rhienelleth: (mass effect shepard)
It's been a bit since I posted! That means, time for a bullet list update!

Things I have been up to, or whatever:

~ I am just seven short weeks from being DONE with school. I've started dreaming about writing fiction again, instead of academic papers. No lie.

~ Mass Effect 3. 6 DAYS, BABY!! In the meantime, I have been playing the demo, which is shockingly AWESOME. Maybe I should explain that statement, since I've obviously been anticipating 'awesome' with this game for quite some time. So, the demo is a couple of very short excerpts from the campaign, and then two multiplayer maps to play coop with up to four people. Honestly, I thought I would dislike the multiplayer aspect, or at the very least be completely intimidated and/or bored by it. I mean, I've watched the husband play games online for years. Running around in a party and killing things for hours on end seems REALLY BORING to me. Where's the story? I play games for story and characters and escapism. Shooting things is just...shooting things. But then I finished the small campaign sections and wanted MORE, so I went and ahead and checked out multiplayer, you know, just for fun...and I totally LOVE IT. I don't know if it's because it's Mass Effect, and I'm already predisposed to love the world and the different classes and abilities, or what, but I totally freaking love it. I have several male friends who play, all of whom are veterans of the very similar multiplayer/combat style of the Gears of War franchise, not to mention many, MANY FPS games, and they were all very kind about my first few maps, wherein they would all earn our group TONS of XP, and then there was me, with like, 2k if I was really, really lucky. And I died a lot and they had to revive me. But then, I discovered the sniper rifle, and I started racking up the kills, and gaining experience, and one time I even managed to be the top most earning player on our team!! It was an exciting moment for me. 

Anyway, I actually understand the husband's obsession with online play for the first time. It's not like I ever gave him any crud about it or anything. I'm not one of those wives who begrudges her husband xbox time. I just thought "not my cuppa". BUT, I kinda get it now. Plus, I get to play other races. I totally forgot how fun that small section was in ME2 where you very briefly play a Krogan. I'm leveling up a Krogan soldier right now and it's awesome! He says all of these Krogan-gruff things, and in melee he head-butts the enemy to death, because he's just that badass. What I REALLY want to unlock, though, is the Asari adept class. I can't seem to do it, but I WANT TO so badly! Statis! Plus, playing an Asari! Just super cool. 

Anyway, I have been counting down the days for ME3's release. I cannot wait. I have no doubt after playing the demo, that the game will live up to and possibly exceed all of my expectations. The Kinect controls are freaking cool - "Garrus, concussive shot" "Liara, Singularity". Saying it, and having your squad mates act is a very nice feature. I'm a little "meh" about the Vega character. I'm kind of like "why the hell do we need another human soldier-type?" We already have Kaidan and presumably Jacob. And in the demo, it seems like we start the game with Vega and Shepard already being fast friends. IDK, I feel kind of like he's being forced on us, and I don't really care about him. I care about characters I've already played with and love. 

Speaking of love, I read somewhere that something like 70% of players were not true to their ME1 romance, and stepped out with someone else in ME2, which is supposed to have consequences in ME3. (I was true to Kaidan, which is supposed to have a big payoff in ME3. Honestly, I was mad enough about how they handled him in ME2 that I totally intended to cheat. And then somehow got to the end of the game and hadn't...) Anyway, I read this interview with the head writer for ME3, where the (female) interviewer commented that she romanced Kaidan in ME1, but Thane in ME2, and she asked how that was going to affect her gameplay in ME3, and his comment was basically "Good luck with that." He was a little nicer, but really that's pretty much what he said. Now I kind of wish I had another playthrough I could import where I had been with Thane, and I could see what happens. I'm guessing that the two romances will make Shepard choose, but with Bioware there could easily be something much more cruel up their collective sleeve. Like...choosing which one lives!

Wow, so I should really shut up now and move on to something non-Mass Effect related. Suffice to say, I am VERY EXCITED about this coming Tuesday!

~ Um...where was I? Oh, right. So, apparently we are supposed to get snow tonight. It's been like an earl spring here, and now, tonight it's supposed to freeze and snow. We shall see.

~ Pet updates: Zoey's kink in her neck has stopped hurting her, but she has developed a totally severe front leg limp. I even took her to a dog chiropractor at the local dog show last weekend, who confirmed she has a neck issue and that could easily be causing the limp. She worked on her, and we'll see, but she may have to go back to the vet. We are out of pain pills/muscle relaxers, and the problem is still there. 

