Friday, February 27, 2009


Well, here it is almost a week since I posted. And lord knows I have not been good about showing what I am up to.

But I have an excuse.

My power supply fan is about to shit the bed completely. You should hear this thing wheezing, groaning, and huffing and puffing along while I am on the computer. It's dreadful and there are times where I think that the computer may just completely lift off- not kidding. So yes, I know that it is a terrible reason, but I have been delaying the inevitable by simply not even turning it on. This is just to buy me some time till my Personal Computer Geek (BF luckily) orders me a new fan, tells me how to install it, and so on. Oddly enough, a by product of this unfortunate computer situation is that suddenly my free time to actually make things seems to have tripled.

A sad by-product of this is that I forget to tell you awesome things as they happen. Like the other day, i think it was yesterday but it could have been the day before, Maya wagged her tail at me for the first time inside the house. There were no other dogs around, and we weren't playing, but I asked her if she wanted to go potty and she smiled and wagged her tail at me a few times. It was cute- I have had her almost a year and now she is finally starting to come around enough emotionally to communicate with me. Oh and in case you were wondering, Operation Anxiety is going very very well. We haven't had a bad crate report in weeks, I think. She still randomly does naughty things, but overall she is a much happier dog, and I am a much happier person. Thank you, Modern Medicine. And thank all of you for all the comments and advice and support.

So anyway, i am still here, all is well, the Use Me Up Challenge is going fantastically, and I am making things. I have lots of posts that I hope to work on in draft over the next week or so, and I hope to post them here and there so that this place isn't so...quiet. It's just not in my nature.

Oh and the final count for the neuter-a-thon: 165 cats! One hundred sixty three boys, one girl, and one boy-girl. All sterilized in roughly 5 hours by two vets, with no known complications at this time- everyone woke up, no one has come back for infections or problems with their incisions, etc. So I guess you could call it an overwhelming success. I can't wait till the next one.

That's really all the news that's fit to print, at least until I make the Mother of All Confessions this week. I fell off the wagon, and hard.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Only Thing That Stifles Creativity More Than Cat Balls

is doing your taxes.

Yeah, you heard it here first. I know this because I did mine tonight. I am very happy to have crossed them off my list of things to do, but shit- it's boring and stressful (one of my absurd phobias, along with something happening to my teeth, is the IRS. I am scared of them. I don't make a lot of money, have colorful or dubious deductions, and tell the absolute truth to them every year. And ever year I tremble in fear that they will see my little old return come through, and WHAM! stamp it with a big red "DENIED!!!" stamp and audit me till I cry uncle. Or worse, swoop in through my windows on ropes and demand that I hand over my checkbook. Of course, I may or may not be able to find it, depending on if it is or isn't in my underwear drawer. Shut up, I told you this was an absurd fear. I can make it as silly and dramatic as I like. Actually I have no control over it, just as I have no control over covering whole topics inside parentheses.)...and now I have no idea where I was. My brain is fried.

Oh yes, I did my taxes.

and now that I am done with them, I have no room in my brain for anything but lists, budgets, to do's, and things of that sort. What a shame. What a waste of an evening. I mean, not exactly- keeping the Feds (hopefully, fingers crossed!) off your back is a worthwhile endeavor for sure. But when you have your ironing board all set up with a stack of cut and pinned fabric on I'm just not in the mood.

Do you have a hard time changing gears like that? I sure do. I am envious of people who live creatively, are work at home artists, moms, or just people who are able to integrate creating into their lives more seamlessly than I. I mean, I will probably knit while I watch tonight's trash tv, but if anything at this point it is because I demand that the scarf submit to me, and hurry up and be done. I have demanded this of said scarf for a while, but it has only recently come to my attention that the act of knitting on something produces much more speedy and satisfactory results than squawking at it does.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hundreds of Cat Testicles!

Today was spent at The Shelter doing their neuter-a-thon.

I busted my ass, and several hundred cats were neutered. The first hit the table at about 8, and by 1:15 or so, the last one came off. Hundreds and hundreds of cats.

I worked the Recovery, and that actually morphed into several chaotic jobs. I'd scoop up an unconscious kitty and whisk them off to their recovery room, where I'd lay them on top of their carriers with a microwaved rice pack to keep them warm. This went on for hours, while my partner and I switched off running cats, moving crates, and watching our own little group of recovering kitties. In each room it looked like the Heaven's Gate compound- you know, the people all lined up on bunks in their black Nikes, just waiting for the Mothership to beam them up or something. Terrible, but true.

