Archive for the ‘Eva Cat’ Category

Southern Tour, May 2009, Part 2: Birmingham and Nashville

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Hayden had to get out of Memphis a second time, for a day trip to a baseball game in Birmingham. A few days later, on our way back to Chicago, we all stayed the night in Nashville with Hayden’s sister Paige and her family.


On Wednesday, Hayden and his dad got to cheer on Hayden’s favorite baseball team, a mere 650 miles away from U.S. Cellular Field. The fates must truly support Hayden’s love of the White Sox. Somehow the stars aligned so that my mom’s surgery was scheduled the day after Memorial Day, putting Hayden in prime position to get to Birmingham the following day for the Rickwood Classic. Only once per season, the White Sox’s AA affiliate, the Birmingham Barons, play at Rickwood Field, “America’s oldest ballpark.” Even being hoarse from his sore throat, Hayden couldn’t help feeling in heaven.

Rickwood Classic Ballpark

Exterior of Rickwood Field, the oldest operating baseball park in the United States

Rickwood Field Hayden up to bat

Hayden up to bat at Rickwood Field

I won’t relate all the details of the stadium and the game, only because Hayden promises to write a full recap later. More photos and video are here.


On Sunday, we headed to Nashville—followed closely by Ashley, Sydney, and Clayton—to see Paige, her husband Mike, and their kids, Jackson, Andrew, Reid, and McKenzie Hayden. I don’t know what could have made their dog, Greer, think of making a brief escape. Hayden and I also went out that evening, not for escape, but to see our friend Brad. Fortunately, Eva had plenty of distractions to keep her from wanting to leave Paige’s house.

McKenzie Hayden gnaws on a toy by the pool

McKenzie Hayden gnaws on a toy by the pool

Ashley, Hayden, and Paige

Ashley, Hayden, and Paige by the pool

Drew Greer and Sydney

Andrew, Greer, and Sydney after Greer’s escape and capture

Eva on the "Get it" rug

Eva on a maize, aka “get it” rug

On Monday, we packed up the car and had a smooth drive back to Chicago—except for half an hour of bad thunderstorms in Indiana.

A thunderstorm on I-64 in Indiana

More photos and video are here.

Southern Tour, May 2009, Part 1: Greer’s Ferry and Memphis

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Starting Memorial Day weekend, we spent nearly two weeks in the South, visiting family and friends.

Greer’s Ferry

Eva and I stayed put most of the trip, she at Hayden’s dad’s place in Collierville, and I at my parents’ house in Memphis. However, Hayden left town the day after we got to Memphis. He went to his dad’s place in Greer’s Ferry, Arkansas, to fish and, of course, look for Bigfoot with his dad, sister Ashley, niece Sydney, and nephew Clayton.

Dad and Sydney fishing

Hayden’s Dad and Sydney fish in Greer’s Ferry Lake

Sadly, both Hayden and our old Canon ELPH digital camera got sick. Fortunately, Hayden’s sore throat and coughing subsided after about a week. Unfortunately, the little digital camera didn’t make it. Don’t worry though; there are still plenty of photos from the rest of the trip. Somehow Hayden was able to get over his loss and pick out a new camera, with his friend Daniel’s help, the very next day. More photos and video are here.


I started my trip, without a camera, by hanging out with my sisters Lisa and Stephanie and seeing Summer and Elaina and their adorable kids Silas and Eva (not named after our cat). On Sunday morning, we brunched with our friends Brett and Vanessa. Later, Hayden saw his friends Daniel and Melanie, in town from LA, while I had a girls’ night with some friends from high school and college. Because two of the girls are moving away this summer, one to northern Georgia and the other only 2.5 hours south of Chicago (yay!), I commandeered the new camera.

Amber, Charlotte, Jennifer F, Caroline, Apryl, and Jennifer B R

Amber, Charlotte, Jennifer F, Caroline, Apryl, and Jennifer B R celebrate the last girls’ night for a long while

After sleeping most of Sunday and Monday, Hayden woke up long enough to go to a Memorial Day cookout with my mom, dad, sisters, and brother-in-law Adam. On Tuesday, I got up around 6:00 a.m. to go with the rest of my family to an outpatient surgery center for my mom’s gallbladder surgery. That woman has a higher pain tolerance than anyone else I know; she took only four pain pills and was back at work on Friday. Because she was so lucid Tuesday night and Wednesday, we were able to spend lots of time relaxing and chatting.

While my mom and I were lazing around, Hayden was with his mom cleaning out things in his old bedroom—including lots of old baseball cards—on Tuesday and with his dad at a baseball game in Birmingham on Wednesday (see more in Part 2).