As for Julius, the vet did the promised follow-up look at his bottom two fangs, which were uncomfortably rubbing his upper lip after his previous dental surgery, and reluctantly concluded the only thing to do for his comfort was to pull them. VERY graciously, the vet did this FOR FREE. I know. Super nice. I am going to bake cinnamon rolls as a thank you and bring them in next week. Anyway, he gets sent home, no cone of shame this time, and a couple of days later there is this horrible smell on him. Like, we think maybe he got some litter box leavings rubbed into his coat. Only I gave him a bath (much to both his and my dismay), and the smell was still there. And suddenly he starts acting all lethargic, and it dawns on me, the smell is an indication of infection! So I get some antibiotics from the vet, and now he is doing much, much better. The horrible smell is gone, and he is starting to act like his old self again. Hopefully he'll be a healthy cat for a long, long time now!

~ Um, I think that's it for now. New jewelry photos coming sometime soon. 

Zoey Update

Feb. 4th, 2012 09:05 am
rhienelleth: (Default)
Thankfully, the vet seems very certain the lumps are not cancerous. However, the one is large enough to be of concern, and they do want to remove it before it gets any bigger. 

But the lumps aren't the immediate issue, apparently. Her neck is. Like people, dogs can hurt their necks and spines, and somehow, she has. When we touched her, she would turn her head to look at us, which hurt. They took the predicted x-rays, but thankfully there is nothing out of joint. The vet thinks the liquid inside the discs in her back (just like people, again), has escaped one of them and inflamed her spinal cord, or the area round it. In any case, she is on pain pills and muscle relaxer for three weeks to fix the problem. Once all of that is done, then we will talk about removing the large lump. 

The vet was the same one who operated on Julius. she was very nice and completely understanding of our situation. It turns out, her husband is also unemployed and unable to find a job. Our local area is very job poor right now, and the few jobs available are competed for by hundreds, if not thousands of applicants. I think this is why she offered to do the Julius follow up for free. Unfortunately, Zoey's visit and treatment weren't, but she agreed that we had to do something. Apparently, untreated sometimes dogs will actually rupture a disc, and this can lead to paralyzation. Better to treat it now and help her body fix itself. 

I am still running my donation raffle. The visit, x-rays and meds were $300 we no longer have for things like groceries. It is three weeks until Mark gets another paycheck, so the only money we have coming in right now is from jewelry sales. The $300 came out of what we had budgeted to buy food, gas, and pay bills during that three weeks. 

Thank you so much to those who have already boosted the signal, bought jewelry, or donated. We appreciate it so very much. 
rhienelleth: (kitty combat)

                      

Those of you who read my last post probably know most of this already. Our dog Zoey is an adorable eight-year-old husky/lab mix. (And I don't use the word adorable lightly. She really is!) Unfortunately, she also has a mysterious lump of "fatty tissue" the vet used to be very unconcerned about. A lump that has recently tripled in size, and as of last night, begun to cause her pain. Enough pain that she yips and cries when she moves, or when we touch her. :( 

Not long ago, in November, in fact, I posted asking for help for our cat Julius, who was ill and needed dental surgery to remove several infected teeth. I was reluctant to do this, but with me unemployed and unable to find a job, our financial situation is such that I didn't see many alternatives. That was a success! Julius got the surgery, and is doing great. In fact, right now, he enthusiastically chasing his own tail, even as I type. :) I should also update you all that his mouth does not seem to be getting used to the lack of upper fangs. Later this month, the vet who did the surgery wants us to bring him in so she can decide whether to file his bottom fangs down a little more, or if they can stay as they are, or if they cause him so much discomfort she has to pull them. She is doing this for free, in part because this is a follow up to the surgery, but also I think because she knows our financial situation is not the best at the moment. We are very fortunate that my husband's job is safe, and brings in enough, barely, to pay the bills and mostly buy things like food. Of course, we've only been living without unemployment coming in for me for about three weeks, so it could get worse. I hope not, though.

One of the ways it could get a lot worse, actually, is exactly like this. Unexpected vet bills that are very expensive. How expensive? I won't know for sure until I get Zoey in this afternoon and they tell me what they want to do. However, I do know what the answer will NOT be. It will NOT be: oh, she's fine, let's leave it. I strongly suspect it WILL be something along the lines of: let's take x-rays. Let's put her under and cut out that giant baseball sized lump. Let's have that lump biopsied for cancer. (Please, PLEASE let it not be cancer.) MAYBE it will even involve removing some of the much, much smaller lumps that have appeared recently. I don't know. I do know that all of that is not going to be inexpensive. It's money we don't have. 

