Monday, May 27, 2013

Cone Head

I made a larger e-collar for Tango.  His old one was too short so he could still reach his wound if he tried.  This made the wound initially worse because of the constant digging and the friction of the cone rubbing his stomach.  I made his new cone 2" longer so he can't reach his stomach at all now.  We have to do supervised eating, though, because he can't eat with the new cone.  At least, I don't think he can.  It's awfully dirty like he's *tried* eating, but I'm not sure if he was successful.

I also bought some calming spray which seems to have eased his nerves about the whole process.  I adjusted the cone and napped on the couch with my legs thrown over top of him and he napped with me.  Such crowding behavior typically scares him and causes him to panic.

I looked into his illness a little more.  It's apparently a hyperimmune response.  It said it could be fleas, environmental, or food related.  It could also be genetic and have no physical trigger.  We don't have fleas.  The cats don't, either.  (Hur hur) We've gotten rid of his environmental allergens (the old apartment) so the last culprit (unless it's genetic) is his food.

Getting rid of cheap food helped his swollen lip, but now he has the ulcers on his skin.  Sort of.  They're oozy, raw, and swollen.  My understanding is that his body is sending out cells to respond to triggers.  The cells are supposed to go, fight the allergen, and leave... much like in humans with mosquito bites, etc.  His problems arises from the cells lingering around one particular area on his body so he starts itching like mad.  Then he bites and digs so much that they become open sores.

Through internet research, it has been suggested that we try an antigen or limited ingredient all natural food such as Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient, or Natural Balance Limited Ingredient.  Another tip was that chicken is a fairly common food allergy in cats.  In trying the antigen approach, you feed the cat something it's never had, or hasn't had in a long time so we're going to try the Natural Balance Duck and Pea formula as it is a limited ingredient formula and an antigen to our cats.  They've been exposed to turkey, chicken, beef, fish of all sorts, but not duck or rabbit, and I'd be weary of rabbit based dry food.  I'm not sure why.  The thought just weirds me out.  I know they commonly eat rabbits in an outdoor life, but it's me.  I'm complicated.

We will also stop giving them canned food because we can't afford the really good stuff so I'm sure the impurities are setting off his responses.

I guess I'm going to go soak him in an epsom salt bath.

Silly fact about Tango.  As long as I'm standing in the tub with him he doesn't panic as much.  I have to be careful because his claws are terrifying sharp and long.  I also (obviously) don't sit in the water with him.  I hate wet cat hair sticking to me.  I don't even want my feet in there with him and his oozing stomach, but I want him happy and healthy so that what I'm gonna do.

I hope you have enjoyed your Memorial Day!  And I hope you've thanked a veteran <3

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New Teeth and Playing in Dirt

Hopefully...sort of.  Here are a couple of links to save me having to explain.

You can also Google remineralizing toothpaste, etc.

The basics: Teeth are bones.  Why would a broken bone elsewhere in the body be able to heal, but not your teeth?  Ryan has super sensitive teeth, we are both prone to cavities, and I don't like the ingredients in commercial toothpastes.  So we've switched up our routine!

I started brushing with activated charcoal, calcium/magnesium powder, and we bought Earth Paste which is a toothpaste made from water, clay and essential oils.  No fluoride, no glycerin, no creepy chemicals. I love it so far.  Mr. Picky even got a good first impression.  My teeth feel cleaner, and my teeth are whiter already...only 3 days in.  As far as sensitivity problems, I'll give you Ryan's update in a few weeks.

He was using Sensodyne, but studies show that it covers the problem and doesn't actually cure or heal it.  There is also potential evidence to show that fluoride promotes bone decay and that glycerin has a negative impact on natural remineralization.  Diet is also important as foods high in phytic acid, starch, and sugar feeds bacteria and promotes cavities and poor dental health.  People in 3rd world countries have better dental health than the millions of us with regular access to a dental professional.  They do not have fluoride or fancy toothpaste.  They have a diet low in grain and nature to assist them.  It's another one of those marketing gimmicks.  Companies aren't there to love you or care for you.  They just want your money.

I may be wrong, and I will let you know how this works for us.  I will also give you an update after my next cleaning because it never fails that I have horrendous amounts of plaque to be scraped off.

Onto pulling morning glories.  At the start of spring I took all of my pots of dirt and dumped them onto a tarp.  I used the tarp to mix compost into this dirt, and then I redistributed the dirt back into the pots.  Last year my crop wasn't that great because the nutrients had been used up so I thought this would help the dirt quality.  It certainly looks nice and dark again vs the pale grey it was before.  It even drains better.

