Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'm currently seeing a sadist....

I saw the orthopedic surgeon (AKA THHS) for another regularly scheduled post-op check last Monday (8/30). He continues to be dismayed and apologetic about the slowness with which my voice is recovering. But he DOES agree with me that there is no reason to return to the ENT for periodic laryngoscopy until I have passed the pre-determined maximum date by which this "temporary" issue should be resolved. Which reminds me, I have an ENT appointment to cancel....

But anyway, the orthopod was trying to send me on my merry way, with instructions to return in 6 months or something, when I finally managed to get his attention and ask if he would refer me to Physical Therapy, because of the persistent spasm I have had in my right neck and shoulder ever since even before the surgery, though it is much worse since the surgery.  And he was more than willing - filled out the orders, and I actually managed to get in to see the therapist THAT VERY DAY for my initial evaluation and therapy.

And may I just say (as I told her on my 2nd visit) she is mean and evil. And I am pretty sure she graduated from the Marquis de Sade Physical Therapy Institute. I have had 3 visits as of this morning, and am doing all my home exercises, and am actually in more pain than when I started PT. But she says it is a process, and we need to give it 2 more weeks.

The surgeon also said that if things didn't improve within 2-4 weeks of PT, that he wanted me to get more epidural steroid injections. Whatever - I am game. Just make it stop spasming!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Gumball is something else!

My little Gumball is such a handful! He continues to thrive, even though he has lost 2 ounces since I found hiim (he needs to gain 4 pounds according to the Vet.) He initially gained 4 ounces over the first 2 weeks, but in the 3 weeks before our second appt, he lost 6 ounces. And I don't know how, since he eats like a little pig!
He continues to get stronger everyday, and manifests more and more personality.

We were on vacation in the mountains last week, and he had a great time roaming around my friends' steep mountain property, taking in the cooler mountain air. And because there were a total of 4 dogs in the house that week (Bailey & Gumball, plus my friends 2 dogs, Tai and Nummy), we had to go to extraordinary measures to ensure he got to eat his meals without the other dogs poaching them.

It still takes him about an hour to eat one meal (what with having no teeth, and no bottom jaw), so sometimes I would feed him in the guest bedroom behind closed doors, and I would kill time reading, or reading e-mail. Other times, Kathy would take him into her office to feed him while she worked on the computer - the only problem with this scenario was that she has a glass door on her office, so the other 3 dogs would line up at the door and show their intense annoyance at Gumball's special treatment; Nummy would whine, Tai would scratch the door, and Bailey would just pant and stare.

So now that we are home, Gumball has decided that he will ONLY eat when he is in the same room with me, which has really made me look for ways to maximize time-management. He used to eat his breakfast slowly in the kitchen while I locked Bailey in the bathroom with me, and I showered, did my hair, makeup, etc - and when I was finally done, he would be moseying upstairs, all full and ready for the day at work. And he would eat his supper in the kitchen while I kept Bailey upstairs in the bedroom with me, and I could work on the computer. NOW, I can't even feed Gumball in the bathroom while I shower - because if he cannot SEE me, it evidently doesn't count - so every morning this week he has ultimately only eaten part of his breakfast by the time we need to go to work, and I just take the leftovers to work, and feed them to him once we get there.

This lovely 2 day weekend has been much easier, because he is eating his meals in the bedroom while I do whatever I want, and Bailey carefully watches from the bed, waiting to pounce on the bowl if Gumball should walk away from it.

But Bailey is actualy learning, and he really understands now that he can't clean up Gumball's leftovers until I say so. And he is being a very good brother, even if it IS unintentional, for the most part.

Gumball is very hard of hearing, but he uses Bailey as a hearing-eye dog - and when he senses Bailey moving around at night or other times (whether through Bailey's thundering vibrations on the floor, or because Bailey walks close enough by Gumball's bed that he nudges Gumball), Gumball knows that I am probably up and moving, and he gets up to check things out - and he is usually right, it is bathroom time, or meal time, or something is up!

And this is the new thing Gumball started yesterday - he gets up and walks around to tell me that he wants to go out (which he has always done), and now he goes out the backdoor and off the porch and does all his business without me having to escort him. This is so much nicer for me - no more fire ant fiascos! And it shows that he is trusting the environment here, so that's good. But yesterday, after he did all his business, he wandered around the yard until he found the perfect spot in the sun, and he just plopped down for a sunbath. This was a first! His former routine was to dash back to the house as soon as he was done.

Later yesterday afternoon, I was walking around the backyard with both dogs, and Gumball started circling around a spot where he clearly intended to lie down in the sun again, and I walked toward him and stuck out my foot to stop him, because he was going to end up in one of the fireant beds I had coated in pesticide, and I just wanted to move him a few feet away. I certainly wasn't going to kick him; I wasn't even going to touch him - I was just using my foot as a roadblock (he is so tiny, I didn't want to bend over, because I am so lazy! Why bend over when I can just direct traffic with my big foot?) But he yelped and jumped backwards about 3 feet when my foot was still 12 inches away from him, so I feel like it is very likely he has been abused in the past.

