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Doggy Woes

  • Posted on February 22, 2010 at 10:19 am

Warning: Probable TMI about dogs ahead. If you are not interested, please avert your eyes now. (That one was for you, Anna.)

For those of you who don’t know much about dog anatomy, there are these two little glands on the backside of a dog. They produce quite the odoriferous emanations (a signature scent, actually) and are what dogs are checking out when they sniff each other.

Well, these two little glands can sometimes cause quite a problem for dogs. They are expressed normally through the regular act of going to the bathroom and, in most dogs, you never even know that they are there, nor do you really need to. In fact, many of you are really having a TMI moment right now. Sorry. You don’t have to read this if you don’t want to; I’m not forcing you. 🙂

Anyway, as I was saying, normally these glands function just fine on their own. However, if your dog isn’t getting enough fiber, not going often enough, not producing optimal quality stool (“now I’m an optimal pooper”), then the glands will fill up. This goes through degrees of “badness,” ranging from full to impacted to ruptured. Phoebe never had a problem in her life until she ruptured one a few years ago. I swear, you will never ever see any other mess like that. It’s a terrible, smelly, bloody thing. I wish it had never happened to poor, patient little Phoebe. But I am now a much better informed parent.

So, of course, nowadays, I am far more concerned about dog stool than I would care to be. Abby, not a problem; produces good stuff regularly. Lily, not so much. We’ve already had the vet express her glands manually twice, I think. An optimal pooper, she is not. However, this week was actually Abby’s turn to develop a major problem. She had been red, tender and sore in that area since we got her back from doggie daycare. She was even having a bit of a smelly leakage problem (that really should have been my first clue that she needed to see the vet, as I knew full well that the leakage was from the anal glands). We’ve been keeping an eye on it and there was definitely a swelling issue going on. However, I thought that it would eventually heal itself and I didn’t realize that the swelling wasn’t just the rectum, but must have been the glands, as well. Until I took her outside Friday afternoon and she squeaked and stopped mid-“movement.” Knowing that she was sore, but really need to complete the act, I encouraged her to continue. She did, letting out a pretty good squeal in the process. Not a good thing when your dog hurts so badly just going to the bathroom. Naturally, I immediately called the vet as soon as I got her inside. They had actually just closed for the day, but the receptionist scheduled me for the next morning and talked to the doctor on call, who was still there, to see if he felt it was an emergency. We all figured she could wait until the morning.

Morning comes and both girls are so excited, they run into their crate. I think they thought they were going back to doggie daycare. Needless to say, it was a rude awakening for them to end up at the vet’s office. I think I’ll have to take them back for a day at daycare to make it up to them. Anyway, they take Abby to the back room to take a look and do what needed to be done (they spare you the uber-smelly parts). There was a lot of squealing, whining then whimpering going on. I really, REALLY hate hearing that sound coming from one of my dogs. Truly. Hate. It. But it’s a necessary evil. They brought her back out and she actually licked the tech, so she must not have held a grudge. The vet said that her glands were very full, but not impacted, fortunately. They “expressed nicely.” If there really is such a thing. Of course, she stank to high heaven, so the first thing we did when we got back was to plop both of them in the tub (not at the same time) and give them a thorough shampoo and conditioning. They both smell much nicer, though their breath could certainly use some improvement. But that’s a whole other story.

Sunday morning came and Abby was back to her normal, cheerful self. She’s playful, energetic and seems to be happy. After a week of concern, I’m relieved, to say the least. I have no idea what caused her to have a problem, though. Terry thinks that maybe she was holding back while at doggie daycare and caused the issue herself. I’m not sure. So, now I know that I have to keep a close eye on both of them. Yippy skippy. I just love carefully scrutinizing doggy behinds, don’t you?

So, there you go. More than you probably ever wanted to know about a dog’s behind, but if you’re a dog owner, you might want to be armed with at least a little bit of information. I encourage you to research it more on your own, especially if your dog tends to “scoot” a lot.

Honestly, what adventures we have in this household.

Kidlet Photos

  • Posted on February 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I’ve snapped some decent photos of the girls in the past couple of weeks, so I thought I would share.

