Breakdown the First

As some of you may remember, we are currently awaiting results of the genetic testing ordered by my neurologists.  Specifically, an Ataxia panel, which covers various forms of spinocerebellar ataxia and other fun things.  Some of these things could kill me soon-ish, some could result it partial or total paralysis, restriction to a wheelchair, a long slow decline in which I am no longer able to breath on my own or swallow, possible dementia, and a host of other heart-warming symptoms.
The test results are in but are being "held" until I come in in person.  That was initially going to be in July, but after some mild prodding, it got moved up to June.  It's also probably worth mentioning that when I asked at my last appointment what the genetic tests were for, they refused to tell me, even when I asked, "So, what are you looking for with these tests?"  The response was, "oh, don't worry about it, if anything comes back positive, you'll have lots of interesting things to talk about at parties."  Seriously.  Not making this up.  This is not the first time this has happened.  I've let it pass before.  I don't intend to do so again.
Fortunately, I am both literate and not a complete fool and was capable of puzzling out, in a manner that would do Sherlock Holmes himself proud, what it was they were looking for.  In other words, I looked at the lab paperwork they handed to me.  I didn't even have to whip out my large vocabulary or write anything down to look up later.  It said, in plain English - Ataxia Panel.  Clearly, my deductive reasoning skills are to be feared and worshipped.
Also, as I am familiar with the use of both a computer and Google, and have devoted pretty much the last 10 years of my life to learning how to do research, I had already guessed by the range of questions I was being asked that they were getting interested in my cerebellum.  This was confirmed when I cornered the resident who also "cares" for me and asked what was up. Apparently the first MRI they did, when they re-examined it, showed some possible cerebellar atrophy.  Of course, they didn't notice that 10 months ago.  Why that is is something I best not speculate about...

Anyway, this is what I've been coping with since late April and more so the past few weeks since I found out that they won't tell me my results by phone or email.  I've been trying to stay calm and upbeat, and have been reasonably successful, but the toll is starting to tell.  I have more trouble sleeping, even though I'm exhausted.  I've had a few nightmares about being paralyzed and able only to move my eyes or being told I only have a few months to live (highly unlikely, but still...).  I have tried to be optimistic and hope that they simply don't have conclusive results to share or that someone just cocked up the test (if that is the case, I will be highly pissed that they couldn't just tell me that).  But I also catch myself at odd moments trying to make a deal with...I don't know - God, myself, Obi-Wan Kenobi - "just let it be my legs; please not my eyesight; please, don't make me loose my mind; please, as long as I can still read and craft and eat..."
I've managed, for the most part, not to have a crying jag, until last night.  Right after a shower, I just lost it and started blubbering.  Fortunately, Tom seems to have a 6th sense for imminent ferret-crises and he came to comfort me (because he is awesome).  And Oreo overcame his deep-seated fear of the bathroom to join us (because he was lonely in the living room).  The truth is, hard as I'm trying to be brave and not to whine or be morbid or be an attention whore, I'm terrified.  I'm furious - no one should have to sit and wonder about things like this for weeks on end or be treated like an idiotic child by their doctors. What is going to happen? There aren't a hell of a lot of treatment options for ataxia - care is primarily supportive.  I'm afraid of what they're going to tell me and I'm afraid of the inevitable confrontation when I finally tell them how inappropriate I find their behavior.  Smack-talking to the contrary, I usually try to avoid such things.  And partly it's because I am so very angry that I'm worried, because I know that the more "overwrought" I seem, the less seriously I'll be taken (if that's possible).  
I am at least happy to have found, in my research, that there are specialists here who deal with Ataxia and they are very highly regarded by their patients.  And I do have a wonderful support system.  I just have to get through one more week.


Buttoned Crochet Capelet

This capelet by sewstichy is breathtaking. Relatively simple stitches and great construction and details (I love the button band) make it an awesome potential accessory.  She provides a bit of detail in her caption on Flickr.


Yay, haircut!

I got my hair cut today.  I went with a slightly shaggier/more texturized bob and short bangs again.  I really like it - it's a bit more fun to play with than my usual sleek bob.  I did miss styling wax and stuff from when I had super short hair - being able to run your hands through your hair, muss it up, and have it look cute was fun.  Plus I really like my hairdresser, which is a first and also very nice.
Also, my neck is hair-free again.  Thank god.  I have no idea how anyone copes with a mullet aside from looking like crap on toast.
Our plants seem to be settling in well.
I attempted crocheting in the car on the way to the salon - my bag pattern is pretty auto-pilot, so I can chat and work.  I don't think it's the best idea for me - I got a tiny bit motion sick and so put it away.  Oh well, fortunately I usually like staring out the windows on road trips, so if I have to pull a long haul in the car anytime soon (I really, really hope not) I won't be too miserable.


