybe a regular movie.

My flight is at 6:30am on Thursday. I think F.B. & I are just going to do an all nighter on Wednesday. We did that in January and I was able to sleep better on my 15 hour flight from Hong Kong to Chicago. All together my flight home will be 24+ hours! Not looking forward to it.

I’ve been here in the Philippines 2 months now. It’s been really nice spending so much time with F. I’m really sad to leave him… even though it will be nice to be home again too. Just wish we could be in the same place! It will be a whole year before I’ll be heading back here again.

F.B. & I will be getting married next December here in the Philippines. I’ll probably be arriving around the end of November. Once I arrive, I’ll have to get a special affidavit from the US Embassy in Manila that says I am allowed to marry. Then we will file for our marriage license and make an appointment for our civil ceremony. We really haven’t decided where we will have our honeymoon yet since our wedding isn’t even a planned date! We’ll figure everything out once I arrive next year. After we are married we'll begin the immigration paperwork with our lawyer so F.B. can come to the USA.

Here are some silly pictures from the other day. F.B. went out back to get our towels off the clothes line and his bedroom window is right there.

F’s a “Peeping Tom!” Haha!

Ark Avilon Zoo- Philippines

F.B. and I went to the Ark Avilon Zoo this evening. It's shaped like a giant "Noah's Ark". We tried to go on Wednesday but it was really crowded with lots of school children on field trips. So we went after church tonight around 7pm (near closing time) so it was nice and quiet and we pretty much had the zoo to ourselves. This zoo was much better than the Manila zoo. The animals look better cared for and were friendly.

We saw a lot of big cats, though the lions, leopards & jaguars were pretty sleepy. The tigers were really active. I got a video of one of the tigers stalking and slapping the other one. They were really playing around and chasing each other!

I’ll have to upload all of the videos I’ve been taking this trip to photobucket or youtube when I go home. F.B. just has dial up internet at his house so it's impossible to upload videos. It takes awhile to upload the photos.

Here are some pictures from the zoo:

The donkey loved me. He either wanted me to pet him or give him a treat, but I didn’t know if he’d bite.

Lot’s of different birds. (Even saw some turkeys, they should be very thankful there's no thanksgiving in the Philippines!)

Some fish:

I was really excited the zoo had rats & mice! I’ve never heard of Siberian Husky Rats. They were really cute though.

The mice were little hams. I have a video of them standing up and sniffing the glass. They seemed extra friendly. Usually mice are pretty hyper!

I was even more excited because they had 2 rat statues up front!

There was also this funny little petting & feeding area. They had rabbits, guinea pigs & chickens all together in the same pen! They were even getting along, just hanging out with each other! So crazy, never seen anything like that before, I got video of that too.

F.B. & I at the zoo:

Afterwards F.B. & I went to the supermarket and then we had dinner at Chow King (and of course Starbucks afterwards, we're addicted!) Next week we are going out for my “Thanksgiving”, and probably seeing a movie too.

Designed by FlexyCreatives