Anyway, some of my pots were on the porch where morning glories were growing and the seeds fell into the dirt.  The seeds began sprouting in the pots, now in the back yard, so I needed to pull them.  I discovered tomato and pepper plants when I went to pull the morning glories!  I didn't plant least, not intentionally.  I guess there were seeds from plants that we let rot on the vine last year.  I'm surprised they grew because of all the dirt mixing and combining.  Nature is freaking awesome like that.  I found roughly 15 plants growing.  I tried to carefully separate them into 3 different pots.  I really hope I didn't damage the roots too much.  I watered them pretty good afterward because they were a little limp, too.

I still need to dig up the flower bed.  It's terribly frustrating to look at.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Homemade Update

I recently told you guys about my homemade endeavors and how they were going at the time.  I think it's time for an update!

I found a liquid laundry detergent that I am loving!  It has vinegar built into it as a softener.  I can't tell if it really makes a huge difference, but I've not had to use added softener or anything so I assume it does just fine.  If you're diligent you can add vinegar separately as a softener.  I'm too lazy for that.

Deodorant didn't go so well.  I've had to change it up so many times that I've given up for the time being.  The basic recipe called for baking soda, corn starch, and coconut oil.  You can optionally add some essential oil so I added lavender.  I had a horrible, painful reaction to the concoction.  It turned my sad pits into an open, sore, raw, rash of splendor.  It was awful.  And painful.  So painful.  To help clear it up I put baby powder in a sock and pat it under my arms at every possible moment, including all three breaks at work and an extra pee breaks I had to take (because my bladder doesn't like to cooperate and go at designated break times).

I cut out the lavender first, thinking that perhaps it was irritating my skin as lavender oil is a known skin irritant of sorts.  After the rash cleared up, I used the baking soda and coconut oil, unscented.  Out came another rash.  My friend suggested that the baking soda could be irritating, and recommended increasing the coconut oil ratio.  I let the rash clear up, used the increased oil mix, and still got another rash.  I diluted it even more, and not only was the further dilution still causing rashes, but it was no longer effective as a deodorant.  FAIL.

I rattled my friend's brain for another idea and she said that perhaps it was a yeast infection of sorts due to the corn starch in the mix.  I thought that was brilliant!  Until I realized that that baby powder I used to heal the rash was corn starch based, not talc.  So I'm at a loss.  Maybe I should try cornstarch, and no baking soda with the oil.  Maybe I should try arrowroot.  Maybe I'm just going to not worry about it for now.  I should also note that all natural deodorants are horrible expensive and last time I bought one I had irritation problems so I'm hesitant the take that route.

I have continued to make homemade loaf bread.  We haven't bought commercial bread almost a month now.  It's been lovely!  My aunt recently gave me a sourdough starter that I used to cook a couple of loaves this morning.  Delicious!  I am definitely going to keep this trend going.  Ryan asked for pumpernickel yesterday so I may make some when these other loaves disappear.

Automatic dishwasher detergent was a bust.  Then I successfully fixed it.  The original recipe called for borax, washing soda, citric acid, and salt.  It clumped.  Every time I used it, I would have to stab it several times with a knife or fork before I could pour it out.  I was extremely careful to not get the powder wet, thinking moisture was causing it to harden, but it was no use.  I looked up another "recipe" online and someone simply used borax and washing soda so I tried it.  There was no clumping and the dishes were just as clean...maybe more clean.  Our dishwasher has never washed glassware too well so I still wash my drinking glasses by hand, but aside from that I'm pleased!

Baking soda and conditioner to wash my hair is still effective, but my hair is starting to dry out.  I'm not sure if it's the baking soda or the weather.  It may be split ends ;)

Next step!  While I want to love Dawn dish soap, the truth of the matter is that it can't continue its existence in my house.  Yes, I know it's what they claim to use to clean the animals after an oil spill.  Yes, I know they donate money to animals causes.  BUT they test on animals AND continue to sell us products with really harmful chemicals.  Would you really expect anything less from Proctor & Gamble?  I've been shaking the same borax/washing soda mix onto a sponge for cleaning and I find it to be just as, or more, effective than Dawn so I will continue to use that for now.

I'm off the grocery store!  We're having our moms over as a late Mother's Day cook out and to give Sharon a chance to see everyone while she's here.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Star Trek and Misc

We went to see Star Trek last night.  I loved it.  No, it's not the most thought provoking movie ever.  Yes, they're messing with old Star Trek a little too much.  No, that didn't ruin it.  Yes, it's awesome.  It started a little slow, but it got intense.  It made me cry.  Oh, Spock, why did you make me cry?

Someone told me he'd heard that it was less than impressive.  I've seen every last bit of Star Trek ever (maybe only 98%... I may have missed something somewhere), from Enterprise with Scott Bakula to the animated series, and I liked this movie pretty good.  We saw it in 3D.  I think most 3D movies are totally unimpressive, but I actually enjoyed this.  I'm not sure what people thought was so awful about it.  It obviously isn't everyone's cup of tea (earl grey, hot O.o) so I'm wondering if it's people who generally don't care for Star Trek anyway, or if it's people who love Star Trek that don't care for this particular spin off.