Shopping IS Therapy, Dammit

Today I slept most of the day due to the exhaustion of the most recent skirmish in the mouse wars.  I had actually set an alarm for 11 AM, figuring that would give me more than enough sleep.  I woke up, was still really stiff and hurty, and so decided to read and stretch a bit in bed before getting up.  The next thing I knew, Oreo was barking and wagging his tail in my face because Tom was home from work.  Sigh...
Anyway, I had been wanting some fusible interfacing for some projects I want to work on and Tom had wanted to go to a Home Depot to poke around, so we set off.
I scored my fusible interfacing (at a discount, because the instruction sheet had left marks on the interfacing) drooled over fabric, grabbed some canvas tape, and a bias tape maker.  Serious fabric drooling.  I should just get over my cheapness in not being willing to pay $8/yard for pretty quilting cottons, but then again, if I did that, we'd be even more poor than we are and be buried in fat quarters or single yards fabric useful only for making bags and pillows and stuff. Mmm, bags...
Anyway, we also dropped by a Best Buy, because the stupid vermin had chewed through the cord on the motion sensor for the Wii.  Shows you how much Wii we've been playing.  We also (after much wandering and annoyance) discovered that Lego Indiana Jones has finally dropped in price.  Sweet!!!!  As it seems to also be good for my motor skills, all the better!
Then we went to Home Depot and wandered around the nurseries.  We now have baby sweet basil, mint, rosemary, lavender, and Italian parsley nestled happily in a trough planter and smelling delicious.  The aloe has been replanted in the pseudo-Predynastic pot.  And our seedlings of oregano, curly parsley, and lavender seem to be doing well despite early depredations by the vermin.  The papyrus plant seems to be doing okay as well.
I am very excited by our little garden - I've never done much with plants before, so I'm having fun pestering Tom with questions.  I'm also looking for either  some better options or tricks in iCal for reminders so I will remember watering and other household chores (this has become a major problem for me).  And I'm looking forward to cooking with fresh herbs, figuring out good drying methods, and making sachets.  
Therefore, I am in an extra good mood this evening, despite the lateness of this post. Tomorrow I get to go for a haircut, which will make life even better as I'm currently getting uncomfortably close to a mullet in the back (I cannot stand hair on my neck anymore).   Better, a friend is taking me, thus sparing Tom from having to hang around a girly salon for an hour. He gets to stay home and play Wii.  :P


Mouse Wars: Revenge of the Humans

As I have mentioned before, we have mice.  Not the nice little pet kind or even the kind that you feed to other pets.  No, the wild invader unwelcome kind.  Oreo utterly failed at mouse deterrence.  The live trap apparently operated as an example of survival of the fittest and captured only the stupid ones.  The glue traps the exterminator gave us failed utterly.  Snap traps are useless.  So, we finally turned to poison.  
The type of poison we used is pellet form and is essentially an anticoagulant at a dosage massive for mice.  For a while, I was convinced that all the mice actually had high blood pressure or abnormal blood clots and that we were just helping them out, because they were still merrily piddling behind (and on) the lower shelf of my bookcase and behind the TV.  Or that, like some rats, they had become resistant
Eventually though, all but one has departed.  Whether this world altogether or merely our apartment, I don't really care.  
The apartment had started to smell like an enormous hamster cage. (And I have now ensured that we will never have visitors again...) My allergies were going nuts.  So, today, we decided to move the bookshelves and the TV and other furniture, use the ShopVac on the hardwood floor behind and thoroughly saturate the baseboards with Lysol.  It seems to have gone pretty well.  I've only had to trash a few old notebooks that were icky with vermin leavings.  My throat did start to close up a bit near the end and I'm weak all over, despite having only moved books back and forth and dusted while Tom did all the actual heavy labor.  I think it was worth it, though.  I think we'll have another few rounds of spraying the baseboards with Lysol or Febreeze or vinegar (suggestions for removing that odor that don't involve killing all of us are welcome in the comments) and we've left bait and a mousey obstacle course just in case they mount a counter-offensive.  

Image courtesy of Madprime, available at Wikimedia Commons

"Tita De la Garza"

I haven't featured a doll in some time, so I think this is a lovely one to revive interest with. Her features are lovely, as are the clothing and accessories. Even better, she's a character from a novel. I haven't read "Like Water for Chocolate" but I love it when people take inspiration from books.



The past week seems to have been especially "foggy" for me - I've been needing/wanting to sleep much more than usual, my brains aren't working quite as well - lots more forgetting, total attention lapses, loss of focus, and general duhhhh-ness.  My pain levels have been a bit higher too.  And I've been disinclined to do much besides stretch out in bed or on the couch and read.  I'm not really depressed, though a bit disgusted with my inertia, just, I guess exhausted.  I certainly am finding it harder to motivate myself to do much.  Hopefully I'll snap out of it soon.  
Interestingly, Oreo has been far cuddlier with me lately as well.  I don't know if he feels a bit ick, if he senses that I don't feel too hot, or if it's just coincidence.  



Originally uploaded by samandchichi
It's a Spock amigurumi! How geek-tastic is this!??! I love the ears.


Behold my mad polymer clay rolling skillz!