I would check their breathing, make sure they stayed warm, pick them up and change their newspaper when they pissed on it (which many did), and rub them and flick their little noses to test for ones that were coming around. Then hurriedly shove a disoriented and usually aggravated kitty into a crate. And stack them back up again. Hours and hours this went on!

The assembly line was a model of very chaotic efficiency, and those little buggers would get lined up, drugged up, shaved up, neutered up, and shipped out to recovery in no time flat. It really was a sight to behold- tufts of fur flying everywhere, the occasional scuffle with someone who didn't want to be sedated or taken out of their carrier, people bustling around with limp cats in their arms, and then those little nutless wonders, all lined up like they drank the same Kool-Aid.

I am going to brag now. those of you that know me know that I am rather squeamish and will gag over just about anything. Well! I also had the dubious distinction of scrubbing instruments in addition to flinging around lifeless cats. Hmm. Well they weren't too terribly nasty, and I held it together when I would clean a gross instrument and drop it in the ultrasonic cleaner. Until I saw it- a Rogue Testicle. Somehow, a cat ball made it into the bin of used instruments, and then came to me. To wash. Oh. My. God. A Cat Ball. I didn't scream and cry and pick up an unconscious kitten to hide my face in like I would have liked. Nope, I just waited till no one was looking, and flicked that hemostat hard, and flung the nut into the trash. So of course I am not only proud that I was not bested by a cat testicle, but the doctors complimented me on my ability to drop off clean instruments on the table, whisk away the most recent victim, and return with clean instruments in no time flat. I was born to assist in the mass removal of testicles. I can tell; it's just a gift I have.

There were a few interesting kitties there. I was in charge of Satan Himself. That was the meanest little cat I have ever seen in my life! If other perfectly sweet but groggy kitties weren't stacked up around him, I would have kicked his carrier so hard his teeth would have rattled. He was horrible. there was also a hermaphrodite kitty! This one had one ball and part of a uterus. So if the final tally of balls removed is an odd number, that's why. And also, there were a few of the Hemingway cats, the ones that have like 7 toes per front paw. They were cute, but is sure was strange (and time consuming) to clip their claws.

Sorry I'm not funnier today. I have been flinging testicles and monitoring vitals and swinging cats around since about 7:30. I'm tired and going to take a long long nap.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Looky At What I Made!

Wow, this took a lot of time and effort (really only in the choosing of sweaters and the cutting of peices)! But it was Monday's installment of the Use Me Up Challenge. And oh, how do I love it.

So, I finished my knitting needle case, made entirely of recycled sweaters. Like I said, this came from the book Warm Fuzzies by Betz White. Okay, so here's the outside, all rolled up:
Here's the backside, all spread out. I love the pattern, and I am so glad I used this sweater, and left the shoulder shaping, collar, and bottom ribbing intact. It kind of shows more obviously what this case was in a former life, and I really like that.
Okay, now here it is opened, with various assorted things stuck in it, but the flap closed. Clever, huh? In the pic you can also see about half of my sewing table. It is clearly a hot mess, which I believe is a sign of my productivity. Back to the case. Anyhow, it was tricky sewing on those larger pockets. well, the only really hairy bit was the part where I was shoving three felted wool sweaters through the machine at once. I am happy to say my machine took it like a champ. The pattern calls for wool blend craft felt for that part but in keeping with the challenge, I just went for it. Not so bad.
Now here's a bit bigger picture with the flap lifted up. You may notice the crooked seams, and you may also notice that the green pocket is on a serious slant. I am very proud of myself, because my reaction to this makes me think that I am turning a corner here- I love it because of that stuff. It's sort of cartoonish, almost Seussian. I think that's pretty fun. I mean it's a stripey felted wool knitting needle case. For it to take itself too seriously, and try to be all perfect with straight lines and such- booooo-ring. I mean if you can sew straight lines, more power to you, but until I can (and if my drawing skills are a sign of things to come, this will never happen) I will just have to embrace and enjoy the delightful and semi-intentional wonkiness that is my finished projects. I'm beginning to thing of it as my personal style.

So, now all I have to do is go on a really long trip where I will need to knit like 6 different projects so I can use it! Can I come stay with you guys?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Confessional Sunday!

What did I buy this week that I should confess? NOTHING! Yay!

I need to get to sewing, but I am just POOPED. Today I walked the biggest bridge in the area, and that was fun, but quite the effort. It's a very steep incline and all these strange muscles I have not used in quite a while were crying out for mercy.

Then I did something very unlike me and went to the Wildlife Expo that was in town. It was a chilly day, but a few girls bundled up (Viva La Handknits!) and headed down to the river to watch the retreiver trials, the Boykin Spaniel demonstrations (which showed to me just how willful and disobedient my dog can be) and just wandered around to look. There were tons of food vendors, and i abstained from the fried gator, although i LOVE it. I couldn't resist the hot kettle corn though. I am full to the brim of it and I am not sorry.