January 16th:
Abby –

Lily –

Sleepy Lily –

February 3rd:
Abby the Fuzzball –

Lily in the Snow –

Snowy Lily –

February 5th:
Lily Wrapped in a Towel (After Being Outside) –

Lily in the Snow –

February 6th:
Abby loves to sleep on the arm of the sofa. Lily doesn’t show as much interest, plus I’d be more nervous about her rolling off. Abby is a lot hardier.

Trying to Evolve the Ever-Changing Game Plan

  • Posted on February 9, 2010 at 3:37 am

I think Mother Nature has it in for me this week. Scratch that – Murphy has it in for me. I love snow. Seriously. Love the stuff. Love being snowed in and unable to leave the house for days, forced to curl up on the sofa with my sweetie and two fuzzy girls. And under any other circumstance, I would be absolutely ecstatic to have another opportunity to be buried under another dump of snow within days of the last one. EXCEPT we were supposed to leave early Wednesday morning to drive down to Savannah, remember? Yeah, not happening. All day, I’ve been watching the weather forecasts carefully, trying to get a better idea of exact timelines, what’s going to hit which areas of which states at what times. We’ve been through at least two or three plans to travel around the storm, but so far nothing seems to be working out. Ideally, I should be there by the time informal check-in starts at noon on Thursday.

We thought about leaving early this morning to get ahead of the storm. Until we looked closer at the weather charts yesterday, made phone calls to the doggie daycare and calculated the timing of how soon we would be able to leave and where we would be able to get and when, then realized that there’s just no way we can outrun the storm. We would have had to have left yesterday and I didn’t even know this storm was heading our way until I got to work that morning. Even then, I tried calling the doggie daycare place several times through the day and they were so short-staffed that the owner wasn’t able to call me back until after they closed at 7 PM. She assured me that they would be able to take the girls whenever we needed to get them there, but I still had prescriptions to pick up, extra dog food to buy (we arrived 5 mins too late; the last customer was just walking out of the store and they had just shut off the lights) and 3 loads of laundry to do.

I thought briefly about trying to sneak out sometime Wednesday in between what was supposed to be two waves of the storm. And then I checked out the hourly forecast and found out that there really aren’t going to be two separate waves. Just one steady stream of snow from hour to hour. Strike two. Which reminds me, I need to make a note to call the hotel and cancel my reservation for Wednesday night.

Right now, we are hoping to be able to leave Thursday morning. We will run out early this morning to pick up the extra dog food and then put in a day of work from home. We’ll pack throughout the day so that we’re ready to leave as soon as possible, and then wait to see what happens. With luck, the storm will finish moving through here Wednesday evening or at least early enough Wednesday night for the road crews to clear out the more often used roadways by early Thursday morning. If we can get the girls to doggie daycare as soon as they open Thursday morning and get on the road, we might have a prayer of getting to Savannah before midnight. Which will give me a couple of hours to sleep before getting up for breakfast and my last chance to check-in and get my materials before the first class starts at 8:30 AM. I’ll have missed Thursday’s reception and festivities, but honestly, I’m just hoping to make it there at all, at this point.

I’ve been planning (and paying) for this trip since July or August, so I’m really trying to be patient and flexible, but it’s not working very well. The situation is less than ideal and, as a perpetual perfectionist, I’m really not happy right now. So I keep planning for worse and worse scenarios and hoping that we won’t get that far.

Spammy Goodness

  • Posted on February 8, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Just a quick, random post tonight. I happened to wander through the comments that landed in the spam category over the past few days. They are really fascinating. They started out sounding quite realistic, except that they were comments on my blog upgrade imminent post. And then, they slowly devolved as either the spam generator broke down or became more random. Either way, the spam comments that have been produced most recently have been a series of words or phrases patched together in such a random way that I just found myself laughing so hard while I was reading them aloud to Terry that tears were leaking out of the corners of my eyes. If you’re interested, I might post just a couple of the strings that we found particularly funny.

Thanks for being such a fine source of amusement, spammers. Glad Akismet is catching you, of course, but thanks anyway for your efforts.