As many of you know, I've been working hard at my jewelry business, trying to build it up and get some regular sales going. Enough regular sales to take the place of a weekly paycheck. Last month was my most successful month ever, but it's not there yet. In a month, I made a little less than what I used to bring home in a week, once expenses and the cost of materials is subtracted. It's a start.

So now comes the part where I ask for help again. I know a lot of people, like us, don't have anything extra right now. I understand this, and I'm not expecting the kind of tremendous response we had to Julius. Anything at all will help, though. Once again, I am going to raffle off jewelry to those who choose to donate. Again, there will be five prizes. This time, it will be either a pair of 5mm stud earrings, or a sweetheart pendant set with the semi-precious stone of your choice. $5 is one entry, $10 is two, and so on. Also, Valentine's Day is around the corner. Maybe you see something in my store you want, for either yourself or your sweetheart. Or maybe you just want to buy yourself something special, knowing the proceeds will go to help a lovable dog who is, at the moment, hurting. 

If you're in a position, like us, where you can't afford to buy something from my Etsy store, or donate, we can always use help boosting the signal. Thank you, everyone. We love our pets like family. They are, in a very real way, like our kids. 










rhienelleth: (Default)
Hello livejournal. It's been one of those nights. I went to bed at 11:00. Zoey, our lab/husky mix, is having a bad night, and like kids and parents, when she has a bad night, so do I. An hour after going to sleep, she got me up to let her out. And again, twenty minutes after that. She hasn't been able to settle down, and rather than keep the husband awake, I've taken her out to the living room with me.  I think in a few hours when the rest of the world is awake with me, I'll be calling the vet and taking her in. 

I'll admit, part of the reason I can't go back to sleep has nothing to do with Zoey's restless behavior, and is much more about me worrying. Awhile back, we noticed a lump on Zoey. Concerned, we pointed it out to the vet. It didn't seem to be causing Zoey any discomfort, and the vet was pretty unconcerned. Apparently, these are often just "fatty deposits" and nothing to worry over. Well, recently that lump has suddenly doubled, if not tripled in size. Instead of a golf ball, it is the size of a baseball. And now, for the first time, it appears to be causing her pain. Mark reached out to pet her tonight when she was being restless, and she yipped like he'd hurt her. He said his hand had touched the lump. I think part of her restlessness is due to discomfort. We've also noticed lately that when Julius tries to play with her, she often gets really grumpy with him. Now, she's had some arthritis issues for a few years, and sometimes she lets him know when she hurts too much for their usual vigorous play. But I think it's become a more frequent occurrence. 

This is happening, of course, right when we can least afford it. I'm sure you all recall back in November, when our cat Julius was sick, and needed several of his teeth pulled. I knew then that Zoey's lump was probably going to need to be looked at, but one crisis at a time, right? It's funny. Things were tight in November. I was on unemployment, and we were making it, but without a cushion to absorb things like cat dental surgery. Luckily, a lot of really wonderful, generous people were kind enough to donate or buy jewelry, and that was how Julius was able to get that surgery. Now, a few short months later I still can't find a job, and my unemployment has run out. Things are even worse than they were in November. But not taking Zoey in is no longer an option. Pain means we're taking her to the vet. 

I know what this means. While I don't know how much it will cost, I'm guessing in the hundreds of dollars. They'll want to x-ray her, I'm guessing. There are now several small lumps on her stomach, and a new one we just found tonight on her side. They are all about the size of my thumb, or smaller, nothing in the neighborhood of The Big One. But there are five or six of them. I'm assuming they will want to remove the large lump, at least. Which means knocking her out and cutting it out. Then they will, I'm guessing, have it tested, biopsied or whatever. I have no idea how much all of that will cost, or how we will pay for it. These are the things I'm turning around in my head at 4:00 am. They say things come in threes. Well, we had Julius and his surgery, then Nimue needed to be fixed, and now...

But more than the money, I am really, really worried about that test. One of Mark's family dogs died of cancerous tumors when he was in college. She'd had surgery to remove them, and then the cancer just seemed to come back with a vengeance, and new tumors grew really fast. They grew into her lungs, and they had to put her down. Zoey is only eight years old, and she is definitely Mark's dog. He is her special person, and as tough as he acts, he will be devastated if he loses her like that. 

So I'm sitting here, with Zoey finally asleep beside me, praying it's not cancer, and that lump is somehow just fatty tissue that has grown overnight for no reason. And that the pain it now appears to be causing her is just because it's a big fatty lump. :( 

I'm also considering putting up another donation link. I hate the idea of asking people to donate again, when so many just helped with Julius. But I don't know what else to do. I could raffle off more pairs of earrings, I guess. Ironically, last month was the best month in jewelry sales I have ever had. But those sales still didn't come close to what I was getting on unemployment. But they did help make ends meet, and I'm hoping some of that will happen again this month. I've been working on jewelry everyday. I have a large order from some friends I've been working my way through, new things I've been making and adding to the store, and I've got my first custom wedding ring order, which is very exciting. It almost feels like a real job for the first time. Unfortunately, it's still not a real job with a regular pay check. 