I made another set of crochet hook handles, as I wanted the H and I hooks for a project I started recently (I got the yarn courtesy of a ride to JoAnn's - thanks, G!).  Playing with the clay really is ridiculously fun.  Eventually I'm going to pick up some sandpaper to see how well I can smooth the handles up and get rid of fingerprints, etc.  The pale pink and white marbled handle just did not want to be photographed despite my husband's best efforts.

Polymer Clay Crochet Handles

Polymer Clay Crochet Handles

I really can't decide which I like the best.  I will be interested to see if the black and white handle picks up stains from my fingers...

I suck!

I failed in my goal of posting something everyday!  Oh well, everyone needs a day off now and then, right?  Yesterday we went on a nature walk after I made the oh so mature demand of my husband:  "I want to see bunnies and duckies!!!!"  Oreo didn't get to come because the park district is speciesist.  It was pretty fun - we got to get ridiculously close to some cottontails and watch them for some time.  Same with a pair of mallards.  And there were trees and flowers and the weather wasn't too warm or too cold.  Yay!  I had a brief, weird moment where the toes on my left foot felt like they were burning for no apparent reason.  Only lasted a few minutes.  Didn't bother me too much, but I wish my peripheral neuropathy or whatever the hell that was had done that in the depths of winter - then my toes might have been warm.
I also got to use my Borders coupon and scored Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd.  Tom unkindly pointed out that it wasn't going to do me much good as I don't so much know how to knit yet, but I stuck my tongue out at him and called him names, so it's all good.
All of the above totally wore me out, so I vegged out on the couch most of the rest of the night, save for a brief interval wherein we bathed Oreo.  He's only just now forgiven me.  And we changed the bed and fluffed up the down mattress pad and comforter, which made getting into the bed way more blissful than usual.  I woke up today with some major weakness in my left hand, but I'm managing to type without too much trouble.


Eating miso soup

Eating miso soup
Originally uploaded by naomi sews & sews
I love this happy amigurmi girl! So cheerful looking. And as I have a fondness for miso soup, all the better. The tiny bowl with the tiny mushroom pattern is also great.



I think anxiety on a few fronts is starting to take its toll on me - I'm pretty tired and weak again today and slept a good 12 hours last night. My brain is fairly foggy as well today.   I did enjoy a walk at Promontory Point with the husband and the Oreo.  The weather has finally warmed up and, true to form, I contrarily find it too warm.    Oreo totally failed yet another are you a dog or an alien creature test.  We saw a cottontail in a patch of clover.  Tried to point it out, Oreo was oblivious.  We got within 10 feet of the bunny, who seemed rather unimpressed with the potential threat Oreo presented, and then Oreo finally saw the bunny.  He made a half-hearted lunge at the rabbit.  The rabbit ran off to some rocks, but didn't even bother ducking into a burrow or otherwise hiding.  Oreo gave up after running about 3 feet.  Yeah.  Didn't even bother to bark.
He did, however, talk smack/attempt to murder to a larger spaniel of some type, a retriever mix, and a Bichon Friese.  And, once the Bichon's owner had taken her out of sight, he totally worked the Oreo-strut - the proud little pimp walk he pulls when he's "run off intruders."
I do finally have photos to post of my latest projects.  I'll get around to those later today or maybe tomorrow.  I'm mostly inclined to curl up on the couch and watch Waiting for God or the new Doctor Who or something similar.   (Yes, I am still loving Netflix + Roku)  Hurray for ambition!



Originally uploaded by kidmissile
The name, the creation - what about this is not totally and utterly awesome?
I myself have not gotten around to crocheting octopi, but this may inspire me to start. The legs look super fun and the potential for fun customization is enormous.

Check out the original photo on Flickr for more information.


teeny tiny peacock

teeny tiny peacock
Originally uploaded by VoodooMaggie
VoodooMaggie created this amazing, shimmery little peacock and I love it!

The advantages of being mildly annoying

As I mentioned a few days ago, my neurologists are playing keep-away with my test results. They were also going to make me wait until July to even have a chance at catching the metaphorical ball.  Being rather displeased with this state of affairs, I started emailing my attending neurologist at least once every weekday asking about an expedited appointment.  It seems to have worked.  I have an appointment in about 3 weeks.  Still longer than I'd like, but I suppose it will do.  Three weeks of stewing, wondering what's wrong and why they couldn't tell me in an email is better than 8 weeks.  Hypothetically, it's nothing that's likely to kill me within either 3 or 8 weeks, right?
Some of my readers may be wondering why I didn't call instead of email.  Well, you see, he can't remember his voice-mail code.  So, he can't retrieve voice-mails.  I have no explanation for why he hasn't gotten in touch with IT or whoever to get a new code.  I have suspicions that he's already done that so many times that they've told him to get lost, but these are only suspicions. The only other numbers I have are the main clinic number, and I'd rather not antagonize the receptionists and clerks (yet), and his pager number which, no matter how pissed off I am, I'm not going to abuse with non-emergencies.
I suspect there are going to be regular entries from me psyching myself up for the "here are the many ways in which I have found your behavior to be unacceptable" conversation coming up in June.  


