I haven't updated in a few days, I was so busy this past week and yesterday was spent cleaning my entire room and doing laundry. Sugar had her visit at the vet on Tuesday for her sprain. He did an x-ray to make sure it wasn't a broken bone. Pretty weird seeing the inside of your rat on an x-ray! It was just a really bad sprain. He prescribed some metacam an anti-inflammatory for her to take for 2 weeks. She has to get it once a day and she just hates it, she will try to drool it out of her mouth. The swelling is decreasing slowly and it definitely doesn't look as bad as it did. He skin was really dry and peeling on her paw when the swelling started to go down though so I was putting a dab of olive oil on it to help keep it moisturized.

Finally got a quote on insurance for a new car. It would be $119 a month for full coverage from our State Farm Agent. That's not bad at all. I have to call one of the Nissan dealers back on Monday. He called twice during the weekend but I've been busy this weekend so I will get back to him on Monday. There's about 4 dealers in our area. And once I talk to the one dealer my dad & I are going to check out all the dealers maybe this coming weekend or next weekend. So maybe I will have a new car by March or so! I'm still interested in the Versa Sedan. I also found out one of my co-workers recently got the same car from the dealer right near my house. The same dealer I have to call back on Monday.

My own car was having issues with the shocks last week. I actually had to get a ride to work on Tuesday. It had snowed in the morning and when I started driving the car it was shaking and bouncing so badly I thought something was wrong with the tires. My dad ended up dropping me off at work and my co-worker gave me a ride home. Turns out my car has just entered old age. (It is a 93') I now have to let it warm up for 10-15min in extremely cold weather or else my shocks freeze up. I will be so happy if I am able to afford a new car this year!

F.B. & I were talking recently about snow and what he would think of it. He was wondering how he would drive in the snow & ice too and what it would be like to experience 4 seasons when he moves to the USA heehee.

I visited my Nana on Friday night. I haven't seen her since before I went away to the Philippines and I had some gifts for her and she wanted to see my trip pictures. The ratties paid her a visit too. I took the girls last time I visited. She loved my new girls Ginger & Nutmeg and she gave everyone a Hershey kiss. She said, "See if you come to visit Nana- you get candy!" So funny, heehee.

I ordered 'The True Life of Mary Stuart' by John Guy off of Ebay. I just started reading it and it's really good. I've been reading alot of books about Mary Queen of Scots lately.

I have to start working on getting Valentines stuff together for F.B. too. Though I think he may get his package after Valentines. I'm going to get our trip photos printed up and put into albums like I do every year for us. And I've got to get him a card and write a letter. I'm finally getting a paycheck this monday. I always hate coming back to work after being furloughed because it takes 3-4 weeks before you receive your first paycheck again!


More Laptop Dissection...

When I was in the Philippines the left button of my touch pad on my laptop died, so I ordered the part online. I've been putting off dissecting my laptop for more than a month now and it's a 3 day weekend so it was time... I was getting tired of using a mouse.

I love my Dell Inspiron E1505... but I've had issues with it. The M button went on my keyboard last year, so had to replace the keyboard. The hinges on the laptop lid went and needed to be replaced and now the touch pad needed to be replaced. I get my Dell parts from Parts-People.com

In order to replace the touch pad the entire front cover palm rest had to be removed. Which meant I had to take out my cd/dvd drive, remove my keyboard and take off the LCD Display... fun.... I just love dissecting my laptop, lol. I'm always so grateful Dell has the service manual published online.

It took about 40 minutes to remove and replace everything. And there was 3 years of dust, dirt and grime once the palm rest was removed... wow... yuck! I cleaned that out before replacing everything. So now I have my touch pad back. My co-worker joked with me and said if I keep replacing parts I'm just going to have a whole new laptop eventually, haha!

My laptop is nearly 3 years old now.... I bought it back in May of 2006. I love it, because I got to customize it online when I purchased it. I like alot of simulation type games, mainly the The Sims 2, The Sims, Sim City 4, Roller Coaster Tycoon Series, etc. I also create alot of web graphics with Macromedia Fireworks. So I really wanted a system that could handle those types of programs.