I don't know. :( I thought writing all of this out might make me feel better and less anxious, but that does not seem to be the case.
rhienelleth: (Default)
So, now that the Christmas madness is out of the way, I've finally sat down and gone through every single donation to Julius's surgery and entered them all into the random number generator. If you donated $5, you got 1 entry. If you donated $50, you got 10, and so on. 

Julius, btw, is doing so much better. I think I need to take him back in to the vet to file down his bottom canines just a little more. He keeps looking saber-toothed and is having some redness on his mouth from them rubbing. However, his energy is back to normal, and for some strange reason, he actually started using the cat trees for the very first time during his recovery. Mostly he sat on them a brooded with the cone of shame on his head, but since the cone coming off, he's still been sitting on them, and even playing on them! So that's a good side effect. :)

Anyway, here are the five winners via random number generator. If I have your LJ handle, I'm listing that, but for most people I just had real names, so only first names w/last initials are getting listed here. If you think you are one of the winners, check your paypal email, as I'll be sending those out next.

Winners of 5mm sterling silver post earrings:

Cynsa B.
Brigitte L.
syrin99
Catherine M.
Caitlin K.

Congratulations! Hopefully you all either wear earrings, or know someone who would love a pair. You'll have a choice of stones between: iolite (blue-purple), white topaz (clear), garnet (red w/a touch of pink), and peridot (spring green).

For accurate pictures of the colors, all of these stones are represented in my Etsy store. You can search the store for the stone, and listings with good pics of them should pop up. 
rhienelleth: (Default)
Just a note to update everyone who placed orders to help Julius. I'm working my way through them as quickly as possible. I'm not actually used to receiving so many orders at once, so it created a small backlog. I know some of you haven't recieved yours yet, or a shipping notification, but my goal is to get them all out this week. You should receive tracking via e-mail. If you don't for some reason by Friday afternoon, send me a note or an e-mail if you don't mind.

Added to that, the vet didn't warn me about what Julius's recovery would entail. Since he won't take liquid, and that's usually how they prescribe painkillers, they just didn't send any home. I didn't even realize anything was wrong at first. Obviously he was unhappy in the cone of shame, and crying piteously a lot...well, he was also peeing everywhere. Not spraying, just constantly dribbling pee throughout the house, right when I was trying to get things ready for the holiday. Because of the holiday, I wasn't able to get a hold of the vet immediately to find out what was wrong. When I did the following conversation happened:

Vet: "Well, that kind of behavior could be because he's in pain. How is administering the painkillers going?"

Me: "...painkillers? What painkillers? I have antibiotics you guys prescribed, but nothing for pain."

Vet: "I don't why we wouldn't...hold on. Yes, I see here Julius won't take liquid. That's why we didn't send any home."

Me: "What? Is there no other form painkillers can take?"

Vet: "Well, sure. We can prescribe some pills for you to come in and pick up."

Me: "Why didn't you send them hom with him in the first place??"

She didn't have a good answer. Me, I was furious. Here my cat had been in pain following a surgery for days, because they dropped the ball after I told them he wouldn't take medications in liquid form. Anyway, painkillers procured, it seems to have solved the peeing problem. However, my cat is still miserable. He has to wear the cone of shame for two full weeks. We are on week two now, and he finally seems to have achieved a sort of resigned acceptance of his situation. But that first week was murder. He constantly wanted to be on my lap, and I didn't have the heart to tell him no. I did a lot of laundry, since he peed through towels and blankets, and all over most pairs of my jeans. In the meantime, it is very hard to work with jewelry with a 15 pound cat constantly insisting on sitting on your lap. Particularly when he is peeing all over you and everything else. The good news is, the worst is over, and jewelry orders are my priority. Thank you again to everyone who helped. I'm sure Julius will be grateful once the cone of shame comes off, and in the meantime, I certainly am.
rhienelleth: (Default)
We hates it, precious!



My Mom, after driving an hour and a half to come for Thanksgiving, is now on her way to Petco to buy a soft cone for Julius, since I am afraid to leave him alone, for fear he'll figure a way to get the hard plastic one off. The vet was very specific, in that they don't want him to damage the soft tissue of his gums and the stitches in his mouth. A few seconds could damage it beyond being able to re-suture it. He has to wear the thing for a week to ten days, whoo-hoo.