Imitation Predynastic Pot

Because I am a huge, huge nerd, I decided that I needed to spiffy up the terracotta planter we bought with some painting.  It took me forever to decide what to do, though, until inspiration struck - I could use some Egyptian motifs!  Now, with a few exceptions, most Egyptian pottery after the Predynastic period is pretty boring, so of course I stuck with the Predynastic.  In particular, I borrowed some motifs from white cross-lined ware - a boat, a dancing figure, and a hippo.  And here is the painted pot, sitting next to some papyrus stalks.

Imitation white cross-lined ware

Imitation white cross-lined ware

Imitation white cross-lined ware



I found this just a while ago and now I desperately want to try it.  Sorry Jewish, Muslim, and vegetarian friends, but how can I resist pork plus what essentially amounts to a craft project?  I think the addition of a few spices to the ground pork would be important, and I probably wouldn't bother with the hotdog the guy had as the internal part.  Check the link for more details:

Bacon Pig

theWAREHOUSE: Baconpig

No pictures

And I failed to take photographs again today.  My back and legs are extra grumpy and I was extra tired and spent way more time in bed than usual today.  And then went grocery shopping.  My husband continued his record of always managing to inadvertently pick the worst possible cart.  I, yet again, refused the siren call of the riding cart things.  However, we stocked up on groceries, including the makings for a few new recipes to try - I will try to post how they turn out.  And I stocked up on Ben and Jerry's Cinnamon Buns ice cream which, I'm reasonably certain, contains cocaine or heroin as I inevitably eat the entire pint and still want more.  It has replaced Dublin Mudslide in my affections.  
I also totally forgot to get photos of the brain slug before it was given away.  However, the slug is GREATLY appreciated by its new owner and I have begged for in situ photos.  


This entry is useless without pics

Despite having been fairly productive on the craft front the past week, I can't post pictures today.  It's been nasty and rainy and dark all day, so decent photos aren't happening.  Maybe tomorrow.  I will, however, tantalize you all by telling you that I painted a flower-pot in imitation of Predynastic Egyptian white cross-lined ware.  And I finished making a brain slug for a friend.  It's being presented this evening, and I hope to get a photo.  I also finished my gift for my mom for Mother's Day.  Yes, I know it was last week.  Still have to take a picture of it and get it in the mail.   So, with luck, there will be some photos posted this weekend.

I also have to decide which fiber project to start next: 
  • Amigurumi for some friends (not saying what exactly as some of them read this and I'll be all grumpy if I ruin the surprise)
  • Amigurumi of my parents for their 30th anniversary next month
  • Amigurumi with Egyptian themes for some professors of mine
  • My very first knitting project.  I have to actually decide WHAT to make.  I'm not that inclined to make a scarf, I know it's the typical thing, but it seems sort of...bleh.  Maybe a hat?  Suggestions are welcome.  My preference is for something that isn't a huge undertaking at the moment and, preferably, doesn't require a large quantity of yarn (I'm running out of storage space, despite concerted attempts to use up my stash)
And I have the following things I want/need to do:
  • Design and carve some lino blocks for fabric printing/stamping
  • Sew some tea towels and table linens
  • Sew the pajamas and dress I have fabric and patterns for that have been hanging around since January
  • Sew a (or possibly multiple) hook and needle cases
  • Sew a bag or purse of some kind with the sweet fat quarters I have
  • Start playing with watercolor painting, if only for the hilarity of how craptastic my paintings will be
And, I have some research to do in the next few weeks to see if I'm going to climb back into the academic saddle.  I suspect there will be chafing.


Not Cool!!!!

So, last night I emailed about my test results and have pretty much gotten the run-around.  My doc told me about the myopathy, but I knew that already from the EMG doctor.  My genetic tests have been "held."  My neurologist told me to schedule a follow-up ASAP.  So, I did.  ASAP is July. I emailed him back and pointed out - dude, July.  And asked what "held" meant.  
"Held," for those of you wondering, means, "I'll tell you when you come in for your appointment."  He also said he'll try to expedite my appointment.  He damn well better.  I have to figure refusing to tell me unless I'm there in person is probably not happy, wonderful, you-have-rainbows-and-unicorns-coming-out-of-your-ass type news.  I am not sitting here for two months wondering what the hell is going on.  We played that game after the spinal tap last year and I AM NOT doing it again.
There was no mention of the MRI results.  Also, still no superpowers.  

Loose Teeth Vintage Inspired Sundress with Petticoat GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Loose Teeth Vintage Inspired Sundress with Petticoat GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

This dress is amazing and I love giveaways!

Actually, I'm pretty sure if they made this, most people would buy it. Just in case...

