Wednesday, October 31, 2007

39 weeks and counting

Still no baby, but the doctor says it should be soon! Well... that is, within the next two weeks still.

Lynn said she wanted to see another picture to see if the baby has dropped any more since 37 weeks.

Baby Bazooka is SO active lately and yet I'm not sure what a contraction is, so we're not sure if I'm having any. I'm feeling a lot of pressure that comes and goes, but it's concentrated on one side and not very regular... hopefully it isn't too long now!

I'm making zebras for Jeanne and another custom order (maybe) for the shop. It was too cold yesterday for the flea market and we still have 8 puppies!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Big Move - to Where?

Asking for advice!

Mark and I are looking to open a brick and mortar type retail shop. We've been discussing this since last year (well, January of this year actually), but there have been several things, besides Baby Bazooka, that have kept us from making any decisions.

If we had been able to tie those things up before, we wouldn't have waited so long. Now, we're waiting for Bazooka to arrive, and trying to make plans on what information we can get through the Internet and friends. We're not even sure exactly what region of the country we would like to be in yet, but we do have some criteria. One of the hardest things is I can't travel very far to check anything out, and probably won't be physically able for a month or so after the baby is born. However, we would really like to know where we are going before December rolls around.

We would like to be have our store near a population center but live a little further out of town in a 'farmland' type area, on an acre or more. If we could have the store and house on the same property (say off a highway exit or intersection) that would be ideal.

Our store would be a mixture of computers, electronics, coffee shop and workshop facilities. It would be a unique kind of place, with both parts and materials to buy, coffee and snacks to hang out in the lounge area with, and maybe classes and projects going on by local artists. Think about sitting in a coffee shop while people next to you build a Rube Goldberg machine in one corner and other geeks take turns between LAN gaming and fixing their machines with shop tools. There might be a 'yarn bar' and an assortment of basic art materials for sale, as well as promotion of local artisans and in-house reference materials on a variety of crafty and technical subjects.

Of course, this would be our ultimate goal. We'll have to start small. Our Ebay store is already getting to the point where we can rely on it for a little bit while we get settled. Where we go will definitely direct how much we can do how soon.

But where to go? Neither of us have real strong feelings about location. We've been looking at a few different regions of the country but would like suggestions!

So, here are the criteria we are working with:
Near high population but still some rural land nearby.
A welcoming environment, we're both eccentric geeks and we're hoping to attract other like-minded people. Maybe near a university or technological center, people who want to learn and tinker with things. Moderate temperatures, not too hot or cold. I grew up in Minnesota and can't take really high heat, while Mark grew up here and places more Southern, so he avoids the colder weather as well.

Suggestions please!
Invite your friends to give us some ideas too!
We'd like to hear your opinions about different areas!

8 Bathed Puppies

Yesterday we bathed all 8 puppies and put them in the truck to bring into Paris, TN for a few hours. They had a Halloween event going on there at the Court Square.

But, we still have all 8 - and they need homes soon! Look at how big they are getting!

8 clean puppies on not-so-clean stairs

Find out more about this litter of pups at Snafu Hall Collie Dane puppies

Friday, October 26, 2007

A bit of color after the rain

A bit of color
Knitpicks Shine Sport in Crocus

I won't say what this is an attempt at knitting yet, because if it doesn't succeed it will just be another soft cotton washcloth ;) The rain has finally stopped, if only for this morning, and I was able to take a walk again (with a sweater - it was a little chilly still).

This baby girl is giving me more signs that she is wanting to come sometime soon - but still no promise of when. It could be days or weeks. Many more 'interesting' feelings coming and going and an alternating feeling of wanting to get things done and being very tired.

Going to the health store today to get some Red Raspberry Leaf tea, as the doctor said we are 'full term' and my grandmother always reccommended it as 'the woman's tea' I would help her gather raspberry leaves from our bushes, fruit, clovers, rosehips and other things from the woods and garden near our house in Minnesota. I was very little then, and she said it was a 'big woman's tea.' I found out later what she meant by that. This article says conflicting things about drinking RRL tea in pregnancy....

This is a really good article about Red Raspberry Leaf Tea prepared by midwives in an email group I belong to. It has some studies that were done in Australia and a better description of dosage (how much to drink in pregnancy and when) etc...