Weekend Review

  • Posted on February 7, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I’m rapidly, rapidly running out of time before we leave for Savannah early Wednesday morning. I’m attending Stitching in the Garden of Thread ‘N Needle. We’re driving down, so we need to go down the day before, so that I can get myself checked into the event Thursday evening. It’s a 12 hour drive, so we’d have to leave at dawn to get there in time for me to check in and if there are any lounging festivities (which I expect there will be), I would be so dead, I wouldn’t be able to attend. Friday through Sunday see 4 classes (one by each designer), a teacher’s market (which I will probably skip, since I’ve already bought a ton of stash in the last month), and a riverboat cruise dinner one night. Monday, we’ll stick around and see a few of the sights and then leave early Tuesday morning. So, we’ll be away for a week (have I mentioned that I’m loving the security system we installed several months ago?) and I need to prepare. I haven’t even created a packing list yet, so I’m getting a little stressed. Well, I take that back, I have a packing list of items that I need for classes and have most of them packed up into a tote.

Not necessarily relating to Savannah, I did actually manage to get a few things done this weekend. Not as much as I would like, but the day’s not done yet (though I’m really lacking in energy, so I might be).

  • Finish model stitching – nope; put in 3 hours straight (I didn’t leave the chair or stop stitching the entire time; unusual for me), finished the next to last section of complex hardanger and then worried that it might not meet the designer’s standards, so I sent a scan and am waiting to hear back before putting in the remaining 4 hours or so need to finish it off.
  • Finish Ott-lite carrying bag – nope; I have all of the parts and pieces sewn together, though. Just need to tack the batting onto the outside of inside bags (for extra protection), then insert the insides into the outside, create the flap and strap and sew it all together. Darn, that sounds like a lot. I think I can get the batting tacked on and maybe the flap and strap created and ready to go tonight. If I can do all of that, all I will need to do tomorrow night is to put everything together and sew it.
  • Dig out from snowstorm – check. And let me tell you, folks, this was no small feat. The snow seemed to have blown down from all of our slightly higher elevated neighbors down into our yard. The drifts over most of the driveway were 2 to 3 feet tall, I think. They were taller than the snowblower, which made the work a little slower-going. While Terry was blowing out the driveway, I shoveled out around the truck, in front of the garbage can (since it has to go out Monday night and who knows how long it will take this stuff to melt), the driveway leading up to the one garage door where the car is currently residing,and half of the sidewalk. That’s as far as I got in the nearly 3 hours it took for Terry to handle our entire driveway and half of the neighbors’ driveway. He finished off the rest of the sidewalk in about 15 minutes. In my defense, I handled all of the drifted areas and his part of the sidewalk was a lot less deep.
  • Wash the pile of dishes that need to be hand-washed – check.
  • Move the pile of recyclables from the kitchen into the containers in the garage – check (and you know, it’s such a long walk…);
  • Clean kitchen sink – check.
  • Defrost ring of shrimp for non-Superbowl-watching snack – check.
  • Launder bed linens – check.
  • Make a sizeable dent in the multiple heaps of laundry – check.
  • Trim the fur between the girls’ pads (not just for looks, but more for traction) – check.
  • Brush both girls – check.
  • Trim both girls’ nails – nope; while we have let them get too long, Terry just did them the other day, so we should give them a little longer for the quick to retract; we’ll need to do them when we get back.
  • Consume my half of the aforementioned ring of shrimp – check
  • Exercise – nope; however, I think that yesterday’s shoveling might count. I might hop on the Gazelle in a couple of minutes for today’s exercise.

Wow, it seems like I accomplished so much more today, though everything below the snow clean-out was done today. I had a huge burst of energy and motivation; I felt like I was running around like a crazy person. And now for the things that weren’t exactly on my list of things to do:

  • Get a knock-down, nearly-puking migraine – check; okay this wasn’t exactly on my list of things to do… I think it was a result of all of that shoveling.
  • Spend an hour (okay, I think it was less; I hope) playing around in Restaurant City – check; I was getting annoyed with not making enough money every shift, so I paid the forum a visit, did a little research, created a new layout and decorated while I waited for my popularity to max out so I can optimize the amount of money I make during future shifts.

Okay, well that’s enough for now. The dryer has stopped and the laundry isn’t going to do itself. Wouldn’t that be nice, though? I have what I think is going to be a big, personal post brewing in my head, so be forewarned.