My laptop has a 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo Processor, 2GB of RAM, 100GB hard drive, 256MB ATI Radeon video card. Plus it has a really nice 15.4 wide screen display. I paid the extra money for the 2.0GHz processor because that's the most important part of a computer. I wanted a laptop that could perform like a desktop.

My #1 rule for buying a computer is to make sure you have at least a 2.0GHz processor or better, #2 would be your RAM (at least 1GB or more.), #3 video card (at least 256MB or more.), #4 hard drive size, etc. It really depends on what you want to use your system for. If you want your computer to run fast & smooth, the processor speed is what you should look for first in a system.

My only issue with Dell, is the casing for their laptops... very cheap plastic. The computer system itself though, runs great... so I don't mind that I've had to make some repairs to my laptop over the past few years. As long as your LCD screen or motherboard isn't damaged it's definitely cheaper to do the repairs yourself. (Which... if those go... you're better off just buying a whole new computer anyway!)



This has been a bad start to the new year. Last Friday I started with the office bug that's been going around. I felt like crap on Monday and called out of work. Tuesday we had update training so I had to be at work. And Wednesday I thought I would be okay but during the work day my cough was getting worse, sneezing, nose pouring... all that fun stuff. I stopped at the supermarket on the way home from work and picked up strong med's. Dayquil isn't cutting it. I got Tylenol Severe Congestion. So we'll see how that works.

I also picked up some hot chicken noodle soup... Ohhhh I have a bad obsession with chicken noodle soup. I can eat it for days in a row and not get tired of it. I love it. I eat it for dinner even when I'm not sick. So yesterday after work it was soup & bed for me and today when I woke up at 5am I felt like a truck had hit me. My body aches, my head aches, still coughing... blah. I called out again today and I'm going to bed after I post this and am sleeping ALL DAY. I can't wait until the weekend. It's a 3 day weekend because of the holiday on Monday... I just wish I wasn't sick! I really miss being with F.B. When I was sick in the Philippines he bought me noodle soup and mashed potatoes and listerine to gargle with for my sore throat... plus he always reminded me to take my vitamin c chews!

To top off my bad start to the new year my rat Sugar somehow sprained her front right paw on Sunday evening. I'm not even sure how. But now it's swelled up like a boxing glove almost. I've been giving her children's pain reliever for the pain. I just hope the swelling goes down or else I will have to take her to the vet on Monday or Tuesday so he can prescribe something for the swelling. She can't walk on it, she's just been holding it curled up. Earlier this week she was still eating with it, but as of last night she's not even doing that. And it hurts her terribly when you touch it or examine it, she cries.

I've been having such bad luck with my rats this past year. First was Cinnamon's emergency spay, Sugar getting a tick, Spice's mass removal, Spice passing away, Ginger getting her toes bit up by Sugar and now Sugar getting injured! I went a whole year without having any injuries or sickness and then 2008 & the beginning of this year everything just happened all at once. Rats really aren't as high maintenance as you would think... maybe someone jinxed me. And F.B. always laughs at me when I knock on wood... haha.

P.S. Sugar has a vet visit on Wednesday. The vet isn't in until then. The swelling still hasn't gone down on her paw and not sure if it will before her appointment he might have to prescribe something.


Wedding Rings, Blackberry's & Other News

I went back to work on Monday after a 2 month break. I was exhausted all week, I'm just not used to getting up early again. Next week I'll be starting my workout routine with my treadmill Mon-Thurs. It was a busy week and we have update training at work on Tuesday.

I was able to order our wedding bands this week! F.B.'s Christmas package I sent him arrived and I had included a plastic ring sizer for him so we could find out his ring size. I ordered the rings from a wholesale jeweler. We got titanium wedding bands. I wanted something silver in color but very durable. F.B. is going to pay me back half for the rings. I like the satin finish which is more masculine for F.B. and the shiny one is more feminine for me.

Here is a picture of the wedding bands I ordered:

They just arrived tonight and they are so gorgeous! Here are the rings:

The left one is F.B.'s & the right one is mine. F.B. & I happen to have the same ring size. I'm 3 inches taller than him also; so I always tease him and say "At least your shoe size is bigger than mine!"

