Saturday, May 29, 2010

Kitten's vet visits

Those of you who are totally uninterested in my rodents can skip this entire post. I'm summarizing what's happened during the course of Kitten's sneezing illness so that I have a record of it later.

Kitten's sneezing hasn't resolved. Sometimes she seems to be sneezing less and sometimes more, but it hasn't gone away and I don't feel like she's eating at her regular level. Here's what we've done so far:

Visit 1 (5/18): Vet listens to her lungs, takes her temperature, looks at her teeth, gives her 0.02 mL Baytril 2x daily.

Phone call (5/21): Baytril hasn't eliminated sneezing, but it might be somewhat better. Vet recommends 1 mL Benadryl 3x daily over the weekend.

Visit 2 (5/25): Benadryl hasn't eliminated sneezing, but it might be somewhat better. Vet gives her a cortisone shot and says she should show marked improvement in 24 hours if it's allergies.

Visit 3 (5/28): Cortisone shot hasn't eliminated sneezing, but it might be somewhat better. Originally, you could hear her wheezing from over a foot away, now you have to hold her up to your ear to hear the wheezing although she does sneeze periodically. Vet tries:
-blowing air into her nostrils via a syringe (no needle) to try to dislodge any foreign bodies that might be stuck up there.
-nose drops, then blowing more air.
-sticking goo into a tube (like a paper towel tube but slightly wider in diameter) and X-raying her. He actually got pretty good pictures, both top and side. I was immensely impressed that he managed to x-ray her without general anesthesia. Vet notes that she has swallowed a lot of air (probably due to the stress of the other things he'd done at that point), but says her heart, lungs, airway and what we can see of her teeth look good (she moved slightly, so the teeth are sort of blurry).
-looks at molars with an ear scope for the second time because I ask if it could be her teeth (again). He says that based on his exam and the x-ray, he doesn't think it's her teeth.

So at this point, we're on doxycycline in case it's some sort of infection that's resistant to the baytril (sort of unlikely because none of my goos have HAD baytril before... while they have had doxy). We've pretty much eliminated allergies based on the lack of major improvement with benadryl and cortisone. There's no major problems visible via x-ray. My poor vet is pretty confounded... but is also totally awesome. We were in his office for over an HOUR yesterday and he didn't charge me for the visit, only for the x-ray and the meds.

Hopefully the new antibiotics will kick whatever this is...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Screw you; let me sleep.

While I was taking pictures of Kitten, I snapped one of The Chin. She's nocturnal and so was somewhat disgruntled by the flash.

A general update

This morning started out with a phone call from the vet saying that I'd missed Kitten's follow-up appointment. I had it on my calendar, but I had it in at the wrong time. Luckily they had space following my appointment, so I was able to bring her in without messing up their schedule too much.
The vet gave her a cortisone shot because he thinks her sneezing may be due to allergies. If so, she should show dramatic improvement in the next 24 hours. We have our paws crossed.

Rags has big plans for today. He's resting up.

I'm hoping that his plans include cleaning up my sewing area (also known as the kitchen table).

If he does some of the cleaning, I can work on my knitting homework.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sick Degu

One of my degus, Kitten, is sick. She's sneezing and wheezing and seems to be having trouble eating her regular degu food. She's on antibiotics, but they haven't fixed the problem.... in fact, she doesn't seem to have improved at all, really. I'm calling the vet tomorrow to see if there is something else I can give her instead (or in addition to). Everyone send good wishes to Kitten.

On a positive degu note, this is Dora. She's very photogenic.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We have a winner(s)!

Thanks to everyone who swung on by, checked out my blog and left me a giveaway comment. Here are the winners of my jam and weirdo fabric giveaway. Winners have also been emailed.

1. Shannon, who said: First, peach, second cranberry pear. Surprise me with the fabric. Thanks so much.

A jar of peach jam and a set of mystery fabrics will be headed to Shannon shortly.

2. A Family of Boys, who said: Mmm..pear jam, oh wait, pear raspberry. Oh, no the boys want the cranberry pear. Ok, we'd love any kind because we love the homemade jams and my stash is gone from last summer.
Pear or possibly pear raspberry jam is headed to these boys... with the second mystery fabric set

3. Jingle, who said: Oh, how fun! I would go with Cranberry Pear first, and pear second. Your FQ's are hilarious! (Or rather, the way you speak of them is hilarious! LOL!) I would go with the vaguely flowered option! jinglesells at gmail dot com
Cran-pear jam and vaguely flowered fabrics will hopefully be enjoyed by Jingle.

Congratulations to these winners, and a big thank you to everyone who entered!

For those of you who commented about being interested in making jam, I will be posting about my canning exploits later this summer (once there's actually fruit that's ripe). I'll probably do more jam giveaways just on the blog for people who actually read it. I bet I can even find more horrific fabrics to give away with them.

Baby Quilts...