Then there was my favorite thing- the Dock Diving Competitions! They had events like speed retreiving, big air, and distance, and I loved it. We wound up front row on the back side of the pool they had set up, and got to watch the dogs getting ready to take their jumps. It was too funny. When one would hit the platform all the others would howl, quiver, and whine- I guess they were rotten with jealousy that it was not their turn to take a jump. It was too cute. Some of the other labs and such that were there watching began to sing and howl too- they wanted to play too! Anyway, here's their event calendar and you should really go see them if they are in your area.

One thing that I love about my town is how dog-friendly it is. There is quite possibly the world's most wonderful dog park here, and there are lots of events throughout the year where dogs get to go and see and be seen just like their people. Their were TONS of dogs there in all shapes and sizes. I hope mine can get to the point where she can go out for a day like that. Maybe one day.

I hope you all had a weekend as fantastic as mine.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This Week In The Use Me Up Challenge

Well, i thought I would show you what I've been up to this week when I'm not obessessing over the state of Maya's crate and her anxiety and what not. One thing that has been surprising me this week is what all I have just sitting here waiting to be made into something. It says to me that this challenge is long overdue. It also is sort of scary in the amount of times I have been able to say to myself, "SEE! I KNEW there was a reason I kept this!"

Here's what I did on Monday. These little pillows are actually place mats that I bought for 50 cents each at the Habitat for Humanity thrift store. I bought them a while back, but just never did anything with them till now. And look at how well they go with the chair! I'm glad I started this challenge, because these things have been on my to-do list forever, like since I bought these.

This isn't anything too special, but I sure am enjoying it. Since I bought the dried lavender for this little eye pillow a while ago, I was finally able to get around to spending the 10 minutes that this took. I think it took me longer to choose the fabric. It's just a little pouch full of dried lavender and (uncooked) rice and it stays in the freezer. I take it out when my eyes feel tired and the hint of lavender is awesome. As a matter of fact, I used it last night while laying on the couch after my walk with the dog, and woke up 9 hours later with it laying on my chest. That's a pretty powerful eye pillow. Tuesday's effort:
On Wednesday I knitted. I worked on the scarf I showed you last week. Someone, make it stop. I'm tired of it. I just want to be done with it. but it just goes on and on and on and on and on an- you get it.

This is what I worked on Thursday AND Friday. And I am still only to the point of having the fabric cut and pinned. It is a knitting needle case from the book Warm Fuzzies and I think it's awfully clever. It took a while to choose all the peices, figure out where I wanted them, and cut them to as close to Just Right as I could get. I swear, cutting fabric is my favorite part of sewing, but I will be damned if I can cut a straight line, or actually cut the measurement I mean to cut. I use a ruler, a tape measure, a fabric soluble marker, a rotary cutter, and god knows what else, and I still cant seem to get it right. I swear, I thought i was going to have to call in NASA to cut some fucking sweaters. Nonetheless it's all ready to sew. I hope that my sewing machine is prepared to cope with sewing through three layers of felt. I hope that I am ready for it. Sewing on stretchy fabrics is still sort of tricky for me.

And here's today's effort. It's a little pouch made from the sleeve of the sweater that is the outside of the needle case. The back is the big band you see above with all the orange stripes. I thought it would be good to toss in the knitting bag too and hold all the little things that HAVE to come along with you when you take a knitting or stitching project somewhere. The fun thing of all this knitting accessorization is that both of these things match the bag that has just been designated my knitting bag. Amazing, huh? It's a wool camel colored tote with orange lining, and I love it. It was my Designated Carry On for a while, but now i have a bag I like better for that. I think that no matter how hard I try to quit them, bags just find a way into my life. I have loved them since I was a little girl, and I guess I just always will. I try to fight it once in a while and donate a box or two (!!!) of them, but if five leave the house, seven more show up in their place. It's maddening.

You know, I will tell you something else that is sort of amazing about this Use Me Up Challenge: my office and particularly sewing table are cleaner than ever now. Every day after I am done in here with what I am working on, I set a (imaginary) timer for 15 minutes and pick up. Huh. who would have thought- it doesn't even take 15 minutes to pick up after a small sewing project, so I just keep cleaning for the rest of the time. And then, when I come back the next day, I just grab my materials and get to work. Huh. Is this how other people make stuff? Is this how they actually find time to make things, cleaning up and getting ready for the next go round? If so, this Picking Up After Yourself and the people that do it are Visionaries. I'd like to meet such a person, that is, if they are even real.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Dog's Day at the Beach

Today Maya and I went to the beach for a nice long walk in the sand with our buddies. It was about 70 and sunny this afternoon, so we threw on our flip flops and Gentle Leaders and headed for the beach.