A complicated little sketch
in pens and colored pencil

Linky: A blog post from I live on a farm with pictures of beautiful 'natural fall things' she has gathered near her house.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bazooka Update: 38 weeks

We're playing the waiting game. Had another doctor's appointment today, and he told me a few things.

If I make it to 40 weeks without going into labor he'll do another ultrasound to make sure things are all okay. They seem to be okay now, she is head down with a good heartbeat still, and very active. If we go a full 41 weeks without labor he'll take her one way or another, and more than likely by c-section :( But that is all yet to be seen.

I didn't gain any weight this week, and I only gained 1 lb last week as well. We're really just waiting around for my body to decide things are right to go into labor. I've gained 55 lbs during this pregnancy - and even the doctor asked where is it? except right there in a huge belly, and probably muscles gained in carrying it around. He estimated the baby is about 7 lbs right now, by feeling how big she is in my stomach. The doctor said he wouldn't be surprised if Bazooka is 'all muscle'(*) - and with Mark as her Daddy, I can definitely see that! :)

(*) When he said that, I imagined her maybe weighing 2 lbs more than a baby her same size/length - just because of all the muscle she is constantly kicking and turning about in me with!

Braxton Hicks Contractions?

A few days ago I had my first 'tightening' feelings - like someone was grabbing my muscles under this big stomach and drawing them taut. It only happened four times, three little ones 10-15 minutes apart and one long one two hours later. They were completely painless, but it was difficult to move properly because the muscles were hard and didn't want to respond for a few seconds each time, like having your arm held back when you want to move it. I haven't had any more of those for two days. The doctor agreed it was a good sign that something was starting to happen maybe. It's been raining all week and I haven't had any chance to go for my usual long walk in the morning :( but that might help when it dries up again. They say a lot of walking can help things along!

Arrr! Pirate LOLrus says Where's Me Bucket?

Pirate LOLrus says: Arrr! Where's Me Bucket? I'll keelhaul the blighter who stole me bucket!

Another Farkism collaboration from Mark and I ;)

Complete with hat, eyepatch and parrot

Don't worry Pirate LOLrus!

Nobody stole yer bukket silly lolrus - here it is ;)

This guy will be at KnitOwl custom toys shop!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

WorkShop Day

It's been raining two days straight here - and we couldn't take the puppies to the flea market again. It seems like a good day to sit back and clean up loose creatures from the workshop areas.

Breaking up sock LOLrus fights

Pogo and Mouse agree it's a day to kick back

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fourth attempt at a cloth diaper - winner, I hope.

I wasn't going to let the leg elastic beat me - and I think this came out pretty well considering the amount of actual work that went into it.

The completed diaper

leg elastic hidden in the seam allowance inside

Bringing this up to Mark's mom to ask her opinion today. These can still have other 'flatfolds' or 'prefolds' put inside them, but I'm still wondering about sizing.

Baby Bazooka, 38 weeks and counting
I'm having a conflicting feeling that we aren't completely ready, but really wanting Bazooka to get here sooner than later! This is the time when we have done most of the necessary preparations for her (that we can think of and do ahead of time) and we're just waiting for labor to start. Either I obsess over things or I try to distract myself -- when really I just want the big event to happen so I'll have something solid to work with instead of just worries and wonderings? Apparently I'm not the only FTM who has that feeling, talking on our pregnancy email list about it a little -- but it does seem like an ironic clash of ideas...

Fish Dreams

I've always had 'fish dreams' - where the fish are dying, or the water is running out etc... and I can't do anything about it. They always upset me, and in college I had a good friend finally analyze them (she later got a PhD in psychology). She suggested the fish were my hopes for the future - and that the dreams were a sign I was feeling a loss of control and inability to protect those hopes from outside forces. Eriu hit that nail on the head, in my opinion.

I don't get the fish dreams as much anymore, but I still look hard at them when they do appear. I'll always remember a beautiful fish dream, the first where they weren't in danger, and didn't die - and that was after I had made my decision to come here with Mark. Tanks covering an entire room, full of beautiful goldfish, and he was standing there talking to my stepfather. Neither of them knew each other yet, and that dream made a very powerful image. Someday, I'd like to put that image into a painting.

Last night I dreamt Mark and I were moving fish from one tank to another - but the second tank had carnivorous fish in it, and they wouldn't be safe there. We were talking about setting up a third tank (we have been, in real life, as well - it's on the porch), but it wasn't set up yet and we already had four fish that really did need to come out of the first tank. I ended up putting them in a small jar while we kept talking about what would be a better place for them. Again though, they didn't die - they were just in a holding area, waiting to see what we would do with them.