By the way, I appreciate all of the opinions that I’ve gotten so far regarding Phoebe’s Christmas stocking. I’ve stickied the post so I can hopefully gather a little bit more.

Question For Furmoms (and Furdads)

  • Posted on February 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm

I’m a bit torn on how to deal with a delicate situation. Many, many years ago, I stitched a needlepoint stocking for our beloved Phoebe. It has her name on it. Obviously, the stocking is no longer necessarily relevant. 🙁 I have been contemplating removing her name from the stocking and making it a generic dog stocking, one that will serve for every dog that Terry and I own for the rest our lives. How would you deal with the situation? Remove the name and reuse the stocking? Archive it as a memorial piece, which would probably never see the light of day again? Continue to hang it every Christmas? Stitch additional stockings for Abby and Lily? Some combination of the above?

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when answering:

  • This is the only stocking that I have ever stitched. Terry and I have been married for over 10 years and I have not managed to stitch a single stocking for either of us (although I did put a few stitches into one for Terry many years ago).
  • Phoebe’s name is longstitched over the top section of the stocking, so even though it is finished with a lining behind the stitched canvas, I don’t think that removing it would be excessively difficult.
  • There is no way I will ever have the time or energy to stitch a stocking for every dog that I plan to own in my lifetime. I love and will love each and every one of them, but I have to be realistic here when it comes to the average lifetime of a dog versus that of a female human.
  • While the prospect of removing Phoebe’s name from her stocking is sad, I had actually considered doing it after Christmas 2008, knowing that she wouldn’t be with us too much longer. I will probably cry, but it’s not going to turn my world upside down all over again.
  • I do not feel that removing Phoebe’s name would in any way take anything away from her memory.

I think those are the major points I wanted to touch upon. I know that I’ve already talked to some of you about this and gotten your valuable opinions, but I’m looking for a more total general consensus. If you feel so inclined, please restate your thoughts here so that I can compile them all in one location.

Honestly, I had already somewhat made up my mind, until I talked to a coworker. Her strong outrage that I would even consider doing such a thing to Phoebe’s stocking really caught me off-guard and made me really wonder if I should reconsider. She is not a needleworker, but she is a fellow, devoted lover of dogs who currently owns three of her own and has lost at least one previously.

So, please, please take a minute to register your thoughts in the comments section. I really want to know what you think!

Florida Shop Info for Julie

  • Posted on February 4, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Julie asked me for the name of the shop in Florida that I nearly purchased the Just Nan products from. Certainly, Julie! I exchanged several pleasant emails with Debbie at Needle Orts, Inc. She was lovely to deal with and very prompt. I have made a list of shops from which I will consider purchasing in the future as a result of this venture and I made a special note next to this shop as one I would definitely like to try. They are located in Altamonte Springs in Florida, Julie, so if they are anywhere near you, it might be worth the trip to check them out!

Shop Selection

  • Posted on February 4, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Thanks everyone for your input so far on shop selection criteria. As of last night, I was pretty sure I had it nailed down to a brick and mortar shop in Florida whose responses were quite quick, helpful and professional. She seems eager to seal the deal and told me that she’ll ship as soon as I call with an address and credit card number. However, I just got an email this morning that might change my mind. It’s from a brick and mortar shop in northern New Jersey that I actually dealt with before when I was looking for a limited edition WhimZi from Just Nan. I’m waiting to hear back from her on pricing now. If her pricing is close to the shop in Florida, then I’ll probably go with her, based on my previous experience with her.

To respond to a couple of your comments, I do try to see if a local shop (Strawberry Sampler, or Drema at Needlecraft Corner for Just Nan items) has the items in stock or can get them. I had also considered posting a list of the shops for input, like Jenn suggested, but if the shop in New Jersey gives me reasonable pricing, I will go ahead and deal with her. I should have thought to ask her first, but desperation and impatience makes a woman do interesting things. 😉

And Anna, you are just BAD! 😆 Of course, if you were trying to entice me to go further into the rabbit hole, it didn’t quite work. I’ve just gone through several months of her blog archives and can’t find any evidence of her stitching of the square series. She is quite an impressive knitter, though, and all of her baking is making me horribly hungry.

