Friday, June 27, 2014

oh dear, I just found out that I don't have the flu. I've had a return of the asthma that went away over a decade ago when I found out it was caused by mold. The storage room where I have the dyed reed is filthy and dusty. Never really been cleaned other than occasional sweeping. It's very likely that some of the exposed insulation has been wet at one time or another and there's a giant hole in the wall that leads to the underneath of the house. It is damp under there, no doubt. I blocked the hole to keep animals out of the room, but the storage cabinet has some mold and the room just gets damp in winter, because it's unheated. Breeding ground for mold.

I woke up with a nose full of black crud that I had to blow out in order to breathe and I was wearing an oversized Breathe Right band. That's not flu. I haven't seen that in over a decade - when I had to use an inhaler - until I found the sources of mold in my life and got rid of them. Now I have to wear a mask in there and have no light at night. What have I gotten myself into? Who will appreciate this? Why shouldn't I skim off about 5lb of varied colored scraps for myself? My sense of right and wrong are somewhat challenged here.

Time to get out the respirator and check the filter...or wear a little mask and hope it works.

Went in to see the shrink for my quarterly prescription check up and found out 2 things. I haven't gained much weight back and my blood pressure is dangerously high, so I have to go unmedicated until it drops. That's all I needed to get back on track with daily walks and the right food - forget about my excuses about resenting my life and the mistakes I made that got me off track when I was getting so healthy. It's been caused mostly by sitting around, even when I have an active dog who loves to move. I'm paying for it's hard enough to get out when medicated, it will be hell when I'm slowed down by lack of antidepressant and amphetamine. I'll be working with no help with my lack of focus. I hope the camp nurse can monitor my bp for me.

Next day I went to my PCP and my bp was 137/64...go figure...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Wish I could get these to sit in a single row, but this was the best I could do. Note the box in the pictures - it's the same box  - the room is just too small to get the whole scene in one picture. This is at least 50 pounds of reed dyed with Procion and I have the task of converting it to manageable bundles of reed to be used by kids at camp - most of whom think it's their god given right to leave a mess for someone else to clean up. There's no way in hell I'm going to turn them loose on something like this, so I have to weed through it, looking for sections of reed that can be coiled up, but a great deal of it is simply loose and often tangled. Not a good week for me to have the flu. We set up camp on Saturday and we're coming to the end of the day on Tuesday. I can only work with this stuff during daylight hours - there's only yellow light available at night, so I can't see the colors very well. I have other demands during the day as well, so this aint gonna get done by Saturday.
   Thankful for this teaching job - it's my 20th year, but every year brings tasks that are simply thankless. None of these kids has a clue what goes into their summer fun. It's been taking me about an hour to sort out and bag up a 25x25" clear bag. Has to be clear so we won't lose it with some kind of garbage. I've had the stuff for 10 days and have filled 2 bags - there should be about 2 dozen bags when I'm done.
   Bitch, bitch, bitch.... sorry....

Re-Training Bandito

The shot to the left illustrates how cheap, yet inventive that we are here @Carole and Gene's Tiny Farmette.  This is what I've had to do to keep my foster dog out of most of the house. The most appropriate doggy gate available is $80, because it has to be free standing for us with no gadgets to fiddle with in order to get it open. So, I searched the house (what a dump) for a free doggy gate and came up with a Priority Mail box and a mounted John Lennon poster.

I have to train myself first - how to housebreak and train a dog, because I've proved to be hopeless at this task. I've been lucky my whole life - all my dogs have either been already trained when I got them or they were Border Collies...enough said. This one is a little thing, part Chi and part...I dunno - something tiny with long legs that loves to run. Look at that face...if you could dismiss him because he's small, yappy and hard to train, then go grow a heart.

His previous mom became terminally ill and gave him up. He came to me needing a lot of love and security (that's a worn out Thundershirt he is wearing) and I can't bear to adopt him out, because he's been through enough. I don't know what brought him to Life4Paws before his previous adoption, but it probably wasn't a good life. He's one of many abandoned Californian dogs who are lucky if they get to be one of the rescued dogs that are taken north by volunteers running adoption services in the NW and Western Canada. Most of the dogs are on the small side - you can get more of them into the rescue van. They are surrendered to the volunteer foster organizations by shelters that are over burdened and those that don't make the cut are the unlucky ones that get euthenized.  Bandit has been through the whole experience, incarcerated, shipped to Oregon, fostered and finally loved by an adoptive mom... and then sent back into the foster system. He has some issues to overcome...

I was told that he's housebroken, which turned out to be not really true  - someone has trained him to do it in the bathroom. He's right on target most of the time, too. Poops on the bathroom floor and will pee there too, if we don't keep him outside long enough. My sarcastic thanks to whomever thought this was the best way to handle it and I don't care what their excuse is. If you can't get to the door to let the dog out, have a doggy door and a fenced yard and hire someone to pick up the yard. It's tough to untrain this kind of behavior and this is another reason why perfectly good dogs end up euthanized. He's lucky that he ended up with Life4Paws, where we don't give up. Gawd, I hope he doesn't get frustrated with the doggy "gate" and pee on my John Lennon poster...damn thing is an antique. 

But, why is it not an issue when we go to the dog park? If he hasn't recently dumped on the bathroom floor, he poops within minutes after we get into the park. The only thing on his mind is tearing across the park to run with the pack and apparently he knows that he's got to unload first, even if it's not where he was trained to unload. Think like a dog....but can I apply that some way to his re-training? Probably not...

He's always the smallest dog at the Hondo Dog Park and he draws a lot of comments about how cute he is and how amazing that he keeps up with the pack of big dogs. He's learned that, while it's fine to run with the pack, it is dangerous to engage the bigger ones in play and best to seek out a buddy of similar size. There's always at least a couple of smart ass bullies in the bunch who zero in on Bandit like he's fresh meat. When we can go to the small dog yard, he'll run himself ragged playing with one or more little guys and when he makes friends with one in particular, he falls in love and has to be carried off when it's time to go. 

Retraining an adult dog is a huge challenge. I've had him for 5 months and the biggest thing either of us has learned is that I don't know how to train dogs and with my particular disability, it's an enormous challenge to learn how... but it can be done! If I can do it, then it follows that the Bandito can do it...

Does anyone really think Bandit will end up back in the foster system? 

Monday, June 23, 2014

I started buying pastry blenders about 10 years ago. I knew there was a basket in there, but I couldn't quite figure out how to get it started.

Well, recently I saw another basket weaver do this very same thing. She weaves  a lot of these cuties. At first I thought that I'd only sell them locally at farmer's markets, because I have an ethical code = don't steal the designs of others unless you can make significant changes in the design in order to make the style yours. If you must steal a design directly don't sell it in the same city.

By the time I had finished a dozen of them, I realized that it was unique enough to call my own. The shape is unique and the stabilizing ring on the bottom works better for me than sewing beads in strategic places.

It's fun to shop for the pastry blenders and there is no shortage. I find them at antique and junk shops, online @ eBay and occasionally on Etsy, but they usually are overpriced there. There is a fascinating array of handle shapes and colors available and I try to match the reed to the handle.

Available on Etsy -