'Expansion of the Universe' (birth of a child)
artwork Oct 21, 2007 11 pm

I hadn't done one of my random-line drawings in a while now, and last night seemed like the time. Some of you might find the above drawing a little explicit - but hopefully not, as the symbols are pretty obscure and hard to distinguish from one another in general. To me it's explicit - but in a good way. It talks about our baby being born soon, and about the growth, life and responsibility coming from that event.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Third Diaper, a little closer to a winner

Even simpler, and this fabric is much easier to pin
It was a little gappy in the legs, so I tried some elastic.

I'm really not good at elastic yet!
It needs to be on the inside of the construction (not like this),
so it doesn't catch Bazooka's skin.

Found this fitted diaper tutorial, that has elastic in the legs. It shows how to make a casing for the elastic, but I wish it was more detailed.

Somebody on an email group I joined suggested this wool diaper cover tutorial. The leg elastic instructions are a bit clearer here (and the contrast on the pictures is better, too). I'll try this on my current pattern and hope I've got the winner.

Materials used in this diaper: prewashed mid-grade muslin (not tightly woven) for less than 2.00 per yard, and one of the pack of cotton shop towels Mark's mom gave us. The shop towels were about the same size as 'prefold diapers', and are folded once-over and sewn in the center for the 'soaker' part of the diaper.

Jennifer gave me a treat!
Thank you Jennifer!

This is a tag, here is the info!:
The Trickortreat treat giving orginated with Anni, who's been giving out Halloween treats this month on her blog. The idea is if you are given this treat, that you post it on your blog, pass it along to others, but also provide a link back to the source, Anni!

I'll pass this treat along to Jeanne at K3tog, and the always sweet Mrs.Pao!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

folk festival

We are in Milan, TN at a festival hoping to sell some puppies today!

The parking lot at the folk festival was a huge mudpit - and they wouldn't let us inside with the puppies. Oh well - we spent the afternoon at the WalMart parking lot there in Milan trying to show off the puppies to passerbys. We handed out a few cards, and we'll have to go again to the flea market on Tuesday.

So we didn't actually go to the folk festival at all :( but it would have been neat if they didn't have a 'no animals on the grounds' policy.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Attempt at a Cloth Diaper

If this doesn't work, it was only a half hour, a single cloth diaper and some muslin wasted -- but maybe you other mommies, aunts and grandmas can tell me if I've gone crazy with this one.

Mark and I were talking about the potential of using some of the cloth diapers Mark's mom gave us when Bazooka is born. I was telling her (in my tummy) 'You'd better hurry up so we know what size to stock up on!' Well, I cruised around and found this site I used one of the diaper samples that was in my bag from the childbrith seminar for a template. I stretched the diaper sample out to it's max and added a little bit for sewing allowance. A half-hour later I had the following...

Two layers of cloth diaper with an extra bit that was left over sewn into the center.

Cut two muslin covers, one for each side.

Cut some very simple 'tabs' and sew the two covers around the inner lining with the tabs on one side. I think the tabs have to be a more permeable fabric next time, this poly/cotton is hard to put a pin through!

Fold it up like this diagram site showed

Secure with a pin or some other closure.

Think it will work?
I've got to try some different closure techniques, pins, velcro etc... not sure what will work the best.
My mom says the 'kite fold diaper' was the only style of fold she ever used with cloth diapers. She used the kite diaper on my older brother, and he was a very small skinny baby when he was born.

2nd Attempt!

Now I know that Bazooka will be bigger than our model here, Alien Baby toy - but she gives a moderately good example. I made the second diaper much simpler, with long tabs on both sides for wrapping and tying. There are two layers of birdseye diaper cloth inside the two woven surfaces that you see (but not in the tabs). The tabs need to be even longer and thinner for nice tying if I make more of these. A small safety pin keeping the back ties together will eliminate the baby lying on a knot, I hope. It seemed to work well with the doll.

Fold diaper around doll

Tie back ties together in front, fold down front, secure front ties around back with a small pin or tie together.