Baseball Cards

Hayden’s tin of baseball cards

On Thursday, Hayden had lunch with his friend Greg, and I with my friend Becky. Then Hayden did a show on WEVL. After a nice chat with Judy, we went to dinner with my sisters and brother-in-law and stopped by Lisa’s house so Hayden could see how big her crazy cat J.P. Hubert has gotten.

On Friday, we introduced Stephanie to the Bar-B-Q Shop (she and Adam went back a week later) and enjoyed watching the Redbirds play in old Memphis Chicks uniforms (thanks for the tickets, Adam!). We ended the night by staying out much later than we had intended, until 2:00 a.m. Our friend Caroline was having a going away party, and every time we turned around, more friends of ours showed up.

Redbirds vs Cubs Stephanie and Apryl

Stephanie and Apryl at a Memphis Redbirds’ game

We dragged ourselves out of bed on Saturday to have lunch with our friends John and Julie and dinner with Brian, Michelle, and their sweet-tempered, smart, and funny son, Joe.

Hayden Apryl Julie and John

Hayden, Apryl, Julie, and John after a delicious lunch

Joe going down the slide, aka escalator

More photos and video are here.

Fetching Eva

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

For those who don’t know, Eva will fetch like a dog. When she was younger, it seemed like she would play the game for hours. And if you grew tired and stopped paying attention to her, she would push her toy with her paw under your foot making it clear that she wasn’t done playing. Well, she might not fetch as often as she once did, but every once in awhile the mood will still strike her. This is especially the case when she receives new toys like the ones in her stocking this Christmas. Below is an extremely short video of her playing fetch with a new toy monkey:

However, it’s been an old mouse toy that she had forgotten and that my dad put in her stocking that has been getting the most attention. I took a short video of her playing with it as well but it kept failing to upload on Flickr. Oh well. For the most part, Eva Cat has been sleeping about 23.5 hours of the day on the couch keeping warm.

End of the Year – lists

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

So, we’re back home. And it was a great holiday break (short sleeves, really?) But as always, even though it seemed like we were always visiting, we still didn’t manage to see everyone. Hopefully, we will see all those we missed on our next trip back South. Of course, I took photos, which I will load on Flickr today or tomorrow. Until then, I thought it would be appropriate to end the year with a few End of the Year lists. So, here we go:

Top 10 Favorite Songs of 2008
10. Dent May – Meet Me In The Garden
9. TV on the Radio – Family Tree
8. Silver Jews – Strange Victory Strange Defeat
7. The Avett Brothers – Murder in the City
6. Bon Iver – Re:Stacks
5. Arthur Russell – Love Is Overtaking Me
4. Breathe Owl Breathe – Playing Dead
3. Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
2. Destroyer – Foam Hands
1. Vic Chesnutt – You Are Never Alone

Top 10 Concerts of 2008
10. (tie) Harlan T. Bobo – Schubas/Caleixco – Millennium Park
9. Dolly Parton – Chicago Theatre
8. Ornette Coleman – Chicago Jazz Festival
7. Radiohead – Lollapalooza
6. Jarvis Cocker – Pitchfork Music Festival
5. Magnetic Fields – Old Town School of Folk Music
4. Girl Talk – Lollapalooza
3. Animal Collective – Pitchfork Music Festival
2. Bill Callahan – Millennium Park
1. Andrew Bird – Millennium Park
Honorable Mention: Vanilla Ice – Cans

Top 5 Cities Visited (work related) in 2008
5. New York
4.New Orleans
3. Charleston
2. Boston
1. Reno/Lake Tahoe

Top 5 Places Visited (non work related) in 2008
5. Mount Horeb
4. Memphis
3. Nashville
2. Greers Ferry
1. McGregor/Prairie du Chien

Top 5 Celebrities met in 2008
5. Bill Rancic
4. Mark Wahlberg
3. Garrison Keillor
2. Cookie Monster
1. Svengoolie

Top 10 Tourist Stops of 2008 (in no particular order)

  • Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb
  • Sears Tower Skydeck
  • Architecture Boat Tour, Chicago
  • Hopper/Homer Exhibit at the Art Institute
  • Fenelon Place Elevator Cable Car in Dubuque, IA
  • College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, IN
  • Cafe du Monde in New Orleans
  • Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque, IA
  • Cheers Bar in Boston
  • Weird Chicago Tour

Top 5 Most Memorable Moments in 2008 (other than Obama)
5. Sox win the AL Central.
4. Apryl graduates from IIT.
3. Eva gets cancer. And is okay.
2. The Tigers play in the NCAA Finals.
1. McKenzie Hayden Madden is born.

Top 5 Favorite Personal Photos of 2008 (in no order)

Sox seats


Lake Tahoe

Apryl Graduate

house show

Perhaps more lists to come later. Perhaps not. Either way, here is a selection of other photos from the past year. Goodbye 2008!

Happy Birthday to me.