Poor guy. I had to wait at the vet for half an hour, because the right tech wasn't on hand immediately to put him in his carrier, and all of the others are, literally, afraid of my cat. Who turns into a psycho when they try to handle him or get near him, apparently. Poor Jules. :( He doesn't understand that all of his misery is really to make him feel better.
rhienelleth: (Default)
Mark and I were at a wedding earlier, so this is the first chance I've had to post. Julius is doing fine. They ended up having to remove his top two canines in addition to the four molar teeth, and he is spending the night at the vet because we were already at the wedding by the time they called us, and couldn't come get him before closing. So, Jules will come home tomorrow, and reportedly is doing just fine.

Thank you all again, so much. It truly wouldn't have been possible without all of the help we received.
rhienelleth: (Default)
I'm considering donations officially closed for Julius. Thank you all so very much...he goes in for surgery tomorrow. Despite the antibiotics, he is clearly still a very sick cat. He gave me a scare today, not responding when I called for him, and couldn't find him anywhere in the house (he is indoor only). I eventually found him curled up sleeping on top of one of the heater vents. I know cats like warm things, but he has only been doing this since he became ill. When I prodded him, he didn't respond right away, and I had a moment of panic before he finally moved and I realized he was just sleepy and lethargic.

After he comes home Wednesday morning, I'll get started filling all of those generous jewelry orders, and I'll start adding people to the drawing pool for the raffle, which I will try to do before the holiday. However, there were a LOT of wonderful people who donated, so it may take me more time than anticipated to go through and make sure everyone gets the appropriate number of raffle entries. My goal is to get everything taken care of by the end of the holiday weekend, and of course I will post updates post-surgery, so people can know how Julius is doing.

There is always some risk associated with going under, so please think good thoughts for Julius tomorrow. Thank you again everyone. This would not have been possible without you!
rhienelleth: (cats at play)
Wow, you guys. Just...wow. I woke up this morning, and it all seems so unreal. Between jewelry sales and donations, my paypal account has almost $700!! I'm going to go ahead and call the vet this morning to schedule the surgery. Even if it ends up being higher than the conservative estimate, I know they'll let me split it into a couple of payments if I can pay most of the cost up front. Thank you all so much. I'm also going to go ahead and pay the vet the rest of what we owed for the first appointment. Paying that off early ought to make them more inclined to work with us for the surgery, if needed. I'm not entirely sure it will be, the way things are going! You guys are amazing. Thank you.

So, I thought I'd share an amusing Julius-at-the-vet story, since so many people are helping him. My cat is a Bengal. Back when I still had a job, I worked with a guy who bred Bengals, and ended up getting Julius for free. For those who don't know, Bengals are a special breed, and can be freakishly expensive. They're bred from an Asian Leopard Cat and domestic short hairs, like Siamese and Maus. Bengals tend to bond to one special person when they're kittens, and for Julius, that's me. But he's always been fairly friendly, or at least tolerant of strangers. In fact, in those early years, trips to the vet were no big deal. He didn't mind the cat carrier, he liked the attention the techs showered on him, and really he just tolerated the whole experience pretty well. Then, several years ago he developed a urinary tract infection (also not a cheap procedure, but back then I had a job). He spent five days at the vet, and when I came in to visit he stared at me with flat eyes and ears, a look that said "Lady, you left me here, I hate you!" It wasn't until he returned home that his usual personality was restored, and even then he favored my husband over me for several days. He holds a grudge, you see.

But I had no idea how much. The next time he went into the vet for something, getting him into the carrier was an unexpected experience in frustration. As many of you who own cats probably know, getting a cat into a small opening when they don't want to can be...interesting. The visit started out fine. Julius tolerated the exam, but gave me the same flat eyed, flat eared stare as before. Then they needed to draw blood. The tech took him back to do so while the vet and I were talking. Pretty soon, here comes the tech. The patient, she explains, goes crazy and claws, hisses, and bites when they try to take his blood. It took me a minute to realize she was talking about Julius. I offered to help, and the tech told me no, they didn't want me to get hurt! It hadn't occurred to me until that moment that my cat might try to hurt me. They had to knock him out, just to draw blood. 