Maya is looking forward to going bye in the car, and is smiling and wiggling in anticipation:
The beach walk was lots of fun. We saw lots of empty horseshoe crab shells, perfect bivalves with both halves attached, and tons of snail and conch shells. Oh, and most of a starfish. Here's a massive abalone:
The beach we were on was actually a barrier island. So the four of us walked all the way to the end, and sat and rested a while on the point. Maya is looking at where the river and ocean meet. She found it fascinating, and really likes ocean breezes. She closes her eyes and sticks her nose up high in the air and breathes deeply. She made it look like so much fun that I tried it too, and it didn't disappoint.
She sure can strike a pose. I wish that in the course of striking it though, that she would not sit on her tail and make it look like she has some weird Tail-Weener thing going on. Luckily she is pretty enough to make up for it.
The reason why I am showing you this is not to make the Northerners moan and groan in jealousy (like i have with all of your beautiful snow, ice, and winter pics!), or to show off mu super pretty dog (okay that's kind of a lie) but to explain to you why I just could not bring myself to post about what all I have made this week. We walked so long, so far, and now that my legs ache and my belly is full of beef tenderloin and I am so Happy Tired (you know, the kind of Tired where you are worn out in a good way, because you had a lot of fun actually Doing Something, not just Sitting Around) that I simply cannot muster up the energy to take pics of what I have been making this week. I will just say that I promise to take pics in the daylight and tell you all about it.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and a great Valentine's Day if that's your thing. If flowers and chocolate and sweet nothings don't do it for you, then I hope you are still getting a chance to spend time with the ones you love or the things you love doing.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Operation Anxiety, Day 11 (I think)

I am very pleased to be making the report that I have for this, (I think) Day 11 of Operation Anxiety.

It's like there's a different dog here, sort of like a Dog Pod Person. Pod Maya.

Pod Maya hasn't peed in her crate in about a week. Today she even earned back one of her blankies, and did not tinkle on it.

Pod Maya is much less, um, frantic. She is still a bit jumpy and shy, but if a person walks by us then she looks at them, tries to figure out what they are up to and what their intentions might be, and then goes back to whatever she was smelling. Old Maya would have seen a person, tried to bolt the other way, and then settled for crawling on her belly toward home.

I used to dread our walks. I don't dread them anymore. It's actually the best part of the morning for me now. It's so nice and quiet by the pond, and she's very happy to walk around it for as long as I will let her. There's no scrambling for a hiding place or sitting down and trembling anymore.

The change in this dog is more than I could hope for on Day 11. It's like all the wonderful qualities in her, all the traits you could barely see that made me want to give her a home, all those great things about her are no longer covered up by fear and apprehension and the sweet and gentle little dog I know is out there for everyone to see. I can't wait to get her in another social situation to see what she does. It always sort of made me sad to see her sitting in the corner, because you could tell she just couldn't bring herself to join in even though she very much would like to.

I should also clarify something. I was very excited about the Use Me Up Challenge, and so I may have not said what I meant to say in the right way. I will not be using tin cans as birth control, or putting my birth control in the recycle bin. Oh god no! What I should have said was that I am looking at all the every day stuff that you just sort of Have Around, and thinking of how I can embellish it, re-purpose it, or make it a cute little cover or case out of my fabric scraps. It's pretty cool, having your brain woken up in that way. Especially when you have been Sewing Machine-a-Phobic for a while. I was always afraid to do something for fear of messing it up, or use fabric I really like because what I use it for may turn out to not be The Perfect Thing. Silly, I know. Once I decided to play this little game I just finally woke up and said, "Oh wait, it's just fabric, not the Hope Diamond." So I am already thinking more adventurously and that is fun.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Use Me Up Challenge

Okay so, the Challenge has an official name. I really thought that Ricë was right in that the name should have the word fuck in it. But I think that the only substitute for The F Word is a bit of Bill Withers. I was listening to Live at Carnegie Hall today and the idea came to me in my favorite way- when I was thinking about Nothing At All. Well that's a lie, I was singing my heart out and dancing from the waist up (I was in the car). But still.

For a quick word on Bill Withers, I will say that if I were only allowed to listen to 5 cd's for the rest of my life, Live At Carnegie Hall would be one of them. It's one of those albums that EVERYONE likes, and everyone can find at least one song they love. I love all of them, but Use Me is one of my favorite.

