Edited for clarity, now that it's not 5 am!
There's been a lot going on and I'm realizing I haven't blogged about much of it. So, let me gather my thoughts and catch up here.
First, about a month ago, we added someone to our household. No---I did not have a baby! We have a new friend who has become a housemate. Rowan is an excellent cook---we've been eating really good meals lately, let me tell you! Banana bread. Avocado bread. Meatloaf. Stir Fry. Cake (!). I'm beginning to suspect I'm being fattened up so I can be served as the Thanksgiving Turkey! Wink Actually, his meatloaf is better than Randy's----that's saying something.
Rowan has two of the downstairs rooms, with his three cats: Kidman, Calculus and Tasslehoff. Though it's been about a month since we moved him in, Rowan's couch is still in the hall downstairs 'cause we can't get it into either of the rooms! Randy and Frank (another friend---I think I mentioned him on the alpaca farm post) had to saw off the legs some just to get it down stairs...and then some more to try to get it through the door to the bedroom...but they both were wiped by that point, so two legs still need cutting off!
I moved Nick upstairs some time back. I just cannot manage those stairs and he sleeps through smoke alarms and everything else! But recently, we re-arranged a tad bit: the dining room became Nick's room by moving the short Billy Bookcases and the acrylic 40 gallon aquarium to create a "wall" across from the downstairs doors. It's not perfect (yet), but Nick has "his" space now and we've moved the dining table into the great room. It floats a bit more than I'd like, but eventually we're hoping to add a sofa and chair in the great room for more casual seating near the fire place.
Now that I've sold off almost one entire full-height Billy Bookcase, I've got space to put my DVDs on shelves and get some additional boxes broken down. Hopefully soon, I can do the same with photo albums.
I don't think I blogged about the absolutely terrifying experience of having two ferrets stung by a scorpion. When it happened, I didn't see the scorpion so I didn't know at first what the cause of the problem was. I initially thought Ukiah was choking on something. I pounded on his back, trying to dislodge whatever it was. When a ferret chokes, for some reason, they foam at the mouth. I'd seen this before and while scary, I thought it'd be easily solved...only the pounding wasn't helping and he got more panicked.
I screamed for Randy and together we tried to figure out what what choking him. I got too close to teeth and Ukiah inadvertently bit me. Shortly after that, I began to see blood coming from his mouth. I was freaking out pretty badly. What the hell is wrong with my baby? Randy deduced that the panic had caused Ukiah to bite his tongue. My poor baby was still not doing well. Something did change shortly after this because the choking changed to more of a gasping, with body twitches---they looked like seizures. And most web pages tried to say this was a blood sugar crash and likely insulinoma.
Theodore has insulinoma. I've seen crashes with seizures. This was not the same thing. And then, it got worse. Nick came running in, with Horatio doing the same thing. Originally, Horatio had been in the office with us and I had told Nick to put him in the cage so we could focus on Ukiah...only Horatio started having the same problems. While not as severe, for a little while there, we had three humans trying to help two ferrets breathe. I was having nightmare visions of all ten of my darlings doing this at once. The twitching and panicky fighting for breath, with no one to hold them and keep them from hurting themselves....oh gods, please, no...
No other ferrets showed signs of doing the same thing. Still, we had two ferrets gasping, twitching, almost seizing, at 2am on a Friday morning. After an hour of this, Ukiah was exhausted and Horatio was only a shade better than that. The twitches kept returning at odd times.
I can't recall now why we suspected a scorpion sting. But at some point I specifically looked up scorpion stings and the symptoms for the bark scorpion were identical:
I finally contacted the emergency clinic my vet is associated with, but they didn't have the exotic expert on duty. They did give me a number for an exotic vet who deals with scorpion stings. This vet (I've forgotten his name) suggested we'd be looking at $600-700 to begin with, depending on how much supportive care Ukiah and Horatio needed.
I left a message with my vet's office, asking to be scheduled for as soon as we could possibly get in. We took both babies in and Dr. Funk agreed to acquire some anti-venom and support them in hospital while he did so. It turned out Ukiah's temperature was dropping, so they gave him some heat as well as hydrating both of them. There was another drug they administered---Randy said it's commonly used to treat against nerve gas (I think) but I'm blanking on the name of it right now. Between that drug and the anti-venom, these two boys were being given every chance to return to full health.
Thanks to a fellow ferret lover (and small breeder) on Ravelry, I also spoke to the vet about being shown how to administer fluid "sub-q" (medical-speak for fluid injected below the skin but not into a vein or muscle). Ferret skin is extremely tough and I was surprised how they didn't squirm at the needle, but the saline being pushed in. When the saline is warmed to be closer to their body temperature, they seemed to be less annoyed/irritated by this procedure.