I can see this working well over a flat-folded birdseye cloth diaper as a cover, and it would be much quicker to change in and out? I'm shooting in the dark here, but hoping that my instincts will be right about construction if not size.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

37 weeks and more sock walruses

37 weeks

Doctor said it can be any time, or up till the middle of November - very obtuse, you think? I hope it's sooner, as she is putting a lot of pressure on my pelvis now! I look so huge - and yet most of the time, I only feel slightly awkward. Getting out of the bathtub is still fairly easy, although getting out of bed quickly is a thing of the past...

More Sock Walruses

The original LOLrus the sock walrus was sold quickly! I'm working up a few more in a different style. No button eyes on this one, so a fairly little kid (3 and up) could play with it. I hope to send one of them to the art show next month.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Halfway to Halloween

Vampire Bat soft toy
Currently for auction at our Ebay Store

Halloween approaches!

I had some awful back pain last night, like someone had jabbed a dull needle right where the spine goes into the pelvis. I was worried because of how my mom described her labor with me - but she said her back labor was 'she couldn't sit down, then she couldn't stand up, and back and forth like that for hours.' It definitely wasn't that bad - although I didn't want to sit still during it. My first instinct was to lie down until it went away, but walking it off (around the room) actually helped better. We see the doctor today and the ladies on my pregnancy emailing list said it is definitely something to ask about.

I've said before that Mark came up with the nickname 'Bazooka' for the baby, until we meet her and are sure what her name is going to be. We're pretty sure, but still it might change when we see her. The name came about twofold. First, we had watched the movie Children of Men and the pregnant lady talks about naming her baby 'Brazuka.' Later when Mark and I were going through names, both 'wild' names and more normal ones, Mark remembered it and said we could call a little girl Bazooka - and maybe she would be a short labor and shoot out like a Bazooka. The nickname stuck after that, between us and later on the blog. Mark's parents watched the movie lately and told us they were surprised to hear such a coincidence with the similar sounding name.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

DeeDee's Puppies: Meet Bob

This is Bob. He is a boy and will probably get to be 120-150 lbs at full growth. He is half Collie and half Great Dane, but will look mostly like a Great Dane. We have had several litters of these and they are good-natured big babies with less health problems (stomach, hips especially) and less slobber than the average Great Dane.

Bob likes cats - some of them like him.
I personally would describe Bob as a big sweetheart. He is always leaning on another puppy or a person's foot, wanting some attention - and is usually the first to break off from a puppy rough-and-tumble and sit there grinning while the others puppyfight.

These puppies will get as big as Blaze, who is also Collie-Dane.

Find out more about adopting Bob or one of his siblings
To GOOD homes only, these will be large dogs and require lots of food!

Imagination Running Wild

As you might have guessed, I'm just letting my imagination run 'wild' lately with the toys -- starting with a material or a basic shape and seeing what comes out of it. It has been since I was a little kid since I played with socks - and there were a few wandering around here that took on a life of their own.

I've got a few other unfinished toys on my cutting table - hoping to get them done and then start on the toys for the art show in New York.

We were going to take the puppies to the flea market this morning, but it was so cold and wet! Ugh! They are getting pretty big now, soon they'll 'explode' out of their big puppy feet and shoot towards becoming dogs. 120-150 lb dogs. Eep!

Dreams are really becoming intense about Bazooka's impending arrival. My mind is running rampant wanting to see this little girl and know she is mine (ours, but I think you other mommies know what I mean?). In most dreams I KNOW what they are showing me isn't my baby - and that upsets me. I want to see MY baby, which of course my mind doesn't have a clear image of yet so it keeps tricking me. I'm worried about being put unconscious and not knowing what happened or if it did at all etc... In the one dream where I had 'complications' after she was born I wasn't that scared about it, because they assured me she was okay and that eventually I'd be okay -- but then again my brain messed with me and my mom (who isn't going to be at the hospital) said they couldn't let me see the baby until after the doctor had talked to me about everything. I'm not a naturally 'violent' person but there are a few things that yank me right to the core - and that was one of them, in that dream I was ANGRY. Somebody had my baby and wasn't bringing her to me or letting me go get her. It's my job to protect her above all else - and once she is out of my body I can't do that if I don't know where she is, they won't let me have her etc... strong fierce instincts I can't entirely chalk up to just hormones ;)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lolrus the Sock Walrus and his bucket

In the grand Farkism tradition of lolrus comes this sock walrus, made from a lonely singleton argyle knee sock. He has a bucket, so he is a pretty happy walrus compared to the ones in most of the Lolrus pictures. He even has a few fish to munch on.