My brother and his wife are having a baby. This is the second time they've been pregnant; the first time, they lost the baby 7 months into the pregnancy. I started a quilt for that baby (River), but hadn't finished it when I got the news that she had died. I haven't looked at the quilt since. It didn't seem right to finish it and give it to some other baby when I had made it for her, but it really didn't seem right to throw it away. I still haven't decided what to do with it, so for the time being it's in a drawer.

When I found out that they were pregnant again, I decided to make a new quilt. I debated whether I should start a quilt now, wait until they were further along in the pregnancy, or maybe even wait until the baby was born. On the one hand, it seemed like it might somehow be bad luck to finish a quilt before we knew if the baby would be ok... but on the other hand, I didn't want to go into this pregnancy feeling like a cloud of doom is hanging over it. I decided that I would make the quilt.

The last several times I've seen my sister-in-law, she's been wearing these silly sock monkey slippers that she got at Target. She loves them. She wears them all the time. When I found out they were having another baby and started thinking about a quilt, that was what popped into my head: sock monkeys.

The quilt's square, about 40" on a side. Because my brother lives in Florida, I wanted to make a fairly lightweight quilt so I used flannel instead of batting. I wanted the quilt to still be cuddly, so I backed it with flannel as well.

I will always miss never having gotten to know River.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Excellent day for the mail, today.

Not to distract those of you who are here to enter my giveaway (scroll down; it's there, I promise), but I got two awesome packages in the mail today and had to share them.

First off, I won Sheila C's Mother's Day Giveaway and my prize arrived in the mail. Her blog is called "My empty nest is full of cat hair," which has to win some sort of prize for awesome blog titles.

In addition to the charm pack and 2 fat quarters that she was offering as a prize, she also sent me a package of quilting needles, a little magnifying glass (it's that clear thing on the bottom left) and a cute log-cabin quilted pin! I'm so pleased to have won her giveaway.

For those of you who are surfing here from SMS giveaway day, Sheila is also offering a really cute bag pattern and some FQs for a giveaway prize. Go check it out!

But that's not all I got in the mail today! I also got my squares for an iSpy fabric swap that I participated in. It seems like forever ago that I started cutting out squares, but I did send mine in really early and I was eagerly anticipating the arrival of my squares.

I got 200 squares of different fabrics back and can't fit them into a picture to show you, but here's a sampling of them (the ones on the tops of the bundles).

Now to figure out what to do with them!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Having been the recipient of several giveaways, I decided to participate in Sew, Mama, Sew's May giveaway day. Since there are roughly four of you who read the blog, you've all got a pretty darn good shot at winning.

I'm giving away a jar of my homemade jam to the lucky winner(s) of my giveaway. If you're local and I don't have to ship... for instance, if you're a PMQG member and will be at the next meeting, I'll throw in a jar of something else as well. I'm guessing that most of you found this blog via the PMQG website anyhow, so I also thought I'd giveaway a little bitta fabric.

Your jam choices are as follows:

Pear-raspberry, pear, cranberry pear, and peach

As a side note, all of these jam choices are pretty damn tasty. The peach jam is lowest in added sugar (if that's a concern) and tastes the "fruitiest". The pear jam is the sweetest, followed by pear-raspberry (which is a lovely color with suspended raspberry seeds). The cranberry-pear is much more tart.

In order to be the grateful recipient of my fabulous jam, you must also be willing to accept one of the following sets of weird-o fat quarters that I think I must have gotten on ebay one night after a couple of glasses of wine. Include which set of fabrics you are least appalled by and I will send those to you along with your jammy winnings.

3 vaguely flowered FQs, 3 orange FQs

4 really weird, somewhat child-oriented FQs

If you're interested in winning a jar of jam, comment below with your top two flavor choices. I'll draw three responses (assuming there are more than that) and those commenters will win either their first or second choice... hopefully. If you don't get choice 1 or 2, we'll work something out.

Comments must be made before noon (PST) on Friday, May 21. I'll draw sometime Friday night and mail out (or make arrangements to deliver) sometime early the next week.

Comments must be made before 9 pm (PST) on THURSDAY, May 20. This gives me time to get in touch with people and mail things out before the SMS deadline of May 24.

Thanks for reading!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Allergy Update - Hypoallergenic Diet, Day 3

Not as itchy last night, but doesn't seem like I'm trending back towards normal.

Breakfast: oatmeal with maple syrup
Lunch: Lentils; a hard-boiled egg (technically not allowed on the Hypo diet, but whatev)
Dinner: Rice, with a little butter, and baked cabbage

I'm headed to the pharmacy this morning for a new allergy prescription. Hopefully it works better than the one I'm on now.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Potholder Pass 3

I finished my potholders for the potholder pass several days ago, but hadn't posted pictures yet. Here they are. The only request that I got from my partner was "Pink!", so this is what I came up with. The pink fabric has glitter in it, but you can't see it unless you're fairly close up.

I got a couple fat quarters (pink!) and am planning on mailing this out tonight.