So yeah, that's the name. I made stuff last night, and I will make some more tonight. I will tell you one thing that I hoped would happen, didn't know if it would happen, and am happy that it has happened: I am Seeing Things Differently. Now everything I look at I give a second or third look to see if it might be something I could use with something else to make something altogether different. And that is awesome. Who knew that one day into a challenge I would be raiding the recycle bin for tin cans and pausing and considering my birth control?

I should just stop now.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Checkbook Cover and a Challenge

Yikes. Between skipping lunch and the heroic effort it took to make this thing, I have the WORST headache. Even my eyebrows hurt. But- I finished it!

Here is my checkbook cover I made using this tutorial. I am sure for most people it was fun and easy. And for me, it has absolutely nothing to do with the pattern itself when I say this thing nearly fucking killed me to make. First of all, you have to baste every piece to every other piece. I realize the purpose behind this and I think it's nice. But for me from now on I will be going without. Basting is for the birds. It took me longer to get all the flipping basting stitches out than it did to do all the rest combined. Imagine the moment of panic I had when I thought I somehow made the damn thing like two inches too small, when it turned out I hadn't taken out the basting stitches. I am SUCH a dodo sometimes.

Anyway, I know this thing looks a hot mess but it's the most beautiful thing I have ever seen at this moment.

Here's the inside, complete with wonky pocket placement (the OCD part of me that needs straight lines hates it but whatever) and strange things at the top that would have held the pages of the register up if they were actually functional. But since they aren't, I feel like it's a good thing I don't have a check register anyway.

Here's the full view of the back:

and here's what it looks like all folded up. Note the not even half assed attempt at top stitching. I just kinda said enough's enough, and there ya have it. So funny.

You gotta admit, the fabric combo is cute. This checkbook cover has that going for it.

So, I got to thinking while I was working on this checkbook. I have LOTS of supplies with which to make stuff. In fact, I have so many that I am starting to think that I don't like making stuff as much as I like gathering materials for stuff. So, I am challenging myself: I want to see how many days in a row I can Make Something without having to buy anything. I have so many things on various assorted lists in various stages of completion- I bet if I really used my head, I could make something every day for a while. Like 30 days or more. Maybe even 60! What marvelous things could I actually complete if I stopped focusing on what I don't have to make something else? How far out of the box could I think? How much money could I not spend? Would it give me new eyes with which to see the stash I have? Could it help me in my Resolution to try to free myself from the want and need for accumulating things?

I think this could be really fun. And this could be Blogging Gold, considering my propensity for Really Messing Things Up. Also, I believe that creativity can really flourish with limitations, so I am imposing a few rules:

  • At least an hour a day goes into the making of something, or The Thing has to be completed, whichever comes first.
  • Confession is on Sunday, where I tell what I really bought (sometimes you have to have thread and such). If I HAVE to buy something, I will keep it under $5 per week.
  • No more than 1/3 of my time spent making something can be knitting. I can knit for longer than an hour, or as often as I want, but it can only be counted for the day's project every third day or the equivalent.
  • Multiple days can be accounted for in a single entry. This isn't a cop out- as most of you know, blogging is really time consuming, and the whole point of this challenge is to actually do, rather than shop for or talk about.
  • Pictures or it didn't happen. They may be shitty, but I promise to take them.
  • Food does not count unless it is a recipe I devise all on my own out of things I already have on hand. Hey, it could happen, right? Probably not, but that's okay.
  • Stealing and purchasing are not okay for materials, but any other method of acquisition is.
Now, what should I call this Challenge? My first thought was Make Something, Buy Nothing. But then I googled that and it looks like that is already something. Most of the entries on the first page went to a site called God Spot, or God Land, or God Something. I'm not going there, although I bet divine intervention could be helpful in this. Help me think of a name, seriously.

When Good Things Happen to Crazy People

It's so nice to have nothing to really complain about. I mean, this week has been strangely awesome. Really! It seems that here lately everything has been either Wrong, Harder Than It Has To Be, Out of Whack or at the very least Just A Bit Off. So it's very nice to be able to say nothing but good things.

First, there's the current Star of the Blog, Maya. She went to play with her friends on Friday night and was SO happy to see them. And when the dogs all came indoors, Maya wandered around and said hello to all the People there, instead of pacing anxiously and then deciding to sit by the door, far away from Everyone. The changes in her are noticeable to other people too! It makes me feel sort of validated, like I'm not just making up improvements in my head to keep from being nuts about her costly medication. She's having a lazy Sunday under the afghan her grandma made a long long time ago.