I was halfway through making this guy's body when Mark suggested what he would be - and here he is, our very first sock walrus. Quite the endangered species, you think?

Check for more handmade LOLrus toys in our shop!


I'm A Toy Artist at Heart:
I really love to make these custom toys, the one-of-a-kinds that get such a life of their own. I'm boosting that part of my shop a bit, on Etsy, Google, Flickr etc... It is so much nicer to know that something is being made for someone, and not just wondering if anyone will like what I happened to think up that day. There is a pleasure in seeing toys I felt like making get good homes, too -- but it isn't quite the same.

Some super-cool toys I saw on Flickr today:

  • Electric Rhino made from a six-year-old's drawing, this rhino packs one HUGE horn. Interesting construction as well.

  • weirdbuglady's five legged frog. Her construction techniques have really become professional looking and she has some neat 'two-headed' creatures as well.
  • girlsavage has some beautiful deer in her shop with very interesting ears. I love how she takes external seams (which are usually ugly) and makes them artful.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Long Busy Week!

We have had so many things to do this week -- above and beyond the things we normally do, that it has really worn both of us out! There were 'appointments' of some sort or other every day, and that on top of our normal shop work and mailing runs and computer tasks. But, we got a LOT done - and today is a well earned day to rest.

I'll be playing with the sewing machine some more today, off and on, maybe take a fourth stab at the lion pattern.

There is a gallery in New York that is holding a handmade toy show - and I've received an email invite to submit. Although I'm sure hundreds of others have received the invite as well, it was really nice to get one (especially since it isn't a 'pay to submit' type). Anything that sells at that show the artist receives back 60% of the price. Now, what to make? I've got about two weeks to decide and make what I want to send - which fits in pretty perfectly with Bazooka's impending arrival!

Black Cat Stuffies
I cut out a large batch of these one night when I couldn't sleep.. and they are slowly coming to life one by one...

Other news: We've been watching episodes of NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) which is a television series on DVD. I introduced Mark to it, and he surprisingly liked it. It has some very strong characters and surprisingly good science behind some of the cases, not perfect, but enough to know someone was trying.

The puppies are getting so big! Five of them could sleep in the big round food dish out in the yard a few weeks ago, and now only two of them fit at a time. Of course, they fight for that right ;) They're following the big dogs all around the yard, and we often get pained looks of 'The Puppies won't leave me Alone!!!' through the windows, and from more than their Mom. It's quite a sight to see the big male Great Dane with puppies nipping at each leg, and that expression 'Please? I'm suffering!' on his big droopy face.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Green Aliens

They look like the friendly type...

Green (female) Alien Monster Doll with babies for Mrs.Pao's nephew :)
Custom toy shop

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Super Wednesday

Today Mark is in Jackson, TN getting some inventory for our shop - some HEAVY inventory! I'm manning Ebay and trying to find somewhere in our garage to put this HEAVY inventory - somewhere where we won't have to move it for a while.

I'm also making a custom toy for Mrs. Pao! and doing assorted things on Ebay etc... We see a midwife at the clinic today since our doctor is out of town, and we're now at weekly doctor visits.

Two pink squares together? Apparently I wasn't paying enough attention!

I made this slightly-wonky bunny quilt late Saturday night, and another Green Kangaroo. We've been moving nearly nonstop since Sunday morning. Sunday and Monday were a lot of sales at our Ebay, mostly of small things - but that meant a lot of packaging and tracking to get ready to ship LOTS yesterday.

We also took the puppies (all 8 of them) to the flea market yesterday. That was an adventure in itself, but I forgot to bring the camera. We still have all 8, but did pass out a few cards. We're charging money for them because of what happened with Goliath, one of Blaze and DeeDee's brothers, last year. The guy who took him nearly starved him to death and he ended up in the McKenzie animal shelter in near-death conditions. We hope to check people out a little better this year and/or just make sure they really want a dog that is going to get 130-150 lbs quickly! We did hear good news about Goliath from a lady who recognized Blaze, she said last she heard he was adopted by a family in Kentucky and was spending most of his time taking up the whole couch and waving all four feet in the air ;) Must be a 'family trait', as we see that every day *chuckle*

Baby Update I'm continuing to gain some weight, but it has slowed down. I'm still waking up once or twice a night.