On a non-potholder note, I won a giveaway! The Fat Quarter Shop blog, The Jolly Jabber, had a giveaway for two Pretty Little Books. I won a copy of Pretty Little Pillows and it arrived in my mailbox today. I'm so excited! I haven't looked through it yet, but the pillows just on the front are pretty neat. I'll post a review once I get through it.

Allergy Update - Hypoallergenic Diet, Day 2

Last night was not a happy night. Very itchy. However, I'm not giving up hope. It's too early in the diet to be able to tell anything and I read in several places about a sort of "rebound" effect on histamine levels after the allergen was removed.

Breakfast: oatmeal with a dash of maple syrup
Lunch: lentils
Dinner: baked cabbage, which was really pretty awesome. I'm definitely going to make this again. The cabbage was very tender and surprisingly sweet.

I ended up eating half a head of cabbage during the course of the evening. According to this website, a whole head of cabbage contains 290 calories. This website helpfully adds that there are 4 calories in one leaf, but then goes on to list other more useful measurements. I think mine was a large (7" diameter) cabbage, which contains a grand total of 300 calories.

One cup of boiled lentils contains 230 calories. I may have eaten a cup. I was kind of in a hurry to get to work, so I didn't have time to eat too much lunch.

Oatmeal is a bit more challenging to figure out (also, I've gotten way off topic from allergies here.. ). A 1 cup serving contains 147 calories. But is that 1 cup before or after cooking? It must be after cooking because 1 cup uncooked oatmeal would make at least 1.5 cups cooked... which would require a really large cereal bowl. I started with 2/3 cup, so I probably ended up with nearly a cup of cooked oatmeal. I probably added about 100 calories worth of maple syrup, based on the info on the back of the bottle.

This gives me a calorie count of 637 for yesterday. The weird thing is that I wasn't hungry the whole day, except for right before dinner. Apparently hypoallergenic diets are also good for weight loss.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Allergy Update - Hypoallergenic Diet, Day 1

Yesterday involved the following foods:
breakfast: plain oatmeal
lunch: brown rice and red lentils with frozen peas, a cut up avocado and a little salt
Avocados are actually quite high in salicylates, which I didn't realize when I put it in my lunch. I did feel possibly a bit more itchy after lunch, so ditched the avocado for dinner.
dinner: more rice and lentils and a bowl of homemade apple-pear sauce (sort of cheating because apples are higher in salicylates than pears are, but both were cooked and peeled)

I felt like I might have been less itchy when I went to bed. I didn't take Benadryl, which I have every night for the past week or so.

TD is not excited that I'm back on the hypoallergenic diet because it means that I won't be cooking dinner for him (unless he's interested in rice and lentils, which he really isn't). He's also irritated that I decided to go back on it while we still have a lot of food in the house. If it works, I'm sure he'll get over the irritation because I'll be a lot less whiny.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Potholder Pass 3

I got my potholders from the Potholder Pass yesterday! Thank you, Tracy from CA!
The beige fabric has butterflies on it, which are very cute.. and there is four pieces of bonus fabric in lovely springy colors. I was very excited to get my package and am off to post about it on the potholder pass Flickr group.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Allergies, revisited

My allergies have not resolved. I'm no longer using shampoo or toothpaste, although that's not as gross as it sounds because I'm doing both things with baking soda (really! it works!). I'm double rinsing all the laundry and we switched laundry detergents to one that doesn't seem to bother my skin when applied to my inner arm. I've looked at all the ingredients in all my lotions and have discarded any that appeared suspicious and am now using only Aveeno, which doesn't make me break out in little red dots.

Despite all of those changes, my allergies are getting worse. I'm taking generic OTC Zyrtec and an asthma medication that my doctor prescribed me. I'm also taking Benadryl before bed because I get so itchy.

My new theory is that it's a food. Having changed all the outside-the-body chemicals that I can think of, this is the best option of those remaining. Other options include an allergy to one of my animals, but I'm not getting rid of them, so I'm going to test the food theory first.

Supporting this idea is the observation that directly after I finished eating left-over Indian food this evening, my nose started running and I started coughing. Now, about 40 minutes post-Indian food, I'm getting very itchy in a variety of different places. I haven't changed clothes or done anything that seems likely to have caused an allergy outbreak.

I'm starting a new elimination diet tomorrow. It's going to be a pain in the butt because I'm trying to combine the hypoallergenic diet I tried last time combined with a low salicylate diet. Unfortunately, the two diets are almost entirely non-overlapping. The hypoallergenic diet excludes a lot of things, but most fruits and vegetables are ok. The low salicylate diet excludes most fruits and vegetables, but a lot of other foods are acceptable. I went through and combined both lists and here's my acceptable foods for the next 10 days:
ripe, peeled pears
green (but not yellow) split peas
dried beans
malt vinegar
possibly either sunflower or saffllower oil

As far as I can tell, there are no actual meals that can be made of foods off of this list. My plan is to make rice and beans and then just whine a lot over the next 10 days. If I see an improvement in 10 days, I'll start adding foods back in one at a time to see if there's any effect. If there's no improvement in 10 days, I'm going back in to see the doctor to get better drugs.