Monday, November 30, 2009

What else can I do?

I found an item on Etsy that is not legal to sell (not just on Etsy, but at all). I reported it weeks ago, I e-mailed Etsy about it. My roommate reported it. What's the point of having policies if Etsy takes their good old sweet time to enforce them?

My next step will be reporting it to the FDA. I know I'm right about this. I usually don't go back to see if something I've reported was fixed at all, but I've been checking on this one. It's serious. It's. Not. Legal. I can't let it go, I'm very concerned. What else can I do?

Oh, and since I’m not posting this on the Etsy forums, I can tell you, dear blog readers, what it is. Someone made earrings out of prescription antibiotic capsules (in the family of penicillin, which many people, including myself, are allergic to). Coated or not, they are still filled with a controlled substance. I know that is not legal.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Shopping Frenzy

So they tell me. I would not know. I've never been to a store for their Black Friday sale. For the past six years, I've been at work. I remember last year being bored beyond belief (and on the day after Christmas too). I talked to Adolf on Tuesday and I've already been approved to have this day off next year. I still probably won't go to any of those sales, but it's my turn to have off of work, dagnabbit!

I actually have quite a lot to do today. Hopefully that means I won't be nearly as bored as last year.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Don't eat too much!

My mom's house smells like roasting turkey. Yum!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pretty Lights

I had my annual eye exam today. It involved numbing, staining, and dilating. Driving home was fun and strange. I'm so glad I didn't decide to go to my parents' right from there.

But I'd better get to bed, because I'm leaving early!! This may not work, considering the time....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Too Sad

I just read an article about the increase of pet abandonment in this hard economic time. I couldn't imagine having to give up my beloved pet. If it's her or me, I'd have to pick her. My cat eats, my cat has essentials. If I have to live on ramen, I live on ramen. If I have to move, I go to a place that allows my cat. I could not just abandon her.

I understand that times are tough. I still have a job and many people do not. I get this. I just don't understand how this life, a beloved and trusting companion who depends upon its human caretakers for food and shelter and love, can become expendable.

I know for a fact that I would be in much worse shape, mentally and emotionally, were it not for my cat. Her presence brings me joy. She it a part of my plan if I should have to evacuate my home. When I took her in, I made a commitment, a promise. I have no intention of rescinding that. If times get harder, I will still have her.

It makes me sad that people can be in such a difficult place that these little lives are suddenly unimportant to them. I'm sure they don't see it that way. They see dropping their animals off as their last service to their pets. The problem is that everyone is doing it, and most animals meet their end at the shelter because shelters are overcrowded. And the pet's last thoughts are wondering why they are without the comfort of their human companions, and then they think nothing.

There has to be a better way.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Heart to Blog

Some of you have expressed worry that my recent wave of short posts and missed days is conveying a kind of distance. The main reason that I've only been giving you a few lines is because I still strive to post daily (which, clearly, hasn't been working anyway), but sometimes I'm just crazy busy. Now, I moved craft stuff to its own blog and try to limit talking about it here, but it doesn't always work. The Gnomes have taken over!

So, on that front: I was hit with a big order at the beginning of the Renaissance Festival. Someone who works at the booth with my dad tried to buy my Halloween Witch - at the precise moment when the person who did buy the witch got it! That's pretty exciting for a new shopkeeper, really. So, this gent asked if I could make another witch for him. And, he wanted to know if I could do a Gnome in the colors of his favorite sports team. And, his office is holding a charity auction in November so he wanted four whales, a squid, and a dolphin for the auction. And, he wanted to know if I could make pirate Gnomes (which were already in development for a friend's birthday present).

The Pirate Gnomes this guy wanted were to be gifts for some of his friends. One of them is also a faire employee, and he showed off his Pirate Gnome to everybody. Another faire employee saw it, loved it, and ordered twelve more. September was, by far, my most lucrative month! In addition, someone liked the squids and ordered two of those. That cut into the time I wanted to spend making holiday Gnomes, and honestly, I haven't gotten into the holiday groove yet. A few are done, I just need some sunshine to get them photographed and listed.

Still on this wave, I've been working really really hard on my newest line of Gnomes. I had to learn a new craft for them, and I've been spending a lot of time perfecting it so it will be ready. Also, this new line will be very different than my other Gnomes, and I've been working hard to get the packaging just right too.

On the non-crafty side of things, there has been the kitten fiasco, which you did hear about. The epic Monty issue, which has also been put on another blog so those who want to keep up can and those who don't can simply not go there (I am aware that this blog is not updating on the sidebar. I haven’t figured out what can be done about it yet.). The only thing about that is that I can't separate myself from that situation like I can put it on another blog. The Montyverse will affect this blog, as much as I try to give you, dear readers, the option to stay out of it if you choose. I can't do anything about that. That has been quite a lot of my distance.

