Friday, February 19, 2010

The Recent Stuff

I just realized that I never wrote here about the cardiologist visit, so I have several things to update.

The cardiologist: It started with shoving Miss Luna into the cage, which has always been a chore. She had a little panic attack in the car and soiled herself. She never did that before. I don't blame her, of course, for being nervous about getting in the cage now. If I've seen enough of veterinary doctors, I'm sure she really has.

I liked this place, though. They brought us into a room where she could get out of the cage, wander around, get cleaned up, look out the window, and kind of calm down a little. I was with her every moment. She was playing peek-a-boo with one of the technicians. The lady would peek in through the window, and Miss Luna would meow when she saw her. My kitty was on her best behavior. She was talking to me (which I love) and she came to me when I called for her. Everyone said that was impressive. Then the doctor came in and listened to her heart and all of that. I told her about typical behavior: how Miss Luna puts herself near me when I'm working and will come and get me if I get up and take too long. The doctor described that as "needy." That may be, but I love that she does it. So, if Miss Luna needs me, I need her just as much.

After a little bit more time to wander around the room while they were getting the machine ready, they brought us into the exam room. Poor baby had two techs and me holding her down on the table while the doctor covered her with slime. If you've ever had an echocardiogram, you know exactly what I mean. Frankly, it's not very fun. Miss Luna was very still for this, and even closed her eyes for a bit. We then turned her over and slimed the other side. She was less calm about this one.

At the end, the doctor showed me that she did have an enlarged heart, and the walls of the left ventricle are a little on the thick side. This does cause the heart to pump harder than it should, but right now, it's not a big issue. Her regular vet needs to check her heart every six months and we have to go to the cardiologist every year for another echo. This is because it is almost inevitable that her heart will be a problem but, as long as we stay on top of it, we should be able to catch any issues soon enough. The doctor thinks at some point she will be on daily medication, but it's not needed right now.

The following week, she went in to have more blood drawn for another toxoplasmosis screening. Again, she had a panic attack in the car and soiled herself. I hope she will calm down, or get used to her vet visits (as they will be many) to stop doing that. It really breaks my heart that she's so upset about it now. Anyway, this hospital has never ordered this test before, so I didn't get results until this week.

And the results were inconclusive.

This kind of toxo screening is an antibody titer - it looks for the concentration of toxo antibodies in her system. A high concentration would show an active infection. There were more antibodies than when she was first tested in the emergency hospital on January 10th, but not high enough to lead the doctor to believe she was fighting an active infection. This means Miss Luna's exposure to toxo was likely years ago, probably when she was a stray kitten. She has toxoplasmosis, that much is sure, but nothing says for sure that toxo was the cause of her sickness, or even that exposure to something else (like the bartonellosis that the other cat has) would cause it to manifest symptoms.

What does all this mean? Well, it means we don't really know what caused the fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, and very obvious neural distress that landed her in the emergency hospital. We don't know if the antibiotic course she was given for toxo would take care of whatever the cause was if it was something else. It means we don't know if she could get sick again, and we'll have to go through this whole process again. That part of it really fills me with dread. I never want to see her moving like that again. Further more, since we don't really know, we don't know if she will expose Callie to anything if I were to bring her with me.

What we do know is that, exposure to bartonellosis or not (which we did not test for but it is highly likely she has it too), bartonelosis does not cause the neurological symptoms that I witnessed. There was something else going on, and it may or may not be the toxo. And I may never know for sure.