Forty-eight hours after the episode started, my two boys were definitely looking at a full recovery. Now, it's been just over a month (this all happened on April 2nd!) and I would have no way of knowing this had ever happened to them (except for the whimpers from my credit card: it cost me $500 for the both of them to be saved).
I've also had some healthy issues of my own. My fibromyalgia has become worse, for one. I had hoped returning to the desert would return me to where I was in early 2005, prior to our car accident. I'm only now realizing that the accident itself probably escalated my symptoms---and therefore my pain levels.
I've never been a white-glove housekeeper, but I've usually been reasonably good at keeping things decent. Those days are fading and I'm not accepting that change gracefully, unfortunately. Folding and hanging a couple baskets of laundry can wear me out. Scraping/scrubbing/rinsing dishes and loading the dishwasher has me drenched in sweat (how attractive!) and exhausted as well. I have found I need to work on the kitchen in stages. Load the dishwasher, then rest. Return to wipe down counters and scrub the stove clean, then rest. I can't clean the microwave over the stove any more because it hurts my back.
Ugh. Cataloging all of this is depressing, isn't it? I'll focus on the good things---like a husband who doesn't expect me to be a 1950s-era housewife, with fresh make-up and dinner on the table for his arrival home from work. Or friends who truly understand my limitations and don't think ill of me because my home isn't what it should be. I had become so accustomed (how? why?) to having to explain myself---why I can't do, why I'm scared to do...and so on.
In fact, I was contemplating going back to school to get my Masters in Architecture. At Arizona State University, it would be a 3+ program, since I didn't major in architecture for my Bachelor's. But, I don't believe I could handle the course load and the homework, the studying and still being a mother and a wife and "just me". Plus, why spend even more money on yet another degree I wouldn't use because I don't believe I could return to the work force? So, instead I've been focusing on what I can do. I still have a lot of support around me to continue my writing.
In the meantime, there's more to my health than my fibro. I went in for my annual "well woman exam"...how PC and vague. Those who need well woman exams know full well what gets checked out: boobs and bush. I also had concerns about my cycle: it's too heavy and too painful! (And that might be TOO much information!)
The well woman exam leads to the annual pancake exam. I don't turn 40 until next February, but I've been getting mammograms since about 35...and after the car accident, I had more done because of the damage to my left breast. It appeared to be "just" really intense bruising (dark purple to black) but after that, I noticed a lump and we all paid close attention to it. Finally I had it removed (before we returned to Arizona). The surgery to remove it could cause another one because the whole thing started with the internal scarring from the accident.
My mammograms came back with some questions, so I'm scheduled to go back in on Tuesday for a second pancakse exam. I need to hunt through my filing cabinet and hope I can lay my hands on my films and records from back in South Carolina. That'll give them something to compare against.
I also had an ultrasound done to examine my uterus---doesn't this all just sound like a really cool party? Not! They ended up doing it trans-vaginally---there's a fun word--and that gave them some really good images. And it leads to yet another exam. Apparently, the lining of my uterus is thick. This is something which happens as we get older, but since I've been having pain and other issues, my NP wants to make sure there's no cancer pre-cursors...so I get to go in for an endometrial biopsy.
Depending how all these things go, I'm debating a variety of methods of altering my cycle. The ones which truly scare me are the ones which are designed to scar the lining of my uterus, so I don't build up a layer every month and then shed it. But I also have no idea what adding hormones ("the pill" or variants of it) would do to my body. I'm already on Cymbalta and Lyrica....how would "the pill" affect those drugs and/or my body?
I was over at Bookman's the other day and found a tarot deck I really like. I've bought two others in the past and ended up passing them on or stashing them 'cause they just didn't "click" with me. The new deck is the Fenestra Tarot. I like the muted colors of the deck---not garish or too bright. We'll see how it works for me.
I came across another tarot deck I simply must purchase as soon as I have a little play money again. The Ferret Tarot is just too adorable for words. And I suspect it would click with me quite well. Also, the cards have not been laminated, so I could color the cards in as I like (and perhaps take them to a Kinkos for laminating afterwards?).
What frustrates me right now is that I have two sets of runes...and I have no idea where they are. I'm also missing a short silver (the color, not necessarily the metal) dagger I use for a letter opener. What else am I missing? Is there a box hiding in a corner, chuckling at all the secrets it holds that I've forgotten I have?