Bug Spray Fail  FAIL Blog: Pictures and Videos of Owned, Pwnd and Fail Moments
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Where no meerkat has gone before...

newtrek 002
Originally uploaded by niftyknits
niftyknits created these amazing meerkat versions of the major characters from the original Star Trek and I am in awe! Little uniforms with little insignia and rank stripes, tiny tricorders, communicators, and medical instruments, even Uhura's earpiece... So awesome!
I can sort of see how they could be confused for ferrets, but niftyknits wants it known that they are meerkats, so despite the ferret love here on my blog, we welcome our space traveling meerkat friends!
If you're interested, the meerkat awesomeness is available for sale in niftyknits's Etsy shop


Suckitude aka Having to Move

So we're going to have to leave our apartment by the end of August.  Our building and a bunch of neighboring buildings are going to be torn down (eventually) to make room for hospital expansion.  Or possibly for an Olympic village.  Either way, this sucks.  So, we've got to try to find a new place that is affordable and, hopefully, easier for me to get in and out of.   I wouldn't be worried except we'll be competing for said places with all of our neighbors.   I love our place now, except that I have to deal with a flight of stairs to get in or out.  Aside from hating to move even when I am functional, I'm a bit concerned over location.  Right now I'm within a fairly easy walk to the hospital, which means that I can make it to my regular appointments by myself with little trouble.  Moving may mean that hubby and/or friends will have to take time off to drive me to appointments or put me in a wheelbarrow and push me.  Weekly.  Ick.

Kitchen Witch Clothespin Doll for Mom

This charming little doll seems like a wonderful present for Mom! I love the multicolored hair, the hat, all the little details really make this wonderful. Check out Danner's Place photostream (link below the photo) for more great stuff!


Things I learned from Star Trek

So, late last night/early this morning while working on finishing up a crochet project and suffering through insomnia (I'll post pictures eventually) I had Star Trek Season 1 on in the background courtesy of my nifty Roku and Netflix (I'm still loving the Roku, by the way).
I learned the following things:
  •  I had developed a Pavlovian response to commercial breaks courtesy of the episodes I have on VHS taped off of New Orleans TV in the mid 1990s.  Seriously.  Waiting for Michael Herbert (Pronounced "ay-bear") to come on.  Scary.
  • I had forgotten how casually sexist the show was.  Hilarious, yet sad.  Seriously, the crew looking at Rand or Uhura like pieces of meat and using terrible pickup lines.  Camera angles directly focused on women's booties?  The assumption that women are weak and fragile creatures...  Sigh.
  • Their makeup people were on crack.  DeForest Kelley really didn't need blue eyeshadow people.  No man needs pink lip gloss.
  • Eyeliner on a guy indicates evil almost as well as a goatee on a Vulcan. (Check "animal" Kirk in The Enemy Within)
  • Spock pimp-slapping the salt creature to prove it isn't "Nancy" in The Man Trap while grunting out "Could Nancy take this, Doctor?" will never, ever fail to make me laugh hysterically.
  • Thinking of The Enemy Within, I think I need attach some antennae/horns/weird tail/spikes to Oreo to make him a space dog.  I just won't run him through any transporters.

Space Dog


Jack Russell Terrier puppies

These crocheted puppies by Jaravee are super adorable. She's captured that eager, happy expression that always melts my heart when it appears on the face of any dog. Check for photostream for some more adorable doggies!

Recent post on CraftFail

Here is a shameless plug for my latest contribution to CraftFail.  Also, any of my readers with fails of their own are encouraged to contribute!


Wow, just when I thought I couldn't possibly think less of him

Lance Armstrong says Sheryl Crow's biological clock doomed their romance -- chicagotribune.com

What an enormous douche.  Don't get me wrong, it's not that I hate him for not wanting to get married right away and start popping out kids.  I have no problem with that.  It's that he feels the need to publicize their problems in that way.  And this quote:

"Because if somebody wants a child -- man, that's the greatest gift you can give to a woman -- so who are you to stand there and say I don't want one. So we were at different points in our lives. We were not compatible on that issue."

Really, Lance?  A baby is the greatest gift you can give a woman.  Greater than respect?  Love?  Affection?  Kindness?Cookies?  Viable sperm is the greatest gift?  Well crap, I guess I'm going to have to start collecting sperm to give as gifts.

"What's that, Mom?  What's with the test-tube and the turkey baster you gave me last Xmas?  Well, you see, a baby is the greatest gift you can give a woman.  Since human trafficking is illegal, I thought I'd give you the um, means.  No...no, it's not your son in law's, that would be weird.  I bought if off some bum on the corner...  Yes...yes that is horrifically disgusting, Mom, but, you know, Lance Armstrong is a freakin' hero and a great American and crap, so...  Yeah, Mom, I won't do that again."

Also, this means my husband is going to get off waaay to easily in the gift department.  Damn you, Lance Armstrong.