Today he is still refusing to eat unless I am in plain sight, and he has just come back from him morning sunbath. Bailey even stayed out in the yard with him while Gumball lay in the sun, only Bailey chose a nice shady spot, because it is already 90 degrees out there!

I am glad Gumball is getting stronger, and more independent, but I cannot get over how much he has altered my routine - I have a hard time finding time for blogging and other computer work, let alone time to create!
And he's no cuddly lap dog, but he's happy, and it sure is funny to watch him do his little "I'm hungry" dance - it reminds me of the old Little Friskies commercials (I think it was Little Friskies, anyway, and am too lazy to look it up) where the cat did the cha-cha-cha while his Little Friskies was being prepared, only Gumball hops from foot to foot, and turns around, and jumps up in the air - it's a hoot!
And I found out the secret of how Gumball's bed kept getting moved while we were up in the mountains - everyone up there was blaming everyone else - Kathy said John did it, John said I did it, I said Gumball was doing it, Kathy and John both said Bailey was doing it - but no one ever saw it happen. We would just come home in the evening, and Gumball's bed would be 10 to 20 feet away from where we had left it - sometimes in a completely different room!

Last night, while I was watching TV and doing chainmaille, I heard Gumball "digging" in his bed - he has always done this, sort of his version of turning around 3 times before he lies down, only he would take both his front legs, and stand halfway in the cut-out "door" of the bed, and just dig at the cushion with his nails, like he was trying to make a nest. But I crept to the edge of the bed to watch without him seeing me, and he was actually using that digging motion to drag the entire bed to a new spot. Last night he moved it 3 feet away from where it had been (and consequently into the middle of the floor), and then got in it and went to sleep.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I just returned from a week at William Holland Lapidary School, where I took my first Silver class.

So. Much. Fun!!

Had a great teacher (Hi, Bill!), and completed 4 projects, and have 2 partially done.

The class was structured such that we had lecture Sunday night for a couple of hours, and then started work bright and early Monday morning. There were 2 mandatory projects, and once we successfully completed those, we could move on to an independent project of our own design.

This bangle bracelet was our 1st mandatory project, and was a great teaching project and a good choice for a 1st project, because while it taught us a lot of metalwork techniques, believe it or not, this gorgeous bangle required only 1 solder! So we spent a long time prepping the piece - twisting the wire, hammering it, etc - and then got it set up for the solder, and although the teacher had demo'd it for us at his workstation, since it was each student's 1st time soldering, we were all a little nervous and unsure, so we would call him over to our workstations when we were ready, and then he would help each of us individually.

And it is a truly stunning bracelet!

The next mandatory project was a ring - the teacher had many cabochons to choose from, or we could use our own. I had taken a few with me, but once I saw this turquoise cab (made by my Silver teacher, who clearly has talents extending far beyond Silversmithing), I heard it calling my name, and decided to use it for my ring.

The ring was a very difficult project; many, many solder joins, as well as the other metalworking skills required to create it.

It took me most of 3 days to finish the ring, although I was able to jump around and work on my other 2 projects while I was waiting for equipment, or otherwise needing to wait before proceeding with another step on the ring. So it actually probably took only a total of a day and a half to finish the ring, not counting the interruptions and waiting.

And after making all these solders, and having the ring actually fit, and the stone stay in its setting, I had a lot more confidence in my abilities, too! And I later learned that my ring would have been a whole lot easier to do if I had chosen a cab with even dimensions, instead of this irregularly cut one - but I always go for the asymmetric stuff!

Getting these decorative balls in the shank of the ring was a pain!

Back view of the ring, showing my blatant rookie mistake: the back of the ring had to be stamped "sterling" before the shank was soldered on, and I placed the stamp in such a position that the solder flowed right over the "ster" in "sterling". So I guess my ring is just "ling"?

This was a project we were shown to use up the excess wire left over from the bangle; I only had enough excess to make a small pinkie ring!

And this is my big masterpiece - I am so pleased with the way it turned out. I used my own dichroic glass cabs, and designed this pendant to hang from an Omega or from a hard collar, and with a lot of direction from the teacher, it all came together very nicely!

I also started a 2nd pendant, and reticulated the silver links for a bracelet, but I couldn't finish either before I had to leave. And it will be awhile before I can finish either of them, because silversmithing is expensive! I want to order all the tools and equipment (not to mention, silver) that I need to start doing it right away, but lack the necessary fundage.

But hopefully my pal MAK (aka Glenda the Good Witch) will perfect the spell she is working on for me, and I will soon have money growing on trees, or something like that.

A girl can hope, anyway....