In knitting news, I am back to knitting for my favorite recipient me. I finished the Hat Fit For A Boyfriend for BF. I tried it on and it fits me great, so hopefully since it's stretchy it should fit his slightly-larger-yet-seemingly-sometimes-empty head. I should not say that his head is empty, because he has possibly firmly planted himself on the Knitworthy list. When I asked him what else he wanted (since he treated himself to the fancy headphones I was going to get him. Grr) he said, "The hat's plenty! Besides, you MADE it, so it's great." It was like the heavens opened up and angels sang because of that comment. I think that's what we call Appreciation of Things Handmade, and obviously Very Important.
And then on Saturday morning, I got up Very Early to be at the local yarn store when it opened. It was Annual Sale day! I felt all self-righteous when I left because I only spent $70 and did what I set out to do- I bought local, I bought Better rather than More, and also I made a list ahead of time and bought only what I needed for specific projects. And there's something thrilling about sales, although let me tell ya: there are sales, and then there are Sales At A Yarn Store. I had to judo chop an old lady to get to the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, and I'd do it again if I had to. While fondling some other yarn I thought one woman was going to pull a knife on me. The moral of the story is don't cross a knitter on sale day, folks. You could easily lose an eye or worse. Here's the Miski Baby Llama yarn I bought for a capelet (it's just disgustingly soft and I love it so much I want to marry it)
and here's the Alpaca With A Twist Highlander tweedy yarn that is also super soft, squishy, and will be next winter's hat, mittens, and cowl set. I won't be caught off guard by all the random cold snaps, and I will probably wear the set in August because although that would be terribly silly, there's something just so very right about purple tweed alpaca No Matter What. It's the little things, people.

And here is the very best thing, the thing that matters more than yarn and hats and dogs, even. This week a big huge wonderful thing happened, and there was a Change of Plans. I have been working up the nerve to announce to you that I was moving 750 miles away to live with BF. This was to happen at the end of March. It's been in the works for months and I wasn't fully prepared emotionally to handle leaving my job during a recession, and leaving my Whole Life behind. Well, it seems I don't have to because he is moving here! Soon we won't have to cry at airports, or have massive cell phone bills, or do any of that stuff. It's very exciting. And the yarn came about as a result of me figuring that things would be tight for us while he searched for jobs and both moved (his dog is coming with so we need to move to a house with a yard for the sake of all of us). I rationalized that while all the fancy yarn was on sale, I should grab some and then it will keep me occupied and offer some stress relief while we get used to seeing each other every day and not having any money to do stuff (I realize that the logic there is a bit wonky, but I am going with it and you can't stop me.). This is just so exciting. I can't stand it. Really, I can't.

And now here it is, Sunday, and I have lots of sewing projects that need to be sewn (finally). I hope that the week and weekend has been just as busy, exciting, productive, and whatever else for all of you.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

It's Not All Anxiety Here- We Knit Too.

I think that today we will take a break from talking about Separation Anxiety. But only after I say that Maya was in her crate for 6 hours today and did not pee. I am proud of her.

Anyhow, I am also sort of tired of talking about it, and I want you to believe me when I tell you that I am in fact still making stuff. Slowly, but surely. How's about we look at it what I am working on?

This is the scarf I talked about a while ago (I'll link to the pattern and all that when it's finished and I make you look at it again. Let's just look at pics today, shall we?). I really think that for a while after this I will be sticking to cowls, neckwarmers, and the like. Scarves are just a bit too...well it's a lot of the same, you know? I was so enthusiastic about this one, but I am just kinda over it now, and not yet half done. I will finish it because I am loving the product, but have gotten bored with the process. Lovely though, isn't it? I got the yarn half off over the summer, and don't you know it's discontinued now. Otherwise I would buy it for everything. Self striping yarn is just loads of fun.
I like the yarn so much I took another picture:
This is a very boring labor of love. It's actually not so bad, but the fact that I am a slow knitter, and it HAS to be done and in the mail to my BF by Monday or so just makes me sort of look at it and sigh. I can finish it though, I know I can. It's just a ribbed hat, nothing fancy. And he steadfastly refused to measure his head for me, so all I can do is hope that it fits. We all know about how I do with hats. It could come out like a yarmulke, it could look like some knitted body condom, and go down to his knees- we just won't know till it gets there, will we. Of course I was going to add some fancy schmancy headphones in the package too, but don't you know he went and bought them for himself the very DAY the idea occurred to me that it would be a fun gift. In order to keep from fussing at him, I decided that it is an indicator of compatibility.
And finally, the Vampire Bunny Slippers. I have one slipper done. These are so fun yet annoying to make. They would be nothing but fun to make, if I had two US8 circular needles. I don't. I have one interchangeable set and two cables. So, there's lots of sitting around and screwing and un-screwing needles and such. I havent woven in ends or added the special touches, but they involve some white felt, some stitching, some big ears, and a healthy dose of awesome. I just love pink bunnies doing bad things.
Anyway, that's what I have been up to, in various stages of completion when I am not being a Doggie Therapist.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Operation Anxiety, Day 3: Introducing Hector

Everyone, meet Hector the Safety Cat. Hector, meet everyone.