There's more. I've been dating a guy, henceforth to be known as Robin (as in Robin Hood, not the better half of Batman), for some seven months. Dating in the sense of dating only, there were no ties, no commitments, really no definition to our relationship at all. This in itself has been a point of struggle for me, mostly because I felt I was becoming a kind of person I never wanted to be. Without going too much into the realm of TMI, let's just say I struggled a lot with this not-quite relationship that had no definition, no label, and no solid investment even though investments were made.

That being said, Robin opened up an interesting conversation last Thursday. He was nervous, but he denied it when I said so. Robin has a close female friend who lives in Ohio, and she regularly gives him very sage advice. The most recent bit seemed to be that he was reluctant to put any kind of definition to our relationship because he's going to school and he doesn't really know how things will be in a year or two when he graduates. He was afraid to give me any kind of hope that there could be something more because of this uncertainty. The Sage told him to stop making decisions for me, which is advice she's given before. I suppose enough became enough, perhaps he was struggling with our lack of definition too.

In any event, we talked. We also learned that both of us had been acting exclusive for the duration of our "just dating" phase and it was high time we put some officiality to it (like my new word?). So, I can now say that I have a boyfriend. My roommates said "it's about time" at the news. It's nice to have moved out of the realm of unsure, really.

So, that's it in a not-so-nutshell. Lots of things have been happening. Lots of my time is spoken for. I also feel like I'm in a far better place today than I was even a week ago.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

There Was More

Aura had fleas.

That's right, fleas. Whoever the doctor was that they first brought her to was an idiot. The doctor I worked for would never recommend a cat with an infectious disease be adopted to a home that already had cats, and would never recommend a cat with fleas and too young to treat for them be adopted into a home that already had cats.

She's too young for flea shampoo and most flea treatments. Phoenix had been washing her with regular pet shampoo, and it was killing some of the adults. Unfortunately, just washing is not enough to break the life-cycle. And the fleas that weren't dying were just running to the safety of her head, which was naturally not washed. You could watch the fleas crawl out of and back into her fur.

On Monday, Miss Luna started scratching more than I normally see her scratching. That was it for me. I ordered some Frontline; Aura is just about old enough for it. I treated them both yesterday.

I'm happy to report that Miss Luna wasn't scratching much this morning, and I haven't seen any fleas on poor Aura's head. I hope that means it worked!

Monday, November 16, 2009

It Happens Every Year

It's time again for the annual Leonid meteor shower! We must love the Swift-Tuttle comment because it produces some of the best meteor showers.

The best viewing times for us East-Coasters is before dawn, around 3 or 4 am Tuesday, with good viewing as early as 1 am. The Leonids get their name because they seem to radiate from the constellation Leo, which should be nice and high in the sky. If the sky is clear and there isn't a whole lot of light pollution, it would be worth it to get up and see this fabulous meteor shower!

Happy Viewing!

Monday, November 09, 2009

How Goes the Weekend

It's too hard to catch up on the days I missed but just to tell you.

Saturday started with Aura sneezing. A lot. She was sneezing Friday night, really, and very snotty. Phoenix was planning to take her to the vet because it might be a flair up of her, wait for it, Feline Herpesvirus. Apparently, Herpes-1 is what caused the infection in her eyes that resulted in her very near blindness. I had two conditions for bringing this kitten into our home. The first was that she didn't have any diseases that could infect my cat. I was not given all the information. My roommates never said the kitten had Herpes. They said the vet said she was ok to be adopted. No responsible veterinarian would ever recommend a sick cat with an incurable contagious disease to be brought into a home with perfectly fine cats. If I had all the information, I would have said no. If they pressed, I would have told them to wait until I took Miss Luna to my parents' home where she wouldn't be exposed. The damage is done. I didn't know, we brought her home, the other cats are already exposed. I can't take Miss Luna out of our home now because she'd only bring the virus to Callie. I hope Miss Luna doesn't get sick. And I hope she forgives me for not asking more questions.

Phoenix also let her two cats lapse in their inoculations. She should have gotten them up to date before bringing a new cat into our home. There is a vaccine against Herpes-1 (it's part of the Feline Distemper vaccine: Rhinotracheitis) but, like any virus vaccine it doesn't prevent one from catching the virus, only helps to lessen the severity of it. Miss Luna is up to date, so if she gets sick, it shouldn't be bad. The other two cats had minimal coverage, if any at all.

The first step was to take Aura to the vet, where the doctor told us he never would have recommended a cat with her condition to be brought to a home with other cats. Still, she's with us now, our cats have already been exposed. The doctor recommended a specialist if we wanted to see if her eyesight could be saved, and gave us some drops for her eyes and an antibiotic for her sneeze. He also was very kind to update the other two cats on their vaccines without a full office visit (and thus, more money). He didn't have to help them out like that, the situation we've put our cats in was not of his making, after all. Very kind.