I can see that the baby has "dropped"! It's visible and definitely something that can be felt. All of her movements are SO much lower and the place I was feeling upward pressure before, right below the sternum, is about 2 inches lower now. There is also a new pressure right at/below my hipbones, but a constant presence, not a painful bouncing like before she 'turned.'

I can sit up straighter and my shoulders aren't hurting quite as quickly each day as they were for the last few weeks. I'm downing mlik like there is no tomorrow. I went to the store on Monday to get some 'post-pregnancy' comfort clothes. I hate shopping for clothes, but did manage to find some things that fit me now, should fit me then, and don't put a binding feeling about my waist.

I've had three people, in three days, tell me 'Two to three weeks? You look like you could go in two to three days!' A lady at the flea market said that giving birth was 'as close to a long painful death as you can come before you realize it is all over and you forget the pain (because you see that baby of yours)*sigh*'... disconcerting but oddly that doesn't bother me as much as the people who say 'it will all be fine' -- that bothers me more because I KNOW it is going to hurt, and honesty is better than smoothing over.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

More KnitOwl toys and more dreams

That is a newborn size pacifier next to the tiny green kangaroo!
I still use tweezers to turn and stuff these little guys.

I've reserved the pink Mama kangaroo and joey for a lady in Canada who contacted me yesterday. Her nice comments on that toy have spurred me to make a few more baby kangaroos. I hope they would make good baby shower gifts. I'm sure another set will be in the shop soon as well.


This black cat stuffie was made with the same pattern as the rag rabbit dolls. Alee at Stuffed made a rag rabbit from my PDF pattern and it is really cute! She did a great job on the face especially, using tiny stitches. I really appreciate her testing it out for me! I'll have the .PDF up in the Etsy shop for sale soon.

More Pregnancy Dreams: Again, my brain is working on things at night that I barely think about during the day. We were talking about how soon after Bazooka is born I'll be physically ready to do even light desk and counter type work. I don't think I'll know that until about 3 or 4 days after she is born, at the very least.

Last night I was dreaming about her already being here and taking care of her -- but my mental 'image catalog' is weird, and it kept bouncing between a lifelike doll I had as a kid and my sister's daughter when she was two. I knew I was dreaming and that none of it was like it will be - but some part of me wants to 'practice' maybe... subconscious wondering if I'll know what to do with her, etc... My dreams are always very real - like I'm actually there, doing those things, until something seems 'out of place' and because I know it's a dream then it usually breaks apart and I wake up.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Rag Rabbit doll PDF ready to test

This PDF pattern is available here.

If any of you who I already have email addresses for would like to test-run (or at least test-print) my ragdoll PDF I would appreciate it! I hope to have it as an on-demand download at my Etsy shop. It includes a printable pattern and instructions for the beginner.

Blog regulars only for now, please - thanks!
This is one of several nuigurumi patterns (soft toy animal) patterns I'm developing!


Pixie seems to be responding a little bit to daily aspirin and antibiotic - but there is definitely still something wrong. We've gotten a few reccommendations from dog health forums and will run them by the vet soon.

My own eating habits have gotten even stranger than usual lately -- maybe because we're so close to 'Bazoooka' being born. Mark loves hamburger and pork chops, and usually I eat them with him when he cooks them. However, lately I've been unable to take interest in either of those, opting for vegetables, fruits and things that are generally moist and light instead of thick and dense. I'm also drinking large glasses of water down quickly. I'm still taking my vitamins though, don't worry about that! We're at 35 1/2 weeks and on Wednesday the doctor said the baby is now head down and ready to come, but he'd like to see us go a 'full 38 weeks.'

I watched some explicit birthing videos online yesterday -- the only thing that bothered me was the blood. Blood always bothers me.

The doctor was again surprised I hadn't felt any contractions yet. I still don't know what one would feel like. He says 'I'll just know - it will hurt worse than anything.' Worse than a broken wrist or hitting your head on concrete? Worse than a relentless sinus migraine headache? I've had both of those, and it's never been screaming. When I broke my wrist my reaction was hysterical laughter. When I get a migraine my reaction is mostly quiet whimpering and focusing on something repetitive.