Today we introduced Hector the Safety Cat. Hector will be help with the desensitization of being alone for Miss Maya. He's her Safety Cue, and I think he's very cute.

Today was not a Dry Crate Day. I came home from lunch to find quite a bit of tinkle in her crate. But I just cleaned it up and was happy to come home this afternoon to a quiet, calm, and very relaxed dog laying in her crate. She has stopped the frantic whining that accompanies my opening the front door. I have also had to change the way I come into the house- quietly, no talking, and going to see her last after I do all the Coming Home Things. That's tough, but she's doing well with that.

She is responding to the uber-goofy things we do to distinguish her associations with my Leaving Routine. That means putting on shoes and socks at 11pm, and then going to sit back down on the couch. I'm carrying around my car keys, and randomly packing up my purse and putting on jackets. It feels terribly silly, but she seems to pretty much no longer give a shit that I have shoes on or keys in my hand.

And that's why we are now using Hector to signify that Mom Will Be Back, and that we are going to have a manageable absence. I hope he works.

I am trying to keep track of little changes I notice in Maya's behavior. There's no more whining when I come home. Walks are becoming more pleasant. She reacts to things on the walk with either less panic, or caution replacing sheer terror. Some things she's even curious about. Some of the trembling has given way to only the smallest of shaking in one muscle in her hind leg. She's trying; I know she is.

She's totally bored with all this anxiety talk too. I promise to keep it to more of a minimum now.

In the meantime, I would like to say that I have a few projects on the needles, some sewing to do, and I am loving my new schedule. The days are just flying by around here for me. How about you?

I hope to whip up all sorts of things to show you soon that have nothing to do with Safety Cats and urine. Don't hold your breath though- the theatrics involved with behavior modification are surprisingly time consuming.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Operation Anxiety, Day 2

I will cut right to it, not be all clever, and just tell you:

We had a dry crate today.

Yes! She did it! She made it a whole day in her crate without peeing in it. I am so happy I could cry. Really, I haven't seen a day like this in some time. I had a feeling it would be a Good Day today, what with the two of us enjoying a nice morning walk, we worked on breaking associations with my morning routine, and I practiced disengaging with her earlier prior to leaving the house.

When I came home from lunch, there was no crying from the bedroom, and I went in to find a calm little dog in her crate. We had a nice trip outside where she even walked right past a Man Stranger with very little hesitation. Because of her stellar behavior she got a Kong with peanut butter in it. This is progress, people!

On the way home, it was like Christmas Eve sort of, just waiting to come home and see what was left for me. Only Maya was the Santa Claus, and pee was the present. Rather, lack of pee would be the present. And I got it! She held it in, then let it out when we were outside- it's like she's becoming a normal dog before my very eyes.

I can't believe it.

I am cautiously optimistic for tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that. I am sure there will be slip ups, but I feel like she can only improve as the medicine takes effect. Also, I'm optimistic for me too- I think I really needed this change. It felt absolutely fantastic to be outside in the morning, and take my time getting ready in the morning. Then, I drove to work with NO real traffic to speak of. By the time I got to work and got started, I did a day's worth of work in about 4 hours- I was just feeling that refreshed and...unburdened would be a good word for it.

I would also like to say- thank you. Thanks everyone for the e-mails, comments, calls, etc. It's so nice to have all this support while dealing with something like this. Really, it's been a big source of comfort to me and it's nice to know that people are pulling for us and thinking of us. Thank you thank you thank you.

Now if you'll excuse me, a certain Very Good Girl and I need to go for a car ride.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Operation Anxiety, Day 1

Well hello there, February. I didn't see you come in.

This here is the face of anxiety. I am hoping to turn this into a modeling opportunity, and maybe she can take the place of that insipid spaniel that is on the front of her pill bottle now. Her modeling money could defray the costs of treatment. You know, teach a man to fish. That sort of thing. (Maybe for her actual model shoot her ear will be better)

Today was the third day of medication, and the first real day of Operation Anxiety. I thought it prudent to put down pee pads in Maya's crate to soak up her Panic Pee. She thought it prudent to destroy them. Then she panicked and peed upon them anyhow. But, it made for a fun cleaning adventure that I doubt we will be repeating soon. I don't know what I was thinking, giving her the equivalent of two Giant Paper Towels and going off to work.