"Natural" is not a synonym for "Safer"

I love the Beauty Brains blog - they take a lot of the nonsense used in advertising for a variety of beauty products and explore the truth or falsehood behind it.  
The natural/organic/paraben free/etc. issue is one that particularly annoys me.  I will confess to having bought into it for a while.  Then I started really reading product labels and did a bit of my own research (in more than once place, I might add) and discovered that, for the most part, it's nonsense.  I have no problem with people choosing to purchase so-called "natural" products.  It's just the claim that they are intrinsically better that gets to me.  The fact is, the products often use nearly identical formulations to "non-natural" products, that the terms "natural" and "organic" don't have a real meaning or an official definition by law in the US, and that frequently the quantity of a particular ingredient or group of "natural" ingredients in a product is so small as to be virtually negligible.  Even claims about packaging and environmental impact or animal testing can be a bit...weasely.  These are also things that are unregulated or only loosely regulated.    
"Natural" ingredients can be every bit as dangerous, and sometimes more so, than "artificial" ingredients - people can be every bit as allergic to one as the other.  Certain essential oils can increase photosensitivity in skin.  As the Beauty Brains article linked to below mentions, a few studies have shown a potential link between tea tree and lavender oils and growth of breast tissue in boys.  
Does this mean you shouldn't use them?  Good lord, no!  It simply means that you should do a bit of digging, not buy into the hype of ANY product, and choose what works for you.
For example, I tend to have a mild to moderate allergic reaction to some artificial fragrance formulations, ranging from a migraine headache to hives.  Because of this, I usually often better luck with products labeled "natural" because they frequently seem to use a different fragrance base or formulation, but I also have very good luck with products labeled "sensitive" or "fragrance free".  It isn't always the case though and I have to be cautious.  
And, of course, things like mercury, arsenic, uranium, ragweed, poison ivy, venom, and poop are all "natural" but I don't think you want them in your personal care products.   

More Natural Cosmetic Nonsense | The Beauty Brains

Gardening Pixie

Gardening Pixie
Originally uploaded by thefairiesnest
Here is a lovely little pixie complete with watering can! I love the details here: the fun fabric for the dress, the delicate wings, the striped socks, and the little hat.

I want a tepee now

Yeah, to hell with being a grown-up.  Now I want a tepee.  I wonder if I can scale this up to adult-sized?  Can you imagine, I can drag this thing out to the courtyard of my apartment building or into a park, lay it out, put in some pillows...  Oreo and I would have the pimpenest sun shelter EVAR!

Found via Craft


It's the little things...

So, earlier this week, sam {temptingmama} over at Craftastrophe posted a Guess That Mess!!  which had me puzzled and slightly frightened, but I posted my suggestion.  Today, she finally told us all what it was.  Apparently, I induced a spit take with my comment.  Yes, I am ridiculously proud.



CRAZY CAT LADY SCHOOL � Lolcats ‘n’ Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?: "funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures"

Nest Decorating & Designs by Tamar: Duvet Tutorial and some more new work

Nest Decorating & Designs by Tamar: Duvet Tutorial and some more new work

I love this tutorial for making duvet covers from flat sheets - usually much, much less expensive than buying a ready-made cover and a good way to use or re-use vintage, thrifted, or older sheets.  It would be super simple to add your own decorative touches with appliques, borders, ribbons, buttons, etc.  I adore my down comforter and refuse to part with it, but duvet covers are a must and being able to customize is always appealing.

Via Craft


The Partay

So the big event was tonight.  It went pretty well, though the weather sucked and I had a super bad spasm/shaky/ick attack when we first arrived and aftershocks the rest of the evening.  Meh.  I got to see some people I haven't seen in ages, including someone who is getting the girliest, pinkest, fru-fru-est thing I can crochet when I get around to it just for mocking my craftiness.  The fascinator seemed to be very popular and so was the cane bow, though people noticed/commented on the fascinator more.  I wonder if that was because it was more visible or because people were more comfortable not mentioning the cane?  Not that it matters.  Dinner was good.  There was chocolate.  
My biggest problem was the drinking glasses for cocktails (sparkling water for me) - they were a bit too large and heavy for me to hold easily without shaking/spilling.  That was easily remedied by asking for a wine glass for my next refill.
The hubby was extra handsome.  Overall, it was pretty cool.  I'm very glad that our sponsor was so generous as to purchase our tickets, it was very sweet of a very kind and generous lady.


The Cane Bow - DIY cane decoration

As I mentioned yesterday, I have also decided to make a bow to dress up my cane for the event this week.  I considered, and shopped for, a new cane altogether but decided against it for now.  My cane, while not a thing of beauty, is perfectly serviceable, lightweight, and has been improved dramatically by the removal of the branding stickers that were on it when I first received it.  Spending the money on a new cane just didn't seem wise, especially since I would have to order one rather than being able to test it out before buying.