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Birthday Cake

Thanks everyone for all the cards and birthday wishes this week. Apryl and I had a fun yet odd time celebrating on Monday with a White Sox game against the Orioles that had a two hour rain delay followed by an up and down score that continued until the game was finally suspended in the 11th inning. The game is going to be resumed in Baltimore in August.

Some photos from the game:

Grounds Crew lifting up tarp

There was a loud applause for the grounds crew as they removed the tarp after a two hour rain delay to start the game.

Small crowd

Since the rain never stopped there were very few people in the lower decks. Luckily, our seats were the first in the lower deck to have a cover over them. So, we stayed relatively dry during the entire game.

Crede at bat

My favorite, Joe Crede, at bat right before being hit by the pitch. Walk it off Joe!

Hayden's Sign

My birthday sign got me and Apryl on the Jumbotron. And it only took 7 innings!

Hayden happy

Just happy to be at the ball park!

Apryl sad face

Apryl is probably wondering when this game is going to ever end!

So the Orioles score in the 11th inning which makes me think we surely have lost this game. I mean by the game’s end we left 14 batters on plate. However, Juan Uribe, who hasn’t played the entire day, comes into the game and hits a home run to tie up the score. Unfortunately, the Sox couldn’t score anymore and the game was finally called off due to an excessively muddy field and the continuing down pour.

Suspended play.

That night we got some tasty sushi from Coast and enjoyed some of Apryl’s wonderful chocolate pie!

The rest of the week was spent working (including a segment for the Ellen show at our favorite pizza joint Giordano’s) and taking Eva for her follow up. Another thank you to everyone that’s been asking about Eva Cat. She is doing well and we were told there is “no evidence of recurrent disease”. On Monday we will find the results of her blood work. Since we’re talking about Eva, I’ll finish this post with an Eva photo:

Eva on Records

Eva ready to listen to some records!

Go, Tigers, Go!

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Go, Tigers!

Who could believe that two such big events could happen on the same day? My little sister got married, and the Tigers finally won a Final Four game? The weekend was great but super fast and action packed. In fact, Hayden was so worn out that he didn’t touch the computer when we got home at midnight last night or when he got up at 6:00 this morning for a shoot. So I thought that I would post for him to show our support for our alma mater and this amazing Tigers team.

Speaking of cats, Eva seemed to do okay while being boarded at the vet’s for only the second time in her life. She did need a little extra reassurance that we were around last night. She wanted extra petting and someone to be within easy reach at all times. She also hid from Hayden this morning as she does when he gets up early now because she thinks that he might be taking her to the vet. Fortunately, we’re all done with radiation treatments! Eva’s follow-up visit will be in a few weeks. Thanks to everyone for asking about her regularly.

And to put some more focus back on the bigger cats for today, here’s a link to the U of M March Madness page where you can download an mp3 of the fight song in case you haven’t gotten enough of it lately. I also borrowed the photo at the top from that page.


Eva’s Treatment – Week 1

Friday, March 14th, 2008

Eva has successfully completed her first week of radiation treatment at the Veterinary Specialty Center in Buffalo Grove, IL. And, according to her doctors, she has been the “perfect patient”. Admittedly, I was afraid she was going to start getting disgruntle by mid week, but she has really made the trip quite easy.

Since we have to contend with the morning rush hour, we have to leave an hour before her appointment. Eva makes a little cry when I first put her in her carrier but then quickly falls asleep once we hit the Edens Highway. During the drive, I switch back and forth between 670 The Score, ESPN 1000, 91.5 Chicago Public Radio and 88.7 Loyola College Radio. Buffalo Grove is the first exit off the 294 Tri State Tollway, so we have to pay up a buck going in and a buck coming out.

Once in Buffalo Grove, the vet is off of Milwaukee Ave, which is funny because that street goes all the way out to our apartment. I’ve even checked into taking it all the way into Buffalo Grove, but Map Quest says it would take an hour of driving time. I’m not sure if this would be quicker or not since there is surely less traffic than the highway. I’ll probably experiment with the route before the month’s end.

Vet Spec Inside

Once I get there, they are very quick to take Eva back for her treatment. Even if I’m early, they don’t make her wait until her actual appointment time. Earlier in the week, I had a shoot in the morning, so I dropped her off and picked her up later in the day. But the rest of the week, I didn’t have any morning shoots, so I was able to wait until they were done. I spent most of my time in the waiting room watching episodes of the 80’s classic Monsters on my iPod Touch (A special thanks goes out to Trey for giving me the complete first season).

