November 28, 2009

Our kitty is sick! (But he’s getting better…)

Posted in cats tagged , , , , at 11:09 pm by Lauren

Pax waited until we woke up on Thanksgiving morning to start demonstrating symptoms. We got up late – just 15 minutes before we’d intended to leave for the Turkey Trot 5K – and as we prepared to leave, Pax sprayed the wall in our bedroom.

“Stop, stop!” I yelled and waved my hands wildly, to absolutely no effect.

When Pax did stop, he sat himself down a few feet from us to watch the cleaning efforts. As Allen finished cleaning, Pax peed on our bedroom floor.

What were we going to do? We went to the 5K. We came back to find that Pax had peed on the kitchen floor while we were gone.

He seemed fine after that, but our friend suggested that he once had a cat who did that when he had a urinary tract infection. The wise and all-knowing internet let us know that frequent licking of <ahem> was another symptom.

But he looked okay. We waffled about calling the vet on Friday, but decided for it in the end, and got a 5 pm appointment that day. The vet took a urine sample (with a needle!), and found that there was blood and bacteria in his urine. (Ew, ew, ew.) She prescribed an antibiotic, thinking that it was an infection, and is doing a culture on the bacteria just because it costs more (or to confirm infection, I guess). Pax’ ph levels were also lower or higher than she wanted (whatever), and she suggested we switch him to Prescription Diet food. The price is similar to the good food we’ve been feeding them, but it’s disappointing to see that we’re back to something with corn meal and gluten in the first four ingredients (where the other cat food had none of either of those at all, but had organic chicken as the first ingredient!).

Pax took his first antibiotic pill with a little bit of wet food (but we’ve had to force feed him the next three). Around 6:30 pm though, he began to crouch and try to pee on the floor, resting up to 5 minutes in one spot before moving to the next, leaving no pee behind. He looked bloated, and he became lethargic and irritable. He yowled mournfully when we picked him up or moved him. When we went to bed, he was laying unnaturally on his side. It was hard to reconcile the thoughts that he was now visibly in pain and that we had to wait for the medicine to have a chance to work. It was clear he was completely unable to pee at this point. (This was, despite all the TMI, very sad to watch.) I was feeling very concerned, but I was also incredibly glad that we’d trusted our instincts about his behavior and brought him to the vet.

When we woke up in the morning, Pax was not on our bed like he usually is. In fact, he wasn’t in our bedroom at all. Allen and I breathed a sigh of relief when we found himself in the hallway licking himself (yes, there, again). Then Allen noticed a small wet spot on the carpet. I honestly never thought I’d be happy to see my cat pee on the carpet. The medicine was working!

We spent the next half hour following Pax around as he peed on one surface and another in small amounts. We cleaned, and he peed, and we cleaned behind him, in a strange and gross cycle. At one point he started to pee on the arm of the chair, and I pulled him off, getting pee all over myself too. Maybe we could just stick to peeing on the linoleum?

We were a little concerned that he wouldn’t want to go back to the litter box (inability to pee = pain gets associated with the litter box), but we took one upstairs so that we could leave the cats in the sun room while we were out. We moved all the furniture out of the sun room so there was nothing but tile (and the litter box) to soil.

When we got back home a few hours later, Pax seemed like a new cat. The antibiotics had obviously helped ease most of the pain, and he was interested in his surroundings again, peeing in the litter box, and purring when we pet him. Now we just need to finish the round of antibiotics, and we’ll get to keep this healthy kitty around for a while longer.


November 25, 2009

I love Etsy!

Posted in Daily life tagged , , , , , at 1:17 am by Lauren

Etsy has been my infatuation for over a year now. It’s only the best place to buy handmade directly from the handmaker!

I can’t believe how inexpensive and pretty these board book pendants are from

And props to Pretty Theory for a memorable name, so that when a Lush employee complimented me on the bird pendant, I was able to recall the shop name and write it down for her.

Speaking of Etsy shops with GREAT BRANDING, I’m very impressed with Bananasaurus Rex at I purchased a lavender and flax seed filled pillow from Bananasaurus Rex, and I was tickled that it was mailed in a Trader Joe’s bag. Great packaging and branding makes me think great shop because it looks so professional (and delightful) when it arrives.

And of course the pillow smells divine! Allen laughs at me when I put it over my eyes.

Oh dear, though…looking back at the site makes me want things!

Now, my absolute favorite Etsy site is I purchased a custom “diaper bag” from Retrofied last winter, and I followed up this spring with a hobo bag in Joel Dewberry’s Deer Valley fabric:

Click here to see the fabric inside the bag! I think the worksmanship is great, and I love the color combinations. Shortly after I bought it, she posted her Raspberry Wasp bag, which I lust after, but how many bags do I need?

I’ve found plenty of jewelry on Etsy too, and I love that I can find so many different styles of jewelry in “one shop.” For example, I love this branch necklace I bought from

That picture comes from her listing here. And again, I’m finding other things in her shop that I love and want as I look back! But then I can find something completely different too, like the book board pendants from Pretty Theory!

My next Etsy post? Custom finds on Etsy! Or should it be gifts I’ve found for people? Or bookplates (because I could fill a full post on that!)?

November 24, 2009

Adam’s asparagus

Posted in family tagged , at 11:36 pm by Lauren

Katie has a small obsession with Allen’s Adam’s apple. At first, she couldn’t remember what it was called, and we’d play endless games of renaming it: Adam’s apple, Adam’s pineapple, Adam’s grilled cheese sandwich.