Yesterday evening I picked up three rolls of wired ribbon from Michael's.  This evening, with my husband's help, I sat down to work on creating the bows.  Then I realized neither of us had the faintest clue what we were doing, so I did a quick Google search.  This was particularly helpful, though we didn't follow it very closely, so if you think the final result sucks, don't blame the tutorial authors.  
Making bows was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  My hands are less than happy right now, but I finally got it done.  It's held together with pipe-cleaners and attached to my cane using electrical tape.
Here is the bow prior to attachment, displayed in my stylishly craft-gloved hand:

Cane bow

And here it is after attachment to my cane, with a lovely view of our cluttered living-room and the Roku screen-saver playing on the TV.

Stylin' Cane Bow

Pretty pimpin', eh?

I intend to be the most stylin' cripple around.  :P

Mummified puppy found in Egyptian tomb - Wireless- msnbc.com

Mummified puppy found in Egyptian tomb - Wireless- msnbc.com

Cats get a lot of press in relation to ancient Egypt, especially because of the goddess Bastet.  Dogs get relatively short shrift, in part, as Jennifer Wegner mentions in the article, there wasn't really a dog deity in ancient Egypt.  
Dogs were fairly popular, however, and there were definitely some dog people - like on of the Intefs who erected a stela dedicated to his dogs, who also had names.  In some ways, I find the fact the dogs were named even more significant than the stela.
This puppy's name, if he had one, appears not to have been preserved, so he has been dubbed "Hapi-Puppy" by the researchers.  I realize some might find it rather horrific that the puppy was probably killed so that he could be mummified to accompany his master, but if you think of it from the ancient Egyptian perspective, it's actually a rather remarkable testament to the affection Hapi-Men felt for his pet.
Incidentally, this is not a recently excavated mummy, though the story does give that impression - both Hapi-Men and his puppy have been in the U Penn collection for some time.

Found via Egyptology News


I finally made a fascinator

I've loved the idea of fascinators as a lovely, customizable, unique accessory, but haven't really had a reason to make one.  Later this week, however, I have to get all respectable looking for an event with my husband at work, so I finally had an excuse to make a fascinator.  It was way easier than I thought it would be.
Here it is:

The fascinator
If anyone would like, I'll post more detailed instructions, but basically all I used was a peacock plume, a package of black feathers, a black barrette, some black felt (as a surface to glue the feathers to) and some wired ribbon I have to make a decoration for my cane (that's tomorrow's project).  All held together with hot glue.
I'm ridiculously proud of myself.  I didn't feel like modeling it myself tonight, so my husband did the honors:

Professional modeling

Fascinator from above

Incidentally, the need to be respectable looking is why there was no post yesterday:  I had to go shopping for a bra and slip, which took far more effort than it should have.  Fortunately, I had a good friend to take me and keep me from going totally nuts.


The Bestest Husband EVAR!!!

So, I woke up feeling pretty manky today, even after 12 hours of sleep.  I got up, then went back to bed for a bit, then got back up.  While I was making my dazed, Elvis-dancing perambulations, my husband decided to do some cleaning.  And then a lot of cleaning.  And the suddenly the kitchen was beautiful, the living room noticeably less cluttered, and everything smelled better (except Oreo, who sort of needs a bath), even the mice, given that they were doused yesterday with ammonia and peppermint oil and today with febreeze and vinegar.  
Anyway, hubby has been wanting to go out for this race thing tonight and I decided that, though it sounded like fun, I just couldn't do it today.  So I told him to go.  He spent most of the day asking if I was sure I'd be okay.  I'll be fine - I have food, I have Oreo, I have a phone and TV and computer and friends.  The sweetness is wonderful though.  While I love and adore him for the physical support he gives me, I think it's the emotional support I cherish the most. Who else could I laugh through medical appointments with and trade horrifically offensive insults with?!?!  He's wonderful.  And super hot too.  Everyone should be so lucky!  

Begun, this mouse war has...

As I mentioned a few weeks back, we have a mouse problem in our apartment.  Apparently, the whole building is having a problem, so it isn't just my sucktastic house-wifely skills that led to the problem.  Rather than just one mouse, we have a whole freakin' army.  We caught the original mouse that was originally taunting me, along with his/her baby or little sibling or padawan learner or whatever the hell it was.  And released them.  And came home that evening to hear the scratching of little mousey paws.  And squeaking.  This new bunch is loud.  I was hoping that indicated mousey civil war, but I think they're just punk teenagers.
Anyway, we've stuck with live-catch options because a) I hate to kill the things even if they are nasty, uninvited little verminy trespassers; b) I don't do poison for fear someone's pet will eat the poison or a poisoned vermin and the unpleasant consequences; c)  I also don't do poison because you know the little bastards pick the most difficult to get to place to die so they stink up the room for months.  Also, if they aren't going for the live-catch glue traps and enclosed traps, I'm not all that convinced they would be lured into deadly traps either.  
Last night, we decided to venture into the realms of chemical warfare, however, by spritzing around some diluted ammonia and some peppermint oil.  Apparently mice don't like those smells.  Or something.  I have no idea if it's working.
Oreo remains committed to his pacifism in regard to vermin.   He does, however, continue to bark at cartoon dogs on television.