It's 5am, I've got heartburn and I'm probably not coherent in a couple places up above. I'm going to post this---I thought there was one or two other topics I wanted to bring up, but I can't remember them now. I may add to this post or start a new one with anything I've forgotten.
I've always been outspoken about driving while impaired. Don't do it.
But it doesn't stop at just saying, "Don't do it." Talk to your family members and make it clear that home safe is better than dead. We'll deal with the how and the why and trouble and grounding and all that...once we're home safe and alive to deal with it! So, parents, talk to your kids. It's not just about assigning a Designated Driver. It's about giving them their power to say, "Hey, dude, you were supposed to stay sober and you didn't. Lemme call my parents." And teens, it's about standing your ground. No matter what, don't get in the car if you feel the driver is impaired. Sure, your mom's "gonna kill you", but in the morning...she'll be glad you're alive to yell at and ground until you're 23.
I'm a parent of a 16 year old. I've been very fortunate to have him home with me for schooling, where I've been able to impart so much of my values and prevent the typical peer pressure from causing permanent injuries. But I'm not blind. My son *will* drink....eventually. Probably before he's legal. I don't want to compound such an event with the tragedy. I've talked to Nick about this: call home. Call a cab. Don't fret the grounding---get home alive!
Parents. Kids. Talk. Please. Angry and grounded is always better than dead....or wishing you were dead!
Perhaps Randy is right and HR 669 will die before it gets out of sub-committee. But I can't be sure and I felt the need to act, to speak up. So I wrote an email to Mr. Flake, Representative for Arizona's 6th District and one of the committee members for this House Resolution. I thought I'd go ahead and post it here as well...
I am a citizen of Mesa, Arizona (85213) and I'd like for you to consider shutting down HR 669 as it is currently written. I'll try to be brief in why I feel you should do this.
First, I believe strongly in the power of the States. Hawaii works to keep her borders safe from animals, parasites and plants from "the Mainland" by having strict laws on what may enter the state. Why can't the remaining 49 states do the same thing? Here in Arizona, I'm aware of a couple breeds of plants which are causing problems and are no longer permitted to be used. Instead non-proliferating varieties are being used and the problematic plant is being phased out. Why not do the same with the animals Arizona feels are a problem?
Second, the Federal government is in major financial trouble already. The "War on Terror" has drained the country of money...and fixed none of our problems here in the States. HR 669 proposes to spend *more* money to determine which (if any) animals may continue to be imported, moved across state lines, bought, sold, traded, raised, etc. The weak and poorly spelled out plan of "fees" will not cover costs. Instead, this will end up being one more government "boondoggle", with average Americans paying the price.
That leads me to my final reason: small businesses. I have a single 120 gallon aquarium. On a whim, I purchased a couple "mystery snails" --- those strange creatures found in most aquarium stores, named Pomacea bridgesii. Apparently, I managed to get a mixed pair or an already mated female. Now, I have a *lot* of snails. I'd *like* to be able to sell them to people who want them. With regulations already in place, I'm required to go through the USDA (believe it or not) to secure separate permissions for each state I want to ship to.
Imagine all the already-established small mom-and-pop businesses across America watching a few strangers in Washington, D.C. contemplate wiping out their livelihood with the stroke of a pen. I personally know ferret breeders, fish breeders, and now snake breeders, who would be hit by this legislation. If it is allowed to go forward, HR 669 has the potential to shut down not just breeders and importers, but all the ancillary businesses which are connected to the animals being threatened. Pet stores, online specialty shops, feeder businesses, veterinarians, pet sitters...and when these shut down for lack of sales or need, who will *they* put out of a job?
I'd like to know that you have considered the far-reaching effects this House Resolution may have. Please, shut HR 669 down. If you *do* support this House Resolution, I'd like to hear back from you why you feel it's important for the Federal government to handle this. And why now, when so many families are struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.
I have been a little more long-winded than I'd hoped to be. I do hope you'll give some thought to my concerns. Thank you for your time.
I probably could have been more brief. I could have pasted text from a variety of sites I'm part of where HR 669 is getting a lot of attention. But, I wanted to my message to stand out from the mass of emails, letters and phone calls. I wanted to spend the time on it I'd like Mr. Flake (and the rest of the committee) to spend, thinking about the effects of this potential bill.
As a "mom" to ten ferrets, I'm very aware my babies would be "grandfathered" in---any animal legally owned at the time the proposed bill becomes law would be protected. But, I know one day, my crew will have diminshed in size (and it's not as far off as I like to hope it will be!) and I'll be ready to adopt again. I have my eye on a particular breeder and a particular pairing, depending on timing. If HR 669 becomes law, I am concerned RavensNest will not be offering any further kits for sale, since ferrets are not protected automatically (like dogs and cats will be).