Now, here we are caught up to the most recent vet visit. I have since procured a top loading cat carrier, which requires less direct wrestling when loading Julius into it (although he still tries). Once we got to the vet and took him back, I opened the carrier, and my cat hissed at me. Um, what? He's never done that before. Then when he saw the vet tech, he hissed at her. I pulled him out of the carrier and handled him for her as far as weighing him went, not entirely sure it was safe for her to touch him. This concern blossomed into reality when she picked up the thermometer. By then, he'd gone back into his cat carrier, but he saw her coming toward him with that thing in her hand, and the look her threw at her over his shoulder said "Lady, you come near with that thing, and I'm taking your f-ing fingers off." Then he proceeded to turn around so he could be poised and ready to do exactly that. Even the tech, poor young thing, looked a little shocked. "Um...maybe I'll just go and get some help," she told me. 

Yes, my loving, sweet boy. Terrorizing vet techs everywhere. In the end, they had to take him back and knock him out again. They just waited to take his temperature until then, because, you know. It's safer that way. I don't imagine the new surgery will encourage his love of visiting the vet, either. 

Maybe some of you are reading this, and thinking this sort of behavior at the vet is perfectly normal. Well, I still marvel at it. Julius is such a sweet natured cat! He's never used his claws ever. We raised him as a kitten with our lab-husky mix, and the two of them play together pretty rough and tumble. Zoey is three times his size, and yet...he's never once used his claws on her. He's a gentle cat! Except, apparently, when he's at the vet.

OMG!

Nov. 16th, 2011 04:06 pm
rhienelleth: (Default)
I just logged into my e-mail after returning from the grocery store. It is probably a measure of just how precarious my emotional state is these days, that I started crying as soon as I saw the explosion that is my inbox, of people offering support, donations, jewelry purchases(!!)...I cry at the drop of a hat these days, but seriously, my friends are amazing people, who have incredible friends of their own. People who don't know me at all are dropping by to comment and/or donate, and/or buy jewelry. Thank you.

That doesn't seem like enough. THANK YOU. My husband was in disbelief. The vet only gave us a rough estimate, because they won't truly know what they're looking at until they do the x-ray, but conservatively, they estimate $700 if he only needs 3-4 teeth pulled. More, if he needs more. Anesthesia, x-rays, antibiotics, the surgery, the tests they run before the surgery, because apparently knocking out cats can be tricky, or something...and that figure doesn't include the money we already had to pay, which we couldn't afford, for the initial appointment, tests, and antibiotics. We still owe $80 towards that, because our vet was kind enough to let me pay the rest when our next check comes in. 

So far, people have contributed $310, through either donations or jewelry sales. that is almost half! Damn it, I'm going to start crying again. 

Thank you, thank you, all of you. The people I know, and the people I don't. I'll be answering individual comments as soon as I can. 
rhienelleth: (polarbears - kistha)
Our cat Julius has not been feeling well lately. At my husband's urging (a rare occurrence), we took him to the vet, and discovered the disheartening news that he needs orthodontic surgery. Several of his teeth are basically going bad, and need to be pulled. Until they are, he will continue to have abscessed teeth which make him sick and require antibiotics to treat. We only noticed something was wrong because one of his eyes is routinely more closed than the other, and weeping, a respiratory response to the abscess.

You can see it a little here, even on this crappy phone pic:



The eye on the right is slightly smaller than the eye on the left. This is actually a huge improvement, because the vet gave him a good dose of antibiotics. However, it is temporary. The vet made it clear this is a short term fix. He needs surgery, which as you might imagine, is expensive, and the sooner the better.

This comes at the worst possible time, as these things so often do. Just in time for Christmas, which we were already struggling to find the extra funds for. My husband reacted...shall we say, badly, to this news. In an effort to be positive, I said "maybe I can sell some jewelry to help pay for it". He was skeptical (to put it politely). He likes to pretend he's a glass half-full kind of guy, but lately its been all glass empty, all the time, as some of you might know from recent entries, which shall remain locked. We really did not need one more hit, let me tell you. 

I've been struggling with what to do for two days. I don't like asking people for help, especially when so many are already struggling. I know to some people, paying for surgery for a cat is ludicrous, but please keep in mind...we don't and can't have kids. For the moment, our pets are the closest thing we have. They are our family, in a very real way. As much as he might grumble and act tough, my husband was the one who said "I think Julius is really sick. Take him to the vet." And this, at a time when he doesn't want to spend extra money at all. 

In an effort to prove my skeptical husband wrong, I am going to try to raise funds to help pay for the cat surgery. As I said, I know times are tight, and I know a lot of people might want to help, but really can't afford it. I understand, and I feel bad even asking. Honestly, we just don't have the money. But regardless, we still need to do the surgery, or Julius will just continue to get sicker. I don't know how else to come up with it. I'm not asking people to go buy things from my Etsy store (although if you do, thank you). What I am going to do, is throw up a paypal donate button, and offer to do a raffle that includes everyone who donates. I will give away up to five pairs of my studded earrings, winners choose their stones, in a random drawing from everyone who donates. (and if only five people donate, well guess what?) Participants get an entry into the raffle for every $5 donated. So, $5 is one entry, $20 is four entries, and so on. The earrings could make a great Christmas gift for someone, or a beautiful prize just for the winner. 