I've been bidding on Blackberry Pearls on Ebay for a few weeks. I really wanted a new phone but I'm not eligible for an upgrade from T-mobile right now and even the discount price they offer for me is still well around $200.00. The phones on ebay seem to be going for $100.00 as well even with a broken trackball, etc. I was finally able to win one for $65.00 though! The only issue with it... a dog chewed it. Yes! Haha! Here is the listing.

When the phone arrived it actually looked better than the description, the only major damage aside from cosmetic scratches was the back door panel was cracked:

I ordered a nice new hard shell case for it on ebay also for $1.99 and you can't even tell it's not new:

I had to upgrade to the $24 T-mobile unlimited internet & 400 text message plan though in order to use the instant messaging. F.B. & I always talk on AIM or Yahoo messenger on my breaks at work so we need that. The only time we get to spend together when I'm working is a date online on the weekend and we email every other day Mon-Fri. Technically I'm only paying $14 more than what I was paying for internet & texting, so it's not too bad. And I don't talk on my phone so much. I have the lowest plan T-mobile offers. 300 minutes & unlimited weekends for $29.

I also decided to get some extras for my new phone on ebay. I ordered a 2GB memory card for $6. A new battery for $4 and a new back door panel for $1. So let's see- the phone was $69.00 with shipping and I've spent $12.99 on accessories. That's about $81.00 for a blackberry & accessories. God, I LOVE ebay! If I'm ever looking for something, I always check ebay first to see if I can get a good deal.

I'm also looking to get a new car this year. My Dad has to talk to our insurance company and see how much it would cost for me to get insurance on my own. Right now, I'm covered under his insurance still. I will be 27 this year so I'm hoping it won't be too bad to get insurance on my own. The car I am driving I have had for 4 years now. It's a 1993 Chevrolet Geo Prizm, that my Dad got used (He's a mechanic.) The starter went one year, the alternator last year, I needed new tires. It's falling apart and I want a car that I'm not going to have to worry about getting inspected every year.

And now is the time to buy a car. The prices are so low on some of the new 2009 models because of the issues with our economy. The cars within my price range are about $10,000 brand new. I'm looking at a Nissian Versa Sedan or a Hyundai Accent. First we will talk to the insurance company though, because it depends on how much those payments will be monthly in addition to what my payments on the car would be monthly. And then next year F.B. & I will start working with our immigration lawyer, so the car & insurance payments need to be affordable for me.

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. 

I've had Ginger & Nutmeg for about 2 weeks now. There were some issues with Sugar attacking Ginger though. I've had them separated on levels in the Ferret Nation cage. At first I had Sugar & Cinnamon on the lower level, but that didn't work out so well because Sugar was climbing up and Ginger was poking her hands down between the bars and she ended up getting attacked & bit twice. The 2nd time she was missing a toenail. So I moved the new girls to the lower level instead and there hasn't been anymore attacks. I've slowly been introducing the new girls to Sugar & Cinnamon this weekend. There's been a few scuffles but nothing major.

Tonight I'm going to try play time in the cage on one of the levels. But I'm going to remove their boxes and plastic igloo so no one gets cornered. The cage is a more territorial area, so we will see how things go. I think it's going to take a little longer than it did when I introduced Cinnamon to Sugar & Spice. But it will be nice when they can all live in the same cage together.

Here were all of the girls earlier hanging out in a soda box! So far so good!


2 Year Engagement Anniversary

Today was our 2 year engagement anniversary. Last year I was in the Philippines in January and F.B. & I were able to spend our engagement anniversary together. We were staying in Makati City that week and went out for dinner to Saisaki Japanese Buffet. Mmmm... sushi. Haha! Wish we could have spent today together as well... last year was really nice. Happy Anniversary, Baby. I love you.


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone! I got to talk to F.B. on the phone around 1:30pm today. It was 2:30am in the Philippines at that time. He was in a new year for 13 hours before it became 2009 here in Philadelphia! I miss him... but next year we should be together for Christmas & New Years and we will probably be married by then as well... so crazy. I spent New Years at home with my family this year. We had crackers, cheese, Martinelli's sparkling apple cider, etc. And also had the chocolate torte from Figi's, yum!

Here's another picture of my new girls; Ginger & Nutmeg!

Edited to add 2 "xmas" pictures of the cuties:


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.

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