She still likes to ask what it is, but we know she knows the answer now: Adam’s clementine, Adam’s banana, Adam’s lychee, Adam’s chocolate chip cookie! We love to hear Katie laugh hysterically (when don’t we?). Adam’s apple, Allen’s uncle…

And Katie does love her Tonton Allen and his Adam’s aardvark.

November 14, 2009

UFOs: Unfinished Objects

Posted in Cross Stitching tagged , , , at 3:26 pm by Lauren

I went through my entire cross stitching stash and took pictures of all of the unfinished pieces. I’ve got enough projects to keep me busy for the rest of my life!

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I started and set aside this project in April 2009. It’s called Toile Rooster, and it calls for a variegated dark brown/black for the rooster and the alphabet that surrounds it. I set this one aside because I picked up a new project that I just had to start right away: Pains of Love by Moira Blackburn.

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Pains of Love is a pattern I’d never have purchased from just looking at the chart, but when I saw the colors in a stitched model, I was hooked. When I set this one aside, it was for Caroline’s stocking and to finish the piece that I entered in the Arlington Country Fair.

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I started Bent Creek’s Teacher Row when I started teaching, in September 2005. I think what derailed this one at the time was starting teaching.

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This is a Prairie Schooler design of an Amish village in the fall. The rectangle at the bottom will be a quilt hanging on a line. Allen wants me to finish this one soon, as he prefers more pictures and fewer words on the cross stitch pieces.

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I love these little designs by JBW Designs. This one will be a Christmas tree made of the words “a very merry Christmas.” I started this in December 2007.

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I started this piece almost five years ago. The silk birds are incredibly delicate (and a little bit blinding to stitch). I spent a lot of time adapting the pattern (particularly the text lower down on the piece), and I got hung up in trying to design a row of roots (which would make sense with the full text).

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The Irish Blessing will eventually read, “May the sun shine warm upon your face, May the rain fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May ____ hold you in the ________.” Ha – I’m too lazy to go get the piece and see what it actually says in the end.

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This is a simple piece from Prairie Schooler’s Santa Rides pattern. I have always enjoyed hot air balloons, and I like the dark brown as the main color. Eventually it will also include a Santa and a few embellishments in a light yellow.

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This is Marriage of the Minds by The Drawn Thread. I bought it around the time that Allen and I got married, and I don’t expect it to be done in time for our five-year anniversary this May, but one day… The Shakespeare quote on this piece was also one of the readings at our wedding. The blue and white clouds took me a while to do, and when I was finished, I realized that I was supposed to do it with two threads instead of one. The thought of pulling that all out was too much right then, so I put it aside. I’ll get back to it.

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This is my project as big as a couch. Yes, it will be huge. I am thinking of finishing it with a quilt “frame” and backing, rather than a rigid frame that would be more difficult to move and protect. Our plan is to hang it over the mantle in the living room, but I think it would also be nicely sized for the upstairs hallway.

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My most recent unfinished object is on its way to be done very quickly – maybe today! This is the 7th “day of Christmas” from Prairie Schooler’s Santa’s 12 Days of Christmas.

Alright – off the blog and on to stitching!

November 13, 2009

Cross stitching wish list

Posted in Cross Stitching tagged , , , , , , , , , at 12:13 am by Lauren

This week I finished Caroline’s birth sampler, adapted from La-D-Da’s Sweet Dreams pattern.

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It’s at the shop for framing, but in the meantime, that means I’m ready to find a new project!

Choosing a new project is a delightful task in itself. I’ve got a good ten projects that I’ve already started and put aside. Those get high consideration. Then there are the many projects I’ve kitted up – that is, purchased the fabric and threads to go along with the chart.

In a category of its own is The Shores of Hawk Run Hollow, which I am stitching on 9 or 10 count fabric (like the stockings) with DMC Perle Cotton. For those of you non-stitchers out there, that just means “big.” The exaggerating, slightly rude woman in the cross stitch store said that this project would be “as big as a couch,” so I like to refer to it as my project that is as big as a couch. In reality, it will be approximately 2 x 3 feet. It uses an entire yard of fabric – think lap quilt size  – and its frame is like a small table. I should take a picture. It’s amusing to look at. If I could just keep the cats off it…

Next are the larger framing projects that I kitted in Oklahoma in April. I started Pains of Love, but I have two others kitted and unstarted too. Not to mention the wedding sampler (Marriage of Minds by the Drawn Thread) that I “am doing” for Allen and me. (Our five year anniversary in May will not see that finished, mostly because I put it aside after I stitched a whole swath of it in one thread rather than two, and I just can’t bear to pull all that out!)

It’s possible too that I buy something new every time I cross the threshhold of the cross stitching store. So I now have Prairie Moon’s The Red and The Black kitted up. And during the last visit, I picked up La-D-Da’s All Our Troubles. At first, I took the saying the wrong way – you think I’m a big whiner? But it stuck in my mind, and I kept thinking that I would chose my troubles over others’ and that maybe it meant more about being thankful for what you have and taking the bad with the good. Now it will go on my wall, to remind me of that.

All those choices, and I decided to stall. I’ve been working on Prairie Schooler’s set of Santa’s 12 Days of Christmas since 2007. (In fact, I’ve been working on it since the month I started this blog, which would have been a good time to follow through on the project and get it done for Christmas!) I finished the first six of them during that year in Paris, but when I started the seventh day of Christmas and stitched a swan in the wrong spot, I stopped and set it aside. Since finishing Caroline’s sampler, I’ve picked it back up and will have finished the seventh piece this week.

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I won’t be as optimistic in 2009 as I was in 2007; I probably won’t finish it this year for Christmas. But with each piece taking about a week, the time is there…if I use it.