The first vet also said that Aura had all her shots. She's too young for shots! I didn't realize this at the time either. This leads to my second condition. I told them they really need to consider if they can afford another cat, especially with Phoenix going to nursing school in January. Phoenix said they had. I think they were only considering the extra cost of food and litter and maybe annual shots, not that this kitten has a disability and will need extra care. Phoenix admitted as much to me. Even I didn't figure it would be like this, though. Of course not, I didn't know.

This kitten has Herpes. She will never be rid of it. It can lie dormant in her for a time, but it will regularly become active. When she's shedding the virus, she may experience symptoms (swollen eyes, sneezing, she may even have the sneeze for the whole of her life) and she may not. Those times will be when our cats are most likely to contract it. We can quarantine her when she is showing symptoms, but we won't know when she's shedding the virus without them.

The Feline Herpesvirus is also very common. It's likely that our cats already have it and have just never shown symptoms. It's also possible that recent exposure, or even just the stress of the new kitten in their home, can bring out symptoms. If left untreated, it can cause the cat to stop eating and therefore lead to death.

The new vet suggested sending Aura back to the shelter for more care while she's still shedding the virus. That's not possible, as it wasn't really a shelter, but the home of a friend who has a soft spot for animals. He doesn't have the room to quarantine a sick kitty, he doesn't have the funds to get her the meds she would need. We've already done it. Our cats are already exposed. It does no good to send Aura away now, especially when we will give her the care she needs.

I know it's the only thing we can do at this point, but sometimes I can't help but feel like I made a bad decision that put Miss Luna at risk. I didn't have all the information I needed and I didn't ask for it. I could have and I should have but I didn't and it's too late now. I would like to come back to this post in a few years and say that Aura is doing fine and hasn't had any more symptoms and the other cats are also doing fine and haven't shown symptoms and wasn't I silly for worrying. That's what I would like to say.

Let's see what three healers can really do.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Zombie Kitteh Wants Your...Arm

Look away now if pictures of cute kittens with bloody, hemorrhaging eyes disturbs you. (And the picture may be a little dark. I'll try to lighten it up this evening.)

Meet Aura!

I know a great chap who takes in stray dogs and cats and things and tries to find homes for them. This tiny little five-week-old darling wormed her way into Sunflyr's heart, and he brought her home to live with us yesterday.

Her eyes look pretty awful right now. She had some kind of infection that caused tissue within her eyes to hemorrhage through her pupils. All of this will eventually be reabsorbed by her body so she won't look so undead. The vet said she has no sight, but we're not convinced. Her eyes focus towards sound, she even followed Phoenix's hand from side to side and when Phoenix moved her hand up, Aura focused on the shadow of it on the floor in front of her. It was really quite extraordinary. It's hard to say what she might be able to see when the hemorrhaging clears up.

We're treating her as if she is a blind cat. However, she doesn't run into walls as much as one would expect with a totally blind cat in unfamiliar territory. I remember reading a book about taking care of cats many years ago. One of the suggestions was to tell a cat when you're going to touch her and ask permission before picking her up. This seems like a good idea, since Aura mostly can't see our hands coming for her. If we do it consistently enough, she's going to get used to the sounds of "I'm going to touch you" and "I'm going to pick you up" and can be prepared. She does not like to be carried. I imagine it's very confusing.

We were a little worried about taking this kitten into the home, mostly because of how our three cats will react to her. Will they mess with her because she is blind? Will they be angry at us and experience some negative behavior changes? Maybe. Introducing a new animal into a home is always a process.

Now, we decided to seclude her in a room for the night and while no one is home. When Sunflyr first brought her home, he put her on the floor, in the carrier, and went to the bathroom. Miss Luna (I'm so proud of her!) came in to inspect the tiny black thing in the carrier. The other two cats were nowhere to be found. When I got home, Aura was chewing on Sunflyr's arm, and Miss Luna was busy begging for dinner. We put Aura in the laundry room for the night, and she started scratching the door (I think this is part of how she explores, she had to touch everything with her paws). Miss Luna sat in front of the door looking very concerned. Dréa and Roscoe only started coming out of their hiding places when all the people were home. They did not approach Aura or the door to the room she will be in for the next few nights.

Miss Luna does not seem phased at all. The only difference in her behavior is that she's curious about what is on the other side of that door. She's not hostile to Aura, she's not mad at me, she's not showing her frustration by tearing things apart. Ok, granted it had only been a few hours since Aura was brought home, but you would think if it bothered her, her showing it would be right away. Like the other two cats did with their hiding and their distance. I'm sure they'll all come around, but I am particularly proud of my baby.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


As in "I know you all, dear blog readers, are pulling your hair out to know the outcome of last Friday's costume contest."