I'd really like to know where the pain will be... because I've heard several different stories. My mom said her lower back hurt terribly for two days before her stomach suddenly began cramp, followed by her water breaking and only then was she sure it was really labor. I was born 5 hours later. My back, just under the shoulderblades, has been the only real pain I've had lately, and even that is just an annoyance. I'm pretty sure that is just from the extra weight I'm carrying around as applying counterpressure with the back of a chair or the edge of a piece of furniture for a few minutes makes it feel a lot better quickly.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Busyness, Lions and Bunnies

We've been busy around here, the beginning of the week is always that way lately, which isn't a bad thing at all. We've been looking for more ways to find out what Pixie's medical issue is. I've tried lots of internet groups and forums, even an 'ask the vet' which gave us pretty much the same answer our vet did. It's a tough case considering it isn't tetanus, or at least, it doesn't look like tetanus in any other way yet. We put her x-rays up here. We've had a few good reccommendations -- and if they pan out she might have a chance.

Second lion
It felt like I was tying wool lion mane hair for three hours!

I'm on the fourth version of the lion pattern, lions 1 and 3 didn't survive to be finished. Lion 2 was a little skinny (see above) but he is cute enough for his stuffing ;) Mark says he looks like a surfer dude: 'Like, RAWR... dude.' I'm also working on a very simple rag doll rabbit pattern to work up as a .PDF.

Three little rag doll "bunny rabbit" baby toys at the KnitOwl toy shop

These rabbits take 30 minutes to an hour each from tracing pattern to finishing faces. The hardest part is making sure their legs and arms and ears are in straight. Sometimes when you go to run them under the sewing machine, they move around! These are nice 'I can't sleep' items too, I did one of them at two in the morning last night.

We went to the flea market yesterday and found some interesting vintage finds to list on Ebay and Etsy. Mark found an Underwood typewriter for a steal that still works in most ways -- we're examining it today.

Absentmindedness: I exploded an egg on the stove this morning. Apparently I wasn't that hungry for a boiled egg. Luckily the type of pan it exploded in survived the impact so it wasn't that much of a disaster.

Pregnancy Dreams: Also have been having more and more very 'real' feeling dreams about the baby's delivery. Last night's was pretty scary, and I was glad to wake up. I don't worry about it a lot during the day, so I guess I make up for it at night. We have another doctor's appointment today.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Pixie has 'Trismus' - Dog can't open mouth

Pixie, the Great Pyrennes we got from the flea market in April - has a condition (which in humans is called 'trismus'), which basically means she can't open her mouth more than a little way, about a quarter of normal. Masticatory muscle myositis or another neurologic condition is possible, as well. We didn't notice it until yesterday when she couldn't take a biscuit. She has been eating through the side of her mouth and drinking water -- and didn't seem unhappy until the biscuit was offered and she couldn't take it.

She is at the vet right now, they will sedate and x-ray her trying to figure out what it is. Our first thought was tetanus / lockjaw, but she doesn't seem sick any other way. Even this morning she was playing with the puppies and running around the yard without any other symptoms.

UPDATE: The vet found no answers. They did an x-ray, they gave her some antibiotics and anti-inflammatory, and tested for tetanus. She is too young for it to be arthritis and the x-ray didn't show any sign of that either. They sedated her and tried to pry open her mouth with their hands, no luck. They said just keep giving her an antibiotic and slurried wet food and hope it doesn't get any worse. It doesn't look like a good prognosis for her. Their only guess is some neurological issue, which can't be easily tested for.

We also called the man who sold her to us, wondering if it was genetic. She is a purebreed and purebreeds can have lots of problems. Luckily Mark remembered Pixie's mother's name, 'Telladaga', so we knew it was the same breeder when we called. He has never had a dog with a problem like this.

Update 2 years later: Our dog still has a mostly locked jaw. They never could get it any better. She has lost a lot of weight but she learned how to eat through the bit of space she does have -- and does pretty well when the other dogs leave her alone with the dish to herself. My husband still gives her bits of fat and good pieces of meat sometimes to make sure she is getting calories. She seems to be okay with things as they are - plays some, wrestles the puppy some, never exuberantly but at least she isn't always acting like she is in pain. She still tries to bark at the deer and squirrels - but it sounds like somebody has a bag over her nose. We wish luck to all those who have commented with ill pups - hope your story is at least as happy or happier than this one.

Final Update 3 years, 2 months from original posting date: Our girl passed away today - we did as much as we could for her, for so long... She didn't even let us know she was bad off at the end. She was being herself. I think her cheerful 'what now?' attitude was a large part of her surviving this long. Still will wish hope for others who have had this happen to their animals -- take care of the while you can and let them enjoy what they can while they are here.