Usually, the procedure only takes 45 minutes, and then we’re back on the highway, fighting traffic. Typically, Eva takes in another short nap while I listen to the radio. Luckily, as soon as we get back home, and I let Eva out of her carrier, she’s back to her kitty self. Since Eva’s not allowed to eat after midnight the night before, she’s really hungry. Then she bathes herself for about ten minutes straight and then heads to a sun spot in the window for about thirty minutes before wanting some attention. Eva has always been one to adjust to situations fairly well, and she’s seeming to be adjusting quite fine with our daily trips out to the suburbs. Though, I’m sure she’s not going to be sad that she’s got the weekend off before next week.

Eva in Apryl's Lap

Eva enjoying Apryl’s lap.

Eva Update

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Yesterday, Eva had both an MRI and chest exam done, and although our specialist, Dr. Rhonda, still advised us to start radiation treatment, she said the results from the test showed that only a small residual from the cancer remained and that it hadn’t spread throughout Eva’s body. Dr. Rhonda also told us that because of those good results, they would be able to use a lower-energy radiation treatment. “Basically,” she told me, “this is the best news you could get.” So either this Monday or next, Eva will start her treatments five days a week for an entire month. I suppose I should find some interesting things to do in Buffalo Grove.

Eva and her food

Apryl snapped this photo a couple of days ago after coming home and finding Eva’s new bag of cat food dragged across the kitchen floor again, complete with a new hole torn open with her teeth. The food, Urinary SO 30, was prescribed to her to help remove crystals found in her urine. At first, we were afraid that she wasn’t going to like it, since she favored her old salmon and rice so much. Well, have no fear, she loves it so much that she’s become obsessed with it. Even if we’re home, she will drag it out when she’s hungry. It’s now being referred to as Kitty Crack.

Winners and Losers…

Monday, February 25th, 2008

On Saturday night, Apryl and I, along with our friends Brooke and Jeff, joined the University of Memphis Alumni Chicago Group to watch the Tigers/Vols game at Junior’s Sports Lounge. Of course, the less said about this disappointing night the better. However, I’ve got to mention that while the Tigers lost, I won! Below, check out the U of M blanket I won in the raffle:

Hayden and U of M blanket

For the Oscars, Apryl and I threw a theme party with our friends Trey, Rachel, Alison, Michael, and Colleen. We had stove top popcorn, movie candy, nachos, homemade pizza, and hot dog desserts (ala Marge Simpson’s creation).

And, of course, we all competed with our official Oscars ballots. In second place, Trey won with 11 correct picks, which earned him a Gift Subscription for 1 movie at a time for a month from Netflix. The first place winner was Alison with 13 correct picks, which got her the Gift Subscription for 2 movies at a time for a month from Netflix. I had an embarrassing night with only 6 correct categories. (It should be noted that Apryl tied with Trey but took herself out of the running.)

Photos below from the evening:

Popcorn and Candy

Eva on the Red Carpet

Oscar Watch Party

Eva makes Dessert Dogs

Dessert Dogs

Eva’s Condition: The Results

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

Well, the news is what we expected. The lump removed was indeed vaccine-associated sarcoma. So now we’re left with having to decide our next plan of attack. Our wonderful veterinarian Rachel has been doing a lot of work contacting various oncologists in the region. Instead of waiting to see if another lump appears, many of the doctors’ recommendations are for a series of radiation and chemotherapy treatments as well as an amputation of the leg. Rachel has also given us the number of another doctor here in the suburbs that instead suggests having an MRI performed before making that next step. If the cancer has spread, that doctor would conduct twenty daily treatments that would more than likely make Eva a resident at that vet’s for almost a month. I’m not sure what would be more traumatic for Eva: 1) no longer having a back leg or 2) being away from us for twenty days while being treated.

I should mention that we haven’t called these doctors yet, so we don’t know all the details. I think we need the weekend to let it all settle in for us. For awhile, it seemed like the logical next approach would be to wait to see if the tumor returned before making another decision. One of the oncologists said that if another lump appeared, it would appear within 80 days. Also, Rachel mentions a cat that also had a tumor removed at their vet and continued to live for 5 years without the tumor returning. If we do wait and the tumor comes back, the effectiveness of a treatment would all be determined on the aggressiveness of the cancer. So I’m left with a lot of decisions to make in order to save Eva Cat’s life. It doesn’t help that Eva looks so healthy on the outside.

So that this post doesn’t end on such a depressive note, Eva had me and Apryl cracking up the other day. When I got back home from a shoot, I found that Eva had eaten all her food in her bowl and was still hungry. So she ate a hole in the thick plastic bag of her new food. The funny part is that she also knocked over the bag—which I’m assuming is what flung the clip (like those used for potato chip bags) across the room—and then proceeded to drag this 5lb bag of food (with her lampshade on, mind you) into the middle of the kitchen floor so that she could have a little snack before I got home. Amazingly, she didn’t make a mess.

Another Eva relaxin' moment

Another Eva relaxin’ moment.