There were about ten of us participating. Sometimes it draws a bigger crowd, it felt rather small this year. We had people as celebrities, people as puns (two people as the same pun, even!), people in cheap store-bought things, and one person in an unbelievably impressive latex mask.

But, the important one, as you might imagine, was this one (taken on the office camera):

Yes, my forty-some hours in front of the sewing machine yielded top prize! Huzzah with me: Huzzah! And the top prize, by the way, is a free day off with pay. If anything, I thought that troll-like mask would win. It was something to see. She got a runner-up, though.

Do you know what this means, friends? It means that, after years of working hard and trying to express my creative side with costumes, I feel my effort, time, attention to detail, and all of that other stuff have finally been recognized. Nineteen hours of gluing sequins to a pair of red shoes wasn't impressive. Painting my skin blue with eye shadow wasn't impressive. Painting my friend as Darth Maul wasn't impressive (that would have counted as my win, it was my work!). Before this day, I had never won a single costume contest. Not one.

Granted, two years ago, Fyrecreek as The Phantom got written in and took home the People's Choice award (a $25 gift card to Walmart, the land of almost anything you can possibly want. I think I bought a video game, but I digress). It wasn't really winning the contest because I didn't enter it, but I think that little victory is what gave me the nerve to enter it this year. Maybe judging standards were changing. In fact, there were people on the judging panel two years ago who said they volunteered to do it because they knew I was going to make something great and wanted to bring some quality to the people who win these things.

So, what does this mean for my future costume endeavors? I don't know. I'm still going to put everything I have into future costumes, that's just the way I build costumes. I have no plan for next year's costume yet, but there's plenty of time for that. I have a feeling they may try to vary who wins from year to year. With this in mind, one of two things will happen. I will enter with whatever fabulous costume I make and be expecting to not win, or I won't enter because I don't need to win. I didn't enter when I needed to win, you see, so now that I don't, it doesn't really matter.

Maybe that kind of recognition was a silly goal. But, it was my goal nonetheless (almost to the point of obsession, I admit it). I'm still baffled as to why it was so elusive! But, I've accomplished it now. I've finally gotten what I've wanted since at least college when I really started to exercise my costuming skills. It's a nice feeling!

Now, gentle readers, you won't believe this.

Enter Monday. WAM entered the costume contest too. She had a Renaissance wench outfit. It was commercially made of thin velour and she liked to tell people that she found it on sale ($8 marked down from $50). She had a huge problem with me winning the contest, which she expressed to at least three people, but probably more. I say at least three because those were the people who told me about it.

One of the reasons I should not have won was because I talked up the judges. I did speak with the judges. I went over to their table because it was the only one that that the candy I wanted on it. I snatched it up and spun around, intending to quickly walk away. One of them asked me a question (probably "So, you made that?" or something like that, I don't really remember) so I turned back around and answered their questions. I think part of what impressed them was that I had a character, not just a costume. A character who was scanning other contestants with her tricorder and keeping in touch with her ship via the communicator! Haha!

Another reason I should not have won was because my costume looked good, but it wasn't original. "If you've seen one Star Trek costume, you've seen them all," as reported by one of the judges who she complained to. He told me he responded with "you know she made that, right?" But, making your costume is immaterial to she who buys, I guess. "Between you and me," he told me later, "she wasn't even on the radar. If it wasn't you, it still would not have been her." That felt good.

Another reason I should not have won was because two of the judges knew me personally so they were just playing favorites. Pat was the recipient of that comment, and he told me he was on the verge of telling her to shut up, saying that I won because I worked hard, put effort into it, and deserved to be recognized for it. Humph!

WAM even tried to tell me that I shouldn't have won. She said it in a roundabout way, "I didn't think you would win," but I managed to avoid getting into that by saying I thought the mask was awesome.

Sure, I've been bitter about losing costume contests before, but only when I felt they really were not deserved. A purchased costume is low on my list of awardable costumes. I like to see others doing the things I strive for myself: creativity, effort, even a passion for it. Besides, my bitterness has never been to bash the winners to people around the office, but to just not enter next time. We'll have to see what next year will bring.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


I keep several blogs to put different topics in their own place. This helps me feel a little more cohesive, and it allows you, gentle readers, to keep up with one, two, or all of them as they interest you.

The only thing about doing this is that I can't separate myself from what is happening in any given area of my life. Sometimes, I wish it could be so.

This is just the way it is.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Holiday Weekend

I had a headache on Friday and so didn't go to my friends' annual Halloween party. I opted to stay home and sleep. It helped, because the headache was very obviously caused by fatigue. I had stayed up very late almost every day last week and it finally caught up with me. Yesterday was another get-together and it was great, even in the rain. Today is godson #3's first birthday party.

Happy birthday, Jellybean!