Finally, in response to Outi‘s comment on my “on a roll” post: Thanks for the positive reinforcement! Ha-hah. I know you have to be just as far up to your eyeballs in stash as I am. Which reminds me, I owe you a package. Do you still want need Symmetry IV? Oh, and as for the smilies in the comments, I see what you mean. I have no idea why it displayed that way – truly bizarre. I guess it’s another addition to my big fix list. I swear that by the time I iron out this template, I might as well have created my own! But that’s a project for another day… Oh yeah, and the name of the completely finished Tiny Treasured Diamond is Ruby Heart. I could have sworn I had the name in there somewhere, but I had an issue with accidentally having multiple instances of that post in edit mode and overwrote some changes with others. I’ve now edited the post to add the name.

Edited to add: I just got off of the phone with the woman from the shop in New Jersey, named Where Victoria’s Angels Stitch and placed my order. She’s very pleasant to deal with, as I remember her being from before. Plus, get this, they are running a Superbowl Sale from today through Saturday, so I get a percentage off of my order! Squee! Plus, being a consummate salesperson, she politely asked if I needed the fabrics to go with the kits. Why yes, yes I do, you smart lady you! I’m quite happy now and would definitely recommend this shop to anyone. I really wish I lived closer to them because I would love to visit them in person! From what I have seen and read on their website, they are exactly the kind of brick and mortar store that I would love to own/run someday.

Sometimes Casting a Wide Net Actually Pays Off

  • Posted on February 4, 2010 at 7:16 am

In the quest to assuage my obsession for most designs by Just Nan (hmmm… wasn’t I just talking about an obsession in my last post?), I’ve stumbled across a few things that I “just have to have.” You know what I mean. I’m not going to die without them, but I really have a bee buzzing around in a certain orifice that I would love to get rid of. One of the kinds of charts I tend to collect (and not just from Just Nan) are four season designs. I have Just Nan‘s 4 Wishes and, thanks to a recent splurge (the fact that I acquired it for 50% off didn’t hurt, either), I now have her Harmony sampler. Another series of designs by her that I’ve been hoping to slowly acquire is the In The Square series. Someone (and I’m so sorry, but I forget exactly whom) was kind enough to gift me with Spring In The Square a while ago. Then, while trolling eBay for rare Just Nan finds, I happened to snag Winter In The Square just the other day for a total steal. Two down, two to go in that series.

Wow, do I get off topic easily lately. At any rate, one of the other Just Nan series that I’ve recently decided I want to collect is the Over the Top! (and matching In the Tin!) series. Of course, me being me, I didn’t sign up either year of the series when they were announced. I’m just not good about mystery designs. If I’m going to invest in a design, I want to know exactly what it’s going to look like – every part of it. Which is smart of me because inevitably I don’t like one of more of the releases in any given automatic series. The problem with Just Nan automatics is that they sell out, and quickly. So, now that I’m going back and realizing that I would like a couple of items from both 2008 and 2009, I’ve created a bit of a challenge for myself. There are 4 out of the 8 produced over the 2 years that she ran this series that I want. The first was Jingle! When I saw that lacy design and the teeny biscornu that goes in the tin, I was sold. Finding it several months after it released was a problem, though. I think I bought it off of eBay. The next one I decided I wouldn’t mind getting my hot little hands on was Grow! Slightly less challenging to find, since it was only released in April 2009 and I decided I wanted it last month. eBay to the rescue again. Now I’ve decided on the last two tins in the series that I want – Hop! and Sizzle!. Just those two and I’ll be happy (until the thing comes along). The bad thing is that these were the first two in the series, meaning Hop! was released in the first quarter of 2008 (and I loved it when it came out; it almost, ALMOST made me sign up for the automatic) and Sizzle! in the second quarter of 2008. That makes it a bit more difficult. I thought that maybe eBay would bail me out again. Actually, even before that, Drema at Needlecraft Corner (love her shop, BTW) had Hop! listed at 50% off on her clearance page. Unfortunately, by the time I emailed her my order, she was out. Darn! The bay of evil? For once, not helpful. Can’t find it. And Google was worse than useless, so what is a girl to do?