I find my lack of superpowers disturbing

Right, so I had the marathon MRI today - spine and brain with and without contrast.  While I've had both done before, I've never had both at the same time.  They scheduled a 3 hour block for this all to happen.
As I've mentioned before, needles and I are not friends.  I can deal with giving blood samples and simple injections.  The first attempt at the brain MRI, however, when they put the IV in, was something of a disaster.  I sat in the chair, the nurse put the IV in, I said, "hmmm, I feel a bit light-headed..."  The next thing I remember, the nurse was pounding on my chest, some newly minted young (-er than me) MD was saying "Mrs.  Ferret?  Mrs.  Ferret?  Are you okay?  Can you tell us what's wrong?"  I mumbled something that was not "Who the f&%# are you and why are you quadruplets?"  and then finally managed to mumble "I think I passed out (genius)."  The poor nurse, while clearly in command of the situation, was rather flustered.  I kept asking for my husband and apologizing for passing out.  Then I started to feel nauseous.  I mentioned this.  Strangely, no basins were to be found.  People scattered in all directions in search of basins.  Three people came back with about 10 basins between them about 10 seconds after I barfed all over myself.  Fabulous.
Then we had an inquiry regarding whether I had epilepsy.  Don't think so.  Had I wet myself?  Dunno, can't tell now as I just barfed all over my lap.  So, they laid me on a table, went and got my husband (who was a trooper) and then tried to convince me to go ahead with the MRI.  I managed to get all the way down the hall to just outside the suite before I finally said "no, not today, reschedule."  The MRI tech who came to take out the IV cannula was a real dick about it, and as he would have been my tech, I feel comfortable with my decision, however much it might have inconvenienced Mr. Diamond-Stud-Wearing, Douchy-Goatee-Having-Tech-Guy

So, two weeks later I went back and had the MRI.  My husband had to deal with two weeks of me whining about not wanting to go.  He tried to convince me that maybe I would get lucky and the MRI would give me superpowers like Magneto (thus the title of this post).  This time, I laid down for the IV insertion and, while I was a truly ghastly shade of white even after the scan was finished, I made it through.  I had the spine MRI a few months later and it was fine - again, laying down for the IV and I didn't even look like I'd been attacked by a vampire.  

So, this time, while a bit nervous, I wasn't too bothered.  However, when I got to the nurses station after changing into my gown, the table/cot area was occupied.  The nurse said she thought she could get the IV in without me passing out, so I figured what the hell.  In the past, I might have been worried about the possibility that she'd be doing chest compressions, yelling for help, and possibly cleaning up barf in a few minutes, but now I mostly figure if that happens, it's not like I didn't warn her.  Fortunately, she was right - she kept me talking and distracted and I didn't keel over - there was celebratory ferret-dancing.
Then they got me in to the MRI suite - there was a brief moment of concern when I thought I might be stuck with Mr. Diamond-Stud-Wearing, Douchy-Goatee-Having-Tech-Guy, but he was busy being a smarmy git with someone else and I got a really nice lady who kept offering me juice and cookies at breaks.  So, we did the brain without contrast first.  Piece of cake.  Then I had to get up while she switched out tables for the spine without contrast.  A little less comfortable and by the time we were done, my face was pink enough that my tech ran to get a cool washcloth for my face - apparently people frequently get a bit warm during the spine scans.  I laid there during both of these thinking about crocheting and knitting and cloth stamping and mentally designed the feathered fascinator thingie I'm planning to wear for a special event.  And occasionally pretended I was in a Jeffries Tube, until I realized that the tech might well call for a psych eval if I started yelling, "She cannae take anymore, Cap'n!"
Then, contrast injection.  I didn't even feel the weird flushing thing this time.  I did get really warm though.  And my arms started to cramp like crazy - probably because I was trying so hard to hold still since stillness = less time in the noisy tube.  And my nose started to itch.  During one of the 10 minute long scans.  That was freakin' torture.  So for that one, I was mostly thinking "Damn, my arms hurt!  Dude, my nose, my nose, my nose.  Ahhh, my arms, ahhhhhhh.  No, don't you say two more passes!  You said 'two more passes' three passes ago!"
Then I had to switch tables back to the brain table for brain scan with contrast.  When I sat up something warm and wet ran down my arm.  Panic!  And started dripping onto the sheet and my gown.  Bigger panic!  Then I realized that while whatever was dripping was red, it was diluted.  The cannula had come loose and the saline and little bit of blood was dripping.  So, I mentioned I was dripping to the tech and she pulled the cannula and all was well.
Still no superpowers though, unless being gimpy and snarky are now superpowers.
I did get to go wander around a Michael's crafts and found some yarn I to make a gift for my parents' anniversary in June (30 years!).  I didn't find the lino blocks I was sort of looking for, but no big worries.  We did a bit of other shopping too, and I probably over did it a bit today, since I'm now extra wobbly and achy, but no big deal.  And I managed to drop my cane into a mud puddle in the parking lot at home, which made the handle pretty freakin' disgusting.
Now we just have to wait for results...