Despite the problems with feral cat populations in Tempe, Arizona, cats are being given a pass....while no one has ever documented a feral ferret population. Note: there is a difference between the domesticated ferret (see my banner above for samples) and the Black Footed Ferret, which is a wild animal native to North America.
Just last Saturday, I was introduced to my first corn snake, a sweet girl named Scooter. I am entranced by how sweet she is and enthralled by the way she wrapped herself around my hands, trusting me so easily. Yes, I am now in "investigative mode", trying to learn all I can about snakes and their care and if it's possible to have both ferrets and a snake and do them both justice.
As I do this research, I'm meeting even more people who will be affected by HR 669. So far, I've read about HR 669 in ferret forums, in fish-keeping forums and now in snake forums. Who else out there will be affected? Please feel free to leave a comment sharing how HR 669 will affect you, if it's allowed to move forward and become law.
Or leave me a comment about snakes! What snakes do you love? Which ones stay small? Apparently a corn snake can get as large as 6ft! I rather liked Scooter's size as she was---I could have coiled her into the palm of my hand! I wouldn't mind a little larger, but I don't think I want a super-large snake...do I?
I've been meaning to post this all week....
Last Saturday, I went down to Gilbert with some friends to Mesquite Valley Alpaca Farm. We were able to actually go into one of the pens and sit with the alpacas. All 179 pictures are in their own set on my flickr.
Lindsay wants a kiss:
Buzz accepts some food from me:
Rowan looks all Celtic with Janus and another alpaca in the background:
Frank gets close to the alpacas:
Nick feeds an alpaca:
This cria (baby alpaca) is only 3 days old!
We had a blast and learned a lot from Linda, the owner of Mesquite Valley Alpaca Farm. Thanks for having us!
....maybe there should be a real reason for it, not just vague claims of "fear".
"The clouds are gathering"?
"I am afraid"?
Then move to the frakkin' basement and hide....but what does this have to do with same-sex marriage?
Uhm, have you ever heard of home schooling?
I'm curious what they actually teach in the schools about gay marriage. Did this mother really think her kid wasn't paying attention to gay marriage and how it's becoming real? If her son is little---it's not being covered at all. If he's not so little, then he's probably forming his own opinions that may not match yours anyway. Are you prepared for that?
By making you see gay people get married? How is it being brought into your life?
You could always move to Utah or some other conservative place, until the times catch up even there.
How is the government punishing you? And is it "can't" or "won't"? I really don't care whether your church group does or doesn't support gay marriage---that kind of reform must happen from within a congregation. How is having the legal definition of marriage (a contract written and overseen by the state, not the church) updated to include gay couples punishing your church group?
This is where the vagueness of the commercial bothers me. What freedom are we talking about? How does two women (or two men) getting married threaten YOU? I'm serious. Leave me a comment and tell me how YOU are threatened (if you're one of the people who are represented by this commercial) by two women (or two men) marrying.
I don't want to hear about how the god(s) you believe in will rain fire and brimstone upon us, blah, blah, blah.... If that's all you have to say, you and I will never agree, so don't waste my time. In fact, I'll say this clearly and up front: for this post, I will delete comments which only refer to how much G/god hates gay people or any variant thereof.
So, all you people who are terrified of gays forming families and being equal in society with you---standing next to our partners and being given the right to be responsible and protected---tell me why you're scared. Give me real reasons. Otherwise, you just look like a bunch of pathetic sheep being told what to believe, to think and to feel.
I have too many friends who've had mothers or mothers-in-law who have had too much power and influence in the wedding decisions. I can't stand by and watch in silence any more!!!! I am The Wedding Defender!
My super-power is to make the mother's of brides and grooms cry---it's not their wedding, damn it!!! Beneath my every-day clothing lurks the most awesome matron-of-honor gown, "automagically" appropriate to the wedding I'm about to attend next. With my powers, I cow the mothers whose demands reduce my friends to tears. Instead, I turn those tears back on the mothers, enabling sons and daughters to have the wedding of their dreams and thus ending the vicious cycle of Wedding Stealing!!!
If I had a "signal in the sky" it would be that tradtional image of two bells side-by-side, topped by a ribbon, which sends most females into "wedding frenzy". Shine my symbol in the sky and I'll come running! Mothers of the bride, beware of...
The Wedding Defender!!! (echo: er-er-er-er-er)