I took a deep breath yesterday and did something that I would never in a million years have thought that I would do. I became a spammer. I went to Just Nan’s website, found the page that listed all of the shops that had signed up to carry the 2008 year of the series, copied out every single email address and sent an email to every stinking one of them, pleading to see if anyone had the kits for both Hop! and Sizzle! Now, to be smart and hopefully not trigger people’s spam filters, I broke the list up into small chunks, by first letter of the shop name and where it appeared in the alphabet. And, of course, I put them all in the BCC field because I’m not stupid enough to let any of them see how desperate I truly was.

I didn’t expect to harvest much from the fruits of my labor. First, the delivery error messages rolled in for those shops who either went out of business, changed their email address, had full inboxes, etc. But then, within several minutes of those, I started to get actual responses. And, much to my surprise, they were not all negative! I’ve had several people actually respond that they have both of the kits that I’m looking for. Now the hard part is deciding to which shop to throw my business. So far, none of the positive respondees are shops that I have ever patronized before. What criteria do I use to choose, at this point? Seriously, do I go by the quality of their website? Not all of the responding shops have a website. Do I go off of the wording of their response? That’s awfully subjective. I really don’t know where to go from here. I guess I’ll start asking for pricing and see who comes out on top? I’ll be curious to see if any of them will cut me a deal on inventory that’s over a year old (meaning they are paying taxes on it), or if they will detect blood in the water and go for full price? I’m hoping that if everyone comes back at full price, I might be able to get a little bit of a bidding war going on. Because, yeah, I’m cheap. I’ll admit it.

So, it all comes back to the title of this post. I might not have liked casting out such a wide net, but it has certainly yielded unexpectedly positive results! And if you have an opinion on how I should select which shop to purchase from, please let me know!

I Think I Might Be On a Roll

  • Posted on February 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Seriously, I think I might just be on a roll here, not just from a blogging standpoint, but from a stitching one, as well. I pulled out a little kit two nights ago that literally had 2/3 of the stitching completed on it and had been languishing somewhere in a ziploc bag for years.

So, I present to you Friendly Frosty. He’s from a Mill Hill Tiny Treasured Diamonds ornament kit. I have a thing about Mill Hill beaded ornaments. I mean, really, a very serious thing. Some might call it an obsession. You should see my collection. But, here’s one of them stitched up at least.

Sorry, the image is a little wonky. It’s been stretched in a hoop for years, so the fabric wanted nothing to do with laying down flat on the scanner. 😉 He’s not exactly stitched as charted. They had all of the black french knots for his facial features bumped down a row from where they are and it looked ridiculous to have his mouth up again his scarf. Oh, and stitching french knots over top of beads? Yeah, not so much fun. Thankfully, the straight stitch (that is also on top of the beads) seems to be staying put just fine. We’ll see how they hold up to years of use on my Christmas tree.

I also have another finish, though it’s not really a stitching finish. Whilst digging through the basket sitting next to my stitching area that contains a bunch of completely abandoned and forgotten projects projects quietly waiting their turn in the spotlight, I found yet another Mill Hill Tiny Treasured Diamonds ornament kit. Except, to my incredulity (I actually had to check a dictionary to make sure I wasn’t just making that word up, BTW), it was actually almost completely finished. And I don’t just mean that it was almost completely stitched. No, it was not only completely stitched, but 3 of the 4 sides were stitched together and the tassel and hanger had been added. All I had to do was stuff it and sew the last part closed. Honestly. What is wrong with me that I never managed to get that done? It probably took me all of 10 minutes. Sheesh!

So, here’s another TTD named Ruby Heart, but in its completely finished state:

If you’re curious as to the actual depth of my Mill Hill ornament obsession, you can check out some of my previous finishes. I have at least 5 out of the 6 of each of the series spanning, oh let’s see, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 years so far. And I have two more years that I’m thinking of buying, as well. I’ve actually finished the first year of Tiny Treasured Diamonds, am more than half way through the second year of TTDs, and more than halfway through the first year of Charmed Santa Faces. Hmmm… looking the collections up on Wichelt/Mill Hill’s website, I might actually be missing at least one collection of TTDs (at least that I’m interested in; the ones they’ve put out in the past few years hold no interest for me). Now I have to go home and take an inventory of what I have to see what I’m missing. :mrgreen: See, I told you I had a problem!

My Stick Family from