And so, tomorrow we begin anew. I have changed my schedule for work so that I go in at 10 and leave at 7pm. I'm hoping this gives me all the time I need to get her long walk in the morning, practice some behavior modifications, and then go into work.

It turns out that what i thought was a cut on her toe is an entirely missing toenail. Completely gone. So the little nubbin of flesh that lives inside a toenail is exposed now, and bleeds every so often. We have styptic powder to stop it, but licking it and tromping about in the wooded areas aren't so good for that little flesh nubbin. That combined with some light rain meant that we skipped our long walk today. I am hoping that she is a bit more healed up tomorrow so that we can make a nice long morning of it.


I would also like to assure you that this blog will not be nothing but the saga of overcoming Separation Anxiety. I have been knitting and I am hoping that the change in hours will make it much easier for me to use the time I feel most creative and busy (late evening) instead of trying to wind down and go to sleep. I promise to show you more botched and not-so-botched projects right away.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Turns Out Crazy Dogs Can Really Take A Beating.

So, it seems that one side effect of being terrified of everything is being able to really take a beating and not have it slow you down too much. Well, it would seem so if you are a foxhound.

Someone took a pretty good beating last night. And was mighty happy about it.

I was at a friend's house last night, and we were wii'ing (is that a verb yet?) while the dogs played outside. These dogs go out in the yard and no one hears a peep out of them for hours. When they do finally show up on the porch, they are tired and very happy and usually filthy too. All you ever really hear from them is the occasional sound of someone's tags clinking together when they run by, or the stampede of feet running onto the back porch, then running off. Maya is never as happy as she is when she's over in their yard, running with her friends. I like for her to do that- in addition to being really happy, she gets worn out in a way that I just can't wear her out. Sorry, but I am not going to roll in the dirt, or search for dead things to play with, or any of that.

Imagine the surprise to look on the porch and see blood and some happy doggies. And then to have Maya run up on the porch and answer the "Who's bleeding?!?" question. She was still very happy and ready to play, but it looked like they were making a slasher movie out in the yard.

Her ear got banged up pretty good, and it seemed like a lot of that was dripping down her front, contributing to the boo boos on that same paw. She also clearly shook her head a few times, and had a fantastic Wes Craven-esque splatter thing going on all over her face and back, and well- everywhere. And she could not have been happier about it.

I did not flip out. Well, not right then. Okay fine, yeah I totally flipped out. I tried not to flip out at my friends' house anyway. It wasn't any one's fault really- I don't believe it was a Real Fight because we never heard growling or crying or anything really. I think it was just Horseplay. Maya's very favorite dog in the whole world is a Very Big Boy- he's about 85 pounds of love, and one of the things he loves is her ears. I think that sometimes she gets a little tired of the boy dogs , but the more they hump her, push her around, jump on her and aggravate her, the happier she is to go back the next time. Anyway, I know that there was no ill will behind it, but OH! is it scary to see your little brown and white dog looking like she just did the Prom Scene in Carrie. Okay not that bad, but still.

So I talked to her in a very shaky and small Happy Voice all the way home, and took her to the bathroom. She hopped in the tub all by herself. It's funny, She Who Is Not A Water Dog likes the bath very much. I think that bath time is worth it because the scrubbing feels good and being towel dried is the Best Thing Ever. So, I sat her in the tub and started to wipe her off. And while doing this I was basically on her eye level, blubbering. Snot bubbles and the whole works. And so I carried on like this for a while, until I realized that there were not Actual Boo Boos under most of it, and that the only thing upsetting her was my boohoo-ing all over the place.

About an hour later, she was in her crate with clean towels, an Kong full of peanut butter, and had a pill pocket with a Benadryl inside it (I wanted her to not itch her ears, or shake them around, and I wanted her to go to sleep and be very still for a while. It worked.). She was very patient with the cleaning part, and even took it like a champ when it was time for peroxide. the final tally was one spot on one ear, two spots on the other, one under her chin, two on her front paw and one on her back opposite paw. All are nice and clean and look good.

I would say poor doggie, woe be the busted up little hound. But it would be really stupid to say that, because it only occurred to me while she was curling up in her crate with all her treats that if it were up to her, she would still be out playing and flinging blood every where. Then I felt kind of silly for carrying on and wailing and moaning over what amounted to some scrapes. I wonder if her anxiety pills are good for humans to take also...

The worst thing of it all is that it was about to be my turn to play Wii Bowling.