Please, link to this in your journal, send a link to any friends you have who love their furry companions, etc. I appreciate any help people can give, whether it's just hugs and supports or a donation. Times are tough right now, both emotionally and literally. I continue to appreciate how much love and support is offered by people I've never met in real life. Thank you to everyone reading this.


Cat Surgery Donation Button





rhienelleth: (cats at play)
 As anyone with indoor cats can tell you, there are drawbacks to our lovable furry companions, no matter how sweet they are when they warm your lap while you read a book, or how adorable they are when playing with their carpeted cat tree. When I say "drawbacks", I'm really only talking about one in particular: the litter box. It can be messy, especially if you have cats who like to be, er, vigorous with their ablutions. Whenever you change it and add clean litter, dust flies up into your face, especially if you're using one of the clay clumping types, which most of us do, because hey, it clumps! That's convenient for cleaning and eliminating smelly odors.

Because if we're being honest, those odors are the number one litter box drawback. Especially if you're like me, and cleaning the damn thing every single day is most likely not going to happen.

Now that we've rescued our adorable Nimue, we are a two cat household. That means twice the odors and twice the mess, which also means I'll have to clean the dreaded box more often. (And for those of you who might suggest letting our cats do their business outdoors, well, that is not going to happen. We live as close to out in the country as you can and still be in town. We have raccoons. And once, a bobcat or lynx, I'm not sure which is native to Oregon. And bengals do not back down from a challenge, even if they are sure to get their butt kicked.) 

Oh, as promised, here is a Nimue picture, by the way:



It's a perspective shot, so you can see just how small she is beside our other cat, Julius, and our dog, Zoey. Nimue weighs 3.4 pounds, or she did two days ago. Now she's probably 4.something, but I'll say this about her. She's 60 pounds of trouble in a tiny, 4 pound package. Good thing she's adorable. 

But back on topic. When we rescued Nimue, I wanted to keep her in her own space for the first couple of days, which required a makeshift litter box of her own. Now, I normally buy my litter at Costco. The stuff in the green jug that weighs half a ton and costs $6.99 is the best clumping litter I'd ever been able to find. Every time I got lazy and bought some other brand, whether it was Arm & Hammer Baking Soda stuff, or Petco's brand, I regretted it. Nothing kept the smell down or clumped as well as Costco's stuff. But I knew I didn't have enough left to make a whole new litter box, and I wasn't going to make a special trip to Costco to buy some. As anyone who shops there knows, there is no such thing as an in-and-out quick trip to Costco. Parking alone is always an adventure. So, I stopped by my local grocery store and ventured down the pet aisle to find something cheap and clumping that I could use just for a couple of days for Nimue. 

This lone package of One Earth Cat Litter caught my eye. It's an "all-natural" litter made of corn cob husks, pine, and yucca to mask scent. It was on sale for the same price as the regular clumping stuff, so I thought "why not?" I'm always looking for new ways to be environmentally friendly, and if it sucked, I was only planning on using it in the short term, anyway. 
 
So, I bought it, brought it home, and made up the new "litter box" from a cardboard box lined with a garbage bag. For someone used to the standard gray sand clumping litter "look", it definitely looks a little strange. It's...colorful. And made up of all these little misshapen shavings that are distinctly not sand-like. It says on the package that it clumps better than standard clumping litters, but I had serious doubts. But I did notice the smell. It had a pleasant kind of scent, not overpowering, like some "scented" litters can have, but definitely there. 

Nimue passed her two days in the room with her own litter box, and I noticed it did clump. In fact, it covered kitty turds more completely than the clumping clay ever has, and had no problem clumping kitty pee. When the two days were up, I decided to change out the main litter box with the new litter, to see how it handled two cats.

To my surprise, it took two cats in stride completely. In fact, my husband Mr. Sensitive Nose commented that he wasn't smelling the litter box as much as normal. Neither was I. Then I went to clean it, and found no dust puffed up into my face. Not only that, but my adult cat's urine didn't form these gigantic half pound clumps. They stayed small and manageable. So far, I have found no cons at all to this stuff. It functions as it's supposed to, and does a better job on all points than the stuff I used to love. This is officially my new favorite litter!