I won't say too much about the plot for those of you who haven't seen it yet.  I may talk about my thoughts on movie details in a couple of weeks when I know most fans have taken care of getting themselves to the theater.  I hope you love it!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I may or may not have squealed like a little girl when I found out Benedict Cumberbatch was going to be in it, and I may or may not have jumped and wiggled in my seat when he came on the screen.  With a bad guy that gorgeous, I didn't know which team to side with.  I was totally on his side until he got really mean, then he kind of scared me...but in a very good way.  Oh, dear.  He's so terrifying when he's mean.  But still soooo gorgeous and intense.  He's even more so when he's being sweet and friendly...or a sociopath.  That all being said, beautiful only gets you so far.  He's also a wonderful actor.  Total props to him.  Man, I need more Sherlock ASAP.  I would got watch Star Trek again just to watch him be a total bad ass all over again.  I don't typically swoon over actors... Patrick Stewart was my only one until I saw Sherlock.  needsherlocknowplease

Pretty please.

I'll make you cookies.

Or pie.  Whichever you prefer.

I'd probably faint and drop them.



Yesterday was a little crazy.  I woke up early to finish her painting (pictures soonish).  I didn't like it at first, but now it's grown on me quite a bit.  I loved working on the background.  I did not like working on the rose when I got to it.  It took me some time to move through the different sections of the painting so I thought that my mood affected my rose painting vs background painting.  While my mood definitely affects the way I paint, it turns out that I was just hating the brush I was using.  I switched brushes, I painted better.  Actually...I do need to fix a small part of it now that I'm looking at it again... just a lighting thing.

We had to go to Asheville to pick Ryan's mom up from the airport.  We got turned around somehow (you guys know how it is, blah), but corrected the problem quickly.  Lesson: DO NOT use the Maps app that comes standard on an iPod.  I've been taught this lesson at least 10 times, but somehow the information doesn't retain.  It's like history class all over again.

I didn't have time to clean out the fridge before leaving yesterday as I was finishing a painting and had to take the car for an oil change, so I'm off to do that now.

I also hope to play in the dirt later.  I have morning glories trying to grow in my container garden!  Retaliation shall be had.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Apples and Trees, Man

I suppose this post is appropriate as Mother's Day approaches.

I got a promotion!  No, I'm not accidentally repeating myself.  I did get a promotion...again...within the same week as my other promotion, actually.  Yep.  I was going to be the center trainer, but a position in our Quality Assurance department opened up, so I'm going to the dark side :D  I will be a Quality Assurance Specialist, because that sounds fancy and stuff...and because that *is* what the position is called.  I'm excited.  I've wanted to be in Quality for years.  Maybe it's my A type personality and tendency to get upset when people ignore the details of their jobs.  Whatever is, I'm gonna rock this!

How is this related to Mother's Day?  Well, it isn't...not entirely.  My mother works for the same company I do.  I'm certain that she is 99% responsible for getting me a job with the company in the first place in July 2007.  That's a long time for such a youngster to be with such an intense company.  I like my job, though.  I don't necessarily like working customer service or with the general public, but I enjoy the job itself so I let the other stuff slide.  Oh, I forgot to mention that my mom also works in the Quality department, but she works in a different city.  Oh.  She's also a QA Manager, not just a Specialist.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, don't ya know.  I'm pretty sure my new boss is banking on the fact that I'm my mother's daughter, but I'm okay with that.

My mom asked me if I felt a lot of pressure entering this position, given the amount of respect and high thoughts she gets from her (our) superiors.  The only pressure I felt was the resistance of some scar tissue against the needle while trying to stick a guy for his donation.  That was a little gross, but I made it through...the scar tissue, that is.  After all, it's doesn't hurt me a bit when I stick someone with a 17g needle.  Hur hur.  All of my sticks have done really well so far.  I even had a guy say he didn't feel a thing.  Given my extreme needle phobia in my younger days, I'd say this is a great success on my part!  Not to be cocky, but I knew I'd be good at it if I could just *do* it.  Okay, maybe that was a little cocky...but only cause I'm awesome ;)

Anyway, Mother's Day!  I can't afford to do anything awesome for the woman that birthed me, who happens to be my best friend, so I'm not sure what we'll do.  I hope I can at least see her, but I'm not sure what her plans are...if she has plans.  I'll be calling/texting her later to find out.

I start training on Monday for my job.  I managed to get certified on the donor floor much faster than I thought I would, but I'm excited to have done it.  I get to start work in the freezers next week.  I start my vacation days Thursday because my mother-in-law is coming to town.  I can't wait to see her!  She leaves town on our two year anniversary so we're going to spend time in the city where her plant leaves since we drop her off early-ish in the morning.

It is time to go to Shannon's to watch Doctor Who!  I hope you've all been well!  I also apologize if there are more typos than usual ;)