I'm going to visit some friends this weekend. right now, I really wish I wasn't. I really want to stay home with my kitty. I haven't gone away for more than one night (and that was only once) since she got sick and, remember, she got sick after I came back from being away for an extended weekend. I can't help but be a little worried. Physically, Miss Luna seems back to her old self, but I don't know what almost three whole days away from me will do. Remember, as the doctor said, Miss Luna needs me. Phoenix said she would be home all weekend and would keep an eye on Miss Luna for me and would call if she seems to be even slightly out of sorts. So, I just need to breathe and go about my plans, and trust that my roommate would let me know of any changes. I think she thought I was being just a little too anxious. I can't help it. I need Miss Luna too.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

An Exhibition

The ministry I work with holds a big outdoor festival in the woods every Beltane (that's in May, for those who don't know). This year will be the third year running. I taught a workshop the first year, and reprised my workshop and worked on their staff for the second year. I didn't have time to be part of the staff this year, and it seems I don't have time to write a new workshop either. However, the addition this year is an artist's gallery, and I've been asked to participate.

What they mean by "artist's gallery" is like a craft fair and exhibition, only no selling will be taking place (because it's illegal to exchange money for goods or services on Federal park property). So, it will be a showcase of my work, while working and talking to people about my process and techniques. People will also have the opportunity to order and pay for items from me in advance to be delivered at the festival, and to place orders for future payment and delivery during the festival.

For some reason, I feel like this is more within the time I can spare than writing another workshop is this year. (And, I can write the workshop as I have time so it will be ready for next year.) That being said, I'm at a loss as to how to prepare for this! I think I'm going to offer a festival discount, and I know I'll be putting my shop in vacation mode for the duration and taking my inventory with me. It's easy to crochet on the go (I do it all the time) and easy enough to bring needle felting and mala-making things with me, but I don't want to ignore my spirit dolls either - which would be extremely appropriate for this venue. I'm not sure how to make that part of my craft portable.

In addition, since no selling is taking place on the site, should I bother to build up my inventory like one would do for a craft fair? I do know that I want to get more spirit dolls made, since I only have two examples on hand right now. What else? Am I missing anything?

Oh, I'll need some kind of way to take orders. I guess a log for specs and addresses, and I can print up some cards with my Paypal information, maybe? Or take down their information and send them an invoice, I could do that. Of course, I could send everyone to Etsy, and give them a code for the festival discount, but I do need a non-Etsy alternative as well. I could take checks because these are local people (and the festival would know how to contact them if something goes wrong). Frankly, I hate the idea of future orders, because how many people really ever follow through with those? Pre-orders, though, might happen and would be grand. But just showing off my items and spending a couple days talking about my creative process would be great too! I need to find some promotional items somewhere!

Does anyone have any other ideas for me?

Sneak Peek

I have been searching for something that I can make a little faster than my regular Gnomes, so that I can offer something at a lower price-point. Gnomes for Kids come close, as they do work up in about half the time of my collectible Gnomes, but still, I want something quicker.

I've been dabbling in needled felting. I've made sheep and mushrooms and baskets and grapes. I've made tiny tiny things to fit in tiny terrariums. So, the other day, I took note of the time, and set out to needle-felt a Gnome.

Success! These guys took just about an hour a piece, and I think I can cut that back more as I go. They work up quick and, if I do say so myself, incredibly cute!

Here they are, showing with another sneak peak that is about the size of my regular Gnomes. I'm not ready to tell you about this new line, yet!

And here they are again, in the picture with a US quarter dollar. They're somewhere in the ballpark of an inch and a half to two inches tall. I'm working on the pattern now, and hope to offer Gneedled Gnomes soon!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sale Alert!

Soap Addicts is having a sale!

Buy one mini 3 pack and get a large soap half off when you use the code "heart" in comments to seller.

Check out her shop!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy New Year

Out with the old!

In with the new!

Happy Lunar New Year!
Welcome to the Year of the Tiger!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dreams of Sakura

A new treasury! This one features items that I found while searching "sakura."
I love cherry blossoms. I make it a point to go to the National Cherry Blossom Festival every year. With all the snow that we've been getting, and are getting at this very moment, I'm really dreaming for Spring.
Check out these wonderful artists!

Piggy Sightings

My Hot Pink Three-Legged Good Luck Piggy is in this awesome treasury by the wonderfully talented StellasKnits. Check it out!

This is one of my favorite piggies. His little face came out so cute!