I suppose a con would be difficulty in finding it, and another would be price. It's kind of spendy compared to the Costco litter I used to buy. But worth it, in my opinion. So, for those of you looking for an effective cat litter that is environmentally friendly, I give One Earth two thumbs up!
rhienelleth: (handbasket - marinarusalka)
The exciting portion of our evening:

Zoey, our beautiful husky/lab mix, likes to chew things when we leave her alone.  This has largely disappeared, thanks to use of the Kong and liberal application of things like peanut butter, giving her something to work for when we leave her.

However, some things are just too temping to resist.  Like two mostly full bags of Easter candy, specifically, miniature Snickers, and Butterfinger eggs wrapped in foil.  My husband left them on the coffee table after playing a couple maps of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 earlier tonight.

I came into the house a little bit ago to find both bags empty, and the contents eaten, foil wrappers and all.  

That's like 50-60 individual wrapped chocolates.

A quick call to [livejournal.com profile] kistha, who was kind enough to call the veterinarian she used to work for, yielded these possible plans of action:

1. Watch her, and as she looks like she's doing fine, let the mess pass through her system, resulting in a probable few days of diarrhea tinged with blood.  Feed her boiled chicken and rice during this time, to help calm her aggravated intestines.  Which, really, how can they NOT be aggravated?  I'm pretty sure consuming two entire bags of Easter candy in one sitting would make me sick, and that's without the foil wrappers.

2. Administer some hydrogen peroxide, which will apparently induce explosive vomiting.  

Um.  None of these options sound good, you know?  But better than the dog dying because foil and chocolate get stuck halfway through her system, or the chocolate gives her a heart attack.

I have rice cooked in chicken broth on the stove now.  *sigh*  This would be so much easier if she would just throw up on her own.  Mark is all for feeding her the peroxide and letting that happen.  I'm a little afraid that would result in her throwing up all night, so I'm voting for option #1.  



 

Fish talk

May. 4th, 2007 09:41 am
rhienelleth: (Default)
Remember my office fish, Henry?  Well, that name lasted less than a day - somewhere in the course of that day he became Leo, short for Leonidas.  He liked it better. :)

Remember how I was going to get him a 2.5 gallon mini tank instead of his little bowl?  Well, as it happens, I didn't have to.  A co-worker who is, unbeknownst to me until very recently, a fish enthusiast, saw Leo on my desk and became instantly enamored.  The next day he showed up at my office door with that exact 2.5 gallon mini tank I'd been eyeing, complete with some sort of aquatic fern (live) and gravel for the bottom.  So I set up Leo's new condo, and on my lunch break paid a visit to the pet store.  I bought another live plant, a sort of bushy variety I can float along the top, and an albino cory (they look like little catfish) to scavenge what Leo doesn't eat and help keep the tank clean. 

When I was floating Leo to get him acclimated to the new tank, he was very excited, and pissed because he could see his new environment, but not get to it to explore it.  He kept getting agitated with the walls of his cup, lol.  Then, when I was floating the cory for the same reason, Leo kept swimming by and puffing up at the bag.  I thought for a bit that it wasn't going to work to have another fish in the tank - bettas are notoriously aggressive, and I thought I might come into work one day to find he'd killed the cory.  Except once they were both swimming free in the tank, they've proceeded to completely ignore one another.  Maybe Leo just didn't like the bag.  And they both absolutely love the bushy plant I bought.  They like to rest amongst the branches. 

So, as if the tank were not enough, yesterday my co-worker friend brought in a container of water fleas and let them lose in the tank.  Oh my goodness!  Talk about hours of free entertainment!  These 'fleas' are tiny little things that swim around as live food for Leo.  At first, he didn't know what to make of them.  Then he ate one and promptly spit it back out - apparently not accustomed to having his food wiggle.  But he got over that shock quickly enough, and soon was swallowing every one he could find, and today they're all gone!  Jim said he's bring some more in next week.  Apparently they're very nutritious as food. 

Leo is going to end up spoiled and fat. :)

Oh, and here's a pic.  you can see both Leo and the cory, and if you look real close, some of the water fleas swimming around:

GPP!*

Apr. 19th, 2007 09:29 am
rhienelleth: (Default)
*Gratuitous Pet/Picture Post

A passing comment from [profile] psychopepsquad yesterday made me realize it's been some time since I posted any pics of our pets.  Some of you may be reading this and thinking "Yeah?  So?  Like I want to see pictures of your pets anyway."  Well, you can scroll right on past this post, then, cause it's going to be nothing but cute pics of the dog and cat.



As you can see, Julius is very curious about the strange clicky device, while Zoey has to have fifty pics taken, in order to get two in which she doesn't look like you intend to beat her with the camera.  Yes